Page images

en thee, And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul. Here is a good description of repentance ; it is calling to mind the blessings they had lost, an their present misery ; it is returning to God, to his worship and service ; to obey his commands, and that sincerely and affectionately ; and teaching their

children to do so from a principle of reverence and love. And 3 when this is the case, it shall come to pass, That then the Lord

thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon

thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, 4 whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee.* If (any) of

thine be driven out unto the outmost [parts) of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee; though now they are more scattered than they ever were before, into more distant nations, and wider from

each other, yét, if they repent, they shall all be restored to their 5 own land : And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the

land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it ;

and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fa6 thers.t And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart,

and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live ; they shall first be convinced, and humbled, and sanctified, and then be

brought back and prospered. The Jews refer this to the days of 7 the Messiah. And the LORD thy God will put all thes

upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which

persecuted thee. Thus God shall become a defence to them by & the ruin of their enemies. And thou shall return and obey the

voice of the LORD, and do all his commandments which I

command thee this day ; shalt continue steadfast in love and 9 obedience to God. And the LORD thy God will make thee

plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good : for the Lord will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers ; ye shall have great prosperity, which shall be for your good, and not a snare to you: their hearts being changed they should employ it cheerfully and faithfully in God's service, as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob did, in whose obedience God delighted : If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, [and] if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine


This was fulfilled in their return from the Babylonish captivity, and will yet have a farther accomplishment.

+ After their return from the captivity they were great and numerous, but were often oppressed by the Persians and Grecians, and at length destroyed by the Romans ; so thas this prophecy is yet to be fulfilled, when they shall see their crime in crucifying Christ. VOL. II.


heart, and with all thy soul. This shows the promise Bds conditional ; provided they did not receive the grace of God in vain, but kept his commandments and his statutes with all their hearts.

Now if any should object, that they would keep them if they 11 knew them, Moses adds, For this commandment which I com

mand thee this day, it [is] not hidden from thee, neither [is] it far off ; it is not too wonderful for thee, not above thy capacity, nor hard to be understood ; nor is it fær off, you need not go

to other nations to learn it, as some of the Greek philosophers 12 did to seek for wisdom. It [is] not in heaven, that thou

shouldst say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it 13 unto us, that we may hear it, and do it ? Neither [is] it be

yond the sea, that thou shouldst say, Who shall go over the

sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do 14 it ? But the word [is] very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and

in thy heart that thou mayest do it ; it is delivered by Moses in the plainest manner ; the priests and Levites daily teach it ; it is so familiar, that you have it in your common discourse, and can teach it your children ; and all for this end, that thou mayo

est practise what thou knowest. 15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, all man

ner of blessings, if thou art obedient, and death and evil, all 16 kinds of misery, if thou dost act otherwise ; In that I command

thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply ; and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to

possess it. Here he explains the good, and in the next verse 17 the evil. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not

hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and 18 serve them ; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall

surely perish, [and that] ye shall not prolong [your] days

upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to pos19 sess it. And, to make this matter more solemn, he adds, I call

heaven and earth, God, and angets, and men, to record this day against you, [that] I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing ; he uses these various words to impress their minds, and to convince them that both come from God ; therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live ; be

obedient, and thou shalt be happy. He then sums up the whole 20 That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, this is the noblest

spring of religion, [and] that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him ; it will keep thee from idolatry, and secure thy obedience and happiness ; for he [is] thy life, the author and preserver of it, and the length of thy days : that thou ma est dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them and their seed after them.



1. THE

HE promises at the beginning of the chapter furnish

great encouragement to pray for the Jews. v. 3, 5. The Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee. And the Lord thy God will. bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers. Although they are now obstinate and wicked, and blaspheme the name and religion of Jesus, yet they shall be called; God has not absolutely cast them off. He exhibits them as monuments of his justice, and as standing miracle in support of the gospel ; and in due time the whole world shall witness their restoration to their own land, and their acknowledgment of the Messiah. In dependence on this promise, which is confirmed by the New Testament, let us bear them upon our spirits before God. So Paul ; Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they may be saved.

2. Before the heart can love and obey God's commandments, it must be circumcised ; that is, its perverseness and obstinacy must be removed, its corruptions mortified, its filth taken away, and its lust subdued. This is God's work. It should be diligently sought by those who are strangers to the love and service of God; and parents should earnestly seek it for their children. However hard and obstinate the human heart is, God can soften and subdue it. Let us pray that he would shed abroad his love in our hearts, and dispose them more and more to his service.

3. Let those who live in the neglect of their duty, know and be assured, that they have no excuse for so doing. For this commandment, which I command thee this day, is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off, v. 11. Their duty is plainly laid before them, and it is easy to be practised. Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven 2 or, Who shall descend into the deep ? The word of the Lord is nigh unto thee, even in thy mouth and in thy heart. Rom. x. 6, 8. The gospel of Christ is much more plain and easy. You hear it every Lord's day, and oftener: it is read and preached among you ; it is in your hands; you speak of it ; therefore great is your guilt, and great will be your misery, if you do it not. The servant who knoweth his Lord's will, and doeth it not, will be beaten with many stripes. The path of duty is no less easy than it is plain. It is not a burden and grief, as Satan and wicked men would represent it ; it is pleasant and delightful here, and leads to everlasting happiness hereafter. Let us see to it, then, that we keep the word of Christ, and walk in his ways ; for his yoke is easy, and his burden is light.

4. Since a blessing and a curse are so plainly set before usa let us choose life, that both we and our seed may live, v. 19. The more seriously, frequently and solemnly, a law is urged and en forced, the greater the obligation is to observe it. We naturally seek good, and shun evil ; love life, and fear death. Hope and fear are our most governing principles. God addresses himself to both of these. He promises the greatest good, and threatens the greatest evil : and after all he deals with us as rational crea. tures, and free agents : proposing to our choice life or death, They who, through grace, choose life, and pursue it accordingly, shall have it. They who choose and pursue death, must blame themselves alone for the consequences. God offers life, but they disregard it. Thus fairly and equitably the law dealt with men, and so does the gospel also. Therefore, let us choose life, that we

may live,



Moses here encourages the people and Joshua ; he delivers the law

unto the priests, to be read every seventh year to the people :: God giveth a charge to Joshua ; andą song for the instruction of the people, 1 ND Moses, on another occasion, just before his death,

when he had called the people together, went and spake 2 these words unto all Israel. And he said unto them, I [am]

an hundred and twenty years old this day ; I can no more go out and come in, I can no longer discharge the office of a commander and a governor ; also the Lord hath said unto me,

Thou shalt not go over this Jordan ; I am therefore come to 3 take my final leave of you, The Lord thy God, he will go

over before thee; the ark, as the token of his presence, will go with

you, till ye possess the land ; [and] he will destroy these nations from before thee, and thou shalt possess them : [and] Joshua, he shall go over before thee, as the LORD hath said, and be your commander in my stead. And the LORD shall do unto them as he did to Sihon and to Og, kings of the Am.

orites, and unto the land of them, whom he destroyed ; let 5 your former experience encourage your hope of success. And

the LORD shall give them up before your face, that ye may do unto thein according unto all the commandments which 1

have commanded you, to destroy them and their altars, images, 6 and groves, and root idolatry out of the land. Be strong and

of a good courage, fear not, por be afraid of them : for the LORD thy God, he [it is] that doth go with thee ; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee ; do not distrust God, as your faq thers did ; fear not their numbers, their stature, for strength, for God will go with you, The words are here addressed to all Israel, and afterward to Joshua.

And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, to give them greater reverence for his per: son and authority, and engage them to follow his directions, Be strong and of a good courage : for thou must go with this people unto the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their

fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it. 8 And the Loro, he [it is] that doth go before thee ; he will be

with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee : fear not, neither be dismayed. Though Joshua was a brave man, he needed this encouragement, considering the difficulties that were before him, and the temper of the people ; and there could be no stronger motives to be courageous than these.

And Moses wrote this law, he put a finishing hand to the whole law or doctrine contained in these five books ; and he de. livered it unto the priests the sons of Levi, which bare the

ark of the covenant of the LORD, and unto all the elders of 10 Israel.* And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of [every) seven years, in the solemnity

in the year of release, 11 in the feast of tabernacles, When all Israel is come to ap

pear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall

choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hear, 12 ing, as Ezra read it, Neh. viii. 1, &c.f Gather the people

together, men, and women, and children, (though these were not bound to come to the feast, yet many times they brought them,) and thy stranger that [is] within thy gates, all the pros: elytes to the Jewish religion, that they may hear, and that they

may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all 13 the words of this law ; And [that] their children which have

not known (any thing,] have not seen God's wonders and miracles, may hear, and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as ye live in the land, whither ye go over Jordan to pos:

sess it. 14 And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold thy days approach

that thou must die : call Joshua and present yoursclves in the tabernacle of the congregation, that I may give him a charge. And Moses and Joshua went, and presented them selves in the tabernacle of the congregation, in that part of the court which was before the door of the tabernacle ; this was done in the sight of the people, to increase their reverence for

* He gave the original copy to the priests, to be kept safely by them : and probably gave a copy to the elders of Israel, or heads of each tribe, for the use of that tribe ; and Each of these original copies might be signed by himself.

+ They were to read the original copy, for the greater solemnity, and that other copies might be corrected by it. Joshua was to do this during his

life, and afterward, the Jews say, it was to be done by the supreme governor, or king. They began to read it the first day of the feast, and continued till it was read throughout.

« PreviousContinue »