Free Because of the Lord

Deut 8:1-11

SS Lesson for 03/27/2022

 

Devotional Scripture: Ps 103:1-12

Lesson Background and Key Verse

Background from the NIV Standard Lesson Commentary

The setting for today’s lesson is “near Beth Peor east of the Jordan, in the land of Sihon king of the Amorites” (Deuteronomy 4:46) in about 1406 BC. The recipients were the Israelites of a new generation who were about to enter the Promised Land. Moses would soon die on Mount Nebo, located in Moab (chapter 34), having been barred from entering the Promised Land because of his disobedience at Meribah (Numbers 20:7–12). Deuteronomy is a covenant renewal treaty, delivered by Moses in a series of speeches (Deuteronomy 1:1–4:43; 4:44–28:68; etc.). In these speeches, he recounted the covenant God had made with Israel at Mount Sinai some four decades previously. This covenant is very similar to a specific kind of ancient Near Eastern treaty called a suzerainty covenant. In such covenants, a sovereign king (the suzerain) would write out terms of an agreement with a weaker king (the vassal). This generally required obedience from the lesser king in exchange for certain protections and benefits from the greater king. Typical suzerainty covenants contained at least six parts: (1) an introduction, (2) a historical basis for the treaty, (3) general stipulations followed by (4) specific stipulations, (5) divine witness, and finally (6) curses for disobedience and blessings for faithfulness. Deuteronomy 5–11 is the high point of the book. Here the Ten Commandments are recounted (chapter 5; compare Exodus 20:1–17 and Deuteronomy 4:13; 10:4). This is followed by an exposition of how to love and obey the Lord (chapters 6–11). Our text today, from Deuteronomy 8:1–11, falls under general stipulations in the second speech. One helpful way to categorize laws in the Bible is to distinguish between conditional and unconditional laws. Unconditional laws are what we have with the Ten Commandments. They are foundation principles for Israel’s covenant relationship. Covenant recognizes a relationship, and adherence to the rules maintains the relationship. Conditional laws rightly begin with a conditional clause (beginning with “if” or “when,” either expressed or implied), followed by a declarative judgment (beginning with “then,” either expressed or implied; examples: Exodus 21:28–29; 22:26–27).

 

Key Verse: Deut 8:11

Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today

 

Commentary from the Bible Knowledge Commentary

8:1. This introductory verse reminded the Israelites again that the gifts of life and fertility in the land... promised by God did not come automatically to believers but were by-products of obedience. The wilderness experience was designed to produce both obedience and faith in the nation. The people were told to be careful (cf. 4:9) to follow every command from God.

8:2-3. When Moses said that God tested the Israelites in order to know what was in their hearts he was using an anthropomorphism. God, of course, already knew what was in their hearts. The point is that their obedience or disobedience had to be proven in history. God led them into the desert where they had no alternative but to trust Him or to murmur against Him. In the desert they could not produce their own food but had to depend on God for food and thus for their very lives. When Moses reminded them that they did not live on bread alone he meant that even their food was decreed by the word of God. They had manna because it came by His command. It was therefore ultimately not bread that kept them alive but His word! “Bread alone,” that is, bread acquired independently of His word, could not keep them alive. This was why Jesus refused Satan’s temptation to turn the stones into bread when He was in the wilderness (Matt. 4:3-4). Jesus knew that God had not decreed those stones for His food, and also that His Father would provide food apart from the Son’s working of a miracle at the suggestion of Satan (cf. Matt. 7:9).

8:4-6. The Lord disciplined Israel by making her depend on Him for everything: food, water, and clothes. Since all these were provided by His decree the only logical response was to observe (obey) the commands of the Lord, following and revering Him. “Revering” translates a word that means fearing, that is, fearing to disobey the One who is so powerful and holy.

8:7-9. In contrast with the severity of the wilderness these verses describe the abundance of Israel’s new land. It was abundant in water (essential for crops as well as for sustaining animal and human life); in agricultural produce including grains (wheat... barley), fruits (grapes, figs, pomegranates), oil from olive trees, and honey; and in minerals. (Iron and copper have been discovered in the hills south of the Dead Sea.) The people then would lack nothing (cf. Ps. 23:1).

8:10-18. Moses then spelled out the danger inherent in abundant prosperity. Whereas in the wilderness they had to depend on God for the necessities of life, their newfound prosperity might conceal their need for the same dependence. Moses prescribed a sure antidote for this danger: praise the Lord your God. In fact failure to praise Him for His blessings was a step toward forgetting God and then disobeying His commands. An Israelite who ceased to praise the Lord sincerely would find that his heart had become proud (v. 14) in his abundance (vv. 12-13; cf. Hosea 13:6). He would forget (cf. Deut. 8:11, 19; see 4:9) the miraculous deliverance of Israel from Egypt... the land of slavery (cf. 5:6; 6:12; 7:8; 13:5, 10; Ex. 13:3, 14; 20:2) and the wilderness (cf. Deut. 1:19; 32:10) with its venomous snakes (cf. Num. 21:6-7) and scorpions. (This is the only reference in the Pentateuch to scorpions in the wilderness wanderings.) Such a person who did not remember God’s provisions of water (Ex. 15:25, 27; 17:5-7) and manna (Ex. 16) in the desert would be inclined to credit his own ability (my power and strength) for his wealth, when in reality it was as much a gift from God as the water out of hard rock had been in the wilderness. The provision of manna was a test, to see if Israel would depend on the Lord’s word (cf. Ex. 16:4). Such dependence is humbling (cf. Deut. 8:3). The people could avoid pride in their wealth and strength if they would constantly remember the Lord and the lesson of the wilderness: all of life is a gift from God and nothing is possible apart from Him (v. 18).

8:19-20. Just as failure to praise God would lead to forgetting Him, so forgetting Him would lead to worshiping other gods. That in turn would result in certain destruction (death). If Moses’ audience wanted an example of national destruction all they needed to do was to remember the nations the Lord destroyed, namely, the kingdoms of Sihon and Og (2:26-3:11).

 

Major Theme Analysis

(Scriptural Text from the New King James Version; cross-references from the NIV)

Freedom through God’s Guidance and Provisions (Deut 8:1-4)

 

1 "Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers.

2 And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.

3 So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.

4 Your garments did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years.

 

Guidance through commandments (1)

Commandments that guides to discern and dismiss deceivers (Eph 4:11-15)

11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.

Commandments that guides to not losing what we have worked for (Phil 2:14-16)

14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16 as you hold out the word of life — in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.

Commandments that guides to receiving a reward (1 Cor 3:11-14)

11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.

Commandments that guides to God showing Himself to us (John 14:21)

21 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."

Commandments that guides to gaining knowledge of God (1 John 2:3)

3 We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.

 

Guidance through testing (2)

Testing that refines (Ps 66:10)

10 For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver.

Testing that proves faith genuine (1 Peter 1:7)

7 These have come so that your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Testing that aids in receiving God's inheritance (Heb 11:8)

8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.

Testing to know what's in the heart (Deut 8:2)

2 Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.

 

Guidance through humbling (3)

Humbleness reduces humiliation from demotion (Prov 25:6-7)

6 Do not exalt yourself in the king's presence, and do not claim a place among great men; 7 it is better for him to say to you, "Come up here," than for him to humiliate you before a nobleman. What you have seen with your eyes

Humbleness keeps man content with what he has (Prov 12:9)

9 Better to be a nobody and yet have a servant than pretend to be somebody and have no food.

Humbleness is rewarded in heaven (Matt 18:4)

4 Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Humbleness is like being a child in God's eyes (Luke 9:48)

48 Then he said to them, "Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all — he is the greatest." 

Humbleness leads to God lifting us up (James 4:10)

10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

 

Provisions of clothing (4)

Clothed with meekness (Col 3:12)

12 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Clothed to not yield to worldly lusts (Rom 13:14)

14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

Clothed with Jesus (Gal 3:27)

27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Clothed with immortality (1 Cor 15:54)

54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."

 

 

Freedom through Obedience to God (Deut 8:5-11)

 

5 You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the Lord your God chastens you.

6 "Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him.

7 For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills;

8 a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey;

9 a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper.

