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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 10

Whedon's Commentary on the BibleWhedon's Commentary


Deuteronomy 10:1-5 are closely connected with the preceding chapter. They relate the effect of Moses’s earnest entreaty for the people.

Verses 1-2

1, 2. At that time After he interceded for the people Moses was directed to prepare two tables of stone like unto the first. Exodus 34:1.

Make thee an ark of wood The order to make the ark is given in Exodus 25:10. It is evident that Moses does not observe a strict chronological order, for it appears that this direction was given before the apostasy of the people in the making and worship of the golden calf, and before the breaking of the first tables. But the ark was not made till after the tabernacle was built, and the tables were not placed in the ark till the tabernacle was consecrated. Exodus 11:20.

Verse 3

3. I made an ark of shittim wood Better, acacia. It is not improbable that Moses gave directions to Bezaleel, the artist, who with others wrought on the work of the sanctuary, before he went up to the mount. In Exodus 25:0, and also 35, we find a full description of the ark.

Verse 4

4. He wrote on the tables, according to the first writing In Deuteronomy 9:10, it reads, “written with the finger of God.”

It is held by some of the critics that Deuteronomy 10:6-7 are out of place, that they interrupt the order of the narrative, and that no satisfactory reason for their being introduced can be given. They would indeed be difficult to account for on the theory of some critics, that the work is of a later origin. Moses recalls the death of Aaron. But though Aaron dies the high priesthood is continued. “His aim throughout is to prove the patient mercy of the Lord to his people in spite of their aggravated sins. The calf worship had brought on them a double token of the divine displeasure. First, the tables of the covenant were broken, and the covenant itself dissolved almost as soon as made; but in answer to the intercession of Moses new tables were provided, written upon by the finger of God, and placed in the ark. Next, the Lord had been angry with Aaron to have destroyed him; and with such a judgment on the high priest the covenant of grace to Israel would have come doubly to an end. But Moses prayed for Aaron at that time, and he was forgiven. Not only so, but when the time of death arrived there was a new token of God’s restored and enduring favour, when ‘Eleazar his son ministered in the priest’s office in his [Aaron’s] stead.’ Thus doubly, at the close of their wanderings, by the presence of the new tables in the ark, and by the high priesthood of Eleazar in the place of Aaron, mercy had rejoiced against judgment. These verses, then, are natural in a retrospect by Moses himself at the close of his life, and on this hypothesis alone.” BIRKS, The Pentateuch and its Anatomists, pp. 261, 262.

Verse 6

6. Beeroth That is, Wells. These wells were a camping-place of one of the Horite tribes. Comp. Numbers 33:31, and Genesis 36:24. In the passage in Genesis the word rendered mules should be rendered warm spring. Mosera is the Moseroth of Numbers 33:30, a station of the Israelites near Mount Hor, where Aaron died. See Deuteronomy 32:50. Also Numbers 20:28; Numbers 33:38.

Eleazar… ministered… in his stead Though Aaron the high priest died God makes provision for the perpetuation of the priesthood. He shows by this that he had not cast away his people.

Verse 7

7. Unto Gudgodah In Numbers 33:32, this station is called Hor Hagidgad.

Jotbath In Numbers 33:33, Jotbathah. A broad plain southwest of the AElanitic Gulf, containing many palm trees, and well supplied with water, is thought to be ancient Jotbath.

Verse 8

8. At that time This expression is to be understood, not as referring to the time subsequent to the death of Aaron, but as in the first verse of this chapter and in Deuteronomy 9:20, to the time when the covenant was renewed on Sinai. The apostasy of the people when the golden calf was made and worshipped is present to the mind of the speaker. The tribe of Levi, the great lawgiver’s own tribe, showed their fidelity to him. “Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp and said, Who is on the Lord’s side? Let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.” Exodus 32:26. The tribe of Levi was set apart for special service connected with worship and sacrifice. It is evident from Numbers 4:4, and following verses, that the office of carrying the ark on the march devolved on the non-priestly Levites, namely, the Kohathites, but on some special occasions it was borne by the priests. See Joshua 3:3; Joshua 3:6; Joshua 3:8; also Deuteronomy 6:6, and 1 Kings 8:3. Comp. Deuteronomy 31:9, of this book.

Verses 10-11

10, 11. The Lord hearkened The supplication of Moses in behalf of the people is heard Jehovah will not destroy them. Moses is commissioned anew to lead the people on their march to the land promised them.

Verse 12

12. What doth the Lord thy God require of thee In few words Moses sums up the requirements of the law: Obedience, reverence, love. In these consists the fulfilling of the law.

Verse 14

14. The heaven of heavens This expression, in connexion with the earth also, with all that therein is, comprehends the universe. All belong to Jehovah thy God. He is the one who has chosen Israel for his own peculiar people.

Verse 16

16. Circumcise… your heart This verse suggests the spiritual significance of the rite of circumcision. Comp. Romans 2:29: “Circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter.”

Verses 17-18

17, 18. A mighty, and a terrible Here Moses describes the infinite greatness and wonderful tenderness of Jehovah. He is God of gods, Lord of lords, yet he cares for the fatherless, the widow, and the stranger.

Verse 22

22. Threescore and ten A brief statement of the nation’s history. Jehovah their God has multiplied them. Their fathers went down to Egypt from the land to which they are now journeying a little company, and they are become as the stars of heaven for multitude.

Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 10". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/whe/deuteronomy-10.html. 1874-1909.
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