The Bible Slam: Numbers Chapter 32

The tribes of Reuben and Gad tell Moses that they prefer to live on the east side of the Jordan River instead of with the rest of Israel on the west side which remained to be conquered, and Moses has a fit, thinking that they were deserting the army.  He says that their ancestors tried to pull the same stunt and because of it, the children of Israel were forced to wander around for 40 years because God was angry.  He said if they deserted, then God would be so angry that he'd likely condemn Israel to another 40 years of wandering which would be the death of the nation.

The people of Reuben and Gad assure Moses that they will continue to participate in Moses' army and do battle, but that they simply wanted the walled areas on the east side of the Jordan so that they could contain their livestock.

Moses finally agrees and gives the priests some commands about how to handle the people of Gad and Reuben.

The chapter concludes with the people of Gad and Reuben driving the inhabitants of various cities out of their homes and taking them over.

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  • {PREVIOUS} Numbers Chapter 31 | {NEXT} Numbers Chapter 33

Discussion Points.

You have to wonder about when the ten commandments are valid after reading chapters such as Numbers 32 and the previous chapter.

  • SIX: 'You shall not murder.'  Seems pretty much blown with the annihilation in the previous chapter.
  • SEVEN: 'You shall not commit adultery.' Unless it's with 32,000 virgins taken captive during war (previous chapter).
  • EIGHT: 'You shall not steal.'  In Numbers 31 and 32, people are killed and/or driving from their homes and the Israelites snatch up everything of value.
  • TEN: 'You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's.' The people of Gad and Reuben clearly were coveting the nice, walled cities and properties that they eventually took over.

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