English Standard Version
I would have said, “I will cut them to pieces; I will wipe them from human memory,”
King James Bible
I said, I would scatter them into corners, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men:
American Standard Version
I said, I would scatter them afar, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men;
I said: Where are they? I will make the memory of them to cease from among men.
English Revised Version
I said, I would scatter them afar, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men:
Webster's Bible Translation
I said, I would scatter them into corners, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men;
Deuteronomy 32:26 Parallel
CommentaryKeil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament
"And He said, I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end will be: for they are a generation full of perversities, children in whom is no faithfulness. They excited My jealousy by a no-god, provoked Me by their vanities: and I also will excite their jealousy by a no-people, provoke them by a foolish nation. For a fire blazes up in My nose, and burns to the lowest hell, and consumes the earth with its increase, and sets on fire the foundations of the mountains." The divine purpose contains two things: - first of all (Deuteronomy 32:20) the negative side, to hide the face, i.e., to withdraw His favour and see what their end would be, i.e., that their apostasy would bring nothing but evil and destruction; for they were "a nation of perversities" (taphuchoth is moral perversity, Proverbs 2:14; Proverbs 6:14), i.e., "a thoroughly perverse and faithless generation" (Knobel); - and then, secondly (Deuteronomy 32:21), the positive side, viz., chastisement according to the right of complete retaliation. The Israelites had excited the jealousy and vexation of God by a no-god and vanities; therefore God would excite their jealousy and vexation by a no-people and a foolish nation. How this retaliation would manifest itself is not fully defined however here, but is to be gathered from the conduct of Israel towards the Lord. Israel had excited the jealousy of God by preferring a no-god, or הבלים, nothingnesses, i.e., gods that were vanities or nothings (Elilim, Leviticus 19:4), to the true and living God, its Father and Creator. God would therefore excite them to jealousy and ill-will by a no-people, a foolish nation, i.e., by preferring a no-people to the Israelites, transferring His favour to them, and giving the blessing which Israel had despised to a foolish nation. It is only with this explanation of the words that full justice is done to the idea of retribution; and it was in this sense that Paul understood this passage as referring to the adoption of the Gentiles as the people of God (Romans 10:19), and that not merely by adaptation, or by connecting another meaning with the words, as Umbreit supposes, but by interpreting it in exact accordance with the true sense of the words.
(Note: But when Kamphausen, on the other hand, maintains that this thought, which the apostle finds in the passage before us, would be "quite erroneous if taken as an exposition of the words," the assertion is supported by utterly worthless arguments: for example, (1) that throughout this song the exalted heathen are never spoken of as the bride of God, but simply as a rod of discipline used against Israel; (2) that this verse refers to the whole nation of Israel, and there is no trace of any distinction between the righteous and the wicked; and (3) that the idea that God would choose another people as the covenant nation would have been the very opposite of that Messianic hope with which the author of this song was inspired. To begin with the last, the Messianic hope of the song consisted unquestionably in the thought that the Lord would do justice to His people, His servants, and would avenge their blood, even when the strength of the nation should have disappeared (Deuteronomy 32:36 and Deuteronomy 32:43). But this thought, that the Lord would have compassion upon Israel at last, by no means excludes the reception of the heathen into the kingdom of God, as is sufficiently apparent from Romans 9-11. The assertion that this verse refers to the whole nation is quite incorrect. The plural suffixes used throughout in Deuteronomy 32:20 and Deuteronomy 32:21 show clearly that both verses simply refer to those who had fallen away from the Lord; and nowhere throughout the whole song is it assumed, that the whole nation would fall away to the very last man, so that there would be no further remnant of faithful servants of the Lord, to whom the Lord would manifest His favour again. And lastly, it is nowhere affirmed that God would simply use the heathen as a rod against Israel. The reference is solely to enemies and oppressors of Israel; and the chastisement of Israel by foes holds the second, and therefore a subordinate, place among the evils with which God would punish the rebellious. It is true that the heathen are not described as the bride of God in this song, but that is for no other reason than because the idea of moving them to jealousy with a not-people is not more fully expanded.)
The adoption of the Gentile world into covenant with the Lord involved the rejection of the disobedient Israel; and this rejection would be consummated in severe judgments, in which the ungodly would perish. In this way the retribution inflicted by the Lord upon the faithless and perverse generation of His sons and daughters becomes a judgment upon the whole world. The jealousy of the Lord blazes up into a fire of wrath, which burns down to sheol. This aspect of the divine retribution comes into the foreground in what follows, from Deuteronomy 32:23 onwards; whilst the adoption of the Gentile world, which the Apostle Paul singles out as the leading thought of this verse, in accordance with the special purpose of the song, falls back behind the thought, that the Lord would not utterly destroy Israel, but when all its strength had disappeared would have compassion upon His servants, and avenge their blood upon His foes. The idea of a no-people is to be gathered from the antithesis no-god. As Schultz justly observes, "the expression no-people can no more denote a people of monsters, than the no-god was a monster, by which Israel had excited the Lord to jealousy." This remark is quite sufficient to show that the opinion of Ewald and others is untenable and false, namely, that "the expression no-people signifies a truly inhuman people, terrible and repulsive." No-god is a god to whom the predicate of godhead cannot properly be applied; and so also no-people is a people that does not deserve the name of a people or nation at all. The further definition of no-god is to be found in the word "vanities" No-god are the idols, who are called vanities or nothingnesses, because they deceive the confidence of men in their divinity; because, as Jeremiah says (Jeremiah 14:22), they can give no showers of rain or drops of water from heaven. No-people is explained by a "foolish nation." A "foolish nation" is the opposite of a wise and understanding people, as Israel is called in Deuteronomy 4:6, because it possessed righteous statutes and rights in the law of the Lord. The foolish nation therefore is not "an ungodly nation, which despises all laws both human and divine" (Ros., Maur.), but a people whose laws and rights are not founded upon divine revelation. Consequently the no-people is not "a barbarous and inhuman people" (Ros.), or "a horde of men that does not deserve to be called a people" (Maurer), but a people to which the name of a people or nation is to be refused, because its political and judicial constitution is the work of man, and because it has not the true God for its head and king; or, as Vitringa explains, "a people not chosen by the true God, passed by when a people was chosen, shut out from the fellowship and grace of God, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and a stranger from the covenant of promise (Ephesians 2:12)." In this respect every heathen nation was a "no-people," even though it might not be behind the Israelites so far as its outward organization was concerned. This explanation cannot be set aside, either by the objection that at that time Israel had brought itself down to the level of the heathen, by its apostasy from the Eternal, - for the notion of people and no-people is not taken from the outward appearance of Israel at any particular time, but is derived from its divine idea and calling, - or by an appeal to the singular, "a foolish nation," whereas we should expect "foolish nations" to correspond to the "vanities," if we were to understand by the no-people not one particular heathen nation, but the heathen nations generally. The singular, "a foolish nation," was required by the antithesis, upon which it is founded, the "wise nation," from which the expression no-people first receives its precise definition, which would be altogether obliterated by the plural. Moreover, Moses did not intend to give expression to the thought that God would excite Israel to jealousy by either few, or many, or all the Gentile nations.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
And the LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the LORD will drive you.
Let me alone, that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven. And I will make of you a nation mightier and greater than they.'
"And the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known.
For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.
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