And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very fraudulent generation, children in whom is no faith.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)A very froward generation.—Literally, a generation of perversities.
Children in whom is no faith.—Literally, children !—there is no relying on them. (Comp. Deuteronomy 5:5.) Faith is not used in the sense of “belief” or “confidence,” but as in the expression to “keep faith,” or to “break faith,” children who will keep no faith with one.Deuteronomy 32:20. I will see what their end will be — I will make them and others see what the fruit of such actions shall be. No faith — No fidelity. They were notoriously perfidious, and had so often broke their covenant with God, that they were not to be trusted when they made profession of repentance. To the truth of this their whole history bears witness. But besides this, in another sense they were destitute of faith. They did not truly believe the words God had spoken to them; they had not faith either in his promises or threatenings. And they put no trust or confidence in his glorious perfections, in his power, love, or faithfulness. Alas! how justly may God make the same complaint concerning many professors of Christianity! They are children in whom is no faith. They have not a firm reliance on the truth and importance of what God has spoken, and on the divine attributes engaged to make it good. Whatever is not the object of their senses, they either believe but faintly, or not at all. Here is the great failing of most professors of the true religion, the grand source of their sins and miseries. For it is faith only that can unite man to God, and produce love and obedience: it is this only that can raise him from earth to heaven! Reader, hast thou faith? Remember, without faith it is impossible to please God. From this verse to the 29th, Moses personates God speaking.Genesis 37:20.I will see what their end shall be; I will see and observe what will be the issue of all this, what will become of them at last; but this God doth not see only by way of speculation, but practically, i.e. considers with himself what he shall do with them, and how he shall punish them, and sees what he wills or purposes to do. A speech after the manner of men. Or
I will see is put for I will make them and others to see, what the fruit of such actions shall be. Hebrew verbs in cal do ofttimes take the signification of hiphil. In whom there is no faith; perfidious, that have broken their covenant so solemnly made with me. Deuteronomy 32:20, and the latter in Deuteronomy 32:22; and this the Lord said in his own heart and mind, decreed and determined it within himself, and declared it in his word by his prophets, as here and in other places: and this first part of the sentence denotes the withdrawing of the gracious presence of God, and the manifestation of his favour, from the people of the Jews, his dislike and contempt of them, having taken out from among them the remnant according to the election of grace, the disciples and followers of Christ; and the removal of the Gospel, and the ordinances of it, from them, the means of light and knowledge, joy and comfort, and the giving of them up to blindness and hardness of heart, which continues to this day; they have a vail of darkness and ignorance upon their hearts while reading the books of the Old Testament, which will be done away when they turn to the Lord, and not before; likewise this was fulfilled when all the symbols of the divine Presence were removed, when the temple was destroyed, and all things in it, or carried away; and this house, which was formerly the house of God, and where he dwelt, was left desolate by him; and it is remarkable, that a little before the destruction of Jerusalem, a voice was heard in the temple, "let us go hence", as Josephus relates (z):
I will see what their end shall be: their destruction, called in the New Testament "the end of the world"; the end of the Jewish church state and commonwealth: this the Lord said, not as ignorant what it should be, or when it would be; but the sense is, either that he would cause them and others to see it, when he should bring wrath upon them to the uttermost; or that he would look upon it with pleasure and delight, which would be an aggravation of their punishment, Proverbs 1:26,
for they are a very froward generation; men of perverse spirits, of a contrary and contradictory temper and disposition, who pleased not God, and were contrary to all men; as well as contradicted and blasphemed the Gospel of Christ, were men of distorted principles in religion, implicated and inconsistent, they wresting the Scriptures to their own destruction; and were obstinate, stubborn, and inflexible in their notions and practices, and that to the last, which was their ruin:
children in whom is no faith; for though they had faith in one God, in the Scriptures of the Old Testament as the word of God, in the law of Moses, and in a future state, the resurrection of the dead, and judgment to come; especially the Pharisees, the greater part of the Jews; yet though they were the children of Abraham, and would be thought to be the children of God, they had no faith in Jesus, the true Messiah; him they disbelieved and rejected; and as their fathers could not enter into the land of Canaan, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness, because of unbelief; so these were cast out of the land, and from the Lord, because of their unbelief in the rejection of the Messiah. Aben Ezra observes, that it may be interpreted there is no men of faithfulness, or no faithful men among them, as in Psalm 12:1; they were a faithless generation, covenant breakers, broke their covenant with God, and therefore he rejected them.And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)20. And he said] A gloss, it overloads the rhythm.
Let me hide, etc.] Deuteronomy 31:17 f.
their end] Lit. their afterwards, see on Deuteronomy 4:30.
a very froward, etc.] Heb. is stronger, a generation of upturnings or overthrows (only here and in Prov.); not perverse but subversive; and so children in whom is no faithfulness, reliableness, or ‘staith.’Verse 20. - God himself comes forth to announce his resolution to withdraw his favor from them, and to inflict chastisement upon them; he would withdraw his protecting care of them, and see how they would fare without that; and he would also send on them the tokens of his displeasure. A very froward generation, etc.; literally, a generation of perversities, an utterly perverse and faithless race. Psalm 18:34, as Ewald assumes, but is original both here and in Deuteronomy 33:29. "Drive" (ride) is only a more majestic expression for "advance." The reference to this passage in Isaiah 58:14 is unmistakeable. Whoever has obtained possession of the high places of a country is lord of the land. The "high places of the earth" do not mean the high places of Canaan only, although the expression in this instance relates to the possession of Canaan. "And he (Jacob) ate:" for, so that he could now eat, the productions of the field, and in fact all the riches of the fruitful land, which are then described in superabundant terms. Honey out of the rock and oil out of the flint-stone, i.e., the most valuable productions out of the most unproductive places, since God so blessed the land that even the rocks and stones were productive. The figure is derived from the fact that Canaan abounds in wild bees, which make their hives in clefts of the rock, and in olive-trees which grow in a rocky soil. "Rock-flints," i.e., rocky flints. The nouns in Deuteronomy 32:14 are dependent upon "to suck" in Deuteronomy 32:13, as the expression is not used literally. "Things which are sweet and pleasant to eat, people are in the habit of sucking" (Ges. thes. p. 601). חמאה and חלב (though הלב seems to require a form חלב; vid., Ewald, 213, b.) denotes the two forms in which the milk yielded by the cattle was used; the latter, milk in general, and the former thick curdled milk, cream, and possibly also butter. The two are divided poetically here, and the cream being assigned to the cattle, and the milk to the sheep and goats. "The fat of lambs," i.e., "lambs of the best description laden with fat" (Vitringa). Fat is a figurative expression for the best (vid., Numbers 18:12). "And rams:" grammatically, no doubt, this might also be connected with "the fat," but it is improbable from a poetical point of view, since the enumeration would thereby drag prosaically; and it is also hardly reconcilable with the apposition בשׁן בּני, i.e., reared in Bashan (vid., Ezekiel 39:18), which implies that Bashan was celebrated for its rams, and not merely for its oxen. This epithet, which Kamphausen renders "of Bashan's kind," is unquestionably used for the best description of rams. The list becomes poetical, if we take "rams" as an accusative governed by the verb "to suck" (Deuteronomy 32:13). "Kidney-fat (i.e., the best fat) of wheat," the finest and most nutritious wheat. Wine is mentioned last, and in this case the list passes with poetic freedom into the form of an address. "Grape-blood" for red wine (as in Genesis 49:11). חמר, from חמר to ferment, froth, foam, lit., the foaming, i.e., fiery wine, serves as a more precise definition of the "blood of the grape."
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