Deuteronomy 1:9-12: Rehearsal of the Forty Years’ History: Moses’ Inability to Bear the People Alone

Verse 9:  And (Ex. 18:18; Num. 11:14) I spake unto you at that time, saying, I am not able to bear you myself alone…

[And I said]  In Exodus 18:13, with Jethro suggesting it.  Therefore this passage follows with respect to the narration, which, nevertheless, preceded the former with respect to the accomplishment.  See Deuteronomy 1:22 (Vatablus).

At that time, i.e. about that time, to wit, a little before their coming to Horeb, Exodus 18:18.

 

Verse 10:  The LORD your God hath multiplied you, and, behold, (Gen. 15:5; Deut. 10:22; 28:62) ye are this day as the stars of heaven for multitude.

 

Verse 11:  ([2 Sam. 24:3] The LORD God of your fathers make you a thousand times so many more as ye are, and bless you, [Gen. 15:5; 22:17; 26:4; Ex. 32:13] as he hath promised you!)

[May He add, etc., יֹסֵף עֲלֵיכֶם כָּכֶם]  Verbatim:  May He add upon you as you (Montanus, Oleaster), that is, as ye are (Oleaster, Septuagint, Pagnine, similarly the Samaritan Text), as ye are now (Dutch).  May He increase you of what sort ye are (Syriac, Arabic), others similar to you in multitude (Oleaster).  May He increase you by an equal number (Chaldean).  May He add upon you (a thousand times) above that which ye now are (Syriac).  May He add upon you a thousand time so many as ye are (Ainsworth).

 

Verse 12:  (1 Kings 3:8, 9) How can I myself alone bear your cumbrance, and your burden, and your strife?

[Your troubles (thus the Samaritan Text), טָרְחֲכֶם[1]Your burden (Malvenda, Oleaster), heavy labor (Montanus), weight (Arabic), trouble (Septuagint, Syriac, Tigurinus, Munster, Vatablus, Junius and Tremellius), labor (Chaldean in Fagius); or, your fatigue, that is, with which ye fatigue me (Fagius).  Now, they think that by these three words, labor, troubles, lawsuits or disputes, the office of a Prince is signified.  The first is, that he might speak justice to litigants; 2.  to foresee concerning provisions; 3.  to take care that private men live without mutual injuries (Fagius, Oleaster).

Your burden; the trouble of ruling and managing so perverse a people.  Your strife; either your quarrellings with God; or rather your contentions among yourselves, for the determination whereof the elders were appointed.



[1] Deuteronomy 1:12:  “How can I myself alone bear your cumbrance (טָרְחֲכֶם), and your burden, and your strife?”   טֹרַחsignifies burden.

Deuteronomy 1:1-8: Rehearsal of the Forty Years’ History: God’s Command to Depart

[1451 BC]  Verse 1:  These be the words which Moses spake unto all Israel (Josh. 9:1, 10; 22:4, 7) on this side Jordan in the wilderness, in the plain over against the Red sea (or, Zuph[1]), between Paran, and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Di-zahab.

[These are the words, אֵלֶּה הַדְּבָרִים]  What then are these words?  Responses:  1.  Those which were written in the preceding books (thus Oleaster[2]).  But the limitation of the passage opposes, in which all the forementioned things are not written or announced (Bonfrerius[3]).  2.  Those things that follow in this book (Menochius,[4] Tirinus,[5] Bonfrerius).

These be the words:  These are the laws, counsels, and admonitions delivered by Moses from God to Israel, which are here repeated for the instruction and obligation of those who by reason of their tender years were uncapable either of understanding them, or of entering into covenant with God.

[Unto all Israel]  Namely, unto the Elders and Princes (Gerhard[6] after Lyra[7]).  Some maintain that it was done by a miracle, that the voice of Moses was able to be heard by so many thousands (thus Tostatus,[8] Bonfrerius, Tirinus in Gerhard).

Unto all Israel, to wit, by the heads or elders of the several tribes, or others, who were to communicate these discourses to all the people in several assemblies.

[Across Jordan, בְּעֵבֶר[9]]  Thus it was with respect to the Holy Land and Jerusalem (Menochius, Vatablus).  Others:  on this side Jordan (the Chaldean and Chizkuni[10] in Fagius).  בְּעֵבֶר signifies both across and on this side (Vatablus).

[In the wilderness-plain, בּמִּדְבָּ֡ר בָּֽעֲרָבָה֩]  In the desert, in the field, or plain [thus most interpreters]:  in the desert towards the West (Septuagint); in the desert, in the borders (Oleaster).  In the plain of Moab, Numbers 22:1 (Munster, Fagius, Malvenda,[11] Ainsworth,[12] a great many interpreters in Bonfrerius).  But it is objected that separated locations are mentioned here, between Paran and Tophel, etc.  They respond that ב/in is put in the place of בִּשְׁבִיל, because of, so that the sense might be, Because they provoked God in the desert.  Now, he makes particular mention of seven places, where especially there was sin.  In the plain, where they had joined themselves to Baal-peor;[13] at the Red Sea;[14] etc. (thus the Chaldean in Munster and Fagius).  But this is an invention of the Rabbis.  I do not here understand the plain of Moab (for who would say that that plain was over against the Red Sea, between Paran, etc.?), but the vast wilderness of Arabia, in which they wandered for forty years.  The Septuagint translates it, in the wilderness towards the West; which was its situation with respect to Moab.  But that plain is never called a desert; and דִּבֶּר, he spake,[15] is to be translated, which he had spoken previously, and repeated in the fields of Moab (Bonfrerius).

[Over against the Red Sea, מ֙וֹל ס֜וּף]  Opposite, or before, or over against, Suph (Oleaster, Malvenda, Syriac, Pagnine,[16] Montanus,[17] Chaldean, Junius[18] and Tremellius[19]).  But what is Suph?  1.  The Red Sea, יַם־סוּף (Lyra, Menochius, Bonfrerius, Munster, Fagius, Vatablus, Oleaster, likewise the Septuagint, the Chaldean and Tigurinus[20] in Bonfrerius, Ainsworth, Arabic).  In the plain of the Red Sea (the Scholiast of Aquila[21] and Symmachus[22] in Nobilius[23]).  In the plain opposite to the Read Sea (Samaritan Text).  But that was too far distant from this plain.  They render it, therefore, towards the front of Suph:  that is, the place was opposite to the Red Sea (Malvenda); or, some bay of the Red Sea comes toward this part (Oleaster).  But I understand these things of mount Horeb (where these things were spoken), the situation of which is here described.  For it was in that part of the desert that slopes toward the Red Sea:  and on the other side was Paran, Numbers 10:12, and Hazeroth, Numbers 11:35, etc. (Bonfrerius).  2.  To others סוּף/Suph is a region full of seaweed, and abounding in rushes and reeds, at the Dead Sea (Malvenda out of Junius, Piscator[24]); near Jordan, and towards the desert of Arabia.  Thus Numbers 21:14[25] (Ainsworth).  3.  It is able to be translated, opposite the boundary, or border, namely, of the land.  For that place was the border of diverse kingdoms (Oleaster).

[Between Paran]  Concerning which Genesis 14:6 (Malvenda).

[And Tophel and Laban]  These do not occur elsewhere, neither are they found among the stations of Israel, Numbers 33 (Fagius, Vatablus).  They are the proper names of places, although others are put in the place of them in Numbers.  This desert had various names from the adjacent places (Hebrews in Fagius and Vatablus).  It is thought that Tophel was afterwards called Pella,[26] and Laban afterwards called Libias[27] (Malvenda, Ainsworth).

[Where there was much gold[28]]  The Septuagint translates it, goldmines[29] (Bonfrerius); which perhaps were there (Malvenda in the Hebrews).

[Hebrew:  וְדִ֥י זָהָֽב]  It signifies an abundance of gold (Bonfrerius).  To others it is the proper name of a place (thus Tigurinus, Cajetan,[30] Oleaster and a great many interpreters in Bonfrerius, Hebrews in Fagius and Vatablus).

In the plain; either, 1.  In the vast desert of Arabia.  But that is no where called a plain.  Or rather, 2.  In the plain of Moab, as may appear by comparing this with Deuteronomy 1:5; Numbers 22:1; Deuteronomy 34:8.  Objection:  That was far from the Red Sea here mentioned.  Answer:  The wordסוּף /suph here used doth not signify the Red Sea, which is commonly called יַם־סוּף, jam suph, and which was at too great a distance; but some other place now unknown to us, (as also most of the following places are,) so called from the reeds, or flags, or rushes (which that word signifies) that grew in or near it; which reason of the name being common to other places with the Red Sea, it is not strange if they got the same name.  Compare Numbers 21:14.  Paran; not that Numbers 10:12, which there and elsewhere is called the wilderness of Paran, and which was too remote; but some other place called by the same name, than which nothing more usual.  Tophel and Laban; places not mentioned elsewhere.  Hazeroth; of which see Numbers 11:35; 33:17, 18.  And these places seem to be the several bounds and limits not of the whole country of Moab, but of the plain of Moab, where Moses now was, and spake these words.

 

Verse 2:  (There are eleven days’ journey from Horeb by the way of mount Seir [Num. 13:26; Deut. 9:23] unto Kadesh-barnea.)

[Eleven days]  Understanding, it is passed, or, after these things (that is, after the Law was given at Sinai) it was passed.  Objection:  But they spent many days in that journey.  See Numbers 11-13.  Responses:  1.  Moses had regard only to the days of travel, not to the days in which they stood still in their stations.  2.  Or he contemplates not the journey of the Israelites, but he explains the distance in a general way.  But perhaps the former is closer to the truth.  For it was not a journey of eleven days, but even shorter, as Adrichomius[31] testifies.  Yet it is not strange that they spent eleven days in it, to whom were so many hindrances by herds, etc. (Bonfrerius).  He says this so that they might understand how quickly they could have arrived in Canaan, if they had not rebelled (Lyra, Bonfrerius, Ainsworth, Malvenda, similarly Junius, Piscator).

There are eleven days’ journey, etc.:  This is added to show that the reason why the Israelites in so many years were advanced no further from Horeb than to these plains, was not the great distance of the places or length of the way, which was but a journey of eleven days at most, but because of their rebellions, as is mentioned before and repeated in this book.

[From Horeb]  It is the same as Sinai (Lyra, Ibn Ezra[32] and Eusebius[33] and a great many in Drusius[34]).  Or Sinai is the name of the desert; Horeb, of the mountain (certain interpreters in Drusius, thus Oleaster).  Or Horeb is the name of a place near to mount Sinai, where the Israelites camped that year (Gerundensis[35] in Drusius).  Horeb is a mountain very near to Sinai, and it is used in the place of Sinai (certain interpreters in Fagius).

Horeb, or Sinai, the place where the law was given, which is promiscuously called by both those names.

[By the way, דֶּרֶךְ[36]]  In the place of בְּדֶרֶךְ, by the way (Gerhard), that is, by passing along the mountain, etc. (Vatablus).

[Of Mount SeirMount here is in the place of mountains, or a mountainous region (Ainsworth, Malvenda, Gerhard); which sort Seir inhabited, Malachi 1:3 (Ger.).  See Genesis 14:6 and 36:8, 9.  Thus we often read, in mount Ephraim, in the mountain of Judah,[37] etc. (Malvenda).

Mount Seir, or Mount Edom, i.e. the mountainous country of Seir, which was first possessed by the Horims, and afterwards by the Edomites, Deuteronomy 2:12.  Kadesh-barnea was not far from the borders of Canaan.  See Genesus 16:14; Numbers 13:26.

 

[1451 BC]  Verse 3:  And it came to pass (Num. 33:38) in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spake unto the children of Israel, according unto all that the LORD had given him in commandment unto them…

[In the eleventh month]  A little before his death (which occurred on the seventh day of the twelfth month, Deuteronomy 34; Joshua 1; 4 [Malvenda]), so that their memories might be more strongly impressed (Lyra).

In the fortieth year, etc.:  This was but a little before his death.

[All things which the Lord had commanded, כְּכֺל וגו״]  According to all things, etc. (Pagnine, Vatablus, Hebrews); entirely, or altogether, as He had commanded.  Moses does not speak except the thing committed to him by the Lord:  therefore so many times in this book he repeats and inculcates, just as Jehovah had commanded (Vatablus).

 

Verse 4:  (Num. 21:24, 33) After he had slain Sihon the king of the Amorites, which dwelt in Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, which dwelt at Astaroth (Num. 21:33; Josh 13:12) in Edrei…

[He smote]  Understand, either, Moses smote (Gerhard); or rather, God (Vatablus, Gerhard).

[In Astaroth]  They are exceedingly tall mountains, so called because sheep (which are called Astaroth[38]) in great numbers fed there (Fagius).  See what things we have on Judges 2:13 (Grotius).

Og:  His palace or mansion-house was at Astaroth, and he was slain at Edrei, Numbers 21:33; of both these places, see Genesis 14:5; Joshua 13:31.

 

Verse 5:  On this side Jordan, in the land of Moab, began Moses to declare this law, saying…

[He began (thus Munster, Pagnine, Oleaster, Ainsworth [similarly the Arabic and most interpreters])]  He began to declare, that is, he declared.  Thus, Jesus began to say, Luke 12:1, in the place of, He said, Matthew 16:6; and, they began to pluck, Matthew 12:1, in the place of, they were plucking, Luke 6:1 (Ainsworth).

[הוֹאִיל מֹשֶׁה בֵּאֵר[39]He was willing to explain (Montanus); it pleased Moses to declare (Junius and Tremellius).  Moses was willing (was pleased), and he explained (certain interpreters in Vatablus).  For the language signifies to be willing and to begin[40] (Vatablus).

[To explain, בֵּאֵר]  Here we have it that this book is an Elucidation of the Law (Fagius).

