Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
Then we turned, and went up the way to Bashan: and Og the king of Bashan came out against us, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei.Prayers That Must Cease
'The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended.' There are prayers that must not be prolonged. We have wearied God, we are talking unwisely to Him; we think we are praying when we are only aggravating Divine providence; it would be the supreme mercy if we could only learn to hold our tongue. It is as if God had said, We have had enough of this matter; this is mere ignorance or selfishness; this is no piety, it is anything but piety; thou art now talking wordily and ineffectively, and nothing can follow such talk as this but bitter disappointment; drop it! This is a great and blessed mystery in the Divine sovereignty and providence of the world. Some people you cannot get to be still; your only hope of partial safety is in not allowing them to begin; by all means prevent them from opening their lips; if you once permit them to begin, they will never imagine that it can be possible that you would wish them to end. A remarkable instance is that of Moses. There was a longing in his courageous, kingly old heart to go over and to go into the land. 'I pray Thee let me go over and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain and Lebanon; I have had a long hard time of it; who could repeat the miserable experience I have had with this wild, unchastened Israel? Do let me go over and see the end of it all, which shall also be the beginning of it all, as sunset seems to hide in its radiant heart white and glorious sunrise.' The Lord said in effect: Moses, we have had enough of this; let there be no whining and no continuance of this poor mean prayer; speak no more to Me of this matter; the arrangement is complete and final; fall into My hands, having first encouraged Joshua, thy successor, who has not done one-hundredth part of thy work; but I have a meaning in this; speak no more about it. Hence we come almost abruptly upon the subject of stifled prayers, prayers cut right in two, a most tragic and heart-paining bisection of our prayer. We thought we might talk always to God, but herein we are rebuked; we have been offering, mayhap, poor prayers, mean, worthless, superstitious, or superficial prayers; we have not gone deeply down into the root and life of the matter; and God seems to say, For My sake, drop it; speak no more about it. 'The Lord was wroth with me for your sakes, and would not hear me,' would not hear even me after this lifetime of priestly solicitude and fatherly intercession. Thus we are driven to consider whether there may not be some prayers that ought not to be prayed, and thus we are further driven to consider whether we may not have sinned in prayer; for if some people begin there is no getting rid of them any more.
I. What are the prayers which ought to be stifled, and of which God wishes to hear nothing more? They are selfish or self-considering prayers, which never find their way into heaven. No nail could carry them up so high, no eagle-nail so strong in pinion could lift up the burden of such worthless prayers to the threshold of heaven.
One of the things we shall have to repent of some day, when we are bigger and wiser souls, will be our prayers.
II. There are prayers that minister subtly but surely to intellectual or social vanity. A man will set himself to pray for knowledge of the future. The future has always been fascinating to a certain type of imagination. If we could only find out, without other people being also able to find out, what is coming tomorrow! There is a field for fancy! The Lord will not hear us; when He does admit anybody into His more secret chambers it is the babe. What babe ever took up any room, or were we not so fond of the babe that we imagined it occupied no place at all, but was just as welcome as a sunbeam and as little likely to incommode us in the matter of space?
III. There are prayers that do not involve thorough renewal and submission of heart; they are anecdote prayers, little pottering prayers about fine days and fine harvests and rain and divers little comforts that are specially and locally desired and needed; it will require all the grace of God to turn these whinings into real and effectual prayers. There is no prayer worth praying that does not aim at the submission of the human will to the Divine—'Nevertheless, not my will, but Thine be done'. That is true prayer, and prayer, we have often said, that is always and necessarily, when offered in the right spirit, answered and glorified.
—Joseph Parker, City Temple Pulpit, vol. III. p. 40.
And the LORD said unto me, Fear him not: for I will deliver him, and all his people, and his land, into thy hand; and thou shalt do unto him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon.
So the LORD our God delivered into our hands Og also, the king of Bashan, and all his people: and we smote him until none was left to him remaining.
And we took all his cities at that time, there was not a city which we took not from them, threescore cities, all the region of Argob, the kingdom of Og in Bashan.
All these cities were fenced with high walls, gates, and bars; beside unwalled towns a great many.
And we utterly destroyed them, as we did unto Sihon king of Heshbon, utterly destroying the men, women, and children, of every city.
But all the cattle, and the spoil of the cities, we took for a prey to ourselves.
And we took at that time out of the hand of the two kings of the Amorites the land that was on this side Jordan, from the river of Arnon unto mount Hermon;
(Which Hermon the Sidonians call Sirion; and the Amorites call it Shenir;)
All the cities of the plain, and all Gilead, and all Bashan, unto Salchah and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan.
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.
And this land, which we possessed at that time, from Aroer, which is by the river Arnon, and half mount Gilead, and the cities thereof, gave I unto the Reubenites and to the Gadites.
And the rest of Gilead, and all Bashan, being the kingdom of Og, gave I unto the half tribe of Manasseh; all the region of Argob, with all Bashan, which was called the land of giants.
Jair the son of Manasseh took all the country of Argob unto the coasts of Geshuri and Maachathi; and called them after his own name, Bashanhavothjair, unto this day.
And I gave Gilead unto Machir.
And unto the Reubenites and unto the Gadites I gave from Gilead even unto the river Arnon half the valley, and the border even unto the river Jabbok, which is the border of the children of Ammon;
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.
And I commanded you at that time, saying, The LORD your God hath given you this land to possess it: ye shall pass over armed before your brethren the children of Israel, all that are meet for the war.
But your wives, and your little ones, and your cattle, (for I know that ye have much cattle,) shall abide in your cities which I have given you;
Until the LORD have given rest unto your brethren, as well as unto you, and until they also possess the land which the LORD your God hath given them beyond Jordan: and then shall ye return every man unto his possession, which I have given you.
And I commanded Joshua at that time, saying, Thine eyes have seen all that the LORD your God hath done unto these two kings: so shall the LORD do unto all the kingdoms whither thou passest.
Ye shall not fear them: for the LORD your God he shall fight for you.
And I besought the LORD at that time, saying,
O Lord GOD, thou hast begun to shew thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand: for what God is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might?
I pray thee, let me go over, and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon.
But the LORD was wroth with me for your sakes, and would not hear me: and the LORD said unto me, Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter.
Get thee up into the top of Pisgah, and lift up thine eyes westward, and northward, and southward, and eastward, and behold it with thine eyes: for thou shalt not go over this Jordan.
But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see.
So we abode in the valley over against Bethpeor.