Matthew Poole's Commentary
When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;Israel is commanded to cast out the Hittites, the Perizzites, &c. Deu 7:1. All communion with them forbidden, Deu 7:2,3, for fear of idolatry, Deu 7:4. They must ruin the places of idolatry, Deu 7:5. The Israelites’ holiness and relation to God, Deu 7:6. His faithfulness to the obedient, Deu 7:9; and vengeance on them that hate him, Deu 7:10. The advantages of obedience, Deu 7:12-16. God encourages them, and promises to drive out the nations before there, Deu 7:17-24. They are commanded to destroy their images, Deu 7:25; and keep themselves clean from their cursed things, Deu 7:26.
There were ten in Genesis 15:19-21; but this being some hundreds of years after that, it is not strange if three of them were either destroyed by foreign or domestic wars, or by cohabitation and marriage united with and swallowed up in some of the rest.
And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:No covenant with them, to spare them, or permit them to dwell with thee in the land. Other nations had more favour, but these were for their great wickedness, and for the good of Israel, devoted to utter destruction.
Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.No text from Poole on this verse.
For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.i.e. There is manifest danger of apostacy and idolatry from such matches; which reason doth both limit the law to such of these as were unconverted, otherwise Salmon married Rahab, Matthew 1:5, and enlarge it to other idolatrous nations, as appears from 1 Kings 11:2 Ezra 9:2 Nehemiah 13:23.
But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.Idolaters planted groves about the temples and altars of their gods. Hereby God designed to take away whatsoever might bring their idolatry to remembrance, or occasion the reviving of it.
For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.No text from Poole on this verse.
The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:To wit, at that time when God first declared his love to you, and choice of you for his peculiar people, which was done to Abraham. For Abraham had but one son concerned in this choice and covenant, to wit, Isaac, and that was in his hundredth year; and Isaac was sixty years old ere he had a child, and then they had only two children; and though Jacob had twelve sons, yet it was a long time ere they made any considerable increase. Nor do we read of any great multiplication of them till after Joseph’s death, Exodus 1:6,7.
But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.Because the Lord loved you, i.e. because it pleased him to love you; it was his free choice, without any cause or motive on your part. Compare Deu 10:15 1 Samuel 12:22 Psalm 44:3.
Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;The faithful God; true to his word, and constant in performing all his promises.
And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face.Them that hate him; not only those who hate him directly and properly, (for so did few or none of the Israelites, to whom he here speaks,) but those who hate him by construction and consequence; those who hate and oppose his people, and word, and image, those who presumptuously and wilfully persist in the breach of God’s commandments, as appears from Deu 7:9, where the love of God, to which this hatred is opposite, is described and expressed by the keeping of his commandments. To their face, i.e. openly, and so as they shall see it, and not be able to avoid it.
He will not be slack, to wit, so as some men count slackness, 2 Peter 3:9, so as to delay it beyond the fit time or season for vengeance; yet withal he is long-suffering, and slow to anger, as that and other places inform us.
Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.No text from Poole on this verse.
Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the LORD thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy fathers:i.e. The covenant of mercy or grace, which he out of his own mere grace made with them. A figure called hendiaduo.
And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee.He will love thee; he will continue to love thee, and to manifest his love to thee, he will not repent of his love to thee.
Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle.No text from Poole on this verse.
And the LORD will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee.The evil diseases of Egypt; such as the Egyptians were infested with, either commonly, as that botch, Deu 28:27; or miraculously and extraordinarily, from the hand of the Lord, as Exodus 9:10,15. Compare Exodus 23:25 Psalm 105:37.
And thou shalt consume all the people which the LORD thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them: neither shalt thou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee.An occasion of sin and utter destruction. See Exodus 23:33 34:12 Judges 2:3.
If thou shalt say in thine heart, These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them?No text from Poole on this verse.
Thou shalt not be afraid of them: but shalt well remember what the LORD thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt;Well remember, Heb. remembering remember, i.e. remember it frequently, considerately, practically, and for thy encouragement; for men are said to forget those things which they do not remember to good purpose.
The great temptations which thine eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the stretched out arm, whereby the LORD thy God brought thee out: so shall the LORD thy God do unto all the people of whom thou art afraid.The great temptations; the trials and exercises of thy faith and obedience to my call and commands.
So shall the Lord do; so as he did to Pharaoh and his people, mentioned Deu 7:18.
Moreover the LORD thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves from thee, be destroyed.The hornet; of which see on Exodus 23:28.
Thou shalt not be affrighted at them: for the LORD thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible.No text from Poole on this verse.
And the LORD thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee.Or, thou shalt not be able to consume them at once, i.e. in an instant. I will not assist thee with my omnipotency, to crush them in a moment, but will bless thee in the use of ordinary means, and destroy them successively by several battles.
But the LORD thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed.No text from Poole on this verse.
And he shall deliver their kings into thine hand, and thou shalt destroy their name from under heaven: there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them.This promise is made upon condition of their performance of their duty, which they neglecting, they justly lose the benefit of it, as we see, Judges 2:1-3.
The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the LORD thy God.That is on them, wherewith the idols are covered or adorned, nor consequently any other of their ornaments. This he commands to show his utter detestation of idolatry, and to cut off all occasions of it.
Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.A cursed thing, i.e. devoted to utter destruction, as that was. See Joshua 7:11,21,24, &c.