Deuteronomy 2 Commentary
Verse 1: “and we spent a long time wandering about in the hill country of Edom.”
The term wandering about doesn’t sound great but that’s the right term. The conquest of Canaan was meant to be a speed campaign going by the way the LORD dealt Egypt. The roadmap was clear but now the Community found itself wandering about.
There is a comment that the LORD kept on opposing them until he had destroyed them all. Won’t it be right to guess that the well documented difficulties that Israel faced in the wilderness were an act of judgment on the nation?
Verse 7 is interesting. Moses says Israel had not lacked anything in those 40 years. We know the Community had suffered from critical water shortage on a couple of occasions. In fact it was one of these moments that led Moses to sin and receive the same punishment as the rest of the Community.
Could it be that Moses is referring to a different type of abundance? It is a possibility. Israel’s doubt had made the ever-present provisions from the LORD disappear. We can read into this remark with the thought that it is Israel’s ungodliness which was responsible for the difficulties they experienced. We also know that not all difficulties were invited. The uninvited difficulties were an opportunity for the LORD to bless the Community. It does matter how we look at difficulties.
The overriding view appears to be this: that the LORD is in charge of events. The wandering in the desert wasn’t aimless. It was a ‘clear-out’ exercise. The battle against Sihon wasn’t won on Israel’s military strength, but it is an act of divine generosity.
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