DEUTERONOMY CHAPTER 2.
A Review of Events from Kadesh to Jahaz.
FROM KADESH TO THE BROOK ZERED. — V.1. Then we turned and took our journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red Sea, that is, in the direction toward the Red Sea, Num. 14, 25, as the Lord spake unto me; and we compassed Mount Seir many days, ever moving around in the neighborhood of this mountain range, in the Wilderness of Paran, down to the Elanitic Gulf. V.2. And the Lord spake unto me, saying, v.3. Ye have compassed this mountain long enough, after they had been journeying back and forth some thirty-seven years; turn you northward, back once more to the edge of the Wilderness of Paran. V.4. And command thou the people, saying, Ye are to pass through the coast (boundary) of your brethren, the children of Esau, the half-brother of Isaac, which dwell in Seir, in the country south of the Dead Sea; and they shall be afraid of you, since the fear of the Lord had fallen upon all the nations round about; take ye good heed unto yourselves therefore; v.5. meddle not with them, that is, do not attack them; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as a foot-breadth; because I have given Mount Seir unto Esau for a possession. It was for this reason that Israel did not react to the challenge of the king of Edom with an attack, Num. 20, 14-21, when the latter refused them passage through his land. V.6. Ye shall buy meat of them for money, that is, something to eat, food, that ye may eat; and ye shall also buy water of them for money, that ye may drink. V.7. For the Lord, thy God, hath blessed thee in all the works of thy hand, not only in their herds and their flocks, but in whatever industry they found occasion to carry on in the wilderness; He knoweth thy walking through this great wilderness, and his knowing involved care and protection. These forty years the Lord, thy God, hath been with thee; thou hast lacked nothing, the Lord had supplied everything, Prov. 27, 23; Ps. 1, 6. V.8. And when we passed by from our brethren, the children of Esau, which they did by marching around their country, which dwelt in Seir, through the way of the plain from Elath, on the shore of the Elanitic Gulf, and from Ezion-gaber, later the harbor of Solomon at the head of this body of water, we turned, to the west and north, and passed by the way of the Wilderness of Moab, the Plains of Moab being the present end of that journey. V.9. And the Lord said unto me, Distress not, use no hostile attitude toward, do not attack, the Moabites, neither contend with them in battle; for I will not give thee of their land for a possession; because I have given Ar, a city near the boundary of Moab and here representative of the entire country, unto the children of Lot for a possession, the Moabites being descendants of Lot, Gen. 19, 37. V.10. The Emims dwelt therein in times past, in the land now occupied by Moab, a people great, and many, and tall as the Anakims; v.11. which also were accounted giants, as the Anakims; but the Moabites call them Emims. V.12. The Horims, or Horites, Gen. 14, 6; 36, 20, also dwelt in Seir beforetime; but the children of Esau succeeded them when they had destroyed them from before them, and dwelt in their stead, in the land formerly occupied by the cliff-dwellers; as Israel did unto the land of his possession, the country east of the Jordan, which the Lord gave unto them. V.13. Now rise up, said I, and get you over the brook Zered, the stream which formed the general southern border of Moabitis, Num. 21, 12. And we went over the brook Zered. V.14. And the space in which we came from Kadesh-barnea, after the return of the spies, until we were come over the brook Zered, was thirty and eight years, until all the generation of the men of war were wasted out from among the host, Num. 26, 65, as the Lord sware unto them. V.15. For, indeed, the hand of the Lord was against them to destroy them from among the host, until they were consumed. The judgment of the Lord was carried out with unrelenting severity. He is a jealous God even to-day, and often strikes down the mockers in fury as a warning to all men.
