Deuteronomy.

Division 2. (Deut. 4:44 — 30.)

The Exposition and Enforcement of the Law.

We now come to that exposition and enforcement of the law which occupies evidently the body of the book. In the first of its three subdivisions we have its governing principle, — that is, of course, its essence, and this is embodied in the first commandment of its first table. In the second, we have the illustration of it in special commands. In the third, its sanctions, — the rewards and penalties which actualize it as law.

Subdivision 1. (Deut. 4:44 — 11.)

The governing principle, or the law in its essence.

In the first subdivision there are five sections; in which we find, first, the law itself, and in the repetition of this we are called back to the manner and circumstances of its first announcement. In the first two commandments of the law, by which God is enthroned in the affections of His people, the spirit of the whole is seen. For this, the testimony to Him, and to the salvation He has wrought for them, is to be constantly maintained, — kept before their own eyes, and taught their children. For this also all toleration of the false gods of the heathen and of their worship is forbidden: they are to be a people holy to their God, the only true God. Then they are to beware of self-righteousness, which the enjoyment of His favor might engender; and in this, the lessons of the wilderness — of their humbling and discipline there, and of their need of it, — are to have their permanent use. Then responsibility is finally insisted on, and the issue of their conduct in blessing or in curse.

1. (1) The exposition of the law begins with the place in which and the circumstances under which it is given, — after their deliverance from Egypt, Jordan reached, the land of the two Amorite kings already in possession. It is evident that these are motives and encouragements to obedience, — pledges of the full blessing yet to come.

In a similar interest, Israel are carried back to Horeb, and placed amid the solemn surroundings of the first giving of the law. Many of the eyes which were upon Moses now had beheld the glory of the fiery mount, as he reminds them. Face to face, out of the midst of the fire, God had talked with them. They needed no argument as to His being or power; but that power had been used in their behalf, and the first words of Him who spake declared Him their Deliverer out of Egyptian bondage. He did not claim their love without having done that which would secure it for Him. But this love must have reverence in it also: nothing is more offensive than that familiar tone assumed toward God by some who have been moulded upon the lax gospel often preached to-day. Yet God would have us near Him, — truly near, — the nearer, the more His majesty will impress us, the infinite distance between ourselves and Him will penetrate us.

True, it was here the fiery mount: for the people had accepted law, and put themselves under it; yet the fear with which God sought to impress them was preservative, and in that sense gracious. And there remains for us, after grace has fully come, a "fear of the Lord" which is not terror, but which allows no levity, and along with which "the comfort of the Holy Ghost" is ever found. (Acts 9:31.)

Spoken before written, the law of the Lord is a living reality; and while it may be a "ministry of death," is never a dead letter. Our hearts may well delight to recognize in it all through, indeed, a "ministry" meant to blight only the pretentious pride and self-righteousness of man, and thus deliver him, — to shut him up among those "lost" for whom a Saviour is provided.

In the recapitulation of the law, it is evident, as especially in the fourth commandment, that Moses does not confine himself to a literal quoting of the divine words. The ground for the observance of the Sabbath is here, not the six days' making of heaven and earth, but the redemption of the people out of Egypt. Of course, the one reason does not conflict with the other; and indeed the latter is a needed supplement to the former. Man as the creature of God can only now by grace be sustained in this place, and at rest and after his wilderness-history is closed, as it is in Deuteronomy, this comes in more naturally than in Exodus, where the people stand as yet under the unbroken covenant. God's Word is perfect and divine in every part.

In the fifth commandment, the words, "as Jehovah thy God commanded thee," brought in, show clearly that Moses is not simply repeating. The same words are found in the fourth commandment, but might be thought in that place to refer to the first institution of the Sabbath, when the manna fell. He adds here also, "that it may be well with thee." Except in the fourth commandment, the differences are, however, slight.

(2) Moses, after the recapitulation of the law, dwells upon their need of a mediator, — a need met, obviously, only typically in himself. A greater than Moses speaks to us here through him and we see how Deuteronomy presents to us the great features of the history as suited to us. Owning that Jehovah had actually spoken to them, and they lived, they yet declare this impossible to last and God owns this (from their stand-point) as true. But then the legal covenant was plainly hopeless. One only reason can there be why God and His creature should not meet together in security. No necessary distance between finitude and the Infinite One could make His presence destructive to what His hands had fashioned. No, it is sin which absolutely demands judgment, unless Another can intervene in righteousness in his behalf and here Moses can make no real atonement, as we know. He is a shadow, not the substance. Man's refuge is not from God, but in God Himself.

2. Such is the text, and now we come to the exposition. Moses sums up in two brief sentences what the law implies in its first table. First, the unity and immutability of God: "Jehovah our God is one Jehovah" founded upon this, His claim to the undivided allegiance of man, — "Thou shalt love Jehovah thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." If there be but one God, there is none beside to divide the heart with; and Jehovah claims in the most absolute way the whole of it. The words stand for the inner man, with all his affections, and in their full energy. And this is the reasonable claim of the Creator to the full answer of the heart to Him who created him, and in whose service alone all his faculties find their full occupation, rest, and satisfaction. All freedom apart from this is only slavery. All slavery here is only freedom as he knew well who could say, "To me, to live is Christ," and who in his epistle to the Romans signs himself His "bondsman," — "Paul, bondsman of Jesus Christ." (Rom. 1:1, Greek.) Yet none can insist more earnestly that "we have not received the spirit of bondage." (Rom. 8:15.) To live in love, and serve Him who is love, is indeed the opposite.

(2) Whose they were, they were to remind themselves and others at all times, and on all occasions. Their confession of God was to be of the most open character. How great a help and strength to the soul itself is this conspicuous putting God foremost! "I have set the Lord always before me" has necessarily for its companion-word, "He is at my right hand: I shall not be moved." (Ps. 16:8.) God's seal is for the forehead, not the back of the head; and how many are saved by it from the devil's locusts! (Rev. 9:4.) Nor does the apostle hesitate to say, "With the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Rom. 10:10.) Let us not think it legal to insist upon commandment, and to write upon every available space a "Thus saith the Lord." Such a consecration of things is the way to prevent the devil's scribbling, who has not the least hesitation or delicacy in appropriating every vacant spot. God's word is no intrusion, and never out of place. By it the heavens were framed, and the earth established; and still it establishes, harmonizes, gives fullest meaning, character, beauty, to every thing. It is no more out of place any where than a ray of sunshine is; and, like it, glorifies what it rests upon.

(3) But, alas! then as now, and now as then, the very fullness of the blessing enjoyed might cause forgetfulness of the gracious hand from which it came. "Fullness of bread" had of old been the destruction of Sodom. Trial and necessity awake the consciousness of man's need of God, while without want he may lose easily the sense of his still existing dependence. Egypt, the type of the world away from Him, we have seen to be fed by her unfailing river. Mercies thus may through our pride and willfulness become that plagues shall have to become our mercies. In this condition the gods which man's own heart has devised are more attractive than the glorious God who is our Creator, not our creature; and Israel can go after the idols of Canaan — of the nations they have seen driven out before Jehovah — away from Him who had given them these for a possession.

Of this, then, they are warned beforehand, that they may retain Him in their fear, serve Him, and swear by His name. The God who loves them is jealous of their affections. They must choose between that love heretofore so fruitful to them and the wrath which will alike be fruitful; for indifferent He cannot be.

(4) They must not tempt Jehovah, then, as they tempted Him in Massah. There, it was, in fact, belief in His indifference. They said, "Is the Lord among us, or not?" He had been, surely; but in their change of circumstances, they. had imagined fickleness in Him, and that His shoulder had thrown off the burden it had assumed. How little we judge it our sin that we have not counted on Him, that we have judged Him capable of abandoning the objects of His choice! No: He would fill His place; let it be only their care to fill theirs. Let them diligently observe His commandments, which were also His testimonies, and the result could not but follow — that it should be well with them, and that they should go in to possess the land.

One blessed experience they had, and which was to be their testimony to the generations following. They had been bond-slaves in Egypt, and Jehovah had broken their bonds to bring them forth. This He had enshrined for their remembrance in those ordinances which, as they abode, should be testimonies that He abode still, their changeless God and Saviour. Thus was perpetuated among them the memory of a love which in all else manifested itself for them, — statutes which would be righteousness to those who observed them, and for their good alway: assurances of what He who gave them was in His own nature, as loving righteousness, — who commands love, because He loves. So in man also does conscience testify to the one of these, as the heart of parent, brother, friend testify to the other. In these, man cannot but be, however feebly, the reflection of his Maker.

3. So far as to Israel, simply looked at as from within: a sterner duty awaited them as to the land into which Jehovah was about to bring them. They were completely to destroy out of it the Canaanite inhabitants, showing them no mercy, making no covenant or alliance with them. Over and over again the cause of this has been explained. They were a people whose iniquity was now full, as in Abraham's time it yet was not. (Gen. 15.) The land itself was spuing them out for their abominations, and Israel was in this respect but the executioner of divine judgment, not of their own passion or lust of acquisition. Instead of destroying them, as He might, by plague or famine, He chose Israel to perform this office, and thus gave His people themselves the most solemn lesson that could be given them, in the holiness of His own nature, and in what sin is before Him. They themselves would incur similar awful judgments if they followed them in their sin, of which their loathsome gods of lust and murder were the full outcome and expression. There must be no dalliance with this evil, no league of any kind with those infected with it. Axe and fire must deal with all its symbols, and Israel must be wholly devoted to Him who had set His love upon them in all their insignificance, and in that love, and faithful to His promise to their fathers, had now redeemed them to Himself. Thus they knew God, this true and faithful God, — faithful in holy judgment as in loving mercy.

How needful all this reiteration Israel's after-history shows abundantly. Here, therefore, follows the detail of various blessing, just such things as every man values, which would go with obedience; while the power of God, which they had witnessed in Egypt, would be against their enemies and consume them if slowly, even this in tender mercy to them, lest the wild beasts should increase too much in the vacant land.

4. Again, Moses returns to enforce all this with the ever-fruitful wilderness-lessons; — we too, in eternity, shall return to feast upon harvests gathered out of such barren soil. If these are lessons of humiliation, it is just this that is so needful for the proud heart of man. To the meek and contrite of heart God looks, — yea, dwells with these. Humility is the true undoing of the fall in one main feature; and thus the forty years of discipline have their justification.

(1) They were to remember, then, all the way by which God had led them, — a way which had brought out for them, as His way still does for all, all that was in their hearts. This in its design was but their Father's care, whether He suffered them to hunger, or fed them with His strange food, still by man so little appreciated. Patient weaning from self it was, patient instilling of lessons of dependence, so easy-seeming, so hard to acquire. Ah, in the life that He has taught us to be our possession, how sure that God's Word is that which sustains it! — "By every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God doth man live."

If there was trial, how God's tenderness was shown! Raiment never growing old; feet never swelling as they trod that flinty soil. We too have a robe of beauty that is fresh eternally; "feet shod with the preparation of the gospel, of peace," of which the rough places only prove the abiding comfort. Discipline, — yes! but the tender discipline of a father for the son in whom he delighteth.

