Why Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh had to lead in battle

Numbers Bible Background

03.04.2017 – Old Testament: Num 32.28–32

To read the Bible in a year, read Numbers 32–33 on March 4, In the year of our Lord 2017

By Don Ruhl

Reuben, Gad, and half of the half tribe of Manasseh decided that they wanted to settle on the East side of the Jordan rather than going into the Land of Canaan. However, they committed to leading the rest of the tribes in conquering the Land of Canaan, then they could take possession of their land on the East side,

So Moses gave command concerning them to Eleazar the priest, to Joshua the son of Nun, and to the chief fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel. And Moses said to them: “If the children of Gad and the children of Reuben cross over the Jordan with you, every man armed for battle before the LORD, and the land is subdued before you, then you shall give them the land of Gilead as a possession. But if they do not cross over armed with you, they shall have possessions among you in the land of Canaan.” Then the children of Gad and the children of Reuben answered, saying: “As the LORD has said to your servants, so we will do. We will cross over armed before the LORD into the land of Canaan, but the possession of our inheritance shall remain with us on this side of the Jordan” (Numbers 32.28–32). 

If they led the battles, they could inherit where they desired, but if they failed to lead Israel in the battles, they would have to inherit on the West side along with the rest of Israel. However, they committed to doing as Moses said, because they wanted to abide on the East side.


  • Are you willing to lead in some capacity in the church?
  • Are you willing to submit to leadership?

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