10 When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you.

11 "Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today,

 

Obedience through chastisement (5)

Chastisement that could include distress (Isa 8:20-22)

20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. 21 Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. 22 Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.

Chastisement that could include imprisonment (Ezra 7:26)

26 Whoever does not obey the law of your God and the law of the king must surely be punished by death, banishment, confiscation of property, or imprisonment.

Chastisement that could include loss of life (Matt 18:6)

6 But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

Chastisement for doing wickedness (John 5:28-29)

28 "Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out — those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.

Chastisement because of being disobedient to God (2 Thess 1:7-9)

7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power

 

Obedience through fear of the Lord (6)

Fear of the Lord that provides health and strength (Prov 3:7-8)

7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. 8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.

Fear of the Lord that provides a productive life (Ps 128:1-2)

1 Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in his ways. 2 You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.

Fear of the Lord that provides knowledge of God (Prov 2:3-5)

3 and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, 4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, 5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.

Fear of the Lord that provides needs (Ps 34:9)

9 Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing.

 

Obedience that leads to provisions (7-9)

Provisions when we are weak (1 Kings 19:5-8)

5 Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, "Get up and eat." 6 He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. 7 The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, "Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you." 8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.

Provisions when we are needy (2 Kings 4:2-6)

2 Elisha replied to her, "How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?" "Your servant has nothing there at all," she said, "except a little oil." 3 Elisha said, "Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don't ask for just a few. 4 Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side." 5 She left him and afterward shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. 6 When all the jars were full, she said to her son, "Bring me another one." But he replied, "There is not a jar left." Then the oil stopped flowing.

Provisions that are supernatural (Matthew 14:17-21)

17 "We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish," they answered. 18 "Bring them here to me," he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Provisions for good works (2 Cor. 9:8)

8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

 

Obedience that leads to worship (10)

Worship of God only (Matt 4:10)

10 Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'"

Worship in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24)

23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."

Worship to glorify God (Phil 3:3)

3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh—

Worship with reverence and awe (Heb 12:28)

28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,

 

Obedience through warnings (11)

Warnings about wicked actions (Jer 7:13)

13 While you were doing all these things, declares the Lord, I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen; I called you, but you did not answer.

Warnings about obedience (Jer 7:23-24)

23 but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you. 24 But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward.

Warnings through past examples (1 Cor 10:11)

11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.

Warnings about false prophets (Jude 1:4)

4 For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

 

Conclusion and Other Thoughts

Commentary Thoughts from John Gill

INTRODUCTION TO DEUTERONOMY 8

In this chapter Moses repeats the exhortation to observe the commands of God, and urges the Israelites to it, from the consideration of the great and good things God had done for them in the wilderness, and even in those instances which were chastisements, and were of an humbling nature, Deuteronomy 8:1, and on the consideration of the blessings of the good land they were going to possess, Deuteronomy 8:7 for which blessings they are exhorted to be thankful, and are cautioned against pride of heart through them, and forgetfulness of God, and of his goodness to them while in the wilderness, and when brought into the land of Canaan, which they were to ascribe to his power and goodness, and not their own, Deuteronomy 8:10, and the chapter is concluded with a warning against idolatry, lest they perish through it as the nations before them, Deuteronomy 8:19.

Verse 1

All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do,.... It is repeated over and over again, to impress it on their minds, and to show the importance and necessity of it, how greatly it was expected from them, and how much it was incumbent on them:

that ye may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers; for their temporal life, and the mercies and comforts of it, the multiplication of their offspring, and of their substance, their entrance into the land of Canaan, possession of it, and continuance in it, all depended on their obedience to the commands of God; see Deuteronomy 19:20.

