Your fathers went down into Egypt with three score and ten persons; and now the LORD your God has made you as the stars of heaven for multitude.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Thy fathers went down.—The simple and natural form of this allusion conveys a strong impression of the truth of the facts. If the marvellous increase of Israel in the time allowed by the sacred narrative presents a difficulty, we must remember that the Bible consistently represents the multiplication as the fulfilment of a Divine promise, and not purely natural. But the testimony of the First Book of Chronicles must not be overlooked. The genealogy of Judah, given in the second and fourth chapters of that book, discloses a very extensive multiplication, a good deal of which must lie within the period of the sojourning in Egypt. The family of Hezron is particularly to be noticed. Of a certain descendant of Simeon it is written (1Chronicles 4:27), “And Shimei had sixteen sons and six daughters; but his brethren had not many children, neither did all their family multiply like to the children of Judah.” (!) Modern calculations are perhaps not quite adequate to deal with such a rate of increase as this. (See also the Note on Deuteronomy 32:8.)
Genesis 17:10. This verse points to the spiritual import of circumcision. Man is by nature "very far gone from original righteousness," and in a state of enmity to God; by circumcision, as the sacrament of admission to the privileges of the chosen people, this opposition must be taken away ere man could enter into covenant with God. It was through the flesh that man first sinned; as it is also in the flesh, its functions, lusts, etc., that man's rebellion against God chiefly manifests itself still. It was fitting therefore that the symbol which should denote the removal of this estrangement from God should be worked in the body. Moses then fitly follows up the command "to circumcise the heart," with the warning "to be no more stiff-necked." His meaning is that they should lay aside that obduracy and perverseness toward God for which he had been reproving them, which had led them into so many transgressions of the covenant and revolts from God, and which was especially the very contrary of that love and fear of God required by the first two of the Ten Commandments. The language associated with circumcision in the Bible distinguishes the use made of this rite in the Jewish religion from that found among certain pagan nations. Circumcision was practiced by some of them as a religious rite, designed (e. g.) to appease the deity of death who was supposed to delight in human suffering; but not by any, the Egyptians probably excepted, at all in the Jewish sense and meaning. The grounds on which circumcision was imposed as essential by the Law are the same as those on which Baptism is required in the Gospel. The latter in the New Testament is strictly analogous to the former under the Old; compare Colossians 2:11-12.
The grounds on which circumcision was imposed as essential by the Law are the same as those on which Baptism is required in the Gospel. The latter in the New Testament is strictly analogous to the former under the Old; compare Colossians 2:11-12.Genesis 46:26 and now the Lord thy God hath made thee as the stars of heaven for multitude; as he promised they should be, Genesis 15:5. Thy fathers went down into Egypt with threescore and ten persons; and now the LORD thy God hath made thee as the stars of heaven for multitude.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)22. Thy fathers went down, etc.] A.V. and R.V. miss both the emphatic order of the original and an idiom in it. Translate, Seventy persons did thy fathers go down into Egypt, but now, etc. The number is found elsewhere only in P, Genesis 46:27, Exodus 1:5, and this verse is regarded as derived from P and therefore a late addition to D. Yet this round number may have been a common tradition once found in JE; and indeed P treats it as an accepted fact, to which he has to reconcile his other data. ‘The number 70 is not invented by P, since he puts it together in Genesis 46:8-27 only with trouble and difficulty’ (Cornill, Einleitung, 35 f.). There remains, however, the term nephesh for person, very characteristic of, though not confined to, P. With the whole v., cp. Deuteronomy 26:5.
made thee as the stars, etc.] See on Deuteronomy 1:10.Verse 22. - Among other marvelous acts toward Israel, was one done in Israel itself; they, whoso fathers went down to Egypt only seventy in number (Genesis 46:26, 27), had, notwithstanding the cruel oppression to which they were subjected there, grown to a nation numberless as the stars (cf. Genesis 22:17; Deuteronomy 1:10; Nehemiah 9:23).
Leviticus 26:41; and on the spiritual signification of circumcision, see Genesis 17:15-21), and not stiffen their necks any more, i.e., not persist in their obstinacy, or obstinate resistance to God (cf. Deuteronomy 9:6, Deuteronomy 9:13). Without circumcision of heart, true fear of God and true love of God are both impossible. As a reason for this admonition, Moses adduces in Deuteronomy 10:17. the nature and acts of God. Jehovah as the absolute God and Lord is mighty and terrible towards all, without respect of person, and at the same time a just Judge and loving Protector of the helpless and oppressed. From this it follows that the true God will not tolerate haughtiness and stiffness of neck either towards Himself or towards other men, but will punish it without reserve. To set forth emphatically the infinite greatness and might of God, Moses describes Jehovah the God of Israel as the "God of gods," i.e., the supreme God, the essence of all that is divine, of all divine power and might (cf. Psalm 136:2), - and as the "Lord of lords," i.e., the supreme, unrestricted Ruler ("the only Potentate," 1 Timothy 6:15), above all powers in heaven and on earth, "a great King above all gods" (Psalm 95:3). Compare Revelation 17:14 and Revelation 19:16, where these predicates are transferred to the exalted Son of God, as the Judge and Conqueror of all dominions and powers that are hostile to God. The predicates which follow describe the unfolding of the omnipotence of God in the government of the world, in which Jehovah manifests Himself as the great, mighty, and terrible God (Psalm 89:8), who does not regard the person (cf. Leviticus 19:15), or accept presents (cf. Deuteronomy 16:19), like a human judge.
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