When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;Deuteronomy 7:1. Seven nations — Ten are mentioned, Genesis 15:19; but this being some hundreds of years after, it is not strange if three of them were either destroyed by foreign or domestic wars, or by cohabitation and marriage united with and swallowed up in the rest.
And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:Deuteronomy 7:2. Thou shalt smite and utterly destroy them — That is, in case they continued obstinate in their idolatry, they were to be destroyed, as nations, or bodies politic. But if they forsook their idolatry, and became sincere proselytes to the true religion, they would then be proper objects of forgiveness, as being true penitents. For, says God himself, by Jeremiah, (Jeremiah 7:8,) At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation to destroy it, if that nation turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil which I thought to do unto them. Thou shalt make no covenant with them — See Exodus 23:32; Exodus 24:12. To make a covenant with and to spare such incurable idolaters, would have been cruelty to themselves and their posterity.
Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.Deuteronomy 7:3. Neither shalt thou make marriages with them — From this prohibition it has been justly inferred that the Canaanites, as individuals, might be spared upon their repentance and reformation from idolatry. For on the supposition that nothing that breathed was to be saved alive, but that all were to be utterly destroyed, there could be no occasion for this injunction. What end could it answer to forbid all intermarriages with a people supposed not to exist?
For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.Deuteronomy 7:4. To serve other gods — That is, there is manifest danger of apostacy and idolatry from such matches. Which reason doth both limit the prohibition to such of these as were unconverted, (otherwise Salmon married Rachab, Matthew 1:5,) and also enlarges it to other idolatrous nations, as appears from 1 Kings 11:2; Ezra 9:2; Nehemiah 13:23.
But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.Deuteronomy 7:5. Their groves — Which idolaters planted about the temples and altars of their gods. Hereby God designed to take away whatsoever might bring their idolatry to remembrance, or occasion the reviving of it.
For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.
The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:Deuteronomy 7:7-8. The fewest — To wit, at that time, when God first declared his choice of you for his peculiar people, which was done to Abraham. For Abraham had but one son concerned in this choice and covenant, namely, Isaac, and that was not till he was in his hundredth year; and Isaac was sixty years old ere he had a child, and then had only two children; and though Jacob had twelve sons, yet it was a long time before they made any considerable increase. Nor do we read of any great multiplication of them until after Joseph’s death. The Lord loved you — It was his free choice, without any cause or motive on your part.
But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;
And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face.Deuteronomy 7:10. Them that hate him — Not only those who hate him directly and properly, (for so did few or none of the Israelites to whom he here speaks,) but those who hate him by implication and consequence; those who hate and oppose his people and word; those who wilfully persist in the breach of his commandments. To their face — That is, openly, and so as they shall see it, and not be able to avoid it. Slack — So as to delay it beyond the fit time or season for vengeance, yet withal he is long-suffering, and slow to anger.
Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.
Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the LORD thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy fathers:Deuteronomy 7:12-13. The covenant and the mercy — That is, the covenant of mercy, which he, out of his own mere grace, made with them. He will love thee — He will continue to love thee, and to manifest his love to thee.
And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee.
Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle.
And the LORD will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee.Deuteronomy 7:15. The diseases of Egypt — Such as the Egyptians were infected with, either commonly, or miraculously. It seems to refer not only to the plagues of Egypt, but to some other epidemic diseases, which they remembered to have prevailed among the Egyptians, and by which God had chastised them for their national sins. The leprosy, and other cutaneous distempers, were frequent in Egypt. The Scriptures also mention the botch of Egypt, as a disease common in that country, Deuteronomy 28:27. Diseases are God’s servants, which go where he sends them, and do what he bids them.
And thou shalt consume all the people which the LORD thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them: neither shalt thou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee.
If thou shalt say in thine heart, These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them?
Thou shalt not be afraid of them: but shalt well remember what the LORD thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt;Deuteronomy 7:18-19. Thou shalt remember what the Lord thy God did — Frequently and considerately, for thy encouragement; for people are said to forget those things which they do not remember to good purpose. The great temptations — The trials and exercises of thy faith, and obedience to my commands.
The great temptations which thine eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the stretched out arm, whereby the LORD thy God brought thee out: so shall the LORD thy God do unto all the people of whom thou art afraid.
Moreover the LORD thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves from thee, be destroyed.
Thou shalt not be affrighted at them: for the LORD thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible.
And the LORD thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee.Deuteronomy 7:22. Thou mayest not consume them at once — Thou shalt not be able; I will not assist thee with my omnipotence, to crush them at one run of success and victory; for you are not yet numerous enough to people the whole country at once. But I will bless thee in the use of ordinary means, and thou shalt destroy them by degrees, in several battles, that thou mayest learn by experience to put thy trust in me.
But the LORD thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed.
And he shall deliver their kings into thine hand, and thou shalt destroy their name from under heaven: there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them.Deuteronomy 7:24. No man shall stand before thee — This promise was conditional; they were to be obedient and perform their duty, and then it would be fulfilled; but if they neglected to do this, they would justly lose the benefit of it.
The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the LORD thy God.Deuteronomy 7:25. The silver or the gold — Wherewith the idols were covered or adorned, nor consequently any other of their ornaments. This God commanded, to show his utter detestation of idolatry, and to cut off all occasions of it.
Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.Deuteronomy 7:26. Lest thou be a cursed thing — Hebrew, חרם, cherem, devoted to utter destruction, as that and every thing was that had been employed to an idolatrous use.