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the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 8

Whedon's Commentary on the BibleWhedon's Commentary



After their long wandering in the wilderness, when they should enter into possession of a land of abundance, with houses that others had builded and vineyards that others had planted, with the prospect of unbounded prosperity, the people might be inclined to forget Jehovah their God. There would be the peril not only of adopting the idolatrous practices of the nations with whom they would be brought in contact, but also of trusting in themselves, and ascribing their success to their own efforts. Moses, in narrating the past and in portraying the future, aims to guard the people against the perils of prosperity.

Verse 1

1. All… which I command A renewed admonition to obedience, that they may obtain the land which Jehovah had promised.

Verse 2

2. Remember all the way That forty years’ wandering through the great and terrible wilderness was to be the dark background against which the divine leadings could be seen: in deliverance from the pursuing Egyptians; in miraculous provision for their bodily wants, as when bread came down from heaven; also when the smitten rock sent forth refreshing draughts.

Verse 3

3. He humbled thee,… and fed thee with manna Comp. Exodus 16:16. Jehovah had shown them their dependence on him, and then in their extremity he provides an abundant supply for their bodily wants.

By every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of The Lord More literally rendered, on every utterance of the mouth of Jehovah. In this verse the word bread is employed to include all the ordinary provision for sustaining human life. When Jesus quotes this passage in reply to the tempter (Matthew 4:4; Luke 4:4) he means to say that life can be sustained by extraordinary means. God can employ other means and methods. Life can be sustained by other provision. The Saviour, as he sat by Jacob’s well, said to his disciples, “I have meat to eat that ye know not of.” John 4:32.

Verse 4

4. Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee Literally, did not fall from thee. Some of the Jewish interpreters, and some Christian commentators, have held that by supernatural means provision was made for the durability of the clothing of the Israelites during the forty years’ wandering. But there seems to be no necessity for resorting to miraculous provision in this matter. Abundant resources were at their command. They had flocks and herds. There must have been many skilful workmen among them, as is seen in the description of the building and adorning of the tabernacle.

Neither did thy foot swell The Septuagint has ουκ ελυλωθησαν , did not become hard or callous. The Hebrew might be rendered either “to swell up” or “to blister.” The meaning of the verse is, there was no lack of clothing for the body nor of covering for the feet, all through the long and toilsome journey.

Verse 5

5. As a man chasteneth his son The word which in our version is rendered chasteneth is also used in the sense of instruct, educate. In Deuteronomy 4:36, it is translated instruct. This discipline of the wilderness was designed to educate the people. It was to teach them obedience and trust in Him who was guiding them and providing for them. It was training them to become a holy and peculiar people whose God is Jehovah.

Verses 7-9

7, 8. A good land In these verses Moses contrasts the sterility of the almost waterless desert with the fertility of the land they are soon to possess. They are to have a land of brooks and fountains. At Banias, the Caesarea Philippi of the New Testament, are rivulets so deep and so abundant in supply of water that they form one of the chief sources of the Jordan. This river, extending from the northern boundary to the Dead Sea, with the lakes through which it flows Merom and Gennesaret forms one of the most marked features of the land. “Beautiful springs, characteristic of the whole valley of the Jordan, are unusually numerous and copious along the western shore of the lake,” (Gennesaret.) STANLEY, Sinai and Palestine, p. 374.

Vines Palestine was noted for the products of the vineyard. Comparatively little wine is now made, as the Mohammedans are forbidden to use it. But the vine is still extensively cultivated in the southern part of Palestine. The traveler sees many fruitful vineyards in the neighbourhood of Hebron.

9. Out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass Instead of brass the translation should read copper. In Lebanon on the north, and in the mountains of Edom on the southeast, there were mines of copper. On the east of the Jordan are ancient worked-out iron mines. Comp. Delitzsch on Job, vol. ii, p. 91. The Jews apparently did not engage in mining to any extent.

Verse 11

11. Beware that thou forget not the Lord How earnestly and persistently the aged lawgiver and leader admonishes his people of the perils of prosperity! They had been tested and trained by years of toil and self-denial. The coming years of prosperous enjoyment will still more strongly test their loyalty to Jehovah.

Verse 15

15. Who led thee This passage is better rendered, “Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, poisonous serpents, and scorpions, and parched land, where were no waters.” Even in such a land they were the objects of a providential care. Bread from heaven, water from the rock, had supplied their wants.

Verse 16

16. At thy latter end The Hebrew word which our translators have rendered latter end is the same that is used in Genesis 49:1, and Isaiah 2:2. In both cases it is rendered last days. “In this instance Moses refers to the period of their life in Canaan, in contrast with which the period of their sojourn in Egypt and their wandering in the desert is regarded as the beginning; consequently the expression does not relate to death as the end of life, as in Numbers 33:10.” Keil.

Verses 19-20

19, 20. Surely perish Again Moses seeks to deepen the impression which his admonitions may make by warning the people of the fate that will overtake them if they are disobedient.

Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 8". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/whe/deuteronomy-8.html. 1874-1909.
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