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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 9

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-6


Verses 1-6:

"This day," not that same calendar day, but "at this time," or "very soon."

Anakim, descendants of Arba, one of the sons of Heth, Genesis 23:3, who built Hebron seven years before the building of Zoan in Egypt, Genesis 23:2; Numbers 13:22; Joshua 15:13; Joshua 15:54. Anak was his son. In Moses’ time. there were three prominent sons of Anak, Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, Numbers 13:22-33. Like the Emim (Deuteronomy 2:10-11), they were huge and warlike and numerous, and lived in well-fortified cities.

God promised to precede Israel in their conquest of the Land, and destroy the Anakim and the other inhabitants. This does not mean that God would do all the work Himself, and Israel would have nothing at all to do. It means that He would work in and through Israel, to accomplish what He had promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob regarding the Land.

The text is a warning to Israel, that they must not think God had given them this Land because of their own goodness. Moses describes them as "stiff necked," gesheh oraph, "hard of neck," obstinant, refusing to bow their necks to submit to Jehovah’s yoke, see Exodus 32:9; Exodus 33:3-5; Exodus 34:9.

God’s reason for bringing Israel into the Land was two-fold: (1) The wickedness of the inhabitants. The moral corruption of the Canaanites was legendary in the ancient world. They were grossly immoral, and practiced the shedding of innocent blood in their human sacrifices. God could not ignore this depravity. (2) His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Verses 7-14

Verses 7-14:

Israel’s rebellious nature began to be evident even before they were completely out of Egypt, Exodus 14:11. It continued throughout their wilderness journey until the very moment Moses spoke these words. Some instances are: (1) The waters of Marah, Exodus 15:23-26. (2) Between Elim and Sinai, the giving of the manna, Exodus 16. (3) Rephidim, Exodus 17:1-7, also known as Massah. (4) The golden calf, at Sinai, Exodus 32. (5) Taberah, Numbers 11:1-3. (6) Kibroth-hattavah, Numbers 11:16-35. (7) Kadesh-barnea, Numbers 13, 14. (8) The rebellion of Korah, Numbers 16. (9) The waters of Meribah, Numbers 20:1-11. (10) The fiery serpents, Numbers 21:4-9.

The text deals with the most serious of all these offenses: the golden calf, Exodus 32, see comments on this chapter.

Verses 15-21

Verses 15-21:

When Moses descended from Mount Sinai, he saw the people of Israel dancing in drunken debauchery around the gold calf which Aaron had made. He threw down the two tables (tablets) of stone upon which God had written the Law, and broke them. This was not a fit of pique or personal indignation. It was a solemn declaration that Israel had violated every principle of Divine Law, and that they had nullified God’s covenant by their willful sin.

Moses began his intercession for Israel before he descended from the mountain, Exodus 32:11-14. This is not the instance of intercession to which this text refers. The occasion of verse 18 is the one of Exodus 34:28, in which Moses returned to the mountain for another period of forty days and nights. In the Exodus account, no mention is made of Moses’ intercession for Aaron, as in the present text. Exodus 32:21-22 identifies Aaron’s guilt in the matter of the golden calf.

Compare verse 21 with Exodus 32:20.

Verses 22-29

Verses 22-29:

Other instances of Israel’s provoking of Jehovah:’

(1) Taberah, Numbers 11:1-3, the "place of burning," where Israel complained against Jehovah and His provision for them.

(2) Massah, Exodus 17:1-7, where water came from the rock.

(3) Kibroth-hattavah, Numbers 11:16-35, the miraculous supply of meat.

(4) Kadesh-barnea, Numbers 13, 14, Israel’s refusal to enter Canaan.

In each of these instances, Moses’ intercession on behalf of Israel stayed the judgment of God. This intercession was based upon the sanctity of God’s Covenant, and His reputation as the God of grace and power.

The principle of intercession is relevant today. The New Testament gives examples of intercession, John 17:20; Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60; Romans 10:1. God’s people today are commanded to make intercession "for all men," 1 Timothy 2:1-4.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 9". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/deuteronomy-9.html. 1985.
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