|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
28:45-68 If God inflicts vengeance, what miseries his curse can bring upon mankind, even in this present world! Yet these are but the beginning of sorrows to those under the curse of God. What then will be the misery of that world where their worm dieth not, and their fire is not quenched! Observe what is here said of the wrath of God, which should come and remain upon the Israelites for their sins. It is amazing to think that a people so long the favourites of Heaven, should be so cast off; and yet that a people so scattered in all nations should be kept distinct, and not mixed with others. If they would not serve God with cheerfulness, they should be compelled to serve their enemies. We may justly expect from God, that if we do not fear his fearful name, we shall feel his fearful plagues; for one way or other God will be feared. The destruction threatened is described. They have, indeed, been plucked from off the land, ver. 63. Not only by the Babylonish captivity, and when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans; but afterwards, when they were forbidden to set foot in Jerusalem. They should have no rest; no rest of body, ver. 65, but be continually on the remove, either in hope of gain, or fear of persecution. No rest of the mind, which is much worse. They have been banished from city to city, from country to country; recalled, and banished again. These events, compared with the favour shown to Israel in ancient times, and with the prophecies about them, should not only excite astonishment, but turn unto us for a testimony, assuring us of the truth of Scripture. And when the other prophecies of their conversion to Christ shall come to pass, the whole will be a sign and a wonder to all the nations of the earth, and the forerunner of a general spread of true christianity. The fulfilling of these prophecies upon the Jewish nation, delivered more than three thousand years ago, shows that Moses spake by the Spirit of God; who not only foresees the ruin of sinners, but warns of it, that they may prevent it by a true and timely repentance, or else be left without excuse. And let us be thankful that Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, by being made a curse for us, and bearing in his own person all that punishment which our sins merit, and which we must otherwise have endured for ever. To this Refuge and salvation let sinners flee; therein let believers rejoice, and serve their reconciled God with gladness of heart, for the abundance of his spiritual blessings.
Verse 46. - These curses would be for a sign and for a wonder, exciting astonishment and dismay in the beholder, and showing that it was indeed the hand of God that was upon the rebellious nation. Forever. This, though it may imply the final and utter rejection of Israel as a nation, does not preclude the hope of restoration of a part of Israel as individuals, or as a remnant remaining in or returning to faith and obedience (cf. Isaiah 10:22; Isaiah 6:13; Romans 9:27; Romans 11:5).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder,.... That is, those curses before pronounced, Deuteronomy 27:15, and what follow, should rest and remain upon them, continue with them, and be very visible on them; so as to be observed by others, as a sign of the wrath and displeasure of God, and of the fulfilment of prophecy, and of the truth of divine revelation: and so "for a wonder": as it is most astonishing to observe how exactly all the curses threatened them have fallen upon them and have abode with them, as they did in their former captivities, and more especially do in the present one: and, what is the greater wonder, that notwithstanding these dreadful calamities, and so long continued, enough to have crushed any people from being a people, yet they have continued, and still do continue, a distinct people; which is a standing miracle, and one would think sufficient to convince the most hardened and obstinate deist of the truth and authority of the sacred Scriptures; in which stand so many glaring prophecies that have been fulfilled, and are continually fulfilling in this people:
and upon thy seed for ever; this shows that these curses, said to be upon them, not only refer to those that came upon them at and in the Babylonish captivity, but to those that came upon them at their destruction by the Romans, and which have continued on them nineteen hundred years; and how much longer they will continue none can say: it will be their case, until new heavens and a new earth are created, or there will be a new state of things, at least with them; when they shall be converted to the Lord, and all Israel saved; see Isaiah 65:17; and it may be observed, that the ten tribes carried captive never returned.
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