Deuteronomy 31:28
Gather 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 record against them.
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Deuteronomy 31:28-30. Gather unto me all the elders — It is probable that Moses, having spoken to the people what he was commanded, dismissed them again till he should write the following song; which having done, he summoned the elders (and people, Deuteronomy 31:30) to deliver to them from his own mouth what he had written. Moses spake in the ears of all the congregation — Pronounced himself, with an audible voice, to the representatives of the congregation, and afterward ordered to be repeated to the people of every tribe, the following song or hymn.31:23-30 The solemn delivery of the book of the law to the Levites, to be deposited in, or rather by the side, of the ark, is again related. The song which follows in the next chapter is delivered to Moses, and by him to the people. He wrote it first, as the Holy Spirit taught him; and then spake it in the hearing of all the people. Moses tells them plainly, I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves. Many a sad thought, no doubt, it occasioned to this good man; but his comfort was, that he had done his duty, and that God would be glorified in their dispersion, if not in their settlement, for the foundation of God stands sure.How much more after my death - Hence, Deuteronomy 31:24 and the rest of the book (with the exception of the song, Deuteronomy 31:19) must be regarded as a kind of appendix added after Moses' death by another hand; though the Blessing Deuteronomy 33 is of course to be regarded as a composition of Moses. 26. Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark—The second copy of the law (see on [167]De 31:9) was deposited for greater security and reverence in a little chest beside the ark of the covenant, for there was nothing contained within it but the tables of stone (1Ki 8:9). Others think it was put within the ark, it being certain, from the testimony of Paul (Heb 9:4), that there were once other things inside the ark, and that this was the copy found in the time of Josiah (2Ki 22:8). No text from Poole on this verse. Gather unto me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers,.... The heads of the tribes, the princes, and all other inferior magistrates:

that I may speak these words in their ears; not the words of the law, but of the song which he was ordered to write, and is recorded in the following chapter:

and call heaven and earth to record against them; to bear witness of what he delivered to them, and to bear witness against them should they transgress the laws he gave them; and to bear witness that they had been faithfully cautioned against transgressing, and had been severely threatened, and the punishment plainly pointed out that should be inflicted on them in case of disobedience, so that they were left entirely without excuse.

Gather unto me all the elders of your tribes, and your {n} officers, that I may speak these words in their ears, and call heaven and earth to record against them.

(n) As governors, judges and magistrates.

28. Assemble] Imperative Pl. See on Deuteronomy 31:12, and Deuteronomy 5:22.

elders of your tribes, etc.] LXX heads of your tribes, adding and your judges, and some LXX codd. also add elders. Cp. Deuteronomy 5:23, Deuteronomy 29:10 (9).

these words] Though this phrase usually refers to what precedes, it is more probable that here what follows, i.e. the Song, is meant, as indubitably is the case in Exodus 20:1.Verse 28. - Call heaven and earth to record against them (cf. Deuteronomy 32:1). These words; the words of his charge, and especially the song he had composed, and which it would be the business of these officers to teach to the congregation. "And now," sc., because what was announced in Deuteronomy 31:16-18 would take place, "write you this song." "This" refers to the song which follows in ch. 32. Moses and Joshua were to write the song, because they were both of them to strive to prevent the apostasy of the people; and Moses, as the author, was to teach it to the children of Israel, to make them learn it, that it might be a witness for the Lord (for Me) against the children of Israel. "This" is defined still further in Deuteronomy 31:20, Deuteronomy 31:21 : if Israel, through growing satisfied and fat in its land, which was so rich in costly good, should turn to other gods, and the Lord should visit it in consequence with grievous evils and troubles, the song was to answer before Israel as a witness; i.e., not only serve the Lord as a witness to the people that He had foretold all the evil consequences of apostasy, and had given Israel proper warning (Knobel), but to serve, as we may see from Deuteronomy 31:20, Deuteronomy 31:21, and from the contents of the song, as a witness, on the one hand, that the Lord had conferred upon the people so many benefits and bestowed upon them such abundant blessings of His grace, that apostasy from Him was the basest ingratitude, for which they would justly be punished; and, on the other hand, that the Lord had not rejected His people in spite of the punishments inflicted upon them, but would once more have compassion upon them and requite their foes, and thus would sanctify and glorify Himself as the only true God by His judgments upon Israel and the nations. The law, with its commandments, promises, and threats, was already a witness of this kind against Israel (cf. Deuteronomy 31:26); but just as in every other instance the appearance of a plurality of unanimous witnesses raises the matter into an indisputable truth, so the Lord would set up another witness against the Israelites besides the law, in the form of this song, which was adapted to give all the louder warning, "because the song would not be forgotten out of the mouths of their seed" (Deuteronomy 31:21). The song, when once it had passed into the mouths of the people, would not very readily vanish from their memory, but would be transmitted from generation to generation, and be heard from the mouths of their descendants, as a perpetual warning voice, as it would be used by Israel for God knew the invention of the people, i.e., the thoughts and purposes of their heart, which they cherished (עשׂה used to denote the doing of the heart, as in Isaiah 32:6) even then before He had brought them into Canaan. (On Deuteronomy 31:20, vid., Deuteronomy 7:5; Deuteronomy 9:5, and Exodus 3:8.) - In Deuteronomy 31:22 the result is anticipated, and the command of God is followed immediately by an account of its completion by Moses (just as in Exodus 12:50; Leviticus 16:34, etc.). - After this command with reference to the song, the Lord appointed Joshua to the office which he had been commanded to take, urging him at the same time to be courageous, and promising him His help in the conquest of Canaan. That the subject to ויצו is not Moses, but Jehovah, is evident partly from the words themselves, "I will be with thee' (vid., Exodus 3:12). (Note: Knobel's assertion (on Numbers 27:23) that the appointment of Joshua on the part of Moses by the imposition of hands, as described in that passage, is at variance with this verse, scarcely needs any refutation. Or is it really the case, that the installation of Joshua on the part of God is irreconcilable with his ordination by Moses?)
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