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Barnes' Notes on the Bible
1Then we turned, and went up the way to Bashan: and Og the king of Bashan came out against us, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei.
2And the LORD said unto me, Fear him not: for I will deliver him, and all his people, and his land, into thy hand; and thou shalt do unto him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon.
3So the LORD our God delivered into our hands Og also, the king of Bashan, and all his people: and we smote him until none was left to him remaining.
4And we took all his cities at that time, there was not a city which we took not from them, threescore cities, all the region of Argob, the kingdom of Og in Bashan.
Threescore cities - Probably the cities of Jair in Bashan described in Deuteronomy 3:14 as Bashan-havoth-jair.
All the region of Argob - The Hebrew word here rendered "region," means literally "rope" or "cable"; and though undoubtedly used elsewhere in a general topographical sense for portion or district (e. g. Joshua 17:5), has a special propriety in reference to Argob (mod. Lejah). The name Argob means "stone-heap," and is paraphrased by the Targums, Trachonitis Luke 3:1, or "the rough country;" titles designating the more striking features of the district. Its borders are compared to a rugged shore-line; hence, its description in the text as "the girdle of the stony country," would seem especially appropriate. (Others identify Argob with the east quarter of the Hauran.)
5All these cities were fenced with high walls, gates, and bars; beside unwalled towns a great many.
Gates, and bars - literally, "Double gates and a bar." The stone doors of Bashan, their height pointing to a race of great stature, and the numerous cities (deserted) exist to illustrate the statements of these verses.
6And we utterly destroyed them, as we did unto Sihon king of Heshbon, utterly destroying the men, women, and children, of every city.
7But all the cattle, and the spoil of the cities, we took for a prey to ourselves.
8And we took at that time out of the hand of the two kings of the Amorites the land that was on this side Jordan, from the river of Arnon unto mount Hermon;
9(Which Hermon the Sidonians call Sirion; and the Amorites call it Shenir;)
Hermon, the southern and culminating point of the range of Lebanon, was also the religious center of primaeval Syria. Its Baal sanctuaries not only existed but gave it a name before the Exodus. Hence, the careful specification of the various names by which the mountain was known. The Sidonian name of it might easily have become known to Moses through the constant traffic which had gone on from the most ancient times between Sidon and Egypt.
10All the cities of the plain, and all Gilead, and all Bashan, unto Salchah and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan.
Salchah - Compare Joshua 12:5; 1 Chronicles 5:11, where it is named as belonging to the tribe of Gad. It lies seven hours' journey to the southeast of Bostra or Bozrah of Moab. As the eastern border city of the kingdom of Bashan it was no doubt strongly fortified.
Edrei - Compare Numbers 21:33 note.
11For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of giants; behold, his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after the cubit of a man.
Giants - Or Rephaim: see the marginal reference note.
A bedstead of iron - The "iron" was probably the black basalt of the country, which not only contains a large proportion, about 20 percent, of iron, but was actually called "iron," and is still so regarded by the Arabians. Iron was indeed both known and used, principally for tools (see e. g. Deuteronomy 19:5 and compare Genesis 4:22 note), at the date in question by the Semitic people of Palestine and the adjoining countries; but bronze was the ordinary metal of which weapons, articles of furniture, etc., were made.
The word translated "bedstead" is derived from a root signifying "to unite" or "bind together," and so "to arch" or "cover with a vault." The word may then certainly mean "bier," and perhaps does so in this passage. Modern travelers have discovered in the territories of Og sarcophagi as well as many other articles made of the black basalt of the country.
Is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? - Probably after the defeat and death of Og at Edrei the remnant of his army fled into the territory of the friendly Ammonites, and carried with them the corpse of the giant king.
After the cubit of a man - i. e. after the usual and ordinary cubit, counted as people are accustomed to count. Taking 18 inches to the cubit, the bedstead or sarcophagus would thus be from thirteen to fourteen feet long.
12And this land, which we possessed at that time, from Aroer, which is by the river Arnon, and half mount Gilead, and the cities thereof, gave I unto the Reubenites and to the Gadites.
