The Berean Expositor
Volume 23 - Page 46 of 207
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#88.  Numbers 20: - 25:
The twofold opposition encountered by Israel
and its relation to Eph. 6: 12.
pp. 108 - 112
Israel, as they press on from Kadesh, meet with opposition in various forms. The
Edomites, who were related by blood, refuse passage through their territory and even the
purchase of drinking water. The Moabites, who were also related to Israel through Lot
their father, sought to curse Israel, and succeeded in entrapping them in evil practices.
Arad the Canaanite, Sihon King of Heshbon and Og King of Bashan, in no way related to
Israel but rather the seed of the Serpent, oppose, too, in different ways. A careful
consideration of these contests will throw light upon the conflict of the Church to-day,
and especially upon the meaning of the apostle in Eph. 6: where the armour of God is
specified and the contestants indicated. "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but
against principalities and powers" (Eph. 6: 12). Edom and Moab represent "flesh and
blood"; Arad, Sihon and Og the "principalities and powers". Two distinct lines of action
are indicated to deal with these two types of opposition.
Edom, of course, is Esau the brother of Jacob, and so the message sent to the King of
Edom opens with the words: "Thus saith thy brother Israel" (Numb. 20: 14). The request
was for permission to pass through the country, and the request was accompanied by a
promise that neither fields, nor vineyards, nor wells of water should be touched, but that
the King's highway should be kept "until we have passed thy borders". This modest
request was refused. The children of Israel sent again saying:--
"We will go by the high way: and if I and my cattle drink of thy water, then will I pay
for it: I will only, without doing anything else, go through on my feet" (Numb. 20: 19).
Edom again replied, "Thou shalt not go through", but Deut. 2: 28, 29 suggests that
the request to purchase food and drink was granted. Neither Edom nor Moab, however,
would allow Israel to pass through their territory. Jephtha's summary of the time shews
this clearly:--
"Then Israel sent messengers unto the King of Edom, saying, Let me, I pray thee, pass
through thy land, but the King of Edom would not hearken thereto. And in like manner
they sent unto the King of Moab: but he would not consent; and Israel abode in Kadesh"
(Judg. 11: 17).
Deut. 23: 3, 4 shows that Moab refused what Edom granted:--
"They met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of
Egypt:  and because they hired against thee Balaam the Son of Beor of Pethor of
Mesopotamia, to curse thee."