Deuteronomy 4:26
I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that you shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto you go over Jordan to possess it; you shall not prolong your days on it, but shall utterly be destroyed.
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4:24-40 Moses urged the greatness, glory, and goodness of God. Did we consider what a God he is with whom we have to do, we should surely make conscience of our duty to him, and not dare to sin against him. Shall we forsake a merciful God, who will never forsake us, if we are faithful unto him? Whither can we go? Let us be held to our duty by the bonds of love, and prevailed with by the mercies of God to cleave to him. Moses urged God's authority over them, and their obligations to him. In keeping God's commandments they would act wisely for themselves. The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom. Those who enjoy the benefit of Divine light and laws, ought to support their character for wisdom and honour, that God may be glorified thereby. Those who call upon God, shall certainly find him within call, ready to give an answer of peace to every prayer of faith. All these statutes and judgments of the Divine law are just and righteous, above the statutes and judgments of any of the nations. What they saw at mount Sinai, gave an earnest of the day of judgment, in which the Lord Jesus shall be revealed in flaming fire. They must also remember what they heard at mount Sinai. God manifests himself in the works of the creation, without speech or language, yet their voice is heard, Ps 19:1,3; but to Israel he made himself known by speech and language, condescending to their weakness. The rise of this nation was quite different from the origin of all other nations. See the reasons of free grace; we are not beloved for our own sakes, but for Christ's sake. Moses urged the certain benefit and advantage of obedience. This argument he had begun with, ver. 1, That ye may live, and go in and possess the land; and this he concludes with, ver. 40, That it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee. He reminds them that their prosperity would depend upon their piety. Apostacy from God would undoubtedly be the ruin of their nation. He foresees their revolt from God to idols. Those, and those only, shall find God to their comfort, who seek him with all their heart. Afflictions engage and quicken us to seek God; and, by the grace of God working with them, many are thus brought back to their right mind. When these things are come upon thee, turn to the Lord thy God, for thou seest what comes of turning from him. Let all the arguments be laid together, and then say, if religion has not reason on its side. None cast off the government of their God, but those who first abandon the understanding of a man.Compare with these verses Leviticus 26:33-40, and Deuteronomy 28:64 ff. 26. I call heaven and earth to witness against you—This solemn form of adjuration has been common in special circumstances among all people. It is used here figuratively, or as in other parts of Scripture where inanimate objects are called up as witnesses (De 32:1; Isa 1:2). Heaven and earth; either,

1. Figuratively, i.e. God, and angels, and men. Or rather,

2. Properly; it being usual in Scripture to call in the senseless creatures as witnesses in such cases, as Deu 32:1 Isaiah 1:2 Jeremiah 2:12. I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day,.... Should they be guilty of such a sin, since they were so strongly and publicly cautioned against it; and even the heaven and the earth were called upon as witnesses of the law being set before them, which so expressly forbids it, Deuteronomy 30:19.

that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto you go over Jordan to possess it; though they were now about to go over Jordan and inherit the land of Canaan, yet they would not enjoy it long, but be taken and carried captive out of it; as the ten tribes were by Shalmaneser king of Assyria, and the two tribes by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and both for their idolatry and other crimes.

I {r} call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed.

(r) Though men would abuse you, yet the insensible creatures will be witnesses of your disobedience.

26. I call heaven and earth to witness against you] So Deuteronomy 30:19; Deuteronomy 31:28. Berth. points out that the older style is earth and heaven. In controversy between God and Israel nature is introduced as the executioner of His judgements, or as suffering these with man; or as illustrating the steady laws or principles on which God acts in the moral sphere; or as here (cp. Micah 6:1 ff.) as witnessing against man. Enduring, the heavens and earth, especially the mountains, have seen all the relations between God and man, and when His evils come will be able to testify that God had warned the people. But differently in Deuteronomy 32:1, q.v.

ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land
] Perish that is as a nation, Deuteronomy 7:4, Deuteronomy 11:17, Deuteronomy 28:20 and the deuteronomic Joshua 23:16. Soon, Deuteronomy 7:4; Deuteronomy 7:22, Deuteronomy 9:3; Deuteronomy 9:12; Deuteronomy 9:16, Deuteronomy 28:20.

whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it] characteristic of the Pl. passages. See Introd. and on Deuteronomy 4:5; Deuteronomy 4:14 and Deuteronomy 6:1.

ye shall not prolong your days] Again, as a nation. In the Hex. only here and Deuteronomy 4:40, Deuteronomy 5:33, Deuteronomy 11:9, Deuteronomy 17:20, Deuteronomy 22:7, Deuteronomy 30:18, Deuteronomy 32:47; and passive, Deuteronomy 5:16, Deuteronomy 6:2, Deuteronomy 25:15. Cp. E, Joshua 24:31.Verse 26. - I call heaven and earth to witness. Moses speaks in the name of the Lord of all, and so calls to witness the whole created universe to attest his words; the heavens and earth are witnesses for God, and when evil comes on those who transgress his Law, they declare his righteousness (Psalm 50:4, 6), in that what has befallen the sinner is only what was announced beforehand as the penalty of transgression. Soon; hastily (מַהֵר), without delay (cf. Deuteronomy 7:4, 22 ["at once," Authorized Vers.]; 9:3 ["quickly"], 12, 16). Prolong days; usually equal to have a long life (cf. Deuteronomy 5:16; Deuteronomy 6:2; Deuteronomy 11:9; Deuteronomy 17:20, etc.); here it means "continue long to occupy." Only as they continued faithful to Jehovah could they continue as a people to possess the land; severed from him, they lost their title to occupy Canaan, and ceased to be his special people; as a nation they would be destroyed by being scattered among other nations. From Leviticus 26:33, etc., and Deuteronomy 28:64, it is evident that the author had in view "all the dispersions which would come upon the rebellious nation in future times, even down to the dispersion under the Romans, which continues still; so that Moses contemplated the punishment in its fullest extent" (Keil). The Israelites were not to imitate the heathen in this respect, because Jehovah, who brought them out of the iron furnace of Egypt, had taken them (לקח) to Himself, i.e., had drawn them out or separated them from the rest of the nations, to be a people of inheritance. They were therefore not to seek God and pray to Him in any kind of creature, but to worship Him without image and form, in a manner corresponding to His own nature, which had been manifested in no form, and therefore could not be imitated. בּרזל כּוּר, an iron furnace, or furnace for smelting iron, is a significant figure descriptive of the terrible sufferings endured by Israel in Egypt. נחלה עם (a people of inheritance) is synonymous with סגלּה עם (a special people, Deuteronomy 7:6 : see at Exodus 19:5, "a peculiar treasure"). "This day:" as in Deuteronomy 2:30.
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