|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verse 5. - The locality is again described as beyond Jordan (see on ver. 1), and in the land of Moab. This designates the region elsewhere called Arboth Moab - the Plains of Moab (Numbers 22:1; Deuteronomy 34:1, etc.), the region on the east of the Jordan, opposite to Jericho, now known as the region of Kerak (Burckhardt, 'Syria,' p. 377, etc.; Robinson, 'Bib. Res.," 2:569). Began; rather set himself to. The Hebrew word signifies to undertake, to betake one's self to, and so to begin It is variously rendered in the Authorized Version (comp. Genesis 18:27, "taken it upon me;" Exodus 2:21, "was content," had made up his mind; 1 Samuel 12:22, "it pleased;" 17:39,"assayed," etc.). To declare, i.e. make clear, explain, expound (Habakkuk 2:2, "make plain "). The Hebrew word here used (בָאַר) signifies primarily to cut or dig, then to cut into, to grave, and then to cut or dig out so as to make evident, to declare, to make plain. What Moses set himself to do, then, was not to publish a new law, but to make plain to the people the Law already promulgated, to set forth clearly and pointedly what they were required by the Law to be and to do. This explains more fully the "spake" (דִבֶּר) of ver. 3. This exposition of the Law was designed specially for the sake of those who, at the time the Law was first promulgated, either were not born or were incapable of understanding it (Grotius). The expression used by Moses plainly indicates that this book was not intended to furnish a second code of laws different from the former, but simply to explain and enforce what had before been enjoined.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
On this side Jordan, in the land of Moab,.... On that side of Jordan in which the land of Moab was, and which with respect to the land of Canaan was beyond Jordan; this the Vulgate Latin version joins to the preceding verse:
began Moses to declare this law: to explain it, make it clear and manifest; namely, the whole system and body of laws, which had been before given him, which he "willed" (k), as some render the word, or willingly took upon him to repeat and explain unto them, which their fathers had heard, and had been delivered unto them; but before he entered upon this, he gave them a short history of events which had befallen them, from the time of their departure from Horeb unto the present time, which is contained in this and the two next chapters:
saying; as follows.
(k) "voluit", Montanus; "placuit", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "statuit", Tigurine version.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. On this side Jordan, in the land of Moab, began Moses to declare this law—that is, explain this law. He follows the same method here that he elsewhere observes; namely, that of first enumerating the marvellous doings of God in behalf of His people, and reminding them what an unworthy requital they had made for all His kindness—then he rehearses the law and its various precepts.
Deuteronomy 1:5 Parallel Commentaries
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