Deuteronomy 28:57
And toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear: for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege and straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates.
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28:45-68 If God inflicts vengeance, what miseries his curse can bring upon mankind, even in this present world! Yet these are but the beginning of sorrows to those under the curse of God. What then will be the misery of that world where their worm dieth not, and their fire is not quenched! Observe what is here said of the wrath of God, which should come and remain upon the Israelites for their sins. It is amazing to think that a people so long the favourites of Heaven, should be so cast off; and yet that a people so scattered in all nations should be kept distinct, and not mixed with others. If they would not serve God with cheerfulness, they should be compelled to serve their enemies. We may justly expect from God, that if we do not fear his fearful name, we shall feel his fearful plagues; for one way or other God will be feared. The destruction threatened is described. They have, indeed, been plucked from off the land, ver. 63. Not only by the Babylonish captivity, and when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans; but afterwards, when they were forbidden to set foot in Jerusalem. They should have no rest; no rest of body, ver. 65, but be continually on the remove, either in hope of gain, or fear of persecution. No rest of the mind, which is much worse. They have been banished from city to city, from country to country; recalled, and banished again. These events, compared with the favour shown to Israel in ancient times, and with the prophecies about them, should not only excite astonishment, but turn unto us for a testimony, assuring us of the truth of Scripture. And when the other prophecies of their conversion to Christ shall come to pass, the whole will be a sign and a wonder to all the nations of the earth, and the forerunner of a general spread of true christianity. The fulfilling of these prophecies upon the Jewish nation, delivered more than three thousand years ago, shows that Moses spake by the Spirit of God; who not only foresees the ruin of sinners, but warns of it, that they may prevent it by a true and timely repentance, or else be left without excuse. And let us be thankful that Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, by being made a curse for us, and bearing in his own person all that punishment which our sins merit, and which we must otherwise have endured for ever. To this Refuge and salvation let sinners flee; therein let believers rejoice, and serve their reconciled God with gladness of heart, for the abundance of his spiritual blessings.Young one - The "afterbirth" (see the margin). The Hebrew text in fact suggests an extremity of horror which the King James Version fails to exhibit. Compare 2 Kings 6:29.53-57. And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body—(See 2Ki 6:29; La 4:10). Such were the dreadful extremities to which the inhabitants during the siege were reduced that many women sustained a wretched existence by eating the flesh of their own children. Parental affection was extinguished, and the nearest relatives were jealously, avoided, lest they should discover and demand a share of the revolting viands. Her young one, Heb. after-birth; that which was loathsome to behold, will now be pleasant to eat; and together with it she shall eat the child which was wrapt up in it, and may be included in this expression.

Which she shall bear, or, which she shall have born, i.e. her more grown children.

And toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet,.... Or her secundine, "her afterbirth", as in the margin of our Bibles; so the Targum of Jonathan and Aben Ezra interpret it. The latter describes it,"the place of the fetus, while it abides in the womb of its mother;''the membrane in which the child is wrapped; and it is suggested that, as nauseous as that is, the delicate woman should eat it, and then the newborn child that was wrapped in it; so Jarchi interprets it, little children; though it seems to be distinguished from the children she bears or brings forth in the next clause:

and towards her children which she shall bear; that is, have an evil eye towards them, to eat them as follows:

for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege and straitness wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates; that is, eat her children, being reduced to the utmost extremity, being in want of all things, having nothing at all to abate her sharp hunger; which, and nothing else, could incline her, and prevail upon her to do an action so monstrously horrid: and which she would do in the most private and secret manner; both lest others should partake with her, as well as being conscious of the foulness and blackness of the crime, that would not by any means bear the light; and all this owing to the closeness of the siege, and the unspeakable distress they should be in through it. For the illustration of this, take the following story as related by Josephus (f);"a woman, whose name was Mary, that lived beyond Jordan, illustrious for her descent and riches fled with the multitude to Jerusalem when besieged carrying with her her substance, and what food she could get that were left to her by the spoilers; where being pressed with famine, she took her sucking child, killed it boiled it, and ate half of it, and then laid up the rest, and covered it; and when the seditious party entered the house, they smelt it, and demanded her food, threatening to kill her if she did not deliver it; which when she brought forth, declaring what she had done, they were struck with horror; to whom she said, this is my son, and this my own deed; eat, for I have eaten; be not more tender or softer than a woman, and more sympathizing or more pitiful than a mother.''All the ideas that this prophecy of Moses conveys are to be met with in this account; as of a woman well bred and delicate, reduced to the utmost distress, and wanting all the necessaries of life, killing her tender infant, a sucking babe, eating it secretly, and laying up the rest covered for another time. If Moses had lived to have known the fact committed, as Josephus did, he could not have expressed it well in stronger and clearer terms than he has done. This is a most amazing instance of a prophecy delivered out two thousand years or more before the fact was done, and of the exact accomplishment of it; and if the observation of a learned critic (g) can be established, that the first word of this verse should be and so be rendered, "and she shall boil that which cometh out from between her feet, even her children which she shall bear", the fulfilment of the prophecy will appear still more exact, both at the siege of Samaria, 2 Kings 6:20; and of Jerusalem, as in the above relation of Josephus.

(f) De Bello Jud. l. 6. c. 3. sect. 4. (g) Dr. Kennicot's State of the Hebrew Text, Dissert. 1. p. 421.

And toward her {t} young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear: for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege and straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates.

(t) Hunger will so bite her, that she will be ready to eat her child before it is delivered.

57. young one] Rather as in R.V. marg. The objects in this v. are under the same predicate as those in Deuteronomy 28:56 but with a difference. To those she shall grudge a share of her awful food; these she shall devour.

Verse 57. - Her young one; literally, her after-birth. The Hebrew suggests an extreme of horror beyond what the Authorized Version indicates. Deuteronomy 28:57The delicate and luxurious woman, who had not attempted to put her feet to the ground (had always been carried therefore either upon a litter or an ass: cf. Judges 5:10, and Arvieux, Sitten der Beduinen Ar. p. 143), from tenderness and delicacy - her eye would look with envy upon the husband of her bosom and her children, and that (vav expl.) because of (for) her after-birth, which cometh out from between her feet, and because of her children which she bears (sc., during the siege); "for she will eat them secretly in the want of everything," that is to say, first of all attempt to appease her hunger with the after-birth, and then, when there was no more left, with her own children. To such an awful height would the famine rise!
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