Numbers 21 Revised Standard Version (RSV)
The Bronze Serpent
21 When the Canaanite, the king of Arad, who dwelt in the Negeb, heard that Israel was coming by the way of Atharim, he fought against Israel, and took some of them captive. 2 And Israel vowed a vow to the Lord, and said, “If thou wilt indeed give this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities.” 3 And the Lord hearkened to the voice of Israel, and gave over the Canaanites; and they utterly destroyed them and their cities; so the name of the place was called Hormah.[a]
4 From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the people became impatient on the way. 5 And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” 6 Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. 7 And the people came to Moses, and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. 8 And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze serpent, and set it on a pole; and if a serpent bit any man, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.
The Journey to Moab
10 And the people of Israel set out, and encamped in Oboth. 11 And they set out from Oboth, and encamped at I′ye-ab′arim, in the wilderness which is opposite Moab, toward the sunrise. 12 From there they set out, and encamped in the Valley of Zered. 13 From there they set out, and encamped on the other side of the Arnon, which is in the wilderness that extends from the boundary of the Amorites; for the Arnon is the boundary of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites. 14 Wherefore it is said in the Book of the Wars of the Lord,
“Waheb in Suphah,
16 And from there they continued to Beer;[b] that is the well of which the Lord said to Moses, “Gather the people together, and I will give them water.” 17 Then Israel sang this song:
“Spring up, O well!—Sing to it!—
And from the wilderness they went on to Mat′tanah, 19 and from Mat′tanah to Nahal′iel, and from Nahal′iel to Bamoth, 20 and from Bamoth to the valley lying in the region of Moab by the top of Pisgah which looks down upon the desert.[c]
King Sihon Defeated
21 Then Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, saying, 22 “Let me pass through your land; we will not turn aside into field or vineyard; we will not drink the water of a well; we will go by the King’s Highway, until we have passed through your territory.” 23 But Sihon would not allow Israel to pass through his territory. He gathered all his men together, and went out against Israel to the wilderness, and came to Jahaz, and fought against Israel. 24 And Israel slew him with the edge of the sword, and took possession of his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, as far as to the Ammonites; for Jazer was the boundary of the Ammonites.[d] 25 And Israel took all these cities, and Israel settled in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all its villages. 26 For Heshbon was the city of Sihon the king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab and taken all his land out of his hand, as far as the Arnon. 27 Therefore the ballad singers say,
“Come to Heshbon, let it be built,
King Og Defeated
31 Thus Israel dwelt in the land of the Amorites. 32 And Moses sent to spy out Jazer; and they took its villages, and dispossessed the Amorites that were there. 33 Then they turned and went up by the way to Bashan; and Og the king of Bashan came out against them, he and all his people, to battle at Ed′re-i. 34 But the Lord said to Moses, “Do not fear him; for I have given him into your hand, and all his people, and his land; and you shall do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt at Heshbon.” 35 So they slew him, and his sons, and all his people, until there was not one survivor left to him; and they possessed his land.