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Deuteronomy 9:6-13

Context
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 1  people!

The History of Israel’s Stubbornness

9:7 Remember – don’t ever forget 2  – 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. 3  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 4  forty days and nights, eating and drinking nothing. 9:10 The Lord gave me the two stone tablets, written by the very finger 5  of God, and on them was everything 6  he 7  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.” 8  9:13 Moreover, he said to me, “I have taken note of these people; they are a stubborn 9  lot!

1 tn Heb “stiff-necked” (so KJV, NAB, NIV).

sn The Hebrew word translated stubborn means “stiff-necked.” The image is that of a draft animal that is unsubmissive to the rein or yoke and refuses to bend its neck to draw the load. This is an apt description of OT Israel (Exod 32:9; 33:3, 5; 34:9; Deut 9:13).

2 tn By juxtaposing the positive זְכֹר (zekhor, “remember”) with the negative אַל־תִּשְׁכַּח (’al-tishÿkakh, “do not forget”), Moses makes a most emphatic plea.

3 tn Heb “the Lord” (likewise in the following verse with both “him” and “he”). See note on “he” in 9:3.

4 tn Heb “in the mountain.” The demonstrative pronoun has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons.

5 sn The very finger of God. This is a double figure of speech (1) in which God is ascribed human features (anthropomorphism) and (2) in which a part stands for the whole (synecdoche). That is, God, as Spirit, has no literal finger nor, if he had, would he write with his finger. Rather, the sense is that God himself – not Moses in any way – was responsible for the composition of the Ten Commandments (cf. Exod 31:18; 32:16; 34:1).

6 tn Heb “according to all the words.”

7 tn Heb “the Lord” (likewise at the beginning of vv. 12, 13). See note on “he” in 9:3.

8 tc Heb “a casting.” The MT reads מַסֵּכָה (massekhah, “a cast thing”) but some mss and Smr add עֵגֶל (’egel, “calf”), “a molten calf” or the like (Exod 32:8). Perhaps Moses here omits reference to the calf out of contempt for it.

9 tn Heb “stiff-necked.” See note on the word “stubborn” in 9:6.



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