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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 3

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-7


Verses 1-7:

Following the successful campaign against Sihon, Israel marched against Og, king of Bashan, see Numbers 21:33-35. Og was a part of the race of giants who had invaded the territory of Ammon. He occupied Bashan, and the northern region of Gilead.

God directed Israel to move against Og and his armies. The results were the same as in the campaign against Sihon, Deuteronomy 2:33-35.

The region of Bashan was more heavily populated than the territory of Sihon. Sixty well-fortified cities, as well as a number of unwalled villages, fell to the Israeli forces.

Verses 8-17

Verses 8-17:

This text defines the territory Israel took from Sihon and Og, and the disposition made of it.

Hermon, meaning "prominent, rugged." A mountain on the northeastern border of Palestine, across from Lebanon, adjoining the mesa of Bashan. It forms the southern end of the range Antilibanus. It towers above the ancient city of Dan, and the sources of the Jordan River. The Amorites named it Shenir, and the Zidonians Sirion. Its summit is bare of vegetation, and is perpetually covered with snow.

Plain, mishor, "a plain, level place," the tableland south of Mount Gilead extending southward to the Arnon.

Gilead, meaning "strong, rocky." A mountainous territory east of Jordan. In later times, it was called Peraea.

Bashan, meaning "the fruitful." A district on the east of Jordan, almost always with the definite article in the Hebrew text. It extended from the border of Gilead on the south to Mount Hermon on the north, and from the Jordan valley on the west, to Salchah and the border of Geshur and the Maacathites on the east.

Galchah, meaning "wandering." A city in the northeast of Bashan, known today as Zalchat, or Sulkhad, seven miles east of Bostra.

Edrei, meaning "sown land." A city in the south of Bashan and north of the Jabbok. It lies twenty-five miles from Bozrah, and nine miles from Abila (Draa) which is about 24 miles from Damascus.

Og was the last survivor of a race of giants, the Rephaim, see Genesis 14:5. His enormous size is implied by the size of his bedstead, which at one time was displayed as a trophy in Rabbath-Ammon. The bedstead, eres, meaning "an arched bed," was made of iron. It was nine cubits long, and four cubits wide, or thirteen and a half feet by six feet. It is unlikely that Og was tall enough to fill the bed completely. But if he were ten feet tall, this would exceed any known record. It is possible that the bed was oversize, in order to impress visitors of Og’s enormous size.

In spite of the size of the giant Og, God cut him down to the size of the Israeli soldiers, and gave the victory to His people. This is a reminder of God’s power today, to overcome obstacles which terrify men and which men are unable to overcome.

Moses allocated the land from Aroer by the River Arnon to the Jabbok, to the tribes of Reuben and Gad. The territory north from the Jabbok composing the whole of Bashan, along with Gilead, became the allotment of half the tribe of Manasseh.

For the inheritance of Jair, see Numbers 32:41.

The Geshuri and Maachathi were small Syrian tribes living east of Mount Hermon.

Geshur, meaning "bridge-land," implying that these people lived near some well-known bridge across Jordan, and may have been its guards.

Maachathites, a name taken from an ancestor by the inhabitants of Maachah, near Mount Hermon. They have been descendants of Maachah, son of Abraham’s brother Nahor, Genesis 22:24.

Israel subdued but did not destroy these two tribes. They later regained independence and formed a kingdom, 2 Samuel 3:3; 2 Samuel 10:6; 2 Samuel 13:38; 2 Samuel 15:8; 1 Chronicles 3:2.

Bashan-havoth-jar, meaning "Jair’s livings in Bashan."

"Unto this day," does not imply a very long time. It refers to the time of the writing of this Book. The expression was likely intended as an encouragement to Israel in the victory of Manasseh over the giant Og.

Machir, the son of Manasseh, Genesis 50:23; Numbers 26:29; Numbers 27:1.

Chinnereth (also Chinneroth, Cinneroth), meaning "circuit," see Numbers 34:11. A district around the Sea of Galilee.

The salt sea, likely the Arabah, the Dead Sea.

Ashdoth-pisgah, or "springs of Pisgah," the spurs and ravines of Pisgah, of which Mount Nebo is the peak.

Verses 18-20

Verses 18-20:

The text contains Moses’ injunction to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh. They desired the territory east of the Jordan as their inheritance. God granted their request, but placed certain conditions upon them, see Numbers chapter 32, especially verses 20-33.

Verses 21-22

Verses 21, 22:

Joshua was appointed to succeed Moses. The examples of Sihon and Og were to be his pattern for the conquest of Canaan. The kings of the Land and their people were to be exterminated. Their lands and possessions were to be spoils for Israel. Joshua and Israel’s armies were not to fear them, no matter how fierce they appeared to be. Victory was certain, because Jehovah Elohim was Israel’s battle Companion.

Verses 23-29

Verses 23-29:

The text acknowledges the sole supremacy of Jehovah Elohim as Lord, above all gods of the nations.

"That goodly mountain" does not refer to any particular mountain, but to the entire Land of Canaan.

Moses’ greatest desire was to enter the Land of Promise, leading Israel to possess their promised homeland. But this was not to be. The reason: Moses’ sin and God’s judgment for that sin, Deuteronomy 1:37; Numbers 20:12; Numbers 27:13-14. This is a reminder that sin causes God’s child to forfeit many blessings today.

God permitted Moses to ascend to the peak of Pisgah, Mount Nebo, and look to the four points of the compass to view the Land, see Deuteronomy 34:1-4.

Moses did enter the Land of Promise, after centuries had passed; but not as Israel’s leader, Matthew 17:1-3.

God reaffirmed His choice of Joshua as Moses’ successor. He was to be the one to lead Israel into their inheritance, see Deuteronomy 1:38; Deuteronomy 3:21; Deuteronomy 31:7; Numbers 27:23.

Beth-peor the house or temple of Peor. In the Abarim mountain range there was a hill called Peor near a town by this name. It was across Jordan opposite to Jericho. This was the site of Israel’s camp at the time Moses delivered this address.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 3". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/deuteronomy-3.html. 1985.
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