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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Deuteronomy 28

 

 

Verse 1

And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:

If thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God. In this chapter the blessings and curses are enumerated at length, and in various minute details, so that on the first entry of the Israelites into the land of promise, their whole destiny was laid before them, as it was to result from their obedience or the contrary.


Verse 2

And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.

All these blessings shall come on thee - their national obedience was to be rewarded by extraordinary and universal prosperity.


Verse 3

Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.

In the city, and ... in the field - whether living in town or country, whether engaged in trade or agriculture.


Verse 4

Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 5

Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store.

Thy basket and thy store , [ uwmish'artekaa (Hebrew #4863). This word (cf. Deuteronomy 28:17; Exodus 8:3) "store" is rendered "kneading trough," Exodus 12:34. The Septuagint has: ta engkataleimmata sou-thy things reserved.] Some take it for the leather bag or wallet in which the Arabs carry their provisions (Harmer, 'Observations,'

iv., p. 368). At all events, the meaning is, there will be plenty of fruit for the basket, and meal for the kneading trough-an abundant supply of all the necessaries and comforts of life.


Verse 6

Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.

When thou comest in, and ... when thou goest out - they should have pleasant and prosperous journeys when they required to travel, and should return home in happiness and safety.


Verse 7

The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways.

Flee before thee seven ways - i:e., in various directions, as always happens in a rout.


Verse 8-9

The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 10

And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD and they shall be afraid of thee.

Called by the name of the Lord - i:e., are really and actually His people (Deuteronomy 14:1; Deuteronomy 26:18).


Verse 11

And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers to give thee.

The Lord shall make thee plenteous in goods. Beside the natural capabilities of Canaan, and the division of tribes, which ensured the cultivation of every spot, even the terraced sides of the mountains, its extraordinary fruitfulness and the number of its inhabitants were traceable to the special blessing of Heaven, which that favoured people for ages enjoyed.


Verse 12

The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow. The Lord shall open unto thee good treasure. The seasonable supply of the early and latter rain was one of the principal means by which their land was so uncommonly fruitful.

Thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow - i:e., thou shalt be in such affluent circumstances as to be capable, out of thy superfluous wealth, to give aid to thy poorer neighbours.


Verse 13-14

And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:

The head, and not the tail - an Oriental form of expression, indicating the possession of independent power, and great dignity, and acknowledged excellence (Isaiah 9:14; Isaiah 19:15). This high condition was realized in the reigns of David and Solomon; and it would have been longer maintained had the Israelites adhered to the conditions of their covenant with God.

The detail of blessings comprehends the possession of everything necessary for a people's happiness-health and wealth, security from external disturbance, and prosperity in all their internal concerns. They are exclusively temporal blessings, such as were calculated to engage the interest of a people like the Israelites, and were suited to the character of their dispensation. But at all times they are included among the benefits held out by the Gospel itself (1 Timothy 4:8). They form powerful incentives to obedience.


Verse 15

But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:

But ... if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord. Curses that were to follow them in the event of disobedience are now enumerated; and they are almost exact counterparts to the blessings which were described in the preceding context as the reward of a faithful adherence to the covenant.

The parallel is observed in the particulars specified, Deuteronomy 28:16-19; and the special blessing of Heaven in all their undertakings, promised to faithful and continued obedience, is substituted by an unmitigated curse (Deuteronomy 28:20) overhanging them in every situation.


Verses 16-20

Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 21

The LORD shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it.

Pestilence (cf. 1 Kings 8:37; Amos 4:10) - some fatal epidemic. There is no reason, however, to think that the plague, which is the great modern scourge of the East, is referred to.


Verse 22

The LORD shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish.

A consumption , [ bashachepet (Hebrew #7829), from shaachap (Hebrew #7828), to become lean, to consume away] - a wasting disorder; but the European phthisis is almost unknown in Asia [The Septuagint has: en aporia, distress (cf. Luke 21:25).]

Fever ... inflammation ... extreme burning. Fever is rendered burning ague, Leviticus 26:16; and the others mentioned along with it evidently point to those febrile affections which are of malignant character and great frequency in the East.

The sword - rather, 'dryness,' the effect on the human body of such violent disorders; or 'drought' on the land, grass [ chereb (Hebrew #2719)] (Gesenius).

