Wanderings in the Wilderness
2 “Then we turned and set out for the wilderness by the way of the Red Sea, just as the Lord had told me; and we circled Mount Seir for many days. 2 And the Lord spoke to me, saying, 3 ‘You have circled this mountain long enough; [a]turn northward, 4 and command the people, saying, “You are passing through the territory of your brothers the sons of Esau (the Edomites), who live in Seir; and they will be afraid of you. So be very careful; 5 do not provoke them, for I will not give you any of their land, not even as little as a footstep, because I have given Mount Seir to Esau as a possession. 6 You shall buy food from them with money so that you may [have something to] eat, and you shall also buy water from them with money so that you may [have something to] drink. 7 For the Lord your God has blessed you in all [b]that you have done; He has known about your wanderings through this great wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you; you have lacked nothing.”’
8 “So we passed beyond our brothers the sons of Esau, who lived in Seir, away from the Arabah (wilderness) road, away from Elath and from Ezion-geber. Then we turned and passed through by the way of the Wilderness of Moab. 9 And the Lord said to me, ‘Do not harass [the descendants of] Moab, nor provoke them to war, for I will not give you any of their land as a possession, because I have given Ar to the sons (Moab and Ammon) of Lot as a possession.’(A) 10 (The Emim lived there in times past, a people great and numerous, and as tall as the Anakim. 11 These also are regarded as Rephaim [an ancient people], as are the Anakim, but the Moabites call them Emim. 12 The Horites also used to live in Seir, but the sons of Esau dispossessed them. They destroyed them from before them and settled in their place, just as Israel did in the land which the Lord gave them as their possession.) 13 ‘Now [c]arise and cross the valley of the [d]Zered.’ So we crossed the Zered Valley. 14 Now thirty-eight years passed from the time we left Kadesh-barnea until we crossed the Zered Valley, until that entire generation of the men of war had died from within the camp, just as the Lord had sworn to them. 15 Moreover the hand of the Lord was against them, to destroy them from within the camp, until they were all dead.
16 “So it came about when all the men of war had finally died from among the people, 17 that the Lord spoke to me, saying, 18 ‘Today you are to pass through Ar, the border of Moab. 19 When you come opposite the territory of the sons of [e]Ammon, do not harass them nor provoke them, for I will not give you any of the land of the sons of Ammon as a possession, because I have given it to the sons of Lot as a possession.’ 20 (It is also regarded as the land of the Rephaim [of giant stature], for Rephaim used to live there, but the Ammonites call them Zamzummin, 21 a great, numerous people, and tall as the Anakim, but the Lord destroyed them before the sons of Ammon. And they dispossessed them and settled in their place, 22 just as He did for the sons of Esau, who live in Seir, when He destroyed the Horites from before them; and the sons of Esau (the Edomites) dispossessed them and settled in their place [and remain there] even to this day. 23 As for the Avvim, who lived in villages as far as Gaza, the Caphtorim (Cretans, later Philistines) who came from Caphtor (Crete) destroyed them and settled in their place.) 24 ‘Now arise, continue on, and go through the valley of the [f]Arnon. Look, I have handed over to you Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land. Begin! Take possession [of it] and fight with him in battle. 25 This day I will begin to put the dread and the fear of you on the peoples (pagans) under the whole heaven, who, when they hear the reports about you, will tremble and be in anguish because of you.’
26 “So I sent messengers from the Wilderness of Kedemoth to Sihon king of Heshbon with words of peace, saying, 27 ‘Let me pass through your land [with my people]. I will travel [with them] only on the highway; I will not turn away to the right or to the left. 28 You will sell me food for money so that I [along with my people] will eat, and you will give me water for money so that I [along with my people] will drink; only let me [and my people] travel through [the land] on foot, 29 just as the sons of Esau, who live in Seir, and the Moabites, who live in Ar, [g]did for me, until I cross the Jordan into the land which the Lord our God is giving us.’ 30 But Sihon king of Heshbon was not willing for us to travel through his land; for the Lord your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, in order to hand him over to you, as he is today. 31 The Lord said to me, ‘Look, I have begun to hand over to you Sihon and his land. Begin! Take possession [of it], so that you may possess his land.’
32 “Then at Jahaz, Sihon and all his people came out to meet us in battle. 33 So the Lord our God handed him over to us [and gave us the victory], and we defeated him and his sons and all his people. 34 At the same time we took all his cities and utterly destroyed every city—men, women and children. We left no survivor. 35 We took only the cattle as plunder for ourselves and the spoil of the cities which we had captured. 36 From Aroer, which is on the edge of the Arnon Valley, and from the city which is in the valley, as far as Gilead, there was no city [whose wall was] too high and too strong for us; the Lord our God handed over everything to us. 37 Only you did not go near the land of the sons of Ammon, all along the river [h]Jabbok and the cities of the hill country, and wherever the Lord our God had forbidden us.
- Deuteronomy 2:3 The Israelites were now directed to journey toward the lands given by God to their distant relatives, the Edomites, Moabites, and the Ammonites.
- Deuteronomy 2:7 Lit the work of your hand.
- Deuteronomy 2:13 The Hebrew verb “arise” is an instruction to prepare to fulfill a command, somewhat similar to the military command “attention.”
- Deuteronomy 2:13 Most of the year, the Zered brook has no water, so it is only a valley. The Hebrew word “nahal” (like the Aramaic word “wadi”) indicates a seasonal river.
- Deuteronomy 2:19 Forefather of the Ammonites, was the son of Lot, through his younger daughter (Gen 19:30-38).
- Deuteronomy 2:24 Another of the seasonal rivers.
- Deuteronomy 2:29 All that is said here is that the Edomites and Moabites sold Israel food and water. There is no comment regarding their hostility toward Israel and their desire for her destruction. See Num 21:21-32 and Deut 23:3, 4.
- Deuteronomy 2:37 Another of the seasonal rivers. The Jabbok River was the site where Jacob (Israel) encountered God (Gen 32:22-32).