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Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 6: Harmony of the Law, Part IV, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at

Numbers 21

Numbers 21:33-35

33. And they turned, and went up by the way of Bashan: and Og the king of Bashan went out against them, he, and all his people, to the battle at Edrei.

33. Conversi autem ascenderunt per viam Basan, et egressus est Og rex Basan in occursum ipsis, ipse et universus populus ejus ad praelium in Edrei.

34. And the Lord said unto Moses, Fear him not: for I have delivered him into thy hand, and all his people, and his land; and thou shalt do to him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon.

34. Tunc dixit Jehova ad Mosen, Ne timeas eum: quia in manu tua dedi cumcet universum populum ejus, ae terram ejus: faciesque ei quemadmodum fecisti Sihon regi AEmorrhaeorum qui habitabat in Hesbon.

35. So they smote him and his sons, and all his people, until there was none left him alive: and they possessed his land.

35. Et percusserunt eum et fillios ejus, universumque populum ejus: ut non remanserit ei superstes: et possederunt terram ejus.


33. And they turned and went up. Here there is another victory of the people described, wherein they again experienced the continued favor of God, in order that they may be aroused to greater alacrity, and courageously prepare themselves for farther progress; for they might confidently expect that, with God for their leader, all things would succeed prosperously with them. The region of Bashan, as Scripture informs us in many places, was fertile, and famous for its rich pastures; but Moses here also testifies to its great extent. It was, then, no ordinary proof of God’s favor and aid, that they should take it in a moment, as it were. It is not, therefore, without cause, that, in the Psalm, God’s power and goodness is magnified in reference to these victories; because He

“slew mighty kings, Sihon king of the Amorites, and Og king of Bashan, and gave their land for a heritage, a heritage unto his people.” (Ps 135:10-12.):

For, although the Israelites were superior in numbers, yet there is no doubt but that, when this king dared to go forth to battle, he trusted in his forces, and deemed himself equal to resistance. Hence did God’s grace shine forth the more conspicuously; and, indeed, in order that he may extol its greatness the more, Moses afterwards also relates that sixty cities were taken.  135

35. And the Lord said, unto Moses. God first of all exhorts His people to confidence. He then commands that the men as well as the cities and villages should be destroyed, so that nothing should be preserved except the booty. he indeed addresses Moses only, but his injunctions are directed to all, because Moses, who was already sufficiently energetic, had not so much need of being spurred on as the others. God, however, had regard to the future also, lest the recollection of the blessing should be lost through the ingratitude of the people. In promising them victory, therefore, he desired to have the praise of it bestowed upon Himself.

I have already shewn why He commanded the cities to be overthrown, and all the houses utterly destroyed, namely, lest convenient habitations should tempt the people to torpor, when they were required to hasten onwards to the promised rest; for those who had been ready in the wilderness to retire, and to go back into Egypt, would have eagerly taken possession of this fertile land, and reposed themselves as in a delightful nest. By its desolation, therefore, they were compelled to abandon it. Its possession, indeed, was afterwards granted to the tribes of Reuben, and Gad, and half of Manasseh; but on condition that they should leave their herds there, and accompany their brethren through the whole expedition, not deserting them till the Canaanitish nations were destroyed.



Addition in Fr, “sans les bourgades;“ not reckoning the villages.

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