These be the words which Moses spake unto all Israel,.... Not what are related in the latter part of the preceding book, but what follow in this; and which were spoken by him, not to the whole body of the people gathered together to hear him, which they could not do without a miracle; but to the heads of the people, the representatives of them, who were convened to hear what he had to say, in order to communicate it to the people; unless we can suppose that Moses at different times to several parties of them delivered the same things, until they had all heard them:
on this side Jordan; before the passage of the Israelites over it to the land of Canaan; for Moses never went in thither, and therefore it must be the tract which the Greeks call Persea, and which with respect to the Israelites when in the land of Canaan is called "beyond Jordan", for here now Moses was; and the children of Israel had been here with him a considerable time in the wilderness, the vast wilderness of Arabia, which reached hither:
in the plain; the plains of Moab, between Bethjeshimoth and. Abelshittim, where the Israelites had lain encamped for some time, and had not as yet removed; see Numbers 33:49.
over against the Red sea: the word "sea" is not in the text, nor is there anything in it which answers to "Red"; it should be rendered "opposite Suph", which seems to be the name of a place in Moab, not far from the plains of it, and perhaps is the same with Suphah in Numbers 21:14 for from the Red sea they were at a considerable distance:
between Paran, and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Dizahab; these are names of places which were the boundaries and limits of the plains of Moab, or lay very near them; for Paran cannot be understood of the Wilderness of Paran, which was too remote, but a city or town of that name. Tophel and Laban we read of nowhere else; a learned manF1Clayton's Chronology of the Hebrew Bible, p. 471, &c. conjectures Tophel is the name of the station where the Israelites loathed the manna as light bread, because of the insipidness of it, which he observes this word signifies; but that station was either Zalmonah, or Punon, or this station must be omitted in the account of their journeys, and besides was too remote. Jarchi helps this conjecture a little, who puts Tophel and Laban together, and thinks they signify their murmuring because of the manna, which was white, as Laban signifies; but the above writer takes Laban to be a distinct station, the same with Libnah, Numbers 33:20, and Hazeroth to be the station between Mount Sinai and Kadesh, Numbers 12:16. But both seem to be too remote from the plains of Moab; and Dizahab he would have to be the same with Eziongaber, Numbers 33:35, which he says the Arabs now call Dsahab, or Meenah el Dsahab, that is, "the port of gold"; and certain it is that Dizahab has the signification of gold, and, is by HillerusF2Onomastic. Sacr. p. 67, 300. rendered "sufficiency of gold", there being large quantities of it here; perhaps either through the riches of the port by trade, or by reason of a mine of gold at it, or near it; so the Vulgate Latin version renders it, "where there is much gold", and the Septuagint version "golden mines", Catachrysea; and JeromF3De loc. Heb. fol. 92. A. makes mention of a place of this name, and says they are mountains abounding with gold in the wilderness, eleven miles from Horeb, where Moses is said to write Deuteronomy; elsewhereF4Travels, p. 319. he calls it Dysmemoab, i.e. the west of Moab, near Jordan, opposite Jericho.