Israel at Peor (Num 25:1-25:18)

While Israel was staying at Shittim, the people began to have sexual relations with the women of Moab. These women invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods. The people ate and bowed down to their gods. Thus Israel yoked himself to the Baal of Peor. Yahweh’s anger was kindled against Israel. Yahweh said to Moses. ‘Take all the chiefs of the people. Impale them in the sun before Yahweh, in order that the fierce anger of Yahweh may turn away from Israel.’ Moses said to the judges of Israel, ‘Each of you shall kill any of your people who have yoked themselves to Baal of Peor.’”

Israel was staying at Shittim, which is about 6 miles south of the Jordan River near Mount Peor. Shittim is a kind of wood, and the name of a town on the northeast corner of the Dead Sea. From here the Israelites will cross the Jordan. The people began to have sexual relations with the women of Moab and sacrifice to the Midianite gods, especially Baal of Peor. They ate and bowed down to Baal. Thus Yahweh was not happy with Moses. He wanted to impale all the chiefs of the people in the sun before Yahweh. Moses then told the judges of Israel that anyone who bowed down to Baal of Peor should be killed.

“Just then one of the Israelites came. He brought a Midianite woman to his family, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of the whole congregation of the Israelites. This was while they were weeping at the entrance of the tent of meeting. When Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he got up and left the congregation. Taking a spear in his hand, he went after the Israelite man into the tent. He pierced the two of them, the Israelite and the woman, through the belly. So the plague was stopped among the Israelites. Nevertheless those that died by the plague were twenty-four thousand.”

When an Israelite man brought a Midianite woman into his tent, in the sight of Moses and the whole congregation, Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, saw it. The grandson of Aaron took a spear in his hand and pierced both of them in the belly. By killing those two, he stopped a quick moving plague that had already killed 24,000 Israelite people.

“Yahweh spoke to Moses. ‘Phinehas son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the Israelites by manifesting such zeal among them on my behalf so that in my jealousy I did not consume the Israelites. Therefore say, `I hereby grant him my covenant of peace. It shall be for him, and for his descendants after him, a covenant of perpetual priesthood, because he was zealous for his God. He made atonement for the Israelites.’”

Yahweh was happy with Phinehas who was a priest and grandson of Aaron. He became a hero because he killed both the man and woman involved. So Yahweh told Moses to give him my covenant of peace, a covenant of a perpetual priesthood because he was zealous for his God. He made atonement for the Israelites. There will be other biblical people later with this same name of Phinehas.

“The name of the slain Israelite man, who was killed with the Midianite woman, was Zimri son of Salu, head of an ancestral house belonging to the Simeonites.  The name of the Midianite woman who was killed was Cozbi daughter of Zur, who was the head of a clan of an ancestral house in Midian.”

Now we find out the name of the slain man Zimri the son of Salu, head of his ancestral house belonging to the Simeonites. The name of the Midianite woman was Cozbi the daughter of Zur, who was a leader in Midian.

“Yahweh said to Moses. ‘Harass the Midianites. Defeat them. They have harassed you by trickery with which they deceived you in the affair of Peor, and in the affair of Cozbi, the daughter of a leader of Midian, their sister. She was killed on the day of the plague that resulted from Peor.’”

This is quite a story, the love/sexual affair of Cozbi, the daughter of a leader of Midian and Zimri, the Simeonite, the Israelite. Obviously the Israelites were against intermarriage and of course worshiping anyone except Yahweh, who is a jealous God. The chiefs had to die as atonement for the sins of the people, a common theme. This led Yahweh to tell Moses, to harass the Midianites. Defeat them. This affair at Peor would be a rallying cry for the Israelites.

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The four oracles of Balaam (Num 23:4-24:25)

“Then God met Balaam. Balaam said to him, ‘I have arranged the seven altars. I have presented a bull and a ram on each altar.’ Yahweh put a word in Balaam’s mouth, and said, ‘Return to Balak. This is what you must say.’ So he returned to Balak, who was standing beside his burnt offering with all the officials of Moab.”

