Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Chapter XIII
Chapter XIV
Chapter XV
Chapter XVI
Chapter XVII
Chapter XVIII
Chapter XIX
Chapter XX
Chapter XXI
Chapter XXII
Chapter XXIII
Chapter XXIV
Chapter XXV
Chapter XXVI
Chapter XXVII
Chapter XXVIII
Chapter XXIX
Chapter XXX
Chapter XXXI
Chapter XXXII
Chapter XXXIII
Chapter XXXIV

The Greek interpreters call this book Deuteronomy, that is, The second law, or a second edition of the law, bccause it is a repetition of many of the laws, (as well as much of the history contained in the three foregoing books. They to whom the first law was given were all dead, and a new generation sprung up, to whom God would have it repeated by Moses himself, that it might make the deeper impression upon them. It begins with a brief rehearsal of the most remarkable events, that had befallen them since they came from mount Sinai. In the fourth chapter begins a pathetic exhortation to obedience: From the 12th to the 27th are repeated many particular laws, inforced in the 27th and 28th with promises and threatnings, which are formed into a covenant, chap. 29,30. Care is taken in chap. 31. to perpetuate the remembrance of these things among them, particularly by a song, chap. 32 concluded with a blessing, chap. 33. All this was delivered by Moses to Israel, in the last month of his life. See how busy this great and good Man was to do good, when he knew his time was short.

Chapter I

The preface, fixing the time and place, ver. 1 - 5. Israel commanded to march, ver. 6 - 8. Judges provided, ver. 9 - 1 3. They come to Kadesh - barnea, ver. 19 - 21. Spies sent, their report, the people's murmuring, ver. 22 - 33. The sentence passed upon them, ver. 34 - 40. They are smitten by the Amorites, and remain at Kadesh, ver. 41 - 46.

1 All Israel - Namely, by the heads or elders of the several tribes, who were to communicate these discourses to all the people. In the wilderness - In the plain of Moab, as may appear by comparing this with Deu 1:5, and Num 22:1, and Deu 34:8. The word Suph here used does not signify the Red - Sea, which is commonly called jam - suph, and which was at too great a distance, but some oiher place now unknown to us, (as also most of the following places are) so called from the reeds or flags, or rushes (which that word signifies) that grew in or near it. Paran - Not that Num 10:12, which there and elsewhere is called the Wilderness of Paran, and which was too remote, but some other place called by the same name. Laban, Hazeroth, and Dizahab - These places seem to be the several bounds, not of the whole country of Moab, but of the plain of Moab, where Moses now was.
2 There are eleven days journey - This is added to shew that the reason why the Israelites, in so many years were advanced no farther from Horeb, than to these plains, was not the distance of the places but because of their rebellions. Kadesh - barnea - Which was not far from the borders of Canaan.
3 The eleventh month - Which was but a little before his death. All that the Lord had given him in commandment - Which shews not only that what he now delivered was in substance the same with what had formerly been commanded, but that God now commanded him to repeat it. He gave this rehearsal and exhortation by divine direction: God appointed him to leave this legacy to the church.
4 Og - His palace or mansion - house was at Astaroth, and he was slain at Edrei.
7 To the mount of the Amorites - That is, to the mountainous country where the Amorites dwelt, which is opposed to the plain, where others of them dwelt. And this is the first mentioned, because it was in the borders of the land.
8 Before you - Heb. Before your faces; it is open to your view, and to your possession; there is no impediment in the way.
9 At that time - That is, about that time, namely, a little before their coming to Horeb.
12 Your burden - The trouble of ruling and managing so perverse a people. Your strife - Your contentions among yourselves, for the determnination whereof the elders were appointed.
15 Officers - Inferior officers, that were to attend upon the superior magistrates, and to execute their decrees.
16 The stranger - That converseth or dealeth with himn. To Such God would have justice equally adtninistred as to his own people, partly for the honour of religion, and partly for the interest which every man hath in matters of common right.
17 Respect persons - Heb. Not know, or acknowledge faces, that is, not give sentence according to the outward qualities of the person, as he is poor or rich, your friend or enemy, but purely according to the merit of the cause. For which reason some of the Grecian law - givers ordered that the judges should give sentence in the dark where they could not see mens faces. The judgment is God's - It is passed in the name of God, and by commission from him, by you as representing his person, and doing his work; who therefore will defend you therein against all your enemies, amid to whom you must give an exact account.
18 All the things which ye shall do - I delivered unto you, and especially unto your judges, all the laws, statutes, and judgments revealed unto me by the lord in Horeb.
24 Eshcol - That is, of grapes, so called from the goodly cluster of grapes which they brought from thence.
28 Greater - In number and strength and valour.
31 Bare thee - Or, carried thee, as a father carries his weak and tender child in his arms, through difficulties and dangers, gently leading you according as you are able to go, and sustaining you by his power and goodness.
32 Ye did not believe the Lord - So they could not enter in, because of unbelief. It was not any other sin shut them out of Canaan, but their disbelief of 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; and therefore without remedy.
33 Your words - That is to say, your murmurings, your unthankful, impatient, distrustful and rebellious speeches.
36 Save Caleb - Under whom Joshua is comprehended, though not here expressed, because he was not now to be one of the people, but to be set over them as a chief governor.
37 For your sakes - Upon occasion of your wickedness and perverseness, by which you provoked me to speak unadvisedly.
38 Who standeth - Who is now thy servant.
44 As bees - As bees which being provoked come out of their hives in great numbers, and with great fury pursue their adversary and disturber.

Chapter II

Their march from Kadesh - barnea, ver. 1 - 3. A charge not to trouble the Edomites, ver. 4 - 8. Nor the Moabites, ver. 9 - 12. (They pass the river Zered, ver. 13 - 16.) Nor the Ammonites, ver. 17 - 23. A command to attack Sihon, ver. 24 - 26. The conquest of his kingdom, ver. 27 - 37

1 Mount Seir - The mountainous country of Seir or Edom. Many days - Even for thirty eight years.
3 Northward - Towards the land of the Amorites and Canaanites.
6 Buy meat - For thongh the manna did yet rain upon them, they were not forbidden to buy other meats when they had opportunity, but only were forbidden greedily to hunger after them when they could not obtain them. Buy water - For water in those parts was scarce, and therefore private persons did severally dig pits for their particular use.
7 The Lord hath blessed thee - By God's blessing thou art able to buy thy conveniences, and therefore thy theft and rapine will be inexcusable, because without any pretence of necessity. He knoweth - Heb. He hath known, that is, observed, or regarded with care and kindness, which that word often notes. Which experience of God's singular goodness to thee, should make thee rely on him still, and not use any unjust practice to procure what thou wantest or desirest.
8 We turned - From our direct road which lay through Edom.
9 Ar - The chief city of the Moabites, here put for the whole country which depended upon it. The children of Lot - So called to signify that this preservation, was not for their sakes, for they were a wicked people, but for Lot's sake whose memory God yet honours.
10 The Emims - Men terrible for stature and strength, as their very name imparts, whose expulsion by the Moabites is here noted as a great encouragement to the Israelites, for whose sake he would much more drive out the wicked and accursed Canaanites.
12 Which the Lord gave - The past tense is here put for the future, will give after the manner of the prophets.
23 The Caphtorim - A people a - kin to the Philistines, Gen 10:14, and confederate with them in this enterprize, and so dwelling together, and by degrees uniting together by marriages, they became one people. Caphtor - Which is by the learned thought to be Cappadocia: whither these people might make an expedition out of Egypt, either because of the report of the great riches of part of that country which drew others thither from places equally remote, or for some other reason now unknown.
25 Under heaven - The following words rest rain the sentence to those nations that heard of them.
28 On my feet - Or, with my company who are on foot: which is added significantly, because if their army had consisted as much of horsemen as many other armies did, their passage through his land might have been more mischievous and dangerous.
29 As the children of Esau did - They did permit them to pass quietly by the borders, though not through the heart of their land, and in their passage the people sold them meat and drink, being it seems more kind to them than their king would have had them; and therefore they here ascribe this favour not to the king, though they are now treating with a king, but to the people, the children of Esau.
30 Hardened his spirit - That is, suffered it to be hardened.
34 Utterly destroyed - By God's command, these being a part of those people who were devoted by the Lord of life and death, to utter destruction for their abominable wickedness.
37 Of Jabbok - That is, beyond Jabbok: for that was the border of the Ammomites.

Chapter III

The conquest of Og and his country, ver. 1 - 11. The distribution of it to the two tribes and an half, ver. 12 - 17. On condition of assisting their brethren, ver. 18 - 20. Joshua encouraged, ver. 21 - 22. Moses prays that he may go into Canaan, v. 23 - 25. But is refused, yet permitted to see it, ver. 26 - 29.

8 On this side Jordan - So it was when Moses wrote this book; but afterward when Israel passed over Jordan it was called the land beyond Jordan.
9 Sirion - Elsewhere called Mount Gilead, and Lebanon, and here Shenir, and Sirion, which several names are given to this one mountain partly by several people, and partly in regard of several tops and parts of it.
10 All Gilead - Gilead is sometimes taken for all the Israelites possessions beyond Jordan, and so it comprehends Bashan; but here for that part of it which lies in and near mount Gilead, and so it is distinguished from Bashan and Argob.
11 In Rabbath - Where it might now be, either because the Ammonites in some former battle with Og, had taken it as a spoil: or because after Og's death, the Ammonites desired to have this monument of his greatness, and the Israelites permitted them to carry it away to their chief city. Nine cubits - So his bed was four yards and an half long, and two yards broad.
14 Unto this day - This must be put among those passages which were not written by Moses, but added by those holy men, who digested the books of Moses into this order, and inserted some few passages to accommodate things to their own time and people.
15 Gilead - That is, the half part of Gilead. To Machir - That is, unto the children of Machir, son of Manasseh, for Machir was now dead.
16 Half the valley - Or rather to the middle of the river: for the word rendered half signifies commonly middle, and the same Hebrew word means both a valley and a brook or river. And this sense is agreeable to the truth, that their land extended from Gilead unto Arnon, and, to speak exactly, to the middle of that river; for as that river was the border between them and others, so one half of it belonged to them, as the other half did to others, Jos 12:2. The same thing is expressed in the same words in the Hebrew which are here, though our translators render the self - same words there, from the middle of the river, which here they render, half of the valley. There the bounds of Sihon's kingdom, which was the same portion here mentioned as given to Reuben and Gad, are thus described, from Aroer, which is upon the bank of the river of Arnon, and from the middle of the river, and from half Gilead, even unto the river Jabbok, which is the border of the children of Ammon.
17 The plain - The low country towards Jordan. The sea of the plain - That is, that salt sea, which before that dreadful conflagration was a goodly plain.
18 You - Namely, the Reubenites and Gadites. All that are meet - In such number as your our brethren shall judge necessary. They were in all above an hundred thousand. Forty thousand of them went over Jordan before their brethren.
23 I besought the Lord - We should allow no desire in our hearts, which we cannot in faith offer unto God by prayer.
24 Thou hast begun to shew thy servant thy greatness - Lord, perfect what thou hast begun. The more we see of God's glory in his works, the more we desire to see. And the more we are affected with what we have seen of God, the better we are prepared for farther discoveries.
25 Let me go over - For he supposed God's threatening might be conditional and reversible, as many others were. That goodly mountain - Which the Jews not improbably understood of that mountain on which the temple was to be built. This he seems to call that mountain, emphatically and eminently, that which was much in Moses's thoughts, though not in his eye.
28 He shall go over - It was not Moses, but Joshua or Jesus that was to give the people rest, Heb 4:8. 'Tis a comfort to those who love mankind, 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.

Chapter IV

An exhortation to obedience, ver. 1 - 13. A warning against idolatry, ver. 14 - 28. A promise upon repentance, ver. 29 - 40. Cities of refuge appointed, ver. 41 - 43. The place where Moses repeated the law, ver. 44 - 49.

1 The statutes - The laws which concern the worship and service of God. The judgments - The laws concerning your duties to men. So these two comprehend both tables, and the whole law of God.
6 In the sight of the nations - For though the generality of Heathens in the latter ages, did through inveterate prejudices condemn the laws of the Hebrews, yet it is certain, the wisest Heathens did highly approve of them, so that they made use of divers of them, and translated them into their own laws and constitutions; and Moses, the giver of these laws, hath been mentioned with great honour for his wisdom and learning by many of them. And particularly the old Heathen oracle expressly said, that the Chaldeans or Hebrews, who worshipped the uncreated God, were the only wise men.
7 So nigh - By glorious miracles, by the pledges of his special presence, by the operations of his grace, and particularly by his readiness to hear our prayers, and to give us those succours which we call upon him for.
8 So righteous - Whereby he implies that the true greatness of a nation doth not consist in pomp or power, or largeness of empire, as commonly men think, but in the righteousness of its laws.
10 Thou stoodest - Some of them stood there in their own persons, though then they were but young, the rest in the loins of their parents.
11 The midst of heaven - Flaming up into the air, which is often called heaven.
12 No similitude - No resemblance or representation of God, whereby either his essence, or properties, or actions were represented, such as were usual among the Heathens.
14 Statutes and judgments - The ceremonial and judicial laws which are here distinguished from the moral, or the ten commandments.
15 In Horeb - God, who in other places and times did appear in a similitude in the fashion of a man, now in this most solemn appearance, when he comes to give eternal laws for the direction of the Israelites in the worship of God, and in their duty to men, purposely avoids all such representations, to shew that he abhors all worship of images, or of himself by images of what kind soever, because he is the invisible God, and cannot be represented by any visible image.
16 Lest ye corrupt yourselves - Your ways, by worshipping God in a corrupt manner.
19 Driven - Strongly inclined. Which the Lord hath divided unto all nations - Which are not Gods, but creatures, made not for the worship, but for the use of men; yea, of the meanest and most barbarous people under heaven, and therefore cannot without great absurdity be worshipped, especially by you who are so much advanced above other nations in wisdom and knowledge, and in this, that you are my peculiar people.
24 A consuming fire - A just and terrible God, who, notwithstanding his special relation to thee, will severely punish thee, if thou provoke him. A jealous God - Who being espoused to thee, will be highly incensed against thee, (if thou follow after other lovers, or commit whoredom with idols) and will bear no rival or partner.
28 Ye shall serve Gods - You shall be compelled by men, and given up by me to idolatry. So that very thing which was your choice, shall be your punishment: it being just and usual for God to punish one sin by giving men up to another.
29 If from thence thou seek the Lord - Whatever place we are in, we may from thence seek him. There is no part of the earth which has a gulf fixt between it and heaven.
30 In the latter days - In succeeding ages.
32 The one side of heaven - That is, of the earth under heaven. Ask all the inhabitants of the world.
33 And live - And was not overwhelmed and consumed by such a glorious appearance.
34 By temptations - Temptations is the general title, which is explained by the following particulars, signs, and wonders, &c. which are called temptations, because they were trials both to the Egyptians and Israelites, whether they would be induced to believe and obey God or no. By terrors - Raised in the minds of the Egyptians, or, by terrible things done among them.
37 In his sight - Keeping his eye fixed upon him, as the father doth on his beloved child.
44 This is the law - More punctually expressed in the following chapter, to which these words are a preface.

Chapter V

The general intent of the Ten Commandments as a covenant between God and Israel, ver. 1 - 5. The Commandments, ver. 6 - 21. God writes them, and grants the people's request, that he would speak by Moses, ver. 22 - 28. Exhortations to obedience, ver. 29 - 33.

