New Living Translation

Numbers 21

Victory over the Canaanites

1The Canaanite king of Arad, who lived in the Negev, heard that the Israelites were approaching on the road through Atharim. So he attacked the Israelites and took some of them as prisoners. Then the people of Israel made this vow to the Lord: “If you will hand these people over to us, we will completely destroy[a] all their towns.” The Lord heard the Israelites’ request and gave them victory over the Canaanites. The Israelites completely destroyed them and their towns, and the place has been called Hormah[b] ever since.

The Bronze Snake

Then the people of Israel set out from Mount Hor, taking the road to the Red Sea[c] to go around the land of Edom. But the people grew impatient with the long journey, and they began to speak against God and Moses. “Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?” they complained. “There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this horrible manna!”

So the Lord sent poisonous snakes among the people, and many were bitten and died. Then the people came to Moses and cried out, “We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take away the snakes.” So Moses prayed for the people.

Then the Lord told him, “Make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to a pole. All who are bitten will live if they simply look at it!” So Moses made a snake out of bronze and attached it to a pole. Then anyone who was bitten by a snake could look at the bronze snake and be healed!

Israel’s Journey to Moab

10 The Israelites traveled next to Oboth and camped there. 11 Then they went on to Iye-abarim, in the wilderness on the eastern border of Moab. 12 From there they traveled to the valley of Zered Brook and set up camp. 13 Then they moved out and camped on the far side of the Arnon River, in the wilderness adjacent to the territory of the Amorites. The Arnon is the boundary line between the Moabites and the Amorites. 14 For this reason The Book of the Wars of the Lord speaks of “the town of Waheb in the area of Suphah, and the ravines of the Arnon River, 15 and the ravines that extend as far as the settlement of Ar on the border of Moab.”

16 From there the Israelites traveled to Beer,[d] which is the well where the Lord said to Moses, “Assemble the people, and I will give them water.” 17 There the Israelites sang this song:

“Spring up, O well!
    Yes, sing its praises!
18 Sing of this well,
    which princes dug,
which great leaders hollowed out
    with their scepters and staffs.”

Then the Israelites left the wilderness and proceeded on through Mattanah, 19 Nahaliel, and Bamoth. 20 After that they went to the valley in Moab where Pisgah Peak overlooks the wasteland.[e]

Victory over Sihon and Og

21 The Israelites sent ambassadors to King Sihon of the Amorites with this message:

22 “Let us travel through your land. We will be careful not to go through your fields and vineyards. We won’t even drink water from your wells. We will stay on the king’s road until we have passed through your territory.”

23 But King Sihon refused to let them cross his territory. Instead, he mobilized his entire army and attacked Israel in the wilderness, engaging them in battle at Jahaz. 24 But the Israelites slaughtered them with their swords and occupied their land from the Arnon River to the Jabbok River. They went only as far as the Ammonite border because the boundary of the Ammonites was fortified.[f]

25 So Israel captured all the towns of the Amorites and settled in them, including the city of Heshbon and its surrounding villages. 26 Heshbon had been the capital of King Sihon of the Amorites. He had defeated a former Moabite king and seized all his land as far as the Arnon River. 27 Therefore, the ancient poets wrote this about him:

“Come to Heshbon and let it be rebuilt!
    Let the city of Sihon be restored.
28 A fire flamed forth from Heshbon,
    a blaze from the city of Sihon.
It burned the city of Ar in Moab;
    it destroyed the rulers of the Arnon heights.
29 What sorrow awaits you, O people of Moab!
    You are finished, O worshipers of Chemosh!
Chemosh has left his sons as refugees,
    his daughters as captives of Sihon, the Amorite king.
30 We have utterly destroyed them,
    from Heshbon to Dibon.
We have completely wiped them out
    as far away as Nophah and Medeba.[g]

31 So the people of Israel occupied the territory of the Amorites. 32 After Moses sent men to explore the Jazer area, they captured all the towns in the region and drove out the Amorites who lived there. 33 Then they turned and marched up the road to Bashan, but King Og of Bashan and all his people attacked them at Edrei. 34 The Lord said to Moses, “Do not be afraid of him, for I have handed him over to you, along with all his people and his land. Do the same to him as you did to King Sihon of the Amorites, who ruled in Heshbon.” 35 And Israel killed King Og, his sons, and all his subjects; not a single survivor remained. Then Israel occupied their land.

Notas al pie

  1. 21:2 The Hebrew term used here refers to the complete consecration of things or people to the Lord, either by destroying them or by giving them as an offering; also in 21:3.
  2. 21:3 Hormah means “destruction.”
  3. 21:4 Hebrew sea of reeds.
  4. 21:16 Beer means “well.”
  5. 21:20 Or overlooks Jeshimon.
  6. 21:24 Or because the terrain of the Ammonite frontier was rugged; Hebrew reads because the boundary of the Ammonites was strong.
  7. 21:30 Or until fire spread to Medeba. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.

