1:1 This is what 1 Moses said to the assembly of Israel 2 in the Transjordanian 3 wastelands, the arid country opposite 4 Suph, 5 between 6 Paran 7 and Tophel, 8 Laban, 9 Hazeroth, 10 and Di Zahab 11 1:2 Now it is ordinarily an eleven-day journey 12 from Horeb 13 to Kadesh Barnea 14 by way of Mount Seir. 15 1:3 However, it was not until 16 the first day of the eleventh month 17 of the fortieth year 18 that Moses addressed the Israelites just as 19 the Lord had instructed him to do. 1:4 This took place after the defeat 20 of King Sihon 21 of the Amorites, whose capital was 22 in Heshbon, 23 and King Og of Bashan, whose capital was 24 in Ashtaroth, 25 specifically in Edrei. 26 1:5 So it was in the Transjordan, in Moab, that Moses began to deliver these words: 27
1:6 The Lord our God spoke to us at Horeb and said, “You have stayed 28 in the area of this mountain long enough. 1:7 Get up now, 29 resume your journey, heading for 30 the Amorite hill country, to all its areas 31 including the arid country, 32 the highlands, the Shephelah, 33 the Negev, 34 and the coastal plain – all of Canaan and Lebanon as far as the Great River, that is, the Euphrates. 1:8 Look! I have already given the land to you. 35 Go, occupy the territory that I, 36 the Lord, promised 37 to give to your ancestors 38 Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to their descendants.” 39 1:9 I also said to you at that time, “I am no longer able to sustain you by myself. 1:10 The Lord your God has increased your population 40 to the point that you are now as numerous as the very stars of the sky. 41 1:11 Indeed, may the Lord, the God of your ancestors, make you a thousand times more numerous than you are now, blessing you 42 just as he said he would! 1:12 But how can I alone bear up under the burden of your hardship and strife? 1:13 Select wise and practical 43 men, those known among your tribes, whom I may appoint as your leaders.” 1:14 You replied to me that what I had said to you was good. 1:15 So I chose 44 as your tribal leaders wise and well-known men, placing them over you as administrators of groups of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens, and also as other tribal officials. 1:16 I furthermore admonished your judges at that time that they 45 should pay attention to issues among your fellow citizens 46 and judge fairly, 47 whether between one citizen and another 48 or a citizen and a resident foreigner. 49 1:17 They 50 must not discriminate in judgment, but hear the lowly 51 and the great alike. Nor should they be intimidated by human beings, for judgment belongs to God. If the matter being adjudicated is too difficult for them, they should bring it before me for a hearing.
1:18 So I instructed you at that time regarding everything you should do. 1:19 Then we left Horeb and passed through all that immense, forbidding wilderness that you saw on the way to the Amorite hill country as the Lord our God had commanded us to do, finally arriving at Kadesh Barnea. 1:20 Then I said to you, “You have come to the Amorite hill country which the Lord our God is about to give 52 us. 1:21 Look, he 53 has placed the land in front of you! 54 Go up, take possession of it, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, said to do. Do not be afraid or discouraged!” 1:22 So all of you approached me and said, “Let’s send some men ahead of us to scout out the land and bring us back word as to how we should attack it and what the cities are like there.” 1:23 I thought this was a good idea, 55 so I sent 56 twelve men from among you, one from each tribe. 1:24 They left and went up to the hill country, coming to the Eshcol Valley, 57 which they scouted out. 1:25 Then they took 58 some of the produce of the land and carried it back down to us. They also brought a report to us, saying, “The land that the Lord our God is about to give us is good.”
1:26 You were not willing to go up, however, but instead rebelled against the Lord your God. 59 1:27 You complained among yourselves privately 60 and said, “Because the Lord hates us he brought us from Egypt to deliver us over to the Amorites so they could destroy us! 1:28 What is going to happen to us? Our brothers have drained away our courage 61 by describing people who are more numerous 62 and taller than we are, and great cities whose defenses appear to be as high as heaven 63 itself! Moreover, they said they saw 64 Anakites 65 there.” 1:29 So I responded to you, “Do not be terrified 66 of them! 1:30 The Lord your God is about to go 67 ahead of you; he will fight for you, just as you saw him do in Egypt 68 1:31 and in the desert, where you saw him 69 carrying you along like a man carries his son. This he did everywhere you went until you came to this very place.” 1:32 However, through all this you did not have confidence in the Lord your God, 1:33 the one who was constantly going before you to find places for you to set up camp. He appeared by fire at night and cloud by day, to show you the way you ought to go.