1 All Israel - Namely by their elders, who were to impart it to the rest.
3 Not with our fathers - Only: but with us, who are all alive - He saith not, that all who made the covenant at Sinai are now alive, but this covenant was made with all that are now alive; which is most true, for it was made with the elders in their persons, and with the rest in their parents, who covenanted for them.
4 Face to face - Personally and immediately, not by the mouth or ministry of Moses; plainly and certainly, as when two men talk face to face; freely and familiarly, so as not to overwhelm and confound you.
5 Between the Lord and you - As a mediator between you, according to your desire. The word of the Lord - Not the ten commandments, which God himself uttered, but the following statutes and judgments.
7 There being little said, concerning the spiritual sense of the Ten Commandments, in the notes on the twentieth of Exodus, I think it needful to add a few questions here, which the reader may answer between God and his own soul. Thou shalt have none other gods before me - Hast thou worshipped God in spirit and in truth? Hast thou proposed to thyself no end besides him? Hath he been the end of all thy actions? Hast thou sought for any other happiness, than the knowledge and love of God? Dost thou experimentally know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent? Dost thou love God? Dost thou love him with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy strength; so as to love nothing else but in that manner and degree which tends to increase thy love of him? Hast thou found happiness in God? Is he the desire of thine eyes, the joy of thy heart? If not, thou hast other gods before him.
8 Thou shalt not make any graven image - Hast thou not formed any gross image of God in thy mind? Hast thou always thought of him as a pure spirit, whom no man hath seen, nor can see? And hast thou worshipped him with thy body, as well as with thy spirit, seeing both of them are God's?
11 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain - Hast thou never used the name of God, unless on solemn and weighty occasions? Hast thou then used it with the deepest awe? Hast thou duly honoured his word, his ordinances, his ministers? Hast thou considered all things as they stand in relation to him, and seen God in all? Hast thou looked upon heaven as God's throne? Up on earth as God's footstool? On every thing therein as belonging to the great king? On every creature as full of God?
12 Keep the sabbath - day, to sanctify it - Dost thou do no work on this day, which can be done as well on another? Art thou peculiarly careful on this day, to avoid all conversation, which does not tend to the knowledge and love of God? Dost thou watch narrowly over all that are within thy gates, that they too may keep it holy? And dost thou try every possible means, to bring all men, wherever you are, to do the same?
16 Honour thy father and mother - Hast thou not been irreverent or undutiful to either? Hast thou not slighted their advice? Hast thou chearfully obeyed all their lawful commands? Hast thou loved and honoured their persons? Supplied their wants, and concealed their infirmities? Hast thou wrestled for them with God in prayer? Hast thou loved and honoured thy prince, and avoided as fire all speaking evil of the ruler of thy people? Have ye that are servants done all things as unto Christ? Not with eye - service, but in singleness of heart? Have ye who are masters, behaved as parents to your servants, with all gentleness and affection? Have ye all obeyed them that watch over your souls, and esteemed them highly in love for their work's sake?
17 Thou shalt not kill - Have you not tempted any one, to what might shorten his life? Have you tempted none to intemperance? Have you suffered none to be intemperate under your roof, or in your company? Have you done all you could in every place, to prevent intemperance of all kinds! Are you guilty of no degree of self - murder? Do you never eat or drink any thing because you like it, although you have reason to believe, it is prejudicial to your health? Have you constantly done whatever you had reason to believe was conducive to it? Have you not hated your neighbour in your heart? Have you reproved him that committed sin in your sight? If not, you have in God's account hated him, seeing you suffered sin upon him. Have you loved all men as your own soul? As Christ loved us? Have you done unto all men, as in like circumstances, you would they should do to you? Have you done all in your power to help your neighbours, enemies as well as friends? Have you laboured to deliver every soul you could from sin and misery? Have you shewed that you loved all men as yourself, by a constant, earnest endeavour, to fill all places with holiness and happiness, with the knowledge and love of God?
18 Neither shalt thou commit adultery - If thou hast not been guilty of any act of uncleanness, hath thy heart conceived no unclean thought? Hast thou not looked on a woman so as to lust after her? Hast thou not betrayed thy own soul to temptation, by eating and drinking to the full, by needless familiarities, by foolish talking, by levity of dress or behaviour? Hast thou used all the means which scripture and reason suggest, to prevent every kind and degree of unchastity? Hast thou laboured, by watching, fasting, and prayer, to possess thy vessel in sanctification and honour?
19 Neither shalt thou steal - Have you seriously considered, that these houses, lands, money, or goods, which you are used to call your own, are not your own, but belong to another, even God? Have you ever considered, that God is the sole proprietor of heaven and earth? The true owner of every thing therein? Have you considered, that he has only lent them to you? That you are but a steward of your Lord's goods? And that he has told you expressly the uses and purposes for which he intrusts you with them? Namely, for the furnishing first yourselves, and then as many others as you can, with the things needful for life and godliness? Have you considered, that you have no right at all, to apply any part of them to any other purpose? And that if you do, you are as much a robber of God, as any can be a robber of you?
20 Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour - Have you not been guilty of evil - speaking? Of needlessly repeating the real fault of your neighbour? If I see a man do an evil thing, and tell it to another, unless from a full and clear conviction, that it is necessary to mention it just then, for the glory of God, the safety or good of some other person, or for the benefit of him that hath done amiss; and unless I then do it only so far, as is necessary to these ends, that is evil - speaking. O beware of this! It is scattering abroad arrows, fire - brands, and death.
21 Neither shalt thou covet any thing that is thy neighbour's - The plain meaning of this is, thou shalt not desire any thing that is not thy own, any thing which thou hast not. Indeed why shouldst thou? God hath given thee whatever tends to thy one end, holiness. Thou canst not deny it, without making him a liar: and: when any thing else will tend thereto, he will give thee that also. There is therefore no room to desire any thing which thou hast not. Thou hast already every thing that is really good for thee, wouldst thou have more money, more pleasure, more praise still? Why this is not good for thee. God has told thee so, by withholding it from thee. O give thyself up to his wise and gracious disposal!
22 Out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness - 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. He added no more - He ceased for that time to speak immediately, and with that loud voice unto the people; for the rest were delivered to Moses, and by him communicated unto them. This he did to shew the preeminence of that law above the rest, and its everlasting obligation.
25 Why should we die? - For though God hath for this season kept us alive, yet we shall never be able to endure any farther discourse from him in such a terrible manner, but shall certainly sink under the burden of it.
26 Flesh - Is here put for man in his frail, corruptible, and mortal state.
29 O that there were such an heart in them! - A heart to fear God, and keep his commandments forever! The God of heaven is truly and earnestly desirous of the salvation of poor sinners. He has given abundant proof that he is so: he gives us time and space to repent; by his mercies invites us to repentance, and waiteth to be gracious: has sent his son to redeem us, published a general offer of pardon, promised his spirit to those that pray for him; and has said, yea and sworn, that he hath no pleasure in the death of a sinner!

Chapter VI

A persuasive to obedience, ver. 1 - 3. The first truth, God is One, the first duty, to love him, ver. 4,5. The means hereto, ver. 6 - 9. A caution not to forget God in prosperity, ver. 10 - 13. Not to worship idols, or tempt God, ver. 14 - 16. Exhortation to obedience, ver. 17 - 19. And to teach their children, ver. 20 - 25.

5 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart - And is this only an external commandment? Can any then say, that the Sinai - covenant was merely external? With all thy heart - With an entire love. He is One; therefore our hearts must be united in his love. And the whole stream of our affections must run toward Him. O that this love of God may be shed abroad in our hearts.
7 Teach them diligently - Heb. whet, or sharpen them, so as they may pierce deep into their hearts. This metaphor signifies the manner of instructing them, that it is to be done diligently, earnestly, frequently, discreetly.
8 Thou shalt bind them - Thou shalt give all diligence, and use all means to keep them in thy remembrance, as men often bind something upon their hands, or put it before their eyes to prevent forgetfulness of a thing which they much desire to remember.
13 Shalt swear by his name - When thou hast a call and just cause to swear, not by idols, or any creatures.
15 Among you - Heb. In the midst of you, to see and observe all your ways and your turnings aside to other Gods.
16 Ye shall not tempt - Not provoke him, as the following instance explains. Sinners, especially presumptuous sinners, are said to tempt God, that is, to make a trial of God, whether he be, so wise as to see their sins, so just and true and powerful as to take vengeance on them, concerning which they are very apt to doubt because of the present impunity and prosperity of many such persons.
17 Ye diligently keep - Negligence will ruin us: but we cannot be saved without diligence.
25 It shall be our righteousness - Heb. Righteousness shall be to us. We shall be owned and pronounced by God to be righteous and holy persons, if we sincerely obey him, otherwise we shall be declared to be unrighteous and ungodly. Or, mercy shall be to us, or with us. For as the Hebrew word rendered righteousness is very often put for mercy, (as Psa 24:5 36:10 51:14 Pro 10:2 11:4 Dan 9:16) so this sense seems best to agree both with the scripture use of this phrase, (in which righteousness, seldom or never, but grace or mercy frequently, is said to be to us or with us) and with the foregoing verse and argument God, saith he, Deu 5:24, commanded these things for our good, that he might preserve us alive, as it is this day. And, saith he in this verse, this is not all; for as he hath done us good, so he will go on to do us more and more good, and God's mercy shall be to us, or with us, in the remainder of our lives, and for ever, if we observe these commandments.

Chapter VII

A command to destroy the Canaanites, with all pertaining to their idols, ver. 1 - 5. And to obey God, considering their relation to him, ver. 6 - 11. Promises to the obedient, ver. 12 - 15. A repetition of the command, utterly to destroy the Canaanites, with all the monuments of their idolatry, ver. 16 - 26.

1 Seven nations - There were ten in Gen 15:19 - 21. But this being some hundreds of years after, it is not strange if three of them were either destroyed by foreign or domestick wars, or by cohabitation and marriage united with, and swallowed up in the rest.
4 To serve other Gods - That is, there is manifest danger of apostacy and idolatry from such matches. Which reason doth both limit the law to such of these as are unconverted (otherwise Salmon married Rahab, Matt 1:5) and enlarge it to other idolatrous nations, as appears from 1Kin 11:2 Ezra 9:2 Neh 13:23.
5 Their graves - Which idolaters planted about the temples and altars of their Gods. Hereby God designed to take away whatsoever might bring their idolatry to remembrance, or occasion the reviving of it.
7 The fewest - To wit, at that time when God first declared his choice of you for his peculiar people, which was done to Abraham. For Abraham had but one son concerned in this choice and covenant, namely, Isaac, and that was in his hundredth year; and Isaac was sixty years old ere he had a child, and then had only two children; and though Jacob had twelve sons, it was a long time before they made any considerable increase. Nor do we read of any great multiplication of them 'till after Joseph's death.
8 The Lord loved you - It was his free choice without any cause or motive on your part.
10 Them that hate him - Not only those who hate him directly and properly, (for so did few or none of the Israelites to whom he here speaks,) but those who hate him by construction and consequence; those who hate and oppose his people, and word, those who wilfully persist in the breach of God's commandments. To their face - That is, openly, and so as they shall see it, and not be able to avoid it. Slack - So as to delay it beyond the fit time or season for vengeance, yet withal he is long - suffering, and slow to anger.
12 The covenant and the mercy - That is, the covenant of mercy, which he out of his own mere grace made with them.
13 He will love thee - He will continue to love thee, and to manifest his love to thee.
15 The diseases of Egypt - Such as the Egyptians were infected with, either commonly, or miraculously. It seems to refer not only to the plagues of Egypt, but to some other epidemic disease, which they remembered to have prevailed among the Egyptians, and by which God had chastised them for their national sins. Diseases are God's servants, which go where he sends them, and do what he bids them.
19 The temptations - The trials and exercises of thy faith and obedience to my commands.
24 No man shall stand - This promise is made upon condition of their performance of their duty, which they neglecting, justly lose the benefit of it.
25 The silver or gold - Wherewith the idols are covered or adorned, nor consequently any other of their ornaments. This he commands to shew his utter detestation of idolatry, and to cut off all occasions of it.

Chapter VIII

An exhortation to obedience, in consideration of past and promised mercies, ver. 1 - 9. A caution not to forget God in prosperity, ver. 10 - 18. A threatening, in case of apostacy, ver. 19, 20.

1 Live - Live comfortably and happily.
2 All the way - All the events which befel three in the way, the miraculous protections, deliverances, provisions, instructions which God gave thee; and withal the frequent and severe punishments of thy disobedience. To know - That thou mightest discover to thyself and others that infidelity, inconstancy, hypocrisy, and perverseness, which lay hid in thy heart; the discovery whereof was of singular use both to them, and to the church of God in all succeeding ages. It is good for us likewise to remember all the ways both of God's providence and grace, by which he has led us hitherto through the wilderness, that we may trust him, and chearfully serve him.
3 By every word - That is, by every or any thing which God appoints for this end, how unlikely so - ever it may seem to be for nourishment; seeing it is not the creature, but only God's command and blessing upon it, that makes it sufficient for the support of life.
5 As a man chastiseth his son - That is, unwillingly, being constrained by necessity; moderately, in judgment remembering mercy; and for thy reformation not thy destruction.
7 Depths - Deep wells or springs, or lakes, which were numerous and large.
9 Whose stones are iron - Where are mines of iron in a manner as plentiful as stones, and upon which travellers must tread, as in other parts they do upon stones.
10 Bless the Lord - Solemnly praise him for thy food; which is a debt both of gratitude and justice, because it is from his providence and favour that thou receivest both thy food and refreshment and strength by it. The more unworthy and absurd is that too common profaneness of them, who, professing to believe a God, from whom all their comforts come, grudge to own him at their meals, either by desiring his blessing before them, or by offering due praise to God after them.
14 Lifted up - As if thou didst receive and enjoy these things, either, by thy owns wisdom, and valour, and industry, or for thy own merit.
16 That he might humble thee - By keeping thee in a constant dependence upon him for every day's food, and convincing thee what an impotent, helpless creature thou art, having nothing whereon to subsist, and being supported wholly by the alms of divine goodness from day to day. The mercies of God, if duly considered, are as powerful a mean to humble us as the greatest afflictions, because they increase our debts to God, and manifest our dependance upon him, and by making God great, they make us little in our own eyes. To do thee good - That is, that after he hath purged and prepared thee by afflictions, thou mayest receive and enjoy his blessings with less disadvantage, whilst by the remembrance of former afflictions. thou art made thankful for them, and more cautious not to abuse them.

Chapter IX

A promise of Canaan, ver. 1 - 3. A caution, not to ascribe this to their own merit, ver. 4 - 6. A rehearsal of their various rebellions, ver. 7 - 24. and of Moses's intercession for them, ver. 25 - 29.

1 Hear, O Israel - This seems to be a new discourse, delivered at some distance of time from the former, probably on the next sabbath - day. This day - That is, shortly, within a little time, the word day being often put for time. Nations - That is, the land of those nations. Mightier than thyself - This he adds, that they might not trust to their own strength, but rely upon God's help for the destroying them, and, after the work was done, might ascribe the glory of it to God alone, and not to themselves.
2 Who can stand - This seems to be a proverb used in those times.
5 Not for thy righteousness - Neither for thy upright heart, nor holy life, which are the two things which God above all things regards. And consequently he excludes all merit. And surely they who did not deserve this earthly Canaan, could not merit the kingdom of glory. To perform the word - To shew my faithfulness in accomplishing that promise which I graciously made and confirmed with my oath.
6 Stiff - necked - Rebellious and perverse, and so destitute of all pretence of righteousness. And thus our gaining possession of the heavenly Canaan, must be ascribed to God's power, not our own might, and to God's Grace, not our own merit. In him we must glory.
8 In Horeb - When your miraculous deliverance out of Egypt was fresh in memory; when God had but newly manifested himself to you in so stupendous and dreadful a manner, and had taken you into covenant with himself, when God was actually conferring farther mercies upon you.
10 With the finger of God - Immediately and miraculously, which was done not only to procure the greater reverence to the law, but also to signify, that it is the work of God alone to write this law upon the tables of men's hearts. In the day of the assembly - That is, when the people were gathered by God's command to the bottom of mount Sinai, to hear and receive God's ten commandments from his own mouth.
14 Let me alone! - Stop me not by thy intercession.
17 I brake them before your eyes - Not by an unbridled passion, but in zeal for God's honour, and by the direction of God's spirit, to signify to tine people, that the covenant between God and them contained in those tables was broken and they were now cast out of God's favour, and could expect nothing from him but fiery indignation.
18 I fell down - In a way of humiliation and supplication, on your behalf.
21 Into the brook - That there might be no monument or remembrance of it left.
25 I fell down forty days - The same as were mentioned before, Deu 9:18, as appears by comparing this with Exodus, where this history is more fully related, and where this is said to be done twice only.
26 Through thy greatness - Through the greatness of thy power, which appeared most eminently in that work.
27 Thy servants - That is, the promise made and sworn to thy servants.
29 Thy people - Whom thou hast chosen to thyself out of all mankind, and publickly owned them for thine, and hast purchased and redeemed them from the Egyptians.

Chapter X

God's mercy, in renewing the two tables, ver. 1 - 5. In leading Israel forward, and chusing the tribe of Levi for his own, ver. 6 - 9. In accepting the intercession as Moses, ver. 10 - 11. An exhortation to fear, love, and serve God, ver. 12 - 22.

2 I will write on the tables - Tho' the tables were broken, because they broke his commandment, they were now renewed, in proof that his wrath was turned away. And thus God's writing his law in our inward parts, is the surest proof of our reconciliation to him.
6 This following history comes in manifestly by way of parenthesis, as may appear from Deu 10:10, where he returns to his former discourse; and it seems to be here inserted as an evidence of God's gracious answer to Moses's prayers, and of his reconciliation to the people, notwithstanding their late and great provocation. For, saith he, after this they proceeded by God's guidance in their journeys, and though Aaron died in one of them, yet God made up that breach, and Eleazar came in his place, and ministered as priest, one branch of which office was to intercede for the people.
8 At that time - About that time, that is, when I was come down from the mount, as was said, Deu 10:5. To stand before the Lord - A phrase used concerning the prophets, 1Kings 17:1 18:15, this being the posture of ministers. Hence the angels are said to stand, 2Chr 18:18 Luke 1:19. To bless - The people, by performance of those holy ministrations for the people, and giving those instructions to them, to which God's blessing was promised; and this they did in God's name, that is, by command, and commission from him.
9 The Lord is his inheritance - That is, the Lord's portion, namely, tithes and offerings, which belong to God, are given by him to the Levites for their subsistence, from generation to generation.
11 Take thy journey before the people - 'Twas fit that he who had saved them from ruin by his intercession, should have the conduct and command of them. And herein he was a type of Christ, who, as he ever lives to make intercession for us, so has all power in heaven and in earth.
12 What doth he require - By way of duty and gratitude for such amazing mercies.
14 The heaven - The airy and starry heaven. The heaven of heavens - The highest or third heaven, called the heaven of heavens for its eminency. All that therein is - With all creatures and all men, which being all his, he might have chosen what nation he pleased to be his people.
15 To love them - He shews that God had no particular obligation to their fathers, any more than to other persons or people, all being equally his creatures, and that his choice of them out of and above all others, proceeded only from God's good pleasure.
16 Circumcise - Rest not in your bodily circumcision, but seriously set upon that substantial work which is signified thereby: cleanse your hearts from all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, fitly compared to the foreskin, which if not cut off, made persons profane, unclean and odious in the sight of God.
17 Regardeth not persons - Whether Jews or Gentiles, but deals justly and equally with all sorts of men; and as whosoever fears and obeys him shall be accepted, so all incorrigible transgressors shall be severely punished, and you no less than other people: therefore do not flatter yourselves as if God would bear with your sins because of his particular kindness to you or to your fathers.
18 He doth execute - That is, plead their cause, and give them right against their potent adversaries, and therefore he expects you should do so too.
20 To him shalt thou cleave - With firm confidence, true affection, and constant obedience.
21 Thy praise - The object and matter of thy praise, as Exo 15:2, whom thou shouldest ever praise.

Chapter XI

Moses exhorts them to obedience by rehearsing God's works, ver. 1 - 7. By describing the goodness of the land, ver. 8 - 12. By promises and threats, ver. 13 - 17. An exhortation to teach their children, closed with a promise, ver. 18 - 25. A blessing and a curse, ver. 26 - 32.

2 Know - That is, acknowledge and consider it with diligence and thankfulness.
4 Unto this day - The effect of which destruction continueth to this day, in their weakness and fear, and our safety from their farther attempts against us.
7 Your eyes have seen - All of them had seen some, and some of them had seen all the great things done in Egypt and at the Red - sea, and in the Wilderness. What our eyes have seen, especially in our early days, should be improved by us long after.
10 With thy foot - That is, with great pains and labour of thy feet, partly by going up and down to fetch water and disperse it, and partly by digging furrows with thy foot, and using engines for distributing the water, which engines they thrust with their feet. For tho' the river Nile did once in a year overflow the grounds, and made them fruitful, yet often it failed them, at least in part, and then they were put to great pains about their ground. And when it did overflow sufficiently, and left its mud upon the earth, yet that mud was in a little time hardened, and needed another watering, and much digging and labour both of the hand and feet, especially in places more remote from that river; which inconvenience Canaan was free from.
11 Of hills and valleys - And therefore much more healthful than Egypt was, which as it was enriched, so it was annoyed with the Nile, which overflowed the land in summer time, and thereby made the country both unpleasant and unhealthful. And health being the greatest of all outward blessings, Canaan must therefore needs be a more desirable habitation than Egypt. The rain of heaven - Which is more easy, being given thee without thy charge or pains; more sweet and pleasant, not hindering thy going abroad upon thy occasions, as the overflow of the Nile did, whereby the Egyptians were confined in a great measure to their houses; more safe and healthful, being free from that mud which attends upon the waters of the Nile; and more certain too, the former and the latter rain being promised to be given to them in their several seasons, upon condition of their obedience, which condition, tho' it may seem a clog and inconvenience, yet indeed was a great benefit, that by their own necessities and interest they might be obliged to that obedience, upon which their happiness depended both for this life and the next.
12 Careth for - In a special manner watering it immediately as it were by his own hand, without man's help, and giving peculiar blessings to it, which Egypt enjoys not. To the end of the year - To give it the rain, and other blessings proper to the several seasons. But all these mercies, and the fruitfulness of the land consequent upon them, were suspended upon their disobedience. And therefore it is not at all strange that some later writers, describe the land of Canaan as a barren soil, which is, so far from affording ground to question the authority of the scriptures, that it doth much more confirm it, this, being an effect of that threatning that God would turn a fruitful land into barrenness for the wickedness of these that dwell in it, Psa 107:34.
14 The ruin of your land - Which is, proper to your land, not common to Egypt, where, as all authors agree, there is little rain. The first rain fell in seed time, to make the corn spring, the other a little before harvest, to ripen it.
15 I will send grass in thy fields - So godliness has here the promise of the life which now is. But the favour of God puts gladness into the heart, more than the increase of corn, wine and oil.
17 Shut up the heaven - Which is compared sometimes to a great store - house wherein God lays up his treasures of rain, Job 38:22, the doors whereof God is said to open when he gives rain, and to shut when he witholds it.
18 Lay up - Let us all observe these three rules,
  1. Let our hearts be filled with the word of God. Lay up these words in your hearts, as in a store - house, to be used upon all occasions.
  2. Let our eyes be fixed upon the word of God: Bind them for a sign upon your hand, which is always in view, and as frontlets between your eyes, which you cannot avoid the sight of.
  3. Let our tongues be employed about the word of God, especially with our children, who must be taught this, as far more needful than the rules of decency, or the calling they are to live by.
21 As the days of heaven - As long as the heaven keeps its place and continues its influences upon earth.
24 Every place - Not absolutely, as the Rabbins fondly conceit, but in the promised land, as it is restrained in the following words; either by possession, or by dominion, namely, upon condition of your obedience. The wilderness - Of Sin, on the south - side. To Lebanon - Which was on the north border. Euphrates - On the east. So far the right of dominion extended, but that their sins cut them short: and so far Solomon extended his dominion. The uttermost sea - The western or midland sea.
26 I set before you - I propose them to your choice.
28 Which ye have not known - Which you have no acquaintance with, nor experience of their power, or wisdom, or goodness, as you have had of mine.
29 Put - Heb. Thou shalt give, that is, speak or pronounce, or cause to be pronounced. So the word to give is used, Deu 13:1,2 Job 36:3 Pro 9:9. This is, more particularly expressed, Deu 27:12,13.
30 Over against - Looking toward Gilgal, tho' at some considerable distance from it. Beside the plains of Moreh - This was one of the first places that Abram came to in Canaan. So that in sending them thither to hear the blessing and the curse, they were minded of the promise made to Abram in that very place, Gen 12:6,7.

Chapter XII

A command, to destroy all relicks of idolatry, ver. 1 - 3. To worship God in his own place, and according to his own appointment, ver. 4 - 14. A permission to eat flesh, but not blood, ver. 15, 16. Directions to eat the tithe in the holy place, and to take care of the Levite, ver. 17 - 19. A farther permission to eat flesh, but not blood, ver. 20 - 25. A direction to eat holy things in the holy place, ver. 26 - 28. Farther cautions against idolatry, ver. 20 - 32.

2 All the places - Temples, chapels, altars, groves, as appears from other scriptures. Green - tree - As the Gentiles consecrated divers trees to their false gods, so they worshipped these under them.
3 Pillars - Upon which their images were set. Names - That is, all the memorials of them, and the very names given to the places from the idols.
4 Not do so - That is, not worship him in several places, mountains, and groves.
5 To put his name there - That is, to set up his worship there, and which he shall call by his name, as his house, or his dwelling - place; namely, where the ark should be, the tabernacle, or temple: which was first Shiloh, and then Jerusalem. There is not one precept in all the law of Moses, so largely inculcated as this, to bring all their sacrifices to that one altar. And how significant is, that appointment? They must keep to one place, in token of their belief. That there is one God, and one Mediator between God and man. It not only served to keep up the notion of the unity of the godhead, but the one only way of approach to God and communion with him in and by his son.
6 Thither bring your burnt - offerings - Which were wisely appropriated to that one place, for the security of the true religion, and for the prevention of idolatry and superstition, which might otherwise more easily have crept in: and to signify that their sacrifices were not accepted for their own worth, but by God's gracious, appointment, and for the sake of God's altar, by which they were sanctified, and for the sake of Christ, whom the altar manifestly represented. Your heave - offerings - That is, your first - fruits, of corn, and wine, and oil, and other fruits. And these are called the heave - offerings of their hand, because the offerer was first to take these into his hands, and to heave them before the Lord, and then to give them to the priest. Your free - will - offerings - Even your voluntary oblations, which were not due by my prescription, but only by your own choice: you may chuse what kind of offering you please to offer, but not the place where you shall offer them.
7 There - Not in the most holy place, wherein only the priests might eat, but in places allowed to the people for this, end in the holy city. Ye shall eat - Your part of the things mentioned, Deu 12:6. Before the Lord - In the place of God's presence, where God's sanctuary shall be.
8 Here - Where the inconveniency of the place, and the uncertainty of our abode, would not permit exact order in sacrifices and feasts and ceremonies, which therefore God was then pleased to dispense with; but, saith he, he will not do so there. Right in his own eyes - Not that universal liberty was given to all persons to worship how they listed; but in many things their unsettled condition gave opportunity to do so.
11 His name - His majesty and glory, his worship and service, his, special and gracious presence. Your choice vows - Heb. the choice of your vows, that is, your select or chosen vows; so called, because things offered for vows, were to be perfect, whereas defective creatures were accepted in free - will - offerings.
12 Your daughters - Hence it appears, that though the males only were obliged to appear before God in their solemn feasts, yet the women also were permitted to come.
13 Thy burnt - offerings - Nor the other things mentioned above, this one and most eminent kind being put for all the rest.
17 Within thy gates - That is, in your private habitations, here opposed to the place of God's worship.
20 Enlarge thy border - Which will make it impossible to bring all the cattle thou usest to the tabernacle.
21 If the place be too far - Being obliged to carry their sacrifices to the place of worship, they might think themselves obliged to carry their other cattle thither to be killed. They are therefore released from all such obligations, and left at liberty to kill them at home, whether they lived nearer that place, or farther from it; only the latter is here mentioned, as being the matter of the scruple. As I have commanded - In such a manner as the blood may be poured forth.
22 As the roe - buck - As common or unhallowed food, tho' they be of the same kind with the sacrifices which are offered to God. The unclean - Because there was, no holiness in such meat for which the unclean might be excluded from it.
27 The flesh - Excepting what shall be burned to God's, honour, and given to the priest according to his appointment.
30 By following them - By following the example they left, when their persons are destroyed.

Chapter XIII

Enticers to idolatry to be stoned, ver. 1 - 11. Idolatrous cities to be entirely destroyed, ver. 12 - 18.

1 A dreamer of dreams - One that pretends God hath revealed himself to him by visions or dreams. Giveth a sign or wonder - That is, shall foretell some strange and wonderful thing.
3 Thou shalt not hearken to that prophet - Not receive his doctrine, though the sign come to pass. For although when such a sign or wonder foretold did not follow or come to pass, it was a sign of a false prophet, yet when it did come to pass, it was no sufficient sign of a true one, especially, in such a case. There are many things, which may be wrought by evil spirits, God so permitting it for wise and just reasons, not only for the trial of the good, but also for the punishment of ungodly men. Proveth you - That is, trieth your faith and love and obedience. To know - Namely, judicially, or in a publick manner, so as both you and others may know and see it, that so the justice of his judgments upon you may be more evident and glorious.
5 To thrust - This phrase notes the great force and power of seducers to corrupt men's minds. So shalt thou put the evil away - Thou shalt remove the guilt, by removing the guilty.
6 The son of thy mother - This is added, to restrain the signification of the word brother, which is often used generally for one near a - kin, and to express the nearness of the relation, the mother's, side being usually the ground of the most fervent affection. Thy daughter - Thy piety must overcome both thy affection, and thy compassion to the weaker sex. The father and mother are here omitted, because they are sufficiently contained in the former examples.
8 Conceal him - That is, smother his fault, hide or protect his person, but shalt accuse him to the magistrate, and demand justice upon him.
9 Thou shalt kill him - Not privately, which pretence would have opened the door to innumerable murders, but by procuring his death by the sentence of the magistrate. Thou shalt cast the first stone at him, as the witness was to do.
13 Children of Belial - It signifies properly persons without yoke, vile and wretched miscreants, lawless and rebellious, that will suffer no restraint, that neither fear God, nor reverence man. From among you - That is, from your church and religion. It notes a separation from them, not in place (as appears by their partnership with their fellow citizens both in the sin and punishment) but in heart, doctrine and worship.
14 Enquire - This is, meant of the magistrate, to whose office this properly belongs, and of whom he continues to speak in the same manner, thou, Deu 13:15,16. The Jewish writers say, the defection of a city is to be tried by the great sanhedrim. If it appear, that they are thrust away to idolatry, they send two learned men, to admonish them. If they repent, all is well: is not, all Israel must go up and execute this sentence. Tho' we do not find this law put in execution, in all the history of the Jewish church, yet for neglecting the execution of it on inferior cities, God himself by the army of the Chaldeans, executed it on Jerusalem, the head city, which was utterly destroyed, and lay in ruins for seventy years.
15 The inhabitants - Namely, all that are guilty, not the innocent part, such as disowned this apostacy, who doubtless by choice, at least upon warning, would come out of so wicked a place. Utterly - The very same punishment which was, inflicted upon the cities of the cursed Canaanites, to whom having made themselves equal in sin, it is but just God should equal them in punishment.
16 For the Lord - For the satisfaction of God's justice, the maintainance of his honour and authority, and the pacification of his offended majesty. It shall not be built - It shall be an eternal monument of God's justice, and terror to after ages.
17 Multiply thee - So thou shalt have no loss of thy numbers by cutting off so many people.

Chapter XIV

Directions, concerning mourning, ver. 1, 2. Concerning clean and unclean meats, ver. 3 - 21 . Concerning tithes, ver. 29.

1 Of the Lord - Whom therefore you must not disparage by unworthy or unbecoming practices. Ye shall not cut yourselves - Which were the practices of idolaters, both in the worship of their idols, in their funerals, and upon occasion of public calamities. Is not this like a parent's charge to his little children, playing with knives, "Do not cut yourselves!" This is, the intention of those commands, which obliges us to deny ourselves. The meaning is, Do yourselves no harm! And as this also is, the design of cross providences, to remove from us those things by which we are in danger of doing ourselves harm.
3 Abominable - Unclean and forbidden by me, which therefore should be abominable to you.
22 All the increase - This is to be understood of the second tithes, which seem to be the same with the tithes of the first year, mentioned De 14:28.
25 In thine hand - That is, in a bag to be taken into thy hand and carried with thee.
27 Thou shalt not forsake him - Thou shalt give him a share in such tithes or in the product of them.
28 At the end of three years - That is, in the third year, as it is, expressed, Deu 26:12. The same year - This is added to shew that he speaks of the third year, and not of the fourth year, as some might conjecture from the phrase, at the end of three years.

Chapter XV

Orders concerning the release of debts every seventh year, ver. 1 - 6. Concerning lending, ver. 7 - 11. Concerning the release of servants, ver. 12 - 18. Concerning the firstlings, ver. 19 - 23.

1 At the end - That is, in the last year of the seven, as is, most evident from De 15:9. And this year of release, as it is, called below, De 15:9, is the same with the sabbatical year, Ex 23:11.
2 Every creditor - Here is, a law for poor, insolvent debtors. Every seventh year was a year of release, when among other acts of grace, this was one, that every Israelite, who had borrowed money, and had not been able to pay it before, should this year be released from it. And tho' if he was able, he was bound in conscience to pay it afterwards, yet it could not be recovered by law. His brother - This is added to limit the word neighbour, which is more general, unto a brother, in nation and religion, an Israelite. The Lord's release - Or, a release for the Lord, in obedience to his command, for his honour, and as an acknowledgment of his right in your estates, and of his kindness in giving and continuing them to you.
4 Save when there shall be no poor - The words may be rendered thus, as in the margin of our Bibles, To the end that there be no poor among you. And so they contain a reason of this law, namely, that none be impoverished and ruined by a rigid exaction of debts.
8 Open thine hand wide - That is, deal bountifully and liberally with him.
9 Beware - Suppress the first risings of such uncharitableness. It be sin - That is, it be charged upon thee as a sin.
10 Thine heart shall not be grieved - That is, thou shalt give, not only with an open hand, but with a willing and chearful mind, without which thy very charity is uncharitable, and not accepted by God.
11 The poor shall never cease - God by his providence will so order it, partly for the punishment of your disobedience, and partly for the trial and exercise of your obedience to him and charity to your brother.
12 If thy brother be sold - Either by himself, or his parents, or as a criminal. Six years - To be computed from the beginning of his servitude, which is every where limited to the space of six years.
15 The Lord redeemed thee - And brought thee out with riches, which because they would not, God gave thee as a just recompense for thy service; and therefore thou shalt follow his example, and send out thy servant furnished with all convenient provisions.
17 For ever - All the time of his life, or, at least, 'till the year of jubilee. Likewise - That is, either dismiss her with plenty, or engage her to perpetual servitude, in the same manner and by the same rites.
19 All the firstling males thou shalt sanctify - Giving them to God on the eighth day. And thou shalt do no work with the female firstlings of the cow, nor shear those of the sheep. Even these must be offered to God as peace - offerings, or used in a religious feast.
20 Year by year - Namely, in the solemn feasts which returned upon them every year.

Chapter XVI

A repetition of the laws concerning the passover, ver. 1 - 8. The feast of pentecost, ver. 9 - 12 That of tabernacles, ver. 13 - 15. All the males are to attend them, ver. 16, 17. An appointment of judges and officers, ver. 18 - 20. A caution against groves and images, ver. 21, 22.

1 Observe the month of Abib - Or of new fruits, which answers to part of March and part of April, and was by a special order from God made the beginning of their year, in remembrance of their deliverance out of Egypt. By night - In the night Pharaoh was forced to give them leave to depart, and accordingly they made preparation for their departure, and in the morning they perfected the work.
2 The passover - That is, the feast of the passover, and so the place may be rendered, thou shalt therefore observe the feast of the passover unto the Lord thy God, with sheep, and with oxen, as is prescribed, Num 28:18, &c.
3 With it - Or, in it, that is, during the time of the feast of the passover. Bread of affliction - Bread which is not usual nor pleasant, to put thee in mind both of thy miseries endured in Egypt; and of thy hasty coming out of it, which allowed thee no time to leaven or prepare thy bread.
4 Any of the flesh - That is, of the passover properly so called.
5 Of thy gates - That is, of thy cities.
6 There - Namely, in the court of the tabernacle or temple. This he prescribed, partly that this great work might be done with more solemnity in such manner as God required; partly, because it was not only a sacrament, but also a sacrifice, and because here was the sprinkling of blood, which is the essential part of a sacrifice; and partly to design the place where Christ, the true passover or lamb of God, was to be slain. At the season - About the time you were preparing yourselves for it.
7 In the morning - The morning after the seventh day. Thy tents - That is, thy dwellings, which he calls tents, as respecting their present state, and to put them in mind afterwards when they were settled in better habitations, that there was a time when they dwelt in tents.
8 Six days - Namely, besides the first day, on which the passover was killed.
9 To put the sickle - That is, to reap thy corn, thy barley, when the first - fruits were offered.
10 Of weeks - Of pentecost. Thou shalt give - Over and besides what was appointed.
17 Thou shalt rejoice - In God and the effects of his favour, praising him with a glad heart.
18 Judges - Chief magistrates to examine and determine causes and differences. Officers - Who were subordinate to the other to bring causes and persons before him, to acquaint people with the sentence of the judges, and to execute their sentence. Thy gates - Thy cities, which he here calls gates, because there were seats of judgment set. Pursuant to this law, in every town which contained above an hundred and twenty families, there was a court of twenty three judges; in the smaller towns, a court of three judges.
19 Wrest judgment - Not give an unjust sentence. A gift doth blind the eyes - Biasseth his mind, that he cannot discern between right and wrong. The words - That is the sentence, of those judges who are used to do righteous things, it makes them give wrong judgment.
20 That which is altogether just - Heb. righteousness, righteousness, that is, nothing but righteousness in all causes and times, and to all persons equally.
21 Thou shalt not plant - Because this was the practice of idolaters, and might be an occasion of reviving idolatry.

