Deuteronomy 11:13-15: God Promises to Bless Israel’s Obedience

Verse 13:  And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken (Deut. 11:22; 6:17) diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, (Deut. 10:12) to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul…


Verse 14:  That (Lev. 26:4; Deut. 28:12) I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, (Joel 2:23; James 5:7) the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil.

[Rain early, יוֹרֶה[1]]  More correctly, seasonable (Grotius, Vatablus, Fagius, Junius and Tremellius), timely (Syriac), at the time of sowing (Grotius):  with the sowing completed, for the sake of germination.  This is done in October, which is the beginning of the year (Munster, Fagius, Vatablus, Malvenda).  It is thus designated, either from הוֹרָה, to teach, inasmuch as it, as it were, teaches and instructs the earth so that it might bring forth fruit (Munster, Fagius, Vatablus).  It descends slowly, gradually instructing the earth, as a man instills doctrine in a disciple (Hebrews in Malvenda).  Or, from throwing:  either, because at the time that it falls, the seed is cast in and united with the soil; or, because it is hurled with force from the clouds.  Others:  from רָוָה, to saturate, because it saturates the land (certain interpreters in Malvenda).

[And the latter, וּמַלְקוֹשׁ]  With the crop fully matured (Grotius).  It falls in March, since the crop is now more fully grown (Munster, Fagius, Vatablus).  It is thus designated, either from the filling of the grain-ears, from מָלֵא, to fill, and קַשׁ, a stalk, or an ear; or from לָקַשׁ, which signifies to be late, especially in a Chaldaism (Fagius, Vatablus); or, as if clipping and cutting down the crop, that is, by ripening it, so that it might be reaped (Hebrews in Malvenda).

The rain of your land, i.e. which is needful and sufficient for your land; or which is proper to your land, not common to Egypt, where, as all authors agree, there is little or no rain.  The first rain and the latter rain; the first fell in seed time, to make the corn spring, the other a little before harvest, to ripen it.  See Jeremiah 5:24; Joel 2:23; Amos 4:7; James 5:7.


Verse 15:  (Ps. 104:14) And I will send (Heb. give[2]) grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest (Deut. 6:11; Joel 2:19) eat and be full.

[1] יוֹרֶה/early is derived from the verbal root יָרָה , to throw or cast.

[2] Hebrew:  וְנָתַתִּי.

Deuteronomy 11:10-12: Moses Exhorts Them to Obedience by the Excellency of the Promised Land

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.[1]  As elsewhere diligent labor is signified by the hand, Psalm 128:2[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[3] 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[4] 1, in the chapter concerning Egypt,[5] 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[6]); 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[7] in his Of Phillipic Histories[8] 2, Suetonius[9] 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[10] 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[11] (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,[12] 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[13] (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[14]):  (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[15]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.

[1] Genesis 30:30b:  “…and the Lord hath blessed thee at my foot (לְרַגְלִי):  and now when shall I provide for mine own house also?”

[2] See also Genesis 31:42; Haggai 1:11; Job 10:3.

[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.

[4] Diodorus Siculus (c. 90-c. 30 BC), a Greek historian, wrote the massive Bibliotheca Historia in forty books.  Unhappily, only fifteen books have survived.

[5] That is, Historical Library 1:1:36.

[6] 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.”

[7] Junianus Justinus was a Roman historian of the third century.

[8] Historiarum Philippicarum.

[9] Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (c. 75- c. 130) was a Roman historian.

[10] Andreas Thevetus (1516-1590) was a French explorer and cosmographer.

[11] Formally, the second person, masculine, singular and the third person, feminine, singular are the same.

[12] 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.

[13] Albius Tibullus (c. 54-19 BC) was a writer of Latin poems and elegies.  Two volumes of his poetry survive.

[14] Hebrew:  דֹּרֵשׁ.

[15] דָּרַשׁ signifies to seek, or to resort to.

2 Peter 1 Outline

The apostle, saluting the Christians, admonisheth them of the gifts and promises of the gospel, and their tendency to promote a godly life, 1-4.  He exhorteth them to add to their faith such virtues as would make it fruitful, 5-9, and thereby to make their calling and election sure, 10, 11.  He is careful to remind them hereof, knowing his dissolution to be near, 12-15, and urgeth the evidence of what he had seen and heard in the holy mount in confirmation of Christ’s second coming, together with the word of prophecy, which he recommendeth to their regard, 16-21.

