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Bible: What Does Deuteronomy 5-8 Teach Us About Moses' Review of the Ten Commandments?

Updated on September 15, 2016



Review of Ten Commandments

Now the lawgiver begins his review of Yahweh’s “Ten Words” that Israel might hear, learn, and obey them (v. 1).

He points out that the LORD made a covenant with "us" live Israelites, not with our fathers (vv. 2-3).

[Those with whom he speaks now were very young when Yahweh talked with Moses and those Israelites who died in the wilderness].

Moses acted as covenant mediator between the LORD and Israel at Sinai (vv. 4-5).

[The words “face to face” may confuse readers because God never spoke to any human being in this way, unless He appeared to that individual in a Christophany].

Verses 6-21 repeat the Ten Commandments. [Cf. Exodus 20 for commentary].

Moses reports that God spoke a certain number of words from a gloomy location, wrote them on two stone tablets, and gave them to him (v. 22).

[It is important to note the clause “and He added no more.”

Man must not add to or subtract from God’s Law; it represents His perfect standard of righteousness].

Moses continues to review Israel’s reaction to hearing God’s voice at Sinai.

Awed beyond many words, their leaders confess fear for their lives (vv. 23-26); thus, they ask Moses to approach the LORD and receive His message for them (v. 27).

God tells Moses that Israel’s verbal response is good, but He wishes that their heart attitude would match their speech (vv. 28-29).

[Yahweh knows them thoroughly, yet graciously accepts them in all their inconsistency].

While Israel returns to their tents, Moses stays with the LORD to receive His word (vv. 30-31).

Yahweh instructs His servant that he must so conduct his life that he would “live,” live well, and live long (vv. 32-33).

A Famous Statement

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Deuteronomy 6

In commanding Moses to teach Israel His statutes and judgments, the LORD purposed to build a healthy, holy fear in them and their descendants, so that they may live long and prosper in the Land “flowing with milk and honey” (vv. 1-3).

The famous Sh’ma (“Hear”) enjoins individual Israelites to devote their whole being to love the one true God, Yahweh (vv. 4-5).

No matter where they are, they should use every opportunity to teach His word to their children (vv. 6-7).

To remind their progeny to obey what God’s law says, they should carry and see God’s word wherever they go (vv. 8-9).

Moses cautions Israel not to forget the LORD when they continually enjoy all the good things their new Land affords them, because He is the One who will have given everything to them (vv. 10-12).

The people must do the following:

(1) Fear God,

(2) Serve Him, and

(3) Take oaths in God’s name (v. 13).

They must not worship other gods or test their jealous LORD lest He destroy them (vv. 14-16).

Israel’s victory over enemies and their blessing in the Land depend upon their keeping God’s commandments diligently and doing what is right before Him (vv. 17-19).

In response to their children’s questions about the Law, Israelite fathers must prepare themselves to teach about the LORD’s miraculous redemption from Egypt (vv. 20-22) and His faithfulness to His promise to the patriarchs to give them an inheritance (v. 23).

Obeying His statutes will keep Israel alive, well, and righteous before their LORD (vv. 24-25).

Avoid Idolatry


Annihilating the Nations

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Deuteronomy 7

Yahweh lays down a rule that Israel must strictly enforce: the complete annihilation of all seven nations they will dispossess in Canaan (vv. 1-2a).

No covenants, no mercy, no marriages (vv. 2b-3).

Why so harsh? These nations would succeed in turning Israel away from Yahweh and toward their gods, causing Israel’s destruction; God wanted to prevent that event (v. 4).

Instead of worshiping the images of these false gods, Israel must wipe them out completely (destroy, break down, cut down, burn) [v. 5].

The nation is the LORD’s holy (separated, set apart from the rest), chosen, and especially treasured people (v. 6).

Lest they become conceited, He nevertheless informs them that He chose them not for any greatness or goodness on their part.

On the contrary, He chose them simply because He wanted to love them and to show His faithfulness to His promise (vv. 7-8; cf. Eph. 1:4-5).

Israel must acknowledge these truths about the LORD: He is a faithful, covenant-keeping God with those who love Him, and a faithful Judge of those who hate Him (vv. 9-10; cf. Ex. 20:5, 6).

Israel must therefore observe/do/obey the LORD’s commands (v. 11).

Obedience meets with Yahweh’s continual covenant mercy: love manifested by manifold blessings—children (v. 13a), abundant agricultural and livestock reproduction (v. 13b), good health (v. 15), and overwhelming military victories (v. 16).

By remembering the LORD’s judgments upon Egypt and His presence among them, Israel will triumph over their fears of their present foes (vv. 17-19, 21).

God’s “hornet” will gradually drive out the concealed remnant until Israel destroys them and their kings (vv. 20, 23-24).

[The text does not reveal the identity of this “hornet”].

Israel must burn their enemies’ idols, not coveting their gold plating; instead, hatred of the polluting influence that the abomination would produce in their homes must imbue their hearts (vv. 25-26).

Deuteronomy 8

Moses stresses that Israel should neglect no commandment, but obey all of them if they desire to live and grow (v. 1).

God’s people should know the LORD’s purposes in leading them through forty years of trial: to humble them and to teach them about their own hearts (v. 2).

Having to subsist upon the unknown manna humbled Israel by showing them that they needed to depend upon God and His word to live, not upon their own resources (v. 3).

The LORD also miraculously provided their clothing and health needs for forty years (v. 4).

The nation should also consider that Yahweh has chastened them as His children (v. 5); that they live up to the Name, therefore, is imperative (v. 6).

The LORD has prepared a beautiful, bountiful Land for Israel to inherit; they must learn to thank Him for it (vv. 7-10).

Moses admonishes Israel not to become proud and not to forget (v. 14a) the God Who

(1) redeemed them from Egypt (v. 14b),

(2) led them through the “great and terrible wilderness,” miraculously providing water and manna for them there (vv. 15-16), and then

(3) gave them abundant prosperity in a Land rich in natural resources (vv. 12-13).

They must not say that they earned what they have without His power (v. 17); instead, they should remember that Yahweh enabled them to become rich.

If they give Him the glory, He will establish His covenant with them (v. 18).

Otherwise, Israel will perish in a manner not unlike the nations that the LORD is destroying before them (vv. 19-20).

[When believers do not obey God, they behave just like the world, and thus should not expect God to shower them with His grace].

© 2013 glynch1


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