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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Deuteronomy 10

Verse 1

At that time the LORD said unto me, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up unto me into the mount, and make thee an ark of wood.

At that time the Lord said unto me. It was when God had been pacified, through the intercessions of Moses, with the people who had so greatly offended Him by the worship of the golden calf, the obedient leader executed the orders he had received as to the preparation both of the hewn stones and the ark or chest in which those sacred archives were to be laid.

Verse 2

And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou brakest, and thou shalt put them in the ark.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 3

And I made an ark of shittim wood, and hewed two tables of stone like unto the first, and went up into the mount, having the two tables in mine hand.

I made an ark of shittim wood. It appears, however, from Exodus 37:1, that the ark was not framed until his return from the mount; or, most probably, he gave instructions to Bezeleel, the artist employed on the work, before he ascended the mount, that on his descent it might be finished, and ready to receive the precious deposit.

Verses 4-5

And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the LORD spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly: and the LORD gave them unto me.

He wrote on the tables, according to the first writing - i:e., not Moses, acting under the divine direction, as the amanuensis (copyist), but God Himself, who made this inscription a second time with His own hand, to testify the importance He attached to the Ten Commandments. Different from other stone monuments of antiquity, which were made to stand upright, and in the open air, those on which the divine law was engraven were portable, and designed to be kept as a treasure. Josephus says that each of the tables contained five precepts. But the tradition generally received, both among Jewish and Christian writers, is, that one table contained four precepts, the other six.

The ten commandments. [The Septuagint, followed by Philo and Josephus, has: tous deka logous, whence was derived their word 'Decalogue' (see the notes at Exodus 21:1-36; also 'Suic. Thesau').]

Verse 5. There they be, as the Lord commanded me. Here is another minute but important circumstance, the public mention of which at the time attests the veracity of the sacred historian.

Verses 6-7

And the children of Israel took their journey from Beeroth of the children of Jaakan to Mosera: there Aaron died, and there he was buried; and Eleazar his son ministered in the priest's office in his stead.

The children of Israel took their journey. So sudden a change from a spoken discourse to a historical narrative has greatly puzzled the most eminent Biblical scholars, some of whom reject the parenthesis as a manifest interpolation. Kennicott has shown that these two verses have been dislocated and transposed from their proper connection, which is after Deuteronomy 2:11. 'Eusebius and Jerome relate that the place of the Beeroth (wells), Bene-jaakan, was still shown in their day, 10 Roman miles from Petra, at the top of the mountain' (Robinson's 'Biblical Researches,' 2:, p. 583). Mosera, [ Mowceeraah (H4149) and Mowceerowt (H4149)] - Mosera and Moseroth.

Eleazar his son ministered, [ wayªkaheen (H3547)] - became, was installed, priest. The verb is found only in the Piel conjugation, bearing three senses, of which that just given is one.

Gudgodah = Hor-hagidgad (mount of the thunder: Numbers 33:32).

Jotbath, [ YaaTªbaataah (H3193)] (Numbers 33:33) = Jotbathah. There is another difficulty in the record of these encampment details. The stations which the Israelites are said successively to have occupied are enumerated here in a different order from Numbers 33:31. That the names of the stations in both passages are the same, there can be no doubt; but in Numbers they are probably mentioned in reference to the first visit of the Hebrews during the long wandering southwards, before their return to Kadesh the second time; while here they have a reference to the second passage of the Israelites, when they again marched south, in order to compass the land of Edom. It is easy to conceive that Mosera (Hor) and the wells of Jaakan might lie in such a direction that a nomadic horde might in different years at one time take the former first in their way, and at another time the latter (Robinson).

Verse 8

At that time the LORD 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.

At that time the Lord separated the tribe of Levi. "At that time" is a phrase used in a large sense (see the note at Genesis 37:1, etc.), and applied in the case before us to an event which happened 38 years before-for the separation of the tribe of Levi took place in the second month of the second year (Numbers 1:49), while Aaron died on the first of the fifth month in the 40 year (Numbers 33:38). This explanation is suggested by the Jewish writer Ibn Ezra.

Verse 9

Wherefore Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren; the LORD is his inheritance, according as the LORD thy God promised him.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verses 10-22

And 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, and the LORD would not destroy thee.

Moses here resumes his address, and having made a passing allusion to the principal events in their history, concludes by exhorting them to fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully.

Verse 16. Circumcise ... the foreskin of your heart. Here he teaches them the true and spiritual meaning of that rite, as was afterward more strongly urged by Paul (Romans 2:25-29), and should be applied by us to our baptism, which is "not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God."

Verse 17. For the Lord (Yahweh) your God ... - i:e., He is not merely a local deity, as the pagan regard their guardian divinities; and although, for high and important purposes, He is taking a special interest in the Jewish nation, yet He is the God of all the earth, who, in the exercise of His moral government, knows no national distinctions, and who will not be turned aside from the course of immutable rectitude by any show of liberality or splendour, even in the oblations or the ritual which He has Himself established.

Verse 18,19. He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow. Two powerful motives are here adduced for the cherishing a spirit of benevolence and generous sympathy with the stranger and the destitute-the one drawn from the lessons of their own experience in the school of Egyptian discipline, and from the fact that God exercised a paternal and vigilant care over the helpless, to preserve them from injury, and secure for them the rights of hospitality and justice.

Verse 22. Thy fathers went down into Egypt with threescore and ten persons, [ bªshib`iym (H7657) nepesh (H5315)] - 70 souls (see the note at Genesis 46:26: cf. Acts 7:14). The view of the divine character exhibited in this passage by the Hebrew legislator is eminently ethical, and the whole religious system of the Israelites 'was erected,' as Hardwick says (2:, 347), 'on their firm belief in the immaculate holiness-that holiness attracting to itself the homage, love, and adoration of a free and grateful people.'

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/deuteronomy-10.html. 1871-8.