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Deuteronomy Chapter 9
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Warnings Against Self-Righteousness
9:1 Listen, Israel, today you [are preparing to] cross the Jordan. When you arrive, you will drive out nations greater and more powerful than you, with great cities, fortified to the skies.
9:2 They are a great nation, as tall as giants. You know that you have heard the expression, 'Who can stand up before a giant?'
9:3 But you must realize today that God your Lord is the One who shall cross before you. He is [like] a consuming fire, and He will subjugate [these nations] before you, rapidly driving them out and annihilating them, as God promised you.
9:4 When God repulses them before you, do not say to yourselves, 'It was because of my virtue that God brought me to occupy this land.'

It was because of the wickedness of these nations that God is driving them out before you.

9:5 It was not because of your virtue and basic integrity that you are coming to occupy their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations whom God is driving out before you. It is also because God is keeping the word that He swore to your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
9:6 Therefore, realize that it is not because of your virtue that God your Lord is giving you this land to occupy, since you are a very stubborn nation.
9:7 Remember and never forget how you provoked God your Lord in the desert. From the day you left Egypt until you came here, you have been rebelling against God.
9:8 Even at Horeb you provoked God! And God was ready to display anger and destroy you.
9:9 I had climbed the mountain to get the stone tablets - tablets of the covenant that God had made with you. I remained on the mountain forty days and forty nights without eating food or drinking water.
9:10 God gave me the two stone tablets written with God's finger. Upon them were written all the words that God declared to you on the mountain out of the fire, on the Day of Assembly.
9:11 At the end of the forty days and forty nights, God gave me the two stone tablets as tablets of the covenant.
9:12 But God then said to me, 'Get moving and hurry down from here! The nation that you brought out of Egypt has become corrupt. They have been quick to turn aside from the path that I prescribed for them, and they have made themselves a cast statue.'
9:13 God then said to me, 'I see that this is a very stubborn nation.
9:14 Just leave Me alone, and I will destroy them, obliterating their name from under the heavens. I will then make you into a nation greater and more numerous than they.'
9:15 I turned around and went down from the mountain. The mountain was still burning with fire, and the two tablets of the covenant were in my two hands.
9:16 I immediately saw that you had sinned to God your Lord, making a cast calf. You were so quick to turn from the path that God your Lord had prescribed!
9:17 I grasped the two tablets, and threw them down from my two hands, breaking them before your eyes.
9:18 I then threw myself down before God, and just as during the first forty days and forty nights, I did not eat any food or drink water.
9:19 I dreaded the anger and rage that God was directing at you, which had threatened to destroy you. But God also listened to me this time.
9:20 God also expressed great anger toward Aaron, threatening to destroy him, so, at that time, I also prayed for Aaron.
9:21 I took the calf, the sinful thing that you had made, and I burned it in fire. I then pulverized it, grinding it well, until it was as fine as dust, and I threw the dust into the stream flowing down from the mountain.
9:22 At Tav'erah, Massah, and Graves-of-Craving, you also provoked God.
9:23 And at Kadesh Barnea, God sent you forth and said, 'Head north and occupy the land that I have given you,' but you rebelled against the word of God your Lord, and did not have faith in Him or obey Him.
9:24 You have been rebelling against God since the day I knew you!
9:25 [In any case,] because God said He would destroy you, I threw myself down before God [and] lay prostrate for forty days and forty nights.
9:26 My prayer to God was, 'God! Lord! Do not destroy Your nation and heritage, which You liberated with Your greatness, and which You brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand.
9:27 Remember Your servants, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Do not pay attention to the stubbornness of this nation, or to their wickedness and sin.
9:28 'Do not let the land from which You took them say, 'God brought them out to kill them in the desert because He hated them and could not bring them to the land He promised them.'
9:29 After all, they are Your people and Your heritage. You brought them out with Your great power and with Your outstretched arm!'



Commentary:

preparing to
  (Chizzkuni).

like
  (Chizzkuni). Or, 'God your Lord will send a consuming fire across before you' (HaKethav VeHaKabbalah).

basic integrity
  Literally, 'uprightness of heart.'

forty days...
  See Exodus 24:18.

written with...
  Exodus 31:18.

leave Me alone
  By not interceding (Targum), or by ceasing your prayer (Saadia). See Exodus 32:10.

I then threw...
  This took place between 17 Tammuz and 1 Elul (Seder Olam 7). Some say that Moses was on the mountain during this period, while others maintain that he was in his tent (cf. Radak on Pirkey Rabbi Eliezer 46:12).

sinful thing
  (Chizzkuni).

pulverized it
  Exodus 32:20.

Tav'erah
  See Numbers 11:3.

Massah
  Exodus 17:7.

Graves-of-Craving
  Numbers 11:34.

Kadesh Barnea
  When the spies were sent out; see Numbers 13:26.

My prayer
  See Exodus 32:11.





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