These [be] the words which Moses spake unto all Israel on a
this side Jordan in the wilderness, in the plain b
over against the Red [sea], between Paran, and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Dizahab.
The Argument - The wonderful love of God toward his Church is actively set forth in this book. Even through their ingratitude and many rebellions against God, for the space forty years. (Deuteronomy 9:7) they deserved to have been cut off from the number of his people, and forever to have been deprived of the use of his holy word and ordinances: yet he ever preserved his Church even for his own mercy's sake, and would still have his name called upon among them. Wherefore he brings them into the land of Canaan, destroys their enemies, gives them their country, towns and goods, and exhorts them by the example of their fathers (whose infidelity, idolatry, adulteries, complaining and rebellions, he had most severely punished) to fear and obey the Lord, to embrace and keep his law without adding to it or diminishing from it. For by his word he would be known to be their God, and they his people, by his word he would govern his Church, and by the same they would learn to obey him: by his word he would discern the false prophet from the true, light form darkness, ignorance from knowledge, and his own people from all the other nations and infidels: teaching them by it to refuse and detest, destroy and abolish whatever is not agreeable to his holy will, seem it otherwise never so good or precious in the eyes of man. For this cause God promised to raise up kings and governors, for the setting forth of his word and preservation of his Church: giving to them a special charge for the executing of it: whom therefore he wills to exercise themselves diligently in the continual study and meditation of the same: that they might learn to fear the Lord, love their subjects, abhor covetousness and vices, and whatever offends the majesty of God. As he had before instructed their fathers in all things belonging both to his spiritual service and also for the maintenance of that society which is between men: so he prescribes here anew all such laws and ordinances, which either concern his divine service, or else are necessary for a common good: appointing to every estate and degree their charge and duty: as well, how to rule and live in the fear of God, as to nourish friendship toward their neighbours, and to preserve the order which God has established among men: threatening most horrible plagues to them that transgress his commandments, and promising blessings and happiness to those who observe and obey them.
(a) In the country of Moab.
(b) So that the wilderness was between the sea and the plain of Moab.