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Deuteronomy:
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Deuteronomy

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    Deuteronomy!
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    NEWTONSTEIN ANNOTATED & AMPLIFIED;

    INTERNATIONAL STANDARD BIBLE ENCYCLOPAEDIA
    Published 1915, Amplified & Edited 2000;

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    FINAL NOTE;

    Deuter-canonical Books are included as references, and less often, the Pseudoe-pigraphia (extra-biblical New Testament Era writings - such as the Gospel of Barnabas - used for over 300 years by the early Church.

    Though these are not Inerrant Scripture, they are very important as geographical and historical references, and helping to understand how particular Hebrew and Greek words were used.

    Since the Deuter-canonical Books were part of the Jewish Bible that Jesus and Paul used, they have great value for understanding the era between the Covenants, and all things Jewish.

    Many will be surprised to know they were in the Geneva Bible of Calvin and Knox - and the Puritan Pilgrims - and included in the King James for over 275 years . . .

    . . . and left out in later versions - ONLY to make the Bible MORE PROFITABLE, by selling at the usual price, while being much smaller to print!

    No wonder Paul said the "love of money is the root of all evil!"

    Further know, that that these books are rejected by most Bible Preachers today, BECAUSE the Jews of Jesus' Day rejected them for the Jewish Canon at the Council of Jamnia after the fall of Jerusalem.

    This seems reasonable enough, and though these Scribes and Lawyers SHOULD have had superior knowledge in ALL THINGS JEWISH . . . in their Jewish wisdom, THEY ALSO REJECTED JESUS AS THE MESSIAH!!!

    TheDeuter-canonical Books are very "Kingdom of God" and "Messianic" Oriented, thus the Jews sis NOT want any writings confirming that Jesus WAS the Jewish Messiah.

    The wise "Students-N-Scholars" will know them, as they provide light on New Testament Scripture that are NOT understood otherwise;

    Quick Example:

    In Luke 3:36 YOUR Bible reads as follows:

      "Which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad, which was the son of Sem (Shem), which was the son of Noe (Noah), which was the son of Lamech;"

    This ancestor of Jesus named "Cainan, son of Arphaxad": where is he in YOUR Bible/ (Check Genesis 11:13, and other genealogies).

    This dilemma - which the WORLD calls a great contradiction in the linage of Jesus as the Christ - can ONLY be solved by the Bible Jesus used, which included the Deuter-canonical Books.

    Do you suppose Jesus knew more about the "Correct Books" of the Bible than your Denomination?



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    Cambridge Bible Commentary, Comprehensive;

    Matthew Henry's: Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein;

    "Deuteronomy 1"

    AN EXPOSITION, WITH PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS
    OF THE FIFTH BOOK OF MOSES, CALLED DEUTERONOMY;



    BACKGROUND

      This book is a repetition of very much both of the history and of the laws contained in the threeforegoing books, which repetition Moses delivered to Israel (both by word of mouth, that it mightaffect, and by writing, that it might abide) a little before his death. There is no new history in it butthat of the death of Moses in the last chapter, nor any new revelation to Moses, for aught thatappears, and therefore the style here is not, as before, The Lord spoke unto Moses, saying. But theformer laws are repeated and commented upon, explained and enlarged, and some particular preceptsadded to them, with copious reasonings for the enforcing of them: in this Moses was divinelyinspired and assisted, so that this is as truly the word of the Lord by Moses as that which was spokento him with an audible voice out of the tabernacle of the congregation, Lev. i. 1. The Greekinterpreters call it Deuteronomy, which signifies the second law, or a second edition of the law, notwith amendments, for there needed none, but with additions, for the further direction of the peoplein divers cases not mentioned before. Now, I. It was much for the honour of the divine law that itshould be thus repeated; how great were the things of that law which was thus inculcated, and howinexcusable would those be by whom they were counted as a strange thing! Hos. viii. 12. II. Theremight be a particular reason for the repeating of it now; the men of that generation to which thelaw was first given were all dead, and a new generation had sprung up, to whom God would haveit repeated by Moses himself, that, if possible, it might make a lasting impression upon them. Nowthat they were just going to take possession of the land of Canaan, Moses must read the articles ofagreement to them, that they might know upon what terms and conditions they were to hold andenjoy that land, and might understand that they were upon their good behaviour in it. III. It wouldbe of great use to the people to have those parts of the law thus gathered up and put together whichdid more immediately concern them and their practice; for the laws which concerned the priestsand Levites, and the execution of their offices, are not repeated: it was enough for them that theywere once delivered. But, in compassion to the infirmities of the people, the laws of more commonconcern are delivered a second time. Precept must be upon precept, and line upon line, Isa. xxviii.10. The great and needful truths of the gospel should be often pressed upon people by the ministersof Christ. To write the same things (says Paul, Phil. iii. 1) to me indeed is not grievous, but for youit is safe. What God has spoken once we have need to hear twice, to hear many times, and it is wellif, after all, it be duly perceived and regarded. In three ways this book of Deuteronomy was magnified1057Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)and made honourable:— 1. The king was to write a copy of it with his own hand, and to read thereinall the days of his life, ch. xvii. xviii. xix. 2. It was to be written upon great stones plastered, at theirpassing over Jordan, ch. xxvii. 2, 3. 3. It was to be read publicly every seventh year, at the feast oftabernacles, by the priests, in the audience of all Israel, ch. xxxi. 9, &c. The gospel is a kind ofDeuteronomy, a second law, a remedial law, a spiritual law, a law of faith; by it we are under thelaw of Christ, and it is a law that makes the comers thereunto perfect.This book of Deuteronomy begins with a brief rehearsal of the most remarkable events thathad befallen the Israelites since they came from Mount Sinai. In the fourth chapter we have a mostpathetic exhortation to obedience. In the twelfth chapter, and so on to the twenty-seventh, arerepeated many particular laws, which are enforced (ch. xxvii. and xxviii.) with promises andthreatenings, blessings and curses, formed into a covenant, ch. xxix. and xxx. Care is taken toperpetuate the remembrance of these things among them (ch. xxxi.), particularly by a song (ch.xxxii.), and so Moses concludes with a blessing, ch. xxxiii. All this was delivered by Moses toIsrael in the last month of his life. The whole book contains the history but of two months; comparech. i. 3 with Josh. iv. 19, the latter of which was the thirty days of Israel's mourning for Moses; seehow busy that great and good man was to do good when he knew that his time was short, how quickhis motion when he drew near his rest. Thus we have more recorded of what our blessed Savioursaid and did in the last week of his life than in any other. The last words of eminent persons makeor should make deep impressions. Observe, for the honour of this book, that when our Saviourwould answer the devil's temptations with, It is written, he fetched all his quotations out of thisbook, Matt. iv. 4, 7, 10.D E U T E R O N O M YCHAP. I.The first part of Moses's farewell sermon to Israel begins with this chapter, and is continuedto the latter end of the fourth chapter. In the first five verses of this chapter we have the date of thesermon, the place where it was preached (ver. 1, 2, 5), and the time when, ver. 3, 4. The narrativein this chapter reminds them, I. Of the promise God made them of the land of Canaan, ver. 6-8. II.Of the provision made of judges for them, ver. 9-18. III. Of their unbelief and murmuring upon thereport of the spies, ver. 19-33. IV. Of the sentence passed upon them for it, and the ratification ofthat sentence, ver. 34, &c.Israel's History Repeated. (b. c. 1451.)1 These be the words which Moses spake unto all Israel on this side Jordan inthe wilderness, in the plain over against the Red sea, between Paran, and Tophel,and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Dizahab. 2 (There are eleven days' journey fromHoreb by the way of mount Seir unto Kadesh-barnea.) 3 And it came to pass in thefortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spake1058Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)unto the children of Israel, according unto all that the Lord had given him incommandment unto them; 4 After he had slain Sihon the king of the Amorites,which dwelt in Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, which dwelt at Astaroth inEdrei: 5 On this side Jordan, in the land of Moab, began Moses to declare this law,saying, 6 The Lord our God spake unto us in Horeb, saying, Ye have dwelt longenough in this mount: 7 Turn you, and take your journey, and go to the mount ofthe Amorites, and unto all the places nigh thereunto, in the plain, in the hills, andin the vale, and in the south, and by the sea side, to the land of the Canaanites, andunto Lebanon, unto the great river, the river Euphrates. 8 Behold, I have set theland before you: go in and possess the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers,Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them.We have here, I. The date of this sermon which Moses preached to the people of Israel. A greatauditory, no question, he had, as many as could crowd within hearing, and particularly all the eldersand officers, the representatives of the people; and, probably, it was on the sabbath day that hedelivered this to them. 1. The place were they were now encamped was in the plain, in the land ofMoab (v. 1, 5), where they were just ready to enter Canaan, and engage in a war with the Canaanites.Yet he discourses not to them concerning military affairs, the arts and stratagems of war, butconcerning their duty to God; for, if they kept themselves in his fear and favour, he would secureto them the conquest of the land: their religion would be their best policy. 2. The time was near theend of the fortieth year since they came out of Egypt. So long God had borne their manners, andthey had borne their own iniquity (Num. xiv. 34), and now that a new and more pleasant scene wasto be introduced, as a token for good, Moses repeats the law to them. Thus, after God's controversywith them on account of the golden calf, the first and surest sign of God's being reconciled to themwas the renewing of the tables. There is no better evidence and earnest of God's favour than hisputting his law in our hearts, Ps. cxlvii. 19, 20.II. The discourse itself. In general, Moses spoke unto them all that the Lord had given him incommandment (v. 3), which intimates, not only that what he now delivered was for substance thesame with what had formerly been commanded, but that it was what God now commanded him torepeat. He gave them this rehearsal and exhortation purely by divine direction; God appointed himto leave this legacy to the church. He begins his narrative with their removal from Mount Sinai (v.6), and relates here, 1. The orders which God gave them to decamp, and proceed in their march (v.6, 7): You have dwelt long enough in this mount. This was the mount that burned with fire (Heb.xii. 18), and gendered to bondage, Gal. iv. 24. Thither God brought them to humble them, and bythe terrors of the law to prepare them for the land of promise. There he kept them about a year, andthen told them they had dwelt long enough there, they must go forward. Though God brings hispeople into trouble and affliction, into spiritual trouble and affliction of mind, he knows when theyhave dwelt long enough in it, and will certainly find a time, the fittest time, to advance them fromthe terrors of the spirit of adoption. See Rom. viii. 15. 2. The prospect which he gave them of ahappy and early settlement in Canaan: Go to the land of the Canaanites (v. 7); enter and takepossession, it is all your own. Behold I have set the land before you, v. 8. When God commandsus to go forward in our Christian course he sets the heavenly Canaan before us for ourencouragement.1059Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)The Charge to Magistrates. (b. c. 1451.)9 And I spake unto you at that time, saying, I am not able to bear you myselfalone: 10 The Lord your God hath multiplied you, and, behold, ye are this day asthe stars of heaven for multitude. 11 (The Lord God of your fathers make you athousand times so many more as ye are, and bless you, as he hath promised you!)12 How can I myself alone bear your cumbrance, and your burden, and your strife?13 Take you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and Iwill make them rulers over you. 14 And ye answered me, and said, The thing whichthou hast spoken is good for us to do. 15 So I took the chief of your tribes, wisemen, and known, and made them heads over you, captains over thousands, andcaptains over hundreds, and captains over fifties, and captains over tens, and officersamong your tribes. 16 And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear thecauses between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and hisbrother, and the stranger that is with him. 17 Ye shall not respect persons injudgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid ofthe face of man; for the judgment is God's: and the cause that is too hard for you,bring it unto me, and I will hear it. 18 And I commanded you at that time all thethings which ye should do.Moses here reminds them of the happy constitution of their government, which was such asmight make them all safe and easy if it was not their own fault. When good laws were given themgood men were entrusted with the execution of them, which, as it was an instance of God's goodnessto them, so it was of the care of Moses concerning them; and, it should seem, he mentions it hereto recommend himself to them as a man that sincerely sought their welfare, and so to make wayfor what he was about to say to them, wherein he aimed at nothing but their good. In this part ofhis narrative he insinuates to them,I. That he greatly rejoiced in the increase of their numbers. He owns the accomplishment ofGod's promise to Abraham (v. 10): You are as the stars of heaven for multitude; and prays for thefurther accomplishment of it (v. 11): God make you a thousand times more. This prayer comes inin a parenthesis, and a good prayer prudently put in cannot be impertinent in any discourse of divinethings, nor will a pious ejaculation break the coherence, but rather strengthen and adorn it. But howgreatly are his desires enlarged when he prays that they might be made a thousand times more thanthey were! We are not straitened in the power and goodness of God, why should we be straitenedin our own faith and hope, which ought to be as large as the promise? larger they need not be. It isfrom the promise that Moses here takes the measures of his prayer: The Lord bless you as he hathpromised you. And why might he not hope that they might become a thousand times more thanthey were now when they were now ten thousand times more than they were when they went downinto Egypt, about 250 years ago? Observe, When they were under the government of Pharaoh theincrease of their numbers was envied, and complained of as a grievance (Exod. i. 9); but now, underthe government of Moses, it was rejoiced in, and prayed for as a blessing. The consideration of this1060Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)might give them occasion to reflect with shame upon their own folly when they had talked ofmaking a captain and returning to Egypt.II. That he was not ambitious of monopolizing the honour of the government, and ruling themhimself alone, as an absolute monarch, v. 9. Though he was a man as well worthy of that honour,and as well qualified for the business, as ever any man was, yet he was desirous that others mightbe taken in as assistants to him in the business and consequently sharers with him in the honour: Icannot myself alone bear the burden, v. 12. Magistracy is a burden. Moses himself, though eminentlygifted for it, found it lay heavily on his shoulders; nay, the best magistrates complain most of theburden, and are most desirous of help, and most afraid of undertaking more than they can perform.III. That he was not desirous to prefer his own creatures, or such as should underhand have adependence upon him; for he leaves it to the people to choose their own judges, to whom he wouldgrant commissions, not durant bene placito—to be turned out when he pleased; but quam diu sebene gesserint—to continue so long as they approved themselves faithful. Take you wise men, thatare known to be so among your tribes, and I will make them rulers, v. 13. Thus the apostles directedthe multitude to choose overseers of the poor, and then they ordained them,. Acts vi. 3, 6. He directsthem to take wise men and understanding, whose personal merit would recommend them. The riseand origin of this nation were so late that none of them could pretend to antiquity of race, andnobility of birth, above their brethren; and, having all lately come out of slavery in Egypt, it isprobable that one family was not much richer than another; so that their choice must be directedpurely by the qualifications of wisdom, experience, and integrity. "Choose those," says Moses,"whose praise is in your tribes, and with all my heart I will make them rulers." We must not grudgethat God's work be done by other hands than ours, provided it be done by good hands.IV. That he was in this matter very willing to please the people; and, though he did not in anything aim at their applause, yet in a thing of this nature he would not act without their approbation.And they agreed to the proposal: The thing which thou hast spoken is good, v. 14. This he mentionsto aggravate the sin of their mutinies and discontents after this, that the government they quarrelledwith was what they themselves had consented to; Moses would have pleased them if they wouldhave been pleased.V. That he aimed to edify them as well as to gratify them; for,1. He appointed men of good characters (v. 15), wise men and men known, men that would befaithful to their trust and to the public interest.2. He gave them a good charge, v. 16, 17. Those that are advanced to honour must know thatthey are charged with business, and must give account another day of their charge. (1.) He chargesthem to be diligent and patient: Hear the causes. Hear both sides, hear them fully, hear themcarefully; for nature has provided us with two ears, and he that answereth a matter before he hearethit, it is folly and shame to him. The ear of the learner is necessary to the tongue of the learned, Isa.l. 4. (2.) To be just and impartial: Judge righteously. Judgment must be given according to themerits of the cause, without regard to the quality of the parties. The natives must not be sufferedto abuse the strangers any more that the strangers to insult the natives or to encroach upon them;the great must not be suffered to oppress the small, nor to crush them, any more than the small, torob the great, or to affront them. No faces must be known in judgment, but unbribed unbiased equitymust always pass sentence. (3.) To be resolute and courageous: "You shall not be afraid of the faceof man; be not overawed to do an ill thing, either by the clamours of the crowd or by the menacesof those that have power in their hands." And he gave them a good reason to enforce this charge:1061Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)"For the judgment is God's. You are God's vicegerents, you act for him, and therefore must act likehim; you are his representatives, but if you judge unrighteously, you misrepresent him. The judgmentis his, and therefore he will protect you in doing right, and will certainly call you to account if youdo wrong."3. He allowed them to bring all difficult cases to him, and he would always be ready to hearand determine, and to make both the judges and the people easy. Happy art thou. O Israel! in suchpraise as Moses was.Israel's Sin at Kadesh. (b. c. 1451.)19 And when we departed from Horeb, we went through all that great and terriblewilderness, which ye saw by the way of the mountain of the Amorites, as the Lordour God commanded us; and we came to Kadesh-barnea. 20 And I said unto you,Ye are come unto the mountain of the Amorites, which the Lord our God doth giveunto us. 21 Behold, the Lord thy God hath set the land before thee: go up andpossess it, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither bediscouraged. 22 And ye came near unto me every one of you, and said, We willsend men before us, and they shall search us out the land, and bring us word againby what way we must go up, and into what cities we shall come. 23 And the sayingpleased me well: and I took twelve men of you, one of a tribe: 24 And they turnedand went up into the mountain, and came unto the valley of Eshcol, and searched itout. 25 And they took of the fruit of the land in their hands, and brought it downunto us, and brought us word again, and said, It is a good land which the Lord ourGod doth give us. 26 Notwithstanding ye would not go up, but rebelled against thecommandment of the Lord your God: 27 And ye murmured in your tents, and said,Because the Lord hated us, he hath brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, todeliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us. 28 Whither shall we go up?our brethren have discouraged our heart, saying, The people is greater and tallerthan we; the cities are great and walled up to heaven; and moreover we have seenthe sons of the Anakims there. 29 Then I said unto you, Dread not, neither be afraidof them. 30 The Lord your God which goeth before you, he shall fight for you,according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes; 31 And in thewilderness, where thou hast seen how that the Lord thy God bare thee, as a man dothbear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place. 32 Yet inthis thing ye did not believe the Lord your God, 33 Who went in the way beforeyou, to search you out a place to pitch your tents in, in fire by night, to show youby what way ye should go, and in a cloud by day. 34 And the Lord heard the voiceof your words, and was wroth, and sware, saying, 35 Surely there shall not one ofthese men of this evil generation see that good land, which I sware to give unto yourfathers, 36 Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him will I give1062Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)the land that he hath trodden upon, and to his children, because he hath whollyfollowed the Lord. 37 Also the Lord was angry with me for your sakes, saying,Thou also shalt not go in thither. 38 But Joshua the son of Nun, which standethbefore thee, he shall go in thither: encourage him: for he shall cause Israel to inheritit. 39 Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children,which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither,and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it. 40 But as for you, turn you,and take your journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea. 41 Then yeanswered and said unto me, We have sinned against the Lord, we will go up andfight, according to all that the Lord our God commanded us. And when ye had girdedon every man his weapons of war, ye were ready to go up into the hill. 42 And theLord said unto me, Say unto them, Go not up, neither fight; for I am not among you;lest ye be smitten before your enemies. 43 So I spake unto you; and ye would nothear, but rebelled against the commandment of the Lord, and went presumptuouslyup into the hill. 44 And the Amorites, which dwelt in that mountain, came outagainst you, and chased you, as bees do, and destroyed you in Seir, even untoHormah. 45 And ye returned and wept before the Lord; but the Lord would nothearken to your voice, nor give ear unto you. 46 So ye abode in Kadesh many days,according unto the days that ye abode there.Moses here makes a large rehearsal of the fatal turn which was given to their affairs by theirown sins, and God's wrath, when, from the very borders of Canaan, the honour of conquering it,and the pleasure of possessing it, the whole generation was hurried back into the wilderness, andtheir carcases fell there. It was a memorable story; we read it Num. 13 and 14, but diverscircumstances are found here which are not related there.I. He reminds them of their march from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea (v. 19), through that greatand terrible wilderness. This he takes notice of, 1. To make them sensible of the great goodnessof God to them, in guiding them through so great a wilderness, and protecting them from themischiefs they were surrounded with in such a terrible wilderness. The remembrance of our dangersshould make us thankful for our deliverances. 2. To aggravate the folly of those who, in theirdiscontent, would have gone back to Egypt through the wilderness, though they had forfeited, andhad no reason to expect, the divine guidance, in such a retrograde motion.II. He shows them how fair they stood for Canaan at that time, v. 20, 21. He told them withtriumph, the land is set before you, go up and possess it. He lets them see how near they were to ahappy settlement when they put a bar in their own door, that their sin might appear the moreexceedingly sinful. It will aggravate the eternal ruin of hypocrites that they were not far from thekingdom of God and yet came short, Mark xii. 34.III. He lays the blame of sending the spies upon them, which did not appear in Numbers, thereit is said (ch. xiii. 1, 2) that the Lord directed the sending of them, but here we find that the peoplefirst desired it, and God, in permitting it, gave them up to their counsels: You said, We will sendmen before us, v. 22. Moses had given them God's word (v. 20, 21), but they could not find in their1063Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)hearts to rely upon that: human policy goes further with them than divine wisdom, and they willneeds light a candle to the sun. As if it were not enough that they were sure of a God before them,they must send men before them.IV. He repeats the report which the spies brought of the goodness of the land which they weresent to survey, v. 24, 25. The blessings which God has promised are truly valuable and desirable,even the unbelievers themselves being judges: never any looked into the holy land, but they mustown it a good land. Yet they represented the difficulties of conquering it as insuperable (v. 28); asif it were in vain to think of attacking them either by battle, "for the people are taller than we," orby siege, "for the cities are walled up to heaven," an hyperbole which they made use of to servetheir ill purpose, which was to dishearten the people, and perhaps they intended to reflect on theGod of heaven himself, as if they were able to defy him, like the Babel-builders, the top of whosetower must reach to heaven, Gen. xi. 4. Those places only are walled up to heaven that are compassedwith God's favour as with a shield.V. He tells them what pains he took with them to encourage them, when their brethren hadsaid so much to discourage them (v. 29): Then I said unto you, Dread not. Moses suggested enoughto have stilled the tumult, and to have kept them with their faces towards Canaan. He assured themthat God was present with them, and president among them, and would certainly fight for them, v.30. And for proof of his power over their enemies he refers them to what they had seen done inEgypt, where their enemies had all possible advantages against them and yet were humbled andforced to yield, v. 30. And for proof of God's goodwill to them, and the real kindness which heintended them, he refers them to what they had seen in the wilderness (v. 31, 33), through whichthey had been guided by the eye of divine wisdom in a pillar of cloud and fire (which guided boththeir motions and their rests), and had been carried in the arms of divine grace with as much careand tenderness as were ever shown to any child borne in the arms of a nursing father. And wasthere any room left to distrust this God? Or were they not the most ungrateful people in the world,who, after such sensible proofs of the divine goodness, hardened their hearts in the day oftemptation? Moses had complained once that God had charged him to carry this people as a nursingfather doth the sucking child (Num. xi. 12); but here he owns that it was God that so carried them,and perhaps this is alluded to (Acts xiii. 18), where he is said to bear them, or to suffer their manners.VI. He charges them with the sin which they were guilty of upon this occasion. Though thoseto whom he was now speaking were a new generation, yet he lays it upon them: You rebelled, andyou murmured; for many of these were then in being, though under twenty years old, and perhapswere engaged in the riot; and the rest inherited their fathers' vices, and smarted for them. Observewhat he lays to their charge. 1. Disobedience and rebellion against God's law: You would not goup, but rebelled, v. 26. The rejecting of God's favours is really a rebelling against his authority. 2.Invidious reflections upon God's goodness. They basely suggested: Because the Lord hated us, hebrought us out of Egypt, v. 27. What could have been more absurd, more disingenuous, and morereproachful to God? 3. An unbelieving heart at the bottom of all this: You did not believe the Lordyour God, v. 32. All your disobedience to God's laws, and distrust of his power and goodness, flowfrom a disbelief of his word. A sad pass it has come to with us when the God of eternal truth cannotbe believed.VII. He repeats the sentence passed upon them for this sin, which now they had seen theexecution of. 1. They were all condemned to die in the wilderness, and none of them must besuffered to enter Canaan except Caleb and Joshua, v. 34-38. So long they must continue in their1064Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)wanderings in the wilderness that most of them would drop off of course, and the youngest of themshould be cut off. Thus they could not enter in because of unbelief. It was not the breach of any ofthe commands of the law that shut them out of Canaan, no, not the golden calf, but their disbeliefof that promise which was typical of gospel grace, to signify that no sin will ruin us but unbelief,which is a sin against the remedy. 2. Moses himself afterwards fell under God's displeasure for ahasty word which they provoked him to speak: The Lord was angry with me for your sakes, v. 37.Because all the old stock must go off, Moses himself must not stay behind. Their unbelief let deathinto the camp, and, having entered, even Moses falls within his commission. 3. Yet here is mercymixed with wrath. (1.) That, though Moses might not bring them into Canaan, Joshua should (v.38): Encourage him; for he would be discouraged from taking up a government which he sawMoses himself fall under the weight of; but let him be assured that he shall accomplish that forwhich he is raised up: He shall cause Israel to inherit it. Thus what the law could not do, in that itwas weak, Jesus, our Joshua, does by bringing in the better hope. (2.) That, though this generationshould not enter into Canaan, the next should, v. 39. As they had been chosen for their fathers'sakes, so their children might justly have been rejected for their sakes. But mercy rejoiceth againstjudgement.VIII. He reminds them of their foolish and fruitless attempt to get this sentence reversed whenit was too late. 1. They tried it by their reformation in this particular; whereas they had refused togo up against the Canaanites, now they would go up, aye, that they would, in all haste, and theygirded on their weapons of war for that purpose, v. 41. Thus, when the door is shut, and the day ofgrace is over, there will be found those that stand without and knock. But this, which looked likea reformation, proved but a further rebellion. God, by Moses, prohibited the attempt (v. 42): yetthey went presumptuously up to the hill (v. 43), acting now in contempt of the threatening, as beforein contempt of the promise, as if they were governed by a spirit of contradiction; and it spedaccordingly (v. 44): they were chased and destroyed; and, by this defeat which they suffered whenthey provoked God to leave them, they were taught what success they might have had if they hadkept themselves in his love. 2. They tried by their prayers and tears to get the sentence reversed:They returned and wept before the Lord, v. 45. While they were fretting and quarrelling, it is said(Num. xiv. 1): They wept that night; those were tears of rebellion against God, these were tears ofrepentance and humiliation before God. Note, Tears of discontent must be wept over again; thesorrow of the world worketh death, and is to be repented of; it is not so with godly sorrow, thatwill end in joy. But their weeping was all to no purpose. The Lord would not harken to your voice,because you would not harken to his; the decree had gone forth, and, like Esau, they found no placeof repentance, though they sought it carefully with tears.D E U T E R O N O M YCHAP. II.Moses, in this chapter, proceeds in the rehearsal of God's providences concerning Israel intheir way to Canaan, yet preserves not the record of any thing that happened during their tedious1065Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)march back to the Red Sea, in which they wore out almost thirty-eight years, but passes that overin silence as a dark time, and makes his narrative to begin again when they faced about towardsCanaan (ver. 1-3), and drew towards the countries that were inhabited, concerning which God heregives them direction, I. What nations they must not give any disturbance to. 1. Not to the Edomites,ver. 4-8. 2. Not to the Moabites (ver. 9), of the antiquities of whose country, with that of theEdomites, he gives some account, ver. 10-12. And here comes in an account of their passing theriver Zered, ver. 13-16. 3. Not to the Ammonites, of whose country here is some account given,ver. 17-23. II. What nations they should attack and conquer. They must begin with Sihon, king ofthe Amorites, ver. 24, 25. And accordingly, 1. They had a fair occasion of quarrelling with him,ver. 26-32. 2. God gave them a complete victory over him, ver. 33, &c.The Seed of Esau and Lot Spared. (b. c. 1451.)1 Then we turned, and took our journey into the wilderness by the way of theRed sea, as the Lord spake unto me: and we compassed mount Seir many days. 2And the Lord spake unto me, saying, 3 Ye have compassed this mountain longenough: turn you northward. 4 And command thou the people, saying, Ye are topass through the coast of your brethren the children of Esau, which dwell in Seir;and they shall be afraid of you: take ye good heed unto yourselves therefore: 5Meddle not with them; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as afoot breadth; because I have given mount Seir unto Esau for a possession. 6 Yeshall buy meat of them for money, that ye may eat; and ye shall also buy water ofthem for money, that ye may drink. 7 For the Lord thy God hath blessed thee inall the works of thy hand: he knoweth thy walking through this great wilderness:these forty years the Lord thy God hath been with thee; thou hast lacked nothing.Here is, I. A short account of the long stay of Israel in the wilderness: We compassed MountSeir many days, v. 1. Nearly thirty-eight years they wandered in the deserts of Seir; probably insome of their rests they staid several years, and never stirred; God by this not only chastised themfor their murmuring and unbelief, but, 1. Prepared them for Canaan, by humbling them for sin,teaching them to mortify their lusts, to follow God, and to comfort themselves in him. It is a workof time to make souls meet for heaven, and it must be done by a long train of exercises. 2. Heprepared the Canaanites for destruction. All this time the measure of their iniquity was filling up;and, though it might have been improved by them as a space to repent in, it was abused by themto the hardening of their hearts. Now that the host of Israel was once repulsed, and after that wasso long entangled and seemingly lost in the wilderness, they were secure, and thought the dangerwas over from that quarter, which would make the next attempt of Israel upon them the moredreadful.II. Orders given them to turn towards Canaan. Though God contend long, he will not contendfor ever. Though Israel may be long kept waiting for deliverance or enlargement, it will come atlast: The vision is for an appointed time, and at the end it shall speak, and not lie.III. A charge given them not to annoy the Edomites.1. They must not offer any hostility to them as enemies: Meddle not with them, v. 4, 5. (1.)They must not improve the advantage they had against them, by the fright they would be put into1066Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)upon Israel's approach: "They shall be afraid of you, knowing your strength and numbers, and thepower of God engaged for you; but think not that, because their fears make them an easy prey, youmay therefore prey upon them; no, take heed to yourselves." There is need of great caution and astrict government of our own spirits, to keep ourselves from injuring those against whom we havean advantage. Or this caution is given to the princes; they must not only not meddle with theEdomites themselves, but not permit any of the soldiers to meddle with them. (2.) They must notavenge upon the Edomites the affront they gave them in refusing them passage through their country,Num. xx. 21. Thus, before God brought Israel to destroy their enemies in Canaan, he taught themto forgive their enemies in Edom. (3.) They must not expect to have any part of their land giventhem for a possession: Mount Seir was already settled upon the Edomites, and they must not, underpretence of God's covenant and conduct, think to seize for themselves all they could lay hands on.Dominion is not founded in grace. God's Israel shall be well placed, but must not expect to beplaced alone in the midst of the earth, Isa. v. 8.2. They must trade with them as neighbours, buy meat and water of them, and pay for whatthey bought, v. 6. Religion must never be made a cloak for injustice. The reason given (v. 7), is,"God hath blessed thee, and hitherto thou hast lacked nothing; and therefore," (1.) "Thou needestnot beg; scorn to be beholden to Edomites, when thou hast a God all-sufficient to depend upon.Thou hast wherewithal to pay for what thou callest for (thanks to the divine blessing!); use thereforewhat thou hast, use it cheerfully, and do not sponge upon the Edomites." (2.) "Therefore thou mustnot steal. Thou hast experienced the care of the divine providence concerning thee, in confidenceof which for the future, and in a firm belief of its sufficiency, never use any indirect methods forthy supply. Live by the faith and not by thy sword."8 And when we passed by from our brethren the children of Esau, which dweltin Seir, through the way of the plain from Elath, and from Ezion-gaber, we turnedand passed by the way of the wilderness of Moab. 9 And the Lord said unto me,Distress not the Moabites, neither contend with them in battle: for I will not givethee of their land for a possession; because I have given Ar unto the children of Lotfor a possession. 10 The Emims dwelt therein in times past, a people great, andmany, and tall, as the Anakims; 11 Which also were accounted giants, as theAnakims; but the Moabites call them Emims. 12 The Horims also dwelt in Seirbeforetime; but the children of Esau succeeded them, when they had destroyed themfrom before them, and dwelt in their stead; as Israel did unto the land of hispossession, which the Lord gave unto them. 13 Now rise up, said I, and get youover the brook Zered. And we went over the brook Zered. 14 And the space inwhich we came from Kadesh-barnea, until we were come over the brook Zered, wasthirty and eight years; until all the generation of the men of war were wasted outfrom among the host, as the Lord sware unto them. 15 For indeed the hand of theLord was against them, to destroy them from among the host, until they wereconsumed. 16 So it came to pass, when all the men of war were consumed anddead from among the people, 17 That the Lord spake unto me, saying, 18 Thou1067Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)art to pass over through Ar, the coast of Moab, this day: 19 And when thou comestnigh over against the children of Ammon, distress them not, nor meddle with them:for I will not give thee of the land of the children of Ammon any possession; becauseI have given it unto the children of Lot for a possession. 20 (That also was accounteda land of giants: giants dwelt therein in old time; and the Ammonites call themZamzummims; 21 A people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims; but the Lorddestroyed them before them; and they succeeded them, and dwelt in their stead:22 As he did to the children of Esau, which dwelt in Seir, when he destroyed theHorims from before them; and they succeeded them, and dwelt in their stead evenunto this day: 23 And the Avims which dwelt in Hazerim, even unto Azzah, theCaphtorims, which came forth out of Caphtor, destroyed them, and dwelt in theirstead.)It is observable here that Moses, speaking of the Edomites (v. 8), calls them, "our brethren,the children of Esau." Though they had been unkind to Israel, in refusing them a peaceable passagethrough their country, yet he calls them brethren. For, though our relations fail in their duty to us,we must retain a sense of the relation, and not be wanting in our duty to them, as there is occasion.Now in these verses we have,I. The account which Moses gives of the origin of the nations of which he had here occasionto speak, the Moabites, Edomites, and Ammonites. We know very well, from other parts of hishistory, whose posterity they were; but here he tells us how they came to those countries in whichIsrael found them; they were not the aborigines, or first planters. But, 1. The Moabites dwelt in acountry which had belonged to a numerous race of giants, called Emim (that is, terrible ones), astall as the Anakim, and perhaps more fierce, v. 10, 11. 2. The Edomites in like manner dispossessedthe Horim from Mount Seir, and took their country (v. 12. and again v. 22), of which we read, Gen.xxxvi. 20. 3. The Ammonites likewise got possession of a country that had formerly been inhabitedby giants, called Zamzummim, crafty men, or wicked men (v. 20, 21), probably the same that arecalled Zuzim, Gen. xiv. 5. He illustrates these remarks by an instance older than any of these; theCaphtorim (who were akin to the Philistines, Gen. x. 14) drove the Avim out of their country, andtook possession of it, v. 23. The learned bishop Patrick supposes these Avites, being expelled hence,to have settled in Assyria, and to be the same people we read of under that name, 2 Kings xvii. 31.Now these revolutions are recorded, (1.) To show how soon the world was peopled after the flood,so well peopled that, when a family grew numerous, they could not find a place to settle in, at leastin that part of the world, but they must drive out those that were already settled. (2.) To show thatthe race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. Giants were expelled by those of ordinarystature; for probably these giants, like those before the flood (Gen. vi. 4), were notorious for impietyand oppression, which brought the judgments of God upon them, against which their great strengthwould be on defence. (3.) To show what uncertain things worldly possessions are, and how oftenthey change their owners; it was so of old, and ever will be so. Families decline, and from themestates are transferred to families that increase; so little constancy or continuance is there in thesethings. (4.) To encourage the children of Israel, who were now going to take possession of Canaan,against the difficulties they would meet with, and to show the unbelief of those that were afraid ofthe sons of Anak, to whom the giants, here said to be conquered, are compared, v. 11, 21. If the1068Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)providence of God had done this for the Moabites and Ammonites, much more would his promisedo it for Israel his peculiar people.II. The advances which Israel made towards Canaan. They passed by the way of the wildernessof Moab (v. 8), and then went over the brook or vale of Zered (v. 13), and there Moses takes noticeof the fulfilling of the word which God had spoken concerning them, that none of those that werenumbered at Mount Sinai should see the land that God had promised, Num. xiv. 23. According tothat sentence, now that they began to set their faces towards Canaan, and to have it in their eye,notice is taken of their being all destroyed and consumed, and not a man of them left, v. 14. Commonprovidence, we may observe, in about thirty-eight years, ordinarily raises a new generation, so thatin that time few remain of the old one; but here it was entirely new, and none at all remained butCaleb and Joshua: for indeed the hand of the Lord was against them, v. 15. Those cannot but waste,until they were consumed, who have the hand of God against them. Observe, Israel is not called toengage with the Canaanites till all the men of war, the veteran regiments, that had been used tohardship, and had learned the art of war from the Egyptians, were consumed and dead from amongthe people (v. 16), that the conquest of Canaan, being effected by a host of new-raised men, trainedup in a wilderness, the excellency of the power might the more plainly appear to be of God and notof men.III. The caution given them not to meddle with the Moabites or Ammonites, whom they mustnot disseize, nor so much as disturb in their possessions: Distress them not, nor contend with them,v. 9. Though the Moabites aimed to ruin Israel (Num. xxii. 6), yet Israel must not aim to ruin them.If others design us a mischief, this will not justify us in designing them a mischief. But why mustnot the Moabites and Ammonites be meddled with? 1. Because they were the children of Lot (v.9, 19), righteous Lot, who kept his integrity in Sodom. Note, Children often fare the better in thisworld for the piety of their ancestors: the seed of the upright, though they degenerate, yet are blessedwith temporal good things. 2. Because the land they were possessed of was what God had giventhem, and he did not design it for Israel. Even wicked men have a right to their worldly possessions,and must not be wronged. The tares are allowed their place in the field, and must not be rooted outuntil the harvest. God gives and preserves outward blessings to wicked men, to show that these arenot the best things, but he has better in store for his own children.History of the Moabites. (b. c. 1451.)24 Rise ye up, take your journey, and pass over the river Arnon: behold, I havegiven into thine hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land: begin topossess it, and contend with him in battle. 25 This day will I begin to put the dreadof thee and the fear of thee upon the nations that are under the whole heaven, whoshall hear report of thee, and shall tremble, and be in anguish because of thee. 26And I sent messengers out of the wilderness of Kedemoth unto Sihon king of Heshbonwith words of peace, saying, 27 Let me pass through thy land: I will go along bythe high way, I will neither turn unto the right hand nor to the left. 28 Thou shaltsell me meat for money, that I may eat; and give me water for money, that I maydrink: only I will pass through on my feet; 29 (As the children of Esau which dwellin Seir, and the Moabites which dwell in Ar, did unto me;) until I shall pass over1069Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)Jordan into the land which the Lord our God giveth us. 30 But Sihon king ofHeshbon would not let us pass by him: for the Lord thy God hardened his spirit, andmade his heart obstinate, that he might deliver him into thy hand, as appeareth thisday. 31 And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have begun to give Sihon and hisland before thee: begin to possess, that thou mayest inherit his land. 32 Then Sihoncame out against us, he and all his people, to fight at Jahaz. 33 And the Lord ourGod delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people.34 And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and thewomen, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain: 35 Only the cattlewe took for a prey unto ourselves, and the spoil of the cities which we took. 36From Aroer, which is by the brink of the river of Arnon, and from the city that is bythe river, even unto Gilead, there was not one city too strong for us: the Lord ourGod delivered all unto us: 37 Only unto the land of the children of Ammon thoucamest not, nor unto any place of the river Jabbok, nor unto the cities in themountains, nor unto whatsoever the Lord our God forbad us.God having tried the self-denial of his people in forbidding them to meddle with the Moabitesand Ammonites, and they having quietly passed by those rich countries, and, though superior innumber, not made any attack upon them, here he recompenses them for their obedience by givingthem possession of the country of Sihon king of the Amorites. If we forbear what God forbids, weshall receive what he promises, and shall be no losers at last by our obedience, though it may seemfor the present to be to our loss. Wrong not others, and God shall right thee.I. God gives them commission to seize upon the country of Sihon king of Heshbon, v. 24, 25.This was then God's way of disposing of kingdoms, but such particular grants are not now eitherto be expected or pretended. In this commission observe, 1. Though God assured them that the landshould be their own, yet they must bestir themselves, and contend in battle with the enemy. WhatGod gives we must endeavour to get. 2. God promises that when they fight he will fight for them.Do you begin to possess it, and I will begin to put the dread of you upon them. God would dispiritthe enemy and so destroy them, would magnify Israel and so terrify all those against whom theywere commissioned. See Exod. xv. 14.II. Moses sends to Sihon a message of peace, and only begs a passage through his land, witha promise to give his country no disturbance, but the advantage of trading for ready money withso great a body, v. 26-29. Moses herein did neither disobey God, who bade him contend with Sihon,nor dissemble with Sihon; but doubtless it was by divine direction that he did it, that Sihon mightbe left inexcusable, though God hardened his heart. This may illustrate the method of God's dealingwith those to whom he gives his gospel, but does not give grace to believe it.III. Sihon began the war (v. 32), God having made his heart obstinate, and hidden from hiseyes the thing that belonged to his peace (v. 30), that he might deliver him into the hand of Israel.Those that meddle with the people of God meddle to their own hurt; and God sometimes ruins hisenemies by their own resolves. See Mic. iv. 11-13; Rev. xvi. 14.IV. Israel was victorious. 1. They put all the Amorites to the sword, men, women, and children(v. 33, 34); this they did as the executioners of God's wrath; now the measure of the Amorites'1070Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)iniquity was full (Gen. xv. 16), and the longer it was in the filling the sorer was the reckoning atlast. This was one of the devoted nations. They died, not as Israel's enemies, but as sacrifices todivine justice, in the offering of which sacrifices Israel was employed, as a kingdom of priests. Thecase being therefore extraordinary, it ought not to be drawn into a precedent for military executions,which make no distinction and give no quarter: those will have judgment without mercy that showno mercy. 2. They took possession of all they had; their cities (v. 34), their goods (v. 35), and theirland, v. 36. The wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just. What a new world did Israel now comeinto! Most of them were born, and had lived all their days, in a vast howling wilderness, wherethey knew not what either fields or cities were, had no houses to dwell in, and neither sowed norreaped; and now of a sudden to become masters of a country so well built, so well husbanded, thismade them amends for their long waiting, and yet it was but the earnest of a great deal more. Muchmore joyful will the change be which holy souls will experience when they remove out of thewilderness of this world to the better country, that is, the heavenly, to the city that has foundations.D E U T E R O N O M YCHAP. III.Moses, in this chapter, relates, I. The conquest of Og, king of Bashan, and the seizing of hiscountry, ver. 1-11. II. The distribution of these new conquests to the two tribes and a half, ver.12-17. Under certain provisos and limitations, ver. 18-20. III. The encouragement given to Joshuato carry on the war which was so gloriously begun, ver. 21, 22. IV. Moses's request to go over intoCanaan (ver. 23-25), with the denial of that request, but the grant of an equivalent, ver. 26, &c.Sihon and Og Subdued. (b. c. 1451.)1 Then we turned, and went up the way to Bashan: and Og the king of Bashancame out against us, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei. 2 And the Lord saidunto me, Fear him not: for I will deliver him, and all his people, and his land, intothy hand; and thou shalt do unto him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites,which dwelt at Heshbon. 3 So the Lord our God delivered into our hands Og also,the king of Bashan, and all his people: and we smote him until none was left to himremaining. 4 And we took all his cities at that time, there was not a city which wetook not from them, threescore cities, all the region of Argob, the kingdom of Ogin Bashan. 5 All these cities were fenced with high walls, gates, and bars; besideunwalled towns a great many. 6 And we utterly destroyed them, as we did untoSihon king of Heshbon, utterly destroying the men, women, and children, of everycity. 7 But all the cattle, and the spoil of the cities, we took for a prey to ourselves.8 And we took at that time out of the hand of the two kings of the Amorites theland that was on this side Jordan, from the river of Arnon unto mount Hermon; 91071Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)(Which Hermon the Sidonians call Sirion; and the Amorites call it Shenir;) 10 Allthe cities of the plain, and all Gilead, and all Bashan, unto Salchah and Edrei, citiesof the kingdom of Og in Bashan. 11 For only Og king of Bashan remained of theremnant of giants; behold, his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbathof the children of Ammon? nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits thebreadth of it, after the cubit of a man.We have here another brave country delivered into the hand of Israel, that of Bashan; theconquest of Sihon is often mentioned together with that of Og, to the praise of God, the ratherbecause in these Israel's triumphs began, Ps. cxxxv. 11; cxxxvi. 19, 20. See,I. How they got the mastery of Og, a very formidable prince, 1. Very strong, for he was of theremnant of the giants (v. 11); his personal strength was extraordinary, a monument of which waspreserved by the Ammonites in his bedstead, which was shown as a rarity in their chief city. Youmight guess at his weight by the materials of his bedstead; it was iron, as if a bedstead of woodwere too weak for him to trust to: and you might guess at his stature by the dimensions of it; it wasnine cubits long and four cubits broad, which, supposing a cubit to be but half a yard (and somelearned men have made it appear to be somewhat more), was four yards and a half long, and twoyards broad; and if we allow his bedstead to be two cubits longer than himself, and that is as muchas we need allow, he was three yards and a half high, double the stature of an ordinary man, andevery way proportionable, yet they smote him, v. 3. Note, when God pleads his people's cause hecan deal with giants as with grasshoppers. No man's might can secure him against the Almighty.The army of Og was very powerful, for he had the command of sixty fortified cities, besides theunwalled towns, v. 5. Yet all this was nothing before God's Israel, when they came with commissionto destroy him. 2. He was very bold and daring: He came out against Israel to battle, v. 1. It waswonderful that he did not take warning by the ruin of Sihon, and send to desire conditions of peace;but he trusted to his own strength, and so was hardened to his destruction. Note, Those that are notawakened by the judgments of God upon others, but persist in their defiance of heaven, are ripeningapace for the like judgments upon themselves, Jer. iii. 8. God bade Moses not fear him, v. 2. IfMoses himself was so strong in faith as not to need the caution, yet it is probable that the peopleneeded it, and for them these fresh assurances are designed; "I will deliver him into thy hand; notonly deliver thee out of his hand, that he shall not be thy ruin, but deliver him into thy hand, thatthou shalt be his ruin, and make him pay dearly for his attempt." He adds, Thou shalt do to him asthou didst to Sihon, intimating that they ought to be encouraged by their former victory to trust inGod for another victory, for he is God, and changeth not.II. How they got possession of Bashan, a very desirable country. They took all the cities (v.4), and all the spoil of them, v. 7. They made them all their own, v. 10. So that now they had intheir hands all that fruitful country which lay east of Jordan, from the river Arnon unto Hermon,v. 8. Their conquering and possessing these countries was intended, not only for the encouragementof Israel in the wars of Canaan, but for the satisfaction of Moses before his death. Since he mustnot live to see the completing of their victory and settlement, God thus gives him a specimen of it.Thus the Spirit is given to those that believe as the earnest of their inheritance, until the redemptionof the purchased possession.Allotment of the Conquered Lands. (b. c. 1451.)1072Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)12 And this land, which we possessed at that time, from Aroer, which is by theriver Arnon, and half mount Gilead, and the cities thereof, gave I unto the Reubenitesand to the Gadites. 13 And the rest of Gilead, and all Bashan, being the kingdomof Og, gave I unto the half tribe of Manasseh; all the region of Argob, with allBashan, which was called the land of giants. 14 Jair the son of Manasseh took allthe country of Argob unto the coasts of Geshuri and Maachathi; and called themafter his own name, Bashan-havoth-jair, unto this day. 15 And I gave Gilead untoMachir. 16 And unto the Reubenites and unto the Gadites I gave from Gilead evenunto the river Arnon half the valley, and the border even unto the river Jabbok, whichis the border of the children of Ammon; 17 The plain also, and Jordan, and thecoast thereof, from Chinnereth even unto the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, underAshdoth-pisgah eastward. 18 And I commanded you at that time, saying, The Lordyour God hath given you this land to possess it: ye shall pass over armed beforeyour brethren the children of Israel, all that are meet for the war. 19 But your wives,and your little ones, and your cattle, (for I know that ye have much cattle,) shallabide in your cities which I have given you; 20 Until the Lord have given rest untoyour brethren, as well as unto you, and until they also possess the land which theLord your God hath given them beyond Jordan: and then shall ye return every manunto his possession, which I have given you.Having shown how this country which they were now in was conquered, in these verses heshows how it was settled upon the Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh, which wehad the story of before, Num. xxxii. Here is the rehearsal. 1. Moses specifies the particular partsof the country that were allotted to each tribe, especially the distribution of the lot to the half tribeof Manasseh, the subdividing of which tribe is observable. Joseph was divided into Ephraim andManasseh; Manasseh was divided into one half on the one side Jordan and the other half on theother side: that on the east side Jordan was again divided into two great families, which had theirseveral allotments: Jair, v. 14, Machir, v. 15. And perhaps Jacob's prediction of the smallness ofthat tribe was now accomplished in these divisions and subdivisions. Observe that Bashan is herecalled the land of the giants, because it had been in their possession, but Og was the last of them.These giants, it seems, had lost their country, and were rooted out of it sooner than any of theirneighbours; for those who, presuming upon their strength and stature, had their hand against everyman, had every man's hand against them, and went down slain to the pit, though they were theterror of the mighty in the land of the living. 2. He repeats the condition of the grant which theyhad already agreed to, v. 18-20. That they should send a strong detachment over Jordan to lead thevan in the conquest of Canaan, who should not return to their families, at least not to settle (thoughfor a time they might retire thither into winter quarters, at the end of a campaign), till they had seentheir brethren in as full possession of their respective allotments as they themselves were now inof theirs. They must hereby be taught not to look at their own things only, but at the things of others,Phil. ii. 4. It ill becomes an Israelite to be selfish, and to prefer any private interest before the publicwelfare. When we are rest we should desire to see our brethren at rest too, and should be ready to1073Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)do what we can towards it; for we are not born for ourselves, but are members one of another. Agood man cannot rejoice much in the comforts of his family unless withal he sees peace upon Israel,Ps. cxxviii. 6.Joshua Named as Moses's Successor. (b. c. 1451.)21 And I commanded Joshua at that time, saying, Thine eyes have seen all thatthe Lord your God hath done unto these two kings: so shall the Lord do unto all thekingdoms whither thou passest. 22 Ye shall not fear them: for the Lord your Godhe shall fight for you. 23 And I besought the Lord at that time, saying, 24 O LordGod, thou hast begun to show thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand: forwhat God is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, andaccording to thy might? 25 I pray thee, let me go over, and see the good land thatis beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon. 26 But the Lord was wrothwith me for your sakes, and would not hear me: and the Lord said unto me, Let itsuffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter. 27 Get thee up into the top ofPisgah, and lift up thine eyes westward, and northward, and southward, and eastward,and behold it with thine eyes: for thou shalt not go over this Jordan. 28 But chargeJoshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before thispeople, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see. 29 So weabode in the valley over against Beth-peor.Here is I. The encouragement which Moses gave to Joshua, who was to succeed him in thegovernment, v. 21, 22. He commanded him not to fear. This those that are aged and experiencedin the service of God should do all they can to strengthen the hands of those that are young, andsetting out in religion. Two things he would have him consider for his encouragement:—1. WhatGod has done. Joshua had seen what a total defeat God had given by the forces of Israel to thesetwo kings, and thence he might easily infer, so shall the Lord do to all the rest of the kingdomsupon which we are to make war. He must not only infer thence that thus the Lord can do with themall, for his arm is not shortened, but thus he will do, for his purpose is not changed; he that hasbegun will finish; as for God, his work is perfect. Joshua had seen it with his own eyes. And themore we have seen of the instances of divine wisdom, power, and goodness, the more inexcusablewe are if we fear what flesh can do unto us. 2. What God had promised. The Lord your God heshall fight for you; and that cause cannot but be victorious which the Lord of hosts fights for. IfGod be for us, who can be against us so as to prevail? We reproach our leader if we follow himtrembling.II. The prayer which Moses made for himself, and the answer which God gave to that prayer.1. His prayer was that, if it were God's will, he might go before Israel over Jordan into Canaan.At that time, when he had been encouraging Joshua to fight Israel's battles, taking it for grantedthat he must be their leader, he was touched with an earnest desire to go over himself, whichexpresses itself not in any passionate and impatient complaints, or reflections upon the sentencehe was under, but in humble prayers to God for a gracious reversing of it. I besought the Lord.Note, We should never allow any desires in our hearts which we cannot in faith offer up to God by1074Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)prayer; and what desires are innocent, let them be presented to God. We have not because we asknot. Observe,(1.) What he pleads here. Two things:— [1.] The great experience which he had had of God'sgoodness to him in what he had done for Israel: "Thou hast begun to show thy servant thy greatness.Lord, perfect what thou hast begun. Thou hast given me to see thy glory in the conquest of thesetwo kings, and the sight has affected me with wonder and thankfulness. O let me see more of theoutgoings of my God, my King! This great work, no doubt, will be carried on and completed; letme have the satisfaction of seeing it." Note, the more we see of God's glory in his works the morewe shall desire to see. The works of the Lord are great, and therefore are sought out more and moreof all those that have pleasure therein. [2.] The good impressions that had been made upon hisheart by what he had seen: For what God is there in heaven or earth that can do according to thyworks? The more we are affected with what we have seen of God, of his wisdom, power, andgoodness, the better we are prepared for further discoveries. Those shall see the works of God thatadmire him in them. Moses had thus expressed himself concerning God and his works long before(Exod. xv. 11), and he still continues of the same mind, that there are no works worthy to becompared with God's works, Ps. lxxxvi. 8.(2.) What he begs: I pray thee let me go over, v. 25. God had said he should not go over; yethe prays that he might, not knowing but that the threatening was conditional, for it was not ratifiedwith an oath, as that concerning the people was, that they should not enter. Thus Hezekiah prayedfor his own life, and David for the life of his child, after both had ben expressly threatened; andthe former prevailed, though the latter did not. Moses remembered the time when he had by prayerprevailed with God to recede from the declarations which he had made of his wrath against Israel,Exod. xxxii. 14. And why might he not hope in like manner to prevail for himself? Let me go overand see the good land. Not, "Let me go over and be a prince and a ruler there;" he seeks not hisown honour, is content to resign the government to Joshua; but, "Let me go to be a spectator of thykindness to Israel, to see what I believe concerning the goodness of the land of promise." Howpathetically does he speak of Canaan, that good land, that goodly mountain! Note, Those may hopeto obtain and enjoy God's favours that know how to value them. What he means by that goodlymountain we may learn from Ps. lxxviii. 54, where it is said of God's Israel that he brought themto the border of his sanctuary, even to this mountain which his right hand had purchased, whereit is plainly to be understood of the whole land of Canaan, yet with an eye to the sanctuary, theglory of it.2. God's answer to this prayer had in it a mixture of mercy and judgment, that he might singunto God of both.(1.) There was judgment in the denial of his request, and that in something of anger too: TheLord was wroth with me for your sakes, v. 26. God not only sees sin in his people, but is muchdispleased with it; and even those that are delivered from the wrath to come may yet lie under thetokens of God's wrath in this world, and may be denied some particular favour which their heartsare much set upon. God is a gracious, tender, loving Father; but he is angry with his children whenthey do amiss, and denies them many a thing that they desire and are ready to cry for. But how washe wroth with Moses for the sake of Israel? Either, [1.] For that sin which they provoked him to;see Ps. cvi. 32, 33. Or, [2.] The removal of Moses at that time, when he could so ill be spared, wasa rebuke to all Israel, and a punishment of their sin. Or, [3.] It was for their sakes, that it might bea warning to them to take heed of offending God by passionate and unbelieving speeches at any1075Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)time, after the similitude of his transgression; for, if this were done to such a green tree, what shouldbe done to the dry? He acknowledges that God would not hear him. God had often heard him forIsrael, yet he would not hear him for himself. It was the prerogative of Christ, the great Intercessor,to be heard always; yet of him his enemies said, He saved others, himself he could not save, whichthe Jews would not have upbraided him with had they considered that Moses, their great prophet,prevailed for others, but for himself he could not prevail. Though Moses, being one of the wrestlingseed of Jacob, did not seek in vain, yet he had not the thing itself which he sought for. God mayaccept our prayers, and yet not grant us the very thing we pray for.(2.) Here is mercy mixed with this wrath in several things:—[1.] God quieted the spirit ofMoses under the decree that had gone forth by that word (v. 26), Let it suffice thee. With this word,no doubt, a divine power went to reconcile Moses to the will of God, and to bring him to acquiescein it. If God does not by his providence give us what we desire, yet, if by his grace he makes uscontent without it, it comes much to one. "Let it suffice thee to have God for they father, and heavenfor thy portion, though thou hast not every thing thou wouldest have in this world. Be satisfied withthis, God is all-sufficient." [2.] He put an honour upon his prayer in directing him not to insist uponthis request: Speak no more to me of this matter. It intimates that what God does not think fit togrant we should not think fit to ask, and that God takes such a pleasure in the prayer of the uprightthat it is no pleasure to him, no, not in any particular instance, to give a denial to it. [3.] He promisedhim a sight of Canaan from the top of Pisgah, v. 27. Though he should not have the possession ofit, he should have the prospect of it; not to tantalize him, but such a sight of it as would yield himtrue satisfaction, and would enable him to form a very clear and pleasing idea of that promisedland. Probably Moses had not only his sight preserved for other purposes, but greatly enlarged forthis purpose; for, if he had not had such a sight of it as others could not have from the same place,it would have been no particular favour to Moses, nor the matter of a promise. Even great believers,in this present state, see heaven but at a distance. [4.] He provided him a successor, one who shouldsupport the honour of Moses and carry on and complete that glorious work which the heart of Moseswas so much upon, the bringing of Israel to Canaan, and settling them there (v. 28): Charge Joshuaand encourage him in this work. Those to whom God gives a charge, he will be sure to giveencouragement to. And it is a comfort to the church's friends (when they are dying and going off)to see God's work likely to be carried on by other hands, when they are silent in the dust.D E U T E R O N O M YCHAP. IV.In this chapter we have, I. A most earnest and pathetic exhortation to obedience, both in general,and in some particular instances, backed with a great variety of very pressing arguments, repeatedagain and again, and set before them in the most moving and affectionate manner imaginable, ver.1-40. II. The appointing of the cities of refuge on that side Jordan, ver. 41-43. III. The particulardescription of the place where Moses delivered the following repetition of the law, ver. 44, &c.1076Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)Exhortations and Arguments. (b. c. 1451.)1 Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments,which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the landwhich the Lord God of your fathers giveth you. 2 Ye shall not add unto the wordwhich I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep thecommandments of the Lord your God which I command you. 3 Your eyes haveseen what the Lord did because of Baal-peor: for all the men that followed Baal-peor,the Lord thy God hath destroyed them from among you. 4 But ye that did cleaveunto the Lord your God are alive every one of you this day. 5 Behold, I have taughtyou statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God commanded me, that ye shoulddo so in the land whither ye go to possess it. 6 Keep therefore and do them; for thisis your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hearall these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.7 For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lordour God is in all things that we call upon him for? 8 And what nation is there sogreat, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set beforeyou this day? 9 Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thouforget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart allthe days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons; 10 Specially theday that thou stoodest before the Lord thy God in Horeb, when the Lord said untome, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that theymay learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that theymay teach their children. 11 And ye came near and stood under the mountain; andthe mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, andthick darkness. 12 And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: yeheard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice. 13 Andhe declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even tencommandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone. 14 And the Lordcommanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might dothem in the land whither ye go over to possess it. 15 Take ye therefore good heedunto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spakeunto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: 16 Lest ye corrupt yourselves, andmake you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,17 The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowlthat flieth in the air, 18 The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, thelikeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth: 19 And lest thou lift upthine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars,1077Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them,which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven. 20But the Lord hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, even outof Egypt, to be unto him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day. 21 Furthermorethe Lord was angry with me for your sakes, and sware that I should not go overJordan, and that I should not go in unto that good land, which the Lord thy Godgiveth thee for an inheritance: 22 But I must die in this land, I must not go overJordan: but ye shall go over, and possess that good land. 23 Take heed untoyourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which he made withyou, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the Lord thyGod hath forbidden thee. 24 For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even ajealous God. 25 When thou shalt beget children, and children's children, and yeshall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a gravenimage, or the likeness of any thing, and shall do evil in the sight of the Lord thyGod, to provoke him to anger: 26 I call heaven and earth to witness against youthis day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go overJordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly bedestroyed. 27 And the Lord shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall beleft few in number among the heathen, whither the Lord shall lead you. 28 Andthere ye shall serve gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone, which neithersee, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. 29 But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thyGod, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.30 When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in thelatter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;31 (For the Lord thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroythee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them. 32 For asknow of the days that are past, which were before thee, since the day that God createdman upon the earth, and ask from the one side of heaven unto the other, whetherthere hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it? 33Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thouhast heard, and live? 34 Or hath God assayed to go and take him a nation from themidst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, andby a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm, and by great terrors, according to allthat the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? 35 Unto thee it wasshowed, that thou mightest know that the Lord he is God; there is none else besidehim. 36 Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice, that he might instruct thee:and upon earth he showed thee his great fire; and thou heardest his words out of the1078Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)midst of the fire. 37 And because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seedafter them, and brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt;38 To drive out nations from before thee greater and mightier than thou art, to bringthee in, to give thee their land for an inheritance, as it is this day. 39 Know thereforethis day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, andupon the earth beneath: there is none else. 40 Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes,and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well withthee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days uponthe earth, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, for ever.This most lively and excellent discourse is so entire, and the particulars of it are so oftenrepeated, that we must take it altogether in the exposition of it, and endeavour to digest it into properheads, for we cannot divide it into paragraphs.I. In general, it is the use and application of the foregoing history; it comes in by way ofinference from it: Now therefore harken, O Israel, v. 1. This use we should make of the review ofGod's providences concerning us, we should by them be quickened and engaged to duty andobedience. The histories of the years of ancient times should in like manner be improved by us.II. The scope and drift of his discourse is to persuade them to keep close to God and to hisservice, and not to forsake him for any other god, nor in any instance to decline from their duty tohim. Now observe what he says to them, with a great deal of divine rhetoric, both by way ofexhortation and direction, and also by way of motive and argument to enforce his exhortations.1. See here how he charges and commands them, and shows them what is good, and what theLord requires of them.(1.) He demands their diligent attention to the word of God, and to the statutes and judgmentsthat were taught them: Hearken, O Israel. He means, not only that they must now give him thehearing, but that whenever the book of the law was read to them, or read by them, they should beattentive to it. "Hearken to the statutes, as containing the great commands of God and the greatconcerns of your own souls, and therefore challenging your utmost attention." At Horeb God hadmade them hear his words (v. 10), hear them with a witness; the attention which was then constrainedby the circumstances of the delivery ought ever after to be engaged by the excellency of the thingsthemselves. What God so spoke once, we should hear twice, hear often.(2.) He charges them to preserve the divine law pure and entire among them, v. 2. Keep it pure,and do not add to it; keep it entire, and do not diminish from it. Not in practice, so some: "Youshall not add by committing the evil which the law forbids, nor diminish by omitting the goodwhich the law requires." Not in opinion, so others: "You shall not add your own inventions, as ifthe divine institutions were defective, nor introduce, much less impose, any rites of religious worshipother than what God has appointed; nor shall you diminish, or set aside, any thing that is appointed,as needless or superfluous." God's work is perfect, nothing can be put to it, nor taken from it, withoutmaking it the worse. See Eccl. iii. 14. The Jews understand it as prohibiting the alteration of thetext or letter of the law, even in the least jot or tittle; and to their great care and exactness hereinwe are very much indebted, under God, for the purity and integrity of the Hebrew code. We finda fence like this made about the New Testament in the close of it, Rev. xxii. 18, 19.1079Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)(3.) He charges them to keep God's commandments (v. 2), to do them (v. 5, 14), to keep anddo them (v. 6), to perform the covenant, v. 13. Hearing must be in order to doing, knowledge inorder to practice. God's commandments were the way they must keep in, the rule they must keepto; they must govern themselves by the moral precepts, perform their devotion according to thedivine ritual, and administer justice according to the judicial law. He concludes his discourse (v.40) with this repeated charge: Thou shalt keep his statutes and his commandments which I commandthee. What are laws made for but to be observed and obeyed?(4.) He charges them to be very strict and careful in their observance of the law (v. 9): Onlytake heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently; and (v. 15), Take you therefore good heed untoyourselves; and again (v. 23), Take heed to yourselves. Those that would be religious must be verycautious, and walk circumspectly. Considering how many temptations we are compassed aboutwith, and what corrupt inclinations we have in our own bosoms, we have great need to look aboutus and to keep our hearts with all diligence. Those cannot walk aright that walk carelessly and atall adventures.(5.) He charges them particularly to take heed of the sin of idolatry, that sin which of all othersthey would be most tempted to by the customs of the nations, which they were most addicted toby the corruption of their hearts, and which would be most provoking to God and of the mostpernicious consequences to themselves: Take good heed, lest in this matter you corrupt yourselves,v. 15, 16. Two sorts of idolatry he cautions them against:—[1.] The worship of images, howeverby them they might intend to worship the true God, as they had done in the golden calf, so changingthe truth of God into a lie and his glory into shame. The second commandment is expressly directedagainst this, and is here enlarged upon, v. 15-18. "Take heed lest you corrupt yourselves," that is,"lest you debauch yourselves;" for those that think to make images of God form in their minds suchnotions of him as must needs be an inlet to all impieties; and it is intimated that it is a spiritualadultery. "And take heed lest you destroy yourselves. If any thing ruin you, this will be it. Whateveryou do, make no similitude of God, either in a human shape, male of female, or in the shape of anybeast or fowl, serpent or fish;" for the heathen worshipped their gods by images of all these kinds,being either not able to form, or not willing to admit, that plain demonstration which we find, Hos.viii. 6: The workman made it, therefore it is not God. To represent an infinite Spirit by an image,and the great Creator by the image of a creature, is the greatest affront we can put upon God andthe greatest cheat we can put upon ourselves. As an argument against their making images of God,he urges it very much upon them that when God made himself known to them at Horeb he did itby a voice of words which sounded in their ears, to teach them that faith comes by hearing, andGod in the word is nigh us; but no image was presented to their eye, for to see God as he is isreserved for our happiness in the other world, and to see him as he is not will do us hurt and nogood in this world. You saw no similitude (v. 12), no manner of similitude, v. 15. Probably theyexpected to have seen some similitude, for they were ready to break through unto the Lord to gaze,Exod. xix. 21. But all they saw was light and fire, and nothing that they could make an image of,God an infinite wisdom so ordering his manifestation of himself because of the peril of idolatry.It is said indeed of Moses that he beheld the similitude of the Lord (Num. xii. 8), God allowing himthat favour because he was above the temptation of idolatry; but for the people who had lately comefrom admiring the idols of Egypt, they must see no resemblance of God, lest they should havepretended to copy it, and so should have received the second commandment in vain; "for" (saysbishop Patrick) "they would have thought that this forbade them only to make any representation1080Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)of God besides that wherein he showed himself to them, in which they would have concluded itlawful to represent him." Let this be a caution to us to take heed of making images of God in ourfancy and imagination when we are worshipping him, lest thereby we corrupt ourselves. There maybe idols in the heart, where there are none in the sanctuary. [2.] The worship of the sun, moon, andstars, is another sort of idolatry which they were cautioned against, v. 19. This was the most ancientspecies of idolatry and the most plausible, drawing the adoration to those creatures that not onlyare in a situation above us, but are most sensibly glorious in themselves and most generallyserviceable to the world. And the plausibleness of it made it the more dangerous. It is intimatedhere, First, How strong the temptation is to sense; for the caution is, Lest thou shouldest be drivento worship them by the strong impulse of a vain imagination and the impetuous torrent of thecustoms of the nations. The heart is supposed to walk after the eye, which, in our corrupt anddegenerate state, it is very apt to do. "When thou seest the sun, moon, and stars, thou wilt so admiretheir height and brightness, their regular motion and powerful influence, that thou wilt be stronglytempted to give that glory to them which is due to him that made them, and made them what theyare to us—gave them their beings, and made them blessings to the world." It seems there was needof a great deal of resolution to arm them against this temptation, so weak was their faith in aninvisible God and an invisible world. Secondly, Yet he shows how weak the temptation would beto those that would use their reason; for these pretended deities, the sun, moon, and stars, wereonly blessings which the Lord their God, whom they were obliged to worship, had imparted to allnations. It is absurd to worship them, for they are man's servants, were made and ordained to givelight on earth; and shall we serve those that were made to serve us? The sun, in Hebrew is calledshemesh, which signifies a servant, for it is the minister-general of this visible world, and holdsthe candle to all mankind; let it not then be worshipped as a lord. Moreover, they are God's gifts;he has imparted them; whatever benefit we have by them, we owe it to him; it is therefore highlyinjurious to him to give that honour and praise to them which is due to him only.(6.) He charges them to teach their children to observe the laws of God: Teach them to thysons, and thy sons' sons (v. 9), that they may teach their children, v. 10. [1.] Care must be taken ingeneral to preserve the entail of religion among them, and to transmit the knowledge and worshipof God to posterity; for the kingdom of God in Israel was designed to be perpetual, if they did notforfeit the privilege of it. [2.] Parents must, in order hereunto, particularly take care to teach theirown children the fear of God, and to train them up in an observance of all his commandments.(7.) He charges them never to forget their duty: Take heed lest you forget the covenant of theLord your God, v. 23. Though God is ever mindful of the covenant, we are apt to forget it; and thisis at the bottom of all our departures from God. We have need therefore to watch against all thosethings which would put the covenant out of our minds, and to watch over our own hearts, lest atany time we let it slip; and so we must take heed lest at any time we forget our religion, lest welose it or leave it off. Care and caution, and holy watchfulness, are the best helps against a badmemory. These are the directions and commands he gives them.2. Let us see now what are the motives or arguments with which he backs these exhortations.How does he order the cause before them, and fill his mouth with arguments! He has a great dealto say on God's behalf. Some of his topics are indeed peculiar to that people, yet applicable to us.But, upon the whole, it is evident that religion has reason on its side, the powerful charms of whichall that are irreligious wilfully stop their ears against.1081Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)(1.) He urges the greatness, glory, and goodness, of God. Did we consider what a God he iswith whom we have to do, we should surely make conscience of our duty to him and not dare tosin against him. He reminds them here, [1.] That the Lord Jehovah is the one and only living andtrue God. This they must know and consider, v. 39. There are many things which we know, butare not the better for, because we do not consider them, we do not apply them to ourselves, nordraw proper inferences from them. This is a truth so evident that it cannot but be known, and soinfluential that, if it were duly considered, it would effectually reform the world, That the LordJehovah he is God, an infinite and eternal Being, self-existent and self-sufficient, and the fountainof all being, power, and motion—that he is God in heaven above, clothed with all the glory andLord of all the hosts of the upper world, and that he is God upon earth beneath, which, thoughdistant from the throne of his glory, is not out of the reach of his sight or power, and thoughdespicable and mean is not below his care and cognizance. And there is none else, no true andliving God but himself. All the deities of the heathen were counterfeits and usurpers; nor did anyof them so much as pretend to be universal monarchs in heaven and earth, but only local deities.The Israelites, who worshipped no other than the supreme Numen—Divinity, were for everinexcusable if they either changed their God or neglected him. [2.] That he is a consuming fire, ajealous God, v. 24. Take heed of offending him, for, First, He has a jealous eye to discern an affront;he must have your entire affection and adoration, and will by no means endure a rival. God's jealousyover us is a good reason for our godly jealousy over ourselves. Secondly, He has a heavy hand topunish an affront, especially in his worship, for therein he is in a special manner jealous. He is aconsuming fire; his wrath against sinners is so; it is dreadful and destroying, it is a fiery indignationwhich will devour the adversaries, Heb. x. 27. Fire consumes that only which is fuel for it, so thewrath of God fastens upon those only who, by their own sin, have fitted themselves for destruction,1 Cor. iii. 13; Isa. xxvii. 4. Even in the New Testament we find the same argument urged upon usas a reason why we should serve God with reverence (Heb. xii. 28, 29), because though he is ourGod, and a rejoicing light to those that serve him faithfully, yet he is a consuming fire to those thattrifle with him. Thirdly, That yet he is a merciful God, v. 31. It comes in here as an encouragementto repentance, but might serve as an inducement to obedience, and a consideration proper to preventtheir apostasy. Shall we forsake a merciful God, who will never forsake us, as it follows here, ifwe be faithful unto him? Whither can we go to better ourselves? Shall we forget the covenant ofour God, who will not forget the covenant of our fathers? Let us be held to our duty by the bondsof love, and prevailed with by the mercies of God to cleave to him.(2.) He urges their relation to this God, his authority over them and their obligations to him."The commandments you are to keep and do are not mine," says Moses, "not my inventions, notmy injunctions, but they are the commandments of the Lord, framed by infinite wisdom, enactedby sovereign power. He is the Lord God of your fathers (v. 1), so that you are his by inheritance:your fathers were his, and you were born in his house. He is the Lord your God (v. 2), so that youare his by your own consent. He is the Lord my God (v. 5), so that I treat with you as his agent andambassador;" and in his name Moses delivered unto them all that, and that only, which he hadreceived from the Lord.(3.) He urges the wisdom of being religious: For this is your wisdom in the sight of the nations,v. 6. In keeping God's commandments, [1.] They would act wisely for themselves; This is yourwisdom. It is not only agreeable to right reason, but highly conducive to our true interest; this isone of the first and most ancient maxims of divine revelation. The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,1082Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)Job xxviii. 28. [2.] They would answer the expectations of their neighbours, who, upon reading orhearing the precepts of the law that was given them, would conclude that certainly the people thatwere governed by this law were a wise and understanding people. Great things may justly be lookedfor from those who are guided by divine revelation, and unto whom are committed the oracles ofGod. They must needs be wiser and better than other people; and so they are if they are ruled bythe rules that are given them; and if they are not, though reproach may for their sakes be cast uponthe religion they profess, yet it will in the end certainly return upon themselves to their eternalconfusion. Those that enjoy the benefit of divine light and laws ought to conduct themselves so asto support their own reputation for wisdom and honour (see Eccl. x. 1), that God may be glorifiedthereby.(4.) He urges the singular advantages which they enjoyed by virtue of the happy establishmentthey were under, v. 7, 8. Our communion with God (which is the highest honour and happiness weare capable of in this world) is kept up by the word and prayer; in both these Israel were happyabove any people under heaven. [1.] Never were any people so privileged in speaking to God, v.7. He was nigh unto them in all that they called upon him for, ready to answer their enquiries andresolve them by his oracle, ready to answer their requests and to grant them by a particularprovidence. When they had cried unto God for bread, for water, for healing, they had found himnear them, to succour and relieve them, a very present help, and in the midst of them (Ps. xlvi. 1,5), his ear open to their prayers. Observe, First, It is the character of God's Israel that on all occasionsthey call upon him, in every thing they make their requests known to God. They do nothing butwhat they consult him in, they desire nothing but what they come to him for. Secondly, Those thatcall upon God shall certainly find him within call, and ready to give an answer of peace to everyprayer of faith; see Isa. lviii. 9, "Thou shalt cry, as the child for a nurse, and he shall say, Here Iam, what does my dear child cry for?" Thirdly, This is a privilege which makes the Israel of Godtruly great and honourable. What can go further than this to magnify a people or a person? Is anyname more illustrious than that of Israel, a prince with God? What nation is there so great? Othernations might boast of greater numbers, larger territories, and more ancient incorporations; butnone could boast of such an interest in heaven as Israel had. They had their gods, but not so nighto them as Israel's God was; they could not help them in a time of need, as 1 Kings xviii. 27. [2.]Never were any people so privileged in hearing from God, by the statutes and judgments whichwere set before them, v. 8. This also was the grandeur of Israel above any people. What nation isthere so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous? Observe, First, That all these statutesand judgments of the divine law are infinitely just and righteous, above the statutes and judgmentsof any of the nations. The law of God is far more excellent that the law of nations. No law soconsonant to natural equity and the unprejudiced dictates of right reason, so consistent with itselfin all the parts of it, and so conducive to the welfare and interest of mankind, as the scripture-lawis, Ps. cxix. 128. Secondly, The having of these statutes and judgments set before them is the trueand transcendent greatness of any nation or people. See Ps. cxlvii. 19, 20. It is an honour to us thatwe have the Bible in reputation and power among us. It is an evidence of a people's being high inthe favour of God, and a means of making them high among the nations. Those that magnify thelaw shall be magnified by it.(5.) He urges God's glorious appearances to them at Mount Sinai, when he gave them this law.This he insists much upon. Take heed lest thou forget the day that thou stoodest before the Lordthy God in Horeb, v. 10. Some of them were now alive that could remember it, though they were1083Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)then under twenty years of age, and the rest of them might be said to stand there in the loins of theirfathers, who received the law and entered into covenant there, not for themselves only, but for theirchildren, to whom God had an eye particularly in giving the law, that they might teach it to theirchildren. Two things they must remember, and, one would think, they could never forget them:—[1.]What they saw at Mount Sinai, v. 11. They saw a strange composition of fire and darkness, bothdreadful and very awful; and they must needs be a striking foil to each other; the darkness madethe fire in the midst of it look the more dreadful. Fires in the night are the most frightful, and thefire made the darkness that surrounded it look the more awful; for it must needs be a strong darknesswhich such a fire did not disperse. In allusion to this appearance upon Mount Sinai, God is said toshow himself for his people, and against his and their enemies, in fire and darkness together, Ps.xviii. 8, 9. He tells them again (v. 36) what they saw, for he would have them never forget it: Heshowed thee his great fire. One flash of lightning, that fire from heaven, strikes an awe upon us;and some have observed that most creatures naturally turn their faces towards the lightning, asready to receive the impressions of it; but how dreadful then must a constant fire from heaven be!It gave an earnest of the day of judgment, in which the Lord Jesus shall be revealed in flaming fire.As he reminds them of what they saw, so he tells them what they saw not; no manner of similitude,from which they might form either an idea of God in their fancies or an image of God in their highplaces. By what we see of God sufficient ground is given us to believe him to be a Being of infinitepower and perfection, but no occasion given us to suspect him to have a body such as we have. [2.]What they heard at Mount Sinai (v. 12): "The Lord spoke unto you with an intelligible voice, inyour own language, and you heard it." This he enlarges upon towards the close of his discourse, v.32, 33, 36. First, They heard the voice of God, speaking out of heaven. God manifests himself toall the world in the works of creation, without speech or language, and yet their voice is heard (Ps.xix. 1-3); but to Israel he made himself known by speech and language, condescending to theweakness of the church's infant state. Here was the voice of one crying in the wilderness, to preparethe way of the Lord. Secondly, They heard it out of the midst of the fire, which showed that it wasGod himself that spoke to them, for who else could dwell with devouring fire? God spoke to Jobout of the whirlwind, which was terrible; but to Israel out of the fire, which was more terrible. Wehave reason to be thankful that he does not thus speak to us, but by men like ourselves, whose terrorshall not make us afraid, Job xxxiii. 6, 7. Thirdly, They heard it and yet lived, v. 33. It was a wonderof mercy that the fire did not devour them, or that they did not die for fear, when Moses himselftrembled. Fourthly, Never any people heard the like. He bids them enquire of former days anddistant places, and they would find this favour of God to Israel without precedent or parallel, v. 32.This singular honour done them called for singular obedience from them. It might justly be expectedthat they should do more for God than other people, since God had done so much more for them.(6.) He urges God's gracious appearances for them, in bringing them out of Egypt, from theiron furnace, where they laboured in the fire, forming them into a people, and then taking them tobe his own people, a people of inheritance (v. 20); this he mentions again, v. 34, 37, 38. Never didGod do such a thing for any people; the rise of this nation was quite different from that of all othernations. [1.] They were thus dignified and distinguished, not for any thing in them that was deservingor inviting, but because God had a kindness for their fathers: he chose them. See the reasons of freegrace; we are not beloved for our own sakes, but for his sake who is the great trustee of the covenant.[2.] They were delivered out of Egypt by miracles and signs, in mercy to them and in judgmentupon the Egyptians, against whom God stretched out his arm, which was signified by Moses's1084Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)stretching out his hand in summoning the plagues. [3.] They were designed for a happy settlementin Canaan, v. 38. Nations must be driven out from before them, to make room for them, to showhow much dearer they were to God than any other people were. Egyptians and Canaanites mustboth be sacrificed to Israel's honour and interest. Those that stand in Israel's light, in Israel's way,shall find it is at their peril.(7.) He urges God's righteous appearance against them sometimes for their sins. He specifiesparticularly the matter of Peor, v. 3, 4. This had happened very lately: their eyes had seen but theother day the sudden destruction of those that joined themselves to Baal-peor and the preservationof those that clave to the Lord, from which they might easily infer the danger of apostasy from Godand the benefit of adherence to him. He also takes notice again of God's displeasure against himself:The Lord was angry with me for your sakes, v. 21, 22. He mentions this to try their ingenuousness,whether they would really be troubled for the great prejudice which they had occasioned to theirfaithful friend and leader. Others' sufferings for our sakes should grieve us more than our own.(8.) He urges the certain advantage of obedience. This argument he begins with (v. 1): Thatyou may live, and go in and possess the land; and this he concludes with (v. 40): That it may gowell with thee, and with thy children after thee. He reminds them that they were upon their goodbehaviour, that their prosperity would depend upon their piety. If they kept God's precepts, hewould undoubtedly fulfil his promises.(9.) He urges the fatal consequences of their apostasy from God, that it would undoubtedly bethe ruin of their nation. This he enlarges upon, v. 25-31. Here, [1.] He foresees their revolt fromGod to idols, that in process of time, when they had remained long in the land and were settledupon their lees, they would corrupt themselves, and make a graven image; this was the sin thatwould most easily beset them, v. 25. [2.] He foretels the judgments of God upon them for this: Youshall utterly be destroyed (v. 26), scattered among the nations, v. 27. And their sin should be madetheir punishment (v. 28): "There shall you serve gods, the work of men's hands, be compelled toserve them, whether you will or no, or, through your own sottishness and stupidity, you will findno better succours to apply yourselves in your captivity." Those that cast off the duties of religionin their prosperity cannot expect the comforts of it when they come to be in distress. Justly are theythen sent to the gods whom they have served, Judg. x. 14. [3.] Yet he encourages them to hope thatGod would reserve mercy for them in the latter days, that he would by his judgments upon thembring them to repentance, and take them again into covenant with himself, v. 29-31. Here observe,First, That whatever place we are in we may thence seek the Lord our God, though ever so remotefrom our own land or from his holy temple. There is no part of this earth that has a gulf fixedbetween it and heaven. Secondly, Those, and those only, shall find God to their comfort, who seekhim with all their heart, that is, who are entirely devoted to him, earnestly desirous of his favourand solicitous to obtain it. Thirdly, Afflictions are sent to engage and quicken us to see God, and,by the grace of God working with them, many are thus reduced to their right mind, "When thesethings shall come upon thee, it is to be hoped that thou wilt turn to the Lord they God, for thouseest what comes of turning from him;" see Dan. ix. 11, 12. Fourthly, God's faithfulness to hiscovenant encourages us to hope that he will not reject us, though we be driven to him by affliction.If we at length remember the covenant, we shall find that he has not forgotten it.Now let all these arguments be laid together, and then say whether religion has not reason onits side. None cast off the government of their God but those that have first abandoned theunderstanding of a man.1085Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)41 Then Moses severed three cities on this side Jordan toward the sunrising; 42That the slayer might flee thither, which should kill his neighbour unawares, andhated him not in times past; and that fleeing unto one of these cities he might live:43 Namely, Bezer in the wilderness, in the plain country, of the Reubenites; andRamoth in Gilead, of the Gadites; and Golan in Bashan, of the Manassites. 44 Andthis is the law which Moses set before the children of Israel: 45 These are thetestimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which Moses spake unto the childrenof Israel, after they came forth out of Egypt, 46 On this side Jordan, in the valleyover against Beth-peor, in the land of Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt atHeshbon, whom Moses and the children of Israel smote, after they were come forthout of Egypt: 47 And they possessed his land, and the land of Og king of Bashan,two kings of the Amorites, which were on this side Jordan toward the sunrising;48 From Aroer, which is by the bank of the river Arnon, even unto mount Sion,which is Hermon, 49 And all the plain on this side Jordan eastward, even unto thesea of the plain, under the springs of Pisgah.Here is, 1. The nomination of the cities of refuge on that side Jordan where Israel now layencamped. Three cities were appointed for that purpose, one in the lot of Reuben, another in thatof Gad, and another in that of the half tribe of Manasseh, v. 41-43. What Moses could do for thatpeople while he was yet with them he did, to give example to the rulers who were settled that theymight observe them the better when he was gone. 2. The introduction to another sermon that Mosespreached to Israel, which we have in the following chapters. Probably it was preached the nextsabbath day after, when the congregation attended to receive instruction. He had in general exhortedthem to obedience in the former chapter; here he comes to repeat the law which they were to observe,for he demands a universal but not an implicit obedience. How can we do our duty if we do notknow it? Here therefore he sets the law before them as the rule they were to work by, the way theywere to walk in, sets it before them as the glass in which they were to see their natural face, that,looking into this perfect law of liberty, they might continue therein. These are the testimonies, thestatutes, and the judgments, the moral, ceremonial, and judicial laws, which had been enactedbefore, when Israel had newly come out of Egypt, and were now repeated, on this side Jordan, v.44-46. The place where Moses gave them these laws in charge is here particularly described. (1.)It was over-against Beth-peor, an idol-temple of the Moabites, which perhaps Moses sometimeslooked towards, with a particular caution to them against the infection of that and other such likedangerous places. (2.) It was upon their new conquests, in the very land which they had got out ofthe hands of Sihon and Og, and were now actually in possession of, v. 47. Their present triumphsherein were a powerful argument for obedience.D E U T E R O N O M Y1086Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)CHAP. V.In this chapter we have the second edition of the ten commandments. I. The general intent ofthem; they were in the nature of a covenant between God and Israel, ver. 1-5. II. The particularprecepts are repeated (ver. 6-21), with the double delivery of them, both by word and writing, ver.22. III. The settling of the correspondence thenceforward between God and Israel, by the mediationand ministry of Moses. 1. It was Israel's humble petition that it might be so, ver. 23-27. 2. It wasGod's gracious grant that it should be so, ver. 28-31. And hence he infers the obligation they wereunder to obedience, ver. 32, 33.The Decalogue Repeated. (b. c. 1451.)1 And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutesand judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep,and do them. 2 The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. 3 The Lordmade not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us herealive this day. 4 The Lord talked with you face to face in the mount out of the midstof the fire, 5 (I stood between the Lord and you at that time, to show you the wordof the Lord: for ye were afraid by reason of the fire, and went not up into the mount;)saying,Here, 1. Moses summons the assembly. He called all Israel; not only the elders, but, it is likely,as many of the people as could come within hearing, v. 1. The greatest of them were not aboveGod's command, nor the meanest of them below his cognizance; but they were all bound to do. 2.He demands attention: "Hear, O Israel; hear and heed, hear and remember, hear, that you maylearn, and keep, and do; else your hearing is to no purpose." When we hear the word of God wemust set ourselves to learn it, that we may have it ready to us upon all occasions, and what we havelearned we must put in practice, for that is the end of hearing and learning; not to fill our headswith notions, or our mouths with talk, but to rectify and direct our affections and conversations. 3.He refers them to the covenant made with them in Horeb, as that which they must govern themselvesby. See the wonderful condescension of divine grace in turning the command into a covenant, thatwe might be the more strongly bound to obedience by our own consent and the more encouragedin it by the divine promise, both which are supposed in the covenant. The promises and threateningsannexed to some of the precepts, as to the second, third, and fifth, make them amount to a covenant.Observe, (1.) The parties to this covenant. God made it, not with our fathers, not with Abraham,Isaac, and Jacob; to them God gave the covenant of circumcision (Acts vii. 8), but not that of theten commandments. The light of divine revelation shone gradually, and the children were made toknow more of God's mind than their fathers had done. "The covenant was made with us, or ourimmediate parents that represented us, before Mount Sinai, and transacted for us." (2.) Thepublication of this covenant. God himself did, as it were, read the articles to them (v. 4): He talkedwith you face to face; word to word, so the Chaldee. Not in dark visions, as of old he spoke to thefathers (Job iv. 12, 13), but openly and clearly, and so that all the thousands of Israel might hearand understand. He spoke to them, and then received the answer they returned to him: thus was ittransacted face to face. (3.) The mediator of the covenant: Moses stood between God and them, at1087Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)the foot of the mount (v. 5), and carried messages between them both for the settling of thepreliminaries (Exod. xix.) and for the changing of the ratifications, Exod. xxiv. Herein Moses wasa type of Christ, who stands between God and man, to show us the word of the Lord, a blesseddays-man, that has laid his hand upon us both, so that we may both hear from God and speak tohim without trembling.6 I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from thehouse of bondage. 7 Thou shalt have none other gods before me. 8 Thou shalt notmake thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above,or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth: 9 Thoushalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am ajealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third andfourth generation of them that hate me, 10 And showing mercy unto thousands ofthem that love me and keep my commandments. 11 Thou shalt not take the nameof the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh hisname in vain. 12 Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the Lord thy God hathcommanded thee. 13 Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work: 14 But theseventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work,thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, northine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates;that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou. 15 And rememberthat thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought theeout thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thyGod commanded thee to keep the sabbath day. 16 Honour thy father and thy mother,as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, andthat it may go well with thee, in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. 17Thou shalt not kill. 18 Neither shalt thou commit adultery. 19 Neither shalt thousteal. 20 Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour. 21 Neithershalt thou desire thy neighbour's wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour's house,his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing thatis thy neighbour's. 22 These words the Lord spake unto all your assembly in themount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with agreat voice: and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, anddelivered them unto me.Here is the repetition of the ten commandments, in which observe, 1. Though they had beenspoken before, and written, yet they are again rehearsed; for precept must be upon precept, and lineupon line, and all little enough to keep the word of God in our minds and to preserve and renewthe impressions of it. We have need to have the same things often inculcated upon us. See Phil. iii.1. 2. There is some variation here from that record (Exod. xx.), as there is between the Lord's prayeras it is in Matt. vi. and as it is Luke xi. In both it is more necessary that we tie ourselves to the1088Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)things than to the words unalterably. 3. The most considerable variation is in the fourthcommandment. In Exod. xx. the reason annexed is taken from the creation of the world; here it istaken from their deliverance out of Egypt, because that was typical of our redemption by JesusChrist, in remembrance of which the Christian sabbath was to be observed: Remember that thouwast a servant, and God brought thee out, v. 15. And Therefore, (1.) "It is fit that thy servantsshould be favoured by the sabbath-rest; for thou knowest the heart of a servant, and how welcomeone day's ease will be after six days' labour." (2.) "It is fit that thy God should be honoured by thesabbath-work, and the religious services of the day, in consideration of the great things he has donefor thee." In the resurrection of Christ we were brought into the glorious liberty of the children ofGod, with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore, by the gospel-edition of the law, weare directed to observe the first day of the week, in remembrance of that glorious work of powerand grace. 4. It is added in the fifth commandment, That it may go well with thee, which additionthe apostle quotes, and puts first (Eph. vi. 3), that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayestlive long. If there be instances of some that have been very dutiful to their parents, and yet havenot lived long upon earth, we may reconcile it to the promise by this explication of it, Whether theylive long or no, it shall go well with them, either in this world or in a better. See Eccl. viii. 12. 5.The last five commandments are connected or coupled together, which they are not in Exodus:Neither shalt thou commit adultery, neither shalt thou steal, &c., which intimate that God'scommands are all of a piece: the same authority that obliges us to one obliges us to another; andwe must not be partial in the law, but have respect to all God's commandments, for he that offendsin one point is guilty of all, Jam. ii. 10, 11. 6. That these commandments were given with a greatdeal of awful solemnity, v. 22. (1.) They were spoken with a great voice out of the fire, and thickdarkness. That was a dispensation of terror, designed to make the gospel of grace the more welcome,and to be a specimen of the terrors of the judgment-day, Ps. l. 3, 4. (2.) He added no more. Whatother laws he gave them were sent by Moses, but no more were spoken in the same manner thatthe ten commandments were. He added no more, therefore we must not add: the law of the Lordis perfect. (3.) He wrote them in two tables of stone, that they might be preserved from corruption,and might be transmitted pure and entire to posterity, for whose use they were intended, as well asfor the present generation. These being the heads of the covenant, the chest in which the writtentables were deposited was called the ark of the covenant. See Rev. xi. 19.23 And it came to pass, when ye heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness,(for the mountain did burn with fire,) that ye came near unto me, even all the headsof your tribes, and your elders; 24 And ye said, Behold, the Lord our God hathshowed us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midstof the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth. 25Now therefore why should we die? for this great fire will consume us: if we hearthe voice of the Lord our God any more, then we shall die. 26 For who is there ofall flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of thefire, as we have, and lived? 27 Go thou near, and hear all that the Lord our Godshall say: and speak thou unto us all that the Lord our God shall speak unto thee;and we will hear it, and do it. 28 And the Lord heard the voice of your words, whenye spake unto me; and the Lord said unto me, I have heard the voice of the words1089Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)of this people, which they have spoken unto thee: they have well said all that theyhave spoken. 29 O that there were such a heart in them, that they would fear me,and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and withtheir children for ever! 30 Go say to them, Get you into your tents again. 31 Butas for thee, stand thou here by me, and I will speak unto thee all the commandments,and the statutes, and the judgments, which thou shalt teach them, that they may dothem in the land which I give them to possess it. 32 Ye shall observe to do thereforeas the Lord your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right handor to the left. 33 Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hathcommanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye mayprolong your days in the land which ye shall possess.Here, I. Moses reminds them of the agreement of both the parties that were now treating, inthe mediation of Moses.1. Here is the consternation that the people were put into by that extreme terror with which thelaw was given. They owned that they could not bear it any more: "This great fire will consume us;this dreadful voice will be fatal to us; we shall certainly die if we hear it any more," v. 25. Theywondered that they were not already struck dead with it, and took it for an extraordinary instanceof the divine power and goodness, not only that they were thus spoken to, but that they were enabledto bear it. For who ever heard the voice of the living God, as we have, and lived? God's appearanceshave always been terrible to man, ever since the fall: but Christ, having taken away sin, invites usto come boldly to the throne of grace.2. Their earnest request that God would henceforth speak to them by Moses, with a promisethat they would hear what he said as from God himself, and do it, v. 27. It seems by this, (1.) Thatthey expected to receive further commands from God and were willing to hear more from him. (2.)That they thought Moses able to bear those discoveries of the divine glory which they by reasonof guilt were sensible of their inability to stand up under. They believed him to be a favourite ofHeaven, and also one that would be faithful to them; yet at other times they murmured at him, andbut a little before this were ready to stone him, Exod. xvii. 4. See how men's convictions correcttheir passions. (3.) That now they were in a good mind, under the strong convictions of the wordthey heard. Many have their consciences startled by the law that have them not purified; fair promisesare extorted from them, but no good principles fixed and rooted in them.3. God's approbation of their request. (1.) He commends what they said, v. 28. They spoke itto Moses, but God took notice of it; for there is not a word in our tongue but he knows it. Heacknowledges, They have well said. Their owning the necessity of a mediator to deal between themand God was well said. Their desire to receive further directions from God by Moses, and theirpromise to observe what directions should be given them, were well said. And what is well saidshall have its praise with God, and should have with us. What is good, as far as it goes, let it becommended. (2.) He wishes they were but sincere in it: O that there were such a heart in them! v.29. [1.] Such a heart as they should have, a heart to fear God, and keep his commandments for ever.Note, The God of heaven is truly and earnestly desirous of the welfare and salvation of poor sinners.He has given abundant proof that he is so: he gives us time and space to repent, by his merciesinvites us to repentance, and waits to be gracious; he has sent his Son to redeem us, published a1090Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)general offer of pardon and life, promised his Spirit to those that pray for him, and has said andsworn that he has no pleasure in the ruin of sinners. [2.] Such a heart as they now had, or one wouldthink they had. Note, It would be well with many if there were always such a heart in them as thereseems to be sometimes, when they are under conviction of sin, or the rebukes of Providence, orwhen they come to look death in the face: How gracious will they be when these pangs come uponthem! O that there were always such a heart in them! (3.) He appoints Moses to be his messengerto them, to receive the law from his mouth and to communicate it to them, v. 31. Here the matterwas settled by consent of both parties that God should hence-forward speak to us by men likeourselves, by Moses and the prophets, by the apostles and the evangelists, and, if we believe notthese, neither should we be persuaded though God should speak to us as he did to Israel at MountSinai, or send expresses from heaven or hell.II. Hence he infers a charge to them to observe and do all that God had commanded them, v.32, 33. Seeing God had shown himself so tender of them, and so willing to consider their frameand gratify them in what they desired, and withal so ready to make the best of them,—seeing theythemselves had desired to have Moses for their teacher, who was now teaching them,—and seeingthey had promised so solemnly, and under the influence of so many good causes and considerations,that they would hear and do, he charges them to walk in all the ways that God had commandedthem, assuring them that it would be highly for their advantage to do so. The only way to be happyis to be holy. Say to the righteous, It shall be well with them.D E U T E R O N O M YCHAP. VI.Moses, in this chapter, goes on with his charge to Israel, to be sure to keep up their religion inCanaan. It is much the same with ch. iv. I. His preface is a persuasive to obedience, ver. 1-3. II. Helays down the great principles of obedience. The first truth to be believed, That God is one, ver. 4.The first duty to be done, To love him with all our heart, ver. 5. III. He prescribes the means forkeeping up religion, ver. 6-9. IV. He cautions them against those things which would be the ruinof religion—abuse of plenty (ver. 10-12), inclination to idolatry (ver. 14, 15), and gives them somegeneral precepts, ver. 13, 16-18. V. He directs them what instructions to give their children, ver.20, &c.Summary of Religion. (b. c. 1451.)1 Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which theLord your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whitherye go to possess it: 2 That thou mightest fear the Lord thy God, to keep all hisstatutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thyson's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged. 3 Heartherefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye1091Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)may increase mightily, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in theland that floweth with milk and honey.Observe here, 1. That Moses taught the people all that, and that only, which God commandedhim to teach them, v. 1. Thus Christ's ministers are to teach his churches all that he has commanded,and neither more nor less, Matt. xxviii. 20. 2. That the end of their being taught was that they mightdo as they were taught (v. 1), might keep God's statutes (v. 2), and observe to do them, v. 3. Goodinstructions from parents and ministers will but aggravate our condemnation if we do not live upto them. 3. That Moses carefully endeavoured to fix them for God and godliness, now that theywere entering upon the land of Canaan, that they might be prepared for the comforts of that land,and fortified against the snares of it, and now that they were setting out in the world might set outwell. 4. That the fear of God in the heart will be the most powerful principle of obedience: Thatthou mightest fear the Lord thy God, to keep all his statutes, v. 2. 5. The entail of religion in afamily, or country, is the best entail: it is highly desirable that not we only, but our children, andour children's children, may fear the Lord. 6. Religion and righteousness advance and secure theprosperity of any people. Fear God, and it shall be well with thee. Those that are well taught, ifthey do what they are taught, shall be well fed too, as Israel in the land flowing with milk and honey,v. 3.Cautions and Precepts. (b. c. 1451.)4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: 5 And thou shalt love the Lordthy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6 Andthese words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thoushalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittestin thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, andwhen thou risest up. 8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, andthey shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. 9 And thou shalt write them upon theposts of thy house, and on thy gates. 10 And it shall be, when the Lord thy Godshall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham,to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not,11 And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged,which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; whenthou shalt have eaten and be full; 12 Then beware lest thou forget the Lord, whichbrought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. 13 Thoushalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name. 14 Yeshall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you;15 (For the Lord thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the Lordthy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth. 16Ye shall not tempt the Lord your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.Here is, I. A brief summary of religion, containing the first principles of faith and obedience,v. 4, 5. These two verses the Jews reckon one of the choicest portions of scripture: they write it in1092Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)their phylacteries, and think themselves not only obliged to say it at least twice every day, but veryhappy in being so obliged, having this saying among them, Blessed are we, who every morningand evening say, Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. But more blessed are we if we dulyconsider and improve,1. What we are here taught to believe concerning God: that Jehovah our God is one Jehovah.(1.) That the God whom we serve is Jehovah, a Being infinitely and eternally perfect, self-existent,and self-sufficient. (2.) That he is the one only living and true God; he only is God, and he is butone. The firm belief of this self-evident truth would effectually arm them against all idolatry, whichwas introduced by that fundamental error, that there are gods many. It is past dispute that there isone God, and there is no other but he, Mark xii. 32. Let us therefore have no other, nor desire tohave any other. Some have thought there is here a plain intimation of the trinity of persons in theunity of the Godhead; for here is the name of God three times, and yet all declared to be one. Happythey that have this one Lord for their God; for they have but one master to please, but one benefactorto seek to. It is better to have one fountain that a thousand cisterns, one all-sufficient God than athousand insufficient ones.2. What we are here taught concerning the duty which God requires of man. It is all summedup in this as its principle, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart. He had undertaken(v. 2) to teach them to fear God; and, in pursuance of his undertaking, he here teaches them to lovehim, for the warmer our affection to him the greater will be our veneration for him; the child thathonours his parents no doubt loves them. Did ever any prince make a law that his subjects shouldlove him? Yet such is the condescension of the divine grace that this is made the first and greatcommandment of God's law, that we love him, and that we perform all other parts of our duty tohim from a principle of love. My son, give me thy heart. We must highly esteem him, be wellpleased that there is such a Being, well pleased in all his attributes, and relations to us: our desiremust be towards him, our delight in him, our dependence upon him, and to him we must be entirelydevoted. It must be a constant pleasure to us to think of him, hear from him, speak to him, and servehim. We must love him, (1.) As the Lord, the best of beings, most excellent and amiable in himself.(2.) As our God, a God in covenant with us, our Father, and the most kind and bountiful of friendsand benefactors. We are also commanded to love God with all our heart, and soul, and might; thatis, we must love him, [1.] With a sincere love; not in word and tongue only, saying we love himwhen our hearts are not with him, but inwardly, and in truth, solacing ourselves in him. [2.] Witha strong love; the heart must be carried out towards him with great ardour and fervency of affection.Some have hence though that we should avoid saying (as we commonly express ourselves) that wewill do this or that with all our heart, for we must not do any thing with all our heart but love God;and that this phrase, being here used concerning that sacred fire, should not be unhallowed. He thatis our all must have our all, and none but he. [3.] With a superlative love; we must love God aboveany creature whatsoever, and love nothing besides him but what we love for him and in subordinationto him. [4.] With an intelligent love; for so it is explained, Mark xii. 33. To love him with all theheart, and with all the understanding, we must know him, and therefore love him as those that seegood cause to love him. [5.] With an entire love; he is one, and therefore our hearts must be unitedin this love, and the whole stream of our affections must run towards him. O that this love of Godmay be shed abroad in our hearts!II. Means are here prescribed for the maintaining and keeping up of religion in our hearts andhouses, that it might not wither and go to decay. And they are these:—1. Meditation: These words1093Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)which I command thee shall be in thy heart, v. 6. Though the words alone without the things willdo us no good, yet we are in danger of losing the things if we neglect the words, by which ordinarilydivine light and power are conveyed to the heart. God's words must be laid up on our heart, thatour thoughts may be daily conversant with them and employed about them, and thereby the wholesoul may be brought to abide and act under the influence and impression of them. This immediatelyfollows upon the law of loving God with all your heart; for those that do so will lay up his word intheir hearts both as an evidence and effect of that love and as a means to preserve and increase it.He that loves God loves his Bible. 2. The religious education of children (v. 7): "Thou shalt teachthem diligently to thy children; and by communicating thy knowledge thou wilt increase it." Thosethat love the Lord God themselves should do what they can to engage the affections of their childrento him, and so to preserve the entail of religion in their families from being cut off. Thou shalt whetthem diligently upon thy children, so some read it; frequently repeat these things to them, try allways of instilling them into their minds, and making them pierce into their hearts; as, in whettinga knife, it is turned first on this side, then on that. "Be careful and exact in teaching thy children;and aim, as by whetting, to sharpen them, and put an edge upon them. Teach them to thy children,not only those of thy own body" (say the Jews) "but all those that are anyway under thy care andtuition." Bishop Patrick well observes here that Moses thought his law so very plain and easy thatevery father might be able to instruct his sons in it and every mother her daughters. Thus that goodthing which is committed to us we must carefully transmit to those that come after us, that it maybe perpetuated. 3. Pious discourse. "Thou shalt talk of these things, with due reverence andseriousness, for the benefit not only of thy children, but of thy other domestics, thy friends andcompanions, as thou sittest in thy house at work, or at meat, or at rest, or to receive visits, and whenthou walkest by the way for diversion, or for conversation, of in journeys, when at night thou artretiring from thy family to lie down for sleep, and when in the morning thou hast risen up andreturnest to thy family again. Take all occasions to discourse with those about thee of divine things;not of unrevealed mysteries, or matters of doubtful disputation, but of the plain truths and laws ofGod, and the things that belong to our peace." So far is it from being reckoned a diminution to thehonour of sacred things to make them subject of our familiar discourse that they are recommendedto us to be talked of; for the more conversant we are with them the more we shall admire them andbe affected with them, and may thereby be instrumental to communicate divine light and heat. 4.Frequent reading of the word: They shall be as frontlets between thy eyes, and thou shalt write themupon the posts of thy house, v. 8, 9. It is probable that at that time there were few written copies ofthe whole law, only at the feasts of tabernacles the people had it read to them; and therefore Godappointed them, at least for the present, to write some select sentences of the law, that were mostweighty and comprehensive, upon their walls, or in scrolls of parchment to be worn about theirwrists; and some think that hence the phylacteries so much used among the Jews took rise. Christblames the Pharisees, not for wearing them, but for affecting to have them broader than otherpeople's, Matt. xxiii. 5. But when Bibles came to be common among them there was less occasionfor this expedient. It was prudently and piously provided by the first reformers of the English churchthat then, when Bibles were scarce, some select portions of scripture should be written on the wallsand pillars of the churches, which the people might make familiar to them, in conformity to thisdirection, which seems to have been binding in the letter of it to the Jews as it is to us in the intentof it, which is that we should endeavour by all means possible to make the word of God familiarto us, that we may have it ready to us upon all occasions, for our restraint from sin and our direction1094Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)and excitement to our duty. It must be as that which is graven on the palms of our hands, alwaysbefore our eyes. See Prov. vii. 1-3. It is also intimated that we must never be ashamed to own ourreligion, nor to own ourselves under the check and government of it. Let it be written on our gates,and let every one that goes by our door read it, that we believe Jehovah to be God alone, and believeourselves bound to love him with all our hearts.III. A caution is here given not to forget God in a day of prosperity and plenty, v. 10-12. Here,1. He raises their expectations of the goodness of their God, taking it for granted that he wouldbring them into the good land that he had promised (v. 10), that they should no longer dwell intents as shepherds and poor travellers, but should settle in great and goodly cities, should no longerwander in a barren wilderness, but should enjoy houses will furnished and gardens well planted (v.11), and all this without any care and expense of their own, which he here lays a great stressupon—Cities which thou buildest not, houses which thou filledst not, &c., both because it madethe mercy really much more valuable that what they had come to them so cheaply, and yet, if theydid not actually consider it, the mercy would be the less esteemed, for we are most sensible of thevalue of that which has cost us dear. When they came so easily by the gift they would be apt togrow secure, and unmindful of the giver. 2. He engages their watchfulness against the badness oftheir own hearts: Then beware, when thou liest safe and soft, lest thou forget the Lord, v. 12. Note,(1.) In a day of prosperity we are in great danger of forgetting God, our dependence upon him, ourneed of him, and our obligations to him. When the world smiles we are apt to make our court to it,and expect our happiness in it, and so we forget him that his our only portion and rest. Agur praysagainst this temptation (Prov. xxx. 9): Lest I be full and deny thee. (2.) There is therefore need ofgreat care and caution at such a time, and a strict watch over our own hearts. "Then beware; beingwarned of your danger, stand upon your guard against it. Bind the words of God for a sign uponthy hand, for this end to prevent thy forgetting God. When thou art settled in Canaan forget not thydeliverance out of Egypt; but look to the rock out of which thou wast hewn. When thy latter endhas greatly increased, remember the smallness of thy beginnings."IV. Some special precepts and prohibitions are here given, which are of great consequence. 1.They must upon all occasions give honour to God (v. 13): Fear him and serve him (for, if he be aMaster, we must both reverence him and do his work); and swear by his name, that is, they mustnot upon any occasion appeal to any other, as the discerner of truth and avenger of wrong. Swearby him only, and not by an idol, or any other creature. Swear by his name in all treaties and covenantswith the neighbouring nations, and do not compliment them so far as to swear by their gods.Swearing by his mane is sometimes put for an open profession of his name. Isa. xlv. 23, Everytongue shall swear, is expounded (Rom. xiv. 11), Every tongue shall confess to God. 2. They mustnot upon any occasion give that honour to other gods (v. 14): You shall not go after other gods,that is, "You shall not serve nor worship them;" for therein they went astray, they went a whoringfrom the true God, who in this, more than in any thing, is jealous god (v. 15): and the learned bishopPatrick observes here, out of Maimonides, that we never find, either in the law or the prophets,anger, or fury, or jealousy, or indignation, attributed to God but upon occasion of idolatry. 3. Theymust take heed of dishonouring God by tempting him (v. 16): You shall not tempt the Lord yourGod, that is, "You shall not in any exigence distrust the power, presence, and providence of God,nor quarrel with him," which, if they indulged an evil heart of unbelief, they would take occasionto do in Canaan as well as in the wilderness. No change of condition will cure a disposition ofmurmur and fret. Our Saviour uses this caution as an answer to one of Satan's temptations, with1095Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)application to himself, Matt. iv. 7, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God, either by despairing ofhis power and goodness while we keep in the way of our duty, or by presuming upon it when weturn aside out of that way.A Charge to Israel. (b. c. 1451.)17 Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and histestimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee. 18 And thou shaltdo that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord: that it may be well withthee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the Lord swareunto thy fathers, 19 To cast out all thine enemies from before thee, as the Lord hathspoken. 20 And when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean thetestimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord our God hathcommanded you? 21 Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh's bondmenin Egypt; and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand: 22 And theLord showed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, andupon all his household, before our eyes: 23 And he brought us out from thence,that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers. 24And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, forour good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day. 25 And it shallbe our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lordour God, as he hath commanded us.Here, I. Moses charges them to keep God's commandments themselves: You shall diligentlykeep God's commandments, v. 17-19. Note, It requires a great deal of care and pains to keep upreligion in the power of it in our hearts and lives. Negligence will ruin us; but we cannot be savedwithout diligence. To induce them to this, he here shows them, 1. That this would be very acceptableto God: it is right and good in the sight of the Lord; and that is right and good indeed that is, so inGod's sight. If we have any regard to the favour of our Creator as our felicity, and the law of ourcreation as our rule, we shall be religious. 2. That it would be very advantageous and profitable tothemselves. It would secure to them the possession of the land of Canaan, prosperity there, andconstant victory over those that stood in their way. In short, "Do well, and it shall be well withthee."II. He charges them to instruct their children in the commands of God, not only that they mightin their tender years intelligently and affectionately join in religious services, but that afterwardsthey might in their day keep up religion, and convey it to those that should come after them. Now,1. Here is a proper question which it is supposed the children would ask (v. 20): "What meanthe testimonies and the statutes? What is the meaning of the feasts we observe, the sacrifices weoffer, and the many peculiar customs we keep up?" Observe, (1.) All divine institutions have acertain meaning, and there is something great designed in them. (2.) It concerns us to know andunderstand the meaning of them, that we may perform a reasonable service and may not offer theblind for sacrifice. (3.) It is good for children betimes to enquire into the true intent and meaningof the religious observances they are trained up in. If any are thus inquisitive in divine things it is1096Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)a good sign that they are concerned about them, and a good means of their attaining to a greatacquaintance with them. Then shall we know if thus we follow on to know.2. Here is a full answer put into the parents' mouths to be given to this good question. Parentsand teachers must give instruction to those under their charge, though they do not ask it, nay, thoughthey have an aversion to it; much more must they be ready to answer questions, and to giveinstruction when it is desired; for it may be hoped that those who ask it will be willing to receiveit. Did the children ask the meaning of God's laws? Let them be told that they were to be observed,(1.) In a grateful remembrance of God's former favours to them, especially their deliverance outof Egypt, v. 21-23. The children must be often told of the deplorable state their ancestors were inwhen they were bondmen in Egypt, the great salvation God wrought for them in fetching them outthence, and that God, in giving them these peculiar statutes, meant to perpetuate the memorial ofthat work of wonder, by which they were formed into a peculiar people. (2.) As the prescribedcondition of his further favours (v. 24): The Lord commanded us all these statutes for our good.Note, God commands us nothing but what is really for our good. It is our interest as well as ourduty to be religious. [1.] It will be our life: That he might preserve us alive, which is a great favour,and more than we could expect, considering how often we have forfeited life itself. Godliness hasthe promise of the continuance and comfort of the life that now is as far as it is for God's glory. [2.]It will be our righteousness. Could we perfectly fulfil but that one command of loving God withall our heart, soul, and might, and could we say, "We have never done otherwise," this would beso our righteousness as to entitle us to the benefits of the covenant of innocency; had we continuedin every thing that is written in the book of the law to do it, the law would have justified us. Butthis we cannot pretend to, therefore our sincere obedience shall be accepted through a Mediator todenominate us, as Noah was, righteous before God, Gen. vii. 1; Luke i. 6; and 1 John iii. 7. TheChaldee reads it, There shall be a reward to us if we observe to do these commandments; for,without doubt, in keeping God's commandments there is great reward.D E U T E R O N O M YCHAP. VII.Moses in this chapter exhorts Israel, I. In general, to keep God's commandments, ver. 11, 12.II. In particular, and in order to that, to keep themselves pure from all communion with idolaters.1. They must utterly destroy the seven devoted nations, and not spare them, or make leagues withthem, ver. 1, 2, 16, 24. 2. They must by no means marry with the remainders of them, ver. 3, 4. 3.They must deface and consume their altars and images, and not so much as take the silver and goldof them to their own use, ver. 5, 25, 26. To enforce this charge, he shows that they were bound todo so, (1.) In duty. Considering [1.] Their election to God, ver. 6. [2.] The reason of that election,ver. 7, 8. [3.] The terms they stood upon with God, ver. 9, 10. (2.) In interest. It is here promised,[1.] In general, that, if they would serve God, he would bless and prosper them, ver. 12-15. [2.] Inparticular, that if they would drive out the nations, that they might not be a temptation to them, Godwould drive them out, that they should not be any vexation to them, ver. 17, &c.1097Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)A Caution Against Idolatry. (b. c. 1451.)1 When the Lord thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest topossess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and theGirgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites,and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; 2 And when theLord thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterlydestroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them:3 Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not giveunto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. 4 For they will turnaway thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the angerof the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly. 5 But thus shall yedeal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cutdown their groves, and burn their graven images with fire. 6 For thou art a holypeople unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a specialpeople unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. 7 TheLord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in numberthan any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: 8 But because the Lord lovedyou, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers,hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of thehouse of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9 Know therefore thatthe Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercywith them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;10 And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not beslack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face. 11 Thou shalt thereforekeep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I commandthee this day, to do them.Here is, I. A very strict caution against all friendship and fellowship with idols and idolaters.Those that are taken into communion with God must have no communication with the unfruitfulworks of darkness. These things they are charged about for the preventing of this snare now beforethem.1. They must show them no mercy, v. 1, 2. Bloody work is here appointed them, and yet it isGod's work, and good work, and in its time and place needful, acceptable, and honourable.(1.) God here engages to do his part. It is spoken of as a thing taken for granted that God wouldbring them into the land of promise, that he would cast out the nations before them, who were thepresent occupants of that land; no room was left to doubt of that. His power is irresistible, andtherefore he can do it; his promise is inviolable, and therefore he will do it. Now, [1.] These devotednations are here named and numbered (v. 1), seven in all, and seven to one are great odds. Theyare specified, that Israel might know the bounds and limits of their commission: hitherto theirseverity must come, but no further; nor must they, under colour of this commission, kill all that1098Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)came in their way; no, here must its waves be stayed. The confining of this commission to thenations here mentioned plainly intimates that after-ages were not to draw this into a precedent; thiswill not serve to justify those barbarous laws which give no quarter. How agreeable soever thismethod might be, when God himself prescribed it, to that dispensation under which such multitudesof beasts were killed and burned in sacrifice, now that all sacrifices of atonement are perfected in,and superseded by, the great propitiation made by the blood of Christ, human blood has becomeperhaps more precious than it was, and those that have most power yet must not be prodigal of it.[2.] They are here owned to be greater and mightier than Israel. They had been long rooted in thisland, to which Israel came strangers; they were more numerous, had men much more bulky andmore expert in war than Israel had; yet all this shall not prevent their being cast out before Israel.The strength of Israel's enemies magnifies the power of Israel's God, who will certainly be too hardfor them.(2.) He engages them to do their part. Thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them, v. 2. IfGod cast them out, Israel must not take them in, no, not as tenants, nor tributaries, nor servants.Not covenant of any kind must be made with them, no mercy must be shown them. This severitywas appointed, [1.] By way of punishment for the wickedness they and their fathers had been guiltyof. The iniquity of the Amorites was now full, and the longer it had been in the filling the sorer wasthe vengeance when it came at last. [2.] In order to prevent the mischiefs they would do to God'sIsrael if they were left alive. The people of these abominations must not be mingled with the holyseed, lest they corrupt them. Better that all these lives should be lost from the earth than that religionand the true worship of God should be lost in Israel. Thus we must deal with our lusts that wasagainst our souls; God has delivered them into our hands by that promise, Sin shall not have dominionover you, unless it be your own faults; let not us them make covenants with them, nor show themany mercy, but mortify and crucify them, and utterly destroy them.2. They must make no marriages with those of them that escaped the sword, v. 3, 4. The familiesof the Canaanites were ancient, and it is probable that some of them were called honourable, whichmight be a temptation to the Israelites, especially those of them that were of least note in their tribes,to court an alliance with them, to ennoble their blood; and the rather because their acquaintancewith the country might be serviceable to them in the improvement of it: but religion, and the fearof God, must overrule all these considerations. To intermarry with them was therefore unlawful,because it was dangerous; this very thing had proved of fatal consequence to the old world (Gen.vi. 2), and thousands in the world that now is have been undone by irreligious ungodly marriages;for there is more ground of fear in mixed marriages that the good will be perverted than of hopethat the bad will be converted. The event proved the reasonableness of this warning: They will turnaway thy son from following me. Solomon paid dearly for his folly herein. We find a nationalrepentance for this sin of marrying strange wives, and care taken to reform (Ezra ix. x., and Neh.xiii.), and a New-Testament caution not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers, 2 Cor. vi. 14. Thosethat in choosing yokefellows keep not at least within the bounds of a justifiable profession of religioncannot promise themselves helps meet for them. One of the Chaldee paraphrases adds here, as areason of this command (v. 3), For he that marries with idolaters does in effect marry with theiridols.3. They must destroy all the relics of their idolatry, v. 5. Their altars and pillars, their grovesand graven images, all must be destroyed, both in a holy indignation against idolatry and to preventinfection. This command was given before, Exod. xxiii. 24; xxxiv. 13. A great deal of good work1099Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)of this kind was done by the people, in their pious zeal (2 Chron. xxxi. 1), and by good Josiah (2Chron. xxxiv. 3, 7), and with this may be compared the burning of the conjuring books, Acts xix.19.II. Here are very good reasons to enforce this caution.1. The choice which God had made of this people for his own, v. 6. There was such a covenantand communion established between God and Israel as was not between him and any other peoplein the world. Shall they by their idolatries dishonour him who had thus honoured them? Shall theyslight him who had thus testified his kindness for them? Shall they put themselves upon the levelwith other people, when God had thus dignified and advanced them above all people? Had Godtaken them to be a special people to him, and no other but them, and will not they take God to bea special God to them, and no other but him?2. The freeness of that grace which made this choice. (1.) There was nothing in them torecommend or entitle them to this favour. In multitude of the people is the king's honour, Prov. xiv.28. But their number was inconsiderable; they were only seventy souls when they went down intoEgypt, and, though greatly increased there, yet there were many other nations more numerous: Youwere the fewest of all people, v. 7. The author of the Jerusalem Targum passes too great a complimentupon his nation in his reading this, You were humble in spirit, and meek above all people; quitecontrary: they were rather stiff-necked and ill-natured above all people. (2.) God fetched the reasonof it purely from himself, v. 8. [1.] He loved you because he would love you. Even so, Father,because it seemed good in thy eyes. All that God loves he loves freely, Hos. xiv. 4. Those thatperish perish by their own merits, but all that are saved are saved by prerogative. [2.] He has donehis work because he would keep his word. "He has brought you out of Egypt in pursuance of theoath sworn to your fathers." Nothing in them, or done by them, did or could make God a debtor tothem; but he had made himself a debtor to his own promise, which he would perform notwithstandingtheir unworthiness.3. The tenour of the covenant into which they were taken; it was in short this, That as theywere to God so God would be to them. They should certainly find him, (1.) Kind to his friends, v.9. "The Lord thy God is not like the gods of the nations, the creatures of fancy, subjects fit enoughfor loose poetry, but no proper objects of serious devotion; no, he is God, God indeed, God alone,the faithful God, able and ready not only to fulfil his own promises, but to answer all the justexpectations of his worshippers, and he will certainly keep covenant and mercy," that is, "showmercy according to covenant, to those that love him and keep his commandments" (and in vain dowe pretend to love him if we do not make conscience of his commandments); "and this" (as is hereadded for the explication of the promise in the second commandment) "not only to thousands ofpersons, but to thousands of generations—so inexhaustible is the fountain, so constant are thestreams!" (2.) Just to his enemies: He repays those that hate him, v. 10. Note, [1.] Wilful sinnersare haters of God; for the carnal mind is enmity against him. Idolaters are so in a special manner,for they are in league with his rivals. [2.] Those that hate God cannot hurt him, but certainly ruinthemselves. He will repay them to their face, in defiance of them and all their impotent malice. Hisarrows are said to be made ready against the face of them, Ps. xxi. 12. Or, He will bring thosejudgments upon them which shall appear to themselves to be the just punishment of their idolatry.Compare Job xxi. 19, He rewardeth him, and he shall know it. Though vengeance seem to be slow,yet it is not slack. The wicked and sinner shall be recompensed in the earth, Prov. xi. 31. I cannotpass the gloss of the Jerusalem Targum upon this place, because it speaks the faith of the Jewish1100Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)church concerning a future state: He recompenses to those that hate him the reward of their goodworks in this world, that he may destroy them in the world to come.12 Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep,and do them, that the Lord thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercywhich he sware unto thy fathers: 13 And he will love thee, and bless thee, andmultiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thycorn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep,in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee. 14 Thou shalt be blessedabove all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or amongyour cattle. 15 And the Lord will take away from thee all sickness, and will putnone of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay themupon all them that hate thee. 16 And thou shalt consume all the people which theLord thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them: neither shaltthou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee. 17 If thou shalt say in thineheart, These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them? 18 Thou shaltnot be afraid of them: but shalt well remember what the Lord thy God did untoPharaoh, and unto all Egypt; 19 The great temptations which thine eyes saw, andthe signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the stretched out arm, wherebythe Lord thy God brought thee out: so shall the Lord thy God do unto all the peopleof whom thou art afraid. 20 Moreover the Lord thy God will send the hornet amongthem, until they that are left, and hide themselves from thee, be destroyed. 21 Thoushalt not be affrighted at them: for the Lord thy God is among you, a mighty Godand terrible. 22 And the Lord thy God will put out those nations before thee bylittle and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the fieldincrease upon thee. 23 But the Lord thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shalldestroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed. 24 And he shalldeliver their kings into thine hand, and thou shalt destroy their name from underheaven: there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyedthem. 25 The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt notdesire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snaredtherein: for it is an abomination to the Lord thy God. 26 Neither shalt thou bringan abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shaltutterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.Here, I. The caution against idolatry is repeated, and against communion with idolaters: "Thoushalt consume the people, and not serve their gods." v. 16. We are in danger of having fellowshipwith the works of darkness if we take pleasure in fellowship with those that do those works. Hereis also a repetition of the charge to destroy the images, v. 25, 26. The idols which the heathen hadworshipped were an abomination to God, and therefore must be so to them: all that truly love God1101Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)hat what he hates. Observe how this is urged upon them: Thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shaltutterly abhor it; such a holy indignation as this must we conceive against sin, that abominable thingwhich the Lord hates. They must not retain the images to gratify their covetousness: Thou shalt notdesire the silver nor gold that is on them, nor think it a pity to have that destroyed. Achan paiddearly for converting that to his own use which was an anathema. Nor must they retain them togratify their curiosity: "Neither shalt thou bring it into thy house, to be hung up as an ornament, orpreserved as a monument of antiquity. No, to the fire with it, that is the fittest place for it." Tworeasons are given for this caution:—1. Lest thou be snared therein (v. 25), that is, "Lest thou bedrawn, ere thou art aware, to like it and love it, to fancy it and pay respect to it" 2. Lest thou be acursed thing like it, v. 26. Those that make images are said to be like the, stupid and senseless; herethey are said to be in a worse sense like them, accursed of God and devoted to destruction. Comparethese two reasons together, and observe that whatever brings us into a snare brings us under a curse.II. The promise of God's favour to them, if they would be obedient, is enlarged upon with amost affecting copiousness and fluency of expression, which intimates how much it is both God'sdesire and our own interest that we be religious. All possible assurance is here given them,1. That, if they would sincerely endeavour to do their part of the covenant, God would certainlyperform his part. He shall keep the mercy which he swore to thy fathers, v. 12. Let us be constantin our duty, and we cannot question the constancy of God's mercy.2. That if they would love God and serve him, and devote themselves and theirs to him, hewould love them, and bless them, and multiply them greatly, v. 13, 14. What could they desiremore to make them happy? (1.) "He will love thee." He began in love to us (1 John iv. 10), and, ifwe return his love in filial duty, then, and then only, we may expect the continuance of it, John xiv.21. (2.) "He will bless thee with the tokens of his love above all people." If they would distinguishthemselves from their neighbours by singular services, God would dignify them above theirneighbours by singular blessings. (3.) "He will multiply thee." Increase was the ancient blessingfor the peopling of the world, once and again (Gen. i. 28; ix. 1), and here for the peopling of Canaan,that little world by itself. The increase both of their families and of their stock is promised: theyshould neither have estates without heirs nor heirs without estates, but should have the completesatisfaction of having many children and plentiful provisions and portions for them.3. That, if they would keep themselves pure from the idolatries of Egypt, God would keepthem clear form the diseases of Egypt, v. 15. It seems to refer not only to those plagues of Egyptby the force of which they were delivered, but to some other epidemical country disease (as wecall it), which they remembered the prevalency of among the Egyptians, and by which God hadchastised them for their national sins. Diseases are God's servants; they go where he sends them,and do what he bids them. It is therefore good for the health of our bodies to mortify the sin of oursouls.4. That, if they would cut off the devoted nations, they should cut them off, and none shouldbe able to stand before them. Their duty in this matter would itself be their advantage: Thou shaltconsume all the people which the Lord thy God shall deliver thee—this is the precept (v. 16); andthe Lord thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them—this is the promise, v. 23.Thus we are commanded not to let sin reign, not to indulge ourselves in it nor give countenance toit, but to hate it and strive against it; and then God has promised that sin shall not have dominionover us (Rom. vi. 12, 14), but that we shall be more than conquerors over it. The difficulty anddoubtfulness of the conquest of Canaan having been a stone of stumbling to their fathers, Moses1102Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)here animates them against those things which were most likely to discourage them, bidding themnot to be afraid of them, v. 18, and again, v. 21. (1.) Let them not be disheartened by the numberand strength of their enemies: Say not, They are more than I, how can I dispossess them? v. 17.We are apt to think that the most numerous must needs be victorious: but, to fortify Israel againstthis temptation, Moses reminds them of the destruction of Pharaoh and all the power of Egypt, v.18, 19. They had seen the great temptations, or miracles (so the Chaldee reads it), the signs andwonders, wherewith God had brought them out of Egypt, in order to his bringing them into Canaan,and thence might easily infer that God could dispossess the Canaanites (who, though formidableenough, had not such advantages against Israel as the Egyptians had; he that had done the greatercould do the less), and that he would dispossess them, otherwise his bringing Israel out of Egypthad been no kindness to them. He that begun would finish. Thou shalt therefore well rememberthis, v. 18. The word and works of God are well remembered when they are improved as helps toour faith and obedience. That is well laid up which is ready to us when we have occasion to use it.(2.) Let them not be disheartened by the weakness and deficiency of their own forces; for God willsend them in auxiliary troops of hornets, or wasps, as some read it (v. 20), probably larger thanordinary, which would so terrify and molest their enemies (and perhaps be the death of many tothem) that their most numerous armies would become an easy prey to Israel. God plagued theEgyptians with flies, but the Canaanites with hornets. Those who take not warning by less judgmentson others may expect greater on themselves. But the great encouragement of Israel was that theyhad God among them, a mighty God and terrible, v. 21. And if God be for us, if God be with us,we need not fear the power of any creature against us. (3.) Let them not be disheartened by theslow progress of their arms, nor think that the Canaanites would never be subdued if they were notexpelled the first year; no, they must be put out by little and little, and not all at once, v. 22. Note,We must not think that, because the deliverance of the church and the destruction of its enemiesare not effected immediately, therefore they will never be effected. God will do his own work inhis own method and time, and we may be sure that they are always the best. Thus corruption isdriven out of the hearts of believers by little and little. The work of sanctification is carried ongradually; but that judgment will at length be brought forth into a complete victory. The reasonhere given (as before, Exod. xxiii. 29, 30) is, Lest the beast of the field increase upon thee. Theearth God has given to the children of men; and therefore there shall rather be a remainder ofCanaanites to keep possession till Israel become numerous enough to replenish it than that it shouldbe a habitation of dragons, and a court for the wild beasts of the desert, Isa. xxxiv. 13, 14. Yet Godcould have prevented this mischief from the beasts, Lev. xxvi. 6. But pride and security, and othersins that are the common effects of a settled prosperity, were enemies more dangerous than thebeasts of the field, and these would be apt to increase upon them. See Judges iii. 1, 4.D E U T E R O N O M YCHAP. VIII.1103Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)Moses had charged parents in teaching their children to whet the word of God upon them (ch.vi. 7) by frequent repetition of the same things over and over again; and here he himself takes thesame method of instructing the Israelites as his children, frequently inculcating the same preceptsand cautions, with the same motives or arguments to enforce them, that what they heard so oftenmight abide with them. In this chapter Moses gives them, I. General exhortations to obedience,ver. 1, 6. II. A review of the great things God had done for them in the wilderness, as a goodargument for obedience, ver. 2-5, 15, 16. III. A prospect of the good land into which God wouldnow bring them, ver. 7-9. IV. A necessary caution against the temptations of a prosperous condition,ver. 10-14, and 17, 18. V. A fair warning of the fatal consequences of apostasy from God, ver. 19,20.A Charge to Israel; Israel's Retrospect. (b. c. 1451.)1 All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do,that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the Lord swareunto your fathers. 2 And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy Godled thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, toknow what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, orno. 3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna,which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee knowthat man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of themouth of the Lord doth man live. 4 Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neitherdid thy foot swell, these forty years. 5 Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that,as a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee. 6 Therefore thoushalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fearhim. 7 For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks ofwater, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; 8 A land ofwheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive,and honey; 9 A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shaltnot lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thoumayest dig brass.The charge here given them is the same as before, to keep and do all God's commandments.Their obedience must be, 1. Careful: Observe to do. 2. Universal: To do all the commandments, v.1. And, 3. From a good principle, with a regard to God as the Lord, and their God, and particularlywith a holy fear of him (v. 6), from a reverence of his majesty, a submission to his authority, anda dread of his wrath. To engage them to this obedience, besides the great advantages of it, whichhe sets before them (that they should live and multiply, and all should be well with them, v. 1), hedirects them,I. To look back upon the wilderness through which God had now brought them: Thou shaltremember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, v. 2.Now that they had come of age, and were entering upon their inheritance, they must be remindedof the discipline they had been under during their minority and the method God had taken to train1104Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)them up for himself. The wilderness was the school in which they had been for forty years boardedand taught, under tutors and governors; and this was a time to bring it all to remembrance. Theoccurrences of these last forty years were very memorable and well worthy to be remembered, veryuseful and profitable to be remembered, as yielding a complication of arguments for obedience;and they were recorded on purpose that they might be remembered. As the feast of the passoverwas a memorial of their deliverance out of Egypt, so was the feast of tabernacles of their passagethrough the wilderness. Note, It is very good for us to remember all the ways both of God'sprovidence and grace, by which he has led us hitherto through this wilderness, that we may beprevailed with cheerfully to serve him and trust in him. Here let us set up our Ebenezer.1. They must remember the straits they were sometimes brought into, (1.) For the mortifyingof their pride; it was to humble them, that they might not be exalted above measure with theabundance of miracles that were wrought in their favor, and that they might not be secure, andconfident of being in Canaan immediately. (2.) For the manifesting of their perverseness: to provethem, that they and others might know (for God himself perfectly knew it before) all that was intheir heart, and might see that God chose them not for any thing in them that might recommendthem to his favour, for their whole carriage was untoward and provoking. Many commandmentsGod gave them which there would have been no occasion for if they had not been led through thewilderness, as those relating to the manna (Exod. xvi. 28); and God thereby tried them, as our firstparents were tried by the trees of the garden, whether they would keep God's commandments ornot. Or God thereby proved them whether they would trust his promises, the word which hecommanded to a thousand generations, and, in dependence on his promises, obey his precepts.2. They must remember the supplies which were always granted them.(1.) God himself took particular care of their food, raiment, and health; and what would theyhave more? [1.] They had manna for food (v. 3): God suffered them to hunger, and the fed themwith manna, that the extremity of their want might make the supply the more acceptable, and God'sgoodness to them therein the more remarkable. God often brings his people low, that he may havethe honour of helping them. And thus the manna of heavenly comforts is given to those that hungerand thirst after righteousness, Matt. v. 6. To the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet. It is saidof the manna that it was a sort of food which neither they nor their fathers knew. And again, v. 16.If they knew there was such a thing that fell sometimes with the dew in those countries, as somethink they did, yet it was never known to fall in such vast quantities, so constantly, and at all seasonsof the year, so long, and only about a certain place. These things were altogether miraculous, andwithout precedent; the Lord created a new thing for their supply. And hereby he taught them theman liveth not by bread alone. Though God has appointed bread for the strengthening of man'sheart, and that is ordinarily made the staff of life, yet God can, when he pleases, command supportand nourishment without it, and make something else, very unlikely, to answer the intention aswell. We might live upon air if it were sanctified for that use by the word of God; for the meansGod ordinarily uses he is not tied to, but can perform his kind purposes to his people without them.Our Saviour quotes this scripture in answer to that temptation of Satan, Command that these stonesbe made bread. "What need of that?" says Christ; "my heavenly Father can keep me alive withoutbread," Matt. iv. 3, 4. Let none of God's children distrust their Father, nor take any sinful indirectcourse for the supply of their own necessities; some way or other, God will provide for them in theway of duty and honest diligence, and verily they shall be fed. It may be applied spiritually; theword of God, as it is the revelation of God's will and grace duly received and entertained by faith,1105Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)is the food of the soul, the life which is supported by that is the life of the man, and not only thatlife which is supported by bread. The manna typified Christ, the bread of life. He is the Word ofGod; by him we live. The Lord evermore give us that bread which endures to eternal life, and letus not be put off with the meat that perisheth! [2.] The same clothes served them from Egypt toCanaan, at least the generality of them. Though they had no change of raiment, yet it was alwaysnew, and waxed not old upon them, v. 4. This was a standing miracle, and the greater if, as theJews say, they grew with them, so as to be always fit for them. But it is plain that they brought outof Egypt bundles of clothes on their shoulders (Exod. xii. 34), which they might barter with eachother as there was occasion; and these, with what they wore, sufficed till they came into a countrywhere they could furnish themselves with new clothes.(2.) By the method God took of providing food and raiment for them [1.] He humbled them.It was a mortification to them to be tied for forty years together to the same meat, without anyvarieties, and to the same clothes, in the same fashion. Thus he taught them that the good thingshe designed for them were figures of better things, and that the happiness of man consists not inbeing clothed in purple or fine linen, and in faring sumptuously every day, but in being taken intocovenant and communion with God, and in learning his righteous judgements. God's law, whichwas given to Israel in the wilderness, must be to them instead of food and raiment. [2.] He provedthem, whether they could trust him to provide for them when means and second causes failed. Thushe taught them to live in a dependence upon Providence, and not to perplex themselves with carewhat they should eat and drink, and wherewithal they should be clothed. Christ would have hisdisciples learn the same lesson (Matt. vi. 25), and took a like method to teach it to them, when hesent them out without purse or scrip, and yet took care that they lacked nothing, Luke xxii. 35. [3.]God took care of their health and ease. Though they travelled on foot in a dry country, the wayrough and untrodden, yet their feet swelled not. God preserved them from taking hurt by theinconveniences of their journey; and mercies of this kind we ought to acknowledge. Note, Thosethat follow God's conduct are not only safe but easy. Our feet swell not while we keep in the wayof duty; it is the way of transgression that is hard, Prov. xiii. 15. God had promised to keep the feetof his saints, 1 Sam. ii. 9.3. They must also remember the rebukes they had been under, v. 5. During these years of theireducation they had been kept under a strict discipline, and not without need. As a man chastenethhis son, for his good, and because he loves him, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee. God is aloving tender Father to all his children, yet when there is occasion they shall feel the smart of therod. Israel did so: they were chastened that they might not be condemned, chastened with the rodof men. Not as a man wounds and slays his enemies whose destruction he aims at, but as a manchastens his son whose happiness and welfare he designs: so did their God chasten them; hechastened and taught them, Ps. xciv. 12. This they must consider in their heart, that is, they mustown it from their own experience that God had corrected them with a fatherly love, for which theymust return to him a filial reverence and compliance. Because God has chastened thee as a father,therefore (v. 6) thou shalt keep his commandments. This use we should make of all our afflictions;by them let us be engaged and quickened to our duty. Thus they are directed to look back upon thewilderness.II. He directs them to look forward to Canaan, into which God was now bringing them. Lookwhich way we will, both our reviews and our prospects will furnish us with arguments for obedience.Observe,1106Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)1. The land which they were now going to take possession of is here described to be a verygood land, having every thing in it that was desirable, v. 7-9. (1.) It was well-watered, like Eden,the garden of the Lord. It was a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths, which contributedto the fruitfulness of the soil. Perhaps there was a greater plenty of water there now than in Abraham'stime, the Canaanites having found and digged wells; so that Israel reaped the fruit of their industryas well as of God's bounty. (2.) The ground produced great plenty of all good things, not only forthe necessary support, but for the convenience and comfort of human life. In their fathers' land theyhad bread enough; it was corn land, a land of wheat and barley, where, with the common care andlabour of the husbandman, they might eat bread without scarceness. It was a fruitful land, that wasnever turned into barrenness but for the iniquity of those that dwelt therein. They had not only waterenough to quench their thirst, but vines, the fruit whereof was ordained to make glad the heart.And, if they were desirous of dainties, they needed not to send to far countries for them, when theirown was so well stocked with fig-trees, and pomegranates, olives of the best kind, and honey, ordate-trees, as some think it should be read. (3.) Even the bowels of its earth were very rich, thoughit should seem that silver and gold they had none; of these the princes of Sheba should bring presents(Ps. lxxii. 10, 15); yet they had plenty of those more serviceable metals, iron and brass. Iron-stoneand mines of brass were found in their hills. See Job xxviii. 2.2. These things are mentioned, (1.) To show the great difference between that wildernessthrough which God had led them and the good land into which he was bringing them. Note, Thosethat bear the inconveniences of an afflicted state with patience and submission, are humbled bythem and prove well under them, are best prepared for better circumstances. (2.) To show whatobligations they lay under to keep God's commandments, both in gratitude for his favours to themand from a regard to their own interest, that the favours might be continued. The only way to keeppossession of this good land would be to keep in the way of their duty. (3.) To show what a figureit was of good things to come. Whatever others saw, it is probable that Moses in it saw a type ofthe better country: The gospel church is the New-Testament Canaan, watered with the Spirit in hisgifts and graces, planted with the trees of righteousness, bearing the fruits of righteousness. Heavenis the good land, in which there is nothing wanting, and where there is a fulness of joy.Cautions Relating to Worldly Prosperity. (b. c. 1451.)10 When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the Lord thy God forthe good land which he hath given thee. 11 Beware that thou forget not the Lordthy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes,which I command thee this day: 12 Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hastbuilt goodly houses, and dwelt therein; 13 And when thy herds and thy flocksmultiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied;14 Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God, which broughtthee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; 15 Who led theethrough that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions,and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rockof flint; 16 Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knewnot, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy1107Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)latter end; 17 And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine handhath gotten me this wealth. 18 But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it ishe that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant whichhe sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. 19 And it shall be, if thou do at all forgetthe Lord thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, Itestify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. 20 As the nations which theLord destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedientunto the voice of the Lord your God.Moses, having mentioned the great plenty they would find in the land of Canaan, finds itnecessary to caution them against the abuse of that plenty, which was a sin they would be the moreprone to new that they came into the vineyard of the Lord, immediately out of a barren desert.I. He directs them to the duty of a prosperous condition, v. 10. They are allowed to eat evento fulness, not to surfeiting no excess; but let them always remember their benefactor, the founderof their feast, and never fail to give thanks after meat: Then thou shalt bless the Lord thy God. 1.They must take heed of eating or drinking so much as to indispose themselves for this duty ofblessing God, rather aiming to serve God therein with so much the more cheerfulness andenlargement. 2. They must not have any fellowship with those that, when they had eaten and werefull, blessed false gods, as the Israelites themselves had done in their worship of the golden calf,Exod. xxxii. 6. 3. Whatever they had the comfort of God must have the glory of. As our Saviourhas taught us to bless before we eat (Matt. xiv. 19, 20), so we are here taught to bless after meat.That is our Hosannah—God bless; this is our Hallelujah—Blessed be God. In every thing we mustgive thanks. From this law the religious Jews took up a laudable usage of blessing God, not onlyat their solemn meals, but upon other occasions; if they drank a cup of wine they lifted up theirhands and said, Blessed be he that created the fruit of the vine to make glad the heart. If they didbut smell at a flower, they said, Blessed be he that made this flower sweet. 4. When they gave thanksfor the fruits of the land they must give thanks for the fruits of the land itself, which was giventhem by promise From all our comfortable enjoyments we must take occasion to thank God for ourcomfortable settlements; and I know not but we of this nation have as much reason as they had togive thanks for a good land.II. He arms them against the temptations of a prosperous condition, and charges them to standupon their guard against them: "When thou art settled in goodly houses of thy own building," v.12 (for though God gave them houses which they builded not, ch. vi. 10, these would not servethem, they must have larger and finer),—"and when thou hast grown rich in cattle, in silver, andin gold (v. 13), as Abraham (Gen. xiii. 2),—when all thou hast is multiplied," 1. "Then take heedof pride. Beware lest then thy heart be lifted up," v. 14. When the estate rises, the mind is apt torise with it, in self-conceit, self-complacency, and self-confidence. Let us therefore strive to keepthe spirit low in a high condition; humility is both the ease and the ornament of prosperity. Takeheed of saying, so much as in thy heart, that proud word, My power, even the might of my hand,hath gotten me this wealth, v. 17. Note, We must never take the praise of our prosperity to ourselves,nor attribute it to our ingenuity or industry; for bread is not always to the wise, nor riches to menof understanding, Eccl. ix. 11. It is spiritual idolatry thus to sacrifice to our own net, Hab. i. 16. 2."Then take heed of forgetting God." This follows upon the lifting up on the heart; for it is through1108Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)the pride of the countenance that the wicked seek not after God, Ps. x. 4. Those that admirethemselves despise God. (1.) "Forget not thy duty to God." v. 11. We forget God if we keep nothis commandments; we forget his authority over us, and our obligations to him and expectationsfrom him, if we are not obedient to his laws. When men grow rich they are tempted to think religiona needless thing. They are happy without it, think it a thing below them and too hard upon them.Their dignity forbids them to stoop, and their liberty forbids them to serve. But we are baselyungrateful if the better God is to us the worse we are to him. (2.) "Forget not God's former dealingswith thee. Thy deliverance out of Egypt, v. 14. The provision he made for thee in the wilderness,that great and terrible wilderness." They must never forget the impressions which the horror of thatwilderness made upon them; see Jer. ii. 6, where it is called the very shadow of death. There Godpreserved them from being destroyed by the fiery serpents and scorpions, though sometimes hemade use of them for their correction: there he kept them from perishing for want of water, followingthem with water out of a rock of flint (v. 15), out of which (says bishop Patrick) one would ratherhave expected fire than water. There he fed them with manna, of which before (v. 3), taking careto keep them alive, that he might do them good at their latter end, v. 16. Note, God reserves thebest till the last for his Israel. However he may seem to deal hardly with them by the way, he willnot fail to do them good at their latter end. (3.) "Forget not God's hand in thy present prosperity,v. 18. Remember it is he that giveth thee wealth; for he giveth thee power to get wealth." See herehow God's giving and our getting are reconciled, and apply it to spiritual wealth. It is our duty toget wisdom, and above all our gettings to get understanding; and yet it is God's grace that giveswisdom, and when we have got it we must not say, It was the might of our hand that got it, butmust own it was God that gave us power to get it, and therefore to him we must give the praise andconsecrate the use of it. The blessing of the Lord on the hand of the diligent makes rich both forthis world and for the other. He giveth thee power to get wealth, not so much to gratify thee, andmake thee easy, as that he may establish his covenant. All God's gifts are in pursuance of hispromises.III. He repeats the fair warning he had often given them of the fatal consequences of theirapostasy from God, v. 19, 20. Observe, 1. How he describes the sin; it is forgetting God, and thenworshipping other gods. What wickedness will not those fall into that keep thoughts of God out oftheir minds? And, when once the affections are displaced from God, they will soon be misplacedupon lying vanities. 2. How he denounces wrath and ruin against them for it: "If you do so, youshall surely perish, and the power and might of your hands, which you are so proud of, cannot helpyou. Nay, you shall perish as the nations that are driven out before you. God will make no moreaccount of you, notwithstanding his covenant with you and your relation to him, than he does ofthem, if you will not be obedient and faithful to him." Those that follow others in sin will certainlyfollow them to destruction. If we do as sinners do, we must expect to fare as sinners fare.D E U T E R O N O M YCHAP. IX.1109Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)The design of Moses in this chapter is to convince the people of Israel of their utter unworthinessto receive from God those great favours that were now to be conferred upon them, writing this, asit were, in capital letters at the head of their charter, "Not for your sake, be it known unto you,"Ezek. xxxvi. 32. I. He assures them of victory over their enemies, ver. 1-3. II. He cautions themnot to attribute their successes to their own merit, but to God's justice, which was engaged againsttheir enemies, and his faithfulness, which was engaged to their fathers, ver. 4-6. III. To make itevident that they had no reason to boast of their own righteousness, he mentions their faults, showsIsrael their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins. In general, they had been all along aprovoking people, ver. 7-24. In particular, 1. In the matter of the golden calf, the story of which helargely relates, ver. 8-21. 2. He mentions some other instances of their rebellion, ver. 22, 23. And,3. Returns, at ver. 25, to speak of the intercession he had made for them at Horeb, to prevent theirbeing ruined for the golden calf.Victory Promised. (b. c. 1451.)1 Hear, O Israel: Thou art to pass over Jordan this day, to go in to possess nationsgreater and mightier than thyself, cities great and fenced up to heaven, 2 A peoplegreat and tall, the children of the Anakims, whom thou knowest, and of whom thouhast heard say, Who can stand before the children of Anak! 3 Understand thereforethis day, that the Lord thy God is he which goeth over before thee; as a consumingfire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shaltthou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the Lord hath said unto thee. 4Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the Lord thy God hath cast them out frombefore thee, saying, For my righteousness the Lord hath brought me in to possessthis land: but for the wickedness of these nations the Lord doth drive them out frombefore thee. 5 Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dostthou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the Lord thyGod doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word whichthe Lord sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 6 Understand therefore,that the Lord thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thyrighteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people.The call to attention (v. 1), Hear, O Israel, intimates that this was a new discourse, deliveredat some distance of time after the former, probably the next sabbath day.I. Moses represents to the people the formidable strength of the enemies which they were nowto encounter, v. 1. The nations they were to dispossess were mightier than themselves, not a rudeand undisciplined rout, like the natives of America, that were easily made a prey of. But, shouldthey besiege them, they would find their cities well fortified, according as the art of fortificationthen was; should they engage them in the field, they would find the people great and tall, of whomcommon fame had reported that there was no standing before them, v. 2. This representation ismuch the same with that which the evil spies had made (Num. xiii. 28, 33), but made with a verydifferent intention: that was designed to drive them from God and to discourage their hope in him;1110Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)this to drive them to God and to engage their hope in him, since no power less than that which isalmighty could secure and prosper them.II. He assures them of victory, by the presence of God with them, notwithstanding the strengthof the enemy, v. 3. "Understand therefore what thou must trust to for success, and which way thoumust look; it is the Lord thy God that goes before thee, not only as thy captain, orcommander-in-chief, to give direction, but as a consuming fire, to do execution among them.Observe, He shall destroy them, and then thou shalt drive them out. Thou canst not drive them out,unless he destroy them and bring them down. But he will not destroy them and bring them down,unless thou set thyself in good earnest to drive them out." We must do our endeavour in dependenceupon God's grace, and we shall have that grace if we do our endeavour.III. He cautions them not to entertain the least thought of their own righteousness, as if thathad procured them this favour at God's hand: "Say not. For my righteousness (either with regardto my good character or in recompence for any good service) the Lord hath brought me in to possessthis land (v. 4); never think it is for thy righteousness or the uprightness of thy heart, that it is inconsideration either of thy good conversation or of they good disposition," v. 5. And again (v. 6)it is insisted on, because it is hard to bring people from a conceit of their own merit, and yet verynecessary that it be done: "Understand (know it, and believe it, and consider it) that the Lord thyGod giveth thee not this land for thy righteousness. Hadst thou been to come to it upon that condition,thou wouldst have been for ever shut out of it, for thou art a stiff-necked people." Note, Our gainingpossession of the heavenly Canaan, as it must be attributed to God's power and not to our ownmight, so it must be ascribed to God's grace and not to our own merit: in Christ we have bothrighteousness and strength; in him therefore we must glory, and not in ourselves, or any sufficiencyof our own.IV. He intimates to them the true reasons why God would take this good land out of the handsof the Canaanites, and settle it upon Israel, and they are borrowed from his own honour, not fromIsrael's deserts. 1. He will be honoured in the destruction of idolaters; they are justly looked uponas haters of him, and therefore he will visit their iniquity upon them. It is for the wickedness ofthese nations that God drives them out, v. 4, and again, v. 5. All those whom God rejects are rejectedfor their own wickedness: but none of those whom he accepts are accepted for their ownrighteousness. 2. He will be honoured in the performance of his promise to those that are in covenantwith him: God swore to the patriarchs, who loved him and left all to follow him, that he would givethis land to their seed; and therefore he would keep that promised mercy for thousands of thosethat loved him and kept his commandments; he would not suffer his promise to fail. It was for theirfathers' sakes that they were beloved, Rom. xi. 28. Thus boasting is for ever excluded. See Eph. i.9, 11.Cautions Against Self-Righteousness; Israel Reminded of Their Rebellions. (b. c. 1451.)7 Remember, and forget not, how thou provokedst the Lord thy God to wrath inthe wilderness: from the day that thou didst depart out of the land of Egypt, until yecame unto this place, ye have been rebellious against the Lord. 8 Also in Horeb yeprovoked the Lord to wrath, so that the Lord was angry with you to have destroyedyou. 9 When I was gone up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, even thetables of the covenant which the Lord made with you, then I abode in the mount1111Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)forty days and forty nights, I neither did eat bread nor drink water: 10 And the Lorddelivered unto me two tables of stone written with the finger of God; and on themwas written according to all the words, which the Lord spake with you in the mountout of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly. 11 And it came to pass atthe end of forty days and forty nights, that the Lord gave me the two tables of stone,even the tables of the covenant. 12 And the Lord said unto me, Arise, get thee downquickly from hence; for thy people which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt havecorrupted themselves; they are quickly turned aside out of the way which Icommanded them; they have made them a molten image. 13 Furthermore the Lordspake unto me, saying, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:14 Let me alone, that I may destroy them, and blot out their name from underheaven: and I will make of thee a nation mightier and greater than they. 15 So Iturned and came down from the mount, and the mount burned with fire: and the twotables of the covenant were in my two hands. 16 And I looked, and, behold, ye hadsinned against the Lord your God, and had made you a molten calf: ye had turnedaside quickly out of the way which the Lord had commanded you. 17 And I tookthe two tables, and cast them out of my two hands, and brake them before your eyes.18 And I fell down before the Lord, as at the first, forty days and forty nights: Idid neither eat bread, nor drink water, because of all your sins which ye sinned, indoing wickedly in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger. 19 For I wasafraid of the anger and hot displeasure, wherewith the Lord was wroth against youto destroy you. But the Lord hearkened unto me at that time also. 20 And the Lordwas very angry with Aaron to have destroyed him: and I prayed for Aaron also thesame time. 21 And I took your sin, the calf which ye had made, and burnt it withfire, and stamped it, and ground it very small, even until it was as small as dust: andI cast the dust thereof into the brook that descended out of the mount. 22 And atTaberah, and at Massah, and at Kibroth-hattaavah, ye provoked the Lord to wrath.23 Likewise when the Lord sent you from Kadesh-barnea, saying, Go up andpossess the land which I have given you; then ye rebelled against the commandmentof the Lord your God, and ye believed him not, nor hearkened to his voice. 24 Yehave been rebellious against the Lord from the day that I knew you. 25 Thus I felldown before the Lord forty days and forty nights, as I fell down at the first; becausethe Lord had said he would destroy you. 26 I prayed therefore unto the Lord, andsaid, O Lord God, destroy not thy people and thine inheritance, which thou hastredeemed through thy greatness, which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt with amighty hand. 27 Remember thy servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; look not untothe stubbornness of this people, nor to their wickedness, nor to their sin: 28 Lest1112Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)the land whence thou broughtest us out say, Because the Lord was not able to bringthem into the land which he promised them, and because he hated them, he hathbrought them out to slay them in the wilderness. 29 Yet they are thy people andthine inheritance, which thou broughtest out by thy mighty power and by thy stretchedout arm.That they might have no pretence to think that God brought them to Canaan for theirrighteousness, Moses here shows them what a miracle of mercy it was that they had not long erethis been destroyed in the wilderness: "Remember, and forget not, how thou provokedst the Lordthy God (v. 7); so far from purchasing his favour, thou hast many a time laid thyself open to hisdispleasure." Their fathers' provocations are here charged upon them; for, if God had dealt withtheir fathers according to their deserts, this generation would never have been, much less wouldthey have entered Canaan. We are apt to forget our provocations, especially when the smart of therod is over, and have need to be often put in mind of them, that we may never entertain any conceitof our own righteousness. Paul argues from the guilt which all mankind is under to prove that wecannot be justified before God by our own works, Rom. iii. 19, 20. If our works condemn us, theywill not justify us. Observe, 1. They had been a provoking people ever since they came out ofEgypt, v. 7. Forty years long, from first to last, were God and Moses grieved with them. It is a verysad character Moses now at parting leaves of them: You have been rebellious since the day I knewyou, v. 24. No sooner were they formed into a people than there was a faction formed among them,which upon all occasions made head against God and his government. Though the Mosaic historyrecords little more than the occurrences of the first and last year of the forty, yet it seems by thisgeneral account that the rest of the years were not much better, but one continued provocation. 2.Even in Horeb they made a calf and worshipped it, v. 8, &c. That was a sin so heinous, and byseveral aggravations made so exceedingly sinful, that they deserved upon all occasions to beupbraided with it. It was done in the very place where the law was given by which they wereexpressly forbidden to worship God by images, and while the mountain was yet burning beforetheir eyes, and Moses had gone up to fetch them the law in writing. They turned aside quickly, v.16. 3. God was very angry with them for their sin. Let them not think that God overlooked whatthey did amiss, and gave them Canaan for what was good among them. No, God had determinedto destroy them (v. 8), could easily have done it, and would have been no loser by it; he even desiredMoses to let him alone that he might do it, v. 13, 14. By this it appeared how heinous their sin was,for God is never angry with any above what there is cause for, as men often are. Moses himself,though a friend and favourite, trembled at the revelation of God's wrath from heaven against theirungodliness and unrighteousness (v. 19): I was afraid of the anger of the Lord, afraid perhaps notfor them only, but for himself, Ps. cxix. 120. 4. They had by their sin broken covenant with God,and forfeited all the privileges of the covenant, which Moses signified to them by breaking thetables, v. 17. A bill of divorce was given them, and thenceforward they might justly have beenabandoned for ever, so that their mouth was certainly stopped from pleading any righteousness oftheir own. God had, in effect, disowned them, when he said to Moses (v. 12), "They are thy people,they are none of mine, nor shall they be dealt with as mine." 5. Aaron himself fell under God'sdispleasure for it, though he was the saint of the Lord, and was only brought by surprise or terrorto be confederate with them in the sin: The Lord was very angry with Aaron, v. 20. No man's placeor character can shelter him from the wrath of God if he have fellowship with the unfruitful works1113Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)of darkness. Aaron, that should have made atonement for them if the iniquity could have beenpurged away by sacrifice and offering, did himself fall under the wrath of God: so little did theyconsider what they did when they drew him in. 6. It was with great difficulty and very longattendance that Moses himself prevailed to turn away the wrath of God, and prevent their utter ruin.He fasted and prayed full forty days and forty nights before he could obtain their pardon, v. 18.And some think twice forty days (v. 25), because it is said, as I fell down before, whereas his errandin the first forty was not of that nature. Others think it was but one forty, though twice mentioned(as also in ch. x. 10); but this was enough to make them sensible how great God's displeasure wasagainst them, and what a narrow escape they had for their lives. And in this appears the greatnessof God's anger against all mankind that no less a person than his Son, and no less a price than hisown blood, would serve to turn it away. Moses here tells them the substance of his intercession forthem. He was obliged to own their stubbornness, and their wickedness, and their sin, v. 27. Theircharacter was bad indeed when he that appeared an advocate for them could not give them a goodword, and had nothing else to say in their behalf but that God had done great things for them, whichreally did but aggravate their crime (v. 26),—that they were the posterity of good ancestors (v. 27),which might also have been turned upon him, as making the matter worse and not better,—and thatthe Egyptians would reproach God, if he should destroy them, as unable to perfect what he hadwrought for them (v. 28), a plea which might easily enough have been answered: no matter whatthe Egyptians say, while the heavens declare God's righteousness; so that the saving of them fromruin at that time was owing purely to the mercy of God, and the importunity of Moses, and not toany merit of theirs, that could be offered so much as in mitigation of their offence. 7. To affectthem the more with the destruction they were then at the brink of, he describes very particularlythe destruction of the calf they had made, v. 21. He calls it their sin: perhaps not only because ithad been the matter of their sin, but because the destroying of it was intended for a testimony againsttheir sin, and an indication to them what the sinners themselves did deserve. Those that made itwere like unto it, and would have had no wrong done them if they had been thus stamped to dust,and consumed, and scattered, and no remains of them left. It was infinite mercy that accepted thedestruction of the idol instead of the destruction of the idolaters. 8. Even after this fair escape thatthey had, in many other instances they provoked the Lord again and again. He needed only to namethe places, for they carried the memorials either of the sin or of the punishment in their names (v.22): at Taberah, burning, where God set fire to them for their murmuring,—at Massah, thetemptation, where they challenged almighty power to help them,—and at Kibroth-hattaavah, thegraves of lusters, where the dainties they coveted were their poison; and, after these, their unbeliefand distrust at Kadesh-barnea, of which he had already told them (ch. i.), and which he here mentionsagain (v. 23), would certainly have completed their ruin if they had been dealt with according totheir own merits.Now let them lay all this together, and it will appear that whatever favour God should hereaftershow them, in subduing their enemies and putting them in possession of the land of Canaan, it wasnot for their righteousness. It is good for us often to remember against ourselves, with sorrow andshame, our former sins, and to review the records conscience keeps of them, that we may see howmuch we are indebted to free grace, and may humbly own that we never merited at God's hand anything but wrath and the curse.1114Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)D E U T E R O N O M YCHAP. X.Moses having, in the foregoing chapter, reminded them of their own sin, as a reason why theyshould not depend upon their own righteousness, in this chapter he sets before them God's greatmercy to them, notwithstanding their provocations, as a reason why they should be more obedientfor the future. I. He mentions divers tokens of God's favour and reconciliation to them, never to beforgotten. (1.) The renewing of the tables of the covenant, ver. 1-5. (2.) Giving orders for theirprogress towards Canaan, ver. 6, 7. (3.) Choosing the tribe of Levi for his own, ver. 8, 9. (4.) Andcontinuing the priesthood after the death of Aaron, ver. 6. (5.) Owning and accepting the intercessionof Moses for them, ver. 10, 11. II. Hence he infers what obligations they lay under to fear, and love,and serve God, which he presses upon them with many motives, ver. 12, &c.God's Great Kindness to Israel. (b. c. 1451.)1 At that time the Lord said unto me, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto thefirst, and come up unto me into the mount, and make thee an ark of wood. 2 AndI will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou brakest,and thou shalt put them in the ark. 3 And I made an ark of shittim wood, and hewedtwo tables of stone like unto the first, and went up into the mount, having the twotables in mine hand. 4 And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing,the ten commandments, which the Lord spake unto you in the mount out of the midstof the fire in the day of the assembly: and the Lord gave them unto me. 5 And Iturned myself and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark whichI had made; and there they be, as the Lord commanded me. 6 And the children ofIsrael took their journey from Beeroth of the children of Jaakan to Mosera: thereAaron died, and there he was buried; and Eleazar his son ministered in the priest'soffice in his stead. 7 From thence they journeyed unto Gudgodah; and fromGudgodah to Jotbath, a land of rivers of waters. 8 At that time the Lord separatedthe tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lordto minister unto him, and to bless in his name, unto this day. 9 Wherefore Levihath no part nor inheritance with his brethren; the Lord is his inheritance, accordingas the Lord thy God promised him. 10 And I stayed in the mount, according to thefirst time, forty days and forty nights; and the Lord hearkened unto me at that timealso, and the Lord would not destroy thee. 11 And the Lord said unto me, Arise,take thy journey before the people, that they may go in and possess the land, whichI sware unto their fathers to give unto them.1115Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)There were four things in and by which God showed himself reconciled to Israel and madethem truly great and happy, and in which God's goodness took occasion from their badness to makehim the more illustrious:—I. He gave them his law, gave it to them in writing, as a standing pledge of his favour. Thoughthe tables that were first written were broken, because Israel had broken the commandments, andGod might justly break the covenant, yet when his anger was turned away the tables were renewed,v. 1, 2. Note, God's putting his law in our reconciliation to God and the best earnest of our happinessin him. Moses is told to hew the tables; for the law prepares the heart by conviction and humiliationfor the grace of God, but it is only that grace that then writes the law in it. Moses made an ark ofshittim-wood (v. 3), a plain chest, the same, I suppose, in which the tables were afterwards preserved:but Bezaleel is said to make it (Exod. xxxvii. 1), because he afterwards finished it up and overlaidit with gold. Or Moses is said to make it because, when he went up the second time into the mount,he ordered it to be made by Bezaleel against he came down. And it is observable that for this reasonthe ark was the first thing that God gave orders about, Exod. xxv. 10. And this left an earnest tothe congregation that the tables should not miscarry this second time, as they had done the first.God will send his law and gospel to those whose hearts are prepared as arks to receive them. Christis the ark in which now our salvation is kept safely, that it may not be lost as it was in the firstAdam, when he had it in his own hand. Observe, 1. What it was that God wrote on the two tables,the ten commandments (v. 4), or ten words, intimating in how little a compass they were contained:they were not ten volumes, but ten words: it was the same with the first writing, and both the samethat he spoke in the mount. The second edition needed no correction nor amendment, nor did whathe wrote differ form what he spoke. The written word is as truly the word of God as that which hespoke to his servants the prophets. 2. What care was taken of it. These two tables, thus engraven,were faithfully laid up in the ark. And there they be, said Moses, pointing it is probable towardsthe sanctuary, v. 5. That good thing which was committed to him he transmitted to them, and leftit pure and entire in their hands; now let them look to it at their peril. Thus we may say to the risinggeneration, "God has entrusted us with Bibles, sabbaths, sacraments, &c., as tokens of his presenceand favour, and there they be; we lodge them with you," 2 Tim. i. 13, 14.II. He led them forward towards Canaan, though they in their hearts turned back towards Egypt,and he might justly have chosen their delusions, v. 6, 7. He brought them to a land of rivers ofwaters, out of a dry and barren wilderness. Sometimes God supplied their wants by the ordinarycourse of nature: when that failed, then by miracles; and yet after this, when they were brought intoa little distress, we find them distrusting God and murmuring, Num. xx. 3, 4.III. He appointed a standing ministry among them, to deal for them in holy things. At that timewhen Moses went up a second time to the mount, or soon after, he had orders to separate the tribeof Levi to God, and to his immediate service, they having distinguished themselves by their zealagainst the worshippers of the golden calf, v. 8, 9. The Kohathites carried the ark; they and theother Levites stood before the Lord, to minister to him in all the offices of the tabernacle; and thepriests, who were of that tribe, were to bless the people. This was a standing ordinance, which hadnow continued almost forty years, even unto this day; and provision was made for the perpetuatingof it by the settled maintenance of that tribe, which was such as gave them great encouragement intheir work, and no diversion from it. The Lord is his inheritance. Note, A settled ministry is a greatblessing to a people, and a special token of God's favour. And, since the particular priests couldnot continue by reason of death, God showed his care of the people in securing a succession, which1116Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)Moses takes notice of here, v. 6. When Aaron died, the priesthood did not die with him, but Eleazarhis son ministered in his stead, and took care of the ark, in which the tables of stone, those preciousstones, were deposited, that they should suffer no damage; there they be, and he has the custodyof them. Under the law, a succession in the ministry was kept up, by an entail of the office on acertain tribe and family. But now, under the gospel, when the effusion of the Spirit is more plentifuland powerful, the succession is kept up by the Spirit's operation on men's hearts, qualifying menfor, and inclining men to, that work, some in every age, that the name of Israel may not be blottedout.IV. He accepted Moses as an advocate or intercessor for them, and therefore constituted himtheir prince and leader (v. 10, 11): The Lord hearkened to me and said, Arise, go before the people.It was a mercy to them that they had such a friend, so faithful both to him that appointed him andto those for whom he was appointed. It was fit that he who had saved them from ruin, by hisintercession with heaven, should have the conduct and command of them. And herein he was atype of Christ, who, as he ever lives making intercession for us, so he has all power both in heavenand in earth.Exhortation to Obedience. (b. c. 1451.)12 And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear theLord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thyGod with all thy heart and with all thy soul, 13 To keep the commandments of theLord, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good? 14 Behold,the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the Lord's thy God, the earth also, with allthat therein is. 15 Only the Lord had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and hechose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day. 16Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked. 17For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty,and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward: 18 He doth executethe judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving himfood and raiment. 19 Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in theland of Egypt. 20 Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God; him shalt thou serve, and tohim shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name. 21 He is thy praise, and he is thyGod, that hath done for thee these great and terrible things, which thine eyes haveseen. 22 Thy fathers went down into Egypt with threescore and ten persons; andnow the Lord thy God hath made thee as the stars of heaven for multitude.Here is a most pathetic exhortation to obedience, inferred from the premises, and urged withvery powerful arguments and a great deal of persuasive rhetoric. Moses brings it in like an orator,with an appeal to his auditors And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee? v. 12.Ask what he requires; as David (Ps. cxvi. 12), What shall I render? When we have received mercyfrom God it becomes us to enquire what returns we shall make to him. Consider what he requires,and you will find it is nothing but what is highly just and reasonable in itself and of unspeakable1117Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)benefit and advantage to you. Let us see here what he does require, and what abundant reason thereis why we should do what he requires.I. We are here most plainly directed in our duty to God, to our neighbour, and to ourselves.1. We are here taught our duty to God, both in the dispositions and affections of our souls andin the actions of our lives, our principles and our practices. (1.) We must fear the Lord our God,v. 12, and again v. 20. We must adore his majesty, acknowledge his authority, stand in awe of hispower, and dread his wrath. This is gospel duty, Rev. xiv. 6, 7. (2.) We must love him, be wellpleased that he is, desire that he may be ours, and delight in the contemplation of him and incommunion with him. Fear him as a great God, and our Lord, love him as a good God, and ourFather and benefactor. (3.) We must walk in his ways, that is, the ways which he has appointed usto walk in. The whole course of our conversation must be conformable to his holy will. (4.) Wemust serve him (v. 20), serve him with all our heart and soul (v. 12), devote ourselves to his honour,put ourselves under his government, and lay out ourselves to advance all the interests of his kingdomamong men. And we must be hearty and zealous in his service, engage and employ our inward manin his work, and what we do for him we must do cheerfully and with a good will. (5.) We mustkeep his commandments and his statutes, v. 13. Having given up ourselves to his service, we mustmake his revealed will our rule in every thing, perform all he prescribes, forbear all the forbids,firmly believing that all the statutes he commands us are for our good. Besides the reward ofobedience, which will be our unspeakable gain, there are true honour and pleasure in obedience.It is really for our present good to be meek and humble, chaste and sober, just and charitable, patientand contented; these make us easy, and safe, and pleasant, and truly great. (6.) We must give honourto God, in swearing by his name (v. 20); so give him the honour of his omniscience, his sovereignty,his justice, as well as of his necessary existence. Swear by his name, and not by the name of anycreature, or false god, whenever an oath for confirmation is called for. (7.) To him we must cleave,v. 20. Having chosen him for our God, we must faithfully and constantly abide with him and neverforsake him. Cleave to him as one we love and delight in, trust and confide in, and from whom wehave great expectations.2. We are here taught our duty to our neighbour (v. 19): Love the stranger; and, if the stranger,much more our brethren, as ourselves. If the Israelites that were such a peculiar people, so particularlydistinguished from all people, must be kind to strangers, much more must we, that are not enclosedin such a pale; we must have a tender concern for all that share with us in the human nature, andas we have opportunity; (that is, according to their necessities and our abilities) we must do goodto all men. Two arguments are here urged to enforce this duty:—(1.) God's common providence,which extends itself to all nations of men, they being all made of one blood. God loveth the stranger(v. 18), that is, he gives to all life, and breath, and all things, even to those that are Gentiles, andstrangers to the commonwealth of Israel and to Israel's God. He knows those perfectly whom weknow nothing of. He gives food and raiment even to those to whom he has not shown his word andstatutes. God's common gifts to mankind oblige us to honour all men. Or the expression denotesthe particular care which Providence takes of strangers in distress, which we ought to praise himfor (Ps. cxlvi. 9, The Lord preserveth the strangers), and to imitate him, to serve him, and concurwith him therein, being forward to make ourselves instruments in his hand of kindness to strangers.(2.) The afflicted condition which the Israelites themselves had been in, when they were strangersin Egypt. Those that have themselves been in distress, and have found mercy with God, shouldsympathize most feelingly with those that are in the like distress and be ready to show kindness to1118Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)them. The people of the Jews, notwithstanding these repeated commands given them to be kind tostrangers, conceived a rooted antipathy to the Gentiles, whom they looked upon with the utmostdisdain, which made them envy the grace of God and the gospel of Christ, and this brought a finalruin upon themselves.3. We are here taught our duty to ourselves (v. 16): Circumcise the foreskin of your hearts.that is, "Cast away from you all corrupt affections and inclinations, which hinder you from fearingand loving God. Mortify the flesh with the lusts of it. Away with all filthiness and superfluity ofnaughtiness, which obstruct the free course of the word of God to your hearts. Rest not in thecircumcision of the body, which was only the sign, but be circumcised in heart, which is the thingsignified." See Rom. ii. 29. The command of Christ goes further than this, and obliges us not onlyto cut off the foreskin of the heart, which may easily be spared, but to cut off the right hand and topluck out the right eye that is an offence to us; the more spiritual the dispensation is the morespiritual we are obliged to be, and to go the closer in mortifying sin. And be no more stiff-necked,as they had been hitherto, ch. ix. 24. "Be not any longer obstinate against divine commands andcorrections, but ready to comply with the will of God in both." The circumcision of the heart makesit ready to yield to God, and draw in his yoke.II. We are here most pathetically persuaded to our duty. Let but reason rule us, and religionwill.1. Consider the greatness and glory of God, and therefore fear him, and from that principleserve and obey him. What is it that is thought to make a man great, but great honour, power, andpossessions? Think then how great the Lord our God is, and greatly to be feared. (1.) He has greathonour, a name above every name. He is God of gods, and Lord of lords, v. 17. Angels are calledgods, so are magistrates, and the Gentiles had gods many, and lords many, the creatures of theirown fancy; but God is infinitely above all these nominal deities. What an absurdity would it be forthem to worship other gods when the God to whom they had sworn allegiance was the God of gods!(2.) He has great power. He is a mighty God and terrible (v. 17), who regardeth not persons. Hehas the power of a conqueror, and so he is terrible to those that resist him and rebel against him.He has the power of a judge, and so he is just to all those that appeal to him or appear before him.And it is as much the greatness and honour of a judge to be impartial in his justice, without respectto persons or bribes, as it is to a general to be terrible to the enemy. Our God is both. (3.) He hasgreat possessions. Heaven and earth are his (v. 14), and all the hosts and stars of both. Thereforehe is able to bear us out in his service, and to make up the losses we sustain in discharging our dutyto him. And yet therefore he has no need of us, nor any thing we have or can do; we are undonewithout him, but he is happy without us, which makes the condescensions of his grace, in acceptingus and our services, truly admirable. Heaven and earth are his possession, and yet the Lord's portionis his people.2. Consider the goodness and grace of God, and therefore love him, and from that principleserve and obey him. His goodness is his glory as much as his greatness. (1.) He is good to all.Whomsoever he finds miserable, to them he will be found merciful: He executes the judgment ofthe fatherless and widow, v. 18. It is his honour to help the helpless, and to succour those that mostneed relief and that men are apt to do injury to, or at least to put a light upon. See Ps. lxviii. 4, 5;cxlvi. 7, 9. (2.) But truly God is good to Israel in a special obligations to him: "He is they praise,and he is thy God, v. 21. Therefore love him and serve him, because of the relation wherein hestands to thee. He is thy God, a God in covenant with thee, and as such he is thy praise," that is [1.]1119Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)"He puts honour upon thee; he is the God in whom, all the day long, thou mayest boast that thouknowest him, and art known of him. If he is thy God, he is thy glory." [2.] "He expects honour fromthee. He is thy praise," that is "he is the God whom thou art bound to praise; if he has not praisefrom thee, whence may he expect it?" He inhabits the praises of Israel. Consider, First, The graciouschoice he made of Israel, v. 15. "He had a delight in thy fathers, and therefore chose their seed."Not that there was any thing in them to merit his favour, or to recommend them to it, but so itseemed good in his eyes. He would be kind to them, though he had no need of them. Secondly, Thegreat things he had done for Israel, v. 21, 22. He reminds them not only of what they had heardwith their ears, and which their fathers had told them of, but of what they had seen with their eyes,and which they must tell their children of, particularly that within a few generations seventy souls(for they were no more when Jacob went down into Egypt) increased to a great nation, as the starsof heaven for multitude. And the more they were in number the more praise and service God expectedfrom them; yet it proved, as in the old world, that when they began to multiply they corruptedthemselves.D E U T E R O N O M YCHAP. XI.With this chapter Moses concludes his preface to the repetition of the statutes and judgmentswhich they must observe to do. He repeats the general charge (ver. 1), and, having in the close ofthe foregoing chapter begun to mention the great things God had done among them, in this, I. Hespecifies several of the great works God had done before their eyes, ver. 2-7. II. He sets beforethem, for the future, life and death, the blessing and the curse, according as they did, or did not,keep God's commandments, that they should certainly prosper if they were obedient, should beblessed with plenty of all good things (ver. 8-15), and with victory over their enemies, and theenlargement of their coast thereby, ver. 22-25. But their disobedience would undoubtedly be theirruin, ver. 16, 17. III. He directs them what means to use that they might keep in mind the law ofGod, ver. 18-21. And, IV. Concludes all with solemnly charging them to choose which they wouldhave, the blessing or the curse, ver. 26, &c.Persuasives to Obedience. (b. c. 1451.)1 Therefore thou shalt love the Lord thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes,and his judgments, and his commandments, alway. 2 And know ye this day: for Ispeak not with your children which have not known, and which have not seen thechastisement of the Lord your God, his greatness, his mighty hand, and his stretchedout arm, 3 And his miracles, and his acts, which he did in the midst of Egypt untoPharaoh the king of Egypt, and unto all his land; 4 And what he did unto the armyof Egypt, unto their horses, and to their chariots; how he made the water of the Redsea to overflow them as they pursued after you, and how the Lord hath destroyed1120Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)them unto this day; 5 And what he did unto you in the wilderness, until ye cameinto this place; 6 And what he did unto Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, theson of Reuben: how the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and theirhouseholds, and their tents, and all the substance that was in their possession, in themidst of all Israel: 7 But your eyes have seen all the great acts of the Lord whichhe did.Because God has made thee as the stars of heaven for multitude (so the preceding chapterconcludes), therefore thou shalt love the Lord thy God (so this begins). Those whom God has builtup into families, whose beginning was small, but whose latter end greatly increases, should usethat as an argument with themselves why they should serve God. Thou shalt keep his charge, thatis, the oracles of his word and ordinances of his worship, with which they were entrusted and forwhich they were accountable. It is a phrase often used concerning the office of the priests andLevites, for all Israel was a kingdom of priests, a holy nation. Observe the connection of these two:Thou shalt love the Lord and keep his charge, since love will work in obedience, and that only isacceptable obedience which flows from a principle of love. 1 John v. 3.Mention is made of the great and terrible works of God which their eyes had seen, v. 7. Thispart of his discourse Moses addresses to the seniors among the people, the elders in age; andprobably the elders in office were so, and were now his immediate auditors: there were some amongthem that could remember their deliverance out of Egypt, all above fifty, and to them he speaksthis, not to the children, who knew it by hearsay only, v. 2. Note, God's mercies to us when wewere young we should remember and retain the impressions of when we are old; what our eyeshave seen, especially in our early days, has affected us, and should be improved by us long after.They had seen what terrible judgments God had executed upon the enemies of Israel's peace, 1.Upon Pharaoh and the Egyptians that enslaved them. What a fine country was ruined and laid wasteby one plague after another, to force Israel's enlargement! v. 3. What a fine army was entirelydrowned in the Red Sea, to prevent Israel's being re-enslaved! v. 4. Thus did he give Egypt for theirransom, Isa. xliii. 3. Rather shall that famous kingdom be destroyed than that Israel shall not bedelivered. 2. Upon Dathan and Abiram that embroiled them. Remember what he did in the wilderness(v. 5), by how many necessary chastisements (as they are called, v. 2) they were kept from ruiningthemselves, particularly when those daring Reubenites defied the authority of Moses and headeda dangerous rebellion against God himself, which threatened the ruin of a whole nation, and mighthave ended in that if the divine power had not immediately crushed the rebellion by burying therebels alive, them and all that was in their possession, v. 6. What was done against them, thoughmisinterpreted by the disaffected party (Num. xvi. 41), was really done in mercy to Israel. To besaved from the mischiefs of insurrections at home is as great a kindness to a people, and thereforelays them under as strong obligations, as protection from the invasion of enemies abroad.8 Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments which I command you this day,that ye may be strong, and go in and possess the land, whither ye go to possess it;9 And that ye may prolong your days in the land, which the Lord sware unto yourfathers to give unto them and to their seed, a land that floweth with milk and honey.10 For the land, whither thou goest in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt,from whence ye came out, where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy1121Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)foot, as a garden of herbs: 11 But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land ofhills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven: 12 A land which theLord thy God careth for: the eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon it, from thebeginning of the year even unto the end of the year. 13 And it shall come to pass,if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you thisday, to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with allyour soul, 14 That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the firstrain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thineoil. 15 And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat andbe full. 16 Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turnaside, and serve other gods, and worship them; 17 And then the Lord's wrath bekindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that theland yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which theLord giveth you.Still Moses urges the same subject, as loth to conclude till he had gained his point. "If thouwilt enter into life, if thou wilt enter into Canaan, a type of that life, and find it a good land indeedto thee, keep the commandments: Keep all the commandments which I command you this day; loveGod, and serve him with all your heart."I. Because this was the way to get and keep possession of the promised land. 1. It was the wayto get possession (v. 8): That you may be strong for war, and so go in and possess it. So little didthey know either of hardship or hazard in the wars of Canaan that he does not say they should goin and fight for it; no, they had nothing in effect to do but go in and possess it. He does not go aboutto teach them the art of war, how to draw the bow, and use the sword, and keep ranks, that theymight be strong, and go in and possess the land; no, but let them keep God's commandments, andtheir religion, while they are true to it, will be their strength, and secure their success. (2.) It wasthe way to keep possession (v. 9): That you may prolong your days in this land that your eye isupon. Sin tends to the shortening of the days of particular persons and to the shortening of the daysof a people's prosperity; but obedience will be a lengthening out of their tranquillity.II. Because the land of Canaan, into which they were going, had a more sensible dependenceupon the blessing of heaven than the land of Egypt had, v. 10-12. Egypt was a country fruitfulenough, but it was all flat, and was watered, not as other countries with rain (it is said of Egypt,Zech. xiv. 18, that it has no rain), but by the overflowing of the river Nile at a certain season ofthe year, to the improving of which there was necessary a great deal of the art and labour of thehusbandman, so that in Egypt a man must bestow as much cost and pains upon a field as upon agarden of herbs. And this made them the more apt to imagine that the power of their own handsgot them this wealth. But the land of Canaan was an uneven country, a land of hills and valleys,which not only gave a more pleasing prospect to the eye, but yielded a greater variety of soils forthe several purposes of the husbandman. It was a land that had no great rivers in it, except Jordan,but drank water of the rain of heaven, and so, 1. Saved them a great deal of labour. While theEgyptians were ditching and guttering in the fields, up to the knees in mud, to bring water to theirland, which otherwise would soon become like the heath in the wilderness, the Israelites could sit1122Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)in their houses, warm and easy, and leave it to God to water their land with the former and the latterrain, which is called the river of God (Ps. lxv. 9), perhaps in allusion to, and contempt of, the riverof Egypt, which that nation was so proud of. Note, The better God has provided, by our outwardcondition, for our ease and convenience, the more we should abound in his service: the less wehave to do for our bodies the more we should do for God and our souls. 2. So he directed them tolook upwards to God, who giveth us rain form heaven and fruitful seasons (Acts xiv. 17), andpromised to be himself as the dew unto Israel, Hos. xiv. 5. Note, (1.) Mercies bring with them thegreatest comfort and sweetness when we see them coming from heaven, the immediate gifts ofdivine Providence. (2.) The closer dependence we have upon God the more cheerful we should bein our obedience to him. See how Moses here magnifies the land of Canaan above all other lands,that the eyes of God were always upon it, that is, they should be so, to see that nothing was wanting,while they kept close to God and duty; its fruitfulness should be not so much the happy effect ofits soil as the immediate fruit of the divine blessing; this may be inferred from its present state, forit is said to be at this day, now that God has departed from it, as barren a spot of ground as perhapsany under heaven. Call it not Naomi: call it Marah.III. Because God would certainly bless them with an abundance of all good things if they wouldlove him and serve him (v. 13-15): I will give you the rain of your land in due season, so that theyshould neither want it when the ground called for it nor have it in excess; but they should have theformer rain, which fell at seed-time, and the latter rain, which fell before the harvest, Amos iv. 7.This represented all the seasonable blessings which God would bestow upon them, especiallyspiritual comforts, which should come as the latter and former, rain, Hos. vi. 3. And the earth thuswatered produced, 1. Fruits for the service of man, corn and wine, and oil, Ps. civ. 13-15. 2. Grassfor the cattle, that they also might be serviceable to man, that he might eat of them and be full, v.15. Godliness hath here the promise of the life that now is; but the favour of God shall put gladnessinto the heart, more than the increase of corn, and wine, and oil will.IV. Because their revolt from God to idols. would certainly be their ruin: Take heed that yourhearts be not deceived, v. 16, 17. All that forsake God to set their affection upon, or pay theirdevotion to, any creature, will find themselves wretchedly deceived to their own destruction; andthis will aggravate it that it was purely for want of taking heed. A little care would have preventedtheir being imposed upon by the great deceiver. To awaken them to take heed, Moses here tellsthem plainly that if they should turn aside to other gods, 1. They would provoke the wrath of Godagainst them; and who knows the power of that anger? 2. Good things would be turned away fromthem; the heaven would withhold its rain, and then of course the earth would not yield its fruit. 3.Evil things would come upon them; they would perish quickly form off this good land. And thebetter the land was the more grievous it would be to perish from it. The goodness of the land wouldnot be their security, when the badness of the inhabitants had made them ripe for ruin.18 Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, andbind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between youreyes. 19 And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittestin thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and whenthou risest up. 20 And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house,and upon thy gates: 21 That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your1123Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)children, in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them, as thedays of heaven upon the earth. 22 For if ye shall diligently keep all thesecommandments which I command you, to do them, to love the Lord your God, towalk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him; 23 Then will the Lord drive out allthese nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightierthan yourselves. 24 Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall beyours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, evenunto the uttermost sea shall your coast be. 25 There shall no man be able to standbefore you: for the Lord your God shall lay the fear of you and the dread of youupon all the land that ye shall tread upon, as he hath said unto you.Here, I. Moses repeats the directions he had given for the guidance and assistance of the peoplein their obedience, and for the keeping up of religion among them (v. 18-20), which is much to thesame purport with what we had before, ch. vi. 6, &c. Let us all be directed by the three rules heregiven:—1. Let our hearts be filled with the word of God: Lay up these words in your heart and inyour soul. The heart must be the treasury or store-house in which the word of God must be laid up,to be used upon all occasions. We cannot expect good practices in the conversation, unless therebe good thoughts, good affections, and good principles, in the heart. 2. Let our eyes be fixed uponthe word of God. "Bind these words for a sign upon your hand, which is always in view (Isa. xlix.16), and as frontlets between your eyes, which you cannot avoid the sight of; let them be as readyand familiar to you, and have your eye as constantly upon them, as if they were written upon yourdoor-posts, and could not be overlooked either when you go out or when you come in." Thus wemust lay God's judgments before us, having a constant regard to them, as the guide of our way, asthe rule of our work, Ps. cxix. 30. 3. Let our tongues be employed about the word of God. Let it bethe subject of our familiar discourse, wherever we are; especially with our children, who must betaught the service of God, as the one thing needful, much more needful than either the rules ofdecency or the calling they must live by in this world. Great care and pains must be taken to acquaintchildren betimes, and to affect them, with the word of God and the wondrous things of his law.Nor will any thing contribute more to the prosperity and perpetuity of religion in a nation than thegood education of children: if the seed be holy, it is the substance of a land.II. He repeats the assurances he had before given them, in God's name, of prosperity and successif they were obedient. 1. They should have a happy settlement, v. 21. Their days should be multiplied;and, when they were fulfilled, the days of their children likewise should be many, as the days ofheaven, that is, Canaan should be sure to them and their heirs for ever, as long as the world stands,if they did not by their own sin throw themselves out of it. 2. It should not be in the power of theirenemies to give them any disturbance, nor make them upon any account uneasy. "If you will keepGod's commandments, and be careful to do your duty (v. 22), God will not only crown the laboursof the husbandman with plenty of the fruits of the earth, but he will own and succeed the moreglorious undertakings of the men of war. Victory shall attend your arms; which way soever theyturn, God will drive out these nations, and put you in possession of their land," v. 23, 24. Theirterritories should be enlarged to the utmost extent of the promise, Gen. xv. 18. And all theirneighbours should stand in awe of them, v. 25. Nothing contributes more to the making of a nationconsiderable abroad, valuable to its friends and formidable to its enemies, than religion reigning1124Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)in it; for who can be against those that have God for them? And he is certainly for those that aresincerely for him, Prov. xiv. 34.The Blessing and the Curse. (b. c. 1451.)26 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; 27 A blessing, if yeobey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day:28 And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, butturn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods,which ye have not known. 29 And it shall come to pass, when the Lord thy Godhath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shaltput the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal. 30 Are theynot on the other side Jordan, by the way where the sun goeth down, in the land ofthe Canaanites, which dwell in the champaign over against Gilgal, beside the plainsof Moreh? 31 For ye shall pass over Jordan to go in to possess the land which theLord your God giveth you, and ye shall possess it, and dwell therein. 32 And yeshall observe to do all the statutes and judgments which I set before you this day.Here Moses concludes his general exhortations to obedience; and his management is veryaffecting, and such as, one would think, should have engaged them for ever to God, and shouldhave left impressions upon them never to be worn out.I. He sums up all his arguments for obedience in two words, the blessing and the curse (v. 26),that is, the rewards and the punishments, as they stand in the promises and the threatenings, whichare the great sanctions of the law, taking hold of hope and fear, those two handles of the soul, bywhich it is caught, held, and managed. These two, the blessing and the curse, he set before them,that is, 1. He explained them, that they might know them; he enumerated the particulars containedboth in the blessing and in the curse, that they might see the more fully how desirable the blessingwas, and how dreadful the curse. 2. He confirmed them, that they might believe them, made itevident to them, by the proofs he produced of his own commission, that the blessing was not afool's paradise, nor the curse a bugbear, but that both were real declarations of the purpose of Godconcerning them. 3. He charged them to choose which of these they would have, so fairly does hedeal with them, and so far is he from putting out the eyes of these men, as he was charged, Num.xvi. 14. They and we are plainly told on what terms we stand with Almighty God. (1.) If we beobedient to his laws, we may be sure of a blessing, v. 27. But, (2.) If we be disobedient, we maybe as sure of a curse, v. 28. Say you to the righteous (for God has said it, and all the world cannotunsay it) that it shall be well with them: but woe to the wicked, it shall be ill with them.II. He appoints a public and solemn proclamation to be made of the blessing and curse whichhe had set before them, upon the two mountains of Gerizim and Ebal, v. 29, 30. We have moreparticular directions for this solemnity in ch. xxvii. 11, &c., and an account of the performance ofit, Josh. viii. 33, &c. It was to be done, and was done, immediately upon their coming into Canaan,that when they first took possession of that land they might know upon what terms they stood. Theplace where this was to be done is particularly described by Moses, though he never saw it, whichis one circumstance among many that evidences his divine instructions. It is said be near the plain,or oaks, or meadows, of Moreh, which was one of the first places that Abraham came to in Canaan;1125Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)so that in sending them thither, to hear the blessing and the curse, God reminded them of the promisehe made to Abraham in that very place, Gen. xii. 6, 7. The mention of this appointment here serves,1. For the encouragement of their faith in the promise of God, that they should be masters of Canaanquickly. Do it (says Moses) on the other side Jordan (v. 30), for you may be confident you shallpass over Jordan, v. 31. The institution of this service to be done in Canaan was an assurance tothem that they should be brought into possession of it, and a token like that which God gave toMoses (Exod. iii. 12): You shall serve God upon this mountain. And, 2. It serves for an engagementupon them to be obedient, that they might escape that curse, and obtain that blessing, which, besideswhat they had already heard, they must shortly be witnesses to the solemn publication of (v. 32):"You shall observe to do the statutes and judgements, that you may not in that solemnity be witnessesagainst yourselves."D E U T E R O N O M YCHAP. XII.Moses at this chapter comes to the particular statues which he had to give in charge to Israel,and he begins with those which relate to the worship of God, and particularly those which explainthe second commandment, about which God is in a special manner jealous. I. They must utterlydestroy all relics and remains of idolatry, ver. 1-3. II. They must keep close to the tabernacle, ver.4, 5. The former precept was intended to prevent all false worship, the latter to preserve the worshipGod had instituted. By this latter law, 1. They are commanded to bring all their offerings to thealtar of God, and all their holy things to the place which he should choose, ver. 6, 7, 11, 12, 14, 18,26-28. 2. They are forbidden, in general, to do as they now did in the wilderness (ver. 8-11), andas the Canaanites had done (ver. 29-32), and, in particular, to eat the hallowed things at their ownhouses (ver. 13, 17, 18), or to forsake the instituted ministry, ver. 19. 3. They are permitted to eatflesh as common food at their own houses, provided they do not eat the blood, ver. 15, 16, andagain, ver. 20-26.Relics of Idolatry to Be Destroyed. (b. c. 1451.)1 These are the statutes and judgments, which ye shall observe to do in the land,which the Lord God of thy fathers giveth thee to possess it, all the days that ye liveupon the earth. 2 Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations whichye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, andunder every green tree: 3 And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars,and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of theirgods, and destroy the names of them out of that place. 4 Ye shall not do so untothe Lord your God.From those great original truths, That there is a God, and that there is but one God, arise thosegreat fundamental laws, That that God is to be worshipped, and he only, and that therefore we are1126Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)to have no other God before him: this is the first commandment, and the second is a guard upon it,or a hedge about it. To prevent a revolt to false gods, we are forbidden to worship the true God insuch a way and manner as the false gods were worshipped in, and are commanded to observe theinstituted ordinances of worship that we may adhere to the proper object of worship. For this reasonMoses is very large in his exposition of the second commandment. What is contained in this andthe four following chapters mostly refers to that. These are statutes and judgments which they mustobserve to do (v. 1), 1. In the days of their rest and prosperity, when they should be masters ofCanaan. We must not think that our religion is instituted only to be our work in the years of ourservitude, our entertainment in the places of our solitude, and our consolation in affliction; no,when we come to possess a good land, still we must keep up the worship of God in Canaan as wellas in a wilderness, when we have grown up as well as when we are children, when we are full ofbusiness as well as when we have nothing else to do. 2. All the days, as long as you live upon theearth. While we are here in our state of trial, we must continue in our obedience, even to the end,and never leave our duty, nor grow weary of well-doing. Now,I. They are here charged to abolish and extirpate all those things that the Canaanites had servedtheir idol-gods with, v. 2, 3. Here is no mention of idol-temples, which countenances the opinionsome have, that the tabernacle Moses reared in the wilderness was the first habitation that ever wasmade for religious uses, and that from it temples took their rise. But the places that had been used,and were now to be levelled, were enclosures for their worship on mountains and hills (as if theheight of the ground would give advantage to the ascent of their devotions), and under green trees,either because pleasant or because awful: whatever makes the mind easy and reverent, contractsand composes it, was thought to befriend devotion. The solemn shade and silence of a grove arestill admired by those that are disposed to contemplation. But the advantage which these retirementsgave to the Gentiles in the worship of their idols was that they concealed those works of darknesswhich could not bear the light; and therefore they must all be destroyed, with the altars, pillars, andimages, that had been used by the natives in the worship of their gods, so as that the very namesof them might be buried in oblivion, and not only not be remembered with respect, but notremembered at all. They must thus consult, 1. The reputation of their land; let it never be said ofthis holy land that it had been thus polluted, but let all these dunghills be carried away, as thingsthey were ashamed of. 2. The safety of their religion; let none be left remaining, lest profaneunthinking people, especially in degenerate ages, should make use of them in the service of theGod of Israel. Let these pest-houses be demolished, as things they were afraid of. He begins thestatutes that relate to divine worship with this, because there must first be an abhorrence of thatwhich is evil before there can be a steady adherence to that which is good, Rom. xii. 9. The kingdomof God must be set up, both in persons and places, upon the ruins of the devil's kingdom; for theycannot stand together, nor can there be any communion between Christ and Belial.II. They are charged not to transfer the rites and usages of idolaters into he worship of God;no, not under colour of beautifying and improving it (v. 4): You shall not do so to the Lord yourgod, that is, "you must not think to do honour to him by offering sacrifices on mountains and hills,erecting pillars, planting groves, and setting up images; no, you must not indulge a luxurious fancyin your worship, nor think that whatever pleases that will please God: he is above all gods, and willnot be worshipped as other gods are."Where Sacrifices Must Be Offered; Ceremonial Observances; Cautions Against Idolatrous Rites. (b. c. 1451.)1127Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)5 But unto the place which the Lord your God shall choose out of all your tribesto put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shaltcome: 6 And thither ye shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, andyour tithes, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewillofferings, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks: 7 And there ye shalleat before the Lord your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto,ye and your households, wherein the Lord thy God hath blessed thee. 8 Ye shallnot do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right inhis own eyes. 9 For ye are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance, whichthe Lord your God giveth you. 10 But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in theland which the Lord your God giveth you to inherit, and when he giveth you restfrom all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety; 11 Then there shallbe a place which the Lord your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there;thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and yoursacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vowswhich ye vow unto the Lord: 12 And ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God,ye, and your sons, and your daughters, and your menservants, and your maidservants,and the Levite that is within your gates; forasmuch as he hath no part nor inheritancewith you. 13 Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in everyplace that thou seest: 14 But in the place which the Lord shall choose in one of thytribes, there thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, and there thou shalt do all that Icommand thee. 15 Notwithstanding thou mayest kill and eat flesh in all thy gates,whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, according to the blessing of the Lord thy Godwhich he hath given thee: the unclean and the clean may eat thereof, as of theroebuck, and as of the hart. 16 Only ye shall not eat the blood; ye shall pour it uponthe earth as water. 17 Thou mayest not eat within thy gates the tithe of thy corn,or of thy wine, or of thy oil, or the firstlings of thy herds or of thy flock, nor any ofthy vows which thou vowest, nor thy freewill offerings, or heave offering of thinehand: 18 But thou must eat them before the Lord thy God in the place which theLord thy God shall choose, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant,and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates: and thou shalt rejoicebefore the Lord thy God in all that thou puttest thine hands unto. 19 Take heed tothyself that thou forsake not the Levite as long as thou livest upon the earth. 20When the Lord thy God shall enlarge thy border, as he hath promised thee, and thoushalt say, I will eat flesh, because thy soul longeth to eat flesh; thou mayest eat flesh,whatsoever thy soul lusteth after. 21 If the place which the Lord thy God hathchosen to put his name there be too far from thee, then thou shalt kill of thy herd1128Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)and of thy flock, which the Lord hath given thee, as I have commanded thee, andthou shalt eat in thy gates whatsoever thy soul lusteth after. 22 Even as the roebuckand the hart is eaten, so thou shalt eat them: the unclean and the clean shall eat ofthem alike. 23 Only be sure that thou eat not the blood: for the blood is the life;and thou mayest not eat the life with the flesh. 24 Thou shalt not eat it; thou shaltpour it upon the earth as water. 25 Thou shalt not eat it; that it may go well withthee, and with thy children after thee, when thou shalt do that which is right in thesight of the Lord. 26 Only thy holy things which thou hast, and thy vows, thoushalt take, and go unto the place which the Lord shall choose: 27 And thou shaltoffer thy burnt offerings, the flesh and the blood, upon the altar of the Lord thy God:and the blood of thy sacrifices shall be poured out upon the altar of the Lord thyGod, and thou shalt eat the flesh. 28 Observe and hear all these words which Icommand thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee forever, when thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of the Lord thy God.29 When the Lord thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thougoest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; 30Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they bedestroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, Howdid these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. 31 Thou shalt not doso unto the Lord thy God: for every abomination to the Lord, which he hateth, havethey done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burntin the fire to their gods. 32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it:thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.There is not any one particular precept (as I remember) in all the law of Moses so largelypressed and inculcated as this, by which they are all tied to bring their sacrifices to that one altarwhich was set up in the court of the tabernacle, and there to perform all the rituals of their religion;for, as to moral services, then, no doubt, as now, men might pray every where, as they did in theirsynagogues. The command to do this, and the prohibition of the contrary, are here repeated againand again, as we teach children: and yet we are sure that there is in scripture no vain repetition; butall this stress is laid upon it, 1. Because of the strange proneness there was in the hearts of the peopleto idolatry and superstition, and the danger of their being seduced by the many temptations whichthey would be surrounded with. 2. Because of the great use which the observance of this appointmentwould be of to them, both to prevent the introducing of corrupt customs into their worship and topreserve among them unity and brotherly love, that, meeting all in one place, they might continueboth of one way and of one heart. 3. Because of the significancy of this appointment. They mustkeep to one place, in token of their belief of those two great truths, which we find together (1 Tim.ii. 5), That there is one God, and one Mediator between God and man. It not only served to keepup the notion of the unity of the Godhead, but was an intimation to them (though they could notstedfastly discern it) of the one only way of approach to God and communion with him, in and bythe Messiah.1129Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)Let us now reduce this long charge to its proper heads.I. It is here promised that when they were settled in Canaan, when they had rest from theirenemies, and dwelt in safety, God would choose a certain place, which he would appoint to be thecentre of their unity, to which they should bring all their offerings, v. 10, 11. Observe, 1. If theyjust be tied to one place, they should not be left in doubt concerning it, but should certainly knowwhat place it was. Had Christ intended, under the gospel, to make any one place such a seat ofpower as Rome pretends to be, we should not have been left so destitute of instruction as we areconcerning the appointed place. 2. God does not leave it to them to choose the place, lest the tribesshould have quarrelled about it, each striving, for their secular advantage, to have it among them;but he reserves the choice to himself, as he does the designation of the Redeemer and the institutionof holy ordinances. 3. He does not appoint the place now, as he had appointed mounts Gerizim andEbal, for the pronouncing of the blessings and curses (ch. xi. 29), but reserves the doing of it tillhereafter, that hereby they might be made to expect further directions from heaven, and a divineconduct, after Moses should be removed. The place which God would choose is said to be the placewhere he would put his name, that is, which he would have to be called his, where his honour shoulddwell, where he would manifest himself to his people, and make himself known, as men do by theirnames, and where he would receive addresses, by which his name is both praised and called upon.It was to be his habitation, where, as King of Israel, he would keep court, and be found by all thosethat reverently sought him. The ark was the token of God's presence, and where that was put thereGod put his name, and that was his habitation. It contained the tables of the law; for none mustexpect to receive favours from God's hand but those that are willing to receive the law from hismouth. The place which God first chose for the ark to reside in was Shiloh; and, after that placehad sinned away its honours, we find the ark at Kirjath-jearim and other places; but at length, inDavid's time, it was fixed at Jerusalem, and God said concerning Solomon's temple, more expresslythan ever he had said concerning any other place, This I have chosen for a house of sacrifice, 2Chron. vii. 12. Compare 2 Chron. vi. 5. Now, under the gospel, we have no temple that sanctifiesthe gold, no altar that sanctifies the gift, but Christ only; and, as to the places of worship, the prophetsforetold that in every place the spiritual incense should be offered, Mal. i. 11. And our Saviour hasdeclared that those are accepted as true worshippers who worship God in sincerity and truth, withoutregard either to this mountain or Jerusalem, John iv. 23.II. They are commanded to bring all their burnt-offerings and sacrifices to this place that Godwould choose (v. 6 and again v. 11): Thither shall you bring all that I command you; and (v. 14),There thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings; and (v. 27), The flesh and the blood must be offered uponthe altar of the Lord thy God. And of their peace-offerings, here called their sacrifices, though theywere to eat the flesh, yet the blood was to be poured out upon the altar. By this they were taughtthat sacrifices and offerings God did not desire, nor accept, for their own sake, nor for any intrinsicworth in them, as natural expressions of homage and adoration; but that they received their virtuepurely from that altar on which they were offered, as it typified Christ; whereas prayers and praises,as much more necessary and valuable, were to be offered every day by the people of God whereverthey were. A devout Israelite might honour God, and keep up communion with him, and obtainmercy from him, though he had not an opportunity, perhaps, for many months together, of bringinga sacrifice to his altar. But this signified the obligation we Christians are under to offer up all ourspiritual sacrifices to God in the name of Jesus Christ, hoping for acceptance only upon the scoreof his mediation, 1 Pet. ii. 5.1130Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)III. They are commanded to feast upon their hallowed things before the Lord, with holy joy.They must not only bring to the altar the sacrifices which were to be offered to God, but hey mustbring to the place of the altar all those things which they were appointed by the law to eat and drink,to the honour of God, in token of their communion with him, v. 6. Their, tithes, and heave-offeringsof their hand, that is, their first-fruits, their vows, and free-will-offerings, and firstlings, all thosethings which were to be religiously made use of either by themselves or by the priests and Levites,must be brought to the place which God would choose; as all the revenues of the crown, from allparts of the kingdom, are brought into the exchequer. And (v. 7): There you shall eat before theLord, and rejoice in all that you put your hands unto; and again (v. 12), You shall rejoice beforethe Lord, you, and your sons, and your daughters. Observe here, 1. That what we do in the serviceof God and to his glory redounds to our benefit, if it be not our own fault. Those that sacrifice toGod are welcome to eat before him, and to feast upon their sacrifices: he sups with us, and we withhim, Rev. iii. 20. If we glorify God, we edify ourselves, and cultivate our own minds, through thegrace of God, by the increase of our knowledge and faith, the enlivening of devout affections, andthe confirming of gracious habits and resolutions: thus is the soul nourished. 2. That work for Godshould be done with holy joy and cheerfulness. You shall eat and rejoice, v. 7, and again, v. 12and v. 18. (1.) Now while they were before the Lord they must rejoice, v. 12. It is the will of Godthat we should serve him with gladness; none displeased him more than those that covered his altarwith tears. Mal. ii. 13. See what a good Master we serve, who has made it our duty to sing at ourwork. Even the children and servants must rejoice with them before God, that the services of religionmight be a pleasure to them, and not a task or drudgery. (2.) They must carry away with them thegrateful relish of that delight which they found in communion with God; they must rejoice in allthat they put their hands unto, v. 7. Some of the comfort which they must take with them into theircommon employments; and, being thus strengthened in soul, whatever they did they must do itheartily and cheerfully. And this holy pious joy in God and his goodness, with which we are torejoice evermore, would be the best preservative against the sin and snare of vain and carnal mirthand a relief against the sorrows of the world.IV. They are commanded to be kind to the Levites. Did they feast with joy? The Levites mustfeast with them, and rejoice with them, v. 12, and again, v. 18; and a general caution (v. 19), Takeheed that thou forsake not the Levite as long as thou livest. There were Levites that attended thealtar as assistants to the priests, and these must not be forsaken, that is, the service they performedmust be constantly adhered to; no other altar must be set up than that which God appointed; forthat would be to forsake the Levites. But this seems to be spoken of the Levites that were dispersedin the country to instruct the people in the law of God, and to assist them in their devotions; for itis the Levite within their gates that they are here commanded to make much of. It is a great mercyto have Levites near us, within our gates, that we may ask the law at their mouth, and at our feaststo be a check upon us, to restrain excesses. And it is the duty of people to be kind to their ministersthat give them good instructions and set them good examples. As long as we live we shall needtheir assistance, till we come to that world where ordinances will be superseded; and therefore aslong as we live we must not forsake the Levites. The reason given (v. 12) is because the Levite hasno part nor inheritance with you, so that he cannot grow rich by husbandry or trade; let him thereforeshare with you in the comfort of your riches. They must give the Levites their tithes and offerings,settled on them by the law, because they had no other maintenance.1131Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)V. They are allowed to eat common flesh, but not the flesh of their offerings, in their ownhouses, wherever they dwelt. What was any way devoted to God they must not eat at home, v. 13,17. But what was not so devoted they might kill and eat of at their pleasure, v. 15. And thispermission is again repeated, v. 20-22. It should seem that while they were in the wilderness theydid not eat the flesh of any of those kinds of beasts that were used in sacrifice, but what was killedat the door of the tabernacle, and part of it presented to God as a peace-offering, Lev. xvii. 3, 4.But when they came to Canaan, where they must live at a great distance from the tabernacle, theymight kill what they pleased for their own use of their flocks and herds, without bringing part tothe altar. This allowance is very express, and repeated, lest Satan should take occasion from thatlaw which forbade the eating of their sacrifices at their own houses to suggest to them, as he didto our first parents, hard thoughts of God, as if he grudged them: Thou mayest eat whatsoever thysoul lusteth after. There is a natural regular appetite, which it is lawful to gratify with temperanceand sobriety, not taking too great a pleasure in the gratification, nor being uneasy if it be crossed.The unclean, who might not eat of the holy things, yet might eat of the same sort of flesh when itwas only used as common food. The distinction between clean persons and unclean was sacred,and designed for the preserving of the honour of their holy feasts, and therefore must not be broughtinto their ordinary meals. This permission has a double restriction:—1. They must eat accordingto the blessing which God had given them, v. 15. Note, It is not only our wisdom, but our duty, tolive according to our estates, and not to spend above what we have. As it is unjust on the one handto hoard what should be laid out, so it is much more unjust to lay out more than we have; for whatis not our own must needs be another's, who is thereby robbed and defrauded. And this, I say, ismuch more unjust, because it is easier afterwards to distribute what has been unduly spared, andso to make a sort of restitution for the wrong, than it is to repay to wife, and children, and creditors,what has been unduly spent. Between these two extremes let wisdom find the mean, and then letwatchfulness and resolution keep it. 2. They must not eat blood (v. 16, and again, v. 23): Only besure that thou eat not the blood (v. 24), Thou shalt not eat it; and (v. 25), Thou shalt not eat it, thatit may go well with thee. When they could not bring the blood to the altar, to pour it out there beforethe Lord, as belonging to him, they must pour it out upon the earth, as not belonging to them,because it was the life, and therefore, as an acknowledgment, belonged to him who gives life, and,as an atonement, belonged to him to whom life is forfeited. Bishop Patrick thinks one reason whythey were forbidden thus strictly the eating of blood was to prevent the superstitions of the oldidolaters about the blood of their sacrifices, which they thought their demons delighted in, and byeating of which they imagined that they had communion with them.VI. They are forbidden to keep up either their own corrupt usages in the wilderness or thecorrupt usages of their predecessors in the land of Canaan.1. They must not keep up those improper customs which they had got into in the wilderness,and which were connived at in consideration of the present unsettledness of their condition (v. 8,9): You shall not do after all the things that we do here this day. Never was there a better governorthan Moses, and one would think never a better opportunity of keeping up good order and disciplinethan now among the people of Israel, when they lay so closely encamped under the eye of theirgovernor; and yet it seems there was much amiss and many irregularities had crept in among them.We must never expect to see any society perfectly pure and right, and as it should be till we cometo the heavenly Canaan. They had sacrifices and religious worship, courts of justice and civilgovernment, and, by the stoning of the man that gathered sticks on the sabbath day, it appears there1132Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)was great strictness used in guarding the most weighty matters of the law; but being frequentlyupon the remove, and always at uncertainty, (1.) They could none of them observe the solemnfeasts, and the rites of cleansing, with the exactness that the law required. And, (2.) Those amongthem that were disposed to do amiss had opportunity given them to do it unobserved by the frequentinterruptions which their removals gave to the administration of justice. But (says Moses) whenyou come to Canaan, you shall not do as we do here. Note, When the people of God are in anunsettled condition, that may be tolerated and dispensed with which would by no means be allowedat another time. Cases of necessity are to be considered while the necessity continues; but that mustnot be done in Canaan which was done in the wilderness. While a house is in the building a greatdeal of dirt and rubbish are suffered to lie by it, which must all be taken away when the house isbuilt. Moses was now about to lay down his life and government, and it was a comfort to him toforesee that Israel would be better in the next reign than they had been in his.2. They must not worship the Lord by any of those rites or ceremonies which the notions ofCanaan had made use of in the service of their gods, v. 29-32. They must not so much as enquireinto the modes and forms of idolatrous worship. What good would it do to them to know thosedepths of Satan? Rev. ii. 24. It is best to be ignorant of that which there is danger of being infectedby. They must not introduce the customs of idolaters, (1.) Because it would be absurd to make thosetheir patterns whom God had made their slaves and captives, cut off, and destroyed from beforethem. The Canaanites had not flourished and prospered so much in the service of their gods as thatthe Israelites should be invited to take up their customs. Those are wretchedly besotted indeed whowill walk in the way of sinners, after they have seen their end. (2.) Because some of their customswere most barbarous and inhuman, and such as trampled, not only upon the light and law of nature,but upon natural affection itself, as burning their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods(v. 31), the very mention of which is sufficient to make it odious, and possess us with a horror ofit. (3.) Because their idolatrous customs were an abomination to the Lord, and the translating ofthem into his worship would make even that an abomination and an affront to him by which theyshould give him honour, and by which they hoped to obtain his favour. The case is bad indeedwhen the sacrifice itself has become an abomination, Prov. xv. 8. He therefore concludes (v. 32)with the same caution concerning the worship of God which he had before given concerning theword of God (ch. iv. 2): "You shall not add thereto any inventions of your own, under pretence ofmaking the ordinance either more significant or more magnificent, nor diminish from it, underpretence of making it more easy and practicable, or of setting aside that which may be spared; butobserve to do all that, and that only, which God has commanded." We may then hope in our religiousworship to obtain the divine acceptance when we observe the divine appointment. God will havehis own work done in his own way.D E U T E R O N O M YCHAP. XIII.1133Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)Moses is still upon that necessary subject concerning the peril of idolatry. In the close of theforegoing chapter he had cautioned them against the peril that might arise from their predecessorsthe Canaanites. In this chapter he cautions them against the rise of idolatry from among themselves;they must take heed lest any should draw them to idolatry, 1. By the pretence of prophecy, ver.1-5. II. By the pretence of friendship and relation, ver. 6-11. III. By the pretence of numbers, ver.12-18. But in all these cases the temptation must be resolutely resisted and the tempters punishedand cut off.Cautions Against Idolatry. (b. c. 1451.)1 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee asign or a wonder, 2 And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spakeunto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let usserve them; 3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamerof dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lordyour God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 Ye shall walk after the Lordyour God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and yeshall serve him, and cleave unto him. 5 And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams,shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the Lord yourGod, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the houseof bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the Lord thy God commanded theeto walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.Here is, I. A very strange supposition, v. 1, 2. 1. It is strange that there should arise any amongthemselves, especially any pretending to vision and prophecy, who should instigate them to go andserve other gods. Was it possible that any who had so much knowledge of the methods of divinerevelation as to be able to personate a prophet should yet have so little knowledge of the divinenature and will as to go himself and entice his neighbours after other gods? Could an Israelite everbe guilty of such impiety? Could a man of sense ever be guilty of such absurdity? We see it in ourown day, and therefore may think it the less strange; multitudes that profess both learning andreligion yet exciting both themselves and others, not only to worship God by images, but to givedivine honour to saints and angels, which is no better than going after other gods to serve them;such is the power of strong delusions. 2. It is yet more strange that the sign or wonder given for theconfirmation of this false doctrine should come to pass. Can it be thought that God himself shouldgive any countenance to such a vile proceeding? Did ever a false prophet work a true miracle? Itis only supposed here for two reasons:— (1.) To strengthen the caution here given against hearkeningto such a one. "Though it were possible that he should work a true miracle, yet you must not believehim if he tell you that you must serve other gods, for the divine law against that is certainly perpetualand unalterable." The supposition is like that in Gal. i. 8, If we, or an angel from heaven, preachany other gospel to you—which does not prove it possible that an angel should preach anothergospel, but strongly expresses the certainty and perpetuity of that which we have received. So here,(2.) It is to fortify them against the danger of impostures and lying wonders (2 Thess. ii. 9): "Supposethe credentials he produces be so artfully counterfeited that you cannot discern the cheat, nordisprove them, yet, if they are intended to draw you to the service of other gods, that alone is1134Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)sufficient to disprove them; no evidence can be admitted against so clear a truth as that of the unityof the Godhead, and so plain a law as that of worshipping the one only living and true God." Wecannot suppose that the God of truth should set his seal of miracles to a lie, to so gross a lie as issupposed in that temptation, Let us go after other gods. But if it be asked, Why is this false prophetpermitted to counterfeit this broad seal? It is answered here (v. 3): "The Lord you God proveth you.He suffers you to be set upon by such a temptation to try your constancy, that both those that areperfect and those that are false and corrupt may be made manifest. It is to prove you; therefore seethat you acquit yourselves well in the trial, and stand your ground."II. Here is a very necessary charge given in this case,1. Not to yield to the temptation: "Thou shalt not hearken to the worlds of that prophet, v. 3.Not only thou shalt not do the thing he tempts thee to, but thou shalt not so much as patiently hearthe temptation, but reject it with the utmost disdain and detestation. Such a suggestion as this isnot to be so much as parleyed with, but the ear must be stopped against it. Get thee behind me,Satan." Some temptations are so grossly vile that they will not bear a debate, nor may we so muchas give them the hearing. What follows (v. 4), You shall walk after the Lord, may be looked upon,(1.) As prescribing a preservative from the temptation: "Keep close to your duty, and you keep outof harm's way. God never leaves us till we leave him." Or, (2.) As furnishing us with an answer tothe temptation; say, "It is written, Thou shalt walk after the Lord, and cleave unto him; and thereforewhat have I to do with idols?"2. Not to spare the tempter, v. 5. That prophet shall be put to death, both to punish him for theattempt he has made (the seducer must die, though none were seduced by him—a design upon thecrown is treason) and to prevent his doing further mischief. This is called putting away the evil.There is no way of removing the guilt but by removing the guilty; if such a criminal be not punished,those that should punish him make themselves responsible. And thus the mischief must be put away;the infection must be kept from spreading by cutting off the gangrened limb, and putting away themischief-makers. such Dangerous diseases as these must be taken in time.6 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife ofthy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying,Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;7 Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, orfar off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;8 Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eyepity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: 9 But thou shaltsurely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwardsthe hand of all the people. 10 And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die;because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the Lord thy God, which broughtthee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. 11 And all Israel shallhear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is among you.Further provision is made by this branch of the statute against receiving the infection of idolatryfrom those that are near and dear to us.I. It is the policy of the tempter to send his solicitations by the hand of those whom we love,whom we least suspect of any ill design upon us, and whom we are desirous to please and apt to1135Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)conform ourselves to. The enticement here is supposed to come from a brother or child that arenear by nature, from a wife or friend that are near by choice, and are to us as our own souls, v. 6.Satan tempted Adam by Eve and Christ by Peter. We are therefore concerned to stand upon ourguard against a bad proposal when the person that makes it can pretend to an interest in us, that wemany never sin against God in compliment to the best friend we have in the world. The temptationis supposed to be private: he will entice thee secretly, implying that idolatry is a work of darkness,which dreads the light and covets to be concealed, and in which the sinner promises himself, andthe tempter promises him, secrecy and security. Concerning the false gods proposed to be served,1. The tempter suggests that the worshipping of these gods was the common practice of the world;and, if they limited their adorations to an invisible Deity, they were singular, and like nobody, forthese gods were the gods of the people round about them, and indeed of all the nations of the earth,v. 7. This suggestion draws many away from religion and godliness, that it is an unfashionablething; and they make their court to the world and the flesh because these are the gods of the peoplethat are round about them. 2. Moses suggests, in opposition to this, that it had not been the practiceof their ancestors; they are gods which thou hast not known, thou nor thy fathers. Those that areborn of godly parents, and have been educated in pious exercises, when they are enticed to a vain,loose, careless way of living should remember that those are ways which they have not known, theynor their fathers. And will they thus degenerate?II. It is our duty to prefer God and religion before the best friends we have in the world. 1. Wemust not, in complaisance to our friends, break God's law (v. 8): "Thou shalt not consent to him.nor go with him to his idolatrous worship, no, not for company, or curiosity, or to gain a betterinterest in is affections." It is a general rule, If sinners entice thee, consent thou not, Prov. i. 10. 2.We must not, in compassion to our friends, obstruct the course of God's justice. He that attemptssuch a thing must not only be looked upon as an enemy, or dangerous person, whom one shouldbe afraid of, and swear the peace against, but as a criminal or traitor, whom, in zeal for our sovereignLord, his crown and dignity, we are bound to inform against, and cannot conceal without incurringthe guilt of a great misprision (v. 9): Thou shalt surely kill him. By this law the persons enticedwere bound to the seducer, and to give evidence against him before the proper judges, that he mightsuffer the penalty of the law, and that without delay, which the Jews say is here intended in thatphrase, as it is in the Hebrew, killing thou shalt kill him. Neither the prosecution nor the executionmust be deferred; and he that was first in the former must be first in the latter, to show that he stoodto his testimony: "Thy hand shall be first upon him, to mark him out as an anathema, and then thehands of all the people, to put him away as an accursed thing." The death he must die was thatwhich was looked upon among the Jews as the severest of all deaths. He must be stoned: and hisaccusation written is that he has sought to thrust thee away, by a kind of violence, from the Lordthey God, v. 10. Those are certainly our worst enemies that would thrust us from God, our bestfriend; and whatever draws us to sin, separates between us and God, is a design upon our life, andto be resented accordingly, And, lastly, here is the good effect of this necessary execution (v. 11):All Israel shall hear and fear. They ought to hear and fear; for the punishment of crimes committedis designed in terrorem—to terrify, and so to prevent their repetition. And it is to be hoped theywill hear and fear, and by the severity of the punishment, especially when it is at the prosecutionof a father, a brother, or a friend, will be made to conceive a horror of the sin, as exceedingly sinful,and to be afraid of incurring the like punishment themselves. Smite the scorner that sinspresumptuously, and the simple, that is in danger of sinning carelessly, will beware.1136Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)12 If thou shalt hear say in one of thy cities, which the Lord thy God hath giventhee to dwell there, saying, 13 Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone outfrom among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let usgo and serve other gods, which ye have not known; 14 Then shalt thou enquire,and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain,that such abomination is wrought among you; 15 Thou shalt surely smite theinhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all thatis therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword. 16 And thou shaltgather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof, and shalt burn with firethe city, and all the spoil thereof every whit, for the Lord thy God: and it shall be aheap for ever; it shall not be built again. 17 And there shall cleave nought of thecursed thing to thine hand: that the Lord may turn from the fierceness of his anger,and show thee mercy, and have compassion upon thee, and multiply thee, as he hathsworn unto thy fathers; 18 When thou shalt hearken to the voice of the Lord thyGod, to keep all his commandments which I command thee this day, to do that whichis right in the eyes of the Lord thy God.Here the case is put of a city revolting from its allegiance to the God of Israel, and servingother gods.I. The crime is supposed to be committed, 1. By one of the cities of Israel, that lay within thejurisdiction of their courts. The church then judged those only that were within, 1 Cor. v. 12, 13.And, even when they were ordered to preserve their religion in the first principles of it by fire andsword to propagate it. Those that are born within the allegiance of a prince, if they take up armsagainst him, are dealt with as traitors, but foreign invaders are not so. The city that is here supposedto have become idolatrous is one that formerly worshipped the true God, but had now withdrawnto other gods, which intimates how great the crime is, and how sore the punishment will be, ofthose that, after they have known the way of righteousness, turn aside from it, 2 Pet. ii. 21. 2. It issupposed to be committed by the generality of the inhabitants of the city, for we may conclude that,if a considerable number did retain their integrity, those only that were guilty were to be destroyed,and the city was to be spared for the sake of the righteous in it; for will not the Judge of all theearth do right? No doubt he will. 3. They are supposed to be drawn to idolatry by certain men, thechildren of Belial, men that would endure no yoke (so it signifies), that neither fear God nor regardman, but shake off all restraints of law and conscience, and are perfectly lost to all manner of virtue;these are those that say, "Let us serve other gods," that will not only allow, but will countenanceand encourage, our immoralities. Belial is put for the devil (2 Cor. vi. 15), and the children of Belialare his children. These withdraw the inhabitants of the city; for a little of this old leaven, when itis entertained, soon leavens the whole lump.II. The cause is ordered to be tried with a great deal of care (v. 14): Thou shalt enquire andmake search. They must not proceed upon common fame, or take the information by hearsay, butmust examine the proofs, and not give judgment against them unless the evidence was clear andthe charge fully made out. God himself, before he destroyed Sodom, is said to have come down tosee whether its crimes were according to the clamour, Gen. xviii. 21. In judicial processes it is1137Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)requisite that time, and care, and pains, be taken to find out the truth, and that search be madewithout any passion, prejudice, or partiality. The Jewish writers say that, though particular personswho were idolaters might be judged by the inferior courts, the defection of a city was to be triedby the great Sanhedrim; and, if it appeared that they were thrust away to idolatry, two learned menwere sent to them to admonish and reclaim them. If they repented, all would be well; if not, thenall Israel must go up to war against them, to testify their indignation against idolatry and to stopthe spreading of the contagion.III. If the crime were proved, and the criminals were incorrigible, the city was to be whollydestroyed. If there were a few righteous men in it, no doubt they would remove themselves andtheir families out of such a dangerous place, and then all the inhabitants, men, women, and children,must be put to the sword (v. 15), all the spoil of the city, both shop-goods and the furniture ofhouses, must be brought into the marketplace and burned, and the city itself must be laid in ashesand never built again, v. 16. The soldiers are forbidden, upon pain of death, to convert any of theplunder to their own use, v. 17. It was a devoted thing, and dangerous to meddle with, as we findin the case of Achan. Now, 1. God enjoins this severity of show what a jealous God he is in thematters of his worship, and how great a crime it is to serve other gods. Let men know that God willnot give his glory to another, nor his praise to graven images. 2. He expects that magistrates, havingtheir honour and power from him, should be concerned for his honour, and use their power forterror to evil doers, else they bear the sword in vain. 3. The faithful worshippers of the true Godmust take all occasions to show their just indignation against idolatry, much more against atheism,infidelity, and irreligion. 4. It is here intimated that the best expedient for the turning away of God'sanger from a land is to execute justice upon the wicked of the land (v. 17), that the Lord may turnfrom the fierceness of his anger, which was ready to break out against the whole nation, for thewickedness of that one apostate city. It is promised that, if they would thus root wickedness out oftheir land, God would multiply them. They might think it impolitic, and against the interest of theirnation, to ruin a whole city for a crime relating purely to religion, and that they should be moresparing of the blood of Israelites: "Fear not the" (says Moses), "God will multiply you the more;the body of your nation will lose nothing by the letting out of this corrupt blood." Lastly, Thoughwe do not find this law put in execution in all the history of the Jewish church (Gibeah was destroyed,not for idolatry, but immorality), yet for the neglect of the execution of it upon the inferior citiesthat served idols God himself, by the army of the Chaldeans, put it in execution upon Jerusalem,the head city, which, for is apostasy from God, was utterly destroyed and laid waste, and lay inruins seventy years. Though idolaters may escape punishment from men (nor is this law in the letterof it binding now, under the gospel), yet the Lord our God will not suffer them to escape his righteousjudgements. The New Testament speaks of communion with idolaters as a sin which, above anyother, provokes the Lord to jealousy, and dares him as if we were stronger than he, 1 Cor. x. 21,22.D E U T E R O N O M Y1138Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)CHAP. XIV.Moses in this chapter teaches them, I. To distinguish themselves from their neighbours by asingularity, 1. In their mourning, ver. 1, 2. 2. In their meat, ver. 3-21. II. To devote themselves untoGod, and, in token of that, to give him his dues out of their estates, the yearly tithe, and that everythird year, for the maintenance of their religious feasts, the Levites, and the poor, ver. 22, &c.What Might Be Eaten, and What Not. (b. c. 1451.)1 Ye are the children of the Lord your God: ye shall not cut yourselves, nor makeany baldness between your eyes for the dead. 2 For thou art a holy people unto theLord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself,above all the nations that are upon the earth. 3 Thou shalt not eat any abominablething. 4 These are the beasts which ye shall eat: the ox, the sheep, and the goat,5 The hart, and the roebuck, and the fallow deer, and the wild goat, and the pygarg,and the wild ox, and the chamois. 6 And every beast that parteth the hoof, andcleaveth the cleft into two claws, and cheweth the cud among the beasts, that yeshall eat. 7 Nevertheless these ye shall not eat of them that chew the cud, or ofthem that divide the cloven hoof; as the camel, and the hare, and the coney: for theychew the cud, but divide not the hoof; therefore they are unclean unto you. 8 Andthe swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean untoyou: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcase. 9 These ye shalleat of all that are in the waters: all that have fins and scales shall ye eat: 10 Andwhatsoever hath not fins and scales ye may not eat; it is unclean unto you. 11 Ofall clean birds ye shall eat. 12 But these are they of which ye shall not eat: theeagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray, 13 And the glede, and the kite, and thevulture after his kind, 14 And every raven after his kind, 15 And the owl, and thenight hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind, 16 The little owl, andthe great owl, and the swan, 17 And the pelican, and the gier eagle, and thecormorant, 18 And the stork, and the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, andthe bat. 19 And every creeping thing that flieth is unclean unto you: they shall notbe eaten. 20 But of all clean fowls ye may eat. 21 Ye shall not eat of any thingthat dieth of itself: thou shalt give it unto the stranger that is in thy gates, that hemay eat it; or thou mayest sell it unto an alien: for thou art a holy people unto theLord thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk.Moses here tells the people of Israel,I. How God had dignified them, as a peculiar people, with three distinguishing privileges,which were their honour, and figures of those spiritual blessings in heavenly things with whichGod has in Christ blessed us. 1. Here is election: The Lord hath chosen thee, v. 2. Not for their ownmerit, nor for any good works foreseen, but because he would magnify the riches of his power and1139Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)grace among them. He did not choose them because they were by their own dedication and subjectiona peculiar people to him above other nations, but he chose them that they might be so by his grace;and thus were believers chosen, Eph. i. 4. 2. Here is adoption (v. 1): "You are the children of theLord your God, formed by him into a people, owned by him as his people, nay, his family, a peoplenear unto him, nearer than any other." Israel is my son, my first-born; not because he neededchildren, but because they were orphans, and needed a father. Every Israelite is indeed a child ofGod, a partaker of his nature and favour, his love and blessing Behold what manner of love theFather has bestowed upon us! 3. Here is sanctification (v. 2): "Thou art a holy people, separatedand set apart for God, devoted to his service, designed for his praise, governed by a holy law, gracedby a holy tabernacle, and the holy ordinances relating to it." God's people are under the strongestobligations to be holy, and, if they are holy, are indebted to the grace of God that makes them so.The Lord has set them apart for himself, and qualified them for his service and the enjoyment ofhim, and so has made them holy to himself.II. How they ought to distinguish themselves by a sober singularity from all the nations thatwere about them. And, God having thus advanced them, let not them debase themselves by admittingthe superstitious customs of idolaters, and, by making themselves like them, put themselves uponthe level with them. Be you the children of the Lord your God; so the Seventy read it, as a command,that is, "Carry yourselves as becomes the children of God, and do nothing to disgrace the honourand forfeit the privileges of the relation." In two things particularly they must distinguishthemselves:—1. In their mourning: You shall not cut yourselves, v. 1. This forbids (as some think), not onlytheir cutting themselves at their funerals, either to express their grief or with their own blood toappease the infernal deities, but their wounding and mangling themselves in the worship of theirgods, as Baal's prophets did (1 Kings xviii. 28), or their marking themselves by incisions in theirflesh for such and such deities, which in them, above any, would be an inexcusable crime, who inthe sign of circumcision bore about with them in their bodies the marks of the Lord Jehovah. Sothat, (1.) They are forbidden to deform or hurt their own bodies upon any account. Methinks thisis like a parent's change to his little children, that are foolish, careless, and wilful, and are apt toplay with knives: Children, you shall not cut yourselves. This is the intention of those commandswhich oblige us to deny ourselves; the true meaning of them, if we understood them aright, wouldappear to be, Do yourselves no harm. And this also is the design of those providences which mostcross us, to remove from us those things by which we are in danger of doing ourselves harm. Knivesare taken from us, lest we should cut ourselves. Those that are dedicated to God as a holy peoplemust do nothing to disfigure themselves; the body is for the Lord, and is to be used accordingly.(2.) They are forbidden to disturb and afflict their own minds with inordinate grief for the loss ofnear and dear relations: "You shall not express or exasperate you sorrow, even upon the mostmournful occasions, by cutting yourselves, and making baldness between your eyes, like menenraged, or resolvedly hardened in sorrow for the dead, as those that have no hope," 1 Thess. iv.13. It is an excellent passage which Mr. Ainsworth here quotes from one of the Jewish writers, whounderstands this as a law against immoderate grief for the death of our relations. If your father (forinstance) die, you shall not cut yourselves, that is, you shall not sorrow more than is meet, for youare not fatherless, you have a Father, who is great, living, and permanent, even the holy blessedGod, whose children you are, v. 1. But an infidel (says he), when his father dies, hath no fatherthat can help him in time of need; for he hath said to a stock, Thou art my father, and to a stone,1140Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)Thou hast brought me forth (Jer. ii. 27); therefore he weeps, cuts himself, and makes himself bald.We that have a God to hope in, and a heaven to hope for, must bear up ourselves with that hopeunder every burden of this kind.2. They must be singular in their meat. Observe,(1.) Many sorts of flesh which were wholesome enough, and which other people did commonlyeat, they must religiously abstain from as unclean. This law we had before Lev. xi. 2, where it waslargely opened. It seems plainly, by the connection here, to be intended as a mark of peculiarity;for their observance of it would cause them to be taken notice of in all mixed companies as a separatepeople, and would preserve them from mingling themselves with, and conforming themselves to,their idolatrous neighbours. [1.] Concerning beasts, here is a more particular enumeration of thosewhich they were allowed to eat then was in Leviticus, to show that they had no reason to complainof their being restrained from eating swines' flesh, and hares, and rabbits (which were all that werethen forbidden, but are now commonly used), when they were allowed so great a variety, not onlyof that which we call butcher's meat (v. 4), which alone was offered in sacrifice, but of venison,which they had great plenty of in Canaan, the hart, and the roe-buck, and the fallow deer (v. 5),which, though never brought to God's altar, was allowed them at their own table. See ch. xii. 22.When of all these (as Adam of every tree of the garden) they might freely eat, those were inexcusablewho, to gratify a perverse appetite, or (as should seem) in honour of their idols, and in participationof their idolatrous sacrifices, ate swines' flesh, and had broth of abominable things (made so bythis law) in their vessels, Isa. lxv. 4. [2.] Concerning fish there is only one general rule given, thatwhatsoever had not fins and scales (as shell-fish and eels, besides leeches and other animals in thewater that are not proper food) was unclean and forbidden, v. 9, 10. [3.] No general rule is givenconcerning fowl, but those are particularly mentioned that were to be unclean to them, and thereare few or none of them which are here forbidden that are now commonly eaten; and whatsoeveris not expressly forbidden is allowed, v. 11-20. Of all clean fowls you may eat. [4.] They are furtherforbidden, First, To eat the flesh of any creature that died of itself, because the blood was notseparated from it, and, besides the ceremonial uncleanness which it lay under (from Lev. xi. 39),it is not wholesome food, nor ordinarily used among us, except by the poor. Secondly, To seethe akid in its mother's milk, either to gratify their own luxury, supposing it a dainty bit, or in conformityto some superstitious custom of the heathen. The Chaldee paraphrasts read it, Thou shalt not eatflesh—meats and milk—meats together; and so it would forbid the use of butter as sauce to anyflesh.(2.) Now as to all these precepts concerning their food, [1.] It is plain in the law itself that theybelonged only to the Jews, and were not moral, nor of perpetual use, because not of universalobligation; for what they might not eat themselves they might give to a stranger, a proselyte of thegate, that had renounced idolatry, and therefore was permitted to live among them, though notcircumcised; or they might sell it to an alien, a mere Gentile, that came into their country for trade,but might not settle it, v. 21. They might feed upon that which an Israelite might not touch, whichis a plain instance of their peculiarity, and their being a holy people. [2.] It is plain in the gospelthat they are now antiquated and repealed. For every creature of God is good, and nothing now tobe refused, or called common and unclean, 1 Tim. iv. 4.Tithes for Feasting and Charity. (b. c. 1451.)1141Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)22 Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forthyear by year. 23 And thou shalt eat before the Lord thy God, in the place which heshall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thineoil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fearthe Lord thy God always. 24 And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou artnot able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the Lord thy God shallchoose to set his name there, when the Lord thy God hath blessed thee: 25 Thenshalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go untothe place which the Lord thy God shall choose: 26 And thou shalt bestow thatmoney for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, orfor strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there beforethe Lord thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household, 27 And theLevite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part norinheritance with thee. 28 At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all thetithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates: 29 Andthe Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, andthe fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eatand be satisfied; that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine handwhich thou doest.We have here a part of the statute concerning tithes. The productions of the ground were twicetithed, so that, putting both together, a fifth part was devoted to God out of their increase, and onlyfour parts of five were for their own common use; and they could not but own they paid an easyrent, especially since God's part was disposed of to their own benefit and advantage. The first tithewas for the maintenance of their Levites, who taught them the good knowledge of God, andministered to them in holy things; this is supposed as anciently due, and is entailed upon the Levitesas an inheritance, by that law, Num. xviii. 24, &c. But it is the second tithe that is here spoken of,which was to be taken out of the remainder when the Levites had had theirs.I. They are here charged to separate it, and set it apart for God: Thou shalt truly tithe all theincrease of they seed, v. 22. The Levites took care of their own, but the separating of this was leftto the owners themselves, the law encouraging them to be honest by reposing a confidence in them,and so trying their fear of God. They are commanded to tithe truly, that is, to be sure to do it, andto do it faithfully and carefully, that God's part might not be diminished either with design or byoversight. Note, We must be sure to give God his full dues out of our estates; for, being but stewardsof them, it is required that we be faithful, as those that must give account.II. They are here directed how to dispose of it when they had separated it. Let every man layby as God prospers him and gives him success, and then let him lay out in pious uses as God giveshim opportunity; and it will be the easier to lay out, and the proportion will be more satisfying,when first we have laid by. This second tithe may be disposed of,1. In works of piety, for the first two years after the year of release. They must bring it up,either in kind or in the full value of it, to the place of the sanctuary, and there must spend it in holy1142Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)feasting before the Lord. If they could do it with any convenience, they must bring it in kind (v.23); but, if not, they might turn it into money (v. 24, 25), and that money must be laid out insomething to feast upon before the Lord. The comfortable cheerful using of what God has givenus, with temperance and sobriety, is really the honouring of God with it. Contentment, holy joy,and thankfulness, make every meal a religious feast. The end of this law we have (v. 23): That thoumayest learn to fear the Lord thy God always; it was to keep them right and firm to their religion,(1.) By acquainting them with the sanctuary, the holy things, and the solemn services that werethere performed. What they read the appointment of their Bibles, it would do them good to see theobservance of in the tabernacle; it would make a deeper impression upon them, which would keepthem out of the snares of the idolatrous customs. Note, It will have a good influence upon ourconstancy in religion never to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, Heb. x. 25. By thecomfort of the communion of saints, we may be kept to our communion with God. (2.) By usingthem to the most pleasant and delightful services of religion. Let them rejoice before the Lord, thatthey may learn to fear him always. The more pleasure we find in the ways of religion the morelikely we shall be to persevere in those ways. One thing they must remember in their piousentertainments—to bid their Levites welcome to them. Thou shalt not forsake the Levites (v. 27):"Let him never be a stranger to thy table, especially when thou eatest before the Lord."2. Every third year this tithe must be disposed of at home in works of charity (v. 28, 29): Layit up within they own gates, and let it be given to the poor, who, knowing the provision this lawhad made for them, no doubt would come to seek it; and, that they might make the poor familiarto them and not disdain their company, they are here directed to welcome them to their houses."Thither let them come, and eat and be satisfied." In this charitable distribution of the second tithethey must have an eye to the poor ministers and add to their encouragement by entertaining them,then to poor strangers (not only for the supply of their necessities, but to put a respect upon them,and so to invite them to turn proselytes), and then to the fatherless and widow, who, though perhapsthey might have a competent maintenance left them, yet could not be supposed to live so plentifullyand comfortably as they had done in months past, and therefore they were to countenance them,and help to make them easy by inviting them to this entertainment. God has a particular care forwidows and fatherless, and he requires that we should have the same. It is his honour, and will beours, to help the helpless. And if we thus serve God, and do good with what we have, it is promisedhere that the Lord our God will bless us in all the work of our hand. Note, (1.) The blessing of Godis all in all to our outward prosperity, and, without that blessing, the work of our hands which wedo will bring nothing to pass. (2.) The way to obtain that blessing is to be diligent and charitable.The blessing descends upon the working hand: "Except not that God should bless thee in thy idlenessand love of ease, but in all the work of they hand." It is the hand of the diligent, with the blessingof God upon it, that makes rich, Prov. x. 4, 22. And it descends upon the giving hand; he that thusscatters certainly increases, and the liberal soul will be made fat. It is an undoubted truth, thoughlittle believed, that to be charitable to the poor, and to be free and generous in the support of religionand any good work, is the surest and safest way of thriving. What is lent to the Lord will be repaidwith abundant interest. See Ezek. xliv. 30.1143Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)D E U T E R O N O M YCHAP. XV.In this chapter Moses gives orders, I. Concerning the release of debts, every seventh year (ver.1-6), with a caution that this should be no hindrance to charitable lending, ver. 7-11. II. Concerningthe release of servants after seven years' service, ver. 12-18. III. Concerning the sanctification ofthe firstlings of cattle to God, ver. 19, &c.The Year of Release. (b. c. 1451.)1 At the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release. 2 And this is themanner of the release: Every creditor that lendeth ought unto his neighbour shallrelease it; he shall not exact it of his neighbour, or of his brother; because it is calledthe Lord's release. 3 Of a foreigner thou mayest exact it again: but that which isthine with thy brother thine hand shall release; 4 Save when there shall be no pooramong you; for the Lord shall greatly bless thee in the land which the Lord thy Godgiveth thee for an inheritance to possess it: 5 Only if thou carefully hearken untothe voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all these commandments which Icommand thee this day. 6 For the Lord thy God blesseth thee, as he promised thee:and thou shalt lend unto many nations, but thou shalt not borrow; and thou shaltreign over many nations, but they shall not reign over thee. 7 If there be amongyou a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which theLord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand fromthy poor brother: 8 But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surelylend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth. 9 Beware that there benot a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, isat hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought;and he cry unto the Lord against thee, and it be sin unto thee. 10 Thou shalt surelygive him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: becausethat for this thing the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all thatthou puttest thine hand unto. 11 For the poor shall never cease out of the land:therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother,to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.Here is, I. A law for the relief of poor debtors, such (we may suppose) as were insolvent. Everyseventh year was a year of release, in which the ground rested from being tilled and servants weredischarged from their services; and, among other acts of grace, this was one, that those who hadborrowed money, and had not been able to pay it before, should this year be released from it; andthough, if they were able, they were afterwards bound in conscience to repay it, yet thenceforth thecreditor should never recover it by law. Many good expositors think it only forbids the exacting of1144Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)the debt in the year of release, because, no harvest being gathered in that year, it could not beexpected that men should pay their debts then, but that afterwards it might be sued for and recovered:so that the release did not extinguish the debt, but only stayed the process for a time. But othersthink it was a release of the debt for ever, and this seems more probable, yet under certain limitationsexpressed or implied. It is supposed (v. 3) that the debtor was an Israelite (an alien could not takethe benefit of this law) and that he was poor (v. 4), that he did not borrow for trade or purchase,but for the subsistence of his family, and that now he could not pay it without reducing himself topoverty and coming under a necessity of seeking relief in other countries, which might be histemptation to revolt from God. The law is not that the creditor shall not receive the debt if thedebtor, or his friends for him, can pay it; but he shall not exact it by a legal process. The reasonsof this law are, 1. To put an honour upon the sabbatical year: Because it is called the Lord's release,v. 2. That was Gods year for their land, as the weekly sabbath was God's day for themselves, theirservants, and cattle; and, as by the resting of their ground, so by the release of their debts, Godwould teach them to depend upon his providence. This year of release typified the grace of thegospel, in which is proclaimed the acceptable year of the Lord, and by which we obtain the releaseof our debts, that is, the pardon of our sins, and we are taught to forgive injuries, as we are andhope to be forgiven of God. 2. It was to prevent the falling of any Israelite into extreme poverty:so the margin reads (v. 4), To the end there shall be no poor among you, none miserably andscandalously poor, to the reproach of their nation and religion, the reputation of which they oughtto preserve. 3. God's security is here given by a divine promise that, whatever they lost by theirpoor debtors, it should be made up to them in the blessing of God upon all they had and did, v. 4-6.Let them take care to do their duty, and then God would bless them with such great increase thatwhat they might lose by bad debts, if they generously remitted them, should not be missed out oftheir stock at the year's end. Not only, the Lord shall bless thee (v. 4), but he doth bless thee, v. 6.It is altogether inexcusable if, though God had given us abundance, so that we have not only enoughbut to spare, yet we are rigorous and server in our demands from our poor brethren; for our abundanceshould be the supply of their wants, that at least there may not be such an inequality as is betweentwo extremes, 2 Cor. viii. 14. They must also consider that their land was God's gift to them, thatall their increase was the fruit of God's blessing upon them, and therefore they were bound in dutyto him to use and dispose of their estates as he should order and direct them. And, lastly, If theywould remit what little sums they had lent to their poor brethren, it is promised that they should beable to lend great sums to their rich neighbours, even to many nations (v. 6), and should be enrichedby those loans. Thus the nations should become subject to them, and dependent on them, as theborrower is servant to the lender, Prov. xxii. 7. To be able to lend, and not to have need to borrow,we must look upon as a great mercy, and a good reason why we should do good with what we have,lest we provoke God to turn the scales.II. Here is a law in favour of poor borrowers, that they might not suffer damage by the formerlaw. Men would be apt to argue, If the case of a man be so with his debtor that if the debt be notpaid before the year of release it shall be lost, it were better not to lend. "No," says this branch ofthe statute, "thou shalt not think such a thought." 1. It is taken for granted that there would be pooramong them, who would have occasion to borrow (v. 7), and that there would never cease to besome such objects of charity (v. 7), and that there would never cease to be some such objects ofcharity (v. 11): The poor shall never cease out of thy land, though not such as were reduced toextreme poverty, yet such as would be behind-hand, and would have occasion to borrow; of such1145Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)poor he here speaks, and such we have always with us, so that a charitable disposition may soonfind a charitable occasion. 2. In such a case we are here commanded to lend or give, according toour ability and the necessity of the case: Thou shalt not harden thy heart, nor shut thy hand, v. 7.If the hand be shut, it is a sign the heart is hardened; for, if the clouds were full of rain, they wouldempty themselves, Eccl. xi. 3. Bowels of compassion would produce liberal distributions, Jam. ii.15, 16. Thou shalt not only stretch out thy hand to him to reach him something, but thou shalt openthy hand wide unto him, to lend him sufficient, v. 8. Sometimes there is as much charity in prudentlending as in giving, as it obliges the borrower to industry and honesty and may put him into a wayof helping himself. We are sometimes tempted to think, when an object of charity presents itself,we may choose whether we will give any thing or nothing, little or much; whereas it is here anexpress precept (v. 11), I command thee, not only to give, but to open thy hand wide, to give liberally.3. Here is a caveat against that objection which might arise against charitable lending from theforegoing law for the release of debts (v. 9): Beware that there be not a thought, a covetousill-natured thought, in thy Belial heart, "The year of release is at hand, and therefore I will not lendwhat I must then be sure to lose;" lest thy poor brother, whom thou refusest to lend to, complainto God, and it will be a sin, a great sin, to thee. Note, (1.) The law is spiritual and lays a restraintupon the thoughts of the heart. We mistake if we think thoughts are free from the divine cognizanceand check. (2.) That is a wicked heart indeed that raises evil thoughts from the good law of God,as theirs did who, because God had obliged them to the charity of forgiving, denied the charity ofgiving. (3.) We must carefully watch against all those secret suggestions which would divert usfrom our duty or discourage us in it. Those that would keep from the act of sin must keep out oftheir minds the very thought of sin. (4.) When we have an occasion of charitable lending, if wecannot trust the borrower, we must trust God, and lend, hoping for nothing again in this world, butexpecting it will be recompensed in the resurrection of the just, Luke vi. 35; xiv. 14. (5.) It is adreadful thing to have the cry of the poor against us, for God has his ear open to that cry, and, incompassion to them, will be sue to reckon with those that deal hardly with them. (6.) That whichwe think is our prudence often proves sin to us; he that refused to lend because the year of releasewas at hand thought he did wisely, and that men would praise him as doing well for himself, Ps.xlix. 18. But he is here told that he did wickedly, and that God would condemn him as doing ill tohis brother; and we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth, and that what he saysis sin to us will certainly be ruin to us if it be not repented of.III. Here is a command to give cheerfully whatever we give in charity: "Thy heart shall not begrieved when thou givest, v. 10. Be not loth to part with thy money on so good an account, northink it lost; grudge not a kindness to they brother; and distrust not the providence of God, as ifthou shouldest want that thyself which thou givest in charity; but, on the contrary, let it be a pleasureand a satisfaction of soul to thee to think that thou art honouring God with thy substance, doinggood, making thy brother easy, and laying up for thyself a good security for the time to come. Whatthou doest do freely, for God loves a cheerful giver," 2 Cor. ix. 7.IV. Here is a promise of a recompence in this life: "For this thing the Lord thy God shall blessthee." Covetous people say "Giving undoes us;" no, giving cheerfully in charity will enrich us, itwill fill the barns with plenty (Prov. iii. 10) and the soul with true comfort, Isa. lviii. 10, 11.12 And if thy brother, a Hebrew man, or a Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee,and serve thee six years; then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from1146Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)thee. 13 And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let him goaway empty: 14 Thou shalt furnish him liberally out of thy flock, and out of thyfloor, and out of thy winepress: of that wherewith the Lord thy God hath blessedthee thou shalt give unto him. 15 And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondmanin the land of Egypt, and the Lord thy God redeemed thee: therefore I commandthee this thing to day. 16 And it shall be, if he say unto thee, I will not go awayfrom thee; because he loveth thee and thine house, because he is well with thee;17 Then thou shalt take an awl, and thrust it through his ear unto the door, and heshall be thy servant for ever. And also unto thy maidservant thou shalt do likewise.18 It shall not seem hard unto thee, when thou sendest him away free from thee;for he hath been worth a double hired servant to thee, in serving thee six years: andthe Lord thy God shall bless thee in all that thou doest.Here is, I. A repetition of the law that had been given concerning Hebrew servants who hadsold themselves for servants, or were sold by their parents through extreme poverty, or were soldby the court of judgment for some crime committed. The law was, 1. That they should serve butsix years, and in the seventh should go out free, v. 12. Compare Exod. xxi. 2. And, if the year ofjubilee happened before they served out their time, that would be their discharge. God's Israel werea free people, and must not be compelled to perpetual slavery; thus are God's spiritual Israel calledunto liberty. 2. That if, when their six years' service had expired, they had no mind to go out free,but would rather continue in service, as having less care, though taking more pains, than theirmasters, in this case they must lay themselves under an obligation to serve for ever, that is, for life,by having their ears bored to the door-posts, v. 16, 17. Compare Exod. xxi. 6. If hereby a mandisgraced himself with some, as of a mean and servile spirit, that had not a due sense of the honourand pleasure of liberty, yet, we may suppose, with others he got reputation, as of a quiet contentedspirit, humble, and diligent, and loving, and not given to change.II. Here is an addition to this law, requiring them to put some small stock into their servants'hands to set up with for themselves, when they sent them out of their service, v. 13, 14. It was tobe supposed that they had nothing of their own, and that their friends had little or nothing for them,else they else they would have been redeemed before they were discharged by law; they had nowages for their service, and all they got by their labour was their masters', so that their liberty woulddo them little good, having nothing to begin the world with; therefore their masters are herecommanded to furnish them liberally with corn and cattle. No certain measure is prescribed: thatis left to the generosity of the master, who probably would have respect to the servant's merit andnecessity; but the Jewish writers say, "He could not give less than the value of thirty shekels ofsilver, but as much more as he pleased" The maid-servants, though they were not to have their earsbored if they were disposed to stay, yet, if they went out free, they were to have a gratuity giventhem; for to this those words refer, Unto thy maid-servant thou shalt do likewise, v. 17. The reasonsfor this are taken from the law of gratitude. They must do it, 1. In gratitude to God, who had notonly brought them out of Egypt (v. 15), but brought them out greatly enriched with the spoils ofthe Egyptians. Let them not send their servants out empty, for they were not sent empty out of thehouse of bondage. God's tender care of us and kindness to us oblige us to be careful of, and kindto, those that have a dependence upon us. Thus we must render according to the benefit done unto1147Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)us. 2. In gratitude to their servants, v. 18. "Grudge not to give him a little out of thy abundance, forhe has been worth a double hired servant unto thee. The days of the hireling at most were but threeyears (Isa. xvi. 14), but he has served thee six years, and, unlike the hired servant, without anywages." Masters and landlords ought to consider what need they have of, and what ease andadvantage they have by, their servants and tenants, and should not only be just but kind to them.To these reasons it is added, as before in this chapter (v. 4, 6, 10), The Lord they God shall blessthee. Then we may expect family blessings, the springs of family-prosperity, when we makeconscience of our duty to our family-relations.19 All the firstling males that come of thy herd and of thy flock thou shalt sanctifyunto the Lord thy God: thou shalt do no work with the firstling of thy bullock, norshear the firstling of thy sheep. 20 Thou shalt eat it before the Lord thy God yearby year in the place which the Lord shall choose, thou and thy household. 21 Andif there be any blemish therein, as if it be lame, or blind, or have any ill blemish,thou shalt not sacrifice it unto the Lord thy God. 22 Thou shalt eat it within thygates: the unclean and the clean person shall eat it alike, as the roebuck, and as thehart. 23 Only thou shalt not eat the blood thereof; thou shalt pour it upon the groundas water.Here is, 1. A repetition of the law concerning the firstlings of their cattle, that, if they weremales, they were to be sanctified to the Lord (v. 19), in remembrance of, and in thankfulness for,the sparing of the first-born of Israel, when the first-born of the Egyptians, both of man and beast,were slain by the destroying angel (Exod. xiii. 2, 15); on the eighth day it was to be given to God( Exod. xxii. 30), and to be divided between the priest and the altar, Num. xviii. 17, 18. 2. Anaddition to that law, for the further explication of it, directing them what to do with the firstlings,(1.) That were females: "Thou shalt do no work with the female firstlings of the cow, nor shearthose of the sheep" (v. 19); of them the learned bishop Patrick understands it. Though the femalefirstlings were not so entirely sanctified to God as the males, nor so early as at eight days old, yetthey were not to be converted by the owners to their own use as the other cattle, but must be offeredto God as peace-offerings, or used in a religious feast, at the year's end, v. 20. Thou shalt eat itbefore the Lord thy God, as directed ch. xii. 18. (2.) But what must they do with that which wasblemished, ill-blemished? v. 21. Were it male or female, it must not be brought near the sanctuary,nor used either for sacrifice or for holy feasting, for it would not be fit to honour God with, nor totypify Christ, who is a Lamb without blemish; yet it must not be reared, but killed and eaten at theirown houses as common food (v. 22), only they must be sure not to eat it with the blood, v. 23. Thefrequent repetition of this caution intimates what need the people had of it, and what stress Godlaid upon it. What a mercy it is that we are not under this yoke! We are not dieted as they were; wemake no difference between a first calf, or lamb, and the rest that follow. Let us therefore realizethe gospel meaning of this law, devoting ourselves and the first of our time and strength to God,as a kind of first-fruits of his creatures, and using all our comforts and enjoyments to his praise andunder the direction of his law, as we have them all by his gift.1148Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)D E U T E R O N O M YCHAP. XVI.In this chapter we have, I. A repetition of the laws concerning the three yearly feasts; inparticular, that of the passover, ver. 1-8. That of pentecost, ver. 9-12. That of tabernacles, ver.13-15. And the general law concerning the people's attendance on them, ver. 16, 17. II. The institutionof an inferior magistracy, and general rules of justice given to those that were called into office,ver. 18-20. III. A caveat against groves and images, ver. 21, 22.Yearly Release. (b. c. 1451.)1 Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto the Lord thy God: forin the month of Abib the Lord thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.2 Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the passover unto the Lord thy God, of the flock andthe herd, in the place which the Lord shall choose to place his name there. 3 Thoushalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened breadtherewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egyptin haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the landof Egypt all the days of thy life. 4 And there shall be no leavened bread seen withthee in all thy coast seven days; neither shall there any thing of the flesh, which thousacrificedst the first day at even, remain all night until the morning. 5 Thou mayestnot sacrifice the passover within any of thy gates, which the Lord thy God giveththee: 6 But at the place which the Lord thy God shall choose to place his name in,there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at theseason that thou camest forth out of Egypt. 7 And thou shalt roast and eat it in theplace which the Lord thy God shall choose: and thou shalt turn in the morning, andgo unto thy tents. 8 Six days thou shalt eat unleavened bread: and on the seventhday shall be a solemn assembly to the Lord thy God: thou shalt do no work therein.9 Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks fromsuch time as thou beginnest to put the sickle to the corn. 10 And thou shalt keepthe feast of weeks unto the Lord thy God with a tribute of a freewill offering of thinehand, which thou shalt give unto the Lord thy God, according as the Lord thy Godhath blessed thee: 11 And thou shalt rejoice before the Lord thy God, thou, andthy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levitethat is within thy gates, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that areamong you, in the place which the Lord thy God hath chosen to place his name there.12 And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt: and thou shaltobserve and do these statutes. 13 Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven1149Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine: 14 And thou shaltrejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, andthy maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, thatare within thy gates. 15 Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn feast unto the Lordthy God in the place which the Lord shall choose: because the Lord thy God shallbless thee in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands, therefore thoushalt surely rejoice. 16 Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before theLord thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread,and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appearbefore the Lord empty: 17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to theblessing of the Lord thy God which he hath given thee.Much of the communion between God and his people Israel was kept up, and a face of religionpreserved in the nation, by the three yearly feasts, the institution of which, and the laws concerningthem, we have several times met with already; and here they are repeated.I. The law of the passover, so great a solemnity that it made the whole month, in the midst ofwhich it was placed, considerable: Observe the month Abib, v. 1. Though one week only of thismonth was to be kept as a festival, yet their preparations before must be so solemn, and theirreflections upon it and improvements of it afterwards so serious, as to amount to an observance ofthe whole month. The month of Abib, or of new fruits, as the Chaldee translates it, answers to ourMarch (or part of March and part of April), and was by a special order from God, in remembranceof the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt, made the beginning of their year (Exod. xii. 2), whichbefore was reckoned to begin in September. This month they were to keep the passover, inremembrance of their being brought out of Egypt by night, v. 1. The Chaldee paraphrasts expoundit, "Because they came out of Egypt by daylight," there being an express order that they should notstir out of their doors till morning, Exod. xii. 22. One of them expounds it thus: "He brought theeout of Egypt, and did wonders by night." The other, "and thou shalt eat the passover by night." Thelaws concerning it are, 1. That they must be sure to sacrifice the passover in the place that Godshould choose (v. 2), and in no other place, v. 5-7. The passover was itself a sacrifice; hence Christ,as our passover, is said to be sacrificed for us (1 Cor. v. 7), and many other sacrifices were offeredduring the seven days of the feast (Num. xxviii. 19, &c.), which are included here, for they are saidto be sacrificed of the flock and the herd, whereas the passover itself was only of the flock, eithera lamb or a kid: now no sacrifice was accepted but from the altar that sanctified it; it was thereforenecessary that they should to up to the place of the altar, for, though the paschal lamb was entirelyeaten by the owners, yet it must be killed in the court, the blood sprinkled, and the inwards burnedupon the altar. By confining them to the appointed rule, from which they would have been apt tovary, and to introduce foolish inventions of their own, had they been permitted to offer thesesacrifices within their own gates, from under the inspection of the priests. They were also herebydirected to have their eye up unto God in the solemnity, and the desire of their hearts towards theremembrance of his name, being appointed to attend where he had chosen to place his name, v. 2and 6. But, when the solemnity was over, they might turn and go unto their tents, v. 7. Some thinkthat they might, if they pleased, return the very morning after the paschal lamb was killed and eaten,the priests and Levites being sufficient to carry on the rest of the week's work; but the first day of1150Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)the seven is so far from being the day of their dispersion that it is expressly appointed for a holyconvocation (Lev. xxiii. 7; Num. xxviii. 18); therefore we must take it as Jonathan's paraphraseexpounds it, in the morning after the end of the feast thou shalt go to thy cities. And it was thepractice to keep together the whole week, 2 Chron. xxxv. 17. 2. That they must eat unleavenedbread for seven days, and no leavened bread must be seen in all their coasts, v. 3, 4, 8. The breadthey were confined to is here called bread of affliction, because neither grateful to the taste noreasy of digestion, and therefore proper to signify the heaviness of their spirits in their bondage andto keep in remembrance the haste in which they came out, the case being so urgent that they couldnot stay for the leavening of the bread they took with them for their march. The Jewish writers tellus that the custom at the passover supper was that the master of the family broke this unleavenedbread, and gave to every one a piece of it, saying, This is (that is, this signifies, represents, orcommemorates, which explains that saying of our Saviour, This is my body) the bread of afflictionwhich your fathers did eat in the land of Egypt. The gospel meaning of this feast of unleavenedbread the apostle gives us, 1 Cor. v. 7. Christ our passover being sacrificed for us, and we havingparticipated in the blessed fruits of that sacrifice to our comfort, let us keep the feast in a holyconversation, free from the leaven of malice towards our brethren and hypocrisy towards God, andwith the unleavened bread of sincerity and love. Lastly, Observe, concerning the passover, for whatend it was instituted: "That thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of Egypt,not only on the day of the passover, or during the seven days of the feast, but all the days of thylife (v. 3), as a constant inducement to obedience." Thus we celebrate the memorial of Christ's deathat certain times, that we may remember it at all times, as a reason why we should live to him thatdied for us and rose again.II. Seven weeks after the passover the feast of pentecost was to be observed, concerning whichthey are here directed, 1. Whence to number their seven weeks, from the time thou beginnest to putthe sickle to the corn (v. 9), that is, from the morrow after the first day of the feast of unleavenedbread, for on that day (though it is probable the people did not begin their harvest till the feast wasended) messengers were sent to reap a sheaf of barley, which was to be offered to God as thefirst-fruits, Lev. xxiii. 10. Some think it implies a particular care which Providence would take oftheir land with respect to the weather, that their harvest should be always ripe and ready for thesickle just at the same time. 2. How they were to keep this feast. (1.) They must bring an offeringunto God, v. 10. It is here called a tribute of a free-will-offering. It was required of them as a tributeto their Sovereign Lord and owner, under whom they held all they had; and yet because the lawdid not determine the quantum, but it was left to every man's generosity to bring what he chose,and whatever he brought he must give cheerfully, it is therefore called a free-will offering. It wasa grateful acknowledgment of the goodness of God to them in the mercies of these corn-harvestsnow finished, and therefore must be according as God had blessed them. Where God sows plentifullyhe expects to reap accordingly. (2.) They must rejoice before God, v. 11. Holy joy is the heart andsoul of thankful praises, which are as the language and expression of holy joy. They must rejoicein their receivings from God, and in their returns of service and sacrifice to him; our duty must beour delight as well as our enjoyments. They must have their very servants to rejoice with them,"for remember (v. 12) that thou wast a bond-man, and wouldest have been very thankful if thytaskmasters would have given thee some time and cause for rejoicing; and thy God did bring theeout to keep a feast with gladness; therefore be pleasant with thy servants, and make them easy."And, it should seem, those general words, thou shalt observe and do these statutes, are added here1151Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)for a particular reason, because this feast was kept in remembrance of the giving of the law uponMount Sinai, fifty days after they came out of Egypt; now the best way of expressing our thankfulnessto God for his favour to us in giving us his law is to observe and do according to the precepts ofit.III. They must keep the feast of tabernacles, v. 13-15. Here is no repetition of the law concerningthe sacrifices that were to be offered in great abundance at this feast (which we had at large, Num.xxix. 12, &c.), because the care of these belonged to the priests and Levites, who had not so muchneed of a repetition as the people had, and because the spiritual part of the service, which consistedin holy joy, was most pleasing to God, and was to be the perpetual duty of a gospel conversation,of which this feast was typical. Observe what stress is laid upon it here: Thou shalt rejoice in thyfeast (v. 14), and, because the Lord shall bless thee, thou shalt surely rejoice, v. 15. Note, 1. It isthe will of God that his people should be a cheerful people. If those that were under the law mustrejoice before God, much more must we that are under the grace of the gospel, which makes it ourduty, not only as here to rejoice in our feasts, but to rejoice evermore, to rejoice in the Lord always.2. When we rejoice in God ourselves we should do what we can to assist others also to rejoice inhim, by comforting the mourners and supplying the necessitous, that even the stranger, the fatherless,and the widow may rejoice with us. See Job xxix. 13. 3. We must rejoice in God, not only becauseof what we have received and are receiving from him daily, but because of what he has promised,and we expect to receive yet further from him: because he shall bless thee, therefore thou shaltrejoice. Those that make God their joy may rejoice in hope, for he is faithful that has promised.IV. The laws concerning the three solemn feasts are summed up (v. 16, 17), as often before,Exod. xxiii. 16, 17; xxxiv. 23. The general commands concerning them are, 1. That all the malesmust then make their personal appearance before God, that by their frequent meeting to worshipGod, at the same place, and by the same rule, they might be kept faithful and constant to that holyreligion which was established among them. 2. That none must appear before God empty, but everyman must bring some offering or other, in token of a dependence upon God and gratitude to him.And God was not unreasonable in his demands; let every man but give as he was able, and no morewas expected. The same is still the rule of charity, 1 Cor. xvi. 2. Those that give to their powershall be accepted, but those that give beyond their power are accounted worthy of double honour(2 Cor. viii. 3), as the poor widow that gave all she had, Luke xxi. 4.18 Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the Lord thyGod giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with justjudgment. 19 Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neithertake a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of therighteous. 20 That which is altogether just shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live,and inherit the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. 21 Thou shalt not plantthee a grove of any trees near unto the altar of the Lord thy God, which thou shaltmake thee. 22 Neither shalt thou set thee up any image; which the Lord thy Godhateth.Here is, I. Care taken for the due administration of justice among them, that controversiesmight be determined, matters in variance adjusted, the injured redressed, and the injurious punished.While they were encamped in the wilderness, they had judges and officers according to their1152Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)numbers, rulers of thousands and hundreds, Exod. xvii. 25. When they came to Canaan, they musthave them according to their towns and cities, in all their gates; for the courts of judgment sat inthe gates. Now, 1. Here is a commission given to these inferior magistrates: "Judges to try and passsentence, and officers to execute their sentences, shalt thou make thee." However the persons werepitched upon, whether by the nomination of their sovereign or by the election of the people, thepower were ordained of God, Rom. xiii. 1. And it was a great mercy to the people thus to havejustice brought to their doors, that it might be more expeditious and less expensive, a blessing whichwe of this nation ought to be very thankful for. Pursuant to this law, besides the great sanhedrimthat sat at the sanctuary, consisting of seventy elders and a president, there was in the larger cities,such as had in them above 120 families, a court of twenty-three judges, in the smaller cities a courtof three judges. See this law revived by Jehoshaphat, 2 Chron. xix. 5, 8. 2. Here is a commandgiven to these magistrates to do justice in the execution of the trust reposed in them. Better notjudge at all than not judge with just judgment, according to the direction of the law and the evidenceof the fact. (1.) The judges are here cautioned not to do wrong to any (v. 19), nor to take any gifts,which would tempt them to do wrong. This law had been given before, Exod. xxiii. 8. (2.) Theyare charged to do justice to all: "That which is altogether just shalt thou follow, v. 20. Adhere tothe principles of justice, act by the rules of justice, countenance the demands of justice, imitate thepatterns of justice, and pursue with resolution that which appears to be just. Justice, justice, shaltthou follow." This is that which the magistrate is to have in his eye, on this he must be intent, andto this all personal regards must be sacrificed, to do right to all and wrong to none.II. Care taken for the preventing of all conformity to the idolatrous customs of the heathen, v.21, 22. They must not only not join with the idolaters in their worships, not visit their groves, norbow before the images which they had set up, but, 1. They must not plant a grove, nor so much asa tree, near God's altar lest they should make it look like the altars of the false gods. They madegroves the places of their worship either to make it secret (but that which is true and good desiresthe light rather), or to make it solemn, but the worship of the true God has enough in itself to makeit so and needs not the advantage of such a circumstance. 2. They must not set up any image, statue,or pillar, to the honour of God, for it is a thing which the Lord hates; nothing belies or reproacheshim more, or tends more to corrupt and debauch the minds of men, than representing and worshippingby an image that God who is an infinite and eternal Spirit.D E U T E R O N O M YCHAP. XVII.The charge of this chapter is, I. Concerning the purity and perfection of all those animals thatwere offered in sacrifice, ver. 1. II. Concerning the punishment of those that worshipped idols, ver.2-7. III. Concerning appeals from the inferior courts to the great sanhedrim, ver. 8-13. IV. Concerningthe choice and duty of a king, ver. 14, &c.The Punishment of Idolatry. (b. c. 1451.)1153Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)1 Thou shalt not sacrifice unto the Lord thy God any bullock, or sheep, whereinis blemish, or any evilfavouredness: for that is an abomination unto the Lord thyGod. 2 If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the Lord thyGod giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of theLord thy God, in transgressing his covenant, 3 And hath gone and served othergods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven,which I have not commanded; 4 And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, andenquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that suchabomination is wrought in Israel: 5 Then shalt thou bring forth that man or thatwoman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man orthat woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die. 6 At the mouth of twowitnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but atthe mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death. 7 The hands of the witnessesshall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people.So thou shalt put the evil away from among you.Here is, I. A law for preserving the honour of God's worship, by providing that no creaturethat had any blemish should be offered in sacrifice to him, v. 1. This caveat we have often metwith: Thou shalt not sacrifice that which has any blemish, which renders it unsightly, or any evilmatter or thing (as the following word night better be rendered), any sickness or weakness, thoughnot discernible at first view; it is an abomination to God. God is the best of beings, and thereforewhatsoever he is served with ought to be the best in its kind. And the Old-Testament sacrifices ina special manner must be so, because they were types of Christ, who is a Lamb without blemish orspot (1 Pet. i. 19), perfectly pure from all sin and all appearance of it. In the latter times of theJewish church, when by the captivity in Babylon they were cured of idolatry, yet they were chargedwith profaneness in the breach of this law, with offering the blind, and the lame, and the sick forsacrifice, Mal. i. 8.II. A law for the punishing of those that worshipped false gods. It was made a capital crime toseduce others to idolatry (ch. xiii.), here it is made no less to be seduced. If the blind thus misleadthe blind, both must fall into the ditch. Thus God would possess them with a dread of that sin, whichthey must conclude exceedingly sinful when so many sanguinary laws were made against it, andwould deter those from it that would not otherwise be persuaded against it; and yet the law, whichworks death, proved ineffectual. See here,1. What the crime was against which this law was levelled, serving or worshipping other gods,v. 3. That which was the most ancient and plausible idolatry is specified, worshipping the sun,moon, and stars; and, if that was so detestable a thing, much more was it so to worship stocks andstones, or the representations of mean and contemptible animals. Of this it is said, (1.) That it iswhat God had not commanded. He had again and again forbidden it; but it is thus expressed tointimate that, if there had been no more against it, this had been enough (for in the worship of Godhis institution and appointment must be our rule and warrant), and that God never commanded hisworshippers to debase themselves so far as to do homage to their fellow-creatures: had Godcommanded them to do it, they might justly have complained of it as a reproach and disparagement1154Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)to them; yet, when he has forbidden it, they will, from a spirit of contradiction, put this indignityupon themselves. (2.) That it is wickedness in the sight of God, v. 2. Be it ever so industriouslyconcealed, he sees it, and, be it ever so ingeniously palliated, he hates it: it is a sin in itselfexceedingly heinous, and the highest affront that can be offered to Almighty God. (3.) That it is atransgression of the covenant. It was on this condition that God took them to be his peculiar people,that they should serve and worship him only as their God, so that if they gave to any other thehonour which was due to him alone that covenant was void, and all the benefit of it forfeited. Othersins were transgressions of the command, but this was a transgression of the covenant. It wasspiritual adultery, which breaks them marriage bond. (4.) That it is abomination in Israel, v. 4.Idolatry was bad enough in any, but it was particularly abominable in Israel, a people so blessedwith peculiar discoveries of the will and favour of the only true and living God.2. How it must be tried. Upon information given of it, or any ground of suspicion that anyperson whatsoever, man or woman, had served other gods, (1.) Enquiry must be made, v. 4. Thoughit appears not certain at first, it may afterwards upon search appear so; and, if it can possibly bediscovered, it must not be unpunished; if not, yet the very enquiry concerning it would possess thecountry with a dread of it. (2.) Evidence must be given in, v. 6. How heinous and dangerous soeverthe crime is, yet they must not punish any for it, unless there were good proof against them, by twowitnesses at least. They must not, under pretence of honouring God, wrong an innocent man. Thislaw, which requires two witnesses in case of life, we had before, Num. xxxv. 30; it is quoted, Matt.xviii. 16.3. What sentence must be passed and executed. So great a punishment as death, so great adeath as stoning, must be inflicted on the idolater, whether man or woman, for the infirmity of theweaker sex would be no excuse, v. 5. The place of execution must be the gate of the city, that theshame might be the greater to the criminal and the warning the more public to all others. The handsof the witnesses, in this as in other cases, must be first upon him, that is, they must cast the firststone at him, thereby avowing their testimony, and solemnly imprecating the guilt of his bloodupon themselves if their evidence were false. This custom might be of use to deter men fromfalse-witness bearing. The witnesses are really, and therefore it was required that they should beactually, the death of the malefactor. But they must be followed, and the execution completed, bythe hands of all the people, who were thus to testify their detestation of the crime and to put theevil away from among them, as before, ch. xiii. 9.The Authority of the Judges. (b. c. 1451.)8 If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood,between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversywithin thy gates: then shalt thou arise, and get thee up into the place which the Lordthy God shall choose; 9 And thou shalt come unto the priests the Levites, and untothe judge that shall be in those days, and enquire; and they shall show thee thesentence of judgment: 10 And thou shalt do according to the sentence, which theyof that place which the Lord shall choose shall show thee; and thou shalt observe todo according to all that they inform thee: 11 According to the sentence of the lawwhich they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee,1155Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)thou shalt do: thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall show thee,to the right hand, nor to the left. 12 And the man that will do presumptuously, andwill not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the Lord thyGod, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evilfrom Israel. 13 And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no morepresumptuously.Courts of judgment were ordered to be erected in every city (ch. xvi. 18), and they wereempowered to hear and determine causes according to law, both those which we call pleas of thecrown and those between party and party; and we may suppose that ordinarily they ended thematters that were brought before them, and their sentence was definitive; but, 1. It is here taken forgranted that sometimes a case might come into their court too difficult for those inferior judges todetermine, who could not be thought to be so learned in the laws as those that presided in the highercourts; so that (to speak in the language of our law) they must find a special verdict, and take timeto advise before the giving of judgment (v. 8): If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment,which it would be no dishonour to the judges to own the difficulty of,—suppose it between bloodand blood, the blood of a person which cried and the blood of him that was charged with the murderwhich was demanded, when it was doubtful upon the evidence whether it was wilful or casual,—orbetween plea and plea, the plea (that is, the bill or declaration) of the plaintiff and the plea of thedefendant,—or between stroke and stroke, in actions of assault and battery; in these and similarcases, thought the evidence were plain, yet doubts might arise about the sense and meaning of thelaw and the application of it to the particular case. 2. These difficult cases, which hitherto had beenbrought to Moses, according to Jethro's advice, were, after his death, to be brought to the supremepower, wherever it was lodged, whether in a judge (when there was such an extraordinary personraised up and qualified for that great service, as Othniel, Deborah, Gideon, &c.) or in the high-priest(when he was by the eminency of his gifts called of God to preside in public affairs, as Eli), or, ifno single person were marked by heaven for this honour, then in the priests and Levites (or in thepriests, who were Levites of course), who not only attended the sanctuary, but met in council toreceive appeals from the inferior courts, who might reasonably be supposed, not only to be bestqualified by their learning and experience, but to have the best assistance of the divine Spirit forthe deciding of doubts, v. 9, 11, 12. They are not appointed to consult the urim and thummim, forit is supposed that these were to be consulted only in cases relating to the public, either the bodyof the people or the prince; but in ordinary cases the wisdom and integrity of those that sat at thestern must be relied on, their judgment had not the divine authority of an oracle, yet besides themoral certainty it had, as the judgment of knowing, prudent, and experienced men, it had theadvantage of a divine promise, implied in those words (v. 9), They shall show thee the sentence ofjudgment; it had also the support of a divine institution, by which they were made the supremejudicature of the nation. 3. The definitive sentence given by the judge, priest, or great council, mustbe obeyed by the parties concerned, upon pain of death: Thou shalt do according to their sentence(v. 10); thou shalt observe to do it, thou shalt not decline from it (v. 11), to the right hand nor tothe left. Note, It is for the honour of God and the welfare of a people that the authority of the higherpower be supported and the due order of government observed, that those be obeyed who areappointed to rule, and that every soul be subject to them in all those things that fall within theircommission. Though the party thought himself injured by the sentence (as every man is apt to be1156Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)partial in is own cause), yet he must needs be subject, must stand to the award, how unpleasingsoever, and bear, or lose, or pay, according to it, not only for wrath, but also for conscience' sake.But if an inferior judge contradict the sentence of the higher court and will not execute the ordersof it, or a private person refuse to conform to their sentence, the contumacy must be punished withdeath, though the matter were ever so small in which the opposition was made: That man shall die,and all the people shall hear and fear, v. 12, 13. See here, (1.) The evil of disobedience. Rebellionand stubbornness, from a spirit of contradiction and opposition of God, or those in authority underhim, from a principle of contempt and self-willedness, are as witchcraft and idolatry. To differ inopinion from weakness and infirmity may be excused and must be borne with; but to do sopresumptuously, in pride and wickedness (as the ancient translations explain it), this is to take uparms against the government, and is an affront to him by whom the powers that be are ordained.(2.) The design of punishment: that others may hear and fear, and not do the like. Some would beso considerate as to infer the heinousness of the offence from the grievousness of the penalty, andtherefore would detest it; and others would so far consult their own safety as to cross their humoursby conforming to the sentence rather than to sin against their own heads, and forfeit their lives bygoing contrary to it. From this law the apostle infers the greatness of the punishment of which thosewill be thought worthy that trample on the authority of the Son of God, Heb. x. 28, 29.The Choice of a King. (b. c. 1451.)14 When thou art come unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, andshalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, likeas all the nations that are about me; 15 Thou shalt in any wise set him king overthee, whom the Lord thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thouset king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.16 But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return toEgypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the Lord hath saidunto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way. 17 Neither shall he multiplywives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply tohimself silver and gold. 18 And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of hiskingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which isbefore the priests the Levites: 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read thereinall the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all thewords of this law and these statutes, to do them: 20 That his heart be not lifted upabove his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the righthand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, andhis children, in the midst of Israel.After the laws which concerned subjects fitly followed the laws which concern kings; for thosethat rule others must themselves remember that they are under command. Here are laws given,I. To the electors of the empire, what rules they must go by in making their choice, v. 14, 15.1. It is here supposed that the people would, in process of time, be desirous of a king, whose royalpomp and power would be thought to make their nation look great among their neighbours. Their1157Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)having a king is neither promised as a mercy nor commanded as a duty (nothing could be betterfor them than the divine regimen they were under), but it is permitted them if they desired it. Ifthey would but take care to have the ends of government answered, and God's laws duly observedand put in execution, they should not be tied to any one form of government, but should be welcometo have a king. Though something irregular is supposed to be the principle of the desire, that theymight be like the nations (whereas God in many ways distinguished them from the nations), yetGod would indulge them in it, because he intended to serve his own purposes by it, in making theregal government typical of the kingdom of the Messiah. 2. They are directed in their choice. Ifthey will have a king over them, as God foresaw they would (though it does not appear that everthe motion was made till almost 400 years after), then they must, (1.) Ask counsel at God's mouth,and make him king whom God shall choose; and happy it was for them that they had an oracle toconsult in so weighty an affair, and a God to choose for them who knows infallibly what every manis and will be. Kings are God's vicegerents, and therefore it is fit that he should have the choosingof them: God had himself been in a particular manner Israel's King, and if they set another overthem, under him, it was necessary that he should nominate the person. Accordingly, when thepeople desired a king, they applied to Samuel a prophet of the Lord; and afterwards David, Solomon,Jeroboam, Jehu, and others, were chosen by the prophets; and the people are reproved for notobserving this law, Hos. viii. 4: They have set up kings but not by me. In all cases God's choice, ifwe can but know it, should direct, determine, and overrule ours. (2.) They must not choose aforeigner under pretence of strengthening their alliances, or of the extraordinary fitness of theperson, lest a strange king should introduce strange customs of usages, contrary to those that wereestablished by the divine law; but he must be one from among thy brethren, that he may be a typeof Christ, who is bone of our bone, Heb. ii. 14.II. Laws are here given to the prince that should be elected for the due administration of thegovernment.1. He must carefully avoid every thing that would divert him from God and religion. Riches,honours, and pleasures are the three great hindrances of godliness (the lusts of the flesh, the lustsof the eye, and the pride of life), especially to those in high stations: against these therefore the kingis here warned. (1.) He must not gratify the love of honour by multiplying horses, v. 16. He thatrode upon a horse (a stately creature) in a country where asses and mules were generally usedlooked very great; and therefore though he might have horses for his own saddle, and chariots, yethe must not set servants on horseback (Eccl. x. 7) nor have many horses for his officers and guards(when God was their King, his judges rode on asses, Judg. v. 10; xii. 14), nor must he multiplyhorses for war, lest he should trust too much to them, Ps. xx. 7; xxxiii. 17; Hos. xiv. 3. The reasonhere given against his multiplying horses is because it would produce a greater correspondencewith Egypt (which furnished Canaan with horses, 1 Kings x. 28, 29) than it was fit the Israel ofGod should have, who were brought thence with such a high hand: You shall return no more thatway, for fear of being infected with the idolatries of Egypt (Lev. xviii. 3), to which they were veryprone. Note, We should take heed of that commerce or conversation by which we are in danger ofbeing drawn into sin. If Israel must not return to Egypt, they must not trade with Egypt; Solomongot no good by it. (2.) He must not gratify the love of pleasure by multiplying wives (v. 17), asSolomon did to his undoing (1 Kings xi. 1), that his heart, being set upon them, turn not away frombusiness, and every thing that is serious, and especially from the exercise of piety and devotion, towhich nothing is a greater enemy than the indulgence of the flesh. (3.) He must not gratify the love1158Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)of riches by greatly multiplying silver and gold. A competent treasure is allowed him, and he is notforbidden to be good husband of it, but, [1.] He must not greatly multiply money, so as to oppresshis people by raising it (as Solomon seems to have done, 1 Kings xii. 4), nor so as to deceive himself,by trusting to it, and setting his heart upon it, Ps. lxii. 10. [2.] He must not multiply it to himself.David multiplied silver and gold, but it was for the service of God (1 Chron. xxix. 4), not for himself;for his people, not for his own family.2. He must carefully apply himself to the law of God, and make that his rule. This must be tohim better than all riches, honours, and pleasures, than many horses or many wives, better thanthousands of gold and silver.(1.) He must write himself a copy of the law out of the original, which was in the custody ofthe priests that attended the sanctuary, v. 18. Some think that he was to write only this book ofDeuteronomy, which is an abstract of the law, and the precepts of which, being mostly moral andjudicial, concerned the king more than the laws in Leviticus and Numbers, which, being ceremonial,concerned chiefly the priests. Others think that he was to transcribe all the five books of Moses,which are called the law, and which were preserved together as the foundation of their religion.Now, [1.] Though the king might be presumed to have very fair copies by him from his ancestors,yet, besides those, he must have one of his own: it might be presumed that theirs were worn withconstant use; he must have a fresh one to begin the world with. [2.] Though he had secretaries abouthim whom he might employ to write this copy, and who perhaps could write a better hand than he,yet he must do it himself, with his own hand, for the honour of the law, and that he might think noact of religion below him, to inure himself to labour and study, and especially that he might therebybe obliged to take particular notice of every part of the law and by writing it might imprint it in hismind. Note, It is of great use for each of us to write down what we observe as most affecting andedifying to us, out of the scriptures and good books, and out of the sermons we hear. A prudentpen may go far towards making up the deficiencies of the memory, and the furnishing of the treasuresof the good householder with things new and old. [3.] He must do this even when he sits upon thethrone of his kingdom, provided that he had not done it before. When he begins to apply himselfto business, he must apply himself to this in the first place. He that sits upon the throne of a kingdomcannot but have his hands full. The affairs of his kingdom both at home and abroad call for a largeshare of his time and thoughts, and yet he must write himself a copy of the law. Let not those whocall themselves men of business think that this will excuse them from making religion their business;nor let great men think it any disparagement to them to write for themselves those great things ofGod's law which he hath written to them, Hos. viii. 12.(2.) Having a Bible by him of his own writing, he must not think it enough to keep it in hiscabinet, but he must read therein all the days of his life, v. 19. It is not enough to have Bibles, butwe must use them, use them daily, as the duty and necessity of everyday require: our souls musthave their constant meals of that manna; and, if well digested, it will be true nourishment andstrength to them. As the body is receiving benefit by its food continually, and not only when it iseating, so is the soul, by the word of God, if it meditate therein day and night, Ps. i. 2. And we mustpersevere in the use of the written word of God as long as we live. Christ's scholars never learnabove their Bibles, but will have a constant occasion for them till they come to that world whereknowledge and love will both be made perfect.(3.) His writing and reading were all nothing if he did not reduce to practice what he wroteand read, v. 19, 20. The word of God is not designed merely to be and entertaining subject of1159Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)speculation, but to be a commanding rule of conversation. Let him know, [1.] What dominion hisreligion must have over him, and what influence it must have upon him. First, It must possess himwith a very reverent and awful regard to the divine majesty and authority. He must learn (and thusthe most learned must by ever learning) to fear the Lord his God; and, as high as he is, he mustremember that God is above him, and, whatever fear his subjects owe to him, that, and much more,he owes to God as his King. Secondly, It must engage him to a constant observance of the law ofGod, and a conscientious obedience to it, as the effect of that fear. He must keep all the words ofthis law (he is custos utriusque tabulae—the keeper of both tables), not only take care that othersdo them, but do them himself as a humble servant to the God of heaven and a good example to hisinferiors. Thirdly, It must keep him humble. How much soever he is advanced, let him keep hisspirit low, and let the fear of his God prevent the contempt of his brethren; and let not his heart belifted up above them, so as to carry himself haughtily or disdainfully towards them, and to trampleupon them. Let him not conceit himself better than they because he is greater and makes a fairershow; but let him remember that he is the minister of God to them for good (major singulis, butminor universis—greater than any one, but less than the whole). It must prevent his errors, eitheron he right hand or on the left (for there are errors on both hands), and keep him right, in allinstances, to his God and to his duty. [2.] What advantage his religion would be of to him. Thosethat fear God and keep his commandments will certainly fare the better for it in this world. Thegreatest monarch in the world may receive more benefit by religion than by all the wealth andpower of his monarchy. It will be of advantage, First, To his person: He shall prolong his days inhis kingdom. We find in the history of the kings of Judah that, generally, the best reigns were thelongest, except when God shortened them for the punishment of the people, as Josiah's. Secondly,To his family: his children shall also prosper. Entail religion upon posterity, and God will entail ablessing upon it.D E U T E R O N O M YCHAP. XVIII.In this chapter, I. The rights and revenues of the church are settled, and rules given concerningthe Levites' ministration and maintenance, ver. 1-8. II. The caution against the idolatrous abominablecustoms of the heathen is repeated, ver. 9-14. III. A promise is given them of the spirit of prophecyto continue among them, and to centre at last in Christ the great prophet, ver. 15-18. IV. Wraththreatened against those that despise prophecy (ver. 19) or counterfeit it (ver. 20), and a rule givenfor the trial of it, ver. 21, 22.Maintenance of the Levites. (b. c. 1451.)1 The priests the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part norinheritance with Israel: they shall eat the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and hisinheritance. 2 Therefore shall they have no inheritance among their brethren: theLord is their inheritance, as he hath said unto them. 3 And this shall be the priest's1160Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)due from the people, from them that offer a sacrifice, whether it be ox or sheep; andthey shall give unto the priest the shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw. 4The firstfruits also of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the first of the fleeceof thy sheep, shalt thou give him. 5 For the Lord thy God hath chosen him out ofall thy tribes, to stand to minister in the name of the Lord, him and his sons for ever.6 And if a Levite come from any of thy gates out of all Israel, where he sojourned,and come with all the desire of his mind unto the place which the Lord shall choose;7 Then he shall minister in the name of the Lord his God, as all his brethren theLevites do, which stand there before the Lord. 8 They shall have like portions toeat, beside that which cometh of the sale of his patrimony.Magistracy and ministry are two divine institutions of admirable use for the support andadvancement of the kingdom of God among men. Laws concerning the former we had in the closeof the foregoing chapter, directions are in this given concerning the latter. Land-marks are here setbetween the estates of the priests and those of the people.I. Care is taken that the priests entangle not themselves with the affairs of this life, nor enrichthemselves with the wealth of this world; they have better things to mind. They shall have no partnor inheritance with Israel, that is, no share either in the spoils taken in war or in the land that wasto be divided by lot, v. 1. Their warfare and husbandry are both spiritual, and enough to fill theirhands both with work and profit and to content them. The Lord is their inheritance, v. 2. Note,Those that have God for their inheritance, according to the new covenant, should not be greedy ofgreat things in the world, neither gripe what they have nor grasp at more, but look upon all presentthings with the indifference which becomes those that believe God to be all-sufficient.II. Care is likewise taken that they want not any of the comforts and conveniences of this life.Though God, who is a Spirit, is their inheritance, it does not therefore follow that they must liveupon the air; no,1. The people must provide for them. They must have their due from the people, v. 3. Theirmaintenance must not depend upon the generosity of the people, but they must be by law entitledto it. He that is taught in the word ought in justice to communicate to him that teaches him; and hethat has the benefit of solemn religious assemblies ought to contribute to the comfortable supportof those that preside in such assemblies. (1.) The priests who in their courses served at the altar hadtheir share of the sacrifices, namely, the peace-offerings, that were brought while they were inwaiting: besides the breast and shoulder, which were appointed them before (Lev. vii. 32-34), thecheeks and maw are here ordered to be given them; so far was the law from diminishing what wasalready granted that it gave them an augmentation (2.) The first-fruits which arose within such aprecinct were brought in, as it should seem, to the priests that resided among them, for theirmaintenance in the country; the first of their corn and wine for food, and the first of their fleece forclothing (v. 4); for the priests who were employed to teach others ought themselves to learn, havingfood and raiment, to be therewith content. The first-fruits were devoted to God, and he constitutedthe priests his receivers; and if God reckons what is, in general, given to the poor, lent to him, tobe repaid with interest, much more what is, in particular, given to the poor, lent to him, to be repaidwith interest, much more what is, in particular, given to poor ministers. There is a good reasongiven for this constant charge upon their estates (v. 5), because the Levites were chosen of God,1161Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)and his choice must be owned and countenanced, and those honoured by us whom he honours; andbecause they stood to minister, and ought to be recompensed for their attendance and labour,especially since it was in the name of the Lord, by his warrant, in his service, and for his praise,and this charge entailed upon their seed for ever; those who were thus engaged and thus employedought to have all due encouragement given them, as some of the most needful useful members oftheir commonwealth.2. The priests must not themselves stand in one another's light. If a priest that by the law wasobliged to serve at the altar only in his turn, and was paid for that, should, out of his great affectionto the sanctuary, devote himself to a constant attendance there, and quit the ease and pleasure ofthe city in which he had his lot for the satisfaction of serving the altar, the priests whose turn it wasto attend must admit him both to join in the work and to share in the wages, and not grudge himeither the honour of the one or the profit of the other, though it might seem to break in upon them,v. 6-8. Note, A hearty pious zeal to serve God and his church, though it may a little encroach upona settled order, and there may be somewhat in it that looks irregular, yet ought to be gratified andnot discouraged. He that appears to have a hearty affection to the sanctuary, and loves dearly to beemployed in the service of it, in God's name let him minister; he shall be as welcome to God as theLevites whose course it was to minister, and should be so to them. The settling of the courses wasintended rather to secure those to the work that were not willing to do so much than to exclude anythat were willing to do more. And he that thus serves as a volunteer shall have as good pay as thepressed men, besides that which comes of the sale of his patrimony. The church of Rome obligesthose who leave their estates to go into a monastery to bring the produce of their estates with theminto the common stock of the monastery, for gain is their godliness; but here it is ordered that thepious devotee should reserve to himself the produce of his patrimony, for religion and the ministrywere never appointed of God, however they have been abused by men, to serve a secular interest.Idolatrous Customs of the Canaanites. (b. c. 1451.)9 When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thoushalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. 10 There shall not befound among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through thefire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because ofthese abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee. 13Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God. 14 For these nations, which thou shaltpossess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, theLord thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.One would not think there had been so much need as it seems there was to arm the people ofIsrael against the infection of the idolatrous customs of the Canaanites. Was it possible that a peopleso blessed with divine institutions should ever admit the brutish and barbarous inventions of menand devils? Were they in any danger of making those their tutors and directors in religion whomGod had made their captives and tributaries? It seems they were in danger, and therefore, after1162Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)many similar cautions, they are here charged not to do after the abominations of those nations, v.9.

      I. Some particulars are specified; as, 1. The consecrating of their children to Moloch, an idolthat represented the sun, by making them to pass through the fire, and sometimes consuming themas sacrifices in the fire, v. 10. See the law against this before, Lev. xviii. 21. 2. Using arts ofdivination, to get the unnecessary knowledge of things to come, enchantments, witchcrafts, charms,&c., by which the power and knowledge peculiar to God were attributed to the devil, to the greatreproach both of God's counsels and of his providence, v. 10, 11. One would wonder that such artsand works of darkness, so senseless and absurd, so impious and profane, could be found in a countrywhere divine revelation shone so clearly; yet we find remains of them even where Christ's holyreligion is known and professed; such are the powers and policies of the rulers of the darkness ofthis world. But let those give heed to fortune-tellers, or go to wizards for the discovery of thingssecret, that use spells for the cure of diseases, are in any league or acquaintance with familiar spirits,or form a confederacy with those that are—let them know that they can have no fellowship withGod while thus they have fellowship with devils. It is amazing to think that there should by anypretenders of this kind in such a land and day of light as we live in.II. Some reasons are given against their conformity to the customs of the Gentiles. 1. Becauseit would make them abominable to God. The things themselves being hateful to him, those that dothem are an abomination; and miserable is that creature that has become odious to its Creator, v.12. See the malignity and mischievousness of sin; that must needs be an evil thing indeed whichprovokes the God of mercy to detest the work of his own hands. 2. Because these abominablepractices had been the ruin of the Canaanites, of which ruin they were not only the witnesses butthe instruments. It would be the most inexcusable folly, as well as the most unpardonable impiety,for them to practise themselves those very things for which they had been employed so severelyto chastise others. Did the land spue out the abominations of the Canaanites, and shall Israel lickup the vomit? 3. Because they were better taught, v. 13, 14. It is an argument like that of the apostleagainst Christians walking as the Gentiles walked (Eph. iv. 17, 18, 20): You have not so learnedChrist. "It is true these nations, whom God gave up to their own hearts' lusts, and suffered to walkin their own ways (Acts xiv. 16), did thus corrupt themselves; but thou art not thus abandoned bythe grace of God: the Lord thy God had not suffered thee to do so; thou art instructed in divinethings, and hast fair warning given thee of the evil of those practices; and therefore, whatever othersdo, it is expected that thou shouldest be perfect with the Lord thy God," that is, "that thou shouldestgive divine honours to him, to him only, and to no other, and not mix any of the superstitiouscustoms of the heathen with his institutions." One of the Chaldee paraphrasts here takes notice ofGod's furnishing them with the oracle of urim and thummim, as a preservative from all unlawfularts of divination. Those were fools indeed who would go to consult the father of lies when theyhad such a ready way of consulting the God of truth.The Great Prophet; False Prophets. (b. c. 1451.)15 The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, ofthy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; 16 According to all that thoudesiredst of the Lord thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let menot hear again the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great fire any1163Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)more, that I die not. 17 And the Lord said unto me, They have well spoken thatwhich they have spoken. 18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among theirbrethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak untothem all that I shall command him. 19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoeverwill not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require itof him. 20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name,which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of othergods, even that prophet shall die. 21 And if thou say in thine heart, How shall weknow the word which the Lord hath not spoken? 22 When a prophet speaketh inthe name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thingwhich the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously:thou shalt not be afraid of him.Here is, I. The promise of the great prophet, with a command to receive him, and hearken tohim. Now,1. Some think it is the promise of a succession of prophets, that should for many ages be keptup in Israel. Besides the priests and Levites, their ordinary ministers, whose office it was to teachJacob God's law, they should have prophets, extraordinary ministers, to reprove them for theirfaults, remind them of their duty, and foretel things to come, judgments for warning and deliverancesfor their comfort. Having these prophets, (1.) They need not use divinations, nor consult withfamiliar spirits, for they might enquire of God's prophets even concerning their private affairs, asSaul did when he was in quest of his father's asses, 1 Sam. ix. 6. (2.) They could not miss the wayof their duty through ignorance or mistake, nor differ in their opinions about it, having prophetsamong them, whom, in every difficult doubtful case, they might advise with and appeal to. Theseprophets were like unto Moses in some respects, though far inferior to him, Deut. xxxiv. 10.2. Whether a succession of prophets be included in this promise or not, we are sure that it isprimarily intended as a promise of Christ, and it is the clearest promise of him that is in all the lawof Moses. It is expressly applied to our Lord Jesus as the Messiah promised (Acts iii. 22; vii. 37),and the people had an eye to this promise when they said concerning him, This is of a truth thatprophet that should come into the world (John vi. 14); and it was his Spirit that spoke in all theother prophets, 1 Pet. i. 11. Observe,(1.) What it is that is here promised concerning Christ. What God promised Moses at MountSinai (which he relates, v. 18), he promised the people (v. 15) in God's name. [1.] That there shouldcome a prophet, great above all the prophets, by whom God would make known himself and hiswill to the children of men more fully and clearly than ever he had done before. He is the light ofthe world, as prophecy was of the Jewish church, John viii. 12. He is the Word, by whom Godspeaks to us, John i. 1; Heb. i. 2. [2.] That God would raise him up from the midst of them. In hisbirth he should be one of that nation, should live among them and be sent to them. In his resurrectionhe should be raised up at Jerusalem, and thence his doctrine should go forth to all the world: thusGod, having raised up his Son Christ Jesus, sent him to bless us. [3.] That he should be like untoMoses, only as much above him as the other prophets came short of him. Moses was such a prophetas was a law-giver to Israel and their deliverer out of Egypt, and so was Christ: he not only teaches,but rules and saves. Moses was the founder of a new dispensation by signs and wonders and mighty1164Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)deeds, and so was Christ, by which he proved himself a teacher come from God. Was Mosesfaithful? So was Christ; Moses as a servant, but Christ as a Son. [4.] That God would put his wordsin his mouth, v. 18. What messages God had to send to the children of men he would send themby him, and give him full instructions what to say and do as a prophet. Hence our Saviour says,My doctrine is not mine originally, but his that sent me, John vii. 16. So that this great promise isperformed; this Prophet has come, even Jesus; it is he that should come, and we are to look for noother.(2.) The agreeableness of this designed dispensation to the people's avowed choice and desireat Mount Sinai, v. 16, 17. There God had spoken to them in thunder and lightning, out of the midstof the fire and thick darkness. Every word made their ears tingle and their hearts tremble, so thatthe whole congregation was ready to die with fear. In this fright, they begged hard that God wouldnot speak to them in this manner any more (they could not bear it, it would overwhelm and distractthem), but that he would speak to them by men like themselves, by Moses now, and afterwards byother prophets like unto him. "Well," says God, "it shall be so; they shall be spoken to by men,whose terrors shall not make them afraid;" and, to crown the favour beyond what they were ableto ask or think, in the fulness of time the Word itself was made flesh, and they saw his glory as ofthe only-begotten of the Father, not, as at Mount Sinai, full of majesty and terror, but full of graceand truth, John i. 14. Thus, in answer to the request of those who were struck with amazement bythe law, God promised the incarnation of his Son, though we may suppose it far from the thoughtsof those that made that request.(3.) A charge and command given to all people to hear and believe, hear and obey, this greatprophet here promised: Unto him you shall hearken (v. 15); and whoever will not hearken to himshall be surely and severely reckoned with for his contempt (v. 19): I will require it of him. Godhimself applied this to our Lord Jesus in the voice that came out of the excellent glory, Matt. xvii.5, Hear you him, that is, this is he concerning whom it was said by Moses of old, Unto him youshall hearken; and Moses and Elias then stood by and assented to it. The sentence here passed onthose that hearken not to this prophet is repeated and ratified in the New Testament. He that believethnot the Son, the wrath of God abideth on him, John iii. 36. And how shall we escape if we turn awayfrom him that speaketh from heaven? Heb. xii. 25. The Chaldee paraphrase here reads it, My Wordshall require it of him, which can be no other than a divine person, Christ the eternal Word, towhom the Father has committed all judgement, and by whom he will at the last day judge the world.Whoever turns a deaf ear to Jesus Christ shall find that it is at his peril; the same that is the prophetis to be his judge, John xii. 48.II. Here is a caution against false prophets, 1. By way of threatening against the pretendersthemselves, v. 20. Whoever sets up for a prophet, and produces either a commission from the trueGod, shall be deemed and adjudged guilty of high treason against the crown and dignity of the Kingof kings, and that traitor shall be put to death (v. 20), namely, by the judgment of the great sanhedrim,which, in process of time, sat at Jerusalem; and therefore our Saviour says that a prophet could notperish but at Jerusalem, and lays the blood of the prophets at Jerusalem's door (Luke xiii. 33, 34),whom therefore God himself would punish; yet there false prophets were supported. 2. By way ofdirection to the people, that they might not be imposed upon by pretenders, of which there weremany, as appears, Jer. xxiii. 25; Ezek. xiii. 6; 1 Kings xxii. 6. It is a very proper question whichthey are supposed to ask, v. 21. Since it is so great a duty to hearken to the true prophets, and yetthere is so much danger of being misled by false prophets, how shall we know the word which the1165Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)Lord has not spoken? By what marks may we discover a cheat? Note, It highly concerns us to havea right touchstone wherewith to try the word we hear, that we may know what that word is whichthe Lord has not spoken. Whatever is directly repugnant to sense, to the light and law of nature,and to the plain meaning of the written word, we may be sure is not that which the Lord has spoken;nor that which gives countenance and encouragement to sin, or has a manifest tendency to thedestruction of piety or charity: far be it from God that he should contradict himself. The rule heregiven in answer to this enquiry was adapted chiefly to that state, v. 22. If there was any cause tosuspect the sincerity of a prophet, let them observe that if he gave them any sign, or foretoldsomething to come, and the event was not according to his prediction, they might be sure he wasnot sent of God. This does not refer so much to the foretelling of mercies and judgments (thoughas to these, and the difference between the predictions of mercies and judgments, there is a rule ofdiscerning between truth and falsehood laid down by the prophet, Jer. xxviii. 8, 9), but rather tothe giving of signs on purpose to confirm their mission. Though the sign did come to pass, yet thiswould not serve to prove their mission if they called them to serve other gods; this point had beenalready settled, Deut. xiii. 1-3. But, if the sign did not come to pass, this would serve to disprovetheir mission. "When Moses cast his rod upon the ground (it is bishop Patrick's explanation of this),and said it would become a serpent, if it had not accordingly been turned into a serpent, Moses hadbeen a false prophet: if, when Elijah called for fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice, none hadcome, he had been no better than the prophets of Baal." Samuel's mission was proved by this, thatGod let none of his words fall to the ground, 1 Sam. iii. 19, 20. And by the miracles Christ wrought,especially by that great sign he gave of his resurrection the third day, which came to pass as heforetold, it appeared that he was a teacher come from God. Lastly, They are directed not to be afraidof a false prophet; that is, not to be afraid of the judgments such a one might denounce to amusepeople and strike terror upon them; nor to be afraid of executing the law upon him when, upon astrict and impartial scrutiny, it appeared that he was a false prophet. This command not to fear afalse prophet implies that a true prophet, who proved his commission by clear and undeniableproofs, was to be feared, and it was at their peril if they offered him any violence or put any slightupon him.D E U T E R O N O M YCHAP. XIX.The laws which Moses had hitherto been repeating and urging mostly concerned the acts ofreligion and devotion towards God; but here he comes more fully to press the duties of righteousnessbetween man and man. This chapter relates, I. To the sixth commandment, "Thou shalt not kill,"ver. 1-13. II. To the eighth commandment, "Thou shalt not steal," ver. 14. III. To the ninthcommandment, "Thou shalt not bear false witness," ver. 15, &c.The Cities of Refuge. (b. c. 1451.)1166Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)1 When the Lord thy God hath cut off the nations, whose land the Lord thy Godgiveth thee, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their cities, and in their houses;2 Thou shalt separate three cities for thee in the midst of thy land, which the Lordthy God giveth thee to possess it. 3 Thou shalt prepare thee a way, and divide thecoasts of thy land, which the Lord thy God giveth thee to inherit, into three parts,that every slayer may flee thither. 4 And this is the case of the slayer, which shallflee thither, that he may live: Whoso killeth his neighbour ignorantly, whom hehated not in time past; 5 As when a man goeth into the wood with his neighbourto hew wood, and his hand fetcheth a stroke with the axe to cut down the tree, andthe head slippeth from the helve, and lighteth upon his neighbour, that he die; heshall flee unto one of those cities, and live: 6 Lest the avenger of the blood pursuethe slayer, while his heart is hot, and overtake him, because the way is long, andslay him; whereas he was not worthy of death, inasmuch as he hated him not in timepast. 7 Wherefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt separate three cities for thee.8 And if the Lord thy God enlarge thy coast, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, andgive thee all the land which he promised to give unto thy fathers; 9 If thou shaltkeep all these commandments to do them, which I command thee this day, to lovethe Lord thy God, and to walk ever in his ways; then shalt thou add three cities morefor thee, beside these three: 10 That innocent blood be not shed in thy land, whichthe Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and so blood be upon thee. 11 Butif any man hate his neighbour, and lie in wait for him, and rise up against him, andsmite him mortally that he die, and fleeth into one of these cities: 12 Then the eldersof his city shall send and fetch him thence, and deliver him into the hand of theavenger of blood, that he may die. 13 Thine eye shall not pity him, but thou shaltput away the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, that it may go well with thee.It was one of the precepts given to the sons of Noah that whoso sheddeth man's blood by manshall his blood be shed, that is, by the avenger of blood, Gen. ix. 6. Now here we have the lawsettled between blood and blood, between the blood of the murdered and the blood of the murderer,and effectual provision made,I. That the cities of refuge should be a protection to him that slew another casually, so that heshould not die for that as a crime which was not his voluntary act, but only his unhappiness. Theappointment of these cities of refuge we had before (Exod. xxi. 13), and the law laid down concerningthem at large, Num. xxxv. 10, &c. It is here repeated, and direction is given concerning threethings:—1. The appointing of three cities in Canaan for this purpose. Moses had already appointed threeon that side Jordan which he saw the conquest of; and now he bids them, when they should besettled in the other part of the country, to appoint three more, v. 1-3, 7. The country was to bedivided into three districts, as near by as might be equal, and a city of refuge in the centre of eachso that every corner of the land might have one within reach. Thus Christ is not a refuge at a distance,1167Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)which we must ascend to heaven or go down to the deep for, but the word is nigh us, and Christ inthe word, Rom. x. 8. The gospel brings salvation to our door, and there it knocks for admission.To make the flight of the delinquent the more easy, the way must be prepared that led to the cityof refuge. Probably they had causeways or street-ways leading to those cities, and the Jews say thatthe magistrates of Israel, upon one certain day in the year, sent out messengers to see that thoseroads were in good repair, and they were to remove stumbling-blocks, mend bridges that werebroken, and, where two ways met, they were to set up a Mercurial post, with a finger to point theright way, on which was engraven in great letters, Miklat, Miklat—Refuge, Refuge. In allusion tothis, gospel ministers are to show people the way to Christ, and to assist and direct them in flyingby faith to him for refuge. They must be ready to remove their prejudices, and help them over theirdifficulties. And, blessed be God, the way of holiness, to all that seek it faithfully, is a highway soplain that the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.2. The use to be made of these cities, v. 4-6. (1.) It is supposed that it might so happen that aman might be the death of his neighbour without any design upon him either from a sudden passionor malice prepense, but purely by accident, as by the flying off of an axe-head, which is the instancehere given, with which every case of this kind was to be compared, and by it adjudged. See howhuman life lies exposed daily, and what deaths we are often in, and what need therefore we haveto be always ready, our souls being continually in our hands. How are the sons of men snared inan evil time, when it falls suddenly upon them! Eccl. ix. 12. An evil time indeed it is when thishappens not only to the slain but to the slayer. (2.) It is supposed that the relations of the personslain would be forward to avenge the blood, in affection to their friend and in zeal for public justice.Though the law did not allow the avenging of any other affront or injury with death, yet the avengerof blood, the blood of a relation, shall have great allowances made for the heat of his heart uponsuch a provocation as that, and his killing only, should not be accounted murder if he did it beforehe got to the city of refuge, though it is owned he was not worthy of death. Thus would God possesspeople with a great horror and dread of the sin of murder: if mere chance-medley did thus exposea man, surely he that wilfully does violence to the blood of any person, whether from an old grudgeor upon a sudden provocation, must flee to the pit, and let no man stay him (Prov. xxviii. 17); yetthe New Testament represents the sin of murder as more heinous and more dangerous than eventhis law does. 1 John iii. 15, You know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. (3.) It isprovided that, if an avenger of blood should be so unreasonable as to demand satisfaction for bloodshed by accident only, then the city of refuge should protect the slayer. Sins of ignorance indeeddo expose us to the wrath of God, but there is relief provided, if by faith and repentance we makeuse of it. Paul that had been a persecutor obtained mercy, because he did it ignorantly; and Christprayed for his crucifiers, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.3. The appointing of three cities more for this use in case God should hereafter enlarge theirterritories and the dominion of their religion, that all those places which came under the governmentof the law of Moses in other instances might enjoy the benefit of that law in this instance, v. 8-10.Here is, (1.) An intimation of God's gracious intention to enlarge their coast, as he had promisedto their fathers, if they did not by their disobedience forfeit the promise, the condition of which ishere carefully repeated, that, if it were not performed, the reproach might lie upon them, and noton God. He promised to give it, if thou shalt keep all these commandments; not otherwise. (2.) Adirection to them to appoint three cities more in their new conquests, which, the number intimates,should be as large as their first conquests were; wherever the border of Israel went this privilege1168Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)must attend it, that innocent blood be not shed, v. 10. Though God is the saviour and preserver ofall men, and has a tender regard to all lives, yet the blood of Israelites is in a particular mannerprecious to him, Ps. lxxii. 14. The learned Ainsworth observes that the Jewish writers themselvesown that, the condition not being performed, the promise of the enlarging of their coast was neverfulfilled; so that there was no occasion for ever adding these three cities of refuge; yet the holyblessed God (say they) did not command it in vain, for in the days of Messiah the prince three othercities shall be added to these six: they expect it to be fulfilled in the letter, but we know that inChrist it has its spiritual accomplishment, for the borders of the gospel Israel are enlarged accordingto the promise, and in Christ, the Lord our righteousness, refuge is provided for those that by faithflee to him.II. It is provided that the cities of refuge should be no sanctuary or shelter to a wilful murderer,but even thence he should be fetched, and delivered to the avenger of blood, v. 11-13. 1. This showsthat wilful murder must never be protected by the civil magistrate; he bears the sword of justice invain if he suffers those to escape the edge of it that lie under the guilt of blood, which he by officeis the avenger of. During the dominion of the papacy in our own land, before the Reformation,there were some churches and religious houses (as they called them) that were made sanctuariesfor the protection of all sorts of criminals that fled to them, wilful murderers not excepted, so that(as Stamford says, in his Pleas of the Crown, lib. II. c. xxxviii.) the government follows not Mosesbut Romulus, and it was not till about the latter end of Henry VIII's time that this privilege ofsanctuary for wilful murder was taken away, when in that, as in other cases, the word of God cameto be regarded more than the dictates of the see of Rome. And some have thought it would be acompleting of that instance of reformation if the benefit of clergy were taken away for man-slaughter,that is, the killing of a man upon a small provocation, since this law allowed refuge only in case ofthat which our law calls chance-medley. 2. It may be alluded to to show that in Jesus Christ thereis no refuge for presumptuous sinners, that go on still in their trespasses. If we thus sin wilfully,sin and go on in it, there remains no sacrifice, Heb. x. 26. Those that flee to Christ from their sinsshall be safe in him, but not those that expect to be sheltered by him in their sins. Salvation itselfcannot save such: divine justice will fetch them even from the city of refuge, the protection of whichthey are not entitled to.False Witnesses. (b. c. 1451.)14 Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour's landmark, which they of old time haveset in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the Lord thy Godgiveth thee to possess it. 15 One witness shall not rise up against a man for anyiniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, orat the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established. 16 If a false witnessrise up against any man to testify against him that which is wrong; 17 Then boththe men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before the Lord, before thepriests and the judges, which shall be in those days; 18 And the judges shall makediligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testifiedfalsely against his brother; 19 Then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to havedone unto his brother: so shalt thou put the evil away from among you. 20 And1169Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)those which remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more anysuch evil among you. 21 And thine eye shall not pity; but life shall go for life, eyefor eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.Here is a statute for the preventing of frauds and perjuries; for the divine law takes care ofmen's rights and properties, and has made a hedge about them. Such a friend is it to human societyand men's civil interest.I. A law against frauds, v. 14. 1. Here is an implicit direction given to the first planters ofCanaan to fix land-marks, according to the distribution of the land to the several tribes and familiesby lot. Note, It is the will of God that every one should know his own, and that all good meansshould be used to prevent encroachments and the doing and suffering of wrong. When right issettled, care must be taken that it be not afterwards unsettled, and that, if possible, no occasion ofdispute may arise. 2. An express law to posterity not to remove those land-marks which were thusfixed at first, by which a man secretly got that to himself which was his neighbour's. This, withoutdoubt, is a moral precept, and still binding, and to us it forbids, (1.) The invading of any man'sright, and taking to ourselves that which is not our own, by any fraudulent arts or practices, as byforging, concealing, destroying, or altering deeds and writings (which are our land-marks, to whichappeals are made), or by shifting hedges, meer-stones, and boundaries. Though the land-markswere set by the hand of man, yet he was a thief and a robber by the law of God that removed them.Let every man be content with his own lot, and just to his neighbours, and then we shall have noland-marks removed. (2.) It forbids the sowing of discord among neighbours, and doing any thingto occasion strife and law-suits, which is done (and it is very ill done) by confounding those thingswhich should determine disputes and decide controversies. And, (3.) It forbids breaking in uponthe settled order and constitution of civil government, and the altering of ancient usages withoutjust cause. This law supports the honour of prescriptions. Consuetudo facit jus—Custom is to beheld as law.II. A law against perjuries, which enacts two things:—1. That a single witness should neverbe admitted to give evidence in a criminal cause, so as that sentence should be passed upon histestimony, v. 15. This law we had before, Num. xxxv. 30, and in this book, ch. xvii. 6. This wasenacted in favour to the prisoner, whose life and honour should not lie at the mercy of a particularperson that had a pique against him, and for caution to the accuser not to say that which he couldnot corroborate by the testimony of another. It is a just shame which this law puts upon mankindas false and not to be trusted; every man is by it suspected: and it is the honour of God's grace thatthe record he has given concerning his Son is confirmed both in heaven and in earth by threewitnesses, 1 John v. 7. Let God be true and every man a liar, Rom. iii. 4. 2. That a false witnessshould incur the same punishment which was to have been inflicted upon the person he accused.If two, or three, or many witnesses, concurred in a false testimony, they were all liable to beprosecuted upon this law. (2.) The person wronged or brought into peril by the false testimony issupposed to be the appellant, v. 17. And yet if the person were put to death upon the evidence, andafterwards it appeared to be false, any other person, or the judges themselves, ex officio—by virtueof their office, might call the false witness to account. (3.) Causes of this kind, having more thanordinary difficulty in them, were to be brought before the supreme court, The priests and judges,who are said to be before the Lord, because, as other judges sat in the gates of their cities, so theseat the gate of the sanctuary, ch. xvii. 12. (4.) There must be great care in the trial, v. 18. A diligent1170Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)inquisition must be made into the characters of the persons, and all the circumstances of the case,which must be compared, that the truth might be found out, which, where it is thus faithfully andimpartially enquired into, Providence, it may be hoped, will particularly advance the discovery of.(5.) If it appeared that a man had knowingly and maliciously borne false witness against hisneighbour, though the mischief he designed him thereby was not effected, he must undergo thesame penalty which his evidence would have brought his neighbour under, v. 19. Nec lex est justiorulla—Nor could any law be more just. If the crime he accused his neighbour of was to be punishedwith death, the false witness must be put to death; if with stripes, he must be beaten; if with apecuniary mulct, he was to be fined the sum. And because to those who considered not theheinousness of the crime, and the necessity of making this provision against it, it might seem hardto punish a man so severely for a few words' speaking, especially when no mischief did actuallyfollow, it is added: Thy eye shall not pity, v. 21. No man needs to be more merciful than God. Thebenefit that will accrue to the public from this severity will abundantly recompense it: Those thatremain shall hear and fear, v. 20. Such exemplary punishments will be warnings to others not toattempt any such mischief, when they see how he that made the pit and digged it has fallen intothe ditch which he made.D E U T E R O N O M YCHAP. XX.This chapter settles the militia, and establishes the laws and ordinances of war, I. Relating tothe soldiers. 1. Those must be encouraged that were drawn up to battle, ver. 1-4. 2. Those must bedismissed and sent back again whose private affairs called for their attendance at home (ver. 5-7),or whose weakness and timidity unfitted them for service in the field, ver. 8, 9. II. Relating to theenemies they made war with. 1. The treaties they must make with the cities that were far off, ver.10-15. 2. The destruction they must make of the people into whose land they were going, ver. 16-18.3. The care they must take, in besieging cities, not to destroy the fruit-trees, ver. 19, 20.Directions Concerning War; Persons Excused from War. (b. c. 1451.)1 When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, andchariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the Lord thy Godis with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 2 And it shall be,when ye are come nigh unto the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak untothe people, 3 And shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day untobattle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble,neither be ye terrified because of them; 4 For the Lord your God is he that goethwith you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you. 5 And the officersshall speak unto the people, saying, What man is there that hath built a new house,and hath not dedicated it? let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle,1171Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)and another man dedicate it. 6 And what man is he that hath planted a vineyard,and hath not yet eaten of it? let him also go and return unto his house, lest he die inthe battle, and another man eat of it. 7 And what man is there that hath betrotheda wife, and hath not taken her? let him go and return unto his house, lest he die inthe battle, and another man take her. 8 And the officers shall speak further untothe people, and they shall say, What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted?let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren's heart faint as well as hisheart. 9 And it shall be, when the officers have made an end of speaking unto thepeople, that they shall make captains of the armies to lead the people.Israel was at this time to be considered rather as a camp than as a kingdom, entering upon anenemy's country, and not yet settled in a country of their own; and, besides the war they were nowentering upon in order to their settlement, even after their settlement they could neither protect norenlarge their coast without hearing the alarms of war. It was therefore needful that they should havedirections given them in their military affairs; and in these verses they are directed in managing,marshalling, and drawing up their own forces. And it is observable that the discipline of war hereprescribed is so far from having any thing in it harsh or severe, as is usual in martial law, that theintent of the whole is, on the contrary, to encourage the soldiers, and to make their service easy tothem.I. Those that were disposed to fight must be encouraged and animated against their fears.1. Moses here gives a general encouragement, which the leaders and commanders in the warmust take to themselves: "Be not afraid of them, v. 1. Though the enemy have ever so much theadvantage by their numbers (being more than thou), and by their cavalry (their armies being muchmade up of horses and chariots, which thou art not allowed to multiply), yet decline not coming toa battle with them, dread not the issue, nor doubt of success." Two things they must encouragethemselves with in their wars, provided they kept close to their God and their religion, otherwisethey forfeited these encouragements:—(1.) The presence of God with them: "The Lord thy God iswith thee, and therefore thou art not in danger, nor needest thou be afraid." See Isa. xli. 10. (2.) Theexperience they and their fathers had had of God's power and goodness in bringing them out of theland of Egypt, in defiance of Pharaoh and all his hosts, which was not only in general a proof ofthe divine omnipotence, but to them in particular a pledge of what God would do further for them.He that saved them from those greater enemies would not suffer them to be run down by those thatwere every way less considerable, and thus to have all he had done for them undone again.2. This encouragement must be particularly addressed to the common soldiers by a priestappointed, and, the Jews say, anointed, for that purpose, whom they call the anointed of the war,a very proper title for our anointed Redeemer, the captain of our salvation: This priest, in God'sname, was to animate the people; and who so fit to do that as he whose office it was as priest topray for them? For the best encouragements arise from the precious promises made to the prayerof faith. This priest must, (1.) Charge them not to be afraid (v. 3), for nothing weakens the handsso much as that which makes the heart tremble, v. 3. There is need of precept upon precept to thispurport, as there is here: Let not your hearts be tender (so the word is), to receive all the impressionsof fear, but let a believing confidence in the power and promise of God harden them. Fear not, anddo not make haste (so the word is), for he that believeth doth not make more haste than good speed.1172Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)"Do not make haste either rashly to anticipate your advantages or basely to fly off upon everydisadvantage." (2.) He must assure them of the presence of God with them, to own and plead theirrighteous cause, and not only to save them from their enemies, but to give them victory over them,v. 4. Note, Those have no reason to fear that have God with them. The giving of this encouragementby a priest, one of the Lord's ministers, intimates, [1.] That it is very fit that armies should havechaplains, not only to pray for them, but to preach to them, both to reprove that which would hindertheir success and to raise their hopes of it. [2.] That it is the work of Christ's ministers to encouragehis good soldiers in their spiritual conflict with the world and the flesh, and to assure them of aconquest, yea, more than a conquest, through Christ that loved us.II. Those that were indisposed to fight must be discharged, whether the indisposition did arise,1. From the circumstances of a man's outward condition; as, (1.) If he had lately built orpurchased a new house, and had not taken possession of it, had not dedicated it (v. 5), that is, madea solemn festival for the entertainment of his friends, that came to him to welcome him to his house;let him go home and take the comfort of that which God had blessed him with, till, by enjoying itfor some time, he become less fond of it, and consequently less disturbed in the war by the thoughtsof it, and more willing to lie and leave it. For this is the nature of all our worldly enjoyments, thatthey please us best at first; after a while we see the vanity of them. Some think that this dedicationof their houses was a religious act, and that they took possession of them with prayers and praises,with a solemn devoting of themselves and all their enjoyments to the service and honour of God.David penned the 30th Psalm on such an occasion, as appears by the title. Note, He that has a houseof his own should dedicate it to God by setting up and keeping up the fear and worship of God init, that he may have a church in his house; and nothing should be suffered to divert a man fromthis. Or, (2.) If a man had been at a great expense to plant a vineyard, and longed to eat of the fruitof it, which for the first three years he was forbidden to do by the law (Lev. xix. 23, &c.), let himgo home, if he has a mind, and gratify his own humour with the fruits of it, v. 6. See how indulgentGod is to his people in innocent things, and how far from being a hard Master. Since we naturallycovet to eat the labour of our hands, rather than an Israelite should be crossed therein, his servicein war shall be dispensed with., Or, (3.) If a man had made up his mind to be married, and themarriage were not solemnized, he was at liberty to return (v. 7), as also to tarry at home for oneyear after marriage (ch. xxiv. 5), for the terrors of war would be disagreeable to a man who hadjust welcomed the soft scene of domestic attachment. And God would not be served in his wars bypressed men, that were forced into the army against their will, but they must all be perfectlyvolunteers. Ps. cx. 3, Thy people shall be willing. In running the Christian race, and fighting thegood fight of faith, we must lay aside every weight, and all that which would clog and divert ourminds and make us unwilling. The Jewish writers agree that this liberty to return was allowed onlyin those wars which they made voluntarily (as bishop Patrick expresses it), not those which weremade by the divine command against Amalek and the Canaanites, in which every man was boundto fight.2. If a man's indisposition to fight arose from the weakness and timidity of his own spirit, hehad leave to return from the war, v. 8. This proclamation Gideon made to his army, and it detachedabove two-thirds of them, Judg. vii. 3. Some make the fearfulness and faintheartedness here supposedto arise from the terrors of an evil conscience, which would make a man afraid to look death anddanger in the face. It was then thought that men of loose and profligate lives would not be goodsoldiers, but must needs be both cowards in an army and curses to it, the shame and trouble of the1173Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)camp; and therefore those who were conscious to themselves of notorious guilt were shaken off.But it seems rather to be meant of a natural fearfulness. It was partly in kindness to them that theyhad their discharge (for, though shamed, they were eased); but much more in kindness to the restof the army, who were hereby freed from the incumbrance of such as were useless and unserviceable,while the danger of infection from their cowardice and flight was prevented. This is the reason heregiven: Lest his brethren's heart fail as well as his heart. Fear is catching, and in an army is of mostpernicious consequence. We must take heed that we fear not the fear of those that are afraid, Isa.viii. 12.III. It is here ordered that, when all the cowards were dismissed, then captains should benominated (v. 9), for it was in a special manner necessary that the leaders and commanders shouldbe men of courage. That reform therefore must be made when the army was first mustered andmarshalled. The soldiers of Christ have need of courage, that they may quit themselves like men,and endure hardness like good soldiers, especially the officers of his army.Proclamations of War; Directions Concerning War. (b. c. 1451.)10 When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peaceunto it. 11 And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee,then it shall be, that all the people that is found therein shall be tributaries unto thee,and they shall serve thee. 12 And if it will make no peace with thee, but will makewar against thee, then thou shalt besiege it: 13 And when the Lord thy God hathdelivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge ofthe sword: 14 But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is inthe city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eatthe spoil of thine enemies, which the Lord thy God hath given thee. 15 Thus shaltthou do unto all the cities which are very far off from thee, which are not of thecities of these nations. 16 But of the cities of these people, which the Lord thy Goddoth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth: 17But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, theCanaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the Lord thy Godhath commanded thee: 18 That they teach you not to do after all their abominations,which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the Lord your God.19 When thou shalt besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it,thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by forcing an axe against them: for thoumayest eat of them, and thou shalt not cut them down (for the tree of the field isman's life) to employ them in the siege: 20 Only the trees which thou knowest thatthey be not trees for meat, thou shalt destroy and cut them down; and thou shaltbuild bulwarks against the city that maketh war with thee, until it be subdued.They are here directed what method to take in dealing with the cities (these only are mentioned,v. 10, but doubtless the armies in the field, and the nations they had occasion to deal with, arelikewise intended) upon which they made war. They must not make a descent upon any of their1174Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)neighbours till they had first given them fair notice, by a public manifesto, or remonstrance, statingthe ground of their quarrel with them. In dealing with the worst of enemies, the laws of justice andhonour must be observed; and, as the sword must never be taken in hand without cause, so notwithout cause shown. War is an appeal, in which the merits of the cause must be set forth.I. Even to the proclamation of war must be subjoined a tender of peace, if they would acceptof it upon reasonable terms. That is (say the Jewish writers), "upon condition that they renounceidolatry, worship the God of Israel, as proselytes of the gate that were not circumcised, pay to theirnew masters a yearly tribute, and submit to their government:" on these terms the process of warshould be stayed, and their conquerors, upon this submission, were to be their protectors, v. 10, 11.Some think that even the seven nations of Canaan were to have this offer of peace made to them;and the offer was no jest or mockery, though it was of the Lord to harden their hearts that theyshould not accept it, Josh. xi. 20. Others think that they are excluded (v. 16) not only from thebenefit of that law (v. 13) which confines military execution to the males only, but from the benefitof this also, which allows not to make war till peace was refused. And I see not how they couldproclaim peace to those who by the law were to be utterly rooted out, and to whom they were toshow no mercy, ch. vii. 2. But for any other nation which they made war upon, for the enlargingof their coast, the avenging of any wrong done, or the recovery of any right denied, they must firstproclaim peace to the. Let this show, 1. God's grace in dealing with sinners: though he might mostjustly and easily destroy them, yet, having no pleasure in their ruin, he proclaims peace, andbeseeches them to be reconciled; so that those who lie most obnoxious to his justice, and ready tofall as sacrifices to it, if they make him an answer of peace, and open to him, upon condition thatthey will be tributaries and servants to him, shall not only be saved from ruin, but incorporatedwith his Israel, as fellow-citizens with the saints. 2. Let it show us our duty in dealing with ourbrethren: if any quarrel happen, let us not only be ready to hearken to the proposals of peace, butforward to make such proposals. We should never make use of the law till we have first tried toaccommodate matters in variance amicably, and without expense and vexation. We must be forpeace, whoever are for war.II. If the offers of peace were not accepted, then they must proceed to push on the war. Andlet those to whom God offers peace know that if they reject the offer, and take not the benefit of itwithin the time limited, judgment will rejoice against mercy in the execution as much as now mercyrejoices against judgment in the reprieve. In this case, 1. There is a promise implied that they shouldbe victorious. It is taken for granted that the Lord their God would deliver it into their hands, v.13. Note, Those enterprises which we undertake by a divine warrant, and prosecute by divinedirection, we may expect to succeed in. If we take God's method, we shall have his blessing. 2.They are ordered, in honour to the public justice, to put all the soldiers to the sword, for them Iunderstand by every male (v. 13), all that bore arms (as all then did that were able); but the spoilthey are allowed to take to themselves (v. 14), in which were reckoned the women and children.Note, A justifiable property is acquired in that which is won in lawful war. God himself owns thetitle: The Lord thy God gives it thee; and therefore he must be owned in it, Ps. xliv. 3.III. The nations of Canaan are excepted from the merciful provisions made by this law.Remnants might be left of the cities that were very far off (v. 15), because by them they were notin so much danger of being infected with idolatry, nor was their country so directly and immediatelyintended in the promise; but of the cities which were given to Israel for an inheritance no remnantsmust be left of their inhabitants (v. 16), for it put a slight upon the promise to admit Canaanites to1175Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)share with them in the peculiar land of promise; and for another reason they must be utterly destroyed(v. 17), because, since it could not be expected that they should be cured of their idolatry, if theywere left with that plague-sore upon them they would be in danger of infecting God's Israel, whowere too apt to take the infection: They will teach you to do after their abominations (v. 18), tointroduce their customs into the worship of the God of Israel, and by degrees to forsake him andto worship false gods; for those that dare violate the second commandment will not long keep tothe first. Strange worships open the door to strange deities.IV. Care is here taken that in the besieging of cities there should not be any destruction madeof fruit-trees, v. 19-20. In those times, when besiegers forced their way, not as now with bombsand cannon-ball, but with battering rams, they had occasion for much timber in carrying on theirsieges: now because, in the heat of war, men are not apt to consider, as they ought, the public good,it is expressly provided that fruit-trees should not be used as timber-trees. That reason, for the treeof the field is man's (the word life we supply), all the ancient versions, the Septuagint, Targums,&c., read, For is the tree of the field a man? Or the tree of the field is not a man, that it should comeagainst thee in the siege, or retire from thee into the bulwark. "Do not brutishly vent thy rage againstthe trees that can do thee no harm." But our translation seems most agreeable to the intent of thelaw, and it teaches us, 1. That God is a better friend to man than man is to himself; and God's law,which we are apt to complain of as a heavy yoke, consults our interest and comfort, while our ownappetites and passions, of which we are so indulgent, are really enemies to our welfare. The intentof many of the divine precepts is to restrain us from destroying that which is our life and food. 2.That armies and their commanders are not allowed to make what desolation they please in thecountries that are the seat of war. Military rage must always be checked and ruled with reason.War, though carried on with ever so much caution, is destructive enough, and should not be mademore so than is absolutely necessary. Generous spirits will show themselves tender, not only ofmen's lives, but of their livelihoods; for, though the life is more than meat, yet it will soon be nothingwithout meat. 3. The Jews understand this as a prohibition of all wilful waste upon any accountwhatsoever. No fruit-tree is to be destroyed unless it be barren, and cumber the ground. "Nay,"they maintain, "whoso wilfully breaks vessels, tears clothes, stops wells, pulls down buildings, ordestroys meat, transgresses this law: Thou shalt not destroy." Christ took care that the broken meatshould be gathered up, that nothing might be lost. Every creature of God is good, and, as nothingis to be refused, so nothing is to be abused. We may live to want what we carelessly waste.D E U T E R O N O M YCHAP. XXI.In this chapter provision is made, I. For the putting away of the guilt of blood from the land,when he that shed it had fled from justice, ver. 1-9. II. For the preserving of the honour of a captivemaid, ver. 10-14. III. For the securing of the right of a first-born son, though he were not a favourite,ver. 15-17. IV. For the restraining and punishing of a rebellious son, ver. 18-21. V. For the1176Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)maintaining of the honour of human bodies, which must not be hanged in chains, but decentlyburied, even the bodies of the worst malefactors, ver. 22, 23.Undetected Murder. (b. c. 1451.)1 If one be found slain in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee to possessit, lying in the field, and it be not known who hath slain him: 2 Then thy eldersand thy judges shall come forth, and they shall measure unto the cities which areround about him that is slain: 3 And it shall be, that the city which is next unto theslain man, even the elders of that city shall take a heifer, which hath not been wroughtwith, and which hath not drawn in the yoke; 4 And the elders of that city shallbring down the heifer unto a rough valley, which is neither eared nor sown, and shallstrike off the heifer's neck there in the valley: 5 And the priests the sons of Levishall come near; for them the Lord thy God hath chosen to minister unto him, andto bless in the name of the Lord; and by their word shall every controversy and everystroke be tried: 6 And all the elders of that city, that are next unto the slain man,shall wash their hands over the heifer that is beheaded in the valley: 7 And theyshall answer and say, Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seenit. 8 Be merciful, O Lord, unto thy people Israel, whom thou hast redeemed, andlay not innocent blood unto thy people of Israel's charge. And the blood shall beforgiven them. 9 So shalt thou put away the guilt of innocent blood from amongyou, when thou shalt do that which is right in the sight of the Lord.Care had been taken by some preceding laws for the vigorous and effectual persecution of awilful murderer (ch. xix. 11, &c.), the putting of whom to death was the putting away of the guiltof blood from the land; but if this could not be done, the murderer not being discovered, they mustnot think that the land was in no danger of contracting any pollution because it was not throughany neglect of theirs that the murderer was unpunished; no, a great solemnity is here provided forthe putting away of the guilt, as an expression of their dread and detestation of that sin.I. The case supposed is that one is found slain, and it is not known who slew him, v. 1. Theprovidence of God has sometimes wonderfully brought to light these hidden works of darkness,and by strange occurrences the sin of the guilty has found them out, insomuch that it has becomea proverb, Murder will out. But it is not always so; now and then the devil's promises of secresyand impunity in this world are made good; yet it is but for a while: there is a time coming whensecret murders will be discovered; the earth shall disclose her blood (Isa. xxvi. 21), upon theinquisition which justice makes for it; and there is an eternity coming when those that escapedpunishment from men will lie under the righteous judgment of God. And the impunity with whichso many murders and other wickednesses are committed in this world makes it necessary that thereshould be a day of judgment, to require that which is past, Eccl. iii. 15.II. Directions are given concerning what is to be done in this case. Observe,1. It is taken for granted that a diligent search had been made for the murderer, witnessesexamined, and circumstances strictly enquired into, that if possible they might find out the guiltyperson; but if, after all, they could not trace it out, not fasten the charge upon any, then, (1.) The1177Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)elders of the next city (that had a court of three and twenty in it) were to concern themselves aboutthis matter. If it were doubtful which city was next, the great sanhedrim were to send commissionersto determine that matter by an exact measure, v. 2, 3. Note, Public persons must be solicitous aboutthe public good; and those that are in power and reputation in cities must lay out themselves toredress grievances, and reform what is amiss in the country and neighbourhood that lie about them.Those that are next to them should have the largest share of their good influence, as ministers ofGod for good. (2.) The priests and Levites must assist and preside in this solemnity (v. 5), that theymight direct the management of it in all points according to the law, and particularly might be thepeople's mouth to God in the prayer that was to be put up on this sad occasion, v. 8. God beingIsrael's King, his ministers must be their magistrates, and by their word, as the mouth of the courtand learned in the laws, every controversy must be tried. It was Israel's privilege that they had suchguides, overseers, and rulers, and their duty to make use of them upon all occasions, especially insacred things, as this was. (3.) They were to bring a heifer down into a rough and unoccupied valley,and to kill it there, v. 3, 4. This was not a sacrifice (for it was not brought to the altar), but a solemnprotestation that thus they would put the murderer to death if they had him in their hands. The heifermust be one that had not drawn in the yoke, to signify (say some) that the murderer was a son ofBelial; it must be brought into a rough valley, to signify the horror of the fact, and that the defilementwhich blood brings upon a land turns it into barrenness. And the Jews say that unless, after this,the murderer was found out, this valley where the heifer was killed was never to be tilled nor sown.(4.) The elders were to wash their hands in water over the heifer that was killed, and to profess,not only that they had not shed this innocent blood themselves, but that they knew not who had (v.6, 7), nor had knowingly concealed the murderer, helped him to make his escape, or been any wayaiding or abetting. To this custom David alludes, Ps. xxvi. 6, I will wash my hands in innocency;but if Pilate had any eye to it (Matt. xxvii. 24) he wretchedly misapplied it when he condemnedChrist, knowing him to be innocent, and yet acquitted himself from the guilt of innocent blood.Protestatio non valet contra factum—Protestations are of no avail when contradicted by fact. (5.)The priests were to pray to God for the country and nation, that God would be merciful to them,and not bring upon them the judgments which the connivance at the sin of murder would deserve.It might be presumed that the murderer was either one of their city or was now harboured in theircity; and therefore they must pray that they might not fare the worse for his being among them,Num. xvi. 22. Be merciful, O Lord, to thy people Israel, v. 8. Note, When we hear of the wickednessof the wicked we have need to cry earnestly to God for mercy for our land, which groans andtrembles under it. We must empty the measure by our prayers which others are filling by their sins.Now,2. This solemnity was appointed, (1.) That it might give occasion to common and publicdiscourse concerning the murder, which perhaps might some way or other occasion the discoveryof it. (2.) That it might possess people with a dread of the guilt of blood, which defiles not only theconscience of him that sheds it (this should engage us all to pray with David, Deliver me fromblood—guiltiness), but the land in which it is shed; it cries to the magistrate for justice on thecriminal, and, if that cry be not heard, it cries to heaven for judgment on the land. If there must beso much care employed to save the land from guilt when the murderer was not known, it wascertainly impossible to secure it from guilt if the murderer was known and yet protected. All wouldbe taught, by this solemnity, to use their utmost care and diligence to prevent, discover, and punishmurder. Even the heathen mariners dreaded the guilt of blood, Jon. i. 14. (3.) That we might all1178Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)learn to take heed of partaking in other men's sins, and making ourselves accessory to them ex postfacto—after the fact, by countenancing the sin or sinner, and not witnessing against it in our places.We have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness if we do not reprove them rather, andbear our testimony against them. The repentance of the church of Corinth for the sin of one of theirmembers produced such a carefulness, such a clearing of themselves, such a holy indignation, fear,and revenge (2 Cor. vii. 11), as were signified by the solemnity here appointed.The Case of Captive Women. (b. c. 1451.)10 When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the Lord thy Godhath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive, 11 Andseest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thouwouldest have her to thy wife; 12 Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house;and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails; 13 And she shall put the raimentof her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her fatherand her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be herhusband, and she shall be thy wife. 14 And it shall be, if thou have no delight inher, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all formoney, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her.By this law a soldier is allowed to marry his captive if he pleased. For the hardness of theirhearts Moses gave them this permission, lest, if they had not had liberty given them to marry such,they should have taken liberty to defile themselves with them, and by such wickedness the campwould have been troubled. The man is supposed to have a wife already, and to take this wife for asecondary wife, as the Jews called them. This indulgence of men's inordinate desires, in which theirhearts walked after their eyes, is by no means agreeable to the law of Christ, which therefore inthis respect, among others, far exceeds in glory the law of Moses. The gospel permits not him thathas one wife to take another, for from the beginning it was not so. The gospel forbids looking upona woman, though a beautiful one, to lust after her, and commands the mortifying and denying ofall irregular desires, though it be as uneasy as the cutting off of a right hand; so much does our holyreligion, more than that of the Jews, advance the honour and support the dominion of the soul overthe body, the spirit over the flesh, consonant to the glorious discovery it makes of life andimmortality, and the better hope.But, though military men were allowed this liberty, yet care is here taken that they should notabuse it, that is,I. That they should not abuse themselves by doing it too hastily, though the captive was everso desirable: "If thou wouldest have her to thy wife (v. 10, 11), it is true thou needest not ask herparents' consent, for she is thy captive, and is at thy disposal. But, 1. Thou shalt have no familiarintercourse till thou hast married her." This allowance was designed to gratify, not a filthy brutishlust, in the heat and fury of its rebellion against reason and virtue, but an honourable and generousaffection to a comely and amiable person, though in distress; therefore he may make her his wifeif he will, but he must not deal with her as with a harlot. 2. "Thou shalt not marry her of a sudden,but keep her a full month in thy house," v. 12, 13. This he must do either, (1.) That he may try totake his affection off from her; for he must know that, though in marrying her he does not do ill1179Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)(so the law then stood), yet in letting her alone he does much better. Let her therefore shave herhead, that he might not be enamoured with her locks, and let her nails grow (so the margin readsit), to spoil the beauty of her hand. Quisquid amas cupias non placuisse nimis—We should moderateour affection for those things which we are tempted to love inordinately. Or rather, (2.) This wasdone in token of her renouncing idolatry, and becoming a proselyte to the Jewish religion. Theshaving of her head, the paring of her nails, and the changing of her apparel, signified her puttingoff her former conversation, which was corrupt in her ignorance, that she might become a newcreature. She must remain in his house to be taught the good knowledge of the Lord and the worshipof him: and the Jews say that if she refused, and continued obstinate in idolatry, he must not marryher. Note, The professors of religion must not be unequally yoked with unbelievers, 2 Cor. vi. 14.II. That they should not abuse the poor captive. 1. She must have time to bewail her father andmother, from whom she was separated, and without whose consent and blessing she is now likelyto be married, and perhaps to a common soldier of Israel, though in her country ever so nobly bornand bred. To force a marriage till these sorrows were digested, and in some measure got over, andshe was better reconciled to the land of her captivity by being better acquainted with it, would bevery unkind. She must not bewail her idols, but be glad to part with them; to her near and dearrelations only her affection must be thus indulged. 2. If, upon second thoughts, he that had broughther to his house with a purpose to marry her changed his mind and would not marry her, he mightnot make merchandise of her, as of his other prisoners, but must give her liberty to return, if shepleased, to her own country, because he had humbled her and afflicted her, by raising expectationsand then disappointing them (v. 14); having made a fool of her, he might not make a prey of her.This intimates how binding the laws of justice and honour are, particularly in the pretensions oflove, the courting of affections, and the promises of marriage, which are to be looked upon assolemn things, that have something sacred in them, and therefore are not to be jested with.The Right of the Firstborn. (b. c. 1451.)15 If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have bornhim children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers thatwas hated: 16 Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which hehath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of thehated, which is indeed the firstborn: 17 But he shall acknowledge the son of thehated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he isthe beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.This law restrains men from disinheriting their eldest sons out of mere caprice, and withoutjust provocation.I. The case here put (v. 15) is very instructive. 1. It shows the great mischief of having morewives than one, which the law of Moses did not restrain, probably in hopes that men's own experienceof the great inconvenience of it in families would at last put an end to it and make them a law tothemselves. Observe the supposition here: If a man have two wives, it is a thousand to one but oneof them is beloved and the other hated (that is, manifestly loved less) as Leah was by Jacob, andthe effect of this cannot but be strifes and jealousies, envy, confusion, and every evil work, whichcould not but create a constant uneasiness and vexation to the husband, and involve him both insin and trouble. Those do much better consult their own ease and satisfaction who adhere to God's1180Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)law than those who indulge their own lusts. 2. It shows how Providence commonly sides with theweakest, and gives more abundant honour to that part which lacked; for the first-born son is heresupposed to be hers that was hated; it was so in Jacob's family: because the Lord saw that Leahwas hated, Gen. xxix. 31. The great householder wisely gives to each his dividend of comfort; ifone had the honour to be the beloved wife, it often proved that the other had the honour to be themother of the first-born.II. The law in this case is still binding on parents; they must give their children their rightwithout partiality. In the case supposed, the eldest son, though the son of the less-beloved wife,must have his birthright privilege, which was a double portion of the father's estate, because hewas the beginning of his strength that is, in him his family began to be strengthened and his quiverbegan to be filled with the arrows of a mighty man (Ps. cxxvii. 4), and therefore the right of thefirst-born is his, v. 16, 17. Jacob had indeed deprived Reuben of his birthright, and given it toJoseph, but it was because Reuben had forfeited the birthright by his incest, not because he wasthe son of the hated; now, lest that which Jacob did justly should be drawn into a precedent forothers to do the same thing unjustly, it is here provided that when the father makes his will, orotherwise settled his estate, the child shall not fare the worse for the mother's unhappiness in havingless of her husband's love, for that was not the child's fault. Note, (1.) Parents ought to make noother difference in dispensing their affections among their children than what they see plainly Godmakes in dispensing his grace among them. (2.) Since it is the providence of God that makes heirs,the disposal of providence in that matter must be acquiesced in and not opposed. No son should beabandoned by his father till he manifestly appear to be abandoned of God, which is hard to say ofany while there is life.Punishment of a Rebellious Son; Burial of Malefactors. (b. c. 1451.)18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice ofhis father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, willnot hearken unto them: 19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him,and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; 20 Andthey shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, hewill not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. 21 And all the men of hiscity shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from amongyou; and all Israel shall hear, and fear. 22 And if a man have committed a sin worthyof death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: 23 His bodyshall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day;(for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which theLord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.Here is, I. A law for the punishing of a rebellious son. Having in the former law provided thatparents should not deprive their children of their right, it was fit that it should next be provided thatchildren withdraw not the honour and duty which are owing to their parents, for there is no partialityin the divine law. Observe,1. How the criminal is here described. He is a stubborn and rebellious son, v. 18. No child wasto fare the worse for the weakness of his capacity, the slowness or dulness of his understanding,1181Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)but for his wilfulness and obstinacy. If he carry himself proudly and insolently towards his parents,contemn their authority, slight their reproofs and admonitions, disobey the express commands theygive him for his own good, hate to be reformed by the correction they give him, shame their family,grieve their hearts, waste their substance, and threaten to ruin their estate by riotous living—thisis a stubborn and rebellious son. He is particularly supposed (v. 20) to be a glutton or a drunkard.This intimates either, (1.) That these were sins which his parents did in a particular manner warnhim against, and therefore that in these instances there was a plain evidence that he did not obeytheir voice. Lemuel had this charge from his mother, Prov. xxxi. 4. Note, In the education of children,great care should be taken to suppress all inclinations to drunkenness, and to keep them out of theway of temptations to it; in order hereunto they should be possessed betimes with a dread anddetestation of that beastly sin, and taught betimes to deny themselves. Or, (2.) That his being aglutton and a drunkard was the cause of his insolence and obstinacy towards his parents. Note,There is nothing that draws men into all manner of wickedness, and hardens them in it, morecertainly and fatally than drunkenness does. When men take to drink they forget the law, they forgetall law (Prov. xxxi. 5), even that fundamental law of honouring parents.2. How this criminal is to be proceeded against. His own father and mother are to be hisprosecutors, v. 19, 20. They might not put him to death themselves, but they must complain of himto the elders of the city, and the complaint must needs be made with a sad heart: This our son isstubborn and rebellious. Note, Those that give up themselves to vice and wickedness, and will notbe reclaimed, forfeit their interest in the natural affections of the nearest relations; the instrumentsof their being justly become the instruments of their destruction. The children that forget their dutymust thank themselves and not blame their parents if they are regarded with less and less affection.And, how difficult soever tender parents now find it to reconcile themselves to the just punishmentof their rebellious children, in the day of the revelation of the righteous judgment of God all naturalaffection will be so entirely swallowed up in divine love that they will acquiesce even in thecondemnation of those children, because God will be therein for ever glorified.3. What judgment is to be executed upon him: he must publicly stoned to death by the men ofhis city, v. 21. And thus, (1.) The paternal authority was supported, and God, our common Father,showed himself jealous for it, it being one of the first and most ancient streams derived from himthat is the fountain of all power. (2.) This law, if duly executed, would early destroy the wicked ofthe land. (Ps. ci. 8), and prevent the spreading of the gangrene, by cutting off the corrupt partbetimes; for those that were bad members of families would never make good members of thecommonwealth. (3.) It would strike an awe upon children, and frighten them into obedience to theirparents, if they would not otherwise be brought to their duty and kept in it: All Israel shall hear.The Jews say, "The elders that condemned him were to send notice of it in writing all the nationover, In such a court, such a day, we stoned such a one, because he was a stubborn and rebelliousson." And I have sometimes wished that as in all our courts there is an exact record kept of thecondemnation of criminals, in perpetuam rei memoriam—that the memorial may never be lost, sothere might be public and authentic notice given in print to the kingdom of such condemnations,and the executions upon them, by the elders themselves, in terrorem—that all may hear and fear.II. A law for the burying of the bodies of malefactors that were hanged, v. 22. The hanging ofthem by the neck till the body was dead was not used at all among the Jews, as with us; but of suchas were stoned to death, if it were for blasphemy, or some other very execrable crime, it was usual,by order of the judges, to hang up the dead bodies upon a post for some time, as a spectacle to the1182Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)world, to express the ignominy of the crime, and to strike the greater terror upon others, that theymight not only hear and fear, but see and fear. Now it is here provided that, whatever time of theday they were thus hanged up, at sun-set they should be taken down and buried, and not left to hangout all night; sufficient (says the law) to such a man is this punishment; hitherto let it go, but nofurther. Let the malefactor and his crime be hidden in the grave. Now, 1. God would thus preservethe honour of human bodies and tenderness towards the worst of criminals. The time of exposingdead bodies thus is limited for the same reason that the number of stripes was limited by anotherlaw: Lest thy brother seem vile unto thee. Punishing beyond death God reserves to himself; as forman, there is no more that he can do. Whether therefore the hanging of malefactors in chains, andsetting up their heads and quarters, be decent among Christians that look for the resurrection of thebody, may perhaps be worth considering. 2. Yet it is plain there was something ceremonial in it;by the law of Moses the touch of a dead body was defiling, and therefore dead bodies must not beleft hanging up in the country, because, by the same rule, this would defile the land. But, 3. Thereis one reason here given which has reference to Christ. He that is hanged is accursed of God, thatis, it is the highest degree of disgrace and reproach that can be done to a man, and proclaims himunder the curse of God as much as any external punishment can. Those that see him thus hangbetween heaven and earth will conclude him abandoned of both and unworthy of either; and thereforelet him not hang all night, for that would carry it too far. Now the apostle, showing how Christ hasredeemed us from the curse of the law by being himself made a curse for us, illustrates it bycomparing the brand here put on him that was hanged on a tree with the death of Christ, Gal. iii.13. Moses, by the Spirit, uses this phrase of being accursed of God, when he means no more thanbeing treated most ignominiously, that it might afterwards be applied to the death of Christ, andmight show that in it he underwent the curse of the law for us, which is a great enhancement of hislove and a great encouragement to our faith in him. And (as the excellent bishop Patrick wellobserves) this passage is applied to the death of Christ, not only because he bore our sins and wasexposed to shame, as these malefactors were that were accursed of God, but because he was in theevening taken down from the cursed tree and buried (and that by the particular care of the Jews,with an eye to this law, John xix. 31), in token that now, the guilt being removed, the law wassatisfied, as it was when the malefactor had hanged till sun-set; it demanded no more. Then heceased to be a curse, and those that were his. And, as the land of Israel was pure and clean whenthe dead body was buried, so the church is washed and cleansed by the complete satisfaction whichthus Christ made.D E U T E R O N O M YCHAP. XXII.The laws of this chapter provide, I. For the preservation of charity and good neighbourship,in the care of strayed or fallen cattle, ver. 1-4. II. For the preservation of order and distinction, thatmen and women should not wear one another's clothes (ver. 5), and that other needless mixturesshould be avoided, ver. 9-11. III. For the preservation of birds, ver. 6, 7. IV. Of life, ver. 8. V. Of1183Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)the commandments, ver. 12. VI. Of the reputation of a wife abused, if she were innocent (ver.13-19), but for her punishment if guilty, ver. 20, 21. VII. For the preservation of the chastity ofwives, ver. 22. Virgins betrothed (ver. 23-27), or not betrothed, ver. 28, 29. And, lastly, againstincest, ver. 30.Kindness and Humanity. (b. c. 1451.)1 Thou shalt not see thy brother's ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself fromthem: thou shalt in any case bring them again unto thy brother. 2 And if thy brotherbe not nigh unto thee, or if thou know him not, then thou shalt bring it unto thineown house, and it shall be with thee until thy brother seek after it, and thou shaltrestore it to him again. 3 In like manner shalt thou do with his ass; and so shaltthou do with his raiment; and with all lost thing of thy brother's, which he hath lost,and thou hast found, shalt thou do likewise: thou mayest not hide thyself. 4 Thoushalt not see thy brother's ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide thyself fromthem: thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again.The kindness that was commanded to be shown in reference to an enemy (Exod. xxxiii. 4, &c.)is here required to be much more done for a neighbour, though he were not an Israelite, for the lawis consonant to natural equity. 1. That strayed cattle should be brought back, either to the owner orto the pasture out of which they had gone astray, v. 1, 2. This must be done in pity to the very cattle,which, while they wandered, were exposed; and in civility and respect to the owner, nay, and injustice to him, for it was doing as we would be done by, which is one of the fundamental laws ofequity. Note, Religion teaches us to be neighbourly, and to be ready to do all good offices, as wehave opportunity, to all men. In doing this, (1.) They must not mind trouble, but, if they knew whothe owner was, must take it back themselves; for, if they should only send notice to the owner tocome and look after it himself, some mischief might befal it ere he could reach it. (2.) They mustnot mind expense, but, if they knew not who the owner was, must take it home and feed it till theowner was found. If such care must be taken of a neighbour's ox or ass going astray, much moreof himself going astray from God and his duty; we should do our utmost to convert him (Jam. v.19), and restore him, considering ourselves, Gal. vi. 1. 2. That lost goods should be brought to theowner, v. 3. The Jews say, "He that found the lost goods was to give public notice of them by thecommon crier three or four times," according to the usage with us; if the owner could not be found,he that found the goods might convert them to his own use; but (say some learned writers in thiscase) he would do very well to give the value of the goods to the poor. 3. That cattle in distressshould be helped, v. 4. This must be done both in compassion to the brute-creatures (for a mercifulman regardeth the life of a beast, though it be not his own) and in love and friendship to ourneighbour, not knowing how soon we may have occasion for his help. If one member may say toanother, "I have at present no need of thee," it cannot say, "I never shall."Various Prohibitions. (b. c. 1451.)5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall aman put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thyGod. 6 If a bird's nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the1184Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young,or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young: 7 But thou shalt inany wise let the dam go, and take the young to thee; that it may be well with thee,and that thou mayest prolong thy days. 8 When thou buildest a new house, thenthou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house,if any man fall from thence. 9 Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds:lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, bedefiled. 10 Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together. 11 Thou shalt notwear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together. 12 Thou shaltmake thee fringes upon the four quarters of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverestthyself.Here are several laws in these verses which seem to stoop very low, and to take cognizance ofthings mean and minute. Men's laws commonly do not so: De minimis non curat lex—The lawtakes no cognizance of little things; but because God's providence extends itself to the smallestaffairs, his precepts do so, that even in them we may be in the fear of the Lord, as we are under hiseye and care. And yet the significancy and tendency of these statutes, which seem little, are suchthat, notwithstanding their minuteness, being fond among the things of God's law, which he haswritten to us, they are to be accounted great things.I. The distinction of sexes by the apparel is to be kept up, for the preservation of our own andour neighbour's chastity, v. 5. Nature itself teaches that a difference be made between them in theirhair (1 Cor. xi. 14), and by the same rule in their clothes, which therefore ought not to be confounded,either in ordinary wear or occasionally. To befriend a lawful escape or concealment it may be done,but whether for sport or in the acting of plays is justly questionable. 1. Some think it refers to theidolatrous custom of the Gentiles: in the worship of Venus, women appeared in armour, and menin women's clothes; this, as other such superstitious usages, is here said to be an abomination tothe Lord. 2. It forbids the confounding of the dispositions and affairs of the sexes: men must notbe effeminate, nor do the women's work in the house, nor must women be viragos, pretend to teach,or usurp authority, 1 Tim. ii. 11, 12. Probably this confounding of garments had been used to gainopportunity of committing uncleanness, and is therefore forbidden; for those that would be keptfrom sin must keep themselves from all occasions of it and approaches to it.II. In taking a bird's-nest, the dam must be let go, v. 6, 7. The Jews say, "This is the least ofall the commandments of the law of Moses," and yet the same promise is here made to the observanceof it that is made to the keeping of the fifth commandment, which is one of the greatest, that it maybe well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days; for, as disobedience in a small mattershows a very great contempt of the law, so obedience in a small matter shows a very great regardto it. He that let go a bird out of his hand (which was worth two in the bush) purely because Godbade him, in that made it to appear that he esteemed all God's precepts concerning all things to beright, and that he could deny himself rather than sin against God. But doth God take care for birds?1 Cor. ix. 9. Yes, certainly; and perhaps to this law our Saviour alludes. Luke xii. 6, Are not fivesparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? This law, 1. Forbidsus to be cruel to the brute-creatures, or to take a pleasure in destroying them. Though God has madeus wiser than the fowls of heaven, and given us dominion over them, yet we must not abuse them1185Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)nor rule them with rigour. Let go the dam to breed again; destroy it not, for a blessing is in it, Isa.lxv. 8. 2. It teaches us compassion to those of our own kind, and to abhor the thought of every thingthat looks barbarous, and cruel, and ill-natured, especially towards those of the weaker and tendersex, which always ought to be treated with the utmost respect, in consideration of the sorrowswherein they bring forth children. It is spoken of as an instance of the most inhuman cruelty thatthe mother was dashed to pieces upon her children (Hos. x. 14), and that the women with childwere ripped open, Amos i. 13. 3. It further intimates that we must not take advantage against any,from their natural affection and the tenderness of their disposition, to do them an injury. The damcould not have been taken if her concern for her eggs or young (unlike to the ostrich) had notdetained her upon the next when otherwise she could easily have secured herself by flight. Now,since it is a thousand pities that she should fare the worse for that which is her praise, the law takescare that she shall be let go. The remembrance of this may perhaps, some time or other, keep usfrom doing a hard or unkind thing to those whom we have at our mercy.III. In building a house, care must be taken to make it safe, that none might receive mischiefby falling from it, v. 8. The roofs of their houses were flat for people to walk on, as appears bymany scriptures; now lest any, through carelessness, should fall off them, they must compass themwith battlements, which (the Jews say) must be three feet and a half high; if this were not done,and mischief followed, the owner, by his neglect, brought the guilt of blood upon his house. Seehere, 1. How precious men's lives are to God, who protects them, not only by his providence, butby his law. 2. How precious, therefore, they ought to be to us, and what care we should take toprevent hurt from coming to any person. The Jews say that by the equity of this law they wereobliged (and so are we too) to fence, or remove, every thing by which life may be endangered, asto cover draw-wells, keep bridges in repair, and the like, lest, if any perish through our omission,their blood be required at our hand.IV. Odd mixtures are here forbidden, v. 9, 10. Much of this we met with before, Lev. xix. 19.There appears not any thing at all of moral evil in these things, and therefore we now make noconscience of sowing wheat and rye together, ploughing with horses and oxen together, and ofwearing linsey-woolsey garments; but hereby is forbidden either, 1. A conformity to some idolatrouscustoms of the heathen. Or, 2. That which is contrary to the plainness and purity of an Israelite.They must not gratify their own vanity and curiosity by putting those things together which theCreator in infinite wisdom had made asunder: they must not be unequally yoked with unbelievers,nor mingle themselves with the unclean, as an ox with an ass. Nor must their profession andappearance in the world be motley, or party-coloured, but all of a piece, all of a kind.V. The law concerning fringes upon their garments, and memorandums of the commandments,which we had before (Num. xv. 38, 39), is here repeated, v. 12. By these they were distinguishedfrom other people, so that it might be said, upon the first sight, There goes an Israelite, which taughtthem not to be ashamed of their country, nor the peculiarities of their religion, how much soevertheir neighbours looked upon them and it with contempt: and they were also put in mind of theprecepts upon the particular occasions to which they had reference; and perhaps this law is repeatedhere because the precepts immediately foregoing seemed so minute that they were in danger ofbeing overlooked and forgotten. The fringes will remind you not to make your garments of linenand woollen, v. 11.The Punishment of Fornication. (b. c. 1451.)1186Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)13 If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, 14 And giveoccasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I tookthis woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid: 15 Then shall thefather of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel'svirginity unto the elders of the city in the gate: 16 And the damsel's father shallsay unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her;17 And, lo, he hath given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thydaughter a maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter's virginity. And theyshall spread the cloth before the elders of the city. 18 And the elders of that cityshall take that man and chastise him; 19 And they shall amerce him in a hundredshekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath broughtup an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not puther away all his days. 20 But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be notfound for the damsel: 21 Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of herfather's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: becauseshe hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father's house: so shalt thouput evil away from among you. 22 If a man be found lying with a woman marriedto a husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman,and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel. 23 If a damsel that is avirgin be betrothed unto a husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her;24 Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stonethem with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city;and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour's wife: so thou shalt put awayevil from among you. 25 But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and theman force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die: 26But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy ofdeath: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so isthis matter: 27 For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, andthere was none to save her. 28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is notbetrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; 29 Then theman that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, andshe shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all hisdays. 30 A man shall not take his father's wife, nor discover his father's skirt.These laws relate to the seventh commandment, laying a restraint by laying a penalty uponthose fleshly lusts which war against the soul.I. If a man, lusting after another woman, to get rid of his wife slander her and falsely accuseher, as not having the virginity she pretended to when he married her, upon the disproof of hisslander he must be punished, v. 13-19. What the meaning of that evidence is by which the husband's1187Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)accusation was to be proved false the learned are not agreed, nor is it at all necessary toenquire—those for whom this law was intended, no doubt, understood it: it is sufficient for us toknow that this wicked husband, who had thus endeavoured to ruin the reputation of his own wife,was to be scourged, and fined, and bound out from ever divorcing the wife he had thus abused, v.18, 19. Upon his dislike of her he might have divorced her if he had pleased, by the permission ofthe law (ch. xxiv. 1), but then he must have given her her dowry: if therefore to save that, and todo her the greater mischief, he would thus destroy her good name, it was fit that he should beseverely punished for it, and for ever after forfeit the permission to divorce her. Observe, 1. Thenearer any are in relation to us the greater sin it is to belie them and blemish their reputation. It isspoken of as a crime of the highest nature to slander thy own mother's son (Ps. l. 20), who is nextto thyself, much more to slander thy own wife, or thy own husband, that is thyself: it is an ill birdindeed that defiles its own nest. 2. Chastity is honour as well as virtue, and that which gives occasionfor the suspicion of it is as great a reproach and disgrace as any whatsoever: in this matter therefore,above any thing, we should be highly tender both of our own good name and that of others. 3.Parents must look upon themselves as concerned to vindicate the reputation of their children, forit is a branch of their own.II. If the woman that was married as a virgin was not found to be one she was to be stoned todeath at her father's door, v. 20, 21. If the uncleanness had been committed before she was betrothedit would not have been punished as a capital crime; but she must die for the abuse she put uponhim whom she married, being conscious to herself of being defiled, while she made him believeher to be a chaste and modest woman. But some think that her uncleanness was punished with deathonly in case it was committed after she was betrothed, supposing there were few come to maturitybut what were betrothed, though not yet married. Now, 1. This gave a powerful caution to youngwomen to flee fornication, since, however concealed before, so as not to mar their marriage, itwould very likely be discovered afterwards, to their perpetual infamy and utter ruin. 2. It is intimatedto parents that they must by all means possible preserve their children's chastity, by giving themgood advice and admonition, setting them good examples, keeping them from bad company, prayingfor them, and laying them under needful restraints, because, if the children committed lewdness,the parents must have the grief and shame of the execution at their own door. That phrase of follywrought in Israel was used concerning this very crime in the case of Dinah, Gen. xxxiv. 7. All sinis folly, uncleanness especially; but, above all, uncleanness in Israel, by profession a holy people.III. If any man, single or married, lay with a married woman, they were both to be put to death,v. 22. This law we had before, Lev. xx. 10. For a married man to lie with a single woman was nota crime of so high a nature, nor was it punished with death, because not introducing a spuriousbrood into families under the character of legitimate children.IV. If a damsel were betrothed and not married, she was from under the eye of her intendedhusband, and therefore she and her chastity were taken under the special protection of the law. 1.If her chastity were violated by her own consent, she was to be put to death, and her adulterer withher, v. 23, 24. And it shall be presumed that she consented if it were done in the city, or in anyplace where, had she cried out, help might speedily have come in to prevent the injury offered her.Qui tacet, consentire videtur—Silence implies consent. Note, It may be presumed that those willinglyyield to a temptation (whatever they pretend) who will not use the means and helps they might befurnished with to avoid and overcome it. Nay, her being found in the city, a place of company anddiversion, when she should have kept under the protection of her father's house, was an evidence1188Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)against her that she had not that dread of the sin and the danger of it which became a modest woman.Note, Those that needlessly expose themselves to temptation justly suffer for the same, if, ere theyare aware, they be surprised and caught by it. Dinah lost her honour to gratify her curiosity with asight of the daughters of the land. By this law the Virgin Mary was in danger of being made apublic example, that is, of being stoned to death, but that God, by an angel, cleared the matter toJoseph. 2. If she were forced, and never consented, he that committed the rape was to be put todeath, but the damsel was to be acquitted, v. 24-27. Now if it were done in the field, out of thehearing of neighbours, it shall be presumed that she cried out, but there was none to save her; and,besides, her going into the field, a place of solitude, did not so much expose her. Now by this lawit is intimated to us, (1.) That we shall suffer only for the wickedness we do, not for that which isdone to us. That is no sin which has not more or less of the will in it. (2.) That we must presumethe best concerning all persons, unless the contrary do appear; not only charity, but equity teachesus to do so. Though none heard her cry, yet, because none could hear it if she did, it shall be takenfor granted that she did. This rule we should go by in judging of persons and actions: believe allthings, and hope all things. (3.) That our chastity should be as dear to us as our life when that isassaulted, it is not at all improper to cry murder, murder, for, as when a man riseth against hisneighbour and slayeth him, even so is this matter. (4.) By way of allusion to this, see what we areto do when Satan sets upon us with his temptations: wherever we are, let us cry aloud to heavenfor help (Succurre, Domine, vim patior—Help me, O Lord, for I suffer violence), and there we maybe sure to be heard, and answered, as Paul was, My grace is sufficient for thee.V. If a damsel not betrothed were thus abused by violence, he that abused her should be fined,the father should have the fine, and, if he and the damsel did consent, he should be bound to marryher, and never to divorce her, how much soever she was below him, and how unpleasing soevershe might afterwards be to him, as Tamar was to Amnon after he had forced her, v. 28, 29. Thiswas to deter men from such vicious practices, which it is a shame that we are necessitated to readand write of.VI. The law against a man's marrying his father's widow, or having any undue familiarity withhis father's wife, is here repeated (v. 30) from Lev. xviii. 8. And, probably, it is intended (as bishopPatrick notes) for a short memorandum to them carefully to observe all the laws there made againstincestuous marriages, that being specified which is the most detestable of all; it is that of which theapostle says, It is not so much as named among the Gentiles, 1 Cor. v. 1.D E U T E R O N O M YCHAP. XXIII.The laws of this chapter provide, I. For the preserving of the purity and honour of the familiesof Israel, by excluding such as would be a disgrace to them, ver. 1-8. II. For the preserving of thepurity and honour of the camp of Israel when it was abroad, ver. 9-14. III. For the encouraging andentertaining of slaves who fled to them, ver. 15, 16. IV. Against whoredom, ver. 17, 18. V. Against1189Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)usury, ver. 19, 20. IV. Against the breach of vows, ver. 21-23. VII. What liberty a man might takein his neighbour's field and vineyard, and what not, ver. 23, 25.Laws of Separation. (b. c. 1451.)1 He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall notenter into the congregation of the Lord. 2 A bastard shall not enter into thecongregation of the Lord; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into thecongregation of the Lord. 3 An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into thecongregation of the Lord; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into thecongregation of the Lord for ever: 4 Because they met you not with bread and withwater in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired againstthee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee. 5 Neverthelessthe Lord thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the Lord thy God turned thecurse into a blessing unto thee, because the Lord thy God loved thee. 6 Thou shaltnot seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever. 7 Thou shalt not abhoran Edomite; for he is thy brother: thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian; because thouwast a stranger in his land. 8 The children that are begotten of them shall enter intothe congregation of the Lord in their third generation.Interpreters are not agreed what is here meant by entering into the congregation of the Lord,which is here forbidden to eunuchs and to bastards, Ammonites and Moabites, for ever, but toEdomites and Egyptians only till the third generation. 1. Some think they are hereby excluded fromcommunicating with the people of God in their religious services. Though eunuchs and bastardswere owned as members of the church, and the Ammonites and Moabites might be circumcisedand proselyted to the Jewish religion, yet they and their families must lie for some time under marksof disgrace, remembering the rock whence they were hewn, and must not come so near the sanctuaryas others might, nor have so free a communion with Israelites. 2. Others think they are herebyexcluded from bearing office in the congregation: none of these must be elders or judges, lest thehonour of the magistracy should thereby be stained. 3. Others think they are excluded only frommarrying with Israelites. Thus the learned bishop Patrick inclines to understand it; yet we find thatwhen this law was put in execution after the captivity they separated from Israel, not only the strangewives, but all the mixed multitude, see Neh. xiii. 1-2. With the daughters of these nations (thoughout of the nations of Canaan), it should seem, the men of Israel might marry, if they were completelyproselyted to the Jewish religion; but with the men of these nations the daughters of Israel mightnot marry, nor could the men be naturalized otherwise than as here provided.It is plain, in general, that disgrace is here put,I. Upon bastards and eunuchs, v. 1, 2. By bastards here the Jewish writers understand, not allthat were born of fornication, or out of marriage, but all the issue of those incestuous mixtureswhich are forbidden, Lev. xviii. And, though it was not the fault of the issue, yet, to deter peoplefrom those unlawful marriages and unlawful lusts, it was very convenient that their posterity shouldthus be made infamous. By this rule Jephthah, though the son of a harlot, a strange woman (Judg.xi. 1, 2), yet was not a bastard in the sense of this law. And as for the eunuchs, though by this lawthey seemed to be cast out of the vineyard as dry trees, which they complain of (Isa. lvi. 3), yet it1190Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)is here promised (v. 5) that if they took care of their duty to God, as far as they were admitted, bykeeping his sabbaths and choosing the things that pleased him, the want of this privilege should bemade up to them with such spiritual blessings as would entitle them to an everlasting name.II. Upon Ammonites and Moabites, the posterity of Lot, who, for his outward convenience,had separated himself from Abraham, Gen. xiii. 11. And we do not find that he or his ever joinedthemselves again to the children of the covenant. They are here cut off to the tenth generation, thatis, (as some think it is explained), for ever. Compare Neh. xiii. 1. The reason of this quarrel whichIsrael must have with them, so as not to seek their peace (v. 6), is because of the unkindness theyhad now lately done to the camp of Israel, notwithstanding the orders God had given not to distressor vex them, ch. ii. 9, 19. 1. It was bad enough that they did not meet them with bread and waterin the way (v. 4), that they did not as allies, or at least as neutral states, bring victuals into theircamp, which they should have been duly paid for. It was well that God's Israel did not need theirkindness, God himself following them with bread and water. However this omission of theAmmonites should be remembered against their nation in future ages. Note, God will certainlyreckon, not only with those that oppose his people, but with those that do not help and further them,when it is in the power of their hand to do it. The charge at the great day is for an omission: I washungry, and you gave me no meat. 2. The Moabites had done worse, they hired Balaam to curseIsrael, v. 4. It is true God turned the curse into a blessing (v. 5), not only changing the word inBalaam's mouth, but making that really turn to the honour and advantage of Israel which wasdesigned for their ruin. But though the design was defeated, and overruled for good, the Moabites'wickedness was not the less provoking. God will deal with sinners, but according to their endeavours,Ps. xxviii. 4.III. The Edomites and Egyptians had not so deep a mark of displeasure put upon them as theMoabites and Ammonites had. If an Edomite or Egyptian turned proselyte, his grand-childrenshould be looked upon as members of the congregation of the Lord to all intents and purposes, v.7, 8. We should think that the Edomites had been more injurious to the Israelites than the Ammonites,and deserved as little favour from them (Num. xx. 20), and yet "Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite,as thou must an Ammonite, for he is thy brother." Note, The unkindness of near relations, thoughby many worst taken, yet should with us, for that reason, because of the relation, be first forgiven.And then, as to the Egyptians, here is a strange reason given why they must not be abhorred: "Thouwast a stranger in their land, and therefore, though hardly used there, be civil to them, for oldacquaintance' sake." They must not remember their bondage in Egypt for the keeping up of any illwill to the Egyptians, but only for the magnifying of Gods power and goodness in their deliverance.Moral and Ceremonial Purity Enjoined. (b. c. 1451.)9 When the host goeth forth against thine enemies, then keep thee from everywicked thing. 10 If there be among you any man, that is not clean by reason ofuncleanness that chanceth him by night, then shall he go abroad out of the camp, heshall not come within the camp: 11 But it shall be, when evening cometh on, heshall wash himself with water: and when the sun is down, he shall come into thecamp again. 12 Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shaltgo forth abroad: 13 And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be,when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and1191Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)cover that which cometh from thee: 14 For the Lord thy God walketh in the midstof thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shallthy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.Israel was now encamped, and this vast army was just entering upon action, which was likelyto keep them together for a long time, and therefore it was fit to give them particular directions forthe good ordering of their camp. And the charge is in one word to be clean. They must take careto keep their camp pure from moral, ceremonial, and natural pollution.I. From moral pollution (v. 9): When the host goes forth against thy enemy then look uponthyself as in a special manner engaged to keep thyself from every evil thing. 1. The soldiersthemselves must take heed of sin, for sin takes off the edge of valour; guilt makes men cowards.Those that put their lives in their hands are concerned to make and keep their peace with God, andpreserve a conscience void of offence; then may they look death in the face without terror. Soldiers,in executing their commission, must keep themselves from gratifying the lusts of malice,covetousness, or uncleanness, for these are wicked things—must keep themselves from the idols,or accursed things, they found in the camps they plundered. 2. Even those that tarried at home, thebody of the people, and every particular person, must at that time especially keep from every wickedthing, lest by sin they provoke God to withdraw his presence from the host, and give victory to theenemy for the correcting of his own people. Times of war should be times of reformation, else howcan we expect God should hear and answer our prayers for success? Ps. lxvi. 18. See 1 Sam. vii.3.

      II. From ceremonial pollution, which might befal a person when unconscious of it, for whichhe was bound to wash his flesh in water, and look upon himself as unclean until the evening, Lev.xv. 16. A soldier, notwithstanding the constant service and duty he had to do in the camp, must beso far from looking upon himself as discharged from the observance of this ceremony that morewas required from him than at another time; had he been at his own house, he needed only to washhis flesh, but, being in the army, he must go abroad out of the camp, as one concerned to keep itpure and ashamed of his own impurity, and not return till after sunset, v. 10, 11. By this troubleand reproach, which even involuntary pollutions exposed men to, they were taught to keep up avery great dread of all fleshly lusts. It were well if military men would consider this.III. From natural pollution; the camp of the Lord must have nothing offensive in it, v. 12-14.It is strange that the divine law, or at least the solemn order and direction of Moses, should extendto a thing of this nature; but the design of it was to teach them, 1. Modesty and decorum; natureitself teaches them thus to distinguish themselves from beasts that know no shame. 2. Cleanliness,and, though not niceness, yet neatness, even in their camp. Filthiness is offensive to the senses Godhas endued us with, prejudicial to the health, a wrong to the comfort of human life, and an evidenceof a careless slothful temper of mind. 3. Purity from the pollutions of sin; if there must be this caretaken to preserve the body clean and sweet, much more should we be solicitous to keep the mindso. 4. A reverence of the divine majesty. This is the reason here given: For the Lord thy God walkethby his ark, the special token of his presence, in the midst of thy camp; with respect to that externalsymbol this external purity is required, which (though not insisted on in the letter when that reasonceases) teaches us to preserve inward purity of soul, in consideration of the eye of God, which isalways upon us. By this expression of respect to the presence of God among them, they were taughtboth to fortify themselves against sin and to encourage themselves against their enemies with the1192Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)consideration of that presence. 5. A regard one to another. The filthiness of one is noisome to many;this law of cleanliness therefore teaches us not to do that which will be justly offensive to ourbrethren and grieve them. It is a law against nuisances.Protection of Fugitives; The Law Concerning Usury. (b. c. 1451.)15 Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from hismaster unto thee: 16 He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place whichhe shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best: thou shalt not oppresshim. 17 There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of thesons of Israel. 18 Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog,into the house of the Lord thy God for any vow: for even both these are abominationunto the Lord thy God. 19 Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury ofmoney, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury: 20 Unto astranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend uponusury: that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to inthe land whither thou goest to possess it. 21 When thou shalt vow a vow unto theLord thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the Lord thy God will surely requireit of thee; and it would be sin in thee. 22 But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shallbe no sin in thee. 23 That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform;even a freewill offering, according as thou hast vowed unto the Lord thy God, whichthou hast promised with thy mouth. 24 When thou comest into thy neighbour'svineyard, then thou mayest eat grapes thy fill at thine own pleasure; but thou shaltnot put any in thy vessel. 25 When thou comest into the standing corn of thyneighbour, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not movea sickle unto thy neighbour's standing corn.Orders are here given about five several things which have no relation one to another:—I. The land of Israel is here made a sanctuary, or city of refuge, for servants that were wrongedand abused by their masters, and fled thither for shelter from the neighbouring countries, v. 15, 16.We cannot suppose that they were hereby obliged to give entertainment to all the unprincipled menthat ran from service; Israel needed not (as Rome at first did) to be thus peopled. But, 1. They mustnot deliver up the trembling servant to his enraged master, till upon trial it appeared that the servanthas wronged his master and was justly liable to punishment. Note, It is an honourable thing toshelter and protect the weak, provided they be not wicked. God allows his people to patronise theoppressed. The angel bid Hagar return to her mistress, and Paul sent Onesimus back to his masterPhilemon, because they had neither of them any cause to go away, nor was either of them exposedto any danger in returning. But the servant here is supposed to escape, that is, to run for his life, tothe people of Israel, of whom he had heard (as Benhadad of the kings of Israel, 1 Kings xx. 31)that they were a merciful people, to save himself from the fury of a tyrant; and in that case to deliverhim up is to throw a lamb into the mouth of a lion. 2. If it appeared that the servant was abused,they must not only protect him, but, supposing him willing to embrace their religion, they must1193Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)give him all the encouragement that might be to settle among them. Care is taken both that heshould not be imposed up on in the place of his settlement—let it be that which he shall chooseand where it liketh him best, and that he should not exchange one hard master for many—thou shaltnot oppress him. Thus would he soon find a comfortable difference between the land of Israel andother lands, and would choose it to be his rest for ever. Note, Proselytes and converts to the truthshould be treated with particular tenderness, that they may have no temptation to return.II. The land of Israel must be no shelter for the unclean; no whore, no Sodomite, must besuffered to live among them (v. 17, 18), neither a whore nor a whoremonger. No houses ofuncleanness must be kept either by men or women. Here is, 1. A good reason intimated why thereshould be no such wickedness tolerated among them: they were Israelites. This seems to have anemphasis laid upon it. For a daughter of Israel to be a whore, or a son of Israel a whoremaster, isto reproach the stock they are come of, the people they belong to, and the God they worship. It isbad in any, but worst in Israelites, a holy nation, 2 Sam. xiii. 12. 2. A just mark of displeasure putupon this wickedness, that the hire of a whore, that is, the money she gets by her whoring, and theprice of a dog, that is, of the Sodomite, pimp, or whoremaster (so I incline to understand it, for suchare called dogs, Rev. xxii. 15), the money he gets by his lewd and villainous practices, no part ofit shall be brought into the house of the Lord (as the hire of prostitutes among the Gentiles was intotheir temples) for any vow. This intimates, (1.) That God would not accept of any offering at allfrom such wicked people; they had nothing to bring an offering of but what they got by theirwickedness, and therefore their sacrifice could not but be an abomination to the Lord, Prov. xv. 8.(2.) That they should not think, by making and paying vows, and bringing offerings to the Lord,to obtain leave to go on in this sin, as (it should seem) some that followed that trade suggested tothemselves, when their offerings were admitted. Prov. vii. 14, 15, This day have I paid my vows,therefore came I forth to meet thee. Nothing should be accepted in commutation of penance. (3.)That we cannot honour God with our substance unless it be honestly and honourably come by. Itmust not only be considered what we give, but how we got it; God hates robbery for burnt-offerings,and uncleanness too.III. The matter of usury is here settled, v. 19, 20. (1.) They must not lend upon usury to anIsraelite. They had and held their estates immediately from and under God, who, while hedistinguished them from all other people, might have ordered, had he so pleased, that they shouldhave all things in common among themselves; but instead of that, and in token of their joint interestin the good land he had given them, he only appointed them, as there was occasion, to lend to oneanother without interest, which among them would be little or no loss to the lender, because theirland was so divided, their estates were so settled, and there was so little of merchandise amongthem, that it was seldom or never that they had occasion to borrow any great sums, only what wasnecessary for the subsistence of their families when the fruits of their ground had met with anydisaster, or the like; and, in such a case, for a small matter to insist upon usury would have beenvery barbarous. Where the borrower gets, or hopes to get, it is just that the lender should share inthe gain; but to him that borrows for his necessary food pity must be shown, and we must lend,hoping for nothing again, if we have wherewithal to do it, Luke vi. 35. (2.) They might lend uponusury to a stranger, who was supposed to live by trade, and (as we say) by turning the penny, andtherefore got by what he borrowed, and came among them in hopes to do so. By this it appears thatusury is not in itself oppressive; for they must not oppress a stranger, and yet might exact usuryfrom him.1194Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)IV. The performance of the vows wherewith we have bound our souls is here required; and itis a branch of the law of nature, v. 21-23. (1.) We are here left at our liberty whether we will makevows or no: If thou shalt forbear to vow (some particular sacrifice and offering, more than wascommanded by the law), it shall be no sin to thee. God had already signified his readiness to accepta free-will offering thus vowed, though it were but a little fine flour (Lev. ii. 4, &c.), which wasencouragement enough to those who were so inclined. But lest the priests, who had the largest shareof those vows and voluntary offerings, should sponge upon the people, by pressing it upon themas their duty to make such vows, beyond their ability and inclination, they are here expressly toldthat it should not be reckoned a sin in them if they did not make any such vows, as it would be ifthey omitted any of the sacrifices that God had particularly required. For (as bishop Patrick wellexpresses it) God would have men to be easy in his service, and all their offerings to be free andcheerful. (2.) We are here laid under the highest obligations, when we have made a vow, to performit, and to perform it speedily: "Thou shalt not be slack to pay it, lest if it be delayed beyond the firstopportunity the zeal abate, the vow be forgotten, or something happen to disable thee for theperformance of it. That which has gone out of thy lips as a solemn and deliberate vow must not berecalled, but thou shalt keep and perform it, punctually and fully." The rule of the gospel goessomewhat further than this. 2 Cor. ix. 7, Every one, according as he purposeth in his heart, thoughit have not gone out of his lips, so let him give. Here is a good reason why we should pay our vows,that if we do not God will require it of us, will surely and severely reckon with us, not only forlying, but for going about to mock him, who cannot be mocked. See Eccl. v. 4.V. Allowance is here given, when they passed through a cornfield or vineyard, to pluck andeat of the corn or grapes that grew by the road-side, whether it was done for necessity or delight,only they must carry none away with them, v. 24, 25. Therefore the disciples were not censuredfor plucking the ears of corn (it was well enough known that the law allowed it), but for doing iton the sabbath day, which the tradition of the elders had forbidden. Now, 1. This law intimated tothem what great plenty of corn and wine they should have in Canaan, so much that a little wouldnot be missed out of their fruits: they should have enough for themselves and all their friends. 2.It provided for the support of poor travellers, to relieve the fatigue of their journey, and teaches usto be kind to such. The Jews say, "This law was chiefly intended in favour of labourers, who wereemployed in gathering in their harvest and vintage; their mouths must not be muzzled any morethan that of the ox when he treads out the corn." 3. It teaches us not to insist upon property in asmall matter, of which it is easy to say, What is that between me and thee? It was true the grapeswhich the passenger ate were none of his own, nor did the proprietor give them to him; but thething was of so small value that he had reason to think were he present, he would not deny themto him, anymore than he himself would grudge the like courtesy, and therefore it was no theft totake them. 4. It used them to hospitality, and teaches us to be ready to distribute, willing tocommunicate, and not to think every thing lost that is given away. Yet, 5. It forbids us to abuse thekindness of our friends, and to take the advantage of fair concessions to make unreasonableencroachments: we must not draw an ell from those that give but an inch. They may eat of theirneighbour's grapes; but it does not therefore follow that they may carry away.1195Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)D E U T E R O N O M YCHAP. XXIV.In this chapter we have, I. The toleration of divorce, ver. 1-4. II. A discharge of new-marriedmen from the war, ver. 5. III. Laws concerning pledges, ver. 6, 10-13, 17. IV. Against man-stealing,ver. 7. V. Concerning the leprosy, ver. 8, 9. VI. Against the injustice of masters towards theirservants, ver. 14, 15. Judges in capital causes (ver. 16), and civil concerns, ver. 17, 18. VII. Ofcharity to the poor, ver. 19, &c.The Law Concerning Divorce. (b. c. 1451.)1 When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that shefind no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then lethim write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of hishouse. 2 And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be anotherman's wife. 3 And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement,and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husbanddie, which took her to be his wife; 4 Her former husband, which sent her away,may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abominationbefore the Lord: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the Lord thy Godgiveth thee for an inheritance.This is that permission which the Pharisees erroneously referred to as a precept, Matt. xix. 7,Moses commanded to give a writing of divorcement. It was not so; our Saviour told them that heonly suffered it because of the hardness of their hearts, lest, if they had not had liberty to divorcetheir wives, they should have ruled them with rigour, and it may be, have been the death of them.It is probable that divorces were in use before (they are taken for granted, Lev. xxi. 14), and Mosesthought it needful here to give some rules concerning them. 1. That a man might not divorce hiswife unless he found some uncleanness in her, v. 1. It was not sufficient to say that he did not likeher, or that he liked another better, but he must show cause for his dislike; something that madeher disagreeable and unpleasant to him, though it might not make her so to another. This uncleannessmust mean something less than adultery; for, for that, she was to die; and less than the suspicionof it, for in that case he might give her the waters of jealousy; but it means either a light carriage,or a cross froward disposition, or some loathsome sore or disease; nay, some of the Jewish writerssuppose that an offensive breath might be a just ground for divorce. Whatever is meant by it,doubtless it was something considerable; so that their modern doctors erred who allowed divorcefor every cause, though ever so trivial, Matt. xix. 3. 2. That it must be done, not by word of mouth,for that might be spoken hastily, but by writing, and that put in due form, and solemnly declared,before witnesses, to be his own act and deed, which was a work of time, and left room forconsideration, that it might not be done rashly. 3. That the husband must give it into the hand ofhis wife, and send her away, which some think obliged him to endow her and make provision forher, according to her quality and such as might help to marry her again; and good reason he should1196Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)do this, since the cause of quarrel was not her fault, but her infelicity. 4. That being divorced it waslawful for her to marry another husband, v. 2. The divorce had dissolved the bond of marriage aseffectually as death could dissolve it; so that she was as free to marry again as if her first husbandhad been naturally dead. 5. That if her second husband died, or divorced her, then still she mightmarry a third, but her first husband should never take her again (v. 3, 4), which he might have doneif she had not married another; for by that act of her own she had perfectly renounced him for ever,and, as to him was looked upon as defiled, though not as to another person. The Jewish writers saythat this was to prevent a most vile and wicked practice which the Egyptians had of changing wives;or perhaps it was intended to prevent men's rashness in putting away their wives; for the wife thatwas divorced would be apt, in revenge, to marry another immediately, and perhaps the husbandthat divorced her, how much soever he though to better himself by another choice, would find thenext worse, and something in her more disagreeable, so that he would wish for his first wife again."No" (says this law) "you shall not have her, you should have kept her when you had her." Note,It is best to be content with such things as we have, since changes made by discontent often provefor the worse. The uneasiness we know is commonly better, though we are apt to think it worse,than that which we do not know. By the strictness of this law God illustrates the riches of his gracein his willingness to be reconciled to his people that had gone a whoring from him. Jer. iii. 1, Thouhast played the harlot with many lovers, yet return again to me. For his thoughts and ways areabove ours.The Law of Divorce. (b. c. 1451.)5 When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall hebe charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheerup his wife which he hath taken. 6 No man shall take the nether or the uppermillstone to pledge: for he taketh a man's life to pledge. 7 If a man be found stealingany of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, orselleth him; then that thief shall die; and thou shalt put evil away from among you.8 Take heed in the plague of leprosy, that thou observe diligently, and do accordingto all that the priests the Levites shall teach you: as I commanded them, so ye shallobserve to do. 9 Remember what the Lord thy God did unto Miriam by the way,after that ye were come forth out of Egypt. 10 When thou dost lend thy brother anything, thou shalt not go into his house to fetch his pledge. 11 Thou shalt standabroad, and the man to whom thou dost lend shall bring out the pledge abroad untothee. 12 And if the man be poor, thou shalt not sleep with his pledge: 13 In anycase thou shalt deliver him the pledge again when the sun goeth down, that he maysleep in his own raiment, and bless thee: and it shall be righteousness unto theebefore the Lord thy God.Here is, I. Provision made for the preservation and confirmation of love between new-marriedpeople, v. 5. This fitly follows upon the laws concerning divorce, which would be prevented if theiraffection to each other were well settled at first. If the husband were much abroad from his wifethe first year, his love to her would be in danger of cooling, and of being drawn aside to others1197Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)whom he would meet with abroad; therefore his service to his country in war, embassies, or otherpublic business that would call him from home, shall be dispensed with, that he may cheer up thewife that he has taken. Note, 1. It is of great consequence that love be kept up between husbandand wife, and that every thing be very carefully avoided which might make them strange one toanother, especially at first; for in that relation, where there is not the love that should be, there isan inlet ready to abundance of guilt and grief. 2. One of the duties of that relation is to cheer upone another under the cares and crosses that happen, as helpers of each other's joy; for a cheerfulheart does good like a medicine.II. A law against man-stealing, v. 7. It was not death by the law of Moses to steal cattle orgoods; but to steal a child, or a weak and simple man, or one that a man had in his power, and tomake merchandize of him, this was a capital crime, and could not be expiated, as other thefts, byrestitution—so much is a man better than a sheep, Matt. xii. 12. It was a very heinous offence, for,1. It was robbing the public of one of its members. 2. It was taking away a man's liberty, the libertyof a free-born Israelite, which was next in value to his life. 3. It was driving a man out from theinheritance of the land, to the privileges of which he was entitled, and bidding him go serve othergods, as David complains against Saul, 1 Sam. xxvi. 19.III. A memorandum concerning the leprosy, v. 8, 9. 1. The laws concerning it must be carefullyobserved. The laws concerning it we had, Lev. xiii. 14. They are here said to be commanded to thepriests and Levites, and therefore are not repeated in a discourse to the people; but the people arehere charged, in case of leprosy, to apply to the priest according to the law, and to abide by hisjudgment, so far as it agreed with the law and the plain matter of fact. The plague of leprosy beingusually a particular mark of God's displeasure for sin, he in whom the signs of it did appear oughtnot to conceal it, nor cut out the signs of it, nor apply to the physician for relief; but he must go tothe priest, and follow his directions. Thus those that feel their consciences under guilt and wrathmust not cover it, nor endeavour to shake off their convictions, but by repentance, and prayer, andhumble confession, take the appointed way to peace and pardon. 2. The particular case of Miriam,who was smitten with leprosy for quarrelling with Moses, must not be forgotten. It was an explicationof the law concerning the leprosy. Remember that, and, (1.) "Take heed of sinning after the similitudeof her transgression, by despising dominions and speaking evil of dignities, lest you thereby bringupon yourselves the same judgment." (2.) "If any of you be smitten with a leprosy, expect not thatthe law should be dispensed with, nor think it hard to be shut out of the camp and so made aspectacle; there is no remedy: Miriam herself, though a prophetess and the sister of Moses, wasnot exempted, but was forced to submit to this severe discipline when she was under this divinerebuke." Thus David, Hezekiah, Peter, and other great men, when they had sinned, humbledthemselves, and took to themselves shame and grief; let us not expect to be reconciled upon easierterms.IV. Some necessary orders given about pledges for the security of money lent. They are notforbidden to take such securities as would save the lender from loss, and oblige the borrower to behonest; but, 1. They must not take the millstone for a pledge (v. 6), for with that they ground thecorn that was to be bread for their families, or, if it were a public mill, with it the miller got hislivelihood; and so it forbids the taking of any thing for a pledge by the want of which a man wasin danger of being undone. Consonant to this is the ancient common law of England, which providesthat no man be distrained of the utensils or instruments of his trade or profession, as the axe of acarpenter, or the books of a scholar, or beasts belonging to the plough, as long as there are other1198Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)beasts of which distress may be made (Coke, 1 Inst. fol. 47). This teaches us to consult the comfortand subsistence of others as much as our own advantage. That creditor who cares not though hisdebtor and his family starve, nor is at all concerned what become of them, so he may but get hismoney or secure it, goes contrary, not only to the law of Christ, but even to the law of Moses too.2. They must not go into the borrower's house to fetch the pledge, but must stand without, and hemust bring it, v. 10, 11. The borrower (says Solomon) is servant to the lender; therefore lest thelender should abuse the advantage he has against him, and improve it for his own interest, it isprovided that he shall take not what he pleases, but what the borrower can best spare. A man'shouse is his castle, even the poor man's house is so, and is here taken under the protection of thelaw. 3. That a poor man's bed-clothes should never be taken for a pledge, v. 12, 13. This we hadbefore, Exod. xxii. 26, 27. If they were taken in the morning, they must be brought back again atnight, which is in effect to say that they must not be taken at all. "Let the poor debtor sleep in hisown raiment, and bless thee," that is, "pray for thee, and praise God for thy kindness to him." Note,Poor debtors ought to be sensible (more sensible than commonly they are) of the goodness of thosecreditors that do not take all the advantage of the law against them, and to repay their kindnessesby their prayers for them, when they are not in a capacity to repay it in any other way. "Nay, thoushalt not only have the prayers and good wishes of thy poor brother, but it shall be righteousnessto thee before the Lord thy God," that is, "It shall be accepted and rewarded as an act of mercy tothy brother and obedience to thy God, and an evidence of thy sincere conformity to the law. Thoughit may be looked upon by men as an act of weakness to deliver up the securities thou hast for thydebt, yet it shall be looked upon by thy God as an act of goodness, which shall in no wise lose itsreward."Justice and Generosity. (b. c. 1451.)14 Thou shalt not oppress a hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he beof thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates: 15 At hisday thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor,and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the Lord, and it be sin untothee. 16 The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall thechildren be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his ownsin. 17 Thou shalt not pervert the judgment of the stranger, nor of the fatherless;nor take a widow's raiment to pledge: 18 But thou shalt remember that thou wasta bondman in Egypt, and the Lord thy God redeemed thee thence: therefore Icommand thee to do this thing. 19 When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thyfield, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shallbe for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the Lord thy God maybless thee in all the work of thine hands. 20 When thou beatest thine olive tree,thou shalt not go over the boughs again: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless,and for the widow. 21 When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shaltnot glean it afterward: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the1199Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)widow. 22 And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt:therefore I command thee to do this thing.Here, I. Masters are commanded to be just to their poor servants, v. 14, 15. 1. They must notoppress them, by overloading them with work, by giving them undue and unreasonable rebukes,or by withholding from them proper maintenance. A servant, though a stranger to the commonwealthof Israel, must not be abused: "For thou wast a bondman in the land where thou wast a stranger (v.18), and thou knowest what a grievous thing it is to be oppressed by a task-master, and therefore,in tenderness to those that are servants and strangers, and in gratitude to that God who set thee atliberty and settled thee in a country of thy own, thou shalt not oppress a servant." Let not mastersbe tyrants to their servants, for their Master is in heaven. See Job xxxi. 13. 2. They must be faithfuland punctual in paying them their wages: "At his day thou shalt give him his hire, not only pay itin time, without further delay. As soon as he had done his day's work, if he desire it, let him havehis day's wages," as those labourers (Matt. xx. 8) when evening had come. he that works byday-wages is supposed to live from hand to mouth, and cannot have to-morrow's bread for hisfamily till be is paid for this day's labour. If the wages be withheld, (1.) It will be grief to the servant,for, poor man, he sets his heart upon it,. or, as the word is, he lifts up his soul to it, he is earnestlydesirous of it, as the reward of his work (Job vii. 2), and depends upon it as the gift of God'sprovidence for the maintenance of his family. A compassionate master, though it should be somewhatinconvenient to himself, would not disappoint the expectation of a poor servant that was so fondto think of receiving his wages. But that is not the worst. (2.) It will be guilt to the master. "Theinjured servant will cry against thee to the Lord; since he has no one else to appeal to, he will lodgehis appeal in the court of heaven, and it will be sin to thee." Or, if he do not complain, the causewill speak for itself, the "hire of the labourers which is kept back by fraud will itself cry," Jam. v.4. It is a greater sin than most people think it is, and will be found so in the great day, to put hardshipsupon poor servants, labourers, and workmen, that we employ. God will do them right if men donot.II. Magistrates and judges are commanded to be just in their administrations. 1. In those whichwe call pleas of the crown a standing rule is here given, that the fathers shall not be put to deathfor the children, nor the children for the fathers, v. 16. If the children make themselves obnoxiousto the law, let them suffer for it, but let not the parents suffer either for them or with them; it is griefenough to them to see their children suffer: if the parents be guilty, let them die for their own sin;but though God, the sovereign Lord of life, sometimes visits the iniquity of the fathers upon thechildren, especially the sin of idolatry, and when he deals with nations in their national capacity,yet he does not allow men to do so. Accordingly, we find Amaziah sparing the children, even whenthe fathers were put to death for killing the king, 2 Kings xiv. 6. It was in an extraordinary case,and no doubt by special direction from heaven, that Saul's sons were put to death for his offence,and they died rather as sacrifices than as malefactors, 2 Sam. xxi. 9, 14. 2. In common pleas betweenparty and party, great care must be taken that none whose cause was just should fare the worse fortheir weakness, nor for their being destitute of friends, as strangers, fatherless, and widows (v. 17):"Thou shalt not pervert their judgment, nor force them to give their very raiment for a pledge, bydefrauding them of their right." Judges must be advocates for those that cannot speak for themselvesand have no friends to speak for them.1200Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)III. The rich are commanded to be kind and charitable to the poor. Many ways they are orderedto be so by the law of Moses. The particular instance of charity here prescribed is that they shouldnot be greedy in gathering in their corn, and grapes, and olives, so as to be afraid of leaving anybehind them, but be willing to overlook some, and let the poor have the gleanings, v. 19-22. 1. "Saynot, 'It is all my own, and why should not I have it?' But learn a generous contempt of property insmall matters. One sheaf or two forgotten will make thee never the poorer at the year's end, and itwill do somebody good, if thou have it not." 2. "Say not, 'What I give I will give, and know whomI give it to, why should I leave it to be gathered by I know not whom, that will never thank me.'But trust God's providence with the disposal of thy charity, perhaps that will direct it to the mostnecessitous." Or, "Thou mayest reasonably think it will come to the hands of the most industrious,that are forward to seek and gather that which this law provides for them." 3. "Say not, 'What shouldthe poor do with grapes and olives? It is enough for them to have bread and water;' for, since theyhave the same senses that the rich have, why should not they have so me little share of the delightsof sense?" Boaz ordered handfuls of corn to be left on purpose for Ruth, and God blessed him. Allthat is left is not lost.D E U T E R O N O M YCHAP. XXV.Here is, I. A law to moderate the scourging of malefactors, ver. 1-3. II. A law in favour of theox the treads out the corn, ver. 4. III. For the disgracing of him that refused to marry his brother'swidow, ver. 5-10. IV. For the punishment of an immodest woman, ver. 11, 12. V. For just weightsand measures, ver. 13-16. VI. For the destroying of Amalek, ver. 17, &c.Stripes Not to Exceed Forty. (b. c. 1451.)1 If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that thejudges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn thewicked. 2 And it shall be, if the wicked man be worthy to be beaten, that the judgeshall cause him to lie down, and to be beaten before his face, according to his fault,by a certain number. 3 Forty stripes he may give him, and not exceed: lest, if heshould exceed, and beat him above these with many stripes, then thy brother shouldseem vile unto thee. 4 Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.Here is, I. A direction to the judges in scourging malefactors, v. 1-3. 1. It is here supposed that,if a man be charged with a crime, the accuser and the accused (Actor and Reus) should be broughtface to face before the judges, that the controversy may be determined. 2. If a man were accusedof a crime, and the proof fell short, so that the charge could not be made out against him by theevidence, then he was to be acquitted: "Thou shalt justify the righteous," that is, "him that appearsto the court to be so." If the accusation be proved, then the conviction of the accused is a justificationof the accuser, as righteous in the prosecution. 3. If the accused were found guilty, judgment must1201Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)be given against him: "Thou shalt condemn the wicked;" for to justify the wicked is as much anabomination to the Lord as it is to condemn the righteous, Prov. xvii. 15. 4. If the crime were notmade capital by the law, then the criminal must be beaten. A great many precepts we have met withwhich have not any particular penalty annexed to them, the violation of most of which, accordingto the constant practice of the Jews, was punished by scourging, from which no person's rank orquality did exempt him if he were a delinquent, but with this proviso, that he should never beupbraided with it, nor should it be looked upon as leaving any mark of infamy or disgrace uponhim. The directions here given for the scourging of criminals are, (1.) That it be done solemnly;not tumultuously through the streets, but in open court before the judge's face, and with so muchdeliberation as that the stripes might be numbered. The Jews say that while execution was in doingthe chief justice of the court read with a loud voice Deut. xxviii. 58, 59, and xxix. 9, and concludedwith those words (Ps. lxxviii. 38), But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity. Thus itwas made a sort of religious act, and so much the more likely to reform the offender himself andto be a warning to others. (2.) That it be done in proportion to the crime, according to his fault, thatsome crimes might appear, as they are, more heinous than others, the criminal being beaten withmany stripes, to which perhaps there is an allusion, Luke xii. 47, 48. (3.) That how great soever thecrime were the number of stripes should never exceed forty, v. 3. Forty save one was the commonusage, as appears, 2 Cor. xi. 24. It seems, they always gave Paul as many stripes as ever they gaveto any malefactor whatsoever. They abated one for fear of having miscounted (though one of thejudges was appointed to number the stripes), or because they would never go to the utmost rigour,or because the execution was usually done with a whip of three lashes, so that thirteen stripes (eachone being counted for three) made up thirty-nine, but one more by that reckoning would have beenforty-two. The reason given for this is, lest thy brother should seem vile unto thee. He must still belooked upon as a brother (2 Thess. iii. 15), and his reputation as such was preserved by this mercifullimitation of his punishment. It saves him from seeming vile to his brethren, when God himself byhis law takes this care of him. Men must not be treated as dogs; nor must those seem vile in oursight to whom, for aught we know, God may yet give grace to make them precious in his sight.II. A charge to husbandmen not to hinder their cattle from eating when they were working, ifmeat were within their reach, v. 4. This instance of the beast that trod out the corn (to which thereis an allusion in that of the prophet, Hos. x. 11) is put for all similar instances. That which makesthis law very remarkable above its fellows (and which countenances the like application of othersuch laws) is that it is twice quoted in the New Testament to show that it is the duty of the peopleto give their ministers a comfortable maintenance, 1 Cor. ix. 9, 10, and 1 Tim. v. 17, 18. It teachesus in the letter of it to make much of the brute-creatures that serve us, and to allow them not onlythe necessary supports for their life, but the advantages of their labour; and thus we must learn notonly to be just, but kind, to all that are employed for our good, not only to maintain but to encouragethem, especially those that labour among us in the word and doctrine, and so are employed for thegood of our better part.Marriage of a Brother's Wife. (b. c. 1451.)5 If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife ofthe dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go inunto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of a husband's brother1202Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)unto her. 6 And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed inthe name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel. 7 Andif the man like not to take his brother's wife, then let his brother's wife go up to thegate unto the elders, and say, My husband's brother refuseth to raise up unto hisbrother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband's brother. 8Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and if he stand to it,and say, I like not to take her; 9 Then shall his brother's wife come unto him in thepresence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, andshall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up hisbrother's house. 10 And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him thathath his shoe loosed. 11 When men strive together one with another, and the wifeof the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smitethhim, and putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets: 12 Then thou shaltcut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her.Here is, I. The law settled concerning the marrying of the brother's widow. It appears from thestory of Judah's family that this had been an ancient usage (Gen. xxxviii. 8), for the keeping up ofdistinct families. The case put is a case that often happens, of a man's dying without issue, it maybe in the prime of his time, soon after his marriage, and while his brethren were yet so young as tobe unmarried. Now in this case, 1. The widow was not to marry again into any other family, unlessall the relations of her husband did refuse her, that the estate she was endowed with might not bealienated. 2. The husband's brother, or next of kin, must marry her, partly out of respect to her,who, having forgotten her own people and her father's house, should have all possible kindnessshown her by the family into which she was married; and partly out of respect to the deceasedhusband, that though he was dead and gone he might not be forgotten, nor lost out of the genealogiesof his tribe; for the first-born child, which the brother or next kinsman should have by the widow,should be denominated from him that was dead, and entered in the genealogy as his child, v. 5, 6.Under that dispensation we have reason to think men had not so clear and certain a prospect ofliving themselves on the other side death as we have now, to whom life and immortality are broughtto light by the gospel; and therefore they could not but be the more desirous to live in their posterity,which innocent desire was in some measure gratified by this law, an expedient being found outthat, though a man had no child by his wife, yet his name should not be put out of Israel, that is,out of the pedigree, or, which is equivalent, remain there under the brand of childlessness. TheSadducees put a case to our Saviour upon this law, with a design to perplex the doctrine of theresurrection by it (Matt. xxii. 24, &c.), perhaps insinuating that there was no need of maintainingthe immortality of the soul and a future state, since the law had so well provided for the perpetuatingof men's names and families in the world. But, 3. If the brother, or next of kin, declined to do thisgood office to the memory of him that was gone, what must be done in that case? Why, (1.) Heshall not be compelled to do it, v. 7. If he like her not, he is at liberty to refuse her, which, somethink, was not permitted in this case before this law of Moses. Affection is all in all to the comfortof the conjugal relation; this is a thing which cannot be forced, and therefore the relation shouldnot be forced without it. (2.) Yet he shall be publicly disgraced for not doing it. The widow, as the1203Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)person most concerned for the name and honour of the deceased, was to complain to the elders ofhis refusal; if he persist in it, she must pluck off his shoe, and spit in his face, in open court (or, asthe Jewish doctors moderate it, spit before his face), thus to fasten a mark of infamy upon him,which was to remain with his family after him, v. 8-10. Note, Those justly suffer in their ownreputation who do not do what they ought to preserve the name and honour of others. He that wouldnot build up his brother's house deserved to have this blemish put upon his own, that it should becalled the house of him that had his shoe loosed, in token that he deserved to go barefoot. In thecase of Ruth we find this law executed (Ruth iv. 7), but because, upon the refusal of the nextkinsman, there was another ready to perform the duty of a husband's brother, it was that other thatplucked off the shoe, and not the widow—Boaz, and not Ruth.II. A law for the punishing of an immodest woman, v. 11, 12. The woman that by the foregoinglaw was to complain against her husband's brother for not marrying her, and to spit in his facebefore the elders, needed a good measure of assurance; but, lest the confidence which that lawsupported should grow to an excess unbecoming the sex, here is a very severe but just law to punishimpudence and immodesty. 1. The instance of it is confessedly scandalous to the highest degree.A woman could not do it unless she were perfectly lost to all virtue and honour. 2. The occasionis such as might in part excuse it; it was to help her husband out of the hands of one that was toohard for him. Now if the doing of it in a passion, and with such a good intention, was to be soseverely punished, much more when it was done wantonly and in lust. 3. The punishment was thather hand should be cut off; and the magistrates must not pretend to be more merciful than God:Thy eye shall not pity her. Perhaps our Saviour alludes to this law when he commands us to cut offthe right hand that offends us, or is an occasion of sin to us. Better put the greatest hardships thatcan be upon the body than ruin the soul for ever. Modesty is the hedge of chastity, and thereforeought to be very carefully preserved and kept up by both sexes.Amalek to Be Destroyed. (b. c. 1451.)13 Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small. 14 Thoushalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small. 15 But thou shalthave a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have: that thydays may be lengthened in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. 16 For allthat do such things, and all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the Lordthy God. 17 Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were comeforth out of Egypt; 18 How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost ofthee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and hefeared not God. 19 Therefore it shall be, when the Lord thy God hath given theerest from all thine enemies round about, in the land which the Lord thy God giveththee for an inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance ofAmalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it.Here is, I. A law against deceitful weights and measures: they must not only not use them, butthey must not have them, not have them in the bag, not have them in the house (v. 13, 14); for, ifthey had them, they would be strongly tempted to use them. They must not have a great weight andmeasure to buy by and a small one to sell by, for that was to cheat both ways, when either was bad1204Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)enough; as we read of those that made the ephah small, in which they measured the corn they sold,and the shekel great, by which they weighed the money they received for it, Amos viii. 5. But thoushalt have a perfect and just weight, v. 15. That which is the rule of justice must itself be just; ifthat be otherwise, it is a constant cheat. This had been taken care of before, Lev. xix. 35, 36. Thislaw is enforced with two very good reasons:—1. That justice and equity will bring down upon usthe blessing of God. The way to have our days lengthened, and to prosper, is to be just and fair inall our dealings Honesty is the best policy. 2. That fraud and injustice will expose us to the curseof God, v. 16. Not only unrighteousness itself, but all that do unrighteously, are an abomination tothe Lord. And miserable is that man who is abhorred by his Maker. How hateful, particularly, allthe arts of deceit are to God, Solomon several times observes, Prov. xi. 1; xx. 10, 23; and the apostletells us that the Lord is the avenger of all such as overreach and defraud in any matter, 1 Thess.iv. 6.II. A law for the rooting out of Amalek. Here is a just weight and a just measure, that, as Amalekhad measured to Israel, so it should be measure to Amalek again.1. The mischief Amalek did to Israel must be here remembered, v. 17, 18. When it was firstdone it was ordered to be recorded (Exod. xvii. 14-16), and here the remembrance of it is orderedto be preserved, not in personal revenge (for that generation which suffered by the Amalekites wasgone, so that those who now lived, and their posterity, could not have any personal resentment ofthe injury), but in a zeal for the glory of God (which was insulted by the Amalekites), that throneof the Lord against which the hand of Amalek was stretched out. The carriage of the Amalekitestowards Israel is here represented, (1.) As very base and disingenuous. They had no occasion at allto quarrel with Israel, nor did they give them any notice, by a manifesto or declaration of war; buttook them at an advantage, when they had just come out of the house of bondage, and, for aughtthat appeared to them, were only going to sacrifice to God in the wilderness. (2.) As very barbarousand cruel; for they smote those that were more feeble, whom they should have succoured. Thegreatest cowards are commonly the most cruel; while those that have the courage of a man willhave the compassion of a man. (3.) As very impious and profane: they feared not God. If they hadhad any reverence for the majesty of the God of Israel, which they saw a token of in the cloud, orany dread of his wrath, which they lately heard of the power of over Pharaoh, they durst not havemade this assault upon Israel. Well, here was the ground of the quarrel: and it shows how God takeswhat is done against his people as done against himself, and that he will particularly reckon withthose that discourage and hinder young beginners in religion, that (as Satan's agents) set upon theweak and feeble, either to divert them or to disquiet them, and offend his little ones.2. This mischief must in due time be revenged, v. 19. When their wars were finished, by whichthey were to settle their kingdom and enlarge their coast, then they must make war upon Amalek(v. 19), not merely to chase them, but to consume them, to blot out the remembrance of Amalek. Itwas an instance of God's patience that he deferred the vengeance so long, which should have ledthe Amalekites to repentance; yet an instance of fearful retribution that the posterity of Amalek, solong after, were destroyed for the mischief done by their ancestors to the Israel of God, that all theworld might see, and say, that he who toucheth them toucheth the apple of his eye. It was nearly400 years after this that Saul was ordered to put this sentence in execution (1 Sam. xv.), and wasrejected of God because he did not do it effectually, but spared some of that devoted nation, incontempt, not only of the particular orders he received from Samuel, but of this general commandhere given by Moses, which he could not be ignorant of. David afterwards made some destruction1205Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)of them; and the Simeonites, in Hezekiah's time, smote the rest that remained (1 Chron. iv. 43); forwhen God judges he will overcome.D E U T E R O N O M YCHAP. XXVI.With this chapter Moses concludes the particular statutes which he thought fit to give Israelin charge at his parting with them; what follows is by way of sanction and ratification. In thischapter, I. Moses gives them a form of confession to be made by him that offered the basket of hisfirst-fruits, ver. 1-11. II. The protestation and prayer to be made after the disposal of the third year'stithe, ver. 12-15. III. He binds on all the precepts he had given them, 1. By the divine authority:"Not I, but the Lord thy God has commanded thee to do these statutes," ver. 16. 2. By the mutualcovenant between God and them, ver. 17, &c.The Offering of First-Fruits. (b. c. 1451.)1 And it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the Lord thy Godgiveth thee for an inheritance, and possessest it, and dwellest therein; 2 That thoushalt take of the first of all the fruit of the earth, which thou shalt bring of thy landthat the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt put it in a basket, and shalt go unto theplace which the Lord thy God shall choose to place his name there. 3 And thoushalt go unto the priest that shall be in those days, and say unto him, I profess thisday unto the Lord thy God, that I am come unto the country which the Lord swareunto our fathers for to give us. 4 And the priest shall take the basket out of thinehand, and set it down before the altar of the Lord thy God. 5 And thou shalt speakand say before the Lord thy God, A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and hewent down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation,great, mighty, and populous: 6 And the Egyptians evil entreated us, and afflictedus, and laid upon us hard bondage: 7 And when we cried unto the Lord God of ourfathers, the Lord heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labour, andour oppression: 8 And the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand,and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and withwonders: 9 And he hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, evena land that floweth with milk and honey. 10 And now, behold, I have brought thefirstfruits of the land, which thou, O Lord, hast given me. And thou shalt set it beforethe Lord thy God, and worship before the Lord thy God: 11 And thou shalt rejoicein every good thing which the Lord thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thinehouse, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you.1206Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)Here is, I. A good work ordered to be done, and that is the presenting of a basket of theirfirst-fruits to God every year, v. 1, 2. Besides the sheaf of first-fruits, which was offered for thewhole land, on the morrow after the passover (Lev. xxiii. 10), every man was to bring for himselfa basket of first-fruits at the feast of pentecost, when the harvest was ended, which is thereforecalled the feast of first-fruits (Exod. xxxiv. 22), and is said to be kept with a tribute offree-will-offering, Deut. xvi. 10. But the Jews say, "The first-fruits, if not brought then, might bebrought any time after, between that and winter." When a man went into the field or vineyard atthe time when the fruits were ripening, he was to mark that which he observed most forward, andto lay it by for first-fruits, wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates, some ofeach sort must be put in the same basket, with leaves between them, and presented to God in theplace which he should choose. Now from this law we may learn, 1. To acknowledge God as thegiver of all those good things which are the support and comfort of our natural life, and thereforeto serve and honour him with them. 2. To deny ourselves. What is first ripe we are most fond of;those that are nice and curious expect to be served with each fruit at its first coming in. My souldesired the first ripe fruits, Micah vii. 1. When therefore God appointed them to lay those by forhim he taught them to prefer the glorifying of his name before the gratifying of their own appetitesand desires. 3. To give to God the first and best we have, as those that believe him to be the firstand best of beings. Those that consecrate the days of their youth, and the prime of their time, to theservice and honour of God, bring him their first-fruits, and with such offerings he is well pleased.I remember the kindness of thy youth.II. Good words put into their mouths to be said in the doing of this good work, as an explicationof the meaning of this ceremony, that it might be a reasonable service. The offerer must begin hisacknowledgment before he delivered his basket to the priest, and then must go on with it, when thepriest had set down the basket before the altar, as a present to God their great landlord, v. 3, 4.1. He must begin with a receipt in full for the good land which God had given them (v. 3): Iprofess that I have come now at last, after forty years' wandering, unto the country which the Lordswore to give us. This was most proper to be said when they came first into Canaan; probably whenthey had been long settled there they varied from this form. Note, When God has made good hispromises to us he expects that we should own it, to the honour of his faithfulness; this is like givingup the bond, as Solomon does, 1 Kings viii. 56, There has not failed one word of all his goodpromise. And our creature-comforts are doubly sweet to us when we see them flowing from thefountain of the promise.2. He must remember and own the mean origin of that nation of which he was a member. Howgreat soever they were now, and he himself with them, their beginning was very small, which oughtthus to be kept in mind throughout all the ages of their church by this public confession, that theymight not be proud of their privileges and advantages, but might for ever be thankful to that Godwhose grace chose them when they were so low and raised them so high. Two things they mustown for this purpose:—(1.) The meanness of their common ancestor: A Syrian ready to perish wasmy father, v. 5. Jacob is here called an Aramite, or Syrian, because he lived twenty years inPadan-Aram; his wives were of that country, and his children were all born there, except Benjamin;and perhaps the confessor means not Jacob himself, but that son of Jacob who was the father of histribe. However it be, both father and sons were more than once ready to perish, by Laban's severity,Esau's cruelty, and the famine in the land, which last was the occasion of their going down intoEgypt. Laban the Syrian sought to destroy my father (so the Chaldee), had almost destroyed him,1207Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)so the Arabic. (2.) The miserable condition of their nation in its infancy. They sojourned in Egyptas strangers, they served there as slaves (v. 6), and that a great while: as their father was called aSyrian, they might be called Egyptians; so that their possession of Canaan being so long discontinuedthey could not pretend any tenant-right to it. A poor, despised, oppressed people they were in Egypt,and therefore, though now rich and great, had no reason to be proud, or secure, or forgetful of God.3. He must thankfully acknowledge God's great goodness, not only to himself in particular,but to Israel in general. (1.) In bringing them out of Egypt, v. 7, 8. It is spoken of here as an act ofpity—he looked on our affliction; and an act of power—he brought us forth with a mighty hand.This was a great salvation, fit to be remembered upon all occasions, and particularly upon this;they need not grudge to bring a basket of first-fruits to God, for to him they owed it that they werenot now bringing in the tale of bricks to their cruel task-masters. (2.) In settling them in Canaan:He hath given us this land, v. 9. Observe, He must not only give thanks for his own lot, but for theland in general which was given to Israel; not only for this year's profits, but for the ground itselfwhich produced them, which God had graciously granted to his ancestors and entailed upon hisposterity. Note, The comfort we have in particular enjoyments should lead us to be thankful forour share in public peace and plenty; and with present mercies we should bless God for the formermercies we remember and the further mercies we expect and hope for.4. He must offer to God his basket of first-fruits (v. 10): "I have brought the first-fruits of theland (like a pepper-corn) as a quit-rent for the land which thou hast given me." Note, Whatever wegive to God, it is but of his own that we give him, 1 Chron. xxix. 14. And it becomes us, who receiveso much from him, to study what we shall render to him. The basket he set before God; and thepriests, as God's receivers, had the first-fruits, as perquisites of their place and fees for attending,Num. xviii. 12.III. The offerer is here appointed, when he has finished the service, 1. To give glory to God:Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God. His first-fruits were not accepted without further acts ofadoration. A humble, reverent, thankful heart is that which God looks at and requires, and, withoutthis, all we can put in a basket will not avail. If a man would give all the substance of his house tobe excused from this, or in lieu of it, it would utterly be contemned. 2. To take the comfort of it tohimself and family: Thou shalt rejoice in every good thing, v. 11. It is the will of God that we shouldbe cheerful, not only in our attendance upon his holy ordinances, but in our enjoyments of the giftsof his providence. Whatever good thing God gives us, it is his will that we should make the mostcomfortable use we can of it, yet still tracing the streams to the fountain of all comfort andconsolation.Appropriation of Tithes. (b. c. 1451.)12 When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase the thirdyear, which is the year of tithing, and hast given it unto the Levite, the stranger, thefatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled; 13 Thenthou shalt say before the Lord thy God, I have brought away the hallowed thingsout of mine house, and also have given them unto the Levite, and unto the stranger,to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all thy commandments which thouhast commanded me: I have not transgressed thy commandments, neither have Iforgotten them: 14 I have not eaten thereof in my mourning, neither have I taken1208Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)away ought thereof for any unclean use, nor given ought thereof for the dead: but Ihave hearkened to the voice of the Lord my God, and have done according to allthat thou hast commanded me. 15 Look down from thy holy habitation, fromheaven, and bless thy people Israel, and the land which thou hast given us, as thouswarest unto our fathers, a land that floweth with milk and honey.Concerning the disposal of their tithe the third year we had the law before, ch. xiv. 28, 29. Thesecond tithe, which in the other two years was to be spent in extraordinaries at the feasts, was tobe spent the third year at home, in entertaining the poor. Now because this was done from underthe eye of the priests, and a great confidence was put in the people's honesty, that they would disposeof it according to the law, to the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless (v. 12), it is thereforerequired that when at the next feast after they appeared before the Lord they should there testify(as it were) upon oath, in a religious manner, that they had fully administered, and been true to theirtrust.I. They must make a solemn protestation to this purport, v. 13, 14. 1. That no hallowed thingswere hoarded up: "I have brought them away out of my house, nothing now remains there but myown part." 2. That the poor, and particularly poor ministers, poor strangers, and poor widows, hadhad their part according to the commandment. It is fit that God, who by his providence gives us allwe have, should by his law direct the using of it, and, though we are not now under such particularappropriations of our revenue as they then were, yet, in general, we are commanded to give almsof such things as we have; and then, and not otherwise, all things are clean to us. Then we may takethe comfort of our enjoyments, when God has thus had his dues out of them. This is a commandmentwhich must not be transgressed, no, not with an excuse of its being forgotten, v. 13. 3. That noneof this tithe had been misapplied to any common use, much less to any ill use. This seems to referto the tithe of the other two years, which was to be eaten by the owners themselves; they mustprofess, (1.) That they had not eaten of it in their mourning, when, by their mourning for the dead,they were commonly unclean; or they had not eaten of it grudgingly, as those that all their days eatin darkness. (2.) That they had not sacrilegiously alienated it to any common use, for it was nottheir own. And, (3.) That they had not given it for the dead, for the honour of their dead gods, orin hope of making it beneficial to their dead friends. Now the obliging of them to make this solemnprotestation at the three years' end would be an obligation upon them to deal faithfully, knowingthat they must be called upon thus to purge themselves. It is our wisdom to keep conscience clearat all times, that when we come to give up our account we may lift up our face without spot. TheJews say that this protestation of their integrity was to be made with a low voice, because it lookedlike a self-commendation, but that the foregoing confession of God's goodness was to be madewith a loud voice to his glory. He that durst not make this protestation must bring histrespass-offering, Lev. v. 15.II. To this solemn protestation they must add a solemn prayer (v. 15), not particularly forthemselves, but for God's people Israel; for in the common peace and prosperity every particularperson prospers and has peace. We must learn hence to be public-spirited in prayer, and to wrestlewith God for blessings for the land and nation, our English Israel, and for the universal church,which we are directed to have an eye to in our prayers, as the Israel of God, Gal. vi. 16. In thisprayer we are taught, 1. To look up to God as in a holy habitation, and thence to infer that holinessbecomes his house, and that he will be sanctified in those that are about him. 2. To depend upon1209Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)the favour of God, and his gracious cognizance, as sufficient to make us and our people happy. 3.To reckon it wonderful condescension in God to case an eye even upon so great and honourable abody as Israel was. It is looking down. 4. To be earnest with God for a blessing upon his peopleIsrael, and upon the land which he has given us. For how should the earth yield its increase, or, ifit does, what comfort can we take in it, unless therewith God, even our own God, gives us hisblessing? Ps. lxvii. 6.Israel Reminded of the Covenant. (b. c. 1451.)16 This day the Lord thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes andjudgments: thou shalt therefore keep and do them with all thine heart, and with allthy soul. 17 Thou hast avouched the Lord this day to be thy God, and to walk inhis ways, and to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, andto hearken unto his voice: 18 And the Lord hath avouched thee this day to be hispeculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all hiscommandments; 19 And to make thee high above all nations which he hath made,in praise, and in name, and in honour; and that thou mayest be an holy people untothe Lord thy God, as he hath spoken.Two things Moses here urges to enforce all these precepts:—1. That they were the commandsof God, v. 16. They were not the dictates of his own wisdom, nor were they enacted by any authorityof his own, but infinite wisdom framed them, and the power of the King of kings made them bindingto them: "The Lord thy God commands thee, therefore thou art bound in duty and gratitude to obeyhim, and it is at thy peril if thou disobey. They are his laws, therefore thou shalt do them, for tothat end were they given thee: do them and not dispute them, do them and not draw back fromthem; do them not carelessly and hypocritically, but with thy heart and soul, thy whole heart andthy whole soul." 2. That their covenant with God obliged them to keep these commands. He insistsnot only upon God's sovereignty over them, but his propriety in them, and the relation wherein theystood to him. The covenant is mutual, and it binds to obedience both ways. (1.) That we may performour part of the covenant, and answer the intentions of that (v. 17): "Thou hast avouched and solemnlyowned and confessed the Lord Jehovah to be thy God, thy Prince and Ruler. As he is so by anincontestable right, so he is by thy own consent." They did this implicitly by their attendance onhis word, had done it expressly (Exod. xxiv.), and were now to do it again before they parted, ch.xxix. 1. Now this obliges us, in fidelity to our word, as well as in duty to our Sovereign, to keephis statutes and his commandments. We really forswear ourselves, and perfidiously violate the mostsacred engagements, if, when we have taken the Lord to be our God, we do not make conscienceof obeying his commands. (2.) That God's part of the covenant also may be made good, and theintentions of that answered (v. 18, 19): The Lord has avouched, not only taken, but publicly ownedthee to be his segullah, his peculiar people, as he has promised thee, that is, according to the trueintent and meaning of the promise. Now their obedience was not only the condition of this favour,and of the continuance of it (if they were not obedient, God would disown them, and cast themoff), but it was also the principal design of this favour. "He has avouched thee on purpose that thoushouldest keep his commandments, that thou mightest have both the best directions and the bestencouragements in religion." Thus we are elected to obedience (1 Pet. i. 2), chosen that we should1210Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)be holy (Eph. i. 4), purified, a peculiar people, that we might not only do good works, but be zealousin them, Tit. ii. 14. Two things God is here said to design in avouching them to be his peculiarpeople (v. 19), to make them high, and, in order to that, to make them holy; for holiness is truehonour, and the only way to everlasting honour. [1.] To make them high above all nations. Thegreatest honour we are capable of in this world is to be taken into covenant with God, and to livein his service. They should be, First, High in praise; for God would accept them, which is truepraise, Rom. ii. 29. Their friends would admire them, Zeph. iii. 19, 20. Secondly, High in name,which, some think, denotes the continuance and perpetuity of that praise, a name that shall not becut off. Thirdly, High in honour, that is, in all the advantages of wealth and power, which wouldmake them great above their neighbours. See Jer. xiii. 11. [2.] That they might be a holy people,separated for God, devoted to him, and employed continually in his service. This God aimed at intaking them to be his people; so that, if they did not keep his commandments, they received all thisgrace in vain.D E U T E R O N O M YCHAP. XXVII.Moses having very largely and fully set before the people their duty, both to God and oneanother, in general and in particular instances,—having shown them plainly what is good, and whatthe law requires of them,—and having in the close of the foregoing chapter laid them under theobligation both of the command and the covenant, he comes in this chapter to prescribe outwardmeans, I. For the helping of their memories, that they might not forget the law as a strange thing.They must write all the words of this law upon stones, ver. 1-10. II. For the moving of theiraffections, that they might not be indifferent to the law as a light thing. Whey they came into Canaan,the blessings and curses which were the sanctions of the law, were to be solemnly pronounced inthe hearing of all Israel, who were to say Amen to them, ver. 11-26. And if such a solemnity as thiswould not make a deep impression upon them, and affect them with the great things of God's law,nothing would.The Exhibition of the Law. (b. c. 1451.)1 And Moses with the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, Keep allthe commandments which I command you this day. 2 And it shall be on the daywhen ye shall pass over Jordan unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee,that thou shalt set thee up great stones, and plaster them with plaster: 3 And thoushalt write upon them all the words of this law, when thou art passed over, that thoumayest go in unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, a land that flowethwith milk and honey; as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee. 4 Thereforeit shall be when ye be gone over Jordan, that ye shall set up these stones, which Icommand you this day, in mount Ebal, and thou shalt plaster them with plaster. 51211Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)And there shalt thou build an altar unto the Lord thy God, an altar of stones: thoushalt not lift up any iron tool upon them. 6 Thou shalt build the altar of the Lordthy God of whole stones: and thou shalt offer burnt offerings thereon unto the Lordthy God: 7 And thou shalt offer peace offerings, and shalt eat there, and rejoicebefore the Lord thy God. 8 And thou shalt write upon the stones all the words ofthis law very plainly. 9 And Moses and the priests the Levites spake unto all Israel,saying, Take heed, and hearken, O Israel; this day thou art become the people of theLord thy God. 10 Thou shalt therefore obey the voice of the Lord thy God, and dohis commandments and his statutes, which I command thee this day.Here is, I. A general charge to the people to keep God's commandments; for in vain did theyknow them, unless they would do them. This is pressed upon them, 1. With all authority. Moseswith the elders of Israel, the rulers of each tribe (v. 1), and again, Moses and the priests the Levites(v. 9); so that the charge is given by Moses who was king in Jeshurun, and by their lords, bothspiritual and temporal, in concurrence with him. Lest they should think that it was Moses only, anold and dying man, that made such ado about religion, or the priests and Levites only, whose tradeit was to attend religion and who had their maintenance out of it, the elders of Israel, whom Godhad placed in honour and power over them, and who were men of business in the world and likelyto be so long so when Moses was gone, they commanded their people to keep God's law. Moses,having put some of his honour upon them, joins them in commission with himself, in giving thischarge, as Paul sometimes in his epistles joins with himself Silvanus and Timotheus. Note, All thathave any interest in others, or power over them, should use it for the support and furtherance ofreligion among them. Though the supreme power of a nation provide ever so good laws for thispurpose, if inferior magistrates in their places, and ministers in theirs, and masters of families intheirs, do not execute their offices, it will all be to little effect. 2. With all importunity. They pressit upon them with the utmost earnestness (v. 9, 10): Take heed and hearken, O Israel. It is a thingthat requires and deserves the highest degree of caution and attention. They tell them of theirprivilege and honour: "This day thou hast become the people of the Lord thy God, the Lord havingavouched thee to be his own, and being now about to put thee in possession of Canaan which hehad long promised as thy God (Gen. xvii. 7, 8), and which if he had failed to do in due time, hewould have been ashamed to be called thy God, Heb. xi. 16. Now thou art more than ever his people,therefore obey his voice." Privileges should be improved as engagements to duty. Should not apeople be ruled by their God?II. A particular direction to them with great solemnity to register the words of this law, as soonas they came into Canaan. It was to be done but once, and at their entrance into the land of promise,in token of their taking possession of it under the several provisos and conditions contained in thislaw. There was a solemn ratification of the covenant between God and Israel at Mount Sinai, whenan altar was erected, with twelve pillars, and the book of the covenant was produced, Exod. xxiv.4. That which is here appointed is a somewhat similar solemnity.1. They must set up a monument on which they must write the words of this law. (1.) Themonument itself was to be very mean, only rough unhewn stone plastered over; not polished marbleor alabaster, nor brass tables, but common plaster upon stone, v. 2. The command is repeated (v.4), and orders are given that it be written, not very finely, to be admired by the curious, but very1212Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)plainly, that he who runs may read it, Hab. ii. 2. The word of God needs not to be set off by the artof man, nor embellished with the enticing words of man's wisdom. But, (2.) The inscription was tobe very great: All the words of this law, v. 3, and again, v. 8. Some understand it only of the covenantbetween God and Israel, mentioned ch. xxvi. 17, 18. Let this help be set up for a witness, like thatmemorial of the covenant between Laban and Jacob, which was nothing but a heap of stones thrownhastily together, upon which they did eat together in token of friendship (Gen. xxxi. 46, 47), andthat stone which Joshua set up, Josh. xxiv. 26. Others think that the curses of the covenant in thischapter were written upon this monument, the rather because it was set up in Mount Ebal, v. 4.Others think that the whole book of Deuteronomy was written upon this monument, or at least thestatutes and judgments from ch. xii. to the end of ch. xxvi. And it is not improbable that the heapmight be so large as, taking in all the sides of it, to contain so copious an inscription, unless wewill suppose (as some do) that the ten commandments only were here written, as an authentic copyof the close rolls which were laid up in the ark. They must write this when they had gone intoCanaan, and yet Moses says (v. 3), "Write it that thou mayest go in," that is, "that thou mayest goin with comfort, and assurance of success and settlement, otherwise it were well for thee not to goin at all. Write it as the conditions of thy entry, and own that thou comest in upon these terms andno other: since Canaan is given by promise, it must beheld by obedience."2. They must also set up an altar. By the words of the law which were written upon the plaster,God spoke to them; by the altar, and the sacrifices offered upon it, they spoke to God; and thus wascommunion kept up between them and God. The word and prayer must go together. Though theymight not, of their own heads, set up any altar besides that at the tabernacle, yet, but the appointmentof God, they might upon a special occasion. Elijah built a temporary altar of twelve unhewn stones,similar to this, when he brought Israel back to the covenant which was now made, 1 Kings xviii.31, 32. Now, (1.) This altar must be made of such stones as they found ready upon the field, notnewly cut out of the rock, much less squared artificially: Thou shalt not lift up any iron tool uponthem, v. 5. Christ, our altar, is a stone cut out of the mountain without hands (Dan. ii. 34, 35), andtherefore refused by the builders, as having no form or comeliness, but accepted of God the Father,and made the head of the corner. (2.) Burnt-offerings and peace-offerings must be offered uponthis altar (v. 6, 7), that by them they might give glory to God and obtain favour. Where the law waswritten, an altar was set up close by it, to signify that we could not look with any comfort upon thelaw, being conscious to ourselves of the violation of it, if it were not for the great sacrifice by whichatonement is made for sin; and the altar was set up on Mount Ebal, the mount on which those tribesstood that said Amen to the curses, to intimate that through Christ we are redeemed from the curseof the law. In the Old Testament the words of the law are written, with the curse annexed, whichwould fill us with horror and amazement if we had not in the New Testament (which is bound upwith it) an altar erected close by it, which gives us everlasting consolation. (3.) They must eat there,and rejoice before the Lord their God, v. 7. This signified, [1.] The consent they gave to the covenant;for the parties to a covenant ratified the covenant by feasting together. They were partakers of thealtar, which was God's table, as his servants and tenants, and such they acknowledged themselves,and, being put in possession of this good land, bound themselves to pay the rent and to do theservices reserved by the royal grant. [2.] The comfort they took in the covenant; they had reasonto rejoice in the law, when they had an altar, a remedial law, so near it. It was a great favour tothem, and a token for good, that God gave them his statutes; and that they were owned as the peopleof God, and the children of the promise, was what they had reason to rejoice in, though, when this1213Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)solemnity was to be performed, they were not put in full possession of Canaan; but God has spokenin his holiness, and then I will rejoice, Gilead is mine, Manasseh is mine; all my own.The Curses from Ebal. (b. c. 1451.)11 And Moses charged the people the same day, saying, 12 These shall standupon mount Gerizim to bless the people, when ye are come over Jordan; Simeon,and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Joseph, and Benjamin: 13 And these shallstand upon mount Ebal to curse; Reuben, Gad, and Asher, and Zebulun, Dan, andNaphtali. 14 And the Levites shall speak, and say unto all the men of Israel witha loud voice, 15 Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, anabomination unto the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it ina secret place. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen. 16 Cursed be hethat setteth light by his father or his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen.17 Cursed be he that removeth his neighbour's landmark. And all the people shallsay, Amen. 18 Cursed be he that maketh the blind to wander out of the way. Andall the people shall say, Amen. 19 Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of thestranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen. 20 Cursed behe that lieth with his father's wife; because he uncovereth his father's skirt. And allthe people shall say, Amen. 21 Cursed be he that lieth with any manner of beast.And all the people shall say, Amen. 22 Cursed be he that lieth with his sister, thedaughter of his father, or the daughter of his mother. And all the people shall say,Amen. 23 Cursed be he that lieth with his mother in law. And all the people shallsay, Amen. 24 Cursed be he that smiteth his neighbour secretly. And all the peopleshall say, Amen. 25 Cursed be he that taketh reward to slay an innocent person.And all the people shall say, Amen. 26 Cursed be he that confirmeth not all thewords of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.When the law was written, to be seen and read by all men, the sanctions of it were to bepublished, which, to complete the solemnity of their covenanting with God, they were deliberatelyto declare their approbation of. This they were before directed to do (ch. xi. 29, 30), and thereforethe appointment here begins somewhat abruptly, v. 12. There were, it seems, in Canaan, that partof it which afterwards fell to the lot of Ephraim (Joshua's tribe), two mountains that lay near together,with a valley between, one called Gerizim and the other Ebal. On the sides of these two mountains,which faced one another, all the tribes were to be drawn up, six on one side and six on the other,so that in the valley, at the foot of each mountain, they came pretty near together, so near as thatthe priests standing betwixt them might be heard by those that were next them on both sides; thenwhen silence was proclaimed, and attention commanded, one of the priests, or perhaps more atsome distance from each other, pronounced with a loud voice one of the curses here following, andall the people that stood on the side and foot of Mount Ebal (those that stood further off taking thesignal from those that stood nearer and within hearing) said Amen; then the contrary blessing waspronounced, "Blessed is he that doth not so or so," and then those that stood on the side, and at the1214Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)foot, of Mount Gerizim, said Amen. This could not but affect them very much with the blessingsand curses, the promises and threatenings, of the law, and not only acquaint all the people withthem, but teach them to apply them to themselves.I. Something is to be observed, in general, concerning this solemnity, which was to be done,but once and not repeated, but would be talked of to posterity,. 1. God appointed which tribes shouldstand upon Mount Gerizim and which on Mount Ebal (v. 12, 13), to prevent the disputes that mighthave arisen if they had been left to dispose of themselves. The six tribes that were appointed forblessing were all the children of the free women, for to such the promise belongs, Gal. iv. 31. Leviis here put among the rest, to teach ministers to apply to themselves the blessing and curse whichthey preach to others, and by faith to set their own Amen to it. 2. Of those tribes that were to sayAmen to the blessings it is said, They stood to bless the people, but of the other, They stood to curse,not mentioning the people, as loth to suppose that any of this people whom God had taken for hisown should lay themselves under the curse. Or, perhaps, the different mode of expression intimatesthat there was to be but one blessing pronounced in general upon the people of Israel, as a happypeople, and that should ever be so, if they were obedient; and to this blessing the tribes on MountGerizim were to say Amen—"Happy art thou, O Israel, and mayest thou ever be so;" but then thecurses come in as exceptions from the general rule, and we know exceptio firmat regulam—theexception confirms the rule. Israel is a blessed people, but, if there be any particular persons evenamong them that do such and such things as are mentioned, let them know that they have no partnor lot in the matter, but are under a curse. This shows how ready God is to bestow the blessing;if any fall under the curse, they may thank themselves, they bring it upon their own heads. 3. TheLevites or priests, such of them as were appointed for that purpose, were to pronounce the cursesas well as the blessings. They were ordained to bless (ch. x. 8), the priests did it daily, Num. vi. 23.But they must separate between the precious and the vile; they must not give that blessingpromiscuously, but must declare it to whom it did not belong, lest those who had no right to itthemselves should think to share in it by being in the crowd. Note, Ministers must preach the terrorsof the law as well as the comforts of the gospel; must not only allure people to their duty with thepromises of a blessing, but awe them to it with the threatenings of a curse. 4. The curses are hereexpressed, but not the blessings; for as many as were under the law were under the curse, but itwas a honour reserved for Christ to bless us, and so to do that for us which the law could not do,in that it was weak. In Christ's sermon upon the mount, which was the true Mount Gerizim, wehave blessings only, Matt. v. 3, &c. 5. To each of the curses the people were to say Amen. It is easyto understand the meaning of Amen to the blessings. The Jews have a saying to encourage peopleto say Amen to the public prayers, Whosoever answereth Amen, after him that blesseth, he is as hethat blesseth. But how could they say Amen to the curses? (1.) It was a profession of their faith inthe truth of them, that these and the like curses were not bug-bears to frighten children and fools,but the real declarations of the wrath of God against the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,not one iota of which shall fall to the ground. (2.) It was an acknowledgment of the equity of thesecurses; when they said Amen, they did in effect say, not only, It is certain it shall be so, but, It isjust it should be so. Those who do such things deserve to fall and lie under the curse. (3.) It wassuch an imprecation upon themselves as strongly obliged them to have nothing to do with thoseevil practices upon which the curse is here entailed. "Let God's wrath fall upon us if ever we dosuch things." We read of those that entered into a curse (and with us that is the usual form of asolemn oath) to walk in God's law Neh. x. 29. Nay, the Jews say (as the learned bishop Patrick1215Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)quotes them), "All the people, by saying this Amen, became bound for one another, that they wouldobserve God's laws, by which every man was obliged, as far as he could, to prevent his neighbourfrom breaking these laws, and to reprove those that had offended, lest they should bear sin and thecurse for them."II. Let us now observe what are the particular sins against which the curses are here denounced.1. Sins against the second commandment. This flaming sword is set to keep that commandmentfirst, v. 15. Those are here cursed, not only that worship images, but that make them or keep them,if they be such (or like such) as idolaters used in the service of their gods. Whether it be a gravenimage or a molten image, it comes all to one, it is an abomination to the Lord, even though it benot set up in public, but in a secret place,—though it be not actually worshipped, nor is it said tobe designed for worship, but reserved there with respect and a constant temptation. He that doesthis may perhaps escape punishment from men, but he cannot escape the curse of God.2. Against the fifth commandment, v. 16. The contempt of parents is a sin so heinous that it isput next to the contempt of God himself. If a man abused his parents, either in word or deed, hefell under the sentence of the magistrate, and must be put to death, Exod. xxi. 15, 17. But to setlight by them in his heart was a thing which the magistrate could not take cognizance of, andtherefore it is here laid under the curse of God, who knows the heart. Those are cursed childrenthat carry themselves scornfully and insolently towards their parents.3. Against the eighth commandment. The curse of God is here fastened, (1.) Upon an unjustneighbour that removes the land-marks, v. 17. See ch. xix. 14. Upon an unjust counsellor, who,when his advice is asked, maliciously directs his friend to that which he knows will be to hisprejudice, which is making the blind to wander out of the way, under pretence of directing him inthe way, than which nothing can be either more barbarous or more treacherous, v. 18. Those thatseduce others from the way of God's commandments, and entice them to sin, bring this curse uponthemselves, which our Saviour has explained, Matt. xv. 14, The blind lead the blind, and both shallfall into the ditch. (3.) Upon an unjust judge, that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless,and widow, whom he should protect and vindicate, v. 19. These are supposed to be poor andfriendless (nothing to be got by doing them a kindness, nor any thing lost by disobliging them),and therefore judges may be tempted to side with their adversaries against right and equity; butcursed are such judges.4. Against the seventh commandment. Incest is a cursed sin, with a sister, a father's wife, ora mother-in-law, v. 20, 22, 23. These crimes not only exposed men to the sword of the magistrate(Lev. xx. 11), but, which is more dreadful, to the wrath of God; bestiality likewise, v. 21.5. Against the sixth commandment. Two of the worst kinds of murder are here specified:—(1.)Murder unseen, when a man does not set upon his neighbour as a fair adversary, giving him anopportunity to defend himself, but smites him secretly (v. 24), as by poison or otherwise, when hesees not who hurts him. See Ps. x. 8, 9. Though such secret murders may go undiscovered andunpunished, yet the curse of God will follow them. (2.) Murder under colour of law, which is thegreatest affront to God, for it makes an ordinance of his to patronise the worst of villains, and thegreatest wrong to our neighbour, for it ruins his honour as well as his life: cursed therefore is hethat will be hired, or bribed, to accuse, or to convict, or to condemn, and so to slay, an innocentperson, v. 25. See Ps. xv. 5.6. The solemnity concludes with a general curse upon him that confirmeth not, or, as it mightbe read, that performeth not, all the words of this law to do them, v. 26. By our obedience to the1216Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)law we set our seal to it, and so confirm it, as by our disobedience we do what lies in us to disannulit, Ps. cxix. 126. The apostle, following all the ancient versions, reads it, Cursed is every one thatcontinues not, Gal. iii. 10. Lest those who were guilty of other sins, not mentioned in thiscommination, should think themselves safe from the curse, this last reaches all; not only those whodo the evil which the law forbids, but those also who omit the good which the law requires: to thiswe must all say Amen, owning ourselves under the curse, justly to have deserved it, and that wemust certainly have perished for ever under it, if Christ had not redeemed us from the curse of thelaw, by being made a curse for us.D E U T E R O N O M YCHAP. XXVIII.This chapter is a very large exposition of two words in the foregoing chapter, the blessing andthe curse. Those were pronounced blessed in general that were obedient, and those cursed that weredisobedient; but, because generals are not so affecting, Moses here descends to particulars, anddescribes the blessing and the curse, not in their fountains (these are out of sight, and therefore themost considerable, yet least considered, the favour of God the spring of all the blessings, and thewrath of God the spring of all the curses), but in their streams, the sensible effects of the blessingand the curse, for they are real things and have real effects. I. He describes the blessings that shouldcome upon them if they were obedient; personal, family, and especially national, for in that capacityespecially they are here treated with, ver. 1-14. II. He more largely describes the curses whichwould come upon them if they were disobedient; such as would be, 1. Their extreme vexation, ver.15-44. 2. Their utter ruin and destruction at last, ver. 45-68. This chapter is much to the same purportwith Lev. xxvi., setting before them life and death, good and evil; and the promise, in the close ofthat chapter, of their restoration, upon their repentance, is here likewise more largely repeated, ch.xxx. Thus, as they had precept upon precept in the repetition of the law, so they had line upon linein the repetition of the promises and threatenings. And these are both there and here delivered, notonly as sanctions of the law, what should be conditionally, but as predictions of the event, whatwould be certainly, that for a while the people of Israel would be happy in their obedience, but thatat length they would be undone by their disobedience; and therefore it is said (ch. xxx. 1) that allthose things would come upon them, both the blessing and the curse.Promises. (b. c. 1451.)1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of theLord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command theethis day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearkenunto the voice of the Lord thy God. 3 Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessedshalt thou be in the field. 4 Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of1217Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thysheep. 5 Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. 6 Blessed shalt thou be whenthou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out. 7 The Lord shallcause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shallcome out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways. 8 The Lord shallcommand the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thinehand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.9 The Lord shall establish thee a holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn untothee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, and walk in hisways. 10 And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name ofthe Lord; and they shall be afraid of thee. 11 And the Lord shall make thee plenteousin goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thyground, in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers to give thee. 12 The Lordshall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land inhis season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto manynations, and thou shalt not borrow. 13 And the Lord shall make thee the head, andnot the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thouhearken unto the commandments of the Lord thy God, which I command thee thisday, to observe and to do them: 14 And thou shalt not go aside from any of thewords which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go afterother gods to serve them.The blessings are here put before the curses, to intimate, 1. That God is slow to anger, but swiftto show mercy: he has said it, and sworn, that he would much rather we would obey and live thansin and die. It is his delight to bless. 2. That though both the promises and the threatenings aredesigned to bring and hold us to our duty, yet it is better that we be allured to that which is goodby a filial hope of God's favour than that we be frightened to it by a servile fear of his wrath. Thatobedience pleases best which comes from a principle of delight in God's goodness. Now,I. We have here the conditions upon which the blessing is promised. 1. It is upon conditionthat they diligently hearken to the voice of God (v. 1, 2), that they hear God speaking to them byhis word, and use their utmost endeavours to acquaint themselves with his will, v. 13. 2. Uponcondition that they observe and do all his commandments (and in order to obedience there is needof observation) and that they keep the commandments of God (v. 9) and walk in his ways. Not onlydo them for once, but keep them for ever; not only set out in his ways, but walk in them to the end.3. Upon condition that they should not go aside either to the right hand or to the left, either tosuperstition on the one hand, or profaneness on the other; and particularly that they should not goafter other gods (v. 14), which was the sin that of all others they were most prone to, and God wouldbe most displeased with. Let them take care to keep up religion, both the form and power of it, intheir families and nation, and God would not fail to bless them.II. The particulars of this blessing.1218Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)1. It is promised that the providence of God should prosper them in all their outward concerns.These blessings are said to overtake them, v. 2. Good people sometimes, under the sense of theirunworthiness, are ready to fly from the blessing and to conclude that it belongs not to them,; butthe blessing shall find them out and follow them notwithstanding. Thus in the great day the blessingwill overtake the righteous that say, Lord, when saw we thee hungry and fed thee? Matt. xxv. 37.Observe,(1.) Several things are enumerated in which God by his providence would bless them:—[1.]They should be safe and easy; a blessing should rest upon their persons wherever they were, in thecity, or in the field, v. 3. Whether their habitation was in town or country, whether they werehusbandmen or tradesmen, whether their business called them into the city or into the field, theyshould be preserved from the dangers and have the comforts of their condition. This blessing shouldattend them in their journeys, going out and coming in, v. 6. Their persons should be protected,and the affair they went about should succeed well. Observe here, What a necessary and constantdependence we have upon God both for the continuance and comfort of this life. We need him atevery turn, in all the various movements of life; we cannot be safe if he withdraw his protection,nor easy if he suspend his favour; but, if he bless us, go where we will it is well with us. [2.] Theirfamilies should be built up in a numerous issue: blessed shall be the fruit of thy body (v. 4), and inthat the Lord shall make thee plenteous (v. 11), in pursuance of the promise made to Abraham, thathis seed should be as the stars of heaven for multitude, and that God would be a God to them, thanwhich a greater blessing, and more comprehensive, could not be entailed upon the fruit of theirbody. See Isa. lxi. 9. [3.] They should be rich, and have an abundance of all the good things of thislife, which are promised them, not merely that they might have the pleasure of enjoying them, but(as bishop Patrick observes out of one of the Jewish writers) that they might have wherewithal tohonour God, and might be helped and encouraged to serve him cheerfully and to proceed andpersevere in their obedience to him. A blessing is promised, First, On all they had without doors,corn and cattle in the field (v. 4, 11), their cows and sheep particularly, which would be blessedfor the owners' sakes, and made blessings to them. In order to this, it is promised that God wouldgive them rain in due season, which is called his good treasure (v. 12), because with this river ofGod the earth is enriched, Ps. lxv. 9. Our constant supplies we must see coming from God's goodtreasure, and own our obligations to him for them; if he withhold his rain, the fruits both of theground and of the cattle soon perish. Secondly, On all they had within doors, the basket and thestore (v. 5), the store-houses or barns, v. 8. When it is brought home, God will bless it, and notblow upon it as sometimes he does, Hag. i. 6, 9. We depend upon God and his blessing, not onlyfor our yearly corn out of the field, but for our daily bread out of our basket and store, and thereforeare taught to pray for it every day. [4.] They should have success in all their employments, whichwould be a constant satisfaction to them: "The Lord shall command the blessing (and it is he onlythat can command it) upon thee, not only in all thou hast, but in all thou doest, all that thou settestthy hand to," v. 8. This intimated that even when they were rich they must not be idle, but mustfind some good employment or other to set their hand to, and God would own their industry, andbless the work of their hand (v. 12); for that which makes rich, and keeps so, is the blessing of theLord upon the hand of the diligent, Prov. x. 4, 22. [5.] They should have honour among theirneighbours (v. 1): The Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations. He made them so, bytaking them into covenant with himself, ch. xxvi. 19. And he would make them more and more soby their outward prosperity, if they would not by sin disparage themselves. Two things should help1219Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)to make them great among the nations:—First, Their wealth (v. 12): "Thou shalt lend to manynations upon interest" (which they were allowed to take form the neighbouring nations), "but thoushalt not have occasion to borrow." This would give them great influence with all about them; forthe borrower is servant to the lender. It may be meant of trade and commerce, that they shouldexport abundantly more than they should import, which would keep the balance on their side.Secondly, Their power (v. 13): "The Lord shall make thee the head, to give law to all about thee,to exact tribute, and to arbitrate all controversies." Every sheaf should bow to theirs, which wouldmake them so considerable that all the people of the earth would be afraid of them (v. 10), that is,would reverence their true grandeur, and dread making them their enemies. The flourishing ofreligion among them, and the blessing of God upon them, would make them formidable to all theirneighbours, terrible as an army with banners. [6.] They should be victorious over their enemies,and prosper in all their wars. If any were so daring as to rise up against them to oppress them, orencroach upon them, it should be at their peril, they should certainly fall before them, v. 7. Theforces of the enemy, though entirely drawn up to come against them one way, should be entirelyrouted, and flee before them seven ways, each making the best of his way.(2.) From the whole we learn (though it were well if men would believe it) that religion andpiety are the best friends to outward prosperity. Though temporal blessings do not take up so muchroom in the promises of the New Testament as they do in those of the Old, yet it is enough that ourLord Jesus has given us his word (and surely we may take his word) that if we seek first the kingdomof God, and the righteousness thereof, all other things shall be added to us, as far as Infinite Wisdomsees good; and who can desire them further? Matt. vi. 33.2. It is likewise promised that the grace of God should establish them a holy people, v. 9.Having taken them into covenant with himself, he would keep them in covenant; and, providedthey used the means of stedfastness, he would give them the grace of stedfastness, that they shouldnot depart from him. Note, Those that are sincere in holiness God will establish in holiness; andhe is of power to do it, Rom. xvi. 25. He that is holy shall be holy still; and those whom Godestablishes in holiness he thereby establishes a people to himself, for a long as we keep close toGod he will never forsake us. This establishment of their religion would be the establishment oftheir reputation (v. 10): All the people of the earth shall see, and own, that thou art called by thename of the Lord, that is, "that thou art a most excellent and glorious people, under the particularcare and countenance of the great God. They shall be made to know that a people called by thename Jehovah are without doubt the happiest people under the sun, even their enemies themselvesbeing judges." The favourites of Heaven are truly great, and, first or last, it will be made to appearthat they are so, if not in this world, yet at that day when those who confess Christ now shall beconfessed by him before men and angels, as those whom he delights to honour.Threatenings. (b. c. 1451.)15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lordthy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I commandthee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: 16Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. 17 Cursedshall be thy basket and thy store. 18 Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and thefruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. 19 Cursed1220Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out.20 The Lord shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thousettest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly;because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me. 21 TheLord shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee fromoff the land, whither thou goest to possess it. 22 The Lord shall smite thee with aconsumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extremeburning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shallpursue thee until thou perish. 23 And thy heaven that is over thy head shall bebrass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron. 24 The Lord shall make therain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, untilthou be destroyed. 25 The Lord shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies:thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shaltbe removed into all the kingdoms of the earth. 26 And thy carcase shall be meatunto all fowls of the air, and unto the beasts of the earth, and no man shall fray themaway. 27 The Lord will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods,and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed. 28 The Lordshall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart: 29 Andthou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt notprosper in thy ways: and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore, and noman shall save thee. 30 Thou shalt betroth a wife, and another man shall lie withher: thou shalt build a house, and thou shalt not dwell therein: thou shalt plant avineyard, and shalt not gather the grapes thereof. 31 Thine ox shall be slain beforethine eyes, and thou shalt not eat thereof: thine ass shall be violently taken awayfrom before thy face, and shall not be restored to thee: thy sheep shall be given untothine enemies, and thou shalt have none to rescue them. 32 Thy sons and thydaughters shall be given unto another people, and thine eyes shall look, and fail withlonging for them all the day long: and there shall be no might in thine hand. 33The fruit of thy land, and all thy labours, shall a nation which thou knowest not eatup; and thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed alway: 34 So that thou shalt bemad for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see. 35 The Lord shall smite theein the knees, and in the legs, with a sore botch that cannot be healed, from the soleof thy foot unto the top of thy head. 36 The Lord shall bring thee, and thy kingwhich thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers haveknown; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone. 37 And thou shaltbecome an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither theLord shall lead thee. 38 Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt1221Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it. 39 Thou shalt plant vineyards,and dress them, but shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for theworms shall eat them. 40 Thou shalt have olive trees throughout all thy coasts, butthou shalt not anoint thyself with the oil; for thine olive shall cast his fruit. 41 Thoushalt beget sons and daughters, but thou shalt not enjoy them; for they shall go intocaptivity. 42 All thy trees and fruit of thy land shall the locust consume. 43 Thestranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt comedown very low. 44 He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shallbe the head, and thou shalt be the tail.Having viewed the bright side of the cloud, which is towards the obedient, we have nowpresented to us the dark side, which is towards the disobedient. If we do not keep God'scommandments, we not only come short of the blessing promised, but we lay ourselves under thecurse, which is as comprehensive of all misery as the blessing is of all happiness. Observe,I. The equity of this curse. It is not a curse causeless, nor for some light cause; God seeks notoccasion against us, nor is he apt to quarrel with us. That which is here mentioned as bringing thecurse is, 1. Despising God, refusing to hearken to his voice (v. 15), which bespeaks the highestcontempt imaginable, as if what he said were not worth the heeding, or we were not under anyobligation to him. 2. Disobeying him, not doing his commandments, or not observing to do them.None fall under his curse but those that rebel against his command. 3. Deserting him. "It is becauseof the wickedness of thy doings, not only whereby thou hast slighted me, but whereby thou hastforsaken me," v. 20. God never casts us off till we first cast him off. It intimates that their idolatry,by which they forsook the true God for false gods, would be their destroying sin more than anyother.II. The extent and efficacy of this curse.1. In general, it is declared, "All these curses shall come upon thee from above, and shallovertake thee; though thou endeavour to escape them, it is to no purpose to attempt it, they shallfollow thee whithersoever thou goest, and seize thee, overtake thee, and overcome thee," v. 15. Itis said of the sinner, when God's wrath is in pursuit of him, that he would fain flee out of his hand(Job xxvii. 22), but he cannot; if he flee from the iron weapon, yet the bow of steel shall reach himand strike him through. There is no running from God but by running to him, no fleeing from hisjustice but by fleeing to his mercy. See Ps. xxi. 7, 8. (1.) Wherever the sinner goes, the curse ofGod follows him; wherever he is, it rests upon him. He is cursed in the city and in the field, v. 16.The strength of the city cannot shelter him from it, the pleasant air of the country is no fence againstthese pestilential steams. He is cursed (v. 19) when he comes in, for the curse is upon the house ofthe wicked (Prov. iii. 33), and he is cursed when he goes out, for he cannot leave that curse behindhim, nor get rid of it, which has entered into his bowels like water and like oil into his bones. (2.)Whatever he has is under a curse: Cursed is the ground for his sake, and all that is on it, or comesout of it, and so he is cursed from the ground, as Cain, Gen. iv. 11. The basket and store are cursed,v. 17, 18. All his enjoyments being forfeited by him are in a manner forbidden to him, as cursedthings, which he has no title to. To those whose mind and conscience are defiled every thing elseis so, Tit. i. 15. They are all embittered to him; he cannot take any true comfort in them, for thewrath of God mixes itself with them, and he is so far from having any security of the continuance1222Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)of them that, if his eyes be open, he may see them all condemned and ready to be confiscated, andwith them all his joys and all his hopes gone for ever. (3.) Whatever he does is under a curse too.It is a curse in all that he sets his hand to (v. 20), a constant disappointment, which those are subjectto that set their hearts upon the world, and expect their happiness in it, and which cannot but be aconstant vexation. This curse is just the reverse of the blessing in the former part of the chapter.Thus whatever bliss there is in heaven there is not only the want of it, but the contrary to it, in hell.Isa. lxv. 13, My servants shall eat, but you shall be hungry.2. Many particular judgments are here enumerated, which would be the fruits of the curse, andwith which God would punish the people of the Jews for their apostasy and disobedience. Thesejudgments threatened are of divers kinds, for God has many arrows in his quiver, four sore judgments(Ezek. xiv. 21), and many more. They are represented as very terrible, and the descriptions of themare exceedingly lively and affecting, that men, knowing these terrors of the Lord, might, if possible,be persuaded. The threatenings of the same judgment are several times repeated, that they mightmake the more deep and lasting impressions, and to intimate that, if men persisted in theirdisobedience, the judgment which they thought was over, and of which they said, "Surely thebitterness of it is past," would return with double force; for when God judges he will overcome.(1.) Bodily diseases are here threatened, that they should be epidemical in their land. These Godsometimes makes use of for the chastisement and improvement of his own people. Lord, behold,he whom thou lovest is sick. But here they are threatened to be brought upon his enemies as tokensof his wrath, and designed for their ruin. So that according to the temper of our spirits, undersickness, accordingly it is to us a blessing or a curse. But, whatever sickness may be to particularpersons, it is certain that epidemical diseases raging among a people are national judgments, andare so to be accounted. He here threatens, [1.] Painful diseases (v. 35), a sore botch, beginning inthe legs and knees, but spreading, like Job's boils, from heat to foot. [2.] Shameful diseases (v. 27),the botch of Egypt (such boils and blains as the Egyptians had been plagued with, when God broughtIsrael from among them), and the emerods and scab, vile diseases, the just punishment of thosewho by sin had made themselves vile. [3.] Mortal diseases, the pestilence (v. 21), the consumption(put for all chronical diseases), and the fever (for all acute diseases), v. 22. See Lev. xxvi. 16. Andall incurable, v. 27. (2.) Famine, and scarcity of provisions; and this, [1.] For want of rain (v. 23,24): Thy heaven over thy head, that part that is over thy land, shall be as dry as brass, while theheavens over other countries shall distil their dews; and, when the heaven is as brass, the earth ofcourse will be as iron, so hard and unfruitful. Instead of rain, the dust shall be blown out of thehighways into the field, and spoil the little that there is of the fruits of the earth. [2.] By destroyinginsects. The locust should destroy the corn, so that they should not have so much as their seedagain, v. 38, 42. And the fruit of the vine, which should make glad their hearts, should all beworm-eaten, v. 39. And the olive, some way or other, should be made to cast its fruit, v. 40. Theheathen use many superstitious customs in honour of their idol-gods for preserving the fruits of theearth; but Moses tells Israel that the only way they had to preserve them was to keep God'scommandments; for he is a God that will not be sported with, like their idols, but will be served inspirit and truth. This threatening we find fulfilled in Israel, 1 Kings xvii. 1; Jer. xiv. 1, &c.; Joel i.4. (3.) That they should be smitten before their enemies in war, who, it is likely, would be the morecruel to them, when they had them at their mercy, for the severity they had used against the nationsof Canaan, which their neighbours in after-ages would be apt to remember against them, v. 25. Itwould make their flight the more shameful, and the more grievous, that they might have triumphed1223Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)over their enemies if they had but been faithful to their God. The carcases of those that were slainin war, or died in captivity among strangers, should be meat for the fowls (v. 26); and an Israelite,having forfeited the favour of his God, should have so little humanity shown him as that no manshould drive them away, so odious would God's curse make him to all mankind. (4.) That theyshould be infatuated in all their counsels, so as not to discern their own interest, nor bring any thingto pass for the public good: The Lord shall smite thee with madness and blindness, v. 28, 29. Note,God's judgments can reach the minds of men to fill them with darkness and horror, as well as theirbodies and estates; and those are the sorest of all judgments which make men a terror to themselves,and their own destroyers. That which they contrived to secure themselves by should still turn totheir prejudice. Thus we often find that the allies they confided in distressed them and strengthenedthem not, 2 Chron. xxviii. 20. Those that will not walk in God's counsels are justly left to be ruinedby their own; and those that are wilfully blind to their duty deserve to be made blind to their interest,and, seeing they loved darkness rather than light, let them grope at noon-day as in the dark. (5.)That they should be plundered of all their enjoyments, stripped of all by the proud and imperiousconqueror, such as Benhadad was to Ahab, 1 Kings xx. 5, 6. Not only their houses and vineyardsshould be taken from them, but their wives and children, v. 30, 32. Their dearest comforts, whichthey took most pleasure in, and promised themselves most from, should be the entertainment andtriumph of their enemies. As they had dwelt in houses which they built not, and eaten of vineyardswhich they planted not (ch. vi. 10, 11), so others should do by them. Their oxen, asses, and sheep,like Job's, should be taken away before their eyes, and they should not be able to recover them, v.31. And all the fruit of their land and labours should be devoured and eaten up by the enemy; sothat they and theirs would want necessaries, while their enemies were revelling with that whichthey had laboured for. (6.) That they should be carried captives into a far country; nay, into all thekingdoms of the earth, v. 25. Their sons and daughters, whom they promised themselves comfortin, should go into captivity (v. 41), and they themselves at length, and their king in whom theypromised themselves safety and settlement, v. 36. This was fully accomplished when the ten tribesfirst were carried captive into Assyria (2 Kings xvii. 6), and not long after the two tribes intoBabylon, and two of their kings, 2 Kings xxiv. 14, 15; xxv. 7, 21. That which is mentioned as anaggravation of their captivity is that they should go into an unknown country, the language andcustoms of which would be very uncouth, and their treatment among them barbarous, and therethey should serve other gods, that is, be compelled to do so by their enemies, as they were inBabylon, Dan. iii. 6. Note, God often makes men's sin their punishment, and chooses their delusions.You shall serve other gods, that is, "You shall serve those that do serve them;" a nation is often inscripture called by the name of its gods, as Jer. xlviii. 7. They had made idolaters their associates,and now god made idolaters their oppressors. (7.) That those who remained should be insulted andtyrannized over by strangers, v. 43, 44. So the ten tribes were by the colonies which the king ofAssyria sent to take possession of their land, 2 Kings xvii. 24. Or this may be meant of the gradualencroachments which the strangers within their gates should make upon them, so as insensibly toworm them out of their estates. We read of the fulfilling of this, Hos. vii. 9, Strangers have devouredhis strength. Foreigners ate the bread out of the mouths of trueborn Israelites, by which they werejustly chastised for introducing strange gods. (8.) That their reputation among their neighboursshould be quite sunk, and those that had been a name, and a praise, should be an astonishment, aproverb, and a by-word, v. 37. Some have observed the fulfilling of this threatening in their presentstate; for, when we would express the most perfidious and barbarous treatment, we say, None but1224Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)a Jew would have done so. Thus is sin a reproach to any people. (9.) To complete their misery, itis threatened that they should be put quite out of the possession of their minds by all these troubles(v. 34): Thou shalt be mad for the sight of thy eyes, that is, quite bereaved of all comfort and hope,and abandoned to utter despair. Those that walk by sight, and not by faith, are in danger of losingreason itself, when every thing about them looks frightful; and their condition is woeful indeed thatare mad for the sight of their eyes.45 Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, andovertake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voiceof the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which hecommanded thee: 46 And they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, andupon thy seed for ever. 47 Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God withjoyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things; 48 Thereforeshalt thou serve thine enemies which the Lord shall send against thee, in hunger,and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke ofiron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee. 49 The Lord shall bring a nationagainst thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nationwhose tongue thou shalt not understand; 50 A nation of fierce countenance, whichshall not regard the person of the old, nor show favour to the young: 51 And heshall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed:which also shall not leave thee either corn, wine, or oil, or the increase of thy kine,or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee. 52 And he shall besiege theein all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst,throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thyland, which the Lord thy God hath given thee. 53 And thou shalt eat the fruit ofthine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, which the Lord thy Godhath given thee, in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shalldistress thee: 54 So that the man that is tender among you, and very delicate, hiseye shall be evil toward his brother, and toward the wife of his bosom, and towardthe remnant of his children which he shall leave: 55 So that he will not give to anyof them of the flesh of his children whom he shall eat: because he hath nothing lefthim in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress theein all thy gates. 56 The tender and delicate woman among you, which would notadventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness,her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, andtoward her daughter, 57 And toward her young one that cometh out from betweenher feet, and toward her children which she shall bear: for she shall eat them forwant of all things secretly in the siege and straitness, wherewith thine enemy shalldistress thee in thy gates. 58 If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law1225Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name,THE LORD THY GOD; 59 Then the Lord will make thy plagues wonderful, andthe plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and soresicknesses, and of long continuance. 60 Moreover he will bring upon thee all thediseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee. 61Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law,them will the Lord bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed. 62 And ye shall beleft few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; becausethou wouldest not obey the voice of the Lord thy God. 63 And it shall come topass, that as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so theLord will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shallbe plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it. 64 And the Lord shallscatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; andthere thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known,even wood and stone. 65 And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neithershall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the Lord shall give thee there a tremblingheart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind: 66 And thy life shall hang in doubtbefore thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thylife: 67 In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thoushalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thoushalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see. 68 And the Lordshall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spake unto thee,Thou shalt see it no more again: and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies forbondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you.One would have thought that enough had been said to possess them with a dread of that wrathof God which is revealed from heaven against the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. But toshow how deep the treasures of that wrath are, and that still there is more and worse behind, Moses,when one would have thought that he had concluded this dismal subject, begins again, and adds tothis roll of curses many similar words: as Jeremiah did to his, Jer. xxxvi. 32. It should seem that inthe former part of this commination Moses foretells their captivity in Babylon, and the calamitieswhich introduced and attended that, by which, even after their return, they were brought to that lowand poor condition which is described, v. 44. That their enemies should be the head, and they thetail: but here, in this latter part, he foretels their last destruction by the Romans and their dispersionthereupon. And the present deplorable state of the Jewish nation, and of all that have incorporatedthemselves with them, by embracing their religion, does so fully and exactly answer to the predictionin these verses that it serves for an incontestable proof of the truth of prophecy, and consequentlyof the divine authority of the scripture. And, this last destruction being here represented as moredreadful than the former, it shows that their sin, in rejecting Christ and his gospel, was more heinousand more provoking to God than idolatry itself, and left them more under the power of Satan; for1226Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)their captivity in Babylon cured them effectually of their idolatry in seventy years' time; but underthis last destruction now for above 1600 years they continue incurably averse to the Lord Jesus.Observe,I. What is here said in general of the wrath of God, which should light and lie upon them fortheir sins.1. That, if they would not be ruled by the commands of God, they should certainly be ruinedby his curse, v. 45, 46. Because thou didst not keep his commandments (especially that of hearingand obeying the great prophet), these curses shall come upon thee, as upon a people appointed todestruction, the generation of God's wrath: and they shall be for a sign and for a wonder. It isamazing to think that a people so long the favourites of Heaven should be so perfectly abandonedand cast off, that a people so closely incorporated should be so universally dispersed, and yet thata people so scattered in all nations should preserve themselves distinct and not mix with any, butlike Cain be fugitives and vagabonds, and yet marked to be known.2. That, if they would not serve God with cheerfulness, they should be compelled to serve theirenemies (v. 47, 48), that they might know the difference (2 Chron. xii. 8), which, some think, isthe meaning of Ezek. xx. 24, 25, Because they despised my statutes, I gave them statutes that werenot good. Observe here, (1.) It is justly expected from those to whom God gives an abundance ofthe good things of this life that they should serve him. What does he maintain us for out that wemay do his work, and be some way serviceable to his honour? (2.) The more God gives us the morecheerfully we should serve him; our abundance should be oil to the wheels of our obedience. Godis a Master that will be served with gladness, and delights to hear us sing at our work. (3.) If, whenwe receive the gifts of God's bounty, we either do not serve him at all or serve him with reluctance,it is a righteous thing with him to make us know the hardships of want and servitude. Those deserveto have cause given them to complain who complain without a cause. Tristis es et felix—Happy,and yet not easy! Blush at thy own folly and ingratitude.3. That, if they would not give glory to God by a reverential obedience, he would get himhonour upon them by wonderful plagues, v. 58, 59. Note, (1.) God justly expects from us that weshould fear his fearful name; and, which is strange, that name which is here proposed as the objectof our fear is, The Lord thy God, which is very fitly here put in our Bibles in capital letters; fornothing can sound more truly august. As nothing is more comfortable, so nothing more awful, thanthis, that he with whom we have to do is Jehovah, a being infinitely perfect and blessed, and theauthor of all being; and that he is our God, our rightful Lord and owner, from whom we are toreceive laws and to whom we are to give account: this is great, and greatly to be feared. (2.) Wemay justly expect from God that, if we do not fear his fearful name, we shall feel his fearful plagues;for one way or other God will be feared. All God's plagues are dreadful, but some are wonderful,carrying in them extraordinary signatures of divine power and justice, so that a man, upon the firstview of them, may say, Verily, there is a God that judgeth in the earth.II. How the destruction threatened is described. Moses is here upon the same melancholysubject that our Saviour is discoursing of to his disciples in his farewell sermon (Matt. xxiv.),namely, The destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish nation. Observe,1. Five things are here foretold as steps to their ruin:—(1.) That they should be invaded by a foreign enemy (v. 49, 50): A nation from far, namely,the Romans, as swift as the eagle hastening to the prey. Our Saviour makes use of this similitude,in foretelling this destruction, that where the carcase is there will the eagles be gathered together,1227Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)Matt. xxiv. 28. And bishop Patrick observes (to make the accomplishment the more remarkable)that the ensign of the Roman armies was an eagle. This nation is said to be of a fierce countenance,an indication of a fierce nature, stern and severe, that would not pity the weakness and infirmityeither of little children or of old people.(2.) That the country should be laid waste, and all the fruits of it eaten up by this army offoreigners, which is the natural consequence of an invasion, especially when it is made, as that bythe Romans was, for the chastisement of rebels: He shall eat the fruits of thy cattle and land (v.51), so that the inhabitants should be starved, while the invaders were fed to the full.(3.) That their cities should be besieged, and that such would be the obstinacy of the besieged,and such the vigour of the besiegers, that they would be reduced to the last extremity, and at lengthfall into the hands of the enemy, v. 52. No place, though ever so well fortified, no, not Jerusalemitself, though it held out long, would escape. Two of the common consequences of a long siege arehere foretold:—[1.] A miserable famine, which would prevail to such a degree that, for want offood, they should kill and eat their own children, v. 53. Men should do so, notwithstanding theirhardiness, and ability to bear hunger; and, though obliged by the law of nature to provide for theirown families, yet should refuse to give to the wife and children that were starving any of the childthat was barbarously butchered, v. 54, 55. Nay, women, ladies of quality, notwithstanding theirnatural niceness about their food, and their natural affection to their children, yet, for want of food,should so far forget all humanity as to kill and eat them, v. 56, 57. Let us observe, by the way, howhard this fate must needs be to the tender and delicate women, and learn not to indulge ourselvesin tenderness and delicacy, because we know not what we may be reduced to before we die; themore nice we are, the harder it will be to us to bear want, and the more danger we shall be in orsacrificing reason, and religion, and natural affection itself, to the clamours and cravings of anunmortified and ungoverned appetite. This threatening was fulfilled in the letter of it, more thanonce, to the perpetual reproach of the Jewish nation: never was the like done either by Greek orbarbarian, but in the siege of Samaria, a woman boiled her own son, 2 Kings vi. 28, 29. And it isspoken of as commonly done among them in the siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, Lam. iv.10. And, in the last siege by the Romans, Josephus tells us of a noble woman that killed and ateher own child, through the extremity of the famine, and when she had eaten one half secretly (v.57), that she might have it to herself, the mob, smelling meat, got into the house, to whom sheshowed the other half, which she had kept till another time, inviting them to share with her. Whatis too barbarous for those to do that are abandoned of God! [2.] Sickness is another common effectof a strait and long siege, and that is here threatened: Sore sickness, and of long continuance, v.59. These should attend the Jews wherever they went afterwards, the diseases of Egypt, leprosies,botches, and foul ulcers, v. 60. Nay, as if the particular miseries here threatened were not enough,he concludes with an et cetera, v. 61. The Lord will bring upon thee every sickness, and everyplague, though it be not written in the book of this law. Those that fall under the curse of God willfind that the one half was not told them of the weight and terror of that curse.(4.) That multitudes of them should perish, so that they should become few in number, v. 62.It was a nation that God had wonderfully increased, so that they were as the stars of heaven formultitude; but, for their sin, they were diminished and brought low, Ps. cvii. 38, 39. It is computedthat in the destruction of the Jewish nation by the Romans, as appears by the account Josephusgives of it, above two millions fell by the sword at several places, besides what perished by famineand pestilence; so that the whole country was laid waste and turned into a wilderness. That is a1228Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)terrible word (v. 63), As the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good, so he will rejoice over you todestroy you. Behold here the goodness and severity of God: mercy here shines brightly in thepleasure God takes in doing good—he rejoices in it; yet justice here appears no less illustrious inthe pleasure he takes in destroying the impenitent; not as it is the making of his creatures miserable,but as it is the asserting of his own honour and the securing of the ends of his government. Seewhat a malignant mischievous thing sin is, which (as I may say) makes it necessary for the God ofinfinite goodness to rejoice in the destruction of his own creatures, even those that had beenfavourites.(5.) That the remnant should be scattered throughout the nations This completes their woe:The Lord shall scatter thee among all people, v. 64. This is remarkably fulfilled in their presentdispersion, for there are Jews to be fond almost in all countries that are possessed either by Christiansor Mahometans, and in such numbers that it has been said, If they could unite in one commoninterest, they would be a very formidable body, and able to deal with the most powerful states andprinces; but they abide under the power of this curse, and are so scattered that they are not able toincorporate. It is here foretold that in this dispersion, [1.] They should have no religion, or none toany purpose, should have no temple, nor altar, nor priesthood, for they should serve other gods.Some think this has been fulfilled in the force put upon the Jews in popish countries to worship theimages that are used in the Romish church, to their great vexation. [2.] They should have no rest,no rest of body: The sole of thy foot shall not have rest (v. 65), but be continually upon the remove,either in hope of gain or fear of persecution; all wandering Jews: no rest of the mind (which is muchworse), but a trembling heart (v. 65); no assurance of life (v. 66); weary both of light and darkness,which are, in their turns, both welcome to a quiet mind, but to them both day and night would bea terror, v. 67. Such was once the condition of Job (Job vii. 4), but to them this should be constantand perpetual; that blindness and darkness which the apostle speaks of as having happened to Israel,and that guilt which bowed down their back always (Rom. xi. 8-10), must needs occasion a constantrestlessness and amazement. Those are a torment to themselves, and to all about them, that fearday and night and are always uneasy. Let good people strive against it, and not give way to thatfear which has torment; and let wicked people not be secure in their wickedness, for their heartscannot endure, nor can their hands be strong, when the terrors of God set themselves in array againstthem. Those that say in the morning, O that it were evening, and in the evening, O that it weremorning, show, First, A constant fret and vexation, chiding the hours for lingering and complainingof the length of every minute. Let time be precious to us when we are in prosperity, and then it willnot be so tedious to us when we are in afflictions as otherwise it would. Secondly, A constant frightand terror, afraid in the morning of the arrow that flieth by day, and therefore wishing the day over;but what will this do for them? When evening comes, the trembling heart is no less apprehensiveof the terror by night, Ps. xci. 5, 6. Happy they whose minds, being stayed on God, are quiet fromthe fear of evil! Observe here, The terror arises not only from the sight of the eyes, but from thefear of the heart, not only from real dangers, but from imaginary ones; the causes of fear, whenthey come to be enquired into, often prove to be only the creatures of the fancy.2. In the close, God threatens to leave them as he found them, in a house of bondage (v. 68):The Lord shall bring thee into Egypt again, that is into such a miserable state as they were in whenthey were slaves to the Egyptians, and ruled by them with rigour. God had brought them out ofEgypt, and had said, They shall see it no more again (ch. xvii. 16); but now they should be reducedto the same state of slavery that they had been in there. To be sold to strangers would be bad enough,1229Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)but much worse to be sold to their enemies. Even slaves may be valued as such, but a Jew shouldhave so ill a name for all that is base that when he was exposed to sale no man would buy him,which would make his master that had him to sell the more severe with him. Thirty Jews (they say)have been sold for one small piece of money, as they sold our Saviour for thirty pieces.3. Upon the whole matter, (1.) The accomplishment of these predictions upon the Jewish nationshows that Moses spoke by the Spirit of God, who certainly foresees the ruin of sinners, and givesthem warning of it, that they may prevent it by a true and timely repentance, or else be leftinexcusable. (2.) Let us all hence learn to stand in awe and not to sin. I have heard of a wicked man,who, upon reading the threatenings of this chapter, was so enraged that he tore the leaf out of theBible, as Jehoiakim cut Jeremiah's roll; but to what purpose is it to deface a copy, while the originalremains upon record in the divine counsels, by which it is unalterably determined that the wagesof sin is death, whether men will hear or whether they will forbear?D E U T E R O N O M YCHAP. XXIX.The first words of this chapter are the contents of it, "These are the words of the covenant"(ver. 1), that is, these that follow. Here is, I. A recital of God's dealings with them, in order to thebringing of them into this covenant, ver. 2-8. II. A solemn charge to them to keep the covenant,ver. 9. III. An abstract of the covenant itself, ver. 12, 13. IV. A specification of the persons takeninto the covenant, ver. 10, 11, 14, 15. V. An intimation of the great design of this covenant againstidolatry, in a parenthesis, ver. 16, 17. VI. A most solemn and dreadful denunciation of the wrathof God against such persons as promise themselves peace in a sinful way, ver. 18-28. VII. Theconclusion of this treaty, with a distinction between things secret and things revealed, ver. 29.Mercies Called to Remembrance. (b. c. 1451.)1 These are the words of the covenant, which the Lord commanded Moses tomake with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, beside the covenant which hemade with them in Horeb. 