14. And the Lord said unto Moses, Behold, thy days approach that thou must die: call Joshua, and present yourselves in the tabernacle of the congregation, that I may give him a charge. And Moses and Joshua went, and presented themselves in the tabernacle of the congregation.
14. Et dixit Jehova ad Mosen, Ecce, appropinquaverunt dies tui, ut moriaris: voca Josua, et state in tabernaculo conventionis, et praecipiam ei. Perrexit ergo Moses et Josua, steteruntque in tabernaculo conventionis.
15. And the Lord appeared in the tabernacle in a pillar of a cloud: and the pillar of the cloud stood over the door of the tabernacle.
15. Et apparuit Jehova in tabernaculo, in columna nubis, stetitque columna nubis super ostium tabernaculi.
16. And the Lord said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them.
16. Et dixit Jehova, ad Mosen, Ecce, tu dormiturus es cum patribus tuis: postea surget populus iste, et fornicabitur post deos alienorum terrae ad quam pergit in medio ejus, et derelinquet me, irritumque faciet pactum meum quod pepigi cum eo.
17. Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us?
17. Itaque irascetur vultus meus contra eum ipse die, ac derelinquam eos, et abscondam faciem meam ab eis: et consumetur, et inverient eum mala multa, et angustiae: dicetque in die illa, Nonne propterea quod non est Deus meus in medio mei invenerunt me mala haec?
18. And I will surely hide my face in that day, for all the evils which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods.
18. Ego vero abscondendo abscondam faciem meam in die illa, propter omne malum quod fecerit, quod converterit se ad deos alienos.
19. Now therefore write ye this song for you, and teach it the children of Israel: put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Israel.
19. Nunc itaque scribite vobis canticum istud, et doce illud filios Israelis: pone illud in ore eorum, ut sit mihi canticum istud in testem contra filios Israelis.
20. For when I shall have brought them into the land which I sware unto their fathers, that floweth with milk and honey, and they shall have eaten, and filled themselves, and waxen fat; then will they turn unto other gods, and serve them, and provoke me, and break my covenant.
20. Introducam enim eum in terram quam juravi patribus ejus, fluentem lacte et melle: comedet autem et saturabitur, impinguabitque se: tunc convertet se ad deos alienos, et colent eos, vilipendentque me, et irritum facient pactum meum.
21. And it shall come to pass, when many evils and troubles are befallen them, that this song shall testify against them as a witness; for it shall not be forgotten out of the mouths of their seed: for I know their imagination which they go about, even now, before I have brought them into the land which I sware.
21. Quum autem invenerint eum mala plurima, et angustiae, tunc respondebit canticum istud in conspectu ejus in testera: non enim oblivioni tradetur ab ore seminis ejus, novi enim ingenium ejus, et quid ipse faciat hodie antequam introduxerim eum in terram de qua juravi.
22. Moses therefore wrote this song the same day, and taught it the children of Israel.
22. Scripsit itaque Moses canticum istud eo die, et docuit illud filios Israelis.
23. And he gave Joshua the son of Nun a charge, and said, Be strong, and of a good courage: for thou shalt bring the children of Israel into the land which I sware unto them: and I will be with thee.
23. Dein praecepit Josuae filio Nun, ac dixit, Fortis esto, et roborare, quia tu introduces filios Israel in terram de qua juravi eis: et ego ero tecum.
24. And it came to pass when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished,
24. Quum autem fecisset finem Moses scribendi verba legis istius in libro, donec ea complerentur,
25. That Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying,
25. Praecepit Moses Levitis portantibus Arcata foederis Jehovae, dicendo:
26. Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.
26. Capite librum istum legis, et ponite eum in latere arcae foederis Jehovae Dei vestri, sitque ibi contra te in testem.
27. For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the Lord; and how much more after my death?
27. Ego enim novi rebellionem tuam, et cervicem tuam duram: ecce, adhuc me vivente vobiscum hodie rebelles estis Jehovae, et quanto magis posteaquam mortuus fuero?
28. Gather unto me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers. that I may speak these words in their ears, and call heaven and earth to record against them.
28. Congregate ad me omnes seniores tribuum vestrarum, et praefectos vestres, ut loquar in auribus eorum verba ista, et antester contra eos coelum et terram.
29. For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands.
29. Novi enim postquam mottuus lucre, corrumpendo corrumpetis yes et recedetis de via quam praecepi vobis, unde eveniet vobis malum in novissimis dierum, quum feceritis malum in oculis Jehovae, irritando eum opere mannuum vestrarum.
30. And Moses spake in the ears of all the congregation of Israel the words of this song, until they were ended.
30. Itaque loquutus est Moses in auribus totius congregationis verba cantici hujus, donec ea complerentur.
Since now we understand the general object which God had in view, it will be well briefly to consider the words He employs. When it is said to Moses, "Thou shalt sleep with thy fathers," first of all the condition of the human race is stated, that Moses may not think it hard to depart from the world like all others, since he was born to this end. At the same time, the difference is indicated between the death of men and of the brute animals. Hence the best consolation is derived, for, if our death were total annihilation, we should not be said to sleep with our fathers.
Why the Spirit designates idolatry by the name of "whoring," we have seen elsewhere, as also why he calls all false gods "strange," or "of the strangers," viz., because, as God chose to be served alone in Israel, so he had distinguished Himself by this title, that He was "the God of Israel." It is stated in aggravation of their crime, that they would not only be led away into the superstitions which they had learnt in Egypt, but would also pollute themselves with the defilements of Canaan, from which God had willed that it should be purged by their hand. These words, then, are to be read emphatically, The people shall go a whoring after the gods of the land whither they go, and indeed in the midst of it; for it was far more disgraceful to embrace those false gods, of which they were the conquerors and judges, than to invent for themselves fresh idols.
Another aggravation of their crime is, also added, that they would desert the God by whom they had been adopted as children, and wickedly depart from His covenant. For they could not pretend ignorance, when they had been again and again so clearly and solemnly warned. Meanwhile let us learn from this passage, that whosoever turn away to superstitious worships are covenant breakers, and thus, that all their pretenses are vain, who profess that they worship the supreme God together with idols.
By the word
I have already stated, that the greatness of their miseries is expressed, when the people shall confess that they are thus grievously afflicted, because God is departed from them; for it was by no light punishments that they would be brought to this state of feeling, especially considering their great hardness of heart and blind obstinacy. It follows then, that severe punishments are indicated, that should compel them, though unwillingly, to reflect on God's anger, which they had previously taken no account of. Still, this confession is not referred to as the fruit or sign of sincere repentance; for, if the sinner sincerely flies to God, God will be sure to meet him, since he is inclined to mercy. But in this place He declares that He will not be favorable to them, but will suffer them to pine away in their wretchedness, for God says of Himself that He will "hide His face from them," in the 18th verse, with a deeper meaning than just before, in that He will take no notice of their groans and lamentations, and by the very continuance of their punishments will show how greatly wroth with them He is.
"Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes, lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed," (Isaiah 6:9, 10)
but, with respect to the secret judgments of God, whereby all our senses must be overwhelmed, let sober-mindedness be our wisdom.
When He says that He knew their disposition, 3 or what they forged within them, (for the word employed is
"Who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed
unto him again?" (Romans 11:35.)
So will it come to pass, that we shall exclaim with trembling, Oh, how deep are the judgments of God; how incomprehensible are His ways!
That God should judge from their former life what they would be hereafter, does not seem very logical; but these two clauses are to be taken connectedly, that God foresees that nothing else is to be expected from them, but that they would be carried away into sin by their unbridled lust; and secondly, that it had already been sufficiently manifested by their many iniquities how desperate was their obstinacy.
Since the two Tables were enclosed in the Ark of the Covenant, a place at the side was assigned to the interpretation, so that they might have no doubt but that it proceeded from the same Divine Author; and, since the Decalogue is repeated in these books, it was not at all necessary that the Ark should be opened; which was not lawful, because they might seek in the books of Moses the instruction which was hidden in the Tables. This, indeed, we must remember, that the volume was placed near the Ark in token of its dignity, so that, when it was taken from thence by the Levites, it might be listened to with greater reverence. When it is said, "That it may be there for a witness against thee," this is not addressed to the Levites alone, but relates generally to the whole people, though the general statement is directed to them as one member of the whole body. But further, although the application of its doctrine is manifold, still one point only is adverted to; for the Law was not written with the single object of being a witness to condemn the people, but to be the rule of a pious and holy life, and a testimony of God's favor. But, since he had to do with hard and proud minds, Moses declares that, whenever its doctrine shall be set forth, it will render their perverseness inexcusable.
1 See margin, A. V. "Il semble qu'il ait comparaison des choses opposees entre ces deux mots, que Moyse se couchera, et le peuple se levera;" it seems that there is a comparison of two opposite things in these two expressions, that "Moses shall lie down," and "the people shall rise up." -- Fr.
2 A. V., " Then my anger shall be kindled." C.,"Itaque irascetur vultus meus."
3 A. V., "Their imagination." "The thing forged in their heart." -- Ainsworth. "Figmentum;" Taylor, from