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Deuteronomy 9:7-24

Context
The History of Israel’s Stubbornness

9:7 Remember – don’t ever forget 1  – 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. 2  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 3  forty days and nights, eating and drinking nothing. 9:10 The Lord gave me the two stone tablets, written by the very finger 4  of God, and on them was everything 5  he 6  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.” 7  9:13 Moreover, he said to me, “I have taken note of these people; they are a stubborn 8  lot! 9:14 Stand aside 9  and I will destroy them, obliterating their very name from memory, 10  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 11  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; 12  you had quickly turned aside from the way he 13  had commanded you! 9:17 I grabbed the two tablets, threw them down, 14  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 15  that threatened to destroy you. But he 16  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 17  too. 9:21 As for your sinful thing 18  that you had made, the calf, I took it, melted it down, 19  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, 20  Massah, 21  and Kibroth-Hattaavah. 22  9:23 And when he 23  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 24  and would neither believe nor obey him. 9:24 You have been rebelling against him 25  from the very first day I knew you!

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

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

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

4 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).

5 tn Heb “according to all the words.”

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

7 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.

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

9 tn Heb “leave me alone.”

10 tn Heb “from under heaven.”

11 tn Heb “the mountain.” The translation uses a pronoun for stylistic reasons to avoid redundancy.

12 tn On the phrase “metal calf,” see note on the term “metal image” in v. 12.

13 tn Heb “the Lord.” See note on “he” in 9:3.

14 tn The Hebrew text includes “from upon my two hands,” but as this seems somewhat obvious and redundant, it has been left untranslated for stylistic reasons.

15 tn Heb “the anger and the wrath.” Although many English versions translate as two terms, this construction is a hendiadys which serves to intensify the emotion (cf. NAB, TEV “fierce anger”).

16 tn Heb “the Lord.” See note on “he” in 9:3.

17 tn Heb “Aaron.” The pronoun is used in the translation to avoid redundancy.

18 tn Heb “your sin.” This is a metonymy in which the effect (sin) stands for the cause (the metal calf).

19 tn Heb “burned it with fire.”

20 sn Taberah. By popular etymology this derives from the Hebrew verb בָעַר (baar, “to burn”), thus, here, “burning.” The reference is to the Lord’s fiery wrath against Israel because of their constant complaints against him (Num 11:1-3).

21 sn Massah. See note on this term in Deut 6:16.

22 sn Kibroth-Hattaavah. This place name means in Hebrew “burial places of appetite,” that is, graves that resulted from overindulgence. The reference is to the Israelites stuffing themselves with the quail God had provided and doing so with thanklessness (Num 11:31-35).

23 tn Heb “the Lord.” See note on “he” in 9:3.

24 tn Heb “the mouth of the Lord your God,” that is, against the commandment that he had spoken.

25 tn Heb “the Lord.” See note on “he” in 9:3.



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