1: And when king Arad the Canaanite, which dwelt in the south, heard tell that Israel came by the way of the spies; then he fought against Israel, and took some of them prisoners. 2: And Israel vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou wilt indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities. 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.
The Fiery Serpents
4: And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. 5: And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. 6: And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. 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. 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. 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 man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.
Israel east of Jordan
10: And the children of Israel set forward, and pitched in Oboth. 11: And they journeyed from Oboth, and pitched at Ije-abarim, in the wilderness which is before Moab, toward the sunrising. 12: From thence they removed, and pitched in the valley of Zared. 13: From thence they removed, and pitched on the other side of Arnon, which is in the wilderness that cometh out of the coasts of the Amorites: for Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites. 14: Wherefore it is said in the book of the wars of the LORD, What he did in the Red sea, and in the brooks of Arnon, 15: And at the stream of the brooks that goeth down to the dwelling of Ar, and lieth upon the border of Moab. 16: And from thence they went to Beer: that is the well whereof the LORD spake unto Moses, Gather the people together, and I will give them water. 17: Then Israel sang this song, Spring up, O well; sing ye unto it: 18: The princes digged the well, the nobles of the people digged it, by the direction of the lawgiver, with their staves. And from the wilderness they went to Mattanah: 19: And from Mattanah to Nahaliel: and from Nahaliel to Bamoth: 20: And from Bamoth in the valley, that is in the country of Moab, to the top of Pisgah, which looketh toward Jeshimon. 21: And Israel sent messengers unto Sihon king of the Amorites, saying, 22: Let me pass through thy land: we will not turn into the fields, or into the vineyards; we will not drink of the waters of the well: but we will go along by the king's high way, until we be past thy borders. 23: And Sihon would not suffer Israel to pass through his border: but Sihon gathered all his people together, and went out against Israel into the wilderness: and he came to Jahaz, and fought against Israel. 24: And Israel smote him with the edge of the sword, and possessed his land from Arnon unto Jabbok, even unto the children of Ammon: for the border of the children of Ammon was strong. 25: And Israel took all these cities: and Israel dwelt in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all the villages thereof. 26: For Heshbon was the city of Sihon the king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab, and taken all his land out of his hand, even unto Arnon. 27: Wherefore they that speak in proverbs say, Come into Heshbon, let the city of Sihon be built and prepared: 28: 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. 29: Woe to thee, Moab! thou art undone, O people of Chemosh: he hath given his sons that escaped, and his daughters, into captivity unto Sihon king of the Amorites. 30: We have shot at them; Heshbon is perished even unto Dibon, and we have laid them waste even unto Nophah, which reacheth unto Medeba. 31: Thus Israel dwelt in the land of the Amorites. 32: And Moses sent to spy out Jaazer, and they took the villages thereof, and drove out the Amorites that were there. 33: And they turned and went up by the way of Bashan: and Og the king of Bashan went out against them, he, and all his people, to the battle at Edrei. 34: And the LORD said unto Moses, Fear him not: for I have delivered him into thy hand, and all his people, and his land; and thou shalt do to him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon. 35: So they smote him, and his sons, and all his people, until there was none left him alive: and they possessed his land.
