Chapter 3


Victory Over King Og

        • After plundering the Amorite cities, we headed toward the land of Bashan. Their king, Og, and his entire army came out to attack us at Edrei. However, the Lord told me not to be afraid of him. He assured our victory and promised to give us their land. He told me to deal with Og just as we had dealt with King Sihon at Heshbon. The Lord did just as He had promised. We captured all 60 of their cities- Og’s entire kingdom in Bashan, the entire region of Argob. Even though the cities were well protected by high walls and barred gates we completely destroyed them along with all their men, women, and children. We kept the livestock and plunder for ourselves. In addition to the these, we also destroyed many of the rural villages with no walls in the same way.

          • NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible notes, “Argob refers to a confederation of cities within the larger Bashan area or to a region to the east of the Jordan.”

        • Therefore, from the two Amorite kings we took the following land on the east side of the Jordan: from the Arnon Valley all the way to Mount Hermon (Mount Hermon is called Sirion by the Sidonians and called Senir by the Amorites), all the cities on the plateau, all of Gilead, and the land of Bashan all the way to Salecah and Edrei (these latter two cities were part of Og’s kingdom in Bashan).

          • NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “Mount Hermon is the southernmost peak in the Anti-Lebanon Mountains northeast of the Sea of Galilee; at 9,300 feet above sea level, it is also the highest. On a clear day, this impressive landmark is visible from many miles away…The alternative names Sirion and Senir suggest that Hermon was perhaps a later name given by the Israelites. Hermon is apparently related to the verb kharam, which means ‘to destroy’ and perhaps describes the destruction in 3:3-7.”

          • King Og was the last of the Rephaim. His iron bed, which is still in the Ammonite city of Rabbah, measures 13’6” long.

            • Some translations give the measurement of 14’6”. This is due to differing views on the length of the standard cubit.

            • Guzik writes, “Apparently, Og was the last of the rephaim in his area, on the east side of the Jordan River.”

            • NLT Illustrated Study Bible adds, “Alternatively, the Hebrew word (for bed) might suggest a sarcophagus or coffin. Rabbah is the same city as Rabbath Ammon (2:19). Apparently there was some kind of museum at Rabbah when Deuteronomy was written, and this artifact could be seen there.”

            • NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible notes, “Huge objects such as this…and the giant sword of Goliath were kept as memorials that recalled these ancient giants (1 Samuel 21:9), along with the victory the Lord gave Israel over them.”

Og’s bed (engraving circa 1770 by Johann Balthasar Probst) via Wikipedia
              • The Wikipedia listing for Og documents that his existence was testified in non-Biblical inscriptions, “A reference to “Og” appears in a Phoenician inscription from Byblos (Byblos 13) published in 1974 by Wolfgang Rölling in ‘Eine neue phoenizische Inschrift aus Byblos,’ (Neue Ephemeris für Semitische Epigraphik, vol 2, 1-15 and plate 1). It appears in a damaged 7-line funerary inscription that Rölling dates to around 500 BC, and appears to say that if someone disturbs the bones of the occupant, ‘the mighty Og will avenge me.’ A possible connection to Og and the Rephaim kings of Bashan can also be made with the much older Canaanite Ugaritic text KTU 1.108 from the 13th century B.C., which uses the term ‘king’ in association with the root /rp/ or ‘Rapah’ (the Rephaim of the Bible) and geographic place names that probably correspond to the cities of Ashtaroth and Edrei in the Bible, and with which king Og is expressly said to have ruled from (Deuteronomy 1:4; Joshua 9:10; 12:4; 13:12, 31). The clay tablet from Ugarit KTU 1.108] reads in whole, ‘May Rapiu, King of Eternity, drink [w]ine, yea, may he drink, the powerful and noble [god], the god enthroned in Ashtarat, the god who rules in Edrei, whom men hymn and honour with music on the lyre and the flute, on drum and cymbals, with castanets of ivory, among the goodly companions of Kothar. And may Anat the power<ful> drink, the mistress of kingship, the mistress of dominion, the mistress of the high heavens, [the mistre]ss of the earth.’”

