Deuteronomy 29:22
So that the generation to come of your children that shall rise up after you, and the stranger that shall come from a far land, shall say, when they see the plagues of that land, and the sicknesses which the LORD hath laid upon it;
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Deuteronomy 29:22-23. So that the generation — Hebrew And the generation: for it appears to be a new paragraph, the sense whereof is, Whenever your wickedness shall arrive at such a height as to bring upon your nation the terrible desolations before spoken of, all considerate people around you will be convinced that it is the effect of the just judgment of God upon your disobedience to his laws, and a perfect fulfilment of the very threats now left on record. The whole land is brimstone and salt — Is burned up and made barren for the sins of its inhabitants.

29:22-28 Idolatry would be the ruin of their nation. It is no new thing for God to bring desolating judgments on a people near to him in profession. He never does this without good reason. It concerns us to seek for the reason, that we may give glory to God, and take warning to ourselves. Thus the law of Moses leaves sinners under the curse, and rooted out of the Lord's land; but the grace of Christ toward penitent, believing sinners, plants them again in their land; and they shall no more be pulled up, being kept by the power of God.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"? The words following, Deu 29:24,25, &c.

So that the generation to come of your children that shall rise up after you,.... Not the next generation, but in future times, in ages to come, at a great distance, even after the destruction of Judea by the Romans; to which Deuteronomy 29:23 seems to refer:

and the stranger that shall come from a far land; on trade and business, or for the sake of travelling, his road either lying through it, or his curiosity leading him to see it:

shall say, when they see the plagues of the land; cities and towns in ruins, fields lie uncultivated, and the whole land depopulated, and all become a barren wilderness, which was once a fruitful country, a land flowing with milk and honey:

and the sicknesses which the Lord hath laid upon it; upon the inhabitants of it, as the pestilence and other diseases, which shall have swept the land of them; see Deuteronomy 28:22. This case supposes a general departure from the worship of God to the service of idols; otherwise single individuals are punished in their own persons, as in the Deuteronomy 29:21.

So that the {l} generation to come of your children that shall rise up after you, and the stranger that shall come from a far land, shall say, when they see the plagues of that land, and the sicknesses which the LORD hath laid upon it;

(l) God's plagues on those who rebel against him will be so strong, that all ages will be astonished.

22. plagues] Or strokes, see Deuteronomy 28:59; Deuteronomy 28:61.

the sicknesses] This word only here, Jeremiah 14:18; Jeremiah 16:4, Psalm 103:3, 2 Chronicles 21:19.

Verses 22-24. - Future generations and foreign visitants, seeing the calamities with which the rebels had been visited, nay, all nations, should ask, in astonishment and horror, Wherefore hath the Lord done thus unto this land? what meaneth the heat of this great anger? It is evident from this that Moses contemplates, and in fact here predicts, a defection, not of individuals or families merely, but of the nation as a whole from the Lord, and the punishment which came in consequence upon the nation. The words from "when they see" (ver. 22) to "wrath" (ver. 23) are a parenthesis, in which a reason for the main thought is given in a circumstantial clause; and the "say" of ver. 22 is resumed by the "say" of ver. 24. Deuteronomy 29:22How thoroughly Moses was filled with the thought, that not only individuals, but whole families, and in fact the greater portion of the nation, would fall into idolatry, is evident from the further expansion of the threat which follows, and in which he foresees in the Spirit, and foretells, the extermination of whole families, and the devastation of the land by distant nations; as in Leviticus 26:31-32. Future generations of Israel, and the stranger from a distant land, when they saw the strokes of the Lord which burst upon the land, and the utter desolation of the land, would ask whence this devastation, and receive the reply, The Lord had smitten the land thus in His anger, because its inhabitants (the Israelites) had forsaken His covenant. With regard to the construction, observe that ואמר, in Deuteronomy 29:22, is resumed in ואמרוּ, in Deuteronomy 29:24, the subject of Deuteronomy 29:22 being expanded into the general notion, "all nations" (Deuteronomy 29:24). With וראוּ, in Deuteronomy 29:22, a parenthetical clause is inserted, giving the reason for the main thought, in the form of a circumstantial clause; and to this there is attached, by a loose apposition in Deuteronomy 29:23, a still further picture of the divine strokes according to their effect upon the land. The nouns in Deuteronomy 29:23, "brimstone and salt burning," are in apposition to the strokes (plagues), and so far depend upon "they see." The description is borrowed from the character of the Dead Sea and its vicinity, to which there is an express allusion in the words, "like the overthrow of Sodom," etc., i.e., of the towns of the vale of Siddim (see at Genesis 14:2), which resembled paradise, the garden of Jehovah, before their destruction (vid., Genesis 13:10 and Genesis 19:24.).
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