Deuteronomy


Written and compiled by Gary Kukis


This was originally a 600+ page exegesis of Deuteronomy. Since then, I have been redoing the chapters of this book individually, exegeting them word-by-word. The first set of links will take you to a much more complete examination of each chapter. The second set of links takes you to each chapter in this much shorter and less complete examination of the book of Deuteronomy.


Deuteronomy Chapter Links (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).


What is found in each completed chapter can either be accessed directly above or chapter by chapter below. Only those chapters listed are the completed chapters.


Deuteronomy Introduction (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).


The book of Deuteronomy consists primarily of a series of lectures which Moses delivers to the children of Israel—the second generation from exodus (whom I call the generation of promise)—before they enter into the Land of Promise without him. God will take Moses shortly after delivering these messages.


The Introduction to the book of Deuteronomy is probably a little too long at 70+ pages. This is actually a pivotal book in the Old Testament. In previous books, Moses is very careful to distinguish between the words of God and narrative and what he says. However, when we get to the book of Deuteronomy, such demarcations are only occasional; and there are times when a command from God cannot be distinguished from a command from Moses. The idea is, this begins the concept of the inspiration and authority of Scripture.


The authorship of Deuteronomy and the time during which it was written has been a discussion for over 100 years, with many claiming that Moses did not write this book. Although I believe that scholars have put this wrong-headed theory to rest, the arguments for and against will be herein repeated, in case you have not seen them before.


The influence of Deuteronomy on the rest of the Old Testament and the New is profound. We will find more citations and references to Deuteronomy than any other Old Testament book. Most of these citations will be quoted specifically.


There are several outlines, both short and detailed ones; and several charts, which help to sum up this great book in a glance.


This is the first installment of a phenomenal journey as well as the most thorough examination of this book.



Deuteronomy 1 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).


From the very beginning, you will learn things about Moses and the book of Deuteronomy that are not found in any other commentary (there are dozens of commentaries, if not hundreds). Of the several I looked through, few had any idea as to who the man Moses was; why writing this book was even necessary in the first place; or how the contents of Deuteronomy relate to you and your life directly. Furthermore, none of them seemed to recognize the over-arching theme of Deut. 1, which is obedience to authorities established by God and the consequences of rejecting God’s authority, which obedience is the natural response of faith in what God has told them.


However, there are important concepts in the book of Deuteronomy which other commentaries understood—such as, why Joshua leads the people of Israel into the Land of Promise rather than Moses. This can be found in a few commentaries besides this one.


There are some non-moral issues found in the Pentateuch (like yoking together two incompatible animals; like mixing cotton threads with wool threads). If you have ever wondered why, this will be explained in the introduction to Deut. 1, and then, of course, covered in great detail when that passage is itself examined.


Included in this study is the Great Analogy of the Exodus. This has been dramatically distorted by both Liberation Theology and Black Liberation Theology; however, there is a great analogy which is revealed and explained in the New Testament; and it is both simple and obvious.


In writing this, I did a great deal of reading of other commentators. One of the topics I never saw addressed formally was, Why Does Moses Need to Give a Second Law? God gave Moses the Law and Moses spoke that Law to the people. Why would Moses need to, a second time, present the Law to the people of Israel? This will be fully explained.


There are several topics in this chapter which are not often discussed. (1) Moses speaks of the first no-water situation and how, because of the behavior of the people, God wanted to kill them all; and Moses interceded on their behalf. Then God said, “Okay, you got it Moses; I will let them go into the Land of Promise; I won’t kill them all.” So, why does God first threaten to do something like this, and then, just because Moses says a few words, then backs off. Did Moses really cause God to change His mind? What Moses does here is actually quite significant. (2) In one verse, Moses appears to be blaming the people he is speaking to for his sin—the sin which is keeping him from going into the land with them. Since this is the inspired Word of God, he cannot do that. If he is to blame for his own sin (which he is), then he cannot shift this blame to anyone else—not while speaking the Word of God. Therefore, one of his statements here has to be explained. (3) Also, during this speech, Moses does a couple of public speaking tricks (for lack of a better word) to grab the attention of his audience and to focus them on specific things. I don’t believe that anyone has ever discussed this before.


Some discussion will be given to the Law Code of Hammurabi. No doubt, you have heard that Moses used this code as the basis for the Mosaic Law. This is discussed.


Included in this study is God’s Promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; The Morality of Taking the Land of Promise; and The Sovereignty of God versus the Free Will of Man;


Also important to this study is, how the sermons of Moses help us to define the concept of inspiration. There are at least 4 types found in this study which look forward to Jesus and the cross. 345 pages.



Deuteronomy 2 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).


One aspect of Deut. 2 that is fascinating is, Moses is teaching the people about historical events which have just happened. All of these events are fresh in their minds, and yet Moses takes the time to talk about them and explain them in the light of the will of God.


One of the difficult passages in the Old Testament is where God is said to harden a man’s heart; or where God puts fear into the hearts of some army. These are topics which have been discussed for thousands of years. Do we have free will? Are we nothing but pawns in God’s game? God wants us to make a left turn, and boom, do we then make a left turn, even though we were intending to go right? Where is our free will? Moses recounts God putting the fear of his people into the hearts of his enemies; and of God hardening the heart of King Sihon. In this chapter, we will examine these topics and see that, not only does God not necessarily get into our thinking and change it, but that there are some clues in this passage which suggest how the thinking of some people changes. God may have caused the events leading up to the change of thinking, but the people herein mentioned still change their own minds. Understanding this topic has been considerably advanced in this chapter, although I don’t believe that I am quite yet there.


nowaratheism.jpg

Deut. 1–4 is all about teaching the Israelites their own history, and then correctly interpreting this history. The Christian should never be afraid of human history; and should never become disillusioned by the spin and distortion put on human history by liberals, humanists, communists and other anti-Christian forces. Many times this is done with a simple, but dishonest graphics such as the one from Pinterest to the right (accessed December 16, 2013), which proclaims “No WAR was ever fought in the name of Atheism!” (Apparently completely forgetting about the communist revolutions in Russian, China, Cuba and elsewhere; where more people die in those countries during peacetime than die during most wars). In this chapter study, as in every other, time is spent on giving modern, up-to-date applications.


One area of disagreement among scholars and a confusion to most readers of the Bible concerns the wandering Jews in the desert. There is this mistaken notion that the Jews were led by Moses in the desert for most of 40 years. This is patently untrue. Most of the time that they were in the desert-wilderness was spent at Kadesh-barnea, and there is an abundance of Scripture, with dates, to show that is true. Furthermore, Moses knew the geography of where they were and where the various peoples of that day lived. This was his training. So Moses was never confused about where they were at any given time. In case you have ever wondered about this so-called wandering, a reasonably clear timeline will be laid out in Deut. 2.


There is another very important and difficult discussion in this chapter: the requirement that some peoples are devoted to God and destroyed completely. The second item will always be difficult for men to understand and go along with. How many of us are wholeheartedly in favor of there being a hell? I understand the rationalization behind it; but I cannot imagine the horror of being thrown into hell forever. Therefore, it is difficult for myself and most others to fully appreciate the concept of a people being completely wiped out at the command of God. When dealing with such topics, we have to bear in mind that God is perfect love and perfect justice, and that these two attributes cannot cancel one another out; nor can one suffer while the other is dominant. And, every bit as important is the discussion as to whether this has any application to us today.


Also included in this study is an abundance of maps and graphics, so that you will have a full understanding of where Moses led his people. 266 pages.



Deuteronomy 3 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).


If you read Deuteronomy 3 first, you ought to have two questions: (1) how could God leave Moses behind and let the rest of Israel go into the Land of Promise? And (2) how did the Israelites defeat 60 cities in a relatively short period of time?

deut3trans.jpg

As in the previous chapter, much of what we find in Deuteronomy 3 is review of events which have just taken place. Everyone in attendance knows these events. Moses explains them so that their spiritual meaning will be understood.


Moses will remind the people of the tremendous victory over Og of Bashan; how the land east of the Jordan will be give to 2½ tribes (Reuben, Gad and Manasseh), but how they must continue to help their brothers to take the land west of the Jordan River.


Moses also reminds them that Joshua will lead them at the point of crossing the Jordan and forward; he will lead them into victory over the peoples of Canaan. And they can look back on what God has done for them recently in order to have confidence that God will continue to be with them in battle. Moses himself will not go forward. He will die east of the Jordan River, never having set foot in the Land of Promise.


There are many important and unique doctrines found in this chapter: Why Won’t Moses Enter the Land with the Children of Israel? And What can we as individual believers take from Moses going this far and no further? And, What are we, cops of the world? These are relatively short doctrines, but there is a lot of information and application to our lives today found in these doctrines. Also very important in the theological realm is, Why Joshua leads the people instead of Moses. There is a great deal of typology which is involved here. However, when you see it all explained, all kinds of things will make perfect sense. 241 pages.



Deuteronomy 4 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).



Deuteronomy 5 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).



Deuteronomy 20 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).


Deuteronomy 20 deals with warfare, but with that, a number of other topics which come out in the exegesis of this chapter.


There are, of course, the two facts about Deuteronomy which are ignored by all exegetes of this book. We will flesh out some of the differences between Gen X and the generation of promise. Other topics will include the dishonesty of liberal websites; not being able to fully appreciate the great historical events of your lifetime; the division of responsibilities in the Christian life; how God wants us to be happy in our own lives; one of the oft used false arguments of liberalism; fear and cowardice in battle; some discussion of slavery as found in the Bible; the United States, General MacArthur and Evangelism; and God is a conservationist but not an environmentalist


There are references to the Doctrine of War and the Doctrine of the Military;


Some of the doctrines examined in this chapter include: How God Offering us Peace Parallels Israel Offering Peace to her Enemies; Does God’s Treatment of Israel’s Enemies Seem Harsh to You?; Genocide in the Bible; What is a Righteous War?; and Why the Bible Sometimes Deals with Non-moral Issues. 150 pages.


Deuteronomy 21 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).


There are two passages from this chapter which are known to critics of the Bible. A soldier could take a woman from the captives in war as his wife. Those who do not like the Bible will paint this in the more unflattering light that they can, but what Moses teaches here actually provided protection for the women of captive nations. The procedure will be fully examined in this chapter, along with updated examples of this same thing occurring in today’s world.


The second passage which is well known, outside those who study Scripture, is a passage where a man and his wife bring their son to the elders and judges of a city to be executed. There are several graphics of this floating about the internet. Although this passage is generally translated well, it is rarely studied, with the result that it is not fully understood.


Deuteronomy continues to be a book rich with meaning and application to today. Studying the Old Testament—studying the Mosaic Law, in fact—does not make you a legalist nor should it result in making you a Sabbath-keeper. It allows for you to have the foundation upon which Christianity is based.


Some of the topics covered in this chapter include: How Moses came up with the book of Deuteronomy; The Parallels between the Heifer Sacrificed and Jesus Christ; the protections offered by Moses to captive women taken in war; is there a loophole here for legitimate illegitimate sex; applying the captive wife doctrine to today’s world; why God did not outlaw polygamy; instance of moral neutrality; the importance of authority orientation learned from the parents; and applying the execution of the disobedient son to today’s world.


Some of the doctrines covered or alluded to in this chapter include: Typology; Scofield’s Doctrine of Redemption; the Slave Market of Sin; Polygamy; the Firstborn; Jesus the Firstborn; the 3 Things Liberals Object to in Deut. 21; and the Dual Authorship of Scripture. 176 pages.


Deuteronomy 22 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).


marriage-according-to-the-biblechart.jpg

Those who are liberal and politically active today often take swipes at the Bible, suggesting that God is capricious and arbitrary with the things that He says. This chapter deals with two such topics which can be found at various liberal, anti- Bible and/or pro-gay marriage websites: the banning of cotton/polyester blend clothing and the idea that a rapist can marry his victim. Both of these things are found in Deut. 22, and in each case, that is not really what is found in the Bible. These things have been intentionally or unintentionally distorted to make the Bible seem silly. Now, to begin with, few of these people know what is in the Bible apart what such graphics say; so they post these things out of ignorance and personal bias. However, even when the correct interpretation is given to them, they will continue to keep such dishonest graphics posted. Their intention is to sway hearts and minds and to draw them away from God; whether this is done honestly or dishonestly is not an issue to most liberals, anti-Bible types or gay-marriage proponents. The ends—drawing people away from the Bible—justifies the means.


The reason that I worked on this particular chapter is because of the marriage equality graphic above, the one which claims that a marriage between two men is legitimate because the Bible says that a rapist can marry his victim. That did not sound right at all to me; so I believed that a study of this passage was warranted. In doing contemporary research, I came across several dishonest graphics about the Bible posted on the internet, most of them posted multiple times.


There are several diverse topics in this chapter of Deuteronomy, many of which have application to today’s world. There is one building code (the only to be found in the Mosaic Law). There are laws on conservation. God places these things in the Bible, not only for the people in the time that this was written, but for our time as well. J. Vernon McGee notes that building codes in the United States are a relatively new thing; but the Bible has a building code written over 3500 years ago. Particular care will be given not only to the examination of this building code, but also to update it and to apply to today’s world, using both Texas and California as examples of how to incorrectly do building codes.


Other topics included in this chapter are: the two fundamental things which commentaries do not tell you about Deuteronomy: that Moses was well-educated in the laws of the nations which were known to Egypt and that he was getting a people ready to move into a land, when these people had never farmed before, built a house before, and their parents were not there to tell them how to do it. This explains much of the advice given by Moses throughout the book of Deuteronomy.


Other things which are discussed in this chapter: homosexual acts and mixed-fabric shirts (why should we pay attention to what the Bible says about homosexuality if it also bans cotton-blend shirts?); how laws against j-walking do not invalidate laws against murder (an outstanding analogy); the original Good Samaritan law; Israel’s tax for the poor; the gender roles of parents; building codes in Israel and applying those codes today; what about mixing different fabrics—isn’t that just superstition; “You can’t legislate morality” and the changing morality in the United States; what we can use from the book of Deuteronomy today; Bible morality and the sexual revolution of the 1960's; how to understand the mores of Deuteronomy today; what our society has adopted from the legal nuances of Deuteronomy; gay marriage proponents and their dishonest attacks on the Bible; shotgun weddings; how you fix the illegitimacy rate in the United States; the Bible does not require a woman to marry her rapist; and liberal distortions of the Bible. Finally, there is a special extended section, taking many of the laws found throughout the books of Moses, and showing how they are the very foundation for our system of law here in the United States.


Like all chapters of the Bible that I have studied, there is a great deal to be found in Deut. 22. I particularly enjoyed working on this chapter, and am excited about posting it as well. 206 pages



Deuteronomy 34 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).



 

Introduction to the Book of Deuteronomy

 

Deuteronomy 1

Deuteronomy 2

Deuteronomy 3

Deuteronomy 4

Deuteronomy 5

Deuteronomy 6

Deuteronomy 7

Deuteronomy 8

Deuteronomy 9

Deuteronomy 10

Deuteronomy 11

Deuteronomy 12

Deuteronomy 13

Deuteronomy 14

Deuteronomy 15

Deuteronomy 16

Deuteronomy 17

Deuteronomy 18

Deuteronomy 19

Deuteronomy 20

Deuteronomy 21

Deuteronomy 22

Deuteronomy 23

Deuteronomy 24

Deuteronomy 25

Deuteronomy 26

Deuteronomy 27

Deuteronomy 28

Deuteronomy 29

Deuteronomy 30

Deuteronomy 31

Deuteronomy 32

Deuteronomy 33

Deuteronomy 34

 




Introduction to the Book of Deuteronomy



The Introduction to Deuteronomy has been completely reworked and may be found here: (HTML) (PDF) (WPD). It is highly recommended that you go to that study instead of this one. This begins a word-by-word, verse by verse study in the book of Deuteronomy. Everything found below (and a lot more) is found in this introductory study. These chapters are being completed one-by-one and will eventually supplant this incomplete study of Deuteronomy.


Deuteronomy 1–34


Introduction: Thirty-eight years previous, the children of Israel, gen X, stood at the brink of the Land of Promise and suddenly broke into tears, whining about the giants in the land. For their lack of faith, God destroyed that generation almost in its entirety, leaving less than a handful of believers from them. The next generation, the generation of promise, now stood at the edge of the Land of Promise, with the same concerns. They had to go into the land and face the same peoples. However, the true fight is the spiritual one. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness; against the spiritual [forces] of evil in the heavenlies (Eph. 6:12). The people of Israel are related by covenant to the true God, the Maker of the Universe. If God be for us, who can stand against us? (Rom. 8:31b). But God demands obedience and exclusive devotion to Him.


The emphasis of the book of Deuteronomy is upon the common man and his entrance into the land. The laws and regulations presented herein deal more with the lay person than with the priests. Most of the regulations concerning the priests have to do with the support and distribution of the Levites and the priests.


Authorship: It is possible that Joshua wrote the first five verses of Deuteronomy and it is very likely that he pieced together the last three or so chapters, interweaving it with explanatory narrative. However the majority of Deuteronomy is messages delivered by Moses to the people of Israel. These messages are said to be spoken by Moses in Deut. 1:5 31:9, 22, 24 and this is attested to throughout Scripture by Old Testament writers (1Kings 2:3 8:53 2Kings 14:6 18:12), by the Apostles (Acts 3:22–23 7:37–38 Rom. 10:19) and by our Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 19:7–8 Mark 10:3–5 12:19 John 5:46–47). To assert that He Who is “the Truth” believed Deuteronomy to be the work of Moses and quoted it expressly as such, though it was in fact a forgery introduced into the world seven or eight centuries after the Exodus, is in effect, even though not in intention, to impeach the perfection and sinlessness of His nature, and seems thus to gainsay the first principles of Christianity. Footnote Because the bulk of Deuteronomy is verbal, its literary style, delivery and vocabulary are markedly different from the previous four books. This does not indicate that authorship should be ascribed to anyone other than Moses.


The authorship of Deuteronomy has been disputed by the Graf-Wellhausen hypothesis, which came out of the German universities a century ago. They claimed that writing did not exist during the time of Moses and that the purpose of the book of Deuteronomy was to glorify the priesthood at Jerusalem and to centralize the worship at Jerusalem. Several scholars have concurred, placing the date of the writing of Deuteronomy somewhere between 680–621 bc by a prophet who hid the book in the temple so that it would be found and adhered to. Then, in 621 bc, Hilkiah found this book, gave it to Josiah, and Josiah used this bogus book in order to bring about the religious reform found in 2Kings 22–23. Now let’s be realistic: if there was a prophet who was so intent upon religious reform, he certainly would not have been willing to wait several decades in order for religious reform to occur. Furthermore, why would a person so devious and duplicitous be interested in religious reform? How can these scholars even call this man a prophet? Furthermore, this book is littered with prophecies and a stern warning that if a prophet predicts something and it does not come to pass, then he should be executed as a false prophet. How could someone so duplicitous write such accurate prophecies? Furthermore, archeology has shown that writing predated Moses by easily a millennium. And finally, if the purpose of this book as a forgery was to centralize worship in Jerusalem and to glorify the priesthood, then why is the priesthood only alluded to only a few times and why is Jerusalem not even mentioned at all by name? In fact, Luther wrote: that Deuteronomy was: ...a compendium and summary of the whole law and wisdom of the people of Israel, wherein those things which related to the priests and Levites are omitted, and only such things included as the people generally required to know. Vestiges of this corrupt theory can be found throughout certain reference books; I find it in the Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia once and awhile, and throughout the otherwise excellent BDB Lexicon. One reason to write a bogus book of Scripture would be to convey new and different ideas—ideas opposed to known revelation. A good case in point is the Book of Mormon. However, as we examine this book verse by verse, what will become apparent is that there is not the slightest trace, throughout the whole book, of any intention whatever to give a new or second law. Footnote Some claim that this book was written by an earnest student of Isaiah, but one of his repeated topics is the remnant of Israel, a phrase never found in this book; and one of Isaiah’s favorite titles for God is the Holy One of Israel, also not found in this book. My point is that the idea this books is a forgery, written almost a millennium after the fact in order to achieve religious reform is illogical from any standpoint. This is simply a Satanic attack upon God’s Word. If you deny that Moses wrote this, then you deny that this book is God’s Word and that every reference in the Old Testament and New to Moses as the human author indicates that those books are not God-breathed either. The fact of Mosaic authorship is more than just a minor detail.


There are three basic reasons which we will examine: Deuteronomy as a whole is completely consistent with the times of Moses as to geography, local color, nations. (2) Deuteronomy continually asserts the authorship of Moses, which is confirmed throughout the Scripture. (3) The material herein contained are appropriate for a nation on the brink of entering into the Land of Promise; and not with a nation in the desert, a nation occupying the land, or a nation divided in the land. It is a military book of law, a code of conquest designed to take a people into a land to conquer it. Footnote Let’s take this in more detailed points as to why it is most logical for Moses to be the author: Footnote

1.    The book of Deuteronomy continually claims to be the words of Moses (Deut. 1:1 4:44 29:1). Continually, the use of the 1st person singular is tied to Moses and continually, we are told that Moses spoke these words to Israel (Deut. 1:16, 18 3:21 4:5, 14 5:31 29:5). No other book in Scripture so clearly identifies its author as does this book. To assert otherwise is to completely negate the divine inspiration of God’s Word. That is, God’s Word cannot contain a flaw (other than material which has been added or changed in Scripture); if this were not the words of Moses, then it would be clear that this cannot be God’s Word.

2.    There is a distinct paternal vein running throughout the book of Moses, which belies Mosaic authorship. Moses has led these young people, many of them since birth and the balance since their teens and younger. Their parents have died out. There are no elders to consult, they have no parents or grandparents to go to. Therefore, we see continued heartfelt warnings of Moses as one would prepare one’s own child upon separation.

3.    Joshua, the successor to Moses, also testifies that this is the writing of Moses, in Joshua 1:7 and throughout the last couple of chapters of Deuteronomy, assuming that Joshua pieced those chapters together (Deut. 31:30 32:44 33:1).

4.    Other writers of Old Testament Scripture also attributed the authorship of Deuteronomy to Moses (Judges 3:4 2Kings 14:6 Ezra 3:2 Neh. 1:7 Psalm 103:7 Dan. 9:11 Mal. 4:4). To deny that these are the words of Moses is to deny that the rest of the Old Testament is God’s Word. Furthermore, we have many references to Deuteronomy or to the laws found therein in books which were written after the actual date of Deuteronomy, but prior to the date that Deuteronomy was supposedly forged (Joshua 6:17–18 7:25 8:27, 29–30, 32, 34–35 10:40 11:12, 15 Judges 1:17 17:13) Hosea 4:4 5:10 8:13 9:3 Amos 2:6–8). See either the exegesis of these passages or the Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible; ©1976; Vol. 2, pp. 116–117 for the exact ties to Deuteronomy. Now how exactly to you make references to a book which has not been yet written or how do you follow the laws and precepts of a book which has not yet been written?

5.    As has been mentioned, the most quoted book in the New Testament is Deuteronomy, with such phrases as Moses truly said (Acts 3:22), Moses said (Rom. 10:19), and it stands written in the Law of Moses (1Cor. 9:9). To deny the authorship of Moses is to deny the divine nature of New Testament Scripture.

6.    Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Creator of the Universe, also quoted from the book of Deuteronomy more often than any other Old Testament book and attributed authorship to Moses when He said Moses permitted (Matt. 19:8), Moses said (Mark 7:10) and Moses wrote (Luke 20:28). To deny that Moses wrote Deuteronomy is tantamount to denying that Jesus Christ is God, our Savior. Most of you have been sheltered and don’t realize that this sort of teaching exists—that Deuteronomy was not written by Moses. In fact, there are many seminaries which teach this blasphemy. The reason we are spending time with it is that the inspiration of God’s Word, the divine nature of Jesus Christ and our salvation all hang upon the authorship of Moses of this book. Remove Moses as the author and this calls into question the most basic issue of our Christian life—our salvation through Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Now perhaps you see why this is an important issue.

7.    We would naturally expect this book to be filled with issues and experiences personally important to Moses. He refers to Egypt as a house of slaves (Deut. 5:6b); the burden of being the leader and judge of this people (Deut. 1:9–18); the viciousness of the attack of Amalek is recalled (Deut. 25:17); the murmurings of the people against him (Deut. 9:22–24); the construction material of the ark of the covenant (Deut. 10:3); and, of course, there is the mention of those close to him: Joshua (Deut. 3:21, 28 31:3, 7, 14, 23), Aaron (Deut. 9:20 10:6) and Miriam (Deut. 24:9). As has been mentioned the bulk of the first four chapters are historical and throughout the rest of the book, there are personal references and remembrances. No later prophet comes anywhere close to mentioning this much about Moses in his own work; and no later prophet reflects upon this history with the close, personal involvement that we see in Deuteronomy.

8.    An example which should be dealt with separately is in Exodus, Moses prays on behalf of the people of Israel when they sinned with the golden calf—however, nothing is said of Aaron. However, in Deut. 9:20, Moses mentions that he prayed on behalf of Aaron as well. This is the sort of additional information we would expect from Moses, but not from a writer from a millennium later. Could all these personal Mosaic features have been introduced by some reformer, priest, prophet, or Levite, in order to invest his collection of laws with a Mosaic dress? Is it probable that such an author would have succeeded in establishing a correspondence so natural, so close in manifold and minute particulars, and so profound? Or is it more reasonable to thin that this result proceeds from a true historical connection between the book of the law and the man whose name it has always borne? On every hand if Deuteronomy is acknowledged to be a great book which exerted great influence, should it not also have a great author? Who can fill that place so worthily as the old and tried leader who brought the Israelites out of Egypt, shared their experiences and laid the foundations of their faith?  Footnote

9.    Other than one remark that Moses was the meekest man on the earth, nowhere throughout the entire Pentateuch do we find a single verse praising Moses until Deut. 34:10 in his eulogy.

10.  Another remarkable proof of Mosaic authorship is the sudden intrusion of history when dealing with the Law, e.g., the hiring of Balaam to curse Israel (Deut. 23:4) and the evil attack of the Amamlekites (Deut. 25:17). We would expect to find these things mentioned in the historical section; however, they are so fresh on the mind of Moses that they come out in the area dealing with Law.

11.  There are geographical and historical information which suggests the writer was a person who observed these things firsthand. Manley wrote: The account of the journeyings in chapters i-iii is altogether realistic and quite unlike an introduction prefixed to a collection of old laws; it bears every sign of originality. The views described and the features of the omissions are also significant: there is not hint of Jerusalem, nor of Ramah, dear to Samuel’s heart, not even of Shiloh, where the Tabernacle came to rest. Everything points to its historical character and early date. Footnote The detailed geographical observations would be superfluous in a document designed to set religious precedence.

12.  Throughout Deuteronomy, there are fervent commands to destroy the Canaanites (Deut. 7:16, 22) and to completely blot out Amalek (Deut. 25:17–19), Footnote commands which would have been archaic if written in the time of Josiah.

13.  There are also historical significance to the early portion of Deuteronomy which would have been meaningless had they been written hundreds of years later. Moses mentions the areas where the kings of Bashan dwelt in Deut. 1:4; kings who disappeared from history. Moses comments about the Emmin, a people who also disappeared after his time (Deut. 2:10–11; see Gen. 14:5). Moses gives a brief history of the Horites in Deut. 2:12, a point of interest to his listeners, but entirely irrelevant to an audience a millennium later. And Moses mentions the Zamzummin, a Canaanite race, which was known to his audience, but unknown to history (Deut. 2:20–21). How many writers of forgery would have thought to have included this minutiae?

14.  In Deuteronomy, we have an area called the hill country of the Amorites (Deut. 1:7, 19, 20, 44) which, soon thereafter becomes the hill country of Judah (Joshua 11:16, 21). A later author may not have thought to make these changes back.

15.  Had Deuteronomy been written as a forgery sometime prior to the reign of Josiah, then we would expect to see something about the divided kingdom or Assyrian oppression. However, the names of Judah and Ephraim only occur once each in the blessing of Moses (Deut. 33) and the Assyrians are not mentioned (however, Assyria is mentioned twice in the book of Genesis). The threat of exile should involve Assyria or Babylonia, and not Egypt (Deut. 28:68). It is almost impossible for someone to forge a document which supposedly existed a millennium previous without in some way betraying his present period of time.

16.  Had some prophet written Deuteronomy as a forgery a millennium later, he would have been required to study intensely the previous three books of Moses to retrieve all of the details found in Deuteronomy. That being done, that prophet could have easily cited the pertinent passages from the previous books to centralize the worship in Jerusalem (the men had already been instructed to gather three times a year in a place which God would appoint) (Ex. 23:17 34:23 this is by implication of Lev. 16); to extol the support and authority of the sons of Aaron and the Levites (Num. 3:9–10 4:1–49 8:18–26 81:–18); and to call for the destruction of idolatry (Ex. 34:14–17 Lev. 19:1–8 Num. 25:1–18 31:1–16). What is clear is that in Deuteronomy, there were more references to a place of centralized worship (Deut. 12:5, 11–13) than in the previous books. Since they were about to enter into the land immediately after the completion of the book of Deuteronomy and since the laws previously given applied to both their worship in the desert and in the land, it would only stand to reason that centralized worship would be implied in Exodus, Numbers and Leviticus (recall, they built one tabernacle only) and emphasized in Deuteronomy. The problem with these silly non-Mosaic authorship theories is that their originators never studied the previous books of the Bible very carefully. If Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers are carefully studied, then the precept that Deuteronomy was necessary to centralize worship, to strengthen the priesthood and to stamp out idolatry becomes a flawed foundation on which to build a flawed theory of authorship.

17.  At the time of the writing of Deuteronomy, the authority to uphold the Law was placed in the hands of priests (Deut. 17:9), judges (Deut. 16:18) and the elders of Israel (Deut. 21:21). Had this been written during the time of the divided kingdom, the emphasis of enforcement of the Law would have been upon the king of Israel; however, the concept of kingship is discussed once and that in a way to limit and guide one who would later become king (Deut. 17:14–20).

18.  During the time of Moses, there were covenants which followed a certain form called suzerainty-vassal treaties (which we have covered before). There was a particular form for these covenants to be written in and it has been shown by several authors that the book of Deuteronomy follows that form, e.g., G.E. Mendenhall, Law and Covenant in Israel and in the Ancient Near East; Pittsburgh: Biblical Colloquium, 1955 and Meredith Kilne, Treat of the Great King, Eerdmans, 1963.

19.  Among those who accept Deuteronomy as Scripture—Christians, Jews and Muslims—all have historically accepted this book from its inception as the writing of Moses.

20.  Moses had spent forty years out in the wilderness with the Israelites while God destroyed generation X and one thing that he would logically like to leave with this next generation is the fact that they will go into the land and they will conquer it. Thirty-five times in the book of Deuteronomy, we find Moses using the phrase “go in and possess”; thirty-four times he says “the land which Yehowah your God is giving you.” It is logical that Moses would continually use these phrases; it is less logical for a writer of several centuries later to do so.

Specific Objections to the authorship of Moses, apart from the JEPD theory: Footnote

21.  Some references appear to come from a period of time subsequent to the time of Moses. Deut. 2:10–12 for instance has information which may not have been known by Moses. However, most scholars see these verses as being parenthetical, added after Israel entered into the land (and very likely by Joshua who would know this information). These short, parenthetical additions are given as explanatory clauses or to update the names of certain cities or groups of peoples.

22.  The book of Deuteronomy differs in style, content and vocabulary from the previous three books of the Pentateuch. Most of the quotations in the previous few books were direct quotations from God. God would have a different vocabulary and style than Moses. Furthermore, some of the writing in the previous books was written narrative, therefore naturally differing in style from the oratory message. As a teacher, I have read many student reports and only one written report comes to mind as a report which sounded as though it were spoken. I recall even making a comment to that effect on the student’s paper, noting that it was a very pleasant, readable style. The subject matter of the previous books was very different. Moses dealt with the building of the tabernacle, the numbering of the tribes, the positioning of the troops, the dietary laws, the leprotic laws, etc. etc. Different subject matter requires a different vocabulary. I have personally written hundreds of mathematical worksheets and the vocabulary found in those worksheets are different than the vocabulary found in this book. What would be unreasonable would be to expect that the style found in the previous three books and this book would be similar. This would be like the fact that the Book of Mormon, although written in the 1800's, was written in an old English style, much like the KJV of the Bible. Now that is silly. A book written in America over two centuries after the KJV, which was produced in England, should not be in the same style.

23.  Critics charge that the discovery of this book by Josiah was a fraudulent occurrence and that he used this forgery (written by himself or by trusted men of no character) to (a) destroy idolatrous worship, (b) to give greater power and authority to the priesthood and (c) to centralize the worship of Yehowah in Jerusalem. (a) First off, objections to idolatry occur throughout the previous four books and the book of Joshua. Josiah (or some priest from his era) do not need to use some forgery in order to support the destruction of idolatrous worship. (b) The priesthood is given very little mention in the book of Deuteronomy; their powers and authority are nowhere specifically increased. (c) Finally, as has been pointed out, the name Jerusalem, does not occur in the book of Deuteronomy. In a book so filled with prophecy, it would be natural in the hands of a forger to name Jerusalem by name as a prophecy.

24.  It is said that certain laws found in Deuteronomy differ from those in the previous three books. The easy, general explanation is that some of what is found in the previous three books deal with a nation on the move in the desert and wilderness. A simple example of this is the troop movement and organization surrounding the ark. This is specific to those circumstances at that time. A major change which was about to take place was that Israel would soon settle into her own land and there were be some minor differences due to that.

25.  The phrase beyond the Jordan is used to describe the land east of the Jordan, which is where Moses and company were encamped. This would appear to be a phrase used by those living on the western side of the Jordan. However, this was a specific term which means the other-side land and was applied to the portion east of the Jordan, despite the location of the writer or speaker. Today, we still call the land Trans-Jordan, whether we live in the United States, in Israel or in Trans-Jordan.

26.  Occasionally, we find the phrase until this day. This can refer to (a) the period of time of Moses, looking back over the past forty years; (b) the perspective of Joshua, who amended the book of Deuteronomy in perhaps a half dozen places. In no case are we ever looking backwards several hundred years.

27.  Deuteronomy contains an account of the death of Moses. When we get to the final chapters of Moses, we will find that most of them were pieced together and edited by Joshua, adding in the blessing and the song of Moses. Therefore, to find an account of the death of Moses is perfectly natural and more indicative of an eyewitness account rather than a writer from a time period several hundred years later.

For most of you, it is sufficient to say that Moses wrote the book of Deuteronomy because this is God’s Word and that is what God’s Word says. So the past couple of pages may b=have seemed as though I was beating a dead horse. However, since this theory persists and continually finds its way into Christian literature and Christian seminaries, it is important that it be dealt with carefully. Whereas, the bulk of the quotations found in the previous three books are direct quotes from God which Moses conveyed to the people, Moses spoke to the people in this book in his own words, as moved by the Holy Spirit. Now, don’t get me wrong—he didn’t just start speaking and all of these things came out. We have a written document which recorded what he said, and since voice to print had not been perfected on their computers as of yet, this would indicate the Moses first wrote these dissertations out and then presented them. If you didn’t catch that, let me explain: with their writing materials and their speed of writing, even without vowels, it would have been quite difficult to keep up with Moses and take word-by-word dictation. Since we have this information recorded for us in written form, that would logically indicate that Moses wrote it down first and then read from his notes.


As I had mentioned from the outset, it is likely that Joshua pieced together the last few chapters and possibly wrote the first five verses of this book. A reasonable but distant second choice is Eleazar. I would choose Joshua as my first choice for several reasons:  It would be natural for the writer of the book of Joshua to be the one to finished the last few verses of the book of Deuteronomy, since they follow one another historically. This person was likely Joshua.  We find the phrase, Moses, the servant of Yehowah in Deut. 34:5. Whereas, we do not find this title previously in the Pentateuch, we find is a dozen times in the book of Joshua. This would suggest that the writer of Deut. 34 and the book of Joshua are the same person.  Whereas it is possible that any person could write Scripture through the power of the Holy Spirit, eyewitness or not, it is just more likely that the events described were events which one witnessed or was a confident of one who saw these events.  The verses Ex. 24:13 and 33:11 indicate a very close relationship between Moses and Joshua.  Because we hear the name of Joshua much more often in the book of Deuteronomy than we hear of Eleazar (nine times versus once; and Joshua is mentioned six times in the concluding four chapters), this would indicate that Joshua was more closely associated with Moses.


The Date and Time of Writing: Deuteronomy was written and taught during the last few days (and perhaps weeks) of the life of Moses. Although it appears to me that these messages were likely given during the last week of the life of Moses, one author was of the opinion that Deuteronomy covered a span of forty days (citing Deut. 1:3 to affirm his thinking) and another felt that the time frame herein was approximately a month. Whereas, I do not find forty days represented here, there is also nothing, other than the length of these messages, which would indicate a week either. This would have been written and taught somewhere between 1450–1405 bc. Several authors quote 1406 or 1405 bc as the year in which this book was written. Actually the time period for Deuteronomy is quite easy to determine. The book begins with: And it came to pass in the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month that Moses spoke to the children of Israel according to all that Jehovah had command him to them (Deut. 1:3). This means that 39 years and 10 months after the exodus, we begin the book of Deuteronomy. In this book we have very little by way of narrative—nothing that would indicate any period of time passing. We have the death of Moses and then the people mourn for Moses thirty days (Deut. 34:8). After 5–10 days pass in the book of Joshua, we have the verse: Now the people came up from the Jordan on the 10th of the first month and camped at Gilgal on the eastern edge of Jericho. This means that the time period for the book of Deuteronomy is less than a month. That gives us another month for the mourning at the death of Moses and a few days for the first few chapters of Joshua.


One very interesting theory was set forth by D. Miall Edwards in The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, p. 837 and that was that the message of Deut. 5–26 had been covered before by Moses prior to their first attempt at entering the land from the south thirty-eight years previous. It would make sense that Moses had put together a message to inspire them and to bring them into the land and that he possibly taught it while the spies were in the land. The reason Edwards would assert this is the many named places in Deut. 1:1–2 does not confine us to only across the River Jordan from Jericho but mentions that they are eleven days away from Kadesh Barnea by way of Mount Seir, which is where gen X was stopped in its tracks. Edwards writes: If these statements have any relevancy whatever to the contents of the book which they introduce, they point to a wide area, from Horeb to Moab, as the historico-geographical background of the book. In other words, Deuteronomy, in part at least, seems to have been spoken first on the way between Horeb and Kadesh-barnea, and later again when Israel were encamped on the planes of Moab. Footnote The upshot is that these, in part, are twice-baked sermons, which had no effect upon gen X, but did upon the Generation of Promise. This does not mean that Moses just hauled out the sermon from thirty-eight years previous and read it again. He obviously re-worked it somewhat, adding, for instance, the names of the cities of refuge (Deut. 4:41–43 19:1–13), which would not have been named prior to the invasion and conquering of the land to the east.


