King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Deuteronomy 11

The great work God wrought for Israel. (1-7) Promises and threatenings. (8-17) Careful study of God’s word requisite. (18-25) The blessings and the curse set forth. (26-32)

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The great work God wrought for Israel

1 Therefore thou shalt love the LORD thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, alway.

2 And know ye this day: for I speak not with your children which have not known, and which have not seen the chastisement of the LORD your God, his greatness, his mighty hand, and his stretched out arm,

3 And his miracles, and his acts, which he did in the midst of Egypt unto Pharaoh the king of Egypt, and unto all his land;

4 And what he did unto the army of Egypt, unto their horses, and to their chariots; how he made the water of the Red sea to overflow them as they pursued after you, and how the LORD hath destroyed them unto this day;

5 And what he did unto you in the wilderness, until ye came into this place;

6 And what he did unto Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben: how the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their households, and their tents, and all the substance that was in their possession, in the midst of all Israel:

7 But your eyes have seen all the great acts of the LORD which he did.

Promises and threatenings

8 Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments which I command you this day, that ye may be strong, and go in and possess the land, whither ye go to possess it;

9 And that ye may prolong your days in the land, which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give unto them and to their seed, a land that floweth with milk and honey.

10 For the land, whither thou goest in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs:

11 But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven:

12 A land which the LORD thy God careth for: the eyes of the LORD thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.

13 And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul,

14 That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil.

15 And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full.

16 Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them;

17 And then the LORD’s wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you.

Careful study of God’s word requisite

18 Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.

19 And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

20 And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates:

21 That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.

22 For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him;

23 Then will the LORD drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves.

24 Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be.

25 There shall no man be able to stand before you: for the LORD your God shall lay the fear of you and the dread of you upon all the land that ye shall tread upon, as he hath said unto you.

The blessings and the curse set forth

26 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse;

27 A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day:

28 And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.

29 And it shall come to pass, when the LORD thy God hath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal.

30 Are they not on the other side Jordan, by the way where the sun goeth down, in the land of the Canaanites, which dwell in the champaign over against Gilgal, beside the plains of Moreh?

31 For ye shall pass over Jordan to go in to possess the land which the LORD your God giveth you, and ye shall possess it, and dwell therein.

32 And ye shall observe to do all the statutes and judgments which I set before you this day.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 2. Know, &c. Reflect on the wonders of God, which you must explain to your children, who were not born, or able to discern them, when they were effected at the Red Sea, and in the punishment of the seditious, v. 7. Heb. “know ye this day, for I do not address myself to your children, who know not, (or have not understanding,) and saw not,” &c. C.

Ver. 4. Day. So that none of the Egyptians have since been able to molest you.

Ver. 8. That. Fear might stimulate them to observe God’s command, lest they should be overtaken by a similar chastisement. H.

Ver. 10. Gardens. Heb. “where thou didst sow the seed, and water it with the foot, as a garden,” by means of various machines or wheels, which were turned by the feet. Philo. — Solinus (ii. 22. 36,) takes notice of this inconvenience in Egypt. The country is watered only by the Nile, which overflows for six weeks, about the beginning of June. Various canals or reservoirs are formed to preserve a sufficient supply of water during the remainder of the year. Pliny (xviii.) observes, that “if the Nile rise less than 12, or more than 16 cubits high, famine is inevitable.” C. See Gen. xlii. 3. — Prince Radzivil saw the canals of Egypt, which the people said had been dug by the Hebrews. Augustus ordered his soldiers to clean them out. Sueton. c. 18. — After the seed was committed to the earth, it was necessary to water it frequently, as the sun would harden the soil too much. No rain falls in that part of Egypt where the Hebrews had dwelt, according to many respectable authors; (T.) or at least what little may fall is not sufficient to keep the earth moist. Proclus allows that some showers are felt in Lower Egypt, which lies nearest to the Mediterranean Sea; and travellers often take notice of them, in their journeys from Alexandria to Memphis. Yet the country in general is destitute of this advantage. Zac. xiv. 18. Lloyd. H.