Chapter XVII

A charge, concerning sacrifices, ver. 1. Concerning putting idolaters to death, ver. 2 - 7. Concerning the decision of cases by the sanhedrim, ver. 8 - 13. Concerning the choice and duty of a king, ver. 14 - 20.

1 Bullock or sheep - Either greater or smaller sacrifices, all being comprehended under the two most eminent kinds.
2 ln transressing his covenant - That is, in idolatry, as it is explained De 17:3, which is called a transgression of God's covenant made with Israel, both because it is a breach of their faith given to God and of that law which they covenanted to keep; and because it is a dissolution of that matrimonial covenant with God, a renouncing of God and his worship, and a chusing other Gods.
3 The host of heaven - Those glorious creatures, which are to be admired as the wonderful works of God, but not to be set up in God's stead. By condemning the most specious of all idolaters, he intimates, how absurd a thing it is to worship stocks and stones, the works of men's hands. I have not commanded - That is, I have forbidden. Such negative expressions are emphatical.
6 Witnesses - Namely, credible and competent witnesses. The Jews rejected the testimonies of children, women, servants, familiar friends or enemies, persons of dissolute lives or evil fame.
7 First upon him - God thus ordered it, for the caution of witnesses, that, if they had thro' malice or wrath accused him falsely, they might now be afraid to imbrue their hands in innocent blood; and for the security and satisfaction of the people in the execution of this punishment.
8 For thee - He speaks to the inferior magistrates, who were erected in several cities. If thou hast not skill to determine, between blood and blood - That is, in capital causes. Between plea and plea - In civil causes, about words or estates. Between stroke and stroke - In criminal causes, concerning blows, or wounds inflicted by one man upon another. Matters of controversy - That is, such things being doubtful, and the magistrates divided in their opinions about it. Chuse - Namely to set up his tabernacle, or temple there; because there was the abode, both of their sanhedrim, which was constituted of priests and civil magistrates, and of the high - priests, who were to consult God by Urim, in matters which could not be decided otherwise.
9 Unto the priests - That is, unto the great council, which consisted chiefly of the priests and Levites, as being the best expositors of the laws of God, by which all those controversies were to be decided. And the high - priest was commonly one of that number, understood here under the priests, whereof be was the chief. The judge - Probably the high - priest, to whom it belonged to determine, some at least, of those controversies, and to expound the law of God. And he may be distinctly named, tho' he be one of the priests, because of his eminency, and to shew that amongst the priests, he especially was to be consulted in such cases. The sentence of judgment - Heb. The word, or matter of judgement, that is, the true state of the cause, and what judgment or sentence ought to be given in it.
10 Thou - Thou shalt pass sentence: he speaks to the inferior magistrates; who were to give sentence, and came hither to be advised about it.
11 Thou shalt do - In particular suits between man and man, altho' the judge be hereby confined to his rule in giving the sentence, yet it seems but fit and reasonable that people should be bound simply to acquiesce in the sentence of their last and highest judge, or else there would have been no end of strife.
12 Do presumptuously - That will proudly and obstinately oppose the sentence given against him. The evil - The evil thing, that scandal, that pernicious example.
13 When thou shalt - He only foresees and foretells what they would do, but doth not approve of it. Yea when they did this thing for this very reason, he declares his utter dislike of it, 1Sam 8:7.
15 Thy God shall chuse - Approve of, or appoint. So it was in Saul and David. God reserved to himself the nomination both of the family, and of the person. Thy brethren - Of the same nation and religion; because such a person was most likely to maintain true religion, and to rule with righteousness, gentleness, and kindness to his subjects; and that he might be a fit type of Christ their supreme king, who was to be one of their brethren.
16 He shall not multiply horses - Tho' he might have horses for his own use, yet he was not to have many horses for his officers and guard, much less for war, lest he should trust in them. The multiplying horses is also forbidden, lest it should raise too great a correspondence with Egypt which furnished Canaan with them. The Lord hath said - The Lord hath now said to me, and I by his command declare it to you. Ye shall no more return that way - Into Egypt, lest ye be again infected with her idolatries.
17 Turn away - From God and his law.
18 He shall write - With his own hand, as the Jews say. Out of that - Out of the original, which was carefully kept by the priests in the sanctuary, that it might be a perfect copy, and that it might have the greater influence upon him, coming to him as from the hand and presence of God.
19 All the days of his life - 'Tis not enough to have Bibles, but we must use them, yea, use them daily. Our souls must have constant meals of that manna, which if well digested, will afford them true nourishment and strength.
20 If his heart be not lifted up - He intimates, that the scriptures diligently read, are a powerful means to keep him humble, because they shew him in that, tho' a king, he is subject to an higher monarch, to whom he must give an account of all his administrations, and receive from him his sentence agreeable to their quality, which is sufficient to abate the pride of the haughtiest person in the world.

Chapter XVIII

Rules concerning priests and Levites, ver. 1 - 8. Cautions against witchcraft, ver. 9 - 14. A promise of Christ, ver. 15 - 19. The punishment and mark of a false prophet, ver. 20 - 22.

1 His inheritance - The Lord's portion or inheritance, which God had reserved to himself, as tithes and first fruits, and other oblations distinct from those which were made by fire.
3 The maw - The Hebrew word here rendered maw or stomach, may have another signification, and some render it the breast, others take it for the part, which lies under the breast.
6 With all the desire of his mind - With full purpose to fix his abode, and to spend his whole time and strength in the service of God. It seems, the several priests were to come from their cities to the temple by turns, before David's time; and it is certain they did so after it. But if any of them were not contented with this attendance upon God in his tabernacle, or temple, and desired more entirely and constantly to devote himself to God's service there, he was permitted so to do, because this was an eminent act of piety joined with self - denial, to part with those great conveniences which he enjoyed in the city of his possession.
8 Like portions - With their brethren who were in actual ministration: as they share with them in the work, so shall they in the encouragements. Beside that which cometh - The reason of this law was, because he that waited on the altar, ought to live by the altar: and because it was fit he should keep his money, wherewith he might redeem what he sold, if afterwards he saw occasion for it. Mr. Henry adds a remarkable note here: especially considering he wrote threescore years ago. "A hearty, pious zeal to serve God and his church, tho' it may a little encroach upon a settled order, and there may be somewhat in it that looks irregular, yet ought to be gratified, and not discouraged. He that loves dearly to be employed in the service of the sanctuary: in God's name let him minster. He shall be as welcome to God as the Levites, whose course it was to minister, and should be so to them."
10 Useth divination - Foretelleth things secret or to come, by unlawful arts and practices. An observer of times - Superstitiously pronouncing some days lucky, and others unlucky. Or, an observer of the clouds or heavens, one that divineth by the motions of the clouds, by the stars, or by the flying or chattering of birds, all which Heathens used to observe. An inchanter - Or, a conjecturer, that discovers hidden things by a superstitious use of words or ceremonies, by observation of water or smoke or any contingencies. A witch - One that is in covenant with the devil.
11 A charmer - One that charmeth serpents or other cattle. Or, a fortune - teller, that foretelleth the events of men's lives by the conjunctions of the stars. Spirits - Whom they call upon by certain words or rites. A wizard - Heb. a knowing man, who by any forbidden way's undertakes the revelation of secret things. A necromancer - One that calleth up and enquireth of the dead.
13 Perfect - Sincerely and wholly his, seeking him and cleaving to him and to his word alone, and therefore abhorring all commerce and conversations with devils.
14 Hath not suffered thee so to do - Hath not suffered thee to follow these superstitious and diabolical practices, as he hath suffered other nations to do, but hath instructed thee better by his word and spirit, and will more fully instruct thee by a great prophet.
15 Will raise up - Will produce and send into the world in due time. A prophet like unto me - Christ was truly, and in all commendable parts like him, in being both a prophet and a king and a priest and mediator, in the excellency of his ministry and work, in the glory of his miracles, in his familiar and intimate converse with God.
19 I will require it - I will punish him severely for it. The sad effect of this threatning the Jews have felt for above sixteen hundred years together.
22 If the thing - Which he gives as a sign of the truth of his prophecy. The falsehood of his prediction shews him to be a false prophet. Presumptuously - Impudently ascribing his own vain and lying fancies to the God of truth.

Chapter XIX

Of the cites of refuge, ver. 1 - 10. Of wilful murderers, ver. 11 - 13. Of removing land - marks, ver. 14. Of witnesses, true, ver. 15. Of false, ver. 16 - 21.

2 In the midst of the land - Namely, beyond Jordan, as there were three already appointed on this side Jordan: In the midst of the several parts of their land, to which they might speedily flee from all the parts of the land.
3 Prepare thee a way - Distinguish it by evident marks, and make it plain and convenient, to prevent mistakes and delays.
8 Enlarge thy coast - As far as Euphrates.
9 If thou shalt keep all these commandments - But the Jewish writers themselves own, that the condition not being performed, the promise of enlarging their coast was not fulfilled, so that there was no need for three more cities of refuge. Yet the holy, blessed God, say they, did not command it in vain, for in the day's of Messiah the Prince, they shall be added. They expect it in the letter: but we know, it has in Christ its spiritual accomplishment. For the borders of the Gospel - Israel are inlarged according to the promise: and in the Lord our righteousness, refuge is provided for all that by faith fly to him.
15 Rise - Or be established, accepted, owned as sufficient: it is the same word which in the end of the verse is rendered, be established.
16 A safe witness - A single witness, though he speak truth, is not to be accepted for the condemnation of another man, but if he be convicted of false witness, this is sufficient for his own condemnation.
21 Eye for eye - What punishment the law allotted to the accused, if he had been convicted, the same shall the false accuser bear.

Chapter XX

The exhortation of the priest to them who were going to battle, ver. 1 - 4. The dismission of them who were engaged in business, or faint - hearted, ver. 5 - 9. How they were to treat distant cities, ver. 10 - 15. The cities of the Canaanites, ver. 16 - 18. Fruit - trees not to be destroyed, ver. 19, 20.

2 Speak unto the people - Probably to one regiment of the army after another.
5 What man - This and the following exceptions are to be understood only of a war allowed by God, not in a war commanded by God, not in the approaching war with the Canaanites, from which even the bridegroom was not exempted, as the Jewish writers note.
6 A vineyard - This and the former dispensation were generally convenient, but more necessary in the beginning of their settlement in Canaan, for the encouragement of those who should build houses or plant vineyards, which was chargeable to them, and beneficial to the common - wealth. Eaten of it - Heb. made it common, namely, for the use of himself and family and friends, which it was not, 'till the fifth year.
9 Make captains - Or rather, as the Hebrew hath it, they shall set or place the captains of the armies in the head or front of the people under their charge, that they may conduct them, and by their example encourage their soldiers. It is not likely they had their captains to make when they were just going to battle.
16 Nothing - No man. For the beasts, some few excepted, were given them for a prey.
19 Thou shalt not destroy - Which is to be understood of a general destruction of them, not of the cutting down some few of them, as the conveniency of the siege might require. Man's life - The sustenance or support of his life.

Chapter XXI

The expiation of an uncertain murder, ver. 1 - 9. The usage of a captive taken to wife, ver. 10 - 14. The first - born to not to be disinherited, ver. 15 - 17. A stubborn son to be put to death, ver. 18 - 21. Bodies of malefactors to be buried, ver. 22. 23.

1 The field - Or, in the city, or any place: only the field is named, as the place where such murders are most commonly committed.
2 Thy elders and judges - Those of thy elders who are judges: the judges or rulers of all the neighbouring cities. Measure - Unless it be evident which city is nearest; for then measuring was superfluous.
3 Which hath not drawn in the yoke - A fit representative of the murderer, in whose stead it was killed, who would not bear the yoke of God's laws. A type also of Christ, who was under the yoke, but what he had voluntarily taken upon himself.
4 A rough valley - That such a desert and horrid place might beget an horror of murder and of the murderer. Strike off the neck - To shew what they would and should have done to the murderer if they had found him.
5 Every controversy - Of this kind: every controversy which shall rise about any stroke, whether such a mortal stroke as is here spoken of, or any other stroke or wound given by one man to another.
7 They shall answer - To the priests who shall examine them. This blood - This about which the present enquiry is made: or this which is here present: for it is thought the corps of the slain man was brought into the same place where the heifer was slain. Nor have we seen or understood how or by whom this was done.
8 Forgiven - Though there was no mortal guilt in this people, yet there was a ceremonial uncleanness in the land, which was to be expiated and forgiven.
10 Enemies - Of other nations, but not of the Canaanites.
11 Hast a desire unto her - Or, hast taken delight in her: which may be a modest expression for lying with her, and seems probable, because it is said, De 21:14, that he had humbled her. And here seem to be two cases supposed, and direction given what to do in both of them,
  1. that he did desire to marry her, of which he speaks, De 21:11 - 13.
  2. that he did not desire this, of which he speaks, De 21:14.
12 She shall shave her head - In token of her renouncing her heathenish idolatry and superstition, and of her becoming a new woman, and embracing the true religion.
13 Raiment of captivity - Those sordid raiments which were put upon her when she was taken captive. Bewail her father and mother - Either their death, or which was in effect the same, her final separation from them.
14 If thou have no delight in her - If thou dost not chuse to marry her. Thou shalt not make merchandise of her - Make gain of her, either by using her to thy own servile works, or by prostituting her to the lusts or to the service of others.
15 Two wives - This practice, though tolerated, is not hereby made lawful; but only provision is made for the children in this case. Hated - Comparatively, that is, less loved.
19 His father and mother - The consent of both is required to prevent the abuse of this law to cruelty. And it cannot reasonably be supposed that both would agree without the son's abominable and incorrigible wickedness, in which case it seems a righteous law, because the crime of rebellion against his own parents did so fully signify what a pernicious member he would be in the commonwealth of Israel, who had dissolved all his natural obligations. Unto the elders - Which was a sufficient caution to preserve children from the malice of any hard - hearted parents, because these elders were first to examine the cause with all exactness, and then to pronounce the sentence.
20 A glutton and a drunkard - Under which two offences others of a like or worse nature are comprehended.
22 On a tree - Which was done after the malefactor was put to death some other way, this publick shame being added to his former punishment.
23 He is accursed of God - He is in a singular manner cursed and punished by God's appointment with a most shameful kind of punishment, as this was held among the Jews and all nations; and therefore this punishment may suffice for him, and there shall not be added to it that of lying unburied. And this curse is here appropriated to those that are hanged, to so signify that Christ should undergo this execrable punishment, and be made a curse for us, Gal 3:13, which though it was to come in respect to men, yet was present unto God. Defiled - Either by inhumanity towards the dead: or by suffering the monument of the man's wickedness, and of God's curse, to remain publick a longer time than God would have it, whereas it should he put out of sight, and buried in oblivion.

Chapter XXII

Laws for preserving stray or fallen cattle, ver. 1 - 4. For a distinction of apparel between women and men, ver. 5. For compassion even toward birds, ver. 6, 7. Of battlements on houses, ver. 8. Against improper mixtures, ver. 9 - 11. Of fringes, ver. 12. Of a wife, falsely accused, ver. 13 - 19. Justly accused, ver. 20, 21. The punishment of adultery, rape, fornication, ver. 22 - 29. Of incest, ver. 30.

1 Thy brother's - Any man's. Thou shalt not hide thyself - Dissemble or pretend that thou dost not see them; or pass them by as if thou hadst not seen them.
2 To thine own house - To be used like thine own cattle.
3 Hide thyself - Dissemble that thou hast found it. Or, hide it, that is, conceal the thing lost.
5 Shall not wear - Namely, ordinarily or unnecessarily, for in some cases this may be lawful, as to make an escape for one's life. Now this is forbidden, both for decency sake, that men might not confound those sexes which God hath distinguished, that all appearance of evil might be avoided, such change of garments carrying a manifest sign of effeminacy in the man, of arrogance in the woman, of lightness and petulancy in both; and also to cut off all suspicions and occasions of evil, which this practice opens a wide door to.
7 Let the dam go - Partly for the bird's sake, which suffered enough by the loss of its young; for God would not have cruelty exercised towards the brute creatures: and partly for mens sake, to refrain their greediness, that, they should not monopolize all to themselves, but leave the hopes of a future seed for others.
8 A battlement - A fence or breastwork, because the roofs of their houses were made flat, that men might walk on them. Blood - The guilt of blood, by a man's fall from the top of thy house, thro' thy neglect of this necessary provision. The Jew's say, that by the equity of this law, they are obliged, and so are we, to fence or remove every thing, whereby life may he endangered, as wells, or bridges, lest if any perish thro' our omission, their blood be required at our hand.
9 Divers seeds - Either
  1. With divers kinds of seed mixed and sowed together between the rows of vines in thy vineyard: which was forbidden to be done in the field, Lev 19:19, and here, in the vineyard. Or,
  2. With any kind of seed differing from that of the vine, which would produce either herbs, or corn, or fruit - bearing trees, whose fruit might be mingled with the fruit of the vines. Now this and the following precepts, tho' in themselves small and trivial, are given, according to that time and state of the church, for instructions in greater matters, and particularly to commend to them simplicity in all their carriage towards God and man, and to forbid all mixture of their inventions with God's institutions in doctrine or worship. Defiled - Legally and morally, as being prohibited by God's law, and therefore made unclean; as on the contrary, things are sanctified by God's word, allowing and approving them, 1Tim 4:5.
10 An ox and an ass - Because the one was a clean beast, the other unclean whereby God would teach men to avoid polluting themselves by the touch of unclean persons or things.
12 Fringes - Or laces, or strings, partly to bring the commands of God to their remembrance, as it is expressed, Num 15:38, and partly is a public profession of their nation and religion, whereby they might be distinguished from strangers, that so they might be more circumspect to behave as became the people of God, and that they should own their religion before all the world. Thou coverest thyself - These words seem restrictive to the upper garment wherewith the rest were covered.
13 If any man take a wife - And afterward falsely accuse her - What the meaning of that evidence is, by which the accusation was proved false, the learned are not agreed. Nor is it necessary for us to know: they for whom this law was intended, undoubtedly understood it.
19 The father - Because this was a reproach to his family, and to himself, as such a miscarriage of his daughter would have been ascribed to his evil education.
24 She cried not - And therefore is justly presumed to have consented to it.
26 Even so - Not an act of choice, but of force and constraint.
27 The damsel cried - Which is in that case to be presumed; charity obliging us to believe the best, 'till the contrary be manifest.
29 Fifty shekels - Besides the dowry, as Philo, the learned Jew notes, which is here omitted, because that was customary, it being sufficient here to mention what was peculiar to this case. His wife - If her father consented to it.
30 Take - To wife. So this respects the state, and the next branch speaks of the act only.

