Moses, in this chapter, relates,
I. The conquest of Og, king of Bashan, and the seizing of his country,
II. The distribution of these new conquests to the two tribes and a
Under certain provisos and limitations,
III. The encouragement given to Joshua to carry on the war which was so
IV. Moses's request to go over into Canaan
with the denial of that request, but the grant of an equivalent,
|Sihon and Og Subdued.
||B. C. 1451.|
1 Then 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.
2 And 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.
3 So 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.
4 And 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.
5 All these cities were fenced with high walls, gates, and
bars; beside unwalled towns a great many.
6 And we utterly destroyed them, as we did unto Sihon king of
Heshbon, utterly destroying the men, women, and children, of
7 But all the cattle, and the spoil of the cities, we took for
a prey to ourselves.
8 And 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;)
10 All the cities of the plain, and all Gilead, and all Bashan,
unto Salchah and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan.
11 For 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.
We have here another brave country delivered into the hand of Israel,
that of Bashan; the conquest of Sihon is often mentioned together with
that of Og, to the praise of God, the rather because in these Israel's
I. How they got the mastery of Og, a very formidable prince,
1. Very strong, for he was of the remnant of the giants
his personal strength was extraordinary, a monument of which was
preserved by the Ammonites in his bedstead, which was shown as a rarity
in their chief city. You might guess at his weight by the materials of
his bedstead; it was iron, as if a bedstead of wood were too weak for
him to trust to: and you might guess at his stature by the dimensions
of it; it was nine cubits long and four cubits broad, which, supposing
a cubit to be but half a yard (and some learned men have made it appear
to be somewhat more), was four yards and a half long, and two yards
broad; and if we allow his bedstead to be two cubits longer than
himself, and that is as much as we need allow, he was three yards and a
half high, double the stature of an ordinary man, and every way
proportionable, yet they smote him,
Note, when God pleads his people's cause he can deal with giants as
with grasshoppers. No man's might can secure him against the Almighty.
The army of Og was very powerful, for he had the command of sixty
fortified cities, besides the unwalled towns,
Yet all this was nothing before God's Israel, when they came with
commission to destroy him.
2. He was very bold and daring: He came out against Israel to
It was wonderful that he did not take warning by the ruin of Sihon, and
send to desire conditions of peace; but he trusted to his own strength,
and so was hardened to his destruction. Note, Those that are not
awakened by the judgments of God upon others, but persist in their
defiance of heaven, are ripening apace for the like judgments upon
God bade Moses not fear him,
If Moses himself was so strong in faith as not to need the caution, yet
it is probable that the people needed it, and for them these fresh
assurances are designed; "I will deliver him into thy hand; not
only deliver thee out of his hand, that he shall not be thy ruin, but
deliver him into thy hand, that thou shalt be his ruin, and make
him pay dearly for his attempt." He adds, Thou shalt do to him as
thou didst to Sihon, intimating that they ought to be encouraged by
their former victory to trust in God for another victory, for he is
God, and changeth not.
II. How they got possession of Bashan, a very desirable country. They
took all the cities
and all the spoil of them,
They made them all their own,
So that now they had in their hands all that fruitful country which lay
east of Jordan, from the river Arnon unto Hermon,
Their conquering and possessing these countries was intended, not only
for the encouragement of Israel in the wars of Canaan, but for the
satisfaction of Moses before his death. Since he must not live to see
the completing of their victory and settlement, God thus gives him a
specimen of it. Thus the Spirit is given to those that believe as the
earnest of their inheritance, until the redemption of the
|Allotment of the Conquered Lands.
||B. C. 1451.|
12 And 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
13 And 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.
14 Jair the son of Manasseh took all the country of Argob unto
the coasts of Geshuri and Maachathi; and called them after his
own name, Bashan-havoth-jair, unto this day.
15 And I gave Gilead unto Machir.
16 And 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
17 The plain also, and Jordan, and the coast thereof, from
Chinnereth even unto the sea of the plain, even the salt sea,
under Ashdoth-pisgah eastward.
18 And 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.
19 But 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;
20 Until 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.
Having shown how this country which they were now in was conquered, in
these verses he shows how it was settled upon the Reubenites, Gadites,
and half the tribe of Manasseh, which we had the story of before,
Here is the rehearsal.
1. Moses specifies the particular parts of the country that were
allotted to each tribe, especially the distribution of the lot to the
half tribe of Manasseh, the subdividing of which tribe is observable.
Joseph was divided into Ephraim and Manasseh; Manasseh was divided into
one half on the one side Jordan and the other half on the other side:
that on the east side Jordan was again divided into two great families,
which had their several allotments: Jair,
And perhaps Jacob's prediction of the smallness of that tribe was now
accomplished in these divisions and subdivisions. Observe that Bashan
is here called the land of the giants, because it had been in
their possession, but Og was the last of them. These giants, it seems,
had lost their country, and were rooted out of it sooner than any of
their neighbours; for those who, presuming upon their strength and
stature, had their hand against every man, had every man's hand against
them, and went down slain to the pit, though they were the terror of
the mighty in the land of the living.
2. He repeats the condition of the grant which they had already agreed
That they should send a strong detachment over Jordan to lead the van
in the conquest of Canaan, who should not return to their families, at
least not to settle (though for a time they might retire thither into
winter quarters, at the end of a campaign), till they had seen their
brethren in as full possession of their respective allotments as they
themselves were now in of theirs. They must hereby be taught not to
look at their own things only, but at the things of others,
It ill becomes an Israelite to be selfish, and to prefer any private
interest before the public welfare. When we are rest we should desire
to see our brethren at rest too, and should be ready to do what we can
towards it; for we are not born for ourselves, but are members one of
another. A good man cannot rejoice much in the comforts of his family
unless withal he sees peace upon Israel,
|Joshua Named as Moses's Successor.
||B. C. 1451.|
21 And 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.
22 Ye shall not fear them: for the LORD your God he shall fight
23 And I besought the LORD at that time, saying,
24 O Lord GOD, thou hast begun to show 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
25 I pray thee, let me go over, and see the good land that is
beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon.
26 But 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.
27 Get 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.
28 But 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.
29 So we abode in the valley over against Beth-peor.
I. The encouragement which Moses gave to Joshua, who was to succeed him
in the government,
He commanded him not to fear. This those that are aged and experienced
in the service of God should do all they can to strengthen the hands of
those that are young, and setting out in religion. Two things he would
have him consider for his encouragement:--
1. What God has done. Joshua had seen what a total defeat God had given
by the forces of Israel to these two kings, and thence he might easily
infer, so shall the Lord do to all the rest of the kingdoms upon
which we are to make war. He must not only infer thence that thus the
Lord can do with them all, for his arm is not shortened, but thus he
will do, for his purpose is not changed; he that has begun will finish;
as for God, his work is perfect. Joshua had seen it with his own
eyes. And the more we have seen of the instances of divine wisdom,
power, and goodness, the more inexcusable we are if we fear what
flesh can do unto us.
2. What God had promised. The Lord your God he shall fight for
you; and that cause cannot but be victorious which the Lord of
hosts fights for. If God be for us, who can be against us so as
to prevail? We reproach our leader if we follow him trembling.
II. The prayer which Moses made for himself, and the answer which God
gave to that prayer.
1. His prayer was that, if it were God's will, he might go before
Israel over Jordan into Canaan. At that time, when he had been
encouraging Joshua to fight Israel's battles, taking it for granted
that he must be their leader, he was touched with an earnest desire to
go over himself, which expresses itself not in any passionate and
impatient complaints, or reflections upon the sentence he was under,
but in humble prayers to God for a gracious reversing of it. I
besought the Lord. Note, We should never allow any desires in our
hearts which we cannot in faith offer up to God by prayer; and what
desires are innocent, let them be presented to God. We have not because
we ask not. Observe,
(1.) What he pleads here. Two things:--
[1.] The great experience which he had had of God's goodness to him in
what he had done for Israel: "Thou hast begun to show thy servant
thy greatness. Lord, perfect what thou hast begun. Thou hast given
me to see thy glory in the conquest of these two kings, and the sight
has affected me with wonder and thankfulness. O let me see more of the
outgoings of my God, my King! This great work, no doubt, will be
carried on and completed; let me have the satisfaction of seeing it."
