Deuteronomy 11 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Deuteronomy 11)

Verse 2

[2] And know ye this day: for I speak not with your children which have not known, and which have not seen the chastisement of the LORD your God, his greatness, his mighty hand, and his stretched out arm,

Know — That is, acknowledge and consider it with diligence and thankfulness.

Verse 4

[4] And what he did unto the army of Egypt, unto their horses, and to their chariots; 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;

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

Verse 7

[7] But your eyes have seen all the great acts of the LORD which he did.

Your eyes have seen — 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. What our eyes have seen, especially in our early days, should be improved by us long after.

Verse 10

[10] For the land, whither thou goest in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs:

With thy foot — That is, 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 tho' the river Nile did once in a year overflow the grounds, and made them fruitful, yet often it failed them, at least in part, 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 hand and feet, especially in places more remote from that river; which inconvenience Canaan was free from.

Verse 11

[11] But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven:

Of hills and valleys — And therefore much more healthful than Egypt was, which as it was enriched, so it was annoyed with the Nile, which overflowed the land in summer time, and thereby made the country both unpleasant and unhealthful. And health being the greatest of all outward blessings, Canaan must therefore needs be a more desirable habitation than Egypt.

The rain of heaven — Which is 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 the Nile did, whereby the Egyptians were confined in a great measure to their houses; more safe and healthful, being free from that mud which attends upon the waters of the Nile; 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, tho' it may seem a clog and inconvenience, yet indeed was a great benefit, that by their own necessities and interest they might be obliged to that obedience, upon which their happiness depended both for this life and the next.

Verse 12

[12] A land which the LORD thy God careth for: the eyes of the LORD thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.

Careth for — 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.

To the end of the year — 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. And therefore it is not at all strange that some later writers, describe the land of Canaan as a barren soil, which is, so far from affording ground to question the authority of the scriptures, that it doth much more confirm it, this, being an effect of that threatning that God would turn a fruitful land into barrenness for the wickedness of these that dwell in it, Psalms 107:34.

Verse 14

[14] That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil.

The ruin of your land — Which is, proper to your land, not common to Egypt, where, as all authors agree, there is little rain. The first rain fell in seed time, to make the corn spring, the other a little before harvest, to ripen it.

Verse 15

[15] And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full.

I will send grass in thy fields — So godliness has here the promise of the life which now is. But the favour of God puts gladness into the heart, more than the increase of corn, wine and oil.

Verse 17

[17] And then the LORD's wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you.

Shut up the heaven — Which is compared sometimes to a great store-house wherein God lays up his treasures of rain, Job 38:22, the doors whereof God is said to open when he gives rain, and to shut when he witholds it.

Verse 18

[18] Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.

Lay up — Let us all observe these three rules, 1. Let our hearts be filled with the word of God. Lay up these words in your hearts, as in a store-house, to be used upon all occasions. 2. Let our eyes be fixed upon the word of God: Bind them for a sign upon your hand, which is always in view, and as frontlets between your eyes, which you cannot avoid the sight of. 3. Let our tongues be employed about the word of God, especially with our children, who must be taught this, as far more needful than the rules of decency, or the calling they are to live by.

Verse 21

[21] That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.

As the days of heaven — As long as the heaven keeps its place and continues its influences upon earth.

Verse 24

[24] Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be.

Every place — Not absolutely, as the Rabbins fondly conceit, but in the promised land, as it is restrained in the following words; either by possession, or by dominion, namely, upon condition of your obedience.

The wilderness — Of Sin, on the south-side.

To Lebanon — Which was on the north border.

Euphrates — On the east. So far the right of dominion extended, but that their sins cut them short: and so far Solomon extended his dominion.

The uttermost sea — The western or midland sea.

Verse 26

[26] Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse;

I set before you — I propose them to your choice.

Verse 28

[28] And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.

Which ye have not known — Which you have no acquaintance with, nor experience of their power, or wisdom, or goodness, as you have had of mine.

Verse 29

[29] And it shall come to pass, when the LORD thy God hath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal.

Put — Heb. Thou shalt give, that is, speak or pronounce, or cause to be pronounced. So the word to give is used, Deuteronomy 13:1; 2; Proverbs 9:9. This is, more particularly expressed, Deuteronomy 27:12,13.

Verse 30

[30] Are they not on the other side Jordan, by the way where the sun goeth down, in the land of the Canaanites, which dwell in the champaign over against Gilgal, beside the plains of Moreh?

Over against — Looking toward Gilgal, tho' at some considerable distance from it.

Beside the plains of Moreh — This was one of the first places that Abram came to in Canaan. So that in sending them thither to hear the blessing and the curse, they were minded of the promise made to Abram in that very place, Genesis 12:6,7.