Page images

stones : and thou shalt offer burnt offerings thereon unto the LORD thy God : the design of the altar was to offer sacrifices

on, to renew their covenant, to acknowledge God's dominion, 7 and that they held the land under him : And thou shalt offer

peace offerings, and shalt eat there, in token of being recon. 8 ciled to God, and rejoice before the LORD thy God. And

thou shalt write upon the stones all the words of this law very plainly. Thus their communion with God, their relation to him, and their obligations to obey him, were all recognized ; while on the same altar, or monument of stone, peace offerings were pre

sented, and the law was written. ,9 And Moses and the priests the Levites spake unto all Is

rael, on that day when the altar was built, saying, Take heed,

and hearken, O Israel ; this day thou art become the people 10 of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt therefore obey the voice

of the LORD thy God, and do his, commandments and his stat.

utes, which I command thee this day. 11 And Moses charged the people the same day, about pro12 nouncing the blessing and the curse,* saying, These shall stand

upon mount Gerizim, to bless the people, when ye are come

over Jordan ; Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, 13 and Joseph, and Benjamin : And these shall stand upon

mount Ebal to curse ; Reuben, Gad, and Asher, and Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali. The mountains Gerizim and Ebal were so near, that the voice could be heard from one to ihe other, though there might be a deep valley between ; see Judges ix. 6.

This is no uncommon thing in a mountainous country. 14: And the Levitest shall speak and say unto all the men of 15 Israel with a loud voice, Cursed [be] the man that maketh

(any) graven or molten image, an abomination unto the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth [it] in [a] secret (place,] in the most private chamber. And all the people that stood on mount Ebal, shall answer and say, Amen,

80 let it be ; I wish this curse may befall me if I be guilty of this 16 crime. Cursed [be] he that setteth light by his father or his

mother, that despiseth them in his heart, or secretly curseth

them, for if he did it openly, he was to be stoned to death, Lev. 17 xx. 9. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed [be] he

that removeth his neighbour's landmark, with a design to de

fraud his neighbour, or increase his own possessions. And all 18 the people shall say, Amen. Cursed [be] he that maketh

the blind to wander out of the way, who takes advantage of the

This was mentioned before, ch. xi. 29, 30. but it was only to be done once. All the tribes of Israel were to divide, and lialf to stand on the ascent and top of one mnountain, and half on the other.

+ That is, the priests the Levites, for the common Levites stood upon mount Gerizim among the other tribes, v.1. These stood in the valley, and looked to one hill or the other, as they pronounced the curse or the blessing ; for both were pronounced, though only one is mentioned here. The blessing was, Blessed be he that doeth not so and so, &c. and all the people on Gerizim answered, Amen.

** ignorance of others, and gives them bad advice and wicked coun. 19 sel. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed [be] he

that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow ; this means the poor in general. Agreeable to this di. vision of them, Plato ordered the magistrate to be instead of a

friend, a parent, and a husband to the poor. And all the peo20 ple shall say, Amen. Cursed [be] he that lieth with his

father's wife ; because he uncovereth his father's skirt. And 21 all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed [be] he that lieth

with any manner of beast. And all the people shall say, 22 Amen. Cursed [be] he that lieth with his sister, the daugh

ter of his father, or the daughter of his mother. And all the 23 people shall say, Amen. Cursed [be] he that lieth with his 94 mother in law. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed

[be] he that smiteth his neighbour secretly, that committeih murder secretly, or that slanders him, defames him, takes away his good name : though these may go unpunished by men, the

curse of God will follow such. And all the people shall say, 25 Amen. Cursed [be] he that taketh reward to slay an inno

cent person, that is, all corrupt judges, or false witnesses. And

all the people shall say, Amen. Then the chapter and the 26 solemnity conclude with a solemn curse. Cursed [be] he that

confirmeth not [all] the words of this law to do them ; obedience confirms the law, while disobedience subverts it, destroys the end for which it was given, and, as far as lies in the offender's power, disannuls and abolishes it. And all the people shall say, Amen.


1. T ET us learn of how much consequence obedience to the

U law of God is, from the many methods which are taken to promote it : and never venture to make light of any of his commands, when so much has been done to give the people the highest veneration for them, and the greatest opinion of their excellency, sanctity, and importance. · 2. Let us take heed to ourselves, that we may avoid all those sins for which the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedi. ence. There are no such farms of blessing and cursing under the gospel ; yet all this is done, in effect, when we profess the religion of Jesus, in which the wrath of God is revealed from heav. en against all unrighteousness and ungodliness of men. Especially, when in a solemn manner, by baptism, or the Lord's supper, we enter ourselves into a christian covenant. This solemnity was designed to convince Israel, that God's threatenings were not idle terrors, but would be certainly accomplished ; and we cannot but acknowledge this, if we believe the gospel. May we then fly

from the wrath to come ; and labour to be obedient to the will of God, that we may inherit the blessing, even life for evermore.

3. We should be thankful that we are not under the law, but under grace. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us. Gal. iii. 10. where the apostle quotes these last words, to make christians sensible of their great privi. leges. We are still under the law as a rule of life; though bless. ed be God ! not as a covenant of works. We are justified freely by his grace, through faith. The scripture has included, or shut up, all under sin, that the promise by faith in Christ Jesus' might be given to all them that believe. As we are thus delivered from the terrors of mount Sinai, the curses of mount Ebal, and all the rigours of the Jewish dispensation, let us be more solicitous to walk in the fear and love of the Lord, and in the observance of his precepts. For he that despises and neglects the law of Christ, mild as the gospel dispensation is, will fall into sorer condemnaţion than they who despised Moses? law, and yet died without mercy.


In this chapter the blessing and the curse are branched out into a

variety of particulars, many of which were considered in the twenty sixth chapter of Leviticus. ! A ND it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligent

I ly unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe [and] to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth. They were already distinguished above

other nations, but by this means their praise would be secured 2 and increased. And all these blessings shall come on thee,

and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the

LORD thy God; they shall come unexpectedly, and therefore be 3 most welcome and delightful. Blessed [shalt] thou [be] in

the city, and blessed [shalt] thou [be] in the field ; the trades. man and husbandman should be 80. Blessed [shall be] the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the focks of thy

sheep : thy children shall be comforts to thee, thy corn, wine, 5 and oil, thine asses and camels, thy sheep and goats. Blessed : [shall be) thy basket and thy store, whatever was in present 6 use, or, was laid by in store, Blessed [shalt] thou [be] when

thou comest in, and blessed [shalt] thou [be] when thou goest

out ; thou shalt be safe in travelling, find all well at home, and 7 have good success in all thy affairs. The LORD shall cause

thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before

thy face : they shall come out against thee one way, and fee before thee seven ways; they shall have victory over their

enemies, who should Aly in confusion, and be totally defeated, $ The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy store.

houses, or barns, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto;

and he shall bless thee, give thee all desirable prosperity, in 9. the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. The Lord

shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, confirm his covenant with thee, by which he has separated thee to himself, as a holy and peculiar people, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou

shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk 10 in his ways. And all the people of the earth shall see that

thou art called by the name of the LORD ; and they shall be afraid of thee ; all people shall see that thou art the object of

his care and blessing, and be afraid to have thee for their enemy. !! And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the

fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers to give thee; thou shalt be so plenteous in every

thing, that there shall be no occasion to send abroad for firovisions 12 and supplies. The Lord shall open unto thee his good treas

ure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand :* and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow. This was a

sign of wealth, liberty, and authority, and that they were not in 13 a state of dependence. And the LORD shall make thee the

head, and not the tail ; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath, thou shalt be honourable and highly es. teemed ; other nations shall be subject to thee, and thou shalt be

free ; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the : LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe 14 and do [them :] And thou shalt not go aside from any of the

words which I command thee this day (to) the right hand or (to] the left, to go after other gods to serve them : the condi, tion is repeated; they must not turn aside to superstition, profaneness, or idolatry ; all of which were hateful to God, and would forfeit all those blessings, as it follows,

But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and statutes which I command thee this day ; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee; they shall follow thee wherever thou goest, mingle with every thing thou hast, shall disappoint thee in every thing thou shalt do ; thou

shalt have no comfort in any of thy undertakings at home or 16 abroad. Cursed (shalt] thou [be] in the city, and cursed


* The air is called God's good treasure, because he there gathers clouds and vapours, from whence be enriches the earth.

17 (shalt] thou [be] in the field. Cursed (shall be] thy basket 18 and thy store. Cursed [shall be] the fruit of thy body, and

the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks 19 of thy sheep. Cursed [shalt] thou [be] when thou comest in, 20 and cursed [shalt] thou [be] when thou goest out. The LORD

shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do ; thou shalt have cro88 providences, sharp afflictions, and all thy 'comforts imbittered, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly ; be

cause of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast for21 saken me. The LORD shall make the pestilence cleave unto

thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land whither 22 thou goest to possess it. The LORD shall smite thee with a

consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extremne burning, and with the sword, and with blast

ing, and with mildew ; and they shall pursue thee until thou i perish ; the pestilence, or other bodily diseases, shall sweep theo 23 away. - And thy heaven that [is] over thy head, the cloud that

hangs over thy country, shall be brass, and the earth that [is] 24 under thee (shall be] iron. The Lord shall make the rain of

thy land powder and dust to destroy thy remaining fruits : from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroy

ed; there shall be clouds of dust, almost enough to stifle thee ; 25 and famine shall follow, till thou art destroyed. The LORD shall

cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies : thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them, go out in great multitudes, and soon be scattered : and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth, be tossed up and

down like vagabonds. All which was fulfilled at their captivity, 26 Neh. i. 8. And thy carcass shall be meat unto all fowls of the

air, and unto the beasts of the earth, and no man shall fray 27 [them) away.* The LORD will smite thee with the botch of

Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the

itch, whereof thou canst not be healed ; these were part of the 28 plagues of Egypt, which they well remembered. The LORD

shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart; thou shalt have horror and distress of mind ; such confusion as not to know what to do ; like a blind man, thou

shalt take the wrong way, and then be made to know that thou 29 hast taken it. And thou shalt grope at noon day, as the blind

gropeth in darkness, mistake in the plainest and most evident matters ; and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways : and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man shall save [thee ;] one oppression shall follow another, and those that take thee under their protection shall be the first to injure

• Nothing could be a greater calamity in the esteem of the Jews, than to have dead bodies thus exposed and consumed by birds of prey, and no one have so much compassion as to drive them away, and bury the remains.

« PreviousContinue »