Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Numbers 21:28

"For a fire went forth from Heshbon, A flame from the town of Sihon; It devoured Ar of Moab, The dominant heights of the Arnon.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Amorites;   Ar;   Heshbon;   Israel;   Sihon;   Song;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Amorites, the;   Desert, Journey of Israel through the;   High Places;   Moabites;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Ammonites;   Amorites;   Ar;   Poetry of the Hebrews;   Serpents;   Sihon;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Canaan;   Reuben;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Gods and Goddesses, Pagan;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Bamoth-Baal;   Moabite;   Sihon;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Amorite (the);   Ar;   Jasher;   Jephthah;   Medeba;   Moab;   Numbers, the Book of;   Sihon;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Amorites;   Ar;   Book(s);   Conquest of Canaan;   Dibon;   Heshbon;   Moab and the Moabite Stone;   Pentateuch;   Poetry;   Reba;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Ar;   Israel;   Jephthah;   Medeba;   Moab, Moabites;   Moses;   Numbers, Book of;   Wars of the Lord, Book of the;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Ar;   Arnon ;   Heshbon ;   Moab, Moabites ;   Sihon ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Mount hor;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Ar;   Arnon;   Sihon;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Ar;   Mo'ses;   Si'hon;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Fire;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - On to Canaan;   Moses, the Man of God;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Ammon;   Amorites;   Ar;   Moab;   Moses;   Numbers, Book of;   Proverb;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Ar;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Arnon;   Chemosh;   Dibon;   High Place;   Moab;   Poetry;   Samuel B. Meï;  

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

For there is a fire gone out of Heshbon,.... Not before, but after Sihon had subdued it, as Jarchi observes; and is to be understood of his soldiers going out from thence, and making desolations in the adjacent parts, like a strong fire, and the fierce flames of it there is no resisting; and so the Jerusalem Targum,"for a people mighty, and burning like fire, are gone out of Heshbon:'see Amos 1:4, a flame from the city of Sihon: which is the same thing in other words, the city of Sihon being Heshbon, and a flame the same with fire; warriors, as both the Targums of Oakelos and Jerusalem interpret it; this seems to be what those composers undertook in their poetical way to foretell would be the case in future times; concluding, from the conquests already made, that they would be extended much further, and that no opposition could hinder:

it hath consumed Ar of Moab; the metropolis of the country of Moab, that is, they were as sure of it, and endeavoured to make the people by these their compositions as confident of it, that this city would fall into the hands of their armies, and be destroyed, as if it was already done; otherwise it does not appear that it ever was taken out of the hands of the Moabites, until taken by the Assyrians or Chaldeans; of this city See Gill on Isaiah 15:1.

and the lords of the high places of Arnon; who had the government of the high, strong, and fortified places all along the river Arnon; these it is suggested would be conquered by the Amorites; all the three Targums interpret it of the priests and worshippers in the temples, and at the altars of the idols in Arnon; and it may be rendered, "the Baals of the high places of Arnon", as if the gods of those places should fall into the victors' hands; and which seems to have some confirmation from what follows; and it may be observed, that in these parts there were some places called Bamoth Baal, or the high places of Baal, see Numbers 22:41, and Beth Baal Meon, which has its name from its being the temple and habitation of Baal, Joshua 13:17.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Numbers 21:28". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/numbers-21.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

For there is a l fire gone out of Heshbon, a flame from the city of Sihon: it hath consumed Ar of Moab, [and] the lords of the high places of Arnon.

(l) Meaning, wane.
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Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Numbers 21:28". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/numbers-21.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

For there is a fire gone out of Heshbon, a flame from the city of Sihon: it hath consumed Ar of Moab, and the lords of the high places of Arnon.

A fire — The fury of war, which is fitly compared to fire.

Out of Heshbon — That city which before was a refuge and defence to all the country, now is turned into a great annoyance.

It hath consumed Ar — This may be understood not of the city Ar, but of the people or the country subject or belonging to that great and royal city.

The lords of the high places — The princes or governors of the strong holds, which were frequently in high places, especially in that mountainous country, and which were in divers parts all along the river Arnon. So the Amorites triumphed over the vanquished Moabites. But the triumphing of the wicked is short!

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Numbers 21:28". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/numbers-21.html. 1765.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Numbers 21:28. For there is a fire gone out of Heshbon The poet here rises into raptures, and prophesies the conquest of the whole country by the desolating army of Sihon marching out of Heshbon: for by fire is meant desolating war, to which it is most fitly compared: so in Judges 9:20. Isaiah 29:6. Amos 1:4. & seq.; and the same comparison is used by other authors.

——Quis Trojae nesciat urbem, Et tanti incendia belli.— VIRGIL.

