v1 ‘Then we turned back and we went towards the *desert. We travelled along the way to the Red Sea as the *LORD had told us to do. We travelled round the hills in Seir (Edom) for a long time.
v2 Then the *LORD said this to me. v3 “You have gone round this mountain for long enough. Now turn to the north. v4 Tell the *Israelites this. ‘You are ready now to go through the country that belongs to your relatives, the *descendants of Esau. They live in Seir. They will be afraid of you, but be careful. v5 Do not start a war against them because I will not give to you any of their country. I will not give to you enough land on which to put a foot. I have given to Esau’s family the hills in Seir. It is their possession. v6 You must pay them with money for your food and water.’ ”
v7 The *LORD your God has *blessed you in everything that you have done. He has taken care of you as you have travelled through this vast *desert. The *LORD your God has been with you for 40 years. You have had everything that you needed.’
God ordered the *Israelites to travel on. The people in Edom did not allow them to go through Seir. (See Numbers 20:14-21.) The people in Edom were afraid of the *Israelites. God told the *Israelites not to attack the people in Edom or to take their country. God had given that country to the family of Esau. Moses reminded the people that God had provided for them during their long journey. He had given to them everything that they needed in the *desert. They should not desire areas of country that they did not need.
In Philippians 4:19, Paul reminds Christians that God will supply all their needs. He will do that by means of the resources that Jesus provides.
v8 ‘So we went past the land that belonged to the family of Esau. They are our relatives, who live in Seir. We travelled along the route to the towns called Elath and Ezion-Geber. Then we turned and we travelled along the *desert route to Moab.
v9 Then the *LORD said to me, “Do not attack the *Moabites. Do not start a war against them. I will not give any of their land to you as your possession. I have given the city called Ar to the family of Lot. It is their possession.” v10 (A strong and large group of people called the ‘Emites’ used to live in Ar. They were as tall as the people called *Anakites. v11 Many people called the *Anakites ‘*Rephaites’. And they also called the people who lived in Ar ‘Rephaites’. But the *Moabites called them the ‘Emites’. v12 The people who were called Horites used to live in Seir. But the family of Esau *captured their land. The family of Esau killed them and Esau’s family lived there instead of the Horites. Also the *Israelites did a similar thing in the country that the *LORD gave to them for their possession.)
v13 Then the *LORD said, “Go across the Zered Valley.” So we did.
v14 We crossed the Zered Valley 38 years after we had left Kadesh Barnea. By then, all the men who were old enough to fight had died. The *LORD had declared that this would happen. v15 The *LORD continued to oppose them until they had all died. At last, none of them remained alive in the camp.
v16 After they had all died, v17 the *LORD spoke to me. v18 “Today you must go near to the region called Moab. It will be at the place called Ar. v19 When you approach the *Ammonites, do not attack them. Do not start a war against them. I will not give any of their land to you to possess. I have given it to the family of Lot. It is their possession.” ’
v20 (People call that place ‘the country of the *Rephaites’. The *Rephaite people used to live there. The *Ammonites called them the ‘Zamzummin’. v21 They were a strong and large group of people. And they were as tall as the *Anakites. The *LORD *destroyed the Zamzummin people. So, the *Ammonites *captured their country and they lived there. v22 The *LORD did a similar thing for the family of Esau, who lived in Seir. He *destroyed the people called the Horites. So, the people from the country called Edom *captured their country. And the people from Edom still live there today. v23 The people called Avvites, lived there. But the people from Crete *destroyed them. The people from Crete *captured the land right up to the city called Gaza.)
God told the *Israelites which territory they must not *capture. God had given that territory to the families of Esau and Lot. This statement taught them that there was only one God. He had given to each nation its own country. No false god had given it to them. The *Rephaites were a group of very tall people. They lived in Canaan before the *Israelites arrived. The name ‘Emite’ means ‘the terrible people’. The word ‘Zamzummin’ means ‘the wicked men’. *Israelite men were old enough to fight when they were 20 years old. (See Numbers 1:3.) Moses reminded the *Israelites that they had wandered for 38 years in the *desert. During that time, all the people who had left Egypt over 20 years old had died.
They could not enter the country that God had given to the *Israelites. The writer of the Book of Hebrews tells us the reason for that. ‘They were not able to enter because they did not trust God.’ (See Hebrews 3:19.) The writer encourages Christians to trust God. Then they will receive the good things that God promises.
v24 ‘ “Go across the River Arnon. I will hand over to you Sihon, who is the *Amorite king of Heshbon, and his territory. Begin to possess his territory and to attack him. v25 From today I will make people everywhere to be afraid of you. They will hear reports about you. They will tremble and they will be very afraid of you.”
v26 From the Kedemoth *desert, I sent people with a message that offered peace. They took this message to Sihon, king of Heshbon. v27 “Let us go through your country. We will stay on the main road and we will not leave it. v28 We will pay for our food and water. We just want to walk through your country. v29 We will do that until we go across the River Jordan. Then we will reach the country that the *LORD our God is giving to us. The family of Esau in Seir and the *Moabites in Ar allowed us to do that.” v30 But King Sihon of Heshbon would not let us go through his country. He refused and he would not change his decision. The *LORD your God made that happen. The *LORD did that because he wanted you to defeat him. Now it has happened.
v31 The *LORD said this to me. “Look, I have begun to give to you King Sihon and his country. Now start to *capture and to possess his territory.”
v32 Sihon came with all his army to fight us at the town called Jahaz. v33 The *LORD our God helped us to *capture him. We killed him and his sons and we killed all his army. v34 Also we *captured all his towns and we *destroyed them. We killed everyone. We killed the men, the women and the children. Nobody remained alive. v35 But we took the animals and we took the people’s possessions from the towns. v36 The *LORD our God gave to us all the towns from Aroer to Gilead. Aroer is on the edge of the valley called Arnon. We also *captured the town in the middle of the valley. No town was too strong for us to *capture. v37 You obeyed what the *LORD our God had ordered. You did not go near to the country of the *Ammonites. You did not go near to the land by the River Jabbok. And you did not go near to the towns in the hills.’
The *Israelites defeated two *Amorite kings and they took the territory of the *Amorites. The first king was Sihon, king of Heshbon. Moses offered to go through his territory in peace and to pay for food and drink. Sihon would not allow the *Israelites to do that. Because of that decision, God made Sihon refuse to change his mind. When a person refuses, it is very hard for that person ever to change. That happened to Pharaoh before the *Israelites left Egypt. (See Exodus 7:1-5.) God ordered the *Israelites to kill or to *destroy certain people or objects. Those people gave honour to false gods. The objects were things to which they gave honour. The *Israelites would imitate those people if they left them alive. (Read the notes on chapter 7 verses 1-5 for more explanation about that.)