1A. (Edom): 1 Then we turned, and took our journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea, as the LORD spake unto me:and we compassed mount Seir many days. 2 And the LORD spake unto me, saying, 3 Ye have compassed this mountain long enough:turn you northward. 4 And command thou the people, saying, Ye are to pass through the coast of your brethren the children of Esau, which dwell in Seir; and they shall be afraid of you:take ye good heed unto yourselves therefore:5 Meddle not with them; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as a foot breadth; because I have given mount Seir unto Esau for a possession. 6 Ye shall buy meat of them for money, that ye may eat; and ye shall also buy water of them for money, that ye may drink. 7 For the LORD thy God hath blessed thee in all the works of thy hand:he knoweth thy walking through this great wilderness: these forty years the LORD thy God hath been with thee; thou hast lacked nothing.
1B. (Moab). 8 And when we passed by from our brethren the children of Esau, which dwelt in Seir, through the way of the plain from Elath, and from Eziongaber, we turned and passed by the way of the wilderness of Moab. 9 And the LORD said unto me, Distress not the Moabites, neither contend with them in battle: for I will not give thee of their land for a possession; because I have given Ar unto the children of Lot for a possession.
1B’. (Moab). a. 10 The Emims dwelt therein in times past, a people great, and many, and tall,
b. as the Anakims;
b’. 11 Which also were accounted giants, as the Anakims;
a’. but the Moabites call them Emims.
1A’. (Edom). 12 The Horims also dwelt in Seir beforetime; but the children of Esau succeeded them, when they had destroyed them from before them, and dwelt in their stead; as Israel did unto the land of his possession, which the LORD gave unto them.
Note 1: Israel were to avoid Seir and Moab because YHWH had given that land to those peoples But note that the narrative which says that their lands had previously been the home of giants is in reverse order. A and B, and B’ and A’ are also in regular parallel.
Note 2: After instructions about what to do when passing through Edom and then Moab we might have expected mention of the territory of Ammon, but the sequence is interrupted by a reference to the most significant of milestones, crossing the brook Zered which lay between Edom and Moab. There the generation of men originally too frightened to enter the land finally ended.
2A. 13 Now rise up, said I, and get you over the brook Zered. And we went over the brook Zered. 14 And the space in which we came from Kadeshbarnea, until we were come over the brook Zered, was thirty and eight years;
2B.until all the generation of the men of war were wasted (8552) out from among the host, as the LORD sware unto them.
2C. 15 For indeed the hand of the LORD was against them, to destroy them from among the host, until they were consumed (8552).
2B’. 16 So it came to pass, when all the men of war were consumed (8552) and dead from among the people,
2A’. 17 That the LORD spake unto me, saying, 18 Thou art to pass over through Ar, the coast of Moab, this day:
Note 3. The record resumes the sequence by speaking of the next territory, Ammon. The text is parallel with 1B (as the other son of Lot) and 1B’ and 1A’ (the references to the territories previously being lands of giants).
3A. 19 And when thou comest nigh over against the children of Ammon, distress them not, nor meddle with them: for I will not give thee of the land of the children of Ammon any possession; because I have given it unto the children of Lot for a possession.
3B 20 (That also was accounted a land of giants: giants dwelt therein in old time; and the Ammonites call them Zamzummims; 21 A people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims; but the LORD destroyed them before them; and they succeeded them, and dwelt in their stead:22 As he did to the children of Esau, which dwelt in Seir, when he destroyed the Horims from before them; and they succeeded them, and dwelt in their stead even unto this day:23 And the Avims which dwelt in Hazerim, even unto Azzah, the Caphtorims, which came forth out of Caphtor, destroyed them, and dwelt in their stead.)
Note 4. the importance of the details of the chapter has to do with giants. Israel failed to enter the land first time around because they feared giants. But their children have just walked through lands that had once been occupied by giants. Where were those giants now? God had given the lands to Esau and Lot and the giants had been defeated. If the children of Esau and Lot could accomplish this why were Israel so scared? The journey recounted was to be understood in the light of Moses’ words as an exhortation to trust in YHWH who promised to give them the land of Canaan.