1:1 These [be] the words which Moses spake unto all Israel on a this side Jordan in the wilderness, in the plain b over against the Red [sea], between Paran, and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Dizahab.
1:2 ([There are] eleven daysí [journey] from c Horeb by the way of mount Seir unto Kadeshbarnea.)
The Argument - The wonderful love of God toward his Church is actively set forth in this book. Even through their ingratitude and many rebellions against God, for the space forty years. (Deuteronomy 9:7) they deserved to have been cut off from the number of his people, and forever to have been deprived of the use of his holy word and ordinances: yet he ever preserved his Church even for his own mercyís sake, and would still have his name called upon among them. Wherefore he brings them into the land of Canaan, destroys their enemies, gives them their country, towns and goods, and exhorts them by the example of their fathers (whose infidelity, idolatry, adulteries, complaining and rebellions, he had most severely punished) to fear and obey the Lord, to embrace and keep his law without adding to it or diminishing from it. For by his word he would be known to be their God, and they his people, by his word he would govern his Church, and by the same they would learn to obey him: by his word he would discern the false prophet from the true, light form darkness, ignorance from knowledge, and his own people from all the other nations and infidels: teaching them by it to refuse and detest, destroy and abolish whatever is not agreeable to his holy will, seem it otherwise never so good or precious in the eyes of man. For this cause God promised to raise up kings and governors, for the setting forth of his word and preservation of his Church: giving to them a special charge for the executing of it: whom therefore he wills to exercise themselves diligently in the continual study and meditation of the same: that they might learn to fear the Lord, love their subjects, abhor covetousness and vices, and whatever offends the majesty of God. As he had before instructed their fathers in all things belonging both to his spiritual service and also for the maintenance of that society which is between men: so he prescribes here anew all such laws and ordinances, which either concern his divine service, or else are necessary for a common good: appointing to every estate and degree their charge and duty: as well, how to rule and live in the fear of God, as to nourish friendship toward their neighbours, and to preserve the order which God has established among men: threatening most horrible plagues to them that transgress his commandments, and promising blessings and happiness to those who observe and obey them.
(a) In the country of Moab.
(b) So that the wilderness was between the sea and the plain of Moab.
(c) In Horeb, or Sinai, forty years before the law was given: but because all that were then of age and judgment were now dead, Moses repeats the same to the youth who either then were not born, or had not judgment.
1:4 After he had slain d Sihon the king of the Amorites, which dwelt in Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, which dwelt at Astaroth in Edrei:
(d) By these examples of Godís favour, their minds are prepared to receive the law.
1:5 On this side Jordan, in the land of Moab, e began Moses to declare this law, saying,
(e) The second time.
1:6 The LORD our God spake unto us in f Horeb, saying, Ye have dwelt long enough in this mount:
1:9 And I spake g unto you at that time, saying, I am not able to bear you myself alone:
(f) In the second year and second month, (Numbers 10:11).
1:10 The LORD your God hath h multiplied you, and, behold, ye [are] this day as the stars of heaven for multitude.
(g) By the counsel of Jethro my father-in-law, (Exodus 18:19).
(h) Not so much by the course of nature, as miraculously.
1:12 How can I myself alone i bear your cumbrance, and your burden, and your strife?
(i) Signifying how great a burden it is, to govern the people.
1:13 Take you wise men, and understanding, and k known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you.
(k) Whose godliness and uprightness is known.
1:15 So I took the chief of your tribes, l wise men, and known, and made them heads over you, captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, and captains over fifties, and captains over tens, and officers among your tribes.
1:17 Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; [but] ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment [is] m Godís: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring [it] unto me, and I will hear it.
(l) Declaring what sort of men ought to have a public charge, read (Exodus 18:21).
(m) You are his Lieutenants.
1:20 And n I said unto you, Ye are come unto the mountain of the Amorites, which the LORD our God doth give unto us.
(n) So that the fault was in themselves, that they did not sooner possess the inheritance promised.
1:22 o And ye came near unto me every one of you, and said, We will send men before us, and they shall search us out the land, and bring us word again by what way we must go up, and into what cities we shall come.
1:25 And they took of the fruit of the land in their hands, and brought [it] down unto us, and brought us word again, and p said, [It is] a good land which the LORD our God doth give us.
(o) Read (Numbers 13:3).
(p) That is, Caleb, and Joshua; Moses prefers the better part to the greater, that is, two to ten.
1:27 And ye murmured in your tents, and said, Because the LORD q hated us, he hath brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us.
(q) Such was the Jews unthankfulness, that they counted Godís special love, hatred.
1:28 Whither shall we go up? our r brethren have discouraged our heart, saying, The people [is] greater and taller than we; the cities [are] great and walled up to heaven; and moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakims there.
(r) The other ten, not Caleb and Joshua.
1:30 The LORD your God s which goeth before you, he shall fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes;
(s) Declaring that to renounce our own force, and constantly to follow our calling, and depend on the Lord, is true boldness, and agreeable to God.
1:38 [But] Joshua the son of Nun, which standeth t before thee, he shall go in thither: encourage him: for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.
(t) Who minister to you.
1:39 Moreover your u little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.
1:41 Then ye answered and said unto me, We have sinned against the LORD, x we will go up and fight, according to all that the LORD our God commanded us. And when ye had girded on every man his weapons of war, ye were ready to go up into the hill.
(u) Who were under twenty years of age, (Numbers 14:31).
(x) This declares manís nature, who will do that which God forbids, and will not do that which he commands.
1:42 And the LORD said unto me, Say unto them, Go not up, neither fight; for I [am] y not among you; lest ye be smitten before your enemies.
(y) Signifying that man has no strength, but when God is at hand to help him.
1:45 And ye returned and wept before the LORD; but the LORD would not z hearken to your voice, nor give ear unto you.
(z) Because you rather showed your hypocrisy, than true repentance; rather lamenting the loss of your brethren, than repenting for your sins.