Joshua and Judges: Push to the Promised Land: Moses' departing song, part 4: Deu 32:1-43; Isa 5:1-17; Mat 21:33-46.

Class Outline:

Title: Joshua and Judges: Push to the Promised Land: Moses' departing song, part 4: DEU 32:1-43; ISA 5:1-17; MAT 21:33-46.  


Announcements/opening prayer:



DEU 32:24 'They shall be wasted by famine, and consumed by plague And bitter destruction; And the teeth of beasts I will send upon them, With the venom of crawling things of the dust.


DEU 32:25 'Outside the sword shall bereave, And inside terror —  Both young man and virgin, The nursling with the man of gray hair.


DEU 32:26 'I would have said, "I will cut them to pieces, I will remove the memory of them from men,"


DEU 32:27 Had I not feared the provocation by the enemy, Lest their adversaries should misjudge, Lest they should say, "Our hand is triumphant, And the Lord has not done all this."'


God certainly didn't fear the wrath or provocation of the enemy, but He uses such a strong word here to depict how opposed He is to the enemy in any way being able to even indicate or hint that God's people couldn't see His covenant through to the end.


The meaning is, that the people would have deserved to be utterly destroyed, and it was only for His own name's sake that God abstained from utter destruction.


Yet the nation clearly does not deserve it as is stated in verse 28.


DEU 32:28 "For they are a nation lacking in counsel, And there is no understanding in them.


DEU 32:29 "Would that they were wise, that they understood this, That they would discern their future!


Apostasy is the result of lacking wisdom.


DEU 32:30 "How could one chase a thousand, And two put ten thousand to flight, Unless their Rock had sold them, And the Lord had given them up?


Unless [Hebrew: kiy lo' 'im] - indicates and exception that does not permit the desired event to take place. So the translation, "were it not" or "however" would fit better.


"How could one chase a thousand, And two put ten thousand to flight (as was God's will), were it not that their Rock had sold them, And the Lord had given them up (because they forsook Him)"


How could they be strong as God desired them to be when they completely rejected Him? To do so God would have to compromise His justice, which He cannot do.


The land is a permanent gift to Israel, but those who had rejected God did not enjoy the prosperity and power that came with God's presence and fellowship. They rejected the true source of power, and if they did, how could they wield such power?


If Israel were wise, it could easily conquer all its foes in the power of its God.


LEV 26:6

five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall before you by the sword.


But as it had forsaken the Lord its Rock, He, their (Israel's) Rock, had given them up into the power of the foe.


Moses is thinking of the certain future because he knows that Israel will reject their God.


DEU 32:31 "Indeed their rock is not like our Rock, Even our enemies themselves judge this.


Moses leaves it up to the heathen nations that would come into contact with Israel and pit their false gods against Jehovah. They had no choice but to judge Jehovah as nothing like their own god's and far more powerful. Even the enemy knew that Jehovah Elohim was unique to all other gods and many of those who were His chosen people, to whom He revealed Himself, failed to comprehend the true meaning of the difference, if they saw it at all.


Examples: Balaam, Egyptians in the Red Sea, the Philistines when they put the ark in their temple, Jericho and the rest of the cities that fell under Joshua, Assyria when 185,000 died of plague, Midian when they were wiped out by 300 men, etc.


[Again from verse 28]

DEU 32:28 "For they are a nation lacking in counsel, And there is no understanding in them.


DEU 32:29 "Would that they were wise, that they understood this, That they would discern their future!


DEU 32:30 "How could one chase a thousand, And two put ten thousand to flight, Unless their Rock had sold them, And the Lord had given them up?


DEU 32:31 "Indeed their rock is not like our Rock, Even our enemies themselves judge this.


Moses next returns to the Jews, showing why, although the Rock of the Jews was very different from the gods of the Gentiles, even according to the testimony of the heathen themselves, who were their foes, they were nevertheless to be put to flight by their enemies and sold into bondage.


And why did Jehovah sell them, namely, because their vine was of the vine of Sodom, i.e., of the very worst kind, resembling the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, as if they were descended from them, and not from their holy patriarchs."


DEU 32:32 "For their vine is from the vine of Sodom, And from the fields of Gomorrah; Their grapes are grapes of poison, Their clusters, bitter.


DEU 32:33 "Their wine is the venom of serpents, And the deadly poison of cobras.


A bad tree produces bad fruit. A bad vine produces bitter wine. Jesus Christ is the vine that produces the sweet wine of Cana that can fill any number of vessels, while the vine of Sodom only produces bitter and poisonous wine that can also fill any number of vessels.


It is clear that these verses speak of Israel and not the heathen nations.


Moses is concerned with Israel and not the heathen nations. Other passages describe Israel in this way.


ISA 1:10

Hear the word of the Lord,

You rulers of Sodom;

Give ear to the instruction of our God,

You people of Gomorrah.


ISA 3:9

The expression of their faces bears witness against them.

And they display their sin like Sodom;

They do not even conceal it.

Woe to them!

For they have brought evil on themselves.


JER 23:14

"Also among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing: The committing of adultery and walking in falsehood;

And they strengthen the hands of evildoers,

So that no one has turned back from his wickedness.

All of them have become to Me like Sodom,

And her inhabitants like Gomorrah.


EZE 16:46-47

"Now your older sister is Samaria, who lives north of you with her daughters; and your younger sister, who lives south of you, is Sodom with her daughters. "Yet you have not merely walked in their ways or done according to their abominations; but, as if that were too little, you acted more corruptly in all your conduct than they.


The order of thought is the following: Israel would have been able to smite its foes with very little difficulty, because the gods of the heathen are not a rock like Jehovah; but Jehovah had given up His people to the heathen, because it had brought forth fruits like Sodom, i.e., had resembled Sodom in its wickedness. The vine and its fruits are figurative terms, applied to the nation and its productions. "The nation was not only a degenerate, but also a poisonous vine, producing nothing but what was deadly" [Calvin]


This figure is expanded by Isaiah.


Isaiah prophesizes from Judah just a few years before the destruction of the northern kingdom Israel by the Assyrians.


ISA 5:1 Let me sing now for my well-beloved A song of my beloved concerning His vineyard. My well-beloved had a vineyard on a fertile hill.


ISA 5:2 And He dug it all around, removed its stones, And planted it with the choicest vine. And He built a tower in the middle of it, And hewed out a wine vat in it; Then He expected it to produce good grapes, But it produced only worthless ones.


ISA 5:3 "And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, Judge between Me and My vineyard.


ISA 5:4 "What more was there to do for My vineyard that I have not done in it?, Why, when I expected it to produce good grapes did it produce worthless ones?


ISA 5:5 "So now let Me tell you what I am going to do to My vineyard: I will remove its hedge and it will be consumed; I will break down its wall and it will become trampled ground.


ISA 5:6 "And I will lay it waste; It will not be pruned or hoed,, But briars and thorns will come up. I will also charge the clouds to rain no rain on it."


ISA 5:7 For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, And the men of Judah His delightful plant., Thus He looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed;, For righteousness, but behold, a cry of distress.


ISA 5:8 Woe to those who add house to house and join field to field,, Until there is no more room,, So that you have to live alone in the midst of the land!


ISA 5:9 In my ears the Lord of hosts has sworn, "Surely, many houses shall become desolate, Even great and fine ones, without occupants.


ISA 5:10 "For ten acres of vineyard will yield only one bath of wine, And a homer of seed will yield but an ephah of grain."


ISA 5:11 Woe to those who rise early in the morning that they may pursue strong drink;, Who stay up late in the evening that wine may inflame them!


ISA 5:12 And their banquets are accompanied by lyre and harp, by tambourine and flute, and by wine;, But they do not pay attention to the deeds of the Lord, Nor do they consider the work of His hands.


ISA 5:13 Therefore My people go into exile for their lack of knowledge; And their honorable men are famished, And their multitude is parched with thirst.


ISA 5:14 Therefore, Sheol [the grave] has enlarged its throat and opened its mouth without measure; And Jerusalem's splendor, her multitude, her din of revelry, and the jubilant within her, descend into it.


ISA 5:15 So the common man will be humbled, and the man of importance abased, The eyes of the proud also will be abased.


ISA 5:16 But the Lord of hosts will be exalted in judgment, And the holy God will show Himself holy in righteousness.


ISA 5:17 Then the lambs will graze as in their pasture, And strangers will eat in the waste places of the wealthy.


As Isaiah prophesied just before the destruction and captivity of the northern kingdom, so Jeremiah prophesied just before the destruction and captivity of the southern nation.


JER 2:21

"Yet I planted you a choice vine,

A completely faithful seed.

How then have you turned yourself before Me

Into the degenerate shoots of a foreign vine?


The Lord took up the same figure in the parable of the landowner.


MAT 21:33 "Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard and put a wall around it and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and rented it out to vine-growers, and went on a journey. 


MAT 21:34 "And when the harvest time approached, he sent his slaves to the vine-growers to receive his produce.


The slaves are the prophets.


MAT 21:35 "And the vine-growers took his slaves and beat one, and killed another, and stoned a third.


MAT 21:36 "Again he sent another group of slaves larger than the first; and they did the same thing to them.


These culminated in John the Baptist.


MAT 21:37 "But afterward he sent his son to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.'


Mark adds that this was an only son and greatly beloved.


MAT 21:38 "But when the vine-growers saw the son, they said among themselves, 'This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and seize his inheritance.'


MAT 21:39 "And they took him, and threw him out of the vineyard [outside the walls], and killed him.


MAT 21:40 "Therefore when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers?" 


The design of asking them this question was that they might condemn themselves, and admit the justice of the punishment that was soon to come upon them.


MAT 21:41 They said to Him, "He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers, who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons."