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Bible Commentaries

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Deuteronomy 30

A.M. 2553. B.C. 1451.

Promises upon their repentance, Deuteronomy 30:1-10 . The righteousness of faith set before them, Deuteronomy 30:11-14 . Life and death offered to their choice, Deuteronomy 30:15-20 .

Verse 1

Deuteronomy 30:1. When all these things are come upon thee Having been thus large in setting before them the consequences of apostacy from God and his service, Moses now turns his discourse to the great encouragement which such as had been disobedient would have from the mercy of God to return to him in true repentance. The blessing When thou art obedient. The curse When thou becomest rebellious; which I have set before thee Have propounded to thy consideration and choice; and thou shalt call to mind The benefits of obedience, and miseries of disobedience; shalt reflect seriously upon thy ways, and the ends to which they will certainly lead: in which consideration true repentance begins.

Verse 2

Deuteronomy 30:2. And shalt return unto the Lord Here is a further description of true repentance. It is a returning unto the Lord, in humiliation, shame, and sorrow, and yet with confidence in him, as our God, with a fixed purpose of obeying him universally and heartily in future. This the Jews did, as a nation, in some measure, after they were carried captive to Babylon, since which time we read nothing of their idolatry. But they degenerated into other sins, which made them reject the Messiah when he was sent to them, for which they are punished to this day, and will be till they repent and be converted, Romans 11:23-26; Luke 21:24.

Verse 3

Deuteronomy 30:3. The Lord will turn thy captivity That is, will bring back thy captives, as the following words imply. Indeed, captivity is often put for captives, Psalms 14:7; and Psalms 68:18; Judges 5:12. This was fulfilled in part when they returned from Babylon, and will be more completely fulfilled when they shall turn from ungodliness, and believe with their heart unto righteousness in Jesus of Nazareth, as the Son of God, and true Messiah; but surely not before; for as they were cast out of their own land for rejecting him, it is not to be supposed that they will be restored to it till they receive him. Nor is there any intimation in any part of Scripture that they shall. Their repentance and reformation must precede their obtaining this mercy: see Romans 11:26. Thus Moses here, When thou shalt return unto the Lord with all thy heart and all thy soul, then the Lord will have compassion upon thee, and gather thee from all the nations, &c. Till then any efforts that may be used to re-establish them in Canaan will prove ineffectual.

Verse 4

Deuteronomy 30:4. If any of thine be driven out unto the out-most parts of heaven This part of the prophecy has been fulfilled; they have been thus driven away. From thence will the Lord gather thee Not the widest and most distant dispersion of any of thy tribes shall cause them to be finally lost.

But God, upon the before-mentioned condition, will so order it that you shall in the most material instances recover your ancient state. Nehemiah pleads this promise in his prayer for the restoration of Jerusalem, Nehemiah 1:8-9. And it was in part fulfilled when Cyrus issued a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, that all the Jews might return, if they pleased, into their own land, Ezra 1:1-5. But the promise is generally considered as having a further view; and as respecting their restoration to their own country in the latter days, after this their long and last dispersion. The Jews themselves apply it to their present condition, being of opinion that God hath appointed a time for their deliverance, and that if they repent he will shorten the days of their banishment. But, as we have just observed, they must also believe in Jesus of Nazareth, as the true Messiah, before they be restored.

Verse 5

Deuteronomy 30:5. He will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers There are in this and several other prophecies concerning the restoration of the Jews, such magnificent descriptions of it as do by no means appear to have been sufficiently fulfilled in any restoration yet past; and therefore are to be accomplished in a more complete one yet to come, after their conversion, in principle and practice, to true Christianity.

Verse 6

Deuteronomy 30:6. And the Lord Or, For the Lord; will circumcise thy heart Will by his word and Spirit change and purge thy heart from all thy idolatry and wickedness, and incline thy heart to love him. God will first convert and sanctify thee, the fruit whereof shall be, that thou shalt return and obey God’s commandments, (Deuteronomy 30:8,) and then shalt prosper in all things, Deuteronomy 30:9. This promise principally respects the times of the gospel, and still remains to be accomplished, at least in the full sense; for, though after the Babylonish captivity they never returned to idolatry, yet they degenerated into endless superstitions and corruptions of heart, resting merely in the outward ceremonies of religion, without any sincere love to God and substantial piety. Hence they rejected the Son of God, preaching conversion of heart, regeneration, spiritual worship, and a kingdom not of this world.

Verse 9

Deuteronomy 30:9. For good Whereas thou didst formerly receive these mercies for thy hurt, now thou shalt have them for thy good; thy heart shall be so changed that thou shalt not now abuse them, but employ them to the glory of God the giver. Over thee for good To do thee good; as he did rejoice to destroy thee.

Verse 10

Deuteronomy 30:10. If thou wilt hearken This is added to warn them that they should not receive the grace of God in vain, and to teach them that the grace of God doth not discharge man’s obligation to his duty, nor excuse him for the neglect of it. It is observable, that Moses calls God, the Lord thy God, twelve times in these ten verses. In the threatenings of the former chapter, he is all along called the Lord, a God of power, and the Judge of all. But in the promises of this chapter, the Lord thy God, a God of grace, and in covenant with thee.

Verse 11

Deuteronomy 30:11. This commandment The great command of loving and obeying God, which is the sum of the law, of which yet he doth not here speak as it is in itself, but as it is mollified and accompanied with the grace of the gospel. The meaning is, that though the practice of God’s laws be now far from us, and above our strength, yet, considering the advantage of gospel grace, whereby God enables us to do our duty, it is near and easy to us, who believe. And so this well agrees with Romans 10:6, &c., where St. Paul applies this place to the righteousness of faith. Is not hidden Hebrew, Is not too wonderful for thee; not too hard for thee to know and do. The will of God, which is but darkly manifested to other nations, (Acts 17:27,) is clearly and fully revealed unto thee: thou canst not pretend ignorance or invincible difficulty.

Verses 12-14

Deuteronomy 30:12-14. In heaven Shut up there, but it hath been thence delivered and published in thy hearing. Neither beyond the sea The knowledge of this commandment is not to be fetched from far distant places, to which divers of the wise heathen travelled for their wisdom; but it was brought to thy very doors and ears, and declared to thee in this wilderness. In thy mouth Thou knowest it so well, that it is the matter of thy common discourse. In thy heart In thy mind, (as the heart is very commonly taken,) to understand and believe it. In a word, the law is plain and easy: but the gospel is much more so.

Verse 19

Deuteronomy 30:19. Choose life They shall have life that choose it: they that choose the favour of God, and communion with him, shall have what they choose. They that come short of life and happiness, must thank themselves only. They would have had them, if they had chosen them, when they were put to their choice: but they die, because they will die.

Verse 20

Deuteronomy 30:20. That thou mayest love the Lord thy God Here he shows them in short what their duty is; to love God as the Lord, a being most amiable, and as their God, a God in covenant with them: as an evidence of their love, to obey his voice in every thing, and by constancy in this love and obedience, to cleave to him all their days. And what encouragement had they to do this? For he is thy life and the length of thy days He gives life, preserves life, restores life, and prolongs it, by his power, though it be a frail life, and by his presence, though it be a forfeited life. He sweetens life by his comforts, and completes all in life everlasting.

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 30". Benson's Commentary. 1857.