Deuteronomy - Lesson 4

Characterization of Moses in His First Address

Moses begins by recalling events that happened during their wandering in the wilderness, then recent events as they have gotten closer to entering the promises land from the east. Moses is idealized in the Old and New Testaments and in the writings of historians. You get a different picture when you read his first address. It shows Moses as faithful but flawed.

Daniel Block
Lesson 4
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Characterization of Moses in His First Address

Characterization of Moses in His First Address

I. Introduction to the First Address

A. The boundaries

B. Historical recollections

C. Pastoral recollections

II. Characterization of Moses

A. Idealized picture of Moses

B. Pentateuchal idealization of Moses/p>

C. First address of Moses

III. Conclusion

  • The book of Deuteronomy contains the gospel message. Even though there are some laws mentioned, the essence of the book is prophetic preaching. Your presuppositions and principles for interpretation that you use will make a difference in how you view the meaning and significance of the book of Deuteronomy.

  • Deuteronomy is primarily a collection of sermons but its structure is covenantal. The structure of the covenant was commonly used in other cultures in the Ancient Near East during this time period. God tells the people of Israel that he is their God and the people say that they are God’s treasured possession. (Note: Mt. Sinai and Mt. Horeb are referring to the same thing. They are used interchangeably)

  • God gave the Decalogue to Moses so they have authority as Scripture. The book of Deuteronomy as whole is also Scripture. It contains the speeches of Moses and narrative passages. It’s the lense through which we view the other books of the Pentateuch.

  • Moses begins by recalling events that happened during their wandering in the wilderness, then recent events as they have gotten closer to entering the promises land from the east. Moses is idealized in the Old and New Testaments and in the writings of historians. You get a different picture when you read his first address. It shows Moses as faithful but flawed.

  • The Law was given to the nation of Israel after they had been freed from Egypt as the way to respond to God’s grace. God gives them the boundaries for right and wrong and a process to restore relationship when it is broken.

  • With the privilege of salvation and covenant relationship comes the call for a righteous response, demonstrated in joyful obedience to the Savior and Lord. A covenant is a formally confirmed agreement between two or more parties that creates, formalizes, governs a relationship that does not exist naturally or a natural relationship that has disintegrated.

  • God’s people are a privileged people; they have been graciously redeemed, and set apart as his special treasure, his holy covenant people. God acts graciously to undeserving people and they respond joyfully with obedience. The is the end of the first speech of Moses, Deuteronomy 4:32-40.

  • The Decalogue is the bill of rights of the people of ancient Israel. It is the ten principles of covenant relationship. It creates a picture of covenant righteousness and provides a foundation for later revelation. The Decalogue contains the features of a typical covenant and conditional and unconditional laws. The addressee is the head of the household because they can be a threat to others.

  • When Moses recites the Decalogue in Deuteronomy 5, there are parts that are similar to the passage in Exodus, and there are some significant differences. He begins with getting the attention of the people of Israel and appealing for covenant fidelity, restates the Decalogue, then ends with a document clause, using covenant language.

  • The Shema is a call for whole-hearted, full-bodied commitment. This passage is a theological exposition and pastoral proclamation to impress on the minds of the people of Israel the special relationship they enjoyed with YHWH. The grace God showed them must be embraced with grateful and unreserved devotion to their redeemer and covenant Lord.

  • God chooses the covenant partner, sets the terms, declares the goal, identifies the sign and determines the consequences of disobedience of the covenant. After Moses explains the purpose of the Law, he explains to the children how the Law was given and that learning it and putting it into practice will bring them life.

  • Moses talks to the people of Israel as they are entering the land, about how they will respond to the external test of confronting and dispossessing the surrounding nations. He reminds them of their special status with God and the covenant that he offers them unconditionally. He challenges them with the theological, ethical and missional significance of the test.

  • How can you worship a God that asks the people of Israel to wipe out the Canaanites? The reason for Israel taking the land is so the people of Israel as a holy people will be preserved so the world will be preserved. God is fundamentally compassionate and gracious, he does what is right and God offers us grace and mercy.

  • When everything goes right, what do you do then? The message of this passage is, “don’t forget.” YHWH provided manna in the wilderness to feed the people of Israel. God was also teaching them in the wilderness that life comes from every word of the mouth of God, not just by eating physical food. Moses challenges the people to respond to prosperity by praising God, not by taking the credit themselves.

  • The enemies in the Promised Land are formidable. God promises to defeat them. Moses warns that people to acknowledge that God is responsible. Even though the Canaanites do not follow God, the reason God chose the people is not because they are morally superior to the Canaanites.

  • Israel’s covenant with YHWH is based entirely on his grace and they don’t deserve it. Moses interceded on behalf the of people of Israel to ask God to not judge them and God is described as, “changing his mind” and renewing his covenant with them.

  • “What does YHWH ask of you?” Moses answers this question, then gives a doxology to confirm it and an application to illustrate it. God wants you to have a soft heart toward him, to live in an attitude of trusting awe and to act in a way that honors the covenant that God has established with you.

  • Moses has given a profound theology of land. He gives the people of Israel instructions for what God wants them to do when they enter the land to confirm their covenant with God. This included using uncut stones and plastering them and writing the Torah on them and then praising God. The land is an integral part of the covenant. The people shout blessings on Mount Gerizim and curses on Mount Ebal.

  • As the people of Israel enter the land, God has instructions for them on how to live in relationship with him and worship him so that it may go well with them and their children. They are to reject the false worship practices of the surrounding nations and accept God’s invitation to come and worship him in the place and in the way he has designed for them.

  • The Levites represent a barometer on where the people of Israel are in their ethical religion. They are not given land as an inheritance so it is the responsibility of people in the other tribes to support them. Moses presents a theology of worship but doesn’t go into detail.

  • This is a warning to the people of Israel to not imitate the materialistic preoccupation and the brutal rituals associated with the worship practices of the surrounding nations when they worship YHWH. There are warnings against following false prophets, someone in your family or people in your community if they are promoting seditious religious practices. The apostle Paul uses similar language in the New Testament when warning people about following people who teach heresies.

  • In contrast to worship with the purpose of satisfying the gods, YHWH delights in fellowship with his people and for them to celebrate in his presence. YHWH encourages his people to eat in his presence and with other people. His guidelines about which foods are acceptable to eat set the people of Israel apart from other nations.

  • A main purpose of the national festivals was to keep alive the memory of God’s grace and maintain their faith in god and their covenant with him.

  • Moses describes the key offices and roles that keep the society going by providing political and spiritual structure. The primary concern is righteousness. The king is to be the embodiment of Torah righteousness. Moses outlines specific steps to achieve this and describes what it will look like.

  • Moses, in his role as prophet, is the commissioned envoy of righteousness to the people of Israel. Moses was a mediator between God and the people of Israel. He warned the people of Israel about false prophets and the danger of adopting the worship practices of the surrounding nations.

  • Moses provides a picture of covenant life and godliness in a way that you can apply it to every situation in life. It’s important to care for the poor and the resident alien and to show justice to them. The resident aliens were invited to participate in the feasts and covenant life.

  • The ideal for the people of Israel was a patricentric society but in often the reality was a patriarchal society. In a patricentric society, the male head of the clan will provide resources and security in a way that gives his family and the community opportunities to flourish. The vision for women in Deuteronomy is different than the world that is described in Israelite narratives.

  • Celebrating God’s goodness and grace in the Land. Bringing an offering from the firsfruits of the harvest is a time to remember how God has provided for the people of Israel in the past, both as individuals and as a community. There are lessons we can learn about worhship and living faithfully. This is the Deuteronomic creed.

  • Some people view the curses in Deuteronomy 28 as a stumbling block to accepting the Old Testament as Christian Scripture because they say it represents God as vengeful. However, this was a common way of writing covenants in the Ancient Near East, they follow a list of extraordinary blessings, they serve a pastoral function and there are similar curses articulated in the New Testament.

  • Deuteronomy 29 begins with Moses recounting how YHWH brought the people out of Egypt and gave them victory in the land east of the Jordan River. Then he describes the curses they will experience when they turn away from the Lord. Chapter 30 describes the eschatological restoration. Deuteronomy 29:29 refers to the mystery of divine grace. (The movie and book series that Dr. Block is referring to is Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien. The prequel to this series is The Hobbit.)

  • This is the final altar call of Moses to the people of Israel to appeal to them to choose life by living in covenant relationship with YHWH. The revelation of YHWH given through Moses is to be memorized, recited and used as a guide for conduct. It is understandable and doable.

  • The Torah that Moses has been preaching was written down. This is the introduction to the song of Moses and contains the commissioning of Joshua, who will take over after Moses dies. Part of the book of Deuteronomy is the death narrative of Moses.

  • This passage is a poetic witness to the people of Israel of the faithfulness of YHWH and the faithlessness of Israel. Moses was told to teach it to the people of Israel so they could pass it on to their descendants. People could sing it throughout the day and it could be presented as a musical drama at national celebrations.

  • At the end of the sermons of Moses, he pronounces a benediction by saying something specific for each tribe. Deuteronomy 33 and Genesis 49 have some similarities and differences in the way the sons of Jacob and their descendants are blessed. The exordium and the coda frame the blessings by describing YHWH’s care and provision for the people of Israel as their king.

  • This is the last narrative story about Moses in the Old Testament. God tells him to go up on Mt. Nebo where he is able to see the land. Joshua takes over as the leader of the people. There is a eulogy for Moses at the end.  

The Gospel according to Moses. This is a collection of sermons of Moses as the people of Israel are poised to enter the promised land after being in the wilderness for 40 years. Deuteronomy is a special book, calling God’s people to celebrate his grace and demonstrate covenant love for him with action that glorifies his name. Until we recognize the gospel in this book, we will not read this book. (Note: Mt. Sinai and Mt. Horeb are referring to the same mountain. They are used interchangeably)

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Characterization of Moses in His First Address

Lesson Transcript


[00:00:00] We've spent three sessions on how to interpret the book of Deuteronomy as a whole, as a prophetic text and a preaching text, on the one hand, a covenantal text on the other, and as Scripture. Now, let's get into the book by going to Moses first address. I'm not going to work through this in detail. I want to deal with one particular topic, which is a curious topic for me, and I hope it is for you as well. And that is the characterization of Moses in his first address. What triggers this discussion is the common approach in scholarship to interpret the Book of Deuteronomy as Sood epigraph. It's written by somebody else. But then, for rhetorical reasons, the speeches here are cast as if they were Moses speeches. They're not really people who go this route. Many of them don't even accept that Moses ever lived. He's a fictional character or a legendary character. And of course, once you make that move, then the speeches are all made up anyhow. But in any case, I am responding to the notion that the book of Deuteronomy is a pseudo epigraph written by a hero from Israel's distant past and ascribed to him so that people will take it seriously. The authors of the book were doing this intentionally so that people would take them seriously. Well. So I'm going to be asking the question, is that possible in this first address? What I'm going to say about the first address doesn't apply to the other speeches because the characterization of Moses changes dramatically after Chapter four. But we'll see what happens to Moses here. I put on the screen my outline of the book. We are in the first address of Moses here. Chapters one versus six 240.


[00:02:19] This section divided into two or three parts. Main parts you have or the boundaries of it are set by one 1 to 5, which is an introduction. Moses undertook to put into force all this whole Torah by saying That's in the front. And the conclusion. 444 The chapter division here is out of place. This is the Torah that Moses set before the Israelites. I think that's a retrospective statement about what has been happening. We call it a call of fun. Well, between these two frames, we've got two major sections, which is why on my screen I drew the line there, that green line, the bulk of it, the first three chapters are Moses recollections of Israel past recent history. And then chapter four starts out with ATAR. And now, or in the light of all that we've said about what God has done for you in the past. How then should we live? But He goes on to talk about more past events, but that divides into two sections historical recollections one 6 to 329 and then pastoral recollections. If you still think that Deuteronomy is a law book tonight, you need to go home and read chapter four aloud, read it aloud, and let it talk to you, see if you find any laws in there at all. So that's pastoral like recollections. So let's quickly hop, skip and jump through the first part. We're going to spend three sessions on chapter four. It's the core of the book. It's theology, but we'll spend one section session on the other three chapters. It's not fair, I know, but you have to cut out some things, don't you? What happens here is Moses begins with recollections of the Lord's grace through the Exodus Generation 162, two, verse one.


[00:04:31] And then it moves to his grace through the post Exodus generation. More recent history. After they buried all those people in the desert. This first part divides into recollections at Horeb. So the first 18 verses, we're still at Mt. Sinai. And Moses recalls some things that happened there. Then we have recollections of the journey from Horeb to Kadesh Barnea. One verse. For that whole journey. Probably three months. We don't know how long. Then we've got recollections of Kadesh Barnea 2042, 41, 22, 246. Then recollections of the desert. 40 years. One verse. And of course, I mentioned before, the point of that whole 40 years is to get rid of them. And when the last ones have died, then the Lord said, All right, now it's time to move on. One verse. Then we have the second major part. Moses Recollections of the Lord's grace to the new generation. After that period in the desert, we can start over again. And now, Moses said, The Lord says to Moses, It's time to move on. So you've got recollections of Israel's encounters with their transit Jordanian relatives. I don't know exactly why, but God is saying this time, we're not going to come from the South. We're going to come from the east across the Jordan. But to get there, we have to go through Elamite territory and then Moab by territory, and then our beloved territory. And we have to ask for permission to pass through their lands. All of you are those people. I mean, you have these thousands and thousands of people coming through. They're certainly going to pillage and and threaten your people, whatever else. So you've got instructions on that. And they made it through there. Then you have recollections of Israel's encounters with the Amiright Kings, east of the Jordan Seehorn of Hesh Fan and OG of Bar.


[00:06:44] This is from when Moses is speaking. This is a matter of a couple of weeks ago. These memories are fresh because we have just made this move and we're headed now to the plains of Moab, where Moses is giving these addresses. Then we have preparing for the conquest of Canaan after they've defeated the Americans on the east of the Jordan. Then two and a half tribes come and Moses gives them title to that land. Says, You've got to cross over with us. He commissions Joshua as his successor. And then you've got a frustrating text right at the end of chapter three, his prayer, begging God to let him cross the Jordan River. And the Lord said, You ain't going. Stop talking. Does God ever say, shut up? What you have in the Hebrew here is as close as you get to shut up already. Speak to me no more about this matter. Enough of this. You're not crossing to Jordan. And then in chapter four, we've got pastoral recollection and you can tell us from the top. So watch yourselves, watch yourself, watchers. I'll be careful over and over. But now he's got three parts Recollections of the Grace of Torah, verses 1 to 8, recollections of the Grace of Covenant 9 to 31 and recollections of the Grace of Salvation, 32 to 40. But of course, you recognize that they're in backwards order. Of those three. Salvation happened first and then covenant, and then the Torah was revealed. But I think he wants them to go home that evening after he's been speaking to them all day. He wants them to go home with a song of Hallelujah Earth. We've been saved. That's what's on their lips as they go home. Well, if you do the calculation and the math, you can tell how much time he devotes to particular events.


[00:08:52] For instance, from Horeb to Kate is probably took 42 weeks and he won versus all liggett's or most dramatically here, 38 years in the desert. 38 years, 96% of the people's time. That's one verse. But of course, uh, location, location, location. Everything is about Where are we in this story? All of this is reviewing what God has been doing since they left Sinai. So it's fascinating. But what I want to talk about is how does Moses come across in this text? Fascinating to watch. And we have to begin by looking at how critical scholars deal with this as a suit epigraph. There are some who argue that Deuteronomy comes actually from about the time of Josiah because of Assyrian influence and whatever. But presumably the offer author of these addresses formulated this composition as the speeches of Mosasaurs audience would take them the word seriously and to adopt his point of view regarding what remained of the original population of Israelites and the Constitution. But can this work? Well, this interpretation must explain one huge problem that rises to the top in the first address and then goes underground, but resurfaces right at the end. And that is the flawed character of Moses. This is a very transparent section of the book where you get to see Moses as he really is. And I my conclusion is he's a tired old pastor, angry with God, angry with his congregation, and angry with having failed to achieve the goal to get across the Jordan River. So he's a very bitter man in this passage, feet of clay, for sure. And so the image of Moses, especially in this first address, is contrasts drastically with the idealized image of the man that we find later when others write about him.


[00:11:15] Ben Sirak This is the ecclesiastical it's early second century to Isaiah. He gave the same assurance for the sake of his father, Abraham, the blessing of all people of the covenant He made, the rest he made to rest on the head of Jacob. He acknowledged him. He divided his fortunes from his descendants. The Lord brought forth a godly man who found favor in the sight of all and was beloved by God and the people Moses, whose memory is blessed. He made him equal in glory to the holy ones and made him great to the terror of his enemies. By his words, he performed swift miracles. The Lord glorified him in the presence of kings. He gave him commandments for his people and revealed to him his glory. I mean, it is goes on and on. He the man. This is Moses. For his faithfulness and meekness, he consecrated. I'm choosing a man of all humankind. He allowed him to hear his voice and let him into the dark cloud and gave him the commandments face to face, the law of life and knowledge so that he might teach Jacob the Covenant and Israel his decrees. But you have the same sort of thing in the New Testament, Stephen. This Moses, whom they rejected when they said Who appointed you a ruler and a judge, this one God sent as ruler and redeemer by means of the angel who appeared to him. This man led them out and performed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt at the Red Sea and the desert for 40 years. This Moses, this is the Moses who said to the Sons of Israel, God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among the brothers. He is the one who was in the congregation, the desert with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai and with our forefathers.


[00:12:53] He received living oracles to give to us or Hebrews by faith. Moses parents had him for three months after he was born because he was no ordinary child by faith. Moses, when he had grown, refused to be known as the son of Abraham, Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God, rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as a greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. Where do you find this? And in any of the narratives of Moses? I mean, this is a very idealized picture. By faith. He left Egypt not fearing the king's anger. He persevered because he saw him, who was invisible by faith. He kept the Passover and the application of blood so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel. By faith, the people pass through the Red Sea as on the dry land. Well, this is Hebrews, but the most dramatic is File of Alexandria. What more shall I say? Has he, Moses not also enjoyed an even greater communion with the father and creator of the universe, being thought unworthy of being called by the same appellation? For he also was called the God and King of the whole nation, and He is said to have entered into the darkness where God was, that is to say, into the invisible and shapeless and in corporeal world, the essence, which is the model of all existing things where he beheld things invisible to mortal nature. I mean, this guy's a god. It's American Idol. Yes, he is here for having brought himself and his own life into the middle as an excellent right picture.


[00:14:33] He established himself as the most beautiful and godlike work to be a model for all those who are inclined to imitate him. And this not only and file all the Samaritans have the same thing in their texts. The faithful, one of the God of Godhead has come. The man of God or could translate Divine Man has come whom God chosen sent. The rock of salvation has come. He who frees captives from captivity is the savior of his people. From all affliction has come. Moses, whose name is connected with the Lord's name, has come. It's not in the Hebrew Bible. Moses is not the Savior. It's always Yahweh. But in this text, this is above everything. These are the Samaritans. That's what they're doing. And Samaritan theology. Nothing was created except by or through Moses. There could have been no creation if he hadn't been created first. Well, that's what tradition does with this man. And he's the source of the world's light and whatever for his mercy and faith. Josephus has some as well. But I'm going to skip the Josephus point in his writings is to convince the people that the Jewish traditions are reasonable, and he presents Moses to them as the embodiment of the great virtues valued by the Greeks and the Romans. He's a good guy. Look at this. Notably external qualities of good birth, handsome stature, precocious and use of the four cardinal virtues of wisdom, courage, temperance, justice, supplemented by what was, in effect, a fifth cardinal virtue piety. He's the ideal ruler, educator, legislator, poet. Above all else, a prophet. This is Moses. Well, how about the First Testament tradition of Moses? I mean, this is all leisure, isn't it? It's all a New Testament or New Testament times.


[00:16:40] What about the First Testament? What's amazing in the First Testament is how little it talks about Moses. How little it talks about Moses. His name occurs 60 times outside of the Hex City. By that we mean Genesis through Joshua. After Joshua, his name, which appears 765 times altogether only six times in the rest of the Old Testament. And of these, more than half involve the phrase the Torah of Moses. So it's not actually about Moses, it's about the scripture that is associated with him. So it's fascinating what happens. And he is given titles like Servant of the Lord, Man of God, which the Samaritans interpreted as Divine Man. And of course, he is the one who led the people out of Egypt and established Israel's religious system. But Moses is not. A, shall we say, divinities like that that are. But then nor is she critiqued. There are two places where it comes close. The judges 1832 31 The daylights set up a sculptured image for themselves and Jonathan, son of Gershom, son of Manassas, and his descendants, served as priests to the I tribe. This is in the Jewish translation of 1832. But that's a very interesting text. The transformation of Moses into Manasa here. This is. This is the word Manasa. M n s h manager said they didn't write to the vowels as only consonants. And so. But what's odd about that? The end is the end of super scripted. Yeah, the n m and H, and it's up there. It's not normal. It's not normal. And so the assumption, of course, in this and this is from Belén, it's a picture straight off a Lenin Leningrad Codex. The assumption is some scribe put that in there. It's later. It's not the original text.


[00:19:14] It's. Is it an IV and IV? I don't even remember if it is an I.V.. Some more recent translations. Replay. Now have Moses there. But what's happened here is that. This guy, this Levite. Who was engaged by Micah to be the household priest is a totally pagan, nice guy. But Dana, it's come along and says, which is better to be the the pastor of a big church. It's a little country church with a big suburban church. And of course, they always say the best of the big suburban church. You can be the pastor of an old tribe rather than just this little clan here. And so he goes along with them and they get to him and we finally learn his name. He is Jonathan's son of Gershom, Ben. Most share. Who's Gershom? We know his name. That's Moses son, Gershon. This guy, the grandson of Moses, is already apostate. In the book of the judges. And what they've done is they've protected Moses by changing the text. Inserting an end so that you associate him not with Moses, but with Manasa, the most wicked of Israelite kings. It's very deliberate where we are, we are protecting Moses. You can imagine him doing this. Well, there's one more in Psalm 106. They angered him. Yahweh at the waters of Maribor. It went ill with Moses on their account, for they made his spirit bitter and he spoke rashly with his lips. Well, what they're doing here is they recognized that Moses was bitter and he. And he spoke rashly. But it's the people's fault. So they're protecting him again. That's as close as you get. The song was blames the people for Moses response, and the psalmist neutralizes the seriousness of his actions that the Lord will talk about.


[00:21:29] And then, of course, numbers 12, the narrator of numbers. When they were alcazares, Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman. And they said, Has the affair spoken only through Moses hasn't spoken to us. And yet, if I heard it now, the man, Moses was very humble. Oh, Moses would never say that about himself. But the narrator does. So even narrators are talking about the he is a very, very special kind of person and humblest in all the earth. And then he goes on to talk about God speaks to Moses face to face, not in riddles, clearly. And so this is a very, very special relationship. So you do have these epithets for Moses and you have these characterizations of Moses as this wonderful guy. And one more thing in Deuteronomy. This is the blessing that Moses, the man of God, pronounced on the Israelites, that title. Man of God, godly man, or is it a man, agent of God? And then Moses, the servant of Yahweh, died in the Moab. So you have the author of Deuteronomy The End. Moses was 120 years old when he died. His eyes weren't weak nor strength to on the Israelites grieve for Moses and the Plains are more and 30 days until the time of weeping and mourning was over. Now Joshua, son of none, was filled with the spirit because Moses had laid his hands on him. And so the people listened. Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel, like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, who did all these signs and wonders. But obviously, the author of the book has this elevated view of Moses. But now let's go to. The the speech that Moses gives. And see what happens.


[00:23:29] The characterization of Moses. Well, in chapter one verses 9 to 18, look at verse nine. I spoke to you at that time saying I am unable to bear the burden of you alone. For the Lord is multiplied you and look you today the say are like your numbers are like the stars and in the heavens may the Lord increase you a thousand fold more. But verse 12, How can I alone bear the burden of you and your bickering or strife, or one ever? This is a very interesting text because because Moses at this point on the one he recognized, God has multiplied. The people fulfilled his promise. They become like the stars of the sky. There are lots here. But he says, I've been carrying this load all by myself. And he's tired. He feels isolated and abandoned. In chapter 22, he will talk about overloading a jackass. With a beast of burden and he's down on the ground and he can't get up. And you're supposed to help a donkey like that. Well, now he is feeling he talks about, I can't carry this load by myself. If you see your fellow Israelis donkey or art fall on the road, don't ignore it. Help. I honor the tone of his voice. Is that then when we come to verses 13 to 18, choose wise and discerning men for yourselves to help relieve my load. If you compare this with the Exodus text, there it is, Jethro, who gives him advice on restructuring the people. And it's God who inspires the thing. And in the end here, Moses at talks as if it was my idea. Here, you guys go pick yourself. Pick some guy. So God's out of the picture. What else? Moses This position toward himself that, you know, he's the overburdened donkey.


[00:25:37] Second, his disposition toward God. He blamed God for multiplying the Israelite population and then dumping them on his shoulder verses 9 to 12. He completely marginalized the role of God in the administration of restructuring. You never talks about God in that. It sounds like it was his idea, but then his disposition toward his people. I cannot carry you alone. Because the burden in verse 12, How can I bear alone, alone the burden of you and your strife? This is a heavy word. It plays on the same route that Jethro had used in Exodus 1820. They will carry the burden of the people for you when he proposed helpers for him. But Moses is here saying I can't carry it, and that in the end all your bickering or my Nassir has strife. It's the word we've contentions, legal disputes, whatever else. Can you imagine? Moses is in charge of this whole messy lot, and there's constant bickering. You've invaded my personal space, and somebody has to intervene. I can handled it all by myself. Well, you have that. What else can we say about this? His He marginalizes God in the next episode verses versus 20 to 25. He marginalizes God. And when he talks about We sent out the scouts. As if God is out of the picture with the Scouts in verse 23. The thing pleased me. So I took 12 of your men. He's making the decisions of what else can we say? Verse 21. See the Lord, Your God has placed the land before you go up and take possession and take as the Lord your God has taken you, and He is commanding them to take it, take charge, and it's as if it's all about him. Verse 26 he talks about the scouts, rebellion, unbelief and disobedience.


[00:28:07] But then in 312 to 17, this is jumping way ahead. When the the Israelites, two and a half tribes come to Moses and say, Can we keep the land? I mean, what a shame. We've just wiped out the animal rights here. We got a vacuum here. We like this land. This is a good farming land. Let us stay here. And what does Moses do? Go ahead, take it. And without recognizing the implications that this will have. There's no hint in how he tells the story of him consulting with God. I mean, the people have come to me and they've asked for this land. What shall I do? Shall I give it to him? He doesn't talk about that. According to numbers 34, after this was done, God comes back and says the Jordan River is the boundary of the promised land. Which raises real questions Should Moses have given that land to the two and a half tribes? I am absolutely convinced he shouldn't have. Because never is the boundary. Does the boundary include the land east of the Jordan when you've got the definitions? Never. He's acceding to the people. And I think he has lost sight of what God has intended. But his intense bitterness this is the clincher here three times, he says, and it just breaks up whatever he is talking about in chapter 137, he's talking about what happened that Kadish Barnea, the Lord heard the sound of your words. He was angry. He took an oath. He says not one of his evil generation is going to cross the land except Caleb and Joshua. They will cross over and then he just answers. Oh, the Lord was angry with me on your account. Not even you shall enter there.


[00:30:02] What's that got to do with anything? Just sticks it in there. It's your fault. I can't go in. And he does this again. First, chapter 326, where he prays to God. Oh, Lord, you're a great an awesome. I'm just begun to see all that you're going to do. Can't I please go in the land and just touch it? But the Lord was angry with me because of you, and you refused to listen to me. And Jacquie said to me, That's enough. Don't speak to me about this matter anymore. Lord was angry with me because of you. It's your fault. But then in 421, I mean, for the third time. Three strikes you're out, isn't it? For the third time, he says, and again, it interrupts a brilliant gospel text. But all of a sudden he sticks it in there again. The the Lord was angry with me because of you, and He solemnly swear that I would not cross the Jordan, that I would not enter the good land that the Lord your God is giving you. Is your grant in your possession? Three times he has blurted out what is deep in his heart. He is a very disappointed man because he had hoped he would lead the people into the promised land. And it's the people's fault. He can't go in. This is not the stuff of legend. This is not the stuff of Sue the Pig trophy. What you see here is a very angry, bitter man passing the buck, blaming other people. Why is Moses even recounting this private event where he had a conversation with God? It doesn't make him look good. Which really is a shocker to me, because we know from the end of the book that the author of the last chapter has such a high view of him.


[00:32:04] There's never been a guy like him before. He's got that view. But then when he is preserving his speech, the author of the book has the courage to leave the speech exactly as it is. He doesn't fix it. He doesn't smooth over Moses. He doesn't make him look good. He looks very bad, especially in these three occasions where he says, I can cross the Jordan and it's your fault. But of course, at this point we have to ask, was Moses right? Is it the people's fault? Well, the answer is no. As the Lord will emphasize at the end, in chapter 32, we'll come back to this same thing. The Lord says, You're not crossing over. Go up the mountain and die. You're not crossing over. And then he talks about Kadesh. Never about Kadesh, which is where you broke faith with Yahweh and struck the Rock instead of talking to it. And, you know, and I asked myself, what's the big deal about striking the rock rather than talk? It worked last time. It's such a big deal. But the Lord has a very serious interpretation of that in chapter 32. At the end of the chapter, it's a very serious interpretation on the mountain where you try and be gathered to your people. Abraham, you're your brother. Aaron died on Mt. Hood, or you'll be gathered here because you broke faith with me in the midst of the Sons of Israel at the waters of Mirabai Kadesh in the wilderness of sin, because you did not treat me as holy, is in the midst of the Sons of Israel. You may see the land from a distance, but you shall not go over there. You know, if I had been God, I would think it's not such a big deal.


[00:34:11] Let the guy have it. For 40 years, he's dealt with your people, taken care of them, and borne this burden. Feel sorry for him, but God doesn't back off. Which is such a shocker when we get to Chapter nine, where After the Golden Calf. We're the people had just signed on to the Covenant and now they're worshiping the Golden calf. And Moses comes down the mountain. He sees this. And what? What does he do? God says, I'm going to wipe this people out. I'm starting over with you. And Moses says, No, you can't do that. And what does God do? He listens to him. The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man. Has great effect with God. That's that one. But in this case, it's a lesson on prayer. There are times when God's answer is he always answers prayer. But sometimes there's no. This was. I know. But of course, I raise it here. Because of the picture it paints of Moses. Was he right? No. God says no. You're not going over because it's not the you can't pass the buck and blame the people. You're the problem. And it's for your son. But on the other hand, there is a yes to this. When did Maribeth Kurdish happen? This is why he's so bitter. After Kadish Bonia. At Kadish Barnea. They were supposed to go in and take the land and the scouts came back and says, It's a great it's a great territory. We can. It's well worth it. But then there's ten of them said, No, we can't do this. They'll make mincemeat of our kids. And so they refused. And God says, Fine, turn around and die in the desert. And by then Moses was already 80 years old.


[00:36:21] It is their fault because if they had gone in the into the land at that point, Moses would have been enjoying life in the Promised Land for 40 years. Wow. And he lost it. But of course, you see how he's using this. So he's using it to defend himself, to pass the buck. There's a sense in which he's right. If they had behaved themselves, it is your fault. But in the particular case, it is not. Well, all this to say, given the conclusion, the glowing epitaph and obvious admiration of Moses, it's shocking that that he entered Moses own transcript of his address unedited into the final version. I don't think an issue that pig or Fist would allow that to happen. They don't whitewash him. They made him look really good. They they all had God say, yes, you're right. It is the people's fault, Gordon. It's not your fault. But in any case, if this is a suit of SUDEP, a graphic document from a much larger time, it's inconceivable. How should a pig refer to? Would have made Moses look this bad. My conclusion. Whoever put the book together must have been a prophet like Moses, who recognized the inspiration and canon necessity of the transcripts that he had, says, I can't change them. He had a high regard for the shape of the text at this point, refusing to add or subtract. He was a person of incredible courage and integrity, and he recognized that the medium is part of the message. God's agents are all flawed. They are. Abraham Dern, the single He character in the inhuman character in the Bible who's not flawed. Maybe Daniel. I mean, he's as close as you get the Josiah, but even in the end, Josiah is stupid thing he does, and it cost him his life.


[00:38:32] But God's human agents are all flawed, and even a serious matter like this didn't qualify. Disqualify Moses from being the one to bring the Israelites to the brink of the promised land. He got them here. Can't touch it. He can't taste it. He can smell it. He's frustrated with the whole thing. For him personally, it aborts. It ends. But. He has left us a lasting legacy. Far greater than his personal enjoyment of the promised Land. The fascinating text.