Deuteronomy 28:68
And the LORD shall bring you into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spoke to you, You shall see it no more again: and there you shall be sold to your enemies for slaves and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you.
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(68) The Lord shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships.—Josephus says this was done with many of the Jews by Titus.

Thou shalt see it no more again.Deuteronomy 17:16.

Ye shall be sold . . . and no man shall buy you.—Rashi explains thus: “Ye shall desire to be sold—ye shall offer yourselves as slaves to your enemies, and shall be refused, because you are appointed to slaughter and destruction. Or the sellers shall sell you to other sellers, and no one will care to keep you.” But the same word is used in the following passage by Nehemiah, “We after our ability have redeemed our brethren the Jews, which were sold to the heathen” (Nehemiah 5:8). Probably the meaning in Deuteronomy is similar: “Ye shall be sold as slaves to your enemies, and there will be no one to redeem you.”

Deuteronomy 28:68. The Lord shall bring thee into Egypt — Which was literally fulfilled under Titus, when multitudes of them were carried thither and sold for slaves. With ships — This expression seems to be intended to remind them of that time when they went over the sea without ships, God miraculously drying up the sea before them, a time which now they would have occasion sadly to remember. By the way whereof — That is, to which place or part of the world, namely Egypt; I spake unto thee, thou shalt see it no more again — Referring to what he had said, Deuteronomy 17:16. This is also well illustrated by the bishop. “They had come out of Egypt triumphant, but now they should return thither as slaves. They had walked through the sea as dry land at their coming out, but now they should be carried thither in ships. They might be carried thither in the ships of the Tyrian or Sidonian merchants, or by the Romans, who had a fleet in the Mediterranean, and this was a much safer way of conveying so many prisoners than sending them by land. It appears from Josephus, that in the reigns of the first two Ptolemies many of the Jews were slaves in Egypt. And when Jerusalem was taken by Titus, of the captives who, as we have observed on Deuteronomy 28:62, were sent into Egypt, those under seventeen were sold: but so little care was taken of these captives, that eleven thousand of them perished for want. The markets were overstocked with them, so that Josephus says, in another place, they were sold with their wives and children at the lowest price, there being many to be sold, but few purchasers.” And we learn from St. Jerome, “that after their last overthrow by Adrian, many thousands of them were sold, and those who could not be sold were transported into Egypt, and perished by shipwreck or famine, or were massacred by the inhabitants.” Hegesipus also says, “There were many captives offered for sale, but few buyers, because the Romans disdained to take the Jews for slaves; and there were not Jews remaining to redeem their countrymen.”

We have quoted thus largely from Bishop Newton’s able exposition of these predictions of Moses, because we believe more clear and convincing proof cannot be given of their accomplishment, and are apprehensive that many of our readers have it not in their power to consult his excellent volumes on the prophecies, from which these extracts are taken. His concluding observation is worthy of peculiar attention. “Here are instances of prophecies delivered about three thousand years ago, and yet, as we see, fulfilling in the world at this very time: and what stronger proof can we desire of the divine legation of Moses? How these instances may affect others, I know not; but for myself I must acknowledge they not only convince but astonish me beyond expression. They are truly, as Moses foretold they would be, a sign and a wonder for ever.” “I have heard of a wicked man,” says Mr. Henry, “who, on reading these threatenings, was so enraged, that he tore the leaf out of his Bible.” But to what purpose is it to deface a copy, while the original remains upon record in the divine counsels, by which it is determined that the wages of sin is death, whether men will hear or whether they will forbear. Let us all learn from hence then to stand in awe and not sin.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.This is the climax. As the Exodus from Egypt was as it were the birth of the nation into its covenant relationship with God, so the return to the house of bondage is in like manner the death of it. The mode of conveyance, "in ships," is added to heighten the contrast. They crossed the sea from Egypt with a high hand. the waves being parted before them. They should go back again cooped up in slaveships.

There ye shall be sold - Rather, "there shall ye offer yourselves, or be offered for sale." This denunciation was literally fulfilled on more than one occasion: most signally when many thousand Jews were sold into slavery and sent into Egypt by Titus; but also under Hadrian, when numbers were sold at Rachel's grave Genesis 35:19.

No man shall buy you - i. e. no one shall venture even to employ you as slaves, regarding you as accursed of God, and to be shunned in everything.

