Israel’s Journey to the Border
Deuteronomy 2 – 3
Deuteronomy 2 – 3
- The Wandering Circle: 38 Years (2:1)
- Instructions not to attack Edom (2:2-7)
- Instructions not to attack Moab (2:8-15)
- Instructions not to attack Ammon (2:16-23)
- Victory over Sihon King of Heshbon (2:24-37)
- Victory over Og King of Bashan (3:1-11)
- The inheritance of the 2 ½ Tribes (3:12-17)
- Instructions for the 2 ½ Tribes to Help in the Canaanite Wars (3:18-20)
- Moses’ Desire to see the Land (3:21-29)
The Wandering Circle: 38 Years (2:1)
1 And we turned, and took our journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea, as Jehovah had said unto me; and we went round mount Seir many days. v.1 notice the little word “we.” Moses links himself, Joshua and Caleb in company with the unbelieving congregation, as they all had to turn back into the wilderness. in order to be blessed we must confess the sin of the chirstian testimony becuase we are a part of it. “the way of the Red sea” – refers to the eastern arm of the red sea. The red sea seaks of the death of Christ. This is where we need to go when we have had a failure… it will produce repentence.
Instructions not to attack Edom (2:2-7)
Edom’s aggression and Israel’s patience. In Deut. 2 we don’t have edom’s aggression recorded. but if we turn to Num. 20:14-22 we see that the root of bitterness sprng up at this time. This exhortation from the Lord to pass quietly by on the coast would teach Israel patience… a primary lesson of the wilderness. It is always good for those who will soon wield power to learn the exercise of patience. we too will reign with Christ for 1000 years… but it is only in this time of his rejection that we learn patience and humility.
2 And Jehovah spoke to me, saying, 3 Ye have gone round this mountain long enough: turn you northward. 4 And command the people, saying, Ye are to pass through the border of your brethren the children of Esau, who dwell in Seir; and they will be afraid of you; and ye shall be very guarded: v.4 Esau and Seir have a natural connection in that both names mean hairy or rough, showing esau’s wild nature.
Edom speaks of the jealousy and bitterness of the flesh, of those who have refused grace (as esau despised his birthright) and developed a bitter hatred for the true people of God. obadiah traces this character and marks the destruction.
5 attack them not; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as a foot-breadth; for I have given mount Seir as a possession unto Esau. v.5 in our wilderness pathway we need to know what to contend with, and what simply to pass by. that path of wisdom is called in Num. 20:17, “the king’s highway.”
6 Ye shall buy of them food for money, that ye may eat; and water shall ye also buy of them for money, that ye may drink; 7 for Jehovah thy God hath blessed thee in all the work of thy hand. He hath known thy walking through this great wilderness: these forty years hath Jehovah thy God been with thee; thou hast lacked nothing.
Instructions not to attack Moab (2:8-15)
8 And we passed by from our brethren the children of Esau, who dwelt in Seir, by the plain, by Elath, and by Ezion-geber, and we turned and passed by the way of the wilderness of Moab. v.8 Moab and ammon are the posterity of shame and sin in the Life of a worldly believer (lot).
moab speaks of the pride and laziness of the flesh (Jer. 48:11, Isa. 16:6). that which is the natural result of the true church sinking into the world… namely, a false profession which is alien and hostile to the true people of God, characterized largely by the principles of confederacy, mutual interest, etc.
9 And Jehovah said to me, Distress not the Moabites, neither engage with them in battle; for I will not give thee of their land a possession; for unto the children of Lot have I given Ar as a possession. 10 (The Emim dwelt therein in times past, a people great, and many, and tall as the Anakim. v.10 the lord used one evil to destroy another.
11 They also are reckoned as giants like the Anakim; but the Moabites call them Emim. 12 And in Seir dwelt the Horites in times past; and the children of Esau dispossessed them, and destroyed them from before them, and dwelt in their stead; as Israel did to the land of their possession, which Jehovah gave to them.) v.12 the lord compares Israel’s being used to drive out the cannanites with Edom’s being used to drive out the horims. It shows that the most high rules in the kingdoms of men, and he can use whom he will to accomplish what he will, be it the children of Israel or the children of Esau.
13 Now rise up, and pass over the torrent Zered. And we passed over the torrent Zered. 14 Now the days in which we came from Kadesh-barnea, until we had come over the torrent Zered, were thirty-eight years; until the whole generation of the men of war was consumed from the midst of the camp, as Jehovah had sworn unto them. 15 Moreover the hand of Jehovah was against them to destroy them from the midst of the camp, until they were consumed.
Instructions not to attack Ammon (2:16-23)
16 And it came to pass when all the men of war were consumed, having died off from among the people, 17 that Jehovah spoke to me, saying, 18 Thou art to pass this day over the border of Moab, which is Ar, 19 and come near over against the children of Ammon; thou shalt not distress them nor attack them; for I will not give thee of the land of the children of Ammon a possession; for unto the children of Lot have I given it as a possession.
