Deuteronomy 29

1 These [are] the words of the covenant which the LORD commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant which he made with them in Horeb.
2 And Moses called to all Israel, and said to them, Ye 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 temptations which thy eyes have seen, the signs, and those great miracles:
4 Yet the LORD hath not given you a heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, to this day.
5 And I have led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes have not become old upon you, and thy shoe hath not become old upon thy foot.
6 Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drank wine or strong drink: that ye might know that I [am] the LORD your God.
7 And when ye came to this place, Sihon the king of Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, came out against us to battle, and we smote them:
8 And we took their land, and gave it for an inheritance to the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to the half-tribe of Manasseh.
9 Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do.
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,
11 Your little ones, your wives, and thy stranger that [is] in thy camp, from the hewer of thy wood to the drawer of thy water:
12 That thou shouldst enter into covenant with the LORD thy God, and into his oath, which the LORD thy God maketh with thee this day:
13 That he may establish thee to-day for a people to himself, and [that] he may be to thee a God, as he hath said to thee, and as he hath sworn to thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
14 Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath;
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:
16 (For ye know how we have dwelt in the land of Egypt; and how we came through the nations which ye passed by;
17 And ye have seen their abominations, and their idols, wood and stone, silver and gold, which [were] among them:)
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;
19 And it should come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he should bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of my heart, to add drunkenness to thirst:
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.
21 And the LORD shall separate him to 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:
22 So that the generation to come of your children that shall arise after you, and the stranger that shall come from a distant land, shall say, when they see the plagues of that land, and the sicknesses which the LORD hath laid upon it;
23 [And that] the whole land of it is brimstone, and salt, [and] burning, [that] it is not sown, nor doth it bear, nor doth any grass grow in it, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger and in his wrath:
24 Even all the nations shall say, Why hath the LORD done thus to this land? what [meaneth] the heat of this great anger?
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 from the land of Egypt:
26 For they went and served other gods, and worshiped them, gods which they knew not, and which he had not given to them:
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:
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.
29 The secret [things belong] to the LORD our God: but those [things which are] revealed [belong] to us, and to our children for ever, 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.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO DEUTERONOMY 29

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