Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Deuteronomy 10:8 - 10:8

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Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Deuteronomy 10:8 - 10:8

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In Deu 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 Deu 9:20 and Deu 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 (Ex 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 (Num 1:49., Deu 4:17., Deu 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 (Num 4:4.); but on solemn occasions the priests had to carry it (cf. Jos 3:3, Jos 3:6, Jos 3:8; Jos 6:6; 1Ki 8:3.). “Standing before the Lord, to serve Him, and to bless in His name,” was exclusively the business of the priests (cf. Deu 18:5; Deu 21:5, and Num 6:23.), whereas the Levites were only assistants of the priests in their service (see at Deu 18:7). This tribe therefore received no share and possession with the other tribes, as was already laid down in Num 18:20 with reference to the priests, and in Num 18:24 with regard to all the Levites; to which passages the words “as the Lord thy God promised him” refer. - Lastly, in Deu 10:10, Deu 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 Deu 9:18 and Deu 9:25); and the Lord hearkened to me this time also (word for word, as in Deu 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 Exo 34:1; but Moses refers here not only to that word of the Lord with the limitation added there in Exo 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 (Exo 34:14.).