It’s time to recap. We will look at the final battles that were fought in Moses’ time. These were the battles that conquered the territory east of Jordan.
We just finished with Joshua and the mighty men of Israel conquering the northern territory. Now we are going to take a break and look back at all that came before. We are starting with the battles Moses led. These were the ones that happened on the eastern side of the Jordan river. They cleared the way for the tribes of Reuben, Gad and half of the tribe of Manasseh to receive their inheritance. Needless to say, Moses’ list of conquered kings is shorter than Joshua’s, which we will get to next time.
There were two kings and their people who were removed from the eastern side of the Jordan but their territory was extensive. Sihon, king of the Amorites and Og king of Bashan controlled the section of land that would become the home of two and a half tribes. Their families and possessions would remain on the eastern side of Jordan and their fighting men would go with Joshua to conquer the rest of the territory for the other tribes.
Until VERY recently I didn’t realize that Manasseh received land on both sides of the Jordan. I thought their “half tribe” status referred to the fact that they were half of Joseph’s tribe. I have seen maps showing both representations for Manasseh; one side verses two. But Joshua 17 tells of Manasseh’s allotment on the eastern side.
Manasseh is given the lion’s share of the territory on the western side. They will also receive a large part of the eastern side. I wonder why. MY understanding of the numbers would indicate something different. Half of the tribe of Manasseh is 26,350. That number is far less than Gad at 40,500 or Reuben at 43,730. I wonder what made the difference. Was it divided by resources instead of cubits? Were the women and children in each tribe figured into the equation? I was just peeking ahead and noticed that “the tribe of Joseph” complained about their territory and was given more space that they would have to clear and conquer. Maybe the allotment’s sizes had to do with territory immediately available for inhabitation. I don’t know yet but I DO know that God had His fingerprints ALL over it.
There are so many questions I have for Jesus on this part of scripture. 1) Why didn’t the people only get land on the eastern side of Jordan? I understand paying back Moab for their behavior but I always thought that the “Promised Land” was on the western side of Jordan and beyond. 2) How did God divide the land? Were the boundaries along original tribal/kingdom boundaries? 3) What about the tribes of Israel who had to deal with remnants in their allotted land? Did they fight them without help of the other tribes? 4) What made Joshua stop in his advance? Did God tell him “This far and no farther” or was it due to battle losses? Those are the main ones for now.
Father God, I love reading Your stories. I’m glad Moses got to be part of the final process, even if it was in a smaller way. I think it was a good thing for both him and Israel that You changed leadership but also honored his heart. He got to see the beginning of the work You had both labored towards for 40 years. Did he allot the land on the eastern side or did that wait until Joshua was ready to divide it all? Another question. I know, I’m full of them. Thank You for making me think.