ויהי בשלח. וי"ו ולא נחם. כפ"א רפה בל' ישמעאל. וידוע כי ממצרים עד ירושלם דרך פלשתים אינו מרחק רב והוא כמו מהלך עשרה ימים בדרך הישרה. ולולי זה איך המובאים השבטים בחמוריהם עד מצרים. אם היה הדרך רחוק מאד מה היה מספיק שיאכלו הם וחמוריהם ובעלותם מביאים שבר לבתיהם: AND IT CAME TO PASS WHEN PHARAOH HAD LET THE PEOPLE GO. The vav in ve-lo nacham (led them not) is like an unaspirated fa in the Arabic tongue.68In other words, a vav prefixed to a word does not always mean and. Hence ve-lo nacham does not mean: and led them not, but may mean: that God led them not, or something similar. It is known that the distance between Egypt and Jerusalem by way of the land of the Philistines is not very great. It is about a ten-day journey by straight road. If this was not so, how did the tribes69Jacob’s sons. come as far as Egypt upon their asses?70To buy food. See Gen. 42-44. If the distance was very great how much would have been necessary for them and their asses to eat?71In other words, if the distance between Egypt and Canaan had been very great they would not have been able to carry enough food with them for the journey. Furthermore, upon returning they brought back food for their households.72If the distance was very great they would have had to carry a vast amount of food for the journey plus an additional amount for their households.
כי קרוב הוא. א"ר משה אע"פ שהוא קרוב. וכמוהו לפי דעתו כי עם קשה עורף הוא. רפאה נפשי כי חטאתי לך. כי רכב ברזל לו. ולפי דעתי אין צורך. כי טעמו למה לא נחם אלהים דרך ארץ פלשתים בעבור שהוא קרוב. והנה נחם דרך רחוקה שלא יראו מלחמה ויאמרו נתנה ראש ונשובה מצרימה. ALTHOUGH THAT WAS NEAR. Rabbi Moses Ha-Kohen says that ki karov hu means although that was near.73In other words, the word ki, which usually means “for” or “because,” has the meaning of “although” here. Rabbi Moses interprets thus, for prima facie, the word, “because” is out of place here, as God should have led them by the way of the Philistines because it was close. In my opinion, ki am keshe oref hu (for it is a stiff-necked people) (Ex. 34:9); refa’ah nafshi ki chatati lakh (Heal my soul; for I have sinned against Thee) (Ps. 41:5); and ki rekhev barzel lo (though they have chariots of iron) (Josh. 17:18) are similar.74The word ki in these verses is to be translated as although. Hence Ex. 34:9 is to be translated, although it is a stiff-necked people; and Ps. 41:5, Heal my soul; although I have sinned against Thee. However, I see no need for this interpretation,75For interpreting ki here as although. for its meaning is: the reason God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines was that it was close.76In other words, ki karov hu is to be rendered, because it was close. God thus led them via a distant way so that they would not witness any war and say, Let us make a captain, and let us return to Egypt (Num. 14:4).
וידענו כי השם יודע העתידות בלי ספק וידע שינחמו אם יוליכם דרך ארץ פלשתים. ואמר פן ינחם העם. כי דברה תורה כל' בני אדם שיבינו הלומדים: [LEST PERADVENTURE.] We know for certain that the Lord knows the future.77Lest peradventure implies that God was uncertain about the future. This contradicts the concept that the Lord is omniscient, hence I.E.’s comments. God knew that the people would repent if He led them by the way of the land of the Philistines. Scripture reads, Lest peradventure the people repent because the Torah employed human terminology so that those who study78The Torah. will understand.79What the Torah is trying to convey. See I.E. on Gen. 1:26.