Blasting ... mildew - two atmospheric influences fatal to grain. 'The mildew, which committed such dreadful ravages in the barley, wheat, and millet fields, and often reduced the people to the extremity of famine, was never once suspected to be of vegetable origin-different species of parasitic fungi of the Predo and Puccinia families-but looked upon entirely as a meteorological product-a special form of pestilence sent directly from the hand of God' ('British and Foreign Evangelical Review,' art. 'Bib. Bot.,' No. 47:, p. 166). A hot or scorching wind, before the harvest is ripe, is one of the most disastrous occurrences that can take place in Palestine.


Verse 23

And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron.

Heaven ... brass ... earth ... iron - strong Oriental figures used to describe the effects of long-continued drought. But the language is limited to Judea: "the heaven that is over thy head ... the earth that is under thee" - i:e., while the clouds may carry vapour and moisture to other regions, there shall be none in Judea; and this want of regular and seasonable rain is allowed by the most intelligent observers to be one great cause of the present sterility of Palestine.

Compared with the attractive descriptions of the promised land, as "a land of brooks and fountains," etc. (Deuteronomy 8:7), the existing condition of Palestine, as almost entirely destitute of flowing streams, must be regarded as a fulfillment of the prophetic curse denounced in this passage. The natural causes to which the change is to be attributed is the destruction of the mountain forests, together with the ignorance and neglect of uncivilized occupiers.


Verse 24

The LORD shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed.

The rain of thy land powder and dust , [ 'aabaaq (Hebrew #80)] - light, impalpable (Isaiah 5:21; Ezekiel 26:10); the opposite of [ `aapaar (Hebrew #6083)] thick, heavy dust, and of [ shachaq (Hebrew #7834)] a nation of dust (Isaiah 40:15) - an allusion, probably, to the dreadful effects of tornadoes in the East, which, raising the sand in immense twisted pillars, and driving them along with the fury of a tempest, darken the heavens and envelop caravans and armies in a stiffing deluge of dust.

To this species of rain Moses was no stranger: he had seen it and felt its effects in the sandy deserts of Arabia; and he places it among the curses that were in subsequant ages to punish the apostasy of the Israelites. These shifting sands are most destructive to cultivated lands; and in consequence of their encroachment many once fertile regions of the East are now barren deserts.


Verse 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 shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth.

The Lord shall cause thee to be ... removed into all the kingdoms of the earth - (cf. 1 Kings 9:7; Jeremiah 24:10.)


Verse 26

And thy carcase shall be meat unto all fowls of the air, and unto the beasts of the earth, and no man shall fray them away.

Thy carcass shall be meat unto ... the beasts of the earth. [ uwlbehemat (Hebrew #929) haa'aarets (Hebrew #776), generally denotes any tame animal; but in an elevated style it is used synonymously with hayaT haa'aarets (Hebrew #776), a wild beast (cf. Isaiah 18:6).]


Verse 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.

The botch of Egypt , [ sh


Verse 28

The LORD shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart:

Madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart - they "would be bewildered and paralyzed with terror at extent of their calamities.


Verse 29

And thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways: and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man shall save thee.

Thou shalt grope at noon-day - a general description of the painful uncertainty in which they would live. During the Middle Ages the Jews were considered everywhere a legitimate prey-their most valuable possessions liable at any time to be seized by rapacious violence; their lives in continual jeopardy, so that they were driven from society into hiding-places, which they were afraid to leave, not knowing from what quarter they might be assailed, and their children dragged into captivity, from which no friend could rescue and no money ransom them.


Verse 30-31

Thou shalt betroth a wife, and another man shall lie with her: thou shalt build an house, and thou shalt not dwell therein: thou shalt plant a vineyard, and shalt not gather the grapes thereof.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 32

Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people, and thine eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day long: and there shall be no might in thine hand.

Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people. Since the old generation was doomed to die in the wilderness, so their posterity should die dispersed in foreign exile (cf. Leviticus 26:33-38). The remembrance of this prophetic denunciation must have sadly embittered the feelings of the Jews both during the captivity in Babylon and in the dispersion since the fall of Jerusalem.


Verse 33-34

The fruit of thy land, and all thy labours, shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up; and thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed alway:

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 35

The LORD shall smite thee in the knees, and in the legs, with a sore botch that cannot be healed, from the sole of thy foot unto the top of thy head.

The Lord shall smite thee in the knees, and in the legs, with a sore botch , [ sh


Verse 36

The LORD shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone.

