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Deuteronomy 1:19-26 -

That great and terrible wilderness: the desert forming the western side of the Stony Arabia. It bears now the name of Et-Tih , i . e . The Wandering, a name "doubtless derived from the wanderings of the Israelites, the tradition of which has been handed down through a period of three thousand years It is a pastoral country ; unfitted as a whole for cultivation, because of its scanty soil and scarcity of water". In the northern part especially the country is rugged and bare, with vast tracts of sand, over which the scorching simoom often sweeps (see on Deuteronomy 1:1 ). This wilderness they had seen, had known, and had experience of, anti their experience had been such that the district through which they had been doomed to wander appeared to them dreadful. Passing by the way of the Amorites, as they had been commanded ( Deuteronomy 1:7 ), they came to Kadesh-barnea (see Numbers 12:16 ). Their discontent broke out oftener than once, before they reached this place (see Numbers 11:1-35 ; Numbers 12:1-16 .); but Moses, in this recapitulation, passes over these earlier instances of their rebelliousness, and hastens to remind them of the rebellion at Kadesh ( Numbers 13:1-33 ; Numbers 14:1-45 .), because it was this which led to the nation being doomed to wander in the wilderness until the generation that came out of Egypt had died. It was through faith in God that Canaan was to be gained and occupied by Israel; but this faith they lacked, and so they came short of what God had summoned them t, attain. Hence, when they had come to the very borders of the Promised Land, and the hills of Canaan were before their eyes, and Moses said to them, in the name of God, Go up, possess ("asyndeton emphaticum," Michaelis), they hung back, and proposed that men should be sent out to survey the land and bring a report concerning it. This was approved of by Moses; but when the spies returned and gave their report, the people were discouraged, and refused to go up. They were thus rebellious against the commandment (literally, the mouth , the express will) of Jehovah their God; and not only so, but with signal ingratitude and impiety they murmured against him, and attributed their deliverance out of Egypt to God's hatred of them, that he might destroy them (see Numbers 13:1-33 , to which the narrative here corresponds).

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