Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Sea, encamping again at Mosera. When they were at Asiongaber, they were ordered to go to the north, by the mountains of Idumea or of Seir. Being arrived at Cades, they attempted to penetrate into Chanaan, by the road of the spies, but were repulsed. Upon which they asked leave of the Idumeans to pass through their country, lying south of the Dead Sea, but could not obtain permission, and God would not suffer them to force a passage, but ordered them to go round their territories, Numbers xx., and xxi. (Calmet)
Ver. 5. Stir. Hebrew gur, meddle not, wage not war, do not molest, &c. The Idumeans near Mount Hor, afterwards refused the Hebrews a passage, and the necessaries of life, though their brethren in Mount Seir had granted them the latter, while they passed quietly along their borders, ver. 28. See Numbers xx. 21. (Haydock)
Ver. 6. Meats, if they wanted any other sort, besides manna. (Menochius)
Ver. 7. Knoweth, or approveth, directing by his loving providence, Psalm i. 6., and xxxvi. 18.
Ver. 9. Moabites. They allowed the Hebrews to pass, as the Idumeans had done; (ver. 29,) but they treated them with no particular marks of affection, (chap. xxiii. 3,) nor would they suffer them to go across their country, Judges xi. 17. — Ar, is sometimes called Rabbah Moab, “the great city of the Moabites,” (Josue xiii. 25,) and Areopolis. (Eusebius)
Ver. 10. Emim, signifies “the terrible,” or “men of cubits or length.” See Numbers xiii. 33. They had been probably ruined in the war of Chodorlahomor, (Genesis xiv. 5,) a little before the birth of Moab. (Calmet) — But those few who remained, were sufficient to strike the beholders with terror, as they were not inferior to the other giants who were known, since the deluge, of the race of Enac, or of Rapha. (Haydock)
Ver. 11. Giants. Hebrew Raphaim, which Grotius thinks is a word retained from the primitive language. It sometimes denotes giants, and those who groan in hell, on account of the great iniquity of the Raphaim, Job. xxvi. 5. Og was one of their descendants, and inhabited the same country, which they had occupied in the days of Abraham, chap. iii. 2. (Calmet) — They lost much of their power in the war of Sodom. Some of them fled into the land of the Philistines, and established themselves there, 1 Kings xxi. 16. As these gigantic nations had been overthrown, as well as the Horrhites, when God formerly gave their territories to Moad and to Esau, (Haydock) so the Hebrews may be assured, that nothing will be able to resist their power, while He is with them. (Menochius)
Ver. 12. Gave him, on the east side of the Jordan. They had not yet taken possession of Chanaan. But Moses foresees that they shortly will; and in this sense we may translate, “Esau dwelt there, as Israel will in the land,” &c., ver. 29. The neighbouring nations could not rationally object to their coming, as they themselves had dispossessed the former owners of the land, ver. 20, 23. (Calmet)
Ver. 14. Years. They had continued another year at Sinai, and some months at least at Cades-barne; so that the few remaining months of the 40 years’ sojournment, were spent in conquering the kingdoms east of the Jordan. (Haydock)
Ver. 20. Zomzommim, means “wicked wretches,” famous for their stature, &c. (Menochius) — They are probably the same nation as the Zuzim, Genesis xiv. 5.
Ver. 21. Enacims. See on this race of giants what has been said, Numbers xiii. 23. They made place for the Zomzommim, as the latter did for the Ammonites. (Haydock)
Ver. 22. Horrhites, so called because they dwelt in caverns. (St. Jerome)
Ver. 23. Haserim, the same as Haseroth, Numbers xxxiii. 17. — Gaza belonged to the Philistines. The intermediate country, or the south part of Chanaan, occupied by the Hevites was seized by invaders from the isle of Cyprus, (Hebrew, Caphtorum; Calmet; Genesis x. 14,) or from Egypt, which the Nile intersects, forming many islands, in the Delta, Jeremias xlvii. 4. The Cappadocians, who dwelt in Asia Minor, on the Euxine sea, were a different nation, and sprung from Japhet. (Tirinus)
Ver. 24. Arise. God did not forbid Moses to ask for leave to pass through the land quietly, as the latter did; (ver. 26.) but he gives him to understand that his demand will be rejected with disdain, and he is at liberty to attack this insolent king, and thus to commence his conquests.
Ver. 25. Heaven. All who hear of thy exploits, will have cause to fear. (Haydock)
Ver. 26. Cademoth, “to the east,” of the Arnon. There was a city of the same name on the other side of its banks, which belonged to Sehon, and was given afterwards to the Levites, 1 Paralipomenon vi. 79. (Calmet)
Ver. 29. As, &c. These nations had only permitted them to pass along their borders, and furnished them, through fear, (ver. 4,) with the necessaries of life. Sehon will not even grant so much.
