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a Num. 13. 28.
CHAPTER IX.-(1) Hear, O Israel :
wickedness of these nations the LORD Thou art to pass over Jordan this day,
thy God doth drive them out from beto go in to possess nations greater and
fore thee, and that he may perform the mightier than thyself, cities great and
word which the LORD sware unto thy fenced up to heaven, (2) a people great
fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. and tall, the children of the Anakims,
(6) Understand therefore, that the whom thou knowest, and of whom thou
LORD thy God giveth thee not this good hast heard say, Who can stand before
land to possess it for thy righteousness; the children of Anak! (3 Understand och. 4. 24; Heb. for thou art a stiffnecked people. (7) Retherefore this day, that the LORD thy
member, and forget not, how thou proGod is he which goeth over before thee;
vokedst the LORD thy God to wrath in as a consuming fire he shall destroy
the wilderness : from the day that thou them, and he shall bring them down be
didst depart out of the land of Egypt, fore thy face: so shalt thou drive them
until ye came unto this place, ye have out, and destroy them quickly, as the
been rebellious against the LORD. (8) Also LORD hath said unto thee.
in Horeb ye provoked the LORD to (+) Speak not thou in thine heart,
wrath, so that the LORD was angry with after that the LORD thy God hath cast
you to have destroyed you. them out from before thee, saying, For
(9) When I was gone up into the my righteousness the Lord hath brought
mount to receive the tables of stone, me in to possess this land: but for the
even the tables of the covenant which wickedness of these nations the LORD
the Lord made with you, then I abode doth drive them out from before thee.
in the mount forty days and forty (5) Not for thy righteousness, or for the
nights, I neither did eat bread nor uprightness of thine heart, dost thou
drink water: (10) & and the LORD delivered go to possess their land: but for the
unto me two tables of stone written
c Ex. 24.18 & 34.28.
d Ex. 31. 18.
annihilate them, according as Jehovah hath commanded
thee.” EXHORTATION TO REMEMBER THE SINS OF THE EXODUS.
(4) But for the wickedness.—“Say not in thine
heart, “in my righteousness,' when it is in conse(1) Hear, O Israel. A fresh portion of the ex. quence of their wickedness that Jehovah is dispossesshortation begins here. The cause of Israel's conquest ing them from before thee.” of Canaan is not to be sought in their own merit, (5) Not for thy righteousness ... dost thou but in the choice of Jehovah.
go.—The pronoun is emphatic. There is no reason Thou art to pass.-Literally, thou art passing : why thou of all others shouldest be thus honoured. i.e., just about to pass.
(6) Understand therefore. -Literally, and thou Nations greater and mightier than thyself. knowest. Three times the formula occurs in these -If this is true (and there is no reason to doubt it),
“The children of Anak thou knowest; and the responsibility of the conquest does not rest with thou knowest the Lord thy God; and (thirdly) thou Israel; they were the Divine executioners. (See Note knowest thyself too.” on Josh. v. 13, 14.)
A stiffnecked people.- The metaphor seems Cities
fenced up to heaven.-Comp. to be taken from a camel or other beast of burden, the expression in Gen. xi. 4, “a city and a tower who hardens his neck, and will not bend it for the whose top may reach unto (literally, is in) heaven.” driver. So here, cities great and fortified in the heavens.” (7) Remember, and forget not.-More abruptly Was St. Paul thinking of this expression when he in the original, “ Remember-do not forget-how thou said, “We wrestle against spiritual wickedness in the hast stirred the indignation of Jehovah." heavenly regions ? ” (Eph. v. 12).
Rebellious.-Not simply rebels, as Moses called (2) Whom thou knowest. The pronoun is em. them in Num. xx. 10) at Meribah, but provoking rebels phatic. The twelve spies, two of whom were still --rebels who rouse the opposition of Him against whom living, had seen them (Num. xiii. 33), and their fame they rebel. was doubtless notorions. It seems to have been a (8) Also.-Even in Horeb. In the very sight of the common saying, possibly among the Anakim them- mountain of the Law, the Law was flagrantly violated. selves, “ Who will stand up to the children of Anak ? (9) I neither did eat bread nor drink water. No one could be found to face them.
-This fact is not related in Exodus concerning the (3) Understand therefore.-Literally, the connec- first forty days which Moses spent in Mount Sinai tion seems to be this : “ The children of Anakim thou “ with his minister Joshua.” It might be supposed knowest-thou knowest also (the same word) to-day, or implied, but it is not recorded. that it is Jehovah thy God Himself that passeth over (10) Two tables of stone.-Of these tables it is before thee, a consuming fire. He will destroy them, said in Exod. xxxii. 16, “ the tables were the work of and He will make them to bow down before thee. God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven And thou shalt make a conquest of them, and speedily
upon the tables.”
The Sins of Israel
in the Wilderness.
a Ex. 32. 7.
b Sum. 11.1, 3.
with the finger of God: and on them was written according to all the words, which the Lord spake with you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly. (11) And it came to pass at the end of forty days and forty nights, that the LORD gave me the two tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant. (12) And the LORD said unto me, a Arise, get thee down quickly from hence; for thy people which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt have corrupted themselves ; they are quickly turned aside out of the way which I commanded them; they have made them a molten image.
(13) Furthermore the LORD spake unto me, saying, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: (14) let | Ex. 17. 7. me alone, that I may destroy them, and blot out their name from under heaven: and I will make of thee a nation mightier and greater than they. (15) So I turned and came down from the mount, and the mount burned with fire: and the ja Num. 11. 34. two tables of the covenant were in my two hands. (16) And I looked, and, behold, ye had sinned against the LORD your God, and had made you a molten calf: ye had turned aside quickly out of
the which the LORD had com-
(22) And at Taberah, and at Massah, and at Kibroth-hattaavah, ye provoked the LORD to wrath. (23) Likewise when the LORD sent you from Kadesh-barnea, saying, Go up and possess the land which I have given you;
(12) Arise, get thee down.-The words recorded forty were so spent. At that time he received the here and in verses 13, 14, are given at length in pattern of the tabernacle and the directions for Exod. xxxii. 7, &c. Moses' intercession at that time the priesthood, which he did not deliver to Israel is recorded also.
until after he descended from Sinai the second (15) So I turned ..-This verse nearly repeats time. (See Exod. xxiv. 18 to xxxi., and xxxv. 1, Exod. xxxii. 15.
&c.) During the first forty days, Joshua was with (16) Ye had turned aside quickly.-The words Moses in the mount (probably to help in taking the of Jehovah in verse 16, repeated here, and also recorded pattern for the tabernacle); during the second forty in Exod. xxxii. 8. There is nothing so sad in human Moses was alone. experience as the rapidity with which good resolutions (19) For I was afraid.-In Heb. xii. 21, the words and impressions fade from the natural heart of man. “I exceedingly fear " are (in the Greek) identical (17) I .. brake them before your eyes.
with these. This shows that the act was deliberate on Moses' part. (20) I prayed for Aaron also.-Jewish commenHe did not simply drop the tables in his passion before tators ascribe the loss of Aaron's two sons (Lev. x. 1, 2) they reached the camp; he deliberately broke the partly to God's anger at this time. material covenant in the face of the people, who had (21)' I took your sin ... and I cast the dust broken the covenant itself. When we remember the thereof into the brook.–The stream from the effect of hastily touching not the tables of the Law rock in Horeb not only gave Israel drink, but hore away themselves, but the mere chest that contained them, their “sin” upon its waters. “And that Rock was in after-times, we may well believe that the breaking Christ.” This identification of the sin with the material of these two tables was an act necessary for the object is in harmony with the Law in Leviticus, where safety of Israel. In Exod. xxxiii. 7, we read that “sin" and "sin-offering ”—“trespass” and “trespassMoses placed the temporary tabernacle outside the offering ”—are respectively denoted by a single word. camp at the same time. The two actions seem to have (22) At Taberah.—The first place mentioned after had the same significance, and to have been done for they left Sinai. the same reason.
At Massah.-The last scene described before they (18) And I fell down before the Lord, as at reached it. Sinai is made the centre of provocation. the first, forty days and forty nights.—Moses At Kibroth-hattaavah.-The first encampment had already interceded for them in Sinai before he came named after Sinai. It is not certain that they halted down on the fortieth day (Exod. xxxii. 11-14). He at Taberah. (See Num. xi.) now spent forty days and nights in the work of in- (23) Ye rebelled against the commandment.tercession. We are not to understand that the first Literally, the mouth of Jehovah.
Moses Reminds them
of their Rebelliousness.
then ye rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God, and ye believed him not, nor hearkened to his voice. (24) Ye have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I
because he hated them, he hath brought
(29) Yet they are thy people and
a Num. 14. 16.
b Ex. 34. 1.
