Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Wood.
Moses had received this injunction, before he ascended the mount the second time, Exodus xxv. 10. But he executed it only
after he had received the second tables of the law, Exodus xxxvii. 1. (Menochius) --- Some pretend that the made an ark of
setim-wood, to contain the tables, till Beseleel should have completed his, which was covered with gold, and inclosed the
former. (Drusius) --- But this seems unnecessary. (Calmet)
Ver. 3. I
made, or gave orders to have one ready against my return. (Calmet)
Ver. 4. To
me. God had already promulgated the same laws in the hearing of all, Exodus xix. 17. (Haydock)
Ver. 6. Mosera,
by Mount Hor, for there Aaron died, Numbers xx. This and the following verses seem to be inserted by way of parenthesis, (Challoner)
as far as the 10th. The reason of their insertion here cannot easily be explained; but we must adore, in silence, the designs
of the Holy Spirit. (Calmet) --- Moses had just mentioned the ark, designed to contain the tables of the law; and as the priests
and Levites were to be the guardians of those sacred things, he takes occasion to specify something with respect to their
institution, &c. Mosera was perhaps twice visited by the Hebrews. The first time, they came thither from Beroth-Benejaacan,
or from "the well of the children of Jacan," and thence measured back their steps; though, the second time, Mosera,
or Moseroth, is not noticed, because it had been specified already, and they did not stop long there, but proceeded to Gadgad,
Numbers xxxiii. 30. (Bonfrere) (Menochius) --- Others think that Mosera and Benejaacan are not the same places as Moseroth
and Beroth Bensacan, though the names be similar. (Cornelius a Lapide) --- Perhaps it will be more satisfactory to acknowledge,
that Mosera has been transposed by the copyists, as it ought to come before Beroth, particularly as Moses places it in that
order, where he gives an account of the 42 stations; and the Samaritan copy agrees with him in this place. (Calmet) --- It
also retains many words which have been omitted in Hebrew, and in all the versions taken from it; whence the omission seems
to have taken place before the appearance of the version of the Septuagint. The Samaritan version, which is acknowledged to
have preceded the Septuagint, agrees with its text, and reads, "And the children of Israel journeyed from Moseroth,
and pitched in Benejaakan: from thence they journeyed, and pitched in Hagidgad: from thence they journeyed,
and pitched in Jotbathah, a land of rivers of waters: from thence they journeyed, and pitched in Ebronah: from
thence they journeyed, and pitched in Eziongaber: from thence they journeyed, and pitched in the wilderness of Zin,
which is Kadesh: from thence they journeyed, and pitched in Mount Hor. And there Aaron died," &c. (Kennicott,
2. Dis.) --- Thus Mosera will be the 27th, and Mount Hor the 34th station; (Pococke) whence the Israelites departed, after
the death of Aaron, to Salmona, directing their course to the countries east of the Jordan, which had been promised to them.
The appointment of Eleazar to succeed Aaron, and the separation of the Levites unto the Lord, should be all placed together,
after the different encampments. (Haydock)
Ver. 8. Time,
during the pontificate of Aaron, Numbers iii. 6. (Menochius) --- God had made this appointment at Sinai, (Exodus xxviii. 1,)
where he ordered the tabernacle and the priests to be consecrated. Upon the sedition of Core, which probably took place at
Jetebata, he confirmed the rights of the Levitical tribe, Numbers xvi. 17, 18. (Calmet) --- Ark. The priests carried
it, on more solemn occasions, (Josue iii. 3,) as they also blessed the people. (Menochius) --- Yet the Levites sung the praises
of God, in which sense the word blessing is often used, 1 Paralipomenon xxiii. 13. Hence Castalio translates, "to
celebrate his name."
Ver. 10. Stood.
Moses does not follow the order of events, but recalls to the minds of his audience what might serve to make the deepest impression
upon them. He mentions some farther instructions which he had received from God on Mount Sinai, during the second term of
40 days. (Calmet) --- It might have been placed in a more natural order at the head of this chapter. (Menochius) --- Some
believe that Moses speaks of the third fast of 40 days. (Salien)
Ver. 12. And
now. He shews what advantages may be derived from a constant observance of the commandments, that it may be well with
thee, ver. 13. God stands not in need of our services, (ver. 14,) but chooses whom he pleases to display the treasures
of his love, (ver. 15,) which ought to move us strongly to make him a suitable return of gratitude, (Calmet) by withdrawing
our affections from every thing that may be displeasing to him, ver. 16. If we refuse, we must expect to fall under the rod
of his indignation, notwithstanding all the efforts of his clemency, which he holds forth for our imitation, ver. 17, 19.
He will judge all alike, the rich and the poor. (Haydock)
Ver. 14. Of
heaven. The Scripture mentions the third heaven, (2 Corinthians xii. 2,) where the majesty of God most gloriously appears.
The second is the region of the stars, and the first the atmosphere, where the birds and the clouds move about. (Calmet)
Ver. 15. Joined,
(conglutinatus) as it were, with glue, (Haydock) to shew the vehemence of love. (Menochius)
Ver. 16. Circumcise.
The Hebrews esteem circumcision as a mark of their greatest glory. All who had it not, were looked upon as profane. They call
the ears, mind, and heart uncircumcised, when they would not hear, understand, or obey the law of God. St. Paul (Romans ii.
28) frequently inculcates this interior circumcision, to which Moses alludes in these his last exhortations, chap. xxx. 6.
The people had not regularly practised circumcision in the desert. Moses takes care to raise their thoughts to something more
spiritual; and declares, in clearer terms than he had hitherto done, the necessity of loving God. All must be banished from
the heart which might resist this love. (Calmet) --- Vanity, blindness, luxury, must be retrenched. (Menochius)
Ver. 17. Gods.
Idols are nothing, 1 Corinthians viii. 4. Hence Theodoret supposes, that all who have authority upon earth are here
designated. But admitting the false notions of the pagans respecting their gods, the superiority of the true God is here asserted;
(Calmet) and all, both in heaven and on earth, gods and lords, must bow before him. (Haydock)
Ver. 18. Widow.
God resents the injuries done to such, Exodus xxii. 22.
Ver. 20. Only,
a word not found in the Hebrew, but deemed necessary by the Septuagint to express the true meaning of this passage. See chap.
vi. 13. (Calmet) --- Name, when an oath is necessary. Thou shalt never swear by false gods. (Worthington)
Ver. 21. Praise,
the object whom thou must praise, and the source of all thy happiness and glory. Other nations will revere the Jews on this
account. (Calmet) --- An ancient oracle could not refuse giving them this singular commendation, though to the prejudice of
idolatry. "Chaldeans alone philosophy may claim---but Hebrews worship God, the self-born King---with pure religion." (Haydock)
--- agnós, (Calmet) St. Cyril, contra Julian 5., and St. Justin Martyr, Hortatory Address to the Greeks xi.,
read auton, him. But the meaning is clear from the context. The palm of wisdom is given to the Chaldeans for natural
learning, and to the Jews for divinity. (Watson, Proleg. xii.) Porphyrius owns the oracle. (Theodoret) (Haydock)
Ver. 22. Seventy.
Some copies of the Septuagint add "five," with St. Stephen. [Acts vii. 14.] See Genesis xlvi. 26. (Calmet)