A STUDY OF DEUTERONOMY
Commentary by Dr. Mark G. Cambron
Deuteronomy is the one book which was memorized by the children of Israel. Deuteronomy means “Second Law.” In fact, it is the book of the “Repeated Law.” Quotations from this book are found between ninety to one hundred times in the New Testament; and because of its importance, the Devil has always tried to obliterate it. In the wilderness Christ says three times, “It is written... ;” all three references are to the book of Deuteronomy. Further, Deuteronomy 7:7 and 13—for the first time in the Old Testament— speak about the love of God. The love of God is evident before, but it is not mentioned until here.
The KEY word in Deuteronomy is OBEDIENCE, and this book mentions for the first time “The Children of Belial.” In Deuteronomy 21:22-23, the reader learns that the first reference to the “hanging on a tree” is a curse of God. (A literal tree, or some part of a tree as a piece of timber, may have been meant here.) Of course, this allusion places a curse upon Christ, Who was hanged upon a tree: “He was made a curse for us,” dying in man’s place as his Substitute.
Deuteronomy 18:15-19 is the PROPHECY pointing to the coming of the LORD JESUS CHRIST. For the Lord Jesus is that PROPHET—the PROPHET of all prophets!
I. Israel’s Past Reviewed (1 - 4)
A. The Wilderness Way (1:1-39)
B. The Wilderness Wanderings (Unnecessary) (1:40 - 3:29)
C. The Warnings and Exhortations (4)
II. Israel’s Law Restated (5 - 26)
A. Exposition of the Moral Code (5 - 11)
1. Repetition of the Decalogue (5:1-21)
2. Discourse on the Decalogue (5:22 - 11:32)
B. Exposition of the Special Code (12 - 26)
1. Concerning Religious Life (12:1 - 16:17)
a. Worship (12, 13)
b. Diet (14:22-29)
c. Tithing (14:1-21)
d. The Sabbatical Year (15)
e. The Annual Feasts (16:1-17)
2. Concerning Civic Life (16:18 - 20:20)
a. Judges (16:18 - 17:13)
b. Kings (17:14-20)
c. Priests (18:1-8)
d. Prophets (18:9-22)
e. Cities of Refuge (19)
3. Concerning Military Life (20)
4. Concerning Social Life (21 - 26)
III. Israel’s Future Revealed (27:1 - 31:13)
A. The Palestinian Covenant (27 - 30)
B. The Charge (31:1-13)
IV. Moses’ Passing Related (31:14 - 34:12)
A. The Prophet’s Song (31:14 - 32:52)
B. The Prophet’s Blessing (33)
C. The Private Burial (34)
What a book for Moses to write to close his writings! It is power-packed all the way through. It is the repeating of the Law for the second time and the commanding of Israel to go forward the second time to take the land that God had promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Moses repeats the history of Israel during the forty years of Israel’s wilderness journey and the cause for the delayed entrance into the land of promise.
One must remember that all who are twenty years of age and older die in the wilderness for not obeying the LORD (Jehovah) to go into the land and possess it when they arrive at Kadesh-barnea the first time. After the forty years in the wilderness, the oldest of the people can be only fifty-nine years of age, except Caleb and Joshua, the only two spies who urge the people to believe God, to take His word of promise, protection and deliverance, and to march into the Promised Land. The LORD (Jehovah) honors them by allowing them to conquer their inheritance and to enjoy and live on it, and to die there. [God always honors faith and trust in Him.]
Israel is now situated on the East Bank of the Jordan River. Forty terrible years have passed; they are now ready to own their possessions. (The word “forty” in the Scriptures means “testing”, or “trial.” The Lord Jesus is tested in the wilderness forty days.)
Forty years before this time, Israel was only eleven days journey from Horeb (Mt. Sinai) to Kadesh-barnea. The number eleven in the Word always means “incompleteness;” in one more day (totaling twelve), the Israelites could have been in the land—and could have escaped the unnecessary forty years in the wilderness.
[Golden opportunities in the past could have been ours if we had just made one more effort to do the will of God, but we, like Israel have hesitated and the prospects have been delayed for the time being; and if those opportunities are not acted upon at another presentation, they can be lost forever.]
The words which Moses speaks are the words of God—powerful, cleansing, guiding, perfect, informative, not just the words of God-Elohim (office of God), but the words of the LORD-Jehovah, pronounced in the Hebrew language “Yahweh” - “Yahvey,” the personal name of God—Isaiah placed into the English Bible as LORD, in all capital letters by printers’ type.
This injunction by Moses to Israel is delivered in the eleventh month—February in modern times.
And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of saying, this month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.
The reader learns in Exodus 12:1 and 2 that the LORD ushered in a new calendar for Israel: the month that the Passover is observed is April, and today’s February becomes the first month of their new year.
The LORD (Jehovah) has slain Sihon, king of the Amorites (descendants of Canaan), and Og, king of Bashan, by Israel.
Many of the Israelites are too young to remember when Israel refused to go into the Promised Land, and the majority are those who are born in the wilderness and cannot be charged with this unbelief.
While Israel is on Horeb, Mt. Sinai (the place where God gave Moses the Law), the Lord says that they have “hugged” the mountain too long. They are prepared for the capturing of their lots; they have completed the erection of the Tabernacle; they have received the instruction to observe the five offerings: the Burnt Offering (Leviticus l), the Meat Grain Offering (Leviticus 2), the Peace Offering (Leviticus 3), the Sin Offering (Leviticus 4), and the Trespass Offering (Leviticus 5); and their priests are anointed. Now the land is to be occupied!
Verses 7 - 8
All the land from the River Nile to the River Euphrates is promised to them. “Go take it.” Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob die knowing by faith that their children will possess it. However, God reveals to Abraham that his future descendants will go to a country which will put them into slavery for four hundred years but that later He will judge that nation and bring Israel out of her, loaded with that nation’s spoils:
And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;
And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.
And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.
But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
This prophecy is fulfilled in Exodus 12:36:
And the Lord gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.
What a change after four hundred years. All Israel follows Jacob to Egypt to be under the protection of Joseph. Jacob comes with sixty-six souls; Joseph and family (four) are already there, a total of seventy in Egypt.
Verses 9 - 10
Four hundred years later, Israel numbers over six hundred thousand fighting men. To get the complete number of Israel, the reader must multiply the fighting men by four, the average number of a Jewish family, thus making the total number of Israel at 2,400,000 people, as the stars of heaven (counted by the naked eye, of course).
Moses gives a hint to the number of Israel there shall be in the Kingdom Age - The Millennium - with Messiah as Protector and Benefactor: “The LORD God [Jehovah Elohim] of your fathers make you a thousand times so many more as ye are....” A thousand times two million, four hundred thousands, would make Israel 2,400,000,000 (two billion, four hundred million); and there will be enough land to provide living quarters for such a number from the River Nile to the River Euphrates, nearly as big as China is today—both land and people.
Verses 12 - 18
Here Moses is proclaiming the suggestion made by Jethro about the judging of Israel being too difficult for one man; Jethro suggests that Moses needs to appoint judges over thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens.
So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father in law, did all that he had said.
And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.
And they judged the people at all seasons: the hard causes they brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves.
And Moses let his father in law depart; and he went his way into his own land.
If the judging becomes too hard for the ruler over tens, he is then to surrender the office to the ruler of fifties; if that office is too hard for the ruler, then he will turn it over to the ruler of hundreds; and if the duty is too hard for the ruler of hundreds, then he will turn it over to the ruler of thousands; then if it is too hard for the ruler over thousands, then he will turn it over to Moses. Moses will thus make his decision based upon the Word of God.
God gives His instruction to these rulers especially in the book of Exodus and the second book of the Law, and Deuteronomy.
The number of Judges will be determined by the number of the people of Israel:
over one thousand, there will be 2,400 judges
over one hundred, there will be 24,000 judges
over fifty, there will be 48,000 judges
over ten, there will be 240,000 judges
There will be three hundred fourteen thousand and four hundred (314,400) judges altogether. Moses will assign each judge his duty.
Verses 19 - 21
Israel with her judges and her tabernacle follow Moses to Kadesh-barnea where Moses commands them to “charge,” take the land, and possess it.
Several of the elders suggest that spies be chosen and sent to search out the land.
Verses 23 - 25
This saying pleases Moses well; he chooses one man from each tribe. They immediately begin their spying, especially in the valley of Eshcol, a very productive land (even today, 1992, it remains productive); and the spies bring back the good fruit of their inheritance; but oh! oh! the disappointed report they make: “... and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight” (Numbers 13:33).
Verses 26 - 39
“... ye would not go up, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God.” This bit of history defined God’s decision of turning Israel back into the wilderness for forty years, a year for each day the spies spied out the land.
The people of Israel believe their spies instead of God; and oh, how Moses pleads with the people that they have already seen the provision of the LORD. The wilderness of only a few months shall turn to a judgment of many years. God says that this generation will die and never see the Promised Land in this life. Here Moses speaks to a brand new Israel after the forty years spent in the wilderness. All men twenty years and upward have died, yet there are about the same number of fighting men as before. Besides Caleb and Joshua, the oldest men are fifty-nine years old—a very young nation to go into the land and possess it, this time under the leadership of Joshua.
In the period of added years that Israel had to spend in the wilderness (v. 37), Moses strikes the rock instead of speaking to it; and for that God forbids Moses to go into the Promised Land. He sees it from afar, but he does not walk in it.
Those men who are born during the forty years in the wilderness never saw the Red Sea part to let Israel walk on dry land. They never saw the Nile turn to blood nor the plague of frogs which covered the land. They never had to make bricks for the Egyptians and find their own straw, but they did see the hand of Jehovah in the wilderness taking care of His people with the pillar of cloud by day covering the entire nation of Israel to protect them from the blazing sun and at night to give light in their tents, and in the paths that God chose for His people to walk in the desert.
Verses 40 - 46
Moses reminds the people how they said that they were sorry and that they would go ahead and fight against the Amorites even though God forbad them to do so, for He told them, “... I am not among you.” Nevertheless, the people charged against their enemy, and at a terrific loss!
Moses is speaking to the children of Israel as though they sinned against the Lord, but not a one was living thirty-eight years before. Here is a new Israel! Will they obey God?
Israel spends many days at Kadesh-barnea “licking her wounds,” one may say. Just one more day’s journey and Israel, now numbering 2,400,000 (two million four hundred thousand) souls, could have gone into the land ready; but she simply mistrusts God and is led back into the wilderness. There she waits for her orders to “mark time” and to be led in the wilderness until the forty years of wandering is over.
God is God, however, loving and chastening at the same time. He does not withhold the supply of manna for bread, nor the cloud that is a blessed cover from the sun by day and a light to the whole camp at night. The water continues to flow from the rock for years, making streams in the desert.
Verses 1 - 6
Then Israel as a nation journeys into the wilderness by the Red Sea and circles Mount Seir as the LORD (Jehovah) commands Moses. One must remember that Moses, like all Israel, has to walk in that desert—and eighty years old at that; truly, he has to endure the chastisement with Israel though he was not involved in the sinning that generates such a punishment from the LORD. That this man of God endures such reproof is a wonder; for although he could leave the people for someone else to lead them, he just cannot. He is true to the calling of God, his life’s work. Finally, the LORD (Jehovah) says that they have compassed the mount long enough and that they should turn northward. God continues to tell the people through Moses that they are approaching Mt. Seir, the habitat of Esau—the children of whom are their brethren. Because this land is Esau’s by God’s grant, the LORD uncompromisingly instructs Israel not to haggle with them. They are to be left alone. By their permission, Israel can buy food and water from them.
Moses addresses Israel, asking the people if they lacked anything during the forty years in the wilderness.
Verses 8 - 9
Then back to the wandering:
Israel proceeds by the children of Esau through the wilderness of Moab, passing Eloth and Ezion-geber. As the people approach Moab, the LORD (Jehovah) at once says, “Distress not the Moabites; neither contend with them in battle: for I will not give thee of their land...;” they are descendants of Lot and his second daughter, your kinsmen.
Verses 10 -12
Some time before, a race of tall people filled the land in which the Moabites live. How does Moses know this? He has had access to history at the tip of his fingers. As the adoptive son of Pharaoh’s daughter, he had access to the libraries of Egypt. He could have gained the knowledge from the libraries’ sources, but Moses received this knowledge and more later from the LORD (Jehovah).
Finally, the LORD orders Israel to pass over the brook Zered, and she passes over the brook Zered.
Verses 14 -15
The space of time between the starting point at Kadesh-barnea and the passage over the brook Zered is thirty-eight years (until all the original number of fighting men are dead just as God says they will be. For the hand of the LORD (Jehovah) is against them; they have to be destroyed. Why? (l) To fulfill God’s prophecy which says that they will be destroyed. (2) To purify Israel for the days of war ahead with a new order of fighting men, not tainted with the sin of unbelief as with the original number of fighting men.
But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?
And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?
So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
Verses 16 - 17
Now talking with the children of Israel, who know these facts, Moses informs them that God has spoken to them especially.
Verses 18 - 19
Thirty-nine years before, their fathers were commanded not to haggle and force an issue with their kinsmen, Lot’s descendants, the Moabites. Today they are to act the same.
Verses 20 - 23
Another force of giants face Israel. God had previously destroyed the others for the sake of the Moabites, who possessed the lands of the giants.
So it is with Israel this day; the LORD has delivered Sihon, king of the Amorites into their hands.
“This day,” says the LORD, “will I begin to put the dread of thee and fear of thee upon the nations....” (We saw some of this pledge demonstrated in the 6 day War, 1967, when Israel captured the Land of Promise.)
Verses 26 - 29
Moses sends letters with words of peace to Sihon, king of Bashan, asking permission to pass through his land and stating a willingness to pay for food, which Israel might eat, and for water that the Israelites and their animals might drink.
Jehovah then commands Moses to take Israel and possess the land of Sihon.
Verses 32 - 33
Sihon naturally comes out against Israel and is terribly defeated.
Israel takes all Sihon’s cities to the destruction of all men, women, and children.
Only the cattle and the spoils of the cities are taken.
Verses 36 - 37
No city is able to defeat Israel, nor can any man oppose her; for except the land he refuses her, God delivers all to her.
By reading this chapter, one learns that under Moses two and one-half tribes (Gad, Reuben, half tribe of Manasseh), receive their inheritance, as these two and one-half tribes are owners and breeders of sheep. This part of the Promised Land is perfect for the raising of sheep as it consists of miles and miles of pasture. Under Joshua, the other nine and one-half tribes receive their inheritance. The men of the two and one-half tribes promise Moses that when the time comes to march against the Canaanites, their fighting men will leave their wives and children to join their brethren of the other nine and one-half tribes to fight and will remain with them until the campaign is completed.
After Moses dies, Joshua reminds the two and one-half tribes of their oath; they keep their promise.
And to the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to half the tribe of Manasseh, spake Joshua, saying,
Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, The LORD your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land.
Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle, shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this Jordan; but ye shall pass before your brethren armed, all the mighty men of valour, and help them;
Until the LORD have given your brethren rest, as he hath given you, and they also have possessed the land which the LORD your God giveth them: then ye shall return unto the land of your possession, and enjoy it, which Moses the LORD’s servant gave you on this side Jordan toward the sunrising.
And they answered Joshua, saying All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go.
According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee: only the LORD thy God be with thee, as he was with Moses.
Whosoever he be that doth rebel against thy commandment, and will not hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death: only be strong and of a good courage.
Now back to the history of Moses and Israel as they are still in the wilderness.
After Israel disposes of Sihon of Heshbon, she goes the way that leads to Og, king of Bashan and engages him in battle.
Jehovah (LORD) speaks to Moses and encourages him not to fear Og. The LORD assures Moses that he shall have complete victory over Og as over Sihon.
Adonai (Master, the Lord) the Elohim (God) delivers Og with all his people into the hands of Israel, and there are no survivors.
All Og’s cities—sixty in all—become Israel’s; there is not a one left.
These cities are fortified with high walls, gates, and bars. These are the cities that the past generation of Israel had feared forty years before; forty years just wasted.
There is complete annihilation of men, women, and children. There are none left—just what God shall desire of Israel under Joshua. Yet Israel becomes soft as time passes, and the people spared become thorns in the side of Israel and eventually cause her to go after strange gods.
All the livestock is spared and become Israel’s along with the spoils of battle.
Verses 8 - 11
All the land possessed by these two kings (Sihon and Og) is cooperated into the nation of Israel.
Only Og is spared, no doubt to become a trophy of God’s grace. He is one of the last giants, and the Word describes his bedstead. It is of iron nine cubits long and four cubits wide, thirteen and one-half feet long and six feet wide. (That is what is called a king-sized bed!)
Moses gives the land from Aroer, which is by the valley of Arnon, and half of the hill country of Gilead and its cities to the tribe of the Reubenites and to the tribe of the Gadites.
Moses gives the rest of Gilead and all Bashan, Og’s kingdom, to the half-tribe of Manasseh.
Jair, the son (leader) of Manasseh, takes all the region of Argob.
To Machir Moses gives Gilead.
Verses 16 - 17
To the Reubenites and to the Gadites, Moses gives the land off Gilead as far as the valley of Arnon in the middle of the valley as a border and as far as the river Jabbok (the location where Father Jacob of all tribes wrestled all night with the angel who changed his name to Israel—from “heel grabber” to “soldier,” or “captain,” or “prince of God”).
Arbah is another name for the Dead Sea.
Verses 18 - 22
Here Moses reminds the fighting men of Reuben, Gad, and the one-half tribe of their commitment to fight with the rest of the tribes for their inheritance.
At this same time Moses tries to barter with the LORD (Jehovah) over His decision when He sentences Moses to die and not take the twelve tribes across Jordan to possess the rest of the land.
Verses 24 - 25
Moses has seen the LORD’S omnipotence; there is nothing impossible with Him. Moses acknowledges the greatness of GOD in helping him to lead His people out of Egypt, then through the Red Sea, and finally to persevere through forty long years in the wilderness. Moses believes that God can see what he desires all this time that he has sinned against God. He asks God if in His mercy He can change the sentence of death to life imprisonment in the land of Promise. He asks God to please remember His grace and allow him to cross over and see the fair land. He tells the LORD that He allowed twelve men to do so thirty years before, and Moses prays for that privilege also.
[Moses had pled for Israel several times when God was about to destroy the people, but there is no one to plead for Moses.]
Verses 26 - 27
The LORD (Jehovah) of super grace still demonstrates His omniscience, His omnipresence, and His omnipotence. He refuses Moses and answers, “... speak no more unto me on this matter.”
The LORD tells Moses to go to the top of Mt. Pisgah and look to the west, north, south, and east—to see it with his own eyes—but that he shall not put a foot in it: “... for thou shall not go over this Jordan.”
Now, Moses is commanded to ordain Joshua, his assistant, for the duty of leading Israel into the promised land.
And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the LORD commanded Moses.
So all twelve tribes of Israel remain in Beth-peor until the Law of God will be given afresh to the people of God—and until Moses will die.
When the twelve tribes of Israel reach Kadesh-barnea the first time, God orders them to go into the Promised Land, but Israel refuses to do so.
How devastating God’s judgment becomes when He tells the people of Israel that everyone twenty years and older will die in the wilderness:
Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me.
Israel’s fighting men, numbering over six hundred thousand (600,000), are under this curse also; and all of them twenty years and older die in the next thirty-eight years, especially the fighting men during the second time at Kadesh-barnea.
And the space in which we came from Kadesh-barnea, until we were come over the brook Zered, was thirty and eight years; until all the generation of the men of war were wasted out from among the host, as the LORD sware unto them.
Now, the Israelites are ready for their inheritance. Because all Israel suffered the loss of its people twenty years and older, the oldest persons besides Caleb and Joshua are fifty-seven years old; a very young nation. [We arrive at this figure by knowing that the children of Israel are nineteen years old when those above them are told they will die. Being nineteen years of age, they live the next thirty-eight years in the wilderness, so the oldest Israelite can be only fifty-seven years old (19 + 38 = 57).]
Moses now has before him a very young nation, eager to accomplish what their elders failed to do; and in his teaching, he will relegate to their hearts the law which was given to him at Horeb (Mt. Sinai).
Moses tells the people to obey the law and live in it so that they may go forth to conquer the land that the LORD (Jehovah) gives them.
The people are admonished to guard themselves against adding to or taking from the Law, the Holy Scriptures (see Deuteronomy 12:32).
There are two other Scriptures which teach all people to regard the sanctity, the holiness, the perfection of the Word of God—and not add to, nor take from it:
Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.
Proverbs 30:5, 6
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
Verses 3 - 4
Moses tells the people that they have been witnesses to the sinning of many Israelites, a sinning which results in mass destruction. When the Israelites were in Moab, the women of Moab enticed some of Israel’s men in the worship of one of their false gods, Baal-peor. The ritual of their worshipping Baal-peor involved fornication to its fullest. The act was so abusive to God that He struck the worshippers with a disease so that many Israelites died. The scriptures state that the results of these deaths number twenty-four thousand (Numbers 25: 1-9). The apostle, while commenting on this occasion, declares that the plague was so severe that twenty-three thousand die in one day; another thousand die later, a total of twenty-four thousand as recorded in Numbers 25: 9: “And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand.”
Moses tells Israel that they are alive today because they follow the LORD (Jehovah), not Baal-peor: “But ye that did cleave unto the LORD your God are alive every one of you this day.”
Christians know that man is not saved by the Law, but by the grace of God and the believer’s faith in Jesus Christ: that according to the Scriptures (Ephesians 2:8, 9), Jesus died for man’s sins.
