Deuteronomy 32:13
He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Deuteronomy 32:13. He made him ride on the high places — To conquer their strongest holds on the mountains, and their cities fenced with walls of the greatest height and strength: to ride upon being, in the phraseology of Scripture, to subdue and conquer. Or, he put him in possession of a country full of lofty and fruitful mountains, and therefore called the high places of the earth. To suck honey out of the rock — Placed him in a country where honey flowed from the very rocks, the bees making it in the holes thereof, or in the hollow trees that grew upon or among the rocks. Oil out of the flinty rocks — Olive-trees growing and bearing fruit best in rocky or hilly places. The expressions are proverbial, and denote a most fertile land.32:7-14 Moses gives particular instances of God's kindness and concern for them. The eagle's care for her young is a beautiful emblem of Christ's love, who came between Divine justice and our guilty souls, and bare our sins in his own body on the tree. And by the preached gospel, and the influences of the Holy Spirit, He stirs up and prevails upon sinners to leave Satan's bondage. In ver. 13,14, are emblems of the conquest believers have over their spiritual enemies, sin, Satan, and the world, in and through Christ. Also of their safety and triumph in him; of their happy frames of soul, when they are above the world, and the things of it. This will be the blessed case of spiritual Israel in every sense in the latter day.i. e., God gave Israel possession of those commanding positions which carry with them dominion over the whole land (compare Deuteronomy 33:29), and enabled him to draw the richest provision out of spots naturally unproductive.13, 14. He made him ride on the high places, &c.—All these expressions seem to have peculiar reference to their home in the trans-jordanic territory, that being the extent of Palestine that they had seen at the time when Moses is represented as uttering these words. "The high places" and "the fields" are specially applicable to the tablelands of Gilead as are the allusions to the herds and flocks, the honey of the wild bees which hive in the crevices of the rocks, the oil from the olive as it grew singly or in small clumps on the tops of hills where scarcely anything else would grow, the finest wheat (Ps 81:16; 147:14), and the prolific vintage. On the high places of the earth, i.e. to conquer their strongest holds, which ofttimes are in the mountains, and their cities fenced with walls of greatest height and strength, Deu 1:28 2:36 33:29 Isaiah 58:14. To ride upon in Scripture phrase is to subdue or conquer, as Psalm 45:4 66:12 Revelation 6:2 19:11,14.

To suck honey out of the rock; this being a land flowing with honey, Exodus 3:8,17, where the bees made honey even in woods, as 1Sa 14, or in the holes of rocks, or in the trees that grew upon or among rocks.

Oil out of the flinty rock: the olive trees grow and fructify most in rocky or hilly places. He made him to ride on the high places of the earth,.... Or land, the land of Canaan; by which are meant the towers, castles, and fortified places in it, some of which might be built on hills and mountains; and being made to ride on them may denote the delivery of them into their hands, their conquests and possession of them, and triumph in them; see Isaiah 58:14; so the Targum of Jonathan paraphrases, it,"made him to dwell in the towers of the land of Israel,''those high walled and strongly fenced cities which they dreaded; this may be an emblem of the conquest believers have of their spiritual enemies, sin. Satan, and the world, in and through Christ; of their safety and triumph in him; of their high and elevated frames of soul, when they have got above the world and the things of it; this will be the case of spiritual Israel in every sense in the latter day, when the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established on the top of the mountains:

that he might eat the increase of the fields: the produce of them, particularly corn for bread, and which the Israelites ate of as soon as they came into the land of Canaan, Joshua 5:11; an emblem of the Gospel, and the truths of it, which are salutary, nourishing, strengthening, reviving, and cheering, and of Christ the bread of life, which believers by faith eat of, and feed upon and live:

and he made him to suck honey out of the rock; not water out of the rock, as sweet to them as honey, that they had in the wilderness; but either the honey of bees that made their nests in rocks, as a swarm of them did in the carcass of a lion; and so in like manner as honey came out of the lion, it may be said to be sucked out of the rock: so Homer (a) speaks of swarms of bees out of a hollow rock: or this was the honey of palm trees, as Aben Ezra observes, some say, which might grow on rocks; see Gill on Deuteronomy 8:8; and this is favoured by the Targum of Jonathan, which paraphrases the words,"honey from those fruits which grow on the rocks,''unless it means honey gathered by bees from such fruits; the rock may typify Christ, and the honey out of it the Gospel, which is from him and concerning him; comparable to honey for the manner of its production and gathering, by the laborious ministers of the word; for its nourishment, and especially for its sweetness, its precious promises, and pleasant doctrines:

and oil out of the flinty rock; that is, oil out of the olives, which grow on rocks, and these delight to grow on hills and mountains; hence we read of the mount of Olives, see Job 29:6; and so the Targum of Jonathan,"and oil out of the olives and suckers which grow on the strong rocks;''this may signify the Spirit and his graces, the unction which comes from Christ the Holy One, and the blessings of grace had from him, and the Gospel and its truths; which are cheering and refreshing, mollifying and healing, feeding and fattening, pure and unmixed, and useful for light, as oil is.

(a) Iliad. 2. l. 87, 88.

He made him ride on the high places of the {g} earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck {h} honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock;

(g) Meaning, of the land of Canaan, which was high in respect to Egypt.

(h) That is, abundance of all things even in the very rocks.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
13. ride on the heights] Cp. Amos 4:12.

and to eat of the fruit of the hills] So Sam. and LXX for the Heb. he doth eat; hills not fields as in Deuteronomy 28:3, Heb. sadai, early form sadeh, in the earlier sense of that word (see on Deuteronomy 5:21) as in Jdg 5:4, parallel to heights or high places. Israel’s territory was a highland one.

suckles] With Sam. and Syr. omit and.

honey] The honey of the O.T. is wild, as here, Jdg 14:8 ff., 1 Samuel 14:25 ff., Psalm 81:16; apiculture, a very ancient craft, is not implied till the N.T. speaks of wild honey (Matthew 3:4, Mark 1:6). See further Jerus. i. 306 f., E.B. art. ‘Honey,’ and ZDPV. xxxii. 151.

oil of the flinty rock] Lit. the flint of the rock. The olive never yields oil so richly as on limestone terraces and their débris; see Jerus. i. 300.Verse 13. - He made him ride on the high places of the earth. To ride over or drive over the heights of a country is figuratively to subjugate and take possession of that country (cf. Deuteronomy 33:29; Isaiah 58:14). Israel, having subjugated Canaan, could eat of its produce, the increase of the fields, as his own. Honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock. Canaan abounded in wild bees, which had their hives in crevices of the rock, and in olive trees, which grew on a rocky soil; as is still the case in Palestine. "Remember the days of old, consider the years of the past generations: ask thy father, that he may make known to thee; thine old men, that they may tell it to thee!" With these words Moses summons the people to reflect upon what the Lord had done to them. The days of old (עולם), and years of generation and generation, i.e., years through which one generation after another had lived, are the times of the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt, including the pre-Mosaic times, and also the immediate post-Mosaic, when Israel had entered into the possession of Canaan. These times are described by Moses as a far distant past, because he transported himself in spirit to the "latter days" (Deuteronomy 31:29), when the nation would have fallen away from its God, and would have been forsaken and punished by God in consequence. "Days of eternity" are times which lie an eternity behind the speaker, not necessarily, however, before all time, but simply at a period very far removed from the present, and of which even the fathers and old men could only relate what had been handed down by tradition to them.
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