Ver. 14. Rain, which falls in Judea, chiefly about the vernal and the autumnal equinoxes, in March and October. — The latter rain (Heb. malkosh,) is that which falls when the seed is just sown, though the Rabbins pretend that yore has this signification, in opposition to the Sept. It fell at the beginning of the Jewish year, which commenced in September. Joel ii. 23. Zac. x. 1. C. — Rain contributed to make the seeds take root, and to bring the fruit to maturity, and God promises to give what may be requisite, provided his people serve him with fidelity. H. — His grace helps us to begin and to perfect every good work. W.

Ver. 15. Hay. Seed-grass was sown, like corn, in Palestine, as it is still in the Levant, where meadows are unknown. The hay consisted chiefly of trefoil, and was carried on beasts in long journeys. Gen. xliii. 27. Judg. xix. 19. Cattle fed commonly on straw and barley. The hay grass which grew on mountains was of a different sort, and used for pasturage, (Job xl. 15,) though it might also be cut. Prov. xxvii. 25. C.

Ver. 17. You. In all this discourse, Moses attributes the fertility of the promised land to the blessing of God, and indeed it seems to be naturally far from being so luxuriant as to be able to feed so many inhabitants. Travellers inform us, that a great part is incapable of cultivation. But it is no longer the object of God’s complacency, v. 12. It is under the curse. C. xxviii. 23. C.

Ver. 18. Place. Heb. “that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.” C. vi. 9. Ex. xiii. 9. H.

Ver. 20. Posts. Upon one post the Jews hang boards, enclosing a piece of parchment, with the 13th to the 21st verse of this chapter; and from v. 4. to the 9th of the 6th chapter, they hang with great solemnity upon the other post.

Ver. 21. Earth, as long as the world shall endure. The psalmist (lxxxviii. 30,) expresses the duration of the reign of the Messias nearly in the same terms. See Bar. i. 2. C. — If the Jews had continued faithful to God, and had submitted to the Messias, they might never have been banished from their country. H.

Ver. 24. Yours. The nations of Chanaan, how strong soever, should fall, and their country be lawfully possessed by the Hebrews. — Western sea. Heb. “the sea of the back.” The Jews speak of the different parts of the world, with respect to a man who has his face turned towards the east. Gen. xiii. 9. The countries, from the desert of Zin to the Euphrates, were never entirely occupied by the Israelites, except under the reigns of David and Solomon. C. — God never intended to subject the whole world to their dominion, as the Rabbins would hence infer. M.

Ver. 26. Curse. Their respective effects you shall experience, according to your behaviour. C. — God helps our free will to do good. S. Aug. q. 15. W.

Ver. 29. Put the blessing, &c. See Deut. xxvii. 12, &c. and Josue viii. 33, &c. Ch. — Six tribes were to be stationed on each of these mountains. C. xxviii. — Garizim. Eusebius says that the Samaritans are grossly deceived, in placing this mountain in the vicinity of Sichem, instead of Jericho. But this is a mistake; for Jotham addressed the inhabitants of Sichem from that mountain. Judg. ix. 7. Morizon informs us that it is of the same shape as Hebal, and separated from it only by a valley of about 200 paces, in which the town of Sichem stands. Hebal is a barren rock, while Garizim is very fertile, (Ludolf.) though an ancient poet makes both equally covered with verdure. Ap. Euseb. præp. ix. 22. C.

Ver. 30. Far. Heb. “over against Galgal, beside the plains of More, or Aluni More.” Samar. reads, “the plain of More, near Sichem,” as Ex. xx. 17. H. — This is styled the noble vale. Gen. xii. 6. C. — The road from Jericho to the Mediterranean Sea, left these mountains on the north. The Chanaanite inhabited all that region, from Galgal to Sichem. How far these places were distant from each other, is not here specified; though Eusebius seems to have inferred from this text, that Garizim was near Jericho. But the plain might be very extensive or noble, and reach from Sichem as far as Galgala.

Ver. 32. Fulfil. How inconsistent must such exhortations be, if, as Protestants assert, the commandments be impossible, and “the law exacteth impossible things.” Luther in Gal. iii. H.