שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל אַתָּה עֹבֵר הַיֹּום אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּן לָבֹא לָרֶשֶׁת גֹּויִם גְּדֹלִים וַעֲצֻמִים מִמֶּךָּ עָרִים גְּדֹלֹת 9:1
Deut. 9:1 “Hear, O Israel! You are crossing over the Jordan today to enter to dispossess nations greater and mightier than you, cities great, and walled to the sky,
עַם־גָּדֹול וָרָם בְּנֵי עֲנָקִים אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה יָדַעְתָּ וְאַתָּה שָׁמַעְתָּ מִי יִתְיַצֵּב לִפְנֵי בְּנֵי עֲנָק 9:2
Deut. 9:2 a people great and tall, the children of the Anakim, of whom you have known and you have heard, ‘Who can stand before the sons of Anak!’”
וְיָדַעְתָּ הַיֹּום כִּי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ הוּא־הָעֹבֵר לְפָנֶיךָ אֵשׁ אֹכְלָה הוּא יַשְׁמִידֵם וְהוּא יַכְנִיעֵם לְפָנֶיךָ 9:3
וְהֹורַשְׁתָּם וְהַאַבַדְתָּם מַהֵר כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהוָה לָךְ
Deut. 9:3 “So you shall know today that the Lord, your God, He is Who will be crossing over before you, a devouring fire. He shall pluck them down and He shall humiliate them before you; then you will drive them out and make them perish quickly, as the Lord promised you.”
אַל־תֹּאמַר בִּלְבָבְךָ בַּהֲדֹף יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֹתָם מִלְּפָנֶיךָ לֵאמֹר בְּצִדְקָתִי הֱבִיאַנִי יְהוָה לָרֶשֶׁת אֶת־ 9:4
הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת וּבְרִשְׁעַת הַגֹּויִם הָאֵלֶּה יְהוָה מֹורִישָׁם מִפָּנֶיךָ
Deut. 9:4 “Upon the Lord, your God, having thrust them out from before you, you must not speak in your heart saying, ‘By my righteousness the Lord brought me in to possess this land,’ but in the wickedness of these nations the Lord will be driving them out from before you.”
לֹא בְצִדְקָתְךָ וּבְיֹשֶׁר לְבָבְךָ אַתָּה בָא לָרֶשֶׁת אֶת־אַרְצָם כִּי בְּרִשְׁעַת הַגֹּויִם הָאֵלֶּה יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ 9:5
מֹורִישָׁם מִפָּנֶיךָ וּלְמַעַן הָקִים אֶת־הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע יְהוָה לַאֲבֹתֶיךָ לְאַבְרָהָם לְיִצְחָק וּלְיַעֲקֹב
Deut. 9:5 “It is not by your righteousness or by the uprightness of your heart you are going in to possess their land, but by the wickedness of these nations the Lord, your God, is driving them out from before you, and in order to confirm the promise that the Lord had sworn to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”
וְיָדַעְתָּ כִּי לֹא בְצִדְקָתְךָ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ אֶת־הָאָרֶץ הַטֹּובָה הַזֹּאת לְרִשְׁתָּהּ כִּי עַם־קְשֵׁה־עֹרֶף 9:6
Deut. 9:6 “So you should know that it is not by your righteousness the Lord, your God, will be giving you this good land to possess it, for you are a stiff-necked people.”
זְכֹר אַל־תִּשְׁכַּח אֵת אֲשֶׁר־הִקְצַפְתָּ אֶת־יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בַּמִּדְבָּר לְמִן־הַיֹּום אֲשֶׁר־יָצָאתָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם 9:7
עַד־בֹּאֲכֶם עַד־הַמָּקֹום הַזֶּה מַמְרִים הֱיִיתֶם עִם־יְהוָה
Deut. 9:7 “Remember, you can not forget how you had made the Lord, your God, ‘angry’ in the wilderness; starting the day that you emerged from the land of Egypt until your coming as far as this place, you have been rebellious with the Lord.”
There are six second-person pronouns in this verse. The first four are singular, as are all those in the previous verses of this chapter. The last two here are plural. Moses is saying that the people cannot forget how it made the Lord “angry” from the day it came out of Egypt. But individuals who come to this place now had been rebellious.