The oracles are like divine sayings or predictions. God met Balaam. Balaam said that he had arranged the seven altars, and have presented a bull and a ram on each altar. Yahweh told him to return to Balak. Then Balaam returned to Balak with his burnt offering and all the officials of Moab.

“Then Balaam uttered his oracle.

‘Balak has brought me from Aram, the king of Moab from the eastern mountains.

Come, curse Jacob for me.

Come, denounce Israel!

How can I curse whom God has not cursed?

How can I denounce those whom Yahweh has not denounced?

For from the top of the crags I see him,

From the hills I behold him.

Here is a people living alone,

And not reckoning itself among the nations!

Who can count the dust of Jacob?

Or number the dust clouds of Israel?

Let me die the death of the upright,

Let my end be like his!’”

Then Balaam uttered his 1st oracle, saying that Balak had brought him from Aram to curse Jacob and denounce Israel. How could he curse what God has not cursed? How can he denounce whom Yahweh has not denounced? From the top of the rugged cliffs he saw them. Who can count the dust of Jacob? Who can number the dust clouds of Israel? Balaam wanted to die upright.

“Then Balak said to Balaam, ‘What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies. But you have done nothing but bless them.’ He answered, ‘Must I not take care to say what Yahweh puts in my mouth?’

Balak was not happy with Balaam. He brought him to curse his enemies. Now Balaam has done nothing but bless them. Balaam answered that he could only say the words that Yahweh puts into his mouth.

“So Balak said to him, ‘Come with me to another place from which you may see them. You shall see only part of them. You shall not see them all. Then curse them for me from there.’ So he took him to the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah. He built seven altars. He offered a bull and a ram on each altar. Balaam said to Balak. ‘Stand here beside your burnt offerings, while I meet Yahweh over there.’ Yahweh met Balaam. He put a word in his mouth and said, ‘Return to Balak. This is what you shall say.’ When he came to him, he was standing beside his burnt offerings with the officials of Moab.”

Balak wanted Balaam to get a better view of the Israelites. He brought him to the top of the mountain ridge of Pisgah that over looked the plains of Zophim. Once again he built seven altars, and presented up seven bulls and rams, one on each altar. Then Balaam told Balak to stand beside his burnt offerings, while he went to meet Yahweh to find out what he would say. Then he returned to Balak who was standing beside his burnt offerings with the Moab officials.

“Then Balaam uttered his oracle, saying;

‘Rise, Balak, and hear;

Listen to me, O son of Zippor;

God is not a human being, that he should lie;

God is not a mortal, that he should change his mind;

Has he promised, and will he not do it?

Has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

See, I received a command to bless;

He has blessed, and I cannot revoke it.

He has not beheld misfortune in Jacob;

Nor has he seen trouble in Israel.

Yahweh, their God is with them,

Acclaimed as a king among them;

God, who brings them out of Egypt,

God is like the horns of a wild ox for them.

Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob;

No divination against Israel;

Now it shall be said of Jacob and Israel,

‘See what God has done!’

Look, a people rising up like a lioness,

Rousing itself like a lion!

It does not lie down until it has eaten the prey and drunk the blood of the slain.’”

Then Balaam uttered his 2nd oracle, saying that Balak should listen since God is not a human being. He doesn’t lie or change his mind. What he has promised, he will do. What he has spoken, he will fulfill. Balaam has a command to bless the Israelites that he cannot revoke. Yahweh, their God is with them as a king is among them. He brought them out of Egypt like the horns of a wild ox. There is no divination against Israel. The sons of Jacob and Israel are like a people rising up like a lioness, and rousing itself like a lion. They will not lie down until they have eaten the prey and drunk the blood of the slain.

“Then Balak said to Balaam, ‘Do not curse them at all, and do not bless them at all.’ But Balaam answered Balak, ‘Did I not tell you, whatever Yahweh says, that is what I must do?’ So Balak said to Balaam, ‘Come now, I will take you to another place. Perhaps it will please God that you may curse them for me from there.’ So Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, which overlooks the wasteland. Balaam said to Balak, ‘Build me seven altars here. Prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.’ So Balak did as Balaam had said. He offered a bull and a ram on each altar.”

Balak was not happy with Balaam and said, don’t curse or bless them. However, Balaam answered that he was only following what Yahweh asked him to do. Balak was still not convinced, so he brought then to another place where he thought things would be different so that there he could curse the Israelites. They went to the top of Mount Peor, which overlooks the desert, where they built seven altars with seven bulls and rams with an offering on each altar.

“Now Balaam saw that it pleased Yahweh to bless Israel, he did not go, as at other times, to look for omens, but set his face toward the wilderness. Balaam looked up and saw Israel camping tribe by tribe. Then the Spirit of God came upon him.”

This time Balaam did not go to seek omens, because he knew that Yahweh was happy with Israel. Instead he looked at the Israelite camp and the Spirit of God came upon him. Here is an explicit example of a non-Israelite receiving the Holy Spirit of God, much like Cornelius in the New Testament Acts of the Apostles.

“He uttered his oracle, saying:

‘The oracle of Balaam son of Beor;

The oracle of the man whose eye is clear;

The oracle of one who hears the words of God;

The oracle of one who sees the vision of the Almighty;

The oracle of one who falls down, but with eyes uncovered;

How fair are your tents, O Jacob;

How fair are your encampments, O Israel!

Like palm groves that stretch far away;

Like gardens beside a river;

Like aloes that Yahweh has planted;

Like cedar trees beside the waters.

Water shall flow from his buckets;

His seed shall have abundant water;

His king shall be higher than Agag;

His kingdom shall be exalted.

God, who brings him out of Egypt,

God is like the horns of a wild ox for him;

He shall devour the nations that are his foes

He shall break their bones.

He shall strike with his arrows.

He crouched;

He lay down like a lion, and like a lioness;

Who will rouse him up?

Blessed is everyone who blesses you,

Cursed is everyone who curses you.’”

Balaam uttered his 3rd oracle, saying that this was the oracle of Balaam the son of Beor, the oracle of a man whose eye was clear. He hears the words of God and sees the vision of the Almighty (El Shaddai). This is all encompassing vision. He may fall down but his eyes are clear. He sees the tents and camps of the sons of Jacob and Israel. Yahweh has planted palm groves, gardens, aloes, and cedar trees beside the waters. They will have abundant water for their seeds. Their kingdom will be exalted. Their God brought them out of Egypt like the horns of a wild ox. They will devour nations and foes, breaking their bones. They are like crouched lions. Blessed is everyone who blesses them. Cursed is everyone who curses them.

“Then Balak’s anger was kindled against Balaam. He struck his hands together. Balak said to Balaam, ‘I summoned you to curse my enemies. But instead you have blessed them these three times. Now be off with you! Go home! I said `I will reward you richly.’ But Yahweh has denied you any reward.’ Balaam said to Balak, ‘Did I not tell your messengers whom you sent to me, `If Balak should give me his house full of silver and gold, I would not be able to go beyond the word of Yahweh, to do either good or bad of my own will. What Yahweh says, that is what I will say? So now, behold, I am going to my people. Let me advise you what this people will do to your people in the days to come.’”

Then Balak was really angry with Balaam. He said that he summoned him to curse my enemies. Instead you blessed them three times. Now get out of here and go home! Balak was going to reward Balaam, but not now. However, Balaam said that he told the messengers that he could not go against the word of Yahweh. Finally he wants to give some advice to Balak about what was going to happen to him and his people in the days to come.

