Deuteronomy 32

The Song of Moses

1 Listen, you heavens, and I will speak; hear, you earth, the words of my mouth.
2 Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.
3 I will proclaim the name of the LORD. Oh, praise the greatness of our God!
4 He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.
5 They are corrupt and not his children; to their shame they are a warped and crooked generation.
6 Is this the way you repay the LORD, you foolish and unwise people? Is he not your Father, your Creator,[a]who made you and formed you?
7 Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you.
8 When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when he divided all mankind, he set up boundaries for the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel.[b]
9 For the LORD’s portion is his people, Jacob his allotted inheritance.
10 In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye,
11 like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them aloft.
12 The LORD alone led him; no foreign god was with him.
13 He made him ride on the heights of the land and fed him with the fruit of the fields. He nourished him with honey from the rock, and with oil from the flinty crag,
14 with curds and milk from herd and flock and with fattened lambs and goats, with choice rams of Bashan and the finest kernels of wheat. You drank the foaming blood of the grape.
15 Jeshurun[c] grew fat and kicked; filled with food, they became heavy and sleek. They abandoned the God who made them and rejected the Rock their Savior.
16 They made him jealous with their foreign gods and angered him with their detestable idols.
17 They sacrificed to false gods, which are not God— gods they had not known, gods that recently appeared, gods your ancestors did not fear.
18 You deserted the Rock, who fathered you; you forgot the God who gave you birth.
19 The LORD saw this and rejected them because he was angered by his sons and daughters.
20 “I will hide my face from them,” he said, “and see what their end will be; for they are a perverse generation, children who are unfaithful.
21 They made me jealous by what is no god and angered me with their worthless idols. I will make them envious by those who are not a people; I will make them angry by a nation that has no understanding.
22 For a fire will be kindled by my wrath, one that burns down to the realm of the dead below. It will devour the earth and its harvests and set afire the foundations of the mountains.
23 “I will heap calamities on them and spend my arrows against them.
24 I will send wasting famine against them, consuming pestilence and deadly plague; I will send against them the fangs of wild beasts, the venom of vipers that glide in the dust.
25 In the street the sword will make them childless; in their homes terror will reign. The young men and young women will perish, the infants and those with gray hair.
26 I said I would scatter them and erase their name from human memory,
27 but I dreaded the taunt of the enemy, lest the adversary misunderstand and say, ‘Our hand has triumphed; the LORD has not done all this.’ ”
28 They are a nation without sense, there is no discernment in them.
29 If only they were wise and would understand this and discern what their end will be!
30 How could one man chase a thousand, or two put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, unless the LORD had given them up?
31 For their rock is not like our Rock, as even our enemies concede.
32 Their vine comes from the vine of Sodom and from the fields of Gomorrah. Their grapes are filled with poison, and their clusters with bitterness.
33 Their wine is the venom of serpents, the deadly poison of cobras.
34 “Have I not kept this in reserve and sealed it in my vaults?
35 It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them.”
36 The LORD will vindicate his people and relent concerning his servants when he sees their strength is gone and no one is left, slave or free.[d]
37 He will say: “Now where are their gods, the rock they took refuge in,
38 the gods who ate the fat of their sacrifices and drank the wine of their drink offerings? Let them rise up to help you! Let them give you shelter!
39 “See now that I myself am he! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand.
40 I lift my hand to heaven and solemnly swear: As surely as I live forever,
41 when I sharpen my flashing sword and my hand grasps it in judgment, I will take vengeance on my adversaries and repay those who hate me.
42 I will make my arrows drunk with blood, while my sword devours flesh: the blood of the slain and the captives, the heads of the enemy leaders.”
43 Rejoice, you nations, with his people,[e][f]for he will avenge the blood of his servants; he will take vengeance on his enemies and make atonement for his land and people.
44 Moses came with Joshua[g] son of Nun and spoke all the words of this song in the hearing of the people.
45 When Moses finished reciting all these words to all Israel,
46 he said to them, “Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law.
47 They are not just idle words for you—they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”

Moses to Die on Mount Nebo

48 On that same day the LORD told Moses,
49 “Go up into the Abarim Range to Mount Nebo in Moab, across from Jericho, and view Canaan, the land I am giving the Israelites as their own possession.
50 There on the mountain that you have climbed you will die and be gathered to your people, just as your brother Aaron died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people.
51 This is because both of you broke faith with me in the presence of the Israelites at the waters of Meribah Kadesh in the Desert of Zin and because you did not uphold my holiness among the Israelites.
52 Therefore, you will see the land only from a distance; you will not enter the land I am giving to the people of Israel.”

Deuteronomy 32 Commentary

Chapter 32

The song of Moses. (1,2) The character of God, The character of Israel. (3-6) The great things God had done for Israel. (7-14) The wickedness of Israel. (19-25) The judgments which would come upon them for their sins. (15-18) Deserved vengeance withheld. (26-38) God's deliverance for his people. (39-43) The exhortation with which the song was delivered. (44-47) Moses to go up mount Nebo to die. (48-52)

Verses 1-2 Moses begins with a solemn appeal to heaven and earth, concerning the truth and importance of what he was about to say. His doctrine is the gospel, the speech of God, the doctrine of Christ; the doctrine of grace and mercy through him, and of life and salvation by him.

Verses 3-6 "He is a Rock." This is the first time God is called so in Scripture. The expression denotes that the Divine power, faithfulness, and love, as revealed in Christ and the gospel, form a foundation which cannot be changed or moved, on which we may build our hopes of happiness. And under his protection we may find refuge from all our enemies, and in all our troubles; as the rocks in those countries sheltered from the burning rays of the sun, and from tempests, or were fortresses from the enemy. "His work is perfect:" that of redemption and salvation, in which there is a display of all the Divine perfection, complete in all its parts. All God's dealings with his creatures are regulated by wisdom which cannot err, and perfect justice. He is indeed just and right; he takes care that none shall lose by him. A high charge is exhibited against Israel. Even God's children have their spots, while in this imperfect state; for if we say we have no sin, no spot, we deceive ourselves. But the sin of Israel was not habitual, notorious, unrepented sin; which is a certain mark of the children of Satan. They were fools to forsake their mercies for lying vanities. All wilful sinners, especially sinners in Israel, are unwise and ungrateful.

Verses 7-14 Moses gives particular instances of God's kindness and concern for them. The eagle's care for her young is a beautiful emblem of Christ's love, who came between Divine justice and our guilty souls, and bare our sins in his own body on the tree. And by the preached gospel, and the influences of the Holy Spirit, He stirs up and prevails upon sinners to leave Satan's bondage. ( deuteronomy 32:13-14 ) their spiritual enemies, sin, Satan, and the world, in and through Christ. Also of their safety and triumph in him; of their happy frames of soul, when they are above the world, and the things of it. This will be the blessed case of spiritual Israel in every sense in the latter day.

Verses 15-18 Here are two instances of the wickedness of Israel, each was apostacy from God. These people were called Jeshurun, "an upright people," so some; "a seeing people," so others: but they soon lost the reputation both of their knowledge and of their righteousness. They indulged their appetites, as if they had nothing to do but to make provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts of it. Those who make a god of themselves, and a god of their bellies, in pride and wantonness, and cannot bear to be told of it, thereby forsake God, and show they esteem him lightly. There is but one way of a sinner's acceptance and sanctification, however different modes of irreligion, or false religion, may show that favourable regard for other ways, which is often miscalled candid. How mad are idolaters, who forsake the Rock of salvation, to run themselves upon the rock of perdition!

Verses 19-25 The revolt of Israel was described in the foregoing verses, and here follow the resolves of Divine justice as to them. We deceive ourselves, if we think that God will be mocked by a faithless people. Sin makes us hateful in the sight of the holy God. See what mischief sin does, and reckon those to be fools that mock at it.

