Add parallel Print Page Options

The Wilderness Years

Then we turned, and set out toward the wilderness by the way of the Red Sea, as the Lord spoke to me, and we circled Mount Seir for many days.

Then the Lord spoke to me, saying, “You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north. Command the people, saying: You are to pass through the territory of your brothers the children of Esau, who dwell in Seir, and they shall be afraid of you. So carefully watch yourselves. Do not provoke them, for I will not give you any of their land, no, not so much as a footprint, because I have given Mount Seir to Esau for a possession. You may buy food from them with money so that you may eat, and you may also buy water from them with money so that you may drink.

“For the Lord your God has blessed you in all the works of your hands. He knows your wanderings through this great wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you. You have lacked nothing.”

So we passed by our brothers, the children of Esau, who lived in Seir, through the way of the plain from Elath and from Ezion Geber, and we turned and passed by the way of the Wilderness of Moab.

The Lord said to me, “Do not harass the Moabites, nor contend with them in battle, for I will not give you any of their land for a possession, because I have given Ar to the children of Lot as a possession.”

10 (The Emites lived there in times past, a people as great and as many and as tall as the Anakites. 11 These people, as well as the Anakites, also were regarded as giants,[a] but the Moabites call them Emites. 12 The Horites also formerly lived in Seir, but the children of Esau dispossessed and destroyed them, and settled there in their place, just as Israel did to the land of its possession, which the Lord gave to them.)

13 “Cross over the Zered Valley.” So we went over the Zered Valley.

14 Now the length of time it took for us to come to Kadesh Barnea until we crossed over the brook Zered was thirty-eight years, until all the generation of the men of war perished from among the army, just as the Lord swore to them. 15 For indeed the hand of the Lord was against them, to destroy them from among their midst, until they were gone.

16 So it came to pass, when all the men of war were gone and dead from among the people, 17 then the Lord spoke to me, saying, 18 “Today, you are to pass over through Ar, the border of Moab. 19 When you come close to the Ammonites, do not harass them or provoke them, for I will not give you any of the land of the Ammonites as a possession, because I have given it to the children of Lot for a possession.”

20 (That also is considered the land of giants. Giants formerly lived there, but the Ammonites call them Zamzummites. 21 They were a great people, as numerous and tall as the Anakites. But the Lord destroyed them before the Ammonites. Then they dispossessed them and lived in their place, 22 just as He had done for the children of Esau, who lived in Seir, when He destroyed the Horites from before them, and they dispossessed them, and lived in their place even to this day. 23 And the Avvites, who lived in villages as far as Gaza, the Caphtorites, who came out of Caphtor, destroyed them, and lived in their place.)

King Sihon Defeated

24 “Arise, set out, and cross the River Arnon. See, I have given Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land into your hand. Begin to possess it and contend with him in battle. 25 This day I will begin to put the dread of you and the fear of you on the nations that are under the whole heaven, who shall hear the report of you, and shall tremble, and be in anguish because of you.”

26 I sent messengers out of the Wilderness of Kedemoth to Sihon, king of Heshbon, with words of peace, saying, 27 “Let me pass through your land. I will only go on the main road. I will not turn aside to the right or the left. 28 You shall sell me food for money so that I may eat, and give me water for money so that I may drink, only allow me to pass through on foot, 29 just as the children of Esau who dwell in Seir and the Moabites who dwell in Ar did for me, until I pass over the Jordan into the land which the Lord our God is giving us.” 30 But Sihon, king of Heshbon, would not let us pass by him, for the Lord your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, so that He might deliver him into your hand as he is to this day.

31 The Lord said to me, “See, I have begun to give Sihon and his land to you. Begin to possess it, so that you may inherit his land.”

32 Then Sihon came out against us, he and all his people, to fight at Jahaz. 33 Then the Lord our God delivered him over to us, and we struck him down with his sons and all his people. 34 We took all his cities at that time and utterly destroyed the men, the women, and the children of every city. We left no survivors. 35 We took only the livestock for plunder and the spoils of the cities which we took. 36 From Aroer, which is on the bank of the River Arnon, and from the city that is in the valley, all the way to Gilead, there was not one city too strong for us. The Lord our God delivered all to us. 37 Only you did not come near the land of the Ammonites, nor to any place on the River Jabbok, nor to the cities in the hill country, nor to any place the Lord our God had forbidden us.


  1. Deuteronomy 2:11 Rephaites, English trans.of Heb. Rephaim, also 2:20; 3:11; Jos 13:12; 17:15.