Deuteronomy 29:19
And it come to pass, when he hears the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of my heart, to add drunkenness to thirst:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(19) The imagination.—Rather the “stubbornness” or “obstinacy.” The word is only found here and in Psalm 81:12 outside the writings of Jeremiah, who uses it eight times.

To add drunkenness to thirst—i.e., the indulgence of the desire to the desire itself; to add sin to temptation. The LXX. have a strange paraphrase, “So that the sinner shall not involve the righteous with him in destruction.” The thought seems to be that, perhaps, one idolater would not make so much difference to Israel. He would never involve the whole nation in destruction. The drunkard could not be the ruin of the thirsty, so to speak, and, therefore, he might do as he pleased, and might, in fact, escape punishment, being protected by the general prosperity of Israel. The quotation in the Epistle to the Hebrews meets this mistaken view admirably: “Lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” The Targums render “to add sins of infirmity to sins of presumption,” a rendering which partly explains that of the LXX.

Deuteronomy 29:19. The words of this curse — This oath and execration, wherein he swore he would keep covenant with God, and that with a curse pronounced against himself if he did not perform it. Bless himself — Flatter himself in his own eyes with vain hopes, as if God did not mind such things, and either could not, or would not punish them. Peace — Safety and prosperity. My own heart — Though I do not follow God’s command, but my own devices. To add drunkenness to thirst — The words may be rendered, to add thirst to drunkenness, and so the sense may be, that when he hath multiplied his sins, and made himself as it were drunk with them, yet he is not satisfied therewith, but still whets his appetite, and provokes his thirst after more, as drunkards often use means to make themselves thirst after more drink. This is well deserving of our most serious consideration. Moses here assures the Israelites that, how much soever they might flatter themselves with hopes of peace and safety on account of their privileges, none of these would avail them at all if they forsook the law of God, and apostatized from his worship and service. This people, however, notwithstanding this solemn warning, did, in after ages, confide in those outward privileges, and that at a time when they lived in the open violation of the divine commands. The temple, the temple of the Lord! was their cry and their confidence, as if the having that among them had been sufficient to save and render them prosperous and happy, even although they defiled it with their abominations. But they found, by sad experience, that the threatenings denounced by Moses against the violators of God’s law were fulfilled. Let us all take warning by this, and neither as a nation nor as individuals dare to promise ourselves security and peace while we walk in the imagination of our own hearts, and live in sin and forgetfulness of God.29:10-21 The national covenant made with Israel, not only typified the covenant of grace made with true believers, but also represented the outward dispensation of the gospel. Those who have been enabled to consent to the Lord's new covenant of mercy and grace in Jesus Christ, and to give up themselves to be his people, should embrace every opportunity of renewing their open profession of relation to him, and their obligation to him, as the God of salvation, walking according thereto. The sinner is described as one whose heart turns away from his God; there the mischief begins, in the evil heart of unbelief, which inclines men to depart from the living God to dead idols. Even to this sin men are now tempted, when drawn aside by their own lusts and fancies. Such men are roots that bear gall and wormwood. They are weeds which, if let alone, overspread the whole field. Satan may for a time disguise this bitter morsel, so that thou shalt not have the natural taste of it, but at the last day, if not before, the true taste shall be discerned. Notice the sinner's security in sin. Though he hears the words of the curse, yet even then he thinks himself safe from the wrath of God. There is scarcely a threatening in all the book of God more dreadful than this. Oh that presumptuous sinners would read it, and tremble! for it is a real declaration of the wrath of God, against ungodliness and unrighteousness of man.Compare on the thought Jeremiah 23:17. The secret and presumptuous sinner is meant who flatters himself that all is well and will be well with him, since he follows his own devices and prospers. Compare Psalm 73:11 ff.

To add drunkenness to thirst - The sense is probably: "Himself, drinking iniquity like water, Job 15:16, he corrupts and destroys others who are thirsting for it or prone to it."

The sense of the whole passage from Deuteronomy 29:16 onward to Deuteronomy 29:20 may be exhibited thus: "Ye have seen the abominations of idolatry among the pagan. Do you therefore look diligently that there be no secret idolater among you; a root of bitterness to all about him. Let there be no one, I say, who when he hears the curses of the Law against this sin, flatters himself, saying within himself, 'All will be well, for I walk unmolested in my own self-chosen path; ' and thus acting, not only takes his own fill of sin, but destroys likewise every tempted brother within his reach, for the Lord will not spare him," etc.

