Numbers 21:28
For there is a fire gone out of Heshbon, a flame from the city of Sihon: it has consumed Ar of Moab, and the lords of the high places of Arnon.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Numbers 21:28. A fire — The fury of war, which is fitly compared to fire. Out of Heshbon — That city which before was a refuge and defence to all the country, now is turned into a great annoyance. It hath consumed Ar

This may be understood not of the city Ar, but of the people or the country subject or belonging to that great and royal city. The lords of the high places — The princes or governors of the strong holds, which were frequently in high places, especially in that mountainous country, and which were in divers parts all along the river Arnon. So the Amorites triumphed over the vanquished Moabites. But the triumphing of the wicked is short!21:21-35 Sihon went with his forces against Israel, out of his own borders, without provocation, and so ran upon his own ruin. The enemies of God's church often perish by the counsels they think most wisely taken. Og, king of Bashan, instead of being warned by the fate of his neighbours, to make peace with Israel, makes war with them, which proves in like manner his destruction. Wicked men do their utmost to secure themselves and their possessions against the judgments of God; but all in vain, when the day comes on which they must fall. God gave Israel success, while Moses was with them, that he might see the beginning of the glorious work, though he must not live to see it finished. This was, in comparison, but as the day of small things, yet it was an earnest of great things. We must prepare for fresh conflicts and enemies. We must make no peace or truce with the powers of darkness, nor even treat with them; nor should we expect any pause in our contest. But, trusting in God, and obeying his commands, we shall be more than conquerors over every enemy.They that speak in proverbs - The original word is almost equivalent to "the poets." The word supplies the title of the Book of Proverbs itself; and is used of the parable proper in Ezekiel 17:2; of the prophecies of Balsam in Numbers 23:7-10; Numbers 24:3-9; etc.; and of a song of triumph over Babylon in Isaiah 14:4. 27-30. Wherefore they that speak in proverbs—Here is given an extract from an Amorite song exultingly anticipating an extension of their conquests to Arnon. The quotation from the poem of the Amorite bard ends at Nu 21:28. The two following verses appear to be the strains in which the Israelites expose the impotence of the usurpers. A fire, i.e. the fury of war, which is oft and fitly compared to fire here, as Isaiah 47:14 Amos 1:7,10,12,14 2:2,5;

Heshbon; that city which before was a refuge and defence to all the country, now is turned into a great annoyance and a public mischief.

Ar of Moab.

Quest. How can this be, since Ar was yet in the hands of the Moabites, Deu 2:9,18,29?

Answ. 1. This may be understood not of the city Ar, but of the people or the country subject or belonging to that great and royal city, as the Chaldee understands it.

2. Possibly Ar was taken by Sihon of the Moabites, but afterwards was either recovered by the Moabites, or upon the Israelites’ approach quitted by Sihon, gathering all his forces together that he might fight with the Israelites, and so repossessed by the Moabites.

3. This place may be thus rendered, It shall consume Ar of Moab, the past tense being put for the future, as is usual in prophetical passages; and so this may be the Amorites’ prediction or presage, that having taken Heshbon and its territories, they should now extend their victories to

Ar of Moab, though they fell short of that hope, as ordinarily men do.

The lords of the high places; either,

1. The princes or governors of the strong holds, which were frequently in high places, especially in that mountainous country, and which were in divers parts all along the river of Arnon; and having taken some of these, they promised to themselves that they should take all the rest, and so proceed further and further, till they had taken Ar itself. Or rather,

2. The priests and people that worshipped their god in their high places; which may seem more probable,

1. Because as the Israelites worshipped God, so the heathens worshipped Baal, in high places, Numbers 22:41, and particularly the Moabites are noted for so doing, Jeremiah 48:35.

