The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Numbers
The tribes of Ruben and Gad were rich in flocks, and their herds were past all reckoning. And now, seeing how well fitted were the lands of Jazer and Galaad to feed beasts,
they brought a petition to Moses, and the high priest Eleazar, and the rulers of the people.
Here is Ataroth, they said, here are Dibon, and Jazer, and Nemra, and Hesebon, and Eleale, and Saban, and Nebo, and Beon,
all given over by the Lord into the hands of Israel at the first onslaught; and all of this is good grazing land. My lord, we have many beasts to feed,
and we would ask a favour of thee; grant us this land for our portion, instead of making us cross the Jordan to win it.
What, answered Moses, are your brethren to go and fight while you sit idle here?
Would you daunt the spirits of the Israelites, so that they have not the courage to cross over into the land which the Lord means to give them?
Why, this was what your fathers did, when I sent them from Cades-Barne to bring back a report of the land;
they passed through the whole extent of it, until they reached the Valley of Grapes, and came back to daunt the spirits of their fellow-Israelites, so that none of them ever entered the territory which the Lord had assigned to them.
So angry was he that he bound himself by an oath,
None of the men who made their way out of Egypt and then would not follow me, men of twenty years and more, shall ever see the land which was my promised gift to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
None of them, except Caleb the son of Jephone and Josue the son of Nun, the men who carried out my will.
Still angry, he led us this way and that through the desert, till the generation that had offended him died out.
And now you come forward in the spirit of your fathers, the heirs and scions of their guilt, to make the Lord more angry with Israel than ever.
Refuse to follow him, and he will leave his people here in the desert so you will be the death of us all.
But still they came closer, and would have their say; We mean only to build folds for our sheep, byres for our cattle, and cities where our children can dwell in safety;
then we will go forward, armed and girded for battle, in the van of Israel, until we have won them their territory. We must have walled cities to protect our children and our possessions from sudden attack by our neighbours;
but we will not go back to these homes of ours till the other Israelites have won their inheritance;
and we will not demand any lands on the further side of Jordan, our portion once secured to us on the east of it.
Be as good as your word, then, Moses said; arm yourselves to do battle under the Lord’s eye,
and cross over Jordan in battle array, all of you that are fighting men, till the Lord has overthrown his enemies
and won the whole land for himself. So neither the Lord nor Israel will have any fault to find with you, and you shall hold, under the eye of the Lord’s favour, the territory of your choice.
If you do not make good your word, you will be sinning openly against God; and be sure that your sin will not go unpunished.
Build cities for your families, byres and folds for your sheep and cattle, and then fulfil your promise.
We are thy servants, the men of Gad and Ruben said to Moses, and will do as our master bids;
leave children and wives, sheep and cattle in the cities of Galaad,
and go out ourselves, armed for battle, as servants at their master’s command.
So Moses gave the word to the high priest Eleazar, and Josue the son of Nun, and the heads of all the clans in Israel,
that the tribes of Ruben and Gad were to receive Galaad as their portion once the whole land was conquered, if they would consent to let all their armed men cross the Jordan and do battle under the Lord’s eye with the rest.
If they would not undertake to help carry the war into Chanaan on those terms, then they must wait and win their portion among the other tribes.✻
But Ruben and Gad protested that they were willing to yield the Lord the service he asked of them;
to invade Chanaan under his eye, and still be content with the portion granted them on the further side of Jordan.
So Moses gave the dominions of Sehon, that had been king of the Amorrhites, and Og, the king of Basan, with all the cities that were contained in the whole region, to Gad and to Ruben and to half the tribe of Manasses, that were descended from Joseph’s son.
And the men of Gad rebuilt Dibon, Ataroth, Aroer,
Etroth, Sophan, Jazer, Jegbaa,
Bethnemra and Betharan, all fortified cities, and folds, too, for their sheep.
The men of Ruben rebuilt Hesebon, Eleale, Cariathaim,
Nabo and Baalmeon, under other names,✻ and Sabama too; they gave names of their own to these cities when they rebuilt them.
Meanwhile the descendants of Machir, that was Manasses’ son, had made their way into Galaad and plundered it, slaughtering the Amorrhites who dwelt there;
so Moses gave Galaad to the clan of Manasses’ son Machir, and there they took up their abode.
Other Amorrhite towns were taken by Jair, a tribesman of Manasses, who called them Havoth-Jair, that is, Jair’s villages;
and Nobe, who invaded and captured Chanath with its daughter-towns, called this after his own name, Nobe.
The Holy Bible