Argument of 2 Peter

It cannot be denied, but that some question there hath been, both about the penman and the authority of this Epistle.  The former hath been questioned, because of the difference of the style of this from that of the former Epistle.  But, to say nothing of a great likeness of style in both, observed by some; why might not the same person see fit on different occasions, and according to the different things he wrote about, to change his way of writing?  Or why may not the Holy Ghost use his instruments in what way he please, and not only dictate to them the matter they are to write, but the expression and phrase?  Why must an infinite and sovereign Agent be bound up, and confined to the parts and qualifications of the men he inspired?  And if we set aside the judgment of several councils and fathers, (which yet might go far,) two great arguments may be drawn from the first chapter, to prove Peter to be the penman of this Epistle.  One from the inscription of it, where we have both his names, Simon and Peter, prefixed to it.  Another from verse 16, where he affirms himself to have been present with Christ at his transfiguration; from whence we may well argue, that none having ever ascribed it to John, and James being dead before, (though if he had been alive, it cannot be imagined that he should put Peter’s name to any epistle of his own writing,) and there being none but they two present with our Lord at that time besides Peter, Matthew 17:1, none but he could be the writer of it.  And indeed, as some observe, if this Epistle be not Peter’s, when his name is set to it, it is so far from being canonical, that it is not fit so much as to be reckoned among the apocryphal books, having so great a lie in the front of it.  As for the authority of it, there can be no doubt of that if Peter were the writer, when nothing concurs in it repugnant to other parts of Scripture, or unbecoming the grace and style of an apostle.  And though some of the ancients have questioned it, yet many more have acknowledged it; nor was it ever numbered among apocryphal writings.  And its not being found in the first Syriac version, can but argue its being questioned by some, not its being rejected by all.  It seems to be written to the Jews of the dispersion, as the former was, which appears by 2 Peter 3:1, 2, where he mentions the former written to them; and this was written not long before his death, 2 Peter 1:14.  The scope of it is, partly to call to their remembrance the truths he had preached among them, that so, when they should be destitute of the apostles’ preaching to them, yet they might remember the pure doctrine they had learned of them, 2 Peter 1:12, 15, and might thereby be fortified against the errors of false teachers, 2 Peter 2:1; and partly to persuade and stir them up to diligence in holiness and constancy in the faith.  As in his First Epistle he had exhorted them to patience under the tyranny of persecutors, lest they should yield to them; so in this he exhorts them to perseverance in the truth of the gospel, against the deceptions of heretics, lest they should be seduced by them, 2 Peter 2, and continue in holiness, notwithstanding the profaneness of scoffers, 2 Peter 3.

Deuteronomy 11:1-9: Moses Exhorts Them to Obedience by Rehearsing God’s Works

Verse 1:  Therefore thou shalt (Deut. 10:12; 30:16, 20) love the LORD thy God, and (Zech. 3:7) keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, alway.

[Keep thou His precepts, etc.]  Thou shalt keep His charge,[1] that is, those things which He commanded thee to keep.  חֻקּוֹת/statutes pertain to rites; מִשְׁפָּטִים/judgments, to the court; מִצְוֹת/precepts, to morals (Drusius, Malvenda).


Verse 2:  And know ye this day:  for I speak not with your children which have not known, and which have not seen (Deut. 8:5) the chastisement of the LORD your God, (Deut. 5:24) his greatness, (Deut. 7:19) his mighty hand, and his stretched out arm…

[Know ye this dayAnd finally, know ye; that is, show by deed and in reality that ye understand and keep it in memory (Vatablus, Malvenda)

Know ye, i.e. acknowledge and consider it with diligence and thankfulness.

[Those things which your sons do not know, who did not see, etc.,כִּי׀ לֹ֣א אֶת־בְּנֵיכֶ֗ם אֲשֶׁ֤ר לֹֽא־יָדְעוּ֙ וגו״]  [They render it variously.]  Some render it with a parenthesis, in this manner; And know this day (for I do not address your sons, or, speak with your sons [as it is supplied by Pagnine, Munster, Ainsworth, the Dutch], who did not learn, nor see) the chastening, etc.  The reason for this parenthesis is rendered in verse 7, why He would address them, and not their children.  Thus one of the learned men of the Hebrews (Vatablus, thus Ainsworth).  Others render it without a parenthesis; And know this day that those miracles shall not be for the future, so that your sons might see them, but ye have seen them, namely, the chastening, etc.  Thus the other learned Hebrews (Vatablus).  Know ye this day that these things were not conducted before your children (Castalio).  Others make it a great hyperbaton[2] all the way unto verse 7:  And ye shall recognize this day that, not your sons, who did not know…the instruction of Jehovah, etc.but your eyes are those that have seen (Malvenda).  Others:  Know ye this day that not unto your sons is this address, who did not know, etc. (Syriac).  Others:  And ye shall know that not unto your sons (understand, do these things have regard), who have not known, etc. (Malvenda).  Know ye from this day that the work falls not upon your sons, who did not know, etc. (Arabic).  And ye shall know this day that not your sons, understand, were able to know this.  אֶת[3] is able also to be the article of a nominative[4] (Malvenda).  Others:  Not with your sons, supply, either, does the Lord make this covenant (Oleaster), or, were these things done (Bonfrerius).

[The discipline, מוּסַר[5]The punishment, that is, by which methods He would instruct you (Vatablus).  The correction, by which men are restrained or governed, whether by word, or by deed (Malvenda, Ainsworth).


Verse 3:  (Ps. 78:12; 135:9) And his miracles, and his acts, which he did in the midst of Egypt unto Pharaoh the king of Egypt, and unto all his land…


Verse 4:  And what he did unto the army of Egypt, unto their horses, and to their chariots; (Ex. 14:27, 28; 15:9, 10; Ps. 106:11) how he made the water of the Red sea to overflow them as they pursued after you, and how the LORD hath destroyed them unto this day…

[How they overspread them, etc., אֲשֶׁ֙ר הֵצִ֜יף[6]Who caused to overflow (Chaldean, Oleaster, Junius and Tremellius, Ainsworth).  Others:  how He caused to overflow (Samaritan Text, Syriac, similarly the Septuagint).  Others:  when He caused to overflow, etc. (Vatablus); when He shall cause to bury, etc. (Arabic).

[Unto the present day]  That is to say, Their strength was diminished in such a way that it is yet infirm (Vatablus).

Unto this day:  The effect of which destruction continueth to this day, in their weakness and fear, and our safety from all their further attempts against us.


Verse 5:  And what he did unto you in the wilderness, until ye came into this place…


Verse 6:  And (Num. 16:1, 31; 27:3; Ps. 106:17) what he did unto Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben:  how the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their households, and their tents, and all the substance that was in their possession (or, living substance which followed them; Heb. was at their feet[7]), in the midst of all Israel…

[Whom it devoured, אֲשֶׁ֙ר פָּצְתָ֤ה[8]Which opened, etc. (Malvenda); when, אֲשֶׁר/which in the place of כַּאֲשֶׁר/when (Vatablus).

[With their houses and tents[9]]  Either, 1.  and, in the place of, that is; for those living in tents have no houses (Drusius).  Or, 2.  house, in the place of, family and domestics (thus Onkelos and Jonathan and Ibn Ezra in Drusius).  See Numbers 16:32 (Malvenda).

[The substance which they had, וְאֵ֤ת כָּל־הַיְקוּם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בְּרַגְלֵיהֶ֔ם]  All the substance which was at their feet (Samaritan Text, Montanus, Pagnine), or, which was under their feet, that is, under their power; as in Psalm 8:6 (Munster, Oleaster).  By their feet (Ainsworth); or, which was in their accumulation (Samaritan Version); or, which was in their possession (English); or, which they had (Tigurinus, Vatablus); present (Vatablus); which was with them (Onkelos and Jonathan in Drusius); τὴν ὑπόστασιν, the substance (by which word they render מוֹבָא, the entrance, in Ezekiel 43:11,[10] and כִּנְעָה, the bundle, in Jeremiah 10:17[11] [Grotius]), τὴν μετ᾽ αὐτῶν, that is with them (Drusius).  Others:  which is for their sake (Ibn Ezra in Drusius).  Thus they explain in Genesis 33:14, to the foot of the boys, that is, for the boys’ sake.[12]  Therefore, in Genesis 30:30, at my foot, that is, for my sake.[13]  Thus, at the foot of the work, that is, for the work’s sake.[14]  All the living bodies which were following them (Junius and Tremellius, English).  And all the men that were with them (Arabic).  Whatever remained that was having regard unto them (Dutch).  Whatever pertained to them, while they stood on their feet (Syriac).

In their possession, Heb. at their feet, i.e. under their power, Psalm 8:6, which followed them, or belonged to them.


Verse 7:  But (Deut. 5:3; 7:19) your eyes have seen all the great acts of the LORD which he did.

