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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Numbers 21

 

 

Verses 1-35

Numbers 21:3 And the LORD hearkened to the voice of Israel, and delivered up the Canaanites; and they utterly destroyed them and their cities: and he called the name of the place Hormah.

Numbers 21:3Word Study on "Hormah" - Gesenius says the word "Hormah" "khor-maw'" ( חָרְמָה) (H 2767) means, "a devoting (a place laid waste)." Strong says it means, "devoted." The ISBE says it means, "accursed." 28] PTW says it means, "dedicated to God."

28] W. Ewing, "Hormah," in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, c 1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v 1511 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008).

The associated verb used in Numbers 21:3 translated "they utterly destroyed" is "khor-baw'" ( חָרְבָּה) (H 2723), meaning, "a desolation."

Numbers 21:6 And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

Numbers 21:6Comments- In the epistle of Barnabas, an early Christian document that Clement of Alexandria ascribes to the apostle Barnabas, who would have written it in the first century (A.D 70 to 100), the author states that the Lord sent serpents into the camp as a reminder of their transgressions, just as Eve committed sin by means of the serpent.

"For since transgression was committed by Eve through means of the serpent, [the Lord] brought to pass that every [kind of] serpents bit them, and they died, that He might convince them, that on account of their transgression they were given over to the straits of death." (Epistle of Barnabas, 12) 29]

29] Epistle of Barnabas, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol 1, eds. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, c 1885, 1913), 145.

Numbers 21:7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.

Numbers 21:7Scripture References - Note:

Psalm 66:18, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me."

Numbers 21:8 And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.

Numbers 21:9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any Prayer of Manasseh , when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

Numbers 21:8-9Comments- Looking upon the brass serpent was an act of obedience and faith in God.

John 3:13-15, "And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life."

John 12:31, "Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die."

This brass serpent was finally destroyed during the time of King Hezekiah, 550 years later, because it became a source of idol worship:

2 Kings 18:4, "He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan."

Numbers 21:11 And they journeyed from Oboth, and pitched at Ijeabarim, in the wilderness which is before Moab, toward the sunrising.

Numbers 21:11Word Study on "Ijeabarim" - Gesenius says the name "Ijeabarim" "`Iyey ha-`Abariym" ( עִיֵּי הָעֲבָרִים) (H 5863) means, "the ruinous heaps of mount Abarim." Strong says it means, "ruins of the passers." PTW says it means, "ruins of Abraham."

Numbers 21:21-31 — Israel Defeats Sihon King of the Amorites- The Amorites lived north of Moab ( Numbers 21:20). This land would later pass to the tribe of Reuben ( Numbers 32:33).

Numbers 32:33, "And Moses gave unto them, even to the children of Gad, and to the children of Reuben, and unto half the tribe of Manasseh the son of Joseph, the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites, and the kingdom of Og king of Bashan, the land, with the cities thereof in the coasts, even the cities of the country round about."

Numbers 21:33-35 — Israel Conquers Og, King of Bashan - King Og"s kingdom lay to the north of the Amorites. This land would later be given to the tribes of Gad and Manasseh ( Numbers 32:33).

Numbers 32:33, "And Moses gave unto them, even to the children of Gad, and to the children of Reuben, and unto half the tribe of Manasseh the son of Joseph, the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites, and the kingdom of Og, king of Bashan, the land, with the cities thereof in the coasts, even the cities of the country round about."

Deuteronomy 3:1-3 serves as a parallel passage to Numbers 21:33-35, which reads almost word for word.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Numbers 21:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/numbers-21.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, October 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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