Deuteronomy 2:20
(That also was accounted a land of giants: giants dwelled therein in old time; and the Ammonites call them Zamzummims;
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(20) In old time.—See Genesis 14

Zamzummims = Zuzims (Genesis 14:5).

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.These verses, like Deuteronomy 2:10-12, are in all likelihood an addition made by a later reviser.

Deuteronomy 2:20

Zamzummims - A giant race usually identified with the Zuzims of Genesis 14:5.

19-37. when thou comest nigh over against the children of Ammon, distress them not, nor meddle with them—The Ammonites, being kindred to the Moabites, were, from regard to the memory of their common ancestor, to remain undisturbed by the Israelites. The territory of this people had been directly north from that of Moab. It extended as far as the Jabbok, having been taken by them from a number of small Canaanitish tribes, namely, the Zamzummins, a bullying, presumptuous band of giants, as their name indicates; and the Avims, the aborigines of the district extending from Hazerim or Hazeroth (El Hudhera) even unto Azzah (Gaza), but of which they had been dispossessed by the Caphtorim (Philistines), who came out of Caphtor (Lower Egypt) and settled in the western coast of Palestine. The limits of the Ammonites were now compressed; but they still possessed the mountainous region beyond the Jabbok (Jos 11:2). What a strange insight does this parenthesis of four verses give into the early history of Palestine! How many successive wars of conquest had swept over its early state—what changes of dynasty among the Canaanitish tribes had taken place long prior to the transactions recorded in this history! Which signifies men most wicked and abominable, or most presumptuous, or most crafty. That also was accounted a land of giants,.... Ammon was so reckoned as well as Moab, Deuteronomy 2:10.

giants dwelt therein in old time; the Rephaim dwelt there, as they did also in Ashteroth Karnaim, Genesis 14:5.

and the Ammonites call them Zamzummims; they are thought to be the same with the Zuzims in Genesis 14:5 who had their name, as Hillerus (c) thinks, from Mezuzah, a door post, from their tall stature, being as high as one; and for a like reason Saph the giant might have his name, 2 Samuel 21:18. The word Zamzummims, according to him (d), signifies contrivers of evil and terrible things; they were inventors of wickedness, crafty and subtle in forming wicked and mischievous designs, which struck terror into people, and made them formidable to them.

(c) Onomastic. Sacr. p. 158, 288, 289. (d) Onomastic. Sacr. p. 161, 310, 428.

(That also was accounted a land {i} of giants: giants dwelt therein in old time; and the Ammonites call them Zamzummims;

(i) Who called themselves Rephaims: that is, preservers, or physicians to heal and reform vices: but were indeed Zamzummims, that is, wicked and abominable.

20–23. Another Archaeological Note. On the Repha’im, see Deuteronomy 1:28. Zamzummim, a name held by some to be formed on the analogy of the Gk ‘Barbaroi,’ as of a people whose speech sounded uncouth; Ar. zamzamah is a distant, confused sound. Others suggest identification with the Zuzîm of Genesis 14:5, of which Musil (Moab, i. 275, 318, etc.) is reminded by the present Zîzâ, Ptolemy’s Ziza on the N.E. frontier of Mo’ab. But the Ar. zizim is applied to rustling sounds in the desert by night, supposed to be the noise of the Jinn (see Driver’s note, with communication from W. R. Smith, and Schwally, D. Leben nach d. Tode, 64 f., 137 ff.). The name would thus be another of those mythological terms for pre-historic races given above on Deuteronomy 1:28. On the Ḥorites, see Deuteronomy 2:12. On the ‘Avvîm or ‘Awwîm cp. Joshua 13:3 f.; whether the name be ethnic or indicative of a stage of culture is uncertain. They dwelt in villages, Heb. ḥaṣerîm (mostly in P and Levit. writers), used both in parallel to circles of tents, Genesis 25:16, and to collections of houses without surrounding walls, Leviticus 25:31, and the dependencies of cities, Joshua 15:46 etc. Kaphtôr is most probably Crete, see HGHL 135, 170 f.Verses 20-23. - Another parenthetical insertion, containing some ethnographical notices, intended, probably, to confirm the assertion that to the children of Ammon God had given their land for a possession. There is no sufficient reason for supposing that this paragraph is an interpolation, or gloss, inserted by some later writer. It lay as much in the way of Moses to introduce such ethnographical notices as in that of any writer of a later age. Verse 20. - Before the Ammonites, the laud was occupied by a gigantic race, called by them, Zamzummim (probably noisy ones, from זָמַם to hum, mutter; or, as the verb also signifies, to muse or meditate, perhaps moody ones; whether the same as the Zuzim of Genesis 14:5 - LXX., ἔθνη ἰσχυρά, as if from זוּז, to overflow, to abound - is uncertain). The colossal stone monuments, resembling what in Europe are known by the Celtic names of dolmen, menhir, and cromlech, still to be found in the land of Moab, are supposed to be the work of these aboriginal inhabitants of the country, the gigantic Emim and Zamzummim. This giant tribe the Lord had destroyed before the Ammonites, just as he had destroyed the Horim before the children of Esau in Seir. For this reason Israel was to remove from the desert of Moab (i.e., the desert which bounded Moabitis on the east), and to cross over the brook Zered, to advance against the country of the Amorites (see at 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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