However, man must remember that the Law is spiritual, and man is carnal (fleshly). “For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin” (Romans 7:14).
When God gives the Law to Israel, He is giving her the greatest instrument of spirituality that He can give: a powerful edict to a people who are slaves for four hundred years and who have been denied entrance into the temples of Egypt without a nod by any member of the Egyptian priesthood. [The Law is truly a gift of El Shaddai, the Almighty God.]
By those Scriptures Israel learns that there is only One God (Elohim), and His name is Jehovah; that He is holy, righteous, merciful, and full of grace; and when the case demands it, that He is a consuming fire. He demands faith in Him and rewards those who live for Him.
Moses teaches the people God’s Laws, the Ten Commandments; and he tells them that they will have a full life if they keep God’s Commandments; and judgment if they break them. He instructs them to obey God’s Laws in the land.
Moses continues by telling the people that they must keep God’s Statutes, for they are the only Words of God that they can possess. If they obey God’s Law, the Gentiles will take notice of them and know that they are a very wise people.
What nation is there besides Israel that has its god with it? Israel carries hers. [Christians do not have to wake Him up when they desire to converse with Him.]
The gentiles make up their laws according to their ruler’s whims who has the force to actuate them while the laws of God are composed by Himself alone; and God’s Laws are all-powerful and all-spiritual.
Moses instructs the people to hold fast to these Words of God, for they can so easily be forgotten; he tells Israel to teach God’s words to her sons and to her grandchildren.
Moses continues to tell the people to emphasize the time and act of Jehovah when the Laws of God became a living reality at Mt. Sinai (Horeb).
He reminds the people that they have seen the Mount aflame!
Moses also reminds the children of Israel that they have actually heard God speak to them but that they did not see Him [no one has seen God and lived].
Moses continues that God declares His ten commandments, which He wrote on tablets of stone, to His people.
The LORD (Jehovah) commissions Moses to make a commentary, an explanation, of His commandments to Israel.
Verses 15 -20
Moses cautions the people to remember, “please remember, yes, please remember” that they saw no form of God whatsoever lest they begin to “read into” what He said and make a graven image to what they did not actually see (a person—male or female—the likeness of any earthly animal, or the likeness of any fowl that flies in the air, nor the likeness of any creeping thing on the ground, nor the likeness of any fish). He also instructs them not to worship the sun, moon, stars, or even the host of heaven; nor to be driven to worship them which the LORD (Jehovah) has given to all mankind for signs designated times and seasons.
Moses tells Israel that she is Jehovah’s, a people for a possession, as He has taken her out of the furnace, even Egypt, to be His people, a people of inheritance [as she is today].
Moses relates that the LORD (Jehovah) is angry with him: The LORD announced that Moses should not go into that good land which has been given to Israel as an inheritance. Moses becomes angry with Israel.
Moses says that he must die in this land but that the people shall cross over and possess it.
Moses tells the people to remember this new covenant of works—laws—and to keep themselves clean for the LORD lest they make a graven image which God has forbidden.
Jehovah (the LORD) or (Elohim) IS A CONSUMING FIRE, even a jealous God.
Here Moses proves that he is a prophet. He tells the Israelites that before long, spiritual corruption shall engulf Israel and that they shall forget the Covenant of the Law and make them gods which one can see.
God is Moses’ witness as he tells Israel that she shall soon perish from off this land and that she will not be able to prolong her days upon it.
The LORD (Jehovah) shall scatter His people among the gentiles, leaving them few in number. [This prophecy has lasted twenty-five hundred years, for most of Israel is still scattered throughout the world.]
In the gentile lands Israel shall serve gods which are the works of men’s hands.
GOD promises the children of Israel that wherever they are if they “shalt return unto the LORD thy God ... then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, ... and will return and gather thee from all the nations” (Deuteronomy 30: 2,3). If! If they seek Him with all their heart and with all their soul.
For Israel, there is severe time called the Tribulation (Seventieth Week of Daniel, The Great Tribulation and Jacob’s lost tribe), and Israel shall know it. God says it is “IN THE LATTER DAYS,” the last three and one-half years of the Seventieth Week of Daniel.
[How the LORD (Jehovah) revealed His Prophetic scriptures to His holy prophets is remarkable.]
Abraham is called a prophet:
Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine.
Genesis 20; 7
Of all the patriarchs, Jacob demonstrates that he is a prophet.
And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.
All of Chapter 49 reveals what shall fall to all the Twelve Tribes of Israel in the latter days.
Deuteronomy 4:30 states:
When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;
Israel shall be shaved down to a few people, nine-tenths having been slain in the world:
But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.
For thus saith the Lord God; The city that went out by a thousand shall leave an hundred, and that which went forth by an hundred shall leave ten, to the house of Israel.
And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant:
The passing under the rod is not speaking of the chastisement of Israel, but rather the tithe as found in Leviticus 27:32:
And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD.
The passing under the rod is the tithing (one-tenth) of the sheep and cattle. At the close of the year the shepherds of Israel cause their animals to pass by the shepherd—every tenth sheep or cow is caused to pass under the shepherd’s staff. The animal is marked and becomes the LORD’S (Jehovah’s)! The other nine-tenths are sold to the slaughter house and slain. The sheep of Israel shall experience the same—every tenth Israelite shall be spared, while nine-tenths of Israel shall be slain—of course, in the Tribulation.
God can forgive and forget Israel’s sins, but He will not forget Israel who trusts in Him. Israel is the LORD’s (Jehovah’s) by the Abrahamic Covenant:
Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
(See also Genesis 13:14-18, 15:1-18; 22:15-18.)
Moses tells the people to ask the nations if any of them have been visited by God as Israel has been.
He asks if any has heard the voice of God speaking out of the fire as Israel has?
He asks if God has ever taken one nation out of another nation and by means only God could have thought of and set them free to inhabit another country, which shall be ever fruitful.
Then, Moses informs the children of Israel that unto them— Israel only—have these things been accomplished to let them know that Jehovah is Elohim—(“the LORD is God”).
Israel hears GOD’S voice out of heaven; upon the earth she has seen the fire.
The LORD loves Israel’s fathers; and because he does, He has chosen her seed to possess the land that He has given her.
In being called the “people of God,” Israel has just begun her work: to drive out greater nations and to possess their land for their inheritance.
Moses charges Israel to understand this, eat it, and digest it: There is no god but Jehovah!
God’s will is that Israel obeys His statutes, for obedience guarantees success and a long life.
The Apostle Paul emphasizes that Israel brought the Covenant of the Law and established the New Covenant of Grace: “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah...” (Jeremiah 31:31). In the first commandment with promise, Paul admonishes children to obey and honor their parents; for in doing so, they shall prolong their lives. [While not under the Law, all shall be blessed if they keep it: “Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)” (Ephesians 6:2).]
Verses 41 - 43
Three cities become cities of refuge for the manslayer (murderer) who accidentally kills a person, or perhaps slays a man in a fight but who has never hated him before. To this place he can flee and be protected from the kinsman slayer until the people can learn the truth. These three cities are located on the east bank of the River Jordan: Bezer in the land of the Reubenites, Ramoth of the Gadites, and Golan of the Manassites.
After all the land is captured, three more cities of refuge are chosen on the west bank of the River Jordan: Kadesh in Naphtali, Shechem in Ephraim, and Kirjath-arba (Hebron) in Judah (Joshua 20:7).
These six cities are declared to be cities of refuge where the manslayer (murderer) can flee from the near kinsman, avenger of the murdered person. By the law the near kinsman avenger is commanded to kill the murderer whether he is guilty or not: “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man” (Genesis 9:6). If the avenger catches him before he reaches the city of refuge, the avenger can kill him and will not be classed as a murderer, but as God’s avenger.
Once the murderer reaches a city of refuge, he is protected from the avenger. Then the elders of the city will try the murderer; and if they find that the deed was an accident or the result of fight but not the result of hate, the murderer is saved from death; yet he must remain in that city until the High Priest dies. Then he can go home; the avenger cannot touch him. Should the murderer venture out of the city before the high priest dies, the avenger can kill him.
Should the elders of the city of refuge find that the murderer is guilty of premeditated murder; the individual will be turned over to the avenger to be slain.
[Christ is the believer’s City of Refuge. The believer has fled to Him for safety. Christ is his High Priest, who will never die; so the believer abides in Him. Christ is also God’s Avenger—He is the [believers’] Kinsman Redeemer, but He is also God: Kinsman Avenger! He is kin both to the sinner and to God. Those found not in Christ at the judgment shall be turned into Hell (Gehennah) for the Second death.]
Verses 44 - 49
These are the laws, the testimonies, the statutes, and the judgments which Moses delivers to Israel on the east bank of the Jordan River after they come out of Egypt. It is here that Sihon, king of the Amorites, is killed; Heshbon and Og, king of Bashan are captured; and all others are slain. The wealth in their cities becomes the dwellings of the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh.
In Chapter 5, God gives Israel His Laws (the Ten Commandments) for the second time—as the name of this book of Deuteronomy means. In reality there are only the Ten Commandments, but God has given Israel five books of the Torah, the Law. Are there more than ten commandments? There are the original Ten Commandments, yet there are five books of the Law on the Law. The books of the Law are in reality commentaries on the Law, showing how many ways the Ten Commandments can be broken. (A Rabbi attending our classes told me that there are seven hundred and twenty-four laws including the toldoths, twenty ways in which each commandment can be broken, and abhoths, twenty ways in which each toldoth can be broken.)
The books Genesis through Deuteronomy are commentaries on the Ten Commandments that show how they can be broken.
Christians are advised by the Apostle Paul that should they subscribe to the idea that man is saved by keeping the law, they place themselves under the curse of the law; for the Word says:
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.
There are blessings in the Law—for one who keeps them, of course; but the Law does not promise eternal life or forgiveness for sins to those who obey them.
Moses calls all Israel together to hear the Laws of God the second time. Those who were nineteen forty years before are hearing the Laws for the second time; those of the ages one to forty are hearing them for the first time. Those who were seventy and older died in the wilderness.
This great covenant is made by God with Israel in Horeb (Mt. Sinai).
Moses tells the people that the LORD (Jehovah) did not make this covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. [They did not have the Law in any form, yet they are saved and justified; and they are justified also before God gives them circumcision as a sign of the Abrahamic Covenant. How are the fathers of Israel saved? —just as believers are today—by faith. “And he [Abraham] believed in the LORD [Jehovah], and he [the LORD] counted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6).]
God speaks to Israel face to face, proving that God can talk to man without killing him.
Moses says that to let the people hear what God is saying, he is the Mediator between God and Israel; for the people are sore afraid and plead for silence. They cannot stand to personally hear God anymore.
God tells Israel, “I am Jehovah, thy Elohim” —He is the LORD their God. He is the One who took them out of the land of bondage, Egypt.
The LORD tells His people that they shall have no other gods before them—alongside of Him.
He tells them that they shall not make for themselves any graven image—any idol whatsoever!—in likeness of anything in heaven on earth, or the water under the sun.
He also instructs His people not to worship any graven image nor serve one. He is a jealous God; He wants all the worship. He makes no excuses nor grants them, and He has the power to carry their iniquities to their children for the third and fourth generations.
The LORD grants mercy to thousands who love Him and keep His commandments.
The LORD directs His people not to dare take His name (Jehovah God) in vain. There will be no escaping His wrath if they do.
He also commands them to separate themselves to keep the Sabbath Day.
God instructs Israel to labor six days, a commandment that is just as mandatory as the one for keeping the Day of Rest. (How many today are working six days a week?)
Then God tells His children to rest; it is a blessed rest for His creatures. Neither man nor his son or daughter, nor anyone connected with his household, man or beast, shall work; all must rest on the Sabbath.
God wants the people to remember that they were slaves in Egypt; and Jehovah their God brought all of them out by His mighty arm. He commands them to observe the Sabbath day.
The LORD commands the children of Israel to honor their parents not only with the heart, but also in deeds.
He commands them not to kill.
He commands them not to commit adultery.
He commands them not to steal.
He commands them not to lie against their neighbor.
He commands them not to covet anything of their neighbor. Covetousness can lead to murder
These very words are spoken to Israel assembled at the mount, which is on fire. He adds no more commandments; He delivers only these ten. By his finger He writes them on tables of stone and hands them to Moses.
As Israel hears the voice of God speak out of the fire, the people with all their elders come to Moses.
The people are convinced that Jehovah is God and that man can speak to Him and live.
Nevertheless, the people implore Moses to tell them the truth; they cannot take anymore. They fear that they will die if the LORD does not stop talking.
They ask who but them has ever heard the Great Jehovah’s voice and lived?
They entreat Moses to go to Him for them and then tell them what He has said. What He commands, they shall hear and do it.
Jehovah hears Israel’s words and He is pleased. To these words Moses speaks:
The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;
According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.
Deuteronomy 18:15, 16
[The believer knows that this prophet is the Anointed Prophet of God—Jesus, the Messiah.]
Jehovah greatly desires for the people to have a heart that will beat only for Him; He desires a people who will keep His commandments always.
The LORD bids Moses to order the people back to their tents.
God tells Moses that He shall speak to him of the matters that he should emphasize for the people to observe in this glorious inheritance that He has prepared for them.
Israel shall observe all that GOD commands her to keep just as He has spoken, turning not in any way to any degree.
As Israel has heard the LORD and has seen the fire, now she must walk in the ways that He announced from the fire.
The LORD God wants to be glorified, of course; but He also wants His people to prosper and live long in the land that they will possess. He will grant blessing upon blessing if they do what He says.
Here are Jehovah’s (the LORD) instructions for Israel when she goes into the land to possess it though Moses is very skeptical that Israel will endure for long (see 4:25-29).
Verses 2 - 3
Oh, that Israel shall fear her God. If they do obey from the heart and do the things according to His will, their lives shall be prolonged.
“Hear this, O Israel!” [There are many in Israel (inside and outside the land) who use this verse to prove their monotheism, the belief in One God.]
Believers deem that there is only One God—there is no other god before him nor after Him, and from these Scriptures there is something very interesting to point out. Every time a Jewish person reads or writes the personal name of God, Jehovah, he will substitute the word Elohim, meaning God, or the word Adonai meaning Master. The reason, the Jewish say, is that the Torah (Book of the Law) forbids anyone to pronounce the word Jehovah (Yahweh); but this axiom is not true, for it cannot be found in the Holy Scriptures anywhere, in the Old Testament or in the New Testament. The exact opposite can be found; for Joel 2:32 says, “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered [saved] ....” Every time and everywhere the word LORD appears in all capitals, the translators have used the capitals in printer’s type to mean Jehovah, the personal name of God. How can one call upon the name of Jehovah without mentioning His name?
Now, the reader must look to the fourth verse of the sixth chapter. “Hear, O Israel: The LORD [Jehovah] our God is one Jehovah.” The word one in Hebrew is “echad” (pronounced ekh-awd) meaning UNITED, together; composite. One finger is not echad, but one hand is echad—united, composite, with one thumb, a palm, and four fingers. Together they are a composite, a hand, an echad. Therefore, God is One LORD, one Jehovah—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost — united, together, a composite—an “Echad”!
When one knows the LORD (Jehovah) as Saviour and God, he will love Jehovah his God with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might! Praise Him.
Moses advises that these precious words remain in the hearts of the people.
The reader must observe what God wants to do in the family—the very word of God must be taught forcefully and lovingly to the children; everyone is instructed to join in and talk to them as they sit in their houses, as they walk by the way, as they lie down, and when they rise up.
Then the people of Israel are commanded to bind the Scriptures to their hands and between their eyes.
The Scriptures must be written on the doorpost of the homes of the people. (Today, zealous Jews at times wear the little leather boxes around their arms and around their heads, and most Jewish homes have a mezuzah, a metal container containing portions of this Scripture nailed to the doorpost.)
God instructs Israel to learn the Word of God from her teachers and to be saturated with its contents so that her conversation will be filled with God’s Word. [The LORD gives Moses His Word hundreds of years before the written Word is put into the hands of the people; therefore, it must have been a symbolic teaching of the Old Covenant (Law).]
Great things are in store for Israel when she possesses the land which was promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. She will occupy glorious and great cities which she did not build.
The reader must keep in mind that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are not Israelites. Jacob is the father of the Jews, Isaac is the grandfather of the Jews and Israelites, and Abraham is the great, great grandfather of the Jews and Israelites. These three patriarchs are Hebrews, however. The word Hebes is derived from the word “eber” meaning across. Abraham came across the Euphrates River upon the direction of Jehovah; thus Abraham’s descendants are classed as Hebrews also.
Israel is to occupy houses full of good things which she has not filled and enjoy wells already dug which she does not dig, vineyards and olive trees which she has not planted; and the people will eat and be full.
Israel must not forget the LORD (Jehovah) who brought them out of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
Israel shall fear the LORD (Jehovah) God (Elohim) and serve Him and shall swear by His name.
Israel shall not go after other gods—they do not even exist! [They are the products of the mind of man engineered by Satan for people who passionately desire to see a god they can worship even if it is one with eyes which cannot see, or ears which cannot hear, or mouths which cannot speak.]
The LORD (Jehovah) God is a jealous God. He is a person with hands that can hold, feet that can walk, ears that can hear the faintest cry, and eyes that can pierce even the darkest darkness. He is a Person, One who knows, feels, helps, creates, supplies, and works out mighty things for them that trust Him. Amen.
Israel shall not test the LORD (Jehovah) God. [God cannot be tempted nor does He tempt anyone; but He can be tested, and He can test others. James 1:13 states: “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man ....” Every usable thing of man has to be tested before offered to the public.]
Israel has a trying time at Rephidim when no water can be found. The LORD (Jehovah) commands Moses to strike the rock in Horeb. Moses does so, waters come forth, and he calls the name of the place Massah.
Israel is to keep the Commandments, the testimonies, and the statutes of God.
Israel is to do what is right and good so that a good people shall possess the land.
Israel must do what is good with the knowledge that the LORD (Jehovah) will cast out all of Israel’s enemies.
To be sure, Israelite sons shall ask, “Why the testimonies? For what are the statutes? Do what with the judgment of God?”
The fathers of Israel shall reply, “We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt, and only Jehovah (the LORD) could have brought us out of the stronghold of the Egyptians with an omnipotent hand.”
Talk about signs that Jews demand! The signs are demonstrated to Israel’s fullest expectation, and the people learn that each sign is actually a plague against the gods of the Egyptians to prove to Israel that the Egyptians are at a loss to cope with the LORD (Jehovah), the true and only self-existent God. The Egyptians worship the night so God turns it to blood; the Egyptians worship the sun and God makes it go out—and the darkness can be felt; the Egyptians worship the frog, and a pestilence of frogs appears. Moreover, the Egyptians worship the firstborn, believing that a seed of righteousness, a speck of divinity, dwells in the flesh of the firstborn of animal and man; therefore, God takes away the firstborn of everything.
What a verse! “And he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in ....” Israel is not yet in the land, but she is on her way! The land is hers, for Jehovah promised it to her fathers.
Why the Commandments? Israel realizes that the LORD knows what is best for her—what things are for her good that He might preserve her people alive.
[The number of Israel today is far from the number that existed at the time of David and Solomon. Compared with the number of that existing at the time of Moses, Israel’s number today (1992) is about eight times larger. There were six hundred thousand fighting men, and four added to each man would increase the number of all Israel to 2,400,000. Today, in the Holy Land there are six hundred thousand fighting men, thus about 2,400,000 souls. However, this number will increase or decrease depending upon those who come or leave the territory of the nation of Israel. This number of 2,400,000 is just in the land. The scattered Israel throughout the world makes the increase number 16,000,000 to 18,000,000.]
The righteousness of Israel depends upon her observance of the law; but in the Millennium under Messiah Jesus, her righteousness shall be counted as Abram’s was, “And he believed in the LORD [Jehovah]; and he counted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6).
The first concern in the mind of God is for Israel as a righteous nation to possess the land that He has promised to her fathers—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (see Genesis 15:6).
God promises to cast out several nations which have occupied the land during the absence of the twelve tribes of Israel from Jacob to Moses (over four hundred years), as God has stated, when the iniquity of the Amorites is full. Besides the Amorites, the nations that God casts out are the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. These seven nations are the descendants of Canaan, the son of Ham (Genesis 9:22) who had a curse of Noah pronounced upon him. Now the curse will be fulfilled by the destruction of these nations by the armies of Israel (Genesis 9:25).
Verses 2 - 4
Israel is warned not to make any covenant with these nations, but to destroy all of them—men, women, and children; none is to be spared. Israel is not to let her sons and daughters marry any of them for they will turn the sons of Israel from following the LORD, thus inciting God’s anger against Israel so that He will destroy her.
There must be a complete destruction of these people and everything they possess.
Israel must remember that she is a holy people unto the LORD (Jehovah) her God. God has chosen her to be a special people unto himself—above all people of the earth.
Oh, the love of God that is manifested to this people! This love is not because of their great number, for they are the fewest of all people.
God loves Israel because of His covenant with her fathers to give their children’s children this beautiful land flowing with milk and honey. His mighty hand is raised against her enemies; and He has brought her out of the house of bondage from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt.
The children of Israel must know that Jehovah (the LORD) is God (Elohim), the faithful God, who keeps His covenant with them that love Him and keep His commandments—yes, for a thousand generations.
On the other hand, He destroys them that hate Him; He repays them to their face speedily.
There is nothing else to do but obey His laws and be blessed.
In the future, it shall come to pass that if the people are true to the God of their fathers and keep all His word—
The LORD will bless them by loving them and multiplying them. He will bless the fruit of their womb, of their land, of their corn, of their wine, of their oil; and He will bless the increase of their kin and their flocks in the land that He swore to their fathers.
God promises this upon their faithfulness to Him and their obedience to His commandments; no other nation shall be blessed as they— “...there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle.”
From His children shall all illnesses and diseases depart and be placed upon them that hate God’s people.
Israel shall destroy all her enemies.
If she shall wonder how she will overcome such enemies that may be greater in number than she,
She should just remember Egypt! What did God wrought?
Israel’s fear will fade when she remembers the destruction of Egypt.
Besides her fighting men, God will send hornets among Israel’s enemies; and Israel shall destroy all who try to hide from them.
Israel shall not be afraid of any of her enemies. Jehovah (the LORD) fights for her; and He is omnipotent, all-powerful.
Following are the battle plans for attack—when, where, and how long. Israel’s enemies shall be routed little by little, then occupied by one of the tribes of Israel but not destroyed at once, “...lest the beasts of the field [lions, bears] increase upon thee.”
The enemies shall be destroyed by a mighty destruction until they exist no more, and the LORD (Jehovah) shall perform this feat.
The kings of the enemies shall God deliver into Israel’s hands, and Israel shall destroy even their names from off the earth. No man will be able to stand before God’s people.
Verses 25 - 26
Israel shall utterly destroy the gods of her enemies; even the gold and silver which adorns these images shall be beaten and scattered and not kept, for they may bring a snare to Israel. Jehovah (the LORD) considers everything about these false gods an abomination, and He desires the same contempt of them by Israel.
The reader is finding that the LORD (Jehovah) repeats Himself many times in this book concerning His requirements for His people Israel. For example, He is continually saying, “Remember, remember, and remember.” The LORD is concerned with their whole-hearted support of His desire for them, His holy people.
[Repetition is good “mucilage”; after awhile, truth finally develops. One method of studying God’s Word involves reading over and over again the passage of Scripture desired to be learned or memorized. Personally, when studying God’s books, I usually read that book at least forty times before making comments on that portion of Scripture. All men forget some things, but the greatest way of storing the wealth of knowledge in one’s brain is by repetition. Man has learned that the brain must be fed that which is to be remembered; just as feeding his computer, man feeds his brain and calls it “word processing.”]
The LORD (Jehovah) knows all about His children; and here, He urges Israel “to remember.”
“All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do ...” —what a task! How can the people remember everything which is spoken this day? They have no books or tablets to write these laws down. God, however, helps in this edict: Men are to read, then repeat what God has written down. In other words, the full cooperation of the Jewish minds to make themselves remember is essential. The Word, helped by the Holy Spirit, is imparted and the people learn.
As the LORD (Jehovah) demands Israel to remember, He provides a way so that she can remember. To remember is for Israel to do the will of God and go forth to possess the Land.
Israel shall call to mind how Jehovah has led her these forty years in the wilderness, how He humbles Israel, and how He tries them to bring out what is in their hearts—whether they will obey Him or not.
God causes His people to hunger [Just think! If they had obeyed God, there would not have been these forty years. God would have known their hearts—whether they would obey His commandments or not. They disobeyed!] and feeds them with manna. [What is manna? No mortal has ever eaten it before this time, and this one experience teaches Israel that “... Man doth not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God [Jehovah] doth man live” (Matthew 4:4). By these words the Lord Jesus rebukes Satan in the first testing in the wilderness.
“Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee neither did thy foot swell, these forty years”—what gracious miracles! [Years ago I was looking to buy a new suit and asked the salesman if this suit lasted as long as those upon the backs of the Israelites. He retorted by saying, “They don’t make them that way anymore.”]
In the wilderness there are lessons to be learned by all twelve tribes, lessons akin to a father’s chastening his son for disobedience; so God chastens His son Israel: “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt” (Hosea 11:1).
Israel must remember the commandments of God—and do them.
What a land Jehovah leads His people into! It is watered from unlimited sources with an unlimited supply.
Israel finds a land that produces wheat and barley, vines for wine, fruit, fig trees, and pomegranates—a land of olive oil and honey.
Yes, it is a land that produces bread without scarceness. Nothing shall be lacking; even the stones are iron and the hills produce bronze (brass).
On completing her meals, Israel must be sure to return thanks, praising her Saviour for the good land He has given her.
Above all, Israel must be careful not to forget Jehovah her God, in not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which today Moses has repeated to her; these are the only ten.
Why do saints need to be reminded of Jehovah’s (the LORD) blessings? Even saints are in the flesh, and the flesh—the Adamic, sinful nature—rebels against God; and when He gives His saints a full stomach and a good house (watch out for prosperity!), poverty is easily forgotten.
Prosperity does come and the people’s herds and flock multiply, their silver and gold multiplies; in fact, everything they touch seems to prosper.
This prosperity causes the hearts of the people to be puffed up so that they think they have accomplished all of these feats when actually the LORD (Jehovah) has performed these wonders—they forget Egypt.
And they forget the wilderness experience where they are troubled with the fiery serpents, scorpions, and drought. They forget that Jehovah (the LORD) is the One who slakes their thirst with the water He causes to flow out of the Rock.
In the desert the LORD feeds His people with bread (manna); this action is for good: to make the people realize that only God, their God, can supply these necessities.
Israel must be careful not to take the glory of [Jehovah] the LORD her God and really believe that only she can supply the need.
But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.
[Is it not canny how the Jewish people are able to prosper, to demonstrate their ability to gain such wealth of the world? The answer is that by birth every Jewish person is endowed with business knowledge.
[The wealthy Jews of America, England, and South America cannot understand the poor condition of the Jewish nation of Israel. They have sent billions of dollars in relief, and it seems to go down a sink hole; they are still making loans from America by the billions. At a far distance they are making wealth; but in their homeland there are hardly any jobs, food is scarce, and money is gone.]
The reader will find in Deuteronomy 28:12 that God says Israel shall loan and not borrow if she has hearkened diligently unto the voice of Jehovah (the LORD) and observed what He has commanded her. Israel is still out of the will of God in 1992! She shall get back into the will of God when she repents and trusts the Messiah Jesus as her Saviour and LORD (Jehovah).
Verses 19 - 20
Israel is advised that her God is the Jehovah (LORD) of life; but should she forget Him and worship a god that does not exist, one that is made of stone, wood, silver, or gold, she will perish because she is not obedient unto the voice of Jehovah (LORD) her God—even as the nations before her whom Jehovah (LORD) destroyed before her face.
This chapter still deals with Israel and her devotion to Jehovah (the LORD) her God (Elohim).
Today is the day for which Israel has waited forty years. She will cross the Jordan River for the land promised to her fathers— Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The nations in the land, however, are mightier than she.
In summing up the previous forty years of Israel’s history, one realizes that Israel’s enduring the wilderness so long is not the most important fact, but Jehovah’s (the LORD) enduring Israel for forty years is the important truth; for God said to Israel, “... thou art a stiffnecked people” (9:6).
The people occupying the land are Israel’s natural enemies; they are very tall as she already knows.
However, Israel shall know assurance; for Jehovah (LORD) shall go before her as a consuming fire—nothing withers His fire. He will destroy Israel’s enemies so that she can subdue them speedily as Jehovah has said.
Israel is reminded not to meditate after Jehovah (the LORD) has cast her enemies out and not to claim the victory for herself by saying, “For my righteousness the LORD [Jehovah] hath brought me in to possess this land ....” Israel’s righteousness is not the reason; Jehovah (the LORD) has cast the nations out because of their wickedness which is greater than Israel’s.
Israel can subdue her enemies not because of her righteousness or her pure heart but because of her enemies’ wickedness for which Jehovah the God (Elohim) drives them out so that He may perform the Word which He spoke unto Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Moses emphasizes that Israel should understand this truth right now: Jehovah her God (Elohim) does not give her this land to possess it for her righteousness, “FOR THOU ARE A STIFFNECKED PEOPLE.”
Moses tells Israel that her heart and her attitude provoked Jehovah her God (Elohim) to wrath in the wilderness from the day she departed Egypt; she has rebelled against Jehovah (LORD) until she came unto this place.
Moses reminds Israel that even at Horeb (Mt. Sinai) she caused God’s wrath to intensify against her until He nearly destroyed her.
This was the time, Moses says, that he went up the mount to receive the tables of stone upon which the Covenant of the Law is written. Moses stayed there forty days and forty nights and fasted all that time.
[Forty in the Word of God is the number of testing and trial.]
Moses recalls that Jehovah (the LORD) delivered unto him two tables of stones, the Ten Commandments, written with His finger. On the mount at this time, Jehovah spoke to Israel out of the fire.
Verse 11 - 12
At the end of the forty days, Jehovah (the LORD) gave Moses the two tablets of stone, telling him to leave quickly for “... thy people which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt have corrupted themselves...they have made them a molten image.” [Jehovah is not claiming them for Himself.]
How angry Jehovah (the LORD) became! “I have seen this people,” He told Moses, “... it is a stiffnecked people.”
The LORD told Moses not to argue, that He wants to destroy the people of Israel and blot out their name. He also told Moses that He will make of him a nation, a mightier and greater one than that of the people.
[Personally, I have let my imagination run away with me, in thinking how Jehovah could have worked this out. Moses was eighty years old; and to start a nation with him would not be impossible, for Jehovah started the nation with Abraham when Abraham was a hundred years old. One comparison after another is raised, but I am so glad Moses was able to persuade Jehovah to endure Israel.]
Why would Moses not like the proposition? One would think that he would, but Moses had an inborn character which was of God; he loved Jehovah supremely and refused anything that could be brought against the duty of the LORD (Jehovah).
Moses left God in His anger; and with the two covenant tablets of stone in his hands, he came down from the burning mount.
Speaking to Israel of the incident, Moses says that he saw how Israel had sinned against the LORD (Jehovah): She had made a molten calf. How quickly she had turned from the LORD (Jehovah).
Moses took the two tables and cast them to the ground and broke them; thus, he signified that if anyone breaks one law, he breaks them all. James 2:10 states, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”
After he broke the tablets, Moses prostrated himself before the LORD (Jehovah), taking no nourishment of food or water for forty days.
Moses fasted for Israel’s sake, peradventure Jehovah would not give her up but forgive her again. He did so, imparting His true character of grace and mercy.
Moses asks the people if they have not wondered why God was forgiving in Aaron’s case. God was forgiving because Moses really prayed for Aaron; after all, Aaron was Moses’ brother. Why did God not pass judgment upon Aaron? —because Moses interceded for him.
Additionally, Moses tells the people that they are aware of what he did for them: He took the golden calf, burned it, stamped it, and ground it to dust; then he cast the gold dust into the brook that descended from the mount.
Other places Israel tested God to the limit were Taberah when Israel grumbled about the manna; Massah, when there was no water; and at Kibroth-hattaavah when the camp complained of no flesh to eat, to which God answered by sending quails. When the flesh came out of Israel’s nostrils, God caused many to die at His judgment.
Only thirty-eight years before at Kadesh-barnea, Israel was ready as much as she could be to go into the land and possess it; and God commanded her, “Go up and possess the land which I have given you: but then ye rebelled against the commandment of the LORD [Jehovah] your God [Elohim] ....” Israel did not trust Him nor listen to His voice.
From the time Moses first knew the people, he says, they have been rebellious against the LORD (Jehovah).
Moses continues that he fasted for forty days, pleading for the lives of the people; for God was determined to destroy them.
In his plea, Moses explained his reasons and presented his arguments to the LORD (Jehovah) in Israel’s behalf. Moses reasoned that if the LORD killed them, He had wasted His grace upon them in bringing them out of Egypt.
Moses also stated that no one can fathom the LORD’S mind; and he pled with Jehovah to remember His friends Abraham, Abraham’s son Isaac, and Isaac’s son Jacob, and the great covenant that He made with them. He implored the LORD not to look upon the stubbornness of His disobedient people—-
—lest the land says that the people are not powerful enough to bring them into the land which the LORD promised them, and that the LORD hates them so much.
Yet the LORD must admit that Israel is His people and His inheritance, which He brought out by His mighty power and by His outstretched arm.
How full and rich are the promises of God found in this tenth chapter. Even under the Law the love of God comes shining through to Jew and Gentile, and the reader is told to reciprocate that love of God for the love for God.
Yes, one learns that “the fearing of God” is demanded by God as the individual trusts Him. The fear of God does not mean “to be scared” of Him, but to love Him. Dr. G. Campbell Morgan once said that before he was saved, he was afraid of what harm God would show to him; but that after he was saved, he was afraid of what harm he would do to God.
One can read how much God wanted His people to express their love for Him, and that was before Israel ever received the Holy Spirit.
This great chapter is underlined by the thought of SUBSTITUTION. What a difference between man’s substitute and God’s substitute. Man’s substitute (as in a football game) is always inferior whereas God’s substitute is always superior; for example, Christ Jesus is man’s substitute.
Verses 1 - 5
Moses writes that here he received instructions for the substitution of a new set of stone tablets for the ones that were broken.
Exodus 32:15, 16 records:
And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written.
And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.
These tablets were made by God and the writing on both sides of the stone tablets was written by God, but they were thrown down and broken by Moses. Moses, however, was commanded by the LORD (Jehovah) to hew out two more stone tablets upon which the LORD (Jehovah) would write His laws (Deuteronomy 10:1).
Then Moses made an ark of shittim wood and placed in it the new tablets with the newly written laws, again written by the hand of God. The ark was known as the ark of the covenant testimony:
“And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee” (Exodus 25:21).
This verse records that when Aaron died, Israel received the substitution of a new High Priest. Israel took her journey from Beeroth to Mosera; there Aaron, the High Priest, died and was buried. Eleazar, Aaron’s son, became his substitute.
Here is recorded the substitution of the rivers of water for the water which issues out of the Rock.
Verses 8 - 9
These verses chronicle the substitution of the tribe of Levi for the firstborn men of all the tribes.
Numbers 3:12, 13 state:
And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be mine;
Because all the firstborn are mine; for on the day that I smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I hallowed unto me all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast: mine shall they be: I am the LORD.
The firstborn of the tribes were the Lord’s and provision was made by which they should be redeemed.
Numbers 18:15, 16 states:
Every thing that openeth the matrix in all flesh, which they bring unto the LORD, whether it be of men or beasts, shall be thine: nevertheless the firstborn of man shalt thou surely redeem, and the firstling of unclean beasts shalt thou redeem.
And those that are to be redeemed from a month old shalt thou redeem, according to thine estimation, for the money of five shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs [about $3.25].
Previously, the firstborn were set aside to be priests, but now the whole tribe of Levi is chosen to provide the priesthood when Aaron (Moses’ brother) and his sons were chosen to be priests. The rest of the Levites were to service the Tabernacle by bearing the Ark, by standing before the LORD (Jehovah) for Israel, by ministering unto Him, and by blessing in His name.
The tribe of Levi was not to be given any inheritance in the Land, for the LORD (Jehovah) was to be their inheritance.
The account in Numbers 18:20,21 records:
And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel.
And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.
Here Moses repeats the fifth substitution, one of another forty days to receive the full knowledge of the LORD (Jehovah) and His commandments. For thirty-eight years, Moses pled with Jehovah (the LORD) to spare Israel. God heard and thus spared Israel from extinction.
I John 5:14 reminds the reader: “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us....”
The substitution of a new life to live for God is found in the following phrase, “... go in and possess the Land....”
In Deuteronomy 1:8, the LORD tells the people, “Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them.”
Following are the requirements of God:
a. to fear Him,
b. to walk in all His ways,
c. to love Him,
d. to serve Him, and
e. to keep His commandments.
Following is a description of the three heavens which God has created:
(1) the heaven = where the birds fly,
(2) the heaven = the location of the stars, and
(3) the heavens = the abode of our God. [All that is the LORD’S (Jehovah), including the earth also, is the abode of His children!]
Moses reminds the people that in the beginning, the LORD (Jehovah) delighted Himself in the fathers of Israel—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—whom He loved and whose offspring (seed) he chose after them, even the people—their children, as it is today.
For the time being, Moses tells the people to forget about the eighth-day circumcision and do the following if they desire spiritual growth: cut off the fleshly desires of their sinful nature and cease from their haughty spirit. (Men today are to do the same in God’s grace. Galatians 5:24 records, “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”)
An individual must ask what his appreciation of God is? —Is Jehovah the LORD of lords? Is He above all gods? Is He Adonai (Master) above all masters? Each person must then ask if he is the LORD’S obedient servant?
No one person is greater in the LORD’S sight. All are the same, and only those who take of His grace will He receive.
Who will levy judgment upon those who have mistreated the fatherless and widows? God will, for even the stranger has a place in His heart.
The people are instructed to be kind, yes, to be merciful, yea, to love the strangers among them. For when they were strangers in Egypt, their God led the Egyptian to show mercy to them; and their relatives of old were made wealthy overnight.
The people are also told to fear the LORD (Jehovah), the God (Elohim); for Him shall they serve, to Him shall they cleave, and by His name shall they swear.
What a God men have!
He is their praise;
He is their God.
The people can swear by His name!
He has protected the children of Israel and provided them with great things.
Moses tells the people that they are a miracle, a standing miracle—a people whom God desires.
As a nation of seventy souls, Israel went down to Egypt; and after four hundred years, her God increased her as the stars of heaven for multitude. [However, this nation has not seen anything as yet!]
Chapter eleven contains the continual, ethical instructions of the LORD (Jehovah) through Moses to Israel who is now prepared to enter the Land promised to her fathers—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In the forty years of wilderness living, Israel has suffered the loss of a generation by death, a generation who was twenty years old and upward at the time of rebellion. After the forty years and after the nation takes the advice of the ten spies who spread the rumor that Israel is helpless against the people of the Land, the LORD sends the people back to the wilderness another forty years, one year for each day the spies went out.
This forty-year period is nothing to God, for He has lived eternally and will not grow older, but forty years is a long time to the young and detrimental to the old.
Israel had been in the wilderness two years when God’s punishment is announced; therefore, they have to endure the wilderness thirty-eight more years, a total of forty years. So they who are nineteen endure thirty-eight more years, making the oldest people fifty-seven years old (except Caleb and Joshua)—a rather young people and army ready for the conquest.
There should not be anything but love in the hearts of every Israelite. They should keep the LORD’S (Jehovah’s) commandments, because He first loved them: protecting them and providing them with that which only God can provide.
Moses reminds the people that everyone knows by experience the LORD (Jehovah) in His greatness, His mighty hand, and His outstretched arm.
Moses recalls for the children of Israel that Jehovah demonstrates many acts and miracles in the midst of Egypt to their King Pharaoh. (See Isaiah 5:24; 9:12, 17, 21; 10:14 for His signs and works.)
Moses recollects that Egypt’s army with its horses and chariots came to a drastic end by God’s causing the waters of the Red Sea to engulf them as they pursued Israel. The LORD allowed Israel to rest in the midst of the sea. [Think of it! As Israel went on through the sea ahead of Pharaoh and his army, the Egyptians were being destroyed by the mighty waves of the sea!]
Every Israelite present at this time had been in the wilderness forty years or less. All had seen Jehovah’s deliverance and provision. In the wilderness, there was nothing but rock and sand; yet the LORD (Jehovah) gave Israel streams in the desert from which to drink, flesh to eat, clothes that never wore out, and a cloud that protected her people from the deadly rays of the sun by day and, turning to fire, gave them light by night.
Some say that the earth opened its mouth and swallowed Dathan, Abiram, and their families [while Koran went alive to Sheol with the rest, yet his family were spared by God in His grace and were not buried alive]. (Koran’s family later became the Musicians of the Tabernacle and Temple worship.)
Israel is witness to the LORD’S (Jehovah) great work.
The LORD (Jehovah) cares for His own even though His commandments may seem that He just does not want man to have or to do things just because He is God. He has made man and wants His children to enjoy His best without injury; to enjoy God’s best. His children must obey His commandments. [Keeping His decrees guarantees that Israel shall be strong.]
Keeping God’s decrees guarantees that His children will prolong their days in the land.
Israel will not endure the hard labor of irrigating the farms by the foot as in Egypt (Egypt, after three thousand years, is still watering their gardens by pedals), for the new ...
... land is full of hills and valleys watered as only God can.
God cares for and watches after the land from the beginning of the year even to the end of the year.
Israel is encouraged to hear the LORD’S command and love Him.
He will give His blessing of rain during both seasons, in autumn (October) and in the spring (March-April).
He will cover the land with grass for Israel’s cattle, “... that thou mayest eat and be full.”
Jehovah (LORD) warns Israel to be careful of idolatry.
His anger will shut the rains out if His people do not serve Him; thus, there will be no fruit of the soil.
To guarantee that the people of Israel stay close to the Creator, they must do the following:
bind His words upon their hearts and souls,
bind them upon their hands and forehead,
teach their sons the Word of God,
talk about these Words with their children when
yea, when they walk on the road,
when they lie down, and
when they get up.
write them on their doorpost of their houses and their gates.
remember them and act upon them.
Then they shall multiply in the Land and enjoy it.
Other Blessings For Israel
If the children of Israel love their Saviour, the LORD (Jehovah) God (Elohim), if they obey Him ...
... the LORD (Jehovah) will drive out all nations greater than they.
“Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be.”
[This book has been called the Ephesians of the Old Testament.] Everywhere Israel’s foot treads, she may claim it!
