Numbers 21:10-35

10 Now the sons of Israel moved out and camped in Oboth. 11 They journeyed from Oboth and camped at Iye-abarim, in the wilderness which is opposite Moab, to the [k]east. 12 From there they set out and camped in [l]Wadi Zered. 13 From there they journeyed and camped on the other side of the Arnon, which is in the wilderness that comes out of the border of the Amorites, for the Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites. 14 Therefore it is said in the Book of the Wars of the Lord,

“Waheb in Suphah,
And the wadis of the Arnon,
15 And the slope of the wadis
That extends to the site of Ar,
And leans to the border of Moab.”

16 From there they continued to [m]Beer, that is the well where the Lord said to Moses, “Assemble the people, that I may give them water.”

17 Then Israel sang this song:

“Spring up, O well! Sing to it!
18 “The well, which the leaders sank,
Which the nobles of the people dug,
With the scepter and with their staffs.”

And from the wilderness they continued to Mattanah, 19 and from Mattanah to Nahaliel, and from Nahaliel to Bamoth, 20 and from Bamoth to the valley that is in the land of Moab, at the top of Pisgah which overlooks the [n]wasteland.

Two Victories

21 Then Israel sent messengers to Sihon, king of the Amorites, saying, 22 “Let me pass through your land. We will not turn off into field or vineyard; we will not drink water from wells. We will go by the king’s highway until we have passed through your border.” 23 But Sihon would not permit Israel to pass through his border. So Sihon gathered all his people and went out against Israel in the wilderness, and came to Jahaz and fought against Israel. 24 Then Israel [o]struck him with the edge of the sword, and took possession of his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, as far as the sons of Ammon; for the border of the sons of Ammon was [p]Jazer. 25 Israel took all these cities and Israel lived in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all her [q]villages. 26 For Heshbon was the city of Sihon, king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab and had taken all his land out of his hand, as far as the Arnon. 27 Therefore those who use proverbs say,

“Come to Heshbon! Let it be built!
So let the city of Sihon be established.
28 “For a fire went forth from Heshbon,
A flame from the town of Sihon;
It devoured Ar of Moab,
The [r]dominant [s]heights of the Arnon.
29 “Woe to you, O Moab!
You are ruined, O people of Chemosh!
He has given his sons as fugitives,
And his daughters into captivity,
To an Amorite king, Sihon.
30 “But we have cast them down,
Heshbon is ruined as far as Dibon,
Then we have laid waste even to Nophah,
Which reaches to Medeba.”

31 Thus Israel lived in the land of the Amorites. 32 Moses sent to spy out Jazer, and they captured its villages and dispossessed the Amorites who were there.

33 Then they turned and went up by the way of Bashan, and Og the king of Bashan went out [t]with all his people, for battle at Edrei. 34 But the Lord said to Moses, “Do not fear him, for I have given him into your hand, and all his people and his land; and you shall do to him as you did to Sihon, king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon.” 35 So they [u]killed him and his sons and all his people, until there was no remnant left him; and they possessed his land.

It seems these kings were not content just to deny Israel passage, they seem intent on destruction, just as the king of Arad had tried to attack the Israelites. We something a little different here, and that is that these folks worshiped a god named Chemosh (as did the Moabites and Ammonites also mentioned). They had discarded the God of Noah for a god of their own imaginations. One who was fierce, unloving, and demanded human sacrifice.

It ought to be no surprise that they themselves had become what they worshiped. Or perhaps they projected their own evil desires on their deity. Either way, they attacked Israel, and paid the price with their own blood. Be careful what you worship, what you focus on, it will change who you are (for better or worse). Focus on God and you will find something new in you, something good and right.

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