Partner with as God uses us to make a difference for those displaced by Russia's war on Ukraine.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Deuteronomy 30

Verses 1-3

And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee,

When all these things are come upon thee, and thou ... return ... then the Lord ... will turn thy captivity. The hopes of the Hebrew people are ardently directed to this promise, and they confidently expect that God, commiserating their forlorn and fallen condition, will yet rescue them from all the evils of their long dispersion.

They do not consider the promise as fulfilled by their restoration from the captivity in Babylon, for Israel was not then scattered in the manner here described - "among all the nations," "unto the outmost parts of heaven" (Deuteronomy 30:4); and when God recalled them from that bondage, all the Israelites were not brought back, they were not multiplied above their fathers (Deuteronomy 30:5), nor were their hearts and those of their children circumcised to love the Lord (Deuteronomy 30:6).

It is not, therefore, of the Babylonian captivity that Moses was speaking in this passage: it must be of the dispersed state which they have been doomed for 1800 years. It will be admitted by all who believe the Old Testament Scriptures that the Jewish nation are now suffering under a penal sentence of long-continued exile from their own land, which is to cease, according to this prophecy and many others (cf. Leviticus 26:40-42), when, repenting of their sins, they return to God in the appointed way.

They were expelled from (Canaan for rejecting Jesus Christ as the Prophet whom God was to raise up like unto Moses; and therefore, in returning to God, they must in the first instance acknowledge the prophetic character and office of Christ. This prediction may have been partially accomplished on the return of the Israelites from Babylon; for, according to the structure and design of Scripture prophecy, it may have pointed to several similar eras in their national history; and this view is sanctioned by the prayer of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1:8-9).

But undoubtedly it will receive its full and complete accomplishment in the conversion of the Jews to the Gospel of Christ. At the restoration from the Babylonian captivity, that people were changed in many respects for the better. They were completely weaned from sensible idolatry; and this outward reformation was a prelude of the higher attainments they are destined to reach in the age of Messiah, 'when the Lord God will circumcise their hearts, and the hearts of their seed, to love the Lord.'

This promise, which, as the context clearly shows, belongs to the period of their recovery from their present dispersion, will, if compared with the language of Isaiah 52:1, render it evident that it is not the external badge of circumcision which is thought of, but the state of the heart symbolized by it, to which alone any value is to be attached, and which the inspired writers of the Old Testament represent as the criterion by which the true people of God are to be discerned.

So far, then, from becoming less of a true Israelite by becoming a true Christian, every converted Jew will then, for the first time, really deserve the name of Israelite, even though he should (if that were possible) divest himself of the national mark of distinction put upon him in infancy (cf. Romans 2:28-29: see 'Jewish Repository,' 3:, 1818. pp. 256).

The course pointed out seems clearly to be this: that the hearts of the Hebrew people shall be circumcised (Colossians 2:2); in other words, by the combined influences of the Word and Spirit of God, their hearts will be touched and purified from all their superstition and unbelief; they will be converted to the faith of Jesus Christ as their Messiah-a spiritual deliverer; and the effect of their conversion will be that they will return and obey the voice (the Gospel, the Evangelical law) of the Lord.

The words may be interpreted either wholly in a spiritual sense (John 11:51-52) or, as many think, in a literal sense also, (Romans 11:1-36.) They will be recalled from all places of the dispersion to their own land, and enjoy the higher prosperity. The mercies and favours of a bountiful Providence, not then being abused as formerly (Deuteronomy 31:20; Deuteronomy 32:15), will be received in a better spirit, and employed to nobler purposes. The people will be happy, "for the Lord will again rejoice over them for good, as He rejoiced over their fathers."

Verses 4-10

If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee:

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verses 11-14

For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.

For this commandment ... is not hidden ... neither ... far off. That law of loving and obeying God, which was the subject of Moses' discourse, was well known to the Israelites. They could not plead ignorance of its existence and requirements. It was not concealed as an impenetrable mystery in heaven, for it had been revealed through Moses; nor was it carefully withheld from the people as a dangerous discovery, and one had to rise from the depths of the sea, like Jonah, to proclaim it; for the youngest and humblest of them were instructed in those truths which were subjects of earnest study and research among the wisest and greatest of other nations. They were not under a necessity of undertaking long journeys or distant voyages, as many ancient sages did, in quest of knowledge. They enjoyed the special privilege of a familiar acquaintance with it. It was with them a subject of common conversation, engraven on their memories, and frequently explained and inculcated on their hearts.

The apostle Paul (Romans 10:6-8) has applied this passage to the Gospel, for the law of Christ is substantially the same as that of Moses, only exhibited more clearly in its spiritual nature and extensive application, and, accompanied with the advantages of Gospel grace, is practicable and easy.

Verses 15-20

See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;

See, I have set before thee this day life ... and death - i:e., the alternative of a good and happy, or a disobedient and miserable life. Love of God and compliance with His will is the only way of securing the blessings and avoiding the evils described. The choice was left to themselves; and in urging upon them the inducements to a wise choice, Moses warned, as he proceeded, into a tone of solemn and impressive earnestness similar to that of Paul to the elders of Ephesus (Acts 20:26-27).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 30". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.