Deuteronomy 3:11
For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of giants; behold his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after the cubit of a man.
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(11) Of the remnant of giants—i.e., of the nation of Rephaim in these parts. (See Note on Genesis 14:5.)

His bedstead.—The word may mean either bedstead or coffin. Both the word for “bedstead” and the word for “iron” have given rise to some discussion and difficulty. An iron bedstead and an iron coffin are almost equally improbable. Basalt has been suggested as an alternative. But though there is basalt in Argob, there is none in Rabbath-Ammon. Conder, who has recently explored Rabbath, has discovered a remarkable throne of stone on the side of a hill there, and he suggests that the Hebrew word rendered “bedstead,” which properly signifies a couch with a canopy, may apply to this. The word for “iron” (barzîl) in Talmudical language means also “a prince,” and this meaning has been suggested for the name Barzillai, which we find in the same district in later times. “His canopied throne was a princely one, and yet remains in Rabbath of the Ammonites,” would be the meaning of the passage, on this hypothesis. The dimensions of the throne recently discovered are said to be nearly those given in this verse.

After the cubit of a man-Ish (not adam) the distinctive and emphatic word for a man. Some think that the cubit of any man is meant; others that the man himself for whom it was made, viz., Og, is intended. (Comp. Revelation 21:17, “according to the measure of a man—i.e., of an angel.”)

Deuteronomy 3:11. Only Og remained of the remnant of giants — Namely, in those parts; for there were other giants among the Philistines, and elsewhere. When the Ammonites drove out the Zamzummims, mentioned Deuteronomy 2:20, Og might escape, and so be said to be left of the remnant of the giants, and afterward, fleeing to the Amorites, perhaps was made their king, because of his gigantic stature. His bedstead was a bedstead of iron — Bedsteads of iron, brass, and other metals, are not unusual in the warm countries, as a defence against vermin. In Rabbath — Where it might now be, either because the Ammonites, in some former battle with Og, had taken it as a spoil; or because, after Og’s death, the Ammonites desired to have this monument of his greatness, and the Israelites permitted them to carry it away to their chief city. Nine cubits —

So his bed was four yards and a half long, and two yards broad.3:1-11 Og was very powerful, but he did not take warning by the ruin of Sihon, and desire conditions of peace. He trusted his own strength, and so was hardened to his destruction. Those not awakened by the judgments of God on others, ripen for the like judgments on>Giants - Or Rephaim: see the marginal reference note.

A bedstead of iron - The "iron" was probably the black basalt of the country, which not only contains a large proportion, about 20 percent, of iron, but was actually called "iron," and is still so regarded by the Arabians. Iron was indeed both known and used, principally for tools (see e. g. Deuteronomy 19:5 and compare Genesis 4:22 note), at the date in question by the Semitic people of Palestine and the adjoining countries; but bronze was the ordinary metal of which weapons, articles of furniture, etc., were made.

The word translated "bedstead" is derived from a root signifying "to unite" or "bind together," and so "to arch" or "cover with a vault." The word may then certainly mean "bier," and perhaps does so in this passage. Modern travelers have discovered in the territories of Og sarcophagi as well as many other articles made of the black basalt of the country.

Is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? - Probably after the defeat and death of Og at Edrei the remnant of his army fled into the territory of the friendly Ammonites, and carried with them the corpse of the giant king.

After the cubit of a man - i. e. after the usual and ordinary cubit, counted as people are accustomed to count. Taking 18 inches to the cubit, the bedstead or sarcophagus would thus be from thirteen to fourteen feet long.

11. only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of giants—literally, "of Rephaim." He was not the last giant, but the only living remnant in the trans-jordanic country (Jos 15:14), of a certain gigantic race, supposed to be the most ancient inhabitants of Palestine.

behold, his bedstead was a bedstead of iron—Although beds in the East are with the common people nothing more than a simple mattress, bedsteads are not unknown. They are in use among the great, who prefer them of iron or other metals, not only for strength and durability, but for the prevention of the troublesome insects which in warm climates commonly infest wood. Taking the cubit at half a yard, the bedstead of Og would measure thirteen and a half feet, so that as beds are usually a little larger than the persons who occupy them, the stature of the Amorite king may be estimated at about eleven or twelve feet; or he might have caused his bed to be made much larger than was necessary, as Alexander the Great did for each of his foot soldiers, to impress the Indians with an idea of the extraordinary strength and stature of his men [Le Clerc]. But how did Og's bedstead come to be in Rabbath, of the children of Ammon? In answer to this question, it has been said, that Og had, on the eve of engagement, conveyed it to Rabbath for safety. Or it may be that Moses, after capturing it, may have sold it to the Ammonites, who had kept it as an antiquarian curiosity till their capital was sacked in the time of David. This is a most unlikely supposition, and besides renders it necessary to consider the latter clause of this verse as an interpolation inserted long after the time of Moses. To avoid this, some eminent critics take the Hebrew word rendered "bedstead" to mean "coffin." They think that the king of Bashan having been wounded in battle, fled to Rabbath, where he died and was buried; hence the dimensions of his "coffin" are given [Dathe, Roos].

The other giants of Bashan were destroyed before; and therefore when Og was killed, the Israelites’ work was done.

In Rabbath of the children of Ammon; where it might now be, either because the Ammonites in some former-battle with Og had taken it as a spoil; or because after Og’s death the Ammonites desired to have this monument of his greatness, and the Israelites permitted them to carry it away to their chief city.

After the cubit of a man, to wit, of ordinary stature. So his bed was four yards and a half long, and two yards broad. For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of giants,.... The meaning seems to be, either that he was the only one that was left of the race of the giants the Ammonites found when they took possession of this country, Deuteronomy 2:20 or that was left when the Amorites took it from the Ammonites; and who having by some means or other ingratiated himself into their affections, because of his stature, strength, and courage, and other qualifications they might discern in him, made him their king:

behold, his bedstead was a bedstead of iron: his body being so large and bulky, he might think it most proper and safest for him to have a bedstead made of iron to lie upon, or to prevent noxious insects harbouring in it; nor was it unusual to have bedsteads made of other materials than wood, as of gold, silver, and ivory; See Gill on Amos 6:4. Some learned men (r) have been of opinion, that the beds of Typho in Syria, made mention of by Homer (s), refer to this bedstead of Og:

is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? which was the royal city of the Ammonites, in the times of David, 2 Samuel 12:26, now called Philadelphia, as Jerom says (t). This bedstead might be either sent thither by Og, before the battle at Edrei, for safety, or rather might be sold by the Israelites to the inhabitants of Rabbath, who kept it, as a great curiosity:

nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after the cubit of a man; a common cubit, so that it was four yards and a half long, and two yards broad. Onkelos renders it, after the king's cubit; and the king's cubit at Babylon, according to Herodotus (u), was larger by three fingers than the common one; such as the cubit in Ezekiel 40:5, which was a cubit and an hand's breadth; and this makes the dimensions of the bedstead yet larger. And by this judgment may be made of the tallness of Og's stature, though this is not always a sure rule to go by; for Alexander, when in India, ordered his soldiers to make beds of five cubits long, to be left behind them, that they might be thought to be larger men than they were, as Diodorus Siculus (w) and Curtius (x) relate; but there is little reason to believe that Og's bedstead was made with such a view. Maimonides observes (y), that a bed in common is a third part larger than a man; so that Og, according to this way of reckoning, was six cubits high, and his stature doubly larger than a common man's; but less than a third part may well be allowed to a bed, which will make him taller still; the height of Og is reckoned by Wolfius (z) to be about thirteen feet eleven inches of Paris measure.

(r) Vid. Dickinson. Delph. Phaenieizant. c. 2. p. 12. (s) Iliad. z. (t) De loc. Heb. fol. 94. C. (u) Clio, sive, l. 1. c. 175. (w) Bibliothec. l. 17. p. 563. (x) Hist. l. 9. c. 3.((y) Moreh Nevochim, par. 2. c. 47. p. 325. (z) Apud Scheuchzer. Physic. Sacr. vol. 3. p. 401.

For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of giants; behold, his {d} bedstead was a bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after the cubit of a man.

(d) The more terrible this giant was, the greater reason they had to glorify God for the victory.

11. Archaeological Note. ‘Ôg was the last survivor of the Repha‘îm (see on Deuteronomy 1:28). Bedstead, rather sarcophagus, for though the Heb. ‘eres elsewhere means couch, its synonyms miṭah (2 Samuel 3:31) and mishkab (Isaiah 57:2; Ezekiel 32:25) are used for bier and tomb (the latter too in Phoen.), and the monumental character of this ‘eres proves it to have been the same. Iron, rather basalt; I have often heard basalt called iron in Ḥauran. The cubit of a man: the ordinary cubit, originally the length of the lower arm; later there was also a longer cubit (Ezekiel 40:5; Ezekiel 43:13). Taking it as about 18 in., ‘Ôg’s coffin was 13½ ft by 6. Some sites in E. Palestine are strewn with stone-coffins, e.g. Umm Keis, usually 7 to 8 ft by 2½ to 4. That of Eshmunazar, the Sidonian, Isaiah 7 by 4; ‘Hiram’s Tomb’ Isaiah 12 by 6. Cp. Doughty, Ar. Des. i. 18, on marble sarcophagi near Es-Salt, ‘little less than the bed of Og,’ and Cl. Ganneau, Arch. Res. ii. 233.Verse 11. - Bashan was of old possessed by a giant race, the Rephaim (Genesis 14:5); but of these Og, King of Bashan, was, at the time of the Israelitish invasion, the sole remnant. His vast size is indicated by the size of his bedstead, which was preserved in Rabbath-Ammon, perhaps as a trophy of some victory obtained by the Ammonites over their gigantic foe. This measured nine cubits in length, and four in breadth, "after the cubit of a man," i.e. according to the cubit in common use. Taking the cubit as equal to eighteen inches, the measure of the bedstead would be thirteen feet and a half by six feet. That Og even approximated to this height is incredible; if he reached nine or ten feet his height would exceed that of any one on record. It is probable, however, that he may have had his bed made vastly larger than himself, partly from ostentation, partly that he might leave a memorial that should impress upon posterity a sense of his gigantic size and resistless might; just as Alexander the Great is said (Died. Sic., 17:95) to have, on his march to India, caused couches to be made for his soldiers in their tents, each five cubits long, in order to impress the natives with an overwhelming sense of the greatness of his host. It has been suggested that it is not a bed that is here referred to, but a sarcophagus of basalt or ironstone in which, it is supposed, the corpse of Og was placed, and which was afterwards carried to Rabbath, and there deposited (J. D. Michaelis, Winer, Knobel, etc.). This implies that the passage is a later insertion, and not part of the original narrative as given by Moses. But with what view could such an insertion be introduced? Not to establish the credibility of the story of the victory of the Israelites over Og, for the existence of a sarcophagus in which a corpse had been placed would only attest the fact that such a one once lived and died, but would prove nothing as to how or when or where he came by his death. Not to show the vast size of the man, for a sarcophagus affords no measure whatever of the size of the person whose remains are placed in it, being an honorary monument, the size of which is proportioned to the real or supposed dignity of the person for whose honor it is made. A bed, on the contrary, which a man had used, or at least had caused to be made for himself, would afford some evidence of his size; and there is an obvious reason for Moses referring to this here, inasmuch as thereby he recalled-to the Israelites the remembrance, on the one hand, of what occasioned the fear with which they anticipated the approach of this terrible foe, and, on the other, of the grace of God to them in that he had delivered Og and all his people into their hand. It is idle to inquire how Moses could know of the existence of this bed at Rabbath; for we may be well assured that from all the peoples through whose territories he had passed reports of the strength and prowess and doings of this giant warrior would be poured into his ear. The Help of God in the Conquest of the Kingdom of Og of Bashan. - Deuteronomy 3:1. After the defeat of king Sihon and the conquest of his land, the Israelites were able to advance to the Jordan. But as the powerful Amoritish king Og still held the northern half of Gilead and all Bashan, they proceeded northwards at once and took the road to Bashan, that they might also defeat this king, whom the Lord had likewise given into their hand, and conquer his country (cf. Numbers 21:33-34). They smote him at Edrei, the modern Dra, without leaving him even a remnant; and took all his towns, i.e., as is here more fully stated in Deuteronomy 3:4., "sixty towns, the whole region of Argob, the kingdom of Og in Bashan." These three definitions refer to one and the same country. The whole region of Argob included the sixty towns which formed the kingdom of Og in Bashan, i.e., all the towns of the land of Bashan, viz., (according to Deuteronomy 3:5) all the fortified towns, besides the unfortified and open country towns of Bashan. חבל, the chain for measuring, then the land or country measured with the chain. The name "region of Argob," which is given to the country of Bashan here, and in Deuteronomy 3:4, Deuteronomy 3:13, Deuteronomy 3:14, and also in 1 Kings 4:13, is probably derived from רגוב, stone-heaps, related to רגב, a clump or clod of earth (Job 21:33; Job 38:38). The Targumists have rendered it correctly טרכונא (Trachona), from τραθών, a rough, uneven, stony district, so called from the basaltic hills of Hauran; just as the plain to the east of Jebel Hauran, which resembles Hauran itself, is sometimes called Tellul, from its tells or hills (Burckhardt, Syr. p. 173).

(Note: The derivation is a much more improbable one, "from the town of Argob, πρὸς Γέρασαν πόλιν Ἀραβίας, according to the Onomast., fifteen Roman miles to the west of Gerasa, which is called Ῥαγαβᾶ by Josephus (Ant. xiii. 15, 5).")

This district has also received the name of Bashan, from the character of its soil; for בּשׁן signifies a soft and level soil. From the name given to it by the Arabic translators, the Greek name Βαταναία, Batanaea, and possibly also the modern name of the country on the north-eastern slope of Hauran at the back of Mount Hauran, viz., Bethenije, are derived.

The name Argob probably originated in the north-eastern part of the country of Bashan, viz., the modern Leja, with its stony soil covered with heaps of large blocks of stone (Burckhardt, p. 196), or rather in the extensive volcanic region to the east of Hauran, which was first of all brought to distinct notice in Wetzstein's travels, and of which he says that the "southern portion, bearing the name Harra, is thickly covered with loose volcanic stones, with a few conical hills among them, that have been evidently caused by eruptions" (Wetzstein, p. 6). The central point of the whole is Safa, "a mountain nearly seven hours' journey in length and about the same in breadth," in which "the black mass streaming from the craters piled itself up wave upon wave, so that the centre attained to the height of a mountain, without acquiring the smoothness of form observable in mountains generally," - "the black flood of lava being full of innumerable streams of stony waves, often of a bright red colour, bridged over with thin arches, which rolled down the slopes out of the craters and across the high plateau" (Wetzstein, pp. 6 and 7). At a later period this name was transferred to the whole of the district of Hauran ( equals Bashan), because not only is the Jebel Hauran entirely of volcanic formation, but the plain consists throughout of a reddish brown soil produced by the action of the weather upon volcanic stones, and even "the Leja plain has been poured out from the craters of the Hauran mountains" (Wetzstein, p. 23). Through this volcanic character of the soil, Hauran differs essentially from Balka, Jebel Ajlun, and the plain of Jaulan, which is situated between the Sea of Galilee and the upper Jordan on the one side, and the plain of Hauran on the other, and reaches up to the southern slope of the Hermon. In these districts the limestone and chalk formations prevail, which present the same contrast to the basaltic formation of the Hauran as white does to black (cf. v. Raumer, Pal. pp. 75ff.). - The land of the limestone and chalk formation abounds in caves, which are not altogether wanting indeed in Hauran (as v. Raumer supposes), though they are only found in eastern and south-eastern Hauran, where most of the volcanic elevations have been perforated by troglodytes (see Wetzstein, pp. 92 and 44ff.). But the true land of caves on the east of the Jordan is northern Gilead, viz., Erbed and Sut (Wetzst. p. 92). Here the troglodyte dwellings predominate, whereas in Hauran you find for the most part towns and villages with houses of one or more stories built above the surface of the ground, although even on the eastern slope of the Hauran mountains there are hamlets to be seen, in which the style of building forms a transition from actual caves to dwellings built upon the ground. An excavation is first of all made in the rocky plateau, of the breadth and depth of a room, and this is afterwards arched over with a solid stone roof. The dwellings made in this manner have all the appearance of cellars or tunnels. This style of building, such as Wetzstein found in Hibbike for example, belongs to the most remote antiquity. In some cases, hamlets of this kind were even surrounded by a wall. Those villages of Hauran which are built above the surface of the ground, attract the eye and stimulate the imagination, when seen from a distance, in various ways. "In the first place, the black colour of the building materials present the greatest contrast to the green around them, and to the transparent atmosphere also. In the second place, the height of the walls and the compactness of the houses, which always form a connected whole, are very imposing. In the third place, they are surmounted by strong towers. And in the fourth place, they are in such a good state of preservation, that you involuntarily yield to the delusion that they must of necessity be inhabited, and expect to see people going out and in" (Wetzstein, p. 49). The larger towns are surrounded by walls; but the smaller ones as a rule have none: "the backs of the houses might serve as walls." The material of which the houses are built is a grey dolerite, impregnated with glittering particles of olivine. "The stones are rarely cemented, but the fine and for the most part large squares lie one upon another as if they were fused together." "Most of the doors of the houses which lead into the streets or open fields are so low, that it is impossible to enter them without stooping; but the large buildings and the ends of the streets have lofty gateways, which are always tastefully constructed, and often decorated with sculptures and Greek inscriptions." The "larger gates have either simple or (what are most common) double doors. They consist of a slab of dolerite. There are certainly no doors of any other kind." These stone doors turn upon pegs, deeply inserted into the threshold and lintel. "Even a man can only shut and open doors of this kind, by pressing with the back or feet against the wall, and pushing the door with both hands" (Wetzstein, pp. 50ff.; compare with this the testimony of Buckingham, Burckhardt, Seetzen, and others, in v. Raumer's Palestine, pp. 78ff.).

