Beginning of the End


The Conquest of Bashan

This chapter is based on Deuteronomy 2; 3:1-11.

After passing south of Edom, the Israelites turned north toward the Promised Land. Their route now lay over a vast, high plain, swept by cool, fresh breezes, a welcome change from the hot, dry valley. They pressed forward, happy and hopeful. God had commanded, “Do not harass Moab, nor contend with them in battle, for I will not give you any of their land as a possession, because I have given Ar to the descendants of Lot.” The same was repeated concerning the Ammonites, also descendants of Lot. BOE 213.1

The people of Israel soon reached the country of the Amorites. This strong, warlike people had crossed the Jordan, made war on the Moabites, and gained some of their territory. The route to the Jordan lay directly through this territory, and Moses sent a friendly message to Sihon, the Amorite king: “Let me pass through your land. ... You shall sell me food for money, that I may eat, and give me water for money, that I may drink; only let me pass through on foot.” BOE 213.2

The answer was a decided refusal, and all the soldiers of the Amorites were summoned to oppose the invaders. This intimidating army struck terror to the Israelites. In skill for warfare, their enemies had the advantage. To all human appearance, the Amorites would make a quick end of Israel. BOE 213.3

But Moses kept his eyes on the cloudy pillar. This evidence of God’s presence was still with them. At the same time he directed them to do all that human power could do in preparing for war. Their enemies were confident that they would blot out the Israelites from the land. But from the Owner of all lands the message had be given to Israel: “Rise, take your journey, and cross over the River Arnon. Look, I have given into your hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land. Begin to possess it, and engage him in battle. This day will I begin to put the dread of you and fear of you upon the nations under the whole heaven, who shall hear the report of you, and shall tremble and be in anguish because of you.” BOE 213.4