E The Prophet Balaam
Balak sends for Balaam
1: And the children of Israel set forward, and pitched in the plains of Moab on this side Jordan by Jericho. 2: And Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. 3: And Moab was sore afraid of the people, because they were many: and Moab was distressed because of the children of Israel. 4: And Moab said unto the elders of Midian, Now shall this company lick up all that are round about us, as the ox licketh up the grass of the field. And Balak the son of Zippor was king of the Moabites at that time. 5: He sent messengers therefore unto Balaam the son of Beor to Pethor, which is by the river of the land of the children of his people, to call him, saying, Behold, there is a people come out from Egypt: behold, they cover the face of the earth, and they abide over against me: 6: Come now therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people; for they are too mighty for me: peradventure I shall prevail, that we may smite them, and that I may drive them out of the land: for I wot that he whom thou blessest is blessed, and he whom thou cursest is cursed. 7: And the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the rewards of divination in their hand; and they came unto Balaam, and spake unto him the words of Balak. 8: And he said unto them, Lodge here this night, and I will bring you word again, as the LORD shall speak unto me: and the princes of Moab abode with Balaam. 9: And God came unto Balaam, and said, What men are these with thee? 10: And Balaam said unto God, Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, hath sent unto me, saying, 11: Behold, there is a people come out of Egypt, which covereth the face of the earth: come now, curse me them; peradventure I shall be able to overcome them, and drive them out. 12: And God said unto Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed. 13: And Balaam rose up in the morning, and said unto the princes of Balak, Get you into your land: for the LORD refuseth to give me leave to go with you. 14: And the princes of Moab rose up, and they went unto Balak, and said, Balaam refuseth to come with us. 15: And Balak sent yet again princes, more, and more honourable than they. 16: And they came to Balaam, and said to him, Thus saith Balak the son of Zippor, Let nothing, I pray thee, hinder thee from coming unto me: 17: For I will promote thee unto very great honour, and I will do whatsoever thou sayest unto me: come therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people. 18: And Balaam answered and said unto the servants of Balak, If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the LORD my God, to do less or more. 19: Now therefore, I pray you, tarry ye also here this night, that I may know what the LORD will say unto me more. 20: And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do.
21: And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab. 22: And God's anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him. 23: And the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way. 24: But the angel of the LORD stood in a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this side, and a wall on that side. 25: And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she thrust herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam's foot against the wall: and he smote her again. 26: And the angel of the LORD went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. 27: And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaam's anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff. 28: And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times? 29: And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee. 30: And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? And he said, Nay. 31: Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face. 32: And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me: 33: And the ass saw me, and turned from me these three times: unless she had turned from me, surely now also I had slain thee, and saved her alive. 34: And Balaam said unto the angel of the LORD, I have sinned; for I knew not that thou stoodest in the way against me: now therefore, if it displease thee, I will get me back again. 35: And the angel of the LORD said unto Balaam, Go with the men: but only the word that I shall speak unto thee, that thou shalt speak. So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.
Balaam blesses Israel
36: And when Balak heard that Balaam was come, he went out to meet him unto a city of Moab, which is in the border of Arnon, which is in the utmost coast. 37: And Balak said unto Balaam, Did I not earnestly send unto thee to call thee? wherefore camest thou not unto me? am I not able indeed to promote thee to honour? 38: And Balaam said unto Balak, Lo, I am come unto thee: have I now any power at all to say any thing? the word that God putteth in my mouth, that shall I speak. 39: And Balaam went with Balak, and they came unto Kirjath-huzoth. 40: And Balak offered oxen and sheep, and sent to Balaam, and to the princes that were with him. 41: And it came to pass on the morrow, that Balak took Balaam, and brought him up into the high places of Baal, that thence he might see the utmost part of the people.
1: And Balaam said unto Balak, Build me here seven altars, and prepare me here seven oxen and seven rams. 2: And Balak did as Balaam had spoken; and Balak and Balaam offered on every altar a bullock and a ram. 3: And Balaam said unto Balak, Stand by thy burnt offering, and I will go: peradventure the LORD will come to meet me: and whatsoever he sheweth me I will tell thee. And he went to an high place. 4: And God met Balaam: and he said unto him, I have prepared seven altars, and I have offered upon every altar a bullock and a ram. 5: And the LORD put a word in Balaam's mouth, and said, Return unto Balak, and thus thou shalt speak. 6: And he returned unto him, and, lo, he stood by his burnt sacrifice, he, and all the princes of Moab. 7: And he took up his parable, and said, Balak the king of Moab hath brought me from Aram, out of the mountains of the east, saying, Come, curse me Jacob, and come, defy Israel. 8: How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? or how shall I defy, whom the LORD hath not defied? 9: For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations. 10: Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his! 11: And Balak said unto Balaam, What hast thou done unto me? I took thee to curse mine enemies, and, behold, thou hast blessed them altogether. 12: And he answered and said, Must I not take heed to speak that which the LORD hath put in my mouth? 13: And Balak said unto him, Come, I pray thee, with me unto another place, from whence thou mayest see them: thou shalt see but the utmost part of them, and shalt not see them all: and curse me them from thence. 14: And he brought him into the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, and built seven altars, and offered a bullock and a ram on every altar. 15: And he said unto Balak, Stand here by thy burnt offering, while I meet the LORD yonder. 16: And the LORD met Balaam, and put a word in his mouth, and said, Go again unto Balak, and say thus. 17: And when he came to him, behold, he stood by his burnt offering, and the princes of Moab with him. And Balak said unto him, What hath the LORD spoken? 18: And he took up his parable, and said, Rise up, Balak, and hear; hearken unto me, thou son of Zippor: 19: God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? 20: Behold, I have received commandment to bless: and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it. 21: He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the LORD his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them. 22: God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn. 23: Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel: according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought! 24: Behold, the people shall rise up as a great lion, and lift up himself as a young lion: he shall not lie down until he eat of the prey, and drink the blood of the slain. 25: And Balak said unto Balaam, Neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all. 26: But Balaam answered and said unto Balak, Told not I thee, saying, All that the LORD speaketh, that I must do? 27: And Balak said unto Balaam, Come, I pray thee, I will bring thee unto another place; peradventure it will please God that thou mayest curse me them from thence. 28: And Balak brought Balaam unto the top of Peor, that looketh toward Jeshimon. 29: And Balaam said unto Balak, Build me here seven altars, and prepare me here seven bullocks and seven rams. 30: And Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered a bullock and a ram on every altar.
