(Verses 1 through 11) And it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and possessest it, and dwellest therein; that thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the earth, which thou shalt bring of thy land that the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shall put it in a basket, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place His name there. And thou shalt go unto the priest that shall be in those days, and say unto him, I profess this day unto the LORD thy God, that I am come unto the country which the LORD sware unto our fathers for to give us. And the priest shall take the basket out of thine hand, and set it down before the altar of the LORD thy God. And thou shalt speak and say before the LORD thy God, A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous: and the Egyptians evil entreated us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage: and when we cried unto the LORD God of our fathers, the LORD heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labour, and our oppression: and the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders: and He hath brought us unto this place, and hath given us this land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey. And now, behold, I have brought of the firstfruits of the land, which Thou, O LORD, hast given me. And thou shalt set it before the LORD thy God, and worship before the LORD thy God: and thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you.
This is the order of the offering of the very first offering of the firstfruits of the land. As we saw earlier this is not only an offering that they are to make after they have made a crop, and the firstfruits are ready for offering, but they are to offer even of the fruits that are therein when they take possession of the land. And as the LORD has several times repeated, they are not to forget the Levite or the stranger that is among them.
(Verse 12 through 15) When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase the third year, which is the year of tithing, and hast given it unto the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled; then shalt thou say before the LORD thy God, I have brought away the hallowed things out of Mine house, and also have given them to the Levite, and unto the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all Thy commandments which Thou hast commanded me: I have not transgressed Thy commandments, neither have I forgotten them: I have not eaten thereof in my mourning, neither have I taken away aught thereof for any unclean use, nor given thereof for the dead: but I have hearkened to the voice of the LORD my God, and have done according to all that Thou hast commanded me Look down from Thy holy habitation, from heaven, and bless Thy people Israel, and the land which Thou hast given us, as Thou swarest unto our fathers, a land that floweth with milk and honey.
These are the instructions to the children of Israel concerning their tithing, and the declaration they are to make when they bring in their tithes, together with the prayer they are to pray at that time. All seem to be clearly enough set forth that there should be no misunderstanding of what they are to do. Notice should be taken that in this, as in many other of their activities, the LORD cautions them to include the Levite, the fatherless, the stranger, and the widow, that they may all rejoice together.
(Verses 16 through 19) This day the LORD thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes and judgments: thou shalt therefore keep and do them with all thine heart, and with all thy soul. Thou hast avouched the LORD this day to be thy God, and to walk in His ways, and to keep His statutes, and His commandments, and His judgments, and to hearken unto His voice: and the LORD hath avouched thee this day to be His peculiar people, as He hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep His commandments; and to make thee high above all nations which He hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour; and that thou mayest be an holy people unto the LORD thy God, as He hath spoken.
In closing this portion of his address to the Israelites, Moses reminds them of the solemnity of this day, as being the time when they have renewed their covenant with the LORD their God, and have declared that they will keep and obey all His commandments and statutes. And he also reminds them of what the LORD will do for them if they will thus honor Him as they have covenanted to do. The whole purpose of it all is set forth in that final verse.
(Verses 1 through 8) And Moses with the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, Keep all the commandments which I command you this day. And it shall be on the day when ye shall pass over Jordan unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, that thou shalt set thee up great stones, and plaster them with plaster: and thou shalt write upon them all the words of this law, when thou art passed over, that thou mayest go in unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, a land that floweth with milk and honey; as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee. Therefore it shall be when ye be gone over Jordan, that ye shall set up these stones, which I have commanded you this day, in mount Ebal, and thou shalt plaster them with plaster. And there shalt thou build an altar unto the LORD thy God, an altar of stones: thou shalt not lift up any iron tool upon them. Thou shalt build the altar of the LORD thy God of whole stones: and thou shalt offer burnt offerings thereon unto the LORD thy God: and thou shalt offer peace offerings, and shalt eat there, and rejoice before the LORD thy God. And thou shalt write upon the stones all the words of this law very plainly.
These commandments were given to Israel that they might set up, as monuments, these stones, and write upon them all the words of this law. They were to be set up at the entrance of the land of Canaan, that they might be seen by all who entered therein, or exited therefrom. They were also to build an altar of natural stones unto the LORD God, and offer both burnt offerings and peace offerings upon it unto the LORD God. This was to be the first order of the day for them when they entered into the Promised Land.
(Verses 9 and 10) And Moses and the priests the Levites spake unto all Israel, saying, Take heed, and hearken, O Israel; this day thou art become the people of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt therefore obey the voice of the LORD thy God, and do all His commandments and His statutes, which I command thee this day.
Moses reminded the people that they had this day become the people of the LORD their God. This may seem a little strange, since the LORD had already chosen them in Abraham, brought them out of Egypt, and led them through the wilderness even to the threshold of the land of Canaan. But the meaning is much in the same manner as that of the Apostle Peter in Acts 2:36, when he said concerning our Lord Jesus. “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Certainly, Jesus was both Lord and Christ according to the purpose of the Father, even before the beginning of time. Yet after He had finished the great work of salvation, and was raised up from the dead, He was made,, or established, officially, as LORD and Christ, in the Father’s act of seating Him at His own right side in Heaven until all His enemies should be “made His footstool. In like manner, the children of Israel were the people of God, even before He brought them out of Egypt: and it is for that reason that He brought them out. Nevertheless, as they are about to enter into the Promised Land, (the rest of the LORD,) they are “become the people of the LORD thy God,” officially, as witnessed by all the world. Therefore they are to keep, and obey all commandments and statutes that the LORD has given them.
(Verses 11 through 13) And Moses charged the people the same day, saying, These shall stand upon mount Gerizim to bless the people, when they are come over Jordan; Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Joseph, and Benjamin: and these shall stand upon mount Ebal to curse; Reuben, Gad, and Asher, and Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.
Moses had earlier told the children of Israel that when they had come into the land of Canaan, they were to set up, or appoint, mount Gerizim for a blessing unto them; and mount Ebal as a curse. Now he tells them that they are to do this as soon as they have come into the land. As they perform this ordinance of blessing, and cursing, the representatives of the tribes of Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin, shall stand on mount Gerizim to bless the people; and the representatives of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali, shall stand upon mount Ebal, to represent the curse.
(Verses 14 through 26) And the Levites shall speak, and say unto all the men of Israel with a loud voice, Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen. Cursed be the man that setteth light by his father or his mother. And all the people shall say. Amen.
Cursed be he that removeth his neighbour’s landmark. And all the people shall say, Amen.
Cursed be he that maketh the blind to wander out of the way. And all the people shall say, Amen
Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen.
Cursed be he that lieth with his father’s wife; because he uncovereth his father’s skirt. And all the people shall say, Amen.
Cursed be he that lieth with any manner of beast. And all the people shall say, Amen.
Cursed be he that lieth with his sister, the daughter of his father, or the daughter of his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen.
Cursed be he that lieth with his mother in law. And all the people shall say, Amen
Cursed be he that smiteth his neighbour secretly. And all the people shall say, Amen.
Cursed be he that taketh reward to slay an innocent person. And all the people shall say, Amen.
Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.
These are the curses of the law. Every statement of this is clear enough to be fully understood by everyone. And the final curse is pronounced upon everyone that does not keep all this law.
(Verses 1 through 9) And it shall come to pass, if thou hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all His commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: and all these blessings shall come upon thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God. Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways. The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all thou settest thine hand unto; and He shall bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. The LORD shall establish thee an holy people unto Himself, as He hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in all His ways.
Unquestionably, this is a wonderful promise. And it is, no doubt, the basis for the modern doctrine of materialism. But, insofar as we are concerned, there are two things wrong with it. First, it was never made to anyone except the children of Israel. And second, it is based upon, “If thou hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and do all His commandments which I command this day.” None of the Israelites ever completely fulfilled this condition, and neither has any one of us today. That is why the Apostle Paul said, (Romans 8:2-4) “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” The only way of salvation for either us or them is that “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” which law this one under present study is, since it pronounces a blessing upon only perfect obedience, and a curse upon failure in any point.
(Verses 10 through 14) And all the people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee. And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers to give thee. The LORD shall open unto thee His good treasure, the heaven to give rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow. And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them: and thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.
This is a further declaration of some of the blessings that the LORD will lay upon Israel if they will fulfill all these commandments of the LORD just as they are delivered unto them. And even though they did turn away from the LORD’S commandments many times, and were even scattered over the face of the world, where, indeed, many of them are still scattered, it is amazing how the LORD has fulfilled His word unto them, as set forth in verse 12. “Thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.” Many times through the centuries, it has been the money that was either held, or at least controlled, by the Jews that has enabled nations to continue. Even today, they have a great deal to do with the control of even the money system of this, and other, nations.
(Verses 15 through 22) But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all His commandments which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee. Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store. Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The LORD shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken Me. The LORD shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until He have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it. The LORD shall smite thee with consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish.
Notice that when the children of Israel shall turn away from doing the commandments of the LORD, He shall bring upon them all the curses that are the direct opposites of the blessings He has promised if they will faithfully keep His commandments. Their covenant with the LORD calls for complete obedience to His commandments. If they will faithfully render this obedience, He will give them everything they need, and, in fact, everything they ought ever to want. But if they fail to be obedient, He will lay upon them every curse He has pronounced, and more. So, we continue.
(Verses 23 through 27) And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron. The LORD shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed. The LORD shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all kingdoms of the earth. And thy carcase shall be meat unto all the fowls of the air, and unto the beasts of the earth, and no man shall fray them away. The LORD will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed.
Moses continues to tell the Israelites of the terrible things the LORD will do when they turn away from His commandments. When he says , “And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron,” his meaning is that He will send such a drought upon them that they will receive no more rain than if the sky were actually brass, and as the result of this the earth will bake so hard that it will seem as iron. And there can be nothing grown upon such ground as this. Everything else that he says seems clear enough as spoken.
(Verses 28 through 31) The LORD shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart: and thou shalt grope at noonday as the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways: and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man shall save thee. Thou shalt betroth a wife, and another shall lie with her: thou shalt build an house, and thou shalt not dwell therein: thou shalt plant a vineyard, and shalt not eat the grapes thereof. Thine ox shall be slain before thine eyes, and thou shalt not eat thereof: thine ass shall be violently taken away from before thy face, and shall not be restored to thee: thy sheep shall be given unto thine enemies, and thou shalt have none to rescue them.
This is a continued description of the evils that will come upon the children of Israel if they turn away from the commandments of the LORD. Many will tell us today that the LORD is too loving and gentle to ever bring any kind of severe punishment upon anyone. However, this particular segment of the warning starts thus: “The LORD shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart.” So, obviously, He is the very One Who is going to bring these things upon the Israelites when they disobey His commandments; and they were His own chosen nation. What might He do to others? All these warnings are clearly enough written to permit no misunderstanding. And He is by no means finished with His warnings to them.
(Verses 32 through 37) Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people, and thine eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day long: and there shall be no might in thine hand. The fruit of thy land, and all thy labours, shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up; and thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed always: so that thou shalt be mad for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see. The LORD shall smite thee in the knees, and in the legs, with a sore botch that cannot be healed, from the sole of thy foot unto the top of thine head. The LORD shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone. And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a by word, among all nations whither the LORD shall lead thee.
Notice how the LORD continues to add plagues to the list He has already set forth. And He has brought every one of them upon Israel, just as He has said, because of their continued disobedience to His commandments. These warnings are not something for someone to “spiritualize” to try to get away from the literal truth of what He is saying. Not only so, but it will even get worse, as He continues to warn them.
(Verses 38 through 44) Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shall gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it. Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress them, but shall neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them. Thou shalt have olive trees throughout all thy coasts, but thou shalt not anoint thyself with the oil; for thine olive shall cast his fruit. Thou shalt begat sons and daughters, but thou shalt not enjoy them; for they shall go into captivity. All thy trees and fruit of the land shall the locust consume. The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low. He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail.
Notice how the chastisement gets progressively worse as we go along. When we come to verses 43 and 44, we find almost exactly the reverse of what the LORD told them, in verses 12 and 13, that He would do for them if they faithfully obeyed His commandments. And He is fully able to bring it to pass; the good if they obey Him, and the bad, if they do not.
(Verses 45 through 48) Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded thee: and they shall be unto thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed for ever. Because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things; therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the LORD shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and He shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck until He have destroyed thee.
There can be no mistake about what the LORD says He will do to Israel for their disobedience, when they turn away from His law, and start serving other gods. It seems that the description He gives of this situation could fit any one of several times when He brought upon them their enemies to chastise them for their disobedience.
(Verses 49 through 57) The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the ends of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; a nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young: and he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed: which also shall not leave thee either corn, wine, oil, or the increase of thy kine, or flocks of thy sheep, until he hath destroyed thee. And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land, and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, throughout all thy land, which the LORD thy God hath given thee. and thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and thy daughters, which the LORD thy God hath given thee, in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee: so that the man that is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward his brother, and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the remnant of his children which he shall leave: so that he shall not give to them the flesh of his children whom he shall eat: because he hath nothing left him in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee in all thy gates. The tender and delicate woman among you, which would not venture to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter, and toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear: for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege and straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates.
It is to be kept in mind that the LORD did fulfill His word concerning this. There are instances in the history of Israel, wherein they were so hard pressed by their enemies, in the sieges that were brought upon them for their disobedience to the LORD, that they did turn to cannibalism, just as He here tells them. But they can never claim that they were not forewarned. And if Israel, the LORD’S chosen nation, received such punishment for their sins, what can we, who have been so greatly blessed since the beginning of our nation, expect after turning so disdainfully away from the word of the LORD as we have in the past sixty years? We, no doubt, are soon to face some fearful chastisement.
(Verses 58 through 62) If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD; then the LORD will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance. Moreover he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee. Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of the law, them will the LORD bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed. And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the LORD thy God.
The LORD tells Israel that, in addition to all the bad things He has already said that He will send upon them for their disobedience, He will even let loose upon them many terrible plagues, even some that were “not written in the book of the law.” That is, plagues in addition to those He sent upon the Egyptians. And these will continue until there be only a few left of the children of Israel, all because they did not obey His word.
(Verses 63 through 68) And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it. And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone. And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of the eyes, and sorrow of mind: and thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of life: in the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! And at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! For the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see. And the LORD shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spake unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again: and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bond women, and no man shall buy you.
Here the LORD declares that if they persist in their disobedience to His commandments, He will destroy them until only a very few shall be left of them. and He will scatter them among all people. He will even bring them again into Egypt, where they shall again be sold as slaves. His last declaration to them, “And no man shall buy you,” seems to mean that there shall be none to “buy” them back, or redeem them from this bondage.
(Verses 1 through 9) These are the words of the covenant, which the LORD commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, beside the covenant which He made with them in Horeb. And Moses called unto him all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land; the great temptations which thine eyes have seen, the signs, and those great miracles: yet the LORD hath not given you a heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day. And I have led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot. Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink: that ye might know that I am the LORD your God. And when ye came unto this place, Sihon the king of Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, came out against us unto battle, and we smote them: and we took their land, and gave it for an inheritance unto the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to the half trine of Manasseh. Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do.
In the previous chapter, Moses had delivered to the children of Israel the words of the covenant that the LORD made with them. It is essentially the same as the one He made with them in Horeb, but it is far more detailed, spelling out to them both the benefits that will be theirs if they faithfully keep it, and the penalties that shall be laid upon them if they are disobedient. Here he calls unto them again, and continues his address unto them. He reminds them of the wonders the LORD did for them against Pharaoh and his people in the land of Egypt. He also declared to them that to date the LORD had not given them “a heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear.” Then he reminded them how that the LORD was their God, and that He was the one Who, by Moses, had led them for forty years in the wilderness. And He had provided that not even their clothing or shoes had worn out in all that time. Neither had they eaten bread nor drunk wine or strong drink. Then, when Sihon and Og had tried to block their way, they destroyed them, and gave their land to the tribes of Reuben and Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh.. With all this for a background, they should now keep all the words of this covenant.
(Verses 10 through 20) Ye stand this day all of you before the LORD your God, your captains of your tribes, your elders, and your officers, with all the men of Israel, your little ones, your wives, and thy stranger that is in thy camp, from the hewer of thy wood unto the drawer of thy water: that thou shouldest enter into covenant with the LORD thy God, and into His oath, which the LORD thy God maketh with thee this day: that He may establish thee today for a people unto Himself, and that He may be unto thee a God, as He hath said unto thee, and as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath: but with him that standeth here this day before the LORD our God, and also with him that is not here with us this day: (for ye know how we have dwelt in the land of Egypt; and how we came through the nations which ye passed by; and ye have seen their abominations, and their idols, wood and stone, silver and gold, which were among them) lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood; and it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he shall bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of my heart, to add drunkenness to thirst: the LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and His jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven.
Moses declares to the children of Israel that they are this day making a covenant with, and an oath unto, the LORD their God. And it not only covers all that stood there that day, but even reached beyond them to those who were not there. Not only so, but it was such a solemn covenant and oath that none could hypocritically make this oath while planning to walk in his own way, and thinking that he could “have peace.” that is, that he could get away with such. Should anyone do so, he is subjecting himself to what is declared in verse 20: “The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and His jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven.”
(Verses 21 through 28) And the LORD shall separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this book of the law: so that the generation to come of your children that shall rise up after you, and the stranger that shall come from a far land, shall say, when they see the plagues of that land, and the sicknesses which the LORD hath laid upon it; and that the whole land thereof be brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger, and in His wrath: even all nations shall say, Wherefore hath the LORD done thus unto this land? what meaneth the heat of His great anger? Then men shall say, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them forth out of the land of Egypt: for they went and served other gods, and worshipped them, gods whom they knew not, and whom He had not given unto them: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against this land, to bring upon it all the curses that are written in this book: and the LORD rooted them up out of the land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land as it is this day.
Moses continues the description of those things that will come upon those who will not faithfully keep the covenant and oath of the LORD. He declared that there is no escape for those who willfully and stubbornly refuse to follow the LORD and keep His covenant.
(Verse 29) The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.
This verse is one we all should always remember, and use as a guide. Thus we would not be always trying to delve into things God has not revealed, and thus causing controversy because we think we have found out something that, maybe, no one else knows. At the same time we would be trying to think upon those things He has revealed that we might do a better job of serving Him.
(Verses 1 through 10) And it shall come to pass, when all these things shall come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee, and shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey His voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou, and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; that then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee. If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will He fetch thee: and the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed and thou shalt possess it; and He will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers. And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. And the LORD thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee. And thou shalt return and obey the voice of the LORD, and do all His commandments which I command thee this day. And the Lord thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good: for the LORD will rejoice over thee for good, as He rejoiced over thy fathers: if thou shalt hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.
Having declared all these curses and penalties upon Israel if they do not keep all His commandments and statutes, the LORD promises that, when He has brought all these evils upon them, they are still not completely cast away; but if they repent of their iniquities, and turn back to Him, He will not only receive them, but will even circumcise their hearts, and the hearts of their children, that they may love Him with all their hearts and their souls, and that thus they may live. He will even lay upon their enemies all the curses He had sent upon them. Then they shall return to Him, and obey all His commandments. And He will bless them with all the blessings wherewith He had blessed their fathers.
(Verses 11 through 18) For this commandment which I command thee this day, is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it down to us that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it. See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; in that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto thee this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to possess it.
The LORD tells Israel that all this covenant is not hidden from them in some far away place, such as in heaven, or beyond the sea, that they might have to send someone to find it, and bring it back to them, so that they might hear it and do it. Instead it is very near to them, even in their mouths and in their hearts. The Apostle Paul makes mention of this same situation, so far as the word of faith is concerned, in Romans 10:6-10 “But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, ’Who shall ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or, ‘Who shall descend into the deep?’ (that is, to bring up Christ from the dead.)’ But what saith it? ‘The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart:’ that is, the word of faith, which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Then the LORD (by Moses) declares that He has this day set before them both life and good, and death and evil. This He has done by declaring unto them the blessings that shall be upon them if they keep His commandments, and the curses that shall be theirs if they turn away from Him, and serve other gods. He has hidden neither side of the matter from them. He makes both completely clear in the strongest of terms.
(Verses 19 and 20) I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: that thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey His voice, and that thou mayest, cleave unto Him: for He is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
Thus, as Moses concludes this address to Israel, he calls upon both heaven and earth to record, or witness, that he has set before Israel both life and death as the LORD has commanded him. He has declared to them the blessings that the LORD will pour out upon them if they are obedient in all the commandments the LORD has given them; and the curses that they shall receive if they turn away from His laws, and worship and serve other gods. Thus he solemnly declares that he has discharged his duty in passing on to them all the words of this great covenant which the LORD has made with them.
