You Have Skirted This Mountain Long Enough
As Moses continues to recount the events of Israel’s past, since leaving Mount Horeb, he turns now to the ending of their time of punishment. In this, other than a single verse which speaks of “many days,” he skips over all of the events of the past thirty-eight years of Israel’s existence.
They were simply wasted years of waiting for a promise that was sure to come, but not for any of those who were under the sentence. They had to be taken out of the way while the years passed by in unrecorded silence.
The memory of the events would live on with the people, but the importance of them to the greater plan of redemption is not worth mentioning. And yet, within the words of today’s verses is the simply stated note that during all of that time, the Lord had continued to bless the people and look over them.
It is a note of grace that should not have been unexpected. The Lord promised that even in their punishment, He would preserve them. And He was faithful to do so.
Text Verse: “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we may boldly say:
‘The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?’” Hebrews 13:5, 6
One of the most common communications I get is that of people who wonder if the Lord has forgotten them. I’m talking about saved believers. If those same people would heed the story of Israel’s history, they might not feel any less troubled in their affliction, but they would certainly feel less troubled in their convictions.
In other words, things may be so tough that they truly consume your joy, but they should never be so tough that you question if the Lord is there with you in your trials. The lesson of Israel is the lesson of the believer. They are a template for us to look at and see the faithfulness of God in all situations.
Here we are, adopted sons and daughters of God because of the giving of His Son for us. If God continued to tend to Israel, even when they have turned their back on that, do you honestly believe He has, or He even could, neglect you? May we never consider it!
Have faith, and trust in the Lord, even when the whole world has collapsed around you. He is there, and your situation is not out of His control. He has allowed it in your life for His own reasons, and I assure you, they are good reasons. Be sure of this. It is another truthful lesson that we can find in His superior word. And so, let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.
I. The Descendants of Esau (verses 1-7)
“Then we turned and journeyed
This is exactly what the Lord had told Israel to do before their willful act of disobedience of turning to fight those in Canaan. They were told this in Numbers 14:25. Moses repeated that in Deuteronomy 1:40 –
“But as for you, turn and take your journey into the wilderness by the Way of the Red Sea.” Deuteronomy 1:40
They had failed to trust that the Lord could deliver them, but when they came under sentence for that sin, they then added the sin of presumption and went to accomplish the deed themselves. The pattern was set, and it followed in the coming of Christ.
The people had failed to believe God’s provision as found in Christ, and they came under the sentence of God’s punishment. However, instead of accepting this, they added in their own attempt to obtain the promise apart from Christ.
They codified Jewish law through the Talmud, and they relied on their own deeds known as teshuvah and mitsvot – repentance and supposed obedience to their law – in a futile attempt to restore themselves to God.
However, that system can never restore man to God. The law was incapable of doing so. Adding in their own deeds could only make it worse. The people were, and are, defeated. They were turned away from the promise…
1 (con’t) into the wilderness
As was explained in Chapter 1, in the Bible the wilderness signifies an uncultivated area, not specifically a barren desert. It is a place of God’s grace and of closeness to God, but it is also a place of testing.
For some, such as Israel, the testing resulted in disobedience. For others, such as when Christ was tested, it is a place of fellowship through obedience. The wilderness and the law are closely connected because it is by law that testing is accomplished.
Israel, under Moses, turned into the wilderness in exile and for the execution of their punishment based on their disobedience. Israel after Christ’s work, and still under the law, were turned into the wilderness in exile for the execution of their punishment based on the very law that Christ had fulfilled.
They rejected Him, and so the punishments of the law (Leviticus 26) were the stated remedy to someday lead them back to Him. This turning into the wilderness was…
1 (con’t) of the Way of the Red Sea,
In being told to take their leave of the Land of Promise, by turning into the wilderness in the Way of the Red Sea, an ominous hint of doom can be seen. In Hebrew, the Red Sea is yam suph, or “Sea of the Ending.” The sea is a place of confusion and turmoil. It is, as in Daniel, a picture of the confusion of the nations of the world –
“I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea.” Daniel 7:2
In Revelation, this is said of such things –
“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.” Revelation 21:1
The word suph, comes from a verb meaning to cease, or end. That comes from a primitive root which means to end or perish. The people were sentenced to perish, and the path which they were to take signified exactly that.
