Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
1. All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe
to do, that ye may live--In all the wise arrangements of our Creator
duty has been made inseparably connected with happiness; and the
earnest enforcement of the divine law which Moses was making to the
Israelites was in order to secure their being a happy (because a moral
and religious) people: a course of prosperity is often called "life"
live, and multiply--This reference to the future increase of their
population proves that they were too few to occupy the land fully at
2, 3. thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee
these forty years in the wilderness--The recapitulation of all
their checkered experience during that long period was designed to
awaken lively impressions of the goodness of God. First, Moses showed
them the object of their protracted wanderings and varied hardships.
These were trials of their obedience as well as chastisements for sin.
Indeed, the discovery of their infidelity, inconstancy, and their
rebellions and perverseness which this varied discipline brought to
light, was of eminently practical use to the Israelites themselves, as
it has been to the church in all subsequent ages. Next, he enlarged on
the goodness of God to them, while reduced to the last extremities of
despair, in the miraculous provision which, without anxiety or labor,
was made for their daily support
Possessing no nutritious properties inherent in it, this contributed to
their sustenance, as indeed all food does
solely through the ordinance and blessing of God. This remark is
applicable to the means of spiritual as well as natural life.
4. Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell,
these forty years--What a striking miracle was this! No doubt the
Israelites might have brought from Egypt more clothes than they wore at
their outset; they might also have obtained supplies of various
articles of food and raiment in barter with the neighboring tribes for
the fleeces and skins of their sheep and goats; and in furnishing them
with such opportunities the care of Providence appeared. But the strong
and pointed terms which Moses here uses (see also
indicate a special or miraculous interposition of their loving Guardian
in preserving them amid the wear and tear of their nomadic life in the
desert. Thirdly, Moses expatiated on the goodness of the promised
7. For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land--All accounts,
ancient and modern, concur in bearing testimony to the natural beauty
and fertility of Palestine, and its great capabilities if properly
a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of
valleys and hills--These characteristic features are mentioned first,
as they would be most striking; and all travellers describe how
delightful and cheerful it is, after passing through the barren and
thirsty desert, to be among running brooks and swelling hills and
verdant valleys. It is observable that water is mentioned as the chief
source of its ancient fertility.
8. A land of wheat, and barley--These cereal fruits were specially
promised to the Israelites in the event of their faithful allegiance to
the covenant of God
(Ps 81:16; 147:14).
The wheat and barley were so abundant as to yield sixty and often an
vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates--The limestone rocks and
abrupt valleys were entirely covered, as traces of them still show,
with plantations of figs, vines, and olive trees. Though in a southern
latitude, its mountainous formations tempered the excessive heat, and
hence, figs, pomegranates, &c., were produced in Palestine equally with
wheat and barley, the produce of northern regions.
honey--The word "honey" is used often in a loose, indeterminate sense,
very frequently to signify a syrup of dates or of grapes, which under
the name of dibs is much used by all classes, wherever vineyards are
found, as a condiment to their food. It resembles thin molasses, but is
more pleasant to the taste [ROBINSON]. This is esteemed a great
delicacy in the East, and it was produced abundantly in Palestine.
9. a land whose stones are iron--The abundance of this metal in
Palestine, especially among the mountains of Lebanon, those of
Kesraoun, and elsewhere, is attested not only by JOSEPHUS, but by
Volney, Buckingham, and other travellers.
brass--not the alloy brass, but the ore of copper. Although the
mines may now be exhausted or neglected, they yielded plenty of those
(1Ch 22:3; 29:2-7;
11-20. Beware that thou forget not the Lord--After mentioning those
instances of the divine goodness, Moses founded on them an argument for
their future obedience.
15. Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein
were fiery serpents, and scorpions--Large and venomous reptiles are
found in great numbers there still, particularly in autumn. Travellers
must use great caution in arranging their tents and beds at night; even
during the day the legs not only of men, but of the animals they ride,
are liable to be bitten.
who brought thee forth water out of the rock of