Deuteronomy 9

Not Because of Israel’s Righteousness

1 Hear, Israel: You are now about to cross the Jordan to go in and dispossess nations greater and stronger than you, with large cities that have walls up to the sky.
2 The people are strong and tall—Anakites! You know about them and have heard it said: “Who can stand up against the Anakites?”
3 But be assured today that the LORD your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly, as the LORD has promised you.
4 After the LORD your God has driven them out before you, do not say to yourself, “The LORD has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness.” No, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is going to drive them out before you.
5 It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the LORD your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
6 Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the LORD your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people.

The Golden Calf

7 Remember this and never forget how you aroused the anger of the LORD your God in the wilderness. From the day you left Egypt until you arrived here, you have been rebellious against the LORD.
8 At Horeb you aroused the LORD’s wrath so that he was angry enough to destroy you.
9 When I went up on the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant that the LORD had made with you, I stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights; I ate no bread and drank no water.
10 The LORD gave me two stone tablets inscribed by the finger of God. On them were all the commandments the LORD proclaimed to you on the mountain out of the fire, on the day of the assembly.
11 At the end of the forty days and forty nights, the LORD gave me the two stone tablets, the tablets of the covenant.
12 Then the LORD told me, “Go down from here at once, because your people whom you brought out of Egypt have become corrupt. They have turned away quickly from what I commanded them and have made an idol for themselves.”
13 And the LORD said to me, “I have seen this people, and they are a stiff-necked people indeed!
14 Let me alone, so that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven. And I will make you into a nation stronger and more numerous than they.”
15 So I turned and went down from the mountain while it was ablaze with fire. And the two tablets of the covenant were in my hands.
16 When I looked, I saw that you had sinned against the LORD your God; you had made for yourselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. You had turned aside quickly from the way that the LORD had commanded you.
17 So I took the two tablets and threw them out of my hands, breaking them to pieces before your eyes.
18 Then once again I fell prostrate before the LORD for forty days and forty nights; I ate no bread and drank no water, because of all the sin you had committed, doing what was evil in the LORD’s sight and so arousing his anger.
19 I feared the anger and wrath of the LORD, for he was angry enough with you to destroy you. But again the LORD listened to me.
20 And the LORD was angry enough with Aaron to destroy him, but at that time I prayed for Aaron too.
21 Also I took that sinful thing of yours, the calf you had made, and burned it in the fire. Then I crushed it and ground it to powder as fine as dust and threw the dust into a stream that flowed down the mountain.
22 You also made the LORD angry at Taberah, at Massah and at Kibroth Hattaavah.
23 And when the LORD sent you out from Kadesh Barnea, he said, “Go up and take possession of the land I have given you.” But you rebelled against the command of the LORD your God. You did not trust him or obey him.
24 You have been rebellious against the LORD ever since I have known you.
25 I lay prostrate before the LORD those forty days and forty nights because the LORD had said he would destroy you.
26 I prayed to the LORD and said, “Sovereign LORD, do not destroy your people, your own inheritance that you redeemed by your great power and brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand.
27 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Overlook the stubbornness of this people, their wickedness and their sin.
28 Otherwise, the country from which you brought us will say, ‘Because the LORD was not able to take them into the land he had promised them, and because he hated them, he brought them out to put them to death in the wilderness.’
29 But they are your people, your inheritance that you brought out by your great power and your outstretched arm.”

Deuteronomy 9 Commentary

Chapter 9

The Israelites not to think their success came by their own worthiness. (1-6) Moses reminds the Israelites of their rebellions. (7-29)

Verses 1-6 Moses represents the strength of the enemies they were now to encounter. This was to drive them to God, and engage their hope in him. He assures them of victory, by the presence of God with them. He cautions them not to have the least thought of their own righteousness, as if that procured this favour at God's hand. In Christ we have both righteousness and strength; in Him we must glory, not in ourselves, nor in any sufficiency of our own. It is for the wickedness of these nations that God drives them out. All whom God rejects, are rejected for their own wickedness; but none whom he accepts are accepted for their own righteousness. Thus boasting is for ever done away: see Eph. 2:9, Eph. 2:11, Eph. 2:12 .

Verses 7-29 That the Israelites might have no pretence to think that God brought them to Canaan for their righteousness, Moses shows what a miracle of mercy it was, that they had not been destroyed in the wilderness. It is good for us often to remember against ourselves, with sorrow and shame, our former sins; that we may see how much we are indebted to free grace, and may humbly own that we never merited any thing but wrath and the curse at God's hand. For so strong is our propensity to pride, that it will creep in under one pretence or another. We are ready to fancy that our righteousness has got for us the special favour of the Lord, though in reality our wickedness is more plain than our weakness. But when the secret history of every man's life shall be brought forth at the day of judgment, all the world will be proved guilty before God. At present, One pleads for us before the mercy-seat, who not only fasted, but died upon the cross for our sins; through whom we may approach, though self-condemned sinners, and beseech for undeserved mercy and for eternal life, as the gift of God in Him. Let us refer all the victory, all the glory, and all the praise, to Him who alone bringeth salvation.

