Deuteronomy 29:29
The secret things belong to the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.
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The secret things belong unto the Lord our God - This verse seems to be added as a solemn admonition on the part of Moses, in order to close the series of blessings and curses which he has delivered. The sense seems to be this: "The future, when and how these good and evil things will take effect, it lies with the Lord our God to determine; it pertains not to man's sphere and duty. God's revealed will is that which we must carry out." The 17th of our Articles of Religion concludes with much the same sentiment. The secret things belong unto the Lord, etc. - This verse has been variously translated. Houbigant renders it thus: Quae apud Dominum nostrum abscondita sunt, nobis ea filiisque nostris palam facta sunt ad multas aetates, "The things which were hidden with the Lord our God, are made manifest to us and our children for many generations." I am not satisfied with this interpretation, and find that the passage was not so understood by any of the ancient versions. The simple general meaning seems to be this: "What God has thought proper to reveal, he has revealed; what he has revealed is essential to the well-being of man, and this revelation is intended not for the present time merely, nor for one people, but for all succeeding generations. The things which he has not revealed concern not man but God alone, and are therefore not to be inquired after." Thus, then, the things that are hidden belong unto the Lord, those that are revealed belong unto us and our children. But possibly the words here refer to the subjects of these chapters, as if he had said, "Apostasy from God and his truth is possible. When a national apostasy among us may take place, is known only to God; but he has revealed himself to us and our children that we may do all the words of this law, and so prevent the dreadful evils that shall fall on the disobedient."

The Jews have always considered these verses as containing subjects of the highest importance to them, and have affixed marks to the original לנו ולבנינו lanu ulebaneynu, "to Us and to our Children," in order to fix the attention of the reader on truths which affect them individually, and not them only, but the whole of their posterity.

The secret things belong unto the Lord our God,.... Respecting the people of Israel, and the providential dealings of God with them, and especially the final rejection of them; with respect to which, the apostle's exclamation agrees with this, Romans 11:33; and though the Lord had revealed many things which should befall them, there were others still secret with him, and the reasons of others; and particularly the times and seasons of their accomplishment, which he retains in his own power, Acts 1:6. There are many secret things in nature, which cannot be found out and accounted for by men, which the Lord only knows; and there are many things in Providence, which are unsearchable, and past finding out by finite minds, especially the true causes and reasons of them; and there are many things relating to God himself, which remain secret with him; notwithstanding the revelation he has made of himself; for not only some of his perfections, as eternity, immensity, &c. are beyond our comprehension; but the mode of subsistence of the three divine Persons in the Godhead, the paternity of the one, the generation of the other, and the procession of the Spirit from them both; the union of the two natures, divine and human, in the person of Christ; the thoughts, purposes, and decrees of God within himself, until brought into execution; and so there are many things relating to his creatures, as the particular persons predestinated unto eternal life, what becomes of such who die in infancy, what will befall us in life, when we shall die, where and in what manner, and also the day and hour of the last judgment. The Jews generally interpret this and what follows of the sins of men, and punishment for them, and, particularly, idolatry; take Aben Ezra's sense instead of many,"he that commits idolatry secretly, his punishment is by the hand of heaven (from God immediately); he that commits it openly, it lies upon us and upon our children to do as is written in the law:"

but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children for ever; the things of nature and Providence, which are plain and manifest, are for our use and instruction; and especially the word and ordinances of God, which are the revelation of his will, the doctrines and promises contained in the Scriptures, each of the duties of religion, and the commandments of God, such as are of eternal obligation, which may be chiefly designed, because it follows:

that we may do all the words of this law: for the end of this revelation is practice; hearing and reading the word will be of no avail, unless what is heard and read is practised. Some render the words (i),"the secret things of the Lord our God are revealed to us and to our children;''but neither the construction of the words in the original, nor the Hebrew accents, will admit of such a version; otherwise it would furnish out a very great truth: for the secrets of God's love, of his council and covenant, are revealed unto his people, as well as many of his providences, and the mysteries of his grace; see Psalm 25:14. There are some extraordinary pricks in the Hebrew text on the words "to us and to our children": which are designed to point out the remarkable and wonderful condescension and goodness of God, in making a revelation of his mind and will, both with respect to doctrine and duty, to the sons of men.

(i) So some in Fagius and Vatablus.

The {m} secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

(m) Moses by this proves their curiosity, who seek those things that are only known to God: and their negligence who do not regard that which God has revealed to them, as the law.

29. The secret things belong unto the Lord—This verse has no apparent connection with the thread of discourse. It is thought to have been said in answer to the looks of astonishment or the words of inquiry as to whether they would be ever so wicked as to deserve such punishments. The recorded history of God's providential dealings towards Israel presents a wonderful combination of "goodness and severity." There is much of it involved in mystery too profound for our limited capacities to fathom; but, from the comprehensive wisdom displayed in those parts which have been made known to us, we are prepared to enter into the full spirit of the apostle's exclamation, "How unsearchable are his judgments" (Ro 11:33). How thoroughly Moses was filled with the thought, that not only individuals, but whole families, and in fact the greater portion of the nation, would fall into idolatry, is evident from the further expansion of the threat which follows, and in which he foresees in the Spirit, and foretells, the extermination of whole families, and the devastation of the land by distant nations; as in Leviticus 26:31-32. Future generations of Israel, and the stranger from a distant land, when they saw the strokes of the Lord which burst upon the land, and the utter desolation of the land, would ask whence this devastation, and receive the reply, The Lord had smitten the land thus in His anger, because its inhabitants (the Israelites) had forsaken His covenant. With regard to the construction, observe that ואמר, in Deuteronomy 29:22, is resumed in ואמרוּ, in Deuteronomy 29:24, the subject of Deuteronomy 29:22 being expanded into the general notion, "all nations" (Deuteronomy 29:24). With וראוּ, in Deuteronomy 29:22, a parenthetical clause is inserted, giving the reason for the main thought, in the form of a circumstantial clause; and to this there is attached, by a loose apposition in Deuteronomy 29:23, a still further picture of the divine strokes according to their effect upon the land. The nouns in Deuteronomy 29:23, "brimstone and salt burning," are in apposition to the strokes (plagues), and so far depend upon "they see." The description is borrowed from the character of the Dead Sea and its vicinity, to which there is an express allusion in the words, "like the overthrow of Sodom," etc., i.e., of the towns of the vale of Siddim (see at Genesis 14:2), which resembled paradise, the garden of Jehovah, before their destruction (vid., Genesis 13:10 and Genesis 19:24.). 29:29 Moses ends his prophecy of the Jews' rejection, just as St. Paul ends his discourse on the same subject, when it began to be fulfilled, Ro 11:33. We are forbidden curiously to inquire into the secret counsels of God, and to determine concerning them. But we are directed and encouraged, diligently to seek into that which God has made known. He has kept back nothing that is profitable for us, but only that of which it is good for us to be ignorant. The end of all Divine revelation is, not to furnish curious subjects of speculation and discourse, but that we may do all the words of this law, and be blessed in our deed. This, the Bible plainly reveals; further than this, man cannot profitably go. By this light he may live and die comfortably, and be happy for ever.Verse 29. - By secret things, here, some understand "hidden sins," which are known only to God, and which he will punish (Targum Jon.); but the meaning rather is, things in God's purpose known only to himself: these things, it is affirmed, belong to him, are his affair, and may be left with him. On the other hand, the things revealed are the things made known by God to man in his Word, viz. his injunctions, threatenings, and promises; and with these men have to do. This verse is by some regarded as part of the answer given to the question of ver. 24; but others regard it as a general reflection added by Moses by way of admonition to his previous discourse. This latter view is the more probable, and the scribes may have had this in their mind when they distinguished the words, unto us and to our children, by placing over them extraordinary points , in order to emphasize them, though by many this is regarded as a mere critical notation, indicating a various reading (Buxtorf, 'Tiberias,' 1. c. 17, p. 179; Havernick, 'Introd.,' p. 281; Bleek, 'Einleit,' p. 799).



secret

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revealed

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and to our

Deuteronomy 6:7 And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk …

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29:29 The secret things - Having mentioned the amazing judgments of God upon the whole land and people of Israel, and foreseeing the utter extirpation which would come upon them for their wickedness, he breaks out into this pathetic exclamation, either to bridle their curiosity, who would be apt to enquire into the time and manner of so great an event; or to quiet his own mind, and satisfy the scruples of others, who perceiving God to deal so severely with his own people, when in the meantime he suffered those nations which were guilty of grosser atheism and idolatry, might thence take occasion to deny his providence or question the equity of his proceedings. To this he answers, that the ways and judgments of God, tho' never unjust, are often times hidden from us, unsearchable by our shallow capacities, and matter for our admiration, not our enquiry. But the things which are revealed by God and his word, are the proper object of our enquiries, that thereby we may know our duty, and be kept from such terrible calamities as these now mentioned.
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