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Bible Commentaries

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes
Deuteronomy 32



Verse 1

Give ear. Figure of speech Apostrophe. App-6. Compare Isaiah 1:2.

Verse 2

doctrine. Hebrew. lekah. First occurrence. = good teaching.

My speech = the words of my mouth.

as the dew. Compare Micah 5:7.

showers. First occurrence. Hebrew. rebibim. Elsewhere: Psalms 65:10; Psalms 72:6. Jeremiah 3:3; Jeremiah 14:22. Micah 5:7.

Verse 3

the LORD = Jehovah. See App-4.

Verse 4

Rock. Omit "He is", and read "The Rock, His work is perfect". Used of Jehovah in this song five times (the number of Grace. See App-10), verses: Deuteronomy 32:4, Deuteronomy 32:15, Deuteronomy 32:18, Deuteronomy 4:30, Deuteronomy 4:31. Used twice in irony (App-6), verses: Deuteronomy 32:31, Deuteronomy 32:37. Compare 2 Samuel 22:31, 2 Samuel 22:32.

GOD = Hebrew "el. See App-4.

iniquity. See App-44.

Verse 5

They have, &c. The Nom., "generation", is put last by Figure of speech Hyperbaton (App-6), for emphasis, in contrast with "the Rock" of Deuteronomy 32:4, which is there put first. Compare Deuteronomy 32:20. Render the verse thus: "A perverse and crooked generation hath corrupted itself: [To be] no sons of His is their blemish. "

spot = blemish.

children = sons.

Verse 6

Do . . . ? Figure of speech Erotesis. App-6.

Verse 7

of old, or, the days of long ago. Compare Psalms 77:5.

Verse 8

When, &c. i.e. He foreknew His purposes concerning Israel. See Genesis 10:32. This was 200 years before Abraham.

MOST HIGH = "eleyon. See App-4.

divided. As an inheritance. Compare Deuteronomy 32:9. Hebrew. nahal = to possess. See note on Deuteronomy 32:9. Not Hebrew. palag (Genesis 10:25), which = to cleave by disruption, or parur (Genesis 10:5, Genesis 10:32), which = to divide by breaking off. (See note App-50.)

People = Peoples.

Verse 9

lot = line. Figure of speech Metonymy (of Cause), App-6, because the inheritance was allotted by a cord or line. Compare 1 Chronicles 16:18. Psalms 16:6; Psalms 19:4. Micah 2:5.

Verse 10

him: i.e. Jacob. Emphasis on "him" marked by Figure of speech Epistrophe (App-6), by which each clause ends with the same word. Here (in Hebrew) "him". "In a desert land He found HIM, He instructed HIM, In the waste howling wilderness, about, He led HIM, As the apple of His eye He kept HIM. "

apple. First occurrence of Hebrew. babah, used of the small round dark pupil of the eye. Hebrew = hole, gate, or door of the eye. Compare Psalms 18:8. See note on Zechariah 2:8. Called "pupil" from Latin. pupilla = a little girl.

Verse 11

stirreth up = fluttereth. Same word as Genesis 1:2.

nest. Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Subject), App-6, for the young in it. Compare Exodus 19:4. Isaiah 63:9.

wings. Hebrew. kanaph: in which lie the feathers.

wings. Hebrew. "eber : in which lie the strength. We may read verses: Deuteronomy 32:32, Deuteronomy 32:11, Deuteronomy 32:12 thus: "As an eagle that stirreth up her nest, He bare him on His pinions: That fluttereth over her young, Jehovah alone did lead him, [So] He spread abroad His wings; He took him; And [there was] no strange god with him. "

Verse 12

him. Note Figure of speech Epistrophe (App-6), each line ending with same word "him" in Hebrew and English for emphasis, as Deuteronomy 32:10.

GOD. Hebrew "el. (See App-4.)

Verse 13

That he might eat. Samaritan Pentateuch and Septuagint read "caused him to eat". Hebrew text reads "And he did eat".

increase. Hebrew. nub, fruit from land. First occurrence.

honey . . . oil. Put by Figure of speech Synecdoche (of Species) for all delicious things.

rock. Hebrew sel"a = a rock, as a fortress, immovable.

flinty rock. Hebrew. zur = rock in situ, sharp and precipitous. Hence a refuge and security.

Verse 14

Bashan. Confirming the promise of Deuteronomy 32:13 as to high or mountainous places.

fat of kidneys = white of the kernels.

pure = unmixed.

blood. Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Adjunct) for red juice, blood of grapes. Figure of speech Catachresis. App-6.

Verse 15

Jeshurun = the Upright One. First occurrence. Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Adjunct), App-6, for the ideal Israel (Compare Deuteronomy 33:5, Deuteronomy 33:26. Isaiah 44:2) as chosen by God.

kicked = trampled under foot. Hence, to contemn. Hebrew. ba"at. First occurrence.

Thou. Note the Figure of speech Anaphora in this verse (App-6). GOD = Eloah. The God in respect of worship. First occurrence. App-4.

Rock. Hebrew. zur, as in Deuteronomy 32:13.

Verse 16

Note the Introversion of these four lines: From this, "abominations" generally means idols.

jealousy. Figure of speech Anthropopatheia. App-6. Compare Psalms 78:58.

strange = foreign.

Verse 17

devils = demons. Hebrew. shed. First occurrence. Compare Psalms 106:37. 1 Corinthians 10:20.

GOD = "eloah. See App-4.

gods = "elohim. App-4.

new = recent, lately. Hebrew. karob, as in Judges 5:8.

newly = recently.

feared = trembled at. Hebrew. sa"ar. Not gur, reverence.

Verse 19

abhorred. Compare Psalms 106:40.

of. Genitive of origin = the provocation produced by the conduct of His People.

Verse 20

hide My face. See note on Deuteronomy 31:17.

froward = perverse. Hebrew. haphakpak. First occurance.

Verse 21

Note the alternation of the four lines, marked by "jealousy, anger, jealousy, anger".

not GOD = no "el. App-4.

provoked. Compare Romans 10:19.

not a People = no People. Compare Romans 10:19; Romans 11:11. See App-35.

Verse 22

hell = sh"eol.

set on fire. Hebrew. lahat. First occurrence.

Verse 23

mischiefs. See App-44.

arrows. Figure of speech Anthropopatheia. App-6. They are named in Deuteronomy 32:24.

Verse 24

burning heat. Hebrew. resheph. First occurance. = fever.

serpents. Hebrew. zahal = to crawl or creep. First occurance.

Verse 25

within = from the inner chambers.

destroy = bereave.

man. Hebrew "ish. App-14.

Verse 26

scatter them into corners = disperse them, scatter as with the wind. The verb pa"ah occurs only here. The Severus Codex (App-34) divides the one word "aph"eyhem (disperse them) into the three words "aph, "ey, hem, "[I said] in anger, Where are they? "

men. Hebrew. "enosh = mortals. App-14.

Verse 27

I feared. Figure of speech Anthropopatheia (App-6).

behave themselves strangely = mistake it. Hebrew. nakar, a Homonym with three meanings: (1) to mistake, Deuteronomy 32:27; (2) to acknowledge, Job 34:19; (3) to deliver. 1 Samuel 23:7. Both Authorized Version and Revised Version miss the first (Revised Version = misdeem), admit the second and third (though the Revised Version margin suggests "alienated" for "delivered").

the LORD = Jehovah. Note the five Divine Titles in this song. App-4.

Verse 28

counsel = deliberation. Hebrew. ya"az.

Verse 29

O that. Figure of speech Eonismos. App-6. Compare Psalms 81:1, Psalms 81:3, Psalms 81:14.

Verse 30

one chase, &c. Compare Leviticus 26:8. Joshua 23:10. 2 Chronicles 24:24. Isaiah 30:17.

Verse 31

For, &c. Compare 1 Samuel 2:2, and note on Deuteronomy 32:4, above.

Verse 33

wine. Hebrew. yayin. See App-27.

Verse 34

Is not this. Figure of speech Erotesis. App-6.

