Deuteronomy 1

Introduction

1 These are the words Moses spoke to all Israel across the Jordan in the wilderness, in the Arabah opposite Suph,[a] between Paran[b] and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth,[c] and Di-zahab.
2 It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir.
3 In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, Moses told the Israelites everything the Lord had commanded him [to say] to them.
4 This was after he had defeated Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth, at Edrei.[d]
5 Across the Jordan in the land of Moab, Moses began to explain this law, saying:

Departure from Horeb

6 "The Lord our God spoke to us at Horeb, 'You have stayed at this mountain long enough.
7 Resume your journey and go to the hill country of the Amorites and their neighbors in the Arabah, the hill country, the lowlands, the Negev and the sea coast-to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon as far as the Euphrates River.[e]
8 See, I have set the land before you. Enter and take possession of the land the Lord swore to give to your fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and their descendants after them.'[f]

Leaders for the Tribes

9 "I said to you at that time: I can't bear [the responsibility for] you on my own.
10 The Lord your God has so multiplied you that today you are as numerous as the stars of the sky.[g]
11 May the Lord, the God of your fathers, increase you a thousand times more, and bless you as He promised you.
12 But how can I bear your troubles, burdens, and disputes by myself?
13 Appoint for yourselves wise, understanding, and respected men from each of your tribes, and I will make them your leaders.
14 "You replied to me, 'What you propose to do is good.'
15 "So I took the leaders of your tribes, wise and respected men, and set them over you as leaders: officials for thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens, and officers for your tribes.
16 I commanded your judges at that time: Hear [the cases] between your brothers, and judge rightly between a man and his brother or a foreign resident.
17 Do not show partiality when rendering judgment;[h] listen to small and great alike. Do not be intimidated by anyone, for judgment belongs to God.[i] Bring me any case too difficult for you, and I will hear it.
18 At that time I commanded you about all the things you were to do.[j]

Israel's Disobedience at Kadesh-barnea

19 "We then set out from Horeb and went across all the great and terrible wilderness you saw on the way to the hill country of the Amorites, just as the Lord our God had commanded us. When we reached Kadesh-barnea,
20 I said to you: You have reached the hill country of the Amorites, which the Lord our God is giving us.
21 See, the Lord your God has set the land before you. Go up and take possession of it as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has told you. Do not be afraid or discouraged.
22 "Then[k] all of you approached me and said, 'Let's send men ahead of us, so that they may explore the land for us and bring us back a report about the route we should go up and the cities we will come to.'
23 The plan seemed good to me, so I selected 12 men from among you, one man for each tribe.
24 They left and went up into the hill country and came to the Valley of Eshcol, scouting the land.
25 They took some of the fruit from the land in their hands, carried [it] down to us, and brought us back a report: 'The land the Lord our God is giving us is good.'
26 "But you were not willing to go up, rebelling against the command of the Lord your God.
27 You grumbled in your tents[l] and said, 'The Lord brought us out of the land of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites so they would destroy us, because He hated us.
28 Where can we go? Our brothers have discouraged us, saying: The people are larger and taller than we are; the cities are large, fortified to the heavens. We also saw the descendants of the Anakim there.'
29 "So I said to you: Don't be terrified or afraid of them!
30 The Lord your God who goes before you will fight for you, just as you saw Him do for you in Egypt.
31 And you saw in the wilderness how the Lord your God carried you as a man carries his son all along the way you traveled until you reached this place.
32 But in spite of this you did not trust the Lord your God,
33 who went before you on the journey to seek out a place for you to camp. He went in the fire by night and in the cloud by day to guide you on the road you were to travel.
34 "When the Lord heard your[m] words, He grew angry and swore an oath:
35 'None of these men in this evil generation will see the good land I swore to give your fathers,
36 except Caleb the son of Jephunneh. He will see it, and I will give him and his descendants the land on which he has set foot, because he followed the Lord completely.'
37 "The Lord was angry with me also because of you and said: 'You will not enter there either.[n]
38 Joshua son of Nun, who attends you, will enter it. Encourage him, for he will enable Israel to inherit it.[o]
39 Your little children whom you said would be plunder, your sons who[p] don't know good from evil, will enter there. I will give them the land, and they will take possession of it.
40 But you are to turn back and head for the wilderness by way of the Red Sea.'
41 "You answered me, 'We have sinned against the Lord. We will go up and fight just as the Lord our God commanded us.' Then each of you put on his weapons of war and thought it would be easy to go up into the hill country.
42 "But the Lord said to me, 'Tell them: Don't go up and fight, for I am not with you to keep you from being defeated by your enemies.'
43 So I spoke to you, but you didn't listen. You rebelled against the Lord's command and defiantly went up into the hill country.
44 Then the Amorites who lived there came out against you and chased you like a swarm of bees. They routed you from Seir as far as Hormah.
45 When you returned, you wept before the Lord, but He didn't listen to your requests or pay attention to you.
46 For this reason you stayed in Kadesh as long as you did.[q]

Deuteronomy 1 Commentary

Chapter 1

This book repeats much of the history and of the laws contained in the three foregoing books: Moses delivered it to Israel a little before his death, both by word of mouth, that it might affect, and by writing, that it might abide. The men of that generation to which the law was first given were all dead, and a new generation was sprung up, to whom God would have it repeated by Moses himself, now they were going to possess the land of Canaan. The wonderful love of God to his church is set forth in this book; how he ever preserved his church for his own mercies sake, and would still have his name called upon among them. Such are the general outlines of this book, the whole of which shows Moses' love for Israel, and marks him an eminent type of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us apply the exhortations and persuasions to our own consciences, to excite our minds to a believing, grateful obedience to the commands of God.

