The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Deuteronomy 28

Deu 28:1

Deu 28: "A dramatic and personal introduction is presented. 'If thou shalt hearken diligently...' It is both a challenge and an invitation. The ch appears in a section demonstrating the perpetuity, power and promise of the Law, together with the rewards and penalties which actuate it as such. Moses sets out: (1) The condition of blessing: vv 1,2. This was the purpose of hearkening -- to learn what was required, and to do it. (2) Blessings in the domestic sphere: vv 3-6. How the law affects personal lives for good. (3) Blessings in time of war: v 7 -- when the nation is challenged by the enemy. (4) Blessings in activity: v 8. Yahweh's eyes are constantly on the Land to ensure a blessing. (5) Blessing in the national status: vv 9,10. The Name of Yahweh is now invoked, as it is the title of ownership. (6) Blessings in the increase: vv 11,12. The people would not only have increase, but the ability to enjoy it. (7) Blessings in rulership: v 13. (8) Moses' exhortation: v 14. Moses' personal appeal to faithfulness. (9) The cursings of the Law: vv 15-68. It is significant that the cursings take 53 verses, for they emphasize the evidence of sin in the nation. The remarkable prophecy has been so remarkably fulfilled in the history of Israel. It is a preview of the circumstances of the ecclesia. The theme of the whole ch is found in v 58: to fear the glorious and fearful Name of Yahweh thy God" (GEM).

Deu 28:2

Vv 2-6: "It was part of the promise under the national covenant of Israel, that God would bless them in basket and store if they were obedient; and that disobedience would bring blasting and poor harvest. It was part of an arrangement of national life, where material prosperity, expressed in an agricultural community in the terms of the produce of the land and of cattle, was the blessing of their Divine Ruler. We might be drawn to entirely wrong conclusions if we determined a man's standing in divine favor in these days of industrial activity, by the vast accumulations of wealth beyond contemplation for others than rulers in simpler ages. We would also be misled in following the prevailing temper of the present day in regarding all laws of nature as explicable by natural science, and being in no way subject to divine rule. While it would be a mistake to relate all natural happenings, good harvests, wet seasons, earthquakes and storms, to the divine will, to exclude them from God's operations if He so desired would be a greater mistake" (PAE 205).

Deu 28:60

DISEASES OF EGYPT: Prob bubonic plague. The ne corner of the Nile delta was a source of plagues from the earliest of times... due to high temperatures, swamps, mixing of salt and fresh water. Through the maritime plain, in both directions, many ancient armies as well as traders traveled, carrying diseases of all sorts with them: cp Deu 7:5; Amo 4:10; 1Sa 5:6,9,12.

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