“So he uttered his oracle, saying:

‘The oracle of Balaam son of Beor;

The oracle of the man whose eye is clear;

The oracle of one who hears the words of God;

The oracle of one knows the knowledge of the Most High;

The oracle of one who sees the vision of the Almighty;

The oracle of own who falls down, but with his eyes uncovered;

I see him, but not now;

I behold him, but not near;

A star shall come out of Jacob;

A scepter shall rise out of Israel;

It shall crush the borderlands of Moab;

and the territory of all the sons of Shethites;

Edom will become a possession;

Seir, a possession of his enemies;

While Israel does valiantly;

One out of Jacob shall rule and destroy the survivors of Ir.’”

So Balaam uttered his 4th oracle. This is a lot like the 3rd one. He talks about himself, the son of Beor, whose eye is clear, and hears the words of God, and knows the knowledge of the Most High. He sees the vision of the Almighty (Shaddai). He falls down but with his eyes uncovered. A star shall come out of Jacob. A scepter shall rise out of Israel. They will crush the borderlands of Moab, and the territory of all the sons of Shethites. Edom and Seir will become a possession. Jacob will rule and destroy Ir. It is not clear where Ir is.

“Then he looked on Amalek, and uttered his oracle, saying,

‘First among the nations was Amalek;

But its end is to perish forever.’

Then he looked on the Kenite, and uttered his oracle, saying,

‘Enduring is your dwelling place;

Your nest is set in the rock;

Yet Kain is destined for burning.

How long shall Asshur take you away captive?’

Again he uttered his oracle, saying:

Alas, who shall live when God does this?

But ships shall come from Kittim

And shall afflict Asshur and Eber;

He also shall perish forever.’

Then Balaam got up and went back to his place. Balak also went his way.”

Then Balaam talked about the destruction of Amalek, the Kenites, as well as Asshur and Eber. In the end Balaam and Balak separated. What do we have here? Here are four main oracles of Balaam, from Babylon, and then a few other short oracles about the various people in the area. Yahweh is speaking through Balaam, who is not an Israelite, in very poetic language. Balaam seems to justify the taking of all these lands. In fact there are allusions to Cain (Kain) and Seth (Shethites), the children of Adam and Eve, to show the connection between Israel and the other inhabitants of this land. Asshur is from the family of Shem, Noah’s son. Most of these people can be found in Genesis, chapter 10 that tried to explain how the sons of Noah populated the Near East. All of these people will be defeated. The message of Balaam was that Israel will be blessed. The others will be cursed.

The sacrifices of Balaam and Balak (Num 23:1-23:3)

“Then Balaam said to Balak, ‘Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.’ Balak did as Balaam had said. Balak and Balaam offered a bull and a ram on each altar. Then Balaam said to Balak, ‘Stay here beside your burnt offerings while I go aside. Perhaps Yahweh will come to meet me. Whatever he shows me I will tell you.’ He went to a flat bare hill.”  

Balaam asked Balak to build seven altars, with seven bulls and seven rams. Balak did exactly that and offered a bull and a ram on each altar, so that it was seven bulls and seven rams on seven altars. Balaam said to Balak that he was going to meet Yahweh to find out what will come next. Notice that the sacrifices are similar to the burnt holocausts of Israel. Either this was common in the area or an Israelite projection on the Moabites.

Balaam and Balak meet (Num 22:36-22:41)

“When Balak heard that Balaam was coming, he went out to meet him at Ir-moab, on the boundary formed by the Arnon, at the farthest point of the boundary. Balak said to Balaam, ‘Did I not send to summon you? Why did you not come to me? Am I not able to honor you?’ Balaam said to Balak, ‘I have come to you now, but do I have power to say just anything? The word God puts in my mouth that is what I must say.’ Then Balaam went with Balak. They came to Kiriath-huzoth. Balak sacrificed oxen and sheep, and sent them to Balaam and to the officials who were with him. On the next day, Balak took Balaam and brought him up to Bamoth-baal. From there they could see part of the Israelites.”

