An Exhortation to Obedience.
1. All the commandments which I command thee this
day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live—In all the wise
arrangements of our Creator duty has been made inseparably connected
with happiness; and the earnest enforcement of the divine law which
Moses was making to the Israelites was in order to secure their being a
happy (because a moral and religious) people: a course of prosperity is
often called "life" (Ge 17:18; Pr 3:2).
live, and multiply—This reference to
the future increase of their population proves that they were too few
to occupy the land fully at first.
2, 3. thou shalt remember all the way which the
Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness—The
recapitulation of all their checkered experience during that long
period was designed to awaken lively impressions of the goodness of
God. First, Moses showed them the object of their protracted wanderings
and varied hardships. These were trials of their obedience as well as
chastisements for sin. Indeed, the discovery of their infidelity,
inconstancy, and their rebellions and perverseness which this varied
discipline brought to light, was of eminently practical use to the
Israelites themselves, as it has been to the church in all subsequent
ages. Next, he enlarged on the goodness of God to them, while reduced
to the last extremities of despair, in the miraculous provision which,
without anxiety or labor, was made for their daily support (see on Ex 16:4). Possessing no nutritious properties
inherent in it, this contributed to their sustenance, as indeed all
food does (Mt
4:4) solely through the
ordinance and blessing of God. This remark is applicable to the means
of spiritual as well as natural life.
4. Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither
did thy foot swell, these forty years—What a striking miracle
was this! No doubt the Israelites might have brought from Egypt more
clothes than they wore at their outset; they might also have obtained
supplies of various articles of food and raiment in barter with the
neighboring tribes for the fleeces and skins of their sheep and goats;
and in furnishing them with such opportunities the care of Providence
appeared. But the strong and pointed terms which Moses here uses (see
29:5) indicate a special or
miraculous interposition of their loving Guardian in preserving them
amid the wear and tear of their nomadic life in the desert. Thirdly,
Moses expatiated on the goodness of the promised land.
7. For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good
land—All accounts, ancient and modern, concur in bearing
testimony to the natural beauty and fertility of Palestine, and its
great capabilities if properly cultivated.
a land of brooks of water, of fountains and
depths that spring out of valleys and hills—These
characteristic features are mentioned first, as they would be most
striking; and all travellers describe how delightful and cheerful it
is, after passing through the barren and thirsty desert, to be among
running brooks and swelling hills and verdant valleys. It is observable
that water is mentioned as the chief source of its ancient
8. A land of wheat, and barley—These
cereal fruits were specially promised to the Israelites in the event of
their faithful allegiance to the covenant of God (Ps 81:16;
147:14). The wheat and barley
were so abundant as to yield sixty and often an hundredfold (Ge 26:12;
vines, and fig trees, and
pomegranates—The limestone rocks and abrupt valleys were
entirely covered, as traces of them still show, with plantations of
figs, vines, and olive trees. Though in a southern latitude, its
mountainous formations tempered the excessive heat, and hence, figs,
pomegranates, &c., were produced in Palestine equally with wheat
and barley, the produce of northern regions.
honey—The word "honey" is used often
in a loose, indeterminate sense, very frequently to signify a syrup of
dates or of grapes, which under the name of dibs is much used by
all classes, wherever vineyards are found, as a condiment to their
food. It resembles thin molasses, but is more pleasant to the taste
[Robinson]. This is esteemed a great
delicacy in the East, and it was produced abundantly in Palestine.
9. a land whose stones are iron—The
abundance of this metal in Palestine, especially among the mountains of
Lebanon, those of Kesraoun, and elsewhere, is attested not only by
Josephus, but by Volney, Buckingham, and
brass—not the alloy brass, but the ore
of copper. Although the mines may now be exhausted or neglected, they
yielded plenty of those metals anciently (1Ch 22:3; 29:2-7; Isa 60:17).
11-20. Beware that thou forget not the
Lord—After mentioning those instances of the divine goodness,
Moses founded on them an argument for their future obedience.
15. Who led thee through that great and terrible
wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions—Large
and venomous reptiles are found in great numbers there still,
particularly in autumn. Travellers must use great caution in arranging
their tents and beds at night; even during the day the legs not only of
men, but of the animals they ride, are liable to be bitten.
who brought thee forth water out of the rock of
flint—(See on De 9:21).