10-29. Ye stand this day all of you before the Lord your God—The whole congregation of Israel, of all ages and conditions, all—young as well as old; menials as well as masters; native Israelites as well as naturalized strangers—all were assembled before the tabernacle to renew the Sinaitic covenant. None of them were allowed to consider themselves as exempt from the terms of that national compact, lest any lapsing into idolatry might prove a root of bitterness, spreading its noxious seed and corrupt influence all around (compare Heb 12:15). It was of the greatest consequence thus to reach the heart and conscience of everyone, for some might delude themselves with the vain idea that by taking the oath (De 29:12) by which they engaged themselves in covenant with God, they would surely secure its blessings. Then, even though they would not rigidly adhere to His worship and commands, but would follow the devices and inclinations of their own hearts, yet they would think that He would wink at such liberties and not punish them. It was of the greatest consequence to impress all with the strong and abiding conviction, that while the covenant of grace had special blessings belonging to it, it at the same time had curses in reserve for transgressors, the infliction of which would be as certain, as lasting and severe. This was the advantage contemplated in the law being rehearsed a second time. The picture of a once rich and flourishing region, blasted and doomed in consequence of the sins of its inhabitants, is very striking, and calculated to awaken awe in every reflecting mind. Such is, and long has been, the desolate state of Palestine; and, in looking at its ruined cities, its blasted coast, its naked mountains, its sterile and parched soil—all the sad and unmistakable evidences of a land lying under a curse—numbers of travellers from Europe, America, and the Indies ("strangers from a far country," De 29:22) in the present day see that the Lord has executed His threatening. Who can resist the conclusion that it has been inflicted "because the inhabitants had forsaken the covenant of the Lord God of their fathers. … and the anger of the Lord was kindled against this land, to bring upon it all the curses that are written in this book"? When he, i.e. that root or that man mentioned Deu 29:18.

Of this curse, i.e. of that oath mentioned Deu 29:12, wherein he swore that he would keep covenant with God, and that with a curse pronounced against himself if he did not perform it. Now if when he reads this again, or hears of it from others.

Bless himself in his heart, i.e. flatter himself in his own eyes, as Psalm 36:2, with vain conceits and hopes, as if God did not mind such things, and either could not or would not punish them. Compare Psalm 49:18 Jeremiah 2:20 Zechariah 11:5.

Peace, i.e. safety and prosperity.

Though I walk in the imagination of mine heart; though in my practices and worship I do not follow God’s command, but my own devices, and whatsoever my fancy best liketh, minding nothing but the gratifying of mine own fancy and humour.

To add drunkenness to thirst; i.e. not only to satisfy his

thirst, i.e. his concupiscence and inclination to wickedness, but even to exceed it, as drunkards take ofttimes more than their appetite desires, and drink out of mere wantonness, or from a desire to be drunk; and as filthy persons commit lewdness with others more than their natural inclinations desire, or their strength can well bear, merely from a wicked mind, and from contempt of God, and because they will do so. The words may be rendered, to add thirst to drunkenness, the particle eth, which is a note of the accusative case, being joined with thirst, and not with drunkenness; and so the sense may be this, that when he hath multiplied his sins, and made himself as it were drunk with them, yet he is not satisfied therewith, but still whets his appetite, and provokes his thirst after more, as drunkards commonly will use means and temptations to make themselves thirst after more drink, that they may drink more abundantly. Or thus, to add the moist or moistening to the thirsty, i.e. instead of restraining and mortifying, as he ought to do, fully and greedily to satisfy his idolatrous or wicked inclinations, and resolved to give up himself to all the desires of his own heart. Compare Job 34:7 Proverbs 23:35 Isaiah 30:1 56:12 Ephesians 4:19. And it cometh to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse,.... That is, the man before compared to a root bearing bitter herbs, when he should hear the curses pronounced by the law against such persons as himself:

that he bless himself in his heart; inwardly pronounce himself blessed, thinking himself secure from the curse of the law, and flattering himself it will never reach him nor come upon him:

