Love and Obey the*LORD your God
AnEasyEnglish BibleVersion and Commentary(2800 word vocabulary) on theBook of Deuteronomy
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There arethree main opinions about who wrotethe book of Deuteronomy.
1.Deuteronomy says that Moses wrote it. InDeuteronomy 1:5 it says, ‘Moses began to explain God’s law.’ InDeuteronomy31:9 it says, ‘Moses wrote down this law.’ In Deuteronomy 31:24 itsays, ‘Moseswrote in a book all the words of God’s laws.’ 2 Kings 14:6 refers to‘the Bookof the Law of Moses’. Then it refers to Deuteronomy 24:16. Jesus saidthatMoses wrote the book. (See Matthew 19:7-8 and John 5:46-47.) In Mark12:19, theSadducees said that Moses wrote the book. (The Sadducees were a groupofpeople. They belonged to the religion of the *Jews when Jesus wasalive. Theyread only the first five books of the Bible.) In Acts 3:22, Peter saysthatMoses wrote the book. Also, Paul says that in Romans 10:5, 19. Thedeviltempted Jesus when he was in the *desert. And Jesus used the book ofDeuteronomy to answer the devil. The book describes what Moses taughtthe*Israelites just before his death. Probably scribes wrote what Mosessaid. (Scribeswere people who wrote things for other people.) They added someexplanations.They wrote also about Moses’ death. In the first few chapters ofDeuteronomy,the author often refers to old names of people and places. An authorwho livedlater would not have known those names.
2. Somepeople say that a *prophet wrote itabout the year 630 *B.C. (*B.C. means before Christ. So, 630 *B.C.refers to anevent that happened 630 years before Jesus’ birth.) They do not knowthe nameof the *prophet. He wanted Jerusalem to be the very important place of*worship. He hid the book in the *temple. The chief priest, Hilkiah,found thebook and he gave it to King Josiah. Then Josiah made the religion in*Israel better. The story of Josiah is in 2 Kings chapters 21 and 22.However, this theory(an idea that nobody has proved) seems doubtful.
3. Otherpeople say that a priest wrote the bookafter that event. King Josiah’s changes did not last. There werepriests whenNehemiah was alive. They described what they wanted the *Israelites tobe like.The *Israelites had returned to their own country. People wanted the*Israelites to be free from foreigners after this. This idea seemsdoubtfulalso.
If Moseswas the author, the date of the bookwas probably about 1406 *B.C. We read this in 1 Kings 6:1. The 4th yearof KingSolomon’s rule was 480 years after the *Israelites escaped from Egypt.We know that Solomon began to rule in 970 *B.C. Therefore they escapedfrom Egypt in 1446 *B.C. The *Israelites went into the country calledCanaan 40 years later.Moses wrote Deuteronomy just before then. So, the date is about 1406*B.C.
The wordDeuteronomy means ‘the second law’.This translates the Greek title of the book. (Greek is the language inthecountry called Greece. People used to speak that language in the wholeregionnear the Mediterranean Sea.) The title in the Hebrew language is ‘theseare thewords’. (Hebrew is the language that the *Israelites spoke.) The bookdoes notjust repeat earlier laws. It is a record of the *covenant relationshipbetweenGod and the *Israelites. The book teaches people how to love God andtheirneighbours. There are 100 references from Deuteronomy in the *NewTestament.Deuteronomy is still important for Christians today, although theculture isdifferent. The book is sometimes called ‘The Book of *Covenant Life’.
Deuteronomycontains three speeches that Mosesgave. He gave them just before the *Israelites entered Canaan. Canaanwas the country that God had given to the *Israelites. God wanted the*Israelites toobey the law. Deuteronomy is about the relationship with God by meansof the*covenant of the law. The law is not just a series of rules to obey. Itexplains how people should make this relationship work. Deuteronomyalso showsus how to show our love for God and for people. Moses told the*Israelites todo things because God had given *grace and love to them. The Christianmust dothe same.
· 1:1-4 The beginning: When Moses wrote the book.
· 1:5 to 4:43 First Speech: Moses reminds the*Israelites about thethings that God has done for them in the past.
· 4:44to 28:68 Second Speech: Practical rules forhow we should live.
· 29:1 to 30:20 Third Speech: Choose to live inthe way that God wantsyou to live.
· 31:1 to 33:29 From Moses to Joshua.
· 34:1-12 Moses dies.
The bookis like the agreements that some kingsused to make at that time. That was in the nation called the Hittites.Theymade the agreement with the people whose country they *captured. Thekings spoketo the people who made the agreement. A king would describe what he haddonefor his nation in the past. Then, he would tell the people what heexpectedthem to do. Often these agreements warned about *curses if people didnot obeythe agreement. The three sections of Deuteronomy are very similar tothis.
Moses toldthe *Israelites that God would sendto them another *prophet like him (Deuteronomy 18:15-19). Jesus wasthat *prophet. (See John 1:45.) The *Israelites went through the*desert and Jesus was inthe *desert too. Moses spoke about *blessings and *curses and Jesusspoke about*blessings and *curses. (See Luke 6:20-26.) Moses climbed a mountainand he toldpeople to obey his commands. Jesus did that also. (See Matthew28:16-20.)
1:1-4 The beginning: WhenMoses wrote the book.
v1These arethe words that Moses spoke to all the people in *Israel. The*Israelites werein the *desert on the east side of the River Jordan. They were in theJordan valley near Suph. They were between Paran and the towns calledTophel, Laban,Hazeroth and Dizahab. v2 It takes 11 days to travelfrom *Mount Sinai to Kadesh Barnea by the *Mount Seir route.
v3It was thefirst day of the 11th month of the 40th year.Moses told the*Israelites everything that the *LORD had ordered him to tell them. v4That was after he had defeated Sihon, the king of the *Amorites. Sihonlived inthe town called Heshbon. Moses had also defeated Og, the king ofBashan, who lived in Ashtaroth and Edrei.
The booktells us that Moses was the speaker. Hespoke to the *Israelites. They were in Moab on the east of the Jordanvalley. The *desert is a place where there is not much water. Thebushes are small.It has poor soil and people cannot grow crops there. So, not manypeople livethere. It was 40 years since they had left Egypt. Soon the *Israeliteswouldenter the country that God had promised to them. Now they rememberedwhat hadhappened at *Mount Sinai. (Sometimes this is called *Mount Horeb.)There God showed the *Israelites who he was. God had acted in powerfulways. He freedthe *Israelites from Egypt. By Moses, God had given laws to them. Godtold themhow to build the special tent. That was where God met with the*Israelites.And, God told them how they should bring *sacrifices. He also told themhow to*celebrate *festivals.
A personcan walk from *Mount Sinai to KadeshBarnea in 11 days. But the *Israelites arrived at the edge of thecountry thatGod had promised to them after nearly a year. Then they became afraidof thepeople who were already in the country. So, God told the *Israelites totravelround the country where they were. Moses was speaking 38 years later.They hadcome again to the edge of the country that God had promised to them.You canread about this from verse 19. They defeated King Sihon and King Og.(SeeNumbers 22:21-35.) ‘These are the words’ is an important phrase. (Seeverse 1.)Kings used it at the beginning of an agreement between themselves andthepeople that they ruled over. Moses used it at the beginning of the*covenantthat God made with the *Israelites.
First Speech: 1:5 to 4:43 –The things that God had done for the *Israelites in the past
v5Moses beganto explain God’s law. He did that while the *Israelites were in Moab,on the east side of the River Jordan.
v6‘The *LORDour God said this to us when we were at *Mount Sinai. “You have stayedlongenough at this mountain. v7 Now leave. Go into thehills where the*Amorites live. Go to the people who live in the Jordan valley. Theyare inboth the hills and the plains. Go to the people who are in the southcountryand along the coast. Go to the *Canaanites’ country and go to Lebanon.Go to the great River Euphrates. v8 God has givento you this country. Goand possess it.” The *LORD promised this to your *ancestors Abraham,Isaac andJacob. He said that he would give the country to them and to their*descendants.’
Mosesreminded the *Israelites about God’spromise to give the country to them. That was what God promised toAbraham andlater to Isaac and to Jacob. The *Amorites lived in hills at thenorthern endof the country. Canaan and the Lebanon were in the north. The coast isthecoast of the Mediterranean Sea. The River Euphrates is in the east.God’spromise to Abraham is in Genesis 15:18-21.
Godencourages us to develop in our Christianlives. In Hebrews chapter 4 the writer warns his readers and he remindsthemabout this fact. Some of the *Israelites did not reach the country thatGod hadpromised to them. Hebrews 4:11 says this. ‘So we must do everythingpossible toreceive that rest with God. Nobody should imitate the behaviour ofthose peoplewho refused to obey God. Then none of us will fail.’
v9‘At thattime, I told you this. “I cannot look after you by myself. You havebecome likea load that is too heavy for me to carry. v10 The*LORD your God hasincreased your numbers. Today there seem as many of you as there arestars inthe sky. v11 I pray that the *LORD, the God of your*ancestors, willincrease you a thousand times more. I pray that he will *bless you. Hehaspromised to do that! v12 I cannot deal with yourproblems, your troublesand your quarrels by myself. They are like loads. They are too heavyfor me tocarry by myself. v13 Choose some wise men whounderstand. They must haveexperience. Choose them from each of your *tribes. I will make them theleadersof your *tribes.”
v14Youanswered, “That is a good thing to do.”
v15So I tookthe leaders of your *tribes who had wisdom and experience. I gave tothemauthority over you. They were leaders of groups of 1000, 100, 50 or 10people.They were also officials over the *tribes. v16 Igave this order to yourjudges. “Listen to the arguments between your people. You must makefair*judgements between one *Israelite man and another man who is also an*Israelite. You must also make fair *judgements between *Israelites andforeigners. v17 Do not respect one person most whenyou make*judgements. Listen to important people. And listen to people who arenotimportant. Do not be afraid of anyone because you are doing this jobfor God.If any argument is too difficult for you, I will listen to it.” v18Atthe same time, I told you everything that you should do.’
Jethro(the father of Moses’ wife) suggestedthat Moses should have helpers. (See Exodus 18:17-27.) Here Mosesdescribes theselection of these leaders. They should have experience and wisdom.They shouldmake *judgements when the *Israelites had arguments. They should notprefer*Israelites to foreigners. They should not prefer rich people to poorpeople.If they could not settle an argument, then Moses had to deal with it.InDeuteronomy 16:18 Moses told the *Israelites to appoint these rulerswhen theywent into the country.
v19‘We didwhat the *LORD our God ordered us to do. We left *Mount Sinai. Then wewentthrough that vast *desert that frightened us. We went to the hillswhere the*Amorites live. So, we reached Kadesh-Barnea. v20Then I spoke to you.“You have reached the hills where the *Amorites live. The *LORD our Godisgiving the hills to us. v21 Look, the *LORD yourGod has given thecountry to you. Go and possess it. The *LORD, the God of your*ancestors, hastold you to do that. Do not be afraid and do not be anxious.”
v22After that, you all cameand you spoke to me. “Let us send men aheadof us. They can discover what kind of country it is. They can tell usthe bestroute to take. And they can tell us what kind of towns there are.”
v23I agreedwith that plan. So I chose 12 men, one from each *tribe. v24They wentinto the hills. And they explored the valley called Eshcol. v25Theybrought back some fruit that they had picked there. They reported tous. “Thecountry that the *LORD our God is giving to us is very good.” ’
Mosesreminded the *Israelites about their firstjourney. They went from *Mount Sinai to the borders of the countrycalled Canaan. Kadesh Barnea was the town on the border. Moses toldthem to ‘possess the country’.Those words appear over 50 times in the book. If the *Israelites gaveproperhonour to God, they would not need to be afraid of anyone. They sent 12men outto discover more about the country. One man came from each *tribe. Thatstoryis in the Book of Numbers chapters 13 and 14. Eshcol is a valley to thenorthof the town called Hebron. Eshcol is famous because of the quality ofits*grapes.
v26‘But yourefused to obey what the *LORD your God ordered. You would not enterthecountry. v27 In your tents, you complained. Yousaid, “The *LORD hatesus. He brought us out of Egypt. Then he will give us to the *Amoritesso thatthey can kill us. v28 We have no idea where we cango! The men whom wesent have made us afraid. They say, ‘The people are stronger and tallerthan weare. The cities are large. Their walls are so high that they seem toreach thesky. We even saw giant men there!’ ”
v29Then Isaid, “Do not let those people frighten you. Do not be afraid of them. v30The *LORD your God is going in front of you. He will fight for you. Hewill dothat in the same way that you saw him act in Egypt v31and in the*desert. You saw how the *LORD your God looked after you. He carriedyouexactly like a father carries his son. He did that all the way untilyoureached this place.”
v32Butalthough the *LORD did that, you did not trust the *LORD your God. v33He went ahead of you. He was in a cloud of fire during the night. Andhe was ina white cloud during the day. He provided places for you to camp. Andhe showedyou the way that you should go.’
The*Israelites doubted God’s promise. Theyrefused to obey him because they did not trust him. They believed thatGod hadbrought them out from Egypt to kill them. They did not think that theycould*capture the cities. They were afraid because the people in thosecities werevery tall and strong. Moses told the *Israelites that they need not beafraid.God would look after them in the same way that a father would lookafter them.A father carries his son if his son is too weak or tired. God had ledthe*Israelites through the *desert, but they would not trust him.
Christiansbelieve that Jesus frees them from*sin. Therefore, they can trust him to help them with the difficultiesin theirlives. Hebrews 3:7-19 warns us against doubt. We must continue to theend andwe must make every effort. God’s goodness in the past should give to usconfidence to trust him in the future.
v34‘The *LORDheard what you said. He was very angry and he made a serious statement.v35“None of you wicked people will see the good country that I promised togive toyour *ancestors. v36 Only Caleb, the son ofJephunneh, will see it. Hehas remained loyal to me, the *LORD. I will give to him and to hisfamily theland where he walked.”
v37The *LORDbecame angry with me because of you. He said this. “You, Moses, willnot enterthe country either. v38 Your helper, Joshua, theson of Nun, will enterit. Encourage him. He will lead the *Israelites as they possess thecountry. v39Your little children, who still do not know right things from wrongthings,will enter the country. You said that your enemies would seize thosechildren.But I will give the country to them. They will possess it. v40But youmust now turn round. Go back into the *desert and follow the route tothe Red Sea.” ’
Theseverses describe God’s anger. None of the*Israelites who left Egypt entered into the country. Only Joshua andCaleb wentin, because they obeyed God completely. Even Moses did not get inbecause Mosesdid not obey God about another matter. Numbers 20:1-13 tells the story.Godtold Moses to speak to a rock and then the rock would provide water.Moses didnot trust God enough just to speak to the rock. Moses was angry and hehit therock. That was a serious error. Moses was the leader but he did notobey God.So God said that Moses was not suitable to lead the *Israelites intothecountry. This shows that God has very high standards for leaders.
Paul saysthis. ‘Do not try to work togetherwith people who do not believe!’ (See 2 Corinthians 6:14.) Many peopledo notbelieve God. We might have to work and to live with those people. Theymaypersuade us to doubt God. But do not follow their behaviour. Instead,alwaysremain loyal to God.
v41‘Youreplied: “We have *sinned against the *LORD. But now we will go intothecountry. We will fight even as the *LORD our God ordered us to do.”Then eachof you took your military arms in order to fight. You thought that itwould beeasy to go into the hills.
v42But the*LORD said to me, “Tell them not to attack. I will not be with them.Theirenemies will defeat them.”
v43I told youwhat the *LORD had said. You did not listen. You did not obey what the*LORDordered you to do. Because you were proud, you went up into the hills. v44Then the *Amorites, who lived there, came out to fight you. They chasedyoulike a large group of insects called bees. The *Amorites chased youfrom *Mount Seir to Hormah. There they defeated you. v45So you returned and you cried to the*LORD. He would not listen or give any attention to you. v46You stayedin Kadesh for a long time.’
Still, the*Israelites wanted to go into thecountry. God had told the *Israelites to turn round (verse 40). Theyhad to goback. When the *Israelites heard that, they tried to attack theirenemies. Butthe *Amorites defeated them. God did not help the *Israelites becausethey didnot obey him. They tried to win the battle by themselves. But theycould not doanything unless God was with them. They had to learn that fact.
1Corinthians 3:10-15 says that God will examinepeople’s work. If the fire of God burns a person’s work, he will losehisreward. To go into the country would be a reward for Moses. But he lostthatreward, although he did enter heaven.
The*Israelites tried to fight the *Amorites bythemselves. The disciples (students) of Jesus made the same mistake asthe*Israelites did. They could not send the wicked spirit out of a boy.(Spiritsare alive but we cannot see them.) The disciples tried to do this bythemselves. They had not prayed for God to help them. The power to sendwickedspirits out of people came from Jesus only. (See Mark 9:14-29.)
v1‘Then weturned back and we went towards the *desert. We travelled along the wayto the Red Sea as the *LORD had told us to do. We travelled round thehills in Seir (Edom) for a long time.
v2Then the*LORD said this to me. v3 “You have gone round thismountain for longenough. Now turn to the north. v4 Tell the*Israelites this. ‘You areready now to go through the country that belongs to your relatives, the*descendants of Esau. They live in Seir. They will be afraid of you,but becareful. v5 Do not start a war against them becauseI will not give toyou any of their country. I will not give to you enough land on whichto put afoot. I have given to Esau’s family the hills in Seir. It is theirpossession. v6You must pay them with money for your food and water.’ ”
v7The *LORDyour God has *blessed you in everything that you have done. He hastaken careof you as you have travelled through this vast *desert. The *LORD yourGod hasbeen with you for 40 years. You have had everything that you needed.’
Godordered the *Israelites to travel on. Thepeople in Edom did not allow them to go through Seir. (See Numbers20:14-21.) The people in Edom were afraid of the *Israelites. God toldthe *Israelites notto attack the people in Edom or to take their country. God had giventhatcountry to the family of Esau. Moses reminded the people that God hadprovidedfor them during their long journey. He had given to them everythingthat theyneeded in the *desert. They should not desire areas of country thatthey didnot need.
InPhilippians 4:19, Paul reminds Christiansthat God will supply all their needs. He will do that by means of theresourcesthat Jesus provides.
v8‘So we wentpast the land that belonged to the family of Esau. They are ourrelatives, wholive in Seir. We travelled along the route to the towns called ElathandEzion-Geber. Then we turned and we travelled along the *desert route toMoab.
v9Then the*LORD said to me, “Do not attack the *Moabites. Do not start a waragainstthem. I will not give any of their land to you as your possession. Ihave giventhe city called Ar to the family of Lot. It is their possession.” v10(Astrong and large group of people called the ‘Emites’ used to live inAr. Theywere as tall as the people called *Anakites. v11Many people called the*Anakites ‘*Rephaites’. And they also called the people who lived in Ar‘Rephaites’. But the *Moabites called them the ‘Emites’. v12The peoplewho were called Horites used to live in Seir. But the family of Esau*capturedtheir land. The family of Esau killed them and Esau’s family livedthereinstead of the Horites. Also the *Israelites did a similar thing in thecountrythat the *LORD gave to them for their possession.)
v13Then the*LORD said, “Go across the Zered Valley.” So we did.
v14We crossedthe Zered Valley 38 years after we had left Kadesh Barnea. By then, allthe menwho were old enough to fight had died. The *LORD had declared that thiswouldhappen. v15 The *LORD continued to oppose themuntil they had all died.At last, none of them remained alive in the camp.
v16After theyhad all died, v17 the *LORD spoke to me. v18“Today you must gonear to the region called Moab. It will be at the place called Ar. v19When you approach the *Ammonites, do not attack them. Do not start awaragainst them. I will not give any of their land to you to possess. Ihave givenit to the family of Lot. It is their possession.” ’
v20(Peoplecall that place ‘the country of the *Rephaites’. The *Rephaite peopleused tolive there. The *Ammonites called them the ‘Zamzummin’. v21They were astrong and large group of people. And they were as tall as the*Anakites. The*LORD *destroyed the Zamzummin people. So, the *Ammonites *capturedtheircountry and they lived there. v22 The *LORD did asimilar thing for thefamily of Esau, who lived in Seir. He *destroyed the people called theHorites.So, the people from the country called Edom *captured their country.And thepeople from Edom still live there today. v23 Thepeople called Avvites,lived there. But the people from Crete *destroyed them. The people fromCrete *captured the land right up to the city called Gaza.)
God toldthe *Israelites which territory theymust not *capture. God had given that territory to the families of Esauand Lot. This statement taught them that there was only one God. He hadgiven to each nationits own country. No false god had given it to them. The *Rephaites werea groupof very tall people. They lived in Canaan before the *Israelitesarrived. Thename ‘Emite’ means ‘the terrible people’. The word ‘Zamzummin’ means‘thewicked men’. *Israelite men were old enough to fight when they were 20yearsold. (See Numbers 1:3.) Moses reminded the *Israelites that they hadwanderedfor 38 years in the *desert. During that time, all the people who hadleft Egypt over 20 years old had died.
They couldnot enter the country that God hadgiven to the *Israelites. The writer of the Book of Hebrews tells usthe reasonfor that. ‘They were not able to enter because they did not trust God.’(SeeHebrews 3:19.) The writer encourages Christians to trust God. Then theywillreceive the good things that God promises.
v24‘ “Goacross the River Arnon. I will hand over to you Sihon, who is the*Amorite kingof Heshbon, and his territory. Begin to possess his territory and toattackhim. v25 From today I will make people everywhereto be afraid of you.They will hear reports about you. They will tremble and they will beveryafraid of you.”
v26From theKedemoth *desert, I sent people with a message that offered peace. Theytookthis message to Sihon, king of Heshbon. v27 “Let usgo through yourcountry. We will stay on the main road and we will not leave it. v28Wewill pay for our food and water. We just want to walk through yourcountry. v29We will do that until we go across the River Jordan. Then we will reachthecountry that the *LORD our God is giving to us. The family of Esau inSeir andthe *Moabites in Ar allowed us to do that.” v30 ButKing Sihon ofHeshbon would not let us go through his country. He refused and hewould notchange his decision. The *LORD your God made that happen. The *LORD didthatbecause he wanted you to defeat him. Now it has happened.
v31The *LORDsaid this to me. “Look, I have begun to give to you King Sihon and hiscountry.Now start to *capture and to possess his territory.”
v32Sihon camewith all his army to fight us at the town called Jahaz. v33The *LORDour God helped us to *capture him. We killed him and his sons and wekilled allhis army. v34 Also we *captured all his towns andwe *destroyed them. Wekilled everyone. We killed the men, the women and the children. Nobodyremainedalive. v35 But we took the animals and we took thepeople’s possessionsfrom the towns. v36 The *LORD our God gave to usall the towns fromAroer to Gilead. Aroer is on the edge of the valley called Arnon. Wealso*captured the town in the middle of the valley. No town was too strongfor usto *capture. v37 You obeyed what the *LORD our Godhad ordered. You didnot go near to the country of the *Ammonites. You did not go near tothe landby the River Jabbok. And you did not go near to the towns in the hills.’
The*Israelites defeated two *Amorite kings andthey took the territory of the *Amorites. The first king was Sihon,king ofHeshbon. Moses offered to go through his territory in peace and to payfor foodand drink. Sihon would not allow the *Israelites to do that. Because ofthatdecision, God made Sihon refuse to change his mind. When a personrefuses, itis very hard for that person ever to change. That happened to Pharaohbeforethe *Israelites left Egypt. (See Exodus 7:1-5.) God ordered the*Israelites tokill or to *destroy certain people or objects. Those people gave honourtofalse gods. The objects were things to which they gave honour. The*Israeliteswould imitate those people if they left them alive. (Read the notes onchapter7 verses 1-5 for more explanation about that.)
v1‘Next weturned and we went along the route towards Bashan. Og, king of Bashan,came out with his whole army to fight us. He wanted to fight us at thetown calledEdrei. v2 But the *LORD said to me, “Do not beafraid of him. I will givehim, his whole army and his country to you. Fight against him in thesame wayas you fought against Sihon, king of the *Amorites. Sihon ruled inHeshbon.”
v3So the *LORD our Godhanded over to us Og, king of Bashan, and allhis army. We killed all of them. We left none of them alive. v4At thesame time, we *captured all his towns. We *captured all of his 60towns. Wetook the whole region called Argob. It was Og’s *kingdom in Bashan. v5All those towns had high walls with gates and bars to protect them.There werealso many villages without walls. v6 We *destroyedthem completely as wehad done with Sihon, king of Heshbon. We *destroyed all the towns. Wekilledthe men, the women and the children. v7 But we tookfor ourselves allthe animals and the people’s possessions from the towns.
v8So at thattime, we *captured the territory on the east of the River Jordan. Wetook itfrom those two *Amorite kings. That territory was from the River Arnonto *Mount Hermon. v9 (The people from the countrycalled Sidon called *Mount Hermon“Sirion”. The *Amorites call it “Senir”.) v10 We*captured all the townson the plain. We *captured the regions called Gilead and Bashan up toSalecahand Edrei. Those were the towns in Og’s *kingdom in Bashan. v11Og, kingof Bashan, was the last of the *Rephaites. His bed was iron. It wasmore than 13 foot long and 6 foot wide (4 metres long and 2 metreswide.) It is still in Rabbah, the town wherethe *Ammonites live.’
Bashan was a region thatgrew good crops. It had good land for *cattle and it had large forests.It hadhigh hills also. It was to the north and north east of the regioncalled Galilee. There were more than 60 towns with high walls and gatesto protect them. Theycalled that region Argob. The *Israelites *destroyed the towns and allthepeople who lived in them. They did not kill the animals. They did not*destroythe things that they had taken from the towns. Some students think thattheword for ‘bed’ (verse 11) means ‘the box for his dead body’. Because Ogwas aking, the bed or the box for his body was very large. People may havemade abox from a rock that contained iron rather than all of iron.
God toldthe *Israelites to destroy some peopleand some things. Sometimes things can cause people to *sin. Jesus toldpeopleto free themselves from anything like that. (See Matthew 5:27-30.) Hedoes notmean that people should damage their bodies. But they must doeverything toavoid *sin.
v12‘I dividedthe country that we *captured at that time. I gave to the *tribes ofReuben andGad the territory to the north of Aroer near the River Arnon. Thatincludedhalf of the hills in the region called Gilead together with its towns. v13I gave the rest of Gilead and all of Bashan to half the *tribe ofManasseh.That was where Og ruled. (People used to call the whole region of Argobin Bashan “the land that belongs to the *Rephaites”. v14Jair, a *descendant ofManasseh, took the whole region called Argob. That region went to theborder ofGeshur and Maacath. He named the region after himself. Today peoplestill call Bashan “the villages that belong to Jair”.) v15I gave Gilead to Machir. v16I gave the territory from Gilead to the River Arnon to the *tribes ofReubenand Gad. Their boundary was the middle of the river. And their boundarywas theRiver Jabbok. That was the boundary with the *Ammonites. v17Their westernborder was the River Jordan in the Arabah valley. That was all the landfrom Galilee to the Dead Sea. It is below the slopes of *Mount Pisgah.’
Mosesdescribes how he divided the land to theeast of the River Jordan. He gave some land to the *tribes of Reubenand Gad.He gave the rest of the land to half the *tribe called Manasseh. Those*tribeshad especially asked for that land. So Moses let them live there. Theystillhad to help the rest of the *tribes to possess their parts of the land.Theycould not rest until they had done that.
v18‘I gave toyou this command at that time. “The *LORD your God has given to youthiscountry to possess it. But all your brave fighters with their militaryarms,must go ahead of the other *Israelites. They are your relatives. v19However, your wives, your children and your animals can stay. I knowthat youhave many animals. They can stay in the towns that I have given to you.v20That will be until the *LORD allows your relatives, the other*Israelites, tolive in peace like you. Then they too will possess the country that the*LORDyour God is giving to them. Their country is across the River Jordanfrom yourcountry. Then you can return to the country that I have given to you asyour possession.”
v21Then Igave this command to Joshua. “You have seen all that the *LORD your Goddid tothose two kings. The *LORD will do the same to all the *kingdoms whereyou willgo. v22 Do not be afraid of the people there. The*LORD your God willfight for you.” ’
The*Israelites who wanted to live on the eastof the River Jordan still had to help the other *Israelites. The nationhad toact as a group, with God as their leader. Their wives, their familiesand their*cattle would remain in their country. Perhaps the men who were tooyoung ortoo old to fight would look after them. The men who crossed the RiverJordan couldreturn to their own country. However, they had to help the other*Israelitesfirst. Moses ordered Joshua to lead the battle. Moses told him not tobeafraid. Moses reminded Joshua about what God had done to the two kings,Sihonand Og. God would help Joshua to defeat other kings in the same way.
We shouldremember how God has helped us in thepast. That will help us to trust him in the future.
v23‘Then Iprayed to the *LORD very strongly. v24 “*LORD, our*Lord, I am yourservant. You have begun to show me the great and powerful things thatyou cando. No false god in the sky or on the earth can do the great thingsthat youdo. v25 Let me cross over the River Jordan and seethe good country. Iwant to see the pleasant hills and Lebanon.”
v26Butbecause of you, the *LORD was angry with me. He would not listen to me.Instead, he said, “That is enough! Do not speak to me about this again.v27Go up to the top of *Mount Pisgah. Look to the north, south, east andwest. Youcan look at the country, but you will not go across the River Jordan. v28But appoint Joshua for his work. Encourage him and give him strength.He willlead the *Israelites across. And they will possess the country that youwillsee.” v29 So we remained in the valley near BethPeor.’
Moses’prayer shows that he knew God well. Mosesbelieved that there was only one real God. He asked God very stronglyto lethim lead the *Israelites into the country. God did not allow him to dothat.God punished Moses because the *Israelites’ action caused him to dowrongthings. (Our notes about chapter 1 verses 34-39 also refer to thisevent.) InNumbers chapter 20, we read how Moses brought water out of the rock. Hedid notspeak to the rock. He hit the rock. He did not obey God. God told Mosesthat hewould be able to see the country. However, like Abraham, he had totrust thatGod would *keep his promises. Joshua would lead the *Israelites to*capture thecountry. God told Moses that he should encourage Joshua to do that.
