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The Blessing and Curse and the Renewing of the Covenant—the Last Discourse
Deuteronomy 28— 30
1And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day: that the Lord thy God will set [give] thee on high above all nations of the earth: 2And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake [reach, come to, fall upon] thee, if [because (for)] thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the 3Lord thy God. Blessed shalt thou be1 [art thou] in the city, and blessed shalt thou 4be [art thou] in the field. Blessed shall be [is] the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks2 5[young] of thy sheep. Blessed shall be [is] thy basket and thy store [6kneading-trough: so the margin]. Blessed shalt thou be [art thou] when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be [art thou] when thou goest out. 7The Lord shall cause [give will the Lord] thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways. 8The Lord shall command3 [May the Lord command] the blessing upon thee [for thy companion] in thy storehouse [gathering places, treasure houses, granaries], and in all that thou settest thine hand unto: and he shall [om. he shall] bless thee in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. 9The Lord shall establish thee [set thee up, confirm] an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, and walk in his ways. 10And all people of the earth shall see that [for] thou art called by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of thee. 11And the Lord shall make thee plenteous [superabundance will the Lord let thee have] in goods [for good, prosperity, as margin], in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers to give thee. 12The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure [his treasure, the good], the heaven to give the rain unto [of] thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow. 13And the Lord shall make [give] thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be [thou art] above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the Lord thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them: 14And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand or to the left, to go after [behind] other gods to serve them. 15But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this 16day: that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: Cursed shalt thou be [art thou] in the city, and cursed shalt thou be [art thou] in the field. 17, 18Cursed shall be [is] thy basket and thy store. Cursed shall be [om. shall be] the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks 19of thy sheep. Cursed shalt thou be [art thou] when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be [art thou] when thou goest out. 20The Lord shall send upon [against thee cursing, vexation [perplexity (confusion, consternation)], and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do [which thou wouldest do], until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly:4 because of the wickedness of thy doings whereby [in respect to which; because] thou hast forsaken me. 21The Lord shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it. 22The Lord shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning [with a parching, withering], and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew 23[yellowing (jaundice?)]: and they shall pursue thee until thou perish. And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron. 24The Lord shall make [give (as)] the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed. 25The Lord shall cause [give] thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them; and shalt be removed5 into 26all the kingdoms of the earth. And thy carcass shall be meat unto all fowls of the air [heaven], and unto the beasts of the earth, and no man shall fray them away. 27The Lord will smite thee with the botch [ulcer, sore (elephantiasis)] of Egypt, and with the emerods [boils, tumors], and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed. 28The Lord shall smite thee with madness, and blindness [dazzling blindness], and astonishment of heart: 29And thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways: and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man shall save thee. 30Thou shalt betroth a wife, and another man shall lie with her [humble her]: thou shalt build an house, and thou shalt not dwell therein: thou shalt plant a vineyard, and 31shalt not gather6 [break, cut off] the grapes thereof. Thine ox shall be slain before thine eyes, and thou shalt not eat thereof: thine ass shall be violently taken away from before thy face, and shall not be restored to thee [shall not return to thee]: thy sheep shall be given unto thine enemies, and thou shalt have none to rescue them. 32Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people, and thine eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day long: and there shall beno might in thine hand [and not to God is thine hand]. 