Reading 59/341, Deuteronomy 30-32

Moses sums up all his teachings to the Israelites as a song.


It shall happen, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, and you return to the Lord your God and obey his voice according to all that I command you this day, you and your children, with all your heart, and with all your soul, that then the Lord your God will reverse your captivity, and have compassion on you, and will return and gather you from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. If your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there he will bring you back, and the Lord your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it, and he will do you good, and multiply you more than your fathers. The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts, and the hearts of your offspring, to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, that you may live. The Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies, and on those who hate you, those who persecuted you. You shall return and obey the voice of the Lord, and do all his commandments which I command you this day. The Lord your God will make you fruitful in all the work of your hands, in the fruit of your body, and in the fruit of your livestock, and in the fruit of your ground, for the Lord will again rejoice in prospering you, as he rejoiced in your fathers, if you shall obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul.

For this commandment with which I command you this day is not too hard for you, nor is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it to us, and make us hear it, that we may do it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it to us, and make us hear it, that we may do it?’ But the word is very near to you, in your mouth, and in your heart, that you may do it. Behold, I have set before you this day life and good, and death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you this day, to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his ordinances, that you may live and multiply, the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go in to possess. But if your hearts turn away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them, I denounce to you this day; you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you pass over the Jordan to go in to possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse, therefore choose life, that you may live, you and your seed: to love the Lord your God, to obey his voice, and to hold fast to him, for he is your life, and the length of your days, that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to give to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”

Moses went and spoke these words to all Israel. He said to them, “I am one hundred twenty years old this day. I can no longer go out and come in, and the Lord has said to me, ‘You shall not cross the Jordan.’ The Lord your God will go over before you; he will destroy these nations from before you, and you shall dispossess them, and Joshua shall go over before you, as the Lord has spoken. The Lord will do to them as he did to Sihon and to Og, the kings of the Amorites, and to their land, which he destroyed. The Lord will deliver them up before you, and you shall do to them according to the entire commandment which I have commanded you. Be strong and of good courage. Be not afraid, nor be scared of them, for the Lord your God goes with you. He will not fail you, nor forsake you.” Moses called to Joshua, and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and of good courage, for you shall go with this people into the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it. The Lord goes before you; he will be with you. He will not fail you, nor forsake you. Be not afraid, nor be dismayed.” Moses wrote this law, and delivered it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and to all the elders of Israel. Moses commanded them, saying, “At the end of every seven years, in the set time of the year of release, at the Feast of Booths, when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God in the place which he shall choose, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing. Assemble the people, the men and the women and the little ones, and your immigrant who is within your gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observe to do all the words of this law, and that their children, who have not known, may hear, and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as you live in the land which you go over the Jordan to possess.”

The Lord said to Moses, “Behold, your days approach when you must die. Call Joshua, and present yourselves in the tent of meeting, that I may give him the charge.” Moses and Joshua went, and presented themselves in the tent of meeting. The Lord appeared in the tent in a pillar of cloud, and the pillar of cloud stood over the door of the tent. The Lord said to Moses, “Behold, you shall sleep with your fathers, and this people will rise up, and whore after the strange gods among them of the land where they go, and they will forsake me and break my covenant, which I have made with them. Then my anger shall be kindled against them on that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall come on them, so that they will say on that day, ‘Have not these evils come on us because our God is not among us?’ I will surely hide my face on that day for all the evil which they shall have worked, in that they are turned to other gods. Now therefore write you this song for you, and teach it the children of Israel, put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Israel, for when I have brought them into the land which I swore to their fathers, flowing with milk and honey, and they have eaten their fill and grown fat, then they will turn to other gods, and serve them, and despise me, and break my covenant. It shall happen, when many evils and troubles have come on them, that this song shall testify before them as a witness, for it shall not be forgotten in the mouths of their seed, for I know their inclinations which they even have this day, before I have brought them into the land about which I swore.” So Moses wrote this song the same day, and taught it the children of Israel. The Lord instructed Joshua the son of Nun, and said, “Be strong and of good courage; for you shall bring the children of Israel into the land which I swore to them, and I will be with you.”

It happened, when Moses had finished writing the words of this law in a book to the very end, that Moses commanded the Levites, who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying, “Take this book of the law, and put it by the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there for a witness against you. For I know your rebellion, and your stiff neck, behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, you have been rebellious against the Lord, and how much more after my death? Assemble to me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their ears, and call heaven and earth to witness against them. For I know that after my death you will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you, and evil will happen to you in the latter days, because you will do what is evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands.”

Moses spoke in the ears of all the assembly of Israel the words of this song, until they were finished. “Give ear, you heavens, and I will speak.
Let the earth hear the words of my mouth.
My doctrine shall drop as the rain.
My speech shall condense as the dew,
as the small rain on the tender grass,
as the showers on the herb.
For I will proclaim the name of the Lord.
Ascribe greatness to our God!
The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice,
a God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.
They have dealt corruptly with him,
they are not his children; it is their blemish.
They are a perverse and crooked generation.
Do you thus requite the Lord, foolish people and unwise?
Is he not your father who created you?
He has made you, and established you.
Remember the days of old. Consider the years of many generations.
Ask your father, and he will show you; your elders, and they will tell you.
When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance,
when he separated the children of men,
he set the bounds of the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel.
For the Lord's portion is his people.
Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.
He found him in a desert land, in the waste, howling desert.
He surrounded him. He cared for him.
He kept him as the apple of his eye.
As an eagle that stirs up her nest, that flutters over her young,
he spread abroad his wings, he took them, he bore them on his feathers.
The Lord alone led him. There was no foreign god with him.
He made him ride on the high places of the earth.
He ate the increase of the field.
He caused him to suck honey out of the rock, oil out of the flinty rock,
butter of the herd, and milk of the flock,
with fat of lambs, rams of Bashan, and goats, with the finest wheat.
From the blood of the grape you drank wine.
But Jeshurun grew fat, and kicked.
You have grown fat. You have grown thick. You have become sleek.
Then he forsook God who made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.
With strange gods, they moved him to jealousy.
They provoked him to anger with abominations.
They sacrificed to demons, which were no gods,
to gods that they did not know,
to new gods that came up recenty, which your fathers did not fear.
Of the Rock who became your father, you are unmindful,
and have forgotten God who gave you birth.
The Lord saw it, and abhorred them,
because of the provocation of his sons and his daughters.
He said, I will hide my face from them.
I will see what their end shall be, for they are a very perverse generation,
children in whom there is no faithfulness.
They have moved me to jealousy with what is not God.
They have provoked me to anger with their vanities.
I will move them to jealousy with those who are not a people.
I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.
For a fire is kindled in my anger, and burns to the lowest Sheol,
It devours the earth with its increase,
and sets the foundations of the mountains on fire.
I will heap evils on them. I will spend my arrows on them.
They shall be wasted with hunger,
and devoured with burning heat and bitter destruction.
I will send the teeth of animals on them,
with the venom of crawling things of the dust.
Outside the sword shall bereave, and in the chambers, terror:
on both young man and virgin, the suckling with the gray-haired man.
I said, ‘I will scatter them afar.
I will make the memory of them to cease from among men,
were it not that I feared the provocation of the enemy,’
lest their adversaries should judge wrongly, lest they should say,
‘Our hand is exalted, the Lord has not done all this.’
For they are a nation void of counsel. There is no understanding in them.
Oh that they were wise, so that they understood this,
that they would consider their latter end!
How could one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight,
unless their Rock had sold them, and the Lord had delivered them up?
For their rock is not as our Rock, our enemies themselves being judges.
For their vine is from the vine of Sodom, of the fields of Gomorrah.
Their grapes are poisonous grapes; their clusters are bitter.
Their wine is the venom of serpents, the cruel venom of asps.
Is not this laid up in store with me, sealed up among my treasures?
Vengeance is mine; I will repay.
At the time when their foot slides, for the day of their calamity is at hand.
The things that have come on them shall make haste.
For the Lord will judge his people, and have compassion on his servants,
when he sees that their power is gone.
There is no one remaining, shut up or left at large.
He will say, ‘Where are their gods, the rock in which they took refuge,
which ate the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offering?
Let them rise up and help you! Let them be your protection. See now that I, I, am he.
There is no god with me.
I kill, and I make alive. I wound, and I heal.
There is no one who can deliver out of my hand.
For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say,
‘As I live forever, if I sharpen my glittering sword, my hand will take hold of judgment.
I will render vengeance to my adversaries and will repay those who hate me.
I will make my arrows drunk with blood.
My sword shall devour flesh with the blood of the slain and the captives,
from the head of the leaders of the enemy.
Rejoice, you nations, with his people, for he will avenge the blood of his servants.
He will repays those who hate him,
and will make expiation for his land, for his people.”

Moses came and spoke all the words of this song in the ears of the people, he and Joshua the son of Nun. Moses made an end of speaking all these words to all Israel; He said to them, “Set your heart to all the words which I testify to you this day, which you shall command your children to carefully do, all the words of this law. For it is no vain thing for you, because it is your life, and by this you shall prolong your days in the land, which you go over the Jordan to possess.”

The Lord spoke to Moses that same day, saying, “Go up on this mountain of Abarim, to Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, across from Jericho, and see the land of Canaan, which I give to the children of Israel for a possession, and die on the mountain where you go up, and be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother died on Mount Hor, and was gathered to his people, because you trespassed against me in the midst of the children of Israel at the waters of Meribah of Kadesh, in the desert of Zin, because you did not sanctify me in the midst of the children of Israel. For you shall see the land before you, but you shall not go into the land which I give the children of Israel.”

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