The Orthodox Pages



Part 11

6th February 2014































































































































































Last week we finished with Moses' sister being cured of leprosy after being punished by God for slandering Moses about his Ethiopian wife. After her cure they set of from Hazeroth and pitched their tents in the Wilderness of Paran.
From here God tells Moses to send out one member of each tribe to spy out the land of Canaan to see if the people that dwell there are strong or weak, if they live in walled cities or unwalled, if the land is rich or poor, if there are trees and what fruit they produce. The time was late July early August because it was just as the grapes were beginning to ripen. The spies travelled up to the wilderness of Zin to Rohob and continuing north of the wilderness they came to Hebron. Here, in a place called the valley of the cluster, they cut a cluster of grapes which was so big that they carried it upon staves. They also took some pomegranates and figs.

After searching the land for forty days they returned and came to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of Israel who were waiting to hear of this Promised Land. They showed the fruit they had taken and told them that indeed it was a land flowing with milk and honey, but also told them that the land was inhabited with a strong nation and the cities are strong and walled in. Two of the men who went up as spies- Caleb and Jesus the son of Nun calmed the people saying that we also are powerful and shall prevail against them and inherit the land. But the other spies said that they should not go up because they are much stronger and they are men of very great stature, they are like giants and we were before them like grasshoppers. The people didn't need much to get stirred up and rebelled against Moses and the Lord and murmured that it would have been better to have died in Egypt or even in the wilderness than to fall in war and their wives and children taken as spoils of war. They all agreed that it would be better to return to Egypt and decided to select someone as their leader to lead them back.

Moses and Aaron tried to calm the people but failing this they fell on their faces and pleaded with the congregation and with God to strengthen their faith. Caleb and Jesus of Nun rent their clothes as a show of grief at the people's rebellion against God. They also tried to calm the people by telling them that the land in indeed exceedingly good and that they should not worry because they were the chosen people of God and that he would be with them. He will lead them into the land of milk and honey only don't depart from the Lord, neither fear the people of this land, with the Lord by their side they will destroy them. At this the people rose up in anger against Jesus and Caleb and were ready to stone them, but the glory of the Lord as a bright light appeared in the cloud upon the tabernacle in the sight of all the people and saved them.
God's anger is again stirred up against Israel and is not going to let them forget this uprising without a punishment and says to Moses: How long does this people provoke me; how long do they refuse to believe me and all the signs and wonders that I have done to them? I will smite them with death and destroy them and instead of them I will make you and your father's house a mighty nation much greater than this. This is the second time God is playing with the thought of breaking the covenant he has made with Israel and to destroy them completely and to make a new chosen people from the seed of Moses. In defence of the people Moses replies: Egypt and the other nations that dwell in this land have heard that you are a God among the people and your cloud rests upon them and you go before them during the day in a pillar of cloud and by night in a pillar of fire. But now if you destroy this people they will say that the Lord was not able to bring them into the land which he had promised them and so destroyed them in the wilderness. Moses continues to argue that by showing mercy the Lord will be glorified much greater than if he showed justice.

The Lord agrees with Moses, but he is not ready to let the guilty go unpunished. For Moses sake he will again show his longsuffering and great mercy and will not destroy them as a nation, but divine justice required that the guilty be punished, even if this is a lesser punishment than immediate death. Thus the Lord gives his sentence on the guilty. Because they have all seen my glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness and have tempted me now this tenth time, they shall not see the land that I swore unto their fathers, but their children who do not know good or evil they will inherit it. They said they would rather die in the wilderness than die in war and their wives and children taken as spoils. By their own word will be their punishment. Not one of them shall enter the Promised Land except for Caleb and Jesus of Nun and everyone under twenty years old. The spies searched out the Promised Land for forty days, so for forty years – a year for each day they will wander the wilderness until everyone guilty has died. The ten spies who stirred up the people with lies about the land had a different fate they died an instant death.