Verses 26-38 The idolatry and rebellions of Israel deserved, and the justice of God seemed to demand, that they should be rooted out. But He spared Israel, and continues them still to be living witnesses of the truth of the Bible, and to silence unbelievers. They are preserved for wise and holy purposes and the prophecies give us some idea what those purposes are. The Lord will never disgrace the throne of his glory. It is great wisdom, and will help much to the return of sinners to God, seriously to consider their latter end, or the future state. It is here meant particularly of what God foretold by Moses, about this people in the latter days; but it may be applied generally. Oh that men would consider the happiness they will lose, and the misery they will certainly plunge into, if they go on in their trespasses! What will be in the end thereof? ( Jeremiah 5:31 ) . For the Lord will in due time bring down the enemies of the church, in displeasure against their wickedness. When sinners deem themselves most secure, they suddenly fall into destruction. And God's time to appear for the deliverance of his people, is when things are at the worst with them. But those who trust to any rock but God, will find it fail them when they most need it. The rejection of the Messiah by the Jewish nation, is the continuance of their ancient idolatry, apostacy, and rebellion. They shall be brought to humble themselves before the Lord, to repent of their sins, and to trust in their long-rejected Mediator for salvation. Then he will deliver them, and make their prosperity great.

Verses 39-43 This conclusion of the song speaks, 1. Glory to God. No escape can be made from his power. 2. It speaks terror to his enemies. Terror indeed to those who hate him. The wrath of God is here revealed from heaven against them. 3. It speaks comfort to his own people. The song concludes with words of joy. Whatever judgments are brought upon sinners, it shall go well with the people of God.

Verses 44-47 Here is the solemn delivery of this song to Israel, with a charge to mind all the good words Moses had said unto them. It is not a trifle, but a matter of life and death: mind it, and you are made for ever; neglect it, and you are for ever undone. Oh that men were fully persuaded that religion is their life, even the life of their souls!

Verses 48-52 Now Moses had done his work, why should he desire to live a day longer? God reminds him of the sin of which he had been guilty, for which he was kept from entering Canaan. It is good for the best of men to die repenting the infirmities of which they are conscious. But those may die with comfort and ease, whenever God calls for them, notwithstanding the sins they remember against themselves, who have a believing prospect, and a well-grounded hope of eternal life beyond death.

Cross References 142

  • 1. Psalms 49:1; Micah 1:2
  • 2. Jeremiah 2:12; Isaiah 1:2
  • 3. S Deuteronomy 4:26
  • 4. 2 Samuel 23:4
  • 5. Psalms 107:20; Isaiah 9:8; Isaiah 55:11
  • 6. Micah 5:7
  • 7. Psalms 65:10; Psalms 68:9; Psalms 72:6; Psalms 147:8
  • 8. Psalms 118:17; Psalms 145:6
  • 9. Exodus 33:19; Exodus 34:5-6
  • 10. S Deuteronomy 3:24
  • 11. ver 15,18,30; S Genesis 49:24
  • 12. 2 Samuel 22:31; Psalms 18:30; Psalms 19:7
  • 13. S Deuteronomy 4:35; Deuteronomy 7:9
  • 14. Psalms 92:15
  • 15. S Genesis 18:25
  • 16. ver 20; Matthew 17:17; Luke 9:41; Acts 2:40; Deuteronomy 31:29
  • 17. Psalms 116:12
  • 18. Psalms 94:8; Jeremiah 5:21
  • 19. ver 28; Psalms 74:2
  • 20. S Exodus 4:22; 2 Samuel 7:24; Deuteronomy 1:31; Isaiah 63:16
  • 21. ver 15
  • 22. Psalms 44:1; Psalms 74:2; Psalms 77:5; Isaiah 51:9; Isaiah 63:9
  • 23. Deuteronomy 4:32; Job 8:8; Job 20:4; Psalms 78:4; Isaiah 46:9
  • 24. S Exodus 10:2; Job 15:18; Exodus 13:14
  • 25. Psalms 7:8
  • 26. S Genesis 11:8; Acts 8:1; Acts 17:26
  • 27. Psalms 74:17
  • 28. Numbers 23:9; Deuteronomy 33:12,28; Jeremiah 23:6
  • 29. Psalms 16:5; Psalms 73:26; Psalms 119:57; Psalms 142:5; Jeremiah 10:16
  • 30. S Deuteronomy 9:29; S 1 Samuel 26:19; 1 Kings 8:51,53
  • 31. S Deuteronomy 1:19; Jeremiah 2:6
  • 32. Deuteronomy 8:15; Job 12:24; Psalms 107:40
  • 33. Psalms 32:10; Jeremiah 31:22
  • 34. Psalms 17:8; Proverbs 7:2; Hosea 13:5; Zechariah 2:8
  • 35. S Exodus 19:4
  • 36. Psalms 17:8; Psalms 18:10-19; Psalms 61:4
  • 37. Psalms 106:9; Isaiah 63:13; Jeremiah 31:32
  • 38. Deuteronomy 4:35
  • 39. ver 39; Judges 2:12; Psalms 18:31; Psalms 81:9; Isaiah 43:12; Isaiah 45:5
  • 40. Deuteronomy 33:29; 2 Samuel 22:34; Psalms 18:33; Isaiah 33:16; Isaiah 58:14; Ezekiel 36:2; Habakkuk 3:19
  • 41. S Deuteronomy 8:8
  • 42. Deuteronomy 33:24; Job 29:6
  • 43. S Numbers 21:33
  • 44. Psalms 65:9; Psalms 81:16; Psalms 147:14
  • 45. S Genesis 49:11
  • 46. Deuteronomy 33:5,26; Isaiah 44:2
  • 47. Deuteronomy 31:20; Jeremiah 5:28
  • 48. ver 6; Deuteronomy 31:16; Isaiah 1:4,28; Isaiah 58:2; Isaiah 65:11; Jeremiah 15:6; Ezekiel 14:5
  • 49. ver 4; S Genesis 49:24
  • 50. S Numbers 25:11; S 1 Corinthians 10:22
  • 51. S Deuteronomy 31:17; S 1 Kings 14:9; Psalms 78:58
  • 52. S Exodus 32:8
  • 53. S Exodus 22:20; 1 Corinthians 10:20
  • 54. S Deuteronomy 28:64
  • 55. Judges 5:8
  • 56. Judges 3:7; 1 Samuel 12:9; Psalms 44:17,20; Psalms 106:21; Jeremiah 2:32; Ezekiel 23:35; Hosea 8:14; Hosea 13:6; Isaiah 17:10
  • 57. Leviticus 26:30; Psalms 78:59; Jeremiah 44:21-23
  • 58. Amos 6:8; Psalms 106:40
  • 59. Deuteronomy 31:17,29; Psalms 4:6; Psalms 44:24
  • 60. S ver 5
  • 61. Deuteronomy 9:23
  • 62. S Numbers 25:11; S 1 Corinthians 10:22
  • 63. ver 17; 1 Kings 16:13,26; 2 Kings 17:15; Psalms 31:6; Jeremiah 2:5; Jeremiah 8:19; Jeremiah 10:8; Jeremiah 16:19; John 2:8
  • 64. Romans 10:19*
  • 65. Psalms 7:11
  • 66. Numbers 16:31-35; Psalms 18:7-8; Jeremiah 15:14; Lamentations 4:11
  • 67. Amos 7:4
  • 68. Leviticus 26:20
  • 69. Psalms 83:14
  • 70. S Deuteronomy 29:21
  • 71. ver 42; 2 Samuel 22:15; Job 6:4; Psalms 7:13; Psalms 18:14; Psalms 45:5; Psalms 77:17; Psalms 120:4; Isaiah 5:28; Isaiah 49:2; Ezekiel 5:16; Habakkuk 3:9,11
  • 72. Genesis 26:1; S Genesis 41:55; Genesis 42:5; 2 Samuel 24:13; 1 Chronicles 21:12
  • 73. S Deuteronomy 28:22
  • 74. Psalms 91:6
