Deuteronomy Chapter 29
Verses 29:1 – 30:20: These chapters contain the third address of Moses, which is a contrast between the covenant at Sinai and the covenant he envisioned for Israel in the future. Though the past has seen Israel’s failure to keep the covenant and to trust in God, there was hope for the future. It was this hope that Moses emphasized in the content of these chapters focusing clearly on the themes of the new Covenant.
Verses 1-9: Both former mercies, and fresh mercies, should be thought on by us as motives to obedience. The hearing ear, and seeing eye, and the understanding heart, are the gift of God. All that have them, have them from him. God gives not only food and raiment, but wealth and large possessions, too many to whom he does not give grace. Many enjoy the gifts, who have not hearts to perceive the Giver, nor the true design and use of the gifts. We are bound, in gratitude and interest, as well as in duty and faithfulness, to keep the words of the covenant.
Deuteronomy 29:1 “These [are] the words of the covenant, which the LORD commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, beside the covenant which he made with them in Horeb.”
“These are the words”: The Hebrew text numbers this verse as (28:69) rather than (29:1), seeing it as the conclusion to the second address of Moses. However (as in 1:1), these words introduce what follows, serving as the introduction to Moses’ third address.
“The covenant … in the land of Moab”: The majority of interpreters view the covenant stated here as a reference to the covenant made at Sinai. According to this view, the covenant that God made with Israel at Sinai (Horeb), was renewed in Moab. However, this verse clearly states that the covenant of which Moses now speaks was “besides”, or “in addition to”, the previous covenant. This was another covenant distinct from the one made at Sinai. This other covenant is viewed by some interpreters as the Palestinian Covenant, which gave Israel the title to the land (see 30:5). However, the emphasis of these two chapters is not on the Land, but on the change of Israel’s heart (see the contrast between 29:4 and 30:6). It was exactly this change of heart which the later prophets would term “The New Covenant” (see Jer. 31:31-34; Ezek. 36:26-27). In response to Israel’s certain failure under the provisions of the Sinaitic Covenant (29:23-28), Moses anticipated the New Covenant under which Israel would be obedient to the Lord and finally reap His blessings (30:1-10).
In the last lesson, we were told of the difficulty that would come upon the people if they did not keep covenant with God. The agreement they had made with God was an everlasting covenant. God would bless them, as long as they remained faithful to Him. This is not a new covenant that Moses is giving here. He is however, stating a few things not in the earlier covenant. This is just as much a part of the covenant as the original. They were now to implement the covenant given them. The main thrust of the entire covenant is remaining faithful to God, to receive all the blessings. There is a warning again, of the dangers in seeking after false gods.
Verses 2-9: Not everything taken in with physical eyes and ears is also perceived by the heart (Ezek. 12:2; Matt. 13:9). This is why some people can “study” the Word of God but not “see” the Word of God. The Lord is the one who gives spiritual sight (Acts 28:26-27; Rom. 11:8; Eph. 4:18).
Deuteronomy 29:2 “And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land;”
He had been speaking before to the heads of them, and delivered at different times what is before recorded. But now he summoned the whole body of the people together, a solemn covenant being to be made between God and them. Or such things being to be made known unto them as were of universal concernment.
“And said unto them”: What is in this chapter; which is only a preparation or introduction to what he had to declare unto them in the following.
“Ye have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt”: The Targum of Jonathan is, “what the Word of the Lord did.” For all the wonderful things done there in Egypt were done by the essential Word of God, Christ, the Son of God. Who appeared to Moses in the bush, and sent him to Egypt, and by him and Aaron wrought the miracles there. Which many now present had seen, and were then old enough to take notice of, and could remember, though their fathers then alive were now dead.
“Unto Pharaoh and unto all his servants, and unto all his land”: The plagues he inflicted on the person of Pharaoh, and on all his courtiers, and on all the people in Egypt, for they reached the whole land.
This alone, should have made them realize the power of God to do whatever He wanted to do. The power of God was no secret to them. He brought ten plagues on Egypt to get them released from Pharaoh. He destroyed Pharaoh’s army at the Red Sea, when He carried the Israelites over on dry land safely. Just His presence with them across the desert should have been enough.
