Like much of the Bible so far, Chapter 21 is pretty unhinged. Let’s see if I get the gist of it. First, the king of Arad (a Canaanite) fought against the Israelites and held some of them captive. The non-captured ones swore to God that they would utterly destroy their towns if they could get their brethren back. God handed over the Canaanites and the Israelites killed them and destroyed the towns. I looked back at the chapter and this pretty well matches up with the first paragraph.
Then they set out again to go around Edom because they weren’t allowed to go through and they started with their whining again. So, God sent poisonous serpents down to bite the Israelites because…of course he did. Moses prayed to God (who was responsible for this) and God told him to make a poisonous serpent and put it on a pole and when anyone who was bitten looked at would live. Does this make any sense? Please, tell me I’m not the only one who is a tad bit confused.
Then we get a travel log from Oboth to the wasteland overlook before heading into the land of the Amorites. They sent messengers to King Sihon with the usual request, let us pass, no drinking, no stopping, yada yada. King Sihon got an army together and went to fight Israel, but Israel won and took his land. They did the same to King Og.
Didn’t God tell them that they wouldn’t get the land that he promised them? I guess he was just having a cranky day and needed a cookie. The Bronze Serpent thing was the only interesting part of this chapter. I’m looking forward to moving on from the Pentateuch because this section is long.