King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Deuteronomy 7

Intercourse with the Canaanites forbidden. (1-11) Promises if they were obedient. (12-26)

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Intercourse with the Canaanites forbidden

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 Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:

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 Pharaoh king of Egypt.

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;

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.

11 Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.

Promises if they were obedient

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:

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.

14 Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle.

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.

17 If thou shalt say in thine heart, These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them?

18 Thou shalt not be afraid of them: but shalt well remember what the LORD thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt;

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.

20 Moreover the LORD thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves from thee, be destroyed.

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.

23 But the LORD thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed.

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 therin: 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.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Destroyed. So the Vulgate often expresses the Hebrew term, which signifies, “to cast out.” — Seven. Ten are mentioned, Gen. xv. 9.; but some of the less powerful nations were either mixed with the others, or were exterminated. The Hevites are omitted in the passage of Genesis, and sometimes no notice is taken of the Gergezite or the Pherezite. The latter had been already conquered by Moses, as well as the Raphaim and Amorrhites, over whom Og and Sehon ruled. C. iii. 5. C. — It seems, however, that some of the same nations, on the other side of the Jordan, remained to be subdued, and that any one of them was naturally too strong for the Hebrews, v. 7. Hence the latter might be convinced, that their victories were to be attributed to God.

Ver. 2. League. Yet Josue, (ix. 3,) by mistake, entered into one with the Gabaonites, and observed it; (H.) whence we may conclude, that only such leagues are forbidden as would leave these nations in possession of their lands and idols. C. xx. 10. xxiii. 6. With foreign nations it was lawful to make leagues defensive and offensive, as David, Asa, and the Machabees did with Hiram, Benadad, and the Romans, 3 K. xv. 18, &c. If the Hebrews were so hostile to the nations of Chanaan, it was in execution of God’s decree, who had sentenced them to die; and Tacitus hence unjustly inferred, that they hated all but their own nation. See Grot. Jur. ii. 15. — Them. This was ill executed. Jos. xiii. 13. Judge. i. M.

Ver. 3. Marriages. Some believe that it was unlawful to marry the people of Chanaan, if they were even converted, and also those of other nations, as we find that Esdras (1 C. x. 2. 12,) ordered such strange wives to be sent away. But the context shews, as well as the practice of most pious Hebrews, that it was only forbidden to marry with those who adhered to their idolatry, v. 4. Salmon took to wife Rahab, of Jericho; Mahalon and Booz successively married Ruth, the Moabitess, and Moses himself allows the Hebrews to espouse their captives, and to preserve the lives of women and children, C. xx. 14. xxi. 11. C. See Ex. xxxiv. 15. — Hence all the Chanaanites were not necessarily to be slain. The few exceptions did not hinder the rule from being general. See v. 16. Num. xiv. 23.

Ver. 4. Gods. So great is the natural tendency to evil, that though a woman be generally inclined to follow the inclinations and religion of her husband, yet, when his method of living is more repugnant to flesh and blood, she is but to apt to influence him to glide smoothly with her down the hill of pleasure, into the very abyss of dissolution. The prediction, she will turn, &c. is so often verified, that those who marry with unbelievers ought to tremble. H.

Ver. 5. Things. This was to be done with regard to the idols of Chanaan, when it was first conquered, v. 25. Afterwards David made no scruple in wearing a crown, which had been taken from the spoils of Melchon, the idol of the Ammonites. 1 Par. xx. 2. C.

Ver. 6. Peculiar. Heb. sogula, laid up like something most precious and desirable. M. — God seemed to have abandoned other nations to the corruption of their own heart. “This was, by a particular mystery, a prophetical nation.” S. Aug. ep. cii. Ex. xix. 5. C. — Therefore must they destroy every idol in their land, to set a pattern to all other less favoured nations how they ought also to treat them.

Ver. 7. Joined. Heb. “has set his love upon you.” God is the most disinterested lover. H.

