Many Days in Kadesh
Deuteronomy opened just where Numbers left off, right on the banks of the Jordan, opposite Jericho, while still in Moab. In relation to prophetic events which that pictures, it looks to Israel – the people Israel – finally ready to enter into their long-withheld inheritance.
Thus, it is a book which is perfectly suited for the day and age in which we live. The recounting of the events from Israel’s previous time on the doorstep of entry is to remind them of what got them into the pickle they were in. That comes down to one key thought – a lack of faith in what the Lord promised, and in His provision for obtaining that promise.
Israel, the people, are again united and back in the land, but despite this, they have not entered into their rest. Only a fool would look at the world and think they had. Therefore, they are being prepared for entry into it, just as Israel was being prepared for entry into it with Moses’ final words to them.
But even though Moses’ words are words of law, it is not the law which will allow them to enter that precious and blessed Rest of God…
Text Verse: “What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. 32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. 33 As it is written:
‘Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense,
And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’” Romans 9:30-33
Today, as with the last passage we looked at, we are seeing a review of what occurred in Numbers 14. Israel failed to have faith in the Lord, and Israel went about seeking to obtain their inheritance under their own power. This is a futile endeavor indeed.
And yet, it is a common theme found among many denominations. The question is, “What thing must I do to be pleasing to God.” Seventh Day Adventists say you must observe the Sabbath, and they observe various dietary restrictions, and so on.
Hebrew Roots adherents go with the Sabbath and dietary restrictions, and they add in the Feasts of the Lord and a host of other pick and choose laws from the Law of Moses.
The Church of Christ mandates water baptism… but it has to be done in the Church of Christ. We could go on and on with the man-made laws and or pick and choose precepts from the Bible for numerous other cults and sects. But in the end, only one thing is needed.
That one thing is so simple, so seemingly insignificant, that Paul calls it a stumbling block. A stumbling block is something that you don’t even notice. You just trip right over it. All that God asks of you to be right with Him is to accept His simple gospel of peace. Nothing more. Israel missed it, and it cost them greatly.
Let us hold fast to this precious gospel, and let us never deviate from it. It is the central point of theology when it comes to the salvation of the human soul, and it is found right in His superior word. And so, let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.
I. He Shall Cause Israel to Inherit It (verses 34-40)
34 “And the Lord heard the sound of your words,
v’yishma Yehovah eth qol divrekem – “And heard Yehovah the voice of your words.” It is an interesting phrase which is only seen again in this manner in Deuteronomy 5:28. As this is so, one should stop and look at why it is spoken in this way. This verse is an obvious reference to Numbers 14:1 –
“So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night.” Numbers 14:1
This was speaking of the faithless people who heard the report of the spies, failed to have a trust in or fear of God, and who turned their hearts away from Him and back toward Egypt. However, Deuteronomy 5:28 is speaking of an entirely different account. There it says –
“Then the Lord heard the voice of your words when you spoke to me, and the Lord said to me: ‘I have heard the voice of the words of this people which they have spoken to you. They are right in all that they have spoken.” Deuteronomy 5:28
This event was just after the giving of the Ten Commandments. At that time, the people said –
“Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. 19 Then they said to Moses, ‘You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.’” Exodus 20:18, 19
One can see the complete contrast between the two accounts. In Exodus, the people had a fear of the Lord, they understood His power and majesty, and they asked Moses to be the one to stand between them and the Lord, knowing that His glory was too great for them as a people to interact with.
Despite this, just a year later, the people had lifted up their voices and wept, fearing the miniscule inhabitants of Canaan more than the great and awesome Lord who led them. The pillar and the cloud were still there – right there – with them. The manna came daily. The rock brought forth water for them. The promises had been given, and yet the people failed to simply believe and trust. Thus, Yehovah heard the voice of their words…
34 (con’t) and was angry,
v’yiqsoph – “And was angry.” The word qatsaph comes from a primitive root meaning “to crack off.” Thus, it figuratively means to burst forth in rage. The Lord was furious at them. They had spoken what was right concerning His majestic power while at Sinai, and yet from that time on, they had constantly needled Him, rejecting His presence every step of the way.
Now, while literally one step away from Canaan, they needled Him again, failing to trust that the same power which was able to part the Red Sea, and the same power that spoke in thundering majesty from the top of Sinai, was able to uphold His promises for them to subdue the enemies which were like fleas before Him in Canaan. Surely He was furious…
34 (con’t) and took an oath, saying,
v’yishava lemor – “And swore, saying.” The word is shava, coming from a primitive root signifying “to be complete.” It is used as a denominative from the word sheva, or seven. Thus, when swearing, a person is said to seven himself. In other words, it is as if he has made his declaration seven times.
The Lord’s word is its own oath, and so when He spoke, it was a firm and decided declaration that would certainly come to pass…
35 ‘Surely not one of these men of this evil generation shall see
Most translations miss the poignant nature of the words. They are very direct. A literal translation would be, “If! Shall see one of the men, the these, the generation, the evil, the this.” A suitable paraphrase would be, “Surely not one of these men – this evil generation – shall see.”
The entire body of people is collectively lumped together as one evil generation. Only later will exceptions be noted, thus demonstrating the horrendous nature of the collective body.
35 (con’t) that good land
ha’arets ha’tovah – “the land, the good.” Whereas the people are one giant body of evil, the land which they are now to be denied is purposefully contrasted to them. They are the evil; it is the good. None of them shall partake of that which was set aside for them.
One can, quite clearly, see Jesus’ parable of the great supper in Luke 14 reflected here. When speaking of the kingdom, one of those with Jesus said to Him, “Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!”
In response, Jesus spoke a parable about a man who gave a great supper and invited many to join him. All of the people made excuses as to why they couldn’t come to the banquet. In response, Jesus exclaimed, “For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper” (Luke 14:24).
The types and shadows of the past hauntingly called out for the people at Jesus’ time to pay heed. The land was prepared for Israel, and later the kingdom was prepared for them. But they failed to accept the Lord’s provision for the things…
35 (con’t) of which I swore to give to your fathers,
Here, the word shava, or swear, is again used. Thus, a contrast is set forth. The oath had been made, and thus it must come about. However, Moses said in verse 34 that the Lord made an oath against these people. That also must come about. But the later oath cannot negate the previous oath.
This is a point that must not be missed. The oath was made, and it must be performed. This oath is made, and it will be performed. But what was previously spoken will still surely come about. The land will come to Israel, and the kingdom will come to Israel. But there will be a delay in both.
For now, the oath which Moses refers to was spoken in Numbers 14:28, 29 –
“Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you: 29 The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above.’”
This is later referred to by the psalmist –
“Then they despised the pleasant land;
They did not believe His word,
25 But complained in their tents,
And did not heed the voice of the Lord.
26 Therefore He raised His hand in an oath against them,
To overthrow them in the wilderness.” Psalm 106:24-26
It is also referred to in Psalm 95, a psalm which is then referred to and minutely analyzed in the book of Hebrews –
“For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture,
And the sheep of His hand.
Today, if you will hear His voice:
8 “Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion,
As in the day of trial in the wilderness,
9 When your fathers tested Me;
They tried Me, though they saw My work.
10 For forty years I was grieved with that generation,
And said, ‘It is a people who go astray in their hearts,
And they do not know My ways.’
11 So I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest.’” Psalm 95:7-11
In Hebrews, the author – speaking to the collective body of Israel – refers to their having been denied entry, but that it would someday come to pass. But he also notes that those individuals who had believed in the Lord Jesus had, in fact, entered their rest. Even before the cross, there was this separation of views about Jesus. This is reflected in the gospel of John –
“Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him. 46 But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus did. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, ‘What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. 48 If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.’” John 11:45-48
There were those who feared the Romans, and there were those who believed. And at Moses’ time, there were those who feared the Canaanites, and there were those who believed the Lord and His promises. That is reflected in what Moses will next say –
36 except Caleb the son of Jephunneh;
Here, as in Numbers 14:24, Caleb is singled out, being named first and apart from Joshua. Moses uses a new word, zulah, to identify him. It signifies “except,” or “besides.” Caleb, if you remember, means “Dog.” In Numbers, he was identified as the Kennizite.
Though of the tribe of Judah, his Gentile ancestry was thus highlighted to make a picture. Dogs are unclean animals. With his name and his ancestry taken together, he forms a picture of the Gentile people who demonstrated faith in the Lord while the Jews collectively rejected Him.
His father’s name, Yephunneh, or “He will be beheld,” anticipated the fact that Christ would be beheld by the Gentiles even when He was rejected by the Jews. Of Caleb in relation to the promise, it then says…
36 (con’t) he shall see it,
Caleb, picturing the Gentile believer, is set in total contrast to those of verse 35. The entire congregation is an evil generation, but Caleb is set apart from them because of His belief and faith in the Lord.
He is singled out first because he fills the typology of what would come during the Gentile-led church age. It is those who the Jews consider “dogs,” meaning Gentiles, that would inherit the lead role in this dispensation. While Israel was under punishment for not heeding the Lord, Caleb obtained the promise.
Caleb is promised entry into Canaan; Gentile Christians are promised entrance into the heavenly kingdom. It must be remembered that Caleb remained in the wilderness for the forty years, but his time was one of promise leading to entry into Canaan – something which will now occur.
Israel collectively retained the promise as well, as will be seen in the coming verses. The collective group, made up of individuals, was cursed, leading to their deaths. Understanding the typology leads to understanding what has happened and continues to happen with Israel, even today.
For individual Israelites, some bear the promise and some do not. For those who do, the time here is simply in anticipation of entering what God promised. Caleb possessed that promise; all who trust in Christ do so as well.
36 (con’t) and to him and his children I am giving the land on which he walked,
Caleb anticipates the Gentiles who believed in Christ. But it was not just a group who believed and then the generation ended. Rather, the Gentiles fully followed after the Lord, and they assumed the lead role in the church age – one generation to the next. Each received the promise of inheriting the land on which their father walked.
This was spoken of by Paul, right at the end of Acts –
“Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!” Acts 28:28
Paul then further explains this in Romans 11:25 –
“For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.”
While Israel was set aside due to unbelief, the Gentiles were brought in and have continued filling the typology of Caleb…
36 (con’t) because he wholly followed the Lord.’
yaan asher mille akhare Yehovah – “because which he fully followed Yehovah.” Though nobody translates it as such, this should be an independent clause, not part of the quote of the Lord. The quote should end with, “I am giving the land on which he walked.”
The reason for this is that the words are a close repeat of Numbers 14:24 where the Lord is speaking. There, it said v’male akhare – “and has fully followed after.” Here, it says, mile akhare Yehovah – “fully followed after Yehovah.” It is now Moses repeating the thought that the Lord had spoken in Numbers, and so he adds in the name of the Lord to show this.
Being certain of this, and not wanting to simply pass over it without really seeing if it is an independent clause or not, I asked Sergio in Israel to tell me his thoughts. They are long and detailed, but I am going to include them in their entirety so that you can see how thorough he is when considering the Word of God and, thus, how carefully and thoroughly we should evaluate it –
“The Hebrew text does not have quotation marks, so to be able to know where the quote begins and where it ends one would use context, cantillation marks, or the space gaps in the ancient manuscripts.
It seems like your proposition makes the most sense from a contextual perspective. However, to see if such interpretation is possible from a technical perspective, I went “digging” into the Qumran scrolls. (notice Sergio’s pun!)
The most ancient manuscripts we have of Deuteronomy are the Dead Sea scrolls. There are over 70 fragments of the book of Deuteronomy, found in 11 different caves, and dating back to the 1st century BC. However, despite having such a vast number of partial fragments of the book of Deuteronomy, they are mostly copies that were discarded by the scribes because they had at least one small defect.
And so, we have all these copies but almost all of them are missing the first chapter. In my opinion, it is because in the first chapter they must have still had great focus and attention to details, and so only a few mistakes were made as they were copying the first chapter. As a result, only a handful of scrolls were discarded. This isn’t looking good for our quest.
But the situation gets even tougher. There is only ONE scroll that has the verse you are looking for, verse 36. This scroll is coded as 4Q35 (4 stands for the 4th Qumran cave, and the 35 stands for the 35th manuscript that was found in the cave). The scroll that was found there was in pretty bad shape as it dates back to the 1st century BC, so we only have partial fragments of this chapter (see attached images). After digging through 44 fragments, I was finally able to find Verse 36. But unfortunately, this fragment is incomplete. So, we can’t really see if there’s a space gap. All this hard work and we’re still left with a mystery!
So, I moved on to the more modern manuscript, the Masoretic text which dates back to the 9th century, to see if we can find any clues there. And Wallah! In the Masoretic Text, the sentence “because he wholly followed the Lord,” has a Hebrew cantillation mark, called Zakef Gadol, on the word “because.” This mark functions as a separator between two segments of a verse. So, it appears that the Masoretic Text possibly agrees with this interpretation. It is quite possible that the words “because he wholly followed the Lord” were not part of the words which the Lord spoke but part of Moses’ explanation.
Hopefully, you can now partially appreciate how much work it can be to evaluate a single portion of a single sentence that not a single scholar or translation seemed to care about, but which I and Sergio were determined to see through for your better understanding of God’s precious word.
Caleb pursued the Lord, and the Lord’s ways, step by step, in faith. He simply trusted the Lord’s promise and defended his position by saying, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it” (13:30). He did not waiver in his resolve even when the rest of the people turned against the Lord.
37 The Lord was also angry with me for your sakes, saying, ‘Even you shall not go in there.
Verses 37 & 38 are stated here to relay why there needs to be a change in the leadership before the people can enter the promise. In it is a new word, anaph, translated as “angry.” It comes from a primitive root signifying “to breath hard,” and thus it signifies being enraged. At first, it seems highly curious that Moses would add this note in here.
The people were sentenced to die in the wilderness based on their disbelief in Numbers 14. However, the event which brought about the downfall of Moses and Aaron didn’t occur until Numbers 20, where it was in the first month of either the third year of their travels, or the first month of the 40th year. We logically defended why it was the 3rd year at that time.
Regardless of that, though, it was a considerable time after the events of Numbers 14 – either many months or many years. And yet Moses seems to place it in conjunction with the people’s faithless turning from the Lord.
Further, it was Moses’ own fault that this punishment was laid upon him. He and Aaron were told to speak to the rock before the eyes of the people and water would flow out. But the word was disobeyed, Moses struck the rock twice, and he failed to believe the Lord and hallow Him in the eyes of the people.
So why is Moses stating this in conjunction with the people’s rebellion and as if he is passing the buck to them concerning his own faults? It is because it was the fault of the people, indirectly.
The word Moses uses here, which is translated as “for your sakes,” is galal. It signifies “on account of.” It comes from the verb galal which means to roll. Thus, this speaks of a circumstance as if rolled around.
In other words, if the people simply trusted the Lord, obeyed His word, and went into the land, the entire congregation would have been in Canaan, not at Kadesh. There would have been no need for Moses to lose his temper with them and strike the rock.
But the circumstances rolled around, bringing him to the point where those events occurred. The fault was immediately his, but the blame still rested upon Israel because of what occurred at this time. This is why he includes this circumstance here now. It is also seen in the words of Psalm 106 –
“They angered Him also at the waters of strife,
So that it went ill with Moses on account of them;
33 Because they rebelled against His Spirit,
So that he spoke rashly with his lips.” Psalm 106:32, 33
38 Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, he shall go in there.
Just as the people could not enter except Caleb, so the leader could not enter. But the people would not be left without leadership. Joshua also demonstrated faith, and he too would enter – assuming the mantle of responsibility from Moses before that occurred.
Joshua means “The Lord is Salvation.” He is identified as the son of Nun, or “To propagate” or “Increase.” He pictures those faithful Jews who would receive the inheritance in Christ. Naming his father, Nun, shows that the Lord, would propagate, or increase His offspring. Moses, representing the law, would die outside of the promise. Joshua, then anticipates faith in Christ who then would bring the people into the promise. Through the death of the law comes entry into the inheritance, pictured by Joshua.
38 (con’t) Encourage him, for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.
khazeq ki hu yankhilenah eth Yisrael – “Strengthen, for he shall cause to inherit it Israel.” One can see Jesus all over this. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:56 that “The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.”
Moses sinned and had to die outside of the promise, but Joshua, or “The Lord is Salvation,” will be strengthened by Moses, the law. In Christ’s death under the law, the inheritance is obtained for those who die to the law through Christ.
39 ‘Moreover your little ones and your children, who you say will be victims, who today have no knowledge of good and evil, they shall go in there; to them I will give it, and they shall possess it.
The Lord continues the thought. The people were held accountable for their failure to believe, but another generation will be brought in, and they will possess the inheritance. For Israel in the wilderness, he says that their children would do so.
However, the typology calls for more than just little ones and children. The reason for this is that the sentence was on all twenty and above. Though the term “no knowledge of good and evil” is given as a general statement in contrast to the adults, it cannot actually be said that those nineteen and younger have no knowledge of good and evil. That is an inherited knowledge of all people.
It is the same term, tov va’rah, that goes back to the early Genesis account. Paul says that by the law is the knowledge of sin. Thus, in type, those who will enter are those who are not under law. In other words, in type, this speaks of those who have come to God through Christ and who are thus – as Paul says – “not under law but under grace.”
It is such a generation as this who will be given the inheritance, and they will possess it. The typology is clearly evident. Only after the law has died can the promised inheritance be possessed, and that can only come through faith. For those who fail to believe…
40 But as for you, turn and take your journey into the wilderness by the Way of the Red Sea.’
This is found in the second half of Numbers 14:25. The people were warned that the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwelt in the valley which lay before them. It was a warning because the Lord had determined to not lead them into the land.
Therefore, if they went, they would go alone and face the enemy alone. Instead, they were told to move out into the wilderness by the Way of the Red Sea.
As there are fingers of the Red Sea on both sides of Sinai, it could mean either direction, if the intent was west, it would have been ironic that they were being told to go in the general direction they had wanted to go when they rebelled, meaning back to Egypt.
Either way, it was away from Canaan and toward the sea. But in another ironic turn, they rebelled against this command in order to do on their own what they had just failed to do with the Lord leading them…
It is an evil generation that has rejected Me
They failed to simply take Me at My word
They are as stubborn as the mule. How can it be?
If only they would pay heed to what they have heard
But their ears are closed, and their eyes are made dim
They will not pay heed to the thing that I say
“Who is the Lord? What care do we have for Him?”
Oh, Israel! Why must it be this way?
If you will just come to Me, I would heal you
Here I am with my arms open wide
My hands and feet have been pierced through
And the spear has gone deep into my side
Come to Me, Oh Israel
When you do, from then on, all things will go well
II. From Seir to Hormah (verses 41-46)
41 “Then you answered and said to me,
Moses emphatically states his words to them, vataanu vatomeru elay – “and you answered, and you said to me. He is showing that they were the initiators of another rebellion, and that he had nothing to do with what occurred.
41 (con’t) ‘We have sinned against the Lord;
khatanu l’Yehovah – “We have sinned against Yehovah.” It is a true statement. The people had sinned through cowardly unbelief. That will next be complemented with the sin of disobedient presumption…
41 (con’t) we will go up and fight,
anakhnu naaleh v’nilkhamnu – “we will go up and we will fight.” There is no inclusion of the Lord in these words. To them, it is a battle that they alone will fight and prove themselves worthy of claiming the promise. It is a classic picture of those who attempt to earn salvation, and thus heaven, through their own efforts.
This is especially so for those who do so under the guise of obedience to the Law of Moses. They rejected God’s offer of Christ, and they then fall back on the commands of the law in an attempt to prove their own merit. This is exactingly seen in the next words…
41 (con’t) just as the Lord our God commanded us.’
No! The land is an inheritance. An inheritance cannot be earned. Further, the Lord consistently said to the people that He would give them the land. It is He who would lead the battles. He never commanded them to fight apart from His presence.
The picture of Israel attempting to merit God’s inheritance through the law is perfectly seen here. And this is no different than any others who do the same today – Jew or Gentile – relying on the commands of the law to obtain what God offers apart from the law.
41 (con’t) And when everyone of you had girded on his weapons of war, you were ready to go up into the mountain.
Here is a word found only here in Scripture, hun. It signifies, “to be easy.” Rather than “you were ready to go up,” it should say something akin to, “and you thought it would be easy to go up.” This is certain because of what will come in the next verse. But it is also evident from the typology.
People who pursue the law think it is easy to earn God’s favor through the law. They look at their own actions, with their own weapons of war, as the assured ticket to obtaining the promise. This is exactingly taught by Paul in Ephesians 6 –
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:12, 13
Only through the Lord and the weapons He has provided can man stand in the battle, and only through Him can man prevail. For Israel, their actions provided us with these typological truths.
42 “And the Lord said to me, ‘Tell them, “Do not go up nor fight, for I am not among you; lest you be defeated before your enemies.”’
This verse corresponds directly to Numbers 14:42. The Lord would not go with them into battle. If the Lord was among them, their victory in battle would be guaranteed. Without Him, their own defeat was certain. Such is true with salvation. With the Lord, heaven is guaranteed, but without Him, only death and destruction await.
43 So I spoke to you; yet you would not listen,
Moses conveyed the word of the Lord to the people. It is the sin of willful disobedience. The Lord spoke, Moses conveyed the word, and the people ignored the word. It is just what Paul speaks of in Galatians and elsewhere. He rebuked those of the circumcision for attempting to merit God’s favor through the law. But they refused to listen…
43 (con’t) but rebelled against the command of the Lord,
Here, as in verse 26, it says, va’tamru eth pi Yehovah, “and rebelled against the mouth of Yehovah.” The Lord spoke forth his word, and yet the people rebelled against it. However, as in verse 26, the word is marah, or rebelled.
The word marah comes from a root meaning, “to make bitter.” Thus, we can get the mental picture of, “You brought a state of bitterness to the mouth of the Lord.” That is then highlighted by the next clause…
43 (con’t) and presumptuously went up into the mountain.
The word translated as presumptuously is zud. It signifies to boil or seethe. The people didn’t just bitterly rebel, but they did so in a boil. One can almost see a pot of bitter herbs being brought to a boil which is then presented to the Lord. The taste would be nauseous and revolting.
This is exactly the type of attitude those who pursue the law bring to God’s presence. It is precisely what Paul speaks of in Romans 8 concerning those who attempt to walk according to the flesh, meaning who use the law as a means of justification –
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 5 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 8:4-8
44 And the Amorites who dwelt in that mountain came out against you
The word says, “the Amorite.” It is speaking of the people group as a whole. In Numbers 14, however, it said, “Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who dwelt in that mountain came down and attacked them.”
Here, the general term for all of the dwellers of Canaan is used. Amorite comes from amar, meaning to utter or say. Therefore, the name signifies being spoken of, and thus “Renowned.” Next, interestingly, it says…
44 (con’t) and chased you as bees do,
Here, the devorah, or bee, is introduced. It is the same as the name Deborah. The word comes from the verb davar, or “to speak,” and it is the root of the noun “speech,” or “word.” Just as words are spoken in an orderly motion, so are the movements of bees.
What is interesting, is that the word Amorite comes from “to utter,” or “to say,” and bee comes from “to speak.” The picture should be clear. The Lord is using this to form a picture of His word. For example, bees produce honey, something that is equated to the words of the Lord.
Those who convey the word, and the word itself, speak against those who attempt to find justification for themselves apart from the Lord. The result of such is…
44 (con’t) and drove you back from Seir to Hormah.
This is also something not recorded in Numbers 14. There it says, “and drove them back as far as Hormah.” Seir was never mentioned. The word Seir comes from sear, or hair, which signifies awareness. Man is a sentient being, he has awareness, in particular, an awareness of sin due to the law.
Hormah, or Kharemah, comes from the word kharam, it means to make accursed, or utterly destroy. Thus, it means “Destruction.” Again, the picture follows logically. Man, with an awareness of sin, but who attempts to be justified apart from the righteousness of Christ, is accursed and is to be destroyed.
Paul speaks of this in Galatians 1 in regard to those who attempt to pervert the gospel of Christ, particularly by reinserting the law –
“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:8, 9
45 Then you returned and wept before the Lord, but the Lord would not listen to your voice nor give ear to you.
The people of Israel rejected the Lord’s promise and provision concerning entrance into Canaan, and they were banished to the wilderness. In this, they wept before the Lord, but He paid no attention.
Likewise, and sadly, the people of Israel rejected the Lord’s promise and provision concerning entry into His promised rest through the Person and work of Christ. They were banished among the nations and have wept consistently for a return to the promise.
For 2000 years, the proclamation has been, “Next year in Jerusalem.” But the Lord would not listen to their voice, nor would He give ear to them. The pattern was given so that the people would see, open their eyes and their hearts to Christ, and be healed. But the healing would not come…
46 “So you remained in Kadesh many days, according to the days that you spent there.
Here, a statement of fact is made. The people of Israel remained in Kadesh “many days.” The amount of speculation on how long they were in Kadesh is long, and the commentaries vary immensely. But What needs to be understood is that Kadesh is where the spies went out from and returned to.
It is also the last place that Israel was before beginning their trek back towards Canaan. Despite all the places that they are recorded as having trekked to during their time in the wilderness, the location of Kadesh is thus given to sum up the entire period of living in the wilderness.
