The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before you; and shall say, Destroy them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The eternal God is thy refuge.—The word “thy” is not represented in the original. Mâ’ônah, the word for refuge, differs very slightly from the “refuge” of Psalm 90:1, “Lord, thou hast been our refuge in generation and generation,” which are also the words of Moses. The same word is used of the “habitation of Jehovah” in heaven (Deuteronomy 26:15). Perhaps we ought to connect this clause with what pre cedes, and render the passage thus:—
“ There is none like the God of Jeshurun,
Riding on the heavens for thy help,
And in His Majesty on the sky—
The dwelling of the eternal Jehovah (above thee)
And underneath, the everlasting arms!
And He will expel before thee (every) enemy,
And will say (to thee), Destroy them.”Deuteronomy 33:27. The eternal God — He who was before all worlds, and will be when time shall be no more; is thy refuge — Or, thy habitation, or mansion-house, (so the word signifies,) in whom thou art safe, and easy, and at rest, as a man in his own house. Every true Israelite is at home in God: the soul returns to him, and reposes in him. And they that make him their habitation shall have all the comforts and benefits of a habitation in him. And underneath are the everlasting arms — The almighty power and infinite goodness of God, which protects and comforts all that trust in him, in their greatest straits and distresses. He shall thrust out the enemy from before thee — He shall expel the Canaanites, and make room for you in their country. And shall say, Destroy them — That is, shall give you power, as well as authority, to root them out. For to say is to command, and what he commands he gives power to execute. And has he not commanded believers to destroy, in themselves, all sin; all evil tempers and corrupt inclinations, as well as all sinful words and actions; and will he not give them power so to do, if they apply to him for it?Psalm 90:1; Psalm 91:9.
who rideth upon the heaven in thy help—an evident allusion to the pillar of cloud and fire, which was both the guide and shelter of Israel.Thy refuge, or, thy dwelling-place. Compare Psalm 91:1.
Underneath, i.e. under thy arms to hold thee up, as my hands were once held up by Aaron and Hur. He will support and defend thee. Or the meaning is, Though he dwelleth on high, yet he comes down to the earth beneath to assist and deliver thee.
Shall say, Destroy them, i.e. shall give thee not only command and commission, but also power, to destroy them; for God’s saying is doing, his word comes with power. Psalm 90:1. Such is Christ to his people, who dwelt secretly in him from everlasting, being chosen in him, and given to him; and openly in conversion, where they dwell as in a strong hold, safely, quietly, comfortably, and pleasantly:
and underneath are the everlasting arms; that is, of God, which are the support of his people, and their protection, safety, and security; such as the arms of his everlasting love, which encircle them, and compass them about as a shield; his everlasting covenant, which is immovable, and in which they ever remain; eternal redemption and salvation, wrought out by Christ, which secures them from destruction; and everlasting power, by which they are kept and preserved as in a garrison; and everlasting consolation, which flows from all this: and so the arms of Christ, or his almighty power, are under the world, to uphold it in being; and under his church, to support it, on whose shoulders the government of it is; and under particular believers, whom he carries in his arms, embraces in his bosom, bears them up under all their afflictions and temptations, trials and exercises; nor will he ever suffer them to drop out of his arms, or to be plucked from thence:
and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; the Canaanites out of the land of Canaan, to make room for Israel, which he was just about to do, and quickly did. In like manner Christ thrusts out Satan and the spiritual enemies of his people, whom to dispossess is a work of mighty power; and not only so, but gives orders to destroy them, and does destroy them, and makes his people more than conquerors over them:
and shall say, destroy them; the Canaanites: to do which the people of Israel had an order from the Lord, Deuteronomy 7:1.The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)27. dwelling place] As in Psalm 90:1. A.V. refuge; and some moderns thy refuge by emending the text. The LXX renders the line καὶ σκεπάσει σε Θεοῦ ἀρχή.
And underneath are the everlasting arms] Berth. and Marti oddly declare this beautiful line unintelligible, on the ground that the arms of God inhabiting heaven (Deuteronomy 33:26) cannot at the same time be conceived as beneath His people! By changing one consonant and pointing others differently they substitute and the power (arms) of the wicked was broken. But the figure of the arms underneath (cp. Hosea 11:3, Psalm 89:21 (22)) comes in naturally after the other of God as a dwelling or refuge; ‘God at once the foundation and the roof of their abode’ (Calvin).
And he drave out; in Hex. only here and in JE (frequently); not in D nor deut. passages.
And said, Destroy] A line of but 2 stresses.Verse 27. - God is the Refuge or Dwelling-place of his people, their Protection amid the storms of life, and the unfailing Source of comfort and blessing to them in their pilgrimage state. Over them is his sheltering protection, and underneath them the support of his everlasting arms. Genesis 9:26) the God of Shem is praised, to point out the salvation appointed by God for Shem, so here Moses praises the Lord, who enlarged Gad, i.e., who not only gave him a broad territory in the conquered kingdom of Sihon, but furnished generally an unlimited space for his development (vid., Genesis 26:22), so that he might unfold his lion-like nature in conflict with his foes. On the figure of a lioness, see Genesis 49:9; and on the warlike character of the Gadites, the remarks on the blessing of Jacob upon Gad (Genesis 49:19). The second part of the blessing treats of the inheritance which Gad obtained from Moses at his own request beyond Jordan. ראה, with an accusative and ל, signifies to look out something for oneself (Genesis 22:8; 1 Samuel 16:17). The "first-fruit" refers here to the first portion of the land which Israel received for a possession; this is evident from the reason assigned, חלקת שׁם כּי, whilst the statement that Gad chose the hereditary possession is in harmony with Numbers 32:2, Numbers 32:6, Numbers 32:25., where the children of Gad are described as being at the head of the tribes, who came before Moses to ask for the conquered land as their possession. The meaning of the next clause, of which very different explanations have been given, can only be, that Gad chose such a territory for its inheritance as became a leader of the tribes. מחקק, he who determines, commands, organizes; hence both a commander and also a leader in war. It is in the latter sense that it occurs both here and in Judges 5:14. מחקק חלקת, the field, or territory of the leader, may either be the territory appointed or assigned by the lawgiver, or the territory falling to the lot of the leader. According to the former view, Moses would be the mechokek. But the thought, that Moses appointed or assigned him his inheritance, could be no reason why Gad should choose it for himself. Consequently מחקק חלקת can only mean the possession which the mechokek chose for himself, as befitting him, or specially adapted for him. Consequently the mechokek was not Moses, but the tribe of Gad, which was so called because it unfolded such activity and bravery at the head of the tribes in connection with the conquest of the land, that it could be regarded as their leaders. This peculiar prominence on the part of the Gadites may be inferred from the fact, that they distinguished themselves above the Reubenites in the fortification of the conquered land (Numbers 32:34.). ספוּן, from ספן, to cover, hide, preserve, is a predicate, and construed as a noun, "a thing preserved." - On the other hand, the opinion has been very widely spread, from the time of Onkelos down to Baumgarten and Ewald, that this hemistich refers to Moses: "there is the portion of the lawgiver hidden," or "the field of the hidden leader," and that it contains an allusion to the fact that the grave of Moses was hidden in the inheritance of Gad. But this is not only at variance with the circumstance, that a prophetic allusion to the grave of Moses such as Baumgarten assumes is apparently inconceivable, from the simple fact that we cannot imagine the Gadites to have foreseen the situation of Moses' grave at the time when they selected their territory, but also with the fact that, according to Joshua 13:20, the spot where this grave was situated (Deuteronomy 34:5) was not allotted to the tribe of Gad, but to that of Reuben; and lastly, with the use of the word chelkah, which does not signify a burial-ground or grave. - But although Gad chose out an inheritance for himself, he still went before his brethren, i.e., along with the rest of the tribes, into Canaan, to perform in connection with them, what the Lord demanded of His people as a right. This is the meaning of the second half of the verse. The clause, "he came to the heads of the people," does not refer to the fact that the Gadites came to Moses and the heads of the congregation, to ask for the conquered land as a possession (Numbers 32:2), but expressed the thought that Gad joined the heads of the people to go at the head of the tribes of Israel (comp. Joshua 1:14; Joshua 4:12, with Numbers 32:17, Numbers 32:21, Numbers 32:32), to conquer Canaan with the whole nation, and root out the Canaanites. The Gadites had promised this to Moses and the heads of the people; and this promise Moses regarded as an accomplished act, and praised in these words with prophetic foresight as having been already performed, and that not merely as one single manifestation of their obedience towards the word of the Lord, but rather as a pledge that Gad would always manifest the same disposition. "To do the righteousness of Jehovah," i.e., to do what Jehovah requires of His people as righteousness - namely, to fulfil the commandments of God, in which the righteousness of Israel was to consist (Deuteronomy 6:25). יתא, imperfect Kal for יאהת or יאתּה; see Ges. 76, 2, c., and Ewald, 142, c. "With Israel:" in fellowship with (the rest of) Israel.
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