Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, June 15th, 2024
the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 3

Grant's Commentary on the BibleGrant's Commentary

Verses 1-29



The history of Og's defeat is in Numbers 21:33-35. Moses recounts this. Og and his people came out against Israel to battle, just as the ungodly would oppose the truth of the God of Glory. The Lord encouraged Moses to have no fear, for He had decreed the defeat of this particular enemy (v.2). As God had promised, so He gave Og and all his people into the hands of Israel with the result that no survivors remained (v.3). At the same time they captured all of Og's sixty cities, though they were well fortified with high wails, gates and bars, as well as a great number of rural towns (vs.4-5). The people were totally destroyed, men, women and children, and only the livestock and other spoil were kept by Israel (vs.6-7).

Considering verses 8 to 11 it appears that Bashan was connected with the Amorites, two of whose kings were mentioned as being dispossessed of their land by lsrael at this time. Without doubt the cities spoken of here (v.10) are significant from a spiritual point of view, but it may be safer not to attempt an interpretation of this significance.

However, in speaking of these things, it was the intention of Moses to encourage Israel to be unafraid to enter the land of Canaan and dispossess their enemies there. The terrible, indiscriminate slaughter of a whole culture may seem to us naturally reprehensible. But God is wiser than we. He knows what He is doing. He had told Abraham years before, "The iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete" (Genesis 15:16). But now the time had come when it was complete. Idolatry and demon worship had risen to such a height that there was no hope of recovery (1 Kings 21:26). Little children would be better dead than exposed to the evil indulged in by their parents, and parents would be better dead than left to continue in the abominations that were prevalent in their whole society.

ln that area of the Amorites we are told that Og was the last of the giants (v.11). His bedstead was kept as a relic in Rabbah of Ammon, its length being nine cubits (at least 13.5) feet) and its width four cubits (at least 6 feet). His great size must have been intimidating to his enemies, but not to the God of Israel.



Moses now publicly confirms the way in which he had divided the land already conquered between the two and one half tribes who had desired to remain on the east of Jordan. What had been taken from Sihon king of Heshbon was divided between the Reubenites and Gadites (v.12). The rest of Gilead and all Bashan was given to the half tribe of Manasseh. This area had been called the land of the giants (v.13).

A leader named Jair of the tribe of Manasseh was foremost in capturing the region of Bashan and called Bashan after his own name, Havoth Jair, meaning "villages of Jair" (v.14). Verses 16-17 give a little more detail as regards the possessions given to the Reubenites and Gadites.

Thus Moses reminds them of his command that all the men of war from these tribes should cross over Jordan armed for battle, while their wives, their children and livestock would remain in the cities they had possessed until the Lord gave the enemies of Israel into their hands, then the warriors from these tribes could return (vs.18-20). This tells us that, though they wanted to settle in an area short of their crossing the Jordan, they were not excused from the unity of bearing the same conflict that the rest of Israel bore. Thus, today, if some believers do not have the spiritual energy and faith to enter fully into the blessings of our inheritance in heavenly places, yet they are expected to take part in fighting "the good fight of faith" (1 Timothy 6:12) by which conflict they are identified with all the people of God, and not with an ungodly world.

Moses then speaks of commanding Joshua at the same time that, since Joshua had seen the way in which the Lord had defeated Sihon and Og, then Joshua must have confidence that the Lord would as easily defeat all the kingdoms whose opposition they had yet to encounter. Because Moses was now giving authority into the hands of Joshua, he insisted that Joshua must not fear his enemies, "for the Lord your God Himself fights for you" (vs.21-22)



We can well understand why Moses would plead with the Lord, as they were nearing Canaan, that God would change His mind and allow Moses to enter the land with Israel. He felt that God had only begun to show Moses His greatness, and he was so impressed with the majesty of God's glory that he longed to go over Jordan and see Israel established in their land. but Moses reports to Israel that God had sternly reproved him for his pleading this way, telling him, "Enough of that! Speak no more to Me of this matter" (v.26). He would see the land, but not enter it (v.27). Joshua would take his place as leader of Israel (v.28).

Bibliographical Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 3". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lmg/deuteronomy-3.html. 1897-1910.
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