Deuteronomy 18:18
I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
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18:15-22 It is here promised concerning Christ, that there should come a Prophet, great above all the prophets; by whom God would make known himself and his will to the children of men, more fully and clearly than he had ever done before. He is the Light of the world, Joh 8:12. He is the World by whom God speaks to us, Joh 1:1; Heb 1:2. In his birth he should be one of their nation. In his resurrection he should be raised up at Jerusalem, and from thence his doctrine should go forth to all the world. Thus God, having raised up his Son Christ Jesus, sent him to bless us. He should be like unto Moses, only above him. This prophet is come, even JESUS; and is He that should come, and we are to look for no other. The view of God which he gives, will not terrify or overwhelm, but encourages us. He speaks with fatherly affection and Divine authority united. Whoever refuses to listen to Jesus Christ, shall find it is at his peril; the same that is the Prophet is to be his Judge, Joh 12:48. Woe then to those who refuse to hearken to His voice, to accept His salvation, or yield obedience to His sway! But happy they who trust in Him, and obey Him. He will lead them in the paths of safety and peace, until He brings them to the land of perfect light, purity, and happiness. Here is a caution against false prophets. It highly concerns us to have a right touchstone wherewith to try the word we hear, that we may know what that word is which the Lord has not spoken. Whatever is against the plain sense of the written word, or which gives countenance or encouragement to sin, we may be sure is not that which the Lord has spoken.The ancient fathers of the Church and the generality of modern commentators have regarded our Lord as the prophet promised in these verses. It is evident from the New Testament alone that the Messianic was the accredited interpretation among the Jews at the beginning of the Christian era (compare the marginal references, and John 4:25); nor can our Lord Himself, when He declares that Moses "wrote of Him" John 5:45-47, be supposed to have any other words more directly in view than these, the only words in which Moses, speaking in his own person, gives any prediction of the kind. But the verses seem to have a further, no less evident if subsidiary, reference to a prophetical order which should stand from time to time, as Moses had done, between God and the people; which should make known God's will to the latter; which should by its presence render it unnecessary either that God should address the people directly, as at Sinai (Deuteronomy 18:16; compare Deuteronomy 5:25 ff), or that the people themselves in lack of counsel should resort to the superstitions of the pagan.

In fact, in the words before us, Moses gives promise both of a prophetic order, and of the Messiah in particular as its chief; of a line of prophets culminating in one eminent individual. And in proportion as we see in our Lord the characteristics of the prophet most perfectly exhibited, so must we regard the promise of Moses as in Him most completely accomplished.

De 18:15-19. Christ the Prophet Is to Be Heard.

15-19. The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet—The insertion of this promise, in connection with the preceding prohibition, might warrant the application (which some make of it) to that order of true prophets whom God commissioned in unbroken succession to instruct, to direct, and warn His people; and in this view the purport of it is, "There is no need to consult with diviners and soothsayers, as I shall afford you the benefit of divinely appointed prophets, for judging of whose credentials a sure criterion is given" (De 18:20-22). But the prophet here promised was pre-eminently the Messiah, for He alone was "like unto Moses" (see on [156]De 34:10) "in His mediatorial character; in the peculiar excellence of His ministry; in the number, variety, and magnitude of His miracles; in His close and familiar communion with God; and in His being the author of a new dispensation of religion." This prediction was fulfilled fifteen hundred years afterwards and was expressly applied to Jesus Christ by Peter (Ac 3:22, 23), and by Stephen (Ac 7:37).

Will put my words in his mouth; will instruct him what to say, reveal myself and my will to him.

He shall speak unto them all that I shall command him; he will faithfully execute the office and trust I commit him.

I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren like unto thee,.... So that it seems this promise or prophecy was first made at Mount Sinai, but now renewed and repeated, and which is nowhere else recorded; see Deuteronomy 18:15 when they were not only made easy for the present by appointing Moses to receive from the Lord all further notices of his mind and will, but were assured that when it was his pleasure to make a new revelation, or a further discovery of his mind and will, in future times, he would not do it in that terrible way he had delivered the law to them; but would raise up a person of their own flesh and blood, by whom it should be delivered, which was sufficient to prevent their fears for the future:

and will put my word in his mouth; the doctrines of the Gospel, which come from God, and are the words of truth, faith, righteousness, peace, pardon, life, and salvation; and which Christ says were not his own, as man and Mediator, but his Father's, which he gave unto him, and put into his mouth, as what he should say, teach, and deliver to others; see John 7:16.

and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him; nor did he keep back, but faithfully declared the whole counsel of God; and as he gave him a commandment what he should say, and what he should speak, he was entirely obedient to it; see John 12:49.

