War With the Canaanites
1The Canaanite king of Arad lived in the Negev. He heard that the Israelites were coming on the road to Atharim, so the king went out and attacked the Israelites. Arad captured some of the people and made them prisoners. 2Then the Israelites made a special promise to the Lord: “Please help us defeat these people. If you do this, we will give their cities to you. We will totally destroy them.”
3The Lord listened to the Israelites and helped them defeat the Canaanites. They completely destroyed the Canaanites and their cities. So that place was named Hormah.#21:3 Hormah This name means “completely destroyed” or “a gift given totally to God.” See Lev. 27:28-29.
The Bronze Snake
4The Israelites left Mount Hor and traveled on the road that goes to the Red Sea. They did this to go around the country of Edom. But the people became impatient. 5They began complaining against God and Moses. The people said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt? We will die here in the desert! There is no bread and no water! And we hate this terrible food!”
6So the Lord sent poisonous snakes among the people. The snakes bit the people, and many of the Israelites died. 7The people came to Moses and said, “We know that we sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord. Ask him to take away these snakes.” So Moses prayed for them.
8The Lord said to Moses, “Make a bronze snake and put it on a pole. If anyone is bitten by a snake, that person should look at the bronze snake on the pole. Then that person will not die.” 9So Moses made a bronze snake and put it on a pole. Then when a snake bit anyone, that person looked at the bronze snake on the pole and lived.
The Trip to Moab
10The Israelites left that place and camped at Oboth. 11Then they left Oboth and camped at Iye Abarim in the desert east of Moab. 12They left that place and camped in Zered Valley. 13Then they moved and camped across from the Arnon River in the desert. This river started at the Ammonite border. The valley was the border between Moab and the Amorites. 14That is why these words are written in the Book of the Wars of the Lord:
“… and Waheb in Suphah, and the Valleys of the Arnon, 15and the hills by the valleys that lead to the town of Ar. These places are at the border of Moab.”
16The Israelites left that place and traveled to Beer.#21:16 Beer This Hebrew name means “well.” There is a well in Beer, where the Lord said to Moses, “Bring the people together here, and I will give them water.” 17Then the Israelites sang this song:
“Well, flow with water!
Sing about it!
18Great men dug this well.
Important leaders dug this well.
They dug this well with their staffs and walking sticks.
It is a gift in the desert.”#21:18 gift in the desert In Hebrew this is the name “Mattanah.”
19The people traveled from Mattanah to Nahaliel. Then they traveled from Nahaliel to Bamoth. 20They traveled from Bamoth to the Valley of Moab. In this place the top of the Pisgah Mountain looks over the desert.
Sihon and Og
21The Israelites sent some men to King Sihon of the Amorites. The men said to the king,
22“Allow us to travel through your country. We will not go through any field or vineyard. We will not drink water from any of your wells. We will travel only along King’s Road. We will stay on that road until we have traveled through your country.”
23But King Sihon would not allow the Israelites to travel through his country. He gathered together his army and marched out to the desert to fight against the Israelites. The king’s army fought against the Israelites at Jahaz.
24But the Israelites defeated the king and took his land from the Arnon River to the Jabbok River. The Israelites took the land as far as the Ammonite border. They stopped at that border because it was strongly defended by the Ammonites. 25Israel took all the Amorite cities and began living in them. They even defeated the city of Heshbon and all the small towns around it. 26Heshbon was the city where Sihon, the Amorite king, lived. In the past Sihon had fought with the king of Moab. Sihon had taken the land as far as the Arnon River. 27That is why the singers sing this song:
“Go in and rebuild Heshbon!
Make Sihon’s city strong.
28A fire began in Heshbon.
That fire began in Sihon’s city.
The fire destroyed Ar in Moab.
It burned the hills above Arnon River.
29It is bad for you, Moab.
You lost Chemosh’s people.
His sons ran away.
His daughters were taken prisoners by Sihon, king of the Amorites.
30But we defeated those Amorites.
We destroyed their towns from Heshbon to Dibon,
from Nashim to Nophah, near Medeba.”
31So the Israelites made their camp in the land of the Amorites.
32Moses sent some men to look at the town of Jazer. Then the Israelites captured that town and the small towns that were around it. They forced the Amorites who were living there to leave.
33Then the Israelites traveled on the road toward Bashan. King Og of Bashan got his army and marched out to meet the Israelites. He fought against them at Edrei.
34But the Lord said to Moses, “Don’t be afraid of that king. I will allow you to defeat him. You will take his whole army and all his land. Do the same to him as you did to Sihon, the Amorite king who lived in Heshbon.”
35So the Israelites defeated Og and his army. They killed him, his sons, and all his army. Then the Israelites took all his land.