Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The discourse returns to the theme of Deuteronomy 6:10 ff., Israel’s temptations in the promised land. He is to make no contract, nor show friendliness, nor intermarry with its peoples lest he be drawn to idolatry (1–4), but is to destroy their altars and other religious symbols (5). For Israel is holy and peculiar to Jehovah, who hath chosen him because He loved him and redeemed him in order to keep His oath to his fathers (6–8). He is faithful to His own to a thousand generations, but requites His haters by destroying them; Israel must therefore keep His laws (9–11). If so, Jehovah will keep His covenant with the people, securing the fertility of themselves, their soil and their cattle, and turning disease from them upon their enemies (12–15). These Israel must consume ruthlessly, for their gods will be a snare; and if Israel is afraid of them he must remember that what his God has already done to Pharaoh and Egypt He will do to them, for He is in the midst of Israel a great God and terrible (16–21). He will destroy them gradually (for His people’s sake), but utterly (22–24). The chapter closes on its keynote: Israel must destroy the images of the gods of these peoples, not coveting even the silver and the gold upon these, which must be an abomination to Israel (25–26).—Apart from certain editorial additions (see the notes), there is no reason to doubt the substantial integrity of the chapter; save with these additions—Deuteronomy 7:5; Deuteronomy 7:7-8 (except last clause), 12a—it maintains the Sg. address.
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;1. shall bring thee into, etc.] See on Deuteronomy 6:10.
shall cast out, etc.] strip, or clear, off; Deuteronomy 7:22, 2 Kings 16:6 : the only applications of this verb to the extirpation of human beings; in Deuteronomy 19:5 intrans. of the slipping of an axe-head from the heft, Deuteronomy 28:40 the dropping of olives. J E of drawing off sandals, Exodus 3:5; Joshua 5:15.
The list of seven nations which follows is of a kind frequent in JE, D (Deuteronomy 20:17) and deuteronomic passages in other books; ‘in many cases probably—Joshua 24:11 is one that is very clear—introduced by the compiler’ (Dri.), but always with a rhetorical purpose. The order and even the contents of these lists vary; for details see Driver on this verse, and on Exodus 3:8.
Hittite] Egyptian and Assyrian monuments record a Ḥittite power in N. Syria with a centre at Ḳadesh on the Orontes. Jdg 1:26; Jdg 3:23, Joshua 11:3 (in these last two read Ḥittite for Ḥivite) bring the name as far as the S. end of Mt Hermon. P mentions people of the same or a similar name in S. Palestine as owning the land about Ḥebron (Genesis 23:3; Genesis 23:10), and gives Esau wives of the daughters of Ḥeth (Genesis 26:4; Genesis 27:46). Ezekiel (Ezekiel 16:3, cp. Ezekiel 16:45) calls the mother of Jerusalem a Ḥittite. On these grounds (and others) the existence of at least Ḥittite colonies or suzerainties in S. Palestine has been maintained. But in P Ḥittite may be used in the same general sense as Amorite in E and D and Canaanite in J; cp. Joshua 1:4 (deuteronomic) all the land of the Ḥ. = all Syria, which the Assyrians also mean by ‘the land of the Khatti’; and P’s Ḥittites at Hebron are called Amorites by E, Joshua 10:5; while Ezekiel, too, may have no ethnological distinction in mind, but may mean only to emphasise the inborn heathenism of Jerusalem. The question is still uncertain and of no importance for the understanding of a rhetorical list like this. For details see the writer’s Jerus. II. 16–18.
Girgashite] in but a few of the lists; here, Joshua 3:10; Joshua 24:11; Genesis 15:21. Genesis 10:16 (J) puts them under the political supremacy of Canaan (begotten by C.) or Phoenicia. Their territory is unknown. The name seems onomatopoetic like Zamzummim (Deuteronomy 2:20); cp. Arab, ‘garas,’ to make a low sound or speak softly.
Amorite … Canaanite] See on Deuteronomy 1:7.
Perizzite] in all but two or three of the lists. J mentions this people, along with the Canaanite, as Israel’s predecessors (Genesis 13:7; Genesis 34:30; Jdg 1:4-5), and their land as in the centre of the range of W. Palestine (Joshua 17:15). The name has been derived, but not certainly, from perazah, ‘open region’ or ‘region of unwalled towns,’ perazi, ‘the inhabitant of such’ (Deuteronomy 3:5).