Ammon is a picture of the heartlessness and cruelty of the flesh (I Sam. 11:2; Amos 1:13). They are known in scripture for ripping up women with Children, etc. never satisfies with what it has, but always wanting the possessions of others.
20 (That also is reckoned a land of giants: giants dwelt therein in time past, and the Ammonites call them Zamzummim; 21 a people great, and many, and tall as the Anakim; and Jehovah destroyed them before them, and they dispossessed them, and dwelt in their stead; 22 as he did to the children of Esau, who dwelt in Seir, from before whom he destroyed the Horites; and they dispossessed them, and dwelt in their stead, even to this day. 23 And the Avvites who dwelt in the hamlets as far as Gazah — the Caphtorim, who came out of Caphtor, destroyed them, and dwelt in their stead.) vv.20-23 The Lord used the ammonites to deal with the giantlike Zamzummims and Avims, as well as the egyptian Caphtorims. It is part of God’s ways to use one evil to destroy another.
Victory over Sihon King of Heshbon (2:24-37)
East of Jordan. we can see from v.1 that it was Jehovah’s purpose to give heshbon (and bashan) to Israel for a possession… but it never says to dwell there. The east of the Jordan speaks of the natural relm… God would have Christians to have control over the natural things of this life, but never to make it our dwelling place. The true dwelling place was west of jordan, in Canaan which speaks of our heavenly portion. we are to be those that “use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away (I Cor. 7:31). In ingress of psychology into christianity makes the natural sphere the highest plane of christian blessing. they have missed the boat.
24 Rise up, take your journey, and pass over the river Arnon. Behold, I have given into thy hand Sihon the king of Heshbon, the Amorite, and his land: begin, take possession, and engage with him in battle. v.24 the river arnon marks the northern border of the land of moab. across the river arnon, on the east is the land of ammon, and on the west is the land of heshbon, ruled by sihon.
Sihon king of heshbon (Num. 21:21-32) speaks of the mental energy of the flesh. we see this at work in the schemes of man. sihon means “cutting down”, and heshbon means “reason” and carries the idea of mental work.
25 This day will I begin to put the dread of thee and the fear of thee upon the peoples under the whole heaven; who will hear report of thee, and will tremble, and quake because of thee. 26 And I sent messengers out of the wilderness of Kedemoth unto Sihon the king of Heshbon with words of peace, saying, 27 Let me pass through thy land: by the highway alone will I go; I will neither turn to the right hand nor to the left. 28 Thou shalt sell me food for money that I may eat; and thou shalt give me water for money that I may drink; I will only pass through on my feet, v.28 why was there a need for water? was it because the rock stopped following them once they got out of the wilderness? or maybe after moses smote the rock twice it flowed one final time then stopped? because in Num. 21 they dig a well.
29 — as the children of Esau who dwell in Seir, and the Moabites who dwell in Ar, did to me, — until I shall pass over the Jordan into the land which Jehovah our God giveth us. 30 But Sihon the king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him; for Jehovah thy God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obdurate, that he might give him into thy hand, as it is this day. v.30 this was the method that god used to judge the amorites. He presented the people who bore his name. God hardened his spirit and his heart so that he would come – of his own accord – out to battle with israel.
31 And Jehovah said to me, Behold, I begin to give Sihon and his land before thee: begin, take possession, that thou mayest possess his land. 32 And Sihon came out against us for battle, he and all his people, to Jahaz. v.32 Jahaz means “quarrel” or “dispute.” The world will dispute with the christian who wants to pass through as a stranger and pilgrim.
33 But Jehovah our God gave him up before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and his whole people. 34 And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed every city, men, and women, and little ones: we let none escape. v.34 the wickedness of the amorites was now full (Gen. 15:16), and god would not allow the suffering and shame that accompanies an idolatrous culture to go on forever. Besides that, the amorites had seized a land that was not given to them. It was a merciful thing: to the children, to the spiritual health of Israel, and to the prosperity of Canaan to have these peoples wiped out completely.
35 Only the cattle we took as booty for ourselves, and the spoil of the cities which we took. 36 From Aroer, which is on the bank of the river Arnon, and the city that is in the ravine even to Gilead, there was not one city too strong for us: Jehovah our God delivered all before us. v.36 not one city too strong for us. compare with Deut. 1:28… fear took hold of the older generation because of unbelief. but “with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26).
37 Only thou didst not approach the land of the children of Ammon, the whole border of the river Jabbok, nor the cities of the mountain, nor to whatsoever Jehovah our God had forbidden us. v.37 The great principle in these instructions to Israel is that God’s word must settle everything for His people. It was not for Israel to inquire why they were to leave the possessions of Esau and Lot untouched, and to take those of Sihon and og. A great lesson for the wolderness is dependence on God for everything.
Victory over Og King of Bashan (3:1-11)
1 And we turned, and went up the way to Bashan; and Og the king of Bashan came out against us, he and all his people, for battle at Edrei.
og king of bashan (Num. 21:33-35) speaks of the indulgence of the flesh… the sinful lust for the luxury of this world. og was known for his huge bedstead (v.11). Og means “round” and bashan means “fertile soil” or “level ground”. Bashan was the best land for cattle (Num. 32:1). Therefore, this enemy speaks of the material snares and business world that would trap us and prevent progress.
