Deuteronomy 11



The people of God are now on the verge of Canaan, Multitudes of them had been born

since the march through the wilderness had begun forty years before. They could not

have seen the wonders in Egypt, nor could they know, except by report, of the

manifestations of the Divine displeasure at the rebellious spirit manifested by the people

during the first years of their course. But there are still some seniors left who had seen all.

To these Moses makes his appeal, ere the discourse in which he exhorts to obedience

is brought to a close. And he urges them anew, from a consideration of the deep

meaning of the events which their own eyes have seen, to learn to be faithful and

obedient. We by no means understand Moses as intending to say that the children

are not before him to hear his words, but rather that the argument he is now using

is specially for the sires rather than the sons. It is in effect this: “You, the seniors

among the people now, have seen all these things. God has spoken in them directly

to you: therefore, it is incumbent upon you to assign to these events their true meaning,

and to give them their rightful power over you.”


Moses here renews his exhortation to obedience, enforced by regard to their experience

of God’s dealings with them in Egypt and in the wilderness, and by consideration of

God’s promises and threatenings. (Then, Now and the Future) The blessing and the curse

are set before them consequent on the keeping or the transgressing of the Law.


In vs. 1-12, Israel was to love the Lord, and manifest this by the steadfast

observance of all that He had enjoined upon them.


1  Therefore thou shalt love the LORD thy God, and keep His charge,”

what He has appointed to be observed and done (Leviticus 8:35; Numbers 1:53);

more fully explained by - “and His statutes, and His judgments, and His

commandments, alway.”


2 “And know ye this day:” -  take note of, ponder, lay to heart. The words that

follow, “for I speak not with your children (those born during the wandering in the

wilderness) which have not known, and which have not seen” are a parenthesis

thrown in by the speaker to attract the attention especially of the older generation,

who had witnessed the acts of the Lord – “the chastisement of the LORD your God,”

chastisement; not punishment, but discipline, education, training (Septuagint - παιδεία

paideiacorrection, instruction, education, nurture (of. the use of the Hebrew word

מוּסָר in Proverbs 1:2; 5:12; 6:23, etc.) – “His greatness, His mighty hand, and

His stretched out arm,” - The words, the chastisement, His greatness, mighty hand

and stretched out arm, are to be connected with “know ye”,  as the object of the

knowing.  (compare ch.3:24; 4:34).


3 “And His miracles, and His acts, which He did in the midst of Egypt unto

Pharaoh the king of Egypt, and unto all his land;  4 And what He did unto the

army of Egypt, unto their horses, and to their chariots; how He made the water

of the Red sea to overflow them as they pursued after you, and how the LORD

hath destroyed them unto this day;”  (I highly recommend the Red Sea Crossing

on the web site – CY – 2012) (Compare ch.4:34; 6:22; Exodus 14.)


5 “And what He did unto you in the wilderness, until ye came into this place;

6 And what He did unto Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, the son of

Reuben:  how the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their

households, and their tents,” - The doings of God to the people in the wilderness

comprehend the manifestations of His omnipotence, both in their guidance and

protection, and in the punishment of those who transgressed. One instance of the

latter is expressly referred to — the destruction of those who joined in the insurrection

of Korah (Numbers 16:31-33). Moses does not mention Korah himself here, but

only his accomplices Dathan and Abiram, probably from regard to his sons, who were

not swallowed up by the earth along with their father, but had lived to perpetuate the

family of  Korah; perhaps also because, though Korah was at the head of the

insurrection, Dathan and Abiram were the more determined, audacious, and obdurate

in their rebellion (Numbers 16:12-15, 25-26), so that it came to be named from them -

and all the substance that was in their possession,” -  literally, every living

thing (Genesis 7:4,23) that was at their feet, i.e. all their followers (compare

all the people that follow, thee,” Exodus 11:8; “all the men that appertained

 unto Korah,” Numbers 16:32) -“in the midst of all Israel:” 


Thus from what they themselves had witnessed, now (vs. 7-9) does Moses

admonish the elder members of the congregation, summoning them to recognize

in that the purpose of God to discipline and train them, that so they might

 keep His commandments and be strengthened in soul and purpose to go in

 and possess the land, and to live long therein (ch.1:38; 4:25-26; 6:3).


7 “But your eyes have seen all the great acts of the LORD which He

did.  8 Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments which I command

you this day, that ye may be strong, and go in and possess the land,

whither ye go to possess it;  9 And that ye may prolong your days in the land,

which the LORD swear unto your fathers to give unto them and to their seed,

a land that floweth with milk and honey.”


10 For the land, whither thou goest in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt,

from whence ye came out, where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with

thy foot, as a garden of herbs: 11 But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is

a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water  of the rain of heaven:”

An additional motive to fidelity and obedience is here adduced, drawn from the peculiar

excellence and advantages of the land.  Canaan was not like Egypt, a country that

depended for its fertility on being irrigated by man’s labor or by artificial processes,

but was a land where the supply and distribution of water was provided for in natural

reservoirs and channels, by means of which the rain which GOD, who cared for the land,

sent plentifully on it, was made available for useful purposes.  In Egypt there is little or

no rain, and the people are dependent on the annual overflowing of the Nile for the

proper irrigation of their fields; and as this lasts only for a short period, the water has to

be stored and redistributed by artificial means, often of a very laborious kind. Wateredst

it with thy foot. (v.10)  “The reference, perhaps, is to the manner of conducting

the water about from plant to plant and from furrow to furrow. I have often watched

the gardener at this fatiguing and unhealthy work. When one place is sufficiently

saturated, he pushes aside the sandy soil between it and the next furrow with his foot,

and thus continues to do until all are watered. He is thus knee-deep in mud, and many

are the diseases generated by this slavish work. Or the reference may be to certain kinds

of hydraulic machines which were turned by the feet. I have seen small water-wheels,

on the plain of Acre and elsewhere, which were thus worked; and it appeared to me to

be very tedious and toilsome, and, if the whole country had to be irrigated by such a

process, it would require a nation of slaves like the Hebrews, and taskmasters like the

Egyptians, to make it succeed.  (Think how blessed we are in America as God also

rains from heaven blessings upon us, year-in and year-out!  Kentucky is especially

blessed as we have more natural waterways than any state except Alaska – CY –

2012)  Whatever may have been the meaning of Moses, the Hebrews no doubt

had learned by bitter experience what it was to water with the foot; and this

would add great force to the allusion, and render doubly precious the

goodly land which drank of the rain of heaven, and required no such

drudgery to make it fruitful” (Thomson, ‘ The Land and the Book,’ 2:279;

edit. Lend. 1859). Philo describes a machine cf. this sort as in use in Egypt

(‘De Confus. Linguar.,’ Opp. 1:410, edit. Mangey); and in that country, “a

garden of herbs” is still generally watered by means of a machine of simple

construction, consisting of a wheel, round which revolves an endless rope

to which buckets are attached; this is worked by the feet of a man seated

on a piece of wood fastened by the side of the machine, labor at once

monotonous and severe (Niebuhr, ‘Voyage en Arabic,’ 1:121, 4to, Amst.

1776; ‘Description de l’Arabic,’ 1:219, 4to, Paris, 1779; Robinson, ‘Bib.

lies.,’ 1:542; 2:21).


12 “A land which the LORD thy God careth for:” -  literally, searcheth or

inquireth after, i.e. thinks about and cares for (Septuagint, ἐπισκοπεῖται

episkopeitai -  oversees; compare Job 3:4; Psalm 142:4; Jeremiah 30:17;

Ezekiel 34:8; Isaiah 62:12) -“the eyes of the LORD thy God” - i.e. His special

watchful providence (compare Psalm 33:18; 34:15). It was a land on which

Jehovah’s regard was continually fixed, over which He watched with

 unceasing care, and which was sustained by His bounty; a land, therefore,

wholly dependent on Him, and so a fitting place for a people also wholly

dependent on Him, who owed to His grace all that they were and had - “are

always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.”


13 “And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my

commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD

your God, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your

soul,” - Being thus wholly dependent on God, it behooved them to be

careful to attend to His commandments and to obey them, that so His

blessing might be continued to them and to the land. If they would love and

serve the Lord as they were bound to do, He would give them the rain of

their land, i.e. rain for their land, such as it required, in the proper season,

the early and the latter rain, so that they should fully enjoy the benefits of the land.


14 “That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first

rain” -  the rain which falls from the middle of October to the end of December,

which prepares the soil for the seed, and keeps it moist after the seed is sown –

and the latter rain,” -  that which falls in March and April, about the time when

the grain is ripening for harvest; during the time of harvest no rain falls in Palestine.

But if they allowed themselves to be deceived and misled, so as to apostatize from

the Lord and serve other gods and worship them, the Divine displeasure

would be shown in the withholding from them of the blessing, so that they

should miserably perish - “that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy

wine, and thine oil.  15 And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle,

that thou mayest eat and be full.”


16 “Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived,”   literally,

lest your heart be enticed or seduced (ht;p]yi). The verb means primarily to be

open, and as a mind open to impressions from without is easily persuaded,

moved either to good or evil, the word came to signify to induce in a good sense,

or to seduce in a bad sense. (I find it interesting, that in my life, many liberal

thinkers want you to have an open mind and brag about theirs – this verse

tells us to keep on the right track and not to be misled – CY – 2012)  Here the

people are cautioned against allowing themselves to be enticed so as to be led

astray by seductive representations (compare Job 5:2 [“silly one”]; 31:27;

Proverbs 20:19 [flattereth]; Hosea 7:11) -“and ye turn aside,

and serve other gods, and worship them;”


17 “And then the LORD’s wrath be kindled against you, and He shut up

the heaven,” The want of rain was regarded as a sign of the Divine displeasure

and as a curse (I Kings 8:35; Zechariah 14:17; Revelation 11:6) - “that there be

no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly

from off the good land which the LORD giveth you.”



Valuable Possessions Reserved for the Righteous (vs. 10-17)


The land of Palestine has always been a coveted prize by the surrounding nations.

Compared with the territory south and east, it possesses qualities of excellence and

beauty. But its fertility depends upon the rain supply, and rain supply was suspended

on righteous loyalty.  (ch. 28:23-24)



CONFIGURATION OF OUR GLOBE. God can never experience

surprise in the beneficial coincidences of events. “Known unto God

 are all His works from the beginning of the world” (Acts 15:18).

If heaven has been undergoing a process of preparation from a period

anterior to the formation of our globe, we need feel no surprise that,

in arranging the strata of the earth, God should have been animated with

motives of righteous benevolence towards men. And if the structure of

hill and valley is the visible projection of a generous moral purpose —


MEN— we may conclude that all the forces and phenomena of

nature have vital connection with the religious development of our race.

Israel was sent into Canaan because amongst its hills and valleys its history

and fortunes could best be unfolded.



OF THEIR ENVIRONMENT. The sagacious love of God condescends to

every minutiae of human life. (Mr. Spurgeon said “There is nothing in your

life too small for our Heavenly Father to think upon!: - CY  - 2012)  Our God

has infinite leisure for everything. His eyes are daily upon our farms and shops.

He is our Bulwark and defends our coasts. He knoweth what we have need of.

(ch. 2:7)



WHOLLY DEPENDENT ON GOD. Instead of our possessions

liberating us from dependence on God, they increase our dependence; for

now we need His protection for our property as well as for ourselves.

Possessions (so called) are only channels through which true blessing flows,

and our great business is to keep the channel clear. The hills of Canaan

obtained their irrigation from the springs of heaven, and only obedient faith

can unlock these springs.  (America’s testimony should be “this my soul

knoweth right well!” (Psalm 139:14)



prosperity is the picture and symbol of spiritual good. But material benefits

were the only rewards which these Hebrews could appreciate. The source

of all real prosperity is from heaven. (As America is finding out in

the 21st century! – CY – 2012)



The heart is easily taken by semblances and promises of good. The

falsehoods of Satan are very plausible. A sentinel needs to be placed at

every portal of the soul. Self-deception ends in total destruction. We do

not sin alone, nor suffer alone.


18 “Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your

soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as

frontlets between your eyes.  19 And ye shall teach them your children,

speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest

by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.  20 And thou

shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates:”

(see ch. 6:7-9.)


21 “That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in

the land which the LORD swear unto your fathers to give them, as

the days of heaven upon the earth.” (ch. 4:40; 6:2.) - as long as the heavens

continue stretched over the earth, i.e. to the end of time, forever (Job 14:12;

Psalm 89:29).



Family Training (vs. 18-21)


As in ch. 6:6-25, Moses again insists on the words of God being preserved among

the  people by faithful family instruction. The “home school” is, in fact, the great

factor in national success. (This was written at least 200 years ago.  Apparently, it

will be the only solution for education in America since “national education” has

become totally secular.  I would prefer my grandchildren going to public schools,

however I have three that are homeschooled and I support them 100 % - modern

education goes against the grain of all that God  through Moses is teaching! – CY –

2012)  Education must give due prominence to the family institution, as the providential

unit of mankind. And here let us notice:



THE HEART. It is when individuals, and especially parents, receive God’s

testimony into the heart, as Lydia did (Acts 16:14), that it is likely to bloom

out in a fitting public profession. It is with the heart man believeth unto

righteousness,” and then “with the mouth confession is made unto

 salvation (Romans 10:10). As the ark received the tables of the Law,





AND THE EYES OF OTHERS. This seems to be the idea about the

frontlets between the eyes — in this way others had the words displayed

for their benefit; whereas the placing them upon the hand was for the

individual’s own memorial (Isaiah 49:16). So the person heartily

interested in God’s Word will make arrangements to remind himself

continually of it, and also to keep it before the minds of others. Religion





TRAINING. The children are to be taught them at home, when the “home

school is gathered together. God’s words are also to be the staple of

conversation when parents and children are enjoying their saunters

together. And the first thought of the morning and the last at night should

be of God’s commandments. In this way the indoctrination of the rising

generation is to be secured. Well would it be for us still if these old Jewish

rules were practiced.




Content themselves with a personal concern in religion, and are willing to be

members of a household which does not collectively identify itself with

God. But the Jew was to write God’s commandments on the doorposts

and on the gates of his house. THE HOUSEHOLD WAS THUS TO

BE GOD’S!   The fact is that households need conversion just as individuals

do. There is as much difference between a religious household and a worldly

one as there is between a converted and an unconverted individual. The

direction given consequently to the Jews covered the household as well as

the person, and was thus perfect.



SUCCESS, The Lord engages to drive out the nations from before them,

even though they be greater and mightier than Israel. He will make the

obedient ones resistless. He will make the fear of them to fall like a

nightmare on their enemies, and not one of them will be able to stand

before them.


And surely all this is but a type of the success which still waits upon God’s

obedient people. Not, of course, that temporal success is the form of

success desired or granted now. Many of God’s people continue poor, but

they succeed in life nevertheless. When they have grace to show a

contented spirit amid their limited resources, they succeed in demonstrating

that GOD IS ALL SUFFICIENT,  and are the best testimony to the reality of

religion before men. When the saints can sing with Habakkuk, “Although

the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the

labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the

flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the

stalls:  Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation”

 (Habakkuk 3:17-18), they have really prospered in all life’s essentials. It is thus

in various ways the Lord fulfils His covenant engagements, and. makes all that His

people do to prosper (Psalm 1:3).


Obedience is consequently the charter of success. But we leave to our loving Father

to determine what our success will be. We do not insist on its assuming the form

 of  gold and silver, venison and champagne. The success of self-conquest,

the success of being public benefactors, the success of serving our generation by

the will of God ere we fall on sleep, — (Remember that David served his generation

well (Acts 13:36) - this is better far than the success of invading hosts with the laurels

dipped in gore.


“Not fruitless is thy toil

      If thou my cross wouldst bear;

I do but ask thy willing heart,

     To grave my image there.


“For each net vainly cast,

    Stronger thine arm will prove;

The trial of thy patient hope

    Is witness of thy love.


“The time, the place, the way,

     Are open to mine eye;

I sent them — not to gather spoil —

    To labor patiently.”



God’s Word Potent to Dominate the Whole Life (vs. 18-21)


The Word of God, like light, is diffusive. It propagates itself. So long as its proper

field of activity is unoccupied, it must spread. It radiates its magnetic influence on

every side.



ALL RIGHTEOUS PRINCIPLE. As the pulverized soil is the proper

home of seed; as the housewife’s dough is the proper home of leaven; so

the heart of man is the proper abode of truth. On stony tablets, in books,

or in speech, it is only in transit towards its proper destination. Received and

welcomed into the soul, it begins a process of blessed activity; it

vitalizes, ennobles, beautifies every part of human nature. It is the

seed of all virtue and goodness — the root of immortal blessedness.



POWERS. The hand is the servant of the heart. What the mind plans, the

hand executes. To bind God’s precepts upon our hands is to remind

ourselves that the hand, as the representative of active faculty, belongs to

God. Embargo is laid upon it to do no violence to others’ persons or to

others’ property. It must not strike nor steal, for it has become an

instrument sacred to God. Nor must it be defiled with idleness, for it is

the property of him who incessantly works, nor may the eye wantonly wander

after forbidden objects. The eye led Eve into transgression. “Let thine eye

look straight before thee” (Proverbs 4:25).  “Look not upon the wine

 when it sparkles in the cup” (Ibid. ch.23:31).  The eye is a potent

instrument for evil or for good.




priest’s forehead there was inscribed the motto, “Holiness unto the Lord”

(Exodus 28:36); so, in substance, the same truth is written on every

servant of God. He is a consecrated man. His finely arched brow is his

glory, and his glory is devoted to God. In every circumstance he

desires to magnify his God. His house is God’s house; hence on gate

and lintel the precepts of God are conspicuous. Hospitality and

contentment, peace and kindness, dwell there, for it is the home of God.



great measure our children will be. Moral qualities are entailed. In their

tender years, their young nature is plastic and impressible. If our hearts are

full of God’s truth, it will rise and overflow our lips as water from a well.

Far from being an irksome task to speak God’s truth, it will be a

pleasurable instinct. All time, from early morn till evening repose, will be

too short to utter all God’s truth. “Living epistles” describe the office of

the godly.



Truth in the heart is translated into righteousness in the life, and

righteousness makes heaven. No enjoyment can be perfect in which our

children do not share; and in sharing our joys with our children, we

multiply our joys beyond all arithmetical measure. Such days of

consecrated service will be “days of heaven upon earth.”


22 “For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I

command you, to do them, to love the LORD your God, to walk in

all His ways, and to cleave unto Him; 23 Then will the LORD drive out

all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations

and mightier than yourselves.”  If they were sedulous to keep God’s

commandments, and faithfully adhered to Him, loving Him and walking

in all His ways, He would drive out before them the nations of the Canaanites, and

cause them to possess the territory of nations greater and mightier than themselves.

Every place on which the soles of their feet should tread should be theirs, i.e. they

had but to enter the land to become possessors of it. This is more exactly

defined as restricted to the land the boundaries of which are given — from

the Arabian desert on the south to Lebanon on the north, and from the river

Euphrates on the east to the Mediterranean on the west (ch. 1:7). 24 “Every place

whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness

and Lebanon,” - read, even unto Lebanon; הַעֶ בָנון is for עַד־הַלְּ בַנון (compare

עדהַיָּם in the end of the verse) -from  the river, the river Euphrates,

even unto the uttermost sea” -  rather, the hinder sea (Numbers 34:6), the

sea that lay behind one looking to the east (ch. 7:24; 2:25; Exodus 23. 27).

 shall your coast be.  25 There shall no man be able to stand before you:

for the LORD your God shall lay the fear of you and the dread of you upon

all the land that ye shall tread upon, as He hath said unto you.” 