The Lord shall bring thee, and thy king. This shows how widespread would be the range of the national calamity, which even the monarch, with all his guards and means of protection, should not escape: and at the same time how hopeless, when he who should have been their defender shared the captive fate of his subjects (2 Kings 24:12-15; 2 Kings 25:7).

There shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone. The Hebrew exiles, with some honourable exceptions, as Daniel and his companions, Ezra and Nehemiah, were seduced or compelled into idolatry in the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities (Jeremiah 44:17-19). Thus the sin to which they had too often betrayed a perverse fondness, a deep-rooted propensity, became their punishment and their misery.


Verse 37

And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the LORD shall lead thee.

Thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a by-word, among all nations - other people should wonder at their great and protracted calamities. No doubt they were so to the Assyrians and Babylonians. And what was the natural effect of this, but to excite deadly resentment in their breasts, (cf. Psalms 138:1-8.) In subsequent times they have been no less "a proverb and a by word among all nations," ever since their dispersion by the Romans. There is not a quarter of the globe where this prediction is not verified.

Mohammedans and pagans of every description pour contempt upon them and load them with all manner of indignities. Nor have Christians been at all more kindly disposed toward them; on the contrary, they have in times gone by been foremost in executing upon them the divine vengeance. In short, the annals of almost every nation, for 1,800 years, afford abundant proofs that this has been, as it still is, the case-the very name of Jew being a universally recognized term for extreme degradation and wretchedness, and is often applied by passionate people in derision, 'you Jew.'


Verse 38

Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it.

Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather but little in. This is verified by the produce of the earth, not only in the immediate neighbourhood of Jerusalem, but over the whole of that land, which once flowed with milk and honey: the curse threatened by God has taken effect. Moreover, by a defective system of agriculture, being ignorant of harrows, the seeds sown are allowed to lie uncovered on the field, and are consequently devoured by birds; besides, wheat, on growing up, is consumed by caterpillars.


Verse 39

Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress them, but shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them.

Thou shalt plant vineyards ... but shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them. The vine, in all stages of its growth, is the prey of insects. While the Curculio vastator feeds upon the young shoots, often killing them the first year; while the small caterpillar of a Procris or Zygaena is destructive to the vine-buds as they open in the spring, eating its way into them, and devouring the germ of the grape; while the larvae of a moth (Pyralis vitana, F.) are in France very destructive to the leaves, and another species does great injury to the young bushes, preventing their expansion by the webs in which it involves them, a third (Pyralis fasciana, F.) makes the grapes themselves its food; and it is this, or a similar insect, that is threatened in the prediction (Kirby and Spence's 'Entomology,' 1:, pp. 200, 201). Very few vineyards are now seen in Palestine (NOTE: toward the end of the 19th century).


Verse 40

Thou shalt have olive trees throughout all thy coasts, but thou shalt not anoint thyself with the oil; for thine olive shall cast his fruit.

Thou shalt have olive trees throughout all thy coasts ... Syria, especially that part of it which the Israelites inhabited, was the native country of the olive. So valuable were olive trees, that almost all classes of that people possessed oliveyards (1 Samuel 8:14; 1 Chronicles 27:28; Nehemiah 5:11).

'It is a curious and interesting fact, that during more than 2,000 years Hebrews, Romans, Moslems, and Christians have been successively in possession of the rocky mountains of Palestine; yet the olive vindicates its paternal soil, and is found at this day on the same spot which was called by the Hebrew writers the mount of Olives eleven centuries before the Christian era' (Dr. Edward Clarke's 'Travels in Palestine;' Dr. Wilde's 'Travels in Palestine.' 2:, p. 184).


Verse 41

Thou shalt beget sons and daughters, but thou shalt not enjoy them; for they shall go into captivity.

Thou shalt beget sons and daughters, but thou shalt not enjoy them. All the Jewish children in Georgia are the property of the Georgian powers (Joseph Wolff).


Verse 42

All thy trees and fruit of thy land shall the locust consume.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 43-44

The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low.

The stranger that is within thee shall get above thee very high. This was fulfilled in the subsequent history of Israel; as appears, for instance, in the prosperity of "the stranger" (Judges 2:14; 1 Samuel 13:10), and in the striking contrast between the days of Solomon, when the weight of gold (silver being nothing accounted of) which came to the king in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents, and those of Jehoiakim, when Pharaoh-necho, having by conquest become "the head" of Judea, could impose only a tribute of one hundred talents of silver and one talent of gold, which, small as it was, could with difficulty be raised by an impoverished people.