The words Moses spake to Israel in the plains of Moab, The promise of Canaan. (1-8) Judges provided for the people. (9-18) Of the sending the spies-God's anger for their unbelief and disobedience. (19-46)

Verses 1-8 Moses spake to the people all the Lord had given him in commandment. Horeb was but eleven days distant from Kadesh-barnea. This was to remind them that their own bad conduct had occasioned their tedious wanderings; that they might the more readily understand the advantages of obedience. They must now go forward. Though God brings his people into trouble and affliction, he knows when they have been tried long enough. When God commands us to go forward in our Christian course, he sets the heavenly Canaan before us for our encouragement.

Verses 9-18 Moses reminds the people of the happy constitution of their government, which might make them all safe and easy, if it was not their own fault. He owns the fulfilment of God's promise to Abraham, and prays for the further accomplishment of it. We are not straitened in the power and goodness of God; why should we be straitened in our own faith and hope? Good laws were given to the Israelites, and good men were to see to the execution of them, which showed God's goodness to them, and the care of Moses.

Verses 19-46 Moses reminds the Israelites of their march from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea, through that great and terrible wilderness. He shows how near they were to a happy settlement in Canaan. It will aggravate the eternal ruin of hypocrites, that they were not far from the kingdom of God. As if it were not enough that they were sure of their God before them, they would send men before them. Never any looked into the Holy Land, but they must own it to be a good land. And was there any cause to distrust this God? An unbelieving heart was at the bottom of all this. All disobedience to God's laws, and distrust of his power and goodness, flow from disbelief of his word, as all true obedience springs from faith. It is profitable for us to divide our past lives into distinct periods; to give thanks to God for the mercies we have received in each, to confess and seek the forgiveness of all the sins we can remember; and thus to renew our acceptance of God's salvation, and our surrender of ourselves to his service. Our own plans seldom avail to good purpose; while courage in the exercise of faith, and in the path of duty, enables the believer to follow the Lord fully, to disregard all that opposes, to triumph over all opposition, and to take firm hold upon the promised blessings.

Footnotes 17

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO DEUTERONOMY

This book is sometimes called "Elleh hadebarim", from the words with which it begins; and sometimes by the Jews "Mishneh Torah", the repetition of the law; and so in the Syriac version, with which agrees the Arabic title of it; and when the Greeks, and we after them, call it "Deuteronomy", it is not to be understood of a second, a new, or another law, but of the law formerly delivered, but now repeated, and also more largely explained; to which are likewise added several particular laws, instructions, and directions; all which were necessary, on account of the people of Israel, who were now a new generation, that either were not born, or not at an age to hear and understand the law when given on Mount Sinai; the men that heard it there being all dead, excepting a very few; and these people were also now about to enter into the land of Canaan, which they were to enjoy as long as they kept the law of God, and no longer, and therefore it was proper they should be reminded of it; and besides, Moses was now about to leave them, and having an hearty desire after their welfare, spends the little time he had to be with them, by inculcating into them and impressing on them the laws of God, and in opening and explaining them to them, and enforcing them on them, which were to be the rule of their obedience, and on which their civil happiness depended. And sometimes the Jews call this book "the book of reproofs", because there are in it several sharp reproofs of the people of Israel for their rebellion and disobedience; and so the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem begin it by calling it the words of reproof which Moses spake That this book was written by Moses there can be no doubt, from De 1:1, 31:4,9,24, only the eight last verses, which give an account of his death, and of his character, were wrote by another hand, equally inspired by God, as either Eleazar the priest, as some, or Samuel the prophet, as others; or, as it is the more commonly received opinion of the Jews, Ezra; though it is highly probable they were wrote by Joshua his successor. This book was written and delivered by Moses, at certain times in the last month of his life, and towards the close of the fortieth year of the children of Israel's coming out of Egypt. And that it is of divine authority need not be questioned, when the several quotations out of it are observed, as made by the apostles of Christ, in Ac 3:22, Ro 12:19 Heb 10:30, Ga 3:10 out of \De 18:15 32:35,36 27:26\ and by our Lord himself, Mt 18:16 from De 19:15. Yea, it is remarkable, that all the passages of Scripture produced by Christ, to repel the temptations of Satan, are all taken out of this book, Mt 4:7,10 compared with De 8:3, 6:10,13, and the voice from heaven, directing the apostles to hearken to him, refers to a prophecy of him in De 18:15.

\\INTRODUCTION TO DEUTERONOMY 1\\

The time and place when the subject matter of this book was delivered to the Israelites are observed by way of preface, De 1:1-5, and it begins with reminding them of an order to them to depart from Mount Horeb, and pass on to the land of Canaan, which the Lord had given them, De 1:6-8, and with observing the very great increase of their number, which made it necessary for Moses to appoint persons under him to be rulers over them, whom he instructed in the duty of their office, De 1:9-18, and he goes on to observe, that when they were come to the mountain of the Amorites, they were bid to go up and possess the land; but, instead of that, they desired men might be sent to search the land first, which was granted, De 1:19-23, and though these men upon their return brought of the fruits of the land, and a good report of it, particularly two of them; yet being discouraged by the report of the rest, they murmured, distrusted, and were afraid to enter, though encouraged by Moses, De 1:24-33, which caused the Lord to be angry with them, and upon it threatened them that they should die in the wilderness, and only two of them should ever see and enjoy the land, and therefore were bid to turn and take their journey in the wilderness, De 1:34-40, but being convinced of their evil, they proposed to go up the hill, and enter the land, which they attempted against the commandment of the Lord, but being repulsed by the Amorites, they fled with great loss, to their great grief, and abode in Kadesh many days, De 1:41-46.

Deuteronomy 1 Commentaries