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the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 31

Gaebelein's Annotated BibleGaebelein's Annotated

Verses 1-30


1. Moses’ Final Charge, The Written Law Delivered, and Jehovah’s Word to Moses


1. The final charge of Moses (Deuteronomy 31:1-8 )

2. The written law delivered (Deuteronomy 31:9-13 )

3. Jehovah’s word to Moses--Moses to Joshua (Deuteronomy 31:14-23 )

4. A prophecy (Deuteronomy 31:24-30 )

The final words of Moses to the people are full of tenderness and affection. There he stood, an hundred and twenty years old, a witness to the grace of His God. His eye was still the eye of youth, for it knew no dimness. And his frame was not bowed down by old age; there was no sign of feebleness about him (Deuteronomy 34:7 ). The words “I can no more go out and come in” are not in clash with the statement about his physical condition. He knew that he had to die because the Lord had told him so. He encouraged the people to trust in the Lord and assured them that the Lord would give them victory. “He it is who doth go with thee; He will not fail thee nor forsake thee.” Precious words these! And the same Jehovah is on our side, never to leave nor forsake His people. May we walk in the obedience of faith and find that His promise is true. Then followed an impressive scene. Joshua is called and in the sight of all Israel Moses addressed him. Joshua would bring them into the land. The same words given to Moses by the Lord to address to Joshua were spoken again to Joshua by the Lord Himself (Joshua 1:0 ).

The law, which Moses had written was next delivered unto the Levites. “Moses wrote this law.” Could there be a more emphatic statement than this! And this declaration that Moses wrote this law is confirmed by our Lord, the same Lord who spoke to Moses and whose words and laws Moses committed to writing. The denial of the Mosaic authorship includes the denial of the infallibility of the Son of God. It is infidelity. The infidels of the past ridiculed the teaching that Moses wrote the five books of the law. The infidels of Christendom do now the same. And this law was to be read before all Israel at the feast of tabernacles. They were to be dependent upon the Word of God and learn, fear, and obey by reading and hearing it. Our dependence is the same. Apart from believing and obeying the Word, spiritual life, walking in the Spirit, in fellowship with God, is impossible.

Then the Lord appeared in the tabernacle in a pillar of cloud, when Moses and Joshua presented themselves in the tabernacle of the congregation. The omniscient One, who knows everything from the beginning, announced the failure and apostasy of the nation, with whom He had dealt in such marvellous kindness, and who had been the witnesses of His power and glory. They would break the covenant and apostatize. He would forsake them also, because they turned away from Him to go a whoring after other gods. He would hide His face. All the predicted and threatened evils and troubles would come upon them. And their past, as well as present history, proves the solemn truth of these divine words. And there is one more chapter of their shameful history to be written. “The great tribulation” is still future. It will sweep over them in the days when the apostate nation will accept the false messiah, the Anti-christ, he who comes in his own name.

And Jehovah was to give Moses a song, which he was to teach Israel. The song is found in the chapter which follows. It has for its foundation the words of the Lord in verses 16-21. And Moses was obedient and wrote the same day and taught it to the children of Israel. It was a witness against them. It is so today. How striking that they should read this great final book of the law, read their own curses, their own history, past, present and future, and still abide in unbelief.

The parallel with the church is easy to recognize. Apostasy and failure were predicted for the latter days of the church on earth; that prediction was made in the very beginning of the church. How abundantly it has found its fulfillment! Compare Moses’ words in verse 29 with the words of Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, in Acts 20:29-30 .

Bibliographical Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 31". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gab/deuteronomy-31.html. 1913-1922.
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