No man will be able to stand before Israel. Dread and fear of her shall fill the hearts of the people she is to subdue.
The LORD sets a blessing and a curse (See Chapter 30).
There will be a blessing if Israel listens to the LORD’S commandments.
There will be a curse if Israel does not listen to the LORD’S loving commandments and turns aside from His way.
-AN OBJECT LESSON-
The Law is to be acted out by all Israel, blessings and curses. In the Land (Samaria) are two mountains facing each other. The one called the Mt. of Blessing is Mt. Gerizim; and the mount of Curses is Mt. Ebal.
Israel acts this out later after entering the Land of Promise: Joshua 8:30-35. Joshua divides all Israel into two parts: those who read the Laws of blessing, placed on Mt. Gerizim; and the other half who stands upon Mt. Ebal and reads the curses of the Law. On Mt. Ebal, Joshua builds an altar of stone which has not been hewn by iron; he covers it with a plaster, then writes the whole Law on the plaster (Deuteronomy 27:2).
Verses 30 - 32
As Moses speaks of these two mountains, being familiar with all the children of Israel, he gives instructions of what they are to do in the celebration of conquering the land of Canaan. Moses emphasizes the keeping of the laws of God.
More instructions of a new nature are given to Israel. She is going to face situations which the people never before imagined.
When studying the Scripture, Israel must remember that whether speaking on doctrine or prophesies the scriptures are connected with the Land of Promise and should be emphasized or interpreted in those connections.
All locations and places familiar to Israel’s enemies should be shunned.
Moreover, these places should be destroyed.
Things of God, however, shall be considered sacred.
“... the place which the LORD (Jehovah) your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there....” [Israel is just coming out of the wilderness with the Tabernacle that God directed them to build, and they have instructions for their sacrifices. Here He reveals that He is going to choose a place where the Tabernacle can be erected, later replaced by the Temple.]
First, God will have the land conquered and put under Israel’s subjection. (In the days of the judges the location of the Tabernacle is chosen seven times.)
This special place is not chosen by the LORD (Jehovah) until the time of Solomon: “And the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I ... have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice” (II Chronicles 7:12).
In verses 11, 12, 13, 18, 21, and 26 (seven in number—a perfect number), this twelfth chapter of Deuteronomy speaks of this future location for the LORD’S sanctuary where sacrifices can be killed and [some] eaten.
To this future place Israel is commanded to bring her burnt offerings (a sacrifice that is completely consumed by fire but cannot be eaten) with its meal offering and the sacrifice of Peace, Sin, and Trespass (see Leviticus 1 - 5). The only sacrifice the offerer can eat of with the priest is the peace offering with its wave offering. The helping priest receives God’s share for his services: the right breast and right shoulder. The priest will boil his portion, and the offerer will boil the rest of the animal sacrifice. The offerings depict the following: The burnt offering speaks of dedication; the meal offering speaks of separation; and the peace offering speaks of fellowship.
Also, tithes and things pledged can be offered.
The eating of the peace offering is a special joy in the place the LORD (Jehovah) chooses.
From this date Israel cannot offer whatsoever is “right in his own eyes” as before, but according to these commandments.
The reason is simple: Israel has not found the “rest” of God nor His inheritance as yet.
When Israel possesses the Land and finds rest from her enemies...
then God will appoint that one place of sacrifice
where there will be complete joy in everyone’s heart.
Israel must not offer her burnt offering in just any place,
but in the place that God shall choose.
Israel may kill the clean animal for her own eating even among those Israelites who may be clean or unclean (read Leviticus 11).
The children of Israel must never eat blood of any animal. They must pour the blood upon the ground.
Within her gates, Israel is forbidden to eat such things as the tithe of her corn (grain), or that of her wine, or of her oil, or the firstlings of her herds or flocks. The tithe is the LORD’S (Jehovah’s)! It must be given to a priest to enjoy.
When the tithe becomes a peace offering (wave offering), it may be eaten in that one city where Jehovah (the Lord) wants to place His name. Moreover, all the family may join in.
Israel must remember the Levites. God gives this tribe forty-eight cities throughout Israel, and they are the recipients of the tithes and offering.
Israel is first to give the first fruit offering—everything ripe in the field, on the vine, or on the tree—on the day of First Fruits (Leviticus 23:9 -14), which occurs on the first day of the week after the first regular Sabbath following the slaying of the Passover Lamb. Although the priests are Levites, not all the Levites are priests. All, however, are descendants of Aaron; and their number of cities are located in the Tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Simon.
Second, Israel is to give her tithes.
Third, Israel is to give her second tithe every third year. All these tithes are to be given to God’s anointed Priests who are not given any portion like the other tribes, for their inheritance is the LORD.
When the LORD (Jehovah) prospers the children of Israel, they may eat all the flesh that their souls desire to eat.
If the location of the city where the LORD shall choose to put His name is too far for Israel to take her offering, then the people may kill and eat it in their own cities.
Even as a roebuck and hart are eaten, those Israelites who are clean or unclean alike may eat of them.
Again God commands, “... be sure that thou eat not the blood”; and the reason is so stated: Life is in the blood, given only by God; therefore, Israel is not to eat life!
Israel shall pour it out upon the earth as she would water.
“... that it may go well with thee, and with thy children....” [The simple reason for not eating blood is that the blood is the sewer system of the body, and all impurities of the animal is in its blood. That is a good reason for not eating blood; but God commands Israel not to, so that is reason enough.]
When in the Land and the people choose to bless the LORD by their vows, they should “go unto the place which the LORD shall choose.”
The burnt offerings will be slain, fleeced, quartered, beheaded, and placed upon the Brazen (Bronze) Altar to be burned completely; the Peace Offering may be eaten. The Sin and Trespass offerings (all of them—the hide, the flesh, the bones) are the priests.
All of God’s commandments are good and pure for human beings.
The LORD shall give Israel the Gentile nations which are on her inheritance.
However, Israel must take care not to copy the worship of these heathens. She must not even inquire of them.
Israel must keep herself pure from all idolatry of the heathen. Every manner of the heathen worship is satanic; there has been nothing they have kept back in worshiping these silly idols— nothing, including fornication and burning alive their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.
The people are commanded to do as the LORD has commanded. They shall not add to nor diminish His law.
There are three places where God forbids the adding to or taking from His Word.
Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.
Proverbs 30:5, 6
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
Revelation 22:18, 19
There are many prophets such as Abraham, Jacob, Samuel, even the Lord Jesus, the Messiah, sent to Israel by the LORD (Jehovah) in times of Israel’s apostasy (falling away from the truth). Many of these prophets gather themselves together and form what is known as “the school of the prophets,” of which Elijah and Elisha have had a part. Sometimes one or more prophets bring some new revelations which they claim as holy of God; in many cases, however, these revelations turn out to be false.
Here in this chapter the Israelites are warned that there will be false prophets among the good; consequently, they must be careful and try the spirits which control the prophets.
To determine whether prophets are of God or of Satan, one must pause for a moment to reflect on the warnings that God gives today. All prophets speak either by the Spirit (Holy Ghost) or the spirit of Satan.
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
Hereby know ye the spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
I John 4:1-4
The test for all spirits is “Who is Jesus the Messiah?” If a person prophesying says, “Jesus is the only begotten of the Father, and is God manifested in the flesh,” one will know at once that the prophet (preacher, teacher, evangelist) is of God; but should that so-called prophet declare that Jesus the Messiah is not God manifested in the flesh, he is a false prophet.
II Peter 2:1-2, 12 states:
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;
To conclude discussion of the false prophets of today, one must be reminded that they are eternal.
In Israel’s time between Moses and Jesus, false teachers do arise and the LORD (Jehovah) provides the test by which the Israelites will know whether these teachers are of God or not.
If one who proclaims to be a prophet gives a sign or wonder and it comes to pass, that sign is not the proof sufficient that he is speaking the truth; afterwards, he may suggest that his audience join him in seeking other gods and serving them.
The children of Israel are never to follow anyone who suggests that they substitute another god for the LORD (Jehovah); for the LORD Jehovah has brought the sign or wonder to pass, to try His children and to prove their faith whether they love the LORD (Jehovah) God with all their heart and with all their soul.
Only the LORD (Jehovah) shall be Israel’s God. She must trust Him, keep His commandments, and serve Him.
If the LORD’S (Jehovah’s) children are true to Him, they will expose the false prophet.
Verses 6 - 8
Even if the false prophet is a near kinsman or a friend who tries to entice the people secretly to leave the trusting in the LORD (Jehovah) and turn to the gods of their enemies, he must be exposed.
The one tempted shall kill the false prophet: His hand is to be the first to cast a stone at him, and afterwards the people of Israel.
The false prophet shall be stoned until he is dead.
This act will permeate throughout Israel and cause the people to fear and end such blasphemy.
Verses 12 - 16
Should the people hear of anyone following false gods, they shall search him out and see if the rumor is true. If there be many doing this, Israel shall smite them with the edge of the sword, killing everyone. They shall plunder the whole city, piling all things of the city, and burn it. The city shall never be built again. [All these judgments are earthly.]
Israel is to hold to nothing that is in the city, so the LORD (Jehovah) will in His mercy turn to her and show her mercy, and multiply her more.
All these blessings shall be Israel’s continually as she hearkens unto the Word of the LORD (Jehovah) her God. [Yes, keep His commandments and be blessed.]
This chapter is a repetition of Chapter 12. Someone once said that “repetition is theological mucilage” (a subject sticks in the mind whenever it is repeated), and the LORD (Jehovah) clearly states that He wants His people to exercise the precepts of this lesson.
Verses 1 - 2
Israel is always to remember her heritage: that the LORD (Jehovah) is her God and that she is a separated people; even in the time of mourning for the dead, she is not to cut herself as do the Gentiles. She is a holy (separated) people and her God Jehovah has chosen her to be a peculiar people, a people for a possession; for the LORD Jehovah has chosen her for Himself.
The prohibited foods are an abomination to the LORD (Jehovah). His desire is for Israel to abstain from eating them.
The following beasts are the ones which Israel may eat: the ox, the sheep, and the goat.
Verses 5 - 6
The people may eat the hart (deer), the roebuck, the gazelle, the fallow deer, the wild goat (mountain sheep), the antelope (ibex), and any of these animals “that parteth the hoof” and “cheweth.”
The people shall not eat of that which “chews the cud,” or of them that “divide the cloven hoof,” only such as the camel, the hare (rabbit), and the coney (rock badger). They chew the cud but do not divide the hoof; therefore, they are unclean to Israel and must not be eaten.
The swine (pig), because it divides the hoof but chews not the cud, is unclean. The people must not eat it or touch its dead carcass.
The waters abound in food, but Israel shall eat only those that have fins and scales.
Israel should not eat that which does not have both scales and fins.
Verses 11 - 13
The people may eat clean birds; but they shall not eat unclean birds such as the eagle, the ossifrage, the ospray (buzzard), the glide (red kite), and the kite (falcon).
They shall not eat any raven after his kind.
The owl (ostrich), night hawk (sea gull), the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind are unclean and shall not be eaten.
The little owl, the great owl, and the swan (white owl) are also unclean.
The pelican, the gier eagle (carrion vulture), and the cormorant shall not be eaten.
The stork, the heron after her kind, the lapwing (hoopoe), and the bat are unclean and shall not be eaten.
The sky is filled with bird life and it is usually unclean.
Israel may eat of the clean birds.
Israel is commanded to listen: “Ye shall not eat of anything that dieth of itself,” but the people may give to the stranger or sell it to the Gentile.
Following is another improper situation. A sheep has given birth to a lamb; consequently, she begins to give milk. The lamb must not be taken from its mother, killed, and then boiled in its mother’s milk, which was given to feed the lamb.
Verse 22 -23
A tithe of all that is grown is demanded by LORD (Jehovah). He allows the offerer to eat of the tithe of the harvest which God has given, and it shall be eaten in the city where God shall choose to put His name. Not only the grain, but also the new wine, the oil, the firstborn of the herds and flocks shall be tithed.
Verse 24 - 26
If the distance to God’s chosen city is too far, then Israel shall sell the tithe and take the money in hand to the city. There she may spend the money for whatever her heart desires such as oxen, sheep, wine, or strong drink; and there the people shall eat it in the presence of the LORD (Jehovah). They and their families shall eat it in the presence of the LORD (Jehovah) their God and rejoice in Him.
The people must remember with their abundance and tithes the Levite who lives in their town, for he has no possessions as they have.
At the end of every third year, the people shall give the second tithe as the first tithe; in other words, that third year they shall give one fifth of all their produce, cattle, and other increase to the LORD and deposit it in their town.
The Levite who has no possession shall be welcomed along with the orphans and widows to the tithes of the people; they may eat and be satisfied, and the LORD (Jehovah) shall bless His people for it.
[The LORD Jesus said that we will have the poor with us forever, and isn’t this example a wonderful way to help the needy?]
In concluding this chapter, the reader finds the following categories: Verses 1 - 2, The Choice of God of Israel to be His; Verses 3 - 21, The Choice of God of food for His people; Verses 22 - 29, The Choice of God that Israel give God the tithe each year.
Wherever the Law is mentioned, one must remember that the Promised Land must be considered while learning God’s commandments; and because the laws of God and the Land work hand in hand, many of the laws cannot be carried out in foreign lands.
In studying “the Sabbath,” one learns that the word Sabbath means to “rest”; “God” rests on the seventh day from all the work of the previous six days. After resting, He blesses the seventh day and sanctifies it because in it He rests from all that He has created and made (Genesis 2:lb, 3).
I. The Sabbath Day
Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee.
Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work:
But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou.
The Sabbath is chosen by God for Israel, her people, and her cattle and sheep as the one day out of seven to rest. That day is not a day chosen to worship the LORD (Jehovah), nor to seek amusement, but only to rest the body from any labor. Fifty-two times out of the year is Israel to rest: from sunset of the sixth day through sunset of the seventh day.
Man suffers today for the lack of rest. God knows what is best for His people, and man would be better off to rest one day out of seven, not for any spiritual advantages but physical only. One may accept the fact that obeying the command of God is spiritual.
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates...
There are two directives of the law:
(1) One must work six days;
(2) One must not work on the seventh day.
II. The Sabbath Years
At the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release.
To gain a fuller understanding of the Sabbatical, one should turn to Leviticus 25:1-7:
And the LORD spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the Lord.
Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof;
But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.
That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land.
And the sabbath of the land shall be meat for you; for thee, and for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant, and for thy stranger that sojourneth with thee,
And for thy cattle, and for the beast that are in thy land, shall all the increase thereof be meat.
The LORD (Jehovah) commands Israel to count six years during which the people sow and reap; but the seventh year is holy, and no work of any kind is to be done during the whole seventh year. In the sixth year the LORD (Jehovah) will give Israel enough food and cattle to make up for not sowing and reaping in the seventh year. [Think of it! —a whole year to rest the land and their bodies, a whole year to enjoy themselves and praise God for their provision.]
Verse 1 - 4
The seventh year (Deuteronomy 15) is the “year of release.” Every debt is canceled; only the foreigner is not forgiven his debt.
The law for the cancellation of debts each seventh year is to last until there will never be a poor person in Israel; for God says in the eleventh verse, “... the poor shall never cease out of the land ....” In other words, all debts will be canceled the seventh year. [Then all Hebrew slaves will be granted their freedom in the seventh year.]
At all times, Israel is to take the Word of God seriously.
The LORD has promised that Israel will always lend and not borrow if her heart is right and if she is keeping His commandments. Today (1992), just the opposite is true—Israel is borrowing and not lending. This fact proves that she is not spiritually correct as far as the law of God is concerned. She has borrowed into the billions of dollars, even asking for another ten billion more. (American Christians say, “Give Israel the loan, for the Messiah shall reimburse the United States when the Messiah returns.”)
Verses 7 - 8
If there is poor among God’s people, the people must take care of him.
Verse 9 - 10
The people are cautioned that when they loan money to their brothers, they are not to think that the seventh year is near when all debts are canceled. They are reminded that if they trust the Lord, He will take care of them. The LORD (Jehovah) honors those who obey Him.
The poor will always be in the land.
Verse 12 - 13
When the Israelite buys a Hebrew slave, the master is to take care of him as an employee, for he is a brother. When the year of release comes, he is not to be sent away empty.
The Israelite must give him of his flock, his floor, and of his winepress —
The Israelite will remember that he himself was once a slave in Egypt.
Verses 16 - 18
There is one reason for which the slave will not be released, and that is by his own choice. He may say to his master that he wants to be a slave forever. The master will take an awl and bore a hole through the lobe of his ear to the door. The servant then will be considered a bond slave forever. A maidservant will be treated in the same way if she chooses to be a slave forever.
The Israelite shall not think of a slave’s leaving as hard or of his equipping the slave as such a loss, for the slave has been worth two during the six years of service.
Verses 19 - 22
The firstling males of the herds and flocks shall be set apart unto the LORD (Jehovah) unless there is a blemish on these creatures. In that case, they may be eaten within Israel’s gates [homes]; but they shall not be sacrificed to God. Furthermore, no work is expected of the firstling of the bullocks, nor is the firstling of the sheep to be sheared.
As Israel goes to the place where the LORD (Jehovah) shall choose, the people may take of these firstlings and eat them before the LORD (Jehovah).
The people shall not eat the blood, however, but pour it out like water.
The Jubilee Year is explained in Leviticus 25:18-24: Seven Sabbaths of years total forty-nine years (the forty-ninth year is a Sabbath), and no work is to be done throughout this year by man or beast.
The question naturally arises, “How can Israel get by not planting and reaping for two years hard running?” God answers that in the sixth year of the last (seven years), He will cause the land to produce three times the normal harvest. Furthermore, in the eighth year, the people may sow and reap; thus, they will eat of the old and of the new in the eighth year.
The fiftieth year is declared to be the year of Jubilee when all land is to be returned to the original owner. Hence, when land is sold, it can be sold at the most for only forty-nine years or less depending on the days left to the year of Jubilee.
Verses 16 and 17 hold the key to this wonderful chapter:
Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty:
Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee.
Deuteronomy 16:16, 17
This same charge can also be found in Exodus 23:14-17.
Three times a year all males are to travel to the place where the LORD (Jehovah) has selected to put His name. At the time of Solomon the reader finds that God chooses Jerusalem to be that city (II Chronicles 7:12).
Traveling to Jerusalem three times each year would seem to be an impossibility for some Jewish men. Nevertheless, one can see that the Law of God is indeed attached to the Promised Land; for some men do travel to Jerusalem and stay for at least two of the three feasts which are the Feasts of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles.
At Pentecost, the feast days which follow the resurrection of the Messiah, Peter speaks to the large group gathered at the Temple (who has been at the first feast, the Passover) by saying:
Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
This same crowd, gathered at Jerusalem for Pentecost, is part of the one that at Passover cries out loudly and clearly, “Crucify Him; crucify Him!” Peter condemns them: “... ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain ...” (Acts 2:23c).
Verses 1 - 8
I. The Feast of Passover, Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:6-8). This feast is celebrated in the month of Abid (Nisen), the fourteenth (today’s April). This is to be one of the perpetual feasts, and Ezekiel 45:21 speaks of this observance during the Millennium; however, Israel has not celebrated this feast in Jerusalem as a nation for about two thousand years. Even after Israel captures the land, God does not choose a place until Solomon’s time; yet Israel does not observe this feast nationally from Solomon to King Hezekiah (nearly three hundred years), she does not keep it after that until the reign of Josiah (over one hundred years later), and no more after Josiah’s reign.
The place where Passover is first observed is Egypt; after that, it is to be kept in the holy land, in Jerusalem.
No leaven is to be eaten for seven days. Leaven in the Scriptures is always a type of sin. Thus, the Passover is to be celebrated with unleavened bread (without sin).
Verses 9 - 12
II. The Feast of Weeks, Pentecost (Leviticus 23:15-22)
The word Pentecost simply means “fifty”; this feast occurs fifty days after the Feast of Firstfruits. It is a feast of harvest which is a type of the giving of the Holy Ghost. The first Pentecost occurs when Israel is worshipping the golden calf, and three thousand are slain. (At the first Pentecost in this age of grace, three thousand were saved! Hallelujah!)
All people are to join in this wonderful Feast: Israel, the manservant, the maidservant, the Levite that is within the gates, the Gentile, the fatherless, the widow who is among the people in the place where the LORD (Jehovah) God has chosen to place His name. [Israel must remember that she was a bondman in Egypt!]
Verses 13 -15
III. The Feast of Tabernacles, Booth “Succoth” (Leviticus 23:33- 44)
This feast, which lasts for seven days, is celebrated to commemorate the forty years that Israel lived in booths in the wilderness.
Verses 16 - 17
All males will go to the place where God will choose to place His name. The men are not to appear before the LORD (Jehovah) empty, but they are to give as they are able according to the blessing of the LORD Jehovah their God [Elohim].
Verse 18 -20
The people shall appoint judges and other officials in all their tribes; and they shall judge the people with fair judgment according to the Law of Moses.
Judges are cautioned to be careful that they take no gift; for gifts will influence their decisions; they will be blinded by them. Their decisions shall be fully just with prejudices and with a convicted conscious that they may live and enjoy the land that the LORD (Jehovah) has given them.
Verses 21 - 22
There are two matters that Israel must keep in mind:
1. She must not plant a grove of trees near the brazen (bronze) altar.
2. She must not set up an image anywhere; the LORD (Jehovah) hates them.
The word which permeates this chapter is purity.
I. A PURE SACRIFICE
The sacrifice, whether it is a sheep or a goat or even an ox, must be whole in every detail. An animal that has a blemish cannot be offered up for the sacrifice of man.
God is perfect and His grace and mercy are perfect depending upon a perfect sacrifice.
II. A PURE RELIGION
Should there be found a man or woman in Israel who has forsaken the LORD (Jehovah) and His commandments that man or woman shall be eradicated as the LORD demands.
Verses 3 - 4
That peculiar sin, of course, is idolatry and the worship thereof—even if the object of worship is the sun or moon, or any of the stars in heaven.
If such vile persons are reported and the accusation diligently investigated and found to be true, the wicked persons shall be stoned to death.
The wisdom of God demands two or three witnesses. At the mouth of two or three witnesses shall he that is worthy of death be put to death, but not at the mouth of one witness. (If an individual could be put to death by the witness of ONE person, that individual could die even though he has committed no crime or blasphemy and is hated by no one. However, with at least two witnesses, the second or third witness will not verify the false accusation of one witness who could falsely accuse a person.)
The hands of the witnesses shall be the first to put the accused to death. Thus this evil one can be put away.
III. A PURE DECISION
The reader knows that Moses organizes the judicial system in Israel, a system suggested by his father-in-law and approved by God. God directs Moses to appoint one judge over every ten Israelites; then, if judgment cannot be accomplished, an appeal is made to a judge who is over fifty; then if no judgment can be found, an appeal can be made to a judge over one hundred; and if no judgment can be found there, an appeal will be made to a judge presiding over one thousand.
Verses 8 - 9
If no decision can be made by the judge over the one thousand, an appeal can be made to Moses. Now, as Moses will not live but one year, an appeal cannot be made to him. Therefore, an appeal can be made to the chief priest of the Levites in the place the LORD will choose (Jerusalem). The chief priest will make the final decision based upon the law of God.
Verses 10 - 11
After the decision is made by the chief priest according to the Law, any Israelite involved in the case must abide by the decision. He must not deviate from it in any way.
The man who will act presumptuously according to his own will rather than obey God’s command will be considered in contempt of God’s will; and that man shall surely die.
All people of Israel will profit by such a decision.
IV. A PURE KING
The time will come when Israel will desire a king as the nations around her have.
The first consideration in choosing a king is to find a pure Israelite. No Gentile must be allowed to sit upon the throne in Israel.
The true and pure Israelite can guard against trouble by not multiplying horses to himself, remembering that trust in the LORD (Jehovah) is better than trust in horses. Psalm 33:17 states: “An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength.”
So that his heart may not be turned away from the LORD, the king shall not marry wives. The king must be careful not to heap gold and silver; for in time of adversity, he might trust his riches instead of God.
Verse 18 - 19
God’s command is that the king himself shall copy the Book of the Law, which the priests have; then God’s truth shall abide in this king. Psalm 1:2 affirms: “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”
This action will guarantee the king’s deportment among his subjects, proving his humility among men; and he will not turn from the LORD’S commandments. His obedience shall prolong his days as a righteous king whose judgments will consist of truth tempered in mercy. He and his subjects shall thus be blessed by the Almighty God.
As the reader has learned, the book of Deuteronomy means “the Law given the second time,” or “restating the Law.” Herein, the first law of the Ten Commandments is dealt with: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
Verses 1 - 2
All Israelites of the tribe of Levi are void of any ownership of any part of the Promised Land. They cannot hold ownership to any section of the Holy Land as the other eleven tribes hold; for (Jehovah (the LORD) is Levi’s inheritance. [All priests are Levites, but not all Levites are priests.]
Verses 3 - 4
The priests (Cohens) are descendants of the first high priest Aaron.
All the firstfruits are brought to the city (Jerusalem) for the Levites to receive, and the tithes belong to the Levites. Even the second tithe during the third year, all the grain in the field, all the fruit and nuts on the trees, and all the grapes on the vines which are ripe on the first day after the first regular Sabbath after the Passover are brought to the place of reception for the Levites.
Now the priests eat off the Brazen Altar (Bronze), whose food is the grain or meal offering offered with the Burnt offering along with the right shoulder and right breast of the animal being offered for the peace offering—the “fellowship” offering. This is the only sacrifice the offerer can eat of while God through his priest eats of this right shoulder and right breast. Near the Brazen (Bronze) alter are the kitchens where the offerer and the priests can boil the sacrificial offering and eat it near the house of God.
The priests are given the whole animal of the “sin” and “trespass” offerings. The hides and fleeces of these animals are given to the priests who assist in these offerings.
Of all the tribes, the LORD (Jehovah) Elohim (God) chooses Levi to minister in the name of the LORD (Jehovah), he and his sons forever.
Verses 7 - 8
“And if a Levite”—one who is a Levite, but not a Cohen, (a priest)—feels led to live in that place where God shall place his name and where the altar is located, he shall be given full courtesy and full acceptance to minister as the regular Cohens (priests).
Verses 9 - 10
Israel’s sanctification is to include their separation from the people living in the “land of promise” and their evil practices such as offering their children on altars of fire.
Israel must not follow the people’s charmers, nor is she to consult with familiar spirits (demons), a wizard, or with a necromancer (one who consults with the dead, one possessed with a demon.)
All these people are abominable in the sight of the LORD. The very fact that the people of the land practice such abominations is the reason God is going to drive them out before Israel.
God wants His people to be perfect.
Yes, these people have kept up their terrible practices by God’s permission, but He has not permitted Israel to do so—Israel is God’s (Elohim).
[The Promise of the Coming of the Messiah!]
Moses is here speaking to Israel reminding her people of God’s visitation when the voice of God in the cloud and in the midst of thick darkness caused the mountain to tremble and blow a flaming fire. God promised that He would never speak to His people again in a way that would scare them beyond human expression.
Verses 16 - 18
The next time that God raises up a Prophet likened unto Moses, there will not be the sound of the voice of God nor the fire and thick darkness which cause Israel to fear even the sound of the voice of God.
Verse 19 - 20
There is a curse for those who will not hearken unto the Word: The Prophet shall speak, and God will require the life of the disobedient.
There is the blessing, of course, for those who do hearken unto the Words He shall speak; the obedient shall be saved and have eternal life.
Just before Christ is baptized, John the Baptist is asked if he is “That Prophet” Moses spoke about. John the Baptist says that he is not; but later, when Jesus appears, John the Baptist declares, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
The words in the New Covenant (New Testament), which the Lord Jesus speaks and which all Israel is commanded to obey, proclaim: “I am the way, the truth, the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). [O, Israel, hear His Word! Believe the Prophets! Believe on Jesus of Nazareth, God manifested in the flesh, and you shall be saved.]
There have been many false prophets who have risen up to claim to be this prophet. Those false prophets shall die.
Of course, Israel shall demand a sign; how shall one know this Prophet?
When such Prophets arise, declaring themselves to be “that” Prophet raised up and sent by the God of Israel, they will be known when what they say does not come to pass; the people are not to fear these false prophets.
One can listen to Jesus of Nazareth, the True Prophet, sent by God:
The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.
Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.
Jesus saith unto her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.
Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and truth.’
The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.
Jesus saith unto her, ‘I that speak unto thee am he.’
For details on the cities of refuge, one may read Deuteronomy 4:41-49 and the “Commentary” on Numbers 35.)
Verses 1 - 2
When Israel completely conquers the Land given her by the LORD (Jehovah), she shall choose three cities on the East Bank of the Jordan River to be cities of refuge to which a manslayer can flee. There his guilt or innocence will be determined by whether he committed the offense by accident or premeditation.
Roads to these cities of refuge are to be made and kept open by the cities’ inhabitants.
Verses 4 - 7
A man can be in a forest felling trees when the axe head flies off the handle and strikes a fellow worker, killing him. In a city of refuge, the incident will be judged to be an accident or a pre-meditated act. If it is determined to be an accident, the slayer will be released; but if found that he hated the brother previously and beforehand planned a vicious attack, he will be turned over to the kinsman avenger who will slay the murderer. The kinsman avenger will not be charged for murder; but as “God’s Avenger,” he will be set free.
Because they had already been captured, three cities on the east bank of the Jordan River are chosen.
As success will surely come, three more cities are to be added, but on the west side of Jordan where the slayer can flee and be protected until he is tried.
The city of refuge is intended to protect the innocent until he can be tried.
Verses 11 - 13
If the man is found guilty, he will be turned over to the kinsman revenger and slain.
After the conquest of Canaan, Israel divides the Promised Land by tribes. The tribal territories are divided among families, and the allotted land remains in the family forever. The boundaries are considered very sacred, and Israel is emphatically instructed never to remove the sacred landmark.
A man cannot be put to death on the testimony of only one witness.
Verses 16 - 19
If a witness (the only witness) falsely accuses one of the brethren, the accused will appear before the LORD (Jehovah), the priests, and the judges. A diligent inquiry will be conducted; and if the false allegation is found out, the sentence that the accuser wants for the one he has charged will be placed upon him, the false accuser. This action helps in keeping the evil away from the innocent.
This action will also cause those who hear to fear for their future and to stop concocting false charges.
Following is God’s grace in the judgment seat:
“Life for life; eye for eye,
Tooth for tooth, hand for hand,
Foot for foot.”
Can this philosophy be right? Grace? Yes, this is perfect justice; for if one should cause another to lose an eye, that one who loses the eye would not be satisfied in taking an eye; he would want to take the other man’s life!
In this chapter Israel faces the fact that if the land shall become hers, she will have to take it by conquest; thus these instructions are given for the benefit of the warriors who shall face the enemy composed of fine, strong young men like Israel’s.
Israel’s enemies will have horses, chariots, and strong men— but more than Israel will have; yet Israel’s soldiers are urged not to be fearful of such an enemy, for the LORD (Jehovah) God is with them. He has given His people great victory over the mighty Egyptians, and He stands by them again here to give them strength—for the battle is His!
Verses 2 - 3
When Israel draws up her forces to attack the enemy, the priest will approach and speak unto the soldiers, saying unto them: “... let not your heart faint, fear not ....”
The LORD (Jehovah) has brought Israel thus far, and He is waiting to give complete victory.
The captains come to speak with the soldiers to tell them that God has had experience and knows warfare; He knows the joys of victory and the disappointment of defeat. Because all want victory, the captains tell the soldiers that defeat can be avoided at the first, even before the enemy is engaged.
The officers ask the people if there is a man who has built a new home and has not yet lived in it. If there is one, he must return home and dedicate it lest he die in battle and another man take ownership of it.
The officers also ask what man has not eaten of the vines which he has planted. That soldier must return home and eat of the labors of his hand lest he die in battle and another man eat of it. The soldiers’ returning home is not a show of cowardice; it is God’s way of giving the young soldiers the joy of peace by allowing them to enjoy some of the privileges that they had looked forward to. [Though Jehovah is on Israel’s side, there is the possibility of death to a few or to many—and of course, some did die.]
In addition, the soldiers are told that if there is one who is betrothed to a woman, he must be allowed to leave the battle, marry her, and live with her; for he could possibly die in battle and someone else could marry the lady he to whom he was betrothed.
Then the sergeants take over and ask, “What man is scared and about to faint? —let him go home quickly lest his cowardice spread to the rest of his company.”
When the officers are finished speaking, other captains are appointed over the soldiers who are now ready for the fray.
Because of the sounding trumpet which is heard by the six hundred thousand men (the number depending on the size of the city to be engaged), the army is now on the move.
The commanding officers, or their lieutenants, shall approach the main gate of the chosen city and let it be known that great liberties will be granted to the city if it chooses peace. If the city chooses peace, all the citizens of that city, young and old, shall become the victors’ tributaries and serve them.
If the city does not care for peace and servitude and wars against Israel, then the siege will begin.
When the LORD (Jehovah) delivers the city into the victor’s hands, then all males of the city shall be slain.
However, the women and children along with all their possessions become the spoils of war.
These are the plans for the cities far away but not for members of the neighboring nations.
God has given all to Israel as her inheritance; and all shall be given to the sword—everyone that breathes—no one will be spared.
All shall be utterly destroyed; namely, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, the Jebusites, all of whom are descendants of Canaan, the son of Ham:
And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut and Canaan.
And Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn, and Heth.
And the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and Girgasite,
And the Hivite, and the Arkite, and Sinite,
And the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite: and afterward were families of the Canaanites spread abroad.
Genesis 10:6, 15-18
The destruction of these cities will prevent their people from teaching Israel all their abominations and causing her to blaspheme the LORD (Jehovah) her God (Elohim).
Verses 19 - 20
When besieging a city a long time, Israel must be careful not to cut down the trees; for by preserving them, Israel will be guaranteed her food supply. Only trees which bear no fruit may be used in making bulwarks for the siege against a city with whom Israel makes war.
In the following nine verses one finds a contrast in the treatment of the slain during a battle and the remains of those found in the open countryside. There are no questions concerning those who are slain in battle; they are killed in skirmishes, and the identity of many can never be found. Therefore, the thoughts concerning their deaths simply are erased from minds.
If a single slain body, one of unknown name and unknown homeland, is found in the open wayside, this body is thought to have been murdered. The conditions existing at the time of death are unknown; thus an atonement must be made for the guilt of innocent blood.
The elders and judges are notified of this body’s having been slain; then, they measure from the nearest city to the body.
Those elders of the nearest city shall take a heifer which has never been worked ...
... and bring the heifer to a rough valley, which is neither eared nor sown, and strike off the heifer’s neck. (Some authorities assert that the translation should read “broken”; but if the head is cut off, the neck is certainly broken.)
The priests of Levi, whom God chose to minister unto Him and to bless in the name of the LORD (Jehovah) and by whose word any and all controversies are tried, will come.
The elders of the nearest city shall wash their hands over the slain heifer.
They shall speak, “Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it.”
“Be merciful, O LORD [Jehovah], unto thy people Israel, whom thou hast redeemed, and lay not innocent blood unto thy people Israel’s charge.” Forgiveness is granted by the LORD (Jehovah).
From this time, Israel will do right in cleansing the land of an unknown murder.
Verses 10 - 13
In her numerous skirmishes, Israel takes many prisoners. If a man sees a beautiful woman among those prisoners and desires her to be his wife, he will be allowed to marry her only after she is taken to his house, where she will shave her head, pare her nails, and mourn for her parents thirty days. Then she will be his wife.
If the man finds no delight in her, he may let her go free— anywhere she desires. He may not sell her, for he has humbled her.
Verses 15 - 17
Here is an interesting dilemma, but happened, as is known in many cases. If a man marries two wives, loving one and despising the other, and if he has children by both, he must select the firstborn of the two wives. He may not take the son of the loved wife to be the firstborn if the firstborn is of the hated wife. All rights and privileges are to be given to the hated wife’s son if he is the firstborn.
This situation does happen to Jacob who marries Leah first, then Rachel. Jacob loves Rachel, but the inheritance is given to Leah’s firstborn Reuben. Leah gives Jacob six sons and one daughter whereas Rachel gives Jacob only two sons, Joseph and Benjamin. Jacob gives Joseph the double portion which belongs to the firstborn, but the priesthood is given to Levi, a son of Leah and Jacob; and the Crown (to be King) to Judah, another son of Leah and Jacob.
The reader finds that there is children delinquency in Moses’ day; and here in the rest of this chapter, one may read of the incorrigible son of a godly mother and father. They can do nothing with him; he even refuses their chastening when needed.
To get help, they hold onto the wayward son and bring him to the elders of the city, and to the gate where judgment will be rendered.
The parents accuse their son of being stubborn and rebellious; “He is disobedient, a glutton, and a drunkard.” The decision is made: death!
All the men of his city will stone him with stones so that he dies. This is one way to put evil away from among Israel.
Verses 22 - 23
If a person is found guilty and sentenced to be hanged on a tree, his body shall not be left overnight on the tree. It will be taken down before sundown and buried that day, “... for he that is hanged [upon a tree] is accursed of God ....” The land, therefore, will not be defiled.
The reader learns in the New Testament that the Law of God convicts one of sin, and he is accursed for it. However, when the Lord Jesus died on the Tree, the Cross, for man’s sins, He became accursed by His own law; He who never sinned in His life. The curse of the law was taken off man and placed upon Christ Jesus. Thus, man is the one for whom the Messiah Christ Jesus died, and man’s sins have been paid for and he bear them no more. Galatians 3:13 relates, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.”
“Doing Right Things Right”
As Israel will soon go over to the Promised Land, the people are likely to lose straying animals, misplace belongings, or forget articles from home. Of course, the owners, when found, will rejoice to receive lost possessions; those who find lost property, under God, are to return the property when the owners are found.
Should one see his neighbor’s (fellow Israelite) ox or sheep, he must not ignore the fact that the animal is lost. He must return it to the owner.
If the person losing the sheep is not close or should the finder not know the owner, he is to keep the lost animal in his own home until the owner comes for it. It is immediately returned.
All lost possessions—whatever “thing” is lost: his donkey, his raiment, anything—are treated similarly.
Should one see his neighbor’s animal fall down by the way, he must not hide himself; but he must help his neighbor to lift it up again.
“Right on the nose!” Women shall not wear men’s clothes, and men shall not wear women’s clothes!
As far as women’s wearing trousers, they wear women’s trousers. They have been wearing their own trousers for thousands of years (China, for instance). Today women wear women’s slacks, but no man would want to be seen wearing them. In the cold northern states and on farms, women wear women’s slacks to keep warm and to milk the cows.
The rule is, “Men, do not wear women’s clothing, and women do not wear men’s clothing.
What a wonderful, great God man has! One must read again these two verses. Almighty God looks after his creation, even his birds. Bless His holy name! And as He takes care of the bird kingdom, will He not look after man? Why, certainly.
The sparrow cannot fall without the Father’s knowing it, and here He is providing safety and propagation to the bird world for the purpose He intended when he first created it.
If a bird’s nest by any chance is found in a tree or upon the ground, the mother bird must not be taken with her eggs or chicks.
The dam may be released and the eggs or young birds may be taken; the dam can have another nest with other eggs or chicks.
Men like to show off their new houses to the neighborhood, but those who walk upon the roofs must exercise caution.
Most oriental homes are built with flat roofs so that many people can walk on them at the same time. The owner brightens his roof by stringing above it a lattice work through which his grape vines can grow, allowing the bunches to hang down above the people’s heads so that the grapes are within reach of everyone. Then on the sides, the owner plants fig trees which will yield figs while at the same time the grapes bring forth their luscious fruit; both are intended for the pleasure of the owners and his friends. [This image allows the reader to visualize the Millennium blessing of every man under his own vine and fig tree!]
To provide safety for all who are walking on the flat roof (with its grapes and figs), the owner is admonished to include in his building a parapet, a low railing built on the roof’s edge so that no one will walk off the roof’s edge.
Israel is indeed a people separated unto her God, and God teaches that the simple things have their separation.
Sowing seeds are not to be mixed, for one product will ruin the other. (If the reader has ever tasted one vegetable that tasted like another, he knows that someone had certainly planted it too close to another vegetable.)
If one plows, let him plow with two donkeys or two oxen, not one of each. The donkey is an unclean animal while the ox is clean. A person cannot live a righteous life and at the same time live a worldly life.
One shall not wear a garment that is woven with two kinds of material—woolen and linen, for example, woven together.
When an outer garment is sewn, its four corners are each to have a tassel so that one will hang over the shoulder. (The dear lady with an issue of blood touched this tassel of the Saviour.)
And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:
For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.
But Jesus turned him about and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.
Matthew 9: 20-22
Verses 13 - 14
The reader now comes to a most delicate matter. If a man who comes to dislike his wife and accuses her of having committed an infidelity before they are married, the unfaithful wife can be stoned to death if the accusation is found to be true. She is so despised that the husband does not delight in their intercourse. (Oh, how much he hates his wife!)
Under Jewish law a divorce is the easiest thing to obtain. One does not have to have a reason to get a divorce. The man has only to say, “I divorce thee; I divorce thee; I divorce thee.” Three times and the divorce is complete.
Why, then, does this husband want to divorce his wife when he has only to say three times, “I divorce thee.” Perhaps he wants to expose her as an unfaithful wife-to-be, have her killed, then claim her dowry.
Verses 15 - 16
God provides reproof against such charges. Upon the wedding night the married wife provides a white cloth upon which the new husband and wife can consummate their love by intercourse. If she is a virgin, her maidenhead is broken and then flows upon the white cloth. After the honeymoon is over, the bride will take the cloth with her blood to her father and he will keep it as proof of his daughter’s virginity. If needed for proof, he will present the bloody cloth to the elders of the city.
Verses 17 - 19
The elders will examine the cloth; and if they find that the wife was a virgin before she married, the elders will fine the false accusing bridegroom a hundred shekels of silver and give it to her father. She will continue to be his wife, and he can never put her away for the rest of his life.
Verses 20 - 21
On the other hand, if such an accusation should be found true, then the woman will be taken to her father’s house and stoned by the elders of the city.
If a man is found having intercourse with a woman married to a husband, then both of them shall die.
If a damsel that is a virgin betrothed unto a husband and a man should find her in the city and have intercourse with her,
... both of them shall be stoned at the gate of that city because she did not cry out for help. The man shall be killed also because he humbled his neighbor’s wife.
Here one can see to the time of Mary’s being found with child by Joseph. God considered the engagement or betrothal to be vital and considered them as husband and wife before they lived together. The angel said to Joseph, “Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” (Matthew 1:20).
If a man finds a virgin who is betrothed (engaged) and forces her or rapes her, then only the man who rapes the virgin shall die.