Beyond, the good land beckoning them, — "a land of water-brooks, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills," reminding us of the fullness of the Spirit which abounds at all levels for us; a land of grain and fruits, and stored within with precious metals. Alas! there lay for them dangers which the wilderness was meant to prepare them for; and they might say, "My power, and the might of my hand, have gotten me this wealth." Into our laud, thank God! we shall enter with this lesson learnt; and yet how in this the wilderness may still be remembered as our teacher, and its teachings still be treasured up for endless blessing!

(2) Not only might there be the thought that their own hand had gained them what they had, a subtler one might use the very acknowledgment of God as having bestowed it to foster a spirit of self-righteousness. Moses goes on, therefore, to review their course, as far back as Horeb itself, the place of covenant, and where it was so soon and so terribly broken through. When Jehovah's power had cast out before them nations mightier than themselves, they might impute it to their own credit that He had thus manifestly favored them. No; but on account of the wickedness of these nations He had cast them out. And as to themselves, they had always been a stiff-necked people. And again he recites how he had gone up at first into the mount to receive the tables of the law, and how in that short space in which he had remained there, they had forfeited every thing, and provoked Jehovah so that His wrath threatened to destroy them all. Yet He had hearkened to his intercession both for them and Aaron. And from there to Kadesh-barnea they had constantly rebelled.

(3) It was divine mercy only that had restored every thing. In that extremity of theirs, the promise to their fathers and the glory of His own name had given Him ground to take them up again. The tables had been renewed, and this time to be received into the ark for safe-keeping and there they still abode. Aaron died long after, transmitting the priesthood to Eleazar his son. While the whole tribe of Levi were separated to God to minister to him and to bless the people in His name, having Jehovah alone for their portion and inheritance.

The statement as to Aaron is quite intelligible as showing the answer to Moses' prayer, to which without any doubt it stands related, the section closing as it began with this, and the reiteration that God had answered it. But there are, at first sight, difficulties nevertheless connected with it, which furnish a pretext for cavil by those ready to find it.

The main difficulty is, that the passage reads like a part of the itinerary of the wilderness, beginning before Mosera, at which Aaron died, and going on beyond to Gudgodah and Jotbath. The only other that can be really called so is that the time of the separation of the Levites seems to come after Aaron's death, which in fact it preceded thirty-eight years. But this is founded only upon the expression "at that time," coming after the account of Aaron's death, which it does, but does not necessarily refer to it. It is the "time" of his great intercession that is in Moses' mind; and to this he has before returned after going beyond it (as Deut. 9:24, 25).

But the first difficulty needs more attention. It will be perceived at once that the death of Aaron, and the succession of Eleazar are the central points quite evidently; and that these are indeed in such relation to the whole history here, we have seen in Numbers. In Eleazar the priesthood of Aaron is maintained, spite of his death, and in the power of resurrection; and this connects significantly with the rapid advance of the people, who now press on through all opposition triumphantly to the very border of the land. Our great High-Priest, His work accomplished, and risen out of death, is able thus to lead on His people. In the passage before us indeed but a few stages of the journey are given: they are however a good sample; and those who realize the connection of the smitten Rock with the outflowing waters, and of Christ dead and risen with the gift of the Spirit, will mark with interest, as others have done, the record (surely not purposeless) of what was indeed so important for their journey, the water which they found. First, before Aaron's death, and giving perhaps the meaning of the commencement here — the "wells of the (Horite) sons of Jaakan." After Mosera and when Eleazar has succeeded Aaron, Gudgodah, which has been said to mean "a well with much water." Then Jotbath, which (it is openly stated) is "a land of water-brooks." Thus there is progress: has there not at least been corresponding progress since Christ our High-Priest has entered the heavens? From the wells which indeed furnish water, but in Horite hands — they were cave-dwellers, as we know, these Horites — to first the rise of many waters in that of Pentecost, and then the far and wide-flowing streams among the nations?

5. This part is now closed with a solemn reminder of their responsibility to God. (1) What did God require of them but a loving obedience to commandments which were always for their good? love to One who while infinitely great, heaven and earth belonging to Him, had nevertheless chosen them above all people in His love to them? Here was what made them so responsible beyond all men, while it should have made their duty easy of fulfillment. They had but to wear the light yoke of love, a thing which is indeed the moral power of the gospel: "We love Him, because He first loved us." How far, then, does our responsibility exceed that of Israel?

(2) They indeed knew God in His wonderful work for them, as well as in the commandments which displayed His character. They were called to imitate Him. If He cared for the fatherless and widows, and for the stranger, they too must care. And had they not known what it was to be strangers in that land out of which (marvelously multiplied amid all their suffering) He had delivered them with an outstretched arm?

(3) In Egypt and at the Red Sea they had seen His signs, His anger, the more terrible for its holiness. And in the wilderness, when the earth acted for Him, and swallowed up the insolence of the stubborn transgressor. Now, the good land before them waited to receive them, and welcome them with all its wealth. But they must enjoy it holily or not enjoy it.

(4) Indeed, this land was a land not like the land of Egypt. There, independent, as they might think, of heaven, the overflowing river both watered and fertilized it, needing but guidance upon man,s part, who with his foot could guide it as he would. Not so Israel's land of hills and valleys and rain from heaven. Here God had chosen for them the better part of creature-dependence, therefore of the Creator's care. "A land which Jehovah thy God careth for: the eyes of Jehovah thy God are continually upon it, from the beginning of the year even to the end of the year." Could those vigilant eyes overlook their need? No, assuredly; but their need might be, alas! of chastening, and He would give it. Israel's land might thus suffer where Egypt escaped. It is the secret of the seventy-third psalm, only to be read aright, and acquiesced in joyfully, in the presence of God, in the sanctuary. If the wicked are "not in trouble as other men, neither are they plagued as other men," — if, on the other hand, "all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning," — here is the meaning of it, that "I am continually with thee; thou hast holden me with Thy right hand." How blessed a reason! how glorious a compensation! "Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire in respect of Thee." The presence of the Holy One with us necessarily implies discipline; but it is a Father's discipline of the "son in whom He delighteth."

This, then, is what God appoints for Israel. They are perpetually to be upon His arm. They are to know the "living God" in the constant display of His resources for them, even as their land is to be not a dead level such as Egypt's, but a land of valley and hill, such as must needs have the direct "rain from heaven" upon it. And then with it what Pisgah prospects, and what a place for a hardy race such as mountaineers are! And what mines of wealth in the bowels of these hills, — "a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou shalt dig copper"! what "fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills"!

This is the creature-place — not a hard one, at its worst, when the opened eye beholds Him on whom all things wait. And at last its full meaning shall come out, how blessed! for in the creature it has been God's will to manifest Himself; and into the creature-place the Creator Himself has been pleased to come, and to know fully all that dependence upon Him which to us only unbelief makes hard. "I was cast upon Thee from the womb," is the word of Him, whom yet all nature shall put on its bridal dress to welcome, — the "MAN," God's "fellow"! (Zech. 13:7.)

Let Israel keep only in the place of dependence, taking from no hand but that of their God, serving Him with the only service fitting for Him to receive, then they have pledged a word that shall never be broken, for their full deliverance in the land. It is also pledged — and the pledge has been redeemed — that if they go away from Him, they shall learn in a closed heaven and a barren earth His faithfulness to the covenant they have despised. Let them only lay up in their hearts His word, and confess it in their lives, in multiplied days they and their children shall enjoy the fullness of a blessing, of which He who knows heaven can say, "As the days of heaven upon the earth."

(5) A career of conquest was now before them, and the land is conditionally made over to them, not merely in the extent to which they actually possessed it, but expressly all Lebanon and the wilderness — east of it — as far as the Euphrates itself. In David's time a shadow of this was reached, but only in the way of supremacy over the nations that filled these countries. Israel is yet to have this in possession, and much more, for the southern limit is not defined here according to promise, and Edom, Moab, and Ammon were at present, as we have seen, excepted from the land assigned them. By and by these also are to be their own. Meanwhile, a large and plentiful land was put before them, which they did not possess, simply because of their own rapid declension and apostasy, their non-observance of the conditions so again and again insisted on.

The blessing and the curse were to be solemnly rehearsed in the centre of the land when God should give it them, from the slopes respectively of Gerizim and Ebal. The last words which point out the site, "beside the oaks of Moreh," — full of touching recollections for an Israelite, — show that this is the place where Abraham first rested upon entering Canaan. "Moreh" means "teacher," as the oak itself suits well with the robustness of growth where the Word of God is that which teaches. The connection of Moreh with Shechem is seen in Genesis, and this lies between Ebal and Gerizim. "Shechem" means "shoulder," and there Israel as a nation, now brought into the land, were finally to take up the burden of the law; a law which is commonly torah, or "teaching," from the same root as Moreh. These are links which show us how God would carry back His people to the position of their great ancestor, so definitely the man of faith, and set them where he had been. Alas, they had accepted law, to stand in covenant-relation to Jehovah on that ground; and the shadow of this falls darkly over them. Ebal o'ertops Gerizim. Even this should have been but a voice of recall to Abraham's blessing through a faith like his: some surely heard it.

Subdivision 2. (Deut. 12 – 26.)

Application to the various relationships in which men stand to God or the world around them.

The essence of the law, then, is whole-hearted love to God, who has revealed Himself in such a way as to be fully entitled to it. He who was of old their Creator is now their Redeemer; and the law comes to them laden with the mercies of life which man so keenly appreciates, (if not, alas! as mercies,) and with the memories of broken bonds to enhance their appreciation.

But the love of God of necessity implies the desire of moral assimilation to Him; and thus the law becomes a means to this. In His commandments we learn Himself, — not, indeed, as Christ reveals Him, for there was yet, and in this sense, a wail over His face, — but in such measure as was at present possible. In the practical application of the "ten words," we find still more than in the tables themselves, that the law made nothing perfect, and that such and such allowances had to be made in view of the hardness of their hearts, as the Lord declares. (Matt. 19:8.) Spite of this, the imitation of God Himself is plainly what the law requires. (Deut. 10:18, 19.)

1. We have now the illustration of this in special commandments which amplify and apply the law to the special relationships of life, and in an orderly way, beginning once more with the first table though, of course, not with the first commandment which has been already dwelt upon and emphasized. The first section is thus marked out as applying to the first table, — to duties Godward.

(1) And of these the first subsection gives one whose importance must be apparent by the way it is insisted on. It is emphasized too as imposed of the Lord's own will. He would choose one place out of all their tribes to put His name, and there they were to bring their gifts and offerings. There was to be one centre of gathering for all Israel: it is no question of what exceptionally God might. Himself command, as in the case of Gideon (Judges 6:26), or of Manoah (13:16), or of a prophet like Samuel (1 Sam. 7:9; 10:8), — things which merely show that God was necessarily above His own law, and which might be argued as much to set aside the distinctive priesthood in Aaron's family, as the one place of sacrifice. How should a law for Israel as a whole take notice of such rare exceptions? In fact, to none of these places were the people to come, nor did they. Shiloh first after the conquest of the land, and then Jerusalem, were the chosen centres. Between the two was a time of ruin, in which, it is said, irrespective of law, "every man did that which was right in his own eyes." (Judges 21:25.) In such a time God acted in His goodness, outside the established order.

These ordinances are expressly given for the land, and are in character often supplementary to those given at Sinai. (Deut. 29:1.) This accounts for much of the seeming contradiction, out of which infidelity has sought to make capital in her own behalf. To these cavils there have been replies in abundance, and they need not be repeated here, where we have but too little room for what is directly for edification. For souls to be nourished up in the positive teaching of the Word of God is also the best preserver from the questionings of unbelief, so easy to multiply, and whose factories pay such poor wages to the workman.

Here as a first necessity in order to maintain that pure worship of God which their existence as a nation in the midst of surrounding idolatry was to conserve, He once more insists upon the absolute extirpation of idolatry out of the land. All signs, every memorial of it, they were to destroy: the very names of the false gods were to be forgotten. Heathenism had possessed itself of the land: hills, groves, everywhere had been associated with the pollutions of impure and cruel rites. From all these, Israel's eyes were to be called away to their one place chosen of God, where, without visible image or similitude, among all the creatures of His hand, Jehovah dwelt. There they were to bring all their offerings, and, filled with the blessing of the Lord, to eat and rejoice before Him, — themselves and their households.

A precious thing is this ability to rejoice before God. It is all power, all security for holiness, — the "joy of the Lord is your strength." (Neh. 8:10.) Israel attached by the heart to this light- and heat-giving centre, their whole life was to revolve around it in the orbit of obedience, no more seeking release than the earth would of the sun. Here, then, God fixes the centre for them, — His sanctuary the heart of the land, from which should pulse and return the vivifying streams to every part. For He will be no man's debtor: of His own only can we give Him and he who gives to Him indeed, enriches himself by giving. Has He hunger that shall be fed with Israel's offerings? Has He need that He ordains them to satisfy? Yes: the need of love for its object. He is Love. His "delights are with the sons of men."

In a lesser sense they are taught to make all taking of life a "sacrifice" to the Lord, the word being used here with regard to what is at any time used for food, the blood being poured upon the ground as the life which belongs to God. It is the application of the principle of Lev. 17 (which in its full detail was only possible in the camp in the wilderness) to the land at large. Here, as there, the sacredness of life was to be realized, and their own life to be constantly lifted into spiritual meaning, and brought near to God. Each common meal was to have, as far as this could be given to it, the character of a peace-offering: it was to be enjoyed in communion with God.

Care for the Levite is also insisted on, for if we are with God, He is master of the table at which He sits, and His pensioners become ours. Finally, the extension of the boundaries of the land beyond their present assignment is distinctly contemplated and provided for.

The uses of this provision of one only centre of gathering in the land for a people exposed and prone to yield to the seductions of an idolatry which had connected itself with every part of the scene around them, are evident enough in turning their eyes away from these, removing as far as possible the old associations, so powerful as they prove themselves, and bringing the whole people together under one manifest allegiance. This one sanctuary, with its Levite guard, and the awful Presence which abode there, was a security against the introduction of man's will which for a people such as Israel nothing else could give. For her own purposes, and with evident wisdom, Rome has sought to imitate this. All she has lacked is that divine presence with her, which she has recognized indeed as necessary, and has not failed to claim. Metropolitanism in spiritual things has never been transferred from Jerusalem, though Jerusalem for centuries has been set aside from what was her glory, — what will again be this, — that she was the city of God. The city of God for Christianity is heavenly" Jerusalem which is above, which is our mother." (Gal. 4:26.) The dwelling-place of God on earth is the Church which is formed by the Holy Ghost of living stones, which Peter himself has with prophetic significance been made to announce to us. (1 Peter 2:5.) Practically, the presence of the Lord is with any "two or three gathered to" His "name." (Matt. 18:20.) Unity now is spiritual, not local. To put it better, the centre of gathering is One hid in heaven, whose "name" alone unites us upon earth. But thank God we are not thus at distance from our centre ever: wherever we gather to His name He is.

(2) As the first subsection has thus to do with the maintenance of the sovereignty of the one true God, the second naturally treats of those who should turn aside to follow other gods. And here the closing verses of the twelfth chapter seem clearly the beginning of the subject of the thirteenth. The prohibition a all thought of such service, or of mixing it in any way with the service of Jehovah, which they were jealously to adhere to without addition or diminution, leads on to the treatment of seducers in the shape of false prophets, or among kindred and bosom friends, and then where even a whole city might have gone astray.

In the first place, there was to be no borrowing from the worship of false gods, much less going after themselves. A false god implies necessarily what is false and evil morally for were not man's conscience defiled, he could not be away from God. The apostle's history of the development of idolatry (Rom. 1) is a true picture of every case, and the gods men take to themselves are a faithful picture of the lusts which call for them. It follows as a thing of course that their service gratifies these and develops them, remorse of conscience coming in, however, and claiming frightful penalties, until men offer the fruit of their bodies for the sin of their souls, passion and fear holding them alternately in bondage. God's will as proclaimed by His commandments is the only path of light and freedom: they were not to add or take away from it.

Secondly, they were to learn the supremacy of the moral in what might claim to be miracle, and thus decisive witness of what it was wrought to attest. This is a most important principle even now, when from Romanism to Mormonism and to Spiritualism, the supernatural is appealed to as establishing any thing as truth. Not so does the Word of God use it. Confirm the truth it may awaken attention to it, it will: sound the alarm-bell in the conscience, summon response from the heart but that which compels belief is the manifest truth, — truth which is always pure, always holy, always witnesses for God within the soul. "By their fruits shall ye know them," says the Lord as to the false prophets. No jugglery can bring forth grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles.

God may, it is plainly stated, allow a sign to come to pass as predicted. The "wicked one" of the last days comes with "all power and signs and lying wonders," things that shall take captive with strong delusion those that have "not received the love of the truth, that they might be saved." (2 Thess. 2) There is a moral order in all this, and no cause for marvel that they that love lies, and will have them, should find that what they have embraced for truth has been a lie. Those that are of the truth hear the truth — Christ's voice, — none others. This is the unalterable and holy law of God's holy government: "there is a way that seemeth right unto a man, and the end thereof are the ways of death."

How deep this sends home to us the question, so necessary and so healthful as it is, where, and what are we? How well it assures us that if in any thing we deal untruly with our souls, we can make no covenant with the deceit we have invited — deceit will deceive all round! How well may the voice of Truth cry to the sons of men: "All they that hate Me love death"! (Prov. 8:36.)

This does not displace the miracle, as some would have it, from its place of witness. It only fixes its place, and refuses to make a servant master; assures us that we everywhere have need of open eyes and conscience, lest we become the poor slaves of superstition that millions are, and from which our vaunted civilization in no wise delivers us.

This second warning is against deception; but "Adam was not deceived," yet was seduced. The wife gave) to her husband, and with open eyes he fell. The third section here warns against this seduction. If it come from thy brother, the son of thy mother, or from the wife of thy bosom, or the friend who is as thine own soul, still the seducer to false gods must perish, and thou thyself have the responsibility of this, thy hand must be first upon him. This supposes public trial and full proof, of course, — sufficient witness, without which no life could be taken in Israel. The thing so proved, nothing remained but judgment: the judgment that fell upon Canaan and her gods must fall upon him who would bring back the gods and so the Canaan. It was God's judgment — amply just as God's must be; just, if ever judgment is just; and the smiting of a love which could not suffer the blight and canker to come upon His people whom He had saved from Egypt and brought home to Himself. Christianity does not smite thus, not because it is not just, but because Christianity is the spirit of grace in a world which has rejected Christ, and in which no divine throne any longer exists as it existed in Israel. But the judgment is reserved only for the time that is surely coming, upon all who refuse still the grace. The tenderest lips that have ever spoken shall pronounce it, the hearts of saints shall say their amen to it, and the consciences of those condemned shall own its justice in that day.

The last case provided for is where a whole city is gone astray from God, in which case it comes under the ban, and is to be destroyed utterly, never to be rebuilt. Thus only could the mercy of God go forth in blessing once more for the land.

(3) We have now three things put together which seem to have little connection with one another or with the topic of consecration to God upon which the first commandment is here directly based. We have indeed to remember that (as has been already said) only illustrations are given us of principles much wider in application. Yet we shall find surely here, as always, that divine wisdom has ordered every thing, and that the illustrations are really such as this supposes. If we take from the passage the typical, that is, the prophetic, spiritual meaning, then indeed we may expect the meagreness which must result from such spoliation; but this will be our own fault entirely, and we do not so propose to treat the blessed Word of God. The New Testament must light up the Old; and in this we deal no more untruly with it than the light does when it floods a landscape with the day. For us the day is come, and we are children of it.

(a) Whatever may be the value of what follows, it is plain that it is based upon a wondrous place that Israel had, their being sons to Jehovah their God. This was their special place among the nations: they had, as the apostle says, "the adoption." It did not involve for them, what it does for us now their being children of God as new-born of the Spirit, although where faith was truly in the heart, there of course was new birth at any time. If we read this, then, in the light of God's desire for them, we may and must bring it in. By and by, it will be in fact accomplished as to the whole nation.

"Life," and that in its full sense, a life which the children of God have, gives evidently its fullness to the meaning here. Death is not to have power over the sons of God. "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." It would be to dishonor Him, therefore, to make cuttings in the flesh for the dead, — ineffaceable marks of grief for that which touched not the true life, and which the hand of God was to remove forever. Except we take in this thought of life, who could refuse to own the power of that under which in fact all would be? Death brings things here to an end, and the more their value, the greater ruin accomplished. It is not to be endured, then, the notion that the Pentateuch is Sadducean, although only by the gospel indeed are life and incorruption fully brought to light. There is darkness, but to faith not impenetrable, as, in fact, we know it was not unpenetrated.

Israel must not disfigure themselves. They were wholly God's, and not to mutilate what He claimed for Himself. So a mere asceticism is a mere dishonor to Him whose we are, and to whom to give one's life is to make it full, perfect, exuberant. "Thou wilt show me the path of life," says the Psalmist, and then adds at once, "in Thy presence fullness of joy; at Thy right hand, pleasures for evermore." If it be answered to this, "Yes, but in heaven," Deuteronomy has enriched us already with the thought of "days of heaven upon the earth."

(b) It need not surprise us now that we find immediately upon this the insistence once more upon distinction of food, and that Israel shall only partake of what God pronounces clean. Food is the sustenance of life, and spiritually it is fully true that as the food is so the life must be. Christ is thus our Life itself, and the Bread of life. Strength cannot be ours without food, or without proper food; and if we only receive of Christ, it is He who says, "He that eateth Me, shall even live by Me."

Though the distinctions here insisted on have passed away as letter, as spirit they remain as things imperatively to be maintained. Would that we were careful always as to what we fed upon, and realized more fully that what we assimilate we are assimilated to. But in art, in literature, even for the Christian, genius is permitted to gild vice, and beauty of style to adorn error, until virtue in a rough garb is disdained, and evil in a fine coat welcomed. This has been in measure true at all times, never perhaps more, however, than in the present day; and therefore the commandment here never needed enforcement more.

