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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Deuteronomy 3

Verses 1-29

    1. KING OG OF BASHAN (3:1-11)
    2. (1) Bashan high & fertile region East of Galilee, form the Jabbok river up to Mount Hermon.
      1. (5) It was a kingdom of strong cities.
      2. (11) Og’s huge iron bed became a “museum piece” even in antiquity.
    3. He also was defeated by the power of God. (2,3)
    4. Utterly destroy(2:34; 3:6; 7:2) - The description of defeat is graphic & rather shocking [it should shock u]
      1. The Hebrew word (na-harem) meant “to ban” or “to devote” to God people or objects who were thoroughly hostile toward Him.
        1. It was from the idea of “holiness” or “total separation” from evil things.
        2. By placing a city & its inhabitants “under the ban” they became God’s exclusive property to dispose of as He saw fit.
      2. These wars, along with several others once in the Land of Canaan, are referred to by the term holy war. (see Deut 7:1,2 for the 7 enemies in the land)
        1. I’ll note: we (USA) nor Isalmic Countries can pronounce Jihad or Holy War today.
      3. The command to destroy them totally, that is, men, women, and children, has often been thought of as unethical for a loving God.
        1. However, several points must be kept in mind concerning these people:
          1. First, they deserved to die for their sin (9:4,5).
            1. Studies of their religion, literature, and archeological remains reveal that they were the most morally depraved culture on the earth at that time.
          2. Second, they persisted in their hatred of God (7:10).
            1. Had they repented, God would have spared them as He spared the Ninevites who repented at the preaching of Jonah. Yet repentance seemed to be out of the question for these people.
          3. Third, they constituted a moral cancer and even one of them - even a child left alive - had the potential of introducing an idolatry and immorality which would spread rapidly among the Israelites and bring about the destruction of God’s own people.
          4. Fourth, in some ways the death of one of their children could have been a blessing.
            1. For if the child died before reaching the age of accountability it is likely that his or her eternal destiny would have been made secure in heaven.
          5. Fourth, one day Jesus Christ will return to slaughter the unrepentant wicked on the earth (though nothing is said about His killing children).
            1. And that “holy war” will make Israel’s holy war look pale by comparison (2 Thes. 2:5-10; Rev. 19:11-21).
      4. So there is no dichotomy between the God of the OT and the God of the NT.
        1. In both testaments He is revealed as a loving and righteous God.
        2. The command to engage in holy war is, of course, not applicable today since at the present time God is not working through one nation to set up His kingdom on the earth.
        3. But Christians today should learn from this command that they should be as ruthless with sin in their own lives as Israel should have been against these people groups.
    5. 2 FAVORS (3:12-29)
      1. REQUEST OF 2 1/2 TRIBES (12-22)
      2. This land was particularly well suited to cattle grazing, which formed the economic base of these tribes. (Reubenites, Gadites, 1/2 tribe Manasseh)
      3. Here is where the Golan Heights today fits in.
      4. REQUEST OF MOSES (23-29)
      5. (24) Began - or only begun. He was awestruck at the great things that yet lay in store for Israel.
        1. O Sovereign Lord, you have only begun to show your greatness and the strength of your hand to me, your servant. nlt
      6. (26a) Numb.20:7-12.
      7. (26b) Certain things God says stop praying about.
      8. What has God refused you to do? Probably not too much. Begin to possess.
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 3". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/deuteronomy-3.html. 2017.