Deuteronomy 1:1
These be the words which Moses spoke to 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.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKJTLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK

(1) These be the words which Moses spake unto all Israel.—The first two verses and the three that follow form a kind of double introduction to the book, and perhaps more especially to the first portion of it, which ends with Deuteronomy 4:40.

On this side Jordan.—Literally, on the other side Jordan from the writer’s or reader’s point of view.

In the wilderness.—These words define still further the expression which precedes: “on the wilderness side of Jordan,” or “before they crossed the Jordan, while they were still in the wilderness.” Strictly speaking, the words “in the wilderness” cannot be connected with what follows, for “the plain” described is on neither side of Jordan, but below the southern end of the Dead Sea.

In the plain—i.e., the ‘Arâbah. Usually the plain of Jordan; here the valley that extends from the lower end of the Dead Sea to the head of the Gulf of Akabah.

Over against the Red Sea.—Heb., opposite Sûph. In all other places in the Old Testament, when we read of the Red Sea, it is Yam Sûph. Here we have Suph only. On these grounds some take it as the name of a place. (Comp. Vaheb in Sûphah, Numbers 21:14, margin.) But we do not know the place; and as the Jewish paraphrasts and commentators find no difficulty in accepting Suph by itself as the sea, we may take it of the Gulf of Akabah. The plain between Paran and Tophel looks straight down to that gulf.

Between Paran, and Tophel . . .—Literally, between Paran, and between Tophel and Laban, &c.: that is, between Paran on the one side, and Tophel and Laban and Hazeroth and Dizahab on the other. This is the literal meaning, and it suits the geography so far as the places are yet identified. The small map at p. 239 of Conder’s Handbook to the Bible shows the desert of Paran stretching northward from Sinai on the left, and on the right, Tophel and Hazeroth (the only other places identified among these five) at the two extremities of a line drawn from the southeast end of the Dead Sea in the direction of Sinai. Tophel is taken as Tufîleh, and Hazeroth is ’Ain Hadra. Laban must be some “white” place lying between, probably named from the colour of the rocks in its neighbourhood. Dizahab should be nearer Sinai than Hazeroth. The Jewish commentators, from its meaning, “gold enough,” connected it with the golden calf. And it is not inconceivable that the place where that object of idolatry was “burned with fire,” and “stamped” and “ground very small,” till it was as “small as dust,” and “cast into the brook that descended out of the mount” (Deuteronomy 9:21), was called “gold enough” from the apparent waste of the precious metal that took place there; possibly also because Moses made the children of Israel drink of the water. They had enough of that golden calf before they had done with it. If this view of the geography of this verse be correct, it defines with considerable clearness the line of march from Sinai to Kadesh-barnea. It lies between the mountains on the edge of the wilderness of Paran upon the west, and the Gulf of Akabah on the east, until that gulf is left behind by the traveller going northward. It then enters the desert of Zin, called here the plain, or ‘Arâbah. This desert is bounded by ranges of mountains on both sides, and looks down to the Gulf of Akabah. Behind the western range we still have the wilderness of Paran. On the east are the mountains of Edom, which Israel first had on their right in the march to Kadesh-barnea, and then on their left in a later journey, in the last year of the exodus, when they compassed the land of Edom. Tophel lies on the east of this range, just before the route becomes level with the southern end of the Dead Sea.

But the whole of the route between Paran on the left and those other five places on the right belongs to Israel’s first march from Sinai to Kadesh. It takes them up the desert of Zin, and, so far as these two verses are concerned, it keeps them there.

Deuteronomy 1:1. These be the words which Moses spake — In the last encampment of the Israelites, which was in the plains of Moab, there being now but two months before the death of Moses, and their passage into the land of Canaan. Moses spent this last part of his time in laying before them an account of their travels, and of the many singular providences, mercies, and judgments which had attended them; in repeating and enlarging upon the several laws which God had prescribed for their civil and religious conduct in that promised country; and in the most pressing applications, and earnest persuasions, to a grateful and dutiful obedience. These things, here termed words, with his last prophetic blessing upon their tribes, constitute the subject of this book. Unto all Israel — Namely, by their heads or elders, who were to communicate these discourses to all the people. In the wilderness — over against the Red sea — This is undoubtedly a wrong translation, for they were now at a vast distance from the Red sea, and in no sense over against it. סוŠ, Suph, here rendered Red sea, is, no doubt, the name of a town or district in the country of Moab, of which see Numbers 21:14. The Red sea is never expressed by Suph alone, but always by ים סוŠ, Jam Suph. This place seems to have been near the Dead sea, and to have had its name Suph, a rush, from the many flags or rushes which grew there. Between Paran — This cannot well be meant of the wilderness of Paran, mentioned Numbers 10:12, for that was far remote from hence; but of some place in the country of Moab, as Suph was, and the rest of the places which here follow. And Dizahab — Hebrew, די זהב, Di zahab, which the Vulgate renders, Where there is much gold, as the words signify. Perhaps it had its name from some mines of gold that were there; which circumstance seems to have determined the Seventy to render it καταχρυσεα, golden places, or gold mines.1:1-8 Moses spake to the people all the Lord had given him in commandment. Horeb was but eleven days distant from Kadesh-barnea. This was to remind them that their own bad conduct had occasioned their tedious wanderings; that they might the more readily understand the advantages of obedience. They must now go forward. Though God brings his people into trouble and affliction, he knows when they have been tried long enough. When God commands us to go forward in our Christian course, he sets the heavenly Canaan before us for our encouragement.These verses are prefixed as a connecting link between the contents of the preceding books and that of Deuteronomy now to follow. The sense of the passage might be given thus: "The discourses of Moses to the people up to the eleventh month of the fortieth year" (compare Deuteronomy 1:3) "have now been recorded." The proper names which follow seem to belong to places where "words" of remarkable importance were spoken. They are by the Jewish commentators referred to the spots which witnessed the more special sins of the people, and the mention of them here is construed as a pregnant rebuke. The Book of Deuteronomy is known among the Jews as "the book of reproofs."

On this side of Jordan - Rather, "beyond Jordan" (as in Deuteronomy 3:20, Deuteronomy 3:25). The phrase was a standing designation for the district east of Jordan, and at times, when Greek became commonly spoken in the country, was exactly represented by the proper name Peraea.

In the wilderness, in the plain - The former term denotes the Desert of Arabia generally; the latter was the sterile tract ('Arabah,' Numbers 21:4 note) which stretches along the lower Jordan to the Dead Sea, and is continued thence to the Gulf of Akaba.

Over against the Red Sea - Render it: "over against Suph." "Sea" is not in the original text. "Suph" is either the pass Es Sufah near Ain-el-Weibeh (Numbers 13:26 note), or the name of the alluvial district (the Numbers 21:14 note).

Tophel is identified with Tufileh, the Tafyle of Burckhardt, still a considerable place - some little distance southeast of the Dead Sea. Paran is probably "Mount Paran" Deuteronomy 33:2; or a city of the same name near the mountain. Compare Genesis 14:6.

Laban is generally identified with Libnah Numbers 33:20, and Hazeroth with Ain Hadherah (Numbers 11:34 note); but the position of Dizahab is uncertain.



De 1:1-46. Moses' Speech at the End of the Fortieth Year.

1. These be the words which Moses spake unto all Israel—The mental condition of the people generally in that infantine age of the Church, and the greater number of them being of young or tender years, rendered it expedient to repeat the laws and counsels which God had given. Accordingly, to furnish a recapitulation of the leading branches of their faith and duty was among the last public services which Moses rendered to Israel. The scene of their delivery was on the plains of Moab where the encampment was pitched

on this side Jordan—or, as the Hebrew word may be rendered "on the bank of the Jordan."

in the wilderness, in the plain—the Arabah, a desert plain, or steppe, extended the whole way from the Red Sea north to the Sea of Tiberias. While the high tablelands of Moab were "cultivated fields," the Jordan valley, at the foot of the mountains where Israel was encamped, was a part of the great desert plain, little more inviting than the desert of Arabia. The locale is indicated by the names of the most prominent places around it. Some of these places are unknown to us. The Hebrew word, Suph, "red" (for "sea," which our translators have inserted, is not in the original, and Moses was now farther from the Red Sea than ever), probably meant a place noted for its reeds (Nu 21:14).

Tophel—identified as Tafyle or Tafeilah, lying between Bozrah and Kerak.

Hazeroth—is a different place from that at which the Israelites encamped after leaving "the desert of Sinai."A rehearsal of what had befallen Israel in their forty years' march; as, God's command to depart, Deu 1:1-8. Moses's inability to judge alone, Deu 1:9-12. Other judges and officers appointed, Deu 1:13-16. Charge given the judges, Deu 1:17,18. Their passage to Kadesh-barnea, Deu 1:19-21. Spies sent to search the land of the Amorites, Deu 1:22-24. Their return and report, Deu 1:25. The disobedience of the people, Deu 1:26-33. God's wrath, Deu 1:34-40. They smitten by the Amorites, Deu 1:44. Their complaint to God, which the Lord regards not, Deu 1:45.

These are the laws, counsels, and admonitions delivered by Moses from God to Israel, which are here repeated for the instruction and obligation of those who by reason of their tender years were uncapable either of understanding them, or of entering into covenant with God.

Unto all Israel, to wit, by the heads or elders of the several tribes, or others, who were to communicate these discourses to all the people in several assemblies.

In the plain; either.

1. In the vast desert of Arabia. But that is no where called a plain. Or rather,

2. In the plain of Moab, as may appear by comparing this with Deu 1:5 Num 22:1 Deu 34:8.

Object. That was far from the Red Sea here mentioned.

Answ. The word suph here used doth not signify the Red Sea, which is commonly called jam suph, and which was at too great a distance; but some other place now unknown to us, (as also most of the following places are,) so called from the reeds, or flags, or rushes (which that word signifies) that grew in or near it; which reason of the name being common to other places with the Red Sea, it is not strange if they got the same name. Compare Num 21:14. Paran; not that Num 10:12, which there and elsewhere is called the wilderness of Paran, and which was too remote; but some other place called by the same name, than which nothing more usual. Tophel and Laban; places not mentioned elsewhere.

Hazeroth; of which see Num 11:35 33:17,18. And these places seem to be the several bounds and limits not of the whole country of Moab, but of the plain of Moab, where Moses now was, and spoke these words.

These be the words which Moses spake unto all Israel,.... Not what are related in the latter part of the preceding book, but what follow in this; and which were spoken by him, not to the whole body of the people gathered together to hear him, which they could not do without a miracle; but to the heads of the people, the representatives of them, who were convened to hear what he had to say, in order to communicate it to the people; unless we can suppose that Moses at different times to several parties of them delivered the same things, until they had all heard them:

on this side Jordan; before the passage of the Israelites over it to the land of Canaan; for Moses never went in thither, and therefore it must be the tract which the Greeks call Persea, and which with respect to the Israelites when in the land of Canaan is called "beyond Jordan", for here now Moses was; and the children of Israel had been here with him a considerable time in the wilderness, the vast wilderness of Arabia, which reached hither:

in the plain; the plains of Moab, between Bethjeshimoth and. Abelshittim, where the Israelites had lain encamped for some time, and had not as yet removed; see Numbers 33:49.

over against the Red sea: the word "sea" is not in the text, nor is there anything in it which answers to "Red"; it should be rendered "opposite Suph", which seems to be the name of a place in Moab, not far from the plains of it, and perhaps is the same with Suphah in Numbers 21:14 for from the Red sea they were at a considerable distance:

between Paran, and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Dizahab; these are names of places which were the boundaries and limits of the plains of Moab, or lay very near them; for Paran cannot be understood of the Wilderness of Paran, which was too remote, but a city or town of that name. Tophel and Laban we read of nowhere else; a learned man (a) conjectures Tophel is the name of the station where the Israelites loathed the manna as light bread, because of the insipidness of it, which he observes this word signifies; but that station was either Zalmonah, or Punon, or this station must be omitted in the account of their journeys, and besides was too remote. Jarchi helps this conjecture a little, who puts Tophel and Laban together, and thinks they signify their murmuring because of the manna, which was white, as Laban signifies; but the above writer takes Laban to be a distinct station, the same with Libnah, Numbers 33:20, and Hazeroth to be the station between Mount Sinai and Kadesh, Numbers 12:16. But both seem to be too remote from the plains of Moab; and Dizahab he would have to be the same with Eziongaber, Numbers 33:35, which he says the Arabs now call Dsahab, or Meenah el Dsahab, that is, "the port of gold"; and certain it is that Dizahab has the signification of gold, and, is by Hillerus (b) rendered "sufficiency of gold", there being large quantities of it here; perhaps either through the riches of the port by trade, or by reason of a mine of gold at it, or near it; so the Vulgate Latin version renders it, "where there is much gold", and the Septuagint version "golden mines", Catachrysea; and Jerom (c) makes mention of a place of this name, and says they are mountains abounding with gold in the wilderness, eleven miles from Horeb, where Moses is said to write Deuteronomy; elsewhere (d) he calls it Dysmemoab, i.e. the west of Moab, near Jordan, opposite Jericho.

