Numbers 21

21:0This is the third part of the book (Chapters 21-36). It is about the Israelites preparing to enter the Promised Land.

1 The king of Canaan was Arad. He lived in the south of the country. People told him that the Israelites were coming. He attacked the Israelites. And he caught some Israelites. 2 The Israelites said to the LORD, ‘If you give to us power over the people in Canaan, we will destroy their cities.’ 3 The LORD heard the Israelites. They attacked and they got power over the people in Canaan. They destroyed all their cities. The name of the place was Hormah.

The bronze snake

4 The Israelites travelled round the edge of Edom to the Red Sea. The people were angry. 5 They said to God and to Moses, ‘You should not have brought us from Egypt to die in the desert. There is no bread. There is no water. We do not like the food that God gives to us.’ 6 Then the LORD put snakes among the people. They bit the people and many of the people died. 7 So the people came to Moses and they said, ‘We have sinned, because we have spoken against the LORD and against you. Please speak to LORD on our behalf and ask him to remove the snakes from us.’ So Moses prayed for the people.

8 The LORD said to Moses, ‘Make a snake out of bronze. Put the snake on a stick. If a snake bites a person, the person must look at the bronze snake. Then he will not die.’ 9 Moses made a snake out of bronze. He put it on a stick. Then when the snake bit anyone, he looked at the bronze snake. Then he did not die.

The Israelites travel to Moab

10 The Israelites camped at Oboth. 11 And they travelled from Oboth, and they camped at Iye-Abarim, in the desert. That place is on the east border of the country called Moab. 12 Then they camped in the Valley called Zered. 13 Then they camped on the north side of the River Arnon. The River Arnon is the border between the Moabites and the Amorites. 14 So someone wrote in the Book of the LORD's Wars about Waheb in Suphah. And he wrote about the valleys of the River Arnon. 15 He wrote, ‘The sides of the valleys lead the way to the town called Ar on the edge of Moab.’ 16 And from there they continued to travel until they arrived at Beer. That is the well where the LORD said to Moses, ‘Bring the people together. Then I will give water to them.’ 17 The Israelites sang this song:

‘Sing to this well.

Ask it to give water to us.

18 This was the well that our rulers dug.

This was the well that our leaders made.

They dug it with the poles and sticks that showed their authority.’

After that the Israelites went from the desert to Mattanah. 19 They went from Mattanah to Nahaliel. They went from Nahaliel to Bamoth. 20 They went from Bamoth to the valley of Moab. They camped below the top of the mountain called Pisgah.

21:20The Israelites continued to travel north towards the Promised Land.

21 The Israelites said to Sihon, the king of the Amorites, 22 ‘Please let us go through your country. We will travel on the road. We will not touch your food or drink your water. We will pass through your country.’ 23 Sihon would not let the Israelites travel through his country. Sihon and his army marched to Jahaz and they attacked the Israelites. 24 The Israelites fought against the army of Sihon. They got power over the land from the River Arnon to the River Jabbok. 25 They got power over all the cities of the Amorites. They got power over Heshbon and over all the places round it. 26 Heshbon was the city of Sihon, the king of the Amorites. This king had fought against the king of Moab. He won the land as far as the River Arnon from the king of Moab. 27 So the people who say clever things say, ‘Come to Heshbon and build it up again. Build the city of Sihon again. 28 An army that was like a fire went out from Heshbon. It was like a flame that went out from Sihon's city. It destroyed Ar in Moab. And it destroyed everything on the high hills near the River Arnon. 29 It is sad for you, people of Moab. Sihon has killed the people of Chemosh. Your god has let the king of the Amorites put the people in a prison. 30 Now, we have killed them. We have destroyed Heshbon as far as Dibon. We have killed them from Nophah to Medeba.’ 31 So, the Israelites stayed in the country of the Amorites. 32 Moses sent men to find the best way to attack Jazer. The Israelites attacked Jazer. They caused the Amorites to leave the country. 33 Next, they travelled towards Bashan. Og, the king of Bashan marched out to meet them. He wanted to attack them. They met at Edrei.

34 The LORD said to Moses, ‘Do not be afraid of Og. I will give him, his army and his land to you. Attack him in the same way that you attacked Sihon, the king of the Amorites.’

35 So they killed him and his sons and all his people. So all those people were dead and their land became the Israelites' land.