Numbers 21:20
And from Bamoth in the valley, that is in the country of Moab, to the top of Pisgah, which looks toward Jeshimon.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
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. "Therefore," sc., because the Lord had thus given king Sihon, with all his land, into the hand of Israel, "it is written in the book of the wars of the Lord: Vaheb (Jehovah takes) in storm, and the brooks of Arnon and the valley of the brooks, which turns to the dwelling of Ar, and leans upon the border of Moab." The book of the wars of Jehovah is neither an Amoritish book of the conflicts of Baal, in which the warlike feats performed by Sihon and other Amoritish heroes with the help of Baal were celebrated in verse, as G. Unruh fabulously asserts in his Zug der Isr. aus Aeg. nach Canaan (p. 130), nor a work "dating from the time of Jehoshaphat, containing the early history of the Israelites, from the Hebrew patriarchs till past the time of Joshua, with the law interwoven," which is the character that Knobel's critical fancy would stamp upon it, but a collection of odes of the time of Moses himself, in celebration of the glorious acts of the Lord to and for the Israelites; and "the quotation bears the same relation to the history itself, as the verses of Krner would bear to the writings of any historian of the wars of freedom, who had himself taken part in these wars, and introduced the verses into his own historical work" (Hengstenberg).

(Note: "That such a book should arise in the last days of Moses, when the youthful generation began for the first time to regard and manifest itself, both vigorously and generally, as the army of Jehovah, is so far from being a surprising fact, that we can scarcely imagine a more suitable time for the commencement of such a work" (Baumgarten). And if this is the case, the allusion to this collection of odes cannot be adduced as an argument against the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, since Moses certainly did not write out the history of the journey from Kadesh to the Arboth Moab until after the two kings of the Amorites had been defeated, and the land to the east of the Jordan conquered, or till the Israelites had encamped in the steppes of Moab, opposite to Jericho.)

The strophe selected from the ode has neither subject nor verb in it, as the ode was well known to the contemporaries, and what had to be supplied could easily be gathered from the title, "Wars of Jehovah." Vaheb is no doubt the proper name of an Amoritish fortress; and בּסוּפה, "in storm," is to be explained according to Nahum 1:3, "The Lord, in the storm is His way." "Advancing in storm, He took Vaheb and the brooks of Arnon," i.e., the different wadys, valleys cut by brooks, which open into the Arnon. הנּחלים אשׁד, lit., pouring of the brooks, from אשׁד, effusio, the pouring, then the place where brooks pour down, the slope of mountains or hills, for which the term אשׁדה is generally used in the plural, particularly to denote the slopes of the mountains of Pisgah (Deuteronomy 3:17; Deuteronomy 4:49; Joshua 12:3; Joshua 13:20), and the hilly region of Palestine, which formed the transition from the mountains to the plain (Joshua 10:40 and Joshua 12:8). שׁבת, the dwelling, used poetically for the dwelling-place, as in 2 Samuel 23:7 and Obadiah 1:3. ער (Ar), the antiquated form for עיר, a city, is the same as Ar Moab in Numbers 21:28 and Isaiah 15:1, "the city of Moab, on the border of the Arnon, which is at the end of the (Moabitish) territory" (Numbers 22:36). It was called Areopolis by the Greeks, and was near to Aror (Deuteronomy 2:36 and Joshua 13:9), probably standing at the confluence of the Lejum and Mojeb, in the "fine green pasture land, in the midst of which there is a hill with some ruins," and not far away the ruin of a small castle, with a heap of broken columns (Burckhardt, Syr. p. 636). This Ar is not to be identified with the modern Rabba, in the midst of the land of the Moabites, six hours to the south of Lejum, to which the name Areopolis was transferred in the patristic age, probably after the destruction of Ar, the ancient Areopolis, by an earthquake, of which Jerome gives an account in connection with his own childhood (see his Com. on Isaiah 15:1-9), possibly the earthquake which occurred in the year a.d. 342, and by which many cities of the East were destroyed, and among others Nicomedia (cf. Hengstenberg, Balaam, pp. 525-528; Ritter, Erdkunde, xv. pp. 1212ff.; and v. Raumer, Palstina, pp. 270, 271, Ed. 4).

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