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Chapter 3:12-22 (ESV)

Posted on February 01, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 3:12-22 (ESV) - “When we took possession of this land at that time, I gave to the Reubenites and the Gadites the territory beginning at Aroer, which is on the edge of the Valley of the Arnon, and half the hill country of Gilead with its cities. The rest of Gilead, and all Bashan, the kingdom of Og, that is, all the region of Argob, I gave to the half-tribe of Manasseh. (All that portion of Bashan is called the land of Rephaim. Jair the Manassite took all the region of Argob, that is, Bashan, as far as the border of the Geshurites and the Maacathites, and called the villages after his own name, Havvoth-jair, as it is to this day.) To Machir I gave Gilead, and to the Reubenites and the Gadites I gave the territory from Gilead as far as the Valley of the Arnon, with the middle of the valley as a border, as far over as the river Jabbok, the border of the Ammonites; the Arabah also, with the Jordan as the border, from Chinnereth as far as the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, under the slopes of Pisgah on the east.

“And I commanded you at that time, saying, ‘The Lord your God has given you this land to possess. All your men of valor shall cross over armed before your brothers, the people of Israel. Only your wives, your little ones, and your livestock (I know that you have much livestock) shall remain in the cities that I have given you, until the Lord gives rest to your brothers, as to you, and they also occupy the land that the Lord your God gives them beyond the Jordan. Then each of you may return to his possession which I have given you.’ And I commanded Joshua at that time, ‘Your eyes have seen all that the Lord your God has done to these two kings. So will the Lord do to all the kingdoms into which you are crossing. You shall not fear them, for it is the Lord your God who fights for you.’

Question to consider: Why did it take so long for God’s land promise to Abraham to come to pass?

After wielding Israel as His sword of judgment against the Amorites, Moses began to distribute the land according to the tribes of Israel. It’s worth remembering that Israel had been told not to stay in Egypt when Joseph rescued his father and brothers from the great famine. Because they did not return to the land of Canaan after the death of Joseph, a Pharaoh eventually came to power who didn’t know Joseph and enslaved the descendants of Israel. Otherwise, this day may have come hundreds of years earlier, and there never would have been issues with worshiping golden calves or such faithlessness.

Instead, after many generations of slavery in Egypt, Israel had all but forgotten the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the promises made to them that they would inherit this land. Pharaoh scoffed at Moses when he proclaimed that his God ordered Pharaoh to let His people leave for a few days to worship Him in the wilderness. Since God had remained silent for four hundred years, Pharaoh assumed this god of Moses was either imaginary or powerless to save His people. After sending ten plagues and wiping out Pharaoh’s army in the Red Sea, Israel was given the treasures of Egypt in order to build the tabernacle of the LORD who dwelt among them in the wilderness. Even with the LORD leading them as a pillar of smoke by day and pillar of fire by night, they remained faithless when they saw the size and power of the Amorites.

Despite that generation being kept in the wilderness, God never failed to care for them and never abandoned them. This new generation went up against the Amorites in faith and now received the promised land. Added to their land inheritance was an abundance of cattle. So Moses let the people leave the women, children and cattle in their assigned lands, and the fighting age men from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh were told to follow Joshua to the next kingdom to conquer. Manasseh is called a “half tribe” because Manasseh and Ephraim were tribes that came from sons of Joseph.

We live in a time in which people seem to think that the world has lived in peace except for Israel and the United States who they believe stole their land from indigenous people. Whether it was Pharaoh or Sihon or Og or any other kingdom since the flood of Noah, land has been obtained through conquest. Before the flood, the whole earth belonged to the descendants of Cain, and Noah’s family was the last of the line of Seth, and the promised seed of the woman would come through him.


Dear heavenly Father, help us to continue to recognize the rule and authority of Christ Jesus in the world. We pray for Your kingdom to continue to come through the spread of the gospel and not the sword. May we be faithful heralds of the righteousness of Christ. Amen.