Hivite] in all the lists. In J they are subject to Phoenicia (Canaan, Genesis 10:17) and the Gibeonites are called Ḥivites (Joshua 9:7; cp. the deuteronomic Deuteronomy 11:19). In 2 Samuel 24:7 their cities are coupled with those of the Canaanites as now Israel’s. The Heb. Ḥiwwi seems connected with ḥawwah, tent-village.
Jebusite] in all the lists save one; according to J and other sources the inhabitants of Jerusalem and its land till their conquest by David (Joshua 15:63; Jdg 1:21; Jdg 19:11; 2 Samuel 5:6; 2 Samuel 5:8); cf. P’s the shoulder of the Jebusite, that is Jerusalem, Joshua 18:16; Joshua 18:28. See the writer’s Jerus. i. 226 f., ii. 18, 28.
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:2. deliver them up before] See on Deuteronomy 1:8.
thou shall utterly destroy them] put to the ban, herem. See on Deuteronomy 2:34.
make no covenant with them] no treaty or alliance; so in JE, Exodus 23:32; Exodus 34:12; cp. Joshua 9:6, 1 Samuel 11:1 ff. (instances of such).
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.3. neither … make marriages with them] In the narratives in Genesis and Judges marriages are regarded as best when between members of the same family or tribe (Genesis 28:2; Genesis 28:8 f.) and as unfortunate when the wives are foreign (Genesis 26:34 f., Genesis 27:46; Jdg 14:3). But no law against marriage with foreigners is either assumed or implied. On the contrary, Moses (Exodus 2:21), David (2 Samuel 3:3), Solomon (1 Kings 11:1), Ahab (1 Kings 16:31), all marry foreigners, and there are other instances (Bath-sheba and Uriah, etc.). The deuteronomic veto, therefore, may be assumed to be the earliest law against such marriages (Exodus 34:16 is editorial) and to have become necessary by the experience of their evil consequences, conducive to idolatry (Jdg 3:5 f., deuteronomic). At the same time D allows marriage with a foreign woman taken in war (Deuteronomy 21:10). That the law was not kept is seen from the Book of Ezra.
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.4. turn away thy son from following me] Expressed differently in Exodus 34:16 b but to the same effect, that the influence of the foreign wife on her Israelite husband will be to lead him into idolatry. From after me (lit.): as the speaker is Moses, the me has been taken to be due to abbreviation of the divine name, and Jehovah is read; but in that case we should have had Jehovah thy God. Therefore retain me and take this as an instance, occurring again in Deuteronomy 17:3, Deuteronomy 28:20, Deuteronomy 29:5 (4), and frequent in the discourses of the prophets, of the merging of the speaker’s personality in that of the Deity, for whom he speaks.
against you] Transition for the moment to the Pl. (confirmed by Sam. and LXX). It is impossible to say whether this is original or an editorial addition.
quickly] Deuteronomy 4:26.
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.5. The change to the Pl., together with the fact that the v. does not direct the destruction of the persons of the heathen (which would have been relevant to the preceding), but only of their altars, etc., marks this verse as a quotation or later insertion. Deuteronomy 7:6 follows on 4. So Steuern., Berth. Cp. the editorial passages Exodus 23:24 b, Exodus 34:13. The original of all three passages may be the deuteronomic law, Deuteronomy 12:3.
pillars … Asherim] See on Deuteronomy 16:21 f.
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.6. an holy people unto Jehovah thy God] So Deuteronomy 14:2; Deuteronomy 14:21; Deuteronomy 26:19; Deuteronomy 28:9; cp. Exodus 19:6 (J prob. expanded): an holy nation. As elsewhere in Deut., holy is here used in the formal sense of separated unto, or reserved for, Jehovah, and includes an ethical meaning only by implication, i.e. in so far as traffic with the heathen and the worship of their gods, which Israel, in consequence of his holiness to Jehovah, was forbidden to share, would necessarily involve the people in immoral practices. See the following note.
