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Defeat of Sihon, King of Heshbon

26 Then I sent messengers from the Kedemoth[a] wilderness to King Sihon of Heshbon with an offer of peace: 27 “Let me pass through your land; I will keep strictly to the roadway.[b] I will not turn aside to the right or the left. 28 Sell me food for cash[c] so that I can eat and sell me water to drink.[d] Just allow me to go through on foot, 29 just as the descendants of Esau who live at Seir and the Moabites who live in Ar did for me, until I cross the Jordan to the land the Lord our God is giving us.” 30 But King Sihon of Heshbon was unwilling to allow us to pass near him because the Lord our[e] God had made him obstinate[f] and stubborn[g] so that he might deliver him over to you[h] this very day. 31 The Lord said to me, “Look! I have already begun to give over Sihon and his land to you. Start right now to take his land as your possession.” 32 When Sihon and all his troops[i] emerged to encounter us in battle at Jahaz,[j] 33 the Lord our God delivered him over to us and we struck him down, along with his sons[k] and everyone else.[l] 34 At that time we seized all his cities and put every one of them[m] under divine judgment,[n] including even the women and children; we left no survivors. 35 We kept only the livestock and plunder from the cities for ourselves. 36 From Aroer,[o] which is at the edge of Wadi Arnon (it is the city in the wadi),[p] all the way to Gilead there was not a town able to resist us—the Lord our God gave them all to us. 37 However, you did not approach the land of the Ammonites, the Wadi Jabbok,[q] the cities of the hill country, or any place else forbidden by the Lord our God.

Defeat of King Og of Bashan

Next we set out on[r] the route to Bashan,[s] but King Og of Bashan and his whole army[t] came out to meet us in battle at Edrei.[u] The Lord, however, said to me, “Don’t be afraid of him because I have already given him, his whole army,[v] and his land to you. You will do to him exactly what you did to King Sihon of the Amorites who lived in Heshbon.” So the Lord our God did indeed give over to us King Og of Bashan and his whole army, and we struck them down until not a single survivor was left.[w] We captured all his cities at that time—there was not a town we did not take from them—sixty cities, all the region of Argob,[x] the dominion of Og in Bashan. All of these cities were fortified by high walls, gates, and locking bars;[y] in addition there were a great many open villages.[z] We put all of these under divine judgment[aa] just as we had done to King Sihon of Heshbon—every occupied city,[ab] including women and children. But all the livestock and plunder from the cities we kept for ourselves. So at that time we took the land of the two Amorite kings in the Transjordan from Wadi Arnon to Mount Hermon[ac] (the Sidonians[ad] call Hermon Sirion[ae] and the Amorites call it Senir),[af] 10 all the cities of the plateau, all of Gilead and Bashan as far as Salecah[ag] and Edrei,[ah] cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan. 11 Only King Og of Bashan was left of the remaining Rephaites. (It is noteworthy[ai] that his sarcophagus[aj] was made of iron.[ak] Does it not, indeed, still remain in Rabbath[al] of the Ammonites? It is 13½ feet[am] long and 6 feet[an] wide according to standard measure.)[ao]

Distribution of the Transjordanian Allotments

12 This is the land we brought under our control at that time: The territory extending from Aroer[ap] by the Wadi Arnon and half the Gilead hill country with its cities I gave to the Reubenites and Gadites.[aq] 13 The rest of Gilead and all of Bashan, the kingdom of Og, I gave to half the tribe of Manasseh.[ar] (All the region of Argob,[as] that is, all Bashan, is called the land of Rephaim. 14 Jair, son of Manasseh, took all the Argob region as far as the border with the Geshurites[at] and Maacathites[au]—namely Bashan—and called it by his name, Havvoth Jair,[av] which it retains to this very day.) 15 I gave Gilead to Machir.[aw] 16 To the Reubenites and Gadites I allocated the territory extending from Gilead as far as Wadi Arnon (the exact middle of the wadi was a boundary) all the way to the Wadi Jabbok, the Ammonite border. 17 The rift valley[ax] and the Jordan River[ay] were also a border, from the Sea of Kinnereth[az] to the sea of the rift valley (that is, the Salt Sea),[ba] beneath the slopes[bb] of Pisgah[bc] to the east.

Instructions to the Transjordanian Tribes

18 At that time I instructed you as follows: “The Lord your God has given you this land for your possession. You warriors are to cross over equipped for battle before your fellow Israelites.[bd] 19 But your wives, children, and livestock (of which I know you have many) may remain in the cities I have given you. 20 You must fight[be] until the Lord gives your countrymen victory[bf] as he did you and they take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving them on the other side of the Jordan River. Then each of you may return to his own territory that I have given you.” 21 I also commanded Joshua at the same time, “You have seen everything the Lord your God did to these two kings; he[bg] will do the same to all the kingdoms where you are going.[bh] 22 Do not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God will personally fight for you.”


  1. Deuteronomy 2:26 sn Kedemoth. This is probably Aleiyan, about 8 mi (13 km) north of the Arnon and between Dibon and Mattanah.
  2. Deuteronomy 2:27 tn Heb “in the way in the way” (בַּדֶּרֶךְ בַּדֶּרֶךְ, badderekh badderekh). The repetition lays great stress on the idea of resolute determination to stick to the path. IBHS 116 §7.2.3c.
  3. Deuteronomy 2:28 tn Heb “silver.”
  4. Deuteronomy 2:28 tn Heb “and water for silver give to me so that I may drink.”
  5. Deuteronomy 2:30 tc The translation follows the LXX in reading the first person pronoun. The MT, followed by many English versions, has a second person masculine singular pronoun, “your.”
  6. Deuteronomy 2:30 tn Heb “hardened his spirit” (so KJV, NASB, NRSV); NIV “made his spirit stubborn.”
  7. Deuteronomy 2:30 tn Heb “made his heart obstinate” (so KJV, NASB); NRSV “made his heart defiant.”
  8. Deuteronomy 2:30 tn Heb “into your hand.”
  9. Deuteronomy 2:32 tn Heb “people.”
  10. Deuteronomy 2:32 sn Jahaz. This is probably Khirbet el-Medeiyineh. See J. Dearman, “The Levitical Cities of Reuben and Moabite Toponymy,” BASOR 276 (1984): 55-57.
  11. Deuteronomy 2:33 tc The translation follows the Qere or marginal reading; the Kethib (consonantal text) has the singular, “his son.”
  12. Deuteronomy 2:33 tn Heb “all his people.”
  13. Deuteronomy 2:34 tn Heb “every city of men.” This apparently identifies the cities as inhabited.
  14. Deuteronomy 2:34 tn Heb “under the ban” (נַחֲרֵם, nakharem). The verb employed is חָרַם (kharam, usually in the Hiphil) and the associated noun is חֵרֶם (kherem). See J. Naudé, NIDOTTE, 2:276-77, and, for a more thorough discussion, Susan Niditch, War in the Hebrew Bible, Divine judgment refers to God’s designation of certain persons, places, and things as objects of his special wrath and judgment because, in his omniscience, he knows them to be impure and hopelessly unrepentant.
  15. Deuteronomy 2:36 sn Aroer. Now known as ʿAraʾir on the northern edge of the Arnon river, Aroer marked the southern limit of Moab and, later, of the allotment of the tribe of Reuben (Josh 13:9, 16).
  16. Deuteronomy 2:36 tn Heb “the city in the wadi.” This enigmatic reference may refer to Ar or, more likely, to Aroer itself. Epexegetically the text might read, “From Aroer…, that is, the city in the wadi.” See D. L. Christensen, Deuteronomy 1-11 (WBC), 49.
  17. Deuteronomy 2:37 sn Wadi Jabbok. Now known as the Zerqa River, this is a major tributary of the Jordan that normally served as a boundary between Ammon and Gad (Deut 3:16).
  18. Deuteronomy 3:1 tn Heb “turned and went up.”
  19. Deuteronomy 3:1 sn Bashan. This plateau country, famous for its oaks (Isa 2:13) and cattle (Deut 32:14; Amos 4:1), was north of Gilead along the Yarmuk River.
  20. Deuteronomy 3:1 tn Heb “people.”
  21. Deuteronomy 3:1 sn Edrei is probably modern Derʿa, 60 mi (95 km) south of Damascus (see Num 21:33; Josh 12:4; 13:12, 31; also mentioned in Deut 1:4).
  22. Deuteronomy 3:2 tn Heb “people.”
  23. Deuteronomy 3:3 tn Heb “was left to him.” The final phrase “to him” is redundant in English and has been left untranslated.
  24. Deuteronomy 3:4 sn Argob. This is a subdistrict of Bashan, perhaps north of the Yarmuk River. See Y. Aharoni, Land of the Bible, 314.
  25. Deuteronomy 3:5 tn Or “high walls and barred gates” (NLT); Heb “high walls, gates, and bars.” Since “bars” could be understood to mean “saloons,” the qualifying adjective “locking” has been supplied in the translation.
  26. Deuteronomy 3:5 tn The Hebrew term פְּרָזִי (perazi) refers to rural areas, at the most “unwalled villages” (KJV, NASB “unwalled towns”).
  27. Deuteronomy 3:6 tn Heb “we put them under the ban” (נַחֲרֵם, nakharem). See note at The divine curse. See note on this phrase in Deut 2:34.
  28. Deuteronomy 3:6 tn Heb “city of men.”
  29. Deuteronomy 3:8 sn Mount Hermon. This is the famous peak at the southern end of the Anti-Lebanon mountain range known today as Jebel es-Sheik.
  30. Deuteronomy 3:9 sn Sidonians were Phoenician inhabitants of the city of Sidon (now in Lebanon), about 47 mi (75 km) north of Mount Carmel.
  31. Deuteronomy 3:9 sn Sirion. This name is attested in the Ugaritic texts as sryn. See UT 495.
  32. Deuteronomy 3:9 sn Senir. Probably this was actually one of the peaks of Hermon and not the main mountain (Song of Songs 4:8; 1 Chr 5:23). It is mentioned in a royal inscription of Shalmaneser III of Assyria (saniru; see ANET 280).
  33. Deuteronomy 3:10 sn Salecah. Today this is known as Salkhad, in Jordan, about 31 mi (50 km) east of the Jordan River in the Hauran Desert.
  34. Deuteronomy 3:10 sn Edrei. See note on this term in 3:1.
  35. Deuteronomy 3:11 tn Heb “Behold” (הִנֵּה, hinneh).
  36. Deuteronomy 3:11 tn The Hebrew term עֶרֶשׂ (ʿeres), traditionally translated “bed” (cf. NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT) is likely a basaltic (volcanic) stone sarcophagus of suitable size to contain the coffin of the giant Rephaite king. Its iron-like color and texture caused it to be described as an iron container. See A. Millard, “King Og’s Iron Bed: Fact or Fancy?” BR 6 (1990): 16-21, 44; cf. also NEB “his sarcophagus of basalt”; TEV, CEV “his coffin.”
  37. Deuteronomy 3:11 tn Or “of iron-colored basalt.” See note on the word “sarcophagus” earlier in this verse.
  38. Deuteronomy 3:11 sn Rabbath. This place name (usually occurring as Rabbah; 2 Sam 11:11; 12:27; Jer 49:3) refers to the ancient capital of the Ammonite kingdom, now the modern city of Amman, Jordan. The word means “great [one],” probably because of its political importance. The fact that the sarcophagus “still remain[ed]” there suggests this part of the verse is post-Mosaic, having been added as a matter of explanation for the existence of the artifact and also to verify the claim as to its size.
  39. Deuteronomy 3:11 tn Heb “9 cubits.” Assuming a length of 18 in (45 cm) for the standard cubit, this would be 13.5 ft (4.1 m) long.
  40. Deuteronomy 3:11 tn Heb “4 cubits.” This would be 6 ft (1.8 m) wide.