saying, I shall have peace; all happiness and prosperity, in soul, body, and estate; inward peace of mind now, and eternal peace hereafter:

though I walk in the imagination of my heart; in worshipping idols which he vainly and wickedly imagined to be gods; to the worship of which his wicked heart prompted him, and he was resolutely and stubbornly bent upon, and in which he continued:

to add drunkenness to thirst; as a thirsty man to quench his thirst drinks, and adds to that, or drinks yet more and more until he is drunken; so a man inclined to idolatry, that has a secret desire after it, thirsts after such stolen or forbidden waters, and drinks of them, adds thereunto, drinks again and again until he is drunk with the wine of fornication, or idolatry, as it is called Revelation 17:2; so the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan understand the words of adding sin to sin, particularly of adding sins of ignorance to pride, or to presumptuous ones. Wicked men, deceivers and deceived, always grow worse and worse, increasing to more ungodliness, and yet promise themselves peace and impunity, 1 Thessalonians 5:3.

And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add {k} drunkenness to thirst:

(k) For as he that is thirsty desires to drink much so he that follows his appetites seeks by all means and yet cannot be satisfied.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
19. curse] Rather oath, for it is on the strength of Jehovah’s oath to be Israel’s God and so to protect them, that this Israelite flatters himself he is secure, no matter how he may behave. In the history of religion such a delusion has been lamentably frequent, and believers in extreme doctrines of election have presumed on these and recklessly indulged in evil.

bless himself in his heart] Flatter himself! Found only here.

stubbornness] Heb. sherirûth, firmness but always in a bad sense; only here, Jeremiah 3:17; Jeremiah 7:24; Jeremiah 9:13; Jeremiah 11:8; Jeremiah 13:10; Jeremiah 16:12; Jeremiah 18:12; Jeremiah 23:17, and in Psalm 81:12 (13). This of course is not the man’s own, but the writer’s, view of him.

to destroy the moist with the dry] An unmeaning translation. The construction is elliptic and we should render: so as to sweep away the moist (herbage?) with the dried up; bring down a hurricane of destruction that would uproot the whole people, so fatal is the infectiousness, and so universal will be God’s punishment, of idolatry.Verse 19. - That he bless himself in his heart; - congratulate himself - saying, I shall have peace - i.e., all shall be well with me - though - rather, for - I walk in the imagination of mine heart; literally, in the firmness or hardness of my heart, (שְׁרִירוּת, from שָׁרַר, to twist together, to be tough or firm); the word is always used in a bad sense in Hebrew, though not in Aramaic (cf. Psalm 81:13 [12]; Jeremiah 3:17; Jeremiah 7:24; Jeremiah 9:13 [14]; 11:8). To add drunkenness to thirst; a proverbial expression, of which very different explanations have been given. It is now generally admitted that the verb (סְפות) cannot be taken here in the sense of "add," but has its proper sense of pouring out, pouring away, destroying. The word rendered "drunkenness" (רָוֶת, from רָוָה, to be sated with moisture, to be drenched) means rather "sated, drenched, well-watered;" and the word rendered "thirst" (צְמֵאָה, from צָמֵא, to thirst) is properly thirsty, and is used of dry land (Isaiah 44:3); both are adjectives, and a substantive is to be supplied. Some supply נֶפֶשׁ, soul or person; others, אֶרֶץ, land. The former render, "The full [soul] with the thirsty" (Gesenius); or, "Them that are sated with them that are thirsty," i.e. as well those who have imbibed the poison as those who thirst for it (Knobel); or "That the sated [soul] may destroy the thirsty," i.e. that the impious one, restrained by no law and, as it were, drunk with crime, may corrupt others, also prone to evil, and bring on them destruction (Maurer). Those who supply "land," render "To destroy the well-watered [land] with the dry." This last seems the preferable rendering; but the general meaning is the same in either case, viz. that the effect of such hardness of heart would be to destroy one and all. "The Orientals are fond of such bipartite forms of expressing the whole (cf. Gesenius, 'Thes.,' p. 1008)" (Knobel; cf. Deuteronomy 32:36). "That He may set thee up (exalt thee) to-day into a people for Himself, and that He may be (become) unto thee a God" (vid., Deuteronomy 28:9; Deuteronomy 27:9; Exodus 19:5-6).
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