Verse 26 - 27
Nothing shall be done to the virgin that is thus mistreated, for she cried out and no one heard her.
This act is compared with a man who kills another in self-defense; no act of judgment shall be brought against him.
Verse 28 - 29
If a man finds a virgin who is not engaged and lays hold of her, have intercourse with her, and they be found, then the damsel’s father shall receive fifty shekels of silver from the man who molests his daughter. She shall become the man’s wife, and he cannot divorce her as long as he lives.
A man shall not marry his father’s wife. The wife mentioned here is not speaking of the man’s mother, of course, but the widowed father’s new wife. In many cases, a plurality of wives will be allowed; however, a son may not marry even one of these.
(This sin is recognized as being the lowest of incest in the early church and is denounced by the Apostle Paul: “It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife” (I Corinthians 5:1). Later, the man involved here repents (see II Corinthians 2:4-10), and Paul and the church forgive him. Paul then admonishes the church to receive him again into the church’s fellowship.)
In Old Testament times, one finds that Jacob’s firstborn son Reuben goes into his father’s wife (a concubine: a wife or lover society), and Jacob hears of it. What are the consequences of such an act? Reuben is honored as the first of his father’s strength, but the glory is taken away. The consequences are grave—
To the firstborn of Jacob, Israel, belongs:
and a double portion in the land.
These blessings are taken from Reuben:
The Kingship is given to Judah.
The Priesthood is given to Levi.
A double portion is given to Joseph.
All belongs first to Reuben but is taken away in judgment.
The congregation, or assembly, of Israel is first called during the forty years of wandering in the wilderness to hear the decision of the LORD (Jehovah) on some matter. When Israel crosses into the Land, all Israel is not called together; for the people have their inheritance all over the land. Part of the nation is gathered together around the Tabernacle at the first, and later the Temple. However, after the Babylonian captivity of forty years, forty-two thousand leave Babylon (now governed by the Medo-Persian Empire) and return to the Promised Land.
One must recognize that the LORD (Jehovah) is speaking of “the congregation (or assembly) of the LORD”; thus, it is spiritual in nature.
The nation Israel always has a mixed multitude who just wants to be with the Jewish people; for instance, there is the group that stays with them during the forty years of wilderness wanderings and more. [Today (1992), Israel has many foreigners among its citizens—the Arabs, for example.]
In the time of Moses’ writing of Deuteronomy, both Israel and the mixed multitude are together. Because any citizen along with Israel must comply with God’s set of rules, God at this time calls them together as the Congregation of the LORD.
Are men born into a disfigured state described here? Usually not, but if one in his lifetime, whether by accident or in battle, suffers the loss of his testicles or penis, he is not allowed to mix with the citizens of Israel to determine its affairs. This does not speak of a eunuch made by man, for God has provided salvation and a place in Israel for those made eunuchs by man. Isaiah 56:4, 5 states:
For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant;
Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.
A bastard, one who is born of a woman out of wedlock, is prohibited from being a member of the congregation of the LORD. (As the reader looks at verses 9 and 14, he finds that the army is spoken of as the assembly or congregation of the LORD. Israel must keep her sanctification (being set apart) and remain holy; for God walks among her people and wants no unclean thing in the camp.)
The Assembly of the LORD (Jehovah), therefore, is the Congregation of the LORD—Israel as the people come to worship the Lord, gathering the people of Israel while in fighting war, or in keeping a feast, or in worshipping in the Tabernacle or later the Temple. None of these is to be welcomed into the nation of Israel right away; some, never.
The Word “Church” in the New Testament means called-out Assembly which is the Body of Christ, one new man, a building, the Bride. No one is denied entrance—no one. The church is made of rejects, but ones who are cleansed and made perfect in the Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
I Corinthians 6:9-11
How does one gain entrance? —by believing that Jesus died for his sins and was buried and rose again the third day.]
Verses 3 - 6
An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter the Congregation or assembly of the LORD (Jehovah), even to the tenth generation. (One cannot be saved until the eleventh generation? Salvation from sin and from eternal hell is not held in mind here, but one’s relationship with Israel, God’s people, in his worship.)
Those ten generations have passed, millenniums ago, and by reading Isaiah 16:1-5, one finds that Moab, in the tribulation, shall be asked and then be led by Jehovah to meet the outcasts of Israel as they flee Jerusalem and death by the Antichrist to Petra (Sela). They are asked to let Israel’s outcasts live with them, the Moabites, in the place where God has prepared a place for them. Revelation 12:5, 6, 14 states:
And she brought forth a man child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
(The reason that the LORD (Jehovah) pronounces such judgment upon them for ten generations is that when Moses appeals to these kinsmen, the descendants of Lot and his two daughters, for bread, water, and a safe passage through their land into the Promised Land, they refuse and even try to hire a prophet, whom people accept as one who knows God, to curse Israel.)
God speaks unto Balaam saying, “Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed” (Numbers 22:12). In other words, one cannot curse anyone who has a blessing on him.
While the LORD (Jehovah) will not allow Israel to be cursed, Balaam, who deserves the riches for cursing Israel, suggests to Balak to open the tents of Moab to allow the men of Israel to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. Israel’s actions bring God’s wrath upon Israel (Numbers 25).
Israel is commanded not to abhor, or detest, or hate an Edomite; for he is Israel’s brother, a descendent of Esau. At the time of the LORD Jesus, one learns that Herod the Great who seeks the Lord’s life as a babe and who builds the Temple by his name is an Edomite, a descendent of Esau. Herod the Great is an Edomite by birth, but a Jew by religion.
The Egyptian is to be treated with respect, for it is his country in which Israel is a stranger for four hundred years.
The children of these two nations are to be allowed to enter the assembly of the LORD (Jehovah) in their third generations.
When the host attacks his enemies, he must remain clean.
Verses 10 - 11
If an Israelite is unclean because of an accident during the night, he shall go to that spot where a latrine is set up. He is to remain there until sundown; then he shall wash himself.
Verses 12 - 13
A latrine shall be set up for the whole nation of Israel. When a person goes to it to relieve himself, he shall take a paddle (a stick or a spade) with him. He then shall dig a hole, relieve himself, and cover that which came out of him.
[Just think, Israel practiced sanitation 3,500 years ago. Today, people have learned how great epidemics of old were stopped: by using the earth to cover the dead. Today, man uses many antibodies, which are made up of the dirt samples from all over the world. When researchers find some dirt from a distinct part of the world was placed in a certain disease culture, killing all bacteria, they use more of the culture as a base to make a new medicine to cure, heal, and help all mankind.]
God knew this method of cure. He made all dirt, as everyone knows, and He knew what to do to stop an epidemic from breaking out among His people, Israel.
What a Person to walk among the people! God, Himself.
Verses 15 - 16
A runaway slave is not to be returned to his master but must be allowed to dwell among the Israelites.
In the New Testament, the reader learns that the Apostle Paul finds a slave in prison, owned by a man he knew. Paul leads the slave to Christ and sends him back, redeemed, to his master with portions of the Word of God. The name of the Book and the name of the Master of the slave is Philemon; the saved slave is Onesimus.
Deuteronomy 23:15 says that a runaway slave is not to be delivered unto his Master; therefore, Paul does not deliver Onesimus as a slave to Philemon. He sends him back as a redeemed Brother in Christ. Praise God! Bless His holy name. Glory.
The lifestyle of Israel: No whore or male whore shall dwell among the people of God.
The price gained by selling oneself is not to be turned into the treasury of the LORD (Jehovah). It is an abomination to God.
One Jew is never to charge interest while loaning another Jew money. The Jew must lend to the brother that has a need without usury or interest.
A Jew may lend to a Gentile and expect repayment.
Verses 21 - 23
Making a vow or promise to the LORD (Jehovah) is very serious; for the LORD does not forget any vow, and He expects His children to “pay up,” —and the sooner, the better.
If one makes no vow, he has not committed a sin. However, he must be careful when he does; for God can collect his due in short order. Therefore, one should fulfill his vow to the LORD in love.
As one may walk and come to his neighbor’s vineyard, he may eat as much as he wants; but he must not take a basket with him. He may eat only what he wants at the moment.
Likewise, one may eat of his neighbor’s cornfield as he eats of the neighbor’s vineyard. (Corn speaks of any grain.) One may eat of the standing grain as much as he cares to eat; but he may not thresh and take the grain home in a cart.
The reader may remember that once the Lord Jesus and his disciples are in the grainfield and pluck of the ripened grain to eat it raw. Some standing there criticize the Lord, saying he is breaking the Sabbath. [The Lord never sinned and He could not sin.] Then how can they even make such a charge. Here is how: Everyone knows of the Ten Commandments, but ten little commandments are not sufficient; so the lawyers, the priests, and the rulers make additional laws on the same Ten Commandments. They name twenty ways that the Sabbath can be broken. These laws are called a Toldoth. These people say that “reaping” is one way of breaking the sabbath. Then they have twenty laws, ways by which man can reap on the Sabbath; and taking the grain and eating it then and there is a way to reap. These twenty laws are called Abboths. So by the additional laws, the Lord Jesus and party are breaking the Sabbath. The Lord “cleans the accusers’ plow” by saying, “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath” (Mark 2:27, 28).
A Law Concerning Divorce—
In Jewish law a man does not need a reason for wanting a divorce; but in this case the wife is not clean, causing the husband to break his tie with her. He writes a bill of divorcement and sends her out.
She, in leaving, marries another man; and in God’s sight, the marriage is legal.
However, if the second husband finds fault with her, he too may write a bill of divorcement and send her out of his house; or if the second husband dies, ...
... the first husband shall not be allowed to marry her again. She has been defiled and is an abomination to the LORD (Jehovah), and he shall not bring sin on the Land which the LORD (Jehovah) God (Elohim) gives him as an inheritance.
A Law for the Newly Weds—
When a man marries a new wife, he is immediately excused from serving in the army for one year; nor shall he be charged for duty during that time. He shall be free at home to give happiness to his wife. [Isn’t God gracious to care for the young married couples.]
A Law on Lending Money—
No lender shall take as a pledge the upper and lower millstones, for this is the same as taking a life to pledge.
A Law on Man-Stealers—
If a man is caught kidnapping any of his countrymen of the sons of Israel and mistreats him or sells him, then that man- stealer shall die.
Verses 8 - 9
A Law on Lepers—
One is cautioned to be very careful concerning coming in contact with a leper; one must do everything as stated in the Law that deals with lepers (as in Leviticus 13 and 14), and obey the priests, the Levites, as God has commanded them. [The LORD Jesus follows completely the laws of the leper; for when he heals a leper he commands, “... go thy way, shew thyself to the priest... as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them” (Matthew 8:2-4).
The people are told to remember what the LORD (Jehovah) does to Miriam after they came out of Egypt even though she is a sister to Moses.
Verses 10 - 11
More Laws on Lending—
When a Jew lends his brother a certain amount, he must not go into the borrower’s house for the pledge, but he must let him bring it out of his house.
If the borrower is poor, the lender shall not sleep with his pledge.
The lender shall deliver the pledge before the sun goes down so that the borrower may sleep in his own raiment and bless his benefactor. For the lender, this act shall be counted righteousness before the LORD (Jehovah) his God (Elohim).
The Laws on Hiring—
One shall not oppress a hired servant that is poor whether he is of the brethren, the Israelites, or of strangers within gates.
One shall pay the servant’s wage each day; the sun shall not go down upon it because the servant is poor and has his heart set upon it. One would not want the servant to call to the LORD against him, and he must not let this sin be put to his account.
A Law on Capital Punishment—
The fathers shall not be put to death for the children; neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: Every man shall be put to death for his own sin.
A Law for the Stranger—
One shall not change the law which helps the stranger, nor the fatherless (the orphan); nor shall one take a widow’s raiment to pledge.
Israel must remember that she was a slave in Egypt and that the LORD (Jehovah) redeemed her; therefore, He commands her to do this thing.
Verses 19 - 22
When the people of Israel reap the harvest and perhaps forget a sheaf in the field, they must not return for it; but they must leave it for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. Causing Israel to forget is her God’s way of allowing the unfortunates to be fed. [One will recall how Ruth gleaned in the field of her past husband’s kinsman, Boaz; he had the hired help leave handfuls on purpose for Ruth. What a wonderful Saviour!]
When a Jew shakes and beats his olive tree, that which falls shall be his; but if there is any left on the tree bough, he must leave it for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow.
When the Jew gathers the grapes, he is instructed not go over the vineyard again; for it shall be for the strangers, the orphans, and the widows.
The reader remembers that Israel was a slave in the land of Egypt, the reason that God is requiring her to do this very thing.
God ordains judges to administer justice to Israel, the earthly people of God [and the reader finds that during the Millennium God again will use judges for His people.]
When Moses is serving as judge of Israel while she lives in the wilderness, his father-in-law visits him and, after seeing Moses tired and strained, suggests a way of help. He suggests to Moses that judges be chosen to preside over ten, fifty, one hundred, and finally over one thousand men.
As the people live in the cities taken in war after the wilderness journey, each city is composed of the number of people it can hold, perhaps one thousand. The judge of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, or ten would hear the complaint of a man as described in verse one and sit in judgment in the cities’ gates.
The purpose of the trial is to find who is telling the truth. When the truth is found, the wicked one lies down and is beaten by a certain number according to his fault.
No one can be beaten with more than forty stripes lest the guilty one is degraded in the sight of the righteous. (Paul declares that he is beaten several times with forty—less one (39) stripes.)
The whip is usually a “a cat of three tails,” three thongs of leather held together; so when one is smitten, the lashing is worth three stripes—thirteen strokes make thirty—nine lashes save one. The Jews sometimes use a rod to beat the one receiving such punishment. Rome, however, does not have a limit; and when the LORD Jesus is smitten, no one knows exactly how many stripes are placed upon His precious back.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Isaiah 53:4, 5
God decrees that the ox can eat as much as he needs for strength when he is being used to tread out the grain. Is this decree true only for oxen? The Apostle Paul says, “For our sakes, no doubt, this is written” (I Corinthians 9:10). In other words, the Body of Christ, the local church especially, should take care of its ministers, missionaries, and workers.
What should be the basic salary? —In relation to the ox, as much as is needed to live—as much as the ox wants. Paul, though, takes very little—in fact, nothing—but works with his own hands to pay his expenses and the expenses of those traveling with him. Nevertheless, he places in the Word of God the need for the local assembly to see to the need of the workers in the congregation. “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor” (“double pay”); here, referring to the ox again. “Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The Laborer is worthy of his reward” [wages] (I Timothy 5:18). If this decree is worked out, there will be no need of a pastor’s taking an extra job to pay his bills.
Verses 5 - 10
Only in Israel has one found what a widow is to do when her husband dies, leaving no children, and has an unwed living brother.
When this occasion arises, the surviving brother is to take the departed brother’s widow, letting the firstborn son of this union be named for the departed brother so that the brother’s name is not blotted out of Israel forever.
Many times, however, a younger brother does not want to marry his brother’s widow. For example, in the life of Boaz and Ruth, the nearest of kin would not redeem Ruth; for he had other children by another wife and marrying the widow would divide his inheritance.
On other occasions, the living brother would refuse outright, not only refusing to redeem the widow but also rejecting the idea of being married to his departed brother’s wife. In this case, the rebuffed widow is called an “anchored woman.” She has no choice about marrying again except to the dead husband’s brother. Nonetheless, drastic measures may be taken, and one of them is to call the elders of the synagogue to state her plight with the refusing brother-in-law being present. If no agreement can be reached, the elders will give their approval to set the widow free to marry whomever she can. However, the widow shall loose the shoes of the refusing brother-in-law and then shall spit in his face, saying, “So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother’s house.” His name shall be called in Israel, “The house of him that had his shoe loosed.”
Verses 11 - 12
If two men shall get into a fight and one should get the advantage over the other and should the wife of him who is being beaten come to his rescue by taking hold of the genitals of her husband’s sparring partner, her hand shall be cut off.
Verses 13 - 16
A person who uses different weights in dealing with a fellow Israelite shall be considered an abomination in the sight of the LORD (Jehovah).
“Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way when you came forth out of Egypt.”
These words of God are for all Israel to remember as a “battle cry” against this enemy of Israel. In the future Israel will know and experience full victory, but let Amalek remain as a detestable disgrace to the warring nation. When he attacks Israel, he drives against the rear of the army, the feeble, until they become faint and weary. As long as Moses lifts up his hand, Joshua attacks victoriously; but when Moses lets down his arms, Amalek gains against Israel. Moses then sits down and instructs Aaron and Hur each to take hold of one of his arms; they are able to hold up Moses’ arms until the battle is won. Israel shall remember the act of Amalek’s defeat and blot out his name forever; then Israel will forget this great victory.
Verses 1 - 2
And it shall be that when Israel comes into the land which the Lord God gives her for an inheritance, possesses it, and dwells therein, the people shall take of the first of all that which is brought of the land, put it in a basket, and go unto the place where the LORD God shall choose to place his name.
The LORD (Jehovah) must look with anticipation toward the time when Israel will conquer her enemies and seize their possessions, sowing seed and reaping an abundant harvest; afterwards, she will take all that is ripe on the tree, on the vine, and on the ground [on the first day of the week following the first regular sabbath after the Passover is celebrated]. With the offering of the firstfruits, Israel will give honor to God and His glory, praising Him for the blessing of such a glorious harvest! (Israel, however, is faithless in the small things which give her Creator glory.)
What happens to dampen such a blessed prospect of God’s people glorifying their God for the blessings that He has poured out upon them? —It all hinges upon the city where God chooses to put his name. Does God choose the city after Joshua appoints Moses’ successor? No. Is the city chosen after the land is conquered? No. How long does God take to finally choose the place? It is hard to realize it, but it is not until hundreds of years pass; then what does Israel do with her tithes, the second tithe (this is known as another tithe taken each three years), and the firstfruits if no city is chosen until four hundred forty-seven years after Moses writes this wonderful book of Deuteronomy.
Just after Solomon dedicates his temple, Jehovah (the LORD) says to Solomon, “But I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there; and have chosen David to be over my people Israel” (II Chronicles 6:6).
What happens to cause the delay?
Simply, Israel turns her back on God. They deny the Holy One! They go after idols with their strange god.
When the Promised Land is Israel’s, corruption enters into the lives of her people. Israel is commanded to kill all the inhabitants of the Land, but she becomes soft and lets many live. Because they are allowed to live, the inhabitants introduce their idolatrous sons to marry the women of Israel and their daughters to become the wives of Israel’s young men. (Idolatry is not cured in Israel until the Babylonian captivity; the people return from there with no idolatry.)
After Joshua’s time in the Babylonian captivity, one finds that corruption penetrates all twelve tribes. In fact, the key word which describes the condition of Israel is corruption: the corrupt heathen and Israel. For example, there is the individual corruption of the priesthood, the corruption of two tribes—Dan and Benjamin, and last, the corruption of all twelve tribes.
Israel has a tabernacle, but no temple.
Israel has a theocracy, but no king.
When Israel forsakes God and begins worshipping idols, God chastises His people drastically through captivities and deliverances. These events are as follows: (1) They suffer the oppression of Cushan-Rishathaim, which lasts eight years. Israel repents and is delivered by Othniel, a deliverance lasting forty years. (2) They suffer the oppression of the Moabites for eight years. Israel repents and is delivered by Ehud; this freedom lasts eighty years. (3) They suffer the oppression by King Jabin and his rule which lasts twenty years. Israel repents and is delivered by Deborah for forty years after this. (4) They suffer the oppression by the Medianites which lasts seven years; after this, Israel repents and is delivered by Gideon, this deliverance lasting four years. (5) They suffer oppression by the Ammonites, which lasts eighteen years. After this, Israel repents and is delivered by Jepthah for six years with him and three more judges: Ibzan, Elon, and Abdor together lasting twenty-five years. (6) They suffer the oppression of the Philistines which lasts forty years; after this, Israel repents and is delivered by Samson for twenty years.
These six oppressions cover the time of servitude and deliverance of three hundred ninety years. Israel could have had peace for all the three hundred ninety years, but she turns her back on her God. If Israel had followed God’s instructions, Jerusalem could have been chosen as the place where the LORD (Jehovah) would dwell among His people.
Three thousand years have passed since the LORD (Jehovah) chose Jerusalem, “... that my name should be there” (II Chronicles 6:6). Israel is back into the Land of Promise after an absence of 1,850 years; but her people as yet have not repented (—but, she will; see Deuteronomy 30:1-3.) so as to be called to the land from all over the world.
At the very beginning of calling Israel back to the Land of Promise, the LORD (Jehovah) lets his children know that He has not forgotten His promise to make Jerusalem His dwelling place on earth and that He will bring such a promise to pass.
Afterward he brought me to the gate even the gate that looketh toward the east:
And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory.
And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places.
Ezekiel 43:1, 2, 7
Verses 3 - 11
For the Feast of Firstfruits, see Leviticus 23:9-14.
Four hundred forty-seven years after Moses penned these precious words describing the observance of the “First Fruits,” God chooses Jerusalem to be the city where He, Jehovah (the LORD), will put His name. Many generations of Israel pass without their enjoying the ritual God set up for worshipping, praising, and thanking the only wise God, Jehovah (the LORD).
Israel is supposed to give God the first ripe edibles, then a tithe of all that remains, and every third year, another tithe. The Bible student believes that this tithe is intended to be continuous, for the second tithe is to be given the year of tithing which is every third year.
