1(RY: iii; LY: vi) The descendants of Re’uven and the descendants of Gad had vast quantities of livestock. When they saw that the land of Ya‘zer and the land of Gil‘ad were good for livestock, 2the descendants of Gad and of Re’uven came and spoke to Moshe, El‘azar the cohen and the community leaders. They said, 3“‘Atarot, Divon, Ya‘zer, Nimrah, Heshbon, El‘aleh, S’vam, N’vo and Be‘on, 4the country that Adonai conquered before the community of Isra’el, is livestock country; and your servants have livestock. 5If you regard us favorably,” they went on, “let this land be given to your servants as their possession; and don’t have us cross the Yarden.”
6Moshe answered the descendants of Gad and of Re’uven: “Are your brothers to go to war while you stay here? 7Besides, why are you trying to discourage the people of Isra’el from crossing into the land Adonai gave them? 8This is what your fathers did when I sent them from Kadesh-Barnea to see the land. 9For when they went up to the Eshkol Valley and saw the land, they disheartened the people of Isra’el, so that they wouldn’t enter the land Adonai had given them. 10Adonai’s anger blazed up on that day; and he swore, 11‘None of the people aged twenty or more who came out of Egypt will see the land I swore to Avraham, Yitz’chak and Ya‘akov; because they haven’t followed me unreservedly — 12except Kalev the son of Y’funeh the K’nizi and Y’hoshua the son of Nun, because they have followed Adonai unreservedly.’ 13Thus Adonai’s anger blazed against Isra’el, so that he made them wander here and there in the desert forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of Adonai had died out. 14Now you, another brood of sinners, have arisen in your fathers’ place to increase still more the fierce anger of Adonai toward Isra’el! 15For if you turn away from him, he will leave them in the desert again, and thus you will cause the destruction of all these people!”
16But they came up to him and said, “Here we will build enclosures for our livestock and cities for our little ones, 17but we ourselves will be armed and ready for action to march at the head of the people of Isra’el, until we have brought them to their place. Our little ones will stay in the fortified cities here because of the people now living in the land. 18However, we will not return to our own homes until every man in Isra’el has taken possession of his land for inheritance. 19We will not have an inheritance with them on the other side of the Yarden, westward; because our inheritance has fallen to us on this side of the Yarden, eastward.”
(RY: iv, LY: vii) 20Moshe said to them, “If you will do this — if you will arm yourselves to go before Adonai to the war, 21and if every one of your soldiers will cross the Yarden before Adonai, until he has driven out his enemies ahead of him, 22and if the land has been conquered before Adonai, and only after that do you return — then you will be clear before Adonai and before Isra’el, and this land here will be yours to possess before Adonai. 23But if you will not do this, then you have sinned against Adonai, and you must understand that your sin will find you out. 24Build cities for your little ones and enclosures for your sheep; then do what you said you would do.”
25The descendants of Gad and the descendants of Re’uven said to Moshe, “Your servants will do as my lord orders. 26Our little ones, wives, flocks and all our livestock will be there in the cities of Gil‘ad; 27but your servants will cross over, every man armed for war, before Adonai to do battle, as my lord says.”
28So Moshe gave orders concerning them to El‘azar the cohen, Y’hoshua the son of Nun and the clan leaders of the tribes of the people of Isra’el. 29Moshe said to them, “If the descendants of Gad and of Re’uven cross over the Yarden with you, every man armed for battle, before Adonai; and if the land is conquered before you, then you are to give them the land of Gil‘ad as theirs to possess. 30But if they do not cross with you armed, they are to possess land along with you in Kena‘an.”
31The descendants of Gad and of Re’uven answered, “We will do as Adonai has said to your servants. 32We will cross over into the land of Kena‘an armed before Adonai, and the land we will possess for inheritance will be on this side of the Yarden.”
33So Moshe gave the descendants of Gad and of Re’uven, and also to the half-tribe of M’nasheh the son of Yosef, the kingdom of Sichon king of the Emori and the kingdom of ‘Og king of Bashan — the country and its cities within its borders, along with their surrounding towns.
34The descendants of Gad built Divon, ‘Atarot, ‘Aro‘er, 35‘Atrot-Shofan, Ya‘zer, Yogbehah, 36Beit-Nimrah and Beit-Haran — fortified cities; and also enclosures for sheep.
37The descendants of Re’uven built Heshbon, El‘aleh, Kiryatayim, 38N’vo, Ba‘al-M‘on (these names have been changed) and Sivmah; they renamed the cities they built.
(LY: Maftir) 39The descendants of Machir the son of M’nasheh went to Gil‘ad and conquered it, dispossessing the Emori who were there. 40Moshe gave Gil‘ad to Machir the son of M’nasheh, and he lived in it. 41Ya’ir the son of M’nasheh went and captured its villages and called them Havot-Ya’ir [villages of Ya’ir]. 42Novach went and captured K’nat with its villages and named it Novach after himself.
Haftarah Mattot: Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 1:1–2:3
B’rit Hadashah suggested reading for Parashah Mattot: Mattityahu (Matthew) 5:33–37
Parashah 43: Masa‘ei (Stages) 33:1–36:13
[In regular years read with Parashah 42, in leap years read separately]