Now, even if the existing ruins of Hauran date for the most part from a later period, and are probably of a Nabataean origin belonging to the times of Trajan and the Antonines, yet considering the stability of the East, and the peculiar nature of the soil of Hauran, they give a tolerably correct idea of the sixty towns of the kingdom of Og of Bashan, all of which were fortified with high walls, gates, and bars, or, as it is stated in 1 Kings 4:13, "with walls and brazen bars."

(Note: It is also by no means impossible, that many of the oldest dwellings in the ruined towers of Hauran date from a time anterior to the conquest of the land by the Israelites. "Simple, built of heavy blocks of basalt roughly hewn, and as hard as iron, with very thick walls, very strong stone gates and doors, many of which were about eighteen inches thick, and were formerly fastened with immense bolts, and of which traces still remain; such houses as these may have been the work of the old giant tribe of Rephaim, whose king, Og, was defeated by the Israelites 3000 years ago" (C. v. Raumer, Pal. p. 80, after Porter's Five Years in Damascus).)

The brazen bars were no doubt, like the gates themselves, of basalt or dolerite, which might easily be mistaken for brass. Besides the sixty fortified towns, the Israelites took a very large number of הפּרזי ערי, "towns of the inhabitants of the flat country," i.e., unfortified open hamlets and villages in Bashan, and put them under the ban, like the towns of king Sihon (Deuteronomy 3:6, Deuteronomy 3:7; cf. Deuteronomy 2:34-35). The infinitive, החרם, is to be construed as a gerund (cf. Ges. 131, 2; Ewald, 280, a.). The expression, "kingdom of Og in Bashan," implies that the kingdom of Og was not limited to the land of Bashan, but included the northern half of Gilead as well. In Deuteronomy 3:8-11, Moses takes a retrospective view of the whole of the land that had been taken on the other side of the Jordan; first of all (Deuteronomy 3:9) in its whole extent from the Arnon to Hermon, then (Deuteronomy 3:10) in its separate parts, to bring out in all its grandeur what the Lord had done for Israel. The notices of the different names of Hermon (Deuteronomy 3:9), and of the bed of king Og (Deuteronomy 3:11), are also subservient to this end. Hermon is the southernmost spur of Antilibanus, the present Jebel es Sheikh, or Jebel et Telj. The Hebrew name is not connected with חרם, anathema, as Hengstenberg supposes (Diss. pp. 197-8); nor was it first given by the Israelites to this mountain, which formed part of the northern boundary of the land which they had taken; but it is to be traced to an Arabic word signifying prominens montis vertex, and was a name which had long been current at that time, for which the Israelites used the Hebrew name שׂיאן (Sion equals נשׂיאן, the high, eminent: Deuteronomy 4:48), though this name did not supplant the traditional name of Hermon. The Sidonians called it Siron, a modified form of שׁריון (1 Samuel 17:5), or נשׂיון (Jeremiah 46:4), a "coat of mail;" the Amorites called it Senir, probably a word with the same meaning. In Psalm 29:6, Sirion is used poetically for Hermon; and Ezekiel (Ezekiel 27:4) uses Senir, in a mournful dirge over Tyre, as synonymous with Lebanon; whilst Senir is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 5:23, and Shenir in Sol 4:8, in connection with Hermon, as a part of Antilibanus, as it might very naturally happen that the Amoritish name continued attached to one or other of the peaks of the mountain, just as we find that even Arabian geographers, such as Abulfeda and Maraszid, call that portion of Antilibanus which stretches from Baalbek to Emesa (Homs, Heliopolis) by the name of Sanir.

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