The Malbim: Guide to Shirat Ha’azinu -text

Dec 08, 2014

Hagaon Rav Meir Leibush Malbim zt”l on Parshat Haazinu

(from Malbim on Devarim 32:44)
Guide to Shirat Haazinu

In the verse that precedes the song of Haazinu the Torah tells us, “Moshe said the words of the song in the ears of the people of Israel until they were finished (31:30).” However, notes the Malbim, immediately after the song is completed, the Torah seems to repeat this by saying that Moshe “said over all words of this song in the ears of the nation, he and Hosheia son of Nun.”

The Malbim resolves this difficulty by noting two differences between the verses.

The verse preceding the song says that he said over the words of the song, “until they were finished.” After the song it only says that Moshe said “all the words of the song.”
The verse after the song also adds, “he, and Hosheia son of Nun.”

Moshe, explains the Malbim, wanted the Song to have maximum impact. He knew that while new and fresh it would make a serious impact. So first Moshe said the whole song over to the people from beginning to end, without any breaks. This would embed the entire song in Israel’s heart. We now see that the verse immediately preceding the song refers to Moshe’s initial presentation of the song, all of its words, “until they were finished.”

However, the song requires serious study in order to unlock the secret meanings within it. So Moshe went over the song with them again, this time teaching it to them section by section. This explains the verse immediately following the song – saying all the words of the song.

According to the Malbim the song naturally divides up into the following six chapters:

Testimony of the Heavens and Earth – verses 1-6;
G-d’s Kindness to the People of Israel – verses 7-12;
The Good that G-d Will Bestow on Israel – verses 13-14;
Israel’s Prosperity and Straying from G-d’s Path – verses15-26 (or 28);
Israel’s Enemy – verses 26 (or 28) – 35;
The End of Days for Israel and Its Enemies – verses 36-43.

After explaining each of the sections Moshe went over the whole song again, as did Yehoshua. That is meaning of the end of the verse, “he and Hosheia son of Nun.” As a result, each of the Israelites heard the song four times.

[prepared by Eliezer Kwass]
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