1When the Canaanite, king of Arad, who dwelt in the Negeb, learned that Israel was coming by the way of Atharim, b Meaning of Heb. ha‐’atharim uncertain. Targum and other ancient versions render “the way [taken by] the scouts.” he engaged Israel in battle and took some of them captive. 2Then Israel made a vow to the LORD and said, “If You deliver this people into our hand, we will proscribe c I.e., utterly destroy, reserving no booty except what is deposited in the Sanctuary; see Josh. 6.24. their towns.” 3The LORD heeded Israel's plea and delivered up the Canaanites; and they and their cities were proscribed. So that place was named Hormah. d Connected with heherim “to proscribe.”

4They set out from Mount Hor by way of the Sea of Reeds e See Exod. 10.19 note. to skirt the land of Edom. But the people grew restive on the journey, 5and the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why did you make us leave Egypt todie in the wilderness? There is no bread and no water, and we have come to loathe this miserable food.” 6The LORD sent seraph a Cf. Isa. 14.29 ; 30.6 . Others “fiery”; exact meaning of Heb. saraph uncertain. serpents against the people. They bit the people and many of the Israelites died. 7The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned by speaking against the LORD and against you. Intercede with the LORD to take away the serpents from us!” And Moses interceded for the people. 8Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a seraph a Cf. Isa. 14.29 ; 30.6 . Others “fiery”; exact meaning of Heb. saraph uncertain. figure and mount it on a standard. And if anyone who is bitten looks at it, he shall recover.” 9Moses made a copper serpent and mounted it on a standard; and when anyone was bitten by a serpent, he would look at the copper serpent and recover.

10The Israelites marched on and encamped at Oboth. 11They set out from Oboth and encamped at Iye‐abarim, in the wilderness bordering on Moab to the east. 12From there they set out and encamped at the wadi Zered. 13From there they set out and encamped beyond the Arnon, that is, in the wilderness that extends from the territory of the Amorites. For the Arnon is the boundary of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites. 14Therefore the Book of the Wars of the LORD speaks of b The quotation that follows is a fragment; text and meaning are uncertain. “…Waheb in Suphah, and the wadis: the Arnon 15with its tributary wadis, stretched along the settled country of Ar, hugging the territory of Moab….”

16And from there to Beer, c Lit. “well.” which is the well where the LORD said to Moses, “Assemble the people that I may give them water.” 17Then Israel sang this song:

Spring up, O well—sing to it— 18The well which the chieftains dug, Which the nobles of the people started With maces, with their own staffs.

And from Midbar d Septuagint “the well” (= Beer;) cf. v. 16. to Mattanah, 19and from Mattanah to Nahaliel, and from Nahaliel to Bamoth, 20and from Bamoth to the valley that is in the country of Moab, at the peak of Pisgah, overlooking the wasteland. e Or “Jeshimon.”

21Israel now sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, saying, 22“Let me pass through your country. We will not turn off into fields or vineyards, and we will not drink water from wells. We will follow the king's highway until we have crossed your territory.” 23But Sihon would not let Israel pass through his territory. Sihon gathered all his people and went out against Israel in the wilderness. He cameto Jahaz and engaged Israel in battle. 24But Israel put them to the sword, and took possession of their land, from the Arnon to the Jabbok, as far as [Az] of the Ammonites, for Az a Septuagint “Jazer,” cf. v. 32 . Others “for the boundary of the Ammonites was strong.” marked the boundary of the Ammonites. 25Israel took all those towns. And Israel settled in all the towns of the Amorites, in Heshbon and all its dependencies.

26Now Heshbon was the city of Sihon king of the Amorites, who had fought against a former king of Moab and taken all his land from him as far as the Arnon. 27Therefore the bards would recite:

b The meaning of several parts of this ancient poem is no longer certain. “Come to Heshbon; firmly built And well founded is Sihon's city. 28For fire went forth from Heshbon, Flame from Sihon's city, Consuming Ar of Moab, The lords of Bamoth c Cf. vv. 19 and 20 and Num. 22.21. by the Arnon. 29Woe to you, O Moab! You are undone, O people of Chemosh! His sons are rendered fugitive And his daughters captive By an Amorite king, Sihon.” 30 d Meaning of verse uncertain. Alternatively: “Their dominion is at an end From Heshbon to Dibon And from Nashim to Nophah, Which is hard by Medeba.” Yet we have cast them down utterly, Heshbon along with Dibon; We have wrought desolation at Nophah, Which is hard by Medeba.

31So Israel occupied the land of the Amorites. 32Then Moses sent to spy out Jazer, and they captured its dependencies and dispossessed the Amorites who were there.

Notes:

b Meaning of Heb. ha‐’atharim uncertain. Targum and other ancient versions render “the way [taken by] the scouts.”

c I.e., utterly destroy, reserving no booty except what is deposited in the Sanctuary; see Josh. 6.24.

d Connected with heherim “to proscribe.”

e See Exod. 10.19 note.

a Cf. Isa. 14.29 ; 30.6 . Others “fiery”; exact meaning of Heb. saraph uncertain.

b The quotation that follows is a fragment; text and meaning are uncertain.

c Lit. “well.”

d Septuagint “the well” (= Beer;) cf. v. 16.

e Or “Jeshimon.”

a Septuagint “Jazer,” cf. v. 32 . Others “for the boundary of the Ammonites was strong.”

b The meaning of several parts of this ancient poem is no longer certain.

c Cf. vv. 19 and 20 and Num. 22.21.

d Meaning of verse uncertain. Alternatively:

“Their dominion is at an end From Heshbon to Dibon And from Nashim to Nophah, Which is hard by Medeba.”