Moses said to them, “If you do this, if you go to battle as shock-troops, at the instance of the Lord, and every shock-fighter among you crosses the Jordan, at the instance of the Lord, until He has dispossessed His enemies before Him, and the land has been subdued, at the instance of the Lord, and then you return–you shall be clear before the Lord and before Israel; and this land shall be your holding under the Lord. But if you do not do so, you will have sinned against the Lord; and know that your sin will overtake you. Build towns for your children and sheepfolds for your flocks, but do what you have promised.”
The Gadites and the Reubenites answered Moses, “Your servants will do as my lord commands. Our children, our wives, our flocks, and all our other livestock will stay behind in the towns of Gilead; while your servants, all those recruited for war, cross over, at the instance of the Lord, to engage in battle–as my lord orders.”
Then Moses gave instructions concerning them to Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the family heads of the Israelite tribes. Moses said to them, “If every shock-fighter among the Gadites and the Reubenites crosses the Jordan with you to do battle, at the instance of the Lord, and the land is subdued before you, you shall give them the land of Gilead as a holding. But if they do not cross over with you as shock-troops, they shall receive holdings among you in the land of Canaan.”
The Gadites and the Reubenites said in reply, “Whatever the Lord has spoken concerning your servants, that we will do. We ourselves will cross over as shock-troops, at the instance of the Lord, into the land of Canaan; and we shall keep our hereditary holding across the Jordan.”
So Moses assigned to them–to the Gadites, the Reubenites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh son of Joseph–the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites and the kingdom of King Og of Bashan, the land with its various cities and the territories of their surrounding towns. The Gadites rebuilt Dibon, Ataroth, Aroer, Atroth-shophan, Jazer, Jogbehah, Beth-nimrah, and Beth-haran as fortified towns or as enclosures for flocks. The Reubenites rebuilt Heshbon, Elealeh, Kiriathaim, Nebo, Baal-meon–some names being changed–and Sibmah; they gave [their own] names to towns that they rebuilt. The descendants of Machir son of Manasseh went to Gilead and captured it, dispossessing the Amorites who were there; so Moses gave Gilead to Machir son of Manasseh, and he settled there. Jair son of Manasseh went and captured their villages, which he renamed Havvoth-jair. And Nobah went and captured Kenath and its dependencies, renaming it Nobah after himself.
These were the marches of the Israelites who started out from the land of Egypt, troop by troop, in the charge of Moses and Aaron. Moses recorded the starting points of their various marches as directed by the Lord. Their marches, by starting points, were as follows:
They set out from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month. It was on the morrow of the passover offering that the Israelites started out defiantly, in plain view of all the Egyptians. The Egyptians meanwhile were burying those among them whom the Lord had struck down, every first-born–whereby the Lord executed judgment on their gods.
The Israelites set out from Rameses and encamped at Succoth. They set out from Succoth and encamped at Etham, which is on the edge of the wilderness. They set out from Etham and turned about toward Pi-hahiroth, which faces Baal-zephon, and they encamped before Migdol. They set out from Pene-hahiroth and passed through the sea into the wilderness; and they made a three-days’ journey in the wilderness of Etham and encamped at Marah. They set out from Marah and came to Elim. There were twelve springs in Elim and seventy palm trees, so they encamped there. They set out from Elim and encamped by the Sea of Reeds. They set out from the Sea of Reeds and encamped in the wilderness of Sin.
They set out from the wilderness of Sin and encamped at Dophkah. They set out from Dophkah and encamped at Alush. They set out from Alush and encamped at Rephidim; it was there that the people had no water to drink. They set out from Rephidim and encamped in the wilderness of Sinai. They set out from the wilderness of Sinai and encamped at Kibroth-hattaavah. They set out from Kibroth-hattaavah and encamped at Hazeroth. They set out from Hazeroth and encamped at Rithmah. They set out from Rithmah and encamped at Rimmon-perez. They set out from Rimmon-perez and encamped at Libnah. They set out from Libnah and encamped at Rissah. They set out from Rissah and encamped at Kehelath. They set out from Kehelath and encamped at Mount Shepher. They set out from Mount Shepher and encamped at Haradah. They set out from Haradah and encamped at Makheloth.
From Parshat Mattot-Masei. From THE TANAKH: The New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text. Copyright 1985 by the Jewish Publication Society. Used by permission.