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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 11

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-9

DEUTERONOMY - CHAPTER ELEVEN

Verses 1-9:

This chapter is a renewal of Moses’ exhortation to obedience, based upon Israel’s experiences in Egypt and in the wilderness, and a consideration of the blessings promised for obedience and the curses pronounced for disobedience.

"Charge," mishmereth, "a thing to be watched," also translated "office, ordinance, ward." The most frequent use of the term is in Numbers (27 times). The first occurrence is Genesis 26:5; see also Leviticus 8:35. The term here denotes what God has ordained to be observed and done, see Numbers 1:53.

"Know ye," lit., "take note of."

This is directed primarily to the older generation, many of whom were eye-witnesses of those things Moses described, though they were young at the time of their occurrence. It was the responsibility of the older generation to teach the younger, those born in the wilderness, of God’s mighty works.

"Chastisement," musar (paideia, LXX) not punishment but discipline, training, education, see Deuteronomy 8:5.

Moses first refers to the plagues which came upon Egypt, and the destruction of Pharaoh’s army in the Red Sea. These events demonstrated the awesome power of Jehovah God, and His superiority over the gods of Egypt.

Next, Moses refers to the rebellion of Dathan and Abiram, Numbers 16. They were accomplices in the insurrection of Korah. Moses does not mention Korah in this text, perhaps in deference to his sons who did not share in his fate.

The events to which Moses referred illustrated God’s power and majesty, and provide an incentive for obedience to His commands. This is still a powerful incentive for God’s child today to honor and obey Him.

Obedience to God assured to Israel prosperity and peace in the Land God had promised. Obedience to God assures to God’s child

today His Presence and blessing, Matthew 28:19-20.

Verses 10-12

Verses 10-12:

Another incentive for faithfulness and obedience was the nature of the Land of Promise, in contrast to Egypt. The land of Egypt was a fertile land, yielding abundant crops But its fertility depended in a great measure upon human effort in irrigating the crops Many of the irrigation systems were powered by treadmills, the human foot. The terrain was generally flat, almost at sea-level.

By way of contrast, the Land of Promise was a land of hills and valleys. No irrigation system was required. Jehovah Himself watered the soil, by the gentle rains at the appropriate time. He cared for the Land from the beginning to the end of the year.

Verses 13-17

Verses 13-17:

Israel would be wholly dependent upon Jehovah, to send the proper seasons at the appropriate time. Thus it was vital that they obey His commandments in order to assure His blessings.

"The first rain," beginning with Tishri, the first month of the civil year (corresponding to September-October). This prepared the soil for planting, and kept it moist for the seeds to sprout and grow.

"The latter rain," beginning with Tebeth, the fourth month of the civil year (January-February), about the time the grain begins to mature in preparation for harvest. No rain falls in this Land during harvest months.

"Corn," dagan, a general term for grain; twice translated "wheat," Numbers 18:12; Jeremiah 31:12.

"Wine," tirosh, "new wine, mead," also translated "sweet wine," Micah 6:15.

"Oil," yitshar, a general term for oil, used either in cooking, anointing, or lighting. The most common oil was that from olives, though on occasion the term refers to oil of myrrh.

The text promises adequate pasture grass for the livestock.

The promises of God’s blessing upon field, pasture, orchard and vineyard are contingent upon obedience to His commands. In the event Israel would forsake the Lord and disobey His commandments, He would withhold the rain, and the land would be unproductive. Famine and death would be the result.

Verses 18-21

Verses 18-21:

Compare this text with Deuteronomy 6:1-9 (see comments).

"As the days of heaven upon the earth," denoting "until the end of time."

Verses 22-25

Verses 22-25:

Obedience to Jehovah’s commandments insured to Israel that they would be invincible in battle against nations greater and stronger than they, see Deuteronomy 7:1; Deuteronomy 7:16-21; Deuteronomy 9:1-6.

The boundaries of Israel’s territory are clearly defined, see Genesis 15:18; Exodus 23:31; Numbers 34:3-12.

"The uttermost sea," or, "the hinder sea," the sea which lay behind the one they saw looking to the east, Numbers 34:6; Exodus 23:27; the Mediterranean Sea.

Verses 26-32

Verses 26-32:

God promised blessings for obedience, and curses for disobedience.

The text looks forward to the time when Israel would occupy the Land. At that time, they were to assemble in the valley between Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal. There the blessings for obedience were to be pronounced from Mount Gerizim, and the curses for disobedience from Mount Ebal, Joshua 8:30-35.

These two mountains are opposite each other, and a valley lies between them, which is about 600 feet broad at the widest point. The city of Shechem (Nablus) is situated between them.

A reason for the selection of Gerizim and Ebal may be that they are situated in the center of the Land, both from north to south, and east to west.

"The other side Jordan," that is, across Jordan from where Israel was at the time of this text.

"Champaign," arabah, "plain, waste, desert." The term is most commonly translated "plain" (42 times), "desert" (9 times), "wilderness" (5 times).

Gilgal, not the site mentioned in Joshua 4:19; Joshua 12:23; but the Gilgal of Joshua 9:6; Joshua 10:6; 2 Kings 2:1. This site was north of Bethel, a location affording a broad view of the lower plains and the sea.

Plains of Moreh, a place near Gilgal and Mount Gerizim, Genesis 12:6.

Verses 31, 32: Israel’s assurance that they would cross Jordan and possess the Land of Canaan. This was another motivating factor for obedience to Jehovah and service to Him.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 11". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/deuteronomy-11.html. 1985.
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