Deuteronomy - Lesson 33

Israel’s National Anthem - Deut. 31.14-32 30-32.1-47

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.

Daniel Block
Lesson 33
Watching Now
Israel’s National Anthem - Deut. 31.14-32 30-32.1-47

Israel’s National Anthem (31:14-32, 30; 32:1-47)

I. Description

A. Background to the song

B. Genre

C. National anthem

II. Origin and Occasion of the Song

A. Occasion

B. Purpose of the song

C. How it was used

D. Textual note

II. Structure of the Song

IV. Lessons

  • Understand that Deuteronomy, viewed as the Gospel according to Moses, is a theological, instructional book emphasizing covenant relationship and grace, aligning with New Testament teachings and offering life-giving messages rather than strict legal mandates.
  • Learn about Deuteronomy as a covenant document, its historical context, covenant categories, and the significance of covenantal rituals, gaining insight into its structure and covenantal vocabulary.
  • Gain insight into the process of how Deuteronomy texts were preserved, recognized as canonical, and the role of Moses and the Levitical priests in maintaining and transmitting these sacred writings.
  • 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)

Recommended Reading:

The Gospel According to Moses, by Dr. Daniel Block

The Triumph of Grace, by Daniel I. Block

How I Love Your Torah, O Lord!: Studies in the Book of Deuteronomy, by Daniel I. Block

Deuteronomy (NIV Application Commentary Series), by Daniel I. Block

Sepher Torath Mosheh: Studies in the Composition and Interpretation of Deuteronomy, by Daniel I. Block, Richard L. Schultz

Biblical Prose Prayer, by Moshe Greenberg

Recommended Books

The Gospel according to Moses

The Gospel according to Moses

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The Triumph of Grace: Literary and Theological Studies in Deuteronomy and Deuteronomic Themes

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Dr. Daniel Block



Israel’s National Anthem - Deut. 31.14-32 30-32.1-47

Lesson Transcript


[00:00:00] Our subject of discussion this session is the long poem in Deuteronomy chapter 32, which I call Israel's national anthem. Let's remind ourselves where we are in the book. We are. We have worked our way through the four addresses of Moses. The intermediate stage, the narrative of Chapter 31, which introduces us to the song of Earth, usually called the Song of Moses. We'll talk about that in a moment. But the song, which is in here, framed by a narrative introduction and a narrative conclusion. But this is where we are now. You can see we are approaching the end of the book. The worship service is coming to the closing hymn. It's a very logically presented book here, not just in terms of covenant procedure, but also in terms of of a, shall we say, humble ethical rhetoric. We talked about this before. Chapter 31 dealt with three issues. There's the appointment of Joshua as Moses successor, the writing and preservation of the Torah. But there is a third element that he introduces in verses 16 to 22. That is the what I call the national anthem, Israel's national anthem. Since we are dealing specifically with the song. Our concern in that outline is expressly the SI elements. The national anthem verses 16 through 22 and 30 provide background to the revelation of the song. So let's hear the Word of the Lord. And Yahweh said to Moses, Look, you are well, there's that hiney again. You're about to. It signals a new moment. You are about to lie down with your fathers. Then this people will rise and holler after the foreign gods among them in the land they're entering, and they will forsake me and break my covenant that I have made with them. And then my anger will be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them and hide my face from them and they will be devoured and many evils and troubles will come upon them so that they will say, and that they have not.


[00:02:46] These evils come upon us because our God is not among us. And I will surely hide my face in that day because of all the evil that they have done, because they have turned to other gods. That's verse 18, verse 19. Now, therefore, write this song. And teach it to the people of Israel, put it in their mouths. That means teacher, have them memorize it. That this song may be a witness for me against the people of Israel, for when I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, which I swore to give to their fathers. And they have eaten and are full and grown fat. They will turn to other gods and serve them and despise me and break my covenant. And when many evils and troubles have come upon them, this song shall confront them as a witness, for it will live unforgotten in the mouths of the offspring. For I know what they are inclined to do. Even today, before I have brought them into the land that I swore to give. First 22. So Moses wrote this song the same day and taught it to the people of Israel. And then, after reporting Moses pessimistic disposition toward Israel and her future apostasy, the narrator adds in verse 30. Then Moses spoke the words of the song until they were finished in the ears of all the Assembly of Israel. And that sets the stage then, for the citation of the song. Well, we need to talk, first of all, about the genre. It's interesting that in Hebrew we have no word for poetry. We have words like chronicles, writings, documents, genealogies, proverbs, songs, psalms, laments, songs of praise, but no word for prose or no word for poetry.


