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Deuteronomy 32 Commentary

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Deuteronomy 32:1-4 meaning

Moses called on all creation to be a witness to a lawsuit the LORD brings against His covenant people. It also contains a proclamation of the name of the LORD.

Deuteronomy 32:5-6 meaning

Moses contrasts God’s justice, steadfast love, and faithfulness with Israel’s foolishness and apostasy.

Deuteronomy 32:7-9 meaning

Moses reminded the Israelites that the Suzerain (Ruler) God elected them and had taken them as His own inheritance.

Deuteronomy 32:10-14 meaning

Moses recounted some of the works of the Suzerain (Ruler) God to His vassals (servants), Israel. God serves as a shepherd, protector, and as father for His often-unfaithful people. The Israelites have every reason to trust and obey their spiritual father because He has always been faithful to them.

Deuteronomy 32:15-18 meaning

The Israelites rejected the Suzerain God because He has blessed them to the point of excess.

Deuteronomy 32:19-22 meaning

The Suzerain (Ruler) God says He will reject His chosen people because they have abandoned Him.

Deuteronomy 32:23-27 meaning

The Suzerain (Ruler) God says He will use various tools such as famine, disease, war, wild beasts, and venomous snakes to carry out His judgment on His disobedient vassals, Israel.

Deuteronomy 32:28-33 meaning

Moses then commented on the LORD’s decision to judge Israel. His covenant people lack wisdom and understanding, leading them to worship the pagan gods of their enemies. This resulted in the LORD’s severe judgment upon His people.

Deuteronomy 32:34-35 meaning

The Suzerain God pronounces judgment on Israel’s enemies because they misinterpret His actions. They think they are powerful because they defeat Israel, but it is God who gives Israel over because of their disobedience. Vengeance belongs to God.

Deuteronomy 32:36-38 meaning

The Suzerain (Ruler) God will judge His covenant people and also show compassion to them when they desperately seek Him.

Deuteronomy 32:39-42 meaning

Moses quoted the Suzerain God who says that He alone is God and that there are no other gods besides Him. Because of this, He will avenge Israel by inflicting punishment on the pagan nations.

Deuteronomy 32:43 meaning

Moses now comments on the LORD’s speech as he invites the nations to join in the celebration of God’s gracious acts on Israel’s behalf.

Deuteronomy 32:44-47 meaning

After reciting his song to the Israelites (vv. 1-43), Moses exhorts them to covenant faithfulness, calling them to take everything to heart to live long in the Promised Land.

Deuteronomy 32:48-52 meaning

After Moses’s recitation of the song and final exhortation to Israel, the Suzerain God commands him the same day to go up Mount Nebo to view the Promised Land from afar and to die there on the mountain.