Joshua 12:2
Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelled in Heshbon, and ruled from Aroer, which is on the bank of the river Arnon, and from the middle of the river, and from half Gilead, even to the river Jabbok, which is the border of the children of Ammon;
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12:1-6 Fresh mercies must not drown the remembrance of former mercies, nor must the glory of the present instruments of good to the church diminish the just honour of those who went before them, since God is the same who wrought by both. Moses gave to one part of Israel a very rich and fruitful country, but it was on the outside of Jordan. Joshua gave to all Israel the holy land, within Jordan. So the law has given to some few of God's spiritual Israel worldly blessings, earnests of good things to come; but our Lord Jesus, the true Joshua, provided for all the children of promise spiritual blessings, and the heavenly Canaan.From the middle of the river - i. e. as appears from Joshua 13:9, Joshua 13:16, "from the city that is in the midst of the river;" namely,, Ar Moab (see Deuteronomy 2:36).CHAPTER 12

Jos 12:1-6. The Two Kings Whose Countries Moses Took and Disposed of.

1. Now these are the kings of the land, which the children of Israel smote, and possessed their land on the other side Jordan—This chapter contains a recapitulation of the conquests made in the promised land, with the additional mention of some places not formerly noted in the sacred history. The river Arnon on the south and mount Hermon on the north were the respective boundaries of the land acquired by the Israelites beyond Jordan (see Nu 21:21-24; De 2:36; 3:3-16 [and see on [187]De 2:24]).

From the middle of the river: it is not unusual, even amongst us, for a river to be divided between two lords, and for their territories or jurisdictions to meet in the middle of the river; and besides, here is a very particular reason for this expression, because the city Ar, which was no part of Sihon’s dominions, but belonged to the Moabites, Deu 2:9,18, was in the middle of the river Arnon, Deu 2:36 Deu 3:16; and therefore the middle of the river is most fitly and properly here mentioned, as the bound of Sihon’s dominion on that side.

And from half Gilead, Heb. and the half Gilead, i.e. half of the country of Gilead: the particle from is not in the original, and this doth not seem to denote the term or bound from which his dominion begun, as our version implies, for so indeed it was not; but the place or country in and over which his dominion was, which, as is here said, began at Arnon, and took in half Gilead, and ended at Jabbok, beyond which was the other half of Gilead, which belonged to Og, as is expressly said, Joshua 12:5, where the words being wholly the same that are here, it is most reasonable to understand and translate them in the same manner. Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt in Heshbon,.... Which he took from the Moabites, and made his capital city, Numbers 21:26,

and ruled from Aroer, which is upon the bank of the river of Arnon; a city of Moab, which never fell into the hands of Sihon, and therefore he is said to rule from it but not over it:

and from the middle of the river; that is, the river Arnon, which being the boundary of the Moabites and Amorites, the king of the Amorites might be said to rule from the middle of it:

and from half Gilead even unto the river Jabbok, which is the border of the children of Ammon; so it is said to be, Deuteronomy 3:16; it should be rendered, not "from half Gilead", but "and half Gilead", as it is in the Hebrew text, and so in the Targum; for half Gilead belonged to the kingdom of Sihon, as the other half did to the kingdom of Og, as in Joshua 12:5; and so Jarchi remarks.

Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt in Heshbon, and ruled from Aroer, which is upon the bank of the river Arnon, and from the middle of the river, and from half Gilead, even unto the river Jabbok, which is the border of the children of Ammon;
2. Sihon king of the Amorites] See Numbers 21:24; Deuteronomy 2:33; Deuteronomy 3:6; Deuteronomy 3:16.

who dwelt in Heshbon] On the western border of the high plain (Mishor, Joshua 13:17), and on the boundary line between the tribes of Reuben and Gad. “The ruins of Hesbân, 20 miles east of the Jordan, on the parallel of the northern end of the Dead Sea, mark the site, as they bear the name, of the ancient Heshbon.” “There is little, of a place once famed in olden story, for the traveller to see. A large piece of walling at the west end of the bold isolated hill, on which the old fortress stood; with a square block house, and a pointed archway adjoining; a temple on the crest of the hill, with the pavement unbroken and the bases of four columns still in situ; on the east, in the plain, just at the base of the hill, a great cistern, called by some ‘the fish-pools of Hesbon,’ but more probably only the reservoir for the supply of the city—these are all that remain.” Tristram’s Land of Moab, pp. 338, 339.

from Aroer] “which is set on the brenke of the stronde of Arnon,” Wyclif. Aroer lay partly on and partly in the Arnon, i. e. on an island, now ’Arâir. It was allotted to Reuben (Joshua 13:16), but later came into the possession of Moab (Jeremiah 48:19). Bochardt found ruins with the name ’Arâir on the old Roman road, upon the very edge of the precipitous north bank of the Wady Mojeb.

half Gilead] Properly Gilead denotes (i) a mountain on the south bank of the Jabbok (Genesis 31:21-48) with a city of the same name; (ii) the immediate neighbourhood of this mountain (Numbers 32:1; Deuteronomy 2:36-37); (iii) the whole mountain district between the Arnon and the Jabbok, now called Belka (see Deuteronomy 34:1; 1 Kings 4:19).

the river Jabbok] “The streem of Jabuch,” Wyclif, = “the gushing-brook,” now the Wady Zurka.Verse 2. - The river Jabbok. Literally, the pouring or emptying stream. It is remarkable that, while the LXX. renders here by χείμαρρος, a winter torrent, it steadily renders the same Hebrew word, when referring to Aruon, by φάραγξ. This latter word indicates the rocky cleft through which the water flows; the former, the fact that, though rapid and impetuous in winter, it was usually dried up in summer. Cf. the term χείμαρρος, applied to the Kedron by St. John (Joshua 18:1); a remarkable instance of accuracy, by the way, if, as we are confidently told, the author of that Gospel was an Ephesine Gentile who had never seen Jerusalem and was imperfectly acquainted with Jewish localities and customs. The Jabbok has been identified with the Wady Zerka, or blue stream. Joshua made war with the kings of Canaan a long time; judging from Joshua 14:7, Joshua 14:10, as much as seven years, though Josephus (Ant. v. 1, 19) speaks of five (see at Joshua 14:10). No town submitted peaceably to the Israelites, with the exception of Gibeon: they took the whole in war. "For it was of the Lord" (Joshua 11:20), i.e., God ordered it so that they (the Canaanites) hardened their heart to make war upon Israel, that they might fall under the ban, and be destroyed without mercy. On the hardening of the heart as a work of God, see the remarks upon the hardening of Pharaoh (Exodus 4:21). It cannot be inferred from this, that if the Canaanites had received the Israelites amicably, God would have withdrawn His command to destroy them, and allowed the Israelites to make peace with them; for when they made peace with the Gibeonites, they did not inquire what as the will of the Lord, but acted in opposition to it (see at Joshua 9:14). The remark is made with special reference to this, and has been correctly explained by Augustine (qu. 8 in Jos.) as follows: "Because the Israelites had shown mercy to some of them of their own accord, though in opposition to the command of God, therefore it is stated that they (the Canaanites) made war upon them so that none of them were spared, and the Israelites were not induced to show mercy to the neglect of the commandment of God."
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