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Deuteronomy 2:1-15

Context
The Journey from Kadesh Barnea to Moab

2:1 Then we turned and set out toward the desert land on the way to the Red Sea 1  just as the Lord told me to do, detouring around Mount Seir for a long time. 2:2 At this point the Lord said to me, 2:3 “You have circled around this mountain long enough; now turn north. 2:4 Instruct 2  these people as follows: ‘You are about to cross the border of your relatives 3  the descendants of Esau, 4  who inhabit Seir. They will be afraid of you, so watch yourselves carefully. 2:5 Do not be hostile toward them, because I am not giving you any of their land, not even a footprint, for I have given Mount Seir 5  as an inheritance for Esau. 2:6 You may purchase 6  food to eat and water to drink from them. 2:7 All along the way I, the Lord your God, 7  have blessed your every effort. 8  I have 9  been attentive to 10  your travels through this great wasteland. These forty years I have 11  been with you; you have lacked for nothing.’”

2:8 So we turned away from our relatives 12  the descendants of Esau, the inhabitants of Seir, turning from the desert route, 13  from Elat 14  and Ezion Geber, 15  and traveling the way of the Moab wastelands. 2:9 Then the Lord said to me, “Do not harass Moab and provoke them to war, for I will not give you any of their land as your territory. This is because I have given Ar 16  to the descendants of Lot 17  as their possession. 2:10 (The Emites 18  used to live there, a people as powerful, numerous, and tall as the Anakites. 2:11 These people, as well as the Anakites, are also considered Rephaites; 19  the Moabites call them Emites. 2:12 Previously the Horites 20  lived in Seir but the descendants of Esau dispossessed and destroyed them and settled in their place, just as Israel did to the land it came to possess, the land the Lord gave them.) 21  2:13 Now, get up and cross the Wadi Zered.” 22  So we did so. 23  2:14 Now the length of time it took for us to go from Kadesh Barnea to the crossing of Wadi Zered was thirty-eight years, time for all the military men of that generation to die, just as the Lord had vowed to them. 2:15 Indeed, it was the very hand of the Lord that eliminated them from within 24  the camp until they were all gone.

1 tn Heb “Reed Sea.” See note on the term “Red Sea” in Deut 1:40.

2 tn Heb “command” (so KJV, NASB); NRSV “charge the people as follows.”

3 tn Heb “brothers”; NAB “your kinsmen.”

4 sn The descendants of Esau (Heb “sons of Esau”; the phrase also occurs in 2:8, 12, 22, 29). These are the inhabitants of the land otherwise known as Edom, south and east of the Dead Sea. Jacob’s brother Esau had settled there after his bitter strife with Jacob (Gen 36:1-8). “Edom” means “reddish,” probably because of the red sandstone of the region, but also by popular etymology because Esau, at birth, was reddish (Gen 25:25).

5 sn Mount Seir is synonymous with Edom.

6 tn Heb includes “with silver.”

7 tn The Hebrew text does not have the first person pronoun; it has been supplied for purposes of English style (the Lord is speaking here).

8 tn Heb “all the work of your hands.”

9 tn Heb “he has.” This has been converted to first person in the translation in keeping with English style.

10 tn Heb “known” (so ASV, NASB); NAB “been concerned about.”

11 tn Heb “the Lord your God has.” This has been replaced in the translation by the first person pronoun (“I”) in keeping with English style.

12 tn Or “brothers”; NRSV “our kin.”

13 tn Heb “the way of the Arabah” (so ASV); NASB, NIV “the Arabah road.”

14 sn Elat was a port city at the head of the eastern arm of the Red Sea, that is, the Gulf of Aqaba (or Gulf of Eilat). Solomon (1 Kgs 9:28), Uzziah (2 Kgs 14:22), and Ahaz (2 Kgs 16:5-6) used it as a port but eventually it became permanently part of Edom. It may be what is known today as Tell el-Kheleifeh. Modern Eilat is located further west along the northern coast. See G. Pratico, “Nelson Glueck’s 1938-1940 Excavations at Tell el-Kheleifeh: A Reappraisal,” BASOR 259 (1985): 1-32.

15 sn Ezion Geber. A place near the Gulf of Aqaba, Ezion-geber must be distinguished from Elat (cf. 1 Kgs 9:26-28; 2 Chr 8:17-18). It was, however, also a port city (1 Kgs 22:48-49). It may be the same as the modern site Gezirat al-Fauran, 15 mi (24 km) south-southwest from Tell el-Kheleifah.

16 sn Ar was a Moabite city on the Arnon River east of the Dead Sea. It is mentioned elsewhere in the “Book of the Wars of Yahweh” (Num 21:15; cf. 21:28; Isa 15:1). Here it is synonymous with the whole land of Moab.

17 sn The descendants of Lot. Following the destruction of the cities of the plain, Sodom and Gomorrah, as God’s judgment, Lot fathered two sons by his two daughters, namely, Moab and Ammon (Gen 19:30-38). Thus, these descendants of Lot in and around Ar were the Moabites.

18 sn Emites. These giant people, like the Anakites (Deut 1:28), were also known as Rephaites (v. 11). They appear elsewhere in the narrative of the invasion of the kings of the east where they are said to have lived around Shaveh Kiriathaim, perhaps 9 to 11 mi (15 to 18 km) east of the north end of the Dead Sea (Gen 14:5).

19 sn Rephaites. The earliest reference to this infamous giant race is, again, in the story of the invasion of the eastern kings (Gen 14:5). They lived around Ashteroth Karnaim, probably modern Tell Ashtarah (cf. Deut 1:4), in the Bashan plateau east of the Sea of Galilee. Og, king of Bashan, was a Rephaite (Deut 3:11; Josh 12:4; 13:12). Other texts speak of them or their kinfolk in both Transjordan (Deut 2:20; 3:13) and Canaan (Josh 11:21-22; 14:12, 15; 15:13-14; Judg 1:20; 1 Sam 17:4; 1 Chr 20:4-8). They also appear in extra-biblical literature, especially in connection with the city state of Ugarit. See C. L’Heureux, “Ugaritic and Biblical Rephaim,” HTR 67 (1974): 265-74.

20 sn Horites. Most likely these are the same as the well-known people of ancient Near Eastern texts described as Hurrians. They were geographically widespread and probably non-Semitic. Genesis speaks of them as the indigenous peoples of Edom that Esau expelled (Gen 36:8-19, 31-43) and also as among those who confronted the kings of the east (Gen 14:6).

21 tn Most modern English versions, beginning with the ASV (1901), regard vv. 10-12 as parenthetical to the narrative.

22 sn Wadi Zered. Now known as Wadi el-H£esa, this valley marked the boundary between Moab to the north and Edom to the south.

23 tn Heb “we crossed the Wadi Zered.” This has been translated as “we did so” for stylistic reasons, to avoid redundancy.

24 tn Heb “from the middle of.” Although many recent English versions leave this expression untranslated, the point seems to be that these soldiers did not die in battle but “within the camp.”



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