Occupation of GILEAD | Numbers 32; Vengeance on Midianites and Moabites; Preparing Invasion of Canaan

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Bible Battle #10 – C. 1407 BC


Army of God, ancient history, Bible history, war history, military history, Occupation of Gilead, Numbers 32

ANCIENT HISTORY before the Occupation of Gilead

By this point in the campaign the Hebrew fighting force had advance far north to what today is Syria. They most likely had some advanced units securing that frontier but there were still some remnant Amorite populations behind the lines, to the south.
The tribes of Reuben and Gad had much livestock and This land of Jazer and Gilead was ideal to sustain that large herds. They approached Moses and Eleazar the priest and asked for the land as a reward for their conduct thus far should these leaders be in agreement.
 preparing for invasion of Canaan, promised land
Moses was astounded by their selfishness in wanting to settle there and let the other Hebrews cross the Jordan ahead of them and head to battle while they set up their dwelling. This is what the previous generation had done when the spies were sent out to survey the land. This was a major breach in discipline with serious consequences. Then, and now the attitude of the few would impact the many. Moses warned them that God would leave them stranded in the wilderness again as He had done before.
Upon hearing this the Reubenites and Gadites reasoned that they wanted merely to setup the home for their animals, family and wealth. With their inheritance secure they would join the fighting. Moses directed them to do the opposite, to first fight and then inherit the land. This was strategically sound as they would be able to remove future threats to their land instead of living under threat of attack.

  CONFLICT BACKGROUND leading to the Occupation of Gilead

Fortunately, Reuben and Gad saw reason and agreed with their leader, leaving their families in area of Gilead while joining the fighting force. Moses instructed Eleazar and Joshua to set aside that land for the two tribes after they crossed the river committing themselves to battle. Although the land was to be west of the Jordan River, Gad and Reuben insisted that their land should be on the East.

Moses gave Gad, Reuben and Manasseh the recently fallen lands of the Amorites and Bashan. The Gadites and Reubenites rebuilt the fortified cities while individual clans of the half tribe of Manasseh went on the attack. These were the Machirites, Jairites and Nobah, a Manasseh warrior with a contingent of fighters.

  MILITARY HISTORY of the Occupation of Gilead

  1. Gad and Reuben occupied the land and rebuilt the towns in the area that had been through the previous battles.
  2. Machirites captured Gilead, expulsing the Amorites and settled
  3. Jairites captured the smaller Amorite settlements and renamed the
    area Havvoth Jair.
  4. Nobah captured Kenath and renamed it Nobah.
What this was a basic operation of eliminating pockets of Amorite resistance that were left there from the previous battles. The enemy was most likely depleted from first line fighters and could not mount any significant resistance.

  BIBLE HISTORY AFTERMATH of the Occupation of Gilead


Gad and Reuben had preferred land to the east of the Jordan River instead of to the west. Curiously, although the Balfour Declaration of 1917 had accounted for this land to be part of the proposed independent Jewish territory, in 1948 in land east of the river was given to the State of Israel. Instead that became the country of Jordan.

Military history, military strategy, events in history, Palestine partition

SPIRITUAL WARFARE in the Occupation of Gilead


Gad and Reuben were content with what they had east of the Jordan and did not want to walk into what God had for them across in Canaan. So many times believers have a nice life – a nice job, a nice home – and don’t want to get themselves wet for a short period so they can go into
something far better.
The two tribes here were grieving God for these reasons:
(a) Resting on their laurels: they were being presumptuous in thinking
they had done enough for the people’s cause.
(b) Contentment: they took what they had and did not want more.
(c) Selfishness: they did not care to help their brothers in continuing
their own journey.
(d) Disobedience: God did not offer the Promised Land to the people as a
bonus, this was the optimal place for them and He directed them into it if they
would let Him.
God has infinitely more for us than we could ever imagine on our own. He always places a desire in our hearts for more, not less. Refusing to move on ahead is like telling God hat we’re happy in this world and don’t really want to go into His kingdom and its almost like saying we don’t need Heaven.


The fathers of these people had refused to go into Canaan for a different reason, at that time they didn’t step into the land because of fear of what lay ahead, this time they didn’t step in because of fear to leave what was behind.
Reuben and Gad wanted to take care of their cattle, their wealth, before joining the fighting. That is not what God wanted of them.


Just as Moses was approached by two tribes here, later in Luke 9:57-62 Jesus is approached by two men who want to follow him but not before they take care of their affairs. One wanted to first bury his father, the other wanted to bid his family farewell first. Jesus responded that no man, having been given an assignment from God, who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God. When a man buried his father this meant that he was taking hold of his inherited estate as well. These people wanted to secure their earthly possessions before joining Jesus but he told them, effectively, that you cannot serve both God and money (Matthew 6:24).


Moses told the two tribes that if they first supported the people in war their inheritance would be secure with God’s blessing.

Matthew6:33-34 NKJV: [33] But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. [34] Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Wisdom prevailed and Reuben and Gad agreed to secure the land through fighting before settling there.


BIBLE BATTLE on LOCATION around the Battle of


River Jordan.


Jordanian officers at border.

Kibbutz Ma’oz Khayim close to Jordan border.


WORLD HISTORY TIMELINE at the Occupation of Gilead

Events in History

Below is a history of the World timeline pertaining to the Ancient Middle East joined with the history of the Bible.

bible timeline, world history timeline, ancient history, Bible history, religious wars, military history

This world history timeline shows ancient calendars dates prior to 664 BC based on Rohl’s New Chronology. For a detailed explanation on the coherence of the Bible history timeline with other ancient history events please refer to our chapter “Chronological Discrepancies” for clarification.


[next: “Preparation for the new life“;  main INDEX]
BATTLE of JERICHO | Joshua 6; Angel of the Lord; Walls of Jericho; Rahab helps spies; Invasion of Canaan
Destruction of MIDIAN | Numbers 31; Balaam's donkey; Vengeance on the Midianites and Moabites

2 Comments on “Occupation of GILEAD | Numbers 32; Vengeance on Midianites and Moabites; Preparing Invasion of Canaan”

  1. Pingback: Preparation for the New Life - Gods War Plan | Best Bible Battles & War Strategy

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