The book of Deuteronomy is a result of God telling Moses to speak to the people before they entered into the Land of Promise: And Yahweh spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho, saying, Speak to the sons of Israel, and say to them, When you+ pass over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, then you+ will drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you+, and destroy all their figured [stones], and destroy all their molten images, and demolish all their high places: and you+ will take possession of the land, and dwell in it; for to you+ I have given the land to possess it. And you+ will inherit the land by lot according to your+ families; to the more you+ will give the more inheritance, and to the fewer you will give the less inheritance: wherever the lot falls to any man, that will be his; according to the tribes of your+ fathers you+ will inherit. But if you+ will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you+, then will those who you+ let remain of them be as pricks in your+ eyes, and as thorns in your+ sides, and they will vex you+ in the land in which you+ dwell. And it will come to pass, that, as I thought to do to them, so I will do to you+. (Num. 33:50–56; Updated Bible Version 2.11)


Tone and Style: The tone of this book is primary hortatory. Whereas, for instance, the categories of laws and regulations which Moses taught can be roughly grouped, they do not all fall perfectly into these categories, as Moses did not approach his addresses to the people as strictly a more organized structuring of the Laws of God, but as one who was exhorting the people to obey the True and Living God. As ZPEB says: [Moses] is not a historian or a jurist as much as he is a religious teacher Footnote .


The speeches exhibit an unity of style and character which is strikingly consistent with such circumstances. They are pervaded by the same vein of thought , the same tone and tenor of feeling, the same peculiarities of conception and expression. They exhibit matter which is neither documentary nor traditional, but conveyed in the speaker’s own words. Their aim is strictly hortatory; their style earnest, heart-stirring, impressive, in passages sublime, but throughout rhetorical; they keep constantly in view the circumstances then present and the crisis to which the fortunes of Israel had at last been brought. Moses had before him not the men to whom by God’s command he delivered the law at Sinai, but the generation following which had grown up in the wilderness. Footnote The literary style of Deuteronomy is very marked and individual; in his command of a chaste, yet warm and persuasive eloquence, the author of Deuteronomy stand unique among the writers of the Old Testament Footnote .


Deuteronomy is a hortatory description, explanation, and enforcement of the most essential contents of the covenant revelation and covenant laws, with emphatic prominence given to the spiritual principle of the law and its fulfillment, and with a further development of the ecclesiastical, judicial, political, and civil organization, which was intended as a permanent foundation for the life and well-being of the people in the land of Canaan Footnote .


There are certain phrases which we find again and again in this book, which would be consistent with the speaker being Moses. We have certain Moses-isms, e.g., as at this day, that is may be well with you, caused to inherit, the land where you are going in to possess it, with all your heart and with all your soul; these are phrases which are almost unique to the book of Deuteronomy. Furthermore, we have a continued emphasis upon listening, learning and obeying. Moses continually tells his students to hear, to listen, to obey.



Title: The name Deuteronomy comes from the Greek word which means Second Law or repetition of the law. Interestingly enough, this name is based upon a Greek mistranslation of Deut. 17:18. The Septuagint reads: And when he is established in his government, the he will write for himself this second law into a book by the hands of the priests the Levites. Second Law is the word deuteronomion (δευτερονόμιον) [pronounced dew-ter-ah-NO-mee-on]. However, what Moses is saying is that the king must write for himself a copy of the law. The other four names of the first four books of the Torah are based upon the Hebrew; this is based upon the Greek. The Hebrew title of this book is Debarim, which means words.



Chronology: The few events described in this book take place during the last week of the life of Moses.



Deuteronomy and the Suzerainty-vassal treaties: Footnote Treaties of the first and second millenniums bc tend to follow a specific format, quite similar to the writing of Deuteronomy. We have  a preamble (Deut. 1:1–5);  an historical prologue (Deut. 1:6–3:29);  Stipulations of the treaty (Deut. 4–26);  Deposition of text (Deut. 31;9, 24–26) and the public reading thereof (Deut. 31:10–12);  Witnesses to the treaty (Deut. 31:16–30 32:1–47); and  the curses and blessings (Deut. 28). In the ancient world, these covenants generally were in the order of witnesses, curse and then blessings; Deuteronomy is curses, blessings, curses and then witnesses.


The preamble of a suzerain-vassal treaty names the speaker, the one claiming lordship over his vassals. In v. 1, Moses is identified, but he is God’s earthly minister and representative (v. 3). Next we would find a historical section, an historic preamble, if you will, that examines the previous relationship of the lord and vassal. Benefits of this relationship to the vassal are often cited (Deut. 2:7 3:3 4:39). The, the most important portion of the covenant were the laws and expectations, which were set forth in the laws, judgments and regulations which we find in Deut. 5:1–26:19. Then we would have the cursings and blessings, which we find listed in Deut. 27–30. Such a treaty would have to be witnessed by representatives of both sides, which is what we have in Deut. 32–33. Every time the Israelites sang the song of Moses, they were a witness to this treaty. There must also be a place where the treaty would be deposited for reference, and that was handled in Deut. 31:9, 24–26, when Moses gave this document to the priests to place next to the ark of the covenant. A treaty which has been written, ratified, and witnessed was considered to be inviolable thereafter. Hence, we have a cursing for anyone who either added to or took from the words of this book (Deut. 4:2). Finally, the document was to be notarized, which was analogous to the recording of the death of Moses at the very end.


The covenant form found in Deuteronomy is much more similar to those covenants found in the second millennium bc than to those used during the period of the Assyria’s dominance, several hundred years later. In fact, the covenant form from the second century bc was likely unknown to the people under the united monarchy of Israel. Kitchen writes: First, the basic structure of Deuteronomy and much of the content that gives specific character to that structure must constitute a recognizable literary entity; second, this is a literacy entity not of the eighth or seventh century b.c. but rather from ca 1200 b.c. at latest. My personal opinion is that this is not necessarily what Moses had in mind when he wrote these messages to the people. This was a logical approach for him, to state the background for his messages, to list the historical relationship between God and Israel, and then to list the laws to which they were to be obedient to. I personally believe that the similarity in the overall structure of Deuteronomy to the suzerain-vassal treaties was a function of God the Holy Spirit.



Points of Interest: There are times when Moses is so moved by the Holy Spirit in his message that he speaks in place of God, a daring effect which few, if any, pastors should use.


Because Moses is speaking to the people in a series of speeches, he places himself in the 1st person, which he never does in the previous three books.


This book as likely the book discovered by King Josiah which precipitated his religious reforms (2Kings 22–23).



Authority and Inspiration: According to the notes of the Scofield Reference Bible, there are 80 references in the New Testament to the book of Deuteronomy; the NIV Study Bible says that there are almost 100 allusions to Deuteronomy in the New Testament; and Zodhiates claims that there are 200 references to this book in the New Testament. In answering the temptations of Satan, our Lord quoted from this book exclusively and in general, He quoted this book more than any other from the Old Testament.


The concept of inspiration is taken further specifically by this book of Deuteronomy: the laws which Moses gives and the statements which he makes are no longer directly from the mouth of God, as we found in Exodus through Numbers. However, they are given the same weight when it comes to authority by Moses and by later writers of Scripture, as we have seen, even though God spoke the laws in the previous books and now Moses is speaking.


One very interesting point is that in previous books of God’s Word, Moses primarily quoted God when speaking to the people. Whatever God told him, Moses repeated this almost word-for-word. However, with this book, there are only a handful of verses which quote Yehowah directly. Moses, with this book, speaks God’s Word directly, inspired by the Holy Spirit. Now, this was not some sort of trance-like state and automatic speaking; Moses had studied God’s Word directly from God, so he had the background. Furthermore, in order for all of this information to be recorded, this means it had to be written down. It is much more likely that Moses wrote his discourses first and then spoke them. However, this in no way minimizes the fact that these are the very Words of God spoken through Moses, without distorting the personality, vocabulary or speaking style of Moses and yet without compromising the very Words of God. In Deuteronomy, we find the very essence of the concept of the inspiration of Scripture.



Geography: Moses and the children of Israel have just come up the east side of the Dead Sea, defeating several armies and taking over much of the land east of the Jordan. They are about to go into the Land of Promise and Moses will not be going in with them. Moses prepares several sermons, if you will, and presents these to the children of Israel across the Jordan River from Jericho. They are in a land which used to belong to Moab, but had been taken from them by the Ammonites, which land Moses took from the Amonites. There are no movements to speak of, just several gatherings of the children of Israel to hear Moses speak.



General Content: What few people seem to understand is, the book of Deuteronomy represents a dramatic change in the person of Moses. Up until this point, he carefully distinguished between the things which God said, what he said and what the narrative was at the time. However, Moses, in the last month or so of his life, speaks authoritatively to the children of Israel, without ever distinguishing what he is saying as over-against what God has said. Therefore, Moses is taking on this great authority, not as God, but as a spokesman for God.


 

What is Found in the Book of Deuteronomy

Content

Description

The Law

Moses will reiterate specific portions of the Mosaic Law.

Court Cases

Moses has had his training in the law of many nations when he was being prepared to rule over Egypt. He has a great background in this field and was more than qualified to sit upon the court of any nation.


He spends a great deal of his time judging the people of Israel, using his knowledge of the Law and of traditions and coming to a reasonable ruling.

Traditions

One must be careful in this category. Moses was not teaching traditions as law. He was taking cultural norms and standards for his time, and using the Law to make rulings, within these cultural norms (as long as these norms were not in opposition to the Law of God).

Advice

Moses, in this final month, is speaking to young men and women who have grown up in the desert. They do not know how to farm, how to provide for themselves, or even how to make their own clothes. God has taken care of these things for them. Furthermore, most people learn such skills from their parents. Well, the parents, Gen X, are all dead, having died the sin unto death in the desert. So Moses has to give some basic advice to these young adults (they are between the ages of 20 and 40) who have survived their parents, but are about to enter into a land where they have no skills whatsoever.

 

 

 


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines



Parallels: There are several parallels found when viewing this book as a whole. The people to whom the Law was first given, although they received it with enthusiasm, they rejected God’s Law and were taken out under the sin unto death. Israel, as a nation, received God’s Law with enthusiasm, yet also fell away, and had to be removed from the land several times and the responsibility given to “the next generation”—the church. Finally, in terms of space, three books were devoted to the exodus of Israel and their forty year wanderings in the desert (actually, the time frame which was covered was really two years of that time). The entire book of Deuteronomy is devoted to approximately one week of history of Israel. This parallels our Lord’s life, wherein most of what was written concerning His stay on this earth was the last week. One of the great parallels between the death of Moses and the death of our Lord was the fact that both of them died according to the commandment of God when their work was finished. Moses was still physically strong and his eye was not dim, yet he died as his work on earth was finished. Jesus Christ would have been at His physical peak in His early 30's but he breathed His last as His work was finished.



Important Quotations: “Hear, O Israel! Yehowah is our God, Yehowah is One! And you will love Yehowah your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your ability [lit., might]” (Deut. 6:4–5). These two verses are quoted just about every Sabbath in every synagogue. The word for one can mean alone, unity. When a man leaves his mother and father and cleaves to his wife, they become one flesh.


There are two specific commands barring us from adding to god’s Word or taking from it. Most people are familiar with this mandate at the end of the book of Revelation, but not many know about the one in Deuteronomy: “And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I am teaching you to perform, in order that you may live and go in and take possession of the land which Yehowah, the God of your fathers is giving you. You will not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor will you take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of Yehowah your God which I command you.” (Deut. 4:1–2).


In this book we have the Ten Commandments repeated in Deut. 5. This does not mean that Moses ran out of things to say; this is a new generation to whom he is speaking. It is possible that many of them had not even heard Moses before (only a small percentage of the two million could have ever actually heard Moses teach).


For the covenant theologians, there are continual reminders that Yehowah would not forget Israel. “For Yehowah your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them.” (Deut. 4:31). Although covenant theologians teach that the church is really a spiritual Israel and that all these promises have been transferred over to the church, there will always be the Jewish race and there will always be the Land of Promise and God will fulfill His promises to His people, the sons of Israel, and that is not us, the church.


One of my personal favorite quotations from Deuteronomy is: “Do not say in your heart when Yehowah your God has driven them out from before you, ‘Because of my righteousness Yehowah has brought me in to possess this land,’ but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that Yehowah is dispossessing them before you. It is not for your righteousness or for the uprightness of your heart that you are going to possess their land, but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that Yehowah your God is driving them out before you, in order to confirm the oath which Yehowah swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Know, then, it is not because of your righteousness that Yehowah your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stubborn people!” (Deut. 9:4–6). God blessed Israel in grace, based upon His own character, just as He does us in the Church Age.


Israel was commanded by Moses in the power of the Holy Spirit not to do what was right in their own eyes (Deut. 12:8). God had given them a clear delineation of what was right and what was wrong. Human viewpoint of morality and correctness of action was immaterial. When Israel began to do what was right in her own eyes caused her to enter into one of the darkest period of her history, the time of the judges, when every man did what was right in his own eyes (Judges 17:6 21:25).


Israel was warned in the book of Deuteronomy not to follow after other gods even if a false prophet or dreamer arose with great signs and wonders. “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ you will not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for Yehowah your God is testing you to find out if you love Yehowah your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You will follow Yehowah your God and you will fear Him; and you will keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. And that prophet or dreamer of dreams will be executed, because he has counseled rebellion against Yehowah your God.” (Deut. 13:1–5a).


One of my favorite passages deals with the rebellious teenager: “If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them, then his father and mother will seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his home town. And they will say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious and he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of his city will stone him to death; so you will remove the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear and fear.” (Deut. 21:18–21). There is no time-out or removing his privileges of using the family car for the week; the rebellious teen is executed.


Deuteronomy is filled with prophecies concerning the discipline of Israel: “Now the generation to come, your sons who rise up after you and the foreigner who comes from a distant land, when they see the plagues of the land and the diseases with which Yehowah has afflicted it, will say, ‘All its land is brimstone and salt, a burning waste, unsown and unproductive, and no grass grows in it, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which Yehowah over threw in His anger and in His wrath.’ And all the nations will say, ‘Why has Yehowah done thus to this land? Why this great outburst of anger?’ Then men will say, ‘Because they forsook the covenant of Yehowah, the God of their fathers which He made with them when He brought them out of the land of Egypt. And they went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods whom they have not known and whom He had not given to them. Therefore, the anger of Yehowah burned against that land, to bring upon it every curse which is written in this book; and Yehowah uprooted them from their land in anger and in fury and in great wrath, and cast them in to another land, as this day.’ “ (Deut. 29:22–28). Looks at the land of Israel today; doesn’t it appear to be sown with salt? Don’t you see the brimstone flying from the sky into the land? Israel is under discipline.


Outline: Most Christian sources separate the book of Deuteronomy into four addresses of Moses whereas the Hebrew theologians separate this book into eight separate addresses. The latter is the proper way to see the headings of this book, and these eight separate addresses are interspersed with introductory material, a couple of historical events and the last two times God and Moses met face to face prior to Moses being taken into eternity.

 

I.      Introduction to the book of Deuteronomy (Deut. 1:1–5)

II.     The first discourse of Moses (Deut. 1:6–4:40)

        A.    Their historical background (1:6–3:29)

                1.     Moses reviews their history from the Exodus to Kadesh-Barnea, where the people were too afraid to enter into the land (1:6–45)

                2.     The 38 silent years (v. 46)

                3.     From Kadesh to where they stand opposite Jericho (1:47–3:29)

        B.    The importance of God’s Word, God’s commandments and the obedience and fidelity of the Israelites (4:1–40)

III.    Moses sets apart the three cities to the east of the Jordan for those who have committed unintentional manslaughter (Deut. 4:41–49)

IV.   The second discourse of Moses given to all Israel (Deut. 5:1–26:19)

        A.    Moses repeats the Ten commandments and Moses reminds them of the historical circumstances of the receipt of those commandments (5:1–33)

                1.     Introduction (5:1–5)

                2.     Ten Commandments (5:6–21)

                3.     Immediate history following the giving of the Ten Commandments (5:22–33)

        B.    Moses enjoins obedience to God’s Word (6:1–25)

        C.    God’s particular relationship with Israel (7:1–9:29)

                1.     Moses warns them about their contact with the indigenous population of the Land of Promise and about their gods (7:1–5)

                2.     Chosen Israel (7:6–11)

                3.     Special blessings to Israel (7:12–19)

                4.     Israel’s enemies in the land (7:20–26)

                5.     God’s special blessings to Israel (8:1–9)

                6.     Particular warnings from God (8:10–20)

                7.     Israel’s rebelliousness and their provocation of God (9:1–29)

        D.    Miscellaneous history and exhortation (10:1–11:32)

                1.     Ten Commandments re-written (10:1–4)

                2.     The Levites (10:5–9)

                3.     Exhortation to obey God and to show love as God has shown them love (10:10–22)

                4.     God’s continued activity in their lives (11:1–17)

                5.     The importance of learning His Word (11:18–22)

                6.     Blessings and cursings (11:23–32)

        E.    What God expects of His people upon their entry into the land (12:1–26:15)

                1.     What is acceptable in worship and what is not (12:1–17:1)

                        a.     Miscellaneous expectations upon entering the land (12:1–32)

                                (1)   False religion vs. that which is true (12:1–10)

                                (2)   Offerings (12:11–27)

                                (3)   Disgusting heathen practices (12:28–32)

                        b.     Idolaters, false prophets and treatment of idolaters (13:1–18)

                        c.     Clean and unclean animals (14:1–21)

                        d.     Tithing, the Levites and the helpless (14:22–29)

                        e.     The Sabbath year regulations (15:1–23)

                        f.      Passover (16:1–8)

                        g.     Feast of Weeks (16:9–12)

                        h.     Feast of Booths (16:13–15)

                        i.      Conclusion and miscellaneous laws (16:16–17:1)

                2.     Government (17:2–20)

                        a.     Appeal to the Levites and priests (vv. 2–13)

                        b.     Proper behavior for a king (vv. 14–20)

                3.     Spiritual regulations (18:1–22)

                        a.     Portion of the Levites and priests (vv. 1–8)

                        b.     Spiritism is forbidden (vv. 9–14)

                        c.     The Prophet Who is to come (vv. 15–19)

                        d.     Test of a false prophet (vv. 20–22)

                4.     Governmental regulations (19:1–21)

                        a.     The cities of refuge (vv. 1–13)

                        b.     Land boundaries, false witnesses and their punishment (vv. 14–21)

                5.     Warfare (20:1–20)

                6.     Unsolved homicides (21:1–9)

                7.     Familial regulations (21:10–22)

                        a.     Wives taken out of captives in war (vv. 10–14)

                        b.     Two wives and their sons (vv. 15–17)

                        c.     Rebellious teenagers (vv. 18–21)

                        d.     Public executions (vv. 22–23)

                8.     Various and sundry laws (22:1–25:19)

                        a.     Israelites should have a public conscience (22:1–8)

                        b.     Certain mixtures prohibited (22:9–12)

                        c.     Sexual morality (22:13–30)

                        d.     Exclusion from the assembly of God’s people (23:1–6)

                        e.     Foreigners who are not excluded (23:7–8)

                        f.      Cleanliness in war (23:9–14)

                        g.     Mistreated slaves (23:15–16)

                        h.     Prohibition of cult prostitutes (23:17–18)

                        i.      Interest regulations (23:19–20)

                        j.      Vows (23:21–23)

                        k.     Welfare (23:24–25)

                        l.      Laws of divorce (24:1–5)

                        m.    Pledges, kidnapping, leprosy (24:6–13)

                        n.     The paying of wages; personal responsibility (24:14–16)

                        o.     The helpless and welfare provisions (24:17–22)

                        p.     Limitations of punishment (25:1–3)

                        q.     Muzzling an ox while treading (25:4)

                        r.     Raising up seed for a deceased brother (25:5–10)

                        s.     Penalty for grabbing the testicles of a man (25:11–12)

                        t.      Integrity in business (25:13–16)

                        u.     Destroy the name of Amalek (25:17–19)

                9.     The offering of the firstfruits (26:1–15)

        F.    Conclusion: obey God commandments (26:16–19)

V.    The third discourse of Moses and the elders of Israel to the people (Deut. 27:1–28:68)

        A.    Cursings given from Mount Ebal (27:1–26)

        B.    Blessings from Mount Gerizim (28:1–12)

        C.    Cursings (28:15–68)

VI.   The fourth discourse of Moses to the all Israel (Deut. 29:1–30:20)

        A.    God’s faithfulness (29:1–13)

        B.    Idolatry and the inevitable results (29:14–29)

        C.    The Palestinian Covenant (30:1–14)

VII.  The fifth discourse of Moses spoken to all Israel; Moses turns over his authority to Joshua (Deut. 31:1–8)

VIII. The sixth discourse of Moses, a specific charge to the priests (Deut. 31:9–13)

IX.   God speaks to Moses, telling him of his impending death and God speaks to Joshua (Deut. 31:14–23)

X.    Moses writes a song and gives the Word of God and special instructions to the Levites (Deut. 31:24–30)

XI.   The Song of Moses (Deut. 32:1–43)

        A.    God perfect character (32:1–4)

        B.    Israel’s rebellion (32:5–6)

        C.    God’s faithfulness and provision (32:7–14

        D.    Israel’s apostasy (32:15–21)

        E.    God disciplines Israel (32:22–25)

        F.    God will not completely obliterate Israel (32:26–35)

        G.    God will vindicate His people (32:36–43)

XII.  Final exhortation by Moses concerning God’s Word: “It is not an idle word, it is your life!” (Deut. 32:44–47)

XIII. God tells Moses to go up to the mountain to die for breaking faith with Him in the wilderness (Deut. 32:48–52)

XIV. The final blessing of Moses to the tribes (Deut. 33:1–29)

        A.    Introduction (33:1–5)

        B.    Blessing of the twelve tribes (33:6–25)

        C.    Blessings to all of Israel (33:26–29)

XV.  The Death of Moses (Deut. 34:1–12)



Synopsis: Either Moses or Joshua sets the historical scene in the first chapter and then we have recorded several discourses by Moses to the people of Israel. This is one of the few times that Moses spoke his own words as guided by God the Holy Spirit (he did not speak extemporaneously but from his notes). In his first discourse, he recalled the history of Israel and interpreted it. In the second discourse, Moses gave a lengthy set of laws and regulations. In his third discourse, Moses gave the blessings and cursings which were to be read from Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim. At this point, he became very prophetical. To understand his prophecies made before (e.g., Lev. 26), recall that Moses was essentially repeating what God had told him to say. However, here Moses is not recounting God’s Word but speaking God’s Word. In his next discourse, Moses gives Israel some historical background and then delivered the Palestinian Covenant. Again, Moses is not repeating word-for-word what God had told him, but is explaining in his own vocabulary the result of his study of God’s Word in reference to the covenant between God and Israel. The Moses turns over the reigns of power to Joshua, gives what he has written to the priests, along with instructions. At the end of Deut. 31, God speaks to Moses and to Joshua directly. Finally, Moses writes a song, teaches it to all of Israel, gives his final blessings to the individual tribes of Israel, and then goes to the mountain and dies on the mountain.



Themes: What sticks out in my mind more than anything else is the warnings delivered by Moses to the children of Israel is the apostasy that they might fall into, against which Moses warns. One of the other great themes of this book is love, which is mentioned twenty-two times in this book. It is often on the basis of love for God that Moses exhorts the Israelites to obey Him (Deut. 7:7–8 8:17 9:4–6). Those who picture a God of vengeance and wrath in the Old Testament and a God of love in the New Testament just do not know what is in the Old Testament. Jesus Christ of the New Testament is Yehowah, the God of Israel, in the Old. Because of God’s love for us, we are to obey His Word. And let’s understand one thing: the Law is good. Although I emphasize and overemphasize the fact that God cannot save us by Law, that does not imply that the Law is not good. Of course the Law is good. Do you know where the trouble lies? The trouble is with you and me. Therefore, God must save us only by His grace Footnote .


“Listen and obey the commandments of God" is a phrase used by Moses several times throughout this book. The Generation of Promise, and those which followed, were to listen to God’s Word and to obey it. We find this phrase, or something similar to it, in Deut. 5:1 6:3–4 9:1 10:12 12:1 20:3.


The devotion of Israel to God is to be more than ceremonial; more than mere obedience to Law. The Israelite was to love his God with all his soul, and his heart and all his might (Deut. 10:12 11:1, 13, 22 13:3 19:9 30:6, 16, 20). In fact, obedience to the Law is more often tied to loving God than to the fear of God (Deut. 5:10 6:5 7:8 10:12, 15 11:1, 13, 22 13:8 19:9 30:16, 20). Ideally, your own child obeys you because he loves you and his trusts you, rather than out of simple fear (which is, of course, a motivating factor).


“Remember God's deliverance of you out of Egypt." Moses continually goes back to what God has done on behalf of Israel—to events observed by his listeners, in order to convince them that Yehowah is a God unlike any heathen god. Deut. 5:15 7:18 8:2, 18 9:7, 27 11:2 15:15 16:3, 12 24:9, 18, 22 25:17.


Related to God’s deliverance of Israel is the uniqueness of God and the uniqueness of the relationship between God and Israel. There is no God like the God of Israel and God has chosen Israel above all other nations (Deut. 4:35, 39 5:26 6:4 10:17 32:39). Since Israel was set apart to God, she was not to pursue other gods (Deut. 6:14–15 7:4, 6 8:19–20 11:16–17, 20 30:17–18). This is analogous to being married and then cheating on the one that you love above all others. Therefore, God is jealous of all rivals for His love and He despises all forms of idolatry (Deut. 7:4, 25–26 12:31 13:14 18:12 20:18 27:15 29:24–26 31:16–17).


As has been previously mentioned, Moses desires for this generation to enter into the Land of Promise and to take it. Therefore, Moses uses the phrase “go in and possess” thirty-five times; and thirty-four times he says “the land which Yehowah your God is giving you.” I recall that my parents expected me to go to college; I don’t recall them even using the phrase if you go to college; the phrasing they used was when you go to college. Moses does the same thing here.


One of the great themes of this book is the teaching of God’s Word to one’s children. “Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen, and so that they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and to your grandsons. Remember the day you stood before Yehowah your God at Horeb when Yehowah said to me, ‘Assemble the people to Me, that I may let them hear My words so they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth and that they may teach their children.” (Deut. 4:9–10). “And these words which I am command you today, they will be on your heart; and you will teach them diligently to your sons and you will talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. And You will bind them as a sign on your hand and they will be as frontals on your forehead. And you will write them on the doorposts of your house an on your gates.” (Deut. 6:6–9; see also Deut. 11:18–22). And he said to them, “Take to your heart all the words with which I am warning you today, which you will command your sons to observe carefully, even all the words of this law. For it is not an idle word for you; indeed, it is your life. And by this word you will prolong you days in the land which you are about to cross the Jordan to possess.” (Deut. 32:46–47). By the way, I wonder if this isn’t the great neglect in the modern home. We talk about the failure of the school and the failure of the church today, and I agree that both have miserably failed in teaching boys and girls, but the real problem is in the home where instruction should have originated. Footnote



Point of View: In general, Deuteronomy contains several sermons of Moses spoken to the children of Israel. What is unusual about this content is that Moses often speaks in the first person. When we write and when we speak, we often demonstrate a different vocabulary and, in this case, a different point of view. Although Moses wrote at least the last four books of the Torah, he speaks of himself in the 3rd person throughout Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy (a format followed by most writers of Scripture, with the exception of Luke in the book of Acts and most of the epistles and the book of Revelation). However, in speaking to Israel, Moses does not hide behind the 3rd person but speaks of himself in the first person. At the end of Deuteronomy, we have a song written by Moses, a blessing by Moses for the children of Israel and the death of Moses.


Content: There are portions of Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers which are rehashed herein. This is not repetition, per se, as the listeners are a new generation of believers, the generation of promise. Those to whom the rest of the Law was given rejected it and God took them out under the sin unto death. There are times that some of the laws may seem to be a bit different from what had been presented in the previous three books. Some of the material found in Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers pertained only to Israel while on foot and while temporarily encamped. Deuteronomy deals in part with their behavior and rituals once they enter the land of Canaan. [Moses]...takes the legislation which the Lord had given to Israel nearly forty years before and adapts it to conditions of settled life in the land to which Israel was soon to go Footnote .


In the previous three books, there is a fair amount of narrative. This book is primarily the verbal teaching of Moses to the people. Much of this covers their immediate history and their relationship to Yehowah, their God. As we have gone through those books, I have interpreted the meaning of their experience. Moses does that throughout Deuteronomy. He reviews the failures of the Israelites and reprimands them; but, much more importantly, he uses their past experiences as a springboard to speak of their future choices. As the NASB notes read: throughout this book, events are charged with meaning. Moses gives a good deal of history; but in nearly every case he relates events to the spiritual lesson which they underscore. Footnote


Narrative Content: The narrative in this book is quite limited. There is no movement of the troops of Israel. We have Moses speaking to the people, speaking to the priests, handing the book of the Law to the priests, teaching his song to the sons of Israel, speaking to God, blessing Israel, and then dying.



The New Testament View: As has been mentioned, Deuteronomy is the most quoted book in the New Testament, with the number of allusions being somewhere between 80 and 200. As has been pointed out, our Lord recognized Moses as the author of Deuteronomy. When asked about marriage and divorce, Jesus acknowledges the teaching of Moses in the book of Deuteronomy. They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate and divorce her?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it has not been this way. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” (Matt. 19:7–9; Deut. 24:1). When tempted by Satan, our Lord quoted exclusively from the book of Deuteronomy (Luke 4:1–13). You know that Satan has hated the book of Deuteronomy more than ever since that time.


One of the standard ways to quote God’s Word is it stands written. The verb is in the perfect tense, meaning that it stands written in the past with results that stand forever. Paul used this phrase when quoting from the book of Deuteronomy in Gal. 3:10: For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it stands written, “Cursed is ever one who does not abide by all things written in the book of the Law, to perform them.” James uses the same phrase in Acts 15:15, 17. Our Lord uses the same phrasing to quote Moses in Matt. 4:4, 7 and 10. Our Lord quotes Deuteronomy as authoritative in Matt. 18:16b. Our Lord quotes Moses from Deuteronomy in Mark 7:10 in order to clarify what had been misinterpreted by the scribes.


Finally, as has been mentioned, Deuteronomy is quoted many times throughout the New Testament as authoritative, using the phrases as Moses said (Rom. 10:19) and it stands written in the Law of Moses (1Cor. 9:9). Peter, under great inspiration, said, “Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers; to Him you will listen in everything He says to you. And it will come to pass that every soul that does not heed that Prophet will be completely destroyed from among the people.’ “ (Acts 3:22–23; Deut. 18:15, 19).




Chart: Although an outline was wonderful for me to recall the portions of Deuteronomy and to organize my thinking, I don’t know if anyone else reads the outline. I don’t know that I have ever read another person’s outline. However, there is a section of Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps and Charts which I found to be quite informative, and that is their chart on p. 56, which I have stolen, changed considerably and adapted to my own notes:


Heading

Introduction to the book of Deuteronomy

The first discourse of Moses

Moses sets apart the three cities three cities of refuge the east of the Jordan

The second discourse of Moses given to all Israel

Scripture

Deut. 1:1–5

 Deut. 1:6–4:40

Deut. 4:41–49

Deut. 5:1–26:19

Writing Style

Introduction

Lecture

Narrative

Lecture

Author

Joshua or Moses

Moses

Topics

The time, the place and recent events

A review and a divine interpretation of Israel’s history and stern exhortation

A refuge for unintentional manslaughter is set aside

The decalogue, ceremonial laws 12:1–16:17), civil laws (16:18–18:22), criminal laws (19:1–21:9) and laws which deal with the family and prosperity (21:10–25:19)

Writing Category

Historical

Interpretive

Legal

Time and Place

Roughly a one week period of time around 1406 bc in the plains of Moab


Heading

The third discourse of Moses and the elders of Israel to the people

The fourth discourse of Moses to the all Israel

The fifth discourse of Moses spoken to all Israel

The sixth discourse of Moses, a specific charge to the priests

Scripture

Deut. 27:1–28:68

Deut. 29:1–30:20

Deut. 31:1–8

 Deut. 31:9–13

Writing Style

Lecture

Author

Moses

Moses edited by Joshua

Topics

Blessings and cursings from Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim

Prophecy of the stern discipline to come; the Palestinian Covenant; exhortation

Moses publicly recognizes Joshua and encourages Israel in war

Moses gives the Law to the priests and tells them to read the Law when all Israel gathers

Writing Category

Prophetical

Time and Place

Roughly a one week period of time around 1406 bc in the plains of Moab


Heading

God speaks to Moses, telling him of his impending death and God commissions Joshua

Moses writes a song and gives special instructions to the Levites; The Song of Moses; concluding remarks to people

God tells Moses to go up to the mountain to die

The blessing of Moses to the people

The Death of Moses

Scripture

Deut. 31:14–23

Deut. 31:24–32:47

Deut. 32:48–52

Deut. 33:1–29

Deut. 34:1–12

Writing Style

Narrative

Narrative; song; exhortation

Narrative

Last blessing

Narrative

Author

Moses

Joshua and Moses

Joshua editing (Moses and God speak)

Joshua

Topics

God tells Moses what will occur and tells him to write a song

God’s special protection afforded Israel; severe but tempered discipline of Israel; final vindication

God tells Moses to go die on the mountain and reminds him as to why

Moses blesses the twelve tribes; not necessarily prophetical material

Moses goes to the mountain to die; there is no prophet like Moses

Writing Category

Prophetical

Historical

Time an d Place

Roughly a one week period of time around 1406 bc in the plains of Moab



Final Comments and Conclusions: Because our Lord quoted from it against Satan, you know that this would become one of the most attacked books of the Bible. This is why so much time was spent in this introduction covering the authorship of Deuteronomy. There should be no question in your mind as to the fact that Moses wrote this just as Scripture says. Now prepare yourself for the exegesis of one of the most incredible books of the Old Testament. Enjoy!


Deuteronomy 1

Deuteronomy 2

Deuteronomy 3

Deuteronomy 4

Deuteronomy 5

Deuteronomy 6

Deuteronomy 7

Deuteronomy 8

Deuteronomy 9

Deuteronomy 10

Introduction

Kukis Homepage

Exegesis

Doctrines

Pentateuch



Deuteronomy 1


Deuteronomy 1 has been completely reworked and may be found here: (HTML) (PDF) (WPD). It is highly recommended that you go to that study instead of this one. Every verse has been exegeted word-by-word in that study; everything found below (and a lot more) is found in that chapter study. These chapters are being completed one-by-one and will eventually supplant this incomplete study of Deuteronomy.

Deuteronomy 1:1–46

Moses Reminds the People of their First Entry into the Land


Outline of Chapter 1:

 

      vv.  1–5     Introduction to the great sermons of Moses to the second generation

      vv.  6–8     The march toward the land of promise

      vv.  9–18   God allows Moses to delegate his great responsibilities

      vv. 19–25   Moses sends out spies into the Land of Promise

      vv. 26–28   The people are afraid to take the land

      vv. 29–33   Moses reminds the people of the strength of their God

      vv. 34–40   God's oath against generation X

      vv. 41–46   Israel's failed attempt to take the land without God


Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines

 

      v.   44        The Interpretations Of Deuteronomy 1:44


Introduction: Deut. 1 begins several sermons given by Moses to the generation of promise. This chapter in particular will cover a time period of one year. We will travel from Mount Sinai to the Land of Promise and end with Israel's failure at the foot of the land promised them by God. The generation of twenty years and older who left Egypt have all died, with the exception of Moses, Joshua and Caleb. The failures discussed by Moses were observed by the children of generation  X; now Moses will give the divine viewpoint concerning these failures in hopes that the new generation, the generation of promise, will profit by the mistakes of the elders rather than repeat them. In this chapter, as in all of the book of Deuteronomy, Moses will recall events in a topical manner.


The book of Deuteronomy is a result of God telling Moses to speak to the people before they entered into the Land of Promise: And Yahweh spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho, saying, Speak to the sons of Israel, and say to them, When you+ pass over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, then you+ will drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you+, and destroy all their figured [stones], and destroy all their molten images, and demolish all their high places: and you+ will take possession of the land, and dwell in it; for to you+ I have given the land to possess it. And you+ will inherit the land by lot according to your+ families; to the more you+ will give the more inheritance, and to the fewer you will give the less inheritance: wherever the lot falls to any man, that will be his; according to the tribes of your+ fathers you+ will inherit. But if you+ will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you+, then will those who you+ let remain of them be as pricks in your+ eyes, and as thorns in your+ sides, and they will vex you+ in the land in which you+ dwell. And it will come to pass, that, as I thought to do to them, so I will do to you+. (Num. 33:50–56; Updated Bible Version 2.11)


Deuteronomy 1

Deuteronomy 2

Deuteronomy 3

Deuteronomy 4

Deuteronomy 6

Deuteronomy 7

Deuteronomy 8

Deuteronomy 9

Introduction

Kukis Homepage

Exegesis

Doctrines


Introduction to the Great Sermons of Moses to the Second Generation

 

These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel, beyond the Jordan, in the wilderness, in the Arabah over against Suph, between Paran and Tophel, and Laban and Hazeroth, and De-Zahab; [Deut. 1:1]


Moses is a very precise person. He got that as a result of being raised to rule over Egypt; and from his experience as a judge. As a judge, everything has to be very precise and in accordance with set norms and standards.


Moses is at Jordan Jericho, across from the city of Jericho where Joshua will invade in a month or so. The phrase, beyond the Jordan, refers to the east side of the Jordan (Deut. 3:20, 25). The term wilderness is a general term, referring to the uninhabited areas that the Jews transversed. The plain, or Arabah—it is a proper noun when used with a definite article as it is here—is the valley which runs from the sea of Galilee down to the Gulf of Aqaba, and this name is retained in the name Wady el-Arabah. These other areas might describe the border of Arabah.


We have never heard of Suph before, and it occurs nowhere else in the Bible. The word means reeds and it might be the area of the Dead Sea which extends southward or the gulf of Aqaba extending northward. In either case, it is south of where Moses and the children of Israel are right now. Another option is tha there are reeds off the Jericho River at that place. Paran is a roughly defined area north-northwest of the Gulf of Aqaba and Hazeroth, a stopping point, was along the Gulf of Aqaba. The city or area of Laban is mentioned only here and some think it might refer to Libnah, although that would be possibly too far north. Tophel is sometimes identified with Tafile, which is fifteen miles southeast of the Dead Sea. I could not even find De-Zahab or Zahab in my Bible dictionaries or encyclopedias. The point of this geography is that these areas are pretty well spread out, however, they likely are the bordering area for Arabah.

 

J. Vernon McGee gives the brief description of the promised land, including Jerusalem, which he could see from Mount Nebo: What I saw did not look like a promised land at all. It looked like a total waste, and this reveals what has happened to that land down through the centuries. When Moses looked at it, I think he was seeing a green and a good land. Today it is a desert. It looks like the desert area of California and Arizona Footnote .

 

Eleven days from Horeb, the way to Mount Seir, to Kadesh-barnea. [Deut. 1:2]


The journey from Mount Sinai (or, Horeb) to Kadesh-barnea, would be eleven days. There is a certain amount of irony exhibited by the the author here; from Mount Sinai, to enter into the land, for the average person, would have been an eleven day journey. Israel took over thirty-eight years to complete this same journey.