God doesnot always say ‘yes’ to our prayers. Inthe garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked God to take away his trouble. Buthe alsoprayed to do what God wanted. (See Mark 14:36.) We need to pray in thesameway. God may not give to us what we desire. But he can make us contentwithoutit. So that gives a result that is as good or better.
v1‘Therefore,everyone in *Israel, listen to the rules and the laws that I will teachto you.Obey them so that you can live. Then you will go into the country andyou willpossess it. The *LORD, the God of your *ancestors, is giving it to you.v2Do not add anything to the *commandments that I am giving to you. Donot takeanything away from them. *Keep the *commandments of the *LORD your Godthat Iordered you to *keep.
v3You saw what the *LORD didat Baal Peor. The *LORD your God*destroyed everyone who gave honour to *Baal. v4Those people whoremained loyal to the *LORD are still alive today.
v5I havetaught to you all the rules and the laws that the *LORD my God orderedme. Nowyou should obey them in the country that you will enter to possess. v6Obey them carefully. That will show the people in other nations howwise youare. When they hear about all these rules, they will say this. “Thisgreat nationhas wisdom and knowledge.” v7 No other nation has agod who is so nearto them. The *LORD our God is near to us whenever we pray to him. Noothernation is that great. v8 No other nation has suchfair rules and lawslike the laws that I am teaching to you today. No other nation is sogreat.’
Moses hasdescribed all the good things that Godhas done for the *Israelites. Because of that, they should obey God.Paul sayssomething similar in Romans 12:1, ‘God hasshown his kindness to you. Therefore I am appealing to you. Offer yourbodies…’
Moses toldthe people to obey God’s laws. Theresult would be that they would live for a long time. Also, they wouldenjoythe country that God was giving to them. They should not add or takeawayanything from God’s laws.
Jesus saidthat too. In Matthew 5:18, Jesussaid, ‘Even the smallest detail will not disappear from God’s Law.’ TheBook ofRevelation warns people about this. They must not add or take away from‘thisbook’. (See Revelation 22:18-19.)
The lawsthat Moses gave were God’s laws. Thesame basic rules remain, although different circumstances may requiresomechanges. We read in Mark 7:19 that Jesus declared all foods ‘*clean’.It is abasic rule that we must have *clean minds. After Jesus came, his peopledid notneed the laws about ceremonies. The ceremonies were ways to describewhat wouldhappen in the future. By his death, Jesus *kept those laws perfectly.
Some ofthe *Israelites *worshipped the falsegod called *Baal at Peor. Moses reminded them about that event. Thestory is inNumbers chapter 25. Some men went to *Moabite women and they did wrongacts ofsex with those women. The men also *worshipped the women’s false god.As aresult, many people died with a disease. And the priests killed otherpeople.The people who did not *worship *Baal were still alive. The *Israeliteshad toobey the laws that were in God’s *covenant. Then they would remainalive intheir new country. Those laws would prove to other nations that the*Israeliteshad a great God. Those fair laws would show that God’s laws were betterthanthe laws of other nations.
v9‘Be careful and watchyourselves. Do not forget the things that youhave seen. Remember them as long as you live. Teach them to yourchildren andto your grandchildren. v10 Remember the day whenyou stood in front of the*LORD your God at *Mount Sinai. He said this to me. “Tell the people tocometogether in front of me. They must listen to what I will say. Then,they willlearn to respect me as long as they live on the earth. Also they willteachtheir children.” v11 You came near and you stood atthe edge of themountain. It burned with flames that reached up to the sky. There wereblackclouds and great darkness. v12 Then the *LORD spoketo you from thefire. You heard him speak. But you saw no shape. You only heard avoice. v13He told you about his *covenant, the Ten *Commandments. He wrote themon twoblocks of stone and he told you to obey them. v14Soon you will crossthe River Jordan to possess the country. The *LORD told me to teach alltherules and laws to you. And you must obey them in the country.’
Mosesreminded the *Israelites that God gave tothem the Ten *Commandments at *Mount Sinai. God spoke to them but theydid notsee God. Therefore, they must not make an image of him. They must becarefulnot to forget God. They should tell their children and theirgrandchildrenabout him.
Christiansmust remember what God has done. Theyshould tell their children about him.
Theflames, clouds and darkness show that God ismagnificent. Moses warned the people. They had to obey what God hadtold themto do.
In Hebrews12:18-27, the writer tells hisreaders this. ‘You have not come to a mountain that burns with fire. …But youhave come to … the city of God, who is alive. … You have come to Jesus,whomade the new *covenant.’ But the writer warns them. ‘Make sure that youdo notrefuse to listen [to God].’ We must listen to God and we must obey him.We haveless excuse than the *Israelites. We have a better *covenant because wecome toGod by means of Jesus. He died so that God can forgive us. And Jesusmakespeople free from wrong things. God will now forgive our *sins, so weneed notcontinue to be afraid. Jeremiah 31:33-34 describes the promises of thenew*covenant.
The*covenant was a relationship and a specialpromise between God and his people. Deuteronomy refers to the *covenant26times. The *Israelites could show that they were God’s people. They didthatwhen they obeyed his *commandments.
Today wehave to trust Jesus in order to be partof the new *covenant. To trust Jesus means that first we have toconfess our*sins. Then God will forgive us.
God toldthe *Israelites to obey his laws.Christians must show their *faith by what they do. James 2:14-26 tellsus aboutthat. In Matthew 7:21, Jesus says this. ‘Not everyone who says to me“*Lord,*Lord,” will enter the heavenly *kingdom. My Father is in heaven. Andonly thepeople who obey him will enter there.’ The good deeds that we do willnot give*salvation to us. But they are evidence that we are obeying God.
v15‘When the*LORD spoke to you at *Mount Sinai from the fire, you did not see anyshape. Bevery careful v16 that you do not act in a wickedmanner. Do not make an*idol for yourself in any shape. Do not make an *idol like a man or awoman v17or an animal or a bird. v18 Do not make an *idol inthe shape of ananimal that moves along the ground. Do not make an *idol in the shapeof a fishin the water. v19 And be careful when you look upto the sky. Do notgive honour to the sun, the moon, the stars or to anything that you seein thesky. Those are things that the *LORD your God has given to all nationstoshare. v20 But you are the people whom the *LORDrescued from Egypt. Egypt was like a very hot fire that melts metal.The *LORD rescued you in order tomake you his own people. That is what you are today.
v21The *LORDwas angry with me because of you. He made a serious statement. He saidthat Iwould not go across the River Jordan. I would not enter the goodcountry thatthe *LORD your God is giving to you as a possession. v22I will die inthis country. I will not go across the River Jordan. You will go acrossand youwill possess that good country. v23 Make sure thatyou do not forget the*covenant. The *LORD your God made it with you. Do not make an *idol intheshape of anything that the *LORD your God has not allowed. v24The *LORDyour God is like a fire that burns everything. He is a jealous God.’
Mosesreminded the people that they did not seeany shape of God at *Mount Sinai. They must not make an image of God.Othernations made their false gods in many shapes. Moses made a list of theimagesthat those nations used. Most of those images were in the religions ofthe*Canaanites, the *Egyptians and the nation called the Hittites. Mosestold the*Israelites not to give honour to the sun, the moon or the stars. The*Israelites were different from other nations. God rescued them fromthe verydifficult situation in Egypt. He made them his special people.
Petertells Christians that they are specialtoo. In 1 Peter 2:9 he says this. ‘You are … God’s own people. Godwanted youto declare the wonderful things that he has done. He called you out ofdarknessinto his wonderful light.’ He also warns Christians not to do wrongthings.
Mosesreminded the *Israelites that he would notgo into the new country. That was because he had done the wrong thing.The*Israelites would go into the new country, but they must be careful.They mustnot make any *idol, because God is very *holy. If they did not continueto*worship God, he would be very angry. God did not want the people to*worshipany false gods. The *Israelites should put God first. That is the onlyrightway.
Christiansmust *worship God in a way that willplease him. When they *worship him, they must respect him. ‘Our God islike afire that *destroys.’ (See Hebrews 12:28-29.)
v25‘When youhave lived in the country for a long time, you will have children andgrandchildren. But do not behave in a wicked manner. Do not make an*idol inany shape. If you do such an evil thing, it will make God very angry. v26Heaven and earth are my *witnesses against you today. You will soondisappearfrom the country that you will go across the River Jordan to possess.You willnot live there for a long time. God will *destroy you. v27The *LORDwill scatter you among the other nations. Only a few of you will remainaliveamong the nations where the *LORD will send you. v28There you willserve false gods that people have made from wood and stone. Those falsegodscannot see or hear. They cannot eat or smell. v29But even there, if youlook for the *LORD your God, you will find him. That will happen if youreallylook for him with your entire mind and with your entire strength. v30All those things will happen to you and you will have trouble. Then youwillturn back to the *LORD your God and you will obey him. v31God has*mercy. He will not neglect you or *destroy you. He will not forget the*covenant that he made with your *ancestors. That was the *LORD’sseriouspromise.’
There wasa danger that the *Israelites wouldforget God’s *covenant. They might enjoy the good things in the countryandthen they might start to *worship *idols. (People believed that *idolsweremodels of their false gods.) If they did that, God would be angry withthem.Many *Israelites would die. Other *Israelites would leave theircountry. Anenemy would force them to live in foreign countries. There they would*worship*idols that people had made. That happened after an enemy defeatedSamaria. (See 2 Kings 17:6.) And it happened when an enemy defeatedJerusalem. (See 2Kings 24:10-16.) Even then, if they returned to God, he would forgivethem. Hewould remember his *covenant and he would show *mercy.
In 1 John1:9, the writer says this toChristians. ‘If we confess our *sins to God, he will forgive us.’
v32‘Now askabout the past, from the day when God created people on the earth. Askaboutthe period before you were born. Look from one end of the sky to theother end.Nothing like this has ever happened before. Nobody has ever heard aboutanything as great as this. v33 No other nation hasever heard the voiceof God speak out of fire. But you have, and you are still alive. v34Nofalse god has tried to take people from another nation and to make themhis ownspecial people. God did that for you in Egypt. You saw him use hisgreat powerand strength. He used tests, *signs, *wonders and war. He made terriblethingshappen.
v35The *LORDhas shown those things to you. He has proved that he is the only God.There isno other God. v36 He allowed you to hear his voiceout of the placewhere he lives. In that way, he taught you. On earth, he let you seehis greatfire. You heard his words from out of the fire. v37He brought you outof Egypt by his great power. He came with you himself. He did thatbecause heloved your *ancestors. So he chose their *descendants. v38He forced outnations who were greater and stronger than you. He brought you intotheircountry and he gave it to you to possess. It belongs to you today.
v39So realisethis today and remember it. The *LORD is God in heaven above and He isGod onthe earth below. There is no other God. v40 So*keep his rules and his*commandments that I am telling you today. If you do that, good thingswillhappen to you and to your *descendants. You will live in the countrythat the*LORD your God is giving to you for always.’
Mosesended his first speech and he told this tothe *Israelites. No other nation had received direct knowledge from afalse godin this way. God loved his people, the *Israelites. He rescued themfrom Egyptand he gave a country to them. He did that by his great power and bythe use ofevents. God loved them and he chose them as his special people. God didgreatthings for his people. That was proof that God existed. No other powercould dothat. The *Israelites should obey God’s laws. Then they and their*descendantswould enjoy God’s *blessings for always.
Paul showshow this is the same for Christiansin Romans 8:28. ‘In all things, God worksto help those people who love him. They are the people whom God chosebecauseof his plan.’
v41Then Mosesmade three towns to the east of the River Jordan. v42Suppose that a manhad killed a person by accident. But he did not kill that personbecause hehated him. Then the man could run away. And he could go to one of thosetowns.Nobody would kill him there. v43 For the *tribecalled Reuben, the townwas Bezer. It was in the *desert. For the *tribe called Gad, the townwascalled Ramoth. It was in the region called Gilead. For the *tribecalledManasseh, the town was called Golan. It was in the region called Bashan.
Thesecities were in the south, in the centreand in the north of this area. In that society, if someone killed aperson, thedead person’s closest relative could get *revenge. If a person hadkilledsomeone by accident, he could go to one of those cities. There he wouldbe safefrom *revenge. In chapter 19, you can read more about those cities andthe lawsabout them.
Second speech: 4:44 to 28:68– Practical rules for how weshould live
v44This isthe law that Moses gave to the *Israelites. v45 Hegave to the*Israelites these orders, rules and laws after they had come out fromEgypt. v46They were in the valley near Beth Peor. It was on the east of the RiverJordan.They were in the territory that had belonged to Sihon, king of the*Amorites.Sihon had ruled in Heshbon, but Moses and the *Israelites defeated him.Thatwas when they came out from Egypt. v47 Theypossessed the land thatbelonged to Sihon. Also they possessed the land that belonged to Og,king ofBashan. Those were the two *Amorite kings to the east of the RiverJordan. v48That land was the area from Aroer to *Mount Sirion (Hermon). Aroer wason theedge of the River Arnon. v49 It also included theentire valley to theeast of the River Jordan. It was the area right up to the Dead Seabelow theslopes of *Mount Pisgah.
Verse 44starts a new section. It is Moses’second speech. He reminds the *Israelites about all the *commandments.God hadgiven those *commandments 40 years before. It tells us where and whenMosesgave his speech. He gave his speech after they had *captured thecountry to theeast of the River Jordan. In this speech, Moses repeated the*commandments ofGod. Moses also told the *Israelites how to behave in the new country.
v1Then Mosescalled together all the *Israelites and he spoke to them. ‘People in*Israel,hear the rules and the laws that I am telling to you today. Learn themand besure to *keep them. v2 The *LORD our God made a*covenant with us at*Mount Sinai. v3 The *LORD did not make that*covenant with our fathers.He made it with all of us who are alive today. v4The *LORD spoke to youdirectly from the fire on the mountain. v5 At thattime I stood betweenyou and the *LORD. I told you what he said. You were afraid because ofthefire. So you did not go up on the mountain. This is what the *LORD said:
v6“I am the*LORD your God who rescued you from Egypt. You were *slaves there.
v7You must nevergive honour to any false gods. I am your only God.
v8Do not makean *idol in the shape of anything that is in the sky or on the earth.Do notmake it in the shape of anything that is in the water or under theearth. v9Do not kneel down in front of any *idols, and do not give honour tothem. I amthe *LORD your God and I am a jealous God. I will punish the people whohateme. I will punish them and their *descendants down to the 3rdand 4th*generation. v10 But I show constantlove to 1000s of *generationsof the people who love me. And I show constant love to the people whoobey me.
v11Do not usethe name of the *LORD your God for wrong purposes. The *LORD will notexcuseanyone who does that.
v12You must*celebrate the *Sabbath day and you must keep it *holy. The *LORD yourGod hasordered this. v13 You can do all your work for 6days. v14 The 7thday is the *Sabbath day. During that day, you must do nowork. Neitheryou nor your son or daughter, nor your male and female *slaves mustwork.Neither your *ox, your *donkey nor any of your *cattle must work. Theforeigners who live in your country must not work. Your *slaves mustrest asyou do. v15 Remember that all of you were *slavesin Egypt. The *LORDyour God brought you out of Egypt with great power. That is why the*LORD yourGod has ordered you to *celebrate the *Sabbath
v16Give honour to yourfather and to your mother because the *LORD your Godhas ordered that. If you do, you will live for a long time. Everythingwill begood in the country that the *LORD your God is giving to you.
v17You mustnot murder anyone.
v18You mustnot have sex with someone else’s wife or husband.
v19You mustnot steal.
v20You mustnot tell lies about other people.
v21You mustnot desire your neighbour’s wife. Do not desire his house, his land,his*slaves, his *ox or his *donkey. Do not desire anything else that heowns.” ’
Verses 1-5Moses reminded the *Israelites aboutthe *covenant that God had made with their fathers. God spoke to thepeople directly.But Moses had to tell them what God said. They were too afraid to goclose toGod. In the same way, Jesus stands between God and us. Jesus is theWord ofGod. (See John 1:1.) Exodus 24:4-8 describes the ceremony thatestablished the*covenant. Moses took blood that came from the *sacrifices. He splashedit overthe *altar and over the people. Hebrews 9:16-22 also describes thisceremony.It is the blood that makes things and people *clean. Jesus died as a*sacrificeand now his blood makes us *clean from *sin.
Verse 6-21Moses repeated the Ten *Commandments.The *Israelites had been *slaves in Egypt. When they were slaves, theywere notfree. However, they had their own possessions and homes. The *Egyptiansdid notown the *Israelites. God had rescued them. Therefore, God had theauthority toask them to obey his *commandments. He told them not to give honour toanyfalse god. He told them not to make an *idol to which they would givehonour.It was right for God to be jealous. He did not want the people to*worship anyfalse gods. The *Israelites should put God first. That is the onlyright way.
Jesusdemanded the same thing from the peoplewho followed him. Matthew 16:24: ‘If anyone wants to follow me, he mustsay“no” to himself. He must take his cross and he must carry it.’ Godwants us togive honour to him only. When people do not obey God, the results cancontinuefor 3 or 4 *generations. But when people obey him, the results can lastfor along time.
The*Israelites must not use God’s name in awrong way. Some people hope that they will obtain God’s power in thatway. Theymust not do that in order to get their selfish desires.
Jesustaught his disciples (students) to pray,‘We pray that your name will receive *holy honour.’
The*Israelites must *celebrate the 7th dayin the week as a day when they rest. The *Sabbath reminded the*Israelites thatGod had freed them from their situation as *slaves. Exodus chapter 20describesanother reason for the *Sabbath. It reminded the people that God hadcreatedthe world.
Christians*celebrate Sunday. It is a specialday because Jesus became alive again on that day. He died and then hebecamealive again. Because of those events, God can forgive our *sins.
The*Israelites would live for a long time ifthey respected their parents. God promised that. It was the first*commandmentwhere God promised something.
InEphesians 6:1-2, Paul says that Christiansshould respect their parents also.
The*Israelites must not murder. They must not killsomeone on purpose.
The*Israelites must not have sex with someonewho was married to someone else.
The*Israelites must not steal property thatbelonged to someone else.
The*Israelites must not tell lies about otherpeople.
Finally,the *Israelites must not even desireanything or anyone that belonged to someone else.
To do awrong thing is not just an action. Thethought or intention is also wrong. In Matthew 22:37-39, Jesus saidthat justtwo *commandments describe all the other *commandments. ‘Love God’ and‘Loveyour neighbour’.
v22‘The *LORDspoke these *commandments on the mountain to all of you. He spoke themin aloud voice. He spoke them from out of the fire, the cloud and the greatdarkness. He did not add anything else to them. Then he wrote them ontwoblocks of stone and he gave them to me.
v23You heardthe voice that came out from the darkness. Then all the leaders of your*tribesand the older men came to me. The whole mountain was on fire. v24Yousaid, “Look. The *LORD our God has shown us that he is magnificent andgreat.We have heard his voice out of the fire. Today we have seen this. Aperson canlive, even if God speaks to him. v25 But we do notwant to die. The firewill burn us completely. We will die if we continue to hear the voiceof the*LORD our God. v26 We have heard the voice of theGod who is alive. Itcame from the fire. Nobody else has lived after he has heard God’svoice likethat. v27 Go near. Listen to all that the *LORD ourGod says. Then tellus what the *LORD our God tells you. We will listen and we will obey.”
v28The *LORD heard you whenyou spoke to me. The *LORD said this. “Ihave heard what the people said to you. Everything that they said wasgood. v29I wish that they would always think like this. I wish that they wouldalwaysgive honour to me. I wish that they would *keep my *commandments. Thengoodthings would happen to them and their children for always.
v30Go andtell the *Israelites to return to their tents. v31But you stay herewith me. Then I can give to you all the *commandments, rules and lawsthat youmust teach to them. They must obey them in the country that I am givingto themto possess.”
v32You mustbe careful to do what the *LORD your God has ordered you to do. Do notrefuseto *keep his *commandments. v33 Obey them all. Thenyou will live andgood things will happen to you. You will live for a long time in thecountrythat you will possess.’
Mosesreminded the *Israelites about the timewhen God told them about his laws. The people were afraid of Godbecause he wasvery *holy. Nobody had taught them that God would forgive them. Theywantedsomebody who would go between them and God. So the people asked Mosesto actinstead of them. God spoke his message and he wrote it down. The peoplepromised to obey. God showed that he loved them. This is what He said.If theyalways obeyed him, their life would be good. Moses encouraged thepeople toobey God. If they did, then they would live for a long time in theircountry.When nations and people obey God’s *covenant, he blesses them.
v1‘These areall the *commandments, rules and laws that the *LORD your God orderedme toteach to you. Obey them in the country that you will cross the RiverJordan topossess. v2 Then you, your children and theirchildren must *fear the*LORD your God for as long as you live. You must *keep all his rulesand*commandments that I order you. Then, you will have long life. v3*Israelites, listen and be careful to obey. Then your life will begood. Andyou will grow and you will become a nation with many people. You willlive in arich and *fertile country. The *LORD, the God of your *ancestors, haspromisedthat to you.’
Mosestaught the *Israelites all that God hadordered him to teach. Moses also emphasised that the *Israelites neededto obeyGod. The *Israelites would stay in the country if they were loyal tohim.
Jesus toldhis followers to do this when theytold the Good News to people. ‘Teach them to obey everything that Ihaveordered you to do.’ (See Matthew 28:20.)
v4‘*Israelites, listen to this. “The *LORD is our God. The *LORD is oneGod. v5You must love the *LORD your God completely.” v6You must remember the *commandmentsthat I am giving to you today. v7 Carefully teachthem to your children.Talk about the *commandments when you are at home. Talk about them whenyouwalk along the road. Think about them when you lie down. Think aboutthem whenyou rise up. v8 Tie them on your hands and wearthem on the front ofyour heads. v9 Write them on the sides of yourdoors and on your gates.’
Peoplecall these words the Shema. Shema is aword in Hebrew, the language of the *Old Testament. The word ‘listen’in verse4 is the English translation of the word ‘Shema’. *Jews pray the wordsofverses 4-6 twice every day. The *LORD God is the only God. He is theruler.There are no other gods. We should obey God’s laws because we love him.And weshould love him with every part of our lives. In Jeremiah 31:33, Godpromisedto give to people a love for his laws. Then they would choose to obeythem.
This iswhat Jesus told his disciples(students). ‘If you love me, you will obey my *commandments.’ (See John14:15.)
God toldthe *Jews to teach their families abouthis *commandments. God told them to tie the *commandments on theirhands,heads, doors and gates. God may have meant that the *Jews should neverforgetthe *commandments. They must affect every part of a *Jewish person’slife.However, some *Jews have done exactly what these verses said. Theywrote the*commandments and then they tied them onto their hands and onto theirheads.They fixed them onto their doors and gates also. They thought that theywere*keeping God’s laws in that way. But that did not prove that they lovedhim.And they did not always behave in the right way.
Christianstoday can easily do the same thing. Theymay go to church. They may read the Bible and pray. But those thingshave novalue unless Christians behave in the right way too. Then that willshow thatthey love God.
v10‘The *LORDyour God promised to give a country to your *ancestors, Abraham, IsaacandJacob. It will have large cities that you did not build. They will berich andsuccessful. v11 It will have houses. They will befull of good thingsthat you did not put in them. There will be wells that you did not dig.Therewill be *grape plants and *olive trees that you did not plant. God willbringyou into the country. Then you will have all that you want to eat. v12So be careful that you do not forget the *LORD. He brought you out ofEgypt;out of the country where you were *slaves.
v13*Fear the*LORD your God and serve only him. Speak only his name when you makeyourpromises. v14 The people, who are round you,*worship false gods. Butyou must not *worship those false gods. v15 The*LORD your God ispresent with you. He is a jealous God. If you *worship false gods, the*LORDyour God will become very angry with you. He will remove you from theearth. v16Do not try to prove that the *LORD your God can help you. You did thatatMassah. v17 Be sure to *keep all the *commandments,orders and rulesthat the *LORD your God has ordered you. v18 Dowhat the *LORD says. Doright things and do good things. Then your life will be good. You willbe ableto go in and to possess the good country. The *LORD promised to givethiscountry to your *ancestors. v19 You will also forceout all your enemiesas the *LORD promised to you.’
Moseswarned the *Israelites. They must notforget what God had done for them. When they reached the country,everythingwould be ready for them. They would be so pleased with this that theymightforget God. But God was jealous because he did not want the people to*worshipany false gods. It was right for God to be jealous. It was because hedid notwant them to *worship any false god. The *Israelites should respect Godandthey should serve him only. That is the only right way. If they did notdothat, God would be angry. He would ruin them completely. That happenedlater in*Israel’s history. In the time of Amos, people were very rich and theyforgotthe *Lord. They remembered his *festivals, but they did not obey hislaws.Sometimes they gave honour to false gods. Those false gods did notdemand thehigh standards that God wanted. Jesus said that the *Pharisees werewrong. SeeMatthew 23:23: ‘You give to God a 10th of yourherbs, but youneglect *justice, *mercy and truth.’ (Herbs are plants that giveflavour tofood.)
Mosesreminded the *Israelites about an event atMassah. (See Exodus 17:1-7.) The *Israelites were complaining becausethey didnot have any water. Moses had brought them out of Egypt. But the peoplesaidthat he had done the wrong thing. They did not believe that God couldgive themwater at that place. If the *Israelites obeyed God now, they would beable todefeat their enemies. Then they could possess the country.
The*Pharisees wanted Jesus to prove that he wasthe Son of God. (See Matthew 16:1-4.) They asked him to perform a greatact. Herefused to do that. Jesus used Deuteronomy 6:16 when the devil temptedhim tojump off the *temple. (See Matthew 4:7.) Then the devil tempted Jesusto servehim. Jesus referred to Deuteronomy 6:13. (See Matthew 4:10.)
v20‘In thefuture, your children will ask you this. “The *LORD our God ordered usto obeyall these orders, rules and laws. What do they mean?” v21Tell them, “Wewere *slaves of the king of Egypt. The *LORD brought us out of Egyptwith hisgreat power. v22 We ourselves saw the *LORD dogreat *signs and*wonders. He did terrible things to the *Egyptians, to their kingcalledPharaoh and to all his family. v23 But the *LORDbrought us out fromEgypt to bring us here. He gave to us this country that he had promisedto our*ancestors. v24 The *LORD ordered us to obey allthese rules and to*fear the *LORD our God. Then, we will do well and we will remainalive. v25We must be careful to obey all the laws that the *LORD our God hasordered usto obey. When we do that, we become good people. And we shall pleaseGod.” ’
In thefuture, the children of the *Israeliteswould ask them about God’s laws. Moses told the *Israelites what totell theirchildren. They would tell the children how God brought the *Israelitesout ofEgypt with great power. *Israelites believed God because of what he haddonefor them. The law was a guide for how to behave in the right way. Iftheyobeyed the law, good things would happen to them. They would enjoytheir life.
Jesustaught the same idea in Matthew 5:1-12. Wewill enjoy God’s *blessings if we obey him.
v1‘The *LORD your God willbring you into the country that you willpossess. He will force out 7 nations that are larger and more powerfulthanyou. Those nations are called the Hittites, the Girgashites, the*Amorites, the*Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites. v2The *LORDyour God will hand over those nations to you. You will defeat them andyou must*destroy them completely. Do not make an agreement with them. Do notshow themany *mercy. v3 Do not marry them. Do not let yourdaughters marry theirsons. Do not let your sons marry their daughters. v4If you do, theywill persuade your sons to leave the *LORD. Then your sons will servefalsegods. The *LORD will be angry with you and he will quickly *destroyyou. v5This is what you must do. Ruin their *altars and break their *holystones. Cutdown the columns of their female false god called Asherah. Burn their*idols.’
Moses toldthe *Israelites what to do when theyentered the country. The nations in the list did not obey God. Theylived inthe country that God was now giving to the *Israelites. They gavehonour tofalse gods. Those nations were more powerful than the *Israelites, buttheywere not more powerful than God. God ordered the *Israelites to*destroy theirenemies. Then their enemies could not tempt them to *worship *idols.This was awar that would bring punishment on the enemies of God. The *Israelitesmust notmake agreements with those nations or marry them. When the *Israelitesdid notobey, they did not follow God. We can learn from the lives of Achan,(Joshua chapter7) and Saul (1 Samuel chapter 15). We can see the results when the*Israelitesdid not *destroy their enemies. The Asherah was a female false god. Herhusbandwas the false god called *Baal. People who joined this religion behavedverybadly. This bad behaviour, especially in the ways that they had sex,had aphysical effect on them. But the *Israelites were God’s special people.Theyhad to be *holy because God was *holy.
Paul toldChristians to avoid greed (strongdesire for possessions or for too much food). He also told them toavoid lust(wrong desire for sex). They must not do wrong acts of sex. Paul alsosaid thatChristians must not have anger and bad language. They must not lie.(SeeColossians 3:5-9.) They must not mix with people who do not believeGod. (See 2Corinthians 6:14.) God does not tell us to fight a war against people.But hetells us to fight against wrong things. That includes wrong things thatare inour lives and in society.
v6‘You are*holy people who belong to the *LORD your God. The *LORD your God haschosenyou from everyone on earth to be his special nation. v7The *LORD lovedyou and chose you. He did not do that because you were bigger thanothernations. In fact, you were the smallest nation on the earth. v8But the*LORD loved you. He did what he had promised to your *ancestors. Hebrought youout from Egypt with his great power. He rescued you when you were*slaves ofthe king of Egypt. v9 Remember that the *LORD yourGod is the only God.He is the *faithful God. He will *keep his *covenant of constant love.He will*keep it with a 1000 *generations of people. Those people love and obeyhim. v10But he will *destroy those people who hate him. He will not hesitate topunishthe people who hate him. v11 Therefore *keep the*commandments, therules and the laws that I have ordered you today.’
God doesnot give any reason why he chose the*Israelites as his special nation. They were not a large nation. Godloved themjust because he loved them! In Hosea 14:4, God says this. ‘I will lovethemfreely.’ He rescued them from Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. And thatshowed thathe loved them. So, the *Israelites should obey God’s *commandments.That wouldshow that they were grateful to him.
God choseChristians also. That was because ofhis *grace. He did not choose people because they were great orimportantpeople. He did not choose them because they had done great deeds. Godchosepeople because he wanted them to be *holy. He rescued them from *sin.(SeeEphesians 1:4-8.)
v12‘Listen tothese *commandments and *keep them carefully. Then the *LORD your Godwill*keep his *covenant with you. He will show his constant love to you. Hepromised that to your *ancestors. v13 He will loveyou and he will *blessyou. He will increase your numbers so that you will have many children.He will*bless your fields so that you will have corn, wine and oil from*olives. Youwill have many *cattle and sheep. He promised to your *ancestors thathe wouldgive this country to you. v14 God will *bless youmore than God will*bless any other nation. All of you will have children. All of your*cattlewill have young animals. v15 The *LORD will protectyou from allillness. He will not cause you to have any of the illnesses that youknew inEgypt. He will cause them to happen to all who hate you. v16You must *destroyall the nations that the *LORD your God hands over to you. Do not showthem any*mercy. Do not serve their false gods because that will cause you to*sin.’
If the*Israelites obeyed God, they would enjoyhis *blessings on them and on their country. They must kill all thenationsthat were living in their country. Perhaps the *Israelites would not dothat.Instead, perhaps they would serve the false gods in those nations. Ifthey didthat, then they would have problems.
God doesnot tell Christians to kill theirenemies. But Christians must separate themselves from everything thatmakestheir body or their *spirit not *clean. (See 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:2.)Christians must not imitate the standards of people who do not believeGod.Christians must let God change their thoughts. (See Romans 12:1-2.)Christiansmust improve the culture of their nation. They must not let thatculture makethem worse.
v17‘You mightsay this. “These nations are stronger than we are. We cannot force themout.” v18Do not be afraid of them. Remember what the *LORD your God did toPharaoh andto all Egypt. v19 You yourselves saw the greattests, the *signs and the*wonders. You saw the power and strength that the *LORD your God freedyouwith. The *LORD your God will do the same to all the nations that youareafraid of now. v20 Also, the *LORD your God willsend the insect calleda hornet among those nations. The people will run away and they willtry tohide. But God will even *destroy them. v21 Do notbe afraid of thosepeople. The *LORD your God is with you. He is a great God and peopleshould*fear him. v22 The *LORD your God will force outthose nations slowly asyou advance. He will not allow you to *destroy them all at once. If youdid,the wild animals would increase in the country round you. v23But the*LORD your God will hand over your enemies to you. He will confuse themuntilyou *destroy them all. v24 He will hand over theirkings to you. Youwill kill them and people will forget them. Nobody will be able to stopyou.You will *destroy them. v25 You must burn their*idols. Do not desirethe silver or gold that is on the *idols. Do not take it to own it. Ifyou do,it might cause you to *sin. The *LORD your God hates *idols. v26Do notbring any of those *idols into your house. If you do, God will *destroyyou.God has *cursed those *idols completely. So you must hate them. And youmustthink that they are terrible.’
There is aremedy for fear. You should rememberwhat God did in the past. Again, Moses reminded the *Israelites how Godbroughtthem out from Egypt. Moses told them how God defeated the *Egyptians.God willdo the same to their enemies now. We are not sure what the word‘hornet’ means.A hornet is an insect with a powerful sting. It could mean this. Thoseinsectswill attack and sting the enemies of the *Israelites. But the word‘hornet’could be a way to describe an army from another nation. This army mightattackthe enemies of the *Israelites when the *Israelites enter the country.God willconfuse their enemies. Those enemies might *destroy themselves. Thathappenedwhen ice from the sky struck the *Amorite army. (See Joshua 10:11.) Italsohappened to Sisera’s army. They could not get out of the mud after itrainedheavily. (See Judges chapter 4.) God forced out only a few of the*Israelites’enemies at a time. So the number of the wild animals would not becometoolarge. God was testing them. He would see whether the *Israelites wouldobeyhim. They must avoid everything that would persuade them to leave God.Thatincluded the kings and the *idols from the other nations. The*Israelites didnot always do what God told them. The story of Achan in Joshua 7 showswhathappened on that occasion.
God wantsto have the important place in ourlife. Jesus said this in Matthew 6:24. ‘You cannot serve God andmoney.’ In 1John 5:21 we read this. ‘Dear children, make sure that you avoid*idols.’People may say that they love God. So they must hate what he hates.
v1‘Be carefulto *keep all the *commandments that I ordered you today. Then you willlive andyou will increase in numbers. You will be able to enter and to possessthecountry. The *LORD promised this country to your *ancestors. v2Rememberhow the *LORD your God led you in the *desert for 40 years. He did thatto takeaway your pride. And he wanted to examine you. Then he would discoverwhat youintended to do. He would see whether you would *keep his *commandments.Butmaybe you would not *keep them. v3 He took awayyour pride. He allowedyou to be hungry. Then he gave to you *manna to eat. You and your*ancestorshad never known that food before. He did that to teach you that peopledo notlive only on bread. They also need every word that the *LORD speaks. v4During those 40 years, your clothes did not wear out. And your feet didnotbecome unnaturally large because you had to walk too much. v5Rememberthat the *LORD your God corrects you. And he punishes you. He does thatin thesame way that a father gives discipline to his children.
v6So then,*keep the *commandments of the *LORD your God. Behave in the way thathe hastold you. And *fear him. v7 *Fear him because the*LORD your God willbring you into a good country. It has rivers, fountains and water thatcomes upfrom the ground. Water flows in the valleys and in the hills. v8Theland produces wheat and grain called barley. It produces *grapes andsoft sweetfruits called figs. And it produces fruit called pomegranates and*olives andhoney. v9 There will always be enough bread. Youwill not have a lack ofanything. Its rocks have iron in them. And you can dig a red metalcalledcopper out of the hills.
v10You willeat and you will feel full. Then you must thank the *LORD your Godbecause hehas given to you such a good country.’
Mosesreminded the *Israelites about what Godhad done in the past. Then he told them what God would do in thefuture. Whenthey were in the *desert, God taught them to trust him. He wanted totake awaytheir pride, so he allowed them to have difficulties. He wanted to seeif theywould really trust him. *Manna was the food that Numbers 11:8-9mentions. Godgave that food to them every day. Without it, they had nothing to eat.But Godtaught them that they needed more than food in order to live.
We allneed God to speak to us and to feed our*spirits. The main way that God speaks is by means of the Bible. Oneday, thedevil tempted Jesus. Then Jesus used this verse to answer the devil.Jesus washungry. So the devil suggested that Jesus should change stones intobread.Jesus said that he needed God to speak to him. That was more importantfor himthan food. (See Matthew 4:4.)
Mosesreminded the *Israelites about otherthings. Their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not suffer.But Goddid allow them to suffer sometimes, just as a parent punishes hischild. God didthat so that they would learn lessons. The *Israelites should obey Godand theyshould *fear him. God would bring them into a country with plenty ofwater. Theland would produce many crops, and they would have enough to eat. Therewouldbe plenty of iron and red metal. They should thank God. And they shouldenjoywhat he had given to them.
God testsour *faith by events that happen inour lives. He also gives to us everything to enjoy. (See 1 Timothy6:17.)
v11‘Becareful not to forget the *LORD your God. Do not forget to obey his*commandments and his rules that I order you today. v12You will haveall that you want to eat. You will build good houses and you will livein them.v13 You will have a lot of *cattle and sheep, silverand gold and manypossessions. v14 Make sure that you do not becomeproud. Do not forgetthe *LORD your God. He brought you out of the country called Egypt. Andyou hadbeen *slaves there. v15 He led you through thelarge, terrible *desertwhere there were poisonous snakes. And there were small animals calledscorpions. And they could sting you. There was no water in the *desert.But hemade water to flow out of the rock for you. v16 Inthe *desert, he gaveto you *manna to eat. That was something that your *ancestors had neverseen. Hedid that to make you humble. He wanted to see what you would do. Then,in theend, good things would happen to you. v17 You mustnever think that yourpower and your strength made you rich. v18 You mustalways remember the*LORD your God. He gives to you the power to produce wealth. That isbecause heis still *faithful to his *covenant today. He promised that to your*ancestors.
v19Neverforget the *LORD your God. Do not follow false gods. Do not *worshipthem orserve them. I warn you about this. If you do forget the *LORD your God,he will*destroy you. v20 The *LORD is *destroying thenations round you. If youdo not obey the *LORD your God, he will *destroy you too.’
Moseswarns the *Israelites again. They must notforget what God had done for them. There was a danger that they mightbe proud.They might forget that God had given everything to them. They might saythatthey had achieved it all by themselves. God reminds them how he hadbroughtthem out from Egypt. He had taken them through the *desert. He hadgiven foodand water to them. *Manna was the food that God gave to them. The wordmeans‘What is it?’ Nobody had seen that food before. God had tested them. Hewantedto see if they would trust him. He was *faithful and he would *keep his*covenant. But if the *Israelites would not obey God, he would punishthemseverely.
The Bibleteaches that wealth is a gift fromGod. We depend on him for everything. We pray, ‘Give us today our breadfortoday.’ Paul reminds Christians that God is *faithful, in 2 Timothy2:13. ‘Ifwe do not believe, he will remain true. He cannot deny who he is.’ InHebrews3:12 to 4:13 the writer warns Christians not to be like certain people.Theydid not follow the God who is alive. The writer tells Christians tomake everyeffort. If they obey God, then they will not fail.
v1‘Listen to this,*Israelites. Now you will go across the RiverJordan. You will go into the country and you will possess it. Itbelongs tonations that are greater and stronger than you. Their cities are large.Theyhave walls round them that reach the sky. v2 Thepeople are tall andstrong. They are the *Anakites. They are giant people. People have saidthatnobody can fight against them. v3 But you can besure that the *LORDyour God will go ahead of you. He is like a fierce fire. He will*destroy the*Anakites as you advance. You will force them out and you will killthem quickly.The *LORD has promised that.
v4After the*LORD your God has forced them out ahead of you, do not think this.“The *LORDhas brought us here to possess this country. That is because we are sogood.”No. The *LORD will force out those people because they are wicked. v5The reason is not that you are so good. The reason is not that youbehave inthe right way. That is not why the *LORD your God is allowing you totake theircountry. He is forcing out these nations ahead of you because they arewicked.He wants to do what he promised to your *ancestors, to Abraham, IsaacandJacob. v6 The *LORD your God is giving to you thisgood country topossess. But you can be sure about this. He is not giving it to youbecause youare good. Instead, you do not like to obey God.’
Moses toldthe *Israelites that their enemieswould oppose them. However, God was stronger than their enemies. Godwoulddefeat those enemies as easily as a fire burns a piece of land.However, Goddid not do that because the *Israelites were good. God was forcing outthepeople in the country because they were wicked people. He was doing ittoo,because of his promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God said that hewould givethe country to his people, the *Israelites. However, his people werenot good.Often they did not obey God. They would not change the way that theybehaved.
Paul saysthis in Romans 5:8. ‘God loves us.This is how he shows it. While we were still wicked people, Christ diedinsteadof us.’ In Ephesians 2:8-9 he says, ‘God saves us by *faith by means ofhis*grace. And that is not the result of your own efforts, but it is God’sgift.Not one of us can say that he saved himself. The things that we docannot saveus. Only the gift of God can do that. So nobody can tell people howgood heis!’
v7‘Rememberthis. Do not forget how you made the *LORD your God angry in the*desert. Yourefused to obey the *LORD from the day that you left Egypt. You did ituntilyou arrived here. v8 Also, at *Mount Sinai, youmade the *LORD so angrythat he wanted to kill you all. v9 I went up themountain to receive theblocks of stone. The *LORD had written on them the *covenant that hehad madewith you. I stayed on the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights. I did noteat ordrink anything. v10 Then the *LORD gave to me thetwo blocks of stone.God himself had written all the *LORD’s *commandments on them. He hadannouncedthem to you from the fire. That happened on the day when you gatheredon themountain.
v11I was therefor 40 days and 40 nights. After that the *LORD gave to me the twoblocks ofstone that he had written the *covenant on. v12Then the *LORD said thisto me. “Get up and go down the mountain at once. Your people whom youbroughtout from Egypt are ruining themselves. Already they have not obeyedwhat Iordered them to do. They have made an *idol out of metal forthemselves.”
v13Also the*LORD said this to me. “I know that these people do not like to obeyme. v14I will *destroy them so that nobody will remember them. Do not try tostop me.I will make you into a nation. It will be stronger and more powerfulthan the*Israelites.”
v15So Iturned and I went down the mountain. It was on fire. I carried the twostonesof the *covenant in my hands. v16 I saw that youhad *sinned against the*LORD your God. You had made an *idol out of metal in the shape of ayoung*bull. Almost immediately you did not obey the *commandments that the*LORD hadordered you to obey. v17 So I took the two stonesand I threw them down.They broke into pieces in front of you.
v18Then againI lay with my face on the ground. I lay in front of the *LORD for 40days and40 nights. I did not eat or drink anything. You had *sinned against the*LORDand so you had made him angry. That is why I did it. v19I was afraid ofthe *LORD’s fierce anger. He was angry enough with you to *destroy you.Butagain, the *LORD listened to me. v20 He was soangry that he wanted tokill Aaron. But I prayed for Aaron too. v21 I tookthat *sinful thing,the young *bull that you had made from metal. I burned it in the fire.Then Ibroke it into pieces and I made it into dust. I threw that dust intothe streamthat flowed down the mountain.’
Mosesreminded the *Israelites about the timewhen they had made a *bull from gold. Very often in those countries,peoplewrote agreements on stones. Moses went up a mountain to receive the*covenanton stones. But the *Israelites, with Aaron’s help, had made a metal*bull. Inchapter 8 verse 19 God said this. He would *destroy them if theyfollowed afalse god. Now God said that he would do this. He would make anothernationfrom the family of Moses. So, Moses went down the mountain. He saw the*bullthat they had made out of metal. He threw down and broke the two blocksof stone.That showed the *Israelites that they had not obeyed God’s*commandments. Mosesprayed for the people. His prayer is in verses 25-29, below. He alsoprayed forAaron, who had made the model of the *bull. Then Moses broke the modelof the*bull and he made it into dust. God was ready to *destroy the nation ifMoseshad not prayed for them. Moses had to pray even for Aaron, who was thechiefpriest. It was Aaron’s responsibility to speak God’s words to the*Israelites.
In Hebrews4:14-16, the writer tells this toChristians. They have a chief priest (Jesus) who has not *sinned. Hecansympathise with their weaknesses. Christians can approach God withconfidence.They will receive *mercy and *grace when they need help. Jesus is aperfectchief priest. He is not like Aaron. Moses prayed for the *Israelites.Jesusprays for his people. He prays that God will forgive their *sin. Hetells Godthat he has died instead of the people.
v22‘Also, youmade the *LORD angry at Taberah, Massah, and at Kibroth Hattaavah.
v23The *LORDsaid this when he sent you out from Kadesh Barnea. “Go out and possessthecountry. I have given it to you.” But, you did not obey what the *LORDyour Godordered you to do. You did not trust him or obey him. v24You haverefused to obey the *LORD ever since I have known you.’
Mosesreminds the *Israelites about otheroccasions when they did not obey God. They complained about thedifficultthings at Taberah. The name means ‘it burns’. God sent fire that burntsome*Israelites. (See Numbers 11:1-3.) At Massah, the *Israelitescomplained thatthey had no water. Moses hit a rock and water came out. (See Exodus17:1-7.) AtKibroth Hattaavah, the *Israelites complained about *manna (the foodthat Godgave to them in the *desert). They said that they wanted meat too. (SeeNumbers11:31-34.) Finally at Kadesh Barnea they did not trust God. Moses sent12 mento explore the country. Two men said that the *Israelites could possessthecountry. But the *Israelites did not believe those men. Instead, theywanted tokill those two men. (See Numbers chapter 14.)
In 1Corinthians 10:1-12, Paul reminds us aboutthese events. Paul warns his readers not to give honour to *idols. Healsotells them not to complain. ‘These things happened in order to warn us.Someonemight think that he is standing firmly. But he should be careful thathe doesnot fall.’ God wants us to obey him.
v25‘I laywith my face on the ground. I lay front of the *LORD for 40 days and 40nights.The *LORD had said that he would *destroy you. v26And I prayed to the*LORD. “*LORD you are the king of the whole world. Do not *destroy yourownpeople. They belong to you. You brought them out from Egypt by yourgreatstrength and power. v27 Remember your servantsAbraham, Isaac and Jacob.Do not look at the bad thoughts, the wicked acts and the *sin of thesepeople. v28If you *destroy them, the *Egyptians will say this. ‘The *LORD wasunable totake them into the country that he had promised to them. He hated them,so hetook them into the *desert to kill them.’ v29 But*LORD, they are yourpeople. You chose them and they belong to you. You brought them outfrom Egyptby your great power and strength.” ’
This isMoses’ prayer. The *Israelites had donemany wrong things. Moses asked God to forgive them. He reminded Godthat he hadbrought them out of Egypt. They were *descendants of Abraham, Isaac andJacob, whohad obeyed God. If God did not help the *Israelites, the *Egyptianswouldlaugh. They would say that God was unable to *keep his promise.
James 5:16tells us that ‘the prayer of a goodman has a powerful effect.’ The Bible tells us that God will show*mercy. Sowhen we pray, we can remind God about his promises.
v1‘Then the*LORD spoke to me. “Cut two blocks from stone like the first ones.Also, make awooden box. Then come up to me on the mountain. v2I will write the samewords on the new blocks as the words on the blocks that you broke. Thenyoumust put the blocks in the box.”
v3So I made abox from the wood of acacia trees. I cut two blocks from stone like thefirstones and I took them up the mountain. v4 The *LORDwrote on the blocksthe words that he had written before. He wrote those 10 *Commandmentsto you.He spoke them on the mountain. He spoke from the fire on the day whenyougathered on the mountain. Then the *LORD gave the blocks to me. v5Then Iturned and I came back down the mountain. I put the blocks in the boxthat Ihad made. The *LORD had ordered that. The blocks are there now.’
Godlistened to Moses’ prayer and God wrote the*covenant again. The blocks of stone were like the first ones thatMoses hadbroken. That meant that the *covenant was the same. The *covenant wasthis. ‘Iwill be your God and you will be my people.’
God saysthe same thing to Christians today. Butwe have a new *covenant. Jeremiah 31:33-34 describes the promises ofthe new*covenant. God will now forgive our *sins. Jesus died to free peoplefrom wrongthings. To be part of the new *covenant today we have to trust Jesus.To trustJesus means this. First, we have to confess our *sins. Then God willforgive usand we will have a relationship with him. We will belong to God and hewill beour God.
Moses putthe blocks in a box. Later they putthis box in the place where they gave honour to God. When kings ofothernations made agreements with people, they did something similar.However, theygave honour to false gods, they did not give honour to the *LORD God.
v6(The*Israelites travelled from the wells of Jaakan’s relatives to Moserah.Aarondied there and they buried him. And Eleazar, his son, became the priestinsteadof him. v7 From that place they travelled toGudgodah and on toJotbathah. That was land with streams of water. v8Then the *LORDappointed the *tribe of Levi to carry the box of the *covenant of the*LORD.The *tribe of Levi would serve the *LORD as priests. And they woulddeclare*blessings as they spoke his name. They still do that today. v9Becauseof that, the *tribe of Levi did not receive any land like the other*tribesdid. Instead, they received the *LORD himself as their gift. Thathappened asthe *LORD your God had told them.)
Somebodyprobably added this after the writerhad finished Deuteronomy. Aaron’s son became a priest after Aaron haddied. The*tribe of Levi carried the box of the *covenant. They served God. They*blessedthe *Israelites and spoke the name of God. They had a lot to do and sotheywould not have had time to grow crops. Instead, they received money andfood fromthe *offerings that the other *Israelites made to God.
Paul saysthis in 1 Corinthians 9:7-12.Christian teachers should receive payment for their work. ‘We havetaught you.We have planted things in you that are about God. So we should harvesta crop.We should receive physical benefits from you.’
v10‘Now I hadstayed on the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights, as I did the firsttime. The*LORD listened to me at that time also. He did not want to *destroyyou. v11“Go,” the *LORD said to me. “Lead the people on their way. Then theycan enterand possess the country. I promised to give this country to their*ancestors.”’
BecauseMoses had prayed, God forgave the*Israelites’ *sin. They could now enter the country that God hadpromised tothem.
Christiansdo not deserve that God forgivestheir *sins. God forgives us because Jesus died in our place.
v12‘Now*Israelites, listen to what the *LORD your God wants you to do. Hewants you to*fear the *LORD your God. Do what he has told you to do. Love him. Hewants youto serve the *LORD your God. Do all this completely. v13*Keep all the*commandments and the rules that the *LORD ordered you to do. I amgiving themto you today for your benefit.
v14Theheavens and the highest heavens belong to the *LORD your God. The earthandeverything on it belongs to him. v15 But the *LORDwas very happy tochoose your *ancestors and he loved them. He chose you, their*descendants, outof all other nations. He loves you still today. v16Make your mindsmorally pure. Do not still refuse to obey him. v17The *LORD your God isfar greater than every false god. And he is the very powerful rulerover allrulers. He is the great God. He is powerful and you should *fear him.He doesnot have favourites. He will not do something because you give himmoney. v18God defends widows and children who have no father. He loves theforeign peoplewho live among us. He gives them food and clothes. v19So love thoseforeigners. You used to be foreigners in Egypt. v20*Fear the *LORD yourGod and serve him. Be loyal to him. When you make your promises, speakhis nameonly. v21 Praise him. He is your God. You saw thegreat and wonderfulthings that he did for you. v22 When your*ancestors went to Egypt, therewere only 70 of them. And now the *LORD your God has increased you. Youhave asmany people as there are stars in the sky.’
Mosesreminded the *Israelites about the thingsthat God had done for them. Then he told them what God wanted them todo. Hewanted them to respect him and to love him. He wanted them to obeycompletely. Ifthe people loved God, then they would do all those things. They wouldobey himand they would serve him. God gave laws to them for their benefit.*Israelitesmust love God because he loved them first. God had everyone in thewhole worldto choose from, but he chose the *Israelites. He loved and chose their*ancestors. And he loved and chose the *Israelites too. God does notexplainwhy he did that.
The Bibleoften describes how much God lovespeople. John 3:16 says, ‘God loved the world so much that he gave hisone andonly Son. So everyone who trusts him will never really die. Instead,they willhave eternal life.’ (Eternal life means to be completely alive in ourspirits.When we trust Jesus, we receive this life as a special gift. When wehave thislife, we can live to please God. It is the best way to live.) Ephesianschapter1 tells us that God chose Christians. ‘Before he made the world, hechose us.He wants us to live *holy lives. He wants us to do nothing wrong, butonlythings that are good. He loved us. So he chose to make us his sons anddaughters by Jesus Christ.’ (See Ephesians 1:4, 5.) So Christians are,with the*Israelites, the people who belong to God. Christians trust God to freethemfrom *sin. Now, people from every nation can receive God’s promises.(SeeMatthew 28:19.) ‘There is neither *Jew nor non-*Jew. … You are all onegroup ofpeople because you belong to Jesus Christ. And because you belong toChrist youare Abraham’s children.’ (See Galatians 3:28-29.)
Verse 17describes how great God is. He makesproper *judgements about everybody. Nobody can make him change hismind. Nogift will make God change his decision. The *Israelites must love otherpeoplein the same way that God loves them. The *Israelites must help thewidows, thechildren without parents and the foreigners who live among them. The*Israelites knew what it was like to be in a foreign country.Therefore, theyshould help those people who were in a similar situation.
Romans12:13 says this. Christians should letforeigners stay in their homes. James 1:27 says, ‘Look after childrenwithoutparents and also look after widows.’
Mosesreminded the *Israelites again, about whatGod had done for their nation. He had done great *signs and *wonders torescuethem from Egypt. There were only 70 of them when they went down intoEgypt. Nowthey were a great nation, exactly as God had promised to Abraham. ‘Lookat thesky and try to count the stars. You will have as many *descendants asthat.’(See Genesis 15:5.)
Revelation7:9 describes the view in heaven. ‘Isaw a great crowd of people that nobody can count. There were peoplewho camefrom every nation, *tribe, group of people and language.’
v1‘Therefore, love the *LORDyour God. Always *keep his instructions,his rules and his *commandments. v2 Remember todaythe *LORD’sdiscipline. Your children did not see or have an experience of it. Theydid notsee how great the *LORD is. They did not see his power v3and hiswonderful acts in Egypt. They did not see what he did to Pharaoh, theking ofEgypt, and to his whole country. v4 They did notsee how God completelydefeated the *Egyptian army with its horses and its carts for war. Theywerechasing you. But the *LORD drowned them in the Red Sea. v5Your childrendid not see what he did for you all the way through the *desert. v6Theydid not see what he did to Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, fromthe*tribe of Reuben. The earth opened up and it swallowed them. It tooktheir families,their tents and every living thing that belonged to them. All the*Israelitesthere saw it. v7 You saw all the great things thatthe *LORD has done.
v8Thereforeyou must *keep all the *commandments that I order you today. Then youwill bestrong. You will go in and you will possess the country. You will goacross theRiver Jordan in order to possess the country. v9Then you will livethere for a long time. The *LORD promised to your *ancestors that hewould giveit to them and to their *descendants. It would be a country with plentyto eatand drink.’
Thischapter shows that *Israelites had achoice. Either they could obey God or they could refuse to obey him.Mosesasked each *Israelite to obey God. God promised to the *Israelites agoodcountry with plenty of crops. But they had to obey his *commandments.
This iswhat 1 John 5:3 says. ‘To love God meansto obey his *commandments. His *commandments are not too difficult forus.’
Moses wastalking to all the *Israelites. Manyof them were less than 20 years old when they left Egypt. There werealso thechildren who had been born in the *desert. Moses reminded them all howthey hadleft Egypt. Often they had not obeyed God. So Moses reminded them whathadhappened as a result. Dathan, Abiram and Korah opposed Moses. Numberschapter16 describes what happened to those 3 men. When they refused God’sleader, theyrefused God himself.
Peoplerefuse God when they refuse Jesus. Theymight not realise that. Hebrews 12:25 says this. ‘Do not refuse thePerson who speaks.’
v10‘Thecountry that you will possess is not like Egypt. When you lived inEgypt, yousowed seeds in the fields. Then you had to dig channels to water them. v11The country where you will go in order to possess it has mountains andvalleys.It gets water from rain that comes from the sky. v12The *LORD your Godlooks after it. The *LORD your God constantly watches it during thewhole year.
v13So obeythe *commandments that I order you today. Love the *LORD your God.Serve himcompletely. v14 If you do, he will send rain onyour land in the autumnand in the spring. So, you will have grain, wine and oil. v15There willbe grass in your fields for your *cattle. You will have enough to eatand youwill be full.
v16Do not letanything or anybody persuade you to leave the *LORD. You might serveand givehonour to false gods. v17 Then, the *LORD will beangry. He will stopthe rain and the crops will not grow. Then you will die very soon inthe goodcountry that the *LORD has given to you.’
Mosescompared Egypt to the country that God hadpromised to the *Israelites. In Egypt, people had to get water from theriverNile to water their crops. They dug channels that took water from theriver.These channels led water to their fields. They used their feet to sendwater todifferent fields. If people dug channels for water, they would get goodcrops.In their new country, the *Israelites had to depend on God for therains. Ifthey obeyed him, the rains would come. In autumn, it rained in October.And inspring, it rained in April. Then they would have good crops. The raininOctober helped the farmers to plough the land. The rain in April helpedthecrops to grow. If it did not rain, the crops would not grow. Then therewouldbe no food. The people did not follow God when Elijah was alive. As aresult, therewas very little food for three years.
God doesnot always *bless us when we obey him.Sometimes we have troubles because we trust Jesus. But we should thankGod whenhe does *bless us. Jesus said this. ‘The *kingdom of God and his rightwaysmust be the most important things to you. If you do that, he willprovide youwith all other things.’ (See Matthew 6:33.)
v18‘Alwaysthink about these words and remember them. Tie them on your arms. Wearthem onthe front of your heads to remind you. v19 Teachthem to your children.Talk about them when you sit at home. Talk about them when you walkalong theroad. Talk about them when you lie down. And talk about them when yourise up. v20Write them on the sides of the doors of your houses. Write them on yourgates. v21Then you and your children will live for a long time in the country.The *LORDpromised to give the country to your *ancestors. You will live there aslong asthere is a sky above the earth.
v22Carefully*keep all the *commandments that I have ordered you to *keep. Love the*LORDyour God. Do what he asks you to do. Be loyal to him. v23If you dothose things, then the *LORD will force out all those nations ahead ofyou. Youwill force out nations that are greater and more powerful than you. v24You will own all the ground on which you walk. Your territory will befrom the*desert to the country called Lebanon. It will be from the RiverEuphrates tothe western sea. v25 Nobody will be able to stopyou. Wherever you go,the *LORD your God will make the people to be very afraid of you. Hehaspromised that.’
Mosesrepeated what he had said in chapter6:6-9. The *Israelites must remember to obey God’s words. If they wereloyal toGod’s *covenant, they would possess the country for always. God wouldforce outall the other nations. The southern border of this country would be the*desertat Sinai. Its northern border would be the mountains in Lebanon. Itsborder onthe east would be the River Euphrates. Its western border would be theMediterranean Sea. The *Israelites possessed this area of land onlywhen Davidwas king. They did not do so before or after that time.
v26‘Today Iam giving to you the choice between a *blessing and a *curse. v27Obeythe *commandments of the *LORD your God that I ordered you today. Thenyou willhave a *blessing. v28 Perhaps you will not obey the*commandments of the*LORD your God. Perhaps you will *worship false gods whom you have not*worshipped before. If you do that, you will have a *curse. v29The*LORD your God will bring you into the country that you will possess.When hedoes that, you must announce the *blessing from *Mount Gerizim. Thenyou willannounce the *curse from *Mount Ebal. v30 Thosemountains are across theRiver Jordan. They are on the west of the road near the great trees ofMoreh.This is in the territory that belongs to the *Canaanites. They live intheJordan valley near Gilgal. v31 You will soon goacross the River Jordan.And you will enter and possess the country. The *LORD your God isgiving it toyou. You will *capture it and you will live there. v32Make sure thatyou obey me. You must obey all the rules and the laws that I am givingto youtoday.’
The*Israelites had a choice. They could servethe *Lord. Or they could serve false gods that they had not known. Theresultof their choice would be either a *blessing or a *curse. *Mount Gerizimwas onthe south side and so it was the place of *blessing. The two hills werein thecentre of the country.
Todaypeople can choose. They can have thewonderful heavenly life that God gives. It starts now and it neverstops.Christ gives it to them. But if they refuse Christ, God will be angrywith themfor always. John 3:18 says this. ‘God will not decide to punish anyonewhobelieves the Son. But God has already decided that he must punish somepeople.Some people refuse to believe who his one and only Son is. God mustpunishanyone who refuses to believe that.’
v1‘You mustbe careful to *keep these rules and laws for as long as you live in thecountry. The *LORD, the God of your *ancestors, has given this countryto youto possess it. v2 You will take the country fromthe people who livethere. Destroy completely all the places where the people served theirfalsegods. Those places are on the high mountains, on the hills and undergreentrees. v3 Pull down their *altars and break their*holy stones. Burn inthe fire the poles where they *worshipped Asherah, their female falsegod. Cutdown their *idols so that people will not give honour to them again inthoseplaces.
v4Do not givehonour to the *LORD your God as these people give honour to their falsegods. v5But look for the place that the *LORD your God will choose. He willchoose oneplace from the territory of all the *tribes. God will be there in aspecialway. You must go to that place. v6 There you mustbring your *burntofferings and your *sacrifices. Bring your *tithes and the specialgifts thatyou have promised to give. Bring your *freewill offerings. Bring allyour*cattle and sheep that are born first. v7 There, infront of the *LORDyour God, you and your families shall eat. The *LORD your God has*blessed you.Therefore, you will enjoy everything for which you have worked.’