When Balak heard that Balaam was coming, he went to meet him at the border by the Arnon. Balak wanted to know why Balaam had not come to him. Balaam responded to Balak the he could only say the words that God puts in his mouth. Then Balaam went with Balak to Kiriath-huzoth. There Balak sacrificed oxen and sheep, and sent them to Balaam and the officials with him. The next day, Balak took Balaam and brought him up to Bamoth-baal, a small mountain on the Arnon, where they could see part of the Israelites. This is the only biblical mention of the towns of Ir-moab, on the border of Moab, as well as Kiriath-huzoth and Bamoth-baal, both near the Arnon River.

Balaam’s talking donkey (Num 22:22-22:35)

“God’s anger was kindled because Balaam was going. The angel of Yahweh took his stand in the road as his adversary. Now Balaam was riding on a donkey, and his two servants were with him. The donkey saw the angel of Yahweh standing in the road, with a drawn sword in his hand. The donkey turned off the road and went into the field. Balaam struck the donkey, to turn it back onto the road. Then the angel of Yahweh stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on either side. When the donkey saw the angel of Yahweh, it scraped against the wall, and scraped Balaam’s foot against the wall. So he struck it again. Then the angel of Yahweh went ahead, and stood in a narrow place, where there was no way to turn either to the right or to the left. When the donkey saw the angel of Yahweh, it lay down under Balaam. Balaam’s anger was kindled. He struck the donkey with his staff. Then Yahweh opened the mouth of the donkey. The donkey said to Balaam, ‘What have I done to you that you have struck me these three times?’ Balaam said to the donkey, ‘Because you have made a fool of me! I wish I had a sword in my hand! I would kill you right now.’ But the donkey said to Balaam, ‘Am I not your donkey, which you have ridden all your life to this day? Have I been in the habit of treating you this way?’ And he said, ‘No.’”

Now we have a colorful Yahweh tale with a talking donkey, like in the movie Shrek. Yahweh was angry because Balaam was going to see Balak. Thus the angel of Yahweh took his stand in the road as his adversary. Balaam was riding on the donkey with his two servants with him. The donkey saw the angel of Yahweh standing in the road, with a drawn sword in his hand. The donkey turned off the road, and went into a field. However, Balaam struck the donkey. Next the angel of Yahweh stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on either side. Then the donkey scraped Balaam’s foot against the wall. Balaam struck the donkey again. Then the angel of Yahweh went ahead, and stood in a narrow place, where there was no way to turn either to the right or to the left. When the donkey saw the angel of Yahweh, it lay down under Balaam. Balaam was angry. He struck the donkey a third time. Then Yahweh opened the mouth of the donkey. The donkey spoke to Balaam, ‘What have I done to you that you have struck me these three times?’ Balaam spoke back to the donkey, saying that the donkey had made a fool of him. He wanted to kill the donkey. But the donkey replied that he had ridden him all his life.

Then the Yahweh opened the eyes of Balaam. He saw the angel of Yahweh standing in the road, with his drawn sword in his hand. He bowed down, falling on his face. The angel of Yahweh said to him, ‘Why have you struck your donkey three times? I have come out as an adversary, because your way is perverse before me. The donkey saw me. He turned away from me three times. If it had not turned away from me, surely just now I would have killed you and let it live.’”

Then Yahweh opened the eyes of Balaam. He finally saw the angel of Yahweh standing in the road, with his drawn sword in his hand. Balaam bowed down, falling on his face. The angel of Yahweh asked him why he had struck the donkey three times? The donkey saw me, and turned away from me these three times. If it had not turned away from me, I would have killed you and let the donkey live.

“Then Balaam said to the angel of Yahweh, ‘I have sinned, for I did not know that you were standing in the road to oppose me. Now therefore, if it is displeasing to you, I will return home.’ The angel of Yahweh said to Balaam, ‘Go with the men. But speak only what I tell you to speak.’ So Balaam went on with the officials of Balak.”

