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Deuteronomy



by Ken Cayce



Ken Cayce All rights reserved.


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Deuteronomy Explained



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Book of Deuteronomy Explained

Deuteronomy is one of the most significant books in the Old Testament. Judging from the number of quotations or citations of Deuteronomy in the New Testament, its influence has been extremely great. According to the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament, Deuteronomy is quoted or cited 195 times in the New Testament, exceeded only by references to Psalms, Isaiah, Genesis, and Exodus, in that order. Based on the number of manuscripts of the individual Old Testament books found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, Deuteronomy was one of the five most influential works at Qumran (thus far there are 27 manuscripts of Psalms, 24 of Deuteronomy, 18 of Isaiah and 15 each of Genesis and Exodus). Three times Jesus found strength in Deuteronomy to turn back Satan's tempting (Matt. 4:1-11; compare Deut. 6:13, 16; 8:3). When asked which commandment was greatest (Matt. 22:36-37), He quoted (Deuteronomy 6:5) in reply. The entire Bible is the story of
covenant. (We affirm that central focus every time we refer to "Old Testament" and "New Testament", which really mean "Old Covenant" and "New Covenant"). In Deuteronomy, Moses was led by the Spirit of God to do something new and wonderful to express this covenant: he followed a pattern of international discourse between nations. We know about these treaty forms today, especially from Hittite examples. In this case, the Lord was viewed in the place of a great king; the people were viewed in the place of vassal states. 


Deuteronomy therefore contains an introduction to the covenant (1:1-5), historical background (1:6 - 4:3), covenant requirements (4:44 - 26:19), and curses and blessings (27:1 - 30:20). The final four chapters (31-34), are not part of the covenant formula but contain final matters associated with the end of Moses' leadership of Israel. Almost all of Deuteronomy is a series of sermons by Moses, not always chronological, and sometimes repetitious and overlapping. But overall, the book presents a clear, deeply heartfelt appeal to the new generation of Israelites to agree to acknowledge the Lord as their God, along with instruction in how to do so. 


What it means | God's Love Restated


The themes of Deuteronomy are foundational to the entire message of the Old Testament:


Covenant: The Book of Deuteronomy restates God's love for Israel, the history of His provision for them, the benefits or blessings of walking in covenant with God, and the consequences for disobeying the stipulations of the covenant (see the summary in 28:1-68). Christians today live in a New Covenant relationship with God, based on the blood of Christ, a covenant written on the heart rather than on tables of stone (Jer. 31:33-34).


Choice : Throughout the history of God's relationship with humanity, choice has been integral. God chose Abraham and His descendants (10:15), and He appeals to Israel to choose Him in return (30:19). God clearly outlines the implications of choosing Him or not, so that, to borrow the apostle Paul's words "[We] are without excuse" (Rom. 1:20).


Love: It is easy to overlook the love that flows through the mechanics of covenant stipulations. Twenty-five times in Deuteronomy, love (both divine and human), is mentioned as the basis and evidence of God's relationship with Israel (7:7-13; 10:12-15; 30:16-20).


Faithfulness: The faithfulness of God and the faithfulness of Moses illustrate the best of divine and human love. God is a God of promises kept (2 Peter 1:4). Indeed, it was the promises of God to the patriarchs that caused Him to be longsuffering toward Israel and finally bring them to the Promised Land
(7:7-9).


Title: The English title "Deuteronomy" comes from the Greek Septuagint (LXX) mistranslation of "copy of this law" (in 17:18), as "second law", which was rendered Deuteronomium in the Latin version (Vulgate). The Hebrew title of the book is translated "These are the words", from the first two Hebrew words of the book. The Hebrew title is a better description of the book since it is not a "second law", but rather the record of Moses' words of explanation concerning the law. Deuteronomy completes the five-part literary unit called the Pentateuch.


Deuteronomy is also a treasure chest of theological concepts that have influenced the religious thought and life of ancient Israel, Jews, and Christians down through the ages. These concepts include: 


1. The concept of creed; Deuteronomy 6:4-5 is the "creed" of Israel, known as the Shema ("Hear"). The words were to be upon the hearts of the Israelites, who were to teach them diligently to their children. The words were to be bound "for a sign" on the hand and "as frontlets" between the eyes. They were to be written on the doorposts of the house and on the gates. Jesus took the words of 6:5 as the first and greatest commandment (Matt. 22:37).


2. The concept of the God "who acts" permeates the book. The historical acts of Yahweh became a basic part of the book's viewpoint, particularly as these acts relate to the claims Yahweh makes on the Israelites, both at the moment and after they entered the Land of Promise. Moses reminds them of "what the LORD did because of Baal-peor" (4:3), which is to instruct future behavior in the Promised Land (verse 5). 


3. The "election" of Israel is based in the call of Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3; 15:1-6), where God's promise is directed to the "seed" or descendants of Abraham. The word most often used to set forth the doctrine of election in the Old Testament is the verb (bachar), "to choose". It occurs quite requently in Deuteronomy (30 times).


4. Another major thought is that of the "covenant relationship". A people redeemed from slavery and bound to their God by a covenant needed some guidelines for a happy life in fellowship with God and with one another The Sinai covenant was cast in the shape of an ancient Near Eastern treaty that listed obligations laid on the vassal (Israel), by the great King (Yahweh). These were the natural consequence of the King's protection and care for His vassal.


5. Another concept, that of "sin", is expressed in Deuteronomy in a unique way, in that it is seen against the background of the covenant relationship. The redemptive act by which the Lord brought the Israelites out of Egypt is mentioned in connection with the commandments (6:20-25). The obligation of the Israelites to keep and do His ordinances stemmed from the fact that they were chosen to be His possession (7:6). When they entered the land, they were to remember these facts and keep His commandments (8:1-10). However, they were in danger of forgetting this relationship and turning to other gods (verses 11-18), for which they would "surely perish" (verse 19). Loving God and keeping His commandments are set side by side (11:13), and blessing in the land is to follow from such obedience (verses 8-12). Disobedience would bring the withholding of blessing.


Historical Setting: Like Leviticus, Deuteronomy contains much legal detail, but with an emphasis to the people rather than the priests. As Moses called the second generation of Israel to trust the Lord, and be obedient to His covenant made at Horeb (Sinai), he illustrated his point with references to Israel's past history. He reminded Israel of her rebellion against the Lord at Horeb (9:7 - 10:1), and at Kadesh (1:26-46), which brought devastating consequences. He also reminded her of the Lord's faithfulness in giving victory over her enemies (2:24 - 3:11; 29:2, 7-8). Most importantly, Moses called the people to take the land that God had promised by oath to their forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (1:8; 6:10; 9:5; 29:13; 30:20; 34:4; compare Gen. 15:18-21; 26:3-5; 35:12). Moses not only looked back, he also looked ahead and saw that Israel's future failure to obey God would lead to her being scattered among the nations before the fulfillment of His oath to the patriarchs would be completed (4:25-31; 29:22 - 30:10; 31:26-29).


The book of Deuteronomy, along with Psalms and Isaiah, reveals much about the attributes of God. Thus, it is directly quoted over 40 times in the New Testament (exceeded only by Psalms and Isaiah), with many more allusions to its content. Deuteronomy reveals that the Lord is the only God (4:39; 6:4), and that He is jealous (4:24), faithful (7:9), loving (7:13), merciful
(4:31), yet angered by sin (6:15). This is the God who called Israel to Himself. Over 250 times, Moses repeated the phrase, "the Lord your God" to Israel. Israel was called to obey (28:2), fear (10:12), and serve (10:12), her God by walking in His ways and keeping His commandments (10:12-13). By obeying Him, the people of Israel would receive His blessings (28:1-14). Obedience and the pursuit of personal holiness is always based upon the character of God. Because of who He is, His people are to be holy (compare 7:6-11; 8:6, 11, 18; 10:12, 16-17; 11:13; 13:3-4; 14:1-2).


For 38 years after they had refused to enter Canaan, the Israelites remained in the wilderness of Paran and at Kadesh-barnea, until the old generation died off. Then they resumed their journey by a long detour around Edom. Finally, they were encamped in Moab, awaiting final instructions to go over and possess the land God had promised to their fathers. It was a most exciting and momentous occasion.


According to the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses took this occasion to deliver three addresses to the people of Israel, all of them farewell addresses, because he had been told that he could not enter the land with the people. The substance of the addresses is found in  Deuteronomy, with the first being delivered "on this side Jordan, in the land of Moab" (1:5). The second one, if the words of 4:44-49 are intended as a heading for the second portion and not as a summary of the first, was given "on this side Jordan, in the valley over against Beth-peor, in the land of Sihon king of the Amorites" (4:46). The third was simply "in the land of Moab" (29:1). Quite possibly the same location is intended for all three messages. 


Authorship: Moses has been traditionally recognized as the author of Deuteronomy, since the book itself testifies that Moses wrote it (1:1, 5; 31:9, 22, 24). Both the Old Testament (1 Kings 2:3; 8:53; 2 Kings 14:6; 18:12), and the New Testament (Acts 3:22-23; Rom. 10:19), support the claim of Mosaic authorship. While (Deut. 32:48 - 34:12), was added after Moses' death (probably by Joshua), the rest of the book came from Moses' hand just before his death in 1405 B.C. The majority of the book is comprised of farewell speeches that the 120 year old Moses gave to Israel, beginning on the first day of the 11th month of the 40th year after the Exodus from Egypt (1:3). These speeches can be dated Jan. - Feb., 1405 B.C. In the last few weeks of Moses' life, he committed these speeches to writing and gave them to the priests and elders for the coming generations of Israel (31:9, 24-26).


On conservative presuppositions, a very strong case for the Mosaic authorship of Deuteronomy can be established. By the test of agreement with known historical conditions, and by careful literary analysis, it is possible to demonstrate the only pre-Davidic period can successfully be reconciled with the data of the Hebrew text. In fact, the unity and authenticity of the book as a Mosaic product are confirmed by the remarkable conformity of its structure of that of the suzerainty (overlordship) type of covenant or treaty in its classic, mid-second millennium B.C. form. Actually (Deuteronomy 31:9 and 24), state that Moses wrote, as well as spoke, "the words of this law". Joshua, or some theocratic officer, in all likelihood, completed the document by recording Moses' death (chapter 34), and probably Moses' witness song (chapter 34), and testament (chapter 33). 


Background and Setting: Like Leviticus, Deuteronomy does not advance historically, but takes place entirely in one location over about one month of time (compare Deut. 1:3
and 34:8 with Joshua 5:6-12). Israel was encamped in the central rift valley to the east of the Jordan River (Deut. 1:1). This location was referred to in (Num. 36:13), as "the plains of Moab", an area north of the Arnon River across the Jordan River from Jericho. It had been almost 40 years since the Israelites had exited Egypt. 


The book of Deuteronomy concentrates on events that took place in the final weeks of Moses' life. The major event was the verbal communication of divine revelation from Moses to the people of Israel (1:1 - 30:20; 31:30 - 32:47; 33:1-29). The only other events recorded were: 


1. Moses' recording the law in a book and his commissioning of Joshua as the new leader (31:1-29);


 2. Moses' viewing of the land of Canaan from Mt. Nebo (32:48-52; 34:1-4); and


3. His death (34:5-12). 


The original recipients of Deuteronomy, both in its verbal and written presentations, were the second generation of the nation of Israel. All of that generation from 40 to 60 years of age (except Joshua and Caleb, who were older), had been born and reared in the wilderness. Together, they comprised the generation that was on the verge of conquering the land of Canaan under Joshua, 40 years after the





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Deuteronomy 1 Deuteronomy 13 Deuteronomy 25
Deuteronomy 2 Deuteronomy 14 Deuteronomy 26
Deuteronomy 3 Deuteronomy 15 Deuteronomy 27
Deuteronomy 4 Deuteronomy 16 Deuteronomy 28
Deuteronomy 5 Deuteronomy 17 Deuteronomy 29
Deuteronomy 6 Deuteronomy 18 Deuteronomy 30
Deuteronomy 7 Deuteronomy 19 Deuteronomy 31
Deuteronomy 8 Deuteronomy 20 Deuteronomy 32
Deuteronomy 9 Deuteronomy 21 Deuteronomy 33
Deuteronomy 10 Deuteronomy 22 Deuteronomy 34
Deuteronomy 11 Deuteronomy 23
Deuteronomy 12 Deuteronomy 24




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Deuteronomy 1



Deuteronomy Chapter 1

The book of Deuteronomy was the fifth book penned by Moses. It is the fifth book of the Pentateuch. Deuteronomy is taken from 2 Greek words. Deuterous means second. Nomos means law. This is a stating of the law the second time. It is not exactly like the law stated in Leviticus, but is giving a practical use of the law, now that they are entering the Promised Land. In the last book, we saw the older generation of the Israelites die in the wilderness. This takes place at the end of the 40 years of wandering. Moses will expound the law to the new generation. Obedience to the LORD and His law is stressed. They must remember the deliverance of Israel from Egypt. They must, also, remember the mistakes their parents made, and not make them again. This is actually a book on the blessings they will receive, if they obey the LORD, or the curses that will be theirs, if they do not obey the LORD.


Verses 1-5: "These be the words": These verses form a preamble to the entire book, much like that of preambles in ancient Near Eastern treaties. In this case, they are the words of Moses (compare Exodus 20:2a). They identify the suzerain or "great king" in terms to inspire awe and fear. "Horeb" is another name for Mount Sinai (Exodus 3:1, 12; compare Exodus 19:1). The journey would normally have taken 11 days, but it has taken them almost 40 years! "Kadesh-barnea" was the place where rebellion seized the camp and they refused to enter the Promised Land (Num. chapters 13 and 14). Verse 4 relates some victories which had been granted by God supernaturally, and thus anticipates further victories in the future (2:26-37) over Sihon and (3:1-22 over Og). "Declare" has the sense of making something absolutely clear or plain. The same verb is used (in 27:8), to indicate the clarity or legibility with which the words of the law were to be inscribed in stone (Hab. 2:2). "On this side Jordan": "East of the Jordan" or "across" occurs 18 times in Deuteronomy and Joshua. It refers 12 times to the eastern and 6 times to the western side of the Jordan. "Law" comes from the word meaning "to direct", "to teach", and so is rendered "instruction" (Torah). Here it refers to the discourses that follow, the exposition and application of God's Word to the people.


Verses 1-8: Moses spake to the people all the Lord had given him in commandment. Horeb was but eleven days distant from Kadesh-barnea. This was to remind them that their own bad conduct had occasioned their tedious wanderings; that they might the more readily understand the advantages of obedience. They must now go forward. Though God brings his people into trouble and affliction, he knows when they have been tried long enough. When God commands us to go forward in our Christian course, he sets the heavenly Canaan before us for our encouragement.


Deuteronomy 1:1 These [be] the words which Moses spake unto all Israel on this side Jordan in the wilderness, in the plain over against the Red [sea], between Paran, and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Dizahab.


These opening "words which Moses spake unto all Israel" form an "inclusion" (a frame), of sorts with the words at the end of the book, "Israel ... and did as the Lord commanded Moses" (34:9). The Lord established a relationship of grace with the people of Israel, using an international treaty format to prepare the world and His people for His salvation plan.


"The words which Moses spake": Almost all of Deuteronomy consists of speeches given by Moses at the end of his life. (According to verse 3), Moses acted upon the authority of God since his inspired words were in accordance with the commandments that God had given.


"Unto all Israel": This expression is used 12 times in this book and emphasizes the unity of Israel, and the universal applications of these words.


Most of the areas named (in 1:1), is not known with certainty, although they may have been along Israel's route north from the Gulf of Aqabah (compare Num. chapter 33). The plain referred to is the large rift valley that extends from the Sea of Galilee in the north to the Gulf of Aqabah in the south. Israel was encamped to the east of the Jordan River in this valley.


This is giving the location of this nearly three million people, who are poised to go into the Promised Land. This is one of the last things that Moses does. He wants this generation to fully understand the law of God. This says he gave the message to all the people, not just the elders. These laws are for all the people. This is before they cross over Jordan to the Promised Land. They were between the Red Sea and the place where they will cross over Jordan. We dealt with all of these places in our book on Numbers.


Deuteronomy 1:2 "([There are] eleven days' [journey] from Horeb by the way of mount Seir unto Kadesh-barnea.)"


The 11-day journey took Israel nearly 40 years to complete because of their disobedience (Num. chapters 13 and 14). "Horeb" is another name for Mount Sinai (4:10, 15; Exodus 3:1), where God revealed His glory and gave the law.


"Eleven days' journey": The distance from Horeb to Kadesh-Barnea was about 150 miles. Kadesh was on the southern border of the Promised Land. This trip took 11 days on foot, but for Israel lasted 38 more years.


"Horeb": The usual name in Deuteronomy for Mt. Sinai means "desolation", a fitting name since the area around Sinai is barren and uninviting.


"Mount Seir": South of the Dead Sea in Edom.


The journey to the Promised Land was just a very short journey. Their unfaithfulness caused the 40-year delay. Kadesh-barnea was the place where they would camp, just before entering the Promised Land.


Deuteronomy 1:3 "And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first [day] of the month, [that] Moses spake unto the children of Israel, according unto all that the LORD had given him in commandment unto them;"


"The fortieth year": The 40 th year after the Exodus from Egypt. The years of divine judgment (Num. 14:33-34) were ending.


"The eleventh month": Jan. - Feb, 1405 B.C. Numbers chapters 20-36 records the events of the 40 th year.


Forty years have passed. Their wandering is over. The eleventh month is very similar to our February. The message coming from Moses' mouth for these people is actually the message of the LORD.


Deuteronomy 1:4 "After he had slain Sihon the king of the Amorites, which dwelt in Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, which dwelt at Astaroth in Edrei:"


"Sihon ... Og": The two kings of the Amorites whom the Jews defeated in Transjordan (see 2:24 to 3:11; Num. 21:21-35).


Moses knew before the battle with the Amorites, that he would not enter the Promised Land. The latter chapters of the book of Numbers tell of this little matter of these evil kings being dealt with before Moses died. Og and Sihon had planned to stop the Israelites from entering the Promised Land. Israel, commanded of God, destroyed them both. Astaroth and Edrei were places where the evil kings resided.



Verses 1-5 to 4:43: Theses verses are mainly Moses' first speech. Moses introduced his explanation of the law with a call to enter the land of Canaan (verses 6-8), which had been promised by the Abrahamic Covenant from God (compare Gen. 15:18-21). Throughout this book he refers to that covenant promise (1:35; 4:31; 6:10, 18, 23; 7:8, 12; 8:1, 18; 9:5; 10:11; 11:9, 21; 13:17; 19:8; 26:3, 15; 27:3, 28:11; 29:13; 30:20; 31:7, 20-23; 34:4). He then gave a historical review of God's gracious acts (1:9 - 3:29), and a call to Israel for obedience to the covenant given to them by the Lord at Sinai (4:1-40). This introductory section ends with a brief narrative recounting the appointment of the 3 cities of refuge east of the Jordan (4:41-43).


Deuteronomy 1:5 "On this side Jordan, in the land of Moab, began Moses to declare this law, saying,"


Moses explains the "law" that God had already given them in the Books of Genesis through Numbers. In fact, Deuteronomy means "the second [giving of] the law". Those who heard the "first law" were now dead, so God's law was specifically addressed to the new generation; there would be no excuse for ignorance or disobedience.


"Declare": To make clear, distinct, or plain. The purpose of the book was to make the sense and purpose of the law clear to the people as they entered the Land. It was to be their guide to the law while living in the Land. Moses did not review what happened at Horeb (Sinai), which is recorded by him in Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers (compare Exodus 20:1 - Num. 10:10), but rather gave Israel instruction in how to walk with God and how to fulfill God's will in the Land and be blessed.


Moses will not cross over Jordan, so the law was to be given to the people by him before they entered the Promised Land. They are in the plains of Moab, when Moses gives them the law. They are near Jericho.


Deuteronomy 1:6 "The LORD our God spake unto us in Horeb, saying, Ye have dwelt long enough in this mount:"


This verse begins the historical prologue which extends through (4:43). The historical prologue in the ancient Near Eastern treaties (and in Deuteronomy and Exodus), surveys the "great King's" relationship, and especially his benefactions, to the vassal king (God and Israel). So in Deuteronomy the covenant tradition of promise, from Abraham to Moses, is rehearsed. Then there is the experience of observing God in history, working out the events of the promise (1:6 to 3:29).


The LORD is speaking of Jehovah. The LORD speaking to the people shows that they are His people, and He is their God. The Israelites had remained at Horeb about a year. The following is part of the covenant God made with Israel.


Exodus 19:5-6 "Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth [is] mine:" "And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These [are] the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel."


We will see in the following Scripture, that Israel agreed to the covenant.


Exodus 19:8 "And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD."


Horeb is the name of a range of mountains, of which Sinai is one of the summits. This is the place they received the Ten Commandments from God. Horeb was also, the place of the Rock which gushed forth water. It would be advantageous to read the whole 19th and 20th chapter of Exodus on this subject.


Deuteronomy 1:7 "Turn you, and take your journey, and go to the mount of the Amorites, and unto all [the places] nigh thereunto, in the plain, in the hills, and in the vale, and in the south, and by the sea side, to the land of the Canaanites, and unto Lebanon, unto the great river, the river Euphrates."


"The land" (see verse 8), which the Lord set before Israel to go in and possess was clearly described (in verse 7). The hill country of the Amorites referred to the mountainous territory west of the Dead Sea. The Aqabah was the land in the rift valley from the Sea of Galilee in the north to the Dead Sea in the south. The hill country referred to the hills that run through the center of the Land north and south. These hills are to the west of the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River. The lowland referred to the low rolling hills that sloped toward the Mediterranean coast (Shephelah). The Negev described the dry wasteland stretching southward from Beer-sheba to the wilderness. The seacoast referred to the land along the Mediterranean Sea. The boundaries of the Land of the Canaanites were given (in Num. 34:1-15). Lebanon to the north marked the northwestern boundary on the coast. The northeast boundary of the Land was the Euphrates River. Compare Num. 34:1-12).


Lebanon was the furthest point on one side, and the lands this is speaking of are near the entrance of the land near Jericho.


Deuteronomy 1:8 "Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them."


The patriarchal promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: God chose Abraham, and then promised him a land, posterity and that he would be a blessing (Gen. 12:1-3). Note its use (in Deut. 1:35; 4:31; 6:10, 18, 23; 7:8, 12; 8:1, 18; 9:5; 10:11; 11:9, 21; 13:17; 19:8; 26:3, 15; 28:11; 29:13; 30:20; 31:7, 20-21, 23; 34:4). All of these references to the land are based on God's grace, "which the Lord sware unto your fathers".


"The LORD sware": God's command to take possession of this Land by conquest was based upon the promise of the Land that had been given in a covenant to Abraham (Gen. 15:18-21) and reiterated to Isaac and Jacob (Gen. 26:3-5; 28:13-15; 35:12). These 3 patriarchs are mentioned 7 times (in Deut. 1:8; 6:10; 9:5, 27; 29:13; 30:20 and 34:4). The Lord sealed His promise to the patriarchs with an oath (swore), indicating that He would never change His plan (compare Psalm 110:4).


This is the same land that their fathers had spied out, and decided they could not take. The LORD tells them to go into the land and take it for their own. This is the land the LORD had promised Abraham, and in turn, Isaac, and Jacob.


Genesis 13:14-15 "And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward:" "For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever."



Verses 9-18: Moses reminds the people of the happy constitution of their government, which might make them all safe and easy, if it was not their own fault. He owns the fulfilment of God's promise to Abraham, and prays for the further accomplishment of it. We are not destitute in the power and goodness of God; why should we be destitute in our own faith and hope? Good laws were given to the Israelites, and good men were to see to the execution of them, which showed God's goodness to them, and the care of Moses (see notes on Exodus chapter 18 for the background).


Deuteronomy 1:9 "And I spake unto you at that time, saying, I am not able to bear you myself alone:"


About that time; for it was after the rock in Horeb was smitten, and before they encamped at Mount Sinai, that Jethro gave the advice which Moses took, and proceeded on it, as here related. (see Exodus 18:1).


"Saying, I am not able to bear you myself alone": To rule and govern them, judge and determine matters between them. Jethro suggested this to Moses, and he took the hint, and was conscious to himself that it was too much for him, and so declared it to the people, though it is not before recorded (see Exodus 18:18).


It appears from this, that Moses had spoken to their fathers, when they decided to send the spies into the land.


Deuteronomy 1:10 "The LORD your God hath multiplied you, and, behold, ye [are] this day as the stars of heaven for multitude."


"The stars of heaven": The Lord had promised Abraham that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky (see Gen. 15:5; 22:17). The nation's growth proved both God's intention and ability to fulfill His original promises to Abraham.


The "multitude" fulfilled the promises of (Genesis 15:5 and 22:17).


God's promise to them was fulfilled in the fact, that they were a large number compared to the number of stars in heaven.


Genesis 15:5 "And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be."


Deuteronomy 1:11 "(The LORD God of your fathers make you a thousand times so many more as ye [are], and bless you, as he hath promised you!)"


"Of your fathers" emphasizes the continuity of relationship, stressing the theme of the covenant with the patriarchs.


"A thousand times": A Semitic way of saying "an infinitely large number".


Moses is explaining to them that the near three million people they were now, is nothing to the amount they will increase to.


Genesis 22:17 "That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which [is] upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;"



Verses 12-18: This relates to (Exodus 18:13-27). The necessary organization of the Israelites was dictated by God's blessing the people and multiplying them, so he includes this portion of their history.


Deuteronomy 1:12 "How can I myself alone bear your cumbrance, and your burden, and your strife?"


His meaning is, that he could not hear and try all their causes, and determine all their law suits, and decide the strifes and controversies which arose between them. It was too heavy for him, and brought too much trouble and encumbrance upon him.


"Cumbrance" means burden or trouble. The troubles that came on Moses as their leader had been tremendous. It was almost more than one man could bear.


Deuteronomy 1:13 "Take you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you."


"Take ... wise men": The fulfillment of God's promise to give to Abraham such a large posterity created a problem for Moses. The nation had become too large for Moses to govern effectively. The solution was the appointment by Moses of men to help him lead the people (see Exodus 18:13-27). These men were to be:


(1) Wise, men who knew how to apply their knowledge;


(2) Discerning, those who had understanding and so were able to judge; and


(3) Experienced, knowledgeable and respected (compare Exodus 18:21).


These are the men that are to take on the tremendous task that Moses had endured by himself. These men will be their leaders. Jethro has advised Moses to do this, to help him bear the load. The people themselves, decide who their leaders are.


Deuteronomy 1:14 "And ye answered me, and said, The thing which thou hast spoken [is] good [for us] to do."


As the speech of Moses to the people is not expressed before, so neither this answer of theirs to him.


"The thing which thou hast spoken is good for us to do": To look out for and present persons to him as before described. This they saw was for their own good and profit, as well as for the ease of Moses, and therefore readily agreed to it.


This greatly pleased the people, because they had not liked many of the decisions Moses had made.


Deuteronomy 1:15 "So I took the chief of your tribes, wise men, and known, and made them heads over you, captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, and captains over fifties, and captains over tens, and officers among your tribes."


The principal persons among them, that were remarkable and well known for their wisdom and understanding, whom the people presented to him.


"And made them heads over you": Rulers of them, as follows.


"Captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, and captains over fifties, and captains over tens" (see Exodus 18:21).


"And officers among your tribes": Which Jarchi interprets of such that bind malefactors and scourge them, according to the decree of the judges, even the executioners of justice. And so the Jews commonly understand them to be, though some have thought they were judges also.


It appears, each tribe chose their own leaders. Moses approved their choices and set them over hundreds, or thousands as their ability warranted.


Deuteronomy 1:16 "And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear [the causes] between your brethren, and judge righteously between [every] man and his brother, and the stranger [that is] with him."


When they were appointed and constituted, even the heads and rulers before spoken of. This charge is also new, and not recorded before.


"Saying, hear the causes between your brethren": Hear both sides, and all that each of them have to say. Not suffer one to say all he has to say, and oblige the other to cut his words short, as the Targum of Jonathan paraphrases it. But give them leave and time to tell their case, and give the best evidence they can of it.


"And judge righteously": Impartially, just as the case really appears to be, and according to the evidence given.


"Between every man and his brother": Between an Israelite and an Israelite.


"And the stranger that is with him": Between an Israelite and proselyte, whether a proselyte of the gate, or of righteousness; the same justice was to be done to them as to an Israelite.


The judges of these people were to judge them on most matters. The only time something was to be settled by Moses, was if it were of great magnitude. These judges were like the lower court of our day, and Moses was like the higher court.


Deuteronomy 1:17 "Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; [but] ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment [is] God's: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring [it] unto me, and I will hear it."


The call not to "respect persons in judgment" is one of many warnings against discrimination in the Old Testament (10:17; 16:19; Lev. 19:15; Prov. 24:23; 28:21). These warnings are reiterated in the New Testament (Rom. 2:11; James 2:1-13).


These judges were responsible to God for the decisions they made. They were to judge the rich and the poor in the same manner. They were not to respect the person, because of his wealth or position. The major things they could not decide, they brought to Moses. This would take the trivial problems off Moses.


Deuteronomy 1:18 "And I commanded you at that time all the things which ye should do."


There really was no question what they were to do. God had given commandment covering every aspect of their lives.


Verses 19-46: This section relates events at Kadesh-barnea. Moses reminds the Israelites of their march from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea, through that great and terrible wilderness. He shows how near they were to a happy settlement in Canaan. It will aggravate the eternal ruin of hypocrites, that they were not far from the kingdom of God. As if it were not enough that they were sure of their God before them, they would send men before them. Never any looked into the Holy Land, but they must own it to be a good land. And was there any cause to distrust this God? An unbelieving heart was at the bottom of all this. All disobedience to God's laws, and distrust of his power and goodness, flow from disbelief of his word, as all true obedience springs from faith. It is profitable for us to divide our past lives into distinct periods. To give thanks to God for the mercies we have received in each, to confess and seek the forgiveness of all the sins we can remember. And thus to renew our acceptance of God's salvation, and our surrender of ourselves to his service. Our own plans seldom avail to good purpose. While courage in the exercise of faith, and in the path of duty, enables the believer to follow the Lord fully. To disregard all that opposes, to triumph over all opposition, and to take firm hold upon the promised blessings.


Verses 19-21: "fear not, neither be discouraged" recalls encouragement given to the first generation. Fear that dominates a person's life may keep him or her from experiencing God's plan (see notes on Num. 10:11 to 12:16 for the background).


Deuteronomy 1:19 "And when we departed from Horeb, we went through all that great and terrible wilderness, which ye saw by the way of the mountain of the Amorites, as the LORD our God commanded us; and we came to Kadesh-barnea."


As the Lord commanded them to do, when they were obedient.


"We went through all the great and terrible wilderness": The wilderness of Paran, called "great", it reaching from Mount Sinai to Kadesh-barnea, eleven days' journey, as Adrichomius relates. And "terrible", being so hard and dry as not to be ploughed nor sown, and presented to the sight something terrible and horrible, even the very image of death. To which may be added the fiery serpents and scorpions it abounded with (Deut. 8:15).


"Which ye saw by the way of the mountain of the Amorites": That is, in the way that led to the mountain.


"As the Lord our God commanded us": To depart from Horeb, and take a tour through the wilderness towards the said mountain.


"And we came to Kadesh-barnea": Having stayed a month by the way at Kibroth-hattaavah, where they lusted after flesh. And seven days at Hazeroth, where Miriam was shut out of the camp for leprosy during that time.


This is speaking of that nearly 40 years of wanderings, where there was very little grass for the animals, and very little water. This could easily be called a desert land. God fed them miraculously, and when they were out of water, He provided water. The terribleness of this journey had to do with the hardships they endured. We must remember, they would not have had these hardships had they been obedient to God.


Deuteronomy 1:20 "And I said unto you, Ye are come unto the mountain of the Amorites, which the LORD our God doth give unto us."


Which was inhabited by them, and was one of the seven nations the Israelites were to destroy, and possess their land. And which lay on the southern part of the land of Canaan.


"Which the Lord our God doth give unto us": Not the mountain only, but the whole country of that people. And even all the land of Canaan.


This was a welcome relief from the desert land they had endured. Notice the statement, "The LORD our God". As long as they remember He is their God and obey His commandments, they will be blessed of the LORD. They get in trouble, when they do not have faith and turn from God.


Deuteronomy Chapter 1


1. Who penned the book of Deuteronomy?


2. Explain the name.


3. This is stating the _________ the __________ time.


4. Why is the law being stated again?


5. What is stressed by Moses to these people?


6. What must they remember?


7. Where did Moses speak this from?


8. Who was the law given to?


9. How many days' journey is it from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea?


10. Why was there the 40-year delay?


11. How many miles between Horeb and Kadesh-barnea are there?


12. Verse 3 says, Moses spoke to them when?


13. Their eleventh month is similar to our ___________.


14. Who had they slain to get this far?


15. Where do we read more detail about the war with these two kings?


16. Where are they, when Moses gives the law?


17. LORD in verse 6, is who?


18. What special things happened at Horeb, or mount Sinai?


19. What city were they near?


20. God had sworn to __________, __________, and ___________ that this Promised Land would be their descendant's?


21. How many were they for multitude?


22. The LORD God of your fathers make you a _____________ times so many more as you are.


23. What does "cumbrance" mean?


24. Who advised Moses to get some help?


25. Who decided who the leaders were?


26. Who were made heads over the people?


27. How were they to judge?


28. The judges were like the ________ court of our day.


29. Who would decide the major things?


30. The great and terrible wilderness was actually a ___________.


31. What statement in verse 20, must we take note of?




Deuteronomy Chapter 1 Continued

Deuteronomy 1:21 "Behold, the LORD thy God hath set the land before thee: go up [and] possess [it], as the LORD God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged."


"Go up and possess it" is the characteristic phrase relating to the Hebrew entry into the Promised Land. Israel's enemies will not be able to resist the invasion (7:2). The verb possess means "to subdue", "take possession of", "dispossess", and occurs 52 times in Deuteronomy.


We see the beginning of the account of their father's failure to possess the land. The commandment from the beginning had been for them to go in and possess the land. They were to have faith in the LORD enough that they would not fear.



Verses 22-46 (see notes on Num. chapters 13 and 14 for the background).


Deuteronomy 1:22 "And ye came near unto me every one of you, and said, We will send men before us, and they shall search us out the land, and bring us word again by what way we must go up, and into what cities we shall come."


"We will send men before us": When challenged by Moses to take the Land (verses 20-21), the people requested that spies by sent first. Moses, it seems, took their request to the Lord, who also approved their plan and commanded Moses to appoint the spies (Num. 13:1-2). Thus, Moses selected 12 men who went to see what the Land was like (Num. 13:17-20).


They had influenced Moses into allowing them to go and search out the land, to make sure they could take it. This is a sin, because the LORD had told them to take the land. This showed lack of faith in the Word of the LORD. It is as if they were questioning the wisdom of God.


Deuteronomy 1:23 "And the saying pleased me well: and I took twelve men of you, one of a tribe:"


Taking it to be a rational and prudent scheme, not imagining it was the effect of fear and distrust.


And I took twelve men of you out of a tribe": Whose names are given in (Num. 13:4).


Twelve is a representative number of the whole. These twelve represented the twelve tribes of Israel. Moses agreed to this plan, even though it was not the LORD's commandment.


Deuteronomy 1:24 "And they turned and went up into the mountain, and came unto the valley of Eshcol, and searched it out."


As they were ordered and directed by Moses (Num. 13:17).


"And came unto the valley of Eshcol": So called from the cluster of grapes they cut down there, as they returned.


"And searched it out. The whole land, and so were capable of giving a particular account of it.


The spies went by this route.


Deuteronomy 1:25 "And they took of the fruit of the land in their hands, and brought [it] down unto us, and brought us word again, and said, [It is] a good land which the LORD our God doth give us."


Besides the cluster of grapes, which was carried between two men on a staff; even pomegranates and figs (Num. 13:23).


"And brought it down unto us": Who lay encamped at the bottom of the mountain.


"And brought us word again; what sort of a land it was.


"And said, it is a good land which the Lord our God doth give us": That is, Caleb and Joshua, two of the spies, said this, as the Targum of Jonathan expresses it, and so Jarchi. Yea, all of them agreed in this, and said at first that it was a land flowing with milk and honey (Num. 13:27).


The land was fertile, as the grapes they brought back proved. He had promised them it would be a land of milk and honey. It was even more than He had promised. It already had vineyards.



Verses 26-27: This passage recounts the events described in (Num. chapters 13 and 14). In failing to go into the Promised Land, the Israelites "rebelled against the commandment of the LORD" (Psalm 106:24-25). Since God has given His people everything they need to walk in faith, fear is nothing other than disobedience to Him and His principles. To dwell in fear is to live in sin, and it distorts God's purposes in individual lives.


Deuteronomy 1:26 "Notwithstanding ye would not go up, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God:"


"But rebelled": Israel, at Kadesh-barnea, deliberately and defiantly refused to respond to God's command to take the Land (Num. 14:1-9).


Even though this land was everything God had promised, they became fearful and would not obey the LORD's command to go in. They feared people more than they feared the LORD.


Deuteronomy 1:27 "And ye murmured in your tents, and said, Because the LORD hated us, he hath brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us."


"Ye murmured": Israel complained in their tents that the Lord hated them. They assumed the Lord brought them from Egypt to have them destroyed by the Amorites.


The murmuring was a continuous problem. This is the same as in (Numbers chapter 14 verse 1). Look at the actual complaint in the next two verses.


Numbers 14:2-3 "And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!" "And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt?"


Deuteronomy 1:28 "Whither shall we go up? our brethren have discouraged our heart, saying, The people [is] greater and taller than we; the cities [are] great and walled up to heaven; and moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakims there."


"The Anakims": Literally "sons of the Anakim", i.e. the Anakites were early inhabitants of Canaan described as "great and tall" (2:10, 21; 9:2; Num. 13:32-33). They were larger than the Israelites and were especially feared because of their military power.


Fear is the opposite of faith. Their fear of the people was greater than their faith in the LORD. It is difficult for me to believe that the LORD, who opened the Red Sea and destroyed Pharaoh's army, would be so under-rated here. They are looking with their physical eyes at a flesh people, and are afraid. God is the Almighty One. Why do they not trust Him?



Verses 29-33: The point of the "wilderness" experience was for the Israelites to bond with their Father. After generations of slavery under their tyrannical masters in Egypt, God wanted His children to learn what wondrous things transpire when His people follow Him. Instead, their fear caused them to disbelieve His promises (Heb. 3:9-10).


Deuteronomy 1:29 "Then I said unto you, Dread not, neither be afraid of them."


With such like words he had exhorted and encouraged them before the spies were sent, and he still uses the same, or stronger terms, notwithstanding the report that had been made of the gigantic stature and walled cities of the Canaanites. This speech of Moses, which is continued in the two following verses, is not recorded in (Num. 14:5). It is only there said, that Moses and Aaron fell on their faces, but no account is given of what was said by either of them.


Moses had tried to reassure them that they had nothing to fear, when the LORD was with them.


Deuteronomy 1:30 "The LORD your God which goeth before you, he shall fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes;"


In a pillar of cloud by day, and in a pillar of fire by night.


"He shall fight for you": Wherefore, though their enemies were greater and taller than they, yet their God was higher than the highest. And cities walled up to heaven would signify nothing to him, whose throne is in the heavens.


"According to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes": Which is observed to encourage their faith in God. For he that wrought such wonders in Egypt for them, which their eyes, at least some of them, and their fathers, however, had seen, what is it he cannot do?


The LORD had brought ten plagues on the Egyptians and their false gods to get them released. The LORD, without any loss of people at all, had defeated one of the largest and strongest armies of that day. The LORD had been present with them in the cloud by day, and the fire by night. They knew God was with them. Their fear was lack of faith.


Deuteronomy 1:31 "And in the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that the LORD thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place."


God had "bare" Israel "as a man doth bear his son". Leading their steps, providing food, offering protection, and doing everything possible to nurture a trusting, loving relationship.


The LORD had not only delivered them from Egypt and led them through the wilderness, but had miraculously cared for their well-being. Their shoes did not wear out. God fed them with Manna from heaven, and gave them water from the Rock. He had cared for them personally. They were His people, and He wanted them to decide on their own to make Him their God.


Deuteronomy 1:32 "Yet in this thing ye did not believe the LORD your God,"


"Ye did not believe the LORD your God": The failure of the people to take the land at the beginning of their time in the wilderness was explained here in the same way as in (Num. 14:11). Israel did not take the Lord at His Word and, therefore, did not obey His command. The Israelites' lack of obedience is explained as the outcome of their lack of faith in the Lord.


Doubt and fear of the things they saw with their physical eyes, caused them to not have faith in the LORD in their hearts.


Deuteronomy 1:33 "Who went in the way before you, to search you out a place to pitch your tents [in], in fire by night, to show you by what way ye should go, and in a cloud by day."


"In fire ... a cloud": The cloud by day and the fire by night were the means of God's direction for Israel in the wilderness (Exodus 13:21; Num. 9:15-23). The Lord who guided Israel through the wandering journey was the same Lord who had already searched out a place for Israel in the Land. As He had directed them in the past, He would direct them also in the future.


The LORD was with them on a daily basis. He led them miraculously with His fire and smoke. It would have been a monumental task for them to travel with the near three million people in their company, if the Lord had not led them to each camping place. This desert had very little water. God knew where every drop was. This same fire stood between Pharaoh's army and the Israelites, until they could all cross the Red Sea. Their lack of faith astonishes me. It is like miracles we see today, and just take them for granted. The LORD is all powerful now, as He was then. It takes faith to please the LORD.


Deuteronomy 1:34 "And the LORD heard the voice of your words, and was wroth, and sware, saying,"


Of their murmurings against Moses and Aaron. And of their threatening's to them, Joshua and Caleb. And of their impious charge of hatred of them to God for bringing them out of Egypt. And of their rash wishes that they had died there or in the wilderness. And of their wicked scheme and proposal to make them a captain, and return to Egypt again.


"And was wroth, and sware; by his life, himself (see Num. 14:28), saying; as follows.


Their murmuring rose to the ears of the LORD. He was disappointed that His people did not trust Him. His wrath came up in His face.


Deuteronomy 1:35 "Surely there shall not one of these men of this evil generation see that good land, which I sware to give unto your fathers,"


Disobedience is costly. The adults of the Promised Land era were sentenced to a restless, nomadic life in the desert for nearly 40 years, waiting for the last of the forsaken Exodus "generation" to die (Num. 14:29; Heb. 3:16-19). When the final body was set at rest, the nation could finally claim its true home.


Their lack of faith in the LORD caused them to wander 38 more years in this wilderness, until the generation of doubters died. He would keep His Word that this land would be their Promised Land, but their children would be the ones to receive it.


"Caleb ... Joshua": They were excluded from this judgment because of exemplary faith and obedience (compare Num. chapter 24; Joshua 14:8-9).


Deuteronomy 1:36 "Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him will I give the land that he hath trodden upon, and to his children, because he hath wholly followed the LORD."


Enter into it, and enjoy it.


"And Joshua also": Who was the other spy with him, that brought a good report of the land (see Deut. 1:38).


"And to him will I give the land that he hath trodden upon, and to his children": Not the whole land of Canaan, but that part of it which he particularly came to and searched. And where the giants were, and he saw them, and notwithstanding was not intimidated by them, but encouraged the people to go up and possess it. And the part he came to particularly, and trod on, was Hebron (Num. 13:22). And which the Targum of Jonathan, Jarchi, and Aben Ezra, interpret of that; and this was what was given to him and his at the division of the land (Joshua 14:13).


"Because he hath wholly followed the Lord (see Num. 14:24).


As we discussed in the book of Numbers, Joshua and Caleb were the only two of the twelve spies who brought back a good report. God would allow them to live, and Caleb would receive of the land with His children. Joshua would not receive land, because he was of the Levitical tribe, but he would live and take Moses' place. The LORD always blesses the obedient.



Verses 37-38: The aged Moses preached a final series of sermons to the generation that was entering the Promised Land, poignantly recounting his 40 years of hard service. The Israelites had often discouraged him, so as he introduced his successor, Joshua. Moses said, Encourage him". One of the most helpful things a retiring minister or leader can do is appeal to the people to support his or her successor.


Deuteronomy 1:37 Also the LORD was angry with me for your sakes, saying, Thou also shalt not go in thither.


"The LORD was angry with me": Although his disobedience occurred almost 39 years after the failure of Israel at Kadesh (Num. 20:1-13), Moses included it here with Israel's disobedience to the Lord because his disobedience was of the same kind. Moses, like Israel, failed to honor the Word of the Lord and thus, in rebellion for self-glory, disobeyed God's clear command and struck the rock rather that speaking to it. Thus, he suffered the same result of God's anger and like Israel, was not allowed to go into the Land (Num. 20:12).


This is speaking of the anger of Moses at these people causing him to strike the Rock (symbolic of Jesus), the second time. God told Moses to speak to the Rock for water. Moses struck the Rock in anger at the people. The LORD did not let Moses enter the Promised Land.


Deuteronomy 1:38 "[But] Joshua the son of Nun, which standeth before thee, he shall go in thither: encourage him: for he shall cause Israel to inherit it."


His servant and minister, which this phrase is expressive of.


"He shall go in thither": Into the good land, instead of Moses, and as his successor, and who was to go before the children of Israel, and introduce them into it, as a type of Christ, who brings many sons to glory.


"Encourage him": With the promise of the divine Presence with him, and of success in subduing the Canaanites, and settling the people of Israel in their land. And so, we read that Moses did encourage him (Deut. 31:7).


"For he shall cause Israel to inherit it": Go before them as their captain, and lead them into it. Fight their battles for them, conquer their enemies, and divide the land by lot for an inheritance unto them. So the heavenly inheritance is not by the law of Moses, and the works of it, but by Joshua, or Jesus, the Savior, by his achievements, victories, and conquests.


Just as Moses led the children of Israel out of bondage in Egypt, Joshua will lead them into the Promised Land. The anointing of Moses has been transferred to Joshua at that time. The people must accept him and follow him. Joshua is the leader God has chosen for this task.


Deuteronomy 1:39 "Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it."


To the Amorites, into whose hands they expected to be delivered (Deut. 1:27; see Num. 14:3).


"And your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil": Not being at years of understanding, and which is a common description of children. It is particularly expressed "in that day", for now they were the very persons Moses was directing his speech unto. And relating this history, it being thirty eight years ago when this affair was, so that now they were grown up to years of discretion.


"They shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it". The relation of which now might serve greatly to encourage their faith, as well as it would be a fulfilment of the promise of the land made unto Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Which was not made of none effect through the unbelief of the Israelites, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness, since their posterity was to enjoy it, and did.


Those who were under 20 years of age, when their fathers refused to take the Promised Land, will be the inheritors. These little ones had not been part of the decision to rebel against the LORD. They will receive the long awaited Promised Land. They had not chosen evil over good.


Deuteronomy 1:40 "But [as for] you, turn you, and take your journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea."


From the mountain of the Amorites, the border of the land of Canaan.


"And take your journey into the wilderness, by the way of the Red sea" (see Num. 14:25). Jarchi says this wilderness was by the side of the Red sea, to the south of Mount Seir, and divided between the Red sea and the mount. So that now they drew to the side of the sea, and compassed Mount Seir, all the south of it, from west to east.


Moses is retelling the outcome of those who failed to obey God's commands to go into the Promised Land. They were punished by sending them back into the wilderness, until they died off.



Verses 41-45: Israel's further defiance of the Lord's command was shown by their presumption in seeking to go into the Land after God said they should not. This time they rebelled by attempting to go in and conquer the Land, only to be chased back by the Amorites. The Lords showed His displeasure by not helping them or sympathizing with their defeat, and for that generation there was no escape from death in the desert during the next 38 years (compare Num. chapters 15 to 19).


Deuteronomy 1:41 "Then ye answered and said unto me, We have sinned against the LORD, we will go up and fight, according to all that the LORD our God commanded us. And when ye had girded on every man his weapons of war, ye were ready to go up into the hill."


Not being willing to go into the wilderness again, though they wished they had died in it. Nor to go the way of the Red sea, which was their way back again to Egypt, though they had been for appointing a captain, and returning thither. But now they repented of what they had said and done.


"We have sinned against the Lord": By murmuring against his servants, and disobeying his commands.


"We will go up and fight according to all that the Lord our God hath commanded us": Which is more than they were bid to do. They were only ordered to go up and possess the land, and it was promised them the Lord would fight for them.


"And when ye had girded on every man his weapon": His sword upon his thigh. A large number of them, for all of them were not so disposed, though many were.


"Ye were ready to go unto the hill; Rather, perhaps, "ye made light of going up." I. e. "ye were ready to attempt it as a trifling undertaking." (Deut. 1:43), shows the issue of this spirit in action.


As soon as they had heard that God was angry with them, they repented and decided to go into the Promised Land. They had rather fight, than be banished back to the wilderness. It is too late. God will not help them in battle now.


Deuteronomy 1:42 "And the LORD said unto me, Say unto them, Go not up, neither fight; for I [am] not among you; lest ye be smitten before your enemies."


When the people had armed themselves, and were in motion, or ready to set forward to ascend the hill.


"Say unto them, go not up, neither fight": Neither go up the hill, and if they did, contrary to this order, and should meet with enemies, not fight them, but retreat.


"For I am not among you": The ark of the covenant, the symbol of his presence, was then among them. But it did not go with them, it continued in the camp (Num. 14:44). Nor did the Lord exert his power, or show himself present with them, or to be on their side, but left them to themselves, and to their enemies.


"Lest ye be smitten before your enemies": God not being with them to fight for them, protect and defend them, and give them victory.


Moses told them, if they went into battle now, they would not be under the protection of God. The LORD would not be with them, because they had doubted His ability to save them. They would certainly fail in their endeavor without the blessing of the LORD.


Deuteronomy 1:43 "So I spake unto you; and ye would not hear, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD, and went presumptuously up into the hill."


The words, the orders he had received from the Lord to deliver to them.


"And ye would not hear": So as to obey them, and act according to them.


"But rebelled against the commandment of the Lord": As before, by not going up when he would have had them gone, and now by attempting it when he forbids them.


"And went presumptuously up into the hill": That is, of themselves, in their own strength, disregarding the commandment of God, and what they were threatened with. This they endeavored to do, for they were not able to effect it. The Amorites, perceiving them to make up the hill, came pouring down upon them in great numbers. And stopped them, and obliged them to retreat (see Num. 14:45).


Even the fact that they went up into the battle was in defiance of Himself. He would have been with them, if they had immediately gone. Now they are completely upon their own.


Deuteronomy 1:44 "And the Amorites, which dwelt in that mountain, came out against you, and chased you, as bees do, and destroyed you in Seir, [even] unto 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 (Num. 14:45).


"Came out against you, and chased you, as bees do": As "bees", which being provoked come out of their hives in great numbers, and with great fury pursue and sting their adversary and disturber (Psalm 118:12).


"And destroyed you in Seir, even unto Hormah": Pursued them as far as Mount Seir, even to another place on the borders of Edom, which was called Hormah. Either from the destruction now or afterwards made here (see notes in Num. 14:45). Though some take it not to be the proper name of a place, but an appellative, and render it, "even unto destruction"; so the Jerusalem Targum. That is, destroyed them with an utter destruction.


They were defeated, because God was not with them. The Amorites in this Scripture, are speaking of the Canaanites. They chased them as bees do. The Amorites slew many of them.


Numbers 14:45 "Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites which dwelt in that hill, and smote them, and discomfited them, [even] unto Hormah."


Deuteronomy 1:45 "And ye returned and wept before the LORD; but the LORD would not hearken to your voice, nor give ear unto 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.


Moses had remained at Kadesh. The people came back to Moses for protection. Their tears were bitter, because of their great loss in the battle. The LORD had stopped hearing their pleas at this time. He would not stop the punishment on them because of their unbelief.


Deuteronomy 1:46 "So ye abode in Kadesh many days, according unto the days that ye abode [there]."


"Ye abode in Kadesh many days": These words suggest that Israel spent a large part of the 38 years in the desert around Kadesh-barnea.


The following Scriptures show that Moses stayed in Kadesh, until God gave orders what they were to do.


Numbers 14:25 "(Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwelt in the valley.) To morrow turn you, and get you into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea."


Numbers 14:34 "After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, [even] forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, [even] forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise."


We see the severity of the punishment for not believing.


Deuteronomy Chapter 1 Continued


1. What had God told them to do, now that they were at the entrance of the land?


2. What did they do, instead of following the wishes of God?


3. This is a _______.


4. This showed lack of faith in the ________ of the _______.


5. It is as if they are questioning the ________ of God.


6. What reaction did Moses have to this?


7. How many men went to search out the land?


8. Who did they represent?


9. What did they bring back, that proved this was, indeed, a land of plentiful food?


10. They refused to obey God's ___________.


11. Where did they murmur?


12. What excuse did they give for not wanting to take the land?


13. Fear is the opposite of _______.


14. Why does the author find it difficult to believe their fear?


15. What did Moses say to these fearful people?


16. Why does their fear not make any sense?


17. What does, the LORD thy God bare thee, mean?


18. They were His people, and He wanted them to make Him _______ _____.


19. What caused them to not have faith in the LORD in their hearts?


20. How had God led them?


21. What did the fire of God do at the Red Sea, that showed the LORD's tremendous power?


22. Who of the twelve spies would live to inherit land in the Promised Land?


23. Which other one of the twelve spies had no fear?


24. Why did he not inherit land?


25. Why was Moses not allowed to enter the Promised Land?


26. Who would lead them into the Promised Land?


27. Who would inherit the Promised Land?


28. When they realized they had sinned against God, what did they do?


29. Would God be with them in this battle of their own making?


30. What happened to them?


31. Moses had remained at ___________.





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Deuteronomy 2



Deuteronomy Chapter 2

Verses 2:1 - 3:11 (see notes on Numbers 20:14 - 21:35 for the background).


Verses 1-23: This section deals with encounters with Israel's relatives, the Edomites (verses 1-8), Moabites (verses 9-18), and Ammonites (verses 19-23).


Verses 1-8: This portion relates activities at Mount Seir. "Your brethren the children of Esau": The settling of this land by Esau is mentioned (in Genesis 36:1-8). The command "meddle not with them" is literally "do not engage in strife with them", as used (in 2:19). In (verse 24), they are commanded to engage Sihon in battle. The Edomites, Moabites, and Ammonites were all related to Israel. The Edomites had refused Israel passage (in Numbers 20:14-22).


Only a short account of the long stay of Israel in the wilderness is given. God not only chastised them for their murmuring and unbelief, but prepared them for Canaan. By humbling them for sin, teaching them to mortify their lusts, to follow God and to comfort themselves in him. Though Israel may be long kept waiting for deliverance and enlargement, it will come at last. Before God brought Israel to destroy their enemies in Canaan, he taught them to forgive their enemies in Edom. They must not, under presence of God's covenant and conduct, think to seize all they could lay hands on. Dominion is not founded in grace. God's Israel shall be well placed, but must not expect to be placed alone in the midst of the earth. Religion must never be made a cloak for injustice. Scorn to be beholden to Edomites, when thou hast an all-sufficient God to depend upon. Use what thou hast, use it cheerfully. Thou hast experienced the care of the Divine providence, never use any crooked methods for thy supply. All this is equally to be applied to the experience of the believer.


Deuteronomy 2:1 "Then we turned, and took our journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea, as the LORD spake unto me: and we compassed mount Seir many days."


"The way to the Red Sea" (compare Numbers 21:4). After spending a long time at Kadesh, the Israelites set out once again at the command of the Lord through Moses. They traveled away from their Promised Land in a southeasterly direction from Kadesh toward the Gulf of Aqabah on the road to the Red Sea. Thus began the wanderings that were about to end.


"Compassed mount Seir": Israel spent many days wandering in the vicinity of Mt. Seir, the mountain range of Edom, south of the Dead Sea and extending down the eastern flank of the Arabah.


This is Moses telling of their turning back into the wilderness at God's command. Moses had not gone in as a spy, but now he is with them as they go back into the wilderness. The many days covered in the verse above, is speaking of the 38 more years of their wandering in the wilderness.


Deuteronomy 2:2 "And the LORD spake unto me, saying,"


While about Mount Seir: saying; as follows.


This is toward the end of the 38 years of wandering. The LORD speaks to Moses.


Deuteronomy 2:3 "Ye have compassed this mountain long enough: turn you northward."


"Compassed" means to revolve around, or circle. They had apparently been circling around. Now God says, it is enough and turns them northward.


"Turn you northward": The departure from Kadesh had been in a south-easterly direction away from the Promised Land, until the Lord commanded Israel to turn again northward in the direction of the Promised Land.


Deuteronomy 2:4 "And command thou the people, saying, Ye [are] to pass through the coast of your brethren the children of Esau, which dwell in Seir; and they shall be afraid of you: take ye good heed unto yourselves therefore:"


"Your brethren the children of Esau": Esau was the brother of Jacob (Gen. 25:25-26). The Edomites, the descendants of Esau, lived in Mt. Seir. According to (Num. 20:14-21), the Edomites refused to allow Israel to pass through their land. Reflecting this refusal, states that the Israelites went around the border of the descendants of Esau, i.e., to the east of their territory (see verse 8).


We remember from our lessons in Numbers, that the children of Esau refused passage to the Israelites. The Israelites never did go through the land of Edom, but just skirted around their land. They remained enemies of Israel. The LORD cautioned them to be careful of them.


Deuteronomy 2:5 "Meddle not with them; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as a foot breadth; because I have given mount Seir unto Esau [for] a possession."


"I will not give you of their land": God had granted to the descendants of Esau an inheritance (Mt. Seir was their possession). (In verse 9), the same is said about the Moabites and (in verse 19), about the Ammonites.


Even though the LORD was angry with Esau for not letting the children of Israel cross, He will not take their land. The land was given to them by the LORD. He would not take it back. Mount Seir was Esau's possession, like the Promised Land was the possession of the Israelites.


Deuteronomy 2:6 "Ye shall buy meat of them for money, that ye may eat; and ye shall also buy water of them for money, that ye may drink."


That is, if they would, as Aben Ezra observes. For though they had manna daily, yet if they would they might buy other food when they had an opportunity, as they would now have of Edom. But then they were not to take it by force or stealth, but pay for it, which they were able to do.


"And ye shall also buy water of them for money": That ye may drink; which was usual in those hot countries (see notes on Num. 20:19).


They were not to take anything from Esau. The things they needed, they were to buy from them.


Deuteronomy 2:7 "For the LORD thy God hath blessed thee in all the works of thy hand: he knoweth thy walking through this great wilderness: these forty years the LORD thy God [hath been] with thee; thou hast lacked nothing."


Had increased their cattle and substance, even though in a wilderness.


"He knoweth thy walking through this great wilderness": Every step they took, and he owned them and prospered them in all things in which they were concerned.


"These forty years the Lord thy God hath been with thee": Not only to protect and defend them, but to provide all things necessary for them. This number of years was not fully completed, but the round number is given instead of the broken one.


"Thou hast lacked nothing": And since they had wherewith to pay for their food and drink, they are directed to do it, and not take anything from the Edomites in an unjust way. Nor make themselves look poor when they were rich, as Jarchi says.


God had been their constant provider. It appears he had blessed them financially, as well as providing food and water for them. They could buy whatever they needed.



Verses 8-23: "Moab" and "Ammon" were people descended from Lot (Gen. 19:30-38). The Hebrew people were not to "distress" or meddle with them" because the Lord had reserved land for them. This was similar to the instructions the Israelites were given about Edom, the descendants of Esau (2:1-7; 23:6-8; Num. 20:14-21). Yahweh's promises to other peoples continued to be important, even when His primary focus was on the Israelites.


We have the origin of the Moabites, Edomites, and Ammonites. Moses also gives an instance older than any of these; the Caphtorim drove the Avims out of their country. These revolutions show what uncertain things worldly possessions are. It was so of old, and ever will be so. Families decline, and from them estates are transferred to families that increase; so little continuance is there in these things. This is recorded to encourage the children of Israel. If the providence of God has done this for Moabites and Ammonites, much more would his promise do it for Israel, his peculiar people. Cautions are given not to meddle with Moabites and Ammonites. Even wicked men must not be wronged. God gives and preserves outward blessings to wicked men. But these are not the best things, he has better in store for his own children.


Deuteronomy 2:8 "And when we passed by from our brethren the children of Esau, which dwelt in Seir, through the way of the plain from Elath, and from Ezion-gaber, we turned and passed by the way of the wilderness of Moab."


"From Elath, and from Ezion-gaber" Two towns located just north of the Gulf of Aqabah. Israel passed to the east of Edom and to the east of Moab on their journey northward.


We find that the children of Israel were obedient to God. They did not go to battle with the Edomites. They went around their land, instead of through it. They wound up in the wilderness of Moab.



Verses 9-25: The accounts relating to Moab and Ammon are given. As with Edom (verse 5), God had already given Moab their territory "for a possession". The "Emim" verse 10 were "the dreaded ones" of (Genesis 14:5), the early inhabitants of Moab conquered by Chedorlaomer. The "Horim" (verse 12), were the ancient inhabitants of Edom defeated by Chedorlaomer (Gen. 14:6), said to be descended from Seir the Horite (Gen. 36:20). The non-Semitic Hurrians, known in the Old Testament as Horites, formed part of the indigenous population of Alalakh (Syria), in the eighteenth century B.C. The huge stature and formidable appearance of the "Anakim" became proverbial (Deut. 2:10).


Deuteronomy 2:9 "And the LORD said unto me, Distress not the Moabites, neither contend with them in battle: for I will not give thee of their land [for] a possession; because I have given Ar unto the children of Lot [for] a possession."


When upon the borders of Moab.


"Distress not the Moabites, neither contend with than in battle": Besiege not any of their cities, nor draw them into a battle, or provoke them to fight.


"For I will not give thee of their land for a possession": At least not as yet, the measure of their sins not being fully up, and the time of their punishment not come. Otherwise in David's time they were subdued, and became tributaries to him, and the Edomites also (2 Sam. 8:2).


"Because I have given Ar unto the children of Lot for a possession": So the Moabites were, they sprung from Moab, a son of Lot by his firstborn daughter (Gen. 19:37). Ar was the metropolis of Moab, called Ar of Moab (Isa. 15:1). And is here put for the whole country of Moab; so Aben Ezra interprets it of Moab. Jarchi says it is the name of the province; in the Septuagint version it called Aroer.


Lot was the nephew of Abraham. This land had been given to him for his descendants'. They were distant relatives of the Israelites. God commands them to leave them alone at this time.


Deuteronomy 2:10 "The Emim dwelt therein in times past, a people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims;"


"The Emim": Apparently a Moabite term (see verse 11), meaning "terrible ones". This people, numerous and tall, were the pre-Moabite occupants of the land of Moab.


Deuteronomy 2:11 "Which also were accounted giants, as the Anakims; but the Moabites call them Emim."


The word "Emim" means terrors, or frightful. They seemed to be people of very large stature. They were thought of as giants. The Anakims and Emim were the same people. They were Moabites, or Canaanites.


Deuteronomy 2:12 "The Horim also dwelt in Seir beforetime; but the children of Esau succeeded them, when they had destroyed them from before them, and dwelt in their stead; as Israel did unto the land of his possession, which the LORD gave unto them."


"The land of his possession, which the LORD gave unto them": The Horites were Hurrians, a people who lived in various places in Syria and Palestine. Those living in the region of Seir had been displaced by the descendants of Esau. The displacement of the Horites by the Edomites was analogous to the Israelites' possession of their own land.


This is just telling them that the Horites were cave dwellers there before the Emim. Some believe these cave dwellers brought about the city of Petra.


Deuteronomy 2:13 "Now rise up, [said I], and get you over the brook Zered. And we went over the brook Zered."


"Zered": A brook that ran into the Dead Sea from the southeast. It seems to have constituted the southern boundary of Moab. In contrast to the disobedience associated with Kadesh, the people obeyed the command to cross over the brook Zered. There was a new spirit of obedience toward the Lord among the people.


This brook served as a boundary line between Moab and Edom.


Deuteronomy 2:14 "And the space in which we came from Kadesh-barnea, until we were come over the brook Zered, [was] thirty and eight years; until all the generation of the men of war were wasted out from among the host, as the LORD sware unto them."


"Thirty and eight years": From 1444 to 1406 B.C. These were the years from the failure at Kadesh to the obedience at Zered. It was during this time that the rebellious generation, who had been denied access to the Promised Land by the oath of the Lord, had all died.


This states again, that they wandered in the wilderness 38 years after their first attempt to enter the Promised Land. The total time from the time they left Egypt until the actual entering the Promised Land, was 40 years.


Deuteronomy 2:15 "For indeed the hand of the LORD was against them, to destroy them from among the host, until they were consumed."


This is primarily speaking of judgements of God that came upon them.


Numbers 26:64-65 "But among these there was not a man of them whom Moses and Aaron the priest numbered, when they numbered the children of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai." "For the LORD had said of them, They shall surely die in the wilderness. And there was not left a man of them, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun."


All of the men who were twenty years old, when they disobeyed God by not going into the Promised Land, were destroyed during this 38 years, except for Caleb and Joshua.


Deuteronomy 2:16 "So it came to pass, when all the men of war were consumed and dead from among the people,"


By wasting diseases and judgments of one kind or another.


"And dead from among the people": The rising and surviving generation.


Deuteronomy 2:17 "That the LORD spake unto me, saying,"


At the brook Zered, having passed that, or at Dibon-gad, which was their next station.


"Saying": as follows.


When God saw that His punishment of the faithless had been accomplished, He spoke to Moses.


Deuteronomy 2:18 "Thou art to pass over through Ar, the coast of Moab, this day:"


That is, over the river Arnon, by the city Ar of Moab, which was situated by it (see Deut. 2:9). And so Moses and the people of Israel were to pass along by that.


"And by the coast of Moab": For they were not admitted to enter the land and pass through it. Only to travel on the borders of it, and that they were to begin to do this day; the day the Lord spake to Moses.


The coast of Moab was at the river Arnon.


Deuteronomy 2:19 "And [when] thou comest nigh over against the children of Ammon, distress them not, nor meddle with them: for I will not give thee of the land of the children of Ammon [any] possession; because I have given it unto the children of Lot [for] a possession."


Who dwelt near the Moabites, and were brethren, both descending from Lot (Gen. 19:37).


"Distress them not, nor meddle with them": Lay no siege to any of their cities, nor provoke them to war, nor engage in battle with them.


"For I will not give thee of the land of the children of Ammon any possession": That is, any part of it which was now in their hands; otherwise half their land was given to the tribe of Gad. But then that was what Sihon king of the Amorites had taken from them, and which Israel retook from him, and so possessed it not as the land of the Ammonites, but of the Amorites. One of the seven nations, whose land they were to inherit (see Joshua 13:25).


"Because I have given it unto the children of Lot for a possession": The Ammonites were the children of Lot by his second daughter (Gen. 19:38).


The Ammonites were descendants of Lot and his younger daughter. This land had been given to them by the LORD. We mentioned before, that Lot was the nephew of Abraham.


Deuteronomy 2:20 "(That also was accounted a land of giants: giants dwelt therein in old time; and the Ammonites call them Zamzummim;"


"Zamzummim": Apparently, an Ammonite term used to describe their precursors in their land. They were characterized as being as tall as the Anakim. But the Lord had destroyed them and given their land to the Ammonites. This was an encouragement to the Israelites that God could also defeat the Anakim in the land of Canaan and give that land to Israel.


Deuteronomy 2:21 "A people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims; but the LORD destroyed them before them; and they succeeded them, and dwelt in their stead:"


As the Emim were (Deut. 2:10), but the Lord destroyed them before them; destroyed the Zamzummim before the children of Amman. Or otherwise they would have been too much for them, being so numerous, and of such a gigantic stature.


"And they succeeded them, and dwelt in their stead": And in this way, and by these means, he gave them their land for a possession (Deut. 2:19).


We see in this that Moses is stating that even though there were giants in the land, God had destroyed the giants and given the land to the Ammonites.


Deuteronomy 2:22 "As he did to the children of Esau, which dwelt in Seir, when he destroyed the Horim from before them; and they succeeded them, and dwelt in their stead even unto this day:"


He did the like things for them as he did for the Ammonites.


"When he destroyed the Horim from before them": Which is repeated from (Deut. 2:12). Other instances of the like kind being here recited.


"And they succeeded them, and dwelt in their stead, even unto this day": See notes on Deut. 2:12).


God destroyed the Horim, and gave their land to Esau's descendants. God gives each person his rightful inheritance.


Deuteronomy 2:23 "And the Avim which dwelt in Hazerim, [even] unto Azzah, the Caphtorim, which came forth out of Caphtor, destroyed them, and dwelt in their stead.)"


"The Avim": The ancient village dwellers of southwestern Palestine along the Mediterranean coast as far as the city of Gaza.


"The Caphtorim": Caphtor probably refers to Crete and may be a reference to an early Philistine group from that island who invaded the coast of Palestine, defeated the Avim, and then dwelt there. These Caphtorim were precursors to the later, greater Philistine invasion of ca. 1200 B.C.


This land was also taken from a stronger nation, and given to those God had chosen to have it. The lesson in these last few lessons is that God can take away from the strongest and give to the weakest, if that is His desire. To doubt the ability of God to do as He wishes is sin.



Verses 2:24 - 3:11: These descriptions of the defeats of "Sihon king of Heshbon" and "Og king of Bashan" recount the events first described in Num. 21:21-35. Both victories were from the hand of God (2:33; 3:3). Og was of "the remnant of the giants", the people who caused Israel's spies to Fear going into Canaan (Psalm 136:16-22).


Moses continues the historical survey detailing the defeat of two Amorite kings, Sihon and Og, and the takeover of their territory.


Verses 24-37: God tried his people, by forbidding them to meddle with the rich countries of Moab and Ammon. He gives them possession of the country of the Amorites. If we keep from what God forbids, we shall not lose by our obedience. The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof; and he gives it to whom he pleases. But when there is no express direction, none can plead his grant for such proceedings. Though God assured the Israelites that the land should be their own, yet they must contend with the enemy. What God gives we must endeavor to get. What a new world did Israel now come into! Much more joyful will the change be, which holy souls will experience, when they remove out of the wilderness of this world to the better country, that is, the heavenly, to the city that has foundations. Let us, by reflecting upon God's dealings with his people Israel, be led to meditate upon our years spent in vanity, through our transgressions. But happy are those whom Jesus has delivered from the wrath to come. To whom he hath given the earnest of his Spirit in their hearts. Their inheritance cannot be affected by revolutions of kingdoms, or changes in earthly possessions.


Deuteronomy 2:24 "Rise ye up, take your journey, and pass over the river Arnon: behold, I have given into thine hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land: begin to possess [it], and contend with him in battle."


"Pass over the river Arnon": The northern boundary of Moab. Israel was allowed to attack Sihon the Amorite because the Amorites were not relatives of Israel.


The above examples were given, to bolster the courage of the Israelites to go in and possess the land God has chosen for them. God has given them Sihon, the Amorite. Now go in and possess it. (They must battle for the land God has given them).


Deuteronomy 2:25 "This day will I begin to put the dread of thee and the fear of thee upon the nations [that are] under the whole heaven, who shall hear report of thee, and shall tremble, and be in anguish because of thee."


"Fear of thee": As the conquest began, God put the fear of Israel into the hearts of their enemies.


Their victory in this battle with Sihon, will cause the nations around to fear the Israelites. They will hear of this battle and fear for their own safety. The fear is not so much of the Israelites themselves, as it is of the God of Israel. Their anguish will be in wondering, if they will be the next to be conquered by Israel.



Verses 26-37: This section records the conquest of Heshbon. "For the Lord thy God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that he might deliver him into thy hand": God had hardened the heart of Pharaoh and now "the iniquity of the Amorites" was full (Gen. 15:16), and judgment was being administered (Joshua 11:20). This was actually a "Holy War", with Israel as God's instrument of judgment. "Utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city": The Hebrew word is "cherem" and was a "ban of extermination", used in Deuteronomy in connection with people (20:17-18), or objects (7:26), dedicated to the worship of false gods. For the Hebrews, people and objects associated with pagan cultic rites were to be regarded with abhorrence, as sin should always be, as corrupt and corrupting, and as fit for nothing but complete destruction, lest the "ban" should subsequently fall on those who spared them (Joshua 6:17; "city accursed", 18; 7:1, 11-13, 15).


Deuteronomy 2:26 "And I sent messengers out of the wilderness of Kedemoth unto Sihon king of Heshbon with words of peace, saying,"


"The wilderness of Kedemoth": Kedemoth means "eastern regions". It was probably a few miles north of the Arnon River and near to the eastern border of the Amorite state.


We see in this, that Moses had given them the option of peace.


Deuteronomy 2:27 "Let me pass through thy land: I will go along by the high way, I will neither turn unto the right hand nor to the left."


"Let me pass through": As with the Edomites previously (Num. 20:17), Moses asked to pass peacefully through the territory of Sihon.


Really, all they had wanted of Sihon was passage through their land.


Deuteronomy 2:28 "Thou shalt sell me meat for money, that I may eat; and give me water for money, that I may drink: only I will pass through on my feet;"


If they thought fit to have provision of them, they desired no other but to pay for it.


"And give me water for money, that I may drink" (see Deut. 2:6).


"Only I will pass through on my feet": For they were all footmen (Num. 11:21). Of the phrase (see notes on Num. 20:19).


They had money to buy what they needed from Sihon. They did not even want to set up camp; they would pass through on their feet.


Deuteronomy 2:29 "(As the children of Esau which dwell in Seir, and the Moabites which dwell in Ar, did unto me;) until I shall pass over Jordan into the land which the LORD our God giveth us."


Which respects, as Jarchi observes, not the affair of passing through their land requested, for neither of them granted that, but buying food and drink. For though the Edomites at first seem not to have granted that, yet afterwards they did. The mountain of Seir, and the city Ar, are put for the whole countries of Edom and Moab.


"Until I shall pass over Jordan into the land which the Lord our God giveth us": This is observed to remove any suspicion or jealousy of their seizing his country, and taking possession of it, and dwelling in it. Since they only proposed to pass through it on their journey to the land of Canaan, which lay on the other side Jordan. Over which they must pass in order to possess it, which they had a right unto by the gift of God.


Moses plainly tells them; this is not land that they really want. They are headed for their Promised Land by the Jordan River. They passed by Edom and Moab without having war with them.


Deuteronomy 2:30 "But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him: for the LORD thy God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that he might deliver him into thy hand, as [appeareth] this day."


"Hardened his spirit": Sihon, by his own conscious will, refused Israel's request to journey through his land. God confirmed what was already in Sihon's heart, namely arrogance against the Lord and His people Israel, so that He might defeat him in battle and give his land to Israel.


Sihon will not let them pass. They go to war, because the LORD hardened the heart of Sihon. This little battle will be a warning to the others they come against, that God is with Israel. Sihon is defeated.


Deuteronomy 2:31 "And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have begun to give Sihon and his land before thee: begin to possess, that thou mayest inherit his land."


After or about the time when the messengers were sent to Sihon, perhaps when they had returned and had brought his answer.


"Behold, I have begun to give Sihon and his land before thee": By hardening his heart, which was a sure token of his ruin, and a leading step to the delivery of him into the hands of Israel.


"Begin to possess, that thou mayest inherit his land": Move towards it and enter into it, not fearing any opposition made by him.


It is important for Israel to follow the commands of the Lord here at Heshbon. The children of Israel must fight the actual battle to possess the land, but God is with them so that they win.


Deuteronomy 2:32 "Then Sihon came out against us, he and all his people, to fight at Jahaz."


"Jahaz"; The place of battle between Sihon and the Israelites, probably a few miles to the north of Kedemoth (verse 26).


This is a test to see if Israel will truly fight, and take what God has commanded them to do.


Deuteronomy 2:33 "And the LORD our God delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people."


With their lands.


"And we smote him and his sons, and all his people": With the edge of the sword; slew them all. So Jarchi observes, it is written "his son", because he had a son mighty as himself, he says.


We see from this, that Sihon and his army are almost helpless in this battle. The LORD fights the battle for Israel. The LORD is with Israel when they obey Him.


Deuteronomy 2:34 "And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain:"


As Heshbon, and others mentioned in (Num. 21:25).


"And utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones of every city, we left none to remain": For the Amorites were one of the seven nations who were devoted to destruction, the measure of whose iniquity was now full, and therefore vengeance was taken.


They left no one to lead the Israelites away from their God into idle worship. This area will be part of the land that the tribe of Reuben will receive as their inheritance.


Deuteronomy 2:35 "Only the cattle we took for a prey unto ourselves, and the spoil of the cities which we took."


These they did not destroy, but preserved alive for their own use and profit, and took them as their own property.


"And the spoil of the cities which we took": As household goods, gold, silver, and whatever valuables was found by them. This they took as plunder, and shared it among themselves.


Reuben's tribe were people who raised cattle and sheep. This land had been good for that. They kept the cattle and the other wealth of the cities.


Deuteronomy 2:36 "From Aroer, which [is] by the brink of the river of Arnon, and [from] the city that [is] by the river, even unto Gilead, there was not one city too strong for us: the LORD our God delivered all unto us:"


Upon the border of Moab, and the principal city of it (see Jer. 48:19).


"And from the city that is by the river": Or even the city that is in the midst of the river, the city Aroer, which seems to be meant (see Joshua 12:2). This river is afterwards called the river of Gad (2 Sam. 24:5). In the midst of it Aroer was, perhaps because it was possessed by the tribe of Gad.


"Even unto Gilead": Mount Gilead and the country adjacent to it, which belonged to Og king of Bashan.


"There was not one city too strong for us": That could hold out against them, when attacked and besieged by them, but presently surrendered.


"The Lord our God delivered all unto us": Moses ascribes all the victories and success they had unto the Lord, not to their own might and power, but to the power of God with them, and his blessing on them.


Aroer was an Amorite city near the Arnon River. Gilead here, is probably Mount Gilead.


Judges 11:22 "And they possessed all the coasts of the Amorites, from Arnon even unto Jabbok, and from the wilderness even unto Jordan."


Deuteronomy 2:37 "Only unto the land of the children of Ammon thou camest not, [nor] unto any place of the river Jabbok, nor unto the cities in the mountains, nor unto whatsoever the LORD our God forbad us."


Which was then in their possession; otherwise what Sihon had taken away from them, that the children of Israel came into and enjoyed, as before observed (Deut. 2:19).


"Nor unto any place of the river Jabbok": Any town or city situated on this river, which was the border of the children of Ammon (Deut. 3:16; see notes on Gen. 32:22).


"Nor unto the cities in the mountains": Much less did they penetrate into the innermost parts of their country, the mountainous part thereof, and the cities there.


"Nor unto whatsoever the Lord our God forbad us": Whether in Edom, Moab, or Ammon. Particularly the latter, of which he is more especially and peculiarly speaking.


The country of the Ammonites situated on the eastern side of the upper Jabbok, which God had forbidden to the Israelites, was not taken. They took only the area the Lord commanded them to.


Deuteronomy Chapter 2 Questions


1. What is verse 1 speaking of?


2. The "many days" in verse 1, is speaking of how much time?


3. What does "Compassed" mean?


4. Where do the children of Esau live?


5. What do we remember, from the lessons on Numbers, that the children of Esau do?


6. Why will God not give them Esau's descendants' land?


7. How were the Israelites to get the needed things from the family of Esau?


8. What had the Israelites lacked for in their wilderness wanderings?


9. Who are the children of Esau called in verse 8?


10. What warning is given the Israelites about the Moabites?


11. Lot was the __________ of Abraham.


12. The word "Emim" means ___________ or _____________.


13. Describe these Emim.


14. The Horites were ________ dwellers.


15. What did the brook Zered serve as?


16. What was the purpose of the 38 year wanderings?


17. How many total years, from Egypt to the Promised Land, did they wander?


18. What is verse 15 primarily speaking of?


19. Who were the only two, of the twelve spies, spared?


20. Who were the Ammonites?


21. What did the Ammonites call the giants?


22. Who were they compared with for size?


23. Who had God given over into the Israelites hands?


24. What will this cause the other nations to do?


25. What had Moses tried to do with Sihon?


26. Why would he not do it?


27. What happened to all of Sihon's people?


28. Where was the battle of Sihon fought?


29. What did the Israelites take for a prey?





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Deuteronomy 3



Deuteronomy Chapter 3

Verses 1-11: The conquest of Bashan is described. "Bashan" was the fertile area east of the Jordan and north of Gilead, separated from the latter by the river Yarmuk. Bashan means "Fertile" (32:14). "Edrei" was an important stronghold in the Amorite kingdom of Og. The "bedstead" was 13-1/2 feet long and six feet wide, belonging to the last of the "giants" (Rephaim; compare Genesis 14:5), in Abraham's day. It may have been an iron-trimmed stone coffin, or an iron-decorated couch, to be placed in his tomb, or as a monument made of basalt.


Og was very powerful, but he did not take warning by the ruin of Sihon, and desire conditions of peace. He trusted his own strength, and so was hardened to his destruction. Those not awakened by the judgments of God on others, ripen for the like judgments on themselves.


Deuteronomy 3:1 "Then we turned, and went up the way to Bashan: and Og the king of Bashan came out against us, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei."


"Bashan": A fertile region located east of the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River extending from Mt. Hermon in the north to the Yarmuk River in the south. Israel met king Og and his army in battle at Edrei, a city on the Yarmuk River. The Amorite king ruled over 60 cities (verses 4-10; Joshua 13:30), which were taken by Israel; This kingdom was assigned to the Transjordan tribes, especially the half tribe of Manasseh (verse 13).


Og was from the race of giants. He ruled over the northern half of Gilead. This was land that God wanted His Israelites to possess. The Israelites annihilate the people of Og. In the process, over 60 cities were taken by Israel.


Deuteronomy 3:2 "And the LORD said unto me, Fear him not: for I will deliver him, and all his people, and his land, into thy hand; and thou shalt do unto him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon."


When Og was marching with all his forces against Israel.


"Fear him not": (See notes on Numbers 21:34).


We see that God encouraged the Israelites not to fear Og and his troops. The Lord takes from those who are disobedient to Him, and gives to them who obey Him. Og was a heathen. He was not a follower of the true God. The same results will be here, as at Sihon.


Deuteronomy 3:3 "So the LORD our God delivered into our hands Og also, the king of Bashan, and all his people: and we smote him until none was left to him remaining."


As well as Sihon king of Heshbon.


"And we smote him, till none was left to him remaining": Or left alive, all were slain with the sword (see notes on Num. 21:35).


The Israelites killed all of the army of Og. They in fact killed everyone, including women and children.


Deuteronomy 3:4 "And we took all his cities at that time, there was not a city which we took not from them, threescore cities, all the region of Argob, the kingdom of Og in Bashan."


Not only Edrei where the battle was fought, and Ashteroth his capital city, but all the rest in his kingdom.


"There was not a city which we took not from them": Not one stood out, but all surrendered on summons. The number of which follows:


"Three score cities": Which was a large number for so small a country, and shows it to be well inhabited.


"All the region of Argob": Which was a small province of the kingdom of Og in Bashan. Aben Ezra and Jarchi observe, that it was called after a man, i.e. whose name was Argob. The Targum of Onkelos names it Tracona, and the Targum of Jonathan Targona, the same with Trachonitis in Josephus and other authors (see Luke 3:1). Jerom relates that in his time, about Gerasa, a city of Arabia, fifteen miles from it to the west, there was a village which was called Arga. Which seems to carry in it some remains of the ancient name of this country. And the Samaritan version, in all places where Argob is, calls it Rigobaah. And in the Misnah mention is made of a place called Ragab, beyond Jordan, famous for its being the second place for the best oil.


These cities were well fortified, but God gave them into the hands of the Israelites. Bashan and Argob are the same place.


Deuteronomy 3:5 "All these cities [were] fenced with high walls, gates, and bars; beside unwalled towns a great many."


That is, all the cities in the kingdom of Bashan. And though they were, it hindered not their falling into the hands of the Israelites. And this might serve to encourage them against those fears they were possessed of by the spies, with respect to the cities in the land of Canaan (see Num. 13:28).


"Besides unwalled towns a great many": Small towns and villages adjacent to the several cities, as is common.


There were more cities taken, but the 60 cities had high walls and gates with bars. All of the cities fell to Israel.


Deuteronomy 3:6 "And we utterly destroyed them, as we did unto Sihon king of Heshbon, utterly destroying the men, women, and children, of every city."


Not the cities, but the inhabitants of them.


"As we did to Sihon king of Heshbon": They did not destroy his cities, for they took them and dwelt in them. But the people that lived there, as follows here:


"Utterly destroying the men, women, and children, of every city (see Deut. 2:34).


This seems very cruel, but was done to keep God's people from mixing with these heathen people.


Deuteronomy 3:7 "But all the cattle, and the spoil of the cities, we took for a prey to ourselves."


The oxen and sheep, camels and asses. Their gold and silver, and the furniture of their houses. Their stores of corn, and of other fruits of the earth. Even all their substance of whatsoever kind.


"We took for a prey to ourselves": Made them their own property, and used them for their own profit and service, whereby they became greatly enriched.


The cattle and all of the material things, were not destroyed. They became the property of Israel.


Deuteronomy 3:8 "And we took at that time out of the hand of the two kings of the Amorites the land that [was] on this side Jordan, from the river of Arnon unto mount Hermon;"


"This side Jordon": East of the Jordan River, Israel controlled the territory from the Arnon River to Mt. Hermon, a length of about 150 miles. Note that the perspective of the speaker was to the east of the Jordan; the west of the Jordan still needed to be conquered. This statement helps date these speeches as pre-conquest.


The elevation of Hermon is approximately 10,000 feet, and is near the Lebanon border. All this is the land on the eastern side of Jordan which will be inherited by the tribe of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh.


Deuteronomy 3:9 "([Which] Hermon the Sidonians call Sirion; and the Amorites call it Shenir;)"


Which name it has in (Psalm 29:6). A name the inhabitants of Sidon gave it, but for what reason it is not easy to say. However, that it was well known to Tyre and Sidon, appears from snow in summer time being brought to the former, as will be hereafter observed.


"And the Amorites call it Shenir": Sirion, elsewhere called mount Gilead, and Lebanon. And here Shenir, and Sirion, which several names were given to this one mountain, partly by several people, and partly in regard of several tops and parts of it.


These are two other names for Mount Hermon.


Deuteronomy 3:10 "All the cities of the plain, and all Gilead, and all Bashan, unto Salchah and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan."


There was a plain by Medeba, and Heshbon and her cities were in a plain, with some others given to the tribe of Reuben (Joshua 13:16).


"And all Gilead": Mount Gilead, and the cities belonging to it. A very fruitful country, half of which fell to the share of the Reubenites, and the rest to the half tribe of Manasseh.


"And all Bashan": Of which Og was king. Called Batanea, a very fertile country, as before observed.


"Unto Salchah and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan": Which seem to be frontier cities of the latter (see Deut. 1:4). The former, Adrichomius says, was situated by the city Geshur and Mount Hermon, and was the boundary of the country of Bashan to the north. And according to Benjamin of Tudela, it was half a day's journey from Gilead. As Edrei seems to be its boundary to the south.


This is a description of the land taken. These are just a few of the cities mentioned.


Deuteronomy 3:11 "For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of giants; behold, his bedstead [was] a bedstead of iron; [is] it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? nine cubits [was] the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after the cubit of a man."


"A bedstead of iron": The bedstead may actually have been a coffin, which would have been large enough to also hold tomb objects. The size of the "bedstead", 13-1/2 by 6 feet, emphasized the largeness of Og, who was a giant (the last of the Rephaim, a race of giants). As God had given Israel victory over the giant Og, so He would give them victory over the giants in the Land.


It appears of the giants, Og is the last one. His bed gives some idea of how big he was. It was first of all, made of iron to be strong enough to hold him. It was 13-1/2 feet long and 6 feet wide. We do not know for sure how tall he was. Even if he were 9 feet tall, that would be a giant to a man 6 feet tall. Goliath, who fought David, was just over 9 feet tall, and he was spoken of as a giant.



Verses 12-22: The allocation of the land east of the Jordan. Verse 12 may indicate the territory that had been Sihon's kingdom (2:36). Six of the seven families comprising the tribe of Manasseh occupied land in Gilead. "Rest" was one of the foremost blessings promised in the land, and is one of the privileges of God's people (Deut. 12:10), the promise; (Joshua 21:44), the fulfillment; compare (Heb. 3-7 to 4:13; Hebrews 4:9). The word includes peace of spirit and freedom from all oppression by one's enemies as well as the usual meanings, and is given the highest expression in Christ (Matt. 11:28). "Joshua" is first seen as an army officer (Exodus 17:9), then as Moses' minister (Exodus 24:13), and a devoted adherent (Num. 11:28). Moses' love for him appears in (Numbers 27:18-23; Deut. 1:38; 31:3). This command is not mentioned (in Numbers chapter 32), since it was not relevant to the situation related there, but now it forms the foundation for future victory. What He "Hath done ... so shall the LORD do ... for the LORD your God he shall fight for you".


(Numbers 32:1-42 and 34:13-15), describe the gift and terms of the land east of the Jordan for the "Reubenites" and "Gadites" and the "half tribe of Manasseh".


This country was settled on the Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh (see Num. chapter 32 above). Moses repeats the condition of the grant to which they agreed. When at rest, we should desire to see our brethren at rest too, and should be ready to do what we can towards it. For we are not born for ourselves, but are members one of another.


Deuteronomy 3:12 "And this land, [which] we possessed at that time, from Aroer, which [is] by the river Arnon, and half mount Gilead, and the cities thereof, gave I unto the Reubenites and to the Gadites."


Or took possession of, having conquered it; for it still remained in their possession.


"From Aroer, which is by the river Arnon": On the borders of Moab, from thence as far as Gilead was the land which was taken from Sihon king of Heshbon (Deut. 2:36).


"And half Mount Gilead, and the cities thereof": Which were taken from Og king of Bashan (Deut. 3:10).


"Gave I unto the Reubenites, and to the Gadites": At their request, on certain conditions to be performed by them, afterwards repeated.


This is showing the division of the land on the east side of the Jordan River, that Reuben and Gad receive as an inheritance.


Deuteronomy 3:13 "And the rest of Gilead, and all Bashan, [being] the kingdom of Og, gave I unto the half tribe of Manasseh; all the region of Argob, with all Bashan, which was called the land of giants."


The other half of the mount, with the cities belonging to it.


"And all Bashan, being the kingdom of Og, gave I unto the half tribe of Manasseh": (see Num. 32:33).


"All the region of Argob, with all Bashan": The region of Trachonitis, in Bashan (see Deut. 3:4).


"Which was called the land of giants": Or of Rephaim. This Jarchi says is the country of the Rephaim given to Abraham (Gen. 15:20).


As we said earlier, the half tribe of Manasseh received land on the eastern side of the Jordan, just above the land of Gad. The mountain was divided, and Manasseh's descendants received half. The land that had formerly been the giants, is now Manasseh's descendants' land.


Deuteronomy 3:14 "Jair the son of Manasseh took all the country of Argob unto the coasts of Geshuri and Maachathi; and called them after his own name, Bashan-havoth-jair, unto this day."


Or Trachonitis; the small towns belonging to Gilead (as in Num. 32:41).


"Unto the coasts of Geshuri and Maachathi": These were little kingdoms in Syria, on which the country of Argob bordered. And had kings over them in the time of David, and came not into the possession of the Israelites (see Joshua 13:13).


"And called them after his own name, Bashan-havoth-jair, unto this day (see Num. 32:41).


Jair was a descendant of Manasseh on his mother's side. He was a descendant of Judah on his father's side. "Havoth" is the plural of the word chavvoth, which means life. The name of the region bore the name of Jair, because it belonged to him.


Deuteronomy 3:15 "And I gave Gilead unto Machir."


The son of Manasseh; not to him personally, who cannot be thought to have been living at this time, but to his posterity, to the Machirites (see Num. 32:40).


Numbers 32:39-40 "And the children of Machir the son of Manasseh went to Gilead, and took it, and dispossessed the Amorite which [was] in it." "And Moses gave Gilead unto Machir the son of Manasseh; and he dwelt therein."


Deuteronomy 3:16 "And unto the Reubenites and unto the Gadites I gave from Gilead even unto the river Arnon half the valley, and the border even unto the river Jabbok, [which is] the border of the children of Ammon;"


The tribes of Reuben and Gad.


"I gave from Gilead even unto the river Arnon" (see Deut. 3:12).


"Half the valley and the border": Or rather half the river, the river Arnon. And so it is rendered "the middle of the river" (in Joshua 12:2). And so here the middle of the torrent by the Vulgate Latin and Septuagint versions, and by Onkelos.


"Even unto the river Jabbok, which is the border of the children of Ammon": Beyond which the land given to the tribes of Reuben and Gad reached not (see Deut. 2:37).


This is giving the northern and the southern border of the land to Reuben and Gad.


Deuteronomy 3:17 "The plain also, and Jordan, and the coast [thereof], from Chinnereth even unto the sea of the plain, [even] the salt sea, under Ashdoth-pisgah eastward."


The plain by Jordan, the plains of Moab on the side of it, together with the river.


"And the coast thereof": The country adjoining to it.


"From Chinnereth even unto the sea of the plain, even the salt sea": That is, from Gennesaret, as the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan, called the land of Gennesaret (Matt. 14:34). From thence to the sea of Sodom, the sea of the plain, where the cities of the plain stood. Sodom, Gomorrah, etc. and the salt sea, so called from the salt and nitrous waters of it, the lake Asphaltites.


"Under Ashdoth-pisgah eastward": Mentioned among the cities given to the tribe of Reuben (Joshua 13:20). Rendered "the springs of Pisgah" (Deut. 4:49). The word having the signification of effusions, pourings out; so the Targums.


"Chinnereth" is what we call the sea of Galilee. The coast of the Jordan river on the eastern side is the coast mentioned above. The Dead Sea is the same as the Salt Sea.


Deuteronomy 3:18 "And I commanded you at that time, saying, The LORD your God hath given you this land to possess it: ye shall pass over armed before your brethren the children of Israel, all [that are] meet for the war."


Not all Israel, but the tribes of Reuben and Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh. For what follows only concerns them.


"Saying, the Lord your God hath given you this land to possess it": The land before described, lately in the hands of Sihon and Og. This at their request Moses gave them, by the direction of the Lord, on the following condition.


"You shall pass over armed before your brethren the children of Israel, all that are meet for the war": That is, they should pass over Jordan with the rest of the tribes, being armed to assist them in the conquest of Canaan. For this phrase, which we render "before your brethren", does not signify that they went in the forefront of them, only that they were present with them, and joined them in their war against their enemies (see Num. 32:29). And therefore, should be rendered "with your brethren"; even as many of them as were able to bear arms. At least as many as Joshua would choose to take of them. For he did not take them all by a great many (see Joshua 4:13).


The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh have inherited their land on the eastern side of the Jordan River. This does not excuse them from going to war to help the other 9-1/2 tribes win their land on the western side of the Jordan River. They shall go to war with their brother tribes. Every man 20 years old that is fit for war, shall go with them into battle to fight for their Promised Land.


Deuteronomy 3:19 "But your wives, and your little ones, and your cattle, ([for] I know that ye have much cattle,) shall abide in your cities which I have given you;"


These were to be left behind.


"For I know that ye have much cattle": Which made the countries of Gilead and Bashan, so famous for pasturage, agreeable to them (see Num. 32:1). These, under the care of servants, and also their wives and children.


"Shall abide in your cities which I have given you": And which they rebuilt and repaired (Num. 32:34).


In the book of Numbers, we found that Moses gave them time to build places for their families to live, while they were gone to battle. They were also, allowed to fix a place for their cattle. The wives and the little ones would stay with the herds, until the war for the Promised Land is over.


Deuteronomy 3:20 "Until the LORD have given rest unto your brethren, as well as unto you, and [until] they also possess the land which the LORD your God hath given them beyond Jordan: and [then] shall ye return every man unto his possession, which I have given you."


"Rest": A peaceful situation with the Land free from external threat and oppression. The eastern 2-1/2 tribes had the responsibility to battle alongside their western brethren until the conquest was complete (compare Joshua chapter 22).


All the soldiers of the twelve tribes are needed to subdue their enemies. As soon as they have helped establish the 9-1/2 tribes on the west side of Jordan, they will be free to come back and live on their own land on the eastern side of the Jordan. Numbers 32:22 "And the land be subdued before the LORD: then afterward ye shall return and be guiltless before the LORD, and before Israel; and this land shall be your possession before the LORD."


Verses 21-29: Moses encouraged Joshua, who was to succeed him. Thus, the aged and experienced in the service of God, should do all they can to strengthen the hands of those who are young, and setting out in religion. Consider what God has done, what God has promised. If God be for us, who can be against us, so as to prevail? We reproach our Leader if we follow him trembling. Moses prayed, that, if it were God's will, he might go before Israel, over Jordan into Canaan. We should never allow any desires in our hearts, which we cannot in faith offer up to God by prayer. God's answer to this prayer had a mixture of mercy and judgment. God sees it good to deny many things we desire. He may accept our prayers, yet not grant us the very things we pray for. If God does not by his providence give us what we desire, yet if by his grace, he makes us content without, it comes to much the same. Let it suffice thee to have God for thy Father, and heaven for thy portion, though thou hast not everything thou wouldst have in the world. God promised Moses a sight of Canaan from the top of Pisgah. Though he should not have the possession of it, he should have the prospect of it. Even great believers, in this present state, see heaven but at a distance. God provided him a successor. It is a comfort to the friends of the church of Christ, to see God's work likely to be carried on by others, when they are silent in the dust. And if we have the earnest and prospect of heaven, let these suffice us. Let us submit to the Lord's will, and speak no more to Him of matters which he sees good to refuse us.


Deuteronomy 3:21 "And I commanded Joshua at that time, saying, Thine eyes have seen all that the LORD your God hath done unto these two kings: so shall the LORD do unto all the kingdoms whither thou passest."


After the conquest of the two kings, and the assignment of their countries to the above tribes. And after Moses had it made known to him that he should quickly die, and Joshua should be his successor. Then, by the direction of God, he gave him the following charge.


"Saying, thine eyes have seen all that the Lord your God hath done unto these two kings": Sihon and Og. How their kingdoms were taken from them, and given to Israel, and they slain with the sword. This Joshua was an eyewitness of, and was, no doubt, greatly concerned in the battles with them, being the general in the Israelite's armies. At least this was sometimes his post, and he cannot be thought to have been unemployed in these wars.


"So shall the Lord do unto all the kingdoms whither thou passest": All the kingdoms in the land of Canaan, where there were many, thirty one at least. These would be all conquered and put into the hands of the Israelites, and their kings slain.


Moses will not cross over the Jordan River. Joshua will lead the people. He has seen on the eastern side of the Jordan what God has done to the tribes. Now he must lead his people to victory on the western side. I am sure he has more confidence in winning, since he saw these victories.


Deuteronomy 3:22 "Ye shall not fear them: for the LORD your God he shall fight for you."


"The LORD your God ... fight for you": Moses commanded Joshua not to be afraid because the Lord Himself would provide supernatural power and give them the victory (compare 1:30; 31:6-8; Joshua 1:9).


Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Fear is the opposite of faith. He should be assured that the LORD will fight for them.



Verses 23-29: "Speak no more": The Hebrew of Moses' request and its refusal implies that Moses had been extremely persistent in his request; literally, "Do not continue [Luke 18:5, 7] to speak to me again of this matter". For the Israelites he had sought and obtained pardon. For himself he sought the Lord's own presence and a vision of His glory. "What God is there in heaven or in earth", is a rhetorical question with no bearing on any belief in the real existence of false gods. In fact, alien deities were considered nonentities (5:7). "Beth-peor" is literally, "The House [Temple] of Peor". Here the people had committed grave sin (Num. chapter 25; Psalm 106:28-30), and Moses was buried nearby (34:6).


Deuteronomy 3:23 "And I besought the LORD at that time, saying,"


"I besought the LORD": With the victories over Sihon and Og, Moses made one final passionate plea to the Lord to be allowed to enter the Promised Land. However, the Lord would not allow Moses that privilege. He did, however, allow Moses to go to the top of Pisgah and see the Land (compare Deut. 32:48-52; 34:1-4).


Deuteronomy 3:24 "O Lord GOD, thou hast begun to show thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand: for what God [is there] in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might?"


To give a specimen of the greatness of his power in subduing the two kings and their kingdoms, and delivering them up into the hands of the Israelites. Moses had seen instances of the mighty power of God in Egypt, at the Red sea, and in the wilderness. But this was the beginning of his power, in vanquishing the Canaanites, and putting their land into the possession of the Israelites, as he had promised. Of which the Amorites were a part, and a principal nation of them. And thus God, when he begins a work of grace upon the soul of man, begins to show the exceeding greatness of his power. And which is further exerted in carrying it on, and bringing it to perfection.


"For what God is there in heaven or in earth that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might?" Here Moses speaks according to the notion of Heathens, who supposed there were other gods in heaven and in earth besides the true God. And upon this supposition observes, let there be as many as they will, or can be imagined, there is none of them like the Lord God of Israel for power and might. Or are able to do such works as he has done, in nature, in the creation of all things out of nothing, in providence, in supporting what he has made, and in governing the world. And in those amazing instances of his power, in bringing down judgments upon wicked men, kings, and kingdoms. And in the deliverance of his own people from them, and putting them and their kingdoms into the possession of them. Which were the wondrous works of might Moses had in view, and a sense of which was impressed on his mind at this time.


This is the beginning of a prayer by Moses. Notice that He elevates God to the very highest level at the beginning of the prayer. Moses realizes the power of Almighty God. He knows more than anyone else that there is none other than God.


Deuteronomy 3:25 "I pray thee, let me go over, and see the good land that [is] beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon."


The land of Canaan, the land flowing with milk and honey. A land which he describes as a most excellent one (Deut. 8:7). To see this land, he was very desirous of going over the river Jordan, beyond which it lay with respect to the place where he now was.


"That goodly mountain, and Lebanon": Or, "that goodly mountain, even Lebanon"; which lay to the north of the land of Canaan, and was famous for cedar and odoriferous trees. But if two distinct mountains are meant, the goodly mountain may design Mount Moriah, on which the temple was afterwards built, and of which Moses might have a foresight. And some by Lebanon think that is meant, which was built of the cedars of Lebanon, and therefore goes by that name (Zech. 11:1). And an anticipation of this made the mountain so precious to Moses, and desirable to be seen by him. So the Targum of Jonathan; "that goodly mountain in which is built the city of Jerusalem, and Mount Lebanon, in which the Shekinah shall dwell". To which agrees the note of Aben Ezra, who interprets the goodly mountain of Jerusalem, and Lebanon of the house of the sanctuary.


Moses has led them for 40 years. It is a great disappointment that he might not see the Promised Land. His prayer has become a plea that he might go over.


Deuteronomy 3:26 "But the LORD was wroth with me for your sakes, and would not hear me: and the LORD said unto me, Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter."


Not at this time, and for this prayer of his, but on account of he and Aaron not sanctifying him at the waters of Meribah. Or of some expressions of unbelief, and unadvised words, which dropped from his lips through their provocation of him (Num. 20:12; see note on 1:37; compare 4:21-24).


"And would not hear me": Now, and grant the above request, having before declared that he and Aaron should not bring the people of Israel into the land he had given them. And Moses with all his entreaties could not prevail upon him to repeal the sentence.


"And the Lord said unto me, let it suffice": That he had seen the conquest of the two kings, and the delivery of their kingdoms into the hands of Israel. And that he had brought the people through the wilderness to the borders of the land of Canaan, and that he should have a distant sight of the land, as after directed.


"Speak no more unto me of this matter": Intimating it would be in vain, and to no purpose, to solicit such a favor, since it would never be granted. It was a determined point, and he would never recede from it.


The LORD's answer to Moses' request was no. Moses had angered the LORD when he smote the Rock (Jesus), when God told him to speak to it. The LORD tells Moses; He does not want to hear any more on this subject.


Deuteronomy 3:27 "Get thee up into the top of Pisgah, and lift up thine eyes westward, and northward, and southward, and eastward, and behold [it] with thine eyes: for thou shalt not go over this Jordan."


Which was the highest eminence of Mount Nebo, and so a very proper place to take a prospect from (see Deut. 32:49).


"And lift up thine eyes westward, and northward, and southward, and eastward": To all the four points of the heaven, and to all the four quarters and borders of the land of Canaan.


"And behold it with thine eyes": Even the land of Canaan, and particularly Lebanon, though it lay to the north of it, that mountain he had such a desire to see. Moses, though old, his natural sight was very strong, and not in the least dim. And it is not improbable that it might be more than ordinarily increased and assisted at this time.


"For thou shall not go over this Jordan": Into the land of Canaan. This affair, of not being suffered to enter there. Moses frequently takes notice of, no less than four or five times, it being what lay near his heart.


Moses goes to a very high point on Mount Pisgah, and sees the Promised Land. It reaches actually further than the eye can see in every direction. He did allow Moses to see the Promised Land, but not to go over into the Promised Land.


Deuteronomy 3:28 "But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see."


Charge him to take the care of the children of Israel, to introduce them into the good land, and put them into the possession of it. Encourage him against all fear of his and their enemies, and strengthen him with promises of the presence of God, and of his gracious help and assistance.


"For he shall go over before this people": Over the river Jordan, at the head of them, as their leader and commander. A type of Christ, the leader and commander of his people. Who as their King goes forth at the head of them, and will introduce them all into his Father's kingdom and glory.


"And he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see": And no more; not enter into. But Joshua should; and having conquered it, should divide it by lot for an inheritance to them, and their children after them. A type of Christ, in whom and by whom the saints obtain an inheritance by lot (Eph. 1:11).


The anointing of Moses to lead the people was passed on to Joshua. Joshua would now lead the people over into the Promised Land.


Numbers 27:18-20 "And the LORD said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom [is] the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him;" "And set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight." "And thou shalt put [some] of thine honor upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient."


Joshua 3:7 "And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, [so] I will be with thee."


Deuteronomy 3:29 "So we abode in the valley over against Beth-peor."


"Beth-peor": Located east of the Jordan River, probably opposite Jericho (see notes on Num. chapters 22-25 for the background).


This is in the plains of Moab. This was opposite of Jericho. At the end of this, we see they are poised, ready to take the Promised Land.


Deuteronomy Chapter 3 Questions


1. Who was the king of Bashan?


2. He ruled over the northern half of _________.


3. How many of his cities were taken by Israel?


4. Why did God say not to fear him?


5. Who did they kill, besides Og?


6. What is the same as Bashan?


7. How were the cities fortified?


8. What was kept for spoil?


9. The land they took was from the River _________ unto mount __________.


10. How tall is mount Hermon?


11. What were the names of some of the cities taken?


12. Who was the last of the giants?


13. How big was his bed?


14. Who was a giant, who was 9 feet tall?


15. What land do the Reubenites and Gadites receive?


16. What goes to the half tribe of Manasseh?


17. Who was Jair a descendent of?


18. "Havoth" is plural for chavvoth, which means _________.


19. Who was Gilead given to?


20. What is another name for "Chinnereth"?


21. The Dead Sea is the same as the ______ Sea.


22. Where did the tribe of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh inherit land?


23. Where do the other tribes inherit land?


24. Where will Reuben's wife and children stay, while he goes to war?


25. When do the men of the tribe of Reuben go home?


26. Moses will not cross the __________ _________.


27. Without __________, it is impossible to please God.


28. Where does Moses' prayer begin?


29. What does Moses ask God for?


30. Does God grant his prayer request?


31. Why was the LORD wroth with Moses?


32. Where did the LORD send Moses?


33. Who will go in Moses' place?





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Deuteronomy 4



Deuteronomy Chapter 4

Verses 1-23: The power and love of God to Israel are here made the ground and reason of a number of cautions and serious warnings. And although there is much reference to their national covenant, yet all may be applied to those who live under the gospel. What are laws made for but to be observed and obeyed? Our obedience as individuals cannot merit salvation; but it is the only evidence that we are partakers of the gift of God, which is eternal life through Jesus Christ. Considering how many temptations we are compassed with, and what corrupt desires we have in our bosoms, we have great need to keep our hearts with all diligence. Those cannot walk aright, who walk carelessly. Moses charges particularly to take heed of the sin of idolatry. He shows how weak the temptation would be to those who thought aright; for these pretended gods, the sun, moon, and stars, were only blessings which the Lord their God had imparted to all nations. It is absurd to worship them; shall we serve those that were made to serve us? Take heed lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God. We must take heed lest at any time we forget our religion. Care, caution, and watchfulness, are helps against a bad memory.


Verses 1-8: This begins a new section (4:1-40) which is a call for obedience to God's law. The purpose and value of the law are presented. "Hearken" shows the need for implicit obedience (in 4:39-40; 8:20; 9:23; 13:4, 18; 15:5; 26:14, 17; 27:10; 28:1-2, 15, 45, 62; 30:2, 8, 10, 20). "Teach you" literally means, "which I am about to teach you". (1 Chronicles 25:8), uses this word as "scholar", and refers to the 24 divisions of priests. In rabbinical times, the teacher of the law was called the "talmid" rabbi, and his pupils were known as " talmidim", that is, apprentices. Yet in another sense, all Israel were talmidim, apprenticed to the "Terah" (teaching) of God. The Jewish Talmud gets its name from this root. The purpose is, literally, "in order that you may live and that you may go in and possess the land" - not that they may obtain salvation life, but may physically live to possess the land. "Ye shall not add": Ancient suzerainty (overlordship) treaties frequently contained some such prohibition as this. Here the command makes a sharp distinction between the Word of God and the word of man (Matt. 5:17-19; 15:6).


Deuteronomy 4:1 "Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do [them], that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you."


"Hearken O Israel": Moses called the people to hear and obey the rules of conduct that God had given them to observe. Successful conquest and full enjoyment of life in the Land was based on submission to God's law.


"Statutes unto the judgments": The first are permanent rules for conduct fixed by the reigning authority, while the second deal with judicial decisions which served as precedents for future guidance.


Moses keeps reminding them that their eternal life and their well being on this earth is dependent upon total obedience to the LORD. "Hearken", is saying listen attentively. The statutes and the judgements are for all of the people. Moses will teach them before they enter into the Promised Land, because he will not go into the Promised Land with them. They must go in and possess the land of promise. They must obey God.


Deuteronomy 4:2 "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish [ought] from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you."


"Ye shall not add ... neither shall ye diminish": The Word that God had given to Israel through Moses was complete and sufficient to direct the people. Thus, this law, the gift of God at Horeb, could not be supplemented or reduced. Anything that adulterated or contradicted God's law would not be tolerated (compare 12:32; Prov. 30:6; Rev. 22:18-19).


This was a warning to them, and is also a warning to us.


Revelation 22:18-19 "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:" "And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book."



Verses 3-4: Moses used the incident at Baal-peor (Num. 25:1-9) to illustrate from the Israelites' own history that their very lives depended on obeying God's law. Only those who had held fast to the Lord by obeying His commands were alive that day to hear Moses.


Deuteronomy 4:3 "Your eyes have seen what the LORD did because of Baal-peor: for all the men that followed Baal-peor, the LORD thy God hath destroyed them from among you."


Because of the idolatry the people of Israel fell into by worshipping that idol, being drawn into it by the daughters of Moab and Midian, through the counsel of Balaam. With whom they committed fornication; which led them to the other sin, and both highly provoking to God. The Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan are, "what the Word of the Lord has done to the worshippers of the idol Peor.


"For all the men that followed Baal-peor, the Lord thy God hath destroyed them from among you": 24,000 persons died on that account. Which being a recent thing, fresh in their memory and what they were eyewitnesses of, was a caution to them to avoid the same sins. As it is to us on whom the ends of the world are come (Num. 23:9).


There is a great deal in the 25th chapter of Numbers on the worship of false gods at Baal-peor. The following Scriptures give us an idea of how God punished for that sin.


Numbers 25:3-5 "And Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel." "And the LORD said unto Moses, Take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the LORD against the sun, that the fierce anger of the LORD may be turned away from Israel." "And Moses said unto the judges of Israel, Slay ye every one his men that were joined unto Baal-peor."


Deuteronomy 4:4 "But ye that did cleave unto the LORD your God [are] alive every one of you this day."


To the worship of the Lord your God, as the Targum of Jonathan. Attended the service of the sanctuary, were observant of the laws of God, and walked in his statutes and judgments. Did not apostatize from him by idolatry or otherwise, but kept close unto him, and followed him fully.


"Are alive every one of you this day": Which is very remarkable, that in such a vast number of people not one should die in such a space of time, it being several months since that affair happened. And besides, in that time there was a war with the Midianites, and yet not one person died in that war. Nor as it seems by this account by any disease or disaster whatever (see Num. 31:49).


We see that only those who were involved in the sin were killed. Those who stayed true to God lived.


Deuteronomy 4:5 "Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it."


He had faithfully delivered them, without adding them, or diminishing from them, and had diligently instructed the Israelites in them. He had taken pains to lead them into a thorough knowledge and understanding of them.


"That ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it": Do in like manner as the commandments the Lord direct to. Or that which is right; proper and fitting to be done. By doing which they continue in the land they were about to possess. Therefore, when in it were to be careful to them; some of them could not be done till they came into it, and all were to be done in it.


Moses wants them to clearly understand that the statutes and judgements God had given them on the trip, were for their practice in the Promised Land. They are not to forget about God, and start living pleasing to their own flesh. They are to keep God's commandments and laws.


Deuteronomy 4:6 "Keep therefore and do [them]; for this [is] your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation [is] a wise and understanding people."


"The nations": Israel's obedience to God's law would provide a testimony to the world that God was near to His people and that His laws were righteous. One purpose of the law was to make Israel morally and spiritually unique among all the nations and, therefore draw those nations to the true and living God. They were from their beginnings to be a witness nation. Though they failed and have been temporarily set aside, the prophets revealed that in the future kingdom of Messiah they will be a nation of faithful witnesses (compare Isa. 45:14; Zech. 8:23).


"A wise and understanding people": The nations would see 3 things in Israel (verses 6-8). First, the Israelites would know how to apply God's knowledge so as to have discernment and to be able to judge matters accurately.


The law and the ordinances were given to the Hebrews. The rest of the world did not get the law from God. The one thing that set the Israelites apart from the rest of the world, was their relationship with their God. The people who lived around them thought of them as a great nation, because God was with them, and because He had given them His law. Their wisdom was a gift from God. Righteousness brings life. The wisest man realizes his need for a Savior.


2 Timothy 3:15 "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."



Verses 7-8: The Israelites were a special people because;


(1) No other nation had "God so nigh" that they could "call upon him" for any reason, and;


(2) No other nation had such "statutes and judgments" (2 Sam. 7:23).


To be able to draw near to God in prayer and to study His righteous decrees in Scripture is one of His richest blessings.


Deuteronomy 4:7 "For what nation [is there so] great, who [hath] God [so] nigh unto them, as the LORD our God [is] in all [things that] we call upon him [for]?"


"God so nigh unto them": Second, faithfulness to the Lord would allow the nations to see that the Lord had established intimacy with Israel.


This is the only nation in the world at the time Moses wrote this, that had the LORD dwelling with them.


Exodus 29:45 "And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God."


Deuteronomy 4:8 "And what nation [is there so] great, that hath statutes and judgments [so] righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?"


"Statutes and judgements so righteous": Third, the nations would see that Israel's law was distinctive, for its source was the Lord indicating its character was righteous.


All the nations around them lived pleasing to their own flesh. Every man did what was right in his own sight. The law and statutes God had given Israel was not just to please God, but to cause Israel to live uprightly. There were dietary laws and civil laws, as well as religious laws. There were over 600 instructions given to Israel in the book of Leviticus to help them live righteously before God and man. God did not want them to have an earthly king. He wanted to be their only King. The one thing that set Israel aside, was the fact that God had entrusted them with His law.


Romans 3:2 "Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God."



Verses 9-31: This section carries the most basic lesson for Israel to learn, to fear and reverence God.


Deuteronomy 4:9 "Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons;"


"Teach them thy sons": Deuteronomy stresses the responsibility of parents to pass on their experiences with God and the knowledge they have gained from Him to their children (compare 6:7; 11:19).


This law is not just for this generation, but for all the generations to come. They must walk in the knowledge God had entrusted them with. They were to keep themselves holy before the LORD. We are all warned to gird up our mind. Sin begins in the heart and mind of men. Sin is the transgression of the law. Sin brings death. They must live by the law that God gave them. We Christians, must walk in our salvation that we have received. It is important to stay in the Christian walk, after you receive your salvation. It is a dangerous thing to go back to pleasing the flesh.


Deuteronomy 4:10 "[Specially] the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and [that] they may teach their children."


"Specially the day": One experience of Israel to be passed on from generation to generation was (the great theophany the self-revelation of God in physical form), which took place at Horeb (compare Exodus 19:90 - 20:19).


The fear is not the terror kind of fear, but reverence toward God and His commandments. God spoke to the people His commandments.


Exodus 19:16-18 "And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that [was] in the camp trembled." "And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount." "And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw [it], they removed, and stood afar off."


Exodus 20:20 "And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not."


To fear God enough causes us to teach our children to fear God as well.


Deuteronomy 4:11 "And ye came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness."


At the foot of it, in the lower part of the mountain, as the Targum of Jonathan. And agrees with (Exodus 19:17).


"And the mountain burnt with fire unto the midst of heaven": The flame and smoke went up into the middle of the air.


"With darkness, clouds, and thick darkness": Which thick darkness was occasioned partly by the smoke, which went up like the smoke of a furnace, and partly by the thick clouds. Which were on the mount, and covered the face of the heavens, which were black and tempestuous with them. The Septuagint renders it a "tempest" (Exodus 19:18). Which denotes the obscurity of the law, and the terrors it works in the minds of men.


This darkness was from the smoke of the fire of God.


Deuteronomy 4:12 "And the LORD spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only [ye heard] a voice."


"No similitude": Israel was to remember that when God revealed Himself at Sinai, His presence came through His voice, i.e., the sound of His words. They did not see Him. God is Spirit (John 4:24), which rules out any idolatrous representation of God in any physical form (verses 16-18), or any worship of the created order (verse 19).


Hebrews 12:29 "For our God [is] a consuming fire."


No one can see the face of the LORD and live. Generally, when a person encounters God, it is in a fire or something relating to a fire. The burning bush is a good example of that. The hub of the wheel in the wheel inside of the wheel had a fire burning. Both of these things are the presence of God. They saw no figure of a person. They heard His voice.


Deuteronomy 4:13 "And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, [even] ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone."


"His covenant" is the first of 27 recurrences in Deuteronomy of this important theme. We think of the "law", but actually it was a covenant. "Two tables of stone": Near Eastern suzerainty (overlordship), treaties were generally made in duplicate form. One copy was deposited with the vassal for periodic reference. The other was kept by the "great King". Both copies were placed in the Ark of the Covenant, in Israel's possession, where the Lord lived.


"Ten commandments": Literally "ten statements", from which comes the term "Decalogue". These summarize and epitomize all the commandments the Lord gave to Israel through Moses. Though the phrase occurs only here, in 10:4, and in Exodus 34:28, there are 26 more references to it in Deuteronomy (see notes on Matt. 19:16-21; 22:35-40; Mark 10:17-22; Rom. 13:8-10).


God first spoke the Ten Commandments to the children of Israel from the fire we just read about. Moses went on the mountain and stayed 40 days and God wrote the Ten Commandments on the tables of stone.


Exodus 31:18 "And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God."


Deuteronomy 4:14 "And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it."


When the ten commandments were delivered on Mount Sinai, and Moses was ordered to come up to God in the mount.


"To teach you statutes and judgments": Laws ceremonial and judicial, besides the ten commandments given them.


"That ye may do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it": The land of Canaan, which was on the other side of Jordan, and over which they must go in order to possess it. And when they came there, they were to hold the possession of it by attending to those laws which forbad the sins for which the old inhabitants of it were expelled out of it. And besides these, there were also several laws, both ceremonial and judicial, which were to be peculiarly observed in the land, as well as others they were obliged to do.


The covenant that God made with them was dependent upon them keeping God's laws and statutes.



Verses 15-19: This is a strong emphasis on commandments one and two (compare Rom. 1:18-23).


Deuteronomy 4:15 "Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day [that] the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire:"


Moses carefully reminded the people that when the Lord's presence came with fire and thunder on Mount Sinai, they saw "no manner of similitude" (Isa. 40:18). That no one can see God is a teaching that runs through Scripture (Exodus 19:19-21; 33:20, 23; 1 Kings 19:11-13; John 6:46; Col. 1:15; 1 Tim. 6:16; John 1:18).


This is warning about the worship of idols or false gods. God is a Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.


Deuteronomy 4:16 "Lest ye corrupt [yourselves], and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,"


And not themselves only, but the word and worship of God. By idolatry, that which nothing is more corrupting and defiling, nor more abominable to God.


"And make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure": A graven image, in the likeness of any figure, an idea of which they had formed in their minds.


"The likeness of male or female": Of a man or a woman. Some of the Heathen deities were in the likeness of men, as Jupiter, Mars, Hercules, Apollo, etc. And others in the likeness of women, as Juno, Diana, Venus, etc. Some think Osiris and Isis, Egyptian deities. The one male, the other female, are respected. But it is not certain that these were worshipped by them so early.


The heathen around them worshipped images of false gods. This is a warning not to make an image of a false god. The worship of false gods is the same thing as spiritual adultery.


Deuteronomy 4:17 "The likeness of any beast that [is] on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air,"


As there are rarely any that the likeness of them has been made and worshipped, or the creatures themselves. As the ox by the Egyptians, the sheep by the Thebans, the goat by the Mendesians, and others by different people.


"The likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air": Such as the hawk, and the bird called Ibis, or another by the name of Cneph by the Egyptians, and the eagle by others.


They had made a golden calf and worshipped it. This is a warning not to worship any of God's created beings. Birds or animals, are not to be worshipped. They are the creation of God, not the Creator.


Deuteronomy 4:18 "The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that [is] in the waters beneath the earth:"


As serpents by many. And indeed, that creature is introduced into almost all the idolatries of the Heathens. Which seems to take its rise from the serpent Satan made use of to deceive our first parents.


"The likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth": As the crocodile and hippopotamus, or river horse, by the Egyptians. And Dagon and Derceto, supposed to be figures in the form of a fish, among the Phoenicians.


Again, these things such as fish, or snakes, or anything else that is created of God, are not to be worshipped. God, who created the earth and everything in it, is to be worshipped.


Deuteronomy 4:19 "And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, [even] all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven."


The starry heaven, which to do in itself is not sinful. And may be lawfully and commendably done, to raise admiration at the wonderful works of God in them, and lead to adore the author of them. But if not guarded against may be ensnaring.


"And when thou seest the sun and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven": Those bright luminaries, so glorious to behold, and so useful and beneficial to the earth, and the inhabitants of it.


"Shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them": Should have an impulse on their minds and their hearts, and be inclined and drawn to the worship of them. Partly by considering their splendor, glory, and usefulness, and partly by the example of others. For the worshipping of these seems to be and is the first kind of idolatry men gave into. At least it was very ancient (see Job 31:26).


"Which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven": The sun and the moon by their constant revolutions visit all the parts of the world. And stars are fixed in both hemispheres, so that all nations of the earth receive the benefit and advantage of all these heavenly bodies. But were never designed to be the objects of their worship, as might be learnt from their being divided to them. Sometimes one part of the earth enjoying them, and then another, and not present with them all at the same time. Which, if deities, would have been necessary (see Psalm 19:6).


The sun, moon, and stars are also, part of the creation of God. They are not the Creator. They are His handiwork. All the host of heaven, including angels, are part of God's great creative acts. God, alone, is to be worshipped.


Genesis 1:14 "And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:"


The following Scripture says it well.


Romans 1:25 "Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen."


We must worship the Creator, and not His creation.


Deuteronomy 4:20 "But the LORD hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, [even] out of Egypt, to be unto him a people of inheritance, as [ye are] this day."


"The iron furnace": A fire was used to heat iron sufficiently to be hammered into different shapes or welded to other objects. The iron furnace here suggests that Israel's time in Egypt was a period of ordeal, testing, and purifying for the Hebrews, readying them for usefulness as God's witness nation.


They had been in heavy bondage in Egypt. God Himself, delivered them out of Egypt (the world). He had chosen them as His special people to glorify His name to the whole world. He thought of Israel as His wife.


Deuteronomy 4:21 "Furthermore the LORD was angry with me for your sakes, and sware that I should not go over Jordan, and that I should not go in unto that good land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee [for] an inheritance:"


(See Deuteronomy 3:26).


"And sware that I should not go over Jordan": This circumstance of swearing is nowhere else expressed.


"And that I should not go in unto that good land": The land of Canaan; he might see it, as he did from Pisgah, but not enter into it.


"Which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance": To them and to their children after them.


Moses is still speaking of them causing him to strike the Rock (which symbolized Jesus), when God had told him to speak to it. They had grieved Moses over and over. Moses lost his chance to go to the Promised Land, because in his anger at the Israelites, he disobeyed God.


Deuteronomy 4:22 "But I must die in this land, I must not go over Jordan: but ye shall go over, and possess that good land."


The land of Moab, in a mountain in it where he died. And in a valley there, he was buried (Deut. 32:50).


"I must not go over Jordan": This he repeats, as lying near his heart. He had earnestly solicited to go over, but was denied it.


"But ye shall go over, and possess that good land": This he firmly believed and assures them of, relying on the promise and faithfulness of God.


Moses had led them to the door of the Promised Land, and yet would not be allowed to go in. He keeps reminding them how important it is to obey the commands of God. It is as if he is saying, "Look at me I disobeyed God once, and lost my place".


Deuteronomy 4:23 "Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, [or] the likeness of any [thing], which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee."


Since he should not be long with them, to advise, instruct, and caution them.


"Lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which he made with you": What that required of them, and what was promised unto them on the performance of it. And what they must expect should they break it, and particularly be so forgetful of it, and the first articles in it, as follows.


"And make you a graven image, or the likeness of anything which the Lord thy God hath forbidden thee": A graven image in the likeness of men or women, of any beast on the earth, or fowl in heaven, or fish in the sea.


The graven image of a false god would greatly anger God. Moses keeps reminding them not to do that. They must keep the covenant of God, to be blessed in their land.


Verses 24-40: Moses urged the greatness, glory, and goodness of God. Did we consider what a God he is with whom we have to do, we should surely make conscience of our duty to him, and not dare to sin against him. Shall we forsake a merciful God, who will never forsake us, if we are faithful unto him? Whither can we go? Let us be held to our duty by the bonds of love, and prevailed with by the mercies of God to cleave to him. Moses urged God's authority over them, and their obligations to him. In keeping God's commandments, they would act wisely for themselves. The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom. Those who enjoy the benefit of Divine light and laws, ought to support their character for wisdom and honor, that God may be glorified thereby. Those who call upon God, shall certainly find him within call, ready to give an answer of peace to every prayer of faith.


All these statutes and judgments of the Divine law are just and righteous, above the statutes and judgments of any of the nations. What they saw at mount Sinai, gave an earnest of the day of judgment, in which the Lord Jesus shall be revealed in flaming fire. They must also remember what they heard at mount Sinai. God manifests himself in the works of the creation, without speech or language, yet their voice is heard (Psalm 19:1, 3). But to Israel he made himself known by speech and language, condescending to their weakness. The rise of this nation was quite different from the origin of all other nations. See the reasons of free grace; we are not beloved for our own sakes, but for Christ's sake.


Moses urged the certain benefit and advantage of obedience. This argument he had begun with (verse 1), That ye may live, and go in and possess the land. And this he concludes with (verse 40), that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee. He reminds them that their prosperity would depend upon their piety. Apostasy from God would undoubtedly be the ruin of their nation. He foresees their revolt from God to idols. Those, and those only, shall find God to their comfort, who seek him with all their heart. Afflictions engage and quicken us to seek God; and, by the grace of God working with them, many are thus brought back to their right mind.


When these things are come upon thee, turn to the Lord thy God, for thou seest what comes of turning from him. Let all the arguments be laid together, and then say, if religion has not reason on its side. None cast off the government of their God, but those who first abandon the understanding of a man.


Deuteronomy 4:24 "For the LORD thy God [is] a consuming fire, [even] a jealous God."


Yahweh is also "a consuming fire, even a jealous God" (Exodus 34:14; Heb. 12:29). His jealousy is protective of His singularity as God and God alone; His fire is judgment against all idolatry.


"A jealous God": God is zealous to protect what belongs to Him. He will not allow another to have the honor that is due to Him alone (compare Isa. 42:8; 48:11).


Almost every appearance of the LORD was in the midst of a fire.


Exodus 24:17 "And the sight of the glory of the LORD [was] like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel."


God will not share His people with a false god.


Exodus 34:14 "For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name [is] Jealous, [is] a jealous God:"


Deuteronomy Chapter 4 Questions


1. Hearken, O Israel, unto the __________ and ______________.


2. Why must Israel do this?


3. What does "hearken" mean?


4. What does verse 2 warn of?


5. What happened to the men who followed Baal-peor?


6. What happened to those who did cleave to the LORD?


7. What statutes and judgements had Moses taught?


8. Who were the only people to receive the law and judgements?


9. What set Israel aside from all other nations?


10. Righteousness brings _______.


11. How did the nations around them live?


12. What, other than religious laws, did God give them?


13. How long were these laws to be kept?


14. What is important for Christians to do, after they are saved?


15. What kind of fear is verse 10 speaking of?


16. How did God appear to them at the mountain?


17. Our God is a consuming _______.


18. What are some examples of seeing God in fire?


19. How were the tables of testimony written?


20. What did the covenant with God depend on?


21. What is verse 15 warning of?


22. They were not to worship any of God's __________ beings.


23. What, in the heavens, is part of God's handiwork?


24. What is Egypt called in verse 20?


25. God thought of Israel as His _______.


26. Why could Moses not go into the Promised Land?


27. The LORD thy God is a ______________ _______, even a jealous God.


28. What is one of God's names in Exodus 34:14?




Deuteronomy Chapter 4 Continued

Verses 25-31: The law and judgment: "Heaven and earth" speaks of summoning witnesses to the agreement, which was a regular part of the Near Eastern treaties. Normally, gods were summoned since they would supposedly be able to enforce the contents of the treaty. Note its use (in Deuteronomy 30:19; Isaiah 1:2; Jeremiah 6:19 Micah 1:2; 6:1-2), where the covenant has been broken and God is calling His witnesses to court. "Scatter you" is the language of Moses' first prophecy of Israel's removal from the land if she did not obey God. If she would turn to God, He would be merciful and restore her. Israel's 10 northern tribes were deported in (722 B.C.), by the Assyrians, and the southern tribes were taken by the Babylonians, beginning with Daniel (in 605 B.C.). They were later dispersed in the days of the early church (A.D. 70). "The latter days" refers to the time after Moses' message and culminates in the final restoration of Israel at the second coming of Christ.


Although the Jews returned in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah (ca. 538 - 445 B.C.), they never regained their autonomy or dominance. Thus, the days of promised restoration and return look forward to Messiah's return to set up the millennial kingdom.


Deuteronomy 4:25 "When thou shalt beget children, and children's children, and ye shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt [yourselves], and make a graven image, [or] the likeness of any [thing], and shall do evil in the sight of the LORD thy God, to provoke him to anger:"


Children and grandchildren, and several ages and generations have passed.


"And shalt have remained long in the land": Many years and even ages, or have grown old in it. Now they were in their infancy, and as such they were about to enter into it. During the times of the judges, they were in their childhood, or youth. In the times of David and Solomon, they were in their manhood. After that, in their decline. And in the times of Jeconiah and his brethren in their old age, when for their sins, they were carried captive.


"And shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or the likeness of anything": (see notes on Deut. 25:16).


"And shall do evil in the sight of the Lord thy God, to provoke him to anger": That sin of idolatry, that God provoking sin, is chiefly intended.


This is speaking of those who start out with God, and over a period of time, slip into idolatry. This is warning them against gradually drifting away from God and His teachings. To worship anything made with human hands, is idolatry and strictly forbidden.


Deuteronomy 4:26 "I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong [your] days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed."


Should they be guilty of such a sin, since they were so strongly and publicly cautioned against it. And even the heaven and the earth were called upon as witnesses of the law being set before them, which so expressly forbids it (Deut. 30:19).


"That ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto you go over Jordan to possess it": Though they were now about to go over Jordan and inherit the land of Canaan, yet they would not enjoy it long, but be taken and carried captive out of it. As the ten tribes were by Shalmaneser king of Assyria, and the two tribes by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and both for their idolatry and other crimes.


God is a Jealous God. He will not share His people with any false god. This is one sin that brings quick punishment from God on His people. The condition of their inheritance of the land, is if they keep God's commandments. Calling heaven and earth to witness is like saying all of God's creation witnesses to that.


Deuteronomy 4:27 "And the LORD shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the LORD shall lead you."


A time was coming when the Israelites' idolatry would cause the Lord to "scatter" them "among the heathen" (Ezek. 12:15; Hosea 9:17), because His chosen ones would worship false gods (Exodus 34:14). The Hebrew people were later dispersed into the world by the Assyrians (722 B.C.), the Babylonians (586 B.C.), and finally were overrun and controlled by the Romans (63 B.C.).


"The LORD shall scatter you": Moses warned Israel that the judgment for idolatry would be their dispersion among the nations by the Lord (see 28:64-67).


This is speaking of things like the Babylonian captivity. Every time they seem to get careless about keeping God's law and seek other Gods to worship, God brings disaster to them. Usually, it is in the form of captivity.


Deuteronomy 4:28 "And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell."


Idols made by men, cut out of wood and stone. These they should be enticed into the service of, or compelled to serve. Which was still more brutish and stupid than to worship the sun, moon, and stars, which were not the works of men's hand, but the glorious works of the eternal God. But since in their captivities they were not subject to idolatry, but were cured of it thereby, another sense of the words is given by some. As by Onkelos and Jonathan, who paraphrase the words of serving the people, that serve idols. But what follows confirms the first sense:


"Which neither see, nor hear, nor taste, nor smell": Senseless things, which have none of the senses of seeing, hearing, and smelling, nor the faculty of eating, which they need not to support life, of which they are destitute. And therefore, it must be monstrous stupidity to worship such lifeless, senseless, objects (see Psalm 115:4).


The lands that capture Israel are the heathen countries around them, and they do worship idols of all kinds. We have mentioned before that, the Creator of everything is the only one to worship. His creation, whether people or things, are not to be worshipped.


Deuteronomy 4:29 "But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find [him], if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul."


By prayer and supplication, acknowledging and confessing sin, and desiring that God would be gracious and forgive it. And bring them out of their miserable condition. Even if out of those depths of affliction and distress, and though scattered about in the world, and in the uttermost parts of it.


"Thou shalt find him": To be a God hearing and answering prayer, gracious and merciful, ready to help and deliver.


"If they seek him with all their heart and with all their soul": Sincerely and affectionately.


As long as they have breath in their bodies, regardless of where they are, they can cry out to God and He will hear. True belief in God originates in the heart. Look at what Jesus said about this very thing.


Mark 12:30 "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this [is] the first commandment."


Deuteronomy 4:30 "When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, [even] in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;"


"The latter days": Literally "the end of days". Moses saw in the distant future a time when repentant Israel would turn again to the Lord and obey Him. Throughout the Pentateuch, "the latter days" refers to the time when Messiah will establish His kingdom (see Gen. 49:1, 8-12; Num. 24:14-24; Deut. 32:39-43).


The latter days are many times, speaking of the time of the second coming of Christ. At that time, there shall be great tribulation.


Matthew 24:21 "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be."


In the following verse, we see that some people are taken out of this great tribulation to be with the LORD.


Revelation 7:14 "And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."


To turn to the LORD is speaking of repenting of a life of sin and obeying the will of God.


Deuteronomy 4:31 "(For the LORD thy God [is] a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them."


"The covenant of thy fathers": God mercifully, not because they deserve it, will fulfill the covenant He made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob with repentant Israel in the future. God will not forget the Word that He has given to Abraham and his seed (compare Rom. 11:25-27).


His mercy endureth forever.


1 Chronicles 16:34 "O give thanks unto the LORD; for [he is] good; for his mercy [endureth] for ever."


Hebrews 13:5 "[Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."


We may forsake God, but He never forsakes His own. His mercy extends to whosever will dare to believe. The covenant is an everlasting covenant. God will never forget.



Verses 32-40: Since the day that God created man upon the earth": In all of human history, no other nation has had the privilege that Israel had of hearing God speak, as He did in giving the law at Mt. Sinai, and surviving such an awesome experience. Nor had any other people been so blessed, chosen and delivered from bondage by such mighty miracles as Israel saw. God did this to reveal to them that He alone is God (verses 35, 39).


A historical apologetic, appealing for the nation's obedience to God' law.


Deuteronomy 4:32 "For ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and [ask] from the one side of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been [any such thing] as this great thing [is], or hath been heard like it?"


Inquire into and consult the annals of former times, of ages past.


"Since the day that God created man upon the earth": Trace them quite up to the creation of the world, and men in it.


"And ask from the one side of heaven to the other": Traverse the whole globe, and examine the records of every nation in it in both hemispheres.


"Whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it?" Whether they can give any account of anything seen, heard, or done like what follows. Suggesting that they cannot furnish out an instance to be mentioned with it.


Moses is explaining here, that God had chosen them of all the people in the world, and made them His. They are a unique people. God had actually dwelt with them, and miraculously protected them and fed them for these 40 years. There had never before been a people that God had blessed like Israel.


Deuteronomy 4:33 "Did [ever] people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live?"


None ever heard the voice of God as they did, much less speaking such words as they heard. And still less out of the midst of fire, which was their case (Deut. 4:12).


"As thou hast heard, and live?" Which was stranger still, when they might have expected they should, and doubtless feared they would be, as it was wonderful they were not consumed by it.


This is one of the miraculous things that happened to them, when God spoke the Ten Commandments to them from the fire on the mountain.


Deuteronomy 4:34 "Or hath God assayed to go [and] take him a nation from the midst of [another] nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?"


As he now had done, namely, the nation of Israel out of the nation of the Egyptians. This he not only had assayed to do, but had actually done it. Whereas no such instance like it could be produced, and especially as done in the manner this was.


"By temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war": The word "temptations" may be considered as a general word, as Aben Ezra thinks, and may signify the temptations by signs, etc. Or the various essays and trials, ways, means, and methods taken by the Lord to bring about the event. By "signs" may be meant those which were required of Moses, and done by him before the people of Israel, and before Pharaoh, as proofs of his mission from the Lord (Exodus 4:1). And by "wonders", the ten plagues of Egypt, which were done by a supernatural and miraculous operation, and were amazing things (see Psalm 78:11). And by "war", either the slaying of the firstborn, with the destruction of the judges and gods of Egypt, as Aben Ezra; or the Lord's fighting for Israel at the Red sea, as Jarchi. He saved them and destroyed the Egyptians, and showed himself to be a man of war (Exodus 14:14).


"And by a mighty hand and stretched out arm": Phrases frequently used when this affair is spoken of, and are expressive of the mighty power of God in the above instances. And in the issue of them, bringing Israel out of Egypt. Though Aben Ezra interprets it of the pillar of fire and cloud in which the Lord went before them.


"And by great terrors": Which the same writer interprets of the drowning of Pharaoh and his host in the sea, and dividing it for Israel. But may be understood not only of the terrors which possessed him and his people then, but at other times, especially at the time of the thunder and lightning, and when they sat in thick darkness. And particularly when all their firstborn was slain (see Deut. 26:8).


"According to all that the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes": Among the men of Egypt, as the above writer, Pharaoh and his courtiers. The above things were done as before them for their terror, so before Israel for their encouragement.


The word "assayed" means test, or attempt. God did take Israel from the grip of Egypt. The ten plagues that God brought on Egypt and the Egyptian gods caused them to release the Israelites. God Himself, fought Pharaoh's army at the Red Sea. The Israelites saw all of this with their very own eyes.


Deuteronomy 4:35 "Unto thee it was showed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he [is] God; [there is] none else beside him."


What the Lord did in Egypt.


"That thou mightest know that the Lord he is God, there is none else besides him": That he is the one only living and true God, and there is no other. This phrase is often used by the Prophet Isaiah, to express the same great article of faith.


God did all of this in Egypt and also all of the miracles, like the water coming from the Rock, for the benefit of Israel. There could be no doubt that the LORD, He is God. The false gods of Egypt were unable to do anything. God defamed all of the Egyptian false gods.


Deuteronomy 4:36 "Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice, that he might instruct thee: and upon earth he showed thee his great fire; and thou heardest his words out of the midst of the fire."


Thunder is the voice of God, and by which he instructs men in the greatness of his power (Job 26:14). Unless his voice in giving the law, which was for the instruction of Israel, is meant. For that was heard on earth, on Mount Sinai, to which the following refers.


"And upon earth he showed thee his great fire": On Mount Sinai, which burned with it.


"And thou heardest his words out of the midst of the fire": The ten commandments, and therefore may well be called, a fiery law (see Deut. 4:12).


God's voice was heard by all of the Israelites, when He spoke to them from heaven. The voice actually came from the fire.


Deuteronomy 4:37 "And because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt;"


"Because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed": Here is electing love, the spontaneous expression of grace, bestowed apart from any merit in its object (9:6). This appeal is based on God's love manifested to the patriarchs.


"And brought thee": He personally, literally "His face". God Himself had brought Israel out of Egypt. The Exodus resulted from the electing love that God had for the patriarchs and their descendants.


Thy fathers mentioned here, are speaking of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.


Genesis 17:8 "And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God."


Exodus 13:14 "And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What [is] this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand the LORD brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage:"


Deuteronomy 4:38 "To drive out nations from before thee greater and mightier than thou [art], to bring thee in, to give thee their land [for] an inheritance, as [it is] this day."


The seven nations of the land of Canaan, which were more in number and mightier in power and strength than they. And particularly the Amorites, who were already driven out and dispossessed of their country, even the kingdoms and nations of Sihon and Og.


"To bring thee in to give thee their land for an inheritance, as it is this day": Referring, as Aben Ezra observes, to the inheritance of the land of the two kings of the Amorites, which the tribes of Reuben and Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh, were put into the possession of already.


They had just seen this, when the mighty army of Og was defeated before them. The LORD goes before them in the smoke by day, and the fire by night.


Exodus 23:27-28 "I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee." "And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee."


Deuteronomy 4:39 "Know therefore this day, and consider [it] in thine heart, that the LORD he [is] God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: [there is] none else."


Own and acknowledge it now with thy mouth, and lay it up and consider it in thine heart hereafter. As a truth of the greatest importance to be professed and held fast, and to be thought of and meditated upon continually, and never to be forgotten.


"That the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath": That he has made both, and is the possessor and Lord of them, and does what he pleases with them. That the one is his throne, his dwelling place, and the other his footstool. And that the inhabitants of both are his creatures, and under his authority and command, and he can dispose of them as he pleases.


"There is none else": No God in heaven or in earth beside him.


Mark 12:32 "And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:"


Colossians 1:16 "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:"


Deuteronomy 4:40 "Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong [thy] days upon the earth, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, for ever."


Such gracious privilege, as remembered (in verses 32-39), should elicit obedience, particularly in view of the unconditional promise that the Land will be theirs permanently ("for all time"), as is detailed (in chapters 29 and 30).


John 14:15 "If ye love me, keep my commandments."


John 14:21 "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him."


The blessings of God are upon those who live for Him.



Verses 41-49: Here is the introduction to another discourse, or sermon, Moses preached to Israel, which we have in the following chapters. He sets the law before them, as the rule they were to work by, and the way they were to walk in. He sets it before them, as the glass in which they were to see their natural face, that, looking into this perfect law of liberty, they might continue therein. These are the laws, given when Israel was newly come out of Egypt; and they were now repeated. Moses gave these laws in charge, while they encamped over against Beth-peor, an idol place of the Moabites. Their present triumphs were a powerful argument for obedience. And we should understand our own situation as sinners, and the nature of that gracious covenant to which we are invited. Therein greater things are shown to us than ever Israel saw from Mount Sinai; greater mercies are given to us than they experienced in the wilderness, or in Canaan. One speaks to us, who is of infinitely greater dignity than Moses; who bare our sins upon the cross; and pleads with us by His dying love.


Verses 41-43: The 3 verses are a narrative insertion at the end of Moses' speech. The setting aside of 3 cities on the east side of the Jordan by Moses showed that Moses willingly obeyed the commandments God gave him. He was an example of the type of obedience that God was calling for in (4:1-40; compare Num. 35:14; Joshua 20:18).


For more information on the cities of refuge, see (19:1-13; Num. 35:9-34, and Joshua chapter 20).


Deuteronomy 4:41 "Then Moses severed three cities on this side Jordan toward the sun rising;"


To be cities of refuge, according to the command of God (Num. 35:14). This he did when he had conquered the two kingdoms of the Amorites, that God had given them for an inheritance to the tribes of Reuben and Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh (Deut. 4:38). Though Jarchi says, and so other Jewish writers, that persons were not received into them until the three cities appointed in the land of Canaan were separated for the like use (see notes on Num. 35:14). And these were:


"On this side Jordan, toward the rising sun": On that side of the river on which the plains of Moab lay, and the kingdoms of the Amorites, and to the east of Jordan. So Jarchi remarks, "on that side which is on the east of Jordan" (see Joshua 20:8).


These three cities on the eastern side of the Jordan were separated out for the purposes of God.


Deuteronomy 4:42 "That the slayer might flee thither, which should kill his neighbor unawares, and hated him not in times past; and that fleeing unto one of these cities he might live:"


For refuge; the slayer of a man. But not any slayer, but one which should kill his neighbor unawares; by accident to him. Without any design and intention to kill him. Ignorantly, as the Septuagint version; and so Onkelos.


"And hated him not in times past": It having never appeared that there had been a quarrel between them. And that the slayer had shown any hate to the man slain any time before the fact, or bore a grudge against him, or spite unto him.


"And that, fleeing unto one of these cities, he might live": In peace and safety unto his own death. Or unto the death of the high priest, when he was released from his confinement to the city of his refuge. And then might return to his tribe, house, family, and possessions.


This city of refuge is a place of safety for those who unintentionally kill someone. They will not be harmed, as long as they stay in this city. In the book of Numbers, we saw the law pertaining to this.


Numbers 35:11 "Then ye shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you; that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any person at unawares."


Deuteronomy 4:43 "[Namely], Bezer in the wilderness, in the plain country, of the Reubenites; and Ramoth in Gilead, of the Gadites; and Golan in Bashan, of the Manassites."


In (Joshua 20:8), it is added "upon the plain". This perhaps was the wilderness of Moab, in the plains of it, the same with Bozrah (see Jer. 48:24).


"In the plain country, of the Reubenites": Or lay in that part of the country which was allotted to them, and which they gave to the Levites (1 Chron. 6:78).


"And Ramoth in Gilead of the Gadites": It lay in that part of Mount Gilead, and among the cities of it, which fell to the share of the tribe of Gad, and was by them given to the Levites (1 Chron. 6:80). This city is frequently in Scripture called Ramoth-gilead (see 1 Kings 4:13).


"And Golan in Bashan, of the Manassites": Or "Gaulon", as the Septuagint, and from hence the country round about was called Gaulanitis. All Bashan, the kingdom of Og, was given to the half tribe of Manasseh, and out of it this city was given by them to the Levites (1 Chron. 6:71), and appointed a city of refuge.


The cities of refuge are named in the verse above. We see that each of the tribes had their city of refuge.



Verses 4:44 - 28:68: The heart of Deuteronomy is found in this long second speech of Moses. "Now this is the law" (4:44), which Moses explained to Israel (compare 1:5). After a brief introduction (4:44-49), Moses gave the people a clear understanding of what the law directed concerning their relationship with the Lord in the Land (5:1 - 26:19), then concluded by recounting the blessings or the curses which would come upon the nation as a consequence of their response to the stipulations of this law (27:1 - 28:68).


Deuteronomy 4:44 "And this [is] the law which Moses set before the children of Israel:"


Not the law concerning the cities of refuge, but the law of the ten commandments repeated in the following chapter. So Jarchi remarks, "this which he should set in order after this section;" as he does in the next chapter. Where he repeats in order the ten precepts, and makes observations on the manner of the delivery of them, and urges obedience to them.


Moses was more familiar with this law of God than anyone else. He has reminded the people of this law, before this later generation goes in to occupy the Promised Land. Sometimes, this law is spoken of as Moses' law.


Deuteronomy 4:45 "These [are] the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which Moses spake unto the children of Israel, after they came forth out of Egypt,"


"Testimonies ... statutes ... judgments": God's instruction to Israel was set forth in:


(1) The testimonies, the basic covenant stipulations (5:6-21);


(2) Statues, words that were inscribed and therefore fixed; and


(3) Judgments, the decision made by a judge on the merits of the situation.


The law was given to Israel when they came out of Egypt. Moses is not giving further law; he is now explaining that which has already been given.


Compare Psalm 19:7-9.


We see from this, that there are several categories to this. Testimonies, statutes, and judgements are all actually part of the law. This is the second time Moses has given this law.


Deuteronomy 4:46 "On this side Jordan, in the valley over against Beth-peor, in the land of Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt at Heshbon, whom Moses and the children of Israel smote, after they were come forth out of Egypt:"


Where the Israelites abode some time (see Deut. 3:29).


"In the land of Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt at Heshbon": Which was now conquered, and in the hands of the Israelites.


"Whom Moses and the children of Israel smote, after they came out of Egypt": Not as soon as, or quickly after they came from thence. For it was but a few months ago since this conquest was made, whereas it was near forty years since they came out of Egypt.


This is explaining that this law is given to the people by Moses, before they go into the Promised Land. Beth-peor is just across from Jericho, where they will enter the Promised Land. Sihon, king of the Amorites, was miraculously defeated by God for these people. This was a show from God that they will not have any difficulty defeating the armies in Canaan. When God is with them, they cannot lose.


Deuteronomy 4:47 "And they possessed his land, and the land of Og king of Bashan, two kings of the Amorites, which [were] on this side Jordan toward the sun rising;"


Seized upon them, and took them as their own, and divided them for an inheritance among two of their tribes and half another.


"Two kings of the Amorites": Which is more than once observed, that it might be taken notice of that these were of the nations of the Canaanites Israel were to root out, and possess their land.


"Which were on this side Jordan, toward the sun rising": Which lands and kingdoms lay to the east of Jordan, on that side of it on which were the plains of Moab, where Moses and Israel now were.


Og was the last of the giants. The land that was taken from them was given to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh.


Deuteronomy 4:48 "From Aroer, which [is] by the bank of the river Arnon, even unto mount Sion, which [is] Hermon,"


"Mount Sion": This reference to Mt. Hermon is not to be confused with Mt. Zion in Jerusalem.


Deuteronomy 2:36 "From Aroer, which [is] by the brink of the river of Arnon, and [from] the city that [is] by the river, even unto Gilead, there was not one city too strong for us: the LORD our God delivered all unto us:"


Joshua 12:1 "Now these [are] the kings of the land, which the children of Israel smote, and possessed their land on the other side Jordan toward the rising of the sun, from the river Arnon unto mount Hermon, and all the plain on the east:"


Deuteronomy 4:49 "And all the plain on this side Jordan eastward, even unto the sea of the plain, under the springs of Pisgah."


"The sea of the plain": The Dead Sea.


"Pisgah" always appears with the definite article, showing that it is not meant to designate a single location, but is a common noun. It describes any ridge crowning a hill or mountain, and this is true of the southern slopes of Jebel Osha, overlooking the Dead Sea, to which this verse likely refers.


All of this area mentioned is part of the land taken on the eastern side of the Jordan.


Deuteronomy 34:1 "And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that [is] over against Jericho. And the LORD showed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan,"


Deuteronomy Chapter 4 Continued Questions


1. Who is verse 25 speaking of?


2. What will happen to them, if they fall into idolatry?


3. What condition is placed on their inheritance?


4. The Lord shall scatter you among the __________.


5. Who is a good example of this?


6. The lands that capture them will be ____________ countries.


7. If thou shalt seek the LORD, thou shalt ________ _____.


8. What time is verse 30 speaking of?


9. Who are dressed in white in Revelation 7:14?


10. What promise did God make us in Hebrews 13:5?


11. Has any one nation, other than Israel, ever heard the voice of God and lived?


12. When did God speak to them?


13. What does "assayed" mean?


14. What caused the release of the Israelites from Egypt?


15. What had they seen with their own eyes in the way of miracles?


16. Did they see God, when He spoke to them from the fire?


17. Exodus 13:14 tells us God brought them out, how?


18. God drove out __________ before them.


19. Where is God in power?


20. Jesus said, if you love me, _______ ____ ______________.


21. What were the three cities that Moses separated out to be used for?


22. Whose tribes were they chosen out of?


23. What are the categories of the law in verse 45?


24. Who was the last of the giants?





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Deuteronomy 5



Deuteronomy Chapter 5

Verses 5:1 - 11:32: As Moses began his second address to the people of Israel, he reminded them of the events and the basic commands from God that were foundational to the Sinaitic Covenant (5:1-33; See Exodus 19:1 - 20:21). Then (in 6:1 - 11:32), Moses expounded and applied the first three of the Ten Commandments to the present experience of the people.


Verses 1-5: The summons to obey the law begins the section called "covenant stipulations" in an ancient Near Eastern suzerainty (overlordship) treaty. "Hear, O Israel" is repeated (in 4:1; 6:3-4; 9:1; 20:3; 27:9), to mark the beginning of a new appeal for obedience on the part of Israel. The verb carries the sense of "obey". The full implications of a proper hearing is that "ye may learn them, and keep, and do them". Knowledge is a prerequisite to performance.


Moses demands attention. When we hear the word of God we must learn it; and what we have learned we must put in practice, for that is the end of hearing and learning. Not to fill our heads with notions, or our mouths with talk, but to direct our affections and conduct.


Deuteronomy 5:1 "And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them."


"Hear, O Israel": The verb "hear" carried the sense "obey". A hearing that leads to obedience was demanded of all the people (compare 6:4; 9:1; 20:3; 27:9).


Moses has called all of the people together for a re-stating of the law. The law was first given at Horeb, where the voice of God came from the fire. Moses knows that many of those who were present that day are dead. The 40 years in the wilderness has caused many of the older people to die. Moses will repeat the law and judgements to them again, so they will be without excuse.


Deuteronomy 5:2 "The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb."


"A covenant with us in Horeb": The second generation of Israel, while children, received the covenant that God made with Israel at Sinai.


Moses immediately explains who God is. He is every individual's personal LORD and God. The covenant He made with the people was conditional. If they keep His commandments, He will bless them. If they do not keep them, He will curse them.


Deuteronomy 5:3 "The LORD made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, [even] us, who [are] all of us here alive this day."


"Made not this covenant with our fathers": The "fathers" were not the people's immediate fathers, who had died in the wilderness, but their more distant ancestors, the patriarchs (see 4:31, 37; 7:8, 12; 8:18). The Sinaitic or Mosaic Covenant was in addition to and distinct from the Abrahamic Covenant made with the patriarchs.


The covenant is for the living, not for the dead. This is the covenant that God made with them as a people at Mount Sinai. The nation of Israel had gone into agreement with God. The older people who were involved in that agreement are dead. Moses, Caleb, and Joshua remain of the leaders who met with the Lord at Sinai. The covenant was not made with individuals, but with the nation. This new generation is now Israel. The covenant then, is with them.


Deuteronomy 5:4 "The LORD talked with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire,"


Meaning, not in that free, friendly, and familiar manner, in which he sometimes talked with Moses, of whom this phrase is used (Exodus 33:11). But publicly, audibly, clearly, and distinctly, or without the interposition of another. He did not speak to them by Moses, but to them themselves. He talked to them without a middle person between them, as Aben Ezra expresses it. Without making use of one to relate to them what he said; but he talked to them directly, personally.


"Out of the midst of the fire": In which he descended, and with which the mountain was burning all the time he was speaking. Which made it very awful and terrible, and pointed at the terrors of the legal dispensation.


Moses had gathered the people to the side of the mountain, and God had spoken to them from the fire on the mountain.


Deuteronomy 5:5 "(I stood between the LORD and you at that time, to shew you the word of the LORD: for ye were afraid by reason of the fire, and went not up into the mount;) saying,"


Between the Word of the Lord and you, as the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan. That is, about that time, not at the exact precise time the ten commandments were delivered, for these were spoken immediately to the people. But when the ceremonial law was given, which was ordained by angels, in the hand of a mediator (Gal. 3:19). And which was at the request of the people as follows, terrified by the appearance of the fire out of which the moral law was delivered.


"To show you the word of the Lord": Not the Decalogue, that they heard with their own ears, but the other laws which were afterwards given, that were of the ceremonial and judicial kind.


"For ye were afraid by reason of the fire, and went not up into the mount": Lest they should be consumed by it. And indeed bounds were set about the mount, and they were charged not to break through.


"Saying": This word is in connection with the preceding verse, the Lord's talking out of the midst of the fire, when he said what follows.


We can see in the next verses, the fear the people had of the LORD, and also the fact that Moses spoke to God for them.


Exodus 20:18-19 "And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw [it], they removed, and stood afar off." "And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die."



Verses 6-22: There is some variation here from (Exodus chapter 20), as between the Lord's prayer in (Matt. chapter 6 and Luke chapter 11). It is more necessary that we tie ourselves to the things, than to the words unalterably. The original reason for hallowing the Sabbath, taken from God's resting from the work of creation on the seventh day, is not here mentioned. Though this ever remains in force, it is not the only reason. Here it is taken from Israel's deliverance out of Egypt; for that was typical of our redemption by Jesus Christ, in remembrance of which the Christian Sabbath was to be observed. In the resurrection of Christ, we were brought into the glorious liberty of the children of God, with a mighty hand, and an outstretched arm. How sweet is it to a soul truly distressed under the terrors of a broken law, to hear the mild and soul-reviving language of the gospel!


Verses 6-21: The first 4 commandments involve relationship with God, the last 6 deal with human relationships; together they were the foundation of Israel's life before God. Moses here reiterated them as given originally at Sinai. Slight variations for the Exodus text are accounted for by Moses' explanatory purpose in Deuteronomy. See notes on Exodus 20:1-17 for an additional explanation of these commands. The commands to love God and to love others summarize the entire Ten Commandments and reflect His holy character (Matt. 22:37-40).


Verses 6-10: This section contains the first and second commandments and relates to the worship of God. "I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage": is a phrase that appears over 125 times in the Old Testament. Usually this reminder went along with a command or ethical demand. The context or environment of law and obligation in the Old Testament period was the redemption of Israel from Egypt. The Lawgiver and His gracious act of redemption provide the context against which the commandments are given. "Before me": The highest duty of man is given in the first commandment. "Image": There are 14 Hebrew words for idols or images; this probably refers to "gods of silver or gods of gold" (Exodus 20:23), as well as those carved from stone, wood, and those later made from metal. "Likeness": Resemblance" or "form" applies to any real or imagined pictorial representation of deities. This is not intended to stifle artistic talent, for the command has reference to religious worship: God Himself commanded Moses to make many artistic representations on the curtains in the tabernacle. "Jealous": This must not be construed to mean that God is naturally suspicious, wrongfully envious of the success of others, or distrustful. When used of God it refers to:


(1) The quality in His character that demands exclusive devotion;


(2) The attribute of anger that He directs against all who oppose Him; and


(3) The energy that He expends on vindication His people.


"Mercy" (chesed), implies an unfailing love that is grounded in the covenant and is used both of God's attitude toward His people and of the response He desires from them (compare 1 John 4:11, 19), the latter occurring especially in Hosea. It is always closely connected with the two concepts of covenant and faithfulness.


Deuteronomy 5:6 "I [am] the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage."


This is the preface to the ten commandments, and is the same with that in (Exodus 20:2; see note on Exodus 20:2). And those commands are here delivered in the same order, and pretty near in the same words, with a little variation, and a few additions. Which I shall only observe, and refer to (Exodus 20:1), for the sense of the various laws.


He is the great I AM. He is the One who eternally exists. It was actually God that brought them out of Egypt. Moses led them under the direction of the LORD. The rules for all men to live by must come from God. Man's law is not unfailing.


Deuteronomy 5:7 "Thou shalt have none other gods before me."


"None other gods": Compare Exodus 20:3. "Other gods" were non-existent pagan gods, which were made in the form of idols and shaped by the minds of their worshipers. The Israelite was to be totally faithful to the God to whom he was bound by covenant (compare Matt. 16:24-27; Mark 8:34-38; Luke 9:23-26; 14:26-33).


This is the first of the Ten Commandments. We see in this very first commandment, that there is One God. The worship of false gods would break the first commandment of God.


Deuteronomy 5:8 "Thou shalt not make thee [any] graven image, [or] any likeness [of any thing] that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the waters beneath the earth:"


"Any graven image ... any likeness" (compare Exodus 20:4-5). Reducing the infinite God to any physical likeness was intolerable, as the people found out in their attempt to cast God as a golden calf (compare Exodus chapter 32).


Any image would not be God. God is Spirit.


John 4:24 "God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth."


Graven images are idol worship.



Verses 9-10: "The third and fourth generations ... thousands" (see note on Exodus 20:5-6 for an explanation of this often misunderstood text).


"Them that hate me ... Them that love me": Disobedience is equal to hatred of God, as love is equal to obedience (compare Matt. 22:34-40; Rom. 13:8-10).


Deuteronomy 5:9 "Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God [am] a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth [generation] of them that hate me,"


This is the preface to the ten commandments, and is the same with that in (Exodus 20:2; see note on Exodus 20:2). And those commands are here delivered in the same order, and pretty near in the same words, with a little variation, and a few additions. Which I shall only observe, and refer to (Exodus 20:1), for the sense of the various laws.


"Visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children": There are no sins which so surely entail penal consequences upon succeeding generations as the abominations of idolatry. All idolatry means the degradation of the Divine image in man. But it is not meant here that the soul of the son shall die for the father. The penalty extends only "to them that hate me."


We know the Jews had been easily influenced by the heathen women to bow down to their false gods. This is the one sin that God will not overlook. This is spiritual adultery, when they are unfaithful to God. This is strictly forbidden.


Deuteronomy 5:10 "And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments."


"Them that love me": We have an echo of this commandment in the words of our Savior: "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15). The promise of His presence with us through the "other Comforter" compensates for the absence of any visible image. As love in this verse is practical, so is hatred in the previous verse. To hate God is to disobey His commandments.


The mercy of God is forever.


Deuteronomy 7:9 "Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he [is] God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;"


James 5:11 "Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy."


Deuteronomy 5:11 "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold [him] guiltless that taketh his name in vain."


"Take the name ... in vain" (compare Exodus 20:7). Attach God's name to emptiness (compare Psalm 111:9; Matt. 6:9; Luke 1:49; John 17:6, 26).


This verse relates to the third commandment. The meaning is to "misuse" the name of God, or to use it for no real purpose. Examples may be:


(1) To affirm something that is false and untrue;


(2) To express mild surprise; and


(3) To use His name when there is no clear goal, purpose or reason for its use in the context, such as in a prayer of other religious context.


This is speaking of all profanity that uses the name of the LORD. It is strictly forbidden to misuse the name of the LORD.


James 5:12 "But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and [your] nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation."


What comes out of the mouth, begins in the heart. Those who profane the name of the LORD, have profanity in their hearts.



Verses 12-15: These verses relate to the fourth commandment. It was given for the liberation, not the bondage, of the individual. It was for "rest". Another reason is given here, relating to the creation of the nation when they were redeemed from Egypt. Because of this new work of redemption, they are to rest.


Deuteronomy 5:12 "Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee."


"As the LORD thy God hath commanded thee" (compare Exodus 20:8-10). These words are missing from Exodus 20:8, but refer back to this commandment given to Israel at Sinai 40 years earlier. Or observe it, by setting it apart as a time of natural rest, and for the performance of holy and religious exercises, where the phrase is a little varied, "remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy"; it having been instituted before.


"As the Lord thy God hath commanded thee": Not at Sinai only, for the same might then have been observed of all the rest of the commands, but before the giving of the law, at the first of the manna (see Exodus 16:23).


The Sabbath is the 7th day of the week, or Saturday. Christians practice firstfruits, which is Sunday. Those under the law must practice Sabbath, or Saturday.


Deuteronomy 5:13 "Six days thou shalt labor, and do all thy work:"


The exhortation to observe the Sabbath and allow time of rest to servants (compare Exodus 23:12). Is pointed to, by reminding the people that they too were formerly servants themselves. The bondage in Egypt and the deliverance from it are not assigned as grounds for the institution of the Sabbath, which is of far older date (see Genesis 2:3). But rather as suggesting motives for the religious observance of that institution. The Exodus was an entrance into rest from the toils of the house of bondage, and is thought actually to have occurred on the Sabbath day or "rest" day.


Sabbath is a time for rest. Jesus said it best in the following Scripture.


Mark 2:27 "And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:"


Man is to work 6 days, and rest 1 day.


Deuteronomy 5:14 "But the seventh day [is] the sabbath of the LORD thy God: [in it] thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that [is] within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou."


In (Exodus 20:10), it is only in general said.


"Nor thy cattle": Here by way of illustration and explanation the ox and the ass are particularly mentioned. The one being used in ploughing ground, and treading out the corn, and the other in carrying burdens; and it is added.


"Nor any of thy cattle": As their camels, or whatever else they were accustomed to use in any kind of service. They were none of them to do any kind of work on the Sabbath day. The following clause also is not used before, which expresses the end of this institution.


"That thy manservant and thy maidservant may have rest as well as thee. Which if the cattle had not rest, they could not have, being obliged to attend them at the plough or elsewhere. And this respects not only hired, but bond servants and maidens.


The Sabbath is actually a time set aside from all physical labor. It is a time of refreshing in the LORD. Every man and animal need a time to rest their body and their mind. This special time was set aside for man by the LORD, to give him a time of refreshing. Even though this day is set aside for worship, it is for the benefit of man.


Deuteronomy 5:15 "And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and [that] the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day."


"Brought thee out thence": Here an additional reason is given for God's rest after creation (i.e., for the observance of the Sabbath (see Exodus 20:11), God's deliverance of the people from Egypt. While the Israelites had been slaves in Egypt, they were not allowed rest from their continual labor, so the Sabbath was also to function as a day of rest in which their deliverance from bondage would be remembered with thanksgiving as the sign of their redemption and continual sanctification (compare Exodus 31:13-17; Ezek. 20:12).


"Remember that thou wast a bondman": Similar words are used in Deuteronomy to encourage the people to the proper behavior expected of them (5:15; 10:19; 16:12; and 24:18, 22). As "children of the LORD" (14:1), they should bear His character.


This day of rest (Sabbath), is not an option, it is a commandment of the LORD. God rested from His labors, and man is to rest one day in seven from his labors.



Verses 16-20: Compare Matt. 19:18:19; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20.


Deuteronomy 5:16 "Honor thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee."


This verse relates to authority, with the sanctity of the family in mind. Honor involves:


(1) Prizing them highly (Prov. 4:8);


(2) Caring and showing affection to them (Psalm 91:15); and


(3) Showing them respect, reverence, and deference (Lev. 19:3).


"That thy days may be prolonged" (compare Exodus 20:12; Matt. 15:4; Mark 7:10; Eph. 6:2-3). Paul indicated that this was the first commandment with a promise attached (Eph. 6:2). Jesus also had much to say about honoring parents (See Matt. 10:37; 19:29; Luke 2:49-51; John 19:26-27).


Ephesians 6:1 says that "obedience" is to be "in the Lord". Parents are to be honored, but never should their wishes or words become a rival or substitute for the Will or Word of God.


Families who heed this command not only honor the Lord, they strengthen society, producing good citizens and leaders. A rewarding proposition for children is also offered: "honor" your parents, and God will honor you with a longer life (Eph. 6:2-3). The practice of honor is respect.


Matthew 15:4 "For God commanded, saying, Honor thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death."


Our father and mother, actually, are responsible for our birth. God gives us life. He uses our fathers and mothers to bring us to life. We should have great respect for the parents who brought us into the world. God should be first in our lives, but we should have respect for our parents.


Deuteronomy 5:17 "Thou shalt not kill."


This verse relates to the sanctity of life. The Hebrew language has seven words related to "kill". This word is almost always used of killing a personal enemy (ratsah), but is not confined to intentional and premeditated murder. The prohibition applies to:


(1) Suicide:


(2) To all accessories to the murder (2 Sam. 12:9); and


(3) To all those who have the authority of a magistrate or governor, but who fail to use it to punish known and convicted murderers (1 Kings 21:19).


There were at least 16 crimes calling for the death penalty in the Old Testament: Premediated murder, kidnapping, adultery, homosexuality, incest, bestiality, incorrigible delinquency and persistent disobedience to parents and authorities, striking or cursing parents, offering human sacrifice, false prophecy, blasphemy, profaning the Sabbath, sacrificing to false gods, magic and divination, unchastity, and rape of a betrothed virgin. Only for the first crime, premediated murder, was there no ransom or substitute acceptable (Num. 35:31).


This is speaking of premeditated murder.


Deuteronomy 5:18 "Neither shalt thou commit adultery."


This verse relates to adultery and the sanctity of marriage. It was punishable by death and was distinguished from fornication (Exodus 22:16; Deut. 22:28-29).


Compare Exodus 20:14; Matt. 5:27.


Adultery in the physical sense, is participating in sex with someone you are not married to. Adultery in the spiritual sense, is speaking of the worship of false gods. Adultery of all kinds is strictly forbidden.


Deuteronomy 5:19 "Neither shalt thou steal."


This verse relates to theft and the sanctity of property. The Old Testament taught that God owned everything in heaven and on earth (Psalm 24:1; 115:16), and that He has only entrusted it to others. Thus, theft was actually stealing from God as well as from man.


Compare (Exodus 20:15; Eph. 4:28).


To take anything that does not belong to you is stealing. Employees even steal from their employers, when they do not give them a full day's work for a full day's pay.


Deuteronomy 5:20 "Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbor."


This ninth commandment related to false charges and the sanctity of truth. It applied to all areas of life, even though the terminology used reflects the legal process in Israel "false witness". To despise the truth was to despise God whose very being was truth. "Lying" (in Hosea 4:2), shows the commandment had a broad application.


Compare (Exodus 20:16; Col. 3:9).


This is a very cruel thing to do. It does not build your position up, to tear someone else down. At all times we are required to speak the truth, if we are believers in the LORD. We should build our neighbors up, and not tear them down.


Deuteronomy 5:21 "Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbor's wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbor's house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any [thing] that [is] thy neighbor's."


The sanctity of motives is presented in the final commandment. It relates to an inner quality of contentment. "Desire" ( chamad), "to desire earnestly", "to long after", "to covet", is used in (Genesis 3:6), as it relates to the tree and its ability to make one wise. The word "covet" ( awah), also means to set one's desire on something, such as food. This relates to the inner instinct that lies behind all acts, thoughts, and words (compare Matt. 15:19; Mark 7:21; Luke 12:15; Rom. 1:24; 2 Cor. 9:5; Eph. 5:3; and 1 Tim. 6:6): "Godliness with contentment is great gain".


Both the lusting after a neighbor's wife and a strong desire for a neighbor's property were prohibited by the tenth commandment (compare Rom. 7:7).


We should rejoice in the fact that our neighbor has these things. It is coveting to want anything that belongs to someone else.


Luke 12:15 "And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth."


All of the Ten Commandments are covered in the following two that Jesus gave.


Matthew 22:37-39 "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." "This is the first and great commandment." "And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."


God first, neighbor second, and yourself third covers all of the Ten Commandments.



Verses 22-27: The frightening circumstances of God's presence at Sinai caused the people to have enough fear to ask Moses to receive the words from God and communicate those words to them, after which they promised to obey all that God said (see verse 27).


Deuteronomy 5:22 "These words the LORD spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me."


"And he added no more": These Ten Commandments alone were identified as direct quotations by God. The rest of the stipulations of the covenant were given to Moses, who in turn gave them to the Israelites. These basic rules, which reflect God's character, continue to be a means by which God reveals the sinful deeds of the flesh (compare Rom. 7:7-14; Gal. 3:19-24; 5:13-26). They are also a holy standard from conduct that the saved live by through the Spirit's power, with the exception of keeping the Sabbath (compare Col. 2:16-17).


"Two tables of stone": The tables were written on both sides (see Exodus 32:15).


The same message was spoken to the people that the message the fiery finger of God wrote on the tablets. They are the Decalogue, or the Ten Commandments. "Decalogue" means ten words.


Verses 23-33: Moses refers to the consternation caused by the terror with which the law was given. God's appearances have always been terrible to man, ever since the fall; but Christ, having taken away sin, invites us to come boldly to the throne of grace. They were in a good mind, under the strong convictions of the word they heard. Many have their consciences startled by the law who have them not purified. Fair promises are extorted from them, but no good principles are fixed and rooted in them. God commended what they said. He desires the welfare and salvation of poor sinners. He has given abundant proof that he does so; he gives us time and space to repent. He has sent his Son to redeem us, promised his Spirit to those who pray for him, and has declared that he has no pleasure in the ruin of sinners. It would be well with many, if there were always such a heart in them, as there seems to be sometimes. When they are under conviction of sin, or the rebukes of providence, or when they come to look death in the face. The only way to be happy, is to be holy. Say to the righteous, It shall be well with them. Let believers make it more and more their study and delight, to do as the Lord God hath commanded.


Verses 23-27: God is so holy that the Israelites thought that even hearing His "voice" could mean their death (Exodus 20:18-19).


Deuteronomy 5:23 "And it came to pass, when ye heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, (for the mountain did burn with fire,) that ye came near unto me, [even] all the heads of your tribes, and your elders;"


The thick darkness, where God was, and with which the mountain was covered (Exodus 20:21).


"For the mountain did burn with fire": Which is a reason both why the Lord spoke out of the midst of the fire, the mountain on which he descended burning with it and also for his speaking out of the midst of darkness. Because not only a thick cloud covered the mountain, but it was altogether on a smoke, which ascended as the smoke of a furnace (Exodus 19:16).


"That ye come near unto me, even all the heads of your tribes and your elders": Or wise men, as the Targum of Jonathan. By which it appears, that not only the common people were frightened at what they heard and saw on Mount Sinai, but those of the first rank and eminence among them, who were the most famous for their authority and wisdom.


Moses had built a fence around the bottom of the mountain to keep them from touching the mountain, while the presence of God was on it. If they had touched the mountain, they would have died. The fire, smoke, and the voice out of the fire were all they could stand. They ran back from the mountain, when God began to speak in the fire.


Deuteronomy 5:24 "And ye said, Behold, the LORD our God hath showed us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth."


In descending on Mount Sinai in the manner he did, and giving the law from thence with such solemnity. For there was a glory in the ministration of it, as the apostle argues (2 Cor. 3:7). It being delivered with so much majesty, and such a glorious apparatus attending it (see Deut. 33:2). Aben Ezra interprets this of the appearance of fire in which the Lord was, "and his greatness", of the thunders and lightnings, and the voice of the trumpet.


"And we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire": The ten words, as the same interpreter rightly notes, which were vocally and audibly expressed out of the fire.


"We have seen this day, that God doth talk with man, and he liveth": They had proof of it in themselves; God had been talking with them out of the fire, and yet it did not reach and consume them, but they were still alive.


God has revealed Himself to them, so they will realize these Ten Commandments are from Him, and not Moses. They are amazed that any man can hear the voice of God and live.


Deuteronomy 5:25 "Now therefore why should we die? for this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the LORD our God any more, then we shall die."


Since we are now alive, and have so wonderfully escaped the danger we were exposed unto, let us be careful that we are not liable to it again.


"For this great fire will consume us": If it continues, and we are exposed to it. Perhaps some of them might remember the fire that burnt in the uttermost parts of the camp at Taberah. And the destruction of Korah and the two hundred and fifty men with him by fire (Num. 11:1).


"If we hear the voice of the Lord our God any more, then we shall die": For it was such a voice of words they could not endure as to the matter of them. And therefore entreated the word might not be spoken to them anymore; it being the killing letter, and the ministration of condemnation and death. And the manner in which it was delivered was so terrible, that they concluded they could not live, but must die if they heard it again. And imagined that if the fire continued, the flames of it would spread and reach them, and they would not be able to escape them.


God's presence is more than they can bare. Fear of death overwhelms them.


Deuteronomy 5:26 "For who [is there of] all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we [have], and lived?"


What man was there in any age, that was ever heard of or can be named.


"That hath heard the voice of the living God": Who lives in and of himself, and is the author and giver of life to all his creatures. Whereby he is distinguished from and is opposed unto the lifeless deities of the Gentiles; and which makes him and his voice heard the more awful and tremendous. And especially as speaking out of the midst of the fire: which was the present case.


"As we have, and lived?" Of this there never was the like instance; for though some had seen God and lived, as Jacob did, and therefore called the name of the place where he saw him Penuel (Gen. 32:30). And Moses had heard the voice of the angel of the Lord out of a bush, which seemed to be burning, and was not consumed (Exodus 3:2). Yet none ever heard the voice of the Lord out of real fire, and particularly expressing such words as he did, but the Israelites.


This does set them aside as a very special people. They are His chosen people. It is not unnatural for men to fear the presence of God. In fact, terror is a closer description than fear. They are amazed they are still alive.


Deuteronomy 5:27 "Go thou near, and hear all that the LORD our God shall say: and speak thou unto us all that the LORD our God shall speak unto thee; and we will hear [it], and do [it]."


To the mount, and to God on it.


"And hear all that the Lord our God shall say": For they supposed, by the continuance of the Lord on the mount, and the fire burning on it, that he had more to say, which they were not averse to hear. But desired it might be not immediately delivered to them, but by the means of Moses. The sound of the words, and the sight of the fire, being so terrible to them.


"And speak thou unto us all that the Lord our God shall speak unto thee": They did not doubt, knowing the faithfulness of Moses, his declaring all unto them that should be told him by the Lord. And they were desirous that he should, they did not want to have anything withheld from them, only they could not bear to see and hear things immediately from the Lord.


"And we will hear it and do it": Hearken to it, and receive it, as the word of God, and not man. And yield a ready and cheerful obedience, even to everything that should be required (see Exodus 20:19).


They are aware now, that Moses has a special relationship with the LORD. They ask Moses to communicate with God for them, and then bring His message to them. They promise to accept the message, and do it.



Verses 28-29: God affirmed that the pledge to be obedient was the right response (verse 28), and then expressed His loving passion for them to fulfill their promise so they and their children would prosper.


Verses 28-33: The response of the people in this moment was so right before the Lord that Yahweh wistfully expressed sadness that they would not always respond in this manner (32:29).


Deuteronomy 5:28 "And the LORD heard the voice of your words, when ye spake unto me; and the LORD said unto me, I have heard the voice of the words of this people, which they have spoken unto thee: they have well said all that they have spoken."


Not only in a general way, as he hears and knows all that is spoken by men. For there is not a word on the tongue, formed upon it, and uttered by it, but what is altogether known to him. But in a special and particular manner observed, took notice of, approved, and was well pleased with what these people said.


"And the Lord said unto me, I have heard the voice of the words of this people which they have spoken unto thee": Not only heard the sound of them, but took notice of the sense and meaning of them, and listened to them with pleasure and delight.


"They have well said all that they have spoken": Expressing such an awe and reverence of the divine Majesty, desiring to have a mediator between God and them. And purposing and promising to hearken to and obey whatsoever he should command by him.


The LORD heard them ask Moses to be their representative to Him. The Lord is pleased with that request. The LORD is aware that to speak to them directly would cause problems for them.


Deuteronomy 5:29 "O that there were such a heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!"


This is spoken of God after the manner of men, to show that such a heart is desirable to him, and required by him. Otherwise it is certain that God can give such a heart, and hath promised to give it, (Jer. 32:40; Ezek. 36:27). And if God will work, who can hinder him? (Job 11:10).


"That it might be well with them, and with their children for ever": For the fear of God, and the keeping of his commandments, issue in the good of men, in their own good, their inward peace, and spiritual welfare. In the good of others, their neighbors, servants, and children, by way of example and instruction.


God knows their hearts, and knows the words they spoke were just promises they would not keep. As soon as Moses goes up the mountain for 40 days, they fall into great sin. The covenant depended upon them keeping God's commandments.



Verses 30-33: They asked to be given all God's Word (verse 27), so God dismissed the people and told Moses He was going to give the law to him to teach the people (verse 31). At stake was life and prosperity in the Land of Promise.


Deuteronomy 5:30 "Go say to them, Get you into your tents again."


Which they had left, being brought by Moses, at the direction of God, to the foot of Mount Sinai, to receive the law from his mouth. This being done, they are ordered to return to their tents again, to their families, wives, and children.


They were to return to their tents, while Moses communed with God for them. Moses would receive instructions from God for them, and then deliver the message to the people.


Deuteronomy 5:31 "But as for thee, stand thou here by me, and I will speak unto thee all the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which thou shalt teach them, that they may do [them] in the land which I give them to possess it."


On the mount by him whither he was called up. Moses was not permitted to go to his tent when the children of Israel were. But was ordered to wait upon the Lord to receive instructions from him, which he was to communicate to the people. Being a kind of a mediator between God and them, as they requested, and which was granted them.


"And I will speak unto thee all the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments". All laws, moral, ceremonial, and judicial, which belong to them as men, as in a church state, and members of a body politic.


"Which thou shalt teach them, that they may do them": For all doctrine is in order to practice, without which all instructions, and theoretical notions, signify little. And these they were more especially to do, and some of them peculiarly.


"In the land which I give them to possess it": The land of Canaan, and which laid on them no small obligation to do the commandments of God. Since of his free favor and good will, and as a pure gift of his, he had bestowed upon them a land flowing with milk and honey. Into which he was just now about to bring them. As nothing can more strongly engage souls to a cheerful obedience to the service of God, whether in private or in public, than the consideration of the great and good things which God of his rich grace bestows upon them. And has promised to them, and prepared for them, and will quickly put them into the possession of. And upon such an account Moses presses the observance of the commands of God in the following verses.


God taught Moses His ways. He gave him not only the Ten Commandments, but all of the statutes and judgements for the people. It was then, the obligation of Moses to teach them to the people.


Exodus 24:3 "And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do."


Deuteronomy 5:32 "Ye shall observe to do therefore as the LORD your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left."


Observe every precept, as to matter and manner, which the Lord has commanded. And that under a sense of the great obligations laid on them by him, in giving them freely so good a land to possess.


"You shall not turn to the right hand or to the left": But walk in the way of the commandments of God, and not depart from them at all, but follow the Lord in his own ways fully. The phrase is expressive of a strict and close attention to the word of God, without deviating from it in the least. For every sin, which is a transgression of some command of God or another, is a going out of the way that directs unto (see Isaiah 30:21).


This is a warning from Moses, that they must keep the commandments that God has sent them. They must not wander out of the straight and narrow path He has set before them. They are not to look to the world for answers. They must keep their eyes straight ahead on God.


Deuteronomy 5:33 "Ye shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and [that it may be] well with you, and [that] ye may prolong [your] days in the land which ye shall possess."


None are to be avoided or departed from on any consideration whatever (see Psalm 119:6). An instance of this we have in Zacharias and Elizabeth (Luke 1:6). That ye may live; corporeally, comfortably, in all the outward enjoyments of life needful for them. Particularly in the possession of the land of Canaan, and the benefits of it. For these promises of life upon obedience seem to reach no further, unless as types and emblems of what is enjoyed through the obedience and righteousness of Christ, as the following phrases show.


"And that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess": The land of Canaan; though the Jewish writers carry it further, even to heaven and eternal happiness. And so may we in the sense before given.


God had promised to bless them on the earth in the land He has given them, if they keep His commandments.


Ephesians 2:10 "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."


Deuteronomy Chapter 5 Questions


1. What had Moses called all Israel together for?


2. Where was the law first given?


3. Who had made a covenant with Israel?


4. The covenant was ______________.


5. Why does Moses say, this covenant was made with them?


6. The _________ of Israel had gone into covenant with God.


7. Who had been present, when God had spoken from the fire to them?


8. Face to face is speaking of what?


9. Why were they afraid?


10. Who had brought them out of Egypt?


11. He is the great I AM. The One who _____________ _________.


12. What is the first commandment?


13. Any image would not be ______.


14. How many generations will God visit the iniquity to?


15. What is the worship of false gods?


16. What is verse 11 speaking of?


17. What day is Sabbath?


18. What do Christians practice?


19. Who celebrates Sabbath, besides the head of the family?


20. Honor thy _______ and thy __________.


21. What is meant by kill in verse 17?


22. What two kinds of adultery are there?


23. What is stealing?


24. What two commandments did Jesus give, that covers the ten commandments?


25. What is another name for the ten commandments?


26. What did the people ask Moses to do for them?





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Deuteronomy 6



Deuteronomy Chapter 6

Verses 1-9: The content of (chapters 6-11), relates to the first two commandments. This portion deals with the principal commandment; to love God. "Hear, O Israel": This small section (verses 4-9), has been known to the Jews for many centuries as the Shema ("Hear"), and has been recited along with (11:13-21 and Numbers 15:37-41), as a daily prayer. "One Lord": Usually translated "Yahweh our God, Yahweh is one". Yahweh was to be the sole object of Israel's worship, allegiance, and affection. The word one ( alone, or unique), implies monotheism. The word expresses the "uniqueness" and the "unity" of God. There was no one like Him (Exodus 15:11), and there was no other to contradict Him when He spoke. "Love" is reminiscent both of treaty language in the Near East and of the analogy of the father-son relationship.


This love was based on the precedent of God's love (4:37), in the Exodus and in the calling of Abraham. "Heart" (see 4:29; 10:12; 11:13; 13:3; 26:16; and 30:2, 6 and 10), for the same expression. The heart was the seat of the mind and will, as well as of a wide range of emotions. "Soul" seems to refer to the source of life and vitality, or even of one's being. (In Genesis 2:7 and 19), man and animals are described as living beings. It can also refer to "appetite" or "desire" in the sense of one's spiritual/volitional desire (2 Sam. 3:21; 1 Kings 11:37; Job 23:13; Prov. 21:10; Isa. 26:8-9; compare Psalm 119:20). "Might" literally means "strength", which is well illustrated by Josiah when he implemented his reforms very forcibly and quoted this verse (2 Kings 23:25). "In thine heart": God wanted His law in their minds and not just on tablets of stone.


"Teach them diligently": The phrase means, "You shall repeat them to your children". The words "sittest, walkest, liest" and "risest" indicate that in every waking moment we are to teach God's principles in our homes and to our children, by our words and actions. "Bind them": Years later the Jews literally enclosed written portions of the law in small cases, called phylacteries, and bound them on their hands and foreheads (Matt. 23:5). "Thou shalt write": The Jews have taken this literally, too, for the word translated "posts", mezuzot, has become a noun, mezuzah. The mezuzah is a small box containing a parchment. (A mezuzah discovered in one of the Qumran caves contained the text of Deut. 10:12 - 11:21).


Whether taken literally or metaphorically, the signs described in (verses 8 and 9), indicate that the individual (verse 8), his home, and his community (verse 9), were to be distinguished in their character by obedience to the commandments as a response of love for God.


Verses 1-3: In this and the like passages, the commandments seem to denote the moral law, the statues the ceremonial law, and the judgments the law by which the judges decided. Moses taught the people all that, and that only, which God commanded him to teach. Thus, Christ's ministers are to teach his churches all he has commanded, neither more nor less (Matt. 28:20). The fear of God in the heart will be the most powerful principle of obedience. It is highly desirable that not we only, but our children, and our children's children, may fear the Lord. Religion and righteousness advance and secure the prosperity of any people.


"Days ... prolonged": Moses' concern is that successive generations maintain the obedience to God's laws that insures life and prosperity.


Deuteronomy 6:1 "Now these [are] the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do [them] in the land whither ye go to possess it:"


Not the ten commandments repeated in the preceding chapter, but all others, whether moral, ceremonial, or judicial, afterwards declared. For what Moses now did was only to give a repetition and fresh declaration of such laws as he had before received, and delivered to the people. And so the Targum of Jonathan thus paraphrases this clause, "this is a declaration of the commandments, statutes, and judgments."


"Which the Lord your God commanded to teach you": That is, which he commanded him, Moses, to teach them, though not fully expressed, as may be learned from (Deut. 4:1).


"That ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it": This is often observed, to imprint upon their minds a sense of their duty. Even of obedience to the laws of God, which they were carefully and diligently to perform in the land of Canaan they were going into, and by which they were to hold their possession of it.


God had founded a new nation in the Israelites. God Himself, had released them from bondage in Egypt. This nation was to be different from their neighbors around them. They would have no earthly king. Their King was the LORD. Their laws were not man made, they were laws, judgements, and statutes established by God. They were to live on this earth under the direct leadership of God. Moses was to teach these people these things that God had set down for them to live by. They were to establish their new land on these principles of God. Notice Moses says, "your God".


Deuteronomy 6:2 "That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged."


Being taught to know the greatness of his being, and the nature of his mind and will, and the manner of his worship. And not with a slavish fear, but with a filial one, a reverential affection for God. Being instructed in their duty, as of children, to their God and Father (see Deut. 5:29).


"To keep all his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee": Not in his own name, but in the name, and by the authority of God, whose minister and messenger he was. And all, having the stamp of divine authority on them, were to be observed and kept, and not one to be neglected or departed from.


"Thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life": A man and his children, and grandchildren. He was to take care that they kept all the commandments of the Lord as long as he lived, and had any concern with them.


"And that thy days may be prolonged": Long life being reckoned a very great outward mercy. A long enjoyment of, and continuance in the land of Canaan, is chiefly designed, which is usually expressed when this is observed (see Deut. 4:26).


The agreement or covenant, that God had made with them was conditional on their obedience to God. Fear in the verse above, is speaking of their respecting God and being reverent toward Him. God had not left out any aspect of their lives. He had taught them how to please God, and stay at peace with those around them.


Deuteronomy 6:3 "Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do [it]; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey."


"The land that floweth with milk and honey": A description that included the richness of the Land which the Israelites were soon to possess (see 11:9; 26:9, 15; 27:3, 31:20).


They had truly grown from a family of Jacob of just over seventy people, to a nation of Israel close to three million strong. They had increased mightily in Egypt, because God had blessed them in this manner. They would continue to increase, as long as they were obedient to God and His Word. God had promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob the land of promise, which was the land of milk and honey. They are now, on the threshold of entering into this land. God will bless them in their growth and in their prosperity, as long as they obey Him.



Verses 4-9: This passage is at the heart of the Hebrew faith and is called the Shema, from the Hebrew word meaning "to hear". The Shema is the "creed of Israel" (Psalm 119:11).


Verses 4-5: Compare Mark 12:29-30, 32-33.


Deuteronomy 6:4 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God [is] one LORD:"


"Hear, O Israel": See (5:1. Deuteronomy 6:4-9), known as the Shema, has become the Jewish confession of faith, recited twice daily by the devout, along with (11:13-21 and Numbers 15:37-41).


"The LORD ... is one LORD": The intent of these words was to give a clear statement of the truth of monotheism, that there is only one God. Thus, it has also been translated "the Lord is our God, the Lord alone". The word used for "one" in this passage does not mean "singleness", but "unity". The same word is used in (Gen. 2:24), where the husband and wife were said to be "one flesh". Thus, while this verse was intended as a clear and concise statement of monotheism, it does not exclude the concept of the Trinity.


The fundamental concept of the Shema (the name of this passage, which is the first word in Hebrew: Hear!) is that God is one and not many gods. By definition, there can be only one all-powerful, infinite, limitless God. To speak of more than one supreme, absolute, perfect and almighty Being is to say something contradictory. There cannot be two absolutes, for then there would be no absolute. By revelation, we know that only Yahweh is that one God. Therefore, nothing in your life should come between you and God.


Israel is warned from the beginning, to remember there is One God. The heathens around them worship many false gods. We see from the following Scripture that the Father, Word, and the Holy Ghost are one in the Spirit.


1 John 5:7 "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."


Moses is telling them to remember this fact, when he says "hear".



Verses 5-9: "Thou shalt love the LORD thy God": First in the list of all that was essential for the Jew was unreserved, wholehearted commitment expressed in love to God. Since this relationship of love for God could not be represented in any material way as with idols, it had to be demonstrated in obedience to God's law in daily life. Compare (11:16-21; Matt. 22:37; Luke 10:27).


Deuteronomy 6:5 "And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might."


When Jesus was asked, "Which is the great commandment in the law?" (Matt. 22:36), He did not quote the first of the Ten Commandments; He quoted this verse.


I have said many times; we are what our hearts are. If our hearts are pure and stayed upon the things of God, good things will come out of our mouth.


Luke 6:45 "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh."


For us to love the LORD with our heart, soul, mind, with all our strength, we must be submitted to the will of God. Notice what Jesus says about this very thing.


Mark 12:30 "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this [is] the first commandment."


Verses 6-16: Here are means for maintaining and keeping up religion in our hearts and houses.


(1). Meditation: God's words must be laid up in our hearts, that our thoughts may be daily employed about them.


(2). The religious education of children: Often repeat these things to them. Be careful and exact in teaching thy children. Teach these truths to all who are any way under thy care.


(3). Pious discourse: Thou shalt talk of these things with due reverence and seriousness, for the benefit not only of thy children, but of thy servants, thy friends and companions. Take all occasions to discourse with those about thee, not of matters of doubtful disputation, but of the plain truths and laws of God, and the things that belong to our peace.


(4). Frequent reading of the word: God appointed them to write sentences of the law upon their walls, and in scrolls of parchment to be worn about their wrists. This seems to have been binding in the letter of it to the Jews, as it is to us in the intent of it. Which is, that we should by all means make the word of God familiar to us; that we may have it ready to use upon all occasions, to restrain us from sin, and direct us in duty. We must never be ashamed to own our religion, nor to own ourselves under its check and government. Here is a caution not to forget God in a day of prosperity and plenty. When they came easily by the gift, they would be apt to grow secure, and unmindful of the Giver. Therefore, be careful when thou liest safe and soft, lest thou forget the Lord. When the world smiles, we are apt to make court to it, and expect our happiness in it, and so we forget Him who is our only portion and rest. There is need of great care and caution at such a time. Then beware; being warned of your danger, stand upon your guard. Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God; neither by despairing of his power and goodness, while we keep in the way of our duty; nor by presuming upon it, when we turn aside out of that way.


Deuteronomy 6:6 "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:"


"These words ... in thine heart": The people were to think about these commandments and meditate on them so that obedience would not be a matter of formal legalism, but a response based on understanding. The law written upon the heart would be an essential characteristic of the later New Covenant (see Jer. 31:33).


Those things stored in the heart cannot be taken away from you. God's Words must be stamped into the fleshly parts of our heart, for us to truly love Him.


John 15:10 "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love."


Someday God's laws will be written on the hearts of His people.


2 Corinthians 3:3 "[Forasmuch as ye are] manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart."


Deuteronomy 6:7 "And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."


Care and diligence are to be used, and pains taken, to instruct children, as soon as they are capable, in the knowledge of God and of his commandments. That they are to love him, fear him, serve and worship him. This is to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4). It may be rendered "thou shalt whet or sharpen them", the words or commandments. It is expressive of diligence and industry in teaching. By frequent repetition of things, by inculcating them continually into their minds, endeavoring to imprint them there, that they may be sharp, ready, and expert in them.


"And shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house": At the time of meals, or at leisure hours, or even when employed in any business in the house which will admit of it. Every opportunity should be taken to instill the knowledge of divine things into their tender minds.


"And when thou walkest by the way": In a journey, and any of his children with him. Or for diversion, in the garden, field, or vineyard. Occasion may be taken on sight of any of the works of creation to lead into a discourse concerning God. His nature, perfections, and works, and the obligations his creatures lie under to love, fear, and serve him.


"And when thou liest down, and when thou risest up": At the time of going to bed, and rising from it. Which, as they are seasons of prayer to God, may be improved in instruction of children.


When God's laws are talked about constantly, those listening are receiving them into that computer we call our brain. Teach the children of God and His Ways, and when they are old they will come back to that teaching. All of this talking of these godly things gives no time for worldliness to creep in.


Deuteronomy 6:8 "And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes."


"Hand ... frontlets between thine eyes": The Israelite was to continually meditate upon and be directed by the commandments that God had given to him. Later in Jewish history, this phrase was taken literally and the people tied phylacteries (boxes containing these verses) to their hands and foreheads with thongs of leather.


This is not actually speaking of wearing a box with God's laws on the front of your head. It is speaking of it being in your mind at all times. The binding on the hand is speaking of taking God's Words with you, wherever you go. It is like our Bible, which should be our constant companion.


Deuteronomy 6:9 "And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates."


To put them in mind of them when they went out and came in, that they might be careful to observe them. This the Jews take literally also, and write them in a scroll of parchment this section with some passages. And as the Targum of Jonathan here, fix them in three places, over against the bed chamber, upon the posts of the house, and on the gate at the right hand of it. And this is what they call the Mezuzah; and the account given of it is this. In a parchment prepared for the purpose, they write the words in (Deut. 6:4). And then roll up the parchment, and write on it "Shaddai"; and put it either into a cane (or reed). Or else into a like hollow piece of wood, and so fasten it to the wall on the posts of the door at the right hand of entrance. And thus, as often as they go in and out, they make it a part of their devotion to touch this parchment, and kiss it.


The writing on the gates and the posts was speaking of them being constantly before them, wherever they went.



Verses 10-15: The great concern of God was that when His chosen ones entered the land, they would absorb the culture of the Canaanites. Therefore, He communicated to them the importance of preparing their hearts. On the other hand, the "cities, houses, wells, vineyards, trees" that were in the land were for the people to enjoy, even though they had not built, planted, or tended any of them. (Joshua 24:13).


Deuteronomy 6:10 "And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not,"


"The LORD thy God have brought thee into the land": God reiterated that He was going to give Israel the land in fulfillment of the promises that He had made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob both with title and prosperity.


Notice the word "when". It is not if, but when. God promised to bring them into this land, and God keeps His Word. Moses reminds them that this is a fulfillment of those promises.


Deuteronomy 6:11 "And houses full of all good [things], which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full;"


Not only full of good, convenient, and rich household furniture, but of the fruits of the earth. Of corn, wine, and oil, and also perhaps, of gold and silver.


"And wells digged which thou diggedst not": Which in those hot and dry countries were in much esteem, and of great worth (see Gen. 26:18).


"Vineyards and olive trees which thou plantedst not": Which Canaan abounded with much more than Egypt, where there were but few vines and olive trees. Though of both these there were more where the Israelites lived than elsewhere (See notes on Genesis 47:11). And these therefore might be such as they had seen in Egypt, in that part of it in which they dwelt. Goshen, which was in the Heracleotic nome, and that Strabo says only produced perfect olives, and fruit bearing trees. But the rest of Egypt wanted oil; and this home is the same which the Arabs now call the province of Fium, of which Leo Africanus says it produces a large quantity of olives. So that this might be observed for the encouragement of the Israelites.


"When thou shalt have eaten and be full": Having such plenty of good things the land would furnish them with.


This is saying, everything there for them is a gift from God. They did not work to dig the wells, nor did they work for any of these things. All of it is a free gift from God. It is almost like paradise. The vineyards and the olive trees are already there. They just move in with everything provided for them. This reminds me of the fact that God created the earth and everything in it, for the use of mankind. He did not create man, until He had made provision for him.


Deuteronomy 6:12 "[Then] beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage."


To love, fear, and worship him, and keep his commands. Creature enjoyments being apt to get possession of the heart, and the affections of it (Prov. 30:9).


"Which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage": Into a land abounding with all the above good things, and therefore under the highest obligations to remember the Lord and his kindnesses, and to serve and glorify him (Exodus 20:2).


Having too much too fast, sometimes causes a person to begin to take things for granted. They must remember where their blessings came from, and be thankful. They must not forget their former condition in Egypt. They must remember God in this.



Verses 13-19: They were to "fear ... serve ... and ... swear by His name": The swearing would be taking an oath of allegiance to God, and not to "go after other gods", which is repeated in (7:4, 13:6, 13; 17:3; 28:36, 64; 29:26; 30:17; and 31:20). Actually, the "other gods" were the work of men's hands (4:28). "Massah" means "Testing" or "Proving" (Exodus 17:7; Deut. 9:22). Man is forbidden to test God by questioning His power or protection (Matt. 4:7; Luke 4:12).


Deuteronomy 6:13 "Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name."


"Swear by his name": An oath was a solemn pledge to affirm something said as absolutely true. The invoking of the Lord's name in the oath meant that one was bound under obligation before God to fulfill that word (compare Matt. 4:10; Luke 4:8).


This fear is reverence. It is speaking of having tremendous respect for the person of the LORD. This sort of reverence would cause one to serve Him. There is no greater name. God Himself, swore by His own name because there was none greater. This swear means to take great confidence in His name.


Deuteronomy 6:14 "Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which [are] round about you;"


To serve and worship them, and swear by them. And which indeed are no gods, only nominal and fictitious ones. Idols which are nothing in the world, and ought to have no veneration and adoration given them. To go after them is to worship them, and this is to depart from the true God, and go a whoring after false deities.


"Of the gods of the people which are round about you": The gods of the Edomites, Ammonites, Moabites, Philistines, and Egyptians; all of which had their peculiar deities.


One of the main reasons that God did not want His people marrying the heathen around them, was because of their false gods. A husband or a wife, can cause a person to sometimes wander away from God. We know the downfall of Solomon was when he built places of worship of false gods for his wives. The gods of this world are not to be worshipped. Worship the Creator, not anything, or anyone, of His creation.


Deuteronomy 6:15 "(For the LORD thy God [is] a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth."


He was near to them, in the midst of them, his tabernacle being placed between their camps. And was a God jealous of his honor and glory in matters of worship, and would resent any affront given him in that way. "A jealous God" (see note on 4:24).


"Lest the anger of the Lord thy God be kindled against thee": There being nothing more apt to stir up his wrath than idolatry.


"And destroy thee from off the face of the earth": Suffer them to be carried captive out of their own land, and to be scattered among the nations of the world, and be utterly destroyed.


There have been several demonstrations of the Lord's anger against those who bow down to false gods. They had a recent example, when the men married strange wives who worshipped false gods. God destroyed everyone involved. This is one sin God will destroy them for. They must guard against being unfaithful to God, if they want to live. God will destroy those who dishonor Him with false gods.


Deuteronomy 6:16 "Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted [him] in Massah."


Jesus quoted the first portion of this verse ("Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God") when Satan tempted Him (Matt. 4:7; Luke 4:12). Humans are the servants of God; for them to presume upon or test God is sin (1 Cor. 10:9).


"Massah" means trial or temptation. In this particular place, it is speaking of the place where they murmured about the lack of water. Another name for this place is Meribah. (compare Exodus 17:1-7; Matt. 4:7; Luke 4:12).


Exodus 17:7 "And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not?"


Verses 17-25: Moses gives charge to keep God's commandments. Negligence will ruin us; but we cannot be saved without diligence. It is our interest, as well as our duty, to be religious. It will be our life. Godliness has the promise of the continuance and comfort of the life that now is, as far as it is for God's glory. It will be our righteousness. It is only through the Mediator we can be righteous before God. The knowledge of the spirituality and excellency of the holy law of God, is suited to show sinful man his need of a Savior, and to prepare his heart to welcome a free salvation. The gospel honors the law, not only in the perfect obedience of the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ; but in that it is a plan for bringing back apostate rebels and enemies. By repentance, faith, forgiveness, and renewing grace, to love God above all things, even in this world. And in the world above, to love him perfectly, even as angels love him.


Deuteronomy 6:17 "Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee."


Not only the ten commands, but all others.


"And his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee": Those of a judicial and ceremonial kind.


The word "diligently" shows us they will work at keeping the testimonies, statutes, and commandments. It must stay uppermost in their minds. Their welfare depends upon them keeping them.


Deuteronomy 6:18 "And thou shalt do [that which is] right and good in the sight of the LORD: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers,"


And what is such that appears from the declaration of his mind and will in the commandments he has given, and obeying which is therefore doing what is right and good. For his commandment is holy, just, and good, being agreeable both to his nature and will (Rom. 7:12). That it may be well with thee; as it is with those that fear God, and keep his commandments.


"And that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers": To give to them and to their posterity, even the land of Canaan. But if they did not what was right and good in the sight of God, they might expect to be kept out of it. As their immediate parents were, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness.


This means they must desire in their hearts to do the will of God. God will bless them far above what they could ask, or even think, if they are obedient to His will.


Ephesians 5:8 "For ye were sometimes darkness, but now [are ye] light in the Lord: walk as children of light:"


Deuteronomy 6:19 "To cast out all thine enemies from before thee, as the LORD hath spoken."


This the Lord promised, and as it seems with an oath, that he would do for them. Drive out their enemies, and make way for the settlement of them in their country.


"As the Lord hath spoken" (see Gen. 15:18).


They must go into the land of promise, to receive these blessings God had promised their forefathers. They must go into the land, and receive these blessings with the faith that God will take care of them. The Lord is with them, when they have faith in Him.


Deuteronomy 6:20 "[And] when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What [mean] the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD our God hath commanded you?"


"When thy son asketh thee in time to come": When a young son asked the meaning of the law, his father was to use the following pattern in explaining it to him. First, the Israelites were in bondage in Egypt (verse 21a). Second, God miraculously delivered the Israelites and judged the Egyptians (verse 21b). Third, this work was in accord with His promise to the patriarchs (verse 23). Fourth, God gave His law to Israel that His people might obey it (verses 24-25).


Generations to come may not understand the special relationship that God has with Israel. The fathers must tell the sons of the meanings. God commanded these things for the well being of His people. They are different from the countries around them, because their worship of the One True God.


Deuteronomy 6:21 "Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh's bondmen in Egypt; and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand:"


In order to lead him into the spring and original of them, and to acquaint him with the goodness of God, which laid them under obligation to observe them.


"We were Pharaoh's bondmen in Egypt": Were brought into bondage and slavery to Pharaoh king of Egypt, into whose country their ancestors came. And where they resided many years, and at length were reduced to the utmost servitude and misery.


"And the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand": By the exertion of his mighty power, which the Egyptians and their king could not withstand. As a token of his care and kindness to us; by the ties of which we are bound in gratitude to observe his commands. The Targum of Jonathan is, "the Word of the Lord brought us, etc." and it was Christ the Son of God that was from first to last concerned in that affair. Even from the appearance to Moses in the bush to Israel's coming out of Egypt.


The miracle release of the Israelites from the servitude of Pharaoh is a phenomenon. The Lord brought ten plagues on Egypt and the Egyptian false gods. At the end of the tenth plague, Pharaoh let them go. God Himself, delivered the people of Israel. The death of the firstborn of all Egypt was the tenth plague that caused their release.


Deuteronomy 6:22 "And the LORD showed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes:"


Meaning the ten plagues, which were signs of the power of God. Marvelous works, great, above the power of nature. And very sore or "evil" and very distressing to the Egyptians. For they came and lay heavy;


"Upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes": Upon the king, his courtiers, and the whole land. And which were done publicly in the sight of the people of Israel, as well as the Egyptians. And there were some then living, though at that time when wrought under twenty years. Who saw with their own eyes what were done to them, and could never forget them. Here also the Targum of Jonathan has it, "and the Word of the Lord sent signs, etc."


Some of the signs and wonders were the water turning to blood, the plague of frogs, and the darkness that covered the land. Half of the plagues did not touch the Hebrews at all. They saw them, but were not affected by them.


Deuteronomy 6:23 "And he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers."


By means of those miraculous plagues, even out of a state of bondage and misery. And in order;


"That he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers": To bring them into the land of Canaan, give it to them, and put them in the possession of it. And so fulfil his promise and his oath made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.


Egypt was a type of the world. God brought them out of Egypt. It took God quite a long time to get Egypt out of them. The 40 years wandering in the wilderness was for that purpose. God has brought them to the edge of their Promise. Now they must go in.


Deuteronomy 6:24 "And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as [it is] at this day."


Some of which were designed on purpose to commemorate the wonderful deliverance out of Egypt, as particularly the Passover. And all of them they were obliged in gratitude to obey, in consideration of such great favors bestowed upon them.


"To fear the Lord our God, for our good always": As it is always for the good of men, temporal, spiritual, and eternal, to fear the Lord. For there is no want to them that fear him, nor will the Lord withhold good things from them (see Psalm 34:9).


"That he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day": In bodily health and strength, and in the enjoyment of the good land, and all the blessings and benefits of it.


One thing that set these people aside from the rest of the world around them, was the fact God had entrusted them with His law and commandments. They were to be an example of holy living to the rest of the world.


Deuteronomy 6:25 "And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God, as he hath commanded us."


"Be our righteousness": A true and personal relationship with God that would be manifest in the lives of the people of God. There was no place for legalism or concern about the external since the compelling motive for this righteousness was to be love for God (verse 5).


Abraham's faith was counted unto him for righteousness. To be righteous means you are in right standing with God. Jesus gave all believers His righteousness. We gave Him our sin, and He clothed us in His righteousness. This above is saying they will be in right standing with God, if they keep His commandments. One of the greatest things in life we can have, is to be in right standing with our God.


Deuteronomy Chapter 6 Questions


1. God had founded a new nation in the ______________.


2. _____ _________ had released them from their bondage in Egypt.


3. Their King was the ________.


4. The nations around them had what kind of laws?


5. Where had they gotten their law?


6. What does Moses call God in verse 1?


7. What was another name for the agreement they had made with God?


8. What is fear in verse 2 speaking of?


9. They had grown from a small family of Jacob, to close to _______ ___________ people.


10. How long would they continue to increase?


11. What three patriarchs had God promised the land of milk and honey to?


12. How were they to love the LORD their God?


13. What is meant by the "frontlets between thine eyes"?


14. What does the author say to notice in verse 10?


15. What is verse 11 saying to them?


16. What, sometimes, causes a person to take something for granted?


17. Why did God swear by His own name?


18. What does God do to those who get involved with false gods?


19. What does "Massah" mean?


20. What is another name for Massah?


21. What does "diligently", in verse 17, show us?


22. When generations to come ask of these things, what shall they tell them?


23. The LORD showed ________ and ___________, great and sore, upon Egypt.


24. Egypt was a type of the __________.


25. What was the 40 years of wandering for?


26. Abraham's _______ was counted unto him for righteousness.


27. To be righteous means you are in ________ ___________ with God.


28. What is one of the greatest things we can have in life?





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Deuteronomy 7



Deuteronomy Chapter 7

Verses 1-11: Here is a strict caution against all friendship and fellowship with idols and idolaters. Those who are in communion with God, must have no communication with the unfruitful works of darkness. Limiting the orders to destroy, to the nations here mentioned, plainly shows that after ages were not to draw this into a precedent. A proper understanding of the evil of sin, and of the mystery of a crucified Savior, will enable us to perceive the justice of God in all his punishments, temporal and eternal. We must deal decidedly with our lusts that war against our souls. Let us not show them any mercy, but mortify, and crucify, and utterly destroy them. Thousands in the world that now is, have been undone by ungodly marriages. For there is more likelihood that the good will be perverted, than that the bad will be converted. Those who, in choosing yoke-fellows, keep not within the bounds of a profession of religion, cannot promise themselves helps meet for them.


Deuteronomy 7:1 "When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;"


"Severn nations": These 7 groups controlled areas of land usually centered around one or more fortified cities. Together they had greater population and military strength than Israel. Six of these 7 are mentioned elsewhere (see Exodus 3:8). The unique nation here is the Girgashites, who are referred to in (Gen. 10:16; Joshua 3:10; 24:11; 1 Chron. 1:14), and in Ugaritic texts. They may have been tribal people living in the north of Palestine.


All of these people from these 7 nations are idolaters. They may be physically strong, but they are no match for God. Notice who cast out the nations before them. It is the LORD. Not only are there 7 nations, but they are mightier physically than the Israelites. God had promised Abraham 10 nations. Some of them were the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites and Rephidim. They had destroyed Rephidim with Og. The others here, will fall with the exploits of Joshua.


Deuteronomy 7:2 "And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, [and] utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them:"


"Utterly destroy them": All the men, women and children were to be put to death. Even though this action seems extreme, the following need to be kept in mind;


(1) The Canaanites deserved to die for their sin (9:4-5; compare Gen. 15;16);


(2) The Canaanites persisted in their hatred of God (7:10); and


(3) The Canaanites constituted a moral cancer that had the potential of introducing idolatry and immorality which would spread rapidly among the Israelites (20:17-18).


For the ban of extermination (see the note on 2:26-37).


It seems cruel for them to be totally run out of this country, but that is necessary to keep the Israelites from mixing with them and worshipping their false gods. They must not make a covenant with the world. They are not people who would honor a covenant, since they know not God.


Deuteronomy 7:3 "Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son."


"Neither shalt thou make marriages": Because of the intimate nature of marriage, the idolatrous spouse could lead her mate astray (see 1 Kings 11:1-8 for the example of Solomon).


The sad part of this is what we said above, they are idolaters, and would cause their spouses to become idolaters also. They must not marry these people, because they must stay faithful to God. A believer should never marry a non-believer. That is being unequally yoked.


Deuteronomy 7:4 "For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly."


From the pure worship of God, his word, statutes, and ordinances.


"That they may serve other gods": Worship their idols. That is, the daughters of Heathens, married to the sons of Israelites, would entice them from the worship of the true God to idolatry. So the Targum of Jonathan; as Solomon's wives drew him aside: or "he will turn away thy son". Meaning, as Jarchi observes, that the son of a heathen, that marries the daughter of an Israelite, will turn away the son born of her to idolatry, called here the grandfather's son. Though Aben Ezra says this respects the son mentioned in the preceding verse. That is, the son married to a Heathen woman, and not to a son born in such marriage.


"So will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly": By some immediate judgment striking dead at once. There being nothing more provoking to God than idolatry, that being directly contrary to his being, nature, perfections, honor, and glory, of which he is jealous.


This had already happened, when Balaam tricked them. God destroyed all who were involved in the unfaithfulness. Thousands had died. It is strange, but the worshipper of the false gods usually turns the worshipper of God, instead of the other way around. It is better to marry within your own faith.


Deuteronomy 7:5 "But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire."


"Destroy their altars": This destructive action would remove any consequent temptation for the Israelites to follow the religious practices of the nations they were to displace from the Land.


For "groves" (see the note on Judges 3:6-7).


Their altars, images, groves, and graven images were all associated with the worship of their false gods. They were to be totally destroyed, for a reminder to not get involved in this sin. They were not to just tear them down, but totally destroy them with fire as well.



Verses 6-26: "Special people": The word "segulah" originally applied to ownership of property, and here to Israel as God's very own possession (compare 14:2; 26:18; Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 2:9). In the Akkadian language, it is used to describe the king as a "treasured possession" of his god. Thus, Israel's character as a holy people gave them no ground for pride, but imposed on them the responsibility of their call.


"Redeemed": The verb means "to ransom", "to redeem". In ancient Israel both property and life could be redeemed by making the appropriate payment. In the New Testament, human redemption is achieved solely by the sacrificial death of Christ (Mark 10:45; Luke 1:68; 1 Peter 1:18-19). Here the emphasis is on the result rather than on the price paid - that is, the liberation of the people. God "Keepeth covenant and mercy": The word mercy is "chesed" and appears about 250 times in the Old Testament (compare discussion on 5:6-10). The "hornet" (compare Exodus 23:28; Joshua 24:12), is a figure for the terror of God that descended on Israel's foes, producing panic and rout (compare verse 23). The fact that certain species of hornets in Palestine build nests underground and in rock crevices suggests the appropriateness of the figure with regard to the destruction of Canaanites in hiding.


Deuteronomy 7:6 "For thou [art] a holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that [are] upon the face of the earth."


"A holy people unto the LORD thy God": The basis for the command to destroy the Canaanites is found in God's election of Israel. God had set apart Israel for His own special use and they were His treasured possession. As God's people, Israel needed to be separated from the moral pollution of the Canaanites.


The thing that made Israel different, was their relationship with their God. God had chosen them out of all the people on the earth to be His. God had given Him their law. He wanted them to be holy, as He is holy. They are to be a representative for God upon the earth.


Deuteronomy 7:7 "The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye [were] the fewest of all people:"


He had done both, and the one as the effect and evidence of the other. He loved them, and therefore he chose them.


"Because ye were more in number than any people": Not for the quantity of them, nor even for the quality of them.


"For ye were the fewest of all people": Fewer than the Egyptians, from whence they came, and also the Canaanites they were going to drive out and inherit their land (Deut. 7:1). Those whom God has loved with an everlasting love, and as a fruit of it has chosen them in Christ before the world began. To grace and glory, holiness and happiness, are but a small number, a little flock. Though many are called, few are chosen. Nor are they better than others, being by nature children of wrath even as others, and as to their outward circumstances the poor of this world.


God chose the smallest country in the world, so His greatness could show through them. He set His love upon them. They did not earn His love. He gave it to them.


Deuteronomy 7:8 "But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt."


"Loved you ... keep the oath": The choosing of Israel as a holy nation set apart for God was grounded in God's love and His faithfulness to the promise He had made to the patriarchs, not in any merit or intrinsic goodness in Israel.


God's great love for mankind is hard to understand. It is even more difficult to understand His immense love for this ungrateful people. The God kind of love (agape), is the greatest love there is. He does not love them because of something they have done, but in spite of what they have done. He had sworn to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (their fathers). God brought them out of Egypt, not by any great feat of man. He brought them out with the ten plagues He sent on Egypt. They had been slaves to Pharaoh, now they are God's wife.


Deuteronomy 7:9 "Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he [is] God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;"


It is true that the punishment for certain sins may have repercussions to the third and fourth generation (Exodus 20:5-6), yet the Lord keeps His covenant promises for "a thousand generations" to those who "keep his commandments" (Neh. 1:5; Dan. 9:4). By passing one's faith to one's children and their children, a person can impact the world beyond his or her years.


"A thousand generations" (see note on 1:11).


The people are warned against rebellion and unfaithfulness. God is faithful and just. He blesses the person who keeps His commandments. He blesses their children, and grandchildren to a thousand generations.


Deuteronomy 7:10 "And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face."


Openly, publicly, and at once, they not being able to make any resistance. Onkelos interprets it in their lifetime, and so Jarchi which agrees with the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem: "or to his face"; the face of God. That is, he will punish them that hate him to his face, who are audacious, bold, impudent sinners. Sinners before the Lord, as the men of Sodom were (Gen. 13:13).


"He will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face": Not defer the execution of his judgment and vengeance, which may seem to slumber and linger. But will quickly and openly bring it upon the sinner.


This just means that God will not have someone else to do this, He will do it Himself. God will punish him personally.


Deuteronomy 7:11 "Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them."


The laws, moral, ceremonial, and judicial, urged thereunto both by promises and threatenings, in hopes of reward, and through fear of punishment.


"Which I command thee this day, to do them": In the name of the Lord, and by his authority. By virtue of which he made a new declaration of them to put them in mind of them in order to observe them.


The people are reminded by Moses to keep God's commandments, if they do not want God to punish them.



Verses 12-26: We are in danger of having fellowship with the works of darkness if we take pleasure in fellowship with those who do such works. Whatever brings us into a snare, brings us under a curse. Let us be constant to our duty, and we cannot question the constancy of God's mercy. Diseases are God's servants; they go where he sends them, and do what he bids them. It is therefore good for the health of our bodies, thoroughly to mortify the sin of our souls; which is our rule of duty. Yet sin is never totally destroyed in this world; and it actually prevails in us much more than it would do, if we were watchful and diligent. In all this the Lord acts according to the counsel of his own will. But that counsel being hid from us, forms no excuse for our sloth and negligence, of which it is in no degree the cause. We must not think, that because the deliverance of the church, and the destruction of the enemies of the soul, are not done immediately, therefore they will never be done. God will do his own work in his own method and time; and we may be sure that they are always the best. Thus, corruption is driven out of the hearts of believers little by little. The work of sanctification is carried on gradually; but in the end, there will be a complete victory. Pride, security, and other sins that are common effects of prosperity, are enemies more dangerous than beasts of the field, and more apt to increase upon us.


Verses 12-15: The Lord promised Israel blessings for their obedience, which are further enumerated (in 28:1-14).


Deuteronomy 7:12 "Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the LORD thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy fathers:"


"The LORD thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant" If Israel was obedient to the Lord, they would experience His covenantal mercy. However, the people could forfeit the blessings of the covenant through their own disobedience.


Moses reminds them also that God will bless them abundantly, if they keep His commandments. There were blessings promised for obedience, and a cursing for those who would not obey. God always does exactly what He says. What He promises, He will do. He is a merciful God.


Deuteronomy 7:13 "And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee."


"Corn ... wine ... oil": These were the 3 principal food products of Palestine. "Corn" (grain), included wheat and barley. "New wine" was the grape juice as it came from the presses. The "oil" was the olive oil used in cooking and in the lamps.


This is a list of some of the blessings that would come upon them, if they kept their covenant with God. Hebrews considered children as a special blessing from God. They were blessed with big families, plenty of food, and an abundance of cattle and sheep. They would have need for nothing.


Deuteronomy 7:14 "Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle."


Even with temporal blessings, besides those of a religious kind. They having the oracles of God, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises (Rom. 3:1).


"There shall not be male or female barren among you": Which to be was reckoned a reproach, and the contrary of a blessing (Luke 1:25; Psalm 128:3).


"Or among your cattle": The Targum of Jonathan is, nor thy beasts' barren of wool, and milk, and lambs.


The Hebrews thought it a curse not to have children. This is a blessing on the people, and their cattle.


Deuteronomy 7:15 "And the LORD will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all [them] that hate thee."


"The evil diseases of Egypt": Some virulent and malignant diseases such as elephantiasis, ophthalmia, and dysentery were common in Egypt.


Some diseases are caused from sin. The worldly diseases of our day are like A.I.D.S. Sinful acts sometimes cause disease. Sexually transmitted diseases are a good example of that. Not all diseases are sin. We know that, by the blind man that Jesus healed. His disciples asked Him who had sinned, him or his parents. Jesus told them neither of them, it was to glorify God.


Deuteronomy 7:16 "And thou shalt consume all the people which the LORD thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them: neither shalt thou serve their gods; for that [will be] a snare unto thee."


All the inhabitants of the land of Canaan, which the Lord should deliver into their hands. Them they were not to spare, but utterly destroy men, women, and children.


"Thine eye shall have no pity upon them (see notes on Deut. 7:2).


"Neither shall thou serve their gods, for that will be a snare unto thee": Which will bring into utter ruin and destruction (see Exodus 23:33).


The enemy was a strong nation, but God would be with the Israelites. He told them to get rid of the people He had delivered before them. They should have no pity on them, because they served false gods. If they spared them, they might get ensnared by their worship of false gods.


Deuteronomy 7:17 "If thou shalt say in thine heart, These nations [are] more than I; how can I dispossess them?"


Should have secret thoughts arise in the heart, misgivings of heart, fears and doubts there. Which, though not outwardly expressed, might be inwardly retained.


"These nations are more than I": Seven to one, and perhaps anyone of them as powerful as Israel.


"How can I dispossess them?" Of the land they inherit, and take possession of it.


This would be a terrible thing to think in their hearts. This was the sin their fathers had committed. They must not faint at the size of the people, but have faith in God.


Deuteronomy 7:18 "Thou shalt not be afraid of them: [but] shalt well remember what the LORD thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt;"


When facing their enemies, Israel was exhorted to "remember what the LORD thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt": When facing crises, it is wise to recall ways in which God has answered prayer in the past (Psalm 105:5).


Pharaoh had a large, well-trained army with many chariots, but God drowned them all in the Red Sea. They must depend on the power of their God, and not on their own power.


Deuteronomy 7:19 "The great temptations which thine eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the stretched out arm, whereby the LORD thy God brought thee out: so shall the LORD thy God do unto all the people of whom thou art afraid."


The miracles wrought in Egypt (see Deut. 4:34).


"And the mighty hand, and stretched out arm, whereby the Lord thy God brought thee out": That is, out of Egypt, which was an instance and proof of his almighty power.


"So shall the Lord thy God do unto all the people of whom thou art afraid": Not perform the same miraculous operations among them, but exert the same power in the destruction of them. And in dispossessing them of their land, as in destroying the Egyptians, and delivering Israel from among them.


The temptation is to look at these people, and be afraid. They must not do that. They must remember the great odds against God bringing them out of Egypt, but He did. They must use all the faith they have, and believe God will deliver these people into their hands.


Deuteronomy 7:20 "Moreover the LORD thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves from thee, be destroyed."


"God will send the hornet": The hornet or wasp was a large insect, common in Canaan, that may have had a potentially fatal sting. Here the reference was probably figurative in the sense of a great army sent into panic when the Lord would inflict His sting on them (see 11:25; see note on Exodus 23:28).


The people will flee from the hornet sting. Those who refuse to go, will die from the hornet stings.


Deuteronomy 7:21 "Thou shalt not be affrighted at them: for the LORD thy God [is] among you, a mighty God and terrible."


At their numbers, nor at their gigantic stature.


"For the Lord thy God is among you": In the tabernacle, in the Holy of Holies. Which was in the midst of them, and besides would give proof of his powerful presence among them. In protecting them, and destroying their enemies.


"A mighty God and terrible": Mighty to save his people, and terrible to others.


Fear is the opposite of faith. They must put their faith and trust in the LORD who is among them. He is a mighty God and terrible.


Deuteronomy 7:22 "And the LORD thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee."


"Little and little": Even though the Lord promised that the defeat of the people of the land would be quick (4:26; 9:3), the process of settlement would be more gradual to avoid the danger of the land returning to a primitive state of natural anarchy.


We see the enemy is not moved out in one night, because there would be too many wild animals left for this group of Israelites to fight. They will take the people, a few at a time, to give them time to build safe places for their own cattle and sheep.


Deuteronomy 7:23 "But the LORD thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed."


Gradually, by little and little, until at length they should all come into their hands.


"And shall destroy them with a mighty destruction until they be destroyed": Even all of them.


God will be with them all the time, that they are fighting these people. God will go before them in every instance, and protect them. God will place them before the Israelites, as they are to fight against them.


Deuteronomy 7:24 "And he shall deliver their kings into thine hand, and thou shalt destroy their name from under heaven: there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them."


Who were very numerous, for though there were but seven nations, there were more kings. Even one and thirty (Joshua 12:9).


"Thou shall destroy their name from under heaven": Not only destroy the name of the reigning kings, so as that they should not be remembered and made mention of any more. But put an end to the name and race of kings among them, so that they should never have any more, as they never had.


"There shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them": The nations and their kings.


It would be very important to destroy their leaders, so the people would not have someone to lead them in their battles. This seems as if the siege is for quite some time.


Deuteronomy 7:25 "The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold [that is] on them, nor take [it] unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it [is] an abomination to the LORD thy God."


Which is repeated from (Deut. 7:5). That it might be the more observed and strictly performed, and which unless done, they could not expect the utter destruction of their enemies. Who were left in the land to try and prove them with respect to this very thing.


"Thou shall not desire the silver or gold that is on them": The raiment of gold or silver with which they were bedecked, or the plates of gold and silver with which they were covered. Or any ornament about them, as chains and the like, that were of either of these metals (see Ezek. 16:16).


"Nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein": Nor take it into their possession, or bring it into their houses, as in the next verse. Lest they should be under a temptation to worship it, or keep it as a superstitious relic.


"For it is an abomination to the Lord thy God": Not only the idol itself, being put in the place of God, and so derogatory to his honor and glory. But the gold and silver on it, being devoted to a superstitious and idolatrous use. And even the taking of it, and appropriating it to a man's own use, was an abomination, and resented by the Lord as such.


The graven images were made mostly of silver and gold. The metal alone in them would have been valuable. God tells them not to take the metal, after they have melted these images. Gold and silver could be a temptation to sin.


Deuteronomy 7:26 "Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: [but] thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it [is] a cursed thing."


"Thou shalt utterly detest it ... utterly abhor it": "Detest" and "abhor" were strong words of disapproval and rejection. Israel was to have the same attitude toward the idols of the Canaanites as did God Himself.


"Is a cursed thing": The images or idols were to be set aside for destruction.


The gold and silver had been associated with the false god. God tells them not to bring anything into their homes, that are related in any way to the worship of false gods. The things used in false worship are cursed, and could bring the curse to them. These people of God shall hate anything connected to false gods.


Deuteronomy Chapter 7 Questions


1. Who are the people in the land, that will be cast out?


2. All of the people from these 7 nations are ___________.


3. God had promised Abraham _______ nations would be destroyed.


4. Who were the others?


5. Who was a Rephidim?


6. They were to make no _____________ with them.


7. Why is it necessary to run them out totally?


8. Why should they not marry these people?


9. What would happen to those who married these idolaters?


10. What should they do to the altars, and images?


11. What were the altars, images, groves, and graven images associated with?


12. What kind of people are Israel to be?


13. The thing that made Israel different, was their _______________ with God.


14. They were not large in number, but ___________.


15. What is God's kind of love?


16. Who had God sworn to, that they would receive the Promised Land?


17. How had God brought them out of Egypt?


18. How long will God keep covenant with those who love Him?


19. What was the condition of His covenant with them?


20. What are some of the blessings mentioned in verse 13?


21. The Hebrews thought it a _________ not to have children.


22. What is a disease of our day caused by sin, in most cases?


23. How do we know that all sickness is not from sin?


24. Why did God tell them to have no pity on these people?


25. What is the sin in verse 17?


26. What were they to remember, to help them not be afraid?


27. What will God send among their enemies, to help run them off?


28. Why would it take some time to move all of the enemy out?


29. Why should they not keep the gold and silver from the burned images?


30. The people of God shall hate anything connected to ________ ______.





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Deuteronomy 8



Deuteronomy Chapter 8

Verses 1-9: Obedience must be:


(1). Careful, observe to do;


(2). Universal, to do all the commandments; and


(3). From a good principle, with a regard to God as the Lord, and their God, and with a holy fear of him.


To engage them to this obedience, Moses directs them to look back. It is good to remember all the ways, both of God's providence and grace, by which he has led us through this wilderness. That we may cheerfully serve him and trust in him. They must remember the straits they were sometimes brought into, for mortifying their pride, and manifesting their perverseness. To prove them, that they and others might know all that was in their heart. And that all might see that God chose them, not for any thing in them which might recommend them to his favor. They must remember the miraculous supplies of food and raiment granted them. Let none of God's children distrust their Father, nor take any sinful course for the supply of their necessities. Some way or other, God will provide for them in the way of duty and honest diligence, and verily they shall be fed. It may be applied spiritually; the word of God is the food of the soul. Christ is the word of God; by him we live. They must also remember the rebukes they had been under, and not without need. This use we should make of all our afflictions; by them let us be quickened to our duty. Moses also directs them to look forward to Canaan. Look which way we will, both to look back and to look forward, to Canaan. This will furnish us with arguments for obedience. Moses saw in that land a type of the better country. The gospel church is the New Testament Canaan, watered with the Spirit in his gifts and graces, planted with trees of righteousness, bearing fruits of righteousness. Heaven is the good land, in which nothing is wanting, and where is fullness of joy.


Deuteronomy 8:1 "All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers."


It is repeated over and over again, to impress it on their minds, and to show the importance and necessity of it. How greatly it was expected from them, and how much it was incumbent on them.


"That ye may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers": For their temporal life, and the mercies and comforts of it. The multiplication of their offspring, and of their substance. Their entrance into the land of Canaan, possession of it, and continuance in it. All depended on their obedience to the commands of God (see Deut. 19:20).


This seems to be a continuation of our last lesson. We see again, the importance of keeping God's commandments. Notice the word "all". We see to keep part of the commandments, is not enough. They must keep all of them to live. This land is theirs, but they must go in and possess it.


Deuteronomy 8:2 "And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, [and] to prove thee, to know what [was] in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no."


"Remember": The people were to recall what God had done for them (compare 5:15; 7:18; 8:18; 9:7; 15:15; 16:3, 12; 24:9, 18; 25:17), and not forget (compare 4:9, 23, 31; 6:12; 8:11, 14, 19; 9:7; 25:19; 26:13).


"To know what was in thine heart": Israel's 40 years in the wilderness was a time of God's affliction and testing so that the basic attitude of the people toward God and His commandments could be made known. God chose to sustain His hungry people in the wilderness by a means previously unknown to them. Through this miraculous provision, God both humbled the people and tested their obedience.


"Humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart": The 40 years were a time of testing and discipline, to discover what Israel's real motives were. The trials were designed to get them to trust God (Matt. 4:4; Luke 4:4).


Now we see these 40 years were a time of testing. God must humble these proud people. Their hearts must be made pure, and they must conform to the will of God in their lives. The lesson in this for us, could be that trials are more easily understood after they are over. When we are in the midst of a problem, it is seldom easy to see the benefit of it.


Romans 5:3-5 "And not only [so], but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;" "And patience, experience; and experience, hope:" "And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."


Deuteronomy 8:3 "And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knowest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every [word] that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live."


"Manna, which thou knowest not": God sustained the people in the wilderness with a food previously unknown to them. See (Exodus 16:15), for the beginning of the giving of the manna and (Joshua 5:12), for its cessation.


"Man doth not live by bread only": Israel's food in the wilderness was decreed by the Word of God. They had manna because it came by God's command; therefore, ultimately it was not bread that kept them alive, but God's Word (compare Matt. 4:4; Luke 4:4).


Jesus quoted these words to the devil in His temptation: man "live ... by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD" (Matt. 4:4).


We find that they were taught that God is their source. When they hungered, He fed them. They did not know what the manna was, just that it kept them from starving. They soon found that God was their provider. The statement, in the verse above, is in the New Testament, too.


Matthew 4:4 "But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."


Deuteronomy 8:4 "Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years."


"Raiment waxed not old": This miraculous provision is also mentioned in 29:5.


This is a tremendous miracle in itself. Ordinarily, clothes do not last 40 years without wearing out. The even greater miracle is that these old people did not have swollen feet from this journey.



Verses 5-6: One implication of having God as one's Father is in this passage is God "chastened" His children so that they will walk in His ways (Heb. 12:7). Christian parents must discipline their children for the same reason (Prov. 3:11-12).


Deuteronomy 8:5 "Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, [so] the LORD thy God chasteneth thee."


"The LORD thy God chasteneth thee": Israel's sojourn in the wilderness was viewed as a time of God's discipline of His children. He was seeking to correct their wayward attitude so that they might be prepared to obediently go into the Land.


Those the LORD loves, He chastens.


Hebrews 12:6-7 "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." "If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?"


Chastening is for a moment to correct error.


Psalms 94:12 "Blessed [is] the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law;"


1 Corinthians 11:32 "But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world."



Verses 6-10: An extensive description of God's abundant blessings for Israel in the Land (compare 7:7-9). This is a very important passage on the abundance of the land and its produce. Canaan was a "good land", well suited for the agrarian and pastoral lifestyle of the Hebrew people.


Deuteronomy 8:6 "Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him."


Not only because they are the commands of God, and of a covenant God and Father, which are reasons sufficient for the observance of them. But because the Lord had dealt so bountifully with them, in providing food and raiment for them in the wilderness, which always continued with them. And because, when he afflicted them, it was a fatherly chastisement, with great tenderness and compassion, and for their good. All which laid them under obligations to keep the commands of God, whatsoever he had enjoined them, whether of the moral, ceremonial, or judicial kind.


"To walk in his ways, and to fear him": To walk in the ways he directed. To be under an awe of his majesty, a fear of offending him, and a reverential affection for him, such as children have to a father.


Exodus 18:20 "And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt show them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do."


Psalms 128:1 "Blessed [is] every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways."


Deuteronomy 8:7 "For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills;"


"A good land": In contrast to the desolation of the wilderness (verses 7-9), describe the abundance of Israel's new Land.


Now Moses is describing the beautiful land of promise to them. This is preparing them to receive the blessings God has for them. This would mean so much to them, because they have just come out of a desert with very little water.


Deuteronomy 8:8 "A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of olive oil, and honey;"


There were two harvests in it. One a barley harvest, which began at the Passover, and the other a wheat harvest, which began at Pentecost. Instances of the great plenty of these might be observed in the vast quantities consumed in the times of Solomon, in his household, and in the yearly distribution he made to Hiram (1 Kings 4:22). Yea, there was such plenty of wheat in this land, that it not only supplied the inhabitants of it, but even furnished other countries with it. With this the merchants of Israel and Judah traded at the market of Tyre (Ezek. 27:17). According to the Jewish writers, the best fine wheat flour was at Mechumas and Mezonichah, and the next to them was Chephraim, or Ephraim, in the valley.


"And vines": With which this land abounded everywhere. The places most noted were Lebanon, Eshcol, Engedi, Ashkelon, Gaza, and Sarepta. According to the above writers, Cerotim and Hatolim were the first for wine. And the second to them were Beth-Rimah and Beth-Laban in the mountain, and Caphat Sigmah in the valley. The wine of Sharon is also highly commended by them.


"And fig trees and pomegranates": According to Josephus, the country of Gennesaret furnished the best grapes and figs for ten months without intermission, and the rest of fruits throughout the whole year. Figs and pomegranates, the spies brought with them when they returned from searching the land, as well as grapes, are a specimen of the fruits of it (Num. 13:23).


"A land of oil olive": The mount of Olives was famous for olive trees, and had its name from there. The whole land abounded with them, and though oil was so much in common use with the Jews, they supplied their neighbors with it (see 1 Kings 5:11). It was usual also, as we are told, for the ten tribes to send oil into Egypt. According to the Jewish doctors, Tekoah was the first place for oil, and the second, Ragab, beyond Jordan. Very probably the same with Argob (Deut. 3:4).


"And honey": Besides the great quantities of honey produced by bees in this country, there was much of another sort that dropped from trees, called wild honey. The food of John the Baptist in the wilderness (Matt. 3:4).


Palestine is a fertile land where much food grows. This land is fertile, and with plenty of water and can grow all of the things mentioned above in abundance. This would be a welcome change to the limited diet they had coming across the desert.


Deuteronomy 8:9 "A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any [thing] in it; a land whose stones [are] iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass."


"Iron ... brass": The mountains of southern Lebanon and the region east of the Sea of Galilee and south of the Dead Sea contained iron. Both brass and iron were found in the Rift Valley south of the Dead Sea.


These very metals have been found here. There will be no lack of food. This is a breadbasket for this part of the world.


Verses 10-20: Moses directs to the duty of a prosperous condition. Let them always remember their Benefactor. In everything we must give thanks. Moses arms them against the temptations of a prosperous condition. When men possess large estates, or are engaged in a profitable business, they find the temptation of pride, forgetfulness of God, and carnal-mindedness, very strong. And as they are anxious and troubled about many things. In this the believing poor have the advantage; they more easily perceive their supplies coming from the Lord in answer to the prayer of faith. And, strange as it may seem, they find less difficulty in simply trusting him for daily bread. They taste a sweetness therein, which is generally unknown to the rich, while they are also freed from many of their temptations, forget not God's former dealings with thee. Here is the great secret of Divine Providence. Infinite wisdom and goodness are the source of all the changes and trials believers experience.


Israel had many bitter trials, but it was to do them good. Pride is natural to the human heart. Would one suppose that such a people, after their slavery at the brick-kilns, should need the thorns of the wilderness to humble them. But such is man! And they were proved that they might be humbled. None of us live a single week without giving proofs of our weakness, folly, and depravity. To broken-hearted souls alone the Savior is precious indeed. Nothing can render the most suitable outward and inward trials effectual, but the power of the Spirit of God. See here how God's giving and our getting are reconciled, and apply it to spiritual wealth. All God's gifts are in pursuance of his promises. Moses repeats the warning he had often given of the fatal consequences of forsaking God. Those who follow others in sin, will follow them to destruction. If we do as sinners do, we must expect to fare as sinners' fare.


Deuteronomy 8:10 "When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee."


For as the Lord would furnish them with plenty of food, they might eat of it liberally. Provided they did not indulge to intemperance, as everyone may whom God has blessed with a fullness of good things. And this shows that we are to return thanks to God for a plentiful meal, as well as to ask a blessing on it.


"For the good land which he hath given thee": Which supplied them with such plenty, that they enjoyed full meals every day.


The practice of thanking God for the food we eat has been evident in Israel, since these very days mentioned here. We are told that anything we pray over before we eat it is clean to us.



Verses 11-20: The God who blesses and sustains life was setting before Israel the choice: "forget the LORD thy God" and "perish", or "remember" Him and live (Psalms 119:83, 109, 141, 176).


Deuteronomy 8:11 "Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day:"


"Forget not the LORD thy God": Sufficient food would lead to the satisfaction of Israel in the Land (verse 10, 12). This satisfaction and security could lead to Israel forgetting God. Forgetting God means no longer having Him in the daily thoughts of one's life. This forgetfulness would lead to a disobedience of His commandments. Whereas, in the wilderness, Israel had to depend on God for the necessities of life, in the rich land there would be a tempting sense of self-sufficiency.


All of these wonderful blessings showered upon them are conditional. They must remember their LORD. They must keep His commandments to keep these blessings.


Deuteronomy 8:12 "Lest [when] thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt [therein];"


Not only once and again, but continually, day after day, being indulged with great plenty.


"And hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein": Who for forty years had only dwelt in tents, moving from place to place in the wilderness.


When we are full, it is easy to forget to be thankful for what we have. We all seem to remember to pray, when we are in need.


Deuteronomy 8:13 "And [when] thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied;"


Having good pasture for them in so fruitful a land.


"And thy silver and thy gold is multiplied": By trading with other nations.


"And all that thou hast is multiplied": Children, servants, and substance.


This is speaking of a time of prosperity. When all our needs are taken care of, it is easy to forget God who furnished all of it for us. We only appreciate the water, when the well runs dry.


Deuteronomy 8:14 "Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;"


"Then thine heart be lifted up": Pride was viewed as the root of forgetfulness. In their prosperity, the people might claim that their power and strength had produced their wealth (verse 17).


It is so easy to forget the bad times, when they are gone. They must remember where they came from, and how they got where they are. God wants them to remember, He delivered them.


Deuteronomy 8:15 "Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, [wherein were] fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where [there was] no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint;"


The wilderness of Paran, which was great and large, reaching from Sinai to Kadesh, eleven days' journey, and terrible to the sight. Nothing to be seen but dry rocks and barren mountains (see Deut. 1:19). And especially for what follows: wherein were fiery serpents and scorpions. Fiery serpents, such as bit the Israelites (see Num. 21:6). And scorpions, a kind of serpents, venomous and mischievous, which have stings in their tails they are continually thrusting out and striking with, as Pliny says. And have their name from their great sting; for Aristotle says, this alone of insects has a large sting.


"And drought where there was no water": A dry and barren place where no water was to be had (see Psalm 63:1). Or it may be rather another kind of serpents may be meant, which is called "dipsas"; and so the Vulgate Latin, Septuagint, and Samaritan versions render it. The biting of which produces such a thirst as proves mortal, and which must be intolerable in a wilderness where no water is. And from whence it has its name, which signifies thirsty, as does the Hebrew word here used.


"Who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint": Which was done both at Horeb and Kadesh (Exodus 17:6), and was very extraordinary. By striking flint, fire is ordinarily produced, and not water. Dr. Shaw observes, that it may be more properly named, with other sorts of graphite marble here to be met with, "the rock of amethyst", from their reddish or purple color and complexion (compare Numbers 20:9-13).


They must look back and remember the hardships, so they can remember to be thankful to God for bringing them this far.


Deuteronomy 8:16 "Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end;"


"To do thee good at thy later end": God designed the test of the wilderness so that Israel might be disciplined to obey Him. Through her obedience, she received the blessing of the Land. Thus, God's design was to do good for Israel at the end of the process.


The ultimate purpose of God's discipline and testing is expressed in this phrase. After it was all over, they would enter the Promised Land if they lived by faith and trusted God.


The LORD had miraculously fed them these 40 years with that heavenly Bread, which symbolizes the Lord Jesus.


John 6:50-51 "This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die." "I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."



Verses 17-18: Here, Moses warns against remembering the Lord when times are bad and forgetting Him when times are good. His people "remember" Him through thankfulness and generosity in His name (1 Cor. 16:2).


Deuteronomy 8:17 "And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of [mine] hand hath gotten me this wealth."


These words are in connection with the former part of the (Deut. 8:14).


"And thou forget the Lord thy God": That is not only as if convinced; but, whether or not thou said this expressly with thy lips. Thou feels and practically behaves as if "thy own power and might had gotten thee this wealth."


My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth": So ascribing that to themselves, their labor, and diligence, which ought to be ascribed to the bounty and blessing of God (see Hosea 12:8).


When they remember the miraculous Bread from heaven, they will know the wealth they have now, is also a gift from God. They must never forget that all they have is because God gave it to them. It is not their own doing.



Verses 18-19 (see note on 4:25-31).


Deuteronomy 8:18 "But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for [it is] he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as [it is] this day."


"God ... he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant": Yahweh alone gave Israel the ability to get wealth, and the blessing the nation enjoyed was the result of His covenant with the people and was the outcome of His promise to their forefathers.


They must not think their own ability got them this wealth. They must remember God gives all good gifts to those who love and obey Him.


James 1:17 "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."


Deuteronomy 8:19 "And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish."


"If thou do at all forget": Forgetting God would lead to worshiping other gods, which in turn would result in certain destruction. As God destroyed the Canaanites for their idolatry, so also would He judge Israel.


Moses reminds them over and over, that they must not get filled up with pride, because God has blessed them so greatly. The next thing after pride is to forget God. To forget God who blessed them, would bring certain disaster. To walk after false gods, is to commit spiritual adultery. That is not only being unfaithful to God, but shaming Him as well.


Deuteronomy 8:20 "As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD your God."


Be cut off by the sword, or cast out as they were. The same sins, particularly idolatry, being committed by them. This is to be understood of the seven nations of the land of Canaan, which the Lord would gradually destroy when Israel came into the possession of their land. And they might righteously expect the same treatment, should they be guilty of the same sins.


"Because ye would not be obedient to the voice of the Lord your God": Expressed in his law, especially in the two first precepts of it. Which require the worship of one God, and forbid the worshipping of idols. Or to the Word of the Lord, as the Targum of Jonathan. Christ, the essential Word, in whom the name of the Lord was, and whose voice Israel was to obey (Exodus 23:20).


If they act like the heathens, they will be treated like the heathens. God destroyed the nations before Israel, because they worshipped false gods. It would be no different for them, if they turn away from the Living God.


Deuteronomy Chapter 8 Questions


1. Why is it important for them to keep the commandments?


2. How many are they to keep?


3. What was the purpose of the 40 years of wandering?


4. How had God fed them?


5. Why were they fed this way?


6. What was miraculous about their clothing, and their feet on this journey?


7. Those the LORD loves, He _____________.


8. We are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be ______________ with the world.


9. Blessed is every one that ____________ the LORD.


10. What kind of land has God given them?


11. Why will there be no lack of food for them?


12. What metals will be found there?


13. What did Moses tell them to beware of?


14. We all remember to pray when we are _______ ___________.


15. What is speaking of prosperity?


16. When is it easy to forget where the blessings come from?


17. What does verse 15 say was in the wilderness?


18. In verse 17, they think what has gotten them this wealth?


19. If they worship false gods, what will happen to them?


20. To walk after false gods, is to commit ___________ ____________.


21. If they act like heathens, they will be __________ like heathens.





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Deuteronomy 9



Deuteronomy Chapter 9

Verses 9:1 - 10:11: This part of Moses' speech rehearses the sins of the Israelites at Horeb (compare Exodus chapter 32).


Verses 1-6: Moses represents the strength of the enemies they were now to encounter. This was to drive them to God, and engage their hope in him. He assures them of victory, by the presence of God with them. He cautions them not to have the least thought of their own righteousness, as if that procured this favor at God's hand. In Christ, we have both righteousness and strength; in Him we must glory, not in ourselves, nor in any sufficiency of our own. It is for the wickedness of these nations that God drives them out. All whom God rejects, are rejected for their own wickedness; but none whom he accepts are accepted for their own righteousness. Thus, boasting is for ever done away (see Eph. 2:9; 11-12).


The conquest will be accomplished because of Yahweh's will, not because of Israel's righteousness. "The wickedness of these nations" served as the basis for Israel's victories (Gen. 15:16). "Stiffnecked people": Literally the word is "hard of neck"; the figure may be taken from a stubborn ox that refuses to submit to the yoke.


Deuteronomy 9:1 "Hear, O Israel: Thou [art] to pass over Jordan this day, to go in to possess nations greater and mightier than thyself, cities great and fenced up to heaven,"


A pause being made after the delivery of the preceding discourse. Or perhaps what follows might be delivered at another time, at some little distance. And which being of moment and importance to the glory of God. And that Israel might have a true notion of their duty, they are called upon to listen with attention to what was now about to be said.


"Thou art to pass over Jordan this day": Not precisely that very day, but in a short time after this. For it was on the first day of the eleventh month that Moses began the repetition of the laws he was now going on with (Deut. 1:3). And it was not until the tenth day of the first month of the next year that the people passed over Jordan (Joshua 4:19). Which was about two months after this.


"To go in and possess nations greater and mightier than thyself": The seven nations named (Deut. 7:1), where the same characters are given of them.


"Cities great and fenced up to heaven": As they were said to be by the spies (Deut. 1:28). And were no doubt both large and strongly fortified, and not to be easily taken by the Israelites, had not the Lord been with them (Deut. 9:3).


Moses continues to bring before them the fact that they are led of God. They must listen carefully and obey. "This Day" means in the very near future. The people in the lands they are about to possess are not weak in the physical sense. In fact, they are very strong physically. God is removing them, because of the magnitude of the sins in their lives. They are idolatrous, which God will not permit. They do have strong world fortifications, but none of this can stop God.


Deuteronomy 9:2 "A people great and tall, the children of the Anakims, whom thou knowest, and [of whom] thou hast heard [say], Who can stand before the children of Anak!"


"The Anakims": Moses remembered the people's shock when they hear the original report of the 12 spies concerning the size, strength, and number of the inhabitants of Canaan (Num. 13:26 - 14:6). Therefore, he emphasized that from a purely military and human point of view, their victory was impossible. The fear of the spies and the people focused on the Anakim, a tall, strong people who lived in the land of Canaan (see note on 1:28).


They were much larger people than the Israelites. Just as this was no problem with Og, it will be no problem here. Instead of saying, "who can stand before the sons of Anak", they should say, "who can stand before God". There is no power on earth strong enough to withstand God.


Deuteronomy 9:3 "Understand therefore this day, that the LORD thy God [is] he which goeth over before thee; [as] a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the LORD hath said unto thee."


"Consuming fire": The Lord was pictured as a fire which burned everything in its path. So the Lord would go over into Canaan and exterminate Canaanites. "destroy them quickly". Israel was to be the human agent of the Lord's destruction of the Canaanites. The military strength of the Canaanites would be destroyed quickly (see Joshua 6:1-11:23), though the complete subjugation of the Land would take time (see 7:22, Joshua 13:1).


The Israelites must not hesitate to go into the land, but they must not depend on their own strength to defeat these people. God will go before them. He is their strength.


Psalms 140:7 "O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle."


The Scripture that helps me, when I feel I cannot go on is the following.


Isaiah 12:2 "Behold, God [is] my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH [is] my strength and [my] song; he also is become my salvation."



Verses 4-6: God's choice of Israel had nothing to do with her "righteousness" or her size (Rom. 11:6); she was the least (7:7), and she was made up of a "stiff-necked" people. The two stated reasons that the Lord brought the Israelites into the land were the "wickedness of these nations" and the Lord's "oath" to your fathers.


Deuteronomy 9:4 "Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the LORD thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee."


"For my righteousness": Three times in verse 4-6, Moses emphasized that the victory was not because of Israel's goodness, but was entirely the work of God. It was the wickedness of the Canaanites that led to their expulsion from the land (compare Rom. 10:6).


It is not the righteousness of Israel that causes God to do this for them, but the wickedness of their enemies. God loves Israel, and wants them to return that love in obedience to Him. They are not perfect, just loved.


Deuteronomy 9:5 "Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."


Neither for their external righteousness before men, or their outward conformity to the law. Nor for the inward sincerity of their hearts, and their upright intentions in doing good, in which they were defective.


"Dost thou go to possess their land": This is repeated, and enlarged on, and explained, that this notion might be entirely removed from them, and not entertained by them. Similar to which is that of men, who fancy that their sincere obedience, though imperfect, will be accepted of God. Instead of a perfect one, on account of which they shall be justified and saved. But by the deeds of the law no flesh living can be justified in the sight of God. Nor by any works of righteousness done by the best of men, and in the best manner they are capable of, will any be saved.


"But for the wickedness of those nations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee": Which is repeated, that it might be taken notice of as the true reason of the Lord's dealing with them in such severity. And which because it would be now doing, when the Israelites passed over Jordan, and went in to possess the land. It is expressed in the present tense, "doth drive", the work being not yet finished. Sin was the cause of their ejection out of their land, and another thing was the reason of the Israelites possessing it, and not their righteousness next expressed.


"And that he may perform the word which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob": It was to fulfil his covenant, and make good his word of promise to their fathers, and not on account of any righteousness of theirs. And the salvation of the Lord's people in a spiritual sense, and their enjoyment of the heavenly Canaan, are owing to the gracious purposes and promises of God. And to his covenant engagements, as well as to the undertakings, obedience, and righteousness of his Son, and not to any righteousness of theirs.


Abraham was counted righteous, because of his great faith. The blessings that were coming upon Israel were because of the promises God had made to Abraham, and in turn to Isaac, and Jacob. The lack of faith is the very thing that caused the Israelite fathers not to enter the Promised Land, but wander 40 years. Now this generation has a chance to enter, if they have enough faith.


Deuteronomy 9:6 "Understand therefore, that the LORD thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou [art] a stiffnecked people."


"A stiffnecked people": Literally "hard of neck". An expression for the stubborn, intractable, obdurate, and unbending attitude of Israel. (In verses 7-29), Moses illustrated Israel's rebellious attitude and actions toward the Lord.


"Stiffnecked" means obstinate, rebellious, stubborn. Moses would have them understand their righteousness is not what got them the land. They receive the land on faith, because of their ancestor Abraham. God is keeping His promise to Abraham.



Verses 7-29: There are many parallels between this narrative and the one (in Exodus 24:12-18; chapter 32 and 34). The intercession of Moses (verses 18-20; 25-29), is set against the rebellion of Israel (verses 7-17; 21-24). In this way, the love and mercy of Yahweh for Israel are emphasized. They had "been rebellious against the Lord from the day that I knew you". Before they crossed the Red Sea they were in unbelief, and all the way to Sinai they murmured and tested God. Then He knew them, that is, He made a covenant with them. Even then they were involved in idolatry, as when Moses came down the mountain with the tablets of stone.


That the Israelites might have no pretense to think that God brought them to Canaan for their righteousness, Moses shows what a miracle of mercy it was, that they had not been destroyed in the wilderness. It is good for us often to remember against ourselves, with sorrow and shame, our former sins; that we may see how much we are indebted to free grace, and may humbly own that we never merited anything but wrath and the curse at God's hand. For so strong is our propensity to pride, that it will creep in under one pretense or another. We are ready to fancy that our righteousness has got for us the special favor of the Lord, though in reality our wickedness is more plain than our weakness. But when the secret history of every man's life shall be brought forth at the day of judgment, all the world will be proved guilty before God. At present, One pleads for us before the mercy-seat, who not only fasted, but died upon the cross for our sins. Through whom we may approach, though self-condemned sinners, and beseech for undeserved mercy and for eternal life, as the gift of God in Him. Let us refer all the victory, all the glory, and all the praise, to Him who alone bringeth salvation.


Deuteronomy 9:7 "Remember, [and] forget not, how thou provokedst the LORD thy God to wrath in the wilderness: from the day that thou didst depart out of the land of Egypt, until ye came unto this place, ye have been rebellious against the LORD."


"Remember": Moses challenged Israel to call to mind the long history of their stubbornness and provocation of God which had extended from the time of the Exodus from Egypt for 40 years until the present moment on the Plains of Moab.


They had been a people who were never satisfied. They had murmured against God, Moses, and Aaron. They had made the golden calf. They had sinned with false gods. They were a people who did not want to be ruled of God. Over and over, the LORD had been angered by their sins.


Deuteronomy 9:8 "Also in Horeb ye provoked the LORD to wrath, so that the LORD was angry with you to have destroyed you."


The word "also" shows that they had provoked him before, but this instance is given as a very notorious one. Here they made the golden calf and worshipped it, while Moses was on the mount with God, receiving instructions from him for their good. Near to this place a rock had been smitten for them, from whence flowed water for the refreshment of them and their cattle. Here the Lord appeared in the glory of his majesty to them, and from hence, for it is the same mount with Sinai, the law was given to them in such an awful and terrible manner. And yet none of these things were sufficient to restrain them from provoking the Lord to wrath by their sins.


"So that the Lord was angry with you, to have destroyed you": So very angry with them, and so justly, that he proposed to Moses to destroy them, and make of him a great nation in their stead (Exodus 32:10).


I suppose their very worst sin had been when they made the golden calf and worshipped it, while Moses was gone up the mountain to receive the two tables of stone with the Ten Commandments graven in them. They were without excuse, because God had spoken the Ten Commandments from the fire on the mountain, and they had all heard. They also, had agreed to keep the commandments of God. The LORD would have destroyed them all, had not Moses begged for their lives.


Deuteronomy 9:9 "When I was gone up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, [even] the tables of the covenant which the LORD made with you, then I abode in the mount forty days and forty nights, I neither did eat bread nor drink water:"


The tables of the law, the same law which forbid idolatry, and which they had lately heard from the mouth of God himself. Even;


"The tables of the covenant which the Lord made with you": Which they had agreed unto, and solemnly promised they would observe and do (Exodus 24:7).


"Then I abode in the mount forty days and forty nights": And this long stay was one reason of their falling into idolatry, not knowing what was become of him (Exodus 24:18).


"I neither did eat bread nor drink water": All those forty days and nights (Exodus 34:28).


Moses had fasted for forty days and nights, while on the mountain top with God. He had been in the near presence of God. His head shone so brightly when he came down the mountain, that he had to wear a veil to keep from blinding the people.


Deuteronomy 9:10 "And the LORD delivered unto me two tables of stone written with the finger of God; and on them [was written] according to all the words, which the LORD spake with you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly."


"The finger of God": God Himself had written the Ten Commandments on the two tablets of stone at Mt. Sinai (see Exodus 31:18).


The main thing we must see in this, is that the fiery finger of God wrote the commandments on the stones. This was the first set of stones God prepared for Moses to bring and present to the people. These were the same commandments God had spoken to them at the mount.


Deuteronomy 9:11 "And it came to pass at the end of forty days and forty nights, [that] the LORD gave me the two tables of stone, [even] the tables of the covenant."


The time of Moses's stay in the mount, when it was just up, and not before. That;


"The Lord gave me the two tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant as in (Deut. 9:9). Aben Ezra observes, that this shows that the day the tables were given to Moses the calf was made.


Moses stayed on the mountain, until the LORD told him to go. We see total obedience on the part of Moses. The tables of stone with the Ten Commandments are given to Moses.


Deuteronomy 9:12 "And the LORD said unto me, Arise, get thee down quickly from hence; for thy people which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt have corrupted [themselves]; they are quickly turned aside out of the way which I commanded them; they have made them a molten image."


The omniscient God, who knew what was doing in the camp of Israel, though Moses did not, of which he informs him.


"Arise, get thee down quickly from hence": From the mount where he was. And the word "arise" does not suppose him to be sitting or lying along. Neither of which postures would have been suitable, considering in whose presence he was. But is only expressive of urgency and haste of his departure; it is not used in (Exodus 32:7).


"For thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt, have corrupted themselves": Their way, as the Targum of Jonathan; that is, by idolatry, that which nothing is more corrupting and defiling. The Lord calls them not his people, but the people of Moses, being highly displeased with them. And ascribes their coming out of Egypt to Moses the instrument, and not to himself, as if he repented of bringing them from thence.


"They are quickly turned aside out of the way which I commanded them": It being but about six weeks ago, that the command forbidding idolatry was given. The sin they had fallen into, had been given them.


"And they have made them a molten image": The image of a calf made of melted gold.


We see they had quickly forgotten the Ten Commandments; God had spoken to them. Not only had God forbidden them to make a golden image, but He had forbidden worship of it too. It had been just a short time since they had heard the voice of God, and yet they have turned to idols.


Deuteronomy 9:13 "Furthermore the LORD spake unto me, saying, I have seen this people, and, behold, it [is] a stiffnecked people:"


After he had given him the two tables, and before his departure from the mount.


"I have seen this people": Took notice of them, their ways, and their works.


"And, behold, it is a stiffnecked people": Unwilling to submit to, and bear the yoke of my commandments (see Exodus 32:9).


They are a people who want to do what pleases themselves. They do not want to obey anyone. They have rebelled against God.


Deuteronomy 9:14 "Let me alone, that I may destroy them, and blot out their name from under heaven: and I will make of thee a nation mightier and greater than they."


"Blot out their name from under heaven": God threatened to destroy the people of Israel so completely that He pictured it as an obliteration of all memory of them from the world of men. This threat was taken by Moses as an invitation to intercede for the children of Israel (Num. 14:11-19).


The LORD, at this point in time, wants to destroy them all and start all over with Moses. He is already grieved that He chose them to be His people. Moses actually pleads with God for their lives. God does not destroy them, because of Moses' request.


Deuteronomy 9:15 "So I turned and came down from the mount, and the mount burned with fire: and the two tables of the covenant [were] in my two hands."


As the Lord commanded.


"And the mount burned with fire": As it had for six weeks past, ever since the Lord's descent upon it. And so it continued, for the words may be rendered, "and the mount was burning". And yet this did not deter the Israelites from idolatry.


"And the two tables of the covenant were in my two hands": One table in one hand, and the other in the other hand.


God remained on the mount. He was present in the fire on the mount. Moses came down the mountain alone with the two tables containing the Ten Commandments.


Deuteronomy 9:16 "And I looked, and, behold, ye had sinned against the LORD your God, [and] had made you a molten calf: ye had turned aside quickly out of the way which the LORD had commanded you."


When he was come down from the mount, and was nigh the camp.


"And, behold, ye had sinned against the Lord your God": That plainly appeared by what they had done, and at which he was amazed. And therefore, a behold is prefixed to it, it being such a gross sin, having so much impiety, ingratitude and stupidity in it.


"And had made you a molten calf"; that he saw with his eyes, and them dancing about it (see Exodus 32:19).


"Ye had turned aside quickly out of the way which the Lord had commanded you" (see Deut. 9:7).


Actually, they had convinced Aaron to make the golden calf. They had so quickly turned aside to this golden calf to worship. They wanted something they could see with their physical eyes. God is a Spirit. The true God is Creator of all the world. He cannot be seen with physical eyes.


Deuteronomy 9:17 "And I took the two tables, and cast them out of my two hands, and brake them before your eyes."


In wrath and indignation at the sin they were guilty of.


"And brake them before your eyes": As an emblem of their breach of them by transgressing them.


When Moses threw the stones to the ground and broke them, it showed that their agreement with God had been broken by them. They had turned from the One True God to the worship of an image.


Deuteronomy 9:18 "And I fell down before the LORD, as at the first, forty days and forty nights: I did neither eat bread, nor drink water, because of all your sins which ye sinned, in doing wickedly in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger."


In prayer for Israel who had sinned. But this he did not immediately after he had broken the tables. But when he had first ground the calf to powder, strewed it on the water, and made the children of Israel drink it. And when he had chided Aaron, and ordered the sons of Levi to slay every man his brother.


"As at the first forty days and forty nights": Which is to be connected, I think, not with what goes before. For we read not that he fell down before the Lord, at the first time he was with him so long in the mount; but with what follows. "I did neither eat bread nor drink water"; as he neither ate nor drank the first forty days, so neither did he these second forty (see Deut. 9:9).


"Because of all your sins which ye sinned, in doing wickedly in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger": For they were guilty of more sins than one. Besides idolatry, they were guilty of unbelief, ingratitude, etc., which were notorious and flagrant. And were done openly and publicly, in sight of his glory and majesty on the mount. All which must be very provoking to him, and on account of these Moses prayed and fasted.


Moses went back up on the mountain where the presence of God was. He stayed on the mountain another 40 days and 40 nights, without eating or drinking water. They had provoked God to anger, and Moses interceded for them.


Deuteronomy 9:19 "For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure, wherewith the LORD was wroth against you to destroy you. But the LORD hearkened unto me at that time also."


Which was exceeding vehement, as appeared by his words to Moses. Forbidding to intercede for them, that he might consume them, and make of him a greater nation. Wherefore he dreaded the issue of it, lest it should be:


"To destroy you": That this should be his full resolution and determination. However, he made use of means, and betook himself to fasting and prayer. So heartily affected was he to this people when his temptations lay another way.


"But the Lord hearkened unto me at that time also": As he had at other times, when this people had sinned. And he entreated for them; in which he was a type of Christ, the Mediator and Advocate, whom the Father always hears.


The LORD spared them, because of Moses' prayers for them.


Deuteronomy 9:20 "And the LORD was very angry with Aaron to have destroyed him: and I prayed for Aaron also the same time."


"I prayed for Aaron": Moses interceded on behalf of Aaron, on whom the immediate responsibility for the Israelites' sin of the golden calf rested. Aaron had thus incurred the wrath of God, and his life was in danger (see Exodus 32:1-6). This is the only verse in the Pentateuch which specifically states that Moses prayed for Aaron.


The mention of God being extremely angry with Aaron is not mentioned in Exodus, but we can surely see why God would have been angry with him. Perhaps this is mentioned here, to show that even the highest official in the church can also anger God. Just because a person is a pastor of a church, does not exempt him from the penalty for sin.


Deuteronomy 9:21 "And I took your sin, the calf which ye had made, and burnt it with fire, and stamped it, [and] ground [it] very small, [even] until it was as small as dust: and I cast the dust thereof into the brook that descended out of the mount."


Which was the object of their sin, which lay in making and worshipping it (see Isa. 31:7).


"And burnt it with fire, and stamped it": With his feet after it was burnt, to bring it into small pieces.


"And ground it very small": Or, as the Targum of Jonathan, "ground it in a mortar well;" the burnt and broken pieces.


"Even until it was as small as dust": Being ground to powder, as in (Exodus 32:20).


"And I cast the dust thereof into the brook that descended out of the mount. And made the children of Israel to drink of it, as in the previously mentioned place (see note on Exodus 32:2). All this was done before the prayer for Aaron and the people.


The following Scripture tells a little more clearly why Moses strewed the gold dust from the calf in the brook.


Exodus 32:20 "And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt [it] in the fire, and ground [it] to powder, and strawed [it] upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink [of it]."


In a sense, they drank of their own sin.



Verses 22-24: Moses catalogs the places where the Israelites had been disobedient to the Lord, from the golden calf at Horeb (Exodus 32:1-10), to the disastrous decisions at Kadesh-barnea (Num. chapters 13-14). He summarizes with these sad words: "You have been rebellious against the Lord from the day that I knew you (Psalm 106:24-25). Centuries later, the Lord passed over these early examples of rebellion in the words of a forgiving lover: "I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals" (Jer. 2:2).


Deuteronomy 9:22 "And at Taberah, and at Massah, and at Kibroth-hattaavah, ye provoked the LORD to wrath."


"Taberah ... Massah ... Kibroth-hattaavah": These 3 places were all associated with Israel's rebellion against the Lord. Taberah, "burning", was where the people had complained of their misfortunes (Num. 11:1-3). At Massah, "testing", they had found fault with everything and in presumption had put God to the test (Exodus 17:1-7). At Kibroth-hattaavah, "graves of craving", the people had again incurred God's anger by complaining about their food (Num. 11:31-35).


At Taberah, they murmured against God. At Massah they complained of lack of water, until God miraculously provided good water for them to drink. At Kibroth-hattaavah they complained of the manna which fed them. They were complaining about something all the time. God would punish them, they would repent and then a short time later, it would begin again.


Deuteronomy 9:23 "Likewise when the LORD sent you from Kadesh-barnea, saying, Go up and possess the land which I have given you; then ye rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God, and ye believed him not, nor hearkened to his voice."


"Kadesh-barnea": There they sinned by both lack of faith in God and disobedience (compare Num. chapters 13 and 14).


This is speaking of the twelve spies who went for forty days into the Promised Land, to see if they could take it. God did not tell them to question whether they could take it, or not. He told them to take it. Only two spies, Joshua and Caleb, came back with a good report. The others convinced the people not to go in. They were punished by wandering in the wilderness, until the doubters died.


Deuteronomy 9:24 "Ye have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you."


"Ye have been rebellious against the LORD": Moses concluded that his dealing with Israel as God's mediator had been one of continual rebellion on Israel's part, which led to his intercession (verses 25-29).


Moses had trouble with them, even before they left Egypt. They had complained the entire 40 years. Moses is trying to make them realize, they have not been acting in faith toward God.


Deuteronomy 9:25 "Thus I fell down before the LORD forty days and forty nights, as I fell down [at the first]; because the LORD had said he would destroy you."


Which Jarchi says are the selfsame said above (Deut. 9:18). But doubled or repeated, because of the order of his prayer. The words "at the first" are not in the text; and, as before observed, we do not read that Moses fell down at the first forty days he was in the mount (Exodus 32:11).


"Because the Lord had said he would destroy you": Threatened them with destruction, and seemed as if it was his intention to destroy them. Nay, even after Moses's first prayer, though he bid him go and lead the people on, yet he declared that he would visit their sin upon them (Exodus 32:34).


These 40 days was in addition to the first 40 days. This time Moses has to prepare the stones himself for God to write on. He is pleading with God for their lives.


Deuteronomy 9:26 "I prayed therefore unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, destroy not thy people and thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed through thy greatness, which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand."


What follows is a different prayer from that in (Exodus 32:31). And agrees better with that in (Deut. 9:11), delivered before he came down from the mount. Yet could not be the same, because delivered at another forty days and nights.


"And said, O Lord God, destroy not thy people, and thine inheritance": Because they were his inheritance, a people whom he had chosen for his peculiar treasure. This is the first argument used, another follows.


"Which thou hast redeemed through thy greatness": Redeemed out of the house of bondage, the land of Egypt, by his great power, as next explained.


"Which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand": Inflicting plagues on the Egyptians, particularly destroying their firstborn, which made them the Israelites urge to depart.


Moses reminds God that He chose these people. These are the people of the inheritance. God miraculously freed them from Egypt, Himself. He destroyed Pharaoh's army for them. He must not give up on them now.


Deuteronomy 9:27 "Remember thy servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; look not unto the stubbornness of this people, nor to their wickedness, nor to their sin:"


The covenant he had made with them, the promises he had made to them of the multiplication of their seed, and of giving the land of Canaan to them. Which is a third argument used with the Lord not to destroy them.


"Look not unto the stubbornness of this people, nor to their wickedness, nor to their sin": Nor to the natural temper and disposition of the people, which was to be stubborn, obstinate, stiffnecked, and self-willed. Nor to their wickedness, which appears in various instances. Nor to that particular sin of idolatry they had now been guilty of. Tacitly owning that if God looked to these things, there was sufficient reason to destroy them.


Moses reminds God of His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is saying, "Do this because you promised them, not because of these stubborn people. They were a wicked, sinful, stubborn people. God had delivered them from the clutches of Egypt. Now, He is having difficulty getting Egypt out of them. They had lived in a heathen nation. They had picked up many of the ways of the world. God does not destroy them for Abraham's sake.


Deuteronomy 9:28 "Lest the land whence thou broughtest us out say, Because the LORD was not able to bring them into the land which he promised them, and because he hated them, he hath brought them out to slay them in the wilderness."


"The land whence thou broughtest us": Moses' prayer of intercession to the Lord on behalf of Israel appealed to the Lord to forgive His people because the Egyptians could have interpreted God's destruction of Israel as His inability to fulfill His promise and His hate for His people.


All of the people in the lands around them knew that God was with this people. They knew of the ten plagues that freed them from Egypt. They knew that God had parted the Red Sea for them to cross. They knew God destroyed Pharaoh's army for these people. They were aware that God was leading them with a fire by night, and a smoke by day. If He destroys then now, it will appear God is lacking in power. Moses has made a good point.


Deuteronomy 9:29 "Yet they [are] thy people and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest out by thy mighty power and by thy stretched out arm."


Though they had sinned against him.


"And thine inheritance": Which he would not forsake and cast off. At least Moses hoped on this account he would not, and makes use thereof as an argument with him why he should not. And which he repeats, adding in effect what he had said before.


"Which thou broughtest out by thy mighty power and stretched out arm": Even out of the land of Egypt. The doing of which was plainly the effect of his almighty power. And an evidence of it, considering the weakness of Israel and the strength of Egypt. And the manner in which the Lord brought about this surprising event.


The best statement of all is perhaps, the fact that they are God's people. He has chosen them. As bad as they are, they are His. They do not deserve to be saved. God saved them in spite of that fact. It sounds familiar doesn't it. We do not deserve to be saved either. God saves us because He loves us, not because we deserve it.


Deuteronomy Chapter 9 Questions


1. What does "this day", in verse 1, mean?


2. What kind of people will Israel face?


3. Why is God moving these people out for Israel?


4. Their cities were said to be fenced up to _________.


5. These people were tall like the ____________.


6. Instead of saying "Who can stand before the sons of Anak" they should say what?


7. How will God destroy their enemies?


8. It is not the righteousness of Israel, but the _____________ of their enemies that causes God to drive them out.


9. Who had God given His Word to about this land?


10. Abraham was counted righteous, because of his ________ ________.


11. What had caused the Israelite fathers not to go into the Promised Land?


12. What does "stiffnecked" mean?


13. God is keeping His promise to ___________.


14. What terrible thing had they done at Horeb?


15. Why were they without excuse?


16. The LORD would have destroyed them all, had not ________ begged for their lives.


17. How long did Moses fast on the mountain?


18. How were the tables of stone written?


19. Why did God tell Moses to get down quickly to the people?


20. What did God want to do, when He saw the golden calf?


21. What did Moses find, when he came down the mount?


22. What reaction did Moses have?


23. Where did Moses go then?


24. The LORD spared the people, because of Moses' ___________ for them.


25. How did God feel toward Aaron?


26. Why did He not kill Aaron?


27. What had happened at Taberah?


28. What had happened at Massah?


29. What had happened at Kibroth-hattaavah?


30. What had they done wrong at Kadesh-barnea?


31. Who were the only two spies, who came back with a good report?


32. When had Moses started having trouble with the people of Israel?


33. What was different about the ten commandments on the tables of stone, the second time Moses got them?


34. Who did Moses tell God to remember?


35. What would the nations around think, if God killed the Israelites?


36. Who do these people really belong to?


37. How are we, Christians, like the Israelites?





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Deuteronomy 10



Deuteronomy Chapter 10

Verses 1-11: Moses reminded the Israelites of God's great mercy to them, notwithstanding their provocations. There were four things in and by which the Lord showed himself reconciled to Israel. God gave them his law. Thus, God has entrusted us with Bibles, Sabbaths, and sacraments, as tokens of his presence and favor. God led them forward toward Canaan. He appointed a standing ministry among them for holy things. And now, under the gospel, when the pouring forth of the Spirit is more plentiful and powerful, the succession is kept up by the Spirit's work on men's hearts. Qualifying and making some willing for that work in every age. God accepted Moses as an advocate or intercessor for them, and therefore appointed him to be their prince and leader. Moses was a type of Christ. Who forever lives, pleading for us, and has all power in heaven and in earth.


Verses 1-3: "Two tables of stone like unto the first": God had listened to Moses' intercession and dealt mercifully with the Israelites who had broken the covenant by rewriting the Ten Commandments on two tablets prepared for that purpose by Moses. The second tablets were made of the same material and were the same size as the first.


Deuteronomy 10:1 "At that time the LORD said unto me, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up unto me into the mount, and make thee an ark of wood."


"Ark of wood": This refers to the ark of the covenant. Moses telescoped the events in these verses. Later, at the construction of the ark of the covenant, Moses placed the two new stone tablets within that ark (see Exodus 37:1-9).


Notice in this, that Moses hews the second set of stones. God prepared them the first time. These stones were to be housed in the ark of the covenant. The plans for the ark were given Moses on the mount. The ark was built, and put into the tabernacle in the wilderness at a later time. The ark was to be made of shittim wood and overlaid with gold.


Deuteronomy 10:2 "And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou brakest, and thou shalt put them in the ark."


Though they were hewn by Moses, the writing on them was the Lord's. And the very same laws, in the same words, without any alteration or variation, were written by him on these as on the former. Partly to show the authenticity of them, that they were of God and not Moses, of a divine original and not human. And partly to show the invariableness of them, that no change had been made in them. Though they had been broken by the people; of which Moses's breaking the tables was a representation.


"And thou shall put them in the ark": Which being a type of Christ may signify the fulfilment of the law by him, who is the end, the fulfilling end of the law for righteousness to every believer. And that as this was in his heart to fulfil it, so it is in his hand as a rule of faith and conversation to his people.


We read in a previous lesson, that the finger of God wrote on the tables of stone. It will be the responsibility of Moses to care for the tables of stone until the tabernacle is built, and they are placed in the ark in the holy of holies.


Deuteronomy 10:3 "And I made an ark [of] shittim wood, and hewed two tables of stone like unto the first, and went up into the mount, having the two tables in mine hand."


That is, ordered it to be made, and it was made by Bezaleel, and that of shittim wood. So the ark that was put into the Holy of Holies was made of this wood (see notes on Exodus 25:10; 37:1).


"And hewed two tables of stone like unto the first": Two marble ones, as the Targum of Jonathan; that is, he ordered them to be hewed, and took care that they should be exactly made as the former were. Of which he had perfect knowledge, having received them of the Lord, and brought them with him down the mount.


"And went up into the mount, having the two tables in my hand": In order to have the words of the law, the ten commandments, written on them. These being only hewn stones, without anything on them. They were very probably marble, of which great quantities were near at hand.


Moses hewing the stones, instead of God, shows that there must be some effort on man's part to renew the covenant with God. Perhaps there was a short period of time between the time Moses came down with the first tables, and the time he re-enters the mount with the tables for God to write on the second time. Chapter 25 in Exodus reveals a more detailed explanation of this.


Deuteronomy 10:4 "And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the LORD spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly: and the LORD gave them unto me."


The same laws, in the same letters.


"The ten commandments which the Lord spake unto you in the mount": In Mount Sinai, on which he descended, and from whence he delivered the Decalogue by word of mouth in an audible manner, that all the people could hear it.


"Out of the midst of the fire": In which he descended, and where he continued, and from whence he spake, so that it was indeed a fiery law.


"In the day of the assembly": When all the people of Israel were assembled together at the bottom of the mount to hear it.


"And the Lord gave them unto me": The two tables, when he had written upon them the ten commandments.


You can find the Ten Commandments in Exodus chapter 20. Their first knowledge of the Ten Commandments was when God spoke them aloud to the whole camp. Moses went to the mount two separate times, and received two different sets of the same commandments.


Deuteronomy 10:5 "And I turned myself and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they be, as the LORD commanded me."


From the Lord, out of whose hands he had received the tables.


"And came down from the mount": With the two tables in his hand as before. One in one hand, and the other in the other hand.


"And put the tables in the ark which I had made": Or ordered to be made.


"And there they be, as the Lord commanded me": There they were when Moses rehearsed what is contained in this book, on the plains of Moab, about thirty eight years after the putting them, into it. And there they continued to be when the ark was brought into Solomon's temple (1 Kings 8:9). And there they were as long as the ark was in being. Which may denote the continuance of the law in the hands of Christ under the Gospel dispensation as a rule of walk and conversation to his people.


The tables were actually put into the ark, after the tabernacle had been dedicated to the LORD. Moses kept the commandments, until that time. In a summary such as this, sometimes one sentence covers a period of time.



Verses 6-9: Theses verses show that the priesthood of Aaron and service of the Levites were restored after the incident of the golden calf.


Deuteronomy 10:6 "And the children of Israel took their journey from Beeroth of the children of Jaakan to Mosera: there Aaron died, and there he was buried; and Eleazar his son ministered in the priest's office in his stead."


"Mosera: there Aaron died": Aaron was not killed at Sinai, but lived until the 40 th year of the Exodus, which shows the effectiveness of Moses' intercession before the Lord (compare Num. 20:22-29; 33:38-39). After Aaron's death, the priestly ministry continued in the appointment of Eleazar. Mosera is the district in which Mt. Hor stands, on which Aaron died (compare Num. 20:27-28; 33:38).


We see that this has jumped many years forward. God forgave Aaron and the congregation of Israel, for their worship of the golden calf. In the verse above, we see that God continued the office of high priest in the son of Aaron, who was Eleazar.


Deuteronomy 10:7 "From thence they journeyed unto Gudgodah; and from Gudgodah to Jotbath, a land of rivers of waters."


Which Jarchi takes to be the same with Hor-hagidgad, and so do most (see Num. 33:32). But Aben Ezra says it is not, but is a general name, including Zalmonah, Punon, and Oboth, places the Israelites came to after they removed from Mount Hor, where Aaron died (see Num. 33:41).


"And from Gudgodah to Jotbath, a land of rivers of waters": Which the above writer takes to be the same with Beer, the well (Num. 21:16). And by this description of it, it was a place where there was much water.


Gudgodah was associated with the cave of Gilead. Jotbath seemed to be a place where the water was plentiful in streams. Water had been a major problem with the Israelites on their desert journey. Neither of the places here are well known. They were probably mentioned by Moses, because of the abundance of water there.


Deuteronomy 10:8 "At that time the LORD separated the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant of the LORD, to stand before the LORD to minister unto him, and to bless in his name, unto this day."


Not at the time that Moses came down from the mount with the tables of the law, but some considerable time after. Even after the tabernacle was erected. Nor at the time that Aaron died, and Eleazar succeeded him, but many years before that. Unless there was a fresh separation of them, or a renewal of it when Eleazar became high priest in his father's stead. And so that being mentioned is the reason of its being repeated here.


"To bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord": Even that into which the law, sometimes called the covenant, was put. And therefore, here called the ark of the covenant. When this was carried from place to place, as it was especially in the wilderness, it was the business of the Levites to bear it, particularly the Kohathites (Num. 3:31).


"To stand before the Lord to minister unto him": That is, to his priests, in the tabernacle, and to keep and guard that.


"And to bless in his name unto this day": Not to bless the people, which was the work of the priest, but to sing praise in the name of the Lord, to give thanks unto him, and bless and praise him. "At that time": This refers to the time that Israel was at Mt. Sinai.


This happened back where God had restored the covenant with the two new tables of stone. At the building of the tabernacle in the wilderness, God appointed the Levites for work with the holy things. The tribe of Levi actually substituted for the firstborn of each family. The Levitical tribe was to keep this separated condition, even after they came into the land of promise.


Deuteronomy 10:9 "Wherefore Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren; the LORD [is] his inheritance, according as the LORD thy God promised him."


"No part nor inheritance": The family of Levi received no inheritance in the land of Canaan (see Num. 18:20, 24).


In the separation of the land of promise, the tribe of Levi did not inherit. They belonged to the LORD. They were to live of the gifts of the altar. The tribe of Joseph got two portions instead of one, and Levi was removed from the land portions. Levites lived and worked in the service of the LORD. They received cities for their families to live in.


Numbers 18:24 "But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer [as] a heave offering unto the LORD, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance."



Verses 10-11: Because of Moses' intercession not because of their righteousness, the Israelites were encamped on the banks of the Jordan, ready to enter the Promised Land.


Deuteronomy 10:10 "And I stayed in the mount, according to the first time, forty days and forty nights; and the LORD hearkened unto me at that time also, [and] the LORD would not destroy thee."


Which is to be connected with (Deut. 10:6), and relates what passed before he came down from the mount with the two tables. As that he stayed there as long as he did when he received the first tables, and fasted also as long as he did then (see Exodus 34:28).


"And the Lord hearkened unto me at that time also": To his prayer on the behalf of the people.


"And the Lord would not destroy thee": Though he had threatened it, and their sin had deserved it.


This reverts back to Moses' second trip up the mount for the second set of the tables of the ten commandments. This is summing up the results of God forgiving them for their transgression.


Deuteronomy 10:11 "And the LORD said unto me, Arise, take [thy] journey before the people, that they may go in and possess the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give unto them."


Here Moses goes on with his relation of things at Mount Sinai, how that upon his supplication for the people, on account of the destruction they were threatened with for their idolatry. The Lord was graciously pleased not only to hear him and forgive the people, but ordered him to go before them, and lead them on towards the land of Canaan he had promised them (Exodus 32:34).


"That they may go in and possess the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give unto them": And which had it not been for their later murmurings and rebellions, they had been in the possession of it in a little time, especially after their departure from Sinai.


This is not looking back. Moses is told of God, for the children of Israel to go in and possess the land that their father's should have gone in and taken.



Verses 12-22: We are here taught our duty to God in our principles and our practices. We must fear the Lord our God. We must love him, and delight in communion with him. We must walk in the ways in which he has appointed us to walk. We must serve him with all our heart and soul. What we do in his service we must do cheerfully, and with good will. We must keep his commandments. There is true honor and pleasure in obedience. We must give honor to God; and to him we must cleave, as one we love and delight in, trust in, and from whom we have great expectations. We are here taught our duty to our neighbor. God's common gifts to mankind oblige us to honor all men. And those who have themselves been in distress, and have found mercy with God, should be ready to show kindness to those who are in the same distress. We are here taught our duty to ourselves. Circumcise your hearts. Cast away all corrupt affections and inclinations, which hinder you from fearing and loving God. By nature, we do not love God. This is original sin, the source whence our wickedness proceeds. And the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then, they that are in the flesh cannot please God (Rom. 8:5-9). Let us, without delay or reserve, come and cleave to our reconciled God in Jesus Christ, that we may love, serve, and obey him acceptably. And be daily changed into his image, from glory to glory, by the Spirit of the Lord. Consider the greatness and glory of God; and his goodness and grace; these persuade us to our duty. Blessed Spirit! Oh for thy purifying, persevering, and renewing influences, that being called out of the state of strangers. Such as our fathers were, we may be found among the number of the children of God, and that our lot may be among the saints.


God's requirement of Israel was "Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked". An uncircumcised heart is one that hears imperfectly, being covered over. And uncircumcised lips (Exodus 6:12, 30), are lips that speak incoherently because they are sealed wholly or in part. If that which hinders is cut away, there will be a submission to the will of God and the end of stubbornness. Certainly, the Old Testament went beyond the physical to the spiritual (compare Rom. 2:29; Phil. 3:3. Col 2:11), in the same sense as the New Testament. "Fatherless": The items mentioned are not unique to Israel's God. Mesopotamian literature has examples of kings who expressed concern for the welfare of widows and orphans. But in Deuteronomy, and other parts of the Old Testament, Israel is urged to show kindness to such people (1:16; 10:19; 24:14, 17; 27:19 Exodus 23:9; note James 1:27 in the New Testament).


This section clarifies the essence of Torah, Yahweh's law for His people. It is commonly alleged that the Old Testament law was something negative, altogether focused on externals rather than the more important issue of the spirit and a poor attempt at achieving salvation through works. But God's amazing grace was evident in Old Testament times too, as these verses reveal.


This is the passage that Micah pointed to when he said, "He has shown you, O man, what is good" (Micah 6:8).


The words "Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart" are repeated (in Romans 2:29).


Verses 12-13: "What doth the LORD ... require of thee"? This rhetorical question led into Moses' statement of the 5 basic requirements that God expected of His people (compare Micah 6:8):


(1) "To fear the Lord your God": To hold God in awe and submit to Him;


(2) "To walk in all His ways": To conduct life in accordance with the will of God;


(3) "To ... love Him": To choose to set one's affections on the Lord and on Him alone;


(4) "To serve the Lord your God": To have the worship of the Lord as the central focus of life;


(5) "To keep the Lord's commandments": To obey the requirements the Lord had imposed.


Deuteronomy 10:12 "And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,"


For all these favors bestowed upon them, the forgiveness of their sins, and a fresh intimation of their possession of the land of Canaan. And the renewal of the promise of it made to their fathers.


"But to fear the Lord thy God": To fear him with a filial fear, to fear him and his goodness, and him for his goodness sake. And particularly for his pardoning grace and mercy given to them (see Psalm 130:4).


"To walk in all his ways": Prescribed and directed to by him, every path of duty, whether moral, ceremonial, or judicial.


"And to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul": For that is the best service which springs from love. And love constrains unto, and which is hearty and sincere, as that is, and is performed in the best manner such are capable of.


To retain all that God has given them, requires them to fear the LORD enough that they will obey Him and walk in His ways. He must be first in their hearts, souls, and minds. Jesus says it best in the following Scripture.


John 14:15 "If ye love me, keep my commandments."


Deuteronomy 10:13 "To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?"


Both the ten commandments and all others.


"Which I command thee this day for thy good": Promises of temporal good things. Introduction into the land of Canaan, possession of it, and continuance in it, being made to obedience to them.


The commandments and the statutes of God are for the benefit of man. The blessings of God upon them, depend entirely upon them keeping God's commandments.



Verses 14-15: God, with the same sovereignty by which He controls all things, had chosen the patriarchs and the nation of Israel to be His special people.


Deuteronomy 10:14 "Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens [is] the LORD'S thy God, the earth [also], with all that therein [is]."


Made and possessed by him. The airy and starry heaven, the third heaven. Which is the heaven of heavens, and the seat of the divine Majesty, the habitation of angels and glorified saints.


"The earth also, with all that therein is": That is his property, and at his disposal, being made by him, and all that is upon it, or contained in it. Even whatsoever is on or in the whole globe consisting of land and water (see Psalm 115:15).


This is saying, it is not just the earth that belongs to God, but all of the universe as well. Everything and everyone in the universe, belong to God. It is amazing to Moses that God would have chosen Israel to be His, out of all the peoples of the world.


1 Corinthians 10:26 "For the earth [is] the Lord's, and the fullness thereof."


Deuteronomy 10:15 "Only the LORD had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, [even] you above all people, as [it is] this day."


Though the heavens and the earth, and all the inhabitants of them are the Lord's by creation, yet he had a special regard unto, and a peculiar complacency in. The fathers of the Israelites, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; from whence arose some particular expressions of love to them. Signified by various acts of kindness done them, and promises made unto them.


"And he chose their seed after them, even you above all the people, as it is this day": To be a special people to him, to enjoy civil and religious privileges greater than any other. And particularly to have his law given to them. His tabernacle and worship set up among them, which were at this time, and which gave them the preference to all other nations (see Deut. 4:7).


This is actually speaking of Abraham, who greatly pleased God. The blessings that came to this family, were because of God's love for Abraham. Israel was honored above all nations with God's great love for them. They had nothing to give God in return, but their love. Even the long stay in Egypt was a conditioning of these people to receive the blessings of God.


Deuteronomy 10:16 "Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked."


"Circumcise ... heart": Moses called the Israelites to cut away all the sin in their hearts, as the circumcision surgery cut away the skin. This would leave them with a clean relationship to God (compare 30:6; Lev. 26:40-41; Jer. 4:4; 9:25; Rom. 2:29; see note on Jer. 4:4).


The circumcision was an outward sign of the keeping of the covenant agreement. Moses is explaining to them here, that the cutting away of the worldliness from their hearts was the true circumcision. The condition of the heart is more important to God than the condition of their flesh. We Christians must realize that Christianity is a relationship with Christ, and not a form of religion.


Deuteronomy 10:17 "For the LORD your God [is] God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:"


Of angels and civil magistrates, who are sometimes so called. These are his creatures, act for him and under him, and are accountable to him.


"The Lord of lords": Of the kings and princes of the earth, who have their crowns, scepters, and kingdoms from him. And hold them of him, by and under whom they reign and decree judgment, and who are subject to his authority and control.


"A great God": As the perfections of his nature, and the works of his hands. The blessings of his providence and grace, and the extensiveness of his dominion in heaven, earth, and hell, show him to be.


"A mighty and a terrible": Mighty and powerful to help, protect, and defend his people. Terrible to his and their enemies, even to the kings of the earth.


"Which regardeth not persons": But bestows his favors, whether in a way of providence or grace, according to his sovereign will and pleasure. Without regard to the works and merits of men, their characters or circumstances.


"Nor taketh reward": Or bribes, to avert threatened and deserved judgments (see Job 36:18).


The nations around them worship false gods. The True God is the only God. He proved that over and over. One of the purposes of the ten plagues on Egypt, was to defame the false gods of Egypt. God showed His supreme power over nature, when He parted the Red Sea at His command. He showed His power over all provisions, when He caused water to flow from the Rock. He needs nothing at all. He wants our love and respect.


Deuteronomy 10:18 "He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment."


"He doth execute the judgment": The sovereign, authoritative God is also impartial (verse 17), as seen in His concern for the orphan, the widow, and the alien (compare Lev. 19:9-18; James 1:27).


He is the Provider of those who trust Him. God cares for those who are unable to care for themselves. He is Father to the fatherless, and takes up the gap for