Date:         Fri, 18 Nov 1994 09:28:57 CET
Sender:       Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From:         Teus Benschop 
Subject:      The Scriptures opened, 4 (Deuteronomy 2)
    1.   Dvariem 2 - Long ramble. Siechon becomes beaten
1.  Dvariem 2 - Long ramble. Siechon becomes beaten
Moshe describes the journey from Kadesh-barnea. He says how the people
have to behave themselves against the Edomites, Moabites and Ammonites.
Further, Moshe tells of the perishing of the disobedient people, during
the long journey through the desert. Next, he tells about the victory on
king Siechon, and the capture of his land.
Moshe continues his speech, which he has begun in chapter one.
1 "Then we turned, and took our journey into the wilderness by the way of
the Red sea, as Adonai spake unto me: and we compassed mount Seir many
The people turned around, and began travelling around. In this purposeless
travelling around, they had the time to think about the reason of it.
2 "And Adonai spake unto me, saying,"
3 "Ye have compassed this mountain long enough: turn you northward."
4 "And command thou the people, saying, Ye are to pass through the coast
of your brethren the children of Esau, which dwell in Seir; and they shall
be afraid of you: take ye good heed unto yourselves therefore:"
The children of Esau have undoubtedly heard, how well God has taken care
for the people in the desert, and His miracles in Egypt. So they will fear
the nation.
5 "Meddle not with them; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so
much as a foot breadth; because I have given mount Seir unto Esau for a
Adonai not only gives the land Kenaan to Israel, but He also takes care
for the others. He looks after all people on the earth, and cares for
them. Because God had made the division of the land in this way, Israel
was not allowed to go therein.
6 "Ye shall buy meat of them for money, that ye may eat; and ye shall also
buy water of them for money, that ye may drink."
7 "For Adonai thy God hath blessed thee in all the works of thy hand: he
knoweth thy walking through this great wilderness: these forty years
Adonai thy God hath been with thee; thou hast lacked nothing."
Adonai has taken care for the people. He knew their walk. "For Adonai
knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall
perish," Thilliem 1:6.
8 "And when we passed by from our brethren the children of Esau, which
dwelt in Seir, through the way of the plain from Elath, and from
Eziongaber, we turned and passed by the way of the wilderness of Moav."
9 "And Adonai said unto me, Distress not the Moabites, neither contend
with them in battle: for I will not give thee of their land for a
possession; because I have given Ar unto the children of Lot for a
Here again we see, that God assigns to each nation the borders of their
10 "The Emims dwelt therein in times past, a people great, and many, and
tall, as the Anakims;"
11 "Which also were accounted giants, as the Anakims; but the Moabites
call them Emims."
12 "The Horims also dwelt in Seir beforetime; but the children of Esau
succeeded them, when they had destroyed them from before them, and dwelt
in their stead; as Israel did unto the land of his possession, which
Adonai gave unto them."
In the previous chapter is described, how the Israelitish spies have made
the people afraid. "Our brethren have discouraged our heart, saying: The
people is greater and taller than we," Dvariem 1:28. That is why Moshe now
tells, how God has beaten all these giants for the Moabites and the
children of Esau. Adonai, Who had then beaten the giants, He also will do
it now. The nation Israel does not have to fear. God will fight for them.
In this way, Moshe encourages the people. But Moshe does not only this. He
goes further, and reminds them that they have already beaten the kings
Siechon and Og, with the help of God. This will encourage the people still
more. They can look back on God's powerful help, and of that, they can
have hope for the future.
13 "Now rise up, said I, and get you over the brook Zared. And we went
over the brook Zared."
14 "And the space in which we came from Kadeshbarnea, until we were come
over the brook Zared, was thirty and eight years; until all the generation
of the men of war were wasted out from among the host, as Adonai sware
unto them."
Here, Moshe reminds the nation in short wordings of the reason of their
delay in the desert. First, the combative men had to be decayed in the
desert. Here, and in the next two verses, Moshe points out to the people
their sins. They have been disobedient to Gods command. Moshe repeats this
happening repeatedly. And why? He has an intention with it. The people
always have to feel that they really deserve nothing. They stand now in
front of the promised land, but really they have not deserved is. But God
is merciful, and stays faithful to His covenant with Avraham. In contrast
to the unfaithfulness of the people is the faithfulness of God. Moshe
wants that the people realize this well. This should make them humbly.
They have to learn, that all the good come from God, and not from
15 "For indeed the hand of Adonai was against them, to destroy them from
among the host, until they were consumed."
16 "So it came to pass, when all the men of war were consumed and dead
from among the people,"
17 "That Adonai spake unto me, saying,"
18 "Thou art to pass over through Ar, the coast of Moav, this day:"
19 "And when thou comest nigh over against the children of Ammon, distress
them not, nor meddle with them: for I will not give thee of the land of
the children of Ammon any possession; because I have given it unto the
children of Lot for a possession."