New International Reader's Version

Numbers 21

Israel Destroys Arad

1The Canaanite king of the city of Arad lived in the Negev Desert. He heard that Israel was coming along the road to Atharim. So he attacked the Israelites. He captured some of them. Then Israel made a promise to the Lord. They said, “Hand these people over to us. If you do, we will set their cities apart to you in a special way to be destroyed.” The Lord gave Israel what they asked for. He handed the Canaanites over to them. Israel completely destroyed them and their towns. So that place was named Hormah.

Moses Makes a Bronze Snake

The Israelites traveled from Mount Hor along the way to the Red Sea. They wanted to go around Edom. But they grew tired on the way. So they spoke against God and against Moses. They said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt? Do you want us to die here in the desert? We don’t have any bread! We don’t have any water! And we hate this awful food!”

Then the Lord sent poisonous snakes among the Israelites. The snakes bit them. Many of the people died. The others came to Moses. They said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.

The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake. Put it up on a pole. Then anyone who is bitten can look at it and remain alive.” So Moses made a bronze snake. He put it up on a pole. Then anyone who was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake remained alive.

The People Continue On to Moab

10 The Israelites moved on. They camped at Oboth. 11 Then they started out from Oboth. They camped in Iye Abarim. It’s in the desert on the eastern border of Moab. 12 From there they moved on. They camped in the Zered Valley. 13 They started out from there and camped by the Arnon River. It’s in the desert that spreads out into the territory of the Amorites. The Arnon is the border of Moab. It’s between Moab and the Amorites. 14 Here is what the Book of the Wars of the Lord says about it.

“Sing about Zahab in Suphah and the valleys.
Sing about the Arnon 15     and the slopes of the valleys.
They lead to the settlement called Ar.
    They lie along the border of Moab.”

16 From there the Israelites continued on to Beer. That was the well where the Lord spoke to Moses. He said, “Gather the people together. I will give them water to drink.”

17 Then Israel sang a song. They said,

“Spring up, you well!
    Sing about it.
18 Sing about the well the princes dug.
    Sing about the well the nobles of the people dug.
    All their rulers were holding their scepters and walking sticks.”

Then the Israelites went from the desert to Mattanah. 19 They went from Mattanah to Nahaliel. They went from Nahaliel to Bamoth. 20 And they went from Bamoth to a valley in Moab. It’s the valley where the highest slopes of Pisgah look out over a dry and empty land.

Israel Wins the Battle Over Sihon and Og

21 The Israelites sent messengers to speak to Sihon. He was the king of the Amorites. The messengers said to him,

22 “Let us pass through your country. We won’t go off the road into any field or vineyard. We won’t drink water from any well. We’ll travel along the King’s Highway. We’ll just go straight through your territory.”

23 But Sihon wouldn’t let Israel pass through his territory. He gathered his whole army together. Then he marched out into the desert against Israel. When he reached Jahaz, he fought against Israel. 24 But Israel put him to death with their swords. They took over his land. They took everything from the Arnon River to the Jabbok River. But they didn’t take over any of the land of the Ammonites. That’s because the Ammonites had built strong forts along their border. 25 The Israelites captured all the cities of the Amorites. Then they settled down in them. They captured the city of Heshbon. They also captured all the settlements around it. 26 Sihon, the king of the Amorites, ruled in Heshbon. He had fought against an earlier king of Moab. Sihon had taken from him all his land all the way to the Arnon River.

27 That’s why the poets say,

“Come to Heshbon. Let it be built again.
    Let Sihon’s city be made as good as new.

28 “Fire went out from Heshbon.
    A blaze went out from the city of Sihon.
It burned up Ar in Moab.
    It burned up the citizens who lived on Arnon’s hills.
29 Moab, how terrible it is for you!
    People of Chemosh, you are destroyed!
Chemosh has deserted his sons and daughters.
    His sons have run away from the battle.
His daughters have become prisoners.
    He has handed all of them over to Sihon,
    the king of the Amorites.

30 “But we have taken them over.
    Heshbon’s rule has been destroyed all the way to Dibon.
We have destroyed them as far as Nophah.
    Nophah goes all the way to Medeba.”

31 So Israel settled in the land of the Amorites.

32 Moses sent spies to the city of Jazer. The Israelites captured the settlements around it. They drove out the Amorites who were there. 33 Then they turned and went up along the road toward Bashan. Og was the king of Bashan. He and his whole army marched out. They went to fight against Israel at Edrei.

34 The Lord said to Moses, “Do not be afraid of Og. I have handed him over to you. I have given you his whole army. I have also given you his land. Do to him what you did to Sihon, the king of the Amorites. He ruled in Heshbon.”

35 So the Israelites struck down Og and his sons. And they wiped out his whole army. They didn’t leave anyone alive. They took over his land for themselves.