The Bible: Deuteronomy Chapter 1: with Audio and Commentary.

Version: World English Bible.

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Deuteronomy Chapter 1

1 These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel beyond the Jordan in the wilderness, in the Arabah opposite Suf, between Paran, Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Dizahab.

2 It is eleven days' journey from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir to Kadesh Barnea.

3 In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, Moses spoke to the children of Israel according to all that the LORD had given him in commandment to them,

4 after he had struck Sihon the king of the Amorites who lived in Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan who lived in Ashtaroth, at Edrei.

5 Beyond the Jordan, in the land of Moab, Moses began to declare this law, saying,

6 "The LORD our God spoke to us in Horeb, saying, 'You have lived long enough at this mountain.

7 Turn, and take your journey, and go to the hill country of the Amorites and to all the places near there: in the Arabah, in the hill country, in the lowland, in the South, by the seashore, in the land of the Canaanites, and in Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates.

8 Behold, I have set the land before you. Go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to your fathers-to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob-to give to them and to their offspring after them.' "

9 I spoke to you at that time, saying, "I am not able to bear you myself alone.

10 The LORD your God has multiplied you, and behold, you are today as the stars of the sky for multitude.

11 The LORD, the God of your fathers, make you a thousand times as many as you are and bless you, as he has promised you!

12 How can I myself alone bear your problems, your burdens, and your strife?

13 Take wise men of understanding who are respected amongst your tribes, and I will make them heads over you."

14 You answered me, and said, "The thing which you have spoken is good to do."

15 So I took the heads of your tribes, wise and respected men, and made them heads over you, captains of thousands, captains of hundreds, captains of fifties, captains of tens, and officers, according to your tribes.

16 I commanded your judges at that time, saying, "Hear cases between your brothers and judge righteously between a man and his brother, and the foreigner who is living with him.

17 You shall not show partiality in judgement; you shall hear the small and the great alike. You shall not be afraid of the face of man, for the judgement is God's. The case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it."

18 I commanded you at that time all the things which you should do.

19 We travelled from Horeb and went through all that great and terrible wilderness which you saw, by the way to the hill country of the Amorites, as the LORD our God commanded us; and we came to Kadesh Barnea.

20 I said to you, "You have come to the hill country of the Amorites, which the LORD our God gives to us.

21 Behold, the LORD your God has set the land before you. Go up, take possession, as the LORD the God of your fathers has spoken to you. Don't be afraid, neither be dismayed."

22 You came near to me, everyone of you, and said, "Let's send men before us, that they may search the land for us, and bring back to us word of the way by which we must go up, and the cities to which we shall come."

23 The thing pleased me well. I took twelve of your men, one man for every tribe.

24 They turned and went up into the hill country, and came to the valley of Eshcol, and spied it out.

25 They took some of the fruit of the land in their hands and brought it down to us, and brought us word again, and said, "It is a good land which the LORD our God gives to us."

26 Yet you wouldn't go up, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God.

27 You murmured in your tents, and said, "Because the LORD hated us, he has brought us out of the land of Egypt, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites to destroy us.

28 Where are we going up? Our brothers have made our heart melt, saying, 'The people are greater and taller than we. The cities are great and fortified up to the sky. Moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakim there!' "

29 Then I said to you, "Don't be terrified. Don't be afraid of them.

30 The LORD your God, who goes before you, he will fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes,

31 and in the wilderness where you have seen how that the LORD your God carried you, as a man carries his son, in all the way that you went, until you came to this place."

32 Yet in this thing you didn't believe the LORD your God,

33 who went before you on the way, to seek out a place for you to pitch your tents in: in fire by night, to show you by what way you should go, and in the cloud by day.

34 The LORD heard the voice of your words and was angry, and swore, saying,

35 "Surely not one of these men of this evil generation shall see the good land which I swore to give to your fathers,

36 except Caleb the son of Jephunneh. He shall see it. I will give the land that he has trodden on to him and to his children, because he has wholly followed the LORD."

37 Also the LORD was angry with me for your sakes, saying, "You also shall not go in there.

38 Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, shall go in there. Encourage him, for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.

39 Moreover your little ones, whom you said would be captured or killed, your children, who today have no knowledge of good or evil, shall go in there. I will give it to them, and they shall possess it.

40 But as for you, turn, and take your journey into the wilderness by the way to the Red Sea."

41 Then you answered and said to me, "We have sinned against the LORD. We will go up and fight, according to all that the LORD our God commanded us." Every man of you put on his weapons of war, and presumed to go up into the hill country.

