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Deu 1:1 These [be] the words which Moses spake unto all Israel on this side Jordan in the wilderness, in the plain over against the Red [sea], between Paran, and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Dizahab.
Ver. 1. These be the words which Moses spake. ] And surely he spake much, if he spake, as some cast it up, this whole Book in less than ten days’ space. Certain it is that he spake here, as ever, most divinely, and like himself, or rather beyond himself - the end of a thing being better, if better may be, than the beginning thereof, Ecc 7:8 as good wine is best at last; and as the sun shines most amiably when it is going down. This book of the law it was that the king was to write out with his own hand, Deu 17:18-19 that it might serve as his manual, and attend him in his running library. This was that happy book that good Josiah lighting upon, after it had long laid hid in the temple, melted at the menaces thereof, and obtained of God to die in peace, though he were slain in battle. This only book was that silver brook, that preciously purling current, out of which the Lord Christ, our Champion, chose all those three smooth stones, wherewith he prostrated the Goliath of hell in that sharp encounter. Matthew 4:4 ; Matthew 4:7 ; Mat 4:10 And surely, if Cicero could call Aristotle’s "Politics," for the elegancy of the style, and for the excellency of the matter, aureum flumen orationis; and if the same author durst say that the law of the twelve tables did exceed all the libraries of philosophers, both in weight and worth; how much rather is all this true of this second edition of God’s law, with an addition.
Deuteronomy 1:2 ([There are] eleven days’ [journey] from Horeb by the way of mount Seir unto Kadeshbarnea.)
Ver. 2. There are eleven days’journey.] So many days’ march for a foot army. But Philo the Jew saith a horseman might despatch it in three days. a
a Triduo confici potuit.
Deu 1:3 And it came to pass in the fortieth 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;
Ver. 3. In the eleventh month. ] And in the twelfth month of this same year he died; so that this was his swan song: Sic, ubi fata vocant, &c.
Deu 1:4 After he had slain Sihon the king of the Amorites, which dwelt in Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, which dwelt at Astaroth in Edrei:
Ver. 4. After he had slain Sihon. ] If Samson had not turned aside to see the lion, that not long before he had slain, he had not found the honey in the carcass. Jdg 14:8 So, if we recognise not our dangers, deliverances, and achievements, we shall neither taste how sweet the Lord is, nor return him his due praises. To true thankfulness is required, (1.) Recognition; (2.) Estimation; (3.) Retribution. See them all in Psalms 116:3 ; Psalms 116:7 ; Psalms 116:12 .
Deu 1:5 On this side Jordan, in the land of Moab, began Moses to declare this law, saying,
Ver. 5. Began Moses to declare. ] And he was not long about it. See Trapp on " Deu 1:1 " A ready heart makes riddance of God’s work; for being oiled with the Spirit, it becomes lithe and nimble, quick of despatch.
Deu 1:6 The LORD our God spake unto us in Horeb, saying, Ye have dwelt long enough in this mount:
Ver. 6. Long enough. ] The law is not for men to continue under, but for a time till they be fitted for Christ. Gal 3:16-25 Humbled they must be, and hammered for a season; sense of misery goes before sense of mercy.
Deu 1:7 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 in the vale, and in the south, and by the sea side, to the land of the Canaanites, and unto Lebanon, unto the great river, the river Euphrates.
Ver. 7. Unto the great river Euphrates. ] Here are the bounds of the Promised Land; all which if they enjoy not, the fault was merely in themselves. Joshua chideth them for their slackness and dastardliness.
Deu 1:8 Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them.
Ver. 8. Go in and possess it. ] God was ready, but they were not ripe for such a mercy. So 2Ch 20:33 the high places were not taken away; for the people had not yet prepared their hearts for such a reformation: the work was ensnarled and retarded by their unfitness. See Isaiah 59:2 .
