Deuteronomy 32

1 Give ear, you heavens, and I will speak. Let the earth hear the words of my mouth. 2 My doctrine will drop as the rain. My speech will condense as the dew, as the misty rain on the tender grass, as the showers on the herb. 3 For I will proclaim the LORD’s name. Ascribe greatness to our God! 4 The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are just. A God of faithfulness who does no wrong, just and right is he. 5 They have dealt corruptly with him. They are not his children, because of their defect. They are a perverse and crooked generation. 6 Is this the way you repay the LORD, foolish and unwise people? Isn’t he your father who has bought you? He has made you and established you. 7 Remember the days of old. Consider the years of many generations. Ask your father, and he will show you; your elders, and they will tell you. 8 When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the children of men, he set the bounds of the peoples according to the number of the children of Israel. 9 For the LORD’s portion is his people. Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. 10 He found him in a desert land, in the waste howling wilderness. He surrounded him. He cared for him. He kept him as the apple of his eye. 11 As an eagle that stirs up her nest, that flutters over her young, he spread abroad his wings, he took them, he bore them on his feathers. 12 The LORD alone led him. There was no foreign god with him. 13 He made him ride on the high places of the earth. He ate the increase of the field. He caused him to suck honey out of the rock, oil out of the flinty rock; 14 butter from the herd, and milk from the flock, with fat of lambs, rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the finest of the wheat. From the blood of the grape, you drank wine. 15 But Jeshurun grew fat, and kicked. You have grown fat. You have grown thick. You have become sleek. Then he abandoned God who made him, and rejected the Rock of his salvation. 16 They moved him to jealousy with strange gods. They provoked him to anger with abominations. 17 They sacrificed to demons, not God, to gods that they didn’t know, to new gods that came up recently, which your fathers didn’t dread. 18 Of the Rock who became your father, you are unmindful, and have forgotten God who gave you birth. 19 The LORD saw and abhorred, because of the provocation of his sons and his daughters. 20 He said, “I will hide my face from them. I will see what their end will be; for they are a very perverse generation, children in whom is no faithfulness. 21 They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God. They have provoked me to anger with their vanities. I will move them to jealousy with those who are not a people. I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation. 22 For a fire is kindled in my anger, that burns to the lowest Sheol, devours the earth with its increase, and sets the foundations of the mountains on fire. 23 “I will heap evils on them. I will spend my arrows on them. 24 They shall be wasted with hunger, and devoured with burning heat and bitter destruction. I will send the teeth of animals on them, with the venom of vipers that glide in the dust. 25 Outside the sword will bereave, and in the rooms, terror; on both young man and virgin, the nursing infant with the grey-haired man. 26 I said that I would scatter them afar. I would make their memory to cease from amongst men; 27 were it not that I feared the provocation of the enemy, lest their adversaries should judge wrongly, lest they should say, ‘Our hand is exalted, the LORD has not done all this.’” 28 For they are a nation void of counsel. There is no understanding in them. 29 Oh that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end! 30 How could one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had delivered them up? 31 For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves concede. 32 For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, of the fields of Gomorrah. Their grapes are poison grapes. Their clusters are bitter. 33 Their wine is the poison of serpents, the cruel venom of asps. 34 “Isn’t this laid up in store with me, sealed up amongst my treasures? 35 Vengeance is mine, and recompense, at the time when their foot slides; for the day of their calamity is at hand. Their doom rushes at them.” 36 For the LORD will judge his people, and have compassion on his servants, when he sees that their power is gone; that there is no one remaining, shut up or left at large. 37 He will say, “Where are their gods, the rock in which they took refuge; 38 which 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 I myself am he. There is no god with me. I kill and I make alive. I wound and I heal. There is no one who can deliver out of my hand. 40 For I lift up my hand to heaven and declare, as I live forever, 41 if I sharpen my glittering sword, my hand grasps it in judgement; I will take vengeance on my adversaries, and will repay those who hate me. 42 I will make my arrows drunk with blood. My sword shall devour flesh with the blood of the slain and the captives, from the head of the leaders of the enemy.” 43 Rejoice, you nations, with his people, for he will avenge the blood of his servants. He will take vengeance on his adversaries, and will make atonement for his land and for his people. 44 Moses came and spoke all the words of this song in the ears of the people, he and Joshua the son of Nun. 45 Moses finished reciting all these words to all Israel. 46 He said to them, “Set your heart to all the words which I testify to you today, which you shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law. 47 For it is no vain thing for you; because it is your life, and through this thing you shall prolong your days in the land, where you go over the Jordan to possess it.” 48 The LORD spoke to Moses that same day, saying, 49 “Go up into this mountain of Abarim, to Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is across from Jericho; and see the land of Canaan, which I give to the children of Israel for a possession. 50 Die on the mountain where you go up, and be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother died on Mount Hor, and was gathered to his people; 51 because you trespassed against me amongst the children of Israel at the waters of Meribah of Kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin; because you didn’t uphold my holiness amongst the children of Israel. 52 For you shall see the land from a distance; but you shall not go there into the land which I give the children of Israel.”

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

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. In ver. #(13, 14), are emblems of the conquest believers have over 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? Jer 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.

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