Then Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, Let me, I pray you, pass through your land: but the king of Edom would not listen thereto. And in like manner they sent to the king of Moab: but he would not consent: and Israel stayed in Kadesh.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Unto the king of Edom.—As narrated in Numbers 20:14, seq. Even if Jephthah had no written documents before him to which he could refer, the events which he recounts were not so distant as to have been forgotten.
Unto the king of Moab.—This is not recorded in the Pentateuch, but the Israelites did not enter the territory of Moab (Deuteronomy 2:9; Deuteronomy 2:36). The Arnon bounded Moab from the Amorites (Numbers 21:13), and Israel encamped upon its banks.Numbers 20:14, &c.
saying, let me, I pray thee, pass through thy land; the land of Edom, from the south to the north of it, according to Jarchi, which was the nearest and shortest way to the land of Canaan; so far were the Israelites from invading and seizing upon the properties of others, that they would not attempt to set their foot in another's country without leave; which they asked in an humble manner, promising to do no injury to any, but pay for whatever they ate and drank in their passage:
but the king of Edom would not hearken thereto; or grant their request, but refused them passage through his country:
and in like manner they sent unto the king of Moab, but he would not consent; that they should pass through his country, which lay, as Jarchi says, at the end of the land of Edom, to the west of it, and to the south of Canaan; and though we nowhere else read of their sending messengers to the king of Moab, and of the denial he made them, it is not at all to be doubted of, and the Jewish commentators observe, that it is clearly intimated by Moses, Deuteronomy 2:29.
as the children of Esau, who dwelt in Seir, and the Moabites which dwelt in Ar, did unto me; which they interpret thus, as the children of Esau would not suffer Israel to pass through their land, when desired of them, so neither would the Moabites, when the same request was made to them:
and Israel abode in Kadesh; quietly and peaceably, and did not attempt to force their way through either country, but continued in Kadesh some little time to consider what way they should take, and to wait for divine direction.Then Israel sent messengers unto the king of Edom, saying, Let me, I pray thee, pass through thy land: but the king of Edom would not hearken thereto. And in like manner they sent unto the king of Moab: but he would not consent: and Israel abode in Kadesh.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)17. Abbreviated from Numbers 20:14-18 JE. Edom lay to the S. and S.E. of Palestine. There is no mention elsewhere of the embassy to Moab.
Let me, I pray thee] The nation as a whole is personified, a not uncommon idiom; cf. Jdg 11:12, Jdg 20:23, Numbers 20:18 etc. In Jdg 11:19, Numbers 20:17; Numbers 20:19 the plur. and sing, interchange.Verse 17. - Then Israel sent messengers unto the king of Edom, saying, Let me, I Pray thee, pass through thy land (country in A.V. Numbers 20:17). The words in italics are found in Numbers 20:14, 17. And Israel abode in Kadesh. These words are in Numbers 20:1; see also Deuteronomy 1:46. The king of Edom would not hearken. This is related in substance in Numbers 20:18-21. And in like manner they sent unto the king of Moab. There is no mention of this in the Mosaic narrative. The knowledge of it must have been preserved either by tradition or in some other now lost writings; perhaps in the Book of the Wars of the Lord (Numbers 21:14). It is in itself very probable that such a message should have been sent to the king of Moab, whose territories Israel was forbidden to meddle with (Deuteronomy 2:9, 19).
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