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32

Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak;

let the earth hear the words of my mouth.

2

May my teaching drop like the rain,

my speech condense like the dew;

like gentle rain on grass,

like showers on new growth.

3

For I will proclaim the name of the Lord;

ascribe greatness to our God!

 

4

The Rock, his work is perfect,

and all his ways are just.

A faithful God, without deceit,

just and upright is he;

5

yet his degenerate children have dealt falsely with him,

a perverse and crooked generation.

6

Do you thus repay the Lord,

O foolish and senseless people?

Is not he your father, who created you,

who made you and established you?

7

Remember the days of old,

consider the years long past;

ask your father, and he will inform you;

your elders, and they will tell you.

8

When the Most High apportioned the nations,

when he divided humankind,

he fixed the boundaries of the peoples

according to the number of the gods;

9

the Lord’s own portion was his people,

Jacob his allotted share.

 

10

He sustained him in a desert land,

in a howling wilderness waste;

he shielded him, cared for him,

guarded him as the apple of his eye.

11

As an eagle stirs up its nest,

and hovers over its young;

as it spreads its wings, takes them up,

and bears them aloft on its pinions,

12

the Lord alone guided him;

no foreign god was with him.

13

He set him atop the heights of the land,

and fed him with produce of the field;

he nursed him with honey from the crags,

with oil from flinty rock;

14

curds from the herd, and milk from the flock,

with fat of lambs and rams;

Bashan bulls and goats,

together with the choicest wheat—

you drank fine wine from the blood of grapes.

15

Jacob ate his fill;

Jeshurun grew fat, and kicked.

You grew fat, bloated, and gorged!

He abandoned God who made him,

and scoffed at the Rock of his salvation.

16

They made him jealous with strange gods,

with abhorrent things they provoked him.

17

They sacrificed to demons, not God,

to deities they had never known,

to new ones recently arrived,

whom your ancestors had not feared.

18

You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you;

you forgot the God who gave you birth.

 

19

The Lord saw it, and was jealous;

he spurned his sons and daughters.

20

He said: I will hide my face from them,

I will see what their end will be;

for they are a perverse generation,

children in whom there is no faithfulness.

21

They made me jealous with what is no god,

provoked me with their idols.

So I will make them jealous with what is no people,

provoke them with a foolish nation.

22

For a fire is kindled by my anger,

and burns to the depths of Sheol;

it devours the earth and its increase,

and sets on fire the foundations of the mountains.

23

I will heap disasters upon them,

spend my arrows against them:

24

wasting hunger,

burning consumption,

bitter pestilence.

The teeth of beasts I will send against them,

with venom of things crawling in the dust.

25

In the street the sword shall bereave,

and in the chambers terror,

for young man and woman alike,

nursing child and old gray head.

26

I thought to scatter them

and blot out the memory of them from humankind;

27

but I feared provocation by the enemy,

for their adversaries might misunderstand

and say, “Our hand is triumphant;

it was not the Lord who did all this.”

 

28

They are a nation void of sense;

there is no understanding in them.

29

If they were wise, they would understand this;

they would discern what the end would be.

30

How could one have routed a thousand,

and two put a myriad to flight,

unless their Rock had sold them,

the Lord had given them up?

31

Indeed their rock is not like our Rock;

our enemies are fools.

32

Their vine comes from the vinestock of Sodom,

from the vineyards of Gomorrah;

their grapes are grapes of poison,

their clusters are bitter;

33

their wine is the poison of serpents,

the cruel venom of asps.

 

34

Is not this laid up in store with me,

sealed up in my treasuries?

35

Vengeance is mine, and recompense,

for the time when their foot shall slip;

because the day of their calamity is at hand,

their doom comes swiftly.

 

36

Indeed the Lord will vindicate his people,

have compassion on his servants,

when he sees that their power is gone,

neither bond nor free remaining.

37

Then he will say: Where are their gods,

the rock in which they took refuge,

38

who ate the fat of their sacrifices,

and drank the wine of their libations?

Let them rise up and help you,

let them be your protection!

 

39

See now that I, even I, am he;

there is no god besides me.

I kill and I make alive;

I wound and I heal;

and no one can deliver from my hand.

40

For I lift up my hand to heaven,

and swear: As I live forever,

41

when I whet my flashing sword,

and my hand takes hold on judgment;

I will take vengeance on my adversaries,

and will repay those who hate me.

42

I will make my arrows drunk with blood,

and my sword shall devour flesh—

with the blood of the slain and the captives,

from the long-haired enemy.

 

43

Praise, O heavens, his people,

worship him, all you gods!

For he will avenge the blood of his children,

and take vengeance on his adversaries;

he will repay those who hate him,

and cleanse the land for his people.

44 Moses came and recited all the words of this song in the hearing of the people, he and Joshua son of Nun. 45When Moses had finished reciting all these words to all Israel, 46he said to them: “Take to heart all the words that I am giving in witness against you today; give them as a command to your children, so that they may diligently observe all the words of this law. 47This is no trifling matter for you, but rather your very life; through it you may live long in the land that you are crossing over the Jordan to possess.”

Moses’ Death Foretold

48 On that very day the Lord addressed Moses as follows: 49“Ascend this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, across from Jericho, and view the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites for a possession; 50you shall die there on the mountain that you ascend and shall be gathered to your kin, as your brother Aaron died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his kin; 51because both of you broke faith with me among the Israelites at the waters of Meribath-kadesh in the wilderness of Zin, by failing to maintain my holiness among the Israelites. 52Although you may view the land from a distance, you shall not enter it—the land that I am giving to the Israelites.”


