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Numbers 21

The Defeat of Arad

1 When the Canaanite king of Arad, who lived in the Negev, heard that Israel was coming along the road to Atharim, he attacked Israel and captured some prisoners. 2 So Israel made a vow to the LORD: “If You will deliver this people into our hands, we will devote their cities to destruction. a

3 And the LORD heard Israel’s plea and delivered up the Canaanites. Israel devoted them and their cities to destruction; so they named the place Hormah. b 

The Bronze Serpent

4 Then they set out from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, c in order to bypass the land of Edom. But the people grew impatient on the journey 5 and spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you led us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread or water, and we detest this wretched food!”

6 So the LORD sent venomous snakes among the people, and many of the Israelites were bitten and died.

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

8 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and mount it on a pole. When anyone who is bitten looks at it, he will live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze snake and mounted it on a pole. If anyone who was bitten looked at the bronze snake, he would live.

The Journey to Moab

10 Then the Israelites set out and camped at Oboth. 11 They journeyed from Oboth and camped at Iye-abarim in the wilderness opposite Moab to the east. 12 From there they set out and camped in the Valley of Zered. 13 From there they moved on and camped on the other side of the Arnon, in the wilderness that extends into the Amorite territory.

Now the Arnon is the border between the Moabites and the Amorites. 14 Therefore it is stated in the Book of the Wars of the LORD:

“Waheb in Suphah

and the wadis of the Arnon,

15 even the slopes of the wadis

that extend to the site of Ar

and lie along the border of Moab.”

16 From there they went on to Beer, d the well where the LORD said to Moses, “Gather the people so that I may give them water.” 17 Then Israel sang this song:

“Spring up, O well,

all of you sing to it!

18 The princes dug the well;

the nobles of the people hollowed it out

with their scepters

and with their staffs.”

From the wilderness the Israelites went on to Mattanah, 19 and from Mattanah to Nahaliel, and from Nahaliel to Bamoth, 20 and from Bamoth to the valley in Moab where the top of Pisgah overlooks the wasteland. e 

The Defeat of Sihon
(Deuteronomy 2:24–37)

21 Then Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, saying, 22 “Let us pass through your land. We will not cut through any field or vineyard, or drink water from any well. We will stay on the King’s Highway until we have passed through your territory.”

23 But Sihon would not let Israel pass through his territory. Instead, he gathered his whole army and went out to confront Israel in the wilderness. When he came to Jahaz, f he fought against Israel. 24 And Israel put him to the sword and took possession of his land, from the Arnon to the Jabbok—but only up to the border of the Ammonites, because it was fortified. g 

25 Israel captured all the cities of the Amorites and occupied them, including Heshbon and all its villages. 26 Heshbon was the city of Sihon king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab and taken all his land as far as the Arnon. 27 That is why the poets say:

“Come to Heshbon, let it be rebuilt;

let the city of Sihon be restored.

28 For a fire went out from Heshbon,

a blaze from the city of Sihon.

It consumed Ar of Moab,

the rulers of Arnon’s heights.

29 Woe to you, O Moab!

You are destroyed, O people of Chemosh!

He gave up his sons as refugees,

and his daughters into captivity

to Sihon king of the Amorites.

30 But we have overthrown them;

Heshbon is destroyed as far as Dibon.

We demolished them as far as Nophah,

which reaches to Medeba. h

The Defeat of Og
(Deuteronomy 3:1–11)

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

33 Then they turned and went up the road to Bashan, and Og king of Bashan and his whole army came out to meet them in battle at Edrei.

34 But the LORD said to Moses, “Do not fear him, for I have delivered him into your hand, along with all his people and his land. Do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon.”

35 So they struck down Og, along with his sons and his whole army, until no remnant was left. And they took possession of his land.



2 a Forms of the Hebrew cherem refer to the giving over of things or persons to the LORD, either by destroying them or by giving them as an offering; also in verse 3.
3 b Hormah means destruction .
4 c Or the Sea of Reeds
16 d Beer means well .
20 e Or Jeshimon
23 f Jahaz is a variant of Jahzah ; see 1 Chronicles 6:78.
24 g Or because the territory was rugged ; literally because it was strong
30 h Or We demolished them until fire spread to Medeba

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