[Your eyes, כִּ֤י עֵֽינֵיכֶם֙]  Since your eyes, etc. (Vatablus, Pagnine).  Because (Malvenda).  You are able to translate it, But, if you join it to the end of the parenthesis of the second preceding verse (Vatablus).

[They have seen]  Hebrew:  seeing,[15] understanding, were (Vatablus).

Your eyes, etc.:  All of them had seen some, and some of them had seen all the great things done in Egypt, and at the Red Sea, and in the wilderness.


Verse 8:  Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments which I command you this day, that ye may (Josh. 1:6, 7) be strong, and go in and possess the land, whither ye go to possess it…


Verse 9:  And (Deut. 4:40; 5:16; Prov. 10:27) that ye may prolong your days in the land, (Deut. 9:5) which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give unto them and to their seed, (Ex. 3:8) a land that floweth with milk and honey.

[1] Deuteronomy 11:1a:  “Therefore thou shalt love the Lord thy God, and keep his charge (וְשָׁמַרְתָּ֣ מִשְׁמַרְתּ֗וֹ), and his statutes (וְחֻקֹּתָיו), and his judgments (וּמִשְׁפָּטָיו), and his commandments (וּמִצְוֹתָיו), alway.”

[2] That is, a change in the normal grammatical order of words.

[3] Deuteronomy 11:2a:  “And know ye this day: for not with your children (אֶת־בְּנֵיכֶ֗ם) which have not known…”

[4] Although normally the accusative marker.

[5] מוּסַר is derived from the verbal root יָסַר, to discipline or chasten.

[6] צוּף, to flow, in the Hiphil conjugation, signifies to cause to flow.

[7] Hebrew:  וְאֵ֤ת כָּל־הַיְקוּם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בְּרַגְלֵיהֶ֔.

[8] פָּצָה signifies to open.

[9] Hebrew:  וְאֶת־בָּתֵּיהֶ֖ם וְאֶת־אָהֳלֵיהֶ֑ם.

[10] Ezekiel 43:11a:  “And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof (וּמוֹבָאָיו; καὶ τὴν ὑπόστασιν αὐτοῦ, and the substance of it, in the Septuagint, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof…”

[11] Jeremiah 10:17:  “Gather up thy wares (כִּנְעָתֵךְ; τὴν ὑπόστασίν σου, thy substance, in the Septuagint) out of the land, O inhabitant of the fortress.”

[12] Genesis 33:14b:  “…and I will lead on softly, according to the foot (לְרֶגֶל) of the cattle which is before me and according to the foot (וּלְרֶגֶל) of the children…”

[13] Genesis 30:30b:  “…and the Lord hath blessed thee at my foot (לְרַגְלִי):  and now when shall I provide for mine own house also?”

[14] See 1 Thessalonians 5:13.

[15] Hebrew:  הָרֹאֹת.

