Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you.
1. Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes, and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers giveth you.
1. Et nunc Israel audi statuta et judicia, quae ego doceo vos, ut faciatis: ut vivatis, atque ingrediamini, et possideatis terram quam Jehova Deus patrum vestrorum dat vobis.
2. Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.
2. Non addetis ad verbum quod ego praecipio vobis, neque minuetis ex eo, ut custodiatis praecepta Jehovae Dei vestri, quae ego praecipio vobis.
1. Now, therefore, hearken, O Israel. He requires the people to be teachable, in order that they may learn to serve God; for the beginning of a good and upright life is to know what is pleasing to God. From hence, then, does Moses commence commanding them to be attentive in seeking direction from the Law; and then admonishing them to prove by their whole life that they have duly profited in the Law. The promise which is here inserted, only invites them to unreserved obedience through hope of the inheritance. The main point is, that they should neither add to nor diminish from the pure doctrine of the Law; and this cannot be the case, unless men first renounce their own private feelings, and then shut their ears against all the imaginations of others. For none are to be accounted (true) disciples of the Law, but those who obtain their wisdom from it alone. It is, then, as if God commanded them to be content with His precepts; because in no other way would they keep His law, except by giving themselves wholly to its teaching. Hence it follows, that they only obey God who depend on His authority alone; and that they only pay the Law its rightful honor, who receive nothing which is opposed to its natural meaning. The passage is a remarkable one, openly condemning whatsoever man's ingenuity may invent for the service of God.
Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
Your eyes have seen what the LORD did because of Baalpeor: for all the men that followed Baalpeor, the LORD thy God hath destroyed them from among you.
3. Your eyes have scen what the Lord did because of Baal-peor: for all the men that followed Baal-peor, the Lord thy God hath destroyed them from among you.
3. Oculi vestri viderunt qum fecit Jehova propter Baal-Peor, omnem enim hominem qui perrexerat post Baal-Peor perdidit Jehova Deus tuus e medio tui.
4. But ye that did cleave unto the Lord your God ave alive every one of you this day.
4. Vos autem qui adhaesistis Jehova Deo vestro vivitis universi hodie.
3. Your eyes have seen what the Lord did. This enlargement more clearly shews that so conspicuous was the example given in the punishment, that it could not be hidden from even the most ignorant; for Moses does not here address those of refined judgment, but the common people generally, who had only been spectators. Assuredly, if God's vengeance had been less manifest, he would not have so confidently appealed to them as witnesses; hence was their stolidity the less excusable, if they were blind to so plain and notorious a fact.
His praise of their constancy I refer to the present case alone; for it is abundantly clear that they did not persevere in cleaving to God. The meaning is, that there was a manifest discrimination in this Divine chastisement, so that the death of the ungodly multitude should preserve the pure worship of God among the survivors.
But ye that did cleave unto the LORD your God are alive every one of you this day.
Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.
Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.
For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?
And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?
Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons;
Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.
And ye came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness.
And the LORD spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice.
Deuteronomy 4:12-19, 23, 24
12. And the LORD spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice.
12. Tunc loquutus est Jehova ad vos e medio ignis: vocem verborum audistis, at formam non vidistis praeter vocem.
13. And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.
13. Et exposuit vobis pactum suum quod praecepit vobis ut faceretis: nempe decem verba, quae scrip-sit super duas tabulas lapideas.
14. And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it.
14. Mihi praecepit Jehova tempore illo ut docerem vos statuta et judicia, quae faceretis in terra, ad quam transitis possidendam.
15. Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire:
15. Itaque custodiatis vos valde super animabus vestris: (quoniam non vidistis ullam formam illo die, quo loquutus est Jehova vobiscum in Horeb e medio ignis:)
16. Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,
16. Ne forte corrumpamini, et faciatis vobis sculptile, formam ullius simulachri, effigiem masculi aut foeminae.
17. The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air,
17. Effigiem cujusque animalis quod est in terra: effigiem cujuscunque volucris alatae quae volat per coelos:
18. The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth:
18. Effigiem cujuscunque repentis in terra: effigiem cujuscunque piscis qui est in aquis sub terra.
19. And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.
19. Neve attollas oculos tuos in coelum: et quum videris solem, lunam, et stellas cum universo exercitu coelorum, impellaris ut adores atque colas ea, quae distribuit Jehova Deus tuus omnibus populis sub universo coelo.
23. Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee.
23. Custodite vos, ne forte obliviscamini foederis Jehovae Dei vestri, quod percussit vobiscum, et faciatis vobis sculptlie, quamcunque simili-tudinem, sicut praecepit Jehova Deus tuus.
24. For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.
24. Nam Jehova Deus tuus, ignis consumens est, et Deus zelotes.
And the Lord spake unto you. It is a confirmation of the Second Commandment, that God manifested Himself to the Israelites by a voice, and not in a bodily form; whence it follows that those who are not contented with His voice, but seek His visible form, substitute imaginations and phantoms in His place. But here arises a difficult question, for God made Himself known to the patriarchs in other ways besides by His voice alone; thus Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob knew Him not only by hearing, but by sight. Moses himself saw Him in the midst of the burning bush; and He also manifested Himself to the Prophets under visible figures. Since it would be superfluous to heap together many citations, let the remarkable vision of Isaiah suffice, which is related in (Isaiah 6), and those of Ezekiel, which we read of in (Ezekiel 1 and Ezekiel 10) And yet God was not forgetful of Himself, when He thus presented Himself to the sight of His servants. Wherefore, this argument does not appear to be valid and good, that it is sinful to represent God in a visible image, because His voice was once heard without His being seen; when, on the other side, it is easy to object that visible forms have often been exhibited, wherein He testified His presence. The solution is twofold: first, that, although God may have invested Himself in certain forms for the purpose of manifesting Himself, this must be accounted as a peculiar circumstance, and not be taken as a general rule; secondly, that the visions shewn to the patriarchs were testimonies of His invisible glory, rather to elevate men's minds to things above than to keep them entangled amongst earthly elements. In the promulgation of His Law, God first prescribed what believers must follow; because He saw that this was the best method (compendium) for retaining the minds of His people in true religion, and at the same time the best remedy for idolatry. Unless we submit to this counsel of God, we shall not only betray a licentious spirit of contention, but shall run directly against God, like butting bulls. For it was not in vain that Moses laid down this principle, that when God collected to Himself a Church, and handed down a certain and inviolable rule for holy living, He had not invested Himself in a bodily shape, but had exhibited the living image of His glory in the doctrine itself. Hence we may conclude that all those who seek for God in a visible figure, not only decline, but actually revolt, from the true study of piety.
If any one should object that God is not inconsistent with Himself, and yet, as has been said, that He has more than once taken upon Himself a visible form, the reply is simple and easy, that, whenever He appeared to the patriarchs in a visible form, He gave a temporary sign, which still was by no means contradictory of this commandment. Isaiah saw the Lord of hosts sitting on His throne; yet he boldly cries out as from the mouth of God, "To whom will ye liken me?" (Isaiah 40:25.) Nor need I repeat how constantly he speaks against idolaters; certainly he inveighs more strongly than any of the prophets against the folly, nay, the madness of those who make to themselves any image of God; because they thus turn truth into falsehood; and finally he assumes the same principle as that of Moses, that the true nature of God is corrupted by tricks and delusions if a corruptible thing be called His image. But what was His vision itself? The seraphim, who surrounded God's throne, sufficiently shewed by their covering their faces with their wings that the sight of Him could not be borne by mortals. As to what Ezekiel relates, no painter could represent it; for God has always appeared distinguished from the shape of any creature by those marks which surpass man's apprehension. This conclusion, therefore, always remains sure, that no image is suitable to God, because He would not be perceived by His people otherwise than in a voice. But then also fire was a symbol of His presence, yet He testified by it that His glory is incomprehensible, and thus would prevent men from idol-making. We have elsewhere explained what it is "to guard themselves as to their souls."  But we infer, from his anxious exhortations, that they should take heed, how great is the leaning of the human soul to idolatry. This is the tendency of that attestation against them, which I have inserted from (Deuteronomy 8); for Moses not only threatens them, but, as if summoning witnesses according to the custom of solemn trials, denounces that they shall perish, in order to inspire them with greater fear by this earnest mode of address. Whence it appears that this insane lust (of idolatry) is not to be repressed by ordinary means. With the same object he says that they are "corrupted, or corrupt themselves," who make any similitude of God. Thus Paul also declares that in this way the truth is changed into a lie, (Romans 1:25;) and Jeremiah and Habakkuk condemn images for their falsehood. (Jeremiah 10:14; Habakkuk 2:18.) No wonder, then, that an idol should be called the "corruption" of men, since it adulterates the worship of God; and it is a most just recompense to those who pollute the pure and perfect knowledge of God, that they should be thence infected with a rottenness which consumes their souls. Hence, also, the stupid ignorance of the Papists is confuted who confine this prohibition to the ancient people, as if it were now permitted to paint or to sculpture (images of God)  as if they had been Jews whom Paul was addressing, when he reasoned from the common origin of our nature: "Forasmuch as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold or silver," or corruptible matter. (Acts 17:29)  There is no necessity for entering into details; but the Spirit declares no less plainly now that we must keep ourselves from idols, (1 John 5:21,) than He of old forbade their being made. Moreover, it was an act of diabolical madness to make away with one of the Ten Commandments, in order that they might rush into this foul and detestable extravagance with impunity. They pretend that the Jews were formerly prohibited from idolatry with greater strictness, because they were too much disposed to it, as if they were not themselves much worse in this respect. But, setting aside this, who does not see that the vice of superstition, which is natural to the human mind, was corrected by this remedy? Until, therefore, men have laid aside their nature, we infer that this Commandment is necessary for them.
19. And lest thou lift up thine eyes. Moses proceeds further, lest the Jews should imagine any divinity in the sun, and moon, and stars; nor does he only recall them from the error with which many were imbued,  thinking that these were so many gods; but also anticipates another superstition, lest, being ravished by the brightness of the stars, they should conceive them to be images of God. And to this the expression, to "be driven," refers. For since God represents His glory in the heavenly host, so also Satan, under this pretext, confuses and stupefies men's minds by a wily artifice, in order that they may worship God in these luminaries, and thus stumble at the very threshold. Therefore, that the Israelites may the better acknowledge how absurd it is to seek for God in earthly things, or in the elements of the world, or in corruptible matter, he expressly declares that they must not even lean  on heavenly creatures; since God's majesty is superior to the sun, and moon, and all the stars. Besides, he reproves the absurdity of transferring the worship of God to the stars, which, by God's appointment, are to minister to us; for when he says that "God hath divided them unto all nations," it implies subjection; as if he had said that the sun was our minister, and the moon, together with all the stars, our handmaid. Still, by the word "divided," God's admirable providence is fitly commended in respect to their varied position, and course, and different offices; for the sun does not enlighten and warm all lands at the same moment; and, again, it now retires from us, and now approaches us more closely; the moon has her circuits; the stars rise and set as the heaven revolves. I pass over the slower movement of the planets; but, according to the aspect of the stars, one climate is moister, another drier; one feels more heat, another more cold. This variety is aptly called by Moses "dividing " Yet it aggravates the sin of superstition, if the Jews give themselves to the service of the stars, which minister also to heathen nations; for what can be more unworthy than for the children of God to worship the sun, which is the servant of all the world? whence again it follows, that in proportion to the dignity and excellence of the creatures themselves, so is the ingratitude of men towards God all the more base, if they adorn with His worship as with spoils, those creatures which He has appointed to minister to their advantage. The silly notion in which some of the Rabbins delight themselves,  is unworthy of mention, viz., that God has divided the stars to the Gentiles, since they are subject to their influences, from which by special privilege the Jews are free; as if the condition of the human race had not been the same from the beginning. But the reason which I have adduced plainly shews, that they depart most widely from the meaning of Moses, and therefore pervert his intention; viz., that the creatures which are destined for our use, are by no means to be worshipped as God.
23. Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget. There is no contradiction in the sense, that he should first of all altogether forbid that idols should be made; and, secondly, speak only of worshipping and adoring them; for it is already in itself a wicked error to attribute any image to God; and another superstition always accompanies it, that God is always improperly worshipped in this visible symbol. There is a strong confirmation here of what I have previously stated, that whatever holds down and confines our senses to the earth, is contrary to the covenant of God; in which, inviting us to Himself, He permits us to think of nothing but what is spiritual, and therefore sets His voice against all the imaginations, whereby heathen nations have always been deceived; because they have been deprived of the light of that doctrine which would direct them to the heavenly greatness of God Himself. But those who have been taught by God's Law, not only that He alone is to be worshipped, but that He may not be represented by any visible effigy, are justly accounted covenant-breakers, if they do not confine themselves within these bounds; for they violate that Second Commandment (caput) by which they are commanded to worship God spiritually; and consequently are forbidden to make to themselves likenesses, or images, whereby they would deface and pollute His glory. At the end of the verse, which some translate "the likeness, which your God hath forbidden,"  the proper rendering is, "hath commanded, or enjoined:" and hence the relative 'vr, asher, must be taken, as in many other places, as an adverb of comparison. The meaning of Moses is indeed by no means obscure; viz., that we must simply obey God's word; and that we must not dispute whether what He has forbidden is lawful or not; and that no other rule of right is to be sought for, except that we should follow what He has prescribed. Let the Papists dispute as they please, that images are not to be removed because they are useful for the people's instruction; but let this be our wisdom, to acquiesce in what God has chosen to decree in this matter. Although the threat which is subjoined might have been placed amongst the sanctions, which we shall hereafter consider in their proper place, yet I have been unwilling to separate it from the Second Commandment, to which it is annexed. A confirmation is added in Deuteronomy; viz., that God, who has not spared foreign nations, will much less pardon His people; inasnmch as it is a greater crime, and fouler ingratitude to forsake God when once He is known, and to cast aside the teaching of His Law, than to follow errors handed down from our forefathers. I have already explained in what sense He is called a "jealous God;" but in Exodus 34:14, Moses has not deemed it sufficient simply to honor God with this title; but, in amplification, he has added that this is His name, in order that we may know that He can no more bear a companion, or a rival, to be compared with Him, than He can cast away His Godhead, or deny Himself. He compares Him to fire, to increase our terror of Him. We know how audaciously the world indulges itself in superstitions; so that, as if in very sport, it metamorphoses God just as fancy leads. Wherefore, in order to incline men's minds to reverence, he sets before us in this figure God's fearful vengeance; as though He would instantly consume them, just as fire consumes stubble, if they shall have dared to think of God otherwise than is right.
 See Lat. of ver. 15. The explanation to which he alludes is probably that given on Deuteronomy 8:11. Vol. 1 p.
 Added from Fr.
 Addition in Fr., "Or, c'estoit aux Payens qu'il parloit ainsi;" Now, they were heathens whom he thus addressed.
 See Job 31:26-27. Any discussion on the history of Sabaism would be superfluous here. Dr. Layard, (Nineveh and its Remains, vol. 2, p. 446,) points out, that "representations of the heavenly bodies, as sacred symbols, are of constant occurrence in the most ancient sculptures;" whilst the "one symbol" of the supreme Deity is "a winged figure in a circle," sometimes assuming the form of "a winged globe, wheel, or disc," resembling the Egyptian representation of the sun, and the Persian Ormuzd.
 Lat. "subsistendum." Fr. "s'amuser."
 S.M. says, "Rabbi Aben-Ezra, and the author of the Bundle of Myrrh,' foolishly think that the Gentiles were under the dominion of decrees emanating from the stars; but that the Jews were free, because the Lord turneth aside their noxious influences. But this text teaches us, that the functions of the stars are distributed among the nations, inasmuch as they afford light and heat, and temper the cold to all men." -- W.
 So the V. which is followed by A.V. and S.M. Our expositor seems to mean that 'sr is here equivalent to even as, and connects the last with the first clause of the verse; so that it should be rendered as follows, "Take heed to yourselves, etc., even as the Lord your God commanded you." --W. The Fr. thus abbreviates the Latin text: "La ou j'ay translate, Ce que l'Eternel vostre Dieu vous a defendu, vaut autant que s'il estoit dit Comme ou Selon."
And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.
And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it.
Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire:
Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,
The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air,
The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth:
And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.
But the LORD hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, even out of Egypt, to be unto him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day.
Furthermore the LORD was angry with me for your sakes, and sware that I should not go over Jordan, and that I should not go in unto that good land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance:
Deuteronomy 4:21, 22
21. Furthermore, the Lord was angry with me for your sakes, and sware that I should not go over Jordan, and that I should go in unto that good land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance;
21. Jehova iratus fuit contra me propter verba vestra, juravitque quod non transirem Jordanem, neque ingrederer terram bonam, quam Jehova Deus tuus dat tibi in haereditatcm.
22. But I must die in this land, I must not go over Jordan: but ye shall go over, and possess that good land.
22. Ego enim morior in hac terra, neque transeo Jordanem: vos antem transitis, ut possideatis terram istam bonam.
21. Furthermore, the Lord was angry with me. He again records that it arose from the transgression of the people that he was not permitted to enter the land, not by way of expostulation, and much less in order to accuse God of cruelty, as if he had been improperly and unjustly substituted as a criminal in the place of others, but rather to magnify the goodness of God towards those whom He had treated with so much indulgence. For we must observe the comparison, that, whilst they were to enjoy the land, he was to be prevented from entering it. "I must die (he says) in this land" of Moab, whilst to you it is given to enjoy the promised inheritance. We perceive, therefore, that they are upbraided with their guilt in such a way that all the bitterness of the reproof is sweetened by the sense of God's mercy; nay, that by this sweetness they may be ravished into admiration, when they understand how mercifully that pardon is extended to them, which was denied to Moses.
The sense of the expression which I have rendered "for your words,"  might be "for your things," inasmuch as the Hebrews call men's affairs (negotia), dvrym, debarim. Assuredly, although he had been impelled to sin by their rebellious clamors, he simply states that he was now punished on their account. If any should inquire why he lays the blame on them, whereas the actual offenders were most of them dead, the reply is obvious, that many of them were still surviving, and that it is no novelty that the children should be included with the fathers, when the whole body of a people has sinned.
 A. V., "for your sakes;" (dvrym.)
But I must die in this land, I must not go over Jordan: but ye shall go over, and possess that good land.
Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee.
For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.
When thou shalt beget children, and children's children, and ye shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, and shall do evil in the sight of the LORD thy God, to provoke him to anger:
25. When thou shalt beget children, and children's children, and ye shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, and shall do evil in the sight of the Lord thy God, to provoke him to anger;
25. Quum genueris filios et nepotes, et senueritis in terra illa, corruperitis autem vos, et feceritis sculptile, imaginem cujuscunque rei atque feceritis malum in oculis Jehovae Dei vestri, irritando illum,
26. I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed.
26. Testor contra vos hodie coelum et terram, quod pereundo peribitis cito e terra ad quam pergendo transituri estis Jordanem, ut possideatis eam: non protrahetis dies in ea: quia disperdendo disperdemini.
27. And the Lord shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the Lord shall lead you.
27. Ac disperget vos Jehova inter populos, et relinquemini homines pauci numero in gentibus ad quas deducet vos Jehova.
28. And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.
28. Servietisque ibi diis, operi manuum hominum, ligno et lapidi, quae non vident, nec audiunt, nec comedunt, nec odorantur.
29. But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart, and with all thy soul.
29. Quod si requisieris inde Jehovam Deum tuum, tum invenies, si requisieris eum toto corde tuo, et tota anima tua.
30. When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;
30. Quum fuerit tibi angustia, invenerintque te omnia ista, in novissimis diebus si reversus fueris ad Jehovam Deum tuum, et parueris voci ejus:
31. (For the Lord thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers, which he sware unto them.
31. (Quia Deus misericors est Jehova Deus tuus) non derelinquet te, neque disperdet te, neque oblivisectur pacti patrum tuorum de quo juravit illis.
25. When thou shalt beget children, and children's children. Although at the outset he only adverts to idolatry, yet, inasmuch as he thence takes occasion to inveigh generally against the transgressors of the Law, and denounces punishment against them, I have thought it advisable to introduce this passage amongst the Sanctions (of the Law.) He had already strictly forbidden them to turn aside to idols; he now requires this instruction to be handed down to their grand-children and their whole race; as though he had said, that they must continue faithfully in the pure worship of God, not only lest they should deprive themselves of entering the land of Canaan, but also lest, after having long enjoyed quiet possession of it, they should be expelled from it. For long possession might have hardened their minds in security and arrogance, as if they had no change to fear. Lest, therefore, as time should pass away, they should trust that they were firmly established, and advance to greater license, he now reminds them that the punishment which he had already taught them to await themselves, would also be extended to their descendants; since it was no less easy for God to drive their  distant posterity from their quiet nest, than it would have been for Him to prevent their taking possession of it. But although he is treating of idols, still he addresses them on the subject of the curse, which overhangs all despisers of God. And, in order that the threat may affect them more deeply, he calls on "heaven and earth to witness;" as though he had said, that even things inanimate and without reason were in a manner conscious of the vengeance of God. Their opinion  is a poor one who think that angels and men are thus designated by a metonomy; for we shall see a little further on that the same form of expression is repeated. And when he says in his song, (Deuteronomy 32:1,) "Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth," it is to signify by hyperbole that his address is worthy of being listened to by all creatures. Thus Isaiah, the more to shame the Jews, who had become stupified in their folly, addresses his words to the heavens and earth. (Isaiah 1:2.)
When he calls heaven and earth to witness God's vengeance, it is as much as to say, that it will as clearly appear as the heaven and earth appear before our eyes; and after he has said that they shall perish, he also declares in what manner, viz., that God would scatter them hither and thither, and reduce them to a small number. What follows might seem absurd, inasmuch as it ought not to be reckoned among their punishments that they should serve idols among strangers, whereas they had already worshipped them of their own accord in their own land; but this difficulty is easily solved, and in two ways, either that banishment was a just reward to them in order that there they might indulge to their full these impure dispositions; and thus there will be an antithesis between the nations of the heathen and the Holy Land, as though God had said that He would not; suffer them to profane the latter by their superstitions; or else, that then, the veil being as it were removed, they should be ashamed when they should be compelled to serve dead idols. Nor can it be questioned but that then they were wounded in spirit by the same disgusting practices in which they had before taken pleasure; and I((See ante on Deuteronomy 28:36, p. 254.) have stated elsewhere that I prefer this latter sense. Meanwhile, he reproaches them for their stupidity in adoring  dead images, formed of corruptible things, and the work of men's hands.
29. But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord. In this passage also he exhorts and encourages them in the confidence of obtaining pardon, and thus anticipates them, so that they might not be overwhelmed with sorrow when smitten by God's hand; for despair awakens such rage in the wretched that they cannot submit themselves to God. He sets before them, then, another object in their punishments, that they may not cease to taste of God's goodness in the midst of their afflictions, whereby He invites them to repentance. For the sinner will never set about seeking God, unless he deems Him to be accessible to prayer. Moreover, he warns them to return truly and sincerely to a sound mind, because they will gain nothing by false profession. We know that nothing is more common than to make complaint to God whenever we are oppressed with troubles, but, when they are at all intermitted, immediately to return to our natural state. Sincere conversion is, therefore, prescribed; for "all the heart" is precisely equivalent to an upright heart, (integrum,) which is contrasted with a double or feigned one; and this must be noted,  lest a sense of our infirmity should disturb us; for, since it is not possible for men to give themselves wholly to God, the knowledge of their own inability is apt to induce listlessness; whereas, provided we do not deal deceitfully, it is declared that our penitence is approved by God.
30. When thou art in tribulation. He here shews the advantage of punishments, on the ground of their usefulness and profit; for what the Apostle says is confirmed by experience, that
"no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness to them that are exercised thereby." (Hebrews 12:11.)
