Deuteronomy 32
1Earth and Sky,
listen to what I say!
2Israel, I will teach you.
My words will be like gentle rain
on tender young plants,
or like dew on the grass.
3Join with me in praising
the wonderful name
of the LORD our God.
4The LORD is a mighty rock,#32.4 mighty rock: The Hebrew text has “rock”, which is sometimes used in poetry to compare the LORD to a mountain where his people can run for protection from their enemies.
and he never does wrong.
God can always be trusted
to bring justice.
5But you lie and cheat
and are unfaithful to him.
You have disgraced yourselves
and are no longer worthy
to be his children.#32.5 and are unfaithful…children: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
6Israel, the LORD is your Father,
the one who created you,
but you repaid him
by being foolish.
7Think about past generations.
Ask your parents
or any of your elders.
They will tell you
8that God Most High#Ac 17.26.
gave land to every nation.
He assigned a guardian angel
to each of them,#32.8 He assigned…them: The Dead Sea Scrolls and one ancient translation; the Standard Hebrew Text “So there were as many nations as Israel (that is, Jacob) had children.”
9but the LORD himself
takes care of Israel.#32.9 Israel: The Hebrew text has “Jacob”, another name for Israel's ancestor.
10Israel, the LORD discovered you
in a barren desert
filled with howling winds.
God became your fortress,
protecting you as though
you were his own eyes.
11The LORD was like an eagle
teaching its young to fly,
always ready to swoop down
and catch them on its back.
12Israel, the LORD led you,
and without the aid
of a foreign god,
13he helped you
capture the land.
Your fields were rich
with grain.
Olive trees grew
in your stony soil,
and honey was found
among the rocks.
14Your flocks and herds
produced milk and yoghurt,
and you got choice meat
from your sheep and goats
that grazed in Bashan.
Your wheat was the finest,
and you drank the best wine.
15Israel,#32.15 Israel: The Standard Hebrew Text has “Jeshurun”, a rare name for Israel related to a word meaning “honest”. The Samaritan Hebrew Text and one ancient translation also use “Jacob”, another name for the ancestor of the nation of Israel. you grew fat and rebelled
against God, your Creator;
you rejected the Mighty Rock,#32.15 Mighty Rock: See the note at 32.4.
your only place of safety.
16You made God jealous and angry
by worshipping disgusting idols
and foreign gods.
17You offered sacrifices#1 Co 10.20.
to demons, those useless gods#32.16,17 disgusting idols…foreign gods…demons…those useless gods: Different ways of referring to gods of other nations.
that never helped you,
new gods that your ancestors
never worshipped.
18You turned away
from God, your Creator;
you forgot the Mighty Rock,#32.18 Mighty Rock: See the note at 32.4.
the source of your life.
19You were the LORD's children,
but you made him angry.
Then he rejected you 20and said,
“You are unfaithful
and can't be trusted.
So I won't answer your prayers;
I'll just watch and see
what happens to you.
21You worshipped worthless idols,#1 Co 10.22; Ro 10.19.
and made me jealous
and angry!
Now I will send a cruel#32.21 cruel: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
and worthless nation
to make you jealous and angry.
22“My people, I will breathe out fire
that sends you down
to the world of the dead.
It will scorch your farmlands
and burn deep down
under the mountains.
23I'll send disaster after disaster
to strike you like arrows.
24You'll be struck by starvation
and deadly diseases,
by the fangs of wild animals
and poisonous snakes.
25Young and old alike
will be killed in the streets
and terrified at home.
26“I wanted to scatter you,
so no one would remember
that you had ever lived.
27But I dreaded the sound
of your enemies saying,
‘We defeated Israel with no help
from the LORD.’ ”
28People of Israel,
that's what the LORD
has said to you.
But you don't have good sense,
and you never listen
to advice.
29If you did, you could see
where you are headed.
30How could one enemy soldier
chase a thousand
of Israel's troops?
Or how could two of theirs
pursue ten thousand of ours?
It can only happen if the LORD
stops protecting Israel
and lets the enemy win.
31Even our enemies know
that only our God
is a Mighty Rock.#32.31 Mighty Rock: See the note at 32.4.
32Our enemies are grapevines
rooted in the fields
of Sodom and Gomorrah.#32.32 Sodom and Gomorrah: Two cities that the LORD destroyed because their people were so evil (see Genesis 18.16—19.28).
The grapes they produce
are full of bitter poison;
33their wine is more deadly
than cobra venom.
34But the LORD has written
a list of their sins
and locked it in his vault.
35Soon our enemies will get#Ro 12.19; He 10.30.
what they deserve#32.35 our enemies…deserve: The Samaritan Hebrew Text and one ancient translation; the Standard Hebrew Text “I will pay them back.”
suddenly they will slip,
and total disaster
will quickly follow.
36When only a few#Ps 135.14.
of the LORD's people remain,
when their strength is gone,
and some of them are slaves,
the LORD will feel sorry for them
and give them justice.
37But first the LORD will say,
“You ran for safety to other gods—
couldn't they help you?
38You offered them wine
and your best sacrifices.
Can't those gods help you now
or give you protection?
39Don't you understand?
I am the only God;
there are no others.
I am the one who takes life
and gives it again.
I punished you with suffering.
But now I will heal you,
and nothing can stop me!
40“I make this solemn promise:
just as I live for ever,
41I will take revenge
on my hateful enemies.
I will sharpen my sword
and let it flash
like lightning.
42My arrows will get drunk
on enemy blood;
my sword will taste the flesh
and the blood of the enemy.
It will kill prisoners,
and cut off the heads
of their leaders.”#32.42 leaders: Or “long-haired warriors”, who let their hair grow to show that they had made sacred promises to their gods.
43Tell the heavens to celebrate#Ro 15.10; Rev 19.2.
and all gods to bow down
to the LORD,#32.43 Tell…LORD: The Dead Sea Scrolls and one ancient translation; the Standard Hebrew Text “Let the nations, his people, celebrate.”
because he will take revenge
on those hateful enemies
who killed his people.
He will forgive the sins of Israel
and purify their land.#32.43 because he will…land: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
44-45Moses spoke the words of the song so that all the Israelites could hear, and Joshua#32.44,45 Joshua: The Hebrew text has “Hoshea”, another form of Joshua's name. helped him. When Moses had finished, 46he said, “Always remember this song I have taught you today. And let it be a warning that you must teach your children to obey everything written in The Book of God's Law. 47The Law isn't empty words. It can give you a long life in the land that you are going to take.”
Moses sees the land and blesses the tribes of Israel
Moses will see the land
48Later that day the LORD said to Moses:#Nu 27.12-14; Dt 3.23-27.
49Go up into the Abarim Mountain range here in Moab across the Jordan valley from Jericho. And when you reach the top of Mount Nebo, you will be able to see the land of Canaan, which I am giving to Israel. 50Then you will die and be buried on the mountaintop, just as your brother Aaron died and was buried on Mount Hor. 51Both of you were unfaithful to me at Meribah Spring near Kadesh in the Zin Desert.#32.51 Both of you were unfaithful…the Zin Desert: See Numbers 20.1-13. I am God, but there in front of the Israelites, you did not treat me with the honour and respect I deserve. 52So I will give the land to the people of Israel, but you will only get to see it from a distance.