From Eternity Past


Chapter 39—The Conquest of Bashan

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

After passing south of Edom, the Israelites turned northward toward the Promised Land. Their route now lay over a vast, elevated plain, swept by cool, fresh breezes, a welcome change from the parched valley. They pressed forward, buoyant and hopeful. The command had been given, “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.” The same was repeated concerning the Ammonites, also descendants of Lot. EP 304.1

The hosts of Israel soon reached the country of the Amorites. This strong, warlike people had crossed the Jordan, made war upon the Moabites, and gained a portion 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 thy land... . 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.” EP 304.2

The answer was a decided refusal, and all the hosts of the Amorites were summoned to oppose the invaders. This formidable army struck terror to the Israelites. So far as skill in warfare was concerned, their enemies had the advantage. To all human appearance, a speedy end would be made of Israel. EP 304.3

But Moses kept his gaze upon the cloudy pillar. The token 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 Possessor of all lands the mandate had gone forth to Israel: “Rise ye up, take your journey, and pass over the river Arnon: behold I have given into thine hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land: begin to possess it, and contend with him in battle. 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.” EP 304.4