20 "That also was accounted a land of giants: giants dwelt therein in old
time; and the Ammonites call them Zamzummims;"
21 "A people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims; but Adonai
destroyed them before them; and they succeeded them, and dwelt in their
It is remarkable that Moshe here again says, that God has chased away the
giants. So, the people get many examples before their eyes. They have to
learn from this, to trust God. Moshe wants, with his telling of the story,
that the people do not rely on themselves, but only on God, their Help.
22 "As he did to the children of Esau, which dwelt in Seir, when he
destroyed the Horims from before them; and they succeeded them, and dwelt
in their stead even unto this day:"
23 "And the Avims which dwelt in Hazerim, even unto Azzah, the Caphtorims,
which came forth out of Caphtor, destroyed them, and dwelt in their
24 "Rise ye up, take your journey, and pass over the river Arnon: behold,
I have given into thine hand Siechon the Emoriet, king of Cheshbon, and
his land: begin to possess it, and contend with him in battle."
25 "This day will I begin to put the dread of thee and the fear of thee
upon the nations that are under the whole heaven, who shall hear report of
thee, and shall tremble, and be in anguish because of thee."
Moshe keeps encouraging the people. He repeats, that God has given the
enemies in the hands of Israel. And he adds something for the future. God
will give fear to the heathen. And fearing soldiers cannot fight. So Gods
helps the people in diverse ways.
26 "And I sent messengers out of the wilderness of Kedemoth unto Siechon
king of Cheshbon with words of peace, saying,"
27 "Let me pass through thy land: I will go along by the high way, I will
neither turn unto the right hand nor to the left."
28 "Thou shalt sell me meat for money, that I may eat; and give me water
for money, that I may drink: only I will pass through on my feet;"
29 "(As the children of Esau which dwell in Seir, and the Moabites which
dwell in Ar, did unto me;) until I shall pass over Jordan into the land
which Adonai our God giveth us."
Moshe does not begin to fight without reason. First, he tries to talk with
Siechon, the king, about peace.
30 "But Siechon king of Cheshbon would not let us pass by him: for Adonai
thy God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that he might
deliver him into thy hand, as appeareth this day."
Adonai is not an idle Spectator. It is not so, that the people themselves
decide, what they think. Adonai administers all things and all people. The
man may think that he is free in his thoughts and works. But this is a
great misconception. Adonai hardened the mind of Siechon, and He hardened
his heart. God has done the same with Faro.
31 "And Adonai said unto me, Behold, I have begun to give Siechon and his
land before thee: begin to possess, that thou mayest inherit his land."
32 "Then Siechon came out against us, he and all his people, to fight at
33 "And Adonai our God delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his
sons, and all his people."
Adonai had promised to help the people. And look, now He has also done it.
34 "And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the
men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to
This destroying means that they all were killed and devastated. This
destroying had to happen to all, who stayed living in obstinacy and
idolatry. Therefore, was this destruction on the one hand a punishment for
their sins. On the other hand, there was another reason they had to be
destroyed. Of this speaks Moshe: "And when Adonai thy God shall deliver
them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou
shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them," Dvariem 7:2.
Why had the people to be destroyed? When the heathen still should be
alive, that would be too dangerous for them, says Adonai. "For they will
turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so
will the anger of Adonai be kindled against you, and destroy thee
suddenly," Dvariem 7:4. That is the reason. All temptation had to be far
from the people. And surely, the heathen would put them to idolatry. God
wanted to prevent this.
35 "Only the cattle we took for a prey unto ourselves, and the spoil of
the cities which we took."
36 "From Aroer, which is by the brink of the river of Arnon, and from the
city that is by the river, even unto Gilad, there was not one city too
strong for us: Adonai our God delivered all unto us:"
Adonai, Who promises something, He also does it. He gave that all before
their face.
37 "Only unto the land of the children of Ammon thou camest not, nor unto
any place of the river Jabbok, nor unto the cities in the mountains, nor
unto whatsoever Adonai our God forbad us."
Here you can see a change in the behaviour of the people. In the previous
chapter, they resisted the command of God, and they wanted to fight with
the Emorites. "So I spake unto you; and ye would not hear, but rebelled
against the commandment of Adonai, and went presumptuously up into the
hill," Dvariem 1:43. The behaviour of the people now is different from
that of the former time. Because now they did not go to the children of
Ammon, or to any piece of land, which God had forbidden to them. Formerly
they were rebellious, now they were obedient. The people have learned
something in the desert, as we see here.