Deuteronomy 29:3 “The great temptations which thine eyes have seen, the signs, and those great miracles:”
Or trials, the ten plagues which tried the Egyptians, whether they would let Israel go. And tried the Israelites, whether they would believe in the Lord, and trust in his almighty power to deliver them.
“The signs and those great miracles”: As the said plagues were such as were beyond the power of nature to produce, and which only Omnipotence could really effect.
The journey for 40 years had been a miracle. Moses reminds them of this, so they will be awakened to the possibilities God offers.
Deuteronomy 29:4 “Yet the LORD hath not given you a heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.”
“The LORD hath not given you … eyes to see”: In spite of all they had experienced (verses 2-3), Israel was spiritually blind to the significance of what the Lord had done for them, lacking spiritual understanding, even as Moses was speaking. This spiritual blindness of Israel continues to the present day (Rom. 11:8), and it will not be reversed until Israel’s future day of salvation (see Rom. 11:25-27). The Lord had not given them an understanding heart, simply because the people had not penitently sought it (compare 2 Chron. 7:14).
It is as if they are blind and deaf. The miracles are soon forgotten. They are a people of little understanding. It seems nothing will cause them to have faith in God, the way they need to. Their hearts are hard, and they have scales over their eyes and ears.
Deuteronomy 29:5 “And I have led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot.”
From the time of their coming out of Egypt unto that day, which though not quite complete, is given as a round number.
“Your clothes are not waxen old upon you”: Were not worn out; all those forty years they had been in the wilderness. They had never wanted clothes fitting for them, according to their age and stature, and which decayed not (see notes on Deut. 8:4).
“And thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot”: Which were necessary to wear in travelling, and especially in a rugged wilderness. And yet, thought they had been always in use during so long a time, were not worn out, which was really miraculous (see note on Deut. 8:4).
Certainly one of the greatest miracles that happened, was the 40 year journey without their shoes and clothing wearing out. The divine care that God took for their slightest needs, should have awakened their understanding.
Deuteronomy 29:6 “Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink: that ye might know that I [am] the LORD your God.”
Bread made of corn, common bread, of their own preparing, made by the labor of their own hands. But manna, the food of angels, the bread of heaven.
“Neither have you drank wine, nor strong drink”: Only water out of the rock, at least chiefly, and for constancy. Though it may be, when they were on the borders of other countries, as of the Edomites, they might obtain some wine for their money.
“That ye might know that I am the Lord your God”: Who was both able and willing to provide food, drink, and raiment for them, and supply them with all good things. And support them without the use of the common necessaries of life; which were abundant proofs of his power and goodness.
One of the purposes of the Manna was that they were feeding upon the LORD, instead of earthly food. Even this, they did not comprehend. Instead of being thankful for the heavenly food which sustained them, they complained of it. God showed them over and over on their journey that He was their provider.
Deuteronomy 29:7 “And when ye came unto this place, Sihon the king of Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, came out against us unto battle, and we smote them:”
The borders of Moab, the wilderness before it, to which joined the plains they were now in (see Num. 21:13).
“Sihon king of Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, came out against us unto battle”: Not together, but one after the other, and that very quickly. As soon almost as they had fought with the one, and conquered him, the other came out against them.
“And we smote them”: Killed them and their armies, and the inhabitants of their countries. The history of which see in (Num. 21:23).
The greater part of “we” is speaking of God, who went into battle with them. It was God, who drove their enemies out before them. In the 21st chapter of Numbers, we saw how Sihon came against Israel and was defeated. Og we remember, was a giant, but that did not save him. The LORD was with Israel, and Israel could not lose.
Deuteronomy 29:8 “And we took their land, and gave it for an inheritance unto the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to the half tribe of Manasseh.”
Which belonged to the two kings, the lands of Jazer, Gilead, and Bashan, fine countries for pasturage.
“And gave it for an inheritance unto the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to the half tribe of Manasseh. Who requested it, and to whom it was granted on certain conditions, and they were now in possession of it (see Num. 32:1).
We remember, the land they took on the eastern side of the Jordan was such beautiful grazing land that Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh kept that for their inheritance.
Deuteronomy 29:9 “Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do.”
“Keep therefore the words of this covenant”: The spiritual experience of God’s faithfulness to Israel should have led to obedience to the stipulations of the Sinaitic Covenant in the future, but could not without a transformed heart (verses 4, 18), and the true knowledge of God (verse 6).