68. The Lord shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships—The accomplishment of this prediction took place under Titus, when, according to Josephus, multitudes of Jews were transported in ships to the land of the Nile, and sold as slaves. "Here, then, are instances of prophecies delivered above three thousand years ago; and yet, as we see, being fulfilled in the world at this very time; and what stronger proofs can we desire of the divine legation of Moses? How these instances may affect others I know not; but for myself, I must acknowledge, they not only convince but amaze and astonish me beyond expression; they are truly, as Moses foretold (De 28:45, 46) they would be, 'a sign and a wonder for ever'" [Bishop Newton]. Into Egypt again, whence he hath now so gloriously delivered thee, as repenting of all his kindness to thee, and resolved to undo what he hath done for thee. And the remembrance of what they endured in Egypt could not but make the thoughts of returning thither again very terrible to them.

With ships; which was literally fulfilled under Titus, when multitudes of them were carried thither in ships, and sold there for slaves, as Josephus relates. And this expression seems to mind them of that time when they went over the sea without ships, God miraculously drying up the sea before them, &c., which now they would have occasion sadly to remember. By the way, or, to the way; the Hebrew beth here signifying to, as it doth Genesis 11:4 Leviticus 16:22 Psalm 19:5 91:12 Isaiah 9:8. And the

way seems not to be meant here of the usual road-way from Canaan to Egypt, which was wholly by land, but to be put for the end of the way or journey, even the land of Egypt; for to this, and not to the road-way between Canaan and Egypt, agree the words here following,

whereof I spake unto thee, Thou shalt see it (i.e. Egypt)

no more again. And so that way is put for to that land in a place parallel to this, where the very same words are used, Deu 17:16, to which this place palpably alludes.

No man shall buy you; either because the number of you captives shall be so great, that the market shall be glutted with you; or because you shall be so loathsome and contemptible that men shall not be willing to have you for slaves. And this was the condition of the Jews after the destruction of Jerusalem, as Josephus the Jew hath left upon record. And the Lord shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships,.... Either into a state of hard bondage and slavery, like that their fathers were in, in Egypt; or rather, strictly and literally, should be brought into Egypt again, since it is said to be "with" or "in ships". This does not respect the going of those Jews into Egypt who were left in the land of Judea, after the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar; for that was against the express command of God, Jeremiah 42:13. There were several movings of them into Egypt after that time; an Heathen historian (w) tells us, that not a few thousands of Jews went into Egypt and Phoenicia, because of the sedition in Syria after the death of Alexander; and where, it seems, in process of time, they became slaves: for we are told by Josephus (x), that 120,000 slaves were set free by Ptolemy Philadelphus; but what is chiefly respected here is their case in the times of the Romans, and by their means. Now when Jerusalem was taken by Titus, those above seventeen years of age were sent by him to the works, or mines, in Egypt, as the same historian relates (y); and after their last overthrow by Adrian many thousands were sold, and what could not be sold were transported into Egypt, and perished by "shipwreck", or famine, or were slaughtered by the people (z) whereby this prophecy was literally and exactly fulfilled, and which is owned by the Jews themselves. Manasseh Ben Israel (a) observes, that though Vespasian banished the Jews into various countries, Egypt is only mentioned by way of reproach, as if it had been said, ye shall go captives into the land from which ye went out triumphant:

by the way whereof I spake unto thee, thou shall see it no more again; the Targum of Jonathan is,"the Word of the Lord shall bring thee into Egypt again in ships;''even the same divine Word, the Son of God, that brought them out of it, and went before them in a pillar of cloud and fire, now provoked by their rejection of him, would lead them back again thither; the paraphrast adds,"through the midst of the Red sea, in the path in which ye passed;''as if they were carried over into Egypt in ships, just in that part of the sea in which they had passed before; but that was an unknown and unseen path, after the waters were closed up, and never to be seen more, and which is here meant; for not Egypt, but the way in which they passed, was to be seen no more:

and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and for bondwomen, and no man shall buy you; that is, there in Egypt they would be offered to sale, and so many would be sold until the market was glutted with them, and there would be no buyers. The Targum of Jonathan is,"ye shall be sold there at first to your enemies, at a dear price, as artificers, and afterwards at a mean price as servants and handmaids, until ye become despised, and be brought to serve for nothing, and there be none to take you in.''Jarchi interprets it of they themselves being desirous, and seeking to be sold, to avoid cruelties and death; which agrees with the sense of the word, which may be rendered, "ye shall offer yourselves for sale"; but there will be no buyer, because their enemies will determine upon the slaughter and consumption of them; and to the same purpose Aben Ezra. There were such numbers of them to be sold both at Egypt and at Rome, that the sellers of them had but a poor market for them; and it seems not only because of their number, but the ill opinion had of them as servants. Hegesippus (b) says,"there were many to be sold, but there were few buyers; for the Romans despised the Jews for service, nor were there Jews left to redeem their own.''It is said (c), that thirty were sold for a penny; a just retaliation to them, who had sold their Messiah for thirty pieces of silver.

(w) Hecataeus apud Joseph. contr. Apion, l. 1. sect. 22. (x) Antiqu. l. 12. c. 2. sect. 1.((y) De Bello Jud. l. 6. c. 9. sect. 2.((z) Hieron. in Zech. ii. fol. 120. I.((a) De Termino Vitae, l. 3. sect. 3. p. 131, 132. (b) De excidio Urb. Hieros. l. 5. c. 47. p. 645. (c) Ib. p. 680.

And the LORD shall bring thee into Egypt again with {z} ships, by the way whereof I spake unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again: and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you.

(z) Because they were unmindful of that miracle, when the sea made room for them to pass through.

68. into Egypt] A startling climax but one very natural to D, which has dwelt so frequently on the evils endured by Israel in the house of bondmen (see on Deuteronomy 6:12, and cp. Deuteronomy 17:16). Even Hosea (Hosea 8:13) had predicted a return to Egypt as a punishment for Israel’s sins. Therefore here again there is no datum incompatible with a pre-exilic authorship. Vatke (Einl. 385) sees in this v. proof of a date subsequent to the defeat of Josiah by Egypt at Megiddo.

69. Editorial Note

This v. along with the next definitely divides the addresses which precede and follow it. To which does it belong? These may refer to either.

By some (Knob., Kuen., Westph., Dri., Moore, Robinson) it is taken as the subscription to the preceding discourse and original to D, on the grounds that words of the covenant = terms of the covenant, and is more applicable to the laws, Deuteronomy 28:12-26 (with the attached blessings and curses in 28) than to the general exhortations of Deuteronomy 28:29 f. By others (Ew., Dillm., Addis, Steuern., Berth., Oxf. Hex., Cullen) the v. is taken as the superscription to the following discourse on these grounds, that there are no subscriptions elsewhere in Deut., that the language is not D’s, that D does not use covenant of the law-giving in Moab, but that the idea of this as a covenant prevails in 29 (Deuteronomy 28:9; Deuteronomy 28:12; Deuteronomy 28:14).

Neither opinion is wholly right; for probably the v. belonged originally neither to what precedes nor to what follows it. Steuern.’s interpretation of words of the covenant as words spoken at the close or settlement of this—‘the sermon on the conclusion of the covenant’—is in itself forced and is contradicted by Deuteronomy 29:9, which says that Israel are to keep and to do the words of the covenant, vbs. applied elsewhere to the laws given in Moab, the statutes and judgements. Therefore Deuteronomy 29:1 clearly refers to the contents of D’s law-book, 12–26. But it cannot be original to this. For it has children of Israel (as has the editorial Deuteronomy 4:44 ff. q.v.) instead of D’s all Israel; and its word for besides is one which appears only in later Heb. writings, save for the doubtful exception of Deuteronomy 4:35 (which possibly is also late). Moreover the following discourse has already a superscription.Verse 68. - Worst of all, they should be again reduced to bondage, carried back to Egypt, put up for sale as slaves, and be so utterly despicable that no one would purchase them. Bring thee into Egypt again. "If the Exodus was the birth of the nation of God as such, the return would be its death" (Schultz; cf. Hosea 8:13; Hosea 9:3). With ships. They came out of Egypt by land, as free men; they should be carried back imprisoned and cooped up in slave-ships. By the way whereof I spake unto thee, Thou shalt see it no mere again. This does not refer to their being carried to Egypt in ships as different from the way by which they had come out from it, but simply to the fact that they should be carried back thither, contrary to what was expected when they so triumphantly came forth from it. There ye shall be sold; literally, shall sell yourselves; i.e. give yourselves up to be sold as slaves. Egypt may be here, as Hengstenberg suggests, "the type of future oppressors;" but there seems no reason why the passage should not be taken literally. It is a fact that, after the capture of Jerusalem by Titus, the Jews were in large numbers carried into Egypt, and there subjected to most ignominious bondage; and in the time of Hadrian, multitudes of Jews were sold into slavery (Josephus, 'De Bell. Jud.,' 6:09, 2; cf. Philo, 'Flacc.' and 'Leg. ad Caium.').

Israel would be almost annihilated thereby. "Ye will be left in few people (a small number; cf. Deuteronomy 26:5), whereas ye were as numerous as the stars of heaven."
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