וּבְחֹרֵב הִקְצַפְתֶּם אֶת־יְהוָה וַיִּתְאַנַּף יְהוָה בָּכֶם לְהַשְׁמִיד אֶתְכֶם 9:8
Deut. 9:8 “Even at Horeb you made the Lord ‘angry,’ and the Lord was ‘angry’ enough with you to have destroyed you.”
Second-person pronouns are still plural. Remember that Moses had pleaded with the Lord to not destroy the Israelites after they had fashioned the molten calf (see Exod. 32:10 to 32:14).
בַּעֲלֹתִי הָהָרָה לָקַחַת לוּחֹת הָאֲבָנִים לוּחֹת הַבְּרִית אֲשֶׁר־כָּרַת יְהוָה עִםָּכֶם וָאֵשֵׁב בָּהָר אַרְבָּעִים 9:9
יֹום וְאַרְבָּעִים לַיְלָה לֶחֶם לֹא אָכַלְתִּי וּמַיִם לֹא שָׁתִיתִי
Deut. 9:9 “Upon my ascent of the mountain to get the stone tablets, the tablets of the covenant that the Lord made with you, and I stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights, I did not eat food and I did not drink water.”
וַיִּתֵּן יְהוָה אֵלַי אֶת־שְׁנֵי לוּחֹת הָאֲבָנִים כְּתֻבִים בְּאֶצְבַּע אֱלֹהִים וַעֲלֵיהֶם כְּכָל־הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר 9:10
יְהוָה עִםָּכֶם בָּהָר מִתֹּוךְ הָאֵשׁ בְּיֹום הַקָּהָל
Deut. 9:10 “And the Lord delivered to me the two stone tablets carved by the finger of God; and on them were the same as all the words that the Lord had spoken with you on the mountain from within the fire on the day of the assembly.”
וַיְהִי מִקֵּץ אַרְבָּעִים יֹום וְאַרְבָּעִים לָיְלָה נָתַן יְהוָה אֵלַי אֶת־שְׁנֵי לֻחֹת הָאֲבָנִים לֻחֹות הַבְּרִית 9:11
Deut. 9:11 “And it was at the end of forty days and forty nights the Lord gave the two stone tablets, the tablets of the covenant, to me,
וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֵלַי קוּם רֵד מַהֵר מִזֶּה כִּי שִׁחֵת עַמְּךָ אֲשֶׁר הֹוצֵאתָ מִמִּצְרָיִם סָרוּ מַהֵר מִן־הַדֶּרֶךְ אֲשֶׁר 9:12
צִוִּיתִם עָשׂוּ לָהֶם מַסֵּכָה
Deut. 9:12 and the Lord said to me, ‘Arise, go down at once from here, for your people who you brought forth from Egypt has become corrupted; they have strayed quickly from the path that I commanded them; they have made a molten image for themselves.’”
The second-person pronouns have been plural from the second part of v. 9:7 to this verse. Here they become singular again. The phrase “.... your people ... has become corrupted; ...,” contains both a singular pronoun and a singular verb, thus supporting my theory again (as the next verse does as well). Then the verse continues with “... they have strayed...” and “... they have made...,” now referring to the individuals of the people.
וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֵלַי לֵאמֹר רָאִיתִי אֶת־הָעָם הַזֶּה וְהִנֵּה עַם־קְשֵׁה־עֹרֶף הוּא 9:13
Deut. 9:13 “And the Lord spoke to me saying, ‘I see this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people.’
הֶרֶף מִמֶּנִּי וְאַשְׁמִידֵם וְאֶמְחֶה אֶת־שְׁםָם מִתַּחַת הַשָּׁמָיִם וְאֶעֱשֶׂה אֹותְךָ לְגֹוי־עָצוּם וָרָב מִמֶּנּוּ 9:14
Deut. 9:14 ‘Take yourself from Me and I will destroy them and blot out their name from under the heavens, and I will make you for a nation mightier and more numerous than they.’”
There are three words containing first-person imperfect verbs with non-inverting vav prefixes in this verse. They are the third, fourth, and ninth words, translated respectively as and I will destroy them and blot out and and I will make.
וָאֵפֶן וָאֵרֵד מִן־הָהָר וְהָהָר בֹּעֵר בָּאֵשׁ וּשְׁנֵי לֻחֹת הַבְּרִית עַל שְׁתֵּי יָדָי 9:15
Deut. 9:15 “So I had to turn and come down from the mountain, and the mountain was burning with fire, and the two tablets of the covenant were in my two hands.”
וָאֵרֶא וְהִנֵּה חֲטָאתֶם לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם עֲשִׂיתֶם לָכֶם עֵגֶל מַסֵּכָה סַרְתֶּם מַהֵר מִן־הַדֶּרֶךְ אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּה 9:16
Deut. 9:16 “When I could look, then behold, you had sinned toward the Lord, your God; you had made a molten calf for yourselves; you had strayed quickly from the path that the Lord had commanded you.”
The first word contains a first-person imperfect verb with a non-inverting vav prefix. It is translated by me as When I could look.
וָאֶתְפֹּשׂ בִּשְׁנֵי הַלֻּחֹת וָאַשְׁלִכֵם מֵעַל שְׁתֵּי יָדָי וָאֲשַׁבְּרֵם לְעֵינֵיכֶם 9:17
Deut. 9:17 “Then I had to seize on the two tablets and throw them from my two hands and break them for your eyes.”
There are three words containing first-person imperfect verbs with non-inverting vav prefixes in this verse. They are the first, fourth, and eighth words, translated respectively by me as Then I had to seize, ..., and throw them and and break them.
וָאֶתְנַפַּל לִפְנֵי יְהוָה כָּרִאשֹׁנָה אַרְבָּעִים יֹום וְאַרְבָּעִים לַיְלָה לֶחֶם לֹא אָכַלְתִּי וּמַיִם לֹא שָׁתִיתִי עַל 9:18
כָּל־חַטַּאתְכֶם אֲשֶׁר חֲטָאתֶם לַעֲשֹׂות הָרַע בְּעֵינֵי יְהוָה לְהַכְעִיסֹו
Deut. 9:18 “And I had to fall down before the Lord like the first forty days and forty nights; I ate no food and I drank no water, because of all your sins that you had committed, doing evil in the eyes of the Lord, provoking Him.”
The first word contains a first-person imperfect verb with a non-inverting vav prefix. It is translated by me as And I had to fall down. Can you hear the overt blaming by Moses (as well as the more subtle whining in the first word) here?
כִּי יָגֹרְתִּי מִפְּנֵי הָאַף וְהַחֵמָה אֲשֶׁר קָצַף יְהוָה עֲלֵיכֶם לְהַשְׁמִיד אֶתְכֶם וַיִּשְׁמַע יְהוָה אֵלַי גַּם בַּפַּעַם 9:19
Deut. 9:19 “For I was afraid before the ‘anger’ and the ‘displeasure’ with which the Lord was ‘enraged’ over you to destroy you, but the Lord hearkened to me again at that time.”
וּבְאַהֲרֹן הִתְאַנַּף יְהוָה מְאֹד לְהַשְׁמִידֹו וָאֶתְפַּלֵּל גַּם־בְּעַד אַהֲרֹן בָּעֵת הַהִוא 9:20
Deut. 9:20 “And the Lord was ‘angry’ enough with Aaron to destroy him, so I had to intercede also on behalf of Aaron at that occasion.”
Here’s another piece of information that we haven’t heard before. Nothing was mentioned about this in Exodus 32, where this episode is described. There it was Moses who was angry with Aaron, not the Lord. See Exod. 32:21.
We also find here another first-person imperfect verb with a non-inverting vav in the sixth word, translated by me as so I had to intercede.
וְאֶת־חַטַּאתְכֶם אֲשֶׁר־עֲשִׂיתֶם אֶת־הָעֵגֶל לָקַחְתִּי וָאֶשְׂרֹף אֹתֹו בָּאֵשׁ וָאֶכֹּת אֹתֹו טָחֹון הֵיטֵב עַד 9:21
אֲשֶׁר־דַּק לְעָפָר וָאַשְׁלִךְ אֶת־עֲפָרֹו אֶל־הַנַּחַל הַיֹּרֵד מִן־הָהָר
Deut. 9:21 “And your sinful thing that you had made, the calf, I took and had to burn it with fire and beat it to pieces, grinding well until as fine as powder, and throw out its powder to the brook that descended from the mountain.”
