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Fighting the People of Bashan

“We turned and went on the road to Bashan. King Og of Bashan and all his men came out to fight against us at Edrei. The Lord said to me, ‘Don’t be afraid of Og. I have decided to give him to you. I will give you all his men and his land. You will defeat him just as you defeated Sihon, the Amorite king who ruled in Heshbon.’

“So the Lord our God let us defeat King Og of Bashan. We destroyed him and all his men. Not one of them was left. Then we took all the cities that belonged to Og at that time. We took all the cities from Og’s people—60 cities in the area of Argob, Og’s kingdom in Bashan. All these cities were very strong. They had high walls, gates, and strong bars on the gates. There were also many towns that did not have walls. We destroyed them just as we destroyed the cities of King Sihon of Heshbon. We completely destroyed every city and all the people in them, even the women and the babies. But we kept all the cattle and the valuable things from the cities for ourselves.

“In that way we took the land from the two Amorite kings. We took that land on the east side of the Jordan River, from Arnon Valley to Mount Hermon. (The people from Sidon call Mount Hermon, Sirion, but the Amorites called it Senir.) 10 We took all the cities in the high plain and all of Gilead. We took all of Bashan, all the way to Salecah and Edrei. Salecah and Edrei were cities of Og’s kingdom of Bashan.”

11 (Og was the king of Bashan. He was one of the few Rephaites still alive. His bed was made from iron, and it was over 13 feet long and 6 feet wide.[a] The bed is still in the city of Rabbah, where the Ammonites live.)

The Land East of the Jordan River

12 “So we took that land to be ours. I gave part of this land to the tribes of Reuben and Gad. I gave them the land from Aroer in the Arnon Valley to the hill country of Gilead with the cities in it. They got half of the hill country of Gilead. 13 I gave the other half of Gilead and the whole area of Bashan to half the tribe of Manasseh.”

(Bashan was Og’s kingdom. Part of Bashan was called Argob. It was also called the Land of Rephaim. 14 Jair, from the tribe of Manasseh, took the whole area of Argob. That area went all the way to the border of the Geshurites and the Maacathites. It was named for Jair, and even today, people call Bashan the Towns of Jair.)

15 “I gave Gilead to Makir. 16 And to the tribe of Reuben and the tribe of Gad, I gave the land that begins at Gilead and goes from the Arnon Valley to the Jabbok River. The middle of the valley is one border. The Jabbok River is the border for the Ammonites. 17 The Jordan River near the desert is their western border. Lake Galilee[b] is north of this area and the Dead Sea[c] is to the south. It is at the bottom of the cliffs of Pisgah, which are to the east.

18 “At that time I gave those tribes this command: ‘The Lord your God has given you the land on this side of the Jordan River to live in. But now your fighting men must take their weapons and lead the other Israelite tribes across the river. 19 Your wives, your little children, and your cattle (I know you have many cattle) will stay here in the cities I have given you. 20 But you must help your Israelite relatives until they take the land that the Lord is giving them on the other side of the Jordan River. Help them until the Lord gives them peace there, just as he did for you here. Then you may come back to this land that I have given you.’

21 “Then I told Joshua, ‘You have seen all that the Lord your God has done to these two kings. The Lord will do the same thing to all the kingdoms you will enter. 22 Don’t fear the kings of these lands, because the Lord your God will fight for you.’

Moses Not Allowed in Canaan

23 “Then I begged the Lord to do something special for me. I said, 24 ‘Lord God, I am your servant. I know that you have shown me only a small part of the wonderful and powerful things you will do. There is no god in heaven or earth that can do the great and powerful things you have done. 25 Please let me go across the Jordan River and see the good land on the other side. Let me see the beautiful hill country and Lebanon.’

26 “But the Lord was angry with me because of you and refused to listen to me. The Lord said to me, ‘That’s enough! Don’t say another word about this. 27 Go up to the top of Mount Pisgah. Look to the west, to the north, to the south, and to the east. You may see these things with your eyes, but you can never go across the Jordan River. 28 You must give instructions to Joshua. Encourage him. Make him strong, because Joshua must lead the people across the Jordan River. You can see the land, but Joshua will lead them into that land. He will help them take the land and live in it.’

29 “So we stayed in the valley across from Beth Peor.

Moses’ Warning to Obey God’s Laws

“Now, Israel, listen to the laws and to the commands that I teach you. Obey them and you will live. Then you can go in and take the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. You must not add to what I command you. And you must not take anything away. You must obey the commands of the Lord your God that I have given you.

“You have seen what the Lord did at Baal Peor. The Lord your God destroyed all your people who followed the false god Baal at that place. But all of you who stayed with the Lord your God are alive today.

“I taught you the laws and rules that the Lord my God commanded me. I did this so you could obey them in the land you are ready to enter and take for your own. Obey these laws carefully. This will show the people of the other nations that you are wise and sensible. They will hear about these laws and say, ‘Truly, the people of this great nation are wise and sensible.’

“The Lord our God is near when we ask him to help us. No other nation has a god like that! And no other nation is great enough to have laws and rules as good as the teachings I give you today. But you must be careful! Be sure that as long as you live you never forget what you have seen. You must teach these things to your children and grandchildren. 10 Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Mount Horeb. The Lord said to me, ‘Gather the people together to listen to what I have to say. Then they will learn to respect me as long as they live on earth. And they will teach these things to their children.’ 11 You came near and stood at the bottom of the mountain. The mountain burned with fire that reached up to the sky. There were thick black clouds and darkness. 12 Then the Lord spoke to you from the fire. You heard the sound of someone speaking, but you did not see any form. There was only a voice. 13 The Lord told you about his agreement, which he commanded you to obey. He told you about the Ten Commandments, which he wrote on two stone tablets. 14 At that time the Lord also commanded me to teach you the other laws and rules that you must follow in the land you are going to take and live in.

15 “On the day the Lord spoke to you from the fire at Mount Horeb, you did not see him—there was no shape for God. 16 So be careful! Don’t sin and destroy yourselves by making false gods or statues in the shape of any living thing. Don’t make an idol that looks like a man or a woman, 17 or like an animal on the earth, or like a bird that flies in the sky. 18 And don’t make an idol that looks like anything that crawls on the ground or like a fish in the sea. 19 And be careful when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon, and the stars—all the many things in the sky. Be careful that you are not tempted to worship and serve them. The Lord your God lets the other people in the world do this. 20 But the Lord brought you out of Egypt to make you his own special people. He saved you from Egypt. It was as if he pulled you from a hot furnace.[d] And now you are his people.

21 “The Lord was angry with me because of you. He swore that I could not go across the Jordan River into the good land that the Lord your God is giving you. 22 So I must die here in this land. I cannot go across the Jordan River, but you will soon go across it and take that good land and live there. 23 You must be careful not to forget the agreement that the Lord your God made with you. You must obey the Lord’s command. Don’t make any idols in any form, 24 because the Lord your God hates for his people to worship other gods. And he can be like a fire that destroys!

25 “You will live in the country a long time. You will have children and grandchildren there. After all that time, be sure that you do not then ruin your lives by making any kind of idol! That is something the Lord your God considers evil, and it would make him very angry! 26 So I am warning you now. Heaven and earth are my witnesses! If you do such an evil thing, you will quickly be destroyed! You are crossing the Jordan River now to take that land. But if you make any idols, you will not live there very long. No, you will be destroyed completely! 27 The Lord will scatter you among the nations. And only a few of you will be left alive to go to the countries where the Lord will send you. 28 There you will serve gods made by men—things made of wood and stone that cannot see or hear or eat or smell! 29 But there in these other lands you will look for the Lord your God. And if you look for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him. 30 When you are in trouble—when all these things happen to you—then you will come back to the Lord your God and obey him. 31 The Lord your God is a merciful God! He will not leave you there or destroy you completely. He will not forget the agreement that he made with your ancestors.

Think About the Great Things God Did

32 “Has anything this great ever happened before? Never! Look at the past. Think about everything that happened before you were born. Go all the way back to the time when God made people on the earth. Look at everything that has happened anywhere in the world. Has anyone ever heard about anything as great as this? No! 33 You people heard God speaking to you from a fire, and you are still alive. Has that ever happened to anyone else? No! 34 Has any other god ever tried to go and take a people for himself from inside another nation? No! But you yourselves have seen everything that the Lord your God did for you. He showed you his power and strength. You saw the troubles that tested the people. You saw miracles and wonders. You saw war and the terrible things that happened. 35 The Lord showed you all this so that you would know that he is God. There is no other god like him. 36 He let you hear his voice from heaven so that he could teach you a lesson. On earth he let you see his great fire, and he spoke to you from it.

37 “He loved your ancestors. That is why he chose you, their descendants. And that is why he brought you out of Egypt. He was with you and brought you out with his great power. 38 When you moved forward, he forced out nations that were greater and more powerful than you. And he led you into their land. He gave you their land to live in, as he is still doing today.

39 “So today you must remember and accept that the Lord is God. He is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other god! 40 And you must obey his laws and commands that I give you today. Then everything will go well with you and your children who live after you. And you will live a long time in the land the Lord your God is giving you—it will be yours forever.”

Moses Chooses the Cities of Safety

41 Then Moses chose three cities on the east side of the Jordan River. 42 Any person who killed someone by accident and not out of hate could run away to one of these three cities and not be put to death. 43 The three cities that Moses chose were Bezer in the high plains for the tribe of Reuben, Ramoth in Gilead for the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan for the tribe of Manasseh.

Introduction to the Law of Moses

44 Moses gave God’s law to the Israelites. 45 Moses gave these teachings, laws, and rules to the people after they came out of Egypt. 46 He gave them these laws while they were on the east side of the Jordan River, in the valley across from Beth Peor. They were in the land of Sihon, the Amorite king who lived at Heshbon. Moses and the Israelites had defeated Sihon when they came out of Egypt. 47 They took Sihon’s land to keep. They also took the land of King Og of Bashan. These two Amorite kings lived on the east side of the Jordan River. 48 This land goes from Aroer on the edge of the Arnon Valley all the way to Mount Sirion,[e] that is, Mount Hermon. 49 This land also included the whole Jordan Valley on the east side of the Jordan River. To the south, this land reached to the Dead Sea.[f] To the east, it reached to the foot of Mount Pisgah.


  1. Deuteronomy 3:11 13 feet long and 6 feet wide Literally, “9 cubits long and 4 cubits wide, following the measure of a man’s cubit.”
  2. Deuteronomy 3:17 Lake Galilee Literally, “Kinnereth Lake.”
  3. Deuteronomy 3:17 Dead Sea Literally, “Arabah Sea.” Also called the “Salt Sea.”
  4. Deuteronomy 4:20 furnace Literally, “iron furnace,” that is, a furnace hot enough to soften iron.
  5. Deuteronomy 4:48 Sirion Or “Siyon.”
  6. Deuteronomy 4:49 Dead Sea Literally, “Arabah Sea.”

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