Who was Og king of Bashan?
Og king of Bashan was a mighty king who ruled over the region of Bashan during the time of Moses and the Israelites. Though not much is written about him, the Bible presents Og as a formidable foe who stood in opposition to God’s people.
Here is an overview of key facts the Bible reveals about Og king of Bashan:
– Og was an Amorite king. The Amorites were a powerful people group who inhabited Canaan before the Israelites entered the land. As an Amorite, Og ruled over the region of Bashan, located east of the Jordan River in modern day Jordan.
– Og had a capital city called Ashtaroth located in the region of Bashan. Ashtaroth was known for its pagan worship centered around a female deity of the same name.
– Og was a giant. Deuteronomy 3:11 states that his bed was thirteen feet long and six feet wide. Based on this description, Og was likely over nine feet tall. As a giant, his size and strength made him a formidable foe.
– Og opposed Israel during their journey to Canaan. As the Israelites approached Canaan after their exodus from Egypt, Og came out and battled against them along with Sihon king of the Amorites. But God assured Moses not to fear Og, for He would deliver him into their hands (Numbers 21:33-35).
– God enabled Israel to defeat Og. Deuteronomy 3 describes how the Lord helped Israel defeat Og and his army and conquer his lands. God fought for Israel and enabled them to strike down Og along with all his people and take possession of the land of Bashan.
– Og’s lands were distributed to Israel. After defeating Og, the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh received the lands of Bashan and neighboring regions as their inheritance. Og’s sixty walled cities were occupied by the Israelites.
– Og represented the fate of those who oppose God. Og stood as one of the final kings who rose up against Israel as they neared the Promised Land. His defeat demonstrated what would happen to every king and people who set themselves against the people of God, for the Lord was fighting for Israel.
In summary, though few details are given about his personal life, Og is presented in Scripture as a symbol of opposition against God’s plans. As a giant Amorite king ruling the region of Bashan, Og resisted Israel’s entrance into Canaan. But despite his size, strength, and mighty kingdom, Og was no match for the power of God, who enabled Israel to conquer his lands. Og’s story is a sobering reminder that those who stand against the Lord and His people will ultimately face defeat and judgment.
Spiritual Lessons from the Story of Og King of Bashan
The account of Og king of Bashan provides some valuable spiritual lessons, including:
1. Victory comes from the Lord, not our strength. Israel defeated the mighty Og not through their own power, but through God fighting for them. Our victory is also found in Christ alone.
2. God is greater than any earthly power that opposes Him. Og was huge in size and strength, ruled cities and nations, yet was crushed by God’s might. No matter how strong the forces against us seem, God is in control.
3. God assesses and judges sinful hearts, not just outward actions. Og resisted Israel, but Scripture is clear that God sovereignly hardened Og’s spirit and brought his defeat as judgment for the inner posture of his ungodly heart (Deuteronomy 2:30).
4. God keeps His promises andestablishes His sovereign plans. Despite obstacles like Og, nothing could prevent God from fulfilling His covenant with Abraham to give Canaan to his descendants. What God has promised, He will bring to pass.
5. Opposing the Lord always leads to defeat and judgment. Og faced God’s wrath for opposing His chosen people. All who set themselves against the Lord will eventually face His justice and judgment, if not in this life, then certainly in the next.
6. Fearing God is the beginning of wisdom and life. Og feared no one, but all should fear the Lord, who alone is sovereign and can both save and destroy. As Proverbs says, fearing God is the foundation for true wisdom.
7. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood. Paul says we do not fight earthly enemies, but spiritual forces of darkness and evil. Og was a physical foe, but represented the deeper unseen spiritual realities against us. Our battle requires spiritual armor and weapons.
8. The wages of sin is death, but Jesus Christ brings life. Og faced the law of sin leading to death, but Christ fulfills the law perfectly for us. Turning from sin to trust in Him alone is the path to eternal life.
In conclusion, the account of Og king of Bashan provides timeless spiritual truths. His story reminds us of the mighty power of God in contrast to earthly strength, the need to fear God over man, and the salvation found in Christ alone. Og serves as an example of the end awaiting those oppose the Lord, as well as the victory reserved for those who place their faith in God.
Og in the New Testament
The New Testament contains a few references to Og king of Bashan:
– Og is listed alongside Sihon king of the Amorites as those defeated by Israel (Joshua 13:12). This occurs in a passage summarizing the lands still left to be conquered by Israel.
– Og is referred to briefly in Nehemiah 9, which recounts God’s faithfulness in giving victory over the Canaanites and Amorites like Sihon and Og.
– Psalm 136 includes Og king of Bashan among a list of God’s great victories for Israel, showing that the Lord “struck down great kings.”
– Perhaps the most insight comes from Deuteronomy 3, quoted in Joshua 13:12 – This passage emphasizes Og’s status as “the last of the remnant of the Rephaim”, meaning he was one of the few giants left in the lands. It highlights his huge size, with a bed over 13 feet long. Og is presented as a towering, imposing foe.
So the New Testament contains a few brief references that echo Og’s description in the Old Testament – a giant Amorite king ruling Bashan who was defeated by God’s power, enabling Israel’s conquest of Canaan. These passages reinforce Og’s role as a symbol of might and opposition that was no match for the purposes of God and His people empowered by Him.
Historical and Archaeological Facts about Og
Though the Bible provides only limited information about Og king of Bashan, some additional historical and archaeological clues give insight into this northern Canaanite ruler:
– The Amorites were a powerful Semitic people group who inhabited Canaan, centered in the mountainous regions north of the Dead Sea. The name Amorite means “westerner” or “highland mountaineer”.
– Bashan was a fertile, well-watered high plateau located northeast of the Sea of Galilee. Bashan encompassed the modern Golan Heights region. The capital city Ashtaroth was located there.
– Egyptian records reference kings in northern Canaan including a certain “King Og” as early as 1400 BC. This correlates to the general time period of Moses and Israel’s wilderness journey.
– Archaeological evidence indicates the Amorites were established in Bashan by at least 1800 BC. Og likely ruled sometime in the 15th or 14th centuries BC.
– Excavations have uncovered massive Amorite fortress cities in Bashan, including remnants of high walls and gates. Such fortified cities help explain how Og ruled a strong kingdom in the region.
– Og’s huge reported size fits evidence of greater heights because of optimal climate and resources in Bashan that could have fostered larger growth.
– After their conquest, Israel inhabited Og’s former cities and established control of Bashan. This included Heshbon and other towns excavated by archaeologists.
So while not proven conclusively, archaeological evidence and ancient records support the existence of a historical King Og ruling over Bashan during the time of Moses and the Israelite conquest of Canaan after the exodus from Egypt. The geographical and archaeological clues help provide context for understanding this obscure yet intriguing biblical king.
Og in Rabbinic Jewish Literature
Later Jewish rabbis speculated about Og beyond what Scripture reveals and amplified his reputation as a mighty giant king:
– Ancient Jewish legends propose that Og may have survived Noah’s flood. One tale claims Og sat on the ark clinging to its side, then sworn to be Abraham’s servant when Noah discovered him after the flood.
– Some ancient Jewish texts assert Og ruled over sixty cities with high walls and iron bars, correlating to the sixty cities of Argob mentioned in Deuteronomy 3.
– Pseudo-Philo’s Book of Biblical Antiquities says Og was the one who attacked and killed the giant Goliath of Gath, presenting him as even mightier than Goliath.
– Og is claimed to be the only survivor of the ten giants (Rephaim) whom Joshua defeated. Joshua 11 says they were killed, but Og was not among them.
– The Talmud states Og used to uproot mountains and threatened to destroy Israel with the mountains. He also boasted his plans to exterminate Israel, trying to strike fear in their hearts.
– Some Jewish legends say Og was 3000 cubits tall (over 1000 feet!). This gross exaggeration highlights his status as a dominant giant king.
So later Jewish expansions on the biblical account picture Og as an even more colossal figure with great strength and power. Through embellishment, they used Og to represent the mighty enemies who oppose God’s people but are defeated by the Lord’s sovereign hand.
Og in Islam and Arabic Traditions
Og also appears occasionally in Islamic literature, which presents a negative perspective of him in light of Muslim views of the Israelites and prophecy:
– The Quran references Og indirectly, saying the Israelites slew commanders and nobles among the disbelieving Amorites beyond the Jordan under Moses and Aaron (Surah 5:24-26). Islamic scholars identify these Amorites as Og and Sihon.
– In the Islamic view, Og was an evil tyrant ruler who oppressed his people, embodying corruption. Therefore, the Israelites attacked under God’s favor to overthrow his wicked reign.
– Some Arabic traditions say Og was so enormous, he could ride a donkey across Jordan in a single step. At 1000+ feet tall, he towered over people like tiny insects. This emphasizes his giant status.
– Og is sometimes equated with the prophet Jeremiah, with a legend that they were one and the same person. This is based on muddled Jewish traditions that Og was blessed by Noah and perhaps shown mercy for his righteousness.
So in Islam, Og becomes a symbol of corrupted, ungodly power ruling over the people. His massive size only reinforces this sense of an arrogant, unrighteous king who defies God’s providence. Thus, his defeat is seen as just overthrow of an evil regime by the Israelites guided by God’s direction.
Interesting Facts and Legends about Og
Beyond the biblical account, Og king of Bashan has spawned many legends and interesting connections:
– Og’s name means “round” or “long-necked” in Hebrew. This likely referred to his height, huge size, and perhaps elongated skull or neck.
– Some traditions claim Og survived the Great Flood during Noah’s time. Could Nephilim DNA have contributed to his longevity and giant status?
– Og is identified as an Amorite king, though he has been associated with the Nephilim giants and Rephaim of Scripture. His size lends credence to potential Nephilim ties.
– In the Qumran scrolls discovered at the Dead Sea, Og is identified as being one of the Watchers – fallen angels who bred with humans according to Book of Enoch accounts.
– Jewish legends say Og used uprooted mountains as weapons. This concept later inspired the Dungeons and Dragons monster called the Ogre Mage and its magical attacks.
– Skeptics argue Og’s giant bed (13-15 feet long) could have been a sarcophagus, not an actual bed. But this explanation is questionable given the text specifies dimensions for a bed.
– Conspiracy theories suppose the Smithsonian has covered up giant skeletal remains of Og and other Nephilim to suppress evidence contradicting the evolutionary narrative.
– Some claim Og and the Nephilim built megalithic dolmens and other structures found worldwide, attributing massive stone works to their great size and strength.
– A few conjecture that Og and the Amorites were secret worshippers of Satan and the occult. But little biblical or historical evidence supports this theory.
In summary, Og remains an intriguingly murky figure who has garnered much speculation and myth-making in later traditions. But precious little can be conclusively proven about him beyond the brief Old Testament descriptions of his stature, kingdom, and defeat by Israel.
Lessons Christians Can Learn from Og
As a biblical figure, Og exemplifies several important lessons believers can take to heart:
1. No enemy is too big for God. Og seemed unbeatable in his size and strength, but was easily overcome by the Lord’s power. God plus one is always a majority.
2. Pride goes before destruction. Og likely grew arrogant and comfortable in his might. But God resists the proud and brings down the self-exalted.
3. Salvation is found in Christ alone. Og placed faith in himself, but all human attempts to save ourselves will fail. We need a Savior, not our own strength.
4. God’s purposes will stand. Despite Og’s opposition, nothing could stop God’s plan to give Canaan to Israel. What God decrees will come to pass.
5. Fear God, not man. Og used fear as a weapon but was destroyed. The true fear of God humbles prideful hearts to repent and believe.
6. God cares for the oppressed. Amorite oppression cried out for divine justice upon Og. God hears the suffering under unjust powers.
7. Judgment is certain for the unrepentant. Og persisted in sin and faced judgment. All who reject Christ face eternal judgment. Today is the day of salvation.
8. Faith requires courage. Israel had to have courage to confront the towering enemy Og. Our faith will require courage in the face of opposition.
9. Obedience brings victory. As Israel obeyed God’s commands, He brought supernatural victory over Og. Obeying God is tied to His triumph in our lives.
10. God’s Word endures forever. Thousands of years later, Og remains a powerful illustration of divine truths. God’s Word never returns void.
Og king of Bashan stands as a testimony that no enemy can thwart God’s purposes. For the Christian, his story reminds us that the battle belongs to the Lord when we humbly obey in faith through Christ’s power.
In closing, Og king of Bashan represents a symbolic figure more than a detailed historical character in Scripture. As a mighty Amorite king opposed to Israel’s conquest of Canaan, his story stands as a perpetual reminder of God’s sovereignty victorious over human power and pride. Og epitomizes the end awaiting all who stand against the purposes of God and His chosen people.
Though many myths and legends surround Og, the biblical account presents the core spiritual truths about God vanquishing seemingly unbeatable enemies by lifting up those who trust in Him alone. May the account of Og king of Bashan teach us to walk humbly before our God, who alone is worthy of honor, praise, and worship as the Lord high above all.