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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 2

Whedon's Commentary on the BibleWhedon's Commentary


Verse 1


1. The way of the Red Sea The way to the Red Sea that is, the AElanitic Gulf, now called the Gulf of Akabah.

As the Lord spake Comp. Numbers 14:25.

Compassed Mount Seir many days This refers to the long years of wandering, of which, in the narrative, we have so few details.

Verses 1-37


First Discourse, Deuteronomy 1:6 to Deuteronomy 4:40.

Addressing the people, with the Promised Land in their sight, Moses reviews the events that have occurred in their march from Horeb to the plains of Moab. He reminds them how God had fulfilled his promises, and how they had sinned, and by their unbelief and rebellion had been kept from entering into the promised possession; and he admonishes them not to forfeit by new transgressions the land they are destined to conquer.

Verse 3

3. Turn you northward When they should reach the southern limit of the Arabah they were to go northward toward the Arnon. They would thus go round the southern extremity of Mount Seir, and then advance northward on the eastern side. This route was to be taken on account of the refusal of the Edomites to allow them to pass through their territory.

Verse 4

4. The coast of… the children of Esau In Numbers 20:14, we read that Moses sent messengers to the king of Edom asking permission to pass through his country. The request was refused, and the Edomites made hostile preparations to resist the march of the Israelites. At this time the march is along the eastern frontier of Edom, where the land is comparatively open and defenceless.

They shall be afraid of you The same people who had repelled the Israelites when on their western frontier are alarmed at their march along their eastern border.

Verse 5

5. I have given Mount Seir unto Esau See Genesis 33:16; Genesis 36:8; Joshua 24:4. The Edomites were subsequently conquered by David, 2 Samuel 8:14, but they were not deprived of their land. They afterward revolted and regained their independence. 2 Kings 8:20.

Verse 6

6. Buy water The Hebrew word used implies purchasing permission to dig for water.

Verse 8

8. The way of the plain The Arabah.

From Elath and Elzion-gaber See Numbers 33:35. Both places are mentioned in 1 Kings 9:26. They were on the AElanitic Gulf.

The wilderness of Moab Comp. Judges 11:16-18.

Verse 9

9. Distress not the Moabites The Moabites and Ammonites, descendants of Lot, were the kinsmen of the Israelites.

Ar Here the capital is put for the whole land of Moab.

Verses 10-12

10-12. These verses are parenthetical. Deuteronomy 2:9 connects with Deuteronomy 2:13.

Emim Hebrew, the terrible ones. See Genesis 14:5.

Which also were accounted giants Hebrew, Rephaim. For the Rephaim see Genesis 14:5. They seem to have been a people of large stature. They included the Emim, Anakim, and Zummim.

Horim Or Horites; dwellers in caves. See Genesis 14:6.

As Israel did unto the land of his possession Keil renders this passage, As Israel has done to the land of his possession, and makes it refer to the land east of the Jordan Gilead and Bashan, which was already conquered and given to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh. Others view the passage from 10 to 12 as parenthetical, and an explanatory addition by a later hand. “They contain exactly such matter as a modern editor might have given in explanatory footnotes, but which a Jewish reviser, if duly authorized, would feel warranted in writing along with his text.” Speaker’s Commentary. It is, on the whole, most probable that these verses are a parenthetical statement by Moses. There is every reason to believe that he was familiar with the history of the tribes here mentioned.

Verse 13

13. Now rise up, said I The words said I are not found in the Hebrew, and should be omitted. The connexion is with the ninth verse. It is Jehovah who said, Rise up, and get you over the brook Zered. This river was the southern boundary of Moab, and separated it from Mount Seir, or the territory of Edom. See Numbers 21:12. Robinson ( Biblical Researches) thinks that Zered is probably the Wady el-Ahsy, which forms a natural division between the country on the north and on the south. Others think Zered is the Wady Kerek.

Verse 14

14. Zered According to Numbers 21:12, the Israelites had encamped in the valley of Zered, (or, as there spelled, Zared).

Thirty and eight years These were years of wandering since they first left Kadesh, on the south of the Promised Land. All the men of war who left Egypt, except Caleb and Joshua, have passed away. The sentence pronounced upon them on account of their rebellion has been executed.

Verse 15

15. The hand of the Lord was against them, to destroy them Here is a manifest allusion to the judgments of Jehovah against Korah and his company, (Numbers 16:35;) against those who perished by the plague, (Numbers 16:49;) against those who were bitten by serpents, (Numbers 21:6;) and against those who indulged in the impure worship of Baal-peor, (Numbers 25:9.)

Verses 16-19

16-19. Men of war were consumed The generation that rebelled had died in their wandering. The people are now to cross over the boundary of Moab and advance into the neighbourhood of the Ammonites. In Deuteronomy 2:20-23 some particulars concerning the ancient inhabitants of these regions are introduced.

Verse 20

20. Zamzummim The name is supposed to be derived from a root meaning to hum: the noisy people; probably the same as the Zuzim of Genesis 14:5.

Verse 23

23. The Avim are identified with the Avites of Joshua 13:3. Azzah is the Hebrew form of Gaza, one of the chief cities of the Philistines.

Caphtorim Caphtor (Genesis 10:14) has been identified with the Egyptian name of the northern delta, from which the Phoenicians emigrated into Asia. These four verses may have been introduced by a later editor.

Verses 24-37

CONQUEST OF THE AMORITES, Deuteronomy 2:24-37.

The Israelites were not to make war upon the Edomites, nor Moabites, nor Ammonites, but they are told that Jehovah has given Sihon the Amorite and his land to them.

Verse 26

26. Kedemoth After the conquest of the country this city was given to the tribe of Reuben. Joshua 13:18. It became a Levitical place of residence. See Joshua 21:37; 1 Chronicles 6:64.

Verse 27

27. I will go along by the high way Hebrew, by the way. The meaning is, that the Israelites would pass directly through the land, not seeking to dispossess the inhabitants nor to despoil them. They would pay for the food that was furnished them, and pay for the privilege of digging wells for water.

Verse 30

30. As appeareth this day That is, as the result has shown.

Verse 32

32. Jahaz In Joshua 13:18, Jahaza is in the allotment of Reuben. In

1 Chronicles 6:78, it is called Jahzah.

Verse 34

34. Utterly destroyed the men,… women,… little ones Every inhabited city and its inhabitants. In these wars cities were often thus devoted. When captured the walls were razed to the foundation and the inhabitants put to death.

Verse 36

36. From Aroer This city was on the north bank of the Arnon, and was given to the tribe of Reuben. Joshua 13:0. On the Moabite Stone Mesha states: “I built Aroer and I made the road across the Arnon.” Burckhardt found ruins with the name Ara’ar on the edge of the north bank of the Arnon.

The city that is by the river Rather, the city which is in the valley. This refers to Ar or Areopolis. See Numbers 21:15.

Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 2". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/whe/deuteronomy-2.html. 1874-1909.
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