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Bible Commentaries

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Deuteronomy 7

A.M. 2553. B.C. 1451.

A command to destroy the Canaanites, with all pertaining to their idols, Deuteronomy 7:1-5 ; and to obey God, considering their relation to him, Deuteronomy 7:6-11 . Promises to the obedient, Deuteronomy 7:12-15 . A repetition of the command utterly to destroy the Canaanites, with all the monuments of their idolatry, Deuteronomy 7:16-26 .

Verse 1

Deuteronomy 7:1. Seven nations Ten are mentioned, Genesis 15:19; but this being some hundreds of years after, it is not strange if three of them were either destroyed by foreign or domestic wars, or by cohabitation and marriage united with and swallowed up in the rest.

Verse 2

Deuteronomy 7:2. Thou shalt smite and utterly destroy them That is, in case they continued obstinate in their idolatry, they were to be destroyed, as nations, or bodies politic. But if they forsook their idolatry, and became sincere proselytes to the true religion, they would then be proper objects of forgiveness, as being true penitents. For, says God himself, by Jeremiah, (Jeremiah 7:8,) At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation to destroy it, if that nation turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil which I thought to do unto them. Thou shalt make no covenant with them See Exodus 23:32; Exodus 24:12. To make a covenant with and to spare such incurable idolaters, would have been cruelty to themselves and their posterity.

Verse 3

Deuteronomy 7:3. Neither shalt thou make marriages with them From this prohibition it has been justly inferred that the Canaanites, as individuals, might be spared upon their repentance and reformation from idolatry. For on the supposition that nothing that breathed was to be saved alive, but that all were to be utterly destroyed, there could be no occasion for this injunction. What end could it answer to forbid all intermarriages with a people supposed not to exist?

Verse 4

Deuteronomy 7:4. To serve other gods That is, there is manifest danger of apostacy and idolatry from such matches. Which reason doth both limit the prohibition to such of these as were unconverted, (otherwise Salmon married Rachab, Matthew 1:5,) and also enlarges it to other idolatrous nations, as appears from 1 Kings 11:2; Ezra 9:2; Nehemiah 13:23.

Verse 5

Deuteronomy 7:5. Their groves Which idolaters planted about the temples and altars of their gods. Hereby God designed to take away whatsoever might bring their idolatry to remembrance, or occasion the reviving of it.

Verses 7-8

Deuteronomy 7:7-8. The fewest To wit, at that time, when God first declared his choice of you for his peculiar people, which was done to Abraham. For Abraham had but one son concerned in this choice and covenant, namely, Isaac, and that was not till he was in his hundredth year; and Isaac was sixty years old ere he had a child, and then had only two children; and though Jacob had twelve sons, yet it was a long time before they made any considerable increase. Nor do we read of any great multiplication of them until after Joseph’s death. The Lord loved you It was his free choice, without any cause or motive on your part.

Verse 10

Deuteronomy 7:10. Them that hate him Not only those who hate him directly and properly, (for so did few or none of the Israelites to whom he here speaks,) but those who hate him by implication and consequence; those who hate and oppose his people and word; those who wilfully persist in the breach of his commandments. To their face That is, openly, and so as they shall see it, and not be able to avoid it. Slack So as to delay it beyond the fit time or season for vengeance, yet withal he is long-suffering, and slow to anger.

Verses 12-13

Deuteronomy 7:12-13. The covenant and the mercy That is, the covenant of mercy, which he, out of his own mere grace, made with them. He will love thee He will continue to love thee, and to manifest his love to thee.

Verse 15

Deuteronomy 7:15. The diseases of Egypt Such as the Egyptians were infected with, either commonly, or miraculously. It seems to refer not only to the plagues of Egypt, but to some other epidemic diseases, which they remembered to have prevailed among the Egyptians, and by which God had chastised them for their national sins. The leprosy, and other cutaneous distempers, were frequent in Egypt. The Scriptures also mention the botch of Egypt, as a disease common in that country, Deuteronomy 28:27. Diseases are God’s servants, which go where he sends them, and do what he bids them.

Verses 18-19

Deuteronomy 7:18-19. Thou shalt remember what the Lord thy God did Frequently and considerately, for thy encouragement; for people are said to forget those things which they do not remember to good purpose. The great temptations The trials and exercises of thy faith, and obedience to my commands.

Verse 22

Deuteronomy 7:22. Thou mayest not consume them at once Thou shalt not be able; I will not assist thee with my omnipotence, to crush them at one run of success and victory; for you are not yet numerous enough to people the whole country at once. But I will bless thee in the use of ordinary means, and thou shalt destroy them by degrees, in several battles, that thou mayest learn by experience to put thy trust in me.

Verse 24

Deuteronomy 7:24. No man shall stand before thee This promise was conditional; they were to be obedient and perform their duty, and then it would be fulfilled; but if they neglected to do this, they would justly lose the benefit of it.

Verse 25

Deuteronomy 7:25. The silver or the gold Wherewith the idols were covered or adorned, nor consequently any other of their ornaments. This God commanded, to show his utter detestation of idolatry, and to cut off all occasions of it.

Verse 26

Deuteronomy 7:26. Lest thou be a cursed thing Hebrew, חרם , cherem, devoted to utter destruction, as that and every thing was that had been employed to an idolatrous use.

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 7". Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/deuteronomy-7.html. 1857.