Chapter 32

Song of Moses (continued)

      • Listen, O heavens, and I will speak; hear, O earth, the words that I say. Let my teaching fall on you like rain and my words settle on you like dew. Let my words fall like gentle rain on new grass and gentle showers on young plants. I will proclaim the Lord’s name, and declare the greatness of our God! The Rock- His works are perfect and all of His ways are entirely just. He is a faithful God, He does nothing wrong, He is just and upright.

        • On this opening, the NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “Moses appealed to the witnesses of the covenant to note Israel’s confession and commitment as well as its anticipated disobedience and disloyalty (see Deuteronomy 30:19).”

        • On the comparison of Moses words to rain, the same source notes, “This simile shows the refreshing gentleness of Moses’ teaching. It should produce the fruit of obedience in the hearts of God’s people.”

      • They have dealt corruptly with Him. They aren’t His children anymore because they’re blemished- they are a devious and crooked generation. Is this the way you repay the Lord, you foolish people with no sense? Is He not your Father and Creator? Did He not make you and establish you?

      • Remember the days of long ago. Think about the years of generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you; ask your elders and they will teach you. When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when He divided up mankind, He set up boundaries for the people according to the number of the sons of God. But the Lord’s portion is His people- Jacob His allotted inheritance.

**Time out**

        • It is universally agreed that this passage is a reference to the record of the division of nations at the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11:1-9, which correlates directly with the Table of Nations found in the preceding chapter (Genesis 10). However, if you are reading carefully, checking your footnotes, and comparing different Bible translations, you cannot help but recognize the neon flashing clues that the very last phrase of verse 8 requires some serious research. A quick translation comparison will reveal a discrepancy among the various translations that is anything but insignificant. In fact, it turns out to be monumental. Who did God set the boundaries of the peoples according to?

THA100425 The Building of the Tower of Babel (oil on canvas) by Valckenborch, Marten van (1535-1612); 101.6×152.4 cm; © Towneley Hall Art Gallery and Museum, Burnley, Lancashire; Dutch, out of copyright
        • Some translations (ASV, HCSB, KJV, NKJV, NIV, NASB, etc) say that the Most High set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of one of the following: “people of Israel,” “sons of Israel,” or “children of Israel.”

        • Others (ESV, NRS, RSV, etc) say that the Most High set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of: “the sons of God,” or “the gods.”

        • The NLT says He established the boundaries of the peoples according to “the number in his heavenly court.”

        • The Septuagint (LXX) reads, “number of the angels of God.

        • The Dead Sea Scrolls (our oldest known manuscripts) agree with the translations that read, “the sons of God.”

        • The various renderings are in no way synonymous. In fact, if you refer back to the mention of “sons of God” in the context of Genesis 6:1-4 (another hotly debated passage), then you will immediately comprehend the gravity of what we are talking about here. To state it bluntly, if the “sons of God” here are not human “sons of Israel,” then they are unavoidably identified as spirit beings. At this point it may be helpful for the interested reader to refer to my research article, The Mystery of the Nephilim: An Analysis of Theories. Those who wish to keep to the least supernatural interpretation of “sons of God” apply the term in the Genesis 6 context to godly men in the line of Seth. However, if you have allowed yourself to recognize how feeble the case is for identifying the “sons of God” in that passage with godly human beings, then it won’t be much of a surprise for you to see that identifying the “sons of God” as godly men from the line of Seth would make even less sense in the context of Deuteronomy 32:8 for reasons I will elaborate below.

        • What exactly is the problem with translating verse 8 as “the sons of Israel”? Well, the “sons of Israel” didn’t exist yet at the Tower of Babel incident. So, to divide the peoples according to their number would be blatantly anachronistic (chronologically inconsistent). Semitic scholar Dr. Michael Heiser explains in his paper, Deuteronomy 32:8 and the Sons of God, that the issue revolves around the following:

          • two details there (the Table of Nations in Genesis 10 and 11) regarding God’s apportionment of the earth that are important for the context of the textual debate in Deuteronomy 32:8. First, the Table of Nations catalogs 70 nations, but Israel is not included in the inventory. Second, the use of the same Hebrew root…in both passages to describe the ‘separation’ of humankind and the nations substantiates the long- recognized observation of scholars that Genesis 10-11 are the backdrop to the statement in Deut. 32:8. Israel alone is Yahweh’s portion and so is not numbered among the seventy nations.”

          • Heiser continues, “The referent of the number 70, the ‘sons of Israel’…initially seemed understandable enough, for both Gen. 46:27 and Exo.1:5 state that 70 members of Jacob’s family went down to Egypt in the days of Joseph. Little thought, however, was given to the logic of the correlation: How is it that the number of the pagan nations was determined in relation to an entity (Israel) or individuals (Jacob and his household) that did not yet exist?”

          • After recognizing the exegetical impossibility of the nations at Babel being divided according to the number of the “sons of Israel,” we can finally ask the right questions. The initial question is, as Heiser writes: “On the other hand, what could possibly be meant by the textual option that created a correspondence between the number of nations in Genesis 10-11 and heavenly beings?” The next question is: why do some translations seem to obscure every single explicit reference to these heavenly beings? We’ll get to the answers below, after we review additional issues with reconciliation of the text.

          • In addition, there is the issue of reconciling what verse 9 says about Israel being the Lord’s “portion”, with preceding Deuteronomy passages indicating that Israel worshiped gods that had not been “allotted” or “assigned” to them. If Israel is Yahweh’s “portion”- He is allotted to them- then who have the other nations (the other “portions”) been allotted to?The only honest, logical, frankly inescapable option is to accept what Scripture plainly says. Refer to the following:

            • Deuteronomy 29:24-26 (ESV): 24 all the nations will say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land? What caused the heat of this great anger?’ 25 Then people will say, ‘It is because they abandoned the covenant of the Lord, the God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them out of the land of Egypt, 26 and went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods whom they had not known and whom he had not allotted to them.

            • Deuteronomy 4:19-20 (NASB):19 And beware not to lift up your eyes to heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, and be drawn away and worship them and serve them, those which the Lord your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven. 20 But the Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, from Egypt, to be a people for His own possession, as today.

          • Here, we can address the answer to the first of the two questions we asked above. The obvious (and uncomfortable for some) implication is that there actually are other “gods” (not in the same sense that Yahweh is God), which the other nations were allotted to. Israel was forbidden from worshiping these “gods” because God did not allot them to Israel. I’m not asserting polytheism in any form or fashion. What I am asserting, is that the “gods” worshiped by pagan nations are real, spiritual entities. Yes, the hand made idols of the pagan nations were worthless. However, they didn’t make idols of wood and metal just to worship an inanimate object. These idols represented actual, invisible, spirit entities that had/have some measure of power. Many people acknowledge to some degree or another, that Scripture explicitly teaches this. We already know about demons, fallen angels, and Satan. We know, for example, that Pharaoh’s magicians could replicate some of God’s miracles (Exodus 7 and 8). We know that Paul says in Ephesians 6:12, “12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Frankly, it comes down to the following question: what level of supernatural are you willing to recognize in Scripture? If you’re willing to go where Scripture leads, then I welcome you to:

            • The Deuteronomy 32 Worldview, also known as the Divine Council Worldview. The most prolific modern day writer on this concept is Hebrew Bible and Ancient Semitic Languages scholar Michael Heiser. Heiser is currently the Academic Editor at Logos Bible Software.

            • For a complete understanding of the view, all of the evidence, the implications, etc, I will link sources below. Fair warning: prepare to have your mind blown.

              • For those who prefer to listen rather than read, Heiser discusses this book in a four part youtube series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

            • Heiser’s website which contains links to multiple online articles (on both lay and academic levels) can be accessed at: www.thedivinecouncil.com

            • For those who would like to vet Dr. Heiser and the Divine Council view for legitimacy and to confirm orthodoxy before immersing themselves in the material (which I have done and I highly suggest others do as well), I have listed the following links to commendations of Heiser’s work from reputable sources:

                • Again, I urge you to research the men giving hearty endorsements, so I’ve linked each name with some preliminary info so that those who aren’t already familiar with these names can get an idea of who they are. We’re not talking about “fringe” beliefs here, we’re talking about heavy hitting, highly respected, evangelicals.

** Resuming the notes on the remainder of chapter 32**

      • He found him (Israel) in a desert land, in an empty, howling wilderness. He surrounded him, took care of him, and guarded him as the apple of His eye. He watches over him like an eagle watches over her nest and hovers over her young; He spread His wings like an eagle, caught him, and lifted him up on His wings. The Lord alone guided him- no foreign god was with Him. He made him ride on the high places of the land and he fed him with the crops of the field, nourished him with honey from the rock and oil from the flintrock. He fed him with cream and milk from the herd and flock, and with the fat of lambs, goats, and rams from Bashan. He fed him the best wheat, and he drank wine made from the best grapes.

        • On rams from Bashan, NLT Illustrated Study Bible notes, “This high plateau east of the sea of Galilee was famous for such livestock.”

        • This poetic text is not intended to reproduce the actual course of history. God had, in fact, brought His son out of Egypt into the wilderness, and had not first found him there…The point is that Israel was helpless in the desert and would surely have perished without divine intervention. The nation was found to be in a needy condition and thus dependent on God’s grace… Neither honey nor oil (olive oil, the kind in view here) comes from rock. Poetry is rich in figures of speech that must be appreciated for what they are. Bees nest in crevices of cliffs and, as is well known, olive trees grow in stony soils on terraced hillsides. But the figure is not based totally on these facts; it is a symbolic statement of the Lord’s provision for His people in a barren area.” (HCSB)

        • Guzik adds, “Considering that this song was meant to be a witness against a rebellious Israel, Moses reminded Israel of all God’s goodness to them. This was to both bring a greater conviction of sin, and to remind them of God’s love and grace they could return to.”

      • Then Jeshurun (Israel) became fat and rebelled- you grew fat, heavy, and sleek. They abandoned the God who made him and rejected the Rock of their salvation. They provoked Him to jealousy with foreign gods and infuriated Him with abominable practices. They offered sacrifices to demons, not God, to gods they hadn’t known before, new gods from recent times which their ancestors didn’t fear. You ignored the Rock who fathered you; you forgot the God who gave you birth.

        • On the word “Jeshurun,” the NLT Illustrated Study Bible notes, “This name, which appears to be derived from a verb meaning ‘to be upright,’ demonstrates the Lord’s strong affection for His people (Isaiah 44:2).”

        • Here, we can address the answer to our second question posed above- why do some translations seem to repeatedly obscure the clear references to the reality of these heavenly beings- other “gods”? I’ll insert Heiser’s answer. As we progress through the remainder of chapter 32, you will find that Heiser’s conclusion (which I will summarize) is undeniably accurate: The text chosen in multiple translations is based on “an unfounded concern that departure from the MT [Masoretic Text] reading results in ‘Israelite polytheism.’” Heiser then states that “the primary goal” of his article on Deuteronomy 32:8 (linked above) “is to show that understanding ‘sons of God’ as the correct reading…in no way requires one to view Israelite religion as polytheistic.” This is IMPORTANT, because this is the primary argument lodged against this view by individuals who simply do not understand it. Saying it again for those in the back- the Divine Council view is NOT polytheism.

          • I hardly need to search further than the notes included in my HCSB Aplogetics Study Bible to affirm that Heiser is correct. (Don’t get me wrong, I love my HCSB, but again- this highlights the necessity of translation comparison. On this topic, HCSB commentators miss the mark.) The commentators repeatedly and explicitly disavow the reality of these “gods” in commentary of pertinent verses. For example:

          • On verse 12, the HCSB commentary reads, “The reference to a foreign god is not a tacit admission that such gods exist…”

          • On verse 37, “The reference to other ‘gods’ is a piece of sarcasm, not an admission that they are real. They are real only to those who imagine they worship them, even apostate Israel. Verse 39 proclaims the truth: there is only one God, the God of Israel…”

          • Keep in mind Heiser’s assertion as we encounter each additional instance of translations siding with the Masoretic Text over the preponderance of evidence in other textual traditions for the alternate rendering. Textual traditions which, in many translations, are at least cited in the footnotes to clue the reader in to the discrepancy.

        • Again, note how some translations render “god” as plural in both the first and second clause of verse 17, while others render the word as singular in the first clause and plural in the latter. Now, notice how each rendering affects the meaning of the passage. Depending on the rendering, one comes away with opposing ideas- either assuming the reality of other gods or denying the reality of other gods.

          • The Biblestudy Tools site lists an extensive translation comparison. I’ll list a few to illustrate the point. I’ve bolded and italicized for attention:

          • ESV: They sacrificed to demons that were no gods, to gods they had never known…

          • RSV:They sacrificed to demons which were no gods, to gods they had never known…

          • KJV: They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not…

          • NASB: They sacrificed to demons who were not God, To gods whom they have not known…

            • NIV: They sacrificed to false gods, which are not God— gods they had not known…

        • For a discussion of this topic, Heiser’s article Does Deuteronomy 32:17 Assume or Deny the Reality of Other Gods, offers a comprehensive treatment. However, the following excerpts are sufficient to point out why the singular rendering for the first clause is the most cogent without getting into the lexical and syntactical elements:

          • On the translators that chose to render the Hebrew as plural in the first clause, Heiser writes, “It is not difficult to see that the translators…produced a translation that denies the deity status of the… (‘demons’). Such translations, however, are forced to juxtapose this denial with the next clause…(‘gods which they did not know’), which appears to contradict this denial. How can the demons be gods and not gods in the same verse? The other translations…[which employ the singular rendering], do not suffer this tension.”

            • Heiser continues, “A singular translation makes it clear that Israel committed apostasy, but implies that the gods to whom the Israelites sacrificed were real but inferior to the God of Israel. The singular choice identifies the gods as demons (and vice versa); the demon-gods must be conceived of as actual entities, since it is obvious that the biblical world-view included demons. That the text calls these gods demons does not soften the theological implications, since demons…were widely conceived of as deities in the wider Semitic culture of the biblical world…”

          • Though the Scriptural vocabulary applied (the idea of demons referred to as “gods” that are real) makes some individuals quite uncomfortable, it should be noted that very reputable, orthodox commentators of our day agree. For example, Guzik indicates assent to the reality of demons as “gods” in his commentary, although his language is more guarded:

          • In forsaking God, Israel turned to the pagan idols of the nations around them and actually worshipped demons. There was a dark spiritual reality behind the idols of the nations, and Israel embraced that dark spiritual reality.”

      • The Lord saw this and rejected them, because His sons and daughters provoked Him. He said, “I will hide My face from them, then see what happens to them, because they are a perverse generation- unfaithful children. They have made Me jealous with what is not God, they have made Me angry with their idols. So, I will make them jealous with those who aren’t a people and make them angry with a foolish nation.”

        • The NLT Illustrated Study Bible points out that God was not “petulant” because Israel was giving attention to other gods. “Rather, Israel had broken their covenant with Him by worshiping other gods, demonstrating their disdain for Him and His sovereignty.”

    • Additionally, on “those who aren’t a people,” the NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “God’s purpose for Israel was not just to redeem them, but through them to redeem all the nations of the earth. In Israel’s eyes, other peoples were worthless, but through God’s attention to other nations, Israel would be drawn back to obedience (see Hosea 1:9; 2:23; Romans 9:25; 10:19).”

        • Of course, here we are again in a situation of begging the continuity/consistency in translation question. Utilizing the translation comparison with regard to verse 21, we find once again that attempts to deny the reality of the other “gods” Israel was giving attention to, results in incoherence. When God refers to these “gods” literally as “no gods” in the first clause, He cannot be denying their reality as some translations indicate, because in the second to last clause (which is clearly meant to parallel the first clause) He refers to the very real people of pagan nations literally as “no people” with whom He will make Israel jealous. Essentially, if the “no gods” aren’t real, then the “no people” aren’t real either. You can’t logically have it both ways. Due to the structure of the text, either both the “gods” and the “people” literally exist; or, neither the “gods” or the “people” literally exist.

      • The Lord continued, “For a fire that burns down to the depths of Sheol has been ignited because of My anger, and it devours the earth and its produce and sets the foundations of mountains ablaze. I will pile disasters upon them, and use My arrows on them. They’ll be weak from hunger, ravaged by pestilence and deadly plague. I’ll send the fangs of wild beasts and venomous snakes that slither in the dust. Outdoors, they’ll be killed by the sword, and indoors there will be terror. Both young women and men will die, so will babies and the elderly. I would have scattered them and blotted them out of the memory of mankind if I hadn’t dreaded the taunts of Israel’s enemy who might misunderstand and say, ‘We have triumphed by our own power! The Lord didn’t do this!’”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “God is never terrified or intimidated. This fear is concern that Israel’s enemies would attribute their success to their own efforts rather than God’s sovereign judgment of His people (see Exodus 32:11-14).”

      • But the nation of Israel has no sense and no understanding. If they were wise, they would discern and understand how they will end up. How could one person chase a thousand people, or two people make ten thousand people run away, unless their Rock had sold them, unless the Lord had given them up? But our enemies’ rock is not like our Rock- even they recognize that. Their vine grows from the vine of Sodom, from the vineyards of Gomorrah. Their grapes are poison and their clusters are bitter. Their wine is snake’s venom, the deadly poison of cobras.”

        • On the description of one or two people putting thousands to flight, the NLT Illustrated Study Bible notes, “When God gives His people over to destruction, they are vulnerable against all odds.”

        • On the use of “Rock” the same source writes, “Here the metaphor is used ironically. The very one upon whom Israel should stand as the source of their strength will desert them because of their own wickedness and unfaithfulness.” On the “rock” of their enemies, “In this sarcastic comparison between the pagan gods and the Lord God of Israel, the…deities come up woefully short.”

        • On the mention of Sodom and Gomorrah, the same source adds, “These cities were the epitome of evil (see Genesis 18:16-19:38). Pagan perversity and godlessness found their inspiration and source in these cities, and because they were unrepentant, they were utterly destroyed.”

      • The Lord says, ‘Isn’t this stored up with Me and sealed away in My treasuries? Vengeance belongs to Me; I will pay them back. In due time their feet will slip. Their day of disaster is coming soon and their doom is swiftly approaching.’

      • The Lord will vindicate His people and have compassion on His servants when He sees that their strength is gone and no one is left- either slave or free. Then He will ask, ‘Where are their gods- the rocks they took refuge in, that ate the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offerings? Let those gods rise up to help you. Let them shelter you. See now that I, even I, am He. There is no god besides Me. I am the One who kills and gives life; I am the One who wounds and heals. No one can rescue anyone from My hand.’

          • Is God saying in verse 39, that the gods He has affirmed the existence of in the previous verses we have discussed, aren’t actually real- is He contradicting Himself? This is precisely what many commentators assert, citing as corroboration other denial passages in Isaiah- 43:10-12 and 44:6-8 for example. This is the basis upon which these commentators re-interpret the verses we’ve discussed previously- in order to remove the apparent contradiction. If one removes these verses in question from their context, the denial of the existence of other gods seems to be clear. However, isolating a verse from its context is breaking the cardinal rule of correctly interpreting Scripture.

          • How do we resolve this apparent contradiction? Heiser provides an exhaustive treatment of the subject in his paper: Monotheism, Polytheism, Monolatry, or Henotheism. The portion relevant to this topic can be found in pages 15-18. I’ll quote Heiser’s summary:

            • Is the language concerned with making the point that Yahweh is the only god who exists, or is the text intending something else? In Isa 43:10-12, it is Yahweh’s claim to be alone in his pre-existence, his ability to save, and his national deliverance. In Isa 44:6-8 the focus is on certain attributes of Yahweh. In the texts from Isaiah 45 there are very obvious comparisons between Yahweh’s deeds, justice, salvation, and deliverance of his children and the impotence of the other gods. All of these passages are transparently concerned with comparing Yahweh to other gods- not comparing Yahweh to beings that do not exist…”

            • When the biblical writer says that there are no gods ‘besides’ Yahweh or no god ‘beside him,’ they are not denying other gods exist. Rather, they are saying Yahweh is incomparable…There is only one Yahweh. There is none like him. The same ‘denial language’ used elsewhere illustrates this point quite well. In Isa 47:8, 10 the text as Babylon claiming ,’I am, and there is none else beside me.’ The city of Nineveh makes the same assertion in Zeph 2:15. The claim is not that Nineveh, Babylon, or the biblical writers believe no other cities exist! Rather, Babylon and Nineveh are claiming to be incomparable.”

      • I raise My hand to heaven and proclaim: As surely as I live forever, when I sharpen My sword and My hand begins to carry out judgment, I will take vengeance on My enemies and repay those who hate Me. I’ll make My arrows drunk with blood and My sword will devour flesh- the blood of the slain and the captives, the heads of My enemies’ leaders.”

        • On the anthropomorphism of God raising His “hand” to heaven, the HCSB notes, “For God to take an oath is a way of declaring, with human analogy, that Israel could rely on Him to be true to His word. The ancient gesture of oath taking, still in use today, was to lift the hand. The imagery of the Lord raising His hand to pledge His fidelity would be a powerful expression of His reliability.”

      • NLT Illustrated Study Bible notes, “The phrase arrows drunk with blood combines personification and hyperbole to show the extent of the carnage that will result from God’s judgment of the nations.”

      • Rejoice with Him, O heavens; bow to Him sons of God. Rejoice with His people, O Gentiles; let all the angels strengthen themselves in Him. He will avenge the blood of His children and take vengeance on His enemies. He will make atonement for His land, His people.”

        • Once again, a translation comparison will reveal extensive discrepancies in the rendering of verse 43 among translations, and specifically altering the references to divine beings. This is due to the fact that in some manuscripts entire lines are missing (or added- depending on how you look at it). However, even if your translation opts to omit the additional lines, newer translations will at least include a footnote alerting readers that additional lines are present in other manuscripts.

          • So, what’s going on with the missing material? Research leads me to conclude that the Masoretic Text omits lines that belong in the original text. As footnotes confirm, the Dead Sea Scrolls (oldest manuscripts) agree with the Septuagint (LXX) on this verse.

          • Deuteronomy 32:43 reads differently in the Masoretic text, the Septuagint, and a Qumran text.”

            • The Masoretic has one line: ‘O nations, rejoice His people.’”

            • 4QDeut has a bicolon: ‘O heavens, rejoice with Him. Bow to Him, all divinities.’”

            • And the Septuagint has two bicola: ‘O heavens, rejoice with Him. Bow to Him, all sons of the divine. O nations, rejoice with His people. And let all angels of the divine strengthen themselves in Him.’”

          • Heiser continues, “It is significant that the Masoretic text lacks a second line in what should be the first pairing. Even more striking is the fact that the missing colon is the one in which reference is made to divine beings in the Qumran and Septuagintal texts. In these latter two texts each colon has its partner. This argues strongly that the Masoretic text originally had a bicolon, a pairing that was deliberately eliminated to avoid the reference to other ‘divine beings.’ While the other Masoretic omissions can be explained by haplography, the absence of the line that would have made reference to heavenly beings cannot be so explained.”

            • Heiser uses a technical term here which some may not be familiar with. Haplography is, “the phenomenon of a scribe’s, copyist’s or translator’s inadvertently skipping from one word or phrase to a similar word or phrase further on in the text, and omitting everything in between.”

            • Before you become unsettled with the idea of such variance in manuscripts- keep in mind that this is actually an ingenious way that God ensured we would be able to discern the original text. One master, original copy could be easily tampered with. But, we have thousands of manuscripts from many different places. With so many copies, it becomes much easier to compare them and discern the correct reading. This is, however, an excellent argument against King James Version Only-ism: no specific translations are inerrant. While the original texts are indeed inspired and inerrant, we don’t have the original texts. The vast majority of discrepancies are minor and none affect essential doctrines, but no specific translations are inerrant. Christians have every reason to be confident that our translations are extremely close to the originals- the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has bolstered this confidence. For more information on this topic, I suggest the Apologetics Press article, The Dead Sea Scrolls and Biblical Integrity.

      • Moses went before all the people of Israel and recited the words of this song to them. Joshua, Nun’s son, came with him. After Moses had finished, he said to them: “Take all these words I have spoken to you today to heart. They are a warning to you, so that you may command them to your children, and they can follow all the words of this law. These are not just meaningless words to you- they are your life! By following them you will live in the land you are crossing over the Jordan River to possess for a long time.”

        • In some translations, Joshua is referred to as “Hoshea” in this passage. HCSB explains, “The reference to Joshua as Hoshea (Hb text) by no means suggests multiple sources in the composition of Deuteronomy. Both names derive from a verb meaning ‘to save’ (Hb yashah) and are used interchangeably…Hoshea/Joshua is a common biblical name and is, in fact, equivalent to Jesus in the NT.”

        • In this passage, is Moses guaranteeing to individuals who are obedient to the law that they will live long lives? Actually, no. NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “This promise does not guarantee individual longevity and certainly not immortality; it is about Israel’s long tenure in the Land of Promise.”

Moses’ Impending Death

      • That same day, the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Moab, into the mountains of the Abiram Range. Go up Mount Nebo, which is across from Jericho, and see the land of Canaan- the land I am giving to the Israelites as their possession. Then, you will die there on the mountain and be gathered to your people just as your brother Aaron died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people. This is because both of you trespassed against Me among the Israelites at the waters of Meribath-kadesh in the Wilderness of Zin, you didn’t treat Me as holy in the midst of the people. So, you will see the land that I am giving to the Israelites from a distance, but you may not go there.”

        • NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible writes, “The Abiram mountain range sits northeast of the Dead Sea. Mount Nebo…is a part of this range…It is located near the city of Nebo…and the area forms a northwestern rim of the tableland of Moab…The view from Nebo is panoramic, including the Dead Sea, the Jordan Valley, and the Jordan Desert from Tekoa to Jerusalem. Even the mountains of Samaria are visible from it…”