Date:         Thu, 29 Dec 1994 09:55:19 -0600
Sender:       Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From:         Teus Benschop 
Subject:      Deuteronomy 8
     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, ask me.
  The Bible-text is taken from the King James version.
  Deuteronomy 8.
  Title: Warning against arrogance and forgetting of the benefactions
  Short contents:
  Moshe admonished  the people to be obedient to  God, because He has given
  them many blessings.  He mentions  the beauty  and the  fertility of  the
  land.  He warns them  for pride and forgetting  of God, when  it would go
  well with them, and he threatens them with punishments.
  2. Explanation
     1 All the  commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe
     to do, that ye may live, and  multiply, and go in and possess the land
     which the LORD sware unto your fathers.
  Here, Moshe attracts the people to keep God's commandments. He  does this
  by putting the promised lands before their eyes. Moshe says that the LORD
  had  already sworn this land  to the fathers. From  this, we see that the
  nation not inherited the land  because of their obedience, but because of
  God's  allegiance  to  His  oath.  So,  they  receive  not pay  on  their
  obedience, but it is just the other  way around. Because they receive the
  inheritance, they  are the  more urged  to obedience, in  thankfulness to
  God.  But  this  does not  mean  that  the behaviour  of  the  nation was
  unimportant. It  is sure, if they  would be disobedient,  then they would
  not inherit the  land. This appeared in the desert. Many are knocked down
  there. Also these people, who lie here to the border of Kenaan, have been
  stiff-necked. Nevertheless, God  promised them the land.  This is a prove
  even more that this reward was in grace.
     2 And thou shalt remember all the way which the  LORD thy God led thee
     these forty  years in  the wilderness,  to humble  thee, and  to prove
     thee, to know  what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his
     commandments, or no.
  The LORD humbled the nation. Sure, this was necessary. For in prosperity,
  it is  easy to serve  God. But to  serve God also  in adversity, that  is
  difficult.  Therefore, the  nation needed  humility in  the desert.  Then
  would become public, how it looked inside  their heart. And how looked it
  there? The story is known. When there was  lack of water, then the people
  grumbled. That  was the inside their hart. From  this we learn something.
  It is true  that we can  say in  prosperity that we  serve God. But  this
  tells  nothing. Beautiful  words. It  is  necessary that  we  also become
  humbled  by   God.  For  example,   when  all  things   are  against  us.
  Unemployment, poverty, disease, death. Then will become public what lives
  in our  heart. Begin we to scold? Have we  then wrong thoughts about God?
  Do we think then: "why must this  happen to me?" From this is to see what
  lives  in our  heart.  When somebody  wants  to have  security about  his
  salvation, then  it is indispensable that  God makes him  humble. In this
  way, also Avraham  is tempted. The LORD  wanted to know if  Avraham would
  obey Him in  all things, even  in the offering  of his only son.  "And it
  came to  pass after these  things, that God  did tempt Avraham,  and said
  unto him,  Avraham: and he said, Behold, here  I am," Bereshiet / Genesis
     3  And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with
     manna, which thou knewest not,  neither did thy fathers know; that  he
     might  make thee  know that man  doth not  live by bread  only, but by
     every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.
  It is the normal way of life that the people are fed through bread of the
  earth. But now, the LORD wanted to teach them something. He made  them go
  hungry. The normal  bread was no longer  available. Instead of  that, God
  gave them the manna  out the heaven. The people had  to learn that God is
  mighty to keep  them in life also  through extraordinary means. The  LORD
  can keep  a man  alive, also without  bread. He  keeps him alive  by all,
  which proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD. Also, we need to learn this.
  We can only learn  this when God takes  the normal mediums away from  us.
  This is a very powerful means in the  life of somebody, to experience the
  strength  of God. This  teaches us also  that the ordinary  food does not
  feed us naturally. It is needed that God adds His blessing to it. "Better
  is little  with the  fear of  the LORD  than great  treasure and  trouble
  therewith. Better is a dinner  of herbs where love is, than a  stalled ox
  and hatred therewith,"  Mishlee / Proverbs 15:16,17.  But through the rut
  of the daily life, we forget that God's blessing is necessary. From there
  it  is needed that also we sometimes are humbled  by God, and that we are
  taught in this way.
     4 Thy  raiment waxed not  old upon thee,  neither did thy  foot swell,
     these forty years.
  Here is to see that God can do wonders. For during  forty years rambling,
  the clothes already had to be worn out for often, and their feet swelled.
  That this not  has happened, that shows blatant God's  power, without the
  ordinary means.
     5 Thou shalt also consider in  thine heart, that, as a man  chasteneth
     his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee.
  The LORD has  not humbled them to  plague them. He chastened them  like a
  father does with his  son. The goal of  this education is not  to plague,
  but to teach. The  people had to learn  that God took care for them,  and
  did them well.
     6 Therefore thou shalt keep the  commandments of the LORD thy God,  to
     walk in his ways, and to fear him.
  The  nation  was  humbled.  The  goal  was  that  they   would  keep  the
  commandments of God. The people had not to serve God in  an arrogant way.
  When then would say: "We can keep serve God with ease", than would  it be
  not well.  When they  would say  this, that  would not  give evidence  of
  Godsfear. For in  fear is not pride, but submission. "Only fear the LORD,
  and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things
  he hath  done for you," Shmueel /  Samuel A 12:24. Shmueel  / Samuel says
  the  same as Moshe  says here. Serve  God with the whole  heart, in fear,
  because He has done great things.
     7 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;
     8  A  land  of  wheat, and  barley,  and  vines,  and  fig trees,  and
     pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey;
     9 A land  wherein thou shalt eat bread without  scarceness, thou shalt
     not lack  any thing in  it; a land whose  stones are iron,  and out of
     whose hills thou mayest dig brass.
  Moshe  recommends the  land  very much.  There are  brooks  of water  and
  fountains, much  wheat is  there, and  many fruit trees,  iron and  brass
  mines. Moshe recommends  this so much so  that they will honour  God even
  more, and give gratitude to Him.
     10 When thou hast eaten  and art full, then thou shalt  bless the LORD
     thy God for the good land which he hath given thee.
     11 Beware that thou  forget not the LORD thy  God, in not keeping  his
     commandments, and  his judgments,  and his  statutes, which I  command
     thee this day:
  This is  something, which  happens  too often.  When  is goes  well  with
  somebody, than he forgets God, his Benefactor. This  has also happened to
  the nation  Israel. When it  went well with  them, they forgot  God. This
  says de prophet  Hoshea / Hosea. "For  she did not know  that I gave  her
  corn, and wine, and  oil, and multiplied her silver and  gold, which they
  prepared for Baal. Therefore will I return, and take away my corn in  the
  time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof, and will recover my wool
  and my flax given to cover her nakedness," Hoshea / Hosea 2:8,9. Hoshea /
  Hosea says that  the nation forgot God. Therefore, God will come and take
  away all the good.  Also we forget God  when it goes prosperously  in our
  life. Therefore, it is  more profitable for us that  we not get too  many
  riches. What is that, too many riches? That is more than we can bear.
     12 Lest  when thou  hast eaten  and art  full, and  hast built  goodly
     houses, and dwelt therein;
     13 And when thy herds and thy  flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy
     gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied;
     14 Then thine heart  be lifted up, and  thou forget the LORD thy  God,
     which brought thee forth out of  the land of Egypt, from the  house of
  Here, Moshe mentions the cause of the  temptation of the riches. When one
  has  become rich, then he  goes to look at  himself. He sees  how much he
  has, more  than the others. Then,  he starts finding  himself better then
  the rest. From this originates the  pride. Therefore Moshe warns and says
  that our  "heart then" not "be lifted up". When  there is pride, the fall
  is very near. "Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before
  honour is humility," Mishlee  / Proverbs 18:12. Moshe wants to  check the
  future pride of  the people by pointing out their descent. They were only
  slaves. They have  not saved themselves, but  the LORD did it.  When they
  then have become rich later, than they have to look back.  They were only
  slaves. They  have not earned these  riches by themselves, but  they have
  got if of  the LORD. When one sees  his riches in this  way, then he will
  not become proud.
     15 Who  led thee through  that great and terrible  wilderness, wherein
     were fiery  serpents, and scorpions,  and drought, where there  was no
     water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint;
  Moshe shows here, how great God's benefaction was. They are  lead through
  a  terrible  desert,  with  many   poisonous  serpents,  and  no   water.
  Nevertheless, they are not decayed because God protected them.
     16 Who fed thee in the  wilderness with manna, which thy fathers  knew
     not, that  he might humble thee,  and that he might prove  thee, to do
     thee good at thy latter end;
  Here again is the manna mentioned,  the bread from heaven. God gave  this
  to them in a  supernatural way. When they  were kept in an ordinary  way,
  they should not have seen  God's power so much. They would  have eaten up
  the ordinary bread in a careless way. But it had not to be so. Therefore,
  they were humbled. So that they saw their want. When the LORD helped them
  then, then they should be grateful all the more. Moshe also mentions that
  the LORD proved  them. By that temptation,  they came in great  need, and
  called to God.  The LORD  proved them "to  do them  good at their  latter
  end". Here we see, that the abundance of goods rocks a man to  sleep. But
  lack of goods  awakes the man, and makes him calling to God. This lack of
  all kinds of goods is not so pleasant for us, but very advantageous. "But
  though he  cause  grief, yet  will he  have compassion  according to  the
  multitude of his  mercies. For he  doth not afflict willingly  nor grieve
  the children of men, "Eecha / Lamentations 3:32,33.
     17  And thou say in thine  heart, My power and  the might of mine hand
     hath gotten me this wealth.
  Here again it concerns pride. This is the cause. That someone says in his
  heart that he  has earned the might  in his own strength.  Of course, the
  most Israelites will  confess with their mouth that God has blessed them.
  For  man has to seem religious in the eyes of the people, they think. But
  in their heart, they think quietly something different. Later, the people
  acted  in this way.  "And they come unto  thee as the  people cometh, and
  they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will
  not  do them: for with  their mouth they shew  much love, but their heart
  goeth after their covetousness," Jchezkeel / Ezekiel 33:31.
     18 But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that  giveth
     thee power to get wealth, that he  may establish his covenant which he
     sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.
  This is the best medicine against pride. Thinking that not we  have given
  ourselves strength, but that  God it is, Who gives all.  Then there comes
  no arrogance, but the pride will be exterminated. Who considers  that all
  the good come from God will sooner show thankfulness. What does Moshe say
  further? Why gives God the good? Is it because the nation behaved them so
  praiseworthily? No, not  therefore. Why then? "That  He may establish His
  covenant which He sware unto your  fathers." Also here, Tanach teaches us
  that God does us well not because of our worth, but  that He does us well
  because of reasons  in Himself.  Whatever we do,  without God's help  all
  collapse. The Psalm teaches this to us. "Except the LORD build the house,
  they labour in  vain that build  it: except the LORD  keep the city,  the
  watchman  waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit
  up  late,  to eat  the bread  of sorrows:  for so  he giveth  his beloved
  sleep," Thilliem / Psalm 127:1,2.
     19 And it shall  be, if thou do  at all forget  the LORD thy God,  and
     walk after other  gods, and serve  them, and worship  them, I  testify
     against you this day that ye shall surely perish.
  They  will surely perish.  For the LORD  tolerates no other  gods besides
  Him. He will  punish that idolaters. This  warning of Moshe has  not been
  superfluous, because later the Israelites  have forgotten their God. "And
  the children of Israel did evil in  the sight of the LORD, and forgat the
  LORD their  God, and served Baalim and the  groves." "Therefore the anger
  of  the LORD was  hot against Israel,  and he sold them  into the hand of
  Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia:  and the children of Israel served
  Chushanrishathaim eight years," Shoftiem / Judges 3:7,8.
     20 As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall
     ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD
     our God.
  Moste warns the  people with the example  of the heathen. They  have this
  example still  before their  eyes, because it  has happened only  a short
  time ago. Moshe  wants to put the  punishments lively before  their eyes.
  Not to plague them, but for their good. He wants that the people will not
  sin, because of fright  for the punishment. In this way,  also Iov / Job,
  that pious and righteous man, did not dare to sin. "For  destruction from
  God was  a terror  to me,  and  by reason  of his  highness I  could  not
  endure," Iov / Job 31:23.
  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.
  1  Read verse one,  and think back  to the journey  of the people  Israel
     through  the desert. Has  the nation come  in Kenaan  because of their
     obedience, or because of another reason?
  2  Read verse two. By humbling becomes public what lives in the heart.
     a. How is the nation humbled?
     b. How can somebody in the present time be humbled?
  3  Read verse three. Has bread feeding power in it, or is more needed?
  4  In which way will riches lead us away from God?
  5  Why does a man sometimes get adversity from God?
  1  Read verse four. Seek text, which read the same in Nchemjah / Nehemiah
  2  In  Bemidbar /  Numbers 21:9  is a matter  of a  serpent of  brass. In
     Mlachiem B /  2 Kings 18, Chizkiahu  destroys the serpent. Why  has he
     done this?
  3  Read verse 18, where is written that it is God,  Who gives power. Seek
     the same in Thilliem / Psalm 29, Thilliem / Psalm 68, Thilliem / Psalm
     144, Jesjajah 40, Zecharjah / Zechariah 10.
     Chr-Exp, a Christian explanation of the Tanach and the New Testament
              Editor: Teus Benschop  -
        No copyrights on this publication  -  Translated by a Dutchman
            Institution Practical Bible-education, the Netherlands