Deuteronomy 31:14
And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thy days approach that thou must die: call Joshua, and present yourselves in the tabernacle of the congregation, that I may give him a charge. And Moses and Joshua went, and presented themselves in the tabernacle of the congregation.
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(14) Thy days approach that thou must die: call Joshua, and present yourselves.—What Moses had already done before Israel (Deuteronomy 31:1-8) is now ratified by Jehovah to Joshua and Moses.

Moses and Joshua went.—We may compare this scene with that which is described in Numbers 20:25-28, when Aaron and Eleazar went up to Mount Hor, in order that the priesthood might be transferred from one to the other. Elijah and Elisha, in like manner, went together over Jordan, when Elijah was about to depart (2 Kings 2). For the last time it is recorded here that Jehovah met Moses face to face in the tabernacle. Their next meeting was on Mount Nebo, and the next “within the veil !”

Deuteronomy 31:14. That I may give him a charge — Immediately from myself, for his great encouragement, and to gain him more authority with the people.

31:14-22 Moses and Joshua attended the Divine Majesty at the door of the tabernacle. Moses is told again that he must shortly die; even those who are most ready and willing to die, need to be often reminded of its coming. The Lord tells Moses, that, after his death, the covenant he had taken so much pains to make between Israel and their God, would certainly be broken. Israel would forsake Him; then God would forsake Israel. Justly does he cast those off who so unjustly cast him off. Moses is directed to deliver them a song, which should remain a standing testimony for God, as faithful to them in giving them warning, and against them, as persons false to themselves in not taking the warning. The word of God is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of men's hearts, and meets them by reproofs and correction. Ministers who preach the word, know not the imaginations of men; but God, whose word it is, knows perfectly.The transaction recorded in these verses may be regarded as the solemn inauguration of Joshua to the office to which he had some time before Numbers 27:22 been called, and his recognition in it by God, which were manifested by his being summoned into the tabernacle with Moses while the Lord appeared in the pillar of cloud (compare Numbers 11:25; Numbers 12:5).14, 15. the Lord said unto Moses, …call Joshua, and present yourselves in the tabernacle of the congregation—Joshua had been publicly designated to the office of commander by Moses [Nu 27:22, 23]; and God was pleased to confirm his appointment by the visible symbols of His presence and approval. As none but the priests were privileged to enter the sanctuary, it is probable that this significant manifestation of the cloudy pillar was made while the leaders stood at the door of the tabernacle. In the tabernacle; either properly so called, for though the priests only might ordinarily enter there, yet others might go in upon a call and command from God, which here they had; or in the court of the tabernacle, at the door of which God stood in the cloudy pillar, Deu 31:15, the court coming here under the name of the tabernacle, as elsewhere it comes under the name of the temple.

That I may give him a charge, immediately from myself, for his greater encouragement, and to gain him more authority with the people.

And the Lord said unto Moses,.... Either at the same time, or quickly after; rather, perhaps, the same day:

behold, thy days approach that thou must die; which does not necessarily imply that he had some days to live, though but few; but that the time of his death drew nigh, his last moments were approaching; the time of his death being, as every man's is, fixed by the Lord, with whom is the number of his years, months, days, and moments, beyond which he cannot pass, Job 14:5,

call Joshua, and present yourselves in the tabernacle of the congregation, that I may give him a charge; this looks as if the people had been dismissed after the above exhortations given; and now Joshua was called, and Moses with him, to have a charge given him:

and Moses and Joshua went and presented themselves in the tabernacle of the congregation; before the Lord. Aben Ezra says, Moses went from the camp of Israel where he was, to the camp of the Shechinah; the Jews pretend to know in what form they walked thither. Moses, they say (a), went on the left hand of Joshua; and they went to the tabernacle, and the pillar of cloud descended and separated between them.

(a) Debarim Rabba, sect. 9. fol. 244. 2.

And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thy days approach that thou must die: call Joshua, and present yourselves in the tabernacle of the congregation, that I may give him a charge. And Moses and Joshua went, and presented themselves in the tabernacle of the congregation.
14. And the Lord said unto Moses, Behold] No parallel passage in Deut. (Deuteronomy 1:42, Deuteronomy 2:9, Deuteronomy 3:2; Deuteronomy 3:26, Deuteronomy 4:10, Deuteronomy 5:28, Deuteronomy 9:13, Deuteronomy 10:1; cp. Deuteronomy 2:3; Deuteronomy 2:17) includes behold except Deuteronomy 31:16.

thy days, etc.] Lit. thy days for dying draw near. Only here and in J, Genesis 47:29, and 1 Kings 2:1.

present yourselves] Lit. take your stand, elsewhere in Deut. of standing up to a foe (Deuteronomy 7:24, Deuteronomy 9:2, Deuteronomy 11:25, Joshua 1:5), but in JE as here of taking up one’s position before the presence of God (Exodus 19:17; Exodus 34:5, Numbers 11:16; Numbers 23:3; Numbers 23:15, Joshua 24:1), or before Pharaoh (Exodus 8:16; Exodus 9:13).

tent of meeting] Heb. mo‘ed denotes what is fixed, ordained either, as in Deuteronomy 31:10 (q.v.), of time, or, as here, of place, where by appointment God meets with man, see Exodus 25:22, virtually therefore tent of revelation (Germ. ‘Offenbarungszelt’); both in E, Exodus 33:7, Numbers 11:16; Numbers 12:4, and no fewer than 132 times in P; not elsewhere in Deut., in which indeed the Tabernacle is mentioned only here.

that I may give him a charge] In Deuteronomy 3:28 Moses is commanded to charge Joshua.

