Deuteronomy 1

1 These be the words which Moses spake to all Israel over (the) Jordan, in the wilderness of the field, (over) against the Red Sea, betwixt Paran, and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, where is full much gold, (These be the words which Moses spoke to all Israel, east of the Jordan River, in the wilderness, in the field opposite the Red Sea, or the Sea of Reeds, between Paran on one side, and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Dizahab on the other,)
2 by eleven days journey from Horeb by the way of the hill of Seir, till to Kadeshbarnea. (eleven days journey from Mount Sinai, by way of the hill country of Seir, or of Edom, unto Kadeshbarnea.)
3 In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, in the first day of the month, Moses spake to the sons of Israel all things which the Lord commanded to him that he should say to them, (In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, Moses spoke to the Israelites all the things which the Lord commanded to him that he should say to them,)
4 after that he had smitten, or killed, Sihon, the king of Amorites, that dwelled in Heshbon, and Og, the king of Bashan, that dwelled in Ashtaroth, and in Edrei,
5 over (the) Jordan (east of the Jordan River), in the land of Moab. And Moses began to declare the law, and to say,
6 Our Lord God spake to us in Horeb, and said, It sufficeth to you that ye have dwelled in this hill; (The Lord our God spoke to us on Mount Sinai, and said, It now sufficeth for you that ye have stayed on this mountain long enough;)
7 turn ye again, and come ye to the hill (country) of (the) Amorites, and to (the) other places that be next to it; and to the places of fields, and of hills, and to [the] lower places against the south, and beside the brink of the sea, to the land of Canaanites, and of Lebanon, till to the great flood Euphrates (unto the great Euphrates River).
8 Lo, he saith, I have given to you that land; enter ye, and have it in possession, on which the Lord swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that he should give that land to them, and to their seed after them.
9 And I said to you in that time, I may not alone sustain you, (And I said to you at that time, I cannot carry all of you by myself,)
10 for your Lord God hath multiplied you, and ye be full many today, as the stars of heaven; (for the Lord your God hath multiplied you, and today, ye be as many as the stars in the heavens;)
11 (may) the Lord God of your fathers add to this number many thousands, and bless you, as he spake (as he said he would do).
12 I may not alone sustain, or bear, your causes, and your burdens, and (your) strives;
13 give ye of you men wise, and witting, whose conversation is proved in your lineages, that I set them princes to you. (choose ye wise men from among you, with knowledge, or understanding, whose lives, or reputation, is proven among your tribes, so that I can make them your leaders.)
14 Then ye answered to me, (and said,) The thing is good which thou wilt do.
15 And I took of your lineages men wise, and noble; and I ordained them to be your princes, your tribunes, and centurions, and quinquagenaries, and deans, which shall teach you all things. (And so I took from your tribes wise and noble men; and I ordained them to be your leaders, yea, your tribunes, and centurions, and quinquagenaries, and deans, and they shall be your authorities.)
16 And I commanded to them, and said, Hear ye the people, and deem ye that that is just, whether he be a citizen, or a pilgrim. (And I commanded to them, and said, Listen ye to the people, and judge ye them justly, or rightly, whether they be citizens, or foreigners.)
17 No difference shall be in doom of persons; ye shall hear so a little man, that is, poor, as a great man, neither ye shall take heed to the person of any man, for it is the doom of God. That if anything seemeth hard to you, tell ye that to me, and I shall hear it. (No difference shall be in the judging of persons; ye shall hear the poor, just like the rich, nor shall ye take heed of anyone's rank, or status, for judgement cometh from God. And if anything seemeth hard to you, tell ye that to me, and I shall hear it.)
18 And I commanded (to you) all things which ye ought to do.
19 Forsooth we went forth from Horeb, and passed by a fearedful desert, and greatest wilderness, which ye saw, by the way of the hill of Amorites, as our Lord God commanded to us. And when we had come into Kadeshbarnea, (And we went forth from Mount Sinai, and passed through a fearful desert, yea, a great and a vast wilderness, which ye saw, by way of the hill country of the Amorites, as the Lord our God commanded to us. And when we had come to Kadeshbarnea,)
20 I said to you, Ye be come to the hill (country) of (the) Amorites, which your Lord God shall give to you;
21 see thou, Israel, the land that the Lord God shall give to thee; go thou up, and wield it, as our Lord God spake to thy fathers; dread thou not, neither in thine heart be thou anything aghast (fear thou not, nor let thy hearts be afraid of anything).
22 And all (of) ye nighed to me, and ye said, Send we men, that shall behold the land (who shall spy out the land), and shall tell us by what way we ought to go up thither, and to which cities we ought to go.
23 And when the word pleased to me, I sent of you twelve men, of each lineage one. (And I agreed, and I sent out twelve men of you, one from each tribe.)
