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Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament

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DEUTERONOMY 28

This incredible chapter is the marvel of three millenniums! One may read in these tragic pronouncements the history of the nation of Israel, a history written by the great prophet who loved them enough to die for them, a history written 3,400 years before the events related! Where on earth is there anything else to compare with Deuteronomy? Furthermore, it is a history still being unfolded, day by day, decade by decade, century by century in every particular true to the pattern Moses outlined here. In this fantastic prophecy there is dissolved and expelled every shadow of doubt as to the author of these phenomenally dramatic lines. God Himself is the Author! None except Almighty God could have written such a circumstantial and accurate account of a whole nation of people, millenniums before it happened. Such a heart-breaking history could never have been written by a priesthood in Israel, regardless of when! No mere man, nor any group of mere men would have consented to lay out a projection such as this which drowned every legitimate hope of Israel in shame and tears. Not even Moses could have done it, or would have done it, unless it had been upon the express command and compulsion of the Almighty God.

There is another factor here. At the time when the Pentateuch was written by Moses, approximately 1400 B.C., we find it difficult to believe that Moses himself could have brought himself to write these curses, unless it had been true that when he wrote, the issue was not yet decided. The die was not yet cast; it still remained a hope in the heart of the Great Type of Jesus that Israel would avoid such curses by faithful adherence to the Word of God.

But "in the seventh century B.C.,"F1 some seven hundred years later, when Israel had already been rejected and disinherited as the Chosen People, could any Jew have brought himself to call down such imprecations upon Israel as those in this chapter, and which any discerning priest could not fail to have recognized as being fully deserved by Israel? The answer is absolutely NO! The ridiculous critical theories about a post-Mosaic date for the Pentateuch are blasted into oblivion by this single chapter! Thus, there is within the sacred text itself, as we have so frequently noted, the inherent, built-in proof of its integrity and authenticity.

The first fourteen verses of this lengthy chapter detail the blessings Israel will inherit from God, provided they continue in his ways.


 
Verses 1-6
And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of Jehovah thy God, to observe to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that Jehovah thy God will set thee on high above all the nations of the earth: and all these blessings shall come upon thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of Jehovah thy God. Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy beasts, the increase of thy cattle, and the young of thy flock. Blessed shall be thy basket and thy kneading-trough. Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.

Throughout the whole chapter, it appears that language itself breaks down as an adequate vehicle for enumerating all the blessings that God will give Israel. Among these blessings are prosperity in city, in field, in posterity, in wealth, and in the exaltation of Israel "high above all nations!" Israel, however failed to understand the two biggest words in this paragraph, namely, the mountain-high IF in Deut. 28:1, and there is another IF just like it in Deut. 28:2.


 
Verses 7-14
Jehovah will cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thee: they shall come out against thee one way, and shall flee before thee seven ways. Jehovah will command the blessing upon thee in thy barns, and in all that thou puttest thy hand unto; and he will bless thee in the land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee. Jehovah will establish thee for a holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee; if thou shalt keep the commandments of Jehovah thy God, and walk in his ways. And all the peoples of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of Jehovah; and they shall be afraid of thee. And Jehovah will make thee plenteous for good, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which Jehovah sware unto thy fathers to give thee. Jehovah will open unto thee his good treasure the heavens, to give the rain of thy land in its season, and to bless all the work of thy hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow. And Jehovah will make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if thou shalt hearken unto the commandments of Jehovah thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do [them], and shalt not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.

Again notice the recurring IF in Deut. 28:9 and Deut. 28:13,14. Also, it is significant that both in this paragraph and in the preceding one, there is the exaltation of Israel "high above all nations," "the head, and not the tail," "above only, and not beneath," etc. In a word, all these blessings are merely facets of the larger promise that God would bless Israel in every conceivable way, bodily health, material wealth, victory in war, etc. etc. One cannot think of any blessing that is not included in these superlative promises, even "everything to which they would put their hands" would prosper!


 
Verses 15-19
But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of Jehovah thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day, that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee. Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. Cursed shall be thy basket and thy kneading-trough. Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, the increase of thy cattle, and the young of thy flock. Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out.

