Deuteronomy 32

16They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger.

17They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.

Israel's fathers did not fear these gods.

26I said, I would scatter them into corners, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men:

27Were it not that I feared the wrath of the enemy, lest their adversaries should behave themselves strangely, and lest they should say, Our hand is high, and the LORD hath not done all this.

Why then would God fear the wrath of them?

3 Answers 3


The way you have interpreted the verse to mean God feared the other gods, is incorrect.

God of Heaven was concerned that the nations who He would use as instruments to chastise and punish His people, that they would be under the wrong impression. And draw the wrong conclusion.

They, the humans might think that because they defeated Israel/Judah therefore their gods are superior or they have the upper hand not understanding that it was God of Heaven who allowed this to happen as a corrective measure.

Therefore God is concerned how the other nations, their enemies, will interpret the correcting of Israel.

This is very evident from the text that follows

““For they are a nation void of counsel, and there is no understanding in them.” ‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭32:28‬ ‭

This is referring to the enemy nation, we know this based on the next portion of passage

“How could one have chased a thousand, and two have put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, and the Lord had given them up?” ‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭32:30‬ ‭

So your question incorrectly assumes the enemies are the gods. It is referring to the nations that these gods were allotted verse 8.

“When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God.” ‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭32:8‬ ‭

Or according to the number of gods


God doesn't fear anyone. There is not one verse in the entire bible that says otherwise. He is the one eternal sovereign God who rules the universe and everyone and everything in it. HE FEARS NO ONE!!!

  • 1
    God didn't want other nations to say of Israel, where is their god, demeaning God and questioning His faithfulness. This is not fear but caution that prevents those nations from questioning God's integrity.
    – Rick
    Sep 23, 2021 at 15:03

Deuteronomy 32:27 alludes to Exodus 32:

7 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. 8They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’

The Israelites rebelled and worship other gods. The Lord wanted to destroy them all.

9 “I have seen these people,” the Lord said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people. 10Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”

Moses reasoned with God from the human (anthropomorphic) perspective.

11 But Moses sought the favor of the Lord his God. “Lord,” he said, “why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? 12Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth’?

If you kill them all, what would the Egyptians say about you?

14Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.

No fear or dread is mentioned in the above account.

Deuteronomy 32:27 Why would God fear these new gods?

The Deuteronomy account presents a summary of the detailed account in Exodus 32. God didn't fear these new gods. It was an example of anthropomorphism, i.e., treating God as if he were a mere man.

Deuteronomy 32:

26 I said I would scatter them
and erase their name from human memory,
27but I dreaded the taunt of the enemy,

The dread or fear here is related to man, not God. Treating God as if he were a man, he dreaded what the enemy would say about him. This is an anthropomorphic description of God so that we humans could understand the logic of why God didn't destroy the Israelites. In reality, God had never feared the Egyptians.

Isaiah 8:

13 The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread.

God fears no one. On the contrary, everyone is to fear God.

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