The lists of clean and unclean are shorter and more concise than in Lev. 11, with some differences also, of which we can at present unhappily give no account. All has been said already that we are able to say, in the notes upon Leviticus.

(c) In the third part of this chapter, the practical life of the Israelite is put in connection with the Sanctuary-Presence. An immense point it is that is here insisted on, although the reality is only faintly imaged in the legal statute.

The tithe spoken of is one of the supplementary laws of Deuteronomy, a second tithe, not the first, which belonged to God alone: while this was consumed, at the sanctuary, by the person whose land was tithed, with his household, and the Levite, never to be forgotten. He thus comes up to own before God His mercies and enjoy them with God.

The life is characterized by dependence — faith: and faith has its one object and need in God Himself. The psalms emphasize this need of God, the personal God, for the soul. "My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?" (Ps. 42:2.) The eighty-fourth psalm celebrates the blessedness of those who dwell in God's house, whose life is one perpetual praise and the blessedness next to that, of him in whose heart are the "ways" that lead there, who goes from strength to strength, though through the vale of weeping, making it a well, and the rain of heavenly refreshment filling the pools.

What is faith indeed without the God in whom it is? what divine life that draws not up to its source and centre? The journeys of the Israelite to Zion year by year, with their eating and drinking, and joy before Him, do indeed but feebly express the truth here: yet they shadow, and remind us of it.

(4) Of this joy in God the practical life is the outflow: on this we do not need to dwell, it is so manifest. Completely in place is it, therefore, that now we find every third year this tithe consumed at home, shared with the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. Not simply given to them, but shared with them; — a deeper thing. Christ does not give merely, that we may carry it away from Him; He shares. This is fellowship. We are called to joy in His joy, who came here to sorrow in our sorrow: "I will drink the wine new with you," He says, "in My Father's kingdom."

This is only the first illustration, however, of the mercy to be shown to the needy in Israel, the witness of His mercy who was Israel's God. We find beyond this two other cases of need.

First, the debtor, to whom the seventh — the Sabbatic — year brought "release" as to his debt. The comparison with Ex. 23:11, where the same word as used for "release" here is applied to the land, — the letting it rest, — assures us plainly that this was not an absolute remission of all debt, but a temporary one during the time of the land-rest, which might hinder payment. This, which did not of course affect the foreigner, shows the reason of his exemption. God would have no poor among His people, although such there would always be, left to test and draw out the mercy of their brethren, who were to make them practically to cease by their care for them. (Comp. v. 4 with v. 11.) Nor need they fear to suffer by this liberty; for so they would be blessed in all they put their hand to. How tender a witness this sabbatic year to the bounty of His hand who supported all!

The other case is that of a person who through want might have been compelled to become a bondman: for him also the seventh year of his service was to bring release; nor was he to be sent empty away, but furnished liberally. They were to remember the bond-service in Egypt, and their redemption. Yet love might rather choose continued service; and we know Whose love is pictured here.

This enforcement of mercy to the poor was the more needed because the law had promises of earthly blessing to him who kept it, which self-righteousness might abuse to justify another treatment. And for this reason the Lord,s story of Lazarus and the rich man would come home to covetous Pharisees. In this, the poor man — one in utter destitution — is taken to Abraham's bosom, and the rich man shut out. But this is not legal right, but salvation, a very different thing, in the line of which comes the exhortation here in Deuteronomy to remember Egypt and their own redemption. To them all, and always, God,s blessings were but mercy; and the lesson of the law was not learnt by those in ignorance of this.

(5) The first section ends now with the repetition of that which is all through a governing thought — the going up to the sanctuary. The life which is of God must be lived with Him, of which these goings up are an imperfect yet real expression. In accordance with the number of this subsection, we have the occasions insisted on on which they went up, which naturally typify the ways that lead up. Blessed indeed he in whose heart they are!

(a) First, however, and as introductory to these, we have a supplementary note — in this, quite in the style of Deuteronomy — as to the first-born of the herd and flock. They were not to be worked, nor used by man for his own profit, but to be the Lord's entirely, and eaten when they went up to the sanctuary, except there were some blemish; in which case, though not fit to be taken up, they were still to be eaten, as a portion from God in the family.

As supplementary to the former law (Num. 18), it is, no doubt, the priest who is to eat this in the way stated. Nor does it seem possible that even such a modification should be intended as that the people should share with the priests, as some have thought: nothing like this is said. As a supplement to what was well known, there would be no misunderstanding of what, if it stood alone, would naturally be otherwise taken than now we take it. In fact, the Jews seem to have had no question.

Nationally, there was no separate going up to Jerusalem to present the firstlings, yet the fulfillment of the law required them to go up. It is thus a suited introduction to that of the three feasts following. The first-born belonged to God, as having been spared in Egypt, and to eat it before God speaks for us of realizing that relationship to God which is founded upon birth and redemption. Israel had this double position, — are for the earth, as the Church is for heaven, God's first-born; and when they truly take it, it will be as born to God — newborn, as we, — a new birth, which implies the bringing home to Him, though the knowledge of redemption be the actual call. Perfectly in its place, then, is this introductory note as to the first-born. They must eat it at the sanctuary, therefore, — that is, if without blemish; if blemished, it was not a fit presentation of what God,s work and gift must be; and thus it lost its place, and became mere ordinary food.

(b) We now come to the three feasts which actually brought Israel to the sanctuary. The first of these was the passover, in which, as seen here, the feast of unleavened bread is merged. Redemption is the prominent thought, though the putting away of leaven surely accompanies it. Unleavened bread is the "bread of affliction," — the soul's self-humiliation because of the remembrance of the bondage out of which the mercy of God has delivered; for us, indeed, how shameful an one! a sorrow which is to be the subduing of pride forever, and thus, morally, our deliverance.

Here is the first direct call to the sanctuary, though new birth underlies it, as we know. In the knowledge of redemption it is that the new life comes to itself, and so to God. In its second-first place in this series, the passover-feast is found in perfect order, as all is order here.

(c) The feast of weeks, or Pentecost, comes next to the passover, — a type, as we well know, of the gift of the Spirit, but which is characterized here by its effects — the fruit produced, of which a free-will offering is presented to God according to the measure of the blessing realized.

Upon this as bringing to God there is no need to dwell at length. The Spirit of God is He by whom we draw nigh, and the Spirit in us will not acquiesce in distance. He is the Spirit of adoption whereby we cry, "Abba, Father;" and it is good to notice, as connected with the type, the voluntary offering, and the joy before God, in which those who have special need are specially remembered and made to share. Such are the characteristics, indeed, of the work of the Spirit.

(d) Lastly, we have now the feast of tabernacles. This, as we have already seen, speaks of the perfected blessing, when, the harvest of the earth and the vintage of wrath being past, Israel, in the enjoyment of the land, shall remember all wilderness-experience as past forever, and the long joy wide-spread and unchecked shall reach on to eternal day. For us also, in a higher sphere, there are "pleasures at God's right hand for evermore."

This completes the picture. The perpetuity of blessing means God's unbroken delight in the work of His hands forever — God with us, we with Him, abidingly. Thus the three feasts that call Israel up to God do not speak of temporary or intermitting fellowship. That would be injurious to God as to man. "Emmanuel" — "God with us" can be of no mere temporary significance.

2. (1) We pass now from the first table of the law to the second — from duties Godward to duties manward; in the first section, finding connection between the two by means of the fifth commandment, under which the duties to rulers naturally come, especially in Israel, where, as we have seen, the idea of the family, the natural order, underlies the whole national constitution. Authority here, as it is derived from God, represents Him, as it is plain: a principle which the apostle applies for the Christian in a most sweeping way (Rom. 13), and which is seen clearly in Scripture — "Calling those gods to whom the word of God came," (the judges in Israel, that is, who had divine commission,) — a phrase which the Lord seals with the emphatic assurance, "Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35.)

Those who would put the fifth commandment into the first table may find here their strongest argument, as confirmatory of which they urge the special commandments as to idolatry which follow in this place. One would think this view, however, to be self-evidently wrong, the numerical stamp also justifying fully the common division, as we have seen. The fifth commandment does indeed by this means only stand as the first of the second table — the representative of the first in the second, and this most perfectly.

The duties of rulers also are implied in the duties to them, and come under the same head here.

(a) We have, first, the institution of civil authority, that righteousness may be maintained throughout the land: judges everywhere, with a court for the settlement of difficult cases at the sanctuary, taking the place of the appeal hitherto to Moses himself; a king viewed as in the future in God's thought for them, and the choice of one provided for.

The judges sat in the gates of the cities, because every one going out or coming in was to be under their eye; and justice thus, as it was to be open-eyed, and toward all, would come under the eyes of all, as able to bear the light. There was to be no respect of persons, no taking of gift. Righteousness in Israel was to be the basis of every thing, the condition of life and of inheritance.

But in the maintenance of this, the claim of God was first, and thus the commandments as to idolatry follow this immediately. There was to be no toleration in such cases at all, but sharp excision by the sword of justice, the government being exercised by God openly among them, and the worship of other gods manifest rebellion. Church and state were here really one, and ecclesiastical penalties also civil ones. This is, of course, no justification of such a course in entirely different conditions under another dispensation. The kingdom of God is now "not of this world;" Christ's people reign not, but are patient sufferers; their weapons spiritual, and not carnal; and grace to be manifested by them while God in His grace forbears toward men.

In these cases, the law required sufficient witness, and of such sort as would be willing to put their hands to the confirmation of it: the witnesses must first execute the sentence of the judge.

In matters too difficult to settle by the ordinary procedure, the sanctuary became the place of final appeal, where the priest's voice could re-inforce that of the judge; and this appeal was ultimate. A sentence so given none could resist without rebellion.

A king is contemplated in due time, when they should desire, in this, to be like the nations round about. But when the people make this very plea in Samuel's time (1 Sam. 8:5), it is taken, not by him only, but by the Lord also, as the rejection of Him as their King. From this, it has been urged that this passage in Deuteronomy must have been the insertion of a later time. But why? Granted that it was failure on the people's part, (and that is clear,) it is surely not clear that God could not foresee this, nor that, foreseeing, He might not provide for it. Certainly, a desire to be like the Gentiles, in one of those things that mainly distinguished them from the Gentiles, could not indicate a right appreciation of their blessings. And yet the wisdom and grace of God are only the more, not the less, conspicuous in this provision. True, of Saul it was said, "I gave thee a king in Mine anger, and took him away in My wrath." (Hosea 13:11.) But this only brings out God's real choice — David, "the beloved," type of One who is indeed that, and in whom a King is found who reigns forever. He is the One of whom the king that Deuteronomy announces is the shadow. Brought forth when priesthood has failed in Eli, and prophet in Samuel, the true king is God's resource for Israel and the earth. For neither priesthood nor prophecy alone will set right the earth, or bring in the time when it shall be filled with the glory of the Lord. He must come to whom the throne belongs, and who shall bring back judgment to righteousness; He in whom Prophet, Priest, and King are one, — a threefold cord that never shall be broken.

Here it is but the type, the mere human king, needing to be reminded of his dependence upon God, and liable to trust in horses and chariots, and to yield himself to the lusts which enslave the greatest. In Solomon, the wisest of kings, is found the failure which is here anticipated. He is but the shadow. The reins of absolute empire are reserved for One who alone can hold them aright.

(b) The rights of priests and Levites follow, — the ministers of Jehovah, ministering in His name: identified with Him, not in rule, but in that which attests rather His heart than, as before, His righteousness. To them the people were in turn to minister a recognized portion, they having none with the other tribes in the land.

There was also a special privilege accorded to these, wherever there was a longing desire in the heart to dwell near the sanctuary, there was no fixed location which would prevent the accomplishment of this. Such an one could come and minister among his brethren who stood there before Jehovah, and was to find his portion among these. A precious witness for us of how God delights in and welcomes the approach of one who, as a worshiper, would draw nigh, and abide in His presence. Oh for more of this longing of heart among us, — the importunate faith of one to whom God must say, Be it unto thee even as thou wilt!

(c) As the judge or the king represents God characteristically in His righteousness, and the Levite-priest represents Him in His love, the prophet now gives utterance to His voice as the Living One. Through the Urim and Thummim of the priest He could be sought indeed and would respond, as we know; but the prophet waited not for inquiry. God's word abode in him as a fire that must break out, urging him on in spite of fears and hesitation of nature and opposition of the evil around. It was the voice of holiness that spake to the conscience also, bringing all into the light because God is light. Hence the prophet was the man of God in days of reproach and apostasy, and the voice of revival wherever there were hearts yet to be reached.

Alas! the heart that drew away from God, and shunned Him, drew only the nearer, by this, to the living and active enemy of God and the very needs which should have drawn him as of necessity to Him who could satisfy them, put him then the more completely in the power of the dark and dreadful apostasy in heavenly spheres. Thus the word as to the true prophet here is prefaced by the prohibition of all divination, witchcraft, necromancy, and recurrence to the supernatural apart from God, — if apart, then in sure and deadly opposition.

The one need in seeking God is the remembrance of the holiness of His presence, — the need of truth, therefore, in the inward parts. Where it was not openly another god that was sought, the false way revealed itself by its essential unholiness, and never more clearly than where apparently purification was insisted on. For this purification was but a mockery of it, cruel and terrible as it might be in its demands. Thus the list of forbidden things begins here with the "making son or daughter to pass through the fire," a form of expression by which is intended that giving the "fruit of the body for the sin of the soul" which has been practiced among most heathen nations in their sore perplexity away from God.*

{*Comp. 2 Kings 16:3 — "he made pass through" — with 2 Chron. 28:3 — "he burnt." That there were lighter modes of passing through the fire, however, is not to be denied; and they have survived in various parts of Christendom, as in the midsummer fires of St. John's Eve, in some places in England.}

Following this, we have "all the words which the language contained for the different modes of exploring the future and discovering the will of God" (Keil) practiced by the heathen, brought together under one general condemnation. Nor are we past the need of reviewing them, so constantly does the power of evil work through the need and corruption of man to the same results, — modified only and disguised by the manners of the age, but which in no wise affects their inner meaning. Spiritualism, clairvoyance, and theosophy today have only freshened our apprehension of what has been in some shape always at work, although now energetically working in proportion as the end approaches, and the enfeebled power of Christianity allows them to appear with boldness.*

{* 1. We have in this list, first, qosem, the "diviner," which seems the general term, including all the rest.

2. Meonen, in the common version, the "observer of times," predicting lucky or unlucky days from the observation of the heavens, is, in the R.V., the "augur" in general. The Septuagint and the Syriac versions differ from these and from each other: the former giving kledonizomenos — "presaging from chance words;" the latter, "fascinating with the eyes," from which Pember conjectures perhaps a mesmerist, but which might refer as well to the power of the "evil eye." Neither of the last seem likely, however, here, nor does the derivation seem certain, whether it be part of the verb to "eye," (as 1 Sam. 18:9,) or of the verb to "cover" — "one who covers," or uses secret arts, which on the whole seems to give the simplest meaning.

3. Menachesh, in both versions, "enchanter." Pember well says, "The word is connected with nachash, a 'serpent,' and is usually explained to mean a 'hisser,' or 'whisperer' and then 'a mutterer of enchantments.' But the use of the verb, of which it is the Piel participle, seems to point in a different direction. In Gen. 30, Laban entreats Jacob to stay with him; 'for,' says he, 'I divine [or, more literally, perceive by observation,] that the Lord hath blessed me for thy sake.' And again, when, to the pleading of Benhadad's servants, Ahab replied, 'Is he yet alive? he is my brother,' we are told that the men 'divined,' 'took an omen,' from what he had said. Hence the verb seems to have been used primarily of drawing an inference from rapid observation, and then of divining. From the first meaning comes nachash, a 'serpent,' on account of its quick intelligence; from the second, menachesh, an 'augur' — one who divines by observing signs and tokens, such as the singing and flight of birds, aerial phenomena, and other sights and sounds." (Earth's Earliest Ages, p. 156.)

4. Mecashsheph, constantly rendered, in the Septuagint, pharmakos — "one who uses drugs," seems to be the enchanter proper, working through natural things endued, by magical formulae or prayers, with supernatural power.

5. Chover, literally, "binding" as with a spell; "charmer" in the common version.

6. Shoel obh — "one who consults a familiar spirit." The obh was in the person, as Lev. 20:27 literally reads, although it is also applied to the person himself in whom it is, and this generally. It means, primarily, "a (skin) bottle" (Job 32:19), apparently from its dilatability, and its transference to the possessed person has been supposed to be either from the swelling of the body of which Virgil speaks (Aeneid, 6:46, etc.) with the demoniac inspiration, or from the ventriloquism attending, to which the rendering of the Septuagint refers it. From the demoniac, the term was transferred to the demon.

7. Yidoni — the wise one in unlawful wisdom, the wizard.

8. The necromancer — the seeker to the dead.}

All who do these things are declared emphatically to be an abomination to Jehovah; not merely the things are such, but the people who do them. Christianity has not changed this, nor can subtly disguised names hinder divine judgment.

If the professing people of God turn to such things, it is not because God has refused them the joy and blessing of direct communication of His mind: it is because they have turned their back on Him. He would not even wait for the people to call on Him, but would come near to them Himself in the Prophet that He would raise up like unto Moses, and whom they were to hear; and of him who did not hear the Prophet it would be required.

It should be as certain that Christ is the only complete fulfillment of this as, on the other hand, that every prophet raised up was a partial anticipatory fulfillment. The threefold form of headship in Israel — King, Priest, and Prophet — we have here complete, and of each we must say exactly the same thing. Christ it is alone to whom they all looked forward, and without him, any fulfillment would be trivial and unworthy. Yet the terms of what is said show plainly that others are contemplated, as steps not unneeded by which we reach Him — certainly to Israel gracious helps by which in the meanwhile faith might be sustained and need ministered to.

It may be said by those who deny the lesser application, that neither king nor priest here are prophesied of in any direct way, while the prophet is: and this is true; yet the three offices are brought together surely for a purpose, each one to be filled by Christ at last, and each emphasizing one main attribute of Jehovah as Supreme Head in Israel, — righteousness, love, holiness, — as we have seen.

There is a reason also to be found for what is said of the prophet being more strictly predictive. For while the continuance of the priesthood and of the judgeship was provided for, and the king also when the time should come, the prophetic office was neither elective nor successional, but depended upon the mere good pleasure of God. Hence the promise, "God will raise up." A distinction of the prophet it is that even in Israel he existed only by the direct call and qualification of God only. Each one was therefore very distinctly the "man of God" in his day; and the "testimony of Jesus," which the "spirit of prophecy" was, was preserved from the corruption by which priest and king were overcome.

Thus the prophet marked the activity of the living God in behalf of His people, and throughout reign after reign of the later kings of Israel, the existence of the prophet is the one ray of light — the link still existing between God and the people who drew not near to God: in this way like Moses, although not of the full stature of Moses, no doubt, a fulfillment of what is here, though not the fulfillment; which easily reconciles the last saving of this book with such minor accomplishments, while it justifies the faith which even in Israel looked forward to "that Prophet" in whom, blessed be God, He has drawn nigh to us.

Christ has come: the Word of God is complete; — no new revelation need be or can be added to it. Yet in a minor sense the voice of prophecy should be found among us. The apostle, in writing to the Corinthians, after bidding them "desire spiritual gifts," adds as the chief of all, "but rather that ye may prophesy;" his reason for the preference, "he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification and exhortation and comfort." "Love edifieth;" and, he writes, "ye may all prophesy, one by one, that all may learn and all may be comforted." We see that he is not thinking of uttering predictions, which is what so many think to be all the business of a prophet, but of that speaking from God and for God which he can do best who has not necessarily most knowledge or most utterance, but most communion with Him, and who most stands in His presence, waiting for His word. The Church of God has much need of such men as these today.

(2) The subsection following now confirms the previous one by its clear reference to the sixth commandment, — the salvation-ordinance, as we have already called it, of the life that is. On account of its clearness, there will be little for us to say about it. It falls naturally into three parts, which are indicated by the divisions of the chapters in our common version.

(a) Of these, the first respects the individual life, and divides again in three parts, as is quite plain. First, it is enjoined on them to carry out in the land into which God is bringing them the law of the cities of refuge, by dividing it into three portions, with roads prepared in each, and a central city as an asylum. for the man-slayer innocently such, that the land may not be stained with innocent blood. Also if their borders should be extended, according to the promise made conditional upon obedience, then they were to mark off three cities more. This repetition of the number 3 cannot be without meaning, as indeed these cities had a notable significance for Israel themselves, as we have seen. Surely in them was the very secret of their future told out, and how God shall manifest Himself for them at last. In the meanwhile, by this provision human life is made known as the object of God's care, and cherished. The extension of the land waits their future possession of it.

Secondly, the law against the removal of landmarks comes in here, no doubt, as generally seen, because the land was their life, as sustaining it. They were to be a nation of husbandmen, each for himself cultivating the soil of that good land, — a much-needed lesson of what God would have His people to be spiritually now. Here is our wealth and sustenance indeed; and "much food" — would that we did believe it! — "in the tillage of the poor."

Thirdly, life is guarded by a retributive law of false witness, — a law under which the world that crucified Christ is crucified to the Christian. That precious life itself could not be preserved, and yet by being given up abides for us and becomes fruitful.

(b) The subject next taken up is war, and here we have again three parts; first, Israel themselves being regarded; then their enemies; then the land itself in which they might be.

As to Israel themselves, they were to rely upon God as with them. We are to remember that this supposes that they too are with God, and therefore their going out and coming in according to His word. Then their enemies would be indeed God's enemies, and resistance would-be resistance to Himself. Had they indeed abode in His covenant, how evident would this have been to all the world! and with what irresistible might would they have been clothed!

God then being thus with them, there was to be no craven fear in their hearts: he who was afraid might stay at home. God's host must be, not conscripts, but volunteers. Then, too, if a man had built a new house and not lived in it, if he had planted a vineyard and not eaten of it, if he had betrothed a wife and not taken her, there was to be no sundering a man from what he was in pursuit of no bringing home-sickness into the battle-field.

As to the enemy, a besieged town was always to have the offer of peace by submission. If it resisted, it suffered the penalty of resisting God, not man merely; but the non-combatants were to be spared. The Canaanites, as under the divine curse, are excepted from this. As to the land, the fruit-trees were not to be cut down, but left to minister to the support of life.

(c) Thirdly, we have the expiation of an uncertain murder. Yet is it an expiation? There is certainly no mention of blood poured out, still less presented to God. In the land, at any distance from the sanctuary, it could not, of course, be put upon the altar. But the murderer is not found; and if he were, for him there could be no atonement; the elders who represent the city profess innocence, not assume guilt: atonement in this way, therefore, it would seem as if there could hardly be.

On the other hand, the heifer unbroken to the yoke reminds us irresistibly of the red heifer of purification for sin (Num. 19), and as plainly seems to speak of Christ; and here vicarious penalty seems to be shown forth, even to some who dispute it elsewhere. Through all this, the broken neck of the victim strangely unites the deed which has to be cleansed away with that which cleanses it, — as if it were Christ murdered and yet dying to put away the crime, though the law of the city of refuge assures us that it cannot be put away.

The man was murdered — murder attaches somewhere: Christ too was the Victim of an enmity with which men "hated," He says, "both Me and My Father." (John 15:24.) Yet, again, at the cross He cries, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Here we have what at least approaches the mystery of the case before us: there were those of whom the one thing must be said; there were those also of whom grace could say the other. Thus the nation can be spared, though shut out in the meanwhile from their inheritance, as he was whom the city of refuge sheltered, but who could not return home till the death of the high-priest (see Num. 35). There is governmental penalty, though not death. and when the years of chastisement have run out, then it will be said of Jerusalem, "She hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins" (40:2.) The "uneared, unsown land" indeed (how like Israel's for so long!) testifying to this. But then, at last, there Will be a generation who, as to the guilt of Christ's death, can plead, with these elders of the city, that they "have not shed this blood, nor have" their "eyes seen it," the "perennial stream" of God's abiding love having carried it away forever.

How wonderful is this picture! how all parts unite to give expression to it when the key is once in our hands! even as all contrary-seeming things shall unite to accomplish His purpose at the last.

(3) The third subsection speaks of marriage and the family, in evident connection with the seventh commandment, although there are laws to follow which would seem as plainly so or more, if we had regard to them apart from their context. But the order of the decalogue can be traced as far as the end of the twenty-second chapter, the illustrations, however, becoming continually briefer, as, in fact, less needed. The internal connection also becomes continually more difficult, — which does not mean, however, that it is loose or wanting.

(a) The first part treats of marriage with a captive taken in war, — a distinct permission, of course, of marriage with a Gentile, where there was not the hindrance of such a ban as rested upon Canaan.

Here, as we know by our Lord,s words, in the law of marriage, we find, more than any where, the failure of the law. The hardness of man's heart forbad, until grace should come, the full restraint of absolute righteousness. Polygamy and divorce, as practiced among the nations round, could only be modified by partial curbing of the will and prevention of mere lawlessness. It was reserved for Christianity to restore woman to her original place in creation by the side of man.

Yet here, where most of all (and that is surely the reason why the commandment takes the peculiar form it does,) the woman was in the hand and power of the man, he was fenced round with prohibition. She must be given the wife's place, allowed a month for natural sorrow over the separation from her kindred, perhaps to test also somewhat the reality of the affection that has sprung up in him. If the tie is formed, she can never be enslaved again; and should she be divorced, is free to go whither she please.

Thus it would seem that what is emphasized is the government of the will — the putting restraint upon desire, so that at least it shall not be lawless; and this, with regard to a captive, the legitimate property of the conqueror according to the customs everywhere else prevailing, is a witness to the character of Him who ruled in Israel, which we must estimate, not by the full light of Christianity now come, but as contrasted with what was around. Thus seen, it becomes indeed the dawning of the day.

We have now the recognition of polygamy as a fact, but a provision against one of its many evils. If a man had two wives, and children by both, the one loved, the other hated; and if the first-born were the son of the hated; in this case, the first-born was not to be displaced from his rights as such because of the father's preference for the mother of the later-born. In the case of Jacob, this might seem to have occurred, — Reuben gave place to Joseph, the son of the beloved Rachel; but then, as we know from Jacob's own words, it was Reuben's sin that forfeited the inheritance. (Gen. 49:4.) This, however, might single out this case for special legislation.

"Here too we have in God's ways another remarkable type; for, having first chosen Israel, He afterward (as we know, because of their sin,) was pleased to take the Gentiles to Himself. The Jews refused the testimony; and as for the Gentiles, it is said that they will hear. Nevertheless, here He gives a beautiful provision, to show that He has not done with that which shall come forth as the first-born son of the apparently hated one — of her He had first. On the contrary, this is the very one for whom the rights of the inheritance will be preserved when repentance will be wrought in their hearts. Thus it is evident that the godly remnant of the latter day will have its rights reserved, according to His own precious word in this chapter." (Lectures Introductory to the Pentateuch, by Wm. Kelly, p. 492.)

(b) But in contrast with this, we have the end of the disobedient son, given up at last by father and mother into the hands of the elders, by whose sentence he is stoned to death. The application is easy to the end of final disobedience on the part of those in Israel put in the place but not having the spirit of sons, as well as to those outwardly but not in heart sons among the Gentiles.

(c) In connection with this, we have an unspeakably solemn yet precious word. If a man had committed a sin worthy of death, and were put to death, and he were hung upon a tree, his body was not to remain all night upon the tree, but to be buried, that the land might not be defiled, "for he that is hanged," it is said, "is accursed of God."

This is literally "a curse of God," which the apostle in Galatians takes as having the same meaning, for while he quotes it as "accursed" (Gal. 3:13), he argues from this that Christ was "made a curse for us." The Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate similarly render it "accursed;" but the Jews, since the second century of our era, have mostly decided for a different meaning, viz., "an injury, insult, mockery to God," a meaning possible to the language, no doubt, but used in a very obvious interest, which cannot commend it to us. How Jews of old understood it we may see by the Septuagint. And the typical application as given in the New Testament puts the whole subject in a light by which it is illumined.

It should be noted that hanging, or crucifixion, — the Jews used the same word for either — was not a mode of putting to death by the law of Moses. It came after death, to express peculiar enormity, and put a special brand upon the one so treated. As "lifting up from the earth" (John 3:14; John 12:32), it expressed rejection from among men; as lifting up toward heaven, it might well challenge heaven's approval of that rejection, and thus imply the "curse of God" upon the sinner. We can in this way understand better the apostle's appeal to this passage in Deuteronomy, and distinguish the two elements of the cross,death and curse, — the forsaking of God, which we have already had before us in the ritual of the sin-offering. (Lev. 4.)

We see also why the body of one hanging on a tree could not be permitted to remain there. The burial was not in this case an end of penalty. Rather it expressed the defiling character of sin and the abhorrence with which God beheld it. It was to be put out of sight and away, buried not with honor, but in the grave of a criminal; and here we see at once the significance of the change in the Lord's case. His grave was appointed with the wicked; but this could not be suffered to take effect: He was with the rich in His death. Joseph's tomb was the only fitting receptacle for its brief sojourn there, of the body of the Holy One who could not see corruption — His providential justification until resurrection should justify Him openly.

(4) The last three commandments of the decalogue, more briefly illustrated than the former ones, are found together in the fourth subsection. At first sight indeed, this is not evident: one would say that each commandment would, here as elsewhere, claim a subsection to itself. But the twenty-third chapter, which speaks of Israel as the congregation of Jehovah, has thus the plain character of a fifth part; and when we come to look more closely, we gain sufficient assurance of the correctness of this grouping.

We have first to ask, however, are these commandments really represented in the three parts of this subsection? This has been denied, though certainly we should look for some regular treatment of these, such as we find in the case of previous ones. No doubt our anticipations of what ought to be are often astray; but the twenty-second chapter begins with what is plainly an expansion of the eighth commandment, as vv. 13-21 speak of false witness, and the rest of the chapter applies the tenth. So much should be plain; and only vv. 5-12 can remain at all doubtful. These give the laws as to the confusion of sex, as in a man wearing a woman's garment, as to not taking the mother-bird with its brood, as to putting a battlement around the flat top of the house, the prohibition of certain mixtures as of seeds or of materials of a garment, and finally of putting fringes on a garment. These have been all by Schröder (in Lange's Commentary) reduced under the fourth commandment of the second table, though in some cases it would seem in a somewhat artificial manner.

But we must note now that we have in these three parts an evident reference to the first three laws of the second table, and each in its place. Thus v. 7 repeats the promise of the fifth commandment, and in a parallel case. Secondly, the false witness in the case mentioned would if it succeeded involve murder, the breach of the sixth; while the seventh and tenth come so plainly together in the third part, as to need no insisting on. Here, then, we have the relation of these three parts to one another clearly marked out. While as to their coming together under a fourth head, the beginning of the first part clearly must do so; the cases of violation of nature, as in the confusion of sexes, would do the same, as in the fourth section of the expanded second table of the decalogue in Ex. 21 – 23 (p. 211); and the first law of this section gives the last case supposed in the third part of what is here before us.

Although there may be more or less difficulty in some of the details, yet the spirit of the eighth commandment — that is, the fourth of the second table — seems to run through the whole of this: the prohibition of plunder and theft, with that which connects with it, the lack of tenderness and mercy toward others. How near the fourth and last of these commandments come to one another needs not to be insisted on. Let us go through the chapter briefly now.

How much beyond the mere letter is to be read in the commandments is plain in the tenderness of the opening words. To fulfill the commandment not to steal, you must not consent to the destruction or loss of any thing that is your neighbor's. It must be cared for, guarded, and kept for him.

The disguise as to sex would plainly serve all kinds of fraudful and dishonest purpose, whilst it falsified the stamp which God has put upon nature, and mutilated, so to speak, the coin of His realm. The taking the mother-bird, held by her affection to her young, was shameful advantage used of natural instincts, and a violation of honor to parents in this reproduction of motherly love in the lower creatures. The repetition of the promise here is very striking. It shows how sensitive will be the really obedient heart, and how God has in nature encompassed us with remembrances as well as tests of our condition. The law as to the battlements for the flat roofs of houses is simple enough as a rebuke of that thoughtlessness which is really hardness of heart. The three laws which follow as much resemble one another as they differ from what goes before. As prohibitions of mixture they come naturally enough under the first head here. The interpretation of the unequal yoke" is plainly given in 2 Cor. 6:14. Christ's yoke cannot be borne by the unclean — the unbeliever, — and for the believer there is no other. The garment of woolen and linen speaks similarly of mixed habits; while the sowing seed represents the necessity of keeping the truth unmixed. Failure in all these points involves a real robbery, not only of God, but of one's neighbor: we owe both to Christians and the men of the world the maintenance of our Christian simplicity and singleness of life and testimony. The last thing here, the tassels upon the garment, which we have had in Num. 15:38, reminds us that this is to be true natural development — the development of the new nature, not artificial, for the word speaks primarily of flower-buds. How beautifully again does the spiritual meaning declare the perfection of the Word of God!

