Deuteronomy 2
Benson Commentary
Then we turned, and took our journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea, as the LORD spake unto me: and we compassed mount Seir many days.
Deuteronomy 2:1. We compassed mount Seir — The mountainous part of Edom, or Idumea. Many days — Even for thirty-eight years, which time they spent in tedious marches to and fro through that desert country, reaching from Kadesh to the Red sea, and in various encampments, till that race of murmurers was quite extinct, and then orders were given them to bend their course again toward Canaan, Deuteronomy 2:3.

And the LORD spake unto me, saying,
Ye have compassed this mountain long enough: turn you northward.
And command thou the people, saying, Ye are to pass through the coast of your brethren the children of Esau, which dwell in Seir; and they shall be afraid of you: take ye good heed unto yourselves therefore:
Meddle not with them; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as a foot breadth; because I have given mount Seir unto Esau for a possession.
Ye shall buy meat of them for money, that ye may eat; and ye shall also buy water of them for money, that ye may drink.
Deuteronomy 2:6. Buy meat of them for money — For though the manna did yet rain upon them, they were not forbidden to buy other meats when they had opportunity, but only were forbidden greedily to hunger after them when they could not obtain them. Buy water — For water in those parts was scarce, and therefore private persons did severally dig pits for their particular use.

For the LORD thy God hath blessed thee in all the works of thy hand: he knoweth thy walking through this great wilderness: these forty years the LORD thy God hath been with thee; thou hast lacked nothing.
Deuteronomy 2:7. The Lord hath blessed thee — By God’s blessing thou art able to buy thy conveniences, and therefore thy theft and rapine will be inexcusable, because without any pretence of necessity. He knoweth — Hebrew, He hath known; that is, observed, or regarded with care and kindness, which that word often denotes. Which experience of God’s singular goodness to thee should make thee rely on him still, and not use any unjust practice to procure what thou wantest or desirest.

And when we passed by from our brethren the children of Esau, which dwelt in Seir, through the way of the plain from Elath, and from Eziongaber, we turned and passed by the way of the wilderness of Moab.
Deuteronomy 2:8-9. We turned — From our direct road, which lay through Edom. Ar — The chief city of the Moabites, here put for the whole country which depended upon it. The children of Lot — So called to signify that this preservation was not for their sakes, for they were a wicked people, but for Lot’s sake, whose memory God yet honoured.

And the LORD said unto me, Distress not the Moabites, neither contend with them in battle: for I will not give thee of their land for a possession; because I have given Ar unto the children of Lot for a possession.
The Emims dwelt therein in times past, a people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims;
Deuteronomy 2:10-12. The Emims — Men terrible for stature and strength, as their very name imports, whose expulsion by the Moabites is here noted as a great encouragement to the Israelites, for whose sake he would much more drive out the wicked and accursed Canaanites. Which the Lord gave —

The past tense is here put for the future, will give, after the manner of the prophets.

Which also were accounted giants, as the Anakims; but the Moabites call them Emims.
The Horims also dwelt in Seir beforetime; but the children of Esau succeeded them, when they had destroyed them from before them, and dwelt in their stead; as Israel did unto the land of his possession, which the LORD gave unto them.
Now rise up, said I, and get you over the brook Zered. And we went over the brook Zered.
And the space in which we came from Kadeshbarnea, until we were come over the brook Zered, was thirty and eight years; until all the generation of the men of war were wasted out from among the host, as the LORD sware unto them.
For indeed the hand of the LORD was against them, to destroy them from among the host, until they were consumed.
So it came to pass, when all the men of war were consumed and dead from among the people,
Deuteronomy 2:16-17. When all the men of war were consumed — Israel is not called to march against and attack the Canaanites till the men most fit for war, and who probably had learned the art of it in Egypt, and had been used to hardship, were all wasted and dead from among the people, and only a host of new raised men, trained up in a wilderness, were left, in whom, as being possessed of little knowledge, experience, or natural fortitude, no great dependance could be placed. Thus it became more fully manifest that the excellency of the power which subdued the warlike Canaanites, was of God and not of man. On the same principle, and with the same design, long after this, were the following words spoken by the Lord to Gideon: The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me. And thus, to subdue the enemies of God’s church, and bring sinners to the obedience of the faith, he hath chosen the weak things of the world, and things that are despised, and things that are not, to bring to naught the things that are, that no flesh may glory in his presence.

That the LORD spake unto me, saying,
Thou art to pass over through Ar, the coast of Moab, this day:
And when thou comest nigh over against the children of Ammon, distress them not, nor meddle with them: for I will not give thee of the land of the children of Ammon any possession; because I have given it unto the children of Lot for a possession.
(That also was accounted a land of giants: giants dwelt therein in old time; and the Ammonites call them Zamzummims;
A people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims; but the LORD destroyed them before them; and they succeeded them, and dwelt in their stead:
As he did to the children of Esau, which dwelt in Seir, when he destroyed the Horims from before them; and they succeeded them, and dwelt in their stead even unto this day:
And the Avims which dwelt in Hazerim, even unto Azzah, the Caphtorims, which came forth out of Caphtor, destroyed them, and dwelt in their stead.)
Deuteronomy 2:23. And the Avims which dwelt in Hazerim — This is another instance of God’s disposal of countries unto what people he pleases. The Avims are mentioned Joshua 13:3, as the ancient inhabitants of Palestine. The Caphtorims — A people akin to, or a branch of, the Philistines, so called, probably, from their founder, who settled in Caphtor, a country in or about Egypt, see Genesis 10:14. By producing these instances of God’s displacing one people, and settling another in their stead, Moses designed to strengthen the faith of the Israelites in the divine promise of giving them the victory over all their enemies, and settling them in the land of Canaan.

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 2:25. Upon the nations that are under the whole heaven — That is, upon as many as shall hear of these conquests, for to such the following words restrain the sentence; especially upon the Canaanites, whose courage would droop at the news of such an absolute victory gained so near them, Joshua 2:10-11.

And I sent messengers out of the wilderness of Kedemoth unto Sihon king of Heshbon with words of peace, saying,
Deuteronomy 2:26. I sent messengers unto Sihon — To show the prince of the Amorites that we were not aggressors, and offered no violence, and that, if he refused to grant us a passage through his land, his destruction would be of himself. Kedemoth was a city of that tract which fell to the lot of the Reubenites.

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;
Deuteronomy 2:28. On my feet — Or, with my company who are on foot, which is added significantly, because, if their army had consisted as much of horsemen as many other armies did, their passage through this land might have been more mischievous and dangerous.

(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 2:29-30. As the children of Esau did — They did permit them to pass quietly by the borders, though not through the heart of their land, and in their passage the people sold them meat and drink, being, it seems, more kind to them than their king would have had them; and therefore they here ascribe this favour not to the king, though they are now treating with a king, but to the people, the children of Esau. Hardened his spirit — That is, suffered it to be hardened.

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:
Deuteronomy 2:34. Utterly destroyed — By God’s command, these being a part of those people who were devoted by the Lord of life and death to utter destruction for their abominable wickedness.

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 2:37. Of Jabbok — That is, beyond Jabbok; for that was the border of the Ammonites.

Benson Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

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