And the Israelites owed to the grace of their God, which was turned towards them once more, through the intercession of Moses, not only the restoration of the tables of the covenant as a pledge that the covenant itself was restored, but also the institution and maintenance of the high-priesthood and priesthood generally for the purpose of mediation between them and the Lord.
(Note: Even Clericus pointed out this connection, and paraphrased Deu 10:6 and Deu 10:7 as follows: “But when, as I have said, God forgave the Hebrew people, He pardoned my brother Aaron also, who did not die till the fortieth year after we had come out of Egypt, and when we were coming round the borders of the Edomites to come hither. God also showed that He was reconciled towards him by conferring the priesthood upon him, which is now borne by his son Eleazar according to the will of God.” Clericus has also correctly brought out the fact that Moses referred to what he had stated in Deu 9:20 as to the wrath of God against Aaron and his intercession on his behalf, or rather that he mentioned his intercession on behalf of Aaron in that passage, because he intended to call more particular attention to the successful result of it in this. Hengstenberg (Dissertations, vol. ii. pp. 351-2) has since pointed out briefly, but very conclusively, the connection of thought between Deu 10:6, Deu 10:7, and what goes before and follows. “Moses,” he says, “points out to the people how the Lord had continued unchangeable in His mercy notwithstanding all their sins. Although they had rendered themselves unworthy of such goodness by their worship of the calf, He gave them the ark of the covenant with the new tables of the law in it (Deu 10:1-5). He followed up this gift of His grace by instituting the high-priesthood, and when Aaron died He caused it to be transferred to his son Eleazar (Deu 10:6, Deu 10:7). He set apart the tribe of Levi to serve Him and bless the people in His name, and thus to be the mediators of His mercy (Deu 10:8, Deu 10:9). In short, He omitted nothing that was requisite to place Israel in full possession of the dignity of a people of God.” There is no ground for regarding Deu 10:6, Deu 10:7, as a gloss, as Capellus, Dathe, and Rosenmüller do, or Deu 10:6-9 as “an interpolation of a historical statement concerning the bearers of the ark of the covenant and the holy persons generally, which has no connection with Moses' address,” as Knobel maintains. The want of any formal connection is quite in keeping with the spirit of simplicity which characterizes the early Hebrew diction and historical writings. “The style of the Hebrews is not to be tried by the rules of rhetoricians” (Clericus).)
Moses reminds the people of this gracious gift on the part of their God, by recalling to their memory the time when Aaron died and his son Eleazar was invested with the high-priesthood in his stead. That he may transport his hearers the more distinctly to the period in question, he lets the history itself speak, and quotes from the account of their journeys the passage which supplied the practical proof of what he desires to say. Instead of saying: And the high-priesthood also, with which Aaron was invested by the grace of God notwithstanding his sin at Sinai, the Lord has still preserved to you; for when Aaron died, He invested his son with the same honour,
(Note: “In the death of Aaron they might discern the punishment of their rebellion. But the fact that Eleazar was appointed in his place, was a sign of the paternal grace of God, who did not suffer them to be forsaken on that account” (Calvin).)
and also directed you to continue your journey-he proceeds in the following historical style: “And the children of Israel took their journey from the wells of the sons of Jaakan to Mosera: there Aaron died, and there he was buried; and Eleazar his son became priest in his stead. And from thence they journeyed unto Gudgodah, and from Gudgodah to Jotbath, a land of water-brooks.” The allusion to these marches, together with the events which had taken place at Mosera, taught in very few words “not only that Aaron was forgiven at the intercession of Moses, and even honoured with the high-priesthood, the medium of grace and blessing to the people of God (e.g., at the wells of Bene-jaakan) until the time of his death; but also that through this same intercession the high-priesthood was maintained in perpetuity, so that when Aaron had to die in the wilderness in consequence of a fresh sin (Num 20:12), it continued notwithstanding, and by no means diminished in strength, as might have been feared, since it led the way from the wells to water-brooks, helped on the journey to Canaan, which was now the object of their immediate aim, and still sustained their courage and their faith” (Schultz). The earlier commentators observed the inward connection between the continuation of the high-priesthood and the water-brooks. J. Gerhard, for example, observes: “God generally associates material blessings with spiritual; as long as the ministry of the word and the observance of divine worship flourish among us, God will also provide for our temporal necessities.”_