Deuteronomy 29

1 These are the terms of the promise that the LORD commanded Moses to give to the Israelites in Moab. This was in addition to the promise the LORD gave them at Mount Horeb.
2 Moses summoned all the people of Israel and said to them: You've seen with your own eyes everything that the LORD did in Egypt to Pharaoh, to all his officials, and to his whole country.
3 You also saw those terrible plagues, those miraculous signs, and those spectacular, amazing things.
4 But to this day the LORD hasn't given you a mind that understands, eyes that see, or ears that hear.
5 For 40 years I led you through the desert. During that time your clothes and shoes never wore out.
6 You ate no bread and drank no wine or liquor. I did this so that you would know that I am the LORD your God.
7 When you came to this place, King Sihon of Heshbon and King Og of Bashan came out to fight us, but we defeated them.
8 We took their land and gave it to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of the tribe of Manasseh as their property.
9 Faithfully obey the terms of this promise. Then you will be successful in everything you do.
10 All of you are standing here today in the presence of the LORD your God. The heads of your tribes, your leaders, your officers, and all the men of Israel are here.
11 Your children, your wives, and the foreigners who cut wood and carry water in your camp are also here.
12 You are ready to accept the terms and conditions of the promise that the LORD your God is giving you today.
13 With this promise the LORD will confirm today that you are his people and that he is your God. This is what he told you, and this is what he promised your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob with an oath.
14 You aren't the only people to receive this promise and its conditions.
15 It is for those of you who are standing here with us today in the presence of the LORD our God and also for those who are not here today.
16 You know how we lived in Egypt and how we passed through other countries on our way here.
17 You saw their disgusting gods and idols made of wood, stone, silver, and gold.
18 Make sure there is no man, woman, family, or tribe among you today who turns from the LORD our God to worship the gods of those nations. Make sure that no one among you is the source of this kind of bitter poison.
19 Someone may hear the conditions of this promise. He may think that he is so blessed that he can say, "I'll be safe even if I go my own stubborn way. After all, [the LORD would never] sweep away well-watered ground along with dry ground."
20 The LORD will never be willing to forgive that person, because the LORD's burning anger will smolder against him. All the curses described in this book will happen to him. The LORD will erase [every memory of] that person's name from the earth.
21 And the LORD will single him out from all the tribes of Israel for disaster based on all the conditions of the promise written in this Book of the Teachings.
22 Then the next generation of your children and foreigners who come from distant countries will see the plagues that have happened in this land and the diseases the LORD sent here.
23 They will see all the soil poisoned with sulfur and salt. Nothing will be planted. Nothing will be growing. There will be no plants in sight. It will be as desolate as Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, cities the LORD destroyed in fierce anger.
24 Then all the other nations in the world will ask, "Why has the LORD done this to their land? Why is he so angry?"
25 The answer will be, "Because they abandoned the promise of the LORD God of their ancestors. He made this promise to them when he brought them out of Egypt.
26 They worshiped other gods and bowed down to them. These were gods they never heard of, gods the LORD didn't permit them to have.
27 So the LORD became angry with this land and brought on it all the curses described in this book.
28 In his fierce anger and fury the LORD uprooted these people from their land and deported them to another country, where they still are today."
29 Some things are hidden. They belong to the LORD our God. But the things that have been revealed in these teachings belong to us and to our children forever. We must obey every word of these teachings.

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.

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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