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Deu 9:1 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,
Ver. 1. Hear, O Israel. ] It was all their business at present to hear, and yet he excites them so to do by an Oyez, as it were. He knew their dulness, and the din that corruption maketh in the best hearts; how soon sated men are with divine discourses, and how little heed they give to the most wholesome exhortations. Let a child be never so busy about his lesson, if but a bird fly by, he must needs look where he lights; so, &c.
Deu 9:2 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!
Ver. 2. The children of Anak. ] Hence seems to come the Greek word, Aναξ , for a king; for these great men were looked upon as so many little kings. See Trapp on " Gen 6:4 "
Deu 9:3 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.
Ver. 3. As a consuming fire. ] The force whereof is violent and irresistible. "Who is able to stand before this holy Lord God? Woe unto us! who shall deliver us?" &c., said those crest-fallen Philistines at the sight of the ark. 1Sa 4:8 So, "The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites: who among us," say they, "shall dwell with this devouring fire?" - meaning God; - "who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?" Isa 33:14
Deu 9:4 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.
Ver. 4. For my righteousness. ] We are all apt to weave a web of righteousness of our own, to spin a thread of our own to climb up to heaven by, to set a price upon ourselves above the market, to think great thoughts of ourselves, and to seek great things for ourselves. Caelum gratis non accipiam, saith one merit monger, I will not have heaven for nothing; and, Redde mihi aeternam vitam quam debes, saith another; Give me heaven, for thou owest it me. How blasphemous is that direction of the Papists to dying men, Coniunge, Domine, obsequium meum cum omnibus quae Christus passus est prome: Join, Lord, my righteousness with Christ’s righteousness! How much better was it with those ancient Papists here in England, to whom, upon their deathbeds, the ordinary instruction appointed to be given was, that they should look to come to glory, not by their own merits, but alone by the virtue and merit of the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ; that they should place their whole confidence in his death only, and in no other thing! a &c. Those justiciaries, that seek to be saved by their works, Luther fitly calls the devil’s martyrs; they suffer much, and take much pains to go to hell, and by their much boasting, Haec ego feci, haec ego feci, they become no better than Faeces, saith he wittily. It is a good observation of a reverend divine, b that the Church in the Canticles is nowhere described by the beauty of her hands or fingers. Christ concealeth the mention of her hands - that is, of her works - (1.) Because he had rather his Church should abound in good works in silence, than boast of them, especially when they are wanting, as Rome doth; (2.) Because it is he alone that "worketh all our works for us." Isaiah 26:12 Hos 14:8
a Dr Ussher, Ser. on Ephesians 4:13 .
b Mr Cotton, on Cantic., p. 217.
Deu 9:6 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.
Ver. 6. Understand therefore. ] We are wondrous apt to wind ourselves into the fool’s paradise of a sublime dotage, upon our own worth and righteousness; otherwise, what need so many words here to one and the same purpose? The Scripture doth not use to kill flies with beetles, to cleave straws with wedges of iron, to spend many words where is no need.
Deu 9:7 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.
Ver. 7. Ye have been rebellious against the Lord. ] Nothing is so hard as to be humbled; for man is a proud, cross creature, that would be something at home, whatever he is abroad; and comes not down without a great deal of difficulty. Hence it is, that Moses so sets it on here, and with one knock after another drives this nail home to the head, that he might cripple their iron sinews, bring their stiff necks to the yoke of God’s obedience, and make them know that he was Jehovah, when he had "wrought with them for his name’s sake, not according to their wicked ways, nor according to their corrupt doings." Ezekiel 20:43-44 ; Eze 36:31-32
Deu 9:8 Also in Horeb ye provoked the LORD to wrath, so that the LORD was angry with you to have destroyed you.
Ver. 8. The Lord was angry. ] God is said to be angry when he doeth as an angry man useth to do: viz., (1.) Chide; (2.) Smite: revenge being the next effect of anger.
Deu 9:9 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:
Ver. 9. When I was gone up into the mount. ] Sins are much aggravated by the circumstances; and every sin should swell as a toad in our eyes: we should bring them out, as they took the vessels of the temple, Ezr 8:34 "by number and by weight." See Leviticus 16:21 ; "all their transgressions in all their sins."
Deu 9:10 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.
Ver. 10. See Trapp on " Exo 31:18 "
Deu 9:12 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.
Ver. 12. Arise ] From off thy knees; the petitioner’s posture. St James, they say, a had knees as hard as camels’ knees, with continual kneeling: and Hilarion was found dead in his oratory with knees bent, eyes and hands lifted up. b Father Latimer, during his imprisonment, was so constant and instant in prayer, that ofttimes he was not able to rise without help. c
c Act. and Mon., fol. 1579.
Deu 9:14 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.
Ver. 14. Let me alone. ] See Trapp on " Exo 32:10 "
Deu 9:15 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.
Ver. 15. So I returned. ] Yet not till he had first prayed and prevailed. Exodus 32:1 ; Exo 32:14
Deu 9:16 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.
Ver. 16. Ye had turned aside quickly. ] Levitate prorsus desultoria. Apostates have religionem ephemeram, being constant in nothing but in their inconstancy.
Deu 9:17 And I took the two tables, and cast them out of my two hands, and brake them before your eyes.
Ver. 17. And cast them. ] See Trapp on " Exo 32:19 "
Deu 9:18 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.
Ver. 18. Forty days and forty nights. ] This some understand of a second fasting so long together, after the people had set up the golden calf. See Deuteronomy 9:25 .
Deu 9:19 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.
Ver. 19. For I was afraid. ] Moses was more troubled for the people than the people were for themselves; so was Daniel for Nebuchadnezzar, Dan 4:10 and Nahum for the Chaldeans. Nah 3:16
Deu 9:22 And at Taberah, and at Massah, and at Kibrothhattaavah, ye provoked the LORD to wrath.
Ver. 22. And at Taberah. ] Catalogues should be kept of our sins, and oft perused, yea, though they be pardoned, that we may renew our repentance, and keep our souls humble, supple, and soluble.
Deu 9:24 Ye have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you.
Ver. 24. You have been rebellious. ] Here he repeats the former charge, Deu 9:7 which now he had sufficiently proved against them: we must object no more against any man than we are able to make good. If Erasmus had lived to these days, very shame would have crammed those words of his down his throat: Ubicunque regnat Lutherus, ibi literature est interitus: duo tantum quaerunt, censure et uxorem. a Wheresoever Luther’s doctrine takes place, learning is little set by; all the care is for a wife, and for wealth. Os durum!
a Erasmus, Ep. ad Bilibald.
Deu 9:25 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.
Ver. 25. Thus I fell down. ] The three former verses come in by a parenthesis. Here he returns again to the history of his interceding for them the second time.
Deu 9:26 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.
Ver. 26. I prayed. ] And he had a hard tug of it; but prayer is the best lever at a dead lift.
Deu 9:29 Yet they [are] thy people and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest out by thy mighty power and by thy stretched out arm.
Ver. 29. Yet they are thy people. ] In praying to God we must "fill our mouths with arguments," and urge them lustily.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 9". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany