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Deuteronomy 32

Listen to Deuteronomy 32
1 "Give ear, 1O heavens, and I will speak, and let 2the earth hear the words of my mouth.
2 May 3my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew, like gentle rain upon the tender grass, and 4like showers upon the herb.
3 For I will proclaim the name of the LORD; ascribe 5greatness to our God!
4 6"The Rock, 7his work is perfect, for 8all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and 9without iniquity, just and upright is he.
5 They have dealt corruptly with him; they are no longer his children 10because they are blemished; they are 11a crooked and twisted generation.
6 Do you thus repay the LORD, you foolish and senseless people? Is not he 12your father, who 13created you, who 14made you and established you?
7 15Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations; 16ask your father, and he will show you, your elders, and they will tell you.
8 When the Most High 17gave to the nations their inheritance, when he 18divided mankind, he fixed the borders[a] of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God.[b]
9 But the LORD's portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage.
10 "He found him 19in a desert land, and in the howling waste of the wilderness; he 20encircled him, he cared for him, he 21kept him as the apple of his eye.
11 22Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young, spreading out its wings, catching them, bearing them on its pinions,
12 23the LORD alone guided him, 24no foreign god was with him.
13 25He made him ride on the high places of the land, and he ate the produce of the field, and he suckled him with 26honey out of the rock, and 27oil out of 28the flinty rock.
14 Curds from the herd, and milk from the flock, with fat[c] of lambs, rams of Bashan and goats, with the very finest[d] of the wheat-- and you drank foaming wine made from 29the blood of the grape.
15 "But 30Jeshurun grew fat, and 31kicked; 32you grew fat, stout, and sleek; 33then he forsook God 34who made him and scoffed at 35the Rock of his salvation.
16 36They stirred him to jealousy with strange gods; with abominations they provoked him to anger.
17 37They sacrificed to demons that were no gods, to gods they had never known, to 38new gods that had come recently, whom your fathers had never dreaded.
18 You were unmindful of 39the Rock that bore[e] you, and you 40forgot the God who gave you birth.
19 41"The LORD saw it and spurned them, because of the provocation of 42his sons and his daughters.
20 And he said, 43'I will hide my face from them; I will see what their end will be, For they are a perverse generation, children in whom is no faithfulness.
21 44They have made me jealous with what is no god; they have provoked me to anger 45with their idols. So 46I will make them jealous with those who are no people; I will provoke them to anger with 47a foolish nation.
22 For 48a fire is kindled by my anger, and it burns to 49the depths of Sheol, devours the earth and its increase, and sets on fire the foundations of the mountains.
23 "'And I will heap disasters upon them; 50I will spend my arrows on them;
24 they shall be wasted with hunger, and devoured by plague and poisonous pestilence; I will send 51the teeth of beasts against them, with the venom of 52things that crawl in the dust.
25 53Outdoors the sword shall bereave, and indoors terror, for young man and woman alike, the nursing child with the man of gray hairs.
26 54I would have said, "I will cut them to pieces; 55I will wipe them from human memory,"
27 had I not feared provocation by the enemy, lest their adversaries should misunderstand, lest they should say, 56"Our hand is triumphant, it was not the LORD who did all this."'
28 "For they are a nation void of counsel, and there is 57no understanding in them.
29 58If they were wise, they would understand this; they would 59discern their latter end!
30 How could 60one have chased a thousand, and two have put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock 61had sold them, and the LORD had given them up?
31 For 62their rock is not as our Rock; 63our enemies are by themselves.
32 For their vine 64comes from the vine of Sodom and from the fields of Gomorrah; their grapes are grapes of 65poison; their clusters are bitter;
33 their wine is the poison of 66serpents and the cruel venom of asps.
34 "'Is not this laid up in store with me, 67sealed up in my treasuries?
35 68Vengeance is mine, and recompense,[f] 69for the time when their foot shall slip; for 70the day of their calamity is at hand, and their doom comes swiftly.'
36 For 71the LORD will vindicate[g] his people 72and have compassion on his servants, when he sees that their power is gone and there is none remaining, 73bond or free.
37 Then he will say, 74'Where are their gods, 75the rock in which they took refuge,
38 who ate the fat of their sacrifices and drank the wine of their drink offering? Let them rise up and help you; let them be your protection!
39 "'See now that 76I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; 77I kill and I make alive; 78I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.
40 For 79I lift up my hand to heaven and swear, As I live forever,
41 if I 80sharpen my flashing sword[h] 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 81my sword shall devour flesh-- with the blood of the slain and the captives, from the 82long-haired heads of the enemy.'
43 83"Rejoice with him, O heavens; bow down to him, all gods,[i] for he 84avenges the blood of his children[j] and takes vengeance on his adversaries. He repays those who hate him[k] and cleanses[l] his people's land."[m]
44 Moses came and recited all the words of this song in the hearing of the people, he and 85Joshua[n] the son of Nun.
45 And when Moses had finished speaking all these words to all Israel,
46 he said to them, 86"Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, 87that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law.
47 For it is no empty word for you, 88but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess."

