Deuteronomy 8:4
Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years.
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(4) Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee.—The Jewish commentators say that it grew with their growth, from childhood to manhood. We cannot say that anything miraculous is certainly intended, though it is not impossible. It may mean that God in His providence directed them to clothe themselves in a manner suitable to their journey and their mode of life, just as He taught them how to make and clothe His own tabernacle with various fabrics and coverings of skin. This tabernacle, which was God’s dwelling, was (like the Temple) a figure of man. (Comp. Ezekiel 16:10 : “I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers’ skin.”)

Neither did thy foot swell.—Just as those who were to die in the wilderness could not live, so those who were to enter Canaan were preserved in health through the journey thither. It seems allowable to point out the spiritual interpretation of the passage also. If “the way” that God leads any of His children through this present evil world should seem long, and should entail constant need of renewal and cleansing in His sight, He provides us with “raiment that waxes not old,” in the everlasting righteousness of His Son, and also in the good works which He prepares for us to walk in—that “fine linen which is the righteousness of saints.” He also says of those that wait on the Lord that they shall “walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

Deuteronomy 8:4. Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee — The common interpretation of these words is, that, by a constant miracle, their clothes did not so much as decay, nor their foot swell, or, as some render it, grow callous, by so long travelling in hot and stony places. But Le Clerc thinks “it is hardly to be imagined that Moses, whose principal intention was to record the miracles which God wrought for the Israelites in the wilderness, should have mentioned this so transiently, and, as it were, by the by, if it really had been wrought to that extent, especially as it would have been one of the greatest of them. For there must indeed have been as many miracles wrought as there were persons in the camp, and that not only once, but daily, and for the space of forty years. And if we add to this, that their clothes grew in proportion to their stature, as in that case they must have done, unless they had more coats than one apiece, a greater miracle can hardly be conceived. He observes further, that God is never wont to work miracles unless they be quite necessary; yet here is one of the greatest miracles without any necessity at all. For, as the Israelites had flocks of sheep and goats in the wilderness, and certainly were not ignorant of the art of weaving, as appears from the curious work of the tabernacle, and as nothing hindered them from trafficking with their Arabian neighbours, it is evident they might have been supplied with clothes in the common way, either by making or purchasing them. This being the case, is it not as reasonable to believe that God would have fed the Israelites with manna, after their settlement in Canaan, as that he would have preserved their clothes from decay, during their abode in the wilderness, when there was no necessity for their being thus clothed by a miracle?” He therefore explains Moses’s words thus: Thy raiment waxed not old — That is, “Providence has been so liberal in supplying your wants in this desert land, that you have never been under the necessity of letting your clothes grow old upon your backs, but have always been supplied with new before the old were worn out. Nor did your feet swell — Namely, for want of shoes to defend them.” Agreeably to this interpretation, in Deuteronomy 29:5, instead of Thy foot did not swell, it is, Thy shoe did not wax old upon thy feet; that is, “You were not reduced, through poverty, to wear shoes till they were grown so old and torn that they could not defend your feet against tumours, and other inconveniences, arising from heat and rugged ways.” This interpretation, it must be observed, is not peculiar to Le Clerc; Spanheim, Burman, Bynæus, Budæus, Calmet, and many others have adopted it.

8:1-9 Obedience must be, 1. Careful, observe to do; 2. Universal, to do all the commandments; and 3. From a good principle, with a regard to God as the Lord, and their God, and with a holy fear of him. To engage them to this obedience. Moses directs them to look back. It is good to remember all the ways, both of God's providence and grace, by which he has led us through this wilderness, that we may cheerfully serve him and trust in him. They must remember the straits they were sometimes brought into, for mortifying their pride, and manifesting their perverseness; to prove them, that they and others might know all that was in their heart, and that all might see that God chose them, not for any thing in them which might recommend them to his favour. They must remember the miraculous supplies of food and raiment granted them. Let none of God's children distrust their Father, nor take any sinful course for the supply of their necessities. Some way or other, God will provide for them in the way of duty and honest diligence, and verily they shall be fed. It may be applied spiritually; the word of God is the food of the soul. Christ is the word of God; by him we live. They must also remember the rebukes they had been under, and not without need. This use we should make of all our afflictions; by them let us be quickened to our duty. Moses also directs them to look forward to Canaan. Look which way we will, both to look back and to look forward, to Canaan. Look which way we will, both to look back and to look forward will furnish us with arguments for obedience. Moses saw in that land a type of the better country. The gospel church is the New Testament Canaan, watered with the Spirit in his gifts and graces, planted with trees of righteousness, bearing fruits of righteousness. Heaven is the good land, in which nothing is wanting, and where is fulness of joy.They had clothes, it would seem, in abundance (compare Exodus 12:34-35) at the beginning of the 40 years; and during those years they had many sheep and oxen, and so must have had much material for clothing always at command. No doubt also they carried on a traffic in these, as in other commodities, with the Moabites and the nomadic tribes of the desert. Such ordinary supplies must not be shut out of consideration, even if they were on occasions supplemented by extraordinary providences of God, as was undoubtedly the case with their food. 4. Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years—What a striking miracle was this! No doubt the Israelites might have brought from Egypt more clothes than they wore at their outset; they might also have obtained supplies of various articles of food and raiment in barter with the neighboring tribes for the fleeces and skins of their sheep and goats; and in furnishing them with such opportunities the care of Providence appeared. But the strong and pointed terms which Moses here uses (see also De 29:5) indicate a special or miraculous interposition of their loving Guardian in preserving them amid the wear and tear of their nomadic life in the desert. Thirdly, Moses expatiated on the goodness of the promised land. Thy raiment did not wear away through age, which they must needs have done without a miracle;

neither did thy foot swell, notwithstanding thy long and hard travels, which also was miraculous.

Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, &c. They wanted not clothes all the forty years they were in the wilderness; which some account for by the rising generation being supplied with the clothes of those that died in the wilderness, and with the spoils they took from Amalek, Exodus 17:1 and others, as Aben Ezra observes, remark that they brought much clothes with them out of Egypt, which no doubt they did; see Exodus 12:35 and he adds, as worthy of notice, that the manna they lived upon did not produce sweat, which is prejudicial to clothes; but be it so, that they were sufficiently provided with clothes, it must be miraculous that these clothes they wore should not wax old. This, in a spiritual sense, may denote the righteousness of Christ, which is often compared to raiment, the property of which is, that it never waxes old, wears out, or decays; it is an everlasting righteousness, and will never be abolished, but will answer for the saints in a time to come; see Isaiah 51:6 neither did thy foot swell these forty years; or puff up like paste, as Jarchi explains it, which is often the case in long journeys; the Septuagint version is, "did not become callous"; a callousness or hardness is frequently produced by travelling; in Deuteronomy 29:5 it is explained of the shoes on their feet not waxing old; so Ben Melech, and the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan, and the Syriac and Arabic versions here, "thy feet were not naked", were not without shoes; these were no more wore out by travel than their clothes upon their backs, and this was equally as miraculous: the Gibeonites, pretending to come from a far country, and to have travelled much and long, put on old garments and old shoes, to make it probable and plausible, Joshua 9:5. This may be an emblem of the perseverance of the saints in faith and holiness: shoes upon the feet denote a Gospel conversation, which is very beautiful, Sol 7:1 the feet of saints being shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace; which, as shoes to the feet, guides and directs the Christian walk, strengthens and makes fit for walking, keeps tight and preserves from slipping and falling, and protects from what is harmful, accompanied by the power and grace of God. Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot {d} swell, these forty years.

(d) As those that go barefoot.

4. Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee] Similarly Deuteronomy 29:5, Pl.; Nehemiah 9:21. On raiment see Deuteronomy 24:13.

neither did thy fool swell] or rise in blisters, only here and Nehemiah 9:21. Rhetorically applied to the nation as a whole; the Pl. passages dwell more on the damage to the nation and the destruction of one whole generation of them during the forty years, cp. Deuteronomy 2:14.

Verse 4. - As the manna furnished by God's creative power saved them from hunger, so by God's providence and care their raiment was marvelously kept from decay, and they had not to go barefoot from their sandals being worn out. Waxed not old upon thee; literally, did not fall away, waste away from upon thee. This cannot mean that such was the abundant supply of raiment to the Israelites in the Arabian desert, that there was no need for them to wear garments rent and tattered from long use, as they had large flocks and herds whence a sufficient supply of wool and leather could be obtained, and there were among them skilled artificers, by whom these could be made into articles of clothing (Rosenmüller, J. D. Michaelis, etc.). For, as Knobel observes, "This were something too insignificant beside the miraculous manna; and besides, this does not lie in the expression, which rather intimates that the clothes upon them were not worn out nor fell from them in rags, because God gave them a marvelous durability." At the same time, there is no reason to suppose that the Israelites did not make use of such supplies as were within their reach for purposes of clothing, any more than that they lived only on manna during the forty years of their wandering. Still less need we resort to such fanciful suppositions as that the garments of the Israelitish children expanded as they grew up, like the shells of snails - which is the notion of some of the Jewish rabbins, and adopted by some of the Christian Fathers (see Deyling, 'Obss. Sacc.,' II. 17. p. 247). Neither did thy foot swell. The verb here is found in only one other passage (Nehemiah 9:21), where this passage is repeated; and the meaning is doubtful. The LXX. render here by ἐτυλώθησαν, became callous; but in Nehemiah the rendering they give is διερράγησαν, were torn, the object torn being, according to the Cod. Vat., πόδες abbey, their feet, according to the Cod. Alex., τὰ ὑποδήματα αφφραψ, their sandals. In Deuteronomy 29:5, the shoe or sandal is specially mentioned in the same connection as here. The verb, however, cannot mean tear or torn, neither does it mean swell; the idea involved is rather that of softening, or , melting or flowing; and the meaning here seems to be, "Thy foot did not get into a bruised and wounded state" - which would have been the case had their sandals not been preserved from breaking or being worn out. Deuteronomy 8:4As the Lord provided for their nourishment, so did He also in a marvellous way for the clothing of His people during these forty years. "Thy garment did not fall of thee through age, and thy foot did not swell." בּלה with מן, to fall off from age. בּצק only occurs again in Nehemiah 9:21, where this passage is repeated. The meaning is doubtful. The word is certainly connected with בּצק (dough), and probably signifies to become soft or to swell, although בּצק is also used for unleavened dough. The Septuagint rendering here is ו̓פץכש́טחףבם, to get hard skin; on the other hand, in Nehemiah 9:21, we find the rendering ὑποδήματα αὐτῶν ου' διεῤῥάγησαν, "their sandals were not worn out," from the parallel passage in Deuteronomy 29:5. These words affirm something more than "clothes and shoes never failed you," inasmuch as ye always had wool, hides, leather, and other kinds of material in sufficient quantities for clothes and shoes, as not only J. D. Michaelis and others suppose, but Calmet, and even Kurtz. Knobel is quite correct in observing, that "this would be altogether too trivial a matter by the side of the miraculous supply of manna, and moreover that it is not involved in the expression itself, which rather affirms that their clothes did not wear out upon them, or fall in tatters from their backs, because God gave them a miraculous durability" (Luther, Calvin, Baumgarten, Schultz, etc.). At the same time, there is no necessity to follow some of the Rabbins and Justin Martyr (dial. c. Tryph. c. 131), who so magnify the miracle of divine providence, as to maintain not only that the clothes of the Israelites did not get old, but that as the younger generation grew up their clothes also grew upon their backs, like the shells of snails. Nor is it necessary to shut out the different natural resources which the people had at their command for providing clothes and sandals, any more than the gift of manna precluded the use of such ordinary provisions as they were able to procure.
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