Israel’s History after the Exodus
1 These are the words which Moses spoke to all [a]Israel [while they were still] beyond [that is, on the east side of] the Jordan [River] in the wilderness [across from Jerusalem], in the Arabah [the long, deep valley running north and south from the eastern arm of the Red Sea to beyond the Dead Sea] opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel and Laban and Hazeroth and Dizahab (place of gold). 2 It is [only] eleven days’ journey from Horeb (Mount Sinai) by way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea [on Canaan’s border; yet Israel [b]wandered in the wilderness for forty years before crossing the border and entering Canaan, the promised land]. 3 In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses spoke to the children of Israel in accordance with all that the Lord had commanded him to say to them, 4 after he had defeated Sihon the king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, who lived at Ashtaroth in Edrei. 5 Beyond (east of) the Jordan in the [c]land of Moab, Moses began to explain this law, saying,
6 “The Lord our God spoke to us at Horeb, saying, ‘You have stayed long enough on this mountain. 7 Turn and resume your journey, and go to the hill country of the Amorites, and to all their neighbors in the Arabah, in the hill country and in the lowland (the Shephelah), in the Negev (South country) and on the coast of the [Mediterranean] Sea, the land of the Canaanites, and Lebanon, as far as the great river, the river Euphrates. 8 Look, I have set the land before you; go in and take possession of the land which the Lord swore (solemnly promised) to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give to them and to their descendants after them.’
9 “I spoke to you at that time, saying, ‘I am not able to bear the burden of you alone. 10 The Lord your God has multiplied you, and look, today you are as numerous as the stars of heaven. 11 May the Lord, the God of your fathers, add to you a thousand times as many as you are and bless you, just as He has promised you! 12 How can I alone bear the weight and pressure and burden of you and your strife (contention) and complaining? 13 Choose for yourselves wise, understanding, experienced, and respected men from your tribes, and I will appoint them as heads (leaders) over you.’ 14 And you answered me, ‘The thing which you have said to do is good.’ 15 So I took the leaders of your tribes, wise and experienced men, and made them leaders over you, commanders of thousands, and hundreds, and fifties, and tens, and officers (administrators) for your tribes.
16 “Then I commanded your judges at that time, saying, ‘Hear the matters between your brothers [your fellow countrymen], and judge righteously and fairly between a man and his brother, or the stranger (resident alien, foreigner) who is with him. 17 You shall not [d]show partiality in judgment; you shall hear and pay attention to the [cases of the] least [important] as well as the great. You shall not [e]fear man, for the judgment is God’s. The case that is too hard for you [to judge], you shall bring to me, and I will hear it.’ 18 I commanded you at that time [regarding] all the things that you should do.
19 “Then we set out from Horeb (Sinai), and went through all that great and terrible wilderness which you saw on the way to the hill country of the [f]Amorites, just as the Lord our God commanded us; and we came to Kadesh-barnea. 20 And I said to you, ‘You have come to the hill country of the Amorites which the Lord our God is about to give us. 21 Behold, the Lord your God has set the land before you; go up and take possession of it, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has spoken to you. Do not fear or be dismayed.’
22 “Then all of you approached me and said, ‘Let us send men [into the land] before us, so that they may explore and search the area for us, and bring back to us word regarding the way we should go, and the cities we should enter.’ 23 The plan pleased me and I took twelve of your men, one man from each tribe. 24 They turned and went up into the hill country, and came to the Valley of Eshcol and spied it out. 25 Then they took some of the fruit of the land in their hands and brought it down to us; and they reported back to us, and said, ‘It is a good land which the Lord our God is about to give us.’
26 “Yet you were not willing to go up [to take possession of it], but rebelled against the command of the Lord your God. 27 You murmured and were ill-tempered (discontented) in your tents, and said, ‘Because the Lord hates us He has brought us from the land of Egypt to hand us over to the Amorites to destroy us. 28 Where can we go up? Our brothers (spies) have made our hearts melt [in fear] and demoralized us by saying, “The people are bigger and taller than we; the cities are large, and fortified [all the way up] to heaven. And besides, we saw the [giant-like] sons of the Anakim there.”’ 29 Then I said to you, ‘Do not be shocked, nor fear them. 30 The Lord your God who goes before you will fight for you Himself, just as He did for you in Egypt before your [very] eyes, 31 and in the wilderness where you saw how the Lord your God carried and protected you, just as a man carries his son, all along the way which you traveled until you arrived at this place.’ 32 Yet in spite of this word, you did not trust [that is, confidently rely on and believe] the Lord your God, 33 who went before you along the way, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to seek a place for you to make camp and to show you the way in which you should go.
