Deuteronomy 32:22
For a fire is kindled in my anger, and shall burn to the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.
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(22) For a fire is kindled in mine anger.—Quoted by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 15:14, and comp. Jeremiah 17:4).

The foundations of the mountains.—Rashi says, “Jerusalem, which is founded on the mountains,” as it is said, “Jerusalem, the mountains are about her” (Psalm 125:2).

Deuteronomy 32:22. For a fire is kindled in mine anger — In this verse are predicted the dreadful calamities which God would bring upon the land of Judea, in words which seem to import the total ruin of it. Devouring judgments are here compared to fire, as they are also Ezekiel 30:8; Amos 2:5. And from hence to Deuteronomy 32:28, the destruction of their city and country by the Romans, and the dreadful calamities which they have suffered since in different ages, seem chiefly to be intended. And shall burn to the lowest hell — Or to the lowest parts of the earth, as the word שׁאול, sheol, here rendered hell, signifies: Numbers 16:30-33. Most destructive calamities are meant, judgments that should never cease till they had overturned the whole Jewish constitution. And set on fire the foundations of the mountains — That is, subvert their strongest fortresses, yea, Jerusalem itself, founded on the holy mountains, which was perfectly fulfilled in its destruction by Titus. And, according to Josephus, Titus himself, though a heathen, saw and acknowledged the hand of God in the affair. For, observing the vast height of the walls, the largeness of every stone, and the exact order wherein they were laid and compacted, he cried out, “God was with us in this war: it is he that drove the Jews from these munitions. For what could the hands of men or machines have availed against such towers?” Perhaps it may not be improper to mention here, as a further illustration of this prophecy, and its accomplishment, what is related, not only by the Christian writers of that age, Chrysostom, Sozomen, and Socrates, but also by Ammianus Marcellinus, a heathen historian, that when Julian the Apostate ordered the temple of Jerusalem to be rebuilt, with a view to give the lie to our Saviour’s prophecy concerning it, “terrible globes of fire burst out near the foundations, which overturned all, burned the workmen, and made the place so inaccessible, that they desisted from the attempt.” See Bishop Warburton’s book, entitled Julian.32:19-25 The revolt of Israel was described in the foregoing verses, and here follow the resolves of Divine justice as to them. We deceive ourselves, if we think that God will be mocked by a faithless people. Sin makes us hateful in the sight of the holy God. See what mischief sin does, and reckon those to be fools that mock at it.God would mete out to them the same measure as they had done to Him. Through chosen by the one God to be His own, they had preferred idols, which were no gods. So therefore would He prefer to His people that which was no people. As they had angered Him with their vanities, so would He provoke them by adopting in their stead those whom they counted as nothing. The terms, "not a people," and "a foolish nation," mean such a people as, not being God's, would not be accounted a people at all (compare Ephesians 2:12; 1 Peter 2:10), and such a nation as is destitute of that which alone can make a really "wise and understanding people" Deuteronomy 4:6, namely, the knowledge of the revealed word and will of God (compare 1 Corinthians 1:18-28).21. those which are not a people—that is, not favored with such great and peculiar privileges as the Israelites (or, rather poor, despised heathens). The language points to the future calling of the Gentiles. A fire is kindled, i.e. great and grievous judgments shall be inflicted, which oft come under the name of fire, &c. See Deu 4:24 Ezekiel 30:8 Amos 2:2,5.

Unto the lowest hell, or, unto hell, or the graves beneath. The sense is, it shall not only burn up all the corn and fruits and buildings which appear above ground, but it shall reach to the inwards and depths of the earth, and burn up the very roots and hopes of future increase. For a fire is kindled in mine anger,.... Here begins the account of temporal and corporeal judgments inflicted on the Jews for their disbelief and rejection of the Messiah, their contempt of his Gospel, and ill treatment of his followers; and this here respects the destruction of the land of Judea in general, and the burning of the city and temple of Jerusalem in particular, as the effect of the wrath and anger of God like fire kindled against them:

and shall burn unto the lowest hell; which denotes an entire destruction, like that of the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone from heaven; which issued in a sulphurous lake, and which sulphureous matter sunk to the bottom of the Dead Sea; and to that destruction is this of the land of Judea compared, Deuteronomy 29:23,

and shall consume the earth with her increase: the land of Judea, with the cities and towns in it, and buildings on it, and the fruits of the earth; which were either gathered into their barns and storehouses, or were growing in their fields, and vineyards, and oliveyards; all were destroyed and consumed at or before the destruction of Jerusalem, or quickly after it:

and set on fire the foundations of the mountains; the city of Jerusalem, as Jarchi himself interprets it, whose foundations were by the mountains, according to Psalm 125:2; and the temple of Jerusalem particularly was built on Mount Moriah, and that as well as the city was utterly consumed by fire: and it is remarkable that when Julian the apostate attempted to rebuild it, as is related even by an Heathen historian (a), that flames of fire burst out from the foundations, and burnt the workmen; so that he was obliged to desist from his rash undertaking.

(a) Ammian. Marcellin. l. 23. in initio.

For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.
22. is kindled] but with the force of flaring up quickly, Jeremiah 15:14; Jeremiah 17:4, Isaiah 50:11; Isaiah 64:2 (1); it is not necessary to render ’aph, anger, by its original meaning nostril.

pit] Heb. She’ol, underworld, Psalm 86:13.

increase] See Deuteronomy 11:17.

And setteth on fire] licks or flames about; only in late writings.Verse 22. - (Cf. Jeremiah 15:14; Jeremiah 17:4; Lamentations 4:11.) The lowest hell; the lowest sheol, the uttermost depth of the under-world. The Hebrew sheol (שְׁאול) answering to the Greek ἅδης, by which it is usually rendered by the LXX., is a general designation of the unseen state, the place of the dead. By some the word is derived from שָׁאַל, to ask, because sheol is ever asking, is insatiable (Proverbs 30:16); but more probably it is from a root signifying to excavate, to hollow, and, like the German holle, means primarily a hollow place or cavern. The Divine wrath kindles a consuming fire, that burns down to the lowest depths - to the deepest part of sheol - consumes the earth's produce, and sets on fire the foundations of the mountains. This does not refer to any particular judgment that was to befall the national Israel, but is a general description of the effects of the Divine wrath when that is poured forth in judgments on men. "They excited His jealousy through strange (gods), they provoked Him by abominations. They sacrificed to devils, which (were) not-God; to gods whom they knew not, to new (ones) that had lately come up, whom your fathers feared not. The rock which begat thee thou forsookest, and hast forgotten the God that bare thee." These three verses are only a further expansion of Deuteronomy 32:15. Forsaking the rock of its salvation, Israel gave itself up to the service of worthless idols. The expression "excite to jealousy" is founded upon the figure of a marriage covenant, under which the relation of the Lord to Israel is represented (vid., Deuteronomy 31:16, and the com. on Exodus 34:15). "This jealousy rests upon the sacred and spiritual marriage tie, by which God had bound the people to Himself" (Calvin). "Strange gods," with which Israel committed adultery, as in Jeremiah 2:25; Jeremiah 3:13. The idols are called "abominations" because Jehovah abhorred them (Deuteronomy 7:25; Deuteronomy 27:15; cf. 2 Kings 23:13). שׁדים signifies demons in Syriac, as it has been rendered by the lxx and Vulgate here; lit., lords, like Baalim. It is also used in Psalm 106:37. - "Not-God," a composite noun, in apposition to Shedim (devils), like the other expressions which follow: "gods whom they knew not," i.e., who had not made themselves known to them as gods by any benefit or blessing (vid., Deuteronomy 11:28); "new (ones), who had come from near," i.e., had but lately risen up and been adopted by the Israelites. "Near," not in a local but in a temporal sense, in contrast to Jehovah, who had manifested and attested Himself as God from of old (Deuteronomy 32:7). שׂער, to shudder, construed here with an accusative, to experience a holy shuddering before a person, to revere with holy awe. - In Deuteronomy 32:18 Moses returns to the thought of Deuteronomy 32:15, for the purpose of expressing it emphatically once more, and paving the way for a transition to the description of the acts of the Lord towards His rebellious nation. To bring out still more prominently the base ingratitude of the people, he represents the creation of Israel by Jehovah, the rock of its salvation, under the figure of generation and birth, in which the paternal and maternal love of the Lord to His people had manifested itself. חולל, to twist round, then applied to the pains of childbirth. The ἁπ. λεγ. תּשׁי is to be traced to שׁיה, and is a pausal form like יחי in Deuteronomy 4:33. שׁיה equals שׁהה, to forget, to neglect.
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