(1) And when king Arad . . . —The verse may be rendered thus: Now the Canaanite, the King of Arad, which dwelt in the south country (or, Negeb) heard (or, had heard) that Israel had come by the way of Atharim (or, of the spies), and he fought . . . The date of this occurrence is uncertain. The district of Arad appears to have extended to the southern frontier of Canaan. (Comp. Numbers 33:40; Joshua 12:14; Judges 1:16-17.) The attack probably took place either in the interval between the departure of the messengers to Edom and their return, or at the time at which the Israelites broke up from Kadesh, and before the direction of their march had been ascertained. The word Atharim, which is rendered in the Authorised Version spies, may be another form of the word which occurs in Numbers 14:6, and which is there rendered them that searched; or, as appears more probable, it may be the name of a place which does not occur elsewhere.
And he called the name of the place Hormah.—Better, And the name of the place was called Hormah. The word Hormah—i.e., a devoted thing—is cognate with the verb which occurs in this and the preceding verse, and which is rendered utterly destroy. The place is so called by anticipation in Numbers 14:45, and, as in regard to other names (e.g., Bethel and Jacob), the name was probably given anew to the place on a later occasion (Judges 1:17).
Set it upon a pole.—Better, a standard. The LXX. have σημεῖον, the Vulgate signum. The Hebrew word (nes) is the same which occurs in Exodus 17:15, “Jehovah-nissi”—i.e., Jehovah is my standard or banner.
What he did in the Red Sea . . . —The original is very obscure. It is probable that some such verb as They conquered (or, subdued) is understood, and that the words may be rendered Vaheb in Suphah and the valleys (by) Arnon, and the bed (or, ravine) of the valleys which inclines towards the dwelling of Ar, and leans upon the border of Moab. Vaheb was probably the name of a town, and Suphah the district in which that town was situated, so called from its reeds and rushes. Some, however, think that Suphah here denotes a storm or hurricane, as in other places. Ar is supposed to be the same as Areopolis.
And from the wilderness they went to Mat-tanah.—The Targums interpret this and Numbers 21:19-20 of the well, And from the wilderness it was given to them for a gift, and from thence it was given to them in Mattanah, &c. The Targum of Onkelos is as follows: “And from the time that it was given to them, it descended with them to the rivers, &c.” The Targum of Palestine is—“And from the wilderness, &c.” (as above).
Toward Jeshimon.—Or, across the waste (or, desert).
“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!
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
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.”
We cast them down;
Heshbon is perished even unto Dibon:
Yea, we laid them waste even unto Nophah,
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.
Numbers 21:32And Moses sent to spy out Jaazer, and they took the villages thereof, and drove out the Amorites that were there.
Numbers 21:33And 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.
Numbers 21:34And 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.
Numbers 21:35So they smote him, and his sons, and all his people, until there was none left him alive: and they possessed his land.