Israel Wanders Through the Desert
1 “Then we did what the LORD told me to do. We went back into the desert on the road that leads to the Red Sea. We traveled for many days to go around the mountains of Seir.* Seir Another name for Edom. 2 Then the LORD said to me, 3 ‘You have traveled around these mountains long enough. Turn north. 4 Tell the people this: You will pass through the land of Seir. This land belongs to your relatives, the descendants of Esau. They will be afraid of you. Be very careful. 5 Don’t fight them. I will not give you any of their land—not even a foot of it, because I gave the hill country of Seir to Esau to keep as his own. 6 You must pay the people of Esau for any food you eat or water you drink there. 7 Remember that the LORD your God has blessed you in everything you have done. He knows about everything that happened on the trip through this great desert. The LORD your God has been with you these 40 years. You have always had everything you needed.’
8 “So we passed by our relatives, the people of Esau living there in Seir. We left the road that leads from the Jordan Valley to the towns of Elath and Ezion Geber. We turned onto the road that goes to the desert in Moab.
Israel at Ar
9 “The LORD said to me, ‘Don’t bother the Moabites. Don’t start a war against them. I will not give you any of their land. They are the descendants of Lot,† descendants of Lot Lot’s sons were Moab and Ammon. See Genesis 19:30-38. and I gave them the city of Ar.’ ”
10 (In the past, the Emites lived in Ar. They were strong people, and there were many of them. They were very tall, like the Anakites. 11 The Anakites were part of the Rephaites. People thought the Emites were also Rephaites, but the people of Moab called them Emites. 12 The Horites also lived in Seir in the past. Then Esau’s people destroyed the Horites, took their land, and settled there, just as the Israelites did to the people in the land that the LORD gave them.)
13 “The Lord told me, ‘Now, go to the other side of Zered Valley.’ So we crossed Zered Valley. 14 It was 38 years from the time we left Kadesh Barnea until the time we crossed Zered Valley. As the LORD had promised, all the fighting men in our camp from that generation had died. 15 The LORD had opposed those men until they were all dead and gone from our camp.
16 “After all the fighting men were dead and gone, 17 the LORD said to me, 18 ‘Today you must cross the border at Ar and go into Moab. 19 You will be just across from the Ammonites. Don’t bother them or fight with them, because I will not give you their land. They are descendants of Lot, and I have given that land to them.’ ”
20 (That country is also known as the Land of Rephaim. The Rephaites lived there in the past. The people of Ammon called them the Zamzummites. 21 There were many Rephaites, and they were very strong and tall like the Anakites. But the LORD helped the Ammonites destroy them. The Ammonites took that land and live there now. 22 God did the same thing for Esau’s people. In the past the Horites lived in Seir.‡ Seir The hill country of Edom. But Esau’s people destroyed the Horites, and Esau’s descendants still live there today. 23 God did the same thing for some people from Crete. The Avvites lived in the towns around Gaza, but the Cretans destroyed them, took the land, and live there now.)
Fighting the Amorites
24 “The Lord told me, ‘Get ready to go across Arnon Valley. I will let you defeat Sihon the Amorite, the king of Heshbon. I will let you take his country. So fight against him and take his land. 25 Today I will make all people everywhere afraid of you. They will hear the news about you, and they will be afraid and shake with fear.’
26 “While we were in the desert of Kedemoth, I sent messengers to King Sihon of Heshbon. The messengers offered peace to Sihon. They said, 27 ‘Let us go through your land. We will stay on the road. We will not turn off the road to the right or to the left. 28 We will pay you in silver for any food we eat or any water we drink. We only want to march through your country. 29 Let us go through your land until we go across the Jordan River into the land that the LORD our God is giving us. Other people have let us go through their land—the people of Esau living in Seir and the Moabites living in Ar.’
30 “But King Sihon of Heshbon would not let us pass through his country. The LORD your God had made him very stubborn and ready to fight. The Lord did this so that he could help you defeat King Sihon. And today we know that is what happened.
31 “The LORD said to me, ‘I am giving King Sihon and his country to you. Now, go take his land!’
32 “Then King Sihon and all his people came out to fight against us at Jahaz. 33 But the LORD our God gave him to us. We defeated King Sihon, his sons, and all his people. 34 We captured all the cities that belonged to King Sihon at that time. We completely destroyed the people in every city—the men, women, and children. We did not leave anyone alive! 35 We took only the cattle and the valuable things from those cities. 36 We defeated the town of Aroer on the edge of the Arnon Valley and the other town in the middle of that valley. The LORD let us defeat all the cities between the Arnon Valley and Gilead. No city was too strong for us. 37 But you did not go near the land that belongs to the people of Ammon. You did not go near the shores of the Jabbok River or the cities of the hill country. You did not go near any place that the LORD our God would not let us have.
*2:1 Seir Another name for Edom.
‡2:22 Seir The hill country of Edom.