Verses 12–20

Having shown how this country which they were now in was conquered, in these verses he shows how it was settled upon the Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh, which we had the story of before, Num. 32:1-42 Here is the rehearsal. 1. Moses specifies the particular parts of the country that were allotted to each tribe, especially the distribution of the lot to the half tribe of Manasseh, the subdividing of which tribe is observable. Joseph was divided into Ephraim and Manasseh; Manasseh was divided into one half on the one side Jordan and the other half on the other side: that on the east side Jordan was again divided into two great families, which had their several allotments: Jair, Deut. 3:14; Machir, Deut. 3:15. And perhaps Jacob’s prediction of the smallness of that tribe was now accomplished in these divisions and subdivisions. Observe that Bashan is here called the land of the giants, because it had been in their possession, but Og was the last of them. These giants, it seems, had lost their country, and were rooted out of it sooner than any of their neighbours; for those who, presuming upon their strength and stature, had their hand against every man, had every man’s hand against them, and went down slain to the pit, though they were the terror of the mighty in the land of the living. 2. He repeats the condition of the grant which they had already agreed to, Deut. 3:18-20. That they should send a strong detachment over Jordan to lead the van in the conquest of Canaan, who should not return to their families, at least not to settle (though for a time they might retire thither into winter quarters, at the end of a campaign), till they had seen their brethren in as full possession of their respective allotments as they themselves were now in of theirs. They must hereby be taught not to look at their own things only, but at the things of others, Phil. 2:4. It ill becomes an Israelite to be selfish, and to prefer any private interest before the public welfare. When we are rest we should desire to see our brethren at rest too, and should be ready to do what we can towards it; for we are not born for ourselves, but are members one of another. A good man cannot rejoice much in the comforts of his family unless withal he sees peace upon Israel, Ps. 128:6.