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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 3

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-29

Deuteronomy 3:9 . Which Hermon the Sidonians call Sirion. The LXX, willing to adapt the language of the sacred writings to their own age, say, “Which Hermon the PhÅ“nicians call Sanior.” See notes on Psalms 133:0.

Deuteronomy 3:11 . Og, king of Bashan, the remnant of the giants. Though Og was the last of the race east of the Jordan, there was a family of them in Philistia, in the west. 1 Samuel 17:0. The bedstead of this tyrant was preserved in Rabbath, (afterwards called Philadelphia) by the children of Ammon, as a monument of the enormous race. The oresh of Og, here rendered bedstead, was fifteen feet long, and nine feet six inches broad; he was a monster of bones and fat, and no doubt taller than Goliath. See on Genesis 6:4.

Deuteronomy 3:17 . Chinnereth; called in the New Testament, Genesareth. The sea of the plain was the sea of Sodom, once a plain.

Deuteronomy 3:25 . That goodly mountain and Lebanon. By the goodly mountain, some have thought that Moriah, on which Solomon built the temple, was understood. It is not however improbable, that Moses here calls Lebanon a high or goodly mountain, which was famed for its tall cedars. Sir J. Maundrell measured one tree, twelve yards and six inches in the girt; the spread of its branches was thirty seven yards. This range of hills, extending from the vicinity of Sidon toward Damascus, is divided by a pass at the entering of Hamath. The eastern range was called Anti-Libanus, and is higher than the western. Its elevation is about nine thousand feet, and covered with snow nine months in the year; but is very fruitful in grass, vines, and corn. Two streams issue from it, the Jor and the Dan, which unite in the Jordan. At Easter, the time of barley harvest, this river overflows its banks by the melting of the snow. See Joshua 1:4.

Deuteronomy 3:27 . Get thee up to the top of Pisgah, the highest summit of the ridge of Abarim. See chap. 34.


Moses, proceeding with the history, narrates the tremendous destruction of Og and all his people, who wantonly provoked the war through presumption and pride. Sixty walled towns, besides the villages, were involved in the common ruin. The cutting off of this nation is a striking figure of the destruction which awaits all hardened and presumptuous sinners, who reject the kind and peaceful overtures of grace, and cannot permit the Lord’s people to pass quietly on their way to heaven. He is not afraid of the infidel giants who have lifted up their voice against his word.

The venerable Moses, accustomed to trace the hand of God in all that befel Israel, was not unmindful to improve those victories for the encouragement of Joshua, as a pledge of what the Lord would do against all their remaining foes. The christian, on the same ground, should be encouraged from past victories over indwelling sin, to expect in the sanctification of his soul, the full accomplishment of all the great promises of the new covenant.

Moses having charged Joshua and Eleazar to carry into effect the covenant for Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh, to have their inheritance on the eastern bank of Jordan, now repeats it to the congregation, that the faith of the nation might be pledged for the performance of the treaty; for the righteous God desires to be surrounded by a people who keep their word, though they have sworn to their own hurt. It is good for aged men to charge young people to be faithful, and for dying ministers to charge their successors and all the congregation to keep in purity every precept, doctrine, and institution of Christ.

Seeing the victories and glory of Israel already begun, the venerable prophet and legislator felt a desire springing up in his heart to have the sentence against himself reversed, that he might see his Israel safely established in the land. And who would not have felt the same desire? But Joshua was now appointed; and the best of saints must not ask favours which interfere with the rights and duties of another. Life and all its mercies must be asked, with deference and submission to the wise and gracious counsel of heaven. Mark well: God compounded with his favourite servant by letting him see the land, and Moses was content. Lord, let me see thy Canaan by faith, and be content to leave the body, with its native dust, in this desert land. Let me die here. I am not better than my fathers; but let me live with them for ever in thy eternal joy.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 3". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/deuteronomy-3.html. 1835.
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