Deuteronomy 2:30
But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him: for the LORD thy God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that he might deliver him into thy hand, as appeareth this day.
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(30) The Lord thy God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate.—Jehovah gave the strength to Sihon, as He had done to Pharaoh, and as He does to all. Sihon was responsible for using the strength which God gave him in opposition to the Divine purposes. To “hardena man’s spirit is not necessarily a moral process any more than the hardening of steel. “Made obstinate” is the same verb used in Joshua 1:6, for “Be of a good courage.” An unyielding spirit and a courageous heart are good or bad according to the use made of them. Sihon used them badly, Joshua used them well. God’s gifts were the same to both. (See also Joshua 11:20.)

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. By him, i.e. by his borders. Obstinate; unmovable and inexorable to our desires.

But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him,.... Or through his country, as was desired:

for the Lord had hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate; as he did Pharaoh's, for whom he will he hardens; so that he would not listen to the proposals made to him, nor grant the requests asked of him, but with pride and haughtiness of spirit despised and disdained Israel:

that he might deliver him into thine hand; that so an opportunity might offer of fighting with him, and taking his country from him; whereas, had he been peaceable and flexible, he had continued in the enjoyment of his land, and Israel would not have had that advantage against him; but God, who has the hearts of kings and of all men in his hands, so wrought upon him that he should take the steps he did, which made way for the delivery of him and his country into the hands of the Israelites:

as appeareth this day: for when Moses made this speech, the kingdom of Sihon was possessed by the Israelites, Numbers 21:24.

But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him: for the LORD thy God {n} hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that he might deliver him into thy hand, as appeareth this day.

(n) God in his election and reprobation not only appoints the ends, but the means tending to the same.

30. But Sihon … would not let us pass by him) E, Numbers 21:23 : S. would not allow (another verb) Israel to cross his territory.

for the Lord thy God hardened his spirit] Sg. address; it is at least remarkable that the change coincides with a religious explanation of Sîḥôn’s resistance, for which E has here no parallel. The phrase is found elsewhere in P, Exodus 7:3, but with heart for spirit.

made his heart obstinate] Heb. strong, usually in a good sense, in a bad only here, Deuteronomy 15:7 and 2 Chronicles 36:13. In E, Exodus 4:21, the same meaning with another verb.

as at this day] Another deuteronomic formula: Deuteronomy 4:20; Deuteronomy 4:38, Deuteronomy 6:24, Deuteronomy 8:18, Deuteronomy 10:15, Deuteronomy 29:28; 1 Kings 3:6; 1 Kings 8:24, etc. Here its appropriateness is not obvious; these formulas tend to creep in where they are not required.

Verse 30. - Heshbon, the chief city of the Amorite king, Sihon. Some ruins on a hill east of the upper end of the Dead Sea, and bearing the name Chesban, mark the site of this once large and important city. Sihon rejected Moses' overtures of peace, because God had hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate; literally, had sharpened his heart, had made his determination keen. It is not to be supposed that any influence was directly exerted on him, to make him obdurate and persistent in his hostility to the people of God; the expression "he would not" indicates that it was of his own will that Sihon acted; but it was the will and purpose of God that Sihon should be destroyed, and his country taken by the Israelites, and so he was placed in circumstances by which, "given over to a reprobate mind," he was confirmed and strengthened m his determination to pursue a course which led to his destruction; like Pharaoh, by the circumstances in which God placed him, he found scope for the display and for the confirmation of a stubborn, pertinacious pride of spirit, which led ultimately to his ruin. Nothing so hardens the heart as resistance to God's overtures of peace. As appeareth this day; i.e. as present experience shows; in Sihon's refusing to let them pass, there was already an actual beginning of the fulfillment of God's purpose to deliver him into the hand of the Israelites. Deuteronomy 2:30If 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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