Deuteronomy 3

CHAPTER III

The war with OG, king of Bashan, 1, 2.

He is defeated, 3.

Sixty fortified cities with many unwalled towns taken, 4, 5.

The utter destruction of the people, 6.

The spoils, 7;

and extent of the land taken, 8-10.

Account of OG'S iron bedstead, 11.

The land given to the Reubenites, Gadites, and half tribe of

Manasseh, 12, 13.

Jair takes the country of Argob, 14.

Gilead is given unto Machir, 15.

And the rest of the land possessed by the Reubenites and Gadites,

16,17.

The directions given to those tribes, 18-20.

The counsel given to Joshua, 21, 22.

Moses's prayer to God for permission to go into the promised

land, 23-25;

and God's refusal, 26.

He is commanded to go up to Mount Pisgah to see it, 27;

and to encourage Joshua, 28.

They continue in the valley opposite to Beth-peor, 29.

NOTES ON CHAP. III

Verse 4. All the region of Argob] col chebel Argob,

all the cable or cord of Argob; this expression, which is used in

various other parts of Scripture, (see, in the original, Am 7:17;

Mic 2:5; De 32:9; Ps 16:6,) shows that anciently land was

measured by lines or cords of a certain length, in a similar way to

that by the chain among us, and the schoenus or cord among the

Egyptians. Some think that it was the region of Argob that was

afterwards called the region of Trachonites.

Verse 9. Hermon the Sidonians call-Shenir] I suppose this

verse to have been a marginal remark, which afterwards got

incorporated with the text, or an addition by Joshua or Ezra.

Verse 11. Og king of Bashan remained] Og was the last king of

the Amorites; his kingdom appears to have taken its name from the

hill of Bashan; the country has been since called Batanaea.

Remnant of giants] Of the Rephaim. See on De 2:10, 11.

His bedstead was-of iron] Iron was probably used partly for its

strength and durability, and partly to prevent noxious vermin from

harbouring in it.

Is it not in Rabbath, of the children of Ammon?] The bedstead

was probably taken in some battle between the Ammonites and

Amorites, in which the former had gained the victory. The

bedstead was carried a trophy and placed in Rabbath, which

appears, from 2Sa 12:26,

to have been the royal city of the children of Ammon.

Nine cubits was the length-four cubits the breadth] Allowing

the bedstead to have been one cubit longer than Og, which is

certainly sufficient, and allowing the cubit to be about eighteen

inches long, for this is perhaps the average of the cubit of a

man, then Og was twelve feet high. This may be deemed

extraordinary, and perhaps almost incredible, and therefore many

commentators have, according to their fancy, lengthened the

bedstead and shortened the man, making the former one-third

longer than the person who lay on it, that they might reduce Og

to six cubits; but even in this way they make him at least nine

feet high.

On this subject the rabbins have trifled most sinfully. I shall

give one specimen. In the Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel on

Nu 21:33-35, it is said that "Og having observed that the camp

of the Israelites extended six miles, he went and tore up a

mountain six miles in its base, and put it on his head, and carried

it towards the camp, that he might throw it on the Israelites and

destroy them; but the word of the Lord prepared a worm, which

bored a hole in the mountain over his head, so that it fell down

upon his shoulders: at the same time his teeth growing out in all

directions, stuck into the mountain, so that he could not cast it

off his head. Moses, (who was himself ten cubits high,) seeing Og

thus entangled, took an axe ten cubits long, and having leaped ten

cubits in height, struck Og on the ankle bone, so that he fell and

was slain."

From this account the distance from the sole of Og's foot to his

ankle was thirty cubits in length! I give this as a very slight

specimen of rabbinical comment. I could quote places in the

Talmud in which Og is stated to be several miles high! This

relation about Og I suppose to be also an historical note added by

a subsequent hand.

Verse 14. Bashan-havoth-jair] Bashan of the cities of Jair;

see Nu 32:41.

Verse 17. From Chinnereth] See Clarke on Nu 34:11.

Verses 24. - 25. The prayer of Moses recorded in these two

verses, and his own reflections on it, De 3:26, are very

affecting. He had suffered much both in body and mind in bringing

the people to the borders of the promised land; and it was natural

enough for him to wish to see them established in it, and to enjoy

a portion of that inheritance himself, which he knew was a type of

the heavenly country. But notwithstanding his very earnest

prayer, and God's especial favour towards him, he was not

permitted to go over Jordan! He had grieved the Spirit of God,

and he passed a sentence against him of exclusion from the

promised land. Yet he permitted him to see it, and gave him the

fullest assurances that the people whom he had brought out of

Egypt should possess it. Thus God may choose to deprive those of

earthly possessions to whom he is nevertheless determined to give

a heavenly inheritance.

Verse 26. Let it suffice thee] rab lach, there is an

abundance to thee-thou hast had honour enough already, and may

well dispense with going over Jordan. He surely has no reason to

complain who is taken from earthly felicity to heavenly glory. In

this act God showed to Moses both his goodness and severity.

Verse 28. But charge Joshua, &c.] Give him authority in the

sight of the people, let them see that he has the same commission

which I gave to thee. Encourage him; for he will meet with many

difficulties in the work to which he is called. And strengthen

him-show him my unfailing promises, and exhort him to put his

trust in me alone; for he shall go over before this people, and

shall cause them to inherit the land; of this let him rest

perfectly assured.

Verse 29. Beth-peor.] This was a city in the kingdom of Sihon

king of the Amorites; and as beth signifies a house, the

place probably had its name from a temple of the god Peor, who was

worshipped there. Peor was nearly the same among the Moabites

that Priapus was among the Romans-the obscene god of an obscene

people. This we have already seen.

IT is very likely that what God speaks here, both concerning

Moses and Joshua, was designed to be typical of the procedure of

his justice and grace in the salvation of man. 1. The land of

Canaan was a type of the kingdom of heaven. 2. The law, which

shows the holiness of God and the exceeding sinfulness of sin,

could not bring the people to the possession of that kingdom. 3.

Moses may probably be considered here as the emblem of that law by

which is the knowledge of sin, but not redemption from it. 4.

Joshua, the same as Jesus, the name signifying a Saviour, is

appointed to bring the people into the rest which God had provided

for them; thus it is by Jesus Christ alone that the soul is

saved-fitted for and brought into the possession of the heavenly

inheritance, (see Joh 1:17; Ga 2:16; 3:12, 13, 24;) for he is

the end of the law-the great scope and design of the law, for

righteousness-for justification, to them that believe; Ro 10:4.

Such a use as this every pious reader may make of the

circumstances recorded here, without the danger of pushing analogy

or metaphor beyond their reasonable limits.

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