Verse 20: And of Gad he said, Blessed be he that (see Josh. 13:10, etc.; 1 Chron. 12:8, etc.) enlargeth Gad: he dwelleth as a lion, and teareth the arm with the crown of the head.
[Blessed be Gad in his breadth] That is, because of the broad and spacious region that he obtained on the other side of Jordan (Menochius and Tirinus out of Bonfrerius, Munster). Or, breadth here is prosperity (Tirinus, Bonfrerius).
[בָּר֖וּךְ מַרְחִ֣יב גָּ֑ד] Blessed (be [Arabic, Ainsworth]) the one enlarging, or, making to enlarge, Gad (Pagnine, Septuagint, Ainsworth, Malvenda, Oleaster, Chaldean); who enlarged the region for him (Arabic), namely, God who enlarged, etc. Thanks be to the one extending Gad, or to the one enlarging his borders (Castalio). It is able to be understood, either, 1. concerning the inheritance of Gad, which God promises that He is going to enlarge (Ainsworth). Who yielded the place to him, and would not resist him enlarging his borders (Vatablus, Malvenda). Or, 2. concerning the person of Gad; and then to enlarge is to free from straits, as in Psalm 4:1. Compare Genesis 49:19; Judges 11 (Ainsworth). Who brings it to pass that Gad dwells comfortably. His lot was bordering foreigners (Malvenda). Who furnishes a broad space for him for escape, when he is surrounded by enemies. Thus Psalm 4:1, in straits thou hast enlarged me. Before גָּד/Gad the ל is missing. The fulfillment see in Judges 11, where the Gadites were rescued from the Ammonites, etc. (Piscator).
Blessed be he that enlargeth Gad: By praising God for enlarging Gad he supposeth the ground of these praises, that God would enlarge Gad, i.e. either, 1. Enlarge his territories; which seems needless, because they had a very large portion now when Moses uttered these words. Or, 2. Bring him out of his straits and troubles, which he was likely to be oft engaged in, because he was encompassed with potent enemies. And in this sense the phrase is used Psalm 4:1: compare Psalm 31:8; 118:5. One instance of the fulfilling hereof we have Judges 11.
[As a lion] That is, to his neighbors and the formidable nations surrounding (Malvenda). Secure, and not fearing enemies (Menochius, Tirinus). See 1 Chronicles 5:18, etc. (Grotius); 12:8 (Ainsworth).
[The arm and the crown] That is, he will kill Kings and Princes (Vatablus, Malvenda, Chaldean). That is to say, after the likeness of a lion, in one assault he tears away the arm and head of his prey (Tirinus out of Bonfrerius). The arm denotes strength; the crown, government (Ainsworth). Strong adversaries and their Kings (Menochius, Bonfrerius). The arm and the ruler (Septuagint).
He dwelleth as a lion, i.e. safe and secure from his enemies, and terrible to them when they rouse and molest him. See 1 Chronicles 5:18, etc.; 12:8. Teareth the arm with the crown of the head, i.e. utterly destroys his enemies; both the head, the seat of the crown, their dignity and principality, and the arm, the subject of strength and instrument of action; both chief princes, and their instruments and subjects.
Verse 21: And (Num. 32:16, 17, etc.) he provided the first part for himself, because there, in a portion of the lawgiver, was he seated (Heb. cieled); and (Josh. 4:12) he came with the heads of the people, he executed the justice of the LORD, and his judgments with Israel.
[And he saw his principate] Or, his prerogative (Samaritan Text). That is, he recognized a certain excellence of his own above the other tribes, and he rejoiced in it (Menochius, Tirinus, Bonfrerius). רֵאשִׁית signifies principate, here and in Numbers 24:20 (Malvenda).
[וַיַּ֤רְא רֵאשִׁית֙ ל֔וֹ] And he saw the beginning (the first-fruits [Vatablus, the Septuagint in Ainsworth]) to himself (Pagnine, Vatablus, Oleaster, Malvenda, Montanus). That is, he has already asked from me the first-fruits of the Promised Land, namely, the land of Sihon, etc. (Rabbi Salomon in Ainsworth, Malvenda, Vatablus). He provided first for himself (Syriac, thus Tigurinus). And thus he looked first for himself (Munster). He provided the first part (or, in the beginning) for himself (Ainsworth, Munster), understanding, Gad; or, God provided for him. Or, he saw, that is, received, as the Chaldean has it, his own part first; that is, he enjoyed it (Ainsworth). He saw in the beginning a habitation for himself. See Numbers 32. In the beginning, that is, of the war undertaken and waged against their enemies (Piscator).
The first part; the first-fruits of the Land of Promise, the country of Sihon, which was first conquered, which he is said to provide for himself, because he desired and so obtained it of Moses, Numbers 32.
