“On your feet now. Get started. Cross the Brook Arnon. Look: Here’s Sihon the Amorite king of Heshbon and his land. I’m handing it over to you—it’s all yours. Go ahead, take it. Go to war with him. Before the day is out, I’ll make sure that all the people around here are thoroughly terrified. Rumors of you are going to spread like wildfire; they’ll totally panic.”
From the Wilderness of Kedemoth, I sent messengers to Sihon, king of Heshbon. They carried a friendly message: “Let me cross through your land on the highway. I’ll stay right on the highway; I won’t trespass right or left. I’ll pay you for any food or water we might need. Let me walk through.
“The People of Esau who live in Seir and the Moabites who live in Ar did this, helping me on my way until I can cross the Jordan and enter the land that God, our God, is giving us.”
But Sihon king of Heshbon wouldn’t let us cross his land. God, your God, turned his spirit mean and his heart hard so he could hand him over to you, as you can see that he has done.
Then God said to me, “Look, I’ve got the ball rolling—Sihon and his land are soon yours. Go ahead. Take it. It’s practically yours!”
So Sihon and his entire army confronted us in battle at Jahaz. God handed him, his sons, and his entire army over to us and we utterly crushed them. While we were at it we captured all his towns and totally destroyed them, a holy destruction—men, women, and children. No survivors. We took the livestock and the plunder from the towns we had captured and carried them off for ourselves. From Aroer on the edge of the Brook Arnon and the town in the gorge, as far as Gilead, not a single town proved too much for us; God, our God, gave every last one of them to us.
The only land you didn’t take, obeying God’s command, was the land of the People of Ammon, the land along the Jabbok and around the cities in the hills.
Then we turned north and took the road to Bashan. Og king of Bashan, he and all his people, came out to meet us in battle at Edrei.
God said to me, “Don’t be afraid of him; I’m turning him over to you, along with his whole army and his land. Treat him the way you treated Sihon king of the Amorites who ruled from Heshbon.”
So God, our God, also handed Og king of Bashan over to us—Og and all his people—and we utterly crushed them. Again, no survivors. At the same time we took all his cities. There wasn’t one of the sixty cities that we didn’t take—the whole region of Argob, Og’s kingdom in Bashan. All these cities were fortress cities with high walls and barred gates. There were also numerous unwalled villages. We totally destroyed them—a holy destruction. It was the same treatment we gave to Sihon king of Heshbon, a holy destruction of every city, man, woman, and child. But all the livestock and plunder from the cities we took for ourselves.
Throughout that time we took the land from under the control of the two kings of the Amorites who ruled the country east of the Jordan, all the way from the Brook Arnon to Mount Hermon. (Sirion is the name given Hermon by the Sidonians; the Amorites call it Senir.) We took all the towns of the plateau, everything in Gilead, everything in Bashan, as far as Salecah and Edrei, the border towns of Bashan, Og’s kingdom.
Og king of Bashan was the last remaining Rephaite. His bed, made of iron, was over thirteen feet long and six wide. You can still see it on display in Rabbah of the People of Ammon.
Of the land that we possessed at that time, I gave the Reubenites and the Gadites the territory north of Aroer along the Brook Arnon and half the hill country of Gilead with its towns.
I gave the half-tribe of Manasseh the rest of Gilead and all of Bashan, Og’s kingdom—all the region of Argob, which takes in all of Bashan. This used to be known as the Land of the Rephaites.
Jair, a son of Manasseh, got the region of Argob to the borders of the Geshurites and Maacathites. He named the Bashan villages after himself, Havvoth Jair (Jair’s Tent-Villages). They’re still called that.
I gave Gilead to Makir.
I gave the Reubenites and Gadites the land from Gilead down to the Brook Arnon, whose middle was the boundary, and as far as the Jabbok River, the boundary line of the People of Ammon. The western boundary was the Jordan River in the Arabah all the way from the Kinnereth (the Sea of Galilee) to the Sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea or Dead Sea) at the base of the slopes of Mount Pisgah on the east.
I commanded you at that time, “God, your God, has given you this land to possess. Your men, fit and armed for the fight, are to cross the river in advance of their brothers, the People of Israel. Only your wives, children, and livestock (I know you have much livestock) may go ahead and settle down in the towns I have already given you until God secures living space for your brothers as he has for you and they have taken possession of the country west of the Jordan that God, your God, is giving them. After that, each man may return to the land I’ve given you here.”
I commanded Joshua at that time, “You’ve seen with your own two eyes everything God, your God, has done to these two kings. God is going to do the same thing to all the kingdoms over there across the river where you’re headed. Don’t be afraid of them. God, your God—he’s fighting for you.”
At that same time, I begged God: “God, my Master, you let me in on the beginnings, you let me see your greatness, you let me see your might—what god in Heaven or Earth can do anything like what you’ve done! Please, let me in also on the endings, let me cross the river and see the good land over the Jordan, the lush hills, the Lebanon mountains.”
But God was still angry with me because of you. He wouldn’t listen. He said, “Enough of that. Not another word from you on this. Climb to the top of Mount Pisgah and look around: look west, north, south, east. Take in the land with your own eyes. Take a good look because you’re not going to cross this Jordan.
“Then command Joshua: Give him courage. Give him strength. Single-handed he will lead this people across the river. Single-handed he’ll cause them to inherit the land at which you can only look.”
That’s why we have stayed in this valley near Beth Peor.
Now listen, Israel, listen carefully to the rules and regulations that I am teaching you to follow so that you may live and enter and take possession of the land that God, the God-of-Your-Fathers, is giving to you. Don’t add a word to what I command you, and don’t remove a word from it. Keep the commands of God, your God, that I am commanding you.
You saw with your own eyes what God did at Baal Peor, how God destroyed from among you every man who joined in the Baal Peor orgies. But you, the ones who held tight to God, your God, are alive and well, every one of you, today.
Pay attention: I’m teaching you the rules and regulations that God commanded me, so that you may live by them in the land you are entering to take up ownership. Keep them. Practice them. You’ll become wise and understanding. When people hear and see what’s going on, they’ll say, “What a great nation! So wise, so understanding! We’ve never seen anything like it.”
Yes. What other great nation has gods that are intimate with them the way God, our God, is with us, always ready to listen to us? And what other great nation has rules and regulations as good and fair as this Revelation that I’m setting before you today?
Just make sure you stay alert. Keep close watch over yourselves. Don’t forget anything of what you’ve seen. Don’t let your heart wander off. Stay vigilant as long as you live. Teach what you’ve seen and heard to your children and grandchildren.
That day when you stood before God, your God, at Horeb, God said to me, “Assemble the people in my presence to listen to my words so that they will learn to fear me in holy fear for as long as they live on the land, and then they will teach these same words to their children.”
You gathered. You stood in the shadow of the mountain. The mountain was ablaze with fire, blazing high into the very heart of Heaven. You stood in deep darkness and thick clouds. God spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but you saw nothing—no form, only a voice. He announced his covenant, the Ten Words, by which he commanded you to live. Then he wrote them down on two slabs of stone.
And God commanded me at that time to teach you the rules and regulations that you are to live by in the land which you are crossing over the Jordan to possess.