Holiness in Deut. and other O.T. Writers
The adj. holy (ḳadosh), and the noun holiness (ḳodesh), with the various forms of the verb (prob. denominative) to be holy, and to hallow or sanctify, require a separate note, especially in view of certain phenomena which distinguish the use of these terms in Deut. The meaning of the root ‘ḳ-d-sh’ ‘appears to be physical: ‘cut off,’ ‘separate,’ ‘set apart.’ But in Heb. and other Semitic languages the words derived from it are always used in a religious sense, both of God or the gods and of things and men in their relation to the deity. It is not certain whether they were first applied to deity as separate from, or at a distance above men, and then transferred to men and things belonging to the deity; or whether they were originally used of these as set apart from common use for the use of the god and then transferred to himself. But this is clear, that as the meaning of the terms grew in Israel’s use of them, the chief influence in that growth was the revealed nature of Israel’s God. At first the meaning of holy and holiness was purely formal, without ethical content, and negative. Even in Israel, and even with prophets who had very rich conceptions of the moral and metaphysical nature of God, the terms still often retain their original and negative character. To Hosea God is Holy as the Utter Contrast of man, Hosea 11:9 : God and not man, the Holy One in the midst of thee; to the Prophet of the Exile He is the Incomparable, Isaiah 40:25 : to whom will ye liken me, that I should be equal to him? saith the Holy One. But as these passages show, the terms could not remain negative when used of God, but became positive and equivalent to godhead. In Phoenician (as A. B. Davidson points out) the phrase ‘the holy gods’ just means the divine gods. Similarly in Israel the contents of the term Holy came to be the contents of the nature of Jehovah as these were revealed to the prophets. To Hosea (Hosea 11:9, see above) God’s holiness, His utter contrast with men, is His love and power of forgiving. To Isaiah it is His transcendence, majesty and awful purity, crushing and bewildering sinful man (Isaiah 6:1-5, high and lifted up, the foundations moved … the house was filled with smoke … woe is me, I am undone … a man of unclean lips), and His righteousness or justice (Isaiah 5:16, the Holy One is holy by righteousness); it is parallel to His glory (Isaiah 6:3). Yet ‘none of these attributes are synonyms of holiness strictly, they are rather elements in holiness’ (Davidson).
As applied to things holy simply means that they have been ceremonially set apart for the deity; so of the Sabbath (hallow it), the firstborn (sanctify them to me "" they are mine), the sanctuary (miḳdash), its furniture, priests’ clothing, and foods (virtually equivalent to clean), etc. Similarly men are holy not because of their character, but from their devotion to the deity or His service, e.g. 1 Samuel 21:5 f. of soldiers (of divers characters) consecrated to war (see on Deuteronomy 20:1 ff., Deuteronomy 33:3); of a prophet, 2 Kings 4:9; and frequently in P of priests, Levites and Nazirites. In E, Exodus 22:31, holy is applied to the whole nation: they must not eat flesh torn by beasts of the field and not slain ritually, because they are men holy to Jehovah, His own and set apart for Him; while in Jeremiah 2:3 holy = inviolable: as holiness to Jehovah, early Israel could not be devoured by other nations without guilt falling on these. Here also, however, the character of the God to whom Israel was sacred, gradually ethicised the term holy. This appears as early as J. Exodus 19:5 f. (unless this passage is editorial), where it is announced that the people will be holy if they obey God’s voice and keep His covenant; and it is very clear in the formula, Be ye holy for I am holy, because of its connection with moral requirements, Leviticus 19:1-3; Leviticus 20:7. Even when Israel’s holiness is emphasised as incompatible with attendance on heathen cults, the notoriously immoral character of these implies that the holiness is not merely ceremonial but ethical as well. In Psalms 15, 24 only the upright and pure are fit to dwell in the holy place of God; yet even here holiness may mean no more than an awful sacredness (cp. Isaiah 33:14 f.). On the whole subject see A. B. Davidson, Theol. of the O.T. 144 ff., and J. Skinner, art. ‘Holiness in the O.T.’ in Hastings’ D.B.
