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.
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. (De 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 mercy's 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
1:2 ([There are] eleven days' [journey] from c Horeb by the
way of mount Seir unto Kadeshbarnea.)
(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
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 God's 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:
(f) In the second year and second month, (Nu 10:11).
1:9 And I spake g unto you at that time, saying, I am not able
to bear you myself alone:
(g) By the counsel of Jethro my father-in-law,
1:10 The LORD your God hath h multiplied you, and, behold, ye
[are] this day as the stars of heaven for multitude.
(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
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
(l) Declaring what sort of men ought to have a public
charge, read (Ex 18:21).
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 God's: and
the cause that is too hard for you, bring [it] unto me, and
I will hear it.
(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.
1:22o 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
(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
(q) Such was the Jews unthankfulness, that they counted
God's 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.
(u) Who were under twenty years of age, (Nu 14:31).
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.
(x) This declares man's 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.