Deuteronomy 11:16
Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and you turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) Take heed to yourselves—i.e., when you are satisfied. (Comp. Deuteronomy 8:10-11.)

Deuteronomy 11:16-17. That your heart be not deceived — By the specious pretence of idolaters, persuading you that they enjoy fruitful seasons, and other temporal blessings, as a reward for their worship. And he shut up the heaven — Withhold rain from you, which will be a sore judgment, quickly bringing a famine, whereby you will be wasted and consumed. Here, and elsewhere, heaven is compared to a great store-house, wherein God lays up his treasures of dew and rain, (Job 38:22,) the doors whereof God is said to open when he gives rain, and to shut when he withholds it.11:8-17 Moses sets before them, for the future, life and death, the blessing and the curse, according as they did or did not keep God's commandment. Sin tends to shorten the days of all men, and to shorten the days of a people's prosperity. God will bless them with an abundance of all good things, if they would love him and serve him. Godliness has the promise of the life that now is; but the favour of God shall put gladness into the heart, more than the increase of corn, and wine, and oil. Revolt from God to idols would certainly be their ruin. Take heed that your hearts be not deceived. All who forsake God to set their affection upon any creature, will find themselves wretchedly deceived, to their own destruction; and this will make it worse, that it was for want of taking heed.The first rain and the latter rain - The former is the proper term for the autumn rain, falling about the time of sowing, and which may be named "the former," as occurring in the early part of the Hebrew civil year, namely, in October and November. The other word is applied to the spring rain, which falls in March and April, because it fits the earth for the ingathering of harvest. Between these two wet periods, and except them, there was little or no rain in Canaan. 15-17. I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle—Undoubtedly the special blessing of the former and the latter rain [De 11:14] was one principal cause of the extraordinary fertility of Canaan in ancient times. That blessing was promised to the Israelites as a temporal reward for their fidelity to the national covenant [De 11:13]. It was threatened to be withdrawn on their disobedience or apostasy; and most signally is the execution of that threatening seen in the present sterility of Palestine. MR. LowthIAN, an English farmer, who was struck during his journey from Joppa to Jerusalem by not seeing a blade of grass, where even in the poorest localities of Britain some wild vegetation is found, directed his attention particularly to the subject, and pursued the inquiry during a month's residence in Jerusalem, where he learned that a miserably small quantity of milk is daily sold to the inhabitants at a dear rate, and that chiefly asses' milk. "Most clearly," says he, "did I perceive that the barrenness of large portions of the country was owing to the cessation of the early and latter rain, and that the absence of grass and flowers made it no longer the land (De 11:9) flowing with milk and honey." That your heart be not deceived by the specious pretenses of idolaters, who will plead the general consent of all nations, except yours, in the worship of creatures, and that they worship the creatures only for God’s sake, and as they are glorious works of God, whom they worship in and by them; which, and the like arguments, being commonly alleged by heathens for their idolatries, as their own writers declare, might possibly seduce an unwary Israelite; and therefore they are here cautioned against such deceit, and withal it is implied, that if a man’s mind be corrupted and deceived, so as he believes idolatry to be lawful, this will not excuse him in the sight of God. Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived,.... By observing the influence of the heavens upon the fruitfulness of the earth, and so be drawn to the worship of the host of them, the sun, moon, and stars; or by the examples of nations round about them; and by the plausible arguments they may make use of, taken from the traditions of ancestors, from antiquity, and the consent of nations, and the great numbers of worshippers, and the like:

and ye turn aside; from the true God, and the worship of him; or from the law, as Jarchi, which directs to the worship of one God, and forbids idolatry, or the worshipping of images:

and serve other gods, and worship them; other gods than the one only living and true God; gods that made not the heavens and the earth, and which cannot give rain, nor any blessing and mercy of life, nor help and deliver their worshippers when in distress.

Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not {f} deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them;

(f) By devising foolish devotions according to your own fantasies.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16, 17. The enjoyment of so much blessing in the land suggests, as usual (cp. Deuteronomy 6:14 f., Deuteronomy 8:19 f.), a warning against being deceived into attributing it to other gods, i.e. the Baalim, already regarded in the land as the authors of its fertility, and worshipping them. Whether this warning is from the same hand as the preceding vv. is difficult to determine. The fact that it is in the Pl. while they are in the Sg., and that it is not so necessary to their argument as it is to the context in Deuteronomy 6:14 f. and Deuteronomy 8:19 f., suggests here another hand. At the same time it is relevant to what precedes, and in Deuteronomy 11:17 directly attaches itself to that. Nor is it all compiled of formulas.

