Deuteronomy 1:34-40: Rehearsal of the Forty Years’ History: God’s Wrath

Verse 34:  And the LORD heard the voice of your words, and was wroth, (Deut. 2:14, 15) and sware, saying…

The voice of your words, to wit, your murmurings, your unthankful, impatient, distrustful, and rebellious speeches and carriages.


[1491 BC]  Verse 35:  (Num. 14:22, 23; Ps. 95:11) Surely there shall not one of these men of this evil generation see that good land, which I sware to give unto your fathers…


Verse 36:  (Num. 14:24, 30; Josh. 14:9) Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him will I give the land that he hath trodden upon, and to his children, because (Num. 14:24) he hath wholly followed (Heb. fulfilled to go after[1]) the LORD.

Caleb, under whom Joshua is comprehended, as is manifest from Deuteronomy 1:38; Numbers 14:30, though not here expressed, because he was not now to be one of the people, but to be set over them as chief governor.  The land; that particular part of the land:  compare Joshua 14:9.


Verse 37:  (Num. 20:12; 27:14; Deut. 3:26; 4:21; 34:4; Ps. 106:32) Also the LORD was angry with me for your sakes, saying, Thou also shalt not go in thither.

[The anger, etc., הִתְאַנַּף[2]He caused Himself to breathe[3] through His nostrils (Malvenda).  He cause Himself to be angry.  It denotes that God was not preoccupied with passions, but was angry by weighty deliberation and judgment.  Now, those angry breathe more vehemently, and indicate their anger by the snorting of the nose (Gerhard).

[Because of you (thus Oleaster, Ainsworth), בִּגְלַלְכֶם[4]In your revolution, that is, sedition and tumult, in which all things are rolled randomly; or, because ye rolled down your punishment and blame also upon me; or, for your sake, on occasion of you, inasmuch as an occasion is easily rolled (Malvenda).  Because of your revolution (Piscator).  Question:  How is it that he says because of you, when it was on account of his own infidelity?  Response:  Moses, upon the occasion of governing such a difficult and unbelieving rabble, fell into unbelief (Vatablus), while by their rebellion he was perturbed (Malvenda) and angered, Psalm 106:32, 33 (Ainsworth).  That, because of, signifies the form of the cause, accidental and occasional (Bonfrerius).  On account of the hardness and unbelief of the people, he doubted whether God was going to do the things that He had promised (Estius[5]).  Or, because of you, that is, because I consented unto the sending of the spies (Oleaster).

For your sakes; upon occasion of your wickedness and perverseness, by which you provoked me to speak unadvisedly, Psalm 106:32, 33.

[Thou shalt not go in thither]  שָׁם/there in the place of שָׁמָּה/thither (Piscator).


Verse 38:  (Num. 14:30) But Joshua the son of Nun, (Ex. 24:13; 33:11; see 1 Sam. 16:22) which standeth before thee, he shall go in thither:  (Num. 27:18, 19; Deut. 31:7, 23) encourage him:  for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.

[Thy minister]  Hebrew:  who stands before thee[6] (Oleaster, Malvenda).  It is a Hebraism, for, he ministers  to thee.  Thus Genesis 18:8, he was standing, that is, he was ministering, by them (Fagius).

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.

[Strengthen]  It is a Hebraism, for, command him to be of a noble and brave soul (Vatablus out of Fagius).


Verse 39:  (Num. 14:31) Moreover your little ones, which (Num. 14:3) ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day (Is. 7:15, 16; Rom. 9:11) had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.

[Who are ignorant of the difference between good and evil]  Who do not know how good differs from evil (Vatablus).  Thus Jonah 4:11.  Homer’s Odyssey υ΄, …οἶδα ἕκαστα, Ἐσθλά τε καὶ τὰ χέρεια·  πάρος δέ τι νήπιος ἦα, …I know each individual thing, the good and the bad at the same time; previously, however, I was an infant.  That age is said to be more mature, that knows to reject the evil, and to choose the good, Isaiah 7:14-16 (Grotius).

Had no knowledge between good and evil; a common description of the state of childhood, as Jonah 4:11.


Verse 40:  (Num. 14:25) But as for you, turn you, and take your journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea.

[1] Hebrew:  מִלֵּא אַחֲרֵי.

[2] אָנֵף signifies to breathe or blow.  It is closely related to אַף/noseTo breathe through the nose is a sign of anger.

[3] The Hithpael conjugation frequently conveys a causative sense.

[4] גָּלָל with ב signifies on account of.  גָּלַל signifies to roll, or to roll away.

[5] William Estius (1542-1613) labored first as a lecturer on Divinity, then as the Chancellor at Doway.  In his commentary writing, as exemplified in his Commentarii in Sacram Scripturam and Commentarii in Epistolas Apostolicas, he focuses on the literal meaning of the text, and draws it forth with skill and judgment.

[6] Hebrew:  הָעֹמֵד לְפָנֶיךָ.

Deuteronomy 1:25-33: Rehearsal of the Forty Years’ History: The Disobedience of the People

Verse 25:  And they took of the fruit of the land in their hands, and brought it down unto us, and brought us word again, and said, (Num. 13:27) It is a good land which the LORD our God doth give us.

The fruit; grapes, pomegranates, and figs, Numbers 13:23.  It is a good land; which acknowledgment, coming from its enemies, should have prevailed with you to go in, more than their discouraging words should have beat you off, because the Lord who had given you this land, was unquestionably able to settle you in it in spite of all opposition.


Verse 26:  (Num. 14:1-3; Ps. 106:24, 25) Notwithstanding ye would not go up, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God…

[But disbelieving, etc., וַתַּמְרוּ אֶת־פִּי יְהוָה[1]]  [They vary.]  And ye provoked[2] the mouth of Jehovah (Vatablus); that is to say, ye made His government void[3] (Malvenda).  Others:  with bitterness[4] ye affected the mouth of the Lord.  It is bitter to one governing, when to him there is no obedience (Oleaster).  Others:  ye altered, or, ye caused to changed, the mouth, that is, so that it might propose to you a counsel other than what is in verse 8 (Malvenda out of Junius).  But this appears to be more curious than solid, for it is evident thatהִמְרָה  in the Hiphil signifies the same thing as מָרָה in the Qal.  I prefer it thus, ye altered the mouth, etc.  When there is no obedience to the commandment, it is just as if that was changed, that is, abolished (Piscator).  To alter, etc., is put in the place of to rebel, because the word of God by disobedience is, as it were, changed and rendered void (Ainsworth).  Others:  ye provoke the mouth, that is, so that it might denounce against you difficulties harsh and bitter (certain interpreters in Malvenda).  Others:  ye rebelled (Piscator).  See Deuteronomy 1:43;[5] Numbers 27:14;[6] Deuteronomy 9:7[7] (Malvenda).


Verse 27:  And ye murmured in your tents, and said, Because the LORD (Deut. 9:28) hated us, he hath brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us.

[He hated us, בְּשִׂנְאַת יְהוָה אֹתָנוּ[8]In, or out of, the hatred of the Lord (supply, to, or towards [Arabic, Ainsworth, Malvenda]) us (Montanus).  See a similar expression in Genesis 19:16;[9] 29:20;[10] Hosea 3:1[11] (Ainsworth).  In the hatred of us the Lord led us out (Samaritan Text); because He hated us (Septuagint, Syriac, Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus).  To the hatred of God they impute what proceeded from His love (Ainsworth).  Because of the hatred of Jehovah with which He hated us.  There is an ellipsis of the conjugated verb, as in Genesis 19:16 (Junius).  And the preposition ב/in here signifies because of (Piscator).  Verbal nouns govern the case of their own verb, and thus the accusative (Glassius’[12] “Grammar” 162).  It is a noxious persuasion, to believe oneself hated by God (Grotius).

Because the Lord hated us, and therefore designed to destroy us.


Verse 28:  Whither shall we go up? our brethren have discouraged (Heb. melted;[13] Josh. 2:11) our heart, saying, (Num. 13:28, 31-33; Deut. 9:1, 2) The people is greater and taller than we; the cities are great and walled up to heaven; and moreover we have seen the sons of the (Num. 13:28) Anakims there.

The people is greater, in number and strength and valour.

[Unto heaven]  A hyperbole, as in Psalm 107:26, they ascend unto the heavens (Gerhard).

Up to heaven, i.e. to a great height.  A common hyperbole, as Genesis 11:4; Psalm 107:26.  The Anakims; the children of Anak or Enak.  See Judges 1:10, 20.


Verse 29:  Then I said unto you, Dread not, neither be afraid of them.


Verse 30:  (Ex. 14:14, 25; Neh. 4:20) The LORD your God which goeth before you, he shall fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes…

In Egypt:  Where you were weak, dispirited, divided, raw, and unexperienced, and in a great measure unarmed, and able to do nothing against your numerous, potent, united enemies, but to stand still and see the salvation of God.  And therefore now your distrust is highly unreasonable, when you have been hardened and fitted for military service by your travels, disciplined and experienced in some degree as to martial affairs, encouraged by frequent and glorious miracles for forty years together, and you are going into a country divided into several nations and kingdoms.


Verse 31:  And in the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that the LORD thy God (Ex. 19:4; Deut. 32:11, 12; Is. 46:3, 4; 63:9; Hos. 11:3; see on Acts 13:18) bare thee, as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place.

[And in the wildernessAnd as in the desert, namely, of Sinai:  understanding, just as He did, and thereafter שָׁם/where (Vatablus).

God bare thee, or, carried thee, as a father carries his weak and tender child in his arms, as Isaiah 49:22; or as upon eagles’ wings, as it is Exodus 19:4, through difficulties and dangers, gently leading you according as you were able to go, and sustaining you by his power and goodness.  See of this or the like phrase Numbers 11:12; Deuteronomy 32:10, 11; Psalm 91:12; Isaiah 46:3, 4.


Verse 32:  Yet in this thing (Ps. 106:24; Jude 5) ye did not believe the LORD your God…

[And not thus, etc., וּבַדָּבָר הַזֶּה אֵינְכֶם מַאֲמִינִם]  And not even by this speech did ye believe (Syriac, Pagnine, similarly the Septuagint, Chaldean, Montanus); that is, in which I exhorted you to proceed (Piscator, similarly Ainsworth).  Yet for this reason ye did not believe (Samaritan Text).  And in this matter ye were not believing (Munster, Tigurinus, Ainsworth).  [But the Arabic has, and through matters of this sort will ye not believe?]  Or, because of this matter, namely, the miraculous sustaining of you in the desert, ye did not believe (Piscator).

In this thing:  In this matter which God commanded and encouraged you to do, to wit, in going in confidently to possess the land.  Or, in this word, whereby God promised to fight for you, and assured you of good success.


Verse 33:  (Ex. 13:21; Ps. 78:14) Who went in the way before you, (Num. 10:33; Ezek. 20:6) 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.

[1] מָרָה, in the Hiphil conjugation (as also in the Qal), signifies to be disobedient or rebellious.

[2] Latin:  irritastis.

[3] Latin:  irritum.

[4] מָרָה signifies bitterness, from the verbal root מָרַר, to be bitter.

[5] Deuteronomy 1:43:  “So I spake unto you; and ye would not hear, but rebelled (וַתַּמְרוּ) against the commandment of the Lord, and went presumptuously up into the hill.”

[6] Numbers 27:14a:  “For ye rebelled (מְרִיתֶם) against my commandment in the desert of Zin, in the strife of the congregation, to sanctify me at the water before their eyes…”

[7] Deuteronomy 9:7:  “Remember, and forget not, how thou provokedst the Lord thy God to wrath in the wilderness:  from the day that thou didst depart out of the land of Egypt, until ye came unto this place, ye have been rebellious (מַמְרִים) against the Lord.”

[8] שִׂנְאָה/hatred is a noun.

[9] Genesis 19:16a:  “And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; in the mercy of the Lord unto him (בְּחֶמְלַת יְהוָה עָלָיו)…”

[10] Genesis 29:20:  “And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, in his love toward her (בְּאַהֲבָתוֹ אֹתָהּ).”

[11] Hosea 3:1:  “Then said the Lord unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the Lord toward the children (כְּאַהֲבַת יְהוָה אֶת־בְּנֵי) of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.”

[12] Solomon Glassius (1593-1656) was a German Lutheran divine and critic.  He was Professor of Divinity at the University of Jena.  His Philologia Sacra was a groundbreaking work in Biblical Hebrew.

[13] Hebrew:  הֵמַסּוּ.

Deuteronomy 1:22-24: Rehearsal of the Forty Years’ History: Spies Sent to Search the Land

Verse 22:  And ye came near unto me every one of you, and said, We will send men before us, and they shall search us out the land, and bring us word again by what way we must go up, and into what cities we shall come.

[And ye came near, etc.]  In Numbers 13:1, they were sent at the commandment of the Lord, who was lenient to, and yielded to, their infirmity.  But it is certain here that the spies were sent with the unbelief of the people demanding it (Vatablus).  They despised the Divine authority, and had no faith in His word, Deuteronomy 9:23 (Bonfrerius).  They ought to have followed God as their guide, and to have boldly attacked the Canaanites (Gerhard’s Deuteronomy 52).

[Who might examine the land, וְיַחְפְּרוּ־לָנוּ[1]And let them dig out for us (Montanus); let them explore; or let them make a thorough search [thus all interpreters].

[Cities]  That is, which we shall attack first (Rabbi Salomon in Munster and Fagius).


[1490 BC]  Verse 23:  And the saying pleased me well:  and (Num. 13:3) I took twelve men of you, one of a tribe…

[It had pleased[2]To please here is to consent (Lyra, Gerhard), to permit in the fear of a greater evil, as in Matthew 19:8 (Gerhard’s Deuteronomy 53).

The saying pleased me well; for there seemed to be some prudence and good policy in it:  but Moses could not see into their hearts, nor from what root this desire grew; but God saw it, and therefore in just judgment complied with their desire, and permitted them to do so for their trial and exercise, Numbers 13:1-3.


Verse 24:  And (Num. 13:22-24) they turned and went up into the mountain, and came unto the valley of Eshcol, and searched it out.

[When they had proceeded, וַיִּפְנוּ[3]They regarded, and turned themselves (Malvenda); they departed (Vatablus).

The valley, or, the brook:[4]  the word signifies both, for brooks commonly run in valleys.  Of Eshcol, i.e. of grapes,[5] so called from the goodly cluster of grapes which they brought from thence, Numbers 13:23.

[1] חָפַר signifies to dig, or to search out.

[2] Hebrew:  וַיִּיטַ֥ב בְּעֵינַ֖י הַדָּבָ֑ר.

[3] Deuteronomy 1:24a:  “And they turned (וַיִּפְנוּ) and went up into the mountain…”  פָּנָה signifies to turn; it is related to פָּנֶה/face.

[4] Hebrew:  נַחַל.

[5] אֶשְׁכֹּל/Eschcol signifies a cluster.

Deuteronomy 1:19-21: Rehearsal of the Forty Years’ History: Israel’s Passage to Kadesh-Barnea

[1490 BC]  Verse 19:  And when we departed from Horeb, (Num. 10:12; Deut. 8:15; Jer. 2:6) we went through all that great and terrible wilderness, which ye saw by the way of the mountain of the Amorites, as the LORD our God commanded us; and (Num. 13:26) we came to Kadesh-barnea.

[By the way of the mountain]  That is, by proceeding straight towards the mountain of the Amorites (Vatablus); that is, mountains, as in verses 2 and 6 (Piscator).

[Unto Kadesh-barnea]  He names the places where the admonitions were delivered (Grotius).  In Numbers 12:16, he says that they were encamped in Paran, which is the desert in which is Kadesh-barnea (Vatablus).


Verse 20:  And I said unto you, Ye are come unto the mountain of the Amorites, which the LORD our God doth give unto us.


Verse 21:  Behold, the LORD thy God hath set the land before thee:  go up and possess it, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; (Josh. 1:9) fear not, neither be discouraged.

[Which He gives]  Hebrew:  He gave.[1]  It is a Hebraism, in the place of, He offers and sets forth to thee the land which He promised (Vatablus).

[1] Deuteronomy 1:21a:  “Behold, the Lord thy God hath set (נָתַן, hath given) the land before thee…”

Deuteronomy 1:17, 18: Rehearsal of the Forty Years’ History: Charge Given to the Judges

Verse 17:  (Lev. 19:15; Deut. 16:19; 1 Sam. 16:7; Prov. 24:23; James 2:1) Ye shall not respect persons (Heb. acknowledge faces[1]) in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for (2 Chron. 19:6) the judgment is God’s:  and the cause that is too hard for you, (Ex. 18:22, 26) bring it unto me, and I will hear it.

[There shall be no difference of persons]  Hebrew:  ye shall not acknowledge the face (Montanus, Septuagint, Samaritan Text, similarly the Arabic):  that is, ye shall not judge by the face, that is, according to external countenance and quality; for example, if he be rich or poor, friend or enemy, etc. (Vatablus out of Fagius).  Revere ye not the face of any (Syriac).  The face, that is, those things which appear in a man (and do not make for his case [Grotius]):  for the face especially is visible in the human body.  In order to win the favor of any, out of human affection, ye shall not judge.  To this is opposed what follows, ye shall not fear, etc., that is, ye shall not shrink from the threats of the powerful (Vatablus out of Fagius).  To acknowledge the face in judgment is to pervert judgment for the sake of, in regard of, any face (Oleaster).

