For the LORD your God brings you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land.—The description in this and the following verses is most attractive; but it is a long time since any one has seen Palestine in that condition. Its desolation, no less than its beauty, is a proof of the truth of the Divine word.
Of fountains and depths that spring out.—Rather, that go forth in the valley and on the hill. The watercourse down the mountain-side, and the deep lake or still pool below, are both described here.Deuteronomy 8:7-9. Depths — Deep wells, or springs, or lakes, which were numerous and large. Whose stones are iron — Where iron mines are as plentiful as quarries of stone are in other places. Thou mayest dig brass — That is, copper, of which brass is made.Exodus 3:8 note, and the contrast expressed in Deuteronomy 11:10-11, between Palestine and Egypt.
The physical characteristics and advantages of a country like Palestine must have been quite strange to Israel at the time Moses was speaking: compare Deuteronomy 3:25 note. To have praised the fertility and excellence of the promised land at an earlier period would have increased the murmurings and impatience of the people at being detained in the wilderness: whereas now it encouraged them to encounter with more cheerfulness the opposition that they would meet from the inhabitants of Canaan.
a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills—These characteristic features are mentioned first, as they would be most striking; and all travellers describe how delightful and cheerful it is, after passing through the barren and thirsty desert, to be among running brooks and swelling hills and verdant valleys. It is observable that water is mentioned as the chief source of its ancient fertility.Depths, i.e. deep wells, or springs, or lakes, which were divers and large.
a land of brooks of water; rivers and torrents, such as Jordan, Jabbok, Kishon, Kidron, Cherith, and others:
of fountains; as Siloam, Gihon, Etam, the baths of Tiberias, and others:
and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; deep waters, caverns, wells, and lakes, which had their rise from such places, of which there were many. With this agrees the account of it by our countrymen, Mr. Sandys (g), as it was in the beginning of the last century; that it was adorned with beautiful mountains and luxurious valleys, the rocks producing excellent waters, and no part empty of delight or profit.For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. bringeth thee] is about to bring thee: see above on Deuteronomy 6:10.
a good land] Deuteronomy 1:35 : Sam. and LXX add here and a large (Exodus 3:8).
brooks of water … fountains … depths] The principal and characteristic waters of Palestine (for the hydrography of the land see especially Robinson, Phys. Geog. of the Holy Land, ch. ii, Trelawney Saunders, Introd. to Survey of W. Pal.; also the present writer’s HGHL, 77 f., 657 f., and Jerusalem, Bk i. chs. 3–5). Brook: naḥal (Deuteronomy 2:13) is the Ar. wady, applied both to a valley with only a winter-torrent (e.g. Kidron) and one with a perennial stream (e.g. Arnon and Jabboḳ), the more exact name for which is naḥal ’çthan (HGHL, 657). Fountains: ‘ayanoth, springs of living water as distinct from cisterns (id. 77 f.). Depths: tehômôth, pl. of tehom, the mythical name not only of the open ocean round the earth, but of its supposed continuance under the earth (Deuteronomy 4:18, Deuteronomy 5:8), from which the fountains, salt and fresh alike, seemed to be derived (Amos 8:4); the depths here are therefore either the lakes of Palestine, perennial (Phiala or Birket er-Ram, Huleh, Gennesaret and the Dead Sea) and seasonal (e.g. Merj el-Ghuruk, HGHL, 327 n.), a possible meaning for tehômôth in Psalm 135:6; or the larger outbursts of water from underground, the births of full rivers (as at Tell el Ḳady) so characteristic of Palestine. This second meaning is the more probable here both because of the following springing forth, and the parallelism between depths and fountains (the larger word for fountains) in Proverbs 8:24. See below on Deuteronomy 33:13.
springing forth in valleys and hills] Lit. in the valley and on the mountain. The phenomenon is due to the limestone formation of the land, the larger outbursts occurring mainly at the foot of a hill or great mound, where the harder dolomitic limestone impenetrable by water comes to the surface, forcing the water out. Where the softer cretaceous strata lie deep the water sinks through them and fountains are either scanty or altogether wanting. Valley, biḳ‘ah, HGHL, 654 f.Verses 7-20. - The land on which they were about to enter is described as a good laud, fertile and well watered, and yielding abundant produce to its cultivators; and they are cautioned against forgetting, in their enjoyment of the gift, the bounty of the Giver, or congratulating themselves on having achieved the conquest of such a land, instead of gratefully acknowledging the grace which had sustained them during their protracted wandering in the wilderness, and by which alone they had been enabled to take possession of that favored land. Verses 7, 8 - Brooks of water, running streams, mountain torrents, and watercourses in the narrow valleys or wadys; fountains, perennial springs; depths, "the fathomless pools from which such streams as the Abana (now Barada), near Damascus, spring up full-grown rivers, almost as broad at their sources as at their mouths" (Condor, 'Handbook to the Bible,' p. 214), or this may include also the inland seas or lakes, such as the sea of Galileo and Lake Haleh. Palestine is in the present day, on the whole, well supplied with water, though the distribution is very unequal, many parts being almost wholly destitute of supply, except from what may be collected from rain in tanks or cisterns; and there is no reason to suppose it was different in the ancient times. As compared, however, with the desert to which the Israelites had been so long accustomed, and even with Egypt from which they had escaped, the country on which they were about to enter was well watered. Deuteronomy 8:1) with the renewed admonition to keep the whole law which he commanded them that day, that they might live and multiply and attain to the possession of the promised land (cf. Deuteronomy 4:1; Deuteronomy 6:3).
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