THE DEFEAT OF SIHON. — V.16. So it came to pass, when all the men of war were consumed and dead from among the people, the punishment of God having struck them according to His word, v.17. that the Lord spake unto me, saying, v.18. Thou art to pass over through Ar, the coast of Moab, this day; v.19. and when thou comest nigh over against the children of Ammon, whose territory was chiefly east and northeast of that of the Amorites, distress them not, nor meddle with them, assume no hostile attitude nor make a show of attacking them; for I will not give thee of the land of the children of Ammon any possession; because I have given it unto the children of Lot for a possession, for the Ammonites were descendants of Lot, Gen. 19, 38. V.20. (That also was accounted a land of giants before its occupation by the children of Ammon; giants dwelt therein in old time; and the Ammonites call them Zamzummim, literally, “a humming, noisy people,” possibly the same as the Zusim, Gen. 14, 5, or related to them; v.21. a people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakim. But the Lord destroyed them before them, the Ammonites, His object being to lead the latter to repentance, to cause them to seek the true God, the tradition of whom was handed down to them from their fathers, and they succeeded them and dwelt in their stead, v.22. as He did to the children of Esau, which dwelt in Seir when He destroyed the Horims from before them; and they succeeded them, and dwelt in their stead even unto this day; v.23. and the Avims, which dwelt in Hazerim, even unto Azzah, in the southwestern corner of Canaan, the Caphtorim, which came forth out of Caphtor, and bore the name of their progenitor, Gen. 10, 14, destroyed them, and dwelt in their stead.) This notice having been inserted for the sake of orientation, Moses continues his address proper. V.24. Rise ye up, take your journey, and pass over the river Arnon, the southern boundary of the land of the Amorites; behold, I have given in to thine hand Sihon, the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land; begin to possess it, in modern English, go ahead and take it, and contend with him in battle. V.25. This day will I begin to put the dread of thee and the fear of thee upon the nations that are under the whole heaven, not only the Canaanites, but all the other nations whom the news of their advance would reach, who shall hear report of thee, and shall tremble, and be in anguish because of thee. V.26. And I sent messengers out of the Wilderness of Kedemoth, on the southeastern boundary of the Amorite territory, where there was an easy passage over the Arnon, unto Sihon, king of Heshbon, with words of peace, in order to give him an opportunity to decide for himself and to avoid an offense against Jehovah, saying, v.27. Let me pass through thy land. I will go along by the highway; I will neither turn unto the right hand nor to the left. Cp. Num. 21, 21. 22. V.28. Thou shalt sell me meat, food, for money, that I may eat, and give me water for money, that I may drink; only I will pass through on my feet, without any delay, v.29. (as the children of Esau which dwell in Seir, and the Moabites which dwell in Ar, did unto me,) until I shall pass over Jordan into the land which the Lord, our God, giveth us. V.30. But Sihon, king of Heshbon, would not let us pass by him, through his land; for the Lord, thy God, hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that He might deliver him into thy hand, as appeareth this day. All obduracy on the part of man is as much a deed of man’s freedom, of his own willful transgression, as it is a punishment of God. When man continues to harden his heart to the influence of God, then God, in turn, hardens the sinner until he becomes altogether callous toward all efforts of the Spirit. V.31. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have begun to give Sihon and his land before thee; begin to possess that thou mayest inherit his land. V.32. Then Sihon came out against us, he and all his people, to fight at Jahaz, Num. 21, 23. V.33. And the Lord, our God, delivered him before us; and we smote him and his sons and all his people, Num. 21, 24. V.34. And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men and the women and the little ones of every city; we left none to remain, for it was a war of extermination; v.35. only the cattle we took for a prey unto ourselves, and the spoil of the cities which we took. V.36. From Aroer, which is by the brink of the river of Arnon, in the extreme southern part of the territory, and from the city that is by the river, Ar or Areopolis, even unto Gilead, the southern boundary of which, generally speaking, was the Jabbok, there was not one city too strong for us, literally, “too high,” too powerful to overcome; the Lord, our God, delivered all unto us; v.37. only unto the land of the children of Ammon thou camest not, nor unto any place of the river Jabbok, toward the east and north, nor unto the cities in the mountains, the mountainous district of Ammonitis, nor unto whatsoever the Lord, our God, forbade us. Note that the Lord spared the Edomites, the Moabites, and the Ammonites, nations related to Israel, since He wanted to give them time and opportunity for repentance. In the very midst of the unbelievers and His professed enemies the Lord has His elect, whom He intends to lead to repentance by the glorious manifestations of His kindness and mercy.