Deuteronomy 3 Commentary

To go directly to that verse

Moses on Mt Nebo (Deuteronomy 34:1+)
Listen to Mt Nebo as you Ponder How Moses' May Have Felt
Deuteronomy by Irving Jensen- used by permission
Source: Ryrie Study Bible


Dt 1:1-4:43 Dt 4:44-26:19 Dt 27:1-34:12




Historical Review Legal

Looking Back

40 Years

Looking Up
What God
Expected of Israel
Looking Ahead
What God
Will Do for Israel
Recapitulation of Wanderings Rehearsal
of Israel's Law
of Israel's Covenant
Historical Appendices
Remembrance of the past Commandments
for the Present
Dt 27:1-30:20
Blessing and Cursing
Dt 31:1-34:12
Death of Moses
Take Heed
Don't forget
Two Choices Affecting
the Future
Moses' Parting Words
Dt 1:1-4:43
Looking Back
Dt 4:44-11:32
Exposition of Decalogue
Dt 12:1-16:17
Ceremonial Laws
Dt 16:18-20:20
Dt 21:1-26:19
Dt 27:1-28:68
Ratification of Covenant
Dt 29:1-30:20
Terms of Covenant
Dt 31:1-34:12
Moses' Song, Blessing, Death

Plains of Moab

ca. 2 Months
Moses: Author

(Except Dt 34)

Remembrances of the Past
(Deuteronomy 1:1-4:43) 
Jensen's Survey of Deuteronomy scroll to p311

Deuteronomy 3:1  "Then we turned and went up the road to Bashan, and Og, king of Bashan, with all his people came out to meet us in battle at Edrei.

Related Passages:

Numbers 21:33-35+ - (ISRAEL AGAINST OG) Then they turned and went up by the way of Bashan, and Og the king of Bashan went out with all his people, for battle at Edrei. 34 But the LORD said to Moses, “Do not fear him, for I have given him into your hand, and all his people and his land; and you shall do to him as you did to Sihon, king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon.” 35 So they killed him and his sons and all his people, until there was no remnant left him; and they possessed his land.

Deuteronomy 1:3-4+  In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses spoke to the children of Israel, according to all that the LORD had commanded him to give to them, 4 after he had defeated Sihon the king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth and Edrei.

Deuteronomy 4:47-49+ They took possession of his land and the land of Og king of Bashan, the two kings of the Amorites, who were across the Jordan to the east, 48 from Aroer, which is on the edge of the valley of Arnon, even as far as Mount Sion (that is, Hermon), 49 with all the Arabah across the Jordan to the east, even as far as the sea of the Arabah, at the foot of the slopes of Pisgah.

Deuteronomy 29:7-8+  “When you reached this place, Sihon the king of Heshbon and Og the king of Bashan came out to meet us for battle, but we defeated them; 8 and we took their land and gave it as an inheritance to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of the Manassites.

Bashan and Gilead - Kingdom of Og

Holman Old Testament Commentary MAIN IDEA: When his people trust him, God demonstrates his power and glory by giving them victories. (ED: Corollary - Stated another way, to tap into the power and promises of Yahweh, we need to trust Him and we show we trust Him by obeying Him. We also show we love Him by our obedience. cf Jesus' words = Jn 14:15). 

Then - Always pause and ask "When is then?" In this case after the total victory over Sihon king of the Amorites

We turned and went up the road - Israel turned after the victory over Sihon indicating they were not on the road (the King's Highway) and went north. Up the road suggests up the King's Highway (see map above or here). What did they turn from? They had just defeated Sihon and if you look at this map directly to the east of the land Israel had just conquered is the land of Ammon. They were prohibited from taking that land. I suggest that they "turned" from Ammon and instead of going East, they went North toward Og, king of Bashan

To Bashan - The name means smooth and it was prime non-rocky land for growing crops (region of modern Golan Heights). Bashan, in fact was one of the most fertile districts of the Holy Land, bounded on the west by the Jordan River and Sea of Galilee (Lake of Gennesareth), on the east by Trachonitis, on the south by the brook Jabbok, and on the north by Mount Hermon (see map). It seems to have been composed of two or three districts, on the south Gilead, on the north the region of Argob, and east of both, the plain of Hauran. (Dt 3:13-15)  The scenery of this elevated tract is described as extremely beautiful as the plains were covered with a fertile soil, hills with forests, and at every turn beautiful landscapes. It is in the region today known as the Golan Heights. NET Note adds that "This plateau country, famous for its oaks (Isa 2:13) and cattle (Deut 32:14; Amos 4:1), was north of Gilead along the Yarmuk River (See map of Yarmuck River just south of Sea of Galilee on the East)."

And Og, king of Bashan, with all his people came out to meet us in battle at Edrei (see location on map above ~30 miles east of the southern tip of Sea of Galilee or "sea of Kinnereth" - Nu 34:11 - see another map) - Note that this time Moses gives no peace offering! Note as with the arrogant Sihon, Og came out to meet Israel rather than stay in his fortified city. This is clearly arrogance because (1) they had the dread and fear of Israel placed on their hearts by God and (2) they surely must have heard of Israel's total annihilation of Sihon. A reasonable 

Edrei  was "Built on a bluff overlooking a southern fork of the Yarmuk River, along the S boundary of Bashan (q.v.) near the eastern desert. Here Og could watch for invaders from the S or from the E. Moses defeated Og in a pitched battle outside of Edrei, which was then destroyed (Num 21:33-35; Deut 3:1-6)." Og arrogantly choose to come out from this fortress city! 

Turned (turned back, to face, to look) (06437panah means basically to turn, usually physically turning (first use - Ge 18:22, Ex 7:23, 10:6, 32:15), but it has a number of meanings depending on the context. Vine has "to turn towards, turn back, turn around (Dt 1:40, 2:1, Dt 9:15) Panah is the Hebrew word the Spirit of God used to save Charles Haddon Spurgeon (see his testimony) when on a cold, winter day his heart was warmed by the command. “Turn (Hebrew = panah; Lxx = epistrepho) to Me and be saved, (Lxx = sozo) all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other. (Isa 45:22)

Panah in Deuteronomy -  Deut. 1:7; Deut. 1:24; Deut. 1:40; Deut. 2:1; Deut. 2:3; Deut. 2:8; Deut. 3:1; Deut. 9:15; Deut. 9:27; Deut. 10:5; Deut. 16:7; Deut. 23:11; Deut. 29:18; Deut. 30:17; Deut. 31:18; Deut. 31:20

EdreiEDREI ĕd’ re ī (אֶדְרֶֽעִי, strong? [meaning uncertain]). Town name.  A residence city of Og, king of Bashan (Deut 1:4; 3:10; Josh 12:4; 13:12). Built on a bluff overlooking a southern fork of the Yarmuk River, along the S boundary of Bashan (q.v.) near the eastern desert. Here Og could watch for invaders from the S or from the E. Moses defeated Og in a pitched battle outside of Edrei, which was then destroyed (Num 21:33-35; Deut 3:1-6). The ruins were included in the allotment to the Machir clan of the tribe of Manasseh (Josh 13:31). Edrei is identified with modern Daraa, a town of 5,000 in southern Syria, about. sixty miles south of Damascus and thirty m. E of the Jordan. The site has ruins going back to Early Bronze times as well as a remarkable subterranean city of numerous streets, shops, rooms, and cisterns, prob. from the Hel. or Rom. period (youtube video), in underlying caves in the basaltic rock (Unger’s Bible Dict., p. 287; HGHL, p. 576).

Edrei - 8v - Num. 21:33; Deut. 1:4; Deut. 3:1; Deut. 3:10; Jos. 12:4; Jos. 13:12; Jos. 13:31; Jos. 19:37

Deuteronomy 3:2  "But the LORD said to me, 'Do not fear him, for I have delivered him and all his people and his land into your hand; and you shall do to him just as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon.'

  • Fear: De 3:11 20:3 Nu 14:9 2Ch 20:17 Isa 41:10 43:5 Ac 18:9 27:24 Rev 2:10 
  • just as you did to Sihon De 2:24-37 Nu 21:23-25 
  • Deuteronomy 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Numbers 21:34  But the LORD said to Moses, “Do not fear him, (WHY NOT?) for I have given him into your hand, and all his people and his land; and you shall do to him as you did to Sihon, king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon.”

Joshua 10:8; The LORD said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, (WHY NOT?) for I have given them into your hands; not one of them shall stand before you.”

Joshua 11:6 Then the LORD said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid because of them,  (WHY NOT?) for tomorrow at this time I will deliver all of them slain before Israel; you shall hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire.”


But - Moses just recorded that "Og, king of Bashan, with all his people came out to meet us in battle at Edrei." If you are the Israelite army, there might be a temptation to fear an oncoming army. And if Og was at the helm and was (as we think) a giant, this might have been quite an intimidating entourage! So the Spirit inspires a change of direction (but)! 

The LORD said to me, 'Do not fear (yare) him - Yahweh speaks this to Moses who would have passed this on to the people. This is a repeated emphasis in Deuteronomy (Deut. 1:21, 29; 3:2, 22; 7:18; 20:1, 3; 31:6, 8; cf. Josh. 1:9; 8:1) Fear God and you will fear no man, for no man is greater than God. Pr 29:25 warns and encourages declaring " The fear of man brings a snare, But he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted." The Scriptural antidote for fear is faith. 

Holman OT Commentary comment on Do not fear him - These words, which constitute the most common imperative in Scripture (ED: Do not fear = 58x in 57v, Do not be afraid = , recognize the tendency of the fallen heart to panic at the sight of any threat and to forget the living reality of the God of heaven. (Holman Old Testament Commentary – Deuteronomy) (Related Resource: How to Handle Fear)

Utley on the LORD said to me - Deuteronomy depicts itself as a revelation from YHWH to Moses (cf. Dt 3:1, 2, 9, 17, 31). YHWH directed His people by:  direct revelation to Moses (cf. Dt 3:2),   the movement of the Shekinah cloud of glory and  the use of the Urim and Thummim (i.e., High Priest)

Do not fear - if you wrestle with "fear", you might want to meditate on this phrase use 57x in Bible (always establish the context) - Gen. 15:1; Gen. 21:17; Gen. 26:24; Gen. 35:17; Exod. 14:13; Num. 14:9; Num. 21:34; Deut. 1:21; Deut. 3:2; Deut. 3:22; Deut. 31:8; Jos. 8:1; Jos. 10:8; Jos. 10:25; Jdg. 6:23; Ruth 3:11; 1 Sam. 12:20; 2 Sam. 9:7; 2 Sam. 13:28; 1 Ki. 17:13; 2 Ki. 6:16; 2 Ki. 17:34; 1 Chr. 22:13; 1 Chr. 28:20; 2 Chr. 20:15; 2 Chr. 20:17; 2 Chr. 32:7; Ps. 55:19; Ps. 64:4; Isa. 10:24; Isa. 40:9; Isa. 41:10; Isa. 41:13; Isa. 41:14; Isa. 43:1; Isa. 43:5; Isa. 44:2; Isa. 51:7; Isa. 57:11; Jer. 10:5; Jer. 46:27; Jer. 46:28; Lam. 3:57; Joel 2:21; Joel 2:22; Hag. 2:5; Zech. 8:13; Zech. 8:15; Mal. 3:5; Matt. 10:26; Matt. 10:28; Matt. 10:31; Lk. 5:10; Lk. 12:7; Lk. 18:4; 1 Pet. 3:14; Rev. 2:10

For - Term of explanation. Why there is no need to fear the approaching mighty forces of king Og. The omnipotent God was fighting for Israel! It would have been enough for the omnipotent God to say "Do not fear," but God gives they a reason not to fear and a prophecy of sure victory. 

I (YAHWEH) have delivered (given; Lxxparadidomi) him and all his people and his land into your hand -  NRSV = "I have handed him over to you." NJB = "I have put him at your mercy."  Note the reversal of what Israel had declared in Dt 1:27+! Note the past tense (have delivered) so certain is this divine "special delivery." God says it is a "as good as done" even though the battle had not yet been waged! When God says it, it is "money in the bank." You can "take it to the bank!" You can trust God's immutable Word implicitly and eternally! The sovereign God delivered the despicable Amorites into the power (hand = power) of the Israelites. Technically this is what is known as Proleptic speaking of a future even as if it were a past completed action. 

Deliver (delivered) in Deut -  Deut. 1:27; Deut. 2:30; Deut. 2:31; Deut. 2:33; Deut. 2:36; Deut. 3:2; Deut. 3:3; Deut. 7:2; Deut. 7:16; Deut. 7:23; Deut. 7:24; Deut. 19:12; Deut. 21:10; Deut. 23:14; Deut. 25:11; Deut. 31:5; Deut. 32:39; 

DELIVER is the verb nathan which is used in 163 verses in Deuteronomy - Deut. 1:8; Deut. 1:15; Deut. 1:20; Deut. 1:21; Deut. 1:25; Deut. 1:27; Deut. 1:35; Deut. 1:36; Deut. 1:39; Deut. 2:5; Deut. 2:9; Deut. 2:12; Deut. 2:19; Deut. 2:24; Deut. 2:25; Deut. 2:28; Deut. 2:29; Deut. 2:30; Deut. 2:31; Deut. 2:33; Deut. 2:36; Deut. 3:2; Deut. 3:3; Deut. 3:12; Deut. 3:13; Deut. 3:15; Deut. 3:16; Deut. 3:18; Deut. 3:19; Deut. 3:20; Deut. 4:1; Deut. 4:8; Deut. 4:21; Deut. 4:38; Deut. 4:40; Deut. 5:16; Deut. 5:22; Deut. 5:29; Deut. 5:31; Deut. 6:10; Deut. 6:22; Deut. 6:23; Deut. 7:2; Deut. 7:3; Deut. 7:13; Deut. 7:15; Deut. 7:16; Deut. 7:23; Deut. 7:24; Deut. 8:10; Deut. 8:18; Deut. 9:6; Deut. 9:10; Deut. 9:11; Deut. 9:23; Deut. 10:4; Deut. 10:11; Deut. 10:18; Deut. 11:9; Deut. 11:14; Deut. 11:15; Deut. 11:17; Deut. 11:21; Deut. 11:25; Deut. 11:26; Deut. 11:29; Deut. 11:31; Deut. 11:32; Deut. 12:1; Deut. 12:9; Deut. 12:15; Deut. 12:21; Deut. 13:1; Deut. 13:12; Deut. 13:17; Deut. 14:21; Deut. 14:25; Deut. 14:26; Deut. 15:4; Deut. 15:7; Deut. 15:9; Deut. 15:10; Deut. 15:14; Deut. 15:17; Deut. 16:5; Deut. 16:10; Deut. 16:17; Deut. 16:18; Deut. 16:20; Deut. 17:2; Deut. 17:14; Deut. 17:15; Deut. 18:3; Deut. 18:4; Deut. 18:9; Deut. 18:14; Deut. 18:18; Deut. 19:1; Deut. 19:2; Deut. 19:8; Deut. 19:10; Deut. 19:12; Deut. 19:14; Deut. 20:13; Deut. 20:14; Deut. 20:16; Deut. 21:1; Deut. 21:8; Deut. 21:10; Deut. 21:17; Deut. 21:23; Deut. 22:16; Deut. 22:19; Deut. 22:29; Deut. 23:14; Deut. 23:24; Deut. 24:1; Deut. 24:3; Deut. 24:4; Deut. 24:15; Deut. 25:15; Deut. 25:19; Deut. 26:1; Deut. 26:2; Deut. 26:3; Deut. 26:6; Deut. 26:9; Deut. 26:10; Deut. 26:11; Deut. 26:12; Deut. 26:13; Deut. 26:14; Deut. 26:15; Deut. 26:19; Deut. 27:2; Deut. 27:3; Deut. 28:1; Deut. 28:7; Deut. 28:8; Deut. 28:11; Deut. 28:12; Deut. 28:13; Deut. 28:24; Deut. 28:25; Deut. 28:31; Deut. 28:32; Deut. 28:48; Deut. 28:52; Deut. 28:53; Deut. 28:55; Deut. 28:65; Deut. 28:67; Deut. 29:4; Deut. 29:8; Deut. 30:1; Deut. 30:7; Deut. 30:15; Deut. 30:19; Deut. 30:20; Deut. 31:5; Deut. 31:7; Deut. 31:9; Deut. 32:49; Deut. 32:52; Deut. 34:4;

And you shall do to him just as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon - This is essentially a divine prophetic promise from the non-lying God. To do just as they did to Sihon means Israel was to obliterate Og and his people from the face of the earth! The defeat of Og was also a divine encouragement. 

Moses would use the second generation's victory over Og to remind them that “The LORD will do to them (THE NATIONS IN CANAAN - Dt 31:3) just as He did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, and to their land, when He destroyed them. 5 “The LORD will deliver them up before you, and you shall do to them according to all the commandments which I have commanded you." (Dt 31:4-5+)

Sihon - sī’ hŏn (סִיחֹ֥ן, סִיחֹֽון). Name of the Amorite king the Israelites defeated on their way to Canaan.

1. A Trans-Jordan king Moses (ISRAEL) defeated (Nu 21:21-30+). Sihon was the king of the Amorites to whom Moses sent messengers, hoping to obtain permission to lead the Israelites through his land. He refused to grant this permission; rather he went out against Israel with his army, was defeated and slain. Israel then claimed his land as its first conquered area. Heshbon had been his capital city; his southern boundary was the Arnon; and his northern boundary was the Jabbok (Num 21:24). Further, his land was a land of many villages and cities (21:25). His land became a part of the Trans-Jordan claimed and settled by Reuben, Gad, and part of Manasseh.

2. Defeat of Sihon remembered and retold. Moses’ defeat of Sihon was a great event remembered centuries later, because of Israel’s phenomenal historical memory. Ballad singers made a poetic account of Sihon’s downfall a part of their repertoire (Num 21:27-30). Moses used it as a meaningful reference to the past when he spoke to Israel “beyond the Jordan” and endeavored “to explain the law” (Deut 1:5). He retold the great victory over Sihon (2:24-37) in order to recall how it had been a rallying point in going against Og of Bashan (3:1-11), and to inspire confidence in God with respect to nations still before them across the Jordan (29:7; 31:4). It is of interest to observe that other peoples told about Sihon’s defeat and spread the news, causing dread among the inhabitants on the W side of the Jordan (Josh 2:10; 9:10).

Joshua used Sihon’s defeat as a significant point of reference in Israel’s past as he recounted great victories and apportioned the conquered land to certain tribes (12:2, 5; 13:10, 21, 27). Historians included occasional references to it: Jephthah confronted by the belligerent Ammonites related to them how Sihon dared to engage Israel in battle and how he had been defeated (Judg 11:12-28, esp. vv. 19 and 20); the territory assigned by Solomon to Geber in Trans-Jordan was known as Gilead and also as “the country of Sihon king of the Amorites” (1 Kings 4:19). Ezra, addressing his people in a public confession of sin, spoke about great events of Israel’s past, including the defeat of Sihon (Neh 9:22). Psalmists reviewing and retelling past events wrote and sang about the way God gave victory over Sihon (Pss 135:11; 136:19). Jeremiah in an oracle against Moab declared that destructive fire shall come forth from the “house of Sihon” to bring about the collapse of Moab (Jer 48:45).

HESHBON hĕsh’ bŏn (חֶשְׁבֹּ֖ון; ̔Εσεβῶν, reckoning, account). A city c. eighteen m. E of the Jordan, and c. fifty m. E of Jerusalem, and c. nine m. N of Madaba; between the brooks Jabbok and Arnon. According to Numbers 21:25-30 it was originally Moabite. Sihon, king of the Amorites, wrested it from the Moabites and made it his capital (Num 21:25f.). It was taken from Sihon by the Israelites under Moses on their way to Canaan. It was located on the border of Reuben and Gad, although actually within the territory assigned to Reuben (Num 32:37). The Reubenites rebuilt it after the conquest of Canaan (Num 32:37). Gad later came into possession of it, and it was assigned as a town of Gad to the Merarite Levites (Josh 21:39; 1 Chron 6:81). Later it again fell into the hands of the Moabites, as the prophets repeatedly mention it in their denunciations of Moab (Isa 15:4; 16:8, 9; Jer 48:2, 34, 45; 49:3). In later days the Maccabees and Herod the Great controlled it (Jos. Antiq. 13. 15. 4; 15. 8. 5). It was located on the site of the modern Hesban. Ruins of the city which are chiefly Rom., lie on the summit of a hill and are about a m. in circuit. Nearby there is a large ruined reservoir, which may be the “pools of Heshbon” mentioned in the Song of Solomon (7:4).

Deuteronomy 3:3  "So the LORD our God delivered Og also, king of Bashan, with all his people into our hand, and we smote them until no survivor was left.

Related Passages:

Deuteronomy 2:33-34+ “The LORD our God delivered him (SIHON) over to us, and we defeated him with his sons and all his people. 34“So we captured all his cities at that time and utterly destroyed (charam) the men, women and children of every city. We left no survivor.

Numbers 21:33-35+ Then they turned and went up by the way of Bashan, and Og the king of Bashan went out with all his people, for battle at Edrei. 34 But the LORD said to Moses, “Do not fear him, for I have given him into your hand, and all his people and his land; and you shall do to him as you did to Sihon, king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon.” 35 So they killed him and his sons and all his people, until there was no remnant left him; and they possessed his land.

Israel Defeats Og and Sihon (ESV Study Bible)
(Click to Enlarge)

So - Term of conclusion. God promised it and God kept His promise.

The LORD our God delivered (given; Lxxparadidomi = into power of another)  Og also, king of Bashan, with all his people into our hand - Here Moses is explaining how Yahweh had given Og into Israel's hands. God is faithful to His Word and He delivered Og into their power. It was Yahweh's power that delivered, but Israel's responsibility to exercise that power.

:LORD our God -Deut. 1:6; Deut. 1:19; Deut. 1:20; Deut. 1:25; Deut. 1:41; Deut. 2:29; Deut. 2:33; Deut. 2:36; Deut. 2:37; Deut. 3:3; Deut. 4:7; Deut. 5:2; Deut. 5:24; Deut. 5:25; Deut. 5:27; Deut. 6:20; Deut. 6:24; Deut. 6:25; Deut. 29:15; Deut. 29:18; Deut. 29:29; 

HAND (יָד, 03027, hand; כַּף,  palm of hand; יָמִינ֒, , right hand; שְׂמֹאל, , left hand; Gr. χεῖρ, hand; δεξία, right hand; ἀριστερά, left hand). The hand is used more than any other part of the body. It includes not only the agile fingers (Ge 41:42) but the wrist on which Abraham’s servant put the bracelets for Rebekah (Gen 24:22 KJV). Generally the hand suggests power (Ex 14:30+

Into our (your) hand - Is used 5x in Deuteronomy and speaks of Yahweh giving Israel's adversary into their power - Deu 2:24 Deu 2:30 Deu 3:2 Deu 7:24 Deu 20:13

And we smote them until no survivor was left  (see utterly destroyed in Dt 3:6+) -  Total annihilation reflecting "holy war." The Septuagint says there was "none left (kataleipo) of his descendants (sperma)." In other words the lineage of Og was totally and completely terminated forever! 

Deuteronomy 3:4  "We captured all his cities at that time; there was not a city which we did not take from them: sixty cities, all the region of Argob, the kingdom of Og in Bashan.

  • all his cities: Nu 32:33-42 Jos 12:4 13:30,31 
  • all the region: 1Ki 4:13 
  • Deuteronomy 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Numbers 32:33+ So Moses gave to them, to the sons of Gad and to the sons of Reuben and to the half-tribe of Joseph’s son Manasseh, the kingdom of Sihon, king of the Amorites and the kingdom of Og, the king of Bashan, the land with its cities with their territories, the cities of the surrounding land.

We captured (Lxx = krateo = held in one's grasp and power) all his cities at that time; there was not a city which we did not take from them - We captured = Israel carried out their responsibility (by faith - they believed Yahweh had delivered Og the giant into their hands) to lay hold of God's promise. Yahweh gave Israel total domination over his kingdom. Of course, in the final analysis the ultimate victory belongs to the LORD!

Captured (caught) (03920lakad means to capture, seize, catch, as in a net, trap or pit (Ps 9:15). Literally and figuratively, the latter sense poignantly illustrated in Pr 5:22+ where Solomon notes that the wicked is captured with the cords of his own sins (exactly what happened to Solomon! - 1 Ki 11:1-11) (Josh 6:20, cf 1Sa 14:41-42). Captured (defeated) cities (Dt 2:34, 35; 3:4, Jericho = Josh 6:20; Jdg 1:8, 12-13, 18). 

Sixty cities, all the region of Argob, the kingdom of Og in Bashan - Argob was the heart of Og's kingdom within the larger area known as Bashan (see Bashan in northern area). It is interesting that the text does not say they utterly destroyed the cities (as they had done to the people), suggesting that the cities were part of their spoil and booty.

Deuteronomy 3:5  "All these were cities fortified with high walls, gates and bars, besides a great many unwalled towns.

Related Passages:

Deuteronomy 1:28+   ‘Where can we go up? Our brethren have made our hearts melt, saying, “The people are bigger and taller than we; the cities are large and fortified to heaven. And besides, we saw the sons of the Anakim there.”’

Numbers 13:28+  “Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large; and moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak there.

Psalm 135:10-11+ He smote many nations And slew mighty (atsumkings,  11 Sihon, king of the Amorites, And Og, king of Bashan, And all the kingdoms of Canaan; 

Psalm 136:18-22+ And slew mighty kings, For His lovingkindness is everlasting:  19 Sihon, king of the Amorites, For His lovingkindness is everlasting,  20 And Og, king of Bashan, For His lovingkindness is everlasting,  21 And gave their land as a heritage, For His lovingkindness is everlasting,  22 Even a heritage to Israel His servant, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. 


Intimidation by the cities fortified with high walls had led to unbelief in the first generation, which resulted in failure to possess the possessions God had promised them. Unbelief is always the great hindrance to laying hold of the precious and magnificent promises of God (2 Pe 1:4+). 

Holman Old Testament Commentary - It should be noted that the word city does not suggest an area of exceptional size or population. Archaeologists have discovered that the typical fortified settlement of the time enclosed an area of five to fifteen acres and would have housed no more than a few thousand people.

All these were cities fortified with high walls, gates and bars, besides a great many unwalled towns - NLT - "High walls and barred gates." The picture is of a formidable fortress. Since the Most High God (Who is "higher" than any "high wall"!) had delivered Og into Israel's hand/power, their high walls were no obstacle to the Israelites, despite the fact that the first generation had considered them to be a major obstacle. The point is that 60 walled cities would be a formidable obstacle against easy conquest and yet their conquest was complete because God was fighting for them.

THOUGHT - We need to apply this principle to the obstacles that would seek to defeat each of us in our growth in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As Paul makes clear in Romans 8:31+ "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?" The apostle John adds "You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.... For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1 Jn 4:4+, 1 Jn 5:4-5+) This begs the question, are we living like victors in Christ? 

Earl Kalland points out "This success was fixed in Israel's memory (Num 32:33; Josh 9:10; Ps 135:10-11; Ps 136:18-22).(The Expositor's Bible Commentary – Volume 3: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel)

Utley - These cities were built from volcanic rock blocks and were quite large. They presented a rather intimidating sight. Their size may have reflected the population of the race of people living there. However, the faith of the Israelites was stronger than their fear of the giants (cf. 2:20–24).

Fortified (made "impenetrable") (01219batsar) means to gather, restrain, fence, fortify, make inaccessible, enclose.  Batsar refers to that which is inaccessible. A verb indicating to be inaccessible or make inaccessible, to be thwarted. It describes the possibility of something being done or accomplished or found out (Gen. 11:6). In its passive sense, it describes the impossibility of something being thwarted or frustrated, such as God’s counsel or purpose (Job 42:2). Used as a noun, it refers to unattainable knowledge or things, great and mighty things (NASB, Jer. 33:3). It means to strengthen or fortify in the sense of making a city or wall inaccessible (Isa. 22:10; Jer. 51:53). All uses in Deuteronomy - Deut. 1:28; Deut. 3:5; Deut. 9:1; Deut. 24:21; Deut. 28:52;

THOUGHT - In the OT there were physical fortresses, but in the NT Paul describes spiritual fortresses which in some ways are more dangerous as they keep God's soul saving truth from penetrating one's mind and heart. And yet just was with Israel's confrontation of strong adversaries, God has given us as believers His supernatural power to destroy mental/spiritual fortresses, Paul writing "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for (term of explanation) the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful (dunatos) for the destruction (kathairesis - tearing down) of fortresses (ochuroma related to the word ochuros used here in the Septuagint to describe the cities as "fortified"). We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,." (2 Cor 10:3-5+) So may God by His grace and His Spirit enable each of us to continually "Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love." (1 Cor 16:13-14+) In Jesus' victorious Name. Amen.

Deuteronomy 3:6  "We utterly destroyed them, as we did to Sihon king of Heshbon, utterly destroying the men, women and children of every city.

  • we utterly: De 2:34 Dt 20:16-18 Lev 27:28,29 Nu 21:2 Jos 11:14 
  • as we did: De 3:2 2:24,34 Ps 135:10-12 136:19-21 
  • Deuteronomy 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Deuteronomy 20:16-18+ “Only in the cities of these peoples that the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, you shall not leave alive anything that breathes (THIS REFERS TO HUMAN BEINGS FOR LIVESTOCK WERE TO BE BOOTY - Dt 3:7). 17 “But you shall utterly destroy them, the Hittite and the Amorite, the Canaanite and the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, as the LORD your God has commanded you, 18 so that (PURPOSE [AND JUSTIFICATION] FOR SUCH COMPLETE CANAANITE GENOCIDE!) they may not teach you to do according to all their detestable things which they have done for their gods, so that (PURPOSE OF PREVENTING PAGAN TEACHING) you would sin against the LORD your God. 

Leviticus 18:24-26+ ‘Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled. 25 ‘For the land has become defiled, therefore I have brought its punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants. 26 ‘But as for you, you are to keep My statutes and My judgments and shall not do any of these abominations, neither the native, nor the alien who sojourns among you

Deuteronomy 9:5+ “It is not for your righteousness or for the uprightness of your heart that you are going to possess their land, but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD your God is driving them out before you, in order to confirm the oath which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 

Joshua 12:1-5 Now these are the kings of the land whom the sons of Israel defeated, and whose land they possessed beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise, from the valley of the Arnon (SOUTH) as far as Mount Hermon (NORTH), and all the Arabah to the east: 2 Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon, and ruled from Aroer, which is on the edge of the valley of the Arnon, both the middle of the valley and half of Gilead, even as far as the brook Jabbok, the border of the sons of Ammon; 3 and the Arabah as far as the Sea of Chinneroth (Galilee) toward the east, and as far as the sea of the Arabah, even the Salt Sea, eastward toward Beth-jeshimoth, and on the south, at the foot of the slopes of Pisgah; 4 and the territory of Og king of Bashan, one of the remnant of Rephaim, who lived at Ashtaroth and at Edrei, 5 and ruled over Mount Hermon and Salecah and all Bashan, as far as the border of the Geshurites and the Maacathites, and half of Gilead, as far as the border of Sihon king of Heshbon.


The idiom take no prisoners means literally means to leave no enemies combatants alive, such as on a battlefield (i.e., to kill everyone instead of taking any prisoners). The military term is "No Quarter."

NET = "We put all of these under divine judgment just as we had done to King Sihon of Heshbon– every occupied city, including women and children" (Dt 3:6NET)

We utterly destroyed them ("devoted them to destruction" = ESV; "laid them under the curse of destruction" = NJB; "claimed them all for God" = GWN), as we did to Sihon king of Heshbon, utterly destroying the men, women and children of every city - Note the Key Word is utterly destroyed! NET = "We put all of these under divine judgment" (Dt 3:6 NET) NET Note explains that  "Divine judgment refers to God's designation of certain persons, places, and things as objects of his special wrath and judgment because, in his omniscience, he knows them to be impure and hopelessly unrepentant." 

Holman Old Testament Commentary -  The phrase utterly destroyed translates a single Hebrew verb (charam), a term with a technical meaning, "to devote to destruction" as a religious act. It suggests that in putting the inhabitants of Bashan to the sword, Israel acted directly under divine instruction. As God will point out later (see Dt 20:16) and as Israel had already discovered to their shame, the nation would not prove resistant to the blandishments of an idolatrous native population. Had they left that population intact and simply moved in alongside them, Israel's spiritual history would have been even worse than it was.

Utterly destroyed is used twice both times translated in the Septuagint with exolethreuo (from ek = intensifies meaning + olothreuo = to destroy, used in Heb 11:28+, Ex 12:23+Jos 3:10) means to utterly destroy, root out, completely cut off, to eliminate by destruction The word never means cessation of existence or extinction but a change in state which involves judgment! 

Utley - This reflects the Hebrew concept of herem, or “under the ban” (cf. v.6). The following is a representative sample of OT references to this term which shows how it was used in different ways. The concept of herem or “holy war,” “ban,” or “corban”:
    1.      total destruction—nothing that breathes is left alive, nothing material can be taken out (cf. Deut. 20:16–18; 1 Sam. 15:3; Josh. 7)
    2.      kill all the people, but leave the cattle (cf. Deut. 2:34, 35; 3:6, 7)
    3.      kill only the men (cf. Deut. 20:10–15)

The psalmist helps us understand why God at times commanded "radical surgery" for the moral cancer of a certain people group (Ps 106:34-42+)

They (ISRAEL) did not destroy the peoples, As the LORD commanded them (THIS LED TO A MAJOR PROBLEM IN THE BOOK OF JUDGES AND ULTIMATELY LED TO THEIR EXILE), 35 But they mingled with the nations And learned their practices (THIS IS THE KEY - PLAYING WITH FIRE WILL USUALLY GET YOU BURNED!),  36 And served their idols, Which became a snare to them.  37 They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons (CHILD SACRIFICE AN ABOMINATION TO YAHWEH!),  38 And shed innocent blood, The blood of their sons and their daughters, Whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; And the land was polluted with the blood (WOE TO AMERICA!). 39 Thus they became unclean in their practices, And played the harlot in their deeds.  40 Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against His people And He abhorred His inheritance.  41 Then He gave them into the hand of the nations, And those who hated them ruled over them (ASSYRIA AND BABYLON).  42 Their enemies also oppressed them, And they were subdued under their power. 

Wiersbe - Liberal critics of the Bible express concern at the way Israel destroyed entire nations, killed “innocent people,” and confiscated their cities and their lands. But how “innocent” were these people? The critics of Scripture (and God) may not realize that the nations Israel encountered east of the Jordan and in Canaan itself were indescribably wicked. They were brutal people who sacrificed their own children to the false gods that they worshiped. Male and female prostitutes served in their temples and sexual intercourse was an important part of the Canaanite religion. These people were not left without a witness from God in creation (Rom. 1:18ff) as well as through the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who had lived in Canaan. Furthermore, the news of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the plagues of Egypt, and Israel’s deliverance through the Red Sea (Josh. 2:8–11) came to the ears of these people and bore witness that Jehovah alone is the true God. God had been long-suffering with these wicked nations even in Abraham’s day, but now their time had run out and their judgment had come (Gen. 15:16). If these evil civilizations had not been exterminated, Israel would have been in constant danger of being tempted by pagan idolatry. In fact, that’s what did happen during the Period of the Judges, and God had to chasten His people to bring them back to the true God. Israel had important work to do on earth in producing the written Scriptures and bringing the Savior into the world, and imitating the pagan nations would have polluted Israel and threatened God’s great plan of salvation for mankind. (Be Equipped)

Utterly destroyed (destroyed completely)(02763)(charam - see related word  herem = devoted, utterly destroy, curse) to destroy, to doom, to devote, to ban. It designates a special act of consecration. Surrendering something irrevocably to God. It involves consecration of something or someone as a permanent and definitive offering for the sanctuary; or in war, the consecration of a city and its inhabitants to destruction and the carrying out of this destruction. The vb. denotes also the total annihilation of a population in war.This word is most commonly associated with the Israelites destroying the Canaanites upon their entry into the Promised Land (Deut. 7:2; Josh. 11:20). Walter Kaiser says the idea is that it is "something devoted to God; however, it is not a voluntary but an involuntary dedication. It is now set apart to be banned from the earth and will totally come back to God." In the Moabite Mesha inscription King Mesha uses the hi. of the vb., consecrate to destruction, to explain that he slaughtered all the inhabitants of Nebo because he made the city a devoted city to his god Chemosh.

Deuteronomy 2:34   “So we captured all his (Sihon) cities at that time and utterly destroyed the men, women and children of every city. We left no survivor.

Deuteronomy 7:2   and when the LORD your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them.

Deuteronomy 13:15  you shall surely strike the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying it and all that is in it and its cattle with the edge of the sword.

Deuteronomy 20:17  But you shall utterly destroy them, the Hittite and the Amorite, the Canaanite and the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, as the LORD your God has commanded you,

QUESTION -  Why did God condone such terrible violence in the Old Testament?

ANSWER - The fact that God commanded the killing of entire nations in the Old Testament has been the subject of harsh criticism from opponents of Christianity for some time. That there was violence in the Old Testament is indisputable. The question is whether Old Testament violence is justifiable and condoned by God. In his bestselling book The God Delusionatheist Richard Dawkins refers to the God of the Old Testament as “a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser.” Journalist Christopher Hitchens complains that the Old Testament contains a warrant for “indiscriminate massacre.” Other critics of Christianity have leveled similar charges, accusing Yahweh of “crimes against humanity.”

But are these criticisms valid? Is the God of the Old Testament a “moral monster” who arbitrarily commands genocide against innocent men, women, and children? Was His reaction to the sins of the Canaanites and the Amalekites a vicious form of “ethnic cleansing”? Or is it possible that God could have had morally sufficient reasons for ordering the destruction of these nations?

