Verse 10: For the land, whither thou goest in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, (Zech. 14:18) where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs…
[Not as the land of Egypt…where with seed cast, etc., אֲשֶׁ֤ר תִּזְרַע֙] In which thou wast sowing (Chaldean). Others: thou castest seed, in the present tense (Vatablus).
[וְהִשְׁקִ֥יתָ בְרַגְלְךָ֖] And thou shalt irrigate, or, thou wast irrigating, or, thou art irrigating, in, or with, thy foot [thus nearly all interpreters]: or, in accordance with thy help (Samaritan Version), or, through the weariness of thy foot (Munster), or, by walking (Dutch), or, according to thy pleasure (certain interpreters in the Dutch). Question 1: What is it to irrigate by the foot? Response: The foot is taken for labor (Rabbi Salomon in Fagius). Thus Genesis 30:30. As elsewhere diligent labor is signified by the hand, Psalm 128:2 (Ainsworth); that is to say, by the labor of the feet, since water is carried (Menochius, Lapide), or drawn off (Lapide, Junius, Piscator); by rushing in different directions with the feet (Menochius) in order to irrigate: even with a mattock or hoe, which is fixed to the foot, and, moved by the office of the foot, it opens and closes courses of water. To which, digging by the labor of the foot has regard, by which labor iron is pressed down hard so that it might cleave the clods (Lorinus out of Cajetan). I watched in the gardens vegetable-growers, while they draw off through their furrows unto the vegetables, by the intervention of the foot, either stopping the water, or diverting it elsewhere (Menochius). Irrigation was performed by the foot, that is, with an instrument (either pushed/thrust, or rolled) driven by feet or hands (Tirinus out of Bonfrerius). What it is to irrigate with the foot is best explained by Philo (if I am not mistaken, in his book On the Life of Moses), Ὥσπερ ἡ ἕλιξ, τὸ ὑδρηλὸν ὄργανον, ἔχει· κατὰ γὰρ μέσον αὐτῆς γεγόνασι βαθμοί τινες, ὧν ὁ γεοπόνος, ὅταν ἐθελήσῃ ποτίσαι τὰς ἀρούσας, ἐπιβαίνει μὲν, περιολισθαίνει δ᾽ ἀναγκαίως. Ὑπὲρ δὴ τοῦ μὴ πίπτειν συνεχῶς πλησίον ἐχυροῦ τινος τῇ χερσὶ περιδράττεται, οὗ ἐνειλημμένος τὸ ὅλον σῶμα ἀπηώρηκεν αὐτοῦ· ἀντὶ μὲν γὰρ ποδῶν χερσὶν, ἀντὶ δὲ χερῶν ποσὶ χρῆται· ἵσταται μὲν γὰρ ἐστὶ χειρῶν, δι᾽ ὧν εἰσιν αἱ τράξεις· πράτται δ᾽ ἐν ποσὶν, ἐφ᾽ ὧν εἰκὸς ἵστασθαι, Which is a sort of water-machine, called a helix, in the midst of which are certain rungs, which a farmer, when he wants to water the fields, climbs, and then unavoidably sinks down: and, so that he might not continuously fall, he takes hold of a certain post with his hands, by which he supports his whole body. At the same time the feet perform the office of the hands, and the hands of the feet: for he stands upon his hands, to which it belongs to work; and he works with his feet, to which it belongs to stand (Grotius). Question 2: In what is the comparison made? Response: The land of Canaan is preferred to Egypt, 1. in fertility (certain interpreters in Gerhard’s Deuteronomy 686). Indeed, the land of Canaan was not simply preferred to Egypt (for the latter was very fertile, Genesis 13), but in a qualified sense, that is, if they should live holily. Therefore, the fertility of the land of Canaan depended more on the favor of God and piety of the inhabitants, than on the nature of the location (Fagius, Gerhard). Whence amazing things today are narrated concerning its sterility, squalor, etc. (Fagius). 2. In the manner of the irrigation of the land. Either, 1. Because it was more advantageous and convenient to look for rain from heaven, than to draw waters through furrows; for the latter is of the labor of man, but the former is of the Divine blessing (Estius). All lands are made fertile by a laborer; the land of Canaan, by the Lord Himself, who seeks and selects it (Hebrews in Fagius). Rain water is better than other waters (Lorinus), than the muddy and marshy water of Egypt (Gerhard). Or, 2. Because Egypt was irrigated by human work and much labor: But the land of Israel drinks water from heaven with no labor (Munster, Fagius, Vatablus, Malvenda). Objection: But the land of Egypt, inundated by the Nile, brought forth fruit with far less labor than other regions: and this was observed in it and praised in Diodorus Siculus’ Historical Library 1, in the chapter concerning Egypt, Such fertility, says he, …elsewhere agriculture is practiced with great labor and expense; in Egypt alone with slight labor and cost. In Herodotus’ Histories 2 “Euterpe”, Those (the Egyptians) secure fruit out of all things without very much work. The same thing in Pliny’s Natural History 18:18. Response 1: Although these things be true, yet they have other inconveniencies, on account of which the method of irrigation by rain appears to be preferred. As, 1. that Egypt is completely flat, so that it is not able to be irrigated by the Nile; while the land of Canaan is partly mountainous, partly level, and to this extent more pleasant. 