Numbers 21:19
And from Mattanah to Nahaliel: and from Nahaliel to Bamoth:
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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.Nahaliel - i. e. "brook of God;" the modern Wady Enkheileh. The Israelites must have crossed the stream not much above Ar.

Bamoth - Otherwise Bamoth-baal, "the high places of Baal" Numbers 22:41 : mentioned as near Dibon (Dhiban) in Joshua 13:17, and Isaiah 15:2. See Numbers 32:34.

17, 18. Then Israel sang—This beautiful little song was in accordance with the wants and feelings of travelling caravans in the East, where water is an occasion both of prayer and thanksgiving. From the princes using their official rods only, and not spades, it seems probable that this well was concealed by the brushwood or the sand, as is the case with many wells in Idumea still. The discovery of it was seasonable, and owing to the special interposition of God. See Poole "Numbers 21:16". And from Mattanah to Nahaliel, and from Nahaliel to Bamoth. All the Targums interpret this, and the following verse, not of the journeying of the children of Israel, but of the motion of the well, that that, from the place from whence it was given them, descended with them into the valleys, and from thence to the high places, as these words signify: and indeed those places are not mentioned in the journeys of the children of Israel, Numbers 33:1 and were not stations where they pitched, but places they passed through before they came to Abarim, and the wilderness of Kedemoth. And from Mattanah to Nahaliel: and from Nahaliel to Bamoth:
19. and from Mattanah to Nahaliel] If Budde’s suggestion in the preceding note is correct, the original reading here was perhaps ‘and from thence to N.’, as in Numbers 21:16 after the insertion of the foregoing song, or, following the hint in the LXX. , ‘and from Beer to N.’

Nahaliel is unknown. It means ‘the wady of God.’ G. A. Smith (H. G. [Note: . G. Historical Geography of the Holy Land.] 562) suggests the Wady Zerkâ Ma‘în with its healing springs, which flows into the Dead Sea about midway between its northern end and the mouth of the Arnon.

Bamoth] The name means ‘high places.’ These were numerous in the hilly country of Moab, so that the place cannot be safely identified. It is probably an abbreviation of a compound name, and may be the same as Bamoth-Baal (Numbers 22:41 marg., Joshua 13:17). ‘Beth-Bamoth’ (perhaps the same place) occurs in Mesha’s inscription, known as the Moabite stone. (See Hastings’ DB. iii. 407.) Bamoth was probably a high place not far south of the ‘valley’ of Numbers 21:20.Verse 19. - And from Mattanah to Nahaliel. The latter name, which means "the brook of God," seems to be still retained by the Encheileh, one of the northern affluents of the Wady Mojeb. From Nahaliel to Bamoth. Bamoth simply means "heights" or "high places," and was therefore a frequent name. This Bamoth maybe the same as the Bamoth-Baal of chapter Numbers 22:41; Joshua 13:17, but it is uncertain. A Beth-Bamoth is mentioned on the Moabite stone. The next encampment was "beyond (i.e., by the side of) the Arnon, which is in the desert, and that cometh out of the territory of the Amorites." The Arnon, i.e., the present Wady Mojeb, is formed by the union of the Seyl (i.e., brook or river) Sade, which comes from the south-east, not far from Katrane, on the pilgrim road, and the Lejum from the north-east, which receives the small rivers el Makhreys and Balua, the latter flowing from the pilgrim station Kalaat Balua, and then continues its course to the Dead Sea, through a deep and narrow valley, shut in by very steep and lofty cliffs, and covered with blocks of stone, that have been brought down from the loftier ground (Burckhardt, pp. 633ff.), so that there are only a few places where it is passable; and consequently a wandering people like the Israelites could not have crossed the Mojeb itself to force an entrance into the territory of the hostile Amorites.

(Note: It is utterly inconceivable that a whole people, travelling with all their possessions as well as with their flocks, should have been exposed without necessity to the dangers and enormous difficulties that would attend the crossing of so dreadfully wild and so deep a valley, and that merely for the purpose of forcing an entrance into an enemy's country. - Ritter, Erdk. xv. p. 1207.)

For the Arnon formed the boundary between Moab and the country of the Amorites. The spot where Israel encamped on the Arnon must be sought for in the upper part of its course, where it is still flowing "in the desert;" not at Wady Zade, however, although Burckhardt calls this the main source of the Mojeb, but at the Balua, which flows into the Lejum. In all probability these streams, of which the Lejum came from the north, already bore the name of Arnon; as we may gather from the expression, "that cometh out of the coasts of the Amorites." The place of Israel's encampment, "beyond the Arnon in the desert," is to be sought for, therefore, in the neighbourhood of Kalaat Balua, and on the south side of the Arnon (Balua). This is evident enough from Deuteronomy 2:24, Deuteronomy 2:26., where the Israelites are represented as entering the territory of the Amoritish king Sihon, when they crossed the Arnon, having first of all sent a deputation, with a peaceable request for permission to pass through his land (cf. Numbers 21:21.). Although this took place, according to Deuteronomy 2:26, "out of the wilderness of Kedemoth," an Amoritish town, it by no means follows that the Israelites had already crossed the Arnon and entered the territory of the Amorites, but only that they were standing on the border of it, and in the desert which took its name from Kedemoth, and ran up to this, the most easterly town, as the name seems to imply, of the country of the Amorites. After the conquest of the country, Kedemoth was allotted to the Reubenites (Joshua 13:18), and made into a Levitical city (Joshua 21:37; 1 Chronicles 6:64).

The Israelites now received instructions from the Lord, to cross the river Arnon, and make war upon the Amoritish king Sihon of Heshbon, and take possession of his land, with the assurance that the Lord had given Sihon into the hand of Israel, and would fill all nations before them with fear and trembling (Deuteronomy 2:24-25). This summons, with its attendant promises, not only filled the Israelites with courage and strength to enter upon the conflict with the mightiest of all the tribes of the Canaanites, but inspired poets in the midst of them to commemorate in odes the wars of Jehovah, and His victories over His foes. A few verses are given here out of one of these odes (Deuteronomy 2:14.), not for the purpose of verifying the geographical statement, that the Arnon touches the border of Moabitis, or that the Israelites had only arrived at the border of the Moabite and Amorite territory, but as an evidence that there, on the borders of Moab, the Israelites had been inspired through the divine promises with the firm assurance that they should be able to conquer the land of the Amorites which lay before them.

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