'Doubtless in those days, and many which followed them, the proud stranger frequently lent to the oppressed Jew of that which had been his own, but the Jew did not lend to him. There is no record of the Jews becoming great moneylenders so long as they remained in the land of Israel, subject to foreign powers; and this is what is directly referred to, Deuteronomy 28:40; Deuteronomy 28:42; and the assault of the Roman armies is not alluded to until Deuteronomy 28:49.

There are, however, other prophetic scriptures referring more particularly to the latter or Roman captivity of Israel, and their general dispersion throughout the world, in which hints are given of their obtaining a certain influence among the nations of the earth; particularly Isaiah 60:9, which shows that the Jews would become remarkable for the possession of gold and silver, which, it may be presumed, was to be obtained by commerce, moneylending, or other means whereby wealth is usually accumulated. But though there is a large and influential body of merchants and bankers, the nation is still withered under the course that is written in this book. Taken as a whole, they are a very poor and suffering people; in the land of their fathers the stranger is still "the head;" they receive as a favour, when they receive it at all, that which was formerly their own by right; and although matters are somewhat improved of late years, they are still subject to various forms of injustice and oppression ('Jewish Intelligence,' Nov., 1861, pp. 290-293).


Verses 45-47

Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee:

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 48

Therefore shalt 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 of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee.

In hunger, and in thirst ... and in want of all things - (cf. Amos 4:6-9.)


Verse 49

The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand;

The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far. The predictions in this and the subsequent verses are usually referred to the invasion of the Romans, and certainly the course of that destructive war answers with literal exactness to the prophetic intimations in this passage. 'They came from far:' the soldiers of the invading army were taken from France, Spain, and Britain-then considered "the end of the earth." Julius Severus, the commander, afterward Vespasian and Hadrian, left Britain for the scene of contest. Moreover, the ensign on the standards of the Roman army was an eagle; and the dialects spoken by the soldiers of the different nations that composed that army were altogether unintelligible to the Jews.


Verse 50

A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young:

A nation of fierce countenance - a just description of the Romans, who were not only bold and unyielding, but ruthless and implacable, sparing, as Josephus expressly records, neither age, nor condition, nor sex.


Verse 51

And he shall 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.

He shall eat the fruit of thy cattle ... The ravages of an invading army are in all cases disastrous; but so great and dreadful were the excesses committed by the Romans, from the time they entered Judea, that, according to the Jewish historian, every district of the country through which they passed was strewed with the wrecks of their devastations.


Verse 52

And he shall besiege thee in 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 thy land, which the LORD thy God hath given thee.

He shall besiege thee ... until thy high and fenced walls come down. All the fortified places to which the people betook themselves for safety were burnt or demolished, and the walls of Jerusalem itself razed to the ground.


Verse 53

And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, which the LORD thy God hath given thee, in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee:

Thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body - (see the notes at 2 Kings 6:29; Lamentations 4:10.)


Verses 54-56

So that the man that is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward his brother, and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the remnant of his children which he shall leave:

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 57

And toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she And toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear: for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege and straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates.

Toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet - i:e., a foetus, as distinguished from her children which she shall bear." [The Septuagint has: to chorion autees to exelthon dia toon meeroon autees.] Such were the dreadful extremities to which the inhabitants during the siege were reduced that, according to the testimony of Josephus, many women sustained a wretched existence by eating the flesh of their own children. Parental affection was extinguished, and the nearest relatives were jealously avoided lest they should discover and demand a share of the revolting viands.


Verse 58

If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD

That thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name. It would have been better here, and in many other passages if our translators had preserved the original term, "Yahweh thy God." In the public contract which God made with the nation of Israel, the preface to the commandments promulgated ran thus: "I am Yahweh thy God, who have brought thee out of the land of Egypt" (Exodus 20:2).

This was a development of Noah's prophetic utterance to Shem. But Pharaoh had never heard of the name Yahweh (Exodus 5:1-2), and Moses knew nothing of it until, on being called to his divine legation, he was for the first time informed what was to be the name of God during the extraordinary theocracy (Exodus 3:13-15; Exodus 6:3).

From all this it appears that Yahweh was to be the name of God during the course of the theocracy. And it is very remarkable that, since the expiration of the theocracy, this national name of God has ceased among the Jews, who, through the influence of a blind superstition, dare not utter the name. This, therefore, which was to be "God's name and memorial unto all generations" - namely, of the Jewish nation-has ended with the theocracy.