Ver. 9. Strong. Heb. el, means also God. He requires us to imitate his perfections as much as we are able. Being faithful, he will comply with his covenant exactly, and will punish those who neglect it. C.

Ver. 10. Deserve. Heb. “he will repay to his face,” or “he will punish immediately the person who hateth him to his face.” God does not always defer the correction of the wicked till their death. C. — But this seems to be spoken principally of those who have engaged in the covenant, 2 Mac. vi. 12. D. — Thus he immediately chastised those who adored the calf, Core, Mary, &c. (M.) and he does not dissemble the faults even of his chosen servants. T. — The Chaldee and some Rabbins give another interpretation. “The Lord rewards his enemies for the good works which they perform in this life, reserving their judgment till the life to come. He does not delay to reward was good they do, but he will punish them (for their crimes) in another world.” C.

Ver. 12. If. The promises of God to the Hebrews were conditional. W.

Ver. 13. Womb. He will grant thee many children. M. — This was esteemed a very great blessing, at a time when they might hope to give birth to the Messias. C.

Ver. 14. Cattle. This shews, that no precept to marry is here given, but only a blessing. Even men cannot be commanded not to be barren, as that is not in their own power. It was, however, deemed a mark of some secret transgression when married people had no children. Vasques. T.

Ver. 15. Sickness, sent in punishment of sin, (H.) like the plagues of Egypt. Ex. ix. M. — Egypt was afflicted with some peculiar disorders, such as the leprosy, called Elephantiasis. Plin. xxvi. 1. The people were also much troubled with sore eyes, or blindness, and with ulcers upon their legs. Juven. Sat. xiii. 91. One-fourth of the inhabitants of Grand Cairo have sore eyes, or are blind. Brun. — Joinville speaks of the diseases which attacked the army of S. Louis in Egypt, preying chiefly upon the legs and gums, and causing them to putrify. C.

Ver. 16. Consume. Kill the inhabitants, plunder their effects, (M.) destroy their idols.

Ver. 19. Plagues. Heb. “trials.” God manifested by this means the latent dispositions of the Egyptians, while he punished their wickedness at the same time. H.

Ver. 20. Hornets. Abenezra understands the leprosy, which the Hebrew may also signify. But hornets and such like insects are very destructive in hot countries; and Pausanias informs us that the Minsiens were driven out of their country by them. C. — God destroyed the army of Sapor II. the Persian king, by sending an army of gnats, at the prayer of S. James of Nisibis, A.D. 350. “Lord, said the saint, thou art able by the weakest means to humble the pride of thy enemies, defeat these multitudes by an army of gnats.” Butler, July 11. — We may, therefore, explain this text in a literal sense. C. Wisd. xii. 8. and xvi. 9. Jos. xxiv. 12.

Ver. 21. Fear. Sept. “be wounded.” In the war with the Madianites, not one was killed, (Num. xxxi. 49,) as Josephus (iii. 2) informs us, was also the case when king Amalec and his people attacked the Hebrews. Ex. xvii. 13. The people seem to have expected such a miraculous interference of Providence in their favour; and hence, when 36 were slain at the siege of Hai, all were greatly dejected. Jos. vii. 5. H.

Ver. 22. Thee. Three millions of people not being sufficient to cultivate the land. Ex. xxiii. 29. M. — God could easily have destroyed those mighty nations at once; but he would not give the Israelites any occasion of boasting. D. — If they never succeeded to expel them entirely out of the country, they might attribute it to their own negligence and other sins. H.

Ver. 25. Graven things. Idols, so called by contempt. Ch. — Made. Heb. “gold (plates) on them,” to cover the wood, &c. See v. 5.

Ver. 26. An anathema. That is, a thing devoted to destruction; and which carries along with it a curse. Ch. — Like it. The curse rested upon those who kept any of the spoils. This brought death upon Achan, (Jos. vii. 1,) and upon some of the soldiers of Judas the Machabee, who had secreted some of the donaries of the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbiddeth to the Jews, 2 Mac. xii. 40. C.