Prolegomena to 2 Peter

It is to be asked, 1.  concerning the Authority of this Epistle, concerning which it appears that formerly it was doubted by some, as Eusebius testifies[1] (Gerhard).  And Didymus rejects it, but out of manifest error, and ignorance of that passage, 2 Peter 3:6, 7, 13 (Gomar).  But many more received it as Canonical (Gerhard), among whom were Jerome (Gerhard, Gomar), Origen[2] (Gerhard), Athanasius, Gregory Naziazus,[3] Augustine, Ruffinus, and also the Council of Laodicea,[4] the Third Council of Carthage,[5] and two Roman Councils[6] (Gomar).  There is nothing here adverse to the remaining Canonical books:  neither is there alleged any sufficiently weighty reason to doubt of it (Gerhard).  This Epistle breathes the same Divine authority and majesty with the other, and manifests itself, 2 Peter 1:1, 14, 16 (Gomar).  2.  Concerning the Author.  That Peter is the author of this Epistle is proven, 1.  by the inscription, 2 Peter 1:1 (Gerhard); if it be false, this Epistle shall not even have a place among the Apocryphal books, on account manifest impudence of lying (Gomar).  2.  By a comparison with 2 Peter 1:16 (Gerhard, Hammond).  For there were only three witnesses of that transfiguration:  James, John, and Peter.  Now, the author of this Epistle was not James; it is evident that he was already long dead:[7]  nor John, to whom no one ever attributed this.  Therefore, it was Peter (Gerhard).  3.  By a comparison with 2 Peter 3:1, in which mention is made of his former Epistle.  4.  From the fact that the Ancients attribute it to Peter.  Thus the Council of Laodicea’s canon 59, the Third Council of Carthage’s canon 47, Epiphanius, Jerome, etc. (Gerhard).  [Nevertheless, what others object is not wanting:]  1.  Already formerly many of the Ancients believed that this Epistle was not Peter’s, because at that time many of the Churches did not receive it.  [To which a response has already been given.]  2.  The language here is quite diverse from the first Epistle, which Eusebius and Jerome acknowledge (Grotius).  Responses:  1.  A diversity of style does not prove that the Author was different, both, because the style of the same writer is able to be diverse according to the diversity of subject matter or age (Gomar, thus Gerhard); and, because the Holy Spirit is not bound to the style of the Writer (Gomar).  2.  In both epistles the style is the same (Gerhard, Gomar), even a mode of expression peculiar to Peter, that is, πτωτικὸν, connected to the grammatical cases, by which all things are mutually interconnected in sentences hardly distinct (Gomar).  In both there is a skillful brevity conjoined with the highest majesty, as the Magdeburgians[8] observe (Gerhard).  [This is the second objection.]  3.  In the ancient books of the Syrians this Epistle is wanting (Grotius).  Response:  But it is present in a Syrian codex, a manuscript held at Oxford, published in the Year 1630.[9]  In the next place, Ephrem[10] and Damascenus,[11] Syrians, produce testimonies from this Epistle as genuine (Gerhard).  4.  I would add another argument why this Epistle does not appear to belong to Peter.  Peter met with death under Nero:  But this Epistle, or the Epistle, as we suppose, subjoined to this, which constitutes the third chapter, was written after the destruction of Jerusalem.  For no Christian believed that the last day of the World was going to come until after the overthrow of the Jewish state had come.  But, that shortly after this the destruction of the World was going to follow, appeared to the judgment of many, as we said on 2 Thessalonians 2 and elsewhere.  But this Author wants Christians to be patient still in the expectation of that day, if perhaps it might arrive later than hoped for:  That this is a sign of the great patience of God, who yet wills that many of the Jews and Gentiles be converted to Himself (Grotius).  Response:  That single fulcrum of this argument is weak, namely, that it was written after the destruction of Jerusalem, and what is subjoined for the proof of that, that this Author prescribes to them patience in expectation of the last day.  He does indeed treat of the end of the world, 2 Peter 3:7, yet not as drawing nigh.  But those things concerning the Advent of the day of the lord as a thief, etc., have regard that judgment against the Jews, as it has often been said (Hammond).  I think that the Author of this Epistle is Simeon, or Simon, Bishop of Jerusalem after the death of James, and the successor and imitator of that same James, whose Epistle we have.  For it is evident that he had lived after the destruction of Jerusalem unto the times of Trajan,[12] and then was crucified for the name of Christ[13] (Grotius).  [These things concerning the author.  3.  Concerning the time:]  Peter wrote this epistle shortly before his death, as it is gathered from 2 Peter 1:14 (Gerhard, Hammond), and shortly before the War and Destruction of the Jews.  Whence it is gathered that this was the occasion for writing, that he might confirm Christians under the cross and groaning over the delay of their liberation, etc. (Hammond).  The Argument and Scope of the Epistle is gathered from 2 Peter 1:12, 13, 15; 3:1, 2, and it is, both, that he might for them recall those things into memory which he had preached to them with the living voice; and, that he might rouse them to constancy in the faith (Gerhard).

[1] Ecclesiastical History 3:3.

[2] Origen (c. 185-c. 254) succeeded Clement of Alexandria as the head of the catechetical school in Alexandria.  He was perhaps the greatest scholar of his age.

[3] Gregory of Nazianzus (330-389) was Archbishop of Constantinope, and a doctor of the Church, known as the Trinitarian Theologian.  His Orations included two against Julian the Apostate.

[4] The Council of Laodicea (363-364) was a regional synod, composed of about thirty members.  This Council restricted the readings in the church to the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments.  Although the genuineness of Canon 60 has been questioned by some, it specifies 2 Peter as included in the New Testament.

[5] The Third Council of Carthage (397) issued canon on the Scripture, which specified 2 Peter as included.

[6] The Council of Rome in 382 met under the authority of Pope Damasus to discuss the succession of the see of Constantinople.  This Council has been historically and traditionally associated with a discussion of the Canon of Scripture.  What other Roman Council might be in view is difficult to determine.

[7] See Acts 12:1, 2.

