We went back into the desert, following the road that goes to the Red Sea as the LORD had told me. For a long time we traveled around the region of Mount Seir.
The LORD said to me,
"You've traveled around this region long enough. Now go north.
Give the people these instructions: 'You're going to pass through the territory of your relatives, the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir. They'll be afraid of you, but be very careful.
Don't start a fight with them, because I'm not giving you any of their land--not even enough to stand on. I've given Esau's descendants the region of Mount Seir as their property.
You must pay them in silver for the food you eat and the water you drink.'"
The LORD your God has blessed you in everything you have done. He has watched over you as you traveled through this vast desert. For 40 years now the LORD your God has been with you, and you haven't needed a thing.
So we passed by our relatives, the descendants of Esau, who lived in Seir. We turned off the road that goes through the plains to Elath and Ezion Geber and took the road that goes through the desert of Moab.
The LORD said to me, "Don't bother the people of Moab or start a war with them. I'm not giving you any of Ar as your property. I have given it to the descendants of Lot."
The Emites used to live there. These people were as strong, as numerous, and as tall as the people of Anak.
They were thought to be Rephaim, like the people of Anak, but the Moabites called them Emites.
The Horites used to live in Seir, but the descendants of Esau claimed their land, wiped them out, and took their place, as Israel did in the land that the LORD gave them.
Then the LORD said, "Now cross the Zered River." So we crossed the Zered River.
Thirty-eight years passed from the time we left Kadesh Barnea until we crossed the Zered River. During that time all our soldiers from that generation died, as the LORD had sworn they would.
In fact, it was the LORD himself who got rid of all of them until none were left in the camp.
When the last of these soldiers had died,
the LORD said to me,
"Today you are going to pass by the border of Moab at Ar.
When you come near the Ammonites, don't bother them or start a fight with them. I'm not giving you any of the land that I have already given to the descendants of Lot as their property."
This land was thought of as the land of the Rephaim who used to live there, but the Ammonites called them Zamzummim.
These people were as strong, as numerous, and as tall as the people of Anak. But the LORD wiped them out before the Ammonites came so that the Ammonites claimed their land and took their place.
The LORD did the same thing for the descendants of Esau, who lived in Seir. Before the descendants of Esau came, he wiped out the Horites so that Esau's descendants claimed their land and took their place. Esau's descendants are still there today.
The same thing happened to the Avvites who lived in villages as far away as Gaza. The Caphtorites, who came from Crete, wiped them out and took their place.
[The LORD continued,] "Now break camp. Cross the Arnon Valley. I'm going to hand King Sihon of Heshbon, the Amorite, over to you. Fight him, and take possession of his country.
Today I will start to make all the people under heaven terrified of you. When they hear about you, they will tremble and shake because of you."
From the desert of Kedemoth, I sent messengers to King Sihon of Heshbon with the following offer of peace:
"If you allow us to travel through your country, we'll go straight through and won't ever leave the road.
We'll pay you in silver for the food we eat and the water we drink. Please let us go through,
as the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir, and the Moabites, who live in Ar, did for us. We'll keep going until we cross the Jordan River into the land the LORD our God is giving us."
But King Sihon of Heshbon wouldn't allow us to pass through. The LORD your God made him stubborn and overconfident in order to hand him over to you, as he has now done.
The LORD said to me, "I have begun to give you Sihon and his country. Go ahead! Take possession of his land."
Sihon and all his troops came out to meet us in battle at Jahaz.
The LORD our God gave Sihon to us, and we defeated him, his sons, and all his troops.
At that time we captured all his cities and claimed them for God by destroying men, women, and children. There were no survivors.
However, we did loot the cities that we captured, taking the cattle and goods.
From Aroer on the edge of the Arnon Valley and the city in that valley as far as Gilead, no city had walls that could keep us out. The LORD our God gave us all of them.
But the LORD our God had forbidden you to go anywhere near the land of the Ammonites. So you didn't enter the land along the bank of the Jabbok River or capture the cities in the mountains.