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These are the words of the covenant that the L ord commanded Moses to make with the Israelites in the land of Moab, in addition to the covenant that he had made with them at Horeb.

The Covenant Renewed in Moab

2 Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: You have seen all that the L ord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, 3the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders. 4But to this day the L ord has not given you a mind to understand, or eyes to see, or ears to hear. 5I have led you forty years in the wilderness. The clothes on your back have not worn out, and the sandals on your feet have not worn out; 6you have not eaten bread, and you have not drunk wine or strong drink—so that you may know that I am the L ord your God. 7When you came to this place, King Sihon of Heshbon and King Og of Bashan came out against us for battle, but we defeated them. 8We took their land and gave it as an inheritance to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. 9Therefore diligently observe the words of this covenant, in order that you may succeed in everything that you do.

10 You stand assembled today, all of you, before the L ord your God—the leaders of your tribes, your elders, and your officials, all the men of Israel, 11your children, your women, and the aliens who are in your camp, both those who cut your wood and those who draw your water— 12to enter into the covenant of the L ord your God, sworn by an oath, which the L ord your God is making with you today; 13in order that he may establish you today as his people, and that he may be your God, as he promised you and as he swore to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. 14I am making this covenant, sworn by an oath, not only with you who stand here with us today before the L ord our God, 15but also with those who are not here with us today. 16You know how we lived in the land of Egypt, and how we came through the midst of the nations through which you passed. 17You have seen their detestable things, the filthy idols of wood and stone, of silver and gold, that were among them. 18It may be that there is among you a man or woman, or a family or tribe, whose heart is already turning away from the L ord our God to serve the gods of those nations. It may be that there is among you a root sprouting poisonous and bitter growth. 19All who hear the words of this oath and bless themselves, thinking in their hearts, “We are safe even though we go our own stubborn ways” (thus bringing disaster on moist and dry alike)— 20the L ord will be unwilling to pardon them, for the L ord’s anger and passion will smoke against them. All the curses written in this book will descend on them, and the L ord will blot out their names from under heaven. 21The L ord will single them out from all the tribes of Israel for calamity, in accordance with all the curses of the covenant written in this book of the law. 22The next generation, your children who rise up after you, as well as the foreigner who comes from a distant country, will see the devastation of that land and the afflictions with which the L ord has afflicted it— 23all its soil burned out by sulfur and salt, nothing planted, nothing sprouting, unable to support any vegetation, like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the L ord destroyed in his fierce anger— 24they and indeed all the nations will wonder, “Why has the L ord done thus to this land? What caused this great display of anger?” 25They will conclude, “It is because they abandoned the covenant of the L ord, the God of their ancestors, which he made with them when he brought them out of the land of Egypt. 26They turned and served other gods, worshiping them, gods whom they had not known and whom he had not allotted to them; 27so the anger of the L ord was kindled against that land, bringing on it every curse written in this book. 28The L ord uprooted them from their land in anger, fury, and great wrath, and cast them into another land, as is now the case.” 29The secret things belong to the L ord our God, but the revealed things belong to us and to our children forever, to observe all the words of this law.

68. And the Lord shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships. We know that the people were so driven about in the desert amidst divers perils, that they only escaped from it in safety by extraordinary miracles. It was therefore a thing most highly to be desired by their posterity, that they should never be carried back into those mighty depths. He who had once rescued them from those deaths might indeed often be their deliverer; but in order to make His blessing at that time more memorable, He had provided that they should never return into that wilderness. To bring them back into it again, was, then, in a manner to blot out the grace of redemption. If any object that it was impossible that the people should be conveyed in ships through dry places, the reply is easy, that since mention is made of the captivity, there is no absurdity in their being carried in ships and landed on the shore which 256256     There appears to be some oversight here. The Latin is “littus, quod planitiem Moah respicit;” and the Fr. sufficiently removes any difficulty which the latter word would present, by simply translating it “pour les jetter en la plaine de Moab;” i.e., to put them ashore on the plain of Moab. Now, the only shores of the plain of Moab would be formed by the Dead Sea, and this would, of course, be inapplicable in the circumstances referred to. The very impossibility of crossing the desert in ships, clearly proves that the word way must not be understood as indicating the line of route. Thus Holden paraphrases the words: “Thou shalt be taken there in ships, and not by the way in which I appeared and spake to thee;” and Dathe’s translation is, “Navibus Jova vos deportari sinet in Aegyptum, quam terram nunquam a vobis revisendam dixerat.” The wonderful fulfillment of the prophecy is thus well summed up by Dr. Kitto: “This was accomplished on several occasions. It is related both by Aristeas and Josephus, that in the time of Ptolemy Philadelphus, there were vast numbers of Hebrew slaves in Egypt, and that the king himself bought above 100,000 of them from their masters, and set them free. Egypt, indeed, was the great slave-mart of ancient times; and several of the conquerors and oppressors of the Jews sent at least a portion of their captives thither to be sold. Titus had 90,000 captives after Jerusalem was taken. Those above seventeen years of age were sent to different parts of the Roman empire to labor on the public works, besides great numbers who perished in compulsory combats with wild beasts. Those under seventeen were doomed to be sold for slaves; but in such deep contempt and detestation was the nation held, that few were willing to buy them; and the Jews who remained at large, were too few and poor to be able to redeem their brethren. The market was also glutted with their numbers, so that they were sold at a mere nominal price, — sometimes thirty for a small piece of money. Those who remained unpurchased were sent into confinement, where they perished by hundreds and by thousands together, from neglect and hunger. Egypt received a large proportion of these slaves, who were probably sent thither in ships, as the Romans had a fleet in the Mediterranean, and this was a much easier and safer way of transporting them than by land across the desert. The same things precisely took place on the final desolation of Israel by Hadrian, who may be said to have consummated their doom by decreeing, with the concurrence of the Roman Senate, that no Jew should ever, on pain of death, enter the land of his fathers.” — Illust. Comment. in loco. belongs to the plain of Moab, so as to finish their journey by wandering through the desert on foot.

Finally, he shews how melancholy their condition would be, since they would desire to sell themselves to their enemies, and would find none to buy them on account of their vileness.

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