Devarim 1

1 These are the devarim (words) which Moshe spoke unto kol Yisroel on the far side of the Yarden in the midbar, in the Aravah opposite Suf between Paran, and Tophel, and Lavan, and Chatzerot, and Di-Zahav.
2 (There is eleven days’ journey from Chorev unto Kadesh-Barnea by way of Mount Seir.)
3 And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moshe spoke unto the Bnei Yisroel, according unto all that Hashem had given him in commandment unto them,
4 After he had slain Sichon Melech HaEmori, which dwelt in Cheshbon, and Og Melech HaBashan, which dwelt in Ashtarot at Edre’i;
5 On the far side of the Yarden, in Eretz Moav, began Moshe to expound this torah, saying,
6 Hashem Eloheinu spoke unto us in Chorev, saying, Ye have dwelt long enough at this mountain;
7 Turn you, and take your journey, and go to the Har HaEmori (hill country of the Amorites), and unto all the places nigh thereunto, in the Aravah, in the hills, in the Shefelah, and in the Negev, and by the seacoast, to the Eretz HaKena’ani (Land of the Canaanites), and unto Lebanon, unto the great river, the river Euphrates.
8 See, I have set ha’aretz (the land) before you; go in and possess ha’aretz which Hashem swore unto Avoteichem, Avraham, Yitzchak, and Ya’akov, to give unto them and to their zera after them.
9 And I spoke unto you at that time, saying, I am not able to bear the burden of you by myself alone;
10 Hashem Eloheichem hath multiplied you, and, see, ye are today as numerous as the kokhavei HaShomayim.
11 (Hashem Elohei Avoteichem increase you a thousand times over and bless you, as He hath promised you!)
12 How can I myself alone bear your problems, and your massa and your strife?
13 Take you anashim chachamim, men of wisdom and understanding, who are known among your tribes, and I will set them over you.
14 And ye answered me, and said, The thing which thou hast spoken is tov for us to do.
15 So I took the leaders of your tribes, anashim chachamim, men of understanding, and made them heads over you, over thousands, and over hundreds, and over fifties, and over tens, shoterim among your tribes.
16 And I charged your shofetim at that time, saying, Hear the cases between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the ger that is with him.
17 Ye shall not respect persons in mishpat but ye shall hear the katon as well as the gadol; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the mishpat is Elohim’s: and the case that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it.
18 And I commanded you at that time all the things which ye should do.
19 And when we departed from Chorev, we went through all that great and terrible midbar, which ye saw on the way to the Har HaEmori, just as Hashem Eloheinu commanded us; and we came to Kadesh-Barnea.
20 And I said unto you, Ye are come unto the Har HaEmori which Hashem Eloheinu doth give unto us.
21 See, Hashem Eloheicha hath set ha’aretz before thee; go up and possess it, as Hashem Elohei Avoteicha hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged.
22 And ye came near unto me every one of you, and said, Let us send anashim ahead of us, and they shall spy out ha’aretz, and bring us word again by what way we must go up, and into what towns we shall come.
23 And the proposal pleased me well; and I took Shneym Asar, (Twelve) of you, one of each shevet (tribe);
24 And they turned and went up into the hill country, and came unto the Eshkol Valley, and explored it.
25 And they took of the pri ha’aretz in their hands, brought it down unto us, brought us word, and said, It is a tovah ha’aretz which Hashem Eloheinu doth give us.
26 Notwithstanding ye would not go up, but rebelled against the commandment of Hashem Eloheichem;
27 And ye murmured in your oholim, and said, Because Hashem hated us, He hath brought us forth out of Eretz Mitzrayim, to deliver us into the hand of HaEmori, to destroy us.
28 Where shall we go up? Our brethren have discouraged levavenu (our hearts), saying, The people is greater and taller than we; the cities are great and walled up to Shomayim; moreover we have seen the Bnei Anakim there.
29 Then I said unto you, Dread not, neither be afraid of them.
30 Hashem Eloheichem which goeth before you, He shall fight for you, according to all that He did for you in Mitzrayim before your eyes;
31 And in the midbar, where thou hast seen how that Hashem Eloheicha did bear thee, as a man doth carry his ben, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place.
32 Yet in this thing ye were not ma’aminim (believers) in Hashem Eloheichem,
33 Who went in the way before you, to search you out a place to pitch your tents in, in eish by lailah, to show you by what way ye should go, and in an anan (cloud) by day.
34 And Hashem heard the sound of your words, and was angry, and on oath, said,
35 Surely there shall not one of these men of this dor harah see ha’aretz hatovah, which I swore to give unto Avoteichem.
36 Except Kalev ben Yephunneh; he shall see it, and to him will I give ha’aretz that he hath trodden upon, and to his children, because he hath wholly followed Hashem.
37 Also Hashem was angry with me because of you, saying, Thou also shalt not go in there.
38 But Yehoshua ben Nun, the one assisting thee, he shall go in there; encourage him, for he shall cause Yisroel to inherit it.
39 Moreover your little ones, which ye said would be taken captive, and your children, which as yet do not have knowledge between tov and rah, they shall go in there, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.
40 But as for you, turn, take your journey into the midbar by the way of the Yam Suf.
41 Then ye answered and said unto me, We have sinned against Hashem; we will go up and fight, according to all that Hashem Eloheinu did command us. And when ye had girded on every man his weapons of war, ye made light of going up into the hill country.
42 And Hashem said unto me, Say unto them. Go not up, neither fight; for I am not in your midst; lest ye be struck down before your enemies.
43 So I spoke unto you; and ye would not hear, but rebelled against the commandment of Hashem, and went presumptuously up into the hill country.
44 And HaEmori, which dwelt in that hill country, came out against you, and chased you, as bees do, and destroyed you in Seir, even unto Chormah.
45 And ye returned and wept before Hashem; but Hashem would not listen to your voice, nor give ear unto you.
46 That is why ye abode in Kadesh as long as ye did.

Devarim 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.

Chapter Summary


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.


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.

Devarim 1 Commentaries

The Orthodox Jewish Bible fourth edition, OJB. Copyright 2002,2003,2008,2010, 2011 by Artists for Israel International. All rights reserved.