In Deut., in which the use of holy and holiness is not so frequent or characteristic as it is in the Prophets and P, we find only some of the meanings described above; the whole range of them is not covered. The purely ritual sense, applied to things and men consecrated to God, is oftenest expressed: Deuteronomy 5:12 (the Sabbath); Deuteronomy 15:19 (firstling males); Deuteronomy 12:26, Deuteronomy 26:13 (all thy holy things, vows and tithes of the increase of fields and flocks); Deuteronomy 23:14 (the camp, because of God’s presence); cp. Deuteronomy 22:9 where R.V. forfeited, probably the exact meaning, is literally hallowed or consecrated; and Deuteronomy 23:17 f. where the men and women who sacrificed their chastity to the gods are called by the names they bore throughout the Semitic world (Ḳadesh and Ḳedeshah). Five times is Israel called a holy people—a people holy to Jehovah thy God. But in one of these passages, Deuteronomy 26:19, this means a people distinct from other nations, and high above them in renown; and in another, Deuteronomy 28:9 (as the context shows), an inviolable people just as in Jeremiah 2:3, though the condition of such inviolableness is moral, their obedience to all the commandments of Jehovah. In two others, Deuteronomy 14:2; Deuteronomy 14:21, the phrase is used as the ground for their abstention from mutilation for the dead, and from eating what has not been ritually slain; while in Deuteronomy 7:6 it is given (as we have seen) as a reason for not treating or trafficking with the heathen or engaging in their cults. In these last three cases a moral meaning is doubtless implied in holy, because of the notoriously immoral character of such cults, but it is not explicit. This is strange after what we have seen of the moral contents of the term holy in the Prophets. But stranger still as coming after the Prophets (see above) is the fact that holy is nowhere in Deut. applied to God Himself (though in Deuteronomy 26:15 heaven is called His holy habitation); and He is not Styled as Isaiah so frequently styles Him the Holy One of Israel. Did the deuteronomists purposely avoid the association of this name with Jehovah because of some superstitious use of it (cp. Jeremiah’s repudiation of Isaiah’s conviction of the sanctity of the Temple, when this had become a mere fetish with the people), or because it was also applied to heathen gods?
Jehovah thy God hath chosen thee] The order of the original is much more emphatic: And (so Sam., LXX and some Heb. MSS) thee hath Jehovah thy God chosen. Similarly Deuteronomy 4:37, Deuteronomy 10:15, Deuteronomy 14:2 with Sg., and with Pl. only Deuteronomy 7:7. The idea and its expression are characteristic of D; it is not found in other documents of the Hex. nor in pre-deuteronomic writings (yet cp. Amos 3:2), but occurs frequently after D, in the deuteronomic Jeremiah 33:24, and 1 Kings 3:8; and frequently in Isaiah 41:8-9; Isaiah 43:10; Isaiah 44:1-2; cp. Isaiah 42:1; Isaiah 43:20; Isaiah 45:4; Isaiah 49:7; also of God’s restoration of the exiled Israel Isaiah 14:1. We must not impart into the phrase the full meaning of ‘election’ in the N.T. or Christian theology. As the passages in 2nd Isaiah show, ‘election’ by God is election to service (see the writer’s Isaiah xl.–lxvi. pp. 237 f.), and as Jeremiah 18 shows, it may be annulled if the object of it prove to be unworthy; yet, according to Isaiah 14:1, it may, on repentance being shown, be renewed; cp. below Deuteronomy 30:3 ff.
a peculiar people] Lit. a people of special possession; in late O.T. of the privy property of kings, 1 Chronicles 29:3, Ecclesiastes 2:8; in N. H. the verb from which it is derived means to acquire property. Also in Deuteronomy 14:2 and Deuteronomy 26:18, like this passage, in Sg. Not certainly found before D, for Exodus 19:5 is editorial. For details see note on that verse. The adj. has the sense which the noun ‘peculiar’ retains in Eng.
6–11. The reasons for the previous commands to destroy the peoples of the land, and to abstain from traffic with them, leading as this would to participation in their worship of other gods. Israel are for Jehovah alone: to this end He loved, chose, and redeemed them. This is one of the many cases in Deut. in which the principles or ideas offered for certain practices or acts of conduct commanded to Israel are of a far higher standard than these practices themselves, and therefore have endured as the essentials of religion when the practices are either no longer prescribed or actually forbidden (as in Christianity). The passage, which might appear to be founded on Exodus 19:5 f., is not certainly so; for Exodus 19:5 f. (on which see the note) has probably been expanded. The address changes to the Pl. in Deuteronomy 7:7-8, which are probably a later insertion: see below.
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:7. set his love upon you] The radical meaning of the verb is to fix or bind, and it is used of a man’s falling in love with a woman, Deuteronomy 21:11; Genesis 34:8; cp. the Eng. use for this of ‘attachment’ (also of a passion for building, 1 Kings 9:19). Of Jehovah’s love for Israel only here and Deuteronomy 10:15. For an analogous phrase see Hosea 2:14, I will speak comfortably to her, lit. speak to her heart as from man to woman when he woos her; also Isaiah 40:2.
ye were the fewest of all peoples] Cp. Deuteronomy 4:38, Deuteronomy 7:1, Deuteronomy 9:1, all Sg., and Deuteronomy 11:23 Pl. as here; on the other hand Deuteronomy 1:10 Pl., Deuteronomy 10:22 Sg. as the stars of heaven, Deuteronomy 4:6 Pl. a great nation, Deuteronomy 26:5 Sg. great, mighty, populous. The representation of Israel’s numbers and power appears to vary in different passages, according to the thought which the writer at the time desires to express’ (Driver). Yet see on Deuteronomy 1:10.
7, 8. Change to the Pl. address. Because of this and because the choice of Israel by Jehovah is not mentioned in other Pl. passages, and also because these verses are not necessary to the connection, they are probably a later editorial insertion—or at least a quotation.
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.8. loveth you] With Israel’s love to God (see on Deuteronomy 6:5) God’s love to Israel is equally characteristic of D and not found elsewhere in Hexateuch; first expressed and very fully in Hosea 1-3 and Hosea 11:1-4. In Deut. of God’s love to the fathers of the nation, Deuteronomy 4:37, Deuteronomy 10:15, both Sg.; to the nation, Deuteronomy 7:8 Pl. (editorial), Deuteronomy 7:13, Deuteronomy 23:5 Sg.; to the stranger, Deuteronomy 10:18 Sg.
the oath which he sware] See Deuteronomy 9:5.
mighty hand] See on Deuteronomy 3:24.
redeemed you] Heb. thee, and the Sg. is confirmed by Sam. and most MSS of LXX. This Sg. clause follows, not only conveniently upon Deuteronomy 7:6, the last clause in Sg., but very appropriately because of its redeemed and the peculiar people of that clause.
redeemed] The ordinary term for ransoming beast or man from slavery or death (see on Exodus 13:13), is used of the redemption of Israel from Egypt in D here, Deuteronomy 13:5, Deuteronomy 15:15, Deuteronomy 21:8, Deuteronomy 24:8, all with the Sg., and in Deuteronomy 9:26 in a Pl. context; and so nowhere else in the Hexateuch.
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;9. Know therefore] A frequent formula in D in Sg. and Pl. Deuteronomy 4:39 (+ and lay it to thine heart), Deuteronomy 8:5 (A.V. and thou shalt consider in thine heart), Deuteronomy 9:3; Deuteronomy 9:6 (A.V. understand therefore), Deuteronomy 11:2 (and know ye); cp. Deuteronomy 29:4 Pl. (a heart to know); the passages where the object is other gods and the meaning therefore is to have experience of them, Deuteronomy 13:6; Deuteronomy 13:13, Deuteronomy 28:64 (Sg.), and Deuteronomy 11:28 (Pl.), also Deuteronomy 29:26; Deuteronomy 32:17; and in a similar sense, of other nations Deuteronomy 28:33; Deuteronomy 28:36 (Sg.), and of the diseases of Egypt Deuteronomy 7:15 (Sg.); and of manna Deuteronomy 8:3; Deuteronomy 8:16 (Sg.); also of God proving His people in order to know, i.e. find out, what was in their heart, Deuteronomy 8:2 (Sg.), Deuteronomy 13:3 (Pl.). These passages and their contexts show that D uses the verb to know with the same practical force, especially in religious matters, with which Hosea uses it. ‘It is not to know so as to see the fact of, but to know so as to feel the force of; knowledge not as acquisition and mastery, but as impression, passion. To quote Paul’s distinction, it is not so much the apprehending as the being apprehended. It leads to a vivid result—either warm appreciation, or change of mind or practical effort.… It is knowledge that is followed by shame, or by love, or by reverence, or by the sense of a duty … it closely approaches the meaning of our conscience.’ (The Twelve Prophets, i. 322: see the whole chapter there on the subject.)
