The land received after the conquest of the Amorites and their king, Sihon and that of Og and the land of Bashan was found desirable to the tribes of Reuben and Gad for their vast livestock reserves. So they propose to settle there instead of across the Jordan.
This angers Moses, as he reminds them of the consequences to the people when the spies 40 years earlier discouraged entry into the land from Kadesh-barnea. The tribes reassure him that they will cross over to defeat the Canaanites across the Jordan anyway.
So Moses agrees under those conditions (with a stern warning – verse 23), and a portion of the land of Gilead is also set aside for the half-tribe of Manasseh after it was captured. The portion of northern Gilead given to them is described in Joshua 13:29-31.
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image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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