Thoughts and Reflection
Today we get a recap of the Israelites’ journey. It is a very detailed view of the towns they moved through to get to the Promised Land.
In Deuteronomy God gives Moses a song that he is told to teach the people. The song seems to be harsh and speaks mostly of their faithlessness. It says that when they choose to be faithless, he will let them have what they have chosen. Seeking something other than the Lord will cause the Israelites pain. God will not let them experience this pain so they can see how good he is and that he will never abandon them. We all need to learn this lesson. We belong to only one God.
God does allow us to go after other things so we learn he is the one that we need and the only one who loves us and saves us. Even when we are faithless, God remains faithful to us.
1 These were the stages of the journey made by the Israelites when they left Egypt in their companies under the leadership of Moses and Aaron.
2 Moses recorded their starting-points in writing whenever they moved on at Yahweh’s order. The stages, from one starting-point to another, were as follows:
3 They left Rameses in the first month. It was the fifteenth day of the first month, the day following the Passover, when the Israelitesconfidently set out, under the eyes of all Egypt.
4 The Egyptians were burying those of their own people whom Yahweh had struck down, all the first-born; Yahweh had carried out his judgement on their gods.
5 The Israelites left Rameses and camped at Succoth.
6 Then they left Succoth and encamped at Etham which is on the edge of the desert.
7 They left Etham, turned back to Pi-Hahiroth, opposite Baal-Zephon, and encamped before Migdol.
8 They left Pi-Hahiroth, crossed the sea into the desert, and after marching for three days in the desert of Etham they encamped at Marah.
9 They left Marah and reached Elim. At Elim there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees; they encamped there.
10 They left Elim and encamped by the Sea of Reeds.
11 They left the Sea of Reeds and encamped in the desert of Sin.
12 They left the desert of Sin and encamped at Dophkah.
13 They left Dophkah and encamped at Alush.
14 They left Alush and encamped at Rephidim; the people found no drinking water there.
15 They left Rephidim and encamped in the desert of Sinai.
16 They left the desert of Sinai and encamped at Kibroth-ha-Taavah.
17 They left Kibroth-ha-Taavah and encamped at Hazeroth.
18 They left Hazeroth and encamped at Rithmah.
19 They left Rithmah and encamped at Rimmon-Perez.
20 They left Rimmon-Perez and encamped at Libnah.
21 They left Libnah and encamped at Rissah.
22 They left Rissah and encamped at Kehelathah.
23 They left Kehelathah and encamped at Mount Shepher.
24 They left Mount Shepher and encamped at Haradah.
25 They left Haradah and encamped at Makheloth.
26 They left Makheloth and encamped at Tahath.
27 They left Tahath and encamped at Terah.
28 They left Terah and encamped at Mithkah.
29 They left Mithkah and encamped at Hashmonah.
30 They left Hashmonah and encamped at Moseroth.
31 They left Moseroth and encamped at Bene-Jaakan.
32 They left Bene-Jaakan and encamped at Hor-Gidgad.
33 They left Hor-Gidgad and encamped at Jotbathah.
34 They left Jotbathah and encamped at Abronah.
35 They left Abronah and encamped at Ezion-Geber.
36 They left Ezion-Geber and encamped in the desert of Zin, that is, at Kadesh.
37 They left Kadesh and encamped at Mount Hor, on the borders of the land of Edom.
38 The priest Aaron went up Mount Hor on Yahweh’s orders and died there in the fortieth year of the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, in the fifth month, on the first day of the month.
39 Aaron was a hundred and twenty-three years old when he died on Mount Hor.
40 The king of Arad, the Canaanite who lived in the Negeb of Canaan, heard of the Israelites’ arrival.
41 They left Mount Hor and encamped at Zalmonah.
42 They left Zalmonah and encamped at Punon.
43 They left Punon and encamped at Oboth.
44 They left Oboth and encamped in Moabite territory at Iye-Abarim.
45 They left Iyim and encamped at Dibon-Gad.
46 They left Dibon-Gad and encamped at Almon-Diblathaim.
47 They left Almon-Diblathaim and encamped in the Abarim mountains facing Nebo.
48 They left the Abarim mountains and encamped on the Plains of Moab, near the Jordan opposite Jericho.
49 They encamped near the Jordan between Beth-ha-Jeshimoth and Abel-ha-Shittim, on the Plains of Moab.
50 Yahweh spoke to Moses on the Plains of Moab, near the Jordan by Jericho, and said:
51 ‘Speak to the Israelites and say: “When you have crossed the Jordan into Canaan,
52 you will drive out all the local inhabitants before you. You will destroy all their painted images, you will destroy all their metal statues and you will demolish all their high places.
53 You will take possession of the country and settle in it, for I have given you the country as your property.
54 You will share it out by lot among your clans. To a large clan you will give a larger heritage, and to a smaller clan you will give a smaller heritage. Where the lot falls for each, that will be his. Your heritage will depend on the size of your tribe.
55 If, however, you do not drive out the local inhabitants before you, the ones you allow to remain will be thorns in your eyes and thistles in your sides and will harass you in the country where you are living,
56 and I shall treat you as I intended to treat them.” ‘
1 Listen, heavens, while I speak; hear, earth, the words that I shall say!
2 May my teaching fall like the rain, may my word drop down like the dew, like showers on the grass, like light rain on the turf!
3 For I shall proclaim the name of Yahweh. Oh, tell the greatness of our God!
4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are equitable. A trustworthy God who does no wrong, he is the Honest, the Upright One!
5 They have acted perversely, those he fathered without blemish, a deceitful and underhand brood.
6 Is this the return you make to Yahweh? O people brainless and unwise! Is this not your father, who gave you being, who made you, by whom you subsist?
7 Think back on the days of old, think over the years, down the ages. Question your father, let him explain to you, your elders, and let them tell you!
8 When the Most High gave the nations each their heritage, when he partitioned out the human race, he assigned the boundaries of nations according to the number of the children of God,
9 but Yahweh’s portion was his people, Jacob was to be the measure of his inheritance.
10 In the desert he finds him, in the howling expanses of the wastelands. He protects him, rears him, guards him as the pupil of his eye.
11 Like an eagle watching its nest, hovering over its young, he spreads out his wings to hold him, he supports him on his pinions.
12 Yahweh alone is his guide; no alien god for him!
13 He gives him the heights of the land to ride, he feeds him on the yield of the mountains, he gives him honey from the rock to taste, and oil from the flinty crag;
14 curds from the cattle, milk from the flock, and the richness of the pasture, rams of Bashan’s breed, and goats, the richness of the wheat kernel; the fermented blood of the grape for drink.
15 Jacob has eaten to his heart’s content, Jeshurun, grown fat, has now lashed out. (You have grown fat, gross, bloated.) He has disowned the God who made him, and dishonoured the Rock, his salvation,
16 whose jealousy they aroused with foreigners — with things detestable they angered him.
17 They sacrificed to demons who are not God, to gods hitherto unknown to them, to newcomers of yesterday whom their ancestors had never respected.
18 (You forget the Rock who fathered you, the God who made you, you no longer remember.)
19 Yahweh saw it and, in anger, he spurned his sons and daughters.
20 ‘I shall hide my face from them,’ he said, ‘and see what will become of them. For they are a deceitful brood, children with no loyalty in them.
21 They have roused me to jealousy with a non-god, they have exasperated me with their idols. In my turn I shall rouse them to jealousywith a non-people, I shall exasperate them with a stupid nation.
22 Yes, a fire has blazed from my anger, it will burn right down to the depths of Sheol; it will devour the earth and all its produce, it will set fire to the footings of the mountains.
23 I shall hurl disasters on them, on them I shall use up all my arrows.
24 They will be weakened by hunger, eaten away by plague and the bitter scourge. Against them I shall send the fang of wild animals and the poison of snakes that glide in the dust.
25 Outside, the sword bereaves, while inside terror will reign. Young man and girl alike will perish, suckling and greybeard both together.
26 I should crush them to dust, I said, I should wipe out all memory of them,
27 did I not fear the boasting of the enemy.’ But do not let their foes be mistaken! Do not let them say, ‘We have got the upper hand and Yahweh plays no part in this.’
28 What a short-sighted nation this is, how thoroughly imperceptive!
29 Were they wise, they would succeed, they would be able to read their destiny.
30 How else could one man rout a thousand, how could two put ten thousand to flight, were it not that their Rock has sold them, that Yahweh has delivered them up?
31 But their rock is not like our Rock; our enemies cannot pray for us!
32 For their vine springs from the stock of Sodom and from the groves of Gomorrah: their grapes are poisonous grapes, their clusters are bitter;
33 their wine is snakes’ poison, the vipers’ cruel venom.
