Studies in Torah

Deuteronomy 2–3: Conquering foes old and new

As the second generation of Israel post-Mitsraim (Egypt) prepared to enter the Promised Land after 40 years of banishment, the people must face foes that wouldn’t quit and had long histories with Israel. Trust in Israel’s Savior gave the people courage to conquer those enemies. Likewise, our trust in God can bring us through even the most seemingly unwinnable struggle.

Thought questions

  • Was YHWH’s (the LORD) action to make Sihon king of Heshbon “stubborn” and “obstinate” (Deuteronomy 2:30) similar to the “hardening” of Pharoah’s heart during the 10 plagues before the exodus of Israel from Egypt (Exodus 7–14)?
  • What does it mean when God said He “hated” Esau and “loved” Ya’akov (Jacob) in Malachi 1?
    • If God hated Esau, why would he not allow Israel to conquer the land of Esau’s descendants, Edom?
  • Some translations of the Bible have passages in parentheses, like Deuteronomy 2:10–12. Why is that?
    • Who was Amalek, as first mentioned in Exodus 17?
      • How was Amalek related to Israel?
    • When did Israel actually conquer Seir and regions east of the Yarden (Jordan) River, which forms Israel’s eastern border?
    • Why is the other name for the book of Deuteronomy Devarim, Hebrew for “words”?
  • Where in the Land of Israel is the Zered Valley?
    • What was so significant about the people and cities of the two kings that Israel had to displace?
  • What does the Hebrew word for “courage” communicate?
    • How is “courage” related to faith in God?
      • How did Israel have faith — courage — in God in entering the Promised Land?
    • Why did Moshe fall face-down before God when the people challenged his authority (Numbers 16:3–5)?
      • How, then, do we face challenges in our lives?
      • What does God do with our boasting in our strength?

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