Deuteronomy 1:24
And they turned and went up into the mountain, and came to the valley of Eshcol, and searched it out.
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(24) The valley of Eshcol.—See Numbers 13:24.

Deuteronomy 1:24-25. Eshcol — That is, grapes, so called from the goodly cluster of grapes which they brought from thence. It is a good land — So they said unanimously, Numbers 13:27. Only they added, that they were not a match for the inhabitants of it, as is intimated Deuteronomy 1:28.1:19-46 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 valley, or, the brook: the word signifies both, for brooks commonly run in valleys.

Of Eshcol, i.e. of grapes, so called from the goodly cluster of grapes which they brought from thence, Numbers 13:23. And they turned and went up into the mountain,.... As they were ordered and directed by Moses, Numbers 13:17.

and came unto the valley of Eshcol; so called from the cluster of grapes they cut down there, as they returned:

and searched it out; the whole land, and so were capable of giving a particular account of it.

And they turned and went up into the mountain, and came unto the valley of Eshcol, and searched it out.
24. and they turned] See on Deuteronomy 1:7.

the mountain] The Mt of the Amorite: see on Deuteronomy 1:7. So JE, Numbers 13:17, but it adds through the Negeb; see on Deuteronomy 1:20.

the valley of Eshcol] LXX φάραγξ βότρυος, ‘ravine of the cluster’; but Heb. naḥal is the Ar. wâdy, a valley with a winter-stream, Gk χειμάῤῥοος, Ital. fiumara. Heb. ’eshkôl is the Ar. ’ithkâl (weakened from ‘ithkâl with initial ‘ayin), a cluster of dates or palm-branch with clusters, and means a cluster of dates, Song of Solomon 7:8, or of grapes as here (dates not ripening so high as Ḥebron). As a place-name Eshkôl occurs elsewhere only in P, Numbers 32:9; but in Genesis 14:13; Genesis 14:24 as the name of a person, the brother of Mamre the Ạmorite at Ḥebron. The neighbourhood of Ḥebron is fertile with numerous springs, and the vine flourishes there. Baedeker (5th ed. 134) reports to the N.W. a Wâdy Iskâhil. While JE and D take the spies no further than Ḥebron, P, Numbers 13:2; Numbers 13:17; Numbers 13:21; Numbers 13:25, describes them as exploring the whole land, from the wilderness of Ṣin to Reḥob, the entry to Ḥamath, and as taking 40 days.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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