1642.) Deuteronomy 2

This map presents a traditional understanding of the Exodus route. There are other maps out there, with some quite good rationales, for very different journey routes.

Deuteronomy 2 (English Standard Version)

The Wilderness Years

1“Then we turned and journeyed into the wilderness in the direction of the Red Sea, as the LORD told me. And for many days we traveled around Mount Seir.

2Then the LORD said to me, 3‘You have been traveling around this mountain country long enough. Turn northward–

Deu2 mountain

from Edges of his Ways,
by Amy Carmichael

Deuteronomy 2:3 (KJV) – Ye have compassed this mountain long enough: turn you northward.

It would take too long to tell what this word has meant to me. I will only say it spoke about a mountain of thought round which I have walked rather often. It is time to stop compassing that mountain.

After settling that matter, I remembered one who for two whole years has been walking round a certain Mountain of Desire. When the desired thing was not given at the expected time, there was great disappointment. Perhaps the Lord is saying to that one and to others who are constantly praying about something personally desired, Leave the matter to Me:  you have prayed enough about it. You have compassed that mountain long enough.

I know another who always seems to be walking round a mountain of rubble. Self and the feelings of self, doubts and questions, grumblings, little piled-up ingratitudes—what are these but rubble? Is it not very dull to keep on compassing so dull a mountain? Hear the heartening word of the Lord, Ye have compassed this mountain long enough: turn you northward. “Rise ye up, take your journey” (verse 24), “fight the good fight of faith,” begin to possess your possessions.


Years ago this word from Deuteronomy and this short devotional from Amy Carmichael changed my life. I had been compassing a mountain of sorrow over the loss of my marriage—“self and the feelings of self,  doubts and questions, grumblings”—rubble, really! I asked God’s forgiveness for my complaining and self-pity. Then I turned to “possess my possessions” of the encouraging Word of God, the delight of being mom to three wonderful children, my kind friends, the work I had to do and the strength I had to do it . . .  and in time I have found myself at a new place, a vast field of blessing. Indeed the Lord is faithful!

4and command the people, “You are about to pass through the territory of your brothers, the people of Esau, who live in Seir; and they will be afraid of you. So be very careful. 5Do not contend with them, for I will not give you any of their land, no, not so much as for the sole of the foot to tread on, because I have given Mount Seir to Esau as a possession. 6 You shall purchase food from them for money, that you may eat, and you shall also buy water of them for money, that you may drink. 7For the LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He knows your going through this great wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you. You have lacked nothing.”‘

Jacob and Esau did not get along — something about a bowl of stew, and a father’s blessing . . .

Esau was the twin brother of Jacob; the boys were Isaac’s sons and Abraham’s grandsons. Moses tells Jacob’s descendants to be respectful to Esau’s descendants, to be peaceful and pay for everything they used.

8So we went on, away from our brothers, the people of Esau, who live in Seir, away from the Arabah road from Elath and Ezion-geber.

“And we turned and went in the direction of the wilderness of Moab. 9And the LORD said to me, ‘Do not harass Moab or contend with them in battle, for I will not give you any of their land for a possession, because I have given Ar to the people of Lot for a possession.’

Ruth, great-grandmother of King David, was from Moab.

The Moabites were also relatives of the Israelites. Their common ancestor was Terah, the father of Abraham. Abraham’s nephew Lot had a son named Moab by his elder daughter, and another son Ammon by his younger daughter (Genesis 19:30-38). Due to this familial relationship, God protects (at this point in history) the Moabites and the Ammonites (verse 19).

Moses had previously told Pharaoh that “the earth is the Lord’s” (Exodus 9:29). God was clearly sovereign over Egypt. The fact that God had given land to Israel’s relatives should have reassured the Israelites that the Lord was sovereign here, too, and was perfectly able to bring them to their own land as well.

10( The Emim formerly lived there, a people great and many, and tall as the Anakim. 11Like the Anakim they are also counted as Rephaim, but the Moabites call them Emim. 12 The Horites also lived in Seir formerly, but the people of Esau dispossessed them and destroyed them from before them and settled in their place, as Israel did to the land of their possession, which the LORD gave to them.)

13‘Now rise up and go over the brook Zered.’ So we went over the brook Zered.

14And the time from our leaving Kadesh-barnea until we crossed the brook Zered was thirty-eight years, until the entire generation, that is, the men of war, had perished from the camp, as the LORD had sworn to them. 15For indeed the hand of the LORD was against them, to destroy them from the camp, until they had perished.

