C.H. Spurgeons's The Treasury of David
Verse 11. Sihon king of the Amorites, and Og king of Bashan. These two kings were the first to oppose, and they were amongst the most notable of the adversaries: their being smitten is therefore a special object of song for loyal Israelites. The enmity of these two kings was wanton and unprovoked, and hence their overthrow was the more welcome to Israel. Sihon had been victorious in his war with Moab, and thought to make short work with Israel, but he was speedily overthrown: Og was of the race of the giants, and by his huge size inspired the tribes with dread; but they were encouraged by the previous overthrow of Sihon, and soon the giant king fell beneath their sword. And all the kingdoms Of Canaan. Many were these petty principalities, and some of them were populous and valiant; but they all fell beneath the conquering hand of Joshua, for the Lord was with him. Even so shall all the foes of the Lord's believing people in these days be put to the rout: Satan and the world shall be overthrown, and all the hosts of sin shall be destroyed, for our greater Joshua leads forth our armies, conquering and to conquer. Note that in this verse we have the details of matters which were mentioned in the bulk in the previous stanza: it is well when we have sting of mercies in the gross to consider them one by one, and give to each individual blessing a share in our song. It is well to preserve abundant memorials of the Lord's deliverance, so that we not only sing of mighty kings as a class but also of "Sihon king of the Amorites and Og king of Bashan" as distinct persons.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 11. Sihon king of the Amorites, and Og. Notice is taken of two kings, Sihon and Og, not as being more powerful than the rest, but because shutting up the entrance to the land in front they were the most formidable enemies met with, and the people, besides, were not as yet habituated to war. --John Calvin.
Verse 11. Sihon king of the Amorites. When Israel arrived on the borders of the Promised Land they encountered Sihon. (Numbers 21:21.) He was evidently a man of very great courage and audacity. Shortly before the time of Israel's arrival he had dispossessed the Moabites of a splendid territory, driving them south of the natural bulwark of the Arnon with great slaughter and the loss of a great number of captives (Numbers 21:26-29). When the Israelite host appears, he does not hesitate or temporize like Balak, but at once gathers his people together and attacks them. But the battle was his last. He and all his host were destroyed, and their district from Arnon to Jabbok became at once the possession of the conqueror.
Josephus (Ant. 4:5,2) has preserved some singular details of the battle, which have not survived in the text either of the Hebrew or 70. He represents the Amorite army as containing every man in the nation fit to bear arms. He states that they were unable to fight when away from the shelter of their cities, and that being especially galled by the slings and arrows of the Hebrews, and at last suffering severely from thirst, they rushed to the stream and to the recesses of the ravine of the Arnon. Into these recesses they were pursued by their active enemy and slaughtered in vast numbers.
Whether we accept these details or not, it is plain, from the manner in which the name of Sihon fixes itself in the national mind, and the space which his image occupies in the official records, and in the later poetry of Israel, that he was a truly formidable chieftain. -- George Grove, in Smith's Dictionary of the Bible. 1863.