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These circumstances indicate very satisfactorily, to my mind, that his purpose was the opposite of what has been imagined. He had been bidden, in what we have before read, to expel the Canaanites. He proceeds to fulfil that commission by means of threats, which he trusted, would, to a great extent, remove any opportunity for their own execution, since, as yet, there was ample time for his words to go abroad, before the evils they denounced could be incurred, (no part of Canaan being distant more than a hundred miles from the place of his encampment,) and for those, for whom the warning was intended, to find safety in timely flight, whether by land or sea. Accordingly, we find him, after having repeated the command in substantially the same general form in which we have read that he received it,* going on in a later passage to say, that with the cities of the seven devoted nations his people must not even make a treaty to spare their lives, on condition of reducing them to servitude; † a rule, however, for which he nowhere appeals to any divine authority. I
* Deut. vii. 1-5, 16, 22; xii. 1-3.
† xx. 16 - 18. | “ Thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them, .... neither shalt thou make marriages with them” &c. (vii. 2, 3). On the common theory, that the destruction intended was universal massacre, an extraordinary anti-climax is here presented. — “Ye shall cut down their groves ” (5); if this, which is derived from the Septuagint and Vulgate, is the true sense of the word, the reference is to the plantations which were the scene of licentious idolatrous rites. Gesenius, (Lexicon Art. 1777x), understands an image of Astarte, the Phenician Venus. — With 12-15 compare Lev. xxvi., and my remarks thereupon. In 16, 22, we find nothing additional to what occurs in passages before quoted. — “The Lord thy God will send the hornet” (20). See p. 182, note on Ex. xxiii. 28. Compare Josh. vi. — “ This day” (viii. 1); the phrase, it is well known, is used with great latitude ; compare ix. 1. “ That he might make thee know, that man doth not live by bread only” &c. (3); that is, that he might satisfy thee, that God, by his own will and power, is able to make provision, when common provisions fail.-" Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years” (4). The received VOL. I.
dent testimony to a fact, which all the circumstances of the case show to be strongly probable, has a peculiar interest and value.
There is no language at the beginning of the ninth chapter, indicative of a transition from the discourse on which I have been commenting, to another now begun; for aught that appears, the same discourse is continued. Moses warns the people not to imagine, that any successes they might obtain, were the fruit of their own valor,t or that God gave them these successes in consequence of any desert of theirs ; † and now, having prepared the way for greater plainness of speech than would have been suitable at an earlier period of his addresses to them, ş he proceeds to rebuke any tendency to an arrogant spirit, by recalling the painful and humbling memory of some of the worst instances of their intractableness and ingratitude,|| and declaring that these were but specimens of a spirit which had always seemed ready to break forth, on any insufficient occasion, from the very time of the great mercy manifested in their behalf, in their deliverance from Egyptian bondage. I Yet, notwithstanding all these provocations, he says, he had never ceased, with a disinterested earnestness, to intercede for them; and their Divine benefactor, though greatly incensed, had never ceased to pardon.** Still, God was waiting to be gracious. All he required of them was obedience; but it must be an obedience, not of outward service, but of the heart.tt He appealed to them to render that obedience, by the memory of his past kindnesses; for, when all nations were alike his, he had selected theirs to be the object of his peculiar care, and had already raised them, from small beginnings, to be a numerous people.* He appealed to them by a sense of his impartial justice, which weighed in the same balance the lowly and the great.f He appealed to them by past manifestations of his great power, as this had been manifested alternately in their protection and their punishment.f And finally, he appealed to them by his purposes of heavy retribution,ş or unlimited bounty,|| for the future, according as they should
* With Deut. ix. 1, compare vi. 3, 4, xii. 28.
ix. 3. | ix. 4-6.
Ś Compare i. 26 - 46. || ix. 8 - 12, 22, 23. Compare Ex. xxxii. (with my remarks, pp. 215222); Numb. xi., xiii., xiv. 1 Deut. ix. 7, 24.
** ix. 13- 20, 25 - X. 5. H x. 12, 13, 16, 20, 21.
* Deut. x. 14, 15, 22.
† x. 17, 18. xi. 1-9.
§ xi. 16, 17. || xi. 10-15, 18-25. — With ix. 18, 25, compare Ex. xxxiv. 28. — ix. 20, has no parallel in Exodus. — I do not think that ix. 22, contradicts my suggestion (p. 340, note $) respecting Taberah and Kibroth-hattaavah being different names of the same place. (Compare Numb. xxxiii. 17.) Moses might repeat both significant names, for greater emphasis, though he placed another, of the same class, between them. The ancient versions, unlike ours, translate all the three words. Deut. ix. 22-24, should be arranged as a parenthesis, so as to preserve the connexion between 21 and 25 et seq. — The force of x. 1-5, is to remind the Israelites with what peculiar reverence the written Decalogue, now in the ark, in the custody of the Levites, ought to be regarded, in consideration of the manner in which it had been provided. — I cannot hesitate to regard x. 6, 7, as an interpolation; and that, too, originating, it may be presumed, in some accident. I lay no stress on the circumstance, that the proper names in 6, apparently the same with those in Numb. xxxiii. 31, are here disposed in a different order; for nothing is more likely, than that the Israelites, in the course of their long wanderings, should, at different times, have visited the same spots, taking them in a different order. But they break the connexion between 5 and 8, which otherwise is as close as possible (compare 10); nor can they even be regarded as a parenthesis, so irrelevant to the subject is the matter which they contain. — Verse 8, in its connexion with 5 and 10, determines the time, when a definite arrangement for the service of the Levites was communicated to Moses, to have been that of his second retirement to Mount Sinai ; compare p. 317, note f. They were appointed to “bear the ark” (8) in which (5) the stone tablets were deposited. — Verse 19 is a moral precept for the people, parenthetically intrcduced, in connexion with the mention (17, 18) of God's impartial providence; after which (20), the course of the argument
DEUTERONOMY XI. 32. - XXVI. 19.
MOSES RECITES AND ANNOUNCES LAWS, — RELATING TO IDOLATRY,—
TO WORSHIP, - To The ReligiouS REVENUES, - TO DISTINCTIONS of Food, THE FESTIVALS, TO THE SECOND TITHE AND FIRSTLINGS, THE SABBATICAL YEAR, TO SLAVERY, Future Monarchical GovERNMENT,
- To False TEACHERS, WITH A PREDICTION OF THE GREAT TEACHER TO COME, - To Rights of CitizeNSHIP, — TO THE CUSTOMS OF WAR, — To DOMESTIC RelaTIONS, To Usury, - to OFFICES of Justice, HUMANITY, COURTESY, AND COMPASSION, MiscelLANEOUS SUBJECTS, – Crimes, PROCESSES, AND PUNISHMENTS. — HE GIVES DIRECTIONS RESPECTING OFFERINGS TO BE MADE AFTER THE ORDERLY SETTLETHE COUNTRY,
his EXHORTATIONS TO OBEDIENCE, AND ASSURANCES OF THE Divine Favor.
In fifteen chapters of the book of Deuteronomy, beginning with the twelfth, we find Moses represented as publicly repeating, with or without modification, various laws which had been previously established, and for the first time promulgating others, a greater or less portion of which, I have remarked,* are to be taken for the fruit of his meditations and experience, and the subject of revelations to him, during the long wanderings in the wilderness. A general remark, to be made upon the collection of rules here brought together, is, that they are of a character corresponding with the occasion to which the record refers them. They are declared to have been addressed to “all Israel," — to the people at large; and accordingly rules of that class, with which the people had no immediate concern, which were intended for a directory to the sacred order
* See p. 372.
in the discharge of their functions, are not found embraced in the collection.*
In the account which I am to give of these laws, (and in which I shall not treat of their principles, except as far as new provisions require it, having done this already in earlier parts of the discussion, it will be convenient to bring together those which treat upon the same general subject, though we should find them dispersed in different parts of Moses' discourse.
discourse. They were rehearsed to the end that they might be remembered and obeyed. It was not necessary to this end, as it would have been in the recital of historical facts, that they should be presented in a determinate order ; and it would be fruitless to inquire why Moses has adopted the particular arrangement in which we find them, in preference to any other. Nothing is more probable, than that single rules took their places successively, as they chanced to occur to his mind.
The great subject, however, of True and False Worship, of idolatry and fealty to Jehovah, is placed, as we should expect, in the fore-ground, in a repetition of the rule respecting the destruction of the monuments of that licentious and flagitious form of heathenism, which prevailed in Canaan, as soon as that country should be possessed.f Further on, a caution is given
* Compare Deut. xxiv. 8, where the people are expressly referred, for instruction in the provisions relating to leprosy, to the sacred order, to whom the administration of those rules had been committed in full detail (compare Lev. xiii. xiv.). “As I commanded them, so shall ye observe to do,” is all that is said to the people, except that, to make them more ready to submit to the separation which the priests were directed to enforce, they are reminded (Deut. xxiv. 9), that Miriam herself had been subjected to the same exaction, and this, though the host had been detained upon its march for the purpose. (Compare Numb. xii. 15.) — The remark, however, in the text, is not to be taken without exception. See Deut. xviii. 6-8.
+ Deut. xi. 32 - xii. 3. Compare Ex. xxxiv. 13; Numb. xxxiii. 52; Deut. vii. 5. - It will be observed, that I take Deut. xi. 32 into this division of the book. There it seems to me to belong. As arranged in VOL. I.