1 And when king Arad the Canaanite, which dwelt in the south, heard tell that Israel came by the way of the spies; then he fought against Israel, and took some of them prisoners.#1: Canaanite king Arad (that's a little vague, but apparently he's the king of Arad, not of all Canaan) heard that Israel had sent spies." He takes some of the spies as prisoners.
2 And Israel vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou wilt indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities.
3 And the LORD hearkened to the voice of Israel, and delivered up the Canaanites; and they utterly destroyed them and their cities: and he called the name of the place Hormah.
4 And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way.
5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.
6 And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.
7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.
8 And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.
9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.
10 And the children of Israel set forward, and pitched in Oboth.
11 And they journeyed from Oboth, and pitched at Ijeabarim, in the wilderness which is before Moab, toward the sunrising.
12 From thence they removed, and pitched in the valley of Zared.
13 From thence they removed, and pitched on the other side of Arnon, which is in the wilderness that cometh out of the coasts of the Amorites: for Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites.
14 Wherefore it is said in the book of the wars of the LORD, What he did in the Red sea, and in the brooks of Arnon,
15 And at the stream of the brooks that goeth down to the dwelling of Ar, and lieth upon the border of Moab.
16 And from thence they went to Beer: that is the well whereof the LORD spake unto Moses, Gather the people together, and I will give them water.
17 Then Israel sang this song, Spring up, O well; sing ye unto it:
18 The princes digged the well, the nobles of the people digged it, by the direction of the lawgiver, with their staves. And from the wilderness they went to Mattanah:
19 And from Mattanah to Nahaliel: and from Nahaliel to Bamoth:
20 And from Bamoth in the valley, that is in the country of Moab, to the top of Pisgah, which looketh toward Jeshimon.
21 And Israel sent messengers unto Sihon king of the Amorites, saying,
22 Let me pass through thy land: we will not turn into the fields, or into the vineyards; we will not drink of the waters of the well: but we will go along by the king's high way, until we be past thy borders.
23 And Sihon would not suffer Israel to pass through his border: but Sihon gathered all his people together, and went out against Israel into the wilderness: and he came to Jahaz, and fought against Israel.
24 And Israel smote him with the edge of the sword, and possessed his land from Arnon unto Jabbok, even unto the children of Ammon: for the border of the children of Ammon was strong.
25 And Israel took all these cities: and Israel dwelt in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all the villages thereof.
26 For Heshbon was the city of Sihon the king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab, and taken all his land out of his hand, even unto Arnon.
27 Wherefore they that speak in proverbs say, Come into Heshbon, let the city of Sihon be built and prepared:
28 For there is a fire gone out of Heshbon, a flame from the city of Sihon: it hath consumed Ar of Moab, and the lords of the high places of Arnon.
29 Woe to thee, Moab! thou art undone, O people of Chemosh: he hath given his sons that escaped, and his daughters, into captivity unto Sihon king of the Amorites.
30 We have shot at them; Heshbon is perished even unto Dibon, and we have laid them waste even unto Nophah, which reacheth unto Medeba.
31 Thus Israel dwelt in the land of the Amorites.
32 And Moses sent to spy out Jaazer, and they took the villages thereof, and drove out the Amorites that were there.
33 And 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.
34 And 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.
35 So they smote him, and his sons, and all his people, until there was none left him alive: and they possessed his land.
#2: "And Israel vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou wilt indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities." (This is a lovely prayer: God, because some of our spies were caught mid-invasion, bring us their captors' entire population, so we may kill them all.)
#3: YHWH has no problem with this request. He "delivered up the Canaanites; and they utterly destroyed them and their cities," which he promptly renamed "Hormah."
#4: The Israelites become "much discouraged" because of the arduous route they had to take "by way of the Red sea," in order to bypass Edom.
#5: The people again complain about being stuck in this wilderness with shitty "light bread" and no water.
#6: "And the LORD sent fiery serpents (cool!) among the people, and they bit the people (Bit them? That seems kind of lame, considering they're fiery serpents.); and much people of Israel died." (Now, hold the phone here a second. When people belly-ached about needing help slaughtering citiesful of people, God stands and delivers in an instant. When they complain about needing water because he stranded them in a desert, he sics horrible creatures upon them. What kind of message does this send?)
#7: The Israelites, all repentant-like (about wanting some water, not about committing the slaughter), went to Moses. At their behest, Moe prayed to Yahweh in hopes he'd make like St. Patrick and clear up the snake problem.
#8: God tells Moses to "make... a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole." (How to you make a fiery serpent? First, get a serpent and some lighter fluid....) The people will still get bitten, but they'll live. (How about just getting rid of the fucking fire monsters? I suppose that "fiery" might just mean poisonous. A fiery snake would be ridiculous. Unlike a talking one.)
#9: Moses made a brass serpent (I thought he was going to have to make a real one, not that all this desert-roadshow metallurgy isn't impressive in its own right), and stuck it on a pole. After that, serpent bites were no longer fatal. (Sounds like maybe the original of the medical symbol. But that one has two snakes. Maybe one represents disease, and the other represents the health-insurance lobby.)
#10 - 13: They traveled from place to place.
#14 - 15: The "book of the wars of the LORD" (I'll bet that's one big-ass tome) describes, "what he did in the Red sea" (other translations describe this rather differently), and then traveling here and there, including around some streams near "the dwelling of Ar," whoever that is.
#16: "And from thence they went to Beer" (at this point, could you blame them?) "that is the well whereof the LORD spake unto Moses, Gather the people together, and I will give them water." (What's that, you're at a well of Beer, and you're talking with God? You don't say!)
#17: "Then Israel sang this song, Spring up, O well; sing ye unto it" (this was during the Peter Green era).
#18 -20: "The princes digged the well, the nobles of the people digged it, by the direction of the lawgiver, with their staves" (well, that's egalitarian!). Then they started schlepping again.
#21-22: "Israel sent messengers unto Sihon king of the Amorites," trying to get a right of passage like they did (unsuccesfully) for Edom.
#23: Sihon refused... and then sent his people "against Israel into the wilderness and he came to Jahaz, and fought against Israel."
#24: "Israel smote him with the edge of the sword," and took his land, all the way up to the border held by "the children of Ammon."
#25: Israelites moved into the cities they took from the Amorites, including Heshbon and its villlages. (Yay! They got to kill a lot of people and take their land. Hooray! So, now they're done wandering in the desert, right? No, really, are we done?)
#26: "Heshbon was the city of Sihon the king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab, and taken all his land out of his hand," all the way to Arnon.
#27 - 28: A proverb is cited — "Come into Heshbon, let the city of Sihon be built and prepared..." (what the heck kind of proverb is this?) because there's "fire gone out of Heshbon...." (I think that means a fire emanated from there, not that it was extinguished). The proverb goes on to describe the path of the flame, which went through Sihon and it burned up "Ar of Moab, and the lords of the high places of Arnon." (Ar, we hardly knew ye! In any case, do make sure you tell your children this memorable and uplifting proverb.)
#29 - 30: The proverb descends into trash talk, telling the people of Chemosh that Moab is fucked, his sons had to flee, his daughters are now captives, and others have been "shot at" and such.
#31: "Thus Israel dwelt in the land of the Amorites." (Apparently, just going to a Realtor wasn't an option.)
#32: Moses sent our more spies, and they displaced more Amorites. (You think maybe King Arad had a point when he arrested those spies?)
#33: "And 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."
#34: YHWH tells 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." (Hooray for goodness! God is serving up more people to massacre and take their land from!)
#35: "So they smote him, and his sons, and all his people, until there was none left him alive: and they possessed his land." (Don't you love a happy ending?)