Old Testament Commentary - Deuteronomy 1

by Don R. Hender

Scriptural Text [& Editorial]
Commentary & Explanation
Footnotes ~ References ~ JST
             CHAPTER 1            

Moses begins recitation of all that befell Israel during forty years in wilderness—They are commanded to go in and possess Canaan—Judges and rulers chosen to assist Moses—Israel's spies bring evil report—Adults of Israel shall perish—Amorites defeat armies of Israel.

Moses Speaks and Delivers Three Concluding Sermons Unto Israel

It may seem a bit muddled in the first two verses' of chapter 1 in that first introduction obviously written by a later compiler/editor of the Bible as to just where Moses did deliver his concluding sermons of Deuteronomy unto the children of Isreal. Clearly stated it was upon the upper plains of Moab with Moses speaking from an elevated position and the children of Israel assembled down toward the backdrop of the Dead Sea not the Red Sea. Shittim is the local site from which Israel would next depart as led by Joshua across the Jordan river towards Jericho and into the land of promise The small map section at the left depicts generally this location and its particular sites of the Plains of Moab, the Dead Sea, Shittim, Jericho and Mount Nebo, all of which relate to the stage upon which Moses' 'Sermon Conference' and last events of Moses' life as recorded in Deuteronomy are played out upon.

As stated in verse 3, Moses convened his conference on the first day of the 11th Hebrew calendar month of Shevat or Shebat [Shevat occurs in January-February of the Gregorian calendar although the 'Law of Moses' is actually read during the feast of tabernacles' year of release]. According to Jewish tradition Moses' 'review of the Torah' lasts 37 days, yet the volume of the text of the 33 chapters of Deuteronomy of Moses' three sermons match well with the volume and number of traditional LDS conference talks accomplished in the older 3 day six or seven conference session talks and their printed amount of similar textual material. Thus as far as the book of Deuteronomy itself and the three sermons of Moses contained therein, it can easily be covered in a three day time table with plenty of time to spare for normal daily activities of meals and such. In other words, the supposed Rabbi 37 days runs out of printed material to be read, preached and studied, contained in Deuteronomy is just three days.

