He findeth him in a land -- a desert, And in a void -- a howling wilderness, He turneth him round -- He causeth him to understand -- He keepeth him as the apple of His eye.
Deuteronomy 32:10 Additional TranslationsClarke's Commentary on the Bible
He - the Lord, found him - Jacob, in his descendants, in a desert land - the wilderness. He led him about forty years in this wilderness, Deuteronomy 8:2, or יסבבנהו yesobebenhu, he compassed him about, i. e., God defended them on all hands, and in all places. He instructed him - taught them that astonishing law through which we have now almost passed, giving them statutes and judgments which, for depth of wisdom, and correct political adaptation to times, places, and circumstances, are so wondrously constructed, as essentially to secure the comfort, peace, and happiness of the individual, and the prosperity and permanency of the moral system. Laws so excellent that they have met with the approbation of the wise and good in all countries, and formed the basis of the political institutions of all the civilized nations in the universe.
Notwithstanding the above gives the passage a good sense, yet probably the whole verse should be considered more literally. It is certain that in the same country travelers are often obliged to go about in order to find proper passes between the mountains, and the following extracts from Mr. Harmer well illustrate this point.
"Irwin farther describes the mountains of the desert of Thebais (Upper Egypt) as sometimes so steep and dangerous as to induce even very bold and hardy travelers to avoid them by taking a large circuit; and that for want of proper knowledge of the way, such a wrong path may be taken as may on a sudden bring them into the greatest dangers, while at other times a dreary waste may extend itself so prodigiously as to make it difficult, without assistance, to find the way to a proper outlet. All which show us the meaning of those words of the song of Moses, Deuteronomy 32:10 : He led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.
"Jehovah certainly instructed Israel in religion by delivering to him his law in this wilderness; but it is not, I presume, of this kind of teaching Moses speaks, as Bishop Patrick supposes, but God's instructing Israel how to avoid the dangers of the journey, by leading the people about this and that dangerous, precipitous hill, directing them to proper passes through the mountains, and guiding them through the intricacies of that difficult journey which might, and probably would, have confounded the most consummate Arab guides. They that could have safely enough conducted a small caravan of travelers through this desert, might have been very unequal to the task of directing such an enormous multitude, encumbered with cattle, women, children, and utensils. The passages of Irwin, that establish the observation I have been making, follow here: 'At half past eleven we resumed our march, and soon came to the foot of a prodigious hill, which we unexpectedly found we were to ascend. It was perpendicular, like the one we had passed some hours before; but what rendered the access more difficult, the path which we were to tread was nearly right up and down. The captain of the robbers seeing the obstacles we had to overcome, wisely sent all his camels round the mountain where he knew there was a defile, and only accompanied us with the beast he rode. We luckily met with no accident in climbing this height.' p. 325. They afterwards descended, he tells us, into a valley, by a passage easy enough, and stopping to dine at half past five o'clock, they were joined by the Arabs, who had made an astonishing march to overtake them, p. 326. 'We soon quitted the dale, and ascended the high ground by the side of a mountain that overlooks it in this part. The path was narrow and perpendicular, and much resembled a ladder. To make it worse, we preceded the robbers, and an ignorant guide among our people led us astray. Here we found ourselves in a pretty situation: we had kept the lower road on the side of the hill, instead of that towards the summit, until we could proceed no farther; we were now obliged to gain the heights, in order to recover the road, in performing which we drove our poor camels up such steeps that we had the greatest difficulty to climb after them. We were under the necessity of leaving them to themselves, as the danger of leading them through places where the least false step would have precipitated both man and beast to the unfathomable abyss below, was too critical to hazard. We hit at length upon the proper path, and were glad to find ourselves in the road of our unerring guides the robbers, after having won every foot of the ground with real peril and fatigue.' p. 324. Again: 'Our road after leaving the valley lay over level ground. As it would be next to an impossibility to find the way over these stony flats, where the heavy foot of a camel leaves no impression, the different bands of robbers have heaped up stones at unequal distances for their direction through this desert. We have derived great assistance from the robbers in this respect, who are our guides when the marks either fail, or are unintelligible to us.' The predatory Arabs were more successful guides to Mr. Irwin and his companions, than those he brought with him from Ghinnah; but the march of Israel through deserts of the like nature, was through such an extent and variety of country, and in such circumstances as to multitudes and incumbrances, as to make Divine interposition necessary. The openings through the rocks seem to have been prepared by Him to whom all things from the beginning of the world were foreknown, with great wisdom and goodness, to enable them to accomplish this stupendous march." See Harmer's Observat., vol. iv. p. 125.
He kept him as the apple of his eye - Nothing can exceed the force and delicacy of this expression. As deeply concerned and as carefully attentive as man can be for the safety of his eyesight, so was God for the protection and welfare of this people. How amazing this condescension!
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
Deuteronomy 8:15,16 Who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought...
Nehemiah 9:19-21 Yet you in your manifold mercies forsook them not in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day...
Psalm 107:4,5 They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in...
Songs 8:5 Who is this that comes up from the wilderness, leaning on her beloved? I raised you up under the apple tree...
Jeremiah 2:6 Neither said they, Where is the LORD that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, that led us through the wilderness...
Hosea 13:5 I did know you in the wilderness, in the land of great drought.
led him. or, compassed him
Deuteronomy 4:36 Out of heaven he made you to hear his voice, that he might instruct you: and on earth he showed you his great fire...
Nehemiah 9:20 You gave also your good spirit to instruct them, and withheld not your manna from their mouth, and gave them water for their thirst.
Psalm 32:7-10 You are my hiding place; you shall preserve me from trouble; you shall compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah...
Psalm 147:19,20 He shows his word to Jacob, his statutes and his judgments to Israel...
Romans 2:18 And know his will, and approve the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law;
Romans 3:2 Much every way: chiefly, because that to them were committed the oracles of God.
Psalm 17:8 Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of your wings,
Proverbs 7:2 Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of your eye.
Zechariah 2:8 For thus said the LORD of hosts; After the glory has he sent me to the nations which spoiled you...
Deuteronomy 32:10 Parallel CommentariesApple Arms Barren Cared Caring Causeth Compassed Desert Encircled Eye Howling Instructed Keepeth Kept Led Preserved Pupil Putting Round Sand Shielded Surrounded Turneth Understand Unpeopled Void Waste Watched WildernessApple Arms Barren Cared Caring Causeth Compassed Desert Encircled Eye Howling Instructed Keepeth Kept Led Preserved Pupil Putting Round Sand Shielded Surrounded Turneth Understand Unpeopled Void Waste Watched WildernessTHE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica®.
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