The meaning of Kadesh is simply, “Holy.” As much as being a central point of reference for all of their time in the wilderness, then, it is also given to make a theological point concerning Israel. Despite being under punishment, despite being banned from entry into the promise, and despite the death of all of the people who rebelled, Israel was still set apart as “holy.”
The Lord made a covenant with Israel, and their faithlessness in no way negates His faithfulness. Though they were, in and of themselves, unholy the Lord maintained them as “holy” for His own sovereign redemptive purposes.
Their trek back to Canaan, as we previously saw, and as we will see again in the review of their historical events in the chapters to come, anticipates their trek back to the Lord and to being brought into the covenant promises found in Jesus Christ.
The lesson of what we have seen – for Israel and for us – is that we cannot come to God apart from the merits which are found in Jesus Christ. No obtaining of the inheritance is to be found in the Law of Moses, or in our futile attempts to be justified under that law through our own efforts.
This is the purpose of the story we have seen, and it is a truth which continues on throughout all of the Old Testament and even into the New. God has presented us with His final, full, and finished plan of salvation, and it is one which is solely dependent on the merits of Jesus Christ, and Him alone, for our justification before Him. Let us hold fast to this truth, and let us rest in the grace of God which comes through Him.
Closing Verse: “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.” Galatians 6:14, 15
Next Week: Deuteronomy 2:1-12 It’s been a long walk and the times have been rough… (You Have Skirted This Mountain Long Enough) (6th Deuteronomy Sermon)
The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. But He also has expectations of you as He prepares you for entrance into His Land of Promise. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.
Many Days in Kadesh
And the LORD heard the sound of your words
And was angry, and took an oath, saying
‘Surely not one of these men of this evil generation
Shall see that good land of which I swore to give to your fathers
———-so to you I am relaying
Except Caleb the son of Jephunneh
He shall see it, and to him and his children, so stands my word
I am giving the land on which he walked
Because he wholly followed the LORD
The LORD was also angry with me for your sakes, saying
‘Even you shall not go in there, so to you I submit
Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, he shall go in there
Encourage him, for he shall cause Israel to inherit it
‘Moreover your little ones and your children
Who you say will be victims, when you disbelieved and quit
Who today have no knowledge of good and evil
They shall go in there; to them I will give it
———-and they shall possess it
But as for you, turn and take your journey
Into the wilderness by the Way of the Red Sea
“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 commanded us
We will show those folks our strength and might
And when everyone of you had girded on his weapons of war
You were ready to go up into the mountain
———- the Lord’s word you did ignore
“And the LORD said to me, ‘Tell them, “Do not go up nor fight
For I am not among you; lest you be defeated before your enemies
———-yes, in their very sight
So I spoke to you; yet you would not listen
But rebelled against the command of the LORD
And presumptuously went up into the mountain
Not paying heed to His word
And the Amorites who dwelt in that mountain
Came out against you and chased you as bees do
And drove you back from Seir to Hormah
Then you returned and wept before the LORD, but the LORD
———-would not listen to your voice nor give ear to you
So you remained many days in Kadesh is where
According to the days that you spent there
Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true
And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days
Hallelujah and Amen…
34 “And the Lord heard the sound of your words, and was angry, and took an oath, saying, 35 ‘Surely not one of these men of this evil generation shall see that good land of which I swore to give to your fathers, 36 except Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him and his children I am giving the land on which he walked, because he wholly followed the Lord.’ 37 The Lord was also angry with me for your sakes, saying, ‘Even you shall not go in there. 38 Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, he shall go in there. Encourage him, for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.
39 ‘Moreover your little ones and your children, who you say will be victims, who today have no knowledge of good and evil, they shall go in there; to them I will give it, and they shall possess it. 40 But as for you, turn and take your journey into the wilderness by the Way of the Red Sea.’
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 commanded us.’ And when everyone of you had girded on his weapons of war, you were ready to go up into the mountain.
42 “And the Lord said to me, ‘Tell them, “Do not go up nor fight, for I am not among you; lest you be defeated before your enemies.” ’ 43 So I spoke to you; yet you would not listen, but rebelled against the command of the Lord, and presumptuously went up into the mountain. 44 And the Amorites who dwelt in that mountain came out against you and chased you as bees do, and drove you back from Seir to Hormah. 45 Then you returned and wept before the Lord, but the Lord would not listen to your voice nor give ear to you.
46 “So you remained in Kadesh many days, according to the days that you spent there.