The people of Israel were told they were to perish and here they are on the Way to the Red Sea. The people of Israel rejected Christ, and they were set to perish among the chaotic nations of the world. The exile would not be short, and the people would suffer because of their failure to simply believe the Lord. In Numbers 14:35, the Lord said, “In this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.”
And in John 8:24, the Lord said –
“Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”
1 (con’t) as the Lord spoke to me,
Israel was given the choice of believing the Lord – who is the fulfillment of the law – and live, or failing to believe and die by the curse of the law. They unwisely chose the latter, and so the Lord spoke to them of exile, punishment, and perishing in death. Thus…
1 (con’t) and we skirted Mount Seir for many days.
va’nasav eth har seir yamim rabim – “And we went around Mount Seir days many.” This is the first time this statement is made. However, it is given as a statement of fact. The implication is that they simply compassed about the mountain for the entire time they were dying off in the wilderness.
The term “many days” is indefinite. It simply means “all of the time that we were in this particular situation.” This then encompassed a period of thirty-eight years – from the time that they departed the border of Canaan, until the time they began their trek, once again, toward Canaan.
These words here beg us to revisit the symbolism. Mountains in the Bible have various meanings, but ultimately, they picture forms of government. There is, in Isaiah, the mountain of the Lord. Babylon, in Jeremiah 51, is called the “destroying mountain.”
Here we have Mount Seir, which has been what Israel has circled for an extended period during her exile. The meaning of the name Seir comes from the same as sear, or hair. Thus, it is Mount Hairy, or Mount Shaggy.
The appearance of Seir is that of a hairy mountain because of the many low bushes that cover it. But, as has been seen many times, hair in the Bible pictures awareness, particularly awareness of sin. For example, the sa’iyr or hairy goat is that which was given for sin in Leviticus.
Hair was first seen in Genesis 25:25 where it noted the birth of Esau. There it said, “He was like a hairy garment all over; so they called his name Esau.” He was given as a picture of Adam, the man that was made, and who had an awareness.
This is particularly so because of sin. In his sin the Lord said of the man, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil” (Genesis 3:22). Jacob, on the other hand, was specifically noted as being smooth, implying not hairy. That was seen later in Genesis 27:11 saying, “Look, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth-skinned man.”
Jacob pictured Christ, the man without sin. Thus, encircling har seir, or Mount Seir – meaning “Mount Hairy” – is the fulfillment of Jesus’ words to Israel, exactly as He had spoken in John 8:24, “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”
Israel’s exile was not under the government of Christ, which they had rejected, but under the government of man under sin – the law. Moses is recounting a true narrative of Israel’s wanderings, but he is also prophetically laying out the future of Israel after the coming of Christ.
The introduction of this note now concerning the wilderness, the Way of the Red Sea, and Mount Seir is astonishingly and sadly seen in the history of Israel since Christ’s coming.
2 “And the Lord spoke to me, saying:
v’yomer Yehovah elay lemor – “And Yehovah said to me, saying.” As has been explained before, the word davar, or spoke is similar to, but not the same as, amar, or said. The first conveys the idea of instruction to be followed. The second includes a broader thought of participation by the one being instructed. That is the case here…
3 ‘You have skirted this mountain long enough;
The words are similar to Deuteronomy 1:6 – “The Lord our God spoke to us in Horeb, saying: ‘You have dwelt long enough at this mountain.’” Mount Horeb is Mount Sinai. It was where the law was given. In Galatians 4, Paul explicitly shows that Sinai pictures the law and the place of the law which is the earthly Jerusalem –
“Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, 24 which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar— 25 for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children— 26 but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.” Galatians 4:21-26
The idea we can get from these statements of Deuteronomy 1 and 2 is first, “You have been under the law long enough. Turn and head towards the promise in Christ.” And then after they rejected Him, “You have been under punishment for rejecting the Lord long enough. Therefore…”
3 (con’t) turn northward.
penu lakem tsaphonah – “turn you northward.” The noun tsaphon, or north, comes from the verb tsaphan, meaning to hide by covering over, treasure up, conceal, and so on. That which has been hidden away and treasured up for Israel is now to be pursued.
It is an event which has, in its truest sense, begun for them in recent years. Israel is gaining an awareness of Christ, even if the number of them is small at this point. However, they, as a whole, will come to know Him in His fullness when He is finally revealed to them. The words here anticipate that day.
4 And command the people, saying, “You are about to pass through the territory of your brethren, the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir;
The narrative here seems confusing when put side by side with the same account in Numbers 20. In fact, it seems like there is a standing contradiction. There it said –
Please let us pass through your country. We will not pass through fields or vineyards, nor will we drink water from wells; we will go along the King’s Highway; we will not turn aside to the right hand or to the left until we have passed through your territory.’”
18 Then Edom said to him, “You shall not pass through my land, lest I come out against you with the sword.”
19 So the children of Israel said to him, “We will go by the Highway, and if I or my livestock drink any of your water, then I will pay for it; let me only pass through on foot, nothing more.”
20 Then he said, “You shall not pass through.” So Edom came out against them with many men and with a strong hand. 21 Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his territory; so Israel turned away from him. Numbers 20:17-21
It says, they weren’t allowed to go through Edom, but here it at first seems that this wasn’t so. However, in the account from Numbers, Moses said in verse 17, “Let us pass through your country.” In that, he first used the term b’artsekha, or “your land.”
Edom refused that request. Later, in that verse, he uses the word gebulekha, or “your border.” However, Edom told them to take a hike. And so, they did. The words here in Deuteronomy are after the fact. The Lord says, atem oberim bigbul akhekem – “You are about to pass over the border of your brothers.”
It says nothing of the land, only the border. Thus, Israel – instead of continuing on through Edom – turned back and skirted the border of Edom, not attempting to breach the borders of the land. This is seen later in Judges 11 –
“And they went along through the wilderness and bypassed the land of Edom and the land of Moab, came to the east side of the land of Moab, and encamped on the other side of the Arnon. But they did not enter the border of Moab, for the Arnon was the border of Moab.” Judges 11:18
The perceived difficulties of such passages are often because of translational errors, or because the narrative is so widely disbursed throughout the pages of Scripture. In the end, there is nothing contradictory here.
Rather, Israel while heading towards Canaan, first petitioned Edom to pass through, Edom refused, Israel turned back and the Lord told them they were going to skirt their land and not to pester them, and they did just that. The reason for the coming words of verse 5 is because…
4 (con’t) and they will be afraid of you.
This was prophesied in the Song of Moses from Exodus 15 –
“Then the chiefs of Edom will be dismayed;
The mighty men of Moab,
Trembling will take hold of them;
All the inhabitants of Canaan will melt away.” Exodus 15:15
The people of Edom would have heard of the Lord’s deliverance of Israel. Even though it was quite a few years earlier, that would still be a story frequently repeated by the people. The people who would encounter them later would be afraid of their coming and act in a hostile manner towards them. This is exactly what occurred, and so the Lord said…
4 (con’t) Therefore watch yourselves carefully.
v’nishmartem meod – “And watch yourselves exceedingly.” The slightest provocation was bound to turn into a very large problem, and so all of the people were told to conduct themselves accordingly. They had already been warned away. If they could not follow the eastern borders of Edom, they would be forced to return back into the wilderness. And so…
5 Do not meddle with them,
Here is a new word translated as “meddle,” garah. It signifies to stir up. It comes from a primitive root meaning to grate, and thus it figuratively means to anger. In Daniel, it is translated as “mobilize” or “wage war,” and that may be the sense here.
The verb is in the reflexive form, and so it means to excite oneself against another. Israel was not to provoke Esau, and they were not to make any threatening actions against them…
5 (con’t) for I will not give you any of their land,
The division is to be complete. What has been given to Esau is to remain theirs. Israel is on a trek elsewhere and none of those who are going there will remain behind to occupy the land of Edom…
5 (con’t) no, not so much as one footstep,
The Hebrew is more expressive, ad midrakh kaph ragel – “not as much as a tread of the soul of a foot.” This is another new word, found only here in Scripture, midrakh, or “foot place.” It comes from the verb darakh, to tread the foot.
The people of Israel were not to be given a single place for a foot to tread from Edom. Later, Edom and Israel will be back and forth in war, so it must be that the account here is given to fit certain typology.