 

[1491 BC]  Verse 6:  The LORD our God spake unto us (Ex. 3:1) in Horeb, saying, Ye have dwelt long (see Ex. 19:1; Num. 10:11) enough in this mount…

[It is sufficient for you that ye remained in this mount[41] (similarly in the Samaritan Text, Arabic)]  Enough and more ye have remained, or dwelt (Syriac, Junius and Tremellius).  For they dwelt there nearly a year; Exodus 19:1, compared with Numbers 10:11 (Junius, Ainsworth).

In this mount:  Of Horeb, where they continued about a year’s space, Exodus 19:1; Numbers 10:11, 12.

 

Verse 7:  Turn you, and take your journey, and go to the mount of the Amorites, and unto all the places nigh thereunto (Heb. all his neighbours[42]), in the plain, in the hills, and in the vale, and in the south, and by the sea side, to the land of the Canaanites, and unto Lebanon, unto the great river, the river Euphrates.

[Return]  Not that they themselves, but rather their fathers, had been in the Land of promise (Lyra).

[Hebrew:  פְּנוּ[43]Turn yourselves (Bonfrerius, Menochius, Oleaster, Malvenda), namely, unto the straight way, from which they turned towards mount HorebLook towards (verbatim:  face ye [Malvenda]); that is to say, Prepare yourselves for the journey which had been interrupted (Menochius).

[And come, וּסְעוּ לָכֶם[44]Move, or set out, for yourselves (Malvenda, Oleaster).  It is a pleonasm (Piscator):  or, that is to say, this shall result in your advantage (Gerhard).

[Unto the mount of the AmoritesMount here is in the place of the mountainous land of the Amorites (Vatablus, Gerhard); which closed up the borders of the Promised Land (Gerhard).  Others:  near the mount, that is, unto Kadesh-Barnea; which place or city is near the mount where the Amorites dwell.  Compare verses 20 and 44 (Bonfrerius, Menochius).

[Which are near, וְאֶל־כָּל־שְׁכֵנָיו[45]And unto all the neighboring places of it (Vatablus, Oleaster) [similarly all interpreters]; that is, which are near to it (Vatablus).  Unto all the neighbors of it (Arabic, Montanus); or, unto all the habitations, or cohabitators, of it (Oleaster).  The borders of the Promised Land are here designated (Bonfrerius, Lyra, Tirinus, Menochius).  Compare those borders with Deuteronomy 2:11, 24 (Vatablus).  See on Genesis 15 (Bonfrerius).

[Over against the south]  Hebrew:  in the south,[46] namely, with respect to the Promised Land (Bonfrerius).  Therefore, when he says, the fields, the mountains, and the lower places against the south, he describes the southern side.  Then he adds in their own order the borders on the West, North, and East (Malvenda).

[And near the shore of the sea (thus the Samaritan Text), וּבְחוֹף הַיָּם]  A singular in the place of a plural; and on the shores of the sea, on which, that is, are harbors (Vatablus).  In the port of the sea (Montanus, similarly the Chaldean, Junius and Tremellius); the maritime coast (Arabic, Syriac, Septuagint).

[The land of the Canaanite, אֶרֶץ]  אֶל/unto is wanting (Vatablus, Gerhard), posited in the place of ב/in, or unto:  which is to be repeated out of what precedes (Gerhard).[47]

To the mount of the Amorite, i.e. to the mountainous country where the Amorites dwelt, which is opposed to the plain here following, where others of them dwelt.  And this is the first mentioned, because it was in the borders of the land:  see below, verses 19 and 20.  The divers parts or bounds of the land are here mentioned.

 

Verse 8:  Behold, I have set (Heb. given[48]) the land before you:  go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers, (Gen. 12:7; 15:18; 17:7, 8; 26:4; 28:13) Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them.

[Behold]  Hebrew:  See,[49] in the place of see ye (Vatablus).

[To you, לִפְנֵיכֶם[50]Before your face (Vatablus, similarly the Syriac, Piscator); thus Genesis 13:9[51] and 34:10:[52]  that is to say, It is lawful for you to possess it (Vatablus).

Before you, Heb. before your faces; it is open to your view, and to your possession; there is no impediment in the way.  See of this phrase Genesis 13:9; 34:10.



[1] Hebrew:  סוּף.

[2] Jerome Olivier (or de Oleastro) was a Portuguese Dominican monk who flourished during the mid-sixteenth century.  He was widely esteemed within his order for his abilities in theology, Greek, and Hebrew.

[3] Jacobus Bonfrerius (1573-1642) joined the order of the Jesuits in 1592.  He enjoyed a long tenure as a professor of the Scriptures and Hebrew at Douay, France.  He wrote The Pentateuch of Moses, Illuminated with Commentary (Pentateuchus Mosis Commentario Illustratus).

[4] The Italian John Stephen Menochius (1576-1656) joined the Society of Jesuits at an early age.  His superiors in the order, recognizing his academic abilities, set him apart for training in the exposition of Holy Scripture.  His Commentarii in Sacram Scripturam displays great learning and sound judgment.

[5] James Tirinus (1580-1636) was a Flemish Jesuit priest.  His abilities as a commentator are displayed in his Commentaria in Sacram Scripturam.

[6] John Gerhard (1582-1637) was an eminent Lutheran divine.  He held the position of Professor of Divinity at Jena (1616), and he was four times the Rector of the same.  He wrote a Commentary on Deuteronomy, as well as Commentarius super Epistolam ad Ebræos:  in quo Textus Declaratur, Quæstiones Dubiæ Solvuntur, Observationes Eruuntur et Loca in Speciem Pugnantia Concilantur.

[7] Nicholas de Lyra (1270-1340) was born to Jewish parents, but he converted to Christianity.  He entered the Franciscan Order and became a teacher of some repute in Paris.  His Postilla in Vetus et Novum Testamentum demonstrate remarkable ability and a commitment to the literal sense of the Scripture.

[8] Alonso Tostado, or Tostatus (c. 1400-1455), was a Spanish, Roman Catholic churchman and scholar.  He was trained in philosophy, theology, civil and canon law, Greek, and Hebrew; and wrote commentaries on Genesis through 2 Chronicles and the Gospel of Matthew.

[9] עֵבֶר, a region across, is derived from the verbal root עָבַר, to pass over.

[10] Precious little is known about the French commentator, Rabbi Chizkiyah ben Manoach Chizkuni.  However, his commentary on the Torah, written around the year 1250, survives.  Chizkuni reveals his commitments both to the interpretive tradition of the rabbis and to the literal meaning of the text.

[11] Thomas Malvenda (1566-1628) was a Spanish Dominican.  Within his order, he was widely regarded for his abilities in philosophy and divinity.  His exegetical labors are preserved in his Commentaria in Sacram Scripturam à Genesi ad Ezechielem.