Their prosperity is a gift from God. The way to be assured of that prosperity, is if they keep the commandments of God and worship no false gods.
Verses 10-21: The national covenant made with Israel, not only typified the covenant of grace made with true believers, but also represented the outward dispensation of the gospel. Those who have been enabled to consent to the Lord’s new covenant of mercy and grace in Jesus Christ, and to give up themselves to be his people, should embrace every opportunity of renewing their open profession of relation to him. And their obligation to him, as the God of salvation, walking according thereto. The sinner is described as one whose heart turns away from his God. There the mischief begins, in the evil heart of unbelief, which inclines men to depart from the living God to dead idols. Even to this sin man is now tempted, when drawn aside by their own lusts and fancies. Such men are roots that bear gall and wormwood. They are weeds which, if let alone, overspread the whole field. Satan may for a time disguise this bitter morsel, so that thou shalt not have the natural taste of it, but at the last day, if not before, the true taste shall be discerned. Notice the sinner’s security in sin. Though he hears the words of the curse, yet even then he thinks himself safe from the wrath of God. There is scarcely a threatening in all the book of God more dreadful than this. Oh that presumptuous sinners would read it, and tremble! For it is a real declaration of the wrath of God, against ungodliness and unrighteousness of man.
Verses 10-13: The words “Ye stand this day” imply a formal ceremony. The stress is on the present, meaning that the Israelites were recommitting themselves to the Mosaic Covenant, not to a new covenant.
“Ye stand … before the LORD your God”: All the people were likely stationed in an orderly way before Moses, but this is not a call to outward order, but inward devotion, to make the covenant a matter of the heart and life.
Deuteronomy 29:10 “Ye stand this day all of you before the LORD your God; your captains of your tribes, your elders, and your officers, [with] all the men of Israel,”
Being gathered together at the door of the tabernacle, at the summons of Moses. Aben Ezra interprets it round about the ark, which was the symbol of the divine Presence.
“Your captains of your tribes”: The heads and rulers of them.
“Your elders and your officers, with all the men of Israel”: Not the seventy elders only, but their elders in their several tribes, cities, and families, men of gravity and prudence, as well as of age. And who were in some place of power and authority or another. And the “officers” may design such who attended the judges, and executed their orders (see Deut. 16:18). And with them were the common people, the males, who were grown. Aben Ezra thinks they stood in the order in which they here are mentioned, which is not improbable. Next to Moses the princes, then the elders, and after them the officers, and next every man of Israel, the males. And then the little ones with the males. After them the women, and last of all the proselytes.
Deuteronomy 29:11 “Your little ones, your wives, and thy stranger that [is] in thy camp, from the hewer of thy wood unto the drawer of thy water:”
Who are scarcely ever mentioned in any special law or solemn transaction.
“And thy stranger that is in thy camp”: Not only the proselyte of righteousness, who embraced the Jewish religion entirely, but the proselyte of the gate, who was admitted to dwell among them, having renounced idolatry. These standing with the Israelites, when this covenant was made, has respect to the Gentiles, who as well as the Jews have an interest in the covenant of grace made with Christ. In whom there is, neither Jew nor Gentile, any difference between them.
“From the hewer of thy wood to the drawer of thy water”: That hewed wood for firing and other uses. And drew water for the camp. Who were generally average persons, and perhaps some that came out of Egypt with them are here intended. However, average and abject persons are meant, and signifies that none should be excluded from a concern in this solemn affair on account of their manner.
We see this covenant is not just with the leaders, but with all the people. They are from the greatest to the smallest. Each person must, in his heart, make covenant with God. They all stand before Moses for this message from God. They must each one, and all collectively, know what is expected of them.
Deuteronomy 29:12 “That thou shouldest enter into covenant with the LORD thy God, and into his oath, which the LORD thy God maketh with thee this day:”
“Enter into covenant … and … oath”: “Enter into” expresses entire submission in faith and repentance before God, resulting in heart obedience. The people were to bind themselves in an oath to obey the stipulations of God’s covenant (compare Gen. 26:28).
This covenant was with the LORD and each individual person represented. This covenant must be agreed upon by the entire nation of Israel. It must be unanimous. Even the children must hear and agree for the generations to come.
