Deuteronomy 1:20
And I said to you, You are come to the mountain of the Amorites, which the LORD our God does give to us.
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1:19-46 Moses reminds the Israelites of their march from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea, through that great and terrible wilderness. He shows how near they were to a happy settlement in Canaan. It will aggravate the eternal ruin of hypocrites, that they were not far from the kingdom of God. As if it were not enough that they were sure of their God before them, they would send men before them. Never any looked into the Holy Land, but they must own it to be a good land. And was there any cause to distrust this God? An unbelieving heart was at the bottom of all this. All disobedience to God's laws, and distrust of his power and goodness, flow from disbelief of his word, as all true obedience springs from faith. It is profitable for us to divide our past lives into distinct periods; to give thanks to God for the mercies we have received in each, to confess and seek the forgiveness of all the sins we can remember; and thus to renew our acceptance of God's salvation, and our surrender of ourselves to his service. Our own plans seldom avail to good purpose; while courage in the exercise of faith, and in the path of duty, enables the believer to follow the Lord fully, to disregard all that opposes, to triumph over all opposition, and to take firm hold upon the promised blessings.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. 19-21. we went through all that great and terrible wilderness—of Paran, which included the desert and mountainous space lying between the wilderness of Shur westward, or towards Egypt and mount Seir, or the land of Edom eastwards; between the land of Canaan northwards, and the Red Sea southwards; and thus it appears to have comprehended really the wilderness of Sin and Sinai [Fisk]. It is called by the Arabs El Tih, "the wandering." It is a dreary waste of rock and of calcareous soil covered with black sharp flints; all travellers, from a feeling of its complete isolation from the world, describe it as a great and terrible wilderness. No text from Poole on this verse. And I said unto you, you are come unto the mountain of the Amorites,.... Which was inhabited by them, and was one of the seven nations the Israelites were to destroy, and possess their land, and which lay on the southern part of the land of Canaan:

which the Lord our God doth give unto us; not the mountain only, but the whole country of that people, and even all the land of Canaan.

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.

20. Ye are come unto the hill-country of the Amorites] See on Deuteronomy 1:7. If Ḳadesh be ‘Ain Ḳudeis, the Negeb still lay between Israel and the Mt of the Amorite as J, Numbers 13:17 b, 22, correctly notices. The omission here is due to the summary character of the review, and has no bearing on the position of Ḳadesh.

giveth] Heb. giving with the force of is about to give: followed by ground or land, it forms a phrase peculiar to D. See on Deuteronomy 1:8.

20–25. The Mission of the Spies

Arrived at the Mt of the Amorite, promised them by God, and exhorted to invade it (Deuteronomy 1:20 f.), the people proposed that spies be sent forward to explore (Deuteronomy 1:22). Moses consented and took twelve men (Deuteronomy 1:23), who visited the vale of ’Eshkôl and brought back of its fruit, saying the land was good (Deuteronomy 1:24 f.).—The parallel passage is Numbers 13, for the analysis of which into JE and P see Chapman, Introd. to the Pent. (86 ff.), in this series, and cp. Oxf. Hex. and G. B. Gray in the Int. Crit. Com. To JE are generally assigned Deuteronomy 1:17 bc Deuteronomy 1:21 a, Deuteronomy 1:22-24, Deuteronomy 1:26-29 : the beginning of this account with the start of the spies from Ḳadesh is probably broken off; it is implied in Deuteronomy 1:26. As it stands all that JE tells us is that the spies started after Israel had reached the wilderness of Paran, Numbers 12:16, while Ḳadesh was in the wilderness of Sin to the N. of that of Paran. They were to go up by the Negeb, still intervening between them and the Mt of the Amorite, to see the land, its dwellers, their manner of life, and the fruits. Thus they came to Ḥebron where were sons of ‘Anaḳ and brought back from the vale of ’Eshḳol some fruit to Ḳadesh, reporting the land to be good, but the people strong and their cities fenced and great. It is clear that the deuteronomic review is a summary of this account. P’s narrative, Numbers 13:1-17 a, Numbers 13:21 b, Numbers 13:25-26 a differs from JE and D both in its language and in several details of facts for which see below. For full proof of the dependence of D on JE and D’s ignorance of P, see Chapman, I. P. 90–92, 94 f.לכם הבוּ, give here, provide for yourselves. The congregation was to nominate, according to its tribes, wise, intelligent, and well-known men, whom Moses would appoint as heads, i.e., as judges, over the nation. At their installation he gave them the requisite instructions (Deuteronomy 1:16): "Ye shall hear between your brethren," i.e., hear both parties as mediators, "and judge righteously, without respect of person." פּנים הכּיר, to look at the face, equivalent to פּנים נשׁא (Leviticus 19:15), i.e., to act partially (cf. Exodus 23:2-3). "The judgment is God's," i.e., appointed by God, and to be administered in the name of God, or in accordance with His justice; hence the expression "to bring before God" (Exodus 21:6; Exodus 22:7, etc.). On the difficult cases which the judges were to bring before Moses, see at Exodus 18:26.
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