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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 8

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers.

All the commandments ... shall ye observe ... that ye may live. Duty has been made in all the wise arrangements of our Creator inseparably connected with happiness; and the earnest enforcement of the divine law which Moses was making to the Israelites was in order to secure their being a happy, by being a moral and religious, people: a course of prosperity is often called life (Genesis 17:18; Proverbs 3:2).

And multiply. This reference to the future increase of their population proves that they were too few to occupy the land fully at first.

Verse 2

And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.

Thou shalt remember all the way which ... God led thee these forty years. The recapitulation of all their chequered experience during that long period was designed to awaken lively impressions of the goodness of God. First, Moses showed them the object of their protracted wanderings and varied hardships: these were trials of their obedience as well as chastisements for sin. Indeed, the discovery of their infidelity, inconstancy, and their rebellions and perverseness, which this varied discipline brought to light, was of eminently practical use to the Israelites themselves, as it has been to the Church in all subsequent ages. Next, he enlarged on the goodness of God to them, while reduced to the last extremities of despair, in the miraculous provision which, without anxiety or labour, was made for their daily support (see the note at Exodus 16:12), and which, possessing no nutritious properties inherent in it, contributed to their sustenance, as indeed all food does (Matthew 4:4), solely through the ordinance and blessing of God. This remark is applicable to the means of spiritual as well as natural life.

Verse 3

And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 4

Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years.

Thy raiment waxed not old ... neither did thy foot swell. What a striking miracle was this! No doubt the Israelites might have brought from Egypt more clothes than they wore at their outset; they might also have obtained supplies of various articles of food and raiment in barter with the neighbouring tribes for the fleeces and skins of their sheep and goats; and in furnishing them with such opportunities care of Providence appeared. But the strong and pointed terms which Moses here uses (see also Deuteronomy 29:5) indicate a special or miraculous interposition of their loving Guardian in preserving them amid the tear and wear of their nomadic life in the desert. This same view, we think, must be taken of the fact that their feet did not swell, or rather were not blistered, by their constant and long journeyings, as is usually the case with people who walk an unusual distance. But Dr. Benisch ('Colenso's Objections Critically Examined,' p. 50) ascribes their exemption from such bodily discomforts to the circumstance of their journeys being always very short, not being perhaps much in excess of five miles a day, owing to the incumbrances of children and cattle. The tenor of the context, however, manifestly points to miraculous aid. Thirdly, Moses expatiated on the goodness of the promised land.

Verses 5-6

Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 7

For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills;

For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land. All accounts, ancient and modern, concur in bearing testimony to the natural beauty and fertility of Palestine, and its great capabilities, if properly cultivated, (see further the notes at Deuteronomy 33:1-29.)

A land of brooks ..., that spring out of valleys and hills. These characteristic features are mentioned first, as they would be most striking; and all travelers describe how delightful and cheerful it is, after passing through the barren and thirsty desert, to be among running brooks, and swelling hills, and verdant valleys. It is observable that water is mentioned as the chief source of its ancient fertility.

Verse 8

A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey;

A land of wheat, and barley. These cereal fruits were specially promised to the Israelites in the event of their faithful allegiance to the covenant of God (Psalms 81:16). The wheat and barley were so abundant as to yield 60 percent and often 100 percent (Genesis 26:12; Matthew 13:8).

Vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates. The limestone rocks and abrupt valleys were entirely covered, as traces of them still show, with plantations of figs, vines, and olive trees. Though in a southern latitude, its mountainous formation tempered the excessive heat; and hence, figs, pomegranates, etc., were produced in Palestine equally with wheat and barley, the produce of northern nations.

Honey. The word honey is used often in a loose indeterminate sense, very frequently to signify a syrup of dates or of grapes, which under the name of Diba is much used by all classes, wherever vineyards are found, as a condiment to their food. It resembles thin molasses, but is more pleasant to the taste (Robinson). This is esteemed a great delicacy in the East, and it was produced abundantly in Palestine.

Verse 9

A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass.

A land whose stones are iron. The abundance of this metal in Palestine, especially among the mountains of Lebanon, those of Kesraoun, in the ferruginous basalt rocks of the Hauran, and elsewhere (cf. Numbers 31:22), is attested not only by Josephus, but by Volney (Deuteronomy 1:21), Buckingham, and other travelers (Drew's 'Scripture Lands,' p. 131; Wilson's 'Lands,' 2:, p. 603).

Brass - not the alloy brass, but the ore of copper. Although the mines may now be exhausted or neglected, they yielded plenty of those meals anciently (1 Chronicles 22:3; 1 Chronicles 29:2-7; Isaiah 60:17).

Verse 10

When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verses 11-20

Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day:

Beware that thou forget not the Lord. After mentioning those instances of the divine goodness, Moses founded on them an argument for their future obedience.

Verse 15. Led thee through that ... wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions. The part of the desert referred to was after the departure from Horeb (see the notes at Numbers 21:4-9; Deuteronomy 1:19; also Jeremiah 2:6), by way of the mountain of the Amorites, as they came to Kadesh-barnea. Now, as the whole journey from Horeb to Kadesh occupied eleven days, that portion of the way which included the "great and terrible wilderness" must have been traversed in a shorter time, say 10 days; and assuming a day's journey to have been not more than 10 miles per day, the utmost extent of the fearful region would be 100 miles-a space sufficiently large, it must be acknowledged, for a numerous population to perish in. Large and venomous reptiles are found in great numbers there still, particularly in autumn. Travelers require to use great caution in arranging their tents and beds at night; even during the day the legs not only of men, but of the animals they ride, are liable to be bitten.

Who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint - (see the note at Deuteronomy 9:21.)

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 8". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/deuteronomy-8.html. 1871-8.
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