I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his {h} mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.

(h) A promise not only made to Christ, but to all that teach in his name, Isa 59:21.

18. I will raise … like unto thee] These words are not in Deuteronomy 5:25 ff.

put my words in his mouth] Cp. Deuteronomy 5:31, Jeremiah 1:9; Jeremiah 5:14.

Verse 18. - And will put my words in his mouth; will so reveal to him my mind, and so inspire him to utter it, that the words he speaks shall be really my words. The question has been raised whether, by the Prophet like unto Moses, here promised to the people of Israel, is to be understood some eminent individual, or whether this refers to the prophetic διαδοχὴ, or succession, that was to continue under the theocracy. For the latter the context strongly speaks, for

(1) the contrast between what God here forbids the Israelites to do, viz. to resort to diviners and soothsayers, and the provision he would make for them so as to render this needless, point to a succession of prophets rather than to one individual;

(2) the reference in what follows to the discrimination of false prophets from true prophets, shows that a multiplicity and a succession of prophets was in the view of the speaker, not a single individual; and

(3) as a succession of priests, of judges, and of kings was contemplated in this part of the Mosaic legislation, the presumption is that a succession also of prophets was contemplated. At the same time, the use of the singular here is remarkable, for nowhere else is the singular, nabhi, employed to designate more than one individual; and this suggests that the reference here may be to some individual in whom not only was the succession to culminate as in its crown and eminence, but whose spirit was to pervade the whole succession, - that each member of it should exercise his functions only as that Spirit which was in them did signify (1 Peter 1:11). It is possible also, as Oryon Gerlach has suggested, that "Prophet" here may be used as "seed" is in Genesis 3:15, and that this is a prediction of Christ as the True Prophet, just as the assurance to Eve was a prediction of the Messiah, who, as the Head and Crown of the" godly seed," should end the conflict with the serpent and his seed by a crushing victory. It is to be considered also that, whilst the words "like unto me" do not necessarily imply a resemblance in all respects between Moses and the Prophet here promised, and whilst they may be well applied to One superior in many respects to Moses, it would be taking them at much below their real worth were we to understand them of one greatly inferior to Moses, as all the prophets who succeeded him in Israel were until the Chief came (Deuteronomy 34:10; Hebrews 3:1-6). Finally, there can be no doubt that the Jews expected that the Messiah would appear as the Prophet by pre-eminence, and that they founded that expectation on the promise here recorded (cf. John 1:21; John 6:14; Acts 3:22-26; Acts 7:37). It may be added that our Lord seems to apply this to himself, when he says to the Jews, "There is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me" (John 5:45, 46; cf. also John 11:48-50). How early and how widespread was the expectation that the Messiah would come as a prophet, may be inferred from the existence of this among the Samaritans (John 4:25). It is to be concluded, then, that this promise has reference ultimately to the Messiah, the Great Revealer of God, between whom and Moses there should be a long succession of prophets, so that there should always be a medium of Divine communication between Jehovah and his people. Deuteronomy 18:18With this assurance the Lord had fully granted the request of the people, "according to all that thou desiredst of the Lord thy God;" and Israel, therefore, was all the more bound to hearken to the prophets, whom God would raise up from the midst of itself, and not to resort to heathen soothsayers. (On the fact itself, comp. Deuteronomy 5:20. with Exodus 20:15-17.) "In the day of the assembly," as in Deuteronomy 9:10; Deuteronomy 10:4. - The instructions as to their behaviour towards the prophets are given by Moses (Deuteronomy 18:19, Deuteronomy 18:20) in the name of the Lord, for the purpose of enforcing obedience with all the greater emphasis. Whoever did not hearken to the words of the prophet who spoke in the name of the Lord, of him the Lord would require it, i.e., visit the disobedience with punishment (cf. Psalm 10:4, Psalm 10:13). On the other hand, the prophet who spoke in the name of the Lord what the Lord had not commanded him, i.e., proclaimed the thoughts of his own heart as divine revelations (cf. Numbers 16:28), should die, like the prophet who spoke in the name of other gods. With וּמת, the predicate is introduced in the form of an apodosis.
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