Deuteronomy 23:4
Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee.
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(4) Because they met you not with bread and with water.—We learn incidentally from this passage how the Moabites and the Ammonites requited the forbearance shown them by the Israelites (Deuteronomy 2:9; Deuteronomy 2:19; Deuteronomy 2:29). No one not acquainted with the details of Israel’s intercourse with these people on their journey could have written thus.

Because they hired against thee Balaam.—See Numbers 22 and Numbers 31:16, and Numbers 25.

Deuteronomy 23:4. They met you not with bread and water — That is, meat and drink; as the manner of those times and countries was, with respect to strangers and travellers, which was the more necessary because there were no public-houses of entertainment. Their fault, then, was unmercifulness to strangers and afflicted persons, which was aggravated both by their relation to the Israelites, as being the children of Lot, and by the special kindness of God and of the Israelites to them, in not fighting against them. Because they hired against thee Balaam — As the foregoing passage peculiarly refers to the Ammonites, so this doth to the Moabites, Numbers 22:5-7.

23:1-8 We ought to value the privileges of God's people, both for ourselves and for our children, above all other advantages. No personal blemishes, no crimes of our forefathers, no difference of nation, shuts us out under the Christian dispensation. But an unsound heart will deprive us of blessings; and a bad example, or an unsuitable marriage, may shut our children from them.Compare the marginal reference. The Moabites and the Ammonites are to be regarded as clans of the same stock rather than as two independent nations, and as acting together. Compare 2 Chronicles 20:1. 3. even to the their tenth generation shall they not enter—Many eminent writers think that this law of exclusion was applicable only to males; at all events that a definite is used for an indefinite number (Ne 13:1; Ru 4:10; 2Ki 10:2). Many of the Israelites being established on the east side of Jordan in the immediate neighborhood of those people, God raised this partition wall between them to prevent the consequences of evil communications. More favor was to be shown to Edomites and Egyptians—to the former from their near relationship to Israel; and to the latter, from their early hospitalities to the family of Jacob, as well as the many acts of kindness rendered them by private Egyptians at the Exodus (Ex 12:36). The grandchildren of Edomite or Egyptian proselytes were declared admissible to the full rights of citizenship as native Israelites; and by this remarkable provision, God taught His people a practical lesson of generosity and gratitude for special deeds of kindness, to the forgetfulness of all the persecution and ill services sustained from those two nations. They met you not, as the manner of those times was to wait and provide for strangers and travellers; see Genesis 14:17 18:2,3 19:1,2 Jud 19:17-21; which was the more necessary, because in those times and countries there were no such public houses of entertainment, as now there are among us. Their fault then was unmercifulness to strangers and pilgrims, and afflicted persons, which was aggravated both by their relation to the Israelites, as being the children of Lot, and by the special kindness of God and of the Israelites to them, in not fighting against them, as they had just occasion to do, and as they did by others, Deu 2.


Quest. How doth this agree with Deu 2:28,29, where the Moabites which dwell in Ar are said to have sold them meat and drink?

Answ. 1. It is one thing voluntarily to meet them, and kindly to relieve them with bread and water, which they are here denied to have done, and a quite differing thing to sell them bread and water when they are upon their very borders, and their own interest forced them to do so.

2. It may seem that it was only those Moabites that dwelt in Ar did so, as is said Deu 2:29, and that all the rest of the people neglected or refused to do it; and therefore the sin being so general and national, no wonder if the punishment be so too.

3. These and the following words, both here and Nehemiah 13:1, are to be taken distributively; and this first member of the verse belongs to the Ammonites, who did not

meet them with bread, &c., and the latter part to the Moabites, who, together with the Midianites, but not with the Ammonites, hired Balaam, &c.

Because they met you not with bread and with water,.... To supply them therewith, either as a gift, which was a piece of humanity to strangers and travellers, or rather to sell unto them, for on no other terms did the Israelites desire their bread and their water:

in the way when ye came forth out of Egypt; not as soon as they came forth from thence, for it was near forty years after; but it was while they were in the way from thence, as they were journeying to the land of Canaan, and so were travellers, and should have had kindness shown them as such; for though they needed not bread and water, God providing both for them, yet this does not excuse the inhumanity of these people: the words are to be understood by way of distribution; this charge here only belongs to the Ammonites, for it appears that the Moabites did give them bread and water for money, Deuteronomy 2:28 as what follows belongs peculiarly to the Moabites and not the Ammonites:

and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee; this the Moabites did in conjunction with the Midianites, but the Ammonites had no concern in it; see Numbers 22:7, it was not therefore because the Moabites and Ammonites were born in incest that they were forbidden entrance into the congregation of the Lord; which might have been thought to have been the reason of it, these instances following upon the former, had not these reasons been assigned.

Because they {c} met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee.

(c) By this he condemns all who do not aid the children of God in their calling.

Deuteronomy 23:4Also no Ammonite or Moabite was to be received, not even in the tenth generation; not, however, because their forefathers were begotten in incest (Genesis 19:30.), as Knobel supposes, but on account of the hostility they had manifested to the establishment of the kingdom of God. Not only had they failed to give Israel a hospitable reception on its journey (see at Deuteronomy 2:29), but they (viz., the king of the Moabites) had even hired Balaam to curse Israel. In this way they had brought upon themselves the curse which falls upon all those who curse Israel, according to the infallible word of God (Genesis 12:3), the truth of which even Balaam was obliged to attest in the presence of Balak (Numbers 24:9); although out of love to Israel the Lord turned the curse of Balaam into a blessing (cf. Numbers 22-24). For this reason Israel was never to seek their welfare and prosperity, i.e., to make this an object of its care ("to seek," as in Jeremiah 29:7); not indeed from personal hatred, for the purpose of repaying evil with evil, since this neither induced Moses to publish the prohibition, nor instigated Ezra when he put the law in force, by compelling the separation of all Ammonitish, Moabitish, and Canaanitish wives from the newly established congregation in Jerusalem (Ezra 9:12). How far Moses was from being influenced by such motives of personal or national revenge is evident, apart from the prohibition in Deuteronomy 2:9 and Deuteronomy 2:19 against making war upon the Moabites and Ammonites, from the command which follows in Deuteronomy 23:8 and Deuteronomy 23:9 with reference to the Edomites and Egyptians. These nations had also manifested hostility to the Israelites. Edom had come against them when they desired to march peaceably through his land (Numbers 20:18.), and the Pharaohs of Egypt had heavily oppressed them. Nevertheless, Israel as to keep the bond of kindred sacred ("he is thy brother"), and not to forget in the case of the Egyptians the benefits derived from their sojourn in their land. Their children might come into the congregation of the Lord in the third generation, i.e., the great-grandchildren of Edomites of Egyptians, who had lived as strangers in Israel (see at Exodus 20:5). Such persons might be incorporated into the covenant nation by circumcision.
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