December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- "When we did turn and proceed into the desert on the Red Sea road, as the LORD had commanded me, we circled around the highlands of Seir for a long time.
- Finally the LORD said to me,
- 'You have wandered round these highlands long enough; turn and go north.
- Give this order to the people: You are now about to pass through the territory of your kinsmen, the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir. Though they are afraid of you, be very careful
- not to come in conflict with them, for I will not give you so much as a foot of their land, since I have already given Esau possession of the highlands of Seir.
- You shall purchase from them with silver the food you eat and the well water you drink.
- The LORD, your God, has blessed you in all your undertakings; he has been concerned about your journey through this vast desert. It is now forty years that he has been with you, and you have never been in want.'
- "Then we left behind us the Arabah route, Elath, Ezion-geber, and Seir, where our kinsmen, the descendants of Esau, live; and we went on toward the desert of Moab.
- And the LORD said to me, 'Do not show hostility to the Moabites or engage them in battle, for I will not give you possession of any of their land, since I have given Ar to the descendants of Lot as their own.
- (Formerly the Emim lived there, a people strong and numerous and tall like the Anakim;
- like them they were considered Rephaim. It was the Moabites who called them Emim.
- In Seir, however, the former inhabitants were the Horites; the descendants of Esau dispossessed them, clearing them out of the way and taking their place, just as the Israelites have done in the land of their heritage which the LORD has given them.)
- Get ready, then, to cross the Wadi Zered.' So we crossed it.
- Thirty-eight years had elapsed between our departure from Kadesh-barnea and that crossing; in the meantime the whole generation of soldiers had perished from the camp, as the LORD had sworn they should.
- For it was the LORD'S hand that was against them, till he wiped them out of the camp completely.
- "When at length death had put an end to all the soldiers among the people,
- the LORD said to me,
- 'You are now about to leave Ar and the territory of Moab behind.
- As you come opposite the Ammonites, do not show hostility or come in conflict with them, for I will not give you possession of any land of the Ammonites, since I have given it to the descendants of Lot as their own.
- (This also was considered a country of the Rephaim from its former inhabitants, whom the Ammonites called Zamzummim,
- a people strong and numerous and tall like the Anakim. But these, too, the LORD cleared out of the way for the Ammonites, who ousted them and took their place.
- He had done the same for the descendants of Esau, who dwell in Seir, by clearing the Horites out of their way, so that the descendants of Esau have taken their place down to the present.
- 1 So also the Caphtorim, migrating from Caphtor, cleared away the Avvim, who once dwelt in villages as far as Gaza, and took their place.)
- "'Advance now across the Wadi Arnon. I now deliver into your hands Sihon, the Amorite king of Heshbon, and his land. Begin the occupation; engage him in battle.
- This day I will begin to put a fear and dread of you into every nation under the heavens, so that at the mention of your name they will quake and tremble before you.'
- "So I sent messengers from the desert of Kedemoth to Sihon, king of Heshbon, with this offer of peace:
- 'Let me pass through your country by the highway; I will go along it without turning aside to the right or to the left.
- For the food I eat which you will supply, and for the water you give me to drink, you shall be paid in silver. Only let me march through,
- as the descendants of Esau who dwell in Seir and the Moabites who dwell in Ar have done, until I cross the Jordan into the land which the LORD, our God, is about to give us.'
- But Sihon, king of Heshbon, refused to let us pass through his land, because the LORD, your God, made him stubborn in mind and obstinate in heart that he might deliver him up to you, as indeed he has now done.
- "Then the LORD said to me, 'Now that I have already begun to hand over to you Sihon and his land, begin the actual occupation.'
- So Sihon and all his people advanced against us to join battle at Jahaz;
- but since the LORD, our God, had delivered him to us, we defeated him and his sons and all his people.
- 2 At that time we seized all his cities and doomed them all, with their men, women and children; we left no survivor.
- Our only booty was the livestock and the loot of the captured cities.
- From Aroer on the edge of the Wadi Arnon and from the city in the wadi itself, as far as Gilead, no city was too well fortified for us to whom the LORD had delivered them up.
- However, in obedience to the command of the LORD, our God, you did not encroach upon any of the Ammonite land, neither the region bordering on the Wadi Jabbok, nor the cities of the highlands.
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1  The Caphtorim: members of one of the groups of sea peoples who invaded the coast of Egypt and the southern part of Palestine about 1200 B.C. Caphtor: the ancient name of the island of Crete. Cf Amos 9:7.
2  Doomed: see notes on Numbers 18:14; 21:3.
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