Deuteronomy 2

1 Then we turned, and took our journey into the wilderness by the way to the Red Sea, as the LORD spoke to me; and we encircled Mount Seir many days. 2 The LORD spoke to me, saying, 3 “You have encircled this mountain long enough. Turn northward. 4 Command the people, saying, ‘You are to pass through the border of your brothers the children of Esau, who dwell in Seir; and they will be afraid of you. Therefore be careful. 5 Don’t contend with them; for I will not give you any of their land, no, not so much as for the sole of the foot to tread on; because I have given Mount Seir to Esau for a possession. 6 You shall purchase food from them for money, that you may eat. You shall also buy water from them for money, that you may drink.’” 7 For the LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hand. He has known your walking through this great wilderness. These forty years, the LORD your God has been with you. You have lacked nothing. 8 So we passed by from our brothers the children of Esau, who dwell in Seir, from the way of the Arabah from Elath and from Ezion Geber. We turned and passed by the way of the wilderness of Moab. 9 The LORD said to me, “Don’t bother Moab, neither contend with them in battle; for I will not give you any of his land for a possession; because I have given Ar to the children of Lot for a possession.” 10 (The Emim lived therein before, a people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakim. 11 These also are considered to be Rephaim, as the Anakim; but the Moabites call them Emim. 12 The Horites also lived in Seir before, but the children of Esau succeeded them. They destroyed them from before them, and lived in their place; as Israel did to the land of his possession, which the LORD gave to them.) 13 “Now rise up, and cross over the brook Zered.” We went over the brook Zered. 14 The days in which we came from Kadesh Barnea, until we had come over the brook Zered, were thirty-eight years; until all the generation of the men of war were consumed from the middle of the camp, as the LORD swore to them. 15 Moreover the LORD’s hand was against them, to destroy them from the middle of the camp, until they were consumed. 16 So, when all the men of war were consumed and dead from amongst the people, 17 the LORD spoke to me, saying, 18 “You are to pass over Ar, the border of Moab, today. 19 When you come near the border of the children of Ammon, don’t bother them, nor contend with them; for I will not give you any of the land of the children of Ammon for a possession; because I have given it to the children of Lot for a possession.” 20 (That also is considered a land of Rephaim: Rephaim lived there before; but the Ammonites call them Zamzummim, 21 a great people, many, and tall, as the Anakim; but the LORD destroyed them before them; and they succeeded them, and lived in their place; 22 as he did for the children of Esau, who dwell in Seir, when he destroyed the Horites from before them; and they succeeded them, and lived in their place even to this day: 23 and the Avvim, who lived in villages as far as Gaza, the Caphtorim, who came out of Caphtor, destroyed them, and lived in their place.) 24 “Rise up, take your journey, and pass over the valley of the Arnon: behold, I have given into your hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land; begin to possess it, and contend with him in battle. 25 Today I will begin to put the dread of you and the fear of you on the peoples who are under the whole sky, who shall hear the report of you, and shall tremble, and be in anguish because of you.” 26 I sent messengers out of the wilderness of Kedemoth to Sihon king of Heshbon with words of peace, saying, 27 “Let me pass through your land. I will go along by the highway, I will turn neither to the right hand nor to the left. 28 You shall sell me food for money, that I may eat; and give me water for money, that I may drink. Just let me pass through on my feet, 29 as the children of Esau who dwell in Seir, and the Moabites who dwell in Ar, did to me; until I pass over the Jordan into the land which the LORD our God gives us.” 30 But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him; for the LORD your God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that he might deliver him into your hand, as it is today. 31 The LORD said to me, “Behold, I have begun to deliver up Sihon and his land before you. Begin to possess, that you may inherit his land.” 32 Then Sihon came out against us, he and all his people, to battle at Jahaz. 33 The LORD our God delivered him up before us; and we struck him, his sons, and all his people. 34 We took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed every inhabited city, with the women and the little ones. We left no one remaining. 35 Only the livestock we took for plunder for ourselves, with the plunder of the cities which we had taken. 36 From Aroer, which is on the edge of the valley of the Arnon, and the city that is in the valley, even to Gilead, there was not a city too high for us. the LORD our God delivered up all before us. 37 Only to the land of the children of Ammon you didn’t come near; all the banks of the river Jabbok, and the cities of the hill country, and wherever the LORD our God forbade us.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–7

Only a short account of the long stay of Israel in the wilderness is given. God not only chastised them for their murmuring and unbelief, but prepared them for Canaan; by humbling them for sin, teaching them to mortify their lusts, to follow God, and to comfort themselves in him. Though Israel may be long kept waiting for deliverance and enlargement, it will come at last. Before God brought Israel to destroy their enemies in Canaan, he taught them to forgive their enemies in Edom. They must not, under pretence of God’s covenant and conduct, think to seize all they could lay hands on. Dominion is not founded in grace. God’s Israel shall be well placed, but must not expect to be placed alone in the midst of the earth. Religion must never be made a cloak for injustice. Scorn to be beholden to Edomites, when thou hast an all-sufficient God to depend upon. Use what thou hast, use it cheerfully. Thou hast experienced the care of the Divine providence, never use any crooked methods for thy supply. All this is equally to be applied to the experience of the believer.

Verses 8–23

We have the origin of the Moabites, Edomites, and Ammonites. Moses also gives an instance older than any of these; the Caphtorims drove the Avims out of their country. These revolutions show what uncertain things wordly possessions are. It was so of old, and ever will be so. Families decline, and from them estates are transferred to families that increase; so little continuance is there in these things. This is recorded to encourage the children of Israel. If the providence of God has done this for Moabites and Ammonites, much more would his promise do it for Israel, his peculiar people. Cautions are given not to meddle with Moabites and Ammonites. Even wicked men must not be wronged. God gives and preserves outward blessings to wicked men; these are not the best things, he has better in store for his own children.

Verses 24–37

God tried his people, by forbidding them to meddle with the rich countries of Moab and Ammon. He gives them possession of the country of the Amorites. If we keep from what God forbids, we shall not lose by our obedience. The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof; and he gives it to whom he pleases; but when there is no express direction, none can plead his grant for such proceedings. Though God assured the Israelites that the land should be their own, yet they must contend with the enemy. What God gives we must endeavour to get. What a new world did Israel now come into! Much more joyful will the change be, which holy souls will experience, when they remove out of the wilderness of this world to the better country, that is, the heavenly, to the city that has foundations. Let us, by reflecting upon God’s dealings with his people Israel, be led to meditate upon our years spent in vanity, through our transgressions. But happy are those whom Jesus has delivered from the wrath to come. To whom he hath given the earnest of his Spirit in their hearts. Their inheritance cannot be affected by revolutions of kingdoms, or changes in earthly possessions.

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