Add parallel Print Page Options

The Covenant Setting

This is what[a] Moses said to all of Israel in the Transjordanian[b] wilderness, the arid rift valley opposite[c] Suph,[d] between[e] Paran[f] and Tophel,[g] Laban,[h] Hazeroth,[i] and Di Zahab.[j] Now it is ordinarily an eleven-day journey[k] from Horeb[l] to Kadesh Barnea[m] by way of Mount Seir.[n] However, it was not until[o] the first day of the eleventh month[p] of the fortieth year[q] that Moses addressed the Israelites just as[r] the Lord had instructed him to do.

Read full chapter


  1. Deuteronomy 1:1 tn Heb “These are the words.”
  2. Deuteronomy 1:1 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 הַיַּרְדֵּן (beʿever hayyarden) 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.
  3. Deuteronomy 1:1 tn The Hebrew term מוֹל (mol) may also mean “in front of” or “near” (cf. NCV, TEV, CEV, NLT).
  4. Deuteronomy 1:1 sn This place is otherwise unattested and its location is unknown. Perhaps it is Khirbet Sufah, 4 mi (6 km) SSE of Madaba, Jordan.
  5. Deuteronomy 1:1 tn The Hebrew term בֵּין (ben) may suggest “in the area of.”
  6. Deuteronomy 1:1 sn Paran is the well-known desert area between Mount Sinai and Kadesh Barnea (cf. Num 10:12; 12:16).
  7. Deuteronomy 1:1 sn Tophel refers possibly to eṭ-Ṭafîleh, 15 mi (25 km) SE of the Dead Sea, or to Dâbîlu, another name for Paran. See H. Cazelles, “Tophel (Deut. 1:1),” VT 9 (1959): 412-15.
  8. Deuteronomy 1:1 sn Laban. Perhaps this refers to Libnah (Num 33:20).
  9. Deuteronomy 1:1 sn Hazeroth. This probably refers to ʿAin Khadra. See Y. Aharoni, The Land of the Bible, 199-200.
  10. Deuteronomy 1:1 sn Di Zahab. Perhaps this refers to Mina al-Dhahab on the eastern Sinai coast.
  11. Deuteronomy 1:2 sn An eleven-day journey was about 140 mi (233 km).
  12. Deuteronomy 1:2 sn Horeb is another name for Sinai. “Horeb” occurs 9 times in the Book of Deuteronomy and “Sinai” only once (33:2). “Sinai” occurs 13 times in the Book of Exodus and “Horeb” only 3 times.
  13. Deuteronomy 1:2 sn Kadesh Barnea. Possibly this refers to ʿAin Qudeis, about 50 mi (80 km) southwest of Beer Sheba, but more likely to ʿAin Qudeirat, 5 mi (8 km) NW of ʿAin Qudeis. See R. Cohen, “Did I Excavate Kadesh Barnea?” BAR 7 (1981): 20-33.
  14. Deuteronomy 1:2 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.”
  15. Deuteronomy 1:3 tn Heb “in” or “on.” Here there is a contrast between the ordinary time of eleven days (v. 2) and the actual time of forty years, so “not until” brings out that vast disparity.
  16. Deuteronomy 1:3 sn The eleventh month is Shebat in the Hebrew calendar, January/February in the modern (Gregorian) calendar.
  17. Deuteronomy 1:3 sn The fortieth year would be 1406 b.c. according to the “early” date of the exodus. See E. H. Merrill, Kingdom of Priests, 66-75.
  18. Deuteronomy 1:3 tn Heb “according to all which.”