And to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh Joshua spoke, saying, “Remember the word which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, ‘The Lord your God is giving you rest and is giving you this land.’ Your wives, your little ones, and your livestock shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side of the Jordan. But you shall pass before your brethren armed, all your mighty men of valor, and help them, until the Lord has given your brethren rest, as He gave you, and they also have taken possession of the land which the Lord your God is giving them. Then you shall return to the land of your possession and enjoy it, which Moses the Lord’s servant gave you on this side of the Jordan toward the sunrise.” (Joshua 1:12-15, NKJV)
In Joshua 1, we see Joshua giving a command to three tribes: Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh. This is because of where the nation was situated at the time of Moses’s death and the transfer of leadership to Joshua. At this point, they are to the east of the Jordan River. That area was promised to and possessed by three tribes: Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh. A map of the region will help illustrate this.
As you can see, these tribes, on the east of the River, already had their lands. Gad, Reuben, and half of Manasseh had already inherited their promise. They were commanded by God, through the instrument of Joshua, to cross over the river and help their brothers take possession of the land of Canaan to the west of the Jordan. This would include the other half of Manasseh, Ephraim, Dan, Judah, and so on.
There are some interesting typologies at work here. Typologies simply refer to those figures or signs in the Old Covenant that point to greater realities in the New Covenant.
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