Numbers 21:21
And Israel sent messengers unto Sihon king of the Amorites, saying,
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Numbers 21:21-22. Sent messengers — By God’s allowance, that so Sihon’s malice might be the more evident and inexcusable, and their title to his country more clear in the judgment of all men, as being gotten by a just war, into which they were forced for their own defence. Let me pass — They spoke what they seriously intended, and would have done, if he had given them a quiet passage.

21:21-35 Sihon went with his forces against Israel, out of his own borders, without provocation, and so ran upon his own ruin. The enemies of God's church often perish by the counsels they think most wisely taken. Og, king of Bashan, instead of being warned by the fate of his neighbours, to make peace with Israel, makes war with them, which proves in like manner his destruction. Wicked men do their utmost to secure themselves and their possessions against the judgments of God; but all in vain, when the day comes on which they must fall. God gave Israel success, while Moses was with them, that he might see the beginning of the glorious work, though he must not live to see it finished. This was, in comparison, but as the day of small things, yet it was an earnest of great things. We must prepare for fresh conflicts and enemies. We must make no peace or truce with the powers of darkness, nor even treat with them; nor should we expect any pause in our contest. But, trusting in God, and obeying his commands, we shall be more than conquerors over every enemy.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.

21-23. Israel sent messengers unto Sihon—The rejection of their respectful and pacific message was resented—Sihon was discomfited in battle—and Israel obtained by right of conquest the whole of the Amorite dominions. By God’s allowance, that so Sihon’s malice might be the more evident and inexcusable, and that their title to his country more clear in the judgments of all men, as being gotten by a just war, into which they were forced for their own defence.

And Israel sent messengers unto Sihon king of the Amorites,.... Who were one of the nations of the Canaanites, and a principal and powerful one, and who were devoted to destruction, and their land designed for the people of Israel; see Genesis 15:16, at this time Sihon was their king, to whom Moses, in the name of Israel, sent a very peaceable message from the wilderness of Kedemoth, which lay near his country, Deuteronomy 2:26,

saying; as follows.

And Israel sent messengers unto Sihon king of the Amorites, saying,
21–25. Sihon, refusing passage through his territory, was conquered, and his towns were occupied.

21–35. The victories over Sihon and Og. See the parallel account in Deuteronomy 2:24 to Deuteronomy 3:13. The previous verses have described the Israelites’ march through the territory occupied by the Amorites on the north of the Arnon, and their arrival at one of the glens which cleave the western edge of the plateau, close to the spot where it ran into the Jordan valley. The narrative now returns to the earlier point, described in Numbers 21:13, when they were still on the eastern border of the Amorites.

Since the town of Heshbon commanded the glens, it would have been impossible to penetrate into them unless the town had first been captured; but the writer has arranged his material in the present order for the sake of convenience. The battles with Sihon and Og being the last struggles before the promised land could be reached, the remembrance of them was cherished; see Jdg 11:19-22, 1 Kings 4:19, Nehemiah 9:22, Psalm 135:11; Psalm 136:19 f.

Verse 21. - And Israel sent messengers unto Sihon. The narrative here returns to the point of time when the Israelites first reached the Upper Arnon, the boundary stream of the kingdom of Sihon (see on verse 13, and cf. Deuteronomy 2:24-37). The list of stations in the preceding verses may probably have been copied out of some official record; it may be considered as marking the movements of the tabernacle with Eleazar and the Levites and the mass of the non-combatant population. In the mean time the armies of Israel were engaged in victorious enterprises which took them far afield. King of the Amorites. The Amorites were not akin to the Hebrews, as the Edomites, Moabites, and Ammonites were, who all claimed descent from Terah. They were of the Canaanitish stock (Genesis 10:16), and indeed the name Amorite often appears as synonymous with Canaanite in its larger sense (Deuteronomy 1:7, 19, 27, &c.). If at one time they are mentioned side by side with five or six other tribes of the same stock (Exodus 34:11), yet at another they seem to be so much the representative race that "the Ammorite" stands for the inhabitants of Canaan in general whom Israel was commissioned to oust on account of his iniquity (Genesis 15:16). It is not, therefore, possible to draw any certain distinction between the Amorites of Sihon's kingdom and the mass of the Canaanites on the other side Jordan. Both Sihon and his people appear as intruders in this region, having come down perhaps from the northern parts of Palestine, and having but recently (it would seem) wrested from the king of Moab all his territory north of Arnon. It was the fact of the Amorites being found here which led to the conquest and settlement of the trans-Jordanic territory. That territory was not apparently included in the original gift (compare Numbers 34:2-12 with Genesis 10:19 and Genesis 15:19-21), but since the Amorite had possessed himself of it, it must pass with all the rest of his habitation to the chosen people. Numbers 21:21Defeat of the Amorite Kings, Sihon of Heshbon and Og of Bashan, and Conquest of their Kingdoms.

Numbers 21:21-23

When the Israelites reached the eastern border of the kingdom of the Amorite king Sihon (see at Numbers 21:13), they sent messengers to him, as they had previously done to the king of Edom, to ask permission to pass peaceably through his territory upon the high road (cf. Numbers 21:22 and Numbers 20:17); and Sihon refused this request, just as the king of Edom had done, and marched with all his people against the Israelites. But whereas the Lord forbade the Israelites to make war upon their kinsmen the Edomites, He now commanded them to make war upon the Amorite king, and take possession of his land (Deuteronomy 2:24-25); for the Amorites belonged to the Canaanitish tribes which were ripe for the judgment of extermination (Genesis 15:16). And if, notwithstanding this, the Israelites sent to him with words of peace (Deuteronomy 2:26), this was simply done to leave the decision of his fate in his own hand (see at Deuteronomy 2:24). Sihon came out against the Israelites into the desert as far as Jahza, where a battle was fought, in which he was defeated. The accounts of the Onom. concerning Jahza, which was situated, according to Eusebius, between Medamon (Medaba) and Debous (Dibon, see above), and according to Jerome, between Medaba and Deblatai, may be reconciled with the statement that it was in the desert, provided we assume that it was not in a straight line between the places named, but in a more easterly direction on the edge of the desert, near to the commencement of the Wady Wale, a conclusion to which the juxtaposition of Jahza and Mephaot in Joshua 13:18; Joshua 21:37, and Jeremiah 48:21, also points (see at Joshua 13:18).

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