DEUTERONOMY CHAPTER 10.
The Sum of God’s Commands.
A FURTHER RECITAL OF WILDERNESS EVENTS. — V.1. At that time, when Moses was engaged in his earnest intercession for Israel, the Lord said unto me, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up unto Me into the mount, Ex. 34, 1. 2, and make thee an ark of wood, Ex. 25, 10. Moses here, as often, groups events which belong together logically, even though this is not the chronological order. V.2. And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou brakest, and thou shalt put them in the ark. This was done at the time of the dedication of the Tabernacle, Ex. 40, 20. V.3. And I made an ark of shittim wood, Ex. 37, 1, and hewed two tables of stone like unto the first, Ex. 34, 4, and went up into the mount, having the two tables in mine hand, literally, “in both my hands.” V.4. And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the Ten Commandments, or, words, which the Lord spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly; and the Lord gave them unto me. V.5. And I turned myself and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they be, as the Lord commanded me. The narrative here again shows that “Moses groups events here with reference to the impression he wished to make, and without reference to the order of time in which they occurred. These very differences may be fairly urged as proofs of the Mosaic authorship” V.6. And the children of Israel took their journey, when the wilderness legislation had been brought to a close, from Beeroth of the children of Jaakan to Mosera: Both the wells here mentioned and the station of Mosera, or Moseroth, were in the territory of the sons of Jaakan, the latter town being at the foot of Mount Hor. there Aaron died, and there he was buried; and Eleazar, his son, ministered in the priest’s office in his stead. This was another evidence, of God’s mercy, that He maintained the office of high priest in their midst after the death of Aaron. V.7. From thence they journeyed unto Gudgodah; and from Gudgodah to Jotbath, a land of rivers of waters, Num. 33, 30-33. Moses mentions these external blessings in this connection as being examples of the special benefits which accompanied the renewal of the covenant relation. God had turned back to His people with His kindness and grace. V.8. At that time, while Israel was journeying in the wilderness, while the covenant relation was being reestablished, the Lord separated the tribe of Levi, Num. 3, 6, to bear the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord, as the congregation journeyed from one station to the next, to stand before the Lord to minister unto Him and to bless in His name unto this day, Num. 4; 18, 1-6. V.9. Wherefore Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren, in the form of a separate territory in the land of Canaan, Num. 18, 20. 24; Ezek. 44, 28; the Lord is his inheritance, according as the Lord, thy God, promised him. The Levites were to devote their entire lives to the service of the Lord, unhindered by special worries of business. V.10. And I stayed in the mount, according to the first time, forty days and forty nights, chap. 9, 18. 25; and the Lord hearkened unto me at that time also, and the Lord would not destroy thee, chap. 9, 19. V.11. and the Lord said unto me, Arise, take thy journey before the people, as their leader, that they may go in and possess the land which I sware unto their fathers to give unto them. The covenant relation being now fully established, the children of Israel were to take possession of the covenant land as soon as possible. Cp. Ex. 34, 10. 11.
WHAT THE FEAR OF GOD DEMANDS. — V.12. And now, Israel, what doth the Lord, thy God, require of thee, thus Moses asks in a powerful appeal, but to fear the Lord, thy God, with the fear which flowed out of the realization of His grace and mercy, to walk in all His ways, as a manifestation of the right veneration, and to love Him, and to serve the Lord, thy God, with all thy heart and with all thy soul, as the culmination and completion of the true worship of Jehovah, v.13. to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes, both the precepts of the covenant and the obligations of the universal Moral Law, which I command thee this day for thy good? The true fear of the Lord, as it learns to understand the mercy of God, is ever the source of love toward Him, which, in turn, manifests itself in a wholehearted service that puts aside all selfish motives. V.14. Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens, the highest heaven with all its glory, is the Lord’s, thy God, the earth also, with all that there in is. Such is the majesty, the exaltation, of the mighty God, who surely does not need any man to complete His happiness, to make His bliss more perfect. V.15. Only the Lord, in free grace and mercy, had a delight in thy fathers to love them. He chose to show them His affection in this manner, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day; for the people were abundantly experiencing the richness of His love. V.16. Circumcise, therefore, the foreskin of your heart, said of the removal of the hardness and callousness which was indifferent to the many manifestations of God’s mercy, and be no more stiff-necked, rebellious, unwilling to follow His leadership. Without this preparation of the heart, which is essentially repentance, neither true fear nor love of God is possible. V.17. For the Lord, your God, is God of gods, high above all idols to whom that name is falsely applied, and Lord of lords, immeasurably exalted above all the princes of this earth, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, 1 Tim. 6, 15; Ps. 95, 3, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward, His justice cannot be deflected by any attempt at bribery; He is far removed from all the petty faults of human judges, Lev. 19, 15. The very imagining of Him in terms of human weakness is an insult to His greatness. And this great might and this loving mercy are blended in just the proper manner. V.18. He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, those whose natural protector has been taken from them, and loveth the stranger, one likely to be subjected to oppression, in giving him food and raiment. This example of God’s compassionate love is held before the people for a special reason. V.19. Love ye, therefore, the stranger; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt, and the remembrance of those experiences, which many of the Israelites could recall from the days of their childhood and youth, was to be an inducement to them to exercise the virtues of mercy and compassion. V.20. Thou shalt fear the Lord, thy God; for that is the essence of all worship and the fulfillment of the First Commandment; Him shalt thou serve, and to Him shalt thou cleave, cling firmly to Him alone in all vicissitudes of life, and swear by His name, chap. 6, 13. V.21. He is thy praise, in whom they should glory, for He had given them many occasions to sing His praises, and He is thy God, the supreme good, the essence of all goodness, that hath done for thee these great and terrible things which thine eyes have seen, for they were deeds of His divine power, which gave evidence of His incomparable majesty and had been performed in assisting the children of Israel. V.22. Thy fathers went down into Egypt with threescore and ten persons, Gen. 46, 27; and now the Lord, thy God, hath made thee as the stars of heaven for multitude, as He had promised Abraham, Gen. 15, 5. The same almighty and merciful God is the trust of His children throughout the ages.