Numbers 21:20
And from Bamoth in the valley, that is in the country of Moab, to the top of Pisgah, which looketh toward Jeshimon.
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(20) And from Bamoth in the valley.—Better, and from Bamoth to the valley that is . . . The country (or, rather, field) of Moab was a portion of the table-land which stretches from Rabbath Ammân to the Arnon. The valley in this table-land was upon the height of Pisgah—i.e., the northern part of the mountains of Abarim.

Toward Jeshimon.—Or, across the waste (or, desert).

Numbers 21:20. Pisgah — This was the top of those high hills of Abarim.

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.In the country of Moab - Rather, in the field of Moab: the upland pastures, or flat downs, intersected by the ravine of Wady Waleh.

Pisgah, which looketh toward Jeshimon - Or, "toward the waste." See Numbers 33:47. Pisgah was a ridge of the Abarim mountains, westward from Heshbon. From the summit the Israelites gained their first view of the wastes of the Dead Sea and of the valley of the Jordan: and Moses again ascended it, to view, before his death, the land of promise. The interest attaching to the spot, and the need of a convenient name for it, has led Christians often to designate it as "Nebo," rather than as "the mountain of, or near to, Nebo;" but the latter is the more correct: Nebo denoted the town Isaiah 15:2; Jeremiah 48:1, Jeremiah 48:22 on the western slope of the ridge.

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. In the valley; or, the valley, which might be called Bamoth, not because it was a place naturally high, but from divers other reasons, which may be easily guessed. Or, to the valley, or to that valley, that famous or rather infamous valley, to wit, of Abel-shittim, Numbers 33:49, where they committed those foul abominations recorded Num 25

Pisgah was the top of these high hills of Abarim; of which see Deu 3:17,27 32:49 34:1,6.

And from Bamoth, in the valley,.... Or rather "to the valley", as the Targum of Onkelos, since Bamoth signifies high places; though, according to the Jerusalem Talmud (o), Bamoth, Baal, which seems to be the same place, was in a plain:

that is in the country of Moab; the valley belonged to Moab, into which Israel came:

to the top of Pisgah; not that the valley reached to the top, nor did the children of Israel go to the top of it, only Moses, but rather to the bottom, which indeed is meant; for it intends the beginning of it, where Pisgah, which was an high mountain near the plains of Moab, began, and which was properly the foot of it:

which looketh towards Jeshimon; that is, Pisgah, as Jarchi rightly interprets it, which looked over a place called Jeshimon; and which signifies a wilderness, and is no other indeed than the wilderness of Kedemoth, Deuteronomy 2:26 for from thence the following messengers were sent.

(o) Sheviith, fol. 38. 4.

And from Bamoth in the valley, that is in the country of Moab, to the top of Pisgah, which looketh toward Jeshimon.
20. the valley that is in the region of Moab, [om. to] the top of the Pisgah] The two expressions are placed somewhat awkwardly in apposition; but they appear to mean: the valley which is in that part of the region of Moab known as the top of the Pisgah.

the valley] was a glen (gay’, distinct from naḥal, Numbers 21:14) which cut through the hills and emerged at the Jordan, perhaps the present Wâdy ‘Ayûn Mûsa (‘Moses’ springs’) which runs into the Jordan valley some four or five miles north of the northern end of the Dead Sea, the torrent then flowing with a south-westerly curve into the Sea.

the region of Moab] denotes the region which properly belonged to Moab, but of which the Amorites were in possession at the moment.

the top of the Pisgah] ‘The Pisgah’ seems to have been the name applied to the broken edge of the Moabite plateau where it falls steeply to the Dead Sea and the Jordan valley; and ‘the top, or head, of the Pisgah’ (Numbers 23:14, Deuteronomy 3:27; Deuteronomy 34:1) is a collective term for the projections or promontories slightly lower than the main plateau and standing out from the western slopes. The word is derived from a root which in Aram. and late Heb. signifies ‘to cleave’; and it may describe the appearance of the range as seen from the west, standing out in a series of separate peaks.

which looketh down upon the Jeshimon] The name, which denotes ‘arid or desert land,’ is used of the deserts through which Israel passed in their journey from Egypt (Deuteronomy 32:10, Psalm 68:7 &c.), and of the waste land on the east of Judah, north of the Dead Sea (1 Samuel 23:19; 1 Samuel 23:24; 1 Samuel 26:1; 1 Samuel 26:3 marg.). But here the verb ‘looketh down,’ which is chiefly used of men looking down from a window (Genesis 26:8, 2 Samuel 24:20, Song of Solomon 6:10), or of God looking down out of heaven (Psalm 102:19), seems to point to a district more immediately below the Pisgah, which must be the barren tract north of the Dead Sea and east of the Jordan (see G. A. Smith, H. G. [Note: . G. Historical Geography of the Holy Land.] 564 note).

Verse 20. - And from Bamoth in the valley, that is in the country of Moab, to the top of Pisgah. The original runs simply thus: "And from Bamoth - the valley which in the field - Moab - the top - Pisgah." It may therefore be read, "And from the heights to the valley that is in the field of Moab, viz., the top of Pisgah." The "field" of Moab (Septuagint, ἐν τῷ πεδίῳ) was no doubt the open, treeless expanse north of Arnon, drained by the Wady Waleh, which had formerly belonged to Moab. Pisgah ("the ridge") was a part of the Abarim ranges west of Heshbon, from the summit of which the first view is gained of the valley of Jordan and the hills of Palestine (cf. Numbers 33:47; Deuteronomy 3:27; Deuteronomy 34:1). Which looketh toward Jeshimon. Jeshimon, or "the waste," seems to mean here that desert plain on the north-east side of the Salt Sea now called the Ghor el Belka, which included in its barren desolation the southernmost portion of the Jordan valley. Numbers 21:20From Bamoth they proceeded "to the valley, which (is) in the field of Moab, upon the top of Pisgah, and looks across the face of the desert." הפּסנּה ראשׁ, head, or height of the Pisgah, is in apposition to the field of Moab. The "field of Moab" was a portion of the table-land which stretches from Rabbath Ammn to the Arnon, which "is perfectly treeless for an immense distance in one part (viz., the neighbourhood of Eleale), but covered over with the ruins of towns that have been destroyed," and which "extends to the desert of Arabia towards the east, and slopes off to the Jordan and the Dead Sea towards the west" (v. Raumer, Pal. p. 71). It is identical with "the whole plain from Medeba to Dibon" (Joshua 13:9), and "the whole plain by Medeba" (Numbers 21:16), in which Heshbon and its cities were situated (Numbers 21:17; cf. Numbers 21:21 and Deuteronomy 3:10). The valley in this tableland was upon the height of Pisgah, i.e., the northern part of the mountains of Abarim, and looked across the surface of the desert. Jeshimon, the desert, is the plain of Ghor el Belka, i.e., the valley of desolation on the north-eastern border of the Dead Sea, which stretches from the Wady Menshalla or Wady Ghuweir (el Guer) to the small brook el Szume (Wady es Suweimeh on Van de Velde's map) at the Dead Sea, and narrows it more and more at the northern extremity on this side. "Ghor el Belka consists in part of a barren, salt, and stony soil; though there are some portions which can be cultivated. To the north of the brook el Szume, the great plain of the Jordan begins, which is utterly without fertility till you reach the Nahr Hesbn, about two hours distant, and produces nothing but bitter, salt herbs for camels" (Seetzen, ii. pp. 373, 374), and which was probably reckoned as part of Jeshimon, since Beth-jeshimoth was situated within it (see at Numbers 23:28). The valley in which the Israelites were encamped in the field of Moab upon the top of Pisgah, is therefore to be sought for to the west of Heshbon, on the mountain range of Abarim, which slopes off into the Ghor el Belka. From this the Israelites advanced into the Arboth Moab (see Numbers 22:1).

If we compare the places of encampment named in Numbers 21:11-20 with the list of stations in Numbers 33:41-49, we find, instead of the seven places, mentioned here between Ijje Abarim and the Arboth Moab,-viz., Brook Zared, on the other side of the Arnon in the desert, Beer, Mattana, Nahaliel, Bamoth, and the valley in the field of Moab upon the top of Pisgah-only three places given, viz., Dibon of Gad, Almon Diblathaim, and Mount Abarim before Nebo. That the last of these is only another name for the valley in the field of Moab upon the top of Pisgah, is undoubtedly proved by the fact that, according to Deuteronomy 34:1 (cf. Numbers 3:27), Mount Nebo was a peak of Pisgah, and that it was situated, according to Deuteronomy 32:49, upon the mountains of Abarim, from which it is evident at once that the Pisgah was a portion of the mountains of Abarim, and in fact the northern portion opposite to Jericho (see at Numbers 27:12). The two other differences in the names may be explained from the circumstance that the space occupied by the encampment of the Israelites, an army of 600,000 men, with their wives, children, and cattle, when once they reached the inhabited country with its towns and villages, where every spot had its own fixed name, must have extended over several places, so that the very same encampment might be called by one or other of the places upon which it touched. If Dibon Gad (Numbers 33:45) was the Dibon built (i.e., rebuilt or fortified) by the Gadites after the conquest of the land (Numbers 32:3, Numbers 32:34), and allotted to the Reubenites (Joshua 13:9, Joshua 13:17), which is still traceable in the ruins of Dibn, an hour to the north of the Arnon (v. Raumer, Pal. p. 261), (and there is no reason to doubt it), then the place of encampment, Nahaliel (Encheile), was identical with Dibon of Gad, and was placed after this town in Numbers 33:45, because the camp of the Israelites extended as far as Dibon along the northern bank of that river. Almon Diblathaim also stands in the same relation to Bamoth. The two places do not appear to have been far from one another; for Almon Diblathaim is probably identical with Beth Diblathaim, which is mentioned in Jeremiah 48:22 along with Dibon, Nebo, and other Moabite towns, and is to be sought for to the north or north-west of Dibon. For, according to Jerome (Onom. s. v. Jassa), Jahza was between Medaba and Deblatai, for which Eusebius has written Δηβούς by mistake for Διβών; Eusebius having determined the relative position of Jahza according to a more southerly place, Jerome according to one farther north. The camp of the Israelites therefore may easily have extended from Almon or Beth-diblathaim to Bamoth, and might very well take its name from either place.

(Note: Neither this difference in the names of the places of encampment, nor the material diversity, - viz., that in the chapter before us there are four places more introduced than in Numbers 33, whereas in every other case the list in Numbers 33 contains a larger number of stations than we read of in the historical account-at all warrants the hypothesis, that the present chapter is founded upon a different document from Numbers 33. For they may be explained in a very simple manner, as Kurtz has most conclusively demonstrated (vol. iii. pp. 383-5), from the diversity in the character of the two chapters. Numbers 33 is purely statistical. The catalogue given there "contains a complete list in regular order of all the stations properly so called, that is to say, of those places of encampment where Israel made a longer stay than at other times, and therefore not only constructed an organized camp, but also set up the tabernacle." In the historical account, on the other hand, the places mentioned are simply those which were of historical importance. For this reason there are fewer stations introduced between Mount Hor and Ijje Abarim than in Numbers 33, stations where nothing of importance occurred being passed over; but, on the other hand, there are a larger number mentioned between Ijje Abarim and Arboth Moab, and some of them places where no complete camp was constructed with the tabernacle set up, probably because they were memorable as starting-points for the expeditions into the two Amorite kingdoms.)

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