Deuteronomy 29

1 These are the words of the covenant which the LORD commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, in addition to the covenant which he made with them in Horeb. 2 Moses called to all Israel, and said to them: Your eyes have seen all that the LORD did 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 the LORD has not given you a heart to know, 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 the LORD 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 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 Therefore keep the words of this covenant and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do. 10 All of you stand today in the presence of the LORD your God; your heads, your tribes, your elders, and your officers, even all the men of Israel, 11 your little ones, your wives, and the foreigners who are in the middle 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 the LORD your God, and into his oath, which the LORD your God makes with you today; 13 that he may establish you today as his people, and that he may be your God, as he spoke to you, and as he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. 14 Neither do I make this covenant and this oath with you only, 15 but with those who stand here with us today before the LORD our God, and also with those who are not here with us today 16 (for you know how we lived in the land of Egypt, and how we came through the middle 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 amongst them); 18 lest there should be amongst you man, woman, family, or tribe whose heart turns away today from the LORD our God, to go to serve the gods of those nations; lest there should be amongst you a root that produces bitter poison; 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 The LORD will not pardon him, but then the LORD’s anger and his jealousy will smoke against that man, and all the curse that is written in this book will fall on him, and the LORD will blot out his name from under the sky. 21 The LORD will set him apart for 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 will rise up after you, and the foreigner who will come from a far land, will say, when they see the plagues of that land, and the sicknesses with which the LORD has made it sick; 23 and that all of its land is sulfur, salt, and burning, that it is not sown, doesn’t produce, nor does any grass grow in it, like the overthrow of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath; 24 even all the nations will say, “Why has the LORD done thus to this land? What does the heat of this great anger mean?” 25 Then men will say, “Because they abandoned the covenant of the LORD, the God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them 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 LORD’s anger burned against this land, to bring on it all the curses that are written in this book. 28 The LORD rooted them out of their land in anger, in wrath, and in great indignation, and thrust them into another land, as it is today.” 29 The secret things belong to the LORD 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.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–9

Both former mercies, and fresh mercies, should be thought on by us as motives to obedience. The hearing ear, and seeing eye, and the understanding heart, are the gift of God. All that have them, have them from him. God gives not only food and raiment, but wealth and large possessions, to many to whom he does not give grace. Many enjoy the gifts, who have not hearts to perceive the Giver, nor the true design and use of the gifts. We are bound, in gratitude and interest, as well as in duty and faithfulness, to keep the words of the covenant.

Verses 10–21

The national covenant made with Israel, not only typified the covenant of grace made with true believers, but also represented the outward dispensation of the gospel. Those who have been enabled to consent to the Lord’s new covenant of mercy and grace in Jesus Christ, and to give up themselves to be his people, should embrace every opportunity of renewing their open profession of relation to him, and their obligation to him, as the God of salvation, walking according thereto. The sinner is described as one whose heart turns away from his God; there the mischief begins, in the evil heart of unbelief, which inclines men to depart from the living God to dead idols. Even to this sin men are now tempted, when drawn aside by their own lusts and fancies. Such men are roots that bear gall and wormwood. They are weeds which, if let alone, overspread the whole field. Satan may for a time disguise this bitter morsel, so that thou shalt not have the natural taste of it, but at the last day, if not before, the true taste shall be discerned. Notice the sinner’s security in sin. Though he hears the words of the curse, yet even then he thinks himself safe from the wrath of God. There is scarcely a threatening in all the book of God more dreadful than this. Oh that presumptuous sinners would read it, and tremble! for it is a real declaration of the wrath of God, against ungodliness and unrighteousness of man.

Verses 22–28

Idolatry would be the ruin of their nation. It is no new thing for God to bring desolating judgments on a people near to him in profession. He never does this without good reason. It concerns us to seek for the reason, that we may give glory to God, and take warning to ourselves. Thus the law of Moses leaves sinners under the curse, and rooted out of the Lord’s land; but the grace of Christ toward penitent, believing sinners, plants them again in their land; and they shall no more be pulled up, being kept by the power of God.

Verse 29

Moses ends his prophecy of the Jews’ rejection, just as St. Paul ends his discourse on the same subject, when it began to be fulfilled, Ro 11:33. We are forbidden curiously to inquire into the secret counsels of God, and to determine concerning them. But we are directed and encouraged, diligently to seek into that which God has made known. He has kept back nothing that is profitable for us, but only that of which it is good for us to be ignorant. The end of all Divine revelation is, not to furnish curious subjects of speculation and discourse, but that we may do all the words of this law, and be blessed in our deed. This, the Bible plainly reveals; further than this, man cannot profitably go. By this light he may live and die comfortably, and be happy for ever.

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