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7For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with flowing streams, with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills,

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7. For the Lord thy God. We may shortly sum up the words and the matter. He almost sets before their eyes a habitation full of wealth and various advantages, in order that they there may worship God more cheerfully, and study to repay by their gratitude so signal a benefit. In chapter 8 he commends the goodness of the land, because it is watered by the streams which flow through its valleys and mountains, and because it produces all kinds of fruits to supply them with nourishment; and not only so, but because it contains also mines of iron and brass. In chapter 11 he expresses the same thing more plainly and in greater detail, by the addition of a comparison with the land of Egypt; the fruitfulness of which, although it is marvellous from the yearly inundation of the Nile, and is renowned as an extraordinary miracle, yet requires much labor and cultivation, since it is irrigated by means of drains by the hand and industry of men. But the land of Canaan depends on God’s blessing, and waits for the rain from heaven. Moreover Moses extols in glowing words the peculiar privilege of the land, saying, that it is ever looked upon by God, in order that, on their part, the Israelites might attentively, and constantly also, look to Him. For this is the force of the words, “always, from the beginning of the year, even unto the end of the year;” as if he had said, that they would be ungrateful to God, unless they constantly and zealously directed their regards to Him, since He never ceased daily to look on them. It is true, indeed, that there is no corner of the earth which does not experience God’s blessing, witness the fact that the Nile fertilizes the whole of Egypt; but, because that only happens once a year, and since its waters are conducted hither and thither by drains artificially made by man, Moses, therefore, not improperly makes it the ground of his exhortation that they should constantly give themselves to meditation on the Law; for not only at a particular season of the year, but almost at every moment, their necessity would compel them to ask for God’s aid, when they saw that the land was ever requiring from Him the remedy of its dryness. The question however arises, how Moses could declare in such magnificent terms the richness of the land of Canaan, when now-a-days it is scarcely counted among those that are fertile; and thus262262     “Des esprits phrenetiques, and profanes.” — Fr. This ancient scoff, repeated by Voltaire and other modern infidels, is well met by Dr. Keith, “Evidences of Prophecy, (Art. Judaea,)” by quotations not only from Tacitus, Ammianus Marcellinus, Florus, and Pliny the Elder, but from Volney and Gibbon themselves, as well as more friendly witnesses. the ungodly wantonly deride him, since all whom business or any other cause have taken there contradict his encomiums. Yet I do not doubt that it was always distinguished by the abundance of its various fruits, as we shall presently see in its proper place, where its fertility was proved by the bunch of grapes; but, at the same time, it is to be observed that its abundance was increased in a new and unwonted manner by the arrival of the people, that God might shew that He had blessed that country above all others for the liberal supply of His children. As long, therefore, as that land was granted as the inheritance of the race of Abraham, it was remarkable for that fertility which God had promised by Moses. But now, so far from wondering that it is to a great extent desert and barren, we ought rather to be surprised that some small vestiges of its ancient fruitfulness exist; since what God Himself had so often threatened against it must needs be fulfilled. The barrenness, therefore, of the land as it now appears, instead of derogating from the testimony of Moses, rather gives ocular demonstration of the judgment of God, which, as we shall see elsewhere, was denounced against it. In sum, as God for His people’s sake still further enriched a land already fruitful, so, for the punishment of the sins of this same people, He sowed it with salt, that it might afford a sad spectacle of His curse.




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