Canaanites Defeated at Hormah
21 The king of Arad, the Canaanite, who dwelt in the South, heard that Israel was coming on the road to Atharim. Then he fought against Israel and took some of them prisoners. 2 So Israel made a vow to the Lord, and said, “If You will indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities.” 3 And the Lord listened to the voice of Israel and delivered up the Canaanites, and they utterly destroyed them and their cities. So the name of that place was called [a]Hormah.
The Bronze Serpent
4 Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very [b]discouraged on the way. 5 And the people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul [c]loathes this worthless bread.” 6 So the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died.
7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord that He take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.
8 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.
From Mount Hor to Moab
10 Now the children of Israel moved on and camped in Oboth. 11 And they journeyed from Oboth and camped at [d]Ije Abarim, in the wilderness which is east of Moab, toward the sunrise. 12 From there they moved and camped in the Valley of Zered. 13 From there they moved and camped on the other side of the Arnon, which is in the wilderness that extends from the border of the Amorites; for the Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites. 14 Therefore it is said in the Book of the Wars of the Lord:
[e]“Waheb in Suphah, The brooks of the Arnon, 15 And the slope of the brooks That reaches to the dwelling of Ar, And lies on the border of Moab.”
16 From there they went to Beer, which is the well where the Lord said to Moses, “Gather the people together, and I will give them water.” 17 Then Israel sang this song:
“Spring up, O well! All of you sing to it— 18 The well the leaders sank, Dug by the nation’s nobles, By the lawgiver, with their staves.”
And from the wilderness they went to Mattanah, 19 from Mattanah to Nahaliel, from Nahaliel to Bamoth, 20 and from Bamoth, in the valley that is in the [f]country of Moab, to the top of Pisgah which looks down on the [g]wasteland.
King Sihon Defeated
21 Then Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, saying, 22 “Let me pass through your land. We will not turn aside into fields or vineyards; we will not drink water from wells. We will go by the King’s Highway until we have passed through your territory.” 23 But Sihon would not allow Israel to pass through his territory. So Sihon gathered all his people together and [h]went out against Israel in the wilderness, and he came to Jahaz and fought against Israel. 24 Then Israel defeated him with the edge of the sword, and took possession of his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, as far as the people of Ammon; for the border of the people of Ammon was fortified. 25 So Israel took all these cities, and Israel dwelt in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon and in all its villages. 26 For Heshbon was the city of Sihon king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab, and had taken all his land from his hand as far as the Arnon. 27 Therefore those who speak in [i]proverbs say:
“Come to Heshbon, let it be built; Let the city of Sihon be repaired.
28 “For fire went out from Heshbon, A flame from the city of Sihon; It consumed Ar of Moab, The lords of the heights of the Arnon. 29 Woe to you, Moab! You have perished, O people of Chemosh! He has given his sons as fugitives, And his daughters into captivity, To Sihon king of the Amorites.
30 “But we have shot at them; Heshbon has perished as far as Dibon. Then we laid waste as far as Nophah, Which reaches to Medeba.”
31 Thus Israel dwelt in the land of the Amorites. 32 Then Moses sent to [j]spy out Jazer; and they took its villages and drove out the Amorites who were there.
King Og Defeated
33 And they turned and went up by the way to Bashan. So Og king of Bashan went out against them, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei. 34 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Do not fear him, for I have [k]delivered him into your hand, with all his people and his land; and you shall do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt at Heshbon.” 35 So they defeated him, his sons, and all his people, until there was no survivor left him; and they took possession of his land.
Numbers 21-22 Studies and Notes
21:9: The people who looked on the copper serpent on the signal pole lived … They lived because the motionless copper serpent signaled that the power of the venom in them was now dead …
The serpent but Adam in the Garden of Eden, and his venom eventually caused him to die physically and decay in the grave: “So all the days Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died” – (Genesis 5:5) … Death also came into the world through him – (Romans 5:12) …
When Christ hung motionless on the cross – (John 3:14), His dead body was signaling the end of death’s reign over man’s body, for “he trampled down death by His death, upon those who looked upon it, not because it lived, but because it was killed, and killed with it the powers that were subject on it, being destroyed as it deserved … And what is fitting epitaph for it from us??? ‘O death, where is your sting??? O grave, where is your victory’ (1Corinthians 15:55) … You are overthrown by the cross; you are slain by Him who is the Giver of life; you are without breath, dead without motion, even though you keep the form of a serpent lifted on a high pole” – (GrgTheo)
Balak Sends for Balaam
22 Then the children of Israel moved, and camped in the plains of Moab on the side of the Jordan across from Jericho.
2 Now Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. 3 And Moab was exceedingly afraid of the people because they were many, and Moab was sick with dread because of the children of Israel. 4 So Moab said to the elders of Midian, “Now this company will [a]lick up everything around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field.” And Balak the son of Zippor was king of the Moabites at that time. 5 Then he sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor at Pethor, which is near [b]the River in the land of [c]the sons of his people, to call him, saying: “Look, a people has come from Egypt. See, they cover the face of the earth, and are settling next to me! 6 Therefore please come at once, curse this people for me, for they are too mighty for me. Perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land, for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.”
7 So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the diviner’s fee in their hand, and they came to Balaam and spoke to him the words of Balak. 8 And he said to them, “Lodge here tonight, and I will bring back word to you, as the Lord speaks to me.” So the princes of Moab stayed with Balaam.
9 Then God came to Balaam and said, “Who are these men with you?”
10 So Balaam said to God, “Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, has sent to me, saying, 11 ‘Look, a people has come out of Egypt, and they cover the face of the earth. Come now, curse them for me; perhaps I shall be able to overpower them and drive them out.’ ”
12 And God said to Balaam, “You shall not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.”
13 So Balaam rose in the morning and said to the princes of Balak, “Go back to your land, for the Lord has refused to give me permission to go with you.”
14 And the princes of Moab rose and went to Balak, and said, “Balaam refuses to come with us.”
15 Then Balak again sent princes, more numerous and more [d]honorable than they. 16 And they came to Balaam and said to him, “Thus says Balak the son of Zippor: ‘Please let nothing hinder you from coming to me; 17 for I will certainly honor you greatly, and I will do whatever you say to me. Therefore please come, curse this people for me.’ ”
18 Then Balaam answered and said to the servants of Balak, “Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more. 19 Now therefore, please, you also stay here tonight, that I may know what more the Lord will say to me.”
20 And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men come to call you, rise and go with them; but only the word which I speak to you—that you shall do.” 21 So Balaam rose in the morning, saddled his donkey, and went with the princes of Moab.
Balaam, the Donkey, and the Angel
22 Then God’s anger was aroused because he went, and the Angel of the Lord took His stand in the way as an adversary against him. And he was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23 Now the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand, and the donkey turned aside out of the way and went into the field. So Balaam struck the donkey to turn her back onto the road. 24 Then the Angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on this side and a wall on that side. 25 And when the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord, she pushed herself against the wall and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall; so he struck her again. 26 Then the Angel of the Lord went further, and stood in a narrow place where there was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. 27 And when the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord, she lay down under Balaam; so Balaam’s anger was aroused, and he struck the donkey with his staff.
28 Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?”
29 And Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have [e]abused me. I wish there were a sword in my hand, for now I would kill you!”
30 So the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden, ever since I became yours, to this day? Was I ever [f]disposed to do this to you?”
And he said, “No.”
31 Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand; and he bowed his head and fell flat on his face. 32 And the Angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out [g]to stand against you, because your way is perverse[h] before Me. 33 The donkey saw Me and turned aside from Me these three times. If she had not turned aside from Me, surely I would also have killed you by now, and let her live.”
34 And Balaam said to the Angel of the Lord, “I have sinned, for I did not know You stood in the way against me. Now therefore, if it [i]displeases You, I will turn back.”
35 Then the Angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but only the word that I speak to you, that you shall speak.” So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.
36 Now when Balak heard that Balaam was coming, he went out to meet him at the city of Moab, which is on the border at the Arnon, the boundary of the territory. 37 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Did I not earnestly send to you, calling for you? Why did you not come to me? Am I not able to honor you?”
38 And Balaam said to Balak, “Look, I have come to you! Now, have I any power at all to say anything? The word that God puts in my mouth, that I must speak.” 39 So Balaam went with Balak, and they came to Kirjath Huzoth. 40 Then Balak offered oxen and sheep, and he sent some to Balaam and to the princes who were with him.
Balaam’s First Prophecy
41 So it was, the next day, that Balak took Balaam and brought him up to the high places of Baal, that from there he might observe [j]the extent of the people.
Notes Numbers 22 Study
22:22-38: The Angel is the Word and Son of God … He warned Balaam to speak only what he told him to speak: “ONLY THE WORD I MAY SPEAK TO YOU, THIS YOU MUST BE CARFEL TO SPEAK” – (v. 35) … Later, Balaam told Balak he could speak WHATEVER WORD GOD MAY PUT IN MY MOUTH, THIS I SPEAK – (v. 38) … Thus, Balaam called the Angel “God” …
22:22-27: The donkey knew his Master and Creator, for he saw Him … However, Balaam could not Him because of his darkened heart … Likewise, when this Angel, who is the Word, became flesh, neither Israel nor the world at large knew Him – (John 1:10-11), but the donkey and the ox knew Him at His birth in the cave …
In the Christmas ICON, the donkey stands nearest Christ in the cave, and next to it the ox, for they knew their Master and Creator, but Israel did not know Him, as Isaiah prophesied – (Isaiah 1:3-4) …