History (Deuteronomy 1:44-46)
Verse 44 “The Amorites who lived in that hill country came out against you and chased you as bees do, and crushed you from Seir to Hormah. Elsewhere called Canaanites, being one, and a principal one of the seven nations of Canaan, and who were joined and assisted in the attack by the Amalekites, Numbers 14:45. came out against you, and chased you, as bees do; which being disturbed in their hives come out in great numbers, and with great fury and ardor, for, though a small creature, it has a great deal of spirit; and pursue the aggressor, and leave him not until they have stung him, though thereby they lose their stings, and quickly their lives, at least their usefulness; so these Amorites, being irritated at the approach of the Israelites on their borders, came out in great numbers and with great wrath, and fell upon them and smote them, and pursued them a long way, as is after expressed, though these in the issue were destroyed themselves. The Syriac version renders it, as bees that are smoked: or irritated by smoke; which is a method that has been used, and was anciently: to dispossess them of their hives, and get their honey; and when they are too much smoked become exceeding angry; and which same writers take notice of the strength and force of their stings, as that they will kill with them the largest animals.
Verse 45 “Then you returned and wept before the LORD; but the LORD did not listen to your voice nor give ear to you. Those that remained when the Amorites left pursuing them, returned to the camp at Kadesh, where Moses and the Levites were, and the rest of the people; and here they wept at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and hence said to be before the Lord; they wept because of the slaughter that had been made among them, and because of their sin in going contrary to the will of God, and because they were ordered into the wilderness; and very probably they cried and prayed unto the Lord, that they might not be turned back, but that he would go with them, and bring them now into the promised land: but the Lord would not hearken to your voice, nor give ear unto you; was inexorable, and would not repeal the order to go into the wilderness again, where he had sworn in his wrath their carcasses should fall; the sentence was irrevocable.
Verse 46 “So you remained in Kadesh many days, the days that you spent there. Yes, some years, as some think: according to the days that ye abode there; that is, according to Jarchi, as they did in the rest of the journeys or stations; so that as they were thirty eight years in all at several places, they were nineteen years in Kadesh; the same is affirmed in the Jewish chronology. Maimonides says they were eighteen years in one place, and it is very probable he means this, and takes the sense to be, that they abode as many days here after their return as they did while the land was searching, which were forty days, Numbers 13:25, but without fixing any determinate time, the meaning may only be, that as they had been many days here before this disaster, so they continued many days after in the same place before they marched onward into the wilderness again.