Moses relays the Lords punishment to the people and they mourned greatly. Because of pride or because they repented and wanted to rectify their rebellious error their cowardice suddenly turns to courage and they decide to go up to Canaan. Moses warns them that they are again transgressing the word of the Lord because he has given the order for them to return to the Wilderness of Paran by the Red Sea. If they go they will not prosper because the Lord is not with them and they shall fall before the face of their enemies. The Amalek and Canaanite are already there waiting for them and they will die by the sword because they disobeyed the Lord. They didn't listen to Moses and forced their way out of the camp and headed for Canaan. They were met by the Amalek and Canaanite who destroyed them and those that escaped returned to the camp.
The next chapter deals with some supplementary rules on sacrifices, but also mentions a case of someone breaking the Sabbath. Certain men found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath and they brought him before Moses and Aaron. He was detained because they didn't know what to do with him. The Lord told Moses that all the congregation was to stone him to death so he was taken out of the camp and stoned.
As a visual reminder of the commandments the Lord instructs them to make fringes on the borders of their garments with threads of blue. This is the origin of the Jewish prayer shawl known as the tallit. Its purpose was to remind them of all the commandments every time they looked upon it.
Next follows another rebellion. Korah a descendant of Levi and a cousin of Moses and Aaron together with two descendants of Reuben, Dathan and Abiram, rose up against Moses together with two hundred and fifty men of high standing. Because Korah was a Levite he believed he had a right to be a priest like Aaron's sons; in fact every Levite wanted to be a priest. Dathan and Abiram, the descendants of Reuben believed that as Reuben was the firstborn of Jacob his tribe should have the leadership of the people. Thus we have here two simultaneous rebellions – Korah challenging the religious leadership and the descendants of Reuben challenging the political leadership. They speak rather contemptuously to Moses saying: "Enough of playing the saint, all the congregation is holy and the Lord is among them, you're not above the congregation that you have made yourself leader by force." Korah is using the argument that all the Levites are dedicated to the tabernacle and belong to the Lord on an equal standing so with equality as the base of his argument he desires to replace Moses as the spiritual leader.
Moses falls to the ground and prays to God to intervene and judge the rebellion. He then tells Korah and all his company: God knows which men he has separated for the priesthood, but because you do not except this, tomorrow each of you come with his censer and put in fire and incense and offer it to God. If God accepts the incense of any man let it be a sign that he has been chosen by God to be the priest. The offering of incense was the duty of the priest so if God accepted the offering from any Levite this was a sign that he approved the rebellion. Moses continues speaking to the Levites: Do you think that it's a small thing that God has separated you Levites from all the other tribes of Israel and has joined you to himself and has accounted you worthy of serving in the tabernacle? Is this honour not enough that you also seek to become priests? What is Aaron that you murmur against him? Of himself he is nothing, but as the high priest chosen by God he is great.
Moses then calls for the descendants of Reuben to come to him so that through discussion they can solve the problem of their complaint. They replied that they would not come saying ironically: It's not enough that you have brought us out of Egypt to kill us in this wilderness that flows with milk and honey, you also want to rule over us like a prince. If you think that you have led us to the land of milk and honey and have given us as an inheritance fields and vineyards you have blinded the eyes of the people that they cannot see the reality. Moses was angry with their reply and seeing that they were not willing to listen to reason, he again turns to Korah and tells him to sanctify his company of two hundred and fifty men and tomorrow each man to prepare his censer and Aaron also.
