Project 3:16

Deuteronomy 3:16

Welcome to week 4 of Project 3:16, where we review all the chapter 3:16’s in the Bible.

According to the Introduction to Deuteronomy, this book is the last installment of Moses biography. He tells the Israelites to behave themselves by not repeating their past mistakes after entering the promised land. Obviously his words fell on deaf ears. Before I criticize the Israelites too harshly, it’s not like we are doing any better today.

We have the benefit of the Bible, they did not have that benefit. But they had the benefit of living through God getting them out of Egypt, watching the Red Sea parting, and going before them as a pillar of smoke and fire. Yet they still grumbled and complain.

Moses gives 3 sermons and tells 2 poems in Deuteronomy.

Chapter 3 is the retelling by Moses of King Og’s defeat and the redistribution of both King Og and King Sihon’s lands. The land of those kings were divided up between the tribes of Ruben, Gad, and 1/2 of Manasseh.

Deuteronomy 3:16 is not going to make much sense unless we add verses 12-15 and 17.

“When we took possession of this land at that time, I gave to the Reubenites and the Gadites the territory beginning at Aroer, which is on the edge of the Valley of the Arnon, and half the hill country of Gilead with its cities. 13 The rest of Gilead, and all Bashan, the kingdom of Og, that is, all the region of Argob, I gave to the half-tribe of Manasseh. (All that portion of Bashan is called the land of Rephaim. 14 Jair the Manassite took all the region of Argob, that is, Bashan, as far as the border of the Geshurites and the Maacathites, and called the villages after his own name, Havvoth-jair, as it is to this day.) 15 To Machir I gave Gilead, 

Deuteronomy 3:12-15 (ESV)

16 and to the Reubenites and the Gadites I gave the territory from Gilead as far as the Valley of the Arnon, with the middle of the valley as a border, as far over as the river Jabbok, the border of the Ammonites;

Deuteronomy 3:16 (ESV)

17 the Arabah also, with the Jordan as the border, from Chinnereth as far as the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, under the slopes of Pisgah on the east.

Deuteronomy 3:17 (ESV)

In my reading, it dawned on me that the river Jordan is NOT where the promised land begins. I called a dear friend and confirmed this with her. She said some of the Israelites stayed on the west side of the Jordan because that land was better for their animals. Then half of the tribe of Manasseh stayed on the west side and half crossed over to the east side. Read numbers 34:1-12 to find out the boundaries. (Zavada, Jack. “The Promised Land in the Bible Was God’s Gift to Israel.” Learn Religions, Dec. 6, 2021,

Hopefully the fact, I learned something new will encourage you to dig deeper into the 3:16’s or another part of the Bible (map of the 12 tribes).

God bless you and have a joy-filled Sunday.

Bio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to inspire widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s currently using those skills as a virtual contact center representative for a Fortune 100 company. She’s also managed call center teams, co-facilitated a grief support group, and helped small businesses with various writing assignments. Michele loves Jesus, books, history, music, chocolate, red roses, and golden retrievers. She is also the amateur photographer behind the blog