The people are informed that they shall shortly pass over Jordan, and that God shall go over before them, to expel the ancient inhabitants, Deuteronomy 9:1-3. They are cautioned not to suppose that it is on account of their righteousness that God is to give them that land, Deuteronomy 9:4-6. They are exhorted to remember their various provocations of the Divine Majesty, especially at Horeb, Deuteronomy 9:7-14; and how Moses interceded for them, and destroyed the golden calf, Deuteronomy 9:15-21. How they murmured at Taberah, Deuteronomy 9:22; and rebelled at Kadesh-barnea, Deuteronomy 9:23; and had been perverse from the beginning, Deuteronomy 9:24. An account of the intercession of Moses in their behalf, Deuteronomy 9:25-29.
Hear, O Israel: Thou art to pass over Jordan this day, to go in to possess nations greater and mightier than thyself, cities great and fenced up to heaven,Thou art to pass over Jordan this day - היום haiyom, this time; they had come thirty-eight years before this nearly to the verge of the promised land, but were not permitted at that day or time to pass over, because of their rebellions; but this time they shall certainly pass over. This was spoken about the eleventh month of the fortieth year of their journeying, and it was on the first month of the following year they passed over; and during this interim Moses died.
A people great and tall, the children of the Anakims, whom thou knowest, and of whom thou hast heard say, Who can stand before the children of Anak!
Understand therefore this day, that the LORD thy God is he which goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the LORD hath said unto thee.
Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the LORD thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee.
Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.For the wickedness of these nations - So then it was not by any sovereign act of God that these people were cast out, but for their wickedness; they had transgressed the law of their Creator; they had resisted his Spirit, and could no longer be tolerated. The Israelites were to possess their land, not because they deserved it, but first, because they were less wicked than the others; and secondly, because God thus chose to begin the great work of his salvation among men. Thus then the Canaanites were cut off, and the Israelites were grafted in; and the Israelites, because of their wickedness, were afterwards cut off and the Gentiles grafted in. Let the latter not be high-minded, but fear; if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he spare not thee. But let it be remembered that this land was originally their own, and that the present possessors had no legal right to it.
Understand therefore, that the LORD thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people.
Remember, and forget not, how thou provokedst the LORD thy God to wrath in the wilderness: from the day that thou didst depart out of the land of Egypt, until ye came unto this place, ye have been rebellious against the LORD.
Also in Horeb ye provoked the LORD to wrath, so that the LORD was angry with you to have destroyed you.
When I was gone up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant which the LORD made with you, then I abode in the mount forty days and forty nights, I neither did eat bread nor drink water:
And the LORD delivered unto me two tables of stone written with the finger of God; and on them was written according to all the words, which the LORD spake with you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly.Tables of stone - See the notes on Exodus 31:18, Exodus 32:15 (note), and Exodus 32:16.
And it came to pass at the end of forty days and forty nights, that the LORD gave me the two tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant.
And the LORD said unto me, Arise, get thee down quickly from hence; for thy people which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt have corrupted themselves; they are quickly turned aside out of the way which I commanded them; they have made them a molten image.Thy people - have corrupted themselves - Debased themselves by making and worshipping an Egyptian idol. See on Exodus 32 (note).
Furthermore the LORD spake unto me, saying, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:
Let me alone, that I may destroy them, and blot out their name from under heaven: and I will make of thee a nation mightier and greater than they.
So I turned and came down from the mount, and the mount burned with fire: and the two tables of the covenant were in my two hands.
And I looked, and, behold, ye had sinned against the LORD your God, and had made you a molten calf: ye had turned aside quickly out of the way which the LORD had commanded you.
And I took the two tables, and cast them out of my two hands, and brake them before your eyes.
And I fell down before the LORD, as at the first, forty days and forty nights: I did neither eat bread, nor drink water, because of all your sins which ye sinned, in doing wickedly in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.
For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure, wherewith the LORD was wroth against you to destroy you. But the LORD hearkened unto me at that time also.
And the LORD was very angry with Aaron to have destroyed him: and I prayed for Aaron also the same time.
And I took your sin, the calf which ye had made, and burnt it with fire, and stamped it, and ground it very small, even until it was as small as dust: and I cast the dust thereof into the brook that descended out of the mount.I took your sin, the calf which ye had made - See this fully explained Exodus 32:20 (note).
And at Taberah, and at Massah, and at Kibrothhattaavah, ye provoked the LORD to wrath.At Kibroth-hattaavah - See the note on Numbers 11:34.
Likewise when the LORD sent you from Kadeshbarnea, saying, Go up and possess the land which I have given you; then ye rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God, and ye believed him not, nor hearkened to his voice.
Ye have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you.
Thus I fell down before the LORD forty days and forty nights, as I fell down at the first; because the LORD had said he would destroy you.
I prayed therefore unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, destroy not thy people and thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed through thy greatness, which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand.
Remember thy servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; look not unto the stubbornness of this people, nor to their wickedness, nor to their sin:Remember thy servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob - As if he had said: "These are their descendants, and the covenant was made with those patriarchs in behalf of these." God bestows many blessings on comparatively worthless persons, either for the sake of their pious ancestors, or on account of the religious people with whom they are connected; therefore union with the Church of God is a blessing of no common magnitude. The reader will find the grand subject of this chapter explained at large in the notes on Exodus 31 and 32, to which he is particularly desired to refer.
Lest the land whence thou broughtest us out say, Because the LORD was not able to bring them into the land which he promised them, and because he hated them, he hath brought them out to slay them in the wilderness.
Yet they are thy people and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest out by thy mighty power and by thy stretched out arm.