As to the ninth commandment we have but one case supposed, and that how shameful an one! What a heart is man's! — that is to say, ours! Schultz, as quoted in Lange, remarks that "Moses must have held a different view of unions in the face of great aversion from that prevalent among us."

The exemplification of the tenth commandment for our purpose needs no remark.

(5) The methodical exposition of the "ten words" is thus complete; but there are yet three chapters more before the close is reached of the commandments, which now at first sight seem to be given without order or internal connection for the most part. Of course we know this cannot be, and that we only need more carefully to search it out. The most precious things often lie deepest; and our rule with Scripture is to believe in order to see — the opposite of the world's rule, but which will always have experience to confirm it.

If the three chapters following stand for real divisions, then with the four previous ones we shall have seven subsections in this second section — the second table of the law complete. That the first four parts should close one division of this is quite in accordance with what we have seen to be the rule in a septenary series. In this case, we may expect the final three to form a whole, and the connection to be deeper, more spiritual and inward, than in the former case. And this seems indeed to be so.

The twenty-third chapter is in fact a fifth part, and, as already said, we have in it Israel as the congregation of Jehovah, the moral results of His place with them. Let us examine it.

(a) First, then, we have the assembly in its refusal of all discordant elements; and here the exclusion of the unsexed male is based on the need of maintaining the integrity of the creature. Mutilation was a reproach to God; and thus the whole spirit of asceticism is condemned and excluded both for Israel and for us today. The word for "bastard," — "one born of corruption" — only occurs once beside in Zech. 9:6, is explained by the Rabbins, and received by commentators in general as meaning "one born of incest or adultery." Typically, one corruptly born is not the mere child of nature; but rather one corruptly introduced among the people of God. "Baptismal regeneration," as the ritualist holds it, is such a birth; and the Moabite and the Ammonite following here emphasizes this thought, though it be true that they are not distinctly reprobated for their birth, but for their enmity to the true people of God and their employment of Balaam to curse. But even thus does the false professor, like an Ammonite or a Moabite, show his birth today. The Edomite is the simple natural man, and for him there is more hope, and the Egyptian is classed with him, though only in the third generation (dead and risen with Christ) could they enter the congregation of the Lord.

(b) In the next place, we have Israel going forth to war, and here men might plead the work in hand for lack of care as to minor things; but not so thinks God. The most scrupulous purity is insisted on: for is not God with them their strength? What is all their human might if, because of their ways, He is unable to manifest Himself for them? Very simple is the lesson, incontrovertible the argument here; and yet have His people learnt it?

(c) Next, Israel's home must be the refuge of the oppressed. True, slavery as yet was not banished from her midst, — perfection, we must ever remember, the Word itself asserts, could not be by the law, — yet it was greatly guarded and limited, so as to be another thing from that absolute subjection to the will of another which was every where recognized as lawful among the nations around. If, then, one of these human chattels broke its bands and fled, Israel was to be for such a secure asylum. In this way the enmity of the nations might be roused against them: this little people, nevertheless, were to extend their arms to the distressed whatever the consequences. According to the beauteous figure so often used, He under the shelter of whose wings they had come to rest could not destroy that confidence. Let it be a poor slave, he must yet be sheltered from the kings of the earth: there was one sanctuary of refuge for the oppressed; and it was in the bosom of the God of Israel.

The sanctuary — and such was all Israel compared with the world outlying — must indeed first of all be the place of freedom, in order that it may be the place of holiness; and this freedom must be found with God for it to be real and sanctifying: the heart is brought to Him. Hence, the enfranchisement of the slave comes in its right place here, and its connection is seen with what follows, and which for us has much fuller meaning, that there is to be no harlotry among the people of God. In plain, intentional antagonism to Israel,s sanctification, the harlot is called here kedeshah, "consecrated," as indeed the heathen consecrated themselves in this abominable manner to the service of their gods. May not we, too, easily cover with a well-seeming name what is merely the straying of the heart from God? Here let us note also, though it be simple, that the gain of such prostitution with which we would vindicate it to ourselves, or compensate the Lord, is only abomination to Him.

(d) The need of the poor is next considered; and as, on the one hand, liberality to them had been enjoined, so to take usury from them is forbidden. The stranger, from whom it was allowed to take it, probably borrowed for purposes of trade, but Israel were not themselves intended to be a commercial people, and certainly not to thrive upon the necessities of their brethren.

(e) Fifthly, relationship to God seems to be illustrated in a double way. First, the vow illustrates the freedom and yet the seriousness of this relation; while the other case reminds us of God's real ownership of the land, and of a bounty which would banish scarcity and hunger from it, yet respecting the rights of possession which He has given, and so allowing no lack to him whose fields were thus called to witness to the plenteous hand which has the fullness of the earth in it, and every good and perfect gift.

(6) In the last subsection, we have Israel as the congregation of the Lord, in the dignity of that relationship. Schröder gives as a heading to the whole three chapters — "The perfection of Israel;" but this is so little true of the twenty-fourth chapter that it might be entitled, rather, "The imperfection of Israel." As to the law, we know well that, in fact, there was not perfection under it; and the present subsection, strictly according to the numerical stamp upon it, speaks plainly of the evil, while also showing the limit set to it by God. Every part of the chapter seems to be in conformity with this. It has, like the last chapter, five divisions, its close being also naturally similar.

(a) The first commandment here has very plainly the character of a toleration of what could not be yet entirely done away, with a restraint upon it in the meantime, however. And of this the Lord's own words directly assure us. The numerical place seems even to affirm the unity which divorce sets aside; and this agrees with the law itself which treats the divorced woman as in some sense "defiled" by another marriage, and the broken bond in that case as incapable of being renewed.

The law of the "new wife," as supplementary to this, is a tender provision honoring the marriage tie, and bidding the man cherish the wife he has taken. What could be more expressive of the mind of the lawgiver, or adapted for its purpose than such an injunction as this?

(b) In the next place we have two laws also, of which the first is again a concession with a limit. A creditor might take a pledge of his poor neighbor, but not the hand-mill which ground his corn from day to day: it would be taking a man's life as pledge. The greed that would actually steal a man was to be punished with death.

(c) And they were to take care not to bring the plague of leprosy upon them, as even Miriam had done in the wilderness. This was the typical punishment, as we know, involving banishment from God Himself; and directly announced here as His infliction. In this, Israel lost what was his most precious and peculiar privilege.

(d) The fourth part contains again two laws, once more contemplating the poor, whether as debtor or as creditor. In the first place, the pledge is again limited: the creditor must not intrude upon the debtor's house for it; and if it be something which he can spare but for the day, it must be returned by nightfall. On the other hand, the laborer,s hire must not be kept back, lest he cry to the Lord about it, and the Lord visit it as sin.

(e) Next we have the perversion of judgment forbidden, — again two laws. First, the father must not suffer death for the children, nor the children for the fathers: a common thing among the nations round about. Secondly, there must be no oppression of the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow: their own Redeemer out of the oppression of Egypt bade them observe this.

These commandments close with the injunction to leave the gleanings of the olive and the vineyard for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, the cultivation of an opposite spirit to that of the oppressor, — the ready giver scarcely can be that, — and they are again reminded of their bondage in Egypt that they may show mercy to the poor.

(7) Thus much is said or implied of evil in Israel, which can as yet have only partial remedy. Still this is not, of course, to intimate any failure on God's part, — any less than perfect mastery of the evil at the last. God is strong, though patient, and provoked indeed every day. And now this seventh sub-section, though it cannot, of course, after what we have seen, speak of any present perfection, yet prophesies, as one may say, of it. As the third of these closing chapters, it hints, as it were, at resurrection, and brings them to an end in peaceful confidence in God with its series of six — the mastery number, which in subjection to the seven of the section speaks of what, being final, is perfect. God will show fully the entire supremacy which He had all through.

(a) First of all here, there was to be no excessive punishment; and that punishment would be excessive that made a brother to seem vile. This, in its application to Israel or to the Church, may tell us of the care which in all chastening. He has for His people. They are to be preserved for honor, not cast away as refuse, "salted with fire," in the gracious sense of that.

(b) The next commandment seems to come in very strangely; and the spiritual sense as given by the apostle alone explains it. Wordsworth rightly dwells upon the use he makes of it "not only as showing that the law has a spiritual sense, in which it is still binding upon all, but as giving us the key by which we may unlock the casket and take out of it its treasures." Gosman objects to this that it "opens wide the door to a very loose and fanciful exposition." No doubt this is to be dreaded, but the remedy is not to reject the principle, but guard rigidly the application. And when he further urges that the "apostle seems to use the words rather as illustrative of the truth he was teaching than assigning to them a figurative and spiritual sense," he surely is himself taking very loosely what the apostle says. We have only to look at it to see that, as plainly and definitely as can be, he asserts the very opposite: "Who goeth a warfare at any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the fruit of the flock? Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same? For it is written in the law of Moses, 'Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn.' Doth God take care for oxen? or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes no doubt this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope." (1 Cor. 9:7-10.)

Language could scarcely be plainer; and it does justify us in believing that a spiritual sense governs all here. Even our imperfect outline certainly has proved it to be so; and here if the apostle has interpreted this for us of the laborer in the Word, the numerical stamp is accordingly 2, the number of service.

What is the real connection with the preceding verses may be still in question. The ministry of the Word is that by which judgment is wrought in the conscience, and even outward chastenings produce their fruit in blessing. The reference to the threshing-floor seems to confirm this as the connection. It is by the patient labor of the spiritual workman that the grain is sifted from the chaff and the product of the seed sown laid up in the store at last. In God's mastery of the evil, — in the victory of the good over it, could this be omitted? would it not have necessary place?

(c) Next follows the law which has so prominent a part in the story of Ruth. If a man die, and leave no issue, his nearest of kin was to marry his wife, and raise up seed to his brother, and the first-born son of this union was to succeed to the inheritance. In the story of Ruth we find a clear and beautiful type of the resurrection of Israel by means of the Kinsman-Redeemer, when the law, the nearest of kin, cannot take this place. The proof must be reserved until we come to Ruth, but the numerical place of the section is clear as a resurrection type, and in relation to the whole character of this part, as showing the resources that are in God Himself. But here also the spiritual meaning must come in for this, no strange or unwelcome thing to him who realizes the true dignity and glory of the law.

(d) But the failure contemplated as possible comes evidently under a separate head, and is, indeed, according to Ruth still, the failure of the law, — an ever-needed lesson, coming as clearly also into its right place. The law is really the next of kin to man; but he is dead, and it cannot raise him from the dead.

(e) But the fifth part shows that if the law be helpless as a saviour, righteousness is yet maintained, — a just weight and measure, and this is what assuredly grace does: "sin shall not have dominion over you, because ye are not under the law, but under grace." Simple enough this for us; but how beautifully is it put together, just when, under the guidance of the spiritual meaning, we consider that connection of one part with another, which while we take merely the letter, seems to be so perplexing and without a clue. Now we have only one thing more, entirely different from all the rest, and yet how perfectly in place!