(a) Clayton's Chronology of the Hebrew Bible, p. 471, &c. (b) Onomastic. Sacr. p. 67, 300. (c) De loc. Heb. fol. 92. A. (d) Travels, p. 319.

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 of Moab.

1. all lsrael] A designation of the people characteristic of D and deuteronomic writers. See on Deuteronomy 4:44.

beyond Jordan] As is clear from Deuteronomy 1:5 and elsewhere, the E. of Jordan is intended. The title was therefore written in W. Palestine. A.V. on this side Jordan, is an impossible rendering of the Hebrew.

in the wilderness] Heb. midbar, properly pasture ground as distinct from arable; Jeremiah 2:1, land not sown. The word, hardly applicable to the scene of Moses’s discourse in Moab, is the usual term both for the wilderness E. of Moab and Edom (Deuteronomy 2:8; Deuteronomy 2:26), and for the region of Israel’s earlier wanderings before they crossed Edom (Deuteronomy 1:19; Deuteronomy 1:40, Deuteronomy 2:1; Deuteronomy 2:7). In the latter lay some, if not all, of the following localities.

in the Arabah] Heb. ‘Arabah, dry or waste: (a) a synonym for midbar, both with the def. art. (Isaiah 40:3), as here, and without (Isaiah 35:1; Jeremiah 2:6 etc.). But with the art. it is usually the name of (b) the great depression extending from the Gulf of ‘Aḳabah northwards to the Lebanons, of which the Dead Sea, the Sea of the ‘Arabah (Deuteronomy 4:49), is the deepest portion; and again is more particularly applied both to (c) the stretch of the depression N. of that Sea, the Jordan valley (Deuteronomy 3:17; 2 Kings 25:4), cp. the Plur. ‘Arboth Moab, P’s designation of Israel’s last station before crossing Jordan, Deuteronomy 34:1 (cp. Arbatta, 1Ma 5:23); and (d) the stretch of the depression S. of the Dead Sea. Each of these four meanings is possible here. Those who take the names in 1b as of places in the scene of Moses’ discourse in the land of Moab point to (c) the application of the name ‘Arabah to the Jordan valley. As we shall see, however, those names indicate rather the region of Israel’s earlier wanderings, before they crossed the S. of Edom, and this makes it more probable that ‘Arabah here = the S. stretch of the depression; so the Sam. Biḳ‘a, trench or valley. But (a) the general signification, synonymous with midbar, is not improbable here, and even more suitable to the localities in 1b than the other meanings are. To-day the name el ‘Arabah is confined to the stretch of the depression S. of a line of cliffs a few miles below the Dead Sea; while all to the N. is known as el-Ghôr.

Suph] LXX ‘the Red Sea,’ but this in Heb. is always sea of Suph. Suph may have been a locality from which the Sea derived its name, the usual etymology which would render it sea of sedge being, though plausible, uncertain (see Enc. Bibl. ‘Red Sea’). Suph cannot be Suphah of Numbers 21:14 if as is probable this lay in S. Moab; while another modern place-name that has been proposed as identical, Naḳb eṣ-Ṣafa (on which see Musil Edom ii. 29), S.W. of the Dead Sea, corresponds with Suph neither phonetically nor from its situation.

