Deuteronomy 32:30
How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(30) How should one (of their enemies) chase a thousand (of them).—Comp. the verse in Deuteronomy 28:25, and more especially Leviticus 26:8; Leviticus 26:17; Leviticus 26:36.

Had sold them.—Here first used of Jehovah. It is a common expression in the book of Judges (Deuteronomy 2:14; Deuteronomy 3:8; Deuteronomy 4:2; Deuteronomy 10:7; 1Samuel 12:9).

Had shut them up (into the hand of their enemies).—Comp. Psalm 78:62, “He shut up His people also unto the sword.”

32:26-38 The idolatry and rebellions of Israel deserved, and the justice of God seemed to demand, that they should be rooted out. But He spared Israel, and continues them still to be living witnesses of the truth of the Bible, and to silence unbelievers. They are preserved for wise and holy purposes and the prophecies give us some idea what those purposes are. The Lord will never disgrace the throne of his glory. It is great wisdom, and will help much to the return of sinners to God, seriously to consider their latter end, or the future state. It is here meant particularly of what God foretold by Moses, about this people in the latter days; but it may be applied generally. Oh that men would consider the happiness they will lose, and the misery they will certainly plunge into, if they go on in their trespasses! What will be in the end thereof? Jer 5:31. For the Lord will in due time bring down the enemies of the church, in displeasure against their wickedness. When sinners deem themselves most secure, they suddenly fall into destruction. And God's time to appear for the deliverance of his people, is when things are at the worst with them. But those who trust to any rock but God, will find it fail them when they most need it. The rejection of the Messiah by the Jewish nation, is the continuance of their ancient idolatry, apostacy, and rebellion. They shall be brought to humble themselves before the Lord, to repent of their sins, and to trust in their long-rejected Mediator for salvation. Then he will deliver them, and make their prosperity great.The defeat of Israel would be due to the fact that God, their strength, had abandoned them because of their apostasy.29. Oh, … that they would consider their latter end—The terrible judgments, which, in the event of their continued and incorrigible disobedience, would impart so awful a character to the close of their national history. How should one chase a thousand? whence should this miraculous change come, that whereas God had promised that five Israelites should chase an hundred of their enemies, &c., Deu 26:8, now, on the contrary,

one enemy

should chase a thousand Israelites?

Their Rock, i.e. their God, as before, Deu 32:4,18, who was their only refuge and defence; had sold them, to wit, for bond-slaves, had quitted his right and relation to them, and given them up into their enemies’ hands.

Shut them up, as it were, in the net which their enemies had laid for them. How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight,.... This is said for the conviction of the Pagan Romans of their folly in behaving strangely, attributing to their gods what belonged to the true God; for since the Jews were more numerous than they, both in Judea, in the times of Titus Vespasian, when the country was subdued by him; and in other parts of the world, in the times of Adrian, when the Jews rose up in vast numbers, greatly superior to the Romans, and yet were conquered; which, allowing the phrase to be hyperbolical, was like one to a thousand, and two to ten thousand: now since this was what was promised to the Jews in case of obedience, that they should in this manner chase their enemies, Leviticus 26:8; it cannot be accounted for that they should in like manner be chased by their enemies, as threatened Isaiah 30:17,

except their rock had sold them, and the Lord had shut them up; that is, unless the Lord, who was their rock and fortress, and in whom they should have trusted as such, had forsaken them, and given them up into their enemies' hands, shut up as they were in the city of Jerusalem in the times of Titus, and afterwards in Bither in the times of Adrian; it is a plain case that this was of God, and not owing to the idols of the Gentiles; see Psalm 44:9; Cocceius and Van Till interpret this of Constantine overcoming Maxentius, Licinius, and Maximinius, whereby the whole Roman empire on a sudden became Christian nominally, when but a little before Dioclesian had erected a trophy with this inscription on it,"the Christian name blotted out;''so that the odds between the Christians and Pagans were as one to a thousand, and two to ten thousand, and the victory therefore must be ascribed to God; this could never have been unless Satan, the great red dragon, had given his kingdom to the beast, which was done by the permission and sovereign will of God; see Revelation 6:14; so those interpreters, but the former sense seems best.

How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
30. How could one, etc.] Some ignominious rout of Israel.

delivered them up] Cp. Deuteronomy 23:15 (16).Verse 30. - If Israel were wise, they could easily overcome all their foes through the help of the Almighty (Leviticus 26:8); but having forsaken him, they were left by him, and so came under the power of the enemy. "Have they wasted away with hunger, are they consumed with pestilential heat and bitter plague: I will let loose the tooth of beasts upon them, with the poison of things that crawl in the dust." (Deuteronomy 32:25) "If the sword without shall sweep them away, and in the chambers of terrors, the young man as the maiden, the suckling with the grey-haired man." The evils mentioned are hunger, pestilence, plague, wild beasts, poisonous serpents, and war. The first hemistich in Deuteronomy 32:24 contains simply nouns construed absolutely, which may be regarded as a kind of circumstantial clause. The literal meaning is, "With regard to those who are starved with hunger, etc., I will send against them;" i.e., when hunger, pestilence, plague, have brought them to the verge of destruction, I will send, etc. מזי, construct state of מזה, ἁπ. λεγ. with which Cocceius compares מצה and מצץ, to suck out, and for which Schultens has cited analogies from the Arabic. "Sucked out by hunger," i.e., wasted away. "Tooth of beasts and poison of serpents:" poetical for beasts of prey and poisonous animals. See Leviticus 26:22, where wild beasts are mentioned as a plague along with pestilence, famine, and sword.
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