Deuteronomy 10


Moses is commanded to make a second set of tables, 1, 2.

He makes an ark, prepares the two tables, God writes on them the

ten commandments, and Moses lays them up in the ark, 3-5.

The Israelites journey from Beeroth to Mosera, where Aaron

dies, 6;

and from thence to Gudgodah and Jotbath, 7.

At that time God separated the tribe of Levi for the service of

the sanctuary, 8, 9.

How long Moses stayed the second time in the mount, 10, 11.

What God requires of the Israelites, 12-15.

Their heart must be circumcised, 16.

God's character and conduct, 17, 18.

They are commanded to love the stranger, 19;

to fear, love, and serve God, 20,

because he had done such great things for them and their fathers,

21, 22.


Verse 1. Hew thee two tables of stone]

See Clarke on Ex 34:1.

Verse 3. Shittim wood] See Clarke on Ex 25:5, and

succeeding verses, and on the parallel places in the margin.

Verse 4. Ten commandments] See Clarke on Ex 20:1, &c.

Verse 6. And the children of Israel took their journey, &c.]

On this and the three following verses see Kennicott's remarks at

the end of this chapter. See Clarke on De 10:22.

Verse 12. Now, Israel, what doth the Lord-require of thee] An

answer is immediately given. God requires,

1. That ye fear him as Jehovah your God; him who made,

preserves, and governs you.

2. That ye walk in all his ways-that, having received his

precepts, all of which are good and excellent, ye obey the whole;

walking in God's ways, not your own, nor in the ways of the people

of the land.

3. That ye love him-have confidence in him as your father and

friend, have recourse to him in all your necessities, and love him

in return for his love.

4. That you serve him-give him that worship which he requires,

performing it with all your heart-the whole of your affections,

and with all your soul-your will, understanding, and judgment. In

a word, putting forth your whole strength and energy of body and

soul in the sacred work.

Verse 14. Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens] All

these words in the original are in the plural number:

hen hashshamayim, ushemey hashshamayim; behold the

heavens and the heavens of heavens. But what do they mean? To

say that the first means the atmosphere, the second the planetary

system, and the third the region of the blessed, is saying but

very little in the way of explanation. The words were probably

intended to point out the immensity of God's creation, in which

we may readily conceive one system of heavenly bodies, and others

beyond them, and others still in endless progression through the

whole vortex of space, every star in the vast abyss of nature

being a sun, with its peculiar and numerous attendant worlds!

Thus there may be systems of systems in endless gradation up to

the throne of God!

Verse 16. Circumcise-the foreskin of your heart] A plain proof

from God himself that this precept pointed out spiritual things,

and that it was not the cutting away a part of the flesh that was

the object of the Divine commandment, but the purification of the

soul, without which all forms and ceremonies are of no avail.

Loving God with all the heart, soul, mind, and strength, the heart

being circumcised to enable them to do it, was, from the

beginning, the end, design, and fulfilment of the whole law.

Verse 17. God of gods, and Lord of lords] That is, He is the

source whence all being and power proceed; every agent is finite

but himself; and he can counteract, suspend, or destroy all the

actions of all creatures whensoever he pleases. If he determine

to save, none can destroy; if he purpose to destroy, none can

save. How absolutely necessary to have such a God for our friend!

A great God-mighty] hael haggibbor, the mighty God;

this is the very title that is given to our blessed Lord and

Saviour, Isa 9:6.

Verse 21. He is thy praise] It is an eternal honour to any

soul to be in the friendship of God. Why are people ashamed of

being thought religious? Because they know nothing of religion.

He who knows his Maker may glory in his God, for without him what

has any soul but disgrace, pain, shame, and perdition? How

strange is it that those who fear God should be ashamed to own it,

while sinners boldly proclaim their relationship to Satan!

Verse 22. With threescore and ten persons] And now, from so

small a beginning, they were multiplied to more than 600,000

souls; and this indeed in the space of forty years, for the

603,000 which came out of Egypt were at this time all dead but

Moses, Joshua, and Caleb. How easily can God increase and

multiply, and how easily diminish and bring low! In all things,

because of his unlimited power, he can do whatsoever he will; and

he will do whatsoever is right.

ON a very important subject in this chapter Dr. Kennicott has

the following judicious observations:-

"The book of Deuteronomy contains the several speeches made to

the Israelites by Moses just before his death, recapitulating the

chief circumstances of their history, from their deliverance out

of Egypt to their arrival on the banks of Jordan. What in this

book he has recorded as spoken will be best understood by

comparing it with what he has recorded as done in the previous

history; and this, which is very useful as to the other parts of

this book, is absolutely necessary as to the part of the tenth

chapter here to be considered.

"The previous circumstances of the history necessary to be here

attended to are these: In Exodus, chap. xx., God speaks the ten

commandments; in chap. xxiv. Moses, on Mount Sinai, receives the

two tables, and is there forty days and nights; in chap. xxv,,

xxvi:, xxvii, God appoints the service of the tabernacle; in chap.

xxviii. separates Aaron and his sons for the priest's office, by a

statute for ever, to him and his seed after him; in chap. xxx.

Moses, incensed at the golden calf, breaks the tables; yet he

prays for the people, and God orders him to lead them towards

Canaan; in chap. xxxiv. Moses carries up two other tables, and

stays again forty days and nights. In Numbers, chap. iii., the

tribe of Levi is selected; chap. viii., consecrated; chap. x. and

xi. the Israelites march from Sinai on the twentieth day of the

second month in the second year; in chap. xiii. spies sent; in

chap. xiv. the men are sentenced to die in the wilderness during

the forty years; in chap. xviii. the Levites are to have no lot

nor large district in Canaan, but to be the Lord's inheritance;

in chap. xx. Aaron dies on Mount Hor; lastly, in the complete

catalogue of the whole march (chap. xxxiii.) we are told that they

went from Moseroth to Bene-jaakan, thence to Hor-hagidgad, to

Jotbathah, to Ebronah, to Ezion-gaber, to Zin, (which is

Kadesh,) and thence to Mount Hor, where Aaron died in the fortieth

and last year. In Deuteronomy, chap. ix., Moses tells the

Israelites, (De 9:7,) that they had been rebels, from Egypt even

to Jordan, particularly at Horeb, (De 9:8-29,) whilst he was with

God, and received the tables at the end of forty days and nights;

and that, after breaking the tables, he fasted and interceded for

his brethren during a second period of forty days and nights; and

this ninth chapter ends with the prayer which he then made.

Chapter x. begins thus: 'At that time the Lord said unto me, Hew

thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up,' &c.

And from De 10:1 to the end of De 10:5

he describes the second copy of the ten commandments, as written

also by God, and deposited by himself in the ark.

"After this we have now four verses, (De 10:6-9,) which

not only have no kind of connection with the verses before and

after them, but also, as they stand in the present Hebrew text,

directly contradict that very text; and the two first of these

verses have not, in our Hebrew text, the least connection with the

two last of them. Our Hebrew text, (De 10:6,) says that Israel

journeyed from Bene-jaakan to Mosera. Whereas that very text in

the complete catalogue, (Nu 33:31,) says they journeyed from

Moseroth to Bene-jaakan. Again: Aaron is here said to have died

at Mosera, whereas he died on Mount Hor, the seventh station

afterwards; see Nu 33:38. And again: they are here said to go

from Bene-jaakan to Mosera, thence to Gudgodah, and thence to

Jotbath; whereas the complete catalogue says, Moseroth to

Bene-jaakan, thence to Hor-hagidgad, and thence to Jotbathah.

But if the marches could possibly be true as they now stand in

these two verses, yet what connection can there be between JOTBATH

and the SEPARATION OF THE TRIBE OF LEVI? It is very happy that

these several difficulties in the Hebrew text are removed by the

SAMARITAN Pentateuch: for that text tells us here rightly that the

march was from Moseroth to Bene-jaakan; to Hagidgad, to

Jotbathah, to Ebronah, to Ezion-gaber, to Zin, (which is

Kadesh,) and thence to Mount Hor, where Aaron died. Again: as the

regular deduction of these stations ends with Mount Hor and Aaron's

death, we have then what we had not before, a regular connection

with the two next verses, and the connection is this: That when

Aaron, the son of Amram, the son of Kohath, the son of LEVI, died,

neither the tribe of Levi nor the priesthood was deserted, but God

still supported the latter by maintaining the former; and this, not

by allotting that tribe any one large part of Canaan, but separate

cities among the other tribes, and by allowing them to live upon

those offerings which were made by the other tribes to God

himself. These four verses therefore, (De 10:6-9,) in the

same text, stand thus: (De 10:6,)

WHEN the children of Israel journeyed from Moseroth, and encamped

in Bene-jaakan; from thence they journeyed and encamped at

Hagidgad; from thence they journeyed and encamped in Jotbathah,

a land of rivers of water: (7) From thence they journeyed and

encamped in Ebronah; in Ezion-gaber; in the wilderness of Zin,

which is Kadesh; and then at Mount Hor; And AARON DIED THERE, and

there he was buried; and Eleazar his son ministered as priest in

his stead. (8) At that time the Lord HAD separated the tribe of

Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before

the Lord, to minister unto him, and to bless in his name unto this

day. (9) Wherefore Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his

brethren; the Lord is his inheritance, according as the Lord thy

God promised him.

