Joshua 12:4: Kings Conquered by Moses, Part 4

Verse 4:[1] And (Num. 21:35; Deut. 3:4, 10) the coast of Og king of Bashan, which was of (Deut. 3:11; Josh. 13:12) the remnant of the giants, (Deut. 1:4) that dwelt at Ashtaroth and at Edrei…

[The border of Og] It was indeed the purpose to enumerate the conquered Kings; but here the kingdom of Og is described instead of the King himself (Masius).

[Of the remnants of the Rephaim[2] (similarly Montanus, Junius and Tremellius, Pagnine, Tigurinus, Drusius, Aquila and Symmachus and Theodotion in Masius)] Others: of the remnants of the giants (Vatablus, Masius, Munster, Syriac), or, of the mighty (Jonathan). The giants descending from Rapha were called Rephaim, just as those descending from Anak were called Anakim[3] (Lapide). Nahmanides [who is Gerundensis in Drusius] thinks it altogether probable that this is a family name of the Hivites, who, as (elsewhere) they were called חִוִּים, that is Hivites, from the serpents that dwell in the hollows of the earth,[4] so (here) they are called רְפָאִים, that is to say, those below, and those abiding under the earth. Thus it is taken in Isaiah 26:14.[5] He maintains that to these were related those that the Sacred history calls חוּרִים/Hurim, that is, τρωγλοδύτας/Troglodytes, cave-dwellers.[6] See on Joshua 11:21 (Masius). Now, that, concerning the remnants, they explain as of the race (Vatablus, Syriac). They are related to the profligate Rephaim near Ashteroth Karnaim, Genesis 14:5. For my part, even if I be unwilling to deny that Og was of their race, nevertheless, inasmuch as he is said to have been a remnant, I assert that it rather has regard the ruin brought upon those giants by the Ammonites, Deuteronomy 2:20, 21. This certainly appears to be signified by that iron bed, which the Ammonites were afterwards showing in their Rabbath, as a monument of the illustrious victory won over the giants; although perhaps Og escaped to the neighboring Amorites, and on account of the singular might and excellence was made King by them (Masius).

[That dwelt in Ashtaroth] Ashtaroth was a city, 1 Chronicles 6:71, not a mountain, as Nahmanides imagines (Masius). Named after Astarte, a form of Diana, or Juno, that is, of Luna, who was worshipped there (Lapide out of Masius): whence also it was called Karnaim,[7] that is, of the two horns,[8] because Luna, while it waxes, is two-horned (Lapide). Now, Ashtaroth here and Ashteroth-Karnaim in Genesis 14 are one and the same place. Thus Jerome and Gerundensis (Masius).

[And in Edrei] This was his other royal city (Bonfrerius). Neither is it strange that Og had two palaces in this most ample and populous kingdom. Edrei appears to me to be the Adra[9] of Ptolemy (Masius).

That dwelt at Ashtaroth and at Edrei: To wit, successively; sometimes at the one, sometimes at the other city; both being his royal mansions.

[1] Hebrew: וּגְב֗וּל ע֚וֹג מֶ֣לֶךְ הַבָּשָׁ֔ן מִיֶּ֖תֶר הָרְפָאִ֑ים הַיּוֹשֵׁ֥ב בְּעַשְׁתָּר֖וֹת וּבְאֶדְרֶֽעִי׃

[2] Hebrew: מִיֶּ֖תֶר הָרְפָאִ֑ים.

[3] See Numbers 13:22, 28, 33; Deuteronomy 9:2.

[4] חויא, serpent in Syriac, has a phonetic similarity to חִוִּי/Hivite.

[5] Isaiah 26:14:  “They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise (רְפָאִ֖ים בַּל־יָקֻ֑מוּ):  therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish.”

[6] See, for example, Genesis 14:6:  “And the Horites (הַחֹרִי) in their mount Seir, unto El-paran, which is by the wilderness.”

[7] Hebrew: קַרְנַיִם.

[8] קַרְנַיִם is composed of קֶרֶן/horn and the dual ending (ַיִם).

[9] Adra was in the northern part of Arabia Petrea.

1 thought on “Joshua 12:4: Kings Conquered by Moses, Part 4

  1. Matthew Henry: ‘King Og is said to dwell at Ashtaroth and Edrei (Joshua 12:4), probably because they were both his royal cities; he had palaces in both, and resided sometimes in one and sometimes in the other; one perhaps was his summer seat and the other his winter seat. But Israel took both from him, and made one grave to serve him that could not be content with one palace.’

    Proverbs 16:8: Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.

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