Deuteronomy 2:36
From Aroer, which is by the brink of the river of Arnon, and from the city that is by the river, even to Gilead, there was not one city too strong for us: the LORD our God delivered all to us:
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(36) Aroer.—According to Conder, “the ruin ‘Ar ‘Air, on the north bank of Wâdy Môjib.” (But he makes the Aroer of Numbers 32:34 a different place, and marks it as unknown. Why?)

The city that is by the river.—The description suggests Rabbath-ammon, but this cannot be referred to here.

2:24-37 God tried his people, by forbidding them to meddle with the rich countries of Moab and Ammon. He gives them possession of the country of the Amorites. If we keep from what God forbids, we shall not lose by our obedience. The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof; and he gives it to whom he pleases; but when there is no express direction, none can plead his grant for such proceedings. Though God assured the Israelites that the land should be their own, yet they must contend with the enemy. What God gives we must endeavour to get. What a new world did Israel now come into! Much more joyful will the change be, which holy souls will experience, when they remove out of the wilderness of this world to the better country, that is, the heavenly, to the city that has foundations. Let us, by reflecting upon God's dealings with his people Israel, be led to meditate upon our years spent in vanity, through our transgressions. But happy are those whom Jesus has delivered from the wrath to come. To whom he hath given the earnest of his Spirit in their hearts. Their inheritance cannot be affected by revolutions of kingdoms, or changes in earthly possessions.Aroer, which is by the brink of the river of Arnon - Aroer stood on the north bank of the river, and was assigned Joshua 13:9, Joshua 13:16 to the tribe of Reuben, of which it formed the most southerly city. The valley of the Arnon is here deep, and the descent to it abrupt. In Roman times it was spanned by a viaduct, the ruins of which still remain, and which was probably built on the lines of the original structure of Mesha 2 Kings 3:5. Aroer here must not be confounded with "Aroer, which is before Rabbah" Joshua 13:25. This latter place was "built," "i. e." rebuilt, by the Gadites Numbers 32:34; it belonged to that tribe, and was consequently far to the north of the Arnon. A third Aroer in the tribe of Judah is mentioned in 1 Samuel 30:28.

"The city that is by the river," literally, "in the midst of the river" (compare Joshua 13:9, Joshua 13:16) is Ar Moab (compare Numbers 21:15 note).

24-36. Rise ye up … and pass over the river Arnon—At its mouth, this stream is eighty-two feet wide and four deep. It flows in a channel banked by perpendicular cliffs of sandstone. At the date of the Israelitish migration to the east of the Jordan, the whole of the fine country lying between the Arnon and the Jabbok including the mountainous tract of Gilead, had been seized by the Amorites, who, being one of the nations doomed to destruction (see De 7:2; 20:16), were utterly exterminated. Their country fell by right of conquest into the hands of the Israelites. Moses, however, considering this doom as referring solely to the Amorite possessions west of Jordan, sent a pacific message to Sihon, requesting permission to go through his territories, which lay on the east of that river. It is always customary to send messengers before to prepare the way; but the rejection of Moses' request by Sihon and his opposition to the advance of the Israelites (Nu 21:23; Jud 11:26) drew down on himself and his Amorite subjects the predicted doom on the first pitched battlefield with the Canaanites. It secured to Israel not only the possession of a fine and pastoral country, but, what was of more importance to them, a free access to the Jordan on the east. Aroer was in the border of Moab, but now in the hands of the Amorites.

By the river, Heb. in the river, wherewith it was encompassed, Numbers 21:15,28 Jos 12:2 13:9. He speaks exclusively, for this was Ar, which now was in the Moabites’ jurisdiction, above, Deu 2:9. From Aroer, which is by the brink of the river Arnon.... Upon the border of Moab, and the principal city of it; see Jeremiah 48:19.

and from the city that is by the river; or even the city that is in the midst of the river, the city Aroer, which seems to be meant; see Joshua 12:2. This river is afterwards called the river of Gad, 2 Samuel 24:5 in the midst of it Aroer was, perhaps because it was possessed by the tribe of Gad:

even unto Gilead; Mount Gilead and the country adjacent to it, which belonged to Og king of Bashan:

there was not one city too strong for us; that could hold out against them, when attacked and besieged by them, but presently surrendered:

the Lord our God delivered all unto us; Moses ascribes all the victories and success they had unto the Lord, not to their own might and power, but to the power of God with them, and his blessing on them.

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:
36. From Aroer, which is on the edge of the valley of Arnon] The Naḥal ’Arnon = Wâdy Môjeb, see above Deuteronomy 2:24. Edge, Heb. lip. ‘Arô‘er is frequently given in the O.T. as a S. limit:—e.g. of the territory taken by Israel from Sîḥôn (here, and Deuteronomy 3:12, Deuteronomy 4:48, Joshua 12:2; Joshua 13:9; Joshua 13:16); of the kingdom of Israel (2 Samuel 24:5 emended after LXX; 2 Kings 10:33). ‘I built,’ says Mesha (Moabite Stone, 27), ‘‘Arô‘er and made the high-way by the ’Arnon.’ Jeremiah 48:19 connects ‘Arô‘er with a high-road. Eusebius describes it as above ’Arnon, ‘on the eyebrow of the hill.’ To-day the Khirbet ‘Arâ‘er, ruins of a walled town on the N. edge of the W. Môjeb, here nearly 2000 feet deep, with an ancient zig-zag road down the precipitous slopes to the bed of the Wâdy (Tristram, Moab, 125 ff.; Musil, Moab, 331, with plan and views). It lies nearly 2 miles E. of the Roman road, the present high road across ’Arnon, and must not be confounded with the ruins called ‘Aḳraba close to the latter (cp. Brünnow, Provincia Arabia, i. 31; and the present writer, PEFQ, 1905, 41); an error into which several travellers have fallen.