1:34 When the Lord heard you, he became angry and made this vow: 70 1:35 “Not a single person 71 of this evil generation will see the good land that I promised to give to your ancestors! 1:36 The exception is Caleb son of Jephunneh; 72 he will see it and I will give him and his descendants the territory on which he has walked, because he has wholeheartedly followed me.” 73 1:37 As for me, the Lord was also angry with me on your account. He said, “You also will not be able to go there. 1:38 However, Joshua son of Nun, your assistant, 74 will go. Encourage him, because he will enable Israel to inherit the land. 75 1:39 Also, your infants, who you thought would die on the way, 76 and your children, who as yet do not know good from bad, 77 will go there; I will give them the land and they will possess it. 1:40 But as for you, 78 turn back and head for the desert by the way to the Red Sea.” 79
1:41 Then you responded to me and admitted, “We have sinned against the Lord. We will now go up and fight as the Lord our God has told us to do.” So you each put on your battle gear and prepared to go up to the hill country. 1:42 But the Lord told me: “Tell them this: ‘Do not go up and fight, because I will not be with you and you will be defeated by your enemies.’” 1:43 I spoke to you, but you did not listen. Instead you rebelled against the Lord 80 and recklessly went up to the hill country. 1:44 The Amorite inhabitants of that area 81 confronted 82 you and chased you like a swarm of bees, striking you down from Seir as far as Hormah. 83 1:45 Then you came back and wept before the Lord, but he 84 paid no attention to you whatsoever. 85 1:46 Therefore, you remained at Kadesh for a long time – indeed, for the full time. 86
[1:1] 3 tn Heb “on the other side of the Jordan.” This would appear to favor authorship by someone living on the west side of the Jordan, that is, in Canaan, whereas the biblical tradition locates Moses on the east side (cf. v. 5). However the Hebrew phrase בְּעֵבֶר הַיּרְדֵּן (bÿ’ever hayyrÿden) is a frozen form meaning “Transjordan,” a name appropriate from any geographical vantage point. To this day, one standing east of the Jordan can describe himself as being in Transjordan.
[1:2] 14 sn Kadesh Barnea. Possibly this refers to àAin Qudeis, about 50 mi (80 km) southwest of Beer Sheba, but more likely to àAin Qudeirat, 5 mi (8 km) NW of àAin Qudeis. See R. Cohen, “Did I Excavate Kadesh-Barnea?” BAR 7 (1981): 20-33.
[1:2] 15 sn Mount Seir is synonymous with Edom. “By way of Mount Seir” refers to the route from Horeb that ended up in Edom Cf. CEV “by way of the Mount Seir Road”; TEV “by way of the hill country of Edom.”
[1:5] 27 tn Heb “this instruction”; KJV, NIV, NRSV “this law”; TEV “God’s laws and teachings.” The Hebrew noun תוֹרָה (torah) is derived from the verb יָרָה (yarah, “to teach”) and here it refers to the Book of Deuteronomy, not the Pentateuch as a whole.
[1:7] sn The Shephelah is the geographical region between the Mediterranean coastal plain and the Judean hill country.
[1:7] 34 sn The Hebrew term Negev means literally “desert” or “south” (so KJV, ASV). It refers to the area south of Beer Sheba and generally west of the Arabah Valley between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba.
[1:16] 47 tn The Hebrew word צֶדֶק (tsedeq, “fairly”) carries the basic idea of conformity to a norm of expected behavior or character, one established by God himself. Fair judgment adheres strictly to that norm or standard (see D. Reimer, NIDOTTE 3:750).
[1:20] 52 tn The Hebrew participle has an imminent future sense here, although many English versions treat it as a present tense (“is giving us,” NAB, NIV, NRSV) or a predictive future (“will give us,” NCV).
[1:24] sn The Eshcol Valley is a verdant valley near Hebron, still famous for its viticulture (cf. Num 13:22-23). The Hebrew name “Eshcol” means “trestle,” that is, the frame on which grape vines grow.
[1:26] 59 tn Heb “the mouth of the
[1:39] 77 sn Do not know good from bad. This is a figure of speech called a merism (suggesting a whole by referring to its extreme opposites). Other examples are the tree of “the knowledge of good and evil” (Gen 2:9), the boy who knows enough “to reject the wrong and choose the right” (Isa 7:16; 8:4), and those who “cannot tell their right hand from their left” (Jonah 4:11). A young child is characterized by lack of knowledge.
[1:40] 79 tn Heb “the Reed Sea.” “Reed” is a better translation of the Hebrew סוּף (suf), traditionally rendered “red.” The name “Red Sea” is based on the LXX which referred to it as ἐρυθρᾶς θαλάσσης (eruqra" qalassh", “red sea”). Nevertheless, because the body of water in question is known in modern times as the Red Sea, this term was used in the translation. The part of the Red Sea in view here is not the one crossed in the exodus but its eastern arm, now known as the Gulf of Eilat or Gulf of Aqaba.
[1:44] 83 sn Hormah is probably Khirbet el-Meshash, 5.5 mi (9 km) west of Arad and 7.5 mi (12 km) SE of Beer Sheba. Its name is a derivative of the verb חָרָם (kharam, “to ban; to exterminate”). See Num 21:3.