The Moral Power of National Righteousness (vs. 22-25)


There was a definite territory assigned by God to Israel. They were promised it, but

the prohibition against going beyond what God had allotted them, was as remarkable

and strong as the assurance of their possessing such allotment. The bounds here

specified are stated afresh in Joshua 1:3-4. In the days of Solomon these boundaries

were actually theirs. But, as is welt known, they were a people untrained for war; in

regard to military skill and warlike appliances, other nations were vastly more than a

match for them, leaving out of the question Israel’s paucity in numbers. But (and it is

not the least striking feature in the Mosaic legislation) they were to have power of

another kind, a MORAL POWER  arising from their righteousness, and also

dependent upon it. And in this passage:


  • Moses afresh reminds the people of their duty — to keep the

commandments of the Lord their God.


  • He points out that their loyalty to God and assurance of His protection

would give them irresistible strength.


  • The knowledge of this higher order of moral life, and of the promised

guard of their covenant God, would so influence the other nations that they

would be inspired with dread (see Joshua 2:9-11).


  • This dread of Israel which the nations round about would feel would

clear their way, would ensure their conquest, and would be a security for

them in retaining their possessions. From all this we get one of the most

important lessons suggested which can possibly be taught on national

affairs, viz. That the kind of power over other nations, which a people

may well desire the most, is that which comes from the influence of its

OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS.  (Let us not forget that “When a man’s

ways please the Lord, He maketh even his enemies to be at peace

with him.” – Proverbs 16:7 – CY – 2012)


In the last seven verses, Moses, in conclusion, refers to the blessing and the curse

consequent on the observance or the transgression of the Law, and

prescribes that when they had entered on possession of the land the blessing should

be proclaimed from Mount Gerizim, and the curse from Mount Ebal.


26 “Behold, I set before you” – place for your consideration (ch.4:8; 30:15),

so that you may see whither obedience on the one hand, and disobedience

on the other, leads you - “this day a blessing and a curse;”







“I set before you this day a blessing and a curse.” Oh! if men would but

take the pains to quit a while in thought this busy scene in which they live and move

almost in perpetual whirl; if they would but anticipate by earnest reflection that

ushering into the presence of God which their departure hence must bring;

 if they would but set the judgment scene, as sketched by Christ, before their view,

they would see the deep and solemn reason why the preacher now — even now —

says, “Flee from the wrath to come” (Matthew 3:7; Luke 3:7).  For THE

WRATH WILL COME! -  i.e. it will manifest itself. It exists now.  (I

recommendThe Wrath of God by Arthur Pink - # 4 – this web site – CY –

2012) The eternal antagonism of a holy God to ill of every kind necessitates it.

And as surely as God is ever on the side of right, so surely will He have it

shown, ere long, that such is the case. Then let the sinner, condemned even

now by his own conscience — how much more by God! — flee for refuge

from the coming storm. There is a refuge; it is ours the moment that we

flee to it. (That Refuge is JESUS CHRIST – see How to Be Saved#5 - this

web site - CY – 2010).  But if when the storm comes we are not found there, we

must perish — perish with the double disapproval of Heaven on our heads:

disapproved as breakers of law; disapproved as neglecters of grace.  “For God

so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever

believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.(John 3:16)


27  A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God,

which I command you this day:” 28 “And a curse, if ye will not obey the

commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which

I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.” –

in contradistinction to Jehovah, the revealed God, made known to them by word

and deed.


 29 “And it shall come to pass, when the LORD thy God hath brought

thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou

shalt put the blessing” -  thou shalt give (נָתַתָּה), i.e. give forth, utter, announce,

proclaim (Genesis 49:21; Job 1:22 [gave, i.e. uttered impiety to God];

Psalm 50:20, [gavest, didst utter, slandered]) - “upon mount Gerizim, and

the curse upon mount Ebal.” The two mountains named stand opposite to

each other, with a valley between, about two hundred yards broad at the widest part,

in which stood the town of Shechem, now Nablus. They were selected for the

purpose mentioned, doubtless, because of their relative position, and probably

also because they stand in the center of the land both from north to south,

and from east to west. It has been suggested that Ebal was appointed for the

uttering of the curse, and Gerizim for the uttering of the blessing, because the

former was barren and rugged, the latter fertile and smooth; but this is not

borne out by the actual appearance of the two hills, both being equally

barren-looking, though neither is wholly destitute of culture and vegetation.



The Great Alternative (vs. 26-29)




Ø      His revelations lay the ground for it. “Light is come into the world”

(John 3:19).  When light comes, decision is inevitable. We must settle

what our attitude towards it will be. In decreeing not to choose, we in

reality do choose.


Ø      Men would trifle with it but God says, “Now” (II Corinthians 6:2).

Men would put off, but God urges to decision (Joshua 24:15).



SINGLE POINT. The point is OBEDIENCE!   Will we obey or will we not

(v. 27)?  It was so under the Law, and it is so under the gospel. What the

gospel asks from us is “the obedience of faith” (Romans 16:26). This

tests our disposition thoroughly. True faith carries with it the surrender of

the will to GOD and CHRIST!  It is the root and principle of all holy

obedience.  Men will not come to Christ; why? The reason is that they

cannot bring themselves to yield up their wills to Him as He requires. They

love the darkness rather than the light” (John 3:19-22). Refusal to

decide for Christ is equivalent, for the time being, to deciding against Him

(Matthew 12:30).




what it came to then, and it is the same still.  Blessing or curse; life or

death.  (“I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing:

therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.”

ch. 30:19)  Whether God is to be our God, blessing us, renewing our

inward life, enriching us with His Spirit, bestowing on us grace here and glory

hereafter; or whether we are to live beneath His frown, withering up under

it in body and soul, and vanishing at last into OUTER DARKNESS!

 It is an old question whether a man can voluntarily choose what is for his hurt.

Possibly he cannot without first listening to the tempter who bids him

believe that the course he pursues will not be for his hurt. But none the less

is every sinner taking the path which ends in destruction (Matthew

7:13). His interest, did he but see it, or would he but believe it, is ENTIRELY


terminus of the one road is DEATH  (Romans 6:21), of the other

LIFE EVERLASTING (Ibid. ch. 2:7).


In v. 30, the position of the two mountains is defined as  30 Are they not on

the other side Jordan,” -  i.e. on the side opposite to where the Israelites then

were, the western side; and as - “by the way” -  rather, behind the way —

 where the sun goeth down,” -  i.e. the road of the west, the great road which

passed through the west-Jordan country, and which is still the main route from

south to north in Palestine (Ritter, 4:293, etc.; Robinson, 3:127), passing Nablus

and the two mountains on the east, so that they are behind it - “in the land of the

Canaanites, which dwell in the champaign” - in the ‘Arabah (see ch.1:1),

mentioned here as that portion of the land on the west of the Jordan which lay

stretched out before the eyes of the Israelites, who were encamped in the steppes

of Moab - “over against Gilgal,” - -  i.e. not the Gilgal mentioned in Joshua 4:19,

which was east of Jericho (hod. Jiljulia), nor the Gilgal of Ibid. ch.12:23 (probably

the modern Jiljulieh, in the plain of Sharon), but the Gilgal of  (Ibid. ch.9:6; 10:6;

and II Kings 2:1 (hod. Jiljilia), to the north of Bethel, from which there is “a very

extensive prospect over the great lower plain, and also over the sea” (Robinson,

‘Bib. Res,’ 3:138); so that the mountains by Nablus may be very well described as

over against it” -  “beside the plains of Moreh?” – for “plains” read oaks

(compare Genesis 12:6; 35:4). For the whole passage compare ch. 27:11.


31 “For ye shall pass over Jordan to go in to possess the land which the LORD

your God giveth you, and ye shall possess it, and dwell therein.  32 And ye shall

observe to do all the statutes and judgments which I set before you this day.”

The assurance that they should pass over Jordan and possess the land of Canaan,

is assigned as a reason and motive why they should observe to do all that God had

commanded them.




"Excerpted text Copyright AGES Library, LLC. All rights reserved.

Materials are reproduced by permission."


This material can be found at:


If this exposition is helpful, please share with others.