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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Deuteronomy 2

Verses 1-7

Verses 1-7:

"Many days" likely refers to the thirty-eight years of wandering in the Sinai wilderness.

"Compassed Mount Seir," going around Mount Seir, descriptive of the nomadic state of Israel during the time of their wanderings. Mount Seir appears to refer to a region composing and adjacent to the mountain ranges in which Esau’s descendants made their home.

God expressly forbade Israel to engage in any conflict with the Edomites. They were to purchase food and water from them, and not to attempt to take anything by force.

In spite of Israel’s lack of faith, and in the chastening period of their wilderness wandering, God provided their every need: they lacked for nothing. The supply of manna appeared in the early morning dews. Their clothing and shoes did not wear out, Deuteronomy 8:4; Deuteronomy 29:5; Nehemiah 9:21.

God still takes care of His own, in every circumstance of life, Matthew 6:33-34; Philippians 4:19.

Verses 8-15

Verses 8-15:

Israel’s trek from Kadesh to Zered (Zared) by way of the Plain of Elath and Ezion-gaber is traced in Numbers 20:1 to Numbers 21:12, q.v.

The present text notes God’s instructions concerning Moab, similar to those concerning Edom.

Emim, meaning "frightful," a race of powerful giants, so named because of their frightful appearance. They were numbered with the Rephaim, but were called "Emim" by the Moabites. The Rephaim appear to be the generic name of certain giant Canaanite tribes, see Genesis 14:5; Genesis 15:20.

Anakim, see Deuteronomy 1:28.

Horim, from hor, "mountain," apparently a tribe of cave-dwellers, who lived in the mountain caves in the territory of Edom. Nothing is known of their origin.

"Men of war," verse 14, those men of military age, twenty years old and upward, see Numbers 1:3; Numbers 14:28-29.

Verses 16-23

Verses 16-23:

The territory of Ammon lay to the east of Moab. Israel would come to their border when they passed through Ar (Arnon), Numbers 21:13-15. They were to leave strictly alone the territory of Ammon, because it was a Divine land grant to these descendants of Lot.

The Ammonites lived in a territory formerly inhabited by a race of giants, whom they called Zamzummim, meaning "powerful, vigorous," called Zuzim in Genesis 14:5. God destroyed this- race by some unspecified means, before the Ammonites occupied the territory. He did this in the same manner that He destroyed the Horim, verse 12, from before Esau.

Avim, meaning "villagers," a Canaanite race dwelling in villages as far as Gaza. Destroyed by the Caphtorim.

Caphtorim, a race of people from Caphtor. Some describe this place as the Island of Crete. Others contend it was a maritime land in or near Egypt. Caphtor and Caphtorim are mentioned in four other places in Scripture: Genesis 10:14; 1 Chronicles 1:12; Jeremiah 47:4; Amos 9:7.

Verses 24-25

Verses 24, 25:

Jehovah instructed Israel to move across Arnon, into the territory occupied by Sihon the Amorite king. They were to engage him in battle and occupy his territory. Israel first asked permission to cross Sihon’s territory. He refused, and launched an attack against them. This hostility is a clue to the command for Israel to the fight against Sihon, and to take his territory.

Jehovah promised to implant the fear and dread of Israel in the hearts of all nations who would hear of their exploits. This would contribute to their future success in military campaigns against these hostile nations.

This illustrates a principle relevant today. God works on both ends of a situation, to enable His peole to accomplish His purpose. An example of this is found in Acts 10 (which see), in Peter’s encounter with Cornelius the Roman centurion. God prepared both Peter and Cornelius for this important meeting.

Verses 26-37

Verses 26-37:

For a record of the campaign against Sihon, see Numbers 21:21-35. God’s purpose in dealing with Sihon was similar to that of Pharaoh, Exodus 7:3; Exodus 7:13, et. al. Jehovah hardened the spirit (heart) of Sihon, but only after Sihon had made the deliberate choice to resist the will of God. It was Sihon who initiated the conflict with Israel, and thus with the God of Israel.

Sihon came against Israel with the full weight of his armed might. The battle occurred at Jahaz, a city between Dibon and Medeba. God gave Israel the victory, and they exterminated the entire population of Sihon’s kingdom. They spoiled and then destroyed all the cities, but kept the livestock as the spoils of war. The victory was complete, from Aroer on the south to Gilead on the north, and from Jordan on the west to the border of Ammon on the east.

The severe measures against Sihon and his kingdom may appear cruel and unjust to some. But Sihon and his people were idolators, wilfully hostile toward God and His people. To allow any survivors would be to permit the seeds of rebellion to sprout and grow to become a stumbling block to Israel in the future.

Israel obeyed God’s directive, regarding the Ammonites, and left untouched all their territory. Joshua 13:25 states that Gad received a portion of the territory of the Ammonites. But this portion was the. region between Jabbok and Amon, which the Amorites took from Ammon and which Israel took from the Amorites.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 2". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/deuteronomy-2.html. 1985.