Theological Justification of the Conquest
9:1 Listen, Israel: Today you are about to cross the Jordan so you can dispossess the nations there, people greater and stronger than you who live in large cities with extremely high fortifications. 1 9:2 They include the Anakites, 2 a numerous 3 and tall people whom you know about and of whom it is said, “Who is able to resist the Anakites?” 9:3 Understand today that the Lord your God who goes before you is a devouring fire; he will defeat and subdue them before you. You will dispossess and destroy them quickly just as he 4 has told you. 9:4 Do not think to yourself after the Lord your God has driven them out before you, “Because of my own righteousness the Lord has brought me here to possess this land.” It is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is driving them out ahead of you. 9:5 It is not because of your righteousness, or even your inner uprightness, 5 that you have come here to possess their land. Instead, because of the wickedness of these nations the Lord your God is driving them out ahead of you in order to confirm the promise he 6 made on oath to your ancestors, 7 to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 9:6 Understand, therefore, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is about to give you this good land as a possession, for you are a stubborn 8 people!
The History of Israel’s Stubbornness
9:7 Remember – don’t ever forget 9 – how you provoked the Lord your God in the desert; from the time you left the land of Egypt until you came to this place you were constantly rebelling against him. 10 9:8 At Horeb you provoked him and he was angry enough with you to destroy you. 9:9 When I went up the mountain to receive the stone tablets, the tablets of the covenant that the Lord made with you, I remained there 11 forty days and nights, eating and drinking nothing. 9:10 The Lord gave me the two stone tablets, written by the very finger 12 of God, and on them was everything 13 he 14 said to you at the mountain from the midst of the fire at the time of that assembly. 9:11 Now at the end of the forty days and nights the Lord presented me with the two stone tablets, the tablets of the covenant. 9:12 And he said to me, “Get up, go down at once from here because your people whom you brought out of Egypt have sinned! They have quickly turned from the way I commanded them and have made for themselves a cast metal image.” 15 9:13 Moreover, he said to me, “I have taken note of these people; they are a stubborn 16 lot! 9:14 Stand aside 17 and I will destroy them, obliterating their very name from memory, 18 and I will make you into a stronger and more numerous nation than they are.”
9:15 So I turned and went down the mountain while it 19 was blazing with fire; the two tablets of the covenant were in my hands. 9:16 When I looked, you had indeed sinned against the Lord your God and had cast for yourselves a metal calf; 20 you had quickly turned aside from the way he 21 had commanded you! 9:17 I grabbed the two tablets, threw them down, 22 and shattered them before your very eyes. 9:18 Then I again fell down before the Lord for forty days and nights; I ate and drank nothing because of all the sin you had committed, doing such evil before the Lord as to enrage him. 9:19 For I was terrified at the Lord’s intense anger 23 that threatened to destroy you. But he 24 listened to me this time as well. 9:20 The Lord was also angry enough at Aaron to kill him, but at that time I prayed for him 25 too. 9:21 As for your sinful thing 26 that you had made, the calf, I took it, melted it down, 27 ground it up until it was as fine as dust, and tossed the dust into the stream that flows down the mountain. 9:22 Moreover, you continued to provoke the Lord at Taberah, 28 Massah, 29 and Kibroth-Hattaavah. 30 9:23 And when he 31 sent you from Kadesh-Barnea and told you, “Go up and possess the land I have given you,” you rebelled against the Lord your God 32 and would neither believe nor obey him. 9:24 You have been rebelling against him 33 from the very first day I knew you!
Moses’ Plea on Behalf of the Lord’s Reputation
9:25 I lay flat on the ground before the Lord for forty days and nights, 34 for he 35 had said he would destroy you. 9:26 I prayed to him: 36 O, Lord God, 37 do not destroy your people, your valued property 38 that you have powerfully redeemed, 39 whom you brought out of Egypt by your strength. 40 9:27 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; ignore the stubbornness, wickedness, and sin of these people. 9:28 Otherwise the people of the land 41 from which you brought us will say, “The Lord was unable to bring them to the land he promised them, and because of his hatred for them he has brought them out to kill them in the desert.” 42 9:29 They are your people, your valued property, 43 whom you brought out with great strength and power. 44
The Opportunity to Begin Again
10:1 At that same time the Lord said to me, “Carve out for yourself two stone tablets like the first ones and come up the mountain to me; also make for yourself a wooden ark. 45 10:2 I will write on the tablets the same words 46 that were on the first tablets you broke, and you must put them into the ark.” 10:3 So I made an ark of acacia 47 wood and carved out two stone tablets just like the first ones. Then I went up the mountain with the two tablets in my hands. 10:4 The Lord 48 then wrote on the tablets the same words, 49 the ten commandments, 50 which he 51 had spoken to you at the mountain from the middle of the fire at the time of that assembly, and he 52 gave them to me. 10:5 Then I turned, went down the mountain, and placed the tablets into the ark I had made – they are still there, just as the Lord commanded me.
Conclusion of the Historical Resume
10:6 “During those days the Israelites traveled from Beeroth Bene-Yaaqan 53 to Moserah. 54 There Aaron died and was buried, and his son Eleazar became priest in his place. 10:7 From there they traveled to Gudgodah, 55 and from Gudgodah to Jotbathah, 56 a place of flowing streams. 10:8 At that time the Lord set apart the tribe of Levi 57 to carry the ark of the Lord’s covenant, to stand before the Lord to serve him, and to formulate blessings 58 in his name, as they do to this very day. 10:9 Therefore Levi has no allotment or inheritance 59 among his brothers; 60 the Lord is his inheritance just as the Lord your God told him. 10:10 As for me, I stayed at the mountain as I did the first time, forty days and nights. The Lord listened to me that time as well and decided not to destroy you. 10:11 Then he 61 said to me, “Get up, set out leading 62 the people so they may go and possess 63 the land I promised to give to their ancestors.” 64
An Exhortation to Love Both God and People
10:12 Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you except to revere him, 65 to obey all his commandments, 66 to love him, to serve him 67 with all your mind and being, 68 10:13 and to keep the Lord’s commandments and statutes that I am giving 69 you today for your own good? 10:14 The heavens – indeed the highest heavens – belong to the Lord your God, as does the earth and everything in it. 10:15 However, only to your ancestors did he 70 show his loving favor, 71 and he chose you, their descendants, 72 from all peoples – as is apparent today. 10:16 Therefore, cleanse 73 your heart and stop being so stubborn! 74 10:17 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, mighty, and awesome God who is unbiased and takes no bribe, 10:18 who justly treats 75 the orphan and widow, and who loves resident foreigners, giving them food and clothing. 10:19 So you must love the resident foreigner because you were foreigners in the land of Egypt. 10:20 Revere the Lord your God, serve him, be loyal to him and take oaths only in his name. 10:21 He is the one you should praise; 76 he is your God, the one who has done these great and awesome things for you that you have seen. 10:22 When your ancestors went down to Egypt, they numbered only seventy, but now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars of the sky. 77