Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Deuteronomy 10

By Joseph Benson


Verse 2
Deuteronomy 10:2. I will write on the tables — Though the tables were broken because they broke his commandment and made themselves a graven image, they were now renewed in proof that his wrath was turned away. And thus God’s writing his law in our inward parts is the surest proof of our reconciliation to him, Jeremiah 31:33-34. Reader, has God written it on thine? Remember, He that loveth not, knoweth not God, and is not in a state of reconciliation with him, 1 John 4:8.

Verse 3
Deuteronomy 10:3. I made an ark — Some of the Jewish doctors conclude from this text that there were two arks, one made by Bezaleel, and this one by Moses, which they fancy was the ark that went before them in their marches and battles. But this notion is confuted by many other passages. All that Moses means by saying, I made an ark, is, that he ordered one to be made, just as the expression, Solomon built the temple, only means that he provided for the building of it, and caused it to be built.

Verse 6
Deuteronomy 10:6. This following history comes in manifestly by way of parenthesis, as appears from Deuteronomy 10:10, where he returns to his former discourse; and it seems to be here inserted as an evidence of God’s gracious answer to Moses’s prayers, and of his reconciliation to the people, notwithstanding their late and great provocation. For, saith he, after this they proceeded by God’s guidance in their journeys, and though Aaron died in one of them, yet God made up that breach, and Eleazar came in his place, and ministered as a priest, one branch of which office was to intercede for the people.

Verse 8
Deuteronomy 10:8. At that time — About that time, that is, when I was come down from the mount, as was said, Deuteronomy 10:5. To stand before the Lord — A phrase used concerning the prophets, 1 Kings 17:1; 1 Kings 18:15, this being the posture of servants, Hence the angels are said to stand, 2 Chronicles 18:18; and Luke 1:19. To bless — The people, by performing those holy ministrations for them, and giving those instructions to them, to and with which God’s blessing was promised; and this they did in God’s name, that is, by command and commission from him. Let it be observed here, that a settled ministry is a great blessing to a people, and a special token of God’s love to them. But they who are blessed with it should take care that it do not become a curse through their abuse or non-improvement of it.

Verse 9
Deuteronomy 10:9. Levi hath no inheritance with his brethren — That they might attend only on the duties of their sacred office, provision was made for their maintenance, without their being obliged to plough, or sow, or entangle themselves in other worldly affairs. And is not provision made for the clergy of this and other countries professing Christianity, for a similar reason, namely, that, being under no necessity of entangling themselves in the affairs of this life, they may war a good warfare, and please Him that hath chosen them to be his soldiers? 2 Timothy 2:4. The Lord is his inheritance — They are to be maintained out of such tithes and revenues as are appropriated to them by the special appointment of God.

Verse 11
Deuteronomy 10:11. The Lord said unto me, Arise — This is mentioned as a proof that God had hearkened to the intercession of Moses. Take thy journey before the people — It was fit that he, who had saved them from ruin by his intercession, should have the conduct and command of them. And herein he was a type of Christ, who, as he ever lives to make intercession for us, so has all power in heaven and on earth.

Verse 12
Deuteronomy 10:12. What doth he require? — By way of duty and gratitude for such amazing mercies? But to fear the Lord thy God, &c. — When Jehovah is our God in Christ, pacified toward us after all we have done, and has received us for his adopted children, then, and not before, are we qualified to comply with his will as here enjoined, to love as well as fear him, and to walk in all his ways, yea, to serve him, as it is here expressed, with all our heart and all our soul. For then, beholding what manner of love be hath bestowed upon us, in making us his children, we love him because he hath first loved us, and that love becomes a source of never failing obedience in our souls: it makes the tree good, and then the fruit is good also. Reader, consider this well, lest thy religion be mere formality and hypocrisy, and while thou hast a name to live, thou be dead to God and things divine!

Verse 14
Deuteronomy 10:14. The heaven — The aerial and starry heaven. The heaven of heavens — The highest, or third heaven, thus named for its eminence. All that therein is — All creatures and all men, which being all his, he might have chosen what nation he pleased to be his people.

Verse 15
Deuteronomy 10:15. To love them — He shows that God had no particular obligation to their fathers, any more than to other persons and people, all being equally his creation, and that his choice of them out of and above all others, proceeded only from his good pleasure.

Verse 16
Deuteronomy 10:16. Circumcise, therefore, your heart — Rest not in your bodily circumcision, or in any mere external observances or duties; but seriously set upon that substantial and most important circumcision of the heart and of the spirit which is signified by that of the flesh, and intended to be inculcated thereby: see Romans 2:28-29. Cleanse your hearts from all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness; fitly compared to the foreskin, which, under the Jewish law, if not cut off, made persons profane, unclean, and odious in the sight of God.

Verse 17
Deuteronomy 10:17. Who regardeth not persons — Whether Jews or Gentiles, but deals justly and equally with all sorts of men; and as whosoever fears and obeys him shall be accepted, (namely, through faith in the Messiah, working by love,) so all incorrigible transgressors shall be severely punished, and you no less than other people; therefore, do not flatter yourselves, as if God would bear with your sins because of his particular kindness to you or to your fathers.

Verse 18
Deuteronomy 10:18. The judgment of the fatherless — He is so far from disregarding those who are unbefriended, that he regards them the more on that account, takes their case under his special cognizance, and is particularly displeased with those who injure and oppress them. Nay, he executes their judgment, pleads their cause, and maintains their right against their potent adversaries, and therefore he expects that you should do so too. Even the compassion which he has implanted in the human breast for the oppressed and destitute, and which is his voice to men, calling upon them to protect the orphan, to assist the widow, and to relieve the necessitous, is one evidence, among many others, that he espouses their cause.

Verse 19
Deuteronomy 10:19. Love ye, therefore, the stranger — Be kind and just even to Gentile strangers, as to fellow-creatures of the same frame with yourselves, in honour to your common Creator, and in imitation of that tender care which he exercises over the sons of men.

Verse 20-21
Deuteronomy 10:20-21. To him shalt thou cleave — With firm confidence, true affection, and constant obedience. He is thy praise — The object and matter of thy praise, as Exodus 15:2. It is thy greatest honour to belong to him, to be his subject and servant, his child and spouse, and it should be thy chief duty and delight to praise and glorify him.