The Song of Moses



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INTRODUCTION.

As I continue to read through the Bible this year using a chronological schedule, I was attracted to the song of Moses contained in the first 43 verses of Deuteronomy chapter 32. This song is not replicated in the book of Psalms, so it has a unique place as a song, or psalm, of the Old Testament. This was written and taught to the children of Israel by Moses on his last day with them. After that he pronounced blessings on 11 of the twelve tribes (excluding Simeon), before he ascended mount Nebo to be gathered to his people by the LORD, on that very same day.
NOTE: I used the Online Bible program with various modules for preparing this study, and those materials are available from the OnlineBible.net website.

I began with the KJV text, then compared some passages, using up to six other translations; interposing word choice from those. I also used the lexicon associated with the Strong's concordance, and the American Heritage Dictionary, to find synonyms as substitutes for words, which were less familiar to me. Moses's preparation for the people to hear his words is described in the last few verses of chapter 31. Deuteronomy 31:28-30 "Gather unto me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their ears, and call heaven and earth to record against them. For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands. And Moses spake in the ears of all the congregation of Israel the words of this song, until they were ended."

Deuteronomy 32:1-43 in paraphrase

1 Listen attentively all in the heavens, and I will speak; hear those in the earth, the words that I speak. 2 My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall settle as the dew, as the misty rain upon the tender herb and as the showers upon the grass: 3 Because I will proclaim the name of the LORD: and ascribe greatness to our God. 4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are just: a God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he. 5 They have corrupted themselves, they are not his sons; it is their blemish; they are a perverse and crooked generation. 6 Is this how you repay the LORD you foolish and unwise people? Is he not your father who bought you? Has he not made you and established you?

7 Remember the days of old. Consider the years of many generations; ask your father and he shall tell you; the elders and they shall tell you; 8 When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance; when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. 9 For the LORD'S portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. 10 He visited him in a desert land, and in the waste, a howling wilderness. He led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.

11 As an eagle stirs up her nest, flutters over her young, spreads broad her wings, takes them, bears them on her wings, 12 So the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no foreign god with him. 13 He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock; 14 Butter of the herd, and milk from the flock, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and you drank the pure blood of the grape.

15 But Jeshurun gradually grew fat, and kicked: you are grown fat, you are grown thick, you are covered with fatness; then he abandoned God who made him, and fell away from the Rock of his salvation. 16 With foreign gods they moved Him to jealousy; and with abominations they provoked Him to anger. 17 They sacrificed to demons, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came lately, whom your fathers had not dreaded. 18 You forgot the rock that brought you into being, and ceased to care for God that formed you.

19 but Jehovah sees and despises, for the provocation of his sons and daughters. 20 And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very stubbornly disobedient generation, children in whom is no faith. 21 They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation. 22 For a fire is kindled in my anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth and its produce; and set on fire the foundations of the mountains. 23 I will heap evils upon them; I will spend my arrows upon them. 24 They shall be exhausted with hunger, and overcome with burning heat, and with bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the venom of crawling things of the dust. 25 The sword without and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of gray hairs.

26 I said, I would scatter them afar, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men: 27 Were it not that I suspected the wrath of the enemy, lest their adversaries should judge amiss, lest they should say, Our hand is high, and the LORD has not done all this. 28 For they are a nation void of counsel, and there is no understanding in them. 29 If they were wise, they would understand this, and they would consider their latter end. 30 How could one chase a thousand and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them and the LORD had shut them up? 31 For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges. 32 For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter: 33 Their wine is the poison of serpents, and the cruel venom of asps. 34 Is not this laid up in store with me, and sealed up among my treasures? 35 Vengeance and recompense is mine; their foot shall slip in due time: for the day of their downfall is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them will come suddenly. 36 For Jehovah shall plead for his people, and He shall have compassion on His servants; for He sees that their power is gone, and there is none remaining, shut up or at large. 37 And it is said, where are their gods, the rock in whom they trusted; 38 who did eat the fat of their sacrifices and drank the wine of their drink offerings? Let him rise up and help you, let him be your protection.

39 See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god besides me: I kill, and I make alive; I have wounded and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand. 40 For I lift up my hand to heaven and say, I live for ever! 41 If I sharpen my glittering sword and my hand takes hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to my enemies and will repay those who hate me. 42 I will make my arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the head of the princes of the enemy. 43 Rejoice, O you nations with his people: for he does avenge the blood of his servants, and does render vengeance to his adversaries, and does make atonement for his land, and his people. 44. And Moses came and spoke all the words of this song into the ears of the people, he, and Hoshea the son of Num.

--- REFLECTIONS IN PRAYER ---

My LORD, when I speak of you, or hear others speaking, in clear doctrine, those words are like the renewing power of a gentle rain or mist on the thirsty plants. The message is worthy to be heard by all in heaven and earth, because it is the proclamation of the name of the LORD: to ascribe greatness to our God. You are the Rock, your work is perfect: for all your ways are just: a God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright are you!

If I am corrupted it comes from myself, and I am not your son; the blemish is only my own. Should I be so foolish and unwise, and repay the LORD in such a way? Are you not my father who bought me? Have you not made me and established me? I will remember the days of old, and consider the years of many generations as recorded in your word; and if necessary, I will ask my faith fathers, my spiritual elders, and they will tell me about clear thinking and the truth.

When you, the most High, divided to the nations their inheritance, when you separated the sons of Adam, you set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. For the LORD'S portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of your inheritance. You visited Israel in a desert, wilderness wasteland. You led him about, instructed him, kept him as the apple of your eye. You provided all the needs of your people, and during that wilderness wandering, you set them apart from other nations which have foreign gods among them, in accordance with your plan. After you had established your nation Israel, you provided Christ to break down the barrier between Jew and gentile, and your blessings came to me! I cannot claim either my lineage or law keeping for my righteousness, but rather your mercy has drawn me close and carried me along.

Just as Jeshurun gradually grew fat, and kicked: then abandoned God, who made him, and fell away from the Rock of his salvation: so could this easily happen to me, and to many others in the family of faith. Your word warns me that the worship of foreign gods, is actually the worship of demons from the kingdom of Satan; and this can move a Holy god to jealousy for those you have purchased. If Israel forgot the rock that brought them into being, and ceased to care for God that formed them, could this not happen to me? Jehovah sees and despises the provocation of his sons and daughters: therefore I know you can hide your face from the stubbornly disobedient and faithless to let them find out how poorly they fare without you. You can use those who make no claim to you, to move as you direct, and they will never even realize your control over them. Your power is so great that it can burn to the lowest reaches, and consume even the foundations of the mountains.

Moses spoke your message, letting Israel know ahead of time what would result from their inevitable disobedience, because you know the hearts of all men. You would heap evils upon them, spend your arrows upon them, and send venomous beasts among them. Exhaustion from hunger, burning with heat, terrors from within, and the sword of enemies from without would come to destroy the vibrant young men and women, with no exclusion from infants to the elderly. We know from your word that all these things happened to Israel, and should be an example for us. But then, your mercy is extended, not for the sake of those who receive it, but because your name must not be defiled by those you use for judgment, that they might boast of their own strength. Because they do not know you in faith, they do not understand that it is the LORD who scatters men abroad, removing all the glory they had claimed for themselves, then you gather them back for the praise of your name.

I must consider my latter end, as I seek that wisdom that says none of these terrible things could have happened to Israel unless their Rock had sold them and the LORD had shut them up. The rock of my enemies today as a Christian, as with the enemies of Israel, is not my rock. The enemies of the LORD have only temporary provisions and pleasures like those of Sodom and Gomorrah. You LORD, have all their trespass in mind, and will deliver your own vengeance in due time: for the day of their downfall is reserved without fail, and the things that shall come upon them will come suddenly. This too is recorded in your word to develop my faith of your continuing plans for the righteous and the wicked. The result of mocking of the True and Living God will be clear when you say, "See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god besides me: I kill, and I make alive; I have wounded and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand. For I lift up my hand to heaven and say, I live for ever! If I sharpen my glittering sword and my hand takes hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to my enemies and will repay those who hate me. I will make my arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the head of the princes of the enemy."

Therefore will I rejoice, as part of your family, now sharing in the blessings first given to Israel, because the LORD does avenge the blood of his servants -- and does render vengeance to his adversaries -- and does make atonement for his land, and his people. Hallelujah for the atonement you provide! Amen.

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Published on MPNHome.net 1 June 2004, first issued 19 March 2001
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