New Defender's Study Bible Notes
21:3 delivered up the Canaanites. A large tribe of Canaanites living in Arad, in the southern reaches of the promised land, were the first to be encountered by the Israelites as they began the wars of conquest. The attack by the Canaanites was unprovoked, and resulted in their defeat by the Israelites and the destruction of their cities. They next would have to face the Amorites and Moabites as they were trying to bypass the land of Edom.
21:8 he looketh upon it. Although this is only one of at least forty miracles during the exodus and wilderness wanderings, it is especially important as a prophecy of the coming work of Christ on the cross. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,” said Jesus, “even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:14,15). Sin, symbolized by the serpent, must be put to death, as it were. This death must be appropriated in faith as his own deserved death by the sinner, if he would live. Just so, Jesus Christ was made “to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (II Corinthians 5:21).
21:12 valley of Zared. It is difficult to trace the various moves of the Israelites during their forty years in the wilderness. The itineraries in chapters 21 and 33, for example, seem impossible to correlate in any detail. It must be remembered, however, that the Israelites consisted of several million people, plus all their cattle, horses and equipment. They must have been scattered over a large area of the wilderness in order to have pasturage for their flocks and herds. It is possible that much of the moving from place to place described in the Mosaic records refers mainly to the moving of the tabernacle and its attendants, along with Moses, perhaps making a circuit among the various tribal encampments.
21:14 book. The book of the wars of the Lord is one of several ancient books, now lost, that are cited in the Old Testament. See note on I Chronicles 29:29.
21:14 brooks of Arnon. The river Arnon and its tributaries, draining into the Dead Sea from the East, was at that time the disputed boundary between Moab and the Amorites.
21:31 land of the Amorites. It was the Amorites, whose iniquity was “not yet full” (Genesis 15:16) at the time of Abraham and God’s promise that were now ready to be displaced by the people chosen by God to take over their land. A number of archaeological references to the “Amurru” have been found, evidently referring to the prominence of these people in these early times.
21:33 Og the king of Bashan. The Bashanites were apparently another tribe of Amorites who had established their own separate kingdom, with the giant Og as their king (note Deuteronomy 3:11; 4:47). The great victories over these two Ammonite kings, Sihon and Og, were long celebrated in tradition and song (e.g., Psalm 135:10-12; 136:16-22). The land of Bashan was evidently a fertile plateau just east of the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee, and north of the Amorite kingdom ruled by Sihon.