Edom Denies Israel Passage

14 Moses sent messengers from Kadesh(A) to the king of Edom,(B) saying:

“This is what your brother Israel says: You know(C) about all the hardships(D) that have come on us. 15 Our ancestors went down into Egypt,(E) and we lived there many years.(F) The Egyptians mistreated(G) us and our ancestors, 16 but when we cried out to the Lord, he heard our cry(H) and sent an angel(I) and brought us out of Egypt.(J)

“Now we are here at Kadesh, a town on the edge of your territory.(K) 17 Please let us pass through your country. We will not go through any field or vineyard, or drink water from any well. We will travel along the King’s Highway and not turn to the right or to the left until we have passed through your territory.(L)

18 But Edom(M) answered:

“You may not pass through here; if you try, we will march out and attack you with the sword.(N)

19 The Israelites replied:

“We will go along the main road, and if we or our livestock(O) drink any of your water, we will pay for it.(P) We only want to pass through on foot—nothing else.”

20 Again they answered:

“You may not pass through.(Q)

Then Edom(R) came out against them with a large and powerful army. 21 Since Edom refused to let them go through their territory,(S) Israel turned away from them.(T)

The Death of Aaron

22 The whole Israelite community set out from Kadesh(U) and came to Mount Hor.(V) 23 At Mount Hor, near the border of Edom,(W) the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 24 “Aaron will be gathered to his people.(X) He will not enter the land I give the Israelites, because both of you rebelled against my command(Y) at the waters of Meribah.(Z) 25 Get Aaron and his son Eleazar and take them up Mount Hor.(AA) 26 Remove Aaron’s garments(AB) and put them on his son Eleazar, for Aaron will be gathered to his people;(AC) he will die there.”

27 Moses did as the Lord commanded: They went up Mount Hor(AD) in the sight of the whole community. 28 Moses removed Aaron’s garments and put them on his son Eleazar.(AE) And Aaron died there(AF) on top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain, 29 and when the whole community learned that Aaron had died,(AG) all the Israelites mourned for him(AH) thirty days.

Arad Destroyed

21 When the Canaanite king of Arad,(AI) who lived in the Negev,(AJ) heard that Israel was coming along the road to Atharim, he attacked the Israelites and captured some of them. Then Israel made this vow(AK) to the Lord: “If you will deliver these people into our hands, we will totally destroy[a](AL) their cities.” The Lord listened to Israel’s plea and gave the Canaanites(AM) over to them. They completely destroyed them(AN) and their towns; so the place was named Hormah.[b](AO)

The Bronze Snake

They traveled from Mount Hor(AP) along the route to the Red Sea,[c](AQ) to go around Edom.(AR) But the people grew impatient on the way;(AS) they spoke against God(AT) and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt(AU) to die in the wilderness?(AV) There is no bread! There is no water!(AW) And we detest this miserable food!”(AX)

Then the Lord sent venomous snakes(AY) among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died.(AZ) The people came to Moses(BA) and said, “We sinned(BB) when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord(BC) will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed(BD) for the people.

The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole;(BE) anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake(BF) and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.(BG)

The Journey to Moab

10 The Israelites moved on and camped at Oboth.(BH) 11 Then they set out from Oboth and camped in Iye Abarim, in the wilderness that faces Moab(BI) toward the sunrise. 12 From there they moved on and camped in the Zered Valley.(BJ) 13 They set out from there and camped alongside the Arnon(BK), which is in the wilderness extending into Amorite territory. The Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites.(BL) 14 That is why the Book of the Wars(BM) of the Lord says:

“. . . Zahab[d] in Suphah and the ravines,
    the Arnon 15 and[e] the slopes of the ravines
that lead to the settlement of Ar(BN)
    and lie along the border of Moab.”

16 From there they continued on to Beer,(BO) the well where the Lord said to Moses, “Gather the people together and I will give them water.”

17 Then Israel sang this song:(BP)

“Spring up, O well!
    Sing about it,
18 about the well that the princes dug,
    that the nobles of the people sank—
    the nobles with scepters and staffs.”

Then they went from the wilderness to Mattanah, 19 from Mattanah to Nahaliel, from Nahaliel to Bamoth, 20 and from Bamoth to the valley in Moab where the top of Pisgah(BQ) overlooks the wasteland.

Defeat of Sihon and Og

21 Israel sent messengers(BR) to say to Sihon(BS) king of the Amorites:(BT)

22 “Let us pass through your country. We will not turn aside into any field or vineyard, or drink water from any well. We will travel along the King’s Highway until we have passed through your territory.(BU)

23 But Sihon would not let Israel pass through his territory.(BV) He mustered his entire army and marched out into the wilderness against Israel. When he reached Jahaz,(BW) he fought with Israel.(BX) 24 Israel, however, put him to the sword(BY) and took over his land(BZ) from the Arnon to the Jabbok,(CA) but only as far as the Ammonites,(CB) because their border was fortified. 25 Israel captured all the cities of the Amorites(CC) and occupied them,(CD) including Heshbon(CE) and all its surrounding settlements. 26 Heshbon was the city of Sihon(CF) king of the Amorites,(CG) who had fought against the former king of Moab(CH) and had taken from him all his land as far as the Arnon.(CI)

27 That is why the poets say:

“Come to Heshbon and let it be rebuilt;
    let Sihon’s city be restored.

28 “Fire went out from Heshbon,
    a blaze from the city of Sihon.(CJ)
It consumed(CK) Ar(CL) of Moab,
    the citizens of Arnon’s heights.(CM)
29 Woe to you, Moab!(CN)
    You are destroyed, people of Chemosh!(CO)
He has given up his sons as fugitives(CP)
    and his daughters as captives(CQ)
    to Sihon king of the Amorites.

30 “But we have overthrown them;
    Heshbon’s dominion has been destroyed all the way to Dibon.(CR)
We have demolished them as far as Nophah,
    which extends to Medeba.(CS)

31 So Israel settled in the land of the Amorites.(CT)

32 After Moses had sent spies(CU) to Jazer,(CV) the Israelites captured its surrounding settlements and drove out the Amorites who were there. 33 Then they turned and went up along the road toward Bashan(CW),(CX) and Og king of Bashan and his whole army marched out to meet them in battle at Edrei.(CY)

34 The Lord said to Moses, “Do not be afraid of him, for I have delivered him into your hands, along with his whole army and his land. Do to him what you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon.(CZ)

35 So they struck him down, together with his sons and his whole army, leaving them no survivors.(DA) And they took possession of his land.(DB)

Balak Summons Balaam

22 Then the Israelites traveled to the plains of Moab(DC) and camped along the Jordan(DD) across from Jericho.(DE)


  1. Numbers 21:2 The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them; also in verse 3.
  2. Numbers 21:3 Hormah means destruction.
  3. Numbers 21:4 Or the Sea of Reeds
  4. Numbers 21:14 Septuagint; Hebrew Waheb
  5. Numbers 21:15 Or “I have been given from Suphah and the ravines / of the Arnon 15 to

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