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,
10. Vos adstatis hodie omnes vos eoram Jehova Deo vestro, principes vestri tribuum vestrarum, seniores vestri, et praefecti vestri, omnes viri Israel:
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;
11. Parvuli vestri, uxores vestrae, et peregrini tui qui habitant in medio castrorum tuorum, a caesore lignorum tuorum usque ad haurientem aquas tuas:
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;
12. Ut transeas in pactum Jehovae Dei tui, et in jusjurandum ejus quod Jehova Deus tuus pangit tecum hodie:
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.
13. Ut statuat te hodie sibi in populum, et ipse sit tibi in Deum, quemadmodum loquutus est tibi, et quemadmodum juravit patribus tuis, Abraham, Isaac, et Jacob.
14. Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath;
14. Neque vobiscum solis pango pactum istud, et jusjurandum istud.
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:
15. Sed cum eo qui est hic nobiscum stans hodie coram Jehova Deo nostro, et cum eo qui non est hic nobiscum hodie.
16. (For ye know how we have dwelt in the land of Egypt, and how we came through the nations which ye passed by;
16. Vos enim nostis quomodo habitavimus in terra Aegypti, et quomodo transivimus per medium gentium quas transistis:
17. And ye have seen their abominations, and their idols, wood and stone, silver and gold, which were among them:)
17. Et vidistis abominationes earum, et idola earum, lignum, et lapidem, argentum et aurum, quae sunt apud illas.
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;
18. Ne forte sit inter vos vir, aut mulier, aut familia, aut tribus, cujus cor avertat sese hodie a Jehova Deo vestro, et abeat ad colendum Deos gentium harum: ne forte sit in vobis radix fructificans venenum et absinthium.
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:
19. Sitque quum ipse audierit verba maledictionis hujus, ut benedicat sibi in corde suo, dicendo, Pax erit mihi, etiamsi in cogitatione cordis mei ambulavero: ut addat ebriam sitienti.
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.
20. Non placebit Jehovae parcere illi, sed tunc fumabit furor Jehovae, et zelus ejus in eum virum: et recubabit in eo omnis maledictio quae scripta est in libro isto, et delebit Jehova nomen ejus de sub coelo.
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.
21. Et separabit eum Jehova in malum ab universis tribubus Israelis, juxta omnes maledictiones pacti scripti in libro Legis hujus.
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;
22. Et dicet generatio postera, filii vestri qui surgent post vos, et alienigena qui veniet e terra longinqua, quum viderint plagas terrae hujus, et morbos quibus aegrotare fecerit Jehova in ea:
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;
23. Sulphur, et sal, combustionem in toto solo ejus, ut non seratur, neque germinet, neque ascendat in ea ulla herba, ut in subversione Sodomiae, Gomorrhae, Admae, et Seboiim, quas subvertit Jehova in excandescentia sua et ira sua:
24. Even all nations shall say, Wherefore hath the Lord done thus unto this land? what meaneth the heat of this great anger?
24. Dicent, inquam, omnes gentes, Quare fecit sic Jehova terrae huic? quae est ira excandescentiae hujus magnae?
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:
25. Et dicent, Eo quod dereliquerunt pactum Jehovae Dei patrum suorum, quod pepigit cum eis, quum educeret eos e terra Aegypti:
26. For they went and served other gods, and worshipped them, gods whom they knew not, and whom he had not given unto them:
26. Et abeuntes coluerunt deos alienos, incurvaveruntque se eis: deos, inquam, quos non noverant, et qui nihil impertiti fuerant illis:
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:
27. Et irata est excandescentia Jehovae in terram ipsam, ut induceret super eam omnem maledictionem scriptam in hoc libro:
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.
28. Extirpavitque eos Jehova e terra ipsorum in ira, et indignatione, et excandescentia magna, et projecit eos in terram aliam, sicut hodie.
It would have been, therefore, very disgraceful not to embrace eagerly and ardently so signal a pledge of his love. Nevertheless, the question here arises, how the little children could have passed into covenant, when they were not yet of a proper age to learn (its contents;5) the reply is easy, that, although they did not receive by faith the promised salvation, nor, on the other hand, renounce the flesh so as to dedicate themselves to God, still they were bound to God by the same obligations under which their parents laid themselves; for, since the grace was common to all, it was fitting that their consent to testify their gratitude should also be universal; so that when the children had come to age, they should more cheerfully endeavor after holiness, when they remembered that they had been already dedicated to God. For circumcision was a sign of their adoption from their mother's womb; and therefore, although they were not yet possessed of faith or understanding, God had a paternal power over them, because He had conferred upon them so great an honor. Thus, now-a-days, infants are initiated into the service of God,6 whom they do not yet know, by baptism; because He marks them out as His own peculiar people, and claims them as His children when He ingrafts them into the body of Christ. Moses goes further, stating that their descendants were bound by the same covenant, as if already enthralled to God; and surely, since slavery passes on by inheritance, it ought not to appear absurd that the same right should be assigned to God which mortal men claim for themselves. What he says, then, is tantamount to reminding the Israelites that they covenanted with God in the name of their offspring, so as to devote both themselves and those belonging to them to His service.
The conclusion of verse 18, "
From this passage, therefore, let us learn that nothing is worse than to hope for peace, whilst we wage war with God; and to promise ourselves that He will let us alone, when we provoke Him by the impetuosity of our lusts.
The conclusion of the verse, "to add the drunken to the thirsty," is variously explained on account of its ambiguity.10 I am ashamed to repeat the silly triflings of the Hebrew interpreters. To me it seems unquestionable that Moses, by a proverbial figure of speech, forbids us to excite the appetites of the flesh, already sufficiently heated, by new stimulants. As, therefore, they are said to add oil to the grate, who add more flames to a fire already lighted,11 so they are said to add the drunken to the thirsty who seek provocatives of their audacity, in order to sin more freely; for lust in a man is like an insatiable dropsy; and if any one indulges in such intemperance, he adds the drunken to the thirsty, i.e., the madness of his own folly to unrestrained desire.
Further, in order the better to express that God will be irreconcilable to such great perversity, he declares that He will exterminate from the earth those who have so wantonly exulted in iniquity; and finally adds, that He will give them up to be accursed (in anathemata,) so that they shall no longer hold a place among the people of Israel. Now, it is a much more grievous thing to be cut off from the elect people, and to be set apart unto evil, as it is here said, than to be deprived of natural life.
Moses amplifies the crime of their rebellion, when he says, that forsaking the God of their fathers, God their deliverer, God who had made a covenant with them, they had gone and served strange and unknown gods, from16 whom they had received no benefits to induce them. For God had bound them to Himself for ever, both by His instruction17 and the incomparable manifestation of His power; there could therefore be no pretense of ignorance, or mistake to excuse their defection from Him, and their prostitution of themselves to unknown idols.
In the meantime, let us learn from this passage anxiously to inquire who is the true God, and what is His will; because there is no true religion without knowledge; and again, if He convicted His ancient people of wicked ingratitude on account of their deliverance, that we also are now much more inexcusable, unless we constantly abide in the faith of our eternal Redeemer.
1 "Stipulator." -- Lat. "Un notaire stipulant." -- Fr.
2 "Peres de famille." -- Fr.
3 "Calones, et lixas." -- Lat. "Les buscherons, porteurs de bagages, et gouiats;" the wood-carriers, baggage-porters, and soldiers'-boys. -- Fr.
4 "Quatre cens ans;" four hundred years. -- Fr.
5 Added from Fr.
6 "Luy sont consacrez par le baptesme, pour estre siens;" are consecrated to Him by baptism, to be His own. -- Fr.
7 Amongst others, De Lyra, whose gloss is, "Some one corrupted by idolatry, who should further corrupt others by his wicked persuasions." Dathe says, "It is a proverbial expression, and its meaning is: lest there should be any rebel against the primary law of worshipping one God, and he should think within himself the things which follow in the next verse."
8 "The word
9 Addition in Fr., "par maniere de dire."
10 Lat., "Ut addat ebriam sitienti." A.V., "To add drunkenness to thirst;" Margin, "The drunken to the thirsty." So Ainsworth, "To add the drunken, to wit, the drunken soul to the thirsty, or the moist to the dry, meaning to add sin unto sin in abundance, as in Isaiah 30:1." Dathe follows Le Clerc, and explains it, "to add water to a thirsty soul;" and compares it to Isaiah 44:3, where, he says, the same metaphor is used, though in a good sense.
11 "Que ceux, qui augmentent le mal, mettent l'huile en la cheminee;" that those who augment an evil put oil into the chimney. -- Fr.
13 "Car ceux qui sous ombre d'eschapper son jugement s'abandonnent 'a pecher, luy font ce dishonneur de le despouiller de son empire;" for those who abandon themselves to sin under cover of escaping His judgment, do him this dishonor of despoiling him of his empire. -- Fr.
14 "Le verbe que nous avons translate condescendre, signifie venir a gre. Ainsi Moyse exclud toutes graces de Dieu;" the verb which we have translated condescend, (the Lord will not condescend to spare him,) signifies to consent. Thus Moses shuts out all the graces of God. -- Fr.
15 Addition in Fr., "Comme Sainct Jude aussi declare, que la foudre dont elles ont este abysmees, est figure du feu eternal;" as St. Jude also declares, that the thunderbolt whereby they were destroyed, is a type of the eternal fire.
16 See margin, A.V. -- "Who had not given to them any portion," v, 26.
17 "Sa parole;" His word. -- Fr.