And now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwelt in the
By the Canaanites are meant the Amorites, as Aben Ezra, which were a principal people of the land of Canaan, and which may be confirmed by ( Deuteronomy 1:19 Deuteronomy 1:20 ) ; this may seem contrary to what is said ( Numbers 13:29 ) ; where they are said to dwell in the mountain; but it may be reconciled by observing, that indeed their proper settled habitation was in the mountain; but now they went down from thence, and "sat" F26 in the valley, as it may be rendered, in ambush, there lying in wait for the children of Israel, as in ( Psalms 10:8 ) ; and so Aben Ezra interprets it of their sitting there, to lie in wait for them: and now, though these people had so sadly provoked the Lord, yet such was his goodness to them, as to warn them of the design of their enemies, and of the danger by them, to provide for their safety, by giving them the following instruction:
tomorrow turn you;
do not go forward, lest ye fall into their ambushment, but turn about, and go the contrary way; return in the way, or towards the parts from whence ye came: this they are bid to do tomorrow, but did not till some time after; for, contrary to the command of God, they went up the mount, where they were defeated by the Amalekites and Canaanites, after which they stayed in Kadesh some days, ( Deuteronomy 1:44-46 ) ;
and get you into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea;
or in the way towards it; and so they would be in the way to Egypt, where the people were desirous of returning again; but as they were always a rebellious and disobedient people, and acted contrary to God, so in this case; for when he bid them go back towards the Red sea again, then they were for going forward, and entering into the land of Canaan, ( Numbers 14:40 ) ; though when he bid them go up, and possess it, then they were for returning to Egypt, ( Numbers 14:4 ) .