Date:         Thu, 12 Jan 1995 09:57:19 -0600
Sender:       Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From:         Teus Benschop 
Subject:      Deuteronomy 10
     1.    Introduction
     2.    Explanation
     3.    Questions
  1. Introduction
  This is  an issue of a  continuous explanation of  the Bible-book Dvarim,
  that is Deuteronomy. If something is  unclear in the explanation, ask me.
  The Bible-text is taken from the King James version.
  Deuteronomy 10.
  Title: The new tables and the ark. Exhortation to Gods-fear
  Short contents:
  In this  chapter is  written about the  making of  the new  stony tables,
  about the  writing of  the Ten  Commandments herein,  and  about the  ark
  wherein the tables are  laid down. Aharon dies and  the tribe of Levi  is
  set apart to the  service of the LORD. Story of the  stay of Moshe on the
  mountain. Then Moshe stimulates Israel to Godsfear, obedience and love of
  the fellow-men.  Further, to  the knowledge  of the  true God. For  this,
  Moshe uses several spurs.
  2. Explanation
     1 At  that time the LORD  said unto me,  Hew thee two tables  of stone
     like unto the first, and come up unto me into the mount, and make thee
     an ark of wood.
  The LORD commands to make new tables of stone. That God commands this, is
  a sign of that His wrath is quieted after Moshe's foreprayer.
     2  And I will  write on the  tables the words  that were  in the first
     tables which thou brakest, and thou shalt put them in the ark.
  The nation had broken the covenant. To depict that, Moshe had also broken
  the previous tables. Although the nation had broken the covenant, here we
  wee that God  again heals the covenant. They broke His law, but He writes
  a new law. The LORD did not to the nation according their behaviour. They
  rejected the service  of God, but God  retained them. The nation  had not
  earned this. Therefore,  this is free grace of God.  As it went than, the
  same happens now. "He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded
  us according to our iniquities", Thilliem / Psalm 103:10.
     3 And  I made an  ark of shittim wood,  and hewed two  tables of stone
     like unto the first, and went up into the mount, having the two tables
     in mine hand.
     4 And he wrote on the tables, according to the  first writing, the ten
     commandments, which the  LORD spake unto you  in the mount out  of the
     midst of the fire in the  day of the assembly: and the LORD  gave them
     unto me.
  The law, as symbol of the covenant,  is really recovered here. God speaks
  about the ten  commandments. Therefore, we speak about the law of the ten
     5 And I turned myself and came down from the mount, and put the tables
     in the ark which I had made; and there they be, as  the LORD commanded
     6 And the  children of Israel took  their journey from Beeroth  of the
     children  of Jaakan  to Mosera: there  Aharon died,  and there  he was
     buried; and Elazaar his  son ministered in the priest's  office in his
  Aharon had to die before he would have come in Kenaan. Why? "Aharon shall
  be gathered unto his people: for he shall not enter into the land which I
  have  given unto the children  of Israel, because ye  rebelled against my
  word at the water of Merivah,"  Bemidbar / Numbers 20:24. It was  because
  of the  rebellion at the water of Merivah.  However, Aharon was a priest.
  Was the nation  deprived of the priest  now? No, God's mercy  stayed with
  them. For Elazaar, his son, became priest in his stead.
     7  From thence  they journeyed  unto  Gudgodah; and  from Gudgodah  to
     Jotbath, a land of rivers of waters.
     8  At that time the LORD separated the  tribe of Levi, to bear the ark
     of the covenant of the LORD, to stand before the LORD to minister unto
     him, and to bless in his name, unto this day.
  It would not  have been suitable when everyone could break down and build
  up  the tabernacle  during the  journeys.  That would  much  diminish the
  holiness of  God's house. Therefore, a separate tribe  is pointed out and
  separated. By this, the nation was always reminded of that the service of
  God was a holy service. The blessing, which the priests had to speak out,
  is described as follows. "Speak unto Aharon and unto his sons, saying, On
  this wise ye  shall bless the children  of Israel, saying unto  them, the
  LORD bless thee,  and keep thee: the LORD make his  face shine upon thee,
  and be gracious  unto thee: the LORD  lift up his countenance  upon thee,
  and give thee  peace. And they  shall put  my name upon  the children  of
  Israel; and I will bless them," Bemidbar / Numbers 6:23-27.
     9 Wherefore Levi hath  no part nor inheritance with his  brethren; the
     LORD is his inheritance, according as the LORD thy God promised him.
  The Levites must  not work on  the land, like  the others of the  nation.
  They must always be busy  in the service of God. Their whole life  had to
  be given in God's  service. From what can they eat then?  "They shall eat
  the meat offering,  and the sin offering, and  the trespass offering; and
  every dedicated  thing in  Israel shall  be theirs," Jchezkeel  / Ezekiel
     10 And I stayed in the mount, according to  the first time, forty days
     and forty nights;  and the LORD hearkened  unto me at that  time also,
     and the LORD would not destroy thee.
  Moshe prayed, and the LORD heard him. For the LORD has no pleasure in the
  destroying of the  people. "Have I  any pleasure at  all that the  wicked
  should die? saith the  LORD GOD: and not  that he should return  from his
  ways, and  live?" Jchezkeel  / Ezekiel  18:23. Not  in the  death of  the
  wicked has  God pleasure, but  therein, that he  returns and lives.  This
  does point out something to us. When we have sinned, and still live until
  now, then there must still  happen something. We may not  remain standing
  there. We may  not say: We still  live, so all is  fine. For although God
  has no  pleasure in  the death of  the wicked,  He also  has no  pleasure
  therein that the wicked stay wicked. "Say unto them, As I live, saith the
  LORD GOD, I  have no pleasure  in the death  of the wicked; but  that the
  wicked turn from his way and live:  turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways;
  for why will ye die, O house of Israel," Jchezkeel / Ezekiel 33:11.
     11 And  the LORD  said unto  me, Arise,  take thy  journey before  the
     people, that they may go in  and possess the land, which I sware  unto
     their fathers to give unto them.
  The wrath of God is turned aside. They may continue the journey, and come
  in, and  inherit the land.  But, as  is said, the  people may not  remain
  standing  here. It is true that  the wrath is turned  aside now, but they
  still have to do something. What? Read it in the next verse.
     12 And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to
     fear the LORD thy  God, to walk in all his ways, and  to love him, and
     to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul?
  This is the  main point of the law. For there is  written: "what does the
  LORD your God require of you, but to" dit and that. Because it is said in
  this way, evidently  this is the  most important thing  of the law.  What
  does the LORD require else but to do the most  important? First, the LORD
  required that  we fear  Him. The  keeping of  the law  starts with  that.
  Because He is the Lord, the  King, it is suitable that He is feared. "The
  fear of the  LORD is the beginning  of wisdom: a good  understanding have
  all  they  that do  his  commandments:  his  praise  endureth for  ever,"
  Thilliem / Psalm 111:10.  Next, there is required to walk in all the ways
  of God, and to love Him. Not only fear is necessary, but also the love of
  Him. The LORD does not want to extort obedience, only by fear. Above all,
  He wants to be served in  love. He wants to be served voluntarily. "Speak
  unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man
  that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering," Shmot
  25:2. No forced  obedience, but  voluntary obedience  is pleasant  before
  God. Further,  we have to  serve God with our  whole heart and  our whole
  soul. When we  look at ourselves, then  we will see how  faultily we keep
  the  law. Who  does it  with his  whole heart?  Nobody, as  will our  own
  conscience will say to us. Since  this requirement cannot be done by  us,
  weak people, we have to take refuge in God's grace.
     13 To keep  the commandments of  the LORD, and  his statutes, which  I
     command thee this day for thy good.
  Who would keep God's commandments, would  he then give something to  God?
  No,  people do  not give  anything to  God. It is  opposite. Not  we give
  something  to  God,  but  God  gives  us  something.  When  we  keep  His
  commandments, than  this is  "for" our  "good." However, because  we know
  that we cannot keep God's commandments, we have to flee to God's grace.
     14 Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD's thy God,
     the earth also, with all that therein is.
  Moshe will  now speak about  the election of  God. The LORD  did not need
  anything;  no nation,  or whoever.  For He  had already all  things. "The
  heaven" is  of Him, "the heaven of heavens, the earth also, with all that
  therein is."  What would God  still need then?  Nothing. Nevertheless, He
  has elected a nation. Why then? That is written in the next verse.
     15 Only the LORD  had a delight  in thy fathers to  love them, and  he
     chose their seed after them, even you above all people,  as it is this
  The LORD needed nothing. Still He has elected. Why? Because God loved the
  "fathers", and "their seed after them." The  fathers were not better than
  the others of  the human race. Avraham was not better then the others. At
  first, also he served the idols. Jehoshua / Joshua teaches us  this. "And
  Jehoshua  / Joshua said unto  all the people, Thus saith  the LORD God of
  Israel, Your fathers  dwelt on the other  side of the flood  in old time,
  even Tarach, the  father of Avraham, and  the father of Nachor:  and they
  served  other gods," Jhoshua 24:2.  So, in Avraham was  totally no reason
  for God, because  he was  an idolater.  But God  took him  away from  the
  idolatry. "And  I took  your father Avraham  from the  other side  of the
  flood, and led him throughout all the  land of Kenaan, and multiplied his
  seed, and gave him Yitschak, "Jhoshua  24:3. When God had taken him  away
  from the idolatry, then at first Avraham obeyed God. Thus we see that the
  election of  God not was  because of some  merit, but only  in grace. Not
  only Avraham is accepted by God, but also his descendants. Also, in these
  descendants was  no reason before  God. Also they  were recalcitrant, and
  have hardened their necks, as Moshe says in the next verse.
     16 Circumcise therefore  the foreskin of  your heart,  and be no  more
  The intention  of Moshe is as follows. Previously,  he has represented to
  the nation the  free election of God. Well, because God had elected them,
  without  their merits,  they have  to  circumcise the  foreskin  of their
  hearts. This means that  they now have to obey.  They have to dispose  of
  all sinful desires, and totally put themselves  in God's service. "And be
  no more  stiffnecked." This means: Do  not stiffen your neck  anymore, as
  you  have  always  done  until now.  The  circumcision  of  the heart  is
  something other  than  the  outer  token  in the  flesh.  Many  are  only
  circumcised in the flesh,  but not in the heart. For  the LORD is it just
  as if these people are totally not circumcised. "Circumcise yourselves to
  the LORD, and take away  the foreskins of your  heart, ye men of  Jehudah
  and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn
  that none can quench it, because  of the evil of your doings," Jirmejah /
  Jeremiah 4:4.
     17 For the  LORD your God is God  of gods, and Lord of  lords, a great
     God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh
  Why  have the people to circumcise the heart? It is because the LORD is a
  very  great King.  He is  a "God  of gods,  and a  Lord of  lords." Moshe
  presents the  greatness  of God,  so that  the  people would  fear to  be
  disobedient. On the  one hand, Moshe entices  the people to  obedience by
  several lovely incentives. We have seen this previous. On the other hand,
  he  threatens the  people by punishments,  so that  they not dare  to sin
  because of fear.  The LORD is that  God, "Which regards not  persons, nor
  takes  reward." Whereof  is clear  how  justly God  judges. So,  when the
  nation sins, then it  is sure that they will be  punished by God. For His
  judgement is according the truth.
     18 He  doth execute  the  judgment of  the fatherless  and widow,  and
     loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment.
  God does not look upon the external state of somebody. Poor or rich, that
  doesn't matter. Often,  People let themselves  be influenced by  external
  things, as beauty and such things. But God is totally else. He takes care
  for the poor. For exactly these people are often oppressed in  the world.
  But God takes care for them. "A father of  the fatherless, and a judge of
  the widows, is God in his holy habitation," Thilliem / Psalm 68:5.
     19 Love  ye therefore the stranger: for ye  were strangers in the land
     of Egypt.
  God takes care for the strangers, as we saw in the previous verse. Israel
  also has  to do this.  For they know from  their own experience  too well
  what it is, to be stranger.
     20 Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God; him shalt  thou serve, and to him
     shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name.
  First, Moshe begins to  say here, that we should fear  God. This is truly
  necessary  that  our independent  nature will  be somewhat  restrained by
  fear. It is not  so that God wants that we have fear for Him. No, this is
  not meant by  fear. There has  to be a  deep idea that  the LORD is  that
  great  King, and that we are only tiny little creatures. This fear has to
  be always present.  Next, Moshe says that we must  serve Him. This has to
  come forth from  the fear of God.  Moshe does not remain  standing there,
  but  he continues. Our  affection must  be so much  aimed at God  that we
  adhere to Him. We  must, to speak so, be cleaved to  God, so that all our
  affections are  aimed only  at Him.  We  can see  this being  cleaved  in
  Davied: "My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me",
  Thilliem / Psalm 63:8. This adhering to God does not  mean less than that
  we deny ourselves entirely, and sacrifice ourselves in  the serve of God.
  This is it  what Moshe wants to teach us. Moshe also  says that we should
  swear by His  name. This does not mean that we must swear often, for then
  we would  take God's Name  in vain.  But when somebody  demands of us  to
  swear, for example the government, than this has to happen in God's Name.
  By this,  we have  to bring  the respect  to the  Name of  God, which  He
     21 He  is thy praise, and he is thy God, that hath done for thee these
     great and terrible things, which thine eyes have seen.
  In the previous, Moshe  has exhorted them  to love God.  Why? For "He  is
  your praise". This  means that they may only boast at  the LORD. They are
  happy only because  the LORD had chosen them. When  this was not so, then
  they would be unhappy. They must not glory in themselves. "Thus saith the
  LORD, Let not  the wise man glory  in his wisdom, neither let  the mighty
  man glory  in his  might, let  not the  rich man  glory  in his  riches,"
  Jirmejah / Jeremiah 9:23. But they had to boast at the LORD. "But let him
  that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I
  am the LORD  which exercise lovingkindness, judgment,  and righteousness,
  in  the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD," Jirmejah /
  Jeremiah 9:24. With this, the  prophet Jirmejah / Jeremiah says the  same
  as Moshe. For  Moshe mentions God's great  deeds as reason of  glory, and
  Jirmejah / Jeremiah  does the  same. In  the next  verse, Moshe  mentions
  still more benefits of God.
     22 Thy fathers  went down into Egypt with  threescore and ten persons;
     and now the  LORD thy God hath  made thee as  the stars of heaven  for
  "Look,  hoe little the  nation was, and  look, how great it  is now. "the
  LORD your God hath  multiplied you, and, behold,  ye are this day  as the
  stars of heaven for multitude," Dvariem / Deuteronomy 1:10.
  3. Questions
  If you want to gain more benefit from the explanation, you could consider
  to answer  the questions  and do the  tasks. You  can send  these to  the
  editor. He will look at it, and return them to you with his comments.
  1  The  people had broken the covenant of the  law. Did God leave them in
     their apostate situation?
  2  Why got the Levites no heritage?
  3  Read verse 10.
     a. Has God delight in the death of the wicked?
     b. In what has He delight?
  4  What does God demand of us?
  5  Can you totally keep God's law?
  6  Is Avraham elected because he was very obedient, or because of another
  7  a. What has Avraham done before God called him out of his land?
     b. What has he done after that?
  8  Read  verse 16. What is  important, the circumcision  of the flesh, or
     the circumcision of the heart?
  9  a. What means the fear of God?
     b. What means the adhering to God?
  1  a. Read  verse 12 and 13. Here, God commands that we love Him with our
     whole heart. Seek the  same things in Dvariem / Deuteronomy 6, Dvariem
     / Deuteronomy 30, Jehosjua 22, Thilliem / Psalm 128, Michah / Micah 6.
     b. Are we able to do that? Look this up in Jehosjua 24.
  2  a. In verse 16  is said that we must  circumcise the foreskin  of  our
     heart. Are we able to do this by ourselves?
     b. Read Dvariem / Deuteronomy 30. Who will do this circumcision?
     Chr-Exp, a Christian explanation of the Tanach and the New Testament
              Editor: Teus Benschop  -
        No copyrights on this publication  -  Translated by a Dutchman
            Institution Practical Bible-education, the Netherlands