21 The Canaanite king of Arad lived in the southern area. When he heard that the Israelites were coming on the road to Atharim, he attacked them and captured some of them. 2 Then the Israelites made this promise to the Lord: “If you will help us defeat these people, we will completely destroy their cities.” 3 The Lord listened to the Israelites, and he let them defeat the Canaanites. The Israelites completely destroyed the Canaanites and their cities, so the place was named Hormah.[a]
The Bronze Snake
4 The Israelites left Mount Hor and went on the road toward the Red Sea, in order to go around the country of Edom. But the people became impatient on the way 5 and grumbled at God and Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die in this desert? There is no bread and no water, and we hate this terrible food!”
6 So the Lord sent them poisonous snakes; they bit the people, and many of the Israelites died. 7 The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we grumbled at you and the Lord. Pray that the Lord will take away these snakes.” So Moses prayed for the people.
8 The Lord said to Moses, “Make a bronze snake, and put it on a pole. When anyone who is bitten looks at it, that person will live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze snake and put it on a pole. Then when a snake bit anyone, that person looked at the bronze snake and lived.
The Journey to Moab
10 The Israelites went and camped at Oboth. 11 They went from Oboth to Iye Abarim, in the desert east of Moab. 12 From there they went and camped in the Zered Valley. 13 From there they went and camped across the Arnon, in the desert just inside the Amorite country. The Arnon is the border between the Moabites and the Amorites. 14 That is why the Book of the Wars of the Lord says:
“. . . . and Waheb in Suphah, and the ravines, the Arnon, 15 and the slopes of the ravines that lead to the settlement of Ar. These places are at the border of Moab.”
16 The Israelites went from there to Beer; a well is there where the Lord said to Moses, “Gather the people and I will give them water.”
17 Then the Israelites sang this song:
“Pour out water, well! Sing about it. 18 Princes dug this well. Important men made it. With their scepters and poles, they dug it.”
The people went from the desert to Mattanah. 19 From Mattanah they went to Nahaliel and on to Bamoth. 20 From Bamoth they went to the valley of Moab where the top of Mount Pisgah looks over the desert.
Israel Kills Sihon and Og
21 The Israelites sent messengers to Sihon, king of the Amorites, saying, 22 “Let us pass through your country. We will not go through any fields of grain or vineyards, or drink water from the wells. We will travel only along the king’s road until we have passed through your country.”
23 But King Sihon would not let the Israelites pass through his country. He gathered his whole army together, and they marched out to meet Israel in the desert. At Jahaz they fought the Israelites. 24 Israel killed the king and captured his land from the Arnon River to the Jabbok River. They took the land as far as the Ammonite border, which was strongly defended. 25 Israel captured all the Amorite cities and lived in them, taking Heshbon and all the towns around it. 26 Heshbon was the city where Sihon, the Amorite king, lived. In the past he had fought with the king of Moab and had taken all the land as far as the Arnon.
27 That is why the poets say:
“Come to Heshbon and rebuild it; rebuild Sihon’s city. 28 A fire began in Heshbon; flames came from Sihon’s city. It destroyed Ar in Moab, and it burned the Arnon highlands. 29 How terrible for you, Moab! The people of Chemosh are ruined. His sons ran away and his daughters were captured by Sihon, king of the Amorites. 30 But we defeated those Amorites. We ruined their towns from Heshbon to Dibon, and we destroyed them as far as Nophah, near Medeba.”
31 So Israel lived in the land of the Amorites.
32 After Moses sent spies to the town of Jazer, they captured the towns around it, forcing out the Amorites who lived there.
33 Then the Israelites went up the road toward Bashan. Og king of Bashan and his whole army marched out to meet the Israelites, and they fought at Edrei.
34 The Lord said to Moses, “Don’t be afraid of him. I will hand him, his whole army, and his land over to you. Do to him what you did to Sihon, the Amorite king who lived in Heshbon.”
35 So the Israelites killed Og and his sons and all his army; no one was left alive. And they took his land.
21:3Hormah This name in Hebrew means “completely destroyed.”
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