he is God] the God, or God indeed, Deuteronomy 4:35; Deuteronomy 4:39, Deuteronomy 10:17; affirming not the soleness (Dillm.) so much as the reality of Jehovah’s deity, as shown (the vv. go on) in His working in history.
faithful] A participle with gerundive force, who shows Himself One to be trusted, i.e. by His deeds.
keepeth covenant and mercy] The conjunction shows that the Heb. word trans, mercy, ḥesed, is, as especially in Hosea, more than an affection; it is a relation and duty better rendered by loyal love. But see Driver’s note in loco.
that love him] See on Deuteronomy 6:5.
a thousand generations] ‘a rhetorical amplification, rather than an exact interpretation, of the thousands of Exodus 20:6’ [Deuteronomy 5:10] (Driver).
9, 10. A free paraphrase of the Second Commandment.
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.10. to their face] i.e. in their own persons; inserted lest the sinner might flatter himself that the punishment of his sin would be deferred to a later generation (Deuteronomy 7:11).
he will not be slack] Rather, he will not delay (it).
Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.11. the commandment, and the statutes, and the judgements] See on Deuteronomy 6:1. Sam. again omits and before statutes.
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:12. And it shall come to pass] Cp. Deuteronomy 6:10.
because] better than A.V. if; Heb. means in consequence of, or as a reward for.
ye hearken … and do them] Another Pl. clause and superfluous. The next clause resuming the Sg. follows suitably Deuteronomy 7:11.
Jehovah thy God shall keep with thee the covenant, etc.] Expansion of Deuteronomy 7:9, q.v.
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.13. love … bless … and multiply thee] Cp. Genesis 22:17 (E?), Genesis 26:24 (J), bless and multiply; note the characteristic addition love by D. The blessings which follow are material; similarly but varied in Deuteronomy 28:4; Deuteronomy 28:11; Deuteronomy 28:18; Deuteronomy 28:51, Deuteronomy 30:9, all Sg. Note the interesting differences in Hosea’s similar lists: bread, water, wool, flax, oil, drink, corn, wine, oil (Hosea 2:5; Hosea 2:8 f., Hosea 2:15; Hos 2:22). Hosea, writing for the N. kingdom, gives flax, which D omits; all the rest are characteristic of Judah. Hosea’s treatment of the subject is more spiritual; he gives the moral blessings of the relation of Jehovah and Israel in greater, the material in less, detail than D.
fruit of thy body] womb, as in A.V.; Genesis 30:2 (E).
corn … wine … oil] Deuteronomy 11:14, Deuteronomy 12:17, Deuteronomy 14:23, Deuteronomy 28:51. The terms used denote these products in a less manufactured slate. Wine is tîrôsh not yain, corn dagan not ḥiṭṭim, oil yiṣhar not shemen. Tîrôsh, though not entirely unfermented or harmless (Hosea 4:11), was nevertheless a much fresher extract of the grape than yain, it is new wine or must; dagan is corn which has been threshed out (Numbers 18:27); and yiṣhar is fresh oil (abb. from Driver in loco and on pp. xx f. of his 3rd ed.).
the increase of thy kine] Deuteronomy 28:4; Deuteronomy 28:18; Deuteronomy 28:51 : what drops from or is cast by, an animal; Exodus 13:12 (J) that cometh of a beast. Nowhere else. Kine, rather cattle, the noun is masc.
the young of thy flock] Lit. the ‘Ashtoreths. ‘A phrase like this, which has descended from religion into ordinary life, and is preserved among the monotheistic Hebrews, is very old evidence for the association of Astarte with the sheep.’ (W. R. Smith, Rel. of the Semites, 458.)
in the land, etc.] See Deuteronomy 6:10 : after sware, Sam. and LXX read Jehovah.
Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle.14. not … barren] Exodus 23:26 (edit.); cp. above on Deuteronomy 7:13.