Chapters12-26 tell us about laws. They wouldgovern the life of the *Israelites in the country that God was givingto them.Some laws were the laws that they knew already. Other laws were lawsfor thenew situation. The first part of these laws deals with how they shouldgivehonour to God. The *Israelites must destroy the *altars where the*Canaanites *worshippedtheir false gods. They must not imitate the way that the *Canaanites*worshippedtheir false gods. The *Israelites must give honour to God at the placethat hewould choose. During their early history, the *Israelites *worshippedGod indifferent places. At first they *worshipped God at Shechem, then atBethel,then at Shiloh. Jerusalem became the chief place of *worship when Davidwas theking.
*Burntofferings were *offerings of the bestanimals. The priests burnt the animals completely. Other kinds of*offeringswere gifts to God in order to thank him. Or the *offerings were*sacrifices.And the people asked God to forgive their *sin. The people thanked Godor theygave honour to God. Then, when they gave a *sacrifice, they burnt partof theanimal. The priest and the person who gave the *offering shared therest of themeat. The *tithes were a 10th part of aperson’s animals, fruit andgrain. They brought these *offerings to the place where they*worshipped God.The people, together with their families, went to eat and to be happytogetherin front of God.
v8‘In yournew country, you must not do what we do today. Today, everyone doeswhat hebelieves to be right. v9 You have not yet reachedthe country where youcan live in peace. The *LORD your God is giving it to you. v10But youwill go across the River Jordan and you will live in the country. The*LORDyour God is giving it to you as a possession. He will give you peacefrom allyour enemies round you. And you will live in safety. v11Then go to the placethat the *LORD your God will choose. God will be there in a specialway. Youwill give honour to him there. Also you must bring to that placeeverythingthat I have told you. You must bring your *burnt offerings and*sacrifices,your *tithes and *offerings. You must bring also the special gifts thatyouhave promised to give to the *LORD. v12 There youand your families andyour male and female *slaves will be happy. They will be happy in frontof the*LORD your God. The *Levites from your towns, who do not possess anyland, willbe happy also. v13 Do not *sacrifice your *burntofferings anywhere thatseems right to you. v14 Give them only at the placethat the *LORD willchoose in one of your *tribes. There you must do everything that I haveorderedyou to do.
v15But youcan kill your animals for food in any of your towns. You can eat asmuch of themeat as you want. All of you, whether you are *clean or not *clean, caneat it.The *LORD your God gives it to you as a *blessing. You can eat it as ifit werethe *deer or the *antelope. v16 But you must notuse the blood as food.You must pour out the blood on the ground like water. v17You must noteat any of your *offerings in your own towns. You must not eat the*tithes ofyour corn, your wine or your oil there. In your towns, you must not eattheyoung animals that are born first to your sheep or to your *cattle. Youmustnot eat what you have promised to give to the *LORD. Nor must you eatthe*offerings that you choose to give. And you must not eat the specialgifts inyour towns. v18 Instead, you must eat them in frontof the *LORD yourGod. That will be in the place that the *LORD your God will choose. Youwilleat there. Your sons and your daughters will eat there. Your male andyourfemale *slaves and the *Levites from your towns will eat there also.You willbe happy there in front of the *LORD your God because of everythingthat youhave done. v19 Do not neglect the *Levites as longas you live in thecountry.’
Moses gaverules about *worship. The *Israelitesdid not start to *keep the rules while they travelled in the *desert.However,when they began to live in the country, they had peace. Then they hadto takeall their *sacrifices and their *offerings to the chief place that Godhadchosen. They should kill the meat for the *sacrifices only at thatplace. The*Israelites must not use the *altars that belonged to the *Canaanites.When the*Israelites ate, they should be happy. And they must not forget the*Levites, whodid not own any land.
In the*desert, the *Israelites ate all theirmeat as a *sacrifice. In their new country, they would eat meat fortheirordinary meals. They would kill animals for food in the towns wherethey lived.The people did not have to be *clean in order to eat the animals.However,people had to be *clean in order to eat the food for *sacrifices. Theywouldeat the meat for *sacrifices only at the chief place for *worship. Godtoldthem that the blood caused the animal to live. They had to pour out theblood.They must never eat the blood in any meat. They had to give back theblood toGod. (See Leviticus 17:10-14.)
The*Israelites gave some *sacrifices as a wayto thank God. They brought other *sacrifices, often lambs (youngsheep), as*sin *offerings. Those *sacrifices were to ask God to forgive them.
Thatpointed toward Jesus who is called the‘Lamb of God’. (See John 1:29.) A ‘lamb’ usually means a young sheep.But hereit describes Jesus as a *sacrifice. Jesus died to rescue us from *sin.‘God didnot make you free with silver or gold, but with the precious blood ofChrist.’(See 1 Peter 1:18-19.) So now we do not have to bring a *sacrifice ofanimalsto God.
v20‘The *LORDyour God will give to you more territory, as he promised to do. Thenyou mightthink, “I would like some meat.” You can eat as much as you want. v21Perhaps the place that the *LORD your God has chosen is too far awayfrom you.Then you can kill any of the *cattle or sheep that the *LORD has givento you.You can eat as many as you wish in your own towns. I have ordered youto dothat. v22 Anyone, whether that person is *clean ornot *clean, can eatthe meat. They can eat it, as they would eat a *deer or an *antelope. v23But be sure that you do not eat the blood. The blood causes the animalto live.You must not eat the blood with the meat. v24 Donot use the blood asyour food. You must pour the blood out on the ground like water. v25Donot eat it. Then good things will happen to you and to your*descendants. Youwill do what the *LORD considers to be right.
v26But takethe *holy things and the gifts that you have promised to the *LORD. Goto theplace that the *LORD will choose. v27 Give the*burnt offerings, theblood and the meat, there on the *altar of the *LORD your God. Pour outtheblood of your *sacrifices on the *altar. You can eat the meat. v28Makesure that you obey all my commands. Then good things will happen to youand toyour *descendants for always. You will do what the *LORD your Godconsiders tobe good and right.
v29The *LORDyour God will *destroy the nations as you go into their country. Youwill forcethem out and you will live in their country. v30But do not ask how theyserve their false gods. Do not try to serve those gods in the same way.If youdo, then that will cause trouble for you. v31 Donot give honour to the*LORD your God in their way. When they give honour to their false gods,they doall kinds of terrible things. The *LORD hates those things. They evenburntheir sons and their daughters as *sacrifices to their false gods.
v32Be carefulto do everything that I have ordered you to do. Do not add anything toit anddo not leave anything out.’
Moses toldthe *Israelites again about how toeat meat. God would choose a special place. So Moses told them what todo ifthey lived too far away from that place. Moses explains verse 15 moreclearly.God did not allow them to eat blood. The blood caused the animal tolive.Instead, they must pour the blood out on the ground. Then they wouldnot pourit on an *altar that belonged to a false god. If they obeyed, theywouldreceive God’s *blessing.
Christiansdo not *worship God in only oneplace. When Jesus died, that was a *sacrifice for *sin. So now we donot needto give any animals for *sacrifice. Hebrews chapter 10 teaches us that.
The*Israelites must not *worship false gods.The *Israelites must not kill their children and call it a *sacrificeto God.
v1‘A *prophetor someone who explains the meaning of dreams might promise to you a*sign or a*wonder. v2 Then he might ask you to *worship falsegods. And he mightask you to serve those false gods. You have not known these false godsbefore.Even if the *sign or *wonder happens, v3 do notlisten to that person.The *LORD your God is testing you. The *LORD wants to discover whetheryou lovehim completely. v4 You must *worship the *LORD yourGod and you must*fear him. *Keep his *commandments and obey him. Serve him and be loyalto him.v5 You must kill that *prophet or that person whoexplains the meaningof dreams. That is because he told you to refuse to obey the *LORD yourGod. Hehas tried to persuade you away from what the *LORD your God has toldyou to do.The *LORD brought you out of Egypt. He rescued you when you were*slaves. That*prophet has tried to change your minds. You must stop that kind ofwickedbehaviour.’
Not all*prophets were true *prophets. A*prophet might try to persuade people not to give honour to God. Butpeople shouldnot listen to him. Even if his *prophecy came true, they must notlisten. Godwould use this situation. God would see what the *Israelites would do.Godwould see whether they were loyal to God. The people must not refuse toobeyGod. Instead, they should obey the *Lord and *worship him loyally. Theyshouldkill the false *prophet who tried to persuade them away from God.
In 1Corinthians chapter 5, Paul tells theChristians at Corinth to remove a wicked man from the church. But in 2Corinthians chapter 2, Paul tells them to forgive the man. That wasbecause theman was sorry about his *sins.
v6‘Otherpeople might encourage you to give honour secretly to false gods. Theyarefalse gods to whom you and your *ancestors have never given honourbefore.Those people might include your brother or your son or your daughter.Theymight include the wife whom you love or your closest friend. v7Thepeople round you might give honour to those false gods. The peoplemight live nearyou or they might live far away. v8 You must not dowhat those peoplesay. Do not listen to them. Do not show *mercy to them. Do not protectthem. v9You must kill them. You must be the first person to throw stones atthem. Thenlet everyone else throw stones at them too. v10Throw stones at themuntil you have killed them. They tried to persuade you to leave the*LORD yourGod. The *LORD rescued you when you were *slaves in Egypt. v11Then allthe people in *Israel will hear about it. They will be afraid. Nobodywill dosuch a wicked thing again.’
In thosedays, relationships in a family werevery strong. But the *Israelites must kill even a member of theirfamily if heor she encouraged people to *worship *idols. The other members of thefamilywould throw the first stone. To kill a family member was a severepunishment.But God allowed it in order to keep the whole nation *holy. It showedhowserious the wrong action was. That person did not deserve to live withGod’speople,
When wefollow Jesus, we must be loyal to ourChristian family. They must be more important than our physical family.And Godmust be more important than a person’s own family. (See Matthew12:48-50.)
v12‘The *LORDyour God will give to you towns in which to live. But you might hearthis aboutone of the towns. v13 “Wicked men from among youhave persuaded thepeople in their town to do wrong things. They have told people to goand togive honour to false gods.” (You have never given honour to those godsbefore.)v14 You must discover whether that is true. You mustask and you mustexamine it carefully. If that terrible thing is true, v15then kill allthe people in the town. *Destroy the town and the animals too. v16Bringtogether all the people’s possessions into the middle of the town. Thenyoumust burn completely the town and everything in it. Burn it as a *burntoffering to the *LORD your God. You must ruin the town and you mustneverrebuild it. v17 Do not keep any of the things thatGod has *cursed. Thenthe *LORD will not continue to be angry. He will pity you. He will have*mercyon you. And he will increase your numbers. He promised that to your*ancestors.v18 Obey the *LORD your God. *Keep all his*commandments that I havegiven to you today. Do what he wants you to do.’
Sometimes,people who gave honour to *idolswould affect whole towns. If a town allowed that to happen, the*Israelitesmust *destroy it. In those days, unity in a town or in a group ofpeople wasvery strong. So they all were guilty. But the *Israelites had to becertainthat the town was guilty.
God didnot allow them to keep anything from thetown for themselves. That meant that people would not *destroy a townfor theirown advantage. The *Israelites *destroyed towns like Jericho (Joshua6:17-21)and Gibeah (Judges 20:42-48). If all the people involved themselves inthatvery wicked behaviour, they all suffered the punishment. If there weregoodpeople in the town, they should have left. They should not remain wherepeople*worship false gods.
A mancalled Achan took goods from one of thosetowns. In Joshua 7, you can read what happened as a result of his act.(Butnote this. Joshua 6:23 says that Rahab escaped from Jericho because ofher*faith.) The *Israelites should not live with people who did notbelieve God.If they did, the *Israelites would not continue their beliefs.
InColossians 3:5, Paul tells Christians:‘Destroy the power of all the evil desires in your life that belong tothisworld.’ For example, avoid wrong sex. Do not greatly desire possessionsand toomuch food. Here ‘this world’ refers to the people who do not obey God.
v1‘You arethe children of the *LORD your God. When someone dies, do not cutyourselves.Do not shave the front of your head. v2 You belongto the *LORD yourGod. The *LORD has chosen you to be his special nation. He chose youout of allthe nations that live on the earth.
v3Do not eatanything that is not *clean. v4 You can eat*cattle, sheep, goats, v5*deer, wild sheep, wild goats and *antelopes. v6Some animals have thehard part of the foot in two parts. And they bring back food from theirstomachto eat again. You can eat those animals. v7 Youmust not eat the camel,the rabbit or the type of rabbit called a coney. Those animals bringback theirfood but they do not have the hard part of the foot in two parts. Foryou,those animals are not *clean. v8 The pig is not*clean also. It has thehard part of its foot two parts, but it does not bring back its food.You mustnot eat any of those animals. You must not touch their dead bodies.
v9Some fishhave hard things on their body that help them to swim. And they havehardmaterial that covers their skin. You can eat any kind of fish likethat. v10But other fish do not have hard things on their body that help them toswim.And they do not have hard material that covers their skin. You must noteatthings like that that live in the water. They are not *clean.
v11You caneat any *clean bird. v12 But you must not eat thesebirds: eagle,vulture, black vulture, v13 red kite, all types ofkite or falcon. v14And you must not eat any of these birds: any kind of raven, v15-16horned owl, screech owl, gull or hawk. v16 You mustnot eat any of thesebirds: little owl, great owl or white owl. v17 Andyou must not eat anyof these birds: desert owl, osprey, cormorant, v18stork, heron, hoopoe,or bat.
v19Someinsects crawl and fly too. You cannot that kind of insect. v20But youcan eat any *clean insect.
v21Do not eatanything that is already dead. The foreigners who live in your townscan eatit. You can sell it to foreigners. But you belong to the *LORD yourGod. Youare his special nation.
Do not cook a young goat in its mother’smilk.’
The*Israelites were God’s special nation.Because of that, they should look after their bodies. They should notimitatewhat other nations did in their religion. God did not want the*Israelites tocut their bodies. God made people as the image of himself. People mustnotspoil that image.
In 1Corinthians 6:9-20 Paul says this. TheChristian’s body is the place where the Holy Spirit lives. ‘Thereforegivehonour to God with your body.’
God didnot allow the *Israelites to eat certainanimals. Those animals might be bad for their health. Pigs, shell-fish(fishthat have a hard outer cover) and birds that eat dead bodies can allcausedisease. Other nations gave honour to certain animals. So God told the*Israelites not eat those animals. People in Cyprus gave honour to thepig.People in Egypt gave honour to certain fish and snakes. God allowed the*Israelites to eat *clean insects. A locust is a *clean insect. Johnate them.(See Matthew 3:4.) The *Israelites must not eat animals that had diedin anatural way. That was partly because there might be poisons in theanimal.Also, the blood was still in the animal’s body. That law did not applytoforeigners. God did not allow the *Israelites to cook a goat in itsmother’smilk. That was a *Canaanite custom. They thought that it increasedpeople’sdesire for sex. The *Israelites must *keep God’s laws. Then theiractions wouldshow that they gave honour to God.
In Mark7:15 Jesus said this. ‘Nothing that goesinto a man from outside willmake him not *clean. What comes out of a man makes him not *clean.’AndMark adds in verse 19, ‘In this way, Jesus declared that all foods are*clean.’Jesus was referring to the law about waste products from people’sbodies. Hewas using this law to refer to bad thoughts. Those bad thoughts lead tobadactions. (See Mark 7:20-23.) Non-*Jewish Christians did not have toobey the*Jewish laws about food. The stories in Acts chapters 10 and 15 showthat.
v22‘Put asidea 10th of all that your fields produce eachyear. Make sure that youdo that. v23 Go to the place that the *LORD yourGod has chosen. The*LORD will be there in a special way. There, in front of the *LORD, eatthe 10thpart of your corn, new wine, and oil. You can also eat theyoung animalsthat are born first to your sheep and to your *cattle. Do that so thatyou willlearn to respect the *LORD your God always. v24Perhaps the place is toofar away. Perhaps you cannot carry to that place the *tithe with whichthe*LORD your God has *blessed you. (That will happen if the place is veryfaraway. The *LORD your God has chosen the place himself. And the*LORDwill bethere in a special way.) v25 If so, sell that 10thpart ofyour harvest. Take the money with you to the place that the *LORD yourGod haschosen. v26 Buy whatever you desire with the money.You can buy *cattle,sheep, or strong alcohol or whatever you desire. Then, in front of the*LORDyour God, you and your family can eat. And you can be happy. v27Do notneglect the *Levites who live in your towns. They do not own any land.
v28At the endof every three years, bring all the *tithes of that year’s harvest.Store it inyour towns. v29 This is for the *Levites. (They donot own any land.) Itis also for the foreigners, the widows and the children without parentswholive in your towns. They can eat. They can have all that they need.They can befull. Then the *LORD your God will *bless you in all the work that youdo.’
Moses toldthe *Israelites to bring a 10th ofthe harvest from their land and to give it to God. That reminded themthateverything came from God. They must go to the place that God chose.They mustgo to thank him. They ate their *tithe at the place that God hadchosen. Theydid that so that they would not eat it at a place for foreign gods.Some peoplelived too far from the place to bring their *tithe. So they would sellit andthey would bring the money. Then they would buy food to eat there.(Some badpeople used that as a way to get money unfairly from other people. Thatled tothe evil actions for which Jesus forced the traders from the *temple inJohn2:13-17. People who bought animals had to pay more than the animalswereworth.) The person and his family would be happy as they ate the meal.Theyalso shared it with the *Levites who had nothing to give. Every threeyears,the people stored the *tithe in the local town. Then they gave it tothe*Levites and to the poor people.
Jesus saidthat the *Pharisees were wrong. Theygave a 10th of everything to God, but theyforgot *justice, *mercyand *faith. (See Matthew 23:23.) Paul said this about the Christians inMacedonia. ‘They gave as much as they could give. In fact, they gaveeven morethan they really could afford. But first they gave themselves to the*Lord.’(See 2 Corinthians 8:3, 5.) ‘Each man should give what he has decidedto give.God loves the person who gives gladly.’ (See 2 Corinthians 9:7.) Thereason whywe give is important. It is more important than the amount that we give.
v1‘At the endof every 7 years, you must cancel debts. v2 This iswhat you must do.Everyone who has lent money to another *Israelite must cancel the debt.He mustnot ask for payment. The *LORD has declared that he must cancel thedebt. v3You can demand what a foreigner owes to you. But you must not demandwhatanother *Israelite owes to you. v4 However, thereshould be no poorpeople among you because the *LORD your God will *bless you in thecountry. Heis giving this country to you as your own possession. v5But you mustobey the *LORD your God. And you must be careful to obey everythingthat I havetold you today. v6 The *LORD your God will *blessyou as he has promised.You will lend money to many nations. But you will not need them to lendmoneyto you. You will rule over many nations, but no nation will rule overyou.
v7Supposethat there is a poor *Israelite man. He is in one of the towns that the*LORDyour God is giving to you. Do not be selfish. Do not refuse to helpthat poorman. v8 Instead, be generous. Lend him as much ashe needs. v9 Donot have this wicked thought. “The 7th year,the year to canceldebts, is near.” So you refuse to lend him anything. He will then cryout tothe *LORD against you. You will be guilty of a *sin. v10Give to himfreely and unselfishly. Then the *LORD your God will *bless you ineverythingthat you do. v11 There will always be poor peoplein the country.Therefore, give in a generous way to other *Israelites. Be generous toeveryonewho is poor. Be generous to those who have needs.’
God gavethese laws to *Israelites. They grewmost of their own food. If they owed money, it was because of unusualcircumstances. (Today many people have debts because they do not spendmoney ina responsible way.) God wanted the *Israelites to look after people whowerepoor. During one year in every 7 years, the people did not grow cropsin theirfields. Therefore, they could not pay their debts. In that year, therichpeople had to cancel all debts. In that way, rich people showed thatthey lovedthe poor people. The *Israelite society was like a family who shouldlook afterthe whole family. But there were different rules for foreigners. The*Israelitesdid not have to cancel the debts of foreigners. (R. K. Harrison saysthatusually foreigners asked other people to lend them money for business.Foreigners did not ask other people for a loan because they neededmoney.)
If the*Israelites obeyed God and his *commandments,he would *bless them. Then the *Israelites would never owe money toothernations. Other nations would never rule over the people in *Israel.Instead,*Israel would lend money to other nations. They would rule over theothernations. The *Israelites should be generous. They should lend money topeople, evenif people did not give back the money.
If we obeyGod, we will be generous to people.Jesus said to his followers, ‘Love your enemies. Do good things tothem. Lendand do not expect anything back.’ (See Luke 6:35.) 1 John 3:17 tells usthis.‘Let us suppose that a rich person does not help his poor neighbour. Wecannotsay that the love of God is in the rich person.’ The writer ofDeuteronomy knewthat *Israelites would not obey God. Therefore, there would always bepoorpeople (verse 11). However, there would also be opportunities to helpthem.
v12‘Supposethat another *Israelite, whether a man or a woman, sells himself to youas a*slave. After that person has served you for 6 years, you must freehim. v13When you free him, do not send him away without anything. v14Begenerous. Give to him from your sheep, your corn and your wine. The*LORD yourGod has been generous to you. So be as generous to your *slave. v15Remember that you were *slaves in Egypt. Remember that the *LORD yourGod freedyou. That is why I am giving this command to you today.
v16But your*slave might not want to leave. He might love you and your family. Hemightwant to stay with you. v17 Then take him to thedoor of your house.There push a sharp piece of metal through his ear into the door. Hewill becomeyour *slave for as long as he lives. Do the same thing to your female*slave.
v18It mustnot seem a hard thing to free your *slave. He has served you duringthese 6years. That has been worth twice as much to you as a servant whom youhire. Dothat and the *LORD your God will *bless you and all your work.’
This lawis about *Israelites who were *slaves.To be a *slave was not a bad thing for the *Israelites. They had tolook aftertheir *slaves well. And the *Israelites had to respect their *slaves.*Slavesserved other people in order to pay their debts. When their ownersfreed them,the owners gave them generous gifts. That would help them in their newlives.And it would remind their owners about what God had done. God had freedthe*Israelites when they were *slaves in Egypt. Sometimes a *slave wantedtoremain with his master. The master made a hole in the slave’s ear. Todo that,he would push a piece of metal through the slave’s ear and into thedoor. Thatshowed that the slave wanted to join the master’s home.
In Romans12:1, Paul says that we should giveourselves to God as his servants. We should do that because of whatJesus hasdone for us. Paul explains this in 2 Corinthians 5:15 as well.
Noticethat this law deals with men and women inthe same way. The owner should not complain when he freed his *slave.It wouldcost the owner a lot to hire a servant. So his *slave’s service wasveryvaluable. Even if the owner did not get back the money, he still gainedGod’s*blessing.
v19‘Keep allthe males that are born first to your *cattle and to your sheep. Theyare forthe *LORD your God. Do not use any of those *cattle for work. Do notcut offthe wool from any of those sheep. v20 Each year,you and your familymust eat them in front of the *LORD your God. Do that in the place thatthe*LORD chooses. v21 An animal may have weak legs orit may be blind. Ifit is not perfect, you must not *sacrifice it to the *LORD your God. v22Instead, you should eat it in your own town. All of you can eat it inthe sameway that you eat *deer or *antelope. You can eat it whether you are*clean ornot *clean. v23 But do not use the blood as yourfood. Pour out theblood on the ground like water.’
The*Israelites must give to God all theiranimals that are born first. They must not use them to work in thefields. Theymust not cut off their wool. The people should kill those animals atthe placethat God had chosen. And they should eat them there. That happenedevery year.The *Israelites must not *sacrifice animals that were not perfect.Instead,they could eat them at home. The animals did not have to be *clean forthepeople to do that. Moses repeats the instruction not to eat the bloodof theanimal. See chapter 12 verses 15-16.
Thispassage reminds us about Jesus. He gavehimself as a *sacrifice on our behalf. He was perfect and he had no*sin.Otherwise, God would not have accepted his *sacrifice.
v1‘You must*celebrate the *Passover to the *LORD your God in the month calledAbib. On anight in that month, the *LORD your God brought you out of Egypt. v2*Sacrifice an animal from your sheep or your *cattle. *Sacrifice to the*LORDyour God as the *Passover. Do that at the place that the *LORD haschosen. The*LORD will be there in a special way. v3 With thismeal, do not eatbread that you make with *yeast. For 7 days you must eat bread without*yeast.The name of this bread is the bread of troubles, because you had toleave Egyptin a hurry. So you will remember the time when you left Egypt. You willremember it for as long as you live. v4 For 7 daysnobody in yourcountry can have any *yeast in his house. Give the *sacrifice on theevening ofthe first day. Eat all the meat in the evening. None of the meat mustremainuntil the morning.
v5-6You must*sacrifice the *Passover only in the place that the *LORD your God haschosen.You must not *sacrifice it in any other town that the *LORD your Godgives toyou. You must *sacrifice the *Passover at sunset. That was the time atwhichyou left Egypt. v7 Cook the meat. Eat it at theplace that the *LORDyour God has chosen. Then return to your tents in the morning. v8Youmust eat bread without *yeast for 6 days. On the 7th day you must meetto givehonour to the *LORD your God. Do not do any work on that day.’
Moses gaveinstructions about how to *celebratethe *Passover. Abib means ‘the month of the green ears’. (The ear isthe partof a grain plant that contains seeds.) Abib was in the spring. The*Israeliteswere celebrating the time when God rescued them from Egypt. They hadbeenslaves there. They used to *celebrate *Passover in their homes ortents. Here Mosestold them to *celebrate in the place that God had chosen. Exodus12:1-28describes the original *Passover. The *sacrifice was a young sheep (ora younggoat). In the *desert, the *Israelites *celebrated the *Passovertogether. Whenthey entered the country, they would scatter to every part of thecountry. ButMoses told them to gather together when they *celebrated the *Passover.
Immediatelyafter the *Passover was the 7 day*Festival of bread without *yeast. It would remind the *Israelites thatthey leftEgypt very quickly. They did not have time to add *yeast as they madetheirbread. They would also remember their years in the *desert. On the lastday ofthe *festival, they would meet together to give honour to God. Afterthe*Passover *festival in the *desert, they would return to their tents.Later,when they lived in the country, they returned to their homes. The veryimportant word at this time was ‘remember’. Every *Passover *festivalthat*Jews *celebrate today ends with these words. ‘Next year it will be inJerusalem.’ The *Jews expect that they will be able to go to Jerusalem.Thenthey will *celebrate in the way that they used to *celebrate.
Paulrefers to the *Passover in 1 Corinthians5:7-8. He says, ‘Let us *celebrate the *festival. We must not use theold*yeast, which means hate and wicked behaviour. Instead, we must use thebreadwithout *yeast.’ Here *yeast represents wicked behaviour. And breadwithout*yeast represents true and sincere behaviour.
v9‘Count 7weeks from the time that you begin to harvest the corn. v10Then *celebratethe *Festival of Weeks to give honour to the *LORD your God. Bring tohim an*offering that you choose to bring. It should be in proportion to the*blessings that the *LORD your God has given to you. v11Be happy infront of the *LORD your God together with your children, and your maleandfemale *slaves. Come together also with the *Levites, foreigners,childrenwithout parents and widows who live with you. Do this at the place thatGodwill choose. He will be there in a special way. v12Remember that youwere *slaves in Egypt. *Keep these rules and obey them.’
This*festival happened 7 weeks after thebeginning of the harvest. There were 7 weeks between the beginning ofthe grainharvest and the end of the wheat harvest. Therefore, people called itthe*Festival of Weeks. Later, people called it the *Festival of Pentecost.‘Pentecost’ means 50. The *Festival of Pentecost was 50 days after the*Sabbathat the start of the *Passover. The *Israelites had to give a gift toGod. Thisgift was in proportion to how God had *blessed them. They shared acommon mealwith their families and with those who had no possessions.
It was onthis day that God gave his HolySpirit. (See Acts 2:14-21.) Then God began to bring a ‘harvest’ ofpeople fromall nations into the church.
v13‘*Celebratethe *Festival of Shelters for 7 days. Separate the grain from your cornandpress your *grapes. Then *celebrate this *festival. v14Be happy at your*festival together with your children and your male slaves and yourfemaleslaves. Include the *Levites, the foreigners, the children withoutparents andthe widows who live in your towns. v15 For 7 days,*celebrate the*festival to the *LORD your God. *Celebrate at the place that the *LORDwillchoose. You will be completely happy. The *LORD your God will *blessyourharvest and all your work.
v16All yourmen must give honour to the *LORD your God 3 times a year. They must goto theplace that he will choose. They must go to the *Festival of Breadwithout*yeast, the *Festival of Weeks and the *Festival of Shelters. No manmust comein front of the *LORD without a gift. v17 Eachperson must bring a giftin proportion to how the *LORD your God has *blessed him.’
This wasthe final *festival that they*celebrated in the year. It happened after the grain and wine harvests.Every 7years at this *festival, people read the law publicly. Then everyonewould hearit. During this *festival, they lived in shelters. That reminded themabouttheir journey through the *desert. During their journey, they had livedintents. The *festival was a happy time, in which the *IsraelitesrememberedGod’s *blessings to them. They remembered how God had provided themwith foodand water. The last day of the *festival was the very important day.
It was onthat day that Jesus said this.‘Whoever needs to drink should come to me. And then they can drink.’(See John7:37.) But Jesus was not speaking about ordinary water. Jesus is thePerson thatthis *festival is really about. He will supply not only the people’sneed forfood and water. He will supply the needs of their *spirits.
Threetimes a year, every man must go to theplace to give honour to God. This is the place that Moses mentions inverses 6and 11. This would remind each man that he depended on God foreverything. Atthe *festivals, the *Israelites were happy. They thanked God and theysharedtheir food with each other. Paul tells Christians: ‘Always be gladbecause youbelong to the *Lord. Do not worry about anything. But ask God for whatyouneed. And when you pray, be thankful. If you do that, God will make youcalmand content. He will keep your thoughts and minds safe as you trustChristJesus.’ (See Philippians 4:4-7.)
The menwho came to the *festival had to bring agift. This gift was in proportion to how God had *blessed them.
In 1Corinthians 16:2 Paul said this. ‘Eachperson in your church should put aside a sum of money in proportion tohisincome.’
v18‘Appointjudges and other officials in each of your *tribes. Do that in everytown that the*LORD your God is giving to you. The judges must make fair decisionsfor thepeople. v19 The judges must be fair. They must nothave favourites. Theymust not accept money to make wrong decisions. Such gifts cause wisemen toseem blind. Also, gifts cause honest men to change the words of goodpeople. v20You must follow *justice and only *justice. Then you will possess thecountrythat *LORD your God is giving to you. And you will continue to live init.’
