King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Deuteronomy 8

Exhortations and cautions, enforced by the Lord’s former dealings with Israel, and his promises. (1-9) Exhortations and cautions further enforced. (10-20)

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Exhortations and cautions, enforced by the Lord’s former dealings with Israel, and his promises

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.

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.

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.

4 Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years.

5 Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee.

6 Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him.

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.

Exhortations and cautions further enforced

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:

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 bondage;

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;

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;

17 And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.

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.

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.

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 your God.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Live a long and happy life; which was often promised to the carnal Jews, to encourage them to fill God’s commands. Christians are willing to forego these temporal advantages, that they may obtain such as may last for ever. C.

Ver. 2. Prove, which is done frequently by posterity also, v. 3. 12. 14. After trying the fidelity of his people by various means, to make them sensible of their own weakness and inability to do good, God takes pity on them, v. 16. C. — Known. Heb. “to know (by experience) what was in thy heart, whether,” &c. The original term signifies also to make known to others. Gen. xxii. 12. H.

Ver. 3. Not in bread alone, &c. i.e. That God is able to make food of what he pleases for the support of man. Ch. — Obedience to his law will insure a happy life, v. 1. God can support a person’s life without any sustenance, as he did Moses, Elias, &c. for a long time. When the usual food is wanting, he can send some of a supernatural kind, as he did the manna.Word. Heb. “by whatever proceedeth,” &c. The Sept. and our Saviour (Mat. iv. 4,) cite it, however, agreeably to the Vulgate. The word of God and Jesus Christ nourish our souls. S. Chrys. — Philo says, “God feeds us with his most universal word…which is more ancient than the creation.” C. — God could make the most poisonous things afford more nutrition, if he commanded us to eat them, than even the most delicious viands. Abulensis. T. — God can make food of whatever He pleases, or sustain men without meat. W.

Ver. 4. Worn, for want of shoes. C. xxix. 5. Chaldee. This miracle of the Hebrews, being so well provided with raiment in a desert country, is mentioned, 2 Esd. ix. 21. Cosmas (B. v.) allows only that merchants constantly supplied them, and Abenezra thinks that they had brought plenty for change out of Egypt. C. — But the Scripture seems to acknowledge something more wonderful; namely, the good condition of the people’s feet, and of their garments, after they had been worn for such a length of time. As their numbers had not increased, the children might be supplied with the clothes of the deceased; so that there is no need of making the miracle still greater, by asserting, as some have done, that the garments grew larger with the bodies of those who wore them. H. — The miracle was in favour both of good and bad, like manna, &c. T.

Ver. 5. Up, by mildness and correction alternately. Heb. “chastiseth thee.” Prov. iii. 12.

Ver. 7. Out. The Jordan was the only river of consequence; but there were many torrents, &c. which rendered the country very different from that where they had been travelling for 40 years. H. — Heb. “of fountains, of abysses, which spring in vales and on mountains,” having their origin in the sea. Chal. Eccli. i. 7.) “Judea is famous for its waters, says Solinus, (35,) and the Jordan, a most enchanting river, runs through regions of equal beauty.” C.

Ver. 8. Honey, extracted from dates. D. — Almost all the luxuries of the earth might be found in the promised land; so that it was justly said to flow with milk and honey. H.

Ver. 9. Iron, equal in hardness, and used to cut things, in the same manner as we use iron or steel. Isai. lx. 17. — Brass. There were mines of both in Mount Libanus; and David collected great quantities of such metals from C┼ôlosyria. 3 K. xviii. 8. 1 Par. xxii. 3. 14. Sidon was noted for its brass. Homer, Odys. xv. 425. Sarepta probably took its name from the “foundry” established there. Dan and Aser had abundance of iron and brass. C. xxxiii. 25. Ezec. xxvii. 19. Cadmus brought from this country the art of melting gold, &c. into Greece. Plin. vii. 56. In latter ages, many Christians were condemned to work in the mines of Palestine. Euseb.

Ver. 10. Bless, not forgetting to give thanks after meat, as well as to beg God’s blessing before: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer, 1 Tim. iv. 45. M. — In all things give thanks, 1 Thes. v. 18. Our Saviour did so at the last supper. Mat. xxvi. 26. At taking the cup, the Jews say, “Blessed be thou, O Lord, who createdst the fruit of the vine.” At the end of the repast, one of the most dignified at table, holding a cup full of wine, says, “Let us bless Him, who has fed us with his goods, and who preserves our life by his goodness;” and all answer, “Blessed be He from whom we have received food and life:” after which a long prayer is recited. Fagius. — In compliance with this custom, our Lord took the cup after supper, and recited (H.) or sung a hymn. Lu. xxii. 20. Mat. xxvi. 30. C.

Ver. 15. Breath. Heb. saraphh, or the basilisk, as it is rendered, Isai. xxx. 6. It destroys both the grass and animals, by the burning infection of its breath. Galen. Plin. viii. 19. See Num. xxi. 6. T. — Scorpion stings with its tail. — Dipsas. A serpent whose bite causeth a violent thirst: from whence it has its name; for in Greek, dipsa signifies thirst. Ch. — It is impossible to quench this thirst, (W.) and those who are bitten by this serpent can discharge no water. C. — They drink till they burst, unless they can procure some treacle, or remedy against the poison. Dioscorides. T. — Some translate the Heb. “scorpions, and (at the place of) drought, where there was no water: he brought,” &c. whether Tsommaon be the name of a particular place, (Isai. xxxv. 7. Onkelos. C.) or it may be applied to the greatest part of that desert, where the want of water so often occasioned the murmurs of the people. H.

Ver. 17. For me. Heb. “hath procured me this wealth,” or strength, v. 18.

Ver. 19. Thee. Heb. “I attest this day against you, (Sept. add heaven and earth,) that you shall,” &c. God had already forbidden the worship of strange gods. Ex. xx. 3. He now threatens to punish the transgressors most severely. All nations have deemed it criminal to abandon the religion of their ancestors, unless when there is evident proofs of its absurdity, as was the case when so many embraced the doctrine of Jesus Christ, for which they were so cruelly persecuted. The Athenians would not suffer a word to be spoken against their gods; (Josep. c. Ap. ii.) and Cicero (Leg. ii.) lays down this as a law, “Let no one have gods to himself, nor any new ones: let him not adore, even in private, strange gods; unless they have been publicly acknowledged.” C.

Ver. 20. Destroyed. Heb. “destroys.” Some were already subdued, others on the brink of ruin. — Disobedient to. God punished this sin in the most exemplary manner. H.