(25) Thus I fell down before the Lord forty days and forty nights, as I fell down at the first; because the Lord had said he would destroy you. (26) I prayed therefore unto the LORD, and said, o Lord God, destroy not thy people and thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed through thy greatness, which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand. (27) Remember thy servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; look not unto the stubbornness of this people, nor to their wickedness, nor to their sin : (28) lest the land whence thou broughtest us out say, "Because the Lord was not able to bring them into the land which he promised them, and
CHAPTER X.-(1) At that time the
Hew thee two
1 Heb., words.
to go up:
Ye believed him not-when He encouraged you was given after Moses had seen the glory of God
(Exod. xxxii.) from the cleft in the rock, but before the Nor hearkened to his voice-when He forbad forty days spent in intercession. Rashi, the Jewish you. (See on chap. i. 32, 43.)
commentator, thinks there were two arks: one to go (24) Yo have been rebellious against the out to war, and the other to remain in the tabernacle. Lord from the day that I knew you.- This is But there is no foundation for this statement. There one side of the truth. The other may be found in the may, of course, have been a temporary receptacle for words of Balaam, which Jehovah Himself put into his the tables made by Moses (like the temporary tabernacle mouth : “He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, nor mentioned in Exod. xxxiii. 7), to receive them until the seen perverseness in Israel ” (Num. xxiii. 21). (See completion of the ark which Bezaleel was to make. also Deut. xxxi. 16.)
This was not put in hand until after Moses descended (25) Thus I fell down ...-Literally, And I fell with the second pair of tables. (See Exod. xxxv. &c.) down before Jehovah forty days and forty nights, as I
(2) And I will write on the tables.- It is a had fallen down (originally on the fortieth day) when common error to suppose that Moses wrote the Law the the Lord said He would destroy you : i.e., when He second time. The mistake arises from the change of told Moses of the calf.
person in Exod. xxxiv. 28, where the same pronoun (26) I prayed therefore ... and said.-The * he ” refers first to Moses, and then to Jehovah. But words that follow are very similar to those which are there is no doubt as to the fact or its spiritual meaning. recorded in Exod. xxxii. 11–13.
Moses appears to
The tables of stone represent the “ flesliy tables of the be alluding to his first intercession here, before he de- heart," as St. Paul teaches us in 2 Cor. ii. 3. The first scended from Sinai for the first time.
pair of tables were like the heart of Adam, which came (27) Remember thy servants, Abraham, Isaac, fresh from the hand of his Maker, with the word of the and Jacob.-This is found exactly in Exod. xxxii. Law written on them. But this perished by the fall, 13. Very few of the words used by Moses in the second beneath the mountain of the Law. The humanity which forty days are found in Exodus. (See Exod. xxxiv. 9.) ascended to receive the Spirit for us was prepared by
(29) Thy people . .. which thou broughtest the Mediator on earth. The “ second man” receives out.-So Exod. xxxii. 11. It is noticeable that God " the new covenant,” “not the letter, but the Spirit,” said to Moses, " Thy people which thou broughtest which puts God's laws in men's minds, and writes them out : : . have corrupted themselves ” (Exod. xxxii. in their hearts, making them God's temple. Thus the 7). Moses said, “Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot ark and the tabernacle which received the Law are & against thy people which thou hast brought forth ?” figure of God's human temple, and of the renewed
heart of man. X.
(4) According to the first writing, the ten (1) At that time the Lord said unto me.- commandments.-The words written on the second The forty days of intercession alluded to in the previous tables were the same which had been written on the chapter followed this command (Exod. xxxiv. i. 28). first. Hew thee two tables of stone
and In the day of the assembly.-Or, in New make thee an ark.– The command to make the Testament language, “ the day of the Church.” The ark was given in the former period of forty days Pentecost of the Old Testament was the day when (Exod. xxv. 10); the command to hew the two tables " the letter was given; the Pentecost of the New
Death of Aaron.
fire in the day of the assembly: and the fa Num. 33. 30. covenant of the LORD, to stand before Lord gave them unto me.
(5) And I
the Lord to minister unto him, and to turned myself and came down from the
bless in his name, unto this day. mount, and put the tables in the ark
(9) Wherefore Levi hath no part nor which I had made; and there they Num. 20. 28. inheritance with his brethren; the LORD be, as the LORD commanded me.
is his inheritance, according as the LORD (6) And the children of Israel took
thy God promised him.
