The Staff of Moses
THE CHOSEN PEOPLE
Deuteronomy chapters 30 to 32
Deuteronomy continues with its main theme that is an exhortation to do good, a promise of great reward for obeying G-d and keeping the Commandments, and threat of punishment for doing evil. We are told that even if we sin and are punished, as long as we return and repent, G-d will forgive us and bless us. By repenting at an early stage we can save ourselves from the punishments.
[Deuteronomy 30:8] AND THOU SHALT RETURN AND OBEY THE VOICE OF THE L-RD, AND DO ALL HIS COMMANDMENTS WHICH I COMMAND THEE THIS DAY.
We shall all return to worship the G-d of Israel.
[Deuteronomy 30:9] AND THE L-RD THY G-D WILL MAKE THEE PLENTEOUS IN EVERY WORK OF THINE HAND, IN THE FRUIT OF THY BODY, AND IN THE FRUIT OF THY CATTLE, AND IN THE FRUIT OF THY LAND, FOR GOOD: FOR THE L-RD WILL AGAIN REJOICE OVER THEE FOR GOOD, AS HE REJOICED OVERTHY FATHERS:
We will succeed in what we do. We shall have good, healthy children and many of them. Our possessions will increase almost of their own accord. We will be blessed in every way. We only have to return to the G-d of Israel.
[Deuteronomy 30:10] IF THOU SHALT HEARKEN UNTO THE VOICE OF THE L-RD THY G-D, TO KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS AND HIS STATUTES WHICH ARE WRITTEN IN THIS BOOK OF THE LAW, AND IF THOU TURN UNTO THE L-RD THY G-D WITH ALL THINE HEART, AND WITH ALL THY SOUL.
We must keep the Law and We must love G-d.
[Deuteronomy 30:11] FOR THIS COMMANDMENT WHICH I COMMAND THEE THIS DAY, IT IS NOT HIDDEN FROM THEE, NEITHER IS IT FAR OFF.
It is not so hard as we might pretend. It is actually easy and convenient and the best thing we can do if we only wish to.
[Deuteronomy 30:12] IT IS NOT IN HEAVEN, THAT THOU SHOULDEST SAY, WHO SHALL GO UP FOR US TO HEAVEN, AND BRING IT UNTO US, THAT WE MAY HEAR IT, AND DO IT?
It is not something that we have to be astrophysicists to understand or spend years in studying though learning always helps in every field.
[Deuteronomy 30:13] NEITHER IS IT BEYOND THE SEA, THAT THOU SHOULDEST SAY, WHO SHALL GO OVER THE SEA FOR US, AND BRING IT UNTO US, THAT WE MAY HEAR IT, AND DO IT?
It is not something we have to travel to places like India or France to learn about.
[Deuteronomy 30:14] BUT THE WORD IS VERY NIGH UNTO THEE, IN THY MOUTH, AND IN THY HEART, THAT THOU MAYEST DO IT.
The will to worship G-d is within us, close to us. We must reach inside ourselves to realize it.
[Deuteronomy 30:15] SEE, I HAVE SET BEFORE THEE THIS DAY LIFE AND GOOD, AND DEATH AND EVIL;
Note the association good=life, evil=death.
[Deuteronomy 30:16] IN THAT I COMMAND THEE THIS DAY TO LOVE THE L-RD THY G-D, TO WALK IN HIS WAYS, AND TO KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS AND HIS STATUTES AND HIS JUDGMENTS, THAT THOU MAYEST LIVE AND MULTIPLY: AND THE L-RD THY G-D SHALL BLESS THEE IN THE LAND WHITHER THOU GOEST TO POSSESS IT.
If we keep the law we will live and be multiplied and blessed in the Land. We are commanded to choose life, for our own good and for the good of our offspring. G-d wants our good and this is the way we earn it (30:19).
[Deuteronomy 30:20] THAT THOU MAYEST LOVE THE L-RD THY G-D, AND THAT THOU MAYEST OBEY HIS VOICE, AND THAT THOU MAYEST CLEAVE UNTO HIM: FOR HE IS THY LIFE, AND THE LENGTH OF THY DAYS: THAT THOU MAYEST DWELL IN THE LAND WHICH THE L-RD SWARE UNTO THY FATHERS, TO ABRAHAM, TO ISAAC, AND TO JACOB, TO GIVE THEM.
<<THOU MAYEST CLEAVE UNTO HIM>>: This can be fulfilled be associating with good people who also love G-D, by learning and by praying and by doing as well as we can in every way open to us.
Moses tells the Children of Israel that he has reached the age of 120 years (31:20). My grandfather lived to 106 and he was fairly healthy and active almost to the last. He was the headmaster of his own private school in Wales. He was also, according to reports, always quite religious. He did the best he could according to his knowledge. He helped others, and exhorted others to do good which was for their own good. Economically I do not think he was rich but he lived relatively well. It can be done.
<<I CAN NO MORE GO OUT AND COME IN>>: Moses was not physically incapable since it later says
<<AND MOSES WAS AN HUNDRED AND TWENTY YEARS OLD WHEN HE DIED: HIS EYE WAS NOT DIM, NOR HIS NATURAL FORCE ABATED>> [Deuteronomy 34:7] .
Moses was therefore saying above (31:20) that his time is up and that relatively speaking he has led a full life for a long time.
[Deuteronomy 31:3] THE L-RD THY G-D, HE WILL GO OVER BEFORE THEE, AND HE WILL DESTROY THESE NATIONS FROM BEFORE THEE, AND THOU SHALT POSSESS THEM: AND JOSHUA, HE SHALL GO OVER BEFORE THEE, AS THE L-RD HATH SAID.
[Deuteronomy 31:4] AND THE L-RD SHALL DO UNTO THEM AS HE DID TO SIHON AND TO OG, KINGS OF THE AMORITES, AND UNTO THE LAND OF THEM, WHOM HE DESTROYED.
[Deuteronomy 31:5] AND THE L-RD SHALL GIVE THEM UP BEFORE YOUR FACE, THAT YE MAY DO UNTO THEM ACCORDING UNTO ALL THE COMMANDMENTS WHICH I HAVE COMMANDED YOU.
Remaining in the Land is connected with worshipping G-d and keeping the Commandments.
[Deuteronomy 31:6] BE STRONG AND OF A GOOD COURAGE, FEAR NOT, NOR BE AFRAID OF THEM: FOR THE L-RD THY G-D, HE IT IS THAT DOTH GO WITH THEE; HE WILL NOT FAIL THEE, NOR FORSAKE THEE.
G-d will be with you. He will not fail you. This works even if you are afraid. If you are not afraid but trust in G-d then it works even more: He will not cause you to fail nor should you feel abandoned but rather G-d will be with you. You should not fear but rather show courage. At all events G-d will be with you.
The Two Future Messiahs
[Deuteronomy 31:7] AND MOSES CALLED UNTO JOSHUA, AND SAID UNTO HIM IN THE SIGHT OF ALL ISRAEL, BE STRONG AND OF A GOOD COURAGE: FOR THOU MUST GO WITH THIS PEOPLE UNTO THE LAND WHICH THE L-RD HATH SWORN UNTO THEIR FATHERS TO GIVE THEM; AND THOU SHALT CAUSE THEM TO INHERIT IT.
Joshua was of the Tribe of Ephraim, Moses belonged to the Tribe of Levi. Ephraim and Manasseh were the two tribes of Joseph. In later Rabbinical thought, Joshua is taken as being a type of the Messiah son of Joseph. There will be two Messiahs, one (Messiah son of Joseph) will be a descendant of Ephraim who will lead the Ten Tribes back to their source and wage wars against the adversaries of Israel. The Messiah son of Joseph will also assist the Jews to return to their land and rebuild it and be connected with re-building the Temple. Cyrus the Persian King was a prototype for the Messiah son of Joseph. In addition to being a specific individual the Messiah son of Joseph ultimately also represents a process or movement. He is descended from Joseph and connected with the Lost Tribes of Israel. The British and then the Americans have fulfilled the initial functions associated with the Messiah son of Joseph. This alone is an indication that descendants from the Lost Ten Tribes (especially from Joseph) are dominant amongst them.
