And the LORD said to me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)John 4:25); nor can our Lord Himself, when He declares that Moses "wrote of Him" John 5:45-47, be supposed to have any other words more directly in view than these, the only words in which Moses, speaking in his own person, gives any prediction of the kind. But the verses seem to have a further, no less evident if subsidiary, reference to a prophetical order which should stand from time to time, as Moses had done, between God and the people; which should make known God's will to the latter; which should by its presence render it unnecessary either that God should address the people directly, as at Sinai (Deuteronomy 18:16; compare Deuteronomy 5:25 ff), or that the people themselves in lack of counsel should resort to the superstitions of the pagan.
In fact, in the words before us, Moses gives promise both of a prophetic order, and of the Messiah in particular as its chief; of a line of prophets culminating in one eminent individual. And in proportion as we see in our Lord the characteristics of the prophet most perfectly exhibited, so must we regard the promise of Moses as in Him most completely accomplished.
15-19. The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet—The insertion of this promise, in connection with the preceding prohibition, might warrant the application (which some make of it) to that order of true prophets whom God commissioned in unbroken succession to instruct, to direct, and warn His people; and in this view the purport of it is, "There is no need to consult with diviners and soothsayers, as I shall afford you the benefit of divinely appointed prophets, for judging of whose credentials a sure criterion is given" (De 18:20-22). But the prophet here promised was pre-eminently the Messiah, for He alone was "like unto Moses" (see on De 34:10) "in His mediatorial character; in the peculiar excellence of His ministry; in the number, variety, and magnitude of His miracles; in His close and familiar communion with God; and in His being the author of a new dispensation of religion." This prediction was fulfilled fifteen hundred years afterwards and was expressly applied to Jesus Christ by Peter (Ac 3:22, 23), and by Stephen (Ac 7:37).
they have well spoken that which they have spoken; see Deuteronomy 5:28.And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Deuteronomy 17:14, and which actually took place under Samuel when the nation grew older (Deuteronomy 4:25), and in the decline and apostasy which certainly awaited it according to Deuteronomy 31:16-29, when false prophets should arise, by whom they were in danger of being led astray (Deuteronomy 13:2 and Deuteronomy 18:20), as well as in the restoration which would follow after the infliction of punishment (Deuteronomy 4:29-30; Deuteronomy 30:1.); in all these great changes which awaited Israel from inward necessity, the revelation of the will of the Lord which they possessed in the law would nevertheless be insufficient." The priesthood, with its ordinances, would not suffice for that. As the promise of direct communications from God through the Urim and Thummim of the high priest was restricted to the single circumstance of the right of the whole congregation being endangered, and did not extend to the satisfaction of the religious necessities of individuals, it could afford no godly satisfaction to that desire for supernatural knowledge which arose at times in the hearts of individuals, and for which the heathen oracles made such ample provision in ungodly ways. If Israel therefore was to be preserved in faithfulness towards God, and attain the end of its calling as the congregation of the Lord, it was necessary that the Lord should make known His counsel and will at the proper time through the medium of prophets, and bestow upon it in sure prophetic words what the heathen nations endeavoured to discover and secure by means of augury and soothsaying. This is the point of view from which Moses promises the sending of prophets in Deuteronomy 18:15-18, and lays down in Deuteronomy 18:19-22 the criteria for distinguishing between true and false prophets, as we may clearly see from the fact that in Deuteronomy 18:9-14 he introduces this promise with a warning against resorting to heathen augury, soothsaying, and witchcraft.
When Israel came into the land of Canaan, it was "not to learn to do like the abominations of these nations" (the Canaanites or heathen). There was not to be found in it any who caused his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, i.e., any worshipper of Moloch (see at Leviticus 18:21), or one who practised soothsaying (see at Numbers 23:23), or a wizard (see at Leviticus 19:26), or a snake-charmer (see at Leviticus 19:26), or a conjurer, or one who pronounced a ban (חבר חבר, probably referring to the custom of binding or banning by magical knots), a necromancer and wise man (see at Leviticus 19:31), or one who asked the dead, i.e., who sought oracles from the dead. Moses groups together all the words which the language contained for the different modes of exploring the future and discovering the will of God, for the purpose of forbidding every description of soothsaying, and places the prohibition of Moloch-worship at the head, to show the inward connection between soothsaying and idolatry, possibly because februation, or passing children through the fire in the worship of Moloch, was more intimately connected with soothsaying and magic than and other description of idolatry.
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