MemberJanuary 19, 2021 at 9:14 am
With the translators’ added punctuation and ‘helper’ words removed, the Hebrew text of Deut 1:1-2 is best read as one sentence and also appears to be a kind of prescriptive itinerary, that is, a route-map. This text was the topic of my Honours thesis, 15k words, as yet unpublished, so I will not give a complete dealing here until it is published. If any publisher is interested, contact me through academia.edu.
In brief, the new (autograph) reading of Deut 1:1-2 suggests that the place where Moses spoke to Israel (east of the Jordan River in the Arabah) is 11 days’ journey from Mount Horeb-Sinai.
Now, we know that Israel did not take the ‘ideal’ 11-day journey to the Jordan River from Mount Sinai. Instead, in the 40th year after exodus, they had to take the ‘long way’ around Edom and Moab (Deut 2:1; Judg 11:18).
Thus, the purpose of the first two verses of the Book of Deuteronomy is to pointedly note how close the nation of Israel was to its goal when it left Mount Sinai in the second year after exodus, and how, for lack of faith, the chosen people had suffered a total of forty years in the wilderness until the whole generation had died off.
Deu 1:2 “eleven days…”
Deu 1:3 “In the fortieth year…”