10 Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, 11 “Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, saying, ‘Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you are to cross this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the Lord your God is giving you, to possess it.’”
12 To the Reubenites and to the Gadites and to the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joshua said, 13 “Remember the word which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, ‘The Lord your God gives you rest and will give you this land.’ 14 Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle shall remain in the land which Moses gave you beyond the Jordan, but you shall cross before your brothers in battle array, all your valiant warriors, and shall help them, 15 until the Lord gives your brothers rest, as He gives you, and they also possess the land which the Lord your God is giving them. Then you shall return to your own land, and possess that which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise.”
16 They answered Joshua, saying, “All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. 17 Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you; only may the Lord your God be with you as He was with Moses. 18 Anyone who rebels against your command and does not obey your words in all that you command him, shall be put to death; only be strong and courageous.”
Observations – What does it say?
- After God spoke to Joshua, Joshua commanded the officer to tell everyone they would be crossing the Jordan in three days.
- Joshua commanded the officers
- Joshua recognized a chain of command
- The officers commanded the people
- The people were to prepare provisions for themselves
- They were to leave within 3 days.
- They were to cross the Jordan to take possession of the land
- God was giving them the land
- God was giving the land but they needed to take possession of it.
- Joshua addressed the Reubenites, Gadites, and half tribe of Menasseh
- Joshua reminded the 2 ½ tribes what Moses commanded them.
- The Lord had provide the 2 ½ tribes a place of rest
- The wives children and livestock of the Reubenites, Gadites and ½ tribe of Menasseh stayed behind
- All the men of valor i.e. soldiers of the Reubenites, Gadites and ½ tribe of Menasseh were to cross the Jordan
- The soldiers from the Reubenites, Gadites and ½ tribe of Menasseh were to lead the way for the rest of the nation of Israel.
- They 2 ½ tribes were to help the rest of Israel until the Lord gave them rest as He had the 2 ½ tribes and take possession of the land.
- After the rest of the nation of Israel take possession of the land and the Lord gives them rest the 2 ½ tribes may return to their land.
- The land of the 2 ½ tribes was east of the Jordan
- The 2 ½ tribes told Joshua that they would do what he commanded
- The 2 ½ tribes told Joshua they would go wherever he sent them.
- The 2 ½ tribes said they would obey Joshua just as they had obeyed Moses
- The 2 ½ tribes said that anyone who did not obey the commands of Joshua would be put to death.
- The 2 ½ tribes told Joshua to be strong and courageous.
Interpretation – What does it mean?
In Numbers 32 Moses gave the land Jazer and land of Gilead to the Reubenites, Gadites and ½ tribe of Menasseh if and only if all the fighting men would cross over the Jordan and help the rest of the nation of Israel subdue the land west of the Jordan. Joshua reminded them of this and they do not appear to have hesitated to keep their commitment.
The tribes of Reubenites, Gadites and the ½ tribe of Menasseh kept their word. They were given their land first and their families were in relative safety. There was a price to pay for being given the land they already possessed. All the men of valor, or fighting men, were required to take point in the conquest of land of Canaan. Being at the point or head of the group meant they were to be the first in the battle, should there be an attack. They did not have their families to comfort them as the rest of the nation did.
Application – How does it work?
God keeps his word and He requires that we keep our word. Christ told us in the Sermon on the Mount that our word should be good enough we should not have to take oaths or swear by anything. Matthew 5:37 “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” God’s word can be trusted and as part of the bride of Christ, the church, we are His representative on earth. Therefore our word should be as good as God’s.