[12] Henry Ainsworth (1571-1622) was an English Nonconformist, Separatist, and early Congregationalist.  Ainsworth served a group of English Nonconformists in Amsterdam; he held the office of Doctor.  Darling’s evaluation of his works of Biblical criticism:  “He was profoundly learned in Hebrew and Rabbinical literature, and on that account his annotations have always been held in great esteem.”  Cyclopædia Bibliographica:  A Library Manual of Theological and General Literature, 2 vols. (London:  1859) 34.  He composed annotations upon the Pentateuch, Psalms, and the Song of Solomon.

[13] Numbers 25.

[14] Exodus 14.

[15] Deuteronomy 1:1a:  “These be the words which Moses spake (דִּבֶּר) unto all Israel on this side Jordan in the wilderness, in the plain over against the Red sea…”

[16] Pagnine (1466-1541) was an Italian Dominican.  He was gifted as a Hebraist, exegete, and preacher.  He was commissioned by Pope Leo X to produce a new Latin translation of the Scripture.

[17] Benedict Arias Montanus (1527-1598) was a Spanish Benedictine Monk.  He attended the Council of Trent, and he was heavily involved in the production of the Polyglot Bible.

[18] Francis Junius (1545-1602) was a Huguenot divine of great learning.  He suffered the varied fortunes of his people; but he had the opportunity to study in Geneva, and he was eventually appointed Professor of Divinity at Leiden (1592).  He labored with Tremellius in the production of their famous Latin Version of the Old Testament.  He is also remembered for his disputations with Jacob Arminius.

[19] John Immanuel Tremellius (1510-1580) converted from Judaism to Christianity and quickly embraced the principles of the Reformation.  He taught Hebrew at Strasburg (1541) and at Cambridge (succeeding Paul Fagius in 1549), and served as Professor of Old Testament at Heidelberg (1561).

[20] Leo Jud (1482-1542) was a co-laborer of Ulrich Zwingli during the time of the Swiss Reformation.  His translation work might be his most important contribution to the reformation of Zurich.  He labored with other divines to produce a vernacular version for the Swiss people, and he produced a Latin version of the Old Testament, usually known as “Tigurinus”, which would be translated, “of Zurich”.

[21] Aquila of Sinope produced his Greek version of the Old Testament in the second century of the Christian era.  Aquila’s translation champions the cause of Judaism against Christianity in matters of translation and interpretation.  The product is woodenly literalistic.

[22] Symmachus (second century) produced a Greek translation of the Old Testament, which survives only in fragments.  Symmachus’ work is characterized by an apparent concern to render faithfully the Hebrew original, to provide a rendering consistent with the rabbinic exegesis of his time, and to set forth the translation in simple, pure, and elegant Septuagint-style Greek.

[23] Flaminius Nobilius (d. 1590) was a Roman Catholic text critic, who labored in the reconstruction of the Itala, the Old Latin version.

[24] John Piscator (1546-1626) was a learned Protestant divine.  He held the position of Professor of Divinity at Herborn (1584).  His German version was the first, complete and independent, since that of Martin Luther.  Through his career, his views changed from those of the Lutherans to those of the Calvinists, and from those of the Calvinists to those of the Arminians.  He remains widely regarded for his abilities as a commentator (Commentarii in Omnes Libros Veteris et Novi Testamenti).

[25] Numbers 21:14:  “Wherefore it is said in the book of the wars of the Lord, What he did in the Red sea (אֶת־וָהֵ֣ב בְּסוּפָ֔ה, perhaps a proper name), and in the brooks of Arnon…”

[26] Pella was located just north of the River Jabbok.

[27] Libias was located on east of the Jordan, opposite Jericho.

[28] Deuteronomy 1:1b:  “…between Paran, and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Di-zahab (וְדִי זָהָב; ubi auri est plurimum, where there was much gold, in the Vulgate).”  דַּי signifies a sufficiency; זָהָב, gold.

[29] Greek:  Καταχρύσεα.

[30] Thomas Cajetan (1469-1534) was an Italian cardinal and one of the more able opponents of the Reformation.  His commentary on the Pentateuch, In Quinque Libros Mosis, is likely the work here cited.

[31] Christian Adrichomius (1533-1585), a Roman priest, wrote an important geography of Palestine (Theatrum Terræ Sanctæ et Biblicarum Historiarum).

[32] Abraham Ibn Ezra (c. 1089-1164) was a renowned Spanish Rabbi.  At the heart of his work is his commentary on the Hebrew Bible.  He commented on all of the books, with the exception of Chronicles, and his exegesis manifests a commitment to the literal sense of the text.

[33] Eusebius (c. 267-338) was Bishop of Cæsarea, author of that famous Ecclesiastical History, and supporter of Constantine the Great.

[34] John Drusius (1550-1616) was a Protestant scholar; he excelled in Oriental studies, Biblical exegesis, and critical interpretation, as is evident from his Annotationes in Pentateuchum, Josuam, Judices, Ruth, Samuelem, Estheram, Jobum, Coheleth, seu Ecclesiasten, Prophetas Minores, Ecclesiasticum, Tobit, 1 Librum Machabæorum and Notæ Majores in Genesin, Exodum, Leviticum, et Priora 18 Capita Numerorum.  He served as Professor of Oriental Languages at Oxford (1572), at Louvain (1577), and at Franeker (1585).

[35] Moses Gerundensis (1194-c. 1270) was reckoned in his early teens as one of the great Spanish, Talmudic authorities.  His commentary upon the Torah is characterized by careful philology, faithfulness to traditional rabbinic interpretation, an unswerving belief in the miraculous, and even a measure of Kabbalistic mysticism.

[36] Deuteronomy 1:2:  “(There are eleven days’ journey from Horeb, the way (דֶּרֶךְ) of mount Seir unto Kadesh-barnea.)”

[37] See, for example, Joshua 20:7.

[38] עַשְׁתָּרוֹת/sheep may be related to עַשְׁתֹּרֶת/Ashtoreth, goddess of fertility.

[39] l)ayF, in the Hiphil conjugation, signifies to be willing, or to undertake.

[40] llaxf, in the Hiphil conjugation, signifies to begin.

[41] Hebrew:  רַב־לָכֶ֥ם שֶׁ֖בֶת בָּהָ֥ר הַזֶּֽה.

[42] Hebrew:  וְאֶל־כָּל־שְׁכֵנָיו.

[43] פָּנָה signifies to turn, and is related to פָּנֶה/face.

[44] נָסַע signifies to set out, to journey.

[45] שָׁכֵן, neighbor or dweller, is derived from the verbal root שָׁכַן, to dwell.

[46] Hebrew:  וּבַנֶּגֶב.

[47] Deuteronomy 1:7:  “Turn you, and take your journey, and go to the mount of the Amorites, and unto (וְאֶל) all the places nigh thereunto, in the plain (בָּעֲרָבָה), in the hills (בָהָר), and in the vale (וּבַשְּׁפֵלָה), and in the south (וּבַנֶּגֶב), and by the sea side (וּבְחוֹף הַיָּם), the land of the Canaanites, and Lebanon, unto the great river, the river Euphrates.”

[48] Hebrew:  נָתַתִּי.

[49] Hebrew:  רְאֵה.

[50] Deuteronomy 1:8a:  “Behold, I have set the land before you (לִפְנֵיכֶם)…”

[51] Genesis 13:9:  “Is not the whole land before thee (לְפָנֶיךָ)? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me:  if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.”

[52] Genesis 34:10:  “And ye shall dwell with us:  and the land shall be before you (לִפְנֵיכֶם); dwell and trade ye therein, and get you possessions therein.”

Deuteronomy 1 Outline

A rehearsal of what had befallen Israel in their forty years’ march; as, God’s command to depart, 1-8.   Moses’s inability to judge alone, 9-12.  Other judges and officers appointed, 13-16.  Charge given the judges, 17, 18.  Their passage to Kadesh-barnea, 19-21.  Spies sent to search the land of the Amorites, 22-24.  Their return and report, 25.  The disobedience of the people, 26-33.  God’s wrath, 34-40.  They smitten by the Amorites, 44.  Their complaint to God, which the Lord regards not, 45.

Argument of the Book of Deuteronomy

The Hebrews call this book, after its first words, אֵלֶּה הַדְּבָרִים, these be the words:  The Rabbis, not rarely, מִשְׁנֶה/Mishneh, that is, a repeated reading:  Others, סֵפֶר תּוֹכָחוֹת, the book of censures, because in it He chides the Israelites (Munster,[1] Fagius[2]):  The Greeks, Δευτερονόμιον/Deuteronomy, that is, a second, or secondary, Law (Fagius, Vatablus[3]).  It is a repetition of the principal laws and admonitions, for the sake of those who at the time of the promulgation of the Law either were not yet born, or were by age incapable of understanding (Grotius[4]).  With these Moses here renews the covenant.  In addition, some new things are here added (Fagius).  At the same time, Moses renders the reason of the actions of God and his own (Grotius).

Moses, in the two last months of his life, rehearseth what God had done for them, and their frequent murmurings, rebellions, and constant ingratitude.  He begs to enter into the land, but is permitted only to see it.  He forbiddeth any communion with the nations for several reasons, Deuteronomy 7.  He gives a short repetition of those sundry laws, moral, ceremonial, judicial, and military, which he had given them, from whence this book is called DEUTERONOMY.  Then, after many exhortations, he prophesieth of Christ; afterwards he shows how matters of war are to be managed, and, giving many other particular directions with reference to duties, conditions, and persons of both sexes, he pronounceth blessings on the obedient, and curses on the disobedient:  he then gives a charge for laying up and reading of the law at certain times, and every seven years to be solemnly read before all the people; he composeth a song for common use, comprising the wonderful things here mentioned:  he prophesieth of Christ’s coming, and the calling of the Gentiles, seeth the land, and dieth, leaving Joshua, after he had consecrated him, to succeed.



[1] Sebastian Munster (1489-1552) was a German scholar of great talent in the fields of mathematics, Oriental studies, and divinity.  He joined the Lutherans, became Professor of Hebrew at Basil, and produced important early Reformation commentaries on the Old Testament (Annotationes in Vetus Testamentum).

[2] Paul Fagius (1504-1550) was among the early reformers and a Hebrew scholar of some ability.  He studied in Germany and labored there, first as a schoolmaster, then as a minister.  He left Germany for England in 1549, and he died at Cambridge in 1550.  His bones were burned during the reign of Queen Mary.

[3] Francis Vatablus (c. 1485-1547) was a prominent Hebrew scholar, doing much to stimulate Hebraic studies in France.  He was appointed to the chair of Hebrew in Paris (1531).  Although a Roman Catholic, his annotations (Annotationes in Vetus et Novum Testamentum) found employment among Protestants and Catholics alike.

[4] Hugo Grotius (1583-1645) distinguished himself in the field of international law, but he was interested in many fields of learning, including Christian apologetics, theology, and Biblical criticism and exegesis.  His exegetical talents are displayed in his Annotationes in Vetus et Novum Testamentum.  His dual interest in international law and theology brought him into conflict with civil authorities:  Embracing Arminian doctrine, he was imprisoned from 1618-1621 after the Synod of Dort declared against the position.

1 Peter 3:17: Exhortation to Suffer for Christ’s Sake, Part 3

Verse 17:  For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

[It is better, etc.]  For him, namely, who suffers (Estius); or, the sense is that the former is good, but not the latter.  A comparison is often equivalent to a negation, as in Luke 18:14; 1 Corinthians 7:9 (Glassius’ “Grammar” 3:5:21:483).

[If, etc., εἰ θέλει τὸ θέλημα τοῦ Θεου]  In a manuscript it is εἰ θέλοι, if it will.[1]  Θέλημα elsewhere signifies the Thing that God wills, but here the action of Willing (Grotius).  Some interpreters, in the place of θέλημα/will, read πνεῦμα/Spirit (Grotius, thus Gerhard), because the words by shorthand were written similarly, θμᾶ and πνᾶ (Grotius).  If wills (or, thus will [Erasmus, Pagnine, Beza, etc.], that is, He degree that it is to be suffered [Estius]) the will of God (Montanus).  It is a Hebrew expression, noted by the learned, אם כן ירצה רצון האל, if thus the will of God wills; an expression equivalent to that which is in 1 Corinthians 4:19;[2] James 4:15[3] (Grotius out of Drusius).  But here it is used over adversities, as in the Prayer, thy will be done.  See also Matthew 26:42; Luke 22:42 (Grotius).  If God establish by His will.  He teaches that absolutely no affliction is brought upon the pious apart from God both permitting and willing (Estius).

[To suffer, etc.]  This is the very thing that Socrates said to his wife; but neither concerning the right way, nor concerning the end to which that tends, was he thus instructed, as were the Christians.  He who suffers on account of crimes has no hope of recompense; he who suffers on account of God has the greatest hope.  See 1 Peter 2:20 (Grotius).

If the will of God be so; namely, that ye must suffer; intimating that this is an argument for their patience and submission in their sufferings, and a ground of comfort to them, that they are led into them by the providence of God, (not by their own folly or rashness,) and have him for a witness and judge both of their cause and deportment.



[1] In the Optative.  Thus Codices Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Vaticanus, and Ephræmi Rescriptus, and the great majority of Byzantine manuscripts.

[2] 1 Corinthians 4:19:  “But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will (ἐὰν ὁ Κύριος θελήσῃ), and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power.”

[3] James 4:15:  “For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will (ἐὰν ὁ Κύριος θελήσῃ), we shall live, and do this, or that.”

