Numbers 31. Conquest of the Midianites
1. This is another difficult passage unless you bear in mind: (a) that it records only the bare outline of an event far greater in scope; (b) that it is recorded from this one); and (c) that its message concerns a God of love who must purge of evil everything that is his. What are the form of purging found in this account? In what directions ought a Christian to act with comparable severity? Cf. Col. 3:5-11.
2. What does the chapter teach about sharing and giving? On what grounds were portions given to the priests and Levites?
Numbers 32. Inheritance of the two and a half tribes
1. What was wrong with the request of Reuben and Gad? What was the result that Moses feared might arise from it, and on what conditions only could it be granted? Why is this event particularly significant for Israel as it arrives in the promised land, and begins to form itself into a tribal confederacy? How will its future life as a ‘nation’ differ from all that it has been up to now?
2. What great principle with regard to sin and its consequences is expressed in verse 23? Can you think of instances in Scripture which illustrate its working? Cf.Gal.6:7,8
Note. Verse 1-5. The tribes of Reuben and Gad understandably thought the land of Jazer and Gilead would suit their large herds of cattle. But their self-willed choice brought their descendants into constant trouble in later times. The territory lacked natural frontiers and was somewhat isolated to attack. Often in later centuries the other tribes had to come to their rescue. Cf. 1 Sam. 11; 1 Kgs. 22:3