For their rock is not as our Rock; our enemies are by themselves.” (Deuteronomy 32:31, ESV)

In this verse God, the Rock of Israel, is compared to the false gods, the so-called “rock” of the enemies of Israel.  The second half of the verse is a difficult to translate because the Hebrew is uncertain.  Here are some options:

  • But their “rock” is not like our Rock; even our enemies concede.” (Deuteronomy 32:31, HCSB)
  • For their rock is not as our Rock, Even our enemies themselves being judges.” (Deuteronomy 32:31, KJV 1900)
  • For our God is not like their gods, but our enemies are unintelligent.” (Deuteronomy 32:31, LES [English translation of the Greek Septuagint])

If the meaning of the second half of the verse is uncertain, the meaning of the first half is not.  Israel’s Rock is a true rock that can be counted on.  He will do what he says he will do; he will keep his promises; he will watch over his people; he will punish sin.  The “rock” of the pagan nations around them?  This god is a literal rock, he cannot make promises nor keep them; he certainly cannot watch over his people; and he will only lead them further into sin, not punish it.

I don’t know about you, but I think I’ll stick with the Rock of Israel.