The Message

Deuteronomy 1

11-2 These are the sermons Moses preached to all Israel when they were east of the Jordan River in the Arabah Wilderness, opposite Suph, in the vicinity of Paran, Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Dizahab. It takes eleven days to travel from Horeb to Kadesh Barnea following the Mount Seir route.

3-4 It was on the first day of the eleventh month of the fortieth year when Moses addressed the People of Israel, telling them everything God had commanded him concerning them. This came after he had defeated Sihon king of the Amorites, who ruled from Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who ruled from Ashtaroth in Edrei. It was east of the Jordan in the land of Moab that Moses set out to explain this Revelation.

Moses Preaches to Israel on the Plains of Moab

He said:

6-8 Back at Horeb, God, our God, spoke to us: “You’ve stayed long enough at this mountain. On your way now. Get moving. Head for the Amorite hills, wherever people are living in the Arabah, the mountains, the foothills, the Negev, the seashore—the Canaanite country and the Lebanon all the way to the big river, the Euphrates. Look, I’ve given you this land. Now go in and take it. It’s the land God promised to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and their children after them.”

9-13 At the time I told you, “I can’t do this, can’t carry you all by myself. God, your God, has multiplied your numbers. Why, look at you—you rival the stars in the sky! And may God, the God-of-Your-Fathers, keep it up and multiply you another thousand times, bless you just as he promised. But how can I carry, all by myself, your troubles and burdens and quarrels? So select some wise, understanding, and seasoned men from your tribes, and I will commission them as your leaders.”

14 You answered me, “Good! A good solution.”

15 So I went ahead and took the top men of your tribes, wise and seasoned, and made them your leaders—leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens, officials adequate for each of your tribes.

16-17 At the same time I gave orders to your judges: “Listen carefully to complaints and accusations between your fellow Israelites. Judge fairly between each person and his fellow or foreigner. Don’t play favorites; treat the little and the big alike; listen carefully to each. Don’t be impressed by big names. This is God’s judgment you’re dealing with. Hard cases you can bring to me; I’ll deal with them.”

18 I issued orders to you at that time regarding everything you would have to deal with.

19-21 Then we set out from Horeb and headed for the Amorite hill country, going through that huge and frightening wilderness that you’ve had more than an eyeful of by now—all under the command of God, our God—and finally arrived at Kadesh Barnea. There I told you, “You’ve made it to the Amorite hill country that God, our God, is giving us. Look, God, your God, has placed this land as a gift before you. Go ahead and take it now. God, the God-of-Your-Fathers, promised it to you. Don’t be afraid. Don’t lose heart.”

22 But then you all came to me and said, “Let’s send some men on ahead to scout out the land for us and bring back a report on the best route to take and the kinds of towns we can expect to find.”

23-25 That seemed like a good idea to me, so I picked twelve men, one from each tribe. They set out, climbing through the hills. They came to the Eshcol Valley and looked it over. They took samples of the produce of the land and brought them back to us, saying, “It’s a good land that God, our God, is giving us!”

26-28 But then you weren’t willing to go up. You rebelled against God, your God’s plain word. You complained in your tents: “God hates us. He hauled us out of Egypt in order to dump us among the Amorites—a death sentence for sure! How can we go up? We’re trapped in a dead end. Our brothers took all the wind out of our sails, telling us, ‘The people are bigger and stronger than we are; their cities are huge, their defenses massive—we even saw Anakite giants there!’”

29-33 I tried to relieve your fears: “Don’t be terrified of them. God, your God, is leading the way; he’s fighting for you. You saw with your own eyes what he did for you in Egypt; you saw what he did in the wilderness, how God, your God, carried you as a father carries his child, carried you the whole way until you arrived here. But now that you’re here, you won’t trust God, your God—this same God who goes ahead of you in your travels to scout out a place to pitch camp, a fire by night and a cloud by day to show you the way to go.”

34-36 When God heard what you said, he exploded in anger. He swore, “Not a single person of this evil generation is going to get so much as a look at the good land that I promised to give to your parents. Not one—except for Caleb son of Jephunneh. He’ll see it. I’ll give him and his descendants the land he walked on because he was all for following God, heart and soul.”

37-40 But I also got it. Because of you God’s anger spilled over onto me. He said, “You aren’t getting in either. Your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will go in. Build up his courage. He’s the one who will claim the inheritance for Israel. And your babies of whom you said, ‘They’ll be grabbed for plunder,’ and all these little kids who right now don’t even know right from wrong—they’ll get in. I’ll give it to them. Yes, they’ll be the new owners. But not you. Turn around and head back into the wilderness following the route to the Red Sea.”

41 You spoke up, “We’ve sinned against God. We’ll go up and fight, following all the orders that God, our God, has commanded.” You took your weapons and dressed for battle—you thought it would be so easy going into those hills!

42 But God told me, “Tell them, ‘Don’t do it; don’t go up to fight—I’m not with you in this. Your enemies will waste you.’”

43-46 I told you but you wouldn’t listen. You rebelled at the plain word of God. You threw out your chests and strutted into the hills. And those Amorites, who had lived in those hills all their lives, swarmed all over you like a hive of bees, chasing you from Seir all the way to Hormah, a stinging defeat. You came back and wept in the presence of God, but he didn’t pay a bit of attention to you; God didn’t give you the time of day. You stayed there in Kadesh a long time, about as long as you had stayed there earlier.

New International Reader's Version

Deuteronomy 1

The Lord Commands Israel to Leave Mount Horeb

1These are the words Moses spoke to all the Israelites. At that time, they were in the desert east of the Jordan River. It’s in the Arabah Valley across from Suph. The people were between Paran and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth and Dizahab. It takes 11 days to go from Mount Horeb to Kadesh Barnea if you travel on the Mount Seir road.

It was the 40th year since the Israelites had left Egypt. On the first day of the 11th month, Moses spoke to them. He told them everything the Lord had commanded him to tell them. They had already won the battle over Sihon. Sihon was the king of the Amorites. He had ruled in Heshbon. Israel had also won the battle over Og at Edrei. Og was the king of Bashan. He had ruled in Ashtaroth.

The people were east of the Jordan River in the territory of Moab. There Moses began to explain the law. Here is what he said.

The Lord our God spoke to us at Mount Horeb. He said, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Take your tents down. Go into the hill country of the Amorites. Go to all the people who are their neighbors. Go to the people who live in the Arabah Valley. Travel to the mountains and the western hills. Go to the people in the Negev Desert and along the coast. Travel to the land of Canaan and to Lebanon. Go as far as the great Euphrates River. I have given you all this land. Go in and take it as your own. The Lord promised he would give the land to your fathers. He promised it to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He also said he would give it to their children after them.”

Some Officials Are Chosen to Help Moses

At that time I spoke to you. I said, “You are too heavy a load for me to carry alone. 10 The Lord your God has caused there to be many of you. Today you are as many as the stars in the sky. 11 The Lord is the God of your people. May he cause there to be a thousand times more of you. May he bless you, just as he promised he would. 12 But I can’t handle your problems and troubles all by myself. I can’t settle your arguments. 13 So choose some wise men from each of your tribes. They must understand how to give good advice. The people must have respect for them. I will appoint those men to have authority over you.”

14 You answered me, “Your suggestion is good.”

15 So I chose the leading men of your tribes who were wise and respected. I appointed them to have authority over you. I made them commanders of thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. I appointed them to be officials over the tribes. 16 Here is what I commanded your judges at that time. I said, “Listen to your people’s cases when they argue with one another. Judge them fairly. It doesn’t matter whether the case is between two Israelites or between an Israelite and an outsider living among you. 17 When you judge them, treat everyone the same. Listen to those who are important and those who are not. Don’t be afraid of anyone. God is the highest judge. Bring me any case that is too hard for you. I’ll listen to it.” 18 At that time I told you everything you should do.

Twelve Men Check Out the Land of Canaan

19 The Lord our God commanded us to start out from Mount Horeb. So we did. We went toward the hill country of the Amorites. We traveled all through the huge and terrible desert you saw. Finally, we reached Kadesh Barnea. 20 Then I said to you, “You have reached the hill country of the Amorites. The Lord our God is giving it to us. 21 The Lord your God has given you the land. Go up and take it. Do what the Lord says. He’s the God of your people. Don’t be afraid. Don’t lose hope.”

22 Then all of you came to me. You said, “Let’s send some men ahead of us. They can check out the land for us and bring back a report. They can suggest to us which way to go. They can tell us about the towns we’ll come to.”

23 That seemed like a good idea to me. So I chose 12 of you. I picked one man from each tribe. 24 They left and went up into the hill country. There they came to the Valley of Eshkol. They checked it out. 25 They got some of the fruit of that land. Then they brought it down to us and gave us their report. They said, “The Lord our God is giving us a good land.”

Israel Refuses to Obey the Lord

26 But you wouldn’t go up. You refused to obey the command of the Lord your God. 27 You spoke against him in your tents. You said, “The Lord hates us. That’s why he brought us out of Egypt to hand us over to the Amorites. He wanted to destroy us. 28 Where can we go? The men who checked out the land have made us afraid. They say, ‘The people are stronger and taller than we are. The cities are large. They have walls that reach up to the sky. We even saw the Anakites there.’ ”

29 Then I said to you, “Don’t be terrified. Don’t be afraid of them. 30 The Lord your God will go ahead of you. He will fight for you. With your own eyes you saw how he fought for you in Egypt. 31 You also saw how the Lord your God brought you through the desert. He carried you everywhere you went, just as a father carries his son. And now you have arrived here.”

32 In spite of that, you didn’t trust in the Lord your God. 33 He went ahead of you on your journey. He was in the fire at night and in the cloud during the day. He found places for you to camp. He showed you the way you should go.

34 The Lord heard what you said. So he became angry. He made a promise. He said, 35 “I promised to give this good land to your people of long ago. But no one alive today will see it. 36 Only Caleb will see the land. He is the son of Jephunneh. I will give him and his children after him the land he walked on. He followed me with his whole heart.”

37 Because of you, the Lord became angry with me also. He said, “You will not enter the land either. 38 But Joshua, the son of Nun, is your helper. Joshua will enter the land. Help him to be brave. Give him hope. He will lead Israel to take the land as their own. 39 You said your little ones would be taken prisoner. But they will enter the land. They do not yet know right from wrong. But I will give them the land. They will take it as their own. 40 As for you, turn around. Start out toward the desert. Go along the road that leads to the Red Sea.”

41 Then you replied, “We have sinned against the Lord. We will go up and fight. We’ll do just as the Lord our God has commanded us.” So all of you got your swords and put them on. You thought it would be easy to go up into the hill country.

42 But the Lord spoke to me. He said, “Tell them, ‘Do not go up and fight. I will not be with you. Your enemies will win the battle over you.’ ”

43 So I told you what the Lord said. But you wouldn’t listen. You refused to obey his command. You were so filled with pride that you marched up into the hill country. 44 The Amorites who lived in those hills came out and attacked you. Like large numbers of bees they chased you. They beat you down from Seir all the way to Hormah. 45 You came back and wept in front of the Lord. But he didn’t pay any attention to your weeping. He wouldn’t listen to you. 46 So you stayed in Kadesh for many years. You spent a long time in that area.