The poet goes on, It hath consumed Ar of Moab, speaking of it, in a poetical enthusiasm, as present to his view, and already accomplished, though it never came to pass; for Ar remained in possession of Moab in Moses's time, Deuteronomy 18:22. This city was situated on the south side of the river Arnon, and became the capital of Moab, otherwise called Rabbah, or Rabbah-Mobah, i.e. the great city of Moab. It is thought to be the same as had the name of Areopolis in latter ages; see Bochart's Preface to his Phaleg. What we render high places, in the next clause of the verse, some take to be the name of a city or village; namely, Bamoth, mentioned Numbers 21:19 as situate in the country of Moab. According to our version, the clause signifies, the princes of Moab, who dwelt in the strongest forts of their country, lying on the river Arnon. The Arabic understands it of the Gods of those high places.

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Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Numbers 21:28". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/numbers-21.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

A fire, i.e. the fury of war, which is oft and fitly compared to fire here, as Isaiah 47:14 Amos 1:7,10,12,14 2:2,5;

Heshbon; that city which before was a refuge and defence to all the country, now is turned into a great annoyance and a public mischief.

Ar of Moab.

Quest. How can this be, since Ar was yet in the hands of the Moabites, Deuteronomy 2:9,18,29?

Answ. 1. This may be understood not of the city Ar, but of the people or the country subject or belonging to that great and royal city, as the Chaldee understands it.

2. Possibly Ar was taken by Sihon of the Moabites, but afterwards was either recovered by the Moabites, or upon the Israelites’ approach quitted by Sihon, gathering all his forces together that he might fight with the Israelites, and so repossessed by the Moabites.

3. This place may be thus rendered, It shall consume Ar of Moab, the past tense being put for the future, as is usual in prophetical passages; and so this may be the Amorites’ prediction or presage, that having taken Heshbon and its territories, they should now extend their victories to

Ar of Moab, though they fell short of that hope, as ordinarily men do.

The lords of the high places; either,

1. The princes or governors of the strong holds, which were frequently in high places, especially in that mountainous country, and which were in divers parts all along the river of Arnon; and having taken some of these, they promised to themselves that they should take all the rest, and so proceed further and further, till they had taken Ar itself. Or rather,

2. The priests and people that worshipped their god in their high places; which may seem more probable,

1. Because as the Israelites worshipped God, so the heathens worshipped Baal, in high places, Numbers 22:41, and particularly the Moabites are noted for so doing, Jeremiah 48:35.

2. Because amongst the eminent places of Moab there is mention of Bamoth-baal, or, of the high places of Baal, Joshua 13:17.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Numbers 21:28". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/numbers-21.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

28.Ar — See Numbers 21:15, note. The high places of Arnon are mentioned as the limits to which Sihon had carried his victorious supremacy. The lords are the Moabites.

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Numbers 21:28". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/numbers-21.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Numbers 21:28. A fire — The fury of war, which is fitly compared to fire. Out of Heshbon — That city which before was a refuge and defence to all the country, now is turned into a great annoyance. It hath consumed Ar

This may be understood not of the city Ar, but of the people or the country subject or belonging to that great and royal city. The lords of the high places — The princes or governors of the strong holds, which were frequently in high places, especially in that mountainous country, and which were in divers parts all along the river Arnon. So the Amorites triumphed over the vanquished Moabites. But the triumphing of the wicked is short!

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Numbers 21:28". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/numbers-21.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

A fire and flame, denote the horrors of war, Judges ix. 20. --- Ar. Samaritan and Septuagint read ad, "hath consumed even the country of the Moabites and the lords (or pillars, Septuagint) of Bamoth, (the heights mentioned in ver. 18, 19,) on the Arnon." These lords may be the principal men, priests, or gods of the city. Jeremias (xlviii. 45,) reads this passage in a different manner, "it (the flame) shall devour part of Moab, and the crown of the head of the children of tumult." The city of Ar (which some confound with Aroer) always continued in the hands of the Moabites, so that the efforts of Sehon against it, seem to have proved abortive, Deuteronomy ii. 9, 18, 29. (Bonfrere) See chap. xxiv. 17.

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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Numbers 21:28". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/numbers-21.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

the lords. Hebrew. Baalim.

high places. Compare Numbers 22:41 and Jeremiah 48:35.

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Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Numbers 21:28". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/numbers-21.html. 1909-1922.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

For there is a fire gone out of Heshbon, a flame from the city of Sihon: it hath consumed Ar of Moab, and the lords of the high places of Arnon.
a fire
Judges 9:20; Isaiah 10:16; Jeremiah 48:45,46; Amos 1:4,7,10,12,14; 2:2,5
Ar of Moab
15; Deuteronomy 2:9,18; Isaiah 15:1,2
Reciprocal: Numbers 32:3 - Heshbon;  Joshua 13:16 - GeneralJudges 9:15 - let fire

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Numbers 21:28". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/numbers-21.html.