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AT that time the Lord said to me: Hew thee two tables of stone like the former, and come up to me into the mount: and thou shalt make an ark of wood,

Ver. 1.  Wood.  Moses had received this injunction, before he ascended the mount the second time.  Ex. xxv. 10.  But he executed it only after he had received the second tables of the law.  Ex. xxxvii. 1.  M.

 

--- Some pretend that the made an ark of setim-wood, to contain the tables, till Beseleel should have completed his, which was covered with gold, and inclosed the former.  Drus.

 

--- But this seems unnecessary.  C.



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2 And I will write on the tables the words that were in them, which thou brokest before, and thou shalt put them in the ark. 3 And I made an ark of setim wood. And when I had hewn two tables of stone like the former, I went up into the mount, having them in my hands.

Ver. 3.  I made, or gave orders to have one ready against my return.  C.


4 And he wrote in the tables, according as he had written before, the ten words, which the Lord spoke to you in the mount from the midst of the fire, when the people were assembled: and he gave them to me.

Ver. 4.  To me.  God had already promulgated the same laws in the hearing of all.  Ex. xix. 17.  H.

5 And returning from the mount, I came down, and put the tables into the ark, that I had made, and they are there till this present, as the Lord commanded me. 6 And the children of Israel removed their camp from Beroth of the children of Jacan into Mosera, where Aaron died and was buried, and Eleazar his son succeeded him in the priestly office.

Ver. 6.  Mosera, by Mount Hor, for there Aaron died.  Num. xx.  This and the following verses seem to be inserted by way of parenthesis, (Ch). as far as the 10th.  The reason of their insertion here cannot easily be explained; but we must adore, in silence, the designs of the Holy Spirit.  C.

 

--- Moses had just mentioned the ark, designed to contain the tables of the law; and as the priests and Levites were to be the guardians of those sacred things, he takes occasion to specify something with respect to their institution, &c.  Mosera was perhaps twice visited by the Hebrews.  The first time, they came thither from Beroth-Benejaacan, or from "the well of the children of Jacan," and thence measured back their steps; though, the second time, Mosera, or Moseroth, is not noticed, because it had been specified already, and they did not stop long there, but proceeded to Gadgad.  Num. xxxiii. 30.  Bonfrere.  M.

 

--- Others think that Mosera and Benejaacan are not the same places as Moseroth and Beroth Bensacan, though the names be similar.  A. Lapide.

 

--- Perhaps it will be more satisfactory to acknowledge, that Mosera has been transposed by the copyists, as it ought to come before Beroth, particularly as Moses places it in that order, where he gives an account of the 42 stations; and the Samaritan copy agrees with him in this place.  C.

 

--- It also retains many words which have been omitted in Hebrew, and in all the versions taken from it; whence the omission seems to have taken place before the appearance of the version of the Septuagint.  The Samaritan version, which is acknowledged to have preceded the Septuagint, agrees with its text, and reads, "And the children of Israel journeyed from Moseroth, and pitched in Benejaakan: from thence they journeyed, and pitched in Hagidgad: from thence they journeyed, and pitched in Jotbathah, a land of rivers of waters: from thence they journeyed, and pitched in Ebronah: from thence they journeyed, and pitched in Eziongaber: from thence they journeyed, and pitched in the wilderness of Zin, which is Kadesh: from thence they journeyed, and pitched in Mount Hor.  And there Aaron died," &c.  Kennicott.  2. Dis.

 

--- Thus Mosera will be the 27th, and Mount Hor the 34th station; (Pococke) whence the Israelites departed, after the death of Aaron, to Salmona, directing their course to the countries east of the Jordan, which had been promised to them.  The appointment of Eleazar to succeed Aaron, and the separation of the Levites unto the Lord, should be all placed together, after the different encampments.  H.



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Beroth

Beroth was one of the towns of the Gabaonites. It is not certain that the inhabitants retired, in consequence of the persecution of Saul; but they went to the territory of Geth, or to another town of Benjamin. 2 Esd. xi. 33. C.

7 From thence they came to Gadgad, from which place they departed, and camped in Jetebatha, in a land of waters and torrents.

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8 At that time he separated the tribe of Levi, to carry the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and to stand before him in the ministry, and to bless in his name until this present day.

Ver. 8.  Time, during the pontificate of Aaron.  Num. iii. 6.  M.

 

--- God had made this appointment at Sinai, (Ex. xxviii. 1,) where he ordered the tabernacle and the priests to be consecrated. Upon the sedition of Core, which probably took place at Jetebata, he confirmed the rights of the Levitical tribe.  Num. xvi. 17. and 18.  C.

 

--- Ark.  The priests carried it, on more solemn occasions, (Jos. iii. 3,) as they also blessed the people.  M.

 

--- Yet the Levites sung the praises of God, in which sense the word is often used, 1 Par. xxiii. 13.  Hence Castalio translates, "to celebrate his name."


9 Wherefore Levi hath no part nor possession with his brethren: because the Lord himself is his possession, as the Lord thy God promised him.

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10 And I stood in the mount, as before, forty days and nights: and the Lord heard me this time also, and would not destroy thee.

Ver. 10.  Stood.  Moses does not follow the order of events, but recalls to the minds of his audience what might serve to make the deepest impression upon them.  He mentions some farther instructions which he had received from God on Mount Sinai, during the second term of 40 days.  C.

 

--- It might have been placed in a more natural order at the head of this chapter.  M.

 

--- Some believe that Moses speaks of the third fast of 40 days.  Salien.


11 And he said to me: Go, and walk before the people, that they may enter, and possess the land, which I swore to their fathers that I would give them. 12 And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but that thou fear the Lord thy God, and walk in his ways, and love him, and serve the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul:

Ver. 12.  And now.  He shews what advantages may be derived from a constant observance of the commandments, that it may be well with thee, v. 13.  God stands not in need of our services, (v. 14,) but chooses whom he pleases to display the treasures of his love, (v. 15,) which ought to move us strongly to make him a suitable return of gratitude, (C.) by withdrawing our affections from every thing that may be displeasing to him, v. 16.  If we refuse, we must expect to fall under the rod of his indignation, notwithstanding all the efforts of his clemency, which he holds forth for our imitation, v. 17. 19.  He will judge all alike, the rich and the poor.  H.



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13 And keep the commandments of the Lord, and his ceremonies, which I command thee this day, that it may be well with thee? 14 Behold heaven is the Lord's thy God, and the heaven of heaven, the earth and all things that are therein.

Ver. 14.  Of heaven.  The Scripture mentions the third heaven, (2 Cor. xii. 2,) where the majesty of God most gloriously appears. The second is the region of the stars, and the first the atmosphere, where the birds and the clouds move about.  C.


15 And yet the Lord hath been closely joined to thy fathers, and loved them and chose their seed after them, that is to say, you, out of all nations, as this day it is proved.

Ver. 15.  Joined, (conglutinatus) as it were, with glue, (H.) to shew the vehemence of love.  M.


16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and stiffen your neck no more.

Ver. 16.  Circumcise. The Hebrews esteem circumcision as a mark of their greatest glory.  All who had it not were looked upon as profane.  They call the ears, mind, and heart uncircumcised, when they would not hear, understand, or obey the law of God.  S. Paul (Rom. ii. 28) frequently inculcates this interior circumcision, to which Moses alludes in these his last exhortations.  C. xxx. 6.  The people had not regularly practised circumcision in the desert.  Moses takes care to raise their thoughts to something more spiritual; and declares, in clearer terms than he had hitherto done, the necessity of loving God.  All must be banished from the heart which might resist this love.  C.

 

--- Vanity, blindness, luxury, must be retrenched.  M.


17 Because the Lord your God he is the God of gods, and the Lord of lords, a great God and mighty and terrible, who accepteth no person nor taketh bribes.

Ver. 17.  Gods.  Idols are nothing, 1 Cor. viii. 4.  Hence Theodoret supposes, that all who have authority upon earth are here designated.  But admitting the false notions of the pagans respecting their gods, the superiority of the true God is here asserted; (C.) and all, both in heaven and on earth, gods and lords, must bow before him.  H.



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18 He doth judgment to the fatherless and the widow, loveth the stranger, and giveth him food and raiment.

Ver. 18.  Widow.  God resents the injuries done to such.  Ex. xxii. 22.


19 And do you therefore love strangers, because you also were strangers in the land of Egypt.


20 Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him only: to him thou shalt adhere, and shalt swear by his name.

Ver. 20.  Only, a word not found in the Hebrew, but deemed necessary by the Sept. to express the true meaning of this passage.  See C. vi. 13.  C.

 

--- Name, when an oath is necessary.  Thou shalt never swear by false gods.  W.



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21 He is thy praise, and thy God, that hath done for thee these great and terrible things, which thy eyes have seen.

Ver. 21.  Praise, the object whom thou must praise, and the source of all thy happiness and glory.  Other nations will revere the Jews on this account.  C.

 

--- An ancient oracle could not refuse giving them this singular commendation, though to the prejudice of idolatry. "Chaldees alone philosophy may claim

 

--- but Hebrews worship God, the self-born King

 

--- with pure religion." H.

 

--- agnos, (C.) S. Cyr. c. Julian 5. and S. Just. Exhort. read auton, him.  But the meaning is clear from the context.  The palm of wisdom is given to the Chaldees for natural learning, and to the Jews for divinity.  Watson, Proleg. xii.  Porphyrius owns the oracle.  Theodoret.  H.


22 In seventy souls thy fathers went down into Egypt: and behold now the Lord thy God hath multiplied thee as the stars of heaven.

Ver. 22.  Seventy.  Some copies of the Sept. add "five," with S. Stephen.  See Gen. xlvi. 26.  C.



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