Deuteronomy 26:17
You have avouched the LORD this day to be your God, and to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and to listen to his voice:
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Deuteronomy 26:17-18. Avouched — Or declared, or owned. Avouched thee — Hath owned thee for such before all the world, by eminent and glorious manifestations of his power and favour, by a solemn entering into covenant with thee, and giving peculiar laws, promises, and privileges to thee above all mankind.26:16-19 Moses here enforces the precepts. They are God's laws, therefore thou shalt do them, to that end were they given thee; do them, and dispute them not; do them, and draw not back; do them, not carelessly and hypocritically, but with thy heart and soul, thy whole heart and thy whole soul. We forswear ourselves, and break the most sacred engagement, if, when we have taken the Lord to be our God, we do not make conscience of obeying his commands. We are elected to obedience, 1Pe 1:2; chosen that we should be holy, Eph 1:4; purified a peculiar people, that we might not only do good works, but be zealous in them, Tit 2:14. Holiness is true honour, and the only way to everlasting honour.Thou hast avouched - literally, "made to say:" so also in the next verse. The sense is: "Thou hast given occasion to the Lord to say that He is thy God," i. e. by promising that He shall be so. Compare Exodus 24:7; Joshua 24:14-25, 14. I have not eaten thereof in my mourning—in a season of sorrow, which brought defilement on sacred things; under a pretense of poverty, and grudging to give any away to the poor.

neither … for any unclean use—that is, any common purpose, different from what God had appointed and which would have been a desecration of it.

nor given ought thereof for the dead—on any funeral service, or, to an idol, which is a dead thing.

Avouched, or declared, or professed, or owned. This day, i.e. at this time, in this wilderness, where thou hast accepted and ratified God’s covenant. Thou hast avouched the Lord this day to be thy God,.... Said, affirmed, protested, and in the most solemn manner declared, that the Lord was their God, and him only; and that they would have no other God, nor worship, serve, or obey any other. The Lord is the God of all mankind, as he is the Creator and Preserver of them, and was of the people of Israel in a peculiar manner, they being chosen, redeemed, and privileged by him above all others; and especially is of his elect in Christ among all nations, whom he has loved and set apart for himself, and determined to save; whom he has adopted and regenerated; he provides for them, protects and preserves them, gives them grace here and glory hereafter: he is their God in Christ, and by virtue of the covenant of his grace made with them in him; and is known by them to be so in the effectual calling by the application of covenant blessings to them; and which is certified to them by the Spirit of God, upon which they claim their interest in him, and make profession of him as their God:

and to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes and his commandments, and his judgments, and to hearken unto his voice; that is, this was then their resolution and determination, their protestation and declaration, to walk in all the ways of God, both in private and in public, he directed unto; and to observe all his laws, ceremonial, moral, and judicial, which he had given them as the rule of their walk and behaviour; and to regard whatsoever he should reveal by his prophets and ministers as his will; and a view of covenant interest in God lays all good men under the strongest obligation in the strength of divine grace to attend to his will; nor can there be a greater motive to them than covenant love, grace, and mercy.

Thou hast avouched the LORD this day to be thy God, and to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and to hearken unto his voice:
17. Thou hast avouched the Lord, etc.] i.e. acknowledged (see Wright’s Bible Word Book); lit. caused Jehovah to say that He will be thy God. This form of the Heb. vb. only here and Deuteronomy 26:18. It is probably a technical legal term, by which either of the two parties to a contract made the other utter a declaration of his obligation under it. Here it is figuratively applied to the contract between Jehovah and Israel. They did not actually cause Him to make this engagement, for His choice of them was an act of His free grace (Deuteronomy 7:8, etc.) and every covenant with Him was of His imposition (Deuteronomy 5:2, Deuteronomy 8:18). But by engaging to keep His laws Israel fulfilled the condition in which alone He could be their God. Therefore the formula, if not literally, is substantially, correct. The clever EVV. rendering avouched is unjustified by the Heb. form but has evidently been adopted to cover all the contradictory contents of the declaration; the text however is so deranged that it fails fully to do so.

and that thou shouldest walk in his ways, etc.] This belongs properly not to Jehovah’s, but to Israel’s, declaration, whereas the promise in Deuteronomy 26:19, and to make thee high above all nations, etc., which is attributed to them belongs, of course, to Him. There has been a displacement of the text.

The Syriac seeks to get rid of the difficulty by eliminating the conjunction at the beginning of the phrase here, so as to read by walking in his ways, etc.; but even so the difficulty is only partly removed.Verse 17. - Thou hast avouched, etc.; literally, Thou hast caused Jehovah this day to say to be a God unto thee; i.e. thou hast given occasion to him to declare himself to be thy God, and (as a consequence of this) that thou shouldest walk in his ways and keep his commandments. In declaring that he was their God, he virtually declared also that they were to be wholly obedient to him. Rejoicing in all the good, etc., points to the joy connected with the sacrificial meal, which followed the act of worship (as in Deuteronomy 12:12). The presentation of the first-fruits took place, no doubt, on their pilgrimages to the sanctuary at the three yearly festivals (ch. 16); but it is quite without ground that Riehm restricts these words to the sacrificial meals to be prepared from the tithes, as if they had been the only sacrificial meals (see at Deuteronomy 18:3).
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