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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Deuteronomy 24:18



"But you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and that the LORD your God redeemed you from there; therefore I am commanding you to do this thing.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman - Most people who have affluence rose from comparative penury, for those who are born to estates frequently squander them away; such therefore should remember what their feelings, their fears, and anxieties were, when they were poor and abject. A want of attention to this most wholesome precept is the reason why pride and arrogance are the general characteristics of those who have risen in the world from poverty to affluence; and it is the conduct of those men which gave rise to the rugged proverb, "Set a beggar on horseback, and he will ride to the devil."

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 24:18". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

The Biblical Illustrator

Deuteronomy 24:18

Remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt.

Important recollection

The admonition may seem needless, but we are prone to forget God’s works and wonders. We have need to be stirred up to remembrance for four purposes.

1. For the purpose of humility. We think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think. With the lowly is wisdom. If wise, we were once foolish; if justified, we were once condemned; if sons of God, we were once servants of sin. Look to the rock from whence hewn.

2. For the purpose of gratitude. If affected by kindness flora our fellow creatures, should we overlook our infinite Benefactor? We have no claims upon Him and should be thankful for all His benefits. But herein is love. Blessed be the God of Israel, for He hath visited and redeemed His people.

3. For the purpose of confidence. David argued from the past to the future. Because Thou hast been my help, therefore under the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice. Here we have peculiar reason for encouragement. What were we when He first took knowledge of us? Was the want of worthiness a bar to His goodness then? Will it be so now? Is there variableness or shadow of turning with Him? Is there not the same power in His arm and the same love in His heart? Did He pardon me when a rebel, and will He cast me off now that He has made me a friend? “He that spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for us all,” etc.

4. For the purpose of piety and zeal. How many round about you in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity ready to perish? You know the state they are in, and the blessedness of deliverance from it. You are witnesses of what God is able and willing to do. Invite the prisoners of hope to turn to Him--you can speak from experience. (W. Jay.)

Remembrance of the past

I. The exercise of mental activity.

II. The particular object of consideration.

1. Our original state.

2. Our redeemed condition.

III. The especial gain to be derived from this consideration.

1. It will make us humble.

2. It will render us grateful.

3. It should give us confidence and faith.

4. It should kindle our piety and zeal. (Homilist.)

The necessary remembrance

I. The Christian’s original state.

1. Degraded.

2. Oppressed.

3. Helpless.

II. The Christian’s happy deliverance. “Redeemed.” God redeemed Israel by His mighty arm. Our redemption, like theirs--

1. Originated in God’s free compassion. Without claim or merit. He saw our self-procured ruin, and exercised His infinite mercy towards us.

2. Was effected by the mission and work of His Son.

3. Is connected with faith and obedience to our great Deliverer.

III. The Christian’s obligation to remember his redemption. But can we forget? Why, the Israelites did. Our own hearts are prone to forget; the cares of the world choke the soul, and cause us to forget God. Satan, by his temptations, would seduce us from this remembrance.

1. We should remember it with intentness of soul and gratitude of heart. Such love and goodness should never be obliterated. A lively remembrance will keep the flame of gratitude burning on the altar of our hearts.

2. We should remember it with feelings of humility and contrition. If self-righteousness would spring up, if we would glory at all in ourselves, this remembrance will lead us back to our original state, and then all boasting will be slain.

3. We should remember that we may feel for those around who are still in the gall of bitterness and the bonds of iniquity. The love of Christ to us should fill us with love to our fellowmen.

4. We should especially remember, when in the means of grace, and at the table of the Lord. (J. Burns, D. D.)

The memorable deliverance

I. The deliverance obtained.

1. From the curse of the law.

2. From the bondage of sin.

3. From the tyranny of Satan.

4. From the evils of the world.

II. The deliverer described.

1. Redemption originally proceeds from the mercy and love of God.

2. Redemption is meritoriously procured by the Lord Jesus Christ.

3. Redemption is personally realised by the power of the Holy Ghost.

III. The remembrance enjoined. This command is applicable to the people of God in every age, and extends to all the blessings we receive. As it regards our redemption, we must cherish--

1. A grateful remembrance. We should frequently call to mind the deplorable state from which we are redeemed, the inestimable privileges with which we are honoured, and the ineffable felicities to which we are entitled. Such pious reflections will always be profitable, and associated with deep humility, devoted admiration, unfeigned gratitude, and fervent praise (Psalms 103:1-4; Isaiah 12:1).

