Deuteronomy 28:21
The LORD shall make the pestilence stick to you, until he have consumed you from off the land, where you go to possess it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(21) The pestilence.—One of God’s four sore judgments to be sent upon Jerusalem (Ezekiel 14:19-21).

Until he have consumed thee from off the land.—From Deuteronomy 28:21-35, inclusive, we seem to be reading of the gradual consumption of Israel “in the land of promise” before any actual captivity.

Deuteronomy 28:21-24. Shall make the pestilence cleave to thee — Sometimes Divine Providence shall scourge you by one calamity, and sometimes by another, and they will cut off your people in great numbers. Thy heaven shall be brass — Dry, and shut up from giving rain or dew. The earth iron — Exceeding hard through drought, and barren. The rain of thy land powder and dust — As unprofitable to thy ground or seed as if it were only so much dust. Or rather, by reason of long droughts, dust blown up into the air by winds shall fall in showers instead of rain.28:15-44 If we do not keep God's commandments, we not only come short of the blessing promised, but we lay ourselves under the curse, which includes all misery, as the blessing all happiness. Observe the justice of this curse. It is not a curse causeless, or for some light cause. The extent and power of this curse. Wherever the sinner goes, the curse of God follows; wherever he is, it rests upon him. Whatever he has is under a curse. All his enjoyments are made bitter; he cannot take any true comfort in them, for the wrath of God mixes itself with them. Many judgments are here stated, which would be the fruits of the curse, and with which God would punish the people of the Jews, for their apostacy and disobedience. We may observe the fulfilling of these threatenings in their present state. To complete their misery, it is threatened that by these troubles they should be bereaved of all comfort and hope, and left to utter despair. Those who walk by sight, and not by faith, are in danger of losing reason itself, when every thing about them looks frightful.First series of judgments. The curse of God should rest on all they did, and should issue in manifold forms of disease, in famine, and in defeat in war.

Deuteronomy 28:20

Vexation - Rather, confusion: the word in the original is used Deuteronomy 7:23; 1 Samuel 14:20 for the panic and disorder with which the curse of God smites His foes.

21. pestilence—some fatal epidemic. There is no reason, however, to think that the plague, which is the great modern scourge of the East, is referred to. No text from Poole on this verse. The Lord shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee,.... Not only to come upon them; but to continue with them:

until he have consumed thee from off the land whither thou goest to possess it; which shows that this respects not some particular seasons, when the pestilence came and continued awhile, and then ceased, as in the times of David; but when it became more general, and issued with other judgments in the utter consumption of them, as at the destruction of Jerusalem, both by the Babylonians and the Romans; at what times the pestilence raged and remained, until by that and other sore judgments the land was wholly depopulated.

The LORD shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
21. pestilence] Heb. deber, a general word (originally = death); in J, Exodus 5:3; Exodus 9:15, Hosea 13:14, Amos 4:10. See Baldensperger, PEFQ, 1906, 97 ff. LXX here θάνατος.

whither thou goest in to possess it] The usual phrase in the Sg. passages; see on Deuteronomy 6:1. For the corresponding Pl. phrase see Deuteronomy 4:26.Verses 21, 22. - The afflictive visitations here named are such as destroy life; but the distinctive character of each it is not easy exactly to define. The pestilence is probably a generic term for any fatal epidemic. In the LXX. it is usually represented by the general word Odoacer, death. Consumption; literally, wasting; the designation of any species of tabes or marasmus. Fever (דַּלֶּקֶת, from דָּלַק, to be parched, to glow); inflammation (חַחְתֻר, from חָרַר, to burn); burning fever (קַדַּחַת, from קָדַח, to kindle): different species of pyrexia, the distinction between which has not been determined. The sword. Instead of חֶרֶב, sword, the Vulgate, Arabic, and Samaritan adopt the reading חֹרֶב, heat, drought (Genesis 31:40); but all the other versions support the reading of the received text, and there is no reason why it should be departed from, more especially as drought is threatened in the verse that follows. Blasting and with mildew; diseases that attack the grain (Amos 4:9); the former (שִׁדָּפון, from שָׁדַּפ, to scorch, to blast) a withering or scorching of the ears caused by the east wind (Genesis 41:23); the latter (יֵרָקון, from יָרַק, to be yellowish) the effect produced by a hot wind, which turns the ears yellow, so that they are rendered unproductive. The Curse, in case Israel should not hearken to the voice of its God, to keep His commandments. After the announcement that all these (the following) curses would come upon the disobedient nation (Deuteronomy 28:15), the curse is proclaimed in all its extent, as covering all the relations of life, in a sixfold repetition of the word "cursed" (Deuteronomy 28:16-19, as above in Deuteronomy 28:3-6); and the fulfilment of this threat in plagues and diseases, drought and famine, war, devastation of the land, and captivity of the people, is so depicted, that the infliction of these punishments stands out to view in ever increasing extent and fearfulness. We are not to record this, however, as a gradual heightening of the judgments of God, in proportion to the increasing rebellion of Israel, as in Leviticus 26:14., although it is obvious that the punishments threatened did not fall upon the nation all at once.
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