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Warning against stubbornness (9:1-10:11)
Moses warned the Israelites not to boast about their coming victories. The conquest of Canaan was by God’s power, not theirs. It was because of the wickedness of the Canaanites, not because of any goodness in the Israelites (9:1-5).
Israel, in fact, was a stubborn people, who deserved none of God’s good gifts. Moses reminded them of their rebellion at Sinai, how they promised to obey God’s law, but broke it before it was even written down (6-21; see notes on Exodus 32:1-35). There were other occasions when they rebelled against God’s commands (22-24; see Exodus 17:1-7; Numbers 11:1-3,Numbers 11:31-34; Numbers 14:1-12), but the rebellion at Sinai was a defiance of the freshly made covenant. Only Moses’ prayers saved the nation from being wiped out (25-29; see Exodus 32:7-14).
God in his grace renewed the covenant (10:1-5; see Exodus 34:1-35). He showed his forgiveness of Aaron by allowing his son to be high priest after him (6-7; see Numbers 20:22-29), rewarded the Levites for opposing idolatry at the time of the golden calf (8-9; see Exodus 32:25-29), and forgave the people, allowing them to journey on to the land he had promised them (10-11; see Exodus 34:1-11).
What God demands of Israel (10:12-11:32)
In summary, Moses’ instruction to Israel as a people was that they were to fear, obey, love and serve God, in the assurance that he desired only their good (12-13). He had chosen them in mercy, and he wanted them likewise to show mercy to others. They were to have humble purity of heart and genuine love, both in their relations with him and in their relations with others (14-20). They were not to be arrogant or boastful, but were to remember their humble beginnings as a group of aliens in Egypt (21-22).
God’s activity in the past, whether in saving his people from their enemies or in punishing them for their rebellion, should have meant something to them. At least it should have prompted them to love God and keep his commandments (11:1-7).
The land the people were going to was not like the land they had come from. Egypt was a flat country. The climate did not favour agriculture and the farmer had to pedal a waterwheel pump to irrigate his crops. But Canaan was a land of hills and valleys with a good rainfall (8-12). This natural blessing, however, could turn into a curse if the people were rebellious. The God who blessed his people with good crops could also punish them with famine (13-17).
In view of all that lay before them in Canaan, the people were to be the more diligent in obeying God’s law and teaching it to their children (18-25; see notes on Exodus 13:9,Exodus 13:16). If they were obedient they would enjoy God’s blessing, but if they were disobedient they would fall under his curse. This would be impressed upon them when they entered Canaan and gathered at the mountains Gerizim and Ebal on either side of the town of Shechem. There, as they heard the blessings announced from one side and the curses from the other, they would realize what was involved in pledging themselves to keep the covenant (26-32; see 27:1-26).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 10". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany