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Bible Commentaries

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

Deuteronomy 29

 

 

Verses 1-9

Of the Deliverance from Egypt—

v. 1. These are the words of the covenant which the Lord commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, while they were still encamped in the steppes east of Jordan, beside the covenant which He made with them in Horeb. This verse is inserted to form the transition from the preceding speeches and to be the title of the last admonitions of Moses, especially of his urgent invitation to be mindful of the covenant and to keep its obligations sacred.

v. 2. And Moses called unto all Israel, all the members of the Lord's people being included in this summons, 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, all the older ones of them having been eye-witnesses of the works of the Lord;

v. 3. the great temptations which thine eyes have seen, by which the Lord tested the attitude of Pharaoh, the signs and those great miracles, Deu_4:34; Deu_7:19;

v. 4. yet the Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear unto this day. Cf Deu_5:26. The outer senses of their bodies had indeed taken note of what happened, but they were still lacking in inner understanding.

v. 5. And I have 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, not only did they always have clothes when they needed them, but the very ones which they wore had lasting qualities beyond those of ordinary garments, Deu_8:3-4.

v. 6. Ye have not eaten bread, since the Lord nourished them with manna during the wilderness journey, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink, like men devoted to the Lord, that ye might know that I am the Lord, your God.

v. 7. And when ye came unto this place, the region east of Jordan, Sihon, the king of Heshbon, and Og, the king of Bashan, came out against us unto battle, and we smote them, Deu_2:32; Deu_3:1; Num_21:21-35;

v. 8. and we took their land and gave it for an inheritance unto the Reubenites and to the Gadites and to the half tribe of Manasseh, Deu_3:12-13.

v. 9. Keep, therefore, because of all these special miracles of the Lord they were to act wisely and observe the words of this covenant and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do; the proper attitude of the heart and mind toward Jehovah is in itself a reward, but the Lord wanted to give them, in addition, outward prosperity. Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come, 1Ti_4:8.


Verses 10-29

A Solemn Call to Obedience

v. 10. Ye stand this day, all of you, before the Lord, your God, not only the men, but also the women, the children, and the strangers who had cast their lot with theirs; your captains of your tribes, your elders, and your officers, time all the men of Israel,

v. 11. your little ones, your wives, and thy stranger that is in thy camp, from the hewer of thy wood unto the drawer of thy water, the men lowest in the social scale, the men that performed the lowest and meanest services;

v. 12. that thou shouldest enter into covenant with the Lord, thy God, thus to pass into His keeping, to declare their allegiance to Him, and into His oath which the Lord, thy God, maketh with thee this day, in the form of a new declaration of the covenant made at Horeb,

v. 13. that he may establish thee today for a people unto Himself, a people of His possession, and that he may be unto thee a God, their highest good and the supreme object of their adoration, as he hath said unto thee, and as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

v. 14. Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath,

v. 15. but with him that standeth here with us this day before the Lord, our God, those then living and present, and also with him that is not here with us this day, this word including not only the descendants of Israel, but extending properly to all nations, as Jehovah intended to reveal Himself to them through the Gospel;

v. 16. (for ye know how we have dwelt in the land of Egypt, and how we came through the nations which ye passed by, the lessons of their sojourn in Egypt and of their journey through the wilderness were to be heeded all their lives;

v. 17. and ye have seen their abominations, the detestable things which they did in their heathen worship, and their idols, dead logs, inanimate blocks, wood and stone, silver and gold, which were among them;)

v. 18. lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe whose heart turneth away this day from the Lord, our God, while all these facts were still fresh in their memory, almost before their eyes, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood, a fitting picture of the dangerous fruits brought forth by idolatrous practices;

v. 19. and it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, of the oath which confirmed the covenant with such emphatic threats of punishment, that he bless himself in his heart, call himself fortunate, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination, hardness or stubbornness, of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst, to bring death and destruction not only upon those that are already infected with the poison of idolatry, but also to those that are longing to indulge in its practices.

v. 20. The Lord will not spare him, namely, the man guilty of such a transgression, but then the anger of the Lord and His jealousy shall smoke against that man, break forth in a consuming fire, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under heaven, Deu_9:14; Exo_17:14.

v. 21. And the Lord shall separate him, put him aside and destine him, unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel, and no longer a member of the holy people of God, according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in the book of this Law, not only the individual, but the family and the entire tribe,

v. 22. so that the generation to come of your children that shall rise up after you, and the stranger that shall come from a far land, shall say, when they see the plagues of that land, where such idolatrous customs were introduced and practiced, first by the individual, then by the community, and the sicknesses which the Lord hath laid upon it;

v. 23. and that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth there in, the land thus being utterly desolate, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, Gen_19:24-25, which the Lord overthrew in His anger and in His wrath;

v. 24. even all nations shall say, Wherefore hath the Lord done thus unto this land? What meaneth the heat of this great anger?

v. 25. Then men shall say, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord God of their fathers which He made with them when He brought them forth out of the land of Egypt;

v. 26. for they went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods whom they knew not, and whom He had not given unto them, Deu_11:28; Deu_4:19, since Jehovah alone is the eternal portion of Israel;

v. 27. and the anger of the Lord was kindled against this land to bring upon it all the curses that are written in this book, Lev_26:14-38; Deu_28:15-68;

v. 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, like a weed that is torn out by the roots and thrown aside, as it is this day. The vivid form of presentation was intended to impress the dangers of apostasy upon the minds of all the hearers.

v. 29. The secret things belong unto the Lord, our God, who alone knew in what way His counsel for the future would be carried out, how His plan of salvation would be realized: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, for they had the will of God in its written form, that we may do all the words of this Law, for upon that they were dependent, to that they were bound. We Christians have the Word of the Lord, as He revealed it to the men inspired by Him. With that we should rest content and not seek new Revelation s, keys, or other manifestations.

 


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Bibliography Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 29:4". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/deuteronomy-29.html. 1921-23.

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