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Bible Commentaries

Matthew Poole's English Annotations
on the Holy Bible
Deuteronomy 3

 

 

Verse 2

Fear him not, though he be of so frightful a look and stature, Deuteronomy 3:11.


Verse 4

Argob; a province within Bashan, or at least subject and belonging to Bashan, as appears from Deuteronomy 3:13 1 Kings 4:13; called Argob possibly from the name of a man, its former lord and owner.


Verse 5

High walls, gates, and bars; which may encourage you in your attempt upon Canaan, notwithstanding the fenced cities which the spies told you of, and you must expect to find.


Verse 8

On this side Jordan; so it was when Moses wrote this book, but afterward, when Israel passed over Jordan, it was called the land beyond Jordan.


Verse 9

Elsewhere called Mount Gilead, and Libanus or Lebanon, and here

Shenir, and Sirion, and, by abbreviation, Sion, Deuteronomy 4:48; which several names are given to this one mountain, partly by several people, and partly in regard of several tops and parts of it, whence

Shenir and Hermon are mentioned as distinct places, Song of Solomon 4:8.


Verse 10

Gilead is sometimes taken largely for all the Israelites’ possessions beyond Jordan, and so it comprehends Bashan, but here more strictly for that part of it which lies in and near Mount Gilead, and so it is distinguished from Bashan and Argob.


Verse 11

The other giants of Bashan were destroyed before; and therefore when Og was killed, the Israelites’ work was done.

In Rabbath of the children of Ammon; where it might now be, either because the Ammonites in some former-battle with Og had taken it as a spoil; or because after Og’s death the Ammonites desired to have this monument of his greatness, and the Israelites permitted them to carry it away to their chief city.

After the cubit of a man, to wit, of ordinary stature. So his bed was four yards and a half long, and two yards broad.


Verse 14

Geshuri, or Geshurites, a people towards the north of Canaan, 2 Samuel 3:3 15:8. See also Joshua 13:13. Maachathi; of whom see 2 Samuel 3:3 10:6. Unto this day: this must be put among those other passages which were not written by Moses, but added by those holy men who digested the books of Moses into this order, and inserted some very few passages to accommodate things to their own time and people.


Verse 15

i.e. The half part of Gilead, as appears from Deuteronomy 3:12,13. See Poole "Numbers 32:40". Unto Machir, i.e. unto the children of Machir son of Manasseh, for Machir was now dead.


Verse 16

Half the valley, or rather to the middle of the river; for the word rendered half signifies commonly middle; and the same Hebrew word signifying both a valley and a brook or river, it seems more reasonable to understand it of a river, as the same word is here rendered in the next foregoing clause of this verse, than of a valley, which was not mentioned before, especially seeing there is here an article added which seems to be emphatical, and to note that river, to wit, now mentioned. Add to this, that there was no such valley, much less any half valley, belonging both unto the Reubenites and Gadites. But according to the other translation the sense is plain and agreeable to the truth, that their land extended from Gilead unto Aroer, and, to speak exactly, to the middle of that river; for as that river was the border between them and others, so one half of it belonged to them, as the other half did to others. And that this is no subtle device, as some may think it, but the truth of the thing, and the real meaning of the place, will appear by comparing this place with two others:

1. With Joshua 12:2, where the same thing is expressed in the same words in the Hebrew which are here, though our translators render the selfsame words there from the middle of the river, which here they render half of the valley; and where the bounds of Sihon’s kingdom, which was the same portion there mentioned as given to Reuben and Gad, are thus described, from Aroer, which is upon the bank of the river of Arnon, and from the middle of the river, and from half Gilead, even unto the river Jabbok, which is the border of the children of Ammon.

2. With Deuteronomy 2:36, From Aroer, which is by the brink of the river of Arnon, and from the city that is by the river, or rather, as the Hebrew hath it, in the river, i.e. from Ar, which was the chief city of the Moabites, and therefore denied to the Israelites, as is here implied, and more fitly expressed, Deuteronomy 2:9, which city was seated in an island in the middle of the river. So that here we have a just and full reason why the border of this land given to Reuben and Gad is so nicely and critically described there, even to the middle of a river, which although in truth and strictness it be the bound of those lands which are divided by a river, yet is not usually expressed in the description of borders, either in Scripture or other authors, because here was an eminent city of the Moabites in the middle of this river, which by this curious and exact description is excepted from their possession, as God would have it to be. And the border even unto the river Jabbok: the meaning seems to be this, and the border, to wit, of their land, was, which verb substantive is commonly understood, or went forth, (as the phrase is, Joshua 15:6,7, &c.,) from thence, to wit, from the river Arnon, even unto the river Jabbok, for so indeed their border did proceed. Which is the border of the children of Ammon. Object. This was the border between them and the Manassites, as is evident, and therefore not the border of the Ammonites.

Answ. It bordered upon the Manassites in one part, and upon the Ammonites in another part, to wit, in that part which is remoter from Jordan, and so both are true.


Verse 17

The plain; the low country towards Jordan.

Chinnereth; of which see on Numbers 34:11 Joshua 12:3.

The sea of the plain, i.e. that salt sea, as it here follows, which before that dreadful conflagration was a goodly plain, called the plain of Jordan, Genesis 13:10. Ashdoth-pisgah; the proper name of a city, of which Joshua 13:20.


Verse 18

I commanded you, to wit, the Reubenites and Gadites, mentioned Deuteronomy 3:16, to whom he now turns his speech by an apostrophe.

Meet for the war; in such number as your brethren shall judge necessary. See Joshua 1:14 4:13.


Verse 20

Rest; a peaceable and fixed possession.


Verse 25

For he supposed God’s threatening might be conditional and reversible, as many others were.

That goodly mountain, or, that blessed mountain, which the Jews not improbably understand of that mountain on which the temple was to be built. For as Moses desired and determined to prepare an habitation for God, Exodus 15:2, and knew very well that God would choose a certain place for his habitation, and to put his name there, Deuteronomy 12:5; so he also knew that it was the manner both of the true worshippers of God and of idolaters to worship their God in high places, and particularly that Abraham did worship God in the mount of Moriah, Genesis 22:2, and therefore did either reasonably conjecture that God would choose some certain mountain for the place of his habitation, or possibly understood by revelation that in that very mount of Moriah, where Abraham performed that eminent and glorious act of worship, there also the children of Abraham should have their place of constant and settled worship. This he seems to call that mountain, emphatically and eminently, that which was much in Moses’s thoughts, though not in his eye, and the blessed (as the Hebrew tob oft signifies) or the goodly mountain. Or, the mountain may be here put for the mountainous countries, as that word is oft used, as Genesis 36:9 Numbers 13:29 23:7 Deuteronomy 1:7 Joshua 10:6 11:16,21, &c. And it is known that a great part of the glory and beauty and profit of this country lay in its hills or mountains. See Deuteronomy 11:11 33:15. And

that goodly mountain may by an enallage of the number be put for those goodly mountains in Canaan, which were many. Thus also he proceeds gradually in this desire and description, and prays that he may see in general the good land that is beyond Jordan, and then particularly the goodly mountains of it, and especially that famous mount of Lebanon, which was so celebrated for its tall and large cedars, and other trees and excellent plants. See Psalms 29:5 104:16 Isaiah 2:13 14:8.


Verse 26

For your sakes; by occasion of your sins, which provoked me to unadvised words and carriages, Psalms 106:32,33. See Numbers 20:12 Deuteronomy 31:2 34:4. Let it suffice thee that this is my pleasure and unalterable resolution. Compare 2 Corinthians 12:8,9.


Verse 27

Pisgah; of which see on Numbers 27:12. Lift up thine eyes towards the land of Canaan and its several quarters.


Verse 28

Charge Joshua; give him commission and authority, and a command to execute his trust, and conduct the people.

Strengthen him with exhortations and promises, and assurances of my presence and help, and of good success.

He shall go over: it was not Moses, but Joshua or Jesus, that was to give the people rest, Hebrews 4:8.


Verse 29

The house or temple of Peor, or of Baal-Peor, of which see Numbers 25:3, whence this place or city had its name.

 


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Bibliography Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Deuteronomy 3:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/deuteronomy-3.html11. 1685.


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Friday, June 22nd, 2018
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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