New European Commentary


About | PDFs | Mobile formats | Word formats | Other languages | Contact Us | What is the Gospel? | Support the work | Carelinks Ministries | | The Real Christ | The Real Devil | "Bible Companion" Daily Bible reading plan

Deeper Commentary


Num 34:1 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,

Num 34:2 Command the children of Israel, and tell them, ‘When you come into the land of Canaan (this is the land that shall fall to you for an inheritance, even the land of Canaan according to its borders)-
The land promised to Abraham was from the Euphrates to the Mediterranean Sea, but here God redefines it as much smaller. He perhaps perceived that they simply didn’t have the spiritual vision to possess that vast area. There is so much made possible for us in prospect; maybe we will ultimately receive less than we could have had because of our limited vision in this life. Yet He encouraged the people to go exploring beyond the bounds which He here gave them, right up to the Euphrates, promising to give them whatever land they walked upon (Dt. 11:24). It seems none rose up to that challenge. God invites His people to assume that they would receive this land and make preparations as if they had- for at this time they had not yet crossed Jordan into it. We are likewise asked to believe that we have been moved into the sphere of the Kingdom of God’s Son, and have received an inheritance by reason of our being in Him (Col. 1:13; Eph. 1:11).

Num 34:3 then your south side shall be from the wilderness of Zin along by the side of Edom, and your south border shall be from the end of the Salt Sea eastward;
Num 34:4 and your border shall turn about southward of the ascent of Akrabbim, and pass along to Zin; and the goings out of it shall be southward of Kadesh Barnea; and it shall go forth to Hazar Addar, and pass along to Azmon;
Num 34:5 and the border shall turn about from Azmon to the brook of Egypt, and the goings out of it shall be at the sea.
Num 34:6 For the western border, you shall have the great sea and its border: this shall be your west border.
Num 34:7 This shall be your north border: from the great sea you shall mark out for you Mount Hor;
Num 34:8 from Mount Hor you shall mark out to the entrance of Hamath; and the goings out of the border shall be at Zedad;
Num 34:9 and the border shall go forth to Ziphron, and the goings out of it shall be at Hazar Enan: this shall be your north border.
Num 34:10 You shall mark out your east border from Hazar Enan to Shepham;
Num 34:11 and the border shall go down from Shepham to Riblah, on the east side of Ain; and the border shall go down, and shall reach to the side of the sea of Chinnereth eastward;
Num 34:12 and the border shall go down to the Jordan, and the goings out of it shall be at the Salt Sea. This shall be your land according to its borders around it’.

Num 34:13 Moses commanded the children of Israel, saying, This is the land which you shall inherit by lot, which Yahweh has commanded to give to the nine tribes and to the half-tribe;
Num 34:14 for the tribe of the children of Reuben according to their fathers’ families and the tribe of the children of Gad according to their fathers’ families, have received, and the half-tribe of Manasseh have received, their inheritance-

It is often not appreciated that the extent of the area given to the two and a half tribes on the east of Jordan, as defined in Josh. 13:10-12, was roughly the same as the entire territory given to the nine and a half tribes on the west of Jordan. The two and a half tribes saw good pasture land and wanted it there and then, as a king of short cut to the Kingdom of God. But there are no short cuts to the Kingdom. The conditions they were given demanded even more faith from them. Their men had to leave their flocks and families unprotected on the east of Jordan whilst they fought in the front line vanguard of Joshua's army to secure the territory on the west of Jordan. And the territory they were asked to possess was huge, far larger than the pasture lands they initially coveted, and inhabited by giants (see on Josh. 13:30)- which they probably didn't realize at the time. 

Num 34:15 The two tribes and the half-tribe have received their inheritance beyond the Jordan at Jericho eastward, toward the sunrise-
The triple emphasis here that those who chose immediate inheritance east of Jordan had already received their inheritance may be behind Christ’s triple emphasis that some “have their reward” in this life rather than waiting for the future, eternal reward (Mt. 6:2,5,16).

Num 34:16 Yahweh spoke to Moses saying,
Num 34:17 These are the names of the men who shall divide the land to you for inheritance: Eleazar the priest and Joshua the son of Nun.
Num 34:18 You shall take one prince of every tribe to divide the land for inheritance.
Num 34:19 These are the names of the men: Of the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh.
Num 34:20 Of the tribe of the children of Simeon, Shemuel the son of Ammihud.
Num 34:21 Of the tribe of Benjamin, Elidad the son of Chislon.
Num 34:22 Of the tribe of the children of Dan a prince, Bukki the son of Jogli.
Num 34:23 Of the children of Joseph: of the tribe of the children of Manasseh a prince, Hanniel the son of Ephod.
Num 34:24 Of the tribe of the children of Ephraim a prince, Kemuel the son of Shiphtan.
Num 34:25 Of the tribe of the children of Zebulun a prince, Elizaphan the son of Parnach.
Num 34:26 Of the tribe of the children of Issachar a prince, Paltiel the son of Azzan.
Num 34:27 Of the tribe of the children of Asher a prince, Ahihud the son of Shelomi.
Num 34:28 Of the tribe of the children of Naphtali a prince, Pedahel the son of Ammihud.
Num 34:29 These are they whom Yahweh commanded to divide the inheritance to the children of Israel in the land of Canaan.