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The Blessing and the Curse
This chapter properly follows Deuteronomy 26:19, and concludes the second discourse. It enforces the injunctions given, by exhibiting the blessings associated with the keeping of them, and the curses entailed upon disobedience.
1-14. The Blessings for Obedience.
5. Store] lit. ’kneading-trough’ as in Exodus 12:34. The basket is that used for holding bread: see Genesis 40:17; Leviticus 8:2; Matthew 14:20.
7. Seven ways] (at once), a proverbial saying expressing a disorderly rout.
12. See on Leviticus 26:4 and on chapter Deuteronomy 11:10.
15-48. The Curse for Disobedience.
22. The sword] rather, ’drought.’
23, 24. A graphic description of long-continued drought. In Palestine the E. wind is hot and dry; and, blowing from the desert, is often full of fine sand-dust which gives the sky the appearance of burnished metal. When this wind (called the ’sirocco’) is strong, it produces the terrible sand storm so destructive to life, when ’the rain of the land is powder and dust’: see on Leviticus 26:19.
26. Fray] frighten, or scare: cp. 1 Samuel 17:44; 2 Samuel 21:10.
27. The botch of Egypt] the boil with which the Egyptians were plagued: see Exodus 9:9. Emerods] hæmorrhoids, as in 1 Samuel 5:6. What is meant is probably the Oriental bubonic plague.
28. They will be afflicted with mental as well as bodily diseases.
30-34. These troubles are the consequences of defeat in war and oppression by foreign nations. For a historical instance see Judges 6:3-6.
34. For the sight of thine eyes] i.e. on account of what you see.
36. Serve other gods] see on Deuteronomy 4:28.
37. Cp. 1 Kings 9:7-9.
38. Cp. Haggai 1:6-11.
40. Shall cast its fruit] i.e. unripe.
42. See on Exodus 10:4-6.
49. The Chaldeans or Assyrians are meant: see Jeremiah 5:15; Habakkuk 1:6-8.
53-57. This crowning horror of a longcontinued siege actually took place during the siege of Samaria by the Syrians (2 Kings 6:26-29), in the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar (Lamentations 4:10), and later in the final overthrow of Jerusalem by Titus, as recorded by Josephus in his ’Wars of the Jews.’
58: The name of God is His revealed character: see on Numbers 6:27. The name here, Jehovah thy God, expresses what God is in Himself, and what He is to Israel. He is the eternal and self-existent God who has made Israel His people.
64, 65. These words were fulfilled at the exile, and even more literally at the destruction of Jerusalem during the Roman supremacy. Since that time the Jews have been repeatedly persecuted and driven from one country to another; but, wonderfully enough, they have always preserved their identity. They still present the strange spectacle of a nation without a country: see on Numbers 23:9.
65. The failing of the eyes indicates the gradual extinction of hope: cp. Deuteronomy 28:32.
68. After the capture of Jerusalem the Roman general Titus sent a great many captives to the Egyptian mines.
No man shall buy you] This does not mean ’shall redeem you,’ but ’purchase you as slaves.’ They would be exposed for sale as slaves, and no man would consider them worth the buying.
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 28". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent