When the Canaanite, king of Arad, who dwelt in the Negeb, learned that Israel was coming by the way of Atharim,aMeaning of Heb. ha-’atharim uncertain. Targum and other ancient versions render “the way [taken by] the scouts.” he engaged Israel in battle and took some of them captive.
Then Israel made a vow to the LORD and said, “If You deliver this people into our hand, we will proscribebI.e., utterly destroy, reserving no booty except what is deposited in the Sanctuary; see Josh. 6.24. their towns.”
The LORD heeded Israel’s plea and delivered up the Canaanites; and they and their cities were proscribed. So that place was named Hormah.cConnected with heḥerim “to proscribe.”
They set out from Mount Hor by way of the Sea of ReedsdSee Exod. 10.19 note. to skirt the land of Edom. But the people grew restive on the journey,
and the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why did you make us leave Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread and no water, and we have come to loathe this miserable food.”
The LORD sent serapheCf. Isa. 14.29; 30.6. Others “fiery”; exact meaning of Heb. saraph uncertain. serpents against the people. They bit the people and many of the Israelites died.
The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned by speaking against the LORD and against you. Intercede with the LORD to take away the serpents from us!” And Moses interceded for the people.
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a seraph figure and mount it on a standard. And if anyone who is bitten looks at it, he shall recover.”
Moses made a copper serpent and mounted it on a standard; and when anyone was bitten by a serpent, he would look at the copper serpent and recover.
The Israelites marched on and encamped at Oboth.
They set out from Oboth and encamped at Iye-abarim, in the wilderness bordering on Moab to the east.
From there they set out and encamped at the wadi Zered.
From there they set out and encamped beyond the Arnon, that is, in the wilderness that extends from the territory of the Amorites. For the Arnon is the boundary of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites.
Therefore the Book of the Wars of the LORD speaks of fThe quotation that follows is a fragment; text and meaning are uncertain.“…Waheb in Suphah, and the wadis: the Arnon
with its tributary wadis, stretched along the settled country of Ar, hugging the territory of Moab…”
And from there to Beer,gLit. “well.” which is the well where the LORD said to Moses, “Assemble the people that I may give them water.”
Then Israel sang this song:
Spring up, O well—sing to it—
The well which the chieftains dug,
Which the nobles of the people started
With maces, with their own staffs.
And from MidbarhSeptuagint “the well” (=Beer); cf. v. 16. to Mattanah,
and from Mattanah to Nahaliel, and from Nahaliel to Bamoth,
and from Bamoth to the valley that is in the country of Moab, at the peak of Pisgah, overlooking the wasteland.iOr “Jeshimon.”
Israel now sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, saying,
“Let me pass through your country. We will not turn off into fields or vineyards, and we will not drink water from wells. We will follow the king’s highway until we have crossed your territory.”
But Sihon would not let Israel pass through his territory. Sihon gathered all his people and went out against Israel in the wilderness. He came to Jahaz and engaged Israel in battle.
But Israel put them to the sword, and took possession of their land, from the Arnon to the Jabbok, as far as [Az] of the Ammonites, for AzjSeptuagint “Jazer,” cf. v. 32. Others “for the boundary of the Ammonites was strong.” marked the boundary of the Ammonites.
Israel took all those towns. And Israel settled in all the towns of the Amorites, in Heshbon and all its dependencies.
Now Heshbon was the city of Sihon king of the Amorites, who had fought against a former king of Moab and taken all his land from him as far as the Arnon.
Therefore the bards would recite:
kThe meaning of several parts of this ancient poem is no longer certain.“Come to Heshbon; firmly built
And well founded is Sihon’s city.
For fire went forth from Heshbon,
Flame from Sihon’s city,
Consuming Ar of Moab,
The lords of BamothlCf. vv. 19 and 20 and Num. 22.21. by the Arnon.
Woe to you, O Moab!
You are undone, O people of Chemosh!
His sons are rendered fugitive
And his daughters captive
By an Amorite king, Sihon.”
mMeaning of verse uncertain. Alternatively:Yet we have cast them down utterly,
Heshbon along with Dibon;
We have wrought desolation at Nophah,
Which is hard by Medeba.
So Israel occupied the land of the Amorites.
Then Moses sent to spy out Jazer, and they captured its dependencies and dispossessed the Amorites who were there.
They marched on and went up the road to Bashan, and King Og of Bashan, with all his people, came out to Edrei to engage them in battle.
But the LORD said to Moses, “Do not fear him, for I give him and all his people and his land into your hand. You shall do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites who dwelt in Heshbon.”
They defeated him and his sons and all his people, until no remnant was left him; and they took possession of his country.