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 shew you by what way ye 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.

Deuteronomy 1:33"And even at this word ye remained unbelieving towards the Lord;" i.e., notwithstanding the fact that I reminded you of all the gracious help that he had experienced from your God, ye persisted in your unbelief. The participle אינכם מאמינם, "ye were not believing," is intended to describe their unbelief as a permanent condition. This unbelief was all the more grievous a sin, because the Lord their God went before them all the way in the pillar of cloud and fire, to guide and to defend them. On the fact itself, comp. Numbers 9:15., Numbers 10:33, with Exodus 13:21-22.
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