Chukat – Sh’vi’i

Og and the Beanstalk

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

As they had done with Edom, Israel sent messengers to Sichon, king of the Amorites, requesting permission to pass through. Sichon responded with an armed assault. Israel defeated their attackers and occupied their land. They later settled the Amorite capital of Cheshbon, leading to a popular song, “Come to Cheshbon.” (The word “cheshbon” means an account, so the term may be a double entendre meaning “let’s make an accounting.”)

Since the Jews were occupying conquered Amorite territory, Moshe had scouts investigate the surrounding towns, which they then captured.

Moving north, the Jews were opposed by Og, king of Bashan. (He was one of those antediluvian giants we mentioned earlier.) G-d told Moshe that the people should not fear, as He would handle Og the same way He did Sichon. The Jews wiped out Og and his people, camping on the western border of Moav, across the Jordan from Jericho.

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