|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 14. - Wherefore, i.e., because the Amorites had wrested from Moab all to the north of Arnon. In the book of the wars of the Lord. Nothing is known of this book but what appears here. If it should seem strange that a book of this description should be already in existence, we must remember that amongst the multitude of Israel there must in the nature of things have been some "poets" in the then acceptation of the word. Some songs there must have been, and those songs would be mainly inspired by the excitement and triumph of the final marches. The first flush of a new national life achieving its first victories over the national foe always finds expression in songs and odes. It is abundantly evident from the foregoing narrative that writing of some sort was in common use at least among the leaders of Israel (see on Numbers 11:26), and they would not have thought it beneath them to collect these spontaneous effusions of a nation just awaking to the poetry of its own existence. The archaic character of the fragments preserved in this chapter, which makes them sound so foreign to our ears, is a strong testimony to their genuineness. It is hardly credible that any one of a later generation should have cared either to compose or to quote snatches of song which, like dried flowers, have lost everything but scientific value in being detached from the soil which gave them birth. What he did in the Red Sea, and in the brooks of Arnon. Rather, "Vaheb in whirlwind, and the brooks of Arnon." The strophe as cited here has neither nominative nor verb, and the sense can only be conjecturally restored. וָהֵב is almost certainly a proper name, although of an unknown place. בָּסוּפָה is also considered by many as the name of a locality "in Suphah;" it occurs, however, in Nahum 1:3 in the sense given above, and indeed it is not at all a rare word in Job, Proverbs, and the Prophets; it seems best, therefore, to give it the same meaning here.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Wherefore it is said in the book of the wars of the Lord,.... A history of wars in former times, which the Lord had suffered to be in the world; and which, as Aben Ezra thinks, reached from the times of Abraham and so might begin with the battle of the kings in his time, and take in others in later times, and particularly those of Sihon, king of the Amorites, and his conquests of some parts of Moab; and to this book, which might be written by some one of those nations, Moses refers in proof of what he here says:
what he did in the Red sea; that is, what Sihon king of the Amorites did, or the Lord by him, "at Vaheb in Suphah", as the words may be rendered; either against a king, or rather city, of Moab, whose name was Vaheb, in the borders of the land of Moab, or how he destroyed that city Vaheb with a storm or terrible assault (l):
and in the brooks of Arnon: some places situated on the streams of that river, which were taken by the Amorites from the Moabites, as the book quoted plainly testified.
(l) Vid. L'Empereur. Not. in Mosis Kimchi p. 195.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14. book of the wars of the Lord—A fragment or passage is here quoted from a poem or history of the wars of the Israelites, principally with a view to decide the position of Arnon.
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