Verse 2

And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness,.... For this was now the fortieth year of their coming out of Egypt into the wilderness, into which they quickly came after their departure from thence, and had been in one wilderness or another ever since, in which God went before them in a pillar of cloud and fire, and directed their way; and now they are called upon to remember all the occurrences in the way, what favours and mercies had been bestowed upon them, what provisions had been made for them, what enemies they had been delivered from or overcome, as well as what afflictions and chastisements had attended them: and so the people of God should call to mind how they were brought to see their wilderness state and condition by nature; how they were brought out of it, and stopped in their career of sin, and turned from their evil ways, and led to Christ; what gracious promises have been made to them; what light has been afforded them; what communion they have had with God; what pleasure in his ordinances; what food they have been fed with; what temptations have befallen them, and how delivered out of them; and what afflictions have been laid upon them, and how supported under them, and freed from them:

to humble thee; under the mighty hand of God, to bring down the pride of their hearts and hide it from them; to lay them low in their own eyes, and clothe them with humility, that the Lord alone might be exalted: and

to prove thee; whether they would be obedient to his laws, or how they would behave towards him both in prosperity and adversity, and to try their graces, their faith and patience, fear and love:

to know what was in thine heart; that is, to make it known to themselves and others; for God knew all that was in it, the wickedness of it, the unbelief, rebellion, and frowardness of it, and needed not any ways and means to get into the knowledge of it; see 2 Chronicles 32:31,

whether thou wouldest keep his commandments or no; which they had in such a solemn manner promised to do; Deuteronomy 5:27.

Verse 3

And he humbled thee,.... Or afflicted thee with want of bread:

and suffered thee to hunger; that there might be an opportunity of showing his mercy, and exerting his power:

and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; a sort of food they had never seen before, and when they saw it, knew not what it was, but asked, what is it? Exodus 16:15. Thus the Lord humbles his people by his Spirit and grace, and brings them to see themselves to be in want, and creates in them desires after spiritual food, and feeds them with Christ the hidden manna, whose person, office, and grace, they were before ignorant of:

that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only; which is the stay and staff of life, and which strengthens man's heart, and is the main support of it, being the ordinary and usual food man lives upon, and is put for all the rest:

but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live: not so much by the food he eats as by the blessing of God upon it, and who can make one sort of food as effectual for such a purpose as another; for every creature of God is good being received with thankfulness, and sanctified by the word and prayer; and particularly he could and did make such light food as manna was to answer all the purposes of solid bread for the space of forty years in the wilderness; the Targum of Jonathan is, "but by all which is created by the Word of the Lord is the life of man;'' which seems to agree with 1Ti 4:3,4 for the meaning is not that the Israelites in the wilderness, and when come into the land of Canaan, should not live by corporeal food only, but by obedience to the commands of God, by means of which they should continue under his protection, which was indeed their case; nor that man does not live in his body only by bread, but in his soul also by the word of God, and the doctrines of it, which is certainly true; spiritual men live a spiritual life on Christ, the Word of God, and bread of life, and on the Gospel and the truths of it, the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus, and are nourished up with the words of faith and sound doctrine, by means of which their spiritual life is supported and maintained; but this is not what is here intended.

Verse 4

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, Song of Solomon 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.

Verse 5

Thou shalt also consider in thine heart,.... Frequently think of, and meditate upon, revolve in their thoughts, well weigh in their minds, and take into thorough and deliberate consideration in their hearts; it being a matter of great moment and importance to them for their peace and comfort and the glory of God, namely, what follows:

that as a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee; that they stood in the same relation to God as a son to a father, and therefore happy and honourable; that all their afflictions came from God, were appointed, sent, directed, and overruled by him for his own glory and their good; that these were the chastenings and corrections of a father, and were not done in wrath, but in love, and therefore should be patiently endured; and it became them to consider well from what hand they came, and in what manner, and for what ends and purposes, how they ought to behave under them, and what they should do, as follows.

Verse 6

Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God,.... Not only because they are the commands of God, and of a covenant God and Father, which are reasons sufficient for the observance of them; but because the Lord had dealt so bountifully with them, in providing food and raiment for them in the wilderness, which always continued with them; and because, when he afflicted them, it was a fatherly chastisement, with great tenderness and compassion, and for their good; all which laid them under obligations to keep the commands of God, whatsoever he had enjoined them, whether of the moral, ceremonial, or judicial kind:

to walk in his ways, and to fear him; to walk in the ways he directed, to be under an awe of his majesty, a fear of offending him, and a reverential affection for him, such as children have to a father.

Verse 7

For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land,.... The land of Canaan, abounding with good things after enumerated, a land flowing with milk and honey, having in it plenty of everything both for convenience and delight; which is another reason why they were under obligations to serve the Lord, to walk in his ways and keep his commandments:

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.

Verse 8

A land of wheat and barley,.... There were two harvests in it, one a barley harvest, which began at the passover, and the other a wheat harvest, which began at Pentecost: instances of the great plenty of these might be observed in the vast quantities consumed in the times of Solomon, in his household, and in the yearly distribution he made to Hiram, 1 Kings 4:22, yea, there was such plenty of wheat in this land, that it not only supplied the inhabitants of it, but even furnished other countries with it; with this the merchants of Israel and Judah traded at the market of Tyre, Ezekiel 27:17. According to the Jewish writers, the best fine wheat flour was at Mechumas and Mezonichah, and the next to them was Chephraim, or Ephraim, in the valley h:

and vines; with which this land abounded everywhere; the places most noted were Lebanon, Eshcol, Engedi, Ashkelon, Gaza, and Sarepta; according to the above writers i, Cerotim and Hatolim were the first for wine, and the second to them were Beth Rimah and Beth Laban in the mountain, and Caphat Sigmah in the valley; the wine of Sharon is also highly commended by them k

and fig trees and pomegranates: according to Josephus l, the country of Gennesaret furnished with the best grapes and figs for ten months without intermission, and the rest of fruits throughout the whole year. Figs and pomegranates, the spies brought with them when they returned from searching the land, as well as grapes, are a specimen of the fruits of it, Numbers 13:23

a land of oil olive; the mount of Olives was famous for olive trees, and had its name from thence; the whole land abounded with them, and though oil was so much in common use with the Jews, they supplied their neighbours with it: see 1 Kings 5:11. It was usual also, as we are told, for the ten tribes to send oil into Egypt m; according to the Jewish doctors, Tekoah was the first place for oil, and the second, Ragab, beyond Jordan n; very probably the same with Argob, Deuteronomy 3:4.

and honey; besides the great quantities of honey produced by bees in this country, there was much of another sort that dropped from trees, called wild honey, the food of John the Baptist in the wilderness, Matthew 3:4. Pliny o speaks of a sort of honey which he calls "eloeomeli", or oil honey, which is said to flow from the olive trees in Syria; but this honey here is generally thought by the Jewish writers to be an honey which was made of the fruit of palm trees, frequent in this country, and especially about Jericho; of which Josephus p says, that the palm trees about Jericho, the fatter of them (i.e. of the fruit of them) being pressed, emit a large quantity of honey, scarce exceeded by any; and Maimonides q says, that the honey spoken of in the law, particularly in this place, is honey of palm trees, so Ben Melech; and it was not unusual for people of other nations to make honey of the fruit of them. Herodotus r reports, that the Babylonians made honey out of palm trees; so the Arabs call honey of palm trees "dibs, dibis, dipso" s, the same with the word here used; agreeably to which both the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem paraphrase the words, "out of whose palm trees honey is made.''

Verse 9

A land wherein thou shall eat bread without scarceness,.... That is, should have plenty of all sorts of provisions, which bread is often put for:

thou shall not lack anything in it; for necessity and convenience, and for delight and pleasure:

a land whose stones are iron; in which were iron mines:

and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass; both which are taken out of the earth and the stones of it, Job 28:2 and were to be found in the land of Canaan, and particularly in the tribe of Asher, as seems from Deuteronomy 33:25 and more particularly at Sidon and Sarepta, which were in that tribe; the latter of which seems to have its name from the melting of metals there, and the former is said in Homer t to abound with brass.

Verse 10

When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the Lord thy God,.... For as the Lord would furnish them with plenty of food, they might eat of it liberally, provided they did not indulge to intemperance, as everyone may whom God has blessed with a fulness of good things; and this shows that we are to return thanks to God for a plentiful meal, as well as to ask a blessing on it:

for the good land which he hath given thee; which supplied them with such plenty, that they enjoyed full meals every day.

Verse 11

Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God,.... The Father of mercies and fountain of goodness, the author and donor of every good and perfect gift. Plenty is apt to induce a forgetfulness of God, when on the contrary one would think it should keep him in continual remembrance, and engage to daily thankfulness to him:

in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day; gave a repetition of, and in the name of God afresh enjoined them, even laws moral, ceremonial, and judicial, which, when not observed, God is forgotten.

