D E U T E R O N O M Y
Moses, in this chapter, relates, I. The conquest of Og, king of Bashan, and the seizing of his country, ver. 1-11. II. The distribution of these new conquests to the two tribes and a half, ver. 12-17. Under certain provisos and limitations, ver. 18-20. III. The encouragement given to Joshua to carry on the war which was so gloriously begun, ver. 21, 22. IV. Moses’s request to go over into Canaan (ver. 23-25), with the denial of that request, but the grant of an equivalent, ver. 26, &c.
B. C. 1451.
1 Then we turned, and went up the way to Bashan: and Og the king of Bashan came out against us, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei. 2 And the LORD said unto me, Fear him not: for I will deliver him, and all his people, and his land, into thy hand; and thou shalt do unto him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon. 3 So the LORD our God delivered into our hands Og also, the king of Bashan, and all his people: and we smote him until none was left to him remaining. 4 And we took all his cities at that time, there was not a city which we took not from them, threescore cities, all the region of Argob, the kingdom of Og in Bashan. 5 All these cities were fenced with high walls, gates, and bars; beside unwalled towns a great many. 6 And we utterly destroyed them, as we did unto Sihon king of Heshbon, utterly destroying the men, women, and children, of every city. 7 But all the cattle, and the spoil of the cities, we took for a prey to ourselves. 8 And we took at that time out of the hand of the two kings of the Amorites the land that was on this side Jordan, from the river of Arnon unto mount Hermon; 9 (Which Hermon the Sidonians call Sirion; and the Amorites call it Shenir;) 10 All the cities of the plain, and all Gilead, and all Bashan, unto Salchah and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan. 11 For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of giants; behold, his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after the cubit of a man.
We have here another brave country delivered into the hand of Israel, that of Bashan; the conquest of Sihon is often mentioned together with that of Og, to the praise of God, the rather because in these Israel’s triumphs began, Ps. 135:11; Ps. 136:19, 20. See,
I. How they got the mastery of Og, a very formidable prince,
1. Very strong, for he was of the remnant of the giants (v. 11); his personal strength was extraordinary, a monument of which was preserved by the Ammonites in his bedstead, which was shown as a rarity in their chief city. You might guess at his weight by the materials of his bedstead; it was iron, as if a bedstead of wood were too weak for him to trust to: and you might guess at his stature by the dimensions of it; it was nine cubits long and four cubits broad, which, supposing a cubit to be but half a yard (and some learned men have made it appear to be somewhat more), was four yards and a half long, and two yards broad; and if we allow his bedstead to be two cubits longer than himself, and that is as much as we need allow, he was three yards and a half high, double the stature of an ordinary man, and every way proportionable, yet they smote him, v. 3. Note, when God pleads his people’s cause he can deal with giants as with grasshoppers. No man’s might can secure him against the Almighty. The army of Og was very powerful, for he had the command of sixty fortified cities, besides the unwalled towns, v. 5. Yet all this was nothing before God’s Israel, when they came with commission to destroy him.
2. He was very bold and daring: He came out against Israel to battle, v. 1. It was wonderful that he did not take warning by the ruin of Sihon, and send to desire conditions of peace; but he trusted to his own strength, and so was hardened to his destruction. Note, Those that are not awakened by the judgments of God upon others, but persist in their defiance of heaven, are ripening apace for the like judgments upon themselves, Jer. iii. 8. God bade Moses not fear him, v. 2. If Moses himself was so strong in faith as not to need the caution, yet it is probable that the people needed it, and for them these fresh assurances are designed; “I will deliver him into thy hand; not only deliver thee out of his hand, that he shall not be thy ruin, but deliver him into thy hand, that thou shalt be his ruin, and make him pay dearly for his attempt.” He adds, Thou shalt do to him as thou didst to Sihon, intimating that they ought to be encouraged by their former victory to trust in God for another victory, for he is God, and changeth not.
II. How they got possession of Bashan, a very desirable country. They took all the cities (v. 4), and all the spoil of them, v. 7. They made them all their own, v. 10. So that now they had in their hands all that fruitful country which lay east of Jordan, from the river Arnon unto Hermon, v. 8. Their conquering and possessing these countries was intended, not only for the encouragement of Israel in the wars of Canaan, but for the satisfaction of Moses before his death. Since he must not live to see the completing of their victory and settlement, God thus gives him a specimen of it. Thus the Spirit is given to those that believe as the earnest of their inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession.
– Matthew Henry Commentary