(10) And I their journey from Beeroth of the chil
stayed in the mount, according to the dren of Jaakan to « Mosera : 6 there | Num. 18. 20. 1 first time, forty days and forty nights; Aaron died : and there he was buried ;
and the LORD hearkened unto me at and Eleazar his son ministered in the
that time also, and the LORD would not priest's office in his stead. (7) From
destroy thee. (11) And the LORD said thence they journeyed unto Gudgodah ; 1 Or, former days. unto me, Arise, 2 take thy journey beand from Gudgodah to Jotbath, a land
fore the people, that they may go in of rivers of waters.
and possess the land, which I sware (8) At that time the LORD separated
unto their fathers to give unto
2 Heb., go in jour them. the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the
Testament was the day of the “Spirit that giveth life.” our representative, the Lord Jesus Christ. After that Each of these aspects of God's covenant produced a death He “ariseth” as “another priest, made not after Church after its kind.
the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of (5) I
put the tables in the ark which an endless life.” Thus the incident is connected with I (had) made; and there they be.-Or, and they what goes before. The separation of the tribe of Levi were there, or they continued there. According to the "to bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord,” i.e., " to narrative in Exodus, the ark in which the tables ulti- bear the burden of the Law,” is the same thing in mately remained was made afterwards. The English another form. It deprives them of an earthly inheri. reader must not be misled by the word “ had” in “I tance, just as He whose representatives they were gave had made.” There is no pluperfect in Hebrew. The Himself an offering and sacrifice to God; and “ His time of an action is determined not so much by the life is taken from the earth." form of the verb as by its relation to the context. “I Further, the names of the places themselves have in put the tables in the ark which I made, and they re- this aspect a spiritual significance. From certain mained there,” is the literal sense. “I made may
“wells of water 's-the wells of the children of Jaakan very well mean I caused to be made," and refers to (crookedness) —the people of God take their journey the ark which Bezaleel constructed under Moses' di. to the scene of the high priest's death. From thence to rections.
Hor-hagidgad, or Gudgodah, the mount of the "troop," (6, 7) On these verses, which are among the most or “band” (Sinai is the mount of the “ congregation difficult in Deuteronomy, see a separate Excursus. The in the Old Testament, Zion in the New), and thence to difficulty is two-fold. First, the account of Israel's a land of rivers of water. It is only another way of marches about the time of Aaron's death is given in a relating how from the wells of the Law we pass to the different form here to that which we have in Num. XX., rivers of living water opened by the Gospel. But we xxi., and xxxiii. Secondly, there is the further ques. must pass by way of the cross of Christ. tion why Aaron's death should be recorded here. (8) At that time-i.e., at Sinai, after Moses' second It appears to have taken place before Moses began descent from the mount, not at the time of Aaron's the delivery of the discourses in Deuteronomy. It is death. Yet the death of Aaron and the separation of separated by thirty-nine years from the incidents which the tribe of Levi are similar events in their way: both Moses is recapitulating in this passage. The Jewish alike lose territorial inheritance through bearing the commentator Rashi gives a very curious tale to account burden of the Law. for the allusion to Aaron's death in this place. But To bear the ark of the covenant of the though his theory is mythical, he seems to hit the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister main point, which is that Israel re-visited in their jour. unto him, and to bless in his name.-A recent ney round the land of Edom four places where they critic has said that the writer of Deuteronomy knows had previously encamped, and among them Mosera, no distinction between priests and Levites. (See on this or Moseroth, the district in which Monnt Hor, where point chap. xi. 6.) Rashi's note on this verse is better : Aaron died, was situated. There is no impossibility in “To bear the ark (He separated)-the Levites; to stand this; in fact, it is highly probable, and would partly before Jehovah to minister to Him, and to bless in His account for the statement in Num. xxi. 4, that “the soul name—the priests.". of the people was much discouraged because of the (9) The Lord is his inheritance. As He was way.” It was just about this time that the fiery ser. the inheritance of Aaron, Moses' brother, whom he had pents came.
recently taken to Himself, and to whose death Moses If the connection of these verses with the train of had just referred. thought in Moses' mind is spiritual, the difficulty may (11) And the Lord said unto me, Arise, take be solved. The death of the priest of Israel, whose thy journey before the people, that they first representative Aaron was, is spiritually identical may go in.-" Although ye had turned aside from with the destruction of the first pair of tables, the death following Him, and had erred in the (matter of the) of the first Adam and of all mankind in the person of calf, He said to me, Go, lead the people” (Rashi).
The Whole Duty
b 2 Chron. 19.7:
Eph. 6. 9; Col. 3,
c ch. 6. 13; Matt.
4. 10; Luke 4. 8.
(12) And now, Israel, what doth the la Ps. 24. 1. judgment of the fatherless and widow, LORD thy God require of thee, but to
and loveth the stranger, in giving him fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all
food and raiment. (19) Love ye therefore his ways, and to love him, and to serve
the stranger : for ye were strangers in the LORD thy God with all thy heart Job hoc the land of Egypt. (20) « Thou shalt fear and with all thy soul, (13) to keep the Gal: El the LORD thy God; him shalt thou commandments of the LORD, and his
serve, and to him shalt thou dcleave, statutes, which I command thee this
and swear by his name. (21) He is thy day for thy good ? (14) Behold, the
praise, and he is thy God, that hath heaven and the heaven of heavens is the
done for thee these great and terrible Lord's thy God, a the earth also, with
things, which thine eyes have_seen. all that therein is. (15) Only the LORD
(22) Thy fathers went down into Egypt had a delight in thy fathers to love
e with threescore and ten
persons; them, and he chose their seed after
and now the LORD thy God hath them, even you above all people, as it is
made thee fas the stars of heaven for this day. (16) Circumcise therefore the
CHAPTER XI.-(1) Therefore thou is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a
shalt love the LORD thy God, and keep great God, a mighty, and a terrible,
his charge, and his statutes, and his which regardeth not persons, nor
judgments, and his commandments, taketh reward: (18) he doth execute the \ Gen. 15. 5. alway.
4 cm. 3. 4.
e Gen. 46. 27; Ex.
(12) And now, Israel, what doth the Lord (20) Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God; him thy God require of thee.—“Although ye have shalt thou serve.-In the New Testament, “ Thou done all this, still His tender mercies and His affection shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt are set upon you, and after all that ye have sinned
thou serve. It was our Lord's last answer to the before Him, He doth not ask anything of you but to tempter in the wilderness. The order of the Hebrew fear,” &c. (Rashi). The Rabbis have drawn this exposi. gives the emphasis. “Jehovah thy God shalt thou fear, tion from hence: “Everything is in the hand of Heaven Him shalt thou serve, and to Him shalt thou cleave ; (to bestow), save only the fear of Heaven.” But it is "and (adds Rashi) after all these qualities are estabwritten elsewhere, " I will put my fear in their hearts, lished in thee, then thou shalt swear by His name.' that they shall not depart from me.”
least His name would not be profaned in such a case. Micah vi. 8; Matt. xxiii. 23.)
(22) Thy fathers went down.-The simple and (15) Only.-"The whole world belongs to Jehovah, natural form of this allusion conveys a strong impresand for all that He chose thy fathers above all sion of the truth of the facts. If the marvellous people.”
increase of Israel in the time allowed by the sacred (16) Circumcise your
.-“For circum- narrative presents a difficulty, we must remember that cision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the the Bible consistently represents the multiplication as letter” (Rom. ii. 29). The verse literally runs thus : the fulfilment of a Divine promise, and not purely Circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and ye will natural. But the testimony of the
First Book of harden your neck no more. It is the same line of Chronicles must not be overlooked. The genealogy of thought as St. Paul's (Gal. v. 16) “ Walk in the Spirit, Judah, given in the second and fourth chapters of that and (then) ye will not fulfil the last of the flesh.” book, discloses a very extensive multiplication, a good (17, 18) A great God, a mighty, and a terrible deal of which must lie within the period of the sojourn.
he doth execute the judgment of the ing in Egypt. The family of Hezron is particularly to fatherless and widow.-“ Behold (says Rashi) His be noticed. Of a certain descendant of Simeon it is might! And close beside His might thou mayest find written (1 Chron. iv. 27), “And Shimei had sixteen sons His humility.” It is not otherwise in later passages and six daughters ; but his brethren had not many of Scripture : “He healeth the broken in heart, and children, neither did all their family multiply like to bindeth up their wounds. He telleth the number of the the children of Judah.” (!) Modern calculations are stars, and calleth them all by their names.”
perhaps not quite adequate to deal with such a rate of (18) And loveth the stranger, in giving him increase as this. (See also the Note on chap. xxxii. 8.) food and raiment.--An inclusive expression. The
If God will : : :
(1) Therefore. There is no break here in the to eat and raiment to put on ” (Rashi).
original. "The Lord thy God bath made thee as (19) For ye were strangers.-" The blemish which the stars of heaven for multitude, and thou shalt love is upon thyself thou shalt not notice in thy neighbour the Lord thy God.” (Rashi). The provision made for the stranger through- And keep his charge.-Literally, keep his keepout the Old Testament Scriptures has another cause ing, i.e., all that is to be kept in obedience to Him. besides: “For I was a stranger, and ye gathered me Alway.-Literally, all the days. (Comp. “I am with in." (See a Sermon on “The Stranger” in Silver you all the days " in Matt. xxviii. 25.) Israel must not Sockets, and other Shadows of Redemption.)
omit one day in keeping the charge of Jehovah, for