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.15. take away … all sickness] Exodus 23:25 (edit.).
evil diseases of Egypt] In Exodus 15:26 (edit.) the sicknesses (another word) refers to the special plagues brought on the Egyptians by Jehovah for Israel’s sake. Here the reference is rather to the natural ailments of men of which in antiquity Egypt was notoriously the source: elephantiasis, ‘Aegypti peculiare malum’ (Pliny, H.N. xxvi. 1, 5), ophthalmia, dysentery, but especially the bubonic plague (Hecataeus of Abdera in Diod. Sic. xl. 3). See the present writer’s Hist. Geog. of the Holy Land, 157 f., 670; and cp. below note on Deuteronomy 28:27.
which thou knowest] hast had experience of, see on Deuteronomy 7:9.
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.16. consume] Lit. eat up, a common figure, JE, Numbers 22:4.
shall deliver] See on Deuteronomy 7:2.
The rest of the v. Steuern. takes as an addition, because the theme of Deuteronomy 7:12-16 is what Jehovah does; and this, a warning for Israel, breaks the course of the thought. But this is to impute too fine a logic to such a discursive writer.
thine eye shall not pity them] Deuteronomy 13:8, Deuteronomy 19:13; Deuteronomy 19:21, Deuteronomy 25:12, all Sg.; elsewhere in Hex. only in the edit. passage, Genesis 45:20, and with a different object, but common in Ezek., of God’s eye on the people, and also found in Jer. and other post-deuteronomic writings. Cp. Deuteronomy 7:2, thou shalt not pity them, with another vb.
neither shalt thou serve their gods … snare unto thee] Similarly in edit. Exodus 23:33; Exodus 34:12. See note on former.
If thou shalt say in thine heart, These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them?17. say in thine heart] say to thyself, or think, or imagine; but with the force of really think, Deuteronomy 9:4, Deuteronomy 18:21.
Thou shalt not be afraid of them: but shalt well remember what the LORD thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt;18. afraid of them] So simply, Deuteronomy 20:1; for the longer characteristic phrases see on Deuteronomy 1:21.
what Jehovah thy God did] Deuteronomy 4:34, Deuteronomy 6:21 f.
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.19. temptations … signs … wonders] See on Deuteronomy 4:34.
which thine eyes saw] Deuteronomy 4:9.
mighty hand, and … stretched out arm] See on Deuteronomy 4:34.
Moreover the LORD thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves from thee, be destroyed.20. And also the hornets will Jehovah … send, etc.] E twice, Exodus 23:28, Joshua 24:12. ‘By also D indicates that he will have the hornets understood not as the only weapon of God, but as an example of His weapons; by the rest of the verse he makes it sufficiently clear that he takes hornets in the proper sense of the word, in so far as they penetrate into holes and corners’ (Dillmann).
Thou shalt not be affrighted at them: for the LORD thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible.21. Thou shalt not be affrighted] This, combined with the verb be afraid (Deuteronomy 7:18), is found in Pl. passages.
in the midst of thee] Deuteronomy 6:15.
great God and … terrible] Cp. Deuteronomy 10:17, Deuteronomy 28:58, the same epithets of the wilderness Deuteronomy 1:19, Deuteronomy 8:15, and of Jehovah’s deeds Deuteronomy 10:21. Terrible, in E, Genesis 28:17 of the presence of God; nowhere else before D, for Exodus 34:10 is editorial, but very frequent in post-deuteronomic writings.
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.22. cast out] See on Deuteronomy 7:1.
little and little] So, with the same reason attached, E, Exodus 23:29-30, on which see the note. This is a good instance of D’s redaction, and more fluent expression, of earlier statements. That D should repeat the fact is strange. Though in harmony with and explanatory of the actual delay in Israel’s extermination of the peoples of the land, as recorded in the older documents (Joshua 13:13; Joshua 15:63; Joshua 16:10; Joshua 17:11-18; Jdg 1:19; Jdg 1:21 ff., Jdg 2:20 to Jdg 3:4; most probably all J), it is against the conception conveyed by the deuteronomic sections of Joshua, that Israel’s conquest of the peoples was rapid and complete (Joshua 10:28-43; Joshua 11:16-23; Joshua 21:43-45, etc.). This, however, is no reason for supposing the verse to be an intrusion as Steuern. does; in any case it is deuteronomic.
lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee] Field, here in its earlier sense of uncultivated territory; beasts of the field are therefore wild beasts. That this danger was real and great in partly depopulated lands is illustrated in 2 Kings 17:24 f. How constant the war of man against wild animals was in ancient Palestine may be felt from the promise of their being tamed as one of the elements of the Messianic age, Isaiah 11:6-9. See the present writer’s Isaiah i.–xxxix. 189 f.
