1 These are the words of the covenant which Yahweh 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 Moses called to all Israel, and said to them, You have seen all that Yahweh did before your eyes in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land; 3 the great trials which your eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders: 4 but Yahweh has not given you a heart to know, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, to this day. 5 I have led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes have not grown old on you, and your shoes have not grown old on your feet. 6 You have not eaten bread, neither have you drunk wine or strong drink; that you may know that I am Yahweh your God. 7 When you came to this place, Sihon the king of Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, came out against us to battle, and we struck 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 the Manassites. 9 Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do. 10 You stand this day all of you before Yahweh your God; your heads, your tribes, your elders, and your officers, even all the men of Israel, 11 your little ones, your wives, and your foreigner who is in the midst of your camps, from the one who cuts your wood to the one who draws your water; 12 that you may enter into the covenant of Yahweh your God, and into his oath, which Yahweh your God makes with you this day; 13 that he may establish you this day to himself for a people, and that he may be to you a God, as he spoke to you, and as he swore to your 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 who stands here with us this day before Yahweh our God, and also with him who is not here with us this day 16 (for you know how we lived in the land of Egypt, and how we came through the midst of the nations through which you passed; 17 and you 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 turns away this day from Yahweh our God, to go to serve the gods of those nations; lest there should be among you a root that bears gall and wormwood; 19 and it happen, when he hears the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, "I shall have peace, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart, to destroy the moist with the dry." 20 Yahweh will not pardon him, but then the anger of Yahweh and his jealousy will smoke against that man, and all the curse that is written in this book shall lie on him, and Yahweh will blot out his name from under the sky. 21 Yahweh will set him apart to evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant that is written in this book of the law. 22 The generation to come, your children who shall rise up after you, and the foreigner who shall come from a far land, shall say, when they see the plagues of that land, and the sicknesses with which Yahweh has made it sick; 23 (and that) the whole land of it is sulfur, and salt, (and) a burning, (that) it is not sown, nor bears, nor any grass grows therein, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which Yahweh overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath: 24 even all the nations shall say, "Why has Yahweh done thus to this land? What does the heat of this great anger mean?" 25 Then men shall say, "Because they forsook the covenant of Yahweh, the God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, 26 and went and served other gods, and worshiped them, gods that they didn't know, and that he had not given to them: 27 therefore the anger of Yahweh was kindled against this land, to bring on it all the curse that is written in this book; 28 and Yahweh rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as at this day." 29 The secret things belong to Yahweh our God; but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.
A recapitulation of God's gracious dealings with Israel, Deuteronomy 29:1-8. An exhortation to obedience, and to enter into covenant with their God, that they and their posterity may be established in the good land, Deuteronomy 29:9-15. They are to remember the abominations of Egypt, and to avoid them, Deuteronomy 29:16, Deuteronomy 29:17. He who hardens his heart, when he hears these curses, shall be utterly consumed, Deuteronomy 29:18-21. Their posterity shall be astonished at the desolations that shall fall upon them, Deuteronomy 29:22, Deuteronomy 29:23; shall inquire the reason, and shall be informed that the Lord has done thus to them because of their disobedience and idolatry, Deuteronomy 29:24-28. A caution against prying too curiously into the secrets of the Divine providence, and to be contented with what God has revealed, Deuteronomy 29:29.
INTRODUCTION TO DEUTERONOMY 29
This chapter begins with an intimation of another covenant the Lord was about to make with the people of Israel, Deuteronomy 29:1; and, to prepare their minds to an attention to it, various things which the Lord had done for them are recited, Deuteronomy 29:2; 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, Deuteronomy 29:10; 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, Deuteronomy 29:16; 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, Deuteronomy 29:22.
Conclusion of the Covenant in the Land of Moab - Deuteronomy 29-30
The addresses which follow in ch. 29 and 30 are announced in the heading in Deuteronomy 29:1 as "words (addresses) of the covenant which Jehovah commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel, beside the covenant which He made with them in Horeb," and consist, according to Deuteronomy 29:10., in a solemn appeal to all the people to enter into the covenant which the Lord made with them that day; that is to say, it consisted literally in a renewed declaration of the covenant which the Lord had concluded with the nation at Horeb, or in a fresh obligation imposed upon the nation to keep the covenant which had been concluded at Horeb, by the offering of sacrifices and the sprinkling of the people with the sacrificial blood (Ex 24). There was no necessity for any repetition of this act, because, notwithstanding the frequent transgressions on the part of the nation, it had not been abrogated on the part of God, but still remained in full validity and force. The obligation binding upon the people to fulfil the covenant is introduced by Moses with an appeal to all that the Lord had done for Israel (Deuteronomy 29:2-9); and this is followed by a summons to enter into the covenant which the Lord was concluding with the now, that He might be their God, and fulfil His promises concerning them (Deuteronomy 29:10-15), with a repeated allusion to the punishment which threatened them in case of apostasy (Deuteronomy 29:16-29), and the eventual restoration on the ground of sincere repentance and return to the Lord (Deuteronomy 30:1-14), and finally another solemn adjuration, with a blessing and a curse before them, to make choice of the blessing (Deuteronomy 30:15-20).
*More commentary available by clicking individual verses.