Numbers 21

Numbers 21

War with the Canaanites
1The Canaanite king of Arad lived in the southern area. He heard that the Israelites were coming on the road to Atharim. So he attacked them and captured some of them. 2Then the Israelites made this promise to the Lord: “If you will help us defeat these people, we will completely destroy their cities.” 3The Lord listened to the Israelites. And he let them defeat the Canaanites. The Israelites completely destroyed the Canaanites and their cities. So the place was named Hormah.# This name in Hebrew means “completely destroyed.”
The Bronze Snake
4The Israelites left Mount Hor and went on the road toward the Gulf of Aqaba. They did this to go around the country of Edom. But the people became impatient on the way. 5They grumbled at God and Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt? We will die in this desert! There is no bread! There is no water! And we hate this terrible food!”
6So the Lord sent them poisonous snakes. They bit the people, and many of the Israelites died. 7The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we grumbled at you and the Lord. Pray that the Lord will take away these snakes.” So Moses prayed for the people.
8The Lord said to Moses, “Make a bronze snake. And put it on a pole. If anyone is bitten, he should look at it. Then he will live.” 9So Moses made a bronze snake. And he put it on a pole. Then when a snake bit anyone, he looked at the bronze snake and lived.
The Journey to Moab
10The Israelites went and camped at Oboth. 11They went from Oboth to Iye Abarim. This was in the desert east of Moab. 12From there they went and camped in the Zered Valley. 13From there they went and camped across the Arnon. This was in the desert just inside the Amorite country. The Arnon is the border between the Moabites and the Amorites. 14That is why the Book of the Wars of the Lord says:
“. . . and Waheb in Suphah, and the ravines,
the Arnon, 15and the slopes of the ravines
that lead to the settlement of Ar.
These places are at the border of Moab.”
16The Israelites went from there to Beer. A well is there where the Lord said to Moses, “Gather the people. I will give them water.”
17Then the Israelites sang this song:
“Pour out water, well!
Sing about it.
18Princes dug this well.
Important men made this hole.
With their scepters and poles, they dug it.”
The people went from the desert to Mattanah. 19From Mattanah they went to Nahaliel and on to Bamoth. 20From Bamoth they went to the valley of Moab. There the top of Mount Pisgah looks over the desert.
Sihon and Og
21The people of Israel sent messengers to Sihon, king of the Amorites. They said to him, 22“Let us pass through your country. We will not go through any fields of grain or vineyards. We will not drink water from the wells. We will travel only along the king’s road. We will stay on it until we have passed through your country.”
23But King Sihon would not let the Israelites pass through his country. He gathered his army together. They marched out to meet Israel in the desert. At Jahaz they fought the Israelites. 24Israel killed the king. Then they captured his land from the Arnon River to the Jabbok River. They took the land as far as the Ammonite border. That border was strongly defended. 25Israel captured all the Amorite cities and lived in them. They took Heshbon and all the towns around it. 26Heshbon was the city where Sihon, the Amorite king, lived. In the past he had fought with the king of Moab. Sihon had taken all the land as far as the Arnon.
27That is why the poets say:
“Come to Heshbon
and rebuild it.
Rebuild Sihon’s city.
28A fire began in Heshbon.
Flames came from Sihon’s city.
It destroyed Ar in Moab.
It burned the Arnon highlands.
29How terrible for you, Moab!
The people of Chemosh are ruined.
His sons ran away.
His daughters were captured
by Sihon, king of the Amorites.
30But we defeated those Amorites.
We ruined their towns from Heshbon to Dibon.
We destroyed them as far as Nophah, near Medeba.”
31So Israel lived in the land of the Amorites.
32Moses sent spies to the town of Jazer. Then they captured the towns around it. They forced out the Amorites who lived there.
33Then the Israelites went up the road toward Bashan. Og, the king of Bashan, and his army marched out to meet the Israelites. They fought at Edrei.
34The Lord said to Moses, “Don’t be afraid of him. I will hand him, his whole army and his land over to you. Do to him what you did to Sihon, the Amorite king who lived in Heshbon.”
35So the Israelites killed Og and his sons and all his army. No one was left alive. And they took his land.
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