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De 3:1-20. CONQUEST OF OG, KING OF BASHAN.
1. we turned, and went up the way to Bashan--Bashan ("fruitful" or
"flat"), now El-Bottein, lay situated to the north of Gilead and
extended as far as Hermon. It was a rugged mountainous country, valuable
however for its rich and luxuriant pastures.
2. The Lord said unto me, Fear him not: for I will deliver him, and all his people, and his land, into thy hand--Og's gigantic appearance and the formidable array of forces he will bring to the field, need not discourage you; for, belonging to a doomed race, he is destined to share the fate of Sihon [Nu 21:25].
3-8. Argob was the capital of a district in Bashan of the same name, which, together with other fifty-nine cities in the same province, were conspicuous for their lofty and fortified walls. It was a war of extermination. Houses and cities were razed to the ground; all classes of people were put to the sword; and nothing was saved but the cattle, of which an immense amount fell as spoil into the hands of the conquerors. Thus, the two Amorite kings and the entire population of their dominions were extirpated. The whole country east of the Jordan--first upland downs from the torrent of the Arnon on the south to that of the Jabbok on the north; next the high mountain tract of Gilead and Bashan from the deep ravine of Jabbok--became the possession of the Israelites.
9. Hermon--now Jebel-Es-Sheick--the majestic hill on which the long and elevated range of Anti-Lebanon terminates. Its summit and the ridges on its sides are almost constantly covered with snow. It is not so much one high mountain as a whole cluster of mountain peaks, the highest in Palestine. According to the survey taken by the English Government Engineers in 1840, they were about 9376 feet above the sea. Being a mountain chain, it is no wonder that it should have received different names at different points from the different tribes which lay along the base--all of them designating extraordinary height: Hermon, the lofty peak; "Sirion," or in an abbreviated form "Sion" (De 4:48), the upraised, glittering; "Shenir," the glittering breastplate of ice.
11. only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of
giants--literally, "of Rephaim." He was not the last giant, but the
only living remnant in the trans-jordanic country
of a certain gigantic race, supposed to be the most ancient inhabitants
12, 13. this land, which we possessed at that time, from Aroer . . . gave I unto the Reubenites and to the Gadites--The whole territory occupied by Sihon was parcelled out among the pastoral tribes of Reuben and Gad. It extended from the north bank of the Arnon to the south half of mount Gilead--a small mountain ridge, now called Djelaad, about six or seven miles south of the Jabbok, and eight miles in length. The northern portion of Gilead and the rich pasture lands of Bashan--a large province, consisting, with the exception of a few bleak and rocky spots, of strong and fertile soil--was assigned to the half-tribe of Manasseh.
14. Jair the son of Manasseh took all the country of Argob--The
original inhabitants of the province north of Bashan, comprising sixty
not having been extirpated along with Og, this people were afterwards
brought into subjection by the energy of Jair. This chief, of the
tribe of Manasseh, in accordance with the pastoral habits of his
people, called these newly acquired towns by a name which signifies
"Jair's Bedouin Villages of Tents."
16. from Gilead--that is, not the mountainous region, but the town
25. I pray thee, let me go over, and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon--The natural and very earnest wish of Moses to be allowed to cross the Jordan was founded on the idea that the divine threatening might be conditional and revertible. "That goodly mountain" is supposed by Jewish writers to have pointed to the hill on which the temple was to be built (De 12:5; Ex 15:2). But biblical scholars now, generally, render the words--"that goodly mountain, even Lebanon," and consider it to be mentioned as typifying the beauty of Palestine, of which hills and mountains were so prominent a feature.
26. speak no more unto me of this matter--that is, My decree is unalterable.