Friday, November 27, 2009


Chapter 8
Summary:Moses' speech continues:
"All the commandments which I give to you this day, you shall obey, so that you may live and multiply in the land which the Lord promised to your forefathers.

"You shall remember how the Lord your God led you these forty years through the wilderness, to humble you, and to prove to you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. He humbled you, causing you to suffer hunger before he fed you with 'manna' - a food that you had never seen, nor had your ancestors - so that he could teach you that man does not live by bread alone, but that he lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Your clothes haven't grown old, nor have your feet swollen throughout these past forty years. You should realize that just as a man punishes his son, so the Lord your God punishes you. Therefore you shall obey the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him.

"For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land: a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of hills and valleys; a land of wheat, barley, vines, fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of olive oil and honey; a land where food will not be scarce, and you will not lack a thing in it; a land where iron is as common as stones, and whose hills you will be able to mine for brass. When you have eaten and you are full, you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which he has given you. Beware that you don't forget the Lord your God, in not keeping his commandments, judgments, and statutes, which I command to you this day.

"When you have eaten your fill, and have built goodly houses to live in; when your herds and flocks have multiplied; your silver and gold has multiplied; and your heart be lifted up, - lest you forget the Lord your God which brought you out from your slavery in Egypt; who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, where there were "fiery serpents", scorpions, and drought; where there was no water, brought forth water out of a rock; who fed you in the wilderness with manna - a food that your ancestors had never seen - so that he might humble you and prove to you, to do good to you later on.

"When you say in your heart, 'It was my power and my own will that has given me everything I have', you should instead remember the Lord your God, for it is he that gave you the power to acquire that wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he swore unto your forefathers, as it is this day.

"It shall be, that if you forget the Lord your God, and walk after other gods, and serve and worship them, I promise you this day that you shall surely perish. Like the nations which the Lord destroys before your eyes, so shall you perish, because you would not be obedient to the voice of the Lord your God."
Thoughts:Moses's speech continues, this time focusing primarily on God's "testing" of the Israelites.

Moses begins by once again dangling the carrot of increased fertility over the heads of the Israelites, providing they obey all of God's commandments. He then states that this whole trek through the wilderness for forty years was actually a "test" to humble the Israelites - instead of God's originally stated intentions of waiting until the previous generation had died out. Moses claims that God had deliberately let the Israelites go hungry, so that he could feed them "manna" - a previously unheard of food - so that they could be taught that "man does not live by bread alone". While perhaps one could argue some plausibility about God's intentions with the "manna", clearly Moses is trying to be a revisionist in regards to God's intentions regarding why he had made the Israelites wander around in the desert for forty years.

Moses then asserts that none of the Israelites clothes have worn out, nor have their feet blistered from their forty year hike through the desert. He then compares God's punishments of the Israelites to the discipline a father shows his son - however, most fathers generally don't set their children on fire and infect them with plagues for complaining about the food, set them on fire for not lighting incense properly, or unleash poisonous snakes upon them for complaining about their hardships. Moses states that for this reason, people should obey God's commandments, but follows it up with a more convincing reason - fearing God.

Moses then boasts about how wonderful the "promised land" will be: that it will have plenty of water; the crops will be plentiful; it will be rich with olive oil and honey; iron will be as common as stones and rocks; and the hills will be able to be mined for brass. However, Moses warns, the people are not to forget that once they're accustomed to this wealth, they are not to forget that if it weren't for God taking them out of their slavery in Egypt and helping them commit genocide against the former inhabitants of this land, they wouldn't have any of these nice things, so therefore they have to obey God's commandments, judgments, and statutes. Moses tries to rub it in further, by mentioning that God protected them through the wilderness from "fiery serpents" (although he fails to mention that God sent them down there himself in the first place as a punishment), scorpions, and satiated their thirst by bringing forth water out of a rock.

Moses warns the people not to take credit for anything that they have acquired, and that they are solely to accredit God, or else they will somehow find the tendency to begin worshiping other gods - and if that happens, God will destroy them just the same as he had caused the destruction of all the "heathen" nations that formerly inhabited the "promised land".

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