New International Reader's Version
Israel Destroys Arad
21 The Canaanite king of the city of Arad lived in the Negev Desert. He heard that Israel was coming along the road to Atharim. So he attacked the Israelites. He captured some of them. 2 Then Israel made a promise to the Lord. They said, “Hand these people over to us. If you do, we will set their cities apart to you in a special way to be destroyed.” 3 The Lord gave Israel what they asked for. He handed the Canaanites over to them. Israel completely destroyed them and their towns. So that place was named Hormah.
Moses Makes a Bronze Snake
4 The Israelites traveled from Mount Hor along the way to the Red Sea. They wanted to go around Edom. But they grew tired on the way. 5 So they spoke against God and against Moses. They said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt? Do you want us to die here in the desert? We don’t have any bread! We don’t have any water! And we hate this awful food!”
6 Then the Lord sent poisonous snakes among the Israelites. The snakes bit them. Many of the people died. 7 The others came to Moses. They said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.
8 The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake. Put it up on a pole. Then anyone who is bitten can look at it and remain alive.” 9 So Moses made a bronze snake. He put it up on a pole. Then anyone who was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake remained alive.
The People Continue On to Moab
10 The Israelites moved on. They camped at Oboth. 11 Then they started out from Oboth. They camped in Iye Abarim. It’s in the desert on the eastern border of Moab. 12 From there they moved on. They camped in the Zered Valley. 13 They started out from there and camped by the Arnon River. It’s in the desert that spreads out into the territory of the Amorites. The Arnon is the border of Moab. It’s between Moab and the Amorites. 14 Here is what the Book of the Wars of the Lord says about it.
“Sing about Zahab in Suphah and the valleys.
Sing about the Arnon 15 and the slopes of the valleys.
They lead to the settlement called Ar.
They lie along the border of Moab.”
16 From there the Israelites continued on to Beer. That was the well where the Lord spoke to Moses. He said, “Gather the people together. I will give them water to drink.”
17 Then Israel sang a song. They said,
“Spring up, you well!
Sing about it.
18 Sing about the well the princes dug.
Sing about the well the nobles of the people dug.
All their rulers were holding their scepters and walking sticks.”
Then the Israelites went from the desert to Mattanah. 19 They went from Mattanah to Nahaliel. They went from Nahaliel to Bamoth. 20 And they went from Bamoth to a valley in Moab. It’s the valley where the highest slopes of Pisgah look out over a dry and empty land.
Israel Wins the Battle Over Sihon and Og
21 The Israelites sent messengers to speak to Sihon. He was the king of the Amorites. The messengers said to him,
22 “Let us pass through your country. We won’t go off the road into any field or vineyard. We won’t drink water from any well. We’ll travel along the King’s Highway. We’ll just go straight through your territory.”
23 But Sihon wouldn’t let Israel pass through his territory. He gathered his whole army together. Then he marched out into the desert against Israel. When he reached Jahaz, he fought against Israel. 24 But Israel put him to death with their swords. They took over his land. They took everything from the Arnon River to the Jabbok River. But they didn’t take over any of the land of the Ammonites. That’s because the Ammonites had built strong forts along their border. 25 The Israelites captured all the cities of the Amorites. Then they settled down in them. They captured the city of Heshbon. They also captured all the settlements around it. 26 Sihon, the king of the Amorites, ruled in Heshbon. He had fought against an earlier king of Moab. Sihon had taken from him all his land all the way to the Arnon River.
27 That’s why the poets say,
“Come to Heshbon. Let it be built again.
Let Sihon’s city be made as good as new.
28 “Fire went out from Heshbon.
A blaze went out from the city of Sihon.
It burned up Ar in Moab.
It burned up the citizens who lived on Arnon’s hills.
29 Moab, how terrible it is for you!
People of Chemosh, you are destroyed!
Chemosh has deserted his sons and daughters.
His sons have run away from the battle.
His daughters have become prisoners.
He has handed all of them over to Sihon,
the king of the Amorites.
30 “But we have taken them over.
Heshbon’s rule has been destroyed all the way to Dibon.
