Numbers 21

Numbers 21

 
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1 The Canaanite king of Arad, who lived in the Negev, heard that the Israelites were approaching on the road to Atharim. So he attacked the Israelites and took some of them as prisoners.

2 Then the people of Israel made this vow to the LORD: "If you will help us conquer these people, we will completely destroy* all their towns."1

3 The LORD heard their request and gave them victory over the Canaanites. The Israelites completely destroyed them and their towns, and the place has been called Hormah* ever since.2

4 Then the people of Israel set out from Mount Hor, taking the road to the Red Sea* to go around the land of Edom. But the people grew impatient along the way,3

5 and they began to murmur against God and Moses. "Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?" they complained. "There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this wretched manna!"

6 So the LORD sent poisonous snakes among them, and many of them were bitten and died.

7 Then the people came to Moses and cried out, "We have sinned by speaking against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take away the snakes." So Moses prayed for the people.

8 Then the LORD told him, "Make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to the top of a pole. Those who are bitten will live if they simply look at it!"

9 So Moses made a snake out of bronze and attached it to the top of a pole. Whenever those who were bitten looked at the bronze snake, they recovered!

10 The Israelites traveled next to Oboth and camped there.

11 Then they went on to Iye-abarim, in the wilderness on the eastern border of Moab.

12 From there they traveled to the valley of Zered Brook and set up camp.

13 Then they moved to the far side of the Arnon River, in the wilderness adjacent to the territory of the Amorites. The Arnon is the boundary line between the Moabites and the Amorites.

14 For this reason [The Book of the Wars of the LORD] speaks of "the town of Waheb in the area of Suphah, and the ravines; and the Arnon River

15 and its ravines, which extend as far as the settlement of Ar on the border of Moab."

16 From there the Israelites traveled to Beer,* which is the well where the LORD said to Moses, "Assemble the people, and I will give them water."4

17 There the Israelites sang this song: "Spring up, O well! Yes, sing about it!

18 Sing of this well, which princes dug, which great leaders hollowed out with their scepters and staffs." Then the Israelites left the wilderness and proceeded on through Mattanah,

19 Nahaliel, and Bamoth.

20 Then they went to the valley in Moab where Pisgah Peak overlooks the wasteland.*5

21 The Israelites now sent ambassadors to King Sihon of the Amorites with this message:

22 "Let us travel through your land. We will stay on the king's road until we have crossed your territory. We will not trample your fields or touch your vineyards or drink your well water."

23 But King Sihon refused to let them cross his land. Instead, he mobilized his entire army and attacked Israel in the wilderness, engaging them in battle at Jahaz.

24 But the Israelites slaughtered them and occupied their land from the Arnon River to the Jabbok River. They went only as far as the Ammonite border because the boundary of the Ammonites was fortified.*6

25 So Israel captured all the towns of the Amorites and settled in them, including the city of Heshbon and its surrounding villages.

26 Heshbon had been the capital of King Sihon of the Amorites. He had conquered a former Moabite king and seized all his land as far as the Arnon River.

27 For this reason the ancient poets wrote this about him: "Come to Heshbon, city of Sihon! May it be restored and rebuilt.

28 A fire flamed forth from Heshbon, a blaze from the city of Sihon. It burned the city of Ar in Moab; it destroyed the rulers of the Arnon heights.

29 Your destruction is certain, O people of Moab! You are finished, O worshipers of Chemosh! Chemosh has left his sons as refugees, and his daughters as captives of Sihon, the Amorite king.

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Notes:

1: The Hebrew term used here refers to the complete consecration of things or people to the LORD, either by destroying them or by giving them as an offering; also in 21:3.

2: Hormah means “destruction.”

3: Hebrew sea of reeds.

4: Beer means “well.”

5: Or overlooks Jeshimon.

6: Or because the terrain of the Ammonite frontier was rugged; Hebrew because the boundary of the Ammonites was strong.


New Living Translation Bible and Notes used with permission Tyndale House Publishers.

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