14–23. Again Joshua’s Commission, with Introduction to Moses’ Song

The composition is very curious. In Deuteronomy 31:14-15; Deuteronomy 31:23 we have an account of the charge to Joshua, which is in substance not the continuation of the deuteronomic one in Deuteronomy 31:1-8, but parallel to that, and is couched in a phraseology resembling that of E (see notes), to which source it is generally assigned. It is interrupted by Deuteronomy 31:16-22, which have nothing to do with Joshua, but are an address of the Lord to Moses, and without connection with Deuteronomy 31:14-15, except that the motive in both cases is the imminent death of Moses. The language, while containing some phrases of E and some deuteronomic formulas, gives to the latter a peculiar turn, and contains besides elements not elsewhere found in the Hex. and speaks of Israel in the masc. sing. in a fashion confined to itself. The passage forms an introduction to the Song in ch. 32. Its source is uncertain.

Verses 14-23. - After nominating Joshua as his successor, and assigning the keeping of the Law to the priesthood and body of elders, Moses was summoned by the Lord to appear with Joshua in the tabernacle, that Joshua might receive a charge and appointment to his office. At the same time, God announced to Moses that after his death the people would go astray, and turn to idolatry, and violate the covenant, so that God's anger should be kindled against them, and he would leave them to suffer the consequences of their folly and sin. In view of this, Moses was directed to write a song and teach it to the people, that it might abide with them as a witness against them, rising up, as songs will do, in the memory of the nation, even after they had apostatized from the path in which the author of the song had led them. Verse 14. - The tabernacle of the congregation; properly, the tent of meeting (cf. Exodus 33:7; Exodus 39:32). May give him a charge; may constitute him (צִוָּה; cf. Numbers 27:19; "and constitute him in their sight," Gesenius), appoint and confirm him in this office. Deuteronomy 31:14After handing over the office to Joshua, and the law to the priests and elders, Moses was called by the Lord to come to the tabernacle with Joshua, to command him (צוּה), i.e., to appoint him, confirm him in his office. To this end the Lord appeared in the tabernacle (Deuteronomy 31:15), in a pillar of cloud, which remained standing before it, as in Numbers 12:5 (see the exposition of Numbers 11:25). But before appointing Joshua, He announced to Moses that after his death the nation would go a whoring after other gods, and would break the covenant, for which it would be visited with severe afflictions, and directed him to write an ode and teach it to the children of Israel, that when the apostasy should take place, and punishment from God be felt in consequence, it might speak as a witness against the people, as it would not vanish from their memory. The Lord communicated this commission to Moses in the presence of Joshua, that he also might hear from the mouth of God that the Lord foreknew the future apostasy of the people, and yet nevertheless would bring them into the promised land. In this there was also implied an admonition to Joshua, not only to take care that the Israelites learned the ode and kept it in their memories, but also to strive with all his might to prevent the apostasy, so long as he was leader of Israel; which Joshua did most faithfully to the very end of his life (vid., Joshua 23 and 24). - The announcement of the falling away of the Israelites from the Lord into idolatry, and the burning of the wrath of God in consequence (Deuteronomy 31:16-18), serves as a basis for the command in Deuteronomy 31:19. In this announcement the different points are simply linked together with "and," whereas in their actual signification they are subordinate to one another: When thou shalt lie with thy fathers, and the people shall rise up, and go a whoring after other gods: My anger will burn against them, etc. קוּם, to rise up, to prepare, serves to bring out distinctly the course which the thing would take. The expression, "foreign gods of the land," indicates that in the land which Jehovah gave His people, He (Jehovah) alone was God and Lord, and that He alone was to be worshipped there. בּקרבּו is in apposition to שׁמּה, "whither thou comest, in the midst of it." The punishment announced in Deuteronomy 31:17 corresponds most closely to the sin of the nation. For going a whoring after strange gods, the anger of the Lord would burn against them; for forsaking Him, He would forsake them; and for breaking His covenant, He would hide His face from them, i.e., withdraw His favour from them, so that they would be destroyed. לאכל היה, it (the nation) will be for devouring, i.e., will be devoured or destroyed (see Ewald, 237, c.; and on אכל in this sense, see Deuteronomy 7:16, and Numbers 14:9). "And many evils and troubles will befall it; and it will say in that day, Do not these evils befall me, because my God is not in the midst of me?" When the evils and troubles broke in upon the nation, the people would inquire the cause, and would find it in the fact that they were forsaken by their God; but the Lord ("but I" in Deuteronomy 31:18 forms the antithesis to "they" in Deuteronomy 31:17) would still hide His face, namely, because simply missing God is not true repentance.
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