Deuteronomy 31: It’s not going to go well

Synopsis:

Moses tells everyone they are about to go over. Be strong and bold, God is with you. He hands the reins over to Joshua in front of the entire congregation He reminds everyone about the commandments and the jubilee every 7 years. God then descends on the tabernacle and speaks to Moses. Your time is done. The children will disobey and I will have to smite them. So write a song and teach it to the children so they will remember why they are suffering and that they brought this upon themselves. Moses then tells the congregation, he knows they will be evil and teaches them the song.

In other words:

God tells Moses that the congregation will turn against him and he will have to smite them, so teach them this song to remind them why I am going to be forced to smite them.

Favorite bit:

Deuteronomy 31:19 – now therefore write ye this song for you and teach it the children of Israel: put it in their mouths, that this son may be a witness for me against the children of Israel. (I like that they are taught essentially a guilt song)


Least favorite bit:

Deuteronomy 31:19 – basically, God has set up rules that he knows everyone is going to break. This is a hopeless cause and He knows it. Yet He persists and comes up with a snappy little song to make sure everyone feels guilt about disobeying Him forever.  Seriously – this God is a sick and abusive father figure of a god.

The only bit I really enjoyed: 

Deuteronomy 31:7 – Moses gives the reins over to Joshua in a public ceremony. (It’s quite nice really.)

Moral Lesson Learned:

Sometimes it’s not worth the effort. Learn when to let things go (Deuteronomy 31)

Deuteronomy 32: The guilt song

Synopsis:

This entire chapter appears to be the song of guilt that Moses was commanded to write and teach to the children of Israel so that they would not forget why God forsake them. The song is basically a synopsis of the story so far, starting in Genesis. It’s actually really cool when viewed from this perspective.

In other words:

The Israelites learn a lovely song about how guilty they should all feel for being so horrid.

Favorite bit:

Deuteronomy 32:33 – Their wine is the poison of dragons and the cruel venom of asps.

Least favorite bit:

This song has 52 verses and no choruses.

Most confusing bit:

Deuteronomy 32:15 But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou are waxen fat, thou art grown thick, though art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation. (who the heck is Jeshurun? Have we heard about him before)

Why I think this song was written at a later time as a convenient way to teach and tell the story:

Deuteronomy 32:44 Joshua the son of  Nun is referred to Hoshea the son of Nun. If this was the same group of people, wouldn't they spell his name the same?

What I wish

It would be cool to actually hear this song sung. Surely someone has put it to music.

My overall impression:

I got the impression that for Moses, at least, God was a real person. No one else could see him, but for Moses, he seemed to walk around the camp and do things. So, again, as in Genesis, it gave me the impression that Moses was schizophrenic and hallucinating.
.

Moral Lesson Learned:

When trying to guilt people into doing something, try to make it fun too (Deuteronomy 32)

Deuteronomy 29: Don’t fool yourself

Synopsis:

This is a bit of a pep talk for going to war and all the good that will come out of it. But... if you have already broken these curses and fool yourself into thinking all will be well, don’t. You will bring a curse down upon the entirety of the congregation. Just remember all the people God has smote so far.

In other words:

You are about to reach glory, but if you don’t, it’s your own fault for one of more of you must have turned his back on God.

Favorite bit:

Deuteronomy: 29:19, 20 – And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst. And the Lord will not spare him, but then the anger of the Lord and his jealous shall smoke against that man and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him and the Lord shall blot out his name from under heaven.

Most confusing bit:

Deuteronomy 29:29 – the secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the word of this law.  (This is a non-sequitor – the previous section is about what happened to those who didn't follow the law).

Moral Lesson Learned:

Don’t pretend to be ethical. Actually be ethical (Deuteronomy 29:19,20)

Deuteronomy 30: The good news

Synopsis:

It turns out that even if you bring the curse upon yourself (from Deuteronomy 27), if you turn back to God and start keeping the commandments listed here, God will once again bless you and turn your curses against your enemies. And you will be restored to the land he originally promised.  The choice is yours. You can choose life by living by my rules, or I will kill you. I suggest you choose life.


In other words:

The Israelites are given an offer they can’t refuse.  Obey or die.

Favorite bit:

Deuteronmy 30:19 – I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live. (This is so godfather ish. An offer you cannot refuse).

Least favorite bit:

Deuteronomy 30: 1,2 – basically this is the bit that if you decide to start obeying again, God will take you back.  This section is responsible for everyone doubling down on these laws and commandments. If we just worship him right, he will stop punishing us. From a Humanist perspective, this is nuts. It just perpetuates the crazy.

My feeling about this chapter:

Why couldn't they have just let the curse be!  Why give people an out?  It literally just extends this crazy cult in perpetuity. We know that cults, when proven wrong, tend to double down on their efforts. And I rather feel we’ve been watching this particular group do this for 2,000 years now. The good news is that at least most don’t do the blood sacrifice anymore.

Moral Lesson Learned:

People deserve redemption. Forgive them if they are earnest (Deuteronomy 30)