Israel moved in and lived in Amorite country. Moses sent men to scout out Jazer. They captured its villages and drove away the Amorites who lived there.

Then they turned north on the road to Bashan. Og king of Bashan marched out with his entire army to meet Moses in battle at Edrei.

God said to Moses, “Don’t be afraid of him. I’m making a present of him to you, him and all his people and his land. Treat him the same as Sihon king of the Amorites who ruled in Heshbon.”

So they attacked him, his sons, and all the people—there was not a single survivor. Israel took the land.

The People of Israel marched on and camped on the Plains of Moab at Jordan-Jericho.

Balak son of Zippor learned of all that Israel had done to the Amorites. The people of Moab were in a total panic because of Israel. There were so many of them! They were terrorized.

Moab spoke to the leaders of Midian: “Look, this mob is going to clean us out—a bunch of crows picking a carcass clean.” (Numbers 21:31-22:4)

God is not a penny pincher: he likes to give the unexpected bonus over and above his obligated promise. God also gives and takes away. What had belonged to one people, God took and gave away to the Israelites.
On the East side of the Jordan river, before the Israelites entered the land, God gave them some bonus territories. Traveling north from the desert of Sinai, the Israelites faced new obstacles on their way to the Promised Land. First, they came upon the Amorites and their king Sihon. Their request that they be permitted to travel through the Amorite territory, sticking to the recognized trade route, was rebuffed and Sihon led his army out to attack the Israelites. They were defeated and Israel continued moving north. First, he let them conquer the Amorites and their king, Sihon. Then he gave them Og, the king of Bashan, as “a present” after Og led his own army out to do battle with Israel.

The city of Jazar was probably located near the modern day capital of the nation of Jordan, Amman. Bashan is a plateau of southern Syria to the east of the Sea of Galilee. Edrei would be just a bit south of Bashan, and east of the Jordan River, in the modern day nation of Jordan.

God told Moses not to be afraid of them. Yes, they opposed Israel. Yes it was a large army. But the outcome was never in doubt: God defeated their enemies. What brought an end to the Israelite fears and filled them with confidence had the opposite effect on the Moabites, who lived to the east of the Dead Sea. God’s reassurance to one, can cause terror to another: and in the case of the Moabites, well-deserved terror. Ultimately, their king, Balak, would die at the hands of the Israelites.

God gives abundance to his people, not just the minimum they require. We are obligated to provide food to our children, but we enjoy giving them more than just bread and water.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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