Verse 35

To Me. Hebrew text is li = "to Me", but Dr. Ginsburg thinks it is an abbreviation for liyom, "for the day", as seems evident from Samaritan Pentateuch, Targum of Onkelos, and Septuagint, and from agreeing with the next line. So that verses: Deuteronomy 32:34, Deuteronomy 32:35 will read: "Is not this laid up in store with Me, Sealed up in My treasuries? For the day of vengeance and recompence, For the time when their foot shall slip? "This shows that the Ellipsis is wrongly supplied in the Authorized Version; and that the Revised Version misses the point

Verse 36

judge = vindicate. Compare Leviticus 26:25. Judges 2:18. Psalms 7:8; Psalms 135:14. Jeremiah 51:6.

power. Hebrew "hand". Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Adjunct), App-6, for power contained in it.

shut up, or left. Hebrew "azab, is a Homonym, with two meanings: (1) to leave, or forsake, Genesis 2:24; Genesis 39:6. Nehemiah 5:10. Psalms 49:10. Mai. Deuteronomy 4:1. (2) To help, restore, strengthen, shut in, or fortify, as in Exodus 23:5. 1 Kings 14:10. 2 Kings 14:26. Nehemiah 3:8. Jeremiah 49:25. See the notes on these passages. Hence, here, Deuteronomy 32:36 = defended und protected. Note the perplexity manifested in the margins of Authorized Version and Revised Version.

Verse 37

Where . . . ? Figure of speech Erotesis. App-6.

trusted. Hebrew. hasa. See App-69.

Verse 38

And be. Samaritan Pentateuch, Targum of Onkelos, Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulg, read "Let them be".

Verse 39

I, even I, am He. Compare Isaiah 44:8.

I kill. Compare 1 Samuel 2:6. 2 Kings 5:7.

I wound. Compare Job 5:18. Hosea 6:1.

Verse 40

I lift up My hand = I swear. The lifting of the hand being put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Adjunct), App-6, for the thing signified by it.

Verse 41

sword. Figure of speech Anthropopatheia. App-6. Compare Revelation 19:15.

judgment = justice, or retribution. Compare Isaiah 1:24.

Verse 42

arrows. Figure of speech Prosopopatheia. App-6.

drunk = devour. Figure of speech Prosopopoeia. App-6.

From the beginning = from [the flesh] of the chief leader of. Note the alternation: "I will make Mine arrows drunk with blood, And My sword shall devour much flesh; With the blood of the slain and of the captives, With [the flesh] of the chief leader of the enemy. "Compare Revelation 19:17-21, to which this refers. See also Ezekiel 39:17-20.

Verse 43

Rejoice. Figure of speech Poeanismos. App-6. The song began with Apostrophe, App-6, and thus ends, with the same Figure, Moses" eighth address. See note on Deuteronomy 1:6.

nations. Compare Psalms 67:1-7.

be merciful = be propitious. Compare Joel 2:18. Romans 15:9.

land . . . people = the two great subjects of the song and of the Old Testament.

Verse 44

this song. This is the fifth and last contextual reference to "the Song of Moses".

Hoshea = the old spelling of Joshua. Later it was "Jeshua" (Ezra 2:2). This was adopted by the Septuagint, and ultimately became "Jesus".

Verse 46

Set your hearts. Moses" ninth address. See note on Deuteronomy 1:6.

the words. Not merely the Word of God as a whole, but the "words" of which it is made up. Compare Jeremiah 15:16. John 17:8, John 17:14, John 17:17.

this day. See note on Deuteronomy 4:26.

to do. Some codices, with one early printed edition, Samaritan Pentateuch, Septuagint, The Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel and Syriac, read "and to do".

Verse 47

in the land = on the soil. The end of Moses" ninth address. See note on Deuteronomy 1:1.

Verse 48

spake. See note on Deuteronomy 2:1.

Verse 49

children = sons.

Verse 50

die . . . be gathered. Figure of speech Heterosis (of Mood), App-6. Imperative for Indicative. Compare Genesis 25:8, Genesis 25:17.

as Aaron = according as Aaron. Compare Numbers 20:24; Numbers 27:12-14.

Verse 51

Because. Compare Numbers 20:12.

trespassed. Hebrew. ma"al. App-44.


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Bibliography Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 32:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

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