34 But he, is he not safe with me, sealed inside my treasury?
35 Vengeance is mine, I will pay them back, for the time when they make a false step. For the day of their ruin is close, doom is rushing towards them, for he will see to it that their power fails. that neither serf nor free man remains.
36 (For Yahweh will see his people righted, he will take pity on his servants.)
37 ‘Where are their gods then?’ he will ask, ‘the rock where they sought refuge,
38 who ate the fat of their sacrifices and drank the wine of their libations?’ Let these arise and help you, let these be the shelter above you!
39 See now that I, I am he, and beside me there is no other god. It is I who deal death and life; when I have struck, it is I who heal (no one can rescue anyone from me).
40 Yes, I raise my hand to heaven, and I say, ‘As surely as I live for ever,
41 When I have whetted my flashing sword, I shall enforce justice, I shall return vengeance to my foes, I shall take vengeance on my foes.
42 I shall make my arrows drunk with blood, and my sword will feed on flesh: the blood of the wounded and the prisoners, the dishevelled heads of the enemy!’
43 Heavens, rejoice with him, let all the children of God pay him homage! Nations, rejoice with his people, let God’s envoys tell of his power! For he will avenge the blood of his servants, he will return vengeance to my foes, he will repay those who hate him and purify his people’s country.
44 Moses came with Joshua son of Nun and recited all the words of this song in the people’s hearing.
45 When Moses had finished reciting these words to all Israel,
46 he said to them, ‘Take all these words to heart; I intend them today to be evidence against you. You must order your children to keep and observe all the words of this Law.
47 You must not think of this as empty words, for the Law is your life, and by its means you will live long in the country which you are crossing the Jordan to possess.’
48 Yahweh spoke to Moses that same day and said to him,
49 ‘Climb this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, in the country of Moab, opposite Jericho, and view the Canaan which I am giving to the Israelites as their domain.
50 Die on the mountain you have climbed, and be gathered to your people, as your brother Aaron died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people.
51 Because, with the other Israelites, you broke faith with me at the Waters of Meribah-Kadesh in the desert of Zin, because you did not make my holiness clear to the Israelites;
52 you may only see the country from outside; you cannot enter it — the country which I am giving to the Israelites.’
1 Alleluia! Give thanks to Yahweh for he is good, for his faithful love endures for ever.
2 Let the House of Israel say, ‘His faithful love endures for ever.’
3 Let the House of Aaron say, ‘His faithful love endures for ever.’
4 Let those who fear Yahweh say, ‘His faithful love endures for ever.’
5 In my distress I called to Yahweh, he heard me and brought me relief.
6 With Yahweh on my side I fear nothing; what can human beings do to me?
7 With Yahweh on my side as my help, I gloat over my enemies.
8 It is better to take refuge in Yahweh than to rely on human beings;
9 better to take refuge in Yahweh than to rely on princes.
10 Nations were swarming around me, in the name of Yahweh I cut them down;
11 they swarmed around me, pressing upon me, in the name of Yahweh I cut them down.
12 They swarmed around me like bees, they flared up like a brushwood fire, in the name of Yahweh I cut them down.
13 I was pushed hard, to make me fall, but Yahweh came to my help.
14 Yahweh is my strength and my song, he has been my Saviour.
15 Shouts of joy and salvation, in the tents of the upright, ‘Yahweh’s right hand is triumphant,
16 Yahweh’s right hand is victorious, Yahweh’s right hand is triumphant!’
17 I shall not die, I shall live to recount the great deeds of Yahweh.
18 Though Yahweh punished me sternly, he has not abandoned me to death.
19 Open for me the gates of saving justice, I shall go in and thank Yahweh.
20 This is the gate of Yahweh, where the upright go in.
21 I thank you for hearing me, and making yourself my Saviour.
22 The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;
23 This is Yahweh’s doing, and we marvel at it.
24 This is the day which Yahweh has made, a day for us to rejoice and be glad.
25 We beg you, Yahweh, save us, we beg you, Yahweh, give us victory!
26 Blessed in the name of Yahweh is he who is coming! We bless you from the house of Yahweh.
27 Yahweh is God, he gives us light. Link your processions, branches in hand, up to the horns of the altar.
28 You are my God, I thank you, all praise to you, my God. I thank you for hearing me, and making yourself my Saviour.
29 Give thanks to Yahweh for he is good, for his faithful love endures for ever.