Deuteronomy 32

The Song of Moses

1 "1Give ear, O heavens, and let me speak; And let the earth hear the words of my mouth.
2 "2Let my teaching drop as the rain, My speech distill as the dew, 3As the droplets on the fresh grass And as the showers on the herb.
3 "4For I proclaim the name of the LORD; 5Ascribe greatness to our God!
4 "6The Rock! His work is perfect, 7For all His ways are just; 8A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.
5 "9They have acted corruptly toward Him, They are not His children, because of their defect; 10But are a perverse and crooked generation.
6 "Do you thus 11repay the LORD, 12O foolish and unwise * people? 13Is not He your Father who has bought you? 14He has made you and established you.
7 "Remember the days of old, Consider the years of all generations. 15Ask your father, and he will inform you, Your elders, and they will tell you.
8 "16When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, When He separated the sons of man, He set the boundaries of the peoples 17According to the number of the sons of Israel.
9 "18For the LORD'S portion is His people; Jacob is the allotment of His inheritance.
10 "19He found him in a desert land, And in the howling waste of a wilderness; He encircled him, He cared for him, He guarded him as 20the pupil of His eye.
11 "21Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, That hovers over its young, 22He spread His wings and caught them, He carried them on His pinions.
12 "23The LORD alone guided him, 24And there was no foreign god with him.
13 "25He made him ride on the high places of the earth, And he ate the produce of the field; 26And He made him suck honey from the rock, And 27oil from the flinty rock,
14 Curds of cows, and milk of the flock, With fat of lambs, And rams, the breed of Bashan, and goats, 28With the finest * of the wheat - And of the 29blood of grapes you drank wine.
15 "30But Jeshurun grew fat and kicked - You are grown fat, thick, and sleek - 31Then he forsook God 32who made him, And scorned 33the Rock of his salvation.
16 "34They made Him jealous with strange gods; 35With abominations they provoked Him to anger.
17 "36They sacrificed to demons who were not God, 37To gods whom they have not known, 38New gods who came lately, Whom your fathers did not dread.
18 "You neglected 39the Rock who begot you, 40And forgot the God who gave you birth.
19 "41The LORD saw this, and spurned them 42Because of the provocation of His sons and daughters.
20 "Then He said, 'I will hide My face from them, 43I will see what their end shall be; 44For they are a perverse generation, 45Sons in whom is no faithfulness.
21 '46They have made Me jealous with what is not God; They have provoked Me to anger with their 47idols. 48So I will make them jealous with those who are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation,
22 49For a fire is kindled in My anger, And burns to the lowest part of Sheol, 50And consumes the earth with its yield, And sets on fire the foundations of the mountains.
23 '51I will heap misfortunes on them; 52I will use My arrows on them.
24 '53They will be wasted by famine, and consumed by plague 54And bitter destruction; 55And the teeth of beasts I will send upon them, 56With the venom of crawling things of the dust.
25 '57Outside * the sword will bereave, And inside * terror - 58Both young man and virgin, The nursling with the man of gray hair.
26 'I would have said, "59I will cut them to pieces, 60I will remove the memory of them from men,"
27 Had I not feared the provocation by the enemy, That their adversaries would misjudge, That they would say, "61Our hand is triumphant, And the LORD has not done all this."'
28 "62For they are a nation lacking in counsel, And there is no understanding in them.
29 "63Would that they were wise, that they understood this, 64That they would discern their future!
30 "65How could one chase a thousand, And two put ten thousand to flight, Unless * * their 66Rock had sold them, And the LORD had given them up?
31 "Indeed their rock is not like our Rock, 67Even our enemies themselves judge this.
32 "For their vine is from the vine of Sodom, And from the fields of Gomorrah; Their grapes are grapes of 68poison, Their clusters, bitter.
33 "Their wine is the venom of serpents, And the deadly poison of cobras.
34 '69Is it not laid up in store with Me, Sealed up in My treasuries?
35 '70Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, 71In due time their foot will slip; 72For the day of their calamity is near, And the impending things are hastening upon them.'
36 "73For the LORD will vindicate His people, 74And will have compassion on His servants, When He sees that their strength is gone, And there is none remaining, bond or free.
37 "And He will say, '75Where are their gods, The rock in which they sought refuge?
38 '76Who ate the fat of their sacrifices, And drank the wine of their drink offering? 77Let them rise up and help you, Let them be your hiding place!
39 '78See now that I, I am He, 79And there is no god besides Me; 80It is I who put to death and give life. 81I have wounded and it is I who heal, 82And there is no one who can deliver from My hand.
40 'Indeed, 83I lift up My hand to heaven, And say, as I live forever,
41 84If I sharpen My flashing sword, And My hand takes hold on justice, 85I will render vengeance on My adversaries, And I will repay those who hate Me.
42 '86I will make My arrows drunk with blood, 87And My sword will devour flesh, With the blood of the slain and the captives, From the long-haired leaders of the enemy.'
43 "88Rejoice, O nations, with His people; 89For He will avenge the blood of His servants, 90And will render vengeance on His adversaries, 91And will atone for His land and His people."
44 Then Moses came and spoke all the words of this song in the hearing of the people, he, with 92Joshua the son of Nun.
45 When Moses had finished speaking all these words to all Israel,
46 he said to them, "93Take to your heart all the words with which I am warning you today, which you shall command 94your sons to observe carefully, even all the words of this law.
47 "For it is not an idle word for you; indeed 95it is your life. And 96by this word you will prolong your days in the land, which you are about to cross the Jordan to possess."
48 97The LORD spoke to Moses that very same day, saying,
49 "98Go up to this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab opposite * Jericho, and look at the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the sons of Israel for a possession.
50 "Then die on the mountain where * you ascend, and be 99gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people,
51 100because * you broke faith with Me in the midst of the sons of Israel at the waters of Meribah-kadesh *, in the 101wilderness of Zin, because * you did not treat Me as holy in the midst of the sons of Israel.
52 "102For you shall see the land at a distance *, but 103you shall not go there, into the land which I am giving the sons 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 103

