Deuteronomy 7

 

  ENTIRE SEPARATION FROM IDOLATROUS NATIONS ENJOINED

 

The Israelites were about to enter on A COUNTRY OCCUPIED BY IDOLATERS

 and they are commanded not to spare them or to allow them to continue in their proximity,

or to have  any friendly relations with them. The Lord would cast out these nations, and

deliver them, though greater and mightier than they, into their hands; and they were to

smite them and place them under the ban; they were to make no covenant with

them nor form any alliances with them  (compare Exodus 23:32; 34:12-16),

lest they should thus be drawn into idolatry, and so the anger of the Lord  be kindled

against them, and His vengeance brought upon them.

 

 1 “When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest

to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the

Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the

Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;” –

(Compare Genesis 15:19-21.)  Of the ten nations named by God in His promise to

Abraham, only six are mentioned here, those omitted being the Kenites, the

Kennizites, the Kadmonites, and the Rephaim. The Rephaim were by this time extinct

as a tribe, Og, “the last of the Rephaim,” having been conquered, and he and his people

destroyed by the Israelites. The three other tribes lay probably beyond the confines of

Canaan, in that region promised to Abraham, but which was not included in the

Territory conquered by the people under Joshua. This may account for their not

being mentioned here. One nation, the Hivites, appears here which is not in

the enumeration in Genesis. This name seems to have been borne by more

tribes than one, or by a tribe existing in divisions widely scattered, for we

find the Hivite in the center of Palestine (Genesis 34:2), in the Shephelah (Joshua

9:7; 11:19), in the land of Mizpeh under Hermon (Ibid. v.3), “in Lebanon,

 from mount Baal-hermon to the entering in of Hamath (Judges 3:3), and

among tribes in the north of Canaan (Genesis 10:17; I Chronicles 1:15). Their

principal settlement was probably in that part of the country where the Antilibanus

range terminates in Mount Hermon.

 

2  “And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou

shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no

covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:”

 

3 “Neither shalt thou make marriages with them;” - Brought into intimate

relations  with idolaters, they might be seduced into idolatry; and where marriage

was contracted with an idolater, the children might be brought up in idolatry. Such

unions were forbidden -“thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor

his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.”

 

4  “For they will turn away thy son from following me,”-  literally, from

after me, i.e. from being my servant and worshipper. Suddenly; rather,

speedily (rhem, infinitive, of rh"m;, to be quick, to hasten, used as an adverb).

 “that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be

kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.”

 

They were not only to have no fellowship with the idolaters, but they were

to root out their idolatry, everting their altars and destroying their idols;

and this because they were a holy people, graciously chosen of God to be His

special possession — a high privilege and honor which they were to be

careful not to cast away.

 

5 “But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and

break down their images, and cut down their groves,” -  rather, cut or

hew in pieces their asherahs. These were, apparently, wooden pillars of

considerable height, which were firmly planted in the ground (compare  ch.16:21;

Judges 6:25-27;) and were consecrated to the worship of a female deity, the

companion of Baal; probably the same as that afterwards, is known as Astarte,

the Venus of the Syrians (see note on ch.16:21) - “and burn their graven

images with fire.”  God is inflexible in His determination to punish evil.

There can be no ultimate toleration of sin in God’s universe.  SIN MUST BE

JUDGED AND ROOTED OUT, AND THE SINNER WHO PERSISTS

IN IDENTIFYING HIMSELF WITH IT MUST PERISH!

 

 

Israel in Great Danger (vs. 1-5)

 

Israel was in great danger (v. 4). The land of CANAAN  though beautiful, fruitful,

and merry, WAS A NEST OF IMPURITY!  The foulest pollutions were debasing

the people, and, apart from some special guard, they were far more likely to infect

Israel with THE VIRUS OF IDOLATRY  than Israel was to cleanse them by the

strength of counteracting virtue.  Thus a threefold line of policy was enjoined:

 

  • A Policy of Separation (v. 3, “Neither shalt thou make marriages with

them”). Thus does the Most High, in the early training of a people for

Himself, let them see how completely they are to be the Lord’s; and that

marriage, which from the worldling’s point of view is so apt to sink into a

mere union of bodies, is, from the point of view of one who would be holy

to the Lord, to be at once regulated by God and elevated for Him. Who

cannot see the impossibility of married life being as blessed as it may be if

husband and wife are dissevered on the very matter on which joint

sympathies should be fondest and strongest? The principle here enjoined is

carried over into the New Testament, in such words as these: “Be not

unequally yoked together with unbelievers” (II Corinthians 6:14).

In this stern interdiction of mixed marriages under the Law, our God would

teach us for all time that life’s dearest bond is to be formed only in

SUBJECTION TO HIS WILL whose we are, and whom we should serve.

 

  • A Policy of Religious Intolerance (v. 5). As Israel was to possess the

land for God, so it was to suffer His worship alone to be observed.

Whatever was contrary thereto was to be taken out of the way. An

External religion is virtually destroyed when its external observance is made

impossible.

 

  • A Policy of Extermination in War. The Canaanites had had their day of

grace (400 years, in fact –Genesis 15:16 - CY – 2012). And now, lest they

continue to pollute the land, THEY ARE TO BE SWEPT AWAY

“with the besom of destruction.”  (Deuteronomy 1:1-8). If Israel had no

Divine command to this effect, no one would pretend to justify this part of

their policy. If they had, it needed no justification. God may sentence

a people to ruin in any way He pleases.  And when a nation has given

way to such nameless and shameless wickedness THAT ITS LAND

GROANS BENEATH THE BURDENS OF ITS CRIMES  -

(BEWARE AMERICA) it is mercy to the world when THE EVIL

IS “STAMPED OUT!”  And though such exterminative policy on the

part of any nation can be justified only on the ground of A DIVINE

WARRANT yet the warrant having been given in this case, that policy

does but illustrate a truth which the Most High has again and again declared,

THAT NO NATION HAS ANY ABSOLUTE RIGHT IN ITSELF

OR ITS LAND.  IT HOLDS ITS EXISTENCE SUBJECT TO

 GOD’S WILL, AND TO THAT WILL ALONE!  And if it is

good for the world that it should give place to others, He will cause it to

pass away, and will bring another people on the soil.

 

The actual value of any nation or people in the world depends on the degree to which

they subserve God’s purpose, and AND NOT TO THE EXTENT TO WHICH

THEY FULFILL THEIR OWN!   Nations have but a passing loan of power

from the Great Supreme, held in trust for His honor and the world’s good;

and when they lose sight of that, they are grievously forgetting the things which

belong unto their peace.

 

If a nation is to preserve itself for God, corrupting influences are to be put away.

We have seen how much importance is attached by God to the training of the family

(vs. 3-4).  We see in this paragraph how much importance is also attached to those

influences which go beforehand to make the family. How does the Most High

set Himself against all THOSE CORRUPTIONS THAT POISON THE

SOCIAL FABRIC  and BREAK UP THE SACREDNESS OF THE HOME!   

And hew jealously does He guard His own worship from the defiling additions and

commandments of men!

 

When a nation is loyal to its God, by putting away sin and nurturing

righteousness, it will ENSURE THE DIVINE BLESSING AND ITS

OWN PERMANENCE! -  (v. 9) - God reserves the entry through the gates

of honor to “the righteous nation which keepeth the truth.”  (Isaiah 26:2)

 

The elevation ensured and given to nations which promote righteousness

is the one which, if we see as God sees, we shall value most. Godless men

may covet an ascendency backed by guns and swords, armies and fleets.

