Bible Study #26: Og of Bashan

We finish up Numbers 21 by talking about missing books of the Bible and the defeat of two giants: King Sihon of the Ammorites and Og of Bashan.  Why do we celebrate these victories every Sunday and Feast Day?  Enjoy the show!

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OT Bible Study #24: Og of Bashan

Make the pure light of Your divine knowledge shine in our hearts, Loving Master, and open the eyes of our minds that we may understand the message of Your Gospel. Instill also in us reverence for Your blessed commandments, so that overcoming all worldly desires, we may pursue a spiritual life, both thinking and doing all things pleasing to You. For You, Christ our God, are the Light of our souls and bodies, and to You we give the glory, together with Your Father, without beginning, and Your All Holy, Good, and Life- Creating Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen. (2 Corinthians 6:6; Ephesians 1:18; 2 Peter 2:11)

Administrative: Next week will be our last Bible Study of the Year. Classes will resume on 2/23.

Numbers 21:10-20. A Travelogue of Sorts. Read. Notice anything strange? What is this “Book of the Wars of the Lord”? Notice that not all the water is miraculous!

Numbers 21:21-35. The Defeat of King Sihon and Og of Bashan. Read.

These victories are celebrated at every Great Matins (or Vigil) when the Polyeleos is sung (“Praise the Name of the Lord…”). The Polyeleos is the combination of Psalms 134(5) and 135(6). (Look at those Psalms). Why would we sing these Psalms at Feasts? Why would we commemorate the victories over Sihon and Og of Bashan, among other victories? Here is what Fr. Patrick Reardon writes about the two Psalms;

Inasmuch as these two psalms summon the memory of God’s deeds of merciful intervention as the basis for His praise, it seems entirely proper that they be sung on the Church’s special feast days, which commemorate various aspects of His saving work in our Lord Jesus Christ.

It is no accident, then, that in Psalm 134, the memory of our election is immediately followed by an assertion of our knowledge of God: “For I know that the Lord is great, and our Lord above all gods.”

What was true of ancient Israel’s election by God is likewise true of His other interventions on Israel’s behalf; they were all foreshadowings of His salvific deeds in Christ in these final times. Thus, Israel’s redemption from Egypt, explicitly commemorated in our psalm, was the foreshadowing of His overthrow of the demonic pharaoh to whom the human race, without Christ, is held in the vilest bondage. Likewise, the God-given conquest of the Promised Land by the Chosen People, along with the defeat of the various threatening nations, was the prefiguration of our entrance into the realm of eternal life through the vanquishing of the many spiritual enemies who impede our path. Every day, but especially on the great feast days of the Church, we celebrate our victory over the likes of Sihon and Og and our entrance into the land of milk and honey….

When we deal with God, everything is mercy; all we will ever discover of God will be the deepening levels of His great, abundant, overflowing, rich and endless mercy. “For His mercy endures forever” is the eternal song of the saints.

But wait, there is more! Remember the Giants?

Deuteronomy 3:1-11. A cubit is usually around 18”. Joshua 12:4. Joshua 13:12. Amos 2:9-10.

A note on Bashan (and Hermon). Hell on earth and a gateway to the underworld.

Finish with this nugget: Psalm 21:12. Who are these “Bulls of Bashan”?

Next Week: The “Prophet Balaam”, Numbers 22-25.


Reardon, P. H. (2000). Christ in the Psalms (p. 270-272). Chesterton, IN: Ancient Faith Publishing.