42 The LORD said to me, "Tell them, 'Don't go up and don't fight; for I am not amongst you, lest you be struck before your enemies.' "

43 So I spoke to you, and you didn't listen; but you rebelled against the commandment of the LORD, and were presumptuous, and went up into the hill country.

44 The Amorites, who lived in that hill country, came out against you and chased you as bees do, and beat you down in Seir, even to Hormah.

45 You returned and wept before the LORD; but the LORD didn't listen to your voice, nor turn his ear to you.

46 So you stayed in Kadesh many days, according to the days that you remained.


Verse 3 (LORD)
When rendered in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, "LORD" or "GOD" is the translation of God's Proper Name.
Verse 6 (God)
The Hebrew word rendered "God" is Elohim.
Verse 8 (Behold)
"Behold" means look at, take notice, observe, see, or gaze at. It is often used as an interjection.
Verse 8 (offspring)
or, seed

Version: World English Bible


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Deuteronomy Chapter 1 Guide

The Book of Deuteronomy is didactic rather than historic. It consists of a collection of the final utterances of Moses and is a Book of review.

It commences with a discourse in which Moses reviewed the forty years. This occupies chapters 1 to 4, verse 43. The whole journey from Horeb to Kadesh­barnea should have occupied eleven days (verse Deuteronomy 1:2). The distance was not more than 125 miles. Because of unbelief they had spent forty years in the wilderness.

We have in this chapter a review of the first movement from Horeb to Kadesh­barnea. The call which had come to them at Horeb emphasized the fact that they were under the divine government, and indicated the purpose of God that they should go in and possess the land. Looking back, Moses reminded the people of their rebellion in the matter of the spies and of the consequent discipline to which they had been subjected. In doing this he was careful to set all the facts in the light of the government of God. He reminded them that their disturbance at Horeb was due to the direct commandment of God, that even though the way of the wilderness had been a terrible one, they had not been left to grope their way through it alone. God had constantly moved before them, choosing them the place of encampment at every pause, indicating where they should pitch their tents.

It is noticeable that when he now referred to the mission of the spies, he quoted the report of the minority rather than that of the majority.

From "An Exposition of the Whole Bible" by G. Campbell Morgan.

Deuteronomy Chapter 1 Commentary

Chapter Outline

  1. The words Moses spake to Israel in the plains of Moab, The promise of Canaan. -- (1-8)
  2. Judges provided for the people. -- (9-18)
  3. Of the sending the spies--God's anger for their unbelief and disobedience. -- (19-46)

Verses 1-8

Moses spake to the people all the Lord had given him in commandment. Horeb was but eleven days distant from Kadesh-barnea. This was to remind them that their own bad conduct had occasioned their tedious wanderings; that they might the more readily understand the advantages of obedience. They must now go forward. Though God brings his people into trouble and affliction, he knows when they have been tried long enough. When God commands us to go forward in our Christian course, he sets the heavenly Canaan before us for our encouragement.

Verses 9-18

Moses reminds the people of the happy constitution of their government, which might make them all safe and easy, if it was not their own fault. He owns the fulfilment of God's promise to Abraham, and prays for the further accomplishment of it. We are not straitened in the power and goodness of God; why should we be straitened in our own faith and hope? Good laws were given to the Israelites, and good men were to see to the execution of them, which showed God's goodness to them, and the care of Moses.

Verses 19-46

Moses reminds the Israelites of their march from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea, through that great and terrible wilderness. He shows how near they were to a happy settlement in Canaan. It will aggravate the eternal ruin of hypocrites, that they were not far from the kingdom of God. As if it were not enough that they were sure of their God before them, they would send men before them. Never any looked into the Holy Land, but they must own it to be a good land. And was there any cause to distrust this God? An unbelieving heart was at the bottom of all this. All disobedience to God's laws, and distrust of his power and goodness, flow from disbelief of his word, as all true obedience springs from faith. It is profitable for us to divide our past lives into distinct periods; to give thanks to God for the mercies we have received in each, to confess and seek the forgiveness of all the sins we can remember; and thus to renew our acceptance of God's salvation, and our surrender of ourselves to his service. Our own plans seldom avail to good purpose; while courage in the exercise of faith, and in the path of duty, enables the believer to follow the Lord fully, to disregard all that opposes, to triumph over all opposition, and to take firm hold upon the promised blessings.

From the "Concise Commentary on the Bible" by Matthew Henry.