Deuteronomy 1:33
Who went in the way before you, to search you out a place to pitch your tents in, in fire by night, to show you by what way you should go, and in a cloud by day.
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(33) Who went in the way before you, to search you out a place.—Comp. Numbers 10:33, “The ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them . . . to search out a resting place for them;” and St. John 14:2, “I go to prepare a place for you;” and Hebrews 6:20, “Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus.” On the whole manner of this cloud-guidance, see Numbers 9:15-23.

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.

No text from Poole on this verse. Who went in the way before you, to search you out a place to pitch your tents in,.... For when the cloud was taken up they journeyed, and when that rested, there they pitched their tents; and hereby they were directed to places the most convenient for water for them and their flocks, or for safety from those that might annoy them:

in fire by night, to show you by what way ye should go; which otherwise they could not have found in dark nights, in which they sometimes travelled, and in, a wilderness where there were no tracks, no beaten path, no common way:

and in a cloud by day; to shelter them from the scorching sun, where there were no trees nor hedges to shade them, only rocky crags and hills.

Who went in the way before you, to search you out a place to pitch your tents in, in fire by night, to show you by what way ye should go, and in a cloud by day.
33. who went before you] See on Deuteronomy 1:30, and cp. Exodus 13:21.

to seek you out a place] The same verb, tûr, which P uses for exploring; see on Deuteronomy 1:22. This is the only instance of its use in D. Some, therefore, take the verse as a later gloss, which but repeats what is described in Deuteronomy 1:30 f. (yet repetition is a mark of D’s style), while the rest of the verse consists of variations of JE, Exodus 13:21, Numbers 14:14. For P’s additions to the close of this episode see above.

fire by night … cloud by day] See on Exodus 13:21."But ye would not go up, and were rebellious against the mouth (i.e., the express will) of Jehovah our God, and murmured in your tents, and said, Because Jehovah hated us, He hath brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, to give us into the hand of the Amorites to destroy us." שׂנאה, either an infinitive with a feminine termination, or a verbal noun construed with an accusative (see Ges. 133; Ewald, 238, a.). - By the allusion to the murmuring in the tents, Moses points them to Numbers 14:1, and then proceeds to describe the rebellion of the congregation related there (Deuteronomy 1:2-4), in such a manner that the state of mind manifested on that occasion presents the appearance of the basest ingratitude, inasmuch as the people declared the greatest blessing conferred upon them by God, viz., their deliverance from Egypt, to have been an act of hatred on His part. At the same time, by addressing the existing members of the nation, as if they themselves had spoken so, whereas the whole congregation that rebelled at Kadesh had fallen in the desert, and a fresh generation was now gathered round him, Moses points to the fact, that the sinful corruption which broke out at that time, and bore such bitter fruit, had not died out with the older generation, but was germinating still in the existing Israel, and even though it might be deeply hidden in their hearts, would be sure to break forth again.
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