Deu 1:9 And I spake unto you at that time, saying, I am not able to bear you myself alone:
Ver. 9. I am not able. ] Politici et ecclesiastici labores maximi sunt, saith Luther. None have so hard a tug of it as magistrates and ministers. Iσοθεοι ημεν, ει μη και πραγατα και φροντιδας και φσβους υπερ παντας τους ιδιοτευοντας ειχομεν , said Augustus to his Livia. Had we not businesses, and cares, and fears, above any private person, we should be equal to the gods. a
a Dio Cass.
Deuteronomy 1:11 (The LORD God of your fathers make you a thousand times so many more as ye [are], and bless you, as he hath promised you!)
Ver. 11. The Lord God of your fathers. ] Such holy ejaculations, such sallies of soul, and egression of affection to God and his people, are frequently found in heavenly minded men.
Deu 1:12 How can I myself alone bear your cumbrance, and your burden, and your strife?
Ver. 12. Hear your cumbrance. ] A prince’s temples are not so compassed with a crown, as his mind besieged with cares; nor is he so lifted up with the splendour of his train, as cast down with the multitude of his fears. See Trapp on " Deu 1:9 " St Paul also had the "cumber a of the churches." 2Co 11:28 All care cumbered and mustered together, and that with anxiety; with the same solicitude that a man hath about his own most important business.
a επισυστασις, μεριμνα
Deu 1:15 So I took the chief of your tribes, 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.
Ver. 15. And officers among your tribes. ] That might put the laws in execution; which is the same to the law that the clapper is to the bell. There were in good Josiah’s days’ horrible abominations. And why? By the slackness of under offices. Zep 3:3
Deu 1:16 And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear [the causes] between your brethren, and judge righteously between [every] man and his brother, and the stranger [that is] with him.
Ver. 16. Hear the causes, &c. ] Hear them out. In the Forum of Rome the accuser had six hours allotted him to accuse, the accused had nine hours to make his answer a
And judge righteously. ] So upright was the sentence of the Areopagites in Athens, that none could ever say he was unjustly condemned; nay, both parties, as well those that are cast as they that cast, are alike contented. b
a Ulpian., in Orat. Demosth. de fal legat.
b ηππωμενοι σπεργουσιν ομοιως τοιν κεκρατηκοσι .
Deu 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] God’s: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring [it] unto me, and I will hear it.
Ver. 17. Ye shall not respect persons. ] God will surely reprove you, saith Job, if you secretly accept persons. Job 13:10 Aequum me utrique parti tam in disceptandis controversiis, quam in tuenda disciplina, praebebo, said Justinian: I will hear causes without prejudicate impiety, judiciously examine them without sinister obliquity, and sincerely judge them without unjust partiality. It was the oath of the heathen judges, as the orator relates, Audiam accusatorem et reum sine affectibus et personarum respectione: I will hear the plaintiff and defendant with an equal mind, without affection and respect of persons. And agreeable hereunto is the oath taken by our circuit judge, as it is recorded in the Statute of the 18 of Edward III.
You shall not be afraid. ] For, Facile a iustitia deviat, qui in causis non Deum sed homines pertimescit, saith Chrysostom: A faint hearted judge doth easily pervert justice. A man of courage he must be, a Coeur-de-lion, another Cato, a quo nemo unquam rem iniustam petere audebat, of whom no man ever durst desire anything unjust. This Solomon symbolised by the steps of his throne adorned with lions; the Athenian judges, by sitting in Mars Street.
For the judgment is God’s.] Whose person ye bear, and in whose seat ye sit; and should therefore sit in as great, though not so slavish a fear of offending, as Olanes, in the history, sat upon the flayed skin of his father Silannes, nailed by Cambyses on the tribunal; or, as a Russian judge that fears the boiling caldron; or the Turkish senate, when they think the great Turk to stand behind the Arras, at the dangerous door. Cave, spectat Cato; take heed, Cato seeth you, - was an ancient watchword among the Romans, and a great retentive from evil. How much more amongst us should Cave, spectat Dominus; Take heed, the Lord looks on.
Deu 1:19 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 Kadeshbarnea.
Ver. 19. That great and terrible wilderness. ] Abounding with want of all necessities, Jer 2:6 and surrounded with many, mighty, and malicious enemies. Such is this present evil world to those that are bound for the heavenly Canaan. Many miseries and molestations, both Satanical and secular, they are sure to meet with, this world being a place of that nature, that, as it is reported of the Straits of Magellan, a which way soever a man bend his course, if homeward, he is sure to have the wind against him.
a Heyl., Geog., p. 802.
Deu 1:21 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.
Ver. 21. Behold the Lord. ] See Trapp on " Deu 1:8 "
Deu 1:22 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.
Ver. 22. We will send men before us. ] Thus empty man will be wiser than God, though "man be born like a wild ass-colt." Job 11:12 It was unbelief that prompted them to this practice: for "they could not enter because of unbelief." Carnal policy serves the worldling, as the ostrich’s wings, to make him outrun others upon earth, but helps him never a whit towards heaven.
Deu 1:23 And the saying pleased me well: and I took twelve men of you, one of a tribe:
Ver. 23. Pleased me well. ] Seeing you were set upon it, and it would be no better.
Deu 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 said, [It is] a good land which the LORD our God doth give us.
Ver. 25. And brought us word again. ] Joshua and Caleb did; for the rest are not here reckoned of; God counts of men by the goodness that is in them.
Deu 1:27 And ye murmured 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.
Ver. 27. Because the Lord hated us. ] A gross mistake. Why should it then so greatly grieve us. that our good intentions are so much misconstrued? That is here complained of, as an argument of God’s hatred, that he intended for an instance of his love. Deuteronomy 4:37 ; Deu 7:8 In quo dilexisti nos? "wherein hast thou loved us?" said those malcontents in Malachi, Mal 1:2 that cast the helve after the hatchet, as the proverb is, and like children, because they might not have what they would, grew sullen, and would have nothing.
Deu 1:31 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.
Ver. 31. As a man doth bear his son. ] Charily and tenderly, as his own heart; not hating them, as they desperately belied the Lord. Deu 1:27 "For if a man find his enemy, will he let him go well away?" 1Sa 24:19 Will he accommodate him as God did these murmurers? Never was any prince served in such state as they were.
Deu 1:32 Yet in this thing ye did not believe the LORD your God,
Ver. 32. Ye did not believe. ] Sic surdo plerunque fabulam: there was none within to make answer. "Who hath believed our report?" &c. We cannot get men to credit us.
Deu 1:37 Also the LORD was angry with me for your sakes, saying, Thou also shalt not go in thither.
Ver. 37. The Lord was angry with me. ] The saint’s afflictions proceed oft from love displeased, from love offended. "Fury is not in God." Isa 27:4
Deu 1:41 Then ye answered and said unto 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 ye had girded on every man his weapons of war, ye were ready to go up into the hill.
Ver. 41. We have sinned, we will go up. ] Temporaries are set upon sin in the very confession thereof. Unless to the confession of sin we add confusion of sin, we do nothing. Pro 28:13 Yet "honour me before the people," said Saul: Give me a bribe, said trembling Felix.
Deu 1:46 So ye abode in Kadesh many days, according unto the days that ye abode [there].
Ver. 46. So ye abode in Kadesh many days. ] Many indeed; yea, many years. And here it was, or hereabouts, that they received those laws which are recorded, Num 15:1-41 as also that they stoned him that gathered sticks on the Sabbath day; that Korah and his accomplices perished; that fourteen thousand seven hundred died of the plague; that Aaron’s rod flourished; that Moses, seeing the people fall so fast in the wilderness, wrote Psalms 90:1-19.90.17 , - where he telleth us that the ordinary term of man’s life was reduced to seventy or eighty years, and so made shorter by half than before. All which things are thought to have happened in the last six months of the second year after their coming out of Egypt: the history of those two years only, and of the last of the forty are set forth by Moses: the intercurrent thirty seven years with their events, save only the bare names of their various stations, Num 33:1-56 being passed over in silence. If men will take liberty to commit sin against God, he will make but a short story of them and their works: Lot, for instance. Gen 19:36
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 1". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent