Deuteronomy 29

Renewal of the Covenant

1 These are the terms of the covenant the LORD commanded Moses to make with the Israelites in Moab, in addition to the covenant he had made with them at Horeb.
2 Moses summoned all the Israelites and said to them: Your eyes have seen all that the LORD did in Egypt to Pharaoh, to all his officials and to all his land.
3 With your own eyes you saw those great trials, those signs and great wonders.
4 But to this day the LORD has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear.
5 Yet the LORD says, “During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet.
6 You ate no bread and drank no wine or other fermented drink. I did this so that you might know that I am the LORD your God.”
7 When you reached this place, Sihon king of Heshbon and Og king of Bashan came out to fight against us, but we defeated them.
8 We took their land and gave it as an inheritance to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh.
9 Carefully follow the terms of this covenant, so that you may prosper in everything you do.
10 All of you are standing today in the presence of the LORD your God—your leaders and chief men, your elders and officials, and all the other men of Israel,
11 together with your children and your wives, and the foreigners living in your camps who chop your wood and carry your water.
12 You are standing here in order to enter into a covenant with the LORD your God, a covenant the LORD is making with you this day and sealing with an oath,
13 to confirm you this day as his people, that he may be your God as he promised you and as he swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
14 I am making this covenant, with its oath, not only with you
15 who are standing here with us today in the presence of the LORD our God but also with those who are not here today.
16 You yourselves know how we lived in Egypt and how we passed through the countries on the way here.
17 You saw among them their detestable images and idols of wood and stone, of silver and gold.
18 Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the LORD our God to go and worship the gods of those nations; make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison.
19 When such a person hears the words of this oath and they invoke a blessing on themselves, thinking, “I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way,” they will bring disaster on the watered land as well as the dry.
20 The LORD will never be willing to forgive them; his wrath and zeal will burn against them. All the curses written in this book will fall on them, and the LORD will blot out their names from under heaven.
21 The LORD will single them out from all the tribes of Israel for disaster, according to all the curses of the covenant written in this Book of the Law.
22 Your children who follow you in later generations and foreigners who come from distant lands will see the calamities that have fallen on the land and the diseases with which the LORD has afflicted it.
23 The whole land will be a burning waste of salt and sulfur—nothing planted, nothing sprouting, no vegetation growing on it. It will be like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboyim, which the LORD overthrew in fierce anger.
24 All the nations will ask: “Why has the LORD done this to this land? Why this fierce, burning anger?”
25 And the answer will be: “It is because this people abandoned the covenant of the LORD, the God of their ancestors, the covenant he made with them when he brought them out of Egypt.
26 They went off and worshiped other gods and bowed down to them, gods they did not know, gods he had not given them.
27 Therefore the LORD’s anger burned against this land, so that he brought on it all the curses written in this book.
28 In furious anger and in great wrath the LORD uprooted them from their land and thrust them into another land, as it is now.”
29 The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.

Deuteronomy 29 Commentary

Chapter 29

Moses calls Israel's mercies to remembrance. (1-9) The Divine wrath on those who flatter themselves in their wickedness. (10-21) The ruin of the Jewish nation. (22-28) Secret things belong unto God. (29)

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, to 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.

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 men are 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 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.

Verse 29 Moses ends his prophecy of the Jews' rejection, just as St. Paul ends his discourse on the same subject, when it began to be fulfilled, ( Romans 11:33 ) . We are forbidden curiously to inquire into the secret counsels of God, and to determine concerning them. But we are directed and encouraged, diligently to seek into that which God has made known. He has kept back nothing that is profitable for us, but only that of which it is good for us to be ignorant. The end of all Divine revelation is, not to furnish curious subjects of speculation and discourse, but that we may do all the words of this law, and be blessed in our deed. This, the Bible plainly reveals; further than this, man cannot profitably go. By this light he may live and die comfortably, and be happy for ever.

Cross References 45

  • 1. S Leviticus 7:38
  • 2. S Exodus 3:1; Deuteronomy 5:2-3
  • 3. Exodus 19:4
  • 4. S Deuteronomy 4:34; Deuteronomy 7:19
  • 5. Isaiah 6:10; Isaiah 32:3; Isaiah 48:8; Jeremiah 5:21; Ezekiel 12:2; S Matthew 13:15; Acts 28:26-27; Romans 11:8*; Ephesians 4:18
  • 6. S Deuteronomy 8:2
  • 7. S Deuteronomy 8:4
  • 8. S Leviticus 10:9
  • 9. Deuteronomy 8:3
  • 10. S Numbers 21:26; Deuteronomy 2:32; Deuteronomy 3:1
  • 11. S Numbers 21:25
  • 12. Nu 21:21-24,33-35; Dt 2:26-3:11
  • 13. Psalms 78:55; Psalms 135:12; Psalms 136:22
  • 14. Numbers 32:33; Deuteronomy 3:12-13
  • 15. S Deuteronomy 4:6; S Joshua 1:7
  • 16. Exodus 19:5; Psalms 25:10; Psalms 103:18
  • 17. Joshua 1:8; 2 Chronicles 31:21; 1 Kings 2:3
  • 18. Jos 9:21,23,27; 1 Chronicles 20:3
  • 19. S Genesis 6:18; S Exodus 19:6; Deuteronomy 28:9
  • 20. S Genesis 17:7; Exodus 6:7
  • 21. Exodus 19:5; Isaiah 59:21; Jeremiah 31:31; Jeremiah 32:40; Jeremiah 50:5; Ezekiel 16:62; Ezekiel 37:26; Hebrews 8:7-8
  • 22. S Genesis 6:18; Acts 2:39
  • 23. Exodus 20:23; Deuteronomy 4:28; Deuteronomy 28:36
  • 24. S Deuteronomy 13:6
  • 25. S Deuteronomy 11:16; Hebrews 12:15
  • 26. Psalms 72:17; Isaiah 65:16
  • 27. Psalms 36:2
  • 28. S Exodus 23:21
  • 29. Exodus 34:14; Ezekiel 23:25; Zephaniah 1:18
  • 30. Psalms 74:1; Psalms 79:5; Psalms 80:4; Ezekiel 36:5
  • 31. Exodus 32:33; Deuteronomy 9:14; 2 Kings 13:23; 2 Kings 14:27; Revelation 3:5
  • 32. Deuteronomy 32:23; Ezekiel 7:26
  • 33. S Deuteronomy 28:61
  • 34. Jeremiah 19:8; Jeremiah 49:17; Jeremiah 50:13
  • 35. Isaiah 1:7; Isaiah 6:11; Isaiah 9:18; Isaiah 64:10; Jeremiah 12:11; Jeremiah 44:2,6; Micah 5:11; Isaiah 34:9
  • 36. S Genesis 13:10; Ezekiel 47:11; Jeremiah 17:6
  • 37. S Genesis 19:24,25; Zephaniah 2:9; S Matthew 10:15; Romans 9:29
  • 38. S Genesis 14:8
  • 39. 1 Kings 9:8; 2 Chronicles 36:19; Jeremiah 16:10; Jeremiah 22:8-9; Jeremiah 52:13
  • 40. 2 Kings 17:23; 2 Chronicles 36:21
  • 41. S Deuteronomy 28:15; Da 9:11,13,14
  • 42. Psalms 7:11
  • 43. 1 Kings 14:15; 2 Chronicles 7:20; Psalms 9:6; Psalms 52:5; Proverbs 2:22; Jeremiah 12:14; Jeremiah 31:28; Jeremiah 42:10; Ezekiel 19:12
  • 44. Acts 1:7
  • 45. John 5:39; Acts 17:11; 2 Timothy 3:16

Chapter Summary


This chapter begins with an intimation of another covenant the Lord was about to make with the people of Israel, De 29:1; and, to prepare their minds to an attention to it, various things which the Lord had done for them are recited, De 29:2-9; the persons are particularly mentioned with whom the covenant would now be made, the substance of which is, that they should be his people, and he their God, De 29:10-15; and since they had seen the idols in Egypt and other countries, with which they might have been ensnared, they are cautioned against idolatry and idolaters, as being most provoking to the Lord, De 29:16-21; which would bring destruction not only on particular persons, but upon their whole land, to the amazement of posterity; who, inquiring the reason of it, will be told, it was because they forsook the covenant of God, and particularly were guilty of idolatry, which, whether privately or openly committed, would be always punished, De 29:22-29.

Deuteronomy 29 Commentaries

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