  41. Deuteronomy 3:11 tn Heb “by the cubit of man.” This probably refers to the “short” or “regular” cubit of approximately 18 in (45 cm).
  42. Deuteronomy 3:12 tn The words “the territory extending” are not in the Hebrew text; they are supplied in the translation for stylistic Aroer. See note on this term in Deut 2:36.
  43. Deuteronomy 3:12 sn Reubenites and Gadites. By the time of Moses’ address the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh had already been granted permission to settle in the Transjordan, provided they helped the other tribes subdue the occupants of Canaan (cf. Num 32:28-42).
  44. Deuteronomy 3:13 sn Half the tribe of Manasseh. The tribe of Manasseh split into clans, with half opting to settle in Bashan and the other half in Canaan (cf. Num 32:39-42; Josh 17:1-13).
  45. Deuteronomy 3:13 sn Argob. See note on this term in v. 4.
  46. Deuteronomy 3:14 sn Geshurites. Geshur was a city and its surrounding area somewhere northeast of Bashan (cf. Josh 12:5 ; 13:11, 13). One of David’s wives was Maacah, the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur and mother of Absalom (cf. 2 Sam 13:37; 15:8; 1 Chr 3:2).
  47. Deuteronomy 3:14 sn Maacathites. These were the people of a territory southwest of Mount Hermon on the Jordan River. The name probably has nothing to do with David’s wife from Geshur (see note on “Geshurites” earlier in this verse).
  48. Deuteronomy 3:14 sn Havvoth Jair. The Hebrew name means “villages of Jair,” the latter being named after a son (i.e., descendant) of Manasseh who took the area by conquest.
  49. Deuteronomy 3:15 sn Machir was the name of another descendant of Manasseh (cf. Num 32:41; 1 Chr 7:14-19). Eastern Manasseh was thus divided between the Jairites and the Machirites.
  50. Deuteronomy 3:17 sn The rift valley extends from Galilee to the Gulf of Aqaba. The Jordan River runs through it from Galilee to the Dead Sea, so the rift valley, the Jordan, and the Dead Sea work together naturally as a boundary.
  51. Deuteronomy 3:17 tn The word “River” is not in the Hebrew text, but has been supplied in the translation for clarity (also in vv. 20, 25).
  52. Deuteronomy 3:17 tn Heb “from Kinnereth.” The words “the sea of” have been supplied in the translation as a Kinnereth. This is another name for the Sea of Galilee, so called because its shape is that of a harp (the Hebrew term for “harp” is כִּנּוֹר, kinnor).
  53. Deuteronomy 3:17 sn The Salt Sea is another name for the Dead Sea (cf. Gen 14:3; Josh 3:16).
  54. Deuteronomy 3:17 sn The slopes (אֲשֵׁדוֹת, ʾashedot) refer to the ascent from the rift valley, generally in the region of the Dead Sea, up to the flatlands (or wilderness).
  55. Deuteronomy 3:17 sn Pisgah. This appears to refer to a small range of mountains, the most prominent peak of which is Mount Nebo (Num 21:20; 23:14; Deut 3:27; cf. 34:1). Pisgah is east of the northern tip of the Dead Sea. The slopes ascend approximately 3600 feet from the Dead Sea to Pisgah, while the plains to the east lie only a few hundred feet below these heights.
  56. Deuteronomy 3:18 tn Heb “your brothers, the sons of Israel.”
  57. Deuteronomy 3:20 tn The words “you must fight” are not present in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for clarity.
  58. Deuteronomy 3:20 tn Heb “gives your brothers rest.”
  59. Deuteronomy 3:21 tn Heb “the Lord.” The translation uses the pronoun (“he”) for stylistic reasons, to avoid redundancy.
  60. Deuteronomy 3:21 tn Heb “which you are crossing over there.”

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