Cross References 67

  • 1. S Numbers 35:10
  • 2. Deuteronomy 4:38; Deuteronomy 11:23,31
  • 3. S Numbers 13:28
  • 4. S Genesis 11:4; Deuteronomy 1:28
  • 5. Numbers 13:22; Joshua 11:22; Numbers 13:22,28,32-33
  • 6. Deuteronomy 31:3; Joshua 3:11
  • 7. S Exodus 15:7; S Exodus 19:18; Deuteronomy 4:24; Hebrews 12:29
  • 8. S Exodus 23:31; Deuteronomy 7:23-24
  • 9. S Deuteronomy 8:17
  • 10. 2 Kings 16:3; 2 Kings 17:8; 2 Kings 21:2; Ezra 9:11
  • 11. S Exodus 23:24; S Lev 18:21,24-30; Deuteronomy 18:9-14
  • 12. S Ephesians 2:9; Titus 3:5
  • 13. Deuteronomy 18:9
  • 14. S Leviticus 18:25
  • 15. Deuteronomy 4:38; Deuteronomy 11:23
  • 16. S Genesis 12:7; Genesis 13:15; Genesis 15:7; Genesis 17:8; Genesis 26:4
  • 17. Ezekiel 36:32
  • 18. ver 13; S Exodus 32:9; Deuteronomy 31:27; Acts 7:51
  • 19. S Numbers 11:33
  • 20. S Exodus 23:21
  • 21. S Exodus 14:11
  • 22. Numbers 16:46; 1 Samuel 28:18; Job 20:28; Psalms 2:12; Psalms 7:11; Psalms 69:24; Psalms 110:5; Isaiah 9:19; Ezekiel 20:13
  • 23. Exodus 32:7-10; Ezra 9:14; Psalms 106:19
  • 24. S Deuteronomy 4:13
  • 25. S Genesis 7:4
  • 26. S Exodus 24:12; Exodus 24:12,15,18; Exodus 34:28
  • 27. S Exodus 31:18; Deuteronomy 4:13
  • 28. Deuteronomy 10:4; Deuteronomy 18:16
  • 29. S Genesis 7:4
  • 30. S Exodus 24:12
  • 31. S Deuteronomy 4:16; Exodus 32:7-8; Deuteronomy 31:29
  • 32. Judges 2:17
  • 33. ver 6; Exodus 32:9; Deuteronomy 10:16
  • 34. Exodus 32:10
  • 35. S Numbers 14:12; Deuteronomy 29:20
  • 36. Jeremiah 7:16
  • 37. S Exodus 19:18; Exodus 32:15
  • 38. S Exodus 32:4; Exodus 32:19
  • 39. S Exodus 34:28
  • 40. ver 9
  • 41. S Exodus 32:31
  • 42. S Exodus 32:14; Hebrews 12:21*; Ex 32:10-11,14
  • 43. ver 26; Exodus 34:10; S Numbers 11:2; 1 Samuel 7:9; Jeremiah 15:1; Deuteronomy 10:10
  • 44. Psalms 18:42; Isaiah 29:5; Isaiah 40:15
  • 45. Exodus 32:20; Isaiah 2:18; Micah 1:7
  • 46. S Numbers 1:53
  • 47. Numbers 11:3
  • 48. S Exodus 17:7
  • 49. Numbers 11:34
  • 50. S Deuteronomy 1:2
  • 51. Deuteronomy 1:21
  • 52. S Numbers 14:9
  • 53. S Deuteronomy 1:32; Psalms 106:24
  • 54. S Deuteronomy 8:17; ver 7; Deuteronomy 31:27
  • 55. S Genesis 7:4
  • 56. ver 18; S Exodus 33:17
  • 57. S Exodus 33:13
  • 58. S Exodus 34:9
  • 59. S Exodus 6:6; Deuteronomy 15:15; 2 Samuel 7:23; Psalms 78:35
  • 60. S ver 19; S Exodus 32:11
  • 61. ver 6; S Exodus 32:9
  • 62. Deuteronomy 32:27
  • 63. S Deuteronomy 1:27
  • 64. S Exodus 32:12; Numbers 14:16; Joshua 7:9
  • 65. S Exodus 33:13
  • 66. S Exodus 34:9; Deuteronomy 32:9; Deuteronomy 4:20; 1 Kings 8:51
  • 67. Deuteronomy 4:34; Nehemiah 1:10; Jeremiah 27:5; Jeremiah 32:17

Chapter Summary


In this chapter the Israelites are assured of the ejection of the Canaanites, though so great and mighty, to make room for them, De 9:1-3, and they are cautioned not to attribute this to their own righteousness, but to the wickedness of the nations which deserved to be so treated, and to the faithfulness of God in performing his promise made to their fathers, De 9:4-6, and that it might appear that it could not be owing to their righteousness, it is affirmed and proved that they had been a rebellious and provoking people from their coming out of Egypt to that time, as was evident from their idolatry at Horeb; a particular account of which is given, and of the displeasure of the Lord at it, De 9:7-21, and of their murmurings, with which they provoked the Lord at other places, De 9:22-24, and the chapter is closed with an account of the prayer of Moses for them at Horeb, to avert the wrath of God from them for their making and worshipping the golden calf, De 9:25-29.

Deuteronomy 9 Commentaries

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