Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Land On The East Of The Jordan

Deuteronomy 2:24-3:17

“Rise ye up, take your journey, and pass over the river Arnon: behold, I have given into thine hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land: begin to possess it, and contend with him in battle.  This day will I begin to put the dread of thee and the fear of thee upon the nations that are under the whole heaven, who shall hear report of thee, and shall tremble, and be in anguish because of thee.” (Deuteronomy 2:24-25) 

Israel was to cross the Arnon river and take the land of  Heshbon form the Amorite hing, Sihon.  It would be the first part of their possession, and the victory would serve to demoralize the surrounding countries.

“And I sent messengers out of the wilderness of Kedemoth unto Sihon king of Heshbon with words of peace, saying, Let me pass through thy land: I will go along by the high way, I will neither turn unto the right hand nor to the left.  Thou shalt sell me meat for money, that I may eat; and give me water for money, that I may drink: only I will pass through on my feet; (As the children of Esau which dwell in Seir, and the Moabites which dwell in Ar, did unto me;) until I shall pass over Jordan into the land which the LORD our God giveth us.” (Deuteronomy 2:26-29) 

Despite the fact that God had told them to take that land, Moses requested permission to cross the land and offered to pay for any damages or food or water consumed.

“But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him: for the LORD thy God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that he might deliver him into thy hand, as appeareth this day. 

And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have begun to give Sihon and his land before thee: begin to possess, that thou mayest inherit his land. 

Then Sihon came out against us, he and all his people, to fight at Jahaz.  And the LORD our God delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people.  And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain: Only the cattle we took for a prey unto ourselves, and the spoil of the cities which we took.  From Aroer, which is by the brink of the river of Arnon, and from the city that is by the river, even unto Gilead, there was not one city too strong for us: the LORD our God delivered all unto us: Only unto the land of the children of Ammon thou camest not, nor unto any place of the river Jabbok, nor unto the cities in the mountains, nor unto whatsoever the LORD our God forbad us.” (Deuteronomy 2:30-37)

Instead of agreeing to allow Israel to pass, Sihon attacked them, making himself the aggressor.  Israel was victorious and wiped them out, keeping the livestock and possessions for themselves.  At the same time, they did not attack any land God had told them not to bother.

“Then we turned, and went up the way to Bashan: and Og the king of Bashan came out against us, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei. 

And the LORD said unto me, Fear him not: for I will deliver him, and all his people, and his land, into thy hand; and thou shalt do unto him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon.” (Deuteronomy 3:1-2) 

 Hoping to catch Israel off guard, Og, king of Bashan, another Amorite kingdom, decided to strike first.  God reassured Moses that they had nothing to fear.  Israel could defeat him as completely as they had Sihon.

“So the LORD our God delivered into our hands Og also, the king of Bashan, and all his people: and we smote him until none was left to him remaining.  And we took all his cities at that time, there was not a city which we took not from them, threescore cities, all the region of Argob, the kingdom of Og in Bashan.  All these cities were fenced with high walls, gates, and bars; beside unwalled towns a great many.  And we utterly destroyed them, as we did unto Sihon king of Heshbon, utterly destroying the men, women, and children, of every city.  But all the cattle, and the spoil of the cities, we took for a prey to ourselves. 

And we took at that time out of the hand of the two kings of the Amorites the land that was on this side Jordan, from the river of Arnon unto mount Hermon; (Which Hermon the Sidonians call Sirion; and the Amorites call it Shenir;) All the cities of the plain, and all Gilead, and all Bashan, unto Salchah and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan.  For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of giants; behold, his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after the cubit of a man.” (Deuteronomy 3:3-11) 

While we do not know how large some giants might have been, anyone over eight feet is considered a giant today.  Og’s bead was over thirteen feet long and six wide, or about the size of two full sized beds side by side.  His size might intimidate ordinary people, but it was no protection against God’s power.  Og was the last descendant of a family of giants who had lived in the region.

“And this land, which we possessed at that time, from Aroer, which is by the river Arnon, and half mount Gilead, and the cities thereof, gave I unto the Reubenites and to the Gadites.  And the rest of Gilead, and all Bashan, being the kingdom of Og, gave I unto the half tribe of Manasseh; all the region of Argob, with all Bashan, which was called the land of giants.  Jair the son of Manasseh took all the country of Argob unto the coasts of Geshuri and Maachathi; and called them after his own name, Bashanhavothjair, unto this day.  And I gave Gilead unto Machir. 

And unto the Reubenites and unto the Gadites I gave from Gilead even unto the river Arnon half the valley, and the border even unto the river Jabbok, which is the border of the children of Ammon; The plain also, and Jordan, and the coast thereof, from Chinnereth even unto the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, under Ashdothpisgah eastward.” (Deuteronomy 3:12-17)

The land taken from the Sihon and Og, and given to the tribes of Reuben and Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh reached from the border of Moab, where the river Arnon feeds into the Dead Sea north to the sea of Galilee, and from the Jordan river East to the capital of present day Jordan, Amman, or Ammon.

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