Bible Commentaries

Deuteronomy 32

Verses 1-52

Here we have the song itself. The first part (verses Deuteronomy 32:1­3) consists of a call to attention. Heaven and earth are called to listen while the servant of God proclaims the name of God. This he does immediately (verses Deuteronomy 32:3-4), celebrating His greatness, His perfection, His justice, His faithfulness. Briefly he refers to the people (verse Deuteronomy 32:5) and nothing good is said of them.

Proceeding with the song, the tender government of God is illustrated in the figure of the eagle and its method with its young. A consideration of this figure shows that in their methods which may at the moment appear unkind, Love is perpetually working toward the higher development of those on whom it is set.

At this point the song becomes a wail, opening with the startling words, "But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked." Prosperity which was wholly due to the goodness of God was made the occasion of rebellion against Him. Consequently the tenderness of love becomes the burning of a fierce anger and benefits are replaced by chastisements. The song ends on the note, "Oh, that they were wise," and shows that if they were, the strength of God would be greater than all the forces of their foes.

The song ended, Moses once more earnestly appealed to the people, declaring that their very life depended on their obedience.

Immediately following, there came to him the final call. It was characterized by both tenderness and severity. The reason for his exclusion from the land was once more declared; and yet he was to die, not amid the mists and mysteries of the valley, but on the mount of vision itself.