Numbers 21:33
And they turned and went up by the way of Bashan: and Og the king of Bashan went out against them, he, and all his people, to the battle at Edrei.
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Numbers 21:33. Og — Who was also a king of the Amorites. And it may seem that Sihon and Og were the leaders or captains of two great colonies which came out of Canaan, and drove out the former inhabitants of these places. Bashan — A rich country, famous for its pastures and breed of cattle, and for its oaks.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 these apparently unimportant words is contained the record of the Israelite Numbers 32:39 occupation of Gilead north of the Jabbok; a territory which, though populated, like southern Gilead, by the Amorites (Deuteronomy 3:9; Joshua 2:10, etc.), formed part of the domain of Og king of Bashan, who was himself of a different race Deuteronomy 3:2; Joshua 12:5; Joshua 13:11. We are not told whether they were led there by express warrant of God, or whether their advance upon Bashan was provoked by Og and his people.

At Edrei - Now Edhra'ah, commonly Der'a; situate on a branch of the Jarmuk. This river formed the boundary between Gilead and Bashan.

33. they turned and went up by the way of Bashan—a name given to that district from the richness of the soil—now Batanea or El-Bottein—a hilly region east of the Jordan lying between the mountains of Hermon on the north and those of Gilead on the south.

Og—a giant, an Amoritish prince, who, having opposed the progress of the Israelites, was defeated.

Og also was a king of the Amorites, of whom see Deu 3:1,11. And it may seem that Sihon and Og were the leaders or captains of two great colonies which came out of Canaan, and drove out the former inhabitants of these places.

Bashan, a rich country, famous for its pastures and breed of cattle, Deu 32:14 Psalm 22:12 Jeremiah 1:19, and for its oaks, Ezekiel 27:6. And they turned,.... From Jaazer, after they had taken it, and came back a little way:

and went up by the way of Bashan; which was a nearer way to Canaan, a fine country abounding with oxen and sheep, having rich pastures, and very famous for its oaks; it had its name from the mountain of Bashan in it, and has been since called Batanea; it was at this time in the hands of the Amorites, and from them it was taken by Israel, as follows: who marched this way for that purpose, or at least were so directed by the providence of God for that end:

and Og king of Bashan went out against them; who was of the race of the giants, and he himself of a gigantic stature, and was a king of the Amorites, as well as Sihon, Deuteronomy 3:8, he came out in an hostile manner against Israel, to stop them going any further:

he, and all his people: out of his many cities, a numerous army no doubt:

to the battle at Edrei; where it was fought between him and Israel. Jerom says (t) it was in his time called Adara, a famous city of Arabia, twenty four or twenty five miles from Bozra, and six from Ashtaroth Karnaim, the ancient seat of the Rephaim, or giants from whom Og sprung, Genesis 14:5, and was the seat of Og now, from whence he came to Edrei or Adara, to meet and fight Israel there; see Deuteronomy 1:4.

(t) De locis Heb. fol. 87. I. & 92. M.

And they turned and went up by the way of Bashan: and Og the king of Bashan went out against them, he, and all his people, to the battle at Edrei.
33. by the way to the Bashan] The name, which usually has the article, seems to signify ‘soft and fertile ground.’ The Bashan was ‘the broad and fertile tract of country on the E . of Jordan, bounded (somewhat roughly) on the S. by the Yarmûk and a line passing through Edre‘i and Salecah (mentioned as border cities in Deuteronomy 3:10), on the E . by the imposing range of extinct volcanoes called the Jebel Ḥaurân, on the W. by Geshur and Ma‘acah (see Joshua 12:5), and on the N. stretching out towards Hermon (cf. Deuteronomy 33:22)’ (Driver, Enc. Bibl. [Note: nc. Bibl. Encyclopaedia Biblica.] 495). It was noted for its rich pastures, its well-fed herds of cattle and its oak forests.Verse 33. - They turned and went up by the way of Bashan. The brevity of the narrative does not allow us to know who went upon this expedition, or why they went. It may have been only the detachment which had reconnoitered and taken Jaazer, and they may have found themselves threatened by the forces of Og, and so led on to further conquests beyond the Jabbok. Og the king of Bashan. Og was himself of the aboriginal giant race which had left so many remnants, or at least so many memories, in these regions (see on Deuteronomy 2:10-12, 20-23; Joshua 12:4; 13:12); but he is classed with Sihon as a king of the Amorites (Joshua 2:10) because his people were chiefly at least of that race. Bashan itself comprised the plain now known as Jaulan and Haulan beyond the Jarmuk (now Mandhur), the largest affluent of the Jordan, which joins it a few miles below the lake of Tiberias. The kingdom of Og, however, extended over the northern and larger part of Gilead, a much more fertile territory than Bashan proper (see on Deuteronomy 3:1-17). At Edrei. Probably the modern Edhra'ah, or Der'a, situate on a branch of the Jarmuk, some twenty-four miles from Bozrah. The ancient city lies buried beneath the modern village, and was built, like the other cities of Bashan, in the most massive style of architecture. The cities of Og were so strong that the Israelites could not have dispossessed him by any might of their own if he had abode behind his walls. Either confidence in his warlike prowess or some more mysterious cause (see on Joshua 24:12) impelled him to leave his fortifications, and give battle to the Israelites to his own utter defeat. The glorious conquest and destruction of the capital of the powerful king of the Amorites, in the might of the Lord their God, inspired certain composers of proverbs (משׁלים denom. from משׁל) to write songs in commemoration of the victory. Three strophes are given from a song of this kind, and introduced with the words "therefore,' sc., because Heshbon had fallen in this manner, "the composers of proverbs say." The first strophe (Numbers 21:27 and Numbers 21:28) runs thus: "Come to Heshbon: Built and restored be the city of Sihon! For fire went out of Heshbon; flames from the city of Sihon. It devoured Ar Moab, the lords of the heights of Arnon." The summons to come to Heshbon and build this ruined city up again, was not addressed to the Israelites, but to the conquered Amorites, and is to be interpreted as ironical (F. v. Meyer; Ewald, Gesch. ii. pp. 267, 268): "Come to Heshbon, ye victorious Amorites, and build your royal city up again, which we have laid in ruins! A fire has gone out of it, and burned up Ar Moab, and the lords of the heights of the Arnon." The reference is to the war-fire, which the victorious Amorites kindled from Heshbon in the land of Moab under the former king of Moab; that is to say, the war in which they subjugated Ar Moab and the possessors of the heights of Arnon. Ar Moab (see at Numbers 21:15) appears to have been formerly the capital of all Moabitis, or at least of that portion of it which was situated upon the northern side of the Arnon; and the prominence given to it in Deuteronomy 2:9, Deuteronomy 2:18, Deuteronomy 2:29, is in harmony with this. The heights of Arnon are mentioned as the limits to which Sihon had carried his victorious supremacy over Moab. The "lords" of these heights are the Moabites.
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