"But however consistent these four verses are now with

themselves, it will be still demanded, What connection have they

with the fifth verse before them, and with the tenth verse

after them? I confess I cannot discover their least pertinency

here, because AARON's DEATH and LEVI'S SEPARATION seem totally

foreign to the speech of Moses in this place. And this speech

without these four verses is a regularly connected admonition from

Moses to this purpose: that his brethren were for ever to consider

themselves as indebted to him, under God, for the renewal of the

two tables, and also to his intercession for rescuing them from

destruction. The words are these: (De 10:4,) 'The Lord wrote

again the ten commandments, and gave them unto me. (5) And I came

down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark, which I HAD

made:-(10) Thus I stayed in the mount according to the first time,

forty days and forty nights: and the Lord hearkened unto me at

that time also; the Lord would not destroy thee. (11) And the

Lord said unto me, Arise, take thy journey before the people, that

they may go in and possess the land,' &c. But then, if these four

verses were not at first a part of this chapter, but are evidently

interpolated, there arises another inquiry, Whether they are an

insertion entirely spurious, or a genuine part of the sacred text,

though removed hither out of some other chapter? As they contain

nothing singular or peculiar, are of no particular importance, and

relate to no subject of disputation, they are not likely to have

arisen from fraud or design; but, perfectly coinciding in sense

with other passages, they may safely be considered as another

instance of a large transposition [86 words] in the present text,

arising from accident and want of care. And the only remaining

question therefore is, Whether we can discover, though not to

demonstration, yet with any considerable degree of probability,

the original place of these four verses, that so they may be at

last restored to that neighbourhood and connection from which they

have been, for so many ages, separated?

"It was natural for Moses, in the course of these several

speeches to his brethren in Deuteronomy, to embrace the first

opportunity of impressing on their memories a matter of such

particular importance as the continuation of the priesthood among

the Levites after Aaron's death. And the first proper place seems

to be in the second chapter, after the first verse. At

De 1:19,

he speaks of their march from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea, whence

they sent the spies into Canaan. He then sets forth their

murmurings, and God's sentence that they should die in the

wilderness, and he ends the first chapter with their being

defeated by the Amorites, their weeping before the Lord, and

abiding many days in KADESH, which is KADESH-BARNEA, near Canaan.

"Chap. ii. begins thus: Then we turned, and took our journey

into the wilderness by the way of the Red Sea, as the Lord spake

unto me: and WE COMPASSED MOUNT SEIR MANY DAYS. Now, the many

days, or long time, which they spent in compassing Mount Seir,

that is, going round on the south-west coasts of Edom in order to

proceed north-east from Edom through Moab to Arnon, must include

several of their stations, besides that eminent one at Mount Hor,

where Aaron died. And as part of their road, during this long

compass, lay through Ezion-gaber, (which was on the eastern tongue

of the Red Sea, and the south boundary of Edom,) thence to Zin,

(which is KADESH, that is, MERIBAH KADESH,) and thence to Mount

Hor, as they marched to the north-east; so it is probable that the

five stations preceding that of Ezion-gaber were on the extremity

of Mount Seir, to the south-west. And if their first station at

entering the south-west borders of Edom, and beginning to compass

Mount Seir, was Moseroth, this gives the reason wanted why Moses

begins this passage at Moseroth, and ends it with Aaron's death at

Mount Hor. And this will discover a proper connection between the

four dislocated verses and the context here.-De 1:46: 'So ye

abode in Kadesh (Barnea) many days.' De 2:1: 'Then we turned,

and took our journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red

Sea, as the Lord spake unto me; and WE COMPASSED MOUNT SEIR MANY


"'For the children of Israel journeyed from Moseroth, and

pitched in Bene-jaakan: from thence they journeyed and pitched in

Hagidgad: from thence they journeyed and pitched in Jotbathah, a

land of rivers of water: from thence they journeyed and pitched in

Ebronah: from thence they journeyed and pitched in Ezion-gaber:

from thence they journeyed and pitched in the wilderness of Zin,

which is Kadesh: from thence they journeyed and pitched in Mount

Hor, and Aaron died there, and there he was buried; and Eleazar

his son ministered as priest in his stead. At that time the Lord

had separated the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant

of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister unto him, and to

bless in his name unto this day. Wherefore, Levi hath no part nor

inheritance with his brethren; the Lord is his inheritance,

according as the Lord thy God promised him.'

"And this paragraph being thus inserted at the end of the first

verse, the second begins a new paragraph, thus: And the Lord spake

unto me, saying, Ye have compassed this mountain long enough; turn

you northward-through the east side of Seir (or Edom) towards Moab

on the north. See De 2:4-8."

-Kennicott's Remarks, p. 74.

These remarks should not be hastily rejected.

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