Deuteronomy 32:36-39 Essay, Research Paper
Scope, Selection and Content of Pericope
This text , within the Third Speech of Moses (Dt 29-32), is part of the Song of Moses (Dt 32:1-43). The text is part of the redemption and vengance section of the song. The selection, vv 36-39, is an appropriate pericope, even though it depends on the wider context for interpretation of its pronoun antecedents.
Chapter 32 is ancient material, dating to the united monarchy, incorporated into Deuteronomy during the sixth century. Theological emphases of the Deuteronomistic historian(s) include insistence on Yahweh as Israel?s only God, rejection of idolatry, and the claim that Yahweh?s act in history.
The text is presented as a song by Moses to the Israelites prior to entering the land. Although the early verses resemble later covenant lawsuits, that form is not maintained. The form, rather, is a war song, consistent with its origin during David?s time. In subsequent years it would have been sung as a celebration of Yahweh?s victory and as a reminder of the cost of idolatry. In its final form, it is a remembrance of Yahweh?s past care, a confession of Israel?s idolatries, and a celebration of the irresistible judgment of God the Warrior.
Summary of Content
Listen, heaven and earth; as I proclaim Yahweh?s name and tell of our God?s greatness.
Yahweh, the rock, is just, faithful, and perfect, but his children are faithless, degenerate, and perverse; they repay Yahweh their father badly. Yahweh made the nations and gave each a god; you were the one Yahweh chose as Yahweh?s own. Yahweh sustained the people in the desert, cared for them as an eagle does its young, and brought them to the land. There they had all the good things of Yahweh. But you made Yahweh jealous by following other gods, and not being grateful to Yahweh.
Yahweh, then, abandoned you and brought a foolish nation against you. Yahweh?s anger is able to burn everything, even the mountain springs. Yahweh punished you with disasters: famine, plague, wild beasts, and war.
Yahweh was going to utterly destroy you but refrained so that the enemy would not think that they (not Yahweh) had destroyed you.
The enemy has no sense or they would understand Yahweh?s doing, because they could not have conquered you unless it had been Yahweh?s will. They do not have a god like Yahweh; they have poison grapes like Sodom and Gomorrah. Yahweh will take vengeance on them soon.
Yahweh will execute (is executing) judgment for the people and have pity (has pity) on them when Yahweh knows that they can do nothing for themselves.
Yahweh will say (is saying), ?Where are the gods they trusted? Who ate and drank the sacrifices they made? Let those gods protect them now!?
?You are commanded to see and know that I really exist, there is no other god who is equal to me. I have power over life and death, wounding and healing. No other god can oppose my action.?
I, Yahweh, swear by my eternal existence that I will execute judgment and vengeance on those who hate me. I will make my arrows intoxicated with their blood and feed my sword on their bodies.
The sky is to praise Yahweh?s people and all the gods worship Yahweh because he avenges the chosen people and takes vengeance in order to make the land clean for Yahweh?s people.
The LORD will vindicate his people