Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Deuteronomy 3

By Joseph Benson


Verse 1
Deuteronomy 3:1. Og, the king of Bashan, came out against us — As a further encouragement to the Israelites to confide in the power and faithfulness of God, Moses proceeds to remind them of the wonderful success they had had against Og, who appears to have been the first aggressor, Numbers 21:33.

Verse 8
Deuteronomy 3:8. On this side Jordan — So it was when Moses wrote this book: but afterward, when Israel passed over Jordan, it was called the land beyond Jordan.

Verse 9
Deuteronomy 3:9. Sirion — Elsewhere called mount Gilead, and Lebanon, and here Shenir, and Sirion, which several names were given to this one mountain, partly by several people, and partly in regard of several tops and parts of it.

Verse 10
Deuteronomy 3:10. All Gilead — Gilead is sometimes taken for all the Israelites’ possessions beyond Jordan, and so it comprehends Bashan; but here for that part of it which lies in and near mount Gilead, and so it is distinguished from Bashan and Argob.

Verse 11
Deuteronomy 3:11. Only Og remained of the remnant of giants — Namely, in those parts; for there were other giants among the Philistines, and elsewhere. When the Ammonites drove out the Zamzummims, mentioned Deuteronomy 2:20, Og might escape, and so be said to be left of the remnant of the giants, and afterward, fleeing to the Amorites, perhaps was made their king, because of his gigantic stature. His bedstead was a bedstead of iron — Bedsteads of iron, brass, and other metals, are not unusual in the warm countries, as a defence against vermin. In Rabbath — Where it might now be, either because the Ammonites, in some former battle with Og, had taken it as a spoil; or because, after Og’s death, the Ammonites desired to have this monument of his greatness, and the Israelites permitted them to carry it away to their chief city. Nine cubits —

So his bed was four yards and a half long, and two yards broad.

Verse 14
Deuteronomy 3:14. Unto this day — This must be put among those passages which were not written by Moses, but added by those holy men who digested the books of Moses into this order, and inserted some few passages to accommodate things to their own time and people.

Verse 15-16
Deuteronomy 3:15-16. Gilead — That is, the half part of Gilead. To Machir —

That is, unto the children of Machir, son of Manasseh, for Machir was now dead. Half the valley — Or rather, to the middle of the river: for the word rendered half, signifies commonly middle, and the same Hebrew word means both a valley and a brook, or river. And this sense is agreeable to the truth, that their land extended from Gilead unto Arnon, and, to speak exactly, to the middle of that river; for as that river was the border between them and others, so one half of it belonged to them, as the other half did to others; see Joshua 12:2, where the same thing is expressed in the same words, in the Hebrew, though our translators render them there, from the middle of the river, and here, half of the valley.

Verse 17
Deuteronomy 3:17. The plain — The low country toward Jordan. The sea of the plain — That is, that salt sea, which before that dreadful conflagration was a goodly plain.

Verse 18
Deuteronomy 3:18. I commanded you — Namely, the Reubenites and Gadites. All that are meet — In such number as your brethren shall judge necessary. They were in all above a hundred thousand. Forty thousand of them went over Jordan before their brethren.

Verse 23-24
Deuteronomy 3:23-24. I besought the Lord — We should allow no desire in our hearts, which we cannot in faith offer unto God by prayer. Thou hast begun to show thy servant thy greatness — Lord, perfect what thou hast begun. The more we see of God’s glory in his works, the more we desire to see. And the more affected we are with what we have seen of God, the better we are prepared for further discoveries.

Verse 25
Deuteronomy 3:25. Let me go over — For he supposed God’s threatening might be conditional and reversible, as many others were. That goodly mountain — Which the Jews not improbably understood of that mountain on which the temple was to be built. This he seems to call that mountain, emphatically and eminently, that which was much in Moses’s thoughts, though not in his eye.

Verse 28
Deuteronomy 3:28. He shall go over — It was not Moses, but Joshua, or Jesus, that was to give the people rest, Hebrews 4:8. It is a comfort to those who love mankind, when they are dying and going off, to see God’s work likely to be carried on by other hands when they are silent in the dust.