There are around twenty stops between the wilderness of Sinai and Kadesh-barnea listed in Num. 33:15–36. ZPEB associates Horeb (the Mount of God in Ex. 3:1) with Mount Sinai, which makes sense because the golden calf incident, which occurred when Moses was receiving the Law, was at the foot of Mount Sinai (Ex. 32 Psalm 106:19). However, Horeb is separate from Mount Sinai in Ex. 17:6 in Rephidim, which is one stop away from Mount Sinai (Ex. 17:1–17 Num. 33:14–15). This obviously causes us some problems. Horeb is thought to be synonymous with Mount Sinai, but then separated from Mount Sinai. It could simply be the general area in which Mount Sinai is found.


Mount Seir is in Edom, where the descendants of Esau, Jacob's twin brother, lived. This places the Jews directly north of the Gulf of Aqaba, along which the Israelites traveled toward the Land of Promise. Kadesh-barnea was their last stop prior to sending the spies into the land. This short travelogue will be the time period which Moses speaks of in this chapter, which begins in Num. 10:11, the date being 2/20/2 ae Footnote and ends with Num. 14:45, perhaps a few months later (with the exception of Moses choosing men to judge under him, which goes back to Ex. 18, not too much earlier than 2/20/2 ae).


These first two verses tie the book of Deuteronomy to the rest of the Pentateuch. If we leave out the areas listed, then we have The sermons of Moses to the people up to the eleventh month of the fortieth year. Footnote

 

And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first [day] of the month Moses spoke to the sons of Israel according to all that Yehowah had commanded him concerning them; [Deut. 1:3]


The date of this message is 11/1/40 a.e., thirty-eight years after the events herein described, making this roughly 1407 b.c. Almost all of the book of Deuteronomy will be a quotation of Moses speaking to the children of Israel. This is his swan song, his farewell sermon. Being that this sermon is about thirty-five pages long, this would have been delivered over a period of several days. Moses will recall this history of the fathers of his listeners and properly interpret this history for them. This verse does not tell us that God specifically commanded Moses to deliver these sermons; Moses took it upon himself, operating under the influence and guidance of God the Holy Spirit, to teach the things to the generation of promise the things spoken by God to Moses and delivered to their parents, gen X.

 

After his striking down down Sihon king of the Amorite, who was dwelling in Heshbon, and Og, king of the Bashan [or, king of the wide, open area], who was dwelling in Ashtaroth in Footnote Edrei, [Deut. 1:4]


Owen's translates this as the king of Bashan, whereas it actually reads king of the Bashan; which accounts for other translations you may have read. Bashan means plain, large open area, champaign; and, as was mentioned back in Num. 33:21, is not necessarily the name given to that country by the natives, but could be a designation given it by Moses or by the Israelites. The definite article seems to indicate that. It is common for some areas to by typically preceded by a definite article (like the Philippines).


The way v. 4 reads, it sounds as though Ashtaroth is in Edrei; however, this is properly understood as Ashtaroth is where Og, king of the Bashan lived; and Edrei is possibly where he died. This is elliptical and it should read: After his striking down down Sihon king of the Amorite, who was dwelling in Heshbon, and Og, king of the Bashan [or, king of the wide, open area], who was dwelling in Ashtaroth [whom he struck down] in Edrei. The and as is found in several of the other codices, helps us somewhat with this understanding. It is clear from Num. 21:33 and Deut. 3:1 that Edrei is where the Israelites defeated Og, king of the Bashan.


Israel has just had two great victories east of the Jordan, conquering a great deal of land which has gone to the tribes of Reuben, Gad and a portion of the tribe of Manasseh. These victories were principally the efforts of the generation of promise. But Sihon would not permit Israel to pass through his border. So Sihon gathered all his people and went out against Israel in the wilderness, and came to Jahaz and fought against Israel. The Israel struck him down with the edge of the sword, and took possession of his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, as far as the sons of Ammon; for the border of the sons of Ammon [was] Jazer. And Israel took all these cities and Israel lived in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all her villages (Num. 21:23–25).


There is a verb in the next verse which is difficult. First let's examine what other translators have done:

 

The Amplified Bible       Moses began to explain this law, saying...

The Emphasized Bible  ...did Moses take in hand [or, to take upon himself] Footnote to expound this law, saying...

KJV                                ...began Moses to declare this law, saying,...

NASB                            Moses undertook to expound this law, saying, ...

NIV                                       Moses began to expound this law, saying,...

NRSV                           Moses undertook to expound this law as follows:

Owen's Translation       Moses undertook to explain this law as follows


The verb in question is the Hiphil perfect of yâʾal (יָאַל) [pronounced yaw-AHL] and BDB gives its meanings variously as to show willingness, to be pleased, to determine, to undertake. In the Niphal, the easier version, this means to be foolish. However, the Hiphil is tougher to follow. We find this verb in the Hiphil perfect in Gen. 18:27 and 31, translated in the NASB venture, and footnoted as undertaken. We don't see this verb again in the Hiphil perfect until Joshua 7:7, where it is translated willing, content. We find this verb several times in the Hiphil imperfect in Ex. 2:21 Joshua 17:12 Judges 1:27, 35 17:11. What appears to be the case is that this is an act of free will, this is an act where a person desires to do something, but it comes not from lust but from contentment from a comfortable position; even from a relaxed mental attitude. I have willingly chosen to translate this willingly chose. Strong's #2974 BDB #383.

 

Beyond the Jordan, in the land of Moab, Moses willingly chose to explain this law, saying: [Deut. 1:5]


God had already given the Law to Moses who had given it to the people. Moses had been enjoined to write it down, which he did, and, we will see later in Deuteronomy, that the Law was, in some way, distributed (not to every person or to every tribe, but the general population did have some access to it, as they will be directed to write verses down and carry them around and learn them. So Moses is not giving them the Law here, but he is explaining it. The Law which Moses spoke of was more than the actual words spoken by God between Ex. 20 and Num. 36. Here, the use of the word Law, goes beyond the Ten Commandments and the ordinances and the divil and criminal laws recorded by Moses. Here, the word law, if we look to what Moses will begin explaining, covers the recorded events of the previous three books of Scripture.


God the Holy Spirit definitely, and Moses, probably, recognized that all which had been recorded by Moses in the Pentateuch was the Law of God. Near the end of his life, Moses will definitely realize that he is recording God's Word. That will be the clear indication of Deut. 4:1 and 12:32. Moses teaches, develops, interprets, and adjusts the Law throughout the book of Deuteronomy, applying it to different sets of circumstances (they were in peace outside of their country and how they were looking at entering their land, going to war and being at war for a considerable amound of time. The book of Deuteronomy renews the covenant which God had made with their fathers of the Jews.


Although the book of Numbers appeared to end artificially and abruptly. there is no doubt that this is a new topic or a new book. We have five verses which introduce this book. As you have found out, I am interested in certain details, such as, how did this come to be written down? I have three different notions: (1) Moses wrote his sermons down, much in the way that many studied pastors do, making certain points, referring back to certain doctrines and occurrences, keeping in mind that this is being spoken to an audience. (2) Moses may have verbally put this sermon together and spoke it to his servant Joshua, who wrote it down and Moses delivered it from his notes. (3) Moses may have spoken extemporaneously, which appears to be the case, but then it had to be written down in order for us to have it in the form that we do today. Either Moses wrote this down after the fact (which I find doubtful) or these are the notes that Joshua took. I like option #1 just because a pastor should have something to say and that comes as a result of study. The idea of a pastor just standing in front of his congregation just winging it, as though God's Word comes directly from him, makes me nauseous. Usually what is delivered under those circumstances is pap, half-truths and a great many inaccuracies. At best, the pastor might evangelize his congregation for the umpteenth time.


Moses did have a different sort of seminary professor than most of us have had (the Lord Jesus Christ Himself); but then his professor was certainly more exacting than ours. In either option, Moses had the student hours behind him. I originally leaned toward option #3, as we smoothly move from the book of Deuteronomy into the death of Moses, into the book of Joshua, both of which were recorded by Joshua. What more natural thing would there have been than to have written the sermons of Moses as he gave them and then continue with a post script? After writing about the death of Moses, then Joshua would have realized that that is part of his duties under Yehowah, to record the history of Israel and the doctrine of Jesus Christ. However, there is a passage or two in Deuteronomy (Deut. 31:9, 24) which tell us this was written by the hand of Moses.


One of the things which I find fascinating are the actual nuts and bolts of what is really occurring. I don't believe that I have even seen this addressed in this way? There are over two million Israelites. With a microphone system and a stage speaker, it would have been difficult to address even a quarter of that number. There is no indication that Moses had either, nor have I found yet a supernatural implication. There are millions of Christians on this planet; even in this nation. Only a fraction of those actually have a real interest in God's Word. If there is an inconvenience tied to attending church, such as distance or lack of a nursery, then some will not attend. If they oversleep or don't feel like getting up in the morning, others will not attend. If it is not a friendly church or if there are no activities arranged for the young people or for the single adults or for the retired but still active, then some will not attend. The point here is that not all two million of these Israelites have a strong interest in God's Word and there are certainly inconveniences and things that they would object to. We too often try to lump groups of people together as though they are one person. This is the essential basis of all prejudice. Here we have two million individuals, far greater than their predecessors, but all carrying within them one each old sin nature. Therefore, some would attend these talks of Moses and many would not. We will see a certain amount of repetition in these sermons of Moses—they are given in such a way, that those who attend several sessions will get something new each time, but those who attend only a few, will walk away with important information also. I recall bringing an evangelist into our high school and he spoke six or seven times in a row. The students flocked to see him, some staying for all sessions. He gave the save essential message each time, but each time is was different enough that anyone attending all sessions got something new everytime. I know this, as I attended all sessions.


So we have Moses speaking to a huge group of people, perhaps as many as several thousand during each session. We have complete silence during his message and all the weather conditions are perfectly suited for his message to reach the entire congregation. Furthermore, this information was also recorded, word-for-word, so that others could hear what Moses had to say.


Deuteronomy 1

Deuteronomy 2

Deuteronomy 3

Deuteronomy 4

Deuteronomy 5

Deuteronomy 6

Deuteronomy 7

Deuteronomy 8

Deuteronomy 9

Deuteronomy 10

Introduction

Kukis Homepage

Exegesis

Doctrines

Pentateuch


The March Toward the Land of Promise

 

"Yehowah our God has spoken to us in Horeb, saying, 'Enough of you—of dwelling in this mount; [Deut. 1:6]


This begins Moses' first spoken discourse as recorded in Deuteronomy. This will continue until Deut. 4:40, wherein we will have perhaps a word of explanation or an appendium (vv. 41–49), followed by his second disertation.


Here it makes sense for us to be speaking of Mount Sinai, which is the second longest place where the Jews stayed prior to entering the land (they remained there about a year). The method here is specific. God psoke directly to Moses and told Moses it was time to move out. This commandment was certainly not intended for Moses only, but for all the congregation of Israel. However, Moses, as commander and chief of two million people—was he to wander about from tent to tent saying, it's time to get going? That is impractical. Now it came about in the second year, in the second month on the twentieth of the month that the cloud was lifted from over the tabernacle of the testimony; and the sons of Israel set out on their journeys from the wilderness of Sinai. Then the cloud settle down in the wilderness of Paran. so they moved out for the first time according to the commandment of Yehowah through Moses (Num. 10:11–13). God had already commanded the children of Israel that when the cloud was lifted up from the tabernacle that it was time to move out. They moved to Mount Sinai under those directions and, having spent a year or so there, were moving out again.

 

" 'Turn and journey for you, and enter the mount of the Amorite, and to all its neighboring places, in the plain [or, in the Arabah], in the south [or, in the Negev], and in the haven of the sea, the land of the Canaanites, and of Lebanon, to the great river, the river Euphrates; [Deut. 1:7]


This are the places where God has told Israel to go. This is not a travelogue, like Num. 33, but it is a list of that which God would give to Israel. The mount of the Amorite is the area east of the Jordan, around the two seas; the Arabah is the area south, south east of Israel—north, northwest of the Gulf of Aqaba. The Negev is the area directly south and southwest of Israel. The land of the Canaanites is Israel, with Lebanon being slightly north of that on the coast of the Mediterranean. The last phrase is the surprise—this is the common designation for the River Euphrates. Suddenly we are thrown into the middle of the cradle of modern civilization, to the far east of Israel, in the land of Babylon. Even as a border, it is some distance from where we consider to be Israel proper. However, this is the land promised originally by God to Abram. On that day, Yehowah made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt as gar as the great river, the river Euphrates." (Gen. 15:18). "Every place on which the sole of your foot will tread will be yours; your border will be from the wilderness to Lebanon from the river, the river Euphrates, as far as the Western Sea [i.e., the Mediterranean]." (Deut. 11:24).

 

" 'See, I have set before you the land; go in and possess the land which Yehowah has sworn to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give to them, and to their descendants [lit., seed] after them.' [Deut. 1:8]


This has been God's command to Israel since they left Mount Sinai—they were to go into the land and take it. God gave the land to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and to their descendants. It was now to claim this land. Notice that this promise was not fulfilled until after their deaths. God has promises open to us concerning our salvation and our eternal future, the complete fulfillment of which does not come to pass until after our death.


Deuteronomy 1

Deuteronomy 2

Deuteronomy 3

Deuteronomy 4

Deuteronomy 5

Deuteronomy 6

Deuteronomy 7

Deuteronomy 8

Deuteronomy 9

Deuteronomy 10

Introduction

Kukis Homepage

Exegesis

Doctrines

Pentateuch


God Allows Moses to Delegate His Great Responsibilities

Ex. 18:13–26 Num. 11:11–17

 

"And I spoke to you at that time, saying, I am not able by myself to bear you; [Deut. 1:9]


Moses, on several occasions, had asked God to relieve him of his duties. He was reluctant to lead the Jews in the first place, and faced incredible pressure from their incredible malcontent. Moses appointed men under him on a couple of different instances. Moses was first advised by his father-in-law: And Moses' father-in-law said to him, "The thing that you are doing is not good. You will surely wear out, both yourself and these people who are with you, for the task is took heavy for you; you cannot do it alone. Now listen to me; I will give you counsel, and God be with you. You are the people's representative before God and you bring the disputes to God. Then you teach them the statutes and the laws and make known to them the way in which they are to walk, and the work they are to do. Furthermore, you will select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you will place them [as] leaders of thousands, leaders of hundreds, leaders of fifties and leaders of tens. And let them judge the people at all times; and let it be that every major dispute they will bring to you, but every minor dispute, they themselves will judge. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear [responsibility] with you. If you do this thing and God command you [to do this thing], then you will be able to endure, and all these people will also go to their place in peace." So Moses listened to his father-in-law, and did all that he had said (Ex. 18:17–24). This organization petered out because all of the men who were chosen by Moses had died the sin unto death, with a very few exceptions, and Moses had to delegate the responsibility again. So Moses said to Yehowah, "Why have You been so hard on Your servant? And why have I not found grace in Your sight, that You have laid the burden of all ths people upon me? Was it I who conceived all this people? Was it I who brought them forth, that You would say to me, 'Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries a nursing infant, to the land which You had sworn to their fathers'? Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they weep before me, saying, 'Give us meat that we may eat!' I alone am not able to carry all this people, because it is took burdensome for me." Yehowah therefore said to Moses, "Gather for Me seventy men from the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and their officers and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you. Then I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the spirit, Who is upon you, and I will place [Him] upon them; and they will bear the burden of the people with you, so that you will not bear it all alone." (Num. 11:11–14, 16–17).

 

"Yehowah your God has multiplied you, and, observe, you [all] [are] today like the stars of the heavens for multitude; [Deut. 1:10]


The first phrase of this verse, Yehowah your God, occurs nearly 300 times in this book alone, apart from the number of times the proper name of God is used (Yehowah). Moses had almost exclusive speaking rights to God, and the people themselves saw many manifestations of God and many miracles, but they did not speak to Him face-to-face. Moses emphasizes that Yehowah is their God as well as his; in fact, this phrase downplays Moses' special relationship with God and emphasizes that these Jews have a particularly close relationship with Yehowah, God of the Universe. In a very few weeks, Moses will be gone; however, Israel will not fall apart. God gave them their great leader and they still have God. They will not have the gift, but they will still have the Giver, Who is infinitely greater. Therefore, Moses will to emphasize nearly 300 times that, although he will be gone when they enter into the Land of Promise, Yehowah their God will lead them and He will fight for them.


One of the problems in the book of Numbers was the vast quantity of Israelites that some scholars have been caused to doubt these numbers. However, there is every indication that there were an unusually large number of Jews. A hundred thousand Jews is large, but not really that unusual, other than they are traveling together as a group. However, two million Jews is an incredibly large number, appearing to the casual observer as the stars in the heavens. When God first made this promise to Abram, Abram had no sons whatsoever. And Abram said, "O, Yehowah God, what will You give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eleazar of Damascus?" And Abram said, "Since You have given to me no offspring, a son of my house will be my heir." Then, observe, the Word of Yehowah came to him, saying, "This man will ot be your heir, but one who shall come forth from your own loins—he will be your heir." And He took him outside and said "Now look toward the heavens and number the stars; you are able to number them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendants be." Then he believed in Yehowah and He determined it to him as righteousness (Gen. 15:2–6; see also Gen. 18:17–19 22:15–18). God repeated these promises to Isaac and to Jacob. And Yehowah appear to him [Isaac] and said, "Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land of which I will tell you. Remain in this land and I will be with you and I will bless you, for to you and to your descendants will I give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham. And I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and I will give your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed; because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My [designated] responsibilities [for him] and My commandments and My statutes and My laws." (Gen. 26:2–5). And he [Jacob] had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. and behold, Yehowah stood above it and said, "I am Yehowah, the God yof your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie. I will give it to you and to your descendants. Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, observe, I am with you, and I will keep you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." (Gen. 28:12–15).

 

"May Yehowah God of your fathers continue adding to you, as you [all] [are], a thousand times, and may He continue blessing you as He has promised [lit., spoken to] you. [Deut. 1:11]


The intent of the Hiphil (or, causative) stem likely reads as translated. Young's updated Translation reads: Jehovah, God of your fathers, is adding to you, as ye are, a thousand times, and blesses you as He has spoken to you. However, in this context, it sounds reasonable for Moses to say, "Yehowah, your God has multiplied you, and, observe, you are this day as the stars of heaven in multitude. May Yehowah, the God of your fathers, increase you a thousand--fold more than you are, and bless you, just as He has promised you!" Not only has God fulfilled the promise to Abrahamn to make his seed, these Jews, but Moses wishes that God continue to bless them in numbers. Recall that this time in history was a time when soaring population growth was a wonderful thing.


Even though the bulk of two million Jews had been sentenced to the sin unto death and that had been carried out, there were still a large number of believing Jews who remained. "Your fathers went down to Egypt, seventy persons in all, and now Yehowah your God has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven." (Deut. 10:22).

 

"How do I bear your [wearisome] pressure by myself, and your burden and your strife? [Deut. 1:12]


It was quite difficult for Moses. He had led the life of a quiet sheepherder for a long time, his chief difficulty in life was his wife—however, he got along quite well with his in-laws. However, the Jews were under a lot of pressure and Moses felt as if he carried the weight of the world upon his shoulders. Every problem that these Jews had were his problems. People seek power for a great many reasons, but Moses did not. He took responsibility for the people under his authority and defended and protected them, although they often had roast Moses for Sunday dinner. A man with authority takes responsibility for those under him. To add to these pressures were the times that these people would complain to Moses and oppose God and God's grace. It was more than any great man could handle.


It might be worthwhile examining these three words. Tôrach (טֹרַח) [pronounced TO-rahk] is a rarely used word (here and Isa. 1:14) with a rarely used verb cognate (Job 37:11); with such scant references, we will have to go with load, burden, wearisome pressure; although there are other Hebrew words which mean that. Strong's #2960 BDB #382. The second word is another word for burden: massâʾ (מַשָּׂא) [pronounced mahs-SAW] and it is found throughout the Old Testament consistently translated Footnote burden (Num. 4:15, 19 2Kings 8:9 Isa. 15:1 17:1). Strong's #4853 BDB #672 The last word is rîyb (רִיב) [pronounced reebv] and it means strife, dispute, controversy. This word is used often for legal contentions. These are all the legal disputes which the Jews brought before Moses. Strong's #7379 BDB #936 You might at first think that such power and authority would be great. People come to you with their disagreements and you get to tell them how it's going to be resolved. Some love to solve other people's problems. Guaranteed, after years of these disputes, many of them petty and riddled with personal vendettas, that they would become quite wearisome.

 

"Give for yourselves men, wise and intelligent, and known to your tribes, and I will set them for your heads; [Deut. 1:13]


This is when Moses could no longer handle all the pressure of the continually court cases which were brought before him. Besides all of his great responsibilities, he was the judge and jury for all disputes great and small. It was actually his father-in-law who suggested that he delegate this responsibility to others. What is put into place is a system of leadership and authority.

 

"And you [all] answered me and said, 'Good [is] is the thing which you have said—[it would be good] to do.' [Deut. 1:14]


Moses actually had to do this on a couple of occasions. Once, when he was overburdened with court cases (this was at the suggestion of his father-in-law) and once when the sheer pressure of leadership was beyond what he could handle and God gave him men below him to delegate authority to.

 

"And I took the heads of your tribes, mean, wise and known, and I appointed them heads over you, princes of thousands, and princes of hundred, and princes of fifties, and princes of tens, and authorities for your tribes. [Deut. 1:15]


I must say that this sounds interesting—I can see authorities over fifty, but an authority appointed over ten, which is the size of a large, basic family unit or a very small extended family unit—that seems excessive. What I am assuming here is that there responsibilities were very limited and probably primarily military in nature.


These authorities over small groups would also help to disseminate information. There are two million people who are on the move, spending forty years in a wilderness and desert area. Information has to be disseminated on a regular basis. Not everyone could see the tabernacle, nor could there be much organization when it came to movement. However, this allowed for the dissemination of information. Let me see if I can explain this on a level that we can understand. In teaching for twenty or more years, there were meetings with the entire faculty (roughly 150) and there were meetings with the heads of each teaching department, and they in turn met with their departments (5–20) and explained the pertinent information to their department. So rather than a court system designed for ten people (or even fifty), this was a way that Moses could speak to all of the people or get the word out to all of the people without publishing a daily newspaper or running the information on a computer service that everyone could download or announcing it on the morning show on TV. Depending on what was covered, groups of ten to a thousand would be pretty much the range of crowd size that any one individual could communicate to.

 

"And I commanded your judges at that time, saying 'Carefully listen to both sides of a dispute [literally, hearkening between your brothers], the you [all] will judge righteousness between a man and his brother and his temporary resident; [Deut. 1:16]


"There will be one standard for you; it will be for the emmigrant as well as the native, for I am Yehowah your God." (Lev. 24:22). One of the most revolutionary aspects of Jewish Law was the emphasis upon fairness to be delivered to the temporary resident—the man from another country who was traveling through Israel or who had decided to stay for awhile. In most countries, the immigrant and the alien will be the first people to be exploited. Their treatment by employers, policemen, the court system will often be unduly harsh. Israel was a light to the world—they represented Yehowah, the one true God, to the world. God is a God of righteousness and justice and perfection and Yehowah was the God of all mankind. Therefore, his servants could not show partiality.

 

" 'You [all] will not discern faces in the judgment; as the little, so the great you [all] will hear; you will not be afraid of the face of any, for the judgment is God's and the thing which is too hard for you, you [all] will bring near to me, and I will hear it.' [Deut. 1:17]


In both places where the word judgment appears, it is preceded by the definite article. This is not a reference to a specific judgment which is pending; Moses does not have a specific judgment in mind that he is referring to. Here the definite article is one of species, meaning that this refers to any particular judgment that they are faced with.


"You will do no injustice in judgment; you will not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbor fairly." (Lev. 19:15). People are prejudice in court cases and disputes for all kinds of reasons. In Houston, there is no zoning, so most neighborhoods are regulated by a neighborhood association. It is not unusual for such an association to come down hard for minor infractions on someone who they do not know or do not like, yet to look the other way for offenses committed by a friend on the board or a member of the board itself. Similarly, neighbors will report offenses of people that they do not know, but rarely report offenses of someone that they know and like. In court cases, some people will favor a particular race over another race, some will take the side of the poor over the rich or vice versa—there are so many ways that justice can be perverted. Our system of justice, based very definitely upon the Mosaic Law, is filled with discrepancies and unfair treatment. Moses urged his people against such favoritism—he urged them to listen to a case based upon the merit alone—to ignore the faces of those they are trying, whether friends, or relatives, or strangers, and to examine the facts and render a just decision based upon what is right. And in any case where a judge felt unable to render a proper verdict, then there was the appellant court, the highest court of the land, the judgment of Moses. This even allowed for a situation where a judge was prejudice and did not want to rule, afraid to rule in favor of his family or friends. Such a case could be taken to Moses.


Such a standard of justice is demanded because the Jews are to reflect the character of their God, Yehowah—Jesus Christ, the creator of the heavens and the earth. "For Yehowah your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty and the awesome God Who does not show partiality nor does He take a bribe. He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love fore the alien by giving him food and clothing. So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. You will fear [and rspect] Yehowah your God; you will serve Him and cling to Him and you will swear by His name." (Deut. 10:17–20). This was not a minor point of the Law—this was repeated several times: "You will appoint for yourselve judges and officefs in all your towns which Yehowah your God is giving you, according to your tribes and they will judge the people with righteous judgment. You will not distort justice; you will not be partial and you will not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous. Justice and [only] justice you will pursue, and you may live and possess the land which Yehowah your God is giving you." (Deut. 16:18–20; see also Deut. 24:17).


So you are not a judge or an arbitrator; you are just Charlie Brown, off the street, whose opinion means little even in your own household. Nevertheless, my brothers, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with personal favoritism. For if a man comes into you assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil motives? (James 2:1–3a, 4). You do this all the time. You have this distorted view of those who are celebrities in this life, whether movie or TV personalities or sports figures, and you think there is something special about them because (1) they entertain you and (2) because they have more money than you can conceive of. These are just people; they have old sin natures; they are unfaithful to their mates and they sin; and many of them will spend eternity in hell. The person wearing trashy clothes or the homeless person—the ones you have spoken disparagingly about—they might be your next door neighbors for all of eternity. These earthly celebrities, as far as your memory goes, will be long gone. Their importance will fade just like the monetary wealth that you accumulated in this lifetime will fade. You are a witness to everyone around you, no matter how inferior or superior you consider them to be. Your giving inordinant defference slights both the rich and the poor alike; the rich feel as though they deserve your adoration because of something they have done, and the poor feel as though you have slighted them. In either case, you have been a poor witness for Jesus Christ.


We have a long history of what results when we judge a person incorrectly. The Jews chose Saul as their king, because he was tall, handsome, seemingly intelligent with what appeared to be some spiritual life. King Saul, Israel's first king, was one of their worst kings. Whe his successor, David, was to be chosen, God told the prophet Samuel: "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for god [sees] not as man sees, for man looks at the appearance, but Yehowah looks at the heart." (1Sam. 16:7b).

 

"And I commanded you, at that time, all the things which you do. [Deut. 1:18]


Moses was the highest authority of the land in the human realm. One of the greatest leaders you can have is a person who has the ability to lead but does not desire that position. Most leaders are warped by lust for power and approbation, as well as greed. Moses was a man of great integrity who would have spent the rest of his life shepherding in Midian had not God specifically called for him to lead Israel.


Deuteronomy 1

Deuteronomy 2

Deuteronomy 3

Deuteronomy 4

Deuteronomy 5

Deuteronomy 6

Deuteronomy 7

Deuteronomy 8

Deuteronomy 9

Deuteronomy 10

Introduction

Kukis Homepage

Exegesis

Doctrines

Pentateuch


Moses Sends out Spies into the Land of Promise

Num. 13:1–24

 

"And we journeyed from Horeb and traveled all that vast and fearful wilderness which you [all] have seen—the way of the hill country of the Amorites, as Yehowah our God had commanded us, and we came in to Kadesh-barnea. [Deut. 1:19]


Even though this movement took place thirty-eight years ago, this is still vivid in the mind of Moses and his hearers; they were in their youth during that time, having known very little other than child slavery in a slightly more hospitable environment prior to this march. However, the descriptors great and terrible, repeated in Deut. 8:15, indicate a graphic recalling of what had occurred before, etched forever in the mind of Moses and his listener.

 

Barnes writes: This language is such as men would employ after having passed with toil and suffering through the worst part of it, the southern half of the arabah; and more especially when they had but recently rested from their marches in the plain of Shittim, the largest and riches oasis in the whole district on the Eastern bank near the mouth of the Jordan Footnote .


Moving two million Israelites from point A to point B in a wilderness/desert is a nightmare of logistics. This was simply done through a series of miracles. The books of the Law never hedge on that point. "For Yehowah your God has blessed you in all that you have done; He has known your wanderings through this great wilderness. These forty years, Yehowah your God has been with you; you have not lacked a thing." (Deut. 2:7). "He led you through the vast and fearful [or, dreadful] wilderness, serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water; He brought water for you out of the rock of flint. In the wilderness, He fed you manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end." (Deut. 8:15–16; also see Deut. 32:10–12).


The word Amorite is used several ways in the Bible. In Gen. 15:16 and this passage, it refers to the pre-Israelite population in the land of Canaan. The implication might be that the Canaanites, as well as other groups such as the Moabites or the Phœnicians, may have their origins in the Amorite. This general usage of the term, as found in this verse, along with the great similarities in language as found in the Mari texts, is closely related to Ugaritic, Canaanite, Hebrew and Arabic. In fact, there are certain ancient words which are found only in the Mari texts and in the Biblical Hebrew. Rather than indicating a universal trade language (or a language of convenience to facilitate trade), there are likely common origins. Gen. 10:15–16 relates the Canaanites to the Amorites (Canaan was the father of the Amorites). There was, in Gen. 11, a language confusion brought on by the Holy Spirit; so we do not know how many similarities between languages remained. However, this helps to explain why two seperate groups of people, the Amorites (descended from Ham) and the Hebrews (descended from Shem) would have striking similarities in their language—they had the same father, Noah and God obviously allowed some overlap in the languages. The travelogue is from Mount Sinai to the hill country below Judea, south-southwest of the Salt Sea, then across to Kadesh Barnea.

 

"And I said to you, 'You [all] have come into the hill country of the Amorite, which Yehowah our God is giving to us; [Deut. 1:20]


This was the first approach of Israel to the Promised Land. Moses will not be giving a completely chronological sermon here, because (1) he is not approaching this material chronologically and (2) this is a collection of several sermons given to perhaps slightly different audiences at different times.

 

" 'Observe, Yehowah your God has set before you the land; go up [and] possess [it], as Yehowah, God of your fathers, has spoken to you; fear not, nor be frightened.' [Deut. 1:21]


God had given the Land of Promise, the land of Canaan to the Jews, and all they had to do was to go up into the land and take it. God had searched out the land and had determined that it was good. However, he land was filled with degenerate, cancerous groups of people who needed to be wiped out. This was not a racial or a religious or a cultural problem; this was strictly spiritual. The inhabitants of the land had rejected God as god had revealed Himself to them and had chosen to worship the creature rather than the creator. For when they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks; in fact, they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and fourj-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore, God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to an immoral status, that their bodies might be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, Who is blessed forever, Amen (Rom. 1:21–26).


The Jews had just seen the premier army of their time destroyed before their eyes—God buried the Egyptian armed forces under millions of gallons of water before their eyes. God had performed miracle after miracle before the eyes of these people. Therefore, they did not have to fear any of the inhabitants of the Land of Promise.

 

"And you [all] came near to me, all of you, and said, 'Let us send men before us, and they will search for us the land, and they will bring back [to] us word—the way which we should go up into it and the cities unto which we would come in;' [Deut. 1:22]


Some of the translations translate the last portion of this verse: the way which we must go up into it and the cities unto which we must go in. These verbs are in the Qal imperfect, so I don't altogether follow from whence comes the implied imperitive; however, I though this should be noted.


This verse tells us that the idea of sending out a spy force first into Canaan was an idea of the people. They wanted to know what they were getting into. On the surface, there does not appear to be anything wrong with this particular move—in fact, if anything, it seemed to be a prudent thing to do. Some of those who had the ear of Moses suggested this and he Moses took this idea to God, as he was wont to do. Yehowah said, "Send out for yourself men so that they may spy out the land of Canaan, which I am going to give to the sons of Israel; you will send a man from each of their fathers' tribes, everyone one a leader among them." So Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran at the mouth of Yehowah, all of them men who were heads of the sons of Israel (Num. 13:2). This is God's permissive will. God knows what the lay of the land is and He knows who the people are who dwell therein. God does not need to have the land carefully reconnoitered. We do not know the motivation of the people, whether they were stalling or being prudent. However, one thing that we learn in the Bible is one of the worst things you can do is appoint a committee to study something and give their collective opinion. The board of deacons for a church, with a few wonderful exceptions, are the weakness of the church. Often they stand in opposition to a pastor, sometimes to one who is teaching God's Word faithfully. This is totally wrong in God's plan.

 

"And this suggestion [lit., the word] is good in my eyes and I took from out of you twelve men, one man for a tribe. [Deut. 1:23]


Moses was to take men who were undoubtedly leaders of the tribes, men upon whom he could depend (or at least, men upon whom he thought he could depend). As things went, these men did what they were supposed to, cooly and professionally, then acted like a bunch of ninnies when they returned.

 

"And they turned and went up to the hill country, and they came in to the valley of Eshcol, and they spied [lit., tracked or footed] it; [Deut. 1:24]


The land around the Salt Sea is hill country; below that to the west is the valley, which runs to the Mediteranean Sea. This valley area is mostly forested, surrounded by grassland, surrounded by (perhaps) some desert area (although, at that time, it could have been mostly forest). This valley, running through the midst of Israel was the area which was examined carefully by the spies. It is from this valley that the spies brought back the enormous grape cluster. The word Eshcol means a cluster of grapes.

 

"And they brought with their hand from the produce [or, fruit] of the land, and brought it down to us, and brought us back word, and said, 'Good is the land which Yehowah our God is giving to us.' [Deut. 1:25]


This is all in accordance with the promise of God. This particular area, particularly compared to the surrounding regions, was beautiful and prosperous, much more so then than now.


Deuteronomy 1

Deuteronomy 2

Deuteronomy 3

Deuteronomy 4

Deuteronomy 5

Deuteronomy 6

Deuteronomy 7

Deuteronomy 8

Deuteronomy 9

Deuteronomy 10

Introduction

Kukis Homepage

Exegesis

Doctrines

Pentateuch


The People Are Afraid to Take the Land

Num. 13:31–14:4

 

"And you [all] were not willing to go up, and you [all] provoked the mouth of Yehowah your God; [Deut. 1:26]


Ten of the spies were guilty of the sin of fear here. These ten campaigned hard to keep from having to go into the land agressively, and the people believed them. Joshua and Caleb, two of the spies, had the wherewithall to know that God would protect them and deliver the land into their hands. God had fulfilled all of His promises to them and they were willing to trust God. Despite the minority report and despite the signs and wonders that they had observed first hand, the people chose instead to fear the giants of the land and refused to go against them.

 

"And you murmured in your tents, and you said, 'In Yehowah's hating us, He has brought us out of the land of Egypt, to give us into the hand of the Amorite—to destroy us; [Deut. 1:27]


It is amazing how easily these Jews were dissuaded. They had heard two conflicting reports; the minority report of Caleb and Joshua who urged them to go up into the land and to take it; and the majority report that the giants of the land were just too big for the Jews to go in and conquer. The first report agreed with the promises of Yehowah and the second did not. The people had free will and they chose to go against the promises of God. After hearing both sides, the people cried and mumbled and complained to one another, and the concensus the next morning was Then all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the entire congregation said to them, "Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! And why is Yehowah bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder. Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?" (Num. 14:1–3). And the irony is that Moses is now speaking to the little ones who their parents said would become plunder. The Psalmist many years later reminds them: They had forgot the God their Savior, Who had done great things in Egypt—wonders in the land of Ham; awesome things by the red Sea. Therefore, He said that He would destroy them, had not Moses His chosen on stood in the breach before Him, to turn away His wrath from destroying them. Then they despised the pleasant land; they did not believe in His Word, but they grumbled in their tents; they did not listen to the voice of Yehowah; therefore, He swore to them that He would cast them down in the wilderness (Psalm 106:21–26).

 

" 'Where can we go up? Our brothers have melted our heart Footnote , saying, A people greater and taller than we, cities great and walled up [or fortified] to heaven, and also we have see there sons of Anakim.' [Deut. 1:28]


The western Samaritan and the Septuagint codices read greater and more in number than we; however there were very few populations which rivaled the size of the Jewish race. The inordinately large population of Israel has been attacked from several sides, including from fundamentalist Christianity. There are many reasonable arguments put forth to decrease the size of Israel, but then God's promise to make them as the stars of heaven becomes less significant in the process. Furthermore, as things stand, all the numbers in Scripture make sense; reduce the population by claiming that the word thousand stands for family, and the numbers no longer add up.


We have all seen the comedy routine where someone who is afraid faces a man with a gun, and, when later telling others about it, a small .38 seems to turn into a .44 magnum. The Jewish people were likely shorter than average. I hate to put any numbers on this, but let's say their males were along the lines of five foot to five foot six, for the most part. The giants in the land don't have to be seven or eight foot tall. They were likely around six foot tall. Ten of the spies, rather than just calling these people tall, they exaggerated somewhat. They referred to the people of Palestine as Nephilim. "There also we saw the Nephilim—the sons of Anak of the Nephilim—and we became like grasshoppers inour own sight, and so we were in their sight." (Num. 13:33). This is pure exaggeration. The Jews knew of the Nephilim (and that fact is interesting). They were a cross between the human race and angelic creation and the descendants of same. This was at a time when God allowed the co-mingling of angelic creation and mankind (certainly Satan suggested in his appeal trial that, if he could have some hands on ability with respect to the earth, that he would make it greater than what God had first created). The demonic acts included sexual relations with women and the earth became filled with part man, part angel inhabitants. In fact, there was so much violence in the world, that, by the time of Noah, that there were few if any 100% human males on the earth, apart from Noah and his immediate family. All flesh had become corrupted. It was this race that God removed from the earth with a flood (God used water to cleanse the earth). This race of partial man was known throughout the ancient worlds, becoming a part of their mythologies (almost all great ancient peoples have a mythological history of an earth with half-man, half-god beings existing at one time). The accurate account is found in Genesis 9 and these creatures were known as Nephilim; however, these people in Palestine were not Nephilim—that was an exaggeration to the nth degree. The exaggeration is more apparent by the remark walled up to heaven. The noun is mibetsâr (מִבְצָר) [pronounced mibve-TZAR] and it is translated strongholds, fenced, fortress. It refers to a city where there have been precautions taken in order to preserve its integrity from attack from without. This noun is used in Num. 13:19 to describe these walls that the Jews faced. Strong's #4013 BDB #131 The corresponding verb, which is found here, is the Qal passive participle of bâtsar (בָּצַר) [pronounced baw-TZAR], which means walled-up, fenced, fortified in the Qal passive participle; in the Qal active participle, it is translated grape-gatherer (Jer. 6:9 49:9 Obad. 5*). Strong's #1219 BDB #130 The exaggeration is obvious when we are told these cities are walled-up to heaven. It is another one of those portions of the Bible when it is clear that this is not to be taken literally. However, the spies who did not want to go into battle against these giants used this exaggeration in order to similarly disuade the others of their camp.


