|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:8-23 We have the origin of the Moabites, Edomites, and Ammonites. Moses also gives an instance older than any of these; the Caphtorims drove the Avims out of their country. These revolutions show what uncertain things wordly possessions are. It was so of old, and ever will be so. Families decline, and from them estates are transferred to families that increase; so little continuance is there in these things. This is recorded to encourage the children of Israel. If the providence of God has done this for Moabites and Ammonites, much more would his promise do it for Israel, his peculiar people. Cautions are given not to meddle with Moabites and Ammonites. Even wicked men must not be wronged. God gives and preserves outward blessings to wicked men; these are not the best things, he has better in store for his own children.
Verses 20-23. - Another parenthetical insertion, containing some ethnographical notices, intended, probably, to confirm the assertion that to the children of Ammon God had given their land for a possession. There is no sufficient reason for supposing that this paragraph is an interpolation, or gloss, inserted by some later writer. It lay as much in the way of Moses to introduce such ethnographical notices as in that of any writer of a later age. Verse 20. - Before the Ammonites, the laud was occupied by a gigantic race, called by them, Zamzummim (probably noisy ones, from זָמַם to hum, mutter; or, as the verb also signifies, to muse or meditate, perhaps moody ones; whether the same as the Zuzim of Genesis 14:5 - LXX., ἔθνη ἰσχυρά, as if from זוּז, to overflow, to abound - is uncertain). The colossal stone monuments, resembling what in Europe are known by the Celtic names of dolmen, menhir, and cromlech, still to be found in the land of Moab, are supposed to be the work of these aboriginal inhabitants of the country, the gigantic Emim and Zamzummim. This giant tribe the Lord had destroyed before the Ammonites, just as he had destroyed the Horim before the children of Esau in Seir.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
That also was accounted a land of giants,.... Ammon was so reckoned as well as Moab, Deuteronomy 2:10.
giants dwelt therein in old time; the Rephaim dwelt there, as they did also in Ashteroth Karnaim, Genesis 14:5.
and the Ammonites call them Zamzummims; they are thought to be the same with the Zuzims in Genesis 14:5 who had their name, as Hillerus (c) thinks, from Mezuzah, a door post, from their tall stature, being as high as one; and for a like reason Saph the giant might have his name, 2 Samuel 21:18. The word Zamzummims, according to him (d), signifies contrivers of evil and terrible things; they were inventors of wickedness, crafty and subtle in forming wicked and mischievous designs, which struck terror into people, and made them formidable to them.
(c) Onomastic. Sacr. p. 158, 288, 289. (d) Onomastic. Sacr. p. 161, 310, 428.
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