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Chapter 3 continues with the retelling of the battle fought in Numbers 23.
The Israelites defeated the well-trained army of Og, King of Bashan taking all 60 cities east of the Jordan. The Lord defeated the well-trained army of Og, King of Bashan taking all 60 cities east of the Jordan. 😉
Verse 12 describes the land that was taken over from this battle. Below are 2 of the same maps. Find the Jordan River on either map and you can locate the land they took. Recall that in Numbers 32 the Reubenites and the Gadites, 2 of the 12 tribes of Israel, asked Moses to inhabit the land when they do conquer the Promise Land. If you did not read it, go back and read it. Moses freaked out because he assumed they weren’t going to participate in the quest to conquer. The leaders of the tribe clarified that they would still be a part of the army, that they wanted the land AFTER they took the Promise Land. These tribes will get this land. Take a look: Reuben, Gad, and 1/2 of Manasseh. They will be called the Transjordan Tribes.
Chapter 3 ends with the Lord telling Moses to commission Joshua to replace him. He tells him to encourage him and strengthen him, for Joshua will lead the people into the inheritance of the Promise Land.
Chapter 4 Moses turns from contemplating the past to a speech about the future. Moses used the illustration of the recent seduction of the Israelites by the Midianites at Baal Peor. Numbers 32. The word baal is simply the word for “lord,” “master,” or “ruler.” Baal became the name for the gods of the Canaanites. There was not just one god named Baal, but there were many Baals (many Canaanite “gods”). Peor might refer to the mountain top from which Balaam and Balaak observed Israel.
Moses then reminds them about the laws and decrees God gave them at Mt. Sinai. Reminded them to follow them closely! I am in awe of how many times Moses tells them I WILL NOT BE WITH YOU..YOU MUST TRUST IN THE LORD TO BE YOU LEADER!
Verses 1-14 Moses warns against idolatry. It will be the downfall of the Israelites.
Next Moses talks about the possibility of being exiled OUT of the Promise Land. Spoiler alert! If you don’t know what this means, know that God is saying in verse 25: After you have had children and grandchildren and have lived in the land a long time—if you then become corrupt and make any kind of idol, doing evil in the eyes of the Lord your God and arousing his anger, 26 I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you this day that you will quickly perish from the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess. You will not live there long but will certainly be destroyed. 27 The Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and only a few of you will survive among the nations to which the Lord will drive you.
In other words: If you become corrupt I will take you OUT of this Promise Land, scatter you, and only a few of you will return to it because I will always honor my Covenant. The term we will use for the few that will survive and return will be the “remnant” people.
He ends this part of the speech (I picture him looking right at Joshua’s face) reminding Joshua of the presence of the Lord that he personally saw with his own eyes!
Chapter 4 is amazing! I might read it twice.