A basic knowledge of Canaanite culture reveals its inherent moral wickedness. The Canaanites were a brutal, aggressive people who engaged in bestiality, incest, and even child sacrifice. Deviant sexual acts were the norm. The Canaanites ’ sin was so repellent that God said, “The land vomited out its inhabitants” (Leviticus 18:25). Even so, the destruction was directed more at the Canaanite religion (Deuteronomy 7:3–5; 12:2–3) than at the Canaanite people per se. The judgment was not ethnically motivated. Individual Canaanites, like Rahab in Jericho, could still find that mercy follows repentance (Joshua 2). God’s desire is that the wicked turn from their sin rather than die (Ezekiel 18:31–32; 33:11).

Besides dealing with national sins, God used the conquest of Canaan to create a religious/historical context in which He could eventually introduce the Messiah to the world. This Messiah would bring salvation not only to Israel, but also to Israel’s enemies, including Canaan (Psalm 87:4–6; Mark 7:25–30).

It must be remembered that God gave the Canaanite people more than sufficient time to repent of their evil ways—over 400 years! The book of Hebrews tells us that the Canaanites were “disobedient,” which implies moral culpability on their part (Hebrews 11:31). The Canaanites were aware of God’s power (Joshua 2:10–11; 9:9) and could have sought repentance. Except in rare instances, they continued their rebellion against God until the bitter end.

But didn’t God also command the Israelites to kill non-combatants? The biblical record is clear that He did. Here again, we must remember that, while it is true the Canaanite women did not fight, this in no way means they were innocent, as their seductive behavior in Numbers 25 indicates (Numbers 25:1–3). However, the question still remains: what about the children? This is not an easy question to answer, but we must keep several things in mind.

First, no human person (including infants) is truly innocent. The Scripture teaches that we are all born in sin (Psalm 51:5; 58:3). This implies that all people are morally culpable for Adam’s sin in some way. Infants are just as condemned from sin as adults are.

Second, God is sovereign over all of life and can take it whenever He sees fit. God and God alone can give life, and God alone has the right to take it whenever He so chooses. In fact, He ultimately takes every person’s life at death. It is not our life to begin with but God’s. While it is wrong for us to take a life, except in instances of capital punishment, war, and self-defense, this does not mean that it is wrong for God to do so. We intuitively recognize this when we accuse some person or authority who takes human life as “playing God.” God is under no obligation to extend anyone’s life for even another day. How and when we die is completely up to Him.

Third, an argument could be made that it would have been cruel for God to take the lives of all the Canaanites except the infants and children. Without the protection and support of their parents, the infants and small children were likely to face death anyway due to starvation. The chances of survival for an orphan in the ancient Near East were not good.

Finally, the children of Canaan would have likely grown up sympathetic to the evil religions their parents had practiced. It was time for the culture of idolatry and perversion to end in Canaan, and God wanted to use Israel to end it. Also, the orphaned children of Canaan would naturally have grown up resentful of the Israelites. Likely, some would have later sought to avenge the “unjust” treatment of their parents and return Canaan to paganism.

It’s also worth considering the eternal state of those infants killed in Canaan. If God took them before the age of moral accountability, then they went straight to heaven (as we believe). Those children are in a far better place than if they had lived into adulthood as Canaanites .

Surely, the issue of God commanding violence in the Old Testament is difficult. However, we must remember that God sees things from an eternal perspective, and His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8–9). The apostle Paul tells us that God is both kind and severe (Romans 11:22). While it is true that God’s holy character demands that sin be punished, His grace and mercy remain extended to those who are willing to repent and be saved. The Canaanite destruction provides us with a sober reminder that, while our God is gracious and merciful, He is also a God of holiness and

Walter Kaiser - Completely Destroy Them!
A chief objection to the view that the God of the Old Testament is a God of love and mercy is the divine command to exterminate all the men, women and children belonging to the seven or eight Canaanite nations. How could God approve of blanket destruction, of the genocide of an entire group of people?
Attempts to tone down the command or to mitigate its stark reality fail from the start. God’s instructions are too clear, and too many texts speak of consigning whole populations to destruction: Exodus 23:32–33; 34:11–16; and Deuteronomy 7:1–5; 20:16–18.

In most of these situations, a distinctive Old Testament concept known as herem is present. It means “curse,” “that which stood under the ban” or “that which was dedicated to destruction.” The root idea of this term was “separation”; however, this situation was not the positive concept of sanctification in which someone or something was set aside for the service and glory of God. This was the opposite side of the same coin: to set aside or separate for destruction.

God dedicated these things or persons to destruction because they violently and steadfastly impeded or opposed his work over a long period of time. This “dedication to destruction” was not used frequently in the Old Testament. It was reserved for the spoils of southern Canaan (Num 21:2–3), Jericho (Josh 6:21), Ai (Josh 8:26), Makedah (Josh 10:28) and Hazor (Josh 11:11).

In a most amazing prediction, Abraham was told that his descendants would be exiled and mistreated for four hundred years (in round numbers for 430 years) before God would lead them out of that country. The reason for so long a delay, Genesis 15:13–16 explains, was that “the sin of the Amorites [the Canaanites] has not yet reached its full measure.” Thus, God waited for centuries while the Amalekites and those other Canaanite groups slowly filled up their own cups of condemnation by their sinful behavior. God never acted precipitously against them; his grace and mercy waited to see if they would repent and turn from their headlong plummet into self-destruction.

Not that the conquering Israelites were without sin. Deuteronomy 9:5 makes that clear to the Israelites: “It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations.”

These nations were cut off to prevent the corruption of Israel and the rest of the world (Deut 20:16–18). When a nation starts burning children as a gift to the gods (Lev 18:21) and practices sodomy, bestiality and all sorts of loathsome vices (Lev 18:25, 27–30), the day of God’s grace and mercy has begun to run out.

Just as surgeons do not hesitate to amputate a gangrenous limb, even if they cannot help cutting off some healthy flesh, so God must do the same. This is not doing evil that good may come; it is removing the cancer that could infect all of society and eventually destroy the remaining good.

God could have used pestilence, hurricanes, famine, diseases or anything else he wanted. In this case he chose to use Israel to reveal his power, but the charge of cruelty against God is no more deserved in this case than it is in the general order of things in the world where all of these same calamities happen.

In the providential acts of life, it is understood that individuals share in the life of their families and nations. As a result we as individuals participate both in our families’ and nations’ rewards and in their punishments. Naturally this will involve some so-called innocent people; however, even that argument involves us in a claim to omniscience which we do not possess. If the women and children had been spared in those profane Canaanite nations, how long would it have been before a fresh crop of adults would emerge just like their pagan predecessors?

Why was God so opposed to the Amalekites? When the Israelites were struggling through the desert toward Canaan, the Amalekites picked off the weak, sick and elderly at the end of the line of marchers and brutally murdered these stragglers. Warned Moses, “Remember what the Amalekites did to you along the way when you came out of Egypt. When you were weary and worn out, they met you on your journey and cut off all who were lagging behind; they had no fear of God” (Deut 25:17–18).

Some commentators note that the Amalekites were not merely plundering or disputing who owned what territories; they were attacking God’s chosen people to discredit the living God. Some trace the Amalekites’ adamant hostility all through the Old Testament, including the most savage butchery of all in Haman’s proclamation that all Jews throughout the Persian Empire could be massacred on a certain day (Esther 3:8–11). Many make a case that Haman was an Amalekite. His actions then would ultimately reveal this nation’s deep hatred for God, manifested toward the people through whom God had chosen to bless the whole world.

In Numbers 25:16–18 and 31:1–18 Israel was also told to conduct a war of extermination against all in Midian, with the exception of the prepubescent girls, because the Midianites had led them into idolatry and immorality. It was not contact with foreigners per se that was the problem, but the threat to Israel’s relationship with the Lord. The divine command, therefore, was to break Midian’s strength by killing all the male children and also the women who had slept with a man and who could still become mothers.

The texts of Deuteronomy 2:34; 3:6; 7:1–2 and Psalm 106:34 are further examples of the principle of ḥerem, dedicating the residents of Canaan to total destruction as an involuntary offering to God. (Hard Sayings of the Bible)

BAN (verb) (חָרַמ֒, H3049, devote, consecrate to God, exterminate). The ban was a primitive religious institution, found among the Israelites and their Sem. neighbors, by which persons (and their possessions) hostile to the deity were devoted to destruction. Among the Israelites the ban particularly concerned the Canaanites, who, because of their idolatry and shameful immorality, were to be utterly consumed (Exod 23:31, 32; 34:13; Deut 7:2; 20:16, 17). Thus Jericho suffered the ban (Josh 6:17, 21), as did also the household of Achan for violating its ban (Josh 7:25). The same fate was threatened against Israel if it turned aside from Jehovah (Deut 8:19, 20; Josh 23:15). Sometimes, however, the ban was less severe. On occasion only the inhabitants of a doomed city were destroyed (Deut 2:34ff.; Josh 11:14), or only the males were put to death (Deut 20:10ff.). Apparently the practice of the ban gradually ceased, and we read no more of it after David ordered two-thirds of some captured Moabites slain (2 Sam 8:2).

The Eng. word “ban” is found only in Ezra 10:8, as a tr. of בָּדַל, H976, (KJV separate). In this passage Ezra ordered all returned exiles to assemble in Jerusalem within three days and threatened that all who refused to do so would have their property confiscated and they themselves would be banned from the congregation of Israel. Some form of excommunication is evidently involved in this ban, but its exact form is unknown.

Bibliography J. Pedersen, Israel, Its Life and Culture III-IV (1947), 26-32; P. Heinisch, Theology of the Old Testament (1950), 198, 199; W. F. Albright, From the Stone Age to Christianity (1957), 279-281; W. Eichrodt, Theology of the Old Testament, I (1961), 139-141; D. W. Thomas (Ed.), Documents from Old Testament Times (1962), 195-198.

Related Resources:

Deuteronomy 3:7  "But all the animals and the spoil of the cities we took as our booty.

Related Passages:

Deuteronomy 2:35+ “We took only the animals as our booty and the spoil of the cities which we had captured.

But - Term of contrast. Qualifies the extent of the utter destruction. 

All the animals and the spoil of the cities we took as our booty - It does not seem that Israel utterly destroyed the cities, only the people.

BOOTY boot’ i (בַּז, 0962). Booty occurs exclusively in the OT, usually tr. from baz, but also from malkoah, shalal, and meshissah. Booty was the proportionate share of spoils suitable for personal service to the captor, both soldier and civilian, after a proportion was reserved for the Levites and for “a tribute unto the Lord.” It comprised cattle, sheep, camels, asses, women, children, clothing, armor, jewelry, and money; but often silver, gold, and vessels of brass were placed in the house of the Lord. The earliest mention of booty is in Numbers 31 with reference to Moses’ instruction concerning “The booty remaining of the spoil” which the Israelite warriors took in victory over the Midianites. The precedent Moses set in equitable distribution (Num 31:27) was followed by Joshua in the conquest of Canaan (Deut 2:35; 3:7; Josh 8:2, 27; 11:14) and by David in the defeat of the Amalekite raiders (1 Sam 30:24). (Cf. Jer 49:32; Nah 3:1; Hab 2:7.)

Deuteronomy 3:8  "Thus we took the land at that time from the hand of the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, from the valley of Arnon to Mount Hermon

Related Passages:

Psalms 42:6 O my God, my soul is in despair within me; Therefore I remember You from the land of the Jordan And the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar. 
Psalm 89:12 The north and the south, You have created them; Tabor and Hermon shout for joy at Your name. 

Psalm 133:3 It is like the dew of Hermon Coming down upon the mountains of Zion; For there the LORD commanded the blessing–life forever.

Mount Hermon (Click to Enlarge)


Deuteronomy 3:8-10 summarized Israel's victories in the region of the Transjordan.

Transjordan is a term frequently used in commentaries to describe the land east of the Jordan River which was conquered by Israel under Moses and then was given as a possession to the tribe of Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh.

Thus (so) - Sums up all described in Dt 3:1-8. 

We took the land at that time from the hand of the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan (east of the Jordan River), from the valley of Arnon to Mount Hermon (9,232 feet, see map) - In other words Israel took the full extent of Transjordan from south to north. God promised it, they took it, God receives the glory. The Valley of Arnon is the southern extent (see on map) and snow capped Mount Hermon is the northern extent (norther boundary of Bashan) (see on map), a distance of about 140 miles.

Deuteronomy 3:9  (Sidonians call Hermon Sirion, and the Amorites call it Senir):

Sidonians call Hermon Sirion, and the Amorites call it Senir - In other words although now commonly refer to the mountain as Hermon, it was not commonly known by that name among the indigenous peoples.

NET NoteSidonians were Phoenician inhabitants of the city of Sidon (now in Lebanon), about 47 mi (75 km) north of Mount Carmel.

NET Note on Senir. Probably this was actually one of the peaks of Hermon and not the main mountain (Song of Songs 4:8; 1 Chr 5:23). It is mentioned in a royal inscription of Shalmaneser III of Assyria (saniru; see Ancient Near East Texts 280). 

HERMON (see map) hûr’ mən (חֶרְמֹֽון, a consecrated place, a sanctuary). The S spur of the Anti-lebanon chain of mountains, which runs parallel to the Lebanon range and is separated from it by the valley of Beqaa. It is c. 9,200 ft. above sea level, and is the highest mountain in Syria. It can be seen from many places in Pal., even from as far away as the Dead Sea. Because snow covers it for much of the year, the Arabs call it the “gray-haired mountain,” or the “mountain of the snow.” The water from its melting snows flow into the rivers of N Hauran and provide the principal source for the Jordan River. No trees grow above the snow line, but below it the sides are covered with trees (pine, oak, and poplar) and with vineyards. Its forests contain wolves and leopards, and sometimes Syrian bears. It is not a high summit with a distinctly marked base, but a whole cluster of mountains. Its three summits are nearly equal in height and are the same distance from each other. It extends from sixteen to twenty m. from N to S. In Deuteronomy 3:9 it says that the Sidonians call it Sirion, while the Amorites call it Senir. Sirion occurs outside of Deuteronomy 3:9 only in Psalm 29:6. Senir occurs outside of Deuteronomy 3:9 in 1 Chronicles 5:23, the Song of Solomon 4:8, and Ezekiel 27:5. Deuteronomy 4:48 has “Sion” in the KJV and “Mount Sirion” in the RSV. First Chronicles differentiates between Senir, Hermon and Baal-hermon. The Song of Solomon 4:8 speaks of the “peak of Senir and Hermon.” “Hermonites” is the mistaken KJV tr. in Psalm 42:6, which is corrected in the ASV to “Hermons,” and “Hermon” in the RSV. It was the N boundary of the Amorite kingdom (Deut 3:8; 4:48), and thus is said to lie in the territory of Og (Josh 12:5; 13:11). It was the N limit of the conquests of Joshua (Josh 11:17; 12:1; 13:5), and the N limit of the territory of Manasseh. The Hittites dwelt at the foot of Hermon in the land of Mizpeh (Josh 11:3). It is mentioned in the Bible as the N boundary of the Promised Land (Deut 3:8). In ancient times it was regarded as a sacred mountain, as its Heb. name suggests. In Judges 3:3 it is called “Mount Baal-hermon,” showing that Baal was worshiped there. Remains of shrines are found on the highest summit. It is thought by some scholars that the Transfiguration took place on Hermon. Its modern name is Jebel esh-Sheikh, “the mountain of the chief,” or Jebel eth-Thalj, “mount of snow.”

Deuteronomy 3:10  all the cities of the plateau and all Gilead and all Bashan, as far as Salecah and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan.

all the cities of the plateau and all Gilead and all Bashan, as far as Salecah and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan

SALECAH sǎl’ ə kə (סַלְכָ֖ה; KJV SALCAH and SALCHAH). The site which defined the eastward extent of Bashan (Deut 3:10; Josh 12:5; 13:11). It was apparently assigned to the eastern part of Manasseh as part of Bashan (Josh 13:29-31), but was later inhabited by Gadites (1 Chron 5:11). A suitable site with a similar, though not etymologically equivalent, name is modern Salkhad (Nabatean צלחד); located on an extinct volcanic cone just S of Jebel ed-Druze (Jebel/Mt. Hauran). It controls the SE approach to the fertile Hauran Valley (Biblical Bashan), the southern approaches to Damascus, and the western end of the desert route to the Persian Gulf. The old E-W Rom. road is still visible. Its location and importance make it the proper eastern extremity of Bashan. The chief remains are those of the citadel, the present form of which is Ayyubid although some elements are Rom. Coins of Aretas, king of the Nabateans (9 b.c.-a.d. 40) also have been found there.

Deuteronomy 3:11  (For only Og king of Bashan was left of the remnant of the Rephaim. Behold, his bedstead was an iron bedstead; it is in Rabbah of the sons of Ammon. Its length was nine cubits and its width four cubits by ordinary cubit.)

  • Rephaim: Ge 14:5 
  • Rabbath: 2Sa 12:26 Jer 49:2 Eze 21:20 Am 1:14, Rabbah
  • nine cubits: 1Sa 17:4 Am 2:9 
  • Deuteronomy 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


For only Og king of Bashan was left of the remnant of the Rephaim - Og was a "left over" giant but he was now obliterated.

Remnant (03499)(yether from yathar = to remain over) means "remainder, the rest, abundance, excellence, a cord. The word refers to that which is left over. 

Behold, (hinneh = "Pay attention!") his bedstead was an iron bedstead; it is in Rabbah of the sons of Ammon. Its length was nine cubits and its width four cubits by ordinary cubit - NET - It is thirteen and a half feet long and six feet wide according to standard measure.) (Dt 3:11NET)  Rabbah, capital of Ammon (2 Sa. 11:1; Amos 1:13-14), is modern-day Amman, Jordan

The interpretation of this iron bedstead is thought by some to be a burial sarcophagus, but it is still an enigma to scholars, since this episode came at the beginning of the iron age when iron was uniquely valuable. Either way it gives clear evidence of a very intimidating people which helps one understand why the first generation spies became fearful of entering the promised land (cf Nu 13:33+).

NET Note on bedstead - The Hebrew term fr,[, ('eres), traditionally translated "bed" (cf. NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT) is likely a basaltic (volcanic) stone sarcophagus of suitable size to contain the coffin of the giant Rephaite king. Its iron-like color and texture caused it to be described as an iron container. See A. Millard, "King Og's Iron Bed: Fact or Fancy?" BR 6 (1990): 16-21, 44; cf. also NEB "his sarcophagus of basalt"; TEV, CEV "his coffin."

Bedstead (bed) (06210)(eres) divan, couch, a bedstead, a place for resting, sleeping (Dt. 3:11); a place of comfort and refreshment (Job 7:13, Ps 132:3); a place of sorrow and weeping (Ps. 6:6). The Lord is with those who are sick on their beds (Ps. 41:3). It refers to a couch of prostitute to seduce the fool (Pr. 7:16); Positively, it is place of love and pleasure for bride and bridegroom (Song 1:16). Drawing on the use of an ʿeres as a site for rest and relaxation, the prophet Amos negatively described the idle luxury of the Samaritans as lazy, overindulgent people sitting on their couches (Amos 3:12). He further criticized the complacency of Israel (Amos 6:4).

Eres - 9v - Deut. 3:11; Job 7:13; Ps. 6:6; Ps. 41:3; Ps. 132:3; Prov. 7:16; Cant. 1:16; Amos 3:12; Amos 6:4

Guzik comments that "The repeated references to the rephaim in these first three chapters shows that Israel, when trusting in God, was well able to defeat this race of fearsome warriors. It also shows that their fear of these men back in Numbers 13, where they first refused to go into the Promised Land, was unfounded. Their excuses are shown to be weaker in light of the next generation’s victories.


There are two cubits (BDB 52, KB 61) in the Bible. The regular cubit is the distance between an average man’s longest finger and his elbow, usually around 18 inches (e.g., Gen. 6:15; Exod. 25:10, 17, 23; 26:2, 8, 13, 16; 27:1, 9, 12, 13, 14, 16, 18; Num. 35:4, 5; Deut. 3:11). There is also a longer cubit (royal cubit) used in construction (i.e., Solomon’s temple), which was common in Egypt (i.e., 21 fingers), Palestine (i.e., 24 fingers), and sometimes Babylon (i.e., 30 fingers). It was about 21 inches long (cf. Ezek. 40:5; 43:13).

The ancients used parts of the human body for measurement. The people of the ancient Near East used:
    1. length from elbow to middle finger (cubit)
    2. width from outstretched thumb to little finger (span, cf. Exod. 28:16; 39:9; 1 Sam. 17:4)
    3. length between all four fingers of a closed hand (handbreadth, cf. Exod. 25:25; 37:12; 1 Kgs. 7:26; 2 Chr. 4:5)
    4. length of middle joint of finger (fingerbreadth, Jer. 52:21)

The cubit (BDB 52, KB 61) was not completely standardized, but there were two basic lengths.

  • normal male’s elbow to middle finger (about 18 inches, cf. Deut. 3:11)
  • royal cubit was a bit longer (about 20 inches, cf. 2 Chr. 3:3; Ezek. 40:5; 43:13)

QUESTION - Who were the Rephaim?

ANSWER - There are several passages in the Old Testament that speak of the Rephaim (or Rephaites), and the context describes them as giants. The name of these people literally means “terrible ones.”

The Hebrew word Rephaim has two distinct meanings: first, in poetic literature it refers to departed spirits whose dwelling place was Sheol. It is a figurative description of the dead, similar to our concept of a ghost. The second meaning of Rephaim is “a mighty people with tall stature who lived in Canaan.” The word doesn’t seem to be ethno-centric like “Jew” or “Egyptian” but is more of a descriptive term. This second meaning will be the focus of this article.

The first reference to the Rephaim is Genesis 14:5, when the Rephaim, Zuzim and Emim people were defeated in a battle with Kedorlaomer and his allies. When the Israelites first approached the Promised Land after the Exodus from Egypt, they were afraid to enter the land because it was filled with “giants” (the word used in Numbers 13:33 is Nephilim), the sons of Anak. Giants were widely scattered through Canaan, but were known by different local names, including Rephaim, Zuzim, Emim, and Anakim. Deuteronomy 2:20–21 says the Rephaim were strong and tall, like the Anakites. Og, king of Bashan, was described as the last of the Rephaim in his land (Deuteronomy 3:11), and his bed was thirteen feet long and six feet wide.

Is it possible that the Rephaim were literal giants? The Septuagint uses the Greek words gigas and titanes (the source of the English titan) to translate these and other verses, so the ancient Jews certainly considered them to be giants. They are described generally as being between 7 and 10 feet tall and are called “mighty men.” The Egyptians wrote about giants who lived in the land of Canaan, and the folklore of other nations is full of such references. The people of the ancient world accepted the presence of giants as a fact of history, and the Bible presents them as enemies who were destroyed either by the judgment of God or in battle with men.

So where did these giants come from? One theory, based on Genesis 6:1–4, is that fallen angels (the sons of God) had sexual relations with women, resulting in the birth of giants. This is remarkably similar to Greek and Roman myths about demi-gods, but the theory has some theological and biological obstacles. Another theory, also based on Genesis 6, is that the fallen angels, having knowledge of human genetics, indwelt certain men and women who would have the right traits to produce a race of giants and induced them to cohabit with each other. A third theory is that the giants were simply the result of normal genetic variability within a society. Whatever the origin of the Rephaim, it is certain that a race of “giants”—strong, tall people—did exist at one time, and many cultures had dealings with them. Even today, there are people who grow to extreme sizes, whether through genetic disorders like gigantism or through normal heredity.

QUESTION - Who was Og king of Bashan? (see here also)

ANSWER Og king of Bashan was a mighty and infamous Amorite king in the days of Moses who fought the Israelites on their way to the Promised Land. God granted the Israelites victory over King Og’s forces, and Moses and the Israelites possessed Bashan, a fruitful land east of the Jordan River. The victory was significant because of the fearsome strength of Og and the relative inexperience of the Israelite forces.

Leading up to the Israelites’ encounter with Og king of Bashan was a battle with another Amorite king, Sihon. Moses had requested that Sihon allow the Israelites to pass through his land—they promised not to take any of the Amorites ’ resources along the way—but instead of granting permission, Sihon mustered his forces and attacked the Israelites. God enabled Moses and the people of Israel to defeat the Amorites and take their land (Numbers 21:21–31). Then the Israelites made their way toward Bashan, and King Og came out to confront them at Edrei (verse 33). The Israelites were frightened because Og’s reputation preceded him. But God reassured Moses, saying, “Do not be afraid of him, for I have delivered him into your hands, along with his whole army and his land” (verse 34).

The battle between the forces of Og and Moses is described in greater detail in the book of Deuteronomy. There we read that Og was king over sixty fortified cities, all of which the Israelites captured (Deuteronomy 3:3–7). He was also a very large man—his bed was made of iron and was of enormous size: nine cubits long and four cubits wide (13.5 feet long and 6 feet wide). The inclusion of this detail emphasizes the size of Og. A man needing this size of bed was likely very tall—ten or eleven feet. This interpretation is supported by the fact that Og was one of the last of the Rephaites (Deuteronomy 3:11), which means he was strong and tall (see Deuteronomy 2:20–21).

The Rephaites (or Rephaim) were a group of people who lived in Canaan and elsewhere at the time of Moses and Joshua. The word Rephaites is not an ethnic but rather a descriptive term; it literally means “terrible ones.” The Rephaim were giants and fierce fighters. Earlier, when the Israelites had first tried to enter the Promised Land, the spies reported the land was populated by giants, whom they called “Nephilim” and “sons of Anak” (Numbers 13:32–33).

Og king of Bashan was one of the last of this race of giants. Goliath, the giant who fought David, was likely another. Og and his sons all lost their lives in their foolish opposition to God’s people (Numbers 21:35). Despite King Og’s great size and strength, God gave Israel’s army the victory, and they possessed the land of Bashan. The half-tribe of Manasseh inherited Og’s territory (Joshua 13:29–30). There is no obstacle too large for God; there is nothing impossible for Him (Matthew 19:26). God does not quake before giants, and neither should His children.

Deuteronomy 3:12  "So we took possession of this land at that time. From Aroer, which is by the valley of Arnon, and half the hill country of Gilead and its cities I gave to the Reubenites and to the Gadites.

Related Passage: 

Numbers 32:28-42+ So Moses gave command concerning them to Eleazar the priest, and to Joshua the son of Nun, and to the heads of the fathers’ households of the tribes of the sons of Israel. 29 Moses said to them, “If the sons of Gad and the sons of Reuben, everyone who is armed for battle, will cross with you over the Jordan in the presence of the LORD, and the land is subdued before you, then you shall give them the land of Gilead for a possession; 30 but if they will not cross over with you armed, they shall have possessions among you in the land of Canaan.” 31 The sons of Gad and the sons of Reuben answered, saying, “As the LORD has said to your servants, so we will do. 32 “We ourselves will cross over armed in the presence of the LORD into the land of Canaan, and the possession of our inheritance shall remain with us across the Jordan.”  33 So Moses gave to them, to the sons of Gad and to the sons of Reuben and to the half-tribe of Joseph’s son Manasseh, the kingdom of Sihon, king of the Amorites and the kingdom of Og, the king of Bashan, the land with its cities with their territories, the cities of the surrounding land.  (SEE MAP BELOW) 34 The sons of Gad built Dibon and Ataroth and Aroer, 35 and Atroth-shophan and Jazer and Jogbehah, 36 and Beth-nimrah and Beth-haran as fortified cities, and sheepfolds for sheep. 37 The sons of Reuben built Heshbon and Elealeh and Kiriathaim, 38 and Nebo and Baal-meon–their names being changed–and Sibmah, and they gave other names to the cities which they built. 39 The sons of Machir the son of Manasseh went to Gilead (SEE MAP BELOW - THE YELLOWISH REGION TO THE EAST OF THE RIVER JORDAN) and took it, and dispossessed the Amorites who were in it (SEE NOTE). 40 So Moses gave Gilead to Machir the son of Manasseh, and he lived in it. 41 Jair the son of Manasseh went and took its towns, and called them Havvoth-jair. 42 Nobah went and took Kenath and its villages, and called it Nobah after his own name.  

Land Given to Reuben, Gad, Manasseh

So - Continues the narrative from Dt 3:8 after the intervening parenthetical additions in Dt 3:9-11.

ESV Study Bible - Dt 3:12-17 Distribution of Transjordanian Land.. These verses recapitulate the distribution of the lands of Sihon and Og to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh (Nu 32:1-42+; Nu 34:13-15+). The repeat of this in Deuteronomy underscores that the possession of the Promised Land has begun, which should make Israel more confident to cross the Jordan and conquer the remaining land.

We took possession (yarash) of this land at that time = Israel by grace through faith had finally begun to lay hold of God's promises. 

THOUGHT - Israel believed God and obeyed Him and thus possessed their possessions, which is exactly how we as believers today can possess our possessions (cf 2 Pe 1:3+, Eph 1:3+). We have all things we need spiritually in Christ (cf Col 2:3+ and Col 2:10+), but like ancient Israel, we need to "go in" by faith, faith that obeys, and thereby lay hold of God's precious and magnificent promises in Christ Jesus ( 2 Pe 1:4+). In the OT Israel's obedience brought the blessing of a PROMISED LAND, but in the NT, our faith enabled obedience brings us the blessing of a PROMISED LIFE, a life abundant (perissos) in Christ (Jn 10:10). Are you living the abundant life? You can be, but you need to lay aside every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles you, fight  the good fight of faith (1 Ti 6:12+) and run with endurance, fixing your eyes on Jesus, the One Who has finished the race victoriously (Heb 12:1-2+). Let it be so Lord for each person reading this note. In Jesus' all-sufficient Name. Amen.

Possession (KEY WORD IN DEUTERONOMY)(03425)(yerushshah from yarash = to posses) means possession, inheritance. It described the right to inherit the land. It could be an inheritance given or to a possession taken by force (or both). Reuben, Gad and half tribe of Manasseh received land east of the Jordan as a "possession" from God (Dt. 3:20; cf. Josh. 1:15; 12:6f). The descendants of Lot settled in Moab (Dt. 2:9), and in Ammon which God had given them as their possession (Dt 2:19), even as He had given did the descendants of Esau the area of Mount Seir (aka Edom - Dt. 2:5). After the civil war involving the tribe of Benjamin, the leaders of Israel were concerned that the depleted tribe not lose an inheritance; they planned "a possession" for Benjamin, according to Judg. 21:17. During the Babylonian siege of Judah, Jeremiah bought at Anathoth a parcel of land to which he retained the right of "possession" (Jer. 32:8). David declares that all those who fear God's name receive "an inheritance" (Ps. 61:5).

It is interesting to note that about 400 years later King Jehoshaphat used this same word (yerushshah) in an to appeal to the Lord praying "Now behold, the sons of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom You did not let Israel invade when they came out of the land of Egypt (they turned aside from them and did not destroy them) see how they are rewarding us by coming to drive us out from Your possession which You have given us as an inheritance." (2 Chr 20:10-11) Note how he appeals first indirectly to the Abrahamic Covenant (which promised the land to Israel as a permanent possession) and also appealed to the LORD Himself referring to the land as Your possession! A good prayer! 

Yerushshah - 14x in 12v - inheritance(2), own(1), possession(11) - Deut. 2:5; Deut. 2:9; Deut. 2:12; Deut. 2:19; Deut. 3:20; Jos. 1:15; Jos. 12:6; Jos. 12:7; Jdg. 21:17; 2 Chr. 20:11; Ps. 61:5; Jer. 32:8

From Aroer (see map above), which is by the valley of Arnon (see on map), and half the hill country of Gilead and its cities I gave to the Reubenites and to the Gadites (see map above) - Aroer was the southern limit of the Amorite kingdom of Sihon that was taken by Israel (Dt 2:36; Dt 3:12; Dt 4:48; Josh 12:2) 

Kalland observes that "The geographical description of the territories given to the two and a half tribes is difficult to follow in its entirety. The southern boundary at the Arnon Gorge and the western border at the Jordan are clear, but the boundary between the half tribe of Manasseh and the other two tribes cannot be clearly plotted. (The Expositor's Bible Commentary – Volume 3: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel)

NET NoteReubenites and Gadites. By the time of Moses’ address the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh had already been granted permission to settle in the Transjordan, provided they helped the other tribes subdue the occupants of Canaan (cf. Nu 32:28–42).

Deuteronomy 3:13  "The rest of Gilead and all Bashan, the kingdom of Og, I gave to the half-tribe of Manasseh, all the region of Argob (concerning all Bashan, it is called the land of Rephaim.


The rest of Gilead and all Bashan (north of Gilead - see map), the kingdom of Og, I gave to the half-tribe of Manasseh (see location on map above or here), all the region of Argob (concerning all Bashan, it is called the land of Rephaim (see note) - "The sons of Joseph made up the half-tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim (cf. Gen. 41:50, 52; 48:1–7). Manasseh’s inheritance was split, half on the eastern side of Jordan and half on the western side." (Utley)

Argob - Argob is a region in Bashan (Deut 3:4, 13, 14; 1 Ki 4:13) in the kingdom of Og containing “sixty cities,” but distinguished from the “villages (ḥavvot) of Jair” which belong to Gilead (1 Ki 4:13; the LXX reading the result of homoeoteleuton (Num 32:41; Judg 10:4; 1 Chron 2:22 and MT of 1 Kings 4:13). In contrast to all these passages Deuteronomy 3:14 wrongly includes these “villages of Jair” “in Bashan” instead of their proper location of Gilead....The location of Argob is fixed by Dt 3:4, 13, 14 supplying the western border as the territory of the Geshurites, Maachathites (i.e., the present Golan heights) and the targumistic rendering of Argob by Trachona (ṭarkônâ), “stony-region” which is the whole southern part of Bashan, from the eastern edge of el-leğā (Trachon), about twenty m. S of Damascus, approximately to Nahr er-ruggād

Half-tribe of Manasseh - mentioned in 29v - Num. 34:14; Deut. 3:13; Jos. 1:12; Jos. 4:12; Jos. 12:6; Jos. 13:7; Jos. 13:29; Jos. 18:7; Jos. 21:5; Jos. 21:6; Jos. 21:25; Jos. 21:27; Jos. 22:1; Jos. 22:7; Jos. 22:9; Jos. 22:10; Jos. 22:11; Jos. 22:13; Jos. 22:15; Jos. 22:21; 1 Chr. 5:18; 1 Chr. 5:23; 1 Chr. 5:26; 1 Chr. 6:70; 1 Chr. 6:71; 1 Chr. 12:31; 1 Chr. 12:37; 1 Chr. 27:20; 1 Chr. 27:21. Kalland points out that "The other half of Manasseh, which received its allotment in Canaan proper (see yellowish area in map), is not as often mentioned; when it is, however, the specific designation "the half-tribe of Manasseh" is not used."  (ibid)

Deuteronomy 3:14  Jair the son of Manasseh took all the region of Argob as far as the border of the Geshurites and the Maacathites, and called it, that is, Bashan, after his own name, Havvoth-jair, as it is to this day.)

  • Jair: 1Ch 2:21-23 
  • Argob: De 3:4 
  • Geshurites: Jos 13:13 2Sa 3:3 10:6 13:37
  • Bashan-havoth-jair, Nu 32:41 
  • Deuteronomy 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passage:

Numbers 32:41+ Jair the son of Manasseh went and took its towns, and called them Havvoth-jair.


Jair the son of Manasseh - Jair is a descendant but not a direct son of Manasseh. JAIR jā’ ər (יָאִֽיר, He enlightens). A son of Manasseh (Nu 32:41; Deut 3:14; Josh 13:30; 1 Kings 4:13; 1 Chr 2:22). At the time of the conquest of Canaan he occupied a number of villages in Gilead and in the region of Argob. His father was said to be Segub of Judah (1 Chr 2:22). He probably, therefore, was a descendant of Manasseh.

Took all the region of Argob (see Dt 3:4+as far as the border of the Geshurites and the Maacathites, and called it, that is, Bashan, after his own name, Havvoth-jair, as it is to this day - This is the northern border occupied by The Geshurites and the Maacathites two small kingdoms, Geshur being east of the Sea of Galilee and Maacah east of the Waters of Meron and north of Geshur. The pagan inhabitants of these two small countries/states were not conquered or driven out by Israel. Both of these small kingdoms continued to live on their land within Israel and under the governance of Israel (Josh 13:11, 13).

Geshur was "a country east of the upper Jordan in Syria. The area of these people, along with the Maacathites, was one of the borders of the territory given to Jair, the Manassite (Dt 3:14). The same boundary is mentioned in Joshua 12:5 as the limit of that which the Israelites took. The people are listed in Joshua 13:11, 13 as among those which the Israelites did not drive out but at the time of writing were existing within Israel. Geshur, along with Aram (Syria), took Havvoth-jair (formerly possessed by Jair, the Manassite) and other places from the Israelites (1 Chr 2:23). Absalom was the son of David by Maacah, daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur (2 Sa 3:3; 1 Chr 3:2). When Absalom killed his half-brother Amnon, he fled to Geshur for the protection by his grandfather, Talmai, for three years until he could return safely (2 Sam 13:37, 38). At this time Joab brought him back to Jerusalem (2 Sa 14:23, 32; 15:8).

Maacah - mā’ a ka (מַֽעֲכָה׃֙; B, Μωχᾶ, A, Μααχά; perhaps from mā’ak “squeeze, press,” hence, oppression). A small state SE of Mt. Hermon. It bordered Geshur on the S and may have crossed the Jordan to Abel-beth-maacah on the W. Jair, son of Manasseh, made conquest of the land (Deut 3:14; Josh 12:5), and it was assigned to the half tribe of Manasseh (Josh 13:29). Both Maacathites and neighboring Geshurites remained in occupancy of their lands after Jair’s conquest (Josh 13:13). During the reign of David, the king of Maacah contributed 1000 men as mercenaries to aid Ammon in war with Israel (2 Sam 10:6-8; 1 Chron 19:6, 7).

HAVVOTH-JAIR hăv’ ŏth jā’ ər (חַוֹּ֥ת יָאִֽיר, tent villages of Jair). KJV usually HAVOTH-JAIR. A settlement of villages E of the Jordan on the border of Gilead and Bashan. They were taken by Jair, the son of Segub, and named after himself (Num 32:41), and were part of the inheritance allotted by Moses to the half-tribe of Manasseh. At one time they were a part of the kingdom of Og, king of Bashan (Josh 13:29, 30). In Deuteronomy 3:14 it is said that “Jair the Manassite took all the region of Argob, that is, Bashan, as far as the border of the Geshurites and the Maacathites, and called the villages after his own name, Havvoth-jair.” According to Joshua 13:29, 30, there were sixty of them.

Deuteronomy 3:15  "To Machir I gave Gilead.

  • Machir: Ge 50:23 Nu 26:29 32:39,40 Jos 17:1-3 22:7 
  • Deuteronomy 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passage:

Genesis 50:23   Joseph saw the third generation of Ephraim’s sons; also the sons of Machir, the son of Manasseh, were born on Joseph’s knees.

To Machir I gave Gilead (see Gilead on this map) -   The son of Manasseh: while Joseph was still alive in Egypt, his older son Manasseh’s eldest son Machir brought his children to the patriarch (Ge 50:23). Machir again was at the head of the list of the sons of Manasseh (Nu 26:29); he was the father of Gilead who gave his name or was named for the area in Trans-Jordan that this family of the tribe of Manasseh inhabited (Nu 32:39, 40).

ESV Study BibleMachir was the son of Manasseh (Gen. 50:23). Here it refers to his descendants, a subsection of the tribe of Manasseh (see also Josh. 17:1).

Deuteronomy 3:16  "To the Reubenites and to the Gadites I gave from Gilead even as far as the valley of Arnon, the middle of the valley as a border and as far as the river Jabbok, the border of the sons of Ammon;

Land Given to Reuben, Gad, Manasseh

To the Reubenites and to the Gadites I gave from Gilead even as far as the valley of Arnon, the middle of the valley as a border and as far as the river Jabbok, the border of the sons of Ammon - See the land gift to these two tribes in the map above. 

Kalland - This appears to be a clarification of what is written in v.12 about the area given to Reuben and Gad. In v.12 it is said that the Reubenites and Gadites' area included half the hill country of Gilead. This makes the southern part of Gilead the northern part of Reuben and Gad, the southern border of Reuben and Gad being the Arnon Valley, and the eastern border being the Jabbok River from its headwaters in the south. The eastern border continues northward until the river bends and flows westward to the Jordan. Its western border was that part of the Jordan River and the Dead Sea that closed the gap between the northern and southern borders. (Ibid)

Valley of River Jabbok (Jim Greenhill)

Jabbok (see picture above of the valley of the river Jabbok and also the map for geographic location of "river Jabbok" - about midway up the map on right side) The loop N of Ammān formed the western boundary of the Ammonites at the time of the Conquest (Num 21:24), and the contained area was settled by the tribe of Gad, as far W as present es-Salt. The western part of the river formed a physical and political boundary between the two parts of Gilead (Deut 3:12, 16; Josh 12:2-6), and also divided the kingdoms of Sihon and Og.

Deuteronomy 3:17  the Arabah also, with the Jordan as a border, from Chinnereth even as far as the sea of the Arabah , the Salt Sea, at the foot of the slopes of Pisgah on the east.

  • Chinnereth: Nu 34:11 Jos 12:3 
  • the sea: De 4:49 Ge 13:10 14:3 19:28,29 Nu 34:11,12 Jos 3:16 12:3 15:2,5 Jos 18:19 
  • Pisgah Nu 23:14 
  • Deuteronomy 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Jordan Valley (Jordan Rift Valley) (Click to enlarge)

The Arabah also, with the Jordan as a border, from Chinnereth even as far as the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, at the foot of the slopes of Pisgah on the east - In this context, the Arabah refers to the region of the Jordan Valley and is the area that begins from above the Sea of Galilee and goes south past the Dead Sea and finally to the Gulf of Aqaba. Pisgah - is either identified with Mount Nebo or very close to it (cf Dt 32:49, Dt 34:1) See map of the land of the Reubenites which is just east of the "Salt Sea" (aka the "Dead Sea") and includes the slopes of Pisgah (and Mt Nebo). 

Chinnereth is the body of water know by at least 4 different names in Scripture - Chinnereth (Nu 34:11; Dt. 3:17; Jos. 11:2; Jos. 12:3; Jos. 13:27; Jos. 19:35; 1 Ki. 15:20). Galilee (e.g., Mt. 4:18; Mark 1:16; John 6:1),  Gennesaret (Mt. 14:34; Mk. 6:53; Lk. 5:1), Tiberias (e.g., John 6:1;23, Jn 21:1)

Salt Sea - This is the modern Dead Sea and occurs in 9v - Ge 14:3; Nu 34:3; Nu 34:12; Dt. 3:17; Jos. 3:16; Jos. 12:3; Jos. 15:2; Jos. 15:5; Jos. 18:19. The Salt Sea is also called “the eastern sea” (cf. Ezek. 47:18; Joel 2:20; Zech. 14:8) or just “the sea” (cf. Isa. 16:8; Jer. 48:32).

Arabah - ARABAH ăr’ ə bə (הָֽעֲרָבָ֖ה LXX ἡ ̓́Αραβα; the waste land, the Arabah). When the word is used with the definite article, as it most frequently is, it refers to the great rift valley running South from the Sea of Galilee including the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea and extending all the way to the Gulf of Aqabah. (SEE MAP) As such, it forms a major geographical area of the land of the Bible and certainly the most important feature of the relief of the land. In the KJV, the region occurs only twice as “Arabah” (Josh 18:18), but frequently as “desert,” “plain” or “wilderness.” The RSV transliterates more frequently as “Arabah.”....The Arabah as a whole is over 200 miles in length and falls naturally into three geographical regions, namely the Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea region and the area South of the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqabah.

John Maxwell sums up Dt 3:12-17 - This section reads like a real-estate deed. Moses was allowed to lead the start of the conquest and he supervised the first distribution of land. The conquered territory east of the Jordan was divided among Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh. A question is often raised concerning whether the east side of the Jordan was part of the Promised Land. If it was not, we can understand why Moses tried to make peace with Sihon (2:26). On the west side of the Jordan, the children of Israel were to exterminate their enemies. The land that is conquered must be occupied. Two and one-half tribes chose to live on the east side of the river. History teaches us that when the other tribes had settled into Canaan, Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh returned to the other side of the Jordan. They took little part in the national life of Israel and soon completely lost their inheritance. They appear to have been absorbed by the nations which they were supposed to overcome. Is there a lesson to all of us in this story? Are there future problems in our spiritual lives which may cause us to stop short of the total will of God? (Preacher's Commentary)

Deuteronomy 3:18  "Then I commanded you at that time, saying, 'The LORD your God has given you this land to possess it; all you valiant men shall cross over armed before your brothers, the sons of Israel.

  • I commanded: Nu 32:20-24 Jos 1:12-15 4:12,13 22:1-9 
  • Deuteronomy 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Numbers 32:20-24+ So Moses said to them (TRIBES OF REUBEN, GAD, HALF-TRIBE OF MANASSEH), “If you will do this, if you will arm yourselves before the LORD for the war, 21 and all of you armed men cross over the Jordan before the LORD until He has driven His enemies out from before Him, 22 and the land is subdued before the LORD, then afterward you shall return and be free of obligation toward the LORD and toward Israel, and this land shall be yours for a possession before the LORD. 23 “But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out. 24 “Build yourselves cities for your little ones, and sheepfolds for your sheep, and do what you have promised.” 


Then - Then marks sequence. Next in time. At that time.

I commanded you at that time, saying, 'The LORD your God has given you this land to possess (yarash) it - See Related Passages above (Numbers 32:20-24+) Moses is speaking to the tribes of Reuben, Gad and (half tribe of) Manasseh regarding the land God had given them in the Transjordan, the lands Israel had won in their conquest of the Amorite kings Sihon and Og. The land of the Transjordan was not only a gift from Jehovah, but all 12 tribes had participated in the conquest of this land, not just the tribes of Reuben, Gad and (half tribe of) Manasseh. 

Maxwell - Moses reminds his people of their potential. “Then I commanded you at that time.” Moses’ exhortation to possess the Promised Land came at a crucial time. When two and a half tribes decide to stay on the east side of the Jordan, their leader points to the other side and encourages them not to stop short of God’s best for their lives. A great leader is always asking his people to give up at any moment what they are, in order to receive all that they can become. Moses reminds the Israelites of what they can become. This issue is not “can they?” but “will they?” By reminding the people that this land is promised and given by God, Moses is helping them measure their potential not by what they see in themselves, but by what they see in God for them.  (Preacher's Commentary)

All you valiant men shall cross over armed before your brothers, the sons of Israel - So all Israel had "contributed" to the conquest of the lands for these three tribes and now these three tribes are to contribute to the conquest of land for the remaining tribes. Israel was 12 tribes but they were to act as a unified force, as brothers, as one nation under God, so to speak. 

Valiant (02428)(chayil) strength, wealth, army. This word has the basic idea of strength and influence. C P Weber - In the sense of "strength," "power," or "might" in general, ḥayil is used about twenty times: of God (Psalm 59:11), from God (Ps 18:32), physical strength of a man (Eccles. 10:10), or even of plant life (Joel 2:22). As wealth is often related to power, ḥayil is thus used to mean "wealth" about thirty times being translated "wealth," "riches," "substance," or "goods." It may be the wealth of a nation (Tyre, Ezekiel 28:4-5) an individual (e.g. Job 31:25), the wicked (Job 15:29), or from God (Dt. 8:18, etc.). Approximately eighty-five times ḥayil is used as an attribute of people. It follows ʾîsh "man" ("valiant man," 1 Kings 1:42), sometimes bēn, son" ("valiant man," 2 Sa 17:10), and most often follows gibbôr "mighty (man)" ("mighty man of valor"). The individual designated seems to be the elite warrior similar to the hero of the Homeric epic, and it may be that the gibbôr hayil was a member of a social class. Although in most contexts his military prowess was involved, he was wealthy enough to bear special taxes (2 Kings 15:20, translated because of context, "mighty men of wealth"). The use in 1 Kings 1:52 indicates that the ben ḥayil (translated "worthy man") was also to be honorable or reputable. Adonijah's life was in danger because of his treachery, not because of lack of strength or wealth. ḥayil also designates men of ability to care for Joseph's sheep (Genesis 47:6, translated "men of activity"), or to judge the people (Exodus 18:21, 25, translated able men"). When the term is used of a woman (Ruth 3:11; Proverbs 12:4; and Proverbs 31:10) it is translated virtuous" (ASV, RSV "worthy" or "good"), but it may well be that a woman of this caliber had all the attributes of her male counterpart. The use of ḥayil to designate a class of people is seldom found outside the historical books from Joshua to 2 Chronicles. Moreover the translation sometimes obscures its occurrence, such as: "men of activity," "able men," "worthy man," "men of wealth," "man of power" (1 Samuel 9:1), "man of might" (2 Kings 24:16), "strong men" (1 Chr 26:7, 9), and even "meet for the war" (KJV, Deut. 3:18). ḥayil follows ʿāśâ "do" or "make" in an idiom translated "do worthily" (Ruth 4:11), "virtuously" (Proverbs 31:29) for women, and "do valiantly" (Psalm 60:12 [H 14], et al.) for men. Resulting from the meaning "strength," ḥayil is used over one hundred times (about half of which are in Jeremiah and Ezekiel) in the sense of "army," host," or "forces." In this connection it is also translated "band of men" (1 Samuel 10:26), "band of soldiers" (Ezra 8:22), and for some reason war" meaning "army" in the phrase "captains of war" (KJV, 2 Chr 33:14). In a related sense ḥayil is used for the entourage which accompanied the queen of Sheba when she visited Solomon (1 Kings 10:2; 2 Chron. 9:1; variously translated "company," "train," "retinue"). (See online TWOT)

Chayil - 228v - able(5), armies(3), army(82), army*(1), capability(1), capable(3), elite army(1), excellence(1), excellent(2), forces(12), full(1), goods(1), great(1), might(1), mighty(1), nobly(1), power(2), retinue(2), riches(9), strength(10), strong(2), substance(1), troops(2), valiant(41), valiant*(4), valiantly(6), valor(18), very powerful(1), warriors(1), wealth(25), wealthy(1), worthy(1).
 Gen. 34:29; Gen. 47:6; Exod. 14:4; Exod. 14:9; Exod. 14:17; Exod. 14:28; Exod. 15:4; Exod. 18:21; Exod. 18:25; Num. 24:18; Num. 31:9; Num. 31:14; Deut. 3:18; Deut. 8:17; Deut. 8:18; Deut. 11:4; Deut. 33:11; Jos. 1:14; Jos. 6:2; Jos. 8:3; Jos. 10:7; Jdg. 3:29; Jdg. 6:12; Jdg. 11:1; Jdg. 18:2; Jdg. 20:44; Jdg. 20:46; Jdg. 21:10; Ruth 2:1; Ruth 3:11; Ruth 4:11; 1 Sam. 2:4; 1 Sam. 9:1; 1 Sam. 10:26; 1 Sam. 14:48; 1 Sam. 14:52; 1 Sam. 16:18; 1 Sam. 17:20; 1 Sam. 18:17; 1 Sam. 31:12; 2 Sam. 2:7; 2 Sam. 8:9; 2 Sam. 11:16; 2 Sam. 13:28; 2 Sam. 17:10; 2 Sam. 22:33; 2 Sam. 22:40; 2 Sam. 23:20; 2 Sam. 24:2; 2 Sam. 24:4; 2 Sam. 24:9; 1 Ki. 1:42; 1 Ki. 1:52; 1 Ki. 10:2; 1 Ki. 11:28; 1 Ki. 15:20; 1 Ki. 20:1; 1 Ki. 20:19; 1 Ki. 20:25; 2 Ki. 2:16; 2 Ki. 5:1; 2 Ki. 6:14; 2 Ki. 6:15; 2 Ki. 7:6; 2 Ki. 9:5; 2 Ki. 11:15; 2 Ki. 15:20; 2 Ki. 18:17; 2 Ki. 24:14; 2 Ki. 24:16; 2 Ki. 25:1; 2 Ki. 25:5; 2 Ki. 25:10; 2 Ki. 25:23; 2 Ki. 25:26; 1 Chr. 5:18; 1 Chr. 5:24; 1 Chr. 7:2; 1 Chr. 7:5; 1 Chr. 7:7; 1 Chr. 7:9; 1 Chr. 7:11; 1 Chr. 7:40; 1 Chr. 8:40; 1 Chr. 9:13; 1 Chr. 10:12; 1 Chr. 11:22; 1 Chr. 11:26; 1 Chr. 12:8; 1 Chr. 12:21; 1 Chr. 12:25; 1 Chr. 12:28; 1 Chr. 12:30; 1 Chr. 18:9; 1 Chr. 20:1; 1 Chr. 26:6; 1 Chr. 26:7; 1 Chr. 26:8; 1 Chr. 26:9; 1 Chr. 26:30; 1 Chr. 26:31; 1 Chr. 26:32; 1 Chr. 28:1; 2 Chr. 9:1; 2 Chr. 13:3; 2 Chr. 14:8; 2 Chr. 14:9; 2 Chr. 16:4; 2 Chr. 16:7; 2 Chr. 16:8; 2 Chr. 17:2; 2 Chr. 17:13; 2 Chr. 17:14; 2 Chr. 17:16; 2 Chr. 17:17; 2 Chr. 23:14; 2 Chr. 24:23; 2 Chr. 24:24; 2 Chr. 25:6; 2 Chr. 26:11; 2 Chr. 26:12; 2 Chr. 26:13; 2 Chr. 26:17; 2 Chr. 28:6; 2 Chr. 33:14; Ezr. 8:22; Neh. 2:9; Neh. 4:2; Neh. 11:6; Neh. 11:14; Est. 1:3; Est. 8:11; Job 5:5; Job 15:29; Job 20:15; Job 20:18; Job 21:7; Job 31:25; Ps. 18:32; Ps. 18:39; Ps. 33:16; Ps. 33:17; Ps. 49:6; Ps. 49:10; Ps. 59:11; Ps. 60:12; Ps. 62:10; Ps. 73:12; Ps. 76:5; Ps. 84:7; Ps. 108:13; Ps. 110:3; Ps. 118:15; Ps. 118:16; Ps. 136:15; Prov. 12:4; Prov. 13:22; Prov. 31:3; Prov. 31:10; Prov. 31:29; Eccl. 10:10; Eccl. 12:3; Isa. 5:22; Isa. 8:4; Isa. 10:14; Isa. 30:6; Isa. 36:2; Isa. 43:17; Isa. 60:5; Isa. 60:11; Isa. 61:6; Jer. 15:13; Jer. 17:3; Jer. 32:2; Jer. 34:1; Jer. 34:7; Jer. 34:21; Jer. 35:11; Jer. 37:5; Jer. 37:7; Jer. 37:10; Jer. 37:11; Jer. 38:3; Jer. 39:1; Jer. 39:5; Jer. 40:7; Jer. 40:13; Jer. 41:11; Jer. 41:13; Jer. 41:16; Jer. 42:1; Jer. 42:8; Jer. 43:4; Jer. 43:5; Jer. 46:2; Jer. 46:22; Jer. 48:14; Jer. 52:4; Jer. 52:8; Jer. 52:14; Ezek. 17:17; Ezek. 26:12; Ezek. 27:10; Ezek. 27:11; Ezek. 28:4; Ezek. 28:5; Ezek. 29:18; Ezek. 29:19; Ezek. 32:31; Ezek. 37:10; Ezek. 38:4; Ezek. 38:15; Dan. 11:7; Dan. 11:10; Dan. 11:13; Dan. 11:25; Dan. 11:26; Joel 2:11; Joel 2:22; Joel 2:25; Obad. 1:11; Obad. 1:13; Mic. 4:13; Hab. 3:19; Zeph. 1:13; Zech. 4:6; Zech. 9:4; Zech. 14:14

Armed (02502chalats has two main senses (1) to equip for war and (2) to draw out (rescue). Here it speaks of  military preparedness, equipped for war..

Deuteronomy 3:19  'But your wives and your little ones and your livestock (I know that you have much livestock) shall remain in your cities which I have given you,

But your wives and your little ones and your livestock (I know that you have much livestock) shall remain in your cities which I have given you - In other words, only the men of war (20 and older) need to cross over the Jordan to fight with their brothers. Moses says I have given you ultimately functioning as God's agent, for God Alone had given them the land and the cities. I know that you have much livestock reflects the fact that the land east of Jordan was excellent for grazing. 

Deuteronomy 3:20  until the LORD gives rest to your fellow countrymen as to you, and they also possess the land which the LORD your God will give them beyond the Jordan. Then you may return every man to his possession which I have given you.'


Until - It a time phrase that should always prompt the question "What time is it?" If something happens until a particular time, it happens during the period before that time and stops at that time. Stated another (similar) way, if something happens until a time, it happens before that time and then stops at that time.   Consider the "5P's" - Pause to Ponder the Passage then Practice it in the Power of the Spirit

The LORD gives rest to your fellow countrymen as to you - (see Dt 12:10, Dt 25:19) Note (1) it is Yahweh Who gives rest and (2) in context this "rest" is from conflict or warfare (because the Transjordan had already been conquered). The Septuagint translates rest (nuach/nuah) with the Greek verb katapauo (kata = down, here intensifying the meaning of + pauo = make to cease) means to cause to cease some activity (resulting in a period of rest), to make quite, to cause to be at rest, to grant rest. It is used in Hebrews 4:10+ "the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His (Heb 4:4+)." (Nuach translated by katapauo also found in Joshua - read some of these great uses - Josh 1:13, 15, Josh 21:44, Josh 22:4, Josh 23:1)

THOUGHT- This truth about rest begs the question - are your resting fully in God's rest or resting futilely in the world's rest? The first is contentment, while the second is chaotic!  Yahweh gives rest from conflict, but supernaturally also can provide rest even in conflict. See Rest in the Bible

ESV Study Bible on rest - Though rest here conveys simply peace after warfare, it is a theologically rich term, suggesting the well-being of God’s people in God’s place under his rule. Thus the notion hints back to the seventh day of creation (cf. Ex. 20:11) and forward to a permanent rest (Ps. 95:7-11; Heb. 3:7-4:11). Cf. Dt. 12:10; 25:19; Josh. 1:13, 15; 21:44; 22:4; 23:1.

Rest (lay, leave, place/put, set/settle, deposit)(05117nuach/nuah (cf meaning of Noah = rest) means to rest or pause and as noted from the many ways it is translated (see list of words below), nuach has many uses in the OT. Nuach essentially conveys a basic sense of absence of movement and of being settled in a particular place with overtones of finality. The first use in Ge 2:15 describes how God "put" Adam in the Garden. The next use describes a physical setting down of something (Ge 8:4, cp 2Sa 21:10, Ex 10:14, Josh 3:13).

Rest in Deuteronomy - Deut. 3:20;

Deut. 5:14 = "the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God....may rest as well as you";

Deut. 12:10 = When you cross the Jordan and live in the land which the LORD your God is giving you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies around you so that you live in security,

Deut. 14:28 = " shall deposit it in your town";

Deut. 25:19; = Therefore it shall come about when the LORD your God has given you rest from all your surrounding enemies, in the land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance to possess, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you must not forget.

Deut. 26:4; = “Then the priest shall take the basket from your hand and set it down before the altar of the LORD your God.

Deut. 26:10; = Now behold, I have brought the first of the produce of the ground which You, O LORD have given me.’ And you shall set it down before the LORD your God, and worship before the LORD your God;

And they also possess (yarash) the land which the LORD your God will give them beyond the Jordan - Once the other tribes have conquered the land and possessed their possessions. Notice twice it in this passage it is Yahweh Who gives, reminding us of the words of James that "Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with Whom there is no variation or shifting shadow." (James 1:17+)

Then (then- When used as an adverb THEN is always worth pausing to ponder and query asking questions like "What time is it? What happens next? Why does this happen now?, etc". Sequence. At that time or after that. Then usually indicates sequence and thus marks that which is next in order of time, soon after that, following next after in order of position, narration or enumeration, being next in a series (See English definitions or here). Observing then can be very useful in following the course of events in a chapter or paragraph, especially in eschatological (prophetic) passages

You may return every man to his possession which I have given you - Moses had given what Yahweh had given. It is not specifically stated that some of the men remained behind to protect the women and children. While that is possible, just as possible is that God protected them from enemy incursions while the men of war were obeying Moses' charge to fight with the other tribes to conquer the land of Canaan. 

Return (turn back, go back) (07725shub/sub  is is a common verb (over 1000x) meaning to turn, to return, to go back, to do again, to change, to withdraw, to bring back, to reestablish, to be returned, to bring back, to take, to restore, to recompense. 

Shub in Deuteronomy - Deut. 1:22; Deut. 1:25; Deut. 1:45; Deut. 3:20; Deut. 4:30; Deut. 4:39; Deut. 5:30; Deut. 13:17; Deut. 17:16; Deut. 20:5; Deut. 20:6; Deut. 20:7; Deut. 20:8; Deut. 22:1; Deut. 22:2; Deut. 23:13; Deut. 23:14; Deut. 24:4; Deut. 24:13; Deut. 24:19; Deut. 28:31; Deut. 28:60; Deut. 28:68; Deut. 30:1; Deut. 30:2; Deut. 30:3; Deut. 30:8; Deut. 30:9; Deut. 30:10; Deut. 32:41; Deut. 32:43; 

Possession (03425)(yerushshah from yarash = to posses) means possession, inheritance. It described the right to inherit the land. It could be an inheritance given or to a possession taken by force (or both). Reuben, Gad and half tribe of Manasseh received land east of the Jordan as a "possession" from God (Dt. 3:20; cf. Josh. 1:15; 12:6f). The descendants of Lot settled in Moab (Dt. 2:9), and in Ammon which God had given them as their possession (Dt 2:19), even as He had given did the descendants of Esau the area of Mount Seir (aka Edom - Dt. 2:5). After the civil war involving the tribe of Benjamin, the leaders of Israel were concerned that the depleted tribe not lose an inheritance; they planned "a possession" for Benjamin, according to Judg. 21:17. During the Babylonian siege of Judah, Jeremiah bought at Anathoth a parcel of land to which he retained the right of "possession" (Jer. 32:8). David declares that all those who fear God's name receive "an inheritance" (Ps. 61:5).

It is interesting to note that about 400 years later King Jehoshaphat used this same word (yerushshah) in an to appeal to the Lord praying "Now behold, the sons of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom You did not let Israel invade when they came out of the land of Egypt (they turned aside from them and did not destroy them) see how they are rewarding us by coming to drive us out from Your possession which You have given us as an inheritance." (2 Chr 20:10-11) Note how he appeals first indirectly to the Abrahamic Covenant (which promised the land to Israel as a permanent possession) and also appealed to the LORD Himself referring to the land as Your possession! A good prayer! 

Yerushshah - 14x in 12v - inheritance(2), own(1), possession(11) - Deut. 2:5; Deut. 2:9; Deut. 2:12; Deut. 2:19; Deut. 3:20; Jos. 1:15; Jos. 12:6; Jos. 12:7; Jdg. 21:17; 2 Chr. 20:11; Ps. 61:5; Jer. 32:8

Bob Utley -  The book of Hebrews is the best NT commentary on the Pentateuch. In Hebrews 4, the word “rest” is used three ways: (1) a seventh day rest as God rested after creation, the Sabbath (2) the Israelites rested after they conquered the Promised Land (cf. 12:10; 25:19; Josh. 23:1) (3)  heaven, the eternal seventh-day rest. Here in Dt 3:20 “rest” refers to security, #2.

Related Resource:

Deuteronomy 3:21  "I commanded Joshua at that time, saying, 'Your eyes have seen all that the LORD your God has done to these two kings; so the LORD shall do to all the kingdoms into which you are about to cross.

  • I commanded: Nu 27:18-23 
  • shall: Jos 10:25 1Sa 17:36,37 Ps 9:10 2Co 1:10 12:10 Eph 3:20 2Ti 4:17,18 
  • Deuteronomy 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


I commanded Joshua at that time, saying, 'Your eyes have seen all that the LORD your God has done to these two kings - Joshua had seen the "divine pattern" (and provision) for conquering the enemy! What Joshua had seen would feed his faith (as in Ro 10:17+), to cross over the Jordan and fight by faith. Past victories would encourage him that there would be future victories. And the same principle is true in our lives beloved. God may have given you victory today or this week or this year over a sin which heretofore so easily entangled you and tripped you up. Now it is a new day and we need to walk in the assurance that the same God Who gave the past victory is able and willing to give us future victories over our mortal, unresting adversaries, 

Remembering God’s past faithfulness is key to present and future victory.
-- David Guzik

THOUGHT - Do you keep a written record of God's faithfulness to you and your family? Given our human tendency to forgetfulness (which is becoming more common as I approach 75!), it would be a good practice to have a journal record of God's dealings with us in the past to encourage us to trust Him in the present and in the future. 

Maxwell - Throughout Deuteronomy, Moses continually cites the past blessings of God to encourage present decisions and actions. He knows that refocusing their attention will bring a positive response.

So the LORD shall do to all the kingdoms into which you are about to cross - This reminds of the saying "Seeing is believing." Faith is not a leap into the dark, but is based on truth and it is a leap into the truth! What Joshua had personally witnessed was God's power over powerful pagan peoples. Moses is saying that Yahweh would do the same thing to the pagan peoples they would encounter on the western side of the Jordan. Moses is telling Joshua in effect now believe without seeing. Trust in the faithfulness of the LORD to keep His promises to the patriarchs (the land promise of the Abrahamic covenant) and now to the descendants of the patriarchs. 

Before the Face of God - We have seen that each time God renewed the covenant with his people, the first thing they did was to sin against him. Yet God remained faithful each time, renewing the covenant despite the sin. In the case of Israel, God initially removed himself from the camp when the people sinned at the golden calf, but after the tabernacle was built he moved back into their midst (Exodus 32–33, 40). The people sinned numerous times after this, but God forgave them again and again. Finally, when they refused to fight the giants and take the promised land, God cut them off. He declared that they had rebelled ten times (Num. 14:22–23) and that all of them would die in the wilderness. Their children would inherit the kingdom they had lost.
Moses renewed the covenant with the children, telling them that he too would die in the wilderness.

To understand why Moses was excluded from entering Canaan, we look at two incidents. In Exodus 17 it is told that Israel ran out of water soon after they came out of Egypt. They grumbled against Moses and put God on a kind of trial. God told Moses to take his rod of judgment and strike a rock in the presence of the law court of elders, and water would come forth. God put his glory cloud on the rock, and Moses brought the rod of judgment down on God and the rock, and water came out (Exod. 17:5–6). God was taking on the judgment the people deserved, and on that basis they were given water.

A symbol is here shown to the people of an event they then could not understand, for it would be far in the future. One day the Messiah would be smitten on the cross, and water mixed with blood would pour from his side (John 19:34). A refreshing miracle for them has became a picture for us.

Years later the congregation again needed water and God told Moses to take Aaron’s rod (the rod of prayer, not judgment) and speak to a rock, and water would come forth. The sins of the people angered Moses, however, and he lost his temper and struck the rock twice. God graciously gave water anyway, but he told Moses that, because he had failed to treat God as holy, Moses would not enter the land of promise (Num. 20:2–13).

Coram Deo - Read and meditate on Numbers 20:12. To Moses much had been given. The biblical principle seems to be operating here that from Moses much was required. God let the people off nine times, but Moses only did one thing wrong, and he received the same punishment. Was this a “fair” punishment? What does Moses know about God’s holiness? What do you know about God? Read James 3 to get more insight into the principle involved.

Deuteronomy 3:22  'Do not fear them, for the LORD your God is the one fighting for you.'

  • Do not fear them: Isa 43:1,2 
  • for the Lord: Dt 1:30 Dt 20:4 Ex 14:14 Nu 21:34 Jos 10:42 2Ch 13:12 20:17,29 Ps 44:3 
  • Deuteronomy 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Resources:

Deuteronomy 1:30   ‘The LORD your God who goes before you will Himself fight on your behalf, just as He did for you in Egypt before your eyes,

Deuteronomy 20:4  for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’

Deuteronomy 31:6, 8 “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”....(31:8) “The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” 

COMMENT - If Yahweh is fighting, your victory is assured! 

Exodus 14:14  “The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent.” 

Numbers 21:34   But the LORD said to Moses, “Do not fear him, for I have given him into your hand, and all his people and his land; and you shall do to him as you did to Sihon, king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon.”

Joshua 10:42  Joshua captured all these kings and their lands at one time, because the LORD, the God of Israel, fought for Israel.

Nehemiah 4:20  “At whatever place you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.”


Do not fear them - Repeats Dt 3:2+ "Do not fear him, for I have delivered him and all his people and his land into your hand." 

For the LORD your God is the one fighting for you - See Related Passages above. The point is that Israel was not to rely solely on their fleshly arm of strength but was to trust in Yawheh's promise to fight for them. Moses was not telling Israel to "Let go, let God," but to "Let God, let's go!" God's sovereignty and Israel's responsibility (obedience to go in and possess their possessions). Recall what happened when Israel attempted to fight and the LORD was not with them! Read. Nu 14:39-45+ especially Nu 14:44+, Dt 1:42-43+ = ""Do not go up, nor fight, for I am not among you; lest you be defeated before your enemies."')

THOUGHT - The lesson is choose your battles carefully and make sure the LORD is with you when you fight! It is best to "fight" your enemies (the world, the flesh and the devil) when the LORD is with you (1 Jn 4:4+). If you attempt to fight with the "arm of (your) flesh," (2 Chr 32:8, read Jer 17:5) you are sure to be soundly defeated! We see this pattern of fighting sin ( Sin = Principle) when the LORD is with us in Romans 8:13+ "if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but (contrast) if by the Spirit (THE LORD IS WITH YOU AND) you are (present tense = continually) putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live." The corollary message is be wary of spiritual warfare if you have quenched (1 Th 5:19+) or grieved (Eph 4:30+) the Spirit, or else you will be fighting with natural, not supernatural strength! (See also "Paradoxical Principle of 100% Dependent and 100% Responsible" 100/100)

Do not fear - 57v - Gen. 15:1; Gen. 21:17; Gen. 26:24; Gen. 35:17; Exod. 14:13; Num. 14:9; Num. 21:34; Deut. 1:21; Deut. 3:2; Deut. 3:22; Deut. 31:8; Jos. 8:1; Jos. 10:8; Jos. 10:25; Jdg. 6:23; Ruth 3:11; 1 Sam. 12:20; 2 Sam. 9:7; 2 Sam. 13:28; 1 Ki. 17:13; 2 Ki. 6:16; 2 Ki. 17:34; 1 Chr. 22:13; 1 Chr. 28:20; 2 Chr. 20:15; 2 Chr. 20:17; 2 Chr. 32:7; Ps. 55:19; Ps. 64:4; Isa. 10:24; Isa. 40:9; Isa. 41:10; Isa. 41:13; Isa. 41:14; Isa. 43:1; Isa. 43:5; Isa. 44:2; Isa. 51:7; Isa. 57:11; Jer. 10:5; Jer. 46:27; Jer. 46:28; Lam. 3:57; Joel 2:21; Joel 2:22; Hag. 2:5; Zech. 8:13; Zech. 8:15; Mal. 3:5; Matt. 10:26; Matt. 10:28; Matt. 10:31; Lk. 5:10; Lk. 12:7; Lk. 18:4; 1 Pet. 3:14; Rev. 2:10

Fighting )(03898lacham

Deuteronomy 3.22.G Campbell Morgan - Life Applications from Every Chapter of the Bible

To these people fearlessness was a duty. Over and over again this command was laid upon them. They had no right to be afraid. Moses now argued for this by reminding them of how in the cases where already they had been at war, they had been victorious. But the supreme note in his argument was that contained in these words.

The reason for these victories, and the reason therefore why they should be without fear, was that it was Jehovah their God Who fought for them. This needs to be understood. We must be careful to recognize that it does not so much mean that God was on their side, as that they were on the side of God. God would not have fought for them, if their cause had been unrighteous. It was because in their warfare they were carrying out His will, that He fought for them. This is an important distinction of perpetual application.

Lincoln was once asked if he thought God was on his side, to which he replied that it had never occurred to him to ask such a question, but that he was persistently anxious to discover whether he were on the side of God. In no conflict have we any right to ask or-expect that God will fight for us, save as we know we are with Him. When we do know that, we have equally no right to be afraid. Fear is disloyalty; it questions the supremacy of righteousness and the power of God. Fear is paralysis; it cuts us off from contact with the forces of righteousness, for it cuts us off from fellowship with God.

Deuteronomy 3:23  "I also pleaded with the LORD at that time, saying,


I also pleaded with the LORD at that time, saying - Pleaded is rendered by Young's Literal as "entreat for grace." It conveys the idea that Moses begged Yahweh. The Septuagint renders it with deomai which means to ask urgently or to beg. It is the verb the man freed of demons used "begging (Jesus) that he might accompany Him." (Lk 8:38+).  Here is the point - it is not wrong to ask God to relent from a previous judgment. Paul had a thorn in his side and ask God to remove it and as a result learned one of the most encouraging truths recorded in the New Testament...

Concerning this (2 Cor 12:7) I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. 9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (2Co 12:8-10+)

Pleaded (made supplication, pity)(02603chanan is verb meaning to be gracious toward, to favor, to have mercy on. Generally implies extending "favor" neither expected nor deserved. 

David Guzik - We can appreciate what a painful thing this was for Moses. He lived the first 40 years of his life confident in his own ability to deliver Israel. He spent the next 40 years of his life having that confidence demolished as he tended his father-in-law’s sheep. He spent the last 40 years of his life being used of God to do what he was called to do. Now, he was not allowed to see the end result. No wonder Moses pleaded with the Lord.

Deuteronomy 3:23-29 Dying For Encouragement

In Deuteronomy 3 we read that Moses encouraged Joshua as he was about to assume leadership of the Israelites. No doubt Joshua was filled with fear and a feeling of inadequacy to fill Moses' shoes. The Lord therefore told Moses to encourage Joshua.

All of us need a word of encouragement from time to time to spur us on when we are facing a major new challenge. But we also need words of appreciation and commendation as we carry out our daily responsibilities, whether at home or at work.

When a corporate accountant committed suicide, an effort was made to find out why. The company's books were examined, but no shortage was found. Nothing could be uncovered that gave any clue as to why he took his life—that is, until a note was discovered. It simply said: "In 30 years I have never had one word of encouragement. I'm fed up!"

Many people crave some small sign of approval. They need a word of recognition, a caring smile, a warm handshake, and an honest expression of appreciation for the good we see in them or in their work.

Every day let's determine to encourage (not flatter) at least one person. Let's do our part to help those around us who are dying for encouragement. —Richard De Haan (Our Daily Bread)

It may seem insignificant
To say a word or two;
But when we give encouragement,
What wonders it can do!
—K. De Haan

A word of encouragement can make the difference
between giving up or going on.

Deuteronomy 3:24  'O Lord GOD, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your strong hand; for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do such works and mighty acts as Yours?

  • greatness: De 11:2 Ne 9:32 Ps 106:2 Ps 145:3,6 Jer 32:18-21 
  • what god: Ex 15:11 2Sa 7:22 Ps 35:10 71:19 86:8 89:6,8 Isa 40:18,25 Jer 10:6 Da 3:29 
  • Deuteronomy 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


O Lord GOD (Jehovah) - NIV, NLT = "Sovereign LORD"  Lord is the Hebrew 'adonay which speaks of God as Master, Sovereign. As Vine says 'adonay  "is distinguished from the Hebrew word baʿal, which signifies "possessor" or "owner." ʾĀdôn basically describes the one who occupies the position of a "master" or "lord" over a slave or servant." 

It is interesting to note that this exact phrase ( ‏אֲדֹנָי יהוה‎ -- adonay YHWH), Sovereign LORD, (see uses below) is used only twice in Deuteronomy, both times in prayers, here and De 9:26 “I prayed to the LORD and said, ‘O Lord GOD ( ‏אֲדֹנָי יהוה‎ -- adonay YHWH, Sovereign LORD), do not destroy Your people, even Your inheritance, whom You have redeemed through Your greatness, whom You have brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand." This name Sovereign LORD emphasizes Yahweh's control over everything in bringing about redemptive events. Abraham used this exact Name in questions in Ge 15:2 and Ge 15:8. ESV Study Bible adds that "O Lord God is a standard form for beginning a prayer (cf. Dt 9:26)."

THOUGHT - Consider beginning your prayers with this great phrase O Lord God, O Sovereign LORD, ascribing to Him the glory due His Name (1 Chr 16:29, Ps 29:2, Ps 96:8, 1 Chr 16:28), acknowledging His sovereignty and therefore His ability to respond as He sees best for our good and His glory. 

You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your strong hand - Your strong hand is an antropomorphic description of Yahweh's power and activity in this great adventure of conquering the Promised Land. Presumably Moses is alluding to the victories God gave Israel over the Amorite kings Sihon and Og. God's greatness and strong hand were certainly manifest in both those encounters. 

For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do such works and mighty acts as Yours - NET = "What god in heaven or earth can rival your works and mighty deeds?" This is a rhetorical question the answer of course being "No one. None." Moses is saying God is unique and incomparable. It is good to found our supplications on truth about God, here His greatness and strength. Ps 106:2 asks "Who can speak of the mighty deeds of the LORD, or can show forth all His praise?"

All 288 uses of the Name ( ‏אֲדֹנָי יהוה‎ -- adonay YHWH), Sovereign LORD, Gen. 15:2; Gen. 15:8; Exod. 23:17; Exod. 34:23; Deut. 3:24; Deut. 9:26; Jos. 7:7; Jdg. 6:22; Jdg. 16:28; 2 Sam. 7:18; 2 Sam. 7:19; 2 Sam. 7:20; 2 Sam. 7:22; 2 Sam. 7:28; 2 Sam. 7:29; 1 Ki. 2:26; 1 Ki. 8:53; Ps. 68:20; Ps. 71:5; Ps. 71:16; Ps. 73:28; Ps. 109:21; Ps. 140:7; Ps. 141:8; Isa. 7:7; Isa. 25:8; Isa. 28:16; Isa. 30:15; Isa. 40:10; Isa. 48:16; Isa. 49:22; Isa. 50:4; Isa. 50:5; Isa. 50:7; Isa. 50:9; Isa. 51:22; Isa. 52:4; Isa. 56:8; Isa. 61:1; Isa. 61:11; Isa. 65:13; Isa. 65:15; Jer. 1:6; Jer. 2:22; Jer. 4:10; Jer. 7:20; Jer. 14:13; Jer. 32:17; Jer. 32:25; Jer. 44:26; Jer. 50:25; Ezek. 2:4; Ezek. 3:11; Ezek. 3:27; Ezek. 4:14; Ezek. 5:5; Ezek. 5:7; Ezek. 5:8; Ezek. 5:11; Ezek. 6:3; Ezek. 6:11; Ezek. 7:2; Ezek. 7:5; Ezek. 8:1; Ezek. 9:8; Ezek. 11:7; Ezek. 11:8; Ezek. 11:13; Ezek. 11:16; Ezek. 11:17; Ezek. 11:21; Ezek. 12:10; Ezek. 12:19; Ezek. 12:23; Ezek. 12:25; Ezek. 12:28; Ezek. 13:3; Ezek. 13:8; Ezek. 13:9; Ezek. 13:13; Ezek. 13:16; Ezek. 13:18; Ezek. 13:20; Ezek. 14:4; Ezek. 14:6; Ezek. 14:11; Ezek. 14:14; Ezek. 14:16; Ezek. 14:18; Ezek. 14:20; Ezek. 14:21; Ezek. 14:23; Ezek. 15:6; Ezek. 15:8; Ezek. 16:3; Ezek. 16:8; Ezek. 16:14; Ezek. 16:19; Ezek. 16:23; Ezek. 16:30; Ezek. 16:36; Ezek. 16:43; Ezek. 16:48; Ezek. 16:59; Ezek. 16:63; Ezek. 17:3; Ezek. 17:9; Ezek. 17:16; Ezek. 17:19; Ezek. 17:22; Ezek. 18:3; Ezek. 18:9; Ezek. 18:23; Ezek. 18:30; Ezek. 18:32; Ezek. 20:3; Ezek. 20:5; Ezek. 20:27; Ezek. 20:30; Ezek. 20:31; Ezek. 20:33; Ezek. 20:36; Ezek. 20:39; Ezek. 20:40; Ezek. 20:44; Ezek. 20:47; Ezek. 20:49; Ezek. 21:7; Ezek. 21:13; Ezek. 21:24; Ezek. 21:26; Ezek. 21:28; Ezek. 22:3; Ezek. 22:12; Ezek. 22:19; Ezek. 22:28; Ezek. 22:31; Ezek. 23:22; Ezek. 23:28; Ezek. 23:32; Ezek. 23:34; Ezek. 23:35; Ezek. 23:46; Ezek. 23:49; Ezek. 24:3; Ezek. 24:6; Ezek. 24:9; Ezek. 24:14; Ezek. 24:21; Ezek. 24:24; Ezek. 25:3; Ezek. 25:6; Ezek. 25:8; Ezek. 25:12; Ezek. 25:13; Ezek. 25:14; Ezek. 25:15; Ezek. 25:16; Ezek. 26:3; Ezek. 26:5; Ezek. 26:7; Ezek. 26:14; Ezek. 26:15; Ezek. 26:19; Ezek. 26:21; Ezek. 27:3; Ezek. 28:2; Ezek. 28:6; Ezek. 28:10; Ezek. 28:12; Ezek. 28:22; Ezek. 28:24; Ezek. 28:25; Ezek. 29:3; Ezek. 29:8; Ezek. 29:13; Ezek. 29:16; Ezek. 29:19; Ezek. 29:20; Ezek. 30:2; Ezek. 30:6; Ezek. 30:10; Ezek. 30:13; Ezek. 30:22; Ezek. 31:10; Ezek. 31:15; Ezek. 31:18; Ezek. 32:3; Ezek. 32:8; Ezek. 32:11; Ezek. 32:14; Ezek. 32:16; Ezek. 32:31; Ezek. 32:32; Ezek. 33:11; Ezek. 33:25; Ezek. 33:27; Ezek. 34:2; Ezek. 34:8; Ezek. 34:10; Ezek. 34:11; Ezek. 34:15; Ezek. 34:17; Ezek. 34:20; Ezek. 34:30; Ezek. 34:31; Ezek. 35:3; Ezek. 35:6; Ezek. 35:11; Ezek. 35:14; Ezek. 36:2; Ezek. 36:3; Ezek. 36:4; Ezek. 36:5; Ezek. 36:6; Ezek. 36:7; Ezek. 36:13; Ezek. 36:14; Ezek. 36:15; Ezek. 36:22; Ezek. 36:23; Ezek. 36:32; Ezek. 36:33; Ezek. 36:37; Ezek. 37:3; Ezek. 37:5; Ezek. 37:9; Ezek. 37:12; Ezek. 37:19; Ezek. 37:21; Ezek. 38:3; Ezek. 38:10; Ezek. 38:14; Ezek. 38:17; Ezek. 38:18; Ezek. 38:21; Ezek. 39:1; Ezek. 39:5; Ezek. 39:8; Ezek. 39:10; Ezek. 39:13; Ezek. 39:17; Ezek. 39:20; Ezek. 39:25; Ezek. 39:29; Ezek. 43:18; Ezek. 43:19; Ezek. 43:27; Ezek. 44:6; Ezek. 44:9; Ezek. 44:12; Ezek. 44:15; Ezek. 44:27; Ezek. 45:9; Ezek. 45:15; Ezek. 45:18; Ezek. 46:1; Ezek. 46:16; Ezek. 47:13; Ezek. 47:23; Ezek. 48:29; Amos 1:8; Amos 3:7; Amos 3:8; Amos 3:11; Amos 4:2; Amos 4:5; Amos 5:3; Amos 6:8; Amos 7:1; Amos 7:2; Amos 7:4; Amos 7:5; Amos 7:6; Amos 8:1; Amos 8:3; Amos 8:9; Amos 8:11; Amos 9:8; Obad. 1:1; Mic. 1:2; Hab. 3:19; Zeph. 1:7; Zech. 9:14; Lk. 2:29; Acts 4:24; 2 Pet. 2:1; Rev. 6:10

Deuteronomy 3:25  'Let me, I pray, cross over and see the fair land that is beyond the Jordan, that good hill country and Lebanon.'

  • the fair land: De 4:21,22 11:11,12 Ex 3:8 Nu 32:5 Eze 20:6 
  • Deuteronomy 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Let me, I pray (let me please), cross over and see the fair land that is beyond (on the west side of) the Jordan, that good hill country and Lebanon - So after praising adonay (see song Praise Adonai) Moses pleads that God would let him cross over. Clearly Moses has not forgotten God' clear word of prohibition after his sin of striking the rock. 

Lebanon: Lebanon is a long chain of limestone mountains, extending from near the coast of the Mediterranean on the west to the plains of Damascus on the east, and forming the extreme northern boundary of the Holy Land.  It is divided into two principal ridges, running parallel to each other in a north-north-east direction; the most westerly of which was properly called Libanus, and the easterly Anti-Libanus:  the Hebrews did not make this distinction.  It is computed to be fifteen or sixteen hundred fathoms in height.  They are by no means barren, but are almost all well cultivated and well peopled; their summits being in many parts level, and forming extensive plains, in which are sown corn and all kinds of pulse. Vineyards, and plantations of olive, mulberry, and fig trees, are also cultivated in terraces formed by walls; and the soil of the declivities and hollows is most excellent, and produces abundance of corn, oil, and wine.

Robert Hawker - I pray thee let me go over, and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon.—Deut. 3:25.

What a very lovely and interesting view doth this sweet scripture afford of Moses, the man of God! Look at him, my soul, as the Holy Ghost hath here represented him, and pray for grace to gather some of those blessed instructions which this part of his history particularly affords. And what was it made Moses so anxious to go over and see the good land? It was but a type of heaven, even in its highest glory; and surely the type or representation of any thing cannot be equal to the thing itself; and Moses knew, that if he had not the type, he should have the substance: if debarred Canaan, he should be in heaven. There must have been some other cause, which made Moses long for the sight of it. I venture to think, (we may at least conjecture,) and this scripture, I confess, leads me to the idea: “Let me see” (said Moses) “that goodly mountain, and Lebanon.” This was the one hallowed spot Moses longed to see, and to feast his eyes upon. He that had conversed with Jesus at the bush, wanted to behold, and with sacred meditation, by faith, converse with him, on the very spot on which, in after ages, he knew that Jesus would be crucified. He that by faith walked with Jesus, while in Egypt, so as “to esteem the reproach of Christ greater riches than all its treasures,” would there, by faith, have realized the presence of his Lord in sweet communion: and if, through faith, he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, in the ordinance of the paschal lamb, what may we not suppose the man of God would have felt, as he traversed over the sacred goodly mountain and Lebanon? “Here,” he would have said, as he beheld, by faith, the day of Christ afar off, like the patriarch Abraham, “here is the memorable ground, the holy mountain, on which Jesus, my dweller in the bush, will one day make his soul an offering for sin! Here will go up before God the Father that one sacrifice to which all under the law shadowed and ministered, and by which the Lord Jesus will for ever perfect them that are sanctified! Here the Son of God will for ever do away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” O Lebanon! that goodly mountain! for ever sacred to the soul’s meditation of all the redeemed of the Lord Jesus! though, like Moses, I have not trodden thine hallowed ground, yet, by faith, I have seen Jesus in his agonies and passion there; and bless and praise God and the Lamb, for the wonders of redemption. Lord, bring me to the everlasting enjoyment of thy person, work, and righteousness, in glory, for this will be indeed the good land that is beyond Jordan; the goodly mountain, and Lebanon; that “when I awake after thy likeness, I may be satisfied with it.”

Deuteronomy 3:26  "But the LORD was angry with me on your account, and would not listen to me; and the LORD said to me, 'Enough! Speak to Me no more of this matter.

  • the Lord: De 1:37 31:2 32:51,52 34:4 Nu 20:7-12 27:12-14 Ps 106:32,33 Isa 53:5,6 Mt 26:39 
  • Enough! 1Ch 17:4,12,13 22:7-9 28:2-4 Mt 20:22 2Co 12:8 
  • Deuteronomy 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Deuteronomy 1:37 “The LORD was angry with me also on your account, saying, ‘Not even you shall enter there.

Deuteronomy 4:21-22 Now the LORD was angry with me on your account, and swore that I would not cross the Jordan, and that I would not enter the good land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance. 22 “For I will die in this land, I shall not cross the Jordan, but you shall cross and take possession of this good land.

Deuteronomy 34:4 Then the LORD said to him, “This is the land which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants’; I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.”

Numbers 20:1+ Then the sons of Israel, the whole congregation, came to the wilderness of Zin in the first month; and the people stayed at Kadesh. Now Miriam died there and was buried there.  2 There was no water for the congregation, and they assembled themselves against Moses and Aaron. 3 The people thus contended with Moses and spoke, saying, “If only we had perished when our brothers perished before the LORD! 4 “Why then have you brought the LORD’S assembly into this wilderness, for us and our beasts to die here? 5 “Why have you made us come up from Egypt, to bring us in to this wretched place? It is not a place of grain or figs or vines or pomegranates, nor is there water to drink.” 6 Then Moses and Aaron came in from the presence of the assembly to the doorway of the tent of meeting and fell on their faces. Then the glory of the LORD appeared to them; 7 and the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 8 “Take the rod; and you and your brother Aaron assemble the congregation and speak to the rock before their eyes, that it may yield its water. You shall thus bring forth water for them out of the rock and let the congregation and their beasts drink.”  9 So Moses took the rod from before the LORD, just as He had commanded him; 10 and Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly before the rock. And he said to them, “Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?” 11 Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation and their beasts drank. 12 But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.” 13 Those were the waters of Meribah, because the sons of Israel contended with the LORD, and He proved Himself holy among them. 

But the LORD was angry with me on your account and would not listen to me- On your account means because of you. What does Moses mean? Is he trying to pass the buck regarding his sin, saying he was not responsible for his sin? Of course not. That is not what he is saying. However, he is saying that his sin (which he acknowledged) was provoked by Israel's complaining. It was not their fault, but it did test him and he failed the test. God's anger is not petulant anger but righteous anger!

The psalmist records this event

Psalms 106:32-33+  They also provoked Him to wrath at the waters of Meribah, So that it went hard with Moses on their account; 33 Because they were rebellious against His Spirit, He spoke rashly with his lips. 

Moses is an excellent, albeit tragic illustration of the principle expressed by Jesus in Luke 12:48+

From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.

As a teacher, I also shudder when I read James 3:1+

Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.

Guzik adds "This may seem an excessively harsh punishment for Moses. It seemed that after only one slip-up, he then had to die short of the Promised Land. But Moses was being judged by a stricter standard because of his leadership position with the nation, and because he had a uniquely close relationship with God.. It is right for teachers and leaders to be judged by a stricter standard (James 3:1); though it is unrighteous to hold teachers and leaders to a perfect standard. It is true the people’s conduct was worse than Moses’ but it is irrelevant.. Worst of all, Moses defaced a beautiful picture of Jesus’ redemptive work through the rock which provided water in the wilderness. The New Testament makes it clear this water-providing, life-giving rock was a picture of Jesus (1 Corinthians 10:4). Jesus, being struck once, provided life for all who would drink of Him (John 7:37). But was unnecessary – and unrighteous – that Jesus would be struck again, much less again twice, because the Son of God needed only to suffer once (Hebrews 10:10-12). Jesus can now be come to with words of faith (Romans 10:8-10), as Moses should have only used words of faith to bring life-giving water to the nation of Israel. Moses “ruined” this picture of the work of Jesus God intended.

And the LORD said to me, 'Enough! Speak to Me no more of this matter  - There is a time to stop begging God as Moses discovered. When He says "enough" that should be the end of the matter!

John Trapp - Christians must be sober in prayer. {1Pe 4:7} Socrates, a heathen, could say, We should pray for no more but this, that good things may be given us of God, who best knoweth what is best for us to receive.

Raymond Brown has some sage insights on Moses prayer request...

Moses often sought the Lord on behalf of the people (9:25–29) but in this instance he prayed earnestly for himself. With the disappointing years of the wilderness experience behind him, he longed to see God’s people safely installed in their new land. He was elderly and tired but nothing was too hard for God. The days ahead might well be difficult but, with God’s help, even an old man might be given strength to enter the land. The Lord had clearly told him that, on account of the people’s sins, he would not set foot in the promised land (1:37) but he felt he must ask again in case the privilege might yet be given. The answer was definite: That is enough. Do not speak to me any more about this matter (26). The narrative has some important things to say to us. Moses’ disappointment might even be for our encouragement.

When we ask God for anything we must remember that we are not the only people concerned. Nobody can possibly live entirely to themselves. Our lives are intricately bound up with those of other people. Moses’ request seems innocent and natural enough and, ostensibly, something which affected him only and nobody else. In point of fact, four issues were at stake: what was best for Moses, right for the people, good for Joshua and pleasing to God.

First, we ought to consider what was best for Moses. Doubtless, he believed that there was useful work still for him to do and, with all his experience, it would be good for him to see the people safely established in their new home. Even with the purest motives, however, the things we seek for ourselves are not necessarily wise and right. With our naturally limited vision, it is impossible for us to see the total picture; only God is capable of that. After all, what we want may not necessarily be best. Moses could not think of anything more wonderful than entering Canaan: God’s plan was that he should enter heaven.

Next, we ought to ask what was right for the people. This request was not simply a personal matter between Moses and God. The Lord may have responded to the prayer with such a definite ‘No’ because by Moses’ exclusion he wanted to both warn and protect the people.

It was certainly a warning. On three occasions (1:37; 3:26; 4:21) Moses tells the people, because of you, the LORD was angry with me. By denying Moses access to the land, God was saying something to the people as well as to Moses. When we make requests in prayer we must remember that what we want may not always be best for others. Moses’ exclusion was a perpetual reminder of God’s holiness. It was saying that men and women must not trifle with sin.

