Date: Thu, 22 Dec 1994 09:47:54 -0600 Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From: Teus Benschop Subject: Deuteronomy 7 Contents ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1. Introduction 2. Explanation 3. Questions 1. Introduction ------------------------------------------------------------------------ This is an issue of a continuous explanation of the Bible-book Dvarim, that is Deuteronomy. If something is unclear in the explanation, you can ask me. The Bible-text is taken from the King James version. Deuteronomy 7. Title: Warning against false tolerance Short contents: Here, Moshe says to the Israelites how they have to behave themselves to the inhabitants of Kenaan, and what they had to do with their idols. Moshe tells about the glory of Israel above all other nations. He also tells what the cause of that election is. He promises blessing on the obedience of God. He comforts them against the strong inhabitants of Kenaan. He forbids them to keep the gold and silver of the idols. 2. Explanation ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1 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 Chitiem, and the Girgasiem, and the Amorites, and the Kenaaniem, and the Perizie, and the Chiwiem, and the Jevusiem, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; 2 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: The LORD forbids the nation to make a covenant with the heathen. Why does God this to them? He forbids this because a covenant between people has mutual commitments. When an Israelite would make a covenant with a heathen, than he also should have to answer to the commitments. When the heathen should make a meal, than the Israelite should go there because of politeness. Of course, he would do it unwillingly, certainly at first, but he would still go. When there on that meal would happen some pagan rituals, as idolatry and so on, than the Israelite would be defiled by that. This is not allowed. For God is the only God, and He does not tolerate other gods besides Him. Therefore, the LORD warns the Israelites beforehand that they not will do this. the LORD knows how weak the people are. They could not resist against the heathen. Therefore, it is better to avoid the danger. This is useful also for us. We better can avoid the dangers than unnecessary seek them. For also we would be weak and fall in the temptations. Also, God commands the nation that they not will show mercy to the heathen. Is this not somewhat hard, to kill all these heathens without need, also the women and the children? No, this is not hardhearted. The heathen had already sinned against God a very long time. The LORD has been longsuffering about them. Now it is enough, and the judgement would begin. So, the nation Israel is a medium in the hand of God, to bring the righteous punishment over the heathen. 3 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. A marriage between a heathen and an Israelite is forbidden. Why? The answer follows in the next verse. 4 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. In a marriage, there is much indulgence between the married couple. When one of them is a heathen, and wants to serve his own idol, than the other is inclined to tolerate that more or less. For a quarrel in the marriage, that is not nice. But the LORD sees it in another way. To keep the external peace in the marriage, man should be disobedient to God. That is not allowed. The LORD must be served with the whole heart. Here we see that a marriage between a heathen and an Israelite therefore is impossible. Either there will be a quarrel between them, or one would deviate from God. The LORD beforehand knows the outcome, f"or they will turn away thy son from following Me". Then God's anger would be kindled, and "destroy them suddenly". Because the LORD seeks the best for the Israelites, He warns them for that in advance. As it was then, it is now still the same. A marriage of a believer with an unbeliever, that will lead to deviation from God. 5 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. Moshe concisely commands the whole extermination of the idolatry. Smash it to pieces. Each thing, which still lets thinking to the previous idolatry, that must now be exterminated. The land must become pure. 6 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. The LORD has chosen Israel above all other nations. Therefore, the nation must be holy before the LORD. 7 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: Here, Moshe says that there was no cause in the people, why the LORD had chosen them. They had nothing above the other nations. And the same is it with all election. It is always in grace, and not because of any reason in us. 8 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 Faro king of Egypt. The LORD has chosen the people because He loved them. That is the reason. So not because the people loved God so much. During the journey through the desert, they have not given evidence of any love of God. During that journey, the children of Israel have enraged God by their unfaithfulness. So there was not any love of the nation. Nevertheless, the LORD loved the people. Herein, we see the one-sided work of God. The love of God to the nation was not the only reason of their election. The other reason is that God is faithful to the oath. The LORD had sworn unto the fathers Avraham, Yitschak and Yaakov that their descendants would inherit the land Kenaan. Here, the LORD, Who keeps the oath, fulfills His promise. So, there are two reasons of the election of the nation. God's love to the nation, and Gods faith in the keeping of His promises. From this we see, that there was no reason in the nation for the election. The people have not paid more attention to God than the other nations. Moreover, this nation has sinned against God as heavy as the other nations. The story goes around among some people that God offered the law on Sinai to all nations. But everyone thought it too hard, except Israel. They accepted the law. But here, this anecdote is refuted by Moshe. The reason of the election was not, that the people promised at Sinai to do the commandments. But the reason was, that God already long ago had given the promise of Kenaan to Avraham. And that God, Who is faithful and true, now fulfills this promise to Avraham's descendants. 9 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; Here, the LORD very friendly invites the people to obedience. He does this by promising mildness unto the far offspring. Also is said that God is the faithful God. That is against the human unfaithfulness. How unfaithful the man is, as this nation appeared, God's faithfulness still cannot be destroyed. Here, the loving of God is written before the keeping of His commandments. Therein we see that one not will keep God's commandments by pressure. He will only do it, when he loves God. 10 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. Moshe is not a one-sided preacher. One-sided preachers speak only about God's love. When one always hears about God's love, and not about God's punishments, then he sinks down in a false rest. "God, Who is so lovely and good, He will not punish me", which men think than. Until the punishment comes. Unfortunately, that is the result of one-sided speaking about God's love. But Moshe is not so hardhearted that he withholds the truth from the people. They also must know about God's punishments. Therefore, Moshe says that God will repay them, that hate Him, in their face. The haters impudently raise their faces to God, and resist Him. But God gives them a hit in their face to destroy them. "He will not be slack to him that hates Him, he will repay him to his face." The prophet also says this. "God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies," Nachum / Nahum 1:2. 11 Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them. When it is so that God does well to them who love Him, and repays them that hate Him, keep then His commandments. 12 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: Although the nation has showed in the past that they not obey God, yet God treats merciful with them. By promising mildness, God spurs on the people to obedience. Although they not were obedient in the past, yet they have to be it in the future. 13 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. A great and rich blessing is promised on obedience. 14 Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle. When they should be obedient, the LORD promised that no man or woman would be barren. Because we see some marriages childless, that is a sign that we not have obeyed God. With this is not said that the childless married-couple is more disobedient than the others. For when we will see it in that way, then each marriage should be barren. It is otherwise. The LORD wants to remember us in diverse ways that we are disobedient. God had said that infertility would follow on disobedience. Now, He has to fulfil His words. Therefore, he puts some marriages as an example. However, the LORD does not want to let totally disappear the human race. Therefore, He blesses many with children. Let we, concerning this, pay attention to Channa. The LORD had shut up her womb," Shmueel / Samuel A 1:5. The LORD had not given children to her. Was now all hope on offspring lost for her? No, Channa knew that she could go to God with all her needs. She prayed to God for a child. "And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head," Shmueel / Samuel A 1:11. And, as we know, the LORD has heard her prayer. What did she after that? Did she forget the LORD? No, that not. She thanked God and gave Shmueel / Samuel her child to the LORD. "For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him. Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there," Shmueel / Samuel A 1:27,28. This history of Channa teaches us that we may go to the LORD with all our needs. It also teaches us that we not must be ungratefully with the received benefits, but that we must totally put these benefits in the service of God. 15 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. 16 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. When the Israelites will come in the land, than will happen one of two things. Either the nation will tempt them to idolatry, and then the people will be decayed by God's punishment. Or they have to exterminate the nations, and will be saved theirself. God's people cannot live together with the heathen. When they come together, then one must evade. The LORD warns them not to feel sorry for those heathen. They have already sinned many centuries against God. Now, it is the time for the revenge. When God gets His revenge, will they sabotage it then? It would be a snare unto them. 17 If thou shalt say in thine heart, These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them? The nation Israel will be very frightened at the sight of these nations. For these nations were much more and stronger. Not strange that Israel will fear then. 18 Thou shalt not be afraid of them: but shalt well remember what the LORD thy God did unto Faro, and unto all Egypt; Although the nation fears, the LORD will encourage them. They shall remember the great miracles in Egypt. Also then, they were much weaker then the Egyptians. But also then, God has defeated them by His power. 19 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. As God has done then, He will also do now. Hereof, we learn something for ourselves. When God commands us to do something, then it can happen that great obstacles come in the way for us. These obstacles can be much greater and mightier then we are. But the LORD urges us to break through all the obstacles, and not to stand still despondently. We must not break through in own power, because we have that not. But when the LORD commands us something, then He will take care that all obstacles will be knocked down. See this in Gidon. "And the LORD looked upon him, and said: Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midjaniem: have not I sent thee? And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? Behold, my family is poor in Menashe, and I am the least in my father's house. And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midjaniem as one man," Shoftiem / Judges 6:14-16. God commanded Gidon to beat the Midjaniem. Gidon did not dare, because he was very weak and little in himself. The LORD encouraged him by saying that God would be with him. 20 Moreover the LORD thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves from thee, be destroyed. The LORD will also fight against the heathen by hornets. The people fight by the sword, but the LORD will fight in another way. Later, Jehoshua / Joshua tells that the LORD indeed has done it. "And I sent the hornet before you, which drave them out from before you, even the two kings of the Amorites; but not with thy sword, nor with thy bow," Jhoshua 24:12. Herein, we see that all creatures are in God's hand. They do all what He wants. Eliahu got his food from the ravens. "And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there," Mlachiem A / 1 Kings 17:4. The serpents do God's will. "And though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out thence; and though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea, thence will I command the serpent, and he shall bite them," Amos 9:3. When there is a plague of vermin in our time, then it is sure that they are sent by God. 21 Thou shalt not be affrighted at them: for the LORD thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible. 22 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. The LORD will not put them out at once, but bit by bit. Here, God says it already beforehand. So, the nation Israel knows that the fight will last a long time. But now, they know the reason of it. When the fight lasts longer then they had thought, then they will no more become discouraged. They know the reason now. When the heathen would be put out at once, than would the wild beasts come to live in the land. Then, Israel would have the fight against the wild beasts. 23 But the LORD thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed. Look, hoe God acts here. In verse 21, God says: "You shall not be affrighted at them." Israel had not to be frightened, but the heathens had to do so. That is the difference between them. The LORD is a great, strong and terrible Hero. They, who are in the charge of that powerful God, they will be safe. But God's enemies, they must be intensely frightened. It is still the same in the present time. Who resists God will surely be exterminated. But who is adopted by God in grace, he will receive the good. 24 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. 25 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. 26 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. Look, what a great aversion God has to the idolatry. Even the gold and the silver, of which the images were made, had to be destroyed. So much God hates the idolatry. He gives this commandment to the profit of the people. They would be snared by the gold and silver. Therefore, God warns them here. This is not so strange. In the past, Moshe had also done with the golden calf at Chorev. "And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it," Shmot 32:20. We should probably say: "That is a pity of the gold. Let us melt it down, than we can still use it before a good purpose. For example, to support the poor and the hungry by that." But the LORD thinks differently about that. So great is His aversion to the idolatry. And, as is said, it would become a snare for us. When we had much money, then we would in no way give it to the poor and the hungry. But we would keep is for ourselves. Because of the riches, we would be snared. So, it is the best for the human to be not rich and not poor. The same as Agur says this: "Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me. Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain," Mishlee / Proverbs 30:8,9. 3. Questions ------------------------------------------------------------------------ If you want to gain more benefit from the explanation, you could consider to answer the questions and do the tasks. You can send these to the editor. He will look at it, and return them to you with his comments. Questions. 1 Israel was not allowed to make a covenant with the heathen, neither to go in marriage with them. Why not? 2 Israel had to clean the whole land of the heathen rests. What does this teach us for our own houses? 3 Which two reasons gives the LORD for the election of the nation Israel? 4 a. What does God to them, that hate Him? b. Do you hate God or do you love Him? 5 In the desert, the nation has been stiff-necked against the LORD. In reality, they have therefore deserved the death. Why does God nevertheless bring them in the promised land? 6 Read verse 12-15. What does God promise to them, that love Him? 7 Previously, Channa was without children. a. What did she do then? b. When she got Shmueel / Samuel, what did she do with him then? Why? 8 Has Israel chased off the heathen out the land in own power? 9 Read Mishlee / Proverbs 30:8,9. a. What is the danger of riches? b. What is the danger of poverty? Tasks. 1 In verse three is forbidden that Israel would make marriages with the heathen. Look up in Shoftiem / Judges 3, Mlachiem A / 1 Kings 11, Ezra 9 if the nation has always obeyed this. 2 In verse eight is written the reason, why God had saved the nation Israel out of Egypt, and had brought them in Kenaan. Seek similar reasons in 1 Shmueel / Samuel 12 and Thilliem / Psalm 44. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Chr-Exp, a Christian explanation of the Tanach and the New Testament Editor: Teus Benschop - email@example.com No copyrights on this publication - Translated by a Dutchman Institution Practical Bible-education, the Netherlands .