And you shall be left few in number, whereas you were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because you would not obey the voice of the LORD your God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Deuteronomy 28:62. Ye shall be left few in number — “Not to mention here any other of the calamities and slaughters which the Jews have undergone, there was in the last siege of Jerusalem, by Titus, an infinite multitude, saith Josephus, who perished by famine; and he computes that, during the whole siege, the number of those who were destroyed by that and by the war amounted to eleven hundred thousand, the people being assembled from all parts to celebrate the passover. And the same author hath given us an account of one million two hundred and forty thousand four hundred and ninety destroyed in Jerusalem and other parts of Judea, besides ninety-nine thousand two hundred made prisoners, as Basnage has reckoned them up from that historian’s account.” — Bp. Newton. Another Jewish writer relates that there were above one hundred and sixteen thousand dead bodies of the rich and honourable men of Jerusalem carried out at one gate of the city during the siege, besides those which were carried out at other gates, and thrown over the wall. But when the city was taken, the massacre was dreadful. Titus would have put an end to it, but could not. His men killed all, except the most vigorous, whom they shut up in the porch of the women. The youngest and most beautiful of these were reserved to grace Titus’s triumph. Those above seventeen years of age were sent bound into Egypt, to be employed in some public works there; and great numbers of others were sent into several cities of Syria, and other provinces, to be exposed on the public theatres, to exhibit fights, or to be devoured by wild beasts. So that the whole number of Jews who perished in this war is computed at upward of one million four hundred thousand. Besides these, however, a vast number perished in caves, woods, wildernesses, common sewers, &c., of whom no computation could be made. — Encycl. Brit. Add to the above, that the slaughter was very great which was afterward made of them in the wars of Julius Severus, sent against them by Adrian, when fifty of their strongest fortresses were razed, and nine hundred and eighty- five of their most noble and populous towns were sacked and consumed by fire, insomuch that, as Dion expresses it, “all Judea was in a manner laid waste, and left as a desert.” But indeed there is no nation on earth that hath been exposed to so many persecutions and massacres. Their history abounds with them. And if God had not given them a promise of a numerous posterity, the whole race would many times have been extirpated.
In this book - i. e. in the book of the Law, or the Pentateuch in so far as it contains commands of God to Israel. Deuteronomy is included, but not exclusively intended. So Deuteronomy 28:61; compare Deuteronomy 27:3 and note, Deuteronomy 31:9.Jeremiah 39:10; and how much they were reduced by the Romans will appear by the accounts Josephus gives of those that were slain, and made prisoners by them: he says (i),"there were 1,100,000 slain at the siege of Jerusalem and by the war, and 97,000 made prisoners;''and it is computed that 1,240,490 were destroyed in Jerusalem and other parts of the nation (k); and it is also said by their historian (l), that of those that were transported from Jerusalem and other parts of Palestine into Spain, scarce a thousandth part remained and that an infinite number were slain in France and Germany; and though their number equalled those that came out of Egypt, yet scarce five thousand of them were left:
whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; and, as it is sometimes said, as the sand of the sea, as was promised to Abraham, Genesis 15:5; and was fulfilled in the days of Solomon 1 Kings 4:20,
because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the Lord thy God; in his law, and by his prophets; and especially by the voice of the true Messiah, in his everlasting Gospel; of whom it is said, "today if ye will hear his voice"; &c. Hebrews 3:7.And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the LORD thy God.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)62, 63. The only vv. in this ch. (except Deuteronomy 28:68 b) in which the Pl. address occurs. The text, including the change to Sg. in the final clauses of both vv., is on the whole confirmed by LXX. Sam., some LXX codd. and Luc. give Deuteronomy 28:62 b in Pl. The change to Pl. is explicable logically in Deuteronomy 28:62, where the number of the people is being dealt with; but this reason does not account for the Pl. in Deuteronomy 28:63. The Sg., whither thou goest in to possess it, is characteristic of the Sg passages, and therefore is not due to the attraction of the Sg. in the next v.Verse 62. - (Cf. Deuteronomy 4:27; Deuteronomy 10:22; Nehemiah 9:23.) 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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