[8] The Magdeburg Centuries is an ecclesiastical history covering the first one thousand and three hundred years of the Church, which was compiled by certain Lutheran scholars in Magdeburg, known as the Centuriators of Magdeburg, led by Matthias Flacius Illyricus.  It is a pioneering work in ecclesiastical history, which aims to show the substantial uniformity of the faith of God’s people throughout the centuries, while tracing the parallel development of Antichristian Romanism.

[9] This manuscript is in the Bodleian Library at Oxford; it was first published by Edward Pococke in 1630.

[10] Ephrem the Syrian (c. 306-373) was a deacon and teacher, and prolific author, composing hymns and works of theology and exegesis in the Syriac language.  He was held in universal esteem in the Church, but he is reckoned by many as the most significant of the Syriac-speaking Fathers.

[11] John Damascenus (c. 676-c. 760) was a monk of St. Sabas, near Jerusalem.  He is remembered for his piety of life, writings, and compilation of chants in the eastern style.  His Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith is a systematic summary of the teaching of the early Church Fathers, and heavily influential in later Eastern theology.

[12] Trajan was Emperor from 98 to 117.

[13] Simeon of Jerusalem was the second Bishop of Jerusalem, serving from circa 65 to 107.

Deuteronomy 11 Outline

Moses exhorts them to obedience by rehearsing God’s works, 1-9, and by the excellency of the land they were to possess, 10-12.  A promise of blessings to their obedience, 13-15.  They are warned against idolatry, 16, 17.  To teach it their children, 19; and keep memorials of it, 20, for their own benefit, 21.  God promises again, upon their obedience, to drive out the nations, 22-25.  A blessing and a curse is set before them, 26-28.  They are bid to bless on Mount Gerizim, but curse on Mount Ebal, 29.

Deuteronomy 10:16-22: God Commands Israel’s Obedience, Part 2

Verse 16:  (see Lev. 26:41; Deut. 30:6; Jer. 4:4; Rom. 2:28, 29; Col. 2:11) Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more (Deut. 9:6, 13) stiffnecked.

[Circumcise ye the foreskin of your heart]  The same work is ascribed both to man, as here, and to God, as in Deuteronomy 30:6.  To God, as the first cause; to man, as the intervening cause.  Consult Jeremiah 4:4 (Grotius).  Foreskin here is whatever is superfluous in the heart after the likeness of the foreskin in the flesh, and discredits the heart; that is, all noxious and impious desires (Tirinus out of Bonfrerius).  It is the hardness and blindness by which the heart and mind are hindered lest they should see and acknowledge the truth (Munster, Fagius, Vatablus).  For עולה [read עָרְלָה/foreskin] is properly a stopping up and a covering.  As the foreskin of the male member stops up the head, so this blindness hinders the heart that it might not see (Munster).  The foolishness (Chaldean in Fagius); σκληροκαρδίαν, the hardness of heart (Septuagint in Fagius); treachery (Arabic).  As among us by Baptism is demonstrated and is made the expiation/purification of the soul, rather than of the body; so among the Hebrews Circumcision was teaching that the blindness of the heart, etc., is to be cut off.  The ancient Hebrews were of this opinion, that in the time of Messiah Circumcision ought to be done spiritually, no longer carnally.  In the מִדְרָשׁ/Midrash, that is, exposition, of Song of Songs,[1] in 2:10, The time (of Messiah, as it had previously been said) has come, that the foreskin might be amputated, concerning which it is spoken, in Deuteronomy 30:6, which cannot be understood except spiritually.  And the Law shall be restored to newness, according to Jeremiah 31, And I shall cut…a new covenant, that is, the new law of Messiah (Fagius).  [Fagius has other things concerning carnal circumcision, etc., but which were either previously noted, or sufficiently well-known, or of little weight.]

Circumcise…the foreskin of your heart:  Rest not in your bodily circumcision, but seriously set upon that substantial work which is signified and designed thereby:  cleanse your hearts from all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, which is fitly compared to the foreskin, which if not cut off, made persons profane, unclean, and odious in the sight of God.  Compare Deuteronomy 30:6; Jeremiah 4:4; 9:25; Romans 2:28, 29; Colossians 2:11.


Verse 17:  For the LORD your God is (Josh. 22:22; Ps. 136:2; Dan. 2:47; 11:36) God of gods, and (Rev. 17:14; 19:16) Lord of lords, a great God, (Deut. 7:21) a mighty, and a terrible, which (2 Chron. 19:7; Job 34:19; Acts 10:34; Rom. 2:11; Gal. 2:6; Eph. 6:9; Col. 3:25; 1 Pet. 1:17) regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward…

[God of gods, אֱלֹהֵ֣י הָֽאֱלֹהִ֔ים]  1.  Of those that are reckoned to be gods, although they are not; that is, of idols:  He who is greater, and better, and more powerful than all those (Estius, Tostatus, Vatablus, Oleaster in Bonfrerius).  2.  God of Judges, or of Kings (thus Onkelos and Jonathan in Drusius, Bonfrerius).  3.  Of Angels (Grotius, Drusius).  And thence it appears that, as often אֱלֹהִים/Elohim[2] is joined to a singular, it is ἔλλειψιν, an ellipsis, of the word אֱלֹהַּ/Eloah/God;[3] as in בְּהֵמוֹת/behemoth,[4] and חַכְמוֹת/wisdom,[5] and similar words.  The expression is full here (Grotius).

[The Lord of those exercising lordship]  Of Kings, etc., as in 1 Timothy 6:15 (Grotius).  Of the stars, the force of which is great in human affairs (Hebrews in Grotius).  The learned often say, all things are in the hand of heaven, that is, of the stars, except the fear of heaven, that is, of God (Drusius on verse 12).

Regardeth not persons, whether Jews or Gentiles, but deals justly and equally with all sorts of men; and as whosoever fears and obeys him shall be accepted of him, so all incorrigible transgressors shall be severely punished, and you no less than other people; therefore do not flatter yourselves as if God would bear with your sins because of his particular kindness to you or to your fathers.


Verse 18:  (Ps. 68:5; 146:9) He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment.

[He does judgment, etc.]  That is, He avenges them (Grotius).

Execute the judgment, i.e. plead their cause, and give them right against their more potent adversaries, and therefore he expects you should do so too.


Verse 19:  (Lev. 19:33, 34) Love ye therefore the stranger:  for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.


Verse 20:  (Deut. 6:13; Matt. 4:10; Luke 4:8) Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou (Deut. 11:22; 13:4) cleave, (Ps. 63:11) and swear by his name.

To him shalt thou cleave, with firm confidence, true affection, and constant attendance and obedience.


Verse 21:  (Ex. 15:2; Ps. 22:3; Jer. 17:14) He is thy praise, and he is thy God, (1 Sam. 12:24; 2 Sam. 7:23; Ps. 106:21, 22) that hath done for thee these great and terrible things, which thine eyes have seen.

[He is thy praise]  That is, concerning whom thou art obliged to glory, boasting of his benefits toward thee (Vatablus, Malvenda).  The matter and reason of thy praise:  Metonymy;[6] as in Exodus 15:2 (Malvenda).

Thy praise; either, 1.  The object and matter of thy praise, as Exodus 15:2, whom thou shouldst ever praise.  Or rather, 2.  The ground of thy praise, i.e. of thy praiseworthiness; he who makes thee honourable and glorious above those people whose God he is not.


Verse 22:  Thy fathers went down into Egypt (Gen. 46:27; Ex. 1:5; Acts 7:14) with threescore and ten persons; and now the LORD thy God hath made thee (Gen. 15:5; Deut. 1:10; 28:62) as the stars of heaven for multitude.

[In seventy souls[7]]  That is, Persons, and understanding only.  See Genesis 46:27 and Exodus 1:5 (Vatablus).

[1] Shir Hashirim Rabba, or Song of Songs Rabbah, is an ancient Jewish commentary on the Song of Songs.  Although this commentary does not appear to have taken its final form until the ninth century, it contains material pre-dating the completion of the Jerusalem Talmud in the late fourth century.

[2] Formally plural, but frequently singular in meaning.

[3] Formally singular.

[4] Formally the plural of בְּהֵמָה/beast, but frequently singular in meaning.

[5] Formally plural, but frequently singular in meaning.

[6] Praise is put in the place of the content of, and reason for, praise.

[7] Hebrew:  בְּשִׁבְעִ֣ים נֶ֔פֶשׁ.

Deuteronomy 10:12-15: God Commands Israel’s Obedience, Part 1

Verse 12:  And now, Israel, (Mic. 6:8) what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but (Deut. 6:13) to fear the LORD thy God, (Deut. 5:33) to walk in all his ways, and (Deut. 6:5; 11:13; 30:16, 20; Matt. 22:37) to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul…

What doth the Lord thy God require, by way of duty and gratitude to God for such amazing mercies?

[That thou fear, etc.]  All the precepts tend to this:  here is the end of the Law, which the grace of the Gospel accomplishes (Grotius).