Note, the more we see of God's glory in his works the more we shall
desire to see. The works of the Lord are great, and therefore
are sought out more and more of all those that have pleasure
[2.] The good impressions that had been made upon his heart by what he
had seen: For what God is there in heaven or earth that can do
according to thy works? The more we are affected with what we have
seen of God, of his wisdom, power, and goodness, the better we are
prepared for further discoveries. Those shall see the works of God that
admire him in them. Moses had thus expressed himself concerning God
and his works long before
and he still continues of the same mind, that there are no works worthy
to be compared with God's works,
(2.) What he begs: I pray thee let me go over,
God had said he should not go over; yet he prays that he might, not
knowing but that the threatening was conditional, for it was not
ratified with an oath, as that concerning the people was, that they
should not enter. Thus Hezekiah prayed for his own life, and David for
the life of his child, after both had ben expressly threatened; and the
former prevailed, though the latter did not. Moses remembered the time
when he had by prayer prevailed with God to recede from the
declarations which he had made of his wrath against Israel,
And why might he not hope in like manner to prevail for himself? Let
me go over and see the good land. Not, "Let me go over and be a
prince and a ruler there;" he seeks not his own honour, is content to
resign the government to Joshua; but, "Let me go to be a spectator of
thy kindness to Israel, to see what I believe concerning the goodness
of the land of promise." How pathetically does he speak of Canaan, that
good land, that goodly mountain! Note, Those may hope to
obtain and enjoy God's favours that know how to value them. What he
means by that goodly mountain we may learn from
where it is said of God's Israel that he brought them to the border
of his sanctuary, even to this mountain which his right hand had
purchased, where it is plainly to be understood of the whole land
of Canaan, yet with an eye to the sanctuary, the glory of it.
2. God's answer to this prayer had in it a mixture of mercy and
judgment, that he might sing unto God of both.
(1.) There was judgment in the denial of his request, and that in
something of anger too: The Lord was wroth with me for your
God not only sees sin in his people, but is much displeased with it;
and even those that are delivered from the wrath to come may yet lie
under the tokens of God's wrath in this world, and may be denied some
particular favour which their hearts are much set upon. God is a
gracious, tender, loving Father; but he is angry with his children when
they do amiss, and denies them many a thing that they desire and are
ready to cry for. But how was he wroth with Moses for the sake of
[1.] For that sin which they provoked him to; see
[2.] The removal of Moses at that time, when he could so ill be spared,
was a rebuke to all Israel, and a punishment of their sin. Or,
[3.] It was for their sakes, that it might be a warning to them to take
heed of offending God by passionate and unbelieving speeches at any
time, after the similitude of his transgression; for, if this were
done to such a green tree, what should be done to the dry? He
acknowledges that God would not hear him. God had often heard him for
Israel, yet he would not hear him for himself. It was the prerogative
of Christ, the great Intercessor, to be heard always; yet of him his
enemies said, He saved others, himself he could not save, which
the Jews would not have upbraided him with had they considered that
Moses, their great prophet, prevailed for others, but for himself he
could not prevail. Though Moses, being one of the wrestling seed of
Jacob, did not seek in vain, yet he had not the thing itself which he
sought for. God may accept our prayers, and yet not grant us the very
thing we pray for.
(2.) Here is mercy mixed with this wrath in several things:--
[1.] God quieted the spirit of Moses under the decree that had gone
forth by that word
Let it suffice thee. With this word, no doubt, a divine power
went to reconcile Moses to the will of God, and to bring him to
acquiesce in it. If God does not by his providence give us what we
desire, yet, if by his grace he makes us content without it, it comes
much to one. "Let it suffice thee to have God for they father,
and heaven for thy portion, though thou hast not every thing thou
wouldest have in this world. Be satisfied with this, God is
[2.] He put an honour upon his prayer in directing him not to insist
upon this request: Speak no more to me of this matter. It
intimates that what God does not think fit to grant we should not think
fit to ask, and that God takes such a pleasure in the prayer of the
upright that it is no pleasure to him, no, not in any particular
instance, to give a denial to it.
[3.] He promised him a sight of Canaan from the top of Pisgah,
Though he should not have the possession of it, he should have the
prospect of it; not to tantalize him, but such a sight of it as would
yield him true satisfaction, and would enable him to form a very clear
and pleasing idea of that promised land. Probably Moses had not only
his sight preserved for other purposes, but greatly enlarged for this
purpose; for, if he had not had such a sight of it as others could not
have from the same place, it would have been no particular favour to
Moses, nor the matter of a promise. Even great believers, in this
present state, see heaven but at a distance.
[4.] He provided him a successor, one who should support the honour of
Moses and carry on and complete that glorious work which the heart of
Moses was so much upon, the bringing of Israel to Canaan, and settling
Charge Joshua and encourage him in this work. Those to whom God
gives a charge, he will be sure to give encouragement to. And it is a
comfort to the church's friends (when they are dying and going off) to
see God's work likely to be carried on by other hands, when they are
silent in the dust.