The reference to the Anakim is first found in Num. 13. We have no genealogy leading us to them. However, they were well-known to the Israelites. These Jews do have an academic background; that is, even during their time in Egypt, even under great slavery, they were aware of some of the things which went on in the outside world and the size and power of the Anakim was legend. Furthermore, the cities in Palestine were fortified. The Jews were not allowed a fortified city; it is likely that the cities in Egypt were not walled so they have the question, how can they go up? Where can they go up? How is it possible to invade this city? The cities are surrounded by great walls and behind the walls are giants. "But the men who had gone up with Caleb [and Joshua] said, "We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us." So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spired out, saying, "The land through which we have gone in spying it out is a land that devours in inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of stature. The people who live in the land are strong and the cities are fortified—ver large; and moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak there. Amalek is living in the land of the Negev and the Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites are living in the hill country, and the Canaanites are living by the sea and by the side of the Jordan." (Num. 13:31–32, 28b).


Deuteronomy 1

Deuteronomy 2

Deuteronomy 3

Deuteronomy 4

Deuteronomy 5

Deuteronomy 6

Deuteronomy 7

Deuteronomy 8

Deuteronomy 9

Deuteronomy 10

Introduction

Kukis Homepage

Exegesis

Doctrines

Pentateuch


Moses Reminds the People of the Strength of Their God

 

"And I said to you, 'Don't be terrified, nor be afraid of them; [Deut. 1:29]


There are two kinds of fear herein exhibited; just a general, unshakable, unreasoning fear—and a specific fear of the inhabitants of Palestine. Moses was oriented to God's plan; however, these people were not. Moses did say this to the children of Israel; however, he did not record this in the book of Numbers. Moses also said this to them when they faced Egypt: But Moses said to the people, "Do not fear! Stand by and see the deliverance of Yehowah which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. Yehowah will fight for you while you keep silent." (Ex. 14:13–14). God knew about the giants in eternity past and, had Israel marched into the land as per God's command, they would have beaten these giants. He knows about every adversity in our lives and has made provision for them—and God did this in eternity past. He had done the same for Israel, and 600,000 men died, along with most of their wives, because they feared when God told them not to fear.

 

" 'Yehowah, your God, Who goes before you—He will fight for you, according to all that He has done with you in Egypt before your eyes; [Deut. 1:30]


This only stands to reason—the purpose of leaving Egypt was to go to the Land of Promise, which God had promised for centuries to the seed of Abraham and it would be illogical for God to lead the people out of Egypt with great signs against great odds, and then desert the people at the edge of Palestine. The Jews have seen God perform great miracles; why would He not keep His word and continue to perform these miracles, where needed? Moses repeats this promise in Deut. 3:22 and 20:4.

 

" 'And in the wilderness, where you have seen that Yehowah your God had carried you as a man bearing his son, in all the way which you [all] have gone, till you came into this place. [Deut. 1:31]


The movement of two million people through deserts and wilderness in areas which could potentially be filled with enemies, through periods of no food and water, providing such necessities by miracles. The Jews witnessed these things day after day—assisting them in the invasion of Palestine would be a small thing for God to do. Paul spoke to a group of Jews in the synagogue at Pisidian Antioch on his first missionary journey: "And for a period of about forty years, He bore them up in His arms as a nurse in the wilderness." (Acts 13:18). Furthermore, Israel is God's forever: "Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel; You who have been borne by Me from birth and have been carried from the womb; even to your old age, I will be the same and even to your graying years I will bear [you]. I am He and I will carry [you]; and I will bear [you] and I will deliver [you]." (Isa. 46:3).

 

" 'And in this matter you [all] did not place trust in Yehowah your God, [Deut. 1:32]


The first generation, generation X, placed little or no faith in God. God made continued promises to the, showed them great signs and miracles, and they refused to trust Him. Moses trusted God in almost all things. When God game him directions, he followed these directions explicitly. Generation X was just the opposite. "Therefore, I was angry with this generation, and said, 'They always go astray in their heart; and they did not know My ways.' As I swore in My wrath, 'They will not enter My rest.' " (Heb. 3:9–10). Jude was even more harsh than the writer of Hebrews: Now I desire to remind you, thought you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe (Jude 5). How do you think that you will personally fair in this life if you choose not to trust the Lord Who bought you?

 

" 'Who is going before you in the way to search out for you a place for your encampment, in fire by night, to show you the way in which you [all] should go, and in a cloud by day.' [Deut. 1:33]


God gave these people something that they could all see, each and every day. When they were moving toward the Land of Promise, God led them with a cloud and with fire, and they could all visually see that. Now on the day that the tabernacle was erected, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony, and in the evening it was like the appearance of fire over the tabernacle, until morning. so it was continuously; the cloud would cover it, and the appearance of fire by night. And whenever the cloud was lifted from over the tent, afterward the sons of Israel would then set out; and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the sons of Israel would camp. at the mouth of Yehowah the sons of Israel would set out and at the mouth of Yehowah they would camp; as long as the cloud settled over the tabernacle, they remained camped. Even when the cloud lingered over the tabernacle for many days, the sons of Israel would keep Yehowah's charge and they remained camped. Then according to the mouth of Yehowah they set out...whether it was two days or a month or a year that the cloud lingered over the tabernacle, staying above it, the sons of Israel remained camped and did not set out; but when it was lifted, they did set out (Num. 9:15–20, 22). This cloud and fire thing was mentioned because every Jew who wanted to could, on any given day, go to the tabernacle and see the cloud or the fire. Daily, there was a sign to them that God was faithful; that God could be trusted. This is apart from the daily sign that God provided them with manna.


Here, as in many other areas, the Jews were totally illogical—if God is going to lead them all the way from Egypt to Palestine, it makes absolutely no sense for Him to desert them at the foot of Palestine. We believers find the same thing in our lives. God leads us or deposits us in a particular geographical area, and—perhaps due to a small amount of adversity—we suddenly stop trusting Him, even though he has opened all the doors up until that point in time. God does not take us somewhere and suddenly drop out of sight and leave us to the wolves, as it were. When God leads, He remains with us. Even when we screw up, God remains with us. However, our problems and the mess that we make of our lives are to be solved by Him in His way.


Deuteronomy 1

Deuteronomy 2

Deuteronomy 3

Deuteronomy 4

Deuteronomy 5

Deuteronomy 6

Deuteronomy 7

Deuteronomy 8

Deuteronomy 9

Deuteronomy 10

Introduction

Kukis Homepage

Exegesis

Doctrines

Pentateuch


God's Oath Against Generation X

Num. 14:20–38

 

"And Yehowah heard the voice of your words, and He was angry, and He swore [to you] saying, [Deut. 1:34]


The night prior to the entrance into the land, gen X cried and complained, bitched and moaned, as they were famous for. Then all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, "It would have been preferable to die in the land of Egypt or to die in the wilderness!" (Num. 14:1–2). God's stated preference was to kill every Jew and begin His nation anew with Moses. And Yehowah said to Moses, "How long will this people spurn Me? And how long will they not believe in Me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst? I will strike them down with pestilence and dispossess them, and I will make you into a nation greater and mightier than they." (Num. 14:11–12). Moses doesn't tell this generation, at least in these messages, that God was ready to kill them all and begin all over again.

 

" 'Not one of these men of this evil generation sees the good land which I have sworn to give to your fathers; [Deut. 1:35]


God was actually much more graphic than this. And Yehowah said to Moses and Aaron, saying, "How long [must I remain] with this evil generation who are grumbling against Me? I have heard the complaints of the sons of Israel, which they are making against Me. Say to them, 'As I live,' says Yehowah, 'just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will surely do to you; your corpses will fall in this wilderness, even all your numbered men, according to your complete number from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against Me.' " (Num. 14:26–29). Moses doesn't exactly sugar coat what God told him; however, he isn't quite as graphic as your corspes will fall in this wilderness. One of the things which this generation X chanted was it would have been better to have died in the wilderness; God heard their voice and answered their prayer, so to speak. However, Moses is speaking to the children who have, over the past thirty-eight years, been bereaved of their parents, so Moses softens what God said; he is a bit more diplomatic because of his audience.


Generation X could not see past the giants and the fortified walls—the land was exactly as God had promised. God had an agenda which deals with the world, not just with the Jews (we might do well to remember that God's agenda still is with the world and it does not confined to ourselves or our church). Part of this plan included the destruction of the cancerous growth of people who recognized the beauty and wealth of Palestine and therein settled. Part of God's plane included their elimination. So far in medicine, the most effective way to stop cancerous growth, when it is possible, it to remove it completely—to cut it out. God must perform such an operation on various groups of people. We see great areas where there is continual warfare. We see great diseases decimating various populations. These things are not random—this is a part of God's plan. This does not mean that every person struck down with a horrible disease is an unbeliever or a believer out of fellowship. God has some of us die in this way as a witness to the unbeliever and to the believer who is out of fellowship. We have nothing to fear from death. Death is immediate deliverance from pain and discomfort, from distress and unhappiness, to perfect happiness and no more sorrow and no more tears. We have this confidence which takes us through the door of death. Our Lord has conquered death.

 

" 'Except Caleb ben Jephunneh——he saw it, and to him I give the land on which he has walked, and to his sons, because he has fully followed after Yehowah.' [Deut. 1:36]


The twelve men who went into the land observed different things. The ten who formed the majority report saw the giants and the fortified cities and did everything in their power to dissuade the children of Israel concerning the movement into Palestine. However, Caleb and Joshua saw the land just as God had promised—they saw the beauty of the land and its great prosperity. The giants and the fortified cities were just a detail. They noticed this and knew that God was able. The key is that Caleb and Joshua knew God's Word and they believed God. Thieme called that knowledge of doctrine and faith-rest. You, as a believer, need to start there, along with the filling of the Holy Spirit. God has tremendous earthly blessings which he has set before you—you need only take them by faith.


Caleb was forty years old when he was sent out to spy the land. At the time of this sermon, he was eighty. It will take Israel only five years to conquer most of the land given them by God, and Caleb will enter the land as strong and as youthful as he was at forty; Caleb told Joshua, "And now behold, Yehowah has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years, from the time that Yehowah spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now, observe, I am eighty-five years old today. I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in." (Joshua 14:10–11). That is God's grace. Moses too was blessed with youthfulness and health throughout his 120 years on this earth (Deut. 34:7). This is by no means a promise to any of us, but God does bless by providing strength, health and youthfulness. One of the first people who comes to mind is R.B. Thieme, whose father and uncle all died at relatively young ages; however, he always appeared to be vigorous and in the best of health, with very little change in physical appearence over the final twenty or thirty years of his ministry. Footnote The fact that God has given such strength and blessing to some would be a damn good reason to get with His Word.


Caleb also took this statement to mean that he could claim whatever piece of land that he wanted, and that he did in Joshua 14–15, which we will discuss later.

 

"Also with me Yehowah has been angry for your sake, saying, 'Also, you will not go in there.' [Deut. 1:37]


The Jews rebelled against Moses due to the lack of water—this was the second occasion and this was the second generation, the generation of hope—and Moses made the mistake of striking the rock twice rather than speaking to it (Num. 20:11–12). Such a mistake confused the perfect analogy which God had set up.

 

" 'Joshua, son of Nun, who is standing before you, he will go up into there; you will strengthen him, for he will cause Israel to inherit [the land]. [Deut. 1:38]


Now here is an interesting thing: Moses, when he failed, immediately asked God to take care of his people and asked God to provide for them a leader. He was not even presumptuous enough to choose a leader on their behalf, knowing that men make serious mistakes in this regard. However, notice what is said as compared to what occurred. The Yehowah said to Moses, "Go up to this mountain of Abarim and see the land which I have given to the sons of Israel. And when you have seen it, you too will be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother was; for in the wilderness of Zin, during the strife of the congregation, you rebelled against My mouth to treat Me as holy before their eyes at the water." (These are the waters of Meribah of Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin). Then Moses spoke to Yehowah , saying, "May Yehowah, the god of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation, who will go out and come in before them, and who will lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of Yehowah may ot be like sheep which have no shepherd." (Num. 27:12–17). Moses mentions very little of this to the generation of promise. He doesn't go to the Jews and ask, "Do you think this is fair? Don't you think that god is being too hard on me?" Nor does he go to them and tell them that his first thought, hearing that he would not enter the land was for them—that they have a leader. He only mentions that he will not go into the land and that Joshua will be his replacement. Moses was very grace-oriented and, unless backed into a corner, was not going to sing his own praises to the congregation of Israel. Moses gave up his position of leadershp graciously (who knows, perhaps he was relieved). On several occasions, he made it clear that Joshua, son of Nun, would lead in his stead (Num. 34:17 Deut. 3:28 31:7).

 

" 'And your infants, of whom you [all] had said, "For a prey they are," and your sons who have not known today good and evil, they will to in there and to them I will give it, and they will possess it; [Deut. 1:39]


Moses is speaking to the infants, however, he is speaking of a time forty years ago when God spoke to Moses to speak to the people, and in this way, spoke to this degenerate generation, gen X. God promised that the generation of promise would take the land, and now Moses is speaking to these people prior to their invasion of the land. [Generation X is complaining about their ot in life] "And why is Yehowah bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder. would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?" (Num. 14:3). God's response: "Your children, however, whom you said would become a prey—I will bring them in, and they will know the land which you have rejected. But as for you, your corpses will fall in this wilderness." (Num. 14:32).


This passage gives us some clue as to the age of accountability, but we have to be careful here. God had specific duties for the generation of men who were twenty years and older; they were to believe God, enter into the land and take it from the population which lived there. God had given them a specific responsibility and they failed at that responsibility. Those who were nineteen and below were not yet given this responsibility, so they were not yet responsible. I have heard one person place the age of accountability at age twenty because of this passage. We have that age in this place because that is the age cutoff that God assigned specific responsibilities to. However, bear in mind the context and the dispensation. These people did not have the Holy Spirit as we have the Holy Spirit. It is my opinion that today the age of accountability in a civilized society is much younger. I hesitate to place a number on it, but perhaps somewhere between age four and twelve. Children can be saved somewhere between ages three and six. Furthermore, it should be clear to any of you who know anything about young people and drugs that some children begin taking drugs at age eight or ten or twelve and it damages their lives and psyches for the rest of their time on earth. If God allows young people to do this to themselves, then that would be the time that a child has some responsibility in the presence of God.


One thing is absolutely clear: if you have children, you must begin early with them. They need to see you as an example of faith and they need to hear the gospel. They need to understand Who Jesus Christ is and that they must make a decision from their own soul. Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it (Prov. 22:6). As a child, I was stubborn, self-willed and as hard-headed as children go; and this carried on into my early twenties. However, my parents, who were both unbelievers, gave me some of the very best training and discipline along with their personal consistent daily example of moral behavior. However, although I departed from their excellent teaching on a consistent basis for many years, I returned to it. Luckily, I was not too old before I began to realize that my parents had given me a great deal in the way of love, training and discipline. So all children need consistent training, guidance, your good example, and they need the gospel.


J. Vernon McGee points out that this passage tells us that children who die in infancy are automatically saved. The children who were not faced with the responsibility of going to war under God's direction did not die the sin unto death as did their parents. They were given the exact same chance as their parents had. God allowed them to live and then, when the time was right, placed the decision before them.


What we have in the previous few verses is an example of short-term prophecy. God told Israel to go and take the land; Israel did not, so God withdrew, for that generation the promise of the land. He promised to scatter their corpses in the desert and bring their children into the land. He promised that only Joshua and Caleb would remain from generation X. All of these predictions and prophecies came true. The prophetic aspect of the Bible is both long-term (such as, Lev. 26) and short-term. God's Word must stand, both to the generation that it was written to and to the many generations that follow.

 

" 'And you [all], turn back and return to the wilderness, in the direction of the sea of Reeds [lit., turn for yourselves, and journey toward the wilderness, the way of the sea of Reeds].' [Deut. 1:40]


If the Jews would not obey God, then there was no reason for them to enter into the land. They could not remain right on the outskirts of the land, or the inhabitants would eventually storm down and kill many of them. Therefore, they had to back off. From the edge of the land, they were instructed to return to Kadesh-barnea. However, in keeping with their habit of disobeying God, they did just the opposite.


Deuteronomy 1

Deuteronomy 2

Deuteronomy 3

Deuteronomy 4

Deuteronomy 5

Deuteronomy 6

Deuteronomy 7

Deuteronomy 8

Deuteronomy 9

Deuteronomy 10

Introduction

Kukis Homepage

Exegesis

Doctrines

Pentateuch


Israel's Failed Attempt to Take the Land Without God

Num. 14:39–45

 

"And you [all] answered and said to me, 'We have sinned against Yehowah; we, even we, will go up and we will fight, according to all that which Yehowah our God has commanded us;' and you [all] prepared for yourselves [lit., gird on each his] weapons of war, and you [all] were ready to go up to the hill-country. [Deut. 1:41]


The verb were ready might be rendered thought it easy. It is a tough call, as this verb occurs only here in Scripture.


This was an interesting turn of events. The Jews whined and cried and refused to go up into the hill country to fight against the inhabitants. So God told them that they would not enter into the land but that their children would instead. This did not set well with the Jews, so they decided that they had two choices: either go back into the desert and wilderness where they had just spent the better part of two years in thirst and hunger or they could attack the inhabitants of Palestine. This was not a choice which God had placed before them—these were options which they manufactured in their own minds. God had already made a ruling and He would affirm that ruling. If this doesn't make sense to you, then you just do not know human nature. Man is not necessarily logical and he does not tend toward making the right decision all of the time. With the facts fully before him, man makes some extremely stupid decisions. There are certain men who are adulterers who give it very little thought; but there are a considerable number of men who realize, sometimes for weeks and months in advance, that a decision to commit adultery could ruin their marriage, break the heart of the woman they love or once loved, and cause years of pain suffering to their children and to themselves for years to come—and then they go right ahead and do it. That is the essence of human nature to know what is right, and then to do just the opposite.


Application: One of the fallacies of sex education in the public schools is that it is thought that if you present this material intelligently before the students that, even if they choose to have sex as minors, at least they will know enough to use contraception. Let me educate you as to how the adolescent mind works. They first of all see this as a green light to experiment, and sometimes they might use contraception (and sometimes they won't). This is human nature. I have talked to fifteen-year-olds who thought that it was okay to get wasted, to drink to excess, just as long as they didn't drive (and, most of the time, they don't drive; but sometimes they do). This generation X of Israel were given the truth day in and day out; they had seen great miracles and they had the leading of God—and whatever God told them to do, sometimes they did it and sometimes they did they exact opposite.


The insidiousness of human viewpoint is lost here in this shuffle. They have been told that they can go and take the land, yet, their leaders influenced them for fear. Moses explains that God would have led them and God would have fought for them, but no more. Here is where human viewpoint creeps in—okay, they could have gone up and taken the land. So now they will—they are not placing their faith in God or in His Word, but, since Moses has told them that they would have been able to conquer the land, the reasoning is that the ability to conquer the land lies within themselves. That is, they are the ones able to conquer the land, apart from God. Let me make this clear: apart from God, you are nothing. You are worthless at best and a spiritual detriment to those around you at worst. No matter how much personal talent that you have, or innate intelligence, or good looks, or favored background, we are nothing in this life apart from God. There are only two things that move us into God's will—and no, it is not sincere emotion and a vow to do good—it is God the Holy Spirit, Whose filling is achieved by naming your sins to God; and the study of God's Word. The psychological hoops you jumped through to walk out in front of everybody and re-dedicate your life; your promises to God to never do this or that again; your fervent emotion—these things mean nothing. This is the charge of the Israelites up into the hill country without God. God left us His Holy Spirit and His Word. Jesus Christ, in the book of John particularly, tells the disciples that He will leave, but His purpose in leaving is to send to them God the Holy Spirit. These are the two things which are left here on earth for us. If you neglect one or both of them, then your life is meaningless. Have you ever accumulated wealth or possessions or a particular possession in a dream, and then you woke up and you did not have it? This is what your life will be; you will stand before God at the end of your life and you will have nothing worthwhile that you have carried from this life into the next. Now, you will have no more sorrow, no more tears, and your shame of wasting your life will be momentary—but you will be picking cotton on my plantation and your life will not have glorified God.

 

"And Yehowah said to me, 'Speak to them: "You will not go up, nor fight, for I am not in your midst, so that [lit., and] you [all] are not struck down before your enemies." ' [Deut. 1:42]


The Jews were out of fellowship. They did not confess their sins to God. They did confess them to Moses, and then immediately went against God's will. Naming your sins to God does not do you a whole lot of good if you put yourself out of fellowship a tenth of a second later. They were operating under the strength of the flesh and they had determined in their minds that they had options which they really did not have. God had not, after that night of great fear, give them two options. He told them that it was time to back up, return to the desert, and their children would come back and take the land. So that there was no confusion, God spoke to Moses and Moses told the people that they no longer had the option of entering into the land and fighting against the inhabitants therein. God would not be with them if they did such a thing and they were enjoined not to go into the land, or they would be struck down by their enemies.

 

"And I said to you, and you did not listen, and you provoked the mouth of Yehowah and you acted proudly, and you went up into the hill country; [Deut. 1:43]


That generation X did exactly the opposite of what God had commanded them to do. In the morning, however, they rose up early and went up to the ridge of the hill country, saying, "Here we are; we have indeed sinned, but we will go up to the place which Yehowah has promised." But Moses said, "Why then are you transgressing the commandment of Yehowah, when it will not succeed? Do not go up, so that you will not be struck down before your enemies, for Yehowah is not among you." (Num. 14:40–42). They were given fair warning that this would not fall within the will of God and they were told that they would not win. However, gen X was not known for listening to God or to reason.

 

"And the Amorite, who is dwelling in that hill country, came down to meet you, and they pursued you as the bees do, and the struck you down in Seir, [all the way] to Hormah." [Deut. 1:44]


As mentioned back in Ex. 23:28, the meaning of this Hebrew word translated bees has been lost to history. The Septuagint translated it wasp; however, that was likely a guess. It is preceded by the preposition for as, meaning that, in any case, this is analogous. It does not refer to a specific people in history.


The Amorites had the most powerful nation at that time in the land of Canaan, so their name is lent here to represent all of the inhabitants of Canaan (specifically the Amalekites and the Canaanites of the hill country—Num. 14:45). This is the more general usage of the term Amorites, which appears to mean westerner. When someone says to me, a resident of Houston, you people of the South, in reference to myself and those in Houston, he does not take into account that a very large number of us moved here from somewhere else. We are called southerners, although our culture and background are decidedly different. Moses is using the name Amorite in a similar fashion.


The Interpretations Of Deuteronomy 1:44

The problem is this: in Num. 14, Israel is pushed back by the inhabitants of the hill country, which are said to be Canaanites and Amalekites. In this passage, they care called Amorites.

1.

The most common explanation is what I have given already: the term Amorite has a general and a specific usage. In general, it means westerners and refers to the diverse peoples in the land of Canaan. Moses was making a point in Deut. 1 which did not require him to specifically name the groups who beat Israel down. For his flow of speech, it was simpler to name them by one name. We often find the term Canaanite used in general, but it is because the groups referred to are Canaanite in origin. The Amalekites are not Canaanite, they are a Semitic people, descended from Esau (Gen. 36:15–16 1Chron. 1:36). Therefore, using the term Canaanite would be incorrect if referring to both groups. However, as has been mentioned, Amorite is more of a general term which alludes to factious groups in a particular territory, rather than referring to any particular racial group.

2.

All three groups could have been in those hills. In Num. 14, the Amalekites and Canaanites are references and in Deuteronomy, the Amorites are mentioned. The biggest problem here is the consistency with which we find these terms—throughout all of Num. 14, we have Amalekites and Canaanites; throughout all of Deut. 1, we find the term Amorite used exclusively.

3.

A third possibility is that Moses simply made a mistake. This would contradict the doctrine of the inspiration of Scripture. A similar explanation is that the person who wrote this, someone who is not Moses, made a mistake. Again, this contradicts the inspiration of Scripture.


Deuteronomy 1

Deuteronomy 2

Deuteronomy 3

Deuteronomy 4

Deuteronomy 5

Deuteronomy 6

Deuteronomy 7

Deuteronomy 8

Deuteronomy 9

Deuteronomy 10

Introduction

Kukis Homepage

Exegesis

Doctrines

Pentateuch


When this generation went before the men of Palestine, they, when faced with these men of war without God being with them, turned tail and ran. But they went up heedlessly to the ridge of the hill country; neither the ark of the covenant of Yehowah nor Moses left the camp. Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down and struck them and beat them down as far as Hormah (Num. 14:44–45). The inhabitants of Palestine took this as great sport and pursued them, chasing them but moving slow enough to get them out of the land. They probably didn't know where the encampment of the Jews were and chased them far enough to get close to it. It wasn't that they could not catch the Jews—part of the fun was the chase and the observance of the fear; and, the closer they could get to the encampment of the Jews, the better. This would be an example to the others and there might be some more killing that could take place.

 

"And you turned back and you wept before Yehowah, and Yehowah had did not listen to your voice, nor did he give ear to you; [Deut. 1:45]


God is omnipresent, and, even though the rumors were quietly spread throughout the camp, and that those very demonstrative Jews who cried aloud in public as well as the ones who did in private, were all observed by God. Everything that we do is done before God. Now these people have been beaten down and they are in tears again. God made it clear to the people the sequence of events and He made clear to them His power and when He would be with them or not. When they chose to ignore Him, He chose to ignore them. When you are out of fellowship, you have no contact with God. We are very willful in our lives and we make dozens, if not hundreds of wrong choices which strictly reveal our own will and our own lusts. God is not with us in these. God does not stay with us when we push Him away. We have one way back to Him and that is rebound and His Word.


Perhaps you have gone through some difficult times and perhaps it has been because you have been out of fellowship and because you have opposed God's will. And now, the discipline is so great, that you are caused to cry before God. Some people, under various types of psychological pressure, wander up before a church and cry there. Aren't these tears indicative of repentance? Did not the Israelites who cried in front of God after this defeat—was this not repentence before God? We live in a world of tears and tears sometimes are meaningful and sometimes they are not. I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the changing of [your] mind; for you were made sorrowful according to [the norm or standard of] God in order that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to [the norm or standard of] God produces a change of mind leading to a salvation [or deliverance] without regret; but the sorrow of the world produces death (2Cor. 7:9–10). You were wrong, you were disciplined by God, and, it hurt so bad that you are now crying. The key, is this a sorrow caused by hurting, by discipline, by not getting just what you wanted? Or is this a sorrow according to the norm and standard of God? These sons of Israel cried on three occasions with respect to this incident. The night before they were to enter the land; after they realized that they had missed the opportunity to enter the land due to their unbelief and that God had placed them under the sin unto death; and after they had been defeated when they presumptiously attacked the Canaanites of the land. "There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight." Then all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, "Would we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness!" "Your corpses will fall in this wilderness, even all your numbered men, according to your complete number from twenty years old and upward, [those of you] who have grumbled against [God]" And when Moses spoke these words to all the sons of Israel, the people mourned greatly. [Moses is speaking]: "Then you answered and said to me, 'We have sinned against Yehowah; we will indeed go up and fight, just as Yehowah our god commanded us.' And every man of you girded on his weapons of war, and regarded it as easy to go up into the hill country. And Yehowah said to me, 'Say to them, "Do not go up, nor fight, for I am not among you; or you will be defeated before your enemies." ' So I spoke to you, but you would not listen. Instead, you rebelled against the oath of Yehowah and acted presumptiously and went up into the hill country. And the Amorites who lived in that hill country came out against you and chased you as bees do, and crushed you from Seir to Hormah. Then you returned and wept before Yehowah, but Yehowah did not listen to your voice, nor give ear to you." (Num. 13:33–14:2b, 29, 39 Deut. 1:41–45). Some criminals, when they are caught or when they are sentenced to jail, weep. Do they weep because they realize they are wrong and wish they could undo the wrong that they did? Sometimes; but, usually, they weep because they were caught and because they will now suffer as a result of that Footnote .

 

"And you [all] kept remaining [or, kept dwelling] in Kadesh many days, as the days which you [all] had remained [or, dwelt]." [Deut. 1:46]


V. 46 is a good verse to expand upon, as it is crucial to the activity of the Jews during their time in the desert:

 

The Amplified Bible       So you remained in Kadesh; many days you remained there.

The Emphasized Bible  And ye abode in Kadesh many days,—how many were the days that ye abode [there]!

KJV                                "So you abode in Kadesh many days, according unto the days that ye abode there."

NASB                            "So you remained in Kadesh many days, the days that you spent there."

NIV                                       And so you stayed in Kadesh many days—all the time you spent there.

NRSV                           After you stayed at Kadesh as many days as you did, [we journeyed back into the wilderness, in the direction of the Red Sea... (part of Deut. 2:1 was added here)

Young's Lit. Translation ...and ye dwell in Kadesh many days, according to the days which ye had dwelt.


The first half of the verse is generally correctly rendered: we have the Qal imperfect of yâshab (יָשַב) [pronounced yaw-SHAHBV] and it means to remain, sit, dwell. Strong's #3427 BDB #442 Many days is a phrase we first find in Gen. 21:34, which could have indicated a period of time from 5 years to perhaps 20. This prhase is found again in Gen. 37:34 when Jacob has found out (incorrectly) that his son Joseph has died—his mourning for many days went on for years. He still held his children responsible as late as Gen. 42:38, which is quite a number of years later. Many days here was an inordinate amount of time, several years at least. Lev. 15:25 has the same phrase, which may not refer to more than a week or two, but the key is we are talking about an unusual amount of time—more than what is ordinary. They Jews remained at the foot of Mount Sinai for about a year, which was because Moses was obtaining the Law from God. There were two trips involved and this was not a period of many days, as this was a reasonable amount of time. However, the time that they spent at Kadesh-barnea fell under the phrase many days—an unreasonable amount of time.


To emphasize this, we follow this with the kâph preposition, which means like, as;. which in turn is followed by the phrase the days. Then there is the relative pronoun which, and the 2nd masculine plural, Qal perfect of yâshab again.

 

"And you [all] kept remaining [or, kept dwelling] in Kadesh many days, as the days which you [all] had remained [or, dwelt]." [Deut. 1:46]


There is an emphasis here not just upon an inordinate amount of time, which would have been the first phrase all by itself, but that is followed by a second phrase which further emphasizes the first phrase. This is why The Emphasized Bible translates it as how many were the days that ye abode [there]! This indicates that they spend a great deal of time in Kadesh-barnea; of no other stopping place in the deserft was it said that they spent many days. (Num. 9:19 was likely a retrospective addition to the chronological narative, not added later but added when Moses and the children of Israel were residing in Kadesh-barnea and Moses was recording God's Word for the first time). We will also have the sons of Israel wandering around Mount Seir for many days in the following verse. Joshua used this term many days to describe the amount of time that the sons of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh remained with their children of Israel to conquer the land, even after they had chosen their own territory. This was a period of several decades.


Deuteronomy 1

Deuteronomy 2

Deuteronomy 3

Deuteronomy 4

Deuteronomy 5

Deuteronomy 6

Deuteronomy 7

Deuteronomy 8

Deuteronomy 9

Deuteronomy 10

Introduction

Kukis Homepage

Exegesis

Doctrines

Pentateuch



Deuteronomy 2


Deuteronomy 2 has been completely reworked and may be found here: (HTML) (PDF) (WPD). It is highly recommended that you go to that study instead of this one. Every verse has been exegeted word-by-word in that study; everything found below (and a lot more) is found in that chapter study. These chapters are being completed one-by-one and will eventually supplant this incomplete study of Deuteronomy.


Deuteronomy 2:1–37

 


Outline of Chapter 2:


       Vv. 1–8a      Moses recalls Israel's dealings with Edom

       Vv. 8b–9       Moses recalls Israel traveling through Moab

       Vv. 10–12     Parenthetical object lessons

       Vv. 13–18     God removed generation X, the cancerous generation

       Vv. 19–23     Israel and Ammon and another object lesson

       Vv. 24–37     Sihon, king of Heshbon, opposes the sons of Israel


Maps, Charts and Short Doctrines

 

       v.     8          The Route of Moses


Introduction: Deut. 2 is a continuation of Deut. 1, divided into separate chapters only perhaps, due to their length. Moses covered the trip from Mount Sinai to Kadesh-barnea rather quickly, and then focused in for most of Deut. 1 on the refusal of generation X to take the land given them by God. Deut. 2 will pick up here and follow the Israelites—principally the generation of promise, around as they travel east of the promised land. The primary purpose of what Moses says to the people is God's faithfulness, His integrity, His omnipotence and His veracity. The children of Israel are about to enter into the Land of Promise and spend seven years taking it from the Canaanites and the other indigenous peoples of whom their fathers were afraid. Since they had seemingly learned from the mistakes of generation X, Moses thought it wise to teach them academically of these characteristics of God through illustration.


Because Lot was Abram's nephew, God blessed Lot's descendants with a piece of land. Moses will point out that at one time, giants lived in that land, but God promised the land to Moab and Ammon, Lot's two children, and God gave them that land. IIlustration #2: God gave land to Esau, the brother of Jacob. Great men of war lived there and God allowed Esau to possess it nevertheless. Esau is an also-ran. He was Jacob's twin and the covenant to Abraham went to Jacob, not to his older brother Esau. Still, God was faithful to Esau under the principle blessing by association. Illustration #3: when Israel was opposed by the king of the Amorites, Sihon, God deliver him and his land into the hands of Israel. Chapter 4 will continue a retrospect of the faithfulness of God in war.


Deuteronomy 1

Deuteronomy 2

Deuteronomy 3

Deuteronomy 4

Deuteronomy 6

Deuteronomy 7

Deuteronomy 8

Deuteronomy 9

Introduction

Kukis Homepage

Exegesis

Doctrines


Moses Recalls Israel's Dealings with Edom

Num. 20:14–21 21:4–5


Between the second-to-the-last verse in Deut. 1 and this verse, there are the thirty-eight silent years, simply covered in Deut. 1:46: "So you remained in Kadesh many days, the days that you remained." Most of generation X has died the sin unto death. It would seem logical that the generation of promise of Israel would move due north and take the land. When the Canaanite, the king of Arad, who lived in the Negev [i.e., the southern region] heard that Israel was coming by way of Atharim, then he fought against Israel and took some of them captive. So Israel made a vow to Yehowah and said, "If You will completely deliver this people into my hand, then I will completely destroy their cities." And Yehowah heard the voice of Israel, and delivered up the Canaanites; then they completely destroyed them and their cities. Thus the name of the place was called Chormah [meaning devoted; i.e., devoted to destruction] (Num. 21:1–3). After defeating a Canaanite tribe, it would seem even more logical for the children of Israel to march immediately into the land and to take it. However, God did not take them that direction for two reasons: (1) there were still some Israelites from generation X who needed to be removed (see Num. 21:6 25:9); and, (2) God needed to present the generation of promise with some object lessons. Moses will explain these object lessons in this chapter. Therefore, instead of moving due north into the Land of Promise, Israel moved carefully and non-aggressively into the land of Edom.

 

"Then we turned and then we journeyed into the wilderness, the way of the Sea of Reeds, as Yehowah had spoken to me, and we went around the mount of Seir for many days. [Deut. 2:1]


The Sea of Reeds is possibly not the same Sea of Reeds spoken of in the book of Exodus. It apparently referred to any large body of water wherein were reeds. Here, we are either directly south of the Salt Sea and north of the Gulf of Aqaba. The mount or the hill country of Seir is an area south of the Dead Sea. This would indicate a route which is south of the border of Edom.


Here, many days means an inordinate amount of time; in terms of encampment, that was a period of thirty-eight years, which would have included the time spent in Kadesh-barnea and south of Kadesh. In terms of marching in this place, this may have been just a week or two. This was the land of Edom, given by God to Esau—and the Jews were therefore not allowed to take it from them.


There remains still a remnant of generation X, and you would think that they would have learned by now. Over the past thirty-eight years, they have seen the better part of two million people die the sin unto death. You would think that would have made an impression. It obviously did not. They think that they should go due north into the Land of Promise and they complain when God does not lead them that way. Then they set out from Mount Hor by way of the Sea of Reeds to go around the land of Edom; and the people became impatient because of the journey. And the people spoke against God and Moses. "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loath this miserable food." And Yehowah sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died (Num. 21:4–5). Moses does not mention this because it is not a part of what he is teaching this new generation prior to the entrance into the Land of Promise. I mention this so that you can be integrated into the historical context that we have just covered in the book of Numbers.

 

"Then Yehowah spoke to me, saying, [Deut. 2:2]


For some reason, the Israelites moved out of Kadesh-barnea, went into Edom, and circled Mount Seir, being guided by God the Holy Spirit. I don't think that we are specifically given a reason for this particular movement.

 

" 'Enough of you—the going around of this mountain; for for yourselves northward. [Deut. 2:3]

 

McGee writes: I have always thought that the Lord has a sense of humor, and I think we can see it here. You see, they didn't know where to go. all they have been doing is just going around and around Mt. Seir. It was sort of a ring-around-the-rosy; round and round they go. finally God says that He is getting tired of that. He says. He says, "Let's quit this round and round business." I'm afraid many Christians are doing that very same thing. Because they fail to take God at His Word, they are just marking time, and are on a merry-go-round of activity. Footnote


God is leading the sons of Israel; however, they are in a holding pattern as many of them are complaining again. They set out from Mount Hor by the way of the Sea of Reeds to go around the land of Edom; and the people became impatient beause of the journey. And the people spoke against God and Moses, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this miserable food [the manna]." (Num. 21:4–5). God had to remove some of these people—principally gen X—to cleanse the children of Israel completely.


God has taken His people due east, until they reached the Arabah, where, at one time, it appears that there was water running between the Salt Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba, and they arrived at the southern portion of the mountains of Seir in Edom, in the southern portion of Edom, where there was a more scattered population and less well-defined boundaries. What Israel would like to do would be to travel through Edom along the King's Highway. Moses, from Kadesh-barnea, sent such messengers to Edom, and then set out behind the messengers. From Kadesh, Moses then sent messengers to the king of Edom; "Thus your brother Israel has said, 'You know all the hardship that has befallen us; that our fathers went down to Egypt and we stayed in Egypt a long time, and the Egyptinas treated us and our fathers poorly. But, when we cried out to Yehowah, He heard our voice and sent an angel and brought us out from Egypt; now observe, we are at Kadesh, a city on the edge of your territory. Please let us pass through your land. We will not pass through field or through vineyard; we will not even drink water from a well. we will go along the king's highway, not turning to the right or left, until we pass through your territory.' " (Num. 20:14–17).


There are possibly two sets of mountains on both sides of the valley—the Arabah. Most scholars place Mount Seir east of the valley which runs between the Salt Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba. This appears to line up with the end of Num. 20 and the beginning of Num. 21. Then they set out from Mount Hor by way of the Sea of Reeds, to go around the land of Edom; and the people became impatient because of the journey (Num. 21:4). It would make sense that the Israelites would become impatient because they are moving away from the Land of Promise and had they gone in a circle or two.