  • 1. Deuteronomy 4:26; Psalms 50:4; Isaiah 1:2; Jeremiah 6:19
  • 2. Isaiah 55:10, 11
  • 3. Psalms 72:6
  • 4. Exodus 33:19; Exodus 34:5, 6
  • 5. Deuteronomy 3:24; Deuteronomy 5:24
  • 6. Deut 32:15, 18, 30; 2 Samuel 22:31
  • 7. Genesis 18:25; Daniel 4:37
  • 8. Deuteronomy 7:9
  • 9. Deuteronomy 4:25; Deuteronomy 31:29
  • 10. Matthew 17:17
  • 11. Psalms 116:12
  • 12. Deuteronomy 32:28
  • 13. Deuteronomy 1:31; Psalms 74:2; Isaiah 63:16
  • 14. Deuteronomy 32:15
  • 15. Exodus 12:26; Psalms 78:5-8
  • 16. Acts 17:26
  • 17. Numbers 23:9; Deuteronomy 33:28
  • 18. 1 Samuel 10:1; 1 Kings 8:51, 53; Jeremiah 10:16
  • 19. Deuteronomy 1:19
  • 20. Psalms 17:8; Proverbs 7:2; Zechariah 2:8
  • 21. Exodus 19:4; Deuteronomy 33:12
  • 22. Psalms 18:10-18
  • 23. Deuteronomy 4:35, 39
  • 24. Deuteronomy 32:39; Isaiah 43:12
  • 25. Isaiah 58:14
  • 26. Deuteronomy 8:8; Psalms 81:16
  • 27. Job 29:6
  • 28. Psalms 81:16; Psalms 147:14
  • 29. Genesis 49:11
  • 30. Deuteronomy 31:20
  • 31. Judges 10:6
  • 32. Deuteronomy 32:6
  • 33. Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalms 89:26
  • 34. Psalms 78:58
  • 35. Psalms 106:29
  • 36. Leviticus 17:7; 1 Corinthians 10:20
  • 37. Deuteronomy 28:64
  • 38. Judges 5:8
  • 39. Deuteronomy 32:4
  • 40. Psalms 106:21
  • 41. Leviticus 26:30; Psalms 106:40
  • 42. Jeremiah 44:21-23
  • 43. Deuteronomy 31:29
  • 44. Deuteronomy 32:5
  • 45. Deuteronomy 9:23
  • 46. Deuteronomy 32:16; 1 Corinthians 10:22
  • 47. Deuteronomy 32:17; 1 Kings 16:13, 26
  • 48. Romans 10:19
  • 49. Numbers 16:33-35; Psalms 18:7, 8; Lamentations 4:11
  • 50. Leviticus 26:20
  • 51. Deuteronomy 29:21
  • 52. Psalms 18:14; Psalms 45:5
  • 53. Deuteronomy 28:22, 48
  • 54. Psalms 91:6
  • 55. Leviticus 26:22
  • 56. Amos 5:18, 19
  • 57. Lamentations 1:20; Ezekiel 7:15
  • 58. 2 Chronicles 36:17; Lamentations 2:21
  • 59. Deuteronomy 4:27; Deuteronomy 28:64
  • 60. Deuteronomy 9:14
  • 61. Numbers 15:30
  • 62. Deuteronomy 32:6
  • 63. Deuteronomy 5:29
  • 64. Deuteronomy 31:29
  • 65. Leviticus 26:7, 8
  • 66. Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalms 44:12
  • 67. Exodus 14:25
  • 68. Deuteronomy 29:18
  • 69. Job 14:17; Jeremiah 44:21
  • 70. Psalms 94:1; Romans 12:19; Hebrews 10:30
  • 71. Jeremiah 23:12
  • 72. Ezekiel 7:5-10
  • 73. Psalms 135:14; Hebrews 10:30
  • 74. Leviticus 26:43-45; Deuteronomy 30:1-3
  • 75. Judges 10:14; Jeremiah 2:28
  • 76. Numbers 25:1, 2
  • 77. Jeremiah 11:12
  • 78. Isaiah 41:4; Isaiah 43:10
  • 79. Deuteronomy 32:12; Isaiah 45:5
  • 80. 1 Samuel 2:6; Psalms 68:20
  • 81. Psalms 51:8
  • 82. Psalms 50:22
  • 83. Ezekiel 20:5, 6; Ezekiel 21:4, 5
  • 84. Isaiah 34:6-8
  • 85. Jeremiah 50:28-32
  • 86. Deuteronomy 32:23
  • 87. Jeremiah 12:12; Jeremiah 46:10, 14
  • 88. Romans 15:10
  • 89. 2 Kings 9:7; Revelation 6:10; Revelation 19:2
  • 90. Isaiah 1:24, 25
  • 91. Psalms 65:3; Psalms 79:9; Psalms 85:1
  • 92. Numbers 13:8, 16
  • 93. Ezekiel 40:4; Ezekiel 44:5
  • 94. Deuteronomy 4:9
  • 95. Deuteronomy 8:3; Deuteronomy 30:20
  • 96. Deuteronomy 4:40; Deuteronomy 33:25
  • 97. Numbers 27:12
  • 98. Numbers 27:12-14; Deuteronomy 3:27
  • 99. Genesis 25:8
  • 100. Numbers 20:12
  • 101. Numbers 27:14
  • 102. Deuteronomy 34:1-3
  • 103. Deuteronomy 1:37; Deuteronomy 3:27

Footnotes 21

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO DEUTERONOMY 32

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