Deuteronomy 2:14
And the space in which we came from Kadeshbarnea, until we were come over the brook Zered, was thirty and eight years; until all the generation of the men of war were wasted out from among the host, as the LORD swore to them.
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(14) Until we were come over the brook Zered.—The root zârad in Chaldee means to prune. The name “Zered” signifies the luxuriant foliage and the young shoots, especially of the willow, which are cut off with the knife: so the Targum takes it (Numbers 21:12). Probably the valley was so named from the “willows of the brook” which grew there. But it was the “valley of pruning” to the “vine” which God had “brought out of Egypt” in another sense. The last of the fruitless branches was here taken away, and the vine “purged, that it might bring forth more fruit.”

Thirty and eight years; until all . . . men of war were wasted out from among the host.—The census did not take place until some months later. A plague intervened, which cut off twenty-four thousand. The observation that at the brook Zered all the men of the older generation were “wasted out of the host” indicates an intimate knowledge of the incidents of the exodus. But it is quite natural to suppose that, as the survivors of that generation became fewer, those who remained would become marked men. Every man of the twelve tribes (excluding Levi? ) who passed the census at Sinai was doomed. The fortieth year of the exodus had more than half expired when they came to the brook Zered. All who remained alive in that year knew that they had a short time to live. Probably more notice was taken of the last few deaths than of all the rest of the six hundred thousand put together.

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.The words, "said I," are not in the Hebrew. The words "rise up, and get you over the brook Zered" (Numbers 21:12 note) connect themselves with Deuteronomy 2:9, and form the conclusion of what God said to Moses. 13. Now rise up, and get you over the brook Zered—The southern border of Moab, Zered ("woody"), now Wady Ahsy, separates the modern district of Kerak from Jebal, and, indeed, forms a natural division of the country between the north and south. Ar, called in later times Rabbah, was the capital of Moab and situated twenty-five miles south of the Arnon on the banks of a small but shady stream, the Beni Hamed. It is here mentioned as representative of the country dependent on it, a rich and well-cultivated country, as appears from the numerous ruins of cities, as well as from the traces of tillage still visible on the fields. No text from Poole on this verse. And the space in which we came from Kadeshbarnea,.... The space of time; or, "the days" (b); the number of them:

until we were come over the brook Zered, was thirty and eight years; that is, from the time that the spies were sent and searched the land, and brought a report of it; for they were sent from Kadeshbarnea, Numbers 32:8 unto the passage of the Israelites over Zered, were thirty eight years; so long they had been travelling in the wilderness, after they were come to the borders of the land:

until all the generation of the men of war were wasted out from among the host; all that were twenty years old and upwards, and fit to go out to war upon occasion, when the people were first numbered after they came out of Egypt; all that generation was now consumed within the above space of time, excepting two, Caleb and Joshua:

as the Lord sware unto them; Numbers 14:21.

(b) "et dies", Montanus; "dies autem", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.

And the {g} space in which we came from Kadeshbarnea, until we were come over the brook Zered, was thirty and eight years; until all the generation of the men of war were wasted out from among the host, as the LORD sware unto them.

(g) He shows by this, that as God is true in his promise, so his threatenings are not in vain.

14. thirty and eight years] See above, introd. to Deuteronomy 2:1-8 a.

until all the generation of the men of war were consumed] See Deuteronomy 1:35; Deuteronomy 1:39.Verse 14. - Men of war; those of age sufficient to go forth to war, viz. twenty y. ears old and upwards (Numbers 1:3; Numbers 14:29). These, as the responsible transgressors, all perished; the whole generation passed away, and was consumed (תֹּן; cf. Deuteronomy 5:15; Psalm 73:19), as God had sworn (Numbers 14:28, 29). In accordance with this divine command, they went past the Edomites by the side of their mountains, "from the way of the Arabah, from Elath (see at Genesis 14:6) and Eziongeber" (see at Numbers 33:35), sc., into the steppes of Moab, where they were encamped at that time.

God commanded them to behave in the same manner towards the Moabites, when they approached their frontier (Deuteronomy 2:9). They were not to touch their land, because the Lord had given Ar to the descendants of Lot for a possession. In Deuteronomy 2:9 the Moabites are mentioned, and in Deuteronomy 2:19 the Amorites also. The Moabites are designated as "sons of Lot," for the same reason for which the Edomites are called "brethren of Israel" in Deuteronomy 2:4. The Israelites were to uphold the bond of blood-relationship with these tribes in the most sacred manner. Ar, the capital of Moabitis (see at Numbers 21:15), is used here for the land itself, which was named after the capital, and governed by it.

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