It is obvious that these five verses are the exact reverse of Deut. 28:3-6. Entry into Canaan would in no sense EXEMPT Israel from the obligations of the covenant. Can it be otherwise in the kingdom of God? There is a powerful parallelism between what happened to Israel and what can and frequently does happen to members in the body of Christ. Many have pointed out that Israel received the promised land as "an unmerited gift"; and indeed they did, in exactly the same way that the grace of God, through his unmerited favor, receives followers of Christ today into his kingdom. Furthermore, even if Israel had faithfully obeyed God's commandments and kept his statutes, even the fullest possible measure of their obedience could never in a million years have altered the "unmerited" and "unearned" nature of blessings which they received.

However, reckless disobedience and rebellion against God's rules could, and in the case of Israel, did forfeit all of those unmerited favors. Is it not also true in the kingdom of Christ? Saved by grace as we surely are, recipients of unmerited favor from God, rejoicing in a salvation we did not earn nor could we ever earn; but we may surely forfeit all such mercies and blessings through willful and continual disobedience and rebellion against the ordinances and statutes God has commanded. Is not this exactly what Paul was saying in the following passage?

"All your fathers were baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and did all drink the same spiritual drink. Howbeit, with most of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness ... Now these things happened unto them by way of example; and they were written for our admonition ... Wherefore, let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." (1 Cor. 1-10)

What follows in this chapter is a series of parallel pictures, five successive tableaus, each depicting in specific and severe language the total ruin of the Chosen Nation. These five paragraphs are in Deut. 28:20-26,27-37,38-48,49-57, and Deut. 28:58-68. In each of these presentations, there is nothing less than the loss "of Israel's status as the people of God's kingdom."F2 It is most regrettable that the Protestant world as a whole, even today, have failed to recognize that, without exception, all of the vaunted privileges of the once Chosen People have been taken away. Indeed, God once promised to make them first in all things, high above all nations, above only, but not beneath, etc., but is this the status of Israel now? NO. Repeatedly, the N.T. declares that them "is no distinction" between Jew and Gentile (Romans 12:10), Peter was commanded to go to Cornelius "making no distinction" between Jew and Gentile (Acts 11:12). In the instance of that great type of Israel, the prophet Jonah's refusal to preach to Nineveh, he was "cast overboard," a figure of God's rejection of Israel for her refusal to receive Gentiles as fellow-heirs of God's grace. In the prophecy of Zechariah, God commanded the prophet to break both of his staves -- Beauty and Bands. One symbolized the abrogated covenant which God cancelled, and the other symbolized the removal of all racial considerations as being connected in any manner with redemption. And, if all of this should leave any doubt, let the reader turn and digest Hos. 9, where God flatly declared, "Therefore, I hate you (Israel), and I do cast you away, I shall not love you any more." (Hosea 9:15,16). (See my comment on this chapter in my commentary, Vol. 2 on the minor prophets.)

Furthermore, in the epistle of 1 Pet. 2, all of the once-proud titles of Israel were preempted and applied to the New Israel in Christ Jesus, which throughout this whole dispensation is the only Israel God has!

In these next five paragraphs, we shall marvel at how God said all this five times in succession!

FIRST DENUNCIATION

Here is Cook's summary of this paragraph: "The curse of God shall rest on all they did, and should issue in manifold forms of disease, in famine, and in defeat in war."F3


 
Verses 20-26
Jehovah will send upon thee cursing, discomfiture, and rebuke, in all that thou puttest thy hand unto to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the evil of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me. Jehovah will make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest in to possess it. Jehovah will smite thee with consumption, and with fever, and with inflammation, and with fiery heat, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish. And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron. Jehovah will make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed. Jehovah will cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies; thou shalt go out one way against them, and shalt flee seven ways before them: and thou shalt be tossed to and from among all the kingdoms of the earth. And thy dead body shall be food unto all birds of the heavens, and unto the beasts of the earth; and there shall be none to frighten them away.

