6 Rulers in the Book of Deuteronomy

Did you know that the Book of Deuteronomy contains intriguing tales of rulers who shaped the fate of the Israelites?

These leaders played pivotal roles in their journey to the Promised Land, yet their stories often go unnoticed. Today, we invite you to explore the lives of six remarkable rulers who left an indelible mark on biblical history.

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Sihon, King of the Amorites

In the Book of Deuteronomy, Sihon, the king of the Amorites, holds a prominent place. The story unfolds as the Israelites, led by Moses, seek permission to pass through Sihon’s land on their journey to the Promised Land.

However, Sihon refuses their request and instead mobilizes his forces against them. Undeterred, the Israelites engage in battle with Sihon’s army, ultimately emerging victorious.

Moses recounts this event in Deuteronomy 2:24-37, presenting the triumph of the Israelites over Sihon as a testament to God’s faithfulness and support.

This encounter with Sihon highlights the challenges faced by the Israelites during their wilderness journey and showcases their unwavering trust in God’s guidance.

“Then Sihon came out against us, he and all his people, to battle at Jahaz. And the Lord our God gave him over to us, and we defeated him and his sons and all his people. And we captured all his cities at that time and devoted to destruction every city, men, women, and children. We left no survivors.” – Deuteronomy 2:32-34

The defeat of Sihon, King of the Amorites, not only demonstrates the strength and victory of the Israelites but also sets the stage for their journey into the Promised Land.

This narrative serves as a reminder of the Israelites’ reliance on God’s providence and their unwavering determination to fulfill the covenant set forth by their ancestors.

Og, King of Bashan

In the Book of Deuteronomy, there is a familiar character who reappears from the Book of Numbers – Og, the mighty King of Bashan. As Moses recounts the Israelites’ journey to the Promised Land, he recalls their encounter with Og, their fierce battle against him, and the subsequent conquest of his land.

King Og of Bashan

Og, renowned for his great stature, was among the last surviving giants known as the Rephaites. In Deuteronomy 1:4, it is mentioned that Og’s territory included the regions of Ashtaroth and Edrei.

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However, it was not until Deuteronomy 3:1-11 that the full story of the Israelites’ conquest of King Og’s land unfolds.

“Next, we turned and went up the road to Bashan, and Og, king of Bashan, along with his entire army, came out to fight against us at Edrei. But the Lord said to me, ‘Do not be afraid of him, for I have delivered him into your hands, along with his whole army and his land. Do to him what you did to Sihon, king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon.’

So the Lord our God also gave into our hands Og, king of Bashan, and all his army. We struck them down, leaving no survivors. At that time, we took all his cities; there was not one of the sixty cities that we did not take from them – the whole region of Argob, Og’s kingdom in Bashan.”

Through their unwavering faith and the divine intervention of God, the Israelites were able to overcome the seemingly insurmountable challenge of facing Og, King of Bashan. Their victory marked another significant milestone on their journey to claim the land promised to them.

As we delve into the tales of the rulers in the Book of Deuteronomy, the story of Og, King of Bashan, serves as a reminder of the extraordinary events and individuals that shaped the Israelites’ destiny. It is a testament to their faith, bravery, and the unwavering presence of God throughout their journey.

Kings of the Canaanites

The Book of Deuteronomy provides a brief mention of the kings of the Canaanites who were defeated by the Israelites with the help of God.

This account is part of Moses’ retelling of the Israelites’ journey to the Promised Land. As they ventured into Canaan, the Israelites encountered various kings who ruled over the land.

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The kings of the Canaanites, by their very title, held significant power and authority in the region. However, their dominion was no match for the divine intervention that accompanied the Israelites.

With God’s guidance and support, the Israelites triumphed over these mighty rulers, paving the way for their conquest of Canaan.

These encounters with the kings of the Canaanites highlight the formidable challenges the Israelites faced on their journey.

Through their faith and unwavering determination, they were able to secure victory over these powerful adversaries. The Israelites’ success serves as a testament to the divine favor bestowed upon them.

While the Book of Deuteronomy may only provide a glimpse into these encounters, it affirms the providence and triumph of the Israelites.

By vanquishing the kings of the Canaanites, the Israelites demonstrated their unwavering commitment to fulfilling God’s promise of the Promised Land.


Balak, Son of Zippor, King of Moab

In the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses recounts a fascinating incident involving Balak, the king of Moab. Balak, son of Zippor, had become deeply concerned about the Israelites’ progress towards the Promised Land. Fearing their growing strength, he decided to take matters into his own hands.

Believing that he could stop the Israelites by cursing them, Balak hired the renowned diviner Balaam to pronounce a curse upon them. Despite his insidious plans, Balak’s efforts were thwarted by divine intervention.

“But the LORD your God refused to listen to Balaam. Instead, the LORD your God turned the curse into a blessing for you because the LORD your God loves you.” (Deuteronomy 23:4)

God, speaking through Balaam, compelled the diviner to bless the Israelites instead of cursing them. Balak’s encounter with Balaam serves as a reminder that no human endeavor can undermine the divine will.

Although Balak sought to harm the Israelites, he ultimately contributed to their blessings and reinforced God’s faithfulness. This powerful story showcases the power of God’s protection and highlights the unwavering nature of His promises.

Balak, Son of Zippor, King of Moab

Kings of the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites

In the Book of Deuteronomy, God instructs the Israelites to conquer the land inhabited by several nations, including the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. These kings represent the diverse peoples who reside in the Promised Land.

The mention of these kings serves to illuminate the formidable challenges that lay ahead for the Israelites as they embark on their conquest. It highlights the magnitude of their task and the need for unwavering faith in the face of adversity.

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Deuteronomy 7:1 emphasizes the importance of utterly destroying these nations: “When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations—the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you—”.

This passage underscores the significance of eradicating the influence of these nations to secure the future of the Israelites in their promised inheritance.

Deuteronomy 20:17 further reinforces the commandment to eliminate these nations, stating, “Completely destroy them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites—as the Lord your God has commanded you.”. The language used emphasizes the necessity of unwavering commitment to the task at hand.

The Nations to Conquer:

NationDescription
HittitesAncient Anatolian people known for their powerful kingdom.
GirgashitesSemetic people who lived in parts of Canaan.
AmoritesSemitic people who established several kingdoms throughout Mesopotamia.
CanaanitesIndigenous people of the land of Canaan who were primarily agrarian.
PerizzitesPeople who dwelled in the hills of Canaan and were a sub-group of the Canaanites.
HivitesPeople who inhabited the region of Shechem and Gibeon.
JebusitesPeople who lived in the city of Jerusalem before it was conquered by King David.
Kings of the Promised Land

Are the Rulers in the Book of Numbers and Deuteronomy the Same?

In the Book of Numbers, the 6 rulers in Numbers are appointed as leaders of the Israelite tribes. In Deuteronomy, these rulers are not explicitly mentioned, but the overall leadership structure remains consistent. The authority and responsibilities of the rulers are maintained throughout both books.

Concluding Thoughts on the Rulers in Deuteronomy

As we delve into the tales of the rulers mentioned in the Book of Deuteronomy, we uncover a rich tapestry of history and significance. These rulers played pivotal roles in the Israelites’ journey to the Promised Land, leaving indelible marks on their collective narrative.

From the mighty King Og of Bashan to the scheming Balak, these rulers showcased the diversity of challenges faced by the Israelites. Through their stories, we gain valuable insights into leadership, faith, and the enduring power of God’s intervention.

The triumph over Sihon, King of the Amorites, serves as a testament to the Israelites’ tenacity and unwavering belief in their divine destiny. The defeat of the kings of the Canaanites reveals the hand of God, guiding and protecting His chosen people.

Balak’s failed attempts to curse the Israelites remind us of the limitations of human schemes when pitted against God’s will. Lastly, the mention of the kings of the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites underscores the arduous task ahead for the Israelites.

As we reflect on these rulers and their significance, we are prompted to consider our own journeys. The lessons they impart invite introspection into the role of leadership, the importance of faith, and the power of perseverance in the pursuit of our own promised lands.

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