33The fruit of thy land, and all thy labours [toil], shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up: and thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed always: 34So that thou shalt be mad for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see. 35The Lord shall smite thee in the knees, and in the legs, with a sore botch that cannot be healed, from the sole [ball] of thy foot unto the top of thy head. 36The Lord shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone. 37And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a by-word [taunt], among all nations whither the Lord shall lead thee. 38Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather but little in: for the locust shall consume it. 39Thou shalt plant vineyards and dress them, but [and] shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes: for the worms shall eat them. 40Thou shalt have olive-trees throughout all thy coasts, but thou shalt not anoint thyself [thy body] with the oil: for thine olive shall cast his fruit. 41Thou shalt beget sons and daughters, but thou shalt not enjoy them [they shall not be for thee; belong, remain]: for they shall go into captivity. 42All thy trees and fruit of thy land shall the locust7 consume [take possession of]. 43The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high [higher and higher]; and thou shalt come down very low. 44He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: 45he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail. Moreover, all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed: because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee. 46And they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed for eDeut Deuteronomy 28:47 Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness and with gladness of heart, for the abundance 48of all things; Therefore [So thus] shalt thou serve thine enemies which the Lord shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put [give] a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee. 49The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift, as the eagle flieth, a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand 50[margin: hear]; A nation of fierce countenance [margin: strong of face], which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favor to the young: 51And he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed: which also shall not leave thee either corn, wine, or oil, or the increase of thy kine, or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed [utterly destroyed] thee. 52And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced [firm, fortified] walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land which the Lord thy God hath given thee. 53And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body [margin: belly], the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters which the Lord thy God hath given thee, in the 54siege and in the straitness wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee: So that the man that is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward his brother, and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the remnant of his children which he shall leave [keep, as a remnant, save]: 55So that he will not give [Than that he should give] to any of them of the flesh of his children whom he shall eat: because he hath nothing left8 him in the siege and in the straitness wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee in all thy gates. 56The tender and delicate woman among you, which would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, 57and toward her daughter, And toward her young one [margin: after birth] that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear: for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege and straitness wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates. 58If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious [revered, glorified] and fearful name THE LORD THY GOD; 59Then the Lord will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance. 60Moreover, he will bring [turn back] upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee. 61Also every sickness, and every plague [stroke] which is not written in the book of this law, them will the Lord bring [marg.: cause to ascend] upon thee, until thou be destroyed. 62And ye shall be left few in number [in few people], whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the Lord thy God. 63And it shall come to pass, that as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the Lord will rejoice over you to destroy you and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it. 64And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor 65thy fathers have known, even wood and stone. And among [under] these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the Lord shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind 66[panting of soul]. And thy life shall hang in doubt [hang up over against thee] before thee: and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life [believe in thy life]: 67In the morning thou shalt say, Would God [Who will give?] it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning [who will give the morning]? for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see. 68And the Lord shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spake unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again: and there ye shall be sold [he will give you there for sale] unto your enemies for bond-men and bond-women, and no man shall buy you.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
1.Deuteronomy 28:1-14. As the blessings were not specified in the symbolical direction with respect to Gerizim and Ebal, so the following detailed statement of the blessing and the curse occurs here in its proper place. It is inserted as a commentary upon Deuteronomy 27:12 sq., before the renewal of the covenant, Deuteronomy 29:1 sq., which is connected specially with Deuteronomy 27:5. Comp. the parallel passages from the earlier law-giving. Exodus 23:20 sq.; Leviticus 26:0 (Deuteronomy 11:26 sq.). Deuteronomy 28:1-14. The blessing
Deuteronomy 28:1-2. Introductory. Deuteronomy 28:1. Comp. Deuteronomy 7:12 and other passages. To hear and obey the voice of Jehovah, as to which Israel alone is taught (chap. 4) is repeated again, Deuteronomy 28:2, as an indispensable condition, and in another form is emphasized in Deuteronomy 28:9, at the middle, and again at the close, Deuteronomy 28:13 sq. For the rest comp. Deuteronomy 26:19, (Deuteronomy 2:25). In Deuteronomy 28:2 “the manner of the exaltation of Israel is intimated,” Schultz, so far as the way in which it comes to pass, for the blessing of Jehovah enriches without sorrow. Proverbs 10:22. The blessings and the curses also, Deuteronomy 28:15; Deuteronomy 28:45, are personified, because God Himself is, as it were, in them. Thus the condition, promise, and way to its fulfilment, form the introduction. Deuteronomy 28:3. Within and without in its whole life. Deuteronomy 28:4. Comp. Deuteronomy 7:13.Deuteronomy 28:5. See Deuteronomy 26:2; Exodus 12:34.Deuteronomy 28:6. Comp. Numbers 27:17; Psalms 121:8. Spoken of the individual and of the whole people. (Deuteronomy 20:1). Deuteronomy 28:7. Comp. Leviticus 26:7 (Deuteronomy 2:25). The advance is in regular order, the flight in entire dispersion. Comp. Deuteronomy 7:20 sq. Seven because of the covenant. Deuteronomy 28:8. The optative form renders it more suggestive and impressive. (Leviticus 25:21). Comp. further Deuteronomy 12:7. Deuteronomy 28:9. Comp. Deuteronomy 7:6; Deuteronomy 26:19; Exodus 19:5 sq., and Deuteronomy 8:6. As the name of the Lord is to be acknowledged by Israel, in its blessed condition in its own land, so also in Deuteronomy 28:10 by all the nations beyond. (Deuteronomy 4:6 sq.). The name of Jehovah, i.e., Jehovah Himself in His revelation, is called upon Israel, i.e., impressed upon it as the definite characteristic of the people. Not “that it is transformed into the glory of the divine nature” (Keil) which is not taught even in Isaiah 63:19; Jeremiah 14:9, but simply that Jehovah is its husband (Isaiah 4:1) its king, has and holds it as His possession (Deuteronomy 12:5; Numbers 6:27.) The knowledge of Jehovah, His kingly power and glory, His priestly blessing is over Israel. The fear on the part of the nations is the first result, but that is only the one aspect. Comp. upon Deuteronomy 2:25.Deuteronomy 28:11, according to others, to give the pre-eminence. Genesis 49:4; ut quasi primogenitus omnibus excellas, sq.; J. H. Mich. Comp. for the rest Deuteronomy 6:24; Deuteronomy 10:13. It is a return to Deuteronomy 28:4.Deuteronomy 28:12; Deuteronomy 28:12 is to be explained according to Deuteronomy 11:10 (Leviticus 26:4). Treasure, store-house. Comp. Genesis 7:11. Agricultural labor. Comp. Deuteronomy 15:6; here Deuteronomy 28:13 occurs in a like connection. Position of power and dignity, and indeed continually increasing. Semper sursum. Deuteronomy 28:14. Comp. Deuteronomy 5:29; Deuteronomy 17:11; Deuteronomy 11:28; Deuteronomy 6:14.
2.Deuteronomy 28:15-68. The curse. Deuteronomy 28:15, is introductory, as Deuteronomy 28:1-2.Deuteronomy 28:16-19; Deuteronomy 28:16-19 contain a counterpart to the six-fold blessing in Deuteronomy 28:3-6. Deuteronomy 28:17 is placed more impressively before the fruit of the body. Ver 20 is analogous in form to Deuteronomy 28:7. Instead of the blessing (Deuteronomy 28:8). As it happened to the enemy, Deuteronomy 28:7, so here to Israel. Comp. Deuteronomy 7:23. Instead of: “the threatening word of the divine wrath” (Keil) which is scarcely fitting here, others: destruction, injury. משׁלח alluding to ישׁלח, comp. Deuteronomy 28:8; Deuteronomy 12:7. Deuteronomy 28:21. דבר from its radical meaning, to drive together as a flock, thus on account of its destruction: the pestilence. ידבק represents at the same time the contagious nature of the disease. In Deuteronomy 28:22. שׁחפּת shrunken, shrivelled together. Phthisis. Leviticus 26:16. Fever, inflammatory diseases, as also the two following terms. Sword, war, but if we read הֹרֶב then it is heat, drought, (Genesis 31:40). [Blasting and mildew, to blacken and make yellow. The former denotes the result of the scorching east wind, the latter that of an untimely blight falling on the green ear and turning it yellow.” Bib. Com., Keil.—A. G.]