[00:04:56] The big categories that we are so stuck on. But this is clearly poetry as we have come to understand Hebrew poetry, and our understanding is not derived from dictionary definitions. It's simply from looking at the evidence and drawing our conclusion and giving a label based on the evidence. So it's not in the dictionary, but this is what people have called this kind of of of literature. What are the features of Israelite poetry verses prose? First you'll have asshole Nantlle plays on sound. Repeating words or repeating sounds. The s sounds. Ashtray Shreya ish. Blessed is the man who it's all over this kind of thing. Meter and rhythm. All this is not as important as the poetry with which some of us grew up. Nowadays, poetry is free verse. There's no media, no rhythm. I don't. It doesn't seem to me to have any structure. But then it's a new definition of poetry. In Hebrew, major and rhythm are often there. So that Altamente poem is typically three two rhythm. Bah bah bah bah bah bah bah bah bah bah bah bah bah. That's in LA meant. But it's not always there. This is not true. This is not secure. But Hebrew poetry depends upon the harmony of ideas rather than harmony of sounds. In that sense, we would say English definitions of poetry, as it was when we grew up, were rhyme. And that's important. That's phony. Of course, Foley has to do with sound, but now we're using that word in another way. It's fake poetry. Hebrew poetry is real poetry because it's not it's not so superficial. It's the harmony of ideas and sounds. And it's creative and effective in breaking many of the rules we understand. For a long time we thought that Hebrew poetry had unique grammatical and syntactical rules.


[00:07:24] Well, it's not so much that they have unique rules, but they apply them in different proportions and in different ways. In poetry, you have the increased frequency of PAX like Gondwana. Words that appear nowhere else in Scripture. Rare words. Other forms of free expressions. This is why the Book of Job is one of the hardest ones to read in all of the Bible because it's poetry except for the prose beginning and the prose. And that's easy Hebrew. But the middle part is difficult. There are so many rare words, strange words that appear nowhere else in Scripture. And you have to guess about the meanings. This I mean, when when I teach Hebrew to students, Deuteronomy offers good classical standard, biblical Hebrew, and it's got repeated vocabulary. For the most part, the language isn't difficult, but you've worked your way through chapter 31 and you reach chapter 32 and you hit a brick wall. It's absolutely a brick wall because you're in a strange new world. There are incomplete sentences, there are strange expressions. Poetry rises to a different register where the poet needs a wide range of expressions to express the ideas. And so in parallelism, for instance, you will have in the first line a very common word. Or a set of common words. Let's say the heavens declare the glory of God and the Earth shows forth his handiwork. That's ABC. ABC in the first line. Typically you've got the common words, but there are some concepts where we don't have many synonyms that are in common use, and for the second line they'll often reach back into the dictionaries. Or ancient literature. And bring back a word because they need to construct this parallelism so that it's very common. But if you're reading poetry.


[00:09:56] When I was doing my commentary on judges, what took me about three years to write, I think I spent more time on Chapter five Debra song more time on Chapter five than the rest of chapter. Well, it start that episode starts in chapter four, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, 11, that one chapter. And even then, I wasn't sure I got it. So I was very relieved when one of my doctoral students wanted to write a dissertation on that chapter that I find piece not all make sense. I wish I had had that sooner. Figures of language prose tends to be what you see is what you get. Now you can have lots of figurative language in prose, but it's the proportions. Figurative Genesis one is an elevated prose. There is actually not much figurative language in Genesis one. A lot of people think that's poetry. Chapter two is prose. The the differences are not that obvious here. There are semantic, there are semantic and other forms of parallelism. I've already given an illustration of this impressionistic portraiture. If prose tells us what actually happened, poetry tells us how I feel about what happened. So that Genesis judges five is Deborah's song about what had happened the previous day. Chapter four is a prose account. If all you had was the song, you could scarcely reconstruct the events. And it's the same with Exodus 14 is the crossing of the Red Sea narrative. Exodus 15 The Song of the Sea. If all we had the song was the Song of the sea. You couldn't reconstruct what happened. The horses and the the the the soldiers of Israel gurgled down like a rock into the bottom of the sea. Well, what happened here? So it's impressionistic rather than photographic portraiture.


[00:12:08] But that raises the question, what's your we call this song 3130 suggests it is a song, the song. And in fact, this song actually I think it's somewhere called The Song of Songs. The book Song of songs is called Shere. Has she read the song of songs, which means the greatest songs? Well, in Israelite tradition, this song is often interpreted as the most exciting song. Well, according to long standing tradition, Deuteronomy 32 is called The Song of Moses. Let me go to my Bible and see what they have here. They've probably have that. Chapter 32 And it is the song of Moses. Really? On what grounds would we do that? Of course, the expression comes from Revelation 15 three. And I saw what appeared to be the sea of glass mingled with fire, and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and a number of its names standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands, and they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the lamb, saying, Great and amazing are your deeds. Oh, Lord God the Almighty. Just and true are your ways O King of the Nations. There you have a reference to the Song of Moses. But why did they attach that label to this poem? It seems, in my view, quite unfortunate. For several reasons, the Song of Moses in Revelation may just as well refer to Exodus 15 because it's about salvation, it's about deliverance, it's about water. But that the paradigmatic salvation of the Israelites from Egypt is a picture of the salvation of that which the LAMB provides. So I think what the author of Revelation is thinking of is actually Exodus 15. I think that's the song of Moses.


[00:14:28] We call it the Song of Miriam. Because she's saying it. But does that mean she composed it? In any case, Revelation 15 three represents a collage of Old Testament motifs and texts with only faint allusions, actually either to Exodus 15 and certainly all very faint, even less clear to Deuteronomy 32. This seems very arbitrary to me. To make this link. Second, within the context of Deuteronomy 3132, it is misleading to label this song as the song of Moses because he was neither its composer nor its subject. He didn't write it, and it's not about him. Moses was merely a conduit for its communication. The Lord spoke all the words of this song. If there's any place in Scripture where we have something like dictation, a dictation theory of inspiration, this one is it. Here. The text tells us the Lord spoke to them all the words of this. It's not Moses composition. The narrative introduction suggests the lyrics were dictated by Yahweh to Moses and Joshua in the tent of meeting that Moses then recited them to all the people, and he taught it to them. Is the teacher, the poet? I mean, that's plagiarism. That's claiming credit for somebody else. And so I think it's actually off track. In the immediate context, the speaker represented by the first person. In Deuteronomy 32, verses one and two, for I proclaim the name of the Lord ascribed greatness to the God. That person would have been Moses. But this song is composed in such a way that in the future, when you sing this song, whoever sings it proclaims the word of the Lord. So he is the one in the original assembly. He was the Speaker. But the next generation is whoever is singing this in front of the congregation or however it was used.


[00:16:56] The song is not presented as the composition of Moses, but it's the speech of your voice and crafted in such a way that it speaks for the voices and with the voices of generations of Israelites into the distant future. The words of the opening stanza represent anyone who sings this song in the present or in the future. But thereafter, after those first couple of verses, the singer disappears and the first person is reserved for Yardley himself. There are lots of eyes in here. It's always gone. If we insist on labeling the song by its composer or its subject rather than by its genre, we should call it the Song of Yahweh. There's no doubt this is a song intended for the people to sing, in a sense. I think it's actually their national anthem, in which case it would be the oldest national anthem known to humankind. What does an anthem do? I mean, at the Olympic Games. We've lived in this country now since 1983. But I confess that when in the Winter Olympics, the Canadians are playing the Americans. Blood flows thicker than water. I'm sorry. As great as your miracle on ice was for us, that was a disappointment. It should have been we. But that was a great moment for American hockey. And so, you know. When they sing the national anthem for the ones who win the gold medals. This is a symbol of who these people are, their identity. Oh, I know. Horton or, uh. Oh, say, can you see by the dawn's early light. We used to sing that proudly. We're struggling with that these days for one reason or another. Which tells you. Tells us about the struggle. About what does it mean to be American? There are a lot of people for whom it doesn't represent what they feel.


[00:19:21] And so that's why all this tension in this country. And so we are all asking, what is the solution? Why can we call this Israel's national anthem? I have four or five reasons. One. Moses was told to teach it to the Sons of Israel. This is canonical from the beginning. It is their song. Second, it was to be taught not to an individual or to a class of music students, but to the people with whom the Lord had made his covenant the whole nation. It's the national song. Third, the song was not to be forgotten from the lips of descendants of the people standing before Moses. Look at verse 21 of Chapter 31 when many evils and troubles come upon. This song will testify before them as a witness. Four. And there's the parents ethical. It shall not be forgotten from the lips of their descendants. This is not just a faddish new idea, a new idea to make that the top of the charts. For a brief moment in history, this is for Israel in perpetuity, and it has immediate canonical authority. For. In Moser's concluding appeal, he emphasized the importance of the song. The well-being of the people in the future will depend on remembering its words. Look at verse 46. Take to your heart all the words. I'm warning you today that which you shall command your sons to observe carefully even the words of this Torah or watch this Torah. The song. Now he applies that word. Not just to the covenant, all stipulations and all of that business or to his sermons on the covenant. Now, this song is given Torah status. Well, so I call it in that in any other context, we say this is the national anthem to be sung in perpetuity because it declares to the world what it means to be an Israelite.


[00:21:52] That sets us up for the song itself. Notice the occasion of the song. Moses, you're about to die. The people will become apostate. The Lord will respond with fury. Troubles and evils will overcome. The people will be open to instruction. Really? Hopefully they will. And from where does the instruction come? The amazing thing is that a substitute for Moses in their midst is not Joshua. We would have expected. Moses, you're about to die. Joshua becomes the second Moses. Joshua does not become a second Moses. Joshua is a military leader. Yes, she is the leader of the people in in a certain sense, and he functions pastorally in the end. But that's what all leaders do. They assume responsibility for the people that God that they are called to lead, whether whether you're officially reverend or not. So if anything, he looks like a general. He's not a king. You never called him. But the Lord tells him to treat the tar like pigs are supposed to treat the Torah. So he's somehow in that category. But the point is, Moses will not be replaced with another person. The voice of Moses. Will not. Become somebody else's voice. The voice of Moses is preserved in the Torah. And the Theology of Moses is presented in the song that Moses teaches to the people. There's a guy in Australia has done a dissertation. I was outside reader for it. He did it at the University of Cheltenham under Gordon McConville. He did his dissertation on this song. Critical scholars always say this song is an erotic if somebody else wrote it at a different time. It has originally like nothing to do with the Book of Deuteronomy. And somebody just stuck it in here. And Ed did.


[00:24:07] And in a sense, I would say and messed up the book. But he this guy argued that when you look at the song carefully, actually, you find that the themes are over and over and over again. What we have heard in prose now converted into song. And so it's not a new theology here. It is the old theology put into memorable form. So that. I mean, when the people take the land and they settle, they're going to be settling in their responsive territories toward territories all the way from Mount Hermon in the north to Be'er Sheva and the river Egypt in the south, the Negev. You can't have one person like Moses holding you together. The glue. It's a settled condition that could work so long as we're at a camp on the march on the move. But we're not going to be a camp. That's not our destiny. And so the substitute for our leader who embodies the Torah is a song which the people can memorize and sing, memorize easily. It's only 43 verses. You can memorize easily, and everywhere you go, it can be ringing in your ears. You get up in the morning in the shower and this song is in your ears. You're out in the field and this is in your ears or your milk. You're milking the cows. And while you're milk and your cows, you're singing this song. It can go with you wherever you go. You are what you sing. That's the assumption. You are what you sing. You can tell the identity of a people by the songs they sing. There's a profound theology of music in this text. The importance of good music. Now therefore, write this song and teach it to the people.


[00:26:09] Put it in the mouth that it may be a witness. And the interesting thing is what this song gives us is Israel's history before it happens. Which is why a lot of people say that despite its archaic language, which puts it in the second millennium B.C., some very clever poet wrote it very late and made it look like it's old. After the events. So it's X a vendetta. But no, he casts it as a future course of Israelite history. As a witness, it does two things. It testifies to the faithfulness of Yahweh. This whole song is about the faithfulness of Yahweh, and you see that already in the opening. Enjoyed the rock. The rock. His work is perfect. All his ways are just God of faithfulness or without injustice, righteous and upright. Is he? I mean, in that one verse, we've got themes for an eight week series of sermons. Theologically profound and dense. Now we're in the world of Paul when he writes his dense theological stuff. But it also testifies to the unfaithfulness of his role. It's a witness to God who is the same yesterday, today and forever and in kill a dozen times. I am Yahweh. I have spoken. I act in accordance with my word. Always. I'm always true to my word. On the other end, there's Israel. And the Lord says, Moses, you're about to die. Tomorrow they'll go off track. It's not even as if I'm worried that tomorrow they could go off track. Early on in chapter five, he had said, If only they had this hard like they expressed that Mount Sinai. Moses, you go and you talk to God. If only that heart were there forever. It's as if he's already anticipating the future. Of course, God knows the future from the beginning.


[00:28:24] And so but it tells the story. It's a very complex composition, incorporating speech within speech. Within speech. It's hard to know how to represent this, but in this chart I have tried to do that. You've got three or four levels of discourse. The singer sings this one. But then here's a second level. These are the second or the yeah, there is a black frame all around it. You can see it. The whole thing is one song. First level, the whole thing. But then within that verses four to and eight and nine, you've got a song within a song, then you've got a second level 32 to 23. But within this second song, you've got three or four songs within a song, which is within the song. And then at the end of this, verses 37 to 42, you've got three levels there, right? It's a very complicated piece. And try and wrestle with the with a structure and a diagram and diagram this text. It's very, very difficult. But how would these people have used it? Scholars always try to be creative in reconstructing what people are doing with what is being written. I'm not sure. But I think the simple answer I give you here is memorized by all the people that could have been on the lips whenever they lived, wherever they lived and worked and celebrated to the far corners. I don't think it was written to be sung in church. I think it was composed to be sung everywhere you go. Not just informal settings. I'm sure it may have been sung its covenantal renewal subtly, maybe even at the end. Remember, they're supposed to read this whole Torah at the end and know it every seven years at the Festival of Booze, I am sure.


[00:30:45] Had they ever done it? And we have no record that they did it the way they were supposed to until the Book of Ezra there. And he says, Oh, it's a festival of booze and we're going to keep it. I am sure that God had in mind at the Festival of Booze when you heard the Torah, We will all sing together the National Anthem. And it will remind us in song form. Who we are. What God has done for us, what God expects of us, and how our miserable story will end. It's interesting. Some suggest this is a liturgical, liturgical song when they gathered for national celebrations that could have been presented by singers before the people as a source of musical drama. So that you have different people doing this song within the song. That could be very effective. In fact, I have imagined a liturgical format for doing this. If I were ever preaching a series on the song of On the Song of Yahweh, you hear the anthem. The first Sunday morning, I would have the somebody do this. I've proposed this kind of thing for the Book of Ruth and other places, but here I think we have a main speaker. Well, we the Speaker, this, this identifies the speaker, but the introduction, the leader of the service, the creedal affirmation, the congregation says together summary declaration of the indictment, the leader of the service called to remember Grace service your recitation of Yahweh, His grace the man. There's a reason for that in the text declaration of the indictment of the people leader of the service. And then you have these other speeches, the priest or a cultic prophet. Maybe you did it over there and we could have a another person designated that and you could go through the whole thing and be a big difference in presentation.


[00:32:47] I've never seen it done and I've never had occasion to to. To preach a series on this song. It's well worth an entire series. Started out this way so that at the front end the people get an idea of what? What are people doing Things with words. Speech, act theory. It's a it's a it's a fascinating prospect. Of course, it ends on a kind of problematic textual launch verse. Verse 43 is very difficult. We'll come back to it after we've read the song. But we have three different versions, which are quite different. What we have in the Hebrew text, Master Rettig is only. Four. LYNCH What you have in common is six lines. What you have in the Septuagint is eight lines, three different versions. And of course, we're left to struggle with which of these could have been original or does it matter? But we'll come back to this when we get to the end of the song. And I've tried to represent that here. Not nothing. Substantive is lost if we go with the shortest version. But you can see right off the bat, bat what the Septuagint adds here. You have simply celebrate old nations with as people see the blood of his servants, he will avenge and take vengeance on his enemies. He will atone for his land and his people. That's a brilliant ending. But it's very sketchy. It's very sketchy. So Cameron comes along and adds two lines Celebrate all heavens with him and bow down to him. All gods, God's. Well, what's he done? This is poetry. And he says, We're going to say something similar in two different lines. Only now it's not just the heavens, but he's imagining a polytheistic world. Anything you imagine to be a God, come celebrate with us.


[00:34:56] Gods, by definition, Elohim, are residents of the heavenly world. They're not necessarily the God. Sons of God are sometimes called simply Elohim. And Sol 81. I think it is. And here you have see the blood of his sons you will avenge. That's exactly the same. He will back payback those who hate him and atone for the land and his people. Notice what he's done at the front end. The end? He's completed the parallelism. But look at this. Celebrate our heavens with him bowed down to him. All sons of God. Angelic beings in this case celebrate donations with Let the Angels of God law. Uh, which is the expression for Sons of God and let the angels strengthen them. See the blood of his sons. You will avenge the revenge. He will pay back those who hate him and atone. Here. It's with Cameron. Here. It's with Cameron. But he adds a whole, uh. Two lines that are brand new here and fleshes. And interestingly, when Paul quotes from this passage enrollments, I've forgotten the reference he quotes from the Septuagint insertion and calls it Scripture. Which is really interesting. Does that mean it was the original? And it's dropped out? Or does it mean that to Paul? But Septuagint translation is the determinative scripture. It's a great problem, which reading is best. It's a complicated thing, and I'm not going to go into that at the moment. And it's in soft led pencil. I prefer the longest. I know it's counter-intuitive in textual criticism. The rule is the shorter is probably the original because the tendency is for people to clarify by expanding. Well, there are times without that. Usually I think that's usually the case. But my mentor always used to say that never exclude the evidence of a single exception to the rule.


[00:37:25] And there are actually a few other. Even Emanuel Tov talks about a few cases in which he argues that the longer reading is the original and something's dropped out or whatever. So at the moment I prefer the longer. But it's a 50%, 51% confidence. It's in soft lead pencil. As I was working through this. I came to the first round and the second round I was convinced that Cameron had it right. Six lines is the best. But. I don't usually let later use of an early text become determinative. I don't usually do that. But there are other reasons to support why that could go. And so he may have. So let's look at the structure of the song. You have the exorcism. A highfalutin word which is appropriate for a high falutin song. That's why I do that. The medium is the message. And this is not ordinary prose. It's not street language. People don't talk this way. Then that's verses 1 to 4. Then a recollection, a call to acknowledge the imperfections of young people. 5 to 18. Stanza one a thesis statement verses 5 to 6 stanza to a call to remember Yahoo age. Grace 7 to 14. Stanza three. Trampling underfoot to the grace of God. This is a poetic advance history of Israel. Then we've got the confession. A call to recognize the Who is Justice 1935 Stanza one Yahweh is justice in dealing with his people to his justice in dealing with their enemies. Yeah. And then the gospel. A call to treasure your compassion. 36 to 42. And finally, the coda. The coda is to the ending. What the sodium is to the beginning. A call to celebrate the Lord's Deliverance. Verse 43. Well. Songs like this were composed to be heard in one piece.


[00:40:01] Not taken like we do with a rose flower. Take the petals all apart and examine each petal. But you hear the whole thing. And so that's what I would like to offer you. In what I hope is a measure of what I call expository reading. So that in the course of the hearing. We get the point. When I read the text, I always tell the people, Put your Bibles down, close your Bibles. Listen, the scriptures were written to be heard in community. And that's how we need to learn to hear it. So I will pause at the breaks to help you catch the transitions. But between the headings. I will just carry on. So we begin with the exhortation here, the word of the Lord. Give it your all. Heavens and I will speak. Let the earth hear the words of my mouth. May my teaching drop as the rain and my speech. This still as the dew lay gentle rain upon the tender grass and like showers upon the herb sea. I will proclaim the name of Yahoo! I ascribe greatness to our God the rock. His work is perfect for all his ways are justice, a God of faithfulness and without iniquity, righteous and upright. Is he? Now the recollection I call to acknowledge the imperfections of your wish, people. Beginning with a thesis statement. They have dealt corruptly with him. They are no longer his children because they are blemished. They are crooked and a twisted generation. Do you thus repay your way, you foolish and senseless people? Is not he your father who created you? He who made you and established you? Remember the days of old. Consider the years of many generations. Ask your father and he will declare to you, your elders, and they will tell you.


[00:42:50] When Leone gave to the nations their grant of land when he divided humankind. See, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God. Yes. Yea. Which portion is his people? Jacob is his allotted heritage. He found him in a desert land and in the howling wastes of the wilderness. He encircled him. He cared for him. He kept him as the apple of his eye. Like an eagle that stirs up its nest that flutters over its young. Spreading out its wings, catching them, baring them on his pinions. Yahoo alone guided him no foreign God was with him. He made him ride high on the high places of the land and he ate the produce of the field. He suckled him with honey out of the rock and oil, out of the flinty rock curds from the herd and milk from the flock with fat of lambs, rams of shorn and goats, and with the very finest of the weak and the blood of grapes you drank foaming wine. But Jess, Sharon grew fat and kicked. You grew fat. You grow stout and grow sleek. Then he foresaw God who made him and scoffed at the rock of his salvation. They stirred him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations. They provoked him to anger. They sacrificed to demons that were no gods to gods they had never known to new gods that had come recently. Whom your fathers had never dreaded. Of the rock that bore you. You were on mindful and you forgot the God who gave you for. Transition a call to recognize Yahoo! Is just. Yeah, we saw it and spurned them because of the provocation of his sons and his daughters. And he said, I will hide my face from them.


[00:45:15] I will see what their end will be. Look, they are a perverse generation, children in whom is no faithfulness. They have made me jealous with what is no God. They have provoked me to anger with their idols. I will make them jealous with those who are no people. I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation. See, a fire is kindled in my nose. It burns to the depths of Sheol. It devours the earth and is in Greece and sets on fire the foundations of the mountains. And I will heap upon them disasters. My arrows I will spend on them. They shall be wasted with hunger and devoured by plague and poisonous pestilence. I will send the teeth of beasts against them with the venom of things that crawl in the dust outdoors. The sword will be read indoors. Terror for young man and woman. I like the nursing child with the man of gray hairs. I would have said I will cut them to pieces. I will wipe them from human history. Had I not feared provocation by the enemy less, the adversary shouldn't misunderstand, lest they should say our adversaries. Our hand is triumphant. It was not your way. Who did all this? Look. They are a nation void of counsel, and in them there is no understanding. If they were wise, they would understand this. They would discern their latter. And how could one have chased 1002? How could one have chased a thousand? And to have put 10,000 to flight unless they are rock had sold them? And Yahweh had given them up. Look there. Raqqa is not as our rock. Our enemies are by themselves. Look, their vine comes from the vine of Saddam, from the fields of Gomorrah.


[00:47:31] Their grapes are grapes of poison. Their clusters are bigger. Their wine is the poison of serpents. And the cruel venom of Aspas is not best laid up in store with me sealed up in my treasuries. Vengeance is mine and recompense for the time when their foot shall slip. See, the day of their calamity is at hand. Their doom comes swiftly. A call to treasure Yahoo's compassion. See ya. We will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants when he sees that their power is gone. There is none remaining, neither ruler nor helper. Then he will say, Where are their gods? The rock in which they took refuge. Who? The fat of their sacrifices, age and the wine of their drink offerings drank. Let them rise up and help you. Let them be your protection. Pay attention. Now, look, I even. I am he. There is no God beside me. I kill. I make a life. I wound and I heal. And there is none that can deliver out of my hand. See, I lift up my hand to heaven and I say as I live forever or by my eternal life, if I sharpen my flashing sword and my hand takes hold on judgment, I will take vengeance on my adversaries and will repay those who hate me. I will make my arrows drunk with blood in my sword, shall devour flesh with a blood of the slain and the captives from the long haired head. Heads of the enemy. And then the coda celebrate all nations with his people. See, he will avenge the blood of his servants. He will take vengeance on his enemies and make atonement for his land. And people celebrate all heavens with him bowed down to him. Old gods see, he ventures the blood of his children and takes vengeance on his adversaries.