Deuteronomy: Directions for Use

Each of the volumes in this series, The Exegetical Labors of the Reverend Matthew Poole, is actually composed of two separate works:  A Synopsis of Interpreters, Both Critical and Otherwise, of the Sacred Scriptures (known by its Latin title, Synopsis Criticorum, the translated text of which is printed in this regular type) and Annotations upon the Holy Bible (the text of which is printed in bold type).  In the Synopsis, written primarily for students, ministers, and scholars, Poole presents something of a verse-by-verse history of interpretation, setting forth the most important interpreters and interpretative positions.  The Annotations, on the other hand, are written for the use of the common man, giving a summary of the most important interpretive issues and Poole’s own, most mature (being written in the years immediately prior to his death), judgment.  In these volumes, the Annotations have been interspliced into the translation of the Synopsis, creating an omnibus of Poole’s exegetical efforts.

It may already be apparent from this brief description of these volumes that they are intended for study; they are certainly not a light read.  So that every reader, from the unlearned to the scholar, might get the most profit from these volumes, these directions are proffered:

 

1.  Read and study the prefatory material, especially the “Preface to the Synopsis:  Genesis-Esther.”[1]

 

In the “Preface to the Synopsis:  Genesis-Esther,” the reader is introduced to the interpreters, writing on these Books of the Bible, who, in Poole’s judgment, are of the greatest significance.  Because the Synopsis is primarily about the history of interpretation, an acquaintance with the interpreters is of the utmost importance.  Additional information has been provided about these men in the footnotes to aid the reader.  Paul taught the Ephesian Christians that the ascended Lord Jesus provides teachers for the edification of His Church in all ages;[2] this is a synopsis of their teaching and testimony, a thing of surpassing value.

 

2.  Note that a brief summary of each book and an outline of each chapter has been provided.[3]

 

This will help the reader get and keep the entire context in view as he studies particular verses.

 

3.  Study the cross-references.

 

The Authorized Version of the text has been provided at the beginning of each verse.  In the Annotations, Poole provided a great many cross-references in the printing of the verse itself.[4]  These should not be neglected; they are of great value in gaining an understanding of the verse being studied, and it will be found that the verse being studied has implications for the right interpretation of other texts.[5]  Furthermore, the reader will find the verses, referenced in the Synopsis portion for the illustration of grammatical principles, to be of great help and use.  When the reason for the citation of a particular verse is not clear in English, the translator has provided annotations in the footnotes to aid understanding.

 

4.  Begin the study of the commentary portion under each verse with the Annotations portion (printed in bold).

 

It is to be remembered that the Annotations were written for the common man, and in them Poole summarizes and gives an evaluation of the most important matters.  Reading the Annotations portion will frequently shed much light upon the mass of raw exegetical material in the Synopsis portion.

 

5.  Note that Poole often presents a wide variety of interpretive positions in a short space.

 

In the Synopsis portion, contradictory positions can be presented without any transition.  The intepreters who held a certain view are usually given in parentheses after the presentation of the interpretive position, and this is frequently all that the reader is given with respect to a transition from one position to another.

 

6.  Make use of the Index as needed.

 

            An index of relatively obscure people and places has been included for the help of the reader.  The index refers the reader back to the page upon which the person or place was first mentioned and footnoted.

 

7.  Be patient and persevere.

 

Solomon the Wise teaches in the Proverbs that in some things knowledge and wisdom come only with effort,[6] and penetrating beyond a superficial understanding of the Scriptures will require hard work; but let the Christian give himself to this labor in the assurance of faith, that Jesus Christ is speaking to him through the Word,[7] and that in this study he will taste of the Lord that He is good.[8]



[1] The prefatory material can be found in The Exegetical Labors of the Reverend Matthew Poole:  Volume 1:  Genesis 1-9.

[2] Ephesians 4:11-13.

[3] Poole composed the book outlines from Genesis to Isaiah, but the chapter outlines were not added until the third edition of the Annotations, 1696, by Samuel Clarke and Edward Veale.  Samuel Clarke (1626-1701), one of the ejected ministers under the Act of Uniformity, was well-qualified for this editorial work, having composed his own The Old and New Testament, with Annotations and Parallel Scriptures (1690) and A Survey of the Bible; or, an Analytical Account of the Holy Scriptures, Containing the Division of Every Book and Chapter, thereby Shewing the Frame and Contexture of the Whole (1693).  Edward Veale was one of the divines called upon to complete Poole’s Annotations, writing the portions on Ephesians, James, 1 and 2 Peter, and Jude.  Edmund Calamy ascribes the portion on Acts to Mr. Veale as well:  Ralph Thoresby, citing Dr. Henry Sampson, ascribes the same portion to Mr. Vinke, an assertion with Calamy describes as “without any Ground in the World”.  Edmund Calamy, An Abridgement of Mr. Baxter’s History of His Life and Times (London:  S. Bridge for Thomas Parkhurst, Jonathan Robinson, and John Lawrence, 1702) 1:193.  For a summary of this difficulty see Thomas Harley’s Matthew Poole:  His Life, His Times, His Contributions along with His Argument against the Infallibility of the Roman Catholic Church (Bloomington:  iUniverse, 2009) 75-76.

[4] Samuel Clarke and Edward Veale appear to be responsible for supplemental cross-references, added to Poole’s own.  All of the cross-references have been provided in this text.

[5] Westminster Confession of Faith 1:9:  “The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself:  and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one) it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.”

[6] Proverbs 2:1-5.

[7] 1 Peter 1:11.

[8] 1 Peter 2:3.

1 Peter 3:15, 16: Exhortation to Suffer for Christ’s Sake, Part 2

Verse 15:  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts:  and (Ps. 119:46; Acts 4:8; Col. 4:6; 2 Tim. 2:25) be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear (or, reverence[1])…

[But the Lord, etc., Κύριον δὲ τὸν Θεὸν ἁγιάσατε ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν]  But the Lord God (or, Christ, as some codices read[2] [Gerhard]) sanctify ye, etc. (Piscator, Gerhard, etc.), that is, give thanks to Him, as Cyprian and the other Martyrs did, when their condemnation was pronounced[3] (Grotius):  honor ye Him with true faith and obedience (Gomar), and by resting with a firm confidence in His promised help and guardianship (Piscator, similarly Gerhard, Gomar, Beza), against all causes of terror (Beza, similarly Gerhard, Gomar), lest they cast down your faith, etc. (Gerhard).

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts; exalt him in your hearts, and give him the honour of all his glorious perfections, power, wisdom, goodness, faithfulness, etc., by believing them, and depending upon his promises for defence and assistance against all the evils your enemies may threaten you with.

[Prepared, etc., ἕτοιμοι δὲ ἀεὶ πρὸς ἀπολογίαν παντὶ τῷ αἰτοῦντι ὑμᾶς λόγον περὶ τῆς ἐν ὑμῖν ἐλπίδος]  But prepared (or, ready [Gerhard], understanding, be ye [Beza, Piscator], even all laymen [Tirinus]) always (that is, when ye are asked [Gomar]) for an apology (or, for a defense [Erasmus, Tremellius, Estius, Gerhard, Menochius], as the word is taken in Acts 22:1;[4] 1 Corinthians 9:3;[5] 2 Corinthians 7:11;[6] 2 Timothy 4:16,[7] namely, of the true religion [Gomar, similarly Gerhard, Piscator], by speech and arguments [Piscator]; or, for a response to those things that adversaries object [Estius]; or, for a justification [Erasmus]; for a satisfaction [Vulgate], that is, to render such [Tirinus]:  or, to answer [Pagnine, Erasmus, Beza, Piscator, etc.]; or, to render a reason why ye are Christians:  Thus we have ἀπολογίαν in Philippians 1:7,[8] 17,[9] etc. [Grotius]) to every man asking you (or, to whomever asks of you [Beza, Piscator], either, modestly for the sake of learning, or, as the judiciary authority; yet not to profane scoffers, or furious men, on account of that in Matthew 7:6 [Gomar]:  In a manuscript it is not incorrectly ἀπαιτοῦντι, to one inquiring/demanding, if anyone ask/demand a reason from you[10] [Grotius]) a reason (or, a word [Tremellius out of the Syriac, Arabic, Æthiopic], or, that we speak [Vatablus]) concerning that hope (understanding, which is [Erasmus, Piscator]) in you.  That is, which ye have in Christ concerning life and future glory (Estius, similarly Menochius); which infidels deride as vain (Estius).  Religion here, as also in Acts 26:7 (Grotius), he calls hope (Grotius, Gomar), by Metonymy (Gomar) of adjunct (Grotius); then by Synecdoche, or by Metalepsis (Gomar).  Περὶ ἐλπίδος, concerning hope, is used in an unusual manner, in the place of ἐλπίδος, of hope, which form of speech occurs three times in John 16:8[11] (Beza).  Περὶ here is superfluous, as it often is (Grotius).

And be ready always; prepared to answer when duly called to it.  To give an answer; or, to make an apology or defence, viz. of the faith ye profess; the word is used, Acts 22:1; 1 Corinthians 9:3.  To every man that asketh you; either that hath authority to examine you, and take an account of your religion; or, that asks with modesty, and a desire to be satisfied, and learn of you.  A reason of the hope that is in you; that is, faith, for which hope is frequently used in Scripture, which is built upon faith:  the sense is, Whereas unbelievers, your persecutors especially, may scoff at your hope of future glory, as vain and groundless, and at yourselves, as mad or foolish, for venturing the loss of all in this world, and exposing yourselves to so many sufferings, in expectation of ye know not what uncertainties in the other; do ye therefore be always ready to defend and justify your faith against all objectors, and to show how reasonable your hope of salvation is, and on how sure a foundation it is built.

[With, etc., μετὰ πρᾳΰτητος καὶ φόβου]  With mildness, or gentleness (that is, do not respond contentiously, impudently [Estius], arrogantly [Estius, Menochius]; but modestly [Menochius], and with mild words [Gerhard]) and fear (Beza, Piscator, Erasmus), either, 1.  of the magistrate (Gomar); with reverence, as that is owed to each person (Estius):  or, 2.  of God (Gomar).  And he rightly conjoined these things:  Abstaining from harsh words; but yet not withholding anything that might make for the case, and that on account of reverence for God (Grotius); answering gently, but fearlessly (Gerhard).

With meekness and fear; either with meekness in relation to men, in opposition to passion and intemperate zeal, (your confession of the faith must be with courage, but yet with a spirit of meekness and modesty,) and fear or reverence in relation to God, which, where it prevails, overcomes the fierceness of men’s spirits, and makes them speak modestly of the things of God, and give due respect to men; or, fear may be set in opposition to pride, and presumption of a man’s own wisdom or strength; that is to say, Make confession of your faith humbly, with fear and trembling, not in confidence of your own strength, or gifts, or abilities.

 

Verse 16:  (Heb. 13:18) Having a good conscience; (Tit. 2:8; 1 Pet. 2:12) that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

[Having a good conscience]  Which an outwardly holy and unblameable life may produce (Estius):  Avoiding sins (Piscator):  In every act preserving a good conscience, Acts 23:1; 1 Timothy 1:5, 19; 3:9 (Grotius).  For this furnishes confidence to speak (Estius), and gives force and efficacy to the defense (Menochius).  But if the life answer not to the profession, even learned disputation will be useless among those, who judge of your speech by your manners (Estius).

Having a good conscience; this may be read either, 1.  Indicatively, and joined (as by some it is) to the former verse; and then the sense is:  If ye be always ready to answer every one that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, ye shall have a good conscience:  or rather, 2.  Imperatively (which our translation favours;) that is to say, Not only be ready to make confession of your faith, but let your life and practice be correspondent to it, in keeping yourselves pure from sin, and exercising yourselves unto godliness, from whence a good conscience proceeds; here therefore the effect is put for the cause, a good conscience for a good life, Acts 23:1.

[That in this, that they detract from you[12]]  The same expression as is in 1 Peter 2:12[13] (Grotius, Menochius).

[They may be confounded that, etc., οἱ ἐπηρεάζοντες ὑμῶν τὴν ἀγαθὴν ἐν Χριστῷ ἀναστροφήν]  That abuse (or, calumniate [Tremellius out of the Syriac, thus Montanus], reproach, or, attack [Erasmus, Vatablus]:  Concerning this word, see Matthew 5:44;[14] Luke 6:28 [Grotius]) your good (or, you because of your good [Camerarius, thus Grotius]) conversation in Christ (Piscator, Beza, etc.), that is, your life, which ye lead in accordance with the doctrine of Christ (Estius, similarly Grotius), which they calumniate as nefarious and false (Estius).  They speak ill of you because ye are Christians.  But this very thing shall be to them for shame, when it appears from your deeds that the Christian religion is honest and pure (Grotius).  The Syriac here repeats the particle ὡς/as, so that the sense might be, So it shall be come pass that those who speak ill of you as malefactors, they themselves, as calumniators, in turn…will receive ill and be ashamed.  This is certainly a probable reading, and a most agreeable sense (Estius).

That whereas they speak evil of you, etc.; the sense is, that whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, your good conversation may bear witness for you, confute their calumnies, and make them ashamed, when it appears that their accusations are false, and that they have nothing to charge upon you but your being followers of Christ.  Your good conversation in Christ; that is, that good conversation which ye lead as being in Christ; viz. according to his doctrine and example, and by the influence of his Spirit.



[1] Greek:  φόβου.

[2] Thus Codices Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Vaticanus, and Ephræmi Rescriptus.

[3] See Acts of the Martyrdom of Saint Cyprian.

[4] Acts 22:1:  “Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence (ἀπολογίας) which I make now unto you.”

[5] 1 Corinthians 9:3:  “Mine answer (ἀπολογία) to them that do examine me is this…”

[6] 2 Corinthians 7:11a:  “For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what a defense (ἀπολογίαν), yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge!”

[7] 2 Timothy 4:16:  “At my first answer (ἀπολογίᾳ) no man stood with me, but all men forsook me:  I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.”

[8] Philippians 1:7b:  “…inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence (ἀπολογίᾳ) and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.”

[9] Philippians 1:17:  “But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence (ἀπολογίαν) of the gospel.”

