Who was Og king of Bashan in the Bible?

Og was an Amorite king who was defeated by the Israelites as they entered the Promised Land. When the Israelite spies were sent ahead to assess the Promised Land, their report upon their return was that "we are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are… all the people that we saw in it are of great height… and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them" (Numbers 13:31–33). Indeed, King Og's bed was made of iron and measured 13.5 feet long and 6 feet wide, so he must have been a very large man (Deuteronomy 3:11). Deuteronomy 3:11 records that he was "the remnant of the Rephaim," who were a people known to be fierce fighting giants. This giant king of sixty cities was likely one of the people who caused the Israelites to lose faith in God. This lack of faith resulted in the Israelites being banished to the wilderness for forty years until that unbelieving generation had passed away.

With a new Israelite generation in place, Moses began leading them toward the Promised Land where Joshua would assume leadership in Moses' stead. God directed Moses to lead the people against King Sihon of Heshbon, and the Israelites defeated him and took possession of that land (Deuteronomy 2:24–33). After this initial success, Moses led the Israelites to the land of Bashan under the rule of King Og. God told Moses, "Do not fear him, for I have given him and all his people and his land into your hand. And you shall do to him as you did to Sihon, the king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon" (Deuteronomy 3:2). God did as He promised. Og and all his people were defeated "until he had no survivor left" (Deuteronomy 3:3). These two kings and their territories were still on the eastern side of the Jordan River. Sihon's territory was allotted to the Israelite tribes of Reuben and Gad while Og's kingdom was inherited by the Israelite half-tribe of Manasseh (Joshua 13:15–31).

By quickly defeating these two powerful kings, God proved that "Nothing is too hard for" Him (Jeremiah 32:17). During his farewell address, Moses used the defeat of Sihon and Og to encourage the people. He said, "when you came to this place, Sihon the king of Heshbon and Og the king of Bashan came out against us to battle, but we defeated them. We took their land and gave it for an inheritance to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of the Manassites. Therefore keep the words of this covenant and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do" (Deuteronomy 29:7–9). He promised, "The LORD your God himself will go over before you. He will destroy these nations before you, so that you shall dispossess them… And the LORD will do to them as he did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, and to their land, when he destroyed them… Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you" (Deuteronomy 31:3–6). Thus Og King of Bashan's defeat became a reminder of God's mighty power and faithful love for His people, which is why he is mentioned in both Psalm 135 and Psalm 136.

Psalm 136:17–24 states:
"to Him who struck down great kings,
for His steadfast love endures forever;
and killed mighty kings,
for His steadfast love endures forever;
Sihon, king of the Amorites,
for His steadfast love endures forever;
and Og, king of Bashan,
for His steadfast love endures forever;
and gave their land as a heritage,
for His steadfast love endures forever;
a heritage to Israel His servant,
for His steadfast love endures forever.
It is He who remembered us in our low estate,
for His steadfast love endures forever;
and rescued us from our foes,
for His steadfast love endures forever."
No matter how big or mighty an obstacle stands in the way, God is able to overcome that obstacle on behalf of His people when we live in obedient faith, trusting His steadfast love.

Related Truth:

What do we know about the Amorites?

Is there evidence that giants, as mentioned in the Bible, existed?

What is the Story of the History Books in the Old Testament?

How can I trust the faithfulness of God?

Why is knowing about the various characters in the Bible important?

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Truth about People in the Bible

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