(f) Sixthly and last, they are bidden not to forget Amalek, their wilderness-foe, and pointed onward to the time when, full rest in the land attained, and all enemies subdued, Amalek shall be blotted out from remembrance forever. A blessed time! when the lusts of the flesh shall no more have to be thought of at all, — their remembrance come practically to an end, — internal conflict passed away forever! Sweet note of triumph from the silver trumpets, sounding only for the gathering of assembly for the time to come, — no pilgrimage, no alarm! Sweet prophet art thou, Moses! for the greater Prophet than thyself is speaking through thee now!

3. We have now one closing section in which for a moment we see the Israelite in possession of the inheritance, and rich with the blessing of God, returning to God in confession and worship. This is the proper effect of the blessing, which else would not be that. It is the sign of the Spirit's work, of distance put away, of God and man once more together. It is the token of the satisfied heart, full with a spring of joy which needs must overflow. It is what Israel should have been as the people of the living God; it is what they shall be in the glorious time to come. It is what the Church of God, indwelt of the Spirit, should be, — shall be — in a higher sphere, and in a more wondrous relation; what it, too, has but little been, although, thank God, many in every age have learnt this and much more, — for the "Abba, Father" is not yet in this book of Deuteronomy: it waits for Him who is able to declare the Father's name.

(1) The confession is very simple; yet, Christians as we are, we may learn much from it. The first thing that is owned is the faithfulness of God in the fulfillment of His word. It is one in the land who speaks in the consciousness of what lie has. He is not hoping what will be; he is realizing what is. The Lord sware to give us this land: we have it; we are in it. Such is already the privilege of the child of God, whose worship is even now, not merely at the sanctuary, as the Israelite's was, but who has "boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus." How we dishonor the One who has so wrought for us if we take the place of one longing to draw nigh, instead of in fact drawing near: "let us draw near," says the apostle, "with full assurance of faith." For us it is faith, of course. The Israelite, one may say, could not doubt: but that makes him only the more impressive as a type for us. Neither can we doubt, if it be simply God's Word and Christ's work that are before us, and we are not arguing from what we have been or what we are. The sanctuary has been opened for us by blood shed for sinners, for all sinners: we may, if we will, draw nigh; what more do we need for drawing nigh?

But then also there are fruits of the land; not of their labors either, let us remember. When Israel came into possession of Canaan, it was to enjoy great and goodly cities which they built not, houses full of all good things which they filled not, wells digged which they digged not, vineyards and olive trees which they planted not. (Deut. 6:10, 11.) And so with the fruits of the land into which even now we are called to enter, — rich enjoyment, wondrous experiences, precious realizations, belong to us there, but faith must precede and bring us in where alone they can be ours. They cannot bring us in: we must have entered in by faith, in order to have them.

Having so entered, our apprehension of what we were will only fill our hearts the more with praise for what grace has done for us. "A Syrian ready to perish was my father; and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous." Then comes the bondage in Egypt, and how they were delivered: the types for us of a more glorious deliverance. The mere confession of this is praise; and we owe it to Him to confess with unhesitating simplicity, Christ has saved us. Is there presumption in this? No, it is His due. We have done nothing, except, indeed, incurred the penalty which Christ has borne in His own body on the tree. And the faith which gives Him the glory of this salvation is that which works in us also by the love which we have believed in. The first-fruits of this land are indeed His offerings: "sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving," which bring us to Him as priests to offer them.

(2) "And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the Lord thy God hath given unto thee." Yes, He has given us nothing from the enjoyment of which He would keep us back. We cannot too frankly accept or too fully enjoy the blessings that are ours in Christ Jesus. This joy opens the heart, not shuts it up in selfishness and indifference: "thou shalt rejoice, — thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you." This is, therefore, now what follows, account being to be rendered to God of those tithes of the third year which we have already had before us, and which are destined for the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. (Deut. 14:28, 29.) The dependence of the second table of the law upon the first it is not necessary again to insist upon.

(3) Thereupon the seal of God is openly put upon this people which is His: — "Thou hast avouched this day the Lord to be thy God, to walk in His ways, . . . and the Lord hath avouched thee to be His peculiar people, and to make thee high above all nations that He hath made, . . . and that thou mayest be a holy people unto the Lord thy God, as He hath spoken."

"God is not ashamed to be called their God." Alas, as yet for them this glory of theirs has been but a passing vision. And why? Because they had but too faithfully repeated the history of the generation of the wilderness, and it had yet to be said of all this blessing, "they could not enter in because of unbelief."

Subdivision 3. (Deut. 27–30.)

The rewards and penalties which actualize the law as such.

The law being thus ended, we have now in the next four chapters the rewards and penalties which are its sanctions, — by which it becomes actualized as law. And there are here three sections: —
1. (Deut. 27.) First, the perpetuity of the law under which they place themselves, and its power and promise are plainly signified by the monument upon Ebal.
2. (Deut. 28.) Secondly, the blessing and the curse are put before them in emphatic contrast, declared by the Word of One that will not lie.
3. (Deut. 29, 30.) In the third and concluding section we have the recapitulation of the covenant before the Lord, looking on to the predicted restoration of the people in the time to come.

1. The first section is of great significance. It is one of many proofs that not isolated passages, but the whole word here is prophetic, the things that happened unto Israel happened unto them for types. How much was here for faith in a humble and convicted soul to lay to heart, and in which to find most serious, in the end most blessed, lessons! Even if none learned them, there was no less in all of it God's faithfulness, — His witness to Himself, and which now for us ought to be without a cloud upon it.

(1) They are commanded, when they shall have passed over Jordan into the land, to set up great stones on Mount Ebal, plaster them with lime or gypsum, and write upon them all the words of the law. There also they were to build an altar of unhewn stones, and offer burnt-offerings and peace-offerings upon it, and eat and rejoice before God.

Mount Ebal, as we already know, and as is again directly stated, is the mountain upon which the curses of the law were to be proclaimed, as upon Mount Gerizim the blessings. How significant of the true power of the law, that it was to stand there permanently identified with the curse and not with the blessing! "As many as are of the works of law are under the curse," is here the language of the law itself. The Samaritans long afterward strove to reverse this sentence, and their copy of the Pentateuch puts Gerizim here in place of Ebal. Upon Gerizim their schismatic temple stood, a type and prophecy of much legal worship since. But the Old Testament unites in this its witness with the New; and the spiritual Samaritan is still at schism with the law, and a rebel against its sentence. The power of the law is thus lost, for its true power is to destroy self-righteousness, and humble men to the gospel.

But side by side with this monument of the law therefore, as if God would not have this connection even then mistaken, they were to build their altar and offer their burnt-offerings and their peace-offerings, and on the dreaded mount itself rejoice before God. They could do so, for this worship was sanctified by the law, the righteousness of the law being maintained by the death of the victim. This for faith completes the testimony.

(2) Gerizim and Ebal lay opposite to one another, — the mount of blessing to the south, the mount of cursing to the north, in the middle of the land of Canaan. Ebal, it is said, overtops Gerizim by about a hundred feet, and is the steeper and more barren of the two. Gesenius takes it to mean "stripped of foliage;" while Gerizim also approaches this in meaning, being given as signifying "dwellers in a shorn land." Between them in the valley lies Shechem, "shoulder," — the place of obedience (Gen. 12:6, n.), and where Jacob gets so thoroughly tested. (Gen. 33:18.) All this is easily suggestive. The tribes are to stand half on the one mount, half on the other, — not to utter, but to confirm for themselves the blessing and the curse: for the blessing, the children of Leah, and Rachel for the curse, those of the bondmaids, with Reuben, the displaced first-born, and Zebulon, Leah's youngest son. But in fact, as all commentators notice, the blessings here are significantly never uttered. The law, as witnessed for the second time, is potent only for curse: and under this shadow Israel enter the land. That all this happened unto them for types, who can rightly question?

"As the whole ceremony and the special form of the curses are practical, so also the inward peculiar nature of the examples selected. Gross transgressions incur the penalty, but the more secret and refined meet with the curse, in order to show that God will in any case visit such sinners, and to instill into the hypocrite a terror of his works of darkness.'" (Schröder, Von Gerlach.)

2. The blessing and the curse are now taken up by Moses, and spread out before the people's eyes, especially the curse, which has had long, sad fulfillment for many generations, and needed thus to be set before them for their conviction and turning to God when overtaken by it. It was thus already a prophecy of what the legal covenant would bear as fruit; and it is God's love to His people that speaks in these terrible denunciations, yet insufficient to turn back the unbelieving generation from the path of ruin. So is it with all the sorrow and evil of life, which God, alas, must so much dwell upon for us because souls are so largely born to Him in sorrow, and by night we see farthest into heaven. The blessing occupies but fourteen verses; the curse, fifty-four. It would carry us much beyond our limits to go into the details. As with him who is at peace with God all things are at peace, so, on the other hand, with the enemies of God, all things are hostile really; not the least so when there is the most fair-seeming prosperity, and gentle breezes and calm skies lure the ship on to destruction.

3. We have now the recapitulation of the covenant, the people standing, as Moses warns them before God, a covenant far-reaching in its effects upon the generations to come; fruitful of blessing, if there were only a heart to respond to Him who had drawn near to them, and who would fain have drawn them near to Himself. but in their condition could not. For this, therefore, and that He may have this witness to Himself, they are pointed forward to a future day.

(1) Once more the goodness of the Lord is brought before them as the incentive to obedience. From Egypt onward they had had abundant proofs of His power, as displayed against their enemies, and in tenderness toward themselves. Their clothes had not waxen old, nor the shoes upon their feet: for us the easily read types of better things. Already also they were in possession of part of their inheritance, the pledge of what was still to come. With the knowledge of all this, they stood that day before the Lord to renew their covenant, the whole people, for themselves and for the generations yet to come.

(2) If they turned aside from Him, God's threatenings would be as faithful as His promises. They had seen the abominations of the heathen, and could thus realize the wickedness which had brought down God's judgment. Let them not awaken it, then, against themselves by following in their steps; otherwise their own posterity and the stranger from a far country should see in the desolation of the land the manifest anger of the Lord against them for sins as manifest; and they would be rooted out of it.

(3) And all these things would, in fact, come upon them, both the blessing and the curse. It would be as scattered among the nations, that their hearts would finally return to God, in whole-hearted obedience. Then He would have compassion on them, and gather as He had scattered them. He would circumcise their hearts, and that of their seed (the nation in continuance), so that they should love the Lord their God whole-heartedly and live indeed. Then would the blessing be for themselves, the curses only for their enemies; and He would rejoice over them for good, as He had rejoiced in their past deliverance. But this is of course grace, not law; and the grace of God cannot lack ability to display itself where the heart thus turns to God.

(4) Meanwhile, in the law itself was the test for them, a plain thing, not hidden, speaking not from afar off, but very nigh, in the heart and in the mouth. The heart might refuse it, the mouth even disown it; yet, in fact, God had made all as simple as possible, and been as tender to man's infirmity as He could. Only man himself was to blame, if evil came. It was here indeed that man's state was fully made known. The test was not useless, but did its work well; and the law was holy and just and good; but it is Christ that is the "end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."

(5) Thus the way and the end on both sides had been put before them; and with one more solemn appeal to "choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live," the exposition of the law comes to an end.