Among all the kingdoms of the earth…
(Deuteronomy 28:25). What other race of the earth's peoples have been so dispersed among all nations as the Jews? This part of this fantastic prophecy is being fulfilled at this very moment, as has been the case already, for thousands of years. But this prophecy goes far beyond that. The mention of the great Supper of God in Deut. 28:26 transcends and reaches beyond the mere history of nations. This is a reference to that great eschatological holocaust in which God will terminate his Experiment Adam. (See Rev. 19:17-18, and my commentary thereon in Vol. 12 of the N.T. series.)

Kline recognized this properly as a figurative presentation of the final judgment and the total destruction of the entire rebellious portion of the race of Adam. This is that same event, of which Zephaniah spoke (Zephaniah 2:1-3), in which God promised to "wipe this Adam (meaning the whole race) off the face of the earth," The import of this is exceedingly grave. It denies that, through some supreme act of mercy, God will intervene in spite of Israel's wickedness and save them anyway. In the Holy Scriptures, salvation is promised only through Jesus Christ, and there are not TWO ways to be saved. As our Lord expressed it, "No one cometh unto the Father except by me!"

SECOND DENUNCIATION

Summary of following paragraph: "These are judgments on the body, mind, and outward circumstances of the sinners."F4


 
Verses 27-37
Jehovah will smite thee with the boil of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scurvy, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed. Jehovah will smite thee with madness, and with blindness, and with astonishment of heart; and thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways: and thou shalt be only oppressed and robbed alway, and there shall be none to save thee. Thou shalt betroth a wife, and another man shall lie with her: thou shalt build a house, and thou shalt not dwell therein: thou shalt plant a vineyard, and shalt not use the fruit thereof. Thine ox shall be slain before thine eyes, and thou shalt not eat thereof: thine ass shall be violently taken away from before thy face, and shall not be restored to thee: thy sheep shall be given unto thine enemies, and thou shalt have none to save thee. Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people; and thine eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day: and there shall be nought in the power of thy hand. The fruit of thy ground, and all thy labors, shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up; and thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed alway; so that thou shalt be mad for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see. Jehovah will smite thee in the knees, and in the legs, with a sore boil, whereof thou canst not be healed, from the sole of thy foot unto the crown of thy head. Jehovah will bring thee, and thy king whom thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation that thou hast not known, thou nor thy fathers; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone. And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all the peoples whither Jehovah shall lead thee away.

The destruction of Israel as a kingdom is clearly prophesied here. It is not necessary to suppose that this prophecy was written at a time after one of the kingdoms of Israel, or both of them, had been removed into captivity. Long before either the northern or southern kingdom had been removed by captivity, the prophet Amos had written: "Behold the eyes of the Lord Jehovah are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth" (Amos 9:8). The monarchy of Israel was itself an affront unto God and represented the rebellion of Israel against God.

Kline and others pointed out the chiastic arrangement in this paragraph, i.e., a rhetorical sequence featuring a contrast by parallelism in reverse order. Thus, we have:

(a) incurable disease (Deuteronomy 28:37);

(b) madness (Deuteronomy 28:28);

(c) continual oppression (Deuteronomy 28:29);

(d) frustration (Deuteronomy 28:30-32);

(c) continual oppression (Deuteronomy 28:33);

(b) madness (Deuteronomy 28:34); and

(a) incurable disease (Deuteronomy 28:25).F5

Such minute attention to arrangement and detail indicates the care and forethought which lie behind every paragraph in the Word of God.

It would appear that many of the disasters predicted in Deut. 28:30-34, "were the consequence of defeat in war and oppression by foreign powers."F6 An example of the historical fulfillment of this is found in Judg. 6:3-6.

THIRD DENUNCIATION

Summary: "This series affects every kind of labor and enterprise until it has accomplished the total ruin of the nation, and its subjection to its enemies."F7


 
Verses 38-48
Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather little in; for the locust shall consume it. Thou shalt plant vineyards and dress them, but thou shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather [the grapes]; for the worm shall eat them. Thou shalt have olive-trees throughout all thy borders, but thou shalt not anoint thyself with the oil; for thine olive shall cast [its fruit]. Thou shalt beget sons and daughters, but they shall not be thine; for they shall go into captivity. All thy trees and the fruit of thy ground shall the locust possess. The sojourner that is in the midst of thee shall mount up above thee higher and higher; and thou shalt come down lower and lower. He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail. And all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of Jehovah thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee: and they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed for ever. Because thou servedst not Jehovah thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, by reason of the abundance of all things; therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies that Jehovah shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee.