5 (con’t) because I have given Mount Seir to Esau as a possession.
Again, a new word is found here, translated as “possession.” It is yerushshah. The word comes from yarash, signifying to inherit or take possession. Thus, it speaks of an inheritance.
Mount Seir, standing as representative of the land of the Edomites, is given to them. It is their possession as a right. It is not Israel’s inheritance. Here in verses 4 and 5 are a picture of the land given to man. The name Esau is derived from the verb asah, to do, or make. It is the word used in Genesis 1:26 when God said –
“Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26
Thus, Esau pictures the made man, Adam. The Lord said that He has given har seir, “Mount Hairy,” meaning the government of awareness – the world, to Esau, meaning Adam. The picture is accurately described in Psalm 115 –
“The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s;
But the earth He has given to the children of men.” Psalm 115:16
Man has been given the earth to dwell on. However, there are certain men who are given more. Just as the heavens are the Lord’s, so the Lord’s redeemed are given a heavenly inheritance –
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-6
This is but one example of such references to the heavenly anticipation and of the heavenly inheritance spoken of as belonging to those in Christ. Israel has been under punishment, but the Lord promised that after that time, they would be brought into Canaan, the Land of Promise.
It would be contradictory to give the land of Adam, meaning the earth, to the redeemed of the Lord. The stress in the words of this verse are to note – without any doubt – that the inheritance of the Lord’s people is not a land of the consciousness of sin, but a land where sin is no longer imputed.
The whole thought of these verses is well summed up in these words from Hebrews 9 –
“…how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.” Hebrews 9:14, 15
The conscience of sin (dead works) is cleansed in Christ. Thus, Israel is being prepared in type here in Deuteronomy to be redeemed from the transgressions of the first covenant, meaning the Law of Moses, brought into the New Covenant – the Christ covenant – and in this, they will receive the eternal inheritance, heaven.
This is why the stress is seen concerning the possession of Esau. The ironic part is that while Israel was under punishment for rejecting Christ, the Gentiles were grafted into the commonwealth of Israel, but eventually Israel will be brought back into right standing with God through Christ, receiving the benefits of the commonwealth that they had missed for so long.
6 You shall buy food from them with money, that you may eat;
There is something to be said for the life that God’s people now live, and it is reflected in this verse here. Though there is the promise of a heavenly inheritance, there is also the reality of the earthly life we live.
Jesus spoke of it in His high priestly prayer, noting that those who are His remain in this world but are not of this world. Paul speaks of such things, noting that we can use the things of this world, but they are temporary and passing away.
This is not a stretch of the analysis. The last time the word for “buy food” was used was back in Genesis where the brothers of Joseph were sent to Egypt to buy grain. The word is shavar and comes from shever, cracked grain, rather than bar, or purified grain.
Following the details of the use of the words in Genesis showed a spiritual application. What is bought here is temporary and only sustains the body temporarily. That a spiritual picture is being made is even more evident in the next words…
6 (con’t) and you shall also buy water from them with money, that you may drink.
The word for “buy” here is a completely new, different, and rare word, karah. It is associated with the word karah, meaning to open or dig. In other words, it is probably saying that if a well is dug, silver would need to be paid for the water obtained from it.
The idea here is that in this life, there is work involved in what we obtain, and what we obtain is temporary. Israel is passing by the land of Edom, but along the way, they must purchase what they need and partake of what the land of Edom offers. Someday, they will enter the Promise and partake of what is everlasting. That is reflected in the words of Isaiah –
“Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price.” Isaiah 55:1
It’s is also seen in its ultimate sense in Revelation, saying, “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).
7 “For the Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hand.
Despite being in the wilderness, Israel was not without work. They had artisans and craftsmen who exquisitely built the sanctuary – wood crafters, goldsmiths, stoneworkers (gemstones), workers in linen, incense, and so on. None of these skills would be wasted, and even more, they would have been used, perfected, and passed on to the next generations.
These things could easily have been traded or sold on caravan routes. They also had livestock which would have multiplied abundantly over the previous years. With the Lord’s blessing, even though they didn’t deserve it for rejecting Him, their wealth would have increased notably, and that was after having plundered the Egyptians when they left.