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De 32:1-43. Moses' Song, Which Sets Forth the Perfections of God.

1. Give ear, O ye heavens; … hear, O earth—The magnificence of the exordium, the grandeur of the theme, the frequent and sudden transitions, the elevated strain of the sentiments and language, entitle this song to be ranked amongst the noblest specimens of poetry to be found in the Scriptures.

2, 3. My doctrine shall drop, &c.—The language may justly be taken as uttered in the form of a wish or prayer, and the comparison of wholesome instruction to the pure, gentle, and insinuating influence of rain or dew, is frequently made by the sacred writers (Isa 5:6; 55:10, 11).

4. He is the Rock—a word expressive of power and stability. The application of it in this passage is to declare that God had been true to His covenant with their fathers and them. Nothing that He had promised had failed; so that if their national experience had been painfully checkered by severe and protracted trials, notwithstanding the brightest promises, that result was traceable to their own undutiful and perverse conduct; not to any vacillation or unfaithfulness on the part of God (Jas 1:17), whose procedure was marked by justice and judgment, whether they had been exalted to prosperity or plunged into the depths of affliction.

5. They have corrupted themselves—that is, the Israelites by their frequent lapses and their inveterate attachment to idolatry.

their spot is not the spot of his children—This is an allusion to the marks which idolaters inscribe on their foreheads or their arms with paint or other substances, in various colors and forms—straight, oval, or circular, according to the favorite idol of their worship.

6. is not he thy father that hath bought thee—or emancipated thee from Egyptian bondage.

and made thee—advanced the nation to unprecedented and peculiar privileges.

8, 9. When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance—In the division of the earth, which Noah is believed to have made by divine direction (Ge 10:5; De 2:5-9; Ac 17:26, 27), Palestine was reserved by the wisdom and goodness of Heaven for the possession of His peculiar people and the display of the most stupendous wonders. The theater was small, but admirably suited for the convenient observation of the human race—at the junction of the two great continents of Asia and Africa, and almost within sight of Europe. From this spot as from a common center the report of God's wonderful works, the glad tidings of salvation through the obedience and sufferings of His own eternal Son, might be rapidly and easily wafted to every part of the globe.

he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel—Another rendering, which has received the sanction of eminent scholars, has been proposed as follows: "When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of Adam and set the bounds of every people, the children of Israel were few in numbers, when the Lord chose that people and made Jacob His inheritance" (compare De 30:5; Ge 34:30; Ps 105:9-12).

10. found him in a desert land—took him into a covenant relation at Sinai, or rather "sustained," "provided for him" in a desert land.

a waste howling wilderness—a common Oriental expression for a desert infested by wild beasts.

11. As an eagle … fluttereth over her young—This beautiful and expressive metaphor is founded on the extraordinary care and attachment which the female eagle cherishes for her young. When her newly fledged progeny are sufficiently advanced to soar in their native element, she, in their first attempts at flying, supports them on the tip of her wing, encouraging, directing, and aiding their feeble efforts to longer and sublimer flights. So did God take the most tender and powerful care of His chosen people; He carried them out of Egypt and led them through all the horrors of the wilderness to the promised inheritance.

13, 14. He made him ride on the high places, &c.—All these expressions seem to have peculiar reference to their home in the trans-jordanic territory, that being the extent of Palestine that they had seen at the time when Moses is represented as uttering these words. "The high places" and "the fields" are specially applicable to the tablelands of Gilead as are the allusions to the herds and flocks, the honey of the wild bees which hive in the crevices of the rocks, the oil from the olive as it grew singly or in small clumps on the tops of hills where scarcely anything else would grow, the finest wheat (Ps 81:16; 147:14), and the prolific vintage.

15. But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked—This is a poetical name for Israel. The metaphor here used is derived from a pampered animal, which, instead of being tame and gentle, becomes mischievous and vicious, in consequence of good living and kind treatment. So did the Israelites conduct themselves by their various acts of rebellion, murmuring, and idolatrous apostasy.

17. They sacrificed unto devils—(See on Le 17:7).

21. those which are not a people—that is, not favored with such great and peculiar privileges as the Israelites (or, rather poor, despised heathens). The language points to the future calling of the Gentiles.

23. I will spend mine arrows upon them—War, famine, pestilence (Ps 77:17) are called in Scripture the arrows of the Almighty.

29. Oh, … that they would consider their latter end—The terrible judgments, which, in the event of their continued and incorrigible disobedience, would impart so awful a character to the close of their national history.

32. vine of Sodom … grapes of gall—This fruit, which the Arabs call "Lot's Sea Orange," is of a bright yellow color and grows in clusters of three or four. When mellow, it is tempting in appearance, but on being struck, explodes like a puffball, consisting of skin and fiber only.

44-47. Moses … spake all the words of this song in the ears, &c.—It has been beautifully styled "the Song of the Dying Swan" [Lowth]. It was designed to be a national anthem, which it should be the duty and care of magistrates to make well known by frequent repetition, to animate the people to right sentiments towards a steadfast adherence to His service.

48-51. Get thee up … and die … Because ye trespassed … at Meribah—(See on Nu 20:13).

52. thou shalt see the land, but thou shalt not go thither—(Nu 27:12). Notwithstanding so severe a disappointment, not a murmur of complaint escapes his lips. He is not only resigned but acquiescing; and in the near prospect of his death, he pours forth the feelings of his devout heart in sublime strains and eloquent blessings.




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