I The preface, fixing the time and place, ver. 1-5. Israel commanded to march, ver. 6-8. Judges provided, ver. 9-1; 3. They come to Kadesh-barnea, ver. 19-21. Spies sent, their report, the people's murmuring, ver. 22-33. The sentence passed upon them, ver. 34-40. They are smitten by the Amorites, and remain at Kadesh, ver. 41-46.
Verse 1. All Israel - Namely, by the heads or elders of the several tribes, who were to communicate these discourses to all the people. In the wilderness - In the plain of Moab, as may appear by comparing this with ver. 5, and Num. xxii, 1, and chap. xxxiv, 8. The word Suph here used does not signify the Red-Sea, which is commonly called jam-suph, and which was at too great a distance, but some oiher 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. Paran - Not that Num. x, 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. Laban, Hazeroth, and Dizahab - These places seem to be the several bounds, not of the wholecountry of Moab, but of the plain of Moab, where Moses now was.
Verse 2. There are eleven days journey - This is added to shew that the reason why the Israelites, in so many years were advanced no farther from Horeb, than to these plains, was not the distance of the places but because of their rebellions. Kadesh-barnea - Which was not far from the borders of Canaan.
Verse 3. The eleventh month - Which was but a little before his death. All that the Lord had given him in commandment - Which shews not only that what he now delivered was in substance the same with what had formerly been commanded, but that God now commanded him to repeat it. He gave this rehearsal and exhortation by divine direction: God appointed him to leave this legacy to the church.
Verse 4. Og - His palace or mansion-house was at Astaroth, and he was slain at Edrei.
Verse 7. To the mount of the Amorites - That is, to the mountainous country where the Amorites dwelt, which is opposed to the plain, where others of them dwelt. And this is the first mentioned, because it was in the borders of the land.
Verse 8. Before you - Hebrew. Before your faces; it is open to your view, and to your possession; there is no impediment in the way.
Verse 9. At that time - That is, about that time, namely, a little before their coming to Horeb.
Verse 12. Your burden - The trouble of ruling and managing so perverse a people. Your strife - Your contentions among yourselves, for the determnination whereof the elders were appointed.
Verse 15. Officers - Inferior officers, that were to attend upon the superior magistrates, and to execute their decrees.
Verse 16. The stranger - That converseth or dealeth with himn. To Such God would have justice equally adtninistred 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.
Verse 17. Respect persons - Hebrew. Not know, or acknowledge faces, that is, 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 merit of the cause. For which reason some of the Grecian law-givers ordered that the Judges should give sentence in the dark where they could not see mens faces. The judgment is God's - 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 defend you therein against all your enemies, amid to whom you must give an exact account.
Verse 18. All the things which ye shall do - I delivered unto you, and especially unto your Judges, all the laws, statutes, and judgments revealed unto me by the Lord in Horeb.
Verse 24. Eshcol - That is, of grapes, so called from the goodly cluster of grapes which they brought from thence.
Verse 31. Bare thee - Or, carried thee, as a father carries his weak and tender child in his arms, through difficulties and dangers, gently leading you according as you are able to go, and sustaining you by his power and goodness.
Verse 32. Ye did not believe the Lord - So they could not enter in, because of unbelief. It was not any other sin shut them out of Canaan, but their disbelief of that promise, which was typical of gospel grace: to signify that no sin will ruin us but unbelief, which is a sin against the remedy; and therefore without remedy.
Verse 33. Your words - That is to say, your murmurings, your unthankful, impatient, distrustful and rebellious speeches.
Verse 36. Save Caleb - Under whom Josh. is comprehended, though not here expressed, because he was not now to be one of the people, but to be set over them as a chief governor.
Verse 37. For your sakes - Upon occasion of your wickedness and perverseness, by which you provoked me to speak unadvisedly.
Verse 38. Who standeth - Who is now thy servant.
Verse 44. As bees - As bees which being provoked come out of their hives in great numbers, and with great fury pursue their adversary and disturber.