Sunday, May 19, 2013

Deuteronomy 32:1-34:12


The song of Moses is a review of Israel's history both past and future from the time in which the narrative is set. It spans from YHWH's choosing Israel through the exile and ends with the return of the people to Judah. It refers to Israel by the name of its forebear, "Jacob" and also as "Jeshurun," a Hebrew name meaning "the Upright One."

The song refers to God as the "Rock" and also uses feminine, maternal imagery for YHWH who "gave birth" to Israel.

The question of monotheism remains open. This song refers to other "gods" who are almost certainly lesser divine beings, and may possibly be demons (32:17).

In verses 48-52, YHWH tells Moses to climb Mt. Nebo from which he will see the promised land before he dies.

In Chapter 33, Moses blesses the tribes of Israel with the curious omission of Simeon. Am I missing something? Why is Simeon left out?

The poem is reminiscent of Jacob's deathbed blessing of his sons in Genesis 49.

Chapter 34 narrates the death of Moses. It seems that YHWH himself buries the man of God. There is notice that Joshua has taken charge of the Israelites (v. 9) and a tribute to Moses.

And so we come to the end of the Pentateuch.

The depiction of Moses on Mt. Nebo in stained glass is from Mt. Nebo Presbyterian Church in Sewickley, PA. I found the photograph at thiswebsite.

Next: Joshua 1-4

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