Deuteronomy 31-34

March 15, 2024

Deuteronomy 31

Then Moses continued to speak these words to all Israel,
2 saying, “I am now 120 years old; I can no longer act as your leader. The Lord has told me, ‘You will not cross the Jordan.’ 3 The Lord your God is the one who will cross ahead of you. He will destroy these nations before you, and you will drive them out. Joshua is the one who will cross ahead of you, as the Lord has said. 4 The Lord will deal with them as he did Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, and their land when he destroyed them. 5 The Lord will deliver them over to you, and you must do to them exactly as I have commanded you. 6 Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For the Lord your God is the one who will go with you; he will not leave you or abandon you.”

7 Moses then summoned Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you will go with this people into the land the Lord swore to give to their ancestors. You will enable them to take possession of it. 8 The Lord is the one who will go before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or abandon you. Do not be afraid or discouraged.”

9 Moses wrote down this law and gave it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who carried the ark of the Lord’s covenant, and to all the elders of Israel. 10 Moses commanded them, “At the end of every seven years, at the appointed time in the year of debt cancellation, during the Festival of Shelters, 11 when all Israel assembles in the presence of the Lord your God at the place he chooses, you are to read this law aloud before all Israel. 12 Gather the people ​— ​men, women, dependents, and the resident aliens within your city gates ​— ​so that they may listen and learn to fear the Lord your God and be careful to follow all the words of this law. 13 Then their children who do not know the law will listen and learn to fear the Lord your God as long as you live in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”

14 The Lord said to Moses, “The time of your death is now approaching. Call Joshua and present yourselves at the tent of meeting so that I may commission him.” When Moses and Joshua went and presented themselves at the tent of meeting, 15 the Lord appeared at the tent in a pillar of cloud, and the cloud stood at the entrance to the tent.

16 The Lord said to Moses, “You are about to rest with your ancestors, and these people will soon prostitute themselves with the foreign gods of the land they are entering. They will abandon me and break the covenant I have made with them. 17 My anger will burn against them on that day; I will abandon them and hide my face from them so that they will become easy prey. Many troubles and afflictions will come to them. On that day they will say, ‘Haven’t these troubles come to us because our God is no longer with us? ’ 18 I will certainly hide my face on that day because of all the evil they have done by turning to other gods. 19 Therefore write down this song for yourselves and teach it to the Israelites; have them sing it, so that this song may be a witness for me against the Israelites. 20 When I bring them into the land I swore to give their ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey, they will eat their fill and prosper. They will turn to other gods and worship them, despising me and breaking my covenant. 21 And when many troubles and afflictions come to them, this song will testify against them, because their descendants will not have forgotten it. For I know what they are prone to do, even before I bring them into the land I swore to give them.” 22 So Moses wrote down this song on that day and taught it to the Israelites.

23 The Lord commissioned Joshua son of Nun, “Be strong and courageous, for you will bring the Israelites into the land I swore to them, and I will be with you.”

24 When Moses had finished writing down on a scroll every single word of this law, 25 he commanded the Levites who carried the ark of the Lord’s covenant, 26 “Take this book of the law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God so that it may remain there as a witness against you. 27 For I know how rebellious and stiff-necked you are. If you are rebelling against the Lord now, while I am still alive, how much more will you rebel after I am dead! 28 Assemble all your tribal elders and officers before me so that I may speak these words directly to them and call heaven and earth as witnesses against them. 29 For I know that after my death you will become completely corrupt and turn from the path I have commanded you. Disaster will come to you in the future, because you will do what is evil in the Lord’s sight, angering him with what your hands have made.” 30 Then Moses recited aloud every single word of this song to the entire assembly of Israel:

Deuteronomy 32

Pay attention, heavens, and I will speak;
listen, earth, to the words from my mouth.
2 Let my teaching fall like rain
and my word settle like dew,
like gentle rain on new grass
and showers on tender plants.
3 For I will proclaim the Lord’s name.
Declare the greatness of our God!
4 The Rock ​— ​his work is perfect;
all his ways are just.
A faithful God, without bias,
he is righteous and true.
5 His people have acted corruptly toward him;
this is their defect ​— ​they are not his children
but a devious and crooked generation.
6 Is this how you repay the Lord,
you foolish and senseless people?
Isn’t he your Father and Creator?
Didn’t he make you and sustain you?
7 Remember the days of old;
consider the years of past generations.
Ask your father, and he will tell you,
your elders, and they will teach you.
8 When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance
and divided the human race,
he set the boundaries of the peoples
according to the number of the people of Israel.
9 But the Lord’s portion is his people,
Jacob, his own inheritance.
10 He found him in a desolate land,
in a barren, howling wilderness;
he surrounded him, cared for him,
and protected him as the pupil of his eye.
11 He watches over his nest like an eagle
and hovers over his young;
he spreads his wings, catches him,
and carries him on his feathers.
12 The Lord alone led him,
with no help from a foreign god.
13 He made him ride on the heights of the land
and eat the produce of the field.
He nourished him with honey from the rock
and oil from flinty rock,
14 curds from the herd and milk from the flock,
with the fat of lambs,
rams from Bashan, and goats,
with the choicest grains of wheat;
you drank wine from the finest grapes.
15 Then Jeshurun became fat and rebelled —
you became fat, bloated, and gorged.
He abandoned the God who made him
and scorned the Rock of his salvation.
16 They provoked his jealousy with different gods;
they enraged him with detestable practices.
17 They sacrificed to demons, not God,
to gods they had not known,
new gods that had just arrived,
which your ancestors did not fear.
18 You ignored the Rock who gave you birth;
you forgot the God who gave birth to you.
19 When the Lord saw this, he despised them,
angered by his sons and daughters.
20 He said, “I will hide my face from them;
I will see what will become of them,
for they are a perverse generation —
unfaithful children.
21 They have provoked my jealousy
with what is not a god;
they have enraged me with their worthless idols.
So I will provoke their jealousy
with what is not a people;
I will enrage them with a foolish nation.
22 For fire has been kindled because of my anger
and burns to the depths of Sheol;
it devours the land and its produce,
and scorches the foundations of the mountains.
23 “I will pile disasters on them;
I will use up my arrows against them.
24 They will be weak from hunger,
ravaged by pestilence and bitter plague;
I will unleash on them wild beasts with fangs,
as well as venomous snakes that slither in the dust.
25 Outside, the sword will take their children,
and inside, there will be terror;
the young man and the young woman will be killed,
the infant and the gray-haired man.
26 “I would have said: I will cut them to pieces
and blot out the memory of them from mankind,
27 if I had not feared provocation from the enemy,
or feared that these foes might misunderstand
and say, ‘Our own hand has prevailed;
it wasn’t the Lord who did all this.’ ”
28 Israel is a nation lacking sense
with no understanding at all.
29 If only they were wise, they would comprehend this;
they would understand their fate.
30 How could one pursue a thousand,
or two put ten thousand to flight,
unless their Rock had sold them,
unless the Lord had given them up?
31 But their “rock” is not like our Rock,
as even our enemies concede.
32 For their vine is from the vine of Sodom
and from the fields of Gomorrah.
Their grapes are poisonous;
their clusters are bitter.
33 Their wine is serpents’ venom,
the deadly poison of cobras.
34 “Is it not stored up with me,
sealed up in my vaults?
35 Vengeance and retribution belong to me.
In time their foot will slip,
for their day of disaster is near,
and their doom is coming quickly.”
36 The Lord will indeed vindicate his people
and have compassion on his servants
when he sees that their strength is gone
and no one is left ​— ​slave or free.
37 He will say, “Where are their gods,
the ‘rock’ they found refuge in?
38 Who ate the fat of their sacrifices
and drank the wine of their drink offerings?
Let them rise up and help you;
let it be a shelter for you.
39 See now that I alone am he;
there is no God but me.
I bring death and I give life;
I wound and I heal.
No one can rescue anyone from my power.
40 I raise my hand to heaven and declare:
As surely as I live forever,
41 when I sharpen my flashing sword,
and my hand takes hold of judgment,
I will take vengeance on my adversaries
and repay those who hate me.
42 I will make my arrows drunk with blood
while my sword devours flesh —
the blood of the slain and the captives,
the heads of the enemy leaders.”
43 Rejoice, you nations, concerning his people,
for he will avenge the blood of his servants.
He will take vengeance on his adversaries;
he will purify his land and his people.

44 Moses came with Joshua son of Nun and recited all the words of this song in the presence of the people. 45 After Moses finished reciting all these words to all Israel, 46 he said to them, “Take to heart all these words I am giving as a warning to you today, so that you may command your children to follow all the words of this law carefully. 47 For they are not meaningless words to you but they are your life, and by them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”

48 On that same day the Lord spoke to Moses, 49 “Go up Mount Nebo in the Abarim range in the land of Moab, across from Jericho, and view the land of Canaan I am giving the Israelites as a possession. 50 Then you will die on the mountain that you go up, and you will be gathered to your people, just as your brother Aaron died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people. 51 For both of you broke faith with me among the Israelites at the Waters of Meribath-kadesh in the Wilderness of Zin by failing to treat me as holy in their presence. 52 Although from a distance you will view the land that I am giving the Israelites, you will not go there.”

