Deuteronomy 3

Deuteronomy 3 continues Moses remembering the story of the journey to the Promised Land.  They first came up the east side of the Jordan and captured the land of Sihon, Bashan and Og.  They destroyed all the people and took their livestock and cities as plunder.  It was here that Moses “gave to the Reubenites and the Gadites and… the half-tribe of Manasseh”.  Remember that they had asked to take up residence before actually entering the Promised Land as this place was well fit for their livestock and they wanted to remain there. This map shows where the three tribes settled.

So Moses sought God and was told to give them the land.  But there was a catch.  “The Lord your God has given you this land to possess. All your men of valor shall cross over armed before your brothers, the people of Israel….Then each of you may return to his possession”.  So God was willing to allow them to settle here, but they had to accompany the people across the Jordan and help capture the land where the remaining tribes would settle.  They agree and are willing to go so their “wives, your little ones, and your livestock shall remain in the cities that I have given you”.  All the fighting men had to go along with the rest of the tribes.

Moses sets them up with these expectations: “So will the Lord do to all the kingdoms into which you are crossing. You shall not fear them, for it is the Lord your God who fights for you”.  This is a done deal.  God has already given over the land.  All that was left was for the people to go take it.  With God on their side they can’t lose.  Moses still wants to go in as well.  “O Lord God, you have only begun to show your servant your greatness and your mighty hand….Please let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan”.  He pleads with God to let him go along.

God has a different plan.  “The Lord was angry with me because of you and would not listen to me. And the Lord said to me, Enough from you; do not speak to me of this matter again…. you shall not go over this Jordan”.  God has already spoken and is a bit miffed that Moses keeps bringing it up.  Instead God tells Moses what to do.  Moses role is not to lead the people into the Promised Land, but to prepare and equip the chosen leader to do so.  God says “charge Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he shall go over at the head of this people, and he shall put them in possession of the land that you shall see”.  Moses role is changing here.  He is passing the baton to Joshua who will lead the people to their new home.  You can’t blame Moses for trying, but God has a different plan.

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Brad Kowerchuk on November 29, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    How was the Hebrew word as translated to “see” the land indicate a legal transaction that God was making with Moses, the legal representative of Israel, to take possession of the land (in Deuteronomy 3:27,28)?


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