For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regards not persons, nor takes reward:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Deuteronomy 10:17. Who regardeth not persons — Whether Jews or Gentiles, but deals justly and equally with all sorts of men; and as whosoever fears and obeys him shall be accepted, (namely, through faith in the Messiah, working by love,) so all incorrigible transgressors shall be severely punished, and you no less than other people; therefore, do not flatter yourselves, as if God would bear with your sins because of his particular kindness to you or to your fathers.Genesis 17:10. This verse points to the spiritual import of circumcision. Man is by nature "very far gone from original righteousness," and in a state of enmity to God; by circumcision, as the sacrament of admission to the privileges of the chosen people, this opposition must be taken away ere man could enter into covenant with God. It was through the flesh that man first sinned; as it is also in the flesh, its functions, lusts, etc., that man's rebellion against God chiefly manifests itself still. It was fitting therefore that the symbol which should denote the removal of this estrangement from God should be worked in the body. Moses then fitly follows up the command "to circumcise the heart," with the warning "to be no more stiff-necked." His meaning is that they should lay aside that obduracy and perverseness toward God for which he had been reproving them, which had led them into so many transgressions of the covenant and revolts from God, and which was especially the very contrary of that love and fear of God required by the first two of the Ten Commandments. The language associated with circumcision in the Bible distinguishes the use made of this rite in the Jewish religion from that found among certain pagan nations. Circumcision was practiced by some of them as a religious rite, designed (e. g.) to appease the deity of death who was supposed to delight in human suffering; but not by any, the Egyptians probably excepted, at all in the Jewish sense and meaning.
The grounds on which circumcision was imposed as essential by the Law are the same as those on which Baptism is required in the Gospel. The latter in the New Testament is strictly analogous to the former under the Old; compare Colossians 2:11-12.Regardeth not persons, whether Jews or Gentiles, but deals justly and equally with all sorts of men; and as whosoever fears and obeys him shall be accepted of him, so all incorrigible transgressors shall be severely punished, and you no less than other people; therefore do not flatter yourselves as if God would bear with your sins because of his particular kindness to you or to your fathers.
the Lord of lords; of the kings and princes of the earth, who have their crowns, sceptres, and kingdoms from him, and hold them of him, by and under whom they reign and decree judgment, and who are subject to his authority and control:
a great God; as the perfections of his nature, the works of his hands, the blessings of his providence and grace, and the extensiveness of his dominion in heaven, earth, and hell, show him to be:
a mighty and a terrible; mighty and powerful to help, protect, and defend his people; terrible to his and their enemies, even to the kings of the earth:
which regardeth not persons; but bestows his favours, whether in a way of providence or grace, according to his sovereign will and pleasure, without regard to the works and merits of men, their characters or circumstances:
nor taketh reward; or bribes, to avert threatened and deserved judgments; see Job 36:18.For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)17. God of gods, and Lord of lords] Heb. idiom for the highest God and Lord (cp. Deuteronomy 10:14, heaven of heavens).
the great God, the mighty, and the terrible] The Heb. can also mean, as in A.V., a great God, etc.; or the superlative, the God, the greatest, most mighty, and terrible. This is probably to be preferred. Yet even so there is no assertion, such as we find in exilic and post-exilic writers, of the sole Godhead of Jehovah. See above on Deuteronomy 6:4.
regardeth not persons] Lit. lifteth not up faces (opposed to turning away faces), i.e. either by granting their requests (Genesis 19:21) or receiving them graciously (Genesis 32:20); or by being inordinately influenced by them (Job 32:21); or, as here, by showing them an unjust partiality (cp. Deuteronomy 28:50). The same idea concerning human judges is found in Deuteronomy 1:17, but expressed by another verb.
reward] or, bribe, Exodus 23:8, R.V. a gift. See further on Deuteronomy 16:19.Verse 17. - God of gods (Psalm 136:2). Not only supreme over all that are called god, but the complex and sum of all that is Divine; the Great Reality, of which the "gods many" of the nations were at the best but the symbols of particular attributes or qualities. Which regardeth not persons; is not partial, as a judge who has respect to the condition and circumstances of parties rather than to the merits of the case (cf. Leviticus 19:15; Acts 10:34; Ephesians 6:9; Jude 1:16). Nor taketh reward; cloth not accept presents as bribes (cf. Deuteronomy 16:19; 2 Chronicles 19:7; Job 34:19; Micah 3:11). Deuteronomy 10:8, Moses returns to the form of an address again, and refers to the separation of the tribe of Levi for the holy service, as a manifestation of mercy on the part of the Lord towards Israel. The expression "at that time" is not to be understood as relating to the time of Aaron's death in the fortieth year of the march, in which Knobel finds a contradiction to the other books. It refers quite generally, as in Deuteronomy 9:20 and Deuteronomy 10:1, to the time of which Moses is speaking here, viz., the time when the covenant was restored at Sinai. The appointment of the tribe of Levi for service at the sanctuary took place in connection with the election of Aaron and his sons to the priesthood (Exodus 28 and 29), although their call to this service, instead of the first-born of Israel, was not carried out till the numbering and mustering of the people (Numbers 1:49., Deuteronomy 4:17., Deuteronomy 8:6.). Moses is speaking here of the election of the whole of the tribe of Levi, including the priests (Aaron and his sons), as is very evident from the account of their service. It is true that the carrying of the ark upon the march through the desert was the business of the (non-priestly) Levites, viz., the Kohathites (Numbers 4:4.); but on solemn occasions the priests had to carry it (cf. Joshua 3:3, Joshua 3:6, Joshua 3:8; Joshua 6:6; 1 Kings 8:3.). "Standing before the Lord, to serve Him, and to bless in His name," was exclusively the business of the priests (cf. Deuteronomy 18:5; Deuteronomy 21:5, and Numbers 6:23.), whereas the Levites were only assistants of the priests in their service (see at Deuteronomy 18:7). This tribe therefore received no share and possession with the other tribes, as was already laid down in Numbers 18:20 with reference to the priests, and in Numbers 18:24 with regard to all the Levites; to which passages the words "as the Lord thy God promised him" refer. - Lastly, in Deuteronomy 10:10, Deuteronomy 10:11, Moses sums up the result of his intercession in the words, "And I stood upon the mount as the first days, forty days (a resumption of Deuteronomy 9:18 and Deuteronomy 9:25); and the Lord hearkened to me this time also (word for word, as in Deuteronomy 9:19). "Jehovah would not destroy thee (Israel)." Therefore He commanded Moses to arise to depart before the people, i.e., as leader of the people to command and superintend their removal and march. In form, this command is connected with Exodus 34:1; but Moses refers here not only to that word of the Lord with the limitation added there in Exodus 34:2, but to the ultimate, full, and unconditional assurance of God, in which the Lord Himself promised to go with His people and bring them to Canaan (Exodus 34:14.).
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