 

" 'And you must command the people, saying, "You all are passing over into the border of your brothers, [the] sons of Esau, who are dwelling in Seir, and they are afraid of you; and you [all] being abundantly on guard; [Deut. 2:4]


The Hebrew appears to be confusing at first. Command is in the 2nd masculine singular, Piel imperative. Context explains what is going on. This is Moses telling the people what God told him to say to them—a quote within a quote within a quote. God, in speaking to Moses, said, "You [Moses] must command the people." We have to be careful not to interpret these few verses as though they are consecutive events. The last verb, being on guard, is in the Niphal perfect rather than a Piel imperative again (which is what I would have expected). Rather than continue this command begun in this sentence with a further command, the Niphal is used instead. The Niphal is usually the passive of the Qal (or common) stem. However, the Niphal also emphasizes the effect of an individual on the group and can refer to an action in progress or development, so we often translate the verb along with the word being. Footnote This is a continuation of the imperative mood, but said in such a way that each individual is charged here to be on their guard. These verses, 2–5 should be read together, so that we are not so far removed from the context and the meaning of what is said.


One of the first hit songs written by Moses if found in Ex. 15 written almost forty years prior to this incident as Moses was guided by God the Holy Spirit. He wrote: The peoples have heard—they tremble; anguish has gripped the inhabitants of Philistia. Then the chiefs of Edom were dismayed; the leaders of Moab—trembling grips them; all the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away. Terror and dread fall upon them; by the greatness of Your arm, they are motionless as stone until You people pass over, O Yehowah; until the people pass over whom You have purchased (Ex. 15:14–16). What we read in this portion of Deuteronomy is the fulfillment of the prophecy of this song. A prophet was to be judged by the people of his time by the prophecies that he spoke and whether or not they came to pass. What Moses said almost forty years ago had come to pass.


The route covered by Israel seems to have been a movement from Kadesh-barnea to Mount Seir, which they circled for awhile—my guess is that they were waiting for an official statement of permission to pass through the land of Edom Footnote (Num. 20:22 33:37). They marched around Mount Seir (which may have been just a movement below the southern half of these mountains (Num. 21:4 Deut. 2:3–5 Judges 11:18). However, the Edomites refused, so the Israelites proceded southward, skirted the southern border of Edom, and came up along the east border. This was going altogether in the opposite direction from the Land of Promise, causing some consternation on the part of some of the Israelites—mostly the generation X remnant (Num. 21:4).

 

" ' "Not contending [or, engaging in strife] with them, for I am not giving to you out from their land even as far as the treading of the sole of a foot; because I have given Mount Seir as a possession to Esau. [Deut. 2:5]


Whereas, I have given a fairly literal translations (apart from the word order) of this verse, the NASB gives the gist of it: "Do not provoke them, for I will not give you any of their land, even as little as a footstep because I have given Mount Seir to Esau as a possession." Joshua confirms this seven years later: And Joshua said to all the people, "Thus says Yehowah, the god of Israel, 'to Isaac, I gave Jacob and Esau, and to Esau, I gave Mount Sier, to possess it; but Jacob and his sons went down to Egypt.' " (Joshua 24:2a, 4). Even when King David conquered the the Edomites, they still remained in the land given them by God (2Sam. 8:14). Eventually, under the reign of Jehoram, Edom regained her independence fromIsrael (2Kings 8:20–22). God sets the boundaries for all nations. "The God who made the world and all the things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all life and breath and all things; and He made from one, every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having predetermined [their] appointed times, and boundaries of their habitation." (Acts 17:24–26).


The sense of the imperative is continued (there must be a grammatical rule to cover this), however contend is in the 2nd masculine plural jussive, Hithpael imperfect. The 2nd person plural is God speaking to Moses to speak to the people of Israel; the jussive expresses volition—it is the command, instruction or granting of permission from a superior to an inferior (when it is spoken from an inferior to a superior, it expresses a request). The Hithpael is the reflexive of the Piel (intensive) stem. Footnote The Israelites have just come from a great victory, they are a little impatient due to wandering again, and now they are going to be taken out of their way because Esau will not let them go through (as we have seen and will see). God wants them all to be on guard, particularly careful not to provoke a confrontation, as God has not given even one footstep of their land to the Israelites. These verses, as I said, are easier to follow when taken together: "Then Yehowah spoke to me, saying, 'Enough of you—the going around of this mountain; for for yourselves northward. And you must command the people, saying, "You all are passing over into the border of your brothers, [the] sons of Esau, who are dwelling in Seir, and they are afraid of you; and you [all] being abundantly on guard, not contending with them, for I am not giving to you even one foot print of their land [lit., out from their land as far as the treading of the sole of a foot]; because I have given Mount Seir as a possession to Esau." ' " God had given certain portions of land which were east and south of the Salt Sea to the sons of Lot and to the descendants of Esau, the son of Abram. This is completely blessing by association.

 

" ' "You [all] will purchase food from them with money and you will eat; and you will also buy from them water—with money—that you [all] may drink." ' [Deut. 2:6]


There are two different words here in the Hebrew for buy. The first is used specifically to buy grain; and the second is used for bartering or trading. Even though the numbers of the Israelites would be intimidating, God carefully instructed them to purchase whatever it is that they need from the Edomites.

 

"For Yehowah your God has blessed [each of] you in all the work of your hands Footnote ; He has known your walking in this great wilderness these forty years; Yehowah your God is with [each of] you; not one of you has lacked anything [lit., you have not lacked anything]. [Deut. 2:7]


Moses is explaining to the Isralites why God has so commanded them and reminds them of their blessings at God's hand—which is designed as motivation and justification for believing in Yehowah. All of the you's in this verse are in the singular. The emphasis is on son of Israel has seen God's daily blessing. I have added this individual emphasis into this verse.


The chief complaint of generation X was that they were out of food or out of water, or didn't like what they had. Moses reminds them that for forty years, despite their complaining—actually, the complaining of their parents—they did not lack anything. Even though they traveled without a permanent residence, two million Israelites in a wilderness-desert, they had all of their daily needs met because God is able. It was only due to their hardheartedness that they did not have certain luxuries that they remembered from Egypt. They Israelites were traveling near trade routes occasionally, and men who traded throughout the east passed by them on a regular basis. God allowed them to do some trading, and they certainly had the wealth with which to work with. However, it is my educated guess that, had they trusted God, they would have been given a lot more in terms of exotic foods, had they been less stubborn. It would be a very little thing for God to cause their paths to cross with the paths of traders on a regular basis—including traders who had come right out of Egypt, carrying with them certain wares, goods and foods peculiar to Egypt. So, when you lack, it is not because God is not able.


God’s care of the Israelites is recalled in Neh. 9:12–23 By a pillar of cloud you led them in the day, and by a pillar of fire in the night to light for them the way in which they should go. You came down on Mount Sinai and spoke with them from heaven and gave them right rules and true laws, good statutes and commandments, and You made known to them your holy Sabbath and commanded them commandments and statutes and a law by Moses your servant. You gave them bread from heaven for their hunger and brought water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and You told them to go in to possess the land that You had sworn to give them. "But they and our fathers acted presumptuously and stiffened their neck and did not obey your commandments. They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that You performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But You are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them. Even when they had made for themselves a golden calf and said, 'This is your God who brought you up out of Egypt,' and had committed great blasphemies, You in your great mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud to lead them in the way did not depart from them by day, nor the pillar of fire by night to light for them the way by which they should go. You gave your good Spirit to instruct them and did not withhold your manna from their mouth and gave them water for their thirst. Forty years you sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing. Their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell. "And you gave them kingdoms and peoples and allotted to them every corner. So they took possession of the land of Sihon king of Heshbon and the land of Og king of Bashan. You multiplied their children as the stars of heaven, and you brought them into the land that you had told their fathers to enter and possess. (ESV; capitalized)


David wrote, Yehowah is my shepherd; I cannot lack. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside waters of refreshment. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake (Psalm 23:1–3). This is the testimony of all mature Christians. I am certain that you can think of a thousand things that you want right now or think that you need. That's because you are immature. God saw to all of your needs in eternity past. When you are able to bear it, He gives you blessing. He will pour out blessing beyond anything that you can imagine—if you have the capacity to enjoy it. You can't give a three month old baby the bankbook to a savings account in his name containing $10,000,000. He would not appreciate it. You cannot take a three year old and provide them with a Harvard education—they have no capacity for it. When you begin to grow, God will begin to pour. When you reach maturity, God will pour out blessings to you and your family and your associates and your nation like you would not believe. God does not just stop with you. His blessings overflow to all of those associated with you. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil. My cup overflows. Certainly goodness and prosperity and grace will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of Yehowah forever (Psalm 23:5–6). The key is capacity and the key to capacity is the understanding of God's Word and God's plan through a pastor teacher and God the Holy Spirit. Running down a church aisle in a fit of emotion gives you an emotional catharsis at best. Praying fervently to God to give you things—please, don't waste your time. Get with His Word first; grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ first—then He will teach you how to pray and what to pray for. And He will pour blessings into your cup beyond anything that you have ever experienced in life.


The spies spent forty days in the Land of Promise, verifying that it was all that God had promised, they returned and enjoined the Israelites not to invade, God disciplined Israel for forty years. "Your children, however, whom you said would become a prey—I will bring them in, and they will know the land which you have rejected. But as for you, your corpses will fall in this wilderness, and your sons will be shepherds for forty years in the wilderness, and they will suffer for your unfaithfulness [lit., bear your fornications], until your corpses are finished in the wilderness. According to the number of days which you spied out the land, forty days, for every day you will bear your guilt-iniquities a year—forty years—and you will know My opposition." (Num. 15:31–35).

 

"And we passed by from our brothers, sons of Esau, who were dwelling in Seir, by the way of the Arabah, by Elath, and by Ezion-Geber; [Deut. 2:8a]


Ezion-Geber may be further north than what you find on the maps in your Bible, as is the gulf of Aqaba. I believe that there was a sizable river feeding into it (or from it) to the north (this river leading into the sea might be the Sea of Reeds. Elath is located at the gulf of Arabah also, the north-eastern finger of the Red Sea. Elath means trees and there are still groves of palm trees in that area to justify such a name.


The road of the Arabah here seems to refer to a route which moves north south from the Red Sea on up to the Dead Sea, which would be through the southern Arabah. They likely walked along a trade route there, called the Arabah Road or the way of the Arabah.


Deuteronomy 1

Deuteronomy 2

Deuteronomy 3

Deuteronomy 4

Deuteronomy 5

Deuteronomy 6

Deuteronomy 7

Deuteronomy 8

Deuteronomy 9

Deuteronomy 10

Introduction

Kukis Homepage

Exegesis

Doctrines

Pentateuch


Moses Recalls Israel Traveling Through Moab

Num. 21:11–15

 

"And we turned and passed over the way of the wilderness of Moab. [Deut. 2:8b]


The Arabah Road was a road which began around the Gulf of Aqaba and went north to Edom. Then the Jews moved along the southern part of the Dead Sea, going through Edom (= the sons of Esau), around to the east side of the Dead Sea, crossing over Moab. Since the Jews are moving north-south, and we have the verb, to cross over, that indicates that the Way of the Wilderness of Moab is going east-west


The Route of Moses

I am not too happy with many of the Exodus route maps I have seen, so you can ignore some of the lines which you see here.


In this final march into the land by the Jew, they have come up the Way of the Arabah, which is probably a north-south trade route along the Arabah, and then they have crossed over the Way of the Wilderness of Moan, which is probably an east-west trading route going through Moab.





This is taken from:

http://www.swartzentrover.com/cotor/bible/Bible/Bible%20Atlas/029.jpg

deuteronomy.gif

 


What is unimportant to the train of thought of Moses was the response of Esau. The Edomites came out in great force against the Jews, refusing them entry into their land. I am confused by this particular movement by Israel. From some passages, it sounds as though they stayed at Kadesh-barnea, awaiting word from the Edomites; and had to therefore walk around the southern border of Edom and come up from the east side. In other areas, it appears as though they walked part-way into Edom (into an area which was not really populated), and were met by the Edomites in full force, meaning the Israelites had to head south out of the land, come up on the west side, and go through between the Salt Sea and the land of Edom. This portion of the route has me a bit confused (and it is personally aggravating, as Moses, guided by God the Holy Spirit, went to great pains to explain his actual movements in Scripture). Ezion-geber places us south of the Salt Sea, though not necessarily as far south as it is shown on most maps. As I have mentioned before, the Gulf of Aqaba probably came much further north than it does today, with a river flowing into it. Ezion-geber must be in such a place as to provide access to the Gulf of Aqaba, as it is later known for its shipbuilding. This places us, at least for a portion of this trip on the southern portion of Edom.

 

"And Yehowah said to me, 'Do not distress Moab, nor stir yourself up against them in battle, for I do not give to you out of their land [as] a possession; for I have given Ar a possession to the sons of Lot.' [Deut. 2:9]


We have great blessing by association here. Esau and Lot, if you will recall, were not spiritual giants. In fact, they were the also-rans. The great spiritual blessing went to Abraham rather than to his nephew Lot; Jacob, despite being an inferior human being, so to speak, was the heir of God's great promises, not Esau. However, by virtue of being blood relatives, Lot and Esau were both given great tracts of land, possessions which God honored for many generations. God honors this gift to Lot and Esau by retaining a tight leash on Israel, not allowing them to attack or to dispossess the Edomites or the Moabites. The ones in view in this context are the Moabites, Moab being one of the sons of Lot by virtue of an incestuous relationship with his daughter (Gen. 36–37). A point of moderate interest is that the Bible does not contain the history of God giving Ar or the land of Moab to the Moab, son of Lot. In fact, between Gen. 19:36 and this context, the name of Lot is not even mentioned. Furthermore, Lot will only be mentioned six more times in all of Scripture (Deut. 2:19 Psalm 83:8 Luke 17:28, 32 2Peter 2:7). This is the first time that we, several millenniums after the fact, are told that God gave this area to Moab. However, it is possible that there were ancient records, to which Moses had access, which may have mentioned this. Even if this were the case, Moses saw no reason to record this in Scripture until now.


Now the Jews need to sort through this in their own mind—if God has blessed the also-rans, those in second place; if God has provided national boundaries for Edom, Ammon and Moab; if God specifically tells Israel not to invade these areas but to abide by their rulings—how much more will God do for them who are His chosen people?


This passage helps to explain Num. 22–24 and what follows. Balak, king of Moab, sent for Balaam, who was possibly a Midianite in order to curse Israel. However, Israel does not attack Moab after this incident, but they do attack Midian in Num. 31. Moses, when writing the book of Numbers, does not mention whom God told him not to slaughter—just whom He did. The sons of Israel could have taken that entire land bordering the east of the Salt Sea, but had portions of it not already been given by God to Lot and Esau.


Deuteronomy 1

Deuteronomy 2

Deuteronomy 3

Deuteronomy 4

Deuteronomy 5

Deuteronomy 6

Deuteronomy 7

Deuteronomy 8

Deuteronomy 9

Deuteronomy 10

Introduction

Kukis Homepage

Exegesis

Doctrines

Pentateuch


Parenthetical Object Lessons

 

"(The Emmin formerly lived in it, a people as great, numerous and tall as the Anakim. [Deut. 2:10]


Vv. 10–12 are obviously an aside, but by whom? The purpose of this aside is to either encourage the Israelites, insofar as the land now occupied by the Edomites and the Moabites were also previously occupied by strong nations which lost them. God gave these lands over to the Edomites and the Moabites, as blessing by association. Now we have several possibilities: these things were said to encourage Israel to believe God and to follow his directions, in which case these verses could have been spoken by God for Moses to say to the people; or they could have been spoken by Moses to encourage the people. Another option is that these three verses could be an aside, either written down later by Moses (either, as something I should have said, or to give more evidence to the reader for following God); or this could have been appended later by Joshua, given for the same reason to encourage the reader. Joshua is a writer of Scripture who may have edited Moses last sermons to Israel, thus giving him the right to insert points of clarification, encouragement, rationalization. At this point, until I examine a few more asides like this, I am leaning toward this being a portion of Moses' message to the people, directly from Moses, who would have had the historical background and training to know these things.


The Emmin may not be the exact name of the people named here (long since lost to history). This is very close to the Hebrew word for terror; their name could have come from the word for terror, as this was the persona by which they were known. The Anakim were renown for their stature and strength. "Hear, O Israel! You are crossing over the Jordan today to go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than you, great cities fortified to heaven, a people great and tall, the sons of the Anakim, whom you known and of whom you have heard, 'Who can stand before the sons of Anak?' " (Deut. 9:1–2).

 

"(They [the Emin] are called [lit., reckoned] Rephaim [or, giants]; they also, as the Anakim; and the Moabites call them Emim [or, like the Anakim, they are also regarded as giants, but the Moabites call them Emim]. [Deut. 2:11]


The word found here is Repha’îym (רְפַאִים) [pronounced refaw-EEM] and it can be transliterated Rephaim or translated giants. Here, it is in the plural and without a definite article. We first find mention of this word in Gen. 14:5 where it appears to be a proper noun (it is also lacking a definite article and is found in the plural). It occurs next in Gen. 15:20, with a definite article and in the plural. The context of these verses lends itself to its use as a proper noun. However, here, it does not necessarily refer to a particular race, but to the concept of being really large people, like the Anakim. This word is used accurately by Moses as opposed to the use of the inflammatory name Nephalim, which is actually a reference to half-angel half-man beings. Strong's #7495-7497 BDB #952 (this word also means dead ones). However, the ten loser spies used this particular word to frighten the people of Israel so that they would not have to lead them into battle (these spies were afraid). Moses, since he is speaking the truth, cannot use this particular word when referencing any of the peoples of the land or to the previous occupants of the lands of Edom, Moab and Ammon, because that would be inaccurate.


You may recognize some of these names: the Rephaim, the Zuzim, the Emim and the Horites are all mentioned in Gen. 14:1–17 in that great war of the kings during Abraham's time. They were smaller villages and hamlets at that time and, in order to make up an army, several villages had to band together. At the time of the writing of Deuteronomy, each of them had become full-fledged nations on their own.


The problem that the Jews first had with entering the land was that those who lived there were so large, that they felt unable to conquer them. There was no trust in God. The aside here points out that the Moabites faced a similar enemy, and they were able to triumph, and without the same kind of guidance as God has given Israel (that, of course, is not stated specifically here).

 

"(And the Horim lived in Seir formerly and the sons of Esau dispossed them and destroyed them from before their face and settled in their stead as Israel will do [or, as did Israel] in regard to the land of their possession which Yehowah gave to them). [Deut. 2:12]


Recall that we have examined the Horites (or Horim) back in Gen. 14:6. These are the Hurrians, a non-Semetic peoples who were found throughout the ancient world, primarily in the ancient Near East.


Because the Hebrew lacks a tense system like ours, the incident in this verse is difficult to place this in time. Will do or did is in the Qal perfect, indicating action which is viewed as from a completed stance; this does not mean the perfect tense cannot be future—the tense, in Hebrew, views an action as a completed whole or as a process, unlike our tense system, which views action as past, present or future. Here, the land is a gift by God to Israel and Israel will take control of the land. From God's point of view, this is a completed action. From the view of Moses, this is an action not yet begun, but he will not view it as a process. Joshua, if looking back after his conquering of the Land of Promise would see this more as a completed action rather than a process. In the English, it appears as though this is definitely a backward glance made after Israel has conquered the land; however, it is not that clear in the Hebrew.


Some commentators look back to the lands which Israel had already conquered east of the Jordan as the historical reference here rather than to the entirety of the land of Israel, which would be conquered seven years into the future. The phrase land of their possession is used specificially in Johsua 1:15 for the land of Gad and Reuben. Their position is that this verse would refer back to the historic event of Num. 21:25–35.


Now let me give you the official verdict as to who actually wrote (or spoke) this portion of Scripture. Recall what is occurring. Moses is speaking to the sons of Israel. They are about ready to invade the land. God has brought these Jews up through three different lands where giants once lived and these lands were given over to their relatives under the principle blessing by association. Moses is explaining to the Jews that these lands that they have travelel through are object lessons. If this is not spoken to the Jews by Moses, the entire purpose of God of bringing the Israelites up through this passageway is defeated. That is, this parenthetical portion, while is sounds like a later addition, is not an addendum, but it states the purpose of God in bringing the Israelites up on the east side of the Dead Sea. It would be silly to add these verses years after the conquering of the Land of Promise because this passage is motivational and it is the impartation of Bible doctrine, which includes God's essence; of which, perfection, omnipotence and veracity are key. God is fully able to ddeliver the land to the Jews—this is His omnipotence; He has promised to give the land to the Israelites—and, since He is veracity, He will honor His promises; and He is perfect, meaning He will perfectly keep His promises and He will perfectly bring all things to pass which He has promised.


This new generation of Israelites have learned from their fathers' mistakes—now they also learn by the successes of their relatives. Therefore, this is not an addendum of Moses or Joshua or anyone else affixed several years later, but is spoken right at this historic moment by Moses to the people, referring back to their personal conquests in v. 12 to Num. 21.


Deuteronomy 1

Deuteronomy 2

Deuteronomy 3

Deuteronomy 4

Deuteronomy 5

Deuteronomy 6

Deuteronomy 7

Deuteronomy 8

Deuteronomy 9

Deuteronomy 10

Introduction

Kukis Homepage

Exegesis

Doctrines

Pentateuch


God Removed Generation X, the Cancerous Generation

 

" ' "Now Footnote , arise [all of] you, and cross over for yourselves the Torrent Zered;" ' And we passed over the torrent Zered. [Deut. 2:13]


Many Bibles translate the Hebrew word nachal (נַחַל) [pronounced NAHKH-al] with the word brook. We then view this as a pleasant lazy stream of water, perhaps two to ten feet across, meandering along. However, that is not what this word actually means. Nachal refers to a torrent of rushing water through a narrow channel. Strong's #5158 BDB #636 The Torrent Zered runs due east from the southern mouth of the Dead Sea (although, the Dead Sea was likely lower at that time); this torrent is the northern border of Edom and the southern border of Moab.


In a way, the speaker of this verse changes somewhat, and helps to explain the parenthetical nature of the previous few verses. V. 9 is Moses telling the people what God said to him. Vv. 10–12 are a parenthetical break where Moses speaks to Israel, and explains that Israel has traveled this particular route so that they could observe the strength of God's power in the lives of their distant cousins. In v. 13, Moses now returns to a quotation of Yehowah, continuing from v. 9. The second portion of v. 13 goes from a 2nd person plural, Qal imperative (an order from God to all of Israel) to a 1st person plural, Qal imperfect, a description by Moses of his and the rest of Israel crossing over the brook Zered. There are no orders from God in this second half of the verse; it is a remembrance by Moses of only a couple of months previous—an action that all of the hearers took part in. So now, this is Moses quoting what he himself said to the Israelites a few weeks or months ago, where he was quoting what God had said to him.

 

"And the days which we have walked from Kadesh-barnea until that we have passed over the Torrent Zered: thirty-eight years, till the consumption of all the generation of the men of battle from the midst of the camp, as Yehowah had sworn to them; [Deut. 2:14]


Israel camped in Kadesh-barnea or thereabouts for the better part of thirty-eight years, and then traveled to where they all stand at this time. God's promise to Moses had been to take out the degenerate generation—generation X—which He did over those thirty-eight years. Quite a change took place throughout that year. Due to the sins committed at Peor, the idolatry associated with the daughters of Moab and Midian, we read: And those who died by the plague were 24,000 (Num. 25:9). A census is taken of the new generation—the generation of promise in Num. 26:63–65, with the sobering mention: These are those who were numbered by Moses and Eleazar the priest, who numbered the sons of Israel in the plains of Moab by the Jordan Jericho. But among these there was not a man of those who were numbered by Moses and Aaron the priest, who numbered the sons of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai. For Yehowah had said of them, "They will surely die in the wilderness." And not a man was left of them except Caleb, the sons of Jephunneh, and Joshua, son of Nun. Soon thereafter we read in Num. 31:49, after the battle with MIdian, the report to Moses was: "Your servants have taken a census of men of war who are in our charge and no man of us is missing." God has a plan for everyone of us. If our rebellion against this plan becomes too great, God removes us from this earth in the sin unto death, just as He removed gen X.


The Bible continually holds up generation X as an object lesson themselves. "And I also swore to them in the wilderness that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands, because they rejected My ordinances, and as for My statutes, they did not walk in them; they even profaned My sabbaths, for their heart continually went after their idols. Yet My eye spared them rather than destroying them, and I did not cause their annihilation in the woilderness. And I said to their children in the wilderness, 'Do not walk in the statutes of your fathers or keep their oridnances, or defile yourselves with their idols. I am Yehowah your God; walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances, and observe them. And set apart My sabbaths; and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am Yehowah your God.' " (Ezek. 20:15–20). In spite of all this they still sinned and did not believe in His wonderful works. So He brought their days to an end in futility, and their years in sudden terror. When He killed them, then they sought Him and returned and searched diligently for God; and they remembered that God was their rock and the Most Hight God their redeemer (Psalm 78:32–35; this Psalm looks at the two generations as one cohesive whole). See also Psalm 106 and Heb. 3–4.

 

"And also the hand of Yehowah had been against them, to destroy them from the midst of the camp, until they were consumed. [Deut. 2:15]


Over 600,000 men had to be killed. Likely, the degeneracy had spread to their wives. This is over a million people that God placed under the sin unto death in the short period of thirty-eight years. This means that roughly seventy-five people died each and every day over that thirty-eight years, most of them while they were encamped in Kadesh-barnea (the other significant plagues which occurred before and after were recorded in Scripture). Even Jude mentions this: Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe (Jude 5).

 

"And it came to pass, when all the men of battle had finished dying from the midst of the people, [Deut. 2:16]


The people left Kedesh-barnea while there were still some of generation X alive. In fact, there were as many as 24,000 of that generation remaining. Their influence was felt during the second no-water incident of Num. 20:1–13 (which may have taken place almost any time during those thirty-eight years; an educated guess is that it took place at the end). They complained when they had to go around the land of Edom (Num. 21:4–6), which resulted in a wide spread execution of the sin unto death (the exact number was never specified here). Their final influence upon Israel occurred when they participated in idolatry with the daughters of Moab and Midian (Num. 25:1–9). After this, we have the updated census, and no more deaths from the sin unto death are reported.

 

"Then Yehowah spoke to me, saying, [Deut. 2:17]


This occurred, in time, before the last of generation X died out; however, logically and topically, it occurs afterward, which is how Moses is presenting it here.

 

" 'You are passing over today the border of Moab, even Ar, [Deut. 2:18]


Deuteronomy 1

Deuteronomy 2

Deuteronomy 3

Deuteronomy 4

Deuteronomy 5

Deuteronomy 6

Deuteronomy 7

Deuteronomy 8

Deuteronomy 9

Deuteronomy 10

Introduction

Kukis Homepage

Exegesis

Doctrines

Pentateuch


Israel and Ammon and Another Object Lesson

 

" 'And you will come near over--against the sons of Ammon; you will not distress them nor stir up yourself against them, for I am not giving the land of the sons of Ammon to you [as] a possession.' [Deut. 2:19]


Once the Israelites cross northward, through Moab, to the east will be the land of Ammon. God did not give them that land. This is apparently followed by an aside from Moses still spoken to the people, as Yehowah will be mentioned consistently in the third person from hereon in. Moses will be in the first person singular and Moses and the Israelites (a good name for a band) will be in the 1st person plural.

 

"(It was regarded as a land of giants; giants lived in it formerly, and the Ammonites called them Zamzummin; [Deut. 2:20]


Vv. 20–23 are parenthetical again, as were vv. 10–12. They are still being spoken by Moses to the Israelites, but he is pointing out, in between quoting Yehowah, that they have traveled through land after land which Yehowah had given to their distant cousins (Esau, Ammon and Moab). God gave these lands to them by virtue of the fact that they were related to the Israelites—that is all that was required for God to bless them. Their lands also had giants dwelling in them, and God was able to give the land to them regardless. The point is, God is able. You personally have a lot of aspirations. You have things you want to possess, you see someone you want to marry, there is a position you desire, a vocation you want to be in—but you don't have it. What's the problem? The problem is not with God. God is able. God is able to dispossess heavily fortified lands which are ruled by giants and God is able to give these lands to whom He pleases. So God is able to get for you a job, a possession, a marriage partner, etc. This is easy; this is nothing for God. The problem is you. Perhaps you haven't ask God for what it is that you want, perhaps you ask Him out of personal lust; perhaps it is a matter of you not being ready for that particular blessing. 90% of the people who are put into direct contact with their right person mess it up. Some of you, if you were given your right person right now, you would not must ruin the relationship, but you would see to it that the relationship was ruined forever. You men might slug this woman; you might be unfaithful to her; you might brow beat her. There are a hundred ways you would think of to destroy your relationship. You women—you might reject him out and out because he is not as handsome as you think he should be, nor as rich. Or, you may run around on him, bailing out of the relationship because you found someone who is more attractive and richer and sexier, who has more power and prominence. Generation X did not take the land because they rejected what God gave them; as if God could be mistaken. What is your priority in life? Certainly, you might say, God is #1, as though giving Him some sort of declared prominence counts as something. God has given you two things on this earth: (1) the Holy Spirit and (2) His Word. Our Lord Jesus Christ left this earth in order to send back the Holy Spirit, our Helper and our Comforter. Do you rebound—personally name your sins to God—each and every time you sin, so that you are filled with the Holy Spirit? Do you pursue God's Word fervently so that you can understand His purpose for your life in this world. No; what you do, is God puts up a brick wall in front of you and you spend your entire life banging your head against the brick wall. You are stupid. Go with what God has given you. I know how to get along with humble neans, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him Who strengthens me (Philip. 4:12–13). God has given you His Spirit and He has given you His Word. Take from both of them and leave the details to Him.


The word for giants is sometimes rendered Rephaim in some translations. The Jews did not enter into the land originally because it was occupied by giants. During this travelogue, it is pointed out to them that giants have occupied most of the land that they are traveling through. In fact, this helps explain to us why the Jews, after the last of generation X died out—why didn't they just cool their heels in Kadesh-barnea, and then head straight north? This portion of Deuteronomy explains why. These other nations that they pass through are object lessons. Giants used to live here in Ar, but God gave that land to Lot; so, descendants of Lot live there now. The Horites lives in Seir, but God gave that land to Esau, so his descendants, the Edomites live there now. Oh, notice this other territory off to your right; giants used to live in that land, but God gave it as an inheritance to Lot, so his other son's descendants, the Ammonites, live there now. Every land that they travel through are object lessons. God gave this land to so-and-so; used to be giants living there; now so-and-so lives there.


The Zamzummites (or, Zanzummin) were possible to Zuzites of Gen. 14:5. The NIV Study Bible claims that their name might mean murmurers, but I don't see any justification for that. It is really not close in spelling to any other Hebrew word.

 

"([The Zamzummin are] a people great and numerous, and tall, as the Anakim, and Yehowah destroyed them before them, and they dispossessed them, and dwelled in their stead. [Deut. 2:21]


What God does makes sense. We cannot always understand His purpose and design, but God is very focused and very purposeful. He does not act without reason nor does He act at random. With generation X, it would not have made any difference how many object lessons they received; they would have failed. Had God hauled them north through Edom, Moab and Ammon, they would still have failed. God revealed tremendous miracles to them as never seen before, yet they failed more miserably than we can even imagine. Day in and day out, they were recipients of God's grace, and they—every day brought with it miracles of water, food and sustenance on the wilderness hike—and every day, they failed. Not only would an object lesson been wasted on them, but that would have placed Israel in enemy territory with enemies on all sides of them. At Kadesh, Edom hadn't given them much thought, Ammon, Moab, and the Amorites were too far away; the giants of the Land of Promise had killed many of them and chased them off for sport; and Egypt was too far away and at its weakest point to do anything. This gave the Jews thirty-eight years of relative peace, but no prosperity. God took that opportunity to decimate their population.

 

"(As He has done for the sons of Esau, who are dwelling in Seir, when He distroyed the Horim from before them, and they dispossessed them, and [the sons of Esau] dwell in their stead, to this day; [Deut. 2:22]


This is the beginning of a logical progression of thought.

 

"(As to the Avim who are dwelling in field inclosures as far as Azzah [or, Gaza], the Caphtorim, who had come out from Caphtor, they have destroyed them, and dwell in their stead). [Deut. 2:23]


In the KJV, the word for field inclosures is transliterated as though it were a proper noun—Hazerim. This is a Hebrew word which should be rendered villages; and it is found that way in Gen. 25:16 Psalm 10:8 and Isa. 42:11. These are generally thought to be a camps for nomads who built walls of stone on the boundaries for protection. A more proper translation might be field inclosures or secured encampments. Footnote


We have an unfinished protasis and apodosis. It should read, as God has done for them, He will do much more for you, His children of promise. However, the apodosis (the latter half) will go without being said. The point was not lost on the generation of promise, even though it has been totally lost to many theologians throughout history. What you may be wondering is, just who the heck are these Caphtorim? The Study NASB lists them as the Philistines and Caphtor is being Crete. Rotherham calls the Caphtorim Cretans. ZPEB says they are probably related to the Philistines in some way. I don't recall anything about them. Zodhiates names them as the ones who conquered this area, prior to being conquered by Israel.


The first question, is who has destroyed who and who lives in whose stead? The Caphtorim are mentioned early on in Scripture (here and Gen. 10:14 1Chron. 1:12), they were apparently a great people, well-known to the Israelites and throughout the ancient world. Their early mention, but lack of later mention indicates that the Caphtorim were depossessed. They came out of Caphtor, possessed a great deal of the Land of Promise, and then along came the Avvim, who are mentioned only a few times in Scripture, but later than this passage, indicating that the Avvim destroyed the Caphtorim. The Avim, as is implied by the general context, are a group of people whom you would not expect to overthrow the Caphtorim, whose strength and power was legend. In fact, so well-known, that their former principle residence Caphtor that it is named several times in Scripture (Jer. 47:4 Amos 9:7), whereas the Caphtorim are not. They, like the Philistines, are descendants of Cush (Gen. 1:10). They are not equivalent to the Philistines, as the Study edition of the NASB claims, but they are their brothers. Where they dwelt in the Land of Promise, they were completely destroyed. It appears as though their brothers, the Philistines, either lived side by side to them in Caphtor, or took Caphtor from them. The latter seems to be more likely, as in Joshua 3:13, we read: The five Lords of the Philistines: the Gazaite, the Ashdodite, the Ashkelonite, the Gittite, the Ekronite, and the Avvite. The Philistines appear to have overrun this area and their lords are identified with the areas wherein they have a stronghold. Gazaite is the Azzah that we find here and Avvite is the area first occupied by the Avvim. This is less then seven years after Moses has spoken to the Israelites. This would indicate that the Philistines overran their brothers in Caphtor and in the Land of Promise, completely destroying the Caphtorim, who retained such a reputation as to retain the name of their original occupation for centuries afterward. The Philistines occupied certain areas of the land, given in Joshua 3:13. Then mention here of the Avvim would actually be a branch of the Philistines. Zodhiates points out that their name means ruins Footnote , although it is only close (the names are fairly different). .Benjamin occupied the area belonging to the Avvim (Joshua 18:23). Although dispossessed, the Israelites apparently allowed some of the Avvim to remain in the land, and they continued to be heathen in their religion (1Kings 17:31). We find practically nothing about the Avvim in the ZEPB. This is the first time that we have heard of these people and it is unclear as to what has happened to them. They lived in villages as far as Azzah (which is Gaza in the RSV—the same Gaza of the New Testament—and found in Deut. 2:23 1Kings 4:24 Jer. 25:20 47:5).


V. 23 ends the parenthetical aside of Moses to the people. He picks up again with his repeating what God said to him.


Deuteronomy 1

Deuteronomy 2

Deuteronomy 3

Deuteronomy 4

Deuteronomy 5

Deuteronomy 6

Deuteronomy 7

Deuteronomy 8

Deuteronomy 9

Deuteronomy 10

Introduction

Kukis Homepage

Exegesis

Doctrines

Pentateuch


Sihon, King of Heshbon, Opposes the Sons of Israel

Num. 21:21–31

 

" '[All of] You arise and journey and pass over the torrent Arnon; see, I have given into your hand Sihon, king of Heshbon, the Amorite, and his land; begin to possess [it] and stir yourself up against him [in] battle. [Deut. 2:24]


This is not really bonus land, as is sometimes implied. God gave to the Jews the land from this point over to the Euphrates, land which they have never yet possessed. Arnon is a bordering river running east from the middle of the Dead Sea; above it is Ammon and the land which did belong to Moab, then to the Amorites and then to Israel. Below the Arnon river is Moab.


God has already laid out the boundaries for Israel’s land, and it goes off in all directions far more than Israel will claim under Joshua. This is a part of the land which God gave to Israel. Furthermore, Israel would own, in the future, the land of the Ammonites, Edomites and Moabites; but not yet.

 

" 'This day I begin to put your dread and your fear on the face of the peoples under the whole heavens, who hear your fame and have trembled and have been pained because of you.' [Deut. 2:25]


The 1st person in this verse will be different from the first person in the following verse. It is God who placed fear in the hearts of the nations around Israel. However, it will be Moses who is the 1st person speaker of the next verse. Because of their great victory of Egypt (although, you will recall that the Israelites did absolutely nothing but stand like scared sheep), the people throughout the anceint world were afraid of them. Even though Esau brought out warriors on their border, this was a bluff. The Moabites and the Midianites, rather than form and alliance and attack, hired Balaam to curse the Israelites. Whoever did make an attempt to oppose the sons of Israel were beaten down (the Amorites and Og, the king of Bashan). God made this promise to Israel some time ago. "I will send My terror ahead of you, and throw all the people among whom you come into confusion and I will make all your enemies turn [their] backs to you [and run]." (Ex. 23:27). Moses recognized this and, inspired by God the Holy Spirit, wrote in his first hit song: "The peoples have heard, they tremble; anguish has gripped the inhabitants of Philistia. Then the chiefs of Edom were dismayed; the leaders of Moab, trembling grips them. All the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away. Terror and dread fall upon them; by the greatness of Your arm, they are motionless as stone; until Your people pass over, O Yehowah. Until the people pass over whom You have purchased. You will bring them and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance, the place O Yehowah which you have made for Your dwelling. the sanctuary, O Yehowah which Your hands have established. Yehowah will reign forever and ever." (Ex. 15:14–18). Moses later promised the people: "There will be no man able to stand before you; Yehowah your God will lay the dread of you and the fear of you on all the land o which you set foot, as He has spoken to you." (Deut. 11:25). Rahab the harlot recognized that the Jews had been given the Land of Promise and could see no reason to oppose them. She said, "I know that Yehowah has given you the land and that the terror of our has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melter away before you." (Joshua 2:9). The key here, by the way, is that she was not looking to allign herself with the winner from a human viewpoint, but to align herself with Yehowah.

 

"And I sent messengers from the wilderness of Kedemoth, unto Sihon king of Heshbon, words of peace, saying, [Deut. 2:26]


Kedemoth means eastern region. Footnote Moses, seeing no reason to discontinue this peaceful process of movement, continued to deal peacefully with the inhabitants of the rest of the lands in that area. Recall that this area belonged to the Moabites in the not too distant past, and now it was under the control of the Amorites, over whom Sihon was king. Even though there was no prohibition by God against attacking the Amorites, there was no instruction to do so either; therefore, Moses sent messengers conveying the message that the sons of Israel would just pass over this land; they were not looking to take it.

 

" 'Let Me pass over through your land; in the several ways I go; I turn not aside, right or left; [Deut. 2:27]


The messengers sent from Moses made it clear that this would not be an attack of any sort (the inhabitants are given advanced warning) and it is promised that the Israelites would not veer from the path along the King's Highway.

 

" 'You will sell me for money, and I will eat; and you will give to me water for money, and I will drink; only let me pass over on my feet; [Deut. 2:28]


The Israelites would not even take from the land; in fact, their passing through would bring great prosperity to Heshbon, as the Israelites would be paying for a lot of food and drink. We have more details listed here of the content of the message from Moses to king Sihon than was given back in Num. 21.

 

" 'As the sons of Esau who are dwelling in Seir, and the Moabites who are dwelling in Ar, have done to me, till that I pass over the Jordan, into the land which Yehowah our God is giving to us.' [Deut. 2:29]


Although not mentioned before in the book of Numbers, it sounds as though Israel did some buying from the Moabites and the Edomites, even though they did not pass directly through their lands. This may strike you as disharmonious. Au contraire—People of an entire country do not all do exactly the same thing. Even though the people were afraid of Israel and even though their leaders would not allow Israel to travel through Edom and Moab, this does not mean that some entrepreneurs did not barter with Israel. It doesn't matter if the inhabitants were prejudiced against the Jews or not—the Israelites had money (recall the riches which they received from Egypt) and they were both hungry and thirsty. This would have been a financial boom to these areas, so there would have been a lot of trading going on as the Israelites passed along the borders of Edom and Moab.

 

"And Sihon, king of Heshbon was not willing to let us pass over by him, for Yehowah your God hardened his spirit and strengthened his heart, so as to give him into your hand as this day. [Deut. 2:30]


In studying the pharaoh of Egypt, we have learned that God does not reach into the soul of a person and change the negative signals to positive or vice versa. When a person is negative toward the gospel or toward God's plan, their heart become covered over with scar tissue; it becomes a strengthening of conviction against God and His plan. A person who sees combat can become hardened and insensitive to death as he observes so much of it. Sihon was also one who was negative toward Jesus Christ, the God of Israel and his negativity was strengthened enough to go into battle against the Israelites.


There is a strengthening which God gives the heart of a person who is opposed to God's Word. You have a hundred times in the past walked away from a situation thinking to yourself, I wish that I had done that or I wish that I had said that. You usually didn't wish that because it was the right thing to do or so, it was just such a snappy comeback or some an ironically mean thing to do, that you wish that you had thought of it in time. In an emergency situation, you may have, in retrospect, have wished for more strength or more courage, not necessarily, again, to do the right thing, but to follow a course of action that your degenerate heart did not. God gave these men here and throughout the land the courage to stand before God's people; they opposed them and despised them and their God, Yehowah. God made certain that they had the strength to act on this negative volition. Many days has Joshua made war with all these kings; there had not been a city which made peace with the sons of Israel, except the Hivite, [the] inhabitants of Gibeon. The whole, they hae taken in battle, for from Yehowah it had been to strengthen their heart, to meet in battle with Israel, in order to devote them, so that they had not grace, but in order to destroy them, as Yehowah commanded Moses (Joshua 11:18–20).

 

"And Yehowah said to me, 'See, I have begun to give before you Sihon and his land; certainly begin to possess [lit., begin to possess to possess] his land.' [Deut. 2:31]


One of the interesting things about this verse (and v. 24) is that this alludes to a prophecy stated by God to Moses, but it was never recorded in Scripture (until now). This may have been recorded in The Book of the Wars of Yehowah and obviously this was something spoken by Moses to the people of Israel. God promised Israel that He would give over Sihon and his land to Israel. What is the significance of this? One of the attacks upon the inspiration of Scripture is that events would come to pass and then prophecy was written in order to predict these events. Under those circumstances, since this particular prediction is quoted twice in retrospect (here and in v. 24), you would think that it would have been inserted and edited into the book of Numbers. However, it was not. Moses spoke it to the Israelites, they heard the prediction, they believed it and they took the land of Sihon. They will later read this verse in Scripture and it will make perfect sense to them. If, as it is alleged, these books of Moses were not written by Moses but written hundreds of years later and then edited hundreds of years after that, what happened here? Moses is here saying, remember when I predicted this? The Israelites do, even though we do not since it was not recorded. Had these books of Moses been so carefully edited, then why is this prediction not edited into the book of Numbers? It couldn't be a matter of forgetfulness; this prediction is quoted twice almost in succession. How could the editors miss that? The reason we don't find this in the book of Numbers is that Moses wrote these things himself—these books were not edited hundreds of years later. There were things which occurred and things which were predicted and things which God spoke to Moses (which he in turn said to his people), that Moses neglected to record, as per his human abilities and as per the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit. The Torah is not a carefully edited set of books which contain a prophecy and then a fulfillment, a prophecy and then a fulfillment. That is strictly human viewpoint from people who grimace at the thought that God could predict something to Moses and then it would come to pass. It is short, simple verses like this one which argue against the concept of successive reduction—that is, against the supposed continual additions and revisions made to the books of Moses. The few times these verses were changed, it fell outside God's plan.

 

"And Sihon came out to met us—he and all his people, to battle to Jahaz; [Deut. 2:32]


Jahaz was just north of the Arnon River. Sihon did not give the Israelites much choice here. He was feeling over-confident due to his recent victory over the Moabites. He was one of the few peoples who were not afraidd of the Jews. This was a serious mistake on his part.

 

"And Yehowah our God gave him before us and we struck him down and his sons Footnote and all his people; [Deut. 2:33]


The Israelites are about to go into battle for the next seven years to take the land given them by God. What they need is a realization that God would do their fighting for them. In this chapter, Moses encourages the children of Israel by giving them illustration after illustration of God's faithfulness. God has been faithful to the also-ran's and God is faithful to His people Israel.

 

"And we captured all his cities at that time, and devoted the entire city, men and the women and the infants—we have not left a remnant. [Deut. 2:34]


When something was devoted entirely to Yehowah, this meant that it was completely and totally destroyed. Everything that could be destroyed was. There were metals, like gold, silver and bronze, which could not be destroyed. According to the NIV Study Bible, these items were placed into a secure place as God's possession. The other things which were completely destroyed beyond the ability to be used by people—these things were considered to be God's. "Only, no devoted [cherem] thing which a man devoted to Yehowah, of all that he has, of man and beast, and of the field of his possession is sold or redeemed; every devoted thing is most holy to Yehowah. No devoted thing, which is devoted of man, is ransomed, it is surely put to death." (Lev. 27:28–29). Sometimes cherem was limited and excluded certain things, such as livestock (see v. 35 3:7 Joshua 8:2). For more information on cherem, see Lev. 1:2 27:28 in this study.

 

"Only the cattle have we spoiled for ourselves, and the spoil of the cities which we have captured. [Deut. 2:35]


The people were destroyed in their entirety. The reason was that they were too degenerate a people to allow to live. Their cancerous essence would have eaten up the Jewish people.

 

"From Aroer, which is by the edge of the torrent Arnon, and the city which [is] in the torrent, even to Gilead, there had not been a city which [was] too high for us; the whole Yehowah our God has placed before us. [Deut. 2:36]


As is stated here, Aroer is a city along the river Arnon.

 

Barnes’ Notes describes it so: They valley of the Arnon is here deep, and the descent to it abrupt. In roman times it was spanned by a viaduct the ruins of which still remain, and which was probably built on the lines of the original structure of Mesha (2Kings 3:5). Aroer here must not be confounded with "Aroer, which is before Rabbah (Joshua 13:25). This latter place was "built," i.e., rebuilt, by the Gadites (Num. 32:34); it belonged to taht tribe, and was consequently far to the north of the Arnon. A third Aroer in the tribe of Judah is mentioned in 1Sam. 30:28. Footnote


When the Israelites captured Aroer, it belonged to the Amorites. It will be subsequently assigned to the tribe of Reuben (Joshua 13:9, 16). Gilead, here, refers to the city of Gilead. This impression given here is that both of these cities were heavily fortified and the Israelites were able to take them both and all cities in between. The Israelites are about to attack the rest of the Land of Promise, so Moses points out to them that they conquered every city, no matter what its elevation (some were built on mountains and hills to make them difficult to overthrow)—if God gave them the city, then they took it.

 

"Only, unto the land of the sons of Ammon you have not drawn near, any part of the torrent Jabbok, and the cities of the hill-country, and anything which Yehowah our God has [not] commanded." [Deut. 2:37]


Jacob, also known as Israel, from whence the Israelites received their name (they were not called Jews until the country of Judah was established), crossed over this particular torrent years ago in Gen. 32:22. The Jabbok river flows in a three quarters circle moving in a counter-clockwise direction, from the city of Rabbath Ammon flowing into the Jordan river somewhat below the midpoint of the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee. The land of Ammon would be found to the east of the Jabbok, whereas the Amorites had captured the land west of its beginning point (it flows north for forty miles or more). According to ZPEB, it drops an average of eighty feet per mile and is more than 2000 ft. below the Gilead Plateau. The northern portion of this river will form a geographical as well as a political division of the area of Gilead. Ammon and Moab were off-limits, as they were the territories of the sons of Lot; and the Israelites were not allowed to overrun Edom, as it had been given by God to the sons of Esau.


Deuteronomy 1

Deuteronomy 2

Deuteronomy 3

Deuteronomy 4

Deuteronomy 5

Deuteronomy 6

Deuteronomy 7

Deuteronomy 8

Deuteronomy 9

Deuteronomy 10

Introduction

Kukis Homepage

Exegesis

Doctrines

Pentateuch



Deuteronomy 3

 

Deuteronomy 3:1–29

Trust God for the Future as He was Dependable in the Past


Deuteronomy 3 has been completely reworked and may be found here: (HTML) (PDF) (WPD). It is highly recommended that you go to that study instead of this one. Every verse has been exegeted word-by-word in that study; everything found below (and a lot more) is found in that chapter study. These chapters are being completed one-by-one and will eventually supplant this incomplete study of Deuteronomy.


Outline of Chapter 3:


       Vv. 1–6        War against Og, king of Bashan

       Vv. 7–11      The spoil of Bashan

       Vv. 12–17     Distribution of Trans-Jordanian area

       Vv. 18–22     Commands given to the sons of Reuben and Gad and to Joshua

       Vv. 23–29     A prayer of Moses and the answer to that prayer


Introduction: Deut. 3 continues the message of Moses to his people. He recounts their victory over Og, king of Bashan with more detail than we actually had previously. He will also review the land grant to Reuben and Gad. However, the most heart-wrenching portion of this chapter was his prayer to God when Moses was been told that he will not enter into the land. We only saw a portion of this prayer; we saw Moses requesting that God choose a new commander to lead Israel into the land. However, Moses also pleaded with God to allow him to lead Israel into the land. We will see that in this chapter.


Deuteronomy 1

Deuteronomy 2

Deuteronomy 3

Deuteronomy 4

Deuteronomy 6

Deuteronomy 7

Deuteronomy 8

Deuteronomy 9

Introduction

Kukis Homepage

Exegesis

Doctrines


War Against Og, King of Bashan

Num. 21:33–35

 

"And so we turned and went up the way [or, road] to Bashan. Then, Og, king of Bashan, came out to meet us, he and all his people, to battle—Edrei. [Deut. 3:1]


Both of these sentences begin with the wâw consecutive; the first I translated and so; the second then. Once they got this far, they were finally on the King's Highway, a request which they had made of Edom some time ago.


Og at Bashan chose not to allow Israel safe passage, although Israel exhibited no threatening behavior. Og was apparently content having things the way their were and did not relish the idea of the Israelites dwelling so close to him. He did not necessarily know what the plans of the sons of Israel were; however, it had been their policy, after traveling through or beside the lands of Moab, Ammon and Edom to politely request permission to pass through. However, they were not going to pass through his land, but move due west now, across the Jordan, into Jericho. Og chose not to allow them to do that just yet.

 

"And Yehowah said to me, 'Do not fear him, for I have given him and all his people and his land into your hand; and you will do to him as you have done to Sihon, king of the Amorite, who was living Footnote in Heshbon.' [Deut. 3:2]


To give you a better idea about the tense system in the Hebrew, we have an incident here which, in reference to when God spoke to Moses, occurred in the past—as you have done to him—and one that will take place in the future, with reference to when God spoke to Moses—you will do to him. God is using a past occurrence to encourage Moses in a future event; however, do, in both instances, is in the 2nd person singular, Qal perfect. In the English, we translate this will do and have done; but, in the Hebrew, the verbs are exactly the same.


Sihon occupied a smaller territory than Bashan, having just taken it from Moab. Bashan was better established with very well-fortified cities, as we will see, and his people covered a greater area. Whereas Bashan apparently tolerated the movement of the Amorites to the south, he was not going to tolerate the Israelites, as they were greater in number.

 

"And Yehowah our God also Footnote gave into our hand Footnote Og, king of Bashan, and all his people, and we struck him down until there were no survivors [lit., was not left to him a remnant]; [Deut. 3:3]


Moses is still speaking to the generation of promise, holding up to them what is a very recent memory—their victory over Og, king of Bashan. In their movement to Jordan Jericho, the battles with Sihon and Og occurred quickly—they were given no chance to think about it. They were in a situation where they had to fight and there was no time to ruminate. Had they thought about what they were going to do in advance, the defeat of Bashan would have seemed impossible. Og of Bashan was a giant of a man with a powerful fighting force, occupying fortified cities. The armies of Bashan most certainly had some weapons of iron, if Og's bed was made of iron (we will see that later in this chapter).


Now the Jews are going to go into the land, and they already know that it is occupied by giants (according to their fathers and according to the spies who went into the land). The encouragement here is that God has proven to them against two powerful kings and their nations that He can deliver them. The skirmishes with these other kings which ended in victory are to encourage them in dealing with the Canaanites in the land.


To compare, the fight against the people of Bashan from Numbers 21:33–35: Then they turned and went up by the way of Bashan, and Og, the king of Bashan, came out with all his people to battle at Edrei. But Yehowah said to Moses, "Do not fear him, for I have given him into your hand, and all his people and his land; and you will do to him as you did to Sihon, king of the Amorites who lived at Heshbon." So they struck him down and his sons and all his people, until there was no remnant left him; and they possessed his land. As you can see, the recollections are almost word-for-word.


One thing which may bother some of you is the complete and total destruction of these people. During those days, we had a unique situation. Jesus Christ, the revealed member of the trinity, the Creator of the Universe, had allied Himself specifically with the nation Israel. This was made clear in Israel's departure from Egypt, with the use of many signs and wonders. The signs and wonders, as in the gospels, acted as a credit card. As Creator of the Universe, God is able to temporarily suspend the laws of nature and act above and beyond their restrictions. This is done in such a way that only the most hardened of hearts, the most negative volition can know of the miracles and not recognize that these were the miracles of God. During the incarnation, the Scribes and the pharisees did not dispute that a miracle had occurred—they attributed His power to Satan. Og and the people of Bashan have heard of what occurred in Egypt. They are now facing these same people who were led there by God. They had two simple choices: they can send out an emissary and ally themselves with Israel, and thereby be allied with God, or they can go to war against Israel, and thereby go to war against God. It is a simple matter of their volition.


We face the same thing in salvation. In order to be lost, in order to spend eternity in hell, and in order to spend eternity separated from God, we must spend every waking moment holding God at arm's length. We must spend our entire existence on this earth, whether it be twenty years or ninety years, pushing God away, refusing to consider the claims of Jesus Christ and refusing to believe in Him. We must spend our entire lives in total and complete rejection of God (as He is) in order to spend eternity apart from Him. So there is no question about it, when we make God in our own image, that is a complete and total rejection of God as He really is and an arrogant move to deify ourselves. If we desire to know God, if we have a desire to know His plan for our lives, His perfection, and, most importantly, His grace, love and provision, God will reveal these things to us. This is a promise which He will honor in every instance. Jesus therefore answered them, and said, "My teaching is not Mine but His who sent Me. If any man is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or if I am speaking human viewpoint [lit., from Myself]." (John 7:16–17). All it takes is just a few seconds of positive volition, and God will see that the gospel is delivered to you—the gospel being the good news that Jesus Christ has paid the full and complete penalty for the sins and wrongdoing that you have committed and, because of that, God is willing to receive you as His son in Christ; all you have to do is believe in Jesus Christ.


We can be Og, king of Bashan, and lose everything that we have ever had and spend eternity in misery. All it takes is a lifetime of negative volition. If you are an unbeliever and you are hearing this, something inside of you is now clicking. You recognize that there is a decision to be made and that this is a decision of utmost importance. Don't put it off; don't think maybe you will consider this later. You have nothing to lose by believing in Jesus Christ right now and everything to gain. Og and his people made a decision against Yehowah, the Lord Jesus Christ, and every single one of them will die and spend eternity in the Lake of Fire. What could they have done? Afterall, they were the enemy right? There can always be exceptions. We will see Rahab the prostitute in the next chapter, who, by birth, was an enemy of God, yet she believed in Jesus Christ and she was delivered from the destruction which would come to her people. What comes with that moment of positive volition is greater than any of us can imagine. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we will be delivered by His life (Rom. 5:10).


My point in all of this: don't worry about Og and don't try to over think this. He was given the opportunity to believe in Jesus Christ and to ally himself with the people of God. He chose not to and he paid the penalty, which is death. This was the result of a lifetime of negative volition toward God. The issue today is will you believe in Jesus Christ? Will you ally yourself with the people of God?

 

"And we captured all his cities at that time; there was not a city which we did not take from them—sixty cities, all the region of Argob, the kingdom of Og in Bashan. [Deut. 3:4]


Argob means clods, rich in clods, deep-soiled, fertile. According to Barnes' Notes it means stone-heap. H.L. Davies equates it today with the city Râjib. ZPEB also places Argob in the Golan Heights, approximately twenty miles south of Damascus. This verse appears to equate the sixty cities with the region of Argob and with the kingdom of Og in Bashan. Maps place the area of Gilead as running along the eastern portion of the Jordan, with Argob and Geshur being north of that, even with the Sea of Galilee (then the Sea of Chinnereth), and Bashan being north of those areas. Due to its proximity, Argob is sometimes considered to be in Bashan (1Kings 4:13).


When Israel moved on them, Israel moved quickly. It is unlikely that Israel went into each and every city and take it. They were met by Og and his men at Edrei. All of the men were destroyed in that battle. Marching into the cities resulted in the deaths of all who lived there: men, women and children. It is not unlikely that some of the cities were deserted when they went into them. Furthermore, these are not cities as we would think, but relatively small, but well-fortified villages. However, to have the power and authority over sixty different communities speaks well of the charisma and leadership and power of Og.

 

"All these cities were fenced with a high wall, two-leaved door and bar, apart from the very many encampments [lit., cities] of the rural area [Deut. 3:5]


The NASB reads: "All these were cities fortified with high walls, gates and bars, besides a great many un-walled towns." Gates is in the dual, meaning there were two—this is how we get the two-leafed door in from Young's Translation. Bar is in the singular, meaning each door perhaps had a metal bar across it in order to strengthen it. Wall is also in the singular. Besides or apart from these sixty cities, there were smaller encampments which were overrun by the Israelites. The word for cities occurs twice in this verse, although almost every translation translates it as though there are two different words here: cities, towns (The Emphasized Bible, KJV, NASB), towns, villages (NRSV), cities, villages (The Amplified Bible, NIV, Owen, Young). The word for cities is ʿîyr (עִיר) [pronounced ģeer] and this is used in the very widest sense of a group of people, from an encampment, to a village, to a city. Strong's #5892 BDB #746


We also find the word perâzîy (פְּרָזִי) [pronounced pehr-aw-ZEE] and it is found only three times in the Old Testament (here and 1Sam. 6:18 Esther 9:19) and each time translated differently in the Authorized Version: un-walled, country, villages. It should be translated country or rural. With the wide application of the word ʿîyr, the change of the English translation of the word is acceptable. Strong's #6521 BDB #826


The Israelites with Moses now had spent half or more of their lives traveling across the wilderness from Egypt to the Land of Promise. They do not recall a lot of what occurred in Egypt. Much of what they have traveled through is a limestone region, where protection is afforded the occupants by digging caverns into the limestone. In an area of the much harder basalt, the occupants cannot simply dig a cavern out—the rock is too difficult to cut through. Therefore, they built cities and placed walls around the cities. There still exists today a large number of these walled cities of Bashan, along with their black basalt houses, gates, doors and bolts. Footnote

 

Porter, in Giant Cities of Bashan, p. 84, wrote: Time produces little effect on such building as these. The heavy stone slabs of the roofs resting on the massive walls make the structure as firm as if built of solid masonry; and the black basalt used is almost as hard as iron.


MacGregor describes the construction of the houses within. The doors were made of stones seven feet high and six inches thick, with four inch long pivots, turning in stone sockets—even stone window shutters (4'X3'). A bedroom was 14'X9'X11' (high). There were stone rafters for a stone roof and four the six foot thick walls. There were two and even a few three-story homes. Footnote We do not know if these are the same houses as soon by the Israelites or not—in any case, they are likely similar in construction and appearance.


In case you have the picture in your mind of the army of the Israelites going from one city to the next and taking it over—this would be inaccurate assessment of the situation. We have roughly 600,000 men overrunning the area of Bashan, where the armies might enter into twenty cities simultaneously. There is every indication that Israel had one of the greatest populations of any people of that time. They made up roughly 1% of the total world population at that time. Since we today make up roughly 5% of the world population in the United States and Mainland China is almost a quarter of the world population, this should not be a difficult thing for us to fathom (although it is for some Christians).


The Israelites also had help—the bees. Apparently, the people of Og were flushed out by bees.

 

"And we completely destroyed [lit., devoted] them, as we had done to Sihon, king of Heshbon, completely destroying [lit., devoting] every city, men, the women Footnote and the infants; [Deut. 3:6]


Here, we are not given any details. When the entire population was devoted to Yehowah, this means every man, woman and child was killed. We are not told what God had commanded the Israelites; however, given the use of this language (to devote), it only makes sense that God required this of the Israelites.


There were no repercussions for the destroying of every single person who was part of Og's kingdom. Usually, this is done based upon orders from God. In fact, we will run into several instances where, when Israel does not destroy an entire population, that some of the remnant return to cause the Jews serious grief. This in no way justifies genocide today, as the movement of Israel into the Land of Promise at that time was guided by God. No other nation, including Israel, can make that same claim today. You may be thinking, isn't the Promised Land the eternal possession of the sons of Israel? Absolutely true; however, the time of God working through the Jewish race was temporarily suspended and inserted is our time, the church age. We live in a parenthetical age, however, it is a great age wherein we operate under the same power source as did Jesus Christ in His incarnation—the Holy Spirit. God will return the land of Israel to the sons of Israel. However, as was also promised in Lev. 26:33, the bulk of the nation Israel is scattered throughout the world, with an identifiable remnant of Israel placed in every single continent on this earth. However, this is a temporary condition. "For the land will be abandoned by them, and will they will make up their Sabbaths while it [the land] is made desolate without them. They, meanwhile, will be making amends for their iniquity because they have rejected My ordinances and their soul abhorred My statutes. Yet, in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, nor will I so abhor them as to destroy them, breaking My covenant with them; for I am Yehowah their God. But I will remember for them the covenant wit their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God. I am Yehowah." (Lev. 26:43–45). Who else but God would have told us this so far in advance?


Deuteronomy 1

Deuteronomy 2

Deuteronomy 3

Deuteronomy 4

Deuteronomy 5

Deuteronomy 6

Deuteronomy 7

Deuteronomy 8

Deuteronomy 9

Deuteronomy 10

Introduction

Kukis Homepage

Exegesis

Doctrines

Pentateuch


The Spoil of Bashan

 

"And all the cattle and the spoil of the cities—we have kept [lit., spoiled] for ourselves. [Deut. 3:7]


The Israelite army in this instance, destroyed the entire population, and retained their possessions and their cattle. This was the exact same modus operandi which they put in place when warring with Sihon. "And Yehowah our God delivered him [Sihon] over to us; and we struck him down with his sons and all his people. So we captured all his [Sihon's] cities at that time, and completely destroyed the men, women and children of every city. We left no survivor. We took only the animals as our booty and the spoil of the cities which we had captured." (Deut. 3:33–35).


Bear in mind, both Sihon and Og came out to war against the Jews. They went to war on their own initiative. Every nation should realize that, harm done to the Jews brings punishment from God.

 

"And we took, at that time, the land out of the hand of the two kings of the Amorite, which was beyond the Jordan, from the torrent Armon to Mount Hermon;" [Deut. 3:8]


Throughout Num. 21, the only kings mentioned were Og, the king of Bashan, and Sihon, the Amorite king. The context of this passage would indicate that Og was an Amorite (or, at least, his people were Amorites). All of the land conquered on the east side of the Jordan was given over to Reuben, Gad and part of the tribe of Manasseh. So Moses gave to them, to the sons of Gad and to the sons of Reuben and to the half-tribe of Joseph's son Manasseh, the kingdom of Sihon, king of the Amorites and the kingdom of Og, the king of Bashan, the land with its cities with [their] territories, the cities of the surrounding land (Num. 32:33). This will be covered in more detail in Joshua 12 and 13.


Mount Hermon is about 35 miles north of the Sea of Galilee, at the northwestern corner of the kingdom of Bashan, at the edge of the area given to Manasseh. This is the southern portion of the Hittite empire with Lebanon off to the west at the Mediterraneans. At 9200 ft., it is snow-capped throughout the entire year, the NIV Study Bible describing it as one of the most prominent and beautiful mountains of Lebanon.

 

(Sidonians call Hermon, Sirion; and the Amorites call it Senir). [Deut. 3:9]


Moses, in writing this, imparts to us some geographical facts. Sidon is a son of Canaan (Gen. 10:15) and the area that they lived in had been known for hundreds of years (Gen. 10:19). Sidon was on the Mediterranean (Gen. 49:13). The indication is that Mount Hermon could be seen by them. Whereas, this does not appear to be spoken directly to the Israelites and is more likely an aside to the reader, possibly from the hand of Moses or someone within a few hundred years of his time period. Whether or not this verse should be viewed as Scripture is another matter. If it was added centuries later, then it is not really a part of Scripture. The warnings not to add to God's Word imply that some will attempt to do so.


Mount Hermon was the religious center for early Syria—having many Baal sanctuaries throughout—and was named prior to the Exodus. Moses was an expert in many fields, one of them being geography, and he certainly would have learned this in school. Certainly there would have been trading between Sidon and Egypt during Moses' tenure in the Egyptian palace.

 

"[And we also took] all the cities of the plain, and all Gilead, and all Bashan, as far as Salecah and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan. [Deut. 3:10]


Salecah (also written Salecah and Salcah) and Edrei were both principal areas of Bashan, the latter being the battlefield when Israel destroyed the armies of Bashan. Salecah marks the eastern border of Bashan. The area which is the Israelites took extends up from Moab as far as Mount Hermon. With all of the cities that remained and the beautiful area, it is no wonder that Reuben and Gad liked it so well.

 

(For only Og, king of Bashan, had been left of the remnant of the Rephaim; in fact [lit., lo], his bedstead [was] a bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbah of the sons of Ammon? Nine cubits its length, and four cubits its breadth, by the cubit of a man.) [Deut. 3:11]


Rabbah is the only city of Ammon which is mentioned by name in the Bible and this is the first occurrence (see 2Sam. 11:1 12:26 Jer. 49:2).


This bed is in existence at the time of writing, but Moses probably did not write this. It is possible that he did not say this to the children of Israel at this time. That is, the bed of Og would not have been necessarily transferred immediately to an Ammonite city after the capture of the area of Bashan. It may have been sold several years later to the Ammonites. Its size is 13.5 feet in length and six feet in width and it would have been constructed out of wood with some iron features, like the iron chariots of Joshua 17:16. Most of the beds at that time—those that existed—would have been made from palm sticks, the palm tree being in greater abundance then than now. However, a man of his size would require something more substantial—hence, the frame, at minimum, being made from basalt.


Some commentaries believe—and this makes more sense, by the way—that this is not some traveling bed on some sort of display, but that it is a sarcophagus and such a sarcophagus would have been built specifically with Og in mind before his death, as the Israelites would not have built one for him. This verse is most likely an addendum to God's Word. This does not mean that it is God's Word or is not; but it is highly unlikely that Moses spoke or wrote this. Although it is possible that Og was removed from that area by some of his followers, it is just as likely that his bed or sarcophagus was removed by a collector or curiosity seeker to put on display in their own country.


Even though we are not certain how this verse came to be placed in Scripture, we do know that it is historically accurate. Throughout the world there are old grave sites, called dolmens, which usually consist of three large stones standing upright and a large stone on top of them. Throughout North German, Denmark, England and North-west France where many of these have been found, they are called giant beds. In 1918, German scholar Gustav Dalman found dolmen in Jordan, near ancient Rabbath-Ammon. This bed was made out of basalt, an extremely hard grey-black stone. Since then, we have found that dolmens are common to the areas around Palestine, most often in the area of Trans-Jordan north of the Jabbok River. Footnote


Concerning the iron: the black basalt of that area was 20% iron and was possibly what is alluded to here. Iron was used at that time for tools and weapons (Gen. 4:22 Deut. 19:5) by Semitic peoples and by those who lived in the surrounding countries. However, bronze, at that time generally speaking, was the metal of choice for weapons, furniture, and other items. It is variously thought that the Iron Age began somewhere between 2000 and 700 b.c. Understand, it is not like suddenly, one day, everyone decided to start using iron. That was the technology which would, in some cases, come and go. However, we do know from this, and other passages, that iron was used at this time. Furthermore, the stonework of granite, basalt and diorite found throughout Egypt fro this time period could not have been done apart from iron tools, even though, by most chronologies, these stone works belong to the bronze age. Israel herself did not use iron at this time, although she came across other nations and peoples which did (see also Joshua 17:16–18). In fact, the Philistines restricted the use of iron implements in Israel (1Sam. 13:19–22), indicating that even several hundred years later, the use of iron had not become an integral part of the lives of the Israelites. The simple explanation is that some nations were in the Bronze Age while other nations were simultaneously in the Iron Age. Footnote Anyone who has ever picked up a copy of National Geographic has no trouble understanding that different nations have different technology levels.


ZPEB identifies Rephaim with the Emim and the Zamzummim and speaks of them as being different from the Rephaim from the time of David.

 

Easton: [Rephaim means] giants, (Gen. 14:5 Deut. 3:13 2Sam. 21:16, 18). The aborigines of Palestine, afterwards conquered and dispossessed by the Canaanite tribes, are classed under this general title. They were known to the Moabites as Emim, i.e., “fearful”, (Deut. 2:11), and to the Ammonites as Zamzummim. Some of them found refuge among the Philistines, and were still existing in the days of David. We know nothing of their origin. They were not necessarily connected with the “giants” (R.V., “Nephilim”) of Gen. 6:4. Footnote


Deuteronomy 1

Deuteronomy 2

Deuteronomy 3

Deuteronomy 4

Deuteronomy 5

Deuteronomy 6

Deuteronomy 7

Deuteronomy 8

Deuteronomy 9

Deuteronomy 10

Introduction

Kukis Homepage

Exegesis

Doctrines

Pentateuch


Distribution of Trans-Jordanian Area

Num. 32:1–5, 33–42 34:13–15 Joshua 12:1–7 13:8–12

 

"So, we took possession [of] this land at that time—from Aroer, which [is] by edge of Footnote the torrent Arnon and the half of mount Gilead, and its cities—I have given to the Reubenite and to the Gadite; [Deut. 3:12]


It has already been decided that Gad and Reuben would possess some of the area taken from the Amorites and from Og. Aroer is in the south and Gilead in the north.

 

"And the rest of Gilead and all Bashan, the kingdom of Og, I have given to the half-tribe of Manasseh; all the region of the Argob and all of the Bashan—the same is called a land of Rephaim [or, a land of the giants]. [Deut. 3:13]


The Masoretic text reads: all the region of the Argob as far as all of Bashan. The codices of the western targums of Jonathan, the Septuagint, the Syrian and the Vulgate all read all the region of Argob and all of Bashan.


Directly above Moab, half-way up the Salt Sea to the top of the Salt Sea would be occupied by the tribe of Reuben, bordered on the west by the Salt Sea and on the east by Ammon. The land stretching along the length of the Jordan River up to the Sea of Galilee would reside the tribe of Gad, Ammon being its eastern border also. Along the Sea of Galilee and north of that was a larger area, reaching even further to the east than Gad or Reuben's land, was the area set apart for the half tribe of Manasseh.

 

(Jair ben Manasseh has taken all the region of Argob to the border of Gerhuri, and Maachathi, and called them by his own name Bashan-Havoth-Jair [or, the settlements or villages of Jair], even to this day.) [Deut. 3:14]


ZPEB Footnote claims that this verse has been corrupted for two reasons: (1) the word them has no proper antecendent; and (2) this verse wrongly includes the villages of Jair in Bashan rather than their further southern location of Gilead.


The NIV Study Bible refers to the areas of the Geshur and Maacah as relatively small areas, the former found east of the Sea of Galilee (Chinnereth) and the latter east of the waters of Merom, north of Geshur.


This verse sounds parenthetical due to the last phrase even to this day. If this is an added sentence, it could have been added legitimately, as Joshua might have sometime after conquering the land; or it could have been added illegitimately by some one else. According to Barnes' Notes, until this day is close in meaning to our until now. That is, it does not look far back into the coridoors of time, but might refer to an event or a name only from a few months ago. Footnote I don't know that I buy that, but I include it here for your edification. A study of its occurences might be quite helpful at this time.


It would make sense for Moses or Joshua to add this, as Jair taking this particular area has already occurred (Num. 32:41; see also 1Chron. 2:22). It is a difficult call here, because the two surrounding verses make this verse fall right into place. However, there are two key differences: the phrase even to this day and the lack of the first person pronoun. These two aspects of this verse make this an afterthought—however, this is a contemporary afterthought. That is, the speaker Moses was aware at this time who received the region of Argob. On the other hand, he has portioned this land out to the various families of Manasseh—it would not make sense for Moses to mention Machir in v. 15, but not to mention Jair in the same breath. My take on these two verses is that they have to go together; the use of the first person in v. 15 would be Moses speaking or writing, which means Moses spoke or wrote v. 14. The two families are also mentioned together in Num. 32:39–41.

 

(And I have given Gilead to Machir). [Deut. 3:15]


Machir is one of the families of Manasseh. Machir, the person, was a son of Manasseh, who had long since departed from this life. As time passes, his name will be almost equivalent to the name of Manasseh (see Judges 5:14).


We have already seen the legal issue raised by his great-great-granddaughters—the daughters of Zelophehad—concerned that because they were not married that they may not share in any inheritance of the land (Num. 27, 31). Under anyone other than God, this would have been a bona fide fear. When we get to Joshua 13:29–31, we will find that part of the Machir family will reside in trans-Jordan and the other half will reside with the rest of the tribe of Manasseh west of the Jordan.

 

"And to the Reubenite and to the Gadite I have given from Gilead even as far as the torrent [or, valley] Arnon, [the] middle [or, midst] of the torrent [or, valley] and the border, even as far as the torrent Jabbok, the border of the sons of Ammon; [Deut. 3:16]


In this verse, we have the same word translated several different ways: gorge, gorge, River (NIV); valley, valley, river (The Amplified Bible, NASB, Owen); brook, valley, brook (Young). Only the NRSV consistantly gives it the rendering wadi and The Emphasized Bible calls the word ravine. We have looked at the word before: it is nachal (נַחַל) [pronounced NAHKH-al] and it means wadi, torrent, torrent-valley. It is rushing water down a narrow channel; today, probably more often than then, it could be a river which is only found during the rainey season. Since a torrent or a river tends to run through a valley area, this word is also used to refer to the valley that a river might run through. Strong's #5158 BDB #636. In this context, it is first found first without a definite article in the construct, meaning the phrase should be rendered as far as valley [or, torrent, or wadi] Arnon. Immediately after the word Arnon we have the phrase middle of the valley [or, torrent, or wadi]. This sounds a bit awkward and several translations render this parenthetically: And to the Reubenite and to the Gadite I have given from Gilead even as far as the torrent Arnon—the midst of this torrent as the border—even to the Torrent Jabbok, the border of the sons of Ammon. The next phrase is literally as far as Jabbok the torrent. This verse gives the northern and southern borders of Reuben and Gad. Reuben is to the east of the Salt Sea all the way to the border of Ammon.

 

"And the plain [or, Arabah] and the Jordan as [lit., and] the border, from Chinnereth even as far as the sea of the plain [or, Arabah], the Salt Sea, under the mountain slopes of Pisgah, at the east. [Deut. 3:17]


We will look at the word Arabah more carefully in Deut. 4:49.


The Sea of Chinnereth is the Sea of Galilee. Pisgah is a high plain area overlooking the Dead Sea. This gives us a western and eastern border for the area given to the tribes of Reuben and Gad. BDB gives the meaning of ʾashedôth (אַשְדֹּת) [pronounced ahsh-DOTH] as foundation, mountain slopes. Strong's #794 BDB #78


Deuteronomy 1

Deuteronomy 2

Deuteronomy 3

Deuteronomy 4

Deuteronomy 5

Deuteronomy 6

Deuteronomy 7

Deuteronomy 8

Deuteronomy 9

Deuteronomy 10

Introduction

Kukis Homepage

Exegesis

Doctrines

Pentateuch


Commands Given to the Sons of Reuben and Gad and to Joshua

Num. 32:6–32

 

"And I commanded you, at that time, saying, 'Yehowah, your God, has given to you this land to possess it; being armed you [all] will pass over before your brothers the sons of Israel, all the sons of might. [Deut. 3:18]


Moses made it clear that the Reubenites could not just move directly into their new land and rest on their laurels. First of all, they cannot let their brothers cross over the Jordan without their assistance. Second fo all, it is not a matter of the first person who calls the land gets to stop fighting and keep it. This particular verse parallels Num. 32:20–21.

 

" 'Only your wives and your infants and your cattle—I knew that you had a lot of cattle—they will dwell in in your cities which I have given to you.' [Deut. 3:19]


Notice that throughout this chapter, with the exception of the addended material, that all of this is in the first person. Moses wrote in the third person, but spoke just like any other normal person does—in the first person. He did not speak of himself as the president except in his writings, under the ministry of God the Holy Spirit and probably in accordance with the rules of literature in those days. These writings would survive him by thousands of years and are better written in the third person. The phrase, I knew you had a lot of cattle is parenthetical, and was probably not spoken originally to the tribes of Reuben and Gad, but is said here.

 

"Till that Yehowah gave rest to your brothers like yourselves, and they also have possessed the land which Yehowah your God is giving to them beyond the Jordan, then you [all] will turn back each to his possession, which I have given to you. [Deut. 3:20]


The term rest as found here is almost a technical theological term. When it comes to day-to-day activity, rest is a cessation from war, with with no external threat of conflict and no internal unrest. It is a time of separation from conflict, from famine, from plagues—a time of peace and prosperity. This is a shadow of the true rest offered by our Lord, a cessation from works for our own salvation, a place of peace and prosperity where God has provided for us. Therefore, let us fear so that the promise does not remain unclaimed of entering His rest, so that on one of you should seem to fall short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as the exodus generation had also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by means of faith in those who heard (Heb. 4:1–2).


In public again, Moses is making certain that everyone knows that the Reubenites were not to move directly into their land, but they were to move along with everyone else until the entire land had been subdued. Moses is not above repeating himself and God has allowed him to repeat himself concerning this topic several times and in Scripture. This alone indicates the importance of repetition. This, is not a prophecy, but an agreement, and it is fulfilled in Joshua 22:4: [Joshua is speaking] "And now Yehowah your God has given rest to your brothers [the other tribes of Israel] as He promised them; therefore, turn now and go to your tents, to the land of your possession, which Moses, the servant of Yehowah, gave you beyond the Jordan."

 

"And I commanded Jehoshua at that time, saying, 'Your eyes are seeing all that which Yehowah your God has done to these two kings—so will Yehowah do to all the kingdoms through which you will pass over; [Deut. 3:21]


Jehoshua is Joshua and he has observed God's grace and mercy throughout his life, choosing to follow Yehowah rather than man.


V. 21 is both a short-term and a long-term prophecy. God will drive the inhabitants of land out of give their land to Israel. This promise will be repeated with great frequency in Deuteronomy (Deut. 4:38 6:18–19 7:1–2, 17–20, 23–24 9:1–6 11:23–25 12:2, 10, 29–30 18:12, 14 19:1 31:3–6 33:27). We have already seen God promise this to Israel several times before (e.g., Ex. 23:23, 27–28, 31 33:2 34:10–11, 24). This is fulfilled by the book of Joshua (specifically, Joshua 21:44 11:16–20), with continued fulfillment throughout the time of King David. This prophecy will be ultimately fulfilled in the millennium, immediately following the tribulation.

 

" 'Do not fear them, for Yehowah your God, He is fighting for you [or, He is the one fighting for you].' [Deut. 3:22]


Moses here admonishes Joshua as he admonished the Reubenites. Moses, having dealt with over 600,000 degenerates fro the generation of Joshua, he wants to make certain that Joshua is grace-oriented. One of the first things that the Israelites heard upon leaving Egypt was: "Do not fear! Stand your ground and see the deliverance of Yehowah which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. Yehowah will fight for you while you keep silent." (Ex. 14:13b–14). And Moses continues to remind them: "Yehowah, your God, who goes before you, He Himself will fight on your behalf, just as He did for you in Egypt before your eyes." (Deut. 1:30). The Israelites, despite their numerical size, are not a large or a warlike people at this time. In fact, rather than go into war, it was the consensus of opinion of the exodus generation that they should return to Egypt. Moses continually encouraged the people, explaining that God would be the one fighting on their behalf.


Deuteronomy 1

Deuteronomy 2

Deuteronomy 3

Deuteronomy 4

Deuteronomy 5

Deuteronomy 6

Deuteronomy 7

Deuteronomy 8

Deuteronomy 9

Deuteronomy 10

Introduction

Kukis Homepage

Exegesis

Doctrines

Pentateuch


A Prayer of Moses and the Answer to That Prayer

Num. 27:15–21 (?)

 

"And I appealed [to] Yehowah for grace at that time, saying, [Deut. 3:23]


The Hebrew word used here is chânan (חָנַן) [pronounced khaw-NAHN] means to bend, to stoop over, to show favor, to show grace as a superior would do on behalf of an inferior. Here, this word is in the Hithpael imperfect; which is continuous (or repetitive or future), reflexive intensive action. It is generally translated besought, to make supplication, to entreat. However, all of these translations are rather dated. A better rendering would be petition for grace, make a request for grace, appeal for grace. Strong's #2603, 2589 BDB #335. Israel did not know that when he was deposed by God that his immediate prayer was for them to have a good leader.

 

" 'Lord Yehowah, You, even You, have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your strong hand; for who [is] a god in the heavens or in earth who acts [or, does] according to Your might? [Deut. 3:24]


There is no angelic being who can function with the strength and graciousness of our Lord Jesus Christ. We often have no realization of God's greatness. "Who is like You, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders?" (Ex. 15:11). "For this reason, You are great, O Yehowah God, for there is none like You, and there is no God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears. And what one nation on the earth is like You people Israel, whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people and to make a name for Himself, and to do a great thing for You and awesome things for Thy land, before Your people whom You have redeemed for Yourself from Egypt, [and from other] nations and gods? For You have established for Yourself You people Israel as You own people forever, and You, O Yehowah, have become their God." (2Sam. 7:22–24).

 

" 'Let me pass over, I respectfully request of You, and see the good land which [is] beyond the Jordan, this good hill-country, and Lebanon.' [Deut. 3:25]


Off to the east is flat, dry desert area, probably not quite as desolate then as it is today, but still in sharp contrast to the Land of Promise. The more hilly regions toward the Mediterranean Sea had a more temporate climate, a greater amount of rainfall and its many streams kept the land green and fertile (as has been said, the Land of Promise then has been placed under great discipline today, and only the promise of beauty and prosperity can be found there).


This is a prayer that we were not aware of until now. Moses prayed to God, upon hearing his sentence of not leading the Israelites into the land and into battle against the Canaanites, first requested that God allow him to go into the land. Moses didn't even care if he was their leader. Moses never needed to be in command; it was a responsibility which he accepted, and sometimes grudingly. But he did desire to see this great land. However, in his death, God will give to him a much greater land, a much greater piece of property in heaven.


This prayer of Moses is in keeping with his personality. Moses would both like to see the manifestation of God's glory and power (Ex. 33:18–23) and he does not want to see his people, the Jews, forsaken—he wants to bring them to fulfillment of God's promises (Ex. 32:31–35 Num. 14:12–20).


There are two points you should take down here. With a position of power and authority comes great responsibility. To some people, the mistake that Moses made was understandable and very forgivable; however, there was much more to his action than meets the eye. Furthermore, it should also be noted that even great believers sometimes have their prayers answered no. I am reminded of Paul, who, due to his being in great physical pain, wrote: And because of the extraordinary quality of the revelations [which I received], for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger from Satan to strike me, to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this, I begged the Lord three times that it might stand off from me. And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I would rather boast about my helplessness, that the power of Christ may dwell in me (2Cor. 12:7–9).

 

"And Yehowah showed Himself to be upset with me, for your sake [or, because of you or on your account], and did not listen [and obey] me, and Yehowah said to me, 'Enough for you; do not speak to Me [lit., add not to speak to Me] any more about this thing. [Deut. 3:26]


God answers all prayer. This particular prayer, God answered Moses emphatically no. God does not even desire to hear about it again. A no doesn't get much stronger than that.


What had happened was that the new generation wanted water and there was no water to be found. When this had occurred before, Yehowah was upon the rock and Moses struck that rock with his stick and out came an enormous fountain which quickly turned into a river. Moses struck our Lord Jesus Christ with his staff—an analogy to the cross. From our Lord, from the rock, came living waters. When this situation occurred again, Moses was told by God to speak to the rock. Once our Lord was judged upon the cross then He is never judged again. He paid for our sins one time and He paid for the sins of all at that one time. For those who desire salvation, they need only speak to the rock and from Him will flow living waters. Moses, although told to speak to the rock, struck the rock twice. Now, God was faithful to the people Israel and brought forth incredible gushing waters, but the transgression of Moses so confused the shadow analogy of salvation that God would not allow Moses to enter into the land. This was a mistake that had permanent consequences. Anyone who confuses the issue and the means of salvation faces permanent and serious consequences.


The Israelites, on both occasions when they whined and complained to Moses about water, were antagonistic and contrary. They were filled with mental attitude sins. On the first occurence, Moses went to God and God gave him the game plan. On the second occasion, Moses was a bit cocky and he did not even go to God, God came to him and told him what to do. Moses allowed himself to remain out of fellowship, angry with the sons of Israel, believing in God's undeserved provision, but not understanding his role. [The sons of Israel] also provoked [God] to wrath at the waters of Meribah, so that it went hard with Moses on their account. Because they were rebellious against His Spirit, He spoke rashly with his lips (Psalm 106:32–33).

 

J. Vernon McGee: Our heats go out to this man Moses as he begs the Lord to let him ener the land which has been his goal for forty years. What a lesson this is for us, friends. Though we repent of our sin, we will have to take the consequences of it in this life whether we like it or not. Footnote


We have all had times where we were in fellowship and someone else's mental or verbal sins or attitude set us off, and we got ourselves out of fellowship through our own mental attitude sins. For Moses, this resulted in disobeying God's specific demands. When Moses said for your sake, he was referring the attitude and the verbal sins of the Israelites from which he sinned himself. And here is rub of leadership. They all sinned; however, Moses, who has led these people through forty years in the wilderness, the great man of his generation, the spiritual Atlas of his day, will not enter into the land, yet all of the people who complained will.


Don't misunderstand, Moses is not giving excuses for what he did nor is he placing the blame for what he did upon the people present. When the incident took place historically, and Moses recorded it, there was not a word about being provoked by the sons of Israel. However, here, and in Deut. 1:37 4:21, Moses places some of the blame upon the people (in fact, publically, he is placing all of the blame on them). The people should take note that their faithlessness and their actions resulted in their greatest leader being removed from them. Such strong discipline should be sobering, as, deep in their hearts, every Israelite knows of the great faithfulness and sacrifice of Moses.

 

" 'Go up to the top of Pisgah and lift up your eyes westward, and northward, and southward, and eastward, and see with your eyes, for you will not pass over this Jordan; [Deut. 3:27]


Moses was allowed to see the great land which Yehowah had given to the sons of Israel, the land which he had promised to lead them to over forty years ago. And Yehowah said, I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a lnad flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite." (Ex. 3:7a, 8). And forty years later: Then Yehowah said to Moses, "Go up to this mountain of Abarim, and see the land which I have given to the sons of Israel. And when you have seen it, you too will be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother was." (Num. 27:12–13). And Yehowah spoke to Moses that very same day, saying, "Go up to this mountain of Abarim, Mount Nebo which is in the land of Moab opposite Jericho, and look at the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the sons of Israel for a possession. Then die on the mountain where you have ascended, and be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people, because you broke faith with Me in the midst of the sons of Israel at the waters of Meribah-kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin, because you did not treat Me as holy in the midst of the sons of Israel. For you will see the land at a distance but you will not go there, into the land which I am giving the sons of Israel." (Deut. 32:48–52). From that vantage point, Moses would look in all directions and see what was given by God to them. This was the same Pisgah mountain where Balaam was taken by Balak in order to see all of the congregation of Israel so that he could curse Israel. It is from here that Moses will view the Land of Promise, which, at that time, was a beautiful and prosperous land.


This did not take place at the time of this verse, but Moses will observe the entire land with his eyes as a climax to his life. It would be the last thing that he did prior to his death in Deut. 34. Now Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. And Yehowah showed him all the land, Gilead, as far as Dan, and all Naphtalie and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, and the Negev and the plain in the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. Then Yehowah said to him, "This is the land which I swore to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, saying, 'I will give it to your descendants'; I have allowed you to see [it] with your eyes, but you will not go over there." So Moses, the servant of Yehowah died there in the land of Moab, according to the mouth of Yehowah (Deut. 34:1–5).

 

" 'But [lit., And] charge Jehoshua, and strengthen him, and harden him, for he will pass over before this people, and he will cause them to inherit the land which you see.' [Deut. 3:28]


Moses is not to waste his time requesting God to allow him to enter into the land leading Israel. His purpose in life, along with the recording of Scripture and his speaking to Israel, was to strengthen Joshua. This will take place, in part, in Deut. 31. Joshua will then lead Israel. Moses did not tell the sons of Israel that he prayed on their behalf for a great leader.

 

"And we dwelt in a valley over-against Beth-Peor." [Deut. 3:29]


Beth-Peor means the house or sanctuary of Peor. This is likely a direct reference to where the cult practices of demonic, heathen worship was practiced by the Moabites and the Midianites. It was in Peor where Israel had been tempted by their gods (Num. 25:1–3). This general area was transformed from a place of demon worship into a general Israeli base of operations before they crossed over the Jordan (Deut. 4:46).


Deuteronomy 1

Deuteronomy 2

Deuteronomy 3

Deuteronomy 4

Deuteronomy 5

Deuteronomy 6

Deuteronomy 7

Deuteronomy 8

Deuteronomy 9

Deuteronomy 10

Introduction

Kukis Homepage

Exegesis

Doctrines

Pentateuch



Deuteronomy 4

 

Deuteronomy 4:1–49

Trust God for the Future as He was Dependable in the Past


Deuteronomy 4 has been completely reworked and may be found here: (HTML) (PDF) (WPD). It is highly recommended that you go to that study instead of this one. Every verse has been exegeted word-by-word in that study; everything found below (and a lot more) is found in that chapter study. These chapters are being completed one-by-one and will eventually supplant this incomplete study of Deuteronomy.


Outline of Chapter 4:

 

       Vv.  1–8      Israel is advised by Moses to listen to and obey God's commands

       Vv.  9–25    Israel is warned against practicing idolatry

       Vv. 26–31    Moses again predicts the scattering of Israel and the faithfulness of Yehowah

       Vv. 32–40    Israel is to obey God because of the uniqueness of God's relationship to Israel

       Vv. 41–43    The cities set apart for involuntary manslaughter

       Vv. 44–49    Conclusion of first four chapters


Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines

 

       v.    18          Words for Idols

       v.    40          The Topics Covered in Moses' Sermon

       v.    49          The Primary Uses of the Term Arabah


Introduction: The key phrase to Deut. 4 is the first verse: And now, Israel, listen [and obey] the statutes and the judgments which I am teaching you to do, so that you may live and [so that] you will go into the land which Yehowah God of your fathers is giving you and possess [it]. Deut. 4 will be one of the great portions of Scripture which teaches us about the character of God. Covenant theology—the idea that the church began in the tent of Abraham and that the church is a continuation of and a spiritualization of Israel—is herein refuted. This chapter also marks the end of the first dissertation of Moses. At the end of Deut. 4, we will return to a short narrative where the three cities of refuge are set up by Moses.


Deut. 4 is filled with a great deal of prophecy. Since Moses is speaking to the generation of promise, whose parents were some of the worst failures in the history of Israel, Moses, through God the Holy Spirit, predicts what their history will be. (1) Moses tells the children of Israel that he would die prior to going into the land (Deut. 4:22). (2) Israel would be removed from this land of promise, which they had not even entered into yet (Deut. 4:26). (3) Israel would be scattered throughout the nations of their enemies (Deut. 4:27). (4) Israel would lapse into idolatry (Deut. 4:28; see Ezek. 14:1–7). Finally, (5) Israel would eventually seek and find God during their exile (Deut. 4:29–30). This was partially fulfilled in Dan. 9:3, but will be completely fulfilled during the Great Tribulation.


Deuteronomy 1

Deuteronomy 2

Deuteronomy 3

Deuteronomy 4

Deuteronomy 6

Deuteronomy 7

Deuteronomy 8

Deuteronomy 9

Introduction

Kukis Homepage

Exegesis

Doctrines


Israel Is Advised by Moses to Listen to and Obey God's Commands

 

"And now, Israel, listen [attentively to and give obedience] to the statutes, and to the judgments which I am teaching you to do, so that you [all] may live, and you will go in and possess the land which Yehowah God of your fathers is giving to you. [Deut. 4:1]


The Qal imperative of shâmaʿ (שָמַע) [pronounced shaw-MAHĢ] is the simple word for listen and we find it used in that way throughout Scripture (Gen. 3:10 16:11 Psalm 6:8). However, it is also used in the sense of: to listen intently, to listen and obey, to listen and give heed to, to hearken to, to be attentive to (Gen. 3:17 39:10 Ex. 3:18). It is by the context that we can determine whether it is the simple act of listening or the act of listening attentively to and obeying. Unfortunately, the very best single word for the latter meaning is the archaic hearken. Strong's #8085 BDB #1033


After the phrase I am teaching you is the lâmed preposition followed by the Qal infinitive construct of ʿâsâh (עָשָֹה) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH] which means to do, to make, to construct. Strong's #6213 BDB #793. Where it is found here, it acts just like our infinitive (I only mention this because Bullinger goes off on quite an unnecessary tangent about this phrase—unnecessary, because the correct translation clears up the rendering of the Authorized Version). This is followed by the lâmed prefixed preposition again and our often used 2nd person plural, Qal imperfect of châyâh (חָיָה) [pronounced khaw-YAW], a verb meanings to live. This word also means to remain, to exist, to survive. The lâmed preposition here denotes purpose and intent. The difference between listening intently to God's Word and obeying it and not is the difference between life and death. This is the secret of the Christian life which seems to have eluded the average believer. "You will walk in all the way which Yehowah your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong [your] days in the land which you will possess" (Deut. 5:33). "All the commandments that I am commanding you today, you will be careful to do, that you may live and multiply and go in and possess the land which Yehowah swore to your forefathers" (Deut. 8:1). "I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. so choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants." (Deut. 30:19). And he said to them, "Take to your heart all the words with which I am warning you today, which you will command your sons to observe carefully—all the words of this law; for it [the Word of God] is not an idle word for you; indeed, it is your life. And by this word, you will prolong your days in the land, which you are about to cross the Jordan to possess." (Deut. 32:46–47). "Now fear Yehowah and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt and serve Yehowah. And if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve Yehowah, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but, as for me and my house, we will serve Yehowah." (Joshua 24:14–15). "And I gave them My statutes and informed them of My ordinances, by which, if man observes them, he will live." (Ezek. 20:11). Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of god above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ, I may have cause to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain (Phil. 2:16). See also Deut. 4:26, 40 16:20 30:16 1John 1:1


In fact, Deut. 4 might be considered the guidon or the point for the entire book of Deuteronomy. The key to this book is listen [and obey] Yehowah, your God, O Israel. As noted in the passages quoted, this is the key of the book of Deuteronomy. This continual enjoinder by Moses for Israel to listen to God's Word and to obey God's Word translates into the same message for the Christian today. We are not told to hie ourselves off to some camp, nor are we to tarry for the Spirit, nor are we to witness to ten people a day—we are to listen to and obey God's Word. Our primary advantage which we have over the people of Israel is that we have the assistance of God the Holy Spirit. In fact, God spent approximately 1500 years showing us in His Word that even with God's Word, one must be guided by the Holy Spirit—our imbedded old sin nature is too great an obstacle for any one of us. Without the filling of the Holy Spirit, God's Word, at best, condemns us. If we are not empowered by the Holy Spirit, we can do nothing; and if we have not God's Word, we are directionless.


I come up with terrible analogies sometimes, but if the president of a large corporation is lying in a coma, this is analogous to our service without the Holy Spirit. There is no true contact with life; his control of the company is meaningless because he can make no decisions which pertain directly to the corporation. Without the Holy Spirit, we are completely separated from the life of God and have zero impact in this world and in God's plan. Without God's Word in our souls—without Bible doctrine—we are like a year old child who has inherited a huge corporation. We have volition, we have life, we have control over this corporation—however, we have no direction whatsoever, other than our personal needs. The Age of Israel has shown us that God's Word is not enough; and the lives of the vast majority of Christians reveal that the filling of the Holy Spirit apart from God's direction, found in God's Word, gives us minimal impact in this life.


What kept the previous generation out of the land? They did not listen to and obey the Word of God. What kept Moses out of the land? He did not obey the Word of God. Although the land is real and, at that time, was a land of beauty and prosperity, this is also a metaphor for our lives. All we have to do is to listen to and obey the Word of God and God will bring us into that promised land—into a place of great blessing and prosperity. All we have to do is to listen to Him and we will receive blessing and prosperity beyond what we can imagine. In my own life, in the areas where I have been faithful to His Word, I have been blessed greatly; and, in the areas where I have disobeyed His commands, it is there I have lacked.

 

I like quoting from J. Vernon McGee, because he addresses Scriptural doctrines simply and to the point. If Israel had kept the Law, what a blessing it would have been. But we find here a demonstration in history of a people who were give the Law under favorable circumstances but who could not keep it. No flesh will be justified before God by the Law. Why not? Is it because God is arbitrary? No, it is because the flesh is radically wrong. That is the problem Footnote .

 

"You will not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor diminish from it, to keep the commands of Yehowah your God which I am commanding you. [Deut. 4:2]


What Moses says here is quite amazing! First of all, this tells us that Moses recognized the importance of what he was teaching the Israelites—that is, he recognized that it was God's Word. I personally do my best to consider the different options and to give what I believe is the correct interpretation and reasonable application of any verse. However, this I see as my best attempt, when filled with the Holy Spirit, to communicate God's Word. However, I know that errors will occasionally creep in and sometimes there will be important elements of a passage left out. As an author, I don't expect my work to be changed; however, as a theologian, I would expect that those who learn from me will be able to take what I have given to them and to expand and contract as needed, with an eye toward accuracy.


Moses recognizes that this is God's Word that he is giving to the Jews and therefore he tells them not to add to it nor to take from it. "Whatever I command you, you will be careful to do; you will not add to nor take away from it." (Deut. 12:32). What is the Mishna and the Talmud? They are Jewish additions to God's Word. The Jews obey these far more carefully than they obey God's Word. This has placed the Jewish people under a great curse, a curse that we read about in Lev. 26 and will be given again in this chapter. Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him Do not add to His words, so that he will not reprove you and you be proven a liar (Prov. 30:5–6). God's Word has been completed: I testify to everyone who hears the words of prophecy of this book; if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book (Rev. 22:18–19).

 

"Your eyes have seen that which Yehowah had done in Baal-Peor—for every man who had gone after Baal-Peor, Yehowah your God has caused him to be destroyed from your midst; [Deut. 4:3]


We read about this in Num. 25:1–9: While Israel remained at Shittim, the people began to prostitute themselves with the daughters of Moab. For they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel joined themselves to Baal of Peor, and Yehowah was angry against Israel. And Yehowah said to Moses, "Take all the leaders of the people and execute them in broad daylight before Yehowah, so that the fierce anger of Yehowah may turn away from Israel." So Moses said to the judges of Israel, "Each of you must execute his men who have joined themselves to Baal of Peor." Then, observe, one of the sons of Israel came and brought to his relatives a Midianite woman, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of al the congregation of the sons of Israel, while they were weeping at the doorway of the tent of meeting. When Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, saw it, he arose from the midst of the congregation and took a speak in his hand. Then he want after the man of Israel into the tent and pieced both of them through, the man of Israel and the woman, through the body. So the plague on the sons of Israel was checked. And those who died by the plague were 24, 0000. Balaam had been called upon to curse Israel and he was unable to do so; however, he had suggested a different tactic of war be taken against Israel—he suggested a cold war, so to speak, where the overtures toward Israel seemed friendly, yet the intention was to disrupt Israel internally. Those who were lured into the degenerate religion of Baal-Peor died the sin unto death.

 

"And you [all] who held fast [or continued cleaving] to Yehowah your God—[you are] alive, all of you, today. [Deut. 4:4]


There were those who went in for the phallic cult worship and those who held fast to God. The relationship between God and believers in His Son Jesus Christ is closely akin to the correct perspective of a marriage. God loves, provides for and protects those who are His. Just as a right man and a right woman are to cling to one another (Gen. 2:24), so a believer is the cling to God, his Savior. Those who held fast to God remained alive and those who did not died the sin unto death, the final end for almost everyone of gen X. This older generation became an object lesson. God destroyed them for their disloyalty to Him—for prostituting themselves to another god—and the remaining generation, the generation of promise, were to remember these things and tell their children these things (see Deut. 4:9).

 

"Observe, I have taught you statutes and judgments, as Yehowah my God had commanded me—to do as God commanded [lit., to do so], in the midst of the land where you [all] are going in to possess it. [Deut. 4:5]


God had specific behavior that the Israelites were to obey, behavior and laws and statutes which would set them apart from the heathen of the land. The laws were given to Moses for the sons of Israel, as we read: These are the statutes and ordinances and laws which Yehowah established between Himself and the sons of Israel by the hand of Moses at Mount Sinai (Lev. 26:46; also see 27:34).

 

"And you [all] will keep and you all will do [them], for that will be your wisdom and your understanding before the eyes of the peoples who hear all these statutes; and they will say, 'Only a people wise and understanding [is] this great nation.' [Deut. 4:6]


God chose, at this point in time, to work through a particular nation, the nation Israel. The laws which it had, coming directly from God, were be fair and just—to those from outside Israel as well as those in Israel. The reasonableness of their laws and the inherent justice was beyond what the heathen knew. This would stand as a witness to all other peoples who came into contact with the nation Israel. Moses calls out to the people and says, "I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants. By loving Yehowah your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him—this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which Yehowah swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give them" (Deut. 30:19–20). "Take to your heart all the words with which I am warning you today, which you will command your sons to observe [and] to do—all the words of this law. For it is not an idle word for you; indeed, it is your life. And by this word you will prolong your days in the land, which you are about to cross the Jordan to possess." (Deut. 31:46–47).


The method of evangelism of Israel and the church are quite different. We have been commanded by God to go out into the world and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. Israel was not enjoined by God to send out missionaries. They were to obey God's laws and the wisdom of these laws combined with the great blessing that they would receive, would draw people to them.

 

One of the prime examples was the Queen of Sheba McGee wrote: She came from the ends of the earth. There were no jet planes at that time. She made a long, arduous hard trip. If a woman would come that distance under such circumstances, don't you think some men would come to see? And they did. That was the way Israel witnessed to the world. Footnote


This verse does not mean that every nation around Israel and all the peoples therein loved and admired Israel. This means that the discerning of the land would recognize the wisdom of their laws and their ways. There are religious concepts which would appeal to some. The unbeliever can be quite sharp. A discerning unbeliver can wander into the average church and discount it immediately because (1) they have their hand out all of the time; (2) the church is corny and the pastor is corny; (3) the church, the pastor and the congregation are all phoney; (4) the pastor and the congregation are not particularly bright or discerning; (5) a majority of what is spoken from the pulpit sounds like rehashed fundamentalist slogans; (6) there is no convincing ministry of the Holy Spirit; (7) people running around the church putting their hands on others, calling aloud for the power of Jesus, speaking in tongues, claiming miraculous healings every few minutes either unnerves or serves to amuse the discerning unbeliever; (8) the males sound as though they are carbon copies of the pastor and the females sound as though they are carbon copies of the pastor's wife. I recall being in one church where the females said praise the Lord in exactly the same vocal inflection as the pastor's wife. I don't recall where I was a discerning believer or unbeliever at the time, but I found that to be quite amusing and completely separate from anything to do with spiritual matters. Even as an unbeliever, I clearly recognized that there was no spiritual impact or meaning in religious people imitating the personality of their charismatic leader. I thought it foolish at the time and regard it as somewhat sadly neurotic today.


Now, don't misunderstand me, a pastor does not need to sound as though he is a scholar of the languages and a Harvard graduate, although he should have some in depth training in the former. J. Vernon McGee was one of the outstanding pastors of the 20th century, and he sounded like a hick from the sticks. His thick southern drawl belied his great theological training, his background in the original languages and his knowledge of God's Word. He was rarely asked to put that into layman's terms because he spoke in layman's terms, yet still conveyed the great truth of the Scripture, as can be attested to by anyone who was heard him or studied under him.


If an unbeliever happens to wander into a church today, for whatever reason, the pastor should be teaching God's Word carefully, with respect, from the pulpit. That is, it should not sound as though the pastor just thought this up after watching some inspiring movie; it should sound as though He has complete respect for God's Word and has spent the last eight hours trying to discern what is being convey in the passage he is teaching. The congregation should be allowed their own speech patterns and personality traits, outside of overt sinful behavior, of course. And if an outgoing person in the congregation wants to say hello to the newcomer without intruding on their privacy, fine; and if a shy member of the congregation does not want to even make eye contact with them, that's fine. When it comes to the gospel, the convincing should be in the hands of the Holy Spirit. There are well over a hundred ways to convey the gospel, there is no pattern that should be adhered to other than the basic truth that Jesus Christ paid for out sins, taking the penalty for them upon Himself, thereby purchasing us from the slave market of sin. The only response required to achieve eternal salvation is to believe in Him. No believer should think that there is a requirement to raise his hand, walk forward to the front part of the church in a gush of emotion (very few shy people were ever be saved if this were a tenent of salvation), to join the church, to be baptized, or to give any public indication whatsoever that believing in Jesus Christ has taken place. Furthermore, no unbeliever should be made to think that he must, right at the moment, dedicate the rest of his life to serving Jesus Christ, as His Lord and Savior. What a person does after salvation is strictly between him and God at that point. If the pastor is teaching solid, correct doctrine, then there is a good chance that a former unbeliever will return. However, progress in the Christian life following salvation is not an immediate transformation, but sometimes a very gradual spiritual growth. Although some people are seemingly transformed overnight, their devotion to God's Word that follows is the key to their true spiritual growth. In short, the unbeliever walking into a church, for whatever reason, should not be struck by the notion that he is in a roomful of idiots from which he can hardly wait to extricate himself. Simple rules of courtesy and standing back and allowing God the Holy Spirit to do His job is all that is required from you, the congregation.


This translation of the next verse is a bit tricky, when taken literally:

 

The Amplified Bible           For what great nation is there who has a god so near to them as the Lord our God is to us in all things for which we call upon Him?

The Emphasized Bible      For what great nation is there which hath gods nigh unto it,—like Yahweh our god, whensoever we have cried out unto him?

KJV                                   For what nation is there so great, that hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for ?

NASB                                For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the Lord our God whenever we call on Him?

NIV                                    What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?

Young's Lit. Translation     For which is the great nation that hath God near unto it, as Jehovah our God, in all we have called unto him?


Surprisingly, there is no definite article with great nation (Young is usually very literal about this).

 

"For what great nation is there that [has] a god near to it, as Yehowah our God, whenever we call to him [lit., For what great nation which it (has) God (or, gods) is near as (or, for) Yehowah our God in all our calling unto Him]? [Deut. 4:7]


The meaning is clear—the earth is filled with great nations, those with a large number of people, an impressive culture, great education, a strong military—but none of these nations had Yehowah God. They had their national gods, all of whom had demons lurking behind in the shadows, but Israel was led by the real thing, the Creator of the Universe. God was close enough to call to Him and He would answer them. This nearness of Yehowah is testified to throughout Scripture: "Am I a God Who is near," declares Yehowah, "And not a God far off? Can a man hide himself in hiding places, so that I do not see him?" declares Yehowah. "Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?" declares Yehowah (Jer. 23:23–24). Yehowah is near to all who call upon Him. To all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will deliver them (Psalm 145:18–19; see also Psalm 148:14). The tabernacle was the visible presence of God in the camp, as was the pillar of fire and the cloud; however, any one of Israel could call upon Him. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change, and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea (Psalm 46:1–2). "The God Who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; and He made from one every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they should seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. For in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we also are His offspring.' " (Acts 27:24, 26–28).

 

"And which great nation which it [has] righteous statutes and judgments in all the law—this [law]—which I am setting before you today? [Deut. 4:8]


These two lines make up somewhat of a stanza, both of them carrying within them the same sentence structure even though this sentence structure does not fit the sentence exactly (which is why they sound stilted when translated literally). For what great nation which it gods near for Yehowah our God in all our calling unto Him? And what great nation which it righteous statutes and judgements as all the law—this [law]—which I am setting before you today? I underlined the portions which were the exact same words in the exact same morphology, attempting to give as literal of a translation as possible. God had set up a system of laws which were both fair and just, reflecting His perfect character. Furthermore, within these laws was a complete Christology, revealing the gospel to millions of people, while keeping it a secret from Satan. And besides this, there were laws of sanitation and quarantine which we have studied which would protect the nation Israel from an internal destruction due to disease. These is no nation which had laws of this caliber, laws which could be instituted in any nation today which would result in an improvement over whatever system of law that they have.


It is clearly and continually emphasized throughout God's Word that He and all that He does is righteous: Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne. Grace and truth go before You (Psalm 89:14). Your testimonies are righteous forever; give me understanding that I may live...the sum of Your Word is truth, and every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting (Psalm 119:144, 160). See also Psalm 97:2 119:172.


Deuteronomy 1

Deuteronomy 2

Deuteronomy 3

Deuteronomy 4

Deuteronomy 5

Deuteronomy 6

Deuteronomy 7

Deuteronomy 8

Deuteronomy 9

Deuteronomy 10

Introduction

Kukis Homepage

Exegesis

Doctrines

Pentateuch


Israel Is Warned Against Practicing Idolatry

 

"Only, take responsibility to yourself and guard your soul to a great degree [or, exceedingly], so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen, and so that they [the things your eyes have seen] do not turn aside from your heart all the days of your life. Furthermore [lit., and] [each of] you will make them known [the things which your eyes have seen] to your sons and to your sons' sons. [Deut. 4:9]


This verse carries with it the 2nd person masculine singular, Niphal imperative and the 2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative of the same verb: shâmar (שָמַר) [pronounced shaw-MAR] which means keep, guard, watch, preserve. The Niphal is used far less than the Qal stem, and it is translated in the Authorized Version take heed. Such a rendering has little or no meaning to us today, so I have translated this take responsibility. Although the Niphal is generally the passive stem, it is also used to stress the individual effect upon the group. Footnote Each person has solemn and important responsibilities toward their own nation. Even though Yehowah is a God of the nation Israel, each individual has a personal responsibility, a personal stake in the righteousness of their nation. Strong's #8104 BDB #1036. Moses continually places upon the Israelites individual responsibility (Deut. 4:23 6:12 8:11, 14, 19). If they, without the Holy spirit, had such a dramatic individual effect upon the nation Israel, imagine our personal impact, seeing that we all have the Holy Spirit?


We tend to, as Christians, get a very distorted view of history and think that history is filled with these great miracles that God continually performed in every generation. Some even think that these miracles continue on today as they did then. This is a total confusion of what the Scripture teaches. There were periods of time when great signs and wonders and miracles occurred—chiefly during the exodus, during the time of Elijah, and during the incarnation of our Lord. I have filled up this verse so that the antecedent for the 3rd masculine plural suffix and verbs would not be confused. Throughout this verse, we are speaking of the things which that generation of Israelites saw with their own eyes. They are not to forget these things, they are not to let these things depart from their heart (their thinking), and they are to pass on this information to their children and grandchildren. "When your son asks you in time to come, saying, 'What [about] the testimonies and the statutes and the judments which Yehowah commanded you?' Then you will say to you son, 'We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt; and Yehowah brought us from Egypt with a mighty hand. Moreover, Yehowah showed great and distressing signs and wonders before our eyes against Egypt, Pharaoh and all his household; and He brought us out from there in order to bring us in, to give us the land which He had sworn to our fathers. So Yehowah commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear Yehowah our God for our good always and for our survival, as today. And it will be righteousness for us if we are careful to observe all the this commandment before the face of Yehowah our God, just as He commanded us." (Deut. 6:20–25). The commandment to teach spiritual information to our children carefully and accurately has never been rescinded: And fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and the instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6:4).


Each person listening to Moses and each person who reads God's Word from that generation was charged with a specific responsibility: they all saw the things which Moses recorded in Scripture. It was imperative for them to confirm God's Word. Note how extremely important that is here: these parents who have just witnessed these incredible miracles are to pass this information on down to their children and to their children's children. They were to confirm what was written in God's Word. Moses desired that all that was written down was also witnessed to by the parents to the children. For a few generations, the children would know from God's Word and from the eyewitness account of their own parents of the great things which God did for Israel. The responsibility that a parent has toward his children cannot be overemphasized—particularly in the spiritual realm. When God blesses you with a child, then it is your spiritual obligation to provide that child with a stable home environment, correct and accurate values, and accurate spiritual norms and standards. The parents of the 70's and 80's in particular unleashed a huge number of children on the world without any sort of real training in anything, some males thinking the more women that they impregnated, the greater man that they were. As I have heard it said, "Any male can sire a child; only a man can raise a child." A parent is never encouraged to lay the responsibility for the training of their child on anyone else or upon any institution. One of the rewarding observations of life is to watch grown children move back in with mom and dad because mom and dad did not bother to raise them correctly in the first place.

 

Allow me to quote from McGee again: The greatest undertaking of any nation is the education of the young. Probably the greatest failure of any nation is the failure in education. Look at America today and see the dismal failure we are making in this matter of education. Now I am not blaming the college and the schools. Do you know where the problem lies? It si right at home. God tells these people, "I want you to teach your children and your grandchildren." The failure to teach is the failure of Mom and Dad in the home. this was the great responsibility which God placed upon every father and mother in Israel. Friend, if you are going to bring a child into this world, you are responsible for that child. Our problem today is not foreign affairs or national economy; our problem is the home. God will hold divorced and preoccupied parents responsible for the vagrants of the world today who never knew the instruction and the love and the concern and the communication from parents. What a responsibility parenthood is! God makes this very clear to Israel. When that nation failed, it failed in the home, and God judged it. Footnote

 

"The [lit., a] day that you stood before Yehowah your God in Horeb, in Yehowah's saying to me, 'Assemble to Me the people and I will cause them to hear My words, so that they will learn to fear [and respect] Me all the days that they are alive on the earth, and their sons they will teach. [Deut. 4:10]


In v. 9, individual responsibility was stressed, which is always the case in God's plan. You in this verse is singular as well. The sons of gen X were gathered at the foot of the mountain as well as gen X. As we have seen, Horeb refers to the general area within which is Mount Sinai. The incident referred to is when the sons of Israel were led by Moses to Mount Sinai. So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were sounds and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai [was] all in smoke because Yehowah descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently. When the sound of hte trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder. And Yehowah came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. and Yehowah called Moses to the top of the mountain and Moses went up (Ex. 19:16–20).


A portion of doctrine which is too often glossed over is fear of God. The fear of Yehowah is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and discipline (Prov. 1:8). We stand judged and condemned before God because of our personal sins, because we are in Adam and bear the penalty for his sin, and because of our old sin nature. God is holy and we are anything but. It is our nature to be in rebellion to God. It is in our nature to glorify and to deify man and to denegrade that which is holy. And because of that nature, we stand condemned before God and, if we had any sense, we would fear Him. When you examine yourself in contrast to His Law, we should recognize our inherent weakness, our inability to keep His perfect Law. "And do ot fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him Who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matt. 10:28).


At Mount Sinai, the people received the Law. The Law does not save; the Law, although it is holy, just and good, to us, it is a fearful thing, because it condemns us. The writer of Hebrews contrasts Mount Sinai with Mount Zion, the first which condemns us, the second which accepts us in the Beloved: For you have not come to [a mountain] that may be touched and to a blazing fire, and to a darkness and a gloom and a whirlwind and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which [to] those who heard, begged that no further word should be spoken to them. For they could not bear the command, "If even a beast touches the mountain, it will be stoned." And so terrible was the sight, Moses said, "I am full of fear and trembling." But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and the myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than [the blood] of Abel (Heb. 12:18–24 Ex. 19:12 Deut. 9:19).


Our relationship to God and to His Word is a learned thing. "Assemble the people—the men, and the women and children and the foreigner who is in your area, in order that they may hear and learn and fear Yehowah your God and be careful to observe all the words of this Law. And their children, who have not known, will hear and learn to fear Yehowah you God, as long as you live on this land which you are about to cross the Jordan to poassess." (Deut. 31:12–13). "And you will eat in the presence of Yehowah your God, at the place where He chooses to establish His Name, the tithe of your grain, your new wine, your oil, and the first-born of your herd and you flock, in order that you may learn to fear Yehowah your God always." (Deut. 14:23). "Now it will come to pass when he [a king over Israel] sits on the throne of his kingdom—he will write for himself a copy of this Law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. And it will be with him, and he will read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear Yehowah his God, by carefully observing all the words of this Law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left; in order that he and his sons may continue long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel." (Deut. 17:18–20). Because of our old sin nature, none of us naturally seeks after God—none of us have a natural fear and respect for Him. Left to our own natures, we are irreverent—we reject God and all that He is. We are enemies of God. Even Israel, whom God took as a child and rescued from Egypt—even these people continually rebelled against Him. It took the scattering of their corpses throughout the desert for their sons and daughters to recognize the power of Yehowah their God. "And you will eat in the presence of Yehowah your God, at the place where He chooses to establish His name, the tithe of your grain, your new wine, your oil, and the first-born of your herd and your flock, in order that you may learn to fear Yehowah your God always." (Deut. 14:23). "And it [the Law] will be with him {the priest], and he will read it all the days of his life that he may learn to fear Yehowah his God by keeping by doing all the words of this Law and these statutes." (Deut. 17:19).

 

"And you approached and stood at the foot of the mountain and the mountain burned with fire against [possibly, in contrast to] the heart of the heavens—darkness, cloud, and gloom. [Deut. 4:11]


Although very real and literal, all of this is symbolic as well. God's perfect Law is brought into a world of darkness and we see but flashes of light to occasionally clarify that which is real in the darkness in which we live. Having lived in Texas for some time, during some storms, with the clouds and the darkness and the impending gloom, you can barely perceive of the shapes of things—however, these storms will be cut through by these flashes of lightning which, for a split second, will illuminate the entire area. The giving of God's Law was presented against this meteorological back drop. Even though the actual number of people who die in storm and tornado related deaths is relatively few, still, there is nothing like a fearsome storm to instill a little fear into one's heart (admittedly, this will be lost on those who live on the West coast who see very little in the way of horrendous storms). When Moses was to meet with God, this was the scene—a tremendous storm, with little or no rain, but thick darkness, gloom, pierced by fiery flashes of lightning. Now Mount Sinai [was] all in smoke because Yehowah descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently (Ex. 19:18).

 

"And Yehowah spoke to you out of the midst of the fire; a voice of words you [all] kept hearing and a similitude [or, form] you [all] continued not seeing [lit., were not seeing]—only a voice. [Deut. 4:12]


The word for form is temûwnâh (תְּמוּנָה) [pronounced tem-oo-NAW] and it means something portioned out, an undefinable shape, a manifestation, a form, a likeness. This word is found in Ex. 20:4 Num. 12:8 Deut. 4:12, 15–16, 23, 25 5:8 Job 4:16 Psalm 17:15* and it is used primarily of the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ. Strong's #4327 & 8544 BDB #568. During a time when other nations had gods constructed of wood or metals, the Israelites were taught that God was a Spirit, not a form which could be perceived, described and duplicated. This was not a matter of the Jews just simply having a different culture or being raised differently. Recall that after Moses had been up on Mount Sinai for 30 or 40 days, the Israelites talked Aaron into casting a golden calf idol for them to worship (Ex. 32). Therefore, their natural inclination was toward idolatry, as that is how the other nations behaved, including Egypt, from whence they had just come. So, had the religion of Israel been a natural growth out of their culture, it would not have cast aspersions upon idolatry, but rather embraced it wholeheartedly, and passages like this, which suggest that God is a Spirit, would not be found. One of the key differences between the ancient practice of idolatry is you could see an idol; the Israelites, despite their close contact with God, could not see Him. His omnipresence precludes us seeing Him. We can, at best, see a manifestation of Him, e.g., a burning bush or an Angel from Yehowah. Because of this and because the fact that Satan is the most beautiful creature to come from the hand of God (if we were allowed to see him, many of us would worship him because of his beauty alone), idolatry is forbidden. Furthermore, we know that "God is spirit; and those who worship Him must worship [Him] in spirit and truth." (John 4:24). And the entire tenor of Scripture, from the Old Testament to the New Testament is that God cannot be represented by idols made from man's hands, nor is He a man of flesh, but He is a Spirit, omnipresent.


Because of God's perfection and holiness, the children of Israel could not look upon Him. The revealed member of the Godhead would have been Jesus Christ, where even just a small portion of His glory would be a blinding white light. And all the people perceived the thunder [lit., sounds] and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw, they trembled and stood at a distance. Then they said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen, but do not let God speak with us—or we will die." And Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin." So the people stood at a distance, while Moses approached the thic cloud where God [was]. Then Yehowah said to Moses, "Thus you will say to the sons of Israel: 'You yourselves have seen that I have spoke with you from heaven.' " (Ex. 20:18–22). The Ten Commandments were given audibly to the children of Israel, the first time. The voice that pierced the darkness, as the lightning, was too much for the children of Israel, and they asked to be shielded from God. One of the few times that they responded in type—they required a mediator—a man to stand between them and God.


Our experience in the Church Age is quite different: For you have not come to [a mountain] that may be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which, to those who heard, begged that no further word should be spoken to them. But you have come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels; to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than [the blood] of Abel. See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned [them] on earth, much less will we [escape] who turn away from Him who [warns] us from heaven (Heb. 12:18–19, 22–25).


In the next chapter, Moses will be giving again to the Generation of Promise the Ten Commandments. Whether this was on his mind at this time or not is a matter of speculation. However, God the Holy Spirit sought to remind this second generation of the miraculous way that they received the decalogue. Those listening were teenagers and younger at the time and the content would not have been as meaningful to them as the deliverance of those words directly from God. So Moses reminds them of the fact that God spoke these words directly to them, and they recall that. In his next message, Moses will immediately give them, for the second time, the Ten Commandments. However, this time the Generation of Promise will be more geared toward the content of the commandments than they were forty years earlier. Moses will allow them some time to let the mode of deliverance to which they were witness gel in their souls before he gives them content. We have this same anticipatory style (as Rotherham refers to it) occurring in Deut. 19 and 20 and in Deut. 31 and 32 Footnote .


V. 12, again: And Yehowah spoke to you out of the midst of the fire; a voice of words you [all] kept hearing and a similitude [or, form] you [all] continued not seeing [lit., were not seeing]—only a voice. One of the false theories of the authorship of the Pentateuch is that someone other than Moses wrote these words hundreds of years later. Rotherham asks the question, would any godly man in the days of Hezekiah or Manasseh have dared to invent these details? Footnote Critics don't think these things through. At some point in time, there has to be the first reading of the completed Law of Moses. If it doesn't appear until the eighth century bc, purporting to be an eyewitness account of the history centuries previous which has supposedly been with the Jews for all of those centuries, don't you think some people would get a little suspicious? Now if their parents, and their parents parents, and their parents have attested to the existence and the content of God's Word, then in order for this to be taken as God's Word, the first time this is given a public reading or a public distribution, it will be during the time of those who witnessed the events. The Jews are intelligent people, then as well as now. They wouldn't, as a nation, embrace some book purporting to be God's Word which does not show up in their history until centuries and centuries after the fact. Even the way the Pentateuch is written indicates that the existence of Scripture was an accepted fact in the mind of the author. Moses recorded what God had done and what God said and it was taken immediately as God's Word, as those who read it had observed the historical events which took place. Certainly a cult, which is a minute portion of a population, might cling to some cult publication, e.g., the Book of Mormon, often attributed to the charisma of their founders. However, much more is required for an entire nation to embrace a book as God's Word. We have no historical documentation of any sort to indicate that the Bible was not taken by the Jews as God's Word at any time in their history. Now the literature of the Greeks to the literature of today is filled with author's who have sought to debate the authenticity of Scripture with names such as The Bible Unmasked, Contradictions found in the Bible, etc.; generally, very forgettable books authored by those with an ax to grind, but displaying little or no academic vigor, books that die out after a printing or two, only to be replaced by similar books for the next generation of those suffering from negative volition. Footnote However, we do not have a similar type of literature from that day because the authenticity of Scripture was not an issue to them at that time.

 

"And He declared to you His covenant which He had commanded you to perform [lit., do]—the Ten Commandments [lit., the ten words]—and He wrote them on two tablets of stone. [Deut. 4:13]


Notice that the Ten Commandments are referred to as a covenant. In Deut. 9:9, they are referred to as the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant. A covenant is a contract between two peoples, but, in this case, it is not a contract for salvation. This covenant, placed between God and His people, falls under the category do these and live. As this chapter began: "And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I am teaching you to perform, in order that you may live and go in and take possession of the land which Yehowah, the god of your fathers, is giving you." (Deut. 4:1). Immediately after reiterating the Ten Commandments to this generation, Moses says, "You will walk in all the way which Yehowah your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong [your] days in the land which you will possess." (Deut. 5:33). My sons, do not forget my teachings, but let your heart keep and guard my commandments; for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Do not let kindness and truth to leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, so you will find grace and a good reputation in the sight of God and man. Trust in Yehowah with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear Yehowah and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones. My son, do not let them depart from your sight; keep sound wisdom and discretion, so they will be life to your soul and adornment to your neck and you will walk in your way securely and your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden fear, nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes for Yehowah will be your confidence and He will keep your foot from being caught (Prov. 3:1–8, 21–26).


There were two sets of tables of the Law. The first one was written by God when Moses was on Mount Sinai for the first time. And when He had finished speaking with him upon Mount Sinai, He gave Moses the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written by the finger of God. Then Moses turned and went down from the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, tablets which were written on both sides; they werre written on one side and the other. And the tablets were God's work, and the writing was God's writing engraved on the tablets. And it came about, as soon as Moses came near the camp, that he saw the calf and dancing; and Moses' anger burned, and he threw the tablets from his hands and shattered them at the foot of the mountain (Ex. 31:18 32:15–16, 19). After the golden calf incident, during which the entire congregation of Israel was almost destroyed by God, Moses returned to the mountain. Now Yehowah said to Moses, "Cut out for yourself two stone tablets like the former ones, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets which you shattered. So he cut out two stone tablets like the former ones, and Moses rose up early in the morning and went up to Mount Sinai, as Yehowah had commanded him, and he took two stone tablets in his hand. So he was there with Yehowah forty days and forty nights; he did not eat bread or drink water. And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments [lit., words] (Ex. 34:1, 4, 28; see also Deut. 10:1–4).

 

"And Yehowah had commanded me at that time to teach [all of] you statutes and judgments, for your doing them in the land where to you over [all] are pass over to possess it. [Deut. 4:14]


Notice that Moses' train of thought is topical, not chronological; this would indicate that not all of the Law is in chronological order. In Deut. 3–4, there were sections which would chronologically, as well as logically, lead us from one point to another: e.g., In Deut. 3:1, we begin with the conquest of Og, king of Bashan, in trans-Jordan area and proceed to the new leadership of Joshua and their camping in the valley of Beth-peor. However, in v. 4, we are dealing with the Law of God and have gone back to Mount Sinai and the giving of the Law. In fact although the Ten Commandments were written down on two different occasions, it is looked on here as one instance. That is because the topic of the Law is what is being covered here and not Israel's failure during the golden calf incident.


In the instance of this verse, God had commanded Moses on several occasions to teach the Law to the Israelites—this was not just one enjoinder. Then Yehowah spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to Aaron and to his sons, and ot all the sons of Israel, and say to them, 'This is what Yehowah has commanded.' " (Lev. 17:1–2a). Then Yehowah spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, 'I am Yehowah your God; you will not do what is done in the land of Egypt where you lived nor are you to do what is done in the land of Canaan where I am bringing you; you will not walk in their statutes. You are to perform My judgments and keep My statutes, to live in accord with them; I am Yehowah your God. So you will keep My statutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if he does them. I am Yehowah.' " (Lev. 18:1–5). "Now these are the ordinances which you are to set before them." (Ex. 21:1). Then Moses came and recounted to the people all the words of Yehowah and all the ordinances and all the people answered with one voice, and said, "All the words which Yehowah has spoken, we will do!" (Ex. 24:3). Then Moses assembled all the congregation of the sons of Israel, and said to them, "These are the things that Yehowah has commanded you to do." (Ex. 35:1). These are trhe commandments and the ordinances which Yehowah commanded to the sons of Israel through Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan Jericho (Num. 36:13). Footnote Furthermore, God would have commanded Moses on several occasions, not always recorded in Scripture, to teach the sons of Israel His Law, His commands, His statutes and His ordinances.


The next verse is translated in several ways, and should be examined for its correct rendering, and therefore, correct meaning:

 

The Amplified Bible           Therefore, take good heed to yourselves; since you saw no form of Him on the day the Lord spoke to you on Horeb out of the midst of the fire,

The Emphasized Bible      Ye must take diligent heed, therefore, unto your own souls,—for ye saw no manner of form, on the day Yahweh spake unto you in Horeb, out of the midst of the fire;

KJV                                   Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spoke unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire:

NASB                                "So watch yourselves carefully, since you did not see any form on the day the Lord spoke to you at Horeb from the midst of the fire,

NIV                                    You saw no form of any kind the day the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully,

NRSV                                Since you saw no form when the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire, take care and watch yourselves closely.

Owen's Translation           Therefore take heed good to yourselves since you saw no form in the day that Yahweh spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire.

Young's Lit. Translation     and ye have been very watchful of you souls, for ye have not seen any similitude in the day of Jehovah's speaking unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire.


V. 15 begins with the 2nd person masculine plural, Niphal perfect of shâmar (שָמַר) [pronounced shaw-MAR] again. Shâmar comes from a primitive root word which means to hedge about with thorns; and it means keep, guard, watch, preserve; furthermore, in the Niphal—used far less than the Qal stem—it is often translated take heed. Since this rendering has little or no meaning to us today, I often translate this [should] take stock, or take responsibility. Strong's #8104 BDB #1036. Although the Niphal is generally the passive stem, it is also used to stress the individual effect upon the group. This is not in the imperative but rather in the perfect tense. In most instances we would translate this you have taken responsibility, or you have taken stock; however, v. 16 (and v. 19) begin with lest, a conjunction which has the effect of transforming a verb into an imperative. Essentially it means, you will do this; if you don't, then this will happen. Shâmar is modified by the adverb meʾôd (מְאֹד) [pronounced me-ODE] and it means very, exceedingly, extremely, greatly; it brings greater emphasis to the verb. In order for this to make reasonable English sense, I have translated this take careful stock. It would be reasonable to translate this and diligently watch [or guard] your souls; be very watchful of your souls.


This is followed by the lâmed preposition, which means to, for, with regards to. The generally literal Young's Translation and The Emphasized Bible both reveal that the plural of the word for soul is found, as well as the personal pronoun your. There will be a moderately complex thought put together here, spanning several verses.


What follows is conjunction kîy (כִּי) [pronounced kee], which means when, that, for. It is used as an explicative, an explanatory, a justificatory or a causal conjunction. Strong's #3588 BDB #471. Kîy will pull together why and how the sons of Israel are to take personal responsibility or careful stock in their own souls.


This is followed by the 2nd person masculine plural, Qal perfect of the verb to see. and the masculine singular construct of kôl followed by the masculine singular of temûwnâh (תְּמוּנָה) [pronounced tem-oo-NAW] and it means something portioned out, an undefinable shape, a manifestation, a form, a likeness.—a word we just examined in v. 12 of this chapter. Kôl (כֹּל) [pronounced kohl] means the whole, all of, the entirety of, all, every. This word occurs too often for the Englishman's Concordance to list its appearances. Without the definite article (as here), kôl can mean all things. In Gen. 9:11, with the negative, it is literally the nought of all things; and we generally give that a more updated translation there is nothing (see also 2Kings 4:2 13:2). Here, in this passage, as well as in Deut. 8:9 28:55 Prov. 30:30, is means (in conjunction with temûwnâh) the likeness of anything. Strong's #3605 BDB #481 That is, the children of Israel, despite hearing God's voice give them the Ten Commandments, despite the great thunder and lightning, despite the fear this threw into their souls—they saw no discernable form of God that they could copy with something on earth.


Vv. 10–13 described the miraculous speaking of the Ten Commandments directly from God to the people. This was delivered so that every Israelite, including the youth present at that time, would hear God's Word. With v. 14, Moses then resumes with the other ordinances and statutes which he received directly from God, which he recorded and taught to the people later (Ex. 21–23).

 

"And you [all] [should] take careful stock with regard to your souls—because you [all] did not see any form [or, the likeness of anything] in the day of Yehowah's speaking to you in Horeb out of the midst of the lightning [lit., fire]— [Deut. 4:15]


When God gave the Ten Commandments orally to the sons of Israel, the people heard His words and could see the great meteorological disturbances, but there was no form for them to discern. And all the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw, they trembled, and stood at a distance. Then they said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, or we will die." And Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid, for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you will not sin." So the people stood at a distance, while Moses approached the thick cloud where God [was] (Ex. 20:18–21).


One of the most interesting aspects of human history is that we have all of these busts and statues of various heroes and kings, most notably Cæsar, and descriptions of the physical appearance of many historical figures, including Paul (although it may be spurious); however, nowhere do we have a physical description or a painting or a picture of Jesus Christ as done by a person from the first century. The man who turned the world upside down, whose personal disciples continued for many decades after His ascension—none of them chose to record what He looked like. All we know is that He did have beard, he was very strong (which would include the physical build to accompany His human physical strength) and that he was very nondescript in a manner of speaking—that is, He could blend in with a crowd and not be discerned by His enemies. The paintings and pictures we see are an artists interpretation of our Lord, done long after His incarnation. This is because He is God and God does not desire for us to have any graven images made to Him. Therefore, we would not expect to have any sort of a physical description of Jesus Christ. That picture of Jesus that you have hanging in your hallway with the long hair—this did not come out of the first or even the second century. It is no accident that we do not know what Jesus looked like. God did not give us a picture of Jesus Christ intentionally. Nor will this picture of yours aide you in the worship of Him any more than idols would help the Israelite in their worship of Yehowah. It is God's Word in your heart, not a picture on the wall, which will aide you in your worship of Jesus Christ.

 

"So that you avoid acting corruptly [or, so that you do not cause yourselves to fall into decay; or, so that you do not become spiritually corrupt] and make [or, construct] for yourself a sculpted image [or, a graven image], a form [or, a similitude] of any figure, a likeness of male or a female, [Deut. 4:16]


V. 16 begins with the averting or deprecating conjunction pen (פֶּן) [pronounced pen], unfortunately best translated with the Old English lest. I tend to prefer the more modern so that + a negative. It could also be translated for the aversion of, for the avoidance of, so that [you] avoid, in order to prevent. Strong's 6435 BDB #814. This is followed by the Hiphil imperfect of shâchath (שָחַת) [pronounced shaw-KHAHTH], which means to decay, to go to ruin, to corrupt. In the Hiphil, it means to cause themselves to fall into spiritual corruption. Strong's #7843 BDB #1007. Here, they are warned not to fall into idolatry, a topic which we have covered. It is important to see the analogy to today's world. The Hebrews were a very demonstrative people and they would do the same things that we do today, but in a much more demonstrative way. When they fell into spiritual corruption, they would follow other religions by constructing physical idols made out of stone and wood to represent various gods, even to represent the God Who brought them out of Egypt. It was the fathers of those listening who had become particularly spiritually corrupt (Deut. 9:12) and those listening, as well as their progeny, would also become corrupt (Deut. 31:29).


For us, this is parallel to falling into apostasy. This does not mean that we start worshiping a wood, stone or metal semblance of God—this means that we worship something other than the True God of the Universe. This can be an extremely subtle change in modus operandi; the changing of churches to find one which has a better babysitting service or a group for the young unmarried’s or for the new couples or whatever. The doctrine is taken as a part of the involvement with the church, even though it may stand in direct opposition to God's grace and God's plan. There may be demon infiltration of tongues and false signs and lying wonders, but the people are so nice and so loving, that you cannot help but believe them. You may have fallen for the very subtle differences of infused grace as opposed to imputed grace, in order to find a church with more convenient times or a more solemn worship service and ritual execution. These are all idolatry. You should pursue the truth of God's Word, regardless of the kind of church that provides it. It doesn't matter if the pastor is Black, and entire congregation is Black, and you are oriental and there is not an oriental with ten miles of the church—if the pastor is teaching God's Word, you should be there. It doesn't matter if the only way you can listen to God's Word is to sit in a small room with a speaker with your children in the back of the church because there are no child care facilities—if the pastor is teaching carefully God's Word, that is where you should be. It doesn't matter whether this seems to be the most unfriendly church that you have ever gone to and nobody has spoken to you for two months—if the pastor is teaching God's Word, you should go there.


Okay, how do you know? Let me give you a few pointers on how to determine whether or not you are in a church teaching God's Word: (1) The pastor frequently teaches God's Word verse by verse, one right after another, not jumping from book to book or passage to passage, but generally picking a book and moving right through it verse by verse. (2) The pastor treats God's Word with respect. He gives every indication that he believes the Bible to be the very words of God as recorded by man, and his sermons reflect careful study and an intense desire to determine what the meaning of each passage is. (3) The pastor teaches in the literal context of the verse; that is, the pastor does not jump around from passage to passage on a regular basis, supporting his views by quoting a verse here or there. Doctrines must be taught by moving throughout God's Word; however, the bulk of a pastor's teaching should be verse by verse, in context. (4) Whereas, there might be giving, singing, various groups and various activities, and some ritual—the focus and the thrust of the church in both emphasis and time is on God's Word. Teaching God's Word is primary; everything else is secondary. (5) The pastor should not—even if he counsels you—try to run your life. No deacon and no other person in the church who apparently has some authorization of the church, should try to run your life. Now there are forms of behavior which are sinful which should not be known to the other members of the congregation. That is, you are not to come into a church and parade your sinfulness in front of everyone else. This may get you disbarred from the church. No one is trying to run your life in this situation; they are just protecting the other members of the flock who might become confused thinking that the church condones certain kinds of behavior which it does not. If you are the least confused about some aspect of your personal life and its validity in the Christian life, keep it private—do not parade it in front of the congregation, and a Bible-teaching church will not try to personally correct your life for you. Many pastors are confused in this area—they think that the less sin there is in the world, the better everything is; and if they can, by any means, reduce the amount of sin in the world, then they have done good. God is glorified when you choose God's ways over yours—God is not glorified because you have been bullied into some course of action by someone else. (6) A Bible-teaching church should exalt Jesus Christ as the God-man, as our only means of salvation; and that by believing in Him, we are saved forever, despite anything which has occurred in our lives before and after our moment of salvation. When I became interested in the things of God, I believed in Jesus Christ a dozen times or more, to make certain it took. I did not want to leave anything to chance. It took the first time that I believed in Him and placed my trust in Jesus Christ to deliver my soul. Now, you will note the things which I left out: (1) if your church is a vibrant, growing church; (2) if your pastor is on televison or on the radio; (3) if there are good child care facilities; (4) your pastor gives lip service to the Word of God, although he never really teaches much of it. It is important that we separate what is important from what is not.


At the time that I believed in Jesus Christ, I was faced with a strong intellectual curiosity in what I had just done. I do not recall if I was saved first and then started exploring the options or whether I explored the various options and then became saved. I read materials given me by several cults, I listened to various speakers, I ordered tapes, I listened to shows on Christian radio programs. To a new Christian, or to someone who is just beginning, it is very difficult to make a correct choice. I do not think that I was predisposed and tried to filter through all of the material without making a choice based upon human viewpoint. My feeling was that if, for instance, the Children of God cult or the Jehovah's Witness cult were the only true teachers of God's Word, then I should align myself with them. It is a difficult determination to make. Cultic literature generally all sounds reasonable (with a few notable exceptions)—they have their doctrines which they support with passages from God's Word. However, I began listening to the tapes of R.B. Thieme, Jr. (whom I did not like as a person), to the radio program of J. Vernon McGee, and to a radio program by Dr. Duane Spencer. Insofar as I was aware, I did not know of a connection between any of these three people (I later found out that Thieme was acquainted with McGee). However, the basic doctrines of these men were very similar; Thieme and McGee both taught verse by verse through God's Word—and I thought that they must be onto something, if they agree in the most important points of doctrine, they believe that the Bible is God's Word and if they came upon these conclusions independantly. I continued to read literature put out by various cults and studied the pros and cons of it, and eventually placed my time under the ministry of R.B. Thieme for my spiritual growth. I believe that God led me to that point. Of all the people that I knew and all of the people that I listened to, I personally liked Thieme about the least—however, he was teaching God's Word and he did eventually grow on me. For awhile, this meant that the bulk of my spiritual growth came out of a tape box and not in the church that I attended (which held to the same basic important doctrines which I then did, but did not spend nearly enough time teaching God's Word). This is where I also discovered the the majority of those believers who are saved have no interest in God's Word—a fact which totally took me by surprise; but that's another story. Back to our passage:

 

"A likeness of any beast which [is] in the earth, a likeness of any winged creature which flies in the heavens; [Deut. 4:17]


The only problem in teaching carefully verse by verse, is that sometimes the verses by themselves mean very little. We will need to look at this passage as one contiguous whole (which we will do) and examine the different words which we find here that are variously translated as form, similitude, likeness, graven image, etc. It is foolish that there is an animal or a bird whose image should be taken to worship as though that image represents God. However, what is also ridiculous is to assume that you can create or perceive of God as being in your own image.

 

"A likeness of any creeping thing in [or, against] the ground, a likeness of any fish which [is] in the waters underneath with respect to the earth; [Deut. 4:18]


Below the earth does not refer to underground streams and systems of water, but to set those who live in the water in contrast with those which live upon the ground, contrasted those the birds who live in the heavens, contrasted with animals who live upon the ground.


Culture has changed over the past several centuries, as these verses do indicate. Although there are cultures who build various physical things that they worship, our idolatry today in most cultures is one of the soul. However, statues of the one-time virgin Mary, pictures of our Lord and similar items, when made a part of one's worship are herein strictly forbidden.


There are certain words that are found in here which mean likeness, similitude, form. They are:


Words for Idols

Hebrew Word

Meaning

Temûwnâh (תְּמוּנָה) [pronounced tem-oo-NAW] Strong's #4327 & 8544 BDB #568 Deut. 4:12, 15–17

It means something portioned out, an undefinable shape, a manifestation, a form, a likeness. This word is found in Ex. 20:4 Num. 12:8 Deut. 4:12, 15–16, 23, 25 5:8 Job 4:16 Psalm 17:15* and it is used primarily of the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Peçel (פֶּסֶל) [pronounced PEH-cell]. Strong's #6459 BDB #820

Peçel comes from a verb which means to hew into a shape, graven image, sculpted image. Ex. 20:4 Deut. 4:16, 23 Judges 18:20 Habak. 2:18

Çemel (סֶמֶל) [pronounced SEH-mel]. Strong's #5566 BDB #702

Çemel is taken from a root that means to resemble and it means image, statue, a figure of anything, an idol-image. Found in Deut. 4:16 2Chron. 33:7, 15 Ezek. 8:3, 5.*

Tabenîyth (תַּבְנִית) [pronounced tabve-NEETH]. Strong's #8403 BDB #125

This word means model, likeness, resemblance, pattern, figure. Ex. 25:9 Deut. 4:16–18 1Chron. 28:11 Ezek. 10:8


Deuteronomy 1

Deuteronomy 2

Deuteronomy 3

Deuteronomy 4

Deuteronomy 5

Deuteronomy 6

Deuteronomy 7

Deuteronomy 8

Deuteronomy 9

Deuteronomy 10

Introduction

Kukis Homepage

Exegesis

Doctrines

Pentateuch


Now let's examine these last few verses as a contiguous whole in a table:


In the English

In the Hebrew

"And you [all] [should] take careful stock with regard to your souls—because you [all] did not see any form

The masculine singular of temûwnâh (תְּמוּנָה) [pronounced tem-oo-NAW]. Kôl (כֹּל) [pronounced kohl] means the whole, all of, the entirety of, all, every. Without the definite article (as here), kôl can mean all things. In Gen. 9:11, with the negative, it it literally the nought of all things; and we generally give that a more updated translation there is nothing (see also 2Kings 4:2 13:2). Here, in this passage, as well as in Deut. 8:9 28:55 Prov. 30:30, it means (in conjunction with temûwnâh) the likeness of anything. Strong's #3605 BDB #481

in the day of Yehowah's speaking to you in Horeb out of the midst of the lightning [lit., fire]—so that you avoid acting corruptly [or, so that you do not cause yourselves to fall into decay; or, so that you do not become spiritually corrupt] and make [or, construct] for yourself a sculpted image [or a graven image],

No definite article; peçel (פֶּסֶל) [pronounced PEH-cell]

a form of

The construct of temûwnâh (תְּמוּנָה) [pronounced tem-oo-NAW]

any statue

Çemel (סֶמֶל) [pronounced SEH-mel]

a likeness of male or female,

Tabenîyth (תַּבְנִית) [pronounced tabve-NEETH]

a likeness

Tabenîyth (תַּבְנִית) [pronounced tabve-NEETH]

of any beast which [is] in [lit. against]

Bêyth preposition be (בְּ) [pronounced beh] and it denotes proximity. It is translated in, among, into, against, with, at, through. BDB #88

the Footnote earth,

ʾErets (אֶרֶץ) [pronounced EH-rets] means earth (all or a portion), land. Strong's #776 BDB #75

a likeness

Tabenîyth (תַּבְנִית) [pronounced tabve-NEETH]

of any winged creature which flies in the heavens,

Bêyth preposition be (בְּ) [pronounced beh] translated in, among, into, against, with, at, through. BDB #88

a likeness of any creeping thing in [or, against]

Bêyth preposition be (בְּ) [pronounced beh] translated in, among, into, against, with, at, through. BDB #88

the ground,

ʾĂdâmâh (אֲדָמָה) [pronounced uh-daw-MAWH] and it means ground, soil, tillable earth, surface of the earth. Strong's #127 BDB #9

a likeness of any fish which [is] in the waters underneath with respect to the earth;

Tabenîyth (תַּבְנִית) [pronounced tabve-NEETH], bêyth preposition be (בְּ) [pronounced beh] ʾerets (אֶרֶץ) [pronounced EH-rets] means earth (all or a portion), land. Strong's #776 BDB #75


Deuteronomy 1

Deuteronomy 2

Deuteronomy 3

Deuteronomy 4

Deuteronomy 5

Deuteronomy 6

Deuteronomy 7

Deuteronomy 8

Deuteronomy 9

Deuteronomy 10

Introduction

Kukis Homepage

Exegesis

Doctrines

Pentateuch


"And you [all] [should] take careful stock with regard to your souls—because you [all] did not see any form [or, the likeness of anything] in the day of Yehowah's speaking to you in Horeb out of the midst of the lightning [lit., fire]—so that you avoid acting corruptly [or, so that you do not cause yourselves to fall into decay; or, so that you do not become spiritually corrupt] and make [or, construct] for yourself a graven image, a form [or, a similitude] of any figure, a likeness of male or a female, a likeness of any winged bird which flies in the heavens, a likeness of any beast which [is] on the earth, a likeness of any winged creature which flies in the heavens; a likeness of any creeping thing in [or, against] the ground, a likeness of any fish which [is] in the waters underneath with respect to the earth." (Deut. 4:15–18).

 

Charlie Clough comments: Here is the biblical repudiation of every non-Israelite religion. It is not a matter of bigotry; it is a matter of truth. Every religion outside of Israel is formed by human construction built upon depravity. Israel's religion alone is of divine construction built upon grace. Neither Abraham nor his descendants had superior insight to their neighbors; rather, they were chosen by God, through no merit of their own, to be the mediating nation between God and man. All objections to this religious exclusivism, therefore, rest upon ignorance of history, rebellion against God's character, and/or a misunderstanding of gracious election. Footnote

 

"And [you all should take careful stock with regard to your souls] so that you do not lift up your eyes towards the heavens, and, having seen [lit., and you have seen] the sun and the moon and the stars and all the host of the heavens that [lit., and] you are compelled [or, drawn away] and [caused to] worship them and serve them which Yehowah your God has apportioned to all the peoples under the whole heavens. [Deut. 4:19]


The conjunction lest (translated here, so that...not) ties this verse to the protasis of v. 15. Lift up is in the 2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect—Moses is speaking to each individual. I have translated having seen like an imperfect participle, but it is in the Qal perfect. Owen's has a similar rendering: and when you see.


Drawn away is the 2nd masculine singular, Niphal perfect of nâdach (נָדַח) [pronounced naw-DAHKH], which means banish, cast away, cast down, compel, draw away. The Niphal is the passive stem and it means specifically to compel, to be drawn away. The Niphal perfect is also found in Deut. 19:5 30:17 Job 6:13 Jer. 40:12 43:5 49:5 (*listing of all Niphal perf) This same word is found in the Hiphil in Deut. 13:5, 10, where it speaks of a false prophet drawing away, or seducing or compelling the people to worship the creature rather than the Creator. Strong's #5080 BDB #623. This is all followed by the Hithpael (reflexive intensive) perfect of worship. Serve is the simple Qal perfect. The heavens and all that is in them has been divided up or apportioned to or allotted to all of the peoples under the heavens. What is meant here is that every person under the heavens has the stars and the sun and moon; what is implied here is that some of them worship these things. What the Jews have is very special—they have the One Who created all of these things—the Lord God given primarily to them. They are not to worship things given just to anyone.


It does not matter how small or how grand the object is—we are to worship the Creator, not the creation. When speaking of the degenerate heathen, Paul wrote: Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed canimals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, Who is blessed forever. Amen (Rom. 1:22–25). The stars and the heavens are all creations of Jesus Christ, no more or no less so than the animals on this earth. For that reason, they are not to be worshiped either. During the Age of Israel, there was not a lot of religious tolerance taught. "If there is found in your midst in any of your towns , which Yehowah your God is giving you, a man or a woman who does what is evil in the sight of Yehowah your God by transgressing His covenant, and has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, or, the sun or the moon or any of the heavenly host, which I have not commanded, and if it is told you and you have heard of it, then you will inquire thoroughly. And listen carefully [lit., behold], if it is true and the thing [is] certain that this detestable thing has been done in Isreal, then you will bring out that man or that woman who has done this evil deed, to your gates and, that man or that woman, you will stone them to death." (Deut. 17:1–5).


There are reasons for the existence of the stars, the sun and the moon beyond their ascetic value. Then God said, "Let there by light in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from night, and let them be for signs, and season, and for days and years." (Gen. 1:14). It is by these heavenly bodies that we have developed our calendar; by which we calculate time; and with which we determine when we should plant and reap.


What has been covered in the previous four verses is to preclude all forms of idolatry popular during that period of time. There are some denominations which are known for attempting to make Christian doctrine palatable to the heathen by incorporating some of the heathen practices into their doctrine. God never directs us to water down His truth. It would have been easy to assume a few of the idolatrous practices of that day, leaving out those things we would deem inappropriate (such as child sacrifice), and thereby make God's Word more palatable to the Jews and to the surrounding heathen. Vv. 16–19, however, forbids the practice of any sort of idolatry, citing every kind of idolatry extent at that time and specifically prohibiting the same.

 

Barnes: These verses contain a complete and comprehensive survey of the various forms of idolatrous and corrupt worship practised by the surrounding Oriental nations, and as particularly and successively forbidding them every one. Footnote God is not a religious liberal. All roads do not lead to Rome and all religions are not valid pathways to God. Footnote

 

"And you Yehowah has taken and he is bringing you out from the iron furnace, out from Egypt, to be to Him for a people, an inheritance, as this day. [Deut. 4:20]


The iron furnace is a reference to the heat of the desert through which they traveled and to Egypt (1Kings 8:51 Jer. 11:4). The iron furnace was used to separate the precious metal from the dross, or the metal from its impurities. One of the more common methods employed to extract silver from ore is cupellation. Silver ores and lead or lead ores are melted together in a furnace, resulting in a lead-silver alloy. The lead combines with the oxygen in the air to form a molten lead-oxide, which draws out the other metal impurities which are also oxidized. This lead-oxide is skimmed away or poured off, leaving silver, platinum and or gold behind. The lead-oxide and the various impurities with it which are removed are called dross. And the word of Yehowah came to me, saying, "Son of man, the house of Israel has become dross [metal impurities] to Me; all of them are bronze and tin and iron and lead in the furnace; they are the dross of silver. Therefore," thus says Yehowah God, "Because all of you have become dross, therefore, behold, I am going to gather you into the midst of Jerusalem, as they gather silver and bronze and iron and lead and tin into the furnace to blow fire on it in order to melt it, so will I gather you in My anger and in My wrath, and I will lay you and melt you. And I will gather you and blow on your with the fire of My wrath, and you will be melted in the midst of it. As silver is melted in the furnace, so you will be melted in the midst of it; and you will know that I, Yehowah, have poured out My wrath on you." (Ezek. 22:17–22). The two principle generations of the exodus, gen X and the Generation of Promise, had to be smelted in the iron furnace in order to remove the dross—generation X—and leave behind the silver and precious metal—the Generation of Promise. The iron furnace speaks of testing, discipline, and purification, resulting in strengthening.


At the judgment of our works, God exposes our works to a similar process. Every Christian has spend much of his lifetime engaged in activity, some of which is divine good and some of which is worthless. God has to separate these things. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay straw, each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he has built upon it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet, so as through fire (1Cor. 3:11–15). What is described here is a much simpler process than cupellation described above. Fire is set to our works and what burns is wood, hay and stubble, and what remains is silver, gold and precious stones. That is the symbolic explanation. The differentiation of our works is just as simple; that which we have done while filled with the Holy Spirit will be preserved and that which we have done when controlled by our old sin nature will be burned. It is not a matter of the particular acts; two people can give $20 to a church—one has this act burned and the other has this act preserved to be rewarded in eternity. The key is whether it was done in the Spirit or in the flesh. "For Yehowah your God is a consuming fire." (Deut. 4:20a).

 

"And Yehowah had shown Himself angry with me because of your words and He swore to my not crossing over the Jordan, and to my [not] entering the good land which Yehowah your God is giving to you—an inheritance. [Deut. 4:21]


Moses never confesses his own sin directly to the generation of promise, but places the responsibility with them. He is fully cognizant of what he did wrong; however, telling them that would do them no good. Only Moses can benefit by knowing what he did was wrong (and we do later when we study God's Word). They can do something about their complaining and bitching and moaning. That is an individual choice over which they have control. The principle here is privacy—the sins of Moses are private, at least temporarily, from this particular generation. After he has died and the Torah has been distributed, they will know more as to what exactly happened (although even then they will not fully comprehend as we do).

 

"For I am dying in this land; I am not crossing over the Jordan, and you [all] are crossing over and you will possess this good land. [Deut. 4:22]


Before Moses dies, he will be allowed to see this land, but he will not set foot in it.

 

"[So] you [all] [should] take careful stock with regard to yourselves—so that you do not forget the covenant of Yehowah your God, which He has made with you [so that you do not] [lit., and] construct for a sculpted image, a form of anything which [possibly, as] Yehowah your God has commanded [or, mandated] you. [Deut. 4