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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 9

Gray's Concise Bible CommentaryGray's Concise Commentary

Verses 1-29


OBEDIENCE (Deuteronomy 7:0 )

What were the names of the seven nations of Canaan to be cast out for their iniquity (Deuteronomy 7:1 )? Who would cast them out, and in what manner is the supernatural character of the act emphasized? Nevertheless, what illustrates the divine use of means (Deuteronomy 7:2 )? What command is laid on the Israelites in the premises (Deuteronomy 7:2-3 )? And why (Deuteronomy 7:4 )? To what extent should their zeal be exhibited, and why (Deuteronomy 7:5-6 )? What shows Israel’s choice to be of grace and not debt (Deuteronomy 7:7-8 )? What shows the blessing of Israel to be grounded on obedience (Deuteronomy 7:9-12 )? How is the temporal and material character of the blessing illustrated (Deuteronomy 7:13-15 )? How are the people encouraged (Deuteronomy 7:17-21 )? What shows God’s very particular care for them (Deuteronomy 7:22-23 )?

GRATITUDE (Deuteronomy 8:0 )

What shows that Israel was too small a people to occupy the land at first (Deuteronomy 8:1 )? Notice in the verses following (Deuteronomy 8:2-3 ), how their experiences in the wilderness were intended to teach obedience as well as impress them with the goodness of God. What miraculous occurrence is noted in Deuteronomy 8:4 ? Compare Deuteronomy 29:5 .

What attractive features of the land are named (Deuteronomy 8:7-9 )? All accounts speak of the natural beauty and fertility of Palestine, and its great capabilities when properly developed. To be among its brooks and hills and valleys after passing through the desert can be appreciated by those who have entered California after crossing the plains.

For the plenteousness of the wheat and barley of Palestine see Matthew 13:8 ; but these products of the northern regions were equaled by the fruits of the south. “Honey” is often used indeterminately to signify a syrup of dates or grapes, which was esteemed a great luxury in the east. Iron was found in the mountains of Lebanon. The brass was not the alloy brass, but copper ore. Compare 1 Chronicles 22:3 ; 1 Chronicles 29:2-7 ; and Isaiah 60:17 .

After mentioning these instances of God’s goodness, what arguments are founded upon them in the closing verses? Note the appropriateness of this chapter to be read on Thanksgiving day and other national holidays.

HUMILITY (Deuteronomy 9-11)

Notice the description of the Canaanitish cities in Deuteronomy 9:1 . They are called “great because of the space they covered. Unlike our cities, the houses stood far apart, with gardens and fields intervening. They were usually fenced, sometimes as high as forty feet with burnt or sun-dried bricks. It would not be much to demolish such a wall in our day, but such engineering skill was then unknown. Nevertheless, would any obstacle prevent their taking possession?

Would the victory be theirs, or God’s? And would He give it to them on the ground of merit (Deuteronomy 9:4 )? What would move Him in the premises (Deuteronomy 9:4-5 )? How does Moses dissuade the people from any idea of their own righteousness (see the remainder of the chapter)? The plainness of Moses’ speech and the submission of the people is a strong evidence of the truth of the history. An impostor would have operated on opposite lines.

What instances of unfaithfulness does Moses name (note Deuteronomy 9:12-23 )? The reference to his humiliation in the last named verse does not apply to a third experience of the kind, but is a fuller description of the second named in Deuteronomy 9:18 .

Concerning “the brook that descended out of the mount” (Deuteronomy 9:21 ), though the Israelites were supplied with water from this rock when they were stationed at Rephidim (Wady Feiran), there is nothing in the narrative which should lead us to suppose that the rock was in the immediate neighborhood of that place (see note on Exodus 17:5-6 ). The water of this rock was probably the brook that descended form the mount. The water may have flowed many miles from the rock, as the winter torrents do now through the wadys of Arabia Petraea (Psalms 78:15-16 ). And the rock may have been smitten at such a height, and at a spot bearing such a relation to the Sinaitic valleys, as to furnish supplies of water during the journey from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir and Kadesh-Barnea (Deuteronomy 1:1-2 ). On this supposition new light is cast on the language of the apostle when he speaks of the “the rock following’’ the Israelites (1 Corinthians 10:4 ).

The general subject of chapter 9 is extended into chapters 10 and 11.

In Deuteronomy 10:4 , note that it was not Moses who wrote the words on the tables of stone, but God Himself. A professor in one of our universities is quoted as making light of this by inquiring whether God is supposed to have turned stone mason and chiseled these words with His own hand. We can afford to treat such remarks with silence, remembering the Scripture that some professing themselves to be wise have become fools (Romans 1:22 ).

Note in Deuteronomy 10:5 a minute circumstance, the mention of which at the time attests the truth of the record.

Note that Deuteronomy 10:6-9 seem to be inserted out of their place, the explanation of which no one knows. The address of Moses resumes again at Deuteronomy 10:10 .

With Deuteronomy 10:16 compare Romans 2:25 ; Romans 2:29 for its New Testament application to the Jew, and Colossians 2:11 to the Christian.

In chapter 11 there is little requiring particular notice. The blessing and curse (Deuteronomy 11:26-32 ) will be referred to in a later chapter, but just here it may be mentioned that most signally is the execution of the curse seen in the present sterility of Palestine.


1. What were the wilderness experiences intended to teach Israel?

2. What were the chief products of northern and southern Palestine, respectively?

3. Why were the cities of Canaan called “great”?

4. What evidence of its truth does this record contain?

5. Can you quote 1 Corinthians 10:4 ?

Bibliographical Information
Gray, James. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 9". Gray's Concise Bible Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jgc/deuteronomy-9.html. 1897-1910.
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