Verse 12

Lest when thou hast eaten and art full,.... Not only once and again, but continually, day after day, being indulged with great plenty:

and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt [therein]; who for forty years had only dwelt in tents, moving from place to place in the wilderness.

Verse 13

And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply,.... Having good pasture for them in so fruitful a land:

and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied; by trading with other nations:

and all that thou hast is multiplied; children, servants, and substance.

Verse 14

Then thine heart be lifted up,.... As the heart is apt to be when riches increase; hence the advice in 1 Timothy 6:17

and thou forget the Lord thy God; from whom all good things come, and who can take them away when he pleases, and therefore should be ever kept in mind, for ever looked to and trusted in for the continuance of them; yet such is the evil heart of man, and such the stupefying nature of riches, that they bring on forgetfulness of the author of them, lead off from dependence on him and obedience to him; in order to prevent which, an enumeration is given of wonderful instances of divine goodness to Israel, as follows:

which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; into a land abounding with all the above good things, and therefore it must be the highest ingratitude to forget such a God, and disobey his commands.

Verse 15

Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness,.... The wilderness of Paran, which was great and large, reaching from Sinai to Kadesh, eleven days' journey, and terrible to the sight, nothing being to be seen but dry rocks and barren mountains; see Deuteronomy 1:19, and especially for what follows: wherein were fiery serpents and scorpions; fiery serpents, such as bit the Israelites, of which see Numbers 21:6 and scorpions, a kind of serpents, venomous and mischievous, which have stings in their tails they are continually thrusting out and striking with, as Pliny says u; and have their name from their great sting; for Aristotle w says, this alone of insects has a large sting:

and drought where there was no water; a dry and barren place where no water was to be had; see Psalms 63:1 or it may be rather another kind of serpents may be meant, which is called "dipsas"; and so the Vulgate Latin, Septuagint, and Samaritan versions render it; the biting of which produces such a thirst as proves mortal, and which must be intolerable in a wilderness where no water is; and from whence it has its name, which signifies thirsty, as does the Hebrew word here used:

who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; which was done both at Horeb and Kadesh, Exodus 17:6 and was very extraordinary; by striking flint, fire is ordinarily produced, and not water. Dr. Shaw observes x, that it may be more properly named, with other sorts of graphite marble here to be met with, "the rock of amethyst", from their reddish or purple colour and complexion.

Verse 16

Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna,.... Even all the forty years they were in it, Exodus 16:35 which thy fathers knew not; when they first saw it, Exodus 16:15

that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee; they were kept humble, being dependent on God for their daily bread, having nothing in the wilderness to support themselves with; and this tried them, whether they would trust in God for their daily supply, and be thankful for it, or not:

to do thee good at thy latter end; that by living on such light bread, and this only and continually, his goodness might appear the greater, and be the sweeter to them, when they came into a land abounding with all good things; which is not to be understood of the latter end and last days of their commonwealth, as our version, with the Septuagint, Samaritan, Arabic versions, and others, and the Targum of Onkelos; but of time following nearer, and the phrase should be rendered "hereafter" y; which better agrees with the promise of a divine blessing; though, come when it would, it was the more acceptable for the trial; as heaven will be the sweeter to the saints, through the afflictions, hardships, straits, and difficulties, which attend them here.

Verse 17

And thou say in thine heart,.... These words are in connection with the former part of the Deuteronomy 8:14:

and thou forget the Lord thy God; the author and giver of all the good things enjoyed, and think within themselves, though they might not express it in words at length:

my power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth; so ascribing that to themselves, their labour, and diligence, which ought to be ascribed to the bounty and blessing of God; see Hosea 12:8.

Verse 18

But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God,.... That he was the author of their beings, the God of their lives and mercies; what great and good things he had done for them in Egypt, and in the wilderness; and particularly in putting them into the possession of such a fruitful country, abounding with all that heart could wish for:

for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth; for though men may have seeming opportunities for getting wealth, may have capacities for the management of business for the acquisition of it, and may not be wanting in diligence and industry, yet may not attain it; it is the blessing of God that makes rich, and to that it should be imputed whenever it is enjoyed; see Psalms 127:2

that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers,

as [it is] this day; that he would give the land of Canaan to their seed, and make them a rich and flourishing people, as they would be and were when possessed of the land, which is supposed throughout this discourse.

Verse 19

And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the Lord thy God,.... Either the mercies they received from him, not acknowledging they came from him, but ascribing them to themselves; or their duty to him, to whom they were so greatly obliged: and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them; which would be to forget him indeed, forsaking his worship, and giving homage and adoration to idols, which is what is intended by these expressions:

I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish; by one judgment and calamity or another, as the sword, famine, pestilence, and captivity; there being nothing more provoking to God than idolatry, which so much detracts from his honour and glory: and which besides, in such a people, so highly favoured of God, it argued the basest ingratitude.

Verse 20

As the nations which the Lord destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish,.... Be cut off by the sword, or cast out as they were, the same sins, particularly idolatry, being committed by them. This is to be understood of the seven nations of the land of Canaan, which the Lord would be gradually destroying when Israel came into the possession of their land; and they might righteously expect the same treatment, should they be guilty of the same sins:

because ye would not be obedient to the voice of the Lord your God; expressed in his law, especially in the two first precepts of it, which require the worship of one God, and forbid the worshipping of idols; or to the Word of the Lord, as the Targum of Jonathan, Christ, the essential Word, in whom the name of the Lord was, and whose voice Israel was to obey, Exodus 23:20.

                        (Adapted from URL:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/geb/deuteronomy-8.html)

 


Concluding Thoughts from the NIV Standard Lesson Commentary

God has given us words to remember, laws to live by. Our peace depends on remembering what God has commanded and then acting faithfully on that memory (see John 14:21). Though much has changed between when Israel stood at the boundary of the Promised Land and the time of the global church, we too are called to remember all that the Lord has done for us. We are not self-sufficient, God has given us all that we have. We must look to him in times of both need and plenty. Only when we honor and fear him like this can we call others to the same respect. And, of course, we bring not only knowledge of God’s law but also the peace of God’s forgiveness through Jesus’ sacrifice. His love has been shown to us; let us show it also to the watching world. Only then will we experience life in our own good land—the world God created—and beyond, in his Heaven

 

Concluding Thoughts from the Echoes Commentary

Remember! - The Scriptures use this word "remember" repeatedly. Specifically, God wanted the Hebrew children to recall His grace and mercy over their 40 years in the wilderness. It's essential to have an excellent memory of what the Lord has done to trust Him with your future.

 

A Heart Exam - When confronted with a test or trial, what is in the heart of a person becomes evident. God already knows the heart of every person, inside and out. But how well does each individual know their own heart? Or even want to know what is there? A prideful heart is a dangerous thing, but a meek spirit, humility in the eyes of God, is beautiful.

 

Learning Dependence - Each morning, the Hebrew children, while traveling to the Promised Land, had to rely on God's provision in order to survive. Unless He rained down manna each day, they had no way to get food. It took them 40 years to understand, but God eventually taught them how to depend on Him and Him alone for their substance.

 

God's Discipline - His correction for His children is never a punishment but always for training and maturing purposes. Being in God's classroom requires humility and being ready to submit to His will. As the Hebrew children looked to the Father for His words, at the same time, He took care of their material needs. The lesson here is, learn to obey and walk in His ways.

 

God's Provision - God led them to a well-watered land, fertile for growing crops and with plenty of drinking water for man and beast. The earth below contained copper, iron, and brass. They would never have to worry about food or supplies. It was a land of milk and honey—everything the Israelites needed and much more, God provided. Moses ended his admonishment to the crowd by saying, once again, not to forget the Lord and to keep His instructions. This is wisdom for Christians today as well. Before going to sleep at night, recall God's goodness. All too often, the nighttime thoughts are unrestful, thinking about challenges that have occurred, worries, or the "to do" list waiting in the morning. If the believer reflects on the past activities of the Lord and His goodness, it's easier to look forward to God's mercies the next day.