Land Division East of the Jordan

          • When we took possession of this land I assigned the territory in the following way:

            • I gave the Reubenites and Gadites all of the area north of Aroer (beside the Arnon Valley), half of the hill country of Gilead along with its cities. The part of Gilead I gave them extended from the middle of the Arnon Valley in the south, all the way to the Jabbok River (which is the Ammonite border). They also got the portion of the Jordan Valley extending from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea. The The Jordan River served as the western border and the slopes of Pisgah served as the eastern border.

            • I gave the half-tribe of Manasseh the rest of Gilead and all of Og’s former kingdom (Bashan). Gilead went to Makir’s clan.

            • NLT Illustrated Study Bible summarizes, “Gad and Reuben settled between the Arnon and the middle of Gilead, and Manasseh took everything north of that, including Bashan.”

          • The entire Argob region in Bashan was formerly called the land of the Rephaim. But a leader from Manasseh named Jair conquered the area all the way to the Gushurite and Maacathite border and renamed it The Towns of Jair, after himself. It is still known by this name today.

            • The NLT Illustrated Study Bible notes, “The Rephaites, a giant people related to the Anakites, are noted here as being indigenous to Bashan.”

          • At this time I gave the following command to the tribes that were settling east of the Jordan River: “Even though the Lord has given this land to you, all your men who are eligible to fight must cross over the Jordan ahead of the other Israelite tribes- prepared to fight. However, your wives, children, and livestock can remain in the cities you have been given. After the Lord conquers and gives the rest of the tribes possession of their land on the west side of the river, then you can return to your land.”

Moses Forbidden to Cross the Jordan

          • At this time I gave the following command to Joshua: “You have seen with your own eyes what God did to these two kings. Don’t be afraid of the kingdoms you are about to cross into because the Lord your God will be fighting for you and He will handle these kingdoms just as He did the ones east of the river.”

          • After this I begged the Lord, “Oh Lord, you have only just begun to show me, Your servant, Your incredible greatness and power. What god in heaven or earth can perform the great deeds and mighty acts that You perform? Please let me go across the river and see the beautiful hill country and the mountains of Lebanon.” But the Lord wouldn’t listen to me because He was angry with me due to you. He answered me and said, “Enough, don’t bring this up to Me again. Since you won’t be allowed to cross the river, go up to the top of Pisgah and look around in all directions. You will be able to see the land. Instead, give Joshua his commands, and give him encouragement and strength because he will lead the people across so they can take possession of their land.” So, we stayed in the valley near Beth-peor.

            • This is such a heart-breaking exchange and some view Moses’ punishment as overly harsh. However, Guzik writes, “Moses knew God was rich in mercy and forgiveness. He knew there was no harm in asking God to relent from His previous judgment that Moses would not see the Promised Land…We can appreciate what a painful thing this was for Moses. He lived the first 40 years of his life confident in his own ability to deliver Israel. He spent the next 40 years of his life having that confidence demolished as he tended his father-in-law’s sheep. He spent the last 40 years of his life being used of God to do what he was called to do. Now, he was not allowed to see the end result. No wonder Moses pleaded with the LORD…God did not want to hear Moses’ appeal on this matter. Because of his sin at Meribah (Numbers 20), where he misrepresented God as being angry with Israel when He was not, Moses could not enter the Promised Land…This may seem an excessively harsh punishment for Moses. It seemed that after only one slip-up, he then had to die short of the Promised Land. But Moses was being judged by a stricter standard because of his leadership position with the nation, and because he had a uniquely close relationship with God…It is right for teachers and leaders to be judged by a stricter standard (James 3:1); though it is unrighteous to hold teachers and leaders to a perfect standard. It is true the people’s conduct was worse than Moses’, but it is irrelevant.”