Scott remarked that, "This whole chapter is full of literary and historical difficulties!"F8 And as regards all scholars who follow the critical denial of the supernatural and of predictive prophecy in particular, it is easy to see that the difficulties presented here are insoluble by their methods. (See the chapter introduction for more on this.) The only comment these remarkable predictions, uttered in the form of curses due to disobedience, require is to be found in the history of Israel, which for millenniums has fulfilled and continues to fulfill every line written here.

This paragraph means far more than the captivity that was sent upon Israel, both nations of which did indeed go into captivity, the greater part of them into the hands of the Assyrians, "the breakers," "the emptiers." the most heartless and brutal of all the nations of antiquity! "A perpetual divine cursing of Israel is predicted."F9 "The punishment of Deut. 28:48, here, amounts to a return to the status from which God called Israel in covenant love (Leviticus 26:13)."F10

FOURTH DENUNCIATION

Summary: "Here we have a description of the calamities and horrors which should ensue when Israel should be subjugated by its foreign foes."F11


 
Verses 49-57
Jehovah will bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; a nation of fierce countenance, that shall not regard the person of the old, nor show favor to the young, and shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy ground, until thou be destroyed; that also shall not leave thee grain, new wine, or oil, the increase of thy cattle, or the young of thy flock, until they have caused thee to perish. And they shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fortified walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land; and they shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which Jehovah thy God hath given thee. And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, whom Jehovah thy God hath given thee, in the siege and in the distress wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee. The man that is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward his brother, and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the remnant of his children whom he hath remaining; so that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his children whom he shall eat, because he hath nothing left him, in the siege and in the distress wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in all thy gates. The tender and delicate woman among you, who would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter, and toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children whom she shall bear; for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly, in the siege and in the distress wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates.

It is obvious that this account of the curses far exceeds in length the summary of the blessing in the first fourteen verses. However, as was pointed out in that section, one cannot imagine any more blessings than those mentioned in that brief account. This unevenness in the volume of words as between the blessings and curses has given rise to all kinds of foolish guesses and suppositions by speculative scholars, usually issuing in the mention of redactors, editors, composite documents, etc., etc., but none of that has any credibility whatever. For example, Watts claimed, without any proof or evidence whatever, that, "This chapter has been expanded in later versions of the book."F12 But as Craigie pointed out, "This imbalance finds several parallels in other Near Eastern texts (patterned after the suzerainty treaties) containing blessings and curses." "For example, in the Code of Hammurabi, the imbalance runs 20 to 1; and in the Lipit-Ishtar laws, the curses outnumber the blessings on a ratio of 3 to 1."F13 In this light, those constant rearrangers and rebuilders of the Bible should keep their hands off Deuteronomy.

A terrible feature of this fourth denunciation is the detailed prophecy of cannibalism, but terrible as these words are, Cook informs us that, "The Hebrew text in fact suggests an extremity of horror which the KJV fails to exhibit."F14 The question that arises here is, "What could possibly have motivated Jewish priests of any century whatever, to put such language, without any authority, into the sacred book of the Hebrew people?" Until the critics can come up with the answer to that, they should forget about their little fairy tale about the Jewish priests authoring any part of Deuteronomy.

The gruesome scenes here predicted (Deuteronomy 28:52-57) were accomplished in the siege of Samaria (2 Kings 6:28).F15 However, as many discerning writers have noted, "The description here applies especially to the Romans and carry one's thoughts immediately to those terrible scenes during the wars of Vespasian and Titus as narrated by Josephus."F16 We might go further and add that only the Romans fulfilled this prophecy, because they alone were from "the ends of the earth" (Deuteronomy 28:49), a stipulation by no means applicable to other alleged fulfillment of this awful prophecy. Josephus indeed has an extensive account of the horrors here foretold.F17

Cook pointed out that the word translated "young one" (Deuteronomy 28:57), "is actually afterbirth."F18