  • 75. S Genesis 37:20; Leviticus 26:22
  • 76. ver 33; Job 20:16; Psalms 58:4; Jeremiah 8:17; Amos 5:18-19; Micah 7:17
  • 77. Job 20:16
  • 78. Isaiah 24:17
  • 79. Jeremiah 14:18; Lamentations 1:20; Ezekiel 7:15; 2 Corinthians 7:5
  • 80. 2 Chronicles 36:17; Isaiah 13:18; Jeremiah 4:31; Lamentations 2:21
  • 81. Deuteronomy 4:27
  • 82. S Numbers 14:12; Job 18:17; Psalms 34:16; Psalms 37:28; Psalms 109:15; Isaiah 14:20
  • 83. Deuteronomy 9:26-28
  • 84. Psalms 140:8; Isaiah 10:13; Jeremiah 40:2-3
  • 85. Isaiah 1:3; Isaiah 5:13; Isaiah 27:11; Jeremiah 8:7
  • 86. Deuteronomy 5:29; Psalms 81:13
  • 87. Isaiah 47:7; Lamentations 1:9
  • 88. S Leviticus 26:8
  • 89. Judges 2:14; Judges 3:8; Judges 4:2; Judges 10:7; 1 Samuel 12:9
  • 90. Numbers 21:34; 1 Samuel 23:7; Psalms 31:8; Psalms 44:12; Psalms 106:41; Isaiah 50:1; Isaiah 54:6
  • 91. S Genesis 49:24
  • 92. S Exodus 14:25
  • 93. Jeremiah 23:14
  • 94. Job 6:4; Job 20:16
  • 95. Deuteronomy 29:18
  • 96. S ver 24; Psalms 58:4
  • 97. Job 14:17; Jeremiah 2:22; Hosea 13:12
  • 98. S ver 41; S Genesis 4:24; S Jeremiah 51:6
  • 99. S Genesis 30:2; S Exodus 32:34; S Psalms 54:5; S Romans 12:19*; Hebrews 10:30*
  • 100. Psalms 17:5; Psalms 35:6; Psalms 37:31; Psalms 38:16; Psalms 66:9; Psalms 73:2,18; Psalms 94:18; Psalms 121:3; Proverbs 4:19; Jeremiah 23:12
  • 101. Ezekiel 7:8-9
  • 102. Hebrews 10:30*
  • 103. Amos 7:3
  • 104. Leviticus 26:43-45; Deuteronomy 30:1-3; Judges 2:18; Psalms 90:13; Psalms 102:13; Psalms 103:13; Psalms 106:45; Psalms 135:14; Joel 2:14
  • 105. 1 Kings 14:10; 1 Kings 21:21; 2 Kings 9:8
  • 106. Judges 10:14; Jeremiah 2:28; Jeremiah 11:12
  • 107. Numbers 25:1-2; Jeremiah 11:12; Jeremiah 44:8,25
  • 108. Isaiah 41:4; Isaiah 43:10; Isaiah 44:7; Isaiah 46:4; Isaiah 48:12
  • 109. S ver 12; Isaiah 45:5
  • 110. 1 Samuel 2:6
  • 111. 1 Samuel 2:6; 2 Kings 5:7; Psalms 68:20; John 11:25-26
  • 112. Exodus 15:26; Job 5:18; Job 15:11; Psalms 147:3; Isaiah 6:10; Isaiah 19:22; Isaiah 30:26; Isaiah 53:5; Isaiah 57:18; Jeremiah 33:6; Hosea 6:1; Malachi 4:2; 1 Peter 2:24
  • 113. Job 9:12; Job 10:7; Psalms 7:2; Psalms 50:22; Isaiah 43:13; Daniel 4:35; Hosea 5:14
  • 114. S Genesis 14:22
  • 115. S Genesis 21:33; Revelation 1:18
  • 116. Judges 7:20; Psalms 7:12; Psalms 45:3; Isaiah 27:1; Isaiah 34:6; Isaiah 66:16; Jeremiah 12:12; Ezekiel 21:9-10
  • 117. ver 35; Psalms 149:7; Jeremiah 46:10; Nahum 1:2
  • 118. Psalms 137:8; Jeremiah 25:14; Jeremiah 50:29; Jeremiah 51:24,56
  • 119. S ver 23
  • 120. 2 Samuel 2:26; Jeremiah 12:12; Jeremiah 44:1; Jeremiah 46:10,14
  • 121. Psalms 137:6; Isaiah 25:9; Isaiah 65:18; Isaiah 66:10; Romans 15:10*
  • 122. 2 Kings 9:7; S Revelation 6:10
  • 123. Isaiah 1:24; Jeremiah 9:9
  • 124. Psalms 65:3; Psalms 79:9; Psalms 85:1; Revelation 19:2
  • 125. Numbers 13:8,16
  • 126. S Deuteronomy 6:6; John 1:17; John 7:19; Ezekiel 40:4
  • 127. Deuteronomy 6:7
  • 128. S Deuteronomy 30:20
  • 129. S Exodus 23:26; Deuteronomy 33:25; Isaiah 65:22
  • 130. Numbers 27:12
  • 131. Numbers 27:12
  • 132. S Numbers 32:3
  • 133. S Numbers 22:1
  • 134. S Leviticus 14:34
  • 135. S Genesis 25:8; S Numbers 27:13
  • 136. Numbers 20:29
  • 137. S Numbers 20:22
  • 138. Ezekiel 47:19
  • 139. S Numbers 13:21; Numbers 20:11-13
  • 140. Numbers 27:14
  • 141. Deuteronomy 34:1-3
  • 142. S Deuteronomy 3:27; Deuteronomy 1:37

