Those who cry without cause will be given just cause to cry and they will be compelled to receive their course from God in God’s way.
1 And when king Arad the Canaanite, which dwelt in the south, heard tell that Israel came by the way of the spies; then he fought against Israel, and took some of them prisoners.
2 And Israel vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou wilt indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities.
3 And the LORD hearkened to the voice of Israel, and delivered up the Canaanites; and they utterly destroyed them and their cities: and he called the name of the place Hormah.
4 ¶ And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way.
5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.
6 And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.
7 ¶ Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.
8 And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.
9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.
10 ¶ And the children of Israel set forward, and pitched in Oboth.
11 And they journeyed from Oboth, and pitched at Ije-abarim, in the wilderness which is before Moab, toward the sunrising.
12 ¶ From thence they removed, and pitched in the valley of Zared.
13 From thence they removed, and pitched on the other side of Arnon, which is in the wilderness that cometh out of the coasts of the Amorites: for Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites.
14 Wherefore it is said in the book of the wars of the LORD, What he did in the Red sea, and in the brooks of Arnon,
15 And at the stream of the brooks that goeth down to the dwelling of Ar, and lieth upon the border of Moab.
16 And from thence they went to Beer: that is the well whereof the LORD spake unto Moses, Gather the people together, and I will give them water.
17 ¶ Then Israel sang this song, Spring up, O well; sing ye unto it:
18 The princes digged the well, the nobles of the people digged it, by the direction of the lawgiver, with their staves. And from the wilderness they went to Mattanah:
19 And from Mattanah to Nahaliel: and from Nahaliel to Bamoth:
20 And from Bamoth in the valley, that is in the country of Moab, to the top of Pisgah, which looketh toward Jeshimon.
21 ¶ And Israel sent messengers unto Sihon king of the Amorites, saying,
22 Let me pass through thy land: we will not turn into the fields, or into the vineyards; we will not drink of the waters of the well: but we will go along by the king’s high way, until we be past thy borders.
23 And Sihon would not suffer Israel to pass through his border: but Sihon gathered all his people together, and went out against Israel into the wilderness: and he came to Jahaz, and fought against Israel.
24 And Israel smote him with the edge of the sword, and possessed his land from Arnon unto Jabbok, even unto the children of Ammon: for the border of the children of Ammon was strong.
25 And Israel took all these cities: and Israel dwelt in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all the villages thereof.
26 For Heshbon was the city of Sihon the king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab, and taken all his land out of his hand, even unto Arnon.
27 Wherefore they that speak in proverbs say, Come into Heshbon, let the city of Sihon be built and prepared:
28 For there is a fire gone out of Heshbon, a flame from the city of Sihon: it hath consumed Ar of Moab, and the lords of the high places of Arnon.
29 Woe to thee, Moab! thou art undone, O people of Chemosh: he hath given his sons that escaped, and his daughters, into captivity unto Sihon king of the Amorites.
30 We have shot at them; Heshbon is perished even unto Dibon, and we have laid them waste even unto Nophah, which reacheth unto Medeba.
31 ¶ Thus Israel dwelt in the land of the Amorites.
32 And Moses sent to spy out Jaazer, and they took the villages thereof, and drove out the Amorites that were there.
33 ¶ And they turned and went up by the way of Bashan: and Og the king of Bashan went out against them, he, and all his people, to the battle at Edrei.
34 And the LORD said unto Moses, Fear him not: for I have delivered him into thy hand, and all his people, and his land; and thou shalt do to him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon.
35 So they smote him, and his sons, and all his people, until there was none left him alive: and they possessed his land.
Numbers 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Numbers 21:1-20 – The Brazen Serpent; Journeying to Pisgah
It often falls to our lot to compass the land of Edom! It is bad enough to have to fight the desert tribes, but it is harder to traverse the long circuitous route, which a little kindness on our brother’s part might have rendered needless. What discouragement, heart-break and fainting we cause one another!
The story of the brazen serpent was quoted by our Lord to Nicodemus, John 3:14. It exemplifies the law that like cures like. Our Lord came in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, and as such was nailed to the tree, that the progress of sin and death might be arrested. Whosoever directs to Him the look of faith shall have everlasting life.
Near the pole-foot sprang up the brook, Numbers 21:17-18. We are reminded of the connection between the Cross and Pentecost. Spring up, O well of the Holy Spirit, in our hearts, and churches, and schools! The living water is within; summon it! —Through the Bible Day by Day
Numbers 21:17—Spring up, O well.
This was a sweet song. It must have been a stirring scene, when Israel, in its thousands, sang forth this command to the waters that were under the earth, to show themselves, with the musical accompaniment of the gushing rill.
Spring up, O well, in our hearts.—Too long has the soil been arid and bare. A great drought has smitten it, and devoured every green thing. The flowers wither, the fruit falls. But Jesus promised to open in believing hearts a well, the waters of which should spring up unto eternal life. Not a stagnant pool, but a spring. Not a failing Cherith, but a perennial Siloam. Let that promise be realized in us here, and now; and if we have permitted rubbish to accumulate, or the weeds to grow rank, may we have grace to put them away, that there may be a clear course for the living water to flow through us and refresh the lives of all with whom we come in contact.
Spring up, O well, in the Church of God.—This is a petition with which we may enter the place of worship where we meet God’s people. Spring up, O well, today! With this petition, we may plead for distant mission stations, and for the entire Church. Jesus dug the well with the staff of His cross; but we wish that the Spirit, who is as a fountain of living water, fed from eternity and returning to its source, may spring up within it with greater volume and force.
Spring up, O well, in the world.—It is weary with sorrow and sin. Too far and long have the desert sands swept their devastations. Hasten the millennial day, when springs shall break out in the desert, and wildernesses shall blossom as the rose! —Our Daily Homily
Numbers 21:21-35 – Victory over the Amorites
Two great victories opened the eastern lands to the possession and settlement of two tribes and a half. It is not enough to know our heritage in Christ; we must possess our possessions.
Sihon, the king of the Amorites, made an unprovoked attack on Israel; and his action was the less excusable, because he had himself been an invader. As a proof of this, a passage is quoted from one of their national songs, in which the poet describes his invasion of the land, the burning of Heshbon and Ar, and the erection of new cities in their stead, Numbers 21:27-30. See also Judges 11:13-27. Sihon and Og suffered the same fate at the hands of Israel. General Gordon, when crossing the Sudan to attack the slave-trader, often heard these words in his heart: “Fear him not: for I have delivered him into thy hand” (Numbers 21:34). See Psalm 135:11; 136:19-20. Behind all history is divine and everlasting love! —Through the Bible Day by Day