Deuteronomy 2:26
And I sent messengers out of the wilderness of Kedemoth unto Sihon king of Heshbon with words of peace, saying,
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(26) Kedemoth.—Mentioned as a city in the plain of Jordan, belonging to Heshbon (Joshua 13:18).

Words of peace.—By this message Sihon was excepted from the catalogue of the doomed kings and nations, according to the distinction drawn in Deuteronomy 20:10-11; Deuteronomy 20:15-16. He therefore brought his fate upon himself. He was offered the privileges of the Moabites whom he had conquered, and refused to accept the position.

Deuteronomy 2:26. I sent messengers unto Sihon — To show the prince of the Amorites that we were not aggressors, and offered no violence, and that, if he refused to grant us a passage through his land, his destruction would be of himself. Kedemoth was a city of that tract which fell to the lot of the Reubenites.

2:24-37 God tried his people, by forbidding them to meddle with the rich countries of Moab and Ammon. He gives them possession of the country of the Amorites. If we keep from what God forbids, we shall not lose by our obedience. The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof; and he gives it to whom he pleases; but when there is no express direction, none can plead his grant for such proceedings. Though God assured the Israelites that the land should be their own, yet they must contend with the enemy. What God gives we must endeavour to get. What a new world did Israel now come into! Much more joyful will the change be, which holy souls will experience, when they remove out of the wilderness of this world to the better country, that is, the heavenly, to the city that has foundations. Let us, by reflecting upon God's dealings with his people Israel, be led to meditate upon our years spent in vanity, through our transgressions. But happy are those whom Jesus has delivered from the wrath to come. To whom he hath given the earnest of his Spirit in their hearts. Their inheritance cannot be affected by revolutions of kingdoms, or changes in earthly possessions.Kedemoth - literally, "Easternmost parts;" the name of a town afterward assigned to the Reubenites, and given out of that tribe to the Levites. Compare Joshua 13:18; 1 Chronicles 6:79. 24-36. Rise ye up … and pass over the river Arnon—At its mouth, this stream is eighty-two feet wide and four deep. It flows in a channel banked by perpendicular cliffs of sandstone. At the date of the Israelitish migration to the east of the Jordan, the whole of the fine country lying between the Arnon and the Jabbok including the mountainous tract of Gilead, had been seized by the Amorites, who, being one of the nations doomed to destruction (see De 7:2; 20:16), were utterly exterminated. Their country fell by right of conquest into the hands of the Israelites. Moses, however, considering this doom as referring solely to the Amorite possessions west of Jordan, sent a pacific message to Sihon, requesting permission to go through his territories, which lay on the east of that river. It is always customary to send messengers before to prepare the way; but the rejection of Moses' request by Sihon and his opposition to the advance of the Israelites (Nu 21:23; Jud 11:26) drew down on himself and his Amorite subjects the predicted doom on the first pitched battlefield with the Canaanites. It secured to Israel not only the possession of a fine and pastoral country, but, what was of more importance to them, a free access to the Jordan on the east. Kedemoth; so called from a city of that name, Joshua 13:18; and called Jeshimon, Numbers 21:20.

With words of peace; with offers of peace, which they refusing, their destruction was highly just and reasonable.

And I sent messengers out of the wilderness of Kedemoth,.... A city in the tribe of Reuben, and given by them to the Levites in later times, having been taken from the Amorites with others; near this lay a wilderness, which took its name from it, and seems to be the same with Jeshimon, Numbers 21:20. Aben Ezra takes it to be the wilderness of Matthanah, which according to Jerom (g) was situated on Arnon, twelve miles to the east of Medeba; see Numbers 21:18 from hence messengers were sent by Moses:

unto Sihon king of Heshbon, with words of peace; in a peaceable and respectful manner, desiring to be at peace and in friendship with him, and a continuance of it, which was done to leave him inexcusable; as afterwards a like method was ordered to be taken, when they came to any city, to proclaim peace, and if an answer of peace was given, no hostilities were to be committed, Deuteronomy 20:10,

saying; as follows.

(g) De loc. Heb. fol. 93. C.

And I sent messengers out of the wilderness of Kedemoth unto Sihon king of Heshbon with words of peace, saying,
26. And I sent messengers, etc.] E, Numbers 21:21, Israel sent messengers, etc.

the wilderness of Kedemoth] So only here. A Levite city Ḳedemoth, belonging to Re’uben, is given along with Yahaṣ and Mepha‘ath, P, Joshua 13:18; Joshua 21:37; 1 Chronicles 6:79 [64]. The name is a plur. = East parts; it must have lain N. of Arnon on the edge of the desert. Musil (Moab, 110, 122) compares the ruins el-Meshreik, ‘The Orient,’ 7½ miles N. of W. Sa‘ideh (Deuteronomy 2:24) and looking towards the desert.

Sihon king of Heshbon] E, Numbers 21:21 : king of the Amorites; cp. Deuteronomy 2:26. Sîḥôn is transliterated Sîḥûn in the Ar. Pent. (ed. Lagarde) but the proper Ar. analogue is Shîḥan, a man’s name, also that of the saint venerated by the ‘Ajêlât tribe as the builder of the Ḳări‘at Shîhan, extensive ruins on the conspicuous Jebel Shîḥân, S. of W. el-Môjeb. See the present writer in PEFQ, 1904, 371 f.; Musil, Moab. 376, 382 with citations from Abu-l-fida and Yaḳût, Ethnol. Bericht (Ar. Petr. iii.) 110, 218.

Heshbon] was his city. The mod. Ḥesbân, with ruins of the Byzantine age and a Greek inscription, near the W. edge of the Moab plateau, at the head of a glen descending to the W. Ḥesbân, and 600 ft below the town, the copious ‘Ain Ḥesban. A little S. of the latitude of Jericho, Ḥeshbôn lay on the main road, almost half-way between Arnon and Jabboḳ, a suitable site for the Amorite capital. See PEF Mem. E. Palestine, 104 ff.

26–37. The Victory over Sîḥôn

From the desert N. of Arnon Moses sent to Sîḥôn asking leave to cross his land in peace, purchasing food and water (Deuteronomy 2:26-29). Sîḥôn refused, Jehovah hardening bis spirit that he might be delivered into Israel’s hands (Deuteronomy 2:30 f.). They met at Yahaṣ and Sîḥôn was defeated (Deuteronomy 2:32 f.). Israel took his towns, put the population to the ban, but reserved cattle and spoil for themselves (Deuteronomy 2:34 f.), and occupied his land from the Arnon to Gile‘ad, and up to the Ammonite border on the Jabboḳ (Deuteronomy 2:36 f.).

The parallel JE, Numbers 21:21-32 (for the analysis of which into two narratives see the Comm. in this series), contains besides an old mashal or ode on the subject (Deuteronomy 2:27-30). E agrees in substance with D and there are verbal parallels, for which see below. As elsewhere D seems here based on E, with the usual variations of style and one or two details of fact.

On the relation of this section of Moses’ discourse to the preceding see introd. and notes to the latter. On the historicity of the story see the present writer’s HGHL, 662 ff.; and Early Poetry of Israel, 64 ff.

Verse 26. - The wilderness of Kedemoth (comp. Numbers 21:13); so named from the town of Kedemoth, an old Amorite town, on the right bank of the Upper Arnon; at a later period, a Levitical city in the tribe of Reuben (Joshua 13:18; Joshua 21:37; 1 Chronicles 6:79). The name (from קֶדֶם, the east), signifying eastern parts, indicates that it was situated on the eastern boundary of the Amorite region, so that the desert named from it must have bordered on the great Arabian desert; it may have been on what is now the Derb cf. Haj, or Pilgrims' Road, probably, at Kal'at Balua. Deuteronomy 2:26If Moses, notwithstanding this, sent messengers to king Sihon with words of peace (Deuteronomy 2:26.; cf. Numbers 21:21.), this was done to show the king of the Amorites, that it was through his own fault that his kingdom and lands and life were lost. The wish to pass through his land in a peaceable manner was quite seriously expressed; although Moses foresaw, in consequence of the divine communication, that he would reject his proposal, and meet Israel with hostilities. For Sihon's kingdom did not form part of the land of Canaan, which God had promised to the patriarchs for their descendants; and the divine foreknowledge of the hardness of Sihon no more destroyed the freedom of his will to resolve, or the freedom of his actions, than the circumstance that in Deuteronomy 2:30 the unwillingness of Sihon is described as the effect of his being hardened by God Himself. The hardening was quite as much the production of human freedom and guilt, as the consequence of the divine decree; just as in the case of Pharaoh. On Kedemoth, see Numbers 21:13. בּדּרך בּדּרך, equivalent to "upon the way, and always upon the way," i.e., upon the high road alone, as in Numbers 20:19. On the behaviour of the Edomites towards Israel, mentioned in Deuteronomy 2:29, see Numbers 21:10. In the same way the Moabites also supplied Israel with provisions for money. This statement is not at variance with the unbrotherly conduct for which the Moabites are blamed in Deuteronomy 23:4, viz., that they did not meet the Israelites with bread and water. For קדּם, to meet and anticipate, signifies a hospitable reception, and the offering of food and drink without reward, which is essentially different from selling for money. "In Ar" (Deuteronomy 2:29), as in Deuteronomy 2:18. The suffix in בּו (Deuteronomy 2:30) refers to the king, who is mentioned as the lord of the land, in the place of the land itself, just as in Numbers 20:18.
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