The Jews belong primarily to Judah though most of Levi also joined them, along with many from Benjamin and not a few from other tribes. The Law is associated especially with Judah and Levi. Moses, from Levi, is therefore prototypical of “ Judah” as a whole especially since Moses transmitted the Law and Judah maintained and strengthened it.
In addition to the Messiah son of Joseph there will also appear (somewhat later but co-eval) the Messiah son of David who will first head Judah. The Messiah son of David will cause the Jews to repent and return to keeping the Law and then the Law will be given to all Israel. It is not certain whether the Messiah son of David will initiate the re-unification with the Ten Tribes or this will already have taken place before his time. The Messiah son of David will be responsible for affirming the identification of each Israelite individual and inform him what Tribe he belongs to. These two “Messiahs” (“Annoited Ones”) will be distinct individuals as well as representing future historical processes. On a mystical level, each one of us has aspects of both elements within us.
G-d Will be With Us
[Deuteronomy 31:8] AND THE L-RD, HE IT IS THAT DOTH GO BEFORE THEE; HE WILL BE WITH THEE, HE WILL NOT FAIL THEE, NEITHER FORSAKE THEE: FEAR NOT, NEITHER BE DISMAYED.
[Deuteronomy 31:9] AND MOSES WROTE THIS LAW, AND DELIVERED IT UNTO THE PRIESTS THE SONS OF LEVI , WHICH BARE THE ARK OF THE COVENANT OF THE L-RD, AND UNTO ALL THE ELDERS OF ISRAEL.
The Levites received the Law. Levites have always been prominent amongst Jewish sages who transmitted the Law and explained it. Some Levitical groups are also found amongst the Lost Ten Tribes and perhaps also elsewhere. One group of Levites were known as the Sons of Moses. Jewish folklore connected the Sons of Moses either to the Lost Ten Tribes or to the Exiles of Judah. One source traced the Sons of Moses to the West and to Britain.
Moses finally breaks into a song of praise to the Almighty:
[Deuteronomy 32:7] REMEMBER THE DAYS OF OLD, CONSIDER THE YEARS OF MANY GENERATIONS: ASK THY FATHER, AND HE WILL SHEW THEE; THY ELDERS, AND THEY WILL TELL THEE.
We have to consider the lessons of history and take them to heart. G-D Himself exhorts us to take the history of our forefathers to heart: “REMEMBER THE DAYS OF OLD”.
Israel Will Rule the World
[Deuteronomy 32:8] WHEN THE MOST HIGH DIVIDED TO THE NATIONS THEIR INHERITANCE, WHEN HE SEPARATED THE SONS OF ADAM, HE SET THE BOUNDS OF THE PEOPLE ACCORDING TO THE NUMBER OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL.
The Israelite peoples are destined to rule over the nations of the earth. Seventy descendants of Noah fathered all the different nations of the earth. There were seventy males of the family of Jacob who went down to Egypt and each one of these men fathered a clan named after him. Each one of the non-Israelite nations is apportioned to a different Israelite tribe or clan. Hints as to which Israelite tribes are somehow connected to which non-Israelite ones may be obtained from their names. “Gog” for instance is the name of the leader of a vast non-Israelite people (Ezekiel 38;2) as well as being a name found in the Israelite Tribe of Reuben (1-Chronicles 5;4); “Tarshish” was a clan of Benjamin (1-Chronicles 7;10) and a nation descended from Javan (Genesis 10;4) and thus related to the ancient Greeks and their kin in Mainland Europe.
[Deuteronomy 32:9] FOR THE L-RD'S PORTION IS HIS PEOPLE; JACOB IS THE LOT OF HIS INHERITANCE.
The Israelites are the people of G-d. This relates back to a previous verse:
<FOR THOU ART AN HOLY PEOPLE UNTO THE L-RD THY G-D: THE L-RD THY G-D HATH CHOSEN THEE TO BE A SPECIAL PEOPLE UNTO HIMSELF, ABOVE ALL PEOPLE THAT ARE UPON THE FACE OF THE EARTH> [Deuteronomy 7:6]. The expression “am segulah” usually translated as “chosen people” and rendered above as “A SPECIAL PEOPLE” can also be translated as “executive people”. G-d so created the world as to fulfil His will through the people of Israel.
[Deuteronomy 32:10] HE FOUND HIM IN A DESERT LAND, AND IN THE WASTE HOWLING WILDERNESS; HE LED HIM ABOUT, HE INSTRUCTED HIM, HE KEPT HIM AS THE APPLE OF HIS EYE.
We have been exceedingly ungrateful.
[Deuteronomy 32:11] AS AN EAGLE STIRRETH UP HER NEST, FLUTTERETH OVER HER YOUNG, SPREADETH ABROAD HER WINGS, TAKETH THEM, BEARETH THEM ON HER WINGS:
<<AN EAGLE>>: An “eagle” represents the USA. The eagle in Biblical prophecy is linked with both good and bad events and potentialities.
[Deuteronomy 32:12] SO THE L-RD ALONE DID LEAD HIM, AND THERE WAS NO STRANGE G-D WITH HIM.
G-d alone lead us and helped us yet we refused to acknowledge HIM. There is no other G-d with G-d.
[Deuteronomy 32:13] HE MADE HIM RIDE ON THE HIGH PLACES OF THE EARTH, THAT HE MIGHT EAT THE INCREASE OF THE FIELDS; AND HE MADE HIM TO SUCK HONEY OUT OF THE ROCK, AND OIL OUT OF THE FLINTY ROCK;
The best places on earth have been bequeathed to the seed of Israel.
[Deuteronomy 32:14] BUTTER OF KINE, AND MILK OF SHEEP, WITH FAT OF LAMBS, AND RAMS OF THE BREED OF BASHAN, AND GOATS, WITH THE FAT OF KIDNEYS OF WHEAT; AND THOU DIDST DRINK THE PURE BLOOD OF THE GRAPE.
<<RAMS OF THE BREED OF BASHAN>>: There is a breed of sheep known as the “Merino” that originally came from Spain and then was developed in Australia. This made Australia a rich country. The Australians say they grew up as a nation “on the sheep’s back” due to the rich woolen fleece produced by the merino. The merino may have originated in the Land of Israel. The Mishna (ca 100 CE) refers to sheep as “Children of Meron”. The sheep and horses of the ancient Scythians also came from Israel. So does the Arabian horse and the best European breeds of horses. A lot could be done on this topic. Indirectly it could provide yet another clue indicative of Israelite ancestry and the pathways of ancient migration. Breeds of cattle and their origins should also be examined.
[Deuteronomy 32:15] BUT JESHURUN WAXED FAT, AND KICKED: THOU ART WAXEN FAT, THOU ART GROWN THICK, THOU ART COVERED WITH FATNESS; THEN HE FORSOOK G-D WHICH MADE HIM, AND LIGHTLY ESTEEMED THE ROCK OF HIS SALVATION.
<<JESHURUN>> is an ancient name for Israel. A Phoenician inscription has been found mentioning, ‘The Sea and Yeshurun, Land of Tyre’. The Phoenicians and Israelites were closely connected. Part of the so-called “Phoenicians” at some stage were actually Israelite Tribes ì .
[Deuteronomy 32:16] THEY PROVOKED HIM TO JEALOUSY WITH STRANGE GODS, WITH ABOMINATIONS PROVOKED THEY HIM TO ANGER.
G-d is a jealous G-d. We should be careful not to worship other gods nor pray them respect even inadvertently.
[Deuteronomy 32:17] THEY SACRIFICED UNTO DEVILS, NOT TO G-D; TO GODS WHOM THEY KNEW NOT, TO NEW GODS THAT CAME NEWLY UP, WHOM YOUR FATHERS FEARED NOT.
[Deuteronomy 32:18] OF THE ROCK THAT BEGAT THEE THOU ART UNMINDFUL, AND HAST FORGOTTEN G-D THAT FORMED THEE.
The G-d of Israel created us and looked after us and watched over us. Everything we have achieved was thanks to His Providence.
[Deuteronomy 32:19] AND WHEN THE L-RD SAW IT, HE ABHORRED THEM, BECAUSE OF THE PROVOKING OF HIS SONS, AND OF HIS DAUGHTERS.
<<THE PROVOKING>>: In Hebrew “veyiNAATZ”: from the root “NA-ATZ” meaning “treat with contempt”, “blaspheme”. The word is also similar to how the term “Nazi” is sounded in Modern Hebrew. In Hebrew the expression above could be understood as saying:
“They [by their sins] caused the Nazis to come.”
The Palestinian Arabs of Arafat and company are just as bad in their aims as the Nazis were. Maybe worse. The Nazis at least at first tried to make a pretence that they did not really want to exterminate all the Jews outright. There were Jews who believed that they had a chance of surviving under the Nazis right up to the time they entered into the gas chambers –that were disguised as shower systems. The Arabs are not so. As soon as they get a chance, even smell a remote possibility, they will attempt to exterminate every Jew they can. Many of them already say as much openly. They feel the same way about the USA and Britain probably because these entities are on the one hand considered weak while on the other they are representative of life-styles opposed to Islam. In the Second World War the Arabs were pro-Nazi and admired Hitler and still do.
The Departure of Moses
Moses concludes his speech with words of promise and comfort:
[Deuteronomy 32:46] AND HE SAID UNTO THEM, SET YOUR HEARTS UNTO ALL THE WORDS WHICH I TESTIFY AMONG YOU THIS DAY, WHICH YE SHALL COMMAND YOUR CHILDREN TO OBSERVE TO DO, ALL THE WORDS OF THIS LAW.
You have to teach your children to believe in G-d and the Bible.
[Deuteronomy 32:47] FOR IT IS NOT A VAIN THING FOR YOU; BECAUSE IT IS YOUR LIFE: AND THROUGH THIS THING YE SHALL PROLONG YOUR DAYS IN THE LAND, WHITHER YE GO OVER JORDAN TO POSSESS IT.
<<FOR IT IS NOT A VAIN THING FOR YOU; BECAUSE IT IS YOUR LIFE>>: The Bible can solve all your problems and lead you in the right path, redeem you. Through reading and studying the Bible you know you are not alone. G-d’s Providence is with you and sometimes you see this with your own eyes.
[Deuteronomy 32:48] AND THE L-RD SPAKE UNTO MOSES THAT SELFSAME DAY, SAYING,
[Deuteronomy 32:49] GET THEE UP INTO THIS MOUNTAIN ABARIM, UNTO MOUNT NEBO, WHICH IS IN THE LAND OF MOAB, THAT IS OVER AGAINST JERICHO; AND BEHOLD THE LAND OF CANAAN, WHICH I GIVE UNTO THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL FOR A POSSESSION:
<<THE LAND OF CANAAN>>: All of the Land of Canaan is the chosen land that belongs to Israel. The Jewish people as keepers of the Law are caretakers for all Israel concerning the land. Inheriting the land is linked with keeping the law. It is true that most Jewish Israelis are not religious but many are and they are the only ones who are. Even those who are not are still bound by the law and do not really deny it despite appearances.
Moses was told to go up into the mountain where he was going to die. Before he died Moses again blessed the Children of Israel and prophesied concerning each individual tribe. These predictions complement the blessings of Jacob (Genesis chapter 49) to his twelve sons who were the ancestors of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Both Jacob and Moses before they died blessed the individual tribes and predicted their future status in the Latter Times.
ì See “Lost Israelite Identity” by Yair Davidy. See also the books of Steven Collins who brings valuable insights into this issue.