I will heap mischiefs on them; I will spend my arrows on them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Mischiefs.—Literally, ills. Comp. Ezekiel 5:16 : “I will send upon them the evil arrows of famine . . . I will increase the famine upon them.”Deuteronomy 32:23-25. I will spend mine arrows upon them — Even empty my quiver, and send upon them all my plagues, which, like arrows shot by a skilful and strong hand, shall speedily reach, and certainly hit and mortally wound them. The judgments of God are often compared to arrows, Job 6:4; Psalm 38:2; Psalm 91:5. They shall be burnt with hunger — Here these arrows or plagues are enumerated; the first of them is famine, with which they are therefore said to be burnt; because it burns and parches the inward parts of the body. This threatening was awfully fulfilled in their destruction by the Chaldeans, when, according to Jeremiah, their visages became black as a coal, through famine; and their skin withered like a stick, Lamentations 4:8. And devoured with burning heat — From fevers, or carbuncles, or other inflaming distempers. Destruction by wild beasts and poisonous serpents is threatened in the next clause, and Deuteronomy 32:25, by the sword. So that all God’s four sore judgments were to be employed against them. Serpents of the dust — That creep upon and eat the dust, (Genesis 3:14,) and lurk in it, that they may surprise unwary passengers, Genesis 49:17. The sword without, and terror within — In the field they shall be exposed to the sword of their enemies, and at home shall die with fear, or shall destroy their own lives lest they should fall into the hands of their destroyers.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). Zechariah 9:14.
I will spewed mine arrows upon them; God is here represented as an enemy to the Jews, as having bent his bow against them like an enemy, Lamentations 2:4; and as having a quiver, and that full of arrows, and as determined to draw out and spend everyone of them, in taking vengeance upon them; which arrows are his four sore judgments mentioned Ezekiel 14:21; and expressed in Deuteronomy 32:24.I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)23. heap] According as we point the consonants of this vb., it may mean add, or gather, or sweep up; evils, Deuteronomy 31:17.
24, 25 define the arrows of Deuteronomy 32:23—famine, fever, plague, wild beasts and poisonous, and war.
24 a. The rhythm is irregular whether for a line or couplet, and the text uncertain, the first and last words are only found here and their sense is conjectural.
From Sam. it is possible to read the first word mizzĕh, on this side, and to reconstruct the whole as a regular couplet yielding the kind of antithesis beloved by the writer (Deuteronomy 32:21; Deuteronomy 32:25) and free of the ἄπαξ λεγόμενα
mizzeh rá‘ab yilham On this side famine devours,
mizzeh rĕshĕph We kétĕl On this side fever and plague.
Wasted is a meaning drawn from a doubtful Ar. analogy; burning heat, Heb. resheph, fire-bolt or flame as God’s instrument of fever, in Habakkuk 3:5 parallel to pestilence.
24 b. beasts] Heb. Behemôth. For this natural curse of the East cp. Deuteronomy 7:22, Hosea 2:12. The contrast in Isaiah 11:6-9.
crawling things] Micah 7:17, cp. Isaiah 11:8, Jeremiah 8:17.Verse 23. - I will spend mine arrows upon them; I will inflict on them so many calamities that none shall remain. The evils sent on men by God are represented as arrows shot on them from above. (Cf. ver. 42; Job 6:4; Psalm 7:13; Psalm 38:2; Psalm 45:5; Psalm 58:7; Zechariah 9:14; Homer, 'Iliad,' 1:45, etc.) 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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