We have destroyed them as far as Nophah.
Nophah goes all the way to Medeba.”
31 So Israel settled in the land of the Amorites.
32 Moses sent spies to the city of Jazer. The Israelites captured the settlements around it. They drove out the Amorites who were there. 33 Then they turned and went up along the road toward Bashan. Og was the king of Bashan. He and his whole army marched out. They went to fight against Israel at Edrei.
34 The Lord said to Moses, “Do not be afraid of Og. I have handed him over to you. I have given you his whole army. I have also given you his land. Do to him what you did to Sihon, the king of the Amorites. He ruled in Heshbon.”
35 So the Israelites struck down Og and his sons. And they wiped out his whole army. They didn’t leave anyone alive. They took over his land for themselves.
New International Version
21 When the Canaanite king of Arad,(A) who lived in the Negev,(B) heard that Israel was coming along the road to Atharim, he attacked the Israelites and captured some of them. 2 Then Israel made this vow(C) to the Lord: “If you will deliver these people into our hands, we will totally destroy[a](D) their cities.” 3 The Lord listened to Israel’s plea and gave the Canaanites(E) over to them. They completely destroyed them(F) and their towns; so the place was named Hormah.[b](G)
The Bronze Snake
4 They traveled from Mount Hor(H) along the route to the Red Sea,[c](I) to go around Edom.(J) But the people grew impatient on the way;(K) 5 they spoke against God(L) and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt(M) to die in the wilderness?(N) There is no bread! There is no water!(O) And we detest this miserable food!”(P)
6 Then the Lord sent venomous snakes(Q) among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died.(R) 7 The people came to Moses(S) and said, “We sinned(T) when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord(U) will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed(V) for the people.
8 The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole;(W) anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze snake(X) and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.(Y)
The Journey to Moab
10 The Israelites moved on and camped at Oboth.(Z) 11 Then they set out from Oboth and camped in Iye Abarim, in the wilderness that faces Moab(AA) toward the sunrise. 12 From there they moved on and camped in the Zered Valley.(AB) 13 They set out from there and camped alongside the Arnon(AC), which is in the wilderness extending into Amorite territory. The Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites.(AD) 14 That is why the Book of the Wars(AE) of the Lord says:
16 From there they continued on to Beer,(AG) the well where the Lord said to Moses, “Gather the people together and I will give them water.”
17 Then Israel sang this song:(AH)
“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(AI) overlooks the wasteland.
Defeat of Sihon and Og
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.(AM)”
23 But Sihon would not let Israel pass through his territory.(AN) He mustered his entire army and marched out into the wilderness against Israel. When he reached Jahaz,(AO) he fought with Israel.(AP) 24 Israel, however, put him to the sword(AQ) and took over his land(AR) from the Arnon to the Jabbok,(AS) but only as far as the Ammonites,(AT) because their border was fortified. 25 Israel captured all the cities of the Amorites(AU) and occupied them,(AV) including Heshbon(AW) and all its surrounding settlements. 26 Heshbon was the city of Sihon(AX) king of the Amorites,(AY) who had fought against the former king of Moab(AZ) and had taken from him all his land as far as the Arnon.(BA)
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.(BB)
It consumed(BC) Ar(BD) of Moab,
the citizens of Arnon’s heights.(BE)
29 Woe to you, Moab!(BF)
You are destroyed, people of Chemosh!(BG)
He has given up his sons as fugitives(BH)
and his daughters as captives(BI)
to Sihon king of the Amorites.
31 So Israel settled in the land of the Amorites.(BL)
32 After Moses had sent spies(BM) to Jazer,(BN) 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(BO),(BP) and Og king of Bashan and his whole army marched out to meet them in battle at Edrei.(BQ)
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.(BR)”
- 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.
- Numbers 21:3 Hormah means destruction.
- Numbers 21:4 Or the Sea of Reeds
- Numbers 21:14 Septuagint; Hebrew Waheb
- Numbers 21:15 Or “I have been given from Suphah and the ravines / of the Arnon 15 to