||These are the words that Moses spoke to all Israel on the east bank of the Jordan, in the desert [and] in the Aravah, near Suf, in the vicinity of Paran, Tofel, Lavan, Chatzeroth and Di Zahav.
||[This is in the area] which is an eleven day journey from Horeb to Kadesh Barnea by way of the Seir highlands.
||On the first of the eleventh month in the fortieth year, Moses [also] spoke to the Israelites regarding all that God had commanded him for them.
||This was after he had defeated Sichon king of the Amorites who lived in Cheshbon, and Og, king of the Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth, [who was defeated in] Edre'i.
||Moses began to explain this law on the east bank of the Jordan, in the land of Moab, saying:
||God our Lord spoke to us at Horeb, saying, 'You have remained near this mountain too long.
||Turn around and head toward the Amorite highlands and all its neighboring territories in the Aravah, the hill country, the lowlands, the Negev, the seashore, the Canaanite territory, and Lebanon, as far as the Euphrates River.
||See! I have placed the land before you. Come, occupy the land that God swore He would give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and to their descendants after them.'
||I then said to you, 'I cannot lead you all by myself.
||God your Lord has increased your numbers until you are [now] as many as the stars of the sky.
||May God, Lord of your fathers, increase your numbers a thousandfold, and bless you as He promised.
||But how can I bear the burden, responsibility and conflict that you present if I am all by myself?
||Designate for yourselves men who are wise, understanding, and known to your tribes, and I will appoint them as your leaders.'
||You answered me, 'Yours is a good suggestion.'
||I selected wise and well known men from among your tribal leaders, and appointed them as your leaders - captains of thousands, captains of hundreds, captains of fifties, captains of tens, and police for your tribes.
||I then gave your judges instructions, saying, 'Listen [to every dispute] among your brethren, and judge honestly between each man and his brother, [even] where a proselyte [is concerned].
||Do not give anyone special consideration when rendering judgment. Listen to the great and small alike, and do not be impressed by any man, since judgment belongs to God. If any case is too difficult, bring it to me, and I will hear it.'
||At that time, I gave you instructions regarding everything that you must do.
||We then moved on from Horeb and traveled all through that great, terrifying desert that you have seen, [going] by way of the Amorite highlands, as God our Lord commanded us. We finally came to Kadesh Barnea.
||I said to you, 'You have come to the Amorite highlands, which God our Lord is giving us.
||See! God has placed the land before you. Head north and occupy it, as God, Lord of your fathers, has told you. Do not be afraid and do not be concerned.'
||All of you then approached me and said, 'Send men ahead of us to explore the land. Let them bring back a report about the way ahead of us and the cities that we shall encounter.'
||I approved and appointed twelve men, one for each tribe.
||They set out and headed north toward the hill country, going as far as Cluster Valley and exploring the territory.
||They took samples of the area's fruit and brought it back to us. The report that they brought back was, 'The land that God our Lord is giving us is good.'
||You did not want to head north, however, and you rebelled against God your Lord.
||You protested in your tents, and said, 'God brought us out of Egypt because He hated us! He wanted to turn us over to the Amorites to destroy us!
||Where are we heading? Our brothers took away our courage by telling us that they saw there a race that was larger and taller than we, with great cities fortified to the skies, as well as children of the giants.'
||I said to you, 'Don't be so impressed! Don't be afraid of them!
||God your Lord is going before you. He will fight for you, just as you watched Him do in Egypt.
||In the desert, you [also] saw that God your Lord carried you along the road you traveled to this place, just as a man carries his son.
||But now, here, you have no faith in God your Lord!
||He goes before you in fire by night and in cloud by day to show you the path to follow, just like a scout finding you a place to camp.'
||When God heard what you said, He angrily swore,
||'No man of this evil generation will see the good land that I swore to give your fathers.
||The only exception will be Caleb son of Yefuneh. Since he followed God wholeheartedly, not only will he see it, but I will give him and his descendants the land he walked.
||God also displayed anger at me because of you [and] He said, 'You too will not enter [the land].
||Joshua son of Nun, who stands before you, will be the one to enter, and he will give Israel their hereditary property.
||The ones to enter the [land] will be the children whom you feared would be taken captive and your little ones who even now do not know good from bad. To them I will give [the land] and they will occupy it.
||You must now turn around and head into the desert toward the Southern Sea.'
||Your answer to me was, 'We have sinned to God! We will head north and fight, just as God our Lord commanded us.' Each of you took his weapons, and you made every effort to head north to the highlands.
||God said to me, 'Tell them not to go and not to fight, since I will not be with them. Let them not be killed by their foes.'
||I spoke to you, but you would not listen. You rebelled against God's word, and willfully headed north to the highlands.
||The Amorites who lived in the highlands came out to confront you, and chased you like bees. They struck you down in Seir as far as Chormah.
||You came back and wept before God, but God would neither listen to you nor pay attention to you.
||You remained in Kadesh Barnea for a long time, as long as you remained [in all the other places].
|to all Israel|
Although Moses taught the Israelites many things, most were taught through Aaron and the elders (Eruvim 54b). From here until Deuteronomy 4:49, however, there are presented orations that Moses himself delivered to all Israel (Ramban; Chizzkuni; Adereth Eliahu; Malbim; HaKethav VeHaKabbalah). These orations were stated in the places mentioned in this verse.
Literally, 'far side.'
Or, 'regarding' (Targum; Rashi; Ralbag). Some say that Moses named areas around the Israelite camp after events that had happened to them earlier (Hirsch).
See Deuteronomy 1:9-14, 1:16,17.
This is the deep valley running to the north and south of the Dead Sea. Specifically, it usually denotes the valley to the south, leading to the Gulf of Aqaba (see Deuteronomy 2:8; Chizzkuni).
Many sources identify this with the Yam Suf, the 'Reed Sea,' the 'Southern Sea,' or the 'Red Sea,' possibly identified here with the Gulf of Aqaba (Targum; Rashi; Saadia; Septuagint). It may also be identified with Sufah in Numbers 21:14.
Or, literally, 'between.' or, '[and] in the vicinity.'
The area to the north of Sinai and west of the Aravah, now known as the wilderness of el-Tih. The reference is most probably to Rithmah (Numbers 33:18), or Kadesh Barnea (Numbers 13:3), the place from which the spies were sent (Rashi). The reference would then be to Deuteronomy 1:20,21, 1:29-33.
The context then seems to indicate that the Aravah and Suf were places between Sinai and Kadesh Barnea. It appears that instead of heading directly north, the Israelites took a roundabout way to Kadesh Barnea through the Aravah passing by the Gulf of Aquaba (Suf). Some say that this was when Moses appointed judges in Deuteronomy 1:16,17 (cf. Adereth Eliahu ad loc.). Suf might then have been Kivroth HaTaavah (Numbers 11:34) along the west shore of the Gulf of Aqaba. See note on 'Tofel' below.
Some say that Suf was between Paran and Tofel, where Tofel is identified with the Kivroth HaTaavah area (Sifri; Rashi). Others say that it is in the area of Shittim, perhaps where the Tabernacle stood (Ralbag). Others identify it with Marah (Paaneach Razah). The Septuagint notes that Tofel was in the Paran Desert. Some sources identify it with el Tafile, a village about 15 miles southwest of the Dead Sea.
Some say that this was the place of Korach's rebellion (Ralbag). Others identify it with the place where there were complaints about the Manna (Sifri; Rabbi; cf. Numbers 11:6). It is also possibly identified with Livnah in Numbers 33:20.
See Numbers 11:35, 33:17. Some say that this was the place of Korach's rebellion (Rashi; Lekach Tov; Chizzkuni).
A place name (Ibn Ezra; Abarbanel). Some say that it was the area where the Golden Calf was built (Targum; Sifri; Berakhoth 32a; Rashi). Others identify it as the area where the Tabernacle stood (Paaneach Razah). The Septuagint translates it as katachrusea, literally, 'the gold works.'
There are a number of possible interpretations regarding these place names: 1. That they are places surrounding the Aravoth Moab where the Israelites were now camped. 2. That they were places along the way, where Moses presented these orations to Israel (the interpretation favored in our translation). 3. That they were places regarding which Moses spoke in his orations.
|This is in the area|
Following the second interpretation above, all these places were in that area. (cf. Chizzkuni; Abarbanel).
|eleven day journey|
The distance between Sinai and Kadesh Barnea is actually 150 miles.
Sinai, see note on Exodus 3:1.
See note on Numbers 13:3.
|first of the eleventh month|
1 Shevat, 2488 (January 18, 1273 b.c.e.).
(cf. Adereth Eliahu; Ramban). See Deuteronomy 5:1 ff.
Numbers 21:21-24, Deuteronomy 3:2.
Numbers 21:31-35, Deuteronomy 3:3.
|who was defeated in|
(Ramban). Or, 'Ashtaroth in Edre'i' (Rashi).
See Numbers 21:33.
(Rashi). Or, 'spoke at length' (Saadia). See note on Genesis 18:27.
|land of Moab|
The former land of Moab, which had been taken by Sichon.
Some say that this occurred after they left Sinai (Adereth Eliahu). Others say that it was before (Ramban).
|known to your tribes|
(Rashi). Or, '... men from your tribes who are wise, understanding and well known' (Ramban), or, 'knowledgeable' (Adereth Eliahu; HaKethav VeHaKabbalah), or, 'prudent men' (Septuagint).
|I will appoint them|
Although this was Jethro's suggestion (Exodus 18:24), here the Torah only records Moses' oration (see note on Deuteronomy 1:1). Some say that Moses did not discuss the appointment until after Jethro had left (Abarbanel).
|captains of thousands...|
Some say that the captains of thousands and hundreds were primarily military leaders (cf. Numbers 31:14), while the captains of fifties were primarily Torah teachers and elders (cf. Isaiah 3:3; Adereth Eliahu; HaKethav VeHaKabbalah).
Or, 'who are police' (Ibid.). See Deuteronomy 16:18.
(Targum; Yevamoth 46b, 47a; Septuagint). Or, 'resident alien' (Saadia), 'impressive speaker' (Sifri; Rashi), or, 'common property' (Sanhedrin 7b; Rashi).
(Septuagint), or, 'fear' (Rashi; Targum; Ibn Ezra from Genesis 15:13), or, 'be concerned' (Saadia). This is a commandment that a judge not be impressed by the litigants (Sefer HaMitzvoth, Negative 277).
|moved on from Horeb|
See Numbers 10:33 (Chizzkuni).
See Deuteronomy 1:2.
At God's word; Numbers 13:2.
Literally, 'turned around.'
Nachal Eshkol; see Numbers 13:23.
(Ralbag). Ragan in Hebrew; see Proverbs 16:28, 26:22. Or, 'complained' (Rashi), 'spread false rumors' (Saadia; Rashi); 'became agitated' (Hirsch); 'became confused' (Ibn Janach); Or, 'spread hypocritical rumors' (Radak, Sherashim).
|by telling us that...|
Literally, '....saying, 'We saw...' '
(HaKethav VeHaKabbalah; Hirsch). Aratz in Hebrew. Or, 'don't let your spirit be broken' (Radak, Sherashim; Ibn Janach).
Literally, 'If any man,' an oath form. See Numbers 14:22, 32:11.
See Numbers 13:6.
|the land he walked|
See Numbers 14:24.
(Targum Yonathan; HaKethav VeHaKabbalah). See Numbers 20:12 (Ralbag).
Yam Suf in Hebrew, here denoting the Gulf of Aqaba. See Numbers 14:25, Deuteronomy 2:8.
|made every effort|
(Tzafenath Paaneach from Avodah Zarah 66b). Hin in Hebrew. Or, 'were prepared' (Rashi), 'hurried' (Saadia), 'agreed' (Ibn Ezra), 'considered it enough' (Hirsch), or, 'desired' (Radak).
Actually a direct quote.
See Numbers 14:45. Here it appears that Chormah was in Seir.
|in all the other places|
(Saadia; Rashi). Some say that the Israelites were in Kadesh Barnea for 19 years (Seder Olam 8; Rashi; Lekach Tov), while others indicate that they were there for 18 (Moreh Nevukhim 3:50; Midrash HaGadol). See note on Numbers 33:18.