"Then we turned around and set out across the wilderness toward the Red Sea, a just as the LORD had instructed me, and we wandered around Mount Seir for a long time.
Then at last the LORD said to me,
'You have been wandering around in this hill country long enough; turn northward.
Give these orders to the people: "You will be passing through the country belonging to your relatives the Edomites, the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir. The Edomites will feel threatened, so be careful.
Don't bother them, for I have given them all the hill country around Mount Seir as their property, and I will not give you any of their land.
Pay them for whatever food or water you use.
The LORD your God has blessed everything you have done and has watched your every step through this great wilderness. During these forty years, the LORD your God has been with you and provided for your every need so that you lacked nothing."'
So we went past our relatives, the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir, and avoided the road through the Arabah Valley that comes up from Elath and Ezion-geber."Then as we traveled northward along the desert route through Moab,
the LORD warned us, 'Do not bother the Moabites, the descendants of Lot, or start a war with them. I have given them Ar as their property, and I will not give you any of their land.'"
(A numerous and powerful race of giants called the Emites had once lived in the area of Ar. They were as tall as the Anakites, another race of giants.
Both the Emites and the Anakites are often referred to as the Rephaites, but the Moabites called them Emites.
In earlier times the Horites had lived at Mount Seir, but they were driven out and displaced by the descendants of Esau. In a similar way the peoples in Canaan were driven from the land that the LORD had assigned to Israel.)
Moses continued, "Then the LORD told us to cross Zered Brook, and we did.
So thirty-eight years passed from the time we first arrived at Kadesh-barnea until we finally crossed Zered Brook! For the LORD had vowed that this could not happen until all the men old enough to fight in battle had died in the wilderness.
The LORD had lifted his hand against them until all of them had finally died.
"When all the men of fighting age had died,
the LORD said to me,
'Today you will cross the border of Moab at Ar
and enter the land of Ammon. But do not bother the Ammonites, the descendants of Lot, or start a war with them. I have given the land of Ammon to them as their property, and I will not give you any of their land.'"
(That area, too, was once considered the land of the Rephaites, though the Ammonites referred to them as Zamzummites.
They were a numerous and powerful race, as tall as the Anakites. But the LORD destroyed them so the Ammonites could occupy their land.
He had similarly helped the descendants of Esau at Mount Seir, for he destroyed the Horites so they could settle there in their place. The descendants of Esau live there to this day.
A similar thing happened when the Caphtorites from Crete b invaded and destroyed the Avvites, who had lived in villages in the area of Gaza.)
Moses continued, "Then the LORD said, 'Now cross the Arnon Gorge! Look, I will help you defeat Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and I will give you his land. Attack him and begin to occupy the land.
Beginning today I will make all people throughout the earth terrified of you. When they hear reports about you, they will tremble with dread and fear.'
"Then from the wilderness of Kedemoth I sent ambassadors to King Sihon of Heshbon with this proposal of peace:
'Let us pass through your land. We will stay on the main road and won't turn off into the fields on either side.
We will pay for every bite of food we eat and all the water we drink. All we want is permission to pass through your land.
The descendants of Esau at Mount Seir allowed us to go through their country, and so did the Moabites, who live in Ar. Let us pass through until we cross the Jordan into the land the LORD our God has given us.'
But King Sihon refused to allow you to pass through, because the LORD your God made Sihon stubborn and defiant so he could help you defeat them, as he has now done.
"Then the LORD said to me, 'Look, I have begun to hand King Sihon and his land over to you. Begin now to conquer and occupy his land.'
Then King Sihon declared war on us and mobilized his forces at Jahaz.
But the LORD our God handed him over to us, and we crushed him, his sons, and all his people.
We conquered all his towns and completely destroyed c everyone -- men, women, and children. Not a single person was spared.
We took all the livestock as plunder for ourselves, along with anything of value from the towns we ransacked.
"The LORD our God helped us conquer Aroer on the edge of the Arnon Gorge, the town in the gorge, and the whole area as far as Gilead. No town had walls too strong for us.
However, we stayed away from the Ammonites along the Jabbok River and the towns in the hill country -- all the places the LORD our God had commanded us to leave alone.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)