the city that is in the valley] The valley or naḥal is, of course, the ’Arnon or Wâdy Môjeb, the S. frontier of Sîḥôn’s kingdom. The site of the unnamed city is uncertain. Its frequent association with ‘Arô‘er as on a S. frontier (e.g. here, Joshua 13:9; Joshua 13:16, 2 Samuel 24:5) may imply that it lay close under ‘Arô‘er on the stream; where to-day ruins stand with the name Khreibet ‘Ajam1[113]; in which case the city has been added to ‘Arô‘er in order to define the exact border as the stream, and its namelessness is explicable by its having been a mere suburb or the toll-town of ‘Arô‘er. Or else, since ‘Arô‘er lay towards the W. end of the S. frontier of Sîḥôn’s kingdom formed by the ’Arnon, the city in the valley lay further up the ’Arnon and so defined the E. extremity of the S. border. Musil suggests Medeyyneh on the upper stretch of ’Arnon, now the W. Sa‘ideh or Sa‘îdeh (Moab, 328 ff.). It lies on a projection of the plateau into the Wâdy, and might well be described as the city in, or in the midst of, the naḥal. This is the same site as Musil proposes for ‘Ar or ‘Ir of Mo‘ab, also given as a limit (see on Deuteronomy 2:18); the identification of which had already been made on Biblical data alone (Dillm. in loco).

[113] There are other ruins a little further E. up the stream at its confluence with that from the S. and these Grove (Smith’s D.B. 1st ed.) takes as the city in question.

even unto Gilead] E, Numbers 21:24, defines more exactly unto the Jabboḳ, the next great natural frontier N. of Arnon. Gile‘ad lay on both sides of Jabboḳ, which divided it into halves.

too high for us] The Heb. phrase is found in prose only here, and elsewhere in the O.T. only in Job 5:11. Further see Deuteronomy 1:28.

before us] Sam. LXX: into our hands.Verse 36. - Aroer, one of the Amorite cities, on the right bank of the river Arnon (cf. Joshua 12:2; Joshua 13:16). On the Moabite Stone, King Mesha says, "I built Aroer;" but this can only mean that, after some temporary condition of decay or ruin, he rebuilt it. On the borders of the northern side of the Wady Mojeb, there are heaps of ruins bearing the name of Ara'ir, which probably mark the site of this ancient town. There was another Aroer, belonging at a later period to the tribe of Gad, and opposite to Rabba, the chief city of the Ammonites (Joshua 13:25; 2 Samuel 24:5); and still another in the south of Judah (1 Samuel 30:28), probably in what is now known as the Wady A'rarah. The city that is by the river; properly, in the river or wady; i.e. At, the capital of Moab, which was in the valley of the Arnon, and which is mentioned here as marking the exclusive limit of the country that was captured. The word rendered "river" (נַחַל) is used of the valley or ravine (Arabic, wady) through which a stream flows, as well as of the stream itself (cf. Genesis 26:19; Numbers 24:6, etc.). Ar is elsewhere called Ar of Moab (Isaiah 15:1). Even unto Gilead, i.e. Mount Gilead, which rises to the north of the Jabbok (hod. Zerka). If Moses, notwithstanding this, sent messengers to king Sihon with words of peace (Deuteronomy 2:26.; cf. Numbers 21:21.), this was done to show the king of the Amorites, that it was through his own fault that his kingdom and lands and life were lost. The wish to pass through his land in a peaceable manner was quite seriously expressed; although Moses foresaw, in consequence of the divine communication, that he would reject his proposal, and meet Israel with hostilities. For Sihon's kingdom did not form part of the land of Canaan, which God had promised to the patriarchs for their descendants; and the divine foreknowledge of the hardness of Sihon no more destroyed the freedom of his will to resolve, or the freedom of his actions, than the circumstance that in Deuteronomy 2:30 the unwillingness of Sihon is described as the effect of his being hardened by God Himself. The hardening was quite as much the production of human freedom and guilt, as the consequence of the divine decree; just as in the case of Pharaoh. On Kedemoth, see Numbers 21:13. בּדּרך בּדּרך, equivalent to "upon the way, and always upon the way," i.e., upon the high road alone, as in Numbers 20:19. On the behaviour of the Edomites towards Israel, mentioned in Deuteronomy 2:29, see Numbers 21:10. In the same way the Moabites also supplied Israel with provisions for money. This statement is not at variance with the unbrotherly conduct for which the Moabites are blamed in Deuteronomy 23:4, viz., that they did not meet the Israelites with bread and water. For קדּם, to meet and anticipate, signifies a hospitable reception, and the offering of food and drink without reward, which is essentially different from selling for money. "In Ar" (Deuteronomy 2:29), as in Deuteronomy 2:18. The suffix in בּו (Deuteronomy 2:30) refers to the king, who is mentioned as the lord of the land, in the place of the land itself, just as in Numbers 20:18.
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