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Bible Commentaries

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Deuteronomy 10



Verses 1-11

God renewed the broken covenant with Israel because of Moses" intercession, not because Israel deserved it. Moses made the ark ( Deuteronomy 10:3) in the sense that he directed Bezalel to make it (cf. Exodus 25:10; Exodus 37:1). "Ark" was a common English word for box, chest, or basket in seventeenth-century England, and most modern English translations still use this old word. Other evidences of God"s grace were His appointment of another high priest when Aaron died ( Deuteronomy 10:6) and His provision of water in the wilderness ( Deuteronomy 10:7). Moserah ( Deuteronomy 10:6; Numbers 33:31) may be another name for Mt. Hor ( Numbers 33:38), the district in which Mt. Hor stood, or Moserah may not be a place name at all but a common noun (Heb. mosera, "chastisement") indicating the reason for Aaron"s death rather than the site. [Note: See R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, p511.] God also set apart the tribe of Levi as priests even though the nation had failed in its calling as a kingdom of priests ( Deuteronomy 10:8-9). Furthermore He permitted the disobedient people to proceed on to the Promised Land ( Deuteronomy 10:11). Again the order of events is logical rather than chronological.

Excessive self-reliance (ch8) and self-importance ( Deuteronomy 9:1 to Deuteronomy 10:11) would erode Israel"s proper concept of God. The people would regard God as less than He was. This is a violation of the third commandment ( Deuteronomy 5:11) that aims at keeping man"s view of God"s reputation (name) consistent with His character.

Verse 12-13

In view of His past grace to His people, what did God require of them? Moses summarized Israel"s responsibility: fear, walk, love, serve, and keep. God expected total allegiance to Himself and obedience to His covenant.

"These are the central ideas not only of Deuteronomy but of the whole Pentateuch in its final shape." [Note: Sailhamer, p444.]

The fear of the Lord ( Deuteronomy 10:12) includes the response that springs from one"s knowledge of his personal sinfulness as he realizes that he stands before a holy God.

"Reverence, obedience, total commitment are the ingredients of the fear of the Lord." [Note: Miller, p107.]

Verses 12-22

Admonition to fear and love God10:12-22

Having recited what God had done for the Israelites, Moses now called on them to respond and make a commitment to Him.

"The structure of the passage reveals an enveloping pattern in which injunctions to obey God ( Deuteronomy 10:12-13; Deuteronomy 20-22) embrace the corollary command to exhibit proper care and concern for other people, especially the socially and economically disadvantaged ( Deuteronomy 10:14-19). The motive clause and that which binds the whole together is Deuteronomy 10:17, a confession of the sovereignty of God and of his justice." [Note: Merrill, Deuteronomy , p201.]

Verses 14-19

The rationale behind this response was that as God had demonstrated love for her so Israel was to demonstrate love for God ( Deuteronomy 10:14-15). The phrase "highest heavens" ( Deuteronomy 10:14) is a Hebrew idiom indicating the totality of heaven; it does not mean that there are multiple levels of heaven. [Note: Craigie, The Book . . ., p204; Merrill, Deuteronomy , p203.]

"Above all, therefore, they were to circumcise the foreskin of their hearts, i.e, to lay aside all insensibility of heart to impressions from the love of God (cf. Lev. xxvi41; and on the spiritual signification of circumcision, see vol. i. p227), and not stiffen their necks any more, i.e, not persist in their obstinacy, or obstinate resistance to God (cf. chap. ix6 , 13). Without circumcision of heart, true fear of God and true love of God are both impossible. As a reason for this admonition, Moses adduces in Deuteronomy 10:17 sqq. the nature and acts of God." [Note: Keil and Delitzsch, 3:344.]

"God chose Israel to be an elect nation, not true of any other nation in this world. However, national election does not guarantee the salvation of every individual member of that nation. Individual salvation is based on individual election on God"s part and faith on man"s part. In Deuteronomy 10:16, individual members of the elect nation are encouraged to "circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart." Whereas circumcision of the flesh is a sign of one"s membership in the elect nation, circumcision of the heart is a sign of individual election." [Note: Fruchtenbaum, p115.]

Verses 20-22

". . . Moses emphasized a vital relationship with God as fundamental to all other issues in life. Second to this was a genuine love relationship with fellow-man." [Note: Schultz, p48. Cf. Matthew 22:37-39.]


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Bibliography Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 10:4". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

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