וַאֲנַ֜חְנוּ נֵחָלֵ֣ץ חֻשִׁ֗ים לִפְנֵי֙ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל עַ֛ד אֲשֶׁ֥ר אִם־הֲבִֽיאֹנֻ֖ם אֶל־מְקוֹמָ֑ם וְיָשַׁ֤ב טַפֵּ֙נוּ֙ בְּעָרֵ֣י הַמִּבְצָ֔ר מִפְּנֵ֖י יֹשְׁבֵ֥י הָאָֽרֶץ׃
but we ourselves will be ready armed to go before the children of Israel, until we have brought them unto their place; and our little ones shall dwell in the fortified cities because of the inhabitants of the land.
What inhabitants of the land? I thought the land was completely conquered and there was no on left!
Didn't Re'uven and Gad themselves say?
הָאָ֗רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֨ר הִכָּ֤ה יְהוָה֙ לִפְנֵי֙ עֲדַ֣ת יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֶ֥רֶץ מִקְנֶ֖ה הִ֑וא וְלַֽעֲבָדֶ֖יךָ מִקְנֶֽה׃
the land which the LORD smote before the congregation of Israel, is a land for cattle, and thy servants have cattle.’
It also says:
וַנִּלְכֹּ֤ד אֶת־כָּל־עָרָיו֙ בָּעֵ֣ת הַהִ֔וא וַֽנַּחֲרֵם֙ אֶת־כָּל־עִ֣יר מְתִ֔ם וְהַנָּשִׁ֖ים וְהַטָּ֑ף לֹ֥א הִשְׁאַ֖רְנוּ שָׂרִֽיד׃
And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed every city, the men, and the women, and the little ones; we left none remaining;
So, why the need to fortify any cities if there were no land inhabitants?
Counter-question - if they were afraid of the inhabitants, the men are going to war leaving the women and children vulnerable to them, even if they are in a fortified city. (How strong could it actually have been?) Who was protecting them?