Chapter 21

1The Canaanite king of Arad, who lived in the south, heard that Israel had come by the route of the spies, and he waged war against Israel and took from them a captive.   אוַיִּשְׁמַ֞ע הַכְּנַֽעֲנִ֤י מֶֽלֶךְ־עֲרָד֙ ישֵׁ֣ב הַנֶּ֔גֶב כִּ֚י בָּ֣א יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל דֶּ֖רֶךְ הָֽאֲתָרִ֑ים וַיִּלָּ֨חֶם֙ בְּיִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וַיִּ֥שְׁבְּ | מִמֶּ֖נּוּ שֶֽׁבִי:
The Canaanite… heard: He heard that Aaron had died and that the clouds of glory had departed… as is stated in [Tractate] Rosh Hashanah (3a). Amalek was always a chastising whip for Israel, ready at any time to mete out punishment. — [Midrash Tanchuma Chukkath 18, Num. Rabbah 19:20]   וַיִּשְׁמַע הַכְּנַֽעֲנִי: שָׁמַע שֶׁמֵּת אַהֲרֹן וְנִסְתַּלְּקוּ עַנְנֵי כָבוֹד כו', כִּדְאִיתָא בְּרֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה (דף ג'), וַעֲמָלֵק מֵעוֹלָם רְצוּעַת מַרְדּוּת לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, מְזֻמָּן בְּכָל עֵת לְפֻרְעָנוּת:
who lived in the south: This refers to Amalek, as it says, “The Amalekites dwell in the south land” (13:29). They changed their language to speak in the language of Canaan so that the Israelites would pray to the Holy One, blessed is He, to deliver the Canaanites into their hands, and [since] they were not Canaanites [their prayers would have no effect]. But Israel saw that they were dressed like Amalekites though they spoke in a Canaanite tongue. So they said, “We will pray generally [for success],” as it says, “If You deliver this people into my hand….” - [Midrash Aggadah, Yalkut Shimoni from Midrash Yelammedenu. Note that in these sources, the Amalekites changed their dress as well, and that version is found also in the Reggio edition of Rashi. The Yemenite manuscript, however, conforms with our reading. See Chavel fn. 87, Yosef Hallel, Leket Bahir fn. ד. See also Num. Rabbah 19:20.]   ישֵׁב הַנֶּגֶב: זֶה עֲמָלֵק, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "עֲמָלֵק יוֹשֵׁב בְּאֶרֶץ הַנֶּגֶב" (במדבר י"ג), וְשִׁנָּה אֶת לְשׁוֹנוֹ לְדַבֵּר בִּלְשׁוֹן כְּנַעַן, כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל מִתְפַּלְּלִים לְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לָתֵת כְּנַעֲנִים בְּיָדָם, וְהֵם אֵינָן כְּנַעֲנִים, רָאוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל לְבוּשֵׁיהֶם כִּלְבוּשֵׁי עֲמָלֵקִים וּלְשׁוֹנָם לְשׁוֹן כְּנַעַן, אָמְרוּ נִתְפַּלֵּל סְתָם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "אִם נָתֹן תִּתֵּן אֶת הָעָם הַזֶּה בְּיָדִי" (עי' ילקוט שמעוני תשס"ד):
the route of the spies: Heb. דֶּרֶךְ הָאֲתָרִים, the southern route, taken by the spies (הַתָּרִים), as it says, “They went up in the south” (13:22). Another interpretation: The route of the great guide [the ark] (הַתַּיָּר) which went ahead of them, as it says, “traveled three days ahead of them to seek for them a place to settle” (10:33). - [Midrash Tanchuma Chukkath 18, Num. Rabbah 19:20]   דֶּרֶךְ הָֽאֲתָרִים: דֶּרֶךְ הַנֶּגֶב, שֶׁהָלְכוּ בּוֹ מְרַגְּלִים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "וַיַּעֲלוּ בַנֶּגֶב" (במדבר י"ג); דָּבָר אַחֵר: דֶּרֶךְ הָאֲתָרִים, דֶּרֶךְ הַתַּיָּר הַגָּדוֹל הַנּוֹסֵעַ לִפְנֵיהֶם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שם י') "דֶּרֶךְ שְׁלֹשֶׁת יָמִים לָתוּר לָהֶם מְנוּחָה" (תנחומא):
and took from them a captive: It was only a single maidservant. — [Midrash Aggadah , Yalkut Shimoni from Midrash Yelammedenu]   וַיִּשְׁבְּ מִמֶּנּוּ שֶֽׁבִי: אֵינָהּ אֶלָּא שִׁפְחָה אַחַת (ילקוט שמעוני שם):
2Israel made a vow to the Lord, and said, "If You deliver this people into my hand, I shall consecrate their cities."   בוַיִּדַּ֨ר יִשְׂרָאֵ֥ל נֶ֛דֶר לַֽיהֹוָ֖ה וַיֹּאמַ֑ר אִם־נָתֹ֨ן תִּתֵּ֜ן אֶת־הָעָ֤ם הַזֶּה֙ בְּיָדִ֔י וְהַֽחֲרַמְתִּ֖י אֶת־עָֽרֵיהֶֽם:
I shall consecrate: I shall consecrate their spoils to Heaven.   וְהַֽחֲרַמְתִּי: אַקְדִּישׁ שְׁלָלָם לְגָבוֹהַּ:
3The Lord heard Israel's voice and delivered the Canaanite. He destroyed them and [consecrated] their cities, and he called the place Hormah.   גוַיִּשְׁמַ֨ע יְהֹוָ֜ה בְּק֣וֹל יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל וַיִּתֵּן֙ אֶת־הַכְּנַֽעֲנִ֔י וַיַּֽחֲרֵ֥ם אֶתְהֶ֖ם וְאֶת־עָֽרֵיהֶ֑ם וַיִּקְרָ֥א שֵׁם־הַמָּק֖וֹם חָרְמָֽה:
He destroyed them: By execution.   וַיַּֽחֲרֵם אֶתְהֶם: בַּהֲרִיגָה:
and their cities: He consecrated them to Heaven.   וְאֶת־עָֽרֵיהֶם: חֶרְמֵי גָבוֹהַּ:
4They journeyed from Mount Hor by way of the Red Sea to circle the land of Edom, and the people became disheartened because of the way.   דוַיִּסְע֞וּ מֵהֹ֤ר הָהָר֙ דֶּ֣רֶךְ יַם־ס֔וּף לִסְבֹ֖ב אֶת־אֶ֣רֶץ אֱד֑וֹם וַתִּקְצַ֥ר נֶֽפֶשׁ־הָעָ֖ם בַּדָּֽרֶךְ:
by way of the Red Sea: Since Aaron had died, and this war had come upon them, they turned back to the Red Sea route, which is the route they returned to after the decree [because of the sin] of the spies had been issued against them, as it says, “and journey into the desert by way of the Red Sea” (Deut. 1:40). Here they went back seven stations, as it says, “The children of Israel journeyed from the wells of Benei Yaakan to Moserah; there Aaron died” (ibid. 10:6). Did he really die in Moserah? Did he not die at Mount Hor? However, there [in Moserah] they again mourned for him and eulogized him, as if he had died in their presence. Go and study the stations, and you will find that there were seven stations between Moserah and Mount Hor. — [Midrash Tanchuma Chukkath 18, Seder Olam ch. 9]   יַם־סוּף: כֵּיוָן שֶׁמֵּת אַהֲרֹן וּבָאת עֲלֵיהֶם מִלְחָמָה זוֹ, חָזְרוּ לַאֲחוֹרֵיהֶם דֶּרֶךְ יַם סוּף, הוּא הַדֶּרֶךְ שֶׁחָזְרוּ לָהֶם כְּשֶׁנִּגְזַר עֲלֵיהֶם גְּזֵרַת מְרַגְּלִים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "וּסְעוּ הַמִּדְבָּרָה דֶּרֶךְ יַם סוּף" (דברים א'), וְכָאן חָזְרוּ לַאֲחוֹרֵיהֶם שֶׁבַע מַסָּעוֹת, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "וּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל נָסְעוּ מִבְּאֵרֹת בְּנֵי יַעֲקָן מוֹסֵרָה שָׁם מֵת אַהֲרֹן", וְכִי בְמוֹסֵרָה מֵת? וַהֲלֹא בְהֹר הָהָר מֵת? אֶלָּא שָׁם חָזְרוּ וְהִתְאַבְּלוּ עָלָיו וְהִסְפִּידוּהוּ כְּאִלּוּ הוּא בִפְנֵיהֶם; וְצֵא וּבְדֹק בַּמַּסָּעוֹת וְתִמְצְאֵם שֶׁבַע מַסָּעוֹת מִן מוֹסֵרָה עַד הֹר הָהָר (תנחומא):
to circle the land of Edom: since they did not allow them to pass through their land.   לִסְבֹב אֶת־אֶרֶץ אֱדוֹם: שֶׁלֹּא נְתָנָם לַעֲבֹר בְּאַרְצוֹ:
and the people became disheartened because of the way: Because of the hardship of traveling, which was hard for them. They said, “Now we were so close to entering the Land, and we are turning back. So did our fathers turn back and remain for thirty-eight years, until today.” Therefore, they became disheartened by the hardship of traveling. In old French, encrote lor, or encrut lor, it discouraged them. It is, however, incorrect to say that the people became disheartened בַּדָּרֶךְ, meaning “while on the way,” without explaining what caused them to become disheartened, for whenever קִצּוּר נֶפֶשׁ [literally, shortness of spirit] is mentioned in Scripture, the cause of the discouragement is specified, as in, “I could not tolerate them (וַתִּקְצַר נַפְשִׁי בָּהֶם)” (Zech. 11:8), and as in, “He felt distressed because of the misery of Israel (וַתִּקְצַר נַפְשׁוֹ בַּעֲמַל יִשְׂרָאֵל)” (Jud. 10:16). Anything difficult for a person to bear is called קִצּוּר נֶפֶשׁ, like a person who is beset with trouble, and his mind is not composed enough to accept it. There is no place in his heart for the distress to settle. The thing causing the distress is described as ‘large’ since it is too large for him and weighs heavily on him, as in, “and their souls also loathed Me (בָּחֲלָה בִי)” (Zech. 11:8); they were too much for Me. [And also,] “And it is so great (וְיִגְאֶה) that you hunt me like a lion” (Job 10:16). In summary, the expression shortness of spirit (קִצּוּר נֶפֶשׁ) for a thing, means that it is intolerable, and the mind cannot bear it.   וַתִּקְצַר נֶֽפֶשׁ־הָעָם בַּדָּֽרֶךְ: בְּטֹרַח הַדֶּרֶךְ שֶׁהֻקְשָׁה לָהֶם, אָמְרוּ עַכְשָׁו הָיִינוּ קְרוֹבִים לִכָּנֵס לָאָרֶץ וְאָנוּ חוֹזְרִים לַאֲחוֹרֵינוּ, כָּךְ חָזְרוּ אֲבוֹתֵינוּ וְנִשְׁתָּהוּ שְׁלֹשִׁים וּשְׁמוֹנֶה שָׁנָה עַד הַיּוֹם, לְפִיכָךְ קָצְרָה נַפְשָׁם בְּעִנּוּי הַדֶּרֶךְ, וּבְלַעַ"ז אנקרוט"לור; וְלֹא יִתָּכֵן לוֹמַר וַתִּקְצַר נֶפֶשׁ הָעָם בַּדָּרֶךְ — בִּהְיוֹתוֹ בַדֶּרֶךְ, וְלֹא פֵּרֵשׁ בּוֹ בַּמֶּה קָצְרָה, שֶׁכָּל מָקוֹם שֶׁתִּמְצָא קִצּוּר נֶפֶש בַּמִּקְרָא מְפֹרָשׁ שָׁם בַּמֶּה קָצְרָה, כְּגוֹן "וַתִּקְצַר נַפְשִׁי בָּהֶם" (זכריה י"א), וּכְגוֹן "וַתִּקְצַר נַפְשׁוֹ בַּעֲמַל יִשְׂרָאֵל" (שופטים י'), וְכָל דָּבָר קָשֶׁה עַל אָדָם נוֹפֵל בּוֹ לְשׁוֹן קִצּוּר נֶפֶשׁ, כְּאָדָם שֶׁהַטֹּרַח בָּא עָלָיו וְאֵין דַּעְתּוֹ רְחָבָה לְקַבֵּל אוֹתוֹ הַדָּבָר וְאֵין לוֹ מָקוֹם בְּתוֹךְ לִבּוֹ לָגוּר שָׁם הַצַּעַר, וּבְדָבָר הַמַּטְרִיחַ נוֹפֵל לְשׁוֹן גֹּדֶל, שֶׁגָּדוֹל הוּא וְכָבֵד עַל הָאָדָם, כְּגוֹן "וְגַם נַפְשָׁם בָּחֲלָה בִי" (זכריה י"א) — גָּדְלָה עָלַי, "וְיִגְאֶה כַּשַּׁחַל תְּצוּדֵנִי" (איוב י'); כְּלָלוֹ שֶׁל פֵּרוּשׁ, כָּל לְשׁוֹן קִצּוּר נֶפֶשׁ בְּדָבָר לָשׁוֹן שֶׁאֵין יָכוֹל לְסָבְלוֹ הוּא — שֶׁאֵין הַדַּעַת סוֹבַלְתּוֹ:
5The people spoke against God and against Moses, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in this desert, for there is no bread and no water, and we are disgusted with this rotten bread."   הוַיְדַבֵּ֣ר הָעָ֗ם בֵּֽאלֹהִים֘ וּבְמשֶׁה֒ לָמָ֤ה הֶֽעֱלִיתֻ֨נוּ֙ מִמִּצְרַ֔יִם לָמ֖וּת בַּמִּדְבָּ֑ר כִּ֣י אֵ֥ין לֶ֨חֶם֙ וְאֵ֣ין מַ֔יִם וְנַפְשֵׁ֣נוּ קָ֔צָה בַּלֶּ֖חֶם הַקְּלֹקֵֽל:
against God and against Moses: They equated the servant with his Master. — [Midrash Tanchuma Chukkath 19, Num. Rabbah 19:21]   בֵּֽאלֹהִים וּבְמשֶׁה: הִשְׁווּ עֶבֶד לְקוֹנוֹ (תנחומא):
Why have you brought us up: Both of them [were considered] equal.   לָמָה הֶֽעֱלִיתֻנוּ: שְׁנֵיהֶם שָׁוִים:
and we are disgusted: Heb. וְנַפְשֵׁנוּ קָצָה. This too denotes intolerance and loathing.   וְנַפְשֵׁנוּ קָצָה: אַף זֶה לְשׁוֹן קִצּוּר נֶפֶשׁ וּמִאוּס:
with this rotten bread: Since the manna was absorbed into their limbs [and not excreted from their bowels], they called it rotten (Mizrachi, or cursed, according to Gur Aryeh.) They said, “This manna will eventually swell up in our stomachs.” Is there any mortal who ingests but does not excrete?- [Yoma 75b, see Rashi there]   בַּלֶּחֶם הַקְּלֹקֵֽל: לְפִי שֶׁהַמָּן נִבְלָע בָּאֵבָרִים קְרָאוּהוּ קְלֹקֵל, אָמְרוּ, עָתִיד הַמָּן הַזֶּה שֶׁיִּתְפַּח בְּמֵעֵינוּ, כְּלוּם יֵשׁ יְלוּד אִשָּׁה שֶׁמַּכְנִיס וְאֵינוֹ מוֹצִיא? (יומא ע"ה):
6The Lord sent against the people the venomous snakes, and they bit the people, and many people of Israel died.   ווַיְשַׁלַּ֨ח יְהֹוָ֜ה בָּעָ֗ם אֵ֚ת הַנְּחָשִׁ֣ים הַשְּׂרָפִ֔ים וַיְנַשְּׁכ֖וּ אֶת־הָעָ֑ם וַיָּ֥מָת עַם־רָ֖ב מִיִּשְׂרָאֵֽל:
the venomous snakes: Heb. הַנְּחָשִׁים הַשְּׂרָפִים, lit. the burning snakes, [so named] because they ‘burn’ a person with the venom of their fangs. — [Midrash Tanchuma Chukkath 19, Num. Rabbah 19:22]   אֵת הַנְּחָשִׁים הַשְּׂרָפִים: שֶׁשּׂוֹרְפִים אֶת הָאָדָם בְּאֶרֶס שִׁנֵּיהֶם:
and they bit the people: Let the snake, which was smitten for speaking evil [to Eve] come and punish those who spread slander [about the manna]. Let the snake, for which all types of food taste the same, come and punish those ingrates, for whom one thing [the manna] changes into various tastes. — [Midrash Tanchuma Chukkath 19, Num. Rabbah 19:22]   וַיְנַשְּׁכוּ אֵת הָעָם: יָבֹא נָחָשׁ שֶׁלָּקָה עַל הוֹצָאַת דִּבָּה וְיִפָּרַע מִמּוֹצִיאֵי דִּבָּה, יָבֹא נָחָשׁ שֶׁכָּל הַמִּינִין נִטְעָמִין לוֹ טַעַם אֶחָד וְיִפָּרַע מִכְּפוּיֵי טוֹבָה שֶׁדָּבָר אֶחָד מִשְׁתַּנֶּה לָהֶם לְכַמָּה מַטְעַמִּים (תנחומא):
7The people came to Moses and said, "We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord that He remove the snakes from us." So Moses prayed on behalf of the people.   זוַיָּבֹא֩ הָעָ֨ם אֶל־משֶׁ֜ה וַיֹּֽאמְר֣וּ חָטָ֗אנוּ כִּֽי־דִבַּ֤רְנוּ בַֽיהֹוָה֙ וָבָ֔ךְ הִתְפַּלֵּל֙ אֶל־יְהֹוָ֔ה וְיָסֵ֥ר מֵֽעָלֵ֖ינוּ אֶת־הַנָּחָ֑שׁ וַיִּתְפַּלֵּ֥ל משֶׁ֖ה בְּעַ֥ד הָעָֽם:
So Moses prayed: From here [we learn] that someone who is asked to forgive, should not be so cruel so as not to forgive. — [Midrash Tanchuma Chukkath 19, Num. Rabbah 19:23]   וַיִּתְפַּלֵּל משֶׁה: מִכָּאן לְמִי שֶׁמְּבַקְשִׁים מִמֶּנּוּ, שֶׁלֹּא יְהֵא אַכְזָרִי מִלִּמְחֹל (עי' תנחומא):
8The Lord said to Moses, "Make yourself a serpent and put it on a pole, and let whoever is bitten look at it and live."   חוַיֹּ֨אמֶר יְהֹוָ֜ה אֶל־משֶׁ֗ה עֲשֵׂ֤ה לְךָ֙ שָׂרָ֔ף וְשִׂ֥ים אֹת֖וֹ עַל־נֵ֑ס וְהָיָה֙ כָּל־הַנָּשׁ֔וּךְ וְרָאָ֥ה אֹת֖וֹ וָחָֽי:
on a pole: Heb. עַל נֵס, on a post, perche in French. Similarly, “and like a flagpole (וְכַנֵּס) on a hill” (Isa. 30:17); “will I raise My standard (נִסִּי)” (ibid. 49:22); “raise a banner” (נֵס) (ibid. 13:2). Since it stands high, and serves as a signal and is to be seen, it is called נֵס (a sign).   עַל־נֵס: עַל כְּלוֹנָס, שֶׁקּוֹרִין פירק"א בְּלַעַז, וְכֵן "וְכַנֵּס עַל הַגִּבְעָה" (ישעיהו ל'), "אָרִים נִסִּי" (שם מ"ט), "שְׂאוּ נֵס" (שם י"ג); וּלְפִי שֶׁהוּא גָּבוֹהַּ לְאוֹת וְלִרְאָיָה, קוֹרְאוֹ נֵס:
whoever is bitten: Even if a dog or a donkey bit him, he would suffer injury and steadily deteriorate, but a snake bite would kill quickly. That is why it says here [regarding other bites], “will look at it”-a mere glance. But regarding the snake bite it says “he would gaze”-“and whenever a snake bit [a man], he would gaze” (verse 9), for the snake bite would not heal unless one gazed at it [the copper snake] intently (Yer. R.H. 3:9). Our Rabbis said, Does a snake cause death or life? However, when Israel looked heavenward and subjected their hearts to their Father in heaven, they would be healed, but if not, they would waste away. — [R.H. 29a]   כָּל־הַנָּשׁוּךְ: אֲפִלּוּ כֶלֶב אוֹ חֲמוֹר נוֹשְׁכוֹ הָיָה נִזּוֹק וּמִתְנַוְּנֶה וְהוֹלֵךְ, אֶלָּא שֶׁנְּשִׁיכַת הַנָּחָשׁ מְמַהֶרֶת לְהָמִית, לְכָךְ נֶאֱמַר כָּאן וְרָאָה אֹתוֹ — רְאִיָּה בְעָלְמָא — וּבִנְשִׁיכַת הַנָּחָשׁ נֶאֱמַר "וְהִבִּיט" — וְהָיָה אִם נָשַׁךְ הַנָּחָשׁ אֶת אִישׁ וְהִבִּיט וְגוֹ' — שֶׁלֹּא הָיָה מְמַהֵר נֶשֶׁךְ הַנָּחָשׁ לְהִתְרַפְּאוֹת אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן מַבִּיט בּוֹ בְּכַוָּנָה; וְאָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ וְכִי נָחָשׁ מֵמִית אוֹ מְחַיֶּה? אֶלָּא, בִּזְמַן שֶׁהָיוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל מִסְתַּכְּלִין כְּלַפֵּי מַעְלָה וּמְשַׁעְבְּדִין אֶת לִבָּם לַאֲבִיהֶם שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם הָיוּ מִתְרַפְּאִים, וְאִם לָאו הָיוּ נִמּוֹקִים (ראש השנה כ"ט):
9Moses made a copper snake and put it on a pole, and whenever a snake bit a man, he would gaze upon the copper snake and live.   טוַיַּ֤עַשׂ משֶׁה֙ נְחַ֣שׁ נְח֔שֶׁת וַיְשִׂמֵ֖הוּ עַל־הַנֵּ֑ס וְהָיָ֗ה אִם־נָשַׁ֤ךְ הַנָּחָשׁ֙ אֶת־אִ֔ישׁ וְהִבִּ֛יט אֶל־נְחַ֥שׁ הַנְּח֖שֶׁת וָחָֽי:
a copper snake: He was not told to make it of copper, but Moses said, "The Holy One, blessed is He, called it a snake (נָחָשׁ), so I will make it of copper, (נְחשֶׁת), one term similar to the other term." — [Mid. Gen. Rabbah 19:31:8]   נְחַשׁ נְחשֶׁת: לֹא נֶאֱמַר לוֹ לַעֲשׂוֹתוֹ שֶׁל נְחֹשֶׁת, אֶלָּא אָמַר מֹשֶׁה, הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא קוֹרְאוֹ נָחָשׁ וַאֲנִי אֶעֱשֶׂנּוּ שֶׁל נְחֹשֶׁת, לָשׁוֹן נוֹפֵל עַל לָשׁוֹן (בראשית רבה ל"א):
10The children of Israel journeyed on and camped in Oboth.   יוַיִּסְע֖וּ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וַיַּֽחֲנ֖וּ בְּאֹבֹֽת:
11They journeyed from Oboth and camped in the wasteland passes in the wilderness, which faced Moab, toward the rising sun.   יאוַיִּסְע֖וּ מֵֽאֹבֹ֑ת וַיַּֽחֲנ֞וּ בְּעִיֵּ֣י הָֽעֲבָרִ֗ים בַּמִּדְבָּר֙ אֲשֶׁר֙ עַל־פְּנֵ֣י מוֹאָ֔ב מִמִּזְרַ֖ח הַשָּֽׁמֶשׁ:
the wasteland passes: Heb. בְּעִיֵּי הָעֲבָרִים. I do not know why they were called עִיּים, wastelands. The word עִי denotes a ruin; something swept aside with a broom. Only the letter ‘ayin’ in it belongs to the root; it derives from the word עִי “shovels” (Exod. 27:3), [and as in] וְיָעָה בָרָד, “and hail shall sweep away” (Isa. 28:17). - [Machbereth Menachem p. 135]   בְּעִיֵּי הָֽעֲבָרִים: לֹא יָדַעְתִּי לָמָּה נִקְרָא שְׁמָם עִיִּים, וְעִי לְשׁוֹן חָרְבָּה הִיא — דָּבָר הַטָּאוּט בְּמַטְאֲטֵא, וְהָעַיִ"ן בּוֹ יְסוֹד לְבַדָּהּ, וְהוּא מִלְּשׁוֹן "יָעִים" (שמות כ"ז), "וְיָעָה בָרָד" (ישעיהו כ"ח):
passes: This was the route for those crossing Mount Nebo on the way to the Land of Canaan, which separates the land of Moab from the land of Amorites.   הָֽעֲבָרִים: דֶּרֶךְ מַעֲבַר הָעוֹבְרִים שָׁם אֶת הַר נְבוֹ אֶל אֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן, שֶׁהוּא מַפְסִיק בֵּין אֶרֶץ מוֹאָב לְאֶרֶץ אֱמוֹרִי:
facing Moab toward the rising sun: To the east of the land of Moab.   עַל־פְּנֵי מוֹאָב מִמִּזְרַח הַשָּֽׁמֶשׁ: בְּמִזְרָחָהּ שֶׁל אֶרֶץ מוֹאָב:
12From there they journeyed, and they encamped along the stream of Zered.   יבמִשָּׁ֖ם נָסָ֑עוּ וַיַּֽחֲנ֖וּ בְּנַ֥חַל זָֽרֶד:
13From there they journeyed, and they encamped on the other side of the Arnon, which was in the desert, extending from the Amorite border, for Arnon was the Moabite border between Moab and the Amorites.   יגמִשָּׁם֘ נָסָ֒עוּ֒ וַיַּֽחֲנ֞וּ מֵעֵ֤בֶר אַרְנוֹן֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בַּמִּדְבָּ֔ר הַיֹּצֵ֖א מִגְּבֻ֣ל הָֽאֱמֹרִ֑י כִּ֤י אַרְנוֹן֙ גְּב֣וּל מוֹאָ֔ב בֵּ֥ין מוֹאָ֖ב וּבֵ֥ין הָֽאֱמֹרִֽי:
from the Amorite border: Heb. מִגְּבֻל הָאֱמֹרִי, the boundary at the edge of their territory. Similarly, “the border of Moab (גְּבוּל מוֹאָב),” a term denoting an edge and an end.   מִגְּבֻל הָֽאֱמֹרִי: תְּחוּם סוֹף מֶצֶר שֶׁלָּהֶם, וְכֵן גְּבוּל מוֹאָב — לְשׁוֹן קָצֶה וָסוֹף:
on the other side of the Arnon: They circled the southern and eastern [sides] of the land of Moab, until they came to the other side of the Arnon [river] in the middle of the Amorite territory, to the north of the land of Moab.   מֵעֵבֶר אַרְנוֹן: הִקִּיפוּ אֶרֶץ מוֹאָב כָּל דְּרוֹמָהּ וּמִזְרָחָהּ עַד שֶׁבָּאוּ מֵעֵבֶר הַשֵּׁנִי לְאַרְנוֹן בְּתוֹךְ אֶרֶץ הָאֱמוֹרִי בִּצְפוֹנָהּ שֶׁל אֶרֶץ מוֹאָב:
extending from the Amorite border: A strip of Amorite territory protrudes from the Amorite border into Moabite territory [reaching] until Arnon, which is the Moabite border. The Israelites camped there, without entering the border of Moab, (for Arnon was the Moabite border, and they did not allow them to pass through their land. Even though Moses did not state this explicitly, Jephthah did explain it), as Jephthah said, “Also to the king of Moab he sent, but he was unwilling” (Jud. 11:17). Moses, however, alludes to it: “Just as the children of Esau who dwell in Seir, and the Moabites who dwell in Ar, did for me” (Deut. 2:29). [He meant to say:] Just as these [children of Esau] did not permit them to pass through their lands, but they circled around them, so did Moab too.   הַיֹּצֵא מִגְּבֻל הָֽאֱמֹרִי: רְצוּעָה יוֹצְאָה מִגְּבוּל הָאֱמוֹרִי וְהִיא שֶׁל אֱמוֹרִיִּים, וְנִכְנֶסֶת לִגְבוּל מוֹאָב עַד אַרְנוֹן שֶׁהוּא גְּבוּל מוֹאָב, וְשָׁם חָנוּ יִשְֹרָאֵל וְלֹא בָאוּ לִגְבוּל מוֹאָב, כי ארנון גבול מואב, וְהֵם לֹא נָתְנוּ לָהֶם רְשׁוּת לַעֲבֹר בְּאַרְצָם, וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא פֵרְשָׁהּ מֹשֶׁה, פֵּרְשָׁהּ יִפְתָּח, כְּמוֹ שֶׁאָמַר יִפְתָּח (שופטים י"א) "וְגַם אֶל מֶלֶךְ מוֹאָב שָׁלַח וְלֹא אָבָה", וּמֹשֶׁה רְמָזָהּ (דברים ב'), "כַּאֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ לִי בְּנֵי עֵשָׂו הַיֹּשְׁבִים בְּשֵׂעִיר וְהַמּוֹאָבִים הַיֹּשְׁבִים בְּעָר" — מָה אֵלּוּ לֹא נְתָנוּם לַעֲבֹר בְּתוֹךְ אַרְצָם אֶלָּא הִקִּיפוּם סָבִיב, אַף מוֹאָב כֵּן:
14Concerning this it is told in the account of the Wars of the Lord, "What He gave at the [Sea of] Reeds and the streams of Arnon.   ידעַל־כֵּן֙ יֵֽאָמַ֔ר בְּסֵ֖פֶר מִלְחֲמֹ֣ת יְהֹוָ֑ה אֶת־וָהֵ֣ב בְּסוּפָ֔ה וְאֶת־הַנְּחָלִ֖ים אַרְנֽוֹן:
Concerning this it is told: Concerning this encampment, and the miracles that happened there, “it is told in the account of the wars of the Lord”: when they relate the miracles that happened to our forefathers, they will relate: “What He gave….”   עַל־כֵּן יֵֽאָמַר: עַל חֲנִיָּה זוֹ וְנִסִּים שֶׁנַּעֲשׂוּ בָהּ יאמר בספר מלחמת ה' — כְּשֶׁמְּסַפְּרִים נִסִּים שֶׁנַּעֲשׂוּ לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ יְסַפְּרוּ אֶת וָהֵב וגו':
What He gave: Heb. אֶת וָהֵב, like אֶת יָהֵב [which is the Aramaic root meaning to give]. Just as from [the root] יעד we say ועד so from יהב ‘to give’ [we get] והב, and the “vav” is [part of] the root. That is to say, what He gave (יהב) them and wrought many miracles at the Red Sea. — [Onkelos]   אֶת־וָהֵב: כְּמוֹ אֶת יָהֵב, כְּמוֹ שֶׁיֵּאָמֵר מִן יעד וָעֵד, כֵּן יֵאָמֵר מִן יהב וָהֵב, וְהַוָּי"ו יְסוֹד הוּא, כְּלוֹמַר אֶת אֲשֶׁר יָהַב לָהֶם וְהִרְבָּה נִסִּים בְּיַם סוּף:
and the streams of Arnon: Just as we recount the miracles of the Red Sea, so should we recount the miracles that happened at the streams of Arnon, for here too, many great miracles were performed. What were those miracles?…- [Midrash Tanchuma Chukkath 20, Num. Rabbah 19:25]   וְאֶת־הַנְּחָלִים אַרְנֽוֹן: כְּשֵׁם שֶׁמְּסַפְּרִים בְּנִסֵּי יַם סוּף, כָּךְ יֵשׁ לְסַפֵּר בְּנִסֵּי נַחֲלֵי אַרְנוֹן, שֶׁאַף כָּאן נַעֲשׂוּ נִסִּים גְּדוֹלִים, וּמָה הֵם הַנִּסִּים?
15And the spilling of the streams that turned to settle at Ar and leaned toward the border of Moab.   טווְאֶ֨שֶׁד֙ הַנְּחָלִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר נָטָ֖ה לְשֶׁ֣בֶת עָ֑ר וְנִשְׁעַ֖ן לִגְב֥וּל מוֹאָֽב:
The spilling of the streams: The Aramaic translation of שֶׁפֶךְ, “spilling,” is אֶשֶׁד -the spilling of the streams, for [there] the blood of the Amorites who were hidden there was spilled. The mountains were high and the gorge deep and narrow, and the mountains were so close to each other, that a man standing on the mountain on one side [of the gorge] could speak to his fellow standing on the mountain on the other side. A road passed along [the floor of] the gorge. The Amorites said, “When the Israelites enter the land by passing through the gorge, we will come out of the caves in the mountains above them and kill them with arrows and stones shot from catapults.” There were clefts in the rock on the Moabite side [of the canyon], and directly opposite those clefts, on the mountain on the Amorite side, there were protrusions, [appearing] like horns and breasts. When the Israelites prepared to pass through, the mountain of the Land of Israel trembled, like a maidservant going out to greet her mistress, and moved toward the mountain of Moab. Then those breastlike protrusions entered the clefts, killing them [the Amorites]. This is the meaning of, “that turned to settle at Ar.” The mountain swung from its place and moved toward the side of the Moabite border, and attached itself to it. Thus, “[it] leaned on the border of Moab.” - [Midrash Tanchuma Chukkath 20, Num. Rabbah 19:25]   וְאֶשֶׁד הַנְּחָלִים: תַּרְגּוּם שֶׁל שֶׁפֶךְ "אֶשֶׁד" — שֶׁפֶךְ הַנְּחָלִים שֶׁנִּשְׁפַּךְ שָׁם דַּם אֱמוֹרִיִּים, שֶׁהָיוּ נֶחְבָּאִים שָׁם, לְפִי שֶׁהָיוּ הֶהָרִים גְּבוֹהִים וְהַנַּחַל עָמֹק וְקָצָר וְהֶהָרִים סְמוּכִים זֶה לָזֶה — אָדָם עוֹמֵד עַל הָהָר מִזֶּה וּמְדַבֵּר עִם חֲבֵרוֹ בָּהָר הַזֶּה — וְהַדֶּרֶךְ עוֹבֵר בְּתוֹךְ הַנַּחַל, אָמְרוּ אֱמוֹרִיִּים, כְּשֶׁיִּכָּנְסוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל לָאָרֶץ לְתוֹךְ הַנַּחַל לַעֲבֹר, נֵצֵא מִן הַמְּעָרוֹת שֶׁבֶּהָרִים שֶׁלְּמַעְלָה מֵהֶם, וְנַהַרְגֵם בְּחִצִּים וְאַבְנֵי בָּלִיסְטְרָאוֹת, וְהָיוּ אוֹתָן הַנְּקָעִים בָּהָר שֶׁל צַד מוֹאָב, וּבָהָר שֶׁל צַד אֱמוֹרִיִּים הָיוּ כְּנֶגֶד אוֹתָן נְקָעִים כְּמִין קְרָנוֹת וְשָׁדַיִם בּוֹלְטִין לַחוּץ, כֵּיוָן שֶׁבָּאוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל לַעֲבֹר, נִזְדַּעְזַע הָהָר שֶׁל אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל כְּשִׁפְחָה הַיּוֹצֵאת לְהַקְבִּיל פְּנֵי גְבִרְתָּהּ, וְנִתְקָרֵב לְצַד הָהָר שֶׁל מוֹאָב וְנִכְנְסוּ אוֹתָן הַשָּׁדַיִם לְתוֹךְ אוֹתָן נְקָעִים וַהֲרָגוּם, וְזֶהוּ אֲשֶׁר נָטָה לְשֶׁבֶת עָר — שֶׁהָהָר נָטָה מִמְּקוֹמוֹ וְנִתְקָרֵב לְצַד מוֹאָב וְנִדְבַּק בּוֹ, וְזֶהוּ וְנִשְׁעַן לִגְבוּל מוֹאָב (תנחומא; ברכות נ"ד):
16From there to the well; that is the well of which the Lord said to Moses, 'Gather the people, and I will give them water.'"   טזוּמִשָּׁ֖ם בְּאֵ֑רָה הִ֣וא הַבְּאֵ֗ר אֲשֶׁ֨ר אָמַ֤ר יְהֹוָה֙ לְמשֶׁ֔ה אֱסֹף֙ אֶת־הָעָ֔ם וְאֶתְּנָ֥ה לָהֶ֖ם מָֽיִם:
From there to the well: From there the flow [of blood] came to the well. How? The Holy One, blessed is He, said, “Who will inform My children of these miracles?” The proverb goes, “If you give a child bread, inform his mother” (Shab. 10b). After they passed through, the mountains returned to their places, and the well descended into the stream, and brought up the blood of the slain, their arms, and their limbs, and carried them around the camp. The Israelites saw them and sang a song. — [Midrash Tanchuma Chukkath 20, Num. Rabbah 19:25]   וּמִשָּׁם בְּאֵרָה: מִשָּׁם בָּא הָאֶשֶׁד אֶל הַבְּאֵר; כֵּיצַד? אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מִי מוֹדִיעַ לְבָנַי הַנִּסִּים הַלָּלוּ? הַמָּשָׁל אוֹמֵר "נָתַתָּ פַּת לְתִינוֹק הוֹדִיעַ לְאִמּוֹ". לְאַחַר שֶׁעָבְרוּ חָזְרוּ הֶהָרִים לִמְקוֹמָם, וְהַבְּאֵר יָרְדָה לְתוֹךְ הַנַּחַל וְהֶעֶלְתָה מִשָּׁם דַּם הַהֲרוּגִים וּזְרוֹעוֹת וְאֵבָרִים וּמוֹלַכְתָּן סָבִיב הַמַּחֲנֶה, וְיִשְׂרָאֵל רָאוּ וְאָמְרוּ שִׁירָה:
17Then Israel sang this song: "'Ascend, O well,' sing to it!   יזאָ֚ז יָשִׁ֣יר יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֶת־הַשִּׁירָ֖ה הַזֹּ֑את עֲלִ֥י בְאֵ֖ר עֱנוּ־לָֽהּ:
Ascend, O well: from the stream, and bring up what you are to bring up. How do we know that the well informed them? For it says, “From there… the well.” Was it [really] from there? Was not [the well] with them since the beginning of the forty years? However, it descended to proclaim the miracles. Similarly, “Then Israel sang this song,” was said at the end of forty [years], but the well was given to them at the beginning of the forty [years]. Why was it [the song] written here [instead of earlier]? Because the subject [of the song] is explained in connection to what precedes it in the above text. — [Midrash Tanchuma Chukkath 20, Num. Rabbah 19:25]   עֲלִי בְאֵר: מִתּוֹךְ הַנַּחַל וְהַעֲלִי מַה שֶּׁאַתְּ מַעֲלָה; וּמִנַּיִן שֶׁהַבְּאֵר הוֹדִיעָה לָהֶם? שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "וּמִשָּׁם בְּאֵרָה", וְכִי מִשָּׁם הָיְתָה, וַהֲלֹא מִתְּחִלַּת אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה הָיְתָה עִמָּהֶם? אֶלָּא שֶׁיָּרְדָה לְפַרְסֵם אֶת הַנִּסִּים (תנחומא); וְכֵן אָז יָשִׁיר … הַשִּׁירָה הַזֹּאת נֶאֶמְרָה בְּסוֹף אַרְבָּעִים וְהַבְּאֵר נִתְּנָה לָהֶם מִתְּחִלַּת אַרְבָּעִים, מָה רָאָה לִכָּתֵב כָּאן? אֶלָּא הָעִנְיָן הַזֶּה נִדְרָשׁ לְמַעְלָה הֵימָנוּ:
18A well dug by princes, carved out by nobles of the people, through the lawgiver with their staffs, and from the desert, a gift.   יחבְּאֵ֞ר חֲפָר֣וּהָ שָׂרִ֗ים כָּר֨וּהָ֙ נְדִיבֵ֣י הָעָ֔ם בִּמְחֹקֵ֖ק בְּמִשְׁעֲנֹתָ֑ם וּמִמִּדְבָּ֖ר מַתָּנָֽה:
A well dug out: this is the well dug out by princes, Moses and Aaron. — [See Mid. Lekach Tov, Mid. Hagadol, Mid. Aggadah]   בְּאֵר חֲפָרוּהָ: זֹאת הִיא הַבְּאֵר אֲשֶׁר חֲפָרוּהָ שָׂרִים — מֹשֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן:
with their staffs: Heb. בְּמִשְׁעֲנֹתָם, with the staff [upon which the Explicit Name was engraved (Reggio edition)]. — [See Targum Jonathan, Exod. 4:20]   בְּמִשְׁעֲנֹתָם: בַּמַּטֶּה:
from the desert: it was given to them [as a gift]. — [Onkelos]   וּמִמִּדְבָּר: נִתְּנָה לָהֶם:
19From the gift, to the streams, and from the streams to the heights.   יטוּמִמַּתָּנָ֖ה נַֽחֲלִיאֵ֑ל וּמִנַּֽחֲלִיאֵ֖ל בָּמֽוֹת:
From the gift, to the streams: As the Targum renders it [since it was given to them, it descended with them to the streams].   וּמִמַּתָּנָה נַֽחֲלִיאֵל: כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ:
20From the heights to the valley in the field of Moab, at the top of the peak, that overlooks the wastelands."   כוּמִבָּמ֗וֹת הַגַּיְא֙ אֲשֶׁר֙ בִּשְׂדֵ֣ה מוֹאָ֔ב רֹ֖אשׁ הַפִּסְגָּ֑ה וְנִשְׁקָ֖פָה עַל־פְּנֵ֥י הַיְשִׁימֹֽן:
From the heights to the valley in the field of Moab: For there Moses died and the well ceased. Another interpretation: A well dug out by princes - When they encamped each tribal chieftain took his staff and drew it toward his division and his camp. The waters of the well were drawn after that mark, and came in front of the camping place of each tribe - [Midrash Tanchuma Chukkath 21, Num. Rabbah 19:25].   וּמִבָּמוֹת הַגַּיְא אֲשֶׁר בִּשְׂדֵה מוֹאָב: כִּי שָׁם מֵת מֹשֶׁה וְשָׁם בָּטְלָה הַבְּאֵר; דָּבָר אַחֵר, כָּרוּהָ נְדִיבֵי הָעָם — כָּל נָשִׂיא וְנָשִׂיא כְּשֶׁהָיוּ חוֹנִים נוֹטֵל מַקְלוֹ וּמוֹשֵׁךְ אֵצֶל דִּגְלוֹ וּמַחֲנֵהוּ, וּמֵי הַבְּאֵר נִמְשָׁכִין דֶּרֶךְ אוֹתוֹ סִימָן וּבָאִין לִפְנֵי חֲנִיַּת כָּל שֵׁבֶט וָשֵׁבֶט (תנחומא):
through the lawgiver: Through Moses, who was called lawgiver, as it says, “for there the portion of the lawgiver is concealed” (Deut. 33:21). But why is Moses not explicitly mentioned in this song? Because he was smitten through the well. And because Moses’ name is not mentioned, the Name of the Holy One, blessed is He, is not mentioned. This can be compared to a king who was invited to a banquet. He said, “If my friend is there, I will be there, but if not, I am not going.” - [Midrash Tanchuma Chukkath 21, Num. Rabbah 19:26]   במחקק: עַל פִּי מֹשֶׁה שֶׁנִּקְרָא מְחוֹקֵק, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "כִּי שָׁם חֶלְקַת מְחֹקֵק סָפוּן" (דברים ל"ג); וְלָמָּה לֹא נִזְכַּר מֹשֶׁה בְּשִׁירָה זוֹ? לְפִי שֶׁלָּקָה עַל יְדֵי הַבְּאֵר, וְכֵיוָן שֶׁלֹּא נִזְכַּר שְׁמוֹ שֶׁל מֹשֶׁה לֹא נִזְכַּר שְׁמוֹ שֶׁל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, מָשָׁל לְמֶלֶךְ שֶׁהָיוּ מְזַמְּנִין אוֹתוֹ לִסְעוּדָה, אָמַר אִם אוֹהֲבִי שָׁם אֲנִי שָׁם, וְאִם לָאו אֵינִי הוֹלֵךְ (תנחומא):
at the top of the peak: Heb. רֹאשׁ הַפִּסְגָּה, as the Targum [Onkelos] renders,“the top of the height.”   רֹאשׁ הַפִּסְגָּה: כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ "רֵישׁ רָמָתָא":
the peak: Heb. פִּסְגָּה, a term denoting height. Similarly, פַּסְּגוּ אַרְמְנוֹתֶיהָ (Ps. 48:14), raise high its palaces.   פסגה: לְשׁוֹן גֹּבַהּ, וְכֵן "פַּסְּגוּ אַרְמְנוֹתֶיהָ" (תהילים מ"ח) — הַגְבִּיהוּ אַרְמְנוֹתֶיהָ:
that overlooks: That peak [overlooks] a place called Jeshimon, a word which describes a desert, which is a desolate place (שָׁמֵם). Another interpretation: The well can be seen from the Jeshimon, for the well was hidden in the Sea of Tiberias [Kinnereth], and anyone standing on the wastelands [above the sea] can look down and see a kind of sieve in the sea, and that is the well. In this manner R. Tanchuma explained it. — [Midrash Tanchuma Chukkath 21, Num. Rabbah 19:25]   וְנִשְׁקָפָה: אוֹתָהּ הַפִּסְגָּה עַל פְּנֵי הַמָּקוֹם שֶׁשְּׁמוֹ יְשִׁימוֹן, וְהוּא לְשׁוֹן מִדְבָּר שֶׁהוּא שָׁמֵם; דָּבָר אַחֵר וְנִשְׁקָפָה הַבְּאֵר עַל פְּנֵי הַיְשִׁימוֹן, שֶׁנִּגְנְזָה בְּיַמָּהּ שֶׁל טְבֶרְיָא, וְהָעוֹמֵד עַל הַיְשִׁימוֹן מַבִּיט וְרוֹאֶה כְּמִין כְּבָרָה בַּיָּם, וְהִיא הַבְּאֵר, כָּךְ דָּרַשׁ רַבִּי תַנְחוּמָא:
21Israel sent messengers to Sihon the king of the Amorites, saying:   כאוַיִּשְׁלַ֤ח יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ מַלְאָכִ֔ים אֶל־סִיחֹ֥ן מֶֽלֶךְ־הָֽאֱמֹרִ֖י לֵאמֹֽר:
Israel sent messengers: Elsewhere, the sending [of messengers] is ascribed to Moses, as it says, “So I sent messengers from the desert of Kedemoth” (Deut. 2:26). Similarly, “Moses sent messengers to the king of Edom…” (above. 20: 14), but concerning Jephthah it says, “Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom…” (Jud. 11:17). These verses supplement each other; one holds back [information by not informing us who authorized the sending of the messengers] and the other reveals [that Moses sent them]. Moses is Israel, and Israel is Moses, to teach you that the leader of the generation is equal to the entire generation, because the leader is everything. — [Midrash Tanchuma Chukkath 23, Num. Rabbah 19:28]   וַיִּשְׁלַח יִשְׂרָאֵל מַלְאָכִים: וּבְמָקוֹם אַחֵר תּוֹלֶה הַשְּׁלִיחוּת בְּמֹשֶׁה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "וָאֶשְׁלַח מַלְאָכִים מִמִּדְבַּר קְדֵמוֹת" (דברים ב'), וְכֵן "וַיִּשְׁלַח מֹשֶׁה מַלְאָכִים מִקָּדֵשׁ אֶל מֶלֶךְ אֱדוֹם" (במדבר כ'), וּבְיִפְתָּח הוּא אוֹמֵר (שופטים י"א) "וַיִּשְׁלַח יִשְׂרָאֵל מַלְאָכִים אֶל מֶלֶךְ אֱדוֹם" וְגוֹ', הַכְּתוּבִים הַלָּלוּ צְרִיכִין זֶה לָזֶה, זֶה נוֹעֵל וְזֶה פוֹתֵחַ, שֶׁמֹּשֶׁה הוּא יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִשְׂרָאֵל הֵם מֹשֶׁה, לוֹמַר לְךָ שֶׁנְּשִׂיא הַדּוֹר הוּא כְּכָל הַדּוֹר, כִּי הַנָּשִׂיא הוּא הַכֹּל (תנחומא):
22"Let me pass through your land. We will not turn into fields or vineyards, nor drink well water. We shall walk along the king's road, until we have passed through your territory."   כבאֶעְבְּרָ֣ה בְאַרְצֶ֗ךָ לֹ֤א נִטֶּה֙ בְּשָׂדֶ֣ה וּבְכֶ֔רֶם לֹ֥א נִשְׁתֶּ֖ה מֵ֣י בְאֵ֑ר בְּדֶ֤רֶךְ הַמֶּ֨לֶךְ֙ נֵלֵ֔ךְ עַ֥ד אֲשֶׁר־נַֽעֲבֹ֖ר גְּבֻלֶֽךָ:
Let me pass through your land: Even though they were not commanded to offer them peace, they nevertheless sought peace from them. — [Midrash Tanchuma Chukkath 22, Num. Rabbah 19:27]   אֶעְבְּרָה בְאַרְצֶךָ: אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא נִצְטַוּוּ לִפְתֹּחַ לָהֶם בְּשָׁלוֹם בִּקְּשׁוּ מֵהֶם שָׁלוֹם (שם):
23But Sihon did not permit Israel to pass through his territory, and Sihon gathered all his people and went out to the desert toward Israel. He arrived at Jahaz and fought against Israel.   כגוְלֹֽא־נָתַ֨ן סִיחֹ֥ן אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל֘ עֲבֹ֣ר בִּגְבֻלוֹ֒ וַיֶּֽאֱסֹ֨ף סִיחֹ֜ן אֶת־כָּל־עַמּ֗וֹ וַיֵּצֵ֞א לִקְרַ֤את יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ הַמִּדְבָּ֔רָה וַיָּבֹ֖א יָ֑הְצָה וַיִּלָּ֖חֶם בְּיִשְׂרָאֵֽל:
But Sihon did not permit: Since all the Canaanite kings paid him tribute for protecting them against marauding armies, when Israel said to him, “Let me pass through your land,” he said to them, “My very presence is only to protect them from you, so how can you suggest such a thing?” - [Midrash Tanchuma Chukkath 23, Num. Rabbah 19:29]   וְלֹֽא־נָתַן סִיחֹן וגו': לְפִי שֶׁכָּל מַלְכֵי כְנַעַן הָיוּ מַעֲלִין לוֹ מַס, שֶׁהָיָה שׁוֹמְרָם שֶׁלֹּא יַעַבְרוּ עֲלֵיהֶם גְּיָסוֹת, כֵּיוָן שֶׁאָמְרוּ לוֹ יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶעְבְּרָה בְאַרְצֶךָ, אָ"לָ, כָּל עַצְמִי אֵינִי יוֹשֵׁב כָּאן אֶלָּא לְשָׁמְרָם מִפְּנֵיכֶם, וְאַתֶּם אוֹמְרִים כָּךְ (תנחומא):
went out… toward Israel: Had Heshbon been full of gnats, no creature could have conquered it, and had Sihon been [living in] a weak village, no man could have conquered it. How much more so [was it invincible] since he [Sihon] was in Heshbon. The Holy One, blessed is He, said, “Why should I trouble My children to besiege every city?” He gave all the warriors the idea to leave the cities, and they all gathered in one place, where they were slain. From there Israel proceeded to the cities, where there met with no opposition, since only women and children were [left] there. — [Midrash Tanchuma Chukkath 23, Num. Rabbah 19:29]   וַיֵּצֵא לִקְרַאת יִשְׂרָאֵל: אִלּוּ הָיְתָה חֶשְׁבּוֹן מְלֵאָה יַתּוּשִׁין אֵין כָּל בְּרִיָּה יְכוֹלָה לְכָבְשָׁהּ, וְאִם הָיָה סִיחוֹן בִּכְפָר חַלָּשׁ אֵין כָּל אָדָם יָכוֹל לְכָבְשׁוֹ, וְכָל שֶׁכֵּן שֶׁהָיָה בְּחֶשְׁבּוֹן; אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מָה אֲנִי מַטְרִיחַ עַל בָּנַי כָּל זֹאת לָצוּר עַל כָּל עִיר וָעִיר? נָתַן בְּלֵב כָּל אַנְשֵׁי הַמִּלְחָמָה לָצֵאת מִן הָעֲיָרוֹת, וְנִתְקַבְּצוּ כֻלָּם לְמָקוֹם אֶחָד וְשָׁם נָפְלוּ, וּמִשָּׁם הָלְכוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶל הֶעָרִים וְאֵין עוֹמֵד לְנֶגְדָּם, כִּי אֵין שָׁם אֶלָּא נָשִׁים וָטָף (שם):
24Israel smote him with the sword, and took possession of his land from Arnon to Jabbok, as far as the children of Ammon, for the border of the children of Ammon was strong.   כדוַיַּכֵּ֥הוּ יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לְפִי־חָ֑רֶב וַיִּירַ֨שׁ אֶת־אַרְצ֜וֹ מֵֽאַרְנֹ֗ן עַד־יַבֹּק֙ עַד־בְּנֵ֣י עַמּ֔וֹן כִּ֣י עַ֔ז גְּב֖וּל בְּנֵ֥י עַמּֽוֹן:
for…strong: What was its strength? The warning of the Holy One, blessed is He, Who said to them [Israel], “neither distress them [Ammon]” (Deut. 2:19). - [Mid. Aggadah]   כִּי עַז: וּמַהוּ חָזְקוֹ? הַתְרָאָתוֹ שֶׁל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שֶׁאָמַר לָהֶם אַל תְּצֻרֵם וְגוֹ' (דברים ב'):
25Israel took all these cities, and the Israelites dwelt in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon and all its villages.   כהוַיִּקַּח֙ יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֵ֥ת כָּל־הֶֽעָרִ֖ים הָאֵ֑לֶּה וַיֵּ֤שֶׁב יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ בְּכָל־עָרֵ֣י הָֽאֱמֹרִ֔י בְּחֶשְׁבּ֖וֹן וּבְכָל־בְּנֹתֶֽיהָ:
its villages: Heb. בְּנֹתֶיהָ, lit. her daughters, the villages near it.   בְּנֹתֶֽיהָ: כְּפָרִים הַסְּמוּכִים לָהּ:
26For Heshbon was the city of Sihon, king of the Amorites, and he had fought against the first king of Moab, taking all his land from his possession, as far as Arnon.   כוכִּ֣י חֶשְׁבּ֔וֹן עִ֗יר סִיחֹ֛ן מֶ֥לֶךְ הָֽאֱמֹרִ֖י הִ֑וא וְה֣וּא נִלְחַ֗ם בְּמֶ֤לֶךְ מוֹאָב֙ הָֽרִאשׁ֔וֹן וַיִּקַּ֧ח אֶת־כָּל־אַרְצ֛וֹ מִיָּד֖וֹ עַד־אַרְנֹֽן:
and he had fought: Why was it necessary to write this? For it says, “Do not distress the Moabites” (Deut. 2:9), and Heshbon belonged to Moab, Scripture writes that Sihon had taken it from them, and through him it was made permissible for Israel. — [Chul. 60b]   וְהוּא נִלְחַם: לָמָּה הֻצְרַךְ לִכָּתֵב? לְפִי שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שם) "אַל תָּצַר אֶת מוֹאָב", וְחֶשְׁבּוֹן מִשֶּׁל מוֹאָב הָיְתָה, כָּתַב לָנוּ שֶׁסִּיחוֹן לְקָחָהּ מֵהֶם וְעַל יָדוֹ טָהֲרָה לְיִשְֹרָאֵל (חולין ס'; גיטין ל"ח):
from his possession: Heb. מִיָּדוֹ, lit. from his hand, [meaning] from his possession. — [B.M. 56b]   מִיָּדוֹ: מֵרְשׁוּתוֹ (בבא מציעא נ"ו):
27Concerning this, those who speak in parables say, "Come to Heshbon, may it be built and established as the city of Sihon.   כזעַל־כֵּ֛ן יֹֽאמְר֥וּ הַמּֽשְׁלִ֖ים בֹּ֣אוּ חֶשְׁבּ֑וֹן תִּבָּנֶ֥ה וְתִכּוֹנֵ֖ן עִ֥יר סִיחֽוֹן:
Concerning this: Concerning that war, which Sihon waged against Moab.   עַל־כֵּן: עַל אוֹתָהּ מִלְחָמָה שֶׁנִּלְחַם סִיחוֹן בְּמוֹאָב:
those who speak in parables say: [This refers to] Balaam, about whom it says, “He took up his parable” (23:7).   יֹֽאמְרוּ הַמּֽשְׁלִים: בִּלְעָם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בּוֹ "וַיִּשָּׂא מְשָׁלוֹ" (במדבר כ"ג):
those who tell parables: Balaam and [his father] Beor. They said…. — [Midrash Tanchuma Chukkath 24, Num. Rabbah 19:30]   הַמּֽשְׁלִים: בִּלְעָם וּבְעוֹר, וְהֵם אָמְרוּ:
Come to Heshbon: because Sihon could not conquer it. So he went and hired Balaam to curse it. This is what Balak [meant when he] said to him, “For I know that whoever you bless is blessed” (22:6). - [Midrash Tanchuma Chukkath 24, Balak 4, Num. Rabbah 19:30, 20:7, Mid. Aggadah]   בֹּאוּ חֶשְׁבּוֹן: שֶׁלֹּא הָיָה סִיחוֹן יָכוֹל לְכָבְשָׁהּ וְהָלַךְ וְשָׂכַר אֶת בִּלְעָם לְקַלְּלוֹ (תנחומא); וְזֶהוּ שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ בָּלָק "כִּי יָדַעְתִּי אֵת אֲשֶׁר תְּבָרֵךְ מְבֹרָךְ" וְגוֹ' (במדבר כ"ב):
built and established: Heshbon under the name of Sihon, to be his city.   תִּבָּנֶה וְתִכּוֹנֵן: חֶשְׁבּוֹן בְּשֵׁם סִיחוֹן לִהְיוֹת עִירוֹ:
28For fire went forth from Heshbon, a flame from the city of Sihon; it consumed Ar of Moab, the masters of the high places of Arnon.   כחכִּי־אֵשׁ֙ יָֽצְאָ֣ה מֵֽחֶשְׁבּ֔וֹן לֶֽהָבָ֖ה מִקִּרְיַ֣ת סִיחֹ֑ן אָֽכְלָה֙ עָ֣ר מוֹאָ֔ב בַּֽעֲלֵ֖י בָּמ֥וֹת אַרְנֹֽן:
For a fire went forth from Heshbon: After Sihon had conquered it.   כִּי־אֵשׁ יָֽצְאָה מֵֽחֶשְׁבּוֹן: מִשֶּׁכְּבָשָׁהּ סִיחוֹן:
it consumed Ar of Moab: The name of that country was called Ar in Hebrew, and Lechayath in Aramaic. — [Onkelos]   אָֽכְלָה עָר מוֹאָב: שֵׁם אוֹתָהּ הַמְּדִינָה קָרוּי עָר בְּלָשׁוֹן עִבְרִי וּלְחָיַת בְּלָשׁוֹן אֲרַמִּי:
Ar of Moab: Heb. עָר מוֹאָב, Ar, which belonged to Moab. — [Onkelos]   עָר מוֹאָב: עָר שֶׁל מוֹאָב:
29Woe is to you, Moab; you are lost, people of Chemosh. His sons he has given over as refugees and his daughters into captivity, to Sihon, king of the Amorites.   כטאֽוֹי־לְךָ֣ מוֹאָ֔ב אָבַ֖דְתָּ עַם־כְּמ֑וֹשׁ נָתַ֨ן בָּנָ֤יו פְּלֵיטִם֙ וּבְנֹתָ֣יו בַּשְּׁבִ֔ית לְמֶ֥לֶךְ אֱמֹרִ֖י סִיחֽוֹן:
Woe is to you, Moab: [Meaning] that they cursed Moab that it be delivered into his hand. — [Midrash Tanchuma Chukkath 24, Num. Rabbah 19:30]   אֽוֹי־לְךָ מוֹאָב: שֶׁקִּלְּלוּ אֶת מוֹאָב שֶׁיִּמָּסְרוּ בְיָדוֹ (תנחומא):
Chemosh: The name of Moab’s god. — [I Kings 11:7]   כְּמוֹשׁ: שֵׁם אֱלֹהֵי מוֹאָב:
He has given over: The one who has given over his sons, that is, [not his own sons but] the sons of Moab.   נָתַן: הַנּוֹתֵן אֶת בָּנָיו שֶׁל מוֹאָב:
refugees: who flee and escape the sword, and his daughters into captivity, etc.   פְּלֵיטִם: — נָסִים וּפְלֵטִים מֵחֶרֶב וְאֶת בְּנוֹתָיו בַּשְּׁבִית וְגוֹ':
30Their kingdom is destroyed from Heshbon; it has been removed from Dibon; we laid them waste as far as Nophah which is near Medeba."   לוַנִּירָ֛ם אָבַ֥ד חֶשְׁבּ֖וֹן עַד־דִּיבֹ֑ן וַנַּשִּׁ֣ים עַד־נֹ֔פַח אֲשֶׁ֖ר עַד־מֵֽידְבָֽא:
Their kingdom: Heb. וַנִּירָם, their kingdom.   וַנִּירָם אָבַד: מַלְכוּת שֶׁלָּהֶם:
is destroyed from Heshbon, it has been removed from Dibon: The kingdom and dominion that Moab had over Heshbon terminated from there. Similarly, עַד דִּיבֹן -the Targum of סַר ‘removed’ is עַד, that is to say, the kingdom was removed from Dibon. [The word] נִיר is a term denoting kingship and dominion [resulting from] the rule of man, as in “so that there be dominion for David My servant” (I Kings 11:36). - [Onkelos]   אָבַד חֶשְׁבּוֹן עַד־דִּיבֹן: — מַלְכוּת וְעֹל שֶׁהָיָה לְמוֹאָב בְּחֶשְׁבּוֹן אָבַד מִשָּׁם, וְכֵן עַד דִּיבֹן; תַּרְגּוּם שֶׁל סָר "עַד", כְּלוֹמַר סָר נִיר מִדִּיבֹן; נִיר לְשׁוֹן מַלְכוּת וְעֹל מֶמְשֶׁלֶת אִישׁ, כְּמוֹ "לְמַעַן הֱיוֹת נִיר לְדָוִד עַבְדִּי" (מ"א י"א):
we laid them waste: Heb. וַנַּשִּׁים. The [letter] Heb. שׁ is punctuated with a dagesh [thus indicating a missing “mem,”], denoting ‘waste’ Heb. (שְׁמָמָה). Thus say those who tell parables: וַנַּשִּׁים אוֹתָם עַד נֹפַח, “we laid them waste as far as Nophah.”   וַנַּשִּׁים: שִׁי"ן דְּגוּשָׁה, לְשׁוֹן שְׁמָמָה, כָּךְ יֹאמְרוּ הַמֹּשְׁלִים, "וַנַּשִּׁים אוֹתָם עַד נֹפַח" — הֲשִׁמּוֹנוּם עַד נֹפַח:
31Israel settled in the land of the Amorites.   לאוַיֵּ֨שֶׁב֙ יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל בְּאֶ֖רֶץ הָֽאֱמֹרִֽי:
32Moses sent [men] to spy out Jaazer and they captured its villages, driving out the Amorites who lived there.   לבוַיִּשְׁלַ֤ח משֶׁה֙ לְרַגֵּ֣ל אֶת־יַעְזֵ֔ר וַיִּלְכְּד֖וּ בְּנֹתֶ֑יהָ וַיּ֖וֹרֶשׁ (כתיב ויירש) אֶת־הָֽאֱמֹרִ֥י אֲשֶׁר־שָֽׁם:
Moses sent [men] to spy out Jaazer: The spies captured it. They said, We shall not do like the first group. We have [such] confidence in the power of Moses’ prayer that we are able to do battle. — [Midrash Tanchuma Chukkath 24, Num. Rabbah 19:31]   וַיִּשְׁלַח משֶׁה לְרַגֵּל אֶת־יַעְזֵר: הַמְרַגְּלִים לְכָדוּהָ, אָמְרוּ לֹא נַעֲשֶׂה כָּרִאשׁוֹנִים, בְּטוּחִים אָנוּ בְּכֹחַ תְּפִלָּתוֹ שֶׁל מֹשֶׁה לְהִלָּחֵם (תנחומא):
33Then they turned and headed north toward the Bashan. Og, the king of Bashan, came out toward them with all his people, to wage war at Edrei.   לגוַיִּפְנוּ֙ וַיַּֽעֲל֔וּ דֶּ֖רֶךְ הַבָּשָׁ֑ן וַיֵּצֵ֣א עוֹג֩ מֶֽלֶךְ־הַבָּשָׁ֨ן לִקְרָאתָ֜ם ה֧וּא וְכָל־עַמּ֛וֹ לַמִּלְחָמָ֖ה אֶדְרֶֽעִי:
34The Lord said to Moses, "Do not fear him, for I have delivered him, his people, and his land into your hand. You shall do to him as you did to Sihon the king of the Amorites who dwells in Heshbon.   לדוַיֹּ֨אמֶר יְהֹוָ֤ה אֶל־משֶׁה֙ אַל־תִּירָ֣א אֹת֔וֹ כִּ֣י בְיָֽדְךָ֞ נָתַ֧תִּי אֹת֛וֹ וְאֶת־כָּל־עַמּ֖וֹ וְאֶת־אַרְצ֑וֹ וְעָשִׂ֣יתָ לּ֔וֹ כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֣ר עָשִׂ֗יתָ לְסִיחֹן֙ מֶ֣לֶךְ הָֽאֱמֹרִ֔י אֲשֶׁ֥ר יוֹשֵׁ֖ב בְּחֶשְׁבּֽוֹן:
Do not fear him: Moses was afraid to fight [against him] lest the merit of Abraham advocate for him, as it says, “The refugee came” (Gen. 14:13) -this was Og who had escaped from the Rephaim, who were smitten by Chedorlaomer and his allies at Ashteroth Karnaim, as it says, “only Og, the king of Bashan, was left of the remnant of the Rephaim” (Deut. 3:11). - [Midrash Tanchuma Chukkath 24, Num. Rabbah 19:32]   אֶל־תִּירָא אֹתוֹ: שֶׁהָיָה מֹשֶׁה יָרֵא לְהִלָּחֵם, שֶׁמָּא תַּעֲמֹד לוֹ זְכוּתוֹ שֶׁל אַבְרָהָם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "וַיָּבֹא הַפָּלִיט" (בראשית י"ד) — הוּא עוֹג שֶׁפָּלַט מִן הָרְפָאִים שֶׁהִכּוּ כְּדָרְלָעֹמֶר וַחֲבֵרָיו בְּעַשְׁתְּרוֹת קַרְנַיִם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים ג') "רַק עוֹג מֶלֶךְ הַבָּשָׁן נִשְׁאַר מִיֶּתֶר הָרְפָאִים" (נדה ס"א):
35They smote him, his sons and all his people, until there was no survivor, and they took possession of his land.   להוַיַּכּ֨וּ אֹת֤וֹ וְאֶת־בָּנָיו֙ וְאֶת־כָּל־עַמּ֔וֹ עַד־בִּלְתִּ֥י הִשְׁאִֽיר־ל֖וֹ שָׂרִ֑יד וַיִּֽירְשׁ֖וּ אֶת־אַרְצֽוֹ:
They smote him: Moses slew him, as it says in [Tractate] Berachoth, in [the chapter beginning] Haroeh (54b): He uprooted a mountain of three parasangs [intending to throw it at the Israelites and crush them]….   וַיַּכּוּ אֹתוֹ: מֹשֶׁה הֲרָגוֹ, כִּדְאִיתָא בִבְרָכוֹת בְּהָרוֹאֶה (ברכות דף נ"ד), עֲקַר טוּרָא בַּר תְּלָתָא פַרְסֵי וְכוּ':