2. An affectionate remembrance. A consciousness of the unspeakable love of God to us should deeply interest and inspire our souls with a reciprocation of love to Him. Our love to God must be supreme, vigorous, manifest, and progressive. It must be the ruling principle of the heart, and the actuating motive of the life (Matthew 22:37-38; Romans 5:5; 1 John 5:3; 1 John 5:5).

3. An obedient remembrance. This is the specific argument of the text: “Thou shalt remember, therefore I command thee to do this thing.” Their obedience was demanded on the ground of Divine goodness.

4. A perpetual remembrance. Redeeming grace deeply involves our immortal interests, and therefore should never be forgotten. (Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Deuteronomy 24:18". The Biblical Illustrator. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

But thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt,.... The remembrance of which may cause sympathy with persons in distress; particularly the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow:

and the Lord thy God redeemed thee thence; the Targum of Jonathan,"the Word of the Lord thy God;'which, as it was an act of great kindness and mercy in God to them, taught them, and laid them under obligation to show favour to their fellow creatures in distress:

therefore I command thee to do this thing: not to pervert the judgment of the stranger and fatherless, nor take a widow's raiment for a pledge; and it may be carried further into the context, and respect the laws about the pledge of the poor man, and giving the hired servant his wages in due time.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Gill, John. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 24:18". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Scofield's Reference Notes


(See Scofield "Exodus 14:30").

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These files are considered public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available in the Online Bible Software Library.

Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Deuteronomy 24:18". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". 1917.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary


‘Remember that thou wast a bondman … therefore I command thee to do this thing.’

Deuteronomy 24:18

I. What tender, beautiful thoughtfulness pervades this chapter!—For the poor man’s self-respect, on account of which his house might not be broken into; for the servant’s wage, which must be paid at nightfall; for the bondslave and foreigner, who were to receive just judgment; for the fatherless and widow, in the gleanings of the harvest and vintage. There was no class so needy or lowly as to be beneath the beneficent thought of this religious nation, which was to repeat on earth something of that Divine life which God was living in heaven.

II. What a shelter and protection the poor and oppressed have in God!—The man whom the poor bless for his courteous thought, is remembered for righteousness in the day of trouble by the Most High; whilst the cry of the poor against his oppressor brings sin and condemnation with it, as it ascends into the ear of the Lord God of Sabaoth. The gift of beneficence to the poor will return in Divine blessing on the man that makes it. It would appear as though God especially espoused the cause of the poor, identifying Himself with them, and accepting as for Himself all the treatment meted out to them. It seems as though throughout this chapter we could hear the voice of Him, who for our sakes became poor, saying, ‘Inasmuch as ye do it to one of the least of these My brethren, ye do it unto Me.’


‘How wise and just and merciful all these items were; so human and so divine. As we consider them, we instinctively look round to find Him speaking, whose words have filled our world with sweetness and light. Ere these words were spoken the Father had committed all judgment to the Son. Let all who are poor and fatherless, and widowed and lonely, take heart at these words, and look trustfully up into the face of God.’

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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 24:18". Church Pulpit Commentary. 1876.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Thou shalt remember, to wit, affectionately and practically; and by the compassionate sense of others’ miseries, thou shalt make it evident that thou hast not forgotten thy own distresses and deliverances.

I command thee to do this thing; I having thereby authority to command thee, and thou having obligations on that account, both to obey me, and to pity others in the same calamities which thou hast felt.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Deuteronomy 24:18". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

This thing. It is uncertain whether this refer to the preceding or to the following law. It may be applied to both, as the remembrance of the Egyptian slavery might teach God's people not to oppress, but rather to shew mercy to those in distress. As the same thing is however repeated, ver. 22, it seems more probable that the present verse forbids any oppression. (Haydock)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 24:18". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

in Egypt. Some codices, with one early printed edition, Targum of Onkelos, and Septuagint, read "in the land of Egypt". as in Deuteronomy 24:22.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 24:18". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

But thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee thence: therefore I command thee to do this thing.
22; 5:15; 15:15; 16:12

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 24:18". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".

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