Chapter XXIII

Who are to be excluded the congregation of rulers, ver. 1 - 6. An Edomite and an Egyptian not to be abhorred, ver. 7, 8. No uncleanness to be in the camp, ver. 9 - 14. Of servants, escaped from their masters, ver. 15, 16. Laws, against sodomy and whoredom, ver. 17, 18. Against usury, ver. 19, 20. Against the breach of vows, ver. 21 - 23. The liberty which might be taken in another's field or vineyard, ver. 24, 25.

1 He that is wounded - A phrase denoting an eunuch. Shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord - Shall not be admitted to honours and offices either in the church or commonwealth of Israel; and so the congregation of the Lord doth not here signify, the body of the people, but the society of the elders or rulers of the people. Add to this, that the Hebrew word, Kahal, generally signifies a congregation or company of men met together; and therefore this cannot so conveniently be meant of all the body of the people, which could never meet in one place, but of the chief rulers, which frequently did so. Nor is it strange that eunuchs are excluded from government, both because such persons are commonly observed to want that courage which is necessary for a governor, because as such persons ordinarily were despicable, so the authority in their hands was likely to be exposed to the same contempt.
2 The congregation - Taking the word as in the former verse.
3 For ever - This seems to note the perpetuity of this law, that it should be inviolably observed in all succeeding ages.
4 They met you not with bread and water - As the manner of those times was to wait and provide for strangers and travellers, which was the more necessary, because in those times and countries, there were no public houses of entertainment. Their fault then was unmercifulness to strangers and afflicted persons, which was aggravated both by their relation to the Israelites, as being the children of Lot, and by the special kindness of God, and of the Israelites to them, in not fighting against them.
6 Thou shalt not seek their peace - That is, make no contracts either by marriages or leagues, or commerce with them, but rather constantly keep a jealous eye over them, as enemies who will watch every opportunity to ensnare or disturb thee. This counsel was now the more necessary, because a great part of the Israelites lived beyond Jordan in the borders of those people, and therefore God sets up this wall of partition betwixt them, as well knowing the mischief of bad neighbours, and Israel's proneness to receive infection from them. Each particular Israelite is not hereby forbidden to perform any office of humanity to them, but the body of the nation are forbidden all familiar conversation with them.
7 Thou wast a stranger - And didst receive habitation, protection and provision from them a long time, which kindness thou must not forget for their following persecution. It is ordinary with men, that one injury blots out the remembrance of twenty courtesies; but God doth not deal so with us, nor will he have us to deal so with others, but commands us to forget injuries, and to remember kindnesses.
8 In their third generation - Supposing their grandfather, or great - grandfather turned proselyte, and the children continue in that faith received by such ancestors.
9 Keep from every wicked thing - Then especially take heed, because that is a time of confusion and licentiousness; when the laws of God and man cannot be heard for the noise of arms; because the success of thy arms depends upon God's blessing, which wicked men have no reason to expect; and because thou dost carry thy life in thy hand, and therefore hast need to be well prepared for death and judgment.
13 Cover - To prevent the annoyance of ourselves or others; to preserve and exercise modesty and natural honesty; and principally that by such outward rites they might be innured to the greater reverence of the Divine Majesty, and the greater caution to avoid all real and moral uncleanness.
15 The servant - Of such as belonged to the Canaanites, or other neighbouring nations, because if he had lived in remote countries, it is not probable that he would flee so far to avoid his master, or that his master would follow him so far to recover him. For the Canaanites this sentence was most just, because both they and theirs were all forfeited to God and Israel, and whatsoever they enjoyed was by special indulgence. And for the other neighbours it may seem just also, because both masters and servants of these and other nations are unquestionably at the disposal of the Lord their maker and sovereign ruler. Understand it likewise of such as upon enquiry appear to have been unjustly oppressed by their masters. Now it is not strange if the great God, who hates all tyranny, and styles himself the refuge of the oppressed doth interpose his authority to rescue such persons from their cruel masters.
17 No whore - No common prostitute, such as were tolerated and encouraged by the Gentiles, and used even in their religious worship. Not that such practices were allowed to the strangers among them, as is evident from many scriptures and reasons, but that it was in a peculiar manner, and upon special reasons, forbidden to them, as being much more odious in them than in strangers.
18 The hire of a whore - This is opposed to the practice of the Gentiles, who allowed both such persons and the oblations they made out of their infamous gains; and some of them kept lewd women, who prostituted themselves in the temples, to the honour of their false Gods, and offered part of their profit to them. Or the price of a dog - It seems to mean, of a whoremonger or sodomite. Such are called dogs, Rev 22:15. And it is not improbable they are called so here. From these God would not accept of any offering.
19 Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother - To an Israelite. They held their estates immediately from God, who while he distinguished them from all other people, might have ordered, had he pleased, that they should have all things in common. But instead of that, and in token of their joint interest in the good land he had given them, he only appointed them, as there was occasion, to lend to one another without interest. This among them would be little or no loss to the lender, because their land was so divided, their estates so settled, and there was so little a merchandise among them, that it was seldom or never they had occasion to borrow any great sums, but only for the subsistence of their family, or some uncommon emergence. But they might lend to a stranger upon usury, who was supposed to live by trade, and therefore got by what he borrowed: in which case 'tis just, the lender should share in the gain. This usury therefore is not oppressive: for they might not oppress a stranger.
21 Not slack - Not delay: because delays may make them both unable to pay it, and unwilling too.
23 A free - will - offering - Which though thou didst really make, yet being made, thou art no longer free, but obliged to perform it.
24 At thy pleasure - Which was allowed in those parts, because of the great plenty and fruitfulness of vines there.

Chapter XXIV

Of Divorce, ver. 1 - 4. New - married men discharged from the war, ver. 5. Of pledges, ver. 6. 10 - 13. Of man - stealers, ver. 7. Of the leprosy, ver. 8, 9. Of daily wages, ver. 14, 15. None to be punished for another's sin, ver. 16. Of justice and mercy to the widow, fatherless and stranger, ver. 17 - 22.

1 Some uncleanness - Some hateful thing, some distemper of body or quality of mind not observed before marriage: or some light carriage, as this phrase commonly signifies, but not amounting to adultery. Let him write - This is not a command as some of the Jews understood it, nor an allowance and approbation, but merely a permission of that practice for prevention of greater mischiefs, and this only until the time of reformation, till the coming of the Messiah when things were to return to their first institution and purest condition.
4 May not - This is the punishment of his levity and injustice in putting her away without sufficient cause, which by this offer he now acknowledgeth. Defiled - Not absolutely, as if her second marriage were a sin, but with respect to her first husband, to whom she is as a defiled or unclean woman, that is, forbidden things; forbidden are accounted and called unclean, Jud 13:7, because they may no more be touched or used than an unclean thing. Thou shalt not cause the land to sin - Thou shalt not suffer such lightness to be practised, lest the people be polluted, and the land defiled and accursed by that means.
5 Business - Any publick office or employment, which may cause an absence from or neglect of his wife. One year - That their affections may be firmly settled, so as there may be no occasions for the divorces last mentioned.
6 Mill - stone - Used in their hand - mills. Under this, he understands all other things necessary to get a livelihood, the taking away whereof is against the laws both of charity and prudence, seeing by those things alone he can be enabled both to subsist and to pay his debts. Life - His livelihood, the necessary support of his life.
10 Thou shalt not go in - To prevent both the poor man's reproach by having his wants exposed, and the creditor's greediness which might be occasioned by the sight of something which he desired, and the debtor could not spare.
11 The pledge - He shall chuse what pledge he pleases, provided it be sufficient for the purpose.
12 Thou shalt not sleep - But restore it before night, which intimates that he should take no such thing for pledge, without which a man cannot sleep.
13 Bless thee - Bring down the blessing of God upon thee by his prayers: for though his prayers, if he be not a good man, shall not avail for his own behalf, yet they shall avail for thy benefit. It shall be right - Esteemed and accepted by God as a work of righteousness, or mercy.
15 At this day - At the time appointed, weekly or daily.
16 Not put to death - If the one be free from the guilt of the others sin, except in those cases where the sovereign Lord of life and death, before whom none is innocent, hath commanded it, as Deu 13:1 - 18 Jos 7:24. For though God do visit the father's sins upon the children, Exo 20:5, yet he will not suffer men to do so.
17 Raiment - Not such as she hath daily and necessary use of, as being poor. But this concerns not rich persons, nor superfluous raiment.

Chapter XXV

Stripes not to exceed forty, ver. 1 - 3. The ox not to be muzzled, ver. 4. Of marrying the brother's widow, ver. 5 - 10. Of an immodest woman, ver. 11, 12. Of just weights and measures, ver. 13 - 16. Amalek to be destroyed, ver. 17 - 19.

1 Justify - Acquit him from guilt and false accusations, and free him from punishment.
2 Beaten - Which the Jews say was the case of all those crimes which the law commands to be punished, without expressing the kind or degree of punishment. Before his face - That the punishment may be duly inflicted, without excess or defect. And from this no person's rank or quality exempted him, if he was a delinquent.
3 Forty stripes - It seems not superstition, but prudent caution, when the Jews would not exceed thirty - nine stripes, lest through mistake or forgetfulness they should go beyond their bounds, which they were commanded to keep. Should seem vile - Should be made contemptible to his brethren, either by this cruel usage of him, as if he were a brute beast: or by the deformity or infirmity of body which excessive beating might produce.
4 He treadeth out the corn - Which they did in those parts, either immediately by their hoofs on by drawing carts or other instruments over the corn. Hereby God taught them humanity, even to their beasts that served them, and much more to their servants or other men who laboured for them, especially to their ministers, 1Cor 9:9.
5 Together - In the same town, or at least country. For if the next brother had removed his habitation into remote parts, on were carried thither into captivity, then the wife of the dead had her liberty to marry the next kinsman that lived in the same place with her. One - Any of them, for the words are general, and the reason of the law was to keep up the distinction of tribes and families, that so the Messiah might be discovered by the family from which he was appointed to proceed; and also of inheritances, which were divided among all the brethren, the first - born having only a double portion. A stranger - To one of another family.
6 That his name be not put out - That a family be not lost. So this was a provision that the number of their families might not be diminished.
9 Loose his shoe - As a sign of his resignation of all his right to the woman, and to her husband's inheritance: for as the shoe was a sign of one's power and right, Psa 60:8 108:9, so the parting with the shoe was a token of the alienation of such right; and as a note of infamy, to signify that by this disingenuous action he was unworthy to be amongst free - men, and fit to be reduced to the condition of the meanest servants, who used to go barefoot, Isa 20:2,4.
10 His name - That is, his person, and his posterity also. So it was a lasting blot.
13 A great and a small - The great to buy with, the small for selling.
17 Out of Egypt - Which circumstance greatly aggravates their sin, that they should do thus to a people, who had been long exercised with sore afflictions, to whom pity was due by the laws of nature and humanity, and for whose rescue God had in so glorious a manner appeared, which they could not be ignorant of. So this was barbarousness to Israel, and setting the great Jehovah at defiance.

Chapter XXVI

A form of confession made by him that offered the first - fruits, ver. 1 - 11. A prayer to be made after the disposal of the third year's tithe, ver. 12 - 15. He binds all these precepts upon them, by the divine authority, and the covenant between God and them, ver. 16 - 19.

2 Thou shalt take - This seems to be required of each master of a family, either upon his first settlement, or once every year at one of their three feasts, when they were obliged to go up to Jerusalem.
5 A Syrian - So Jacob was, partly by his original, as being born of Syrian parents, as were Abraham and Rebecca, both of Chaldea or Mesopotamia, which was a part of Syria largely so called, partly by his education and conversation; and partly by his relations, his wives being such, and his children too by their mother's. Ready to perish - Either through want and poverty; (See Gen 28:11,20 32:10,) or through the rage of his brother Esau, and the treachery of his father - in - law Laban.
10 It - The basket of first - fruits, Deu 26:2.
11 Thou shalt rejoice - Thou shalt hereby enabled to take comfort in all thy employments, when thou hast sanctified them by giving God his portion. It is the will of God, that we should be chearful not only in our attendance upon his holy ordinances, but in our enjoyment of the gifts of his providence. Whatever good thing God gives us, we should make the most comfortable use of it we can, still tracing the streams to the fountain of all consolation.
12 The year of tithing - Heb. the year of that tithe, so called, either
  1. because these tithes were gathered only in that year. Or rather,
  2. because then only they were so bestowed; and whereas these second tithes for two years together were eaten only by the owners and Levites, and that in Jerusalem, in the third year they were eaten also by the strangers, fatherless, and widows, and that in their own dwellings.
13 Before the Lord - In thy private addresses to God; for this is to be said presently upon the distribution of these tithes, which was not done at Jerusalem, but in their own private gates or dwellings. And this is to be spoken before the Lord, that is, solemnly, seriously, and in a religious manner, with due respect to God's presence, and will, and glory.
14 In my mourning - In sorrow, or grieving that I was to give away so much of my profits to the poor, but I have chearfully eaten and feasted with them, as I was obliged to do. Unclean use - For any common use; for any other use than that which thou hast appointed, which would have been a pollution of them. For the dead - For any funeral pomp or service; for the Jews used to send in provisions to feast with the nearest relations of the party deceased; and in that case both the guests and food were legally polluted, Num 19:11,14, and therefore the use of these tithes in such cases had been a double fault, both the defiling of sacred food, and the employing those provisions upon sorrowful occasions, which by God's express command were to be eaten with rejoicing.
15 Look down - After that solemn profession of their obedience to God's commands, they are taught to pray for God's blessing whereby they are instructed how vain and ineffectual the prayers of unrighteous or disobedient persons are.
17 Avouched - Or, declared, or owned.
18 Avouched thee - Hath owned thee for such before all the world by eminent and glorious manifestations of his power and favour, by a solemn entering into covenant with thee, and giving peculiar laws, promises, and privileges to thee above all mankind.

Chapter XXVII

A command to write all the law upon stones, ver. 1 - 8. A charge to Israel, to obey God, ver. 9 - 10. To pronounce a blessing on mount Gerizzim, and a curse on mount Ebal, ver. 11 - 13. To the Levites, to pronounce the whole curse, ver. 14 - 26.

2 On that day - About that time, for it was not done 'till some days after their passing over.
3 This law - The law properly so called, that is, the sum and substance of the precepts or laws of Moses, especially such as were moral, particularly the decalogue. Write it, that thou mayest go in - As the condition of thy entering into the land. For since Canaan is given only by promise, it must be held by obedience.
4 Mount Ebal - The mount of cursing. Here the law is written, to signify that a curse was due to the violators of it, and that no man could expect justification from the works of the law, by the sentence whereof all men are justly accused, as being all guilty of the transgression of it in one kind and degree or other. Here the sacrifices are to be offered, to shew that there is no way to be delivered from this curse, but by the blood of Christ, which all these sacrifices did typify, and by Christ's being made a curse for us.
6 Whole stones - Rough, not hewed or polished. By the law written on the stones, God spake to them: by the altar and sacrifices upon it, they spake to God: and thus was communion kept up between them and God.
9 The people of the Lord - By thy solemn renewing of thy covenant with him.
12 Upon mount Gerizzim - These words may be rendered beside or near to mount Gerizzim. There were in Canaan two mountains that lay near together, with a valley between, one called Gerizzim, the other Ebal. On the sides of these which faced each other, all the tribes were to be drawn up, six on a side, so that in the valley they came near each other, so near that the priests standing between them, might be heard by them that were next them on both sides. Then one of the priests, or perhaps more, at some distance from each other, pronounced with a loud voice, one of the curses following. And all the people who stood on the foot and side of mount Ebal, (those farther off taking the signal from those who were nearer) said Amen! Then the contrary blessing was pronounced, "Blessed is he that doth so or so:" To which all who stood on the foot and side of mount Gerizzim, said, Amen! Simeon - All these were the children of the free - women, Leah and Rachel, to shew both the dignity of the blessings above the curses, and that the blessings belong only to those who are evangelically such, as this is expounded and applied, Gal 4:22, even to those that receive the Spirit of adoption and liberty. Joseph is here put for both his sons and tribes Manasseh and Ephraim, which are reckoned as one tribe, because Levi is here numbered; but when Levi is omitted, as it is where the division of the land is made, there Manasseh and Ephraim pass for two tribes.
13 To curse - Of the former tribes, 'tis said, they stood to bless the people: of these, that they stood to curse. Perhaps the different way of speaking intimates, That Israel in general were an happy people, and should ever be so, if they were obedient. And to that blessing, they on mount Gerizzim said, Amen! But the curses come in, only as exceptions to the general rule: "Israel is a blessed people: but if there be any even among them, that do such and such things, they have no part or lot in this matter, but are under a curse." This shews how ready God is to bestow the blessing: if any fall under the curse, they bring it on their own head. Four of these are children of the bond - woman, to shew that the curse belongs to those of servile and disingenuous spirits. With these are joined Reuben, who by his shameful sin fell from his dignity, and Zebulun, the youngest of Leah's children, that the numbers might be equal.
14 The Levites - Some of the Levites, namely, the priests, who bare the ark, as it is expressed Jos 8:33, for the body of the Levites stood upon mount Gerizzim, Deu 27:12. But these stood in the valley between Gerizzim and Ebal, looking towards the one or the other mountain as they pronounced either the blessings or the curses.
15 Cursed - The curses are expressed, but not the blessings. For as many as were under the law, were under the curse. But it was an honour reserved for Christ to bless us; to do that which the law could not do. So in his sermon on the mount, the true mount Gerizzim, we have blessings only. The man - Under this particular he understands all the gross violations of the first table, as under the following branches he comprehends all other sins against the second table. Amen - 'Tis easy to understand the meaning of Amen to the blessings. But how could they say it to the curses? It was both a profession of their faith in the truth of it, and an acknowledgment of the equity of these curses. So that when they said Amen, they did in effect Say, not only, it is certain it shall be so, but it is just it should be so.
16 Light - Or, despiseth in his heart: or reproacheth or curseth, secretly: for if the fact was notorious, it was punished with death.
17 Out of the way - That misleadeth simple souls, giving them pernicious counsel, either for this life, or for the next.
24 Smiteth - That is, killeth. This includes murder under colour of law, which is of all others the greatest affront to God. Cursed therefore is he that any ways contributes to accuse, or convict, or condemn an innocent person.
26 Confirmeth not - Or, performeth not. To this we must all say, Amen! Owning ourselves to be under the curse, and that we must have perished for ever, if Christ had not redeemed us from the curse of the law, by being made a curse for us.

Chapter XXVIII

The blessings of obedience, personal, family and national, ver. 1 - 14. The curses of the disobedient; their extreme vexation, ver. 15 - 44. Their utter ruin and destruction, ver. 45 - 68.

2 Overtake thee - Those blessings which others greedily follow after, and never overtake, shall follow after thee, and shall be thrown into thy lap by special kindness.
3 In the city, and in the field - Whether they were husbandmen or tradesmen, whether in the town or country, they should be preserved from the dangers of both, and have the comforts of both. How constantly must we depend upon God, both for the continuance and comfort of life! We need him at every turn: we cannot be safe, if he withdraw his protection, nor easy, if he suspends his savour: but if he bless us, go where we will, 'tis well with us.
5 Store - Store - house, it shall always be well replenished and the provision thou hast there shall be preserved for thy use and service.
6 Comest in - That is, in all thy affairs and administrations.
9 Establish thee - Shall confirm his covenant with thee, by which he separated thee to himself as an holy and peculiar people.
10 Of the Lord - That you are in truth his people and children: A most excellent and glorious people, under the peculiar care and countenance of the great God.
11 The same things which were said before are repeated, to shew that God would repeat and multiply his blessings upon them.
12 His treasure - The heaven or the air, which is God's storehouse, where he treasures up rain or wind for man's use.
13 The head - The chief of all people in power, or at least in dignity and privileges; so that even they that are not under thine authority shall reverence thy greatness and excellency. So it was in David's and Solomon's time, and so it should have been much oftner and much more, if they had performed the conditions.
15 Overtake thee - So that thou shalt not be able to escape them, as thou shalt vainly hope and endeavour to do. There is no running from God, but by running to him; no flying from his justice, but by flying to his mercy.
20 Vexation - This seems chiefly to concern the mind, arising from the disappointment of hopes and the presages of its approaching miseries. Rebuke - Namely, from God, not so much in words as by his actions, by cross providences, by sharp and sore afflictions.
23 Brass - Like brass, hard and dry, and shut up from giving rain. Iron - Hard and chapt and barren.
24 Dust - Either thy rain shall be as unprofitable to thy ground and seed as if it were only so much dust. Or instead of rain shall come nothing but dust from heaven, which being raised and carried up by the wind in great abundance, returns, and falls upon the earth as it were in clouds or showers.
27 The botch of Egypt - Such boils and blains as the Egyptians were plagued with, spreading from head to foot: The emerodes - Or piles.
28 Blindness - Of mind, so that they shall not know what to do: Astonishment - They shall be filled with wonder and horror because of the strangeness and soreness of their calamities.
29 Grope at noon day - In the most clear and evident matters thou shalt grossly mistake. Thy ways - Thy counsels and enterprizes shall be frustrated and turn to thy destruction.
32 Unto another people - By those who have conquered them, and taken them captives, who shall give or sell them to other persons. Fail - Or, be consumed, partly with grief and plentiful tears; and partly with earnest desire, and vain and long expectation of their return. No might - No power to rescue, nor money to ransom them.
33 Which thou knowest not - Which shall come from a far country, which thou didst not at all expect or fear, and therefore will be the more dreadful when they come; a nation whose language thou understandest not, and therefore canst not plead with them for mercy, nor expect any favour from them.
34 Thou shalt be mad for the sight of thine eyes - Quite put out of the possession of their own souls; quite bereaved of all comfort and hope, and abandoned to utter despair. They that walk by sight, and not by faith, are in danger of losing reason itself, when all about them looks frightful; and their condition is bad indeed, who are mad for the sight of their eyes.
36 Thy king - The calamity shall be both universal, which even thy king shall not be able to avoid, much less the subjects, who have far less advantage and opportunity for escape; and irrecoverable, because he who should protect or rescue them is lost with them, Lam 4:10. Wood and stone - So what formerly was their choice and delight now becomes their plague and misery. And this doubtless was the condition of many Israelites under the Assyrian and Balylonish captivities.
43 Within thee - Within thy gates; who formerly honoured and served thee, and were some of them glad of the crumbs which fell from thy table.
45 Moreover all these curses - It seems Moses has been hitherto foretelling their captivity in Babylon, by which even after their return, they were brought to the low condition mentioned, Deu 28:44. But in the following he foretells their last destruction by the Romans. And the present deplorable state of the Jewish nation, so exactly answers this prediction, that it is an incontestable proof of the truth of the prophecy, and consequently of the divine authority of the scriptures. And this destruction more dreadful than the former shews, that their sin in rejecting Christ, was more provoking to God than idolatry itself, and left them more under the power of Satan. For their captivity in Babylon cured them effectually of idolatry in seventy years. But under this last destruction, they continue above sixteen hundred years incurably averse to the Lord Jesus.
46 They - These curses now mentioned. A wonder - Signal and wonderful to all that hear of them. 'Tis amazing, a people so incorporated, should be so universally disperst! And that a people scattered in all nations, should not mix with any, but like Cain, be fugitives and vagabonds, and yet so marked as to be known.
54 Evil - Unkind, envious, covetous to monopolize these dainty bits to themselves, and grudging that their dearest relations should have any part of them.
56 Evil - Unmerciful: she will desire or design their destruction for her food.
57 Her young one - Heb. after - birth: that which was loathsome to behold, will now be pleasant to eat; and together with it she shall eat the child which was wrapt up in it, and may be included in this expression. Which she shall bear - Or, which she shall have born, that is, her more grown children. She shall eat them - This was fulfilled more than once, to the perpetual reproach of the Jewish nation. Never was the like done either by Greek or Barbarian. See the fruit of being abandoned by God!
63 To destroy you - His just indignation against you will be so great, that it will be a pleasure to him to take vengeance on you. For though he doth not delight in the death of a sinner in itself, yet he doth delight in glorifying his justice upon incorrigible sinners, seeing the exercise of all his attributes must needs please him, else he were not perfectly happy.
65 Neither shall thy foot have rest - Ye shall have no settlement in the land whither you are banished, but there you shall be tossed about from place to place, and sold from person to person, or Cain - like, wander about.
66 Thy life shall hang in doubt - Either because thou art in the hands of thy enemies that have power, and want no will, to destroy thee: or because of the terrors of thy own mind, and the guilt of thy conscience making thee to fear, even where no fear is.
68 Into Egypt - Which was literally fulfilled under Titus, when multitudes of them were carried thither in ships, and sold for slaves. And this expression seems to mind them of that time when they went over the sea without ships, God miraculously drying up the sea before them, which now they would have occasion sadly to remember. By the way - Or, to the way. And the way seems not to be meant here of the usual road - way from Canaan to Egypt, which was wholly by land, but to be put for the end of the way or journey, even the land of Egypt, for to this, and not to the road - way between Canaan and Egypt, agree the words here following, whereof I speak unto thee, thou shalt see it, (that is, Egypt) no more again. No man shall buy you - Either because the number of your captives shall be so great, that the market shall be glutted with you; or because you shall be so loathsome and contemptible that men shall not be willing to have you for slaves. And this was the condition of the Jews after the destruction of Jerusalem, as Josephus the Jew hath left upon record. Let us all learn hence, to stand in awe and not to sin. I have heard of a wicked man (says Mr. Henry) who on reading these threatenings, was so enraged, that he tore the leaf out of his bible. But to what purpose is it, to deface a copy, while the original remains unchangeable? By which it is determined, that the wages of sin is death: yea, a death more dreadful than all that is here spoken!

Chapter XXIX

The preface of God's covenant, ver. 1. A recital of his dealings with them, ver. 2 - 8. A solemn exhortation to keep covenant with God, ver. 9 - 17. A severe threatning to them that break it, ver. 18 - 28. The end of the revealed will of God, ver. 29.

1 These are the terms or conditions upon which God hath made, that is renewed his covenant with you. The covenant was but one in substance, but various in the time and manner of its dispensation.
4 Yet the Lord - That is, you have perceived and seen them with the eyes of your body, but not with your minds and hearts; you have not yet learned rightly to understand the word and works of God, so as to know them for your good, and to make a right use of them, and to comply with them: which he expresseth thus, the Lord hath not given you, &c. not to excuse their wickedness, but to direct them to whom they must have recourse for a good understanding of God's works; and to intimate that although the hearing ear, and the seeing eye, be the workmanship of God, yet their want of his grace was their own fault, and the just punishment of their former sins; their present case being like theirs in Isaiah's time, who first shut their own eyes and ears that they might not see and hear, and would not understand, and then by the righteous judgment of God, had their eyes and ears closed that they should not see and hear, and understand. God's readiness to do us good in other things, is a plain evidence, that if we have not grace, that best of gifts, 'tis our own fault and not his: he would have gathered us, and we would not.
6 Ye have not eaten bread - Common bread purchased by your own money, or made by your own hands, but heavenly and angelical bread. Neither drank wine - But only water out of the rock. The Lord - Omnipotent and all - sufficient for your provision without the help of any creatures, and your God in covenant with you who hath a true affection to you, and fatherly care of you.
11 Thy stranger - Such strangers as had embraced their religion: all sorts of persons, yea, even the meanest of them.
12 Into covenant and into his oath - Into covenant, confirmed by a solemn oath.
13 That he may establish thee - Here is the summary of that covenant whereof Moses was the mediator, and in the covenant relation between God and them, all the precepts and promises of the covenant are included. That they should be established for a people to him, to fear, love, obey, and be devoted to him, and that he should be to them a God, to make them holy and happy; and a due sense of the relation we stand in to God as our God, and the obligation we are under to him as his people, is enough to bring us to all the duties, and all the comforts of the covenant. And does this covenant include nothing spiritual? nothing that refers to eternity?
15 So also - With your posterity. For so the covenant was made at first with Abraham and his seed, by which as God engaged himself to continue the blessing of Abraham upon his posterity, so he also engaged them to the same duties which were required of Abraham. So it is even among men, where a king confers an estate upon a subject and his heirs for ever, upon some certain conditions, all his heirs who enjoy that benefit, are obliged to the same conditions. It may likewise include those who were then constrained to be absent, by sickness, or any necessary occasion. Nay one of the Chaldee pharaphrasts 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 taking this covenant as a typical dispensation of the covenant of grace, 'tis a noble testimony to the Mediator of that covenant, who is the same yesterday, to day, and for ever.
16 Egypt - Where you have seen their idolatries, and learned too much of them, as the golden calf shewed, and therefore have need to renew your covenant with God; where also we were in dreadful bondage whence God alone hath delivered us, to whom therefore we are deeply obliged, and have all reason to renew our covenant with him. Through the nations - With what hazard, if God had not appeared for us!
18 A root - An evil heart inclining you to such cursed idolatry, and bringing forth bitter fruits.
19 Of this curse - Of that oath where - in he swore he would keep covenant with God, and that with a curse pronounced against himself if he did not perform it. Bless himself - Flatter himself in his own eyes, with vain hopes, as if God did not mind such things, and either could not, or would not punish them. Peace - Safety and prosperity. My own heart - Though I do not follow God's command, but my own devices. To add drunkenness to thirst - The words may be rendered, to add thirst to drunkenness, and so the sense may be, that when he hath multiplied his sins, and made himself as it were drunk with them, yet he is not satisfied therewith, but still whets his appetite, and provokes his thirst after more, as drunkards often use means to make themselves thirst after more drink.
20 Shall smoke - Shall burn and break forth with flame and smoke as it were from a furnace.
21 Unto evil - Unto some peculiar and exemplary plague; he will make him a monument of his displeasure to the whole land.
23 Salt and burning - Is burnt up and made barren, as with brimstone and salt.
26 Whom God had not given to them - For their worship, but hath divided them unto all nations, for their use and service. So he speaks here of the sun and moon and stars, which were the principal gods worshipped by the neighbouring nations.
29 The secret things - Having mentioned the amazing judgments of God upon the whole land and people of Israel, and foreseeing the utter extirpation which would come upon them for their wickedness, he breaks out into this pathetic exclamation, either to bridle their curiosity, who would be apt to enquire into the time and manner of so great an event; or to quiet his own mind, and satisfy the scruples of others, who perceiving God to deal so severely with his own people, when in the meantime he suffered those nations which were guilty of grosser atheism and idolatry, might thence take occasion to deny his providence or question the equity of his proceedings. To this he answers, that the ways and judgments of God, tho' never unjust, are often times hidden from us, unsearchable by our shallow capacities, and matter for our admiration, not our enquiry. But the things which are revealed by God and his word, are the proper object of our enquiries, that thereby we may know our duty, and be kept from such terrible calamities as these now mentioned.

Chapter XXX

Promises upon their repentance, ver. 1 - 10. The righteousness of faith set before them, ver. 11 - 14. Life and death offered to their choice, ver. 15 - 20.

1 The blessing - When thou art obedient. The curse - When thou becomest rebellious.
6 And the Lord - Or, For the Lord will circumcise thine heart, will by his word and spirit change and purge thy heart from all thine idolatry and wickedness, and incline thy heart to love him. God will first convert and sanctify them, the fruit whereof shall be, that they shall return and obey God's commandments, Deu 30:8, and then shall prosper in all things, Deu 30:9. This promise principally respects the times of the gospel, and the grace which was to be then imparted to all Israel by Christ.
9 For good - Whereas thou did formerly receive these mercies for thy hurt, now thou shalt have them for thy good, thy heart shall be so changed that thou shalt not now abuse them, but employ them to the service of God the giver. Over thee for good - To do thee good; as he did rejoice to destroy thee.
10 If thou wilt hearken - This is added to warn them that they should not receive the grace of God in vain, and to teach them that the grace of God doth not discharge man's obligation to his duty, nor excuse him for the neglect of it. It is observable, that Moses calls God, the Lord thy God twelve times in these ten verses. In the threatnings of the former chapter, he is all along called the Lord, a God of power, and the judge of all. But in the promises of this chapter, the Lord thy God, a God of grace, and in covenant with thee.
11 This commandment - The great command of loving and obeying God, which is the sum of the law, of which yet he doth not here speak, as it is in itself, but as it is molified and accompanied with the grace of the gospel. The meaning is, that tho' the practice of God's laws be now far from us, and above our strength, yet, considering the advantage of gospel grace, whereby God enables us to do our duty, it is near and easy to us, who believe. And so this well agrees with Rom 10:6, &c. where St. Paul applies this place to the righteousness of faith. Is not hidden - Heb. Is not too wonderful for thee, not too hard for thee to know and do. The will of God, which is but darkly manifested to other nations, Acts 17:27, is clearly and fully revealed unto thee: thou canst not pretend ignorance or invincible difficulty.
12 In heaven - Shut up there, but it hath been thence delivered and published in thy hearing.
13 Neither beyond the sea - The knowledge of this commandment is not to be fetched from far distant places, to which divers of the wise Heathens travelled for their wisdom; but it was brought to thy very doors and ears, and declared to thee in this wilderness.
14 In thy mouth - Thou knowest it so well, that it is the matter of thy common discourse. In thy heart - In thy mind, (as the heart is very commonly taken) to understand and believe it. In a word, the Law is plain and easy: but the gospel is much more so.
19 Chuse life - They shall have life that chuse it: they that chuse the favour of God, and communion with him, shall have what they chuse. They that come short of life and happiness, must thank themselves only. They had had them, if they had chosen them, when they were put to their choice: but they die, because they will die.
20 That thou mayest love the Lord thy God - Here he shews them in short, what their duty is; To love God as the Lord, a being most amiable, and as their God, a God in covenant with them: as an evidence of their love, to obey his voice in every thing, and by constancy in this love and obedience, to cleave to him all their days. And what encouragement had they to do this? For he is thy life and the length of thy days - He gives life, preserves life, restores life, and prolongs it, by his power, tho' it be a frail life, and by his presence, tho' it be a forfeited life. He sweetens life by his comforts, and compleats all in life everlasting.

Chapter XXXI

Moses encourages the people and Joshua, ver. 1 - 8. 23. Delivers to the priests the law, to be read every seventh year, ver. 9 - 13. God informs Moses of his approaching death, and the future apostasy of Israel, ver. 14 - 18. Orders him to write a song, which should be a testimony against them, ver. 19 - 22. Moses gives the law to the Levites to lay up beside the ark, and bids them assemble the people to hear his song, ver. 24 - 30.

1 Went and spake - Continued to speak, an usual Hebrew phrase.
2 Go out and come in - Perform the office of a leader or governor, because the time of my death approaches.
9 This law - Largely so called, the whole law or doctrine delivered unto Moses contained in these five books. To the priests - That they might keep it carefully and religiously, and bring it forth upon occasion, and read it, and instruct the people out of it. The elders - Who were assistants to the priests, to take care that the law should be kept, and read, and observed.
10 The year of release - When they were freed from debts and troubles, and cares of worldly matters, and thereby fitter to attend on God and his service.
11 Thou shalt read - Thou shalt cause it to be read by the priest or Levites; for he could not read it himself in the hearing of all Israel, but this was to be done by several persons, and so the people met in several congregations.
12 Together - Not in one place. But into divers assemblies or synagogues. Women who hereby are required to go to Jerusalem at this solemnity, as they were permitted to do in other solemnities. Children - Such of them as could understand, as appears from Neh 8:2,3, the pious Jews doubtless read it daily in their houses, and Moses of old time was read in the synagogues every sabbath day. But once in seven years, the law was thus to be read in public, to magnify it and make it honourable.
14 Give him a charge - Immediately from myself for his greater encouragement, and to gain him more authority with the people.
16 The strangers of the land - That is, of the Canaanites, who will be turned out of their possessions, and become as strangers in their own land. This aggravates their folly to worship such gods as could neither preserve their friends, nor annoy their enemies.
17 Hide my face - Withdraw my favour and help. Whatever outward troubles we are in if we have but the light of God's countenance, we are safe. But if God hide his face from us then we are undone.
19 Write this song - Which is contained Deu 32:1 - 43, and is put into a song that it may be better learned, and more fixed in their minds and memories. Put it in their mouths - Cause them to learn it, and sing it one to another, to oblige them to more circumspection. A witness - Of my kindness in giving them so many blessings, of my patience in bearing so long with them, of my clemency in giving them such fair and plain warnings, and my justice in punishing such an incorrigible people.
21 Their imaginations - Inclinations to Idolatry, which they do not check, as they ought; and some of them do not only cherish it in their hearts, but as far as they can and dare, secretly practise it, as may be gathered from Amos 5:25 Acts 7:43.
25 The Levites - The priests, Deu 31:9, who also were Levites.
26 Take this book - Probably the very same book, which (after having been some way misplaced) was found in the house of the Lord, in the days of Josiah, and publickly read by the king himself, for a witness against a people, who were then almost ripe for ruin. In the side - In the outside, in a little chest fixed to it, for nothing but the tables of stone were contained in the ark, 1Kings 8:9, here it was kept for greater security and reverence. A witness against thee - Against thy people, to whom he turns his speech that they might be the more affected with it.

Chapter XXXII

The song of Moses contains the preface, ver. 1, 2 . A high character of God, ver. 3 - 6. A recital of the great things God had done for them, and as their carriage toward him, ver. 7 - 18. A prediction of judgments for their aggravated impieties, ver. 19 - 35. A promise of vengeance upon their enemies, and deliverance for a remnant, ver. 36 - 43. An exhortation annext, ver. 44 - 47. Orders given to Moses, to go up to the mount and die, ver. 48 - 52.

1 O heavens, O earth - You lifeless and senseless creatures, which he calls upon partly to accuse the stupidity of Israel, that were more dull of hearing than these: and partly as witnesses of the truth of his sayings and the justice of God's proceedings against them.
2 As the rain - Look what effect rain and dew have upon herbs and grass which they make fresh and fragrant and growing, the same effect may my discourse have upon your hearts, that is, to make them soft and pliable and fruitful.
3 The name of the Lord - His glorious excellencies and righteous actions, by which he hath made himself known as a man is known by his name, and by which it will appear both that there is no blame to be laid upon him whatsoever befals you, and that it is gross madness to forsake such a God for dumb idols. Ascribe ye - As I am about to publish the majesty and glory of God, so do you also acknowledge it.
4 A rock - As for the stability of his nature, and invincibleness of his power, so also for his fixedness and immutability in his counsels and promises and ways; so that is there shall be a sad change in your affairs, remember that this proceeds from yourselves and from the change of your ways towards God, and not from God, in whom there is no variableness or shadow of change, Jam 1:17. His work - All his works and actions are unblameable, perfect, wise and righteous. His ways - All his administrations in the world and particularly with you are managed with wisdom and justice. A God of truth - Constant to his promises: you cannot accuse him of any unfaithfulness to this day.
5 They - The Israelites. Their spot - The wickedness with which they are stained, is not of his children - Plainly shews they are not his children, but the devil's. God's children have no such spot. Indeed this text does not affirm, they have any spot at all. Perverse - Froward and untractable: Crooked - Irregular and disorderly.
6 O foolish people and unwise! - Fools and double fools! Fools indeed, to disoblige one, on whom you so entirely depend! Who hath bewitched you! To forsake your own mercies for lying vanities! Bought thee - That hath redeemed thee from Egyptian bondage. Made thee - Not only in a general by creation, but in a peculiar manner by making thee his peculiar people. Established - That is, renewed and confirmed his favour to thee, and not taken it away, which thou hast often provoked him to do.
7 The days of old - The events of ancient days or former ages, and thou wilt find that I had a respect unto thee not only in Abraham's time, but long before it.
8 Their inheritance - When God by his providence allotted the several parts of the world to several people, which was done Gen 10:1 - 32 Gen 11:1 - 9. When he separated - Divided them in their languages and habitations according to their families. He set the bounds - That is, he disposed of the several lands and limits of the people so as to reserve a sufficient place for the great numbers of the people of Israel. And therefore he so guided the hearts of several people, that the posterity of Canaan, which was accursed of God, and devoted to ruin, should be seated in that country which God intended for the children of Israel, that so when their iniquities were ripe, they might be rooted out, and the Israelites come in their stead.
9 His people - It is no wonder God had so great a regard to this people, for he chose them out of all mankind to be his peculiar portion.
10 He found him - Not by chance, but as it were looking out and seeking for him. He did indeed manifest himself to him in Egypt, but it was in the wilderness at Sinai, God found him in an eminent manner, and revealed his will to him, and entered into covenant with him, and imparted himself and his grace and blessing to him. By this word he also signifies both their lost condition in themselves, and that their recovery was not from themselves, but only from God who sought and found them out by his grace. In the waste howling wilderness - In a place destitute of all the necessaries and comforts of life, which also was a type of that desolate and comfortless condition in which all men are before the grace of God finds them out; where instead of the voices of men, is nothing heard but the howlings and yellings of ravenous birds and beasts. He led them - He conducted them frons place to place by his cloudy pillar and providence. Or, he compassed him about, by his provident care, watching over him and preserving him on every side. As the apple of his eye - As men use to keep the apple of their eye, that is, with singular care and diligence, this being as a most tender, so a most useful part.
11 Her nest - Her young ones in the nest; which she by her cry and motion provoketh to fly. Her wings - As preparing herself to fly. On her wings - Or, as on her wings, that is, gently, and tenderly and safely too, as if she carried them not in her claws for fear of hurting them, but upon her wings. Some say, the eagle doth usually carry her young ones upon her wings.
12 Did lead them - When they were shut up in Egypt as in their nest whence they durst not venture to fly nor stir, he taught and encouraged and enabled them to fly out from that bondage, he dealt tenderly with them, bearing with their infirmities, keeping them from all harms. With him - To assist him at that work or to deliver them. The more unworthy they in giving to idols a share in that worship which they owe to God only.
13 The high places - To conquer their strongest holds, which often are in the mountains, and their cities fenced with walls of greatest height and strength. To ride upon, in scripture phrase, is to subdue or conquer. Out of the rock - This being a land flowing with honey, where the bees made honey in the holes of rocks, or in the trees that grew upon or among the rocks. Out of the flinty rocks - The olive - trees grow and bear most fruit in rocky or hilly places.
14 Fat of lambs - For though the fat wherewith the inward parts were covered was not to be eaten by them, but offered to God, yet that fat which was mixed with the flesh they might eat, as the Jewish doctors note. Basham - A place famous for excellent cattle. Fat of kidneys of wheat - With the finest of the grains of wheat; compared to kidneys for their shape and largeness.
15 Jeshurun - Israel whom he calls right or upright, (as the word signifies) partly by way of instruction to mind them what they professed and ought to be; and partly by way of exprobration, to shew them what a shame it was to degenerate so much from their name and profession. Kicked - As well fed cattle use to do: he grew insolent and rebellious against God and against his word and spirit.
16 To jealousy - To anger and fury, for jealousy is the rage of a man. And withall it implies the ground of his anger, their falseness to God whom they had accepted as their husband, and their spiritual whoredom with other gods.
17 Unto devils - Unto idols, which the devils brought into the world in opposition to God, in and by which the devils often manifested themselves to men, and gave them answers, and received their worship. The Gentiles pretended to worship God in those idols, and the devils which inspired them, deluded the nations with pretences that they were a sort of lower gods. Moses takes off this mark, and shews the Israelites that these pretended gods were really devils, and therefore that it was the height of madness to honour or worship them. Not to God - For God utterly rejected those sacrifices which they offered to him together with idols. They knew not - Or, who never knew them, that is, never shewed any kindness to them, or did them any good: New gods - Not simply or absolutely, for some of these had been worshipped for many generations, but comparatively to the true God, who is the ancient of days, De 7:9, and who was worshipped from the beginning of the world. Feared not - Served not, worshipped not.
18 Of the rock - Of God, one of whose titles this is, or of Christ, who is called the rock, 1Cor 10:4, whom the Israelites tempted.
19 His sons and daughters - Such they were by calling and profession.
20 I will see - I will make them and others see, what the fruit of such actions shall be. No faith - No fidelity: perfidious, that have broken their covenant so solemnly made with me.
21 I will move them to jealousy with those that are not a people - With the Heathen nations, who are none of my people, who scarce deserve the name of a people, as being without the knowledge and fear of God, which is the foundation of all true policy and government, and many of them destitute of all government, laws and order. And yet these people I will take in your stead, receive them and reject you; which, when it came to pass how desperately did it provoke the Jews to jealousy? A foolish nation - So the Gentiles were both in the opinion of the Jews and in truth and reality, notwithstanding all their pretences to wisdom, there being nothing more foolish or brutish than the worship of idols.
22 A fire is kindled - Great and grievous judgments shall be inflicted, which often come under the name of fire. Are they proud of their plenty? It shall burn up the increase of the earth. Are they confident of their strength? It shall destroy the very foundations of the mountains. It shall burn unto the lowest hell: it shall bring them to the very depth of misery in this world, which yet will he but a faint resemblance of their endless misery in the next.
23 Spend mine arrows - Even empty my quiver, and send upon them all my plagues, which, like arrows shot by a skilful and strong hand, shall speedily reach and certainly hit and mortally wound them.
24 With hunger - With famine, which burns and parches the inward parts, and make the face black as a coal, Lam 4:8. Burning heat - From fevers or carbuncles, or other inflaming distempers.
27 The wrath - Their rage against me, as it is expressed, Isa 37:28,29, their furious reproaches against my name, as if I were cruel to my people or unable to deliver them. The fear hereof is ascribed to God after the manner of men. Strangely - Insolenty and arrogantly above what they used to do.
28 Void of counsel - Their enemies are foolish people, and therefore make so false and foolish a judgment upon things.
29 They - Israel. Latter end - What their end will be, and that tho' God spare them long, yet at last judgment will certainly overtake them.
30 One - Israelite. Their rock - Their God, who was their refuge and defence. Sold them - Namely, for bond - slaves, had given themselves up into their enemies hands. Shut them up - As it were in the net which their enemies had laid for them.
31 Being judges - Who by their dear bought experience have been forced to acknowledge that our God was far stronger than they and their false gods together.
32 For - As if he had said, This is the reason why their rock hath shut them up. Their vine is of the vine of Sodom - The people of Israel, which I planted as a choice vine, are now degenerated and become like the vine of Sodom, their principles and practices are all corrupt and abominable. Bitter - Their fruits are loathsome to me, mischievous to others, and at last will be pernicious to themselves.
34 This - All their wickedness mentioned before. My long suffering towards them may make them think I have forgotten their sins, but I remember them punctually, they are sealed up as in a bag, Job 14:17, and as men seal up their treasures.
35 Their feet shall slide - They who now think they stand fast and unmoveable, shall fall into utter destruction. In due time - Though not so soon as some may expect, yet in that time when it shall be most proper, when they have filled up the measure of their sins. At hand - Heb. is near. So the scripture often speaks of those things which are at many hundred years distance, to signify, that though they may be afar off as to our measures of time, yet in God's account they are near, they are as near as may be, when the measure of their sins is once full, the judgment shall not be deferred.
36 For - Or, nevertheless, having spoken of the dreadful calamity which would come upon his people, he now turns his discourse into a more comfortable strain, and begins to shew that after God had sorely chastised his people, he would have mercy upon them and turn their captivity. Judge his people - Shall plead their cause, shall protect and deliver them. Repent - Of the evils he hath brought upon them. None shut up - Either in their strong cities or castles or other hiding places, or in the enemies hands or prisons, whence there might be some hope or possibility of redemption; and none left, as the poor and contemptible people are neglected and usually left by the conquerors in the conquered land, but all seem to be cut off and destroyed.
37 He shall say - The Lord, before he deliver his people, will first convince them of their former folly in forsaking him and following idols.
38 Which did eat - That is, to whom you offered sacrifices and oblations after the manner of the Gentiles. Help you - If they can.
39 See now - Learn by your own sad experience what vain and impotent things idols are. I am he - The only true, omnipotent and irresistible God.
40 I lift up my hand - I solemnly swear, that I will do what here follows. I live - As sure as I live.
41 If I whet my sword - If once I begin to prepare for war and for the execution of my sentence. Judgment - Of the instruments of judgment, of the weapons of war. A metaphor from warriors, that take their weapons into their hand, when they intend to fight.
42 Captives - Whom my sword hath sorely wounded, though not utterly killed. From the beginning - When once I begin to revenge myself and my people upon mine and their enemies, I will go on and make a full end.
43 Rejoice - He calls upon the nations to rejoice and bless God for his favours, and especially for the last wonderful deliverance which shall be given to the Jews, when they shall be converted to the gospel in the last days; which they have all reason to do, because of that singular advantage which all nations will have at that time and upon that occasion.
44 He and Hoshea - Or Joshua. Probably Moses spoke it to as many as could hear him, while Joshua in another assembly at the same time delivered it to as many as his voice would reach. Thus Joshua, as well as Moses, would be a witness against them, if ever they forsook God.
47 Not vain - It is not an unprofitable or contemptible work I advise you to, but well worthy of your most serious care.
48 That self - same day - Now he had finished his work, why should he desire to live a day longer? He had indeed formerly desired and prayed, that he might go over Jordan: but now he is entirely satisfied, and saith no more of that matter.
49 Nebo - A ridge or top of the mountains of Abarim.
51 Because ye trespassed - God reminds him of the sin he had committed long before. It is good for the holiest of men to die repenting, even of their early sins.
52 Yet thou shalt see the land - And see it as the earnest of that better country, which is only seen with the eye of faith. What is death to him who has a believing prospect and a steadfast hope of eternal life?

Chapter XXXIII

The blessing of Moses. He pronounces them all blessed, in what God had done for them, already, ver. 1 - 5. He pronounces a blessing upon each tribe, ver. 6 - 25. He pronounces them all in general blessed, on account of what God would be to them, and do for them, if they were obedient, ver. 26 - 29.