How is the Israelite to offer it to God; he is to give it to the Levites, the stranger (goyim), the fatherless, and the widows within their cities.
After God chooses a place to put His name, all firstfruits, the tithe, and the second tithe are taken there and distributed to the Levites, who in turn gives to the stranger (Gentile), the fatherless, and the widow.
At first, the Israelite is commanded to confess his loyalty to the commandments of God.
The Israelite also declares his innocence by not eating of these sacred portions while he happens to be in mourning; nor does he offer it for some unclean purpose or set it aside to the dead.
The man then evokes the all-wise God to look down from heaven and bless Israel and the land given her which is flowing with milk and honey.
This very day the LORD (Jehovah God (Elohim) has commanded Israel to obey the above injunctions.
Israel has declared that only He (Jehovah) is her God and that she wishes to keep all His commandments.
God then shall vouch that Israel only is His people to keep His commandments.
Above all people He has made, God shall elevate Israel to praise Him and honor Him; and in doing so, God makes Israel an holy people unto Him, the LORD (Jehovah) her God (Elohim — He has spoken.
Moses and the elders of Israel command the whole camp of Israel to keep all the commandments which He commands her this day.
Verses 2 - 3
Moses sets up the program for Israel after Moses dies and after they pass over Jordan. They are to plaster great stones and then write upon them the words of this law.
Verses 4 - 8
When Israel crosses the Jordan River, the people are to take there stones upon which no instrument of iron has ever struck, cover them with plaster and lime, and make an alter of these uncut stones. Then they will write the law upon these stones and offer burnt offerings to the LORD (Jehovah) their God (Elohim), usually emphasized as a dedication offering. Also, the people shall sacrifice a peace offering, which is known also as fellowship offerings. The people may eat joyfully of the peace offering, the only sacrifice which can be shared. (Later, when the Tabernacle will be set up and the Temple built, one will cook and eat most of the offered beast while God will eat (through a priest of his) the right breast and right shoulder. This altar shall be built upon Mount Ebal.)
While Israel is called the people of God, in this new dedication Israel becomes the people of the LORD (Jehovah) her God (Elohim), instruments in His hand ready to take the Promised Land.
Verses 10 - 11
The people are commanded again to obey the Covenant, His commandments and His statutes.
The following shall stand upon mount Gerizim to bless the people: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin.
The following shall stand upon mount Ebal to curse: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.
Verses 14 -15
The Levites are then to say with a loud voice, “Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image...,” an act breaking the SECOND COMMANDMENT. And all the people shall answer, “Amen.”
Cursed is he that dishonors his parents, the breaking of the FIFTH COMMANDMENT; and all the people shall say, “Amen.”
Cursed is he that removes his neighbor’s landmark, breaking the EIGHTH COMMANDMENT; and the people shall say, “Amen.”
Cursed is he who causes a blind man to wander. And the people shall say, “Amen.”
Cursed is he that perverts the judgment of the stranger, the fatherless, and widow. And the people shall say, “Amen.”
Verses 20 - 23
Cursed is he that lies with his father’s wife.
Cursed is he that lies with any manner of beasts. And the people shall say, “Amen.”
Cursed is he that lies with his sister.
Cursed is he that lies with his mother-in-law, an act breaking the SEVENTH COMMANDMENT. The people shall say, “AMEN.”
Verses 24 - 25
Cursed is he that smites his neighbor secretly.
Cursed is he that takes reward to slay an innocent person. These two acts break the SIXTH COMMANDMENT. And the people shall say, “Amen.”
Cursed is he who does not confirm all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, “Amen.”
As the reader’s study of the blessings and curses that the nation of Israel shall pronounce in reading the Law, six of the twelve tribes—Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin—shall stand on Mount Gerizim and pronounce the blessings of the Law. The other six tribes—Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali—are to stand on Mt. Ebal to announce the curse of the Law.
In reading Deuteronomy, one finds that Israel upon crossing Jordan will choose twelve stones that no iron instrument has touched, pile them, and cover them with plaster. Then Israel will build an altar upon these stones and offer a burnt offering and a peace offering, and the people shall eat there. (The peace offering is known also as the Fellowship Offering where the offerer and God through His priest can eat together.)
“And thou shalt write upon them [the stones] all the words of this law” (27:3). Some believe that God meant by “all this law” the five books of the Torah. Others hold to the belief that God meant only the book of Deuteronomy. Both can be true, but this author holds that God meant the whole of chapter twenty-eight where the blessings and the curses of God are described for His people Israel.
When the Law is read to Israel the first time, Israel has experienced the march through the Red Sea to safety, the entrance into the wilderness to begin safety, and the entrance into the wilderness to begin their stay for forty years. Instructions concerning the erection of the Tabernacle are given.
When the Law is read the second time (after thirty-eight years),
Israel has her Tabernacle,
and her two mountains where she shall announce the blessings for keeping the Law (upon Mt. Gerizim) and the curses for disobeying the Law (upon Mt. Ebal).
Verses 3 - 14 (12 verses) contain the blessings, whereas verses 16 - 68 (52 verses) present the curses—four and one half times more curses than blessings.
Verses 1 - 2
Verse 1, “... if thou shalt (hearken) diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God...,” and verse 15, “if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God,” both contain the secret to all the Covenants that God makes with Israel. “If thou will” is the formula of the conditional promises God makes with Israel; the promises are dependent on, “If thou will.” Thus, a conditional covenant depends upon the faithfulness of man while the unconditional Covenants had as their formula “I will,” saith the LORD (Jehovah); they depend upon the faithfulness of God—they cannot be broken.
The Law, known as the Old Covenant (Testament) or the Mosaic Covenant, has as its formula “if thou will”; and it is a covenant depending upon the faithfulness of Israel. They broke it—”which covenant Israel broke” (Jeremiah 31:32)!
Israel will enjoy the blessings of the Covenant of Law if she keeps the law.
Israel will be blessed in the city and in the country (fields).
The increase of the fruits of the people of Israel was guaranteed: of their body, of the ground, and of the offsprings of their cattle and oxen.
Blessed is Israel’s basket and kneading trough.
All the ways of Israel shall be blessed wherever she walks, leaps, or runs.
Victory over her enemies is promised to Israel, if ....
In all matters in every way, Israel shall receive the blessing of God.
Israel shall be made a Holy People, if they keep His commandments.
All people of the earth shall take knowledge of Israel’s relation with God; and His with her—and they shall be afraid of her.
God underscores the fruit increase of body, cattle, ground, and the land which He has given to his people.
The treasures of the LORD shall be Israel’s—the heaven to give the rain; and He will bless all works of Israel’s hands.
“... thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.”
How about Israel today (1992)? She owes the USA billions of dollars, a fact that shows her ways are not pleasing to the LORD (Jehovah).
Israel shall be the HEAD and not the tail (Oh how much Israel has lost!) if only she hears the commandments of the LORD to observe and to do them.
Israel is not to wander after strange gods.
If Israel will not hearken unto the LORD (Jehovah) and obey His commandments, curses shall come upon her.
Cursed shall Israel be in the city and in the country.
Cursed shall be Israel’s basket and kneading trough.
Cursed shall be Israel’s fruit of the body, the land, the increase of her oxen, and the flocks of her sheep.
Wherever Israel walks, her paths are paved with curses.
Whatever Israel does will be opposed by nature and man until she is destroyed.
All the medicine of mankind will only aggravate Israel’s illnesses.
Israel can never recover from her many illnesses.
What a picture of a people completely void of being helped: The heavens shall seem to be bronze (brass) and the earth under her shall be iron. (No relief in sight.)
The rain shall turn to dust, which works to destroy the people.
Israel’s enemies shall rise in strength to overpower her. She shall go out one way but flee seven ways before them until she is scattered in all directions of the gentile world.
Israel’s flesh shall be food for animal and bird, and no one can frighten the beasts away.
Israel will remember the diseases of Egypt when she was there: No physician could cure the boils, the tumors, and the scab with the itch. All these shall be hers.
The people shall lose their minds, and blindness shall add to their plight—with their hearts failing them.
Everything personal shall be the condition of the people, and no person can possibly help.
The men of Israel shall marry wives, but other men shall have intercourse with them; they shall build houses, but not live in them; they shall plant vineyards, but not a grape shall they eat.
The ox shall be slain before Israel’s eyes, yet she will not be allowed to eat of it; the donkey shall be dragged from her and not restored to her; her enemies shall possess her sheep, and no one will help her restore them.
Israel’s sons and daughters shall be used as bargaining prices and thus given as barter to another people. While her eyes shall look upon them and yearn for them, there is nothing she can do.
Israel’s allies shall eat up her harvest during her lifetime. (The book of Judges confirms this statement.)
Israel shall be shocked drastically out of her senses at what she sees.
The people’s bodies shall be covered with boils which cannot be healed.
The LORD (Jehovah) shall bring Israel and her king (another prophecy which Israel has not at times suggested) unto a nation which she and her fathers have never known; there God shall give her up to the serving of other gods—wood and stone.
Israel shall become a horror, a proverb, and a byword among nations, whether the LORD shall lead her. (The word “byword” in the Hebrew language is “sheneenaw,” pronounced “shenee”; and that is what many Jews are called today. And do the Jews hate it! Nearly 3500 years ago, God said they would be called this! Talk about prophecy!)
Israel’s sowing and reaping shall be disastrous: She takes so much seed in her sowing time and reaps so little, for the locust consumes it.
On the other hand, the people shall plant vineyards and dress them, but no wine is forthcoming nor is the gathering of grapes; for the worms shall eat them.
Israel shall possess olive trees in abundance, yet her harvest does not produce even enough to anoint her; the olive trees have cast forth their fruit early.
Israel shall be prolific in siring sons and daughters, but she shall not enjoy them for they shall be taken into captivity.
All, yes, all the trees and fruit shall the locust devour.
The stranger, the “goy,” shall advance above the people, and they shall be held in low esteem.
The stranger shall lend to the people, and they shall not lend to him; he shall be the head and they shall be the tail.
These curses shall be upon the people for a sign and for a wonder, and upon their seed forever.
Because Israel deserts the LORD (Jehovah) and does not serve Him with joyfulness and with gladness of heart, there will be no abundance of things.
Israel shall be the slave of her enemies and serve them; the LORD (Jehovah) shall bring a nation against her from afar, from the end of the earth, as swift as an eagle flies, speaking a language she cannot comprehend.
A nation of fierce countenance shall not regard the person of the old nor show favor to the young (in Isaiah 19:4, one sees the antichrist being the enemy of Egypt and of Israel).
This terrible king shall eat the fruit of Israel’s cattle and the fruit of her land until she is destroyed; neither shall he leave her corn (grain), wine, oil, or the increase of her cattle, or flocks of her sheep—until he has destroyed her.
This enemy of Israel shall besiege her in all her gates until her high and fenced walls come down, wherein she trusts throughout her Land. He shall besiege her in all her gates throughout all her land which the LORD (Jehovah) her God (Elohim) has given her.
In the sieges Israel shall eat the fruit of her own bodies [children], the flesh of her sons and of her daughters, whom the LORD (Jehovah) God (Elohim) gives her; in the siege and in the straightness wherewith her enemies shall distress her.
Israel must watch out for the man that is tender and very delicate among her people; his eye shall be evil toward his brother and toward the wife of his bosom and toward the remnant of his children whom he shall leave.
This man will not share with anyone the flesh of his children whom he shall eat because he has nothing left to him in the siege and in the straightness. Israel’s enemies shall distress her in all her gates.
The tender and delicate woman, who would not previously venture to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom and toward her son and toward her daughter.
This woman shall also do evil toward the placenta (after birth) and toward her children whom she shall bear; for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege and straightness wherewith Israel’s enemy shall distress her in her gates.
If Israel is careless and does not observe all the words of this law which are written in this book and if she does not fear the honored and awesome name LORD (Jehovah) God, ...
... the LORD (Jehovah) will bring extraordinary plagues on her and her descendants—even great and lasting plagues and miserable and chronic sicknesses.
The LORD will bring on Israel those fearful diseases she feared in Egypt, and they shall cling to her.
The LORD (Jehovah) will bring Israel every sickness and every plague not mentioned in this book of the Law until she is destroyed.
Once Israel was numbered as the stars of heaven; then, because she does not obey the LORD (Jehovah) her God (Elohim), she shall have left few in number.
As the LORD (Jehovah) delights over His people to prosper them and multiply them, so will the LORD (Jehovah) delight over Israel to destroy her and make her perish; she shall be torn from the land where she is entering [this day] to possess it.
The LORD (Jehovah) shall scatter Israel among all people from one end of the earth to the other; and there she shall serve other gods, which neither she nor her fathers have known, even wood and stone.
The children of Israel shall find no ease among these nations; neither shall the soles of their feet have rest. Moreover, the LORD (Jehovah) shall give His people a trembling heart, failing eyes, and a sorrowing mind.
Israel’s life shall hang in doubt before her; she shall fear day and night and have no assurance of her life.
In the morning Israel shall say, “Would God it were even!” At even she shall say, “Would God it were morning!” She shall say these things for the fear of her heart wherewith she shall fear, and for the sight of her eyes which she shall see.
The LORD (Jehovah) shall bring Israel into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof He spoke unto her, “Thou shalt see it no more again”. The people shall be sold unto her enemies for bondmen and bondwomen, but no one will want to buy them.
In the course of many years, I have been asked to answer those who say Chapter 30 is just the recording of the Old Covenant (Testament) made by Moses at Mt. Sinai. The reader must know that Chapter 30 is the recording of another covenant besides the LAW, or Old Covenant. However, while Chapter 30 is another Covenant, it is a Conditional Covenant, depending upon the faithfulness of the people Israel. It is called the Palestinian Covenant, and it is the only Conditional Covenant that Israel shall keep.
Chapter 29 proves that chapter 30, the Palestinian Covenant, is different from the Old Covenant, the Law.
This Covenant is being made by God with Moses (with Israel) in the land of Moab; it is in addition to the Covenant which He made with her (Israel) in Horeb (Mt. Sinai).
Moses gathers all Israel together; and except for Moses, Caleb, and Joshua there is no one over the age of fifty-seven, a very young nation with a youthful army of six hundred thousand fighting men.
Moses refreshes the minds of the people, especially those who were one day to seventeen years old when Moses and his brother Aaron held their contest with Pharaoh and his servants and all his land.
Of the great temptations (trials) and the signs and those great miracles...
... there has not been a spiritual work in the lives of the people: a heart to perceive, eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day (See Chapter 4).
God has led the people for forty years in the desert; their clothes have not waxed old upon them, and their shoes have not worn out on their feet.
That they may know that He is the LORD (Jehovah) their God (Elohim), the people have not eaten bread, nor have they drunk wine or strong drink during these forty years.
When Israel’s people come to this place, Sihon, the king of Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, come out to battle against God’s people; and Israel smites them.
The people of Israel take the land and give it for an inheritance to the Reubenites, to the Gadites, and to the half tribe of Manasseh. (Hasn’t the Lord really blessed: giving cities, houses, barns. He has already provided for these two and one-half tribes, and one trusts that He shall make the same provisions for the other nine and one-half tribes on the West Bank.)
There is only one way for Israel to keep her heritage: keep the words of this Old Testament and do them.
Israel stands before the LORD (Jehovah) her God (Elohim)—the captains of her tribes, her elders and her officers, all the men of Israel.
Israel’s little ones, her wives, and the stranger that is in her camp, from the hewer of her wood unto the drawer of her water shall all stand before the LORD.
All Israel shall stand before God that she should enter into covenant with the LORD her God which He makes with her this day.
From Moses’ standpoint, as Israel is still without God at heart, the people can become His redeemed by acting in faith on this new covenant written in the thirtieth chapter. They can be redeemed by confessing their terrible sinning and returning to Him. They do not; and for 3,500 years, they have not done so. But they will at the close of the Great Tribulation [which this author believes is very near].
The LORD may establish Israel (by her trusting Him) as His people; and He will be forever her God as He has sworn unto her fathers—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Not only does He include Israel in the Covenant,
but He also includes him that stands here with His people this day before the LORD (Jehovah) her God (Elohim) and those who are not with them today.
Moses admonishes the people that they know how they lived in Egypt and how they came through the midst of the nations through which they passed.
The people have seen the abomination and the idols of wood, stone, silver, and gold, which these nations had with them.
Lest there shall be among the people a man, woman, family, or tribe, whose hearts turn away from the LORD (Jehovah) God (Elohim) to go to serve the gods of those nations, or lest there shall be among them a root bearing poisonous fruit and wormwood...
... that when he hears the words of this curse, he will boast saying, “I have peace though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart in order to destroy the watered land with the dry.”
There shall be no forgiveness for such a person; rather the anger of the LORD (Jehovah) and His jealousy will burn against that man. Every curse which is written in this book will rest upon him, and the LORD (Jehovah) will blot out his name from under Him.
According to all the curses of the Covenant that are written in this book of the Law (Mosaic, Old Law or Old Covenant), the LORD (Jehovah) shall separate this man unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel.
The generation of Israel’s children that shall rise up after her and the “goy” that shall come from a far land shall ask why there is such anger when they see the plagues of that land and the sicknesses which the LORD (Jehovah) has laid upon it.
“... the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the LORD (Jehovah) overthrew in his anger, and in His wrath:”
“Even all nations shall say, ‘Wherefore hath the LORD (Jehovah) done thus unto this land? what meaneth the heat of this great anger?’“
Then men shall answer, “Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD [Jehovah] God [Elohim] of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them forth out of the land of Egypt...”
The people have forsaken God; they raise to themselves other gods, which are not gods, and worship them—gods whom they do not know and whom He had not given unto them:
The anger of the LORD (Jehovah) is kindled against this land to bring upon it all the curses that are written in this book, thus vindicating Himself.
In anger, the LORD (Jehovah) roots the people out of the land; and in wrath and great indignation, He casts them into another land— as they are this day (1992).
The LORD (Jehovah) God (Elohim) owns the secrets of the universe, but those things which are revealed belong to Israel and to her children forever that she may perform all the words of this law.
One must turn to the New Testament:
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
I Corinthians 2:9, 10
One reads that Chapter 28:15-68 will take away the Holy Land from Israel because of her backsliding, sinning, idolatrous worshiping, and her forsaking the LORD (Jehovah). Now, however, one reads that Chapter 30:1-10 will give the Holy Land back through Israel’s repentance and her return to the LORD (Jehovah) in faith and obedience.
“And it shall come to pass...” (not a subject of uncertainty but of reality!). It is coming to pass just as the LORD said by Moses that it would!
“... when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee....” Today, 3,500 years after Moses read the blessings and the curses, these things have happened to Israel. She is scattered throughout the world, despised and rejected, just as God said she would be. “... and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD [Jehovah] thy God [Elohim] hath driven thee ....” Yes, there is hope when Israel calls these things to mind—a case of global repentance—and realizes that her dilemma is her fault in forsaking God and yielding to the pressure of idolatrous worship.
“And shalt return unto the LORD [Jehovah] ....” The majority of the nation of Israel does not even know the name of God? In fact, the people are falsely forbidden by their spiritual leadership even to mention His name.
One asks by what authority? Joel 2:32 states, “And it shall come to pass, that whoever shall call on the name of the LORD [Jehovah] shall be delivered [same word as saved]....” How can one call on the name of Jehovah (yahweh) without mentioning His name, and how shall Israel return to Jehovah if she has not known Him by name?
“... and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul....”
Right now all Israel is scattered throughout the world with blinded eyes and hearts to the reality of their great God Jehovah. Who will begin this chain of thought, one that shall change into a flood of faith, confession, and trust? It will turn into a great movement by the Holy Spirit, beginning in the Seventieth Week of Daniel when the spirit of discernment falls upon their spiritual leaders when they and, by their influence, the greater part of Israel realize that this man of influence—manly experience, religiously aflame—makes a covenant with Israel for seven years. He is not the Messiah! He is the Anti-messiah!
This man shall honor his seven year covenant with Israel for the first three and one-half years. Then he will break the covenant, placing himself upon a throne he has set in the Holy of Holies; and with Israel and the world as his audience, he will broadcast over a controlled television world network the returning declaration: “I am God.”
II Thessalonians 2:4 warns: “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”
Who shall lead Israel into the values of repentance (change of mind) and faith in Jehovah? The only spiritual born-again believers in the world just after the rapture will be the two witnesses of Revelation 11:3-4:
And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
The two witnesses shall have two commissions: (1) to Israel— their message primarily against the rebuilt Herod’s temple; and (2) to the rest of the world—against the religious Babylon, the one world religion before the Antichrist shall destroy it and place himself in its place.
One must marvel that the only two saved people in the world after the rapture shall be these two witnesses. For three and one-half years, the first half of the Seventieth Week of Daniel (The Tribulation), men try to kill them; but Revelation 11: 5-6 warns:
And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.
These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
The attempts to kill these witnesses are unsuccessful; but when they have finished their testimony, the beast (the Antichrist who is risen from the dead) shall overcome them and shall kill them.
Apostate Israel shall rejoice over their deaths, and the Gentile world shall rejoice and give presents one to another as they rejoice in the witnesses’ deaths as disclosed in Revelation 11:10: “And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.”
These two witnesses will influence 144,000 Israelites who shall take upon themselves to preach throughout the world. The lips of the two witnesses and the tongues of the 144,000 servants who are already scattered throughout the world shall influence others to seek after the LORD (Jehovah), resulting in their trusting the Messiah when He returns.
Here is promised the return of the LORD (Jehovah) when Israel repents.
Verses 4 - 5
Also is promised the regathering of the people of Israel to the Holy Land.