The believer in God covets only an uplifting that comes of the Divine

blessing on a wise and understanding people.”  (ch. 4:6)

 

6 “For thou art an holy people” - a people consecrated to God, to be holy as He

is holy (compare Leviticus 11:43-45; 19:2; 20:26; 21:6; ch. 23:14) - “unto the

LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people

unto Himself,” -  literally, to be to Him for a people of property (hL;gus]), a people

His own, His peculiar property (compare Exodus 19:5; ch.14:2; 26:18; and, for the

meaning of the word, I Chronicles 29:3, “mine own proper good;” Ecclesiastes 2:8,

“peculiar treasure of kings”); Septuagint - lao<v periou>siovlaos periousios

applied by Paul to Christians as the chosen and special property of Christ (Titus

2:14:). “above all people that are upon the face of the earth.” rather, out of

or from among all the peoples.

 

Holiness is the highest perfection of man, therefore the highest design of God.

Holiness is a far higher acquisition than wisdom or strength. The seven nations

of Canaan were greater and mightier than Israel, yet those nations fell before the

holy people. Purity shall eventually displace power. Right is genuine might.

Holiness has, by Divine appointment, AN EVERLASTING TENURE.

 

 

7 “The LORD did not set his love upon you,” – The Hebrew verb meaning

primarily to cleave to, to be attached to, is used to express ardent and loving

affection (Genesis 34:8; ch. 10:15; Isaiah 38:17) -“nor choose you,

because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest

of all people:” - It might have been supposed that, in choosing a people to be

His special treasure, the Almighty would have selected some one of the great

nations of the world; but, instead of that, He had chosen one of the smallest.

They had, indeed, grown till now they were as the stars for multitude; but it

was not in prospect of this that they were chosen. The election of Israel was

 purely of grace, A DIVINE INVESTMENT!

 

8 “But because the LORD loved you,” - Instead of saying, He hath chosen

you out of love to your fathers, as in ch. 4:37, Moses brings out in this place

love to the people of Israel as the Divine motive, not for choosing Israel,

but for leading it out and delivering it from the slave-house of Egypt, by

which God had practically carried out the election of the people, that He

might thereby allure the Israelites to a reciprocity of love - “and because

He would keep the oath which He had sworn unto your fathers, hath

the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you

out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”

Love is the spirit in which the Law should be kept, and through which the

Law becomes blessedness.

 

9 “Know therefore that the LORD thy God, He is God, the faithful

God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him

and keep His commandments to a thousand generations;” - rather, to the

thousandth generation. As God is faithful to His covenant, and will show

mercy and do good to those that love Him, whilst on those who hate Him

He will bring terrible retribution, the people are warned by this to take heed

against REBELLION and APOSTASY FROM HIM. (compare Exodus 20:5).

 

10 “And repayeth them that hate Him to their face” - The phrase, “to their face “

(wyn;p; la, to their faces), has been variously explained. It has been taken as

meaning, instantly, openly, manifestly; during life, in their presence, in their own

sight (Septuagint, kata< pro>swpon kata prosoponto their face). The last

seems the best. Hn,p; signifies properly, front, and μynip; la,, to the front,

before, in presence (compare Leviticus 9:5; Exodus 23:17). The hater of God

should be repaid, so that the man should himself see and feel that he had been

smitten of God (compare Isaiah 65:6; Job 34:11; Psalm 62:13). And this

retribution should come speedily:  to destroy them: He will not be slack to

him that hateth Him,” – i.e. He will not delay to repay him -“He will repay

him to his face.”

 

God is faithful, both to those who love Him and to those who hate Him.

One of blessing, the other of judgment!  God is as faithful in His

threatenings as in His promises. Why should He not be so? And His hatred

can have but one issue-DESTRUCTION!  How needful, then, tolay down the

arms of our rebellion!  If our hard hearts cherish any hatred towards Him,

the sooner we repent of this the better, and take refuge in His love. HE

WAITS TO BE GRACIOUS but, should we despise His mercy and still do

Him the injustice to Hate him, we must prepare for encountering His righteous

Wrath. 

 

11 “Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and

the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.”  As God would

thus summarily avenge Himself of His adversaries, the people are exhorted to keep

all His commandments, statutes, and rights.  OBEDIENCE WOULD

BRING BLESSING!

 

12 “Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken” - The Hebrew conveys the

idea of a reward as consequent on their hearkening; as there would be retribution

 for transgression, so would there be recompense for obedience.  The Hebrew

word represented by “wherefore” in the Authorized Version (bq,[e, from bqe[;,

the heel) denotes that which comes after, the end or last of anything (Psalm 119:33,

112), hence recompense, reward, wages, as the end or result of acting (Ibid. ch.19:11;

40:15; Isaiah 5:23).  The clause might, therefore, be translated, As a consequence or

recompense of hearkening.... it shall be that, &c. -  “to these judgments,” - i.e.

rights, rightful claims (μyfipuv]mi). God, as the Great King, has His rights, and

these are to be rendered to Him by His subjects and servants -  and keep, and do

them, that the LORD thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy

which He swear unto thy fathers:” The mercy, i.e. the kindness, the favor (ds,j,),

showed in the promises which God gave to their fathers, and engaged by covenant to

 fulfill.

 

13 “And He will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: He will

also bless the fruit of thy womb,” - This favor would take effect in a blessing on

the fruit of the womb, the produce of the field, and the increase of their flocks and

herds (compare Exodus 23:25-27) - “and the fruit of thy land, thy corn,

and thy wine, and thine oil,” - These comprise the fruitful products of the soil,

and in their combination express general fertility and abundance. By corn (ˆn;di)

is undoubtedly to be understood the cereal products generally used for food. It may

be doubted if tirosh (cwOrti), properly means wine. The word is often rendered in

the Authorized Version by new wine, and this is the meaning generally given in

the lexicons. As, however, it is almost constantly joined with corn and oil,

the immediate products of the soil — at least as unchanged by any process

or manufacture — it is rather to be regarded as designating ripe grapes

than wine. That, moreover, which was to be gathered (ch.11:14), which might

be tithed (ch. 12:17; 14:23), which might be described as fruit (II Chronicles 31:5),

as being in the cluster (Isaiah 65:8), (There are many “clusters” on this web site

and I trust, there is a blessing in each and every one!  Such is the import and

purpose of God’s Word! – CY – 2012) and as capable of being dried up or

parched (Joel 1:10), and trodden (Micah 6:15), could not be a fluid like fermented

wine. As the grape juice, however, was that from which wine was elicited,

tirosh is sometimes used tropically for wine (Isaiah 62:8; Hosea 4:11), Just as corn

is used for bread (Lamentations 2:12; Hosea 7:14). The oil here mentioned, and

elsewhere joined with dagan and tirosh, is the pure fresh olive oil (rh;x]yi, from

rh"x;, to shine), obtained by pressure from the berries of the olive, and used for

food as well as for other purposes by the Jews (see notes on ch.8:8) – “the increase

of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep,” -  The Hebrew is very peculiar here;

the same expression occurs only in this book (ch. 28:4,18, for it’s context see v. 15,

51). Literally rendered, it is the Astartes (Ashtaroth) of thy sheep. Kimchi says it

means “the females of the sheep” (ˆaxh twbqn), and this Gesenius adopts,

rendering the phrase by “ewes.” Astarte (‘Ash-toreth, plu. ‘Ashtaroth) was the

Phoenician Venus, and it is supposed that the females of the flock were called

Astartes or Venuses, as propagating the flock. There is, however, another way of

explaining the word as here used, by referring it to a root ‘ashar (rv"[;),

signifying to be multiplied, to be rich; whence the name given to the females as

the multipliers of the flock, without any reference to Astarte - “in the land which

He swear unto thy  fathers to give thee.  14 Thou shalt be blessed above

all people: there shall  not be male or female barren among you, or among

your cattle.”

