Now therefore give not your daughters to their sons, neither take their daughters to your sons, nor seek their peace or their wealth for ever: that you may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children for ever.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
5-15. I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the Lord my God—The burden of his prayer, which was dictated by a deep sense of the emergency, was that he was overwhelmed at the flagrant enormity of this sin, and the bold impiety of continuing in it after having, as a people, so recently experienced the heavy marks of the divine displeasure. God had begun to show returning favor to Israel by the restoration of some. But this only aggravated their sin, that, so soon after their re-establishment in their native land, they openly violated the express and repeated precepts which commanded them to extirpate the Canaanites. Such conduct, he exclaimed, could issue only in drawing down some great punishment from offended Heaven and ensuring the destruction of the small remnant of us that is left, unless, by the help of divine grace, we repent and bring forth the fruits of repentance in an immediate and thorough reformation.Nor seek their peace; but root them out, as I have commanded you to do; which also they have abundantly deserved, both of mine and of your hands. See Deu 7:2.
That ye may be strong: although you may fancy that this way of making leagues and marriages with them is the only way to establish and settle you, yet I assure you it will weaken and ruin you, and the contrary course will make you stronger. Deuteronomy 7:3, where the prohibition is expressed in the same language:
nor seek their peace or their wealth for ever; that is, as long as they continue in their idolatries and impurities, see Deuteronomy 23:6,
that ye may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children for ever; that they might be strengthened and established in the land into which they were brought, and enjoy all the good things it produced, and leave their children in the possession of it, to hold at least until the Messiah came, see Isaiah 1:19.Now therefore give not your daughters unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your sons, nor seek their peace or their wealth for ever: that ye may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children for ever.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)12. Now therefore give not, &c.] This sentence reproduces the substance of Deuteronomy 7:3 ‘Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son’.
nor seek their peace or their wealth for ever] R.V. … or their prosperity.… This phrase is found in Deuteronomy 23:6 ‘Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever’, where the Ammonites and Moabites are especially referred to. The words had probably become almost proverbial. Here its application is destitute of any reference to the context in Deuteronomy 23. The thought reproduces the prohibition of Exodus 23:32 ‘Thou shalt make no covenant with them (i.e. the inhabitants of the land) nor with their gods’. Compare Jeremiah 29:7 ‘And seek the peace of the city, whither I have caused you to be carried away captive’.
that ye may be strong] The same blessing is promised Deuteronomy 11:8 ‘Therefore shall ye keep all the commandment … that ye may be strong’. The power to maintain God’s gift was the measure of their true prosperity.
and eat the good of the land] Isaiah 1:19 ‘If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land’. The present enjoyment of the gift. The clause, in spite of the reference to ‘the land’, has no verbal parallel in the Pentateuch.
and leave it for an inheritance] The blessing perpetuated. Practically equivalent to ‘That thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee’. Cf. Deuteronomy 11:9. The allusion to Proverbs 13:22; Ezekiel 37:25 can only be of the most shadowy kind.Verse 12. - Give not your daughters, etc. Here Deuteronomy 7:3 is plainly referred to, though not verbally quoted. This is the sole place in the Law where the double injunction is given, Exodus 34:16 referring to the taking of wives only. Nor seek their peace or their wealth for ever. So Moses had enjoined with special reference to the Moabites and Ammonites (Deuteronomy 23:6). With regard to the other idolatrous nations, the exact command was "to make no covenant with them" (Exodus 23:32; Exodus 34:12), i.e. no terms of peace. Much the same was probably meant by both injunctions. That ye may be strong. See Deuteronomy 11:8. And eat the good of the land. These words are taken from Isaiah 1:19. And leave it for an inheritance, etc. No single passage seems to be referred to here, but the clause embodies the idea found in Deuteronomy 11:9; Proverbs 10:27; Ezekiel 37:25, and elsewhere. Ezra 9:6, etc. The train of thought in this prayer is as follows: I scarcely dare to lift up my fact to God, through shame for the greatness of our misdeeds (Ezra 9:6). From the days of our fathers, God has sorely punished us for our sins by delivering us into the power of our enemies; but has now again turned His pity towards us, and revived us in the place of His sanctuary, through the favour of the king of Persia (Ezra 9:7). But we have again transgressed His commands, with the keeping of which God has connected our possession of the good land given unto us (Ezra 9:10). Should we then, after God has spared us more than we through our trespasses have deserved, bring His wrath upon us, till we are wholly consumed? God is just; He has preserved us; but we stand before Him with heavy guilt upon us, such guilt that we cannot endure God's presence (Ezra 9:13). Ezra does not pray for the pardon of their sin, for he desires only to bring the congregation to the knowledge of the greatness of their transgression, and so to invite them to do all that in them lies to atone for their guilt, and to appease God's wrath.
"I am ashamed, and am covered with shame, to lift up my face to Thee, my God." ונכלמתּי בּשׁתּי united, as in Jeremiah 31:19, comp. Isaiah 45:16, and other passages. נכלם, to be covered with shame, is stronger than בּושׁ. "For our iniquities are increased over our head," i.e., have grown above our head. ראשׁ למעלה, to or over the head. למעלה serves to enhance the meaning of רבוּ, like 1 Chronicles 23:17. "And our guiltiness is great, (reaching) unto the heavens;" comp. 2 Chronicles 28:9.
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