Vows and Oaths

30:2 Having mentioned vows in the preceding laws1—those of the additional festival offerings—Moses now elaborates on the laws of vows.2 As has been seen,3 when Moses taught the people a lesson in the Torah, he taught it first to Aaron, then to Aaron’s sons, then to the princes, then to the rest of the people, and so on. In the following section—the laws of vows and oaths and the laws of their annulment—the Torah highlights the princes’ distinction over the rest of the people in order to imply that when it is necessary to release an individual from a vow he has taken, it should preferably be done by a single person of distinction, i.e., an expert sage, and only when this is not possible should release be carried out by three non-experts.4 Moses spoke to the princes, the heads of the tribes of the Israelites, as a unit, in the course of teaching the rest of the people, saying, “This is the thing God has commanded:

3A minor’s vows are not legally binding. If an adult man, over 12 years old,5 makes a vow to God or makes an oath to prohibit himself from doing something otherwise permitted to him, he shall not profane his word; rather, he shall fulfill whatever he said.6 A vow is a declaration of intent with regard to a specific object, whereas an oath is a declaration of intent with regard to oneself. In either case, a person may not break his vows or oaths. However, if an expert sage or a tribunal of three non-experts deems it necessary, he or they can declare the vow to be retroactively void;7 this is called releasing the vow.

4 If a woman makes a vow to God or imposes a prohibition upon herself by means of an oath when she is under 11 years old, she is a minor and her vows are not legally binding. If she makes a vow or oath when she is over twelve-and-a-half years old8 and also unmarried, she is a free agent and her vows are legally binding the same as any other adult’s. However, if she is both in her father’s house, i.e., she is still unmarried and therefore under his sole jurisdiction, and she is also in her youth, that is, between the ages of eleven9[myw1] and twelve-and-a-half, then these special laws apply to her:

5 If her father heard her vow or her prohibition that she imposed upon herself by taking an oath, and yet her father remains silent and thus confirms her vow or oath, all her vows in such cases shall be binding, and also any prohibition that she has imposed upon herself in such cases shall be binding.

6 But if her father hinders her on the day he hears this vow or oath by annulling it, declaring it null and void, all her vows and her prohibitions that she has imposed upon herself and he has so annulled shall not be binding. God will forgive her if, before becoming aware that her father annulled her vow or oath, she transgressed it, because her father already hindered her, preventing the vow or oath from taking force.

7 If, between the ages of eleven and twelve-and-a-half, she becomesbetrothed to a man while her vows are in force, or the oaths she made by an utterance of her lips and that she thereby imposed upon herself are in force, her father having neither annulled them nor confirmed them,

8 and her fiancé hears about them but remains silent on the day he hears about them, her vows shall remain binding and her prohibition that she has imposed upon herself by taking an oath shall remain binding. By remaining silent, her fiancé has confirmed them.

9 But if her fiancé, together with her father, hinders her on the day he hears it, he thereby annuls the vow she had taken upon herself and the utterance that she had imposed upon herself by taking an oath, and God will forgive her if she transgresses it unaware that it has been annulled.

10If the engagement is broken off while the woman is still in this age range, she returns to the jurisdiction of her father and the laws governing a single girl of this age apply to her. But as for the vow or oath of a woman who did marry her fiancé but became a widow or a divorcé while still in this age range, whatever she prohibited upon herself will remain binding upon her. Once she has been fully married, her father no longer has any jurisdiction over her, even if she subsequently becomes widowed or divorced.

11 If the woman married her fiancé and she vowed in her husband’s house, that is, while under his jurisdiction, regardless of her age, or imposed a prohibition upon herself with an oath,

12 and her husband heard and remained silent, and did not hinder her, all her vows shall be binding and every prohibition she imposed upon herself shall be binding. By remaining silent, he has implicitly confirmed her vow or oath.

13 If, on the other hand,her husband annuls them on the day he hears them, anything issuing from her lips regarding her vows or self-imposed prohibitions shall not be binding: her husband has annulled them and God shall forgive her if, unaware that he has annulled them, she transgresses them.

14 Her husband does not have control over all her vows and oaths; he can either uphold or annul only any vow or any binding oath of self-affliction that affects their relationship.

15Regarding the period in which the husband may annul such vows or oaths, if her husband remains silent from the time he heard about them on one day until the beginning of the next day, that is, until nightfall after he heard about them, he has by virtue of remaining silent upheld all the vows and prohibitions she has assumed; he has upheld them since he remained silent on the day he heard it.

16But if he then changes his mind and annuls them, after having heard them and confirmed them by remaining silent until the end of the day or by saying ‘I approve,’ this shall not be a valid annulment; therefore, he shall bear her iniquity if she transgresses her vow or oath, thinking he has annulled it.

17 These are the rules which God commanded Moses concerning a man and his wife and a father and his daughter, in her youth, while in her father’s house. The sage (or tribunal) can release the vow, while the father, husband, or fiancé can annul the vow, but not vice versa.

The Attack on Midian

Second Reading 31:1The Torah now returns to the historical narrative, continuing with the aftermath of the incident at Shitim and the preparations for Moses’ death. As was seen above,10 God told Moses to distress the Midianites and that soon he would have to attack them directly. God now spoke to Moses, saying,

2 “Take revenge for the Israelites against the Midianites. Afterwards, you will die and be gathered to your people.”

3Even though Moses understood that he would die soon after this battle, he nevertheless did not delay to do God’s bidding. Moses spoke to the people, saying, “Arm from among you righteous men for the army, that they can do battle against Midian, and carry out the revenge of God against Midian.” God had just described this battle as “the revenge of the Israelites,” but since whoever is an enemy of the Jewish people is an enemy of God, the two concepts are equivalent.

4Moses continued, “You shall send a thousand of these men from each tribe from all the tribes of Israel—including the tribe of Levi, which normally is exempt from military service—into the army.”

5 From the thousands of Israelites, a thousand men were given over for each tribe against their will, because they understood that fighting this battle would hasten Moses’ death. Even though the Jews harassed Moses continually since the Exodus, they really valued him and tried to forestall losing him. Nonetheless, they reluctantly submitted to God’s will, and there were thus 12,000 armed for battle.

6 Moses sent them—the thousand from each tribe—to the army. Because the excessive plunder from the battles with Sichon and Og had left the Israelites morally lax and susceptible to Balaam’s plot, Moses told them not to take any booty by themselves from this battle.11 In order to increase their spiritual merits, he sent them to the army along with Pinchas the son of Eleazar the priest, for his merit equaled that of the rest of the army. Although Eleazar was the high priest, it was Pinchas who accompanied the army because (a) he had begun the attack on the Midianites when he slew their princess, Kozbi,12 so it was fitting that he oversee its completion; (b) this was an opportunity for him to take revenge on the Midianites for buying his ancestor,13 Joseph,14 as a slave; and (c) he was the priest appointed to exhort the people before battle.15 Pinchas went out with the sacred utensils—the ark that always accompanied the Israelites into battle16 and the high priest’s garments, which the priest appointed to exhort the people before battle wore17and the trumpets for sounding during battle18 in his possession.

7 They mounted an attack against Midian, as God had commanded Moses, and they killed every male (See Figure 1).

8As it happened, Balaam was in Midian at the time, for he had come to collect his fee for having caused the death of thousands of Israelites by advising Moab and Midian to entice them into the sins of idolatry and lechery.19 When the Israelites attacked, he used his magical powers to make himself and the five kings of the Midianite confederation fly in the air, but Pinchas held up the high priest’s headband to them, and the Divine Name engraved on it nullified the power of Balaam’s magic. In this way, they killed the Midianite kings, making them fallfrom the air upon their own slain. Evi, Rekem, Tzur, Chur, and Reva were the five kings of Midian. They were equally guilty of scheming against the Israelites, and therefore all died the same way.Balaam, in the meantime, left the Midianite camp and approached the Israelite army, attempting to argue that it was useless to try to subdue Midian. “If,” he argued, “when you were 600,000 strong, you could not resist the temptation to sin with the Midianite girls, what makes you think you can now resist the same temptation when you are only 12,000 strong?” The Israelites thereupon slew Balaam the son of Beor with the sword. This was poetic justice: Balaam had tried to usurp the Jews’ weapon, their power of prayer, by battling them with his curses; the Jews in turn killed him by usurping the non-Jewish weapon, the sword.20

9 The Israelites took the Midianite women and their small children captive, and they plundered all their beasts, livestock, and all their possessions.

10 They set fire to all their residential cities and also to their castles, in which their political and religious leaders lived.