Likewise, Israel in exile around the world has continued to receive the Lord’s blessing. Anywhere you go in the world, you will find well-established and wealthy Jews – whether they deserve it or not. They have the finest skills, and quite often, their names reflect that – Neil Diamond, Joel Goldsmith, Adam Silver, and so on.
The words here beautifully reflect the state of Israel as it is closing in on its meeting with destiny. It is Yehovah, despite their failure to acknowledge Him, who has so blessed them. Further…
7 (con’t) He knows your trudging through this great wilderness.
The sense of the word yada, or “know,” here is that of tending to and watching. The Lord watched over Israel as they continued their walk through the long duration and the vast wilderness. His presence never left them, despite the sentence which lay over them for their rejection of Him.
Only one who isn’t looking, or who isn’t willing to look at Israel throughout the past two thousand years, can deny the parallel. The Lord has punished them, but he has also watched over them to preserve them, as He promised.
7 (con’t) These forty years the Lord your God has been with you;
The number forty in Scripture signifies “a period of probation, trial, and chastisement” (Bullinger). Israel received all three of these – from Egypt all the way through until where they are, and where they are heading.
Forty “is the product of 5 and 8, and points to the action of grace (5), leading to and ending in revival and renewal (8).” This is exactly what is seen here in Deuteronomy, and what is pictured in Israel’s return from their time of punishment and exile. Through all of it, the Lord acknowledges that it is He who has been with them, tending to them, and preserving them so that…
7 (con’t) you have lacked nothing.”’
lo khasarta davar – “No have you lacked a word.” The word davar, or word, by implication, means a thing, or a matter. This is true for Israel in the wilderness. The Lord kept them, and they had no lack.
However, I would suggest that for the typology of what this pictures, it asks for us to retain the original sense. Despite being in exile, Israel never lacked the word. Wherever they have gone, the word has been available to them. It is they who disregarded it, but the word has always been there with Israel waiting for them to return to it and find what they had missed.
You have skirted this mountain long enough
Your time of testing has come to an end
Though the past has been difficult and rough
Into the Land of Promise, you I will send
And it is yours because the battle is already won
There is nothing for you to do but to trust and believe
All has been accomplished by My dear Son
Because of Him, you I will never forsake and never leave
Trust in Him and the promise is opened to you
The victory is assured, so do not fear at all
There is nothing more that you need to do
Only upon My Son, you must call
II. The Descendants of Lot (verses 8-12)
8 “And when we passed beyond our brethren, the descendants of Esau who dwell in Seir, away from the road of the plain, away from Elath and Ezion Geber, we turned and passed by way of the Wilderness of Moab.
Israel’s travels, after having been refused travel through Edom, took them south to Elath, the very tip of where Israel ends on the Red Sea today. They then went a few miles south and east to Ezion Geber which is in Jordan today. From there, they turned north, went around Edom’s land, and passed through by way of the wilderness of Moab.
The plain, or aravah, comes from arav, meaning to grow dark. That is the same as arav, meaning a pledge, as in a covering with a texture. In the giving of a pledge, there is – in a sense – an intermingling of two into one. Israel is being united again with the Lord and away from the sentence they have been under.
Elath comes from ayil, meaning a ram, and thus one thinks of a protrusion. Hence Elath means “Trees” because they protrude up. But ayil also comes from ul, meaning strength. One can think of the strength found in trees, leading to that idea. Without being dogmatic about this, does it signify that Israel is being strengthened for their final reconciliation with the Lord? Such may be the picture.
Ezion is derived from atseh, the backbone. Geber speaks of a man. Thus, Ezion Geber is literally “Backbone of a Man.” As the backbone is the foundation of man, one could logically assume that this means, “Foundation of a Man.”
The foundation of a man is what he was created from and for. When man gets away from contemplating those things, the Lord works to redirect him so that there will be reconciliation. This was the purpose of Israel’s exile.
Even though those in exile were destroyed along the way, the purpose of the exile was to bring the body of people back to Him in a restored relationship.