Deuteronomy 33

This is the blessing that Moses, the man of God, gave the Israelites before his death.

2 He said:

The Lord came from Sinai
and appeared to them from Seir;
he shone on them from Mount Paran
and came with ten thousand holy ones,
with lightning from his right hand for them.
3 Indeed he loves the people.
All your holy ones are in your hand,
and they assemble at your feet.
Each receives your words.
4 Moses gave us instruction,
a possession for the assembly of Jacob.
5 So he became King in Jeshurun
when the leaders of the people gathered
with the tribes of Israel.
6 Let Reuben live and not die
though his people become few.
7 He said this about Judah:

Lord, hear Judah’s cry and bring him to his people.
He fights for his cause with his own hands,
but may you be a help against his foes.
8 He said about Levi:

Your Thummim and Urim belong to your faithful one;
you tested him at Massah
and contended with him at the Waters of Meribah.
9 He said about his father and mother,
“I do not regard them.”
He disregarded his brothers
and didn’t acknowledge his sons,
for they kept your word
and maintained your covenant.
10 They will teach your ordinances to Jacob
and your instruction to Israel;
they will set incense before you
and whole burnt offerings on your altar.
11 Lord, bless his possessions,
and accept the work of his hands.
Break the back of his adversaries and enemies,
so that they cannot rise again.
12 He said about Benjamin:

The Lord’s beloved rests securely on him.
He shields him all day long,
and he rests on his shoulders.
13 He said about Joseph:

May his land be blessed by the Lord
with the dew of heaven’s bounty
and the watery depths that lie beneath;
14 with the bountiful harvest from the sun
and the abundant yield of the seasons;
15 with the best products of the ancient mountains
and the bounty of the eternal hills;
16 with the choice gifts of the land
and everything in it;
and with the favor of him
who appeared in the burning bush.
May these rest on the head of Joseph,
on the brow of the prince of his brothers.
17 His firstborn bull has splendor,
and horns like those of a wild ox;
he gores all the peoples with them
to the ends of the earth.
Such are the ten thousands of Ephraim,
and such are the thousands of Manasseh.
18 He said about Zebulun:

Rejoice, Zebulun, in your journeys,
and Issachar, in your tents.
19 They summon the peoples to a mountain;
there they offer acceptable sacrifices.
For they draw from the wealth of the seas
and the hidden treasures of the sand.
20 He said about Gad:

The one who enlarges Gad’s territory
will be blessed.
He lies down like a lion
and tears off an arm or even a head.
21 He chose the best part for himself,
because a ruler’s portion was assigned there for him.
He came with the leaders of the people;
he carried out the Lord’s justice
and his ordinances for Israel.
22 He said about Dan:

Dan is a young lion,
leaping out of Bashan.
23 He said about Naphtali:

Naphtali, enjoying approval,
full of the Lord’s blessing,
take possession to the west and the south.
24 He said about Asher:

May Asher be the most blessed of the sons;
may he be the most favored among his brothers
and dip his foot in olive oil.
25 May the bolts of your gate be iron and bronze,
and your strength last as long as you live.
26 There is none like the God of Jeshurun,
who rides the heavens to your aid,
the clouds in his majesty.
27 The God of old is your dwelling place,
and underneath are the everlasting arms.
He drives out the enemy before you
and commands, “Destroy! ”
28 So Israel dwells securely;
Jacob lives untroubled
in a land of grain and new wine;
even his skies drip with dew.
29 How happy you are, Israel!
Who is like you,
a people saved by the Lord?
He is the shield that protects you,
the sword you boast in.
Your enemies will cringe before you,
and you will tread on their backs.

Deuteronomy 34

Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which faces Jericho, and the Lord showed him all the land: Gilead as far as Dan,
2 all of Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Mediterranean Sea, 3 the Negev, and the plain in the Valley of Jericho, the City of Palms, as far as Zoar. 4 The Lord then said to him, “This is the land I promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have let you see it with your own eyes, but you will not cross into it.”

5 So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the Lord’s word. 6 He buried him in the valley in the land of Moab facing Beth-peor, and no one to this day knows where his grave is. 7 Moses was one hundred twenty years old when he died; his eyes were not weak, and his vitality had not left him. 8 The Israelites wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days. Then the days of weeping and mourning for Moses came to an end.

9 Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites obeyed him and did as the Lord had commanded Moses. 10 No prophet has arisen again in Israel like Moses, whom the L knew face to face. 11 He was unparalleled for all the signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do against the land of Egypt ​— ​to Pharaoh, to all his officials, and to all his land— 12 and for all the mighty acts of power and terrifying deeds that Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.

— Deuteronomy 31:1-34:12 (CSB)