So the next day Moses and Aaron stood by the doors of the tabernacle and Korah and his company came with their censers. With them also came many other thousands who supported their uprising. Suddenly the glory of the Lord as a bright light appeared to all the congregation. The Lord told Moses and Aaron to separate themselves from the congregation and he will destroy them once and for all. Moses and Aaron pleaded with God not to destroy all the congregation just because one man has sinned. God then tells them to separate the congregation from the rebels. Moses then leaves the tabernacle and goes to Dathan and Abiram and tells the congregation to put themselves at a distance from the tents of these stubborn men and not to touch anything that belongs to them. Dathan and Abiram were standing by their tents with their wives and children. Moses then explains to the people how they will know that God had sent him to do the works he has done and that he did not of his own doing forcibly take the leadership. If the rebels die a natural death like all other men then God did not send me, on the other hand if the earth opens up beneath them and swallows them up together with the families and tents and all their belongings that they go down to Hades by this terrible and sudden death then you will know that these men have provoked the Lord. As soon as Moses had finished speaking the ground under their feet opened up and swallowed them up together with all their families, tents and cattle and all the men that were with them. Of the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense, a fire came from the Lord and burnt them up.
The next day the sons of Israel again murmured against Moses and Aaron accusing them of killing the people of God. The people rose up against them and Moses and Aaron ran to the tabernacle where the cloud and the glory of the Lord protected them. The Lord told Moses that he will destroy the people and again Moses and Aaron beseech the Lord to forgive them. It seems that Moses didn't get the answer he hoped for because he turns to Aaron and tells him to take up the censer and put fire in it from the Altar and to quickly go out into the camp and make an atonement for the people because the Lord's wrath had already began to destroy the people. Aaron ran out to the camps and offered incense between the living and the dead and the destruction of the people stopped. Besides those that died the previous day because of Korah and the descendants of Reuben, those that died were fourteen thousand seven hundred.
God is well fed us with this people and their continual murmuring. To put a stop to the dispute over Aaron's election as high priest, God tells Moses to speak to the heads of each tribe and to take a rod from each tribe and write the name of their prince on the rod and for the tribe of Levi to write down Aaron's name. Then to take all twelve rods and place them in the tabernacle of the testimony opposite the ark and the Lord will make known his chosen high priest. It's possible that many had the thought that Moses had made Aaron high priest because he was his brother thereby keeping all the high positions within the family.
The next day Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle and brought out the twelve rods for all the people to see. Aaron's rod had blossomed and brought forth walnuts. In the Hebrew text it has almonds instead of walnuts. The Lord instructs Moses to keep the rod before the ark as a reminder and testimony to future generations of this rebellious people that they put a stop to their murmuring against him, lest they also die.
The next chapter (18) deals with the duties of the priests and the Levites followed by their rights to eat of the sacrifices offered by the people and chapter 19 deals with a sacrifice of a red heifer that was to be sacrificed outside of the camp and the ashes of it to be kept somewhere outside the camp. When someone was unclean because they touched a dead person they would take of the ashes and mix it with water and wash their bodies with it and their clothes and sprinkle the home where the person died to be purified.
Up to the end of chapter 19, everything we have covered took place within the first two years of Israel's exodus from Egypt. From chapter twenty we find ourselves in the fortieth year of the Israelites wandering in the desert. For the thirty eight years in-between there is a dark silence, but from what we can deduce from the Books of Jesus of Nun, Amos, Ezekiel and the Psalms, the older generation, that is the over twenties of those that came out of Egypt fell into grave sins and were indifferent to the laws of sacrifices, to keeping the Sabbath, on proper circumcision and again fell into idolatry and worshipped the gods of Egypt and Canaan.
In the first month of the fortieth year Israel came into the desert of Zin and made their camp in Kadesh. Here, in one simple sentence we are told that Miriam, Moses' sister died and was buried. We are then told that there was no water in the place and the people again gathered themselves against Moses and Aaron complaining that they had brought them into an evil place where nothing grows. Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle and prayed unto the Lord. The Lord spoke unto Moses and told him to take his rod and call the assembly of the people together and to speak to the rock in front of them and it will pour forth with water. Thus Moses took his rod and gathered the congregation together before the rock and said to them: hear me you disobedient people, is it possible for us to bring you water out of this rock? He then lifted up his hand and smote the rock twice and much water poured forth and the people drank. The Lord then tells Moses and Aaron that because they didn't believe him to glorify him in the presence of the sons of Israel they would not lead the people into the land which he had promised them.

So what was Moses' and Aaron's sin that they are punished with not entering the Promised Land? There are four opinions: the first that they doubted that God would perform another miracle because of the people's continual unfaithfulness; but this isn't credible because God told them that the water would come forth from the rock. The second opinion is that God told Moses to speak to the rock, but instead he hit it with his rod. Again this opinion is not credible because why then would God tell Moses to take his rod in the first place. The third opinion is that Moses hit the rock twice showing by this that he lacked faith that the miracle would happen with just one hit of his rod. The fourth opinion and probably the only one that makes sense is that Moses didn't proclaim God as the power behind the miracle. He should have said: "do you believe that God can bring forth water from this rock" but instead he portrayed himself and Aaron as the miracle workers by saying: "is it possible for us to bring you water out of this rock?" This is also verified by a later chapter (27) where again Moses is told that he will not enter the Promised Land because he transgressed God's commandment in the wilderness of Zin when the congregation didn't praise and glorify God because he didn't give the glory to God at the waters before their eyes. The place became known as the water of strife.
From Kadesh Moses sent messengers to the king of Edom asking for a safe passage for thy brother Israel through the King's highway which ran along the borders of Edom. The road was known as the King's highway because it was used by the king's army, but it was a public road. Moses calls the king brother because Edom is Esau who was Jacob's twin brother. Brother or not, the king refused Israel entry into his borders and came with a great army to make sure. Israel turned away from Edom and had to pass through another route. They leave Kadesh and come to mount Hor which was outside the borders of Edom.
At mount Hor the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron saying that it was time for Aaron to die as he was not allowed to enter the Promised Land because of what happened at the water of strife. Moses is to take Aaron and his son Eleazar up the mount and there take off Aaron's priestly vestments and put them on his son Eleazar making him now the high priest. Once this was done Aaron died on the mount and Israel wept for him thirty days.
Chapter 21 begins with a war which probably took place before Aaron's death while they were still at Kadesh. The Canaanite king of Arad who lived by the wilderness heard that the Israelites were in the area and were preparing to move. He probably thought that they would pass through his land and so made war against them and took some of the Israelites captive. Israel made a vow to the Lord saying if you deliver this people into our hands we will not take of the spoils but their cities and everything in it we will dedicate to you. God heard their prayer and delivered up the people to Israel who destroyed them.
From mount Hor the Israelites departed and travelled south again towards the Red Sea so that they could go north the long way round by the Arabian Desert. The journey was tiring going through sand in the scorching heat with shortage of fresh food and water that the people were fed up and angry. They turned against God and Moses complaining that there was no food and water and that they were sick and tired of eating the tasteless bread from heaven. As punishment God sent deadly snakes among the people and many of the people were bitten and died. The people quickly repented and came to Moses, saying, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. So Moses prayed for the people and the Lord told Moses to make thee a fiery serpent of brass, and set it upon a pole: and whenever someone is bitten by a snake, when they look upon it they will live. The brass serpent on the pole foreshadows Christ on the cross for he himself used this image to describe his crucifixion. In the Gospel of St. John Christ says: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
The Israelites took the brass serpent with them in remembrance of this event and had it in their possession for about 700years, but because they thought it had magical powers and because they burnt incense before it, the pious King Hezekiah had it destroyed.
The Israelites now begin their upward journey to the Promised Land bypassing Edom from the other side. We are told of many uneventful stops on the way until they reach the borders of the Amorites. Here Moses sent ambassadors to Sihon the king of the Amorites seeking passage through his land. Sihon refused to allow the Israelites to pass through and gathered his army to go out to war against them. Israel smote the Amorites and took possession of their land and for the first time in forty years they dwelt in cities. The Israelites continued to fight against the neighbouring villages and towns and successfully taking control of their lands.
The Israelites are now very near to the Promised land and pitch camp on the west of Moab by the river Jordan opposite Jericho. The land had originally belonged to the Moabites but were defeated by the Amorites who took possession of the land. To the south of Moab is the land of the Midianites and taking advantage of the Moabites defeat by the Amorites, the Midianite king Balak took possession of what was left of Moab and made himself king also of Moab. When Balak saw the two million or so Israelites near his border he became very concerned. He saw what they did to the Amorites and didn't dare go out to war against them lest he also would be defeated by them. He met up with the elders of Midian hoping that together they could find a way to rid themselves of the Israelites who they saw as a threat to all their lands. Seeing that they could not defeat the Israelites with war they decide to use sorcery. A prophet called Balaam from Mesopotamia was well known to them and they sent messengers to him to persuade him to come and put a curse on the Israelites in exchange for great wealth. Balaam is considered a prophet because he knew and worshipped the one true God and the ancient traditions of Israel were known to him. At the same time he is a false prophet because he uses his prophetic gift for his own personal gain. But in general God uses prophecy for the good of others independent of the moral and religious quality of the prophet.
Balaam told the messengers to stay the night and he will give them an answer in the morning. God instructs Balaam to not go with these men, neither to curse the Israelites because they are blessed. So in the morning he told the messengers that God had told him not to go with them and they returned to Balak and told him of Balaam's refusal to go with them.
Balak again sends more messengers to Balaam pleading with him to come and put a curse on the Israelites and he will greatly honour him, He will give him whatever he asks for and do whatever he tells him to do. Balaam was tempted with the idea of becoming very wealthy and answered: Even if Balak were to give me his house full of gold and silver I will not be able to say anything other than what the Lord instructs me to say; but stay tonight and I will let you know what the Lord will say. The Lord had already told him not to go, but with the temptation of wealth Balaam hopes that he can change the Lord's mind by asking again. This time the Lord tells him that he can go with the men but to be careful to say and do only what the Lord will tell him to do. So in the morning Balaam rose up and saddled his donkey and went with the men of Moab. Next we are told that God is angry with Balaam for going, but God told Balaam to go so why should he be angry with him? In his mind Balaam was playing with the idea of cursing the Israelites because that would be the only way he would be rewarded by Balak. He thought that as God gave him permission to go that this also gave him the go ahead to curse the Israelites.

To stop him in his tracks God sends an angel to block his path. The donkey saw the angel standing in the way with his sword drawn in his hand and turned aside off the road and went into a field. Balaam hit the donkey with his staff to make it go back to the road again. A little further the road had walls on both sides and the angel again stood in the way and the donkey thrust herself against the wall crushing Balaam's foot; again he hit the donkey with his staff. Then the road narrowed so that it was impossible to turn to the left or to the right and when the donkey saw the angel standing in the way she sat down and wouldn't move. Balaam was angry with his donkey and hit her again. Then God opened the donkey's mouth and it began to speak and said to Balaam: what have I done to you that you have hit me this third time. Balaam answered: because you have mocked me and if I had a sword in my hand I would have killed you. The donkey then says: Am I not your donkey upon which you have ridden since you were a youth? Did I ever do anything like this before? God then opened Balaam's eyes and he saw the angel with the sword in his hand standing in the way. He bowed to the ground before the angel and the angel said to him: why did you hit your donkey this third time? I came to destroy you because your path was not correct before me. The angel is referring to Balaam's desire to curse the Israelites. When your donkey saw me she turned away from me and had she not done so I would have slain you. Balaam replied that he didn't know that he stood in the way, but if my journey displeases you I will turn back. The angel then tells Balaam to continue with the men but to be very careful to say only what he is instructed to say from God.
Balaam reaches Moab and meets with Balak and informs him that he will not be able to curse the Israelites; he will only say what the Lord tells him to say. In the morning Balak took Balaam to a high place where he could see part of the Israelite camp. Here he told Balak to build seven altars and to offer a calf and a ram at each altar. While the sacrifices were being made, Balaam went aside to enquire of God what to do. After receiving God's instructions he returned to Balak and said: Balak the king of Moab hath sent for me out of Mesopotamia, out of the mountains of the east, saying, Come, curse me Jacob, and Come, call for a curse for me upon Israel. How shall I curse, those whom the Lord does not curse, or how shall I denounce those whom God will not denounce? They are God's chosen people, they will multiply and it is impossible to number them. May I die and be numbered among this righteous people of Israel and may my descendants be as many as their descendants.
Balak was infuriated and told Balaam: what have you done to me? Did I not call you to curse my enemies but instead you have blessed them. Balaam replied: did I not warn you that I will only be able to say what God puts in my mouth?
Balak then takes Balaam to another place where he couldn't see as many Israelites hoping that if Balaam can't see them then he would curse them. So again Balak built seven altars and offered at each a calf and a ram. Balaam again removed himself from the others to speak with God and when he returned Balak asked him what the Lord had said to him. Balaam replied: God is not like men that can be tricked or threatened, what he has said that he will do. He has told me to bless the Israelite people and that I will do. Rather than have Balaam bless Israel Balak tells him to neither curse nor bless them, but Balaam reminds him again that what God tells him that must he do.
Balak again takes Balaam to another place and again builds seven altars and sacrifices as before. To cut a long story short, Balaam again blesses Israel and prophesies that they will become a mighty nation and whoever blesses them will be blessed and whoever curses them will be cursed. At this Balak became extremely angry and said: I called you to curse mine enemies and instead you bless them this third time. Now depart from me; I said I would honour you and give you whatever you asked for but now your God has deprived you of glory. Balaam replied: did I not tell your messengers that even if you were to give me your house full of silver and gold I would not be able to beyond the word of the Lord. I will return to my place but before I go I will first tell you what this people will do to you in the future. Balaam prophesies that a king will rise from Israel who will destroy all his enemies including the Moabites and Edomites. The king could be David who crushed both the Moabites and Edomites, but more probable the king referred to is Christ the Messiah and the Moabites and Edomites and the other nations mentioned are symbolic types of Christ's enemies.

After this Balaam rose up and departed and returned to his place. At least that is what we are told here, but in a later chapter we are told that he was responsible for the Israelites to sacrifice to another god and for fornicating with the Moabite women. Against his original desire Balaam remained obedient to God and didn't curse the Israelites, but he still wanted the gold and silver. It appears from the later chapters that Balaam returned to Balak and told him of a plan that would get rid of the Israelites. He told him that if he managed to get them to sacrifice to another god and if they fornicated, which their God despised, their God would become angry and leave them and that way they could be defeated. So the Moabites organized a great feast and invited the young Israelites. At this feast the Moabite women dressed to seduce succeeded in fornicating with the young men and under the influence of the feast, they sacrificed to the Moabite gods and ate the meats sacrificed to these idols.

God was indeed angry with the Israelites and demanded Moses to order the death of all those that took part in the sacrifice. While this was happening and the people grieved at the door of the tabernacle someone led his brother to a Midianite women to commit fornication before Moses and the congregation. They entered the tent and Phineas the grandson of Aaron took a javelin and went in after them and pieced both of them through. This pleased God and his anger was ceased and the death of the guilty also ceased. Those that died numbered 24,000, but it could have been a lot higher if Phineas hadn't caused God's anger to stop.
Next God orders Moses and Eleazar the priest to do another census of the army. The last census was 39years ago and all those in the first census have died. The new numbers come to 580,830 almost 23 thousand less than the first census. Comparing the two figures, the reductions are mostly from the tribes Reuben and Symeon. This is probably due to a large number of the tribe of Reuben being destroyed when his descendants Dathan and Abiram rose up against Moses for the leadership of the people and a large number of the tribe of Symeon being destroyed because of their involvement in the recent episode of sacrificing to idols and fornicating with the Moabite women. A census of the Levites is also made separate to the other tribes because they serve the tabernacle and are not numbered in the army census. Their numbers come to 23,000 an increase of a thousand from the last count.
God then tells Moses to go up Mount Nebo just beyond Jordan to see the land of Canaan which he will give to the sons of Israel as a possession and after that he will die because he was not to enter Canaan as punishment for what happened at the water of strife. Moses tells the Lord to pick a man that will succeed him as leader of the people and lead them into the Promised Land. The Lord appoint Jesus of Nun as the new leader and tells Moses to take him before Eleazar the priest and there to lay his hands upon him so that his glory can pass over to him.
The next chapters (28 and 29) again deal with certain feast days they must keep as holy and the various sacrifices that have to be offered on those days.
Chapter 30 deals with vows made by individuals to God. If a man makes a vow he cannot break it but if a woman makes a vow and her father or husband heard her vow and kept silent then the woman is bound to keep her vow, but if her father of husband on hearing the vow disallowed the vow then she is guiltless if she breaks the vow.
In chapter 31 the Lord tells Moses to speak to the people to arm themselves for battle against the Midianites to avenge the Lord for their part in the seduction of the people during the feast to the idol god. An army of twelve thousand, a thousand from each tribe is sent to war against Midian. The Israelites slew all the males including five kings and the false prophet Balaam who was among them. Of the spoils they took all the women and everything else they could lay their hands on. They then burnt all their cities and villages. When they returned they were met by Moses outside the camp and he was angry with the captains for taking the women alive. The women, after being advised by Balaam, were responsible of seducing the Israelites causing them to offer sacrifices to a false god which resulted in the death of 24,000 of the Israelites. Moses orders that every woman who is not a virgin to be killed and only the virgins to be kept alive. How they were to select the virgins we are not told, but it's possible that their dress and makeup were different from the non virgins. The chapter continues with the cleansing of the army for seven days before they enter the camp and how the spoils are to be divided among the tribes including the Levites who did not go out to war. .
Chapter 32 tells us of the tribes of Reuben and Gad. They had a very great number of cattle and they saw the land of Jazer and Gilead that it was pasture land, a perfect place to rear their cattle and so spoke to Moses saying that they would prefer not to pass over the Jordan into Canaan, but to be given as their possession these lands as their inheritance. Moses replied: would it be right for your brethren to go to war while you remain sitting here. Why do you pervert the minds of the sons of Israel that they should not cross over into the land God has given them? Didn't your fathers do the same when the spies came back and turned the hearts of the people that they should not go into the land the Lord has promised them and as a result the Lord was angry with them and made them wander in the wilderness for forty years until all the generation that has done evil in the sight of the Lord had died. Now you have risen up in your father's stead, an evil race, to further anger the Lord against Israel.

Moses had misunderstood their intentions and they made clear to him that they were willing to go with the other tribes and fight for the land of Canaan. They would build folds for their cattle and walled cities for their families and they would be a frontline guard protecting the lands of the other tribes. They will leave their families on this side of the Jordan but the men will go with the other tribes and fight and will not return to their families until all the other tribes receive their inheritance and they would waver their rights to inherit any other lands on the other side of Jordan because they would have their full inheritance on this side beyond Jordan. Moses agreed that if they do as they say and will arm themselves for battle and pass over Jordan and fight with the other tribes then they could have the land they ask for. Moses gathered the elders of the tribes and in front of them announced what the tribes of Reuben and Gad had asked for and their promise to fight alongside the other tribes. So Moses gave to the tribes of Reuben, Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh the kingdom of the Amorites and the kingdom of Bashan.
Chapter 33 gives us a recap of the Israelites journey with all the stations where they camped and mentioning the events that took place at each station. There are too many to mention individually and the names of most of the places would not be of any use or interest to us. From Rameses in Egypt from where they departed until now just a stone's throw away from the Promised Land they made a total of 45 stops where they pitched their camp.
So now with the Israelites ready to enter Jericho and take possession of the land of Canaan God gives the last instructions to Moses how they must kill every inhabitant of the lands they take possession of and not to take any captives and to destroy all the molten images and places of worship.
God then tells Moses the land they are to possess and the borders of the land on each side. The land is to be divided by Jesus of Nun and the high priest Eleazar. Who gets what will be decided by casting lots. Each tribe is to then allocate an area in the suburbs of each city for the Levites. Every family of every tribe will have his possession which will be passed on from father to son. A question arose that if a father does not have a son but only daughters to pass on the inheritance and the daughters marry someone from another tribe, then that tribe would inherit a portion of another tribe's inheritance. Thus so that each tribe's inheritance remains within the tribe and does not go from one tribe to another, if a daughter inherits her father's possession she will only be allowed to marry someone within her own tribe thereby keeping the inheritance of each tribe within the tribe. With this the Book of Numbers comes to and end.