Hormah 21 1The Canaanite king of Arad, ruling in the Negev, heard that Israel was advancing up the road to Atharim. He attacked Israel and took prisoners of war. 2Israel vowed a vow to God: “If you will give this people into our power, we’ll destroy their towns and present the ruins to you as a holy destruction.” 3God listened to Israel’s prayer and gave them the Canaanites. They destroyed both them and their towns, a holy destruction. They named the place Hormah (Holy Destruction). The Snake of Fiery Copper 4They set out from Mount Hor along the Red Sea Road, a detour around the land of Edom. The people became irritable and cross as they traveled. 5They spoke out against God and Moses: “Why did you drag us out of Egypt to die in this godforsaken country? No decent food; no water—we can’t stomach this stuff any longer.” 6So God sent poisonous snakes among the people; they bit them and many in Israel died. 7The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke out against God and you. Pray to God; ask him to take these snakes from us.” Moses prayed for the people. 8God said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it on a flagpole: Whoever is bitten and looks at it will live.” 9So Moses made a snake of fiery copper and put it on top of a flagpole. Anyone bitten by a snake who then looked at the copper snake lived. Camping on the Way to Moab 10The People of Israel set out and camped at Oboth. 11They left Oboth and camped at Iye Abarim in the wilderness that faces Moab on the east. 12They went from there and pitched camp in the Zered Valley. 13Their next camp was alongside the Arnon River, which marks the border between Amorite country and Moab. 14The Book of the Wars of God refers to this place: Waheb in Suphah, the canyons of Arnon; 15Along the canyon ravines that lead to the village Ar And lean hard against the border of Moab. 16They went on to Beer (The Well), where God said to Moses, “Gather the people; I’ll give them water.” 17That’s where Israel sang this song: Erupt, Well! Sing the Song of the Well, 18the well sunk by princes, Dug out by the peoples’ leaders digging with their scepters and staffs. 19From the wilderness their route went from Mattanah to Nahaliel to Bamoth (The Heights)20to the valley that opens into the fields of Moab from where Pisgah (The Summit) rises and overlooks Jeshimon (Wasteland). 21Israel sent emissaries to Sihon, king of the Amorites, saying, 22“Let us cross your land. We won’t trespass into your fields or drink water in your vineyards. We’ll keep to the main road, the King’s Road, until we’re through your land.” 23But Sihon wouldn’t let Israel go through. Instead he got his army together and marched into the wilderness to fight Israel. At Jahaz he attacked Israel. 24But Israel fought hard, beat him soundly, and took possession of his land from the Arnon all the way to the Jabbok right up to the Ammonite border. They stopped there because the Ammonite border was fortified. 25Israel took and occupied all the Amorite cities, including Heshbon and all its surrounding villages. 26Heshbon was the capital city of Sihon king of the Amorites. He had attacked the former king of Moab and captured all his land as far north as the river Arnon. 27That is why the folk singers sing, Come to Heshbon to rebuild the city, restore Sihon’s town. 28Fire once poured out of Heshbon, flames from the city of Sihon; Burning up Ar of Moab, the natives of Arnon’s heights. 29Doom, Moab! The people of Chemosh, done for! Sons turned out as fugitives, daughters abandoned as captives to the king of the Amorites, to Sihon. 30Oh, but we finished them off: Nothing left of Heshbon as far as Dibon; Devastation as far off as Nophah, scorched earth all the way to Medeba. 31Israel moved in and lived in Amorite country. 32Moses sent men to scout out Jazer. They captured its villages and drove away the Amorites who lived there. 33Then they turned north on the road to Bashan. Og king of Bashan marched out with his entire army to meet Moses in battle at Edrei. 34God said to Moses, “Don’t be afraid of him. I’m making a present of him to you, him and all his people and his land. Treat him the same as Sihon king of the Amorites who ruled in Heshbon.” 35So they attacked him, his sons, and all the people—there was not a single survivor. Israel took the land.
The Message® / © 2002 Eugene H. Peterson About