 

15 “And the LORD will take away from thee all sickness, and will put

none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee;

but will lay them upon all them that hate thee.” The mercy of God should be

showed to them also in preserving them from sickness, especially of a

virulent and dangerous kind, such as they had seen in Egypt, where disease

has in all ages readily assumed a malignant character (‘Encyc. Brit.,’ art. ‘Egypt’),

and where especially cutaneous diseases of the worst kind prevail (compare

ch.28:27). Such diseases the Lord would rather cause to fall on their enemies.

 

The laws were right, kind, benevolent. The land was beautiful, fertile, healthful

All that was wanted was obedient people. Israel needed as much to be

delivered from themselves as to be rescued from the Egyptians. And, in fact,

there was among them a redeeming and sanctifying work, carried on through

God’s Spirit, though it is not named in this paragraph; nor was it as fully revealed

as now, how, in His infinite grace, our God created in His people the obedience

which, in His Law, He commands. “The righteousness of the Law is fulfilled

 in those who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:4).

The Law given to Israel was a child-guide with a view to Christ. The first

covenant proved brittle in their hands, and so they learned the need of another,

which should be forever safe in God’s hands. The first says, “Do this, and live.”

The second, “Live, and you will do this.” And even now, putting the matter

generally, we may say God governs nations, as nations, by the first covenant.

He governs His own believing people by the second. Hence, in dealing with men

and nations, the Christian preacher has ever to expound and enforce the

everlasting laws of righteousness, and by revealing men’s failure therein to

convict of sin; while in building up the Church he has to point to the glory of

the Holy Ghost as the Creator and Sustainer of spiritual power.

 

 

The heathen they were utterly to extirpate from the land which God was about

to give them; mighty as these nations were, they were not to be afraid of them,

for GOD WOULD BE WITH HIS PEOPLE and would deliver these nations,

with their kings, into their hands. Not all at once, however, should the former occupants

of the country be driven out; this should be done by degrees, lest, the land being

suddenly depopulated, the wild animals would increase too much, so as to be a source

of danger and trouble to the settlers; but ultimately they should be utterly destroyed,

and with them ALL THE OBJECTS AND IMPLEMENTS OF THEIR

IDOLATROUS WORSHIP.

 

16 “And thou shalt consume” -  literally, eat, devour (T;l]k"a;w]).  Unless they

consumed them as one consumes food, they would be a snare to them, by

tempting them to join in their idolatry - “all the people which the LORD thy

God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them: neither

shalt thou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee.”  (“NO PITY” -

This was God’s judgment on the Canaanites for their iniquity – they had been spared

for 400 years – see Genesis 15:13-15 – CY – 2012)

 

 

The Rewards of Obedience (vs. 12 -16)

 

If Israel fulfilled its vocation, in keeping itself separate from the idolatries of the

heathen, and in destroying them from the land; if further, in possession of the land,

it adhered to God’s commands, GOD WOULD MAKE HIS BLESSING

REST ON IT IN EVERY SPHERE AND DEPARTMENT OF EXISTENCE!

 

  • TEMPORAL PROSPERITY IS A LEGITIMATE OBJECT OF

DESIRE. Otherwise it could not be named as part of the blessing, nor

could the hope of it be held out as an encouragement to the obedient. We

naturally desire to see our affairs prospering. We justly rejoice in the

prosperity of our nation. We are glad when trade is brisk, wages good, the

comforts of life diffused through the different orders of society. But:

 

Ø      Prosperity is to be desired only in subordination to higher ends

(Matthew 6:33).

 

Ø      Only in so far as it is good for us (III John 1:2).