In this chapter is a clear difference when you compare it to the previous
chapter. In the previous chapter, Moshe spoke all the time about the
obstinacy of the people. Here he speaks comfortable words to the people.
He always points out God's great power. The faithful God has beaten the
giants. He has done this before the heathen. Will He not do it the more
for you, Israel of little faith? In this way Moshe comforts the people,
and he encourages them. He also reminds them of the victories, which they
have already got over Siechon and Og. In this they see, that God not only
has helped others, but also themselves. There is also for us a lesson in
this. As we see, how God has helped us in the past, than we may also hope
for the future. But, when God has comforted us, and has spoken about
peace, then we may not be disobedient again. About this speaks the Psalm.
"I will hear what God Adonai will speak: for he will speak peace unto his
people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly," Thilliem
    In verse 34 is written, that Israel destroyed all these cities. Adonai
has ordered this, "thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou
shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them," Dvariem 7:2.
They had to be destroyed, because they were disobedient, served the idols,
and more. So this was a righteous punishment. But how was it with Israel
itself? Is it not so that they have been disobedient? And have they not
served the idols? Think only about the golden calf at the mountain Sinai.
True, they also were worth to be destroyed. But here we see Gods great
grace. He did not put them away from His face. They are allowed to stay
alive. This is a great miracle. God acts merciful with Israel. In the same
way God acts also with you, student. Listen to your conscience. Haven't
you violated against God? Your own conscience will speak here. You are
still alive. This is miraculous. You are not destroyed yet. But why do you
still live? Is it to sin more? Then you live to enlarge your punishment.
Let it not be so. Let it be so, that you live to serve God. Adonai wants
to be served with the whole heart and with all the power. For this, it is
necessary that you receive a new heart. The man cannot give himself a new
heart. Only God can give this to you. He has said this by Jchezkeel, the
prophet. "And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit
within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will
give them an heart of flesh. That they may walk in my statutes, and keep
mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be
their God", Jchezkeel 11:19,20. From this you can see, that a man can only
walk in Gods ways, when the stony heart is taken away of his flesh, and
when a fleshy heart is given to him. From this it is clear that a man can
only walk in the ways of God, when the stony heart is taken away from his
flesh, and when a fleshy heart is given to him. This stony and fleshy
heart must not be taken literally. It is a picture of the renewal of the
heart. The unconverted man has, so to speak, a stony heart, as hard as
rock, ice-cold and insensible. But the man, who has returned to God, has a
living heart, a heart of flesh.
    In the discussed chapter is written something remarkable. In verse 24
says God that He has given Siechon in the hand of the nation. And in verse
26 and further is written that Moshe goes talking about peace with
Siechon. Further, in verse 30 is written, that God hardened the heart of
Siechon. So Siechon did not go into the peace, which Moshe had offered,
because God hardened his heart. In this history act three, namely God,
Moshe and Siechon. In this history, we will now have a look to the acts of
God, and to these of Moshe and Siechon.
    Let we first look to Moshe. He beforehand knew that Siechon would fall
in his hand. God had made known it to him. Nevertheless, he sends
messengers of peace to the king. Has he done this with an insincere heart?
No. It is true that God had made known to Moshe that he would triumph over
Siechon, but there was still no reason to begin the fight. Because Siechon
had not done evil to Israel yet. And that Moshe has sent messengers of
peace, that is according to the command of God. "When thou comest nigh
unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it," Dvariem
20:10. En Moshe has done this. However, Siechon refused to speak about
peace, but "Siechon came out against us, he and all his people, to fight
at Jachaz," Dvariem 2:32. Now Siechon showed his hostility, there was a
reason for the fight. In short, Moshe has not feigned, when he sent
messengers of peace. He has only done what was suitable and righteous, and
what God had ordered him.
    Let we now have a look at the behaviour of Siechon, the king of
Cheshbon. He lived there in his country, and without doubt he had heard
about the nation Israel. One day messengers came to him, from Moshe, who
talked about peace. But the king did not want to hear about peace. So he
went out to meet Israel, to fight. But he could not continue to exist
before Israel, because "Adonai our God delivered him before us; and we
smote him, and his sons, and all his people," Dvariem 2:33. He was beaten.
Had he only heard to the messengers of peace, then he and his people,
would have stayed alive. But because of the hardening of his heart, he was
killed. In the same way happened it with Faro. When Faro had let go the
people, his land would not be destroyed. Here we see, that somebody
destroys himself and his people because of the hardening of his hart
against God. But there is written that God hardened the heart of Siechon.
"But Siechon king of Cheshbon would not let us pass by him: for Adonai thy
God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that he might
deliver him into thy hand, as appeareth this day," Dvariem 2:30. How
happened the hardening of the heart of the king? Is it perhaps so that
Siechon said: "The God of Israel has decided, that my heart will be
hardened. So I harden my heart"? No, it did not go in this way. It is true
that God has hardened Sihon's heart, but the king has not noticed that.
The king listened to the messengers of Moshe, and refused to accept the
conditions of peace. He himself has hardened his heart.
From this history, we see that God administers all people, even the
unbelieving. The unbelievers do the will of God, without knowing it self.
So the unbelievers sin voluntarily, without that they feel themselves
driven by God's power. Nevertheless, they are administered by God.
    Let we now concentrate our attention on the holy acts of God. Adonai
administers all things. He also administers this history of Moshe and
Siechon. Adonai begins with saying to Moshe: "behold, I have given into
thine hand Siechon the Emoriet, king of Cheshbon, and his land," Dvariem
2:24. This is in this history God's first deed. Next, God leads Moshe so,
that he sends messengers of peace to Siechon. This is the second thing,
which God does. After that God hardens the heart of king Siechon. He
hardens Sihon's heart, so that he will not listen to the peace-messengers
of Moshe. "But Siechon king of Cheshbon would not let us pass by him: for
Adonai thy God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that he
might deliver him into thy hand, as appeareth this day", Dvariem 2:30.
This is the third act of God. The result of this all is, that Israel gains
the victory over Siechon, and that they take possession of the land. All
this happened, because God helped them in the fight.
    Now we will overlook this history. We see a wicked, namely Siechon. We
see ambassadors of peace, Moshe's messengers. We see God, Who administers
all. This history is a reflection of that, what happens mentally in the
heart of the wicked. Who is then that wicked? Each sinner is that wicked.
Just as Siechon lived, thus live the wicked people. They live, every day,
without serving God. God sends to them ambassadors of peace. These
ambassadors were in Israel the prophets, and now they are all, who let
sound God's Word. In Tanach are many examples of such ambassadors. "Go and
proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding
Israel, saith Adonai; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you:
for I am merciful, saith Adonai, and I will not keep anger for ever,"
Jirmejah 3:12. Here is Jirmejah such a ambassador of peace. He is calling
up the nation to return. But they do it not. Also, Jeshajah is an
ambassador of peace: "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him
that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good
tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God
reigneth," Jeshajah 52:7. In the same way, we daily are called to return.
In Tanach, God calls up the wicked to return, on many places. But
meanwhile He does not give them the renewal of the heart, as He Siechon
not gave a heart to obey.
    God is calling us up to return. Some people conclude from this a
strange conclusion. They say that, when God calls up somebody to return,
that because of this, the person can do it. This is against the example of
Siechon. Siechon is called up to peace, but he could not. Because God
hardened his heart. Similarly the wicked. God calls them up to return, but
meanwhile He hardens their heart. From the call to return, you cannot
decide to the free will of the man. The call to return and faith is coming
to all who hears the Word, without difference. God hardens the heart of
some hearers. But God breaks the hard heart of other hearers. So that they
pay attention to the message of peace, en because of God's grace turn
themselves to Him. This is what we can learn from the history of Siechon.
Here we see, that nobody can do the good from himself. This is not only
said here, but on many other places of the Scripture. The high priest Eli
warned his sons Chofni and Pinchas, and said that they must turn
themselves from their sins. "If one man sin against another, the judge
shall judge him: but if a man sin against Adonai, who shall intreat for
him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father,
because Adonai would slay them", Shmueel A 2:25. Chofni and Pinchas did
not hear. The could not hear, because Adonai wanted to kill them. In
another place is written "Yet Adonai hath not given you an heart to
perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day," Dvariem 29:4.
Here also we see that nobody can return. God gives somebody a heart to
understand, en God opens the eyes. Moshe says this to the people: "And
Adonai thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to
love Adonai thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou
mayest live," Dvariem 30:6. Adonai can circumcise one's heart, to love Him
in heart. Not only Moshe says this, but also Jirmejah. "And I will give
them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good
of them, and of their children after them," Jirmejah 32:39.
    The truth that a man cannot return, is taught everywhere in Tanach. So,
student, pay attention. When you meet someone, who says that you can
convert yourself to serve God, do not believe him. He goes astray. Tanach
teaches you another thing. When you should listen to such a person, they
you would rely on a lie. Because you should believe him, you would rely on
yourself. And not on God. You would rely on yourself, and think that you
can convert yourself. Because you would rely on yourself, you would not
need God. But Tanach teaches you that you need God. You need that He
circumcises your heart, to serve God in heart. So you are advised, to come
in prayer to God. And to ask Him, if He wants to circumcise your heart.
Pray the prayer of Davied: "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a
right spirit within me," Thilliem 51:10.
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