Deuteronomy 30


Gracious promises are given to the penitent, 1-6.

The Lord will circumcise their heart, and put all these curses