As is repeatedly evident, and as categorically stated, over and over again in this list of curses, it should be clear to all that, "The fulfillment of the promises (Deuteronomy 28:1-14) is conditioned upon full obedience to God's will."F19

Ackand's summary of this portion of Deuteronomy states that, "The circumstances of Israel's eventual decline and fall, and present conditions, are here described with amazing accuracy."F20

The persistent habit, seen throughout the O.T., of using various names for God, is conspicuous in Deuteronomy. As Harrison pointed out, we have the following names of God:F21 "The Living God" (Deuteronomy 5:26), "The Lord, the God of your fathers" (Deuteronomy 6:3), "The God of gods, and Lord of lords" (Deuteronomy 10:17), "The Rock, a God of faithfulness (Deuteronomy 32:4), "The Most High" (Deuteronomy 32:8), and "The Eternal God" (Deuteronomy 33:17).

FIFTH DENUNCIATION

Summary: "Here we have the uprooting of Israel from the Promised Land, and its dispersion amongst other nations."F22


 
Verses 58-68
If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, JEHOVAH THY GOD; then Jehovah will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance. And he will bring upon thee again all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee. Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will Jehovah bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed. And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou didst not hearken unto the voice of Jehovah thy God. And it shall come to pass, that, as Jehovah rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you, so Jehovah will rejoice over you to cause you to perish, and to destroy you; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest in to possess it. And Jehovah will scatter thee among all peoples, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou nor thy fathers, even wood and stone. And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, and there shall be no rest for the sole of thy foot: but Jehovah will give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and pining of soul; and thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear night and day, and shalt have no assurance of thy life. In the morning thou shalt say, Would it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would it were morning! for the fear of thy heart which thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see. And Jehovah will bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I said unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again: and there ye shall sell yourselves unto your enemies for bondmen and for bondwomen, and no man shall buy you.

Here the removal of Israel from the Promised Land is stated as one of the penalties of their repudiation of God's covenant, and, of course, that happened. Yes, following the Babylonian captivity, some of the Jews returned to Palestine, but the status of Israel (the old Israel) was not the same. Whereas they were at one time in covenant relationship with God, even having been allowed a king of their own, and being, in fact, God's wife, as symbolized in the prophecy of Hosea; they returned to the Holy Land, not as God's wife, but as his slave (a status they occupied until the Messiah was born). As God's property until the promise to the patriarchs was fulfilled, they were, of course, protected against annihilation by God's providence, but they remained "without king, without prince, without sacrifice, and without pillar, and without ephod or teraphim" (Hosea 3:4), and in that new and humble status Israel "sat still for God many days" (Hosea 3:3).

Many current scholars think that the restoration of a secular nation called "Israel," in the days of President Truman, is in some manner a sign that God has received Israel back as "his wife," and restored her to her ancient place as "the chosen nation," but an apostle declared that Christians are now "the people of God" (1 Peter 2:10). Christ himself declared that only those "who believe in Christ" are in any sense whatever "sons of Abraham" (John 8). Therefore, the pretension of modern Israel to any Divine sanctions for their usurpation of the ancient land of Canaan, even though they had the help of the U.S.A. and the United Nations, is without any Divine sanction whatever! The true Israel of God today is NOT an ancient racial element going back to Abraham, but it is the community of believers in Jesus Christ, in which all people, including Jews are welcomed to participate. This viewpoint fully harmonizes with what God declared through the apostle Paul, namely, that, "God has put no distinction between them and us" (Romans 10:12).

