Moses calls Israel’s mercies to remembrance. (Verse 1-9.)
The Divine wrath on those who flatter themselves in their wickedness. (Verse 10-21.)
The ruin of the Jewish nation. (Verse 22-28.)
Secret things belong unto God. (Verse 29.)
This chapter deals with the covenant established between God and his people, Israel, as well as recording the final words of Moses. As Moses can see the inevitable results to Israel of falling away from the commands of God, he stresses that to serve God is the way of life and to serve idols is the way of death.
1 These are the words of the covenant, which the LORD commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, beside the covenant which he made with them in Horeb.
note that there were two covenants that God made with Israel.
This verse seem to belong more properly with chapter 28 as a widely different
subject follows. In some of the most correct Hebrew Bibles it is marked as the 69th verse
of chapter 28.
Chapter 29 focuses on The Palestinian Covenant. There are 8 covenants in all:
1. Edenic – Genesis 1:28
2. Adamic – Genesis 3:15
3. Noahic – Genesis 9:1-15; 8:20-22
4. Abrahamic – Genesis 15:18
5. Mosaic – Exodus 19:5,6
6. Palestinian – Deuteronomy 29:1; 20:1-4,19,20
7. Davidic – 2 Samuel 7:16
8. New Covenant – Hebrews 8:8
Israel entered Canaan on this conditional covenant which they utterly violated. For this reason they were disrupted and finally cast out (1 Kings 12:19,20,24; 2 Kings 17:1-8; 24:1; 25:1). The introductory words to the covenant are found in chapter 29
2 And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land;
3 The great temptations which thine eyes have seen, the signs, and those great miracles:
4 Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.
[1 Cor 2:10-14]
spiritual discernment is something that can only come from God.
They refuse to receive such a heart, such ears, and such eyes from God. If they had not been such perfectly free agents as could either use or abuse their privileges, God could not have made this complaint of them. God made the human will free, and in spite of all the influence of sin and Satan, He preserves its liberty. Had man no free will, he could neither be punished nor rewarded. A mere machine cannot be accountable for its action. God had given Israel all the means of knowledge and helps of His grace and Spirit which were necessary but they had not made faithful use of their advantages.
Therefore they had not an obedient heart, seeing eyes and hearing ears. They had abused the grace which could have produced this change in them
5 And I have led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot.
God’s mercies to them had been great.
6 Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink: that ye might know that I am the LORD your God.
7 And when ye came unto this place, Sihon the king of Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, came out against us unto battle, and we smote them:
8 And we took their land, and gave it for an inheritance unto the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to the half tribe of Manasseh.
9 Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do.
Future obedience would mean future prosperity
10 Ye stand this day all of you before the LORD your God; your captains of your tribes, your elders, and your officers, with all the men of Israel,
11 Your little ones, your wives, and thy stranger that is in thy camp, from the hewer of thy wood unto the drawer of thy water:
the seven levels of people in Jewish society
12 That thou shouldest enter into covenant with the LORD thy God, and into his oath, which the LORD thy God maketh with thee this day:
13 That he may establish thee to day for a people unto himself, and that he may be unto thee a God, as he hath said unto thee, and as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
[Gen 17:8, Exod 6:7, Exod 29:45, Lev 26:12, Rev 21:7]
14 Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath;
15 But with him that standeth here with us this day before the LORD our God, and also with him that is not here with us this day:
They were about to enter into a covenant with God. A covenant implies two contracting parties. Hence God is represented as being there, and they and all their families are before Him. They represented not only the present generation but also all future generations of this people.
16 (For ye know how we have dwelt in the land of Egypt; and how we came through the nations which ye passed by;
17 And ye have seen their abominations, and their idols, wood and stone, silver and gold, which were among them:)
18 Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood;
19 And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst:
20 The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven.
“that are written in this book” – God always operates according to his word, even in judgment.
How is this point seen in the final, Great White Throne Judgment of Rev. 20:12?
21 And the LORD shall separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this book of the law:
22 So that the generation to come of your children that shall rise up after you, and the stranger that shall come from a far land, shall say, when they see the plagues of that land, and the sicknesses which the LORD hath laid upon it;
23 And that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath:
[Gen 19:24, Psa 11:6, Isa 13:19, Jer 20:16, Jer 50:40, Eze 16:50, Amos 4:11, Zeph 2:9, Luke 17:29, 2nd Pet 2:6, Jude 7 , Gen 14:2]
24 Even all nations shall say, Wherefore hath the LORD done thus unto this land? what meaneth the heat of this great anger?