9 Then the Lord said to me, ‘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 as a possession.’”
The word translated as “harass” comes from a root meaning to cramp. Thus, this is speaking of besieging Moab. Israel is instructed to not besiege them nor face them in war. Moab means “From Father.” Ar simply means “City.” It is used to speak of the entire land possessed by Moab. And Lot, who hasn’t been seen since Genesis 19, means “Covering,” as if enveloping something.
Without being dogmatic about this picture, my supposition is that this is speaking of Gentile believers. They are “From Father,” they are a gathering of people, as reflected in a city, and the naming of Lot would signify the covering they possess. It is a difficult verse, but this at least sounds correct. Especially because Paul speaks of the saved in Romans 4:7 as having their sins covered.
Despite this, one reason for sparing Moab is because, eventually, a family of Bethlehem would move to Moab during a famine. There, a woman named Ruth would marry into it. From there, and through circumstance, she came into the line of David which eventually leads to the Messiah, Jesus.
10 (The Emim had dwelt there in times past, a people as great and numerous and tall as the Anakim.
Now is introduced a parenthetical thought which will take us to the end of our verses today. This land of Moab was once dwelt in by the Emim. The word is the plural of emah, or terror. Thus, these are “The Terrors.”
They are noted for their greatness, their numbers, and their height – thus they were terrifying to those who came into contact with them. They were noted at the time of Abraham in Genesis 14, but they were eventually destroyed, and the descendants of Lot filled their land.
They are further described as being as tall as the Anakim. As seen in Numbers, anaq, means “neck.” Thus, they were noted either for their necks – being very long or very thick – or for the adornments they wore on their necks.
I would assume that listing them here now is not without purpose. Israel, thirty-eight years earlier, had swooned at the thought of facing the inhabitants of Canaan –
“We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” 32 And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. 33 There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” Numbers 13:31-33
But if the Emim, who were so great, so numerous, and so tall – even as tall as those doods – could be defeated, then so could the Anakim. As Joshua and Caleb said of them, “…they are our bread.”
For Israel to find this out is a way of bolstering their confidence, in advance, to prepare them for their entry into Canaan. And so, the narrative continues…
11 They were also regarded as giants, like the Anakim, but the Moabites call them Emim.
“Giants,” or Rephaim, comes from a word meaning to sink down or relax. This is similar to the Nephilim. That comes from naphal, meaning to fall. However, Rephaim could also come from a word meaning “to heal.” If so, then it indicates that their size came from being invigorated in some way, probably through special inbreeding.
What this is telling Israel is that the Emim were of the same origins as the Anakim. The Emim got wiped out and were no longer a threat. As this happened by non-whopping people, then Israel was fully capable of whooping up on the whopping ones – the Anakim. But as more encouragement, we continue on…
12 The Horites formerly dwelt in Seir, but the descendants of Esau dispossessed them and destroyed them from before them, and dwelt in their place,
Here is another group seen in Genesis 14, and who are again seen later mentioned in Genesis 36, ha’khorim, or the Horites. The word comes from khor, meaning a hole or a cave. Thus, these people were troglodytes.
Whether these were large people or not is not stated. With this group being listed within the genealogy of Esau as living in the land, Esau went in and assimilated with them to some extent, but as a people they died out. The point, once again, is that cave dwellers would be hard to drive out, and yet Esau was able to dispossess and destroy them.
This knowledge was sure to strengthen Israel in their determination to follow suit and wipe out the inhabitants of Canaan. With that thought, we read…
*12 (fin) just as Israel did to the land of their possession which the Lord gave them.)
The words here are in the past tense. Three possibilities have been suggested. 1) It is spoken as an accomplished fact, even though it is future. 2) It is a later insertion by a scribe. Or, 3) this is speaking of the land east of the Jordan which had already been won in battle. This is explicitly stated in Deuteronomy 3.
The third option is certainly what is correct. The note would be pointless if it was a later insertion. Speaking of it in the future is unnecessary in relation to the names of the people who have just been mentioned, and so it is simply a note from Moses giving encouragement to the people to not lose heart as their fathers had.
Rather, they were to trust the Lord and receive their inheritance. And this is a noteworthy place to end the verses. It was the Lord who directed the events of these nations, as He Himself had said. “I have given the land to the descendants of Esau,” and “I have given the land to the descendants of Lot.”