between Paran … and Di-zahab] All these places are uncertain. ‘Paran cannot be the extensive desert of that name corresponding to the modern et-Tîh, but only the place after which this desert was named, cp. 1 Kings 11:18’ (Dillm.). For Tophel, LXX Τοφὸλ, no modern place-name has been found: eṭ-Ṭafîleh on cultivated soil in the N. of Mt Se‘îr corresponds to it in neither spelling nor situation. Though Laban (milkwhite) and Ḥaṣerôth (folds) are names of such general signification that each may have been attached to more than one site, it is natural to identify them with the Libnah and Ḥaṣerôth of Numbers 33:20; Numbers 33:17, stations on Israel’s march between Ḥoreb and Ḳadesh. On the W. el Ḥadharah and the ‘Ain el Ḥadharah, see Burckhardt, Travels, 494 f.; Wilson, Lands of the Bible, i. 255–260; Robinson B. R. i. 223 f. Di-zahab has been taken to be the modern Minet edh-Dhahab on the Gulf of ‘Aḳabah, but this is not on the line of Israel’s march; the meaning, (place) of gold, LXX καταχρύσεα, is general enough for the name to have been applied to several places. Thus all that is certain in these names is that some, if not all, lay on the march towards Ḳadesh, and this is confirmed by the next verse. It is not possible to bring them, or that verse, into harmony with the repeated datum that the scene of Moses’discourse was in Moab, at the N.E. end of the Dead Sea.Verse 1. - These be the words. Some would render here "Such are the words," and understand the expression as referring to the preceding books. But it seems more natural to refer it to what follows - to the addresses in this book. The pronoun these (אֵלֶּה) may be used with a prospective reference, as well as with a retrospective (cf. e.g. Genesis 2:4; Genesis 6:9). The author does not by this connect this book with the preceding, but rather distinguishes it. The subscription to Numbers (Numbers 36:13) indicates that what precedes is occupied chiefly with what God spake to Moses; the inscription here intimates that what follows is what Moses spake to the people. This is the characteristic of Deuteronomy. Unto all Israel. It cannot be supposed that Moses spoke to the whole multitude of the people so as to be heard by them. Hence the Jewish interpreters say that he spoke to the elders of the people, who carried his words to the people at large. This is just; for what was thus mediately communicated to the people might be fairly described as spoken to them; and we find from other passages in the Pentateuch that the phrase, "the elders of Israel," in the mind of the writer, was equivalent to "the congregation of Israel" (comp. e.g., Exodus 12:3 with ver. 21; Leviticus 9:1 with ver. 5). But through whatever medium conveyed, it was to the people that these words were addressed; this is emphatically a book for the people. On this side Jordan. This should be On the other side or beyond Jordan, and so also in ver. 5, as in Deuteronomy 3:20, 25. The word here used (עֵבֶר) means properly something beyond, over, or across, and indicates that which, to the speaker, lies on the other side of some line or limit. When coupled with "the Jordan," it usually indicates the region to the east of that river; only in one or two instances, where the speaker takes his standpoint on the east of the river, does it designate the regions to the west of Jordan (Deuteronomy 3:25; Deuteronomy 11:30) The phrase "beyond Jordan" seems to have been the established designation of the region east of the Jordan (cf. Ezra 4:10, and Canon Rawlinson's note there). It is this, unquestionably, which is here so designated, as what follows expressly shows. The wilderness. This term is used of any extensive district not occupied by inhabitants or subjected to culture; hence of vast prairies or pasturelands, as well as of places properly desert and desolate. It here denotes the grassy plains or downs on the east and southeast of the Jordan, in the land of Moab (ver. 5). In the plain; in the Arabah. This is properly the whole of that remarkable depression which stretches from the source of the Jordan on to Akabah, or the Ailanitic Gulf; but here it is only that part of it which extends from the south end of the Dead Sea to Allah (Deuteronomy 2:8). This part still bears the name of the 'Arabah, the northern part being known as the Ghor (Smith's 'Dictionary,' vol. 1. p. 87; Kitto's 'Cyclopedia,' vol. 1. p. 178). Over against the Red sea. The name by which the Red Sea is elsewhere designated is Yam-suph (יַם־סוּפ); here only the latter word occurs, and this has led some to doubt if the Red Sea be here intended. Patrick, Rosenmüller, and others suggest that Suph denotes some place in that region, probably Suphah (Numbers 21:14, margin, Authorized Version), so called because lying at its extremity, as the verb suph, from which it comes, means, to come to an end; but it is not certain that Suphah designates a place in Numbers 21:14. The Hebrew word סוּפְה means a tempest or whirlwind; and this meaning may be assumed here, as it is by Gesenius, Keil, and others: "Waheb [he conquered] in a storm." Knobel suggests that probably the pass now called Es Sufah, on the north side of the Wady Murreh - the Maleh-acrabbim (Scorpion-ascent) of Joshua 15:3 - is meant; others have suggested Zephath (Judges 1:17; comp. Numbers 14:45), and others Zuph (1 Samuel 9:5). It is probable, however, that Suph is here merely a breviloquence for Yam-suph, the Red Sea; and so all the ancient versions take it. The identification of the Yam-suph of the Old Testament with the ἐρυθρὰ θάλασσα of the Greeks, the mare erythraeum, or rubrum, of the Latins, is due to the LXX., which other versions have followed. The identification is undoubtedly correct (cf. Numbers 33:10 and 1 Kings 9:26). Yam-suph, indeed, means simply sea of weeds, and might be the name of any sea in which algae are found; but these passages clearly prove that by this the Hebrews designated the Red Sea. At what part of this sea the Israelites crossed, and the hosts of Pharaoh were submerged, is and must remain uncertain, because we know not what was the condition of the Isthmus of Suez at the time of the Exodus. It is probable it was not at any part of what is now known as the Red Sea or Gulf of Suez. Brugsch Bey places it at that -

"Serbonian bog
Betwixt Damiata and mount Casius old,
Where armies whole have sunk."

(Milton, 'Paradise Lost,'Bk. 2:592.) But this has not been accepted by scholars generally (see Edinburgh Review, No. 307; Conder's 'Handbook to the Bible,' p. 247; Quarterly Statement of the Palestine Exploration Fund, July and October, 1880). It seems probable that originally only a marshy district lay between the Gulf of Suez and the Mediterranean; and somewhere in this probably the passage of the Israelites and the drowning of the Egyptians occurred. Between Paran, and Tophel, etc. This serves more fully and particularly to indicate the locality here intended; but the details present considerable difficulty. Taken in connection with the words "over against the lied sea," the names here given can only be regarded as intended more precisely to indicate the region in which the Israelites had been during the forty years of their wandering. Paran: this is the name of the wilderness bordering on Idumea, where the Israelites encamped (Numbers 10:12; Numbers 12:16); the place of their encampment being Kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin (Numbers 13:21, 26), which was the eastern part of the wilderness of Paran. hod. Wady Murreh. The wilderness of Paran corresponds in general outline with the desert of Et-Tih. This is a vast plateau of irregular surface stretching from the Et-Tih range northwards to the boundaries of the Holy Land, and from the Gulf of Akabah and the Wady cf. Arabah on the east to the Gulf of Suez and the Mediterranean on the west. It is described as "a chalky formation, the chalk being covered with coarse gravel, mixed with black flints and drifting sand;" not, however, wholly sterile: in many parts vegetation abounds, considerable portions are under cultivation, and there are evidences that it one time water was abundant there (Smith, 2:767; Kitto, 3:1077; Drew, 'Scripture Lands,' p. 80). It is not, however, to the wilderness of Paran that the reference is in the text, but to some definite locality or spot in the region in which the Israelites then were, or which they had recently passed through. It has been suggested that the place now called Feiran, and where there are the ruins of a town, once of some importance in the early history of Christianity, is the Paran of this passage, as it apparently is the Paran of 1 Kings 11:18. But this locality at the base of Jebel Serbail is much too far west to be the Paran here referred to. More probable is the suggestion that it is the Faran mentioned by Eusebius and Jerome ('Onomast.,' s.v. Φαράν), a city to the cast (northeast) of Allah or Elath, about three days' journey (Reland, 'Palest.,' p. 556; Winer, 'Realworterbuch,' s.v. Pharan). Tophel: this name occurs only here; it is supposed to be the place now coiled Tufailah or Tafyleh, a large village of six hundred inhabitants, between Bozrah and Kerak, on the eastern slope of the mountains of Edom (Burckhardt, 'Syria,' p. 402; Robinson, 'Bib. Res.,' 2:570). As this is a place where the Syrian caravans are supplied with provisions, it has been conjectured that the Israelites, when at Oboth (Numbers 21:10, 11), may have resorted to it for a supply, and that it was here that they purchased meat and drink from the children of Esau (Deuteronomy 2:29). And Laban. Laban is generally identified with Libnah, the second place of encampment of the Israelites on their return from Kadesh (Numbers 33:20, 21). Knobel, however, thinks it is the place called by Ptolemy 'Αὔαρα, lying between Petra and Allah; this name, from the Arabic (he was white), having the same meaning as the Hebrew לָבָן. Hazeroth is supposed to be the place mentioned in Numbers 11:35; Numbers 12:16, from which the Israelites