Deuteronomy 32

Invocation of Witnesses

32:1 Listen, O heavens, and I will speak;

hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.

32:2 My teaching will drop like the rain,

my sayings will drip like the dew,1

as rain drops upon the grass,

and showers upon new growth.

32:3 For I will proclaim the name2 of the Lord;

you must acknowledge the greatness of our God.

32:4 As for the Rock,3 his work is perfect,

for all his ways are just.

He is a reliable God who is never unjust,

he is fair4 and upright.

32:5 His people have been unfaithful5 to him;

they have not acted like his children6 – this is their sin.7

They are a perverse8 and deceitful generation.

32:6 Is this how you repay9 the Lord,

you foolish, unwise people?

Is he not your father, your creator?

He has made you and established you.

32:7 Remember the ancient days;

bear in mind10 the years of past generations.11

Ask your father and he will inform you,

your elders, and they will tell you.

32:8 When the Most High12 gave the nations their inheritance,

when he divided up humankind,13

he set the boundaries of the peoples,

according to the number of the heavenly assembly.14

32:9 For the Lord’s allotment is his people,

Jacob is his special possession.15

32:10 The Lord16 found him17 in a desolate land,

in an empty wasteland where animals howl.18

He continually guarded him19 and taught him;20

he continually protected him21 like the pupil22 of his eye.

32:11 Like an eagle that stirs up23 its nest,

that hovers over its young,

so the Lord24 spread out his wings and took him,25

he lifted him up on his pinions.

32:12 The Lord alone was guiding him,26

no foreign god was with him.

32:13 He enabled him27 to travel over the high terrain of the land,

and he ate of the produce of the fields.

He provided honey for him from the cliffs,28

and olive oil29 from the hardest of30 rocks,31

32:14 butter from the herd

and milk from the flock,

along with the fat of lambs,

rams and goats of Bashan,

along with the best of the kernels of wheat;

and from the juice of grapes you drank wine.

Israel’s Rebellion

32:15 But Jeshurun32 became fat and kicked,

you33 got fat, thick, and stuffed!

Then he deserted the God who made him,

and treated the Rock who saved him with contempt.

32:16 They made him jealous with other gods,34

they enraged him with abhorrent idols.35

32:17 They sacrificed to demons, not God,

to gods they had not known;

to new gods who had recently come along,

gods your ancestors36 had not known about.

32:18 You have forgotten37 the Rock who fathered you,

and put out of mind the God who gave you birth.

A Word of Judgment

32:19 But the Lord took note and despised them

because his sons and daughters enraged him.

32:20 He said, “I will reject them,38

I will see what will happen to them;

for they are a perverse generation,

children39 who show no loyalty.

32:21 They have made me jealous40 with false gods,41

enraging me with their worthless gods;42

so I will make them jealous with a people they do not recognize,43

with a nation slow to learn44 I will enrage them.

32:22 For a fire has been kindled by my anger,

and it burns to lowest Sheol;45

it consumes the earth and its produce,

and ignites the foundations of the mountains.

32:23 I will increase their46 disasters,

I will use up my arrows on them.

32:24 They will be starved by famine,

eaten by plague, and bitterly stung;47

I will send the teeth of wild animals against them,

along with the poison of creatures that crawl in the dust.

32:25 The sword will make people childless outside,

and terror will do so inside;

they will destroy48 both the young man and the virgin,

the infant and the gray-haired man.

The Weakness of Other Gods

32:26 “I said, ‘I want to cut them in pieces.49

I want to make people forget they ever existed.

32:27 But I fear the reaction50 of their enemies,

for51 their adversaries would misunderstand

and say, “Our power is great,52

and the Lord has not done all this!”’

32:28 They are a nation devoid of wisdom,

and there is no understanding among them.

32:29 I wish that they were wise and could understand this,

and that they could comprehend what will happen to them.”

32:30 How can one man chase a thousand of them,53

and two pursue ten thousand;

unless their Rock had delivered them up,54

and the Lord had handed them over?

32:31 For our enemies’55 rock is not like our Rock,

as even our enemies concede.

32:32 For their vine is from the stock56 of Sodom,

and from the fields of Gomorrah.57

Their grapes contain venom,

their clusters of grapes are bitter.

32:33 Their wine is snakes’ poison,

the deadly venom of cobras.

32:34 “Is this not stored up with me?” says the Lord,58

“Is it not sealed up in my storehouses?

32:35 I will get revenge and pay them back

at the time their foot slips;

for the day of their disaster is near,

and the impending judgment59 is rushing upon them!”

32:36 The Lord will judge his people,

and will change his plans concerning60 his servants;

when he sees that their power has disappeared,

and that no one is left, whether confined or set free.

32:37 He will say, “Where are their gods,

the rock in whom they sought security,

32:38 who ate the best of their sacrifices,

and drank the wine of their drink offerings?

Let them rise and help you;

let them be your refuge!

The Vindication of the Lord

32:39 “See now that I, indeed I, am he!” says the Lord,61

“and there is no other god besides me.

I kill and give life,

I smash and I heal,

and none can resist62 my power.

32:40 For I raise up my hand to heaven,

and say, ‘As surely as I live forever,

32:41 I will sharpen my lightning-like sword,

and my hand will grasp hold of the weapon of judgment;63

I will execute vengeance on my foes,

and repay those who hate me!64

32:42 I will make my arrows drunk with blood,

and my sword will devour flesh –

the blood of the slaughtered and captured,

the chief65 of the enemy’s leaders!’”

32:43 Cry out, O nations, with his people,

for he will avenge his servants’ blood;

he will take vengeance against his enemies,

and make atonement for his land and people.

Narrative Interlude

32:44 Then Moses went with Joshua66 son of Nun and recited all the words of this song to the people. 32:45 When Moses finished reciting all these words to all Israel 32:46 he said to them, “Keep in mind all the words I am solemnly proclaiming to you today; you must command your children to observe carefully all the words of this law. 32:47 For this is no idle word for you – it is your life! By this word you will live a long time in the land you are about to cross the Jordan to possess.”

Instructions about Moses’ Death

32:48 Then the Lord said to Moses that same day, 32:49 “Go up to this Abarim67 hill country, to Mount Nebo (which is in the land of Moab opposite Jericho68) and look at the land of Canaan that I am giving to the Israelites as a possession. 32:50 You will die69 on the mountain that you ascend and join your deceased ancestors,70 just as Aaron your brother died on Mount Hor71 and joined his deceased ancestors, 32:51 for both of you72 rebelled against me among the Israelites at the waters of Meribah Kadesh in the desert of Zin when you did not show me proper respect73 among the Israelites. 32:52 You will see the land before you, but you will not enter the land that I am giving to the Israelites.”

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