2 And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them,Ye have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh,and unto all his servants, and unto all his land; 3 The great temptations which thineeyes have seen, the signs, and those great miracles: 4 Yet the Lord hath not givenyou a heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day. 5 And Ihave led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes are not waxen old upon you,and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot. 6 Ye have not eaten bread, neitherhave ye drunk wine or strong drink: that ye might know that I am the Lord yourGod. 7 And when ye came unto this place, Sihon the king of Heshbon, and Og theking of Bashan, came out against us unto battle, and we smote them: 8 And we1230Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)took their land, and gave it for an inheritance unto the Reubenites, and to the Gadites,and to the half tribe of Manasseh. 9 Keep therefore the words of this covenant, anddo them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do.Now that Moses had largely repeated the commands which the people were to observe as theirpart of the covenant, and the promises and threatenings which God would make good (accordingas they behaved themselves) as part of the covenant, the whole is here summed up in a federaltransaction. The covenant formerly made is here renewed, and Moses, who was before, is still, themediator of it (v. 1): The Lord commanded Moses to make it. Moses himself, though king inJeshurun, could not make the covenant any otherwise than as God gave him instructions. It doesnot lie in the power of ministers to fix the terms of the covenant; they are only to dispense the sealsof it. This is said to be besides the covenant made in Horeb; for, though the covenant was the same,yet it was a new promulgation and ratification of it. It is probable that some now living, though notof age to be mustered, were of age to consent for themselves to the covenant made at Horeb, andyet it is here renewed. Note, Those that have solemnly covenanted with God should take allopportunities to do it again, as those that like their choice too well to change. But the far greaterpart were a new generation, and therefore the covenant must be made afresh with them, for it is fitthat the covenant should be renewed to the children of the covenant.I. It is usual for indentures to begin with a recital; this does so, with a rehearsal of the greatthings God had done for them, 1. As an encouragement to them to believe that God would indeedbe to them a God, for he would not have done so much for them if he had not designed more, towhich all he had hitherto done was but a preface (as it were) or introduction; nay, he had shownhimself a God in what he had hitherto done for them, which might raise their expectations ofsomething great and answering the vast extent and compass of that pregnant promise, that Godwould be to them a God. 2. As an engagement upon them to be to him an obedient people, inconsideration of what he had done for them.II. For the proof of what he here advances he appeals to their own eyes (v. 2): You have seenall that the Lord did. Their own senses were incontestable evidence of the matter of fact, that Godhad done great things for them; and then their own reason was a no less competent judge of theequity of his inference from it: Keep therefore the words of this covenant, v. 9.III. These things he specifies, to show the power and goodness of God in his appearances forthem. 1. Their deliverance out of Egypt, v. 2, 3. The amazing signs and miracles by which Pharaohwas plagued and compelled to dismiss them, and Israel was tried (for they are called temptations)whether they would trust God to secure them from, and save them by, those plagues. 2. Theirconduct through the wilderness for forty years, v. 5, 6. There they were led, and clad, and fed, bymiracles; though the paths of the wilderness were not only unknown but untrodden, yet God keptthem from being lost there; and (as bishop Patrick observes) those very shoes which by theappointment of God they put on in Egypt, at the passover, when the were ready to march (Exod.xii. 11), never wore out, but served them to Canaan: and though they lived not upon bread whichstrengthens the heart, and wine which rejoices it, but upon manna and rock-water, yet they weremen of strength and courage, mighty men, and able to go forth to war. By these miracles they weremade to know that the Lord was God, and by these mercies that he was their God. 3. The victorythey had lately obtained of Sihon and Og, and that good land which they had taken possession of,1231Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)v. 7, 8. Both former mercies and fresh mercies should be improved by us as inducements toobedience.IV. By way of inference from these memoirs,1. Moses laments their stupidity: Yet the Lord has not given you a heart to perceive, v. 4. Thisdoes not lay the blame of their senselessness, and sottishness, and unbelief, upon God, as if theyhad stood ready to receive his grace and had begged for it, but he had denied them; no, but it fastensthe guilt upon themselves. "The Lord, who is the Father of spirits, a God in covenant with you, andwho had always been so rich in mercy to you, no doubt would have crowned all his other gifts withthis, he would have given you a heart to perceive and eyes to see if you had not by your ownfrowardness and perverseness frustrated his kind intentions, and received his grace in vain." Note,(1.) The hearing ear, the seeing eye, and the understanding heart, are the gift of God. All that havethem have them from him. (2.) God gives not only food and raiment, but wealth and largepossessions, to many to whom he does not give grace. Many enjoy the gifts who have not heartsto perceive the giver, nor the true intention and use of the gifts. (3.) God's readiness to do us goodin other things is a plain evidence that if we have not grace, that best of gifts, it is our own faultand not his; he would have gathered us and we would not.2. Moses charges them to be obedient: Keep therefore, and do, v. 9. Note, We are bound ingratitude and interest, as well as duty and faithfulness, to keep the words of the covenant.The Covenant Renewed. (b. c. 1451.)10 Ye stand this day all of you before the Lord your God; your captains of yourtribes, your elders, and your officers, with all the men of Israel, 11 Your little ones,your wives, and thy stranger that is in thy camp, from the hewer of thy wood untothe drawer of thy water: 12 That thou shouldest enter into covenant with the Lordthy God, and into his oath, which the Lord thy God maketh with thee this day: 13That he may establish thee to day for a people unto himself, and that he may be untothee a God, as he hath said unto thee, and as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, toAbraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. 14 Neither with you only do I make this covenantand this oath; 15 But with him that standeth here with us this day before the Lordour God, and also with him that is not here with us this day: 16 (For ye know howwe have dwelt in the land of Egypt; and how we came through the nations whichye passed by; 17 And ye have seen their abominations, and their idols, wood andstone, silver and gold, which were among them:) 18 Lest there should be amongyou man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from theLord our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be amongyou a root that beareth gall and wormwood; 19 And it come to pass, when he heareththe words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace,though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst: 20The Lord will not spare him, but then the anger of the Lord and his jealousy shallsmoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon1232Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under heaven. 21 And the Lordshall separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the cursesof the covenant that are written in this book of the law: 22 So that the generationto come of your children that shall rise up after you, and the stranger that shall comefrom a far land, shall say, when they see the plagues of that land, and the sicknesseswhich the Lord hath laid upon it; 23 And that the whole land thereof is brimstone,and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein,like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the Lordoverthrew in his anger, and in his wrath: 24 Even all nations shall say, Whereforehath the Lord done thus unto this land? what meaneth the heat of this great anger?25 Then men shall say, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord Godof their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them forth out of theland of Egypt: 26 For they went and served other gods, and worshipped them, godswhom they knew not, and whom he had not given unto them: 27 And the anger ofthe Lord was kindled against this land, to bring upon it all the curses that are writtenin this book: 28 And the Lord rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath,and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day. 29 Thesecret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealedbelong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.It appears by the length of the sentences here, and by the copiousness and pungency of theexpressions, that Moses, now that he was drawing near to the close of his discourse, was very warmand zealous, and very desirous to impress what he said upon the minds of this unthinking people.To bind them the faster to God and duty, he here, with great solemnity of expression (to make upthe want of the external ceremony that was used (Exod. xxiv. 4, &c.), concludes a bargain (as itwere) between them and God, an everlasting covenant, which God would not forget and they mustnot. He requires not their explicit consent, but lays the matter plainly before them, and then leavesit between God and their own consciences. Observe,I. The parties to this covenant. 1. It is the Lord their God they are to covenant with, v. 12. Tohim they must give up themselves, to him they must join themselves. "It is his oath; he has drawnup the covenant and settled it; he requires your consent to it; he has sworn to you and to him youmust be sworn." This requires us to be sincere and serious, humble and reverent, in ourcovenant-transactions with God, remembering how great a God he is with whom we are covenanting,who has a perfect knowledge of us and an absolute dominion over us. 2. They are all to be takeninto covenant with him. They were all summoned to attend (v. 2), and did accordingly, and are told(v. 10) what was the design of their appearing before God now in a body—they were to enter intocovenant with him. (1.) Even their great men, the captains of their tribes, their elders and officers,must not think it any disparagement to their honour, or any diminution of their power, to put theirnecks under the yoke of this covenant, and to draw in it. They must rather enter into the covenantfirst, to set a good example to their inferiors. (2.) Not the men only, but their wives and children,must come into this covenant; though they were not numbered and mustered, yet they must be1233Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)joined to the Lord, v. 11. Observe, Even little ones are capable of being taken into covenant withGod, and are to be admitted with their parents. Little children, so little as to be carried in arms,must be brought to Christ, and shall be blessed by him, for of such was and is the kingdom of God.(3.) Not the men of Israel only, but the stranger that was in their camp, provided he was so farproselyted to their religion as to renounce all false gods, was taken into this covenant with the Godof Israel, forasmuch as he also, though a stranger, was to be looked upon in this matter as a son ofAbraham, Luke xix. 9. This was an early indication of favour to the Gentiles, and of the kindnessGod had in store for them. (4.) Not the freemen only, but the hewers of wood and drawers of water,the meanest drudge they had among them. Note, As none are too great to come under the bonds ofthe covenant, so none are too mean to inherit the blessings of the covenant. In Christ no differenceis made between bond and free, Col. iii. 11. Art thou called being a servant? Care not for it, 1 Cor.vii. 21. (5.) Not only those that were now present before God in this solemn assembly, but thosealso that were not here with them were taken into covenant (v. 15): As with him that standeth herewith us (so bishop Patrick thinks it should be rendered) so also with him, that is not here with usthis day; that is, [1.] Those that tarried at home were included; though detained either by sicknessor necessary business, they must not therefore think themselves disengaged; no, every Israeliteshares in the common blessings. Those that tarry at home divide the spoil, and therefore everyIsraelite must own himself bound by the consent of the representative body. Those who cannot goup to the house of the Lord must keep up a spiritual communion with those that do, and be presentin spirit when they are absent in body. [2.] The generations to come are included. Nay, one of theChaldee paraphrasts reads it, All the generations that have been from the first days of the world,and all that shall arise to the end of the whole world, stand with us here this day. And so, takingthis covenant as a typical dispensation of the covenant of grace, it is a noble testimony to theMediator of that covenant, who is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.II. The summary of this covenant. All the precepts and all the promises of the covenant areincluded in the covenant-relation between God and them, v. 13. That they should be appointed,raised up, established, for a people to him, to observe and obey him, to be devoted to him anddependent on him, and that he should be to them a God, according to the tenour of the covenantmade with their fathers, to make them holy, high, and happy Their fathers are here named, Abraham,Isaac, and Jacob, as examples of piety, which those were to set themselves to imitate who expectedany benefit from the covenant made with them. Note, A due consideration of the relation we standin to God as our God, and of the obligation we lie under as a people to him, is enough to bring usto all the duties and all the comforts of the covenant.III. The principal design of the renewing of this covenant at this time was to fortify them againsttemptations to idolatry. Though other sins will be the sinner's ruin, yet this was the sin that waslikely to be their ruin. Now concerning this he shows,1. The danger they were in of being tempted to it (v. 16, 17): "You know we have dwelt in theland of Egypt, a country addicted to idolatry; and it were well if there were not among you someremains of the infection of that idolatry; we have passed by other nations, the Edomites, Moabites,&c. and have seen their abominations and their idols, and some among you, it may be, have likedthem too well, and still hanker after them, and would rather worship a wooden god that they cansee than an infinite Spirit whom they never saw." It is to be hoped that there were those amongthem who, the more they saw of these abominations and idols, the more they hated them; but therewere those that were smitten with the sight of them, saw the accursed things and coveted them.1234Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)2. The danger they were in if they yielded to the temptation. He gives them fair warning: itwas at their peril if they forsook God to serve idols. If they would not be bound and held by theprecepts of the covenant, they would find that the curses of the covenant would be strong enoughto bind and hold them.(1.) Idolatry would be the ruin of particular persons and their families, v. 18-21, where observe,[1.] The sinner described, v. 18. First, He is one whose heart turns away from his God; therethe mischief begins, in the evil heart of unbelief, which inclines men to depart from the living Godto dead idols. Even to this sin men are tempted when they are drawn aside by their own lusts andfancies. Those that begin to turn from God, by neglecting their duty to him, are easily drawn toother gods: and those that serve other gods do certainly turn away from the true God; for he willadmit of no rivals: he will be all or nothing. Secondly, He is a root that bears gall and wormwood;that is, he is a dangerous man, who, being himself poisoned with bad principles and inclinations,with a secret contempt of the God of Israel and his institutions and a veneration for the gods of thenations, endeavours, by all arts possible, to corrupt and poison others and draw them to idolatry:this is a man whose fruit is hemlock (so the word is translated, Hos. x. 4) and wormwood; it is verydispleasing to God, and will be, to all that are seduced by him, bitterness in the latter end. This isreferred to by the apostle, Heb. xii. 15, where he is in like manner cautioning us to take heed ofthose that would seduce us from the Christian faith; they are the weeds or tares in a field, which,if let alone, will overspread the whole field. A little of this leaven will be in danger of infecting thewhole lump.[2.] His security in the sun. He promises himself impunity, though he persists in his impiety,v. 19. Though he hears the words of the curse, so that he cannot plead ignorance of the danger, asother idolaters, yet even then he blesses himself in his own heart, thinks himself safe from the wrathof the God of Israel, under the protection of his idol-gods, and therefore says, "I shall have peace,though I be governed in my religion, not by God's institution, but by my own imagination, to adddrunkenness to thirst, one act of wickedness to another." Idolaters were like drunkards, violentlyset upon their idols themselves and industrious to draw others in with them. Revellings commonlyaccompanied their idolatries (1 Pet. iv. 3), so that this speaks a woe to drunkards (especially thedrunkards of Ephraim), who, when they are awake, being thirsty, seek it yet again, Prov. xxiii. 35.And those that made themselves drunk in honour of their idols were the worst of drunkards. Note,First, There are many who are under the curse of God and yet bless themselves; but it will soon befound that in blessing themselves they do but deceive themselves. Secondly, Those are ripe forruin, and there is little hope of their repentance, who have made themselves believe that they shallhave peace though they go on in a sinful way. Thirdly, Drunkenness is a sin that hardens the heart,and debauches the conscience, as much as any other, a sin to which men are strangely temptedthemselves even when they have lately felt the mischiefs of it, and to which they are strangely fondof drawing others, Hab. ii. 15. And such an ensnaring sin is idolatry.[3.] God's just severity against him for the sin, and for the impious affront he put upon God insaying he should have peace though he went on, so giving the lie to eternal truth, Gen. iii. 4. Thereis scarcely a threatening in all the book of God that sounds more dreadful than this. O thatpresumptuous sinners would read it and tremble! For it is not a bug-bear to frighten children andfools, but a real declaration of the wrath of God against the ungodliness and the unrighteousnessof men, v. 20, 21. First, The Lord shall not spare him. The days of his reprieve, which he abuses,will be shortened, and no mercy remembered in the midst of judgment. Secondly, The anger of the1235Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)Lord, and his jealousy, which is the fiercest anger, shall smoke against him, like the smoke of afurnace. Thirdly, The curses written shall lie upon him, not only light upon him to terrify him, butabide upon him, to sink him to the lowest hell, John iii. 36. Fourthly, His name shall be blottedout, that is, he himself shall be cut off, and his memory shall rot and perish with him. Fifthly, Heshall be separated unto evil, which is the most proper notion of a curse; he shall be cut off from allhappiness and all hope of it, and marked out for misery without remedy. And (lastly) All thisaccording to the curses of the covenant, which are the most fearful curses, being the just revengesof abused grace.(2.) Idolatry would be the ruin of their nation; it would bring plagues upon the land that connivedat this root of bitterness and received the infection; as far as the sin spread, the judgment shouldspread likewise.[1.] The ruin is described. It begins with plagues and sicknesses (v. 22), to try if they will bereclaimed by less judgments; but, if not, it ends in a total overthrow, like that of Sodom, v. 23. Asthat valley, which had been like the garden of the Lord for fruitfulness, was turned into a lake ofsalt and sulphur, so should the land of Canaan be made desolate and barren, as it has been eversince the last destruction of it by the Romans. The lake of Sodom bordered closely upon the landof Israel, that by it they might be warned against the iniquity of Sodom; but, not taking the warning,they were made as like to Sodom in ruin as they had been in sin.[2.] The reason of it is enquired into, and assigned. First, It would be enquired into by thegenerations to come (v. 22), who would find the state of their nation in all respects the reverse ofwhat it had been, and, when they read both the history and the promise, would be astonished at thechange. The stranger likewise, and the nations about them, as well as particular persons, wouldask, Wherefore hath the Lord done thus unto this land? v. 24. Great desolations are thus representedelsewhere as striking the spectators with amazement, 1 Kings ix. 8, 9; Jer. xxii. 8, 9. It was timefor the neighbours to tremble when judgment thus began at the house of God, 1 Pet. iv. 17. Theemphasis of the question is to be laid upon this land, the land of Canaan, this good land, the gloryof all lands, this land flowing with milk and honey. A thousand pities that such a good land as thisshould be made desolate, but this is not all; it is this holy land, the land of Israel, a people in covenantwith God; it is Immanuel's land, a land where God was known and worshipped, and yet thus wasted.Note, 1. It is no new thing for God to bring desolating judgments upon a people that in professionare near to him, Amos iii. 2. 2. He never does this without a good reason. 3. It concerns us to enquireinto the reason, that we may give glory to God and take warning to ourselves. Secondly, The reasonis here assigned, in answer to that enquiry. The matter would be so plain that all men would say,It was because they forsook the covenant of the Lord God of their fathers, v. 25. Note, God neverforsakes any till they first forsake him. But those that desert the God of their fathers are justly castout of the inheritance of their fathers. They went and served other gods (v. 26), gods that they hadno acquaintance with, nor lay under any obligation to either in duty of gratitude; for God has notgiven the creatures to be served by us, but to serve us; nor have they done any good to us (as someread it), more than what God has enabled them to do; to the Creator therefore we are debtors, andnot to the creatures. It was for this that God was angry with them (v. 27), and rooted them out inanger, v. 28. So that, how dreadful soever the desolation was, the Lord was righteous in it, whichis acknowledged, Dan. ix. 11-14. "Thus" (says Mr. Ainsworth) "the law of Moses leaves sinnersunder the curse, and rooted out of the Lord's land; but the grace of Christ towards penitent believing1236Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)sinners plants them again upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up, being kept by thepower of God," Amos ix. 15.[3.] He concludes his prophecy of the Jews' rejection just as St. Paul concludes his discourseon the same subject, when it began to be fulfilled (Rom. xi. 33), How unsearchable are God'sjudgments, and his ways past finding out! So here (v. 29), Secret things belong to the Lord ourGod. Some make it to be one sentence, The secret things of the Lord our God are revealed to usand to our children, as far as we are concerned to know them, and he hath not dealt so with othernations: but we make it two sentences, by which, First, We are forbidden curiously to enquire intothe secret counsels of God and to determine concerning them. A full answer is given to that question,Wherefore has the Lord done thus to this land? sufficient to justify God and admonish us. But ifany ask further why God would be at such a vast expense of miracles to form such a people, whoseapostasy and ruin he plainly foresaw, why he did not by his almighty grace prevent it, or what heintends yet to do with them, let such know that these are questions which cannot be answered, andtherefore are not fit to be asked. It is presumption in us to pry into the Arcana imperii—the mysteriesof government, and to enquire into the reasons of state which it is not for us to know. See Acts i. 7;John xxi. 22; Col. ii. 18. Secondly, We are directed and encouraged diligently to enquire into thatwhich God has made known: things revealed belong to us and to our children. Note, 1. ThoughGod has kept much of his counsel secret, yet there is enough revealed to satisfy and save us. Hehas kept back nothing that is profitable for us, but that only which it is good for us to be ignorantof. 2. We ought to acquaint ourselves, and our children too, with the things of God that are revealed.We are not only allowed to search into them, but are concerned to do so. They are things which weand ours are nearly interested in. They are the rules we are to live by, the grants we are to live upon;and therefore we are to learn them diligently ourselves, and to teach them diligently to our children.3. All our knowledge must be in order to practice, for this is the end of all divine revelation, not tofurnish us with curious subjects of speculation and discourse, with which to entertain ourselvesand our friends, but that we may do all the words of this law, and be blessed in our deed.D E U T E R O N O M YCHAP. XXX.One would have thought that the threatenings in the close of the foregoing chapter had madea full end of the people of Israel, and had left their case for ever desperate; but in this chapter wehave a plain intimation of the mercy God had in store for them in the latter days, so that mercy atlength rejoices against judgment, and has the last word. Here we have, I. Exceedingly great andprecious promises made to them, upon their repentance and return to God, ver. 1-10. II. Therighteousness of faith set before them in the plainness and easiness of the commandment that wasnow given them, ver. 11-14. III. A fair reference of the whole matter to their choice, ver. 15, &c.Promises to the Penitent. (b. c. 1451.)1237Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)1 And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessingand the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind amongall the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath driven thee, 2 And shalt return untothe Lord thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee thisday, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; 3 That thenthe Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and willreturn and gather thee from all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath scatteredthee. 4 If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thencewill the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee: 5 And theLord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thoushalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers. 6And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to lovethe Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.7 And the Lord thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on themthat hate thee, which persecuted thee. 8 And thou shalt return and obey the voiceof the Lord, and do all his commandments which I command thee this day. 9 Andthe Lord thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruitof thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good: forthe Lord will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers: 10If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandmentsand his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto theLord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.These verses may be considered either as a conditional promise or as an absolute prediction.I. They are chiefly to be considered as a conditional promise, and so they belong to all personsand all people, and not to Israel only; and the design of them is to assure us that the greatest sinners,if they repent and be converted, shall have their sins pardoned, and be restored to God's favour.This is the purport of the covenant of grace, it leaves room for repentance in case of misdemeanour,and promises pardon upon repentance, which the covenant of innocency did not. Now observe here,1. How the repentance is described which is the condition of these promises. (1.) It begins inserious consideration, v. 1. "Thou shalt call to mind that which thou hadst forgotten or not regarded."Note, Consideration is the first step towards conversion. Isa. xlvi. 8, Bring to mind, O youtransgressors. The prodigal son came to himself first, and then to his father. That which they shouldcall to mind is the blessing and the curse. If sinners would but seriously consider the happinessthey have lost by sin and the misery they have brought themselves into, and that by repentance theymay escape that misery and recover that happiness, they would not delay to return to the Lord theirGod. The prodigal called to mind the blessing and the curse when he considered his present povertyand the plenty of bread in his father's house, Luke xv. 17. (2.) It consists in sincere conversion.The effect of the consideration cannot but be godly sorrow and shame, Ezek. vi. 9; vii. 16. But thatwhich is the life and soul of repentance, and without which the most passionate expressions are buta jest, is returning to the Lord our God, v. 2. If thou turn (v. 10) with all thy heart and with all thy1238Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)soul. We must return to our allegiance to God as our Lord and ruler, our dependence upon him asour Father and benefactor, our devotedness to him as our highest end, and our communion withhim as our God in covenant. We must return to God from all that which stands in opposition to himor competition with him. In this return to God we must be upright—with the heart and soul, anduniversal—with all the heart and all the soul. (3.) It is evidenced by a constant obedience to theholy will of God: If thou shalt obey his voice (v. 2), thou and thy children; for it is not enough thatwe do our duty ourselves, but we must train up and engage our children to do it. Or this comes inas the condition of the entail of the blessing upon their children, provided their children kept closeto their duty. [1.] This obedience must be with an eye to God: Thou shalt obey his voice (v. 8), andhearken to it, v. 10. [2.] It must be sincere, and cheerful, and entire: With all thy heart, and with allthy soul, v. 2. [3.] It must be from a principle of love, and that love must be with all thy heart andwith all thy soul, v. 6. It is the heart and soul that God looks at and requires; he will have these ornothing, and these entire or not at all. [4.] It must be universal: According to all that I commandthee, v. 2, and again v. 8, to do all his commandments; for he that allows himself in the breach ofone commandment involves himself in the guilt of contemning them all, James ii. 10. An uprightheart has respect to all God's commandments, Ps. cxix. 6.2. What the favour is which is promised upon this repentance. Though they are brought to Godby their trouble and distress, in the nations whither they were driven (v. 1), yet God will graciouslyaccept of them notwithstanding; for on this errand afflictions are sent, to bring us to repentance.Though they are driven out to the utmost parts of heaven, yet thence their penitent prayers shallreach God's gracious ear, and there his favour shall find them out, v. 4. Undique ad cælos tantundemest viæ—From every place there is the same way to heaven. This promise Nehemiah pleads in hisprayer for dispersed Israel, Neh. i. 9. It is here promised, (1.) That God would have compassionupon them, as proper objects of his pity, v. 3. Against sinners that go on in sin God has indignation(ch. xxix. 20), but on those that repent and bemoan themselves he has compassion, Jer. xxxi. 18,20. True penitents may take great encouragement from the compassions and tender mercies of ourGod, which never fail, but overflow. (2.) That he would turn their captivity, and gather them fromthe nations whither they were scattered (v. 3), though ever so remote, v. 4. One of the Chaldeeparaphrasts applies this to the Messiah, explaining it thus: The word of the Lord shall gather youby the hand of Elias the great priest, and shall bring you by the hand of the king Messiah; for thiswas God's covenant with him, that he should restore the preserved of Israel, Isa. xlix. 6. And thiswas the design of his death, to gather into one the children of God that were scattered abroad, Johnxi. 51, 52. To him shall the gathering of the people be. (3.) That he would bring them into theirland again, v. 5. Note, Penitent sinners are not only delivered out of their misery, but restored totrue happiness in the favour of God. The land they are brought into to possess it is , though not thesame, yet in some respects better than that which our first father Adam possessed, and out of whichhe was expelled. (4.) That he would do them good (v. 5) and rejoice over them for good, v. 9. Forthere is joy in heaven upon the repentance and conversion of sinners: the father of the prodigalrejoiced over him for good. (5.) That he would multiply them (v. 5), and that, when they grewnumerous, every mouth might have meat: he would make them plenteous in every work of theirhand, v. 9. National repentance and reformation bring national plenty, peace, and prosperity. It ispromised, The Lord will make thee plenteous in the fruit of thy cattle and land, for good. Manyhave plenty for hurt; the prosperity of fools destroys them. Then it is for good when with it Godgives us grace to use it for his glory. (6.) That he would transfer the curses they had been under to1239Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)their enemies, v. 7. When God was gathering them in to re-establish them they would meet withmuch opposition; but the same curses that had been a burden upon them should become a defenceto them, by being turned upon their adversaries. The cup of trembling should be taken out of theirhand, and put into the hand of those that afflicted them, Isa. li. 22, 23. (7.) That he would give themhis grace to change their hearts, and rule there (v. 6): The Lord thy God will circumcise thy heart,to love the Lord. Note, [1.] The heart must be circumcised to love God. The filth of the flesh mustbe put away; and the foolishness of the heart, as the Chaldee paraphrase expounds it. See Col. ii.11, 12; Rom. ii. 29. Circumcision was a seal of the covenant; the heart is then circumcised to loveGod when it is strongly engaged and held by that bond to this duty. [2.] It is the work of God'sgrace to circumcise the heart, and to shed abroad the love of God there; and this grace is given toall that repent and seek it carefully. Nay, that seems to be rather a promise than a precept (v. 8):Thou shalt return and obey the voice of the Lord. He that requires us to return promises grace toenable us to return: and it is our fault if that grace be not effectual. herein the covenant of grace iswell ordered, that whatsoever is required in the covenant is promised. Turn you at my reproof:behold, I will pour out my Spirit, Prov. i. 23.3. It is observable how Moses here calls God the Lord thy God twelve times in these ten verses,intimating, (1.) That penitents may take direction and encouragement in their return to God fromtheir relation to him. Jer. iii. 22, "Behold, we come unto thee, for thou art the Lord our God; thereforeto thee we are bound to come, whither else should we go? And therefore we hope to find favourwith thee." (2.) That those who have revolted from God, if they return to him and do their firstworks, shall be restored to their former state of honour and happiness. Bring hither the first robe.In the threatenings of the former chapter he is all along called the Lord, a God of power and theJudge of all: but, in the promises of this chapter, the Lord thy God, a God of grace, and in covenantwith thee.II. This may also be considered as a prediction of the repentance and restoration of the Jews:When all these things shall have come upon thee (v. 1), the blessing first, and after that the curse,then the mercy in reserve shall take place. Though their hearts were wretchedly hardened, yet thegrace of God could soften and change them; and then, though their case was deplorably miserable,the providence of God would redress all their grievances. Now, 1. It is certain that this was fulfilledin their return from their captivity in Babylon. It was a wonderful instance of their repentance andreformation that Ephraim, who had been joined to idols, renounced them, and said, What have I todo any more with idols? That captivity effectually cured them of idolatry; and then God plantedthem again in their own land and did them good. But, 2. Some think that it is yet further to beaccomplished in the conversion of the Jews who are now dispersed, their repentance for the sin oftheir fathers in crucifying Christ, their return to God through him, and their accession to the Christianchurch. But, alas! who shall live when God doth this?The Advantages of Revelation. (b. c. 1451.)11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden fromthee, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shallgo up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? 13Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for1240Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? 14 But the word is verynigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.Moses here urges them to obedience from the consideration of the plainness and easiness ofthe command.I. This is true of the law of Moses. They could never plead in excuse of their disobedience thatGod had enjoined them that which was either unintelligible or impracticable, impossible to beknown or to be done (v. 11): It is not hidden from thee. That is, not send messengers to heaven (v.12), to enquire what thou must do to please God; nor needest thou go beyond sea (v. 13), as thephilosophers did, that travelled through many and distant regions in pursuit of learning; no, thouart not put to that labour and expense; nor is the commandment within the reach of those only thathave a great estate or a refined genius, but it is very nigh unto thee, v. 14. It is written in thy books,made plain upon tables, so that he that runs may read it; thy priests' lips keep this knowledge, and,when any difficulty arises, thou mayest ask the law at their mouth, Mal. ii. 7. It is not communicatedin a strange language; but it is in thy mouth, that is, in the vulgar tongue that is commonly used bythee, in which thou mayest hear it read, and talk of it familiarly among thy children. It is not wrappedup in obscure phrases or figures to puzzle and amuse thee, or in hieroglyphics, but it is in thy heart;it is delivered in such a manner as that it is level to thy capacity, even to the capacity of the meanest."2. "It is not too hard nor heavy for thee:" so the Septuagint reads it, v. 11. Thou needest not say,"As good attempt to climb to heaven, or flee upon the wings of the morning to the uttermost partof the sea, as go about to do all the words of this law:" no, the matter is not so; it is no suchintolerable yoke as some ill-minded people represent it. It was indeed a heavy yoke in comparisonwith that of Christ (Acts xv. 10), but not in comparison with the idolatrous services of theneighbouring nations. God appeals to themselves that he had not made them to serve with anoffering, nor wearied them with incense, Isa. xliii. 23; Mic. vi. 3. But he speaks especially of themoral law, and its precepts: "That is very nigh thee, consonant to the law of nature, which wouldhave been found in every man's heart, and every man's mouth, if he would but have attended to it.There is that in thee which consents to the law that it is good, Rom. vii. 16. Thou hast therefore noreason to complain of any insuperable difficulty in the observance of it."II. This is true of the gospel of Christ, to which the apostle applies it, and makes it the languageof the righteousness which is of faith, Rom. x. 6-8. And many think this is principally intended byMoses here; for he wrote of Christ, John v. 46. This is God's commandment now under the gospelthat we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, 1 John iii. 23. If we ask, as the blind man did,Lord, who is he? or where is he, that we may believe on him? (John ix. 36), this scripture gives ananswer, We need not go up to heaven, to fetch him thence, for he has come down thence in hisincarnation; nor down to the deep, to fetch him thence, for thence he has come up in his resurrection.But the word is nigh us, and Christ in that word; so that if we believe with the heart that the promisesof the incarnation and resurrection of the Messiah are fulfilled in our Lord Jesus, and receive himaccordingly, and confess him with our mouth, we have then Christ with us, and we shall be saved.He is near, very near, that justifies us. The law was plain and easy, but the gospel much more so.15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; 16 Inthat I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and tokeep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest liveand multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest1241Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)to possess it. 17 But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shaltbe drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; 18 I denounce unto youthis day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days uponthe land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. 19 I call heaven andearth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessingand cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: 20 Thatthou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and thatthou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thoumayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, toIsaac, and to Jacob, to give them.Moses here concludes with a very bright light, and a very strong fire, that, if possible, what hehad been preaching of might find entrance into the understanding and affections of this unthinkingpeople. What could be said more moving, and more likely to make deep and lasting impressions?The manner of his treating with them is so rational, so prudent, so affectionate, and every way soapt to gain the point, that it abundantly shows him to be in earnest, and leaves them inexcusable intheir disobedience.I. He states the case very fairly. He appeals to themselves concerning it whether he had notlaid the matter as plainly as they could wish before them. 1. Every man covets to obtain life andgood, and to escape death and evil, desires happiness and dreads misery. "Well," says he, "I haveshown you the way to obtain all the happiness you can desire and to avoid all misery. Be obedient,and all shall be well, and nothing amiss." Our first parents ate the forbidden fruit, in hopes of gettingthereby the knowledge of good and evil; but it was a miserable knowledge they got, of good by theloss of it, and of evil by the sense of it; yet such is the compassion of God towards man that, insteadof giving him to his own delusion, he has favoured him by his word with such a knowledge of goodand evil as will make him for ever happy if it be not his own fault. 2. Every man is moved andgoverned in his actions by hope and fear, hope of good and fear of evil, real of apparent. "Now,"says Moses, "I have tried both ways; if you will be either drawn to obedience by the certain prospectof advantage by it, or driven to obedience by the no less certain prospect of ruin in case you bedisobedient—if you will be wrought upon either way, you will be kept close to God and your duty;but, if you will not, you are utterly inexcusable." Let us, then, hear the conclusion of the wholematter. (1.) If they and theirs would love God and serve him, they should live and be happy, v. 16.If they would love God, and evidence the sincerity of their love by keeping his commandments—ifthey would make conscience of keeping his commandments, and do it from a principle of love—thenGod would do them good, and they should be as happy as his love and blessing could make them.(2.) If they or theirs should at any time turn from God, desert his service, and worship other godsthis would certainly be their ruin, v. 17, 18. Observe, It is not for every failure in the particulars oftheir duty that ruin is threatened, but for apostasy and idolatry: though every violation of thecommand deserved the curse, yet the nation would be destroyed by that only which is the violationof the marriage covenant. The purport of the New Testament is much the same; this, in like manner,sets before us life and death, good and evil; He that believes shall be saved; he that believes notshall be damned, Mark xvi. 16. And this faith includes love and obedience. To those who by patientcontinuance in well doing seek for glory, honour, and immortality, God will give eternal life. But1242Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)to those that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness (and so, in effect,worship other gods and serve them), will be rendered the indignation and wrath of an immortalGod, the consequence of which must needs be the tribulation and anguish of an immortal soul,Rom. ii. 7-9.II. Having thus stated the case, he fairly puts them to their choice, with a direction to them tochoose well. He appeals to heaven and earth concerning his fair and faithful dealing with them, v.19. They could not but own that whatever was the issue he had delivered his soul; therefore, thatthey might deliver theirs, he bids them choose life, that is, choose to do their duty, which wouldbe their life. Note, 1. Those shall have life that choose it: those that choose the favour of God andcommunion with him for their felicity, and prosecute their choice as they ought, shall have whatthey choose. 2. Those that come short of life and happiness must thank themselves; they wouldhave had it if they had chosen it when it was put to their choice: but they die because they will die;that is, because they do not like the life promised upon the terms proposed.III. In the last verse, 1. He shows them, in short, what their duty is, to love God, and to lovehim as the Lord, a Being most amiable, and as their God, a God in covenant with them; and, as anevidence of this love, to obey his voice in every thing, and by a constancy in this love and obedienceto cleave to him, and never to forsake him in affection or practice. 2. He shows them what reasonthere was for this duty, inconsideration, (1.) Of their dependence upon God: He is thy life, and thelength of thy days. He gives life, preserves life, restores life, and prolongs it by his power thoughit is a frail life, and by his patience though it is a forfeited life: he sweetens life with his comforts,and is the sovereign Lord of life; in his hand our breath is. Therefore we are concerned to keepourselves in his love; for it is good having him our friend, and bad having him our enemy. (2.) Oftheir obligation to him for the promise of Canaan made to their fathers and ratified with an oath.And, (3.) Of their expectations from him in performance of that promise: "Love God, and servehim, that thou mayest dwell in that land of promise which thou mayest be sure he can give, anduphold to thee who is thy life and the length of thy days." All these are arguments to us to continuein love and obedience to the God of our mercies.D E U T E R O N O M YCHAP. XXXI.In this chapter Moses, having finished his sermon, I. Encourages both the people who werenow to enter Canaan (ver. 1-6), and Joshua who was to lead them, ver. 7, 8, 23. And, II. He takescare for the keeping of these things always in their remembrance after his decease, 1. By the bookof the law which was, (1.) Written. (2.) Delivered into the custody of the priests, ver. 9, and 24-27.(3.) Ordered to be publicly read every seventh year, ver. 10-13. 2. By a song which God ordersMoses to prepare for their instruction and admonition. (1.) He calls Moses and Joshua to the doorof the tabernacle, ver. 14, 15. (2.) He foretels the apostasy of Israel in process of time, and thejudgments they would thereby bring upon themselves, ver. 16-18. (3.) He prescribes the following1243Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)song to be a witness against them, ver. 19-21. (4.) Moses wrote it, ver. 22. And delivered it to Israel,with an intimation of the design of it, as he had received it from the Lord, ver. 28, &c.Solemn Warnings; Joshua Encouraged. (b. c. 1451.)1 And Moses went and spake these words unto all Israel. 2 And he said untothem, I am a hundred and twenty years old this day; I can no more go out and comein: also the Lord hath said unto me, Thou shalt not go over this Jordan. 3 The Lordthy God, he will go over before thee, and he will destroy these nations from beforethee, and thou shalt possess them: and Joshua, he shall go over before thee, as theLord hath said. 4 And the Lord shall do unto them as he did to Sihon and to Og,kings of the Amorites, and unto the land of them, whom he destroyed. 5 And theLord shall give them up before your face, that ye may do unto them according untoall the commandments which I have commanded you. 6 Be strong and of a goodcourage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth gowith thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. 7 And Moses called unto Joshua,and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thoumust go with this people unto the land which the Lord hath sworn unto their fathersto give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it. 8 And the Lord, he it is thatdoth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee:fear not, neither be dismayed.Loth to part (we say) bids oft farewell. Moses does so to the children of Israel: not because hewas loth to go to God, but because he was loth to leave them, fearing that when he had left themthey would leave God. He had finished what he had to say to them by way of counsel and exhortation:here he calls them together to give them a word of encouragement, especially with reference to thewars of Canaan, in which they were now to engage. It was a discouragement to them that Moseswas to be removed at a time when he could so ill be spared: though Joshua was continued to fightfor them in the valley, they would want Moses to intercede for them on the hill, as he did, Exod.xvii. 10. But there is no remedy: Moses can no more go out and come in, v. 2. Not that he wasdisabled by any decay either of body or mind; for his natural force was not abated, ch. xxiv. 7. Buthe cannot any longer discharge his office; for, 1. He is 120 years old, and it is time for him to thinkof resigning his honour and returning to his rest. He that had arrived at so great an age then, whenseventy or eighty was the ordinary stint, as appears by the prayer of Moses (Ps. xc. 10), might wellthink that he had accomplished as a hireling his day. 2. He is under a divine sentence: Thou shaltnot go over Jordan. Thus a full stop was put to his usefulness; hitherto he must go, hitherto he mustserve, but no further. So God had appointed it and Moses acquiesces: for I know not why we shouldany of us desire to live a day longer than while God has work for us to do; nor shall we beaccountable for more time than is allotted us. But, though Moses must not go over himself, he isanxious to encourage those that must.I. He encourages the people; and never could any general animate his soldiers upon such goodgrounds as those on which Moses here encourages Israel. 1. He assures them of the constant presenceof God with them (v. 3): The Lord thy God. that has led thee and kept thee hitherto will go over1244Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)before thee; and those might follow boldly who were sure that they had God for their leader. Herepeats it again (v. 6) with an emphasis: "The Lord thy God, the great Jehovah, who is thine incovenant, he it is, he and no less, he and no other, that goes before thee; not only who by his promisehas assured thee that he will go before thee; but by his ark, the visible token of his presence, showsthee that he does actually go before thee." And he repeats it with enlargement: "Not only he goesover before thee at first, to bring thee in, but he will continue with thee all along, with thee andthine; he will not fail thee nor forsake thee; he will not disappoint thy expectations in any strait,nor will he ever desert thy interest; be constant to him, and he will be so to thee." This is appliedby the apostle to all God's spiritual Israel, for the encouragement of their faith and hope; unto usis this gospel preached, as well as unto them He will never fail thee, nor forsake thee, Heb. xiii. 5.2. He commends Joshua to them for a leader: Joshua, he shall go over before thee, v. 3. One whoseconduct, and courage, and sincere affection to their interest, they had had long experience of; andone whom God had ordained and appointed to be their leader, and therefore, no doubt, would ownand bless, and make a blessing to them. See Num. xxvii. 18. Note, It is a great encouragement toa people when, instead of some useful instruments that are removed, God raises up others to carryon his work. 3. He ensures their success. The greatest generals, supported with the greatestadvantages, must yet own the issues of war to be doubtful and uncertain; the battle is not alwaysto the strong nor to the bold; an ill accident unthought of may turn the scale against the highesthopes. But Moses had warrant from God to assure Israel that, notwithstanding the disadvantagesthey laboured under, they should certainly be victorious. A coward will fight when he is sure to bea conqueror. God undertakes to do the work—he will destroy these nations; and Israel shall dolittle else than divide the spoil—thou shalt possess them, v. 3. Two things might encourage theirhopes of this:—(1.) The victories they had already obtained over Sihon and Og (v. 4), from whichthey might infer both the power of God, that he could do what he had done, and the purpose ofGod, that he would finish what he had begun to do. Thus must we improve our experience. (2.)The command God had given them to destroy the Canaanites (ch. vii. 2; xii. 2), to which he refershere (v. 5, that you may do unto them according to all which I have commanded you), and fromwhich they might infer that, if God had commanded them to destroy the Canaanites, no doubt hewould put it into the power of their hands to do it. Note, What God has made our duty we havereason to expect opportunity and assistance from him for the doing of. So that from all this he hadreason enough to bid them be strong and of a good courage, v. 6. While they had the power of Godengaged for them they had no reason to fear all the powers of Canaan engaged against them.II. He encourages Joshua, v. 7, 8. Observe, 1. Though Joshua was an experienced general, anda man of approved gallantry and resolution, who had already signalized himself in many braveactions, yet Moses saw cause to bid him be of good courage, now that he was entering upon a newscene of action; and Joshua was far from taking it as an affront, or as a tacit questioning of hiscourage, to be thus charged, as sometimes we find proud and peevish spirits invidiously takingexhortations and admonitions for reproaches and reflections. Joshua himself is very well pleasedto be admonished by Moses to be strong and of good courage. 2. He gives him this charge in thesight of all Israel, that they might be the more observant of him whom they saw thus solemnlyinaugurated, and that he might set himself the more to be an example of courage to the people whowere witnesses to this charge here given to him as well as to themselves. 3. He gives him the sameassurances of the divine presence, and consequently of a glorious success, that he had given thepeople. God would be with him, would not forsake him, and therefore he should certainly accomplish1245Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)the glorious enterprise to which he was called and commissioned: Thou shalt cause them to inheritthe land of promise. Note, Those shall speed well that have God with them; and therefore theyought to be of good courage. Through God let us do valiantly, for through him we shall dovictoriously; if we resist the devil, he shall flee, and God shall shortly tread him under our feet.The Reading of the Law. (b. c. 1451.)9 And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests the sons of Levi,which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and unto all the elders of Israel. 10And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in thesolemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, 11 When all Israel iscome to appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose, thoushalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. 12 Gather the people together,men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that theymay hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observe to doall the words of this law: 13 And that their children, which have not known anything, may hear, and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as ye live in the landwhither ye go over Jordan to possess it.The law was given by Moses; so it is said, John i. 17. He was not only entrusted to deliver itto that generation, but to transmit it to the generations to come; and here it appears that he wasfaithful to that trust.I. Moses wrote this law, v. 9. The learned bishop Patrick understands this of all the five booksof Moses, which are often called the law; he supposes that though Moses had written most of thePentateuch before, yet he did not finish it till now; now he put his last hand to that sacred volume.Many think that the law here (especially since it is called this law, this grand abridgment of thelaw) is to be understood of this book of Deuteronomy; all those discourses to the people whichhave taken up this whole book, he, being in them divinely inspired, wrote them as the word of God.He wrote this law, 1. That those who had heard it might often review it themselves, and call it tomind. 2. That it might be the more safely handed down to posterity. Note, The church has receivedabundance of advantage from the writing, as well as from the preaching, of divine things; faithcomes not only by hearing, but by reading. The same care that was taken of the law, thanks be toGod, is taken of the gospel too; soon after it was preached it was written, that it might reach tothose on whom the ends of the world shall come.II. Having written it, he committed it to the care and custody of the priests and elders. Hedelivered one authentic copy to the priests, to be laid up by the ark (v. 26), there to remain as astandard by which all other copies must be tried. And it is supposed that he gave another copy tothe elders of each tribe, to be transcribed by all of that tribe that were so disposed. Some observethat the elders, as well as the priests, were entrusted with the law, to intimate that magistrates bythe power, as well as ministers by their doctrine, are to maintain religion, and to take care that thelaw be not broken nor lost.III. He appointed the public reading of this law in a general assembly of all Israel every seventhyear. The pious Jews (it is very probable) read the laws daily in their families, and Moses of oldtime was read in the synagogue every sabbath day, Acts xv. 21. But once in seven years, that the1246Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)law might be the more magnified and made honourable, it must be read in a general assembly.Though we read the word in private, we must not think it needless to hear it read in public. Nowhere he give direction,1. When this solemn reading of the law must be, that the time might add to the solemnity; itmust be done, (1.) In the year of release. In that year the land rested, so that they could the betterspare time to attend this service. Servants who were then discharged, and poor debtors who werethen acquitted from their debts, must know that, having the benefit of the law, it was justly expectedthey should yield obedience to it, and therefore give up themselves to be God's servants, becausehe had loosed their bonds. The year of release was typical of gospel grace, which therefore is calledthe acceptable year of the Lord; for our remission and liberty by Christ engage us to keep hiscommandments, Luke i. 74, 75. (2.) At the feast of tabernacles in that year. In that feast they wereparticularly required to rejoice before God, Lev. xxiii. 40. Therefore then they must read the law,both to qualify their mirth and keep it in due bounds, and to sanctify their mirth, that they mightmake the law of God the matter of their rejoicing, and might read it with pleasure and not as a task.2. To whom it must be read: To all Israel (v. 11), men, women, and children, and the strangers,v. 12. The women and children were not obliged to go up to the other feasts, but to this only inwhich the law was read. Note, It is the will of God that all people should acquaint themselves withhis word. It is a rule to all, and therefore should be read to all. It is supposed that, since all Israelcould not possibly meet in one place, nor could one man's voice reach them all, as many as thecourts of the Lord's house would hold met there, and the rest at the same time in their synagogues.The Jewish doctors say that the hearers were bound to prepare their hearts, and to hear with fearand reverence, and with joy and trembling, as in the day when the law was given on Mount Sinai;and, though there were great and wise men who knew the whole law very well, yet they were boundto hear with great attention; for he that reads is the messenger of the congregation to cause thewords of God to be heard. I wish those that hear the gospel read and preached would consider this.3. By whom it must be read: Thou shalt read it (v. 11), "Thou, O Israel," by a proper personappointed for that purpose; or, "Thou, O Joshua," their chief ruler; accordingly we find that he didread the law himself, Josh. viii. 34, 35. So did Josiah, 2 Chron. xxxiv. 30, and Ezra, Neh. viii. 3.And the Jews say that the king himself (when they had one) was the person that read in the courtsof the temple, that a pulpit was set up for that purpose in the midst of the court, in which the kingstood, that the book of the law was delivered to him by the high priest, that he stood up to receiveit, uttered a prayer (as every one did that was to read the law in public) before he read; and then, ifhe pleased, he might sit down and read. But if he read standing it was thought the morecommendable, as (they say) king Agrippa did. Here let me offer it as a conjecture that Solomon iscalled the preacher, in his Ecclesiastes, because he delivered the substance of that book in a discourseto the people, after his public reading of the law in the feast of tabernacles, according to thisappointment here.4. For what end it must be thus solemnly read. (1.) That the present generation might herebykeep up their acquaintance with the law of God, v. 12. They must hear, that they may learn, andfear God, and observe to do their duty. See here what we are to aim at in hearing the word; wemust hear, that we may learn and grow in knowledge; and every time we read the scriptures weshall find that there is still more and more to be learned out of them. We must learn, that we mayfear God, that is, that we may be duly affected with divine things; and must fear God, that we mayobserve and do the words of his law; for in vain do we pretend to fear him if we do not obey him.1247Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)(2.) That the rising generation might betimes be leavened with religion (v. 13); not only that thosewho know something may thus know more, but that the children who have not known any thingmay betimes know this, how much it is their interest as well as duty to fear God.Apostasy Foretold. (b. c. 1451.)14 And the Lord said unto Moses, Behold, thy days approach that thou must die:call Joshua, and present yourselves in the tabernacle of the congregation, that I maygive him a charge. And Moses and Joshua went, and presented themselves in thetabernacle of the congregation. 15 And the Lord appeared in the tabernacle in apillar of a cloud: and the pillar of the cloud stood over the door of the tabernacle.16 And the Lord said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and thispeople will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land,whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenantwhich I have made with them. 17 Then my anger shall be kindled against them inthat day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shallbe devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say inthat day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us? 18And I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evils which they shall havewrought, in that they are turned unto other gods. 19 Now therefore write ye thissong for you, and teach it the children of Israel: put it in their mouths, that this songmay be a witness for me against the children of Israel. 20 For when I shall havebrought them into the land which I sware unto their fathers, that floweth with milkand honey; and they shall have eaten and filled themselves, and waxen fat; then willthey turn unto other gods, and serve them, and provoke me, and break my covenant.21 And it shall come to pass, when many evils and troubles are befallen them, thatthis song shall testify against them as a witness; for it shall not be forgotten out ofthe mouths of their seed: for I know their imagination which they go about, evennow, before I have brought them into the land which I sware.Here, I. Moses and Joshua are summoned to attend the divine majesty at the door of thetabernacle, v. 14. Moses is told again that he must shortly die; even those that are most ready andwilling to die have need to be often reminded of the approach of death. In consideration of this, hemust come himself to meet God; for whatever improves our communion with God furthers ourpreparation for death. He must also bring Joshua with him to be presented to God for a successor,and to receive his commission and charge. Moses readily obeys the summons, for he was not oneof those that look with an evil eye upon their successors, but, on the contrary, rejoiced in him.II. God graciously gives them the meeting: He appeared in the tabernacle (as the shechinahused to appear) in a pillar of a cloud, v. 15. This is the only time in all this book that we read ofthe glory of God appearing, whereas we often read of it in the three foregoing books, which perhapssignifies that in the latter days, under the evangelical law, such visible appearances as these of thedivine glory are not to be expected, but we must take heed to the more sure word of prophecy.1248Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)III. He tells Moses that, after his death, the covenant which he had taken so much pains tomake between Israel and their God would certainly be broken. 1. That Israel would forsake God,v. 16. And we may be sure that if the covenant between God and man be broken the blame mustlie on man, it is he that breaks it; we have often observed it, That God never leaves any till theyfirst leave him. Worshipping the gods of the Canaanites (who had been the natives, but henceforwardwere to be looked upon as the strangers of that land) would undoubtedly be counted a deserting ofGod, and, like adultery, a violation of the covenant. Thus still those are revolters from Christ, andwill be so adjudged, who either make a god of their money by reigning covetousness or a god oftheir belly by reigning sensuality. Those that turn to other gods (v. 18) forsake their own mercies.This apostasy of theirs is foretold to be the effect of their prosperity (v. 20): They shall have eatenand filled themselves; this is all they will aim at in eating, to gratify their own appetites, and thenthey will wax fat, grow secure and sensual; their security will take off their dread of God and hisjudgments; and their sensuality will incline them to the idolatries of the heathen, which madeprovision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts of it. Note, God has a clear and infallible foresight of allthe wickedness of the wicked, and has often covenanted with those who he knew would deal verytreacherously (Isa. xlviii. 8), and conferred many favours on those who he knew would deal veryungratefully. 2. That then God would forsake Israel; and justly does he cast those off who had sounjustly cast him off (v. 17): My anger shall be kindled against them, and I will forsake them. Hisprovidence would forsake them, no longer to protect and prosper them, and then they would becomea prey to all their neighbours. His spirit and grace would forsake them, no longer to teach and guidethem, and then they would be more and more bigoted, besotted, and hardened in their idolatries.Thus many evils and troubles would befal them. (v. 17, 21), which would be such manifest indicationsof God's displeasure against them that they themselves would be constrained to own it: Have notthese evils come upon us because our God is not among us? Those that have sinned away theirGod will find that thereby they pull all mischiefs upon their own heads. But that which completedtheir misery was that God would hide his face from them in that day, that day of their trouble anddistress, v. 18. Whatever outward troubles we are in, if we have but the light of God's countenance,we may be easy. But, if God hide his face from us and our prayers, we are undone.IV. He directs Moses to deliver them a song, in the composing of which he should be divinelyinspired, and which should remain a standing testimony for God as faithful to them in giving themwarning, and against them as persons false to themselves in not taking the warning, v. 19. Thewritten word in general, as well as this song in particular, is a witness for God against all those thatbreak covenant with him. It shall be for a testimony, Matt. xxiv. 14. The wisdom of man has devisedmany ways of conveying the knowledge of good and evil, by laws, histories, prophecies, proverbs,and, among the rest, by songs; each has its advantages. And the wisdom of God has in the scripturemade use of them all, that ignorant and careless men might be left inexcusable. 1. This song, ifrightly improved, might be a means to prevent their apostasy; for in the inditing of it God had aneye to their present imagination, now, before they were brought into the land of promise, v. 21.God knew very well that there were in their hearts such gross conceits of the deity, and suchinclinations of idolatry, that they would be tinder to the sparks of that temptation; and therefore inthis song he gives them warning of their danger that way. Note, The word of God is a discerner ofthe thoughts and intents of men's hearts, and meets with them strangely by its reproofs andcorrections, Heb. iv. 12. Compare 1 Cor. xiv. 25. Ministers who preach the word know not theimaginations men go about, but God, whose word it is, knows perfectly. 2. If this song did not1249Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)prevent their apostasy, yet it might help to bring them to repentance, and to recover them from theirapostasy. When their troubles come upon them, this song shall not be forgotten, but may serve asa glass to show them their own faces, that they may humble themselves, and return to him fromwhom they have revolted. Note, Those for whom God has mercy in store he may leave to fall, yethe will provide means for their recovery. Medicines are prepared before-hand for their cure.The Song of Moses. (b. c. 1451.)22 Moses therefore wrote this song the same day, and taught it the children ofIsrael. 23 And he gave Joshua the son of Nun a charge, and said, Be strong and ofa good courage: for thou shalt bring the children of Israel into the land which I swareunto them: and I will be with thee. 24 And it came to pass, when Moses had madean end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished, 25 ThatMoses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord,saying, 26 Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenantof the Lord your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee. 27 For I knowthy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, yehave been rebellious against the Lord; and how much more after my death? 28Gather unto me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak thesewords in their ears, and call heaven and earth to record against them. 29 For I knowthat after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the waywhich I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; becauseye will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger through the workof your hands. 30 And Moses spake in the ears of all the congregation of Israel thewords of this song, until they were ended.Here, I. The charge is given to Joshua, which God has said (v. 14) he would give him. Thesame in effect that Moses had given him. The same in effect that Moses had given him (v. 7): Bestrong and of a good courage, v. 23. Joshua had now heard from God so much of the wickednessof the people whom he was to have the conduct of as could not but be a discouragement to him:"Nay," says God, "how bad soever they are, thou shalt go through thy understanding, for I will bewith thee. Thou shalt put them into possession of Canaan. If they afterwards by their sin throwthemselves out of it again, that will be no fault of thine, nor any dishonour to thee, therefore be ofgood courage."II. The solemn delivery of the book of the law to the Levites, to be deposited in the side of theark, is here again related (v. 24-26), of which before, v. 9. Only they are here directed where totreasure up this precious original, not in the ark (there only the two tables were preserved), but inanother box by the side of the ark. It is probable that this was the very book that was found in thehouse of the Lord (having been somehow or other misplaced) in the days of Josiah (2 Chron. xxxiv.14), and so perhaps the following words here, that it may be a witness against thee, may particularlypoint at that event, which happened so long after; for the finding of this very book occasioned thepublic reading of it by Josiah himself, for a witness against a people who were then almost ripe fortheir ruin by the Babylonians.1250Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)III. The song which follows in the next chapter is here delivered to Moses, and by him to thepeople. He wrote it first (v. 22), as the Spirit of God indited it, and then spoke it in the ears of allthe congregation (v. 30), and taught it to them (v. 22), that is, gave out copies of it, and orderedthe people to learn it by heart. It was delivered by word of mouth first, and afterwards in writing,to the elders and officers, as the representatives of their respective tribes (v. 28), by them to betransmitted to their several families and households. It was delivered to them with a solemn appealto heaven and earth concerning the fair warning which was given them by it of the fatal consequencesof their apostasy from God, and with a declaration of the little joy and little hope Moses had in andconcerning them. 1. He declares what little joy he had had of them while he was with them, v. 27.It is not in a passion that he says, I know thy rebellion (as once he said unadvisedly, Hear now, yourebels), but it is the result of a long acquaintance with them: you have been rebellious against theLord. Their rebellions against himself he makes no mention of: these he had long since forgivenand forgotten; but they must be made to hear of their rebellions against God, that they may be everrepented of and never repeated. 2. What little hopes he had of them now that he was leaving them.From what God had now said to him (v. 16) more than from his own experience of them, thoughthat was discouraging enough, he tells them (v. 29), I know that after my death you will utterlycorrupt yourselves. Many a sad thought, no doubt, it occasioned to this good man, to foresee theapostasy and ruin of a people he had taken so much pains with, in order to them good and makethem happy; but this was his comfort, that he had done his duty, and that God would be glorified,if not in their settlement, yet in their dispersion. Thus our Lord Jesus, a little before his death,foretold the rise of false Christs and false prophets (Matt. xxiv. 24), notwithstanding which, andall the apostasies of the latter times, we may be confident that the gates of hell shall not prevailagainst the church, for the foundation of God stands sure.D E U T E R O N O M YCHAP. XXXII.In this chapter we have, I. The song which Moses, by the appointment of God, delivered tothe children of Israel, for a standing admonition to them, to take heed of forsaking God. This takesup most of the chapter, in which we have, 1. The preface, ver. 1, 2. 2. A high character of God,and, in opposition to that, a bad character of the people of Israel, ver. 3-6. 3. A rehearsal of thegreat things God had done for them, and in opposition to that an account of their ill carriage towardshim, ver. 7-18. 4. A prediction of the wasting destroying judgments which God would bring uponthem for their sins, in which God is here justified by the many aggravations of their impieties, ver.19-33. 5. A promise of the destruction of their enemies and oppressors at last, and the gloriousdeliverance of a remnant of Israel, ver. 36-43. II. The exhortation with which Moses delivered thissong to them, ver. 41-47. III. The orders God gives to Moses to go up to Mount Nebo and die, ver.48, &c.The Song of Moses. (b. c. 1451.)1251Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)1 Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of mymouth. 2 My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, asthe small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: 3 BecauseI will publish the name of the Lord: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. 4 He is theRock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and withoutiniquity, just and right is he. 5 They have corrupted themselves, their spot is notthe spot of his children: they are a perverse and crooked generation. 6 Do ye thusrequite the Lord, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath boughtthee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?Here is, I. A commanding preface or introduction to this song of Moses, v. 1, 2. He begins, 1.With a solemn appeal to heaven and earth concerning the truth and importance of what he wasabout to say, and the justice of the divine proceedings against a rebellious and backsliding people,for he had said (ch. xxxi. 28) that he would in this song call heaven and earth to record againstthem. Heaven and earth would sooner hear than this perverse and unthinking people; for they revoltnot from the obedience to their Creator, but continue to this day, according to his ordinances, ashis servants (Ps. cxix. 89-91), and therefore will rise up in judgment against rebellious Israel.Heaven and earth will be witnesses against sinners, witnesses of the warning given them and oftheir refusal to take the warning (see Job xx. 27); the heaven shall reveal his iniquity, and the earthshall rise up against him. Or heaven and earth are here put for the inhabitants of both, angels andmen; both shall agree to justify God in his proceedings against Israel, and to declare hisrighteousness, Ps. l. 6; see Rev. xix. 1, 2. 2. he begins with a solemn application of what he wasabout to say to the people (v. 2): My doctrine shall drop as the rain. "It shall be a beating sweepingrain to the rebellious;" so one of the Chaldee paraphrasts expounds the first clause. Rain is sometimessent for judgment, witness that with which the world was deluged; and so the word of God, whileto some it is reviving and refreshing—a savour of life unto life, is to others terrifying and killing—asavour of death unto death. It shall be as a sweet and comfortable dew to those who are rightlyprepared to receive it. Observe, (1.) The subject of this song is doctrine; he had given them a songof praise and thanksgiving (Exod. xv.), but this is a song of instruction, for in psalms, and hymns,and spiritual songs, we are not only to give glory to god, but to teach and admonish one another,Col. iii. 16. Hence many of David's psalms are entitled Maschil—to give instruction. (2.) Thisdoctrine is fitly compared to rain and showers which come from above, to make the earth fruitful,and accomplish that for which they are sent. (Isa. lv. 10, 11), and depend not upon the wisdom orwill of man, Mic. v. 7. It is a mercy to have this rain come often upon us, and our duty to drink itin, Heb. vi. 7. (3.) He promises that his doctrine shall drop and distil as the dew, and the small rain,which descend silently and without noise. The word preached is likely to profit when it comesgently, and sweetly insinuates itself into the hearts and affections of the hearers. (4.) He bespeakstheir acceptance and entertainment of it, and that it might be as sweet, and pleasant, and welcometo them as rain to the thirsty earth, Ps. lxxii. 6. And the word of God is likely to do us good whenit is thus acceptable. (5.) The learned bishop Patrick understands it as a prayer that his words whichwere sent from heaven to them might sink into their hearts and soften them, as the rain softens theearth, and so make them fruitful in obedience.II. An awful declaration of the greatness and righteousness of God, v. 3, 4.1252Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)1. He begins with this, and lays it down as his first principle, (1.) To preserve the honour ofGod, that no reproach might be cast upon him for the sake of the wickedness of his people Israel;how wicked and corrupt soever those are who are called by his name, he is just, and right, and allthat is good, and is not to be thought the worse of for their badness. (2.) To aggravate the wickednessof Israel, who knew and worshipped such a holy god, and yet were themselves so unholy. And,(3.) To justify God in his dealings with them; we must abide by it, that God is righteous, even whenhis judgments are a great deep, Jer. xii. 1; Ps. xxxvi. 6.2. Moses here sets himself to publish the name of the Lord (v. 3), that Israel, knowing what aGod he is whom they had avouched for theirs, might never be such fools as to exchange him for afalse god, a dunghill god. He calls upon them therefore to ascribe greatness to him. It will be ofgreat use to us for the preventing of sin, and the preserving of us in the way of our duty, always tokeep up high and honourable thoughts of God, and to take all occasions to express them: Ascribegreatness to our God. We cannot add to his greatness, for it is infinite; but we must acknowledgeit, and give him the glory of it. Now, when Moses would set forth the greatness of God, he does it,not by explaining his eternity and immensity, or describing the brightness of his glory in the upperworld, but by showing the faithfulness of his word, the perfection of his works, and the wisdomand equity of all the administrations of his government; for in these his glory shines most clearlyto us, and these are the things revealed concerning him, which belong to us and our children, v. 4.(1.) He is the rock. So he is called six times in this chapter, and the LXX. all along translates itTheos, God. The learned Mr. Hugh Broughton reckons that God is called the rock eighteen times(besides in this chapter) in the Old Testament (though in some places we translate it strength), andcharges it therefore upon the papists that they make St. Peter a god when they make him the rockon which the church is built. God is the rock, for he is in himself immutable immovable, and he isto all that seek him and fly to him an impenetrable shelter, and to all that trust in him an everlastingfoundation. (2.) His work is perfect. His work of creation was so, all very good; his works ofprovidence are so, or will be so in due time, and when the mystery of God shall be finished theperfection of his works will appear to all the world. Nothing that God does can be mended, Eccl.iii. 14. God was now perfecting what he had promised and begun for his people Israel, and fromthe perfection of this work they must take occasion to give him the glory of the perfection of allhis works. The best of men's works are imperfect, they have their flaws and defects, and are leftunfinished; but, as for God, his work is perfect; if he begin, he will make an end. (3.) All his waysare judgment. The ends of his ways are all righteous, and he is wise in the choice of the means inorder to those ends. Judgment signifies both prudence and justice. The ways of the Lord are right,Hos. xiv. 9. (4.) He is a God of truth, whose word we may take and rely upon, for he cannot liewho is faithful to all his promises, nor shall his threatenings fall to the ground. (5.) He is withoutiniquity, one who never cheated any that trusted in him, never wronged any that appealed to hisjustice, nor ever was hard upon any that cast themselves upon his mercy. (6.) Just and right is he.As he will not wrong any by punishing them more than they deserve, so he will not fail to recompenseall those that serve him or suffer for him. He is indeed just and right; for he will effectually takecare that none shall lose by him. Now what a bright and amiable idea does this one verse give usof the God whom we worship; and what reason have we then to love him and fear him, to live alife of delight in him, dependence on him, and devotedness to him! This is our rock, and there isno unrighteousness in him; nor can there be, Ps. xcii. 15.1253Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)III. A high charge exhibited against the Israel of God, whose character was in all respects thereverse of that of the God of Israel, v. 5. 1. They have corrupted themselves. Or, It has corrupteditself; the body of the people has: the whole head sick, and the whole heart faint. God did not corruptthem, for just and right is he; but they are themselves the sole authors of their own sin and ruin;and both are included in this word. They have debauched themselves; for every man is temptedwhen he is drawn away of his own lust. And they have destroyed themselves, Hos. xiii. 9. If thouscornest, thou alone shalt bear the guilt and grief, Prov. ix. 12. 2. Their spot is not the spot of hischildren. Even God's children have their spots, while they are in this imperfect state; for if we saywe have no sin, no spot, we deceive ourselves. But the sin of Israel was none of those; it was notan infirmity which they strove against, watched and prayed against, but an evil which their heartswere fully set in them to do. For, 3. They were a perverse and crooked generation, that were actuatedby a spirit of contradiction, and therefore would do what was forbidden because it was forbidden,would set up their own humour and fancy in opposition to the will of God, were impatient of reproof,hated to be reformed, and went on frowardly in the way of their heart. The Chaldee paraphrasereads this verse thus: They have scattered or changed themselves, and not him, even the childrenthat served idols, a generation that has depraved its own works, and alienated itself. Idolaterscannot hurt God, nor do any damage to his works, nor make him a stranger to this world. See Jobxxxv. 6. No, all the hurt they do is to themselves and their own works. The learned bishop Patrickgives another reading of it: Did he do him any hurt? That is, "Is God the rock to be blamed for theevils that should befal Israel? No, His children are their blot," that is, "All the evil that comes uponthem is the fruit of their children's wickedness; for the whole generation of them is crooked andperverse." All that are ruined ruin themselves; they die because they will die.IV. A pathetic expostulation with this provoking people for their ingratitude (v. 6): "Do youthus requite the Lord? Surely you will not hereafter be so base and disingenuous in your carriagetowards him as you have been." 1. He reminds them of the obligations God had laid upon them toserve him, and to cleave to him. He had been a Father to them, had begotten them, fed them, carriedthem, nursed them, and borne their manners; and would they spurn at the bowels of a Father? Hehad bought them, had been at a vast expense of miracles to bring them out of Egypt, had given menfor them, and people for their life, Isa. xliii. 4. "Is not he thy Father, thy owner (so some), that hasan incontestable propriety in thee?" and the ox knoweth his owner. "he has made thee, and broughtthee into being, established thee and kept thee in being; has he not done so? Can you deny theengagements you lie under to him, in consideration of the great things he has done and designedfor you?" And are not our obligations, as baptized Christians, equally great and strong to our Creatorthat made us, our Redeemer that bought us, and our Sanctifier that has established us. 2. Hence heinfers the evil of deserting him and rebelling against him. For, (1.) It was base ingratitude: "Do youthus require the Lord? Are these the returns you make him for all his favours to you? The powersyou have from him will you employ them against him?" See Mic. vi. 3, 4; John x. 32. This is suchmonstrous villany as all the world will cry shame of: call a man ungrateful, and you can call himno worse. (2.) It was prodigious madness: O foolish people and unwise! Fools, and double fools!who has bewitched you? Gal. iii. 1. "Fools indeed, to disoblige one on whom you have such anecessary dependence! To forsake your own mercies for lying vanities!" Note, All wilful sinners,especially sinners in Israel, are the most unwise and the most ungrateful people in the world.1254Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)7 Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thyfather, and he will show thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee. 8 When the mostHigh divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam,he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.9 For the Lord's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. 10 Hefound him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about,he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. 11 As an eagle stirreth upher nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareththem on her wings: 12 So the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strangegod with him. 13 He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he mighteat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, andoil out of the flinty rock; 14 Butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs,and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; andthou didst drink the pure blood of the grape.Moses, having in general represented God to them as their great benefactor, whom they werebound in gratitude to observe and obey, in these verses gives particular instances of God's kindnessto them and concern for them. 1. Some instances were ancient, and for proof of them he appealsto the records (v. 7): Remember the days of old; that is, "Keep in remembrance the history of thosedays, and of the wonderful providences of God concerning the old world, and concerning yourancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; you will find a constant series of mercies attending them,and how long since things were working towards that which has now come to pass." Note, Theauthentic histories of ancient times are of singular use, and especially the history of the church inits infancy, both the Old-Testament and the New-Testament church. 2. Others were more modern,and for proof of them he appeals to their fathers and elders that were now alive and with them.Parents must diligently teach their children, not only the word of God, his laws (ch. vi. 7), and themeaning of his ordinances (Exod. xii. 26, 27), but his works also, and the methods of his providence.See Ps. lxxviii. 3, 4, 6, 7. And children should desire the knowledge of those things which will beof use to engage them to their duty and to direct them in it.Three things are here enlarged upon as instances of God's kindness to his people Israel, andstrong obligations upon them never to forsake him:—I. The early designation of the land of Canaan for their inheritance; for herein it was a typeand figure of our heavenly inheritance, that it was of old ordained and prepared in the divinecounsels, v. 8. Observe,1. When the earth was divided among the sons of men, in the days of Peleg, after the flood,and each family had its lot, in which it must settle, and by degrees grow up into a nation, then Godhad Israel in his thoughts and in his eye; for, designing this good land into which they were nowgoing to be in due time an inheritance for them, he ordered that the posterity of Canaan, rather thanany other of the families then in being, should be planted there in the mean time, to keep possession,as it were, till Israel was ready for it, because those families were under the curse of Noah, by whichthey were condemned to servitude and ruin (Gen. ix. 25), and therefore would be the more justly,honourably, easily, and effectually, rooted out, when the fulness of time should come that Israel1255Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)should take possession. Thus he set the bounds of that people with an eye to the designed numberof the children of Israel, that they might have just as much as would serve their turn. And someobserve that Canaan himself, and his eleven sons (Gen. x. 15, &c.), make up just the number of thetwelve tribes of Israel. Note, (1.) The wisdom of God has appointed the bounds of men's habitation,and determined both the place and time of our living in the world, Acts xvii. 26. When he gave theearth to the children of men (Ps. cxv. 16), it was not that every man might catch as he could; no,he divides to nations their inheritance, and will have every one to know his own, and not to invadeanother's property. (2.) Infinite wisdom has a vast reach, and designs beforehand what is broughtto pass long after. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning to the end (Acts xv. 18),but they are not so to us, Eccl. iii. 11. (3.) The great God, in governing the world, and ordering theaffairs of states and kingdoms, has a special regard to his church and people, and consults theirgood in all. See 2 Chron. xvi. 9, and Isa. xlv. 4. The Canaanites thought they had as good and surea title to their land as any of their neighbours had to theirs; but God intended that they should onlybe tenants, till the Israelites, their landlords, came. Thus God serves his own purposes of kindnessto his people, by those that neither know him nor love him, who mean not so, neither doth theirheart think so, Isa. x. 7; Mic. iv. 12.2. The reason given for the particular care God took for this people, so long before they wereeither born or thought of (as I may say), in our world, does yet more magnify the kindness, andmake it obliging beyond expression (v. 9): For the Lord's portion is his people. All the world ishis. He is owner and possessor of heaven and earth, but his church is his in a peculiar manner. Itis his demesne, his vineyard, his garden enclosed. He has a particular delight in it: it is the belovedof his soul, in it he walks, he dwells, it is his rest for ever. He has a particular concern for it, keepsit as the apple of his eye. He has particular expectations from it, as a man has from his portion, hasa much greater rent of honour, glory, and worship, from that distinguished remnant, than from allthe world besides. That God should be his people's portion is easy to be accounted for, for he istheir joy and felicity; but how they should be his portion, who neither needs them nor can bebenefited by them, must be resolved into the wondrous condescensions of free grace. Even so,Father, because it seemed good in thy eyes so to call and to account them.II. The forming of them into a people, that they might be fit to enter upon this inheritance, likean heir of age, at the time appointed of the Father. And herein also Canaan was a figure of theheavenly inheritance; for, as it was from eternity proposed and designed for all God's spiritualIsrael, so they are, in time (and it is a work of time), fitted and made meet for it, Col. i. 12. Thedeliverance of Israel out of slavery, by the destruction of their oppressors, was attended with somany wonders obvious to sense, and had been so often spoken of, that it needed not to be mentionedin this song; but the gracious works God wrought upon them would be less taken notice of than theglorious works he had wrought for them, and therefore he chooses rather to advert to them. A greatdeal was done to model this people, to cast them into some shape, and to fit them for the greatthings designed for them in the land of promise; and it is here most elegantly described.1. He found him in a desert land, v. 10. This refers, no doubt, to the wilderness through whichGod brought them to Canaan, and in which he took so much pains with them; it is called the churchin the wilderness, Acts vii. 38. There it was born, and nursed, and educated, that all might appearto be divine and from heaven, since they had there no communication with any part of this eartheither for food or learning. But, because he is said to find them there, it seems designed also torepresent both the bad state and the bad character of that people when God began first to appear1256Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)for them. (1.) Their condition was forlorn. Egypt was to them a desert land, and a waste howlingwilderness, for they were bond-slaves in it, and cried by reason of their oppression, and wereperfectly bewildered and at a loss for relief; there God found them, and thence he fetched them.And, (2.) Their disposition was very unpromising. So ignorant were the generality of them in divinethings, so stupid and unapt to receive the impressions of them, so peevish and humoursome, sofroward and quarrelsome, and withal so strangely addicted to the idolatries of Egypt, that theymight well be said to be found in a desert land; for one might as reasonably expect a crop of cornfrom a barren wilderness as any good fruit of service to God from a people of such a character.Those that are renewed and sanctified by grace should often remember what they were by nature.2. He led him about and instructed him. When God had them in the wilderness he did not bringthem directly to Canaan, but made them go a great way about, and so he instructed them; that is,(1.) by this means he took time to instruct them, and gave them commandments as they were ableto receive them. Those whose business it is to instruct others must not expect it will be done of asudden; learners must have time to learn. (2.) By this means he tried their faith, and patience, anddependence upon God, and inured them to the hardships of the wilderness, and so instructed them.Every stage had something in it that was instructive; even when he chastened them, he therebytaught them out of his law. It is said (Ps. cvii. 7) that he led them forth by the right way;. and yethere that he led them about; for God always leads his people the right way, however to us it mayseem circuitous: so that the furthest way about proves, if not the nearest way, yet the best way hometo Canaan. How God instructed them is explained long after (Neh. ix. 13), Thou gavest them rightjudgments and true laws, good statutes, and commandments; and especially (v. 20), Thou gavestthem also thy good Spirit to instruct them; and he instructs effectually. We may well imagine howunfit that people would have been for Canaan had they not first gone through the discipline of thewilderness.3. He kept him as the apple of his eye, with all the care and tenderness that could be, from themalignant influences of an open sky and air, and all the perils of an inhospitable desert. The pillarof cloud and fire was both a guide and a guard to them.4. He did that for them which the eagle does for her nest of young ones, v. 11, 12. The similitudewas touched, Exod. xix. 4, I bore you on eagles' wings; here it is enlarged upon. The eagle isobserved to have a strong affection for her young, and to show it, not only as other creatures byprotecting them and making provision for them, but by educating them and teaching them to fly.For this purpose she stirs them out of the nest where they lie dozing, flutters over them, to showthem how they must use their wings, and then accustoms them to fly upon her wings till they havelearnt to fly upon their own. This, by the way, is an example to parents to train up their children tobusiness, and not to indulge them in idleness and the love of ease. God did thus by Israel; whenthey were in love with their slavery, and loth to leave it, God, by Moses, stirred them up to aspireafter liberty, and many a time kept them from returning to the house of bondage. He carried themout of Egypt, led them into the wilderness, and now at length had led them through it. The Lordalone did lead him, he needed not any assistance, nor did he take any to be partner with him in theachievement, which was a good reason why they should serve the Lord only and no other, so muchas in partnership, much less in rivalship with him. There was no strange god with him to contributeto Israel's salvation, and therefore there should be none to share in Israel's homage and adoration,Ps. lxxxi. 9.1257Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)III. The settling of them in a good land. This was done in part already, in the happy plantingof the two tribes and a half, an earnest of what would speedily and certainly be done for the rest ofthe tribes. 1. They were blessed with glorious victories over their enemies (v. 13): He made himride on the high places of the earth, that is, he brought him on with conquest, and brought himhome with triumph. he rode over the high places or strong holds that were kept against him, sat inease and honour upon the fruitful hills of Canaan. In Egypt they looked mean, and were so, inpoverty and disgrace; but in Canaan they looked great, and were so, advanced and enriched; theyrode in state, as a people whom the King of kings delighted to honour. 2. With great plenty of allgood things. Not only the ordinary increase of the field, but, which was uncommon, Honey out ofthe rock, and oil out of the flinty rock, which may refer either, (1.) To their miraculous supply offresh water out of the rock that followed them in the wilderness, which is called honey and oil,because the necessity they were reduced to made it as sweet and acceptable as honey and oil atanother time. Or, (2.) To the great abundance of honey and oil they should find in Canaan, even inthose parts that were least fertile. The rocks in Canaan should yield a better increase than the fieldsand meadows of other countries. Other productions of Canaan are mentioned, v. 14. Such abundanceand such variety of wholesome food (and every thing the best in its kind) that every meal might bea feast if they pleased: excellent bread made of the best corn, here called the kidneys of the wheat(for a grain of wheat is not unlike a kidney), butter and milk in abundance, the flesh of cattle wellfed, and for their drink, no worse than the pure blood of the grape; so indulgent a Father was Godto them, and so kind a benefactor. Ainsworth makes the plenty of good things in Canaan to be afigure of the fruitfulness of Christ's kingdom, and the heavenly comforts of his word and Spirit:for the children of his kingdom he has butter and milk, the sincere milk of the word; and strongmeat for strong men, with the wine that makes glad the heart.15 But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick,thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightlyesteemed the Rock of his salvation. 16 They provoked him to jealousy with strangegods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. 17 They sacrificed untodevils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up,whom your fathers feared not. 18 Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful,and hast forgotten God that formed thee.We have here a description of the apostasy of Israel from God, which would shortly come topass, and to which already they had a disposition. One would have thought that a people under somany obligations to their God, in duty, gratitude, and interest, would never have turned from him;but, alas! they turned aside quickly. Here are two great instances of their wickedness, and each ofthem amounted to an apostasy from God:—I. Security and sensuality, pride and insolence, and the other common abuses of plenty andprosperity, v. 15. These people were called Jeshurun—an upright people (so some), a seeing people,so others: but they soon lost the reputation both of their knowledge and of their righteousness; for,being well-fed, 1. They waxed fat, and grew thick, that is, they indulged themselves in all mannerof luxury and gratifications of their appetites, as if they had nothing to do but to make provisionfor the flesh, to fulfil the lusts of it. They grew fat, that is, they grew big and unwieldy, unmindfulof business, and unfit for it; dull and stupid, careless and senseless; and this was the effect of their1258Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)plenty. Thus the prosperity of fools destroys them, Prov. i. 32. Yet this was not the worst of it. 2.They kicked; they grew proud and insolent, and lifted up the heel even against God himself. If Godrebuked them, either by his prophets or by his providence, they kicked against the goad, as anuntamed heifer, or a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke, and in their rage persecuted the prophets,and flew in the face of providence itself. And thus he forsook God that made him (not paying duerespect to his creator, nor answering the ends of his creation), and put an intolerable contempt uponthe rock of his salvation, as if he were not indebted to him for any past favours, nor had anydependence upon him for the future. Those that make a god of themselves and a god of their bellies,in pride and wantonness, and cannot bear to be told of it, certainly thereby forsake God and showhow lightly they esteem him.II. Idolatry was the great instance of their apostasy, and which the former led them to, as itmade them sick of their religion, self-willed, and fond of changes. Observe,1. What sort of gods they chose and offered sacrifice to, when they forsook the God that madethem, v. 16, 17. This aggravated their sin that those very services which they should have done tothe true God they did, (1.) To strange gods, that could not pretend to have done them any kindness,or laid them under any obligation to them, gods that they had no knowledge of, nor could expectany benefit by, for they were strangers. Or they are called strange gods, because they were otherthan the one only true God, to whom they were betrothed and ought to have been faithful. (2.) Tonew gods, that came newly up; for even in religion, the antiquity of which is one of its honours,vain minds have strangely affected novelty, and, in contempt of the Ancient of days, have beenfond of new gods. A new god! can there be a more monstrous absurdity? Would we find the rightway to rest, we must ask for the good old way, Jer. vi. 16. It was true their fathers had worshippedother gods (Josh. xxiv. 2), and perhaps it had been some little excuse if the children had returnedto them; but to serve new gods whom their fathers feared not, and to like them the better for beingnew, was to open a door to endless idolatries. (3.) They were such as were no gods at all, but merecounterfeits and pretenders; their names the invention of men's fancies, and their images the workof men's hands. Nay, (4.) They were devils. So far from being gods, fathers and benefactors tomankind, they really were destroyers (so the word signifies), such as aimed to do mischief. If therewere any spirits or invisible powers that possessed their idol-temples and images, they were evilspirits and malignant powers, whom yet they did not need to worship for fear they should hurtthem, as they say the Indians do; for those that faithfully worship God are out of the devil's reach:nay, the devil can destroy those only that sacrifice to him. How mad are idolaters, who forsake therock of salvation to run themselves upon the rock of perdition!2. What a great affront this was to Jehovah their God. (1.) It was justly interpreted a forgettingof him (v. 18): Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful. Mindfulness of God would preventsin, but, when the world is served and the flesh indulged, God is forgotten; and can any thing bemore base and unworthy than to forget the God that is the author of our being, by whom we subsist,and in whom we live and move? And see what comes of it, Isa. xvii. 10, 11, Because thou hastforgotten the God of thy salvation, and hast not been mindful of the Rock of thy strength, thoughthe strange slips be pleasant plants at first, yet the harvest at last will be a heap in the day of griefand of desperate sorrow. There is nothing got by forgetting God. (2.) It was justly resented as aninexcusable offence: They provoked him to jealousy and to anger (v. 16), for their idols wereabominations to him. See here God's displeasure against idols, whether they be set up in the heartor in the sanctuary. [1.] He is jealous of them, as rivals with him for the throne in the heart. [2.] He1259Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)hates them, as enemies to his crown and government. [3.] He is, and will be, very angry with thosethat have any respect or affection for them. Those consider not what they do that provoke God; forwho knows the power of his anger?19 And when the Lord saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of hissons, and of his daughters. 20 And he said, I will hide my face from them, I willsee what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whomis no faith. 21 They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; theyhave provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousywith those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.22 For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shallconsume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.23 I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them. 24 Theyshall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitterdestruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpentsof the dust. 25 The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the youngman and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of gray hairs.The method of this song follows the method of the predictions in the foregoing chapter, andtherefore, after the revolt of Israel from God, described in the foregoing verses, here followimmediately the resolves of divine Justice concerning them; we deceive ourselves if we think thatGod will be thus mocked by a foolish faithless people, that play fast and loose with him.I. He had delighted in them, but now he would reject them with detestation and disdain, v. 19.When the Lord saw their treachery, and folly, and base ingratitude, he abhorred them, he despisedthem, so some read it. Sin makes us odious in the sight of the holy God; and no sinners are soloathsome to him as those that he has called, and that have called themselves, his sons and hisdaughters, and yet have been provoking to him. Note, The nearer any are to God in profession themore noisome are they to him if they are defiled in a sinful way, Ps. cvi. 39, 40.II. He had given them the tokens of his presence with them and his favour to them; but nowhe would withdraw and hide his face from them, v. 20. His hiding his face signifies his greatdispleasure; they had turned their back upon God, and now God would turn his back upon them(compare Jer. xviii. 17 with Jer. ii. 27); but here it denotes also the slowness of God's proceedingsagainst them in a way of judgment. They began in their apostasy with omissions of good, and soproceeded to commissions of evil. In like manner God will first suspend his favours, and let themsee what the issue of that will be, what a friend they lose when they provoke God to depart, andwill try whether this will bring them to repentance. Thus we find God hiding himself, as it were,in expectation of the event, Isa. lvii. 17. To justify himself in leaving them he shows that they weresuch as there was no dealing with; for, 1. They were froward and a people that could not be pleased,or obstinate in sin, and that could not be convinced and reclaimed. 2. They were faithless, and apeople that could not be trusted. When he saved them, and took them into covenant, he said, Surelythey are children that will not lie (Isa. lxiii. 8); but when they proved otherwise, children in whomis no faith, they deserved to be abandoned, and that the God of truth should have no more to dowith them.1260Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)III. He had done every thing to make them easy and to please them, but now he would do thatagainst them which should be most vexatious to them. The punishment here answers the sin, v. 21.1. They had provoked God with despicable deities which were not gods at all, but vanities, creaturesof their own imagination, that could not pretend either to merit or to repay the respects of theirworshippers; the more vain and vile the gods were after which they went a whoring the greater wasthe offence to that great and good God whom they set them up in competition with and contradictionto. This put two great evils into their idolatry, Jer. ii. 13. 2. God would therefore plague them withdespicable enemies, that were worthless, weak, and inconsiderable, and not deserving the name ofa people, which was a great mortification to them, and aggravated the oppressions they groanedunder The more base the people were that tyrannised over them the more barbarous they would be(none so insolent as a beggar on horseback), besides that it would be infamous to Israel, who hadso often triumphed over great and mighty nations, to be themselves trampled upon by the weakand foolish, and to come under the curse of Canaan, who was to be a servant of servants. But Godcan make the weakest instrument a scourge to the strongest sinner; and those that by sin insult theirmight Creator are justly insulted by the meanest of their fellow-creatures. This was remarkablyfulfilled in the days of the judges, when they were sometimes oppressed by the very Canaanitesthemselves, whom they had subdued, Judg. iv. 2. But the apostle applies it to the conversion of theGentiles, who had been a people not in covenant with God, and foolish in divine things, yet werebrought into the church, sorely to the grief of the Jews, who upon all occasions showed a greatindignation at it, which was both their sin and their punishment, as envy always is, Rom. x. 19.IV. He had planted them in a good land, and replenished them with all good things; but nowhe would strip them of all their comforts, and bring them to ruin. The judgments threatened arevery terrible, v. 22-25. 1. The fire of God's anger shall consume them, v. 22. Are they proud oftheir plenty? It shall burn up the increase of the earth. Are they confident of their strength? It shalldestroy the very foundations of their mountains: there is no fence against the judgments of Godwhen they come with commission to lay all waste. It shall burn to the lowest hell, that is, it shallbring them to the very depth of misery in this world, which yet would be but a faint resemblanceof the complete and endless misery of sinners in the other world. The damnation of hell (as ourSaviour calls it) is the fire of God's anger, fastening upon the guilty conscience of a sinner, to itsinexpressible and everlasting torment, Isa. xxx. 33. 2. The arrows of God's judgments shall be spentupon them, till his quiver is quite exhausted, v. 23. The judgments of God, like arrows, fly swiftly(Ps. lxiv. 7), reaching those at a distance who flatter themselves with hopes of escaping them, Ps.xxi. 8, 12. They come from an unseen hand, but wound mortally, for God never misses his mark,1 Kings xxii. 34. The particular judgments here threatened are, (1.) Famine: they shall be burnt, orparched, with hunger. (2.) Pestilence and other diseases, here called burning heat and bitterdestruction. (3.) The insults of the inferior creatures: the teeth of beasts and the poison of serpents,v. 24. (4.) War and the fatal consequences of it, v. 25. [1.] Perpetual frights. When the sword iswithout, there cannot but be terror within. 2 Cor. vii. 5, Without were fightings, within were fears.Those who cast off the fear of God are justly exposed to the fear of enemies. [2.] Universal deaths.The sword of the Lord, when it is sent to lay all waste, will destroy without distinction; neither thestrength of the young man nor the beauty of the virgin, neither the innocency of the suckling northe gravity or infirmity of the man of gray hairs, will be their security from the sword when itdevours one as well as another. Such devastation does war make, especially when it is pushed on1261Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)by men as ravenous as wild beasts and as venomous as serpents, v. 24. See here what mischief sindoes, and reckon those fools that make a mock at it.26 I said, I would scatter them into corners, I would make the remembrance ofthem to cease from among men: 27 Were 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. 28 For they are a nation voidof counsel, neither is there any understanding in them. 29 O that they were wise,that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end! 30 How shouldone chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had soldthem, and the Lord had shut them up? 31 For their rock is not as our Rock, evenour enemies themselves being judges. 32 For their vine is of the vine of Sodom,and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters arebitter: 33 Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps. 34 Isnot this laid up in store with me, and sealed up among my treasures? 35 To mebelongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the dayof their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.36 For the Lord shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants, when heseeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up, or left. 37 And he shallsay, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted, 38 Which did eat thefat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offerings? let them rise upand help you, and be your protection.After many terrible threatenings of deserved wrath and vengeance, we have here surprisingintimations of mercy, undeserved mercy, which rejoices against judgment, and by which it appearsthat God has no pleasure in the death of sinners, but would rather they should turn and live.I. In jealousy for his own honour, he will not make a full end of them, v. 26-28. 1. It cannotbe denied but that they deserved to be utterly ruined, and that their remembrance should be madeto cease from among men, so that the name of an Israelite should never be known but in history;for they were a nation void of counsel (v. 28), the most sottish inconsiderate people that ever were,that would not believe the gory of God, though they saw it, nor understand his loving kindness,though they tasted it and lived upon it. Of those who could cast off such a God, such a law, such acovenant, for vain and dunghill-deities, it might truly be said, There is no understanding in them.2. It would have been an easy thing with God to ruin them and blot out the remembrance of them;when the greatest part of them were cut off by the sword, it was but scattering the remnant intosome remote obscure corners of the earth, where they should never have been heard of any more,and the thing had been done. See Ezek. v. 12. God can destroy those that are most strongly fortified,disperse those that are most closely united, and bury those names in perpetual oblivion that havebeen most celebrated. 3. Justice demanded it: I said I would scatter them. It is fit those should becut off from the earth that have cut themselves off from their God; why should they not be dealtwith according to their deserts? 4. Wisdom considered the pride and insolence of the enemy, whichwould take occasion from the ruin of a people that had been so dear to God, and for whom he had1262Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)done such great things, to reflect upon God and to imagine that because they had got the better ofIsrael they had carried the day against the God of Israel: The adversaries will say, Our hand ishigh, high indeed, when it has been too high for those whom God himself fought for; nor will theyconsider that the Lord has done all this, but will dream that they have done it in despite of him, asif the God of Israel were as weak and impotent, and as easily run down, as the pretended deities ofother nations. 5. In consideration of this, Mercy prevails for the sparing of a remnant and the savingof that unworthy people from utter ruin: I feared the wrath of the enemy. It is an expression afterthe manner of men; it is certain that God fears no man's wrath, but he acted in this matter as if hehad feared it. Those few good people in Israel that had a concern for the honour of God's namefeared the wrath of the enemy in this instance more than in any other, as Joshua (Josh. vii. 9), andDavid often; and, because they feared it, God himself is said to fear it. He needed not Moses toplead it with him, but reminded himself of it: What will the Egyptians say? Let all those whosehearts tremble for the ark of God and his Israel comfort themselves with this, that God will workfor his own name, and will not suffer it to be profaned and polluted: how much soever we deserveto be disgraced, God will never disgrace the throne of his glory.II. In concern for their welfare, he earnestly desires their conversion; and, in order to that, theirserious consideration of their latter end, v. 29. Observe, 1. Though God had pronounced them afoolish people and of no understanding, yet he wishes they were wise, as Deut. v. 29, O that therewere such a heart in them! and Ps. xciv. 8, You fools, when will you be wise? God delights not tosee sinners ruin themselves, but desires they will help themselves; and, if they will, he is ready tohelp them. 2. It is a great piece of wisdom, and will contribute much to the return of sinners to God,seriously to consider the latter end, or the future state. It is here meant particularly of that whichGod by Moses had foretold concerning this people in the latter days: but it may be applied moregenerally. We ought to understand and consider, (1.) The latter end of life, and the future state ofthe soul. To think of death as our removal from a world of sense to a world of spirits, the finalperiod of our state of trial and probation, and our entrance upon an unchangeable state of recompenceand retribution. (2.) The latter end of sin, and the future state of those that live and die in it. O thatmen would consider the happiness they will lose, and the misery they will certainly plungethemselves into, if they go on still in their trespasses, what will be in the end thereof, Jer. v. 31.Jerusalem forgot this, and therefore came down wonderfully, Lam. i. 9.III. He calls to mind the great things he had done for them formerly, as a reason why he shouldnot quite cast them off. This seems to be the meaning of that (v. 30, 31), "How should one Israelitehave been too hard for a thousand Canaanites, as they have been many a time, but that God, whois greater than all gods, fought for them!" And so it corresponds with that, Isa. lxiii. 10, 11. Whenhe was turned to be their enemy, as here, and fought against them for their sins, then he rememberedthe days of old, saying, Where is he that brought them out of the sea? So here, his arm begins toawake as in the days of old against the wrath of the enemy, Ps. cxxxviii. 7. There was a time whenthe enemies of Israel were sold by their own rock, that is, their own idol-gods, who could not helpthem, but betrayed them, because Jehovah, the God of Israel, had shut them up as sheep for theslaughter. For the enemies themselves must own that their gods were a very unequal match for theGod of Israel. For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, v. 32, 33. This must be meant of the enemiesof Israel, who fell so easily before the sword of Israel because they were ripe for ruin, and themeasure of their iniquity was full. Yet these verses may be understood of the strange prevalencyof the enemies of Israel against them, when God made use of them as the rod of his anger, Isa. x.1263Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)5, 6. "How should one Canaanite chase a thousand Israelites" (as it is threatened against those thattrust to Egypt for help, Isa. xxx. 17, One thousand shall flee at the rebuke of one) "unless Israel'srock had deserted them and given them up." For otherwise, however they may impute their powerto their gods (Hab. i. 11), as the Philistines imputed their victory to Dagon, it is certain the enemies'rock could not have prevailed against the rock of Israel; God would soon have subdued their enemies(Ps. lxxxi. 14), but that the wickedness of Israel delivered them into their hands. For their vine, thatis, Israel's, is of the vine of Sodom, v. 32, 33. They were planted a choice vine, wholly a right seed,but by sin had become the degenerate plant of a strange vine (Jer. ii. 21), and not only transcribedthe iniquity of Sodom, but outdid it, Ezek. xvi. 48. God called them his vineyard, his pleasant plant,Isa. v. 7. But their fruits were, 1. Very offensive, and displeasing to God, bitter as gall. 2 Verymalignant, and pernicious one to another, like the cruel venom of asps. Some understand this oftheir punishment; their sin would be bitterness in the latter end (2 Sam. ii. 26), it would bite like aserpent and sting like an adder, Job xx. 14; Prov. xxiii. 32.IV. He resolves upon the destruction of those at last that had been their persecutors andoppressors. When the cup of trembling goes round, the king of Babel shall pledge it at last, Jer.xxv. 26, and see Isa. li. 22, 23. The day is coming when the judgment that began at the house ofGod shall end with the sinner and ungodly, 1 Pet. iv. 17, 18. God will in due time bring down thechurch's enemies.1. In displeasure against their wickedness, which he takes notice of, and keeps an account of,v. 34, 35. "Is not this implacable fury of theirs against Israel laid up in store with me, to be reckonedfor hereafter, when it shall be made to appear that to me belongs vengeance?" Some understand itof the sin of Israel, especially their persecuting the prophets, which was laid up in store againstthem from the blood of righteous Abel, Matt. xxiii. 35. However it teaches us that the wickednessof the wicked is all laid up in store with God. (1.) He observes it, Ps. xc. 8. He knows both whatthe vine is and what the grapes are, what is the temper of the mind and what are the actions of life.(2.) He keeps a record of it both in his own omniscience and in the sinner's conscience; and this issealed up among his treasures, which denotes both safety and secresy: these books cannot be lost,nor will they be opened till the great day. See Hos. xiii. 12. (3.) He often delays the punishment ofsin for a great while; it is laid up in store, till the measure be full, and the day of divine patiencehas expired. See Job xxi. 28-30. (4.) There is a day of reckoning coming, when all the treasures ofguilt and wrath will be broken up, and the sin of sinners shall surely find them out. [1.] The thingitself will certainly be done, for the Lord is a God to whom vengeance belongs, and therefore hewill repay, Isa. lix. 18. This is quoted by the apostle to show the severity of God's wrath againstthose that revolt from the faith of Christ, Heb. x. 30. [2.] It will be done in due time, in the besttime; nay, it will be done in a short time. The day of their calamity is at hand; and, though it mayseem to tarry, it lingers not, it slumbers not, but makes haste. In one hour, shall the judgment ofBabylon come.2. He will do it in compassion to his own people, who, though they had greatly provoked him,yet stood in relation to him, and their misery appealed to his mercy (v. 36): The Lord shall judgehis people,. that is, judge for them against their enemies, plead their cause, and break the yoke ofoppression under which they had long groaned, repenting himself for his servants; not changinghis mind, but changing his way, and fighting for them, as he had fought against them, when he seesthat their power is gone. This plainly points at the deliverances God wrought for Israel by the judgesout of the hands of those to whom he had sold them for their sins (see Judg. ii. 11-18), and how his1264Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)soul was grieved for the misery of Israel (Judg. x. 16), and this when they were reduced to the lastextremity. God helped them when they could not help themselves; for there was none shut up orleft; that is, none that dwelt either in cities or walled towns, in which they were shut up, nor anythat dwelt in scattered houses in the country, in which they were left at a distance from neighbours.Note, God's time to appear for the deliverance of his people is when things are at the worst withthem. God tries his people's faith, and stirs up prayer, by letting things go to the worst, and thenmagnifies his own power, and fills the faces of his enemies with shame and the hearts of his peoplewith so much the greater joy, by rescuing them out of extremity as brands out of the burning.3. He will do it in contempt and to the reproach of idol-gods, v. 37, 38. Where are their gods?Two ways it may be understood: (1.) That God would do that for his people which the idols theyhad served could not do for them. They had forsaken God, and been very liberal in their sacrificesto idols, had brought to their altars the fat of their sacrifices and the wine of their drink-offerings,which they supposed their deities to feed upon and on which they feasted with them. "Now," saysGod, "will these gods you have made your court to, at so great an expense, help you in your distress,and so repay you for all your charges in their service? Go get you to the gods you have served, andlet them deliver you, Judg. x. 14. This is intended to convince them of their folly in forsaking a Godthat could help them for gods that could not, and so to bring them to repentance and qualify themfor deliverance. When the adulteress shall follow after her lovers and not overtake them, pray toher idols and receive no kindness from them, then she shall say, I will go and return to my firsthusband, Hos. ii. 7. See Isa. xvi. 12; Jer. ii. 27, 28. Or, (2.) That God would do that against hisenemies which the idols they had served could not save them from, Sennacherib and Nebuchadnezzarboldly challenged the God of Israel to deliver his worshippers (Isa. xxxvii. 10; Dan. iii. 15), andhe did deliver them, to the confusion of their enemies. But the God of Israel challenged Bel andNebo to deliver their worshippers, to rise up and help them, and to be their protection (Isa. xlvii.12, 13); but they were so far from helping them that they themselves, that is, their images, whichwas all that was of them, went into captivity, Isa. xlvi. 1, 2. Note, Those who trust to any rock butGod will find it sand in the day of their distress; it will fail them when they most need it.39 See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I makealive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand. 40For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever. 41 If I whet my glitteringsword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mineenemies, and will reward them that hate me. 42 I will make mine arrows drunkwith blood, and my sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slainand of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy. 43 Rejoice,O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and willrender vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to hispeople.This conclusion of the song speaks three things:I. Glory to God, v. 39. "See now upon the whole matter, that I, even I, am he. Learn this fromthe destruction of idolaters, and the inability of their idols to help them." The great God here demandsthe glory, 1. Of a self-existence: I, even I, am he. Thus Moses concludes with that name of God bywhich he was first made to know him (Exod. iii. 14), "I am that I am. I am he that I have been, that1265Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)I will be, that I have promised to be, that I have threatened to be; all shall find me true to my word."The Targum of Uzzielides paraphrases it thus: When the Word of the Lord shall reveal himself toredeem his people, he shall say to all people, See that I now am what I am, and have been, and Iam what I will be, which we know very well how to apply to him who said to John, I am he whois, and was, and is to come, Rev. i. 8. These words, I even I, am he, we meet with often in thosechapters of Isaiah where God is encouraging his people to hope for their deliverance out of Babylon,Isa. xli. 4; xliii. 11, 13, 25; xlvi. 4. 2. Of a sole supremacy. "There is no god with me. None to helpwith me, none to cope with me." See Isa. xliii. 10, 11. 3. Of an absolute sovereignty, a universalagency: I kill, and I make alive; that is, all evil and all good come from his hand to providence; heforms both the light of life and the darkness of death, Isa. xlv. 7; Lam. iii. 37, 38. Or, He kills andwounds his enemies, but heals and makes alive his own people, kills and wounds with his judgmentsthose that revolt from him and rebel against him; but, when they return and repent, he heals them,and makes them alive with his mercy and grace. Or it denotes his incontestable authority to disposeof all his creatures, and the beings he has given them, so as to serve his own purposes by them:Whom he will he slays, and whom he will he keeps alive, when his judgments are abroad. Or thus,Though he kill, yet he makes alive again: though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion, Lam.iii. 32. Though he have torn, he will heal us, Hos. vi. 1, 2. The Jerusalem Targum reads it, I killthose that are alive in this world, and make those alive in the other world that are dead. And someof the Jewish doctors themselves have observed that death, and a life after it, that is, eternal life, isintimated in these words. 4. Of an irresistible power, which cannot be controlled: Neither is thereany that can deliver out of my hand those that I have marked for destruction. As no exception canbe made against the sentence of God's justice, so no escape can be made from the executions ofhis power.II. Terror to his enemies, v. 40-42. Terror indeed to those that hate him, as all those do thatserve other gods, that persist in wilful disobedience to the divine law, and that malign and persecutehis faithful servants. These are those to whom God will render vengeance, those his enemies thatwill not have him to reign over them. In order to alarm such in time to repent and return to theirallegiance, the wrath of God is here revealed from heaven against them. 1. The divine sentence isratified with an oath (v. 40): He lifts up his hand to heaven, the habitation of his holiness; this wasan ancient and very significant sign used in swearing, Gen. xiv. 22. And, since he could swear byno greater, he swears by himself and his own life. Those are miserable without remedy that havethe word and oath of God against them. The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, that the sin ofsinners shall be their ruin if they go on in it. 2. Preparation is made for the execution: The glitteringsword is whet. See Ps. vii. 12. It is a sword bathed in heaven, Isa. xxxiv. 5. While the sword is inwhetting, space is given to the sinner to repent and make his peace, which, if he neglects, will renderthe wound the deeper. And, as the sword is whet, so the hand that is to wield it takes hold onjudgment with a resolution to go through with it. 3. The execution itself will be very terrible: Thesword shall devour flesh in abundance, and the arrows be made drunk with blood, such vast quantitiesof it shall be shed, the blood of the slain in battle, and of the captives, to whom no quarter shall begiven, but who shall be put under military execution. When he begins revenge he will make an end;for in this also his work is perfect. The critics are much perplexed with the last clause, From thebeginning of revenges upon the enemy. The learned bishop Patrick (that great master) thinks it mayadmit this reading, From the king to the slave of the enemies, Jer. l. 35-37. When the sword of God'swrath is drawn it will make bloody work, blood to the horse-bridles, Rev. xiv. 20.1266Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)III. Comfort to his own people (v. 43): Rejoice, O you nations, with his people. He concludesthe song with words of joy; for in God's Israel there is a remnant whose end will be peace. God'speople will rejoice at last, will rejoice everlastingly. Three things are here mentioned as the matterof joy:—1. The enlarging of the church's bounds. The apostle applies the first words of this verseto the conversion of the Gentiles. Rom. xv. 10, Rejoice you Gentiles with his people. See what thegrace of God does in the conversion of souls, it brings them to rejoice with the people of God; fortrue religion brings us acquainted with true joy, so great a mistake are those under that think it tendsto make men melancholy. 2. The avenging of the church's controversies upon her adversaries. Hewill make inquisition for the blood of his servants, and it shall appear how precious it is to him;for those that spilt it shall have blood given them to drink. 3. The mercy God has in store for hischurch, and for all that belong to it: He will be merciful to his land, and to his people, that is, to allevery where that fear and serve him. Whatever judgments are brought upon sinners, it shall go wellwith the people of God; in this let Jews and Gentiles rejoice together.44 And Moses came and spake all the words of this song in the ears of the people,he, and Hoshea the son of Nun. 45 And Moses made an end of speaking all thesewords to all Israel: 46 And he said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the wordswhich I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observeto do, all the words of this law. 47 For it is not a vain thing for you; because it isyour life: and through this thing ye shall prolong your days in the land, whither yego over Jordan to possess it. 48 And the Lord spake unto Moses that selfsame day,saying, 49 Get thee up into this mountain Abarim, unto mount Nebo, which is inthe land of Moab, that is over against Jericho; and behold the land of Canaan, whichI give unto the children of Israel for a possession: 50 And die in the mount whitherthou goest up, and be gathered unto thy people; as Aaron thy brother died in mountHor, and was gathered unto his people: 51 Because ye trespassed against me amongthe children of Israel at the waters of Meribah-Kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin;because ye sanctified me not in the midst of the children of Israel. 52 Yet thou shaltsee the land before thee; but thou shalt not go thither unto the land which I give thechildren of Israel.Here is, I. The solemn delivery of this song to the children of Israel, v. 44, 45. Moses spoke itto as many as could hear him, while Joshua, in another assembly, at the same time, delivered it toas many as his voice would reach. Thus coming to them from the mouth of both their governors,Moses who was laying down the government, and Joshua who was taking it up, they would seethey were both in the same mind, and that, though they changed their commander, there was nochange in the divine command; Joshua, as well as Moses, would be a witness against them if everthey forsook God.II. An earnest charge to them to mind these and all the rest of the good words that Moses hadsaid to them. How earnestly does he long after them all, how very desirous that the word of Godmight make deep and lasting impressions upon them, how jealous over them with a godly jealousy,lest they should at any time let slip these great things!1267Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)

      1. The duties he charges upon them are, (1.) Carefully to attend to these themselves: "Set yourhearts both to the laws, and to the promises and threatenings, the blessings and curses, and now atlast to this song. Let the mind be closely applied to the consideration of these things; be affectedwith them; be intent upon your duty, and cleave to it with full purpose of heart." (2.) Faithfully totransmit these things to those that should come after them: "What interest you have in your children,or influence upon them, use it for this purpose; and command them (as your father Abraham did,Gen. xviii. 19) to observe to do all the words of this law." Those that are good themselves cannotbut desire that their children may be so likewise, and that posterity may keep up religion in theirday and the entail of it may not be cut off.2. The arguments he uses to persuade them to make religion their business and to persevere init are, (1.) The vast importance of the things themselves which he had charged upon them (v. 47):"It is not a vain thing, because it is your life. It is not an indifferent thing, but of absolute necessity;it is not a trifle, but a matter of consequence, a matter of life and death; mind it, and you are madefor ever; neglect it, and you are for ever undone." O that men were but fully persuaded of this, thatreligion is their life, even the life of their souls! (2.) The vast advantage it would be of to them:Through this thing you shall prolong your days in Canaan, which is a typical promise of that eternallife which Christ has assured us those shall enter into that keep the commandments of God, Matt.xix. 17.III. Orders given to Moses concerning his death. Now that this renowned witness for God hadfinished his testimony, he must go up to Mount Nebo and die; in the prophecy of Christ's twowitnesses there is a plain allusion to Moses and Elias (Rev. xi. 6), and perhaps their removal, beingby martyrdom, is no less glorious than the removal either of Moses or Elias. Orders were given toMoses that self-same day, v. 48. Now that he had done his work, why should he desire to live aday longer? He had indeed formerly prayed that he might go over Jordan, but now he is entirelysatisfied, and, as God had bidden him, saith no more of that matter. 1. God here reminds him ofthe sin he had been guilty of, for which he was excluded Canaan (v. 51), that he might the morepatiently bear the rebuke because he had sinned, and that now he might renew his sorrow for thatunadvised word, for it is good for the best of men to die repenting of the infirmities they are consciousto themselves of. It was an omission that was thus displeasing to God; he did not sanctify God, ashe ought to have done, before the children of Israel, he did not carry himself with a due decorumin executing the orders he had then received. 2. He reminds him of the death of his brother Aaron(v. 50), to make his own the more familiar and the less formidable. Note, It is a great encouragementto us, when we die, to think of our friends that have gone before us through that darksome valley,especially of Christ, our elder brother and great high priest. 3. He sends him up to a high hill, thenceto take a view of the land of Canaan and then die, v. 49, 50. The remembrance of his sin mightmake death terrible, but the sight God gave him of Canaan took off the terror of it, as it was a tokenof God's being reconciled to him, and a plain indication to him that though his sin shut him out ofthe earthly Canaan, yet it should not deprive him of that better country which in this world can onlybe seen, and that with an eye of faith. Note, Those may die with comfort and ease whenever Godcalls for them (notwithstanding the sins they remember against themselves) who have a believingprospect and a well-grounded hope of eternal life beyond death.1268Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)D E U T E R O N O M YCHAP. XXXIII.Yet Moses has not done with the children of Israel; he seemed to have taken final leave ofthem in the close of the foregoing chapter, but still he has something more to say. He had preachedthem a farewell sermon, a very copious and pathetic discourse. After sermon he had given out apsalm, a long psalm; and now nothing remains but to dismiss them with a blessing; that blessinghe pronounces in this chapter in the name of the Lord, and so leaves them. I. He pronounces themall blessed in what God had done for them already, especially in giving them his law, ver. 2-5. II.He pronounces a blessing upon each tribe, which is both a prayer for and a prophecy of their felicity.1. Reuben, ver. 6. 2. Judah, ver. 7. 3. Levi, ver. 8-11. 4. Benjamin, ver. 42. 5. Joseph, ver. 13-17.6. Zebulun and Issachar, ver. 18, 19. 7. Gad, ver. 20, 21. 8. Dan, ver. 22. 9. Naphtali, ver. 23. 10.Asher, ver. 24, 25. III. He pronounces them all in general blessed upon the account of what Godwould be to them, and do for them if they were obedient, ver. 26, &c.Moses's Blessing on Israel. (b. c. 1451.)1 And this is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the childrenof Israel before his death. 2 And he said, The Lord came from Sinai, and rose upfrom Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with tenthousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them. 3 Yea, he lovedthe people; all his saints are in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; every oneshall receive of thy words. 4 Moses commanded us a law, even the inheritance ofthe congregation of Jacob. 5 And he was king in Jeshurun, when the heads of thepeople and the tribes of Israel were gathered together.The first verse is the title of the chapter: it is a blessing. In the foregoing chapter he hadthundered out the terrors of the Lord against Israel for their sin; it was a chapter like Ezekiel's roll,full of lamentation, and mourning, and woe. Now to soften that, and that he might not seem to partin anger, he here subjoins a blessing, and leaves his peace, which should descend and rest upon allthose among them that were the sons of peace. Thus Christ's last work on earth was to bless hisdisciples (Luke xxiv. 50), like Moses here, in token of parting as friends. Moses blessed them, 1.As a prophet—a man of God. Note, It is a very desirable thing to have an interest in the prayers ofthose that have an interest in heaven; it is a prophet's reward. In this blessing Moses not onlyexpresses his good wishes to this people, but by the spirit of prophecy foretels things to comeconcerning them. 2. As a parent to Israel; for so good princes are to their subjects. Jacob upon hisdeath-bed blessed his sons (Gen. xlix. 1), in conformity to whose example Moses here blesses thetribes that were descended from them, to show that though they had been very provoking yet theentail of the blessing was not cut off. The doing of this immediately before his death would notonly be the more likely to leave an impression upon them, but would be an indication of the greatgood-will of Moses to them, that he desired their happiness, though he must die and not share init.1269Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)He begins his blessing with a lofty description of the glorious appearances of God to them ingiving them the law, and the great advantage they had by it.I. There was a visible and illustrious discovery of the divine majesty, enough to convince andfor ever silence atheists and infidels, to awaken and affect those that were most stupid and careless,and to put to shame all secret inclinations to other gods, v. 2. 1. His appearance was glorious: heshone forth like the sun when he goes forth in his strength. Even Seir and Paran, two mountains atsome distance, were illuminated by the divine glory which appeared on Mount Sinai, and reflectedsome of the rays of it, so bright was the appearance, and so much taken notice of by the adjacentcountries. To this the prophet alludes, to set forth the wonders of the divine providence, Hab. iii.3, 4; Ps. xviii. 7-9. The Jerusalem Targum has a strange gloss upon this, that, "when God camedown to give the law, he offered it on Mount Seir to the Edomites, but they refused it, because theyfound in it, Thou shalt not kill. Then he offered it on Mount Paran to the Ishmaelites, but they alsorefused it, because they found in it, Thou shalt not steal; and then he came to Mount Sinai andoffered it to Israel, and they said, All that the Lord shall say we will do." I would not have transcribedso groundless a conceit but for the antiquity of it. 2. His retinue was glorious; he came with hisholy myriads, as Enoch had long since foretold he should come in the last day to judge the world,Jude 14. These were the angels, those chariots of God in the midst of which the Lord was, on thatholy place, Ps. lxviii. 17. They attended the divine majesty, and were employed as his ministers inthe solemnities of the day. Hence the law is said to be given by the disposition of angels, Acts vii.53; Heb. ii. 2.II. He gave them his law, which is, 1. Called a fiery law, because it was given them out of themidst of the fire (Deut. iv. 33), and because it works like fire; if it be received, it is melting, warming,purifying, and burns up the dross of corruption; if it be rejected, it hardens, sears, torments, anddestroys. The Spirit descended in cloven tongues as of fire; for the gospel also is a fiery law. 2. Itis said to go from his right hand, either because he wrote it on tables of stone, or to denote thepower and energy of the law and the divine strength that goes along with it, that it may not returnvoid. Or it came as a gift to them, and a precious gift it was, a right-hand blessing. 3. It was aninstance of the special kindness he had for them: Yea, he loved the people (v. 32), and therefore,though it was a fiery law, yet it is said to go for them (v. 2), that is, in favour to them. Note, Thelaw of God written in the heart is a certain evidence of the love of God shed abroad there: we mustreckon God's law one of the gifts of his grace. Yea, he embraced the people, or laid them in hisbosom; so the word signifies, which denotes not only the dearest love, but the most tender andcareful protection. All his saints are in his hand. Some understand it particularly of his supportingthem and preserving them alive at Mount Sinai, when the terror was so great that Moses himselfquaked; they heard the voice of God and lived, ch. iv. 33. Or it denotes his forming them into apeople by his law; he moulded and fashioned them as a potter does the clay. Or they were in hishand to be covered and protected, used and disposed of, as the seven stars were in the hand ofChrist, Rev. i. 16. Note, God has all his saints in his hand; and, though there are ten thousands ofhis saints (v. 2), yet his hand, with which he measures the waters, is large enough, and strongenough, to hold them all, and we may be sure that none can pluck them out of his hand, John x. 28.III. He disposed them to receive the law which he gave them: They sat down at thy feet, asscholars at the feet of their master, in token of reverence, in attendance and humble submission towhat is taught; so Israel sat at the foot of Mount Sinai, and promised to hear and do whatever Godshould say. They were struck to thy feet, so some read it; namely, by the terrors of Mount Sinai,1270Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)which greatly humbled them for the present, Exod. xx. 19. Every one then stood ready to receiveGod's words, and did so again when the law was publicly read to them, as Josh. viii. 34. It is a greatprivilege when we have heard the words of God to have opportunity of hearing them again. Johnxvii. 26, I have declared thy name, and will declare it. So Israel not only had received the law, butshould still receive it by their prayers, and other lively oracles. The people are taught (v. 4, 5), ingratitude for the law of God, always to keep up an honourable remembrance both of the law itselfand of Moses by whom it was given. Two of the Chaldee paraphrasts read it, The children of Israelsaid, Moses commanded us a law. And the Jews say that as soon as a child was able to speak hisfather was obliged to teach him these words: Moses commanded us a law, even the inheritance ofthe congregation of Jacob.1. They are taught to speak with great respect of the law, and to call it the inheritance of thecongregation of Jacob. They looked upon it, (1.) As peculiar to them, and that by which they weredistinguished from other nations, who neither had the knowledge of it (Ps. cxlvii. 20), nor, if theyhad, were under those obligations to observe it that Israel were under: and therefore (says bishopPatrick), "when the Jews conquered any country, they did not force any to embrace the law ofMoses, but only to submit to the seven precepts of Noah." (2.) As entailed upon them; for soinheritances are to be transmitted to their posterity. And, (3.) As their wealth and true treasure.Those that enjoy the word of God and the means of grace have reason to say, We have a goodlyheritage. He is indeed a rich man in whom the word of Christ dwells richly. Perhaps the law iscalled their inheritance because it was given them with their inheritance, and we so annexed to itthat the forsaking of the law would be a forfeiture of the inheritance. See Ps. cxix. 111.2. They are taught to speak with great respect of Moses; and they were the more obliged tokeep up his name because he had not provided for the keeping of it up in his family; his posteritywere never called the sons of Moses, as the priests were the sons of Aaron. (1.) They must ownMoses a great benefactor to their nation, in that he commanded them the law; for, though it camefrom the hand of God, it went through the hand of Moses. (2.) He was king in Jeshurun. Havingcommanded them the law, as long as he lived he took care to see it observed and put in execution;and they were very happy in having such a king, who ruled them, and went in and out before themat all times, but did in a special manner look great when the heads of the people were gatheredtogether in parliament, as it were, and Moses was president among them. Some understand this ofGod himself; he did then declare himself their King when he gave them the law, and he continuedso long as they were Jeshurun, an upright people, and till they rejected him, 1 Sam. xii. 12. But itseems rather to be understood of Moses. A good government is a great blessing to any people, andwhat they have reason to be very thankful for; and that constitution is very happy which as Israel's,which as ours, divides the power between the king in Jeshurun and the heads of the tribes, whenthey are gathered together.6 Let Reuben live, and not die; and let not his men be few. 7 And this is theblessing of Judah: and he said, Hear, Lord, the voice of Judah, and bring him untohis people: let his hands be sufficient for him; and be thou a help to him from hisenemies.Here is, I. The blessing of Reuben. Though Reuben had lost the honour of his birthright, yetMoses begins with him; for we should not insult over those that are disgraced, nor desire to perpetuatemarks of infamy upon any, though ever so justly fastened at first, v. 6. Moses desires and foretels,1271Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)1. The preserving of this tribe. Though a frontier tribe on the other side Jordan, yet, "Let it live, andnot be either ruined by its neighbours or lost among them." And perhaps he refers to those chosenmen of that tribe who, having had their lot assigned them already, left their families in it, and werenow ready to go over armed before their brethren, Num. xxxii. 27. "Let them be protected in thisnoble expedition, and have their heads covered in the day of battle." 2. Let it be a numerous tribe;though their other honours be lost, so that they shall not excel, yet let them multiply." Let Reubenlive and not die, though his men be few; so bishop Patrick, thinks it may be rendered. "Though hemust not expect to flourish (Gen. xlix. 4), yet let him not perish." All the Chaldee paraphrasts referthis to the other world: Let Reuben live in life eternal, and not die the second death, so Onkelos.Let Reuben live in this world, and not die that death which the wicked die in the world to come, soJonathan and the Jerusalem Targum.II. The blessing of Judah, which is put before Levi because our Loud sprang out of Judah, and(as Dr. Lightfoot says) because of the dignity of the kingdom above the priesthood. The blessing(v. 7) may refer either, 1. To the whole tribe in general. Moses prays for, and prophesies, the greatprosperity of that tribe., That God would hear his prayers (see an instance, 2 Chron. xiii. 14, 15),settle him in his lot, prosper him in all his affairs, and give him victory over his enemies. It is takenfor granted that the tribe of Judah would be both a praying tribe and an active tribe. "Lord," saysMoses, "hear his prayers, and give success to all his undertakings: let his hands be sufficient forhim both in husbandry and in war." The voice of prayer should always be attended with the handof endeavour, and then we may expect prosperity. Or, 2. It may refer in particular to David, as atype of Christ, that God would hear his prayers, Ps. xx. 1 (and Christ was heard always, John xi.42), that he would give him victory over his enemies, and success in his great undertakings. SeePs. lxxxix. 20, &c. And that prayer that God would bring him to his people seems to refer to Jacob'sprophecy concerning Shiloh, That to him should the gathering of the people be, Gen. xlix. 10. Thetribe of Simeon is omitted in the blessing, because Jacob had left it under a brand, and it had neverdone any thing, as Levi had done, to retrieve its honour. It was lessened in the wilderness morethan any other of the tribes; and Zimri, who was so notoriously guilty in the matter of Peor but theother day, was of that tribe. Or, because the lot of Simeon was an appendage to that of Judah, thattribe is included in the blessing of Judah. Some copies of the LXX. join Simeon with Reuben: LetReuben live and not die; and let Simeon be many in number.8 And of Levi he said, Let thy Thummim and thy Urim be with thy holy one,whom thou didst prove at Massah, and with whom thou didst strive at the waters ofMeribah; 9 Who said unto his father and to his mother, I have not seen him; neitherdid he acknowledge his brethren, nor knew his own children: for they have observedthy word, and kept thy covenant. 10 They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, andIsrael thy law: they shall put incense before thee, and whole burnt sacrifice uponthine altar. 11 Bless, Lord, his substance, and accept the work of his hands: smitethrough the loins of them that rise against him, and of them that hate him, that theyrise not again.In blessing the tribe of Levi, Moses expresses himself more at large, not so much because itwas his own tribe (for he takes no notice of his relation to it) as because it was God's tribe. Theblessing of Levi has reference.1272Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)I. To the high priest, here called God's holy one (v. 8), because his office was holy, in tokenof which, Holiness to the Lord was written upon his forehead. 1. He seems to acknowledge thatGod might justly have displaced Aaron and his seed, for his sin at Meribah, (Exod. xvii. 7), whichmight be very remarkable, and which God might have an eye to in conferring the priesthood uponhim, though no mention is made of it there. All the Chaldee paraphrasts agree that it was a trial inwhich he was found perfect and faithful, and stood in the trial; therefore not that, Num. xx. 2. Heprays that the office of the high priest might ever remain: Let thy thummim and thy urim be withhim. It was given him for some eminent piece of service, as appears, Mal. ii. 5. "Lord, let it neverbe taken from him." Notwithstanding this blessing, the urim and thummim were lost in the captivity,and never restored under the second temple. But this prayer has its full accomplishment in JesusChrist, God's Holy One, and our great high priest, of whom Aaron was a type: with him who hadlain in the Father's bosom from eternity the urim and thummim shall remain; for he is the wonderfuland everlasting counsellor. Some translate the thummim and urim appellatively, the rather becausethe usual order is here inverted, and here only. Thummim signifies integrity, and Urim illumination:Let these be with thy holy one, that is, "Lord, let the high priest ever be both an upright man andan understanding man." A good prayer to be put up for the ministers of the gospel, that they mayhave clear heads and honest hearts; light and sincerity make a complete minister.II. To the inferior priests and Levites, v. 9-11.1. He commends the zeal of this tribe for God when they sided with Moses (and so with God)against the worshippers of the golden calf (Exod. xxxii. 26, &c.), and, being employed in cuttingoff the ring-leaders in that wickedness, they did it impartially: the best friends they had in the world,though as dear to them as their next relations, they did not spare if they were idolaters. Note, Ourregard to God and to his glory ought always to prevail above our regard to any creature whatsoever.And those who not only keep themselves pure from the common iniquities of the times and placesin which they live, but, as they are capable, bear testimony against them, and stand up for Godagainst the evil-doers, shall have special marks of honour put upon them. Perhaps Moses may havean eye to the sons of Korah, who refused to join with their father in his gain-saying, Num. xxvi.11. Also to Phinehas, who executed judgment, and stayed the plague. And indeed the office of thepriests and Levites, which engaged their constant attendance, at least in their turns, at God's altar,laid them under a necessity of being frequently absent from their families, which they could nottake such care of, nor make such provision for, as other Israelites might. This was the constantself-denial they submitted to, that they might observe God's word, and keep the covenant ofpriesthood. Note, Those that are called to minister in holy things must sit loose to the relations andinterests that are dearest to them in this world, and prefer the gratifying of the best friend they have,Acts xxi. 13; xx. 24. Our Lord Jesus knew not his mother and his brethren when they would havetaken him off from his work, Matt. xii. 48.2. He confirms the commission granted to this tribe to minister in holy things, which was therecompence of their zeal and fidelity, v. 10. (1.) They were to deal for God with the people: "Theyshall teach Jacob thy judgments and Israel thy laws, both as preachers in thy religious assemblies,reading and expounding the law (Neh. viii. 7, 8), and as judges, determining doubtful and difficultcases that were brought before them," 2 Chron. xvii. 8, 9. The priests' lips kept this knowledge forthe use of the people, who were to ask the law at their mouth, Mal. ii. 7. Even Haggai, a prophet,consulted the priests in a case of conscience, Hag. ii. 11, &c. Note, Preaching is necessary, not onlyfor the first planting of churches, but for the preserving and edifying of churches when they are1273Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)planted. See Ezek. xliv. 23, 24. (2.) They were to deal for the people with God, in burning incenseto the praise and glory of God, and offering sacrifices to make atonement for sin and to obtain thedivine favour. This was the work of the priests, but the Levites attended and assisted in it. Thosethat would have benefit by their incense and offerings must diligently and faithfully observe theirinstructions.3. He prays for them, v. 11. (1.) That God would prosper them in their estates, and make thatwhich was allotted them for their maintenance comfortable to them. Bless, Lord, his substance.The provision made for them was very plentiful, and came to them easily, and yet they could haveno joy of it unless God blessed it to them; and, since God himself was their portion, a particularblessing might be expected to attend this portion. Bless, Lord, his virtue; so some read it. "Lord,increase thy graces in them, and make them more and more fit for their work." (2.) That he wouldaccept them in their services: "Accept the work of his hands, both for himself and for the peoplefor whom he ministers." Acceptance with God is that which we should all aim at, and be ambitiousof, in all our devotions, whether men accept us or no (2 Cor. v. 9), and it is the most valuableblessing we can desire either for ourselves or others. (3.) That he would take his part against all hisenemies: Smite through the loins of those that rise against him. He supposes that God's ministerswould have many enemies: some would hate their persons for their faithfulness, and would endeavourto do them a mischief; others would envy them their maintenance, and endeavour sacrilegiouslyto deprive them of it; others would oppose them in the execution of their office and not submit tothe sentence of the priests; and some would aim to overthrow the office itself. Now he prays thatGod would blast all such attempts, and return the mischief upon the heads of the authors. Thisprayer is a prophecy that God will certainly reckon with those that are enemies to his ministers,and will keep up a ministry in his church to the end of time, in spite of all the designs of the gatesof hell against it. Saul rose up against the Lord's priests (1 Sam. xxii. 18), and this filled the measureof his sin.12 And of Benjamin he said, The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety byhim; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between hisshoulders. 13 And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the Lord be his land, for the preciousthings of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath, 14 And forthe precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth bythe moon, 15 And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the preciousthings of the lasting hills, 16 And for the precious things of the earth and fulnessthereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: let the blessing comeupon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separatedfrom his brethren. 17 His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns arelike the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the endsof the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousandsof Manasseh.Here is, I. The blessing of Benjamin, v. 12. Benjamin is put next to Levi, because the temple,where the priests' work lay, was just upon the edge of the lot of this tribe; and it is put before Josephbecause of the dignity of Jerusalem (part of which was in this tribe) above Samaria, which was in1274Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)the tribe of Ephraim, and because Benjamin adhered to the house of David, and to the temple ofthe Lord, when the rest of the tribes deserted both with Jeroboam. 1. Benjamin is here called thebeloved of the Lord, and the father of this tribe was Jacob's beloved son, the son of his right hand.Note, Those are blessed indeed that are beloved of the Lord. Saul the first king, and Paul the greatapostle, were both of this tribe. 2. He is here assured of the divine protection: he shall dwell safely.Note, Those are safe whom God loves, Ps. xci. 1. 3. It is here intimated that the temple in whichGod would dwell should be built in the borders of this tribe. Jerusalem the holy city was in the lotof this tribe (Josh. xviii. 28); and though Zion, the city of David, is supposed to belong to Judah,yet Mount Moriah, on which the temple was built, was in Benjamin's lot. God is therefore said todwell between his shoulders, because the temple stood on that mount, as the head of a man uponhis shoulders. And by this means Benjamin was covered all the day long under the protection ofthe sanctuary (Ps. cxxv. 2), which is often spoken of as a place of refuge, Ps. xxvii. 4, 5; Neh. vi.10. Benjamin, dwelling by the temple of God, dwelt in safety by him. Note, It is a happy thing tobe in the neighbourhood of the temple. This situation of Benjamin, it is likely, was the only thingthat kept that tribe in adherence with Judah to the divine institutions, when the other ten tribesapostatized. Those have corrupt and wicked hearts indeed who, the nearer they are to the church,are so much the further from God.II. The blessing of Joseph, including both Manasseh and Ephraim. In Jacob's blessing (Gen.xlix.) that of Joseph is the largest, and so it is here; and thence Moses here borrows the title he givesto Joseph (v. 16), that he was separated from his brethren, or, as it might be read, a Nazarite amongthem, both in regard of his piety, wherein it appears, by many instances, he excelled them all, andof his dignity in Egypt, where he was both their ruler and benefactor. His brethren separated himfrom them by making him a slave, but God distinguished him from them by making him a prince.Now the blessings here prayed for, and prophesied of, for this tribe, are great plenty and greatpower.1. Great plenty, v. 13-16. In general: Blessed of the Lord be his land. Those were very fruitfulcountries that fell into the lot of Ephraim and Manasseh, yet Moses prays they might be wateredwith the blessing of God, which makes rich, and on which all fruitfulness depends. Now,(1.) He enumerates many particulars which he prays may contribute to the wealth and abundanceof those two tribes, looking up to the Creator for the benefit and serviceableness of all the inferiorcreatures, for they are all that to us which he makes them to be. He prays, [1.] For seasonable rainsand dews, the precious things of heaven; and so precious they are, though but pure water, thatwithout them the fruits of the earth would all fail and be cut off. [2.] For plentiful springs, whichhelp to make the earth fruitful, called here the deep that coucheth beneath; both are the rivers ofGod (Ps. lxv. 9), and he made particularly the fountains of waters, Rev. xiv. 7. [3.] For the benigninfluences of the heavenly bodies (v. 14), for the precious fruits (the word signifies that which ismost excellent, and the best in its kind) put forth by the quickening heat of the sun, and the coolingmoisture of the moon. "Let them have the yearly fruits in their several months, according to thecourse of nature, in one month olives, in another dates," &c. So some understand it. [4.] For thefruitfulness even of their hills and mountains, which in other countries used to be barren (v. 15):Let them have the chief things of the ancient mountains; and, if the mountains be fruitful, the fruitson them will be first and best ripened. They are called ancient mountains, not because prior in timeto other mountains, but because , like the first-born, they were superior in worth and excellency;and lasting hills, not only because as other mountains they were immovable (Hab. iii. 6), but because1275Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)the fruitfulness of them should continue. [5.] For the productions of the lower grounds (v. 16): Forthe precious things of the earth. Though the earth itself seems a useless worthless lump of matter,yet there are precious things produced out of it, for the support and comfort of human life. Jobxxviii. 5. Out of it cometh bread, because out of it came our bodies, and to it they must return. Butwhat are the precious things of the earth to a soul that came from God and must return to him? Orwhat is its fulness to the fulness that is in Christ, whence we receive grace for grace? Some makethese precious things here prayed for to be figures of spiritual blessings in heavenly things by Christ,the gifts, graces, and comforts of the Spirit.(2.) He crowns all with the good-will, or favourable acceptance, of him that dwelt in the bush(v. 16), that is, of God, that God who appeared to Moses in the bush that burned and was notconsumed (Exod. iii. 2), to give him his commission for the bringing of Israel out of Egypt. ThoughGod's glory appeared there but for a while, yet it is said to dwell there, because it continued as longas there was occasion for it: the good-will of the shechinah in the bush; so it might be read, forshechinah signifies that which dwelleth; and, though it was but a little while a dweller in the bush,yet it continued to dwell with the people of Israel. My dweller in the bush; so it should be rendered;that was an appearance of the divine Majesty to Moses only, in token of the particular interest hehad in God, which he desires to improve for the good of this tribe. Many a time God has appearedto Moses, but now that he is just dying he seems to have the most pleasing remembrance of thatwhich was the first time, when his acquaintance with the visions of the Almighty first began, andhis correspondence with heaven was first settled: that was a time of love never to be forgotten. Itwas at the bush that God declared himself the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and so confirmedthe promise made to the fathers, that promise which reached as far as the resurrection of the bodyand eternal life, as appears by our Saviour's argument from it, Luke xx. 37. So that, when he praysfor the good-will of him that dwelt in the bush, he has an eye to the covenant then and there renewed,on which all our hopes of God's favour must be bottomed. Now he concludes this large blessingwith a prayer for the favour or good-will of God, [1.] Because that is the fountain and spring-headof all these blessings; they are gifts of God's good-will; they are so to his own people, whateverthey are to others. Indeed when Ephraim (a descendant from Joseph) slid back from God, as abacksliding heifer, those fruits of his country were so far from being the gifts of God's good-willthat they were intended but to fatten him for the slaughter, as a lamb in a large place, Hos. iv. 16,17. [2.] Because that is the comfort and sweetness of all these blessings; then we have joy of themwhen we taste God's good-will in them. [3.] Because that is better than all these, infinitely better;for if we have but the favour and good-will of God we are happy, and may be easy in the want ofall these things, and may rejoice in the God of our salvation though the fig-tree do not blossom,and there be no fruit in the vine, Hab. iii. 17, 18.2. Great power Joseph is here blessed with, v. 17. Here are three instances of his power foretold:(1.) His authority among his brethren: His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, or young bull,which is a stately creature, and therefore was formerly used as an emblem of royal majesty. Joshua,who was to succeed Moses, was of the tribe of Ephraim the son of Joseph, and his glory was indeedillustrious, and he was an honour to his tribe. In Ephraim was the royal city of the ten tribesafterwards. And of Manasseh were Gideon, Jephthah, and Jair, who were all ornaments and blessingsto their country. Some think he is compared to the firstling of the bullock because the birthrightwhich Reuben lost devolved upon Joseph (1 Chron. v. 1, 2), and to the firstling of his bullock,because Bashan, which was in the lot of Manasseh, was famous for bulls and cows, Ps. xxii. 12;1276Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)Amos iv. 1. (2.) His force against his enemies and victory over them: His horns are like the hornof a unicorn, that is, "The forces he shall bring into the field shall be very strong and formidable,and with them he shall push the people," that is, "He shall overcome all that stand in his way." Itappears from the Ephraimites' contests, both with Gideon (Judg. viii. 1) and with Jephthah (Judg.xii. 1), that they were a warlike tribe and fierce. Yet we find the children of Ephraim, when theyhad forsaken the covenant of God, though they were armed, turning back in the day of battle (Ps.lxxviii. 9, 10); for, though here pronounced strong and bold as unicorns, when God had departedfrom them they became as weak as other men. (3.) The numbers of his people, in which Ephraim,though the younger house, exceeded, Jacob having, in the foresight of the same thing, crossedhands, Gen. xlviii. 19. They are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and the thousands of Manasseh.Jonathan's Targum applies it to the ten thousands of Canaanites conquered by Joshua, who was ofthe tribe of Manasseh. And the gloss of the Jerusalem Targum upon the former part of this verseis observable, that "as the firstlings of the bullock were never to be worked, nor could the unicornever be tamed, so Joseph should continue free; and they would have continued free if they had notby sin sold themselves."18 And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; and, Issachar, inthy tents. 19 They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offersacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and oftreasures hid in the sand. 20 And of Gad he said, Blessed be he that enlargeth Gad:he dwelleth as a lion, and teareth the arm with the crown of the head. 21 And heprovided the first part for himself, because there, in a portion of the lawgiver, washe seated; and he came with the heads of the people, he executed the justice of theLord, and his judgments with Israel.Here we have, I. The blessings of Zebulun and Issachar put together, for they were both thesons of Jacob by Leah, and by their lot in Canaan they were neighbours; it is foretold,1. That they should both have a comfortable settlement and employment, v. 18. Zebulun mustrejoice, for he shall have cause to rejoice; and Moses prays that he may have cause in his goingout, either to war (for Zebulun jeoparded their lives in the high places of the field, Judg. v. 18), orrather to sea, for Zebulun was a haven of ships, Gen. xlix. 13. And Issachar must rejoice in histents, that is, in his business at home, his husbandry, to which the men of that tribe generally confinedthemselves, because they saw that rest was good, and when the sea was rough the land was pleasant,Gen. xlix. 14, 15. Observe here, (1.) That the providence of God, as it variously appoints the boundsof men's habitation, some in the city and some in the country, some in the seaports and some in theinland towns, so it wisely disposes men's inclinations to different employments for the good of thepublic, as each member of the body is situated and qualified for the service of the whole. The geniusof some men leads them to a book, of others to the sea, of others to the sword; some are inclinedto rural affairs, others to trade, and some have a turn for mechanics; and it is well it is so. If thewhole body were an eye, where were the hearing? 1 Cor. xii. 17. It was for the common good ofIsrael that the men of Zebulun were merchants and that the men of Issachar were husbandmen. (2.)That whatever our place and business are it is our wisdom and duty to accommodate ourselves tothem, and it is a great happiness to be well pleased with them. Let Zebulun rejoice in his going out;let him thank God for the gains and make the best of the losses and inconveniences of his1277Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)merchandise, and not despise the meanness, nor envy the quietness, of Issachar's tents. Let Issacharrejoice in his tents, let him be well pleased with the retirements and content with the small profitsof his country seats, and not grudge that he has not Zebulun's pleasure of travelling and profit oftrading. Every business has both its conveniences and inconveniences, and therefore whateverProvidence has made our business we ought to bring our minds to it; and it is really a great happiness,whatever our lot is, to be easy with it. This is the gift of God, Eccl. v. 19.2. That they should both be serviceable in their places to the honour of God and the interestsof religion in the nation (v. 19): They shall call the people to the mountain, that is, to the temple,which Moses foresaw should be built upon a mountain. I see not why this should be confined (asit is by most interpreters) to Zebulun; if both Zebulun and Issachar received the comforts of theirrespective employments, why may we not suppose that they both took care to give God the gloryof them? Two things they shall do for God:—(1.) They shall invite others to his service. Call the people to the mountain. [1.] Zebulun shallimprove his acquaintance and commerce with the neighbouring nations, to whom he goes out, forthis noble purpose, to propagate religion among them, and to invite them into the service of theGod of Israel. Note, Men of great business, or large conversation, should wisely and zealouslyendeavour to recommend the practice of serious godliness to those with whom they converse andamong whom their business lies. Such are blessed, for they are blessings. It were well if theenlargement of trade with foreign countries might be made to contribute to the spreading of thegospel. This prophecy concerning Zebulun perhaps looks as far as the preaching of Christ and hisapostles, which began in the land of Zebulun (Matt. iv. 14, 15); then they called the people to themountain, that is, to the kingdom of the Messiah, which is called the mountain of the Lord's house,Isa. ii. 2. [2.] Issachar that tarries at home, and dwells in tents, shall call upon his neighbours to goup to the sanctuary at the times appointed for their solemn feasts, either because they should bemore zealous and forward than their neighbours (and it has been often observed that though thosethat with Zebulun dwell in the haven of ships, which are places of concourse, have commonly moreof the light of religion, those that with Issachar dwell in tents in the country have more of the lifeand heat of it), and may therefore with their zeal provoke those to a holy emulation that have moreknowledge (Ps. cxxii. 1); or because they were more observant of the times appointed for theirfeasts than others were. One of the Chaldee paraphrasts reads the foregoing verse, Rejoice, Issachar,in the tents of thy schools, supposing they would many of them be scholars, and would use theirlearning for that purpose, according to the revolutions of the year, to give notice of the times of thefeasts; for almanacs were not then so common as they are now. And Onkelos more particularly,Rejoice, Issachar, when thou goest to compute the times of the solemnities at Jerusalem; for thenthe tribes of Israel shall be gathered to the mountain of the house of the sanctuary. So he reads thebeginning of this verse; and many think this is the meaning of that character of the men of Issacharin David's time, That they had understanding of the times to know what Israel ought to do, 1 Chron.xii. 32. And the character which follows (v. 33) of the men of Zebulun, that they were such as wentforth to battle, expert in war, perhaps may explain the blessing of that tribe here. Note, Those thathave not opportunity as Zebulun had of bringing into the church those that are without may yet bevery serviceable to its interest by helping to quicken, encourage, and build up, those that are within.And it is good work to call people to God's ordinances, to put those in remembrance that areforgetful, and to stir up those that are slothful, who will follow, but care not to lead.1278Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)(2.) They shall not only invite others to the service of God, but they shall abound in itthemselves: There they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness. They shall not send others to thetemple and stay at home themselves, under pretence that they cannot leave their business; but, whenthey stir up others to go speedily to pray before the Lord, they shall say, We will go also, as it isZech. viii. 21. Note, The good we exhort others to we should ourselves be examples of. And, whenthey come to the temple, they shall not appear before the Lord empty, but shall bring for the honourand service of God according as he has prospered them, 1 Cor. xvi. 2. [1.] It is here foretold thatboth these tribes should grow rich. Zebulun that goes abroad shall suck of the abundance of theseas, which are full breasts to the merchants, while Issachar, that tarries at home, shall enrich himselfwith treasures hid in the sands, either the fruits of the earth or the underground treasures of metalsand minerals, or (because the word for sand here signifies properly the sand of the sea) the richthings thrown up by the sea, for the lot of Issachar reached to the sea-side. Perhaps their successin calling the people to the mount is intimated by their sucking of the abundance of the seas, forwe have a like phrase used for the bringing in of the nations to the church (Isa. lx. 5), The abundanceof the sea shall be converted unto thee, and (v. 16), Thou shalt suck the milk of the Gentiles. It isforetold, [2.] That these tribes, being thus enriched, should consecrate their gain unto the Lord,and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth, Mic. iv. 13. The merchandise of Zebulun,and the hire of Issachar, shall be holiness to the Lord (Isa. xxiii. 18), for thereof they shall offersacrifices of righteousness, that is, sacrifices according to the law. Note, We must serve and honourGod with what we have; and where he sows plentifully he expects to reap accordingly. Those thatsuck of the abundance of the seas, and of the treasures hid in the sand, ought to offer sacrifices ofrighteousness proportionable.II. The blessing of the tribe of Gad comes next, v. 20, 21. This was one of the tribes that wasalready seated on that side Jordan where Moses now was. Now,1. He foretels what this tribe would be, v. 20. (1.) That it would be enlarged, as at present ithad a spacious allotment; and he gives God the glory both of its present and of its future extent:Blessed be he that enlargeth Gad. We find how this tribe was enlarged by their success in a warwhich it seems they carried on very religiously against the Hagarites, 1 Chron. v. 19, 20, 22. Note,God is to have the glory of all our enlargements. (2.) That it would be a valiant and victorious tribe,would, if let alone, dwell secure and fearless as a lion; but, if provoked, would, like a lion, tear thearm with the crown of the head; that is, would pull in pieces all that stood in his way, both the arm(that is, the strength) and the crown of the head (that is, the policy and authority) of his enemies.In David's time there were Gadites whose faces were as the faces of lions, 1 Chron. xii. 8. Somereckon Jehu to be of this tribe, because the first mention we have of him is at Ramoth Gilead, whichbelonged to Gad, and they think this may refer to his valiant acts.2. He commends this tribe for what they had done and were now doing, v. 21. (1.) They haddone very wisely for themselves, when they chose their lot with the first, in a country alreadyconquered: He provided the first part for himself; though he had a concern for his brethren, yet hischarity began at home, and he was willing to see himself first served, first settled. The Gadites werethe first and most active movers for an allotment on that side Jordan, and therefore are still mentionedbefore the Reubenites in the history of that affair, Num. xxxii. 2. And thus, while the other tribeshad their portion assigned them by Joshua the conqueror, Gad and his companions had theirs fromMoses the law-giver, and in it they were seated by law; or (as the word is) covered or protected bya special providence which watched over those that were left behind, while the men of war went1279Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)forward with their brethren. Note, Men will praise thee when thou doest well for thyself (when thouprovidest first for thyself, as Gad did), Ps. xlix. 18. And God will praise thee when thou doest wellfor thy soul, which is indeed thyself, and providest the first part for that in a portion from thelaw-giver. (2.) They were now doing honestly and bravely for their brethren; for they came withthe heads of the people, before whom they went armed over Jordan, to execute the justice of theLord upon the Canaanites, under the conduct of Joshua, to whom we afterwards find they solemnlyvowed obedience, Josh. i. 12, 16. This was what they undertook to do when they had their lotassigned them, Num. xxxii. 27. This they did, Josh. iv. 12. And, when the wars of Canaan wereended, Joshua dismissed them with a blessing, Josh. xxii. 7. Note, It is a blessed and honourablething to be helpful to our brethren in their affairs, and particularly to assist in executing the justiceof the Lord by suppressing that which is provoking to him: it was this that was counted to Phinehasfor righteousness.22 And of Dan he said, Dan is a lion's whelp: he shall leap from Bashan. 23And of Naphtali he said, O Naphtali, satisfied with favour, and full with the blessingof the Lord: possess thou the west and the south. 24 And of Asher he said, LetAsher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let himdip his foot in oil. 25 Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shallthy strength be.Here is, I. The blessing of Dan, v. 22. Jacob in his blessing had compared him to a serpent forsubtlety; Moses compares him to a lion for courage and resolution: and what could stand beforethose that had the head of a serpent and the heart of a lion? He is compared to the lions that leapedfrom Bashan, a mountain noted for fierce lions, whence they came down to leap upon their preyin the plains. This may refer either, 1. To the particular victories obtained by Samson (who was ofthis tribe) over the Philistines. The Spirit of the Lord began to move him in the camp of Dan whenhe was very young, as a lion's whelp, so that in his attacks upon the Philistines he surprised them,and overpowered them by main strength, as a lion does his prey; and one of his first exploits wasthe rending of a lion. Or, 2. To a more general achievement of that tribe, when a party of them,upon information brought them of the security of Laish, which lay in the furthest part of the landof Canaan from them, surprised it, and soon made themselves masters of it. See Judg. xviii. 27.And, the mountains of Bashan lying not far from that city, probably thence they made their descentupon it; and therefore are here said to leap from Bashan.II. The blessing of Naphtali, v. 23. He looks upon this tribe with wonder, and applauds it: "ONaphtali, thou art happy, thou shalt be so, mayest thou be ever so!" Three things make up thehappiness of this tribe:—1. Be thou satisfied with favour. Some understand it of the favour of men,their good-will and good word. Jacob had described this tribe to be, generally, courteous obligingpeople, giving goodly words, as the loving hind, Gen. xlix. 21. Now what should they get by beingso? Moses here tells them they should have an interest in the affections of their neighbours, and besatisfied with favour. Those that are loving shall be beloved. But others understand it of the favourof God, and with good reason; for that only is the favour that is satisfying to the soul and puts truegladness into the heart. Those are happy indeed that have the favour of God; and those shall haveit that place their satisfaction in it, and reckon that, in having that, they have enough and desire nomore. 2. Be thou full with the blessing of the Lord, that is, not only with those good things that arethe fruits of the blessing (corn, and wine, and oil), but with the blessing itself; that is, the grace of1280Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)God, according to his promise and covenant. Those who have that blessing may well reckonthemselves full: they need nothing else to make them happy. "The portion of the tribe of Naphtali"(the Jews say) "was so fruitful, and the productions so forward, though it lay north, that those ofthat tribe were generally the first that brought their first-fruits to the temple; and so they had firstthe blessing from the priest, which was the blessing of the Lord." Capernaum, in which Christchiefly resided, lay in this tribe. 3. Be thou in possession of the sea and the south; so it may beread, that is, of that sea which shall lie south of thy lot, that was the sea of Galilee, which we sooften read of in the gospels, directly north of which the lot of this tribe lay, and which was of greatadvantage to this tribe, witness the wealth of Capernaum and Bethsaida, which lay within this tribe,and upon the shore of that sea. See how Moses was guided by a spirit of prophesy in these blessings;for before the lot was cast into the lap he foresaw and foretold how the disposal of it would be.III. The blessing of Asher, v. 24, 25. Four things he prays for and prophecies concerning thistribe, which carries blessedness in its name; for Leah called the father of it Asher, saying Happyam I, Gen. xxx. 13. 1. The increase of their numbers. They were now a numerous tribe, Num. xxvi.47. "Let it be more so: Let Asher be blessed with children." Note, Children, especially children ofthe covenant, are blessings, not burdens. 2. Their interest in their neighbours: Let him be acceptableto his brethren. Note, It is a very desirable thing to have the love and good-will of those we liveamong: it is what we should pray to God for, who has all hearts in his hand; and what we shouldendeavour to gain by meekness and humility, and a readiness, as we have ability and opportunity,to do good to all men. 3. The richness of their land. (1.) Above ground: Let him dip his foot in oil,that is, "Let him have such plenty of it in his lot that he may not only anoint his head with it, but,if he please, wash his feet in it," which was not commonly done; yet we find our blessed Saviourso acceptable to his brethren that his feet were anointed with the most precious ointment, Luke vii.46. (2.) Under ground: Thy shoes shall be iron and brass, that is, "Thou shalt have great plenty ofthese metals (mines of them) in thy own ground, which by an uncommon blessing shall have bothits surface and its bowels rich:" or, if they had them not as the productions of their own country,they should have them imported from abroad; for the lot of this tribe lay on the sea-coast. TheChaldee paraphrasts understand this figuratively: "Thou shalt be strong and bright, as iron andbrass." 4. The continuance of their strength and vigour: As thy days, so shall thy strength be. Manyparaphrase it thus, "The strength of thy old age shall be like that of thy youth; thou shalt not feel adecay, nor be the worse for the wearing, but shalt renew thy youth; as if not thy shoes only, but thybones, were iron and brass." The day is often in scripture put for the events of the day; and, takingit so here, it is a promise that God would graciously support them under their trials and troubles,whatever they were. And so it is a promise sure to all the spiritual seed of Abraham, that God willwisely proportion their graces and comforts to the services and sufferings he calls them out to.Have they work appointed them? They shall have strength to do it. Have they burdens appointedthem? They shall have strength to bear them; and never be tempted above that they are able. Faithfulis he that has thus promised, and hath caused us to hope in this promise.26 There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven inthy help, and in his excellency on the sky. 27 The eternal God is thy refuge, andunderneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from beforethee; and shall say, Destroy them. 28 Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: thefountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop1281Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)down dew. 29 Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved bythe Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thineenemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.These are the last words of all that ever Moses, that great writer, that great dictator, either wrotehimself or had written from his dictation; they are therefore very remarkable, and no doubt we shallfind them very improving. Moses, the man of God (who had as much reason as ever any mere manhad to know both), with his last breath magnifies both the God of Israel and the Israel of God. Theyare both incomparable in his eye; and we are sure that in this his judgment of both his eye did notwax dim.I. No God like the God of Israel. None of the gods of the nations were capable of doing thatfor their worshippers which Jehovah did for his: There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, v.26. Note, When we are expecting that God should bless us in doing well for us we must bless himby speaking well of him: and one of the most solemn ways of praising God is by acknowledgingthat there is none like him. Now, 1. This was the honour of Israel. Every nation boasted of its god;but none had such a God to boast of as Israel had. 2. It was their happiness that they were takeninto covenant with such a God. Two things he takes notice of as proofs of the incontestablepre-eminence of the God of Jeshurun above all other gods: (1.) His sovereign power and authority:He rides upon the heavens, and with the greatest state and magnificence on the skies. Riding onthe heavens denotes his greatness and glory, in which he manifests himself to the upper world, andthe use he makes of the influences of heaven, and the productions of the clouds, in bringing to passhis own counsels in this lower world: he manages and directs them as a man does the horse he rideson. When he has any thing to do for his people he rides upon the heavens to do it; for he does itswiftly and strongly: no enemy can either anticipate or obstruct the progress of him that rides onthe heavens. (2.) His boundless eternity; he is the eternal God, and his arms are everlasting, v. 27.The gods of the heathen were but lately invented, and would shortly perish; but the God of Jeshurunis eternal: he was before all worlds, and will be when time and days shall be no more. See Hab. i.12.II. No people like the Israel of God. Having pronounced each tribe happy, in the close hepronounces all together very happy, so happy in all respects that there was no nation under the suncomparable to them (v. 29): Happy art thou, O Israel, a people whose God is the Lord, on thataccount truly happy, and none like unto thee. If Israel honour God as a non-such God, he will favourthem so as to make them a non-such people, the envy of all their neighbours and the joy of all theirwell-wishers. Who is like unto thee, O people? Behold, thou art fair, my love, says Christ of hisspouse. To which she presently returns, Behold thou art fair, my beloved. What one nation (no, notall the nations together) is like thy people Israel? 2 Sam. vii. 23. What is here said of the church ofIsrael and the honours and privileges of it is certainly to be applied to the church of the first-born,that are written in heaven. The Christian church is the Israel of God, as the apostle calls it (Gal. vi.16), on which there shall be peace, and which is dignified above all societies in the world, as Israelwas.1. Never were people so well seated and sheltered (v. 27): The eternal God is thy refuge. Or,as the word signifies, "thy habitation, or mansion-house, in which thou art safe, and easy, and atrest, as a man in his own house." Every Israelite indeed is at home in God; the soul returns to him,and reposes in him as its resting-place (Ps. cxvi. 7), its hiding-place, Ps. xxxii. 7. And those that1282Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)make him their habitation shall have all the comforts and benefits of a habitation in him, Ps. xci.1. Moses had an eye to God as the habitation of Israel when they were wandering in the wilderness(Ps. xc. 1): Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place in all generations. And now that they weregoing to settle in Canaan they must not change their habitation; still they will need, and still theyshall have, the eternal God for their dwelling-place; without him Canaan itself would be a wilderness,and a land of darkness.2. Never were people so well supported and borne up: Underneath are the everlasting arms;that is, the almighty power of God is engaged for the protection and consolation of all that trust inhim, in their greatest straits and distresses, and under the heaviest burdens. The everlasting armsshall support, (1.) The interests of the church in general, that they shall not sink, or be run down;underneath the church is that rock of ages on which it is built, and against which the gates of hellshall never prevail, Matt. xvi. 18. (2.) The spirits or particular believers, so that, though they maybe oppressed, they shall not be overwhelmed by any trouble. How low soever the people of Godare at any time brought, everlasting arms are underneath them to keep the spirit from sinking, fromfainting, and the faith from failing, even when they are pressed above measure. The everlastingcovenant, and the everlasting consolations that flow from it, are indeed everlasting arms, with whichbelievers have been wonderfully sustained, and kept cheerful in the worst of times; divine grace issufficient for them, 2 Cor. xii. 9.3. Never were people so well commanded and led on to battle: "He shall thrust out the enemyfrom before thee by his almighty power, which will make room for thee; and by a commissionwhich will bear thee out he shall say, Destroy them." They were now entering upon a land that wasin the full possession of a strong and formidable people, and who, being its first planters, lookedupon themselves as its rightful owners; how shall Israel justify, and how shall they accomplish, theexpulsion of them? (1.) God will give them a commission to destroy the Canaanites, and that willjustify them, and bear them out in it, against all the world. He that is sovereign Lord of all livesand all lands not only allowed and permitted, but expressly commanded and appointed the childrenof Israel both to take possession of the land of Canaan and to put the sword to the people of Canaan,which, being thus authorized, they might not only lawfully but honourably do, without incurringthe least stain or imputation of theft by the one or murder by the other. (2.) God will give thempower and ability to destroy them; nay, he will in effect do it to their hands: he will thrust out theenemy from before them; for the very fear of Israel shall put them to flight. God drive out theheathen to plant his people, Ps. xliv. 2. Thus believers are more than conquerors over their spiritualenemies, through Christ that loved them. The captain of our salvation thrust out the enemy frombefore us when he overcame the world and spoiled principalities and powers on the cross; and theword of command to us is, "Destroy them; pursue the victory, and you shall divide the spoil."4. Never were people so well secured and protected (v. 28): Israel shall then dwell in safetyalone. Those that dwell in God, and make his name their strong tower, dwell in safety; the placeof their defence is the munitions of rocks, Isa. xxxiii. 16. They shall dwell in safety alone. (1.)Though alone. Though they contract no alliances with their neighbours, nor have any reason toexpect help or succour from any of them, yet they shall dwell in safety; they shall really be safe,and they shall think themselves so. (2.) Because alone. They shall dwell in safety as long as theycontinue pure, and unmixed with the heathen, a singular and peculiar people. Their distinction fromother nations, though it made them like a speckled bird (Jer. xii. 9), and exposed them to the ill-willof those about them, yet was really their preservation from the mischief their neighbours wished1283Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)them, as it kept them under the divine protection. All that keep close to God shall be kept safelyby him. It is promised that in the kingdom of Christ Israel shall dwell safely, Jer. xxiii. 6.5. Never were people so well provided for: The fountain of Jacob (that is, the present generationof that people, which is as the fountain to all the streams that shall hereafter descend and be derivedfrom it) shall now presently be fixed upon a good land. The eye of Jacob (so it might be read, forthe same word signifies a fountain and an eye) is upon the land of corn and wine, that is, wherethey now lay encamped they had Canaan in their eye, it was just before their faces, on the otherside the river, and they would have it in their hands and under their feet quickly. This land uponwhich they had set their eye was blessed both with the fatness of the earth and the dew of heaven;it was a land of corn and wine, substantial and useful productions: also his heavens (as if the heavenswere particularly designed to be blessings to that land) shall drop down dew, without which, thoughthe soil were ever so good, the corn and wine would soon fail. Every Israelite indeed has his eye,the eye of faith, upon the better country, the heavenly Canaan, which is richly replenished withbetter things than corn and wine.6. Never were people so well helped. If they were in any strait, God himself rode upon theheavens for their help, v. 26. And they were a people saved by the Lord, v. 29. If they were indanger of any harm, or in want of any good, they had an eternal God to go to, an almighty powerto trust to; nothing could hurt those whom God helped, nor was it possible that the people shouldperish which was saved by the Lord. Those that are added to the gospel Israel are such as shall besaved, Acts ii. 47.7. Never were people so well armed. God himself was the shield of their help by whom theywere armed defensively, and sufficiently guarded against all assailants: and he was the sword oftheir excellency, by whom they were armed offensively, and made both formidable and successfulin all their wars. God is called the sword of their excellency because, in fighting for them, he madethem to excel other people, or because in all he did for them he had an eye to his sanctuary amongthem, which is called the excellency of Jacob, Ps. xlvii. 4; Ezek. xxiv. 21; Amos vi. 8. Those inwhose hearts is the excellency of holiness have God himself for their shield and sword—are defendedby the whole armour of God; his word is their sword, and faith in it is their shield, Eph. vi. 16, 17.8. Never were people so well assured of victory over their enemies: They shall be found liarsunto thee; That is, "shall be forced to submit to thee sorely against their will, so that it will be buta counterfeit submission; yet the point shall be gained, for thou shalt tread upon their necks" (sothe LXX.), which we find done, Josh. x. 24. "Thou shalt tread down their strong-holds, be theyever so high, and trample upon their palaces and temples, though esteemed ever so sacred. If thyenemies be found liars to thee" (so some read it), "thou shalt tread upon their high places; if theywill not be held by the bonds of leagues and treaties, they shall be broken by the force of war."Thus shall the God of peace tread Satan under the feet of all believers, and shall do it shortly, Rom.xvi. 20.Now lay all this together, and then you will say, Happy art thou, O Israel! Who is like untothee, O people! Thrice happy the people whose God is the Lord.1284Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)D E U T E R O N O M YCHAP. XXXIV.Having read how Moses finished his testimony, we are told here how he immediately afterfinished his life. This chapter could not be written by Moses himself, but was added by Joshua orEleazar, or, as bishop Patrick conjectures, by Samuel, who was a prophet, and wrote by divineauthority what he found in the records of Joshua, and his successors the judges. We have had anaccount of his dying words, here we have an account of his dying work, and that is work we mustall do shortly, and it had need be well done. Here is, I. The view Moses had of the land of Canaanjust before he died, ver. 1-4. II. His death and burial, ver. 5, 6. III. His age, ver. 7. IV. Israel'smourning for him, ver. 8. V. His successor, ver. 9. VI. His character, ver. 10, &c.Moses on Mount Pisgah. (b. c. 1451.)1 And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, tothe top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the Lord showed him all the landof Gilead, unto Dan, 2 And all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh,and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, 3 And the south, and the plain of thevalley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar. 4 And the Lord said unto him,This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, Iwill give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shaltnot go over thither.Here is, I. Moses climbing upwards towards heaven, as high as the top of Pisgah, there to die;for that was the place appointed, ch. xxxii. 49, 50. Israel lay encamped upon the flat grounds in theplains of Moab, and thence he went up, according to order, to the mountain of Nebo, to the highestpoint or ridge of that mountain, which was called Pisgah, v. 1. Pisgah is an appellative name forall such eminences. It should seem, Moses went up alone to the top of Pisgah, alone without help—asign that his natural force was not abated when on the last day of his life he could walk up to thetop of a high hill without such supporters as once he had when his hands were heavy (Exod. xvii.12), alone without company. When he had made an end of blessing Israel, we may suppose, hesolemnly took leave of Joshua, and Eleazar, and the rest of his friends, who probably brought himto the foot of the hill; but then he gave them such a charge as Abraham gave to his servants at thefoot of another hill: Tarry you here while I go yonder and die: they must not see him die, becausethey must not know of his sepulchre. But, whether this were so or not, he went up to the top ofPisgah, 1. To show that he was willing to die. When he knew the place of his death, he was so farfrom avoiding it that he cheerfully mounted a steep hill to come at it. Note, Those that throughgrace are well acquainted with another world, and have been much conversant with it, need not beafraid to leave this. 2. To show that he looked upon death as his ascension. The soul of a man, ofa good man, when it leaves the body, goes upwards (Eccl. iii. 21), in conformity to which motionof the soul, the body of Moses shall go along with it as far upwards as its earth will carry it. WhenGod's servants are sent for out of the world, the summons runs thus, Go up and die.1285Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)II. Moses looking downward again towards this earth, to see the earthly Canaan into which hemust never enter, but therein by faith looking forwards to the heavenly Canaan into which he shouldnow immediately enter. God had threatened that he should not come into the possession of Canaan,and the threatening is fulfilled. But he had also promised that he should have a prospect of it, andthe promise is here performed: The Lord showed him all that good land, v. 1. 1. If he went up aloneto the top of Pisgah, yet he was not alone, for the Father was with him, John xvi. 32. If a man hasany friends, he will have them about him when he lies a dying. But if, either through God'sprovidence or their unkindness, it should so happen that we should then be alone, we need fear noevil if the great and good Shepherd be with us, Ps. xxiii. 4. 2. Though his sight was very good, andhe had all the advantage of high ground that he could desire for the prospect, yet he could not haveseen what he now saw, all Canaan from end to end (reckoned about fifty or sixty miles), if his sighthad not been miraculously assisted and enlarged, and therefore it is said, The Lord showed it tohim. Note, All the pleasant prospects we have of the better country we are beholden to the graceof God for; it is he that gives the spirit of wisdom as well as the spirit of revelation, the eye as wellas the object. This sight which God here gave Moses of Canaan, probably, the devil designed tomimic, and pretended to out-do, when in an airy phantom he showed to our Saviour, whom he hadplaced like Moses upon an exceedingly high mountain, all the kingdoms of the world and the gloryof them, not gradually, as here, first one country and then another, but all in a moment of time. 3.He saw it at a distance. Such a sight the Old-Testament saints had of the kingdom of the Messiah;they saw it afar off. Thus Abraham, long before this, saw Christ's day; and, being fully persuadedof it, embraced it in the promise, leaving others to embrace it in the performance, Heb. xi. 13. Sucha sight believers now have, through grace, of the bliss and glory of their future state. The word andordinances are to them what Mount Pisgah was to Moses; from them they have comfortable prospectsof the glory to be revealed, and rejoice in hope of it. 4. He saw it, but must never enjoy it. As Godsometimes takes his people away from the evil to come, so at other times he takes them away fromthe good to come, that is, the good which shall be enjoyed by the church in the present world.Glorious things are spoken of the kingdom of Christ in the latter days, its advancement, enlargement,and flourishing state; we foresee it, but we are not likely to live to see it. Those that shall comeafter us, we hope will enter that promised land, which is a comfort to us when we find our owncarcases falling in this wilderness. See 2 Kings vii. 2. 5. He saw all this just before his death.Sometimes God reserves the brightest discoveries of his grace to his people to be the support oftheir dying moments. Canaan was Immanuel's land (Isa. viii. 8), so that in viewing it he had a viewof the blessings we enjoy by Christ. It was a type of heaven (Heb. xi. 16), which faith is the substanceand evidence of. Note, Those may leave this world with a great deal of cheerfulness that die in thefaith of Christ, and in the hope of heaven, and with Canaan in their eye. Having thus seen thesalvation of God, we may well say, Lord, now let thou thy servant depart in peace.The Death of Moses. (b. c. 1451.)5 So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according tothe word of the Lord. 6 And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, overagainst Beth-peor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day. 7 And Moseswas a hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his1286Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)natural force abated. 8 And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains ofMoab thirty days: so the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended.Here is, I. The death of Moses (v. 5): Moses the servant of the Lord died. God told him he mustnot go over Jordan, and, though at first he prayed earnestly for the reversing of the sentence yetGod's answer to his prayer sufficed him, and now he spoke no more of that matter, ch. iii. 26. Thusour blessed Saviour prayed that the cup might pass from him, yet, since it might not, he acquiescedwith, Father, thy will be done. Moses had reason to desire to live a while longer in the world. Hewas old, it is true, but he had not yet attained to the years of the life of his fathers; his father Amramlived to be 137; his grandfather Kohath 133; his great grandfather Levi 137; Exod. vi. 16-20. Andwhy must Moses, whose life was more serviceable than any of theirs, die at 120, especially sincehe felt not the decays of age, but was as fit for service as ever? Israel could ill spare him at thistime; his conduct and his converse with God would be as great a happiness to them in the conquestof Canaan as the courage of Joshua. It bore hard upon Moses himself, when he had gone throughall the fatigues of the wilderness, to be prevented from enjoying the pleasures of Canaan; when hehad borne the burden and heat of the day, to resign the honour of finishing the work to another,and that not his son, but his servant, who must enter into his labours. We may suppose that this wasnot pleasant to flesh and blood. But the man Moses was very meek; God will have it so, and hecheerfully submits. 1. He is here called the servant of the Lord, not only as a good man (all thesaints are God's servants), but as a useful man, eminently useful, who had served God's counselsin bringing Israel out of Egypt, and leading them through the wilderness. It was more his honourto be the servant of the Lord. than to be king in Jeshurun. 2. Yet he dies. Neither his piety nor hisusefulness would exempt him from the stroke of death. God's servants must die that they may restfrom their labours, receive their recompense, and make room for others. When God's servants areremoved, and must serve him no longer on earth, they go to serve him better, to serve him day andnight in his temple. 3. He dies in the land of Moab, short of Canaan, while as yet he and his peoplewere in an unsettled condition and had not entered into their rest. In the heavenly Canaan there willbe no more death. 4. He dies according to the word of the Lord. At the mouth of the Lord; so theword is. The Jews say, "with a kiss from the mouth of God." No doubt, he died very easily (it wasan euthanasia—a delightful death), there were no bands in his death; and he had in his death amost pleasing taste of the love of God to him: but that he died at the mouth of the Lord means nomore but that he died in compliance with the will of God. Note, The servants of the Lord, whenthey have done all their other work, must die at last, in obedience to their Master, and be freelywilling to go home whenever he sends for them, Acts xxi. 13.II. His burial, v. 6. It is a groundless conceit of some of the Jews that Moses was translated toheaven as Elijah was, for it is expressly said that he died and was buried; yet probably he wasraised to meet Elias, to grace the solemnity of Christ's transfiguration. 1. God himself buried him,namely, by the ministry of angels, which made this funeral, though very private, yet very magnificent.Note, God takes care of the dead bodies of his servants; as their death is precious, so is their dust,not a grain of it shall be lost, but the covenant with it shall be remembered. When Moses was dead,God buried him; when Christ was dead, God raised him, for the law of Moses was to have an end,but not the gospel of Christ. Believers are dead to the law that they might be married to another,even to him who is raised from the dead, Rom. vii. 4. It should seem Michael, that is, Christ (assome think), had the burying of Moses, for by him the Mosaical ordinances were abolished and1287Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)taken out of the way, nailed to his cross, and buried in his grave, Col. ii. 14. 2. He was buried in avalley over against Beth-peor. How easily could the angels that buried him have conveyed himover Jordan and buried him with the patriarchs in the cave of Machpelah! But we must learn notbe over-solicitous about the place of our burial. If the soul be at rest with God, the matter is notgreat where the body rests. One of the Chaldee paraphrasts says, "He was buried over againstBeth-peor, that, whenever Baal-peor boasted of the Israelites being joined to him, the grave ofMoses over against his temple might be a check to him." 3. The particular place was not known,lest the children of Israel, who were so very prone to idolatry, should have enshrined and worshippedthe dead body of Moses, that great founder and benefactor of their nation. It is true that we readnot, among all the instances of their idolatry, that they worshipped relics, the reason of whichperhaps was because they were thus prevented from worshipping Moses, and so could not for shameworship any other. Some of the Jewish writers say that the body of Moses was concealed, thatnecromancers, who enquired of the dead, might not disquiet him, as the witch of Endor did Samuel,to bring him up. God would not have the name and memory of his servant Moses thus abused.Many think this was the contest between Michael and the devil about the body of Moses, mentionedJude 9. The devil would make the place known that it might be a snare to the people, and Michaelwould not let him. Those therefore who are for giving divine honours to the relics of departed saintsside with the devil against Michael our prince.III. His age, v. 7. His life was prolonged, 1. To old age. He was 120 years old, which, thoughfar short of the years of the patriarchs, yet much exceeded the years of most of his contemporaries,for the ordinary age of man had been lately reduced to seventy, Ps. xc. 10. The years of the life ofMoses were three forties. The first forty he lived a courtier, at ease and in honour in Pharaoh'scourt; the second forty he lived a poor desolate shepherd in Midian; the third forty he lived a kingin Jeshurun, in honour and power, but encumbered with a great deal of care and toil: so changeableis the world we live in, and alloyed with such mixtures; but the world before us is unmixed andunchangeable. 2. To a good old age: His eye was not dim (as Isaac's, Gen. xxvii. 1, and Jacob's,Gen. xlviii. 10), nor was his natural force abated; there was no decay either of the strength of hisbody or of the vigour and activity of his mind, but he could still speak, and write, and walk as wellas ever. His understanding was as clear, and his memory as strong, as ever. "His visage was notwrinkled," say some of the Jewish writers; "he had lost never a tooth," say others; and many ofthem expound it of the shining of his face (Exod. xxxiv. 30), that that continued to the last. Thiswas the general reward of his services; and it was in particular the effect of his extraordinarymeekness, for that is a grace which is, as much as any other, health to the navel and marrow to thebones. Of the moral law which was given by Moses, though the condemning power be vacated totrue believers, yet the commands are still binding, and will be to the end of the world; the eye ofthem is not waxen dim, for they shall discern the thoughts and intents of the heart, nor is theirnatural force or obligation abated but still we are under the law to Christ.IV. The solemn mourning that there was for him, v. 8. It is a debt owing to the surviving honourof deceased worthies to follow them with our tears, as those who loved and valued them, are sensibleof our loss of them, and are truly humbled for those sins which have provoked God to deprive usof them; for penitential tears very fitly mix with these. Observe, 1. Who the mourners were: Thechildren of Israel. They all conformed to the ceremony, whatever it was, though some of themperhaps, who were ill-affected to his government, were but mock-mourners; yet we may supposethere were those among them who had formerly quarrelled with him and his government, and1288Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)perhaps had been of those who spoke of stoning him, who now were sensible of their loss, andheartily lamented him when he was removed from them, though they knew not how to value himwhen he was with them. Thus those who had murmured were made to learn doctrine, Isa. xxix. 24.Note, The loss of good men, especially good governors, is to be much lamented and laid to heart:those are stupid who do not consider it. 2. How long they mourned: Thirty days. So long the formalitylasted, and we may suppose there were some in whom the mourning continued much longer. Yetthe ending of the days of weeping and mourning for Moses is an intimation that, how great soeverour losses have been, we must not abandon ourselves to perpetual grief; we must suffer the woundat least to heal up in time. If we hope to go to heaven rejoicing, why should we resolve to go to thegrave mourning? The ceremonial law of Moses is dead and buried in the grave of Christ; but theJews have not yet ended the days of their mourning for it.The Character of Moses. (b. c. 1451.)9 And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laidhis hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as theLord commanded Moses. 10 And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like untoMoses, whom the Lord knew face to face, 11 In all the signs and the wonders,which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants,and to all his land, 12 And in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror whichMoses showed in the sight of all Israel.We have here a very honourable encomium passed both on Moses and Joshua; each has hispraise, and should have. It is ungrateful so to magnify our living friends as to forget the merits ofthose that are gone, to whose memories there is a debt of honour due: all the respect must not bepaid to the rising sun; and, on the other hand, it is unjust so to cry up the merits of those that aregone as to despise the benefit we have in those that survive and succeed them. Let God be glorifiedin both, as here.I. Joshua is praised as a man admirably qualified for the work to which he was called, v. 9.Moses brought Israel to the borders of Canaan and then died and left them, to signify that the lawmade nothing perfect, Heb. vii. 19. It brings men into a wilderness of conviction, but not into theCanaan of rest and settled peace. It is an honour reserved for Joshua (our Lord Jesus, of whomJoshua was a type) to do that for us which the law could not do, in that it was weak through theflesh, Rom. viii. 3. Through him we enter into rest, the spiritual rest of conscience and eternal restin heaven. Three things concurred to clear Joshua's call to this great undertaking:—1. God fittedhim for it: He was full of the spirit of wisdom; and so he had need who had such a peevish peopleto rule, and such a politic people to conquer. Conduct is as requisite in a general as courage. HereinJoshua was a type of Christ, in whom are hidden the treasures of wisdom. 2. Moses, by the divineappointment, had ordained him to it: He had laid his hands upon him, so substituting him to be hissuccessor, and praying to God to qualify him for the service to which he had called him; and thiscomes in as a reason why God gave him a more than ordinary spirit of wisdom, because hisdesignation to the government was God's own act (those whom God employs he will in somemeasure make fit for the employment) and because this was the thing that Moses had asked of Godfor him when he laid his hands on him. When the bodily presence of Christ withdrew from hischurch, he prayed the Father to send another Comforter, and obtained what he prayed for. 3. The1289Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)people cheerfully owned him and submitted to him. Note, An interest in the affections of peopleis a great advantage, and a great encouragement to those that are called to public trusts of whatkind soever. It was also a great mercy to the people that when Moses was dead they were not assheep having no shepherd, but had one ready among them in whom they did unanimously, andmight with the highest satisfaction, acquiesce.II. Moses is praised (v. 10-12), and with good reason.1. He was indeed a very great man, especially upon two accounts:—(1.) His intimacy with theGod of nature: God knew him face to face, and so he knew God. See Num. xii. 8. He saw more ofthe glory of God than any (at least of the Old-Testament saints) ever did. He had more free andfrequent access to God, and was spoken to not in dreams, and visions, and slumberings on the bed,but when he was awake and standing before the cherubim. Other prophets, when God appearedand spoke to them, were struck with terror (Dan. x. 7), but Moses, whenever he received a divinerevelation, preserved his tranquillity. (2.) His interest and power in the kingdom of nature. Themiracles of judgment he wrought in Egypt before Pharaoh, and the miracles of mercy he wroughtin the wilderness before Israel, served to demonstrate that he was a particular favourite of Heaven,and had an extra-ordinary commission to act as he did on this earth. Never was there any man whomIsrael had more reason to love, or whom the enemies of Israel had more reason to fear. Observe,The historian calls the miracles Moses wrought signs and wonders, done with a mighty hand andgreat terror, which may refer to the terrors of Mount Sinai, by which God fully ratified Moses'scommission and demonstrated it beyond exception to be divine, and this in the sight of all Israel.2. He was greater than any other of the prophets of the Old Testament. Though they were menof great interest in heaven and great influence upon earth, yet they were none of them to be comparedwith this great man; none of them either so evidenced or executed a commission from heaven asMoses did. This encomium of Moses seems to have been written long after his death, yet then therehad not arisen any prophet like unto Moses, nor did there arise any such between that period andthe sealing up of the vision and prophecy. by Moses God gave the law, and moulded and formedthe Jewish church; by the other prophets he only sent particular reproofs, directions, and predictions.The last of the prophets concludes with a charge to remember the law of Moses, Mal. iv. 4. Christhimself often appealed to the writings of Moses, and vouched him for a witness, as one that sawhis day at a distance and spoke of him. But, as far as the other prophets came short of him, our LordJesus went beyond him. His doctrine was more excellent, his miracles were more illustrious, andhis communion with his Father was more intimate, for he had lain in his bosom from eternity, andby him God does now in these last days speak to us. Moses was faithful as a servant, but Christ asa Son. The history of Moses leaves him buried in the plains of Moab, and concludes with the periodof his government; but the history of our Saviour leaves him sitting at the right hand of the Majestyon high, and we are assured that of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end.The apostle, in his epistle to the Hebrews, largely proves the pre-eminence of Christ above Moses,as a good reason why we that are Christians should be obedient, faithful, and constant, to that holyreligion which we make profession of. God, by his grace, make us all so!1290Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)IndexesIndex of Scripture ReferencesGenesis1:1 1:1 1:1 1:1-31 1:2 1:2 1:2 1:2 1:3 1:3-5 1:4 1:6-8 1:9 1:9 1:9 1:9-13 1:101:10 1:10 1:11 1:11 1:12 1:14 1:14 1:14-19 1:15 1:15 1:16 1:16-18 1:18 1:201:20 1:20-23 1:21 1:21-25 1:22 1:22 1:24 1:25 1:25 1:26-28 1:27 1:28 1:28 1:281:28 1:29 1:29 1:29 1:29 1:30 1:30 1:31 2:1 2:1-3 2:1-7 2:2 2:3 2:3 2:3 2:32:4 2:5 2:6 2:6 2:7 2:8 2:8-17 2:9 2:9 2:10-14 2:12 2:15 2:15 2:16 2:17 2:182:18-25 2:19 2:20 2:20 2:21 2:21-23 2:23 2:23 2:24 2:25 3:1 3:1 3:1 3:1-5 3:23:3 3:3 3:4 3:4 3:4 3:5 3:5 3:6-8 3:7 3:8 3:9 3:10 3:10 3:11 3:11-13 3:13 3:143:14-19 3:15 3:15 3:16 3:17 3:17 3:17 3:19 3:19 3:20 3:21 3:21 3:22 3:22-243:23 3:24 3:24 3:24 4:1 4:2 4:3 4:3 4:4 4:5 4:5 4:5-7 4:7 4:8 4:9 4:9 4:10 4:104:10 4:11 4:11 4:11 4:11 4:12 4:13 4:14 4:14 4:15 4:15 4:15 4:15 4:16 4:164:17 4:17 4:17-24 4:18 4:24 4:24 4:25 4:25 4:26 4:26 4:26 5 5:1 5:1-5 5:1-325:2 5:2 5:3 5:4 5:6-8 5:8 5:9-11 5:12-14 5:15-17 5:18-20 5:21 5:21-24 5:22 5:225:22 5:23 5:24 5:24 5:25-27 5:28-32 5:29 5:29 6:1-5 6:2 6:2 6:4 6:4 6:4 6:5 6:56:5 6:6 6:6 6:7 6:7 6:8 6:8-10 6:8-10 6:9 6:9 6:11 6:11 6:12 6:13 6:13 6:136:14-16 6:14-16 6:17 6:17 6:18 6:18 6:18 6:18-21 6:19-21 6:20 6:21 6:22 7:1 7:17:1 7:1 7:2 7:2 7:2 7:2 7:3 7:3 7:3 7:4 7:4 7:4 7:5 7:6 7:7 7:8 7:9 7:10 7:107:11 7:12 7:12 7:13-16 7:16 7:17 7:17 7:17-20 7:18 7:21 7:21 7:21-23 7:22 7:237:23 7:23 7:24 8:1 8:1 8:2 8:3 8:3 8:4 8:5 8:6-12 8:13 8:13 8:14 8:14 8:15-178:15-19 8:20 8:20 8:20 8:20 8:20 8:21 8:21 8:21 8:22 8:22 9:1 9:1 9:1 9:1 9:19:1 9:1-11 9:2 9:2 9:3 9:3 9:3 9:3 9:4 9:4 9:4 9:4 9:5 9:5 9:5 9:5 9:6 9:6 9:69:6 9:6 9:6 9:6 9:6 9:6 9:6 9:7 9:7 9:7 9:8-11 9:8-11 9:9 9:10 9:12 9:12-179:13 9:13 9:13 9:14 9:15 9:16 9:18 9:19 9:19 9:20 9:21 9:21-27 9:22 9:22 9:229:23 9:25 9:25 9:25 9:25 9:25-27 9:26 9:26 9:26 9:27 9:28 9:29 10:1-32 10:2-510:5 10:5 10:6-20 10:8-10 10:8-10 10:10 10:11 10:14 10:15-18 10:20 10:21 10:21-3210:25 10:31 11:1 11:1-4 11:1-9 11:2 11:3 11:4 11:4 11:5 11:5-9 11:6 11:7 11:811:8 11:9 11:9 11:10-26 11:10-26 11:14 11:18 11:22 11:24 11:26 11:27-32 11:2811:31 11:32 12:1 12:1 12:1-3 12:1-20 12:2 12:2 12:2 12:2 12:3 12:3 12:3 12:412:4 12:5 12:6 12:6 12:6 12:6-9 12:7 12:7 12:7 12:7 12:7 12:8 12:8 12:8 12:812:9 12:10-13 12:13 12:14 12:14-20 12:16 12:17 12:19 12:20 13:1 13:1 13:1 13:213:2 13:2 13:2 13:2 13:3 13:3 13:4 13:4 13:4 13:5 13:5 13:6 13:7 13:7 13:813:8 13:9 13:9 13:10 13:10 13:10 13:10-13 13:11 13:11 13:13 13:13 13:14-18 13:1513:15 13:16 13:16 13:16 13:16 13:17 13:17 13:18 13:18 13:18 14:1-11 14:2 14:514:5-7 14:6 14:10 14:10 14:11 14:12 14:12 14:13 14:13-16 14:15 14:15 14:16 14:1614:16 14:16 14:17 14:18-20 14:19 14:19 14:19 14:20 14:20 14:20 14:21 14:21-2414:22 14:22 14:23 14:24 15:1 15:1 15:2 15:2 15:2 15:2-6 15:3 15:3 15:3 15:415:5 15:5 15:6 15:6 15:6 15:7 15:7-21 15:8 15:9-11 15:11 15:13 15:13 15:13 15:131291Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)15:14 15:14 15:15 15:16 15:16 15:16 15:16 15:17 15:17 15:18 15:18 15:18 15:1815:18 15:18 15:19-21 16:1-3 16:2 16:4 16:4-6 16:5 16:6 16:7 16:7-14 16:8 16:916:9 16:10 16:10 16:11 16:12 16:12 16:12 16:12 16:13 16:13 16:13 16:13 16:1316:14 16:14 16:15 16:16 17:1 17:1 17:1 17:1 17:1 17:1 17:1-23 17:2 17:3 17:317:4 17:5 17:6 17:7 17:7 17:7 17:8 17:8 17:8 17:8 17:8 17:9 17:9-14 17:10 17:1217:13 17:14 17:15 17:15 17:16 17:16 17:17 17:17 17:17 17:17 17:17 17:18 17:1817:18 17:19 17:19 17:19-22 17:20 17:20 17:20 17:21 17:23 17:23-27 17:26 18:118:1-8 18:1-33 18:3 18:3 18:4 18:9 18:9-15 18:10 18:12 18:12 18:13 18:13 18:1418:14 18:15 18:16 18:16-22 18:17 18:17-19 18:19 18:19 18:19 18:19 18:19 18:2018:21 18:21 18:22 18:23 18:23 18:23 18:23 18:23 18:23-33 18:24 18:25 18:2518:26 18:27 18:30 18:31 18:32 18:33 19:1 19:1-3 19:3 19:4 19:4-11 19:6 19:719:8 19:9 19:10 19:11 19:11 19:12 19:12-23 19:13 19:13 19:14 19:15 19:16 19:1719:17 19:18-20 19:21 19:22 19:22 19:24 19:24-26 19:25 19:27 19:27-29 19:28 19:2919:30 19:30-38 19:31 19:32 19:33 20:1 20:1 20:1-18 20:2 20:3 20:3 20:3 20:420:4-6 20:6 20:6 20:7 20:7 20:7 20:8 20:8-10 20:9 20:10 20:10 20:11 20:11-1320:12 20:12 20:12 20:13 20:14 20:14-16 20:16 20:16 20:16 20:17 20:17 20:1720:18 20:18 21:1 21:1 21:1-8 21:2 21:2 21:2 21:3 21:4 21:6 21:7 21:8 21:9 21:921:9 21:9-21 21:10 21:11 21:12 21:13 21:13 21:13 21:14 21:15 21:15 21:16 21:1721:18 21:18 21:19 21:19 21:19 21:20 21:21 21:22 21:23 21:23-32 21:24 21:2521:26 21:27 21:30 21:31 21:31 21:32 21:33 21:33 22:1 22:1 22:2 22:2 22:3 22:3-1022:5 22:5 22:6 22:7 22:8 22:8 22:9 22:10 22:11 22:11 22:12 22:12 22:13 22:1322:14 22:14 22:15-19 22:16 22:17 22:17 22:17 22:18 22:20-24 22:20-24 23:1 23:123:2 23:2 23:2 23:3 23:3 23:4 23:4 23:5 23:5-16 23:6 23:7 23:7-9 23:9 23:1023:11 23:12 23:12 23:13 23:14 23:15 23:16 23:16 23:16 23:17 23:17 23:17 23:1823:18 23:19 23:20 23:20 24:1 24:1-9 24:2-4 24:5 24:6 24:7 24:7 24:8 24:8 24:1024:10-14 24:12 24:12-14 24:14 24:15 24:15-28 24:16 24:21 24:21 24:22 24:23-2524:26 24:27 24:28 24:29-49 24:30 24:31 24:32 24:33 24:33 24:34-36 24:36 24:3724:38 24:39-41 24:40 24:40 24:42-44 24:45 24:46 24:47 24:49 24:50 24:50 24:50-6024:52 24:53 24:53 24:54 24:55 24:56 24:57 24:58 24:59 24:59 24:60 24:60 24:6124:61-67 24:62 24:63 24:64 24:65 24:67 24:67 24:67 25:1-4 25:2 25:5 25:5 25:625:6 25:7 25:7-10 25:8 25:9 25:10 25:11 25:11 25:12-16 25:14 25:16 25:16 25:1725:17 25:18 25:18 25:19-26 25:20 25:21 25:22 25:23 25:23 25:23 25:25 25:2525:26 25:26 25:27 25:27 25:28 25:28 25:28 25:29 25:29 25:29-34 25:30 25:3125:32 25:33 25:34 26:1 26:1 26:1 26:2 26:2 26:2-5 26:3 26:3 26:3 26:4 26:5 26:626:6 26:6-11 26:7 26:8 26:9 26:10 26:11 26:12 26:12-14 26:14 26:14 26:14-1726:15 26:16 26:17 26:18 26:18 26:18-23 26:19 26:20 26:21 26:22 26:23 26:2426:24 26:25 26:25 26:25 26:26 26:26-33 26:27 26:28 26:29 26:30 26:31 26:3226:33 26:34 26:34 26:35 27:1 27:1 27:1-5 27:2 27:3 27:3 27:4 27:4 27:6-17 27:1027:12 27:13 27:16 27:16 27:18-29 27:19 27:20 27:22 27:22 27:23 27:24 27:26-2927:27 27:28 27:28 27:29 27:29 27:29 27:30-40 27:31 27:33 27:34 27:34 27:3627:36 27:38 27:39 27:40 27:40 27:40 27:41 27:41 27:41 27:41-46 27:42 27:4527:45 27:46 28:1 28:1 28:2 28:2 28:3 28:3 28:3 28:3 28:3 28:3 28:4 28:4 28:428:4 28:4 28:5 28:5 28:6-9 28:10 28:11 28:11 28:12 28:12 28:12 28:13 28:13-1528:14 28:14 28:14 28:15 28:15 28:16 28:16-19 28:17 28:18 28:19 28:20 28:20-221292Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)28:20-22 28:22 28:22 29:1 29:1-14 29:2 29:2 29:3 29:4 29:7 29:7 29:8 29:8 29:929:9 29:10 29:10 29:11 29:12 29:14 29:14 29:15 29:15-30 29:20 29:23 29:25 29:2629:27 29:31 29:31 29:31-35 29:32 29:32 29:34 29:35 29:35 30:1 30:1 30:1-8 30:230:2 30:2 30:3-8 30:6 30:8 30:9 30:9-13 30:11 30:13 30:13 30:14-21 30:17 30:2030:21 30:22 30:22-24 30:25 30:25 30:25-34 30:26 30:27 30:27 30:28 30:30 30:3230:33 30:35 30:35-43 30:36 30:37-39 30:40 30:41 30:42 30:43 31:1 31:1-16 31:231:3 31:4 31:5 31:6 31:7 31:9 31:10 31:10-13 31:11 31:12 31:13 31:13 31:1331:14-16 31:15 31:17-21 31:18 31:19 31:19 31:22-25 31:23 31:24 31:24 31:25 31:2631:26-42 31:27 31:28 31:29 31:30 31:31 31:32 31:33-35 31:36 31:37 31:38-40 31:3931:40 31:40 31:41 31:42 31:43 31:43-55 31:45 31:46 31:46 31:46 31:47 31:4731:48 31:49 31:49 31:50 31:52 31:53 31:54 31:54 31:55 32:1 32:1 32:2 32:2 32:332:3-6 32:4 32:5 32:5 32:5 32:6 32:6 32:7 32:7 32:7 32:7 32:8 32:8 32:9 32:932:9-12 32:10 32:11 32:11 32:11 32:12 32:13-15 32:13-23 32:17 32:18 32:18-2032:20 32:24 32:24-32 32:25 32:26 32:27 32:28 32:28 32:29 32:30 32:30 32:3132:31 33:1 33:1 33:1-4 33:2 33:3 33:4 33:5 33:5-7 33:5-7 33:6 33:7 33:8-11 33:933:10 33:11 33:12 33:12-15 33:13 33:14 33:15 33:16 33:16-20 33:19 33:19 33:2033:20 33:20 34:1 34:1-5 34:1-31 34:1-31 34:2 34:4 34:5 34:6-19 34:7 34:7 34:934:10 34:11 34:12 34:14 34:15 34:16 34:16 34:17 34:18 34:19 34:20-24 34:2334:23 34:25-31 34:26 34:27 34:30 34:30 35:1 35:1 35:1-5 35:2 35:2 35:3 35:335:4 35:5 35:6 35:7 35:7 35:7 35:7 35:8 35:8 35:8 35:9 35:9-13 35:10 35:1135:11 35:12 35:13 35:14 35:14 35:14 35:15 35:15 35:16-20 35:17 35:19 35:2135:21 35:22 35:22 35:22 35:22 35:23-26 35:27 35:27-29 35:29 36:1 36:1 36:1-536:6-8 36:8 36:8 36:9-14 36:15-19 36:15-19 36:20 36:20-30 36:24 36:29 36:2936:31-43 36:43 37:1 37:1 37:2 37:2 37:2 37:3 37:3 37:4 37:5-11 37:6 37:7 37:837:8 37:9 37:9 37:10 37:10 37:10 37:11 37:12-17 37:13 37:18 37:18-24 37:19 37:2037:20 37:21 37:22 37:23 37:25 37:25 37:25 37:25-28 37:26 37:29-35 37:30 37:3237:32 37:35 37:35 37:35 37:36 37:36 38:1 38:1-11 38:2 38:7 38:8 38:11 38:12-2338:14 38:15 38:23 38:24 38:24-26 38:25 38:26 38:27-30 39:1 39:1 39:2 39:2-6 39:339:4 39:5 39:6 39:6 39:7 39:7-12 39:8 39:9 39:9 39:10 39:10 39:11 39:11 39:1239:13-15 39:13-18 39:17 39:18 39:19 39:19 39:20 39:20 39:21 39:21-23 39:22 39:2339:23 40:1-4 40:4 40:5-19 40:6 40:7 40:8 40:12 40:13 40:14 40:14 40:15 40:1540:15 40:15 40:18 40:19 40:20-22 40:23 40:23 41:1 41:1-8 41:8 41:9 41:9-13 41:1441:14-36 41:15 41:16 41:29-31 41:32 41:33 41:37 41:37-45 41:38 41:39 41:40 41:4141:43 41:44 41:44 41:45 41:46 41:46-57 41:47 41:48 41:49 41:50-52 41:52 41:5441:54 42:1 42:1-6 42:2 42:3 42:6 42:6 42:7 42:7-20 42:8 42:9 42:9 42:10 42:1342:16 42:17 42:18 42:18 42:18 42:21 42:21 42:21 42:21 42:21-24 42:22 42:2242:22 42:22 42:24 42:24 42:25-38 42:28 42:35 42:36 42:37 42:38 42:38 43:1 43:1-1443:2 43:3 43:5 43:8 43:9 43:11 43:11 43:14 43:14 43:15-34 43:18 43:23 43:2443:26 43:28 43:29 43:30 43:32 43:32 43:32 43:32 43:33 43:34 44:1-17 44:5 44:744:8 44:9 44:10 44:16 44:18-34 44:20 44:20 44:21 44:22 44:22 44:23 44:26 44:2944:30 44:31 44:33 44:34 45:1 45:1 45:1-15 45:2 45:4 45:5 45:5 45:6 45:7 45:845:8 45:9 45:9 45:10 45:11 45:12 45:13 45:14 45:15 45:16 45:16-24 45:18 45:2045:21 45:22 45:23 45:24 45:25-28 45:26 45:28 46:1 46:1-4 46:1-34 46:2 46:3 46:346:4 46:5 46:5-27 46:6 46:7 46:11 46:21 46:21 46:23 46:26 46:27 46:27 46:281293Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)46:28-34 46:30 46:31 46:32 46:33 46:34 47:1 47:1-10 47:3 47:3 47:4 47:5 47:647:7 47:7 47:8 47:9 47:9 47:10 47:11 47:11 47:12 47:12 47:13 47:13-26 47:1447:15 47:17 47:19 47:21 47:22 47:22 47:25 47:26 47:27 47:27-31 47:28 47:2947:29 47:31 48:1 48:1 48:2 48:2 48:3 48:3 48:3 48:3-7 48:4 48:5 48:5 48:6 48:748:8-16 48:9 48:10 48:10 48:10 48:11 48:12 48:13 48:14 48:15 48:15 48:15 48:1648:16 48:16 48:17 48:17-20 48:18 48:19 48:21 48:21 48:21 48:22 48:22 49:1 49:149:1 49:1 49:1-27 49:2 49:2 49:2 49:3 49:3 49:3 49:3 49:3-28 49:4 49:4 49:449:4 49:5 49:5 49:5 49:7 49:7 49:8 49:8 49:8 49:9 49:10 49:10 49:10 49:10 49:1149:12 49:13 49:13 49:14 49:14 49:15 49:15 49:16 49:17 49:17 49:18 49:19 49:2049:21 49:21 49:22 49:22 49:23 49:23 49:23 49:24 49:24 49:25 49:26 49:26 49:2749:28 49:29 49:29 49:29-32 49:30 49:31 49:32 49:32 49:33 49:33 50:1 50:1-6 50:250:3 50:4-6 50:5 50:6 50:7-14 50:10 50:11 50:11 50:15 50:15-21 50:16 50:17 50:1750:17 50:18 50:19 50:20 50:21 50:22 50:22-26 50:23 50:24 50:24 50:25 50:2550:26 50:26Exodus1:1-7 1:1-19:25 1:5 1:6 1:7 1:8 1:8-14 1:9 1:9 1:10 1:10 1:11 1:11 1:12 1:131:13 1:14 1:15 1:15-22 1:16 1:17 1:18 1:19 1:20 1:21 1:22 2:1-4 2:3 2:4 2:4 2:52:5 2:5-10 2:6 2:6 2:7-9 2:10 2:11 2:11 2:11 2:11-14 2:12 2:13 2:14 2:14 2:152:15-22 2:16 2:18 2:19 2:20 2:21 2:22 2:23 2:23 2:23-25 2:24 2:24 2:25 3:1 3:1-53:2 3:2 3:2 3:3 3:4 3:5 3:6 3:6 3:6 3:7 3:7 3:7 3:7-9 3:8 3:9 3:9 3:9 3:10 3:103:11 3:11 3:12 3:12 3:12 3:12 3:12 3:13 3:13-18 3:14 3:14 3:15 3:16 3:16 3:173:17 3:18 3:18 3:18 3:18 3:18 3:19 3:19-22 3:20 3:20 3:21 3:22 4:1 4:1 4:14:2-4 4:2-5 4:3 4:5 4:6 4:6-8 4:7 4:9 4:9 4:10 4:10 4:11 4:11 4:12 4:12 4:134:13 4:14 4:14 4:14 4:14-16 4:16 4:17 4:17 4:18 4:18 4:19 4:19 4:19 4:20 4:204:21 4:21-23 4:22 4:23 4:23 4:24 4:24-26 4:24-26 4:25 4:25 4:25 4:26 4:27 4:274:28 4:28 4:28 4:29-31 4:29-31 4:31 5:1 5:1 5:2 5:2 5:2 5:3 5:3 5:3 5:4 5:4-95:4-9 5:9 5:10-14 5:12 5:13 5:14 5:15 5:15-19 5:16 5:17 5:18 5:19 5:20 5:205:21 5:21 5:21 5:22 5:22 5:22 5:23 5:23 6:1 6:1 6:2 6:2-8 6:3 6:3 6:3 6:3 6:36:4 6:5 6:6 6:6-8 6:7 6:8 6:9 6:9 6:10 6:11 6:11 6:12 6:12 6:13 6:13 6:136:14-25 6:15 6:16 6:16-20 6:20 6:23 6:26 6:26 6:27 6:27 6:29 6:30 6:30 7:1 7:17:1 7:1 7:1-7 7:4 7:5 7:6 7:7 7:8-13 7:10 7:10 7:11 7:12 7:12 7:14 7:14-25 7:157:19 7:20 7:21 7:22 7:23 7:24 7:25 7:26 8:1 8:1-4 8:2 8:3 8:4 8:5 8:6 8:7 8:78:8 8:8 8:8-14 8:9 8:10 8:12 8:13 8:14 8:15 8:15 8:16 8:16 8:17 8:17 8:18 8:188:18 8:19 8:19 8:19 8:19 8:20 8:20 8:21 8:22 8:22 8:22 8:23 8:23 8:23 8:248:24 8:25 8:25-29 8:26 8:27 8:28 8:29 8:30 8:31 8:31 8:32 8:32 9:1 9:1-7 9:29:3 9:4 9:4 9:5 9:6 9:6 9:7 9:8 9:8-12 9:10 9:11 9:12 9:12 9:13 9:13-21 9:149:15 9:16 9:17 9:18 9:19 9:20 9:20-21 9:21 9:22 9:22 9:22 9:22-26 9:23 9:239:23 9:24 9:25 9:26 9:27 9:27-35 9:28 9:29 9:30 9:31 9:32 9:33 9:33 9:34 9:3510:1 10:1 10:2 10:2 10:3 10:3-6 10:4-6 10:6 10:6 10:7 10:7-9 10:8 10:9 10:1010:10 10:11 10:11 10:11 10:12 10:12-15 10:13 10:15 10:15 10:16 10:16 10:1710:17 10:17 10:18 10:18-20 10:19 10:20 10:21 10:21-23 10:23 10:23 10:23 10:2310:24 10:26 10:26-29 10:28 10:28 10:29 11:1 11:1 11:2 11:2 11:3 11:3 11:4 11:4-611:4-8 11:5 11:7 11:7 11:8 11:8 11:9 11:9 11:10 11:10 12:1 12:1-6 12:2 12:212:3 12:3 12:5 12:5 12:6 12:6 12:6-9 12:7 12:7 12:7 12:7 12:8 12:8-11 12:101294Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)12:11 12:11 12:11 12:12 12:13 12:13 12:13 12:14-20 12:14-20 12:16 12:17 12:1912:21-23 12:22 12:22 12:22 12:23 12:24-27 12:25 12:26 12:26 12:27 12:27 12:2712:27 12:28 12:29 12:29 12:30 12:30 12:31 12:31 12:31 12:31-33 12:32 12:3212:33 12:34 12:34 12:34 12:35 12:35 12:35 12:36 12:36 12:36 12:37 12:37 12:3812:38 12:38 12:39 12:40-42 12:42 12:43 12:43-49 12:44 12:45 12:46 12:46 12:4712:48 12:48 12:48 12:49 12:49 12:50 12:50 12:51 12:51 13:1 13:1-22 13:2 13:213:2 13:2 13:3 13:3 13:3 13:4 13:5-7 13:5-7 13:7 13:8 13:8-10 13:9 13:11 13:11-1313:13 13:13 13:14 13:14 13:14-16 13:14-16 13:15 13:16 13:16 13:17 13:17 13:1713:18 13:18 13:18 13:18 13:18 13:19 13:19 13:20 13:20 13:20-22 13:21 13:2213:22 14:1 14:1-4 14:2 14:3 14:4 14:5 14:5-9 14:6 14:7 14:8 14:9 14:10 14:1014:10-12 14:11 14:11 14:12 14:13 14:13 14:14 14:14 14:15 14:15-18 14:16 14:16-1814:17 14:17 14:18 14:19 14:19 14:20 14:20 14:21 14:21 14:22 14:22 14:23 14:23-2514:24 14:24 14:25 14:26-28 14:27 14:28 14:29 14:29 14:29 14:30 14:30 14:3114:31 14:31 14:31 15:1 15:1 15:1-19 15:1-21 15:1-17:16 15:2 15:2 15:3 15:4 15:515:6 15:7 15:8 15:8 15:9 15:9 15:10 15:10 15:11 15:11 15:11 15:12 15:12 15:1315:13 15:14 15:14 15:14-16 15:15 15:16 15:17 15:18 15:19 15:19 15:20 15:2015:20 15:20 15:21 15:21 15:22 15:22 15:23 15:23 15:23 15:24 15:24 15:24 15:2515:25 15:26 15:26 15:27 15:27 16:1-3 16:2 16:2 16:3 16:3 16:3 16:4 16:4 16:4-1216:5 16:6 16:7 16:8 16:8 16:9 16:10 16:10 16:12 16:12 16:12 16:13 16:13-1516:14 16:15 16:15 16:16-21 16:18 16:19 16:20 16:20 16:21 16:21 16:22 16:2216:22-26 16:23 16:23 16:23 16:23 16:24 16:25 16:26 16:27 16:27-31 16:28 16:2816:29 16:32-34 16:32-36 16:35 16:36 17:1 17:1 17:1 17:1-16 17:2 17:2 17:2 17:217:2 17:3 17:3 17:3 17:4 17:4 17:4 17:4 17:4 17:5 17:5 17:6 17:6 17:6 17:717:7 17:7 17:7 17:7 17:8 17:8-12 17:9 17:9 17:10 17:11 17:12 17:12 17:12 17:1317:13 17:14 17:14 17:14 17:14 17:14 17:14-16 17:15 17:15 17:16 17:16 17:1917:25 18:1 18:1-6 18:1-27 18:3 18:4 18:5 18:6 18:7 18:7 18:8 18:8-11 18:9 18:918:10 18:11 18:11 18:11 18:11 18:12 18:12 18:12 18:13 18:13 18:13-23 18:1418:14 18:15 18:15 18:16 18:16 18:17 18:18 18:19 18:20 18:21 18:22 18:22 18:2318:23 18:24 18:24-26 18:25 18:25 18:27 18:27 18:27 19:1 19:1 19:1-25 19:2 19:319:3-6 19:4 19:4 19:5 19:5 19:6 19:6 19:6 19:7 19:7 19:8 19:8 19:8 19:8 19:919:9 19:9 19:10 19:10 19:10-13 19:11 19:11 19:12 19:13 19:13 19:14 19:14 19:1519:15 19:16 19:16 19:16 19:16-20 19:17 19:18 19:18 19:19 19:19 19:20 19:2019:21 19:21 19:21 19:21-25 19:22 19:22-24 19:23 19:24 20:1 20:1-17 20:1-2620:1-40:38 20:2 20:3 20:4 20:5 20:5 20:6 20:7 20:8 20:8-11 20:10 20:13 20:1420:15 20:16 20:17 20:18 20:18-21 20:19 20:19 20:19 20:20 20:21 20:22 20:22-2620:23 20:23 20:24 20:24 20:24 20:24 20:24 20:24 20:25 20:25 20:26 21:1 21:221:2 21:2 21:2-6 21:3 21:5 21:6 21:6 21:7-11 21:7-11 21:10 21:12 21:12-14 21:1321:13 21:13 21:14 21:14 21:15 21:15 21:15 21:16 21:16 21:17 21:17 21:17 21:1821:18 21:19 21:19 21:20 21:20 21:21 21:21 21:22 21:22 21:23 21:23 21:24 21:2521:26 21:26 21:27 21:28 21:28 21:28 21:28-32 21:29 21:29-32 21:33 21:33 21:3421:34 21:35 21:35 21:36 21:36 22:1 22:1-4 22:2 22:3 22:3 22:4 22:4 22:5 22:522:5 22:6 22:6 22:7-13 22:7-13 22:11 22:14 22:14 22:15 22:15 22:16 22:16 22:1722:17 22:18 22:18 22:19 22:19 22:20 22:20 22:21 22:21 22:21-24 22:22 22:2322:24 22:25 22:25 22:26 22:26 22:27 22:27 22:28 22:28 22:29 22:29 22:30 22:301295Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)22:30 22:30 22:30 22:31 22:31 23:1 23:1 23:1-32 23:2 23:2 23:3 23:3 23:3 23:423:4 23:4 23:5 23:5 23:5 23:5 23:6 23:6-8 23:7 23:8 23:8 23:8 23:9 23:9 23:1023:10 23:11 23:11 23:12 23:12 23:13 23:13 23:14-17 23:14-17 23:15 23:15 23:1623:16 23:16 23:16 23:16 23:17 23:17 23:18 23:18 23:19 23:20 23:20-24 23:2123:21 23:22 23:22 23:23 23:24 23:24-26 23:25 23:26 23:27 23:27-31 23:29 23:2923:29 23:30 23:30 23:30 23:31 23:32 23:32 23:33 23:33 24:1 24:1 24:1 24:1 24:1-824:1-8 24:2 24:2 24:3 24:3 24:3 24:4 24:4 24:4-7 24:4-8 24:5 24:5 24:6 24:624:7 24:7 24:7 24:8 24:8 24:8 24:9 24:9-11 24:10 24:11 24:12 24:12 24:12 24:1224:12 24:13 24:13 24:14 24:14 24:14 24:15 24:15-17 24:16 24:16 24:16 24:1624:17 24:18 24:18 25:1 25:1-9 25:1-40 25:3-7 25:8 25:9 25:10 25:10-16 25:10-2225:17 25:18 25:21 25:22 25:22 25:23-30 25:29 25:30 25:30 25:31 25:31-40 25:3725:40 26:1 26:1-6 26:6 26:7 26:7-13 26:14 26:14 26:15-30 26:24 26:26 26:29 26:3126:31-35 26:33 26:36 26:36 26:37 26:37 27:1 27:1 27:1-8 27:2 27:2 27:2 27:327:4 27:5 27:6 27:7 27:8 27:9-19 27:9-19 27:16 27:20 27:20 27:21 27:21 28:128:1 28:1-29:46 28:2 28:2-5 28:3 28:5 28:6-8 28:6-14 28:9-12 28:10 28:12 28:1328:14 28:15-29 28:16 28:17-21 28:22 28:28 28:29 28:29 28:30 28:30 28:31-3528:31-35 28:36 28:36-39 28:37 28:38 28:39 28:40 28:40-43 28:41 28:42 28:4329:1-37 29:1-46 29:1-46 29:4 29:4 29:5 29:6 29:7 29:8 29:9 29:9 29:9 29:1029:10-14 29:14 29:15-18 29:20 29:20 29:21 29:21 29:22 29:22 29:23 29:24 29:2429:25 29:26 29:26 29:26-28 29:30 29:31-33 29:35 29:36 29:36 29:37 29:38 29:3829:38-41 29:38-41 29:39 29:42-46 29:43 29:43 29:43 29:44 29:44 29:45 29:46 30:1-530:1-10 30:1-38 30:6 30:6 30:7 30:8 30:8 30:9 30:9 30:10 30:10 30:11 30:11-1630:13 30:15 30:16 30:17 30:17-21 30:18 30:19 30:19-21 30:22 30:22-33 30:22-3830:23-25 30:25 30:25-29 30:26-30 30:30 30:31 30:32 30:33 30:34 30:34 30:34 30:3530:37 30:38 31:1-11 31:2 31:3 31:6 31:6 31:6 31:7 31:12-17 31:13 31:13 31:13-1731:14 31:14 31:14 31:14 31:15 31:15 31:16 31:16 31:17 31:17 31:17 31:17 31:1831:18 32:1 32:1 32:1-4 32:1-35 32:2 32:3 32:4 32:4 32:5 32:5 32:6 32:6 32:632:7 32:7 32:7 32:7 32:8 32:8 32:9 32:9 32:10 32:10 32:10 32:10 32:11 32:11-1332:11-13 32:12 32:12 32:13 32:13 32:14 32:14 32:14 32:14 32:15 32:15-19 32:1632:17 32:18 32:19 32:19 32:20 32:20 32:21 32:21-24 32:22 32:23 32:24 32:2532:25-29 32:26 32:26 32:26-28 32:27 32:27 32:28 32:28 32:30 32:30 32:30-32 32:3132:32 32:33 32:33-35 32:34 32:35 33:1 33:1-3 33:2 33:2 33:3 33:3 33:3 33:4 33:433:4 33:5 33:5 33:5 33:5 33:5 33:6 33:6 33:7 33:7 33:7 33:7-11 33:8 33:8 33:933:9 33:9 33:9 33:10 33:11 33:12 33:12 33:12-17 33:13 33:14 33:14 33:15 33:1633:17 33:17 33:18 33:18-23 33:19 33:20 33:21 33:22 33:22 33:23 33:23 33:23 34:134:1-4 34:2 34:3 34:4 34:5 34:5-9 34:6 34:6 34:7 34:7 34:8 34:9 34:10 34:10-2834:11 34:12 34:12 34:13 34:13 34:14 34:14 34:15 34:16 34:17 34:18-20 34:2134:22 34:22 34:23 34:23 34:24 34:24 34:25 34:26 34:27 34:28 34:28 34:29 34:2934:29 34:29 34:29-35 34:30 34:30 34:32 34:33 34:34 34:35 35:1 35:1-3 35:2 35:335:4-9 35:5 35:5-9 35:10 35:10-19 35:11-19 35:20 35:20-29 35:21 35:21 35:22 35:2235:25 35:26 35:27 35:27 35:29 35:30 35:30-35 35:31 35:32 35:34 35:35 36:1 36:1-436:2 36:3 36:3 36:4 36:5 36:5 36:5-7 36:6 36:7 36:8-13 36:14-19 36:14-19 36:20-3036:20-34 36:31-34 36:35 36:35 36:36 36:36 36:37 36:37 36:38 36:38 37:1 37:1-937:10-16 37:17 37:17-24 37:22 37:25-28 37:29 37:29 38:1-7 38:1-7 38:8 38:8 38:9-201296Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)38:17 38:21 38:21-31 38:22 38:23 38:25 38:25 38:26 38:26 38:26 38:27 39:1 39:1-539:5 39:6 39:7 39:7 39:8-21 39:21 39:22-26 39:26 39:27-29 39:29 39:30 39:3139:31 39:32 39:32-43 39:33 39:38 39:42 39:43 40:1-8 40:2 40:2 40:3 40:4 40:540:6 40:7 40:9-11 40:9-11 40:12-15 40:12-15 40:16-33 40:17 40:21 40:23 40:2540:27 40:29 40:34 40:34 40:34-38 40:35 40:35 40:36 40:37 40:38Leviticus1:1 1:3-9 1:4 1:5 1:6-9 1:10 1:10-13 1:11 1:14-17 1:23 1:25 2:1 2:1 2:1 2:1-162:2 2:2 2:2 2:2 2:2 2:3 2:3 2:4 2:4 2:4-7 2:5 2:6 2:7 2:8 2:8-10 2:9 2:9 2:92:10 2:11 2:11 2:11 2:12 2:12 2:13 2:13 2:14 2:14-16 2:16 3:1 3:1-5 3:2 3:3-53:6-11 3:9 3:11 3:12-17 3:16 3:16 3:17 3:17 3:17 4:1-12 4:2 4:2 4:3 4:3 4:3 4:44:5-7 4:8-10 4:11 4:12 4:13 4:13-21 4:14 4:17 4:20 4:21 4:21 4:22 4:22-26 4:234:23 4:25 4:26 4:27 4:27-35 4:27-35 4:28 4:31 4:35 5:1 5:1 5:2 5:2 5:3 5:3 5:3-55:4 5:4 5:5 5:5 5:6 5:6 5:6 5:7 5:7-10 5:11 5:11-13 5:14-16 5:15 5:15 5:15 5:165:16 5:17 5:17-19 6:2 6:2-4 6:3 6:3 6:4 6:4 6:4 6:5 6:5 6:5 6:6 6:7 6:8 6:8-136:9 6:9 6:9 6:10 6:11 6:11-18 6:12 6:13 6:13 6:15 6:16 6:17 6:18 6:18 6:19-236:20 6:23 6:24-30 6:25 6:26 6:27 6:28 6:29 6:30 6:30 7:1-7 7:6 7:6 7:7 7:87:8-10 7:9 7:10 7:11-21 7:11-34 7:12 7:15 7:15 7:16 7:16 7:16 7:16 7:16-18 7:177:18 7:18 7:19 7:20 7:20 7:20 7:21 7:21 7:22 7:22-27 7:23-25 7:24 7:26 7:267:27 7:28-34 7:29 7:30-34 7:32-34 7:35 7:35-38 7:36 7:38 8:1-4 8:1-36 8:1-9:248:2 8:3 8:4 8:5 8:5 8:6 8:6-9 8:7-9 8:8 8:10 8:10 8:10-12 8:11 8:11 8:12 8:138:13 8:14 8:14-17 8:18-21 8:18-21 8:22 8:22-30 8:23 8:24 8:31 8:31-36 8:32 8:338:34 8:35 8:35 8:36 9:1 9:1-7 9:2 9:3 9:4 9:6 9:7 9:8 9:8 9:8-14 9:10-20 9:159:15 9:15-22 9:16 9:17 9:18 9:22 9:23 9:23 9:23 9:23 9:24 9:24 9:24 9:24 9:2410:1 10:1 10:1 10:1-20 10:2 10:2 10:2 10:3 10:3 10:3 10:3 10:3 10:3 10:4 10:410:4-7 10:5 10:5 10:6 10:7 10:7 10:8 10:8 10:8-11 10:9 10:9 10:10 10:10 10:1010:11 10:11 10:12 10:12 10:12 10:12 10:12-15 10:12-20 10:13 10:13 10:16 10:1610:17 10:17 10:17 10:18 10:18 10:19 10:20 10:23 11:1-8 11:2 11:9 11:9-12 11:1011:10-12 11:13-19 11:14 11:20 11:20-28 11:21 11:22 11:24-28 11:29 11:29-43 11:3011:32 11:33 11:35 11:36 11:39 11:41 11:42 11:43 11:44 11:44 11:44 11:44-4711:45 11:45 11:46 11:47 12:1-5 12:2 12:4 12:5 12:5 12:6 12:6-8 13:1-17 13:1-5913:3 13:4 13:4 13:5 13:6 13:6 13:7 13:8 13:10 13:11 13:12 13:13 13:14 13:1813:18-23 13:24 13:24-28 13:29-37 13:30-37 13:38 13:38-41 13:39 13:40-44 13:4413:45 13:45 13:46 13:46 13:47-59 13:52 13:57 13:58 14:1-9 14:3 14:5 14:6 14:614:7 14:7 14:8 14:8 14:9 14:10-32 14:11 14:12 14:12 14:14 14:19 14:20 14:2114:22 14:33-53 14:34 14:35 14:40 14:41 14:44 14:45 14:49 14:54-57 15:1-18 15:215:2 15:4-12 15:13-15 15:16 15:17 15:19-24 15:19-33 15:25 15:26 15:27 15:2815:29 15:31 16:1 16:1 16:1-34 16:2 16:2 16:2 16:3 16:3 16:4 16:4 16:5 16:616:6-11 16:7 16:7-9 16:10 16:10 16:11 16:12 16:12-14 16:14 16:15 16:15-17 16:1616:16 16:16 16:17 16:17 16:18 16:18 16:18 16:19 16:19 16:19 16:20 16:20-2216:21 16:21 16:22 16:23 16:23-25 16:24 16:25 16:26 16:27 16:28 16:29 16:2916:29-34 16:31 16:33 16:34 17:1-9 17:3 17:3 17:4 17:4 17:4 17:5 17:7 17:7 17:1017:10 17:10-16 17:11 17:11 17:12 17:13 17:14 17:14 17:15 17:15 17:16 18:1 18:1-518:1-30 18:3 18:3 18:4 18:4 18:5 18:5 18:6 18:6 18:6-18 18:8 18:12 18:16 18:1818:18 18:19 18:19-23 18:20 18:21 18:21 18:21 18:22 18:23 18:24 18:24 18:24-301297Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)18:25 18:25 18:25 18:27 18:28 18:28 18:29 18:30 18:30 18:30 19:2 19:2 19:219:3 19:3 19:3 19:3 19:4 19:4 19:5-8 19:5-8 19:6 19:7 19:8 19:9 19:9 19:9 19:1019:10 19:11 19:11 19:11 19:12 19:12 19:13 19:13 19:14 19:14 19:15 19:15 19:1619:16 19:17 19:17 19:17 19:17 19:17 19:17 19:18 19:18 19:18 19:19 19:19 19:1919:20-22 19:20-22 19:21 19:23-25 19:23-25 19:23-25 19:26 19:26 19:26-28 19:26-2819:27 19:28 19:28 19:29 19:29 19:30 19:30 19:31 19:31 19:32 19:32 19:32 19:3319:33 19:34 19:34 19:35 19:35 19:35 19:36 19:36 19:36 19:37 19:37 20:1-5 20:220:2 20:2 20:3 20:3 20:4 20:5 20:6 20:6 20:7 20:7 20:8 20:8 20:8 20:9 20:920:9 20:10 20:10 20:10 20:10 20:11 20:11 20:11 20:12 20:12 20:13 20:13 20:1420:14 20:15 20:15 20:16 20:16 20:17 20:17 20:18 20:18 20:19-21 20:19-21 20:2220:22 20:22-26 20:23 20:23 20:24 20:24 20:24 20:25 20:25 20:26 20:26 20:2620:27 20:27 21:1-3 21:1-9 21:4 21:5 21:6 21:7 21:7 21:8 21:9 21:10 21:10 21:1021:10-12 21:10-15 21:11 21:11 21:11 21:12 21:12 21:13 21:14 21:14 21:15 21:16-2421:17 21:21 21:22 21:23 22:1-9 22:2 22:2 22:3 22:4 22:6 22:9 22:10 22:10 22:10-1322:11 22:12 22:14 22:14-16 22:14-16 22:15 22:16 22:17-25 22:20 22:21 22:22 22:2322:24 22:25 22:26 22:26-28 22:27 22:27 22:28 22:29 22:29-33 22:30 22:31 22:3223:2 23:3 23:3 23:4 23:4-8 23:5 23:6 23:7 23:7 23:7 23:8 23:9-14 23:10 23:1023:10 23:11 23:11 23:12 23:12 23:14 23:15-22 23:17 23:17 23:18 23:18-20 23:2123:22 23:23-25 23:23-25 23:24 23:24 23:25 23:26-32 23:27 23:28 23:29 23:30 23:3123:32 23:32 23:33-44 23:34 23:34-44 23:35 23:36 23:37 23:38 23:39 23:39 23:4023:40 23:40 23:42 23:43 23:44 24:1-9 24:1-23 24:2 24:2 24:3 24:4 24:4 24:524:5-10 24:6 24:7 24:8 24:9 24:10 24:10-14 24:11 24:11 24:11 24:14 24:15 24:1524:16 24:16 24:17 24:17-23 24:18 24:19 24:20 24:21 24:21 24:23 24:23 25:1-725:4 25:5 25:5-7 25:8 25:8 25:8-17 25:8-22 25:9 25:10 25:10 25:11 25:12 25:1325:14-17 25:15 25:15 25:16 25:18 25:18-22 25:19 25:21 25:23 25:23-28 25:24 25:2525:26 25:27 25:28 25:29 25:29-34 25:30 25:32 25:33 25:34 25:35 25:35-38 25:3625:37 25:38 25:39 25:39-46 25:41 25:42 25:42 25:43 25:44 25:46 25:47-55 25:4825:48 25:49 25:50-52 25:53 25:54 26:1 26:1 26:1 26:1-46 26:2 26:2 26:2 26:3-1326:4 26:5 26:5 26:5 26:6 26:6 26:6 26:7 26:8 26:9 26:9 26:9 26:10 26:11 26:1126:12 26:12 26:13 26:14 26:14-39 26:15 26:16 26:16 26:16 26:17 26:17 26:1726:18 26:18 26:19 26:19 26:20 26:21 26:21 26:21 26:22 26:23 26:24 26:24 26:2526:25 26:26 26:27 26:27 26:28 26:28 26:29 26:30 26:30 26:31 26:32 26:33 26:3426:34 26:35 26:36 26:37 26:38 26:39 26:40 26:40-46 26:41 26:41 26:42 26:4226:43 26:43 26:44 26:45 26:45 26:46 26:46 27:2 27:2-8 27:3 27:4 27:5 27:6 27:727:8 27:8 27:9 27:9-13 27:10 27:11 27:11-13 27:12 27:14 27:15 27:15-25 27:1627:16 27:17 27:18 27:19 27:20 27:21 27:22 27:24 27:25 27:26 27:26 27:27 27:2727:28 27:28 27:29 27:29 27:30 27:30-34 27:31 27:32 27:33 27:34 33:36Numbers1:1 1:1 1:1-4 1:1-54 1:1-54 1:1-2:34 1:1-4:49 1:2 1:3 1:3 1:5 1:5-16 1:16 1:17-431:18 1:25 1:27 1:32 1:33 1:35 1:44-46 1:47-54 1:49 1:50 1:50 1:51 1:51 1:53 2:12:2 2:3-9 2:10 2:10-16 2:17 2:17 2:17 2:18 2:18-24 2:20 2:25-31 2:31 2:32 2:343:1 3:1-4 3:3 3:4 3:4 3:4 3:4 3:5-9 3:6 3:6 3:7 3:9 3:10 3:10 3:11-13 3:12 3:133:14-16 3:15 3:15 3:17-20 3:17-26 3:23 3:24 3:25 3:26 3:27-32 3:29 3:30 3:303:31 3:31 3:32 3:33-39 3:35 3:35 3:36 3:37 3:38 3:39 3:39 3:40-45 3:42 3:431298Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)3:43 3:46-51 4:2-20 4:3 4:5 4:6 4:6 4:8 4:10 4:11 4:12 4:13 4:14 4:15 4:16 4:164:18 4:20 4:22-26 4:23 4:24-28 4:27 4:28 4:28 4:29-33 4:31 4:32 4:34-49 4:474:48 5:1-4 5:1-6:27 5:4 5:5-8 5:8 5:9 5:10 5:11-31 6:1-8 6:9-12 6:12 6:13-216:22-27 6:23 6:25 7:1 7:1-9 7:1-89 7:1-8:26 7:2 7:3 7:7 7:8 7:9 7:10-88 7:11 7:127:84-88 7:89 7:89 8:1-4 8:3 8:5-8 8:6 8:9-10 8:10 8:10 8:11 8:11 8:11-18 8:128:14 8:15 8:16-18 8:19 8:19 8:19 8:19 8:20 8:20-22 8:23-26 8:24 8:24 8:25 9:1-59:1-10:36 9:4 9:5 9:6 9:6-14 9:7 9:8 9:10 9:11 9:12 9:13 9:14 9:15 9:17 9:179:19 9:19 9:20 9:21 9:22 10:1-10 10:2 10:5 10:5 10:6 10:7 10:8 10:9 10:10 10:1010:11 10:11 10:11 10:11 10:11-28 10:13 10:14-16 10:17 10:18-20 10:21 10:22-2410:25-27 10:29 10:29 10:29-32 10:30 10:31 10:32 10:32 10:33 10:33 10:35 10:3611:1 11:1-3 11:1-35 11:1-14:45 11:2 11:3 11:4 11:4 11:4 11:4 11:4-9 11:5 11:511:6 11:7-9 11:10-15 11:12 11:13 11:14 11:15 11:15 11:16 11:16 11:17 11:17 11:1811:18-23 11:19 11:20 11:21 11:22 11:22 11:22 11:23 11:23 11:24 11:24-30 11:2511:26 11:27 11:28 11:29 11:29 11:30 11:31 11:31 11:32 11:32 11:33 11:33-3511:34 12:1 12:1 12:1-3 12:2 12:2 12:3 12:4 12:4-9 12:5 12:6-8 12:6-8 12:7 12:812:8 12:8 12:9 12:10 12:10 12:11 12:11 12:11-13 12:12 12:12 12:12 12:13 12:1312:14 12:14-16 12:15 13:1 13:1-16 13:1-14:45 13:2 13:4-15 13:16 13:17 13:17-2013:18 13:19 13:20 13:21 13:21-25 13:22 13:23 13:24 13:26-33 13:27 13:28 13:2813:28 13:28 13:29 13:29 13:30 13:31 13:31 13:32 13:32 13:33 13:33 13:33 13:3314:1 14:1 14:1 14:1 14:1-4 14:1-45 14:2 14:2 14:2 14:2 14:3 14:3 14:3 14:3 14:314:4 14:5 14:5 14:5-10 14:7 14:7-9 14:8 14:9 14:9 14:9 14:9 14:10 14:10 14:1114:11 14:12 14:12 14:13 14:13-16 14:13-19 14:14 14:14 14:15 14:16 14:17 14:1814:19 14:19 14:19 14:20 14:20 14:20-25 14:20-35 14:21 14:22 14:22 14:23 14:2314:24 14:25 14:26-35 14:27 14:27 14:28 14:29 14:29 14:30 14:30 14:31 14:3214:33 14:33 14:34 14:34 14:35 14:36 14:36 14:36-39 14:37 14:37 14:38 14:4014:40 14:40-45 14:41-43 14:44 14:45 15:1-12 15:2 15:3 15:3-5 15:4 15:6 15:7 15:715:8-10 15:9 15:10 15:13-16 15:13-16 15:17-21 15:18 15:20 15:21 15:22 15:22-2915:23 15:24 15:24 15:24 15:25 15:25 15:26 15:27 15:28 15:29 15:30 15:30 15:3015:30 15:30 15:30 15:31 15:31 15:31 15:32 15:32-36 15:33 15:34 15:35 15:3615:37-41 15:38 15:38 15:39 16:1 16:1-15 16:1-50 16:1-17:13 16:2 16:3 16:3 16:416:4-11 16:5-7 16:6 16:7 16:7 16:8 16:9 16:10 16:11 16:12 16:12 16:12-15 16:1316:14 16:14 16:15 16:16 16:16-22 16:17 16:18 16:19 16:19 16:19 16:21 16:2216:22 16:23-34 16:24 16:24 16:25 16:26 16:27 16:27 16:28-30 16:31 16:32 16:3316:34 16:35 16:35 16:37 16:37-40 16:38-40 16:41 16:41 16:41-43 16:42 16:43 16:4516:45 16:46 16:46-50 16:49 17:1-7 17:5 17:5 17:7 17:8 17:8 17:9 17:9 17:10 17:1017:11 17:11 17:12 17:12 17:13 17:13 17:13 18:1 18:1-7 18:1-19:22 18:2 18:2 18:2-418:4 18:4 18:5 18:6 18:7 18:7 18:8 18:8 18:8 18:8-19 18:9 18:10 18:11-13 18:1218:12 18:15 18:16 18:16 18:17 18:17 18:18 18:18 18:19 18:20 18:20-24 18:2118:22 18:23 18:24 18:24 18:25-32 18:26 18:28 18:30 18:31 18:32 19:1-10 19:219:4 19:5 19:7 19:8 19:8 19:9 19:10 19:10 19:11 19:11 19:11-16 19:12-19 19:1419:14-16 19:17-22 19:18 19:20 19:21 19:22 20:1 20:1 20:1 20:1-26:65 20:2 20:220:2 20:2 20:3 20:3 20:3-5 20:4 20:4 20:5 20:6 20:6 20:6-9 20:8 20:8 20:8 20:920:10 20:10-12 20:11 20:11 20:12 20:12 20:12 20:12 20:13 20:13 20:13 20:14-1720:14-17 20:16 20:16 20:17 20:18 20:18 20:18 20:18-21 20:19 20:20 20:20 20:201299Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)20:21 20:22 20:24 20:27 20:29 21:1 21:1-3 21:1-3 21:2 21:3 21:4 21:4-9 21:521:5 21:6 21:7 21:7 21:8 21:9 21:10 21:10 21:10-20 21:13 21:13-15 21:14 21:1621:16 21:17 21:18 21:18 21:18 21:18 21:21 21:21-32 21:23 21:24 21:25 21:2621:26 21:26 21:27 21:27 21:27-30 21:28 21:29 21:30 21:33 21:33-35 21:34 22:1-422:2 22:2-4 22:3 22:3 22:3 22:4 22:4 22:5 22:5-14 22:6 22:6 22:7 22:8 22:9-1122:12 22:13 22:14 22:15 22:15-21 22:16 22:17 22:18 22:18 22:19 22:20 22:2122:22 22:22-35 22:23 22:23 22:23 22:23 22:24 22:25 22:26 22:27 22:28 22:2822:29 22:30 22:31 22:31 22:32 22:33 22:34 22:35 22:36 22:36-41 22:37 22:3822:38 22:40 22:41 23:1-3 23:3 23:3 23:4 23:4 23:5 23:5 23:6 23:7 23:7 23:7-1023:8 23:8 23:9 23:9 23:10 23:11 23:11 23:12 23:12 23:13 23:13-26 23:14 23:1523:16 23:16 23:17 23:17 23:18 23:19 23:20 23:21 23:22 23:22 23:23 23:24 23:2523:26 23:27 23:27-30 23:29 23:30 24:1 24:1 24:1-9 24:2 24:3 24:3 24:3 24:3-924:4 24:4 24:4 24:4 24:5 24:5 24:6 24:6 24:7 24:7 24:8 24:8 24:9 24:9 24:924:10 24:10-13 24:11 24:12 24:13 24:14 24:14 24:14-25 24:15 24:17 24:17 24:1724:18 24:19 24:20 24:20 24:21 24:22 24:23 24:24 25:1 25:1-3 25:3 25:3 25:4 25:425:5 25:5 25:6 25:7 25:8 25:8 25:8 25:8 25:8 25:9 25:9 25:10-13 25:11 25:1225:12 25:13 25:13 25:14 25:14 25:15 25:15 25:15 25:16-18 25:17 25:18 26:1-326:1-4 26:1-65 26:5-50 26:5-65 26:9 26:9-11 26:10 26:11 26:11 26:42 26:42 26:4326:47 26:51 26:52-56 26:53 26:54 26:55 26:57-62 26:59 26:63-65 26:64 26:6527:1-11 27:1-23 27:2 27:3 27:4 27:5 27:7 27:7 27:8 27:9-11 27:12 27:12-14 27:1327:13 27:14 27:14 27:15-17 27:18 27:18 27:18-23 27:19 27:20 27:21 27:21 27:2227:23 27:33 28:1 28:1-29:40 28:2 28:2 28:3 28:3-8 28:6 28:7 28:9 28:9 28:1028:10 28:10 28:11-15 28:11-15 28:15 28:16-25 28:17-25 28:18 28:19 28:26 28:26-3128:27-30 29:1 29:1-6 29:2-6 29:7-11 29:8 29:8-10 29:11 29:12 29:12-38 29:12-3929:39 29:39 29:40 30:1 30:1-16 30:2 30:3 30:3-5 30:4 30:6 30:6-8 30:6-8 30:6-1630:7 30:8 30:9 30:9 30:10-14 30:13 30:15 31:1 31:1-32:42 31:2 31:2 31:2 31:331:3-6 31:7 31:7-12 31:8 31:9 31:9 31:10 31:11 31:12 31:13 31:13 31:14 31:14-1831:15 31:16 31:19 31:19 31:19-24 31:20 31:21-23 31:24 31:25-47 31:29 31:30 31:4831:48-54 31:49 31:50 31:50 31:50-53 31:54 32:1 32:1-5 32:1-42 32:2 32:2 32:532:6 32:6-15 32:7 32:8-13 32:14 32:15 32:16 32:16-19 32:17 32:18 32:19 32:2032:20-42 32:21 32:22 32:23 32:23 32:25 32:25 32:27 32:27 32:28-30 32:31 32:3132:32 32:33 32:38 32:39 33:1 33:1-49 33:1-56 33:2 33:3 33:4 33:4 33:6 33:8 33:1133:14 33:15 33:16 33:38 33:39 33:40 33:50-56 33:52 33:53 33:53 33:54 33:5533:56 34:1-15 34:1-36:13 34:2-12 34:3 34:3 34:5 34:6 34:8 34:12 34:12 34:1334:14 34:15 34:16-29 34:17 35:1-8 35:2 35:2 35:3 35:4 35:4 35:5 35:5 35:8 35:9-1535:10-15 35:15 35:16 35:16 35:16-21 35:17 35:18 35:19 35:20 35:20 35:21 35:2135:22 35:22-24 35:23 35:24 35:25 35:25-34 35:26 35:26-28 35:27 35:27 35:30 35:3035:30 35:31 35:33 36:1-4 36:1-13 36:2 36:2 36:3 36:5 36:5-7 36:7 36:8 36:8 36:936:10-12 36:10-12 36:13 36:13 38:4Deuteronomy1:1 1:1 1:1-46 1:2 1:3 1:3 1:3 1:4 1:5 1:5 1:6 1:6 1:6 1:6-8 1:7 1:7 1:7 1:81:9 1:9 1:9-18 1:10 1:11 1:12 1:13 1:14 1:15 1:16 1:16 1:17 1:17 1:17 1:191:19-33 1:20 1:20 1:21 1:21 1:22 1:22 1:24 1:25 1:26 1:27 1:28 1:29 1:29 1:301:30 1:30 1:31 1:32 1:33 1:34-38 1:34-46 1:37 1:38 1:39 1:41 1:42 1:43 1:441300Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)1:45 2:1 2:1-3 2:4 2:4 2:4 2:4-8 2:5 2:5 2:5 2:6 2:7 2:8 2:8 2:9 2:9 2:9 2:92:9 2:9 2:9 2:10 2:10-12 2:11 2:11 2:12 2:12 2:13 2:13-16 2:14 2:15 2:16 2:17-232:19 2:19 2:20 2:21 2:21 2:22 2:22 2:23 2:24 2:24 2:25 2:25 2:26-29 2:26-322:30 2:30 2:32 2:33 2:33-37 2:34 2:34 2:35 2:36 3:1 3:1-11 3:2 3:3 3:4 3:5 3:73:8 3:10 3:11 3:11 3:12-17 3:14 3:15 3:18-20 3:18-20 3:21 3:21 3:22 3:22 3:23-253:24 3:25 3:25 3:26 3:26 3:26 3:26-29 3:27 3:28 4:1 4:1 4:1 4:1-40 4:1-40 4:24:2 4:2 4:2 4:3 4:4 4:5 4:5 4:5 4:6 4:6 4:7 4:7 4:7 4:8 4:8 4:9 4:9 4:10 4:104:10 4:11 4:12 4:12 4:13 4:14 4:15 4:15 4:15 4:15-18 4:16 4:19 4:19 4:20 4:204:21 4:22 4:23 4:23 4:24 4:25 4:25-31 4:26 4:27 4:28 4:28 4:29-31 4:31 4:324:32 4:33 4:33 4:33 4:33 4:33 4:34 4:36 4:36 4:37 4:37 4:38 4:39 4:40 4:404:41-43 4:41-43 4:44-46 4:44-49 4:47 5:1 5:1-5 5:4 5:5 5:6-21 5:15 5:22 5:225:23-27 5:25 5:27 5:28 5:28-31 5:29 5:29 5:31 5:32 5:32 5:33 5:33 6:1 6:1 6:1-36:2 6:2 6:2 6:3 6:3 6:4 6:4 6:5 6:5 6:6 6:6 6:6-9 6:7 6:7 6:7 6:8 6:9 6:10 6:106:10 6:10-12 6:10-24 6:11 6:11 6:12 6:13 6:13 6:14 6:14 6:15 6:15 6:16 6:16-186:17-19 6:20 6:20-25 6:21-23 6:24 7:1 7:1 7:2 7:2 7:2 7:2 7:2 7:3 7:3 7:3 7:37:4 7:4 7:5 7:6 7:7 7:7 7:8 7:9 7:10 7:12 7:13 7:14 7:15 7:16 7:16 7:17 7:187:18 7:18 7:19 7:20 7:21 7:21 7:22 7:23 7:25 7:25 7:26 7:26 8:1 8:1 8:1 8:18:2 8:2 8:2 8:2 8:2 8:2-5 8:3 8:3 8:3 8:3 8:4 8:4 8:4 8:5 8:6 8:6 8:6 8:6 8:68:7 8:7-9 8:7-9 8:8 8:8 8:9 8:10 8:10 8:10-14 8:11 8:11 8:12 8:12 8:12-15 8:138:14 8:14 8:15 8:15 8:15 8:15 8:16 8:16 8:16 8:16 8:17 8:17 8:17-26 8:18 8:188:18 8:19 8:19 8:20 8:20 8:24 8:25 8:26 9:1 9:1 9:1-3 9:2 9:3 9:4 9:4 9:4-69:5 9:5 9:6 9:7 9:7 9:7-24 9:8 9:8 9:8-21 9:12 9:13 9:14 9:14 9:16 9:17 9:179:17 9:18 9:19 9:20 9:20 9:20 9:21 9:21 9:22 9:22 9:23 9:23 9:24 9:24 9:249:25 9:25 9:26 9:27 9:27 9:28 10:1 10:1-5 10:2 10:3 10:4 10:5 10:6 10:6 10:610:6 10:6 10:7 10:7 10:8 10:8 10:8 10:9 10:9 10:10 10:10 10:10 10:11 10:1110:12 10:12 10:12 10:12-22 10:13 10:14 10:15 10:16 10:17 10:17 10:18 10:1810:19 10:20 10:20 10:20 10:20 10:20 10:21 10:21 10:22 11:1 11:2 11:2 11:2-711:3 11:4 11:5 11:6 11:7 11:8 11:8-15 11:9 11:10 11:10 11:10-12 11:11 11:1111:13-15 11:15 11:16 11:16 11:17 11:17 11:18-20 11:18-21 11:21 11:22 11:22-2511:23 11:24 11:25 11:26 11:26-32 11:27 11:28 11:29 11:29 11:29 11:30 11:3011:30 11:31 11:32 12:1 12:1-3 12:1-26:19 12:2 12:2 12:3 12:4 12:4 12:5 12:6 12:612:6 12:7 12:7 12:7 12:7 12:7 12:8 12:8-11 12:9 12:10 12:11 12:11 12:11 12:1212:12 12:12 12:12 12:12 12:12 12:13 12:13 12:14 12:14 12:15 12:15 12:15 12:1612:16 12:17 12:17 12:18 12:18 12:18 12:18 12:18 12:19 12:19 12:20-22 12:20-2612:21 12:22 12:23 12:24 12:25 12:26-28 12:27 12:29-32 12:29-32 12:30 12:31 12:3112:32 13:1 13:1 13:1-3 13:1-5 13:1-18 13:2 13:2 13:3 13:3 13:3 13:4 13:5 13:513:6 13:6-11 13:7 13:8 13:8 13:9 13:9 13:9 13:9 13:10 13:11 13:12-18 13:14 13:1513:16 13:17 13:17 14:1 14:1 14:1 14:1 14:2 14:2 14:2 14:3-21 14:4 14:4 14:514:5 14:9 14:10 14:11-20 14:21 14:22 14:22-29 14:23 14:23 14:24 14:25 14:2714:28 14:28 14:29 14:29 15:1 15:1-6 15:2 15:2 15:2 15:3 15:3 15:4 15:4 15:415:4 15:4-6 15:6 15:6 15:6 15:7 15:7 15:7 15:7-11 15:8 15:9 15:10 15:10 15:1115:11 15:12 15:12-18 15:13 15:14 15:15 15:16 15:17 15:17 15:18 15:19 15:1915:19-23 15:20 15:21 15:22 15:23 16:1 16:1 16:1-8 16:2 16:2 16:3 16:3 16:416:5-7 16:6 16:7 16:8 16:9 16:9 16:9-12 16:10 16:10 16:11 16:12 16:13-15 16:13-151301Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)16:14 16:15 16:16 16:16 16:17 16:17 16:18 16:18-20 16:19 16:20 16:21 16:2116:22 16:22 17:1 17:1 17:1-19:21 17:2 17:2-7 17:3 17:4 17:4 17:5 17:6 17:6 17:617:8 17:8-13 17:9 17:9 17:10 17:11 17:11 17:12 17:12 17:12 17:13 17:14 17:14-2017:15 17:16 17:16 17:17 17:18 17:19 17:19 17:20 18:1 18:1-8 18:2 18:3 18:4 18:518:6-8 18:9 18:9-14 18:10 18:10 18:11 18:12 18:13 18:14 18:15 18:15 18:15-1818:16 18:17 18:18 18:18 18:19 18:19 18:20 18:20 18:20 18:21 18:21 18:22 18:2219:1-3 19:1-13 19:4-6 19:7 19:8-10 19:10 19:11-13 19:11-13 19:14 19:14 19:1419:15 19:15 19:15-21 19:17 19:18 19:19 19:20 19:21 20:1 20:1-4 20:3 20:3 20:420:5 20:5 20:5-7 20:6 20:7 20:8 20:8 20:9 20:9 20:10 20:10 20:10 20:10-15 20:1120:13 20:13 20:13 20:14 20:15 20:16 20:16 20:16-18 20:17 20:18 20:19 20:19-2020:20 21:1 21:1-9 21:2 21:3 21:3 21:4 21:5 21:5 21:6 21:7 21:8 21:8 21:1021:10-14 21:11 21:12 21:13 21:14 21:15 21:15 21:15 21:15-17 21:16 21:17 21:1721:18 21:18-21 21:19 21:20 21:20 21:21 21:22 21:22 21:23 22:1 22:1-4 22:2 22:322:4 22:5 22:5 22:6 22:6 22:6 22:7 22:7 22:8 22:8 22:9 22:9-11 22:10 22:1122:12 22:12 22:13-19 22:13-19 22:18 22:19 22:20 22:20 22:21 22:21 22:22 22:2222:23 22:23 22:23-27 22:24 22:24 22:24-27 22:28 22:28 22:29 22:29 22:30 22:3023:1 23:1-8 23:2 23:4 23:4 23:5 23:5 23:5 23:6 23:7 23:7 23:8 23:9 23:9-14 23:1023:11 23:12-14 23:15 23:15 23:16 23:17 23:17 23:18 23:18 23:19 23:19 23:2023:20 23:21-23 23:21-23 23:23 23:24 23:25 23:25 24:1 24:1 24:1-4 24:2 24:3 24:424:5 24:5 24:5 24:6 24:6 24:7 24:7 24:7 24:8 24:8 24:8 24:8 24:9 24:9 24:924:10 24:10-13 24:11 24:12 24:13 24:14 24:14 24:15 24:15 24:16 24:16 24:1724:17 24:17 24:18 24:18 24:19 24:19-22 25:1-3 25:1-3 25:3 25:4 25:4 25:5 25:525:5 25:5-10 25:6 25:7 25:8-10 25:11 25:11 25:12 25:12 25:13 25:13-16 25:1425:15 25:16 25:17 25:17 25:17-19 25:18 25:18 25:19 25:19 26:1 26:1-11 26:2 26:226:3 26:3 26:4 26:5 26:5 26:6 26:7 26:7 26:8 26:9 26:10 26:11 26:12 26:12-1526:13 26:13 26:14 26:15 26:16 26:16 26:17 26:17 26:17-19 26:18 26:18 26:1926:19 26:19 27:1 27:1-10 27:1-28:68 27:2 27:2 27:3 27:3 27:3 27:4 27:4 27:5 27:627:7 27:7 27:8 27:9 27:9 27:11 27:11-26 27:12 27:12 27:13 27:15 27:15-26 27:1627:17 27:18 27:18 27:19 27:20 27:21 27:22 27:23 27:24 27:25 27:26 28:1 28:128:1-14 28:1-20 28:2 28:2 28:3 28:3 28:4 28:4 28:5 28:6 28:7 28:8 28:8 28:928:9 28:10 28:10 28:11 28:11 28:12 28:12 28:12 28:13 28:13 28:14 28:15 28:1528:15-44 28:15-68 28:16 28:16 28:17 28:18 28:19 28:20 28:20 28:21 28:22 28:2328:24 28:25 28:25 28:26 28:27 28:27 28:27 28:28 28:29 28:30 28:31 28:32 28:3428:35 28:36 28:37 28:38 28:39 28:40 28:41 28:42 28:43 28:44 28:44 28:45 28:45-6828:46 28:47 28:48 28:49 28:50 28:51 28:52 28:53 28:54 28:55 28:56 28:57 28:5728:58 28:58 28:59 28:59 28:59 28:60 28:60 28:61 28:62 28:63 28:64 28:65 28:6528:66 28:67 28:68 28:68 29:1 29:1 29:1 29:1-30:20 29:2 29:2 29:2 29:2-8 29:329:4 29:5 29:6 29:7 29:8 29:9 29:9 29:9 29:9 29:10 29:10 29:11 29:11 29:1229:12 29:13 29:13 29:14 29:15 29:15 29:16 29:16 29:17 29:17 29:18 29:18-2129:18-28 29:19 29:19 29:20 29:20 29:21 29:22 29:22 29:23 29:23 29:24 29:2529:26 29:27 29:28 29:29 29:29 30:1 30:1 30:1 30:1 30:1-10 30:1-10 30:1-20 30:230:2 30:2 30:2 30:3 30:3 30:4 30:4 30:5 30:5 30:5 30:6 30:6 30:7 30:8 30:830:8 30:9 30:9 30:10 30:10 30:11 30:11 30:11-14 30:12 30:13 30:14 30:15-20 30:1630:17 30:18 30:19 30:19 30:20 31:1-6 31:1-29 31:2 31:3 31:3 31:3 31:4 31:5 31:61302Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)31:6 31:7 31:7 31:7 31:8 31:8 31:9 31:9 31:9 31:9-13 31:10 31:10-13 31:11 31:1131:11 31:12 31:12 31:13 31:14 31:14 31:14 31:15 31:15 31:16 31:16 31:16 31:16-1831:17 31:17 31:18 31:18 31:19 31:19-21 31:20 31:21 31:21 31:22 31:22 31:2231:23 31:23 31:24-26 31:24-27 31:26 31:27 31:28 31:28 31:28-30 31:29 31:29 31:3032:1 32:1 32:1-52 32:2 32:2 32:2 32:2 32:2 32:3 32:3 32:3-6 32:4 32:4 32:5 32:532:6 32:7 32:7-18 32:8 32:8 32:8 32:8 32:8 32:9 32:10 32:10 32:10 32:10 32:1132:11 32:11 32:11 32:12 32:12 32:13 32:13 32:14 32:14 32:15 32:15 32:16 32:1632:16 32:17 32:18 32:19 32:19-33 32:20 32:20 32:21 32:22 32:22-25 32:23 32:23-3932:24 32:24 32:25 32:26-28 32:27 32:28 32:29 32:30 32:31 32:31 32:32 32:3232:33 32:33 32:34 32:34 32:35 32:36 32:36 32:36 32:36 32:36-43 32:37 32:3832:39 32:40 32:40-42 32:41-47 32:43 32:44 32:44 32:45 32:47 32:48 32:48-52 32:4932:49 32:50 32:50 32:50 32:51 32:51 33:1 33:1-29 33:1-29 33:2 33:2 33:2 33:233:2-5 33:3 33:4 33:5 33:5 33:5 33:6 33:6 33:7 33:7 33:8 33:8 33:8-11 33:9 33:933:9 33:9 33:9-11 33:10 33:10 33:10 33:10 33:10 33:11 33:12 33:13-16 33:13-1733:14 33:14 33:15 33:16 33:16 33:16 33:16 33:17 33:17 33:18 33:18 33:19 33:1933:20 33:20 33:20 33:21 33:21 33:21 33:22 33:22 33:23 33:23 33:24 33:24 33:2533:25 33:26 33:26 33:26-29 33:27 33:27 33:28 33:29 33:29 33:29 33:32 33:3333:42 34:1 34:1 34:1-4 34:4 34:5 34:5 34:6 34:6 34:7 34:7 34:8 34:8 34:9 34:934:9 34:10 34:10 34:10-12 34:10-12Joshua1:12 1:16 2:9 2:9 2:10 2:10 2:10 3:4 4:1 4:12 4:13 4:19 5:1 5:2 5:10 5:11 6:26:16 6:17 7:9 7:10 7:13 7:20 8:34 8:35 9:23 10:24 11:20 13:1 13:21 14:9 14:1214:13 17:3 17:4 18:3 18:28 19:9 19:11 21:1-45 22:7 22:12 24:2 24:2 24:4 24:1224:14 24:15 24:15 24:15 24:26 24:32 24:32Judges1:2 1:7 1:7 1:16 1:16 1:28 1:30 1:33 1:35 2:11-18 3:1 3:4 3:15 3:20 4:2 5:15:2 5:5 5:10 5:18 6:3 6:5 6:5 6:6 6:21 6:21 6:22 6:24 6:26 6:33 6:36-40 7:37:7 7:13 7:14 7:16 8:1 9:8 9:23 10:14 10:14 10:16 10:16 10:16 11:1 11:2 11:15-2311:20 11:23 11:24 12:1 12:14 13:4 13:5 13:17 13:18 13:19 13:19 13:19 13:2013:21 13:23 13:24 13:25 13:25 17:13 18:24 18:27 20:12 20:13 20:14 20:16 20:2720:28 21:9 21:10Ruth1:6 2:12 3:9 4:6 4:7 4:7 4:111 Samuel1:5 1:6 1:7 1:8 1:10 1:11 1:11 1:11 1:18 2:5 2:8 2:9 2:9 2:18 2:18 2:29 2:302:30 2:35 3:14 3:18 3:18 3:19 3:20 6:3 6:6 6:20 7:3 7:9 7:10 7:12 7:17 9:6 9:99:13 9:24 10:2 10:6 10:11 11:15 12:12 12:12 12:23 13:8 13:8 13:9 14:6 14:614:12 14:27 14:32 14:32 14:33 15:1-35 15:1-35 15:6 15:6 15:27 15:30 16:6 16:616:7 16:7 17:37 17:43 18:6 18:7 19:23 21:6 22:18 22:18 23:6 23:6 24:13 25:1125:32 25:32 25:33 25:33 26:19 26:21 26:25 30:1-31 30:6 30:16 30:17 30:24 30:252 Samuel1:1 2:26 3:29 6:8 6:14 7:18 7:18 7:18 7:18 7:19 7:23 8:2 8:11 8:12 8:12 13:1213:12 13:15 13:22 13:31 15:25 15:26 19:24 21:9 21:14 22:1 23:1-3 23:16 24:824:15 24:18 24:241303Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)1 Kings1:50 2:28 3:27 4:20 4:22 4:22-28 4:33 6:1 8:31 8:41 8:42 8:56 9:8 9:9 10:2810:29 11:1 11:1-4 12:4 12:33 13:6 15:15 17:1 17:13 18:23 18:27 18:28 18:3118:32 18:36 18:36 18:38 18:43 18:44 20:5 20:6 20:11 20:28 20:31 21:3 21:3 21:921:29 22:6 22:342 Kings1:39 2:17 2:23 2:24 2:24 4:23 5:1 5:10 5:12-14 5:23 5:23 5:23 6:5 6:26 6:286:29 7:2 7:3 7:4 8:20 8:22 9:32 12:14 14:6 15:29 17:6 17:24 17:31 18:4 20:8-1020:19 21:13 22:20 22:20 23:6 24:3 24:4 24:15 24:15 25:7 25:12 25:211 Chronicles1:35-54 4:43 5:1 5:2 5:18-22 5:19 5:20 5:22 7:2 9:30 10:13 12:8 12:8 12:32 15:1317:24 22:14 23:24 24:2 26:5 26:26 26:27 28:3 29:4 29:142 Chronicles1:7 2:14 3:1 5:12 5:13 6:1 6:5 6:8 7:1 7:1 7:12 9:26 9:26 12:8 12:8 13:11 13:1213:14 13:15 16:9 16:9 17:8 17:9 19:5 19:6 19:8 20:6 20:21 21:8 22:11 24:2224:22 25:16 25:16 26:16 26:21 28:20 28:22 29:17 29:21 29:27 29:36 30:15 30:2330:24 31:1 31:5 32:31 34:3 34:7 34:14 34:30 35:17 36:12 36:16 36:21 36:21Ezra2:63 3:8 4:12 6:9 6:10 6:10 7:20-22 8:35 9:1 9:1-15 9:1-10:44 9:2 9:4Nehemiah1:9 5:5 5:7 5:8 5:15 5:15 5:15 6:3 6:10 8:3 8:7 8:8 8:8 8:10 8:15 9:2 9:5 9:69:13 9:17 9:19 9:19 9:20 10:29 13:1 13:1-2 13:1-31 13:17Esther1:4 2:8 3:8 4:11 5:12 5:13 9:1 9:19Job1:5 1:5 1:5 1:5 1:21 2:10 3:11 3:20-22 4:12 4:13 4:16-21 4:19 5:14 5:15 5:235:23 5:26 7:2 7:2 7:4 8:4 8:7 9:15 9:18 9:19 9:23 10:9 10:22 10:22 11:10 11:1011:16 12:7 12:9 12:14 12:14 12:15 12:16 12:16 12:23 13:26 14:1 14:1 14:1315:20-21 15:25 16:4 16:5 17:14 18:5 18:6 18:15 18:18 19:25 19:25 20:14 20:2720:27 20:27 21:7 21:9 21:10 21:12 21:13 21:19 21:25 21:28-30 21:32 21:33 22:1222:15 22:16 22:20 22:23 22:23 22:28 23:3 23:4 23:6 23:16 24:1 24:15 24:24 25:426:7 26:8 26:9 26:9 26:9 26:9 26:12 26:13 26:13 26:14 27:16 27:17 27:20 27:2228:2 28:5 28:5 28:25 28:28 29:13 30:1 30:12 31:1 31:1 31:3 31:3 31:7 31:1131:13 31:13 31:13 31:13 31:13-15 31:14 31:15 31:17 31:28 31:33 31:33 31:3731:39 32:6 32:7 32:8 32:9 32:14-15 33:4 33:6 33:6 33:7 33:14 33:15 33:15 33:1633:23 33:23 33:24 34:10 34:11 34:19 34:19 34:19 34:20 35:6 35:10 35:11 36:1336:13 36:14 37:11 37:12 37:13 37:18 38:4 38:6 38:7 38:9-11 38:10 38:10 38:1138:11 38:19 38:22 38:22 38:22 38:23 38:23 38:23 38:24 38:36 39:6 39:9 39:1039:20 40:11-14 40:12 40:12 40:13 41:1 41:34 42:8-10Psalms1:2 1:2 1:2 1:3 1:3 2:1 2:1-3 2:4 2:8 2:11 2:12 4:4 4:6 4:7 4:8 4:8 4:8 5:35:3 7:12 7:12 7:12 7:13 7:16 8:3 8:3 8:4 9:15 10:4 10:8 10:9 10:17 10:17 11:611:7 11:8 12:4 12:5 14:1-3 15:1 15:4 15:5 16:4 16:5 16:6 16:10 16:15 17:8 17:1417:14 18:7-9 18:8 18:9 18:11 18:12 18:13 18:16 18:28 18:33 18:40 19:1-3 19:1-61304Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)19:10 19:12 19:12 20:1 20:5 20:7 21:7 21:8 21:8 21:8 21:12 21:12 22:4 22:522:9 22:9 22:10 22:10 22:12 22:26 22:29 23:4 24:1 24:3 24:3 24:4 24:4 25:1125:14 25:14 26:4 26:6 26:6 26:6 26:6 26:6 27:4 27:4 27:4 27:4 27:4 27:5 27:527:5 27:5 27:10 27:11 27:13 28:4 28:26 30:1-12 30:6 30:7 31:7 31:20 31:22 32:532:5 32:5 32:6 32:7 32:8 32:8 33:6 33:7 33:13 33:15 33:17 34:7 34:7 34:7 34:1035:13 36:1 36:6 36:6 36:6 36:8 37:6 37:12 37:13 37:16 37:19 37:19 37:23 37:2337:37 38:13 38:13-15 38:13-15 39:1 39:2 39:2 39:3 39:4 39:5 40:6 42:1 42:2 42:744:2 44:3 44:3 44:20 44:20 44:21 44:21 44:25 44:25 45:2 45:10 45:11 45:13 45:1446:1 46:4 46:5 46:5 46:8 47:4 47:4 47:4 48:12 48:14 49:6-8 49:6-8 49:14 49:1449:18 49:18 50:3 50:4 50:5 50:5 50:5 50:6 50:9 50:20 50:20 51:2 51:4 51:5 51:551:6 51:9 51:12 51:17 53:5 53:5 55:6 55:9 55:15 56:8 58:3 59:11 60:6 60:7 60:762:10 63:1 64:7 64:8 64:8 65:9 65:9 65:9 65:9 65:10 66:1-3 66:6 66:13 66:1366:14 66:14 66:18 67:6 68:1 68:4 68:5 68:6 68:12 68:17 68:17 68:18 68:18 69:269:2-15 69:9 69:14 69:15 69:22 69:33 72:6 72:10 72:14 72:14 72:14 72:15 73:1773:21 73:24 73:25 74:14 74:14 74:16 74:20 76:1 76:2 76:3 76:8 76:9 76:10 76:1177:11 77:16 77:19 78:3 78:4 78:6 78:7 78:9 78:10 78:12 78:14 78:14 78:15 78:1678:18 78:18 78:19 78:19 78:19 78:20 78:20 78:21 78:26 78:27 78:30 78:31 78:3278:34 78:38 78:39 78:45 78:47 78:48 78:49 78:49 78:54 78:61 78:71 79:9 80:180:1 80:2 80:2 80:4 80:8 80:9 80:19 81:3 81:3 81:9 81:14 82:3 83:3-13 83:4 83:783:8 83:15 83:16 84:2 84:6 84:6 84:10 84:10 86:8 86:16 86:17 87:5 88:8-18 89:689:15 89:15 89:15 89:15 89:20 89:20-28 89:37 90:1 90:1-17 90:8 90:10 90:10 90:1090:11 90:12 90:12 91:1 91:1 91:1-16 91:5 91:6 91:6 91:6 91:7 91:7 91:7 91:791:8 91:11 91:13 92:4 92:6 92:12-14 92:15 93:5 94:8 94:9 94:12 94:16 95:595:7-11 95:10 95:10 95:11 98:1 99:6 99:6 99:8 100:4 101:6 101:8 102:6 102:28103:1 103:3 103:7 103:10 103:12 103:14 103:18 103:20 103:21 104:3 104:6-9 104:7104:9 104:9 104:13 104:13-15 104:14 104:14 104:25 104:28 104:29 104:31 104:33105:2 105:12 105:13-15 105:14 105:14 105:15 105:15 105:15 105:17 105:18 105:19105:22 105:28 105:28 105:28 105:29 105:32 105:33 105:34 105:35 105:39 105:39105:44 105:45 106:7 106:7-13 106:9 106:12 106:19 106:19 106:20 106:23 106:23106:24 106:28 106:29 106:31 106:32 106:33 106:33 106:35 106:39 106:40 106:46106:46 107:1-43 107:4 107:7 107:7 107:7 107:7 107:7 107:34 107:38 107:38 107:39107:39 107:41 107:41 107:43 108:1 109:18 110:2 110:3 110:3 110:3 111:2 112:2112:9 112:10 113:6 113:6 113:7 113:8 113:9 114:3 114:4 114:8 115:16 115:16116:7 116:7 116:12 116:12 116:16 116:16 116:16 119 119:6 119:6 119:30 119:49119:49 119:59 119:60 119:74 119:89-91 119:105 119:111 119:115 119:120 119:120119:126 119:128 119:130 120:5 120:6 120:6 120:7 120:7 121:2 121:4 121:4 121:6121:8 122:1 122:1 122:1 124:8 124:8 125:2 126:1 126:1 126:2 127:3 127:4 127:4127:5 128:2 128:6 128:6 131:15 132:9 132:9 132:14 132:16 133:1 133:2 135:7135:11 135:19 136:9 136:13 136:14 136:19 136:19 136:20 136:20 136:25 136:25137:1 138:2 138:4 138:5 138:7 139:1 139:1-16 139:7-13 139:14 139:15 139:15139:16 139:21 139:22 141:2 141:5 141:5 141:6 142:2 142:2 142:3 144:15 145:10145:11 145:12 146:7 146:7 146:9 146:9 146:9 146:9 147:2 147:19 147:19 147:19147:20 147:20 147:20 147:20 148:6 148:8 148:8 148:14Proverbs1305Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)1:9 1:10 1:11 1:12 1:17 1:23 1:24 1:25 1:28 1:32 2:17 2:17 3:6 3:6 3:9 3:93:10 3:32 3:33 3:33 4:1 4:15 4:18 4:23 5:11 5:18 5:19 6:6-8 6:22 6:23 6:32 6:336:34 6:34 7:1-3 7:14 7:15 7:19 7:19 7:23 7:26 8:26 8:30 8:30 8:31 8:36 9:8 9:129:12 9:17 10:4 10:4 10:22 10:22 10:22 11:1 11:13 11:26 11:26 11:31 12:10 13:1513:20 13:22 13:22 14:7 14:9 14:28 14:34 15:1 15:8 15:8 15:8 15:8 15:8 15:815:8 15:30 15:32 16:7 16:7 16:9 16:31 17:6 17:8 17:8 17:15 17:17 18:10 18:1018:16 18:16 19:3 19:3 19:14 19:27 20:10 20:19 20:23 20:25 21:14 21:14 21:2721:30 22:2 22:7 23:1-3 23:1-3 23:2 23:3 23:6 23:6 23:7 23:20 23:31 23:31 23:3223:32 23:35 23:35 24:11 24:11 24:12 24:12 25:16 25:21 25:22 25:27 26:2 26:227:4 27:4 27:4 27:5 27:5 27:6 27:6 27:8 27:18 27:22 27:23 27:23 28:1 28:1 28:128:13 28:17 29:1 29:10 29:16 29:21 29:24 30:4 30:4 30:4 30:9 30:17 30:1730:21-23 31:4 31:5 31:5 31:5 31:8 31:11 31:11 31:13 31:19 31:26Ecclesiastes1:7 2:18 2:19 2:21 3:11 3:11 3:11 3:14 3:14 3:14 3:14 3:14 3:15 3:15 3:18 3:214:1 4:4 4:4 4:9 4:9 4:10 4:13 5:1 5:1 5:2 5:4 5:4 5:4 5:4 5:5 5:6 5:6 5:7 5:95:11 5:19 7:1 7:6 7:14 7:14 7:14 7:17 7:21 7:22 7:26 7:29 8:6 8:7 8:10 8:118:11 8:12 8:15 9:1 9:1 9:2 9:2 9:5 9:10 9:11 9:12 9:15 9:17 10:1 10:4 10:410:7 10:19 10:20 11:3 11:5 11:7 12:3 12:5 12:5 12:7 12:13Song of Solomon1:3 1:3 1:5 1:6 2:11 2:12 3:4 4:15 6:10 6:13 7:5 7:11 7:13 8:6 8:6Isaiah1:3 1:3 1:5-7 1:11 1:13 1:13 1:13 1:13 1:13 1:15 1:16-18 1:16-18 1:16-18 1:181:24 1:24 1:24 1:24 2:2 2:3 2:5 2:20 2:20 3:5 3:5 3:9 3:9 3:18 3:18-24 4:2 4:34:4 4:5 4:5 4:5 4:6 4:6 4:6 5:7 5:8 5:8 6:3 6:3 6:5 6:5 6:6 6:6 6:7 6:7 6:96:10 6:13 7:11-12 7:13 7:18 8:8 8:9 8:10 8:12 8:13 8:16 8:20 8:21 8:22 9:3 9:610:1 10:3 10:5 10:6 10:7 10:7 10:7 10:17 10:23 11:3 11:6 11:6 11:7 11:10 11:1011:12 11:15 12:2 13:6 13:19 14:14 14:14 14:15 14:29 14:29 16:4 16:12 16:1417:10 17:11 19:1 19:1 19:10 19:25 19:25 21:10 21:12 22:21 23:7 23:18 23:1825:7 26:10 26:11 26:20 26:20 26:20 26:21 26:21 26:21 26:21 27:3 27:3 27:4 27:427:7 27:7 27:11 27:13 27:13 28:7 28:7 28:10 28:12 28:16 28:17 28:17 28:17 28:2028:26 28:26 29:22 29:24 30:7 30:17 30:22 30:22 30:23 30:33 31:9 32:8 33:1 33:1433:15 33:15 33:16 33:20 34:5 34:11 34:11 34:13 34:14 34:16 34:17 35:8 37:1037:11 37:23 37:24 37:25 37:29 38:17 38:17 40:11 40:11 40:12 40:13 40:15 40:1840:28 40:31 41:2 41:2 41:4 41:10 41:14 41:15 41:17 41:18 41:23 42:1 42:4 42:442:21 43:2 43:3 43:3 43:4 43:4 43:4 43:4 43:4 43:10 43:11 43:11 43:13 43:1543:20 43:21 43:23 43:23 43:24 43:25 43:25 44:26 45:4 45:7 45:7 45:7 45:745:13-15 45:19 45:22 45:23 46:1 46:1 46:1 46:2 46:2 46:2 46:4 46:6 46:8 46:1047:12 47:12-14 47:13 47:13 48:8 48:8 48:10 49:6 49:8 49:15 49:16 49:16 49:1649:23 50:4 50:4 50:7-9 50:11 50:11 51:1 51:2 51:2 51:9 51:10 51:13 51:20 51:2251:22 51:23 51:23 52:4 52:5 52:11 52:12 52:12 52:15 52:15 53:2 53:6 53:8 53:1053:10 53:11 54:1 54:2 54:2 54:2 54:3 54:9 54:10 54:10 54:11 54:11-12 54:17 55:155:1 55:9 55:10 55:10 55:11 55:11 56:2 56:3 56:3 56:3 56:6 56:6 56:6 56:7 56:756:7 56:12 57:1 57:1 57:10 57:11 57:17 57:17 58:1 58:6 58:7 58:7 58:8 58:958:10 58:11 58:13 59:1 59:2 59:16 59:16 59:17 59:18 59:18 59:18 60:5 60:9 60:141306Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)60:17 60:22 61:2 61:5 61:8 61:9 61:10 62:1 62:2 63:3 63:8 63:9 63:9 63:10 63:1163:11 63:11 63:13 63:14 63:14 63:14 64:1 64:6 64:8 65:1 65:4 65:4 65:8 65:865:13 65:13 65:13 65:16 65:24 66:3 66:3 66:5 66:8 66:9 66:10 66:21 66:21 66:2366:24 66:24Jeremiah2:6 2:13 2:14 2:18 2:19 2:21 2:23 2:27 2:27 2:27 2:28 2:32 3:1 3:8 3:22 3:223:23 4:23 5:1 5:4 5:31 6:15 6:16 6:16 6:16 6:16 6:29 7:16 7:23 7:29 8:12 9:49:5 9:26 10:23 11:4 11:7 11:14 11:15 12:1 12:4 12:9 13:11 13:17 14:1 14:1114:19 14:21 15:10 15:19 15:19 17:1 17:12 17:12 17:12 18:9 18:17 20:7-9 22:822:9 22:15 22:28 23:6 23:24 23:25 23:35 24:5 24:8 24:9 25:22 25:26 28:8 28:929:11 29:11 30:7 30:21 30:21 31:18 31:20 31:20 31:26 31:35 33:8 33:9 33:2033:21 34:10 34:11 34:18 34:19 35:6 36:32 42:6 43:2 44:28 45:4 45:5 48:7 49:1649:17 49:18 50:5 50:20 50:35-37 50:38 51:9 51:26 52:16Lamentations1:9 1:9 3:24 3:26 3:32 3:37 3:38 3:39 4:2 4:3 4:7 4:9 4:9 4:10Ezekiel1:10 1:26 2:7 3:1 3:1 3:2 3:4 3:4 3:10 3:14 3:14 3:17 3:17 3:18 3:18 3:20 5:125:13 6:9 6:9 7:16 9:4 10:4 11:23 13:6 13:9 14:14 14:14 14:14 14:21 14:21 14:2115:1 16:5 16:6 16:10 16:20 16:20 16:48 16:49 16:49 18:4 18:25 20:6 20:8 20:820:8 20:40 22:9 23:48 24:17 24:21 31:18 33:10 33:13 34:16 34:17 36:17 36:3236:37 37:9 37:26 37:27 41:22 43:7 43:11 43:26 43:27 44:21 44:22 44:23 44:2444:30 44:30 45:11 45:12 46:4 46:5Daniel1:7 1:15 2:27 2:30 2:34 2:34 2:35 2:44 3:6 3:15 3:19 4:7 4:26 4:35 5:8 5:195:22 5:22 6:4 7 7:25 8:5 8:9 8:11 8:17 9:1-27 9:11 9:11-14 9:12 9:21 9:26 9:2610:3 10:7 10:9 10:15 10:19 10:19 10:21 11:24 11:32 12:1 12:3 12:4 12:13 15 351700Hosea2:2 2:7 2:8 2:9 2:9 2:9 2:9 2:14 2:14 2:17 2:21 2:22 2:23 3:5 3:5 4:5 4:8 4:104:14 4:16 4:17 4:17 6:1 6:2 6:3 6:5 6:5 7:1 7:5 7:9 8:4 8:6 8:11 8:12 8:12 9:49:13 10:4 10:11 10:14 11:1 11:8 11:8 11:8 11:9 11:9 11:9 11:9 11:9 12:4 12:412:4 12:4 12:4 12:8 12:12 12:12 13:9 13:12 14:2 14:3 14:4 14:5 14:5-7 14:8 14:814:9 14:9 14:9Joel1:4 1:9 1:15 2:1 2:2 2:11 2:14 2:15 2:16 2:28Amos1:1 1:13 2:7 2:11 2:12 2:13 3:2 3:2 3:2 3:3 3:7 3:7 4:1 4:6 4:7 4:7 4:12 5:185:25 6:5 6:6 7:8 8:2 8:5 8:5 9:6 9:13 9:15 24:6Obadiah1:3 1:4 1:12Jonah1:6 1:9 1:14 1:16 2:8 4:11Micah1307Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)2:13 4:3 4:11-13 4:12 4:13 5:7 5:7 5:7 6:3 6:3 6:4 6:4 6:4 6:5 6:6 6:7 6:7 7:17:17 7:18 7:19 7:20 7:20Habakkuk1:11 1:12 1:16 2:1 2:1 2:1 2:1 2:2 2:3 2:3 2:3 2:6 2:11 2:13 2:13 2:15 2:152:16 2:18 3:2 3:3 3:4 3:6 3:10 3:17 3:17 3:18 3:18 7:21Zephaniah2:3 2:3 2:9 3:19 3:20Haggai1:4 1:6 1:9 1:9 1:9 1:9 1:9 2:11-13 2:12Zechariah1:18-21 2:5 3:3 3:4 3:7 4:2 4:2 4:3 4:3 4:6 4:7 4:10 4:11 4:12 5:4 5:4 6:8 6:116:12 6:13 8:12 8:23 8:23 8:23 8:23 8:23 9:12 11:10 11:14 12:1 12:3 12:6 12:612:10 12:12 13:1 13:1 13:7 14:16 14:18 14:18 14:18 14:20 14:21Malachi1:6 1:7 1:8 1:8 1:11 1:11 1:11 1:12 1:12 1:13 1:14 1:14 2:1 2:5 2:5 2:5 2:72:7 2:7 2:10 2:13 2:15 2:15 2:15 2:15 2:15 3:6 3:10 3:14 3:17 3:17 3:17 3:184:4Matthew1:1 1:1-17 1:1-17 1:3 1:3 1:3 1:4 1:5 2:2 2:13 3:6 3:9 3:17 3:17 4:1-11 4:3 4:44:4 4:4 4:4 4:6 4:7 4:7 4:10 4:14 4:15 5:3-11 5:6 5:14 5:14 5:15 5:15 5:16 5:175:18 5:19 5:21 5:21 5:21 5:22 5:22 5:22 5:22 5:22 5:23 5:24 5:28 5:28 5:295:29 5:30 5:33 5:33 5:38 5:38 5:39 5:39 5:39 5:40 5:44 5:44 5:45 5:45 6:9-136:25 6:25 6:25 6:26 6:33 7:1 7:6 7:12 7:22 7:22 7:24 8:2 8:4 8:8 8:10 8:218:22 8:22 8:25 9:20 9:36 9:38 10:11 10:15 10:16 10:19 10:37 10:41 10:42 11:211:3 11:12 11:25 11:29 12:3 12:4 12:7 12:12 12:28 12:34 12:35 12:47 12:48 12:4812:48 12:50 13:12 14:19 14:20 15:4 15:4-6 15:5 15:6 15:7-9 15:11 15:14 15:1915:27 16:2 16:3 16:18 17:5 17:5 17:27 18:6 18:6 18:15 18:16 19:3 19:4 19:419:4 19:5 19:5 19:5 19:5 19:7 19:8 19:17 19:29 19:29 19:29 20:8 20:23 20:2320:26 20:27 21:29 21:45 22:5 22:12 22:13 22:24-33 22:31 22:39 23:4 23:5 23:17-1923:19 23:32 23:35 23:35 23:35 23:35 23:37 23:37 23:37 24:4-28 24:14 24:14 24:1524:24 24:28 24:31 25:8-9 25:11 25:21 25:29 25:31 25:32 25:32 25:37 26:6 26:1326:52 26:63 26:64 26:75 27:24 27:51 28:19 28:20 28:20 28:20 28:20 28:20 28:20Mark1:44 3:5 6:21 7:11 7:11 8:4 9:26 9:38 9:49 9:49 9:50 10:19 10:23 10:24 12:3212:33 12:33 12:34 12:41 16:16 16:16 16:18Luke1:6 1:9 1:10 1:10 1:15 1:18 1:46 1:47 1:51 1:52 1:58 1:73-75 1:74 1:74 1:741:74 1:75 1:75 1:80 2:1 2:8 2:8 2:22-24 2:37 2:40 2:46 2:51 3:1-38 3:21 3:36-385:2 5:3 5:4 5:6 5:7 5:8 5:8 5:9 5:10 5:12-14 5:19 5:19-22 5:21 5:22 5:23 5:245:25 5:26 5:27 5:28 6:2 6:3 6:4 6:5 6:6 6:7 6:8 6:9 6:9 6:9 6:10 6:11 6:126:13 6:14 6:14 6:15 6:16 6:17 6:18 6:19 6:20 6:21 6:23 6:24 6:24-26 6:25 6:266:27 6:35 6:35 7:12 7:27 7:29 7:46 8:16 9:29 9:46-50 9:52 10:1-24 10:5 10:610:18 10:21 10:40 10:41 11:2-4 11:5 11:20 11:44 11:52 12:4 12:5 12:6 12:6 12:1312:15 12:17 12:18 12:20 12:47 12:48 12:49 12:51 13:9 13:9 13:24 13:25 13:25-271308Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)13:33 13:34 14:8 14:14 14:21 14:26 14:26 14:26 15:17 15:20 15:22 15:28-32 16:1016:25 16:25 17:3 17:12 17:13 17:14 17:26 17:27 17:27 17:31 17:32 17:32 18:118:1 18:8 18:10 18:11 18:12 18:13 18:13 19:8 19:9 19:9 19:40 19:42 20:34-3620:37 20:37 21:4 21:4 21:15 21:20 21:34 21:34 22:24-27 22:25 22:26 22:28 22:2922:30 22:30 22:35 23:18 23:29 24:31 24:32 24:45 24:50 24:50 24:51 24:51John1:1 1:1 1:1-18 1:3 1:9 1:10 1:14 1:14 1:14 1:14 1:17 1:18 1:18 1:29 1:29 1:513:2 3:8 3:14 3:15 3:21 3:26-36 3:29 3:31 3:36 3:36 3:36 4:5 4:14 4:21 4:23 4:345:4-6 5:14 5:17 5:36 5:39 5:46 5:46 6:14 6:27 6:32 6:32 6:38 6:48 6:49 6:49-516:53 6:53-55 6:68 7:5 7:16 7:17 7:32 7:37 7:37 7:38 7:38 7:39 8:3-11 8:6 8:128:33 8:34 8:41 8:53 8:56 8:56 9:3 9:4 9:5 9:24 9:36 10:3 10:11 10:14 10:1810:28 10:32 10:32 11:6 11:9 11:15 11:42 11:51 11:51 11:52 11:52 12:13 12:2412:24 12:28 12:28 12:32 12:33 12:34 12:37 12:38 12:48 13:8 13:10 13:10 13:1014:21 14:22 14:22 14:26 14:26 14:31 15:15 15:16 15:16 16:4 16:6 16:7 16:1316:21 16:32 16:32 16:33 17:1-26 17:4 17:5 17:11 17:17 17:19 17:19 17:19 17:1917:24 17:24 17:24 17:26 18:13 18:24 19:17 19:31 19:33 19:34 19:36 21:22Acts1:4 1:7 2:1 2:1-13 2:1-13 2:3 2:3 2:23 2:23 2:24 2:38-40 2:40 2:40 2:44 2:473:22 3:26 4:12 4:13 4:19 5:4 5:4 5:13 5:17 5:29 5:33 6:1 6:3 6:4 6:6 7:2 7:47:4 7:5 7:8 7:8 7:8 7:14 7:16 7:20 7:22 7:22 7:23-53 7:25 7:27 7:37 7:38 7:397:40 7:41 7:42 7:42 7:44 7:51 7:53 7:53 8:2 8:10 8:31 9:5 9:21 9:22 9:31 9:3910:4 10:15 10:34 10:34 10:35 12:9 12:12 13:18 13:50 14:16 14:17 15:10 15:1015:18 15:18 15:21 15:29 15:39 15:40 17:24 17:24 17:24-26 17:25 17:26 17:2617:26 18:18 18:24 19:19 19:19 20:24 21:13 21:13 21:16 21:24 21:24 21:25 21:2723:5 24:15 26:6 26:7Romans1:16 1:18 1:23-25 1:24 1:25 1:26 1:27 2:1 2:7-9 2:16 2:21 2:23 2:29 2:29 2:292:29 3:4 3:5 3:5 3:6 3:6 3:15 3:16 3:19 3:20 4:4 4:6 4:7 4:11 4:16 4:17 4:174:19-21 4:20 5:1 5:2 5:11 5:11 5:11 5:11 5:12 5:12 5:14 5:19 5:20 6:6 6:7 6:126:12 6:14 6:21 6:21 6:22 7:1 7:1-5 7:4 7:7 7:11 7:13 7:16 7:22 7:25 8:1 8:18:3 8:3 8:3 8:14 8:15 8:18 8:20 8:20 8:20 8:20 8:20 8:21 8:21 8:22 8:22 8:228:22 8:26 8:29 8:37 8:39 9:4 9:5 9:7 9:8 9:9 9:11 9:12 9:15 9:16 9:17 9:189:31 9:32 10:4 10:5 10:6-8 10:8 10:16 10:17 10:19 11:1 11:2 11:8 11:8 11:8-1011:9 11:10 11:11-24 11:19 11:22 11:28 11:28 11:29 11:33 12:1 12:1 12:1 12:712:9 12:19 12:20 13:1 13:4 13:4 13:9 13:10 14:11 14:13 14:13 14:14 14:22 15:415:6 15:10 15:16 16:3 16:20 16:20 16:251 Corinthians1:12 1:13 1:21 1:26 1:27 1:30 2:3 2:9 2:13 2:13 2:14 3:1 3:12 3:13 3:16 3:173:17 3:17 3:17 3:22 3:22 5:1 5:1 5:1 5:1 5:2 5:5 5:7 5:7 5:7 5:7 5:7 5:8 5:85:8 5:12 5:12 5:13 5:13 5:13 5:13 6:7 6:8 6:11 6:13 6:13 6:19 7:2 7:5 7:157:16 7:16 7:21 7:23 7:23 7:24 7:24 7:33 7:33 7:34 7:34 8:4 8:8 8:9 8:13 9:79:7 9:9 9:9 9:9 9:9 9:10 9:10 9:10 9:11 9:11 9:12 9:13 9:13 9:14 9:19 10:110:1 10:2 10:2 10:2 10:2 10:3 10:4 10:4 10:6 10:7 10:7 10:9 10:10 10:11 10:1210:13 10:13 10:20 10:21 10:22 10:31 11:5 11:5 11:6 11:7 11:8 11:9 11:10 11:101309Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)11:10 11:14 11:16 11:19 11:23 11:23 12:2 12:4 12:4 12:6 12:7-21 12:11 12:1712:21 12:21 12:21 12:21 12:23 12:23 12:24 12:24 12:24 12:24 12:28 13:5 13:1214:8 14:22 14:24 14:25 14:25 15:10 15:20 15:23 15:24 15:29 15:47 15:52 16:116:2 16:2 16:2 16:2 16:2 16:2 16:22 Corinthians1:5 1:12 2:6 2:7 2:7 2:8 2:10 2:11 2:15 3:3 3:9 3:10 3:11 3:13 3:13 3:13 3:13-153:14 3:14 3:16 3:18 3:18 3:18 3:18 3:18 4:4 4:6 4:6 4:7 4:8 4:17 5:1 5:5 5:95:9 5:9 5:9 5:20 5:21 5:21 6:14 6:14 6:14 6:14 6:14 6:14 6:15 6:17 6:17 7:17:5 7:5 7:11 7:11 7:11 8:3 8:3 8:4 8:12 8:12 8:14 9:2 9:7 9:7 9:7 9:7 9:7 10:1010:16 11:2 11:2 11:24 12:1 12:7 12:9 12:10 13:14Galatians1:8 1:15 1:15 1:16 1:16 2:7 2:16 3:1 3:4 3:6 3:10 3:10 3:12 3:13 3:13 3:133:14 3:14 3:14 3:16 3:17 3:19 3:21 3:22 3:28 3:28 3:28 3:28 4:1 4:2 4:3 4:44:4 4:9 4:23 4:24 4:24 4:24 4:25 4:25 4:27 4:27 4:29 4:29 4:29 4:30 4:30 4:315:3 5:14 5:17 6:1 6:1 6:1 6:6 6:6 6:7 6:16 6:16 6:17Ephesians1:4 1:4 1:9 1:10 1:10 1:11 1:11 1:11 1:14 2:6 2:6 2:14 2:15 2:20 2:21 2:212:22 2:22 3:9 3:11 3:12 3:15 3:17 3:20 4:8 4:11 4:12 4:12 4:13 4:16 4:17 4:184:20 4:24 5:2 5:2 5:6 5:11 5:24 5:25 5:26 5:27 5:28 5:33 6:1-3 6:3 6:3 6:4 6:96:11 6:13 6:14 6:16 6:16 6:17Philippians1:12 1:13 1:13 1:16 1:21 2:4 2:4 2:4 2:14 2:15 2:16 2:17 2:20 2:21 2:21 3:13:1 3:1 3:1 3:3 3:5 3:5 3:9 3:13 3:14 3:19 3:21 4:3 4:3 4:6 4:18 4:18 4:19Colossians1:12 1:12 1:13 1:16 1:20 2:3 2:5 2:11 2:11 2:12 2:14 2:15 2:15 2:18 2:19 2:212:22 3:5 3:9 3:10 3:11 3:11 3:11 3:11 3:16 3:24 3:25 3:25 3:25 4:1 4:61 Thessalonians1:9 2:12 2:13 2:16 4:6 4:6 4:6 4:13 4:13 5:13 5:222 Thessalonians1:9 1:9 2:9 2:13 3:2 3:10 3:10 3:15 3:15 3:151 Timothy1:4 1:4 1:10 1:12 1:13 1:18 2:5 2:8 2:9 2:10 2:11 2:11 2:12 2:12 2:13 2:142:15 2:15 3:1 3:3 3:5 3:6 3:10 3:11 3:13 3:15 4:1 4:3 4:4 4:4 4:4 4:5 4:5 4:84:8 4:12 4:16 5:4 5:8 5:17 5:18 5:22 5:23 5:24 5:25 6:1 6:8 6:9 6:13 6:16 6:162 Timothy1:5 1:13 1:14 2:3 2:3 2:4 2:12 2:19 2:19 2:25 3:8 3:9 3:16 3:17 4:1 4:18Titus1:5 1:15 1:15 1:15 2:3 2:4 2:5 2:5 2:5 2:10 2:14 2:14Philemon1:8 1:9 1:16Hebrews1:1 1:1 1:2 1:2 1:2 1:2 1:2 1:14 1:14 2:2 2:5 2:10 2:11 2:14 2:14 2:14 2:173:1-6 3:2 3:5 3:5 3:5 3:6 3:6 3:7-19 3:8 3:12 3:13 3:13 3:14 4:1 4:1 4:2 4:24:2 4:8 4:9 4:9 4:11 4:12 4:14-16 4:16 4:16 5:2 5:3 5:4 5:4 5:4 5:5 5:9 5:131310Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)5:14 6:2 6:7 6:8 6:10 6:10 6:10 6:10 6:10 6:13 6:16 6:17 6:17 6:17 6:18 6:186:18 6:18 7:1-10 7:3 7:3 7:4 7:8 7:11 7:13 7:14 7:14 7:14 7:14 7:19 7:23-257:26 7:27 7:28 7:28 8:2 8:2 8:10 8:10 8:12 8:12 8:13 8:13 9:1 9:2 9:4 9:4 9:59:6 9:7 9:7 9:8 9:9 9:9 9:10 9:10 9:10 9:11 9:11 9:12 9:12 9:12 9:12 9:13 9:149:14 9:19 9:20 9:22 9:22 9:23 9:23 9:24 9:24 9:26 10:1 10:1 10:1 10:1 10:1-310:2 10:2 10:7 10:14 10:19 10:19 10:19 10:20 10:20 10:20 10:22 10:22 10:2210:22 10:25 10:25 10:26 10:26 10:27 10:27 10:27-31 10:28 10:28 10:29 10:2910:29 10:29 10:30 10:38 10:38 11:2 11:3 11:4 11:4 11:5 11:7 11:7 11:7 11:811:8 11:8-14 11:11 11:11 11:11 11:13 11:13 11:13 11:13 11:13 11:14 11:14 11:1411:14-16 11:15 11:15 11:16 11:16 11:16 11:16 11:16 11:16 11:16 11:17 11:2011:21 11:21 11:21 11:22 11:23 11:24-26 11:24-26 11:27 11:28 11:29 12:1 12:212:9 12:9 12:9 12:15 12:15 12:16 12:16 12:16 12:17 12:17 12:17 12:18 12:1812:18 12:18 12:19 12:21 12:23 12:23 12:24 12:24 12:25 12:28 12:28 12:28 12:2913:2 13:5 13:5 13:10 13:10 13:10-12 13:11-13 13:12 13:13 13:13 13:14 13:14 13:1413:16 13:18James1:7 1:7 1:14 1:15 1:17 1:17 1:19 1:20 1:20 1:21 1:23 1:26 2:1 2:1 2:1-4 2:102:10 2:11 2:15 2:16 2:21 2:26 3:2 3:9 3:9 4:8 4:11 5:2 5:3 5:4 5:4 5:14 5:175:18 5:19 5:19 5:20 9:71 Peter1:2 1:2 1:2 1:3 1:4 1:5 1:6 1:7 1:7 1:11 1:12 1:15 1:16 1:16 1:19 1:19 1:191:23 1:23 2:1 2:2 2:2 2:5 2:5 2:5 2:5 2:5 2:5 2:9 2:12 2:13 2:20 2:24 3:3 3:33:4 3:4 3:4 3:5 3:6 3:6 3:7 3:7 3:7 3:8 3:18-20 3:19 3:20 3:20 3:21 4:3 4:74:8 4:10 4:17 4:17 4:17 4:182 Peter1:4 1:14 1:19 1:19 1:19 1:21 2:4 2:5 2:5 2:6 2:6 2:6-8 2:7 2:8 2:10 2:14 2:152:16 2:16 2:20 2:21 3:1 3:4 3:6 3:6 3:7 3:7 3:7 3:101 John1:1 1:1 1:3 1:3 1:3 1:5 1:7 2:1 2:1 2:1 2:1 2:2 2:2 2:2 2:16 2:17 2:21 2:272:27 2:27 3:2 3:2 3:7 3:9 3:12 3:13 3:15 3:15 3:15 3:16 3:21 3:23 4:10 4:134:20 5:3 5:4 5:6 5:7 5:10 5:18 5:203 John1:4 1:6 1:6 1:6Jude1:3 1:6 1:7 1:7 1:7 1:8 1:9 1:11 1:11 1:11 1:11 1:14 1:14 1:15 1:23 1:23Revelation1:5 1:5 1:6 1:6 1:6 1:8 1:8 1:13 1:16 1:17 2:1 2:2 2:5 2:5 2:7 2:14 2:14 2:142:17 2:17 2:24 2:24 2:26 2:27 3:7 3:9 3:9 3:9 3:16 3:16 3:17 3:18 3:20 3:203:20 3:20 4:3 4:4 4:4 4:5 4:5 4:5 4:6 4:6 4:8 4:11 5:5 5:6 5:8 5:8 5:9 5:95:11 6:7 6:8 6:8 6:10 6:15 6:16 7:3 7:3 7:3 7:4 7:9 7:9 7:9 7:13 8:3 8:3 8:58:6 9:5-6 9:13 10:1 10:1 10:11 11:3 11:6 11:6 11:10 11:10 11:14 11:19 11:1912:3 12:3 12:4 12:7 12:9 12:16 13:8 14:4 14:6 14:6 14:7 14:7 14:7 14:7 14:1014:13 14:20 15:2 15:3 16:3 16:4 16:6 16:10 16:10 16:13 16:14 16:15 16:16 16:211311Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)17:6 18:4 18:4 18:23 19:1 19:2 19:3 19:8 19:8 19:17 19:18 20:2 20:9 20:10 20:1421:9 21:12 21:12 21:18 21:19 21:27 22:1 22:2 22:9 22:9 22:13 22:15 22:18 22:19Wisdom of Solomon16:20Prayer of Manasseh1:24Index of Scripture CommentaryGenesis1:1-2 1:3-5 1:6-8 1:9-13 1:14-19 1:20-23 1:24-25 1:26-28 1:29-30 1:31 2:1-3 2:4-72:8-15 2:16-17 2:18-20 2:21-25 3:1-5 3:6-8 3:9-10 3:11-13 3:14-15 3:16 3:17-193:20 3:21 3:22-24 4:1-2 4:3-5 4:6-7 4:8 4:9-12 4:13-15 4:16-18 4:19-22 4:23-244:25-26 5:1-5 5:6-20 5:21-24 5:25-27 5:28-32 6:1-2 6:3 6:4-5 6:6-7 6:8-10 6:11-126:13-21 6:22 7:1-4 7:5-10 7:11-12 7:13-16 7:17-20 7:21-24 8:1-3 8:4-5 8:6-12 8:13-148:15-19 8:20-22 9:1-7 9:8-11 9:12-17 9:18-23 9:24-27 9:28-29 10:1-5 10:6-14 10:15-2010:21-32 11:1-4 11:5-9 11:10-26 11:27-32 12:1-3 12:4-5 12:6-9 12:10-13 12:14-2013:1-4 13:5-9 13:10-13 13:14-18 14:1-12 14:13-16 14:17-20 14:21-24 15:1 15:2-615:7-11 15:12-16 15:17-21 16:1-3 16:4-6 16:7-9 16:10-14 16:15-16 17:1-3 17:4-617:7-14 17:15-22 17:23-27 18:1-8 18:9-15 18:16-22 18:23-33 19:1-3 19:4-11 19:12-1419:15-23 19:24-25 19:26 19:27-29 19:30-38 20:1-2 20:3-7 20:8-13 20:14-18 21:1-821:9-13 21:14-21 21:22-32 21:33-34 22:1-2 22:3-10 22:11-14 22:15-19 22:20-24 23:1-223:3-15 23:16-20 24:1-9 24:10-28 24:29-53 24:54-61 24:62-67 25:1-10 25:11-1825:19-28 25:29-34 26:1-5 26:6-11 26:12-25 26:26-33 26:34-35 27:1-5 27:6-17 27:18-2927:30-40 27:41-46 28:1-5 28:6-9 28:10-15 28:16-22 29:1-8 29:9-14 29:15-30 29:31-3530:1-13 30:14-24 30:25-36 30:37-43 31:1-16 31:17-24 31:25-35 31:36-42 31:43-5532:1-2 32:3-8 32:9-12 32:13-23 32:24-32 33:1-4 33:5-15 33:16-20 34:1-5 34:6-1734:18-24 34:25-31 35:1-5 35:6-15 35:16-20 35:21-29 36:1-8 36:9-19 36:20-30 36:31-4337:1-4 37:5-11 37:12-22 37:23-30 37:31-36 38:1-11 38:12-23 38:24-30 39:1-6 39:7-1239:13-18 39:19-23 40:1-4 40:5-19 40:20-23 41:1-8 41:9-16 41:17-32 41:33-45 41:46-5742:1-6 42:7-20 42:21-28 42:29-38 43:1-10 43:11-14 43:15-25 43:26-34 44:1-17 44:18-3445:1-15 45:16-24 45:25-28 46:1-4 46:5-27 46:28-34 47:1-12 47:13-26 47:27-31 48:1-748:8-22 49:1-4 49:5-7 49:8-12 49:13-21 49:22-27 49:28-33 50:1-6 50:7-14 50:15-2150:22-26Exodus1:1-7 1:8-14 1:15-22 2:1-4 2:5-10 2:11-15 2:16-22 2:23-25 3:1-6 3:7-10 3:11-153:16-22 4:1-9 4:10-17 4:18-23 4:24-31 5:1-2 5:3-9 5:10-14 5:15-23 6:1-9 6:10-136:14-30 7:1-7 7:8-13 7:14-25 8:1-15 8:16-19 8:20-32 9:1-7 9:8-12 9:13-21 9:22-3510:1-11 10:12-20 10:21-29 11:1-3 11:4-10 12:1-20 12:21-28 12:29-36 12:37-42 12:43-5113:1-10 13:11-16 13:17-22 14:1-9 14:10-14 14:15-20 14:21-31 15:1-21 15:22-2716:1-12 16:13-21 16:22-31 16:32-36 17:1-7 17:8-16 18:1-6 18:7-12 18:13-27 19:1-81312Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)19:9-15 19:16-25 20:1-11 20:12-17 20:18-21 20:22-26 21:1-11 21:12-21 21:22-3622:1-6 22:7-15 22:16-24 22:25-31 23:1-9 23:10-19 23:20-33 24:1-8 24:9-11 24:12-1825:1-9 25:10-22 25:23-30 25:31-40 26:1-6 26:7-14 26:15-30 26:31-37 27:1-8 27:9-1927:20-21 28:1-5 28:6-14 28:15-30 28:31-39 28:40-43 29:1-37 29:38-46 30:1-10 30:11-1630:17-21 30:22-38 31:1-11 31:12-18 32:1-6 32:7-14 32:15-20 32:21-29 32:30-35 33:1-633:7-11 33:12-23 34:1-4 34:5-9 34:10-17 34:18-27 34:28-35 35:1-19 35:20-29 35:30-3536:1-7 36:8-13 36:14-34 36:35-38 37:1-9 37:10-24 37:25-29 38:1-8 38:9-20 38:21-3139:1-31 39:32-43 40:1-15 40:16-33 40:34-38Leviticus1:1-2 1:3-9 1:10-17 2:1-10 2:11-16 3:1-5 3:6-17 4:1-12 4:13-21 4:22-26 4:27-355:1-6 5:7-13 5:14-19 6:1-7 6:8-13 6:14-23 6:24-30 7:1-10 7:11-34 7:35-38 8:1-138:14-30 8:31-36 9:1-7 9:8-22 9:23-24 10:1-2 10:3-7 10:8-11 10:12-20 11:1-8 11:9-1911:20-42 11:43-47 12:1-5 12:6-8 13:1-17 13:18-37 13:38-46 13:47-59 14:1-9 14:10-2014:21-32 14:33-53 14:54-57 15:1-18 15:19-33 16:1-4 16:5-14 16:15-19 16:20-2816:29-34 17:1-9 17:10-16 18:1-5 18:6-18 18:19-30 19:1-10 19:11-18 19:19-29 19:30-3720:1-9 20:10-21 20:22-27 21:1-9 21:10-15 21:16-24 22:1-9 22:10-16 22:17-33 23:1-323:4-14 23:15-22 23:23-32 23:33-44 24:1-9 24:10-23 25:1-7 25:8-22 25:23-38 25:39-5526:1-13 26:14-39 26:40-46 27:1-13 27:14-25 27:26-34Numbers1:1-16 1:17-43 1:44-46 1:47-54 2:1-2 2:3-34 3:1-13 3:14-39 3:40-51 4:1-20 4:21-334:34-49 5:1-10 5:11-31 6:1-21 6:22-27 7:1-9 7:10-89 8:1-4 8:5-26 9:1-14 9:15-2310:1-10 10:11-28 10:29-36 11:1-3 11:4-15 11:16-23 11:24-30 11:31-35 12:1-3 12:4-912:10-16 13:1-20 13:21-25 13:26-33 14:1-4 14:5-10 14:11-19 14:20-35 14:36-4515:1-21 15:22-29 15:30-36 15:37-41 16:1-11 16:12-22 16:23-34 16:35-40 16:41-5017:1-7 17:8-13 18:1-7 18:8-19 18:20-32 19:1-10 19:11-22 20:1-13 20:14-21 20:22-2921:1-3 21:4-9 21:10-20 21:21-35 22:1-14 22:15-21 22:22-35 22:36-41 23:1-12 23:13-3024:1-9 24:10-14 24:15-25 25:1-5 25:6-15 25:16-18 26:1-4 26:5-51 26:52-56 26:57-6226:63-65 27:1-11 27:12-14 27:15-23 28:1-8 28:9-15 28:16-31 29:1-11 29:12-40 30:1-230:3-16 31:1-6 31:7-12 31:13-24 31:25-47 31:48-54 32:1-15 32:16-27 32:28-42 33:1-4933:50-56 34:1-15 34:16-29 35:1-8 35:9-34 36:1-4 36:5-13Deuteronomy1:1-8 1:9-18 1:19-46 2:1-7 2:8-23 2:24-37 3:1-11 3:12-20 3:21-29 4:1-40 4:41-495:1-5 5:6-22 5:23-33 6:1-3 6:4-16 6:17-25 7:1-11 7:12-26 8:1-9 8:10-20 9:1-6 9:7-2910:1-11 10:12-22 11:1-7 11:8-17 11:18-25 11:26-32 12:1-4 12:5-32 13:1-5 13:6-1113:12-18 14:1-21 14:22-29 15:1-11 15:12-18 15:19-23 16:1-17 16:18-22 17:1-7 17:8-1317:14-20 18:1-8 18:9-14 18:15-22 19:1-13 19:14-21 20:1-9 20:10-20 21:1-9 21:10-1421:15-17 21:18-23 22:1-4 22:5-12 22:13-30 23:1-8 23:9-14 23:15-25 24:1-4 24:5-1324:14-22 25:1-4 25:5-12 25:13-19 26:1-11 26:12-15 26:16-19 27:1-10 27:11-26 28:1-1428:15-44 28:45-68 29:1-9 29:10-29 30:1-10 30:11-14 30:15-20 31:1-8 31:9-13 31:14-2131:22-30 32:1-6 32:7-14 32:15-18 32:19-25 32:26-38 32:39-43 32:44-52 33:1-5 33:6-733:8-11 33:12-17 33:18-21 33:22-25 33:26-29 34:1-4 34:5-8 34:9-121313

      Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)

      Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)




    GOLD DIVIDER WITH CROSS CENTER

    Cambridge Bible Commentary, Comprehensive;

    Matthew Henry's: Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein;

    "Genesis through Deuteronomy"

    AN EXPOSITION, WITH PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS
    OF THE FIRST FIVES BOOKS OF MOSES, CALLED THE "TORAH", THE "PENTATEUCH";



    See JOSHUA THROUGH ESTHER:



    GOLD DIVIDER WITH CROSS CENTER

    Cambridge Bible Commentary, Comprehensive;

    Jamieson, Fausset & Brown: Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein;

    "Deuteronomy 1"

    AN EXPOSITION, WITH PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS
    OF THE FIFTH BOOK OF MOSES, CALLED DEUTERONOMY;



    Commentary by Robert Jamieson







      CHAPTER

        1

        Deuteronomy 1:1-46. Moses' Speech at the End of the Fortieth Year.

        1. These be the words which Moses spake unto all Israel—The mental condition of the peoplegenerally in that infantine age of the Church, and the greater number of them being of young ortender years, rendered it expedient to repeat the laws and counsels which God had given.Accordingly, to furnish a recapitulation of the leading branches of their faith and duty was amongthe last public services which Moses rendered to Israel. The scene of their delivery was on theplains of Moab where the encampment was pitchedon this side Jordan—or, as the Hebrew word may be rendered "on the bank of the Jordan."in the wilderness, in the plain—the Arabah, a desert plain, or steppe, extended the whole wayfrom the Red Sea north to the Sea of Tiberias. While the high tablelands of Moab were "cultivatedfields," the Jordan valley, at the foot of the mountains where Israel was encamped, was a part ofthe great desert plain, little more inviting than the desert of Arabia. The locale is indicated by thenames of the most prominent places around it. Some of these places are unknown to us. The Hebrew273





      Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

        word, Suph, "red" (for "sea," which our translators have inserted, is not in the original, and Moseswas now farther from the Red Sea than ever), probably meant a place noted for its reeds (Numbers 21:14).Tophel—identified as Tafyle or Tafeilah, lying between Bozrah and Kerak.Hazeroth—is a different place from that at which the Israelites encamped after leaving "thedesert of Sinai."2. There are eleven days' journey from Horeb—Distances are computed in the East still bythe hours or days occupiesd by the journey. A day's journey on foot is about twenty miles—oncamels, at the rate of three miles an hour, thirty miles—and by caravans, about twenty-five miles.But the Israelites, with children and flocks, would move at a slow rate. The length of the Ghor fromEzion-geber to Kadesh is a hundred miles. The days here mentioned were not necessarily successivedays [Robinson], for the journey can be made in a much shorter period. But this mention of the timewas made to show that the great number of years spent in travelling from Horeb to the plain ofMoab was not owing to the length of the way, but to a very different cause; namely, banishmentfor their apostasy and frequent rebellions.mount Seir—the mountainous country of Edom.3-8. in the fortieth year … Moses spake unto the children of Israel, &c.—This impressivediscourse, in which Moses reviewed all that God had done for His people, was delivered about amonth before his death, and after peace and tranquillity had been restored by the complete conquestof Sihon and Og.4. Ashtaroth—the royal residence of Og, so called from Astarte ("the moon"), the tutelarygoddess of the Syrians. Og was slain atEdrei—now Edhra, the ruins of which are fourteen miles in circumference [Burckhardt]; itsgeneral breadth is about two leagues.5. On this side Jordan, in the land of Moab, began Moses to declare this law—that is,explain this law. He follows the same method here that he elsewhere observes; namely, that of firstenumerating the marvellous doings of God in behalf of His people, and reminding them what anunworthy requital they had made for all His kindness—then he rehearses the law and its variousprecepts.6. The Lord our God spake unto us in Horeb, saying, Ye have dwelt long enough in thismount—Horeb was the general name of a mountainous district; literally, "the parched" or "burntregion," whereas Sinai was the name appropriated to a particular peak [see on Exodus 19:2]. About ayear had been spent among the recesses of that wild solitude, in laying the foundation, under theimmediate direction of God, of a new and peculiar community, as to its social, political, and, aboveall, religious character; and when this purpose had been accomplished, they were ordered to breakup their encampment in Horeb. The command given them was to march straight to Canaan, andpossess it [Deuteronomy 1:7].7. the mount of the Amorites—the hilly tract lying next to Kadesh-barnea in the south ofCanaan.to the land of the Canaanites, and unto Lebanon—that is, Phoenicia, the country of Sidon,and the coast of the Mediterranean—from the Philistines to Lebanon. The name "Canaanite" isoften used synonymously with that of "Phoenician."8. I have set the land before you—literally, "before your faces"—it is accessible; there is noimpediment to your occupation. The order of the journey as indicated by the places mentioned274





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        would have led to a course of invasion, the opposite of what was eventually followed; namely,from the seacoast eastward—instead of from the Jordan westward (see on Numbers 20:1).9-18. I spake unto you at that time, saying, I am not able to bear you myself alone—a littlebefore their arrival in Horeb. Moses addresses that new generation as the representatives of theirfathers, in whose sight and hearing all the transactions he recounts took place. A reference is heremade to the suggestion of Jethro (Exodus 18:18). In noticing his practical adoption of a plan by whichthe administration of justice was committed to a select number of subordinate officers, Moses, bya beautiful allusion to the patriarchal blessing, ascribed the necessity of that memorable change inthe government to the vast increase of the population.10. ye are this day as the stars of heaven for multitude—This was neither an Orientalhyperbole nor a mere empty boast. Abraham was told (Genesis 15:5, 6) to look to the stars, and thoughthey "appear" innumerable, yet those seen by the naked eye amount, in reality, to no more thanthree thousand ten in both hemispheres. The Israelites already far exceeded that number, being atthe last census above six hundred thousand [Numbers 26:51]. It was a seasonable memento, calculatedto animate their faith in the accomplishment of other parts of the divine promise.19-21. we went through all that great and terrible wilderness—of Paran, which includedthe desert and mountainous space lying between the wilderness of Shur westward, or towards Egyptand mount Seir, or the land of Edom eastwards; between the land of Canaan northwards, and theRed Sea southwards; and thus it appears to have comprehended really the wilderness of Sin andSinai [Fisk]. It is called by the Arabs El Tih, "the wandering." It is a dreary waste of rock and ofcalcareous soil covered with black sharp flints; all travellers, from a feeling of its complete isolationfrom the world, describe it as a great and terrible wilderness.22-33. ye came … and said, We will send men before us, and they shall search us out theland—The proposal to despatch spies emanated from the people through unbelief; but Moses,believing them sincere, gave his cordial assent to this measure, and God on being consulted permittedthem to follow the suggestion (see on Numbers 13:1). The issue proved disastrous to them, only throughtheir own sin and folly.28. the cities are great, and walled up to heaven—an Oriental metaphor, meaning very high.The Arab marauders roam about on horseback, and hence the walls of St. Catherine's monasteryon Sinai are so lofty that travellers are drawn up by a pulley in a basket.Anakims—(See on Numbers 13:33). The honest and uncompromising language of Moses, in remindingthe Israelites of their perverse conduct and outrageous rebellion at the report of the treacherous andfainthearted scouts, affords a strong evidence of the truth of this history as well as of the divineauthority of his mission. There was great reason for his dwelling on this dark passage in theirhistory, as it was their unbelief that excluded them from the privilege of entering the promised land(Hebrews 3:19); and that unbelief was a marvellous exhibition of human perversity, considering themiracles which God had wrought in their favor, especially in the daily manifestations they had ofHis presence among them as their leader and protector.34-36. the Lord heard the voice of your words, and was wroth—In consequence of thisaggravated offense (unbelief followed by open rebellion), the Israelites were doomed, in the righteousjudgment of God, to a life of wandering in that dreary wilderness till the whole adult generationhad disappeared by death. The only exceptions mentioned are Caleb and Joshua, who was to beMoses' successor.275





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        37. Also the Lord was angry with me for your sakes—This statement seems to indicate thatit was on this occasion Moses was condemned to share the fate of the people. But we know that itwas several years afterwards that Moses betrayed an unhappy spirit of distrust at the waters of strife(Psalms 106:32, 33). This verse must be considered therefore as a parenthesis.39. your children … who in that day had no knowledge between good and evil—All ancientversions read "to-day" instead of "that day"; and the sense is—"your children who now know," or"who know not as yet good or evil." As the children had not been partakers of the sinful outbreak,they were spared to obtain the privilege which their unbelieving parents had forfeited. God's waysare not as man's ways [Isaiah 55:8, 9].40-45. turn you, and take your journey into the … Red Sea—This command they disregarded,and, determined to force an onward passage in spite of the earnest remonstrances of Moses, theyattempted to cross the heights then occupied by the combined forces of the Amorites and Amalekites(compare Numbers 14:43), but were repulsed with great loss. People often experience distress even whilein the way of duty. But how different their condition who suffer in situations where God is withthem from the feelings of those who are conscious that they are in a position directly opposed tothe divine will! The Israelites were grieved when they found themselves involved in difficultiesand perils; but their sorrow arose not from a sense of the guilt so much as the sad effects of theirperverse conduct; and "though they wept," they were not true penitents. So the Lord would nothearken to their voice, nor give ear unto them.46. So ye abode at Kadesh many days—That place had been the site of their encampmentduring the absence of the spies, which lasted forty days, and it is supposed from this verse that theyprolonged their stay there after their defeat for a similar period.






      CHAPTER

        2Deuteronomy 2:1-37. The Story Is Continued.1. Then we turned, and took our journey into the wilderness by the way of the RedSea—After their unsuccessful attack upon the Canaanites, the Israelites broke up their encampmentat Kadesh, and journeying southward over the west desert of Tih as well as through the great valleyof the Ghor and Arabah, they extended their removals as far as the gulf of Akaba.we compassed mount Seir many days—In these few words Moses comprised the whole ofthat wandering nomadic life through which they passed during thirty-eight years, shifting fromplace to place, and regulating their stations by the prospect of pasturage and water. Within theinterval they went northward a second time to Kadesh, but being refused a passage through Edomand opposed by the Canaanites and Amalekites, they again had no alternative but to traverse oncemore the great Arabah southwards to the Red Sea, where turning to the left and crossing the long,lofty mountain chain to the eastward of Ezion-geber (Numbers 21:4, 5), they issued into the great andelevated plains, which are still traversed by the Syrian pilgrims in their way to Mecca. They appearto have followed northward nearly the same route, which is now taken by the Syrian hadji, alongthe western skirts of this great desert, near the mountains of Edom [Robinson]. It was on enteringthese plains they received the command, "Ye have compassed this mountain (this hilly tract, nowJebel Shera) long enough, turn ye northward" [Deuteronomy 2:3].276





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        4. the children of Esau, which dwell in Seir … shall be afraid of you—The same peoplewho had haughtily repelled the approach of the Israelites from the western frontier were alarmednow that they had come round upon the weak side of their country.5-7. Meddle not with them—that is, "which dwell in Seir" (Deuteronomy 2:4)—for there was anotherbranch of Esau's posterity, namely, the Amalekites, who were to be fought against and destroyed(Genesis 36:12; Exodus 17:14; Deuteronomy 25:17). But the people of Edom were not to be injured, either in theirpersons or property. And although the approach of so vast a nomadic horde as the Israelites naturallycreated apprehension, they were to take no advantage of the prevailing terror to compel the Edomitesto accept whatever terms they imposed. They were merely to pass "through" or along their border,and to buy meat and water of them for money (Deuteronomy 2:6). The people, kinder than their king, did sellthem bread, meat, fruits, and water in their passage along their border (Deuteronomy 2:29), in the same manneras the Syrian caravan of Mecca is now supplied by the people of the same mountains, who meetthe pilgrims as at a fair or market on the hadji route [Robinson]. Although the Israelites still enjoyeda daily supply of the manna, there was no prohibition against their eating other food when opportunityafforded. Only they were not to cherish an inordinate desire for it. Water is a scarce commodityand is often paid for by travellers in those parts. It was the more incumbent on the Israelites to doso, as, by the blessing of God, they possessed plenty of means to purchase, and the long-continuedexperience of the extraordinary goodness of God to them, should inspire such confidence in Himas would suppress the smallest thought of resorting to fraud or violence in supplying their wants.8-18. we passed … through the way of the plain—the Arabah or great valley, from Elath("trees") (the Ailah of the Greeks and Romans). The site of it is marked by extensive mounds ofrubbish.Ezion-geber—now Akaba, both were within the territory of Edom; and after making a circuitof its southeastern boundary, the Israelites reached the border of Moab on the southeast of the SaltSea. They had been forbidden by divine command to molest the Moabites in any way; and thisspecial honor was conferred on that people not on their own account, for they were very wicked,but in virtue of their descent from Lot. (See on Deuteronomy 23:3). Their territory comprised the fine countryon the south, and partly on the north of the Arnon. They had won it by their arms from the originalinhabitants, the Emims, a race, terrible, as their name imports, for physical power and stature (Genesis14:5), in like manner as the Edomites had obtained their settlement by the overthrow of the originaloccupiers of Seir, the Horims (Genesis 14:6), who were troglodytes, or dwellers in caves. Moses alludedto these circumstances to encourage his countrymen to believe that God would much more enablethem to expel the wicked and accursed Canaanites. At that time, however, the Moabites, havinglost the greater part of their possessions through the usurpations of Sihon, were reduced to the smallbut fertile region between the Zered and the Arnon.13. Now rise up, and get you over the brook Zered—The southern border of Moab, Zered("woody"), now Wady Ahsy, separates the modern district of Kerak from Jebal, and, indeed, formsa natural division of the country between the north and south. Ar, called in later times Rabbah, wasthe capital of Moab and situated twenty-five miles south of the Arnon on the banks of a small butshady stream, the Beni Hamed. It is here mentioned as representative of the country dependent onit, a rich and well-cultivated country, as appears from the numerous ruins of cities, as well as fromthe traces of tillage still visible on the fields.16. all the men of war were consumed and dead from among the people—The outbreak atKadesh on the false report of the spies had been the occasion of the fatal decree by which God277





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        doomed the whole grown-up population to die in the wilderness [Numbers 14:29]; but that outbreak onlyfilled up the measure of their iniquities. For that generation, though not universally abandoned toheathenish and idolatrous practices, yet had all along displayed a fearful amount of ungodliness inthe desert, which this history only hints at obscurely, but which is expressly asserted elsewhere(Ezekiel 20:25, 26; Am 5:25, 27; Acts 7:42, 43).19-37. when thou comest nigh over against the children of Ammon, distress them not, normeddle with them—The Ammonites, being kindred to the Moabites, were, from regard to thememory of their common ancestor, to remain undisturbed by the Israelites. The territory of thispeople had been directly north from that of Moab. It extended as far as the Jabbok, having beentaken by them from a number of small Canaanitish tribes, namely, the Zamzummins, a bullying,presumptuous band of giants, as their name indicates; and the Avims, the aborigines of the districtextending from Hazerim or Hazeroth (El Hudhera) even unto Azzah (Gaza), but of which they hadbeen dispossessed by the Caphtorim (Philistines), who came out of Caphtor (Lower Egypt) andsettled in the western coast of Philestina-Canaan Land. The limits of the Ammonites were now compressed; butthey still possessed the mountainous region beyond the Jabbok (Joshua 11:2). What a strange insightdoes this parenthesis of four verses give into the early history of Philestina-Canaan Land! How many successivewars of conquest had swept over its early state—what changes of dynasty among the Canaanitishtribes had taken place long prior to the transactions recorded in this history!24-36. Rise ye up … and pass over the river Arnon—At its mouth, this stream is eighty-twofeet wide and four deep. It flows in a channel banked by perpendicular cliffs of sandstone. At thedate of the Israelitish migration to the east of the Jordan, the whole of the fine country lying betweenthe Arnon and the Jabbok including the mountainous tract of Gilead, had been seized by theAmorites, who, being one of the nations doomed to destruction (see Deuteronomy 7:2; 20:16), were utterlyexterminated. Their country fell by right of conquest into the hands of the Israelites. Moses, however,considering this doom as referring solely to the Amorite possessions west of Jordan, sent a pacificmessage to Sihon, requesting permission to go through his territories, which lay on the east of thatriver. It is always customary to send messengers before to prepare the way; but the rejection ofMoses' request by Sihon and his opposition to the advance of the Israelites (Numbers 21:23; Jud 11:26)drew down on himself and his Amorite subjects the predicted doom on the first pitched battlefieldwith the Canaanites. It secured to Israel not only the possession of a fine and pastoral country, but,what was of more importance to them, a free access to the Jordan on the east.






      CHAPTER

        3Deuteronomy 3:1-20. Conquest of Og, King of Bashan.1. we turned, and went up the way to Bashan—Bashan ("fruitful" or "flat"), now El-Bottein,lay situated to the north of Gilead and extended as far as Hermon. It was a rugged mountainouscountry, valuable however for its rich and luxuriant pastures.Og the king of Bashan came out against us—Without provocation, he rushed to attack theIsraelites, either disliking the presence of such dangerous neighbors, or burning to avenge theoverthrow of his friends and allies.2. The Lord said unto me, Fear him not: for I will deliver him, and all his people, and hisland, into thy hand—Og's gigantic appearance and the formidable array of forces he will bring278





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        to the field, need not discourage you; for, belonging to a doomed race, he is destined to share thefate of Sihon [Numbers 21:25].3-8. Argob was the capital of a district in Bashan of the same name, which, together with otherfifty-nine cities in the same province, were conspicuous for their lofty and fortified walls. It was awar of extermination. Houses and cities were razed to the ground; all classes of people were put tothe sword; and nothing was saved but the cattle, of which an immense amount fell as spoil into thehands of the conquerors. Thus, the two Amorite kings and the entire population of their dominionswere extirpated. The whole country east of the Jordan—first upland downs from the torrent of theArnon on the south to that of the Jabbok on the north; next the high mountain tract of Gilead andBashan from the deep ravine of Jabbok—became the possession of the Israelites.9. Hermon—now Jebel-Es-Sheick—the majestic hill on which the long and elevated range ofAnti-Lebanon terminates. Its summit and the ridges on its sides are almost constantly covered withsnow. It is not so much one high mountain as a whole cluster of mountain peaks, the highest inPhilestina-Canaan Land. According to the survey taken by the English Government Engineers in 1840, they wereabout 9376 feet above the sea. Being a mountain chain, it is no wonder that it should have receiveddifferent names at different points from the different tribes which lay along the base—all of themdesignating extraordinary height: Hermon, the lofty peak; "Sirion," or in an abbreviated form "Sion"(Deuteronomy 4:48), the upraised, glittering; "Shenir," the glittering breastplate of ice.11. only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of giants—literally, "of Rephaim." Hewas not the last giant, but the only living remnant in the trans-jordanic country (Joshua 15:14), of acertain gigantic race, supposed to be the most ancient inhabitants of Philestina-Canaan Land.behold, his bedstead was a bedstead of iron—Although beds in the East are with the commonpeople nothing more than a simple mattress, bedsteads are not unknown. They are in use amongthe great, who prefer them of iron or other metals, not only for strength and durability, but for theprevention of the troublesome insects which in warm climates commonly infest wood. Taking thecubit at half a yard, the bedstead of Og would measure thirteen and a half feet, so that as beds areusually a little larger than the persons who occupy them, the stature of the Amorite king may beestimated at about eleven or twelve feet; or he might have caused his bed to be made much largerthan was necessary, as Alexander the Great did for each of his foot soldiers, to impress the Indianswith an idea of the extraordinary strength and stature of his men [Leviticus Clerc]. But how did Og's bedsteadcome to be in Rabbath, of the children of Ammon? In answer to this question, it has been said, thatOg had, on the eve of engagement, conveyed it to Rabbath for safety. Or it may be that Moses,after capturing it, may have sold it to the Ammonites, who had kept it as an antiquarian curiositytill their capital was sacked in the time of David. This is a most unlikely supposition, and besidesrenders it necessary to consider the latter clause of this verse as an interpolation inserted long afterthe time of Moses. To avoid this, some eminent critics take the Hebrew word rendered "bedstead"to mean "coffin." They think that the king of Bashan having been wounded in battle, fled to Rabbath,where he died and was buried; hence the dimensions of his "coffin" are given [Dathe, Roos].12, 13. this land, which we possessed at that time, from Aroer … gave I unto the Reubenitesand to the Gadites—The whole territory occupied by Sihon was parcelled out among the pastoraltribes of Reuben and Gad. It extended from the north bank of the Arnon to the south half of mountGilead—a small mountain ridge, now called Djelaad, about six or seven miles south of the Jabbok,and eight miles in length. The northern portion of Gilead and the rich pasture lands of Bashan—a279





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        large province, consisting, with the exception of a few bleak and rocky spots, of strong and fertilesoil—was assigned to the half-tribe of Manasseh.14. Jair the son of Manasseh took all the country of Argob—The original inhabitants of theprovince north of Bashan, comprising sixty cities (Deuteronomy 3:4), not having been extirpated along withOg, this people were afterwards brought into subjection by the energy of Jair. This chief, of thetribe of Manasseh, in accordance with the pastoral habits of his people, called these newly acquiredtowns by a name which signifies "Jair's Bedouin Villages of Tents."unto this day—This remark must evidently have been introduced by Ezra, or some of the piousmen who arranged and collected the books of Moses.15. I gave Gilead unto Machir—It was only the half of Gilead (Deuteronomy 3:12, 13) which was givento the descendants of Machir, who was now dead.16. from Gilead—that is, not the mountainous region, but the town Ramoth-gilead,even unto the river Arnon half the valley—The word "valley" signifies a wady, either filledwith water or dry, as the Arnon is in summer, and thus the proper rendering of the passage willbe—"even to the half or middle of the river Arnon" (compare Joshua 12:2). This prudent arrangementof the boundaries was evidently made to prevent all disputes between the adjacent tribes about theexclusive right to the water.25. I pray thee, let me go over, and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodlymountain, and Lebanon—The natural and very earnest wish of Moses to be allowed to cross theJordan was founded on the idea that the divine threatening might be conditional and revertible."That goodly mountain" is supposed by Jewish writers to have pointed to the hill on which thetemple was to be built (Deuteronomy 12:5; Exodus 15:2). But biblical scholars now, generally, render thewords—"that goodly mountain, even Lebanon," and consider it to be mentioned as typifying thebeauty of Philestina-Canaan Land, of which hills and mountains were so prominent a feature.26. speak no more unto me of this matter—that is, My decree is unalterable.






      CHAPTER

        4Deuteronomy 4:1-13. An Exhortation to Obedience.1. hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you—Bystatutes were meant all ordinances respecting religion and the rites of divine worship; and byjudgments, all enactments relative to civil matters. The two embraced the whole law of God.2. Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you—by the introduction of any heathensuperstition or forms of worship different from those which I have appointed (Deuteronomy 12:32; Numbers 15:39;Matthew 15:9).neither shall ye diminish aught from it—by the neglect or omission of any of the observances,however trivial or irksome, which I have prescribed. The character and provisions of the ancientdispensation were adapted with divine wisdom to the instruction of that infant state of the church.But it was only a temporary economy; and although God here authorizes Moses to command thatall its institutions should be honored with unfailing observance, this did not prevent Him fromcommissioning other prophets to alter or abrogate them when the end of that dispensation wasattained.280





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        3, 4. Your eyes have seen what the Lord did because of Baal-peor … the Lord thy Godhath destroyed them from among you—It appears that the pestilence and the sword of justiceovertook only the guilty in that affair (Numbers 25:1-9) while the rest of the people were spared. Theallusion to that recent and appalling judgment was seasonably made as a powerful dissuasive againstidolatry, and the fact mentioned was calculated to make a deep impression on people who knewand felt the truth of it.5, 6. this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shallhear all these statutes—Moses predicted that the faithful observance of the laws given them wouldraise their national character for intelligence and wisdom. In point of fact it did do so; for althoughthe heathen world generally ridiculed the Hebrews for what they considered a foolish and absurdexclusiveness