There is the promise of the conversion of all Israel.
There is the promise of judgment upon all nations who have persecuted Israel.
Verses 8 - 9
There is the promise of great blessings and prosperity for Israel.
This is the one “conditional” covenant that Israel shall keep.
God has spoken; this commandment is not hidden from His people.
The truth is not in heaven.
Neither is the truth beyond the sea.
The word is very close to the people, in her mouth, and in her heart, that they may do it.
And: Believe in the LORD (Jehovah)!
And: Follow Him!
Before the people this day is presented life and good, and death and evil.
Moses knows the people as God knows them: that they will not keep God and his law before them, that their property will not be held on to, and that poverty which they knew for four hundred years can be forgotten easily.
If the people turn from the his teaching, says Moses, ...
... their days on God’s land shall be cut short.
Moses has called as his witness, heaven and earth; he has presented to the people for their profit life or death, blessing and cursing.
Moses warns the people not to be foolish; why should they not choose life that both they and their seed shall live. [Has the old life in Egypt—and a few can remember—not proven that what he is saying is true? Righteousness will exalt them!]
God, though being Israel’s Creator, is a person. He has feelings. He can be ignored, and His commandments ridiculed; but for their sakes, the people must love their God. They must trust Him and obey Him.
Loyalty to the LORD (Jehovah) is a promise of heaven on earth.
This thirty-first chapter contains the last words of instruction to Israel by God’s Messenger, Moses, who has directed them a little more that forty years. (Forty of those years are spent in the desert or wilderness.)
What a miracle God performs upon His people. In the desert, they are in a place that lacks water, grazing pastures, and shady trees; yet their LORD (Jehovah) supplies this nation—a mass of people numbering around 2,400,000, and their herds and flocks—for forty years with ample water to drink, wash, and slake their thirsts. Their bread supply is also ample, raining down on them every night, except the Sabbath (on the sixth day God gives them a double supply).
A perfect shade that covers the whole of Israel and their tents is perfected by the LORD (Jehovah) dwelling in a cloud that settles upon the Tabernacle and spreads out to cover all the people. It is a perfect shade from that terrible desert sun during the day; and as the cloud turns to a pillar of fire at night, the families have light to illuminate their dwellings. Further, as it moves, the cloud gives light for their pathway during the night.
The people of Israel have everything, but their mouths are closed to fight against God and His provision. [They should have had faith in Him to know that He is able to fulfill what He promises. Likewise, those who know that same God through faith in His Son, Jesus the Messiah (Christ), are reminded that what He has done for His children in the past should be ample proof that He will perform all His promises to them: “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).]
In this chapter Moses speaks to all Israel (1-6).
On this day Moses is one hundred twenty years old, and he is neither feeble nor incapacitated though he says, “I can no more go out and come in....” The seventh verse of Chapter 34 verifies this fact, “...his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.” Moses is strong, he is healthy, but it is a fact that this is to be his last day on earth. It is time for him to die. He has finished his testimony. His work is completed. God has no more work for him to do.
When talking with many servants of God concerning their own approaching death, one finds that there is no animosity against God for letting them die. Their work is finished and they know it. Blessed peace is theirs. Praise the Lord!
Because of his striking the rock the second time instead of only speaking, Moses is denied the anticipated blessing of leading Israel into the Promised Land. Moses accuses Israel of causing his denial of this hope. He says that if she had gone into the land at the first of their journey, he would not have struck the rock the second time. However, only two years have gone by; for this incident occurs shortly before the forty years journey in the wilderness is over.
What a comparison can be made: Moses is a type of the Law; Joshua is a type of the Lord Jesus. Moses (the law) takes Israel to the Promised Land; Joshua (Jesus) takes her in.
Moses gives Israel the assurance that her enemies shall be defeated.
The LORD shall do to Israel’s enemies as He did to Sihon and Og.
The LORD (Jehovah) will defeat them before Israel’s face.
What a promise this sixth verse is: “Be strong, fear not, be not afraid. He is thy God, He goes with you, He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” [What a pep talk to a people who has the land set before them. All these promises are theirs!]
Verses 7 - 8
The same injunction given to Israel is bestowed upon their new leader-to-be, Joshua (7-8).
The Law is delivered to the priests (9-13).
[Who has the nerve to say that Moses did not write the book of the Second Law, Deuteronomy? This ninth verse says that he did write this book.]
Every seventh year is the “year of release” when all Israel’s slaves are freed on the day of the Feast of the Tabernacle.
On this day and in the place where God chooses to place His name, this book of the Law is to be read to all Israel.
Moses instructs Israel to gather all the people, including the Gentiles within their gates, and to be sure that they all hear the word of God.
Moses wants the children who have no knowledge of the Book to learn it and fear the LORD (Jehovah). The reader finds that in the Millennium (the one thousand year reign of the Messiah) all the Gentiles are to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem every year on the Feast of Tabernacle.
And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance.
And so shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the ass, and of all the beasts that shall be in these tents, as this plague.
And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
Zechariah 14: 14-16
God’s attention is directed to Moses himself: This day is Moses’ day to die. God instructs Moses to call Joshua and direct him to the tabernacle to receive a charge and for both of them to present themselves in the tabernacle of the congregation.
The LORD (Jehovah) appears in the tabernacle in a pillar of a cloud. This day Joshua receives his orders to lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land. (A little more than forty years before, God appeared to Moses in a burning bush where he received his orders from God to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt.)
“Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers....”
After Moses’ death, the people will forsake the LORD and go after strange gods. (Idolatry is spoken of in the Word as being prostitution of the spirit of man.) Israel keeps close to God until after the death of Joshua and those that follow him: “And Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the Lord, that he had done for Israel” (Joshua 24:31).
In the days of Israel’s apostasy, God will forsake them.
Oh, when God hides His face from His people!
“I want you to compose this song, placing it into the mouths of Israel that this song shall be a witness for me against the children of Israel.”
Israel shall turn away from God when the journey into the Promised Land is finalized, when they have eaten to the full; then they will turn to other gods.
God is God, He knows all things, and omniscience is one of His divine attributes (belonging only to Him).
Moses writes the song this day and teaches it to the children of Israel.
The LORD gives Joshua His charge; He tells Joshua that he is His choice and that he should be strong in Him. God promises Joshua, “I will be with thee!”
Verse 24 - 26
As Moses completes the Book that the LORD (Jehovah) gives him, he calls for the Levites who bore the Ark of the Covenant and instructs them to hang the scroll (book) on the side of the Ark that it may be there for a witness against the Nation.
Moses knows Israel’s rebellion against the LORD (Jehovah) though he is not dead yet and she has not entered the Promised Land.
Moses wants an audience with all the elders of all the tribes and their officers that he may speak to the leadership of Israel what God has to say and that he may call heaven (God and the Angels) and earth (nations of the world) to be witnesses of the truths he will speak.
Moses states that after his death there shall be a wholesale, organized opposition to the LORD (Jehovah). “The latter days” are found also in Chapter 4:30. That these days shall be very bitter, even called “Jacob’s trouble,” or the Tribulation, the Seventieth Week of Daniel: “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it; it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it” (Jeremiah 30:7). Israel shall repent in the closing days and Messiah shall return.
The words of the song, which Moses writes at God’s commission, are spoken this day in the ears of the whole congregation (the song can be found in Chapter 32).
Verses 1-44 contain the song that God gives Moses to teach to the nation of Israel; and the reader learns that this song is one of the Psalms that Moses writes: Exodus 15, Deuteronomy 1-44, and Psalm 90.
This song is God’s final warning of His demand for Israel to obey His divine law. As the LORD (Jehovah) has gathered His people out of Egypt and is now about to lead them into the Promised Land, He can scatter them and take them out of the Holy Land if they fail to obey His law.
Here Moses calls upon heaven (God and His angels) and earth (all mankind) to be witnesses of the words he shall speak concerning Jehovah and His people Israel.
Moses’ teaching shall affect the earth as the gentle rain and the distilled dew upon the tender herbs and showers upon the grass.
The main purpose of Moses’ message is to glorify Jehovah the true God, ascribing greatness to His name. Moses wants everyone to know the LORD (Jehovah). Then, why is there such opposition by the leaders of Israel to mention His name—Yahweh, better “Yawah.”
Verses 4 - 5
He is the Rock.
Psalm 19:14 states: “... my strength (my Rock), and my redeemer.” Verse 15 talks of God’s salvation; in the Hebrew language the word salvation is Joshua—Joshua, Hosea, JESUS! He is our Rock!
In verse 13, He, the Rock, is the source of Israel’s sustenance; in verse 18, He, the Rock, begets Israel; in verse 30, He is the Rock who grants Israel strength.
In verse 31, the reader learns that the rock of the heathen cannot be compared to the Christian’s Rock!
Verses 6 - 7
He is Israel’s Father.
The elders of Israel can and will testify to His greatness, His provision, and deliverance.
Verses 8 - 9
He is the Most High-El Elyon.
Why are the Chinese in China? Why are the black people in Ethiopia? Why do the extreme white people have a European connection? Because God placed them there! God divided the world to be inhabited by people of a certain language which was given them after the Tower of Babel:
Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.
So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off [ceased building] to build the city.
Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.
The LORD finds Israel in a desert land and loves her as the apple of His eye. What great love has been bestowed upon her by the LORD (Jehovah).
Verses 11 - 14
He is the Eagle.
An eagle stirs up the nest to make her chicks fly; and with strides that beat the air, the mother eagle then swoops under her fluttering eaglet, catches it on her wing, flies to a resting place, and waits to catch it on the next try. The mother continues in this fashion until her eaglet actually flies on its own. So has the Most High God guarded, protected, and delivered Israel in her formative years as a nation. Oh, how Israel soars high when God is revealed and accepted.
However, Jeshurun (a pet name for Israel) waxes fat and forsakes the LORD, ignoring the Rock of her salvation (yeshua: Joshua, Jews).
Verses 16 - 24
He is the Hidden God.
God, seemingly has hidden His face from His people: “Your sins have separated you and Me.” Thus the wrath of God has been reserved for Israel.
Verses 25 - 26
“The sword without, and terror within”—both virgins and young men of Israel shall God destroy. God promises to scatter His people and He does so.
Upon the plea of Moses, God spares Israel from total annihilation; for Moses reasons that if the LORD (Jehovah) destroys Israel, He must have do so on purpose because He does not possess power enough to take them into the Promised Land.
Israel’s plight is by God’s might!
Verses 29 - 30
Oh, if Israel will only wake up and trust the LORD (Jehovah) and break off her sinning; for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he reap.
The enemies’ rock—their god—is not like the Rock of Israel, a fact that the enemies of Israel admit.
Verses 32 - 34
As a vine, the enemies are offshoots of Sodom and Gomorrah. Their lives are full of gall and bitterness. Their wine is the poison of serpents.
Is vengeance not the LORD’S? Will He not avenge His people? Their calamity is near.
Verses 36 - 38
He is the vengeful God.
God always evens the score. He shall judge His people. Where is their rock, their god?
He is the only God.
Verses 40 - 42
He is the eternal God.
“I live for ever.” God never had a beginning. He has always existed in the past as He shall exist in the future.
The future of His enemies is death.
Gentiles are invited to rejoice with Israel in having the true and only God.
Moses speaks the great song in the ears of the people, he and Hoshea (another name for Joshua).
Verses 45 - 47
Thus ends Moses’ words to Israel, his plea with Israel to obey the laws of God which will prolong their lives.
Verses 48 - 52
He is the God of His Word.
God exalts His Word above His name. His Word is forever settled in heaven.
Several times Moses stands between Israel and the LORD (Jehovah), but he never has anyone to stand up for him (himself).
That day Moses dies; but before he dies, he is ordered to walk up the mountain Abarim, to the peak Nebo which is located in Moab across Jordan. There Jericho can be seen; God tells Moses to let his eyes gaze upon the land of Canaan which He has given to Israel for a possession.
God also tells Moses to die in the mountain and be gathered unto his people even as his brother has died recently in mount Hor and was gathered unto his people, the same people of Moses. Moses will be with him on this day again. [How wonderful to have a brother on the other side—in heaven, who shall be waiting when death comes.]
Although Aaron and Moses do not go immediately to heaven but to Sheol (Hades), those today who are in the body of Christ go immediately to be with the Lord upon their deaths.
Moses is not allowed to go into the Promised Land because he strikes the rock the second time to bring forth water rather than speak to the rock as instructed. God tells Moses to look at the land from afar; he shall not, however, go into the land which God has given to the children of Israel.
In a Bible study concerning the tribes of Israel, the reader will notice that though there are thirteen tribes (including Joseph’s double portion of having his two sons’ descendants counted as two separate tribes), only twelve are mentioned, one tribe being left out.
In Numbers 26, the reader finds the tribe of Levi omitted.
In Deuteronomy 33, one finds that Simeon is not mentioned.
In Revelation 7:4-8, one finds that Dan cannot be found.
There are several explanations; one, where Simeon is left out in Chapter 33 of Deuteronomy, can be that Judah is given such a large land inheritance that she gives Simeon the southern portion of her land with Ziklag as her northern city and Beer-sheba as her southern city.
Moses blesses each tribe and his blessing remains! One may make light of a person’s placing a blessing or a curse upon anyone; but the truth is that an individual may render either to another person. The reader will remember that the LORD (Jehovah) told Abraham, “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee...” (Genesis 12:3). This verse declares that a person can bless or curse a descendant of Abraham (a Jew) and receive the same —a curse or blessing—on his or her life.
In its endeavor to take the Gospel to the Jewish people, our group has received the blessings of God in many ways for loving His people (the children of Abraham). Untold blessings have been ours to enjoy. It works. Let us place the blessings of God upon those we contact.
This verse explains how Moses receives the LAW from God. “Ten thousand saints” accompanied the LORD (Jehovah) in bringing forth the fiery law. The words “ten thousand saints” can be rendered “ten thousand holy ones.” Who are the “holy ones”? —not any from Israel nor from any other nation. Hebrews 2:1-2 explains:
Therefore, we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.
For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward....
From these verses the reader learns that these holy ones are angels with God on the mount. These angels speak the law, which they had received from the LORD (Jehovah), to Moses who in turn gives the law to Israel. The LAW is steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience receive a just recompense.
There must always be a mediator. Moses has his in the angels of God, who stand between him and God. Everyone today has a Mediator between him and God—the Lord Jesus Christ! I Timothy 2:5,6 announces: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; / Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”
Moses writes of the love Jehovah has for His people Israel. All His holy ones (angels), called saints, are in His hands. They follow their Creator as divine ministers should. [And shouldn’t all follow Him in like manner.]
How wonderful to hear God declare that today His love is not forwarded to Israel only, but to the whole world. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting lie” (John 3:16).
The LAW is given to Israel—not to the Church nor to the gentiles. It is Israel’s.
Moses in his rightful place could have been the Pharaoh of Egypt as he is the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter, but he is king in Israel. There has been no such individual as Moses until God manifests in the flesh—Jesus!
Now, to the blessings upon the separate tribes.
As the firstborn, Reuben is due to be king, high priest, possessor of a double portion inheritance; but he lost all by going into his father’s couch. He lost the kingship to Judah; the priesthood, to Levi; and the double inheritance, to Joseph.
The granted blessing, nevertheless, is the increase of his people.
Judah will be a blessing and a protector of his people.
Verses 8 - 11
Levi is never remembered among Israel, for he has no possession in the land. Jehovah (LORD) is his inheritance. His is the priesthood, set apart for the spiritual life of his people. His family is to find the will of God by the Urim and Thummim, two identical objects held today in the priest’s garment. Without feeling which one is which, the priest will ask God for His decision; then the priest will pull out one of the objects. He then knows God’s will by its selection.
This verse no doubt is speaking of the future blessing accorded to this tribe by placing Jerusalem and the Temple within its boundaries.
Benjamin shall wholly depend upon the LORD (Jehovah) and His blessings.
Verse 13 - 17
With Joseph’s double inheritance in his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh receive the most noted blessings of Moses.
Verse 18 - 19
This is a rejoicing tribe as it goes out to its possessions.
Verses 20 - 21
Gad with Reuben and the half-tribe of Manasseh is the first of the tribes to receive its inheritance. The Gadites ask Moses if they can have their portion on the east bank of the Jordan River since they have so many sheep and the land contains enough space for the grazing of their sheep.
Moses grants the request upon the service of the three tribes: soldiers to fight with the other nine and one-half tribes to gain the territory for those tribes. The three tribes promise to help; and after all the west bank is captured, they return to their wives and children in their new inheritance.
Dan shall always be on the prowl. It is the first tribe to go into idolatry: “And the children of Dan set up the graven [carved] image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land” (Judges 18:30).
Naphtali is given the west and southern part of the Sea of Galilee.
Verses 24 - 25
When will they discover oil in Asher? They will.
Verses 26 - 27
The eternal God is Israel’s refuge, and all children of God; there is no God like the God Jeshurun.
Israel shall one day dwell in safety; the time begins when Israel looks upon Him who has been pierced, who has risen from the dead, and who is God manifest in the flesh—the Messiah!
Who can be compared to Israel on earth?
No one can be when she is saved.
And saved by the LORD (Jehovah)!
Who is her shield of help?
Who is her sword of excellency?
Israel shall overcome her enemies.
Moses alone goes up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo. [One must wonder what audience he has as he leaves Israel for a certain place where he knows he will die.]
Israel is busy getting ready to cross Jordan. She has a new leader now, not a stranger to anyone; and it seems that she has forgotten about Moses for the moment. The people do, however, mourn for him for thirty days.
The question of who writes this last chapter is always asked? Moses could have written it as a prophecy to be fulfilled, or Joshua could have been the one chosen by God to write it.
Whoever wrote it, it is the Word of God! Furthermore, it is the Second Law—the reading of it, that is. Israel is now through with the forty years in the wilderness. (God had directed her to go into the wilderness for two years but not for forty years.)
And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt:
But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed [armed] out of the land of Egypt.
And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly [solemnly] sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you.
The wilderness journey for thirty-eight more years is the most useless experience of the people, but it is placed upon Israel because they do not believe God. The Holy Land is before them, but they balk and listen to the ten spies who say that they cannot take the land. The LORD (Jehovah) is wroth at Israel when He declares:
Surely there shall not one of these men of this evil generation see that good land, which I sware to give unto your fathers,
Save [Except] Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him will I give the land that he hath trodden upon, and to his children, because he hath wholly followed the LORD.
A whole generation (men twenty years and upward) is lost and die in the wilderness. The oldest men in the camp to finally go into the Promised Land (besides Caleb and Joshua) are fifty-seven years of age.
Verses 2 - 3
Now as Moses is on the mountaintop by Moab, looking at the Holy Land, the LORD (Jehovah) points out the territories which nine and one-half tribes will possess: all of Naphtali and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, Judah unto the sea, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees.
As far as the east bank of Jordan is concerned, Moses has already seen what Gad, Reuben, and the one-half tribe of Manasseh will receive; for he was standing at that moment in the midst.
Most people, when they think of Israel, think only of the west bank, but the east bank is Israel as much as the west bank is. Moses was in Israel right then and there, but he never walked in the West Bank which is so much more beautiful.
“This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, ... [and] thy seed.” These fathers of Israel walk the length and the width, even die and are buried on the West Bank. Moses will die and be buried on the East Bank; yet in death, in Sheol, they are all together.
Moses’ eyes shall behold the future home of his people, but he shall not go into it.
Moses dies as God says.
Moses is buried by the LORD (Jehovah) Himself where no one knows.
By reading Jude 9, one learns that Michael, the archangel, contends with the devil over the body of Moses. No doubt the devil wants Moses’ body to build a tomb for it. What consistent contention may rise? Many of Israel may stay there without going into the Promised Land. The tomb may become an idol, and Moses may be worshipped. It seems that neither the devil nor Satan knows where Moses is buried. One thing known, however, is that the Lord Jesus does not reveal where the body is although Moses and Elijah are present at the Transfiguration vision.
Moses at one hundred twenty years of age is not weak at all. He is at the zenith of his strength.
Just a year before Moses dies, his brother Aaron dies and is buried on Mt. Hor. Two years before that, Moses’ sister Miriam dies. All die, are buried, and are not allowed to enter the Promised Land’s West Bank.
Israel mourns the death of Moses for thirty days, the “weeping time.” When the mourning period ends, Israel is ready to go into the land promised by God to their fathers.
Joshua, chosen of God, becomes the recognized leader of Israel. The people know that he is God’s chosen leader, and they do not raise any opposition.
There is a complete turnover: a new leader with a new vision, with new aspirations. This type of change always stimulates a people, and Israel is no exception.
There is no prophet like Moses (the Word of God says that he is a king to all Israelites). He has laid hands upon Joshua, signifying that all that he is comes by the power of the Holy Spirit and that he is now evoking this power upon this younger and trusted man.
The Word says that God speaks directly to Moses, His prophet, a privilege not afforded any other. Therefore, although he never sees God’s face—only His hinder part, Moses knows God and His will.
Verses 11 - 12
Moses is entrusted with great power and signs which are demonstrated to the Egyptians, especially Pharaoh. The Egyptians know that Moses is sent to them by the true God. They respect him, and they open up their treasures to him and to all Israel. As a result, the poverty-stricken Israel becomes wealthy, overnight, with gold and silver and brass, wearing apparel, camels, sheep, oxen, and donkeys offered by the Egyptians.
Moses is never afraid for his life, nor for anyone in Israel; His leadership is wholly of God.