25 Then men shall say, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them forth out of the land of Egypt:
26 For they went and served other gods, and worshipped them, gods whom they knew not, and whom he had not given unto them:
27 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against this land, to bring upon it all the curses that are written in this book:
28 And the LORD rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day.
This is an awful warning to those who act as roots of bitterness in the midst of the people of God and to all who countenance the (verse 18). If they obeyed, they were to be a testimony to the nations that they belonged to Jehovah. If they disobeyed, the nations were to know why they were punished by Jehovah
29 The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.
everything that has been revealed in God’s word belongs to “us” by way of application; this promise is a blessing in such books as “Revelation.” Some say that “Revelation” is a sealed book, is too mysterious to understand and that it is not for us to understand. Yet the name of the book, “Revelation,” signifies something that has been revealed and such things “belong unto us.” This principle is true of the whole Bible which is God’s special revelation to mankind. – “for ever” – this shows us the fact that God has always intended to make his pure word available to mankind down through the years (the doctrine of “preservation” – the Bible has been preserved for us). Some today say that God got his words written down onto paper (the doctrine of “inspiration”) but that these “inspired” words of God were lost down through the years and our Bible today only represents a reliable, but not a perfect, copy of God’s words. This manmade concept totally goes against the doctrine of “preservation” and makes it impossible for us to keep “every word… of God.” The inspiration of the Bible is useless without the preservation of those inspired words of God. Once again we see the importance of having a copy of God’s inspired words and not just some “reliable, but imperfect” counterfeit “bible.”
This verse has been variously translated and interpreted. Perhaps it might read like this: “What God has thought proper to reveal, He has revealed. What He has revealed is essential to the well-being of man, and this revelation is intended not for the present time merely nor for one people, but for all succeeding generations. The things which He has not revealed, concern not man but God alone, and are therefore not to be inquired after.” The things that were hidden belonged unto the Lord, but those things that were revealed belonged unto the children of Israel and their descendants (cf.
Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.
Verse 1-9 – Both former mercies, and fresh mercies, should be thought on by us as motives to obedience. The hearing ear, and seeing eye, and the understanding heart, are the gift of God. All that have them, have them from him. God gives not only food and raiment, but wealth and large possessions, to many to whom he does not give grace. Many enjoy the gifts, who have not hearts to perceive the Giver, nor the true design and use of the gifts. We are bound, in gratitude and interest, as well as in duty and faithfulness, to keep the words of the covenant.
Verse 10-21 – The national covenant made with Israel, not only typified the covenant of grace made with true believers, but also represented the outward dispensation of the gospel. Those who have been enabled to consent to the Lord’s new covenant of mercy and grace in Jesus Christ, and to give up themselves to be his people, should embrace every opportunity of renewing their open profession of relation to him, and their obligation to him, as the God of salvation, walking according thereto. The sinner is described as one whose heart turns away from his God; there the mischief begins, in the evil heart of unbelief, which inclines men to depart from the living God to dead idols. Even to this sin men are now tempted, when drawn aside by their own lusts and fancies. Such men are roots that bear gall and wormwood. They are weeds which, if let alone, overspread the whole field. Satan may for a time disguise this bitter morsel, so that thou shalt not have the natural taste of it, but at the last day, if not before, the true taste shall be discerned. Notice the sinner’s security in sin. Though he hears the words of the curse, yet even then he thinks himself safe from the wrath of God. There is scarcely a threatening in all the book of God more dreadful than this. Oh that presumptuous sinners would read it, and tremble! for it is a real declaration of the wrath of God, against ungodliness and unrighteousness of man.
Verse 22-28 – Idolatry would be the ruin of their nation. It is no new thing for God to bring desolating judgments on a people near to him in profession. He never does this without good reason. It concerns us to seek for the reason, that we may give glory to God, and take warning to ourselves. Thus the law of Moses leaves sinners under the curse, and rooted out of the Lord’s land; but the grace of Christ toward penitent, believing sinners, plants them again in their land; and they shall no more be pulled up, being kept by the power of God.
Verse 29 – Moses ends his prophecy of the Jews’ rejection, just as St. Paul ends his discourse on the same subject, when it began to be fulfilled, Romans 11:33. We are forbidden curiously to inquire into the secret counsels of God, and to determine concerning them. But we are directed and encouraged, diligently to seek into that which God has made known. He has kept back nothing that is profitable for us, but only that of which it is good for us to be ignorant. The end of all Divine revelation is, not to furnish curious subjects of speculation and discourse, but that we may do all the words of this law, and be blessed in our deed. This, the Bible plainly reveals; further than this, man cannot profitably go. By this light he may live and die comfortably, and be happy for ever.