Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, May 28th, 2024
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 7

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-5


Verses 1-5:

Israel was about to enter a land populated by idolators. God’s instructions regarding them were very precise. They were to make no treaty with them, but were to destroy the people as well as all traces of their idolatry.

Seven nations are listed here. Compare this list with that of Genesis 15:19-21, and Exodus 23:23 (see comments):

Deuteronomy Genesis Exodus

Hittites Kenites Amorites

Girgashites Kenizzites Hittites

Amorites Kadmonites Perizzites

Canaanites Perizzites Hivites

Hivites Rephaims Jebusites

Jebusites Amorites




The present text lists only six of the nations named to Abraham, Genesis 15:19-21. The Rephaim were extinct, Og being the last and he was slain by Israel. The other nations were either extinct, or lay beyond the boundaries of the land immediately before them, but in the territory originally granted to Abraham.

The Hivites are mentioned in the present text, and in Exodus 23:23, but not in Genesis 15:19-21. This name appears to denote a tribe of widely scattered divisions, see Genesis 34:2; Joshua 9:7; Joshua 11:3; Joshua 11:19; Judges 3:3; 1 Chronicles 1:15.

Israel was strictly forbidden to intermarry with these seven nations. The reason: they would turn the children from following after Jehovah God to the worship of idols. This appears to be the primary condition considered in God’s forbidding of inter-racial marriage. If they broke His first law in forbidding inter-racial marriage, they would surely worship other gods!

God commanded that the pagan altars be destroyed, all images of idols be broken, all "groves," asherah (shrine, see comments on Exodus 34:13) but cut down, and all graven images be burned. Every trace of idolatry was to be expunged from the Land.

Neither the artistic appeal nor the monetary value of these artifacts of idolatry was to be considered. God’s people must have nothing to do with anything pertaining to idolatry, or the occult.

This principle applies today. God’s people are to have nothing to do with anything pertaining to idolatry, or the occult, such as astrology and the zodiac signs, tarot cards, Ouija boards, trinkets of pagan images, etc., see Acts 19:18-19.

Verses 6-11

Verses 6-11:

The reason for the strict prohibition of any intercourse with idolatry: the holiness of Jehovah Elohim, and the fact that Israel was His representative nation among the world’s peoples. Jehovah alone is the true God. He will share His Deity and glory with none other. Those who represent Him must reflect His character.

"Special," segullah, "peculiar treasure," literally, "a people belonging to Himself alone."

God’s choice of Israel was not based upon any merit of their own.

It was not because they were powerful or great in number. His choice was upon the basis of grace, His own favor extended to them. This illustrates God’s choice for His own today, see Romans 4:13; Romans 11:6.

God’s choice is based upon two factors:

(1) His love;

(2) His covenant.

God delivered Israel from Egypt for these two reasons.

God is faithful to bless those who serve Him, and to judge those who hate and refuse to accept Him.

Verses 12-15

Verses 12-15:

The text promises blessings in recompense for obedience to the judgments of Jehovah:

(1) Home blessings, of many children.

(2) Abundance of harvest in the field.

(3) Abundance of increase among the livestock.

(4) Health, freedom from the diseases which plagued the pagan nations, particularly Egypt.

These blessings would come as the result of obeying God’s laws regarding family life, the planting of crops, and the observance of the dietary laws.

Verses 16-21

Verses 16-21:

The nations in the Land of Canaan were powerful and warlike. But as mighty as they were, Israel was not to fear them. God promised to be with Israel in the conquest of Canaan as in the deliverance from Egypt.

"Consume," akal, "eat, devour." This implies that Israel would gain strength from the conquest of the inhabitants of the Land. But if they failed to consume them as one consumes food, these nations would become a snare or a trap to them.

"Temptations," massah, "trials, testings." The thought of enticement to sin is incidental.

"Signs," oth, also translated "token, miracle," see Exodus 4:8; Exodus 4:18.

"Wonder," mopheth, "miracle," see Exodus 4:21; Exodus 7:3.

"Mighty hand," yad chazaq, "strong, hard hand."

"Stretched out arm," zeroa natah, "inclined arm."

These two latter terms denote the strength and power extended on behalf of Israel. This same power would be mighty against those nations of whom Israel was afraid.

"Hornet," see Exodus 23:28. History records instance of armies being forced to retreat before swarms of attacking insects. The Roman army under Julian was forced to change its route in the retreat from Parthia, because of great swarms of flies and gnats. The God who made the hornets could easily direct them to attack the foes of His people.

Verses 22-26

Verses 22-26:

Verse 22, compare with Exodus 23:29-30.

The text emphasizes God’s command to exterminate completely the nations in Canaan. Special emphasis is placed upon the utter destruction of the silver and gold which was used in their graven images. None of this silver or gold was to be kept and used, for any purpose, see verse 5.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 7". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/deuteronomy-7.html. 1985.
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