Deuteronomy 9 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Deuteronomy 9)

Verse 1

[1] Hear, O Israel: Thou art to pass over Jordan this day, to go in to possess nations greater and mightier than thyself, cities great and fenced up to heaven,

Hear, O Israel — This seems to be a new discourse, delivered at some distance of time from the former, probably on the next sabbath-day.

This day — That is, shortly, within a little time, the word day being often put for time.

Nations — That is, the land of those nations.

Mightier than thyself — This he adds, that they might not trust to their own strength, but rely upon God's help for the destroying them, and, after the work was done, might ascribe the glory of it to God alone, and not to themselves.

Verse 2

[2] A people great and tall, the children of the Anakims, whom thou knowest, and of whom thou hast heard say, Who can stand before the children of Anak!

Who can stand — This seems to be a proverb used in those times.

Verse 5

[5] Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Not for thy righteousness — Neither for thy upright heart, nor holy life, which are the two things which God above all things regards. And consequently he excludes all merit. And surely they who did not deserve this earthly Canaan, could not merit the kingdom of glory.

To perform the word — To shew my faithfulness in accomplishing that promise which I graciously made and confirmed with my oath.

Verse 6

[6] Understand therefore, that the LORD thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people.

Stiff-necked — Rebellious and perverse, and so destitute of all pretence of righteousness. And thus our gaining possession of the heavenly Canaan, must be ascribed to God's power, not our own might, and to God's Grace, not our own merit. In him we must glory.

Verse 8

[8] Also in Horeb ye provoked the LORD to wrath, so that the LORD was angry with you to have destroyed you.

In Horeb — When your miraculous deliverance out of Egypt was fresh in memory; when God had but newly manifested himself to you in so stupendous and dreadful a manner, and had taken you into covenant with himself, when God was actually conferring farther mercies upon you.

Verse 10

[10] And the LORD delivered unto me two tables of stone written with the finger of God; and on them was written according to all the words, which the LORD spake with you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly.

With the finger of God — Immediately and miraculously, which was done not only to procure the greater reverence to the law, but also to signify, that it is the work of God alone to write this law upon the tables of men's hearts.

In the day of the assembly — That is, when the people were gathered by God's command to the bottom of mount Sinai, to hear and receive God's ten commandments from his own mouth.

Verse 14

[14] Let me alone, that I may destroy them, and blot out their name from under heaven: and I will make of thee a nation mightier and greater than they.

Let me alone! — Stop me not by thy intercession.

Verse 17

[17] And I took the two tables, and cast them out of my two hands, and brake them before your eyes.

I brake them before your eyes — Not by an unbridled passion, but in zeal for God's honour, and by the direction of God's spirit, to signify to tine people, that the covenant between God and them contained in those tables was broken and they were now cast out of God's favour, and could expect nothing from him but fiery indignation.

Verse 18

[18] And I fell down before the LORD, as at the first, forty days and forty nights: I did neither eat bread, nor drink water, because of all your sins which ye sinned, in doing wickedly in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.

I fell down — In a way of humiliation and supplication, on your behalf.

Verse 21

[21] And I took your sin, the calf which ye had made, and burnt it with fire, and stamped it, and ground it very small, even until it was as small as dust: and I cast the dust thereof into the brook that descended out of the mount.

Into the brook — That there might be no monument or remembrance of it left.

Verse 25

[25] Thus I fell down before the LORD forty days and forty nights, as I fell down at the first; because the LORD had said he would destroy you.

I fell down forty days — The same as were mentioned before, Deuteronomy 9:18, as appears by comparing this with Exodus, where this history is more fully related, and where this is said to be done twice only.

Verse 26

[26] I prayed therefore unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, destroy not thy people and thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed through thy greatness, which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand.

Through thy greatness — Through the greatness of thy power, which appeared most eminently in that work.

Verse 27

[27] Remember thy servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; look not unto the stubbornness of this people, nor to their wickedness, nor to their sin:

Thy servants — That is, the promise made and sworn to thy servants.

Verse 29

[29] Yet they are thy people and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest out by thy mighty power and by thy stretched out arm.

Thy people — Whom thou hast chosen to thyself out of all mankind, and publickly owned them for thine, and hast purchased and redeemed them from the Egyptians.