Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy 2

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Deuteronomy 2

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God Is in Control 

In spite of the fact that the Israelites, because of their sin and subsequent punishment, had to wander in the wilderness for 40 years, unable to enter the Promised Land, they were still being cared for and provided for by God (verse 7). Once “all the men of war had finally perished from among the people” (verse 16), God gave command to the new generation to begin to conquer the land (verse 24). He made clear, however, that it was He who was in ultimate control of events (verse 25), so that no flesh would glory before Him. In fact, God hardened the heart of King Sihon to provoke him into fighting against Israel (verses 30, 32). And God delivered him and his cities, as well as other specifically designated cities, into the hands of Israel (verses 33, 36).

At God’s command, the Israelites “utterly destroyed the men, women, and little ones of every city” (verse 34). Passages like these have led many readers to conclude that the God of the Old Testament was harsh and cruel, in contrast to Jesus Christ, who is thought of as gentle and meek. The fact is, however, that it was the preincarnate Jesus Christ Himself who appeared to and gave this command to Moses (see 1 Corinthians 10:4 1 Corinthians 10:4And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
American King James Version×
and our free booklet Who Is God?). It was He, the Giver of life who created mankind at the Father’s behest (compare Hebrews 1:1-2 Hebrews 1:1-2 [1] God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, [2] Has in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
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; John 1:3 John 1:3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
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; Colossians 1:16 Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
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; Ephesians 3:9 Ephesians 3:9And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world has been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
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), who rightly ordered taking the life of certain people. It appears that in God’s infinite wisdom, He decided that, rather than the children of that evil, demon-worshiping society continuing to live in misery and pain, it was better for them to die and later be resurrected to physical life in a better world in which His right way of life would be taught to everyone and enforced throughout the earth (see Revelation 20:5 Revelation 20:5But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
American King James Version×
, 11-12; ”The Eighth Day: Eternal Life Offered to All,” God’s Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind, 1999, pp. 51-57).

Of course, the prerogative to take human life belongs solely to God. Only He has the right to kill a person or command someone else to do so.

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