There appear to be contradictory verses / explanations.

Numbers 14:25:

וְהָֽעֲמָלֵקִ֥י וְהַֽכְּנַעֲנִ֖י יוֹשֵׁ֣ב בָּעֵ֑מֶק מָחָ֗ר פְּנ֨וּ וּסְע֥וּ לָכֶ֛ם הַמִּדְבָּ֖ר דֶּ֥רֶךְ יַם־סֽוּף׃

Now the Amalekite and the Canaanite dwell in the Vale; tomorrow turn ye, and get you into the wilderness by the way to the Red Sea.’

According to this verse, G-d says that the next day, they should travel away from Kadesh.

Contradicting this, we see Rashi on Deuteronomy 1:46:

Rashi on Deuteronomy 1:46:1:

ותשבו בקדש ימים רבים.

תשע עשרה שנה, שנאמר כימים אשר ישבתם בשאר המסעות והם היו שלשים ושמנה שנה, תשע עשרה מהם עשו בקדש ותשע עשרה שנה הולכים ומטורפים וחזרו לקדש, כמו שנאמר (במדבר לב, יג) ויניעם במדבר כך מצאתי בסדר עולם:

"You dwelled in Kadesh many days" - Rashi explains that this was 19 years.

Explain the apparent contradiction between Rashi's analysis in the verse in Numbers that seems to indicate that G-d commanded them to travel away from Kadesh the next day. It looks like something happened between that command and the "tomorrow" mentioned that made them stay in the same place for 19 years.

1 Answer 1


The original command was that they should turn around and travel back into the midbar. However, in Bamidbar 14:39 - 45 says that after Moshe Rabbinu gave the command, the B'nai Yisrael rebelled and tried to force their way into the land and were massively defeated.

As a result of this, Rav Hirsch on Devarim 1:46 says that

This "staying quietly" at the very end of the wilderness was the bitterest and most impressive atonement for the sin which rested on the. According to Seder Olam (chapter 8) they had to pass no less than 19 years there. And then as is reported in the following verse, when they did break camp, they did not have to proceed forward to enter the Land, but to turn back into the wilderness again.

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