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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 28

Poole's English Annotations on the Holy BiblePoole's Annotations



The blessings of obedience, Deuteronomy 28:1-14.

Curses for disobedience, Deuteronomy 28:15-68.

Verse 1

i.e. Advance and honour thee with divers privileges and blessings, as it here follows.

Verse 2

Those blessings which others greedily follow after, and ofttimes never overtake, they shall follow after thee, and shall be thrown into thy lap by my special kindness.

Verse 5

i.e. It shall always be well replenished, and the provision thou hast there shall be preserved for, and in due time brought forth to, thy use and service. See Deuteronomy 26:2,Deuteronomy 26:10.

Verse 6

i.e. In all thy affairs and administrations, which are oft expressed by this phrase, as Numbers 27:17; Deuteronomy 31:2; 2 Samuel 3:25; 2 Chronicles 1:10; Acts 1:21; Acts 9:28.

Verse 7

i.e. Many ways, as is usual when an army is totally overthrown and dissipated.

Verse 8

Shall command, i.e. shall by his sovereign and powerful providence give it, even when it seems furthest from thee, and not likely to come to time without a word of command from God himself.

Verse 9

Shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, i.e. shall confirm and establish his covenant with thee, by which he separated thee to himself as a holy and peculiar people, and shall publicly own thee for such, as it follows, Deuteronomy 28:10.

Verse 10

i.e. That you are in deed and truth his people and children: see Deuteronomy 14:1; Deuteronomy 26:18. For to be called ofttimes signifies to be, as Isaiah 47:1,Isaiah 47:5; Isaiah 56:7; Matthew 5:9,Matthew 5:19; Matthew 21:13.

Verse 11

The same things which were said before are repeated, to show that God would repeat and multiply his blessings upon them.

Verse 12

His good treasure, to wit, the heaven or the air, as it here follows, which is God’s storehouse, where he treasures up rain or wind or other things for man’s use. See Job 38:22; Psalms 33:7.

Verse 13

The head; the chief of all people in power, or at least in dignity and privileges; so that even they that are not under thine authority shall reverence thy greatness and excellency. So it was in David’s and Solomon’s time, and so it should have been much oftener and much more, if they had performed the conditions here required. For the phrase, see Isaiah 9:14,Isaiah 9:15; Isaiah 19:15.

Verse 15

So as thou shalt not be able to escape them, as thou shalt vainly hope and endeavour to do.

Verse 20

Vexation, or, disturbance. This seems chiefly to concern the mind, and its torment arising from the disappointment of hopes, the presages of its approaching miseries.

Rebuke, to wit, from God, not so much in words as by his actions, by cross providences, by sharp and sore afflictions, which are oft called rebukes, as 2 Kings 19:3; Psalms 18:15; Psalms 39:11; Psalms 80:16; Isaiah 51:20; Isaiah 66:15; Ezekiel 5:15; Ezekiel 25:17.

Verse 22

With blasting, and with mildew; two plagues or evil affections of corn. See 1 Kings 8:37; 2 Chronicles 6:28; Amos 4:9; Haggai 2:17.

Verse 23

Be brass, i.e. like brass, hard and dry, and shut up from giving rain. See Leviticus 26:19.

Be iron, hard, and chapt, and barren.

Verse 24


1. Thy rain shall be as unprofitable to thy ground and seed as if it were only so much dust. Or,

2. Instead of rain shall come nothing but dust from heaven, which being raised and carried up by the wind in great abundance, doth return and fall upon the earth as it were in clouds or showers.

Until thou be destroyed, to wit, by famine, following these great droughts.

Verse 25

Removed. Heb. for a removing; to be tossed like a football from place to place, and from people to people.

Verse 28

Blindness, to wit, of mind, so that they shall not know what to do; see Job 5:13,Job 5:14; so as they shall commonly choose and follow the worst counsels and courses, to their own ruin.

Astonishment of heart; they shall be filled with wonder and horror, because of the strangeness and soreness of their calamities.

Verse 29

At noon-day, i.e. in the most clear and evident matters thou shalt grossly mistake and miss thy way.

Thou shalt not prosper in thy ways; thy counsels and enterprises shall be frustrated, and turn to thy destruction.

Verse 30

Another man shall lie with her before thou canst consummate thy marriage, and enjoy her as thy wife. And so in the following branches.

Verse 32

Shall be given unto another people, by those who have conquered them, and taken them captives, who shall give or sell them to other persons, as the manner was.

Fail, or, be consumed, partly with grief and plentiful tears shed for them; and partly with earnest desire, and vain and long expectation of their return. See Psalms 119:82. No might, i.e. no power to rescue them, nor money to ransom them.

Verse 33

Which thou knowest not; which shall come from a far country, which thou didst not at all expect or fear and therefore will be the more dreadful when they come; a nation whose language thou understandest not, and therefore canst not plead with them for mercy, nor expect any favour from them.

Oppressed and crushed alway; not sometimes conquered, and sometimes conquering, as the course of war commonly is, but in all times, and in all thy actions and attempts, foiled and worsted.

Verse 36

Thee and thy king: the calamity shall be both universal, which even thy king shall not be able to avoid, much less the subjects, who have far less advantage and opportunity for escape; and irrecoverable, because he who should protect or rescue them is lost with them. See Lamentations 4:20.