. Deuteronomy 28:23. Comp. Leviticus 26:19. Instead of rain, the products of the contrary, dust and ashes—or: “and ashes (עָפָר the more coherent, although not coarser dust, as sand) shall fall from heaven upon thee.” [When the heat is very great the air in Palestine is often full of dust and sand, the wind is a burning sirocco, so that the air resembles the glowing heat at the mouth of a furnace.” Robinson II. 504.—A. G.]. Deuteronomy 28:25. (Leviticus 26:17) in opposition to Deuteronomy 28:7. According to others: ill usage, cruelty, i.e., thou shalt experience such treatment, or: a football, [“a ball for all the kingdoms of the earth to play with,” Schultz]. (2 Chronicles 29:8). Deuteronomy 28:27. Comp. Deuteronomy 7:15. The עפלים, as the K’ri טחרים, are ulcers, boils (עפל to swell up). The Rabbinical disease of the anus men, and in utero in women, is not alluded to in the text. (1 Samuel 5:0), גרב to rub, scratch, חרם from the dryness of the skin. Deuteronomy 28:28. שגע from the fettering, binding of the consciousness, thus insanity, madness. עור from the drawing together, closing of the eyes. תמה to restrain, to stop the play of the heart. [Keil holds from the fact that blindness occurs between madness and confusion of heart, that it is mental blindness which is here threatened.—A. G.]. Deuteronomy 28:29. At noonday, either objectively; when the things are doubly clear. (Dualis) or subjectively when there is even to the blind some shimmer of light. As the blind, i.e., doubly helpless. Thus it neither hits upon the right nor completes it. אך as in Deuteronomy 16:15 only, utterly. Comp. further Deuteronomy 24:14. Oppressed and spoiled. Comp. further Deuteronomy 22:27. Deuteronomy 28:30. Comp. Deuteronomy 20:5-7. K’ri ישכבנה, to lie with. Deuteronomy 28:31. Israel must see it, as helpless, as powerless. Deuteronomy 28:32. To God (no might) (Genesis 31:29), i.e., thy hand may not, is not strong enough to free them from bondage. Deuteronomy 28:33. רק as Deuteronomy 28:29. Deuteronomy 28:34. What it must see with the eye of the body, takes away the eye of the spirit. Deuteronomy 28:35. Comp. with Deuteronomy 28:27. According to Knobel, Keil, the joint leprosy; but the latter clause is against that view. Deuteronomy 28:36. Comp. Deuteronomy 17:14 sq.; Deuteronomy 28:33; Deuteronomy 4:28. [“The leprosy excluded from fellowship with the Lord, and is hence followed by the dissolution of covenant fellowship. This thought connects Deuteronomy 28:36 with Deuteronomy 28:35.” Keil.—A. G.]. With Deuteronomy 28:37 at the end, comp. Deuteronomy 4:27. Deuteronomy 28:38. See Exodus 10:4.Deuteronomy 28:39. Either: not once gather, or: still less, collect, lay up. Deuteronomy 28:40. Instead of fall off, cast (Knobel, vii. 1), Schultz, Keil, “thine olives shall be rooted out,” (Deuteronomy 19:5), by the weather, or by the hand of the enemy. (J. H. Michaelis). According to others: thine olive trees shall cast off (the berries). Deuteronomy 28:42. צלצל from the buzzing tone, or rapid movement of the wings, a peculiar kind of locusts. Deuteronomy 28:44 is a counterpart of Deuteronomy 28:12 sq. Deuteronomy 28:45. Comp. Deuteronomy 28:2; Deuteronomy 28:15; Deuteronomy 28:20. Deuteronomy 28:46. Comp. Deuteronomy 13:3. עוֹלָם is that which is hidden in the distant time before or after, here used in reference to the people, and not concerning the individual. [The term forever cannot, with Keil, be limited “to the generation smitten with the curse.” It is rather to be limited by thy seed in distinction from the holy seed. Thy seed, seed of evil doers, involving themselves in iniquities of their fathers—upon such the curse rests forever. There is a remnant here also according to the election of grace.—A. G.]. Deuteronomy 28:47. With joyfulness, which thou hadst, and it went well with thee, (Deuteronomy 6:11; Deuteronomy 8:7 sq.) or with joy and a good heart, heartily. Deuteronomy 28:49. Shadowing with broad wing, flying easily and rapidly, rushing with a violent thrust upon the prey, seizing with his sharp claws, the eagle swoops upon the carcass; fitting well even to the Roman power, and to all such enemies, Assyrians, Chaldeans (Isaiah 8:8; Jeremiah 48:40). Indeed the more distant, by so much the more barbarous. As Israel would not hearken to the voice of Jehovah, which it understood, it must now hear a language of men which it could not understand, whence instead of any verbal mediation or palliation, the rough, unsoftened violence gives the blow in the case. Deuteronomy 28:50. According to others: shameless countenance, or: bold in aspect, or: fierce in look. It is well rendered: of firm, hard, features immovable to any mildness, which even the weakness of old age, and the tender years of youth, cannot touch (Isaiah 13:18; Daniel 7:7; Daniel 7:23). Deuteronomy 28:51. Comp. Deuteronomy 7:13.Deuteronomy 28:52. Comp. Deuteronomy 20:20. Deuteronomy 28:53. As the siege was so comprehensive (Deuteronomy 28:52, in all thy gates, through all thy land) so it will be exhaustive, there will be no provisions. Comp. 2 Kings 6:26 sq.; Lamentations 2:20. The conquest of Jerusalem by the Romans, (Leviticus 26:29). במצור ובמצוק, a paronomasia. Others: in the anguish and distress. Deuteronomy 28:54. He who had formerly despised the ordinary food, grudges (Deuteronomy 15:9) now to those allied to him by nature, love, and fortune, any part of the flesh of his children. Deuteronomy 28:55. Comp. Deuteronomy 3:3. Such is the eager craving of hunger. Deuteronomy 28:56. The still more awful case of the woman, the mother. She who once for softness and delicacy let herself be carried, rode upon the ass or camel, or reclined upon the cushions of the litter. Hengstenberg, Egypt and Moses, p. 235. ב is here of the persons to whom; Deuteronomy 28:57 : with Vav Expl. of the thing which she grudged. Others: on account of, because. Or: even towards the very young, the children just born, which she would rather consume. שִׁלְיָה is separation generally, and is not necessarily used precisely of the after birth. The description refers to a birth in helplessness and in the distress of the siege. That which is born generally, or indeed sons, of whom the mother is usually proud. Comp. further Deuteronomy 28:48. Deuteronomy 28:58. Comp. Intro., § 2. A wider outlook to the time when the book form of Deuteronomy has completed the Pentateuch. [The book of the law, the legislative parts of the Pentateuch; including Deuteronomy.—A. G.]. (Comp. Deuteronomy 28:15; Deuteronomy 28:45). It is in accordance with this that Jehovah appears as the name, as He who has made Himself such a name in His progressive revelation. Comp. further Leviticus 24:11; Exodus 14:4; Exodus 14:17; Leviticus 10:3.Deuteronomy 28:60; see Deuteronomy 28:27; Deuteronomy 7:15, מדוה used as a collective noun. Comp. Deuteronomy 9:19. Deuteronomy 28:62. Comp. Deuteronomy 26:5; Deuteronomy 1:10. Deuteronomy 28:63. Is a bold anthropomorphic figure, but spoken from the profoundest view of the truth, since righteousness on the basis of His holiness, as His mercy according to His love, is in full accordance with the nature of God. As He is glorious, so also He is fearful (Deuteronomy 28:58). Deuteronomy 28:64; Deuteronomy 13:18; Deuteronomy 4:27-28. Deuteronomy 28:65. Comp. Leviticus 26:36 sq. They could not procure rest for themselves, and others will not allow them places for rest; thus in unrest externally, as indeed first inwardly. Deuteronomy 28:66. Their life hangs suspended before their eyes, as upon a thread, which may be sundered at any moment; thou wilt not be able to trust its preservation; have no confidence in it even. Deuteronomy 28:67 (Deuteronomy 5:26): Would it were evening! were morning! Deuteronomy 28:68 : The bringing back to Egypt! (not through the Egyptians) must form the close which Moses makes; as Egypt was the beginning in the very opposite sense. That is the highest, beyond which there is nothing, that Israel should return to Egypt, to a bondage still fresh in its recollections, and even a worse bondage. (Hengstenberg: “Egypt is a type of future oppressors, as Shinar in Zechariah”). Comp. also Numbers 14:3-4. In ships, i.e., with violence packed in slave ships, and without any possibility of escape. By the way, sq. (Deuteronomy 17:16) as much as to say: back thither whence thou hast come forth never again to see it; a way which they would never have seen again had they been faithful. Even in the slave markets of Egypt, their look, the curse of God, would frighten the buyer away. The fulfillment under Titus, Hadrian. [Schultz: But the word of God is not so contracted. The curses were fulfilled in the time of the Romans, in Egypt, but they were also fulfilled in a terrible manner during the middle ages, and are still in a course of fulfillment, though frequently less sensibly felt.”—A. G.].
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. The previously unuttered blessings are here immediately and expressly brought out. It is not however merely for the sake of exemplification, when it here, and still more fully in the curses, descends to the utmost particularity, but essentially to bring before us in such an organism of blessing and curse, the most minute providence; that it is not fortune and misfortune, as accidents, or success and failure as the result of human activity, but that in general, and particular, in all and each one, God Himself rules, works, as a savor of life unto life, and of death unto death.
2. Religion is not barely knowledge, nor merely worship, but is here experience, where one day teaches another.
3. As the blessing, “measured with an obvious moral determination oraim, takes from earthly prosperity its attractiveness; it appears as a gift which may be enjoyed with peace of conscience, as well as with a fear of desecration.” (Harless.)
4. With a like aim or determination has the temporal distress here, its leading tendency “to repentance and conversion, and the usually morally effective character of the curse and the penalty.” (Beck).
5. “If Deuteronomy 28:12 points to the heavens as the good treasure of Jehovah, then God dwelling in heaven embraces all, and the rain falling from heaven is the sense image of every good and perfect gift, which with divine strength gives success to every work of the hands of men.” (Baumgarten).
6. “That Israel should return to Egypt has the same force as when it is said to man that he shall return to the dust from which he was taken (Genesis 3:19): is the abrogation and destruction of the history of Israel.” (Baumgarten).