Footnotes 7

  • [a]. Or "Father, who bought you"
  • [b]. Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scrolls (see also Septuagint) "sons of God"
  • [c]. "Jeshurun" means "the upright one" , that is, Israel.
  • [d]. Or "and they are without a ruler or leader"
  • [e]. Or "Make his people rejoice, you nations"
  • [f]. Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scrolls (see also Septuagint) "people," / "and let all the angels worship him, /"
  • [g]. Hebrew "Hoshea" , a variant of "Joshua"

Chapter Summary


This chapter contains the song mentioned and referred to in the former, the preface to it, De 32:1-3; the character of the divine and illustrious Person it chiefly respects, De 32:4; the ingratitude of the people of the Jews to him, who were a crooked and perverse generation, aggravated by his having bought, made, and established them, De 32:5,6; and which is further aggravated by various instances of divine goodness to them, first in providing and reserving a suitable country for them, at the time of the division of the earth to the sons of men, with the reason of it, De 32:7-9; then by what the Lord did for them in the wilderness, De 32:10-12; after that in the land of Canaan, where they enjoyed plenty of all good things, and in the possession of which they were, when the illustrious Person described appeared among them, De 32:13,14; and then the sin of ingratitude to him, before hinted at, is fully expressed, namely, lightly esteeming the rock of salvation, the Messiah, De 32:15; nor could they stop here, but proceed to more ungodliness, setting up other messiahs and saviours, which were an abomination to the Lord, De 32:16; continuing sacrifices when they should not, which were therefore reckoned no other than sacrifices to demons, and especially the setting up of their new idol, their own righteousness, was highly provoking; and by all this they clearly showed they had forgot the rock, the Saviour, De 32:17,18; wherefore, for the rejection of the Messiah and the, persecution of his followers, they would be abhorred of God, De 32:19; who would show his resentment by the rejection of them, by the calling of the Gentiles, and by bringing the nation of the Romans upon them, De 32:20,21; whereby utter ruin and destruction in all its shapes would be brought upon them, De 32:22-25; and, were it not for the insolence of their adversaries, would be entirely destroyed, being such a foolish and unwise people, which appears by not observing what the enemies of the Messiah themselves allow, that there is no rock like him, whom they despised, De 32:26-31; which enemies are described, and the vengeance reserved for them pointed out, De 32:32-35; and the song closed with promises of grace and mercy to the Lord's people, and wrath and ruin to his and their enemies, on which account all are called upon to rejoice in the latter day, De 32:36-43; and this song being delivered by Moses, the people of Israel are exhorted seriously to attend to it, it being of the utmost importance to them, De 32:44-47; and the chapter is concluded with a relation of Moses being ordered to go up to Mount Nebo and die, with the reason of it, De 32:48-52.

Deuteronomy 32 Commentaries

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