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Numbers 20:18-21

Context

20:18 But Edom said to him, “You will not pass through me, 1  or I will come out against 2  you with the sword.” 20:19 Then the Israelites said to him, “We will go along the highway, and if we 3  or our cattle drink any of your water, we will pay for it. We will only pass through on our feet, without doing anything else.”

20:20 But he said, “You may not pass through.” Then Edom came out against them 4  with a large and powerful force. 5  20:21 So Edom refused to give Israel passage through his border; therefore Israel turned away from him.

1 tn The imperfect tense here has the nuance of prohibition.

2 tn Heb “to meet.”

3 tn The Hebrew text uses singular pronouns, “I” and “my,” but it is the people of Israel that are intended, and so it may be rendered in the plural. Similarly, Edom speaks in the first person, probably from the king. But it too could be rendered “we.”

4 tn Heb “to meet him.”

5 tn Heb “with many [heavy] people and with a strong hand.” The translation presented above is interpretive, but that is what the line means. It was a show of force, numbers and weapons, to intimidate the Israelites.



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