From there they removed, and pitched in the valley of Zared.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)by the torrent or brook of Zared, as we render it, Deu 2:13; which ran into the Dead Sea, and from which the valley also might be so called. Deuteronomy 13:14 that is near it: this seems to be the same station with Dibongad, Numbers 33:45, and which, according to the above writer, was sixteen miles from Ijeabarim. From thence they removed, and pitched in the valley of Zared.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)12. From thence they journeyed] The last place mentioned in J E was ‘the way to the Red Sea’ (Numbers 21:4); but it is probable that some stages in the journey have been lost, and that ‘thence’ originally referred to a distinct town or locality.
the wady of Zered] The Heb. naḥal denotes both a small torrent and the depression through which it flows; the German ‘Bachtal’ expresses it well.
The name Zered has not been identified; if, however, the compiler was sufficiently acquainted with the geography of the district to place the names Oboth and Iye-abarim (from P ) in their right position, Zered must lie to the north of the latter town, and may be either the Seil Sa‘îdeh which flows into the Arnon from the S.E., or the Seil Lejjûn a smaller tributary of the Seil Sa‘îdeh or else the Wady-el-Kerak (or the upper course of it named Wady-el-Franji) which runs north-west past Kerak into the Dead Sea.
Numbers 21:12-20. J E
The Israelites arrived at a spot on the S.E. border of Moab, and then, having travelled northwards along its eastern boundary, penetrated westward till they reached the cliffs which fall to the Dead Sea. Notice that the formula used in the itinerary has changed; in Numbers 21:10-11 it is ‘and they journeyed from —— and encamped in ——,’ as throughout ch. 33; but here it is ‘from thence they journeyed, and encamped in ——,’ or some shorter expression.
On the whole of this section see G. A. Smith, Hist. Geogr. 557–66, and his article ‘Moab’ in Enc. Bibl. [Note: nc. Bibl. Encyclopaedia Biblica.]
Verse 12. - Pitched in the valley of Zared. Rather, "in the brook of Zered." בְנַחַל זֶרֶד Perhaps the upper part of the Wady Kerek, which flows westwards into the Salt Sea (see on Deuteronomy 2:13). Exodus 6:9), and they began once more to murmur against God and Moses, because they had neither bread nor water (cf. Numbers 20:4.), and were tired of the loose, i.e., poor, food of manna (קלקל from קלל). The low-lying plain of the Arabah, which runs between steep mountain walls from the Dead Sea to the Red Sea, would be most likely to furnish the Israelites with very little food, except the manna which God gave them; for although it is not altogether destitute of vegetation, especially at the mouths of the wadys and winter torrents from the hills, yet on the whole it is a horrible desert, with a loose sandy soil, and drifts of granite and other stones, where terrible sand-storms sometimes arise from the neighbourhood of the Red Sea (see v. Schubert, R. ii. pp. 396ff., and Ritter, Erdk. xiv. pp. 1013ff.); and the want of food might very frequently be accompanied by the absence of drinkable water. The people rebelled in consequence, and were punished by the Lord with fiery serpents, the bite of which caused many to die. שׂרפים נחשׁים, lit., burning snakes, so called from their burning, i.e., inflammatory bite, which filled with heat and poison, just as many of the snakes were called by the Greeks, e.g., the ́ ͂, and καύσωνες (Dioscor. vii. 13: Aelian. nat. anim. vi. 51), not from the skin of these snakes with fiery red spots, which are frequently found in the Arabah, and are very poisonous.
(Note: This is the account given by v. Schubert, R. ii. p. 406: "In the afternoon they brought us a very mottled snake of a large size, marked with fiery red spots and wavy stripes, which belonged to the most poisonous species, as the formation of its teeth clearly showed. According to the assertion of the Bedouins, these snakes, which they greatly dreaded, were very common in that neighbourhood.")
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