The Hand of the LORD Was Against Israel (Deuteronomy 2)

Scripture reading – Deuteronomy 2

Moses’ speech to Israel, and his recall of that nation’s wilderness wanderings continued in Deuteronomy 2. Thirty-eight years had passed since Israel turned back from the Promised Land, until the LORD spoke to Moses, and said, “3Ye have compassed this mountain long enough: turn you northward” (2:3).

Israel was warned that there were nations whose people they were not to distress, because they had some kinship with them.

The Edomites (2:4-7) were descendants of Esau, who was the brother of Jacob (later named Israel), and the son of Isaac. The LORD commanded Israel, “meddle not with them [Edom]; for I will not give you of their land…I have given mount Seir unto Esau for a possession” (2:5). The LORD had blessed the children of Israel, they had “lacked nothing” (2:7); therefore they were not to spoil Edom, but “buy meat…[and] buy water of them for money” (2:6).

The Moabites were not to be distressed by Israel, for they were of Lot’s lineage (2:8b-12). Likewise, the Ammonites were not to be distressed by Israel, for they were of Lot’s lineage, and the LORD had given them their land (2:19-23).

The Amorites, whose king was Sihon, were to be destroyed. When Moses offered peace, for safe passage, and requested that Israel be sold “meat…[and] water for money” they were denied (2:24-36). The LORD determined to providentially use the king Sihon’s refusal, and He “hardened [Sihon’s] spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that he might deliver” his land to Israel (2:30-31).

Closing thought: In the midst of his discourse to Israel, and his review of the events that had brought the nation to the threshold of Canaan, Moses reminded the people how their forefathers had refused to have faith, and cross over into the Promised Land as the LORD had commanded. “Thirty and eight years [had past] until all the generation of the men of war” had perished (2:14).

It is a dreadful thing when “the hand of the Lord [is] against” a nation, a people, and a man (2:15).

Copyright 2021 – Travis D. Smith