Deuteronomy 28:32
Your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people, and your eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day long; and there shall be no might in your hand.
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(32) Thy sons and thy daughters.—The language of this verse is perhaps the most pathetic piece of description in the whole chapter. Many of the nations bordering on Israel were accustomed when they made inroads to take away, not only the cattle, but the children for slaves. Another equally pathetic passage in Jeremiah touches on the very same thing. “A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children, refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.” And it would not always be said, as it was then, “they shall come again from the land of the enemy” (Jeremiah 31:15-17).

Thine eyes shall . . . fail—i.e., shall consume. “All longing after that which comes not is called consumption of the eyes” (Rashi).

And there shall be no might in thine hand.—The Hebrew phrase here is very remarkable. It occurs also in Genesis 31:29. “It is in the power of mine hand to do you hurt.” But it means, literally, thou shalt have no hand toward God, i.e., “thou shalt not be able to lift a hand to Him.” We may compare Jacob wrestling with the angel, and Moses in the fight with Amalek: “When he held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.” Some would perhaps explain the phrase in another way; but this explanation is thoroughly in accordance with the genius of the Hebrew language, and I have good authority for it. Hezekiah said, “Mine eyes fail with looking upward.” Here the eyes fail with looking, but cannot look up.

Deuteronomy 28:32. Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given — When you have provoked the divine justice to deliver you into the hands of your enemies, you shall have nothing left which you can call your own. Your very wives and children shall become a prey to your enemies; shall be taken from you and given, or sold, to another people — By those who have conquered you and taken them captives. Thine eyes shall fail — Or be consumed, partly with grief and plentiful tears, and partly with earnest desire, and long and vain expectation of their return. There shall be no might in thy hand — No power to rescue, nor money to ransom them.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.See the marginal references for the fulfillment of these judgments.29-33. thou shalt grope at noonday—a general description of the painful uncertainty in which they would live. During the Middle Ages the Jews were driven from society into hiding-places which they were afraid to leave, not knowing from what quarter they might be assailed and their children dragged into captivity, from which no friend could rescue, and no money ransom them. Shall be given unto another people, by those who have conquered them, and taken them captives, who shall give or sell them to other persons, as the manner was.

Fail, or, be consumed, partly with grief and plentiful tears shed for them; and partly with earnest desire, and vain and long expectation of their return. See Psalm 119:82. No might, i.e. no power to rescue them, nor money to ransom them. Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people,.... This also was not true in the Babylonish captivity; for then their sons and daughters went with them, and continued with them, and returned again; but has been oftentimes verified since their captivity by the Romans; frequently their sons and daughters have been taken from them by force, to be brought up in another religion, by the edicts of kings and popes, and by the canons of councils, and particularly of the fourth council of Toledo:

and thine eyes shall look and fail; with longing:

for them all the day long; expecting every day their children would be returned to them, at least wishing and hoping they would; their hearts yearning after them, but all in vain:

and there shall be no might in thy hand; to recover them out of the hands of those who had the possession of them, or fetch them back from distant countries, whither they were carried. By an edict of the Portuguese, the children of the Jews were ordered to be carried to the uninhabited islands; and when, by the king's command, they were had to the ships in which they were to be transported, it is incredible, the Jewish historian says (l), what howlings and lamentations were made by the women; and there wore none pitied them and comforted them, or could help them.

(l) Shebet Judah, sive Hist. Jud. sect. 59. p. 332.

Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people, and thine eyes {o} shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day long: and there shall be no might in thine hand.

(o) When they will return from their captivity.

32. Judah suffered from a large deportation of her people by Sennacherib in 701. On any of the conflicting estimates of the deportations under Nebuchadrezzar, there must have remained in the land a majority of the people, lamenting, as this v. describes, the exile of the rest. See Jerusalem, ii. 266 ff.

hand] Many MSS read hands; cp. Nehemiah 5:5.Verse 32. - And there shall be no might in thine hand. Keil proposes to render here, "Thy hand shall not be to thee towards God;" and others, "Thy hand shall not be to thee for God," i.e. instead of God. But אֵל here is not "the Mighty One, God; but simply" might, strength, power," as in Genesis 31:29; Proverbs 3:27; Micah 2:1. Literally rendered, the words are, And not for might is thy hand, the meaning of which is well expressed in the Authorized Version. Defeat in battle, the very opposite of the blessing promised in Deuteronomy 28:7. Israel should become לזעוה, "a moving to and fro," i.e., so to speak, "a ball for all the kingdoms of the earth to play with" (Schultz). זעוה, here and at Ezekiel 23:46, is not a transposed and later form of זועה, which has a different meaning in Isaiah 28:19, but the original uncontracted form, which was afterwards condensed into זועה; for this, and not זועה, is the way in which the Chethib should be read in Jeremiah 15:4; Jeremiah 24:9; Jeremiah 29:18; Jeremiah 34:17, and 2 Chronicles 29:8, where this threat is repeated (vid., Ewald, 53, b.). The corpses of those who were slain by the foe should serve as food for the birds of prey and wild beasts - the greatest ignominy that could fall upon the dead, and therefore frequently held out as a threat against the ungodly (Jeremiah 7:33; Jeremiah 16:4; 1 Kings 14:11, etc.).
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