Numbers 21:16
And from there they went to Beer: that is the well whereof the LORD spoke to Moses, Gather the people together, and I will give them water.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
21:10-20 We have here the removes of the children of Israel, till they came to the plains of Moab, from whence they passed over Jordan into Canaan. The end of their pilgrimage was near. They set forward. It were well if we did thus; and the nearer we come to heaven, were so much the more active and abundant in the work of the Lord. The wonderful success God granted to his people, is here spoken of, and, among the rest, their actions on the river Arnon, at Vaheb in Suphah, and other places on that river. In every stage of our lives, nay, in every step, we should notice what God has wrought for us; what he did at such a time, and what in such a place, ought to be distinctly remembered. God blessed his people with a supply of water. When we come to heaven, we shall remove to the well of life, the fountain of living waters. They received it with joy and thankfulness, which made the mercy doubly sweet. With joy must we draw water out of the wells of salvation, Isa 12:3. As the brazen serpent was a figure of Christ, who is lifted up for our cure, so is this well a figure of the Spirit, who is poured forth for our comfort, and from whom flow to us rivers of living waters, Joh 7:38,39. Does this well spring up in our souls? If so, we should take the comfort to ourselves, and give the glory to God. God promised to give water, but they must open the ground. God's favours must be expected in the use of such means as are within our power, but still the power is only of God.Beer is probably the "Well," afterward known as Beer-elim, the "well of heroes" Isaiah 15:8. 16. from thence they went to Beer—that is, a "well." The name was probably given to it afterwards [see Jud 9:21], as it is not mentioned (Nu 33:1-56). Beer, and Mattanah, Nahaliel, and Bamoth named here, Numbers 21:19, are not mentioned among those places where they pitched or encamped, Num 33. Either therefore they did not pitch or encamp in these places, but only pass by or through them, nor indeed is it here said they pitched or encamped in these places, which is said of those places, Num 33, but only that they went to them, Numbers 21:18; or, these are stations omitted there, and to be supplied from hence; for though it be there said they went from such a place, and pitched in such a place, yet it is not said they went immediately from the one place to the other, and therefore they might take these places in their way.

Will give them water, to wit, in a miraculous manner. And from thence they went to Beer,.... A place so called from a well which sprung up here, of which the following account is given:

that is, the well whereof the Lord spake unto Moses; promising him to give it to the children of Israel, without asking for it; which was a very singular favour, and for which they were thankful: saying to him:

gather the people together, and I will give them water; for as they were now gone from the river Arnon, and the streams and brooks of it, they might be in want of water, though they did not murmur as they had been used to do; and without their petition for it, the Lord promises to give it to them; and that they might be witness of the miracle that would be wrought for them, they are ordered to be gathered together.

And from thence they went to Beer: that is the well whereof the LORD spake unto Moses, Gather the people together, and I will give them water.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. The journey in a westerly, or north-westerly, direction is here begun.

Beer] The name means a ‘well’ (R.V. marg.). It is probably an abbreviation of a compound name; cf. Beer-sheba. A place called Beer-elim in Moab is mentioned in Isaiah 15:8, but whether Beer is to be identified with that is not known.Verse 16. - And from thence... to Beer. A well; so named, no doubt, from the circumstance here recorded. That they were told to dig for water instead of receiving it from the rock showed the end to be at hand, and the transition shortly to be made from miraculous to natural supplies. March of Israel round Edom and Moab, to the Heights of Pisgah in the Field of Moab (cf. Numbers 33:41-47). - Numbers 21:10. From the camp in the Arabah, which is not more particularly described, where the murmuring people were punished by fiery serpents, Israel removed to Oboth. According to the list of stations in Numbers 33:41., they went from Hor to Zalmonah, the situation of which has not been determined; for C. v. Raumer's conjecture (der Zug der Israeliten, p. 45), that it was the same place as the modern Maan, has no firm basis in the fact that Maan is a station of the Syrian pilgrim caravans. From Zalmonah they went to Phunon, and only then to Oboth. The name Phunon is no doubt the same as Phinon, a tribe-seat of the Edomitish Phylarch (Genesis 36:41); and according to Jerome (Onom. s. v. Fenon), it was "a little village in the desert, where copper was dug up by condemned criminals (see at Genesis 36:41), between Petra and Zoar." This statement suits very well, provided we imagine the situation of Phunon to have been not in a straight line between Petra and Zoar, but more to the east, between the mountains on the edge of the desert. For the Israelites unquestionably went from the southern end of the Arabah to the eastern side of Idumaea, through the Wady el Ithm (Getum), which opens into the Arabah from the east, a few hours to the north of Akaba and the ancient Ezion-geber. They had then gone round the mountains of Edom, and begun to "turn to the north" (Deuteronomy 2:3), so that they now proceeded farther northwards, on the eastern side of the mountains of Edom, "through the territory of the sons of Esau," no doubt by the same road which is taken in the present day by the caravans which go from Gaza to Maan, through the Ghor. "This runs upon a grassy ridge, forming the western border of the coast of Arabia, and the eastern border of the cultivated land, which stretches from the land of Edom to the sources of the Jordan, on the eastern side of the Ghor" (v. Raumer, Zug, p. 45). On the western side of their mountains the Edomites had refused permission to the Israelites to pass through their land (Numbers 20:18.), as the mountains of Seir terminate towards the Ghor (the Arabah) in steep and lofty precipices, and there are only two or three narrow wadys which intersect them from west to east; and of these the Wady Ghuweir is the only one which is practicable for an army, and even this could be held so securely by a moderate army, that no enemy could force its way into the heart of the country (see Leake in Burckhardt, pp. 21, 22; and Robinson, ii. p. 583). It was different on the eastern side, where the mountains slope off into a wide extent of table-land, which is only slightly elevated above the desert of Arabia. Here, on the weaker side of their frontier, the Edomites lost the heart to make any attack upon the Israelites, who would now have been able to requite their hostilities. But the Lord had commanded Israel not to make war upon the sons of Esau; but when passing through their territory, to purchase food and water from them for money (Deuteronomy 2:4-6). The Edomites submitted to the necessity, and endeavoured to take advantage of it, by selling provisions, "in the same way in which, at the present day, the caravan from Mecca is supplied with provisions by the inhabitants of the mountains along the pilgrim road" (Leake in Burckhardt, p. 24). The situation of Oboth cannot be determined.
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