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again northwards towards Moab; as in the description of Moses's passage through Arabia, the reader may perceive.
Now it was from Cades, before they came to Hor, because Hor belonged to Edom, that Moses sent messengers to the prince of Idumæa, praying him that he might pass with the people of Israel through his territory into the land of Canaan, which bordered it: for it was the nearest way of all other from the city of Kadesh, where Moses then encamped; whereas otherwise taking his journey by the rivers of Zared, Arnon, and Jordan, he might have run into many hazards in the passage of those rivers, the far way about, and the many powerful kings which commanded in those regions. Now the better to persuade the prince of Idumæa hereunto, Moses remembered him that he was of the same race and family with Israel; calling him by the name of brother, because both the Edomites and Israelites were the sons of one father, to wit, Isaac; inferring thereby, that he had more reason to favour and respect them, than he had to assist the Canaanites, against whom Esau his ancestor had made war, and driven out the Horites (who were of their ancient races descended of Cham) out of the region of Seir, calling it by his own name Edom, or Edumæa. He also making a short repetition of God's blessings bestowed on them, and of his purposes and promises, assured Edom, or the king thereof, that he would no way offend his people, or waste his country; but that he would restrain his army within the bounds of the common and king's highways, paying money for whatsoever he used, yea, even for the water which themselves or their cattle should drink. For & Moses was commanded by God not to provoke the children of Esau. But the king of Edumæa knowing the strength of his own country, the same being near Canaan, rampard with high and sharp mountains; and withal suspecting, as a natural wise man, that 600,000 strangers being once entered his country, it would rest in their wills to give him law, resolvedly n refused them passage, and delivered this answer to the messengers; That i if they attempted to enter that way, he 3 Dent. ii. 4.
h Numb. xx. 20, 21.
would take them for enemies, and resist them by all possible means. And not knowing whether such a denial might satisfy or exasperate, he gathered the strength of his country together, and shewed himself prepared to defend their passage. For it is written, Then Edom came out against him, to wit, Moses, with much people, and with a mighty power. Whereupon Moses considering that the end of his enterprise was not the conquest of Seir or Edumæa, and that the land promised was that of Canaan ; like unto himself, who was of a natural understanding the greatest of any man, and the skilfullest man of war that the world had, he refused to adventure the army of Israel against a nation, which, being overcome, gave but a passage to invade others; and which by reason of the seat of their mountainous country, could not but have endangered, or (at least) greatly enfeebled the strength of Israel, and rendered them less able, if not altogether powerless, to have conquered the rest.
SECT. VI. Of their compassing Idumæa and travelling to Arnon, the border of
Moab. HE therefore leaving the way of Idumæa, turned himself towards the east, and marched towards the deserts of Moab. Which when Arad king of the Canaanites understood, and that Moses had blanched the way of Edumæa; and knowing that it was Canaan, and not Edom which Israel aimed at, he thought it safest rather to find his enemies in his neighbour's country, than to be found by them in his own; which he might have done with a far greater hope of victory, had Moses been enforced first to have made his way by the sword through Idumæa, and thereby, though victorious, greatly have lessened his numbers. But although it fell out otherwise than Arad hoped for, yet being resolved to make trial what courage the Israelites brought with them out of Egypt, before they came nearer his own home, leading the strength of his nation to the edge of the desert, he set upon some part of the army; which, for the multitude, occupied a great space, and for the many herds of cattle that they drave with them, could not encamp so near together, but that some quarter or other was evermore subject to surprise. By which advantage, and in that his attempts were then perchance unexpected, he slew some few of the Israelites, and carried with him many prisoners.
Now it is very probable that it was this Canaanite, or his predecessor, which joined his forces with the Amalekites, and gave an k overthrow to those mutinous Israelites, which without direction from God by Moses would have entered Canaan from Cadesbarne. For it seemeth that the greatest number of that army were of the Canaanites, because in the first of Deut. 44. the Amorites are named alone without the Amalekites, and are said to have beaten the Israelites at that time. And this Arad, if he were the same that had a victory over Israel near Cadesbarne, or if it were his predecessor that then prevailed, this man finding that Moses was returned from the Red sea, and in his way towards Canaan, and that the south part of Canaan was first to be invaded, and in danger of being conquered, not knowing of Moses's purpose to compass Moab, determined while he was yet in the desert to try the quarrel. And whereas it followeth in the third verse of the 12th chapter of Numbers, that the Israelites utterly destroyed the Canaanites and their cities, they are much mistaken that think that this destruction was presently performed by the Israelites. But it is to be understood to have been done in the future, to wit, in the time of Joshua. For had Moses at that time entered Canaan in the pursuit of Arad, he would not have fallen back again into the deserts of Zin and Moab, and have fetched a wearisome and needless compass by the rivers of Zared and Arnon.
Neither is their conjecture to be valued at any thing, which affirm, that Arad did not inhabit any part of Canaan itself, but that his territory lay without it, and near the mountain Hor. For Hor and Zin Cades were the south borders of Edom, and not of Canaan. And it was in the
k Numb. xiv. 45.
south of the land of Canaan that Arad dwelt; which south part of Canaan was the north part of Edom.
Again, Horma (for so far the Israelites after their victory pursued the Canaanites) is seated in the south of Judæa. There is also a city of that name in Simeon : but there is no such place to the south of Edom. And were there no other argument, but the mutiny which followed presently after the repetition of this victory, it were enough to prove that the same was obtained in the future, and in Joshua's time, and not at the instant of Arad's assault. For had the Israelites at this time sacked the cities of Arad, they would not the next day have complained for want of water and bread. For where there are great cities, there is also water and bread. But it was in the time of Joshua that the Is raelites took their revenge, and after they had passed Jordan, Joshua then governing them; who in the 12th chapter and 14th verse nameth this Arad by the name of his city so called, and with him the king of Horma; to which place the Israelites pursued the Canaanites. And he nameth them amongst those kings which he vanquished and
put to death.
Now after this assault and surprise by Arad, Moses finding that all entrance on that side was defended, he led the people eastward to compass Idumæa and the Dead sea, and to make his entrance by Arnon and the plains .of Moab, at that time in the possession of the Amorites. But the Israelites, to whom the very name of a desert was terrible, began again to rebel against their leader ; till God, by a multitude of fiery serpents, (that is, by the biting of serpents, whose venom inflamed them, and burnt them as fire,) made them know their error, and afterwards, according to his plentiful grace, cured them again by their beholding an artificial serpent, by his commandment set up.
From the mount Hor, Moses leaving the ordinary way, which lieth between the Red sea and Cælesyria, encamped at Zalmora; and thence he removed to Phunon, where he erected the brasen serpent, making these journeys by the
I Numb. xxxiii. 40.
edge of Edumæa, but without it. For Phunon was sometime a principal city of the Edomites. Now where it is written in Numbers xxi. 4. That from mount Hor they departed by the way of the Red sea, which grieved the people, it was not thereby meant that the Israelites turned back towards the Red sea; neither did they march (according to Fonseca) per viam, quæ habet a latere mare rubrum, “by the
way that sided the Red sea;” but indeed they crossed and went athwart the common way from Galaad, Trachonitis, and the countries of Moab to the Red sea, that is, to Esiongaber, Eloth, and Midian ; which way, as it lay north and south, so Israel, to shun the border of Edom, and to take the utmost east part of Moab, crossed the common way towards the east, and then they turned again towards the north, as before.
From Phunon he went to Oboth, where they entered the territory of Moab, adjoining to the land of Suph, a country bordering on the Dead sea ; and from thence to Abarim, the thirty-eighth mansion, that is, where the mountains so called take beginning, and are as yet but small mountures of hills, on the east border of Moab; from thence they recovered Dibon Gad, or the river of Zared, which riseth in the mountains of Arabia, and runneth towards the Dead sea, not far from Petra the metropolis thereof, being the thirtyninth station. And having passed that river, they lodged at Dibon Gad, and from thence they kept the way to Diblathaim, one of the cities of Moab, which Jeremy (chap. xlviii. ver. 22.) calleth the house of Diblathaim, the same which afterwards was destroyed among the rest by Nebu'chadnezzar. From thence they came to the river of Arnon, and encamped in the mountains of Abarim ; though in Numbers xxi. Moses doth not remember Helmondiblathaim, but speaketh of his remove from the river of Zared, immediately to the other side of Arnon, calling Arnon the border of Moab, between them and the Amorites ; speaking as he found the state of the country at that time. For Arnon was not anciently the border of Moab, but was lately conquered from the Moabites by Sehon, king of the Amorites,