Then Balaam admitted that he had sinned. He did not see the angel of Yahweh. He was willing to go home, but the angel of Yahweh told him to speak only when Yahweh told him to speak. So Balaam went on with the officials of Balak. What a great story! The donkey is smarter than this divine magic person. He is almost like Abraham, doing whatever Yahweh wants him to do. Notice that Yahweh opens the mouth of the donkey and the eyes of Balaam. There may be some symbolism in the concept of the 3 incidents and the 3 whippings of the donkey.

 

The King of Moab makes an appeal to Balaam (Num 22:1-22:21)

“The Israelites set out, and camped in the plains of Moab across the Jordan from Jericho. Now Balak son of Zippor saw all that the Israel had done to the Amorites. Moab was in great dread of the people, because they were so numerous. Moab was overcome with fear of the Israelites. Moab said to the elders of Midian, ‘This horde will now lick up all that is around us, as the ox licks up the grass of the field.’ Balak son of Zippor was king of Moab at that time. He sent messengers to Balaam son of Beor at Pethor, which is on the Euphrates River, in the land of Amaw to summon him, saying, ‘A people has come out of Egypt. They have spread over the face of the earth. They have settled next to me. Come now, curse this people for me, since they are stronger than I. Perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them from the land. I know that whomever you bless is blessed. Whomever you curse is cursed.”

The Israelites camped in the plains of Moab across the Jordan from Jericho. Balak son of Zippor, the king of the Moabites realized what the Israelites had done to the Amorites. They were overcome with fear of the Israelites. So Balak sent messengers to Balaam son of Beor at Pethor, which is in Babylon near the Euphrates River. Balaam was some kind of Babylonian mystic, sorcerer, magician, diviner, medium, or spiritualist. Balak wanted Balaam to curse these people who came out of Egypt and spread over the face of the earth. What is worse, they have settled next to Balak. If he had Balaam’s blessing, he might be able to defeat them.

“So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the fees for divination in their hand. They came to Balaam, and gave him Balak’s message. He said to them, ‘Stay here tonight. I will bring back word to you, just as Yahweh speaks to me.’ So the officials of Moab stayed with Balaam.”

The elders of Moab and Midian departed with the spiritual fees. They came to Balaam and gave him Balak’s message. They were ready to pay for his blessing and curse. Balaam, however, told them to stay there that night. He would bring back word after he had spoken to Yahweh. So the officials of Moab stayed with Balaam. It is interesting that Balaam is subject to Yahweh and not independent. Once again the Babylonian roots of Yahweh and the Israelites appear.

“God came to Balaam and said, ‘Who are these men with you?’ Balaam said to God, ‘King Balak son of Zippor of Moab has sent me this message. ‘A people has come out of Egypt. They have spread over the face of the earth. Now come, curse them for me. Perhaps I shall be able to fight against them and drive them out.’ God said to Balaam, ‘You shall not go with them. You shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.’ So Balaam rose in the morning, and said to the officials of Balak, ‘Go to your own land, for Yahweh has refused to let me go with you.’ So the officials of Moab rose and went to Balak, and said, ‘Balaam refuses to come with us.’”

God came to Balaam and wanted to know who these men were. Balaam explained that King Balak son of Zippor of Moab had sent them. God then said to Balaam that he should not go with them because the Israelites were a blessed people. The next morning Balaam told the officials of Balak to go home because Yahweh would not let him curse the Israelites. So the officials of Moab went back to Balak and told him that Balaam refused to come with us.

“Once again Balak sent officials, more numerous and more distinguished than these. They came to Balaam and said to him, ‘Thus says Balak son of Zippor: ‘Do not let anything hinder you from coming to me. For I will surely do you great honor, and whatever you say to me I will do. Come, curse this people for me.’ But Balaam replied to the servants of Balak, ‘Even if Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the command of Yahweh to do less or more. You remain here, as the others did, so that I may learn what more Yahweh may say to me.’ That night God came to Balaam and said to him, ‘If the men have come to summon you, get up and go with them. But do only what I tell you to do.’ So Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey, and went with the officials of Moab.”

So there you have it. Balak is asking Balaam to curse the Israelites, but Balaam is listening to Yahweh, who is on the Israelite side. This is going to be difficult for the Moabites.  However, Yahweh says that it is okay to go as long as Balaam listens to Yahweh.

The conquest of the Amorites (Num 21:21-21:35)

“Then Israel sent messengers to King Sihon of the Amorites, saying, ‘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.’ 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. He came to Jahaz, and fought against Israel. Israel put him to the sword. Israel took possession of his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, as far as to the Ammonites. For the boundary of the Ammonites was strong. Israel took all these towns. Israel settled in all the towns of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all its villages. For Heshbon was the city of King Sihon of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab and captured all his land as far as the Arnon.”

This is basically the same request that they sent to the King of Edom. The response of King Sihon was like the king of Edom since he would not allow Israel to pass through his territory. Thus, he went out to fight against Israel at Jahaz. However, Israel won the battle and took possession of his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, up to the strong boundary of the Ammonites. Israel took all these towns, and settled in them, including Heshbon, the city of King Sihon.. Thus, we have a real victory here since some of the Israelites stay in these towns and are in the Promised Land, no longer wandering.

“Therefore the ballad singers say,

Come to Heshbon, let it be built.

Let the city of Sihon be established.

Fire came out from Heshbon.

Flame came from the city of Sihon.

It devoured Ar of Moab.

It swallowed up the heights of the Arnon.

Woe to you, O Moab!

You are undone, O people of Chemosh!

He has made his sons’ fugitives

and his daughters captives to an Amorite king, Sihon.

So their posterity perished from Heshbon to Dibon.

We laid waste until fire spread to Medeba.”

Once again we have a song, a victory chant about Heshbon, the city of King Sihon. Fire and flames came from this city of King Sihon. Heshbon was 20 miles east of the mouth of the Jordan, on the east side of Jordan River. Ar had been part of the Moab holdings that King Sihon had captured. Thus the Moabites perished from Heshbon to Dibon. Now the Israelites defeated Sihon. Chemosh was a Moabite God. Dibon had been the ancient capital of the Moabites while Medeba still exists today in modern Jordan. This is a great victory as now the Moabites are gone. The Amorites were also defeated. Moses was the leader of this great victory since there is no mention of any other leader.

“Thus Israel settled in the land of the Amorites. Moses sent to spy out Jazer. They took its villages and dispossessed the Amorites that were there. Then they turned and went up the road to Bashan. King Og of Bashan came out against them, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei. But Yahweh said to Moses, ‘Do not be afraid of him. For I have given him into your hand, all his people, and all his land. You shall do to him as you did to King Sihon of the Amorites, who ruled in Heshbon.’ So they killed him, his sons, and all his people, until there were no survivors left. They took possession of his land.”

Israel settled in the land of the Amorites. Moses sent spies to Jazer and took its villages. Jazer was about 15 miles north of Heshbon. Then they turned north and went up road to Bashan. There they defeated King Og of Bashan in the battle of Edrei, one of the capital cities in Bashan. Yahweh had told Moses to not be afraid of him because he was going to be like King Sihon. So the Israelites killed him, his sons, and all his people, until there was not a survivor left. They took possession of his land. King Og was considered to be a giant, who ruled Bashan. This is another great victory at Edrei, but there is no mention of who the leader of the Israelites is. However, it is clear that these Amorites are utterly wiped out, not a single survivor. The Israelites are settling into these former Amorite lands, since there are no Amorites left. Basically the east bank of the Jordan River is in the hands of the Israelites.