Prior to giving Gad and Re'uven land on the East side of Jordan River, Moses makes them keep a condition:

Numbers 32:20-22:

וַיֹּ֤אמֶר אֲלֵיהֶם֙ מֹשֶׁ֔ה אִֽם־תַּעֲשׂ֖וּן אֶת־הַדָּבָ֣ר הַזֶּ֑ה אִם־תֵּחָֽלְצ֛וּ לִפְנֵ֥י יְהוָ֖ה לַמִּלְחָמָֽה׃ וְעָבַ֨ר לָכֶ֧ם כָּל־חָל֛וּץ אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּ֖ן לִפְנֵ֣י יְהוָ֑ה עַ֧ד הוֹרִישׁ֛וֹ אֶת־אֹיְבָ֖יו מִפָּנָֽיו׃ וְנִכְבְּשָׁ֨ה הָאָ֜רֶץ לִפְנֵ֤י יְהוָה֙ וְאַחַ֣ר תָּשֻׁ֔בוּ וִהְיִיתֶ֧ם נְקִיִּ֛ים מֵיְהוָ֖ה וּמִיִּשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וְ֠הָיְתָה הָאָ֨רֶץ הַזֹּ֥את לָכֶ֛ם לַאֲחֻזָּ֖ה לִפְנֵ֥י יְהוָֽה׃

And Moses said unto them: ‘If ye will do this thing: if ye will arm yourselves to go before the LORD to the war, and every armed man of you will pass over the Jordan before the LORD, until He hath driven out His enemies from before Him, and the land be subdued before the LORD, and ye return afterward; then ye shall be clear before the LORD, and before Israel, and this land shall be unto you for a possession before the LORD.

Then, we see in verse 33, that when Moses gives the land, he includes part of the tribe of Menashe. But, we don't explicitly see that they were bound by the same oath that Re'uven and Gad was. Did they have to take the same oath or be bound by the same conditions? If not, why not?

3 Answers 3


Sure. We see in Yehoshua 1:13-15 that he reminds all two and a half tribes of "what Moshe the servant of Hashem commanded you," and after it's all over he calls all of them (Yehoshua 22:1-3) and praises them for keeping their word, using the same expression.

Meshech Chochma explains why the condition wasn't explicitly mentioned by Moses to the half tribe of Menashe:

ויתכן טעם שאינו כתוב התנאי אצל חצי שבט המנשי, משום דאמר בירושלמי דקדושין דהכל מודים בלאחר, כמו שאמר הרי את מקודשת לאחר שירדו גשמים, אם ירדו גשמים מקודשת, ואם לאו אינה מקודשת

It seems correct that the reason that the condition was not written regarding the half tribe of Menashe is that it says in Talmud Yerushalmi regarding Kiddushin (marriage) that everyone acknowledges (marriages) based on a retroactive event. For example, if someone says, "You are married to me after the rains fall". If rain does fall, she is married, and if not, she is not married.

  • The verse is convincing. However, there is a missing piece to this puzzle. Yehoshua says, "Remember what Moses commanded you". Yes, we see that he explicitly commanded Re'uven and Gad. Where did Moshe command this to Menashe? In a sense, Yehoshua is saying something that was implied or otherwise. Compare this with what Moshe tells Yehoshua, actually, he says "If Gad and Re'uven will go with you, then give them the land."
    – DanF
    Jul 29, 2015 at 20:22
  • @DanF okay, but in fact Menashe isn't mentioned anywhere in the original story at all (until the end, when Moshe gives them some of the territory). It's logical to assume that when he did so, it was under the same conditions as to Reuven and Gad, just that the Torah doesn't mention it there because it would be repetitious.
    – Shamiach
    Jul 29, 2015 at 22:46

In addition to the other answer, consider that only two families of Menashe actually settled the land with Reuven and Gad. Thus, there would have been no point in applying the oath to Shevet Menashe because the six families of Menashe that settled in Eretz Yisrael itself were still going to cross the Yarden and fight with the rest of Bnai Yisrael.

Had Reuven and Gad also split, they would also not have needed the oath.


Rabbi Abarbanel explains it wasn't [Yehoshua 13 29]. I also remember he mentions it got bigger land compared to its size (only half a tribe) in order to convince them to stay on the eastern side ( Forgot where he explains this). It might be from the same reason that they are not bounded by the oath.

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