Israel Wanders in the Desert
1We turned back and started out toward the desert. We went along the road that leads to the Red Sea. That’s how the Lord had directed me. For a long time we made our way around the hill country of Seir.
2 Then the Lord spoke to me. He said, 3 “You have made your way around this hill country long enough. So now turn north. 4 Here are the orders I want you to give the people. Tell them, ‘You are about to pass through the territory of your relatives. They are from the family line of Esau. They live in Seir. They will be afraid of you. But be very careful. 5 Do not make them angry. If you do, they will go to war against you. I will not give you any of their land. You will not have even enough to put your foot on. I have given Esau’s people the hill country of Seir as their own. 6 Pay them with silver for the food you eat and the water you drink.’ ”
7 The Lord your God has blessed you in everything your hands have done. He watched over you when you traveled through that huge desert. For these 40 years the Lord your God has been with you. So you have had everything you need.
8 We went on past our relatives. They are from the family line of Esau. They live in Seir. We turned away from the Arabah Valley road. It comes up from Elath and Ezion Geber. We traveled along the desert road of Moab.
9 Then the Lord said to me, “Do not attack the Moabites. Do not even make them angry. If you do, they will go to war against you. I will not give you any part of their land. I have given Moab to the people in the family line of Lot. I have given it to them as their own.”
10 The Emites used to live there. They were strong people. There were large numbers of them. They were as tall as the Anakites. 11 Like the Anakites, they too were thought of as Rephaites. But the Moabites called them Emites. 12 The Horites used to live in Seir. But the people of Esau drove them out. They destroyed the Horites to make room for themselves. Then they settled in their territory. They did just as Israel has done in the land the Lord gave them as their own.
13 The Lord said, “Now get up. Go across the Zered Valley.” So we went across it.
14 Between the time we left Kadesh Barnea and the time we went across the Zered Valley, 38 years had passed. By then, all the fighting men who had been in our camp from the beginning had died. The Lord had warned them that it would happen. 15 He used his power against them until he had gotten rid of all of them. Not one was left in the camp.
16 Finally, the last of the fighting men among the people died. 17 Then the Lord said to me, 18 “Today you must pass near the border of Moab. Moab is also called Ar. 19 When you come to the Ammonites, do not attack them. Do not make them angry. If you do, they will go to war against you. I will not give you any of their land as your own. I have given it to the people in the family line of Lot. I have given it to them as their own.”
20 That land was also thought of as a land of the Rephaites. They used to live there. But the Ammonites called them Zamzummites. 21 The Rephaites were strong people. There were large numbers of them. They were as tall as the Anakites. The Lord destroyed the Rephaites to make room for the Ammonites. So the Ammonites drove them out. Then they settled in the territory of the Rephaites. 22 The Lord had done the same thing for the people of Esau. They lived in Seir. The Lord destroyed the Horites to make room for Esau’s people. They drove the Horites out. So the people of Esau have lived in Seir in the territory of the Horites to this very day. 23 The Avvites lived in villages as far away as Gaza. But people came from Crete and destroyed the Avvites. Then the people of Crete made their home in the territory of the Avvites.
Israel Wins the Battle Over Sihon
24 The Lord said, “Start out and go across the valley of the Arnon River. I have handed Sihon over to you. He is the Amorite king of Heshbon. I have also given you his country. Begin to take it as your own. Go to war against him. 25 This very day I will bring fear and terror on all the nations because of you. They will hear about you. They will tremble with fear. Pain and suffering will grip them because of you.”
26 I sent messengers from the Desert of Kedemoth. I told them to go to Sihon, the king of Heshbon. They offered him peace. They said, 27 “Let us pass through your country. We’ll stay on the main road. We won’t turn off it to one side or the other. 28 We’ll pay you the right amount of silver for food to eat and water to drink. Just let us walk through your country. 29 The people of Esau, who live in Seir, allowed us to do that. The people of Moab, who live in Ar, also allowed us to do it. So let us walk through until we go across the Jordan River. Then we’ll be able to go into the land the Lord our God is giving us.” 30 But Sihon, the king of Heshbon, refused to let us walk through. The Lord your God had made him stubborn in his heart and spirit. The Lord wanted to hand him over to you. And that’s exactly what he has done.
31 The Lord said to me, “I have begun to hand Sihon and his country over to you. So begin the battle to take his land as your own.”
32 Sihon and his whole army came out to fight against us at Jahaz. 33 But the Lord our God handed him over to us. We struck him down together with his sons and his whole army. 34 At that time we took all his towns. We completely destroyed them. We killed all the men, women and children. We didn’t leave any of them alive. 35 But we took for ourselves the livestock and everything else from the towns we had captured. 36 Not a single town was too strong for us. That includes all the towns from Aroer on the rim of the Arnon River valley all the way to Gilead. It also includes the town in the valley. The Lord our God gave us all of them. 37 And you obeyed the Lord’s command. You didn’t go near any part of the land of the Ammonites. That includes the land along the Jabbok River. It also includes the land around the towns in the hills.