Numbers 21:27 MEANING

Numbers 21:27
(27-30) Come into Heshbon.--These verses appear to commemorate first the victory of the Amorites over the Moabites, and then that of the Israelites over the Amorites. They may be rendered thus:--

"Come ye to Heshbon!

Let the city of Sihon be built up and restored!

For a fire went out from Heshbon--

A flame from the city of Sihon:

It devoured Ar (or, the city) of Moab--

The lords of the high places of Arnon.

Woe to thee, Moab!

Thou art perished, O people of Chemosh:

He (i.e., Chemosh) gave up his sons as fugitives,

And his daughters into captivity,

Unto Sihon, the King of the Amorites.

We cast them down;

Heshbon is perished even unto Dibon:

Yea, we laid them waste even unto Nophah,

Which (reacheth) even unto Medcba."

Or, if we read esh (fire) instead of asher (which), a reading which derives some support from the Masoretic point over the last letter and from the context (Numbers 21:28), as well as from the LXX., the last words may be rendered, "With fire, even unto Medeba."

The Targum understands by "the lords of the high places of Arnon" the priests and worshippers in the temples and at the altars of the idols in Moab. Medeba, now Medaba, was situated at the south of Heshbon. The position of Nophah is unknown. It has been supposed that it may be the same as Nebo, which is mentioned in connection with Dibon and Medeba in Isaiah 15:2, or with Arneibah, which lies to the east of Medeba.

Verse 27. - They that speak in proverbs. הַמָּשְׁלִים. Septuagint, οἰ αἰνιγματισταί. A class of persons well marked among the Hebrews, as perhaps in all ancient countries. It was their gift, and almost their profession, to express in the sententious, antistrophic poetry of the age such thoughts or such facts as took hold of men's minds. At a time when there was little difference between poetry and rhetoric, and when the distinction was hardly drawn between the inventive faculty of man and the Divine afflatus, it is not surprising to find the word mashal applied to the rhapsody of Balsam (Numbers 23:7), to the "taunting song" of Isaiah (Isaiah 14:4), to the "riddle" of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 17:2), as well as to the collection of earthly and heavenly wisdom in the Book of Proverbs. That which follows is a taunting song, most like to the one cited from Isaiah, the archaic character of which is marked by its strongly antithetic form and abrupt transitions, as well as by the peculiarity of some of the words. Come to Heshbon. This may be ironically addressed to the Amorites, lately so victorious, now so overthrown; or, possibly, it may be intended to express the jubilation of the Amorites themselves in the day of their pride.

21:21-35 Sihon went with his forces against Israel, out of his own borders, without provocation, and so ran upon his own ruin. The enemies of God's church often perish by the counsels they think most wisely taken. Og, king of Bashan, instead of being warned by the fate of his neighbours, to make peace with Israel, makes war with them, which proves in like manner his destruction. Wicked men do their utmost to secure themselves and their possessions against the judgments of God; but all in vain, when the day comes on which they must fall. God gave Israel success, while Moses was with them, that he might see the beginning of the glorious work, though he must not live to see it finished. This was, in comparison, but as the day of small things, yet it was an earnest of great things. We must prepare for fresh conflicts and enemies. We must make no peace or truce with the powers of darkness, nor even treat with them; nor should we expect any pause in our contest. But, trusting in God, and obeying his commands, we shall be more than conquerors over every enemy.Wherefore they that speak in proverbs say,.... The historical writers of those times, among the Amorites, who were usually poets, and wrote the history of the wars between the Moabites and Amorites in verse; as Homer among the Greeks wrote the wars of Troy; and the compositions of those ancient bards were short and compendious, and wrapped up in proverbial sayings, and enigmatical and figurative expressions, that they might be the better retained in memory, and therefore were called proverbialists. Jarchi says, they were Balaam and Beor that took up their parables, and said:

come into Heshbon; which words are the beginning of the song, and in which the Amorites are represented as inviting Sihon, and his nobles, to enter Heshbon, which he had taken, and make it his royal seat; or as encouraging one another to go into it and repair it, having suffered much at the taking of it, which seems to be confirmed by what follows:

let the city of Sihon be built and prepared; that is, let us set about rebuilding of the city, and let us fit it up for Sihon our king, and let it be called his city, and made the place of his residence, his palace, and where his court may be kept.

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