16. Take heed to yourselves] See on Deuteronomy 4:9; only here and Deuteronomy 4:23 with Pl.

lest your heart be deceived] So Job 31:27.

and ye turn aside] With both Sg. and Pl., see on Deuteronomy 13:5.

17. the anger of the Lord, etc.] See Deuteronomy 6:14 f., Deuteronomy 7:4.

and he shut up the heaven … fruit] These clauses found in D only here (but cp. Deuteronomy 28:23 f. and the deuteronomic 1 Kings 8:35). Fruit, rather produce, yebûl, found, save for Jdg 6:4, only in the later O.T. writings from Ezekiel (Ezekiel 34:27) and D onwards, cp. Deuteronomy 32:22. Thus not only in the climate of Palestine, blessed directly from heaven, but in its interruptions also Israel are to see the personal Providence of their God.

and ye perish quickly, etc.] So, with slight variations, Deuteronomy 4:26.

the good land] Deuteronomy 1:35.Verse 16. - That your heart be not deceived; literally, lest your heart be enticed or seduced (יִפְתָה). The verb means primarily to be open, and as a mind open to impressions from without is easily persuaded, moved either to good or evil, the word came to signify to induce in a good sense, or to seduce in a bad sense. Here the people are cautioned against allowing themselves to be enticed so as to be led astray by seductive representations (cf. Job 31:27; Proverbs 20:19 ["flattereth"]; Job 5:2 ["silly one"]; Hosea 7:11). And this knowledge was to impel them to keep the law, that they might be strong, i.e., spiritually strong (Deuteronomy 1:38), and not only go into the promised land, but also live long therein (cf. Deuteronomy 4:26; Deuteronomy 6:3). - In Deuteronomy 11:10-12 Moses adduces a fresh motive for his admonition to keep the law with fidelity, founded upon the peculiar nature of the land. Canaan was a land the fertility of which was not dependent, like that of Egypt, upon its being watered by the hand of man, but was kept up by the rain of heaven which was sent down by God the Lord, so that it depended entirely upon the Lord how long its inhabitants should live therein. Egypt is described by Moses as a land which Israel sowed with seed, and watered with its foot like a garden of herbs. In Egypt there is hardly any rain at all (cf. Herod. ii. 4, Diod. Sic. i. 41, and other evidence in Hengstenberg's Egypt and the Books of Moses, pp. 217ff.). The watering of the land, which produces its fertility, is dependent upon the annual overflowing of the Nile, and, as this only lasts for about 100 days, upon the way in which this is made available for the whole year, namely, by the construction of canals and ponds throughout the land, to which the water is conducted from the Nile by forcing machines, or by actually carrying it in vessels up to the fields and plantations.

(Note: Upon the ancient monuments we find not only the draw-well with the long rope, which is now called Shaduf, depicted in various ways (see Wilkinson, i. p. 35, ii. 4); but at Beni-Hassan there is a representation of two men carrying a water-vessel upon a pole on their shoulders, which they fill from a draw-well or pond, and then carry to the field (cf. Hengstenberg, Egypt and the Books of Moses, pp. 220-1).)

The expression, "with thy foot," probably refers to the large pumping wheels still in use there, which are worked by the feet, and over which a long endless rope passes with pails attached, for drawing up the water (cf. Niebuhr, Reise, i. 149), the identity of which with the ἕλιξ described by Philo as ὑδρηλὸν ὄργανον (de confus. ling. i. 410) cannot possibly be called in question; provided, that is to say, we do not confound this ἕλιξ with the Archimedean water-screw mentioned by Diod. Sic. i. 34, and described more minutely at v. 37, the construction of which was entirely different (see my Archaeology, ii. pp. 111-2). - The Egyptians, as genuine heathen, were so thoroughly conscious of this peculiar characteristic of their land, which made its fertility far more dependent upon the labour of human hands than upon the rain of heaven or divine providence, that Herodotus (ii. 13) represents them as saying, "The Greeks, with their dependence upon the gods, might be disappointed in their brightest hopes and suffer dreadfully from famine." The land of Canaan yielded no support to such godless self-exaltation, for it was "a land of mountains and valleys, and drank water of the rain of heaven" (ל before מטר, to denote the external cause; see Ewald, 217, d.); i.e., it received its watering, the main condition of all fertility, from the rain, by the way of the rain, and therefore through the providential care of God.

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