7. If we would understand these curses and blessings, we must retain in Deuteronomy the reference which in Genesis is already directed to the land and the people. This is the theological point of view for this chapter, which proceeds from the promise of God to the patriarchs.
8. [This chapter, in its prophetic declarations, which have been so strikingly fulfilled, contains clear proof of the divine foreknowledge, and of the inspiration of Moses. This is all the more clear since the prophecies relate mainly, and in their extreme and awful particularity, to the curses, which should rest upon the unfaithful people. Moses does not spare his own people, but holds before them the glass of their future defection and sufferings, as he foresaw them. There might have been a motive for dwelling particularly upon their prosperity, but there is no assignable motive for the character of this discourse, unless it is found in the clear foresight given to him of what was to occur.—A. G.].
9. [While God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, His holiness and justice demand the punishment of those who disobey His voice, and despise the riches of His goodness. And as He rejoices in all His perfections, so in that sense He rejoices in these displays of His judgment.—A. G.].
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
Deuteronomy 28:1 sq. Tub. Bib.: “Here is the gospel of the old covenant, which presents to us heavenly blessings under the shadow of the earthly.” Deuteronomy 28:15. Starke: “O man, thou art troubled about the future, thou questionest the stars and the calendar; take this chapter, which sets before thee blessing and happiness if thou wilt obey God, curse and distress if thou wilt not obey. The horoscope (kalendar) for time and eternity.” Berl. Bib.: “In the perverted all is perverted.” Deuteronomy 28:29; Deuteronomy 28:31 sq. Richter: “Believers must often suffer wrong, but they have ever a Saviour. In their hands there is might, even in prayer.” Deuteronomy 28:36 sq. This is the history of the Jews, written by God Himself. The history of Israel a judgment of God. [Has not all human history this character? Is it not a process of judgment?—A. G.]. Deuteronomy 28:47 sq. Berl. Bib.: “If we will not serve God, then we must be slaves of lust, serve sin, the world, and the devil, and that with a pining spirit, which can find no rest nor satisfaction therein, but must starve in it.” The service of the world is a wretched service (as that of the lost son among the swine). How blessed on the other hand is the servant of God, here and hereafter—Israel under the curse of God at home, Deuteronomy 28:16 sq.; 38 sq.; and abroad, Deuteronomy 28:36 sq.; 47 sq.
Deuteronomy 28:48. Richter: “First the stubborn neck, then the iron yoke.”
Deuteronomy 28:49. God has rods even far off for disobedient children.
Deuteronomy 28:58. The voice out of the fire upon Sinai, to which Israel was warned continually to hearken, began with the name Jehovah; I am Jehovah. Shall we not fear before Him who is the true object of fear; it is the root of all true joyfulness, especially as Jehovah, i.e., Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day and for ever.
Deuteronomy 28:63. Baumgarten: “It is included in the idea of all divine acts, that they are performed with perfect joy.” Deuteronomy 28:66. Many of the Christian fathers have referred this verse to Christ, the life, whom Israel hung upon the cross, and in whom they would not believe. Baumgarten: “This was the condition of the Jews in the Persian kingdom, according to the book of Esther, and is their condition in the Turkish empire down to the present time.” (Comp. Da Costa, Israel and the Nations, also the well-known book of Keith for the fulfillment). [See also Dean Jackson on the Creed. Deuteronomy 28:46. For ever; yet the remnant, Romans 9:27; and the 11th chap. would be saved.—A. G.]
[Deuteronomy 28:3. The futures, although allowable, are needless, and take from the force of the original here and in the following verses.—A. G.].
[Deuteronomy 28:4. Literally: the Ashtaroth Astartes of the flocks. See Deuteronomy 7:13.—A. G.].
[Deuteronomy 28:8. The verb here and is Deuteronomy 28:7 is in the optative, and the literal rendering should be preserved. It is not a command, but a wish.—A. G.].
[Deuteronomy 28:20. Literally: from the face of. The accents do not justify the colon here.—A. G.].
[Deuteronomy 28:25. Literally: for a shaking, agitation. Keil holds that זַעֲוָה is here in its original uncontracted form, and not a transposed and later form of וְוָעָה.—A. G.].
[Deuteronomy 28:30. Margin: prepare, use it as common food, or appropriate it to common uses.—A. G.].
[Deuteronomy 28:42. Literally: the buzzer, from עָלַל. They were a peculiar kind of locusts—apparently more destructive than others.—A. G.].
[Literally: from there not being left to him, all, say thing.—A. G.].
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 28". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25