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An Inducement to Keep his Laws
v. 1. Therefore thou shalt love the Lord, thy God, and keep His charge, whatever He has ordained to be observed, and His statutes, and His judgments, and His commandments, alway. This admonition is repeated time and again, as being the basis of all the other exhortations.
v. 2. And know ye this day, think it over carefully, in order to understand it properly; for I speak not with your children which have not known, and which have not seen the chastisement of the Lord, your God, the many vicissitudes of the wilderness journey, whose purpose was to instruct, educate, the people in the duties toward God, His greatness, His mighty hand, and His stretched-out arm. Those of the people who had been less than twenty years old when the host reached Kadesh for the first time, and therefore were now between forty and sixty years old, are here addressed; for them the wilderness journey had been a school and a training.
v. 3. And His miracles and His acts which He did in the midst of Egypt unto Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and unto all his land,
v. 4. and what he did unto the army of Egypt, unto their horses and to their chariots; how he made the water of the Red Sea to overflow them, literally, "over whose faces He let flow the waters of the Red Sea," as they pursued after you, and how the Lord hath destroyed them unto this day, their redemption from the yoke of Egypt had been perfect;
v. 5. and what He did unto you in the wilderness, until ye came in to this place, all the manifestations of the divine power connected with the wilderness journey;
v. 6. and what He did unto Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben, in the rebellion of Korah, Numbers 16; how the earth opened her mouth and swallowed them up, and their households, and their tents, and all the substance that was in their possession, literally, "all the possession, the property which was at their feet," that is, their slaves and attendants, in the midst of all Israel;
v. 7. but your eyes have seen all the great acts of the Lord which He did, and whose purpose was to train Israel in the fear and in the love of God.
v. 8. Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments which I, as the representative of God, command you this day, that ye may be strong and go in and possess the land, whither ye go to possess it; for they had need of great spiritual strength for keeping the Lord's precepts and for remaining His people in the Land of Promise;
v. 9. and that ye may prolong your days in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers, the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed, a land that floweth with milk and honey. Cf Deuteronomy 4:26; Deuteronomy 6:3. A long and happy life as the reward of faithfulness and obedience is here again made an inducement to the children of Israel, even as temporal blessings are held out before the believers of the New Testament in order to spur them on in their efforts to please the Lord.
The Excellencies of the Land of Promise
v. 10. For the land whither thou goest in to possess it is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot, where the need of irrigation made constant toil and watchfulness necessary, as a garden of herbs, of vegetables. That the irrigation of Egypt was literally done with the feet may still be seen from the pictures on some of the monuments; for many of the machines used for irrigation were run on the principle of the treadmill, the water thereby being lifted from a lower to a higher level.
v. 11. But the land whither ye go to possess it is a land of hills and valleys, not a great, flat plain like the valley of the Nile, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven, the amount of its rainfall being great enough for all purposes of agriculture and horticulture;
v. 12. a land which the Lord, thy God, careth for, over which He watches and is concerned with anxious care; the eyes of the Lord, thy God, are always upon it, His tender solicitude never abates, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.
v. 13. And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the Lord, your God, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, Deuteronomy 10:12,
v. 14. that I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, when it would come in just right for the benefit of the crops, the first rain, after the seeding, from October to December, and the latter rain, before the harvest, in March and April, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thy oil, an abundant harvest of all the products of the soil.
v. 15. And I will send, as a gift of His rich bounty, grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full; stock-raising would also be profitable.
v. 16. Take heed to yourselves, watch carefully over your hearts and minds, that your heart be not deceived, namely, by standing open and foolishly inviting enticement of various kinds, and ye turn aside and serve other gods, and worship them, Deuteronomy 5:29; Deuteronomy 7:4; Deuteronomy 6:14;
v. 17. and then the Lord's wrath be kindled against you, and He shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit, and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the Lord giveth you, in consequence of the famine and the epidemics which usually accompany such a visitation, 1 Kings 8:35; 2 Chronicles 6:26. These same facts hold true also in our days, in spite of all the attempts of men to deny the Lord's interposition.
v. 18. Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, stamp them indelibly on both reason and will, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes,
v. 19. and ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down and when thou risest up.
v. 20. And thou shalt write them upon the door-posts of thine house and upon thy gates. Cf Deuteronomy 6:6-9. This passage is an excellent summary of hints for the bringing up of children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, namely, through the constant use and application of the Word of God,
v. 21. That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, this blessing being again made prominent, in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth, that is, as long as the heaven, with its rich blessings, stands over the earth, so long shall Israel, if faithful to the Lord and His covenant, enjoy the riches of Canaan.
v. 22. For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the Lord, your God, to walk in all His ways, and to cleave unto Him, Deuteronomy 10:20;
v. 23. then will the Lord drive out all these nations from before you, Deuteronomy 4:38, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves, that is, enter into their possessions, inherit their land.
v. 24. Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours; from the wilderness, namely, that of Arabia in the south and southeast, and Lebanon, in the north, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be, extending to the Mediterranean Sea on the west.
v. 25. There shall no man be able to stand before you; for the Lord, your God, shall lay the fear of you, Deuteronomy 2:25, and the dread of you upon all the land that ye shall tread upon, into the hearts of all the inhabitants of these countries, as He hath said unto you, Deuteronomy 7:24; Exodus 23:27. All these promises were intended for the purpose of filling the Israelites with good cheer and courage, of strengthening their trust in the Lord.
The Blessing and the Curse
v. 26. Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse, having told them what the result of obedience and of disobedience would be, he gives them their own choice, he wants them to make their own decision;
v. 27. a blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord, your God, which I command you this day, Deuteronomy 4:1;
v. 28. and a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord, your God, but turn aside out of (deliberately leave) the way which I command you this day to go after other gods which ye have not known. Disobedience of God is a species of idolatry and invariably leads to other sins of idolatry, other transgressions of the First Commandment.
v. 29. And it shall come to pass, when the Lord, thy God, hath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put the blessing upon Mount Gerizim and the curse upon Mount Ebal. By pronouncing the Lord's blessing and curse while standing on these two mountains, the children of Israel would charge the very land with carrying out the blessing and the curse of the Lord. The land would thereby be placed under the solemn obligation of carrying out Jehovah's decrees.
v. 30. Are they, the two mountains, not on the other side, the west side, Jordan, by the way where the sun goeth down, in the land of the Canaanites, which dwell in the champaign, in the great steppes, over against Gilgal, from which the mountains, the plains, and the sea were visible, beside the Plains of Moreh? near the groves of terebinths where the patriarchs had lived, Genesis 12:6; Genesis 35:4. The two mountains are almost in the center of what was later Samaria, Ebal being on the north, and Gerizim on the south, of a fertile valley, where the city of Shechem was situated.
v. 31. For ye shall pass over Jordan to go in to possess the land which the Lord, your God, giveth you, and ye shall possess it and dwell therein. This definite assurance was to encourage them in the struggles which were before them.
v. 32. And ye shall observe to do all the statutes and judgments which I set before you this day. The remembrance of all the mercies of the Lord in the past and the certainty of receiving still more evidences of His loving-kindness in the future should serve as a steady inducement to all Christians to continue in sanctification according to His will.
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 11". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19