In chapter 21 we see victory and defeat and then we see opposition and blessing. But first we see that the Canaanites came against Israel and took some prisoners but Israel called on the Lord and entered into a covenant with the Lord to obey the Lord if the Lord gave them victory. Israel was totally victorious and the children of Israel totally destroyed the Canaanites. This incident and others like it troubles many people. Yet we must remember that Israel had been raised up by the Lord to bring righteousness and judgment into the World. And God used them specifically as his instrument of execution to those nations and peoples whose sin had matured into such proportions that immediate and final judgment was God will. However Israel was not immune to judgment themselves and in the very next passage we see that because the children of Israel were forbidden to pass through the land of Edom they had a very long and deserted journey around them. In the exhaustion of the journey they rebelled against the Lord and the Lord sent snakes among them. The people who were bitten died. The people repented of their rebellion and called on Moses who called on the Lord to deliver them. The Lord did deliver them in a very remarkable way. Moses was commanded to make a serpent of brass and put it on a pole. Those that looked at the serpent lived. This is the incident that Christ quotes in John chapter 3. The Children of Israel drew nearer to the promised land and engaged with a few peoples in battle – these battles are recorded in the book (Numbers) - the wars of the Lord. And so their journey continues. Israel made war against the Amorites and fire from the Lord destroyed them and Israel dwelt in their cities. Og the King of Bashan was a huge man. (His bed is still seen today in a museum in Israel) The king and the whole nation were totally destroyed by the Lord. When the children of Israel camped near to Moab on the eastern side of Jordan just above the Dead Sea, Balak was afraid and sought a way to resist or defeat Israel. So he sent for Balaam to come and curse Israel. The Lord spoke to Balaam forbidding him. At first he was afraid of the Lord but when he was promises fame and wealth he went. In the night the Lord spoke to Balaam saying go with the men but do what l say. in the morning Balaam rose and went with the princes of Moab. The Lord was angry that Balaam was going at the bidding of these men and sent an angel to stand in his way. The donkey carrying Balaam saw the angel, but Balaam didn’t. Three times the Lord blocked his path and the donkey crushed Balaam’s foot against a wall. In the end the donkey sat down a refused to go ahead. Balaam hit the donkey for doing this and then the lord did a wonderful thing he enabled the donkey to speak. The donkey said why did you do this three times. Balaam said if l had a sword l would kill you but the donkey replied l am not your donkey? Have you ever seen me do anything like this before. And Balaam said – ‘Nay’. (God is able to make a donkey speak like a man and a man to answer like a donkey!) Then God opened the eyes of Balaam and he saw the angel of the Lord with the drawn sword. He bowed his head and fell on his face. Then the angel explained what the donkey had been doing and how the donkey had saved his life. Then the angel said go with these men but only do what l tell you to do. Balaam went and met Balak who gave him all his bribes. Then the Lord told Balaam exactly what to say. After a long intercourse Balaam explained that he had to bless Israel because God had blessed them. He said as all true prophets say – ‘All that the LORD speaketh, that I must do?