He had further won the battles over Midian, Sihon, and Og for Israel. This parenthetic insert is prophetically given, then, to reassure Israel of today that He has already won the battles for them. He has sent Christ, Christ has defeated the foes, and all they need to do is – by faith – receive that, trusting in His provision.
The Land of Promise is not unobtainable, but it cannot come through works of the law. It must come by faith in the Lord. He has proven this is true. And so, like Israel of today, we also must simply trust in Him. The battle is not for us to win, nor can it be so.
Christ fulfilled the law for us. Christ lived the sinless life we simply cannot live. And, Christ has covered us with His covering. We must trust that, and keep trusting that, with each step – from salvation to glory – it is the Lord’s battle to win. We are merely temporarily passing through to a land already prepared for us.
Closing Verse: “I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are on the ground, by My great power and by My outstretched arm, and have given it to whom it seemed proper to Me.” Jeremiah 27:5
Next Week: Deuteronomy 2:13-23 They marched until all the rebels were gone. This was the date stamp… (From the Midst of the Camp) (7th Deuteronomy Sermon)
The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. But He also has expectations of you as He prepares you for entrance into His Land of Promise. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.
You Have Skirted This Mountain Long Enough
Then we turned and journeyed
Into the wilderness of the Way of the Red Sea
And we skirted Mount Seir for many days
As the LORD spoke to me
And the LORD spoke to me, saying:
These words He was then relaying
“You have skirted this mountain long enough
Turn northward; time to see some new stuff
And command the people, saying
“You are about to pass through the territory of your brethren
———-the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir
And they will be afraid of you
Therefore watch yourselves carefully, so that they will not fear
Do not meddle with them
For I will not give you any of their land
No, not so much as one footstep
Because I have given Mount Seir to Esau as a possession
You shall buy food from them with money
That you may eat, so you shall do
And you shall also buy water from them with money
That you may drink. Pay heed to what I am telling you
For the LORD your God has blessed you
———-in all the work of your hand
He knows your trudging through this great wilderness
These forty years the LORD your God has been with you
You have lacked nothing. What you needed you did possess
“And when we passed beyond our brethren
The descendants of Esau who dwell in Seir
Away from the road of the plain
Away from Elath and Ezion Geber…
We turned and passed by way
Of the Wilderness of Moab on that day
Then the LORD said to me
‘Do not harass Moab, nor contend with them in battle
———-against them make no aggression
For I will not give you as a possession any of their land
Because I have given Ar to the descendants of Lot as a possession
(The Emim had dwelt there in times past
A people as great and numerous and tall as the Anakim
They were also regarded as giants, like the Anakim
But the Moabites call them Emim
The Horites formerly dwelt in Seir, but the descendants
———-of Esau dispossessed them
And destroyed them from before them by the sword
And dwelt in their place, just as Israel did
To the land of their possession which gave them the LORD)
Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true
And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days
Hallelujah and Amen…
“Then we turned and journeyed into the wilderness of the Way of the Red Sea, as the Lord spoke to me, and we skirted Mount Seir for many days.
2 “And the Lord spoke to me, saying: 3 ‘You have skirted this mountain long enough; turn northward. 4 And command the people, saying, “You are about to pass through the territory of your brethren, the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir; and they will be afraid of you. Therefore watch yourselves carefully. 5 Do not meddle with them, for I will not give you any of their land, no, not so much as one footstep, because I have given Mount Seir to Esau as a possession. 6 You shall buy food from them with money, that you may eat; and you shall also buy water from them with money, that you may drink.
7 “For the Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hand. He knows your trudging through this great wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you; you have lacked nothing.” ’
8 “And when we passed beyond our brethren, the descendants of Esau who dwell in Seir, away from the road of the plain, away from Elath and Ezion Geber, we turned and passed by way of the Wilderness of Moab. 9 Then the Lord said to me, ‘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 as a possession.’ ”
10 (The Emim had dwelt there in times past, a people as great and numerous and tall as the Anakim. 11 They were also regarded as giants, like the Anakim, but the Moabites call them Emim. 12 The Horites formerly dwelt in Seir, but the descendants of Esau dispossessed them and destroyed them from before them, and dwelt in their place, just as Israel did to the land of their possession which the Lord gave them.)