Verses 59-61

Then the LORD will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 62

And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the LORD thy God.

Ye shall be left few in number. Notwithstanding the teeming population of ancient Judea, there has been ever since the destruction of Jerusalem only an inconsiderable remnant of Jews existing in that land. This diminution took place at an early period; for, according to Josephus, 1,100,000 persons died by famine, pestilence, and other causes, at the time of the siege; and more than 90,000 were carried captives by the Romans. In the subsequent war of Hadrian, 580,000 were slain and destroyed through various causes.

Ever since, Palestine has been in the hands of many successive masters; but all have been equally hostile to the Jewish race; comparatively few have remained in that country; those who did so were aliens in the land of their fathers; and of all classes of the inhabitants, they are the most degraded and miserable beings, dependent for their support on contributions from Europe.


Verse 63

And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it.

Ye shall be plucked from off the land. Hadrian issued a proclamation, forbidding any Jews to reside in Judea, or even to approach its confines.


Verse 64

And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.

The Lord shall scatter thee among all people. There is, perhaps, not a country in the world where Jews are not to be found. But for centuries they underwent every species of public and private persecution; they have nowhere acquired a settlement; and although they are in some European States admitted to the privileges of citizenship, those 'tribes of the wandering foot and weary breast' are always looked upon as foreigners, whose wishes and destiny are associated with another land. The hosts of northern nations-Goths, Vandals, Huns-poured into the countries of southern Europe; and where are they now? Nay, at a much later period, the Britons, Romans, Saxons, Danes, and Normans all came successively into England and formed settlements; and who can distinguish those colonists from the aboriginal inhabitants; or the Gauls, the Romans, and the Franks in France; or the native Spaniards from the Goths and Moors who conquered Spain? They are blended in one indiscriminate mass, and their national distinctiveness irretrievably lost.

Much more might it have been expected that the intense and protracted sufferings of the Jews would, through the furnace-heat of affliction, have fused them into the common mass of humanity with the various nations among whom they dwelt. But still they continue a separate people, distinct in their characteristic features, special in their manners and customs.

Dr. Watson (of Llandaff) remarked, that 'he never saw a Jew, but he beheld in him a living testimony to the truth of the Old Testament.' Whoever looks upon this condition of the Hebrews and is not filled with awe, when he considers the fulfillment of this prophecy, and traces in the past sufferings and the present dispersion of that people the most legible marks of divine power, rectitude, and faithfulness.


Verse 65

And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind:

Among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest. The phraseology used here is remarkable, and irresistibly recalls the fate of the first murderer, who was doomed to be a fugitive and a vagabond upon the face of the earth. A similar sentence was passed on the Jewish people for "killing the prince of life (Acts 3:15), when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans; and the history of the last eighteen centuries shows that this sentence has been literally executed.


Verse 66

And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life:

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 67

In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see.

In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! These words exhibit a striking picture of impatient suffering, longing for the future, in the ardent hope it will bring some respite from present woe, though, when it arrives, it only forces a new and heavier sigh for the anticipated change.


Verse 68

And the LORD shall 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 for bondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you.

The Lord shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships. The accomplishment of this prediction took place under Titus, when, according to Josephus, multitudes of Jews were transported in ships to the land of the Nile, and sold as slaves. Those above 17 years of age were despatched to various parts of the Roman empire, to be employed in the public works, or doomed to fight with wild beasts in the amphitheaters. Those under 17 were exposed as slaves in such numbers and such abject circumstances that the market was glutted with them. Thirty were offered for a trifle, and it was often difficult to find a purchaser.

Modern critics, however, prefer to consider Egypt-used here as a type of future bondage and misery-a personification of all the foes of Israel (Hengstenberg, 'Pentateuch,' 1:, p. 123; Delitzsch, p. 27). These curses have been dreadfully fulfilled on apostate Israel, and of this every Jew of every subsequent age has been a living memorial. 'Here, then, are instances of prophecies delivered above 3,000 years ago; and yet, as we see, being fulfilled in the world at this very time; and what stronger proofs can we desire of the divine legation of Moses? How these instances may affect others I know not; but, for myself, I must acknowledge, they not only convince, but amaze and astonish me beyond expression: they are truly, as Moses foretold (Deuteronomy 28:45-46) they would be, a sign and a wonder forever' (Dr. Newton).

 


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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 28:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/deuteronomy-28.html. 1871-8.

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