In Chapter 2, the Israelites resume their journey to Canaan from Kadesh, the place where they “remained” many days after their defeat at Hormah by the Amorites (1:41-46). Instead of entering the land of Canaan straight from the wilderness, as they could have done thirty-eight years earlier, the people of God must now take a different route. This new geographical path requires them to pass through five countries east of the Jordan River: Edom, Moab, Ammon, Heshbon, and Bashan.
As the Israelites proceed, God asks them to protect the Edomites, the Moabites, and the Ammonites, because these three people groups are Israel’s kinsmen (2:1-23). God has already promised them their land as their own possession (Deut. 2:5, 9, 19). Nevertheless, God asks the Israelites to destroy King Sihon of Heshbon since He has already hardened Sihon’s heart to deliver him over to His people (vv. 24-31). This chapter, ending with Israel’s victory over Sihon and the Amorites (vv. 32-37), demonstrates God’s care for other families of the earth besides Israel, as well as His willingness to fight for His people when they trust and obey Him. The chapter can be outlined as follows:
I. God instructs the Israelites concerning their Kinsmen (2:1-23).
1. He instructs them concerning Edom (vv. 1-8).
2. He instructs them concerning Moab (vv. 9-15).
3. He instructs them concerning Ammon (vv. 16-23).
II. God Instructs the Israelites to confront Sihon. God hardens Sihon’s heart to deliver him over to His people (2:24-37).
1. He commands the Israelites to defeat King Sihon (vv. 24-25).
2. He hardens the heart of King Sihon (vv. 26-31).
3. He delivers Sihon over to the Israelites (vv. 32-37).
Moses continues with Israel’s history and recalls their first act of obedience since they left Horeb. As the Israelites finally decided to obey God’s command to set out for the wilderness, God instructed them to be respectful of the Edomites, their kinsmen. Having given the Edomites their portions, God wanted the Israelites to conquer only what He had promised to give to them.
As Moses continues his history lesson, he reminds the Israelites of God’s command not to molest the Moabites because, like the Edomites, they are Israel’s kinsmen. Their land was allocated to them by the LORD.
In recounting Israel’s history up to this point, Moses reminds them of the time when God told them not to molest the Ammonites because, like the Edomites and the Moabites, they are Israel’s kinsmen. Their land was given to them by the LORD.
Moses reminds the Israelites of the time when God commanded them to confront Sihon in order to take possession of his land.
Moses continues his history lesson with a reminder of the LORD hardening the spirit and heart of King Sihon to deliver him into the hands of the Israelites.
Moses reminds the Israelites of the time when the LORD allowed them to defeat King Sihon and the Amorites in order to occupy their land.