Deuteronomy 29

Listen to Deuteronomy 29

The Covenant Renewed in Moab

1 [a] These are the words of the covenant that the LORD commanded Moses to make with the people of Israel 1in the land of Moab, besides 2the covenant that he had made with them at Horeb.
2 [b] And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: 3"You have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land,
3 the great 4trials that your eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders.
4 But to this day 5the LORD has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear.
5 6I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn off your feet.
6 7You have not eaten bread, and you have not drunk wine or strong drink, that you may know that I am the LORD your God.
7 And when you came to this place, 8Sihon the king of Heshbon and Og the king of Bashan came out against us to battle, but we defeated them.
8 We took their land and 9gave it for an inheritance to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of the Manassites.
9 10Therefore keep the words of this covenant and do them, that you may prosper[c] in all that you do.
10 "You are standing today all of you before the LORD your God: the heads of your tribes,[d] your elders, and your officers, all the men of Israel,
11 your little ones, your wives, and the 11sojourner who is in your camp, from 12the one who chops your wood to the one who draws your water,
12 so that you may enter into the 13sworn covenant of the LORD your God, which the LORD your God is making with you today,
13 that he may 14establish you today as his people, and that 15he may be your God, as he promised you, and 16as he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
14 It is not with you alone 17that I am making this sworn covenant,
15 but with whoever is standing here with us today before the LORD our God, 18and with whoever is not here with us today.
16 "You know how we lived in the land of Egypt, and how we came through the midst of the nations through which you passed.
17 And you have seen their detestable things, their idols of wood and stone, of silver and gold, which were among them.
18 Beware lest there be among you a man or woman or clan or tribe whose heart is turning away today from the LORD our God to go and serve the gods of those nations. Beware lest there be among you 19a root bearing poisonous and bitter fruit,
19 one who, when he hears the words of this sworn covenant, blesses himself in his heart, saying, 'I shall be safe, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart.' This will lead to the sweeping away of moist and dry alike.
20 The LORD will not be willing to forgive him, but rather 20the anger of the LORD and 21his jealousy will smoke against that man, and the curses written in this book will settle upon him, and the LORD 22 will blot out his name from under heaven.
21 And the LORD will single him out from all the tribes of Israel for calamity, in accordance with all the curses of the covenant written in this Book of the Law.
22 And the next generation, your children who rise up after you, and the foreigner who comes from a far land, 23will say, when they see the afflictions of that land and the sicknesses with which the LORD has made it sick--
23 the whole land burned out with brimstone and 24salt, nothing sown and nothing growing, where no plant can sprout, 25an overthrow like that of Sodom and Gomorrah, 26Admah, and Zeboiim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger and wrath--
24 all the nations 27will say, 28'Why has the LORD done thus to this land? What caused the heat of this great anger?'
25 Then people will say, 'It is because they abandoned the covenant of the LORD, the God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them out of the land of Egypt,
26 and went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods whom they had not known and whom he had not allotted to them.
27 Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against this land, 29bringing upon it all the curses written in this book,
28 and the LORD 30uprooted them from their land in anger and fury and great wrath, and 31cast them into another land, as they are this day.'
29 "The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do 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 31

  • 1. Deuteronomy 1:5
  • 2. Deuteronomy 5:2, 3
  • 3. Exodus 19:4; [Joshua 23:3]
  • 4. See Deuteronomy 4:34
  • 5. [Isaiah 6:9, 10; Isaiah 63:17; John 8:43; Acts 28:26, 27; Romans 11:8, 10]
  • 6. Deuteronomy 1:3; Deuteronomy 8:2, 4; Amos 2:10; Acts 13:18
  • 7. Deuteronomy 8:3; See Exodus 16:4
  • 8. Deuteronomy 2:24, 26, 32; Deuteronomy 3:1; See Numbers 21:21-24, 33-35
  • 9. Deuteronomy 3:12, 13; Numbers 32:33
  • 10. Deuteronomy 4:6
  • 11. [Exodus 12:38]
  • 12. [Josh. 9:21, 23, 27]
  • 13. Nehemiah 10:29
  • 14. Deuteronomy 28:9
  • 15. Exodus 6:7
  • 16. Genesis 17:7; [Genesis 50:24]
  • 17. [Jeremiah 31:31-33; Hebrews 8:8-10]
  • 18. [Acts 2:39]
  • 19. Hebrews 12:15
  • 20. Psalms 74:1
  • 21. Psalms 79:5
  • 22. See Deuteronomy 9:14
  • 23. ver. 24
  • 24. Judges 9:45; Jeremiah 17:6; Ezekiel 47:11; Zephaniah 2:9
  • 25. Genesis 19:24, 25; Jeremiah 20:16; Jeremiah 49:18; Jeremiah 50:40; 2 Peter 2:6
  • 26. Genesis 14:2; Hosea 11:8
  • 27. ver. 22
  • 28. 1 Kings 9:8, 9; Jeremiah 22:8, 9
  • 29. See Deuteronomy 28:15-68; Leviticus 26:14-39; Daniel 9:11-14
  • 30. 1 Kings 14:15; 2 Chronicles 7:20; Jeremiah 12:14
  • 31. Jeremiah 22:26

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. Ch 28:69 in Hebrew
  • [b]. Ch 29:1 in Hebrew
  • [c]. Or deal wisely
  • [d]. Septuagint, Syriac; Hebrew your heads, your tribes

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

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.