34 “And the Lord heard the sound of your words, and He was angry and took an oath, saying, 35 ‘Not one of these men, this evil generation, shall see the good land which I swore (solemnly promised) to give to your fathers, 36 except Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him and to his children I will give the land on which he has walked, because he has followed the Lord completely [and remained true to Him].’ 37 The Lord was angry with me also because of you, saying, ‘Not even you shall enter Canaan. 38 Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, he shall enter there. Encourage and strengthen him, for he shall cause Israel to inherit it. 39 Moreover, your little ones whom you said would become prey, and your sons, who today have no knowledge of good or evil, shall enter Canaan, and I will give it to them and they shall possess it. 40 But as for you, turn around and set out for the wilderness by way of the Red Sea (Sea of Reeds).’
41 “Then you answered and said to me, ‘We have sinned against the Lord. We will go up and fight, just as the Lord our God has commanded us.’ So you [g]equipped every man with weapons of war, and regarded it as easy to go up into the hill country. 42 But the Lord said to me, ‘Say to them, “Do not go up and do not fight, for I am not among you [because of your rebellion]; otherwise you will be [badly] defeated by your enemies.”’ 43 So I spoke to you, but you would not listen. Instead you rebelled against the command of the Lord, and acted presumptuously and went up into the hill country. 44 Then the Amorites who lived in that hill country came out against you and chased you as bees do, and struck you down in Seir as far as Hormah. 45 And you returned and wept before the Lord; but the Lord would not listen to your voice nor pay attention to you. 46 So you stayed in Kadesh; many days you stayed there.
Wanderings in the Wilderness
2 “Then we turned and set out for the wilderness by the way of the Red Sea, just as the Lord had told me; and we circled Mount Seir for many days. 2 And the Lord spoke to me, saying, 3 ‘You have circled this mountain long enough; [h]turn northward, 4 and command the people, saying, “You are passing through the territory of your brothers the sons of Esau (the Edomites), who live in Seir; and they will be afraid of you. So be very careful; 5 do not provoke them, for I will not give you any of their land, not even as little as a footstep, because I have given Mount Seir to Esau as a possession. 6 You shall buy food from them with money so that you may [have something to] eat, and you shall also buy water from them with money so that you may [have something to] drink. 7 For the Lord your God has blessed you in all [i]that you have done; He has known about your wanderings through this great wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you; you have lacked nothing.”’
8 “So we passed beyond our brothers the sons of Esau, who lived in Seir, away from the Arabah (wilderness) road, away from Elath and from Ezion-geber. Then we turned and passed through by the way of the Wilderness of Moab. 9 And the Lord said to me, ‘Do not harass [the descendants of] Moab, nor provoke them to war, for I will not give you any of their land as a possession, because I have given Ar to the sons (Moab and Ammon) of Lot as a possession.’(A) 10 (The Emim lived there in times past, a people great and numerous, and as tall as the Anakim. 11 These also are regarded as Rephaim [an ancient people], as are the Anakim, but the Moabites call them Emim. 12 The Horites also used to live in Seir, but the sons of Esau dispossessed them. They destroyed them from before them and settled in their place, just as Israel did in the land which the Lord gave them as their possession.) 13 ‘Now [j]arise and cross the valley of the [k]Zered.’ So we crossed the Zered Valley. 14 Now thirty-eight years passed from the time we left Kadesh-barnea until we crossed the Zered Valley, until that entire generation of the men of war had died from within the camp, just as the Lord had sworn to them. 15 Moreover the hand of the Lord was against them, to destroy them from within the camp, until they were all dead.
16 “So it came about when all the men of war had finally died from among the people, 17 that the Lord spoke to me, saying, 18 ‘Today you are to pass through Ar, the border of Moab. 19 When you come opposite the territory of the sons of [l]Ammon, do not harass them nor provoke them, for I will not give you any of the land of the sons of Ammon as a possession, because I have given it to the sons of Lot as a possession.’ 20 (It is also regarded as the land of the Rephaim [of giant stature], for Rephaim used to live there, but the Ammonites call them Zamzummin, 21 a great, numerous people, and tall as the Anakim, but the Lord destroyed them before the sons of Ammon. And they dispossessed them and settled in their place, 22 just as He did for the sons of Esau, who live in Seir, when He destroyed the Horites from before them; and the sons of Esau (the Edomites) dispossessed them and settled in their place [and remain there] even to this day. 23 As for the Avvim, who lived in villages as far as Gaza, the Caphtorim (Cretans, later Philistines) who came from Caphtor (Crete) destroyed them and settled in their place.) 24 ‘Now arise, continue on, and go through the valley of the [m]Arnon. Look, I have handed over to you Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land. Begin! Take possession [of it] and fight with him in battle. 25 This day I will begin to put the dread and the fear of you on the peoples (pagans) under the whole heaven, who, when they hear the reports about you, will tremble and be in anguish because of you.’
26 “So I sent messengers from the Wilderness of Kedemoth to Sihon king of Heshbon with words of peace, saying, 27 ‘Let me pass through your land [with my people]. I will travel [with them] only on the highway; I will not turn away to the right or to the left. 28 You will sell me food for money so that I [along with my people] will eat, and you will give me water for money so that I [along with my people] will drink; only let me [and my people] travel through [the land] on foot, 29 just as the sons of Esau, who live in Seir, and the Moabites, who live in Ar, [n]did for me, until I cross the Jordan into the land which the Lord our God is giving us.’ 30 But Sihon king of Heshbon was not willing for us to travel through his land; for the Lord your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, in order to hand him over to you, as he is today. 31 The Lord said to me, ‘Look, I have begun to hand over to you Sihon and his land. Begin! Take possession [of it], so that you may possess his land.’
32 “Then at Jahaz, Sihon and all his people came out to meet us in battle. 33 So the Lord our God handed him over to us [and gave us the victory], and we defeated him and his sons and all his people. 34 At the same time we took all his cities and utterly destroyed every city—men, women and children. We left no survivor. 35 We took only the cattle as plunder for ourselves and the spoil of the cities which we had captured. 36 From Aroer, which is on the edge of the Arnon Valley, and from the city which is in the valley, as far as Gilead, there was no city [whose wall was] too high and too strong for us; the Lord our God handed over everything to us. 37 Only you did not go near the land of the sons of Ammon, all along the river [o]Jabbok and the cities of the hill country, and wherever the Lord our God had forbidden us.
- Deuteronomy 1:1 In general, sons (children) of Israel or Israel or Israelites refers to all the people (males and females) of the various tribes descended from the twelve sons (Gen 35:23-26) of Jacob (later renamed Israel by God). In verses concerning things such as warfare or circumcision sons of Israel or Israel or Israelites usually refers only to the males. Tribes of ancient people were identified by the name of their founding ancestor. Therefore, this same general rule applies when referring to individual tribal groups, e.g. sons of Reuben, Reuben, Reubenites and so throughout.
- Deuteronomy 1:2 God punished the children of Israel for their lack of faith (Num 14:1-3), their disobedience, and their worship of false gods at Mount Sinai (Ex 32:1-6; Deut 9:12, 16); however, God also used this time to teach the Israelites, through Moses, exactly what was expected of them once they possessed their promised land.
- Deuteronomy 1:5 This area is now part of the modern-day Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. In ancient times it was a strip of mountainous land on the eastern side of the Dead Sea. Moab, forefather of the Moabites, was the son of Lot, through his elder daughter (Gen 19:30-38).
- Deuteronomy 1:17 Lit recognize faces.
- Deuteronomy 1:17 Lit fear because of the face of.
- Deuteronomy 1:19 A tribal people descended from Canaan the son of Ham the son of Noah. The Amorites were so prominent that “Amorite” is sometimes used interchangeably with “Canaanite” to refer to all the people living in Canaan.
- Deuteronomy 1:41 Lit girded.
- Deuteronomy 2:3 The Israelites were now directed to journey toward the lands given by God to their distant relatives, the Edomites, Moabites, and the Ammonites.
- Deuteronomy 2:7 Lit the work of your hand.
- Deuteronomy 2:13 The Hebrew verb “arise” is an instruction to prepare to fulfill a command, somewhat similar to the military command “attention.”
- Deuteronomy 2:13 Most of the year, the Zered brook has no water, so it is only a valley. The Hebrew word “nahal” (like the Aramaic word “wadi”) indicates a seasonal river.
- Deuteronomy 2:19 Forefather of the Ammonites, was the son of Lot, through his younger daughter (Gen 19:30-38).
- Deuteronomy 2:24 Another of the seasonal rivers.
- Deuteronomy 2:29 All that is said here is that the Edomites and Moabites sold Israel food and water. There is no comment regarding their hostility toward Israel and their desire for her destruction. See Num 21:21-32 and Deut 23:3, 4.
- Deuteronomy 2:37 Another of the seasonal rivers. The Jabbok River was the site where Jacob (Israel) encountered God (Gen 32:22-32).