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.