24 And when they had gone forth, and had gone up into the hilly places, they came unto the valley of Cluster; and when they had beheld the land, (And when they had gone forth, and had gone up into the hill country, they came to the Eshcol Valley; and when they had spied out the land,)
25 they took (some) of the fruits thereof, to show the plenty of it, and they brought those fruits to us, and said, The land is good that our Lord God shall give to us.
26 And ye would not go up thither, but ye were unbelieveful to the word of our Lord God. (But ye would not go up there, for ye did not believe the word of the Lord our God.)
27 And ye grouched in your tabernacles, and ye said, The Lord hateth us, and therefore he led us out of the land of Egypt, that he should betake us in the hand of Amorites, and do away us. (And ye grumbled in your tents, and ye said, The Lord hateth us, and so he led us out of the land of Egypt, so that he could deliver us into the hands of the Amorites, and do us away.)
28 Whither shall we ascend? the messengers made afeared our heart, and said, A greatest multitude is, and larger in stature than we; the cities be great, and walled till to heaven; we saw there the sons of Anakim, that is, giants. (Why should we go up there? the messengers made our hearts afraid when they said, There is a great multitude there, and they be larger in stature than us, and the cities be great, and walled unto the heavens; yea, they said, We saw the sons of the Anakim, that is, the sons of the giants, there!)
29 And I said to you, Have ye no dread (Do not ye be afraid), nor be ye aghast;
30 the Lord God himself, which is your leader (who is your leader), shall fight for you, as he did in Egypt, while all men saw (it).
31 And ye saw in the wilderness, thy Lord God bare thee, as a man is wont to bear his little son, in all the way by which ye went, till ye came to this place. (And ye saw in the wilderness, how the Lord thy God carried thee, like a man is wont to carry his little son, all the way by which ye went, until ye came to this place.)
32 And soothly neither so ye believed to your Lord God, (But still ye would not trust the Lord your God,)
33 that went before you in the way (who went before you on the way), and measured the place in which ye ought to set your tents, and he showed in the night the way to you by fire, and in the day by a pillar of cloud.
34 And when the Lord had heard the voice of your words, he was wroth, and swore, and said, (And when the Lord heard what you said, he was angry, and swore, and said,)
35 None of the men of this worst generation shall see the good land, which I promised under an oath to your fathers,
36 except Caleb, the son of Jephunneh; forsooth he shall see it, and I shall give to him the land upon which he hath trodden, and to his sons, for he followed the Lord.
37 Neither the Lord's indignation against the people is to be marveled (at), since the Lord was wroth also to me for you, and said, Neither thou shalt enter thither, (Nor was the Lord's anger against the people to be marveled at, since, because of you, he was also angry at me, and said, Nor shalt thou enter in there either,)
38 but Joshua, the son of Nun, thy servant, he shall enter into that land for thee; excite, and strengthen thou him, and he shall part the land by lot to Israel (encourage thou him, and he shall divide the land by lot to Israel).
39 Your little children, of which ye said, that they should be led prisoners, and the sons that know not today the diversity of good and of evil, they shall enter thither; and I shall give to them the land, and they shall wield it. (Your little children, of whom ye said, that they would be led away as prisoners, and thy sons and daughters who know not today the diversity of good and evil, they shall enter in there; yea, I shall give the land to them, and they shall take it.)
40 Soothly turn ye again, and go ye into the wilderness, by the way of the Red Sea. (So now turn ye around, and go ye back to the wilderness, by way of the Red Sea, or the Sea of Reeds.)
41 And ye answered to me, We have sinned to the Lord; we shall go up, and we shall fight, as our Lord God commanded. And when ye were arrayed with armours, and went into the hill, (And ye answered to me, and said, We have sinned against the Lord; but now we shall go up, and we shall fight, as the Lord our God commanded. And when ye were arrayed with arms, or with weapons, and were about to go up to the hill country,)
42 the Lord said to me, Say thou to them, Do not ye go up, neither fight ye, for I am not with you, lest ye fall before your enemies.
43 (So) I spake this to you, and ye heard me not; but ye were adversaries to the commandment of the Lord, and swelling with pride, went up into the hill (country).
44 Therefore Amorites went out, that dwelled in the hills, and he came against you, and pursued you, as bees be wont to pursue, and he killed you down from Seir unto Hormah. (And so the Amorites, who lived in the hills, came out, and they went against you, and pursued you, as bees be wont to pursue their prey, and they killed you at Hormah, in Seir, or in Edom.)
45 And when ye turned again, and wept before the Lord, he heard not you, neither would assent to your voice; (And when ye returned, and wept before the Lord, he would not listen to you, nor assent to your pleadings;)
46 therefore ye sat in Kadesh by much time. (and so ye sat there in 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.

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.

Deuteronomy 1 Commentaries

Copyright © 2001 by Terence P. Noble. For personal use only.