2 And Jehovah said to me, Fear him not; for into thy hand have I given him, and all his people, and his land; and thou shalt do unto him as thou didst unto Sihon the king of the Amorites, who dwelt at Heshbon. 3 And Jehovah our God gave into our hand Og the king of Bashan also, and all his people; and we smote him until none was left to him remaining. 4 And we took all his cities at that time: there was not a town which we took not from them, sixty cities, the whole region of Argob, the kingdom of Og in Bashan. 5 All these cities were fortified with high walls, gates, and bars; besides unwalled towns very many. v.5 there are different types of obstacles. First, the Israelite army would have come to the unwalled towns. There are thing in our life with we are not very diffensive about, and the Lord can easily speak to us about them. But then there are the high walled cities, where the flesh puts up a great deal of resistance. The Lord must have access to every corner of our hearts.
6 And we utterly destroyed them, as we had done to Sihon the king of Heshbon, utterly destroying every city, men, women and little ones. 7 But all the cattle and the spoil of the cities we took as booty for ourselves. 8 And we took at that time the land out of the hand of the two kings of the Amorites, that were on this side the Jordan, from the river Arnon to mount Hermon 9 (the Sidonians call Hermon Sirion, and the Amorites call it Senir): 10 all the cities of the plateau, and all Gilead, and all Bashan, as far as Salchah and Edrei, the cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan. 11 For only Og the king of Bashan remained of the residue of giants: behold, his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbah of the children of Ammon? its length was nine cubits, and its breadth four cubits, after the cubit of a man. v.11 his bed was “nine cubits” or 13.5 feet long… this man was one of the only remaining Giants. “four cubits” or six feet wide, which is equal to the length of a normal bed. that is what you call a king sized bed! he knew how to pamper himself.
The inheritance of the 2 ½ Tribes (3:12-17)
12 And this land we took in possession at that time. From Aroer, which is by the river Arnon, and the half of mount Gilead, and its cities, I gave to the Reubenites and to the Gadites; vv.12-17 the two and a half tribes had their eye on this cattle-land east of Jordan. It speaks of that which nature offers, compared with the hevenly places forshadowed by the land of canaan. these tribes picture believers because they had passed through the red sea. however, they were those who refused to cross the Jordan, a picture of the Christian’s death with Christ.
13 and the rest of Gilead, and all Bashan, the kingdom of Og, I gave to half the tribe of Manasseh. (The whole region of Argob, even all Bashan, is called a land of giants. 14 Jair the son of Manasseh took the whole region of Argob as far as the border of the Geshurites and Maachathites, and called Bashan after his own name, Havoth-Jair, to this day.) v.14 It is interesting that initially it was only reuben and gad that walked their portion east of Jordan, but when the half tribe of Manasseh saw that others were allowed to settle, they riased their hand as well (Num. 32). tHE TRIBE OF MANASSEH WAS SO DIVIDED OVER THIS ISSUE THAT THEY ACTUALLY SPLIT IN HALF.
15 And I gave Gilead to Machir. 16 And to the Reubenites and to the Gadites I gave from Gilead even to the river Arnon, the middle of the ravine and its border, as far as the river Jabbok, the border of the children of Ammon; 17 the plain also, and the Jordan, and its border from Chinnereth as far as the sea of the plain, the salt sea, under the slopes of Pisgah eastward.
Instructions for the 2 ½ Tribes to Help in the Canaanite Wars (3:18-20)
18 And I commanded you at that time, saying, Jehovah your God hath given you this land to take possession of it: ye shall pass over armed before your brethren the children of Israel, all who are combatants. 19 Only your wives, and your little ones, and your cattle, — I know that ye have much cattle, — shall abide in your cities which I have given you, 20 until Jehovah give rest to your brethren, as well as to you, and they also take possession of the land that Jehovah your God giveth them beyond the Jordan; then shall ye return, each man to his possession, which I have given you.
Moses’ Desire to see the Land (3:21-29)
21 And I commanded Joshua at that time, saying, Thine eyes have seen all that Jehovah your God hath done to these two kings: so will Jehovah do to all the kingdoms to which thou shalt go. 22 Ye shall not fear them; for Jehovah your God, he will fight for you. 23 And I besought Jehovah at that time, saying, 24 Lord Jehovah, thou hast begun to shew thy servant thy greatness, and thy powerful hand; for what GOD is in the heavens or in the earth that can do like to thy works, and like to thy might? 25 Let me go over, I pray thee, and see the good land that is beyond the Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon. 26 But Jehovah was wroth with me on your account, and did not hear me; and Jehovah said to me, Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter! 27 Go up to the top of Pisgah, and lift up thine eyes westward, and northward, and southward, and eastward, and behold it with thine eyes; for thou shalt not go over this Jordan. 28 But charge Joshua, and encourage him and strengthen him; for he shall go over before this people, and he shall put them in possession of the land which thou shalt see. 29 And we abode in the valley opposite to Beth-Peor.