Moses' Death Foretold

48 That very day the LORD spoke to Moses,
49 "Go up 89this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, opposite Jericho, and view the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel for a possession.
50 And die on the mountain which you go up, and be gathered to your people, as 90Aaron your brother died in Mount Hor and was gathered to his people,
51 91because you broke faith with me in the midst of the people of Israel at the waters of Meribah-kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin, and because you did not treat me as holy in the midst of the people of Israel.
52 For 92you shall see the land before you, but you shall not go there, into the land that 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 92

  • 1. Psalms 50:4; [Joshua 24:27]; See Deuteronomy 4:26
  • 2. Isaiah 34:1; Micah 1:2; Micah 6:1, 2
  • 3. Isaiah 55:10, 11; [Job 29:22, 23]
  • 4. Psalms 72:6; Micah 5:7
  • 5. See Deuteronomy 3:24
  • 6. ver. 15, 18, 30, 31, 37; Psalms 18:2, 31; Isaiah 30:29; Habakkuk 1:12; See 2 Samuel 22:2
  • 7. [Psalms 18:30]
  • 8. Daniel 4:37; Revelation 15:3
  • 9. Job 34:10
  • 10. [2 Peter 2:13]
  • 11. Matthew 17:17; Luke 9:41; Philippians 2:15
  • 12. Isaiah 63:16; Isaiah 64:8
  • 13. Psalms 74:2
  • 14. ver. 15; Isaiah 44:2; Isaiah 51:13
  • 15. [Isaiah 63:11]
  • 16. Psalms 44:1
  • 17. Acts 17:26
  • 18. Genesis 11:8
  • 19. Deuteronomy 8:15; Jeremiah 2:6; Hosea 13:5
  • 20. Psalms 32:10
  • 21. Psalms 17:8; Proverbs 7:2; Zechariah 2:8
  • 22. Exodus 19:4
  • 23. Psalms 78:52, 53
  • 24. Isaiah 43:12
  • 25. Isaiah 58:14; Ezekiel 36:2
  • 26. Psalms 81:16
  • 27. Job 29:6
  • 28. Deuteronomy 8:15
  • 29. Genesis 49:11
  • 30. Deuteronomy 33:5, 26; Isaiah 44:2
  • 31. [1 Samuel 2:29]
  • 32. See Deuteronomy 31:20
  • 33. Deuteronomy 31:16
  • 34. ver. 6
  • 35. 2 Samuel 22:47; Psalms 89:26; Psalms 95:1
  • 36. Psalms 78:58; See Numbers 25:11
  • 37. Psalms 106:37; [1 Corinthians 10:20]
  • 38. [Judges 5:8]
  • 39. 2 Samuel 22:47; Psalms 89:26; Psalms 95:1
  • 40. Isaiah 17:10; Jeremiah 2:27, 32; Hosea 8:14
  • 41. [Judges 2:14]
  • 42. [Isaiah 1:2]
  • 43. See Deuteronomy 31:17
  • 44. Psalms 78:58; See Numbers 25:11
  • 45. 1 Kings 16:13, 26; Psalms 31:6; Jonah 2:8; Acts 14:15
  • 46. Cited Romans 10:19; [Hosea 1:9, 10]
  • 47. [Psalms 74:18]
  • 48. Jeremiah 15:14; Jeremiah 17:4; Lamentations 4:11
  • 49. Psalms 86:13
  • 50. Job 6:4; Psalms 7:12, 13; Psalms 38:2; Lamentations 3:12, 13; Ezekiel 5:16
  • 51. Leviticus 26:22; Ezekiel 5:17
