Deuteronomy 1:38
But Joshua the son of Nun, which stands before you, he shall go in thither: encourage him: for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.
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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 sentence on Moses was not passed when the people rebelled during their first encampment at Kadesh, but some 37 years later, when they had re-assembled in the same neighborhood at Meribah (see the Numbers 20:13 note). He alludes to it here as having happened not many months previously, bearing on the facts which were for his purpose in pricking the conscience of the people. 37. Also the Lord was angry with me for your sakes—This statement seems to indicate that it was on this occasion Moses was condemned to share the fate of the people. But we know that it was several years afterwards that Moses betrayed an unhappy spirit of distrust at the waters of strife (Ps 106:32, 33). This verse must be considered therefore as a parenthesis. Which standeth before thee, i.e. who is now thy minister and servant, for such are oft described by this phrase, as 1 Kings 1:2 Daniel 1:5,19. But Joshua, the son of Nun, which standeth before thee,.... His servant and minister, which this phrase is expressive of:

he shall go in thither: into the good land, instead of Moses, and as his successor, and who was to go before the children of Israel, and introduce them into it, as a type of Christ, who brings many sons to glory:

encourage him; with the promise of the divine Presence with him, and of success in subduing the Canaanites, and settling the people of Israel in their land; and so we read that Moses did encourage him, Deuteronomy 31:7.

for he shall cause Israel to inherit it; go before them as their captain, and lead them into it; fight their battles for them, conquer their enemies, and divide the land by lot for an inheritance unto them; so the heavenly inheritance is not by the law of Moses, and the works of it, but by Joshua, or Jesus, the Saviour, by his achievements, victories, and conquests.

But Joshua the son of Nun, which standeth {t} before thee, he shall go in thither: encourage him: for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.

(t) Who minister to you.

38. Joshua the son of Nun] So Deuteronomy 3:28; P, Numbers 27:18 ff.; not given in JE.

which standeth before thee] Deuteronomy 10:8; so a servant stood before his lord, a courtier before his king, and the Levites before Jehovah. JE, Exodus 24:13 f., the minister of Moses.

encourage thou him] lit. him make thou strong. The vb ḥizzeḳ, alone as here, or with the synonymous vb ’immeṣ Deuteronomy 3:28; or in their intransitive forms Deuteronomy 31:6-7; Deuteronomy 31:23. Cp. Deuteronomy 11:8, Deuteronomy 12:23 (be firm).

cause … to inherit] characteristic of D: used of Joshua here, Deuteronomy 3:28, Deuteronomy 31:7; Joshua 1:6; but of God 12 to, Deuteronomy 19:3. Outside D only in Jeremiah 3:18; Jeremiah 12:14; Ezekiel 46:18 and later writers. P uses another form of the vb, Numbers 34:29; Joshua 13:32; Joshua 14:1; Joshua 19:51.

Further Note to Deuteronomy 1:36-38. Because Moses has just been described as seeking to turn the people from their sin, 29 ff., and it is therefore unreasonable to include him in their punishment; because Deuteronomy 1:37-38 needlessly anticipate Deuteronomy 3:26; Deuteronomy 3:28 and Deuteronomy 4:21; and because Deuteronomy 1:39 in whole or part follows suitably on Deuteronomy 1:36; therefore Deuteronomy 1:37-38 are taken by many (Dillm., W. R. Smith, Steuern., Berth, etc.) as a later addition to the text. And indeed the beginning of Deuteronomy 1:39 shows that the original has been disturbed by an editorial hand (see below). Steuern. would also omit Deuteronomy 1:36 on the ground that Kaleb has not been previously mentioned in this survey. But Kaleb is mentioned in JE on which this survey otherwise depends. In whatever way these textual questions may be decided, the parallel passages Deuteronomy 3:26 ff. and Deuteronomy 4:21 confirm the fact of a D tradition or statement that Jehovah was angry with Moses for the people’s sake. This can only mean, their guilt was great enough to include the very leader who had done his best to dissuade them from their disaffection! Now neither JE nor P gives any hint of so remarkable a judgement. On the contrary, P accounts for the exclusion of Moses by his own sin in striking the rock at Ḳadesh 37 years after this disaffection of Israel, Numbers 21:10 ff; Numbers 27:13 f.; Deuteronomy 32:50 f. The most reasonable explanation of such discrepancies is that they are discrepancies not of fact but or opinion. The earliest tradition, JE, merely held the facts that Kaleb survived and that Moses died on the eve of the possession of the Promised Land. The problem, which arose from this contrast of fortune, the deuteronomic writers solved by the statement that Moses was included in the guilt of the people when, startled by the report of the spies, they refused to invade Canaan from the S. in the second year of the wandering; and this agrees with the deuteronomic principle of the ethical solidarity of Israel. But the later priestly writer or writers, under the influence of the idea, first emphasized in the time of Jeremiah and Ezekiel (Jeremiah 31:29 f., Ezekiel 18), that every man died because of his own sin, found a solution for the problem in Moses’ own guilt in presumptuously striking the rock at Ḳadesh, 37 years later. In this double engagement, from two different standpoints, with so difficult a problem, note the strong evidence that the survival of Kaleb and the death of Moses before Israel’s entrance to the Land were regarded as irremoveable elements of the early tradition.Verse 38. - Though the rebellious generation were to perish, and Moses was not to be permitted to enter Canaan, God would not depart from his promise, but would by another leader bring the people to the inheritance which he had sworn to their fathers to give them. (For the account of Joshua's appointment and installation, see Numbers 27:15-23.) Which standeth before thee; i.e. to be thy minister or servant (Exodus 24:13; Exodus 33:11; Numbers 11:28; comp. for the meaning of the phrase Deuteronomy 10:8; Deuteronomy 18:7; Daniel 1:5). Encourage him; literally, strengthen him (comp. Deuteronomy 3:21, 22; Deuteronomy 31:7, 8). Inherit it; the "it" refers back to ver. 35, "that good land." In vers. 8 and 21, the land is spoken of as to be possessed by the Israelites; here it is spoken of as to be inherited by them. The former has reference to their having to wrest the land by force from the Canaanites (יָרַשׁ, to occupy by force, to dispossess; cf. Deuteronomy 2:12, 21, 22, where the verb is, in the Authorized Version, rendered by "destroy"); the latter has reference to their receiving the land as a heritage (נָןחל) from God, who, when he divided to the nations their inheritance, assigned Canaan to the children of Israel (Deuteronomy 32:8). "Joshua the executor of the inheritance" (Schroeder). "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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