Numbers 32:16
And they came near to him, and said, We will build sheepfolds here for our cattle, and cities for our little ones:
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(16) We will build sheepfolds . . . —The sheepfolds were commonly constructed of loose stones piled up on one another.

And cities for our little ones.—The word which is rendered “buildoften means to “build up” or “repair,” and it probably has that meaning in this place, as applied to the cities. (See Numbers 32:26.)

32:16-27 Here is the good effect of plain dealing. Moses, by showing their sin, and the danger of it, brought them to their duty, without murmuring or disputing. All men ought to consider the interests of others as well as their own; the law of love requires us to labour, venture, or suffer for each other as there may be occasion. They propose that their men of war should go ready armed before the children of Israel into the land of Canaan, and that they should not return till the conquest of Canaan was ended. Moses grants their request, but he warns them of the danger of breaking their word. If you fail, you sin against the Lord, and not against your brethren only; God will certainly reckon with you for it. Be sure your sin will find you out. Sin will surely find out the sinner sooner or later. It concerns us now to find our sins out, that we may repent of them, and forsake them, lest they find us out to our ruin.The Kenezite - Kenaz Genesis 36:11 was the name of one of the "dukes of Edom:" but Israel and Edom were of kindred origin, and the use of similar names by the two peoples is not surprising. 16. they came near—The narrative gives a picturesque description of this scene. The suppliants had shrunk back, dreading from the undisguised emotions of their leader that their request would be refused. But, perceiving, from the tenor of his discourse, that his objection was grounded only on the supposition that they would not cross the Jordan to assist their brethren, they became emboldened to approach him with assurances of their goodwill.

We will build sheepfolds here for our cattle, and cities for our little ones—that is, rebuild, repair. It would have been impossible within two months to found new cities, or even to reconstruct those which had been razed to the ground. Those cities of the Amorites were not absolutely demolished, and they probably consisted only of mud-built, or dry-stone walls.

No text from Poole on this verse. And they came near unto him,.... The heads of the tribes of Gad and Reuben came a little nearer to Moses, having something more to say unto him, in order to explain their meaning, and in doing which they used some degree of freedom and boldness with him, see Genesis 44:18.

and said, we will build sheepfolds here for our cattle, and cities for our little ones not build new ones, but repair the old ones; for there were cities enough in the country, as before named, and no doubt sheepfolds too, as the land was a place of cattle, but those were through the war broken down and demolished, and needed repairing; and this they proposed to do, and leave their children and their cattle to the care of their servants, under the protection of the divine Providence, and did not mean for the present to take up their abode here.

And they came near unto him, and said, We will build sheepfolds here for our cattle, and cities for our little ones:
Verse 16. - Sheep-folds. גִּדְרֹת צֹאן. These were rude enclosures built of loose stones piled on one another, into which the flocks were driven at night for safety. Moses first of all blames their want of brotherly feeling: "Shall your brethren go into the war, and ye sit here?" He then calls their attention to the fact, that by their disinclination they would take away the courage and inclination of the other tribes to cross over the Jordan and conquer the land, and would bring the wrath of God upon Israel even more than their fathers who were sent from Kadesh to spy out the land, and who led away the heart of the people into rebellion through their unfavourable account of the inhabitants of Canaan, and brought so severe a judgment upon the congregation. מן את־לב הניא, to hold away the heart, i.e., render a person averse to anything. The Keri תּניאוּן, as in Numbers 32:9, is unquestionably to be preferred to the Kal תּנוּאוּן, in the Kethib of Numbers 32:7. - In Numbers 32:8-13, Moses reminds them of the occurrences described in ch. 13 and 14. On the expression, "wholly followed Jehovah," cf. Numbers 14:24. The words, "He drove them about in the desert," caused them to wander backwards and forwards in it for forty years, point back to Numbers 14:33-35.
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