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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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)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.
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.
Anakims—(See on 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.
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: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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)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.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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