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Deuteronomy Chapter 2
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2:1 We then turned around and headed into the desert toward the Southern Sea as God had told me. We traveled around in the Seir highlands for a long time.

Encountering Esau
2:2 God said to me,
2:3 'You have traveled around these highlands long enough. Turn around [and head] north.
2:4 Give the people the following instructions:

'You are passing by the borders of your brothers, the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir. Although they fear you, be very careful

2:5 not to provoke them. I will not give you even one foot of their land, since I have given Mount Seir as Esau's inheritance.
2:6 'You may purchase from them with money food to eat and drinking water.
2:7 God your Lord is blessing you in everything you do. He knows your way in this great desert, and for these forty years, God your Lord has been with you, so that you lacked nothing.'

Encountering Moab
2:8 We passed by our brothers, the descendants of Esau who lived in Seir, and headed through the Aravah from Elath and Etzyon Gever.

We turned around and passed through the Moab desert.

2:9 God said to me, 'Do not attack Moab and do not provoke them to fight. I will not give you their land as an inheritance, since I have already given Ar to Lot's descendants as their heritage.
2:10 'The Emim lived there originally, a powerful and numerous race, as tall as giants.
2:11 As giants, they might be considered Rephaim, but the Moabites called them Emim.
2:12 It was like Seir, where the Horites lived originally, but were driven out by Esau's descendants, who annihilated them and lived there in their place. This is also what Israel is to do in the hereditary land that God gave them.
2:13 'Now get moving and cross the Zered Brook!'

We thus crossed the Zered Brook.

2:14 From the time that we left Kadesh Barnea until we crossed the Zered Brook, 38 years had elapsed, during which the generation of warriors had died out from the camp, as God had sworn.
2:15 God's hand had been directed specifically against them, crushing them so that they would be finished.
2:16 It was at this time that all the men of war among the people finished dying.

Encountering Ammon
2:17 God then spoke to me, saying,
2:18 'You are now about to pass through Ar, which is Moabite territory.
2:19 You will be coming close to the Ammonites, but do not attack or provoke them. I will not let you occupy the land of the Ammonites, since I have given it as a heritage to the descendants of Lot.
2:20 'This might also be considered the territory of the Rephaim, since the Rephaim lived there originally. The Ammonites refer to them as Zamzumim.
2:21 The [Rephaim] were a powerful and numerous race, as tall as the giants, but God annihilated them before [the Ammonites] who drove them out and lived [there] in their place.
2:22 'This was the same as God had done for Esau's descendants who lived in Seir, when he annihilated the Horites before them, allowing [Esau's descendants] to drive them out and live in their place to this very day.
2:23 This was also true of the Avvim who lived from Chatzerim to Gazza; the Kaftorim came from Kaftor and defeated them, occupying their territories.
2:24 'Now set out and cross the Arnon Brook. See ! I have given over Sichon, The Amorite king of Chesbon, and his land, into your hands. Begin the occupation! Provoke him into war!
2:25 Today I am beginning to make all the nations under the heavens fear and dread you. Whoever hears of your reputation will tremble and be anxious because of you.'
2:26 I sent emissaries from the Kedemoth Desert to Sichon king of Cheshbon with a peaceful message, saying,
2:27 'We wish to pass through your land. We will travel along the main highway, not turning to the right or the left.
2:28 We will buy the food we eat for cash, and will pay for the drinking water you give us. We only wish to pass through on foot,
2:29 just as we passed by the territory of Esau in Seir and Moab in Ar. We only wish to cross the Jordan to the land that God our Lord is giving us.'
2:30 But Sichon, King of Cheshbon, would not let us pass through his land. God had hardened his spirit and made his heart firm, so that He could give [his land] over to our hands, as it is today.

Last Episodes in the Desert
2:31 God said to me, 'See! I have begun to place Sichon and his land before you. Begin the occupation and take possession of his land.'
2:32 Sichon and all his troops came out to meet us in battle at Yahatz.
2:33 God our Lord gave him over to us, so that we killed him along with his sons and all his troops.
2:34 We then captured all his cities, and we annihilated every city, including the men, women and children, not leaving any survivors.
2:35 All that we took as our plunder were the animals and the goods of the cities we captured.
2:36 Thus, in [the entire territory] from Aro'er on the edge of the Arnon Gorge and the city in the valley itself, to the Gilead, there was no city that could defend itself against us, since God had placed everything at our disposal.
2:37 The only land that we did not approach was the Ammonite territory, which included the area around the Jabbok, the cities of the highlands, and all the other [areas] that God our Lord had commanded us [to avoid].


Southern Sea
  See Deuteronomy 1:40.

Seir highlands
  See Genesis 14:6, 36:8.

  See Genesis 36:8. This is the encounter with Edom, in Numbers 20:14-21.

You may purchase
  Or, 'Do you then have to purchase' (Ramban).

through the Aravah
  The deep valley to the south of the Dead Sea, see note on Deuteronomy 1:1. Or, 'the Aravah Highway.'

Elath and Etzyon Gever
  See note on Numbers 33:35. Both are on the Gulf of Aqaba. The Israelites thus headed north from the Gulf of Aqaba directly toward the Dead Sea.

turned around
  Toward the east (Rashi), to go around the Moabite territory.

Moab desert
  To the east of Moab; see Numbers 21:11, 33:43.

  The name of the area where Moab lived (Rashi). See Numbers 21:15,28; Deuteronomy 2:18.

Lot's descendants
  Moab was Lot's illegitimate son (Genesis 19:37).

  They lived in Shavah Kiryathaim but were killed by the four kings (Genesis 14:5).

  Anakim in Hebrew.

As giants, they might be considered...
  (cf. Ramban; Septuagint). Or, 'The Rephaim consider them Anakim...' (cf. Rashi). See Deuteronomy 2:20.

  See Genesis 14:6, 36:20.

Zered Brook
  See Numbers 21:12.

crushing them
  (Radak, Sherashim). Hamam in Hebrew, see Esther 9:24. Or, 'agitate' (Rashi, Saadia), 'kill' (Septuagint), or, 'kill suddenly' (Hirsch).

finished dying
  See note on Numbers 33:45.

God then
  Only after the previous generation had died out (Taanith 30b; Rashi). See note on Numbers 20:6.

  See Numbers 21:24.

descendants of Lot
  See Genesis 19:38.

  Who lived in Ashteroth-Karnayim (Genesis 14:5), and whose land was promised to Abraham (Genesis 15:20; Rashi; Midrash Aggadah).

  Some say that these are the Zuzim in Genesis 14:5 (Rashi ibid.). Others translated Zamzumim as 'plotters' (Targum; Chizzkuni; Tur), or, 'strong nations' (Septuagint). In Arabic, zamzam means to speak gibberish, so that zamzumim may be the equivalent of the Greek-based 'barbarian,' which means 'gibberish speaker.'

  See Deuteronomy 2:12. Some say that they were descended from the Rephaim (Ramban).

  Some say that they were a Canaanite tribe (Targum Yonathan) and hence identify them with the Chivites (Genesis 10:17; Baaley Tosafoth; Ramban). They are said to be related to the Rephaim (Bereshith Rabbah 26:16), who in turn may have been descendants of the Nefilim (Ramban).

Others, however, maintain that the Avvim were a Philistine tribe (Chullin 60b; Rashi) since the Avvim were later found to be one of the divisions of the Philistines (Joshua 13:3). However, if the Kaftorim (see next note) were a Philistine tribe, they might have taken the name of the Avvim from their geographic location. Indeed, there is a city in Benjamin by the name of Avvim, (Joshua 18:23), possibly identified with Ai. There was also Avith in Edom (Genesis 36:36), and Avvah (2 Kings 17:24).

  Asedoth in the Septuagint, identified with Dafiach (Targum) or Rafiach (Saadia), the modern Rafah, some 16 miles southwest of Gazza on the Mediterranean coast. This was the southernmost border town in the Holy Land (cf. Tosefta, Shevi'ith 4:5. However, there was also a Rafiach to the south of the Dead Sea (Targum Yerushalmi on Numbers 34:15). Other sources, however, translate chatzerim as 'courtyards' or, 'open villages' (Targum Yonathan; Ramban; Paaneach Razah). See Leviticus 15:31, Genesis 25:16.

  Azza in Hebrew. This was originally Canaanite territory (Genesis 10:19). In Abraham's time, Gerar, which was between Rafah (Chatzerim) and Gazza was a Philistine capital (Genesis 20:2), although it was also originally a Canaanite city (Genesis 10:19).

  These were a Philistine people (Genesis 10:14). Some of them may have taken the name Avvim from the previous dwellers of their area (Joshua 13:3, see previous note on Avvim). Some identify the Kaftorim with the Capacodians (Targum; Septuagint). Others identify them with the Demiatim (Saadia), the group living in Demat on the eastern delta of the Nile, near El Arish and west of the modern Port Said. Still other sources state that their place of origin was Cyprus or Crete.

Arnon Brook
  See Numbers 21:13.

  Numbers 21:21 ff.

  (Hirsch from Genesis 12:5). Ragaz in Hebrew.

be anxious
  (Hirsch from Exodus 15:14). Chul in Hebrew.

Kedemoth Desert
  Kedemoth was an eastern city given to Reuben (Joshua 13:18) and designated as a Levitical city (Joshua 21:37, 1 Chronicles 6:64). Since kedem means 'east,' some call it the 'eastern desert' (Chizzkuni), while others identify it with Matanah in Numbers 21:18 (Ibn Ezra). It is thought to be the present Ez Zafaran, some 16 miles east of the Dead Sea and 13 miles north of the Arnon, near Matanah and Almon Divlathaymah. Hence, the Israelites were then to the east of Sichon's territory.

  Literally, 'I.' See Numbers 21:22.

main highway
  Literally, 'the road the road.' 'King's Highway' in Numbers 21:22.

just as we passed by...
  (Ibn Ezra), without fighting (Lekach Tov), and with them selling us food (Rashi; cf. Ramban on Deuteronomy 23:5). Literally, 'as they did to me.' However, Edom (Esau) did not actually let the Israelites pass through their land (Numbers 20:21).

  See Numbers 21:23.

  Charam in Hebrew. Or, 'declared taboo' (see Leviticus 27:29). See Deuteronomy 20:16.

  (Targum; Rashi; Radak, s.v. Mathath). Cf. Genesis 34:30. Or, 'in succession' (Septuagint).

  An important city in Ar, the Moabite territory (Deuteronomy 2:9). It is just north of the Arnon, some 13 miles east of the Dead Sea.

  To the north. See Genesis 31:21, Numbers 32:1.

defend itself
  (Hirsch). Sagav in Hebrew. Or, 'was stronger than' (Targum, Ibn Ezra); 'remained above' (Radak, Sherashim); or 'escaped' (Septuagint).

  See Genesis 32:23, Numbers 21:24.

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