 

Ø      Not in excess (Proverbs 30:8-9). If God, in the exercise of His higher

wisdom, withhold prosperity from us, the loss will be compensated by

better blessings (Mark 10:29-30).  “No good thing will He

withhold from them that walk uprightly.” (Psalm 84:11)

 

  • TEMPORAL PROSPERITY, IN SUCH MODES AND DEGREES

AS GOD SEES BEST, IS AN EFFECT OF THE DIVINE BLESSING.

Godliness has promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come

(I Timothy 4:8). It naturally tends to prosperity. Religion teaches men

to be sober, righteous, and godly (Titus 2:12). It condemns idleness,

waste, dishonesty, and the whole series of vices which wreck health,

squander property, and destroy confidence. Where religion prevails, men

will be industrious, conscientious, orderly, and reliable. But, in addition

to this natural tendency of religion to prosperity, there rests on the good

man’s lot what is distinctively spoken of as THE DIVINE BLESSING!

This will mingle itself with all he has and with all he does. It gives him favor in

the eyes of men (Genesis 39:21). It opens up his way for him (Psalm 37:5).

It protects him from injury (Ibid. vs.33, 39). It overrules all

events and influences, so that they work for his good (Romans 8:28).  This is

forcibly illustrated in the text, where blessing is represented as descending

on the home, on the products of the land, on flocks and herds, on the

bodily life.  The counterpart of the blessing is the curse (v. 15). The wicked

often prosper, but it is PROSPERITY UNBLESSED AND UNENDURING!.

 

17 “If thou shalt say in thine heart, These nations are more than I; how

can I dispossess them? - The thought might rise in their minds, How  can we ever

compete with nations so much more powerful than we? But such thoughts

they must repress, remembering what God had done for them to Pharaoh and

the Egyptians, and AND RESTING ASSURED THAT THE SAME THING

WOULD HE DO TO THE CANAANITES!

 

18 “Thou shalt not be afraid of them: but shalt well remember what the

LORD thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt;  19 The great

temptations” - (compare ch.4:34; 6:22) -“which thine eyes saw, and the signs,

and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the stretched out arm, whereby

the LORD thy God brought thee out: so shall the LORD thy God do unto a

ll the people of whom thou art afraid.”

 

20 “Moreover the LORD thy God will send the hornet” -  (compare Exodus

23:28). Instances are on record of armies being obliged to give way before swarms

of insects by which they were attacked (as in the case of Julian, who was compelled

by a host of flies and gnats to change his route in retreating from Parthia; Atom.

Marcell., 24, 8); (compare Joshua 24:12) -“among them, until they that are left,

and hide themselves from thee, be destroyed. 21 Thou shalt not be affrighted

at them: for the LORD thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible.”

 

 22 “And the LORD thy God will put out those nations before thee by

little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts

of the field increase upon thee.” (Compare Exodus 23:30.)

 

23  “But the LORD thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall

destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed.”

(“a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed” - Basically, what awaits

“all nations that forget God” – Psalm 9:17 – CY – 2012)

 

24 “And He shall deliver their kings into thine hand, and thou shalt

destroy their name from under heaven: there shall no man be able

to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them.” The kings also of

these nations should they utterly destroy, so that their memory should perish

from the earth.

 

25 “The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt

not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee,

lest thou be snared therin: for it is an abomination to the LORD thy

God.”  The idols of the Canaanites they were utterly to destroy by fire,

not saving even the silver or gold with which the images were overlaid, lest,

if that were coveted and retained, it might bring them under the ban which

fell on all things connected with idolatry; AS HAPPENED IN THE

CASE OF ACHAN (Joshua 7.).

 

26 “Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou

be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou

shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.”  Cursed thing; a thing

devoted (μr,he), either, as in this case, to destruction (compare also

I Kings 20:42; Zechariah 14:11.

 

The Israelites were to remove, the Canaanites and their abominable modes

of life and worship, and endeavor to make of Palestine a holy land.

Jerusalem, the holy city, is to be THE EXPRESSION OF THE

DIVINE IDEA!

 

 

 

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