(Verses 1 through 6) And Moses went and spake these words unto all Israel. And he said unto them, I am an hundred an twenty years old this day; I can no more go out and come in: also the LORD hath said unto me, Thou shalt not go over this Jordan. The LORD thy God, He will go over before thee, and He will destroy these nations before thee, and thou shalt possess them: and Joshua, he shall go over before thee, as the LORD hath said. And the LORD shall do unto them as He did to Sihon and to Og, kings of the Amorites, and unto the land of them, whom He destroyed. And the LORD shall give them up before your face, that ye may do unto them according unto all the commandments which I have commanded you. Be of good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
Thus Moses turns from setting before Israel the covenant of the LORD their God, and starts his farewell address to them. He first tells them that he is now too old to anymore lead them, and the LORD has already told him that he shall not go with them into the land of Canaan. But Joshua, whom they all already know, will be their leader in taking possession of the land the LORD their God is giving them. Also the same great God, the LORD their God, who has been with them through their journey will go before them, and help them against their enemies. He will never leave, nor forsake them.
(Verses 7 and 8) And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong, and of good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it. And the LORD, He it is that doth go before thee; He will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.
This is the message of encouragement to Joshua, and to all Israel, because it was given publicly before the whole congregation. Since the LORD had chosen Joshua as leader of the children of Israel, and had promised that He would neither fail them nor forsake them, there was nothing to fear.
(Verses 9 and 13) And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests the sons of Levi, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and unto the elders of Israel. And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, when all Israel is come to appear before the LORD thy God in the place which He shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. Gather the people together, men, women, and children, and the stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: and that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.
According to this, Moses wrote this law in a book, or scroll, and gave it to the priests to place in the ark of the covenant of the LORD. He also instructed them that, “At the end of every seven years.” at the Feast of Tabernacles, they were to assemble all the children of Israel, and read all of this covenant and these laws to them, that even those, who had not witnessed any of these wonderful works which the LORD had done on the behalf of Israel, might hear of them, and fear the LORD their God, and thus prolong their lives in the land which the LORD had given them.
(Verses 14 and 15) And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thy days approach that thou must die: call Joshua, and present yourselves in the tabernacle of the congregation, that I may give him a charge. And Moses and Joshua went, and presented themselves in the tabernacle of the congregation. And the LORD appeared in the tabernacle in a pillar of a cloud: and the pillar of the cloud stood over the door of the tabernacle.
Now the LORD told Moses that it is time for him to die, and commanded him to call Joshua to come to the tabernacle of the congregation, that Moses and Joshua might present themselves before Him, that He might give Joshua a charge. Moses and Joshua obeyed the command of the LORD; and He appeared in the tabernacle in a pillar of cloud, which stood over the door of the tabernacle.
(Verses 16 through 23) And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thou shall sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a-whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake Me, and break the covenant which I have made with them. Then My anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide My face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them: so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us? And I will surely hide My face in that day for all the evils which they have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods. Now therefore write ye this song for you, and teach it the children of Israel: put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for Me against the children of Israel. For when I shall have brought them into the land which I sware unto their fathers, that floweth with milk and honey; and they shall have eaten and filled themselves, and waxen fat; then will they turn unto other gods, and serve them, and provoke Me, and break My covenant. And it shall come to pass, when many evils and troubles are befallen them, that this song shall testify against them as a witness; for it shall not be forgotten out of the mouths of their seed: for I know their imagination which they go about, even now, before I have brought them into the land which I sware. Moses therefore wrote this song the same day, and taught it to the children of Israel. And He gave Joshua the son of Nun a charge, and said, Be strong and of good courage: for thou shalt bring the children of Israel into the land which I sware unto them: and I will be with thee.
In this text the LORD repeats to Moses that the time is at hand for him to die; and after this the children of Israel will turn completely away from their God, and worship the gods of the people “whither they go to be among them.” This may seem strange, because the LORD has repeatedly charged Israel to drive out and destroy all these nations. None of the heathen is to remain among them. Neither their altars, nor their groves, nor their idols are to remain. But the LORD was fully aware that the children of Israel would not obey His word. So, the LORD commanded Moses to write a song, and to teach it to the children of Israel. He was to “put it in their mouths.” That is, he was to make them commit it to memory so that they would not forget it. Then the LORD declared that the children of Israel would turn away from Him, and even at the time in which He was speaking, He knew their imagination. He did not tell what they were imagining, but the inference is that it was rebellion, even before they had come into the land He had given them. So, Moses wrote this song as the LORD commanded. Then the LORD gave Joshua a charge to be strong and courageous. And He promised that He would be with him.
(Verses 24 through 27) And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished, that Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying, Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee. For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the LORD; and how much more after my death?
When Moses had finished writing all these things in a book, or scroll, he commanded the Levites whose job it was to carry the ark of the covenant, to place it in the ark, that it might be a witness against them because of their rebellion. He declared that they were rebellious even while he was still alive, so they obviously would continue so after his death. The big question was, “How much worse would they be then?”
(Verses 28 through 30) Gather unto me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their ears, and call heaven and earth to record against them. For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands. And Moses spake in the ears of all the congregation of Israel the words of this song, until they were ended.
So, now Moses called all the elders and officers of the tribes of Israel that he might teach them the song that the LORD had commanded him to write, and to teach to the people. Before he recited the song to them, he called heaven and earth to witness against them, that he knew that they would surely corrupt themselves in the latter days after his death, and would bring all these evils that had been spoken of upon themselves because of the anger of the LORD for their doings. Then he began to speak, and recite before them all the song the LORD had commanded him to write. This song begins with Chapter 32, verse 1.
(Verses 1 through 6) Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, His work is perfect: for all His ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He. They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of His children: they are a perverse and crooked generation. Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? Is not He thy Father that hath bought thee? hath He not made thee, and established thee?