2. That in the entire time of the summer (which is especially opportune for walking and recreations) the Nile overflows all, and the Egyptians are shut up in their houses. 3. The same inundation occupies the time of the grape harvest (see Ecclesiasticus 24:27); for which reason wines either are not there, or are not at all of good quality (Bonfrerius). Response 2: The irrigation of the Nile is twofold, 1. spontaneous, 2. laborious, both in those places to which the inundation did not reach (which were considerable), and in the places from which the Nile had receded. Because that slime, which the Nile leaves behind, even if it be moist enough, that it might be able to receive seed cast in, and for some amount of time to nurture and nourish it, yet somewhat afterwards, with the moisture drawn out by the heat of the Sun, hardened overmuch, neither could it hatch the seeds, except it be irrigated again. For which irrigation those ditches drawn to that place are sufficient, by which the Nile is drawn off into various parts throughout the whole of Egypt (Tirinus out of Bonfrerius). Mention is made of these ditches by Justinus in his Of Phillipic Histories 2, Suetonius in his Lives of the Twelve Cæsars “Augustus” 30, Diodorus Siculus in his Historical Library 1 “Concerning Egypt” (Bonfrerius); and most recently by Dux Radzivillius, an eye-witness. Out of these ditches, therefore, with water drawn by machines, the fields, having been sown with seed, were to be frequently irrigated (Tirinus). Outside of the time of the inundation of the Nile the parched land of Egypt is moistened by waters brought from the Nile by much labor (Munster, Fagius, Vatablus). Response 3: The scope of Moses was not to teach that this irrigation was superior to that of Egypt, but to show to the Israelites the necessity of obedience to the commandments of God, since the land of Canaan would not be made fertile by a deliberate or laborious irrigation of the Nile, but by the rains of heaven, which God promised only to the obedient. That this is the scope the entire context shows (Gerhard’s Deuteronomy 691). Question 3: Whether sowing was done in Egypt before the inundation of the Nile (as the words of the text seem to express [Bonfrerius, Gerhard]), or after that, as nearly all the profane authors testify, Herodotus, Diodorus Siculus, Pliny in his Natural History 5:9, Cicero in his Concerning the Nature of the Gods 2, and Andreas Thevetus as an eye-witness in his Cosmography of the East 2:1? For if sowing should precede the inundation, the sowing, vanishing beneath the water, would rot. Response: The sowing followed the spontaneous irrigation, but preceded the laborious irrigation (Gerhard). Now, concerning the latter the text speaks (Bonfrerius).
Thou sowedst…and wateredst it with thy foot, etc.: i.e. With great pains and labour of thy feet, partly by going up and down to fetch water and disperse it, and partly by digging furrows with thy foot, and using engines for distributing the water, which engines they thrust with their feet. For though the river Nilus did once in a year overflow the grounds, and made them fruitful, yet ofttimes it failed or scanted them, and then they were put to great pains about their ground; and when it did overflow sufficiently, and left its mud upon the earth, yet that mud was in a little time hardened, and needed another watering and much digging and labour both of the hands and feet, especially in places something higher or more remote from that river; which inconvenience Canaan was free from.
Verse 11: (Deut. 8:7) But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven…
A land of hills and valleys; and therefore much more healthful than Egypt was, which as it was enriched, so it was annoyed with Nilus, which overflowed the land in summer time, and thereby made the country both unpleasant and, which is much worse, unhealthful. And health being the greatest of all outward blessings, Canaan must therefore needs be a more desirable habitation than Egypt, which is the thing here implied.
[Expecting rains from heaven, לִמְטַ֥ר הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם תִּשְׁתֶּה־מָּֽיִם׃] To the rain, or, according to the rain, of the heavens thou shalt drink waters (Malvenda, Vatablus, Montanus, Oleaster, Chaldean, Pagnine), or, it shall drink, or it imbibes (Junius and Tremellius), namely, the land of Egypt (certain interpreters in Vatablus). It is in the third person, feminine (Bonfrerius out of Jerome and the Septuagint, Ainsworth, Dutch). Drinking (Syriac, Arabic, Munster); with the waters of heaven it is irrigated (Tigurinus). Question: Are there no rains in Egypt? Responses: That Egypt was never rained upon thought Plato in Epinomis, Pliny in his Panegyric to Trajan, Strabo, Herodotus, Philo in his Life of Moses 1. 2. Thevetus, an eye-witness, relates that it did rain there sometimes. 3. Rain either were non-existent, or rare and meager, falling after the likeness of dew, and that in winter, and in maritime places (Bonfrerius). Egypt owes nothing to the rains and to heaven, says Pliny in his Panegyric. …the herb prays not to Jove for rain, Tibullus (Gataker).
Drinketh water of the rain of heaven which is more honourable, because this comes not from man’s art or industry, but immediately from God’s power and goodness; more easy, being given thee without thy charge or pains; more sweet and pleasant, not hindering thy going abroad upon thy occasions, as the overflow of Nilus did, whereby the Egyptians were confined in a great measure to their several houses; more safe and healthful, being free from that mud which attends upon the waters of Nilus; and more certain too, the former and the latter rain being promised to be given to them in their several seasons, upon condition of their obedience, which condition, though it may seem a clog and inconvenience, yet indeed was a great benefit, that by their own necessities and worldly interest they should be obliged to that obedience, upon which their happiness depended both for this life and for the next.
Verse 12: A land which the LORD thy God careth for (Heb. seeketh): (1 Kings 9:3) the eyes of the LORD thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.
[He watches over (thus the Syriac, Tigurinus, similarly the Septuagint, Samaritan Text), דֹּרֵשׁ] He seeks (Chaldean, Pagnine, Vatablus); he seeks from it (Samaritan Version); He cares for (Junius and Tremellius, Vatablus, Ainsworth, similarly the Arabic); He directs His attention toward it (Munster).
Land which the Lord careth for, to wit, in a special manner, watering it immediately as it were by his own hand, without man’s help, and giving peculiar blessings to it, which Egypt enjoys not.
[His eyes] That is, so that He might see if it lack anything (Vatablus).
The eyes of the Lord are always upon it, to give it the rain and other blessings proper to the several seasons. But all these mercies, and the fruitfulness of the land consequent upon them, were suspended upon their disobedience, as it here follows. And therefore it is not at all strange that some later writers decry the land of Canaan as in great part a barren soil, which is so far from affording any ground to question the Divine authority of the Holy Scriptures, in which its fruitfulness is declared, that it doth much more confirm it, this being but an effect of that threatening that God would turn a fruitful land into barrenness for the wickedness of those that dwell in it, Psalm 107:34, and elsewhere; and the wickedness of the Israelites in succeeding ages being notorious, it is but just and fit that the barrenness of their land should be as evident and infamous.
 Genesis 30:30b: “…and the Lord hath blessed thee at my foot (לְרַגְלִי): and now when shall I provide for mine own house also?”
 See also Genesis 31:42; Haggai 1:11; Job 10:3.
 Johannes Lorinus, or Jean Lorin (1559-1634) was a French Jesuit; he wrote several Biblical commentaries, including commentaries on Ecclesiastes, Wisdom of Solomon, Psalms, Acts, Jude, and Leviticus.
 Diodorus Siculus (c. 90-c. 30 BC), a Greek historian, wrote the massive Bibliotheca Historia in forty books. Unhappily, only fifteen books have survived.
 That is, Historical Library 1:1:36.
 Ecclesiasticus 24:25-27: “He filleth all things with his wisdom, as Phison and as Tigris in the time of the new fruits. He maketh the understanding to abound like Euphrates, and as Jordan in the time of the harvest. He maketh the doctrine of knowledge appear as the light, and as Geon in the time of vintage.”
 Junianus Justinus was a Roman historian of the third century.
 Historiarum Philippicarum.
 Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (c. 75- c. 130) was a Roman historian.
 Andreas Thevetus (1516-1590) was a French explorer and cosmographer.
 Formally, the second person, masculine, singular and the third person, feminine, singular are the same.
 Gaius Plinius Cæcilius Secundus (61-112), or Pliny the Younger, was a lawyer and natural philosopher, eventually serving as imperial governor of Bithynia-Pontus. He was also an orator of some renown; his only surviving oration is the Panegyricus Traiani.
 Albius Tibullus (c. 54-19 BC) was a writer of Latin poems and elegies. Two volumes of his poetry survive.
 דָּרַשׁ signifies to seek, or to resort to.