Date: Thu, 12 Jan 1995 09:57:19 -0600 Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From: Teus Benschop Subject: Deuteronomy 10 Contents ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 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 commandments. 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 me. 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 stead. 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 44:29. 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 day. 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 stiffnecked. 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 reward: 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 deserves. 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 multitude "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. Questions. 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 reason? 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? Tasks. 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 - firstname.lastname@example.org No copyrights on this publication - Translated by a Dutchman Institution Practical Bible-education, the Netherlands .