13And the rest of Gilead, and all Bashan, being the kingdom of Og, gave I unto the half tribe of Manasseh; all the region of Argob, with all Bashan, which was called the land of giants.
14Jair the son of Manasseh took all the country of Argob unto the coasts of Geshuri and Maachathi; and called them after his own name, Bashanhavothjair, unto this day.
These Geshurites held territory adjoining, if not included within, Bashan. They are not to be confounded with those mentioned in Joshua 13:2, who were neighbors of the Philistines 1 Samuel 17:8.
The exact position of Maachah like that of Geshur cannot be ascertained; but it was no doubt among the fastnesses which lay between Bashan and the kingdom of Damascus, and on the skirts of Mount Hermon.
Unto this day - This expression, like our "until now," does not, as used in the Bible, necessarily imply that the time spoken of as elapsed is long. It may here denote the duration to the time then present of that which had been already some months accomplished.
15And I gave Gilead unto Machir.
16And unto the Reubenites and unto the Gadites I gave from Gilead even unto the river Arnon half the valley, and the border even unto the river Jabbok, which is the border of the children of Ammon;
The sense is that the Reubenites and Gadites were to possess the district from the Jabbok on the north to the Arnon on the south, including the middle part of the valley of the Arnon, and the territory ("coast" or "border") thereto pertaining.
17The plain also, and Jordan, and the coast thereof, from Chinnereth even unto the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, under Ashdothpisgah eastward.
18And I commanded you at that time, saying, The LORD your God hath given you this land to possess it: ye shall pass over armed before your brethren the children of Israel, all that are meet for the war.
19But your wives, and your little ones, and your cattle, (for I know that ye have much cattle,) shall abide in your cities which I have given you;
20Until the LORD have given rest unto your brethren, as well as unto you, and until they also possess the land which the LORD your God hath given them beyond Jordan: and then shall ye return every man unto his possession, which I have given you.
21And I commanded Joshua at that time, saying, Thine eyes have seen all that the LORD your God hath done unto these two kings: so shall the LORD do unto all the kingdoms whither thou passest.
22Ye shall not fear them: for the LORD your God he shall fight for you.
23And I besought the LORD at that time, saying,
24O Lord GOD, thou hast begun to shew thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand: for what God is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might?
25I pray thee, let me go over, and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon.
That goodly mountain - i. e., that mountainous district. The fiat districts of the East are generally scorched, destitute of water, and therefore sterile: the hilly ones, on the contrary, are of more tempered climate, and fertilized by the streams from the high grounds. Compare Deuteronomy 11:11.
The whole of this prayer of Moses is very characteristic. The longing to witness further manifestations of God's goodness and glory, and the reluctance to leave unfinished an undertaking which he had been permitted to commence, are striking traits in his character: compare Exodus 32:32 ff; Exodus 33:12, Exodus 33:18 ff; Numbers 14:12 ff.
26But the LORD was wroth with me for your sakes, and would not hear me: and the LORD said unto me, Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter.
The Lord was wroth with me for your sakes - Here, as in Deuteronomy 1:37; Deuteronomy 4:21; the sin of the people is stated to be the ground on which Moses' prayer is denied. In Deuteronomy 32:51; and in Numbers 27:14; the transgression of Moses and Aaron themselves is assigned as the cause of their punishment. The reason why one side of the transaction is put forward in this place, and the other elsewhere, is evident. Here Moses is addressing the people, and mentions the punishment of their leaders as a most impressive warning to them, whose principal fault it was. In Deuteronomy 32 and Numbers 27, God is addressing Moses, and visits on him, as is fitting, not the sin of the people hut his own.
27Get thee up into the top of Pisgah, and lift up thine eyes westward, and northward, and southward, and eastward, and behold it with thine eyes: for thou shalt not go over this Jordan.
28But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see.
29So we abode in the valley over against Bethpeor.
Beth-peor, i. e., the house of Peor, no doubt derived its name from a temple of the Moabite god Peor which was there situated. It was no doubt near to Mount Peor Numbers 23:28, and also to the valley of the Jordan perhaps in the Wady Heshban.