This song calls upon the heavens and the earth to witness its truth. Since this is the song that the LORD commanded Moses to write, we must consider it as, not the word of Moses, but the word of God. He declares, “My doctrine shall drop as the rain, My speech shall distil as the dew.” Many seem to try to separate what they call “doctrine,” from any other part of the teaching of God. But the truth is that “doctrine” is “that which is taught.” And that is certainly the meaning of it in this quotation. So the teaching of the LORD shall drop as the rain, and distil as the dew. It will go where and when He directs it, and it will accomplish that which He purposes. It will also be as refreshing as the showers upon the grass. The reason for its doing these things is that in this doctrine, or teaching, He “will publish the name of the LORD,” this will cause those thus taught to “ascribe greatness unto our God.” He is not just any rock; but the Rock. He is not only the greatest of all, but is greater than all even if they are joined together. There is perfection and judgment in all His works and ways. He is “a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He.” Remember that Jesus, the only begotten Son of God said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” and again, “I and My Father are One.” Therefore we can also say that the LORD is the way the truth and the life. Then having established the greatness of God the LORD, He turns the focus upon the children of Israel. “They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of His children: they are a perverse and crooked generation.” Some may want to say that these so described are not the children of Israel. But Chapter 31, verse 19 says, “Now therefore write ye this song for you, and teach it the children of Israel: put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for Me against the children of Israel.” This is not our interpretation, but the word of God. He is saying that they have turned away from the doctrine of the LORD, and are become a perverse and crooked generation, whose spot (identifying mark) is not the spot of the of the children of the LORD. Then He asks some questions that ought to make anyone who gives any serious consideration to them to do some very serious thinking about what is his present condition. The first of these should cause serious consideration of what they are doing; and it should also cause us to take notice. “Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people, and unwise?” It certainly is unwise to turn away from the LORD. And after He has done so much for us, How can we do so? Remember that He is our heavenly Father, and that He has bought us by the death of His only begotten Son. In addition to this, He is our Maker, and the One Who has established us.
(Verses 7 through 14) Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee. When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. For the LORD’S portion is His people; Jacob is the lot of His inheritance. He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; He led him about, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye. As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings; so the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him. He made him to ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and He made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock; butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape.
He calls upon Israel to remember the days of old, not just those of their journey through the wilderness, but even back to the beginning of the LORD’S dealing with their fathers in the days of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In fact He refers them to something that was done long before Abraham’s day, and declares that it was done with the children of Israel in mind, “When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.” So the LORD has had them in mind long before they even had any being in this world. Then He declares that “The LORD’S portion is His people: Jacob is the lot of His inheritance.” So from the beginning, the LORD has been mindful of them, and therefore He has protected and cared for him all these centuries, even down to the present generation. Even they have been well fed, and have drunk “the pure blood of the grape.”
(Verses 15 through 22) But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou are waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God Which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation. They provoked Him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they Him to anger. They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not. Of the Rock that begat thee thou art not mindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee. And when the LORD saw it, He abhorred them, because of the provoking of His sons, and of His daughters. And He said, I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a froward generation, children in whom is no faith. They have moved Me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked Me to anger with their vanities: and I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation. For a fire is kindled in Mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.
The word, ”Jeshurun,” means “Upright;” so the meaning of verse 15 is that “the upright,” that is, the LORD’S people, or Israel became fat by reason of all the blessings the LORD had bestowed upon them, they “kicked,” or turned away from Him, and quit loving and obeying Him Who had done so much for them. Then they began going farther and farther into sin, even worshipping, not only the gods of the nations around them, but even following after new gods that their fathers had not feared. They completely forgot the “Rock that begat” them, and the God Who formed them. Thus was the LORD provoked to anger. A great fire was kindled in His anger, one that he says “shall burn to the lowest hell.” It will even “consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.” So, thus have they brought upon themselves a terrible punishment.
(Verses 23 through 28) I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend Mine arrows upon them. They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust. The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of gray hairs. I said, I would scatter them into corners, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men: were it not that I feared the wrath of the enemy, lest their adversaries should behave themselves strangely, and lest they should say, Our hand is high, and the LORD hath not done all this. For they are a nation void of counsel, neither is there any understanding in them.
The LORD continues His charge against them. He says that He would utterly destroy even the remembrance of them from among men, except for the fact that if He did their enemies would become so exalted in their minds that they would claim that the LORD had nothing to do with bringing down the children of Israel, but because they, the enemies, were so great of themselves that they had accomplished the matter themselves. His statement, “For they are a nation void of counsel, neither is there any understanding,” might very well fit both the children of Israel and their enemies.
(Verses 29 through 38) O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end! How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up? For there rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges. For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter: their wine is the poison of asps. Is not this laid up in store for Me, and sealed up among My treasures? To Me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste. For the LORD shall judge His people, and repent Himself for His servants, when He seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up, or left. And He shall say, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted, which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drink the wine of their drink offerings? Let them rise up and help you, and be your protection.
