|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
21:10-20 We have here the removes of the children of Israel, till they came to the plains of Moab, from whence they passed over Jordan into Canaan. The end of their pilgrimage was near. They set forward. It were well if we did thus; and the nearer we come to heaven, were so much the more active and abundant in the work of the Lord. The wonderful success God granted to his people, is here spoken of, and, among the rest, their actions on the river Arnon, at Vaheb in Suphah, and other places on that river. In every stage of our lives, nay, in every step, we should notice what God has wrought for us; what he did at such a time, and what in such a place, ought to be distinctly remembered. God blessed his people with a supply of water. When we come to heaven, we shall remove to the well of life, the fountain of living waters. They received it with joy and thankfulness, which made the mercy doubly sweet. With joy must we draw water out of the wells of salvation, Isa 12:3. As the brazen serpent was a figure of Christ, who is lifted up for our cure, so is this well a figure of the Spirit, who is poured forth for our comfort, and from whom flow to us rivers of living waters, Joh 7:38,39. Does this well spring up in our souls? If so, we should take the comfort to ourselves, and give the glory to God. God promised to give water, but they must open the ground. God's favours must be expected in the use of such means as are within our power, but still the power is only of God.
Verse 10. - The children of Israel set forward, and pitched in Oboth. In the list of chapter 33, there occur two other stations, Zahnonah and Phunon, between Mount Hor and Oboth. Phunon may be the Pinou of Genesis 36:41, but it is a mere conjecture. All we can conclude with any certainty is that the Israelites passed round the southern end of the mountains of Edom by the Wady el Ithm, and then marched northwards along the eastern border of Edom by the route now followed between Mekba and Damascus. On this side the mountains are far less precipitous and defensible than on the other, and this circumstance must have abated the insolence of the Edomites. Moreover, they must now have seen enough of Israel to know that, while immensely formidable in number and discipline, he had no hostile designs against them. It is therefore not surprising to find from Deuteronomy 2:6 that on this side the mountaineers supplied Israel with bread and water, just as they supply the pilgrim caravans at the present day. That they exacted payment for what they supplied was perfectly reasonable: no one could expect a poor people to feed a nation of two million souls, however nearly related, for nothing. Oboth has been identified with the modern halting-place of el-Ahsa, on the pilgrim route above mentioned, on the ground of supposed similarity in the meaning of the names; but the true rendering of Oboth is doubtful (see on Leviticus 19:31), and, apart from that, any such similarity of meaning is too vague and slight a ground for any argument to be built upon.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the children of Israel set forward,.... From Zalmonah, and came to Punon, which, according to the above writer, was twenty miles from it; though here indeed, some think, the brazen serpent was set up, here being, as before observed, brass mines to furnish with that metal:
and pitched in Oboth; which was twenty four miles from Punon, as says the same writer: the word signifies bottles; perhaps here the Israelites got water and filled their bottles, or, as others think, they filled them with the wine of Moab, and called the name of the place from thence; it is perhaps the same with the Eboda of Ptolemy (h), which he places in Arabia Petraea; and of which Pliny (i) also makes mention.
(h) Geograph. l. 5. c. 17. (i) Nat. Hist. l. 6. c. 28.
Wesley's Notes on the Bible
21:10 In Oboth - Not immediately, but after two other stations mentioned, Nu 33:43,44.
Numbers 21:10 Parallel Commentaries
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