Moses' speech in the end of the fortieth year, 1-5; briefly rehearsing the history of God's sending them from Horeb, 6-13; of giving them officers, 14-18; of sending the spies to search the land, 19-33; of his anger for their incredulity, 34-40; and disobedience, 41-46.
1 These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel on the east side of the Jordan in the wilderness, in the plain over against Suf, between Paran, Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Dizahab. 2 (There are eleven days journey from Horeb by the way of mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea.) 3 And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spoke to the children of Israel, according to all that the LORD had given him in commandment to them, 4 After he had slain Sihon the king of the Amorites, who dwelt in Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, who dwelt at Astaroth in Edrei. 5 On the east side of the Jordan, in the land of Moab, Moses began to declare this law, saying,
6 "The LORD our God spoke to us in Horeb, saying, 'You have dwelt long enough at this mountain. 7 Turn, and take your journey, and go to the mountain of the Amorites, and to all the places near it, in the plain, on the hills, in the valley, in the south, and by the sea-side, to the land of the Canaanites, and to Lebanon, to the great river, the Euphrates River. 8 Behold, I have set the land before you. Go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give to them and to their seed after them.'
9 "And I spoke to you at that time, saying, 'I am not able to bear you myself alone. 10 The LORD your God has multiplied you, and behold, you are this day as the stars of heaven for multitude. 11 (May the LORD God of your fathers make you a thousand times so many more as you are, and bless you, as he has promised you!) 12 How can I alone bear your encumbrance, your burden, and your strife? 13 Take wise men of understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you.' 14 And you answered me, and said, 'The thing which you have spoken is good for us to do.' 15 So I took the chief of your tribes, wise men, and known, and made them heads over you, captains over thousands, captains over hundreds, captains over fifties, captains over tens, and officers among your tribes.
16 "And I charged your judges at that time, saying, 'Hear the causes between your brothers, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger who is with him. 17 You shall not respect persons in judgment, but you shall hear the small as well as the great. You shall not be afraid of the face of man, for the judgment is God's. And the cause that is too hard for you, bring to me, and I will hear it.' 18 And I commanded you at that time all the things which you should do.
19 "And when we departed from Horeb, we went through all that great and terrible wilderness, which you saw by the way of the mountain of the Amorites, as the LORD our God commanded us, and we came to Kadesh-barnea. 20 And I said to you, 'You have come to the mountain of the Amorites, which the LORD our God gives to us. 21 Behold, the LORD your God has set the land before you. Go up and possess it, as the LORD God of your fathers has said to you. Do not fear, neither be discouraged.'
22 "And each of you came near to me, and said, 'We will send men before us, and they shall explore the land for us and bring us word again by what way we must go up and into what cities we shall come.' 23 And the saying pleased me well, and I took twelve men from among you, one from each tribe. 24 And they turned and ascended the mountain and came to the valley of Eshcol and explored it. 25 And they took some of the fruit of the land in their hands and brought it down to us, and brought us word again, and said, 'It is a good land which the LORD our God gives us.'
26 "Yet, you would not go up, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God. 27 And you murmured in your tents, and said, 'Because the LORD hated us, he has brought us forth from the land of Egypt to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites to destroy us. 28 Where shall we go up? Our brothers have discouraged our heart, saying, "The people are greater and taller than we are. The cities are great and walled up to heaven. And moreover, we have seen the sons of the Anakims there."' 29 Then I said to you, 'Do not dread, neither be afraid of them. 30 The LORD your God who goes before you, he shall fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes, 31 And in the wilderness, where you have seen how the LORD your God bore you, as a man bears his son, in all the way that you went, until you came into this place.' 32 Yet in this thing you did not believe the LORD your God, 33 Who went in the way before you to search out for you a place to pitch your tents in, in fire by night to show you by what way you should go, and in a cloud by day.
34 "And the LORD heard the voice of your words, and was angry, and swore, saying, 35 'Surely there shall not one of these men of this evil generation see that good land, which I swore to give to your fathers, 36 Except Caleb the son of Jephunneh. He shall see it, and to him I will give the land that he has trod upon, and to his children, because he has wholly followed the LORD.' 37 Also the LORD was angry with me for your sakes, saying, 'You also shall not go in there. 38 But Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, he shall go in there. Encourage him, for he shall cause Israel to inherit it. 39 Moreover, your little ones, which you said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in there, and I will give it to them, and they shall possess it. 40 But as for you, turn, and take your journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red Sea.'
41 "Then you answered and said to me, 'We have sinned against the LORD. We will go up and fight, according to all that the LORD our God commanded us.' And when you had each girded on his weapons of war, you were ready to ascend the hill. 42 And the LORD said to me, 'Say to them, "Do not go up, neither fight, for I am not among you, lest you be smitten before your enemies."' 43 So I spoke to you, and you would not hear, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD and presumptuously ascended the hill. 44 And the Amorites, who dwelt on that mountain, came out against you and chased you, as bees do, and destroyed you in Seir, even to Hormah. 45 And you returned and wept before the LORD, but the LORD would not listen to your voice, nor give ear to you. 46 So you stayed in Kadesh many days, according to the days that you stayed there."
Matthew Henry Commentary - Deuteronomy, Chapter 1[➚]