Deuteronomy 33:5
And he was king in Jeshurun, when the heads of the people and the tribes of Israel were gathered together.
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Deuteronomy 33:5. And — Or, for, he was king — Not indeed in title, but, in reality, being under God their supreme governor and lawgiver; and therefore, by his authority, required them to observe these laws. When the tribes were gathered together — When the princes and people met together, for the management of public affairs, Moses was owned by them as their king and lawgiver. Le Clerc, however, and many others, think that God, and not Moses, is here intended, he being indeed the king and lawgiver of the Jews especially, and not Moses. Moses elsewhere sufficiently intimates that he was not their king, Deuteronomy 17:14. And so does Samuel, who acted in a character similar to that of Moses, 1 Samuel 8:7.33:1-5 To all his precepts, warnings, and prophecies, Moses added a solemn blessing. He begins with a description of the glorious appearances of God, in giving the law. His law works like fire. If received, it is melting, warming, purifying, and burns up the dross of corruption; if rejected, it hardens, sears, pains, and destroys. The Holy Spirit came down in cloven tongues, as of fire; for the gospel also is a fiery law. The law of God written in the heart, is a certain proof of the love of God shed abroad there: we must reckon His law one of the gifts of his grace.He was king - i. e., not Moses but the Lord became king. 2-4. The Lord came—Under a beautiful metaphor, borrowed from the dawn and progressive splendor of the sun, the Majesty of God is sublimely described as a divine light which appeared in Sinai and scattered its beams on all the adjoining region in directing Israel's march to Canaan. In these descriptions of a theophania, God is represented as coming from the south, and the allusion is in general to the thunderings and lightnings of Sinai; but other mountains in the same direction are mentioned with it. The location of Seir was on the east of the Ghor; mount Paran was either the chain on the west of the Ghor, or rather the mountains on the southern border of the desert towards the peninsula [Robinson]. (Compare Jud 5:4, 5; Ps 68:7, 8; Hab 3:3).

ten thousands of saints—rendered by some, "with the ten thousand of Kadesh," or perhaps better still, "from Meribah" [Ewald].

a fiery law—so called both because of the thunder and lightning which accompanied its promulgation (Ex 19:16-18; De 4:11), and the fierce, unrelenting curse denounced against the violation of its precepts (2Co 3:7-9). Notwithstanding those awe-inspiring symbols of Majesty that were displayed on Sinai, the law was really given in kindness and love (De 33:3), as a means of promoting both the temporal and eternal welfare of the people. And it was "the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob," not only from the hereditary obligation under which that people were laid to observe it, but from its being the grand distinction, the peculiar privilege of the nation.

Moses was their king, not in title, but in reality, being under God their supreme and uncontrollable governor and lawgiver: though the word oft signifies only a prince or chief ruler, as Judges 19:1 Jeremiah 19:3 46:25.

In Jeshurun, i.e. in Israel, so called Deu 32:15.

When the heads of the people and the tribes of Israel were gathered together: when the princes and people met together for the management of public affairs, Moses was owned by them as their king and lawgiver, and he directed and ruled them as their superior. This he saith to show that the people approved and consented to the authority and law of Moses. And he was king in Jeshurun,.... That is, in Israel, or over the people of Israel, of which name of theirs; see Gill on Deuteronomy 32:15; either God, as Jarchi; for the government of the Israelites was a theocracy, and their laws were immediately from God, and by him they were guided and directed in all things; wherefore, when they were so importunate for a change in their government, and to have a king over them, they are said to reject the Lord, that he should not reign over them, 1 Samuel 8:7; or Moses, as Aben Ezra on the place, Maimonides (f), and others (g); who, under God, had the civil government of the Hebrews; both may be received, God was the supreme Governor, and Moses the chief magistrate under him:

when the heads of Israel and the tribes of the people were gathered together; at Mount Sinai, to hear the law there and then given, or to hear it repeated by Moses, as in this book of Deuteronomy, who were at different times convened together for that purpose, see Deuteronomy 1:1; next follow the particular blessings of the several tribes, beginning with Reuben the firstborn.

(f) In Misn. Shebuot, c. 2. sect. 2.((g) Philo de Vita Mosis, l. 3. p. 681.

And he was king in Jeshurun, when the heads of the people and the tribes of Israel were gathered together.
5. And he became king in Jeshurun] i.e. Jehovah. Graf, Wellh., Stade render and there was a king, i.e. Saul, but Saul is not relevant here. On Yeshurun see Deuteronomy 32:15.Verse 5. - Some refer this to Moses, but Moses was never recognized as king in Israel: he "was faithful in all his house as a servant" (Hebrews 3:5); but Jehovah alone was King (Exodus 15:18; Psalm 47:6, 7). Jeshurun (cf. Deuteronomy 32:5). The gathering together refers to the assembling of the people at Sinai, when Jehovah came forth as their King to give them his Law. "That self-same day," viz., the day upon which Moses had rehearsed the song to the children of Israel, the Lord renewed the announcement of his death, by repeating the command already given to him (Numbers 27:12-14) to ascend Mount Nebo, there to survey the land of Canaan, and then to be gathered unto his people. In form, this repetition differs from the previous announcement, partly in the fact that the situation of Mount Nebo is more fully described (in the land of Moab, etc., as in Deuteronomy 1:5; Deuteronomy 29:1), and partly in the continual use of the imperative, and a few other trifling points. These differences may all be explained from the fact that the account here was not written by Moses himself.
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