A discerning paragraph from Kline on this subject is the following:

"Prophetically following the besieged and conquered Israelites into their exile (Deuteronomy 28:64-67), Moses catches with a few strokes all the pathos of unbelieving, homeless Israel down through the long centuries -- once the people of God, but become in their exile like the heathen, without Christ, having no hope, and without God in the world (Ephesians 2:12). By repudiating their election and covenant calling, in virtue of which they had been delivered from Egyptian bondage to become God's theocratic sons, the people of Israel were doomed to fall back into a worse Egyptian bondage (Deuteronomy 28:68), into bondage to Satan, and sin, and death, and Hell."F23

Without at all disagreeing with the spiritual "slavery" in the Egypt of "sin," as indicated in the latter part of Kline's paragraph, above, we should also note that there was a literal return of a great many Jews to the literal Egypt, and that they were transported on ships. "After the capture of Jerusalem, the Roman general Titus sent a great many captives to the Egyptian mines."F24 Adam Clarke tells us that the Jews thus transported were "those above seventeen years of age."F25 Clarke also noted that "the eagle" (Deuteronomy 28:49) was universally identified with the Romans, an image of an eagle being atop all of the standards of all their legions. That, and the mention of an Egyptian slavery accomplished by the transportation "in ships" of many of the Jews to work in the mines of Egypt makes this passage an incontrovertible example of predictive prophecy. Have the critics ever come up with a reasonable means of denying this? No! Over fourteen centuries before it happened, Moses told exactly what would happen. Even the vain efforts attempting to move the authorship of Deuteronomy to a group of incompetent and rebellious priests in whatever century does nothing to aid their cause here! How did they know, in the seventh century, or at any other time, exactly how God would punish Israel?

Cook referred to this passage as the climax:

"Just as the exodus from Egypt was, as it were, the birth of the nation into its covenant relationship with God, so the return to the house of bondage is in like manner the death of it. The mode of conveyance is added to heighten the contrast. They crossed the sea from Egypt with a high hand, the waves of the sea itself being parted before them; but they would go back again cooped up on slave-ships!"F26

The utter contempt in which the Romans would hold the Jews is here prophesied exactly. "They would be offered for sale, and no one would buy them, and therefore they were transported to work the mines of Egypt."F27

In our studies we are deeply impressed with how little the critical scholars have to say about this chapter, but we do not blame them at all!


Footnotes for Deuteronomy 28
1: David F. Payne, Deuteronomy (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1985), p. 2. This author declared that, "Most scholars are of the opinion that Deuteronomy was written some centuries after Moses."
2: Meredith G. Kline, Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Deuteronomy (Chicago: Moody Press, 1962), p. 193.
3: F. C. Cook, Barnes' Notes (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House), p. 323.
4: F. C. Cook, op. cit., p. 425.
5: Meredith G. Kline, op. cit., p. 193.
6: J. R. Dummelow, Commentary on the Holy Bible (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1937), p. 135.
7: F. C. Cook, op. cit., p. 324.
8: D. R. Scott, Abingdon Bible Commentary, Deuteronomy (New York: Abingdon Press, 1929), p. 338.
9: Meredith G. Kline, op. cit., p. 194.
10: Ibid.
11: F. C. Cook, op. cit., p. 325.
12: John D. W. Watts, Beacon Bible Commentary, Deuteronomy (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1970), p. 276.
13: K. A. Kitchen, Ancient Orient and the Old Testament (Published in 1966), footnote No. 41, on page 97.
14: F. C. Cook, op. cit., p. 326.
15: R. K. Harrison, The New Bible Commentary, Revised, Deuteronomy (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1970), p. 225.
16: W. L. Alexander, The Pulpit Commentary, Deuteronomy (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1950), p. 430.
17: Flavius Josephus, Life and Works of, translated by William Whiston (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston), pp. 800-807.
18: F. C. Cook, op. cit., p. 326.
19: Edward P. Blair, The Layman's Bible Commentary, Deuteronomy (Richmond, John Knox Press, 1964), p. 71.
20: Donald F. Ackland, The Teachers' Bible Commentary, Deuteronomy (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1972), p. 132.
21: R. K. Harrison, op. cit., p. 225.
22: F. C. Cook, op. cit., p. 326.
23: Meredith G. Kline, op. cit., p. 184.
24: J. R. Dummelow, Commentary on the Holy Bible (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1937), p. 135.
25: Adam Clarke, Commentary on the Whole Bible, Deuteronomy (New York: T. Mason and G. Lane, 1837), p. 813.
26: F. C. Cook, op. cit., p. 326.
27: W. L. Alexander, op. cit., p. 431.

Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 28". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/bcc/view.cgi?book=de&chapter=028>. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.  

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