Deuteronomy 1

1 In this book are the words that Moses spoke to the people of Israel when they were in the wilderness east of the Jordan River. They were in the Jordan Valley near Suph, between the town of Paran on one side and the towns of Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Dizahab on the other
2 (It takes eleven days to travel from Mount Sinai to Kadesh Barnea by way of the hill country of Edom.)
3 On the first day of the eleventh month of the fortieth year after they had left Egypt, Moses told the people everything the Lord had commanded him to tell them.
4 This was after the Lord [a] had defeated King Sihon of the Amorites, who ruled in the town of Heshbon, and King Og of Bashan, who ruled in the towns of Ashtaroth and Edrei. 1
5 It was while the people were east of the Jordan in the territory of Moab that Moses began to explain God's laws and teachings. He said,
6 "When we were at Mount Sinai, the Lord our God said to us, "You have stayed long enough at this mountain.
7 Break camp and move on. Go to the hill country of the Amorites and to all the surrounding regions - to the Jordan Valley, to the hill country and the lowlands, to the southern region, and to the Mediterranean coast. Go to the land of Canaan and on beyond the Lebanon Mountains as far as the great Euphrates River.
8 All of this is the land which I, the Lord, promised to give to your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to their descendants. Go and occupy it.' "
9 Moses said to the people, "While we were still at Mount Sinai, I told you, "The responsibility for leading you is too much for me. I can't do it alone.
10 The Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars in the sky.
11 May the Lord, the God of your ancestors, make you increase a thousand times more and make you prosperous, as he promised!
12 But how can I alone bear the heavy responsibility for settling your disputes?
13 Choose some wise, understanding, and experienced men from each tribe, and I will put them in charge of you.'
14 And you agreed that this was a good thing to do.
15 So I took the wise and experienced leaders you chose from your tribes, and I placed them in charge of you. Some were responsible for a thousand people, some for a hundred, some for fifty, and some for ten. I also appointed other officials throughout the tribes.
16 "At that time I instructed them, "Listen to the disputes that come up among your people. Judge every dispute fairly, whether it concerns only your own people or involves foreigners who live among you.
17 Show no partiality in your decisions; judge everyone on the same basis, no matter who they are. Do not be afraid of anyone, for the decisions you make come from God. If any case is too difficult for you, bring it to me, and I will decide it.'
18 At the same time I gave you instructions for everything else you were to do.
19 "We did what the Lord our God commanded us. We left Mount Sinai and went through that vast and fearful desert on the way to the hill country of the Amorites. When we reached Kadesh Barnea,
20 I told you, "You have now come to the hill country of the Amorites, which the Lord our God, the God of our ancestors, is giving us. Look, there it is. Go and occupy it as he commanded. Do not hesitate or be afraid.'
22 "But you came to me and said, "Let's send men ahead of us to spy out the land, so that they can tell us the best route to take and what kind of cities are there.'
23 "That seemed like a good thing to do, so I selected twelve men, one from each tribe.
24 They went into the hill country as far as Eshcol Valley and explored it.
25 They brought us back some fruit they found there, and reported that the land which the Lord our God was giving us was very fertile.
26 "But you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God, and you would not enter the land. 2
27 You grumbled to one another: "The Lord hates us. He brought us out of Egypt just to hand us over to these Amorites, so that they could kill us.
28 Why should we go there? We are afraid. The men we sent tell us that the people there are stronger and taller than we are, and that they live in cities with walls that reach the sky. They saw giants there!'
29 "But I told you, "Don't be afraid of those people.
30 The Lord your God will lead you, and he will fight for you, just as you saw him do in Egypt
31 and in the desert. You saw how he brought you safely all the way to this place, just as a father would carry his son.' 3
32 But in spite of what I said, you still would not trust the Lord, 4
33 even though he always went ahead of you to find a place for you to camp. To show you the way, he went in front of you in a pillar of fire by night and in a pillar of cloud by day.
34 "The Lord heard your complaints and became angry, and so he solemnly declared, 5
35 "Not one of you from this evil generation will enter the fertile land that I promised to give your ancestors.
36 Only Caleb son of Jephunneh will enter it. He has remained faithful to me, and I will give him and his descendants the land that he has explored.'
37 Because of you the Lord also became angry with me and said, "Not even you, Moses, will enter the land.
38 But strengthen the determination of your helper, Joshua son of Nun. He will lead Israel to occupy the land.'
39 "Then the Lord said to all of us, "Your children, who are still too young to know right from wrong, will enter the land - the children you said would be seized by your enemies. I will give the land to them, and they will occupy it.
40 But as for you people, turn around and go back into the desert on the road to the Gulf of Aqaba.'
41 "You replied, "Moses, we have sinned against the Lord. But now we will attack, just as the Lord our God commanded us.' Then each one of you got ready to fight, thinking it would be easy to invade the hill country.
42 "But the Lord said to me, "Warn them not to attack, for I will not be with them, and their enemies will defeat them.'
43 I told you what the Lord had said, but you paid no attention. You rebelled against him, and in your pride you marched into the hill country.
44 Then the Amorites who lived in those hills came out against you like a swarm of bees. They chased you as far as Hormah and defeated you there in the hill country of Edom.
45 So you cried out to the Lord for help, but he would not listen to you or pay any attention to you.
46 "So then, after we had stayed at Kadesh for a long time,

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.

Cross References 5

  • 1. 1.4Numbers 21.21-35.
  • 2. 1.26Deuteronomy 9.23;Hebrews 3.16.
  • 3. 1.31Acts 13.18.
  • 4. 1.32Hebrews 3.19.
  • 5. 1.34, 35Hebrews 3.18.

Footnotes 1

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