Deuteronomy 28:3
Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field.
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28:1-14 This chapter is a very large exposition of two words, the blessing and the curse. They are real things and have real effects. The blessings are here put before the curses. God is slow to anger, but swift to show mercy. It is his delight to bless. It is better that we should be drawn to what is good by a child-like hope of God's favour, than that we be frightened to it by a slavish fear of his wrath. The blessing is promised, upon condition that they diligently hearken to the voice of God. Let them keep up religion, the form and power of it, in their families and nation, then the providence of God would prosper all their outward concerns.A comparison of this chapter with Exodus 23:20-23 and Leviticus 26 will show how Moses here resumes and amplifies the promises and threats already set forth in the earlier records of the Law. The language rises in this chapter to the sublimest strains, especially in the latter part of it; and the prophecies respecting the dispersion and degradation of the Jewish nation in its later days are among the most remarkable in scripture. They are plain, precise, and circumstantial; and the fulfillment of them has been literal, complete, and undeniable.

The Blessing. The six repetitions of the word "blessed" introduce the particular forms which the blessing would take in the various relations of life.

2. all these blessings shall come on thee—Their national obedience was to be rewarded by extraordinary and universal prosperity. No text from Poole on this verse. Blessed shalt thou be in the city,.... Not only in the city of Jerusalem, where the temple would be built, and there be blessed with the service, worship, and ordinances of God, but in all other cities of the land; where they should dwell in title, large, and spacious houses, and their cities should be walled and fenced, and be very populous; yet should enjoy health, and have plenty of all sorts of provisions brought unto them, as well as prosper in all kinds of merchandise there, as Aben Ezra notes:

and blessed shalt thou be in the field; in the country villages, and in all rural employments, in sowing and planting, as the same writer observes; in all kinds of husbandry, in the culture of the fields for corn, and of vineyards and oliveyards; all should prosper and succeed, and bring forth fruit abundantly.

Blessed shalt thou be in the {c} city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.

(c) You will live richly.

3–6. Six forms of blessing, each introd. by the pass. part, of the vb. to bless. They cover Israel’s life: in town and field, in their offspring, crops and cattle, annual harvests and daily bread, all their movement out and in. The structure of the first two and last three is uniform: with 3 accents. The longer third, Deuteronomy 28:4, has been expanded; fruit of thy cattle does not appear in LXX nor in the parallel Deuteronomy 28:18, and is probably a gloss from Deuteronomy 28:11.Verses 3-7. - The fullness of the blessing in all the relations of life, external and internal, is presented in six particulars, each introduced by the word "blessed." Israel should be blessed in the house and in the field, in the fruit of the body, in the productions of the soil and the increase of herd and flock, in the store and in the use of what nature provided, - in all their undertakings, whether in peace or in war, at home or abroad. Basket and thy store; rather, basket and kneading-trough (see Exodus 8:3; Exodus 12:34); "the basket" representing the store in which the fruits of the earth were laid up, the "kneading-trough" the use of these for the supply of daily needs (ver. 6; cf. Numbers 27:17; Psalm 121:8). In Deuteronomy 27:15-26 there follow twelve curses, answering to the number of the tribes of Israel. The first is directed against those who make graven or molten images of Jehovah, and set them up in secret, that is to say, against secret breaches of the second commandment (Exodus 20:4); the second against contempt of, or want of reverence towards, parents (Exodus 21:17); the third against those who remove boundaries (Deuteronomy 19:14); the fourth against the man who leads the blind astray (Leviticus 19:14); the fifth against those who pervert the right of orphans and widows (Deuteronomy 24:17); the sixth against incest with a mother (Deuteronomy 23:1; Deuteronomy 18:8); the seventh against unnatural vices (Leviticus 18:23); the eighth and ninth against incest with a sister or a mother-in-law (Leviticus 18:9 and Leviticus 18:17); the tenth against secret murder (Exodus 20:13; Numbers 35:16.); the eleventh against judicial murder ("he that taketh reward to slay a soul, namely, innocent blood:" Exodus 23:7-8); the twelfth against the man who does not set up the words of this law to do them, who does not make the laws the model and standard of his life and conduct. From this last curse, which applied to every breach of the law, it evidently follows, that the different sins and transgressions already mentioned were only selected by way of example, and for the most part were such as could easily be concealed from the judicial authorities. At the same time, "the office of the law is shown in this last utterance, the summing up of all the rest, to have been pre-eminently to proclaim condemnation. Every conscious act of transgression subjects the sinner to the curse of God, from which none but He who has become a curse for us can possibly deliver us" (Galatians 3:10, Galatians 3:13. O. v. Gerlach). - On the reason why the blessings are not given, see the remarks on Deuteronomy 27:4. As the curses against particular transgressions of the law simply mention some peculiarly grievous sins by way of example, it would be easy to single out corresponding blessings from the general contents of the law: e.g., "Blessed be he who faithfully follows the Lord his God, or loves Him with the heart, who honours his father and his mother," etc.; and lastly, all the blessings of the law could be summed up in the words, "Blessed be he who setteth up the words of this law, to do them."
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