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God’s Gracious Dealings

“Every commandment that I am commanding you today you shall be careful to do, so that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the Lord swore [to give] to your fathers. And you shall remember [always] all the ways which the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, so that He might humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart (mind), whether you would keep His commandments or not. He humbled you and allowed you to be hungry and fed you with manna, [a substance] which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, so that He might make you understand [by personal experience] that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord. Your clothing did not wear out on you, nor did your feet swell these forty years. Therefore, know in your heart (be fully cognizant) that the Lord your God disciplines and instructs you just as a man disciplines and instructs his son. Therefore, you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk [that is, to live each and every day] in His ways and fear [and worship] Him [with awe-filled reverence and profound respect].(A) For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land where you will eat bread without shortage, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. 10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you.

11 “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by failing to keep His commandments and His judgments (precepts) and His statutes which I am commanding you today; 12 otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them, 13 and when your herds and flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have increases, 14 then your heart will become lifted up [by self-conceit and arrogance] and you will forget the Lord your God who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 15 He led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water; it was He who brought water for you out of the flinty rock. 16 He fed you manna in the wilderness, [a substance] which your fathers did not know, so that He might humble you [by dependence on Him] and that He might test you, to do good [things] for you at the end. 17 Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ 18 But you shall remember [with profound respect] the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore (solemnly promised) to your fathers, as it is this day. 19 And it shall come about if you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you today that you will most certainly perish. 20 Like the nations which the Lord causes to perish before you, so shall you perish; because you would not listen to and obey the voice of the Lord your God.

Israel Provoked God

“Hear, O Israel! You are crossing the Jordan today to go in to dispossess nations greater and more powerful than you, great cities fortified to heaven, a people great and tall, sons of Anakim, whom you know and of whom you have heard it said, ‘Who can stand before the sons of Anak?’ So know today [with confident assurance] that the Lord your God is crossing [the Jordan] before you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them and He will subdue them before you, and you shall drive them out and destroy them quickly, just as the Lord has promised you.

“Do not say in your heart when the Lord your God has driven them out before you, ‘Because of my righteousness the Lord has brought me in to possess this land,’ but because of the wickedness of these nations the Lord 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 because of the wickedness of these nations the Lord your God is driving them out before you, and to confirm the oath which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

“Know [without any doubt], that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stiff-necked (stubborn, obstinate) people. Remember [with remorse] and do not forget how you provoked the Lord your God to wrath in the wilderness; from the day you left the land of Egypt until you arrived in this place, you have been rebellious against the Lord. And at Horeb (Sinai) you provoked the Lord to wrath, and the Lord was so angry with you that He would have destroyed you. When I went up the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant which the Lord made with you, I remained on the mountain forty days and forty nights; I did not eat food or drink water. 10 The Lord gave me the two tablets of stone written with the finger of God; and on them were written all the words which the Lord had spoken to you at the mountain from the midst of the fire on the day of the assembly. 11 It came about at the end of forty days and forty nights that the Lord gave me the two tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant. 12 Then the Lord said to me, ‘Arise, go down from here quickly, for your people whom you brought from Egypt have acted corruptly. They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them; they have made (cast) a molten image for themselves.’ 13 Furthermore, the Lord said to me, ‘I have seen this people, and indeed, they are stiff-necked (stubborn, obstinate) people. 14 Let Me alone, so that I may destroy them and wipe out their name from under heaven; and I will make of you a nation mightier and greater than they.’

15 “So I turned and came down from the mountain while the mountain was burning with fire, and the two tablets of the covenant were in my two hands. 16 And I saw that you had indeed sinned against the Lord your God. You had made for yourselves a molten [a]calf (idol). You had turned aside quickly from the way which the Lord had commanded you.(B) 17 So I took hold of the two tablets and threw them from my two hands and smashed them before your very eyes! 18 Then, as before, I fell down before the Lord for [another] forty days and forty nights; I did not eat food or drink water, because of all the sin you had committed by doing [b]what was evil in the sight of the Lord to provoke Him to anger. 19 For I was afraid of the anger and [c]absolute fury which the Lord held against you, [enough divine fury] to destroy you, but the Lord listened to me that time also. 20 The Lord was very angry with Aaron, angry [enough] to destroy him, so I also prayed for Aaron at the same time. 21 I took your sinful thing, the calf which you had made, and burned it in the fire and thoroughly crushed it, grinding the metal thoroughly until it was as fine as dust; and I threw its dust into the brook that came down from the mountain.

22 “At Taberah also and at Massah and at Kibroth-hattaavah you provoked the Lord to wrath. 23 And when the Lord sent you from Kadesh-barnea, saying, ‘Go up and take possession of the land which I have given you,’ then you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God, and you did not believe and rely on Him, nor did you obey His voice. 24 You have been rebellious against the Lord from the [first] day that I knew you.

25 “So I fell down and lay face down before the Lord forty days and nights because the Lord had said He would destroy you. 26 Then I prayed to the Lord and said, ‘O Lord God, do not destroy Your people, even Your inheritance, whom You have redeemed through Your greatness, whom You have brought from Egypt with a mighty hand. 27 Remember [with compassion] Your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; do not look at the stubbornness of this people or at their wickedness or at their sin, 28 so that the [people of the] land from which You brought us will not say, “Because the Lord was not capable of bringing them into the land which He had promised them and because He hated them He has brought them out to the wilderness [in order] to kill them.” 29 Yet they are Your people and Your inheritance, whom You have brought out by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm.’

The Tablets Rewritten

10 “At that time the Lord said to me, ‘Cut out for yourself two tablets of stone like the first, and come up to Me on the mountain, and make an ark (chest) of wood for yourself. I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets which you shattered, and you shall put them in the ark.’ So I made an ark of acacia wood and cut out two tablets of stone like the first, and went up the mountain [d]with the two tablets in my hand. The Lord wrote on the tablets, like the first writing, the Ten [e]Commandments which the Lord had spoken to you on the mountain from the midst of the fire on the day of the assembly; then the Lord gave them to me. Then I turned and came down from the mountain and put the tablets in the ark which I had made; and they are there, just as the Lord commanded me.”

(Now the sons of Israel traveled from the wells of the sons of Jaakan to Moserah. There Aaron died and there he was buried and Eleazar his son ministered as priest in his place. From there they traveled to Gudgodah, and from Gudgodah to Jotbathah, a land of brooks of water. At that time the Lord set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to serve Him and to bless in His name until this day. Therefore, Levi does not have a portion or inheritance [of tribal land] with his brothers; [f]the Lord is his inheritance, as the Lord your God [g]has promised him.)

10 “And I stayed on the mountain, like the first time, forty days and nights, and the Lord listened to me at that time also; the Lord was not willing to destroy you. 11 Then the Lord said to me, ‘Arise, go on your journey ahead of the people, so that they may go in and take possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give to them.’

12 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear [and worship] the Lord your God [with awe-filled reverence and profound respect], to walk [that is, to live each and every day] in all His ways and to love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul [your choices, your thoughts, your whole being], 13 and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good? 14 Behold, the heavens and the highest of heavens belong to the Lord your God, the earth and all that is in it. 15 Yet the Lord [h]had a delight in loving your fathers and set His affection on them, and He chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day. 16 So circumcise [that is, remove sin from] your heart, and be stiff-necked (stubborn, obstinate) no longer. 17 For the Lord your [i]God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, the awesome God who does not show [j]partiality nor take a bribe. 18 He [k]executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and [l]shows His love for the stranger (resident alien, foreigner) by giving him food and clothing. 19 Therefore, show your love for the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. 20 You shall fear [and worship] the Lord your God [with awe-filled reverence and profound respect]; you shall serve Him and cling to Him [hold tightly to Him, be united with Him], and you shall swear [oaths] by His name. 21 He is your praise and glory; He is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things which you have seen with your own eyes. 22 Your fathers went down to Egypt, seventy persons [in all], and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven.

Footnotes

  1. Deuteronomy 9:16 The selection of a calf-god was probably inspired by the Egyptian bull-god Apis (Hapis), believed to be a living manifestation of the Egyptian god, Ptah. In ancient Egypt, a bull-calf with specific markings was selected from the herd and designated and worshiped as Apis. The Apis was the most important of the sacred animals of Egypt. At the age of twenty-eight the Apis bull was sacrificed and buried in a highly structured ritual and a new bull-calf was selected to take his place. Numerous elaborate burial sites containing the Apis bulls have been discovered in Egypt. Both the Greeks and Romans adopted the cultic worship of Apis and it continued until about a.d. 400.
  2. Deuteronomy 9:18 Lit the evil, when the word “evil” (or other such word) is used with the definite article (“the evil”) without any contextual explanation, it refers to the evil of seeking salvation by some other way than that which is offered by God.
  3. Deuteronomy 9:19 Lit hot displeasure.
  4. Deuteronomy 10:3 The size of the two tablets of stone on which the Ten Commandments were written is uncertain. They probably were not great tombstone-sized slabs like those depicted in works of art, but were likely smaller rectangular plates, two of which could be carried by one man.
  5. Deuteronomy 10:4 Lit Words.
  6. Deuteronomy 10:9 Serving as priests, the Levites were to live off the various offerings presented by the people (Num 18:21; Deut 18:1; Josh 13:14). In addition, each of the other tribes set aside cities within their respective territories for the Levites (Num 35:1-8).
  7. Deuteronomy 10:9 Lit has spoken to.
  8. Deuteronomy 10:15 Lit strengthened His heart.
  9. Deuteronomy 10:17 Heb Elohim. The primary word translated “God” in the O.T.; the mighty God, the Creator; the great triune God manifested as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  10. Deuteronomy 10:17 Lit lift up faces.
  11. Deuteronomy 10:18 Lit is doing.
  12. Deuteronomy 10:18 Lit is loving.

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