Originally,Moses, with some helpers, was judgein *Israel. Now the *Israelites appointed judges and other helpers intowns inevery part of the country. These leaders must be fair. They must notacceptgifts. They must deal with everyone alike. If they obey God’s laws,they willenjoy his *blessing.
v21‘Build the*altar to the *LORD your God. Do not put next to it a wooden pole tothe femalefalse god called Asherah. v22 Do not put up a stoneto give honour to *idols.The *LORD your God hates those things.’
Theseverses warn the *Israelites not to givehonour to *idols. The wooden pole was where people gave honour to afemalefalse god. It was called Asherah. The stone was where people gavehonour toanother false god. It was called Baal. The people must give honour toGod only.
v1‘If anysheep or *cattle are not perfect, do not *sacrifice them to the *LORDyour God.The *LORD your God hates such *sacrifices.
v2Maybe youhear that a man or a woman has *sinned against the *LORD your God. Thispersonlives in one of the towns that the *LORD your God is giving to you. Hehas not*kept the *covenant laws. v3 He has given honour tofalse gods or he hasserved them. Perhaps he has given honour to the sun or the moon or thestars.That is against God’s command. v4 If you hear sucha report, then youmust inquire into it carefully. It might be true that someone has donesuch anevil thing in *Israel. v5 If so, take the man orwoman who has done thiswicked act to your city gate. Then throw stones at that person until hedies. v6You can do that only if two or three *witnesses speak against him. Youcannotkill him if there was only one *witness. v7 The*witnesses must throwthe first stones. Then the rest of the people must throw stones at thatperson.You must remove completely the wicked behaviour that is among you.’
Moses toldthe *Israelites again about*sacrifices. They must not give an animal as a *sacrifice if it was notperfect. (See Deuteronomy 15:21.) The *Israelites punished severelyanyone who *worshippedfalse gods. The people would take the guilty person to the gate of thecity.That was the place where judges had their court. Two or three*witnesses had tosee that the person had given honour to false gods. The *witnesseswould throwstones at the guilty person first. If the *witnesses had not told thetruth,then other people would kill the *witnesses.
v8‘Sometimesthe situation might be too difficult for a local judge to make adecision. Itmight involve a murder. Or it might be a situation when someone killsanotherperson by accident. It might be an argument about the owner ofproperty. Itmight be about injuries that somebody did on purpose. In thosesituations, goto the place that the *LORD your God will choose. v9Go to the priestswho are *Levites. Go to the person who is the judge at that time. Askthem. Letthem decide. v10 They will give to you theirdecision at the place thatthe *LORD will choose. You must be careful to do whatever they tellyou. v11Obey the law that they teach to you. Follow the decisions that theygive toyou. Do everything that they tell you to do. v12The judge or the prieston duty serves the *LORD your God there. So you must kill any proudperson whorefuses to obey them. In that way you will remove that evil thing from*Israel.v13 Everyone will hear and everyone will be afraid.They will not refuseto obey again.’
Somedecisions were too difficult for localjudges to make. There are three situations here. The first was about aperson’sdeath. They had to decide whether it was by accident or by plan. Thesecond wasabout which person had particular rights. The third was about a seriousattack.The head of the court was probably the chief priest. The court made thefinaldecision. The *Lord helped the judges to make the decision. Also, thejudgeshad good experience. The people must act in agreement with thedecisions of thejudges. The people killed anyone who refused to obey the judge or thepriest.That was because that person was acting against God.
v14‘You will enterthe country that the *LORD your God is giving to you. You will livethere andyou will possess it. Then you will want to have a king as other nationshave. v15Be careful to appoint the king that the *LORD your God chooses. Theking mustbe a man from your own nation. He must be an *Israelite. Do not make aforeigner your king. v16 The king must not ownlarge numbers of horses.He must not send people to Egypt to buy horses. The *LORD has told younot togo back that way again. v17 The king must not havemany wives, becausethat would make him not continue to follow the *LORD. He must not makehimselfrich with gold and silver.
v18When hebecomes king, he must write a copy of this law. He will copy it fromthe lawthat the priests have. The priests come from the family called Levi. v19The king must keep this book near to him. He must read from it duringall hislife. Then he will learn how to respect the *LORD his God. And he willlearn to*keep all the words of this law and these rules. v20He will not thinkthat he is better than the other *Israelites. Also, he will not refuseto obey the*commandments. As a result, he and his *descendants will rule over the*kingdomcalled *Israel for a long time.’
Thissection tells the *Israelites what to do ifthey wanted a king. God was their real king. Any human king must be apersonwhom God had chosen. He must not be a foreigner. Maybe that was becauseaforeigner might want to give honour to false gods. The king must not belikethe kings of foreign countries. He must not have many horses.Therefore, hecannot have a large army. He must not have many wives. He must notbecome toorich. All those things would make him trust other things. Then he wouldnotcontinue to trust the *Lord. Solomon started well, but then he did notobey allthose rules. He obtained horses from Egypt. (See 1 Kings 10:28.) He had700main wives and 300 other wives as well. (See 1 Kings 11:3.) He had morerichesthan all the other kings of the earth. (See 1 Kings 10:23.) As aresult, the*kingdom divided into two after his death. The king must have a copy ofthe lawthat he would study. If he obeyed this law, he and his family wouldrule over*Israel for a long time.
Thecommand to read God’s law every day is good.Christians should read the Bible regularly. And then we will learn whatGodwants us to do. We will not think that we are better than other people.We willreceive God’s *blessing. Joshua had to study and to obey the book ofthe law.God told him to do that. He said, ‘then you will do well and you willbesuccessful.’ (See Joshua 1:8.)
v1‘Thepriests are *Levites. They and all the *tribe called Levi, will nothave anyshare of the land in *Israel. The people burn *offerings in order togive themto the *LORD. But part of those offerings (that they do not burn) willbe foodfor the *Levites. That is their share. v2 The*Levites will not own anyland in the country as the other *tribes do. The *LORD will supplyeverythingthat they need. He promised that to them.
v3This iswhat the people must do. When the people *sacrifice a *bull or a sheep,theymust give the shoulder to the priest. They must also give the lowerpart of thehead and the stomach of the animal to the priest. v4You must give tothe priests the first share of the corn, wine, oil and the wool fromyoursheep. v5 The *LORD your God has chosen the*Levites and their*descendants out of all your *tribes. They must serve him as priestsforalways.
v6Any *Levitecan come from any town in *Israel. He can come to the place that the*LORD willchoose. v7 He can serve the *LORD his God there. Hewill be like all theother *Levites. They serve there in front of the *LORD already. v8Hemight have received money from his family. But all the *Levites willreceivethe same amount of food.’
*Israeliteswould look after the priests,because the priests did not own any land. The priests worked at thechief placeof *worship. There they gave *sacrifices. The rest of the *tribe calledLevihad other duties. They included their duty to teach the *Israelitesabout thelaw. The *Israelites gave *offerings that they burned with fire. Theywere the*burnt offering and the grain *offerings, the *peace offerings and the*guiltofferings. People burned the *burnt offering completely, but thepriests couldhave a share of the other *offerings. God had chosen the *Levites toserve himand his people. Verses 6-8 refer to *Levites who were not priests. Theycouldserve God at the chief place of *worship if they wanted to. They wouldreceivetheir share of the food, even if they had money of their own.
In 1Corinthians 9:7-14, Paul says this. ‘Thosewho announce the good news should live from the good news.’ That wastheir workso they should receive payment, food or goods as their wages.
v9‘You will enterthe country that the *LORD your God is giving to you. Do not learn theterriblepractices of the nations that are there. v10 Do not*sacrifice yourchildren in the fire. Do not say what will happen in the future. Do notusewords that have magic power. You must not use objects that have magicpowers.Do not be a person who does acts of magic. v11 Donot use secret powers.Do not talk with evil *spirits. Do not try to contact the *spirits ofdeadpeople. v12 The *LORD hates people who do thoseterrible things. That iswhy the *LORD your God will force the nations out of the country infront of you.v13 Be completely loyal to the *LORD your God.
v14You willpossess the country of those nations. Some people there say what willhappen inthe future. And they listen to those people. They listen to people withmagicpowers. But the *LORD your God does not allow you to do that.’
Moses toldthe *Israelites what God did not wantthem to do. They must not *sacrifice their children. Other nations didthat.They hoped that their false gods would forgive their *sins. Micahrefers tothis in Micah 6:7. Micah says that a manmight try to offer his oldest son to God. But that gift would not beable topay for the man’s *sin. Even the death of that son would not besufficient.
God didnot allow the *Israelites to contactdead people. They should not try to use words with magic powers or usemagic inany other way. They should not study the stars to see if the starsdirectevents.
We need towarn people about this. Many peopledo those things today. Magic is wrong. Some people believe that theyhavespecial powers. But those special powers belong to God only. That iswhy magicis wrong.
v15‘The *LORDyour God will send to you a *prophet who is like me. He will come fromamongyour own nation. You must listen to him. v16 Allthis is a result of whatyou wanted from the *LORD your God at *Mount Sinai. When you gathered,youasked God this. “Do not let us hear the voice of the *LORD our Godagain. Donot let us see this great fire again. Otherwise we will die.”
v17The *LORDsaid this to me. “What they say is good. v18 I willsend to them a*prophet like you from among their own nation. I will tell him what tosay. Hewill tell the people all that I order him. v19 This*prophet will speaka message from me. If someone does not listen to the *prophet, thatperson isresponsible to me. v20 A *prophet might proudlypretend to speak amessage from me that I have not given to him. Also a *prophet mightspeak anduse the name of false gods. If that happens, you must kill the*prophet.”
v21You mightask this. “How will we know that the *LORD has not given a particularmessage?”v22 The *prophet will say from the *LORD thatcertain things willhappen. If those things do not happen, the *LORD did not give thatmessage.That *prophet has spoken because he was proud. Do not be afraid of him.’
Godpromised that he would speak to the*Israelites by a *prophet. This *prophet would be an *Israelite, hewould notbe a foreigner. He would be like Moses. The people were too afraid tohear Goddirectly, so God sent his messages by *prophets. The *Israelites mustobey the*prophet. If they did not obey him, God would punish them. They mustkill any*prophet who did not speak God’s messages. They would know if a*prophet wasnot a true *prophet by these tests. The first test was if his *prophecydid nothappen. The second test was this. The *prophet used the name of falsegods whenhe spoke his messages. The third test was if the *prophet said thingsjust toplease people.
There havebeen many *prophets since the time ofMoses. God had spoken to his people by means of those *prophets. Butthe *NewTestament says that Moses’ *prophecy came true in Jesus. (See Acts3:20-22.)
v1‘The *LORDyour God will *destroy the nations whose country he is giving to you.You willforce them out. You will live in their towns and houses. v2Then choosethree cities in the country that the *LORD your God is giving to you topossess. They must be easy to reach. v3 Build roadsto them. Divide intothree parts the country that the *LORD your God is giving to you topossess.Then anyone who kills a person can go to one of those cities.
v4A man mightkill by accident a person who is not his enemy. The man can go to anyof thosecities to save himself. v5 For example, a man mightgo into the forestwith his neighbour to cut wood. As he is chopping down a tree, the topof hisaxe might come off. It might hit his neighbour and kill him. That mancan go toone of the cities to save himself. v6 A relative ofthe dead man couldget *revenge because of the man’s death. The relative might be veryangry. Hemight run after the man and catch him. Then the relative would killhim. Thecity was too far for the man to reach. He did not intend to kill hisneighbour.So the man did not deserve to die. His neighbour was not his enemy. v7That is why I order you to choose three cities.’
Godordered the *Israelites to choose threecities on the west of the River Jordan. Those cities would be inaddition to thethree cities on the east of the River Jordan. They were cities forsomebody whohad killed another person by accident. The relatives of the dead personmustnot get *revenge. A judge must decide first whether the killer wasguilty. Thethree cities had to be in places that people could reach easily. Mosesgives anexample of someone who kills another person by accident. The dead man’srelative must not get *revenge while he was still angry. See the notesonchapter 4:41-43.
v8‘The *LORDyour God may increase the size of your territory. He told your*ancestors that hewould do that. He may give to you all the country that he promised toyour*ancestors. v9 He will do that if you obey allthese *commandments.You must love the *LORD your God. And you must behave in the way thathe hastaught you. Then you must select three more cities. v10Do that so thatinnocent people will not die in the country. This is the country thatthe *LORDyour God is giving to you to possess. Then you will not be guilty ofthe deathof innocent people.’
The*Israelites never added the extra threecities. God did not give all the country to them because they did notobey him.
v11‘Supposethat a man hates his neighbour. So the man hides and waits. Then heattacks hisneighbour and hits him. The neighbour dies. Then the first man runsaway to oneof these cities. v12 The rulers of his town mustsend for the man. Theymust bring him back to his town. They must give him to the relative whocan get*revenge because of the murder. Then the relative will kill the man. v13Do not give him any *mercy. Make sure that nobody in *Israel is guiltyof aninnocent man’s death. Then your life will be good.’
You canread more about these cities in Numbers35:6-34. Perhaps the man killed someone by accident or perhaps hemurdered aperson. The rulers of a city would look at the evidence. Then theywould decidewhat to do. If a man murdered someone, the dead person’s relative couldkillthat man. But the relative could do that only if the man was guilty.However, aman might kill someone by accident. Then he had to stay in the cityuntil thechief priest died. Notice that God wanted *justice. He did not wantanybody tokill an innocent person. In the same way, he did not want a guiltyperson to befree.
v14‘Do notmove the stone that marks your neighbour’s boundary. Your *ancestorsput upthose stones in the land long ago. The *LORD your God has given theland to you.It belongs to you.’
This was aserious crime. People needed theirland so that they could produce crops. Their crops kept people alive.If peoplemoved the position of the stone, they were stealing somebody’s land.Withouttheir land, people had no method to remain alive.
v15‘One*witness is not enough to give evidence against a person about a crimeor a*sin. Two or three *witnesses need to prove that a man is guilty.
v16Supposethat a man wrongly accuses another man about a crime. v17Both men muststand in front of the *LORD. They must stand in front of the priestsand thejudges who are serving at that time. v18 The judgeswill examine thematter carefully. They may find that the *witness has told a lie. Hehasfalsely accused another *Israelite. v19 Then the*witness must receivethe punishment that he had intended for the other person. You mustremove thisevil thing from among you. v20 The rest of thepeople will hear aboutthis and they will be afraid. Nobody will ever do such a wicked thingagain. v21Do not show any *mercy. The punishment is to be this. Take a life inexchangefor a life. Take an eye in exchange for an eye. Take a tooth inexchange fortooth. Take a hand in exchange for a hand. And take a foot in exchangefor afoot.’
There werestrict laws about evidence in court.There had to be two or three *witnesses to prove that someone wasguilty. Therewere several witnesses when the *Jews were accusing Jesus. However,Mark14:55-59 says that they did not agree with each other! A false witnessreceivedthe same punishment as he had intended for his enemy. But thispunishment hadits limits. It should not be more severe than the crime. That was theprincipleof *justice that God decided.
In Matthew5:38, Jesus spoke severely about the*Pharisees. They used this rule in people’s personal relationships.Jesus saidthat we should be more generous. We should not get *revenge. We shouldforgiveother people.
v1‘Do not beafraid when you go to fight against your enemies. You may see horsesand cartsthat men use in war. You may see an army that is bigger than your army.The*LORD your God, who rescued you from Egypt, is with you. v2Just beforeyou go into battle, a priest will speak to the army. v3He will saythis. “*Israelite men, listen. Today you are going into battle againstyourenemies. Do not lose courage. Do not be afraid. Do not tremble. Do notfeelterror because of your enemies. v4 The *LORD yourGod is going with you.He will fight for you against your enemies and you will win.”
v5Then theofficers will say this to the army. “Has anyone built a new house buthe has notbegun to live in it yet? If so, he can go home. Because, if he dies inbattle,someone else will live in his house. v6 Has anyonejust planted a fieldof *grapes but he has not begun to enjoy its fruit? Let him go home. Hemightdie in the battle and someone else will enjoy its fruit. v7Has someonejust agreed to marry a woman but not yet married her? If so, he can gohome. Hemight die in the battle and someone else will marry the woman.” v8Thenthe officers will say this to the *Israelites. “Is anyone afraid? Hasanyonelost courage? Let him go home. He might make the rest of the army losecouragealso.” v9 When the officers have finished theseorders to the army, theyshall appoint officers to lead it.’
The*Israelites would be afraid of chariots(carts with two wheels that men use in war) and horses. They did nothave anychariots until Solomon was king. The priest would speak to the army andhewould encourage the men. The priest would remind the army that God waswiththem. They should not be afraid. The law in Deuteronomy was very kindto*Israelites. Men with a new house, a new field of *grapes or a new wifedid nothave to fight. When people agreed to marry, it was a serious promisefor them.This decision was as definite as the actual marriage. Usually the manhad paidthe bride’s father some money before the wedding. Before people beganto livein a new house, they would say a special prayer to God.
Men whowere afraid might cause other men to beafraid. Men who were afraid might not think about things carefully.Instead,they might make bad decisions in the battle because of their fear.Those whowere afraid did not have *faith. People who fight God’s wars must trustGod’spower. Notice what Gideon did in Judges chapter 7. He sent home thosemen whowere afraid. Timothy became afraid easily. So in 1 Timothy 6:12, Paulencouraged him to ‘fight the good fight of *faith’. In 1 Timothy 5:23,Paulgave this advice to Timothy. ‘Do not continue to drink only water, butdrink alittle wine. Do that to make your stomach well, because you are ill sooften.’Deuteronomy reminds us about the Christian’s responsibility towardotherpeople. And we see that in the *New Testament too.
v10‘When yougo to attack a city, offer peace to the people there. v11They mightgive in and they might open the gates of their city. If so, they willbecomeyour slaves. You will force them to work for you. v12Some people mayrefuse to give in. They may choose to fight. If they do, then surroundthe citywith your army. v13 When the *LORD your God givesit to you, kill allthe men with your swords. v14 Take for yourselvesthe women, thechildren, the *cattle and everything else that is in the city. You canuseeverything that the *LORD your God has given to you from your enemies. v15You must do that with those cities that are far away from you. They donotbelong to the nations that are near you.
v16You willpossess cities in the country that the *LORD your God is giving to you.Thenyou must kill everyone. v17 The *LORD your God hasordered you to*destroy completely all the people there. You must kill the people inthenations called the Hittites, the *Amorites, the *Canaanites, thePerizzites,the Hivites and the Jebusites. v18 That is becausethey will teach youto do terrible things. They do those things to give honour to theirfalse gods.Then you will *sin against the *LORD your God.
v19When youare trying to possess a city, do not cut down its trees. Do not dothat, evenif you have to surround the city for a long time. Eat the fruit, but donot cutdown the trees. They are not your enemies. v20However, you can cut downother trees that do not produce fruit. You can make things from themthat helpyou to attack the city. You can do that until you possess the city.’
The*Israelites could offer an agreement forpeace to people who lived in cities a long distance away. The peoplemightagree to that. Then they would become slaves of the *Israelites. (Thathappenedto the people from Gibeon. They pretended that they had come from alongdistance away. See Joshua 9:1-27.) If the city refused this agreementforpeace, the *Israelites killed all the men. The *Israelites could keepthewomen, the children and the animals for themselves. If the cities werenear totheir country, the *Israelites must *destroy everyone and everything.Thisseems severe to us. But the people who lived in Canaan were very evil.If the*Israelites had not attacked them, those enemies might have *destroyedthe*Israelites. Also, the *Israelites might have *worshipped the falsegods oftheir enemies. Their enemies *worshipped false gods. That involved manywickedpractices that God hated. Therefore, the commands are not about anation whomust fight another nation. Rather, the commands are about God’s people.Theymust be against those nations that hate God. *Israelites acceptedpeople fromother nations who wanted to *worship *Israel’s God.
Jesustaught Christians to love their enemies.But Jesus taught that Christians should be against evil things. InMatthew5:29-30, he says this. A person’s eye or hand might make him dosomething thatis wrong. So the person should take out his eye or cut off his hand.Here, theeye refers to thoughts and the hand refers to actions. So a personshouldremove whatever makes him do wrong things. Paul explains to theChristians atCorinth what that means. (See 2 Corinthians 10:5.) ‘We control ourthoughtslike prisoners.’ Revelation 21:27 says this. ‘Anything that is not*clean willcertainly never enter the city.’ (‘The city’ means the place where Godis.)
Moseswarns the *Israelites not to cut downfruit trees when they attack a city. If they did that, they woulddamage thesoil and the supply of food. However, they could use other trees.
v1‘Supposethat there has been a murder. Then someone finds the dead body in afield. Itis in the country that the *LORD your God will give to you. You do notknow whokilled the person. v2 Your leaders and judges mustgo out. They mustmeasure the distance from the body to each of the nearest towns. v3Thenthe leaders in the town that is nearest to the body must choose a youngcow.This cow has never worn a wooden bar that joins two animals together.And ithas never worked. v4 They will take this cow to avalley where there isa stream. Nobody has ploughed the land or has planted anything there.Therethey must break the cow’s neck. v5 The priests whocome from the familyof Levi must go there. They must make decisions in circumstances ofargumentsor physical attack. The *LORD your God has chosen them to serve. Andthey givea *blessing from the *LORD. v6 Then the leaders ofthe town that is nearestthe body will wash their hands over that cow. v7They will say this. “Wedid not murder this man. We do not know who did it. v8*LORD, forgiveyour people in *Israel, whom you rescued from Egypt. Do not consider usto beresponsible for the murder of an innocent man.” Then they will notcontinue tobe responsible for the man’s death. v9 In that way,you will remove thecrime of the innocent man’s murder. You will have done what the *LORDwants youto do.’
Whensomebody carried out a murder, the wholesociety became not *clean. The leaders and judges had to act. Thejudges had tobe certain that the measurement was correct. They killed a cow. Godsaid thatits blood covered the *sin. The stream would remove the blood of thecow. Thepriests would tell the leaders what to say. They said it over the bodyof theanimal. They would ask God to forgive the sin. Then there would be noevilresults from the murder. And the relatives of the dead man should notget *revengeon the city.
In thosedays, people believed that they sharedresponsibility. Today many societies do not believe that this is true.So aceremony like this is not necessary now.
v10‘When the*LORD your God allows you to defeat your enemies in a battle, you cantakepeople as prisoners. v11 You may see among them abeautiful woman thatyou desire. If so, you can take her as your wife. v12Take her to yourhome. She will shave her head. Then she will cut the nails on herfingers. v13And she will change her clothes. She must stay in your house. She willbe sadabout the loss of her parents for a month. After that, you can go toher andyou can marry her. v14 If she does not please you,let her go free. Youmust not sell her or deal with her as a slave. That is because you havehad sexwith her.’
Theyallowed the woman a month to be sad for herparents. Perhaps her father had died in the battle. Her mother thenwouldbelong to another master. The woman had to shave her head and she hadto changeher clothes. That meant that her previous life had ended. At the end ofthemonth, the man could marry her. If later the man did not like her, hecoulddivorce her. He must not sell her as a slave, but she could go free.The*Israelites dealt with women better than any other country did. The*Israelitesacted in a way that showed sympathy.
Someteachers said that a man could divorce hiswife for any reason. Jesus said that it was wrong for a man to divorcehiswife. But he could divorce her only if she had sex with another man.Both Mosesand Jesus give freedom and honour to women.
v15‘Supposethat a man has two wives. He loves one wife but he does not love theotherwife. Both of his wives give birth to sons. The son of the wife, whomhe doesnot love, is born first. v16 Then the man decidesto divide his propertyamong his sons. But he must not give to the son of his favourite wifethe sharethat belongs to the first son. v17 He must give thedouble share of whathe has to his first son. He must do that even if the first son is notthe sonof his favourite wife. This son was the first son that he had. He mustgive tothis son the share that he should have.’
The sonborn first should receive a double sharein the property. The father must not give the double share to the sonof hisfavourite wife. (Jacob did that with Joseph in Genesis 37:3-4. But whenthathappened, it was because of God’s gift. The son could not demand it.However,Jacob’s first son had lost his place. See Genesis 49:3-4.) God wanted aman tobe fair to all his wives. A man could have a favourite wife, but he hadto obeythe law.
v18‘Perhaps aman has a son who will not obey his father or his mother. He will notobey anyrules and he refuses to change. The son does not listen to his parentseven if theypunish him. v19 His father and his mother must takehim to the leadersat the gate of the town. v20 The parents will saythis to the leaders.“Our son will not change his mind and he opposes us. He will not dowhat wetell him. He wastes money and he is a drunk.” v21Then all the men inthe town will throw stones at him to kill him. So you will remove theevilperson from among you. Everyone in *Israel will hear and they will beafraid.’
Here thelaw supported the authority of theparents. Clearly, the son was out of control. He refused to obey God’s*commandments and he would not change his mind. The *sins of which theyaccusedthe son were probably just examples. The parents had to agree that theyshouldtake their wicked son to the leaders. If a son’s behaviour was verybad, he hadto die. This son opposed his parents and he refused to change hisbehaviour.Therefore, the son must not continue to live in that society. Theparents didnot kill their son. Instead, all the men in the town had to carry outthepunishment that the leaders had ordered. There are no examples in theBiblewhen that actually happened. However, these verses show theresponsibility ofparents. But it showed also the importance of how people behave intheirsociety. God wanted the *Israelites to *keep his commands and to be*holy.
In Mark7:10-13, Jesus says that we should givehonour to our parents. We should always help them and not refuse. Wemust notsay this. ‘I cannot help my parents because I have given my money toGod.’ In Ephesians6:4, Paul tells parents not to make their children become angry.Sometimeschildren refuse to obey when parents do that.
v22Suppose that the peoplekill a man. They do that because he isguilty of a crime. Then they hang his body on a tree. v23You must notleave the body there during the night. Bury him the same day. If youhang aperson on a tree he receives God’s *curse. You must not ruin the land.The*LORD your God has given the country to you. It belongs to you.
Whenpeople *sinned in certain ways thepunishment was death. Then often they would hang the body on a pole.(This polewas a piece of wood that they cut from a tree.) They had to bury thebodybefore sunset, or it would make the land not *clean.
Noticethat Joseph of Arimathea buried the bodyof Jesus before sunset. (See John 19:31-38.) In Galatians 3:13, Paulrefers toJesus’ death. Jesus felt the experience of God’s *curse and God’s*judgementwhen he died. As Jesus did that, he freed us from God’s *curse.
v1‘You may seethat your neighbour’s *ox or sheep is loose. If you do, you must notavoid it.Take the animal back to your neighbour. v2 If itsowner lives far away,take the animal to your home with you. Also, you must do that if you donotknow the animal’s owner. When the owner comes to look for his animal,then giveit to him. v3 Do the same if you find yourneighbour’s *donkey or hiscoat or anything else. Do not avoid it.
v4If yourneighbour’s *donkey or *ox has fallen down on the road do not avoid it.Helpyour neighbour to get the animal up again.
v5Women mustnot wear men’s clothes and men must not wear women’s clothes. The *LORDyourGod hates anyone who does that.
v6You mayfind a bird’s nest along the road with young birds or eggs in it. Itmay beeither in a tree or on the ground. If the mother is sitting on the eggsor onher young birds, do not take the mother. v7 You cantake the youngbirds, but you must let the mother go. Then you will have a long life.And youwill be rich and successful.
v8When youbuild a new house, put a fence round the edge of the roof. Then youwill not beresponsible for the death of anyone who falls from the roof.
v9Do notplant two kinds of seed in the place where you grow *grapes. If you do,youmust not use the *grapes or the other crop.
v10Do notplough with an *ox and a *donkey that you have put together with awooden bar.
v11Somepeople make things from two different materials, wool and a materialcalledlinen. But you must not wear clothes that someone made from those twomaterialstogether.
v12Make longpieces of cotton and tie them on the 4 corners of your coat.’
Peoplemust help their neighbour when theirneighbour’s animals were causing trouble. People from other countriesand eventhe enemies of the *Israelites had to obey this law too. Jesus taughtthe samething in the story of the Good Samaritan. (See Luke 10:30-37.) ASamaritan wasa person from Samaria. He was not a *Jew. In fact, the two wereenemies! Butthe Good Samaritan helped the *Jew who was in trouble. People woreclothes ofthe opposite sex when they *worshipped foreign gods. The sexes areequal, butthey are different. People say that this law opposes transvestism.(Transvestism means to wear clothes that belong to someone of theoppositesex.) Both of those activities hide the difference between the sexes.
The*Israelites should care about animals andbirds. The laws about birds and about how to plough with animals showhow touse them properly. Luke 12:6 says, ‘People sell 5 birds for 2 smallcoins. ButGod does not forget one bird.’ People must not use animals or birds inanunfair and selfish way. It was wrong to use a wooden bar to make strongandweak animals work together. Also, the *ox was a *clean animal that*Israelitescould give as a *sacrifice. The *donkey was not a *clean animal and*Israelitescould not give it as a *sacrifice.
In*Israel, roofs were usually flat. Peopleoften ate and slept on them. The law to put a fence round the roof of ahouseshows care towards other people.
The*Israelites must not mix different crops inthe same field. They must not wear clothes that people had made out oftwodifferent materials. We are not sure why they had those laws. Perhapstheyshowed that the *Israelites should *worship only one God. They shouldseparatethemselves from the false gods in other nations. The long pieces ofcotton onthe edge of their clothes reminded them to *keep God’s law.
v13‘A man maymarry a girl and have sex with her. Then he decides that he does notlike her. v14He accuses her wrongly and he says this. “She was not a *virgin when Imarriedher.” v15 Then the girl’s parents will prove to thetown’s leaders thatshe was a *virgin. v16 The girl’s father will saythis to the leaders.“I gave my daughter to this man to be his wife. But he does not likeher. v17Now he is accusing her falsely. He says this. She was not a *virginwhen hemarried her. But here is the proof that she was.” Then he will show theleadersthe evidence on the cloth. v18 The leaders of thetown will take thehusband and whip him. v19 They will make him pay100 silver coins andthey will give the money to the girl’s father. That is because he hasbroughtshame on an *Israelite girl. She will continue to be his wife. Hecannotdivorce her as long as he lives.
v20But theman may accuse the girl. And what the man says is true. There may be noproofthat the girl was a *virgin. v21 They must take herto the entrance toher father’s house. There the men from the city must throw stones ather tokill her. She has done a terrible thing in *Israel. She had sex beforeshe wasmarried. She was still living in her father’s house. That is how youwillremove the evil thing from among you.’
Women wereusually rather young when they agreedto marry a man. But they stayed in their parent’s house until theyactuallymarried. In this example, the husband married the girl and he had sexwith her.Then he said that she was not a *virgin. If he accused her falsely, theleaderswhipped the man. Then he had to pay 100 silver coins as a punishment.That wastwice the amount that people usually paid for a bride. He could neverdivorcehis wife. If he were telling the truth, the men from the city wouldthrowstones at the girl to kill her. Most societies today would not killsomeonebecause of this *sin. But the law shows this: It is important to Godthat hispeople should not have sex in a wrong way. Strong families areimportantbecause they make a strong society. But the man who accused the girlhad toproduce evidence. If there were none, they would punish the man himself.
v22‘If a manhas sex with another man’s wife, both the man and the woman shall die.You mustremove the evil thing from *Israel.
v23Supposethat a man in a town has sex with an unmarried girl. She has promisedto marrysomeone else. v24 You will take both of them to thegate of the city.There, you will throw stones at them to kill them. The girl must diefor thisreason: She was in a town and she did not call for help. The man mustdiebecause he had sex with another man’s wife. You must remove the evilthing fromamong you.
v25Supposethat a man meets an unmarried girl out in the country. She has promisedtomarry another man. If he forces her to have sex, only the man must die.v26You must not do anything to the girl. She has not *sinned. She does notdeserveto die. It is the same as when a man murders his neighbour. v27The manfound the unmarried girl in the country. Although she cried for help,there wasnobody to help her.
v28Supposethat a girl had not promised to marry a man. Then a man forces her tohave sexwith him. If people have caught him, v29 he mustpay the girl’s father50 silver coins. The man must marry the girl because he forced her tohave sexwith him. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.
v30No manshould have sex with his father’s wife. That would bring shame to hisfather.’
If a manhas sex with another man’s wife, bothof them must die. Suppose that a man has sex in a town with a girl. Shehaspromised to marry someone else. In those times, the promise to marrywas asimportant as the marriage. The leaders must throw stones at them tokill themboth. The man will die because of his *sin. The girl will die becauseshe didnot call for help. If this happens in the country, the leaders will notthrowstones at the girl. If she called for help, nobody would hear herthere. If agirl had not promised to marry someone, the man had to pay the usualprice fora bride. Then he had to marry the girl. The law did not allow him todivorceher. The law did not allow a man to marry a wife that belonged to hisfather.(Absalom did that when he turned against his father David. See 2 Samuel16:21-22.)
A manshould have sex only with his wife. And awife should have sex only with her husband. Both the *Old Testament andthe*New Testament teach that.
v1 ‘A person may squeeze hard or cut off the sex parts of a man. The man with the physical damage must not go to the *LORD’s house.
v2 A person must not go to the *LORD’s house if his father and mother are not both *Israelites. Also, his *descendants must never go there, not even after 10 *generations.
v3 No *Ammonite or *Moabite or any of their children should go to the *LORD’s house, not even after 10 *generations. v4 They refused to give bread and water to you on your way out of Egypt. They hired Beor’s son, Balaam from Pethor in Aram Naharaim, to *curse you. v5 But the *LORD your God would not listen to Balaam. Instead, the *LORD your God turned the *curse into a *blessing for you. The *LORD your God did that because he loves you. v6 Do not ask for their peace or their friendship for as long as you live.
v7 Do not hate a person from the country called Edom. That is because he is your relative. Do not hate an *Egyptian, because you lived as strangers in his country. v8 The third *generation of their children can go to the *LORD’s house.’’
Thesepeople could not belong to the *Lord’speople. They must not join in *worship. People that were not perfect intheirbodies could not give *offerings to the *Lord. However, they could eata shareof the *offerings. Sometimes the *Canaanites cut off a man’s sex partsonpurpose. Sometimes an *Israelite man or woman married someone with adifferentreligion. Their children could not belong to the *Lord’s people. The*Israelites did not include *Ammonites and *Moabites as part of theirnation.They did not help the *Israelites when they left Egypt. Balaam hadtried to*curse the *Israelites. (See Numbers chapters 22-24.) But because Godloved the*Israelites, the *curse became a *blessing. *Israelites should befriends withthe people from Edom. They were the *descendants of Esau, Jacob’sbrother. Andthe *Israelites were *descendants of Jacob. Also *Israelites should befriendswith the *Egyptians, because the *Israelites had lived in Egypt in thepast.
Later,things changed. They would accept intoGod’s family a person without sex parts. But that person had to *keepthe*covenant. (See Isaiah 56:3.) Although Ruth was a *Moabite, she becamepart ofGod’s people. The people in Egypt will say, ‘There is no other God.’(SeeIsaiah 45:14.) However, God did not accept the people from Edom. (SeeObadiah18.)
There areverses which show that many kinds ofpeople can enter the *kingdom of God. They do not have to belong to aparticular nation. Here are two of those verses: ‘I will mention EgyptandBabylonia among those who know me.’ (See Psalm 87:4.) ‘There is neither*Jewnor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female. You are all united when youbelongto Jesus Christ.’ (See Galatians 3:28.) Paul uses the word ‘Greek’ tomeananyone who is not a *Jew.
v9‘When you are in a camp atthe time of war, avoid every evil thing. v10Someone may become not *clean. During the night, a man may produceliquid fromhis sex part. If so, he must go outside the camp and he must staythere. v11When the evening comes, he can wash himself. When the sun goes down, hecanreturn to the camp.
v12Have aplace outside the camp where you can go to the toilet. v13Have a tool withwhich to dig. When you go to the toilet, use the tool to cover up thewastefrom your body. v14 The *LORD your God is with youin your camp. He willprotect you. He will cause you to defeat your enemies. Therefore, youmust keepyour camp *holy. God may see something that is not clean. If he does,he maynot continue to go with you.’
Laws abouthealth were important. The principlein the law was this. Anything that comes from a person’s body is‘unclean’. The*Israelites must have clean bodies and clean clothes. They must burycarefully thewaste from their bodies. If camps were not clean, then disease wouldspreadvery quickly. God was present in the camp. If they did not keep thecamp *holyand clean, God would not stay with them.
Jesusmakes a connection between what makes aperson unclean in the body and not *clean in the *spirit. (See Mark7:20-23.)In Hebrews 10:22, the writer tells Christians to come near to God. Thewritersays that they must have a *clean conscience. They must wash theirbodies withpure water. That does not refer to a physical wash. Instead, it meansthatpeople must live in a moral way.
v15‘A slavemay escape from his master and he may come to you. Do not hand him overto hismaster. v16 The slave shall live wherever he likesamong you. He canchoose any town in which he wants to live. You must be kind to him.
v17No*Israelite man or woman can sell his or her body for sex in a *temple. v18Somebody might have money that they had earned in that way. They mustnot bringit into the house of the *LORD your God. You must not pay that kind ofmoneybecause of a promise to God. The *LORD your God hates those acts.
v19Do notcharge extra money when you lend food, money or anything else toanother*Israelite. v20 You can charge a foreigner extramoney. But you must notcharge another *Israelite extra money. Then the *LORD your God will*blesseverything that you do. He will *bless you in the country that you willlivein.
v21If youpromise something to the *LORD your God, do not be slow to *keep yourpromise.Otherwise the *LORD your God will demand that you *keep it. Then youwill beguilty of *sin. v22 If you do not promisesomething, you will not beguilty. v23 You must do everything that you promiseto do. You chose topromise it to the *LORD your God.
v24You can gointo your neighbour’s field of *grapes. You can eat all the *grapesthat youwant. But you must not put any *grapes in a basket. v25You can go intoyour neighbour’s field of corn. You can pick with your hands the partof thecorn that contains seeds. But you must not cut any corn with a tool.’
Sometimes,when a slave was in a foreigncountry, he ran away from his master. The law allowed him to live insafetywherever he wanted to live. The *Israelites must not make these peopleto beslaves again.
*Israelitesmust not sell their bodies for sex.They certainly must not do that in ceremonies of religion. The*Canaanites didthat. They *worshipped the false female god called Astarte. If anybodyearnedmoney in that way, he or she must not give the money to God. God hatedit whenpeople used their bodies in that way.
*Israelitessometimes lent money to other*Israelites. But they must not charge people for money that they lent.Usuallythey lent money because people were poor. The *Israelites could chargemoneyfor what they lent to foreigners. That was because foreigners wereusuallymerchants or traders. They were not poor. They used the money for theirbusiness. Jesus told his followers to lend and to expect nothing back.(SeeLuke 6:35.)
Anybodywas free to promise something to God.But he was also free not to promise something. However, if he didpromisesomething, he must *keep his promise. And he must not postpone the daywhen hedid that.
The lawallowed people to pick *grapes. And theycould pick from the fields the part of corn that contained seeds.People couldpick them when they were hungry. But they must not take more than theycouldeat. That would rob their neighbour. The *Pharisees spoke badly aboutJesus’followers. But Jesus said that they could eat the corn. (See Luke6:1-5.) Thoselaws taught about how to look after other people.
v1‘Supposethat a man marries a woman. Later, he decides that she does not pleasehim. Hefinds something about her that he does not like. So, he writes out anote ofdivorce and he gives it to her. Then he sends her away. v2After she hasleft his house, she marries another man. v3 Thenher second husbanddecides that he does not want her. He writes out a note of divorce andhe givesit to her. Then he sends her away from his home. Or perhaps he dies. v4Her first husband, who divorced her, cannot marry her again. She is notmorally*clean. The *LORD would hate that. The *LORD your God is giving thecountry to youto possess. You must not do such a terrible *sin in that country.’
Maybe aman divorces his wife. He must not marryher again if her second husband divorces her. He must not marry hereven if hersecond husband dies. We do not know why the first man wanted to divorcehiswife. He had to write down his reason. It was not because his wife hadsex withsomeone else. Death was the punishment for that *sin. The first husbandcouldnot claim back his first wife again. So this law protected his secondwife. Andit increased the importance of women. Also, the law would help toprevent easydivorces. A public official had to prepare the note of divorce.Although Hosea’swife had not been loyal to him, he refused to divorce her. So, when hefoundher, he could take her back home as his wife. Jeremiah refers to thislaw inJeremiah chapter 3. The people in *Israel were not loyal to God, butGod wouldnot leave them.
Men andwomen are equal when they are married.Jesus taught that. (See Mark 10:1-12.) God allowed divorce only becausepeoplewere *sinful. God said that a marriage should be between one man andone woman.(See Genesis 2:21-24.) God said that they should be loyal to each otherduringtheir entire lives.
v5‘If a manhas just married, he must not go to war. He must not do any otherpublic duty.He is free to stay at home for one year. Then he can be happy with hisnewwife.
v6Do not takea pair of flat stones that people used to make corn into flour. Do nottakeeven one of them as *security for a debt. That would take away aperson’s wayto remain alive.
v7Perhaps you will see thata man is taking an *Israelite as aprisoner. Perhaps he wants to make him a slave. Perhaps he wants tosell him.You must kill the man who does that act. Then you will remove the evilfromamong you.
v8Someone maysuffer from a disease on their skin. The priests from the family ofLevi willgive instructions to you. You must do what they tell you to do. Youmust dowhat I ordered them to do. v9 Remember what the*LORD your God did toMiriam. He did it after you came out of Egypt.
v10Supposethat you lend something to your neighbour. Do not enter his house totakesomething as *security. v11 Stay outside and lethim bring it to youhimself. v12 He may be a poor man. So do not sleepin the coat that hehas given to you. v13 Give it back to him in theevening so that he can sleepin it. Then he will *bless you. And what you do will please the *LORDyourGod.’
A newbridegroom did not have to do any publicduty for one year. That meant that he did not have to fight in thearmy. It wasimportant that he should have a child first. The family is veryimportant toGod.
God didnot allow people to take away a person’sflat stones. A person must not take them as *security for a debt. If apersoncould not break up his corn with his flat stones, he could not make hisdailyfood.
The*Israelites must kill anyone who stoleanother person as a prisoner. That was God’s serious punishment for anevilact.
The*Israelites had to obey the laws about howto deal with diseases on their skin. Those laws are in Leviticuschapters 13and 14. Even Moses’ sister had to obey the laws. (See Numbers chapter12.) Theyhad to separate the people with those diseases from the rest of thepeople.Then the disease would not spread.
The*Israelites could lend money to the poorpeople. But they must not make the poor people pay extra money forthat.However, they could take some kind of *security. The *security wasusually thecoat in which a person slept. The person who lent the money must notenter thehome of the man with the debt. The person who lent the money could notchoose a*security. Instead, he must return the coat each night so that the poormancould be warm and comfortable. These laws show that God cares aboutpeople’sneeds.
v14‘Do notcheat a poor servant that you hire. He may be an *Israelite. Or he maybe aforeigner who lives in one of your towns. v15 Payhis wages to him eachday before sunset. He is poor and he needs his wages. If you do not payhim, hewill cry to the *LORD against you. Then you will be guilty of *sin.
v16You mustnot kill parents because their children have *sinned. And you must notkillchildren because their parents have sinned. You can kill a person onlybecauseof the *sins that he has done.
v17Do not take away *justicefrom foreigners or from children withoutparents. Do not take a widow’s coat as *security for a loan. v18Remember that you were *slaves in Egypt. The *LORD your God freed youfromthere. That is why I am giving that command to you.
v19When youharvest your crops, you may forget to bring in some corn. Do not goback to getit. Leave it for the foreigners, the widows and the children withoutparents.Then the *LORD your God will *bless you in everything that you do. v20When you have picked the *olives once, do not go back to get more.Leave whatremains for the foreigner, the widows and the children without parents.v21When you have gathered your *grapes once, do not go back a second time.Leavewhat remains for the foreigner, the widows and the children withoutparents. v22Remember that you were a *slave in Egypt. That is why I have given thatcommandto you.’
God wantedpeople to receive their wages.Employers used to pay their workers every day. If they did not paythem, theworkers would call to God. God would consider that the employer wasguilty.Moses told them that that would happen.
Jamesaccuses rich Christians who are in a poorworld. ‘You have not paid the wages of those who worked in your fields.Themoney that you kept from them calls to God against you. The *Lord ofall powerhas heard the cries of the workers.’ (See James 5:4.)
Mosesemphasised personal responsibility. WhenJeremiah speaks about God’s new *covenant, he says this in Jeremiah31:30.‘Everyone will die because of the wrong things that he has done.’ The*Israelites must look after the poor people, especially foreigners,widows andchildren without parents. In Egypt, God had shown to the *Israelitesthat heloved them. Therefore, they must show other people that they love them.Atharvest, they must leave part of the crops. That was for the poorpeople whohad no land. We see that this happened in the story of Ruth. Boaz toldhisworkers to drop some corn on purpose. Then Ruth picked it up. (See Ruth2:16.)The gifts that they gave to the poor people were really *offerings toGod. As aresult, God would *bless the people who gave. Proverbs 19:17 says this.‘He whois kind to the poor people is lending to the *Lord. The *Lord willrepay himbecause of what he has done.’ And James 1:27 says this. ‘Religion thatGod ourFather considers right and *clean is this: Look after widows andchildrenwithout parents when they are suffering.’
v1‘Perhapstwo men have an argument and they go to court. The judges declare thatone man isinnocent. Then he declares that the other man is guilty. v2If theguilty man deserves punishment, the judge will make him lie down. Thensomeonewill whip him in front of the judge. The number of strokes will dependon thecrime that he has done. v3 He must not receive morethan 40 strokes. Ifhe received more, that would cause him great shame.’
*Justicewas very important. The judge declaredthat the person was guilty. After that, they could whip him. They mustnot whipthat man before the judge made his decision. The judge had to say whatpunishment the man should receive. All punishment must happen in frontof thejudge. They must not punish anyone more severely than he deserved. Theyrespected the criminal’s value as a person. The maximum was 40 strokes.Butthey whipped someone only 39 times. They wanted to make sure that theydid notcount wrongly! Paul suffered that punishment 5 times. (See 2Corinthians11:24.)
v4‘Do notcover the mouth of an *ox when it is walking on the corn.’
God hadcreated everything. The *Israelites mustshow love and they must be kind to everything. They used an *ox to walkontheir corn. That separated the grain from the stem. Sometimes the *oxwouldstop to eat some grain. They must allow the *ox to feed in that way.Paul usesthat verse when he writes about Christian workers. They providebenefits forthe Christians’ *spirits. So the workers should receive physicalbenefits fortheir work. (See 1 Corinthians 9:9.)
v5‘Supposethat two brothers live in the same property. Then one of them dieswithout ason. His widow must not marry someone who is outside the family. It isthe dutyof her husband’s brother to marry her. v6 The firstson that she haswill have the name of the dead brother. So the name of his family willcontinuein *Israel.
v7If the mandoes not want to marry his brother’s wife, she must go to the town’sleaders.She will say this to them. “My husband’s brother will not do his duty.Herefuses to give to his brother a *descendant among the *Israelites.” v8Then the town’s leaders will order him to talk to them. If he stillrefuses tomarry her, v9 his brother’s widow will go up tohim. In front of theleaders, she will take off one of his shoes. Then she will cough waterinto hisface and she will say this. “This man refuses to build up his brother’sfamily.That is what happens to him.” v10 The *Israeliteswill give his familythis name: “The family of the man whose shoe they pulled off.” ’
Thiscustom made sure that a woman’s deadhusband had a son. In that society, it was very important for a man tohave ason. That son continued to use the name of the family. The reason whypeoplemarried was to build up the family as a social unit. People believedthat somethingof yourself went into your children. So your name continued to liveeven afteryou had died. If the brother refused to do his duty, he had to go tothe townleaders. If he still refused, the widow took off one of his shoes. Thenshecoughed water in his face. They did that because most people could notreadlegal notes.
v11‘Supposethat two men are fighting. Then the wife of one man comes to rescue herhusbandfrom the other man. If she grasps the other man’s sex parts, v12cut offher hand. Do not show *mercy.’
This isthe only place in the *Old Testamentthat orders this kind of punishment. It follows the laws about familyand*descendants. Nothing and nobody should damage a man so that he cannothave*descendants.
v13‘Do nothave in your bag unfair objects with which you weigh things. Do nothave oneheavy object and one light object. v14 Do not havein your house unfairobjects to measure things with. Do not have one large and one smallobject formeasurements. v15 You must weigh and measure thingshonestly. Then youwill live for a long time in the country that the *LORD your God isgiving to you.v16 The *LORD your God hates anyone who cheats.’
Merchantsusually used stones to weigh theirgoods. They often used heavy stones to weigh goods when they boughtthem. Thenthey would get them for a cheap price. But they used light stones toweighgoods when they sold them. Then they would get more money. Themerchants usedpots to measure liquids or goods like grain. But they often used potsof thewrong size. God wanted the *Israelites to be completely honest. Theyhad toweigh and measure everything correctly. God would punish the people iftheyused pots and stones of different sizes. Amos says in chapter 8:5 thatthepeople did not obey these laws.
v17‘Rememberthe time when you were coming out of Egypt. You met the people calledtheAmalekites. Remember what they did to you. v18 Theydid not *fear God.You were so tired that you could not do anything. Then they attackedyou. Theykilled all those who were going slowly at the back of your people. v19The *LORD your God will give the country to you to possess. He willgive you arest from all your enemies. When he has done that, kill all theAmalekitepeople. Then nobody will continue to remember them. Do not forget!’
The peoplecalled the Amalekites attacked the*Israelites at Rephidim. Exodus 17:8-16 describes the battle. Godpunished theAmalekites because they did not show *mercy to the weak people. In 1Samuel15:3, God gave the command to King Saul to *destroy the Amalekitepeople.
v1‘The *LORDyour God is giving this country to you to possess. You will own it andyou willlive there. v2 Then take some of the first part ofeach crop that youharvest from the land. That crop comes from the soil in the countrythat the*LORD your God is giving to you. Put the first part of the crop into abasket.Go to the place that the *LORD your God will choose. v3Go to the priestwho is serving at that time. Say this to him. “I declare today to the*LORDyour God that I have come to this country. That is what the *LORDpromised toour *ancestors. He promised that he would give this country to us.” v4The priest will take the basket from you. He will place it in front ofthe*altar of the *LORD your God. v5 Then you will saythis to the *LORDyour God. “My father came from the country called Aram. And he wanderedroundthe country. He went down into Egypt with a few people. He lived thereand hebecame a large and powerful nation. v6 The*Egyptians were cruel to us. Theymade us suffer and they made us work very hard. v7Then we cried to the*LORD who is the God of our *ancestors. The *LORD heard us. He saw thatwe werevery sad. He saw our troubles and our difficulties. v8So the *LORD usedhis great power and strength as he brought us out of Egypt. He did*signs and*wonders. He caused terrible things to happen. v9He brought us to thisplace. Then he gave to us this rich and *fertile country. v10Now Ibring the first part of the harvest that you, *LORD, have given to me.”Placethe basket in front of the *LORD your God. And *worship in front of the*LORDyour God. v11 You and the *Levites and theforeigners who are among youwill be happy. You will do that because of all the good things that the*LORDyour God has given to you.’
The*Israelites must give to the *LORD a part ofthe crops that they had grown in the country. They took the crops tothe priestat the place that God chose. The priest put the crops in front of the*altar.Then they thanked God for his kindness. Verses 5-10 are either aprayer, or astatement of what they believed. The person who came from Aram wasJacob.During his life, Jacob moved from Canaan to Haran in the country calledAram.He also married two women who came from Aram. At last, he and hisfamily wentdown into Egypt. In the end, God rescued them from there, and Godhelped themto possess their new country. Now they gave the *offering. It came fromthefirst crops in the country. In that way, the person thanked God for thegift.The *Lord promised this country to the person’s *ancestors. Perhapseveryonejoined in a *holy meal. This ceremony might have been a part of the*Festivalof Shelters. We should thank God especially for the special events inourlives. They are the times when we see God’s goodness to us.
v12‘Everythird year, put aside a 10th of all your crops.This is the year ofthe *tithe. Give it to the *Levite, the foreigner, the children withoutparentsand the widows. Then they will have all that they need to eat in yourtowns. v13Then say this to the *LORD your God. “I have taken the *holy *tithe outof myhouse. I have given it to the *Levites, the foreigners, the childrenwithoutparents and the widows. That is what you ordered me to do. I have notneglectedor forgotten any of your *commandments. v14 I havenot eaten any of the *titheswhile I was sad. I have not taken any of it out of my house when I wasnot *clean.I have not given any of it to dead people. I have obeyed the *LORD myGod. Ihave done everything that you ordered me to do. v15Look down from your*holy place in heaven. *Bless your nation, *Israel. *Bless also thecountrythat you have given to us. This is the country that you promised to our*ancestors. It is a country that is rich and *fertile.” ’
Theseverses repeat what is in chapter 14 verses22-29. Every third year, they kept a 10th oftheir crops in thevillages. That was to help the poor people. It would help the *Leviteswho didnot own any land. The men in *Israel had to declare that they hadobeyed God’slaw about the *tithe. They had to take every part of it out of theirhouse.They had to give it to the people who needed it. They would not use itas apart of an *offering to dead people. That was a custom of the people inCanaan.Each *Israelite man had to obey God. Then he could pray that God would*blesshis nation and his country. He would declare that he depended on Godforeverything.
InPhilippians 4:12-13, Paul said this. ‘I knowhow to live when I need things. And I know how to live when I haveplenty.Everywhere and in all circumstances, I have learned the secret of howto becontent. I have learned to be full and to be hungry. I have learned tohaveplenty and not to have enough. I am ready for anything because Christgives mestrength.’
v16‘Today,the *LORD your God commands you to *keep all his rules and his laws.Obey themcompletely. v17 Today you have declared thesethings. The *LORD is yourGod. You will do what he wants you to do. You will *keep all his rules,his*commandments and his laws. And you have declared that you will listento him. v18The *LORD has declared today that you are his special nation. Hepromised thatyou would be. You must *keep all his *commandments. v19He will make yougreater than any other nation that he has created. You will have morehonourand fame. People will praise you more than any other nation. You willbe a*holy nation for the *LORD your God, as he promised.’
Here, Godpromised that the *Israelites would behis special people. Also, the *Israelites declared that the *LORD wastheirGod. But all the *Israelites needed to obey God’s laws in order toreceive goodthings from him. Peter uses this idea to refer to Christians and thechurch in1 Peter 2:9. ‘You are the people whom God chose. You are royal priests.You area *holy nation. You belong to God. God has called you out of darknessinto hiswonderful light. He has done that for a reason. He wants you to telleveryoneabout the great things that he has done.’
v1Moses and the leaders ofthe *Israelites ordered the people. ‘*Keepall the *commandments that I order you today. v2You must do thefollowing things when you have gone across the River Jordan. There youwillfind the country that the *LORD your God is giving to you. Put up somelargestones. And cover them with material that is like white paint. v3Writeon the stones all the words of this law. Do that when you have enteredthecountry. The *LORD your God is giving to you a rich and *fertilecountry. The*LORD, the God of your *ancestors, promised to give this country toyou. v4When you have crossed the River Jordan, put up the stones on *MountEbal. Dowhat I order you today. Cover the stones with material that is likewhitepaint. v5 Build an *altar of stone there to the*LORD your God. Do notuse any metal tools on the stones. v6 Build the*altar to the *LORD yourGod with stones that you have not cut. Give *burnt offerings on the*altar tothe *LORD your God. v7 *Sacrifice and eat your*fellowship offeringsthere. Be happy in front of the *LORD your God. v8You shall write veryclearly on the stones. Write all the words of this law.’
v9Then Moses,together with the priests who were *Levites, spoke to all the*Israelites.‘*Israelites, be quiet and listen. Today you have become the nationthatbelongs to the *LORD your God. v10 Obey the *LORDyour God. *Keep allhis *commandments and his rules that I order you today.’
Mosestells the people how they must rememberGod’s *covenant with them. They must put up some stones. They mustwrite partsof the law on the stones so that everyone could read them. People whocame inthe future would be able to read them also. The *Israelites must put upan*altar at *Mount Ebal. They must make it of stones that they did notcut. Othernations made their *altars out of stones that they cut. *Israel must bedifferent.They must read the *curses publicly from *Mount Ebal. (That is whereAbrahambuilt his first *altar.) They must read the *blessings from *MountGerizim. The*burnt offerings showed that the *Israelites were completely loyal toGod. Withthe *fellowship offerings, they thanked for what God had done on theirbehalf.Verses 9-10 may be part of a speech that urged the people to obey the*covenant. God gave the *covenant to them first. It was his free gift.They didnot have to do good works to obtain the *covenant. They obeyed Godbecause theywere grateful for his *blessings.
v11That day,Moses gave this command to the people.
v12‘When youhave gone across the River Jordan, these *tribes shall stand on *MountGerizim.They are Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph and Benjamin. There theywill*bless the people. v13 These *tribes shall stand on*Mount Ebal toannounce *curses. They are Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan andNaphtali.
v14The*Levites will speak these words to the *Israelites in a loud voice:
v15“God*curses anyone who makes an *idol out of stone, wood or metal. The*LORD hatesthe *idols that men make. And God *curses anyone who *worships themsecretly.”Then all the people shall say, “We agree.”
v16“God*curses anyone who brings shame on his father or on his mother.” Thenall thepeople shall say, “We agree.”
v17“God*curses anyone who moves the stone at his neighbour’s boundary.” Thenall thepeople shall say, “We agree.”
v18“God*curses anyone who leads a blind man in the wrong direction.” Then allthepeople shall say, “We agree.”
v19“God*curses anyone who is not kind to foreigners, children without parentsandwidows.” Then all the people shall say, “We agree.”
v20“God*curses anyone who has sex with his father’s wife. That brings shame onhisfather.” Then all the people shall say, “We agree.”
v21“God*curses anyone who has sex with an animal.” Then all the people shallsay, “Weagree.”
v22“God*curses anyone who has sex with his sister, his father’s daughter orhismother’s daughter.” Then all the people shall say, “We agree.”
v23“God *curses anyone whohas sex with his wife’s mother.” Then allthe people shall say, “We agree.”
v24“God*curses anyone who kills another person secretly.” Then all the peopleshallsay, “We agree.”
v25“God*curses anyone who accepts money as a payment to kill an innocentperson.” Thenall the people shall say, “We agree.”
v26“God*curses anyone who does not accept all of this law in order to obeyit.” Thenall the people shall say, “We agree.” ’
Mosesdivided the people into two groups whenthey declared publicly the *curses and *blessings. This passage givesonly the*curses. The *blessings probably were the opposite of the *curses. Sixof the*tribes stood on *Mount Gerizim, which was the southern hill. They werethe*tribes who were *descendants of Rachel and Leah. The other 6 *tribesstood on*Mount Ebal, which was the northern hill. They were the *tribes whowere the*descendants of the servants of Rachel and Leah. They also included the*tribeof Zebulun and the *tribe of Reuben. The *blessings and *curses were onbehalfof all the *tribes. They were not just on behalf of the *tribes thatrepeatedthem. There were 12 *curses because there were 12 *tribes.
They mustnot make images. God created allthings. However, nobody knew what God looked like. So nobody could makeanimage of God. Parents provide shelter, food and protection for theirchildren.Therefore, people should love and show honour to their parents. Peoplemust notchange the position of the stone at their neighbour’s boundary.Sometimespeople moved the stone to steal extra property. They must not leadblind peoplein a wrong direction. They must love and look after the foreigners, thewidowsand the children without parents. They must not have sex with animalsor with closefamily members. They must not kill another person secretly. They mustnotreceive money because they killed someone.
God’s*curse came on all *sin. Moses named many*sins. People could hide most of those *sins from other people. Butthey couldnot hide their *sins from God.
v1‘Listencarefully to the *LORD your God. *Keep and obey all his *commandments.I amordering that to you today. If you do, the *LORD your God will make yougreaterthan any other nation on earth. v2 If you obey the*LORD your God, youwill have all these *blessings:
v3God will*bless you in your towns and in the country.
v4He will*bless your children. He will *bless your crops. He will *bless youryoungsheep and your young *cattle.
v5He will*bless the grain that you harvest. You will always be able to makebread.
v6God will*bless you when you come in. And he will *bless you when you go out.
v7The *LORDwill defeat your enemies whenever they attack you. They will attack youfromone direction, but they will run away in seven directions.
v8The *LORDwill send a *blessing on your buildings where you store your crops. Andhe willsend a *blessing on all the work that you do. The *LORD your God will*blessyou in the country that he is giving to you.
v9You must *keepthe *commandments of the *LORD your God. And you must do what he wantsyou todo. Then the *LORD will make you his *holy nation as he has promised toyou. v10Then all the nations will see that the *LORD has chosen you as his ownnation.They will be afraid of you. v11 The *LORD will giveto you manypossessions. He will give to you many children, many *cattle and goodharvestsin your country. This is the country that he promised to your*ancestors togive to you.
v12The *LORDwill open up his stores in heaven. He will send the rain from the skyat theproper time. He will *bless all that you do. You will lend to manynations. Butyou will not ask for anything from them. v13 The*LORD will make you theleader. He will not make you the follower. You must obey carefully allthe*commandments of the *LORD your God that today I have ordered you todo. Thenyou will always be at the top and not at the bottom. v14Do not leavethese commands in any way. Do not *worship false gods or serve them.’
Godpromised all these *blessings to the*Israelites if they obeyed his commands. God did not give the *covenantto the*Israelites because they deserved it. (See Deuteronomy 7:6-7.) But theywouldreceive the *blessings of the *covenant only if they obeyed it. The*blessingswere for the nation, the family and each person. The *blessingsinvolved theirwork in the city and in the fields. The *blessings affected the*Israelites’children, their crops, their *cattle and their daily food. God wouldprotectand provide for his people. He would make them the leaders of othernations.But to enjoy those *blessings they must continue to obey God.
v15‘I amgiving to you these *commandments and rules today. Suppose that you donot obeythe *LORD your God. Suppose that you do not continue to *keep his*commandmentscarefully. All these *curses will happen to you.
v16God will*curse your towns and your fields.
v17God will*curse your crops of grain and the food that you prepare.
v18You willhave only a few children, poor crops and a few *cattle and sheep.
v19God will*curse you when you go in. And he will *curse you when you go out.
v20The *LORDwill send upon you *curses, *disaster and trouble in everything thatyou do.You have done evil acts and you have left him. Therefore, he will*destroy youand quickly ruin you. v21 The *LORD will senddiseases to attack you. Hewill leave none of you in the country that you will soon enter topossess. v22The *LORD will send these particular problems to attack you. He willcause yourbodies to be sore and you will be hot because of the diseases. He willsendvery hot winds and a lack of water. Diseases called blight and mildewwillattack your crops. Because of those *disasters you will die. v23No rainwill fall and the ground will be as hard as iron. v24Instead of rain inyour country, the *LORD will send dust and sand. He will do that untilhe has*destroyed you.’
There aremore *curses than *blessings. Perhapsit is better to warn someone about punishment. It may have more effectthan topromise a *blessing. The *curses are the opposite of the *blessings.God oftendefeated the *Israelites’ enemies. He caused the enemies to becomeafraid. ButGod warned the *Israelites too. And this would cause them to be afraid.Theywill have diseases that make them very ill. Bad weather and diseasewill causetheir crops not to grow. Because of all those things, the *Israeliteswill die.
v25‘The *LORDwill allow your enemies to defeat you. You will attack them from onedirectionbut you will run away in seven directions. All the people in everycountry willsee what happens to you. You will be an awful sight. v26The birds inthe air and the animals on the earth will eat your dead bodies. Nobodywillfrighten them away. v27 The *LORD will send painfulspots under yourskin as he did on the *Egyptians. You will have unpleasant things thatgrow inyour body. And you will have diseases on your skin. Your skin will hurtyou.Nobody will be able to cure you of those things. v28You will go mad.The *LORD will make you blind and confused. v29 Atmidday you will haveto feel round, like a blind man. You will not succeed in anything thatyou do.Day after day, people will be cruel to you and they will rob you.Nobody willcome to help you.
v30You willmake plans to marry a woman, but someone else will have sex with her.You willbuild a house, but you will never live in it. You will plant a field of*grapes, but you will never eat its fruit. v31 Youwill see someone killyour *ox. But you will not eat it. Someone will take your *donkey fromyoucruelly and you will not get it back. Someone will give your sheep toyourenemies. And nobody will rescue them. v32 You willsee someone give yourchildren as slaves to foreigners. Every day you will look for yourchildren toreturn, but they will not return. v33 You will workhard to produce yourcrops but a foreign nation will take them all. You will receive nothingbutterrible cruelty. v34 The things that you see willmake you go mad. v35The *LORD will cover your knees and your legs with painful spots undertheskin. Nobody will be able to cure them. The painful spots will coveryou fromyour head to your feet.
v36The *LORDwill force you and your king to go to another nation. Neither you noryour*ancestors will have known that nation. There, you will *worship falsegodsthat they make out of wood and out of stone. v37The *LORD will send youinto other countries. The people there will look at you with disgustand shock.The people there will laugh at you.’
Moses knewthat the *Israelites were not very*faithful. He warns them what would happen. If they are not *faithful,theirenemies will defeat them. Nobody will bury the people who have died.Birds willeat their bodies. The *Israelites will have many diseases that nobodycan cure.The *Israelites will not know what to do. They will be like blindpeople. Theirenemies will take the *Israelites’ wives, their property and theirchildren.They will not be able to stop their enemies. The worst thing will bethat theenemies will take the *Israelites out of their country. They will makethe*Israelites serve false gods. People make these false gods out of woodandstone. All that happened to *Israel in 721 *B.C. And it happened toJudah in598 *B.C. Psalm 137:1-3 describes how their enemies laughed at them.‘Ourenemies demanded songs of joy. “Sing to us one of the songs from Zion(Jerusalem).” ’
v38‘You willsow plenty of seeds but you will have only a little harvest. Insectscalledlocusts will eat your crops. v39 You will plantfields of *grapes andyou will look after them. But you will not pick the *grapes or drinkthe wine.Tiny animals called worms will eat them. v40 *Olivetrees will groweverywhere in your country. But you will not put the oil on your bodybecausethe *olives will drop off the trees. v41 You willhave sons anddaughters, but you will lose them. The enemy will take them away asprisoners. v42Insects will eat all your trees and your crops.
v43Theforeigners who live in your country will continue to get more power.Slowly youwill lose your power. v44 The foreigners will lendmoney to you, but youwill have no money to lend to them. In the end, they will be theleaders andyou will be the followers.
v45All these*curses will come upon you. They will come after you and they willcatch you.Then people will *destroy you. That is because you did not obey the*LORD yourGod. You did not *keep all his *commandments and his rules that heordered youto do. v46 These *curses will be a *sign and a*wonder to you and to your*descendants for always.’
There are*blessings in the first part of thechapter. But these events in these verses are the opposite of those*blessings.There would be very big problems with the country’s trade and supply ofmoney.Insects called locusts fly in huge groups. And they very quickly eateverythingin a field that is full of crops. Worms would eat the plants thatproduce*grapes. (Worms are tiny animals without legs.) The *olives would falloff thetrees before they were ripe. Enemies would take the children of the*Israelites. Those children would probably have to work very hard onfarms inthe enemy’s country. The ‘foreigner’ may refer to the *Canaanites. Theyused tolive in the country that God gave to the *Israelites. Perhaps theycould nowenjoy the country again. God would take away his *blessings from*Israel becausehis people did not obey him.
v47‘The *LORDyour God *blessed you. But you did not serve him in a joyful and happyway. v48Because of that, you will serve the enemies that the *LORD will sendagainstyou. You will be hungry and you will not have enough to drink. You willbenaked. You will need everything. The *LORD will deal with you severelyuntil hehas *destroyed you.
v49The *LORDwill bring against you a nation from far away. You will not understandtheirlanguage. That nation will come upon you like a large bird called aneagle. v50Its people will have very fierce faces. They will not respect oldpeople andthey will not pity young people. v51 They will eatyour young *cattleand your crops. You will die because you are hungry. They will notleave anycorn, wine, oil, young *cattle or young sheep. Then you will die. v52They will attack all the cities that are in the country. The high,strong wallsthat you trusted will fall down. Your enemies will surround all thecities inthe country that the *LORD your God is giving to you.
v53They willcause you to suffer so much that you will even eat your children. Youwill eatthe bodies of the sons and daughters that the *LORD your God has givento you. v54Even the gentlest man will not pity his own brother. Nor will he pitythe wifewhom he loves. He will not pity the rest of his children. v55He willnot give to them any of the bodies of his own children that he iseating. Hewill have no other food, because the enemy will cause you to suffer somuch inyour towns. v56 The gentlest woman, who would noteven walk anywhere, willdo these things too. She will not give anything to the husband, whomshe loves,or to her own children. v57 She will not give tothem the material thatcomes out of her body after the birth of a baby. Nor will she give tothem herbaby who has just been born. She will eat both of them secretly. Thatisbecause of her great trouble when the enemy surrounds the city.’
God hadgiven to the *Israelites so many goodthings. But they would forget to thank him. And they would forget toserve him.As a result, their enemies would attack them. Their enemies would comefrom along distance away. Because the *Israelites would not praise God,anothernation would attack them. The *Israelites would not understand thosepeople’slanguages. The enemies would be like a large bird that arrivessuddenly. Theywould *destroy everything and everybody. There would be no food for the*Israelites, so that they would even have to eat their own children!Thathappened to the *Israelites several times. In 2 Kings 6:28-29, it tellsusabout two women in the town called Samaria. They made a plan to eattheirchildren and they did eat one child. Jeremiah 19:9 says that the samethingwould happen in Jerusalem too.
v58‘Supposethat you do not obey carefully all the law in this book. Suppose thatyou donot give honour to the wonderful and powerful name of the *LORD yourGod. v59The *LORD will send to you and to your *descendants terrible diseases,awful*disasters and serious illnesses. v60 He will sendto you again all theterrible diseases that you had in Egypt. You will never recover. v61The*LORD will send to you every kind of illness and *disaster. This bookof thelaw does not even record them. Then you will die. v62Then you, who wereas many as the stars in the sky, will become few in number. That willbebecause you did not obey the *LORD your God. v63The *LORD was happy togive to you good things. And he was happy to make you increase innumbers. Nowhe will be happy to ruin and to *destroy you. God will take you out ofthecountry that you had entered to possess.
v64And the*LORD will scatter you among the nations. You will go from one end ofthe earthto the other end. There you will serve false gods that people make outof woodand stone. Neither you nor your *ancestors have known those false gods.v65You will not find any peace among those nations. There will be nowherewhereyou can stay. The *LORD will give to you an anxious mind. Your sightwill beweak. You will feel full of despair. v66 You willbe in danger. Duringthe day and the night, terror will fill you. You will be in constantfear ofdeath. v67 In the morning, you will wish for theevening. In theevening, you will wish for the morning. That will be because of thefear thatfills your minds. The things that you will see will also make youafraid. v68The *LORD will send you back to Egypt in ships. I had said that youwould nevermake that journey again. There you will try to sell yourselves as maleandfemale slaves to your enemies. But nobody will buy you.’
In chapter11 verses 10-16, God had promisedphysical *blessings. They would come if the whole *Israelite nationobeyed God.But the people might forget to serve and to obey God. Then they wouldsuffer allthe diseases that they had in Egypt. They would decrease in numbers.They wouldserve *idols, and they would not continue to serve the *Lord. Theywould leavetheir country and they would not feel safe. Finally, they would go backtowhere they began. They would try to be *slaves in Egypt, but nobodywould wantto buy them!
The third speech: 29:1 to30:20 – Choose to Live in theway that God Wants You to Live
v1These are the words of the*covenant. The *LORD ordered Moses tomake it with the *Israelites in the country called Moab. This was inadditionto the *covenant that he had made with them at *Mount Sinai.
v2Mosescalled all the *Israelites together and he spoke to them:
‘You saw all that the *LORD did in Egypt tothe king, to all his officials and to all his country. v3You saw thegreat troubles, the *signs and the great *wonders. v4But the *LORD hasnot given to you yet a mind that understands. You do not understandwhat youreyes see. You do not understand what your ears hear. v5“I led you for40 years in the *desert. Your clothes and your shoes did not wear out. v6You did not eat bread or drink wine or strong alcohol. I did thosethings sothat you would know this: I am the *LORD your God.”
v7You came tothis place. Sihon, king of Heshbon, and Og, king of Bashan, foughtagainst us. Butwe defeated them. v8 We took their country. We gaveit to the *tribe ofReuben, the *tribe of Gad and half the *tribe of Manasseh. It belongsto them.
v9Obeycarefully all the words of this *covenant. Then you will succeed in allthat youdo.’
The ‘wordsof the *covenant’ (verse 1) may referto chapters 1-28. But in chapters 29 and 30 Moses repeats the *covenantwith anew *generation of *Israelites. He reminds them about their history.And heurges them to be *faithful to God. The *Israelites had all escaped fromEgypt.And they had all had the experience of the journey through the *desert.However, the people that Moses spoke to in verse 1 had not had thatexperiencethemselves. But they were part of the nation called *Israel.
Then Godtells them how he had provided for them(verses 5-6). God provided for them so that their clothes did not wearout. Hehad given to them food and water. He helped them to defeat the kings.God gaveto them the country so that it belonged to them. They had done nothingtodeserve it. But each *tribe received a share of the land as theirpossession.That was similar to a father who divided his land among his sons beforehisdeath. However, the *Israelites did not appreciate properly what Godhad donefor them. They refused to trust him. As a result, God did not allowthem tounderstand what he had done. For that reason, the *Israelites did notlisten tothe *prophets. And later, many did not listen to Jesus himself.
v10‘Today youare standing in front of the *LORD your God. The chiefs of your*tribes, yourleaders, your officials, and all the men from *Israel, are here. v11Your wives and your children are here. The foreigners are also here.They chopyour wood and they collect your water. v12 You arehere in order toenter into this *covenant with the *LORD your God. The *LORD is makingthis*covenant with you today with his promise. v13Today he is establishingthis. You are his people and he will be your God. This is what he toldyou. Andthis is what he promised to you and your *ancestors Abraham, Isaac andJacob. v14I am not making this *covenant and this promise just with you. v15Youstand here with us in front of the *LORD our God today. But I am alsomakingthis *covenant and this promise with those who are not here today.’
Mosesreminds the *Israelites that they are infront of God. All the people were there. God was reminding them aboutthepromises that he had already made in his *covenant. God had made his*covenantand his promises with Abraham. God also made his *covenant and hispromiseswith the *Israelites who had left Egypt. But the *covenant was also forthosewho were not yet born. Each new *generation had to accept the *covenantforthemselves.
(In John17:20-21, Jesus prayed for hisfollowers. But he included the future *generations in his prayer.)
v16‘Youremember how we lived in Egypt. You know how we passed through thecountries onthe way here. v17 You saw the terrible *idols thatthey made out ofwood, stone, silver and gold. v18 Make sure that noman or woman, nofamily or *tribe here today, leaves the *LORD our God. Make sure thatthey donot *worship the false gods of those nations. That would be like a rootthatgrows into a poisonous plant.
v19A personmay hear this serious *covenant and then he may *bless himself. Hesays, “Ishall be safe. So I shall continue to do what pleases me.” That would*destroyall of you, good people and evil people alike. v20The *LORD will notforgive that person. Instead, the *LORD will be angry with the man. Allthe*curses that are in this book will come upon him. The *LORD will*destroy himand the *LORD will remove his name from the world. v21The *LORD willseparate him out from all the *tribes in *Israel and he will send*disaster tohim. That man will suffer all the *curses of the *covenant that are inthisbook of the law.’
Mosesreminds the people again about how Godrescued them from Egypt. Moses reminds them about their journey. Hewarns themnot to give honour to *idols. That would be like a poisonous plant. Theplantmay look good. But it produces poison that could kill a person. Supposethat someonedecides not to listen to Moses. Suppose that other people start to*worship*idols. It would ruin the whole nation. People would not enjoy thebenefits ofthe *covenant if they did not belong to it personally. God would notforgive aperson if that person decided to *sin on purpose. Nobody would rememberhisname. The *Israelites thought that that was a terrible thing.
In Actschapter 5, Ananias and Sapphirapretended to be better than they were. They did what pleased them. Butboth ofthem died very suddenly. Jesus told his followers that they should notbe likethat. They should not make people think that they were better thanotherpeople. (See Matthew 6:1-6.)
v22‘Then thenext *generation of your children, and people from foreign countries,will seethe *disasters that have happened. They will see how the *LORD has sentdiseaseto this country. v23 The land will burn and it willhave no use. Saltand a yellow chemical called sulphur will cover the soil. There will benograss. Nothing will grow there. It will be like the cities called SodomandGomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim. The *LORD *destroyed those cities becausehe wasvery angry. v24 All the nations will ask, “Why didthe *LORD do this tothe country? Why was he so angry?”
v25The answerwill be this. “It is because these people now do not obey the*covenant. Thatis the *covenant that they had with the *LORD, the God of their*ancestors. The*LORD made that *covenant with them when he brought them out of Egypt. v26But they went away and they served false gods. They *worshipped falsegods whomthey had not known before. They were false gods whom the *LORD had notgiven tothem. v27 Therefore the *LORD was very angry withthe country. So, hebrought upon the country all the *curses that are in this book. v28The*LORD became very angry. Because he was so very angry, he made thepeople leavetheir country. He forced them into another country, where they aretoday.” ’
As thepeople stood on the plains of Moab, theycould see the edges of the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea was 46 miles long.The land used to produce good crops. But God *destroyed it as apunishment. The peoplewho lived there had done wrong things. The same thing could happen tothe restof the country if the people started to serve *idols.
In Romanschapters 9-11, Paul describes how many*Jews have refused to accept God. But Paul says that *Jewish people canstillreturn to God. And he will show *mercy to them.
v29‘There aresome things that the *LORD our God has kept as a secret. But the thingsthat hehas shown to us belong to us and to our children for always. So, wemust obeyhis law.’
People donot know everything. Only God knowscertain things. For example, only God knows what will happen in thefuture.There are many things that God has not told us yet. However, God hasshown to usall that we need to know. God has taught us clearly what to do. We mustlearnwhat God desires us to do. As soon as we understand those things wemust dothem. We must do them because we love God. And also, we must do them inorderto obey God.
v1‘All these*blessings and *curses, that I have told you about, will happen to you.You willlive among the nations to which the *LORD your God has scattered you.Thenremember. v2 Suppose that you and your *descendantsreturn to the *LORDyour God. Then you obey completely all the commands that I am giving toyoutoday. v3 Then the *LORD your God will have *mercyon you. You will notcontinue to be prisoners. He will bring you back from the nations wherethe*LORD your God has scattered you. v4 Maybe hescattered you to the mostdistant country in the world. Even then, the *LORD your God will gatheryoufrom there and he will bring you back. v5 He willbring you to thecountry that belonged to your *ancestors. Then you will possess it. The*LORDwill make you richer and more successful. You will be more in numberthan your*ancestors were. v6 The *LORD your God will give toyou and to your*descendants, a desire to obey him. So, you will love the *LORD yourGodcompletely and you will live. v7 The *LORD your Godwill put all these*curses on your enemies. They hate and they attack you. v8You will obeythe *LORD again. You will *keep all his *commandments that I order youtoday. v9Then the *LORD your God will make you successful in all that you do.You willhave many children and many *cattle. Your fields will produce manycrops. The*LORD was glad to make your *ancestors successful. In the same way, hewill beglad to make you successful. v10 You will have toobey the *LORD yourGod. You will have to *keep all his *commandments and his rules thatare inthis book of the law. You will have to return and *worship the *LORDyour Godcompletely.’
Moses endshis speech with a hopeful message.Also, he urges the people to obey God’s commands. God might have sentthe*Israelites away from their country because they did not love God. Andthey hadnot obeyed him. But if they returned to God, then God would show *mercytothem. If the *Israelites returned to the *Lord, then he would *blessthemagain. They would own more than they had before. Then they would changethe waythat they were thinking. The Bible calls this ‘repentance’. They wouldwant tolove and to obey him. Jeremiah writes about this in Jeremiah 31:33-34.‘I willwrite my laws on their minds. I will forgive their *sins. I will notcontinueto remember the wrong things that they have done.’ When a person obeysGod, theresult is *blessing. Jeremiah 32:41 says, ‘It will give me pleasure todo goodthings for them.’
Somepeople believe that the *Jewish nation willbelieve Jesus. Paul writes about this in Romans chapters 9-11. He saysthat theGentiles will believe Jesus. (Gentiles are people who are not *Jews.)They willbelieve Jesus when most *Jews do not believe. But one day, *Jews willsee the*blessings that the Gentiles have. As a result, the *Jews will trustJesus andthey will receive God’s *mercy. So, ‘all *Israel will receive*salvation’. (SeeRomans 11:26.) This may mean that the whole *Israelite nation willreceive *salvationat that time. But some people do not agree with that. For those people,‘all*Israel’ refers to all the non-*Jewish Christians plus all the *Jewswho willtrust Jesus.
v11‘The*commandment that I am giving to you today is not too difficult foryou. It isnot too hard for what you are able to do. v12 It isnot in heaven. Youdo not have to ask this. “Who will go up to heaven and bring it downfor us?Then we will hear it and we will do it.” v13 It isnot on the other sideof the sea, so that you have to ask this question. “Who will go acrossthe seato get it? Then they can bring it to us. And we can hear it and we cando it.” v14No, the words are very near to you. They are in your minds and you canspeakabout them. So, you can obey them too.
v15Today I amgiving to you a choice. You can choose to live and then good thingswill happento you. Or you can choose death and then very bad things will happen toyou. v16Today, I order you to love the *LORD your God. You must do what hesays. Andyou must *keep his *commandments, rules and laws. Then you will liveand youwill increase in numbers. The *LORD your God will *bless you in thecountrythat you will enter to possess.
v17But maybeyou will not obey and you will refuse to listen. People may persuadeyou to*worship and to serve false gods. v18 If so, I tellyou that God will*destroy you. You will cross the River Jordan and you will enter thecountry topossess it. But you will not stay there for a long time.
v19I askheaven and earth to be a *witness against you today. I have given toyou thechoice. You can choose to live or to die. And you can choose between*blessingsand *curses. Therefore, choose to live, so that you and your*descendants canlive. v20 Love the *LORD your God. Obey what hesays. Be *faithful tohim. The *LORD makes you alive. He will let you live for many years inthecountry. He promised to give this country to your *ancestors, Abraham,Isaacand Jacob.’
As Mosesends his speech he gives the people achoice. God’s commands were not difficult for the *Israelites tounderstand.They could discover them easily. God had spoken from the place where helives.But the people could understand him easily. The commands did not comefrom along distance away. God had not written them in a foreign language.Peoplecould repeat the *commandments and they could obey the *commandments.The basiccommand was that everyone should love God. If they loved God, theneverythingelse would happen too. It was a choice to live or to die. It was achoicebetween good things and evil things. ‘To live’ and ‘to die’ do notrefer tojust physical things. God wants to give *blessings. ‘To live’ meansthat peopleenjoy his *blessings. ‘To die’ means that people suffer the *curses.
31:1 – 33:29 From Moses toJoshua
v1Then Mosescontinued to speak to all the *Israelites. v2 ‘I amnow 120 years old. Icannot continue to lead you. The *LORD has said to me, “You shall notgo acrossthe River Jordan.” v3 The *LORD your God himselfwill cross over aheadof you. He will *destroy the nations that are in front of you. Then youwillpossess their country. Also, the *LORD has told you that Joshua willlead youacross the river. v4 Sihon and Og were the kings ofthe *Amorites. The*LORD will do to those nations what he did to those kings and to theircountry.He destroyed them. v5 The *LORD will hand overthose nations to you. Youmust do to them everything that I have ordered you to do. v6Be strong.Have courage. You must not be afraid of those nations. The *LORD yourGod goeswith you. He will always help you and he will not leave you.’
v7Then Mosescalled Joshua. And Moses spoke to Joshua in front of all the*Israelites. ‘Bestrong. Have courage. You will go with these people into the country.The *LORDhas promised it to their *ancestors. And you must cause them to possessit.They will continue to possess it in the future. v8The *LORD himselfwill lead you and he will be with you. He will not leave you and hewill alwayshelp you. Do not be afraid. Do not lose courage.’
Moses hadfinished his work. He was now 120years old and he could not continue to lead them. Moses appointedJoshua as thenew leader, although God was their actual leader. God had caused themto defeatSihon and Og. In the future, he would cause them to defeat othernations. Godhad helped them to *destroy nations when Moses led them. In the future,Godwould help them to *destroy nations under the leadership of Joshua.Both Joshuaand the people should be strong and have courage. God would be withthem. Theyneed not be afraid.
Paul talksabout the Christian’s war againstevil things in Ephesians 6:10-18. He encourages Christians. He says tothem,‘Be strong in the *Lord and be strong in his great power.’
v9So Moses wrote down this law. He gave it to the priests, who werethe sons of Levi. They carried the box of the *covenant of the *LORD.He alsogave the law to the leaders of *Israel. v10-11Moses gave this commandto them. ‘At the end of every 7 years, in the year when you canceldebts, readthese laws. Do it at the *Festival of Shelters when all *Israelitescome togive honour to the *LORD your God. They must come to the place that hewillchoose. Then read this law aloud to them, so that they will hear it. v12Call all the people. Call the men, women, children and foreigners whoare livingin your towns. Then they will listen, and they will learn to *fear the*LORDyour God. They will learn to obey all this law carefully. v13So theirchildren, who do not know the law, will hear it. And the children willlearn to*fear the *LORD your God for as long as you live in the country. Youwill goacross the River Jordan in order to possess this country.’
‘Moseswrote down this law.’ But Moses probablyhad people to help him. The priests kept the laws safely. Every 7years, duringthe *Festival of Shelters, they would read the laws aloud. Everyone,even thechildren, would hear the laws. As a result, they would respect and obeyGod.
v14The *LORDsaid to Moses, ‘You will die soon. Call Joshua. Go with him to the tentwhereyou meet. Then I will give to him his instructions.’ Moses and Joshuawent tothe tent.
v15The *LORDappeared to them there in the shape of a cloud. The cloud was at theentranceto the tent. v16 The *LORD said to Moses, ‘You willdie soon. Then thepeople will serve the foreign false gods in the country that they hadentered.The people will not be loyal me. They will not *keep the *covenant thatI madewith them. v17 Then I will be angry with them. Iwill leave them and Iwill not help them. I will *destroy them. Many *disasters and troubleswillhappen to them. When those things happen, they will say this. “These*disastershave happened to us because our God is not with us.” v18I will not helpthem because they have done evil things. They have served false gods.
v19Now writedown this song. Teach it to the *Israelites and make them sing it. Itwill be a*witness for me against the *Israelites. v20 I willtake them into acountry that has plenty of good things. I promised that to their*ancestors.They will have plenty to eat. They will fill themselves and they willbecomefat. Then they will start to follow false gods. And they will servethose gods.They will leave me. They will refuse to obey my *covenant. v21Many *disastersand difficulties will happen to them. This song will remind them aboutwhat Isaid to them. Their *descendants will not forget it. I promised to givethecountry to them. But I know what they intend to do. They are thinkingit, evenbefore I take them into the country.’ v22 ThenMoses wrote down the songthat day and he taught it to the *Israelites.
v23Then the*LORD gave this command to Joshua the son of Nun. ‘Be strong. Takecourage. Youwill bring the *Israelites into the country that I promised to give tothem. Iwill be with you.’
God madeJoshua the next leader of the people.God wanted Joshua to be certain about it. The cloud had guided themthroughtheir journey. Now the cloud was at the entrance to the tent. Thatshowed thatGod was there. God told Joshua to be strong and to have courage. GodpromisedJoshua that he, Joshua, would lead the people into the country. Godalso saidthat he would be with Joshua. God warned Moses that the people wouldnotcontinue to follow God. He told Moses to write a song. People rememberthewords of a song more easily than ordinary speech. Then people wouldknow whyGod would not help them. The song would remind them about all that Godhad donefor them. The song would warn them not to leave God. If they refused toobeythe *covenant, then the *curses of the *covenant would happen.
v24Moseswrote in a book all the words of God’s laws. v25Then he gave a commandto the *Levites. They carried the box of the *covenant of the *LORD.Mosessaid, v26 ‘Take this book of the law. Place it nextto the box of the*covenant of the *LORD your God. It will remain there as a *witnessagainstyou. v27 I know this. You refuse to obey and youwill not change yourbehaviour. You have refused to obey the *LORD while I am still alive.You willrefuse even more after I die! v28 Gather all theleaders of the *tribesand your officials and come together in front of me. Then I can saythesethings to them. I will call heaven and earth as my *witness againstthem. v29I know that after my death you will become completely wicked. You willnotcontinue to do the things that I have ordered you to do. The *LORD willsee theevil things that you will do in the future. So you will suffer*disaster. The*idols that you will make will cause the *LORD to be angry.’
Thepriests had to look after the book of God’slaw. They had to put the law next to the box of the *covenant. Then the*Israelites would know when they had done wrong things.
v30While allthe *Israelites listened, Moses spoke the words of this song from thebeginningto the end:
v1‘Listen, heavens,and I will speak.
Oh earth, hear the words that Isay.
v2My lessons willcome down like the rain.
My words will form on the earthlike the mist in the morning.
They will be like showers of rain onnew grass,
They will be like much rain onyoung plants.
v3I will callaloud the name of the *LORD.
Oh, tell people that our God isvery great!
v4He is therock that is strong. What he does is perfect.
He is a *faithful God. He doesnot do anything that is wrong.
He does what is right and fair.
v5The people havenot been *faithful to him.
They are not his children. Theyare *sinful and foolish.
v6You shouldnot deal with the *LORD inthat way.
You are foolish and stupidpeople.
The *LORD is your father. He createdyou.
He made you into a nation andhe made you firm.’
The songdescribes a *trial in a court. Theplace where God lives and the earth are like *witnesses in this *trial.Mosespraises God. God is great and he is perfect. God made his people and heprotects them too. God’s lessons are like the rain. The rain helpsyoung plantsto grow. In a similar way, God’s lessons should have a good effect onhispeople. God looks after his people. But the people have been foolish.They havenot been *faithful or grateful.
v7‘Remember along time ago. Think about the *generations in the past.
Ask your father. He will tell you whathappened.
Ask your leaders to tell you the story.
v8God, who isthe great God, divided the land between the different nations.
He decided where the boundaries shouldbe.
He made the boundaries of the *tribes of the*Israelites that depended on their size.
v9The *LORD’sshare was his people.
He chose Jacob’s *descendantsas his special people.
v10The *LORDfound the *Israelites in a *desert.
It was empty and strong windsblew across it.
He guarded and looked after the*Israelites.
He protected them as he wouldprotect his own eyes.
v11He waslike an eagle that teaches its young birds to fly.
The large bird called the eaglespreads its wings to catch its young birds.
And it carries them on itsstrong feathers.
v12The *LORDalone led his people.
No false god helped them.
v13God letthem rule the mountains.
He fed them with the harvestthat came from the fields.
He satisfied them with honey that camefrom the rocks.
He gave them oil from the hardrock.
v14The cowsand the goats in *Israel gave plenty of milk.
*Israel had fat sheep and malesheep from the region called Bashan.
And *Israel had goats and the finestwheat.
*Israelites drank wine from thejuice of the *grape.’
Thissection shows what God had done for hispeople. God chose the nation called *Israel from among the nations. Heprepareda special country for them. He brought them through the *desert. Helooked afterthem like an eagle looks after its young birds. (An eagle is a verylargebird.) He provided all that they would need in the country. There wereno falsegods to lead the *Israelites away from the right actions.
v15‘The*LORD’s people became rich and they refused to obey him.
They ate and they became fat.
They left the God who had made them.
God had protected them; God hadsaved them.
But they did not honourhim.
v16They madeGod jealous because they served false gods.
They made him angry becausethey *worshipped terrible *idols.
v17They*sacrificed to devils and they did not *sacrifice to God.
The *Israelites had not knownthose false gods in the past.
Those false gods were new to them.
The *Israelite *ancestors didnot *worship them.
v18You didnot follow the God who protected you.
He made you. You forgot the Godwho made you live.’
In thissection, Moses accuses the *Israelites.They were like fat animals that would not follow their owner.*Israelitesserved false gods and they did not continue to trust God. Some falsegods werethe new ones that they had met in their new country. They had forgottenthe Godwho had created them. Moses had seen that kind of thing happen beforethis.Remember the story about the young cow that Aaron had made out of gold.(SeeExodus 32.) Moses knew what would happen in the future.
v19‘The *LORDsaw it with disgust.
His sons and his daughters madehim angry.
v20“I willnot continue to be with them,” he said.
“I will see what happens tothem.
They refuse to obey me and I cannottrust them.
v21They mademe jealous with their false gods that have no value.
Their *idols have no value, andthose *idols made me angry.
I will cause a nation that has novalue to make *Israel jealous.
I will use a foolish nation tomake *Israel angry.
v22My angerwill be like a fire.
It will burn down to hell.
My anger will *destroy the earth andits harvests.
It will make the base of themountains burn with fire.
v23I willsend many *disasters upon *Israel.
I will use up all my arrowsagainst them.
v24The*Israelites will become weak because of hunger.
They will be very hot in theirbodies and they will have terrible diseases.
I will send wild animals to attackthem.
I will send poisonous snakes tobite them.
v25There willbe war in their streets and there will be terror in their homes.
Young men and young women willdie. Babies and old men will all die.
v26I saidthat I would scatter the *Israelites.
Nobody will remember them.
v27But I wasafraid that their enemies would be proud.
They would not understand.
Their enemies would say, ‘We havedefeated them.
The *LORD has not done it.’ ”
v28People in*Israel do not listen to advice.
They do not have any wisdom.
v29If theywere wise they would understand this.
Then they would know what wouldhappen to them finally.
v30One mancould not possibly chase 1000 men.
Two men could not cause 10 000men to run away.
That could happen only if God, theirstrong Rock, would not help them.
It could happen only if the*LORD had left them.
v31The falsegods of our enemies are not like our God, the strong rock.
Our enemies know that this is true.
v32Theirenemies are as bad as the people from Sodom and Gomorrah.
Their enemies are like plants thatproduce poisonous and bitter *grapes.
v33Their wineis like the poison of snakes.
v34“I willremember this.
I will store it in a safe place.
v35I will get*revenge. I will punish those people who do wrong things.
The time will come when theywill suffer defeat.
Their day of *disaster is near.
Their punishment will happenquickly.”
v36The *LORDwill make a judgement on his people.
He will have *mercy on hisservants.
He will see that they have lost theirstrength.
Nobody remains, slave or free.
v37Then hewill say, “Their gods have not been able to do anything.
They were sure that their falsegods would protect them.
v38They fedthose false gods with their *sacrifices.
They gave them wine from their*drink offerings.
Let those false gods come. And letthem help you!
Let them protect you!
v39I am theonly God.
There is no real god apart fromme.
I kill and I make alive.
I cause injuries and I willcure.
Nobody can rescue anyone from my hand.
v40I am theGod who lives for always. I raise my hand towards heaven.
I promise this to you.
v41I willmake my sharp sword to shine.
I will hold it in my hand tobring *judgement.
I will get *revenge on my enemies.
I will punish those who hateme.
v42The bloodof my enemies will cover my arrows.
My sword will kill those whooppose me.
Blood will flow from those who die andfrom the prisoners.
My sword will cut off the headsof the leaders of the enemy.”
v43Ohnations, be happy with God’s people.
God will punish those who killhis people.
God will get *revenge on his enemies.
God will remove the *sins ofhis country and of his people.’
Verses19-25 are the judgement of the judge atthe end of the *trial. God is the judge and he decides how to punish*Israel.He will leave them. He will not help them. They will not be able to getawayfrom his anger. They *worshipped false gods that had no value. So,nations thatdo not *worship God will attack *Israel. There will be hunger anddisease. Wildanimals, war and death will attack them.
(Romans1:18-32 announces similar punishmentsfor people who refuse to accept God’s truth today. Paul says that Godallowedthem to carry out their *sinful desires. Then they received inthemselves theresult of the wrong things that they did.)
But Godwill not ruin his people completely. Godought to send the *Israelites away so that people would forget them.That iswhat they deserved. God will not do that because his enemies mightbecomeproud. God allowed the enemies to be successful for only one reason.God usedhis enemies to punish his people, the *Israelites. God punished hispeople in avery hard way. But the punishment for God’s enemies would be greater.The enemyis as wicked as Sodom and Gomorrah. (God *destroyed those two towns inthe timeof Abraham and Lot. See Genesis 19:24.) God will remember their wickedactions.Then he will punish the *Israelites’ enemies. God will show his peoplethat theywere foolish to trust false gods. God promises to show *mercy on hispeople andto punish their enemies. People from all nations will join to givehonour toGod. He will take away the *sin of his people and he will cover it.
In Romans15:10, Paul uses the first part ofDeuteronomy 32:43. He describes how the Gentiles will trust God.(Gentiles arepeople who are not *Jews.)
v44Moses andJoshua, son of Nun, spoke the words of this song so that the*Israelites couldhear it. v45 Moses finished his speech to all the*Israelites. v46Then he said this to them. ‘Remember every word that I have said to youtoday.Order your children to obey carefully all the words that have taught toyou. v47These commands are important words. They cause you to live. You willcross theRiver Jordan to possess the country. Obey what I have taught to you.Then youwill live for a long time in that country.’
v48The sameday, the *LORD said this to Moses. v49 ‘Go up to*Mount Nebo in theAbarim mountains. It is in Moab, opposite Jericho. Look at the countrycalledCanaan, which I am giving to the *Israelites for their possession. v50You will die on the mountain that you climb. There you will join your*ancestors. In the same way, your brother, Aaron, died on *Mount Horand hejoined his *ancestors. v51 Neither of you were*faithful to me at thewaters of Meribah Kadesh. That was in the *desert of Zin. There, youdid notgive honour to me in front of the people. v52 Soyou will see thecountry from a distance. But you will not enter the country that I amgiving tothe *Israelites.’
Mosesordered the *Israelites to remember thesong and the law. If they obeyed the laws, they would choose to live.God toldMoses to climb *Mount Nebo, where he would die. His brother had died onthe topof a mountain too. God did not allow Moses to enter the country that hehadpromised to the *Israelites. That was because of what happened atMeribah. (SeeNumbers 20:10-13.) You can read more about this in the explanation onchapter 3verses 23-29.
v1This is the *blessing thatMoses, God’s *prophet, gave to the*Israelites. Moses did this before he died.
v2‘The *LORDcame from *Mount Sinai.
He rose like the sun over Seir.He shone from *Mount Paran.
He came with 1000s of *holy *angels.
There was fire at his rightside.
v3Certainlyyou love the people. You look after the *holy people.
They all bend down at yourfeet. You give instructions to them.
v4Moses gaveto us the law that belongs to the people from Jacob.
v5The *LORD was king overhis people *Israel.
He was king when theleader and *tribes of the *Israelites gathered together.’
These areMoses’ last words to the people beforehe died. People considered that the last words of a father were anofficialstatement of his desires. Genesis 27:27-29 contains Isaac’s last wordstoJacob. (Isaac believed that Jacob was Esau.) Here Moses *blesses the*tribes.He was like a father who was blessing his children. Moses was sayingwhat wouldhappen to them in the future. Moses describes God as a king who comeswith hisangels. Angels are God’s army of servants from heaven. God wanted the*Israelites to know what he wanted them to do. God did that as he gavehis lawsto them.
v6‘Let Reubenlive and do not let him die.
Do not allow Reuben’s *tribe tobecome few in number.’
AlthoughReuben was the first of Jacob’s sons,he did not receive the benefits of the oldest son. (See Genesis39:3-4.)Instead, those benefits went to Joseph (Genesis 49:26). Reuben allowedJosephto become a slave. Many people in the *tribe of Reuben died becauseKorah wentagainst Moses. (See Numbers 16:1-30.) Moses prays that the *tribe willnotbecome smaller.
v7Moses said this aboutJudah.
‘Oh *LORD, hear the cry of Judah.Unite Judah with the other *tribes.
Help him against his enemies ashe fights to defend himself.’
This is aprayer for help for Judah when that*tribe would need that help. The Philistines (people from Philistia)attackedJudah later.
Moses doesnot mention Simeon in this *blessing.Perhaps Moses includes the *tribe of Simeon in the *blessing of Judah.
v8Moses said this about Levi.
‘Your *Urim and Thummin, *LORD, arefor the man whom you chose.
You tested him at Massah. Youquarrelled with him at the waters of Meribah.
v9Levi wasmore loyal to you than to his parents, to his brothers or to hischildren.
He obeyed your words and he *keptyour *covenant.
v10They will teach your lawsto Jacob and your instructions to *Israel.
They will put a substance with a sweetsmell in front of you.
They will give whole *burntofferings on your *altar.
v11Oh *LORD,make them strong.
I pray that his work willplease you.
*Destroy hisenemies, so that they will not attack again.’
This wasthe *blessing on Moses’ own *tribe. Thewords Urim and Thummin mean ‘perfect lights’. They were probablypreciousstones. The chief priest carried them. Somehow, God used them to tellhisdecisions to the chief priest. ‘The man whom you chose’ probably meansthechief priest. The events at Massah and Meribah are in Exodus 17:1-7. Itseemsthat the *tribe of Levi was *faithful to God on those occasions.
They had aduty to serve God. That was moreimportant than their duty to their families. This *blessing refers tothe storyof the young cow that Aaron made out of gold. (See Exodus 32:25-29.)The*Levites had killed even members of their own family who were not*faithful.The *Levites had two tasks. They guarded God’s law and they taught itto thepeople. Some *Levites were priests and they gave *sacrifices. Mosesprays thatGod will *destroy Levi’s enemies. Perhaps he is referring to the storyof Korahin Numbers 16:1-11.
v12Moses said this aboutBenjamin.
‘The *LORD loves this *tribe. I pray thatBenjamin will live safely with God.
God always looks after Benjamin.
Benjamin lives under the protection of the*LORD.
The *LORD carries Benjamin, his littleson whom he loves, on his shoulders.’
The *tribeof Benjamin will have a safe place inwhich to live. Benjamin had land to the north-west of Judah, nearJerusalem.The place on which the *Israelites built the *temple was in Benjamin’sland.
v13Moses saidthis about Joseph.
‘I ask the *LORD to *bless Joseph’sland.
I ask God to send mist from thesky above and to send up water from below.
v14Josephwill have the best fruit that the sun has made ripe.
He will have the best fruit ineach month during the year.
v15Let there be the richestthings from the old mountains.
Let there be the bestfruits from the ancient hills.
v16I ask Godto fill his land with the best gifts of the earth.
God was in the bush that was burning.I ask him to *bless Joseph.
I ask that the *tribe of Joseph willreceive all these *blessings.
He was the leader of hisbrothers.
v17Joseph is as strong as a*bull.
He has *horns like a wild *ox.
He will use them to push away nations tothe ends of the earth.
His horns are the 10000s ofEphraim and the 1000s of Manasseh.’
Joseph hasthe longest *blessing. He has thedouble *blessing that a father usually gave to the oldest son. BothJoseph’ssons led *tribes. Ephraim became the very important *tribe. God*blesses Josephwith *fertile land and good crops. There is a reference in verse 16 tothestory about the bush that was burning. (See Exodus 3:2.) An *ox is apowerfulanimal. Joseph has power too. *Horns are often a way to refer to power.The*tribes of his two sons are like the *horns on the *ox. That means thattheywill have military power.
v18This is what Moses saidabout Zebulun and Issachar.
‘Oh Zebulun, be happy when you go out.
Oh Issachar, be happy in yourtents.
v19They willcall people to come to their mountain.
There they will give right*sacrifices.
They will get their wealth from thesea.
They will get secret valuablethings from the sand.’
Zebulunwill have success in trade. And theywill succeed when they catch fish. Issachar will succeed inagriculture. Mosessays that they will give the right *sacrifices to God. They will givethe *sacrificeswhen they have success.
v20This iswhat Moses said about Gad.
‘Give honour to God! He makes Gad’sterritory to be large.
Gad lives there like a lionthat tears at an arm or a head.
v21Gad chosethe best land for himself.
He got the leader’s part. Theleaders of the people gathered.
Gad did what the *LORD declared to beright.
They made the right *judgementsfor *Israel.’
Gad hadthe area east of the River Jordan. Hechose the best part. But he obeyed God. He helped the rest of the*Israelitesto *capture their own land.
v22This is what Moses saidabout Dan.
‘Dan is a young lion. He jumps out ofBashan.’
Dan hasthe energy of a young lion. Later, the*tribe moved to the north near Bashan. Perhaps Moses speaks a *prophecyabout thatevent here.
v23Moses said this aboutNaphtali.
‘The *LORD is very pleased withNaphtali.
They are full of the *LORD’s*blessings.
Naphtali’s land reaches to the sea inthe south.’
Naphtaliwill have the beautiful and *fertileland by the Sea of Galilee. The *tribe will receive God’s *blessing.
v24This is what Moses saidabout Asher.
‘Asher shall have the *blessing ofsons.
Let Asher’s brothers givehonour to him.
Let him wash his feet in oil from*olives.
v25Asher’s gates will bestrong, with bars of iron and of *bronze.
His strength will last for aslong as he lives.’
Asher willhave a *fertile territory. Mosesprays that Asher’s brothers will give honour to him. His land wasfamousbecause of its *olive trees. People came into the*Israelites’ countryto attackit. And they had to come along the road through Asher’s land. But Mosessaysthat its towns will have strong defences.
The finalpromise is like Matthew 28:20. ‘I willalways be with you until the end of this age.’
v26‘There is nobody who islike the God of Jeshurun (*Israel).
God rides on the heavens as hecomes to help you.
He is magnificent as he rides on theclouds.
v27The God, who lives foralways, is your place of safety.
His arms that last for alwayswill support you.
He will force out your enemy in frontof you.
He tells you to *destroy yourenemy.
v28The peoplein *Israel will live insafety.
Jacob’s supply of water iscertain.
They will have a land that is full ofcorn and new wine.
Mist drops down from the sky.
v29Oh*Israel, you are happy. There is nobody who is like you.
The *LORD has saved yournation.
The *LORD will protect you and helpyou. You will use his sword to overcome.
Your enemies will be afraid ofyou.
You will walk all over their *holyplaces.’
Mosespraises God again at the end of the poem.God comes to help his people. He will support them. He will force outtheirenemies. As a result, they will live safely in their country. They willhavewater, grain, wine and the mist that comes on cool nights. God hassaved*Israel. Their enemies will be afraid of them.
34:1-12 Moses Dies
v1Then Mosesclimbed from the plains of Moab to *Mount Nebo. He went to the top of*MountPisgah, which is east of Jericho. There, the *LORD showed to him thewholecountry. Moses saw Gilead’s land as far north as Dan. v2He saw also allof Naphtali’s land, Ephraim’s land and Manasseh’s land. He saw Judah’slandacross to the Mediterranean Sea. v3 He saw thesouthern area. And he sawthe whole area from the valley of Jericho to Zoar. Jericho was the citywithtrees called palm trees. v4 Then the *LORD saidthis to Moses. ‘This isthe country that I promised to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I saidthat Iwould give it to their *descendants. I have let you see it. But youwill not gothere.’
v5Then Moses, the *LORD’sservant, died there in the country called Moab.That happened as the *LORD had said. v6 The *LORDburied Moses in avalley in Moab. That was opposite Beth-peor. Still today, nobody knowswhereMoses’ grave is. v7 Moses was 120 years old when hedied. His sight wasstill good and he was still strong. v8 The*Israelites wept for 30 daysin the plains of Moab, because Moses had died. Then the time ended whentheywere weeping because of Moses.
v9Now Godmade Joshua, the son of Nun, wise. That was because Moses had put hishands onJoshua. So the *Israelites listened to what Joshua said. They did whatthe*LORD had ordered Moses to do.
v10Since that time, there hasnever been a *prophet like Moses in*Israel. The *LORD knew him ‘face to face’. v11Moses did all those*signs and *wonders. The *LORD sent him to do them in Egypt. Moses didthemagainst Pharaoh the king, his officials and his whole country. v12Nobody has ever had such great power as Moses had. Nobody has ever donesuchgreat or terrible acts as Moses did. All the *Israelites saw them.
This givesthe story of Moses’ death. He climbedthe mountain range of Nebo to the top of *Mount Pisgah. It was 2740feet high. From that mountain, Moses saw the Jordan valley up to *MountHermon. That was 120 miles to the north. He saw all the country to thewest, towards the Mediterranean Sea. He sawalso the rich plain of Jericho. There were many trees called palm treesthere.Palm trees do not have branches but they have large leaves at theirtop. ThenMoses died there.
Nobodymarked Moses’ grave with a stone. Thereason for that was probably so that nobody would *worship his deadbody. Hedid not die because he was old. His eye-sight and strength were stillgood.However, he had finished his work. The people wept for 30 days becauseMoseshad died. John describes the death of Jesus in his book. (See John19:30.)‘Jesus said, “I have finished (my work).” When Jesus said that, he lethis*spirit go.’
Moses hadput his hands on Joshua. That was theway that Moses appointed Joshua as the next leader. Joshua received thegift ofwisdom. Moses was the greatest of all the *prophets in *Israel. Godtold moreto him than to anyone else. The *LORD knew Moses ‘face to face’. Thatmeansthat he spoke with Moses in a personal way. The great *sign and theverywonderful act in the *Old Testament was when God rescued the*Israelites from Egypt.Moses did not bring the people into the country that God had promisedto them.All the *prophets reminded the people that God had spoken by Moses.Mosesformed the nation of the *Jews. When Moses died, God himself buriedMoses inMoab. Moses’ period of government had ended. Later, Moses appeared withElijahon the mountain with Jesus. (See Matthew 17:3.) The story of Jesus endswithhim in the place of honour at God’s side. (See Luke 24:51.) There willbe noend to Jesus’ government. (See Isaiah 9:7.)
altar ~a table on which people give gifts or *sacrifices to God or to afalse god.
Ammonite~someone from the nation called Ammon; anything with a relationship toAmmon.The Ammonites were relatives of the *Israelites.
Amorite~ a nationof people who were among the original inhabitants in the country calledCanaan;anything that has a relationship with that nation. There may have beenmorethan one nation that had that name. The *Israelites had to travelthroughAmorite country as they went to Canaan.
Anakites~ anancient nation that was famous for its very tall people.
ancestors ~people in your family who lived before you.
angel~ a servantof God that sometimes brings messages from him.
antelope ~an animal like a *deer that can run very fast.
Baal~ the nameof a false god of the *Canaanites.
B.C.~ yearsbefore Christ came to the earth.
bless~ to say orto do something good to a person; to ask God to be good to someone.
blessing ~a good thing that God does for us; when someone asks God to dogood things for a person or for people; when a person speaks good wordsaboutsomeone.
bronze~ a metalthat people make out of copper and tin.
bull~ male farmanimal; (the female is called a cow). The *Israelites made a metalimage of abull, which they *worshipped as an *idol.
burntoffering~ a priestburned the whole animal on the *altar.
Canaanites~ thepeople who originally lived in the country called Canaan.
capture~ to takesomething and to keep it; to take people and to make them prisoners.
cattle ~cows and *bulls.
celebrate ~to praise an event or a person with honour and with happiness.
clean ~good in thought and in action. But, in the *Old Testament, manythings could make a person not clean towards God. For example, if theytoucheda dead body, that would make them not clean. And the *Israelites mustnot eatanimals that God called not clean.
commandment ~a rule or a command that God gave to the *Jews; the 10 rules thatGod gave to Moses. That was on the mountain called *Mount Sinai (orHoreb); acommand from someone who has authority.
covenant ~the special promise that God made to his people. God’s *covenantwith the *Israelites established a relationship between him and them.But theymust obey him.
curse ~the opposite of a *blessing; bad things that God will do to peoplebecause they have been wicked; to say that God will curse someone.
deer ~an animal. It has long legs and it runs quickly. It eats grass andleaves.
descendant ~a person in your family who will live after you.
desert~ a wildplace where there are small bushes and not much water. It has poor soilandpeople cannot grow crops there. So, not many people live there.
destroy~ todamage something so that it does not continue to exist; to kill peopleoranimals.
disaster ~an event that makes people suffer and causes great damage andperhaps, death.
donkey ~an animal like a small horse with short legs and long ears.
drinkoffering~ people pouredout wine as if they were giving itto God or to a false god.
Egyptian~someone from the country called Egypt; anything with a relationshipwith Egypt.The *Israelites were *slaves in Egypt before God freed them.
faith ~strong belief and trust.
faithful ~when someone always does what they have promised to do; when someoneis loyal at all times.
fear~ to beafraid; to respect someone who is very great.
fellowshipoffering~ an *offeringthat people shared andate together.
fertile ~land that can produce many crops.
festival ~a happy time when people meet together to remember a person or aspecial event.
Festivalof shelters~ the*Israelites built shelters tolive in for a week. That reminded them about their *ancestors’ journeythroughthe *desert.
Festivalof Weeks~ a time whenpeople were happy aboutthe wheat harvest; it happened 7 weeks after the *Passover.
freewilloffering~ an *offeringthat a person chose tomake.
generation ~a period of about 20 to 30 years. During that time, children growup and they have their own children.
grace ~God’s *mercy and kindness, which are free gifts to us.
grape ~small green or purple soft fruit that people can use to make wine.
guiltoffering~ an *offeringthat a person made because he or shehad *sinned.
holy ~morally good; something completely good and perfect; somethingthat people consider to be very important in their religion.
HolySpirit ~ theHoly Spirit is God, even as Jesus and the Father are God. But there arenotthree Gods. The Bible teaches that there is only one God.
horn~ hard hollow bones that grow on the heads of*cattle or otheranimals.
idol ~an image of a false god that people give honour to; an object ofwood, stone or metal that people *worship.
Israel~ the nation of people from the family ofAbraham, Isaac and Jacob;the name of the country that God gave to that nation.
Israelite ~a person from the nation called *Israel; Israelites is anothername for the *Jews.
Jew ~a person who belongs to the family of the *Israelites. Jews are*descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Jewish~ a wordthat describes a *Jew or anything that belongs to the *Jews.
judgement ~when God or a judge says what is right or wrong.
justice ~when things are completely fair.
keep ~to do whatever you should do because of a promise or a law; torespect and to give honour to the law.
kingdom ~a country or a nation that a king or a queen rules; the kingdom ofGod (or heaven) means the people whom God rules.
Levite~ an*Israelite who belonged to the *tribe of Levi. Levi was a son of Jacob.Leviteshad special duties connected to *worship. All *Israelite priests wereLevites.
Lord ~a name for God. It translates the word ‘Adonai’ in the Hebrewlanguage, which means ‘my ruler’. The word ‘lord’ (without a capitalletter)means an ordinary ruler.
LORD~ God gavethis special name to himself. It translates the word ‘Yahweh’ in theHebrewlanguage. It is the *Covenant name for God. It links to the words ‘Iam’; itmeans that God has always been here.
manna~ a foodlike bread. God provided this food in a special way for the *Israelitesto eatin the *desert.
mercy ~kindness instead of punishment.
Moabite~ someonefrom the nation called Moab; anything with a relationship to Moab. TheMoabiteswere relatives of the *Israelites.
Mount~ mountain.For example, ‘Mount Sinai’ means the mountain called Sinai.
NewTestament ~the second part of the Bible. It tells about Jesus Christ and hisfollowers.
offerings ~gifts (also called *sacrifices) that a person gives to God, or toa false god.
OldTestament ~the first part of the Bible, it tells about the history and the beliefsof the*Israelites.
olive ~small green or black fruit that comes from a tree. Oil comes fromthis fruit.
ox ~a strong farm animal like a *bull that can pull the plough.
Passover ~a *festival to *celebrate when God freed the *Israelites fromEgypt.
peaceoffering~ an *offeringto give thanks. People shared it andthey ate it as a meal.
Pharisees ~a group of *Jews who thought that they obeyed all the laws oftheir religion. Those laws were all the *commandments that God gave toMosesplus extra laws.
prophecy~messages that God gave to a person, often about future events. Butsometimes false*prophets pretended to have messages from God.
prophet~ a person who hears God’s words and tells themto other people. Butthere were sometimes false prophets.
Rephaites ~an ancient nation. It did not still exist when Moses was alive.
revenge ~to get revenge means to return an injury that someone has done toyou. God’s revenge is his desire to give the punishment that a persondeserves.
Sabbath ~Saturday, the 7th day of the week, when*Israelites didnot work. There were also special Sabbaths that were not always on aSaturday.
sacrifice ~something valuable that people give to God, or to a false god; or,to make such a gift.
salvation ~when God saves people from the results of *sin and from punishmentfor *sin.
security ~something of value that a person takes to make sure that someonewill pay back money.
sign ~an unusual event that God uses to teach people something. Butsometimes false prophets promised signs.
sin~ when peopledo something wrong against God or against other people; or, not to obeyGod.
sinful ~refers to an action or to a desire that is against God’s law; awrong or wicked action; a person who does those things is sinful.
slaves~ peoplewho are not free; they have to work for their master. When the*Israelites wereslaves in Egypt they were not free. However, they had their own homeandpossessions. The *Egyptians did not own the *Israelites.
spirit~ spirits are alive, but we cannot see them.There are good spiritsthat are usually called angels. Bad spirits are also called evilspirits, ordemons. Their leader is called Satan. A person also has a spirit. Ourspiritcan speak to God and God can speak to our spirit.
temple ~the chief place of *worship for the *Jews. King Solomon built thefirst temple for God in Jerusalem. But the word can refer to a similarbuildingfor a false god.
tithe ~a tenth of something. To tithe means that people give a tenth oftheir money or of their possessions.
trial ~an examination in a court to see if someone is guilty of a crime.
tribe ~a group of people from the same race, who all came from oneperson. The tribes of *Israel were the 12 large families of Jacob’ssons.
Urimand Thummin ~Urim and Thummim were valuable stones. The main priest kept them in thepocketof the ephod. The priest used those objects to discover God’s decisionabout asituation. We do not know how God did that. The ephod was a specialkind ofshort coat that the main priest wore over his other clothes.
virgin~ someonewho has not had sex.
witness~ someonewho sees an event and tells about it. To witness is to tell what youhave seen.
wonder ~an event that astonishes people and it shows God’s power. Butother people who did not love God sometimes did them too.
worship ~when people show honour to God, or to a false god. People may singor pray. Or they may kneel down or give a *sacrifice.
yeast ~a substance that makes bread rise.
MatthewHenry ~ Joshua ~ Marshall Pickering,London
SamuelSchulz ~ Deuteronomy: The Gospel of Love~ Moody Publishers, 1971
J. A.Thompson ~ Deuteronomy ~ Tyndale OldTestament Commentaries ~ Inter-Varsity Press
R. K.Harrison ~ Deuteronomy ~ New BibleCommentary (revised) ~ Inter-Varsity Press
RevisedStandard Version of the Bible
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How do I find a good Bible commentary? ›
Start with a Study Bible. If you've never used a commentary before (or really studied scripture), then I recommend starting out with a study Bible. A study Bible will provide you with notes and resources on various texts. It will more than likely have cross-references, illustrations, and charts.What is the meaning of 1 Samuel in the Bible? ›
The book of 1 Samuel recounts the ministry of the prophet Samuel, who “restored law and order and regular religious worship in the land” (Bible Dictionary, “Samuel”) after the Israelites had forgotten the Lord and worshipped idols many times throughout the reign of the judges.What is the meaning behind Ecclesiastes? ›
The name Ecclesiastes is a translation of the Hebrew word koheleth, which means “one who convenes an assembly” or simply a preacher (see Bible Dictionary, “Ecclesiastes”). Throughout this book, the writer presents a series of questions in search of the purpose of life.What does 2 Cor mean in the Bible? ›
2 Corinthians encourages believers to embrace and follow the way of Jesus that transforms lives and values generosity, humility, and weakness. New Testament Overviews. 8:38. 2 Corinthians encourages believers to embrace and follow the way of Jesus that transforms lives and values generosity, humility, and weakness.What is the easiest Bible to understand? ›
The Holy Bible: Easy-to-Read Version (ERV) is an English translation of the Bible compiled by the World Bible Translation Center.Is there an app that explains Bible verses? ›
A couple of great apps to help you read and study the Bible are The Bible App by YouVersion and The Bible App by Olive Tree. You can use these apps to read the Bible, follow plans, make notes, connect with others and more.
From the Israelites' repentance, students learned that to sincerely repent, we must forsake our sins and confess them to the Lord. Based on the account of Eli and his family, students also learned that if we choose to follow the world instead of the Lord, then eventually we will experience sorrow and regret.Why did Hannah say no razor shall touch his head? ›
no razor shall touch his head. As an expression of her dedication of the prayed-for child, Hannah vows that he will be a Nazirite (like Samson), a person specially dedicated to God who took a vow of abstinence from certain activities.Who are the present day Philistines? ›
The Philistines were a group of people who arrived in the Levant (an area that includes modern-day Israel, Gaza, Lebanon and Syria) during the 12th century B.C. They came during a time when cities and civilizations in the Middle East and Greece were collapsing.What are the different types of Bible commentaries? ›
- International Critical Commentary. Word Biblical Commentary. Hermeneia. ...
- New International Biblical Commentary. New International Commentary on the New Testament. ...
- Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. Pillar New Testament Commentary. ...
- Life Application Bible Commentary. Holman Commentary.
How do you use Bible commentaries? ›
Using Bible Commentaries - YouTubeIs the Moody Bible Commentary good? ›
If you are looking for a one-volume commentary on the entire Bible, The Moody Bible Commentary fits the bill. It's reliable and academic, yet accessible to anyone. I highly recommend it for serious students of the Bible.Is enduring word a good commentary? ›
Thorough, cross-referenced, understandable and uncompromising yet loving, Enduring Word is the best commentary I have found. Yes, the app has some technical areas for improvement which I'm sure he'll fix (keep in mind it's essentially a one-person operation).