These verses are prefixed as a connecting link between the contents of the preceding books and that of Deuteronomy now to follow. The sense of the passage might be given thus: "The discourses of Moses to the people up to the eleventh month of the fortieth year" (compare Deuteronomy 1:3) "have now been recorded." The proper names which follow seem to belong to places where "words" of remarkable importance were spoken. They are by the Jewish commentators referred to the spots which witnessed the more special sins of the people, and the mention of them here is construed as a pregnant rebuke. The Book of Deuteronomy is known among the Jews as "the book of reproofs."
On this side of Jordan - Rather, "beyond Jordan" (as in Deuteronomy 3:20, Deuteronomy 3:25). The phrase was a standing designation for the district east of Jordan, and at times, when Greek became commonly spoken in the country, was exactly represented by the proper name Peraea.
In the wilderness, in the plain - The former term denotes the Desert of Arabia generally; the latter was the sterile tract (' Arabah,' Numbers 21:4 note) which stretches along the lower Jordan to the Dead Sea, and is continued thence to the Gulf of Akaba.
Over against the Red Sea - Render it: "over against Suph." "Sea" is not in the original text. "Suph" is either the pass Es Sufah near Ain-el-Weibeh (Numbers 13:26 note), or the name of the alluvial district (the Numbers 21:14 note).
Tophel is identified with Tufileh, the Tafyle of Burckhardt, still a considerable place - some little distance southeast of the Dead Sea. Paran is probably "Mount Paran" Deuteronomy 33:2; or a city of the same name near the mountain. Compare Genesis 14:6.
Laban is generally identified with Libnah Numbers 33:20, and Hazeroth with Ain Hadherah (Numbers 11:34 note); but the position of Dizahab is uncertain.
For Kadesh see Numbers 13:26 note; and for Horeb see Exodus 3:1.
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