  1 These be the words which Moses spake unto all Israel aon this side Jordan in the wilderness, in the bplain over against the cRed sea, between Paran, and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Dizahab.
  2 (There are eleven days' journey from Horeb by the way of mount Seir unto Kadesh-barnea.)
  3 And it came to pass in the afortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spake unto the children of Israel, according unto all that the LORD had given him in commandment unto them;
  4 After he had slain aSihon the king of the Amorites, which dwelt in Heshbon, and bOg the king of Bashan, which dwelt at Astaroth in Edrei:
  5 On this side Jordan, in the land of Moab, began Moses to adeclare bthis law, saying,
  6 The LORD our God spake unto us in Horeb, saying, Ye have dwelt long enough in this amount:
  7 Turn you, and take your journey, and go to the mount of the Amorites, and unto all the places nigh thereunto, in the plain, in the hills, and ain the vale, and in the bsouth, and by the sea side, to the land of the Canaanites, and unto Lebanon, unto the great river, the river Euphrates.
  8 Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and apossess the bland which the LORD sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them.
  9 ¶ And I spake unto you at that time, saying, I am not able to abear you myself alone:
  10 The LORD your God hath multiplied you, and, behold, ye are this day as the astars of heaven for bmultitude.
  11 (The LORD God of your fathers make you a thousand times so many amore as ye are, and bless you, as he hath bpromised you!)
  12 How can I myself alone bear your acumbrance, and your burden, and your bstrife?
  13 Take you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will amake them brulers over you.
  14 And ye answered me, and said, The thing which thou hast spoken is good for us to do.
  15 So I took the chief of your tribes, awise men, and known, and made them bheads over you, captains over thousandsa, and captains over hundreds, and captains over fifties, and captains over tens, and officers among your tribes.
  16 And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and ajudge righteously between every man and his brother, and the bstranger that is with him.
  17 Ye shall not arespect persons in bjudgmenta; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be cafraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God's: and the cause 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.
 15a I took the chief of your tribes, wise men, and known, and made them head over you While at Horeb, Moses has made the 'chief' and heir of each tribe to be at the head of each tribe. This is recorded in Numbers chapter 1 verses 4, 16 and 44. The leader and heir over the tribe of Ephraim at that time was Elishama, the grandfather of Joshua (see Numbers 1:10 and 1 Chronicles 7:26-27). He was the heir of Ephraim, as was Nun and Joshua after him.
 17a Ye shall not respect persons in judgment One of the most dificult things to do is to judge and treat all persons the same under the administrations of law and within the Church. Regardless of ancestry, birth, position, riches, nationality and all the other middred of discreminatory factors which can come into how one views and treats another, giving one better treatment and service over another because of such, those who judge and minister in God's Kingdom are to do so without such respect to persons. The judgment and treatment is to be the same from the least to the greatest. As the Lord has stated, to not do so in such treatments unto even the least of these, is to have done it unto him. Perhaps this is one of the greatest challenges facing men of position within the Church and in which they are most readily to commit sin in their judgments if they do not treat all the same without respect to persons. Such politics have no place in the offices and halls of the Church and its dealings with persons within and without the Church. But it is likely the most dificult to adhere to.
  19 ¶ And when we departed from Horeb, we went through all that great and terrible wilderness, which ye 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 unto you, Ye are come unto the mountain of the Amorites, which the LORD our God doth give unto us.
  21 Behold, the LORD thy God hath set the land before thee: go up and possess it, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged.
  22 ¶ 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.
  23 And the saying pleased me well: and I took atwelve men of you, one of a tribe:
  24 And they turned and went up into the mountain, and came unto the valley of Eshcol, and searched it out.
  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 said, It is a good land which the LORD our God doth give us.
  26 Notwithstanding ye would not go up, but arebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God:
  27 And ye amurmured in your tents, and said, Because the LORD 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.
  28 Whither shall we go up? our brethren have discouraged our heart, saying, The people is greater and taller than we; the cities are great and awalled up to heaven; and moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakims there.
  29 Then I said unto you, Dread not, neither be afraid of them.
  30 The LORD your God which goeth before you, he shall afight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes;
  31 And in the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that the LORD thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place.
  32 Yet in this thing ye did not abelieve the LORD your God,
  33 Who went in the way before you, to search you out a place to pitch your tents in, in fire by night, to shew you by what way ye should go, and in a acloud by day.
  34 And the LORD heard the voice of your words, and awas wroth, and sware, saying,
  35 Surely there shall not one of these men of this aevil generation bsee that good land, which I sware to give unto your fathers,
  36 Save aCaleb the son of Jephunneha; he shall see it, and to him will I give the land that he hath trodden upon, and to his children, because he hath wholly followed the LORD.
 36a Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh The Jewish perspective oft times become readily clear and should always be kept in the back of the mind of the reader. It often promotes the case of Judah and deminishes the case of Ephraim. Here is but one example when the writers and compilers set out Caleb as the only one who gives a good report and is the only one who the Lord allows to enter into the promised land of all of Israel. The fact of the matter is that Joshua of Ephraim was also included in any such distinction and more so as it was Joshua who was called upon to lead all of Israel into the promised land both as the leader of Israel and the heir of Ephraim, they being one and the same.
  37 Also the LORD was aangry with me for your bsakes, saying, Thou also shalt not go in thither.
  38 But aJoshua the son of Nun, which standeth before thee, he shall go in thither: encourage him: for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.
  39 Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no aknowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.
  40 But as for you, turn you, and take your journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea.
  41 Then ye answered and said unto me, We have asinned against the LORD, 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.
  42 And the LORD said unto me, Say unto them, Go not up, neither fight; for I am not among you; lest ye be smitten before your enemies.
  43 So I spake unto you; and ye would not hear, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD, and awent presumptuously up into the hill.
  44 And the Amorites, which dwelt in that mountain, came out against you, and chased you, as abees do, and bdestroyed you in Seir, even unto Hormah.
  45 And ye returned and wept before the LORD; but the LORD would not hearken to your voice, nor give ear unto you.
  46 So ye abode in Kadesh many days, according unto the days that ye abode there.