Deuteronomy 9

Israel Provoked God

“Hear, Israel! You are crossing the Jordan today, to go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than you, cities that are great and fortified to heaven, a people who are great and tall, the sons of the Anakim, whom you know and of whom you have heard it said, ‘Who can stand against the sons of Anak?’ So be aware today that it is the Lord your God who is crossing over ahead of you as a consuming fire. He will destroy them and He will subdue them before you, so that you may drive them out and eliminate them quickly, just as the Lord has spoken to you.

“Do not say in your heart when the Lord your God has driven them away from [a]you, ‘Because of my righteousness the Lord has brought me in to take possession of this land.’ Rather, it is because of the [b]wickedness of these nations that the Lord is dispossessing them before you. It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you are going in to take possession of their land, [c]but it is because of the [d]wickedness of these nations that the Lord your God is driving them out from before you, and in order to confirm the [e]oath which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

“Know, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a [f]stubborn people. Remember, do not forget how you provoked the Lord your God to anger in the wilderness; from the day that you left the land of Egypt until you arrived at this place, you have been rebellious against the Lord. Even at Horeb you provoked the Lord to anger, and the Lord was so angry with you that He would have destroyed you. When I went up to the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant which the Lord made with you, then I remained on the mountain for forty days and nights; I neither ate bread nor drank water. 10 The Lord gave me the two tablets of stone written by the finger of God; and on them were all the words which the Lord had spoken with you at the mountain from the midst of the fire on the day of the assembly. 11 It came about at the end of forty days and nights that the Lord gave me the two tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant. 12 Then the Lord said to me, ‘Arise, go down from here quickly, because your people, whom you brought out of Egypt, have behaved corruptly. They have quickly turned aside from the way that I commanded them; they have made a cast metal image for themselves.’ 13 The Lord also said to [g]me, ‘I have seen this people, and indeed, it is a [h]stubborn people. 14 Leave Me alone, that I may destroy them and wipe out their name from under heaven; and I will make of you a nation mightier and greater than they.’

15 “So I turned and came down from the mountain while the mountain was burning with fire, and the two tablets of the covenant were in my two hands. 16 And I saw that you had indeed sinned against the Lord your God. You had made for yourselves a cast metal image of a calf; you had quickly turned aside from the way that the Lord had commanded you. 17 So I took hold of the two tablets and threw them from my two hands, and smashed them to pieces before your eyes! 18 Then I fell down before the Lord like the first time, for forty days and nights; I neither ate bread nor drank water, because of all your sin which you had committed by doing what was evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger. 19 For I was afraid of the anger and the rage with which the Lord was angry with you so as to destroy you; but the Lord listened to me that time as well. 20 The Lord was also angry enough with Aaron to destroy him; so I also prayed for Aaron at the same time. 21 And I took your [i]sinful thing which you had made, the calf, and burned it in the fire and crushed it, grinding it thoroughly until it was as fine as dust; and I threw its dust into the stream that came down from the mountain.

22 “Then at Taberah, at Massah, and at Kibroth-hattaavah you kept provoking the Lord to anger. 23 And when the Lord sent you from Kadesh-barnea, saying, ‘Go up and take possession of the land which I have given you,’ you rebelled against the [j]command of the Lord your God; you neither trusted Him nor listened to His voice. 24 You have been rebellious toward the Lord since the day I knew you.

25 “So I fell down before the Lord for the forty days and nights, which I [k]did because the Lord said He would destroy you. 26 And I prayed to the Lord and said, ‘Lord God, do not destroy Your people, Your inheritance, whom You have redeemed through Your greatness, whom You have brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand! 27 Remember Your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; do not turn Your attention to the stubbornness of this people, or to their wickedness, or their sin. 28 Otherwise, the people of the land from which You brought us will say, “Since the Lord was not able to bring them into the land which He had [l]promised them, and since He hated them, He has brought them out to kill them in the wilderness!” 29 Yet they are Your people, and Your inheritance, whom You brought out by Your great power and Your outstretched arm.’


  1. Deuteronomy 9:4 Lit you, saying
  2. Deuteronomy 9:4 Or godlessness
  3. Deuteronomy 9:5 Or for
  4. Deuteronomy 9:5 Or godlessness
  5. Deuteronomy 9:5 Lit word
  6. Deuteronomy 9:6 Lit stiff-necked
  7. Deuteronomy 9:13 Lit me, saying
  8. Deuteronomy 9:13 Lit stiff-necked
  9. Deuteronomy 9:21 Lit sin
  10. Deuteronomy 9:23 Lit mouth
  11. Deuteronomy 9:25 Lit fell down
  12. Deuteronomy 9:28 Lit spoken to