Here the LORD is represented, more or less, as a man, as he says, “O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!” Let none get the idea that the LORD is just helplessly looking on at this matter, and wishing that it were different. He knows exactly what it will take to bring His servants to repentance. And He will bring it about in His time. He asks a question that shows that in this matter He is considering the enemies of His people as they feel so exalted because of their victories over them. “How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up?” This is the situation into which His people will have fallen. For their sins He will let them be overcome by their enemies. But these enemies don’t realize that they have the victory only because He has let them have it. He is the Rock of His people. But for chastisement upon them, He has temporarily removed His protection from them. And they are so afraid that one of the enemy can chase a thousand of them, and two put ten thousand to flight. But the enemy does not understand this. Their rock is not like the Rock of the LORD’S people. And even the enemy shall see that, although “their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter: their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.” Even though the LORD has temporarily allowed them to be victorious over His people, this will not continue forever. He says, “Is not this laid up in store with Me, and sealed up among My treasures? To Me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.” He is speaking of the enemy who is so exalted in their own minds that they think their own great power has enabled them to overcome the people of the LORD. But He declares that He will “repent Himself for His servants,” when they have reached the end of their power. Then He shall say, (of these enemies,) “Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted, which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offerings? Let them rise up and help you, and be your protection.” Thus He will avenge His servants.
(Verses 39 through 43) See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with Me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of My hand. For I lift up My hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever. If I whet My glittering sword, and Mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to Mine enemies, and will reward them that hate Me. I will make Mine arrows drunk with blood, and My sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revengers upon the enemy. Rejoice, O ye nations, with His people: for He will avenge His servants, and will render vengeance to His adversaries, and will be merciful unto His land, and to His people.
Thus the LORD declares to all that He, and He alone, is God, and there is none beside Him. Neither can any deliver out of His hand. When He sets forth with His weapons of war, He will render vengeance to His enemies, and will reward them that hate Him. None but He can lift up his hand, and declare that he lives for ever. This is the right of God alone. Then He calls upon all nations to rejoice with His people: for He will avenge the blood of His servants, He will render vengeance to His adversaries, and will be merciful unto His land, and unto His people. Nothing can prevent this. It seems that verse 43 actually looks forward to the time when He shall bring this world to judgment, and glorify His people.
(Verses 44 through 47) And Moses came and spake all the words of this song in the ears of the people, he and Hoshea the son of Nun. And Moses made an end of speaking all these words to all Israel: and he said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law. For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life: and through this thing ye shall prolong your days in the land, whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.
Moses, having finished the song the LORD had given him for Israel, gave them a few more words of advice. He cautioned them to be very careful to not only keep all this law themselves, but also to teach their children to do the same. He cautioned them that this was not a vain, or light, thing to do, but was the very thing that would prolong their lives in the land they were going over Jordan to possess.
(Verses 48 through 52) And the LORD spake unto Moses that selfsame day, saying, Get thee up into this mountain Abarim, unto mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is over against Jericho; and behold the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel for a possession: and die in the mount whither thou goest up, and be gathered unto thy people; as Aaron thy brother died in mount Hor, and was gathered unto his people: because ye trespassed against Me among the children of Israel at the waters of Meribah-Kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin; because ye sanctified Me not in the midst of the children of Israel. Yet thou shalt see the land before thee; but thou shalt not go thither unto the land which I give the children of Israel.
Thus the LORD commands Moses to go up into the mountain and there die, and be gathered unto his people, as Aaron had done in mount Hor. However the LORD did tell him that from the top of that mountain he would be permitted to see the land of Canaan before he died.
(Verses 1 through 5) And this is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death. And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; He shined forth from mount Paran, and He came up with ten thousands of saints: from His right hand went a fiery law for them. Yea, He loved the people; all His saints are in Thy hand: and they sat down at Thy feet; every one shall receive of Thy words. Moses commanded us a law, even the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob. And He was King in Jeshurun, when the heads of the people and the tribes of Israel were gathered together.
As Moses begins his blessing upon the congregation of Israel, he speaks of the LORD as coming from Sinai, rising up from Seir unto them, and shining forth from mount Paran. This does not mean that these places were the places of origin for the LORD, but that He appeared to Israel from these places. It may be a little unclear as to whether, at His coming down upon mount Sinai, He was accompanied by ten thousand of saints who had already passed on from the earth, or if this is just what is sometimes called poetic license. Although nothing was said at the time about His being accompanied by either saints or angels, such could have been the case. There the LORD gave to Israel the law by the hand of Moses, and the many other commandments that were given later were primarily more detailed instructions concerning this law. “And He was King in Jeshurun, when the heads of the people and the tribes were gathered there” The name, “Jeshurun,” means, “upright.” And its usage in the scriptures is such that it might be considered, not the name of a place, but simply the congregation of the upright, which would thus refer to the people of the LORD. And in this instance it seems to be that, since this was “when the heads of the people and the tribes of Israel were gathered together.”
(Verses 6 through 11) Let Reuben live, and not die; and let not his men be few. And this is the blessing of Judah: and he said, Hear, LORD, the voice of Judah, and bring him unto his people: let his hands be sufficient for him; and be Thou an help to him from his enemies. And of Levi he said, Let thy Thummim and thy Urim be with thy holy One, Whom thou didst prove at Massah, and with Whom thou didst strive at the waters of Meribah; who said unto his father and to his mother, I have not seen him; neither did he acknowledge his brethren, nor knew his own children: for they have observed Thy word, and kept thy covenant. They shall teach Jacob Thy judgments, and Israel Thy law: they shall put incense before Thee, and whole burnt sacrifice upon Thine altar. Bless, LORD, his substance, and accept the work of his hands: smite through the loins of them that rise against him, and of them that hate him, that they rise not again.
These are the blessings for the three tribes of Reuben, Judah, and Levi. The blessing for the tribe of Reuben seems very short, as compared to that of Levi. But since the Levites are the ones charged with all things pertaining to the tabernacle, his blessing is a little different from the others any way. Reuben is blessed with long life, and a great population, and Judah is blessed that his hands be sufficient for him, (that is to sustain him) and that he receive help to protect him from his enemies, while Levi is to be blessed in his work in the tabernacle, and also to be protected from them that hate him.
(Verses 12) And of Benjamin he said, The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by him; and the LORD shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between His shoulders.
This is a very short blessing. But it gives Benjamin safety and close fellowship with the LORD.
(Verses 13 through 17) And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the LORD be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath, and for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for precious things put forth by the moon, and for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills, and for the precious things of the earth and fullness thereof, and for the good will of Him that dwelt in the bush: let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren. His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them shall he push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.
As everyone knows, Joseph was the one of Jacob’s sons who was sold into slavery by his brothers. And he was in Egypt seventeen years before his brothers came down to Egypt. Then He took care of them for the remainder of his life. This is, perhaps, why such a great and lengthy blessing was given him. He is to be blessed with all pleasant and precious things of both heaven and earth. And his glory is to be extremely great. Actually He was already considered as “the head of two tribes in Israel,” Ephraim and Manasseh, inasmuch as Jacob had “adopted” both of these boys as his sons, instead of letting them just be considered as his grandsons.
(Verses 18 and 19) And of Zebulun and Issachar he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out: and, Issachar in thy tents. They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand.
This seems a very short blessing for two tribes, but it also seems to be adequate: for they shall be sustained by the abundance of the seas and the hidden treasures of the sand, and shall also make their offerings to the LORD in the mountain. Since he says, “mountain,” and not “mountains,” he is probably referring to mount Zion, which is considered as the mountain which is holy to God.
(Verses 20 and 21) And of Gad he said, Blessed be he that enlargeth Gad; he dwelleth as a lion, and teareth the arm with the crown of the head. And he provided the first part for himself, because there, in a portion of the lawgiver, was he seated; and he came with the heads of the people, he executed the justice of the LORD, and His judgments with Israel.
This blessing on Gad has to do with him as a judge, who will successfully execute the judgments of the LORD with Israel. He will also be successful in providing for his people. He will be able to provide “the first part,” or a choice part, for himself as a lawgiver, or, rather, as a judge. Since the LORD has already given His law by Moses, Gad will, as a judge, enforce the law.
(Verses 22 and 23) And of Dan he said, Dan is a lion’s whelp: he shall leap from Bashan. And of Naphtali he said, O Naphtali, satisfied with favour, and full of the blessing of the LORD: possess thou the west and the south.
Both of these blessings are very short, and should be easily understood without further comment.
(Verses 24 and 25) And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil. Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.
The clause, “and let him dip his feet in oil,” has, by some been interpreted to mean that in the territory assigned to Asher, a great deposit of crude oil will someday be found. However, since olive oil is, and for centuries has been a very important commodity in the middle east, it is likely that it is more under consideration than is crude. Also since the next statement declares, “Thy shoes shall be as iron and brass,” the whole blessing may be that, his shoes shall never wear out and he shall have plenty of olive oil to soothe his feet when they are weary. Then also his strength shall be sufficient for his needs all his days,
(Verses 26 through 29) There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, Who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and His excellency on the sky. The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and He shall thrust out the enemy from before thee, and shall say, Destroy them. Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine: also his heavens shall drop down dew. Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the LORD, the shield of thy help, and Who is the sword of thy excellency! And thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.
Having finished his blessings to the various tribes of Israel, Moses addresses them in general, and proceeds to praise the LORD, and tell Israel how blessed they are to have such a wonderful God. He prophesies to them that the LORD will thrust out their enemies, and call upon Israel to destroy them: after which Israel “shall dwell in safety alone,” that is, with no enemies to bother them. So far, they have had few periods, and they were short, when they had no enemies around them. But the time will come yet, when this will be true, after the LORD has called all nations together against Jerusalem, and comes down to fight their battle for them. They are a happy, and blessed, people; for The LORD is their God, and there is none like Him. He is their shield, their help, and their sword. So, they shall, indeed, “tread upon their (their enemies’) high places.
(Verses 1 through 4) 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, even unto Dan, and Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah unto the utmost sea, and south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar. And the LORD said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither.
So, as the LORD had commanded him, Moses went up into the mountain of Nebo, and all the way to the top of mount Pisgah. There the LORD showed him all the land of Canaan, and all the land which He had promised to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to their seed after them. But, as He had already told Moses, He would not permit him to go over into this land.
(Verses 5 through 8) So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. And He buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Beth-peor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day. And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated. And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days: so the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended.
So far as human companionship is concerned, Moses was alone when he died, and the LORD buried him, with no man knowing the location of his grave. His age was one hundred and twenty years, but he had not begun to fail in any of his bodily functions. The Israelites observed a thirty day mourning period for him.
(Verses 9 through 12) And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the LORD commanded Moses. And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, in all the signs and the wonders, which the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to his land, and in all the mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of all Israel.
Moses being dead, Joshua, as the LORD had already commanded, became the leader of the children of Israel. The LORD had well qualified him for this position, but there never arose another prophet of the power that the LORD had given to Moses. This, of course, is said of the times until the coming of the Christ, Who is, indeed, the “prophet like unto me,” of whom Moses had much earlier spoken.