In these brief verses, Moses covered thirty-eight years of Israel’s wandering in the wilderness. This was a period when they just took up time, waiting for the generation of unbelief to die so that the generation of faith could take the Promised Land.

16“So as soon as all the men of war had perished and were dead from among the people, 17the LORD said to me, 18‘Today you are to cross the border of Moab at Ar. 19And when you approach the territory of the people of Ammon, do not harass them or contend with them, for I will not give you any of the land of the people of Ammon as a possession, because I have given it to the sons of Lot for a possession.’

See the countries of Edom (Esau’s descendants), Moab, and Ammon.

20(It is also counted as a land of Rephaim. Rephaim formerly lived there—but the Ammonites call them Zamzummim— 21 a people great and many, and tall as the Anakim; but the LORD destroyed them before the Ammonites, and they dispossessed them and settled in their place, 22as he did for the people of Esau, who live in Seir, when he destroyed the Horites before them and they dispossessed them and settled in their place even to this day. 23As for the Avvim, who lived in villages as far as Gaza, the Caphtorim, who came from Caphtor, destroyed them and settled in their place.)

24‘Rise up, set out on your journey and go over the Valley of the Arnon.

The Arnon is a 2-mile wide, 45-mile long valley which runs into the Dead Sea.

Behold, I have given into your hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land. Begin to take possession, and contend with him in battle. 25This day I will begin to put the dread and fear of you on the peoples who are under the whole heaven, who shall hear the report of you and shall tremble and be in anguish because of you.’

The Defeat of King Sihon

26“So I sent messengers from the wilderness of Kedemoth to Sihon the king of Heshbon, with words of peace, saying, 27 ‘Let me pass through your land. I will go only by the road; I will turn aside neither to the right nor to the left. 28 You shall sell me food for money, that I may eat, and give me water for money, that I may drink. Only let me pass through on foot, 29 as the sons of Esau who live in Seir and the Moabites who live in Ar did for me, until I go over the Jordan into the land that the LORD our God is giving to us.’ 30But Sihon the king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him, for the LORD your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, that he might give him into your hand, as he is this day.

31And the LORD said to me, ‘Behold, I have begun to give Sihon and his land over to you. Begin to take possession, that you may occupy his land.’

32Then Sihon came out against us, he and all his people, to battle at Jahaz. 33And the LORD our God gave him over to us, and we defeated him and his sons and all his people.

Psalm 44:6-8 (NIV)

I do not trust in my bow,
my sword does not bring me victory;

but you give us victory over our enemies,
you put our adversaries to shame.

In God we make our boast all day long,
and we will praise your name forever.

34And we captured all his cities at that time and devoted to destruction every city, men, women, and children. We left no survivors. 35Only the livestock we took as spoil for ourselves, with the plunder of the cities that we captured. 36 From Aroer, which is on the edge of the Valley of the Arnon, and from the city that is in the valley, as far as Gilead, there was not a city too high for us.

The high walls of the Canaanite cities had intimidated Israel 38 years before (see Deuteronomy 1:28). But walking in faith, they were now nothing before the Lord.

–David Guzik

The LORD our God gave all into our hands. 37Only to the land of the sons of Ammon you did not draw near, that is, to all the banks of the river Jabbok and the cities of the hill country, whatever the LORD our God had forbidden us.

1 John 5:3-5 (NIV)

This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.



HERE  is “Victory Chant” sung to Jesus by the Cedarmont Kids. “Hail, Jesus, You’re my King!”


English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
map of wilderness journey.    http://www.keyway.ca/gif/wildjour.gif
mountain sketch.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/2-mountain-sketch.jpg
Jacob and Esau.    http://s3.amazonaws.com/photos.prod.jewishboston.com/photos/80065/2-jacobesau_large.jpg
Ruth gleaning in the field.   http://www.loaves-and-fishes.org/images/story-of-ruth.jpg
wilderness wanderings.    http://biblestudy.pppst.com/exodus/banner_moses_wilderness.gif
map of Edom, Moab, and Ammon.  https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e8/Levant_830.svg/2000px-Levant_830.svg.png
Valley of the Arnon.     http://www.bibleplaces.com/images/Arnon_Valley_view_southwest_from_Aroer,_tb061204191.jpg
victory.    http://img519.imageshack.us/img519/5540/vlcsnap45828hy7.png

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