And when you come near over against the children of Ammon, distress them not, nor meddle with them: for I will not give you of the land of the children of Ammon any possession; because I have given it to the children of Lot for a possession.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And when thou comest nigh.—Compare Note on Deuteronomy 2:9.Numbers 21:12 note) connect themselves with Deuteronomy 2:9, and form the conclusion of what God said to Moses. Genesis 19:37.
distress them not, nor meddle with them: lay no siege to any of their cities, nor provoke them to war, nor engage in battle with them:
for I will not give thee of the land of the children of Ammon any possession; that is, any part of it which was now in their hands; otherwise half their land was given to the tribe of Gad; but then that was what Sihon king of the Amorites had taken from them, and which Israel retook from him, and so possessed it not as the land of the Ammonites, but of the Amorites, one of the seven nations, whose land they were to inherit; see Joshua 13:25,
because I have given it unto the children of Lot for a possession; the Ammonites were the children of Lot by his second daughter, Genesis 19:38.And when thou comest nigh over against the children of Ammon, distress them not, nor meddle with them: for I will not give thee of the land of the children of Ammon any possession; because I have given it unto the children of Lot for a possession.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)19. when thou comest nigh over against the children of Ammon] And thou shalt approach to the front of the Bnê ‘Ammôn. The expression is vague and the mention of ‘Ammôn at this stage perplexing. It is true that, acc. to Jdg 11:13, the ‘Ammonites declared to Jephthah that Israel coming out of Egypt took away their land from Arnon even unto Jabboḳ. But the passage to which this belongs, Jdg 11:12-28, generally regarded as late and confused, repels the ‘Ammonite claim and affirms (Deuteronomy 2:22) that the land between Arnon and Jabboḳ had been held by the Amorites. This, too, is the testimony of the oldest traditions JE, Numbers 21:13; Numbers 21:24; Numbers 21:31 f., which also relate that the Amorites had taken that territory not from ‘Ammôn, but from Mo’ab (id. Numbers 21:26-30); cp. the evidence both of JE and P in Numbers 22 ff., that the land N. of Arnon was Moabite. The evidence thus preponderates that ‘Ammôn was confined to a small territory on the upper Jabboḳ, where Rabbath-‘Ammôn (chief town of ‘A.) was situated (though before the ‘Amorite invasion of E. Palestine they may have held the whole course of Jabboḳ immediately S. of that). On the Arnon, therefore, Israel was still some 35 miles from Ammonite territory and the Amorites lay between. The mention of ‘Ammôn at this stage thus appears proleptic, and coinciding as it does with a change to the Sg. address, may plausibly be maintained to be the insertion of a later writer, perhaps influenced by Jdg 11:13. On the other hand it is just possible that the reference to ‘Ammôn at this stage was held by the author of the discourse himself to be necessary, as intended to divert Israel from the due northerly direction which they had been pursuing and which, if continued, would bring them into conflict with ‘Ammôn; and to turn them N.W. through the Amorites to the Jordan.Verse 19. - Over against the children of Ammon. As the Israelites were passing eastward of Moab; when they crossed the Arnon, the Ammonites, whose dwelling was in the wilderness east of the Jordan, would be almost in front of them. The Israelites came over against them after they conquered Sihon (cf. Numbers 21:24). Numbers 21:12-13). This occurred thirty-eight years after the condemnation of the people at Kadesh (Numbers 14:23, Numbers 14:29), when the generation rejected by God had entirely died out (תּמם, to be all gone, to disappear), so that not one of them saw the promised land. They did not all die a natural death, however, but "the hand of the Lord was against them to destroy them" (המם, lit., to throw into confusion, then used with special reference to the terrors with which Jehovah destroyed His enemies; Exodus 14:24; Exodus 23:27, etc.), sc., by extraordinary judgments (as in Numbers 16:35; Numbers 18:1; Numbers 21:6; Numbers 25:9).
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