Not respect persons, Heb. not know or acknowledge faces, i.e. not give sentence according to the outward qualities of the person as he is poor or rich, your friend or enemy, but purely according to the merits of the cause.  For which reason some of the Grecian lawgivers ordered that the judges should give sentence in the dark, where they could not see men’s faces.  See the same or the like phrase Deuteronomy 10:17; 2 Chronicles 19:6, 7; Job 13:8; James 2:1, 9.  The small; persons of the meanest rank.

[Because the judgment is God’s]  Ye bear the office of God, who is most just (Menochius); He does not regard the person, and He is the Judge of all (Oleaster).

The judgment is God’s, i.e. it is passed in the name of God, and by commission from him, by you as representing his person, and doing his work, who therefore will own and defend you therein against all your enemies, and to whom you must give an exact account.

[Difficult for you, יִקְשֶׁה מִכֶּם[2]]  It shall be difficult in comparison with you (Junius and Tremellius, similarly Ainsworth, Oleaster).  Which shall be heavier, that is, more difficult, than that ye are capable of deciding concerning it (Vatablus, similarly Augustine in Drusius’ A Miscellany of Sacred Expressions[3] 2:41).

[Refer ye to me]  That is, to Moses the Prophet, who shall respond in my name.  See Exodus 18:22 (Grotius).


Verse 18:  And I commanded you at that time all the things which ye should do.

I commanded you, etc.:  I delivered unto you, and especially unto your judges, all the laws, statues, and judgments revealed unto me by the Lord in Horeb.

[1] Hebrew:  תַכִּירוּ פָנִים.  נָכַר, in the Hiphil conjugation, signifies to regard, or to pay regard to.

[2] קָשָׁה signifies to be hard or difficult.

[3] Miscellanea Locutionum Sacrarum.

Deuteronomy 1:13-16: Rehearsal of the Forty Years’ History: Other Judges and Officers Appointed

Verse 13:  (see Ex. 18:21; Num. 11:16, 17) Take (Heb. give[1]) you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you.

[Give of yourselves (thus the Chaldean)]  Give to yourselves (Septuagint, Samaritan Text, Montanus); choose for yourselves (Syriac); bring in (Arabic).

[Wise and knowledgeable, חֲכָמִים וּנְבֹנִים[2]]  More correctly, wise and prudent (Grotius, thus the Chaldean and Rabbi Salomon[3] in Fagius, Vatablus).  A man who has acquired knowledge is wise (Grotius, Fagius), who has seen and known many things (Fagius):  A man is prudent, who knows how to make use of a thing (Grotius, Fagius), and to foresee from things past what is to be done in the future (Fagius); who judges concerning all things rightly and soberly, and understands equity (Vatablus).  Both things are said of Joseph, Genesis 41:39[4] (Grotius, Fagius).  He was wise, because he understood the dream; prudent, because he gave counsel how they might provide for the land, etc. (Fagius).  Others:  נְבֹנִים/understanding (Oleaster, Malvenda).

[And whose, etc., וִידֻעִים[5]]  Some read it actively, experienced (Oleaster, Malvenda, Fagius, similarly Ainsworth); thus it signifies in Isaiah 53:3[6] (Ainsworth); knowledgeable (Fagius, Chaldean, Samaritan Text, Vatablus); and the Septuagint, συνετοὺς , observant, or understanding (Fagius), experienced and having knowledge of affairs (Vatablus).  [Others take it passively:]  recognized, or known (thus the Hebrews, all interpreters in Fagius, Syriac, Arabic, Pagnine, Montanus, Junius and Tremellius, Ainsworth).  יָדוּעַ/jadua is passive; that is, men renowned (Fagius); whose probity was known among the people (Vatablus, Fagius).  Men of observed integrity (Tigurinus).  The common people reluctantly submit themselves to those unknown (Fagius).  The Hebrews say that in a Judge, beyond these things, were required humility, the fear of God, the hatred of avarice, the love of truth, φιλανθρωπίαν/philanthropy, a good reputation, a vigorous stage of life, honest wealth (Grotius).

Wise men, etc.:  Persons of knowledge, wisdom, and experience, men famous, and had in reputation, for ability and integrity; for to such they would more readily submit.


Verse 14:  And ye answered me, and said, The thing which thou hast spoken is good for us to do.


Verse 15:  So I took the chief of your tribes, wise men, and known, (Ex. 18:25) and made (Heb. gave[7]) them heads over you, captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, and captains over fifties, and captains over tens, and officers among your tribes.

The chief, not in authority, which yet they had not, but in endowments for good government.

[I appointed princes]  Hebrew:  and I gave them as heads.[8]  Objection:  But the people gave, verse 13.  Response:  The people gave, that is, chose; Moses gave, that is, appointed, heads.  What things were done by many under the leadership of one are said to be done by him, or by them (Ainsworth on verse 13).  He gave for a king, 2 Chronicles 9:8,[9] is explained as He placed, established, 1 Kings 10:9[10] (Ainsworth).

[וְשֹׁטְרִים[11]And exactors.  These are the ministers of public justice (Hebrews in Fagius, Grotius, Ainsworth, Oleaster).  See on Deuteronomy 16:18[12] (Ainsworth).  Attendants of magistrates, civil servants, men bearing the scepter/rod.  See Exodus 5:6[13] (Malvenda).  Attendants and others, who appear with magistrates, and execute their decrees and sentences.  The Greeks, γραμματοεισαγωγεῖς τοῖς κριταῖς, schoolmasters to the judges; elsewhere, γραμματεῖς/scribes.[14]  In Proverbs 6:7,[15] the Septuagint has ἀναγκάζοντα, one who compels; Aquila, ἐκβιαστήν, one who executes a sentence (Grotius), who were compelling the perverse (Vatablus), and were striking with the lash; lictors (Hebrews in Fagius).  They were taken from the Levites, 2 Chronicles 19:11[16] and Nehemiah 8:11 (Grotius, certain Hebrews in Fagius).  Hence it is gathered how exceptional the matter was, to act as a minister of public justice, since the principal Tribe was assigned to this (Fagius).  Others translate it, prefects of the tribes (Vatablus, the Chaldean in The Ultimate Bible[17]).  They appear to have been inferior Judges, from Joshua 3:2, the SOTHERIM/הַשֹּׁטְרִים/officers passed through; and from Deuteronomy 16:18, judges USOTERIM/וְשֹׁטְרִים, and officers (Oleaster).  Scribes (Syriac in The Ultimate Bible).  Governors, something like Prætors, who would administer justice to the people, and would see to it that the thing decided was executed in individual cases (Junius).

And officers; inferior officers, that were to attend upon the superior magistrates, and to execute their decrees.

[Among your tribes[18]]  But the Septuagint has to your judges:  they were reading שֹׁפְטֵי/Shophte/judges.  Although even in the Hebrew text, in the place of tribes, 2 Samuel 7:7,[19] judges are put, 1 Chronicles 17:6[20] (Ainsworth).


Verse 16:  And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and (Deut. 16:18; John 7:24) judge righteously between every man and his (Lev. 24:22) brother, and the stranger that is with him.

[Hear ye (thus nearly all interpreters), שָׁמֹעַ[21]To hear.  This expression is often used in commands:  see on Exodus 13:3.[22]  Perhaps it is a defective expression, in the place of, By hearing hear ye[23] (Ainsworth).  When ye shall hear.  In the Hebrew, the ב-Bachlam[24] is wanting (Piscator).  [Junius and Tremellius thus; Hearing causes between your brethren, judge ye, etc., so that the ו/and in  וּשְׁפַטְתֶּם, and judge ye, would be superfluous.]

[A just thing, צֶדֶק]  Understanding ב/in, in righteousness, that is, justly (Vatablus).

[The stranger, גֵּרוֹ]  His stranger (Malvenda, Ainsworth), that is, who either is, or contends, with him.  Thus my bread, in Psalm 41:9, is, bread with me, John 13:18 (Ainsworth).

The stranger that converseth or dealeth with him.  To such God would have justice equally administered as to his own people, partly for the honour of religion, and partly for the interest which every man hath in matters of common right.

[1] Hebrew:  הָבוּ.

[2] בִּין, in the Niphal conjugation, signifies to be understanding or discerning.

[3] The details of the life of Rabbi Salomon Jarchi (Solomon Jarchi ben Isaac) have been obscured by the mists of time.  It is relatively safe to associate him with the eleventh century.  He commented on the whole of the Hebrew Bible, and the principal value of his commentary is its preservation of traditional Jewish interpretation.  He also authored the first comprehensive commentary on the Talmud.

[4] Genesis 41:39:  “And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet (נָבוֹן) and wise (וְחָכָם) as thou art…”

[5] The Qal, passive participle, of יָדַע, to know.

[6] Isaiah 53:3a:  “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted (וִידוּעַ) with grief…”

[7] Hebrew:  וָאֶתֵּן.

[8] Hebrew:  ואֶתֵּן אֹתָם רָאשִׁים.

[9] 2 Chronicles 9:8b:  “…therefore gave he thee (וַיִּתֶּנְךָ) for a king over them, to do judgment and justice.”

[10] 1 Kings 10:9b:  “…therefore established he thee (וַיְשִׂימְךָ) king, to do judgment and justice.”

[11] Deuteronomy 1:15b:  “…and captains over fifties, and captains over tens, and officers (וְשֹׁטְרִים) among your tribes.”  שֹׁטֵר/officer is derived from the verbal root שׁטר, to write or document.

[12] Deuteronomy 16:18:  “Judges and officers (וְשֹׁטְרִים) shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes:  and they shall judge the people with just judgment.”

[13] Exodus 5:6:  “And Pharaoh commanded the same day the taskmasters of the people, and their officers (וְאֶת־שֹׁטְרָיו), saying…”

[14] For example, Exodus 5:10, 14, 15, 19; Numbers 11:16; Deuteronomy 20:5, 8, 9.

[15] Proverbs 6:7:  “Which having no guide, overseer (שֹׁטֵר), or ruler…”

[16] 2 Chronicles 19:11a:  “And, behold, Amariah the chief priest is over you in all matters of the Lord; and Zebadiah the son of Ishmael, the ruler of the house of Judah, for all the king’s matters:  also the Levites shall be officers (וְשֹׁטְרִים הַלְוִיִּם) before you.”

[17] Biblia Maxima.

[18] Hebrew:  לְשִׁבְטֵיכֶם.

[19] 2 Samuel 7:7:  “In all the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel spake I a word with any of the tribes (שִׁבְטֵי) of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people Israel, saying, Why build ye not me an house of cedar?”

[20] 1 Chronicles 17:6:  “Wheresoever I have walked with all Israel, spake I a word to any of the judges (שֹׁפְטֵי) of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people, saying, Why have ye not built me an house of cedars?”

[21] Qal, infinitive absolute.

[22] Exodus 13:3a:  “And Moses said unto the people, Remember (זָכוֹר, Qal, infinitive absolute) this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage…”

[23] This mode of expression, the infinitive absolute followed by a finite form of the same verb, is common, and used to express emphasis or certainty.

[24] b is frequently used to introduce a temporal clause.  All of the Bachlam letters (b/b, k/ch, l/l, m/m) can be used in this way.

1 Peter 3:18: The Preaching of Christ by His Spirit to the Old World, Part 1

Verse 18:  For Christ also hath (Rom. 5:6; Heb. 9:26, 28; 1 Pet. 2:21; 4:1) once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, (2 Cor. 13:4) being put to death (Col. 1:21, 22) in the flesh, but (Rom. 1:4; 8:11) quickened by the Spirit…

[For Christ also (the καὶ/also carries emphasis, that is to say, even Christ Himself, Θεάνθρωπος, the God-man [Gerhard]) once (that is, some time, as in Hebrews 9:7; Psalm 89:35 [Grotius]:  This word shows the efficacy of the passion of Christ, which, not repeated, but presented once, was sufficient for all the sins of all men [Menochius out of Estius]:  He adds once, because he speaks of the suffering of death, as in Romans 6:10; Hebrews 9:26 [Estius]; or, that is to say, at one and the same time He suffered many things [Menochius]) for, etc., περὶ ἁμαρτιῶν ἔπαθε, δίκαιος ὑπὲρ ἀδίκων]  Περὶ is the same as ὑπὲρ[1](Gerhard).  Περὶ and ὑπὲρ sometimes signify the occasion, sometimes the utility of the former, as it here appears to be.  The Syriac in both places posited חלף, in the place of.  Compare Romans 5:6.[2]  In a manuscript it is more fully περὶ ἁμαρτίας ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν, concerning sin for your sake[3] (Grotius).  For sins (understand, by abolishing them by His passion, as if a payment of the penalty owed for them [Estius, similarly Gerhard]:  or, because of our sins [Piscator]:  Compare Hebrew 9:28; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 2:2 [Gerhard]) He suffered.  If Christ has dies upon occasion of our sins, and that for our good, who at that time were evil; how much more ought we to be prepared to die, or to endure evils, for His glory and the edification of Christians (Grotius)?  In the place of ἔπαθε, He suffered, three codices, and also the Syriac and Vulgate, read ἀπέθανε, He died[4] (Gerhard).

For Christ also hath once suffered; in opposition to the legal sacrifices which were offered from day to day, and from year to year, Hebrews 7:27; 9:25; and 10:12:  and this shows, as the perfection of Christ’s sufferings, (in that they needed not be repeated,) so our conformity to him in deliverance from ours; that as Christ underwent death (the principal part of his sufferings) not often, but once only, and then his glory followed; so likewise, if in this life we suffer for righteousness’ sake, according to Christ’s example, there remains no more suffering for us, but we shall be glorified with him, 2 Timothy 2:12.  For sins; that is, for the expiation of sin.  This is another argument for patience under sufferings, that Christ by his sufferings hath taken away the guilt, and freed us from the punishment, of sin; so that our sufferings, though they may be not only by way of trial, but of correction, yet are not properly penal or vindictive.

[The just (not only with a righteousness of cause and particular, but also of person and universal [Gomar]) for the unjust]  This he adds, both, to confirm the exhortation, and, to commend Christ’s love (Estius).

The just for the unjust; and therefore well may we, who are in ourselves unrighteous, be content to suffer, especially for his cause and truth.

[That, etc., ἵνα ἡμᾶς προσαγάγῃ τῷ Θεῷ]  That us (that is, straying, like sheep, 1 Peter 2:25 [Estius, Gerhard]) to God He might bring (Beza, Piscator, etc.), that is, that He might lead us back to life (Gerhard), reconciled us to God the Father (Gerhard, Gomar, similarly Estius); and might provide for us free access to Him, as this προσαγωγὴ/access is explained in Romans 5:2; Ephesians 2:18; 3:13 (Gerhard); or, in similitude of emotions and affections He might make us near to God (Estius).  Προσάγειν here is the same as καταλλάσσειν, to reconcile, in Romans 5:10.  Just as προσέρχεσθαι τῷ Θεω, to draw near to God,[5] is to worship God, as we saw a number of times; so also προσάγειν, to bring, is to make them fit to worship God:  which Christ furnished both by supplying for us an example of obedience, and by sealing the truth of His doctrine with His own blood (Grotius):  or, the He might bring by the form of an offering and gift (Estius, Gerhard).  The Syriac:  that He might offer us to God, evidently as sacrificial victims similar to Himself (Grotius).  For קָרַב, προσάγειν, to bring near, is everywhere used of Sacrificial Victims (Grotius, Gerhard, Estius), as Leviticus 4:4,[6] 14;[7] 8:14;[8] 14:2;[9] etc. (Gerhard).  This means that by the death of Christ we have thus been consecrated to God, and devoted to obedience, that we might live and die to Him, and that hence it is fitting that we suffer on account of righteousness (Calvin).

That he might bring us to God; that is, reconcile us to God, and procure for us access to him with freedom and boldness, Romans 5:2; Ephesians 3:12.

[Being put to death, etc., θανατωθεὶς μὲν σαρκὶ]  In the place of ἐν σαρκὶ, in the flesh, as in 1 Peter 4:1[10] (Piscator, Gerhard), or, κατὰ σάρκα, according to the flesh, as in Romans 1:3 (Gerhard).  Being put to death (or, afflicted with death [Beza]) indeed in the flesh (Erasmus, Piscator, Beza, etc.), that is, in body (Piscator, Menochius, thus Beza, Tirinus); or, according to the weakness of the body (Erasmus, Vatablus); or, with respect to the human nature (James Cappel, Gomar, Gerhard), in which Christ suffered, John 1:14 (Gerhard).  Objection:  But His soul was not able to die (certain interpreters in Gerhard).  Responses:  1.  Yet it did undergo the most grievous distresses, Isaiah 53:11; Matthew 26:38 (Gerhard).  2.  It is sufficient that the human nature as such, that is, with respect to the body, was put to death (Gomar).  He was dead indeed with respect to this
fragile and perishable life
, which is wont to be signified by the name of flesh, as in 2 Corinthians 5:16; Hebrews 5:7; 1 Timothy 3:16.  Plainly it is the same thing which is said in 2 Corinthians 13:4, ἐσταυρώθη ἐξ ἀσθενείας, He was crucified through weakness (Grotius).

[Vivified, etc., ζωοποιηθεὶς δὲ τῷ πνεύματι]  That τῷ/the is wanting in a manuscript.[11]  Flesh and Spirit are opposed, as in John 6:63 (Grotius).  But vivified (that is, resuscitated [Gerhard, similarly Piscator] unto life [Grotius, Piscator]) with respect to the Spirit (Beza, Piscator), or, by that Divine power which appeared in Him even while dwelling on earth.  It is the same thing as what is said in 2 Corinthians 13:4.  So also the Spirit of God that is in us shall be the cause of our resurrection, as we said on Romans 1:4; Hebrews 9:14 (Grotius).  By the name of Spirit is here understood, either, 1.  the soul of Christ (Estius, Menochius, Tirinus), as the Antithesis of flesh and Spirit shows (Estius).  But the Antithesis consists in this (Gerhard), that flesh denotes the human nature, and spirit the Divine nature (Gerhard, Gomar), in the Sacred books when Christ is treated, as in Romans 1:3, 4; 1 Timothy 3:16 (Gomar).  Now, Christ is said to be vivified in spirit, that is, in soul, because He was made into a vivifying Spirit, that is, at the time when He resurrected (Gerhard); for His soul, which always remained alive, after death having returned into the body (Tirinus), caused it to return to life (Tirinus, similarly Estius, Menochius), immortal and glorious (Tirinus).  This the Apostle says, so that by the hope of the resurrection he might excite Christians to endure adversities bravely (Menochius, similarly Tirinus).  But, if spirit here signifies the soul, it would follow that the soul of Christ had died at some point, for here it is said to be vivified (Augustine in Gomar).  Response:  In Scripture that which is not dead, but is preserved alive, is said to be vivified, as in 1 Samuel 27:9[12] (certain interpreters in Gomar, Estius).  But nothing is said to be vivified except that which was death in act or authority, of which sort was not the soul of Christ.  Then why would he add this concerning the soul, which all know to be immortal (Gomar)?  In short, thus it would have to be said that Christ through His own soul had been recalled unto life, which is false.  For, although no one is otherwise restored to life than by his soul rejoined to his body, yet it no more attaches itself again to the body by its own will, than in the beginning it created itself, or inserted itself in the body.  And so from the resurrection the Deity of Christ is gathered, Romans 1:4 (Beza).  [If you should say that Christ is here said to be vivified, not by His soul, or by virtue of His soul, but according to the soul, it is easy to respond that Christ, not with respect to the soul, which, inasmuch as it is neither dead nor mortal, would absurdly be said to be vivified, but with respect to the body, or with respect to the human nature consisting of both parts conjoined, was vivified or resuscitated.]  Or, 2.  the Deity of Christ (Piscator, thus Beza, Gerhard, Gomar, Augustine and Œcumenius and Athanasius in Estius, Calvin), by which He is said to have resuscitated Himself, John 2:19; 10:17, 18 (Gerhard).  Objection:  But thus the rationale of the opposition is lost, if indeed the flesh be the subject of mortification, but the spirit be not the subject of vivification, but rather its efficient cause (certain interpreters in Gomar).  Response:  In this passage, one sort of life is not being opposed to the other, but the communication of life, or the restitution of life, is being opposed to its removal (Gerhard); because, as Christ endured death according to the flesh, so contrarywise He overcame death by the power of His Deity (Gomar).  Others:  It is to be observed that the Antithesis of flesh and spirit here is not to be referred simply to the human and divine natures of Christ, but rather to the twofold state of Christ, namely, of humility and of glory, etc.  Compare 2 Corinthians 5:16; Hebrews 5:7; 1 Timothy 3:16, in which by the name of flesh is necessarily to be understood, not simply the human essence, but man, fragile and liable to the cross, as such (Vorstius).  Πνεύματι here is in the place of διὰ πνεύματος, by the spirit (Piscator).  Others:  Spirit in this place is considered as the beginning of vivification, not as its subject.  For the Spirit is not the subject of mortification, and therefore not of vivification.  That which was not put to death or dead, of which sort was not the Spirit of Christ, is not vivified.  So also flesh, as it signifies the body tersely, here denotes, not the subject, but the beginning of mortification; although, as it signifies a composite of flesh and soul (in which manner Opponents are unwilling that flesh be taken), it is the subject of mortification, posited in the separation of the parts, namely, of soul and body, but not in the corruption of the parts separated.  Vivification in this place is opposed to mortification, and both in this place to the same thing already introduced, or to the whole human Christ, composed of soul and body, who is described as dead on account of that mortification, so also as living on account of that vivification.  But the other opinion maintains that only the body of Christ was mortified, and the soul alone vivified, and that that mortification and vivification were at one and the same moment, which is manifestly absurd (Placæus).

Being put to death in the flesh; his human nature, frequently in Scripture called flesh, as 1 Peter 4:1; John 1:14; and though his soul, as being immortal, did not die, yet he suffered most grievous torments in it, and his body died by the real separation of his soul from it.  But quickened by the Spirit; that is, his own Godhead, John 2:19; 10:17, 18.  The former member of this sentence speaks of the subject of his death, his flesh, which was likewise the subject of his life in his resurrection; this latter speaks of the efficient cause of his life, his own eternal Spirit.

[1] Περὶ and ὑπὲρ can both signify concerning or for the sake of.

[2] Romans 5:6:  “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for (ὑπὲρ) the ungodly.”

[3] Thus Codex Alexandrinus.

[4] Thus Codices Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, and Ephræmi Rescriptus.

[5] For example, Hebrews 7:25:  “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God (τοὺς προσερχομένους—τῷ Θεῷ) by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”

[6] Leviticus 4:4a:  “And he shall bring (וְהֵבִיא; καὶ προσάξει, in the Septuagint) the bullock unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord…”

[7] Leviticus 4:14:  “When the sin, which they have sinned against it, is known, then shall offer (וְהִקְרִיבוּ; καὶ προσάξει, in the Septuagint) the congregation a young bullock for the sin, and bring (וְהֵבִיאוּ; καὶ προσάξει, in the Septuagint) him before the tabernacle of the congregation.”

[8] Leviticus 8:14a:  “And he brought (וַיַּגֵּשׁ; καὶ προσήγαγεν, in the Septuagint) the bullock for the sin offering…”

[9] Leviticus 14:2:  “This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing:  He shall be brought (וְהוּבָא; καὶ προσαχθήσεται, in the Septuagint) unto the priest…”

[10] 1 Peter 4:1:  “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh (σαρκὶ), arm yourselves likewise with the same mind:  for he that hath suffered in the flesh (ἐν σαρκί) hath ceased from sin…”

[11] Thus the overwhelming majority of Byzantine texts, as well as Codices Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Vaticanus, and Ephræmi Rescriptus.

[12] 1 Samuel 27:9:  “And David smote the land, and did not preserve alive (וְלֹא יְחַיֶּה; חָיָה, in the Piel conjugation, signifies to preserve alive) man or woman, and took away the sheep, and the oxen, and the asses, and the camels, and the apparel, and returned, and came to Achish.”

Deuteronomy 1:9-12: Rehearsal of the Forty Years’ History: Moses’ Inability to Bear the People Alone

Verse 9:  And (Ex. 18:18; Num. 11:14) I spake unto you at that time, saying, I am not able to bear you myself alone…

[And I said]  In Exodus 18:13, with Jethro suggesting it.  Therefore this passage follows with respect to the narration, which, nevertheless, preceded the former with respect to the accomplishment.  See Deuteronomy 1:22 (Vatablus).

At that time, i.e. about that time, to wit, a little before their coming to Horeb, Exodus 18:18.


Verse 10:  The LORD your God hath multiplied you, and, behold, (Gen. 15:5; Deut. 10:22; 28:62) ye are this day as the stars of heaven for multitude.


Verse 11:  ([2 Sam. 24:3] The LORD God of your fathers make you a thousand times so many more as ye are, and bless you, [Gen. 15:5; 22:17; 26:4; Ex. 32:13] as he hath promised you!)

[May He add, etc., יֹסֵף עֲלֵיכֶם כָּכֶם]  Verbatim:  May He add upon you as you (Montanus, Oleaster), that is, as ye are (Oleaster, Septuagint, Pagnine, similarly the Samaritan Text), as ye are now (Dutch).  May He increase you of what sort ye are (Syriac, Arabic), others similar to you in multitude (Oleaster).  May He increase you by an equal number (Chaldean).  May He add upon you (a thousand times) above that which ye now are (Syriac).  May He add upon you a thousand time so many as ye are (Ainsworth).


Verse 12:  (1 Kings 3:8, 9) How can I myself alone bear your cumbrance, and your burden, and your strife?

[Your troubles (thus the Samaritan Text), טָרְחֲכֶם[1]Your burden (Malvenda, Oleaster), heavy labor (Montanus), weight (Arabic), trouble (Septuagint, Syriac, Tigurinus, Munster, Vatablus, Junius and Tremellius), labor (Chaldean in Fagius); or, your fatigue, that is, with which ye fatigue me (Fagius).  Now, they think that by these three words, labor, troubles, lawsuits or disputes, the office of a Prince is signified.  The first is, that he might speak justice to litigants; 2.  to foresee concerning provisions; 3.  to take care that private men live without mutual injuries (Fagius, Oleaster).

Your burden; the trouble of ruling and managing so perverse a people.  Your strife; either your quarrellings with God; or rather your contentions among yourselves, for the determination whereof the elders were appointed.

[1] Deuteronomy 1:12:  “How can I myself alone bear your cumbrance (טָרְחֲכֶם), and your burden, and your strife?”   טֹרַחsignifies burden.

Deuteronomy 1:1-8: Rehearsal of the Forty Years’ History: God’s Command to Depart

[1451 BC]  Verse 1:  These be the words which Moses spake unto all Israel (Josh. 9:1, 10; 22:4, 7) on this side Jordan in the wilderness, in the plain over against the Red sea (or, Zuph[1]), between Paran, and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Di-zahab.

[These are the words, אֵלֶּה הַדְּבָרִים]  What then are these words?  Responses:  1.  Those which were written in the preceding books (thus Oleaster[2]).  But the limitation of the passage opposes, in which all the forementioned things are not written or announced (Bonfrerius[3]).  2.  Those things that follow in this book (Menochius,[4] Tirinus,[5] Bonfrerius).

These be the words:  These are the laws, counsels, and admonitions delivered by Moses from God to Israel, which are here repeated for the instruction and obligation of those who by reason of their tender years were uncapable either of understanding them, or of entering into covenant with God.

[Unto all Israel]  Namely, unto the Elders and Princes (Gerhard[6] after Lyra[7]).  Some maintain that it was done by a miracle, that the voice of Moses was able to be heard by so many thousands (thus Tostatus,[8] Bonfrerius, Tirinus in Gerhard).

Unto all Israel, to wit, by the heads or elders of the several tribes, or others, who were to communicate these discourses to all the people in several assemblies.

[Across Jordan, בְּעֵבֶר[9]]  Thus it was with respect to the Holy Land and Jerusalem (Menochius, Vatablus).  Others:  on this side Jordan (the Chaldean and Chizkuni[10] in Fagius).  בְּעֵבֶר signifies both across and on this side (Vatablus).

[In the wilderness-plain, בּמִּדְבָּ֡ר בָּֽעֲרָבָה֩]  In the desert, in the field, or plain [thus most interpreters]:  in the desert towards the West (Septuagint); in the desert, in the borders (Oleaster).  In the plain of Moab, Numbers 22:1 (Munster, Fagius, Malvenda,[11] Ainsworth,[12] a great many interpreters in Bonfrerius).  But it is objected that separated locations are mentioned here, between Paran and Tophel, etc.  They respond that ב/in is put in the place of בִּשְׁבִיל, because of, so that the sense might be, Because they provoked God in the desert.  Now, he makes particular mention of seven places, where especially there was sin.  In the plain, where they had joined themselves to Baal-peor;[13] at the Red Sea;[14] etc. (thus the Chaldean in Munster and Fagius).  But this is an invention of the Rabbis.  I do not here understand the plain of Moab (for who would say that that plain was over against the Red Sea, between Paran, etc.?), but the vast wilderness of Arabia, in which they wandered for forty years.  The Septuagint translates it, in the wilderness towards the West; which was its situation with respect to Moab.  But that plain is never called a desert; and דִּבֶּר, he spake,[15] is to be translated, which he had spoken previously, and repeated in the fields of Moab (Bonfrerius).

[Over against the Red Sea, מ֙וֹל ס֜וּף]  Opposite, or before, or over against, Suph (Oleaster, Malvenda, Syriac, Pagnine,[16] Montanus,[17] Chaldean, Junius[18] and Tremellius[19]).  But what is Suph?  1.  The Red Sea, יַם־סוּף (Lyra, Menochius, Bonfrerius, Munster, Fagius, Vatablus, Oleaster, likewise the Septuagint, the Chaldean and Tigurinus[20] in Bonfrerius, Ainsworth, Arabic).  In the plain of the Red Sea (the Scholiast of Aquila[21] and Symmachus[22] in Nobilius[23]).  In the plain opposite to the Read Sea (Samaritan Text).  But that was too far distant from this plain.  They render it, therefore, towards the front of Suph:  that is, the place was opposite to the Red Sea (Malvenda); or, some bay of the Red Sea comes toward this part (Oleaster).  But I understand these things of mount Horeb (where these things were spoken), the situation of which is here described.  For it was in that part of the desert that slopes toward the Red Sea:  and on the other side was Paran, Numbers 10:12, and Hazeroth, Numbers 11:35, etc. (Bonfrerius).  2.  To others סוּף/Suph is a region full of seaweed, and abounding in rushes and reeds, at the Dead Sea (Malvenda out of Junius, Piscator[24]); near Jordan, and towards the desert of Arabia.  Thus Numbers 21:14[25] (Ainsworth).  3.  It is able to be translated, opposite the boundary, or border, namely, of the land.  For that place was the border of diverse kingdoms (Oleaster).

[Between Paran]  Concerning which Genesis 14:6 (Malvenda).

[And Tophel and Laban]  These do not occur elsewhere, neither are they found among the stations of Israel, Numbers 33 (Fagius, Vatablus).  They are the proper names of places, although others are put in the place of them in Numbers.  This desert had various names from the adjacent places (Hebrews in Fagius and Vatablus).  It is thought that Tophel was afterwards called Pella,[26] and Laban afterwards called Libias[27] (Malvenda, Ainsworth).

[Where there was much gold[28]]  The Septuagint translates it, goldmines[29] (Bonfrerius); which perhaps were there (Malvenda in the Hebrews).

[Hebrew:  וְדִ֥י זָהָֽב]  It signifies an abundance of gold (Bonfrerius).  To others it is the proper name of a place (thus Tigurinus, Cajetan,[30] Oleaster and a great many interpreters in Bonfrerius, Hebrews in Fagius and Vatablus).

In the plain; either, 1.  In the vast desert of Arabia.  But that is no where called a plain.  Or rather, 2.  In the plain of Moab, as may appear by comparing this with Deuteronomy 1:5; Numbers 22:1; Deuteronomy 34:8.  Objection:  That was far from the Red Sea here mentioned.  Answer:  The wordסוּף /suph here used doth not signify the Red Sea, which is commonly called יַם־סוּף, jam suph, and which was at too great a distance; but some other place now unknown to us, (as also most of the following places are,) so called from the reeds, or flags, or rushes (which that word signifies) that grew in or near it; which reason of the name being common to other places with the Red Sea, it is not strange if they got the same name.  Compare Numbers 21:14.  Paran; not that Numbers 10:12, which there and elsewhere is called the wilderness of Paran, and which was too remote; but some other place called by the same name, than which nothing more usual.  Tophel and Laban; places not mentioned elsewhere.  Hazeroth; of which see Numbers 11:35; 33:17, 18.  And these places seem to be the several bounds and limits not of the whole country of Moab, but of the plain of Moab, where Moses now was, and spake these words.


Verse 2:  (There are eleven days’ journey from Horeb by the way of mount Seir [Num. 13:26; Deut. 9:23] unto Kadesh-barnea.)

[Eleven days]  Understanding, it is passed, or, after these things (that is, after the Law was given at Sinai) it was passed.  Objection:  But they spent many days in that journey.  See Numbers 11-13.  Responses:  1.  Moses had regard only to the days of travel, not to the days in which they stood still in their stations.  2.  Or he contemplates not the journey of the Israelites, but he explains the distance in a general way.  But perhaps the former is closer to the truth.  For it was not a journey of eleven days, but even shorter, as Adrichomius[31] testifies.  Yet it is not strange that they spent eleven days in it, to whom were so many hindrances by herds, etc. (Bonfrerius).  He says this so that they might understand how quickly they could have arrived in Canaan, if they had not rebelled (Lyra, Bonfrerius, Ainsworth, Malvenda, similarly Junius, Piscator).

There are eleven days’ journey, etc.:  This is added to show that the reason why the Israelites in so many years were advanced no further from Horeb than to these plains, was not the great distance of the places or length of the way, which was but a journey of eleven days at most, but because of their rebellions, as is mentioned before and repeated in this book.

[From Horeb]  It is the same as Sinai (Lyra, Ibn Ezra[32] and Eusebius[33] and a great many in Drusius[34]).  Or Sinai is the name of the desert; Horeb, of the mountain (certain interpreters in Drusius, thus Oleaster).  Or Horeb is the name of a place near to mount Sinai, where the Israelites camped that year (Gerundensis[35] in Drusius).  Horeb is a mountain very near to Sinai, and it is used in the place of Sinai (certain interpreters in Fagius).

Horeb, or Sinai, the place where the law was given, which is promiscuously called by both those names.

[By the way, דֶּרֶךְ[36]]  In the place of בְּדֶרֶךְ, by the way (Gerhard), that is, by passing along the mountain, etc. (Vatablus).

[Of Mount SeirMount here is in the place of mountains, or a mountainous region (Ainsworth, Malvenda, Gerhard); which sort Seir inhabited, Malachi 1:3 (Ger.).  See Genesis 14:6 and 36:8, 9.  Thus we often read, in mount Ephraim, in the mountain of Judah,[37] etc. (Malvenda).

Mount Seir, or Mount Edom, i.e. the mountainous country of Seir, which was first possessed by the Horims, and afterwards by the Edomites, Deuteronomy 2:12.  Kadesh-barnea was not far from the borders of Canaan.  See Genesus 16:14; Numbers 13:26.


[1451 BC]  Verse 3:  And it came to pass (Num. 33:38) in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spake unto the children of Israel, according unto all that the LORD had given him in commandment unto them…

[In the eleventh month]  A little before his death (which occurred on the seventh day of the twelfth month, Deuteronomy 34; Joshua 1; 4 [Malvenda]), so that their memories might be more strongly impressed (Lyra).

In the fortieth year, etc.:  This was but a little before his death.

[All things which the Lord had commanded, כְּכֺל וגו״]  According to all things, etc. (Pagnine, Vatablus, Hebrews); entirely, or altogether, as He had commanded.  Moses does not speak except the thing committed to him by the Lord:  therefore so many times in this book he repeats and inculcates, just as Jehovah had commanded (Vatablus).


Verse 4:  (Num. 21:24, 33) After he had slain Sihon the king of the Amorites, which dwelt in Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, which dwelt at Astaroth (Num. 21:33; Josh 13:12) in Edrei…

[He smote]  Understand, either, Moses smote (Gerhard); or rather, God (Vatablus, Gerhard).

[In Astaroth]  They are exceedingly tall mountains, so called because sheep (which are called Astaroth[38]) in great numbers fed there (Fagius).  See what things we have on Judges 2:13 (Grotius).

Og:  His palace or mansion-house was at Astaroth, and he was slain at Edrei, Numbers 21:33; of both these places, see Genesis 14:5; Joshua 13:31.


Verse 5:  On this side Jordan, in the land of Moab, began Moses to declare this law, saying…

[He began (thus Munster, Pagnine, Oleaster, Ainsworth [similarly the Arabic and most interpreters])]  He began to declare, that is, he declared.  Thus, Jesus began to say, Luke 12:1, in the place of, He said, Matthew 16:6; and, they began to pluck, Matthew 12:1, in the place of, they were plucking, Luke 6:1 (Ainsworth).

[הוֹאִיל מֹשֶׁה בֵּאֵר[39]He was willing to explain (Montanus); it pleased Moses to declare (Junius and Tremellius).  Moses was willing (was pleased), and he explained (certain interpreters in Vatablus).  For the language signifies to be willing and to begin[40] (Vatablus).

[To explain, בֵּאֵר]  Here we have it that this book is an Elucidation of the Law (Fagius).


[1491 BC]  Verse 6:  The LORD our God spake unto us (Ex. 3:1) in Horeb, saying, Ye have dwelt long (see Ex. 19:1; Num. 10:11) enough in this mount…

[It is sufficient for you that ye remained in this mount[41] (similarly in the Samaritan Text, Arabic)]  Enough and more ye have remained, or dwelt (Syriac, Junius and Tremellius).  For they dwelt there nearly a year; Exodus 19:1, compared with Numbers 10:11 (Junius, Ainsworth).

In this mount:  Of Horeb, where they continued about a year’s space, Exodus 19:1; Numbers 10:11, 12.


Verse 7:  Turn you, and take your journey, and go to the mount of the Amorites, and unto all the places nigh thereunto (Heb. all his neighbours[42]), 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.

[Return]  Not that they themselves, but rather their fathers, had been in the Land of promise (Lyra).

[Hebrew:  פְּנוּ[43]Turn yourselves (Bonfrerius, Menochius, Oleaster, Malvenda), namely, unto the straight way, from which they turned towards mount HorebLook towards (verbatim:  face ye [Malvenda]); that is to say, Prepare yourselves for the journey which had been interrupted (Menochius).

[And come, וּסְעוּ לָכֶם[44]Move, or set out, for yourselves (Malvenda, Oleaster).  It is a pleonasm (Piscator):  or, that is to say, this shall result in your advantage (Gerhard).

[Unto the mount of the AmoritesMount here is in the place of the mountainous land of the Amorites (Vatablus, Gerhard); which closed up the borders of the Promised Land (Gerhard).  Others:  near the mount, that is, unto Kadesh-Barnea; which place or city is near the mount where the Amorites dwell.  Compare verses 20 and 44 (Bonfrerius, Menochius).

[Which are near, וְאֶל־כָּל־שְׁכֵנָיו[45]And unto all the neighboring places of it (Vatablus, Oleaster) [similarly all interpreters]; that is, which are near to it (Vatablus).  Unto all the neighbors of it (Arabic, Montanus); or, unto all the habitations, or cohabitators, of it (Oleaster).  The borders of the Promised Land are here designated (Bonfrerius, Lyra, Tirinus, Menochius).  Compare those borders with Deuteronomy 2:11, 24 (Vatablus).  See on Genesis 15 (Bonfrerius).

[Over against the south]  Hebrew:  in the south,[46] namely, with respect to the Promised Land (Bonfrerius).  Therefore, when he says, the fields, the mountains, and the lower places against the south, he describes the southern side.  Then he adds in their own order the borders on the West, North, and East (Malvenda).

[And near the shore of the sea (thus the Samaritan Text), וּבְחוֹף הַיָּם]  A singular in the place of a plural; and on the shores of the sea, on which, that is, are harbors (Vatablus).  In the port of the sea (Montanus, similarly the Chaldean, Junius and Tremellius); the maritime coast (Arabic, Syriac, Septuagint).

[The land of the Canaanite, אֶרֶץ]  אֶל/unto is wanting (Vatablus, Gerhard), posited in the place of ב/in, or unto:  which is to be repeated out of what precedes (Gerhard).[47]

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, verses 19 and 20.  The divers parts or bounds of the land are here mentioned.


Verse 8:  Behold, I have set (Heb. given[48]) the land before you:  go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers, (Gen. 12:7; 15:18; 17:7, 8; 26:4; 28:13) Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them.

[Behold]  Hebrew:  See,[49] in the place of see ye (Vatablus).

[To you, לִפְנֵיכֶם[50]Before your face (Vatablus, similarly the Syriac, Piscator); thus Genesis 13:9[51] and 34:10:[52]  that is to say, It is lawful for you to possess it (Vatablus).

Before you, Heb. before your faces; it is open to your view, and to your possession; there is no impediment in the way.  See of this phrase Genesis 13:9; 34:10.

[1] Hebrew:  סוּף.

[2] Jerome Olivier (or de Oleastro) was a Portuguese Dominican monk who flourished during the mid-sixteenth century.  He was widely esteemed within his order for his abilities in theology, Greek, and Hebrew.

[3] Jacobus Bonfrerius (1573-1642) joined the order of the Jesuits in 1592.  He enjoyed a long tenure as a professor of the Scriptures and Hebrew at Douay, France.  He wrote The Pentateuch of Moses, Illuminated with Commentary (Pentateuchus Mosis Commentario Illustratus).

[4] The Italian John Stephen Menochius (1576-1656) joined the Society of Jesuits at an early age.  His superiors in the order, recognizing his academic abilities, set him apart for training in the exposition of Holy Scripture.  His Commentarii in Sacram Scripturam displays great learning and sound judgment.

[5] James Tirinus (1580-1636) was a Flemish Jesuit priest.  His abilities as a commentator are displayed in his Commentaria in Sacram Scripturam.

[6] John Gerhard (1582-1637) was an eminent Lutheran divine.  He held the position of Professor of Divinity at Jena (1616), and he was four times the Rector of the same.  He wrote a Commentary on Deuteronomy, as well as Commentarius super Epistolam ad Ebræos:  in quo Textus Declaratur, Quæstiones Dubiæ Solvuntur, Observationes Eruuntur et Loca in Speciem Pugnantia Concilantur.

[7] Nicholas de Lyra (1270-1340) was born to Jewish parents, but he converted to Christianity.  He entered the Franciscan Order and became a teacher of some repute in Paris.  His Postilla in Vetus et Novum Testamentum demonstrate remarkable ability and a commitment to the literal sense of the Scripture.

[8] Alonso Tostado, or Tostatus (c. 1400-1455), was a Spanish, Roman Catholic churchman and scholar.  He was trained in philosophy, theology, civil and canon law, Greek, and Hebrew; and wrote commentaries on Genesis through 2 Chronicles and the Gospel of Matthew.

[9] עֵבֶר, a region across, is derived from the verbal root עָבַר, to pass over.

[10] Precious little is known about the French commentator, Rabbi Chizkiyah ben Manoach Chizkuni.  However, his commentary on the Torah, written around the year 1250, survives.  Chizkuni reveals his commitments both to the interpretive tradition of the rabbis and to the literal meaning of the text.

[11] Thomas Malvenda (1566-1628) was a Spanish Dominican.  Within his order, he was widely regarded for his abilities in philosophy and divinity.  His exegetical labors are preserved in his Commentaria in Sacram Scripturam à Genesi ad Ezechielem.

[12] Henry Ainsworth (1571-1622) was an English Nonconformist, Separatist, and early Congregationalist.  Ainsworth served a group of English Nonconformists in Amsterdam; he held the office of Doctor.  Darling’s evaluation of his works of Biblical criticism:  “He was profoundly learned in Hebrew and Rabbinical literature, and on that account his annotations have always been held in great esteem.”  Cyclopædia Bibliographica:  A Library Manual of Theological and General Literature, 2 vols. (London:  1859) 34.  He composed annotations upon the Pentateuch, Psalms, and the Song of Solomon.

[13] Numbers 25.

[14] Exodus 14.

[15] Deuteronomy 1:1a:  “These be the words which Moses spake (דִּבֶּר) unto all Israel on this side Jordan in the wilderness, in the plain over against the Red sea…”

[16] Pagnine (1466-1541) was an Italian Dominican.  He was gifted as a Hebraist, exegete, and preacher.  He was commissioned by Pope Leo X to produce a new Latin translation of the Scripture.

[17] Benedict Arias Montanus (1527-1598) was a Spanish Benedictine Monk.  He attended the Council of Trent, and he was heavily involved in the production of the Polyglot Bible.

[18] Francis Junius (1545-1602) was a Huguenot divine of great learning.  He suffered the varied fortunes of his people; but he had the opportunity to study in Geneva, and he was eventually appointed Professor of Divinity at Leiden (1592).  He labored with Tremellius in the production of their famous Latin Version of the Old Testament.  He is also remembered for his disputations with Jacob Arminius.

[19] John Immanuel Tremellius (1510-1580) converted from Judaism to Christianity and quickly embraced the principles of the Reformation.  He taught Hebrew at Strasburg (1541) and at Cambridge (succeeding Paul Fagius in 1549), and served as Professor of Old Testament at Heidelberg (1561).

[20] Leo Jud (1482-1542) was a co-laborer of Ulrich Zwingli during the time of the Swiss Reformation.  His translation work might be his most important contribution to the reformation of Zurich.  He labored with other divines to produce a vernacular version for the Swiss people, and he produced a Latin version of the Old Testament, usually known as “Tigurinus”, which would be translated, “of Zurich”.

[21] Aquila of Sinope produced his Greek version of the Old Testament in the second century of the Christian era.  Aquila’s translation champions the cause of Judaism against Christianity in matters of translation and interpretation.  The product is woodenly literalistic.

[22] Symmachus (second century) produced a Greek translation of the Old Testament, which survives only in fragments.  Symmachus’ work is characterized by an apparent concern to render faithfully the Hebrew original, to provide a rendering consistent with the rabbinic exegesis of his time, and to set forth the translation in simple, pure, and elegant Septuagint-style Greek.

[23] Flaminius Nobilius (d. 1590) was a Roman Catholic text critic, who labored in the reconstruction of the Itala, the Old Latin version.

[24] John Piscator (1546-1626) was a learned Protestant divine.  He held the position of Professor of Divinity at Herborn (1584).  His German version was the first, complete and independent, since that of Martin Luther.  Through his career, his views changed from those of the Lutherans to those of the Calvinists, and from those of the Calvinists to those of the Arminians.  He remains widely regarded for his abilities as a commentator (Commentarii in Omnes Libros Veteris et Novi Testamenti).

[25] Numbers 21:14:  “Wherefore it is said in the book of the wars of the Lord, What he did in the Red sea (אֶת־וָהֵ֣ב בְּסוּפָ֔ה, perhaps a proper name), and in the brooks of Arnon…”

[26] Pella was located just north of the River Jabbok.

[27] Libias was located on east of the Jordan, opposite Jericho.

[28] Deuteronomy 1:1b:  “…between Paran, and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Di-zahab (וְדִי זָהָב; ubi auri est plurimum, where there was much gold, in the Vulgate).”  דַּי signifies a sufficiency; זָהָב, gold.

[29] Greek:  Καταχρύσεα.

[30] Thomas Cajetan (1469-1534) was an Italian cardinal and one of the more able opponents of the Reformation.  His commentary on the Pentateuch, In Quinque Libros Mosis, is likely the work here cited.

[31] Christian Adrichomius (1533-1585), a Roman priest, wrote an important geography of Palestine (Theatrum Terræ Sanctæ et Biblicarum Historiarum).

[32] Abraham Ibn Ezra (c. 1089-1164) was a renowned Spanish Rabbi.  At the heart of his work is his commentary on the Hebrew Bible.  He commented on all of the books, with the exception of Chronicles, and his exegesis manifests a commitment to the literal sense of the text.

[33] Eusebius (c. 267-338) was Bishop of Cæsarea, author of that famous Ecclesiastical History, and supporter of Constantine the Great.

[34] John Drusius (1550-1616) was a Protestant scholar; he excelled in Oriental studies, Biblical exegesis, and critical interpretation, as is evident from his Annotationes in Pentateuchum, Josuam, Judices, Ruth, Samuelem, Estheram, Jobum, Coheleth, seu Ecclesiasten, Prophetas Minores, Ecclesiasticum, Tobit, 1 Librum Machabæorum and Notæ Majores in Genesin, Exodum, Leviticum, et Priora 18 Capita Numerorum.  He served as Professor of Oriental Languages at Oxford (1572), at Louvain (1577), and at Franeker (1585).

[35] Moses Gerundensis (1194-c. 1270) was reckoned in his early teens as one of the great Spanish, Talmudic authorities.  His commentary upon the Torah is characterized by careful philology, faithfulness to traditional rabbinic interpretation, an unswerving belief in the miraculous, and even a measure of Kabbalistic mysticism.

[36] Deuteronomy 1:2:  “(There are eleven days’ journey from Horeb, the way (דֶּרֶךְ) of mount Seir unto Kadesh-barnea.)”

[37] See, for example, Joshua 20:7.

[38] עַשְׁתָּרוֹת/sheep may be related to עַשְׁתֹּרֶת/Ashtoreth, goddess of fertility.

[39] l)ayF, in the Hiphil conjugation, signifies to be willing, or to undertake.

[40] llaxf, in the Hiphil conjugation, signifies to begin.

[41] Hebrew:  רַב־לָכֶ֥ם שֶׁ֖בֶת בָּהָ֥ר הַזֶּֽה.

[42] Hebrew:  וְאֶל־כָּל־שְׁכֵנָיו.

[43] פָּנָה signifies to turn, and is related to פָּנֶה/face.

[44] נָסַע signifies to set out, to journey.

[45] שָׁכֵן, neighbor or dweller, is derived from the verbal root שָׁכַן, to dwell.

[46] Hebrew:  וּבַנֶּגֶב.

[47] Deuteronomy 1:7:  “Turn you, and take your journey, and go to the mount of the Amorites, and unto (וְאֶל) all the places nigh thereunto, in the plain (בָּעֲרָבָה), in the hills (בָהָר), and in the vale (וּבַשְּׁפֵלָה), and in the south (וּבַנֶּגֶב), and by the sea side (וּבְחוֹף הַיָּם), the land of the Canaanites, and Lebanon, unto the great river, the river Euphrates.”

[48] Hebrew:  נָתַתִּי.

[49] Hebrew:  רְאֵה.

[50] Deuteronomy 1:8a:  “Behold, I have set the land before you (לִפְנֵיכֶם)…”

[51] Genesis 13:9:  “Is not the whole land before thee (לְפָנֶיךָ)? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me:  if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.”

[52] Genesis 34:10:  “And ye shall dwell with us:  and the land shall be before you (לִפְנֵיכֶם); dwell and trade ye therein, and get you possessions therein.”

Deuteronomy 1 Outline

A rehearsal of what had befallen Israel in their forty years’ march; as, God’s command to depart, 1-8.   Moses’s inability to judge alone, 9-12.  Other judges and officers appointed, 13-16.  Charge given the judges, 17, 18.  Their passage to Kadesh-barnea, 19-21.  Spies sent to search the land of the Amorites, 22-24.  Their return and report, 25.  The disobedience of the people, 26-33.  God’s wrath, 34-40.  They smitten by the Amorites, 44.  Their complaint to God, which the Lord regards not, 45.