20:17 Please let us pass through31 your country. We will not pass through the fields or through the vineyards, nor will we drink water from any well. We will go by the King’s Highway;32 we will not turn to the right or the left until we have passed through your region.’ ”33
tn The request is expressed by the use of the cohortative, “let us pass through.” It is the proper way to seek permission.
sn This a main highway running from Damascus in the north to the Gulf of Aqaba, along the ridge of the land. Some scholars suggest that the name may have been given by the later Assyrians (see B. Obed, “Observations on Methods of Assyrian Rule in Transjordan after the Palestinian Campaign of Tiglathpileser III,” JNES 29 : 177–86). Bronze Age fortresses have been discovered along this highway, attesting to its existence in the time of Moses. The original name came from the king who developed the highway, probably as a trading road (see S. Cohen, IDB 3:35–36).
tn Heb “borders.”