Deuteronomy 29:13 “That he may establish thee today for a people unto himself, and [that] he may be unto thee a God, as he hath said unto thee, and as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”
Which contains the sum and substance of the covenant (see Jer. 32:38).
“As he hath said unto thee, and as he had sworn unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob” (Deut. 26:17).
God had chosen them as His people. He wants to bless them, as no other nation has ever been blessed. This is what was said to Abraham.
Genesis 17:7 “And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.”
This covenant is fulfilled in the Christians.
Galatians 3:29 “And if ye [be] Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
Verses 14-19: This “covenant” renewal included future generations (“not here with us this day”). The current generation’s obedience greatly affects those not yet born. The demands of the “oath” extended to each “man” and “woman”.
Verses 14-15: “Neither with you only”: All of Israel, present and future, were to be bound by the stipulations of the covenant to obey God and be blessed. Thus, they would be able to lead all nations to the blessedness of salvation (compare John 17:20-21; Acts 2:39).
Deuteronomy 29:14 “Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath;”
That is, Moses. For he was ordered to make this covenant with them in the name of the Lord. What promises of good things, or declarations of his mind and will, God would make. Moses was to deliver to them. And what was required of them he would inform them of. Aben Ezra interprets it, not only you, but those that will come after you, your sons and your sons’ sons.
Deuteronomy 29:15 “But with [him] that standeth here with us this day before the LORD our God, and also with [him] that [is] not here with us this day:”
Who are before specified according to their dignity, age, sex, and station of life. Or rather, “but as with him that standeth”, etc.
“And also with him that is not here with us this day”: Detained at home by illness and indisposition of body, or by one providence or another. So that they could not come out of their tents, and make their appearance before the tabernacle. Though Jarchi interprets this of the people of future generations.
Notice the covenant is to extend for generations to come, and not just for this generation. God swore by Himself, since there was none greater.
Deuteronomy 29:16 “(For ye know how we have dwelt in the land of Egypt; and how we came through the nations which ye passed by;”
How long they and their fathers had dwelt there. The number of years they had been in the land, as the Targum of Jonathan, which was upwards of two hundred years. And being a country the inhabitants of which were much given to idolatry. They had seen many of their idols, and much of their idolatrous worship. And their hearts had been apt to be ensnared by it, and the minds of some tinctured with it. And the remembrance thereof might make ill impressions on them. To remove or prevent which this covenant was made.
“And how we came through the nations which ye passed by”: As the Edomites, Ammonites, Moabites, and Midianites, as Aben Ezra observes. Through whose borders they came, as they passed by their countries in their journeys in the wilderness.
In Egypt there were many false gods. Even the nations they encountered on the way to the Promised Land, were idol worshippers as well. Part of the reason for the ten plagues on Egypt, was to defame the false gods of Egypt.
Deuteronomy 29:17 “And ye have seen their abominations, and their idols, wood and stone, silver and gold, which [were] among them:)”
Or, “their abominations, even their idols”, for the same are meant by both. It is common in Scripture to call the idols of the Gentiles abominations, without any other explanation of them (see 1 Kings 11:5). Because they are abominable to God, and ought to be so to men. The word for idols has the signification of dung, and may be rendered dunghill gods. Either referring to such that were bred and lived in dung. As the beetle, worshipped by the Egyptians, as Bishop Patrick observes. Or which were as much to be loathed and abhorred as the dung of any creature.
“Wood and stone, silver and gold”: These are the materials of which the idols they had seen in the several countries they had been in, or passed through, were made of. Some of wood, others of stone cut out of these, and carved. Others more rich and costly were made of massive gold and silver, and were molten ones. Or the images of wood were glided with gold and silver.
“Which were among them”: Now these being seen by them in as they passed along. They might run in their minds, or be called to remembrance by them. And so they be in danger of being drawn aside to make the like, and worship them.
“Abominations” are revolting sins in the sight of God. Moses is showing them they are without excuse, if they follow these false gods of stone, silver, and gold. The evidence of God was overwhelming. We too are without excuse, if we do not follow the One True God. The Bible should be evidence enough for us. We mentioned several times, that anything made with human hands is not to be worshipped. God is not a God that can be seen with physical eyes, or touched with physical hands. He is the great Creator. He is Spirit.