entered the wilderness of Paran; but as the other places here mentioned are on the east side of the Arabah, it is not probable that this Hazeroth is the same as that of Numbers, which must have been not far from Sinai, in a northerly or north-westerly direction from that mountain, probably at or near to the fountain now called El Hudherah (Wilson, 'Lands of the Bible,' 1:235; Kitto, 'Cyclopedia,' 2:243). There were probably several places bearing the name of Hazeroth, i.e. villages. Dizahab. This is generally identified with Dhahab, a place on a tongue of land in the Gulf of Akabah. But it is extremely improbable that the Israelites ever were at this place, the approach to which is exceedingly difficult; and the mere resemblance of the names Dizahab and Dhahab is not sufficient to prove the identity of the places. There were probably more places than one which were named from zahab (gold) in the region traversed by the Israelites. There is a Dhahab on the east of the Jordan near the Zerka or Jabbok, a double mound, which is said to derive its name from the yellowish color of the sandstone rock of which it consists, and which is metalliferous. In the Arabic of the Polyglot, Dizahab appears as Dhi-dhahab, which signifies "auro praeditum vel ab auro dictum; nam דו vel די, apud Arabes in compositione nominum propr. idem est ac Hebrews בַעל (J. H. Michaelis). There is a various reading here, Di-waheb, and this has been supposed to connect this place with the Waheb of Numbers 21:14. But, as above noted, it is by no means certain that Waheb is there the name of a place; it may, as Bishop Patrick suggests, be that of a man, some hero or chief, who was conquered in Sufah or in a storm. Waheb is a name among the Arabs. The maternal grandfather of Me-hammed had this name (Abul-Pharaj, 'Hist. Dynast.,' p. 161, edit. Pococke, Oxen., 1663); and the sect of the Wahabees take their name from Abdul Wahab, a fanatic who appeared about the beginning of last century. The words "between Paran and Tophel" have been taken to indicate' the termini of the wanderings; at the commencement of these the people were at Paran, and towards the close of them they were at Tophel. '"Looking from the steppes of Moab over the ground that the Israelites had traversed, Suph, where they first entered the desert of Arabia, would lie between Paran where the congregation arrived at the borders of Canaan toward the west, and Tophel where they first ended their desert wanderings thirty-seven years later on the east" (Keil). But this assumes that Paran here is the wilderness of Paran. Moses declared that what they had affirmed was right (כּן), and then, by command of Jehovah, he told the daughters of Zelophehad that they might marry whoever pleased them (the suffix ־הם, attached to בּעיני, for ־הן, as in Exodus 1:21; Genesis 31:9, etc.), but that he must belong to the family of their father's tribe, that is to say, must be a Manassite. For (Numbers 36:7) the inheritance was not to turn away the Israelites from one tribe to another (not to be transferred from one to another), but every Israelite was to keep to the inheritance of his father's tribe, and no one was to enter upon the possession of another tribe by marrying an heiress belonging to that tribe. This is afterwards extended, in Numbers 36:8 and Numbers 36:9, into a general law for every heiress in Israel.
Deuteronomy 1:1 Interlinear
Deuteronomy 1:1 Parallel Texts

Deuteronomy 1:1 NIV
Deuteronomy 1:1 NLT
Deuteronomy 1:1 ESV
Deuteronomy 1:1 NASB
Deuteronomy 1:1 KJV

Deuteronomy 1:1 Bible Apps
Deuteronomy 1:1 Parallel
Deuteronomy 1:1 Biblia Paralela
Deuteronomy 1:1 Chinese Bible
Deuteronomy 1:1 French Bible
Deuteronomy 1:1 German Bible

Bible Hub
Numbers 36:13
Top of Page
Top of Page