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Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 3: Harmony of the Law, Part I, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at

Deuteronomy 1

Deuteronomy 1:1-5

1. These be the words which Moses spake unto all Israel on this side Jordan in the wilderness, in the plain over against the Red sea, between Paran, and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Dizahab.

1. Haec sunt verba quae loquutus est Moses ad omnem Israelem trans Jordanem in deserto, in planitie, e regione Suph, inter Paran et Thophel, et Laban, et Hazeroth, et Dizahab.

2. (There are eleven days’ journey from Horeb, by the way of mount Seir, unto Kadeshbarnea.)

2. Undecim dies sunt ab Horeb, itineris montis Seir, usque ad Cades Barnea.

3. And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spake unto the children of Israel, according unto all that the Lord had given him in commandment unto them;

3. Fuit autem quadragesimo anno, undecimo mense, prima mensis, loquutus est Moses ad filios Israel juxta omnia quae praeceperat Jehova ad illos.

4. After he had slain Sihon the king of the Amorites, which dwelt in Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, which dwelt at Astaroth in Edrei.

4. Posteaquam percusserat Sehon regem Emorrhaeorum qui habitabat in Hesbon, et Og regem Basan, qui habitabat in Astaroth in Edrei.

5. On this side Jordan, in the land of Moab, began Moses to declare this law, saying.

5. Trans Jordanem in terra Moab incepit Moses explanare legem hanc, dicendo.

1. These are the words. These two latter passages properly belong to the supplements, wherein God afterwards more clearly and familiarly illustrated the Law previously given by Him; they comprehend also exhortations, by which He subdued the people’s minds to obedience, and eulogies, by which He commended and confirmed the Law. The sum is, that Moses is appointed the minister and ambassador of God, who by his mouth prescribes to Israel all that is right and just. But when he says, “beside the covenant, which he made with them in Horeb,” (De 29:1,) necessary that the Decalogue should be more fully explained, lest its brevity should render it obscure to an ignorant and slow-hearted people. For God did not, like earthly kings, learn from experience to enrich His law by new precepts, but considered the people’s dull and weak understanding. The particle of exception, “beside,” does not, therefore, designate anything additional, but only signifies that God had again repeated His covenant, that it might be more distinctly and certainly understood. In which respect He gave an extraordinary proof of His indulgence, that previous to their entering the land, He renewed His covenant about forty years after its first promulgation, and added a clear exposition of it, because He had then to do with a new generation. For this reason the place is expressly mentioned, because from thence the lapse of time is made evident.

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