Here are three more first-person imperfect verbs with non-inverting vavs in the eighth and eleventh words iin the top line and the fourth word in the bottom line, translated respectively by me as and had to burn and and beat to pieces and and throw out.
וּבְתַבְעֵרָה וּבְמַסָּה וּבְקִבְרֹת הַתַּאֲוָה מַקְצִפִים הֱיִיתֶם אֶת־יְהוָה 9:22
Deut. 9:22 “Then at Taberah and at Massah and at Kibroth-hattaavah how you were provoking the Lord!”
The events at these three places are described in the verses surrounding Numb. 11:3, Exod. 17:7, and Numb. 11:34, respectively.
וּבִשְׁלֹחַ יְהוָה אֶתְכֶם מִקָּדֵשׁ בַּרְנֵעַ לֵאמֹר עֲלוּ וּרְשׁוּ אֶת־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נָתַתִּי לָכֶם וַתַּמְרוּ אֶת־פִּי 9:23
יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם וְלֹא הֶאֱמַנְתֶּם לֹו וְלֹא שְׁמַעְתֶּם בְּקֹלֹו
Deut. 9:23 “And with the Lord sending you from Kadesh-barnea saying, ‘Ascend and possess the land that I have given to you,’ then you disobeyed the word of the Lord and were not faithful to Him and you did not listen to His voice.”
מַמְרִים הֱיִיתֶם עִם־יְהוָה מִיֹּום דַּעְתִּי אֶתְכֶם 9:24
Deut. 9:24 “You have been rebellious with the Lord from the day I knew you.”
וָאֶתְנַפַּל לִפְנֵי יְהוָה אֵת אַרְבָּעִים הַיֹּום וְאֶת־אַרְבָּעִים הַלַּיְלָה אֲשֶׁר הִתְנַפָּלְתִּי כִּי־אָמַר יְהוָה 9:25
Deut. 9:25 “So I had to prostrate myself before the Lord the forty days and the forty nights that I lay prostrate, for the Lord intended to destroy you.”
The first word contains a first-person imperfect verb with a non-inverting vav prefix. It is translated by me as So I had to prostrate myself.
וָאֶתְפַּלֵּל אֶל־יְהוָה וָאֹמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה אַל־תַּשְׁחֵת עַמְּךָ וְנַחֲלָתְךָ אֲשֶׁר פָּדִיתָ בְּגָדְלֶךָ אֲשֶׁר־הֹוצֵאתָ 9:26
מִמִּצְרַיִם בְּיָד חֲזָקָה
Deut. 9:26 “And I had to pray to the Lord and say, ‘My Lord, my Master, do not destroy Your people and Your possession whom You redeemed with Your greatness, whom you brought forth from Egypt with a mighty hand.’
The first and fourth words contain first-person imperfect verbs with a non-inverting vav prefixes. They are translated by me as And I had to pray ... and say, . . . .
זְכֹר לַעֲבָדֶיךָ לְאַבְרָהָם לְיִצְחָק וּלְיַעֲקֹב אַל־תֵּפֶן אֶל־קְשִׁי הָעָם הַזֶּה וְאֶל־רִשְׁעֹו וְאֶל־חַטָּאתֹו 9:27
Deut. 9:27 ‘Turn Your mind to Your servants, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. You should not turn to the stubbornness of this people, or to its wickedness, or to its sin,
פֶּן־יֹאמְרוּ הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר הֹוצֵאתָנוּ מִשָּׁם מִבְּלִי יְכֹלֶת יְהוָה לַהֲבִיאָם אֶל־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּר לָהֶם 9:28
וּמִשִּׂנְאָתֹו אֹותָם הֹוצִיאָם לַהֲמִתָם בַּמִּדְבָּר
Deut. 9:28 lest the land from which You brought us forth might say, ‘Because the Lord was not able to bring them in to the land that He promised to them, or out of His ‘hatred’ of them, He brought them out to let them die in the wilderness.’
וְהֵם עַמְּךָ וְנַחֲלָתֶךָ אֲשֶׁר הֹוצֵאתָ בְּכֹחֲךָ הַגָּדֹל וּבִזְרֹעֲךָ הַנְּטוּיָה 9:29
Deut. 9:29 ‘But they are Your people and Your possession whom You brought forth with Your great power and with Your outstretched arm.’”
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