Lest, therefore, they should be provoked to wrath by God's stripes, he reminds them of their usefulness to them, because they would never turn to God unless aided by this remedy. He tells them that, after they shall have been afflicted by the curses of God, if they sought after Him, they should find Him: and further, he gives them grounds for hope both in God's nature and in His covenant. He assures them that God will be willing to be appeased, because He is by nature merciful; but he adds another confirmation of this, which is more certain and familiar, viz., because God had adopted them by a perpetual covenant.
 "Abnepotes," -- Lat.; i.e., their grandchild's grandchildren.
 "When he calls heaven and earth to witness, he calls all things which are in heaven and in earth, by metonomy; and especially angels and men, who are properly called witnesses. Thus Theodoret. So the Poet says: Vos aeterni ignes, and non violabile numen Tester; (Virg.Aen., 2. 154;) for the Platonists thought that the heavenly fires, i.e., the stars, were animated by their intelligences, or guardian angels, whom they worshipped as inferior gods." -- Corn. a Lapide in loco. De Lyra's note is, "i.e., every intellectual creature existing in heaven and earth, since none but an intellectual creature can properly bear witness."
 "Des marmousets sans sens;" senseless puppets. -- Fr.
 Addition in Fr., "car s'il avoit une pleine perfection requise;" for if entire perfection were here required.
I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed.
And the LORD shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the LORD shall lead you.
And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.
But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;
(For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.
For ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask from the one side of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it?
32. For ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth; and ask from the one side of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such thing as this great tiling is, or hath been heard like it?
32. Interroga agedum de diebus antiquis, qui fuerunt ante re, ex quo die creavit Deus hominem super terram, et ab extremo coeli, usque ad extremum coeli, an acciderit unquam aliquid secundum hanc rem magnam, vel auditum fuerit simile.
33. Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live?
33. An audierit populus vocem Dei loquentis e medio ignis, sicut tu audisti, et fuerit superstes.
34. Or hath God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched-out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?
34. Vel an tentaverit Deus ut veniret ad gentem sibi assumendam e medio gentis, per probationes, signa et prodigia, praelia, manum fortem, brachium extentum, et visiones magnas, secundum omnia quae vobiscum egit Jehova Deus vester in Aegypto coram oculis vestris.
35. Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the Lord he is God; there is none else beside him.
35. Tibi ostensum est ut cognosceres quod Jehova ipse est Dens, nec ullus praeter ipsum.
36. Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice, that he might instruct thee; and upon earth he shewed thee his great fire; and thou heardest his words out of the midst of the fire.
36. E coelis audire to fecit vocem suam, ut erudiret to: et in terra ostendit tibi ignem suum magnum, et verba ejus audisti e medio ignis.
37. And because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt;
37. Et quia dilexit patres tuos, elegit semen eorum post eos, et eduxit te coram facie sua, in virtute sua magna ex Egypto.
38. To drive out nations from before thee greater and mightier than thou art, to bring thee in, to give thee their land for an inheritance, as it is this day.
38. Ut expelleret gentes magnas a facie tua, et robustiores te, ac te introduceret ad dandam tibi terram earum in haereditatem, sicut dies haec demonstrat.
39. Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.
39. ltaque scito hodie, et reduc ad cor tuum, quod Jehova est Deus in coelis sursum, et super terram deorsum, nec alius ultra.
40. Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, for ever.
40. Proinde observabis statuta ejus, et praecepta ejus, quae mando tibi hodie, ut bene sit tibi et filiis tuis post te, utque prolonges dies super terram quam Jehova Deus tuus dat tibi omnibus diebus.
32. For ask now. Moses here more forcibly extols and pronounces magnificent praises upon the miracles which he had before more simply related to have taken place at the promulgation of the Law, his object being to produce a fuller conviction of its dignity. He magnifies, too, by comparison, the testimonies whereby its authority had been ratified, viz., because nothing like it had ever occurred; for if any such instance had previously taken place, some portion of its preciousness or honor would have been taken from it. But since from the beginning of the world only one such illustrious manifestation of His power had been given by God, it afforded the greater sanction to the Law. He adds, too, that if they were to search over the whole world they would nowhere find anything similar. For I do not approve of the more refined exposition which some give of this clause, as if he said that all creatures above and below were witnesses that God's might had never been manifested by so many and such illustrious miracles; as also the sense appears too restricted which others give, understanding "the days that are past" to mean annals or chronicles; for I make no question that Moses simply desires them to inquire and to examine whether from the creation of the world, or in any most remote region, any such thing had come to pass.