There shalt thou serve other gods; either being corrupted by their examples and counsels, or compelled to it by their tyranny. So what formerly was their choice and delight now becomes their plague and misery. And this doubtless was the condition of many Israelites under the Assyrian and Babylonish captivities, as we may gather from Jeremiah 44:17-19, and other places, though many of them kept themselves free from that infection.

Verse 37

All other nations shall wonder to see such calamities befall such a people; and when they would express any dreadful affliction in a proverbial way, they shall make use of thy example: they shall also sport themselves in thy miseries, and say, These are the people of the Lord, the only saints upon earth, &c.

Verse 43

Within thee, i.e. within thy gates; who formerly honoured and served thee, and were some of them glad of the crumbs which fell from thy table.

Verse 46

They shall be, i.e. these curses now mentioned. For a wonder, i.e. signal and wonderful to all that hear of them.

Verse 47


in the abundance of all things; for this is opposed to in hunger, in thirst, &c., Deuteronomy 28:48. And the Hebrew men oft signifies in, as Exodus 25:18; Job 19:26; Psalms 72:16.

Verse 48

A yoke of iron, which thou canst neither well bear, nor break. See Jeremiah 28:13,Jeremiah 28:14.

Verse 49

As the eagle flieth, Heb. as the eagle flies, i.e. not only swiftly, as is expressed in our translation, for which the Babylonian is noted and compared to an eagle, Jeremiah 4:13; Ezekiel 17:3; Daniel 7:4; but also fiercely and greedily, as the eagle to its prey; also strongly and irresistibly. Possibly this may be understood of the Romans, who did come

from far, from the end of the earth, more truly and literally than the Chaldeans, whose country was not far from Judea, and this may allude to the eagle, which was in their ensigns.

Verse 50

Of fierce countenance, Heb. strong of face or countenance, i.e. bold and impudent, hardy and undaunted, cruel and uncompassionate and inflexible, sparing no age nor sex, &c.

Verse 54

Evil, i.e. unkind, envious, covetous, to monopolize these dainty bits to themselves, and grudging that their dearest relations should have any part of them.

Verse 56

Evil, i.e. unmerciful: she will desire or design their destruction for her food.

Verse 57

Her young one, Heb. after-birth; that which was loathsome to behold, will now be pleasant to eat; and together with it she shall eat the child which was wrapt up in it, and may be included in this expression.

Which she shall bear, or, which she shall have born, i.e. her more grown children.

Verse 58

Name, i. e. thing or person, to wit, this glorious God. Names are oft put for things, as 1 Kings 5:3; Psalms 20:1; Psalms 95:1; Acts 4:12; Ephesians 1:21; and for persons, as Acts 1:15; Revelation 3:4.

Verse 63

Rejoice over you to destroy you; his just indignation against you will be so great, that it will be a pleasure to him to take vengeance on you. For though he doth not delight in the death of a sinner in itself, yet he doth doubtless delight in the glorifying of his justice upon incorrigible sinners, seeing the exercise of all his attributes must needs please him, else he were not perfectly happy.

The land whither thou goest to possess it; which was no ordinary land, but a most pleasant land, a land of promise, a token of God’s favour, and a pledge of their eternal inheritance, which was a great aggravation of their loss of it.

Verse 65

Neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest; ye shall have no settlement in the land whither you are banished, but there you shall be tossed about from place to place, and sold from person to person, or, Cain-like, wander about like a vagabond.

Verse 66

Either because thou art in the hands of thy enemies, that have power, and want not will, to destroy thee; or because of the terrors of thy own mind, and the guilt of thy conscience, making thee to fear, even where no great cause to fear is.

Verse 68

Into Egypt again, whence he hath now so gloriously delivered thee, as repenting of all his kindness to thee, and resolved to undo what he hath done for thee. And the remembrance of what they endured in Egypt could not but make the thoughts of returning thither again very terrible to them.

With ships; which was literally fulfilled under Titus, when multitudes of them were carried thither in ships, and sold there for slaves, as Josephus relates. And this expression seems to mind them of that time when they went over the sea without ships, God miraculously drying up the sea before them, &c., which now they would have occasion sadly to remember. By the way, or, to the way; the Hebrew beth here signifying to, as it doth Genesis 11:4; Leviticus 16:22; Psalms 19:5; Psalms 91:12; Isaiah 9:8. And the

way seems not to be meant here of the usual road-way from Canaan to Egypt, which was wholly by land, but to be put for the end of the way or journey, even the land of Egypt; for to this, and not to the road-way between Canaan and Egypt, agree the words here following,

whereof I spake unto thee, Thou shalt see it (i.e. Egypt)

no more again. And so that way is put for to that land in a place parallel to this, where the very same words are used, Deuteronomy 17:16, to which this place palpably alludes.

No man shall buy you; either because the number of you captives shall be so great, that the market shall be glutted with you; or because you shall be so loathsome and contemptible that men shall not be willing to have you for slaves. And this was the condition of the Jews after the destruction of Jerusalem, as Josephus the Jew hath left upon record.

Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Deuteronomy 28". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mpc/deuteronomy-28.html. 1685.
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