Deuteronomy 28:32
Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people, and thine eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day long: and there shall be no might in thine 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. Deuteronomy 28:32Deuteronomy 28:29 leads to the same conclusion, where it is stated that Israel would grope in the bright noon-day, like a blind man in the dark, and not make his ways prosper, i.e., not hit upon the right road which led to the goal and to salvation, would have no good fortune or success in its undertakings (cf. Psalm 37:7). Being thus smitten in body and soul, it would be only (אך as in Deuteronomy 16:15), i.e., utterly, oppressed and spoiled evermore. These words introduce the picture of the other calamity, viz., the plundering of the nation and the land by enemies (Deuteronomy 28:30-33). Wife, house, vineyard, ox, ass, and sheep would be taken away by the foe; sons and daughters would be carried away into captivity before the eyes of the people, who would see it and pine after the children, i.e., with sorrow and longing after them; "and thy hand shall not be to thee towards God," i.e., all power and help will fail thee. (On this proverbial expression, see Genesis 31:29; and on חלּל, in Genesis 31:30, see at Deuteronomy 20:6.) - In Deuteronomy 28:33, Deuteronomy 28:34, this threat is summed up in the following manner: the fruit of the field and all their productions would be devoured by a strange nation, and Israel would be only oppressed and crushed to pieces all its days, and become mad on account of what its eyes would be compelled to see.
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