Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Deuteronomy
Book: Deuteronomy
Chapter: 1

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

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.

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

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.