But the LORD thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed.23. deliver them up] See on Deuteronomy 7:2.
discomfit] an onomatopoetic word implying the confusion, turmoil, and panic of defeat, especially under Divine judgement.
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.24. make their name to perish, etc.] Cp blot out, Deuteronomy 9:14, Deuteronomy 25:19, Deuteronomy 29:20.
stand before thee] Lit. keep himself standing to thy face, hold his post in face of thee: only here, Deuteronomy 9:2 Sg., Deuteronomy 11:25 Pl., in this sense.
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.25. The graven images … burn with fire] Deuteronomy 7:5. Curiously in the Pl., as there is an otherwise Sg. context (the text is confirmed by Sam. and LXX). Steuern marks the verse as secondary, but unnecessarily; the isolated Pl. may be due to a scribe whose eye or ear was impressed with Deuteronomy 7:5 (so, too, Bertholet). Burn, the body of the image therefore was of wood, but plated or ornamented with metal (yet cp. Exodus 32:20). Hence further—
thou shalt not covet the silver or the gold that is on them] Cp. Joshua 7:1; Joshua 7:21, Achan’s trespass in the devoted thing. The former of these is editorial; the latter, with Achan’s confession that he had coveted 200 shekels of silver and a wedge of gold, belongs to JE.
snared] See on Deuteronomy 7:16.
an abomination] The Heb. tô‘ebah is that which is ritually unlawful, and therefore unclean and abhorrent, in respect to some religious system. Thus it is used of Israel’s own sacrifices as unlawful in Egypt, which the Egyptians would stone Israel for performing there, Exodus 8:26, J (see note on that verse). Similarly it is frequently used in D) (either alone or followed by Jehovah) of the rites and religious practices of heathen nations as unlawful and unclean for Israel, Deuteronomy 12:31, Deuteronomy 13:14 (the effort to seduce to those rites), Deuteronomy 17:4, Deuteronomy 18:9, Deuteronomy 20:18; and by metonymy of the things used in those rites, Deuteronomy 7:25-26, Deuteronomy 27:15 (images, cp. Deuteronomy 32:16 parallel to strange gods); of a blemished sacrifice, Deuteronomy 17:1, and unclean food, Deuteronomy 14:3; and also of persons participating in such rites, Deuteronomy 18:12, Deuteronomy 23:18, or following other unlawful courses, Deuteronomy 22:5 (wearing the garments of the other sex), Deuteronomy 25:16 (using unjust weights); and finally, Deuteronomy 24:4, of re-marriage with one’s divorced wife after she has been married to another. All these 16 instances occur in Sg. passages with two exceptions, Deuteronomy 20:18, a Pl. clause in a Sg. context, and Deuteronomy 32:16 a line in the Song (the verb, to abhor, Deuteronomy 7:26, Deuteronomy 23:7). No such use of the noun with reference to Israel occurs in JE, but-in Leviticus 17-26, the Holiness-Code, it is used several times of the sin of unchastity. In Proverbs Jehovah’s abomination has an ethical force.
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.26. a devoted thing] ḥerem, see on Deuteronomy 2:34; cp. Deuteronomy 13:17 (18). Persons using or touching anything that was ḥerem or under the ban, themselves became ḥerem, cp. Joshua 6:18; Joshua 7:12.
utterly detest … utterly abhor] The latter verb is that of the noun tô‘ebah, abomination, see Deuteronomy 7:25; the former verb, shiḳḳeṣ, with its noun, is also used with respect to what is ritually forbidden or unclean, but chiefly in P, e.g. Leviticus 11:10-13; Leviticus 11:20; Leviticus 11:23; Leviticus 11:41 f.