Deuteronomy 1:31
And in the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that the LORD thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place.
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(31) The Lord . . . bare thee, as a man doth bear his son.—From this comes the expression in Acts 13:18, “He bare them as a nursing father in the wilderness.”—Rev. N. T., margin.

Deuteronomy 1:31-34. Bare thee — Or carried thee, as a father carries his weak and tender child in his arms, through difficulties and dangers, gently leading you according as you were able to go, and sustaining you by his power and goodness. Ye did not believe the Lord — So they could not enter in, because of unbelief. It was not any other sin that shut them out of Canaan, but their disbelief of that promise which was typical of gospel grace; to signify that no sin will ruin us but unbelief, which is a sin against the remedy, and therefore without remedy. Your words — That is to say, your murmurings, your unthankful, impatient, distrustful, and rebellious speeches.

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.

28. the cities are great, and walled up to heaven—an Oriental metaphor, meaning very high. The Arab marauders roam about on horseback, and hence the walls of St. Catherine's monastery on Sinai are so lofty that travellers are drawn up by a pulley in a basket.

Anakims—(See on [112]Nu 13:33). The honest and uncompromising language of Moses, in reminding the Israelites of their perverse conduct and outrageous rebellion at the report of the treacherous and fainthearted scouts, affords a strong evidence of the truth of this history as well as of the divine authority of his mission. There was great reason for his dwelling on this dark passage in their history, as it was their unbelief that excluded them from the privilege of entering the promised land (Heb 3:19); and that unbelief was a marvellous exhibition of human perversity, considering the miracles which God had wrought in their favor, especially in the daily manifestations they had of His presence among them as their leader and protector.

God bare thee, or, carried thee, as a father carries his weak and tender child in his arms, as Isaiah 49:22; or as upon eagles’ wings, as it is Exodus 19:4, through difficulties and dangers, gently leading you according as you were able to go, and sustaining you by his power and goodness. See of this or the like phrase Numbers 11:12 Deu 32:10,11 Psa 91:12 Isaiah 46:3,4.

And in the wilderness,.... Where he had fed them with manna, brought water out of rocks for them, protected them from every hurtful creature, had fought their battles for them, and given them victory over Amalek, Sihon, and Og:

where thou hast seen how the Lord thy God bare thee as a man doth bear his son; in his arms, in his bosom, with great care and tenderness:

in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place; supplying their wants, supporting their persons, subduing their enemies, and preserving them from everything hurtful to them; and therefore having God on their side, as appeared by so many instances, of his favour to them, they had nothing to dread or fear from the Canaanites, though ever so mighty.

And in the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that the LORD thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place.
31. the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that … thy God bare thee] The second of the Sg. passages in this discourse. If we omit it the rest of the verse in the Pl. address follows suitably on the initial conjunction: and in all the way ye went until ye came to this place. Possibly, therefore, the Sg. clause is a later insertion (so Stärk, Steuern., Berth.). Yet it may be argued that the author has himself naturally changed from Pl. to Sg. under the influence of the metaphor he uses; the nation being personified by the metaphor and therefore conceived in the Sg.

bare thee] Rather, hath borne thee. This figure for the Divine Providence is frequent in the O.T.; whether with the accompanying simile, as a man his son, Deuteronomy 1:44; Deuteronomy 8:5; cp. Hosea 11:1 f.; or with another, on eagles’ wings, Deuteronomy 32:11; Exodus 19:4 (both JE); or with no addition, Hosea 11:4; Isaiah 46:4; Isaiah 63:9; or as implied in other words Deuteronomy 32:13, he made him to ride; Deuteronomy 33:27, underneath are the everlasting arms. Isaiah 46 contrasts the dead idols that need to be carried with the living God who carries His people. The same idea, that religion is not what we have to carry but what carries us, is enforced nowhere more finely than in D in which faith in God means buoyancy and progress, the experience of being lifted and forwarded.

unto this place] Deuteronomy 3:29, the valley over against Beth-Pe‘or. Cp. Deuteronomy 9:7, Deuteronomy 11:5, and with a different prepos. Deuteronomy 26:9, Deuteronomy 29:6.

Verse 31. - Not only at the Red Sea did God appear for the defense of his people and the discomfiture of their enemies, but also in the wilderness, which they had seen (as in ver. 19), where (אֲשֶׂר, elliptically for אֲשֶׂר בו) Jehovah their God bore them as a man beareth his son, sustaining, tending, supporting, and carrying them over difficulties (comp. Numbers 11:12, where a similar figure occurs; see also Isaiah 46:3, 4; Isaiah 63:9, etc.; Psalm 23.). Deuteronomy 1:31The attempt made by Moses to inspire the despondent people with courage, when they were ready to despair of ever conquering the Canaanites, by pointing them to the help of the Lord, which they had experienced in so mighty and visible a manner in Egypt and the desert, and to urge them to renewed confidence in this their almighty Helper and Guide, was altogether without success. And just because the appeal of Moses was unsuccessful, it is passed over in the historical account in Numbers 13; all that is mentioned there (Deuteronomy 1:6-9) being the effort made by Joshua and Caleb to stir up the people, and that on account of the effects which followed the courageous bearing of these two men, so far as their own future history was concerned. The words "goeth before you," in Deuteronomy 1:30, are resumed in Deuteronomy 1:33, and carried out still further. "Jehovah,...He shall fight for you according to all (כּכל) that," i.e., in exactly the same manner, as, "He did for you in Egypt," especially at the crossing of the Red Sea (Exodus 14), "and in the wilderness, which thou hast seen (ראית, as in Deuteronomy 1:19), where (אשׁר without בּו in a loose connection; see Ewald, 331, c. and 333, a.) Jehovah thy God bore thee as a man beareth his son;" i.e., supported, tended, and provided for thee in the most fatherly way (see the similar figure in Numbers 11:12, and expanded still more fully in Psalm 23:1-6).
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