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
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
9:7; 11:19), in the
among tribes in the north of
principal settlement was probably in that part of the country where the Antilibanus
range terminates in
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 (מהֵר, infinitive of מָהַר, 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!
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
strength of counteracting virtue. Thus a threefold line of policy was enjoined:
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.
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
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
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 (סְגֻלָּה), 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 - λαὸς περιούσιος –
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
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
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 “
(אל פָנָיו, 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, κατὰ πρόσωπον – kata prosopon – to their face). The last
seems the best. פָנֶהּ; signifies properly, front, and אֶל פָנִים, 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
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
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 (עֵקֶב, from עָקֵב;
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 (מִשְׁפֻטִים)). 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 (חֶסֶד),
showed in the promises which God gave to their fathers, and engaged by covenant to
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 (דִנָן)
is undoubtedly to be understood the cereal products generally used for food. It may
be doubted if tirosh (תִרושׂ), 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 (יִצְהָר, from צָהַר;
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” (נקבות הצאן), 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 (עָשַׁר),
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
15 “And the LORD will take away from thee all sickness, and will put
none of the evil diseases of
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
has in all ages readily assumed a malignant character (‘Encyc.
Brit.,’ art. ‘
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.
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).
Law given to
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
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)
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!
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
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)
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
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
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 (הֵרֶם), 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
and worship, and endeavor to make of
Jerusalem, the holy city, is to be THE EXPRESSION OF THE
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