Ellen G. White Writings

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From Eternity Past, Page 295

Chapter 38—Why the Long Journey Around Edom

This chapter is based on Numbers 20:14-29; 21:1-9.

The encampment of Israel at Kadesh was but a short distance from the borders of Edom, and both Moses and the people greatly desired to follow the route through this country to the Promised Land. Accordingly they sent a message to the Edomite king:

“Thus saith thy brother Israel, ... behold, we are in Kadesh, a city in the uttermost of thy border. Let us pass, I pray thee, through thy country: we will not pass through the fields, or through the vineyards, neither will we drink of the water of the wells: we will go by the king's highway, we will not turn to the right hand nor to the left, until we have passed thy borders.”

To this courteous request, a threatening refusal was returned: “Thou shalt not pass by me, lest I come out against thee with the sword.”

The leaders of Israel sent a second appeal to the king, with the promise, “We will go by the highway; and if I and my cattle drink of thy water, then I will pay for it: I will only, without doing else, go through on my feet.”

“Thou shalt not go through,” was the answer. Armed bands of Edomites were already posted at the difficult passes, and the Hebrews were forbidden to resort to force. They must make the long journey around the land of Edom.

Had the people trusted in God, the Captain of the Lord's host would have led them through Edom. The inhabitants of the land, instead of manifesting hostility, would have shown them favor. But the Israelites did

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