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Deuteronomy 2-4

Supplemental notes for the Daily Bible Study Bible Reading Plan

by Wayne Blank

Deuteronomy Chapter 2

The book of Deuteronomy summarizes the approximate forty years of Bible History from the Exodus to the time just before the Israelites entered their promised land i.e. Deuteronomy reviews, and in some cases elaborates upon, information originally written in Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers (see The Deuteronomy of Moses).

Map Of Israel's Wilderness Journey

"For The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands; He knows your going through this great wilderness [see also The Wilderness of Sin]; these forty years The Lord your God has been with you; you have lacked nothing.'" (Deuteronomy 2:7 RSV)

"And the time from our leaving Kadesh-Barnea until we crossed the brook Zered was thirty-eight years, until the entire generation, that is, the men of war, had perished from the camp, as The Lord had sworn to them. For indeed the hand of The Lord was against them, to destroy them from The Camp, until they had perished [see A Journey Without A Destination].

So when all the men of war had perished and were dead from among the people, The Lord said to me, 'This day you are to pass over the boundary of Moab at Ar; and when you approach the frontier of the sons of Ammon, do not harass them or contend with them, for I will not give you any of the land of the sons of Ammon as a possession, because I have given it to the sons of Lot for a possession.'" (Deuteronomy 2:14-19 RSV) [see Landmark]

'Rise up, take your journey, and go over the valley of the Arnon; behold, I have given into your hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land; begin to take possession, and contend with him in battle. This day I will begin to put the dread and fear of you upon the peoples that are under the whole heaven, who shall hear the report of you and shall tremble and be in anguish because of you.'" (Deuteronomy 2:24-25 RSV)

Deuteronomy Chapter 3

The land of Israel included tribal areas east of the Jordan, which are today occupied by the people of Syria and Jordan (see Eastern Tribal Lands).

Israelite Tribal Lands

"When we took possession of this land at that time, I gave to the Reubenites and the Gadites the territory beginning at Aroer, which is on the edge of the valley of the Arnon, and half the hill country of Gilead with its cities; the rest of Gilead, and all Bashan, the kingdom of Og, that is, all the region of Argob, I gave to the half-tribe of Manasseh. The whole of that Bashan is called the land of Rephaim. Jair the Manassite took all the region of Argob, that is, Bashan, as far as the border of the Geshurites and the Maacathites, and called the villages after his own name, Havvoth-jair, as it is to this day. To Machir I gave Gilead, and to the Reubenites and the Gadites I gave the territory from Gilead as far as the valley of the Arnon, with the middle of the valley as a boundary, as far over as the river Jabbok, the boundary of the Ammonites; the Arabah also, with the Jordan as the boundary, from Chinnereth [i.e. The Sea Of Galilee] as far as the sea of the Arabah, The Salt Sea, under the slopes of Pisgah on the east." (Deuteronomy 3:12-17 RSV)

Although Moses was closer to The Lord than anyone (see The Trysting Tent), he was not above the Law; when Moses violated The Lord's instructions before the people, it cost Moses his own entry into the promised land (although Moses will be in the ultimate Promised Land, the future Kingdom of God - see Why Did Christ Put Moses To Death?). Moses asked The Lord to change His mind on the decision, as he had successfully done at times before (e.g. "But Moses besought The Lord his God, and said, "O Lord, why does Thy wrath burn hot against Thy people, whom Thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Exodus 32:11 RSV), but this time, the answer remained "No" (Abraham was another who was close enough to The Lord to ask Him to change His mind - see "Jehovah" and Abraham).

""And I besought The Lord at that time, saying, 'O Lord God, Thou hast only begun to show Thy servant Thy greatness and Thy mighty hand; for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do such works and mighty acts as Thine? Let me go over, I pray, and see the good land beyond the Jordan, that goodly hill country, and Lebanon.'

But The Lord was angry with me on your account, and would not hearken to me; and The Lord said to me, 'Let it suffice you; speak no more to me of this matter. Go up to the top of Pisgah, and lift up your eyes westward and northward and southward and eastward, and behold it with your eyes; for you shall not go over this Jordan. But charge Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him; for he shall go over at the head of this people, and he shall put them in possession of the land which you shall see.' So we remained in the valley [see also The Valley of Moses' Grave] opposite Beth-peor." (Deuteronomy 3:23-29 RSV)

Deuteronomy Chapter 4

The Israelites had witnessed idol worship during their time in Egypt (their infamous making of the golden calf was likely based upon the Egyptian bull "god" - see notes for Exodus 32) and among the surrounding nations, but God's people, ancient or modern, were not to worship, bow to and pray to idols of anything or anyone ("beware lest you act corruptly by making a graven image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female," see below), a Commandment (see "Thou shalt not make any graven image") that is still widely ignored to this day, even among those who claim to be Christian e.g. see What Would Mary Really Say About Idolatry?


"Therefore take good heed to yourselves. Since you saw no form on the day that The Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, beware lest you act corruptly by making a graven image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth. And beware lest you lift up your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and worship them and serve them, things which The Lord your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven. But The Lord has taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people of his own possession, as at this day." (Deuteronomy 4:15-20 RSV)

The Lord (see the Fact Finder below) is the Creator of all. Humans are to worship The Creator, not mere created things.

"For ask now of the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether such a great thing as this has ever happened or was ever heard of. Did any people ever hear the voice of a god speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and still live? Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, and by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great terrors, according to all that The Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?" (Deuteronomy 4:32-34 RSV)

Fact Finder: (a) Who was the Creator? (b) Who was The Lord God who delivered the Israelites out of Egypt?
(a) Christ The Creator
(b) 1 Corinthians 10:1-5; see also Christ's Mercy Seat

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