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Moses Recalls Wilderness Journey

“Then we turned and journeyed into the wilderness by the way to the Sea of Reeds, just as Adonai told me. We went around the hill country of Seir for many days.

Adonai spoke to me saying, ‘You have gone around this hill country long enough—turn to the north. Command the people saying, “You are about to cross into the territory of your relatives, the sons of Esau, who dwell in Seir. They will be afraid of you, so be very careful. Do not provoke them, for I will not give you any of their land—not even a footprint—because I have given the hill country of Seir to Esau as a possession. You are to buy food from them for money so that you may eat, and you are also to buy water from them for money so that you may drink. For Adonai your God has blessed you in all the work of your hand—He has known your wanderings through this great wilderness. These 40 years Adonai your God has been with you—you have lacked nothing.”’

“So we went on past our relatives the sons of Esau who dwell in Seir, away from the way of the Arabah from Elath and Ezion-geber. We turned and passed by the way of the wilderness of Moab.

Adonai said to me, ‘Do not harass Moab or engage them in battle. For I will not give you any of his land for a possession, because I have given Ar to the children of Lot for a possession. 10 (The Emim used to live there—a great and numerous people, as tall as the Anakim. 11 These people also are considered Rephaim, like the Anakim; but the Moabites call them Emim. 12 Now the Horites used to live in Seir, but the sons of Esau drove them out and destroyed them from before themselves and settled in their place—just as Israel did to the land of its possession that Adonai gave to them.) 13 Now rise up, and cross over the Wadi Zered.’ So we went over the Wadi Zered.

14 “The time that we traveled from Kadesh-barnea until we crossed over the Wadi Zered was 38 years—until all the generation of the men of war from within the camp came to an end, as Adonai had sworn to them. 15 Indeed, the hand of Adonai was against them, to destroy them from within the camp until they came to their end.[a]

16 “Now when all the men of war had finished dying from among the people, 17 Adonai spoke to me saying, 18 ‘Today you are about to cross the border of Moab at Ar. 19 When you come opposite the sons of Ammon, do not harass or provoke them—for I will not give you any of the land of the sons of Ammon for a possession, because I have given it to the sons of Lot for a possession. 20 (That also is considered a land of Rephaim. Rephaim used to live there, but the Ammonites call them Zamzummim— 21 a great and numerous people, as tall as the Anakim. But Adonai destroyed them from before them, and the Ammonites dispossessed them and settled in their place. 22 It was just as Adonai did for the sons of Esau, who dwell in Seir, when He destroyed the Horites before them. They drove them out and settled in their place even to this day. 23 As for the Avvim who lived in villages as far as Gaza, the Caphtorim who came from Crete destroyed them and settled in their place.)

Defeat of Sihon and Og

24 “‘Rise up, journey on, and cross over the Wadi Arnon. See, I have handed over Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land—begin to possess it! Engage him in battle! 25 This very day I will begin to put the dread and fear of you upon the peoples everywhere under heaven. When they hear the report about you, they will tremble and twist in anguish because of you.’

26 “So I sent messengers from the wilderness of Kedemoth to Sihon king of Heshbon with words of shalom saying, 27 ‘Let me pass through your land—I will go only by way of the road. I will not turn to the right or to the left. 28 You will sell me food for money so that I may eat and give me water for money so that I may drink. Just let me pass through on foot— 29 as the sons of Esau dwelling in Seir and the Moabites in Ar did for me—until I cross over the Jordan into the land that Adonai our God is giving to us.’ 30 But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him, because Adonai your God stiffened his spirit and hardened his heart, in order to hand him over to you this very day.[b]

31 Adonai said to me, ‘See, I have begun to give Sihon and his land over to you—begin to take possession in order to take hold of his land.’

32 “Then Sihon came out against us—he and all his people—to battle at Jahaz. 33 Adonai our God gave him over to us, and we struck him down along with his sons and all his people. 34 We captured all his cities at that time, and utterly put under a ban of judgment every city—men, women and children. We left no survivor. 35 We took only the livestock as plunder for ourselves, as the spoils of the cities we captured. 36 From Aroer which is on the edge of the Wadi Arnon and the city by the wadi, all the way up to the Gilead, there was not a town too high for us. Adonai our God gave everything over to us. 37 Only you did not come near the land of the sons of Ammon—all along the Wadi Jabbok and the cities of the hill country and wherever Adonai our God had commanded.


  1. Deuteronomy 2:15 cf. Judah 5.
  2. Deuteronomy 2:30 cf. Rom. 9:18.