11 They took all the movable booty and all the living plunder of man and beast

12 and brought it all—the captives, the plundered animals, and the movable bootyto Moses and to Eleazar the priest and to the entire community of Israel in the camp, in the plains of Moab by the Jordan opposite Jericho. They did not appropriate any of it for themselves, just as Moses had told them.

Third Reading (Second when combined) 13 Although the soldiers’ behavior was impeccable, some of the young people started looting the booty when the army returned. To stop them, Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all princes of the community went out to meet them, outside the camp.

14When he saw the Midianite women, Moses became angry with the officers of the army—the commanders of thousands and the commanders of hundreds—who had returned from the campaign of war.

15 Moses said to them, “Did you let all the females live?

16We can recognize them individually: they are the same ones who were involved with the Israelites on Balaam’s advice to betray God in the incident of Peor, resulting in a plague among the congregation of God.

17 So now kill every male child, and you shall also kill every woman who is old enough to have carnal intercourse with a man, even if she is still a virgin.

18 But you may keep alive all the young girls who are not old enough to have carnal intercourse with a man, for yourselves. We will determine which ones are in which category by having all the women pass in front of the high priest’s headband; the faces of those mature enough for carnal relations will turn green.

19 And those of you who have been defiled through contact with a corpse during the war or will kill the captives now must encamp outside the camp, that is, not enter the courtyard of the Tent of Meeting for at least seven days; specifically, whoever either came in contact with a corpse indirectly through having killed a person with a sword or some other instrument that transmits defilement or who touched a corpse directly shall purify himself on the third and seventh day after he begins counting, with the solution made of the ashes of the red cow.21This applies to both you and to any of your captives who have converted.

20Similarly, all garments, leather articles, any goat product, including those made of its hair, horns, claws, and bones, and every wooden and metal article that came in contact with a corpse shall undergo the same purification rites.”

21In his anger at the army over their having left the Midianite women alive, Moses mistakenly assumed that purifying the plundered eating utensils from the defilement of having come in contact with a corpse would also purify these same utensils from the forbidden food they had absorbed and from the impurity they possessed by virtue of belonging to a non-Jew.22 So Moses’ nephew, Eleazar the priest, said to the soldiers returning from battle, “This—the laws of purification from defilement through contact with a corpse that Moses just reviewed for you—is the statute that God commanded Moses, and you must do as he said.

22 But even after you have purified the captured utensils from defilement caused by contact with a corpse, you must also purify these utensils from the forbidden food they absorbed and from the impurity of belonging to a non-Jew, through a different process. Metal vessels—the gold, the silver, the copper, the iron, the tin, and the lead

23—in fact, whatever is used in fire, you shall pass through fire the same way it is used, and then it will be purified. If it is a cooking vessel used with boiling water, you must immerse it in boiling water. If it is used directly over the fire, you must heat it until it turns white-hot. This is how a metal utensil releases the forbidden food it has absorbed. You must, however, remove any rust from it first, so nothing interposes between the metal and the cleansing medium. (In contrast to metal vessels, earthenware vessels used in fire never release the forbidden food they have absorbed, so such vessels cannot be purified.)” Although the people knew the principles involved in removing forbidden food from vessels23 (and therefore Moses did not need to mention these laws after the battles with Sichon and Og), Eleazar had to repeat them here because (a) Moses had implied that they were not applicable; (b) Moses had not overseen this battle, so extra care was necessary to ensure that the soldiers followed all the applicable laws properly, and (c) the Midianites had rusty vessels, so the law applicable to such a case had to be articulated now.24But before you purify a metal vessel from the forbidden food it has absorbed, it must be purified with sprinkling water, that is, the solution made with the ashes of the red cow, to purify it from the defilement caused by contact with a corpse, and even if the vessel is brand new, it must be immersed in the purifying water of a mikveh, the ocean, or a flowing river or stream to purify it from the defilement caused by non-Jewish ownership. Whatever vessel is not used in fire does not absorb any forbidden food; therefore, you need only immerse it in purifying water after purifying it from contact with a corpse.

24In order to complete the process of purification from defilement by a corpse, mentioned by Moses, you shall immerse yourselves and your garments in purifying water on the seventh day after you began counting, and thus become ritually pure;25only afterwards, you and your garments may enter the camp, that is, the courtyard of the Tent of Meeting.”

Fourth Reading 25 God spoke to Moses, saying,

26 “Take a count of the plunder of the captive people and animals, you, together with Eleazar the priest and the heads of the paternal houses of the community.

27 And you shall divide thisplunder equally between the warriors who went out to battle and the rest of the entire congregation. The soldiers may keep whatever moveable property they captured, however, all for themselves.

28 And you shall levy a tax for God from the half you gave to the soldiers who went out to battle: one out of every 500 of the people, the cattle, the donkeys, and the sheep.

29 Take this tax from their half and give it to Eleazar the priest as a gift to God.

30 From the half belonging to the rest of the Israelites, you shall take one fiftieth of the people, the cattle, the donkeys, the sheep, and all animals as a tax, and you shall give them to the Levites, the keepers of the charge of the community, as their representatives, in the Tabernacle of God.”

31 Moses and Eleazar the priest did as God had commanded Moses.

32 The plunder, which was in addition to the moveable spoils that the army had pillaged, consisted of 675,000 sheep,

33 72,000 cattle,

34 and 61,000 donkeys.

35 As for the people, that is, the women who were not old enough to have carnal intercourse with a man, they were 32,000. Miraculously, the tallies were all such that their halves were divisible by 50 and by 500, so God’s instructions could be carried out precisely and so the tax could be actually levied from the entire tally. This would not have been possible if the total had not been divisible by these numbers.26

36Regarding the half that was the portion of those who went out to battle: the number of sheep was 337,500

37 and the tax to God from the sheep—one five hundredth—was 675;

38there were 36,000 cattle, of which the tax to God was 72;

39there were 30,500 donkeys, of which the tax to God was 61;

40and there were 16,000 people, of which the tax to God was 32 people.

41 Moses gave the tax, which was a gift to God, to Eleazar the priest, as God had commanded Moses.

Fifth Reading 42As he was commanded, Moses then took a tax from the half allotted to the Israelites, which Moses had divided for them from the total spoils brought back by the men who had gone into the army.

43Although it had taken time to divide all the plunder in half and levy the tax from the soldiers’ half, none of the captives or animals died, nor were any new ones born, in the interim.27 Thus, the community’s half also totaled the same as the soldiers’: 337,500 sheep,

44 36,000 cattle,

45 30,500 donkeys,

46 and 16,000 people. Thus, the two halves of the spoils were exactly equal, and the proportions levied from them were precise.

47 Moses took one-fiftieth of the half of the Israelites, the people and the animals, and gave them as a tax to the Levites, the keepers of the charge of the community, as their representatives, in the Tabernacle of God, as God had commanded Moses.

48After this, the officers appointed over the army’s thousands, the commanders of thousands and the commanders of hundreds, approached Moses.

49 They said to Moses, “Your servants counted the soldiers who were in our charge, and not one man is missing from us.

50 We therefore wish to bring an offering for God—any man who found a gold article of women’s jewelry, be it an anklet, a bracelet, a ring, an earring, or a chastity belt—to atone for our souls before God for any lustful thoughts we may have had toward the Midianite women.”

51 Moses and Eleazar the priest took all the gold articles from them.

52 The total of the gift of gold which they dedicated to God amounted to 16,750 shekels; this was from the commanders of the thousands and the commanders of the hundreds,

53while, as mentioned previously, the soldiers had seized moveable spoils for themselves and kept them.

54 Moses and Eleazar the priest took the gold from the commanders of the thousands and hundreds and brought it to the Tent of Meeting, as a remembrance for the Israelites before God.

The Request of Reuben and Gad

Sixth Reading (Third when combined) 32:1The Israelites had camped in Sichon’s territory, southern Gilead, ever since conquering it in Elul, 2487.28 They had also conquered the Ya’zer district, in Sichon’s territory,29 and Og’s territory, even further north.30 Of all the tribes, the descendants of Reuben and Gad had most appreciated the unique spiritual benefits of the manna, and were careful to eat it as much as possible. Since, for this reason, they had slaughtered very little of their cattle for food,31 they had an abundance of livestock, very numerous, and they saw the land of Ya’zer and the land of southern Gilead,32 and behold, the place was a place uniquely suitable for livestock.

