Deuteronomy Chapter 31  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: Deuteronomy 31
 
Deu 31:1(top)
Deu 31:2

“go out and come in.” This is an idiom meaning live life. Technically, this is the figure of speech polarmerismos, where two extremes are put for the whole. A person “goes out” of his tent in the morning and “comes back in” at night, so the phrase referred to life throughout the whole day, from going out in the morning until coming back in at night. Now at 120 years old, Moses could no longer live like he used to and oversee all the children of Israel.

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Deu 31:3(top)
Deu 31:4(top)
Deu 31:5(top)
Deu 31:6(top)
Deu 31:7(top)
Deu 31:8(top)
Deu 31:9

“Moses wrote down this law.” Moses would most likely have written the Law on vellum (leather). He could have used papyrus, but it is not as likely that he had some papyrus since he would have had to have brought it along with them from Egypt and papyrus is quite brittle and likely would have broken up in the wilderness wanderings. Leather was much more durable than papyrus. Moses would not have written the Law on clay tablets. They would have been too heavy and clumsy in all the traveling Israel had to do.

“gave it to the priests.” This act quite officially designated the priests as “teaching priests.” The priests were not just to safeguard the scrolls, they were to teach them to the people so the people would know the Law and thus know what God wanted them to do to obey Him. The elders were also given the Law to communicate to the people.

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Deu 31:10(top)
Deu 31:11

“appear before Yahweh your God in the place that he will choose.” It would be a few hundred years, but that place would eventually be Jerusalem (see commentary on Deut. 12:5).

“in their hearing.” The Hebrew text is literally, “in their ears,” which is an idiom for in a way that they could hear it. Knowing the Law was so important that God commanded that it be read in its entirety to Israel, and read in a mannner that they could hear it. Although there is no record in Scripture of this being done, it likely was even if all Israel did not gather to hear it. Getting to hear the Law would have gone a long way to getting Israel to think the same way about God and His commands, and also helped people know what to do to obey God and thus be blessed in this life and blessed with rewards on Judgment Day. It is sad in a sense that there is no such command for Christians, and many Christians go their whole lives without once reading the Law of Moses or the New Testament, and that is to their detriment. Not that “just reading it” is enough; if a Christian is to love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength then they should learn His book and understand what it says, which takes some instruction and study.

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Deu 31:12(top)
Deu 31:13(top)
Deu 31:14(top)
Deu 31:15(top)
Deu 31:16

“and will forsake me.” Although this statement is prophetic, it is more that God knew the hearts of the people and that for the most part they had never followed Him and loved Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, but instead went after gods they could see and touch, and that offered things that appeased their fleshly desires.

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Deu 31:17(top)
Deu 31:18

“hide, yes, hide.” God warns Israel that if they sin He will not be among them and many evils will happen to them. God emphasizes that point with the figure of speech polyptoton, repeating the verb “hide” [For more on polyptoton and the way it is translated, see commentary on Gen. 2:16].

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Deu 31:19

“for yourselves.” This likely refers to Moses and Joshua, who were with God and apart from the children of Israel at this time.

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Deu 31:20(top)
Deu 31:21(top)
Deu 31:22(top)
Deu 31:23

“about which I swore to them.” Moses is speaking, but he is speaking something God would have said, and did later say (cp. Josh. 1:5; 3:7), something Joshua would have known.

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Deu 31:24(top)
Deu 31:25(top)
Deu 31:26(top)
Deu 31:27(top)
Deu 31:28(top)
Deu 31:29

“corrupt, yes, corrupt.” For emphasis, God doubles the verb “corrupt,” using the figure of speech polyptoton to emphasize the fact that the Israelites would utterly corrupt themselves in their turning to other gods. [For more on the use of polyptoton, see commentary on Gen. 2:16].

“making him angry.” The NET text note on Deuteronomy 4:25 gets the sense of the text correctly when it says, “The infinitive construct [in the Hebrew text] is understood here as indicating the result, not the intention of their actions.” Although many English versions use the word “provoke,” the Israelites did not worship idols with the intention of provoking God. But the result of their idolatry was that God was angered. In everyday English, “provoke” means to do something to intentionally upset someone, and that is not what was happening with Israel’s idolatry.

“by what your hands have made.” The Hebrew text is more literally, “through the work of your hands,” but the idea is that the idols were what the peoples’ hands had made, and the idols angered God.

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Deu 31:30

“Moses spoke in the ears of the assembly.” The connection between Moses speaking the words of the song to the assembly and the song itself would have been easier to understand if Deuteronomy 31:30 had been the first verse of Deuteronomy 32 rather than the last verse of Deuteronomy 31. The words of God are God-breathed, but the punctuation and chapter and verse divisions are man-made and occasionaly misplaced, and this is an example of a chapter division that could have been better placed.

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