Deuteronomy 3:17
The plain also, and Jordan, and the coast thereof, from Chinnereth even to the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, under Ashdothpisgah eastward.
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Deuteronomy 3:17. The plain — The low country toward Jordan. The sea of the plain — That is, that salt sea, which before that dreadful conflagration was a goodly plain.3:12-20 This country was settled on the Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh: see Nu 32. Moses repeats the condition of the grant to which they agreed. When at rest, we should desire to see our brethren at rest too, and should be ready to do what we can towards it; for we are not born for ourselves, but are members one of another.The sense is that the Reubenites and Gadites were to possess the district from the Jabbok on the north to the Arnon on the south, including the middle part of the valley of the Arnon, and the territory ("coast" or "border") thereto pertaining. 16. from Gilead—that is, not the mountainous region, but the town Ramoth-gilead,

even unto the river Arnon half the valley—The word "valley" signifies a wady, either filled with water or dry, as the Arnon is in summer, and thus the proper rendering of the passage will be—"even to the half or middle of the river Arnon" (compare Jos 12:2). This prudent arrangement of the boundaries was evidently made to prevent all disputes between the adjacent tribes about the exclusive right to the water.

The plain; the low country towards Jordan.

Chinnereth; of which see on Numbers 34:11 Joshua 12:3.

The sea of the plain, i.e. that salt sea, as it here follows, which before that dreadful conflagration was a goodly plain, called the plain of Jordan, Genesis 13:10. Ashdoth-pisgah; the proper name of a city, of which Joshua 13:20. The plain also, and Jordan,.... The plain by Jordan, the plains of Moab on the side of it, together with the river:

and the coast thereof; the country adjoining to it:

from Chinnereth even unto the sea of the plain, even the salt sea; that is, from Gennesaret, as the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan, called the land of Gennesaret, Matthew 14:34, from thence to the sea of Sodom, the sea of the plain, where the cities of the plain stood, Sodom, Gomorrah, &c. and the salt sea, so called from the salt and nitrous waters of it, the lake Asphaltites:

under Ashdothpisgah eastward; mentioned among the cities given to the tribe of Reuben, Joshua 13:20 rendered "the springs of Pisgah", Deuteronomy 4:49, the word having the signification of effusions, pourings out; so the Targums.

The plain also, and Jordan, and the coast thereof, from Chinnereth even unto the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, under Ashdothpisgah eastward.
17. the Arabah also, and Jordan for a border] The territory included the E. strip of the ‘Arabah—hence eastwards at the end of the verse—with the Jordan as its W. limit, and this between Chinnereth on the N. and the Sea of the ‘Arabah on the S. On the ‘Arabah see Deuteronomy 1:1. Kinnéreth was a town (Joshua 11:2; Joshua 19:35; the plur. Kinneroth a district, 1 Kings 15:20) either giving its name to, or taking its name from, the Sea of Kinnéreth (Numbers 34:11, P); probably the latter, if K. be from kinnôr, harp, as this suits the shape of the Lake; in later times called the L. of Gennesaret, a name frequently but not plausibly derived from Kinnereth (HGHL, 443). The Sea of the ‘Arabah (so Deuteronomy 4:49; 2 Kings 14:25), the Salt Sea (so Genesis 14:3; Numbers 34:3; Numbers 34:12; Joshua 15:2; Joshua 15:5; Joshua 18:19); both names as here in Joshua 3:16; Joshua 12:23; called also front or E. Sea (Ezekiel 47:18; Joel 2:20; Zechariah 14:8) in contrast to the Mediterranean the back or W. Sea, Deuteronomy 11:24. The Greeks gave the name Asphaltitis. ‘The Dead Sea’ first occurs under Augustus. Ar. Baḥr Lût, ‘Lot’s Sea.’

the slopes of Pisgah] So Deuteronomy 4:49; Joshua 12:3; Joshua 13:20. The Heb. ’ashedôth is slopes rather than springs (A.V.) as appears from the masc. form of the word, Numbers 21:15 (the eshed of the wâdies, which stretches to ‘Ar’s site and leans on the border of Moab); slopes, too, is most suitable in Joshua 10:40; Joshua 12:8, and with the use of the prepos. under in this verse. The Pisgah (always so) is the name attached by E (Numbers 21:20; Numbers 23:14) and by deuteronomic writers to ‘the western edge’ (G. B. Gray), or the headlands, of the Moabite Plateau at the N.E. corner of the Dead Sea. The headland of the Pisgah, which Moses ascended, Deuteronomy 3:27, is in Deuteronomy 32:49 (P) Mt Nebo (cp. their identification in Deuteronomy 34:1), that headland S. of the W. ‘Uyûn Musa which bears the names en-Neba’ and Râs en-Neba’, just opposite the N. end of the sea (HGHL, 562 ff.). One of its lower steps, called Wat en-Na‘am, is identified by Musil (Moab, 272, 274) with the slopes of the Pisgah. The deep W. es-Seyâle which cleaves this he takes as Abel Shittim (Numbers 33:49); but the latter is probably part of the Jordan valley. See further on Beth-Pe‘or, Deuteronomy 3:29. The name Pisgah has disappeared, unless we are to recognise it in the almost equivalent Râs Feshkhah, a headland on the opposite coast of the sea.Even in Abraham's time, the giant tribe of Rephaim was living in Bashan (Genesis 14:5). But out of the remnant of these, king Og, whom the Israelites defeated and slew, was the only one left. For the purpose of recalling the greatness of the grace of God that had been manifested in that victory, and not merely to establish the credibility of the statements concerning the size of Og ("just as things belonging to an age that has long passed away are shown to be credible by their remains," Spinoza, etc.), Moses points to the iron bed of this king, which was still in Rabbath-Ammon, and was nine cubits long and four broad, "after the cubit of a man," i.e., the ordinary cubit in common use (see the analogous expression, "a man's pen," Isaiah 8:1). הלה, for הלא, synonymous with הנּה. There is nothing to amaze is in the size of the bed or bedstead given here. The ordinary Hebrew cubit was only a foot and a half, probably only eighteen Dresden inches (see my Archologie, ii. p. 126, Anm. 4). Now a bed is always larger than the man who sleeps in it. But in this case Clericus fancies that Og "intentionally exceeded the necessary size, in order that posterity might be led to draw more magnificent conclusions from the size of the bed, as to the stature of the man who was accustomed to sleep in it." He also refers to the analogous case of Alexander the Great, of whom Diod. Sic. (xvii. 95) affirms, that whenever he was obliged to halt on his march to India, he made colossal arrangements of all kinds, causing, among other things, two couches to be prepared in the tents for every foot-soldier, each five cubits long, and two stalls for every horseman, twice as large as the ordinary size, "to represent a camp of heroes, and leave striking memorials behind for the inhabitants of the land, of gigantic men and their supernatural strength." With a similar intention Og may also have left behind him a gigantic bed as a memorial of his superhuman greatness, on the occasion of some expedition of his against the Ammonites; and this bed may have been preserved in their capital as a proof of the greatness of their foe.

(Note: "It will often be found, that very tall people are disposed to make themselves appear even taller than they actually are" (Hengstenberg, Diss. ii. p. 201). Moreover, there are still giants who are eight feet high and upwards. "According to the N. Preuss. Zeit. of 1857, there came a man to Berlin 8 feet 4 inches high, and possibly still growing, as he was only twenty years old; and he was said to have a great-uncle who was nine inches taller" (Schultz).)

Moses might then refer to this gigantic bed of Og, which was known to the Israelites; and there is no reason for resorting to the improbable conjecture, that the Ammonites had taken possession of a bed of king Og upon some expedition against the Amorites, and had carried it off as a trophy to their capital.

(Note: There is still less probability in the conjecture of J. D. Michaelis, Vater, Winer, and others, that Og's iron bed was a sarcophagus of basalt, such as are still frequently met with in those regions, as much as 9 feet long and 3 1/2 feet broad, or even as much as 12 feet long and 6 feet in breadth and height (vid., Burckhardt, pp. 220, 246; Robinson, iii. p. 385; Seetzen, i. pp. 355, 360); and the still further assumption, that the corpse of the fallen king was taken to Rabbah, and there interred in a royal way, is altogether improbable.)

"Rabbath of the sons of Ammon," or briefly Rabbah, i.e., the great (Joshua 13:25; 2 Samuel 11:1), was the capital of the Ammonites, afterwards called Philadelphia, probably from Ptolemaeus Philadelphus; by Polybius, Ῥαββατάμανα; by Abulfeda, Ammn, which is the name still given to the uninhabited ruins on the Nahr Ammn, i.e., the upper Jabbok (see Burckhardt, pp. 612ff. and v. Raumer, Pal. p. 268).

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