Deuteronomy 1:23
And the saying pleased me well: and I took twelve men of you, one of a tribe:
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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.The plan of sending the spies originated with the people; and, as in itself a reasonable one, it approved itself to Moses; it was submitted to God, sanctioned by Him, and carried out under special divine direction. The orator's purpose in this chapter is to bring before the people emphatically their own responsibilites and behavior. It is therefore important to remind them, that the sending of the spies, which led immediately to their complaining and rebellion, was their own suggestion.

The following verses to the end of the chapter give a condensed account, the fuller one being in Numbers 13-14, of the occurrences which led to the banishment of the people for 40 years into the wilderness.

22-33. ye came … and said, We will send men before us, and they shall search us out the land—The proposal to despatch spies emanated from the people through unbelief; but Moses, believing them sincere, gave his cordial assent to this measure, and God on being consulted permitted them to follow the suggestion (see on [111]Nu 13:1). The issue proved disastrous to them, only through their own sin and folly. The saying pleased me well; for there seemed to be some prudence and good policy in it: but Moses could not see into their hearts, nor from what root this desire grew; but God saw it, and therefore in just judgment complied with their desire, and permitted them to do so for their trial and exercise, Numbers 13:1-3. And the saying pleased me well,.... Taking it to be a rational and prudent scheme, not imagining it was the effect of fear and distrust:

and I took twelve men of you out of a tribe; whose names are given in Numbers 13:4.

And the saying pleased me well: and I took twelve men of you, one of a tribe:
23. and I took twelve men of you] So P, Numbers 13:2-16, adding their names. JE does not give their number but may originally have done so; see on Deuteronomy 1:22.

tribe] Heb. shebeṭ; see on Deuteronomy 1:13.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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