33. Did ever people hear? He points out more openly the greatness and extraordinary transcendency of the matter which he has just mentioned, viz., that they heard the voice of God speaking out of the fire. It is true, indeed, that the superstitions of the Gentiles had been confirmed of old by many apparitions, yet amongst the portents which wretched men have imagined for their willing self-deception, there is nothing approaching to this miracle. Many have individually lied, and their false and foolish tales have been rashly believed; but here we have not to do with unfounded and scattered rumors, nor with the dreams of some single person, but Moses produces more than 700,000 witnesses, to whom God's glory had clearly and certainly appeared; he subjoins, therefore, that God had never assayed to do the same, but had afforded this solitary instance to render His Law illustrious in all ages.  Yet in this verse he not only alludes to the promulgation of the Law, but to the whole course of their deliverance, since he names in general His "temptations and signs." He says that God "took him a nation from the midst of another nation," for by His incomparable power He rescued the descendants of Abraham, who, though dispersed through Egypt, and, as it were, enclosed in its bowels, were yet an obscure and ignoble part of a most famous nation; whereof no similar example is to be found. 
35. Unto thee it was shewed. He first says that God had so proved His divinity by miracles and prodigies, that the Israelites might know certainly that He was God. Whence, too, he concludes that He is the only God; for although God's holy name be torn in pieces by various opinions, whilst each one manufactures his own gods for himself, yet is it still sure that the power and dominion of God cannot be withdrawn from Him, but reside in a single subject, as the logicians say. Therefore the essence of the one God overthrows and annihilates all the other deities which we foolishly invent for ourselves. And this we must carefully remark, for this has been the common error of all ages, to seek for a mixture of many gods, whereas all these imaginations should vanish before the brightness of the true God. In the following verse he confirms this declaration, because God instructed His people out of heaven, and in the fire. Is it, however, asked how these two points accord which seem to be opposed to each other, that God's voice was heard from heaven and from the midst of the fire? I reply, that Moses simply means that the voice which flowed out of the fire into the people's ears was distinguished by plain indications which proved it to be heavenly.
37. And because he loved. These words admit of two meanings; for the copulative conjunction stands at the beginning of the verse, -- "And because he loved thy fathers," and also before the next clause, "and he chose their seed;" the reasons here assigned might, therefore, be taken in connection with the previous sentence, viz., that so many miracles were wrought because God had chosen Abraham and his seed. Others understand it differently, that this people was honored with so many blessings by God because He loved their fathers. In this case they omit the copula in the middle of the verse, as must be often done. In the main, there is little discrepancy; for Moses desires to shew that whatever good things God has conferred upon His people are gratuitous, by which circumstance he commends God's grace the more. He had said that by unusual favor this nation was taken from the midst of another; and he now adds that this was done on no other account but because God had embraced Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob with His love, and persevered in the same love towards their posterity. But we must remark that by the word "love" is expressed that favor which springs of mere generosity, so as to exclude all worthiness in the person beloved, as may be more clearly gathered from other passages, viz., Deuteronomy 7:8, and Psalm 78:68, and as is pretty plain from the context here, wherein he attributes the election of the people to the love with which God had honored their fathers. If any object that God's election is eternal, the objection is readily solved, for the seed of Abraham was separated from all nations, because God had gratuitously adopted their father. We now understand the meaning of Moses, that the deliverance of the people was only to be ascribed to God's goodness. He thus amplifies this blessing by another circumstance, viz., that God had preferred to great and mighty nations this ignoble people, whose own proper worthiness could not have acquired His favor.
39. Know therefore this day. He again inculcates what we have lately spoken of, that the glory of the one true God was proved by the miracles, but he does so by way of exhortation. For he desires them carefully and attentively to consider what God had shewn them, because in so plain a matter there would be no excuse for error or ignorance. He therefore infers from what had gone before, that the people must beware of shutting their eyes against the clear revelation of God's power, and therefore urges them to keep it in memory, because man's ingratitude is but too prone to forgetfulness. He afterwards reminds them wherefore God would be known, viz., that they might keep His Law and obey His statutes. The sum is, that they would be inexcusable if they did not obediently receive the Law, which they knew to have come from God; for they must needs be worse than stupid if the majesty of God, known and understood by so many proofs, did not awaken them to reverence. And lest they should undervalue the doctrine as proceeding from a mortal man, he expressly confesses, indeed, that he is the minister, and yet that he had set before them nothing which he had not received from God.
 Ce chef-d'-oeuvre unique. -- Fr.
 Addition in the Fr., "Si quelqu'un aime mieux prendre le nombre singulier pour le pluriel, lors le sens sera tel: Combien que tous peuples fussent pareils, ou d'estat indifferent quant a leur nature, neantmoins que Dieu en a pris un d'entre tousles autres;" if any should prefer taking the singular number instead of the plural, then the sense will be, Although all people were equal, or of the same condition by nature, nevertheless God chose out one of them from amongst all the others.
Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live?
Or hath God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?
Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him.
Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice, that he might instruct thee: and upon earth he shewed thee his great fire; and thou heardest his words out of the midst of the fire.
And because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt;
To drive out nations from before thee greater and mightier than thou art, to bring thee in, to give thee their land for an inheritance, as it is this day.
Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.
Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, for ever.
Then Moses severed three cities on this side Jordan toward the sunrising;
41. Then Moses severed three cities on this side Jordan, toward the sun-rising;
41. Tunc separavit Moses tres urbes trans Jordanem ad exortum solis:
42. That the slayer might flee thither, which should kill his neighbor unawares, and hated him not in times past; and that, fleeing unto one of these cities, he might live:
42. Ut fugeret illuc homicida qui occidisset proximum suum nesciens, (vel, per errorem, vel, per incogitantiam,) quem non odisset ab heri et nudiustertius: ut fugeret ad unam ex urbibus istis, et viveret.
43. Namely, Bezer in the wilderness, in the plain country of the Reubenites; and Ramoth in Gilead, of the Gadites; and Golan in Bashan, of the Manassites.
43. Bezer in deserto, in terra planitiei a Rubenitis: Ramoth Galaad a Gaditis, et Golan in Basan a Manasse.
God had destined, as we have before seen,  six cities for refuge, in case any one had killed a man, provided he could prove his innocence before the judges. As to the three which He had appointed on the other side of Jordan, Moses records that he had faithfully performed what God had commanded. Hence it appears that, although he could not immediately comply with God's command to its full extent, still he did not wait until the three other cities could be added; but that, as far as circumstances permitted, he discharged his duty. Hence let us learn that, even when we cannot at once entirely carry out what God commands us to do, we are still to be by no means idle. For nothing but sheer laziness stands in our way, unless we speedily commence at God's command what it is His will to finish and accomplish by the hands of others.
 See ante, on Numbers 35:10-34; vol. 3, pp. 62, et seq.
That the slayer might flee thither, which should kill his neighbour unawares, and hated him not in times past; and that fleeing unto one of these cities he might live:
Namely, Bezer in the wilderness, in the plain country, of the Reubenites; and Ramoth in Gilead, of the Gadites; and Golan in Bashan, of the Manassites.
And this is the law which Moses set before the children of Israel:
44. And this is the law which Moses set before the children of Israel:
44. Haec est Lex quam proposuit Moses coram filiis Israel.
45. These are the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which Moses spake unto the children of Israel, after they came forth out of Egypt:
45. Haec testimonia et statuta et judicia quae pronuntiavit Moses filiis Israel, quum egressi essent ex Aegypto.
46. On this side Jordan, in the valley over against Beth-peor, in the land of Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt at Heshbon, whom Moses and the children of Israel smote, after they were come forth out of Egypt:
46. Trans Jordanem in valle e regione Beth-peor in terra Sehon regis Emorrhaeorum, qui habitabat in Esbon: quem percussit Moses et filii Israel, quum egressi essent ex Aegypto.
47. And they possessed his land, and the land of Og king of Bashan, two kings of the Amorites, which were on this side Jordan, toward the sun-rising;
47. Et possederunt terram ejus, et terram Og regis Basan, duorum regum Emorrhaeorum, qui erant trans Jordanem ad ortum solis.
48. From Aroer, which is by the bank of the river Arnon, even unto mount Sion, which is Hermon,
48. Ab Aroer qui erat juxta ripam torrentis Arnon, usque ad montem Sion qui est Hermon.
49. And all the plain on this side Jordan eastward, even unto the sea of the plain, under the springs of Pisgah.
49. Et universam solitudinem trans Jordanem ad orientem usque ad mare planitiei, sub effusionibus aquarum.
44. And this is the Law. This last passage refers to the same thing, viz., that the Law was promulgated anew when the people had now reached the threshold of the promised land, in order that they might be more disposed to obedience, especially when the two tribes and a half had now, by the conquest of the Amorites, obtained a resting-place and a home; for this is the reason why their habitation is mentioned, because the taste of the favor already received ought to stir up their zeal to proceed more cheerfully. We shall elsewhere remark on the country and names of places. It is sufficient here to recollect, that the memory of the Law was renewed, after their inheritance without the promised land had been obtained by the sons of Reuben and Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, and when their assured possession was before the eyes of the rest. But Moses shews that, although he might explain the Law at fuller length, still nothing had been added to that summary which was originally promulgated; but he rather indicates, that whatever he had taught them during the forty years, had had no other object than that they might more faithfully and exactly keep the Law of God.
These are the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which Moses spake unto the children of Israel, after they came forth out of Egypt,
On this side Jordan, in the valley over against Bethpeor, in the land of Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt at Heshbon, whom Moses and the children of Israel smote, after they were come forth out of Egypt:
And they possessed his land, and the land of Og king of Bashan, two kings of the Amorites, which were on this side Jordan toward the sunrising;
From Aroer, which is by the bank of the river Arnon, even unto mount Sion, which is Hermon,
And all the plain on this side Jordan eastward, even unto the sea of the plain, under the springs of Pisgah.