  • 52. Jeremiah 8:17; Micah 7:17
  • 53. Lamentations 1:20; Ezekiel 7:15
  • 54. Ezekiel 20:23
  • 55. Job 18:17; Psalms 34:16; Psalms 109:15
  • 56. Psalms 140:8; Isaiah 10:13; [Numbers 14:16]
  • 57. Isaiah 27:11; Jeremiah 4:22
  • 58. Deuteronomy 5:29; Psalms 81:13; Luke 19:42
  • 59. Isaiah 47:7; Lamentations 1:9
  • 60. See Leviticus 26:8
  • 61. See Judges 2:14
  • 62. 1 Samuel 2:2
  • 63. [1 Samuel 4:8]
  • 64. [Isaiah 1:10; Jeremiah 23:14; Ezekiel 16:46]
  • 65. Deuteronomy 29:18
  • 66. Job 20:14, 16; Psalms 58:4(Heb.)
  • 67. [Job 14:17; Hosea 13:12; Romans 2:5]
  • 68. Psalms 94:1; Isaiah 1:24; Isaiah 59:18; Nahum 1:2; Cited Romans 12:19; Hebrews 10:30
  • 69. [Psalms 94:18]
  • 70. [2 Peter 2:3]
  • 71. Psalms 135:14; Cited Hebrews 10:30
  • 72. Judges 2:18; Psalms 106:45; [Psalms 90:13]
  • 73. 1 Kings 14:10; 1 Kings 21:21; 2 Kings 9:8; 2 Kings 14:26
  • 74. Judges 10:14; 1 Kings 18:27; Jeremiah 2:28
  • 75. [ver. 31]
  • 76. Isaiah 41:4; Isaiah 48:12
  • 77. 1 Samuel 2:6; 2 Kings 5:7
  • 78. Job 5:18; Hosea 6:1
  • 79. See Genesis 14:22
  • 80. Psalms 7:12; Isaiah 27:1; Isaiah 34:5; Isaiah 66:16; Ezekiel 21:9, 10
  • 81. Jeremiah 46:10
  • 82. See Psalms 68:21
  • 83. Cited Romans 15:10
  • 84. Revelation 6:10; Revelation 19:2; [2 Kings 9:7; Psalms 79:10]
  • 85. Numbers 13:8, 16
  • 86. Deuteronomy 11:18; See Deuteronomy 6:6
  • 87. See Deuteronomy 4:9
  • 88. [Leviticus 18:5]; See Deuteronomy 30:20
  • 89. See Numbers 27:12
  • 90. Num. 20:24, 25, 28; Numbers 33:38
  • 91. Numbers 20:11-13; Numbers 27:14
  • 92. Deuteronomy 3:27; Deuteronomy 34:4

Footnotes 14

  • [a]. Or territories
  • [b]. Compare Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint; Masoretic Text Israel
  • [c]. That is, with the best
  • [d]. Hebrew with the kidney fat
  • [e]. Or fathered
  • [f]. Septuagint and I will repay
  • [g]. Septuagint judge
  • [h]. Hebrew the lightning of my sword
  • [i]. Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint; Masoretic Text Rejoice his people, O nations
  • [j]. Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint; Masoretic Text servants
  • [k]. Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint; Masoretic Text lacks He repays those who hate him
  • [l]. Or atones for
  • [m]. Septuagint, Vulgate; Hebrew his land his people
  • [n]. Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate; Hebrew Hoshea

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

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.