Two and a half tribes found the land the land east of the Jordan that had just been conquered by defeating Midian to their liking. Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh were all predominately herdsmen, and the land east of Jordan was suitable to their herds and livelihood. They wanted to settle in and start enjoying permanent possession of the land. But before the farms and towns went up, they would be men of honor and courage.
They also realized that they had an obligation to the nation of Israel, not just their individual tribes. Most of their countrymen had hard work to do to win full possession of all the land that God had promised. That is why they made the commitment to stay in the fight until all their brothers received the inheritance they were claiming now. They vowed to stay in the battle until then.
I am encouraged by a faith that fights not just for itself. My culture is so obsessed with personal pursuits that few people would make these kinds of selfless commitments. We want the American Dream first, a society somewhere distantly down the line. The mantra of most is “what’s in it for me?” But there is none of that kind of thinking in the what these Reubenites and Gadites say. It is about God being honored first, working to see their brothers blessed second, and then personal concerns coming further down the list. And they trusted God for the outcome of all this hope. That kind of refreshing commitment could certainly use a resurgence!