Bamidbar (Numbers) Chapter 21

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: