Bible Commentary

Deuteronomy 7

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

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(Read all of Deuteronomy 7)

Verse 1

[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;

Seven nations — There were ten in Genesis 15:19-21. But this being some hundreds of years after, it is not strange if three of them were either destroyed by foreign or domestick wars, or by cohabitation and marriage united with, and swallowed up in the rest.

Verse 4

[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.

To serve other Gods — That is, there is manifest danger of apostacy and idolatry from such matches. Which reason doth both limit the law to such of these as are unconverted (otherwise Salmon married Rahab, Matthew 1:5) and enlarge it to other idolatrous nations, as appears from 1 Kings 11:2; Ezra 9:2; Nehemiah 13:23.

Verse 5

[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.

Their graves — Which idolaters planted about the temples and altars of their Gods. Hereby God designed to take away whatsoever might bring their idolatry to remembrance, or occasion the reviving of it.

Verse 7

[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:

The fewest — To wit, at that time when God first declared his choice of you for his peculiar people, which was done to Abraham. For Abraham had but one son concerned in this choice and covenant, namely, Isaac, and that was in his hundredth year; and Isaac was sixty years old ere he had a child, and then had only two children; and though Jacob had twelve sons, it was a long time before they made any considerable increase. Nor do we read of any great multiplication of them 'till after Joseph's death.

Verse 8

[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.

The Lord loved you — It was his free choice without any cause or motive on your part.

Verse 10

[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.

Them that hate him — Not only those who hate him directly and properly, (for so did few or none of the Israelites to whom he here speaks,) but those who hate him by construction and consequence; those who hate and oppose his people, and word, those who wilfully persist in the breach of God's commandments.

To their face — That is, openly, and so as they shall see it, and not be able to avoid it.

Slack — So as to delay it beyond the fit time or season for vengeance, yet withal he is long-suffering, and slow to anger.

Verse 12

[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:

The covenant and the mercy — That is, the covenant of mercy, which he out of his own mere grace made with them.

Verse 13

[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.

He will love thee — He will continue to love thee, and to manifest his love to thee.

Verse 15

[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.

The diseases of Egypt — Such as the Egyptians were infected with, either commonly, or miraculously. It seems to refer not only to the plagues of Egypt, but to some other epidemic disease, which they remembered to have prevailed among the Egyptians, and by which God had chastised them for their national sins. Diseases are God's servants, which go where he sends them, and do what he bids them.

Verse 19

[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.

The temptations — The trials and exercises of thy faith and obedience to my commands.

Verse 24

[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.

No man shall stand — This promise is made upon condition of their performance of their duty, which they neglecting, justly lose the benefit of it.

Verse 25

[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 therein: for it is an abomination to the LORD thy God.

The silver or gold — Wherewith the idols are covered or adorned, nor consequently any other of their ornaments. This he commands to shew his utter detestation of idolatry, and to cut off all occasions of it.

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