Deuteronomy 9

Listen to Deuteronomy 9

Not Because of Righteousness

1 "Hear, O Israel: you are 1to cross over the Jordan today, to go in to dispossess nations 2greater and mightier than yourselves, cities great and fortified up to heaven,
2 a people great and tall, 3the sons of the Anakim, 4whom you know, and of whom you have heard it said, 'Who can stand before the sons of Anak?'
3 Know therefore today that he who 5goes over before you 6as a consuming fire is the LORD your God. He will destroy them and subdue them before you. 7So you shall drive them out and make them perish quickly, as the LORD has promised you.
4 8"Do not say in your heart, after the LORD your God has thrust them out before you, 'It is because of my righteousness that the LORD has brought me in to possess this land,' whereas it is 9because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out before you.
5 10Not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart are you going in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations the LORD your God is driving them out from before you, and that he may confirm 11the word that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
6 "Know, therefore, that the LORD your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are 12a stubborn people.
7 Remember and do not forget how you provoked the LORD your God to wrath in the wilderness. 13From the day you came out of the land of Egypt until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the LORD.
8 Even 14at Horeb you provoked the LORD to wrath, and the LORD was so angry with you that he was ready to destroy you.
9 15When I went up the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant that the LORD made with you, I remained on the mountain 16forty days and forty nights. I neither ate bread nor drank water.
10 And 17the LORD gave me the two tablets of stone written with the finger of God, and on them were all the words that the LORD had spoken with you on the mountain out of the midst of the fire 18on the day of the assembly.
11 And at the end of forty days and forty nights the LORD gave me the two tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant.
12 Then the LORD said to me, 19'Arise, go down quickly from here, for your people whom you have brought from Egypt have acted corruptly. They have 20turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them; they have made themselves a metal image.'

The Golden Calf

13 21"Furthermore, the LORD said to me, 'I have seen this people, and behold, it is 22a stubborn people.
14 23Let me alone, that I may destroy them and 24blot out their name from under heaven. And 25I will make of you a nation mightier and greater than they.'
15 26So I turned and came down from the mountain, and 27the mountain was burning with fire. And the two tablets of the covenant were in my two hands.
16 And 28I looked, and behold, you had sinned against the LORD your God. You had made yourselves a golden[a] calf. 29You had turned aside quickly from the way that the LORD had commanded you.
17 So I took hold of the two tablets and threw them out of my two hands and broke them before your eyes.
18 Then I 30lay prostrate before the LORD 31as before, forty days and forty nights. I neither ate bread nor drank water, because of all the sin that you had committed, 32in doing what was evil in the sight of the LORD to provoke him to anger.
19 For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure that the LORD bore against you, so that he was ready to destroy you. 33But the LORD listened to me that time also.
20 And the LORD was so angry with Aaron that he was ready to destroy him. And I prayed for Aaron also at the same time.
21 Then 34I took the sinful thing, the calf that you had made, and burned it with fire and crushed it, grinding it very small, until it was as fine as dust. And I threw the dust of it into the brook that ran down from the mountain.
22 "At 35Taberah also, and at 36Massah and at 37Kibroth-hattaavah you provoked the LORD to wrath.
23 And 38when the LORD sent you from Kadesh-barnea, saying, 'Go up and take possession of the land that I have given you,' then you rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God and 39did not believe him or obey his voice.
24 40You have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you.
25 41"So I lay prostrate before the LORD for these forty days and forty nights, because the LORD had said he would destroy you.
26 42And I prayed to the LORD, 'O Lord GOD, do not destroy your people and your heritage, whom you have redeemed through your greatness, whom you have brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand.
27 Remember your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Do not regard the stubbornness of this people, or their wickedness or their sin,
28 lest the land from which you brought us say, 43"Because the LORD was not able to bring them into the land that he promised them, and because he hated them, he has brought them out to put them to death in the wilderness."
29 44For they are your people and your heritage, whom you brought out by your great power and by 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 44

  • 1. Deuteronomy 11:31; Deuteronomy 12:10; Joshua 1:11
  • 2. See Deuteronomy 4:38
  • 3. See Numbers 13:22
  • 4. Deuteronomy 1:28
  • 5. Deuteronomy 31:3; [Joshua 3:11]
  • 6. See Deuteronomy 4:24
  • 7. Deuteronomy 7:24; Exodus 23:29-31
  • 8. [Deuteronomy 8:17]
  • 9. Deuteronomy 18:12; Leviticus 18:24, 25; Leviticus 20:23; [Deuteronomy 20:18]
  • 10. [Titus 3:5]
  • 11. See Genesis 50:24
  • 12. Deuteronomy 10:16
  • 13. ver. 24; Deuteronomy 31:27; [Exodus 14:11; Exodus 15:24; Exodus 16:2; Exodus 17:2; Numbers 11:4; Numbers 14:2, 11, 41; Numbers 20:2; Numbers 21:5; Numbers 25:2]
  • 14. Exodus 32:4; Psalms 106:19
  • 15. Exodus 24:12, 15
  • 16. Exodus 24:18; Exodus 34:28; [1 Kings 19:8; Matthew 4:2; Luke 4:1, 2]
  • 17. Exodus 31:18
  • 18. Deuteronomy 4:10; Deuteronomy 10:4; Deuteronomy 18:16; Exodus 19:17
  • 19. Exodus 32:7, 8
  • 20. [Deuteronomy 31:29; Judges 2:17]
  • 21. Exodus 32:9
  • 22. [See ver. 6 above]
  • 23. Exodus 32:10
  • 24. Deuteronomy 7:24; Deuteronomy 25:19; Deuteronomy 29:20; Exodus 17:14
  • 25. Numbers 14:12
  • 26. Exodus 32:15
  • 27. Deuteronomy 4:11; Deuteronomy 5:23; Exodus 19:18
  • 28. Exodus 32:19
  • 29. [Deuteronomy 31:29; Judges 2:17]
  • 30. Exodus 34:28; [Psalms 106:23]
  • 31. ver. 9; Deuteronomy 10:10
  • 32. Deuteronomy 4:25
  • 33. Deuteronomy 10:10; Exodus 32:14; Exodus 33:17
  • 34. Exodus 32:20
  • 35. Numbers 11:1-3
  • 36. Exodus 17:7
  • 37. Numbers 11:34
  • 38. Numbers 13:3; Numbers 14:1-4
  • 39. Psalms 106:24, 25
  • 40. ver. 7; Deuteronomy 31:27
  • 41. [See ver. 18 above]
  • 42. See Exodus 32:11-13
  • 43. Numbers 14:16
  • 44. Deuteronomy 4:20; 1 Kings 8:51; Nehemiah 1:10; [Psalms 95:7]

Footnotes 1

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

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