View Deuteronomy 32 in the note window.
The song of Moses contains the preface, ver. 1, 2 .
A high character of God, ver. 3 - 6.
A recital of the great things God had done for them, and as their
carriage toward him, ver. 7 - 18.
A prediction of judgments for their aggravated impieties, ver. 19 - 35.
A promise of vengeance upon their enemies, and deliverance for a
remnant, ver. 36 - 43.
An exhortation annext, ver. 44 - 47.
Orders given to Moses, to go up to the mount and die, ver. 48 - 52.
1: O heavens, O earth - You lifeless and senseless creatures, which
he calls upon partly to accuse the stupidity of Israel, that were more
dull of hearing than these: and partly as witnesses of the truth of his
sayings and the justice of God's proceedings against them.
2: As the rain - Look what effect rain and dew have upon herbs and
grass which they make fresh and fragrant and growing, the same effect may
my discourse have upon your hearts, that is, to make them soft and pliable
3: The name of the Lord - His glorious excellencies and righteous
actions, by which he hath made himself known as a man is known by his name,
and by which it will appear both that there is no blame to be laid upon him
whatsoever befals you, and that it is gross madness to forsake such a God
for dumb idols. Ascribe ye - As I am about to publish the majesty and
glory of God, so do you also acknowledge it.
4: A rock - As for the stability of his nature, and invincibleness of
his power, so also for his fixedness and immutability in his counsels and
promises and ways; so that is there shall be a sad change in your affairs,
remember that this proceeds from yourselves and from the change of your
ways towards God, and not from God, in whom there is no variableness or
shadow of change, (Jam 1:17).
His work - All his works and actions are unblameable, perfect, wise and
righteous. His ways - All his administrations in the world and
particularly with you are managed with wisdom and justice.
A God of truth - Constant to his promises: you cannot accuse him of any
unfaithfulness to this day.
5: They - The Israelites. Their spot - The wickedness with
which they are stained, is not of his children - Plainly shews they are
not his children, but the devil's. God's children have no such spot.
Indeed this text does not affirm, they have any spot at all.
Perverse - Froward and untractable: Crooked - Irregular and disorderly.
6: O foolish people and unwise! - Fools and double fools!
Fools indeed, to disoblige one, on whom you so entirely depend!
Who hath bewitched you! To forsake your own mercies for lying vanities!
Bought thee - That hath redeemed thee from Egyptian bondage.
Made thee - Not only in a general by creation, but in a peculiar manner
by making thee his peculiar people. Established - That is, renewed and
confirmed his favour to thee, and not taken it away, which thou hast
often provoked him to do.
7: The days of old - The events of ancient days or former ages, and
thou wilt find that I had a respect unto thee not only in Abraham's
time, but long before it.
8: Their inheritance - When God by his providence allotted the
several parts of the world to several people, which was done(Ge 10:1-32,11:1-9).
When he separated - Divided them in their languages and habitations
according to their families. He set the bounds - That is, he disposed of
the several lands and limits of the people so as to reserve a sufficient
place for the great numbers of the people of Israel. And therefore he
so guided the hearts of several people, that the posterity of Canaan,
which was accursed of God, and devoted to ruin, should be seated in that
country which God intended for the children of Israel, that so when
their iniquities were ripe, they might be rooted out, and the Israelites
come in their stead.
9: His people - It is no wonder God had so great a regard to this
people, for he chose them out of all mankind to be his peculiar portion.
10: He found him - Not by chance, but as it were looking out and
seeking for him. He did indeed manifest himself to him in Egypt, but it
was in the wilderness at Sinai, God found him in an eminent manner, and
revealed his will to him, and entered into covenant with him, and imparted
himself and his grace and blessing to him. By this word he also signifies
both their lost condition in themselves, and that their recovery was not
from themselves, but only from God who sought and found them out by his
grace. In the waste howling wilderness - In a place destitute of all the
necessaries and comforts of life, which also was a type of that desolate
and comfortless condition in which all men are before the grace of God finds
them out; where instead of the voices of men, is nothing heard but the
howlings and yellings of ravenous birds and beasts. He led them - He
conducted them frons place to place by his cloudy pillar and providence.
Or, he compassed him about, by his provident care, watching over him and
preserving him on every side. As the apple of his eye - As men use to
keep the apple of their eye, that is, with singular care and diligence,
this being as a most tender, so a most useful part.
11: Her nest - Her young ones in the nest; which she by her cry and
motion provoketh to fly. Her wings - As preparing herself to fly.
On her wings - Or, as on her wings, that is, gently, and tenderly and
safely too, as if she carried them not in her claws for fear of hurting
them, but upon her wings. Some say, the eagle doth usually carry her young
ones upon her wings.
12: Did lead them - When they were shut up in Egypt as in their
nest whence they durst not venture to fly nor stir, he taught and encouraged
and enabled them to fly out from that bondage, he dealt tenderly with them,
bearing with their infirmities, keeping them from all harms. With him -
To assist him at that work or to deliver them. The more unworthy they in
giving to idols a share in that worship which they owe to God only.
13: The high places - To conquer their strongest holds, which often
are in the mountains, and their cities fenced with walls of greatest height
and strength. To ride upon, in scripture phrase, is to subdue or
conquer. Out of the rock - This being a land flowing with honey, where
the bees made honey in the holes of rocks, or in the trees that grew upon
or among the rocks. Out of the flinty rocks - The olive - trees grow and
bear most fruit in rocky or hilly places.
14: Fat of lambs - For though the fat wherewith the inward parts were
covered was not to be eaten by them, but offered to God, yet that fat which
was mixed with the flesh they might eat, as the Jewish doctors note.
Basham - A place famous for excellent cattle. Fat of kidneys of
wheat - With the finest of the grains of wheat; compared to kidneys for
their shape and largeness.
15: Jeshurun - Israel whom he calls right or upright,
(as the word signifies) partly by way of instruction to mind them what they
professed and ought to be; and partly by way of exprobration, to shew them
what a shame it was to degenerate so much from their name and profession.
Kicked - As well fed cattle use to do: he grew insolent and rebellious
against God and against his word and spirit.
16: To jealousy - To anger and fury, for jealousy is the rage of
a man. And withall it implies the ground of his anger, their falseness
to God whom they had accepted as their husband, and their spiritual whoredom
with other gods.
17: Unto devils - Unto idols, which the devils brought into the world
in opposition to God, in and by which the devils often manifested themselves
to men, and gave them answers, and received their worship. The Gentiles
pretended to worship God in those idols, and the devils which inspired them,
deluded the nations with pretences that they were a sort of lower gods.
Moses takes off this mark, and shews the Israelites that these
pretended gods were really devils, and therefore that it was the height of
madness to honour or worship them. Not to God - For God utterly rejected
those sacrifices which they offered to him together with idols.
They knew not - Or, who never knew them, that is, never shewed any
kindness to them, or did them any good: New gods - Not simply or
absolutely, for some of these had been worshipped for many generations, but
comparatively to the true God, who is the ancient of days, (De 7:9),
and who was worshipped from the beginning of the world.
Feared not - Served not, worshipped not.
18: Of the rock - Of God, one of whose titles this is,
or of Christ, who is called the rock, (1Co 10:4), whom
the Israelites tempted.
19: His sons and daughters - Such they were by calling and
20: I will see - I will make them and others see, what the fruit
of such actions shall be. No faith - No fidelity: perfidious, that have
broken their covenant so solemnly made with me.
21: I will move them to jealousy with those that are not a people -
With the Heathen nations, who are none of my people, who scarce deserve the
name of a people, as being without the knowledge and fear of God, which
is the foundation of all true policy and government, and many of them
destitute of all government, laws and order. And yet these people I will
take in your stead, receive them and reject you; which, when it came to pass
how desperately did it provoke the Jews to jealousy? A foolish
nation - So the Gentiles were both in the opinion of the Jews and
in truth and reality, notwithstanding all their pretences to wisdom, there
being nothing more foolish or brutish than the worship of idols.
22: A fire is kindled - Great and grievous judgments shall be
inflicted, which often come under the name of fire. Are they proud of
their plenty? It shall burn up the increase of the earth. Are they
confident of their strength? It shall destroy the very foundations of
the mountains. It shall burn unto the lowest hell: it shall bring
them to the very depth of misery in this world, which yet will he but a
faint resemblance of their endless misery in the next.
23: Spend mine arrows - Even empty my quiver, and send upon them all
my plagues, which, like arrows shot by a skilful and strong hand, shall
speedily reach and certainly hit and mortally wound them.
24: With hunger - With famine, which burns and parches the inward
parts, and make the face black as a coal, (La 4:8).
Burning heat - From fevers or carbuncles, or other inflaming distempers.
27: The wrath - Their rage against me, as it is expressed,(Isa 37:28,29), their furious reproaches against my name, as if I were
cruel to my people or unable to deliver them. The fear hereof is ascribed
to God after the manner of men. Strangely - Insolenty and arrogantly
above what they used to do.
28: Void of counsel - Their enemies are foolish people, and therefore
make so false and foolish a judgment upon things.
29: They - Israel. Latter end - What their end will be, and
that tho' God spare them long, yet at last judgment will certainly overtake
30: One - Israelite. Their rock - Their God, who was their
refuge and defence. Sold them - Namely, for bond - slaves, had given
themselves up into their enemies hands. Shut them up - As it were in the
net which their enemies had laid for them.
31: Being judges - Who by their dear bought experience have been
forced to acknowledge that our God was far stronger than they and their
false gods together.
32: For - As if he had said, This is the reason why their rock
hath shut them up. Their vine is of the vine of Sodom - The people of
Israel, which I planted as a choice vine, are now degenerated and become
like the vine of Sodom, their principles and practices are all corrupt
and abominable. Bitter - Their fruits are loathsome to me, mischievous to
others, and at last will be pernicious to themselves.
34: This - All their wickedness mentioned before. My long suffering
towards them may make them think I have forgotten their sins, but I remember
them punctually, they are sealed up as in a bag, (Job 14:17), and as
men seal up their treasures.
35: Their feet shall slide - They who now think they stand fast and
unmoveable, shall fall into utter destruction. In due time - Though not
so soon as some may expect, yet in that time when it shall be most proper,
when they have filled up the measure of their sins. At hand - Heb.
is near. So the scripture often speaks of those things which are at
many hundred years distance, to signify, that though they may be afar off
as to our measures of time, yet in God's account they are near, they are as
near as may be, when the measure of their sins is once full, the judgment
shall not be deferred.
36: For - Or, nevertheless, having spoken of the dreadful
calamity which would come upon his people, he now turns his discourse into
a more comfortable strain, and begins to shew that after God had sorely
chastised his people, he would have mercy upon them and turn their
captivity. Judge his people - Shall plead their cause, shall protect and
deliver them. Repent - Of the evils he hath brought upon them. None
shut up - Either in their strong cities or castles or other hiding places,
or in the enemies hands or prisons, whence there might be some hope or
possibility of redemption; and none left, as the poor and contemptible
people are neglected and usually left by the conquerors in the conquered
land, but all seem to be cut off and destroyed.
37: He shall say - The Lord, before he deliver his people, will first
convince them of their former folly in forsaking him and following idols.
38: Which did eat - That is, to whom you offered sacrifices and
oblations after the manner of the Gentiles. Help you - If they can.
39: See now - Learn by your own sad experience what vain and impotent
things idols are. I am he - The only true, omnipotent and irresistible
40: I lift up my hand - I solemnly swear, that I will do what here
follows. I live - As sure as I live.
41: If I whet my sword - If once I begin to prepare for war and for
the execution of my sentence. Judgment - Of the instruments of judgment,
of the weapons of war. A metaphor from warriors, that take their weapons
into their hand, when they intend to fight.
42: Captives - Whom my sword hath sorely wounded, though not utterly
killed. From the beginning - When once I begin to revenge myself and my
people upon mine and their enemies, I will go on and make a full end.
43: Rejoice - He calls upon the nations to rejoice and bless God for
his favours, and especially for the last wonderful deliverance which shall
be given to the Jews, when they shall be converted to the gospel in the
last days; which they have all reason to do, because of that singular
advantage which all nations will have at that time and upon that occasion.
44: He and Hoshea - Or Joshua. Probably Moses spoke it to as
many as could hear him, while Joshua in another assembly at the same
time delivered it to as many as his voice would reach. Thus Joshua, as
well as Moses, would be a witness against them, if ever they forsook God.
47: Not vain - It is not an unprofitable or contemptible work I
advise you to, but well worthy of your most serious care.
48: That self - same day - Now he had finished his work, why should he
desire to live a day longer? He had indeed formerly desired and prayed,
that he might go over Jordan: but now he is entirely satisfied, and
saith no more of that matter.
49: Nebo - A ridge or top of the mountains of Abarim.
51: Because ye trespassed - God reminds him of the sin he had
committed long before. It is good for the holiest of men to die
repenting, even of their early sins.
52: Yet thou shalt see the land - And see it as the earnest of that
better country, which is only seen with the eye of faith. What is death
to him who has a believing prospect and a steadfast hope of eternal life?