Turn you, and take your journey, and go to the mount of the Amorites, and to all the places near thereunto, in the plain, in the hills, and in the vale, and in the south, and by the sea side, to the land of the Canaanites, and to Lebanon, to the great river, the river Euphrates.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Enter the mount of the Amorites—i.e., the southern part of Judah, from which the five kings of the Amorites, the southern confederacy of Joshua 10 (which see), arose to attack Gibeon. Israel would have marched into the heart of this territory had they entered from Kadesh, “by the way of the spies.”
And unto all the places nigh thereunto.—The rest of the promised land is thus described: In the plain—of Jordan. In the mountain—the hill-country of Judah in the south, Mount Ephraim in the centre, and the mountainous district further north. In the Shephêlah—Philistia. In the Negeb—the land afterwards assigned to Simeon, in the far south of Judah. And by the sea side to the north of Carmel (see Joshua 9:1; Judges 5:17), the coasts of the Great Sea over against Lebanon, and in the territory of Asher and Zebulun, as far as Phœnicia (Genesis 49:13).
The land of the Canaanites, and unto Lebanon.—The Canaanites held the plain of Esdraelon and the fortresses in the north. From Lebanon, the conquest would extend ultimately to the north-east, even to the great river, the river Euphrates,Deuteronomy 1:7-8. To the mount of the Amorites — That is, to the mountainous country on the south part of Canaan, inhabited chiefly by the Amorites, Deuteronomy 1:19-20; Deuteronomy 1:44. The country to which Moses directed the spies to go up, Numbers 13:17. This order is not mentioned in the book of Numbers, nor a great many other things, for a knowledge of which we are indebted to this supplemental book of Deuteronomy. Behold, I have set the land before you — Hebrew, before your faces; it is open to your view, and to your possession; there is no impediment in your way. And thus is the heavenly Canaan, and the kingdom of grace which leads to it, laid open to the view and enjoyment of all believers. Which the Lord sware unto your fathers, Genesis 15:18; Genesis 17:7; Genesis 28:13. It is not indeed said in any of these places that God confirmed his promise with an oath; but he did what was equivalent thereto; he engaged his veracity by the solemn transaction of a covenant, which is called the oath of God, Genesis 26:3.
to the land of the Canaanites, and unto Lebanon—that is, Phœnicia, the country of Sidon, and the coast of the Mediterranean—from the Philistines to Lebanon. The name "Canaanite" is often used synonymously with that of "Phœnician."To the mount of the Amorite, i.e. to the mountainous country where the Amorites dwelt, which is opposed to the plain here following, where others of them dwelt. And this is the first mentioned, because it was in the borders of the land: see below, Deu 1:19,20. The divers parts or bounds of the land are here mentioned.
and go to the mount of the Amorites; where they and the Amalekites dwelt, in the south part of the land of Canaan, and which was the way the spies were sent, Numbers 13:17,
and unto all the places nigh thereunto; nigh to the mountain. The Targum of Jonathan and Jarchi interpret them of Moab, Ammon, Gebal, or Mount Seir: "in the plain, in the hills, and in the vale"; such was the country near this mountain, consisting of champaign land, hills, and valleys:
and in the south; the southern border of the land of Canaan, as what follows describes the other borders of it:
and by the sea side: the Mediterranean sea, the western border of the land, which Jarchi out of Siphri explains of Ashkelon, Gaza, and Caesarea, and so the Targum of Jonathan:
into the land of the Canaanites; which was then possessed by them, the boundaries of which to the south and west are before given, and next follow those to the north and east:
and unto Lebanon; which was on the north of the land of Canaan:
unto the great river, the river Euphrates; which was the utmost extent of the land eastward, and was either promised, as it was to Abraham, Genesis 15:18 or enjoyed, as it was by Solomon, 1 Kings 4:21.Turn you, and take your journey, and go to the mount of the Amorites, and unto all the places nigh thereunto, in the plain, in the hills, and in the vale, and in the south, and by the sea side, to the land of the Canaanites, and unto Lebanon, unto the great river, the river Euphrates.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. turn you, and take your journey] Heb. turn you or face, and break up camp, or move on. The first of these two verbs employed with a verb of motion is used only in D (and the editorial Numbers 14:25) of fresh starts of the whole people on their journey through the wilderness; as here, Deuteronomy 1:40, Deuteronomy 2:1, or with other verbs. In JE, where used with verbs of motion, it is of individuals only; while in P it has another meaning, to look towards. On the second verb see below, Deuteronomy 1:19.
hill country of the Amorites] Heb. Mount of the Amorite: as at the present day in Arabic, the singular mount is applied to a mountain-range. The range of Pal. W. of Jordan is meant, but especially its S. end (cp. Deuteronomy 1:20). The name appears very early, for Kings of the 1st Dynasty in Babylon call themselves Kings of Amurru: a name which inscriptions found at Boghaz-Keui (Mitt. d. deutsch. Orient. Gesellschaft, Dec. 1907, 23 f.), prove to have extended to the Euphrates; but which the Tell-el-Amarna letters (about 1400 b.c.) confine to the hinterland of Phoenicia, in the N. of Palestine. Amorite, in D as in E, is the general name for all the tribes dispossessed by Israel; J has Canaanite. Winckler explains this from the origin of E in N. Israel where the Amorites had been in force; while J, writing in Judah where Israel had not fought the Amorites, knew nothing of them but assigned the whole land to the Canaanites, whose civilisation had been paramount on the coast at the time of Israel’s entry and who continued to form an antithesis to Israel (Gesch. Isr. i. 53). If this argument were sound, then D’s extension of the name Amorite to the S. of W. Palestine would be artificial. But Winckler himself recognises the ancient character of the tradition which calls Sîḥôn an Amorite (op. cit. p. 52), and if the Amorites had penetrated to Moab, they had also, it is probable, extended their sovereignty as far S. on the W. of the Jordan.
and unto all … nigh thereunto] Heb. unto all its neighbours: the Arabah, i.e. N. of the Dead Sea (see on Deuteronomy 1:1); the hill-country, such of the W. range as was not included under the Mt of the Amorite; the lowland, Heb. the Shephelah, the low or foot-hills between the range and the maritime plain (HGHL. 201 ff.); the South, Heb. the Negeb, the region to the S. of the range, which descends into the Negeb about Be’er-Sheba‘; the sea-shore, the maritime plain between the Shephelah and the Mediterranean, further defined as the land of the Canaanites, the deuteronomic writers limiting the Canaanites to the level ‘Arabah and the maritime plain, just as the Tell-el-Amarna letters call the coast land Kinaḥi = Kena‘an (so rightly Driver, while Dillm. and Steuern. take the phrase as covering all the land already defined); and Lebanon added to complete the land, cp. Deuteronomy 11:24, Joshua 1:4; as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, the ideal but never the actual limit of Israel’s territory, cf. Deuteronomy 11:24. Lists of the divisions of the Promised Land similar to this occur in (probably editorial) passages of the Book of Jos.:—Joshua 9:1, Joshua 10:40, Joshua 11:2; Joshua 11:16, Joshua 12:8.Verse 7. - Go to the mount of the Amorites, and unto all that dwell thereon; literally, its dwellers or inhabitants (שְׁכֵנָיו). The mountain range of the Amorites, afterwards called the hill country of Judah and Ephraim, was the object which would first strike the view of one advancing from the south; and so, it stands here for the whole land of Canaan, with which it is in this context identified. Those "that dwell thereon" are the inhabitants of the whole of Canaan. The Amorites (Hebrew Emori, so called from Amor, or Emor) oftener than once appear as standing for the Canaanites generally (cf. Genesis 15:16; Deuteronomy 1:20, 21, etc.). That all the inhabitants of Canaan are intended here is evident from the specification of the different districts of the land of Canaan which immediately follows. In the plain: the 'Arabah (see ver. 1). In the hills: the hill country of Judah (Numbers 13:17). In the vale: the shephelah, or lowland, the country lying between the mountain range of Judah and the Mediterranean Sea, and stretching northwards from the parallel of Gaza to that of Carmel. In the south: the negeb, or southland (literally, dryness), the district which formed the transition from the desert to the cultivated land, extending from the south of the Dead Sea westwards to Gaza, a vast steppe or prairie, for the most part pasture land. The seashore: the narrow strip of land on the coast of the Mediterranean from Joppa to Tyre (in the New Testament, "the coast of Tyre and Sidon," Luke 6:17). The land of the Canaanites: the whole country of which these were the separate parts. And unto Lebanon: the Whale Mountain, so called, probably, from the snow which rests on its summit. The great river, the river Euphrates. The Phrath, or Euphrates, which has its sources in the mountains of Armenia, and in its course divides Armenia from Cappadocia, formed the eastern limit of the territory promised by God to Abraham. The epithet "great" seems to have been commonly applied to it. Callimachus calls it 'ΑΣΣυριοῦ ποταμοῖο μέγας ρόος ('In Apoll.,' 107), and Lucan has-
"Quaque caput rapido tollit cum Tigride
(Phars.,' 3:256.) As by much the most considerable river of western Asia, the Euphrates was known as "the river" par excellence (cf. Exodus 23:31; Isaiah 8:7; Jeremiah 2:18; Psalm 72:8). The mention of Lebanon and the Euphrates is not, as Keil suggests, "to be attributed to the rhetorical fullness of the style;" but is due to the fact that these were included in what God promised to Abraham and his seed (Genesis 15:18; Exodus 23:31; Deuteronomy 11:24). Deuteronomy 1:1-4 contain the heading to the whole book; and to this the introduction to the first address is appended in Deuteronomy 1:5. By the expression, "These be the words," etc., Deuteronomy is attached to the previous books; the word "these," which refers to the addresses that follow, connects what follows with what goes before, just as in Genesis 2:4; Genesis 6:9, etc. The geographical data in Deuteronomy 1:1 present no little difficulty; for whilst the general statement as to the place where Moses delivered the addresses in this book, viz., beyond Jordan, is particularized in the introduction to the second address (Deuteronomy 4:46), as "in the valley over against Beth-Peor," here it is described as "in the wilderness, in the Arabah," etc. This contrast between the verse before us and Deuteronomy 4:45-46, and still more the introduction of the very general and loose expression, "in the desert," which is so little adapted for a geographical definition of the locality, that it has to be defined itself by the additional words "in the Arabah," suggest the conclusion that the particular names introduced are not intended to furnish as exact a geographical account as possible of the spot where Moses explained the law to all Israel, but to call up to view the scene of the addresses which follow, and point out the situation of all Israel at that time. Israel was "in the desert," not yet in Canaan the promised inheritance, and in fact "in the Arabah." This is the name given to the deep low-lying plain on both sides of the Jordan, which runs from the Lake of Gennesaret to the Dead Sea, and stretches southwards from the Dead Sea to Aila, at the northern extremity of the Red Sea, as we may see very clearly from Deuteronomy 2:8, where the way which the Israelites took past Edom to Aila is called the "way of the Arabah," and also from the fact that the Dead Sea is called "the sea of the Arabah" in Deuteronomy 3:17 and Deuteronomy 4:49. At present the name Arabah is simply attached to the southern half of this valley, between the Dead Sea and the Red Sea; whilst the northern part, between the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee, is called el Ghor; though Abulfeda, Ibn Haukal, and other Arabic geographers, extend the name Ghor from the Lake of Gennesaret to Aila (cf. Ges. thes. p. 1166; Hengstenberg, Balaam, p. 520; Robinson, Pal. ii. p. 596). - סוּף מול, "over against Suph" (מול for מוּל, Deuteronomy 2:19; Deuteronomy 3:29, etc., for the sake of euphony, to avoid the close connection of the two 8-sounds). Suph is probably a contraction of ים־סוּף, "the Red Sea" (see at Exodus 10:19). This name is given not only to the Gulf of Suez (Exodus 13:18; Exodus 15:4, Exodus 15:22, etc.), but to that of Akabah also (Numbers 14:25; Numbers 21:4, etc.). There is no other Suph that would be at all suitable here. The lxx have rendered it πλήσιον τῆς ἐρυθρᾶς θαλάσσης; and Onkelos and others adopt the same rendering. This description cannot serve as a more precise definition of the Arabah, in which case עשׁר (which) would have to be supplied before מול, since "the Arabah actually touches the Red Sea." Nor does it point out the particular spot in the Arabah where the addresses were delivered, as Knobel supposes; or indicate the connection between the Arboth Moab and the continuation of the Arabah on the other side of the Dead Sea, and point out the Arabah in all this extent as the heart of the country over which the Israelites had moved during the whole of their forty years' wandering (Hengstenberg). For although the Israelites passed twice through the Arabah, it formed by no means the heart of the country in which they continued for forty years. The words "opposite to Suph," when taken in connection with the following names, cannot have any other object than to define with greater exactness the desert in which the Israelites had moved during the forty years. Moses spoke to all Israel on the other side of the Jordan, when it was still in the desert, in the Arabah, still opposite to the Red Sea, after crossing which it had entered the wilderness (Exodus 15:22), "between Paran, and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Di-Sahab." Paran is at all events not the desert of this name in all its extent, but the place of encampment in the "desert of Paran" (Numbers 10:12; Numbers 12:16), i.e., the district of Kadesh in the desert of Zin (Numbers 13:21, Numbers 13:26); and Hazeroth is most probably the place of encampment of that name mentioned in Numbers 11:35; Numbers 12:16, from which Israel entered the desert of Paran. Both places had been very eventful to the Israelites. At Hazeroth, Miriam the prophetess and Aaron the high priest had stumbled through rebellion against Moses (Numbers 12). In the desert of Paran by Kadesh the older generation had been rejected, and sentenced to die in the wilderness on account of its repeated rebellion against the Lord (Numbers 14); and when the younger generation that had grown up in the wilderness assembled once more in Kadesh to set out for Canaan, even Moses and Aaron, the two heads of the nation, sinned there at the water of strife, so that they two were not permitted to enter Canaan, whilst Miriam died there at that time (Numbers 20). But if Paran and Hazeroth are mentioned on account of the tragical events connected with these places, it is natural to conclude that there were similar reasons for mentioning the other three names as well.
