The view from Aroer overlooking the river Arnon (Wadi Mujib) and the resevoir. Notice the cistern. The photograph clearly displays the accuracy of Deut 2:36 and Josh 12:2 which describes Aroer as “the brink/bank of the river Arnon” Sihon was to have said to dwell in Heshbon and rule from Aroer Josh 12:2 indicating the military or administrative values seen in the place. The town is described as the commencement of the action against Sihon, a remarkable feart with not one city standing against us.
The view on the site is spectacular. Its name means ruins or nakedness, and the root word is translated as made bare Isa 32:11 or utterly broken Jer 51:58 connecting the fall of this place with the demise of Babylon in the latter days. At the site there is a number of large hewn stones scattered across the lip of the river, with aerial-like views for a greaat distance. The city of Ar can be seen directly opposite on the souther lip. Numerous cisterns can be appreciated at this site only a short aprox 7km drive east from Dihban (Dibon)
Aroer, Dibhan and Madaba are considered by local tradition as being the daughters of Heshbon. The cities with their deities understood as daughters Num 21:29 a feature frequently seen within the book of Joshua describeing satelite towns around major administrative hubs, a featuer of Bronze age cities. Regardless whether this is the case, the cities mark the edges of the Madaba plateau, and particularly the southern border of Ammon. Num 21:13 The idea of borders is one that flows through the record of Num 21 with the borders of Sihon mentioned in 21:15, 30 and then by comparison the ends of the battle of Israel with Sihon ending in Jahaz (complete desturction) Num 21:23 and with Og ending with none of them alive Num 21:35. If the borders of Esau was wickedness; Mal 1:4 then the borders of Sihon and Og, famous kings represnted a course in life that led to death, with none remaining alive. This parable is fundamental to the legend of Sihon and Og remembered centuries later Ps 106
Israel were instructed not to partake of their waters Num 21:22 a contrast to provided water of Deity (Nahaliel the power (El) of the river) Num 21:18 This was to be taken by digging with pens! Num 21:18 and the direction of princes under the lawgiver, a typical foreshaddowing of Christ, the source of eternal waters John 4:13
But it was near these cliffs and near the cliffs of Dihban that the princes of Israel climbed to commence battle with Sihon. Like Croesus later, he was most likely shocked by the seemingly impossible when the troops of Israel under the divine hand emerged from the lip of Arnon.
Joab also commenced his numbering of Israel from this point 2Sam 24:5 and it was the southern limit of Hazael’s conquest against Judah 2Kings 10:33 These references seem to indicate that Aroer was a symbolic city of the fortunes of Judah. Hazael’s conquest bringing the nation typically ruined to the place of it’s foundations.
After taking the town from Sihon, the town was fortified by Gad, Num 32:24, but appears that it fell into the hands of the Moabites, with records of Mesha found at Dibon listing Aroer as a fortified enclave. It is listed later in scripture describing the fall of Moab under Nebuchadnezzar Jer 48:19