Deuteronomy 29:18 “Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go [and] serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood;”
“A root that beareth gall and wormwood”: The picture was of a root spreading poison and bitterness into the whole tree. The metaphor indicates permeation of idolatry throughout Israel because of the action of an individual family or tribe, precipitating God’s curse and wrath.
Idolatry is described as a plant that takes root and issues in a harvest of poison weed and wormwood. The same kind of classical imagery is found in (32:32; Hosea 10:4; and Amos 6:12).
The false gods of these nations could bring nothing, but bitterness and destruction. Anyone who follows after false gods, is headed for destruction.
Deuteronomy 29:19 “And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst:”
“To add drunkenness to thirst”: The meaning is that the deceived individual rebel against the Lord follows only his wicked heart and could not hide within the total community. The idolater would stand out and bear the judgment for his idolatry.
To bless one’s self in his heart, is to deny the power of God who made him.
Romans 1:21 “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”
He cannot bless himself. Blessings come from God. He is trying to make a god of himself. The next verse tells of the fate of so foolish a person.
Verses 20-28: The horrors of future judgment would lead to a landscape similar to that of Sodom’s judgment: “brimstone, and salt and burning (Gen. 18:24-25).
Deuteronomy 29:20 “The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven.”
“Blot out his name from under heaven”: The idolater would have no place among God’s people, because God would curse him and then kill him (compare 25:19; Exodus 17:14). This very strong language reveals how God feels about idolatry, which is forbidden in the Decalogue (Exodus 20:2-7).
The heart of man is what he is. If his heart is evil, he is evil. God will not find him guiltless who has an evil heart to follow after his own desires. He is like Lucifer, who desired to be God. This man is very evil, and will inherit the curses. Just as Lucifer was thrown out of heaven, this man will have his name blotted out of the book of life.
Deuteronomy 29:21 “And the LORD shall separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this book of the law:”
Unto the evil of punishment, devote and consign him to it, and make him a visible and distinguished mark of his displeasure and vengeance. So some men are righteously separated from others, and preordained unto condemnation, being wicked and ungodly men. For such God has made or appointed for the day of evil (see Prov. 16:4).
“According to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this book of the law”: The evil of punishment he shall be separated unto shall be according to them, or include them all. The sense is, that the wrath of God, and the whole curse of the law due to him for his sin, shall come upon him (see Deut. 28:16). “This book of the law”: See (note on 31:9).
This evil man will not inherit with the rest of Israel, who obey God. He will receive curses, instead of blessings.
Verses 22-28: Idolatry would be the ruin of their nation. It is no new thing for God to bring desolating judgments on a people near to him in profession. He never does this without good reason. It concerns us to seek for the reason, that we may give glory to God, and take warning to ourselves. Thus, the law of Moses leaves sinners under the curse, and rooted out of the Lord’s land. But the grace of Christ toward penitent, believing sinners, plants them again in their land; and they shall no more be pulled up, being kept by the power of God.
Deuteronomy 29:22 “So that the generation to come of your children that shall rise up after you, and the stranger that shall come from a far land, shall say, when they see the plagues of that land, and the sicknesses which the LORD hath laid upon it;”
“The generation to come … and the stranger”: In a future day, both Israel and the nations would see the results of God’s judgment upon the Land of Israel because of Israel’s disobedience, as a witness to the holy standard God has established in His law. Compare (Lev. 26:31-32).
The terrible punishment that comes upon them, will be an astonishment, and a warning to future generations. These plagues are in punishment from God. The illnesses spoken of here, could be spoken of as a plague as well. There will be no ready cure for them.
Deuteronomy 29:23 “[And that] the whole land thereof [is] brimstone, and salt, [and] burning, [that] it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath:”
“Sodom”: The punishment the Lord would bring upon Israel in the future was likened to that of Sodom and her allies whom the Lord buried in fiery brimstone in the time of Abraham and Lot (see Gen. 19:24-29). It should be noted that Sodom and vicinity resembled paradise, the garden of God, before its destruction (compare Gen. 13:10).
Sodom and Gomorrah have been examples for all of history of what happens, when a society does what is pleasing to its flesh instead of obeying God. They were not only destroyed with fire and brimstone, but have never been rebuilt. They are a desert area, even until now. There is nothing growing there these thousands of years later. They had been as a garden of God, until they rebelled against God. This is a warning from Moses, that this could happen again if they disobey God.
Deuteronomy 29:24 “Even all nations shall say, Wherefore hath the LORD done thus unto this land? what [meaneth] the heat of this great anger?”
For the destruction of this land, and the people of it, would be, as it has been, so very great and awful. And so very remarkable and surprising, that the fame of it would be heard among all the nations of the world, as it has been. Who, upon hearing the sad report of it, would ask the following questions.
“Wherefore hath the Lord done thus unto this land?” So distinguished from all others for the fruitfulness and pleasantness of it. The people, the inhabitants of which, he chose, above all others, to be a special and peculiar people. And where he had a temple built for him, and where he had his residence, and worship used to be given unto him.
“What meaneth the heat of this great anger?” What is the reason of his stirring up his fierce wrath, and causing it to burn in so furious a manner? Surely it must be something very horrible and provoking indeed! This question is answered in (verses 25-28).
This area of the world is so desolate even today, it is obvious it was judgement of God that caused this destruction. The heat from the fire and brimstone was so great, that it even killed the roots of plants in the earth.
Deuteronomy 29:25 “Then men shall say, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them forth out of the land of Egypt:”
Even the world around them will realize the reason for this destruction. God did not break covenant with them, they broke covenant with God, and brought this upon themselves.
Deuteronomy 29:26 “For they went and served other gods, and worshipped them, gods whom they knew not, and [whom] he had not given unto them:”
As did all Israel, in the times of Solomon, and the ten tribes under Jeroboam, and other succeeding kings of Israel. And the two tribes in the times of Ahaz, and especially of Manasseh, when they worshipped all the host of heaven (see 1 Kings 11:33).
“Gods whom they knew not”: To whom they, as well as their fathers before them, were strangers and approved not of them. And of whose power and goodness they had no experience, and of which there never were any instances. Yet such was their stupidity, as to leave their God. The only true God, of whom they had many proofs in both respects, and worship these idols. Which had never been profitable and serviceable to them on any account.
“And whom he hath not given unto them”: Which version seems not to afford a good sense. For to what people whosoever has God, the true God, given other gods to worship, which this seems to imply, though he had not given or allowed any to them. Onkelos paraphrases it, “did not do them good”. Which Jarchi explains, the gods they chose them did not impart to them any inheritance, or any portion. For the word used signifies to divide, or part a portion or inheritance. Now the Lord God did divide to Israel the land of Canaan for an inheritance, but these idols had never divided anything to them. And had been in no instance profitable or advantageous to them. And therefore, it was madness and folly in them to worship them, as well as great ingratitude to the Lord their God, who had done such great and good things for them. For so the words may be rendered, “and did not impart” or “divide to them” anything. That is, not anyone of them did; for the verb is singular.
This would happen, because they had broken the very first commandment. They had turned their backs upon the One True God, to worship the false gods (creations of men’s hands). God’s wrath is kindled against them, because they are unfaithful to Him.
Deuteronomy 29:27 “And the anger of the LORD was kindled against this land, to bring upon it all the curses that are written in this book:”
For this their idolatry and base ingratitude.
“To bring upon it all the curses that are written in this book”: In this book of Deuteronomy, and particularly (Deut. 28:16; see Dan. 9:11).
The curses are automatic, when they turn away from God. It was their option to be blessed or cursed. They chose the curse.
Deuteronomy 29:28 “And the LORD rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as [it is] this day.”
Which was true both at the Babylonish captivity by Nebuchadnezzar. And at their present one by the Romans. Especially the latter, by whom they have been so rooted out, as that they have not been able to return to it these 1900 plus years, nor to have any inheritance or possession in it. Whereas, at the end of seventy years, they returned from the Babylonish captivity to their land again. And which was done;
“In anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation”: Which were most abundantly shown in the utter destruction of their land, city, and temple, by the Romans.
“And cast them into another land, as it is this day”: The ten tribes were cast into Assyria, and from thence into the cities of the Medes. The two tribes into the land of Chaldea, and now into all lands. And none their own, but another, a strange and foreign country. The word “cast” denotes the vehemence of the divine displeasure at them, expressed by the removal of them out of their own land into another. In the Hebrew word for “cast”, a middle letter in it is greater than usual. The reason of which perhaps is, that this dealing of God with them might be observed and taken notice of as very remarkable. And Ainsworth thinks it is to observe the greatness of the punishment. And the Jews understand this of the casting away of the ten tribes. And they gather from hence that the ten tribes shall not return, though about it they are divided. For so they say in the Misnah, “the ten tribes shall not return, as it is said, and cast them into another land, as this day.
This is possibly speaking of the ten tribes of Israel, which just seemed to vanish. They are scattered all over the world. The two tribes saw some of this too. One of the times they were driven out, was when they were taken captive to Babylon.
Deuteronomy 29:29 “The secret [things belong] unto the LORD our God: but those [things which are] revealed [belong] unto us and to our children for ever, that [we] may do all the words of this law.”
“The secret things … which are revealed”: That which is revealed included the law with its promises and threats. Consequently, that which is hidden only can refer to the specific way in which God will carry out His will in the future. Which is revealed in His Word and completed in His great work of salvation, in spite of the apostasy of His people.
Revelation is the act by which God gave men knowledge about Himself and His Creation, which man could not otherwise have known. The Scriptures speak of God’s self-revelation in a general way in nature (Psalm 19:1; Rom. 1:18), but especially in the Scriptures (verse 29; Heb. 1:1). While the Scriptures do not reveal everything, they do reveal all we need to know about God. The relationship between God’s revelation in nature and in the Scriptures is best seen in the visit of the Magi. God used the star to show them the King of the Jews had been born, but they were directed to Bethlehem by the revealed Word of God. When they arrived they saw the complete revelation of Jesus Christ (Matt. 2:1-11). While we can appreciate God’s Creation and be impressed by what it reveals concerning Him, our most complete record of what God is like is the Bible (Gen. 1:14; Heb. 1:1).
The Lord has just described several terrible consequences of disobeying Him, but there is more. “Secret things” probably refers to future details still undisclosed, yet what God had “revealed”, judgment for disobedience, blessing for obedience, requirements for holiness, should have been sufficient to encourage the Israelites to “do all the words of this Law”. God does not withhold anything that His people need to know. Still, the purpose of His revelation is obedience, not just open communication.
God has a few things that He has not revealed to mankind. The things that are necessary for us to live have been revealed to us. God revealed to mankind the perfect life. It is mankind, which has strayed and brought many of the problems upon themselves. The Bible is an instruction book to guide us through life. We will fail if we do not read and follow the instructions God has left us. The Words of the law are contained in the Bible. The Holy Spirit of God will reveal to each person God’s will for his life. We must seek God with all our hearts, and we will find Him. He wants to be our God. Let Him.
Deuteronomy Chapter 29 Questions
1. The covenant the LORD made with Israel was an ______________ covenant.
2. How long would God bless them?
3. Is this a new covenant?
4. How had God revealed His great power to them?
5. The entire journey for the 40 years had been a __________.
6. It is as if they are __________ and ________.
7. Why do they not understand God?
8. What miracle had occurred with their clothing?
9. What was one of the purposes of the Manna?
10. What is the little word that is so important in verse 7?
11. Where can we read about the defeat of Sihon?
12. Og, we remember, was a __________.
13. Who did God give the land of Og to?
14. How could they prosper?
15. Who is this covenant made with?
16. Who is giving them this covenant agreement?
17. The agreement must be ________________.
18. How far reaching is this covenant?
19. What did Egypt have in common with the nations Israel passed through?
20. What were their idols made of?
21. What are “abominations”?
22. Why are Christians without excuse?
23. Anyone who follows after false gods is headed for ________________.
24. To bless one’s self in his heart, is to ________ the power of God who made him.
25. What is the fate of so foolish a person?
26. A person who has an evil heart and thinks he can bless himself, is like __________.
27. He will inherit __________, not _______________.
28. The illnesses in verse 22, could be spoken of as a __________.
29. What two cities were examples of what happens to a society, when the people do what is right in their own sight?
30. What happened to them later?
31. The world around is aware _________ did this.
32. Why would this terrible judgement come on them?
33. Who was rooted out in verse 28?
34. What has been revealed to mankind by God?
35. What reveals it?
36. What reveals the will of God to each of us.
37. If we seek God with all our heart, we will _________ Him.
38. He wants to be our God, ______ _______.
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