Numbers chapter 21

Victory over Atharim. The bronze snake. Their journey around Moab. Victory over Sihon. Victory over Og.

 


 

VICTORY OVER ATHARIM

 

VERSE 1. The Canaanite, the king of Arad, who lived in the South, heard that Israel came by the way of Atharim. He fought against Israel, and took some of them captive.

He fought against Israel. The king of Arad starts a war against Israel

 

VERSE 2. Israel vowed a vow to the LORD, and said, “If you will indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities.”

I will utterly destroy their cities. They vow to fight back. To defend themselves.

They have learned to stand up for themselves and their rights. They are no longer content to be pushed around and abused.

 

VERSE 3. The LORD listened to the voice of Israel, and delivered up the Canaanites; and they utterly destroyed them and their cities. The name of the place was called Hormah.

delivered up the Canaanites. The Israelites defeat their attackers.

Hormah. This Hebrew word means “destruction.”

 

THE BRONZE SNAKE

 

VERSE 4. They traveled from Mount Hor by the way to the Sea of Suf, to go around the land of Edom. The soul of the people was very discouraged because of the journey.

The soul of the people was very discouraged. This seems to be a common refrain. They are so easily discouraged.

 

VERSE 5. The people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no bread, there is no water, and our soul loathes this disgusting food!”

spoke against God and against Moses. Some people are always complaining. Or arguing. Those are destructive habits. They harm the individual. And the community. They need to STOP. Read more »

 

VERSE 6. The LORD sent venomous snakes among the people, and they bit the people. Many people of Israel died.

 

VERSE 7. The people came to Moses, and said, “We have sinned, because we have spoken against the LORD and against you. Pray to the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us.” Moses prayed for the people.

We have sinned. Their sin was that they complained against the LORD God. And against Moses.

The evidence of their sin was the snakebites.

In our day, some people use the word “snakebite” as a synonym for “sin.”

 

VERSE 8. The LORD said to Moses, “Make a venomous snake, and set it on a pole. It shall happen that everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.”

when he sees it, shall live. This is the most unlikely of cures.

Because it is so unlikely, it will be evident that their cure is miraculous.

 

VERSE 9. Moses made a serpent of bronze, and set it on the pole. If a serpent had bitten any man, when he looked at the serpent of bronze, he lived.

when he looked at the serpent of brass, he lived. In their day, people who were bitten by sin were offered a cure. They were to look at the snake on the pole.

In our day, people bitten by sin are offered a cure. We are to look at the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross.

 

THEIR JOURNEY AROUND MOAB

 

VERSE 10. The children of Israel traveled, and encamped in Oboth.

The children of Israel traveled. They had to circumnavigate the kingdom of Moab. It required nine stops:

 

VERSE 11. They traveled from Oboth, and encamped at Iyeabarim, in the wilderness which is before Moab, toward the sunrise.

 

VERSE 12. From there they traveled, and encamped in the valley of Zered.

 

VERSE 13. From there they traveled, and encamped on the other side of the Arnon, which is in the wilderness that comes out of the border of the Amorites; for the Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites.

 

VERSE 14. Therefore it is said in The Book of the Wars of the LORD, “Vaheb in Suphah, the valleys of the Arnon,

The Book of the Wars of the LORD. This text is no longer extant.

 

VERSE 15. the slope of the valleys that incline toward the dwelling of Ar, leans on the border of Moab.”

 

VERSE 16. From there they traveled to Beer; that is the well of which the LORD said to Moses, “Gather the people together, and I will give them water.”

 

VERSE 17. Then Israel sang this song: “Spring up, well! Sing to it,

 

VERSE 18. the well, which the princes dug, which the nobles of the people dug, with the scepter, and with their poles.” From the wilderness they traveled to Mattanah;

 

VERSE 19. and from Mattanah to Nahaliel; and from Nahaliel to Bamoth;

 

VERSE 20. and from Bamoth to the valley that is in the field of Moab, to the top of Pisgah, which looks down on the desert.

 

VICTORY OVER SIHON

 

VERSE 21. Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, saying,

 

VERSE 22. “Let me pass through your land. We will not turn away into field or vineyard. We will not drink of the water of the wells. We will go by the king’s highway, until we have passed your border.”

Let me pass through your land. They ask permission.

 

VERSE 23. Sihon would not allow Israel to pass through his border, but Sihon gathered all his people together, and went out against Israel into the wilderness, and came to Jahaz. He fought against Israel.

Sihon … went out against Israel. The king of Sihon starts a war against Israel

 

VERSE 24. Israel struck him with the edge of the sword, and possessed his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, even to the children of Ammon; for the border of the children of Ammon was fortified.

Israel struck him with the edge of the sword. The Israelites defeat their attackers.

 

VERSE 25. Israel took all these cities. Israel lived in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all its villages.

Israel took all these cities. Now they own cities. And houses.

Deuteronomy 6:10. It shall be, when the LORD your God brings you into the land which he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you, great and goodly cities which you didn’t build,

Deuteronomy 6:11. and houses full of all good things which you didn’t fill, and cisterns dug out which you didn’t dig, vineyards and olive trees which you didn’t plant, and you shall eat and be full;

 

VERSE 26. For Heshbon was the city of Sihon the king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab, and taken all his land out of his hand, even to the Arnon.

 

VERSE 27. Therefore those who speak in proverbs say, “Come to Heshbon. Let the city of Sihon be built and established;

those who speak in proverbs. They stood up for themselves. They defeated the enemy. They were victorious. Now it is time to sing!

 

VERSE 28. for a fire has gone out of Heshbon, a flame from the city of Sihon. It has devoured Ar of Moab, The lords of the high places of the Arnon.

 

VERSE 29. Woe to you, Moab! You are undone, people of Chemosh! He has given his sons as fugitives, and his daughters into captivity, to Sihon king of the Amorites.

 

VERSE 30. We have shot at them. Heshbon has perished even to Dibon. We have laid waste even to Nophah, Which reaches to Medeba.”

 

VERSE 31. Thus Israel lived in the land of the Amorites.

 

VERSE 32. Moses sent to spy out Jazer. They took its villages, and drove out the Amorites who were there.

 

VICTORY OVER OG

 

VERSE 33. They turned and went up by the way of Bashan. Og the king of Bashan went out against them, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei.

 

VERSE 34. The LORD said to Moses, “Don’t fear him, for I have delivered him into your hand, with all his people, and his land. You shall do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon.”

Don’t fear him. The LORD God often tells us to not be afraid. We humans need to hear this, over and over again.

 

VERSE 35. So they struck him, with his sons and all his people, until there were no survivors; and they possessed his land.

 


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