Verse 13:  To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day (Deut. 6:24) for thy good?

[That it might be well with thee]  Not with God, upon whom our services confer nothing:  although He Himself, as if these things benefited Him, lavishly recompenses (Grotius).


Verse 14:  Behold, (1 Kings 8:27; Ps. 115:16; 148:4) the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD’S thy God, (Gen. 14:19; Ex. 19:5; Ps. 24:1) the earth also, with all that therein is.

[The heaven, הַשָּׁמַיִם[1]]  The starry heaven (Lyra).  I prefer, the heavens; the heaven of atmosphere and of stars (Drusius):  the shifting heavens (Menochius).

[And the heaven of heavens]  That is, the supreme and third heaven, the seat of God and of the Angels (Grotius, Lyra, Menochius, Bonfrerius, Drusius).  That is to say, While all things are His, yet He chooses thee before the rest (Clario).

The heaven; the airy and starry heaven.  The heaven of heavens; the highest or third heaven, 1 Kings 8:27; 2 Corinthians 12:2, called the heaven of heavens for its eminency, as the song of songs,[2] king of kings,[3] holy of holies,[4] etc.  The earth also, with all creatures and all men, which being all his, he might have chosen what nation he pleased to be his people.


Verse 15:  (Deut. 4:37) Only the LORD had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day.

[And yet, רַק[5]Only (Vatablus, Malvenda).  Others:  surely, certainly.  Others:  truly (Malvenda).  See Deuteronomy 12:15[6] (Grotius).

Only the Lord had a delight in thy fathers to love them, etc.:  He shows that God had no particular reason nor obligation to their fathers any more than to other persons or people, all being equally his creatures, and that his choice of them out of and above all others proceeded only from God’s good pleasure and free love.

[1] Deuteronomy 10:14a:  “Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens (הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וּשְׁמֵ֣י הַשָּׁמָ֑יִם) is the Lord’s thy God…”

[2] Song of Solomon 1:1.

[3] For example, Ezra 7:12; Daniel 2:37; Revelation 19:16.

[4] In the Authorized Version, this is translated, the most holy place; for example, Exodus 26:34; Numbers 18:10; 1 Kings 6:16.

[5] רַק, when it is clause-initial, can signify a limitation upon something previously expressed (only, or notwithstanding), or can carry an asservative force in affirmations (surely, certainly).

[6] Deuteronomy 12:14, 15a:  “But in the place which the Lord shall choose in one of thy tribes, there thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, and there thou shalt do all that I command thee.  Notwithstanding (רַק) thou mayest kill and eat flesh in all thy gates, whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, according to the blessing of the Lord…”

Deuteronomy 10:10, 11: God Commands Israel to Set Forth toward Canaan

[1491 BC]  Verse 10:  And (Ex. 34:28; Deut. 9:18, 25) I stayed in the mount, according to the first time (or, former days[1]), forty days and forty nights; and (Ex. 32:14, 33, 34; 33:17; Deut. 9:19) the LORD hearkened unto me at that time also, and the LORD would not destroy thee.

[Forty days]  It is evident that this was a second time, the same with that in Deuteronomy 9:18.  Wherefore here is a Hysteron-proteron,[2] and this verse is to be placed before the beginning of the chapter (Menochius out of Lapide).


Verse 11:  (Ex. 32:34; 33:1) And the LORD said unto me, Arise, take thy journey (Heb. go in journey[3]) before the people, that they may go in and possess the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give unto them.

[Advance, and go before the people, ק֛וּם לֵ֥ךְ לְמַסַּ֖ע לִפְנֵ֣י הָעָ֑ם[4]Arise, advance by proceeding (or, so that thou mightest proceed [Chaldean, Samaritan Text], or, to departure, that is, by departures [Oleaster], or, in departure, or, departures [Tigurinus, Munster, Ainsworth]) to the faces of the people (Pagnine, Montanus), or, before the people (Chaldean, Samaritan Text, similarly Munster, Junius and Tremellius).

That they may go in:  this shows that God was appeased and reconciled to the people, whom therefore he led forwards towards Canaan.

[1] Hebrew:  כַּיָּמִים֙ הָרִ֣אשֹׁנִ֔ים.

[2] Hysteron proteron is a rhetorical device which presents ideas in an order other than their logical or chronological.

[3] Hebrew:  לֵ֥ךְ לְמַסַּ֖ע.

[4] מַסַּע, a departure or setting out, is derived from the verbal root נָסַע, to break camp, or to set out.