Introduction – Read Numbers 32
The conquest of the Promised Land has begun. Israel has yet to enter Canaan. Rather it is the east side of the Jordan, the area of the Trans-Jordan that they have first conquered. And this area is NOT the Promised Land.
So, when the tribes of Reuben and Gad who owned a lot of cattle, come to Moses saying, that they would prefer to stay and settle in the land that was formerly Moab, Moses is anything but thrilled.
What we see is that the leaders of Gad and Reuben apparently approached some of the leadership council with their request because Eleazar the High Priest is present, along with the chieftains of Israel, probably meaning the 12 tribal leaders.
Moses’ first response is: so you want to stay behind in a land all the tribes worked together to conquer, and then sit on your hands while the other ten tribes fight for the land the Lord has set aside for Israel without you?
Moses is as frightened as he is angry. Not frightened of the military aspect of the situation, that is, having a somewhat smaller army; rather, it is that almost 40 years ago some of the leadership council balked at entering Canaan and the consequences were pretty bad.
He certainly didn’t want to see whatever it was that the Lord would do to Israel, corporately, as a punishment for even just a portion of Israel not wanting to go forward AGAIN.
And so Moses reminds everyone what happened to him or her long ago in Kadesh, and why it happened, and that this is NOT something to be repeated.
In my next blog post, we will continue with Numbers chapter 32.