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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 1

Barnes' Notes on the Whole BibleBarnes' Notes

Verses 1-2

For Kadesh see Numbers 13:26 note; and for Horeb see Exodus 3:1.

Verse 4

Astaroth - On this place compare Genesis 14:5 and note.

In Edrei - These words should, to render the sense clear, come next after “slain.” The battle in which Sihon and Og were defeated took place at Edrei.

Verse 5

In the land of Moab - This district had formerly been occupied by the Moabites, and retained its name from them: but had been conquered by the Amorites. Compare Numbers 21:25, note; Numbers 22:5, note.

Declare - Render, explain the Law already declared.

Verse 6

The first and introductory address of Moses to the people is here commenced. It extends to Deuteronomy 4:40; and is divided from the second discourse by the Deu 1:4 :41-49. A summary of the address is given in the chapter-headings usually found in English Bibles.

Verse 7

To the mount of the Amorites - i. e. to the mountain district occupied by the Amorites, reaching into the Negeb, and part of the territory assigned to the tribe of Judah.

Verses 9-15

This appointment of the “captains” (compare Exodus 18:21 ff) must not be confounded with that of the elders in Numbers 11:16 ff. The former would number 78,600; the latter were 70 only.

A comparison between this passage and that in Exodus makes it obvious that Moses is only touching on certain parts of the whole history, without regard to order of time, but with a special purpose. This important arrangement for the good government of the people took place before they left Horeb to march direct to the promised land. This fact sets more clearly before us the perverseness and ingratitude of the people, to which the orator next passes; and shows, what he was anxious to impress, that the fault of the 40 years’ delay rested only with themselves!

Verse 19

That great and terrible wilderness - Compare Deuteronomy 8:15. This language is such as people would employ after having passed with toil and suffering through the worst part of it, the southern half of the Arabah (see Numbers 21:4 note); and more especially when they had but recently rested from their marches in the plain of Shittim, the largest and richest oasis in the whole district on the Eastern bank near the mouth of the Jordan.

Verses 22-23

The plan of sending the spies originated with the people; and, as in itself a reasonable one, it approved itself to Moses; it was submitted to God, sanctioned by Him, and carried out under special divine direction. The orator’s purpose in this chapter is to bring before the people emphatically their own responsibilites and behavior. It is therefore important to remind them, that the sending of the spies, which led immediately to their complaining and rebellion, was their own suggestion.

The following verses to the end of the chapter give a condensed account, the fuller one being in Num. 13–14, of the occurrences which led to the banishment of the people for 40 years into the wilderness.

Verse 37

The sentence on Moses was not passed when the people rebelled during their first encampment at Kadesh, but some 37 years later, when they had re-assembled in the same neighborhood at Meribah (see the Numbers 20:13 note). He alludes to it here as having happened not many months previously, bearing on the facts which were for his purpose in pricking the conscience of the people.

Verse 41

Ye were ready to go up into the hill - Rather, perhaps, “ye made light of going up;” i. e. “ye were ready to attempt it as a trifling undertaking.” Deuteronomy 1:43 shows the issue of this spirit in action; compare marginal references.

Verse 44

The Amorites - In Numbers 14:45, it is “the Amalekites and the Canaanites” who are said to have discomfited them. The Amorites, as the most powerful nation of Canaan, lend their name here, as in other passages (eg. Deuteronomy 1:7) to the Canaanite tribes generally.

Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 1". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/deuteronomy-1.html. 1870.
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