1 Moses blessed Israel - He is said to bless them, by praying to God with faith for his blessing upon them; and by foretelling the blessings which God would confer upon them. And Moses calls himself here the man of God, that is, the servant or prophet of God, to acquaint them that the following prophecies were not his own inventions, but divine inspirations. The children of Israel - The several tribes: only Simeon is omitted, either in detestation of their parent Simeon's bloody carriage, for which Jacob gives that tribe a curse rather than a blessing, in Gen 49:5 - 7. Or, because that tribe had no distinct inheritance, but was to have its portion in the tribe of Judah, Jos 19:1.
2 The Lord came - Namely, to the Israelites, manifested himself graciously and gloriously among them. From Sinai - Beginning at Sinai, where the first appearance of God was, and so going on with them to Seir and Paran. And rose up - He appeared or shewed himself, as the sun doth when it riseth. From Seir - From the mountain or land of Edom, to which place the Israelites came, Num 20:14, &c. and from thence God led them on towards the land of promise, and then gloriously appeared for them in subduing Sihon and Og before them. But because the land of Edom is sometimes taken more largely, and so reacheth even to the Red - sea, and therefore mount Sinai was near to it, and because Paran was also near Sinai, being the next station into which they came from the wilderness of Sinai: all this verse may belong to God's appearance in mount Sinai, where that glorious light which shone upon mount Sinai directly, did in all probability scatter its beams into adjacent parts, such as Seir and Paran were. And if so, this is only a poetical expression of the same thing in divers words, and God coming or rising or shining from or to or in Sinai and Seir and Paran note one and the same illustrious action of God appearing there with ten thousands of his saints or holy angels, and giving a fiery law to them. Paran - A place where God eminently manifested his presence and goodness both in giving the people flesh which they desired, and in appointing the seventy elders and pouring forth his spirit upon them. With ten thousands of saints - That is, with a great company of holy angels, Psa 68:17 Dan 7:10, which attended upon him in this great and glorious work of giving the law, as may be gathered from Acts 7:53 Gal 3:19. From his right hand - Which both wrote the law and gave it to men. An allusion to men who ordinarily write and give gifts with their right hand. A fiery law - The law is called fiery, because it is of a fiery nature purging and searching and inflaming, to signify that fiery wrath which it inflicteth upon sinners for the violation of it, and principally because it was delivered out of the midst of the fire.
3 The people - The tribes of Israel. The sense is, this law, though delivered with fire and smoke and thunder, which might seem to portend nothing but hatred and terror, yet in truth was given to Israel, in great love, as being the great mean of their temporal and eternal salvation. Yea, he, embraced the people, and laid them in his bosom! so the word signifies, which speaks not only the dearest love, but the most tender and careful protection. All God's saints or holy ones, that is, his people, were in thy hand, that is, under God's care to protect, direct and govern them. These words are spoken to God: the change of persons, his and thy, is most frequent in the Hebrew tongue. This clause may farther note God's kindness to Israel, in upholding them when the fiery law was delivered, which was done with so much terror that not only the people were ready to sink under it, but even Moses did exceedingly fear and quake. But God sustained both Moses and the people, in or by his hand, whereby he in a manner covered them that no harm might come to them. At thy feet - Like scholars to receive instructions. He alludes to the place where the people waited when the law was delivered, which was at the foot of the mount. Every one - Of the people will receive or submit to thy instructions and commands. This may respect either, the peoples promise when they heard the law, that they would hear and do all that was commanded. Or, their duty to do so.
4 Moses - He speaks this of himself in the third person, which is very usual in the Hebrew language. The law is called their inheritance, because the obligation of it was hereditary, passing from parents to their children, and because this was the best part of their inheritance, the greatest of all those gifts which God bestowed upon them.
5 He was king in Jeshurun - Moses was their king not in title, but in reality, being under God, their supreme governor, and law giver. Gathered together - When the princes and people met together for the management of public affairs, Moses was owned by them as their king and lawgiver.
6 Let Reuben live - Though Reuben deserve to be cut off or greatly diminished and obscured, according to Jacob's prediction, Gen 49:4, yet God will spare them and give them a name and portion among the tribes of Israel, and bless them with increase of their numbers. All the ancient paraphrasts refer this to the other world, so far were they from expecting temporal blessings only. Let Reuben live in life eternal, says Onkelos, and not die the second death. Let Reuben live in this world, so Jonathan and the Jerusalem Targum, and not die that death which the wicked die in the world to come.
7 Hear, Lord - God will hear his prayer for the accomplishment of those great things promised to that tribe, Gen 49:8 - 12. This implies the delays and difficulties Judah would meet with, that would drive him to his prayers, which would be with success. Unto his people - When he shall go forth to battle against his enemies and shall fall fiercely upon them, as was foretold, Gen 49:8,9. Bring him back with honour and victory, to his people, to the rest of his tribe who were left at home when their brethren went to battle: and to his brethren the other tribes of Israel. Let his hands be sufficient for him - This tribe shall be so numerous and potent that it shall suffice to defend itself without any aid, either from foreign nations or from other tribes; as appeared when this tribe alone was able to grapple with nine or ten of the other tribes. From his enemies - Thou wilt preserve this tribe in a special manner, so that his enemies shall not be able to ruin it, as they will do other tribes, and that for the sake of the Messiah who shall spring out of it.
8 Let thy Urim - The Thummim and the Urim, which are thine, O Lord by special institution and consecration, (by which he understands the ephod in which they were put, and the high priesthood, to which they were appropriated, and withal the gifts and graces signified by the Urim and Thummim, and necessary for the discharge of that high - office) shall be with thy holy one, that is, with that priest, whom thou hast consecrated to thyself, and who is holy in a more peculiar manner than all the people were; that is, the priesthood shall be confined to and continued in Aaron's family. Whom thou didst prove - Altho' thou didst try him, and rebuke him, yet thou didst not take away the priesthood from him. At Massah - Not at that Massah mentioned Exo 17:7, which is also called Meribah, but at that other Meribah, Num 20:13. Thou didst strive - Whom thou didst reprove and chastise.
9 I have not seen him - That is, I have no respect unto them. The sense is, who followed God and his command fully, and executed the judgment enjoined by God without any respect of persons, Exo 32:26,27. They kept thy covenant - When the rest broke their covenant with God by that foul sin of idolatry with the calf, that tribe kept themselves pure from that infection, and adhered to God and his worship.
11 His substance - Because he hath no inheritance of his own and therefore wholly depends upon thy blessing. The work of his hands - All his holy administrations, which he fitly calls the work of his hands, because a great part of the service of the Levites and priests was done by the labour of their hand and body, whereas the service of evangelical ministers is more spiritual and heavenly. Smite - He pray's thus earnestly for them, because he foresaw they who were to teach and reprove, and chastise others would have many enemies, and because they were under God, the great preservers and upholders of religion, and their enemies were the enemies of religion itself.
12 Of Benjamin - Benjamin is put next to Levi, because the temple, where the work of the Levites lay, was upon the edge of the lot of this tribe. And 'tis put before Joseph, because of the dignity of Jerusalem, (part of which was in this lot) above Samaria, which was in the tribe of Ephraim: likewise because Benjamin adhered to the house of David and to the temple of God, when the rest of the tribes deserted both. The beloved of the Lord - So called in allusion to their father Benjamin who was the beloved of his father Jacob; and because of the kindness of God to this tribe which appeared both in this, that they dwelt in the best part of the land, as Josephus affirms, and in the following privilege. Shall dwell in safety by him - Shall have his lot nigh to God's temple, which was both a singular comfort and safeguard to him. Shall cover - Shall protect that tribe continually while they cleave to him. He - The Lord shall dwell, that is, his temple shall be placed, between his shoulders, that is, in his portion, or between his border's as the word shoulder is often used. And this was truly the situation of the temple, on both sides whereof was Benjamin's portion. And though mount Sion was in the tribe of Judah, yet mount Moriah, on which the temple was built, was in the tribe of Benjamin.
13 And of Joseph - Including both Ephraim and Manasseh. In Jacob's blessing that of Joseph's is the largest. And so it is here. His land - His portion shall be endowed with choice blessings from God. Of heaven - That is, the precious fruits of the earth brought forth by the influences of heaven, the warmth of the sun, and the rain which God will send from heaven. The deep - The springs of water bubbling out of the earth: perhaps it may likewise refer to the great deep, the abyss of waters, which is supposed to be contained in the earth.
14 By the sun - Which opens and warms the earth, cherishes and improves and in due time ripens the seeds and fruits of it. The moon - Which by its moisture refreshes and promotes them. Heb. Of the moons, or months, that is, which it bringeth forth in the several months or seasons of the year.
15 The chief things - That is, the excellent fruits, as grapes, olives, figs, &c. which delight in mountains, growing upon, or the precious minerals contained in, their mountains and hills called ancient and lasting, that is, such as have been from the beginning of the world, and are likely to continue to the end of it, in opposition to those hills or mounts which have been cast up by man.
16 And for - And in general for all the choice fruits which the land produceth in all the parts of it, whither hills or valleys. Fulness thereof - That is, the plants and cattle and all creatures that grow, increase, and flourish in it. The good will - For all other effects of the good will and kindness of God who not long since did for a time dwell or appear in the bush to me in order to the relief of his people, Ex 3:2. Of Joseph - That is, of Joseph's posterity. Him that was separated from his brethren - His brethren separated him from them by making him a slave, and God distinguished him from them by making him a prince. The preceeding words might be rendered, My dweller in the bush. That was an appearance of the divine majesty to Moses only, in token of his particular favour. Many a time had God appeared to Moses; but now he is just dying, he seems to have the most pleasing remembrance, of the first time that he saw the visions of the Almighty. It was here God declared himself the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and so confirmed the promise made to the father, that promise which our Lord shews, reaches as far as the resurrection and eternal life.
17 His glory is like the firstling of his bullock - Or young bull, which is a stately creature, and was therefore formerly used as an emblem of royal majesty. This seems to note the kingdom which Ephraim should obtain in Jeroboam and his successors. His horns - His strength and power shall be very great. The people - All that shall oppose him, and particularly the Canaanites. The ten thousands - Of the land of Canaan. Though Manasseh be now more numerous, yet Ephraim shall shortly outstrip him, as was foretold Gen 48:17 - 19.
18 Rejoice - Thou shalt prosper and have cause of rejoicing. In thy going out -
  1. To war, as this phrase is often used.
  2. To sea, in way of traffick, because their portion lay near the sea. And in both respects his course is opposite to that of Issachar, who was a lover of peace and pasturage. He is here joined with Zebulun, both because they were brethren by father and mother too, and because their possessions lay near together. In thy tents - Thou shalt give thyself to the management of laud and cattle, living quietly in thy own possessions.
19 They - Zebulun of whom Moses takes more special notice. And so having dispatched Issachar in two words, he returns to Zebulun. The people - the Gentiles, either those of Galilee, which was called Galilee of the Gentiles, who were their neighbours; or people of other nations, with whom they had commerce, which they endeavoured to improve in persuading them to worship the true God. The mountain - That is, to the temple, which Moses knew was to be seated upon a mountain. Sacrifices of righteousness - Such as God requires. Their trafficking abroad with Heathen nations shall not make them forget their duty at home, nor shall their distance from the place of sacrifice hinder them from coming to it to discharge that duty. Of the abundance of the sea - They shall grow rich by the traffick of the sea, and shall consecrate themselves and their riches to God. Hid in the sand - Such precious things as either
  1. Are contained in the sand of the sea and rivers, in which sometimes there is mixed a considerable quantity of gold and silver. Or,
  2. Such as grow in the sea, or are fetched from the sandy bottom of it, as pearls, coral, ambergrease. Or,
  3. Such as being cast into the sea by shipwreck are cast upon the shore by the workings of the sea. It were well, if the enlargement of our trade with foreign countries, were made to contribute to the spreading of the gospel.
20 Enlargeth - That bringeth him out of his straits amid troubles, which he was often engaged in, because he was encompassed with potent enemies. As a lion - Safe and secure from his enemies, and terrible to them when they rouse and molest him. Teareth the arm - Utterly destroys his enemies, both the head, the seat of the crown, their dignity and principality, and the arm, the subject of strength and instrument of action; both chief princes, and their subjects.
21 The first part - The first fruits of the land of promise, the country of Sihon, which was first conquered, which he is said to provide for himself, because he desired and obtained it of Moses. Of the law - giver - Of Moses, whose portion this is called, either because this part of the land beyond Jordan was the only part of the land which Moses was permitted to enter upon: or because it was given him by Moses, whereas the portions beyond Jordan were given to the several tribes by Joshua according to the direction of the lot. Seated - Heb. hid or protected: for their wives and children were secured in their cities, while many of their men went over to the war in Canaan. He came - He went, or he will go, to the war in Canaan, with the princes, or captains, or rulers of the people of Israel, that is, under their command and conduct, as indeed they did; or with the first of the people; or, in the front of the people, as the Syriack renders it; for this tribe and their brethren whose lot fell beyond Jordan, were to march into Canaan before their brethren. He executed - The just judgment of God against the Canaanites, as the rest of the Israelites did.
22 A lion's whelp - Courageous, and generous, and strong, and successful against his enemies. Which leapeth - From Bashan, because there were many and fierce lions in those parts, whence they used to come forth and leap upon the prey. Or this may refer either to the particular victories obtained by Samson, who was of the tribe of Dan, or to a more general achievement of that tribe, when a party of them surprised Laish, which lay in the farthest part of the land of Canaan from them. And the mountain of Bashan lying not far from that city, from whence they probably made their descent upon it, thus leaping from Basham.
23 Satisfied with favour - With the favour of God. That only is the favour that satisfies the soul. They are happy indeed that have the favour of God; and they shall have it, that place their satisfaction in it. And full with the blessing of the Lord - Not Only with corn, wine and oil, the fruit of the blessing, but with the blessing itself, the grace of God, according to his promise and covenant. Possess thou the west and the south - Or, the sea and the south. This is not to be understood of the place, that his lot should fall there, for he was rather in the east and north of the land; but of the pleasures and commodities of the west or of the sea, which were conveyed to him from his neighbour Zebulun; and of the south, that is, from the southern tribes and parts of Canaan, which were brought to him down the river Jordan, and both sorts of commodities were given him in exchange for the fruitful rich soil which he had in great abundance.
24 Let Asher - Who carries blessedness in his very name, be blessed with children - He shall have numerous, strong and healthful children. Acceptable to his brethren - By his sweet disposition and winning carriage. In oil - He shall have such plenty of oil that he may not only wash his face, but his feet also in it.
25 Iron and brass - The mines of iron and copper, which were in their portion, whence Sidon their neighbor was famous among the Heathens for its plenty of brass, and Sarepta is thought to have its name from the brass and iron which were melted there in great quantity. Thy strength shall be - Thy strength shall not be diminished with age, but thou shalt have the vigor of youth even in thine old age: thy tribe shalt grow stronger and stronger.
26 There us none - These are the last words that ever Moses wrote, perhaps the greatest writer that ever lived upon the earth. And this man of God, who had as much reason to know both as ever any mere man had, with his last breath magnifies both the God of Israel, and the Israel of God. Unto the God of Jeshurun, who to help thee, rideth upon the heaven, and with the greatest state and magnificence, on the sky. Riding on the heaven denotes the greatness and glory, in which he manifests himself to the upper world, and the use he makes of the influences of heaven and the products of the clouds, in bringing to pass his own counsels in this lower world. All these he manages and directs, as a man doth the horse he rides on.
27 The eternal God - He who was before all worlds, and will be, when time shall be no more: Is thy refuge - Or, thy habitation or mansion - house (so the word signifies) in whom thou art safe, and easy, and at rest, as a man is in his own house. Every true Israelite is at home in God: the soul returns to him, and reposes in him. And they that make him their habitation shall have all the comforts and benefits of an habitation in him. And underneath are the everlasting arms - The almighty power of God, which protects and comforts all that trust in him, in their greatest straits and distresses. He shall thrust out the enemy from before thee - Shall make room for thee by his resistless power, and shall say, Destroy them - Giving thee not only a commission but strength to put it in execution. And, has he not given the same commission and the same strength to believers, to destroy all sin?
28 Alone - Either
  1. Tho' they be alone, and have no confederates to defend them, but have all the world against them, yet my single protection shall be sufficient for them. Or,
  2. Distinct and separated from all other nations, with whom I will not have them mingle themselves. The fountain - That is, the posterity of Jacob, which flowed from him as waters from a fountain, in great abundance. The fountain is here put for the river or streams which flow from it, as Jacob or Israel who is the fountain is often put for the children of Israel. His heavens - That is, those heavens or that air which hangs over his land.
29 The shield of they help - By whom thou are sufficiently guarded against all assailants; and the sword of thy excellency - Or, thy most excellent sword, that is, thy strength and the author of all thy past or approaching victories. Those in whose hearts is the excellency of holiness, have God himself for their shield and sword. They are defended by the whole armour of God: His word is their sword, and faith their shield. And thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee - Who said they would destroy thee: or at least, that they would never submit: and thou shalt tread upon their high places - Their strong holds, palaces and temples. Thus shall the God of peace tread Satan under the feet of all believers, and that shortly.

Chapter XXXIV

Moses having finished his testimony, finishes his life. This chapter was probably added by Samuel, who wrote by divine authority what he found in the records of Joshua, and his successors the Judges. Here is, The view Moses had of the land, ver. 1 - 4. His death, burial, and age, ver. 5 - 7. Israel's mourning for him, ver. 8. His successor, ver. 9. His character, ver. 10 - 12.

1 And Moses went up - When he knew the place of his death he chearfully mounted a steep hill to come to it. Those who are well acquainted with another world, are not afraid to leave this. When God's servants are sent for out of the world, the summons runs go up and die! Unto Dan - To that city which after Moses's death was called so.
2 All Naphtali - The land of Naphtali, which together with Dan, was in the north of Canaan, as Ephraim and Manasseh were in the midland parts, and Judah on the south, and the sea, on the west. So these parts lying in the several quarters are put for all the rest. He stood in the east and saw also Gilead, which was in the eastern part of the land, and thence he saw the north and south and west. The utmost sea - The midland sea, which was the utmost bound of the land of promise on the west.
3 The south - The south quarter of the land of Judah, which is towards the salt sea, the city of palm - trees - Jericho, so called from the multitude of palm - trees, which were in those parts, as Josephus and Strabo write. From whence and the balm there growing it was called Jericho, which signifies, odoriferous or sweet smelling.
4 I have caused thee to see it - For tho' his sight was good, yet he could not have seen all Canaan, an hundred and sixty miles in length, and fifty or sixty in breadth, if his sight had not been miraculously assisted and enlarged. He saw it at a distance. Such a sight the Old Testament believers had of the kingdom of the Messiah. And such a sight believers have now of the glory that shall he revealed. Such a sight have we now, of the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, which shall cover the earth. Those that come after us shall undoubtedly enter into that promised land: which is a comfort to us, when we find our own carcases falling in this wilderness.
5 So Moses the servant of the Lord died - He is called the servant of the Lord, not only as a good man, (all such are his servants) but as a man eminently useful, who had served God's counsels in bringing Israel out of Egypt, and leading them thro' the wilderness. And it was more his honour, to be the servant of the Lord, than to be king in Jeshurun. Yet he dies. Neither his piety nor his usefulness would exempt him from the stroke of death. God's servants must die, that they may rest from their labours, receive their recompense, and make room for others. But when they go hence, they go to serve him better, to serve him day and night in his temple. The Jews say, God sucked his soul out of his body with a kiss. No doubt he died in the embraces of his love.
6 He - The Lord, buried him either immediately, or by the ministry of angels, whereof Michael was the chief or prince. Of his sepulchre - Of the particular place where he was buried: which God hid from the Israelites, to prevent their superstition and idolatry, to which he knew their great proneness. And for this very reason the devil endeavoured to have it known and contended with Michael about it, Jude 1:9. God takes care even of the dead bodies of his servants. As their death is precious, so is their dust. Not one grain of it shall be lost, but the covenant with it shall be remembered.
7 His eye was not dim - By a miraculous work of God in mercy to his church and people.
8 Thirty day's - Which was the usual time of mourning for persons of high place and eminency. 'Tis a debt owing to the surviving honour of deceased worthies, to follow them with our tears, as those who loved and valued them, are sensible of the loss, and humbled for the sins which have provoked God to deprive us of them.
9 Wisdom - And other gifts and graces too, but wisdom is mentioned as being most necessary for the government to which he was now called. Upon him - And this was the thing which Moses at that time asked of God for him.
10 Whom the Lord - Whom God did so freely and familiarly converse with.
12 Moses was greater than any other of the prophets of the Old Testament. By Moses God gave the law, and moulded and formed the Jewish church. By the other prophets he only sent particular reproofs, directions and predictions. But as far as the other prophets came short of him, our Lord Jesus went beyond him. Moses was faithful as a servant, but Christ as a son: his miracles more illustrious, his communion with the father more intimate: for he is in his bosom from eternity. Moses lies buried: but Christ is sitting at the right - hand of God, and of the increase of his government there shall be no end.

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