Tophel is supposed by Hengstenberg (Balaam, p. 517) and Robinson (Pal. ii. p. 570) and all the more modern writers, to be the large village of Tafyleh, with six hundred inhabitants, the chief place in Jebal, on the western side of the Edomitish mountains, in a well-watered valley of the wady of the same name, with large plantations of fruit-trees (Burckhardt, Syr. pp. 677, 678). The Israelites may have come upon this place in the neighbourhood of Oboth (Numbers 21:10-11); and as its inhabitants, according to Burckhardt, p. 680, supply the Syrian caravans with a considerable quantity of provisions, which they sell to them in the castle of el Ahsa, Schultz conjectures that it may have been here that the people of Israel purchased food and drink of the Edomites for money (Deuteronomy 2:29), and that Tafyleh is mentioned as a place of refreshment, where the Israelites partook for the first time of different food from the desert supply. There is a great deal to be said in favour of this conjecture: for even if the Israelites did not obtain different food for the first time at this place, the situation of Tophel does warrant the supposition that it was here that they passed for the first time from the wilderness to an inhabited land; on which account the place was so memorable for them, that it might very well be mentioned as being the extreme east of their wanderings in the desert, as the opposite point to the encampment at Paran, where they first arrived on the western side of their wandering, at the southern border of Canaan. Laban is generally identified with Libnah, the second place of encampment on the return journey from Kadesh (Numbers 33:22), and may perhaps have been the place referred to in Numbers 16, but not more precisely defined, where the rebellion of the company of Korah occurred. Lastly, Di-Sahab has been identified by modern commentators with Mersa Dahab or Mina Dahab, i.e., gold-harbour, a place upon a tongue of land in the Elanitic Gulf, about the same latitude as Sinai, where there is nothing to be seen now except a quantity of date-trees, a few sand-hills, and about a dozen heaps of stones piled up irregularly, but all showing signs of having once been joined together (cf. Burckhardt, pp. 847-8; and Ritter, Erdk. xiv. pp. 226ff.). But this is hardly correct. As Roediger has observed (on Wellsted's Reisen, ii. p. 127), "the conjecture has been based exclusively upon the similarity of name, and there is not the slightest exegetical tradition to favour it." But similarity of names cannot prove anything by itself, as the number of places of the same name, but in different localities, that we meet with in the Bible, is very considerable. Moreover, the further assumption which is founded upon this conjecture, namely, that the Israelites went from Sinai past Dahab, not only appears untenable for the reasons given above, but is actually rendered impossible by the locality itself. The approach to this tongue of land, which projects between two steep lines of coast, with lofty mountain ranges of from 800 to 2000 feet in height on both north and south, leads from Sinai through far too narrow and impracticable a valley for the Israelites to be able to march thither and fix an encampment there.
(Note: From the mouth of the valley through the masses of the primary mountains to the sea-coast, there is a fan-like surface of drifts of primary rock, the radius of which is thirty-five minutes long, the progressive work of the inundations of an indefinable course of thousands of years" (Rppell, Nubien, p. 206).)
And if Israel cannot have touched Dahab on its march, every probability vanishes that Moses should have mentioned this place here, and the name Di-Sahab remains at present undeterminable. But in spite of our ignorance of this place, and notwithstanding the fact that even the conjecture expressed with regard to Laban is very uncertain, there can be no well-founded doubt that the words "between Paran and Tophel" are to be understood as embracing the whole period of the thirty-seven years of mourning, at the commencement of which Israel was in Paran, whilst at the end they sought to enter Canaan by Tophel (the Edomitish Tafyleh), and that the expression "opposite to Suph" points back to their first entrance into the desert. - Looking from the steppes of Moab over the ground that the Israelites had traversed, Suph, where they first entered the desert of Arabia, would lie between Paran, where the congregation arrived at the borders of Canaan towards the west, and Tophel, where they first ended their desert wanderings thirty-seven years later on the east.
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