Numbers 21
Holman Christian Standard Bible

Canaanite King Defeated

1When the Canaanite king of Arad,a who lived in the Negev, heard that Israel was coming on the Atharim road, he fought against Israel and captured some prisoners. 2Then Israel made a vow to the LORD, “If You will deliver this people into our hands, we will completely destroy their cities.”b 3The LORD listened to Israel’s request, the Canaanites were defeated, and Israel completely destroyed them and their cities. So they named the place Hormah.c, d

The Bronze Snake

4Then they set out from Mount Hor by way of the Red Sea to bypass the land of Edom, but the peoplee became impatient because of the journey. 5The people spoke against God and Moses: “Why have you led us up from Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread or water, and we detest this wretched food! ” 6Then the LORD sent poisonousf, g snakes among the people, and they bit them so that many Israelites died.h

7The people then came to Moses and said, “We have sinned by speaking against the LORD and against you. Intercede with the LORD so that He will take the snakes away from us.” And Moses interceded for the people.

8Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a snake image and mount it on a pole. When anyone who is bitten looks at it, he will recover.”i 9So Moses made a bronze snake and mounted it on a pole. Whenever someone was bitten, and he looked at the bronze snake, he recovered.

Journey around Moab

10The Israelites set out and camped at Oboth.j 11They set out from Oboth and camped at Iye-abarim in the wilderness that borders Moab on the east. 12From there they went and camped at Zered Valley. 13They set out from there and camped on the other side of the Arnon River, in the wilderness that extends from the Amorite border, because the Arnon was the Moabite border between Moab and the Amorites. 14Therefore it is stated in the Book of the LORD’s Wars:

Wahebk in Suphah

and the ravines of the Arnon,

15even the slopes of the ravines

that extend to the site of Arl, m

and lie along the border of Moab.

16From there they went to Beer,n the well the LORD told Moses about, “Gather the people so I may give them water.” 17Then Israel sang this song:

Spring up, well — sing to it!

18The princes dug the well;

the nobles of the people hollowed it out

with a scepter and with their staffs.

They went from the wilderness to Mattanah, 19from Mattanah to Nahaliel, from Nahaliel to Bamoth, 20from Bamoth to the valley in the territory of Moab near the Pisgah highlandso, p that overlook the wasteland.q, r

Amorite Kings Defeated

21Israel sent messengers to say to Sihons king of the Amorites: 22Let us travel through your land. We won’t go into the fields or vineyards. We won’t drink any well water. We will travel the King’s Highway until we have traveled through your territory.”t 23But Sihon would not let Israel travel through his territory. Instead, he gathered his whole army and went out to confront Israel in the wilderness. When he came to Jahaz,u he fought against Israel. 24Israel struck him with the sword and took possession of his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok,v but only up to the Ammonite border, because it was fortified.w, x

25Israel took all the cities and lived in all these Amorite cities, including Heshbon and all its villages. 26Heshbon was the city of Sihon king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab and had taken control of all his land as far as the Arnon. 27Therefore the poetsy say:

Come to Heshbon, let it be rebuilt;

let the city of Sihon be restored.z

28For fire came out of Heshbon,

a flame from the city of Sihon.

It consumed Ar of Moab,

the lords ofaa Arnon’s heights.

29Woe to you, Moab!

You have been destroyed, people of Chemosh!ab

He gave up his sons as refugees,

and his daughters into captivity

to Sihon the Amorite king.

30We threw them down;

Heshbon has been destroyed as far as, ad

We caused desolation as far as Nophah,

which reaches as far as, af

31So Israel lived in the Amorites’ land. 32After Moses sent spies to Jazer, Israel captured its villages and drove out the Amorites who were there.

33Then they turned and went up the road to Bashan, and Og king of Bashanag came out against them with his whole army to do battle at Edrei.ah 34But the LORD said to Moses, “Do not fear him, for I have handed him over to you along with his whole army and his land. Do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon.”ai 35So they struck him, his sons, and his whole army until no one was left,aj and they took possession of his land.ak

a. 21:1 Nm 33:40; Jos 12:14; Jdg 1:16
b. 21:2 Dt 2:34; 13:16-17; Jos 6:18,21
c. 21:3 = destruction
d. 21:3 Nm 14:45; Dt 1:44; Jdg 1:17
e. 21:4 Lit soul of the people
f. 21:6 LXX reads deadly ; Syr reads cruel ; Vg reads fiery
g. 21:6 Lit burning
h. 21:6 1Co 10:9
i. 21:8 2Kg 18:4; Jn 3:14-15
j. 21:10-11 Nm 33:43-44
k. 21:14 = the source of the Arnon River
l. 21:15 A city in Moab; Nm 21:28; Dt 2:9,18,29; Is 15:1
m. 21:15 Nm 21:28; Dt 2:9,18,29; Is 15:1
n. 21:16 = well
o. 21:20 = Moabite mountain plateau; Nm 23:14; Dt 3:17,27; 4:49; 34:1; Jos 12:3; 13:20
p. 21:20 Nm 23:14; Dt 3:17,27; 4:49; 34:1; Jos 12:3; 13:20
q. 21:20 Or overlook Jeshimon
r. 21:20 Nm 23:28
s. 21:21 Nm 32:33; Dt 1:4; 2:24–4:46
t. 21:22 Nm 20:17; Dt 2:26-33
u. 21:23 Dt 2:32; Jdg 11:20; 1Ch 6:78
v. 21:21-24 Jdg 11:19-22
w. 21:24 LXX reads was Jazer
x. 21:24 Or was at Az
y. 21:27 Lit ones who speak proverbs
z. 21:27 Or firmly founded
aa. 21:28 LXX reads Moab, and swallowed
ab. 21:27-29 Jdg 11:24; 1Kg 11:7,33; Jr 48:45-47
ac. 21:30 LXX reads Their seed will perish from Heshbon ; Vg reads Their yoke has perished from Heshbon
ad. 21:30 Nm 32:34; Neh 11:25; Jr 48:18,22
ae. 21:30 LXX reads Dibon. And their women have further kindled a fire against Moab ; Hb uncertain
af. 21:30 Jos 13:9,16; 1Ch 19:7; Is 15:2
ag. 21:33 Nm 32:33; Dt 3:1-13; 4:47
ah. 21:33 Dt 3:1,10; Jos 12:4; 13:12,31
ai. 21:34 Dt 3:2
aj. 21:35 Lit left to him
ak. 21:35 Ps 135:10-11
Numbers 20
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