Pristine Grace

Deut 32:1-4, (GILL)
1  INTRODUCTION TO DEUTERONOMY 32

This chapter contains the song mentioned and referred to in the former, the preface to it, De 32:1; the character of the divine and illustrious Person it chiefly respects, De 32:4; the ingratitude of the people of the Jews to him, who were a crooked and perverse generation, aggravated by his having bought, made, and established them, De 32:5; and which is further aggravated by various instances of divine goodness to them, first in providing and reserving a suitable country for them, at the time of the division of the earth to the sons of men, with the reason of it, De 32:7; then by what the Lord did for them in the wilderness, De 32:10; after that in the land of Canaan, where they enjoyed plenty of all good things, and in the possession of which they were, when the illustrious Person described appeared among them, De 32:13; and then the sin of ingratitude to him, before hinted at, is fully expressed, namely, lightly esteeming the rock of salvation, the Messiah, De 32:15; nor could they stop here, but proceed to more ungodliness, setting up other messiahs and saviours, which were an abomination to the Lord, De 32:16; continuing sacrifices when they should not, which were therefore reckoned no other than sacrifices to demons, and especially the setting up of their new idol, their own righteousness, was highly provoking; and by all this they clearly showed they had forgot the rock, the Saviour, De 32:17; wherefore, for the rejection of the Messiah and the, persecution of his followers, they would be abhorred of God, De 32:19; who would show his resentment by the rejection of them, by the calling of the Gentiles, and by bringing the nation of the Romans upon them, De 32:20; whereby utter ruin and destruction in all its shapes would be brought upon them, De 32:22; and, were it not for the insolence of their adversaries, would be entirely destroyed, being such a foolish and unwise people, which appears by not observing what the enemies of the Messiah themselves allow, that there is no rock like him, whom they despised, De 32:26; which enemies are described, and the vengeance reserved for them pointed out, De 32:32; and the song closed with promises of grace and mercy to the Lord's people, and wrath and ruin to his and their enemies, on which account all are called upon to rejoice in the latter day, De 32:36; and this song being delivered by Moses, the people of Israel are exhorted seriously to attend to it, it being of the utmost importance to them, De 32:44; and the chapter is concluded with a relation of Moses being ordered to go up to Mount Nebo and die, with the reason of it, De 32:48.

Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth,the words of my mouth. This song is prefaced and introduced in a very grand and pompous manner, calling on the heavens and earth to give attention; by which they themselves may be meant, by a "prosopopaeia", a figure frequently used in Scripture, when things of great moment and importance are spoken of; and these are called upon to hearken, either to rebuke the stupidity and inattention of men, or to show that these would shed or withhold their influences, their good things, according to the obedience or disobedience of Israel; or because these are durable and lasting, and so would ever be witnesses for God and against his people: Gaon, as Aben Ezra observes, by the heavens understands the angels, and by the earth the men of the earth, the inhabitants of both worlds, which is not amiss: and by these words of Moses are meant the words of the song, referred to in De 31:29; here called his words, not because they were of him, but because they were put into his mouth, and about to be expressed by him, not in his own name, but in the name of the Lord; and not as the words of the law, which came by him, but as the words and doctrines of the Gospel concerning Christ, of whom Moses here writes; whose character he gives, and whose person and office he vindicates against the Jews, whom he accuses and brings a charge of ingratitude against for rejecting him, to which our Lord seems to refer, Joh 5:45; the prophecies of their rejection, the calling of the Gentiles, the destruction of the Jews by the Romans, and the miseries they should undergo, and yet should not be wholly extirpated out of the world, but continue a people, who in the latter days would be converted, return to their own land, and their enemies be destroyed; which are some of the principal things in this song, and which make it worthy of attention and observation.

2  My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew,.... Which some, as Aben Ezra, take to be a prayer or wish, that the doctrine spoken by him might fall upon men like rain and dew on the earth, penetrate into their hearts, and influence them, and produce good effects there; but the words rather seem to be a prophecy of what would be: and by his "doctrine" and "speech", which signify the same thing, is meant, not his law, which was fiery, this cooling, like rain and dew; that was like a storm, this as a gentle rain; that was terrible, this desirable; that was distressing, this refreshing, this no other than the Gospel, the speech of God, the doctrine of Christ, the doctrine of grace, and mercy through him, and of life and salvation by him: it has its name from a word, which signifies to "receive" [f]; for it was received from God by Moses, and by the prophets after him, by Christ himself, as Mediator, and by the apostles from him, and is worthy of the acceptation of all: this is comparable to "rain", because, like that, it comes from heaven, is the gift of God, tarries not for man, but comes without any desert of man, and often without his desire; falls by divine direction in places and on persons, as the Lord's will and pleasure is, and that in great plenty, with a fulness of spiritual blessings, and precious promises; and for its effects, it cools the conscience, filled with fiery wrath and indignation, moistens and softens the hard heart, like the dry and parched earth, refreshes and revives the drooping spirit, and makes barren souls fruitful in grace and good works: and it is like "dew", which also is from heaven, and of God, fell in the night of the world; and as that falls in a temperate air, so this, when the stormy dispensation of the law was over; and though but a small thing in the eyes of the world, is of great influence, the power of God unto salvation, very grateful and delightful, and of great moment and importance; hereby the love and favour of God is diffused, the blessings of grace dispensed, the heavenly manna communicated, and the Spirit and his graces received: and this, like rain and dew, "drops" and "distils" silently, not in a noisy manner as the law; insensibly, falling on persons at an unawares, in great abundance, like the drops of rain and dew; and effectually, working in all that believe: dew was a symbol of doctrine with the Egyptians [g]: this is further illustrated:

as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: the first of those words for "rain", according to Jarchi, has the signification of a stormy wind, but that seems to contradict the gentle dropping and distilling of it; rather it signifies "hairs" [h], and denotes, as our version, the smallness of the rain, being as small, thin, and light as hairs; and the latter word [i] has the signification of millions and thousands, there being such vast, numbers as those in a shower of rain: the "tender herb" and "grass" may denote the multitude of persons to whom the Gospel would come, and be made useful; and may describe sensible sinners, tender consciences, such as are weak in themselves, with whom it is the day of small things, are newborn babes, little children; who are just springing up in grace, as among the grass, and as willows by the water courses: now all this is said by Moses, to recommend his doctrine, as well as what follows.

[f] yxql a xql "accepit". [g] Hor. Hieroglyph. l. 1. c. 26. [h] Mryev a rev "pilus", Lev. xiii. 10. [i] Mybybr a bbr "multum", see Psal. cxliv. 13.

3  Because I will publish the name of the Lord,.... Not call on his name, as some, nor call to the heaven and earth in his name, as others, but proclaim his name, even the same that was proclaimed before Moses, Ex 34:6; and this is to be understood, not of Jehovah the Father, nor of Jehovah the Spirit, but of Jehovah the Son, the rock whose work is perfect, and the rock of salvation, De 32:4; and not of any particular name of his, unless any of those mentioned can be thought to be intended; rather his perfections and attributes, or his Gospel, called his name, Ac 9:15; though his name may signify no other than himself, who is the sum and substance of the Gospel, and who, in his person, office, grace, and salvation, is to be published and proclaimed, openly and publicly, constantly and faithfully, and his name only; for there is no other under heaven whereby man can be saved:

ascribe ye greatness unto our God; to Christ, the rock of salvation, who is truly God, our God, God in our nature, God manifest in the flesh, and who is the great God, and our Saviour, and therefore greatness is to be ascribed to him: he is great in his person and perfections; his works are great, those of creation and providence, and particularly of redemption and salvation; he is great in his offices, a great Saviour, a great High priest, a great Prophet, a great King, and the great Shepherd of the sheep: those that are called upon to give greatness to him, which is his due, are the heavens and the earth, De 32:1; and both have, literally and figuratively considered, bore a testimony to his greatness; the heavens, at his birth a wonderful star appeared, directing the wise men to him; at his death the sun was darkened; at his ascension the heavens were opened and received him, and still retain him; even God in heaven, by a voice from thence, bore witness of him as his beloved Son, in whom he was well pleased; also by raising him from the dead, declaring him to be the Son of God with power, and by exalting him at his right hand as a Saviour, and by the effusion of the Spirit on his apostles, to preach and spread his Gospel; the angels in heaven ascribed greatness to him, by their worship of him when he came into the world, by the declaration they made of him at his incarnation, and by the testimony they bore to his resurrection, and by their subjection to him in all things: the church below, sometimes called heaven, in the book of the Revelation, ascribe all honour, glory, and greatness to him: the earth, the whole terraqueous globe, in it have been displayed the greatness of Christ, the power and glory of his divinity; in the sea by becoming a calm at his word of command, in the rocks by being rent at his death, and will be in both by delivering up the dead in them, at the last day: the inhabitants of the earth, especially the redeemed from among men, ascribe greatness to him, by attributing daily to him all the perfections of the Godhead, and the glory of their salvation: Aben Ezra says, Moses refers to the heavens and the earth, or respects them, and compares with this Ps 19:1.

4  [He is] the rock,.... That is, Jehovah is the rock, whose name Moses proposed to publish; and our God, to whom the heavens and the earth are called upon to ascribe greatness, even Christ the rock of salvation: here begins the song; the first word in it is very emphatic; it has a letter in it larger than usual, to denote the greatness of this Person, and to make it observable; he is "this" or "that rock" [k], by way of eminence, that rock and stone of Israel, Jacob prophesied of, which was typified by the rock Moses had smitten in the wilderness, and which, no doubt, he knew, as the Apostle Paul did, that it was a type of Christ, and had taught the Israelites so to understand it; and therefore this epithet of a divine Person would not seem strange to them, and yet is that rock the unbelieving Jews would and did stumble at, and the rock of salvation they lightly esteemed and rejected; the rock of refuge for sensible sinners to flee unto for shelter and safety from the wrath and justice of God, and from every enemy; the rock the church of God and every believer are built upon, and in which they dwell; and who is the rock of ages that will endure forever, as the Saviour of his people, and the foundation of their faith and hope:

his work [is] perfect; not so much the work of creation or of providence, which are both the works of Christ, but that of redemption and salvation, in which there is not only a display of all the divine perfections, but is complete in all its parts; the law is perfectly fulfilled, justice is fully satisfied, a perfect righteousness is wrought out, a complete pardon is procured, perfect peace is made, full atonement of sins obtained, and the whole work is finished; and is so perfect that nothing is wanting in it, or can be added to it, nor can it be unravelled or undone again: likewise the work of building the church on this rock is carrying on, and will be perfected when all the elect of God, all given to Christ and redeemed by his blood, shall be called by grace and gathered in; when the last of the chosen ones, and redeemed of the Lamb, is brought in and laid in the building; when Christ shall deliver up the kingdom to the Father complete, and God shall be all in all, and his church and people will be in a perfect state to all eternity:

for all his ways [are] judgment; his ways, which he himself has taken and walked in; his ways of providence are according to the best judgment and highest wisdom, and according to the strictest justice and equity; his ways of grace towards the salvation of his people, and the building up his church on himself, the rock; all the methods he took in eternity and time were all formed according to the counsel of God, and planned with the greatest wisdom, founded in his righteous nature, and according to covenant compact with his Father, and entered into in the most honourable manner; and in which he brought about the salvation of his people, in perfect consistence with the justice and holiness of God, and to the honour of them and his holy law: and he has executed all his offices of prophet, priest, and King, in the most just and righteous manner: the ways which he has prescribed his people to walk in, and in which he leads them, are ways of truth, righteousness, and holiness; such are all his ordinances and commandments:

a God of truth; so Christ is called, See Gill on "Isa 65:16"; or the true God, which also is his name, 1Jo 5:20; and is so called in opposition to fictitious deities, and such who are only so by name or office, but not by nature; whereas he is truly and properly God, as appears from his names and nature, from his perfections, works, and worship, ascribed to him: or "God the truth" [l], for he is "the truth", Joh 14:6; the truth of all types, promises, and prophecies, which all have their accomplishment in him; the sum and substance of all truths and doctrines, from whom they all come, and in whom they all centre: or "the God of faith" or "faithfulness" [m]; the object of faith, and the author and finisher of it; and who is faithful, as the God-man and Mediator, to him that appointed him, being intrusted with all the elect of God, with all promises and blessings of grace for them, with the fulness of grace to communicate unto them, with the glory of God in their salvation, and with their future and final happiness; and is faithful in the discharge of his offices of prophet, priest, and King:

and without iniquity; in his nature, in his heart, in his lips, and in his life; nor was ever any committed by him:

just and right [is] he; just, both as a divine Person, and as man and Mediator; a lover and doer of righteousness, a worker out of righteousness for his people, and the justifier of them by it; just and righteous, as the, servant of God, as King of saints, and Judge of the whole world; "right" or "upright", which is the character of a divine Person, agrees with Christ, and may denote his sincerity, uprightness, and faithfulness.

[k] rwuh "quod attinet ad rupem illam", Piscator; "rupes illa", Van Till; "rupes illa", Vitringa. [l] hnwma la "Deus veritas", Pagninus, Montanus. [m] "Deus fidei", Vatablus, Cocceius; "Deus veritatis sive fidei", Vitringa.

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