Ver. 30. Hardened, &c. That is, in punishment of his past sins, he left him to his own stubborn and perverse disposition, which drew him to his ruin. See the note on Exodus vii. 3. (Challoner) — God did not soften his heart, (Menochius) nor make him see the danger to which he was exposing his dominions, by provoking such an army. (Haydock)
Ver. 34. Killing, according to God’s express command, chap. xx. 16. (Menochius)
Ver. 37. Jeboc, towards its source; for both sides of the torrent were taken by the Hebrews from the kings Sehon and Og, who had already driven the Ammonites farther into the mountains, on the east. (Haydock) — When these demanded the conquered country to be restored to them, Jephte shewed that their claim was inadmissible, Judges xi. 13. (Calmet) — They had lost possession when the Hebrews came; and, as God had authorized the latter to take the land from those kings, without enquiring who were the former proprietors, the Ammonites, who had themselves expelled the Zomzommim, came with a very bad grace to assert their title, after a lapse of near 300 years. God only forbids the Hebrews to molest the actual dominions of the sons of Ammon, Moab, and Esau, in consideration of their fathers, to whom they were so nearly related. (Haydock)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
They are forbid to fight against the Edomites, Moabites, and Ammonites. Their victory over Sehon, king of Hesebon.
1 And departing from thence, we came into the wilderness, that leadeth to the Red Sea, as the Lord had spoken to me: and we compassed Mount Seir a long time.
2 And the Lord said to me:
3 You have compassed this mountain long enough: go towards the north:
4 And command thou the people, saying: You shall pass by the borders of your brethren the children of Esau, who dwell in Seir, and they will be afraid of you.
5 Take ye then good heed that ye stir not against them: For I will not give you of their land so much as the step of one foot can tread upon, because I have given Mount Seir to Esau, for a possession.
6 You shall buy meats of them for money, and shall eat: you shall draw water for money, and shall drink.
7 The Lord thy God hath blessed thee in every work of thy hands: the Lord thy God dwelling with thee, knoweth thy journey, how thou hast passed through this great wilderness for forty years, and thou hast wanted nothing.
8 And when we had passed by our brethren, the children of Esau, that dwelt in Seir, by the way of the plain from Elath, and from Asiongaber, we came to the way that leadeth to the desert of Moab.
9 And the Lord said to me: *Fight not against the Moabites, neither go to battle against them: for I will not give thee any of their land, because I have given Ar to the children of Lot in possession.
10 The Emims first were the inhabitants thereof, a people great, and strong, and so tall, that like the race of the Enacims,
11 They were esteemed as giants, and were like the sons of the Enacims. But the Moabites call them Emims.
12 The Horrhites also formerly dwelt in Seir: who being driven out and destroyed, the children of Esau dwelt there, as Israel did in the land of his possession, which the Lord gave him.
13 Then rising up to pass the torrent Zared, we came to it.
14 And the time that we journeyed from Cades-barne till we passed over the torrent Zared, was thirty-eight years: until all the generation of the men that were fit for war was consumed out of the camp, as the Lord had sworn:
15 For his hand was against them, that they should perish from the midst of the camp.
16 And after all the fighting men were dead,
17 The Lord spoke to me, saying:
18 Thou shalt pass this day the borders of Moab,* the city named Ar:
19 And when thou comest nigh the frontiers of the children of Ammon, take heed thou fight not against them, nor once move to battle: for I will not give thee of the land of the children of Ammon, because I have given it to the children of Lot for a possession.
20 It was accounted a land of giants: and giants formerly dwelt in it, whom the Ammonites call Zomzommims,
21 A people great, and many, and of tall stature, like the Enacims, whom the Lord destroyed before their face: and he made them to dwell in their stead,
22 As he had done in favour of the children of Esau, that dwell in Seir, destroying the Horrhites, and delivering their land to them, which they possess unto this day.
23 The Hevites also, that dwelt in Haserim as far as Gaza, were expelled by the Cappadocians: who came out of Cappadocia, and destroyed them, and dwelt in their stead.
24 Arise ye, and pass the torrent Arnon: *behold I have delivered into thy hand Sehon, king of Hesebon, the Amorrhite, and begin thou to possess his land, and make war against him.
25 This day will I begin to send the dread and fear of thee upon the nations, that dwell under the whole heaven: that when they hear thy name they may fear and tremble, and be in pain like women in travail.
26 *So I sent messengers from the wilderness of Cademoth to Sehon, the king of Hesebon, with peaceable words, saying:
27 We will pass through thy land, we will go along by the highway: we will not turn aside neither to the right hand nor to the left.
28 Sell us meat for money, that we may eat: give us water for money, and so we will drink. We only ask that thou wilt let us pass through,
29 As the children of Esau have done, that dwell in Seir, and the Moabites, that abide in Ar: until we come to the Jordan, and pass to the land, which the Lord our God will give us.
30 And Sehon, the king of Hesebon, would not let us pass: because the Lord thy God had hardened his spirit and fixed his heart, that he might be delivered into thy hands, as now thou seest.
31 And the Lord said to me: *Behold I have begun to deliver unto thee Sehon, and his land; begin to possess it.
32 And Sehon came out to meet us with all his people to fight at Jasa.
33 And the Lord our God delivered him to us: and we slew him, with his sons, and all his people.
34 And we took all his cities at that time, killing the inhabitants of them, men, and women, and children. We left nothing of them,
35 Except the cattle, which came to the share of them that took them: and the spoils of the cities, which we took:
36 From Aroer, which is upon the bank of the torrent Arnon, a town that is situate in a valley, as far as Galaad, there was not a village or city, that escaped our hands: the Lord our God delivered all unto us:
37 Except the land of the children of Ammon, to which we approached not: and all that border upon the torrent Jeboc, and the cities in the mountains, and all the places, which the Lord our God forbad us.
9: Numbers xxi. 13.
18: Year of the World 2553, Year before Christ 1451.
24: Year of the World 2553.
26: Numbers xxi. 21.
31: Amos ii. 9.