Who was the king of the Amorites?


Sihon was a king of the Amorites, a pagan nation located east of the Jordan River near the Promised Land during the time of Moses. The city from which Sihon, king of the Amorites, ruled was called Heshbon. This city and its king were so famous that people wrote songs about them (Numbers 21:27–30). King Sihon was an enemy of the Israelites.

Sihon had conquered the king of Moab and had taken his land (Numbers 21:26). Later, when the Israelites asked to pass peacefully through Sihon’s land, he refused them passage and came out to fight them (Numbers 21:23). But Israel under Moses’ leadership fought back, defeated Sihon, and took all the land he had taken from the Moabite king, “from the Arnon to the Jabbok” (Numbers 21:24), two boundary rivers.


Later, the Israelites were opposed by the nation of Bashan, and God encouraged Moses to be unafraid of Og, the king of Bashan, by reminding him of the defeat of Sihon, king of the Amorites.

“And they turned and went up by the way of Bashan: and Og the King of Bashan went out against them, he, and all his people, to the battle at Edrei. And the Lord said unto Moses, Fear him not: for I have delivered him into thy hand, and all his people, and his land; and thou shalt do to him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon.” Numbers 21:33-34


God fulfilled this promise and gave Moses and the Israelites victory over Bashan. Moses listed their victories over Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og, king of Bashan, among the many blessings and protections of God (Deuteronomy 29:7). The land east of the Jordan taken from Sihon, king of the Amorites, was given to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh (Deuteronomy 29:8).

Sihon, king of the Amorites, was a mighty king, and his army was strong and terrible. It is likely that the Israelites were, humanly speaking, not strong enough to defeat Sihon’s forces. The Israelites won because the Lord was with them. Their victory over Sihon is referenced again in the book of Joshua, when Rahab of Jericho tells the spies that her people had heard of the Israelites’ victory over Sihon and were therefore afraid to come against them in battle.


“And she said unto the men, I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.” Joshua 2:9–11


Israel’s victory over Sihon and the Amorites is heralded in the Psalms as well. “Who smote great nations, and slew mighty kings; Sihon king of the Amorites, and Og king of Bashan, and all the kingdoms of Canaan: And gave their land for an heritage, an heritage unto Israel his people.” Psalm 135:10-12


“To him which smote great kings: for his mercy endureth for ever: And slew famous kings: for his mercy endureth for ever: Sihon king of the Amorites: for his mercy endureth for ever:” Psalm 136:17–19


No king, no army, no political system was enough to destroy God’s people because God was their protector, and the same is true for those who trust in Him today. It is His power that protects, saves, and keeps us. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16


“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35, 38–39

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© 2020 Tony - Antonakis Maritis