The king of Arad, the Canaanite, who dwelt in the South, heard that Israel was coming on the road to Atharim. Then he fought against Israel and took some of them prisoners. (Numbers 21:1)
As the people continued on their journey, they once again came under attack, this time from a people who lived in the southern region of Canaan, an area called the Negev. The city of Arad was situated about 17 miles south of Hebron; even today, one can see the ruins of this ancient city. The Bible says that the king of Arad was a Canaanite, however, he was was living in the same region that is associated with Amalek. You should recall that the Amalekites were the people who attacked the weak, the feeble and the stragglers among Israel and, consequently, whom God had declared war against.
Jewish commentators suggest that, in reality, the king of Arad led an army of Amalekites who happened to speak the Canaanite language. These commentators argue that this tactic was an effort to confuse Israel as to who actually attacked them — in other words, Israel wouldn’t be completely confident of who the real enemy was. I find this opinion interesting and raise the issue only to make this point — the Adversary has always tried to conceal himself and use a disguise to attack God’s people.
In the garden, he came in the guise of a serpent and successfully deceived the woman through skillful, albeit deceitful speech. Since that time, he has continually sought to confuse and deceive the people of God in such a way that they don’t truly realize who is behind the attack. That is, no doubt, why Paul reminded the early believers that our true enemy is not “flesh and blood” but principalities, powers, and rulers of the “darkness of this age” (Ephesians 6:12).
Furthermore, we are reminded that our Adversary often comes posing as an “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). The point is this: we must be diligent and discerning especially in this day and time. More than ever, we need the Holy Spirit to fill us and to lead us as we navigate our way to our Promised Land. The enemy is sly but God is the Almighty and will not leave His people to be powerless against our Adversary — of that we can be sure.
Blessings and Shalom,