|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
8:1-9 Obedience must be, 1. Careful, observe to do; 2. Universal, to do all the commandments; and 3. From a good principle, with a regard to God as the Lord, and their God, and with a holy fear of him. To engage them to this obedience. Moses directs them to look back. It is good to remember all the ways, both of God's providence and grace, by which he has led us through this wilderness, that we may cheerfully serve him and trust in him. They must remember the straits they were sometimes brought into, for mortifying their pride, and manifesting their perverseness; to prove them, that they and others might know all that was in their heart, and that all might see that God chose them, not for any thing in them which might recommend them to his favour. They must remember the miraculous supplies of food and raiment granted them. Let none of God's children distrust their Father, nor take any sinful course for the supply of their necessities. Some way or other, God will provide for them in the way of duty and honest diligence, and verily they shall be fed. It may be applied spiritually; the word of God is the food of the soul. Christ is the word of God; by him we live. They must also remember the rebukes they had been under, and not without need. This use we should make of all our afflictions; by them let us be quickened to our duty. Moses also directs them to look forward to Canaan. Look which way we will, both to look back and to look forward, to Canaan. Look which way we will, both to look back and to look forward will furnish us with arguments for obedience. Moses saw in that land a type of the better country. The gospel church is the New Testament Canaan, watered with the Spirit in his gifts and graces, planted with trees of righteousness, bearing fruits of righteousness. Heaven is the good land, in which nothing is wanting, and where is fulness of joy.
Verse 9. - A land whose stones are iron. Minerals do not abound in Palestine; the hills are for the most part calcareous; but by the side of the limestone in the north of Canaan ferruginous basalt appears in largo masses, and on Lebanon ironstone abounds. Near Tiberius are springs largely impregnated with iron, as are also those at Has-beija, on the Hermon range, as well as the soil around that place. Traces of extinct copper works are also to be found on Lebanon (cf. art. 'Metals,' in Kitto and Smith; Ritter, 'Geography of Palestine,' 1:248). The Israelites, however, do not seem to have carried on mining operations themselves, but to have been content to obtain supplies of the useful metals from their neighbors (2 Samuel 8:8; 1 Chronicles 18:8; 1 Chronicles 22:3, 14).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
A land wherein thou shall eat bread without scarceness,.... That is, should have plenty of all sorts of provisions, which bread is often put for:
thou shall not lack anything in it; for necessity and convenience, and for delight and pleasure:
a land whose stones are iron; in which were iron mines:
and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass; both which are taken out of the earth and the stones of it, Job 28:2 and were to be found in the land of Canaan, and particularly in the tribe of Asher, as seems from Deuteronomy 33:25 and more particularly at Sidon and Sarepta, which were in that tribe; the latter of which seems to have its name from the melting of metals there, and the former is said in Homer (t) to abound with brass.
(t) . Homer. Odyss. 15. l. 424.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
9. a land whose stones are iron—The abundance of this metal in Palestine, especially among the mountains of Lebanon, those of Kesraoun, and elsewhere, is attested not only by Josephus, but by Volney, Buckingham, and other travellers.
brass—not the alloy brass, but the ore of copper. Although the mines may now be exhausted or neglected, they yielded plenty of those metals anciently (1Ch 22:3; 29:2-7; Isa 60:17).
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