[10] Thus Codex Alexandrinus.

[11] John 16:8:  “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin (περὶ ἁμαρτίας), and of righteousness (περὶ δικαιοσύνης), and of judgment (περὶ κρίσεως)…”

[12] Greek:  ἵνα ἐν ᾧ καταλαλῶσιν ὑμῶν.

[13] 1 Peter 2:12:  “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles:  that, whereas they speak against you (ἵνα, ἐν ᾧ καταλαλοῦσιν ὑμῶν) as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.”

[14] Matthew 5:44:  “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use (ἐπηρεαζόντων) you, and persecute you…”  Thus in Luke 6:28.

Directions for Use

Each of the volumes in this series, The Exegetical Labors of the Reverend Matthew Poole is actually composed of two separate works:  A Synopsis of Interpreters, Both Critical and Otherwise, of the Sacred Scriptures (known by its Latin title, Synopsis Criticorum, the translated text of which is printed in this regular type) and Annotations upon the Holy Bible (the text of which is printed in bold type).  In the Synopsis, written primarily for students, ministers, and scholars, Poole presents something of a verse-by-verse history of interpretation, setting forth the most important interpreters and interpretative positions.  The Annotations, on the other hand, are written for the use of the common man, giving a summary of the most important interpretive issues and Poole’s own, most mature (being written in the years immediately prior to his death), judgment.  In these volumes, the Annotations have been interspliced into the translation of the Synopsis, creating an omnibus ofPoole’s exegetical efforts.

It may already be apparent from this brief description of these volumes that they are intended for study; they are certainly not a light read.  So that every reader, from the unlearned to the scholar, might get the most profit from these volumes, these directions are proffered:

 

1.  Read and study the prefatory material, especially the “Preface to the Synopsis:  Romans-Revelation.”[1]

 

In the “Preface to the Synopsis:  Romans-Revelation,” the reader is introduced to the interpreters, writing on these Books of the Bible, who, in Poole’s judgment, are of the greatest significance.  Because the Synopsis is primarily about the history of interpretation, an acquaintance with the interpreters is of the utmost importance.  The translator has provided additional information about these men in the footnotes to aid the reader.  Paul taught the Ephesian Christians that the ascended Lord Jesus provides teachers for the edification of His Church in all ages;[2] this is a synopsis of their teaching and testimony, a thing of surpassing value.

 

2.  Note that a brief summary of each book and an outline of each chapter has been provided.[3]

 

This will help the reader get and keep the entire context in view as he studies particular verses.

 

3.  Study the cross-references.

 

The Authorized Version of the text has been provided at the beginning of each verse.  In the Annotations, Poole provided a great many cross-references in the printing of the verse itself.[4]  These should not be neglected; they are of great value in gaining an understanding of the verse being studied, and it will be found that the verse being studied has implications for the right interpretation of other texts.[5]  Furthermore, the reader will find the verses, referenced in the Synopsis portion for the illustration of grammatical principles, to be of great help and use.  When the reason for the citation of a particular verse is not clear in English, the translator has provided annotations in the footnotes to aid understanding.

 

4.  Begin the study of the commentary portion under each verse with the Annotations portion (printed in bold).

 

Remember that the Annotations were written for the common man, and in them Poole, or the divines who completed the Annotations after Poole’s death,[6] summarizes and gives an evaluation of the most important matters.  Reading the Annotations portion will frequently shed much light upon the mass of raw exegetical material in the Synopsis portion.

 

5.  Note that Poole often presents a wide variety of interpretive positions in a short space.

 

In the Synopsis portion, contradictory positions can be presented without any transition.  The intepreters who held a certain view are usually given in parentheses after the presentation of the interpretive position, and this is frequently all that the reader is given with respect to a transition from one position to another.

 

6.  Make use of the Index as needed.

 

            An index of relatively obscure people and places has been included for the help of the reader.  The index refers the reader back to the page upon which the person or place was first mentioned and footnoted.

 

7.  Be patient and persevere.

 

Solomon the Wise teaches in the Proverbs that in some things knowledge and wisdom come only with effort,[7] and penetrating beyond a superficial understanding of the Scriptures will require hard work; but let the Christian give himself to this labor in the assurance of faith, that Jesus Christ is speaking to him through the Word,[8] and that in this study he will taste of the Lord that He is good.[9]



[1] The prefatory material can be found in The Exegetical Labors of the Reverend Matthew Poole:  Volume 80:  Revelation 1-7.

[2] Ephesians 4:11-13.

[3] Poole composed the book outlines from Genesis to Isaiah, but the chapter outlines were not added until the third edition of the Annotations, 1696, by Samuel Clarke and Edward Veale.  Samuel Clarke (1626-1701), one of the ejected ministers under the Act of Uniformity, was well-qualified for this editorial work, having composed his own The Old and New Testament, with Annotations and Parallel Scriptures (1690) and A Survey of the Bible; or, an Analytical Account of the Holy Scriptures, Containing the Division of Every Book and Chapter, thereby Shewing the Frame and Contexture of the Whole (1693).  Edward Veale was one of the divines called upon to complete Poole’s Annotations, writing the portions on Ephesians, James, 1 and 2 Peter, and Jude.  He will be discussed at greater length in conjunction with those portions.

[4] Samuel Clarke and Edward Veale appear to be responsible for supplemental cross-references, added toPoole’s own.  All of the cross-references have been provided in this text.

[5]Westminster Confession of Faith 1:9:  “The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself:  and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one) it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.”

[6] Edward Veale provided the comments on 1 and 2 Peter in Poole’s Annotations.  Veale (d. 1708) labored in the work of the ministry in both England and Ireland, having been ordained in 1657.  He later served as a senior fellow at Trinity College in Dublin, until he was deprived for nonconformity.  After his deprivation, he ministered as chaplain to Sir William Waller, and then as a pastor at Wapping.  He edited and published, with Richard Adams, Stephen Charnock’s Discourse on Divine Providence (1680), and, of course, with Samuel Clarke, the third edition of Matthew Poole’s Annotations (1696).

[7] Proverbs 2:1-5.

[8] 1 Peter 1:11.

[9] 1 Peter 2:3.

Title Page

The

 

Exegetical Labors

 

of the

 

Reverend Matthew Poole

 

 

 

Translated by Dr. Steven Dilday

Edited by April M. McLeod

 

 

Volume 78:  1 and 2 Peter

 

Containing:

 

I.  A Synopsis of Interpreters, Both Critical and Otherwise, of the Sacred Scripture

 

II.  Annotations upon the Holy Bible

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Culpeper, Virginia

Master Poole Publishing

2013

A New Beginning…

If you have been considering studying the Scriptures with Matthew Poole, now is a good time to begin.  I am going to begin blogging through 1 and 2 Peter, two precious books of holy writ, and yet somewhat neglected.  May the Lord bless our studies together, so that we might know Christ, the fellowship of His sufferings, and the power of His resurrection.

–Dr. Dilday