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Numbers Chapter 21 - New International Version

1. When the Canaanite king of Arad, who lived in the Negev, heard that Israel was coming along the road to Atharim, he attacked the Israelites and captured some of them.

2. Then Israel made this vow to the LORD: "If you will deliver these people into our hands, we will totally destroy [1] their cities."

3. The LORD listened to Israel's plea and gave the Canaanites over to them. They completely destroyed them and their towns; so the place was named Hormah. [2]

4. They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, [3] to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way;

5. they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!"

6. Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died.

7. The people came to Moses and 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.

8. The LORD said to Moses, "Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live."

9. So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.

10. The Israelites moved on and camped at Oboth.

11. Then they set out from Oboth and camped in Iye Abarim, in the desert that faces Moab toward the sunrise.

12. From there they moved on and camped in the Zered Valley.

13. They set out from there and camped alongside the Arnon, which is in the desert extending into Amorite territory. The Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites.

14. That is why the Book of the Wars of the LORD says: "... Waheb in Suphah [4] and the ravines, the Arnon

15. and [5] the slopes of the ravines that lead to the site of Ar and lie along the border of Moab."

16. From there they continued on to Beer, the well where the LORD said to Moses, "Gather the people together and I will give them water."

17. Then Israel sang this song: "Spring up, O well! Sing about it,

18. about the well that the princes dug, that the nobles of the people sank-- the nobles with scepters and staffs." Then they went from the desert to Mattanah,

19. from Mattanah to Nahaliel, from Nahaliel to Bamoth,

20. and from Bamoth to the valley in Moab where the top of Pisgah overlooks the wasteland.

21. Israel sent messengers to say to Sihon king of the Amorites:

22. "Let us pass through your country. We will not turn aside into any field or vineyard, or drink water from any well. We will travel along the king's highway until we have passed through your territory."

23. But Sihon would not let Israel pass through his territory. He mustered his entire army and marched out into the desert against Israel. When he reached Jahaz, he fought with Israel.

24. Israel, however, put him to the sword and took over his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, but only as far as the Ammonites, because their border was fortified.

25. Israel captured all the cities of the Amorites and occupied them, including Heshbon and all its surrounding settlements.

26. Heshbon was the city of Sihon king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab and had taken from him all his land as far as the Arnon.

27. That is why the poets say: "Come to Heshbon and let it be rebuilt; let Sihon's city be restored.

28. "Fire went out from Heshbon, a blaze from the city of Sihon. It consumed Ar of Moab, the citizens of Arnon's heights.

29. Woe to you, O Moab! You are destroyed, O people of Chemosh! He has given up his sons as fugitives and his daughters as captives to Sihon king of the Amorites.

30. "But we have overthrown them; Heshbon is destroyed all the way to Dibon. We have demolished them as far as Nophah, which extends to Medeba."

31. So Israel settled in the land of the Amorites.

32. After Moses had sent spies to Jazer, the Israelites captured its surrounding settlements and drove out the Amorites who were there.

33. Then they turned and went up along the road toward Bashan, and Og king of Bashan and his whole army marched out to meet them in battle at Edrei.

34. The LORD said to Moses, "Do not be afraid of him, for I have handed him over to you, with his whole army and his land. Do to him what you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon."

35. So they struck him down, together with his sons and his whole army, leaving them no survivors. And they took possession of his land.

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Footnotes
  • 1: The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the LORD, often by totally destroying them; also in verse 3.
  • 2: Hormah means destruction.
  • 3: Hebrew Yam Suph; that is, Sea of Reeds
  • 4: The meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.
  • 5: Hebrew Jordan of Jericho; possibly an ancient name for the Jordan River

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