[That in his portion the Teacher would be laid] That is, that there Moses was to be buried (thus the Chaldean, Rabbi Salomon in Munster, Hebrews in Malvenda, Lyra, Menochius). That is to say, out of the love of religion he chose that land (Malvenda).
[כִּי־שָׁ֛ם חֶלְקַ֥ת מְחֹקֵ֖ק סָפ֑וּן] [They vary.] Because there in the portion of the lawgiver (that is, which portion God through Moses as Lawgiver gave to him, Numbers 32) he was covered (Junius and Tremellius, Ainsworth). That is, in the cities his children and wives were protected, while they went forth to war (Ainsworth). That there the part, or portion, of the lawgiver (of the expositor [Syriac]) was covered, concealed, hidden (Samaritan Text, Syriac, similarly Tigurinus, Pagnine). Even that there the portion would be for the hiding of the lawgiver (Munster). סָפוּן/covered is masculine, and חֶלְקַת/portion is feminine; they say, therefore, that agreement is retained with a synonym of it, חֵלֶק/portion, or חֶבֶל/territory (Malvenda). Lawgiver here is put in the place of Lawgivers and Princes. And the sense is that there he (Gad) saw many citadels covered with costly material; for the palaces of Princes were there (Vatablus). It indicates the fortified and opulent cities of the Amorites (Malvenda).
A portion of the lawgiver, i.e. of Moses, whose portion this is called, either because this part of the land beyond Jordan was the only part of the land which Moses was permitted to enter upon; or because it was given to him by Moses; whereas the portions beyond Jordan were given to the several tribes by Joshua, according to the direction of the lot. Was he seated, Heb. hid or protected; for their wives and children were secured in their cities, whilst many of their men went over to the war in Canaan.
[Who was with the princes of the people] They refer this to Moses; that is to say, who through the wilderness was the companion of the other Princes of the people, and who ruled the people justly (Menochius, Bonfrerius)
[But the Hebrew words are: וַיֵּתֵא֙ רָ֣אשֵׁי עָ֔ם] They translate it, and he came the heads of the people (Malvenda), that is, unto the Princes, as one about to ask their land of them, Numbers 32; Joshua 1:14 (certain interpreters in Ainsworth). Or, with the princes, or heads, of the people (Samaritan Text, Pagnine, Ainsworth, Malvenda, Munster, Oleaster, similarly the Septuagint), namely, to war, Joshua 1:14 (Ainsworth, similarly Oleaster, Piscator). Or, but shall come the princes of the people, namely, of Gad himself (Vatablus). He shall come, in the place of, they shall come, namely, with the rest to subdue the land (Malvenda). And the princes of the people came (Arabic). Who went in the front of the people (Syriac).
He came with the heads of the people, i.e. he went, or he will go, (the preter tense being put for the future, after the manner of the prophets,) to wit, to the war in Canaan, with the princes, or captains, or rulers of the people of Israel, i.e. under their command and conduct, as indeed they did; or with the first of the people; or, in the front of the people, as the Syriac renders it; for this tribe and their brethren, whose lot fell beyond Jordan, were to march, and did march, into Canaan before their brethren, as it is expressed, Joshua 1:14. And the Hebrew word רֹאשׁ/rosch oft signifies the beginning or first of a thing.
[And he did righteousness, etc.] That is, Gad did what God had commanded him, and what he had received he was going to do, Numbers 32:27 (Vatablus). See Joshua 1:12; 4:12 (Malvenda). He executed the just judgments of God against the Canaanites (Ainsworth, Malvenda, Junius). It is able to be referred to the judgments which both Jehu, 2 Kings 9; 10, and Elijah, 1 Kings 18, would inflict (Ainsworth).
He executed the justice of the Lord, and his judgments with Israel, i.e. he did or will execute the just judgment of God against the Canaanites, as the rest of the Israelites did; he will join in the war against them, as he promised to do, Numbers 32:27, and actually did, Joshua 1:14.
 רָחַב, to be large, in the Hiphil carries a causative sense, that is, to enlarge.
 Psalm 4:1: “Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me (הִרְחַ֣בְתָּ לִּ֑י, with the ל indicating the person thus enlarged) when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.”
 Hebrew: סָפוּן.
 Deuteronomy 33:21a: “And he provided the first part for himself (וַיַּ֤רְא רֵאשִׁית֙ ל֔וֹ), because there, in a portion of the lawgiver, was he seated…”
 Numbers 24:20b: “…Amalek was the first of the nations (רֵאשִׁ֤ית גּוֹיִם֙); but his latter end shall be that he perish for ever.”
 סָפַן signifies to cover or panel.
 In the masculine gender.
 In the masculine gender.
 A woodenly literalistic rendering.