They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts on them, with the poison of serpents of the dust.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
“Consumed with hunger, and devoured with pestilence, and bitter destruction—
 Or, possibly, “Regaled with hunger, and fed with bread of pestilence and bitter destruction,” &c.
I will also send the tooth of the beasts upon them, with the poison of crawling things of the dust.
Outside the sword bereaveth, and in the chambers terror:
Both young man and maiden, the suckling with the man of grey hairs.”
God’s four sore judgments are all depicted here—“the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence.” With Deuteronomy 32:25 comp. Jeremiah 14:18, “If I go forth into the field, then behold the slain with the sword! and if I enter into the city, then behold them that are sick with famine! yea both the prophet and the priest go about into a land that they know not.”Leviticus 26:22; Jeremiah 15:2; Ezekiel 5:17; Ezekiel 14:21.With hunger; with famine, which burneth and parcheth the inward parts, and makes the face black as a coal, Lamentations 4:8.
With burning heat; from fevers or carbuncles or other inflaming distempers.
Serpents of the dust, who feed upon the dust, Genesis 3:14, and lurk in it, that they may surprise unwary passengers, Genesis 49:17. Ezekiel 5:16; the force of which is such that it makes the skin black as if burnt, Lamentations 5:10; Onkelos paraphrases it,"inflated or swelled with famine,''which is a phrase Josephus (b) makes use of in describing the famine at the siege of Jerusalem. Jarchi observes, that one of their writers (c) interprets the words "hairs of hunger", because he says that a man that is famishing and pining, his hair grows, and he becomes hairy: this judgment was notorious among the Jews, at the siege of Jerusalem, and was very sore and dreadful: See Gill on Deuteronomy 28:53,
and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction; with burning fevers, pestilential ones, with the plague, the arrow of the Lord that flies by day, the pestilence that walks in darkness, and the destruction that wastes at noonday, Psalm 91:5; and which also raged at the siege of Jerusalem, arising from the stench of dead bodies, which lay in all parts of the city, and is one of the signs of the destruction of it given by our Lord, Matthew 24:7,
I will also send the teeth, of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust; another of the arrows in the quiver of the Lord of hosts, or of his four judgments, and which he used to threaten the people of the Jews with in case of disobedience, Leviticus 26:22. And such of the Jews who fled to deserts, and caves and dens of the earth, for shelter, could not escape falling into the hands of wild beasts, and of meeting with poisonous serpents that go upon their bellies, and feed on the dust of the earth; and besides, when Titus had taken Jerusalem, he disposed of his captives some one way and some another; and, among the rest, many were cast to the wild beasts in the theatre, as Josephus relates (d); add to this, that both Rome Pagan, and Roman Papal, are called beasts, Revelation 13:1; into both whose hands the Jews fell, and from whom they have suffered much; with which in part agrees the Targum of Jerusalem,
"the teeth of the four monarchies, which are like to wild beasts, I will send upon them;''and particularly the Targum of Jonathan paraphrases it,"and the Greeks, who bite with their teeth like wild beasts, I will send upon them;''but it would have been much better to have interpreted it of the Romans.They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verses 24, 25. - The evils threatened are famine, pestilence, plague, wild beasts, poisonous reptiles, and war. They shall be burnt with hunger, etc.; render: Sucked out by hunger, consumed with pestilential heat, and bitter plague; I will send against them the tooth of beasts and the poison of things that crawl in the dust. When hunger, pestilence, and contagious disease had wasted and exhausted them, then God would send on them wild beasts and poisonous reptiles. Shall be burnt. The Hebrew word occurs only here; it is a verbal adjective, meaning, literally, sucked out, i.e. utterly exhausted; LXX., τηκομένοι λιμῷ. Tooth of beasts and poison of serpents; poetical for ravenous and poisonous animals ¢cf. Leviticus 26:22). Shall destroy; literally, shall make childless, shall bereave, viz. the land which is thought of as a mother whose children were destroyed. The verb is here sensu prsegnanti, shall bereave by destroying, etc. (cf. 1 Samuel 15:23; Lamentations 1:20; Jeremiah 18:21). 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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