Moreover, by the denial the Lord may have been protecting them. Moses was an immensely popular figure; when he died the people wept for a full month (34:8). By taking Moses to heaven before he entered Canaan, God may have deliberately prevented the veneration of his tomb with all its attendant dangers. Their intense admiration for him is eloquently conveyed by the eulogy which brings Deuteronomy to a close. There were great leaders, before and after, but ‘none like him’ (34:10–12). Ancestor worship was common enough in the ancient world and in the future it would have been all too easy for people to congregate at his grave for worship. There must have been some reason for the unique circumstances, also noted in the final chapter, that God buried Moses and that ‘to this day no-one knows where his grave is’ (34:6). As the years went by, the people gradually introduced many corrupt and forbidden elements into their worship. Possibly God wanted to ensure that the memory of Moses’ life and work was recalled by his words rather than by his grave. When he had made such a unique contribution to Israel’s history, a tomb in Canaan might soon become a national shrine, directing people’s minds to the man rather than to the God who had used the man. The idolization of leaders is a sin not confined to the world of antiquity.

Additionally, when considering this prayer, we need to ask what was good for Joshua. On two occasions in the book when the refusal is mentioned, Joshua’s responsibilities are given special prominence (1:38; 3:21–22, 28). Moses’ work for the Lord was to lead the people across the desert; that was difficult enough. It was not his job, however, to settle the people in the land. God had chosen a different man for that task. One man’s work had ended; another’s was about to begin. Joshua’s very different ministry was of equal importance to the Lord. People who have worked effectively for God do not always find it easy to hand their tasks on to others. The necessary break between the end of Moses’ ministry and the beginning of Joshua’s appears to be emphasized with stark clarity in Joshua 1:2: ‘Moses my servant is dead. Now then … get ready to cross the Jordan.’

Most important of all, in making any request, we must ask what is pleasing to God. Notice that as he begins his prayer, Moses is more concerned to exalt God than seek anything for himself. It is typical of great biblical praying. Two key words are important in the prayer, Sovereign and servant (verse 24). God is pleased when we acknowledge his sovereignty and our servanthood. These important words in Moses’ ascription of praise are the key to his submission and to ours. Throughout his entire life Moses had been God’s willing slave. Therefore, the decision as to where and when that life should end was not the slave’s concern; it was in the far safer hands of a wise, loving, sovereign Master who would not make any mistakes.

Finally, this narrative leaves us with an important guiding principle about prayer. It is better to seek for qualities rather than things. We long for material things but he has gifts money cannot buy. We yearn for improved health but, though God could heal, greater reliance on him would be better for us by far. Without our weakness, how could we be sure of our strength? We wish for a different job but in our present work there may be people alongside us only we can reach. We desire repeated success but occasional failure might prove a better teacher. Most ambitions need the refining fire. The ecclesiastical authorities in eighteenth-century England were bewildered when the saintly John Fletcher of Madeley, Wesley’s ‘designated successor’, refused the bishopric of Rochester. Thinking he had set his sights on even greater preferment, they asked him whether there was anything more he wanted. Within seconds his priorities were crystal clear: ‘I want more grace’, he said. (Deuteronomy - The Bible Speaks Today)

F B Meyer -   Speak no more unto Me of this matter.

We are to pray without ceasing; always praying, never fainting; asking, seeking, knocking. But there are some subjects concerning which God says, “Speak no more unto Me of this.” In some cases these topics have to do with others, but more often with ourselves, as in the case of the Apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 12:9).

It is an awful thing when God says of certain individuals, Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone; and when the conviction is wrought within as that the sin unto death is being committed, concerning which even the Apostle John said, “I do not say that he should pray for it.” Such times come comparatively rarely; and so long as you feel able to pray for another, so long as no negative has been spoken, you may be sure that God waits to be entreated, and that your prayer will assuredly be answered.

But have you not realized at times that God has said about some earthly boon you were craving?” — Child, do not ask Me more, leave it with Me. I know what you want, and what is best for you. Seek first my kingdom, and all these things, literally or in their equivalent, shall be added.” (Mt 6:33+) It is well when we have been praying eagerly, to allow God’s winnowing-fan to pass over our petitions, to winnow away all that is not in his mind to give; so that only those desires may remain which his Spirit has indicted, and which He is therefore pledged to bestow. If He does not give the exact thing you ask, He will give the Pisgah view and more grace. He will say to you, as to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” 

So Near And Yet So Far

Back in Canada’s early days, pioneers were taking shelter in Fort Babine. When supplies were nearly exhausted, Victor Clark and a young guide left the fort and walked to the town of Hazelton to get food.

On their way back to the fort, snow began to fall. Soon the two travelers were chilled to the bone by a stinging wind and were unable to follow the trail in the darkness. Forced to stop, they built a fire and spent a miserable night. Then as light slowly dawned, they saw the fort with its warmth and comfort—only a few hundred yards away from where they had stopped. So near and yet so far!

The Israelites were at the very border of the Promised Land (Numbers 13). Caleb and Joshua, the two courageous spies, had brought back the lush foods of Canaan and encouraged the people to take possession of the land (Nu 13:26,30). But the people doubted and condemned themselves to 40 years of wandering and death in the desert (14:28-30). They too were so near and yet so far away!

Have you heard many times about Jesus’ love for you but remain uncommitted to Him? Are you near yet so far away? Choose now to cross over into the “promised land” of salvation found in Jesus. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

A Prayer

Dear Jesus, I admit that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness.
I believe that You died and took my punishment.
I trust You as my Savior and Lord.
Now is the time to choose the Lord—later may never come.

Deuteronomy 3:27  'Go up to the top of Pisgah and lift up your eyes to the west and north and south and east, and see it with your eyes, for you shall not cross over this Jordan.

  • go up: De 34:1-4 Nu 27:12 
  • Pisgah:  De 3:17 
  • see it with your eyes: Ge 13:14,15 
  • Deuteronomy 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Resources:

Deuteronomy 34:1-4 Now Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. And the LORD showed him all the land, (NORTH) Gilead as far as Dan, 2 and all Naphtali and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah as far as the western (MEDITERRANEAN) sea, 3 and  (SOUTH) the Negev and the plain in the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. 4 Then the LORD said to him, “This is the land which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants’; I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.”


Go up to the top of Pisgah and lift up your eyes to the west and north and south and east, and see it with your eyes, for you shall not cross over this Jordan - Yahweh gives 3 commands, the fulfillment of which would be analogous to a "trailer" in a movie that gives a taste of the full feature. Moses would be granted a panoramic view of the Promised Land from Pisgah. How could Moses see the entire land? Deut 34:1 makes it clear that "the LORD showed him all the land." 

Pisgah was easily scaled, although very high. God told Moses to go there to look in all directions (Deut 3:27). The problem of an identification comes in Deuteronomy 34:1 where Moses went up “to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho.” From that point God showed him the Promised Land as far N as Dan and as far W as the Western Sea. The Mediterranean is not visible from any point in S Trans-Jordan. God must have shown him what was not visible. Most scholars understand Jebel en-Neba to be Mt. Nebo and Ras es-Siyaghah as Pisgah. These two peaks are connected by a saddle. Pisgah commands a magnificent view of the Jordan Valley and even to Mt. Hermon on clear days. The Jeshimon, or desert, of Numbers 21:20 would be the Ghor el-Belqa, and the valley would be that of Ayun Musa.

Pisgah - 5v - Num. 21:20; Num. 23:14; Deut. 3:27; Deut. 4:49; Deut. 34:1

Deuteronomy 3:28  'But charge Joshua and encourage him and strengthen him, for he shall go across at the head of this people, and he will give them as an inheritance the land which you will see.'

  • charge Joshua: De 1:38 Dt 31:3,7,23 Nu 27:18-23 1Ch 22:6,11-16 28:9,10,20 1Ti 6:13 1Ti 6:14 2Ti 2:1-3 4:1-6 
  • for he shall: Jos 1:2 3:7-17 Joh 1:17 Ac 7:45 Heb 4:8, Jesus
  • Deuteronomy 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passage: 

Numbers 27:15-19+  Then Moses spoke to the LORD, saying, 16 “May the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation, 17 who will go out and come in before them, and who will lead them out and bring them in, so that the congregation of the LORD will not be like sheep which have no shepherd.” 18 So the LORD said to Moses, “Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him; 19 and have him stand before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation, and commission him in their sight.

Deuteronomy 1:38+ ‘Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, he shall enter there; encourage him, for he will cause Israel to inherit it.

Deuteronomy 31:3+ “It is the LORD your God who will cross ahead of you; He will destroy these nations before you, and you shall dispossess them. Joshua is the one who will cross ahead of you, just as the LORD has spoken.

Deuteronomy 31:7+ Then Moses called to Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land which the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall give it to them as an inheritance.

Deuteronomy 31:23+ Then He commissioned Joshua the son of Nun, and said, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the sons of Israel into the land which I swore to them, and I will be with you.” 


But charge Joshua and encourage him and strengthen him - Yahweh gives Moses 3 commands. The first command is to command or charge which is the Hebrew verb tsawah used about 500x in the OT and which in the Piel (expresses intensive or intentional action) means to command or order (Lxxentellomai in the aorist imperative = "Just do it!"). Moses is to pass the baton with a positive attitude not a pity party. 

Moses could have become bitter because of God's prohibiting him from entering the promised land, but clearly he does not have a "pity party" but obeys God and prepares his replacement. Is there any wonder that it was recorded that "the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth." (Nu 12:3+)  

Guzik - Moses had the heart of a true shepherd. He knew that his ministry was not centered on himself and his own satisfaction, but on God and His people.

J A Thompson points out that "In fact, Moses’ death is not recorded until chapter 34, so that the whole book of Deuteronomy is framed between the announcement of Moses’ impending death and the announcement of his actual death. The book is thus, in a sense, the spiritual testament of Moses, Israel’s great Lawgiver.” 

Encourage is the Hebrew verb chazaq which can mean physical strength but here means for Joshua to be firm, secure, determined in his duty to lead the people to their promises. What a type Joshua is of our NT "Joshua" our Jesus Who is strong, mighty and able to lead us to our promises which are yea and amen in Himself. Here Joshua is to sustain his moral courage and thus embolden others to take the land. 

For - Term of explanation. Explains why Moses is commanded to speak to Joshua as note above.

he shall go across at the head of this people - The Hebrew word for head is  panim/paniym/paneh which is literally face and then means before, as if in front of the faces of all who follow (The Lxx has "pro prosopon" = before face). Israel had been following Moses, but now needed to follow Joshua's leading them into the Promised Land. This is the ultimate "follow the leader" game but of course it is not a game but is a gift of Promised Land from the promise keeping God of Heaven and Earth. 

Follow the leader is a children's game in which the participants copy the actions and words of a person who has been chosen as leader. It represents the copying of the actions of others, in this case the actions of Joshua.

And he will give them as an inheritance (cf Dt 1:38; Dt 12:10; Dt 19:3, 14; Dt 20:16; Dt 31:7) the land which you will see - Moses will see the promised land but not enter it at this time. He would in effect "enter" it when he was transfigured with Jesus in Mark 9:2-5+.

Moses asked for a man. God gave him Joshua. There is always the need for a man to fight the battles, possess the land and stand against the evil of the day. Joshua was not alone, Caleb stood with him. Paul had Silas. Moody had Sankey. Lee Roberson had J.R Faulkner The man of God needs someone to stand with him. Who is standing with you? ("No man is an island!")

Inheritance (05157)(nachal) to receive, inherit, get possession of, take (property) as a (permanent) possession, giving or receiving a possession and thus "to give as a possession," "to cause to inherit," "to take possession of" or "to receive as an inheritance" and is used in both ancient and modern Hebrew. See the noun nachalah (possession, gift, heritage) derived from this verb. The first use is God's promise in Ex 23:30+ “I will drive them out before you little by little, until you become fruitful and take possession of the land." And so it often speaks of land as a possession -- the land of Canaan (Ex. 32:13); Zion and Judah (Ps. 69:35); specific sections to tribes (Nu 35:8); and the land of Moab and Ammon (Zeph 2:9). The Lord took Judah as his private possession (Zech. 2:12). The verb also denotes the act of dispossession, as it was through uprooting the Canaanites that the Israelites were able to possess the land (Ex. 23:30).

L J Coppes - The verb nāḥal basically signifies giving or receiving property which is part of a permanent possession and as a result of succession. Sometimes the idea of succession is absent but the "possessing" carries with it a connotation of permanence (e.g. Exodus 34:9; Proverbs 14:18). A close synonym, yarash, connotes the idea of possession apart from succession (KB), but sometimes may embrace the latter idea. Cf. Ugaritic nḥl (UT 10: no. 1633), and Phoenician nḥl (KAI, p. 16); the Arabic naḥala means "give as property." Our verb occurs sixty times (including Ezekiel 7:24 which consists of parallel stichs and synonymously parallels our root with yārash; cf. Isaiah 57:13, etc.). (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament)

Complete Biblical Library - In figurative passages, different items or characteristics are said to be received as a possession. These include testimonies (Ps. 119:111), glory (Prov. 3:35), wind (Prov. 11:29), simplicity (Prov. 14:18), good things (Prov. 28:10), and lies (Jer. 16:19). Other things to be possessed were slaves (Lev. 25:46) and blessings (Zech. 8:12). In most of the above examples, there is the idea that permanence accompanies the possession (Exo. 34:9). Thus, when the Lord took Israel as his, it was an act of perpetual security.

Nachal - 57v - allotted(1), apportion(2), apportion for inheritance(1), apportion the inheritance(1), apportioned(1), apportioned for an inheritance(1), apportioning for inheritance(1), bequeath(2), distributed(1), divide(1), divide it for an inheritance(1), endow(1), endowed(1), gave(1), gave inheritance(1), give(1), give inheritance(1), give as a possession(1), give...possession(1), have(2), have an inheritance(2), inherit(16), inheritance(8), inherited(3), inherits(1), leaves an inheritance(1), possess(2), possess them as an inheritance(1), possessed(1), possesses(1), possession(2), receive inheritance(1), received(2), received inheritance(1), take(1), take possession(1), wills(1). Exod. 23:30; Exod. 32:13; Exod. 34:9; Lev. 25:46; Num. 18:20; Num. 18:23; Num. 18:24; Num. 26:55; Num. 32:18; Num. 32:19; Num. 33:54; Num. 34:13; Num. 34:17; Num. 34:18; Num. 34:29; Num. 35:8; Deut. 1:38; Deut. 3:28; Deut. 12:10; Deut. 19:3; Deut. 19:14; Deut. 21:16; Deut. 31:7; Deut. 32:8; Jos. 1:6; Jos. 13:32; Jos. 14:1; Jos. 16:4; Jos. 17:6; Jos. 19:9; Jos. 19:49; Jos. 19:51; Jdg. 11:2; 1 Sam. 2:8; 1 Chr. 28:8; Job 7:3; Ps. 69:36; Ps. 82:8; Ps. 119:111; Prov. 3:35; Prov. 8:21; Prov. 11:29; Prov. 13:22; Prov. 14:18; Prov. 28:10; Isa. 14:2; Isa. 49:8; Isa. 57:13; Jer. 3:18; Jer. 12:14; Jer. 16:19; Ezek. 46:18; Ezek. 47:13; Ezek. 47:14; Zeph. 2:9; Zech. 2:12; Zech. 8:12

Deuteronomy 3:28

READ: Deuteronomy 3:23-29

WHEN an accountant for a certain business commit­ted suicide, people who knew him tried to discover a reason. The company examined its books but found no evidence of wrongdoing. Nothing gave any clue as to why he took his life until someone discovered a note that said: "In thirty years I have never had one word of encouragement. I'm fed up!"

We all need to hear words of appreciation and commendation as we carry out our daily responsibilities at home and at work. We also need encouragement to spur us on when we are facing a new challenge. Joshua, for example, needed encouragement when he was about to assume leadership of the Israelites, and God instructed Moses to give it to him.

People need approval—a word of recognition, a caring smile, a warm handshake, an honest expression of appreciation for the good we see in them or in their work.

If each of us were to encourage (not flatter) one person each day, think of the difference it would make in the level of energy people have with which to serve the Lord.—R W De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Deuteronomy 3:29  "So we remained in the valley opposite Beth-peor.

Related Passages:

Numbers 33:48-56+  They journeyed from the mountains of Abarim and camped in the plains of Moab by the Jordan opposite Jericho. 49 They camped by the Jordan, from Beth-jeshimoth as far as Abel-shittim in the plains of Moab. 50 Then the LORD spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan opposite Jericho, saying, 51 “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘WHEN you cross over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, 52 THEN you shall drive out ALL the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy ALL their figured stones, and destroy ALL their molten images and demolish ALL their high places; 53 and you shall take possession of the land and live in it, for I have given the land to you to possess it. 54 ‘You shall inherit the land by lot according to your families; to the larger you shall give more inheritance, and to the smaller you shall give less inheritance. Wherever the lot falls to anyone, that shall be his. You shall inherit according to the tribes of your fathers. 55 ‘BUT IF you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, THEN it shall come about that those whom you let remain of them will become as pricks in your eyes and as thorns in your sides, and they will trouble you in the land in which you live. 56 ‘And as I plan to do to them, so I will do to you.’”


So we remained in the valley opposite Beth-peor (4x = Dt. 3:29; Dt. 4:46; Dt. 34:6; Jos. 13:20) - Chapter 1 ends with "“So you remained in Kadesh many days, the days that you spent there." (Deut 1:46) Beth-Peor was about 25 miles west of where the Jordan enters the Dead Sea and about 6 miles west of Heshbon (see location on map). As noted in the related passage above, this is where Moses spoke to the sons of Israel giving them his last words as recorded in the book of Deuteronomy. Israel was now ready to hear the powerful exhortation from Moses in Deuteronomy 4! 

ESV Study BibleBeth-peor was the location of another act of rebellion in Israel’s wilderness years, when Israel worshiped the Baal of Peor (Nu 25:1-5+). “Beth-peor” means “house or temple of Peor,” perhaps referring to the altars Balaam had built there (Nu 23:28-29).

BETH-PEOR bĕth pe’ ôr (בֵּ֣ית פְּעֹ֑ור, [or more prob. beyt pegôr, the ’ayin standing for ghayin] LXX Josh 13:20 Βαιθφογωρ; Deut 34:6 οἶκος Φογωρ; house of Peor). A city of Moab which was assigned to the tribe of Reuben (Josh 13:20). Before entering the Land of Canaan the Israelites encamped in the valley opposite Beth-peor while Moses viewed the Promised Land from the top of Mount Pisgah (Deut 3:29). Here Moses committed certain laws to them (Dt 4:46). This is the valley where God buried Moses (Dt 34:6). Beth-peor was likely the place where Baal-peor was worshiped as patron deity (Nu 25:3, 5, 18). It is identified with Khirbet esh-Sheikh-Jayil N of Mount Nebo and W of Hesbon. As for the meaning of Peor (פְּעֹ֑ור). It has been explained as “Opening” or “Chasm,” coming from a root appearing in Arab. as faġara “open wide, gape.” The Syr. cognate (p’râ) means “a chasm.”