2. Because amongst the eminent places of Moab there is mention of Bamoth-baal, or, of the high places of Baal, Joshua 13:17. For there is a fire gone out of Heshbon,.... Not before, but after Sihon had subdued it, as Jarchi observes; and is to be understood of his soldiers going out from thence, and making desolations in the adjacent parts, like a strong fire, and the fierce flames of it there is no resisting; and so the Jerusalem Targum,"for a people mighty, and burning like fire, are gone out of Heshbon:''see Amos 1:4, a flame from the city of Sihon: which is the same thing in other words, the city of Sihon being Heshbon, and a flame the same with fire; warriors, as both the Targums of Oakelos and Jerusalem interpret it; this seems to be what those composers undertook in their poetical way to foretell would be the case in future times; concluding, from the conquests already made, that they would be extended much further, and that no opposition could hinder:

it hath consumed Ar of Moab; the metropolis of the country of Moab, that is, they were as sure of it, and endeavoured to make the people by these their compositions as confident of it, that this city would fall into the hands of their armies, and be destroyed, as if it was already done; otherwise it does not appear that it ever was taken out of the hands of the Moabites, until taken by the Assyrians or Chaldeans; of this city See Gill on Isaiah 15:1.

and the lords of the high places of Arnon; who had the government of the high, strong, and fortified places all along the river Arnon; these it is suggested would be conquered by the Amorites; all the three Targums interpret it of the priests and worshippers in the temples, and at the altars of the idols in Arnon; and it may be rendered, "the Baals of the high places of Arnon", as if the gods of those places should fall into the victors' hands; and which seems to have some confirmation from what follows; and it may be observed, that in these parts there were some places called Bamoth Baal, or the high places of Baal, see Numbers 22:41, and Beth Baal Meon, which has its name from its being the temple and habitation of Baal, Joshua 13:17.

For there is a {l} fire gone out of Heshbon, a flame from the city of Sihon: it hath consumed Ar of Moab, and the lords of the high places of Arnon.

(l) Meaning, wane.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
28. For a fire went out from Heshbon … it devoured &c.] The Amorites in the past gained possession of Heshbon, and from thence sent forth destruction upon the other towns of Moab. See Jeremiah 48:45 f. where the passage is quoted.Verse 28. - There is a fire gone out of Heshbon. This must refer to the war-fire which the Amorites kindled from Heshbon when they made it the capital of the new kingdom. Ar Moab and the (northern) heights of Arnon were the furthest points to which their victory extended. Defeat of the Amorite Kings, Sihon of Heshbon and Og of Bashan, and Conquest of their Kingdoms.

Numbers 21:21-23

When the Israelites reached the eastern border of the kingdom of the Amorite king Sihon (see at Numbers 21:13), they sent messengers to him, as they had previously done to the king of Edom, to ask permission to pass peaceably through his territory upon the high road (cf. Numbers 21:22 and Numbers 20:17); and Sihon refused this request, just as the king of Edom had done, and marched with all his people against the Israelites. But whereas the Lord forbade the Israelites to make war upon their kinsmen the Edomites, He now commanded them to make war upon the Amorite king, and take possession of his land (Deuteronomy 2:24-25); for the Amorites belonged to the Canaanitish tribes which were ripe for the judgment of extermination (Genesis 15:16). And if, notwithstanding this, the Israelites sent to him with words of peace (Deuteronomy 2:26), this was simply done to leave the decision of his fate in his own hand (see at Deuteronomy 2:24). Sihon came out against the Israelites into the desert as far as Jahza, where a battle was fought, in which he was defeated. The accounts of the Onom. concerning Jahza, which was situated, according to Eusebius, between Medamon (Medaba) and Debous (Dibon, see above), and according to Jerome, between Medaba and Deblatai, may be reconciled with the statement that it was in the desert, provided we assume that it was not in a straight line between the places named, but in a more easterly direction on the edge of the desert, near to the commencement of the Wady Wale, a conclusion to which the juxtaposition of Jahza and Mephaot in Joshua 13:18; Joshua 21:37, and Jeremiah 48:21, also points (see at Joshua 13:18).

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