2Like the spies that conquered Ya’zer33 and the rest of the people, they were determined not to repeat the previous generation’s mistake of spurning the Land of Israel, and wanted to rectify this mistake, as well. They knew that God had promised Abraham that his descendants, the Jewish people, would eventually inherit not only Canaan but afterwards also the original territories of Edom, Moab, and Ammon, to the east of the Jordan River.34 They also knew that although God had forbidden the Israelites to wage war with these peoples, parts of Moab and Ammon had become permitted when Sichon wrested them from their original inhabitants. Thus, they felt that settling these lands now would hasten the time when the Israelites would inherit them in their entirety. Also, they felt that if Moses would have at least some involvement in possessing the land, it would solidify the Israelites’ physical and spiritual control over it considerably. By choosing not to enter Canaan for these positive reasons, they hoped to rectify the sin of the spies’ generation, who chose not to enter Canaan for negative reasons. They took the fact that they had abundant cattle and that these territories were particularly suitable for cattle as a Divine sign that they should try to realize their vision.35 The descendants of Gad, who took the lead in this matter, and the descendants of Reuben, who followed them, came and spoke to Moses and to Eleazar the priest and to the princes of the community when they were all studying together, saying,

3 The cities of Atarot, Divon, Ya’zer, and Nimrah, Cheshbon, Elaleh, Sevam, Nebo, and Beon, and their surrounding areas,

4in the land that God struck down before the congregation of Israel, is a land uniquely suitable for livestock, and your servants possess much livestock.”

5 They said to Moses, “If it pleases you, let this land be given to your servants as a heritage; do not take us across the Jordan. Even though the whole nation conquered this land, and it is therefore the property of all the tribes, we ask that it be given to us in exchange for the land we would have taken on the west side of the Jordan.”36

6Because of their lofty intentions, Moses agreed to their idea in principle, but he had one major misgiving: Moses said to the descendants of Gad and the descendants of Reuben, “Shall your brethren go to war while you stay here?

7 Why do you discourage the Israelites from crossing over to the land which God has given them? They will think you are afraid of fighting the inhabitants of the land, and will become afraid, also.

8 This is what your fathers did when I sent them from Ritmah, near Kadesh Barnea, to explore the land.37

9 They went up to the Valley of Eshkol and saw the land, and they discouraged the Israelites from coming into the land which God has given them.

10 God became angry that day, and He swore, saying,

11 ‘None of the men 20 years old and over who came out of Egypt will see the land that I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, for they did not follow Me wholeheartedly,

12 except for Caleb the son of Yefuneh, the Kenizite—Caleb’s father, Yefunah, had died, and his mother married Kenaz, so Caleb was Kenaz’s stepson38and Joshua the son of Nun, for they followed God wholeheartedly.’

13 God became angry with Israel, and He made them wander in the desert for 40 years, until the entire generation who had done evil in the eyes of God had died out.

14 And behold, you have now risen in place of your fathers as a society of sinful people, to add to the wrathful anger of God against Israel.

15 If you turn away from following Him, He will leave Israel in the desert again, and you will destroy this entire people.”

16 They approached him and said, “We will build sheepfolds and similar enclosures for our livestock here and cities for our wives and children.” They mentioned sheepfolds before cities because they were more concerned for their livestock than they were for their families.

17 “We will then arm ourselves quickly and go before the Israelites, leading the troops, for we are valiant, and we also rely on Jacob’s promise that the descendants of Gad will be successful warriors.39 We will not leave them until we have brought them safely to their place. In the meantime, our wives and children will reside in the fortified cities we will now build, on account of the inhabitants of the land.

18Not only will we help our brethren conquer the land, we shall not return to our homes until each of the Israelites has taken possession of his inheritance.” In fact, it took them seven years to conquer it and another seven to divide it up, and the warriors of Reuben and Gad did not return to the eastern side of the Jordan until the end of these 14 years.40

19 “For we will not inherit with them on the other, west side of the Jordan and beyond, because our inheritance has come to us here, on the east bank of the Jordan.”

Seventh Reading (Fourth when combined) 20 Moses said to them, “If you do this thing, if you arm yourselves for battle and go before your brothers, God’s people,

21 and all your armed men cross the Jordan to do battle before your brothers, God’s people,41 until He has driven out His enemies before Him,

22 and the land will be conquered before God, then, as far as I am concerned, this is enough, and afterwards you may return, and you shall be freed of your obligation from God and from Israel, and this land will become your heritage before God. You then do not have to stay any longer.

23 But, if you do not do so, behold, you will have sinned against God, and be aware that there is a punishment for your sin, which will find you.

24 So build yourselves cities for your wives and children and sheepfolds for your sheep and appropriate pens for your other animals—but not in the order you mentioned them, sheepfolds and then cities, for your families are more important than your livestock. And, since you have vowed to remain on the western side of the Jordan until your brethren inherit their land, you must do as you have promised.”

25 The descendants of Gad and the descendants of Reuben spoke to Moses as one man, unanimously, saying, “Your servants will do as you, our master, commands.

26 Our children and our wives, our livestock and our cattle will remain there, in the cities of Gilead.

27 But your servants will cross over, all who are armed for combat before God, for the battle, as our master has spoken.”

28Since he knew he would not live to supervise the arrangement with these tribes himself, Moses commanded Eleazar the priest and Joshua the son of Nun and all the paternal heads of the tribes of the Israelites concerning them.

29 Moses said to Eleazar and Joshua, “If the descendants of Gad and Reuben cross the Jordan with you, all who are armed for combat before God, and the land is conquered before you, you may give them Gilead as a heritage.

30 But if they do not cross over with you armed for battle, they shall receive a possession among you in Canaan.”

31 The descendants of Gad and the descendants of Reuben answered, saying, “We shall do as God has spoken to your servants.

32 We shall cross over in an armed force before God to Canaan, and then we shall have the estate of our inheritance on this side of the Jordan.”

33 So Moses gave the land on the east side of the Jordan to the descendants of Gad and the descendants of Reuben and half, that is, part of the tribe of Manasseh the son of Joseph. Specifically, Moses gave the former kingdom of Sichon, king of the Amorites, to the tribes of Reuben and Gad, and the former kingdom of Og, king of Bashan, to two of the eight clans of the tribe of Manasseh.42 The tribe of Manasseh had not requested any land on the east side of the Jordan, but Moses realized that the tribes of Reuben and Gad were correct in assuming that if he were involved in possessing the land it would strengthen the people’s control over it. He took their reasoning one step further and reasoned that his involvement (and its positive effect) would be even more pronounced if he planted some other part of the Jewish people in their land on his own initiative. He had given the former kingdom of Sichon to the tribes of Reuben and Gad, but the former kingdom of Og lay unclaimed. This area was the land of the Rephaim,43 part of the land that God had promised to give to Abraham’s descendants when they first conquered the land,44 not in the messianic future. (True, Moses had originally assumed that the land on the west side of the Jordan should be conquered first, but that plan had already been aborted.45) The tribe of Manasseh was famous for its devotion to the Land of Israel,46 so Moses specifically chose them to express the people’s hope and aspiration to inherit the land in full. By dividing the tribe in two and giving half an inheritance on the west side of the Jordan and half an inheritance on the east side, Moses demonstrated that this tribe did not receive its portion on the east bank of the Jordan because it did not want to live in the land proper. Indeed, the majority of the tribe crossed the Jordan and settled on its west bank.47 Moses gave these two-and-a-half tribes allthe land mentioned together with the cities within its borders, the cities of the surrounding territory.

34 The descendants of Gad built up Divon, Atarot, Aroer,

35 Atrot Shofan, Ya’zer, Yogbehah,

36 Beit Nimrah, and Beit Haran, making them into fortified cities and sheepfolds.

37 The descendants of Reuben built Cheshbon, Elaleh, Kiryataim,

38 Nebo, Ba’al Meon—the names of the latter two having been changed by the tribe of Reuben since they were originally named after idols—and Sivmah, which is the same as Sevam, mentioned above,48 for they changed the names of the cities they built in order to emphasize the fact that they had now come into Jewish possession.49

Additional Conquests

Maftir Inspired by the idea of expanding the borders of the Land of Israel in anticipation of the future, the descendants of Machir the son of Manasseh50 went to the northern part of Gilead, that was beyond Og’s territory, and conquered it, driving out the Amorites who were there.

40 Moses gave this part of Gilead to Machir the son of Manasseh, and he settled in it.51

41 Yair, the great grandson of Manasseh,52also went and conquered some of the Amorites’ territory in northern Gilead, which included cities and villages.53 He called the villages surrounding the cities “the villages of Yair” after himself to perpetuate his name, since he was childless.54 But he only named the villages after himself and not the cities because villages are like the “offspring” of the cities.55

42Similarly, another descendant of Manasseh,56 Novach, went and conquered the city of Kenat, and its surrounding villages, but he called the city itself—not just the villages—Novach, after his name. But this name did not persist (See Figure 2).57