|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:1-11 Og was very powerful, but he did not take warning by the ruin of Sihon, and desire conditions of peace. He trusted his own strength, and so was hardened to his destruction. Those not awakened by the judgments of God on others, ripen for the like judgments on themselves.br>
Verse 4. - Threescore cities; probably the same as the Bashan-havoth jair, afterwards mentioned (ver. 14). The region of Argob, the kingdom of Og in Bashan. The region of Argob comprised the kingdom of Og, and Bashan was another name for the same country; extending from the Jabbok to Hermon, and embracing both the northern part of Gilead, and what was afterwards in a stricter sense Bashan, viz. the land north of the Wady Zerka (hod. Jebel Ajlan) to Hermon. The name Argob is supposed by some to be given to the district from a town of that name, fifteen Roman miles eastward from Gerasa, a city of Arabia (Eusebius); but more probably it is derived from the character of the district, either as deep-soiled (from רֶגֶב, a clod), or as rugged and uneven (רְגוב, from רָגַב akin to רָגָם, to heap up), just as the neighboring district to the east and northeast received the name Traohonitis (from τραχών, rough, rugged); in the Targum, indeed, Trachona (טרכונא) is the name given here for Argob. This district is now known as the province of El-Lejah (The Retreat). It is described as oval in form, about twenty-two miles long by fourteen wide; a plateau elevated about thirty feet above the surrounding plain. Its features are most remarkable. It is composed of a thick stratum of black basalt, which seems to have been emitted in a liquid state from pores in the earth, and to have flowed out on all sides till the whole surface was covered. It is rent and shattered as if by internal convulsion. The cup-like cavities from which the liquid mass was projected are still seen, and also the wavy surface such as a thick liquid generally assumes which cools as it is flowing. There are deep fissures and yawning gulfs with rugged, broken edges; and there are jagged mounds that seem not to have been sufficiently heated to flow, but which were forced up by some mighty agency, and then rent and shattered to their centers. The rock is filled with air-bubbles, and is almost as hard as iron. (Dr. Porter, in Kitto, 'Biblical Cyclopaedia,' 3:1032; see also the same author's 'Five Years in Damascus,' 2:240, etc.; and 'The Giant Cities of Bashan'; Burckhardt, 'Travels in Syria,' p. 110, etc.; Wetstein, 'Reisebericht fib. Hauran,' p. 82, etc.; a paper by Mr. Cyrill Graham in the Cambridge Essays for 1858; and Smith's 'Dictionary,' art. 'Trachonitis.') The entire trans-Jordanic region was thus captured by the Israelites.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And we took all his cities at that time,.... Not only Edrei where the battle was fought, and Ashteroth his capital city, but all the rest in his kingdom:
there was not a city which we took not from them; not one stood out, but all surrendered on summons; the number of which follows:
three score cities; which was a large number for so small a country, and shows it to be well inhabited:
all the region of Argob; which was a small province of
the kingdom of Og in Bashan: Aben Ezra and Jarchi observe, that it was called after a man, i.e. whose name was Argob; the Targum of Onkelos names it Tracona, and the Targum of Jonathan Targona, the same with Trachonitis in Josephus and other authors; see Luke 3:1, Jerom relates (h) that in his time, about Gerasa, a city of Arabia, fifteen miles from it to the west, there was a village which was called Arga, which seems to carry in it some remains of the ancient name of this country; and the Samaritan version, in all places where Argob is, calls it Rigobaah; and in the Misnah (i) mention is made of a place called Ragab, beyond Jordan, famous for its being the second place for the best oil.
(h) De loc. Heb. fol. 87. M. (i) Misn. Menachot, c. 8. sect. 3.
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