[00:50:13] He repays those who hate him and cleanses his people's land. This is the word of the Lord. And I gave you two versions of that last one. But it is it is an amazing an amazing text. But it is Israel's history told in advance. The amazing thing is. Israel is the product of his grace alone. I found you in the desert, in the wilderness. You had nothing going for you until I showed up. And then, of course, it's Israel grew fat. And they forgot the God who created them and they went off after the other idols. And then he brings in the other nations to do his dirty work for them to judge them. But he takes it out on the nations. This is a problem, isn't it? How can God use Nebuchadnezzar to be his agent of judgment? And then he takes it out on Nebuchadnezzar after he's done his work? Well, it never excuses them for being beyond the pale of gods. But, of course, it concludes. Israel is backed celebrate and it's a call to the universe, not just Israel. Celebrate or have Vince with them all. Sons of God. Bernie, allow him or Bernie a limb in Hebrew. This would be, I think, at this point that it's so. I think we are. But celebrate all nations with its people and let the angels of God strengthen themselves. It ends on a glorious note. He will atone for the land. And now the grammars really differ difficult. Literally, he will atone for his land. His people. There's no conjunction there. And we don't know what. We don't know exactly what some have. He will atone for the land of his people. I think that's what Septuagint has here. Or. What is it? What is the Hebrew as he will atone for his land? His people.


[00:52:42] But the important thing here is the triangle. You can't talk about Israel's restoration without talking about. Land. And this is typical of all First testament anticipations of renewal. It's this image that the prophets pick up on. They unpacked this last one in their pictures of the vision. But in their vision of the restoration of God's people. To me, this is a powerful text of. And of course, is true. Israel is a microcosm of humanity. And this is our human story. Where were Adam and Eve? Apart from the work of God. A piece of dirt. And he, by a special act of creation, appointed them his vice regents. And what did they do with it? They blew it. And with their demise, the whole realm went into demise. Israel is intentionally portrayed in Deuteronomy as a miniature Eden. Israel is humanity in miniature. Kanan is the world in miniature. And so this turns out actually to be the human story. The story of Israel is paradigmatic. Chris Wright's word for the story of humanity in Israel. All the world is blessed. So that is Deuteronomy 32. An amazing text that is a beautiful passage. And the poetry. I mean, no one can do it justice in translation because everything is far more complicated. The point of translation is to make a confusing text clear. But really what we should do when we're doing true translations, we pull our hair out just the way the original audience would have pulled hair. What do you mean here? The ambiguities everywhere. There are a couple of little details we could talk about. Did you notice? Well, yeah. We have time for a few lessons. One past experience of the favor of God is no guarantee that I shall remain faithful to him.


[00:55:22] Two for the Lord's people, prosperity may be perilous to their spiritual health. That's the warning on cigaret boxes. Three songs have a powerful influence in the life of a person and a community. We are what we sing. And that is the last one. We are what we sing. I want to make one more comment on the name gesture. We talked briefly about gesture one. This name happens only five times in Scripture, three times in Deuteronomy, and I think twice in Isaiah. I mentioned it earlier. Gesture room. That's God's pet name for people with whom we have a special relationship. We don't call them simply what everybody else calls. We have an epithet for them. And this is my interpretation of this one. You have it in Isaiah 44 in a picture of the restoration. Uh, let's see. It's on the left hand side of the page. Yes, 44. But now listen, old Jacob, my servant Israel, whom I have chosen thus, says Yahweh, who made you and formed you from the womb, who will help you? Do not fear. Oh, Jacob, my servant. And you? Gesture Rune, whom I have chosen. For I will pour out water on the thirsty land streams on the dry ground. I will pour out my spears on your offspring. Here's one of those liquid, a metaphor of the spirit of God. Pour my spirit on you, my blessing on your descendants. They will be. They will be springing up among the grass like poplars by streams of water. This one will say, I am the Lord's. That one will call on the name of Jacob. Another will write on his hand belonging to Yahweh. Oh, now we understand this. It's the brand. L. Meaning belonging to with the name of Yahweh on his hand.


[00:57:35] Why would you do that? We really think of inspiring and blazing or branding on the forehead or wherever, But this is on the head so that when you meet a stranger. And you and your encounter and or a friend and you greet them, you extend the hand. And they see that on their. All. Belonging to Yahoo! And of course, it forces you to remember. I better act like it. Or I bear the name in vain. This is a great text because it brings together all kinds of Deuteronomy ideas. But the one gesture rule and I said the other day, this is a passive participle of to make straight. And I think it has to do with a yoke. You've had the yoke of slavery on you. You are my chosen people. I have taken the yoke off from you and given you a New York. That is easy. The burden is light. It's a privilege. It's not a duty. It's not a burden. It's a calling, not an imposition. Take my you. This is his pet word for Israel. Gesturing my straighten to one or the straight and one. Assuming, of course, I have that expression of lifting the yoke off the neck. Happens only twice in scripture. It's an easy kill. 34 at the end of the verse where he talks about the covenant of peace that God makes. I will lift the yoke from the neck. And in and in Leviticus 26, the the blessings where it involves lifting the yoke and causing you to walk upright. This is not moral straightness at this point. My straight ones. No, it's it's a physical metaphor. It's a physical image. You're not bend down any more. With the Lord. But you're walking upright because the Lord is the one who has rescued you from the slave house of Egypt.


[00:59:57] So I say 44 very different. I'll make it. But then, as Doug says, blotches, Deuteronomy everywhere. I really do. Yeah, because it is the foundation of all the rest of Scripture. I'm convinced there are places where Exodus, Leviticus Priestly stuff echoes more clearly, especially in a priestly text. Like Ezekiel. He's a priest, but Jeremiah is also a priest from Manassas. In Jeremiah. It's not Leviticus that's driving him. It's Deuteronomy. It is Deuteronomy. You know, so but Isaiah Hosea is very Deuteronomy. AMOS Deuteronomy Malachi is all the way through. And I come to the New Testament, I. Sermon on the Mount and the Lord's Prayer. Whatever that is. So, Moses. It is within your triangle with the land of one. Yeah. It is the land in the First Testament. A foreshadowing of something in the New Testament. Is it? Are we meant to just see it in a new way? Uh, the the answer on that one is probably yes, it is a foreshadowing. But again, I you don't hear me use the word foreshadow much because if it's foreshadowing something the original people should be and there should be a clue that its significance is future. Unless your understanding of foreshadow is that we can only recognize it. After the event and then we have an aha moment. Wow. I get it now. And there are lots of places like that. But then I don't think that is pointing there. It's providing an image, the significance of which we discover later in the grand scheme of reddish redemption. This is my crystal telling reading of everything. So is it a foreshadowing? I think at this point we could use that word not as a foreshadowing of spiritual realities. Here's where I'm probably being heretical, and I think it's a foreshadowing of eschatological realities.


[01:02:33] It is a reminder that our destiny is not heaven. I don't expect to spend eternity in heaven. We were created to be earthlings. And I think this is a foreshadowing of the new heavens and the new Earth. It keeps in mind the image of Eden as the as a telos for humanity. That's how I go with this one. Yeah. Kanan is a microscopic eschatological. Uh, it's microscopic. Microscopic of an eschatological reality. I think of the Garden of Eden as being like that. And we're looking at it, looking for. We're looking for a new garden. Yeah. Looking for a new promised land. Yeah. It will encompass the world. But it will encompass the world. Yeah. See, it's very. Somewhere along. Not in this set, but somewhere along the line. And if you do a map of Genesis. Of Genesis to Eden is a small portion. Eden is not a garden. The garden is in Eden. Which is in the east. So you've got you've got circles here of reality. You've got the world in which is Eden, in which is the garden. And I think the mission for Adam and Eve for humanity was to extend the boundaries of Eden until it gets to the point where it covers the earth. That's why be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. There's only one species of animals for whom that's given. Other animals there in their territory. You don't have elephants now in these parts we're used to, but not in prehistoric times. But. But it is I, I think the commission of Adam there to guard the garden. Keep and serve the garden. Why would you need to guard it, Shamir? Why would you need to guard the garden? Because apparently there are threatening forces in God's good world.


[01:05:09] There are threatening forces. And I mean, there are lots of people who think that the law of tooth and claw claw may well rain outside the garden. But what has to happen is as the human population multiplies, they eventually take over the whole world and it all becomes a garden. This is the cat patrol. Of a nation. I don't. I don't interpret Eden as a temple. I used to. And when Greg Beall was working on his book on the temple, we had lots of conversations and I was with him and I changed my mind. I did another look. I took another look at some of these texts that Gordon Wenham adduced, which got us going in this direction. And I said, Every one of them is equally well, and in some of them, much better interpreted as a royal rather than priestly issue. And so it's clearly they are kings and queens. Put on Earth to govern God's realm on his behalf. Vice Regents. It's not priestly. You don't need a priest in a perfect world. The priest. Priesthood. Leviticus. Priesthood. Temple is God's provision for an estranged world. So I don't think we need a temple here. We don't need a temple until sin comes in. And that is God's answer. And this is why in the temple design, it is a replica of the Heavenly Temple Hebrews. I think when Moses was on the mountain, the Lord opened the windows of heaven and he saw something of the true heavenly reality, including Christ. I don't know. Never talks about it when they hint, but there are hints that the Lord tells him. Takes them on the mount. He shows him the heavens and he tells them to build a replica temple. It's a replica of the heavenly throne room of God.


[01:07:37] And so the Ark of the Covenant is an earthly throne, which is God's symbolic presence. It makes the resources of heaven available to the needs of a fallen world. And so prosperity for Israel is taken out from the temple. But the other side of this is the temple is also Edenic in its design. With pomegranates and palm trees and cherubs, whatever. This is Edenic. And I think it's a reminder to the Israelites when they come to the temple that on the one hand, this is a picture of God's heavenly temple. But on the other hand, it's a picture of our destiny. And it keeps the dream alive. It should have. So that's how I go with that one. It's both.