Numbers 21
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The Defeat of Arad

1When the Canaanite king of Arad, who lived in the Negev, heard that Israel was coming along the road to Atharim, he attacked Israel and captured some prisoners. 2So Israel made a vow to the LORD: “If You will deliver this people into our hands, we will devote their cities to destruction.a

3And the LORD heard Israel’s plea and delivered up the Canaanites. Israel devoted them and their cities to destruction; so they named the place Hormah.b

The Bronze Serpent

4Then they set out from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea,c in order to bypass the land of Edom. But the people grew impatient on the journey 5and spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you led us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread or water, and we detest this wretched food!”

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

7Then the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned by speaking against the LORD and against you. Intercede with the LORD to take the snakes away from us.” So Moses interceded for the people.

8Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a snake and mount it on a pole. When anyone who is bitten looks at it, he will live.” 9So Moses made a bronze snake and mounted it on a pole. If anyone who was bitten looked at the bronze serpent, he would recover.

The Journey to Moab

10Then the Israelites set out and camped at Oboth. 11They journeyed from Oboth and camped at Iye-abarim in the wilderness opposite Moab to the east. 12From there they set out and camped in the Valley of Zered. 13From there they moved on and camped on the other side of the Arnon, in the wilderness that extends into the Amorite territory.

Now the Arnon is the border between the Moabites and the Amorites. 14Therefore it is stated in the Book of the Wars of the LORD:

“Wahebd in Suphah and the wadis of the Arnon,

15even the slopes of the wadis

that extend to the site of Ar

and lie along the border of Moab.”

16From there they went on to Beer,e the well where the LORD said to Moses, “Gather the people so that I may give them water.” 17Then Israel sang this song:

“Spring up, O well,

all of you sing to it!

18The princes dug the well;

the nobles of the people hollowed it out

with their scepters

and with their staffs.”

From the wilderness the Israelites went on to Mattanah, 19and from Mattanah to Nahaliel, and from Nahaliel to Bamoth, 20and from Bamoth to the valley in Moab where the top of Pisgah overlooks the wasteland.f

The Defeat of Sihon

21Then Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, saying, 22“Let us pass through your land. We will not cut through any field or vineyard, or drink water from any well. We will stay on the King’s Highway until we have passed through your territory.”

23But Sihon would not let Israel pass through his territory. Instead, he gathered his whole army and went out to confront Israel in the wilderness. When he came to Jahaz, he fought against Israel. 24And Israel put him to the sword and took possession of his land, from the Arnon to the Jabbok—but only up to the border of the Ammonites, because it was fortified.

25Israel captured all the cities of the Amorites and occupied them, including Heshbon and all its villages. 26Heshbon was the city of Sihon king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab and taken all his land as far as the Arnon. 27That is why the poets say:

“Come to Heshbon, let it be rebuilt;

let the city of Sihon be restored.

28For a fire went out from Heshbon,

a blaze from the city of Sihon.

It consumed Ar of Moab,

the rulers of Arnon’s heights.

29Woe to you, O Moab!

You are destroyed, O people of Chemosh!

He gave up his sons as refugees,

and his daughters into captivity

to Sihon king of the Amorites.

30But we have overthrown them;

Heshbon is destroyed as far as Dibon.

We demolished them as far as Nophah,

which reaches to Medeba.”

The Defeat of Og

31So Israel lived in the land of the Amorites. 32After Moses had sent spies to Jazer, Israel captured its villages and drove out the Amorites who were there.

33Then they turned and went up the road to Bashan, and Og king of Bashan marched out against them with his whole army to do battle at Edrei.

34But the LORD said to Moses, “Do not fear him, for I have handed him over to you, with all his people and his land. Do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon.”

35So they struck down Og, along with his sons and his whole army, until no remnant was left. And they took possession of his land.

Footnotes:

2 a The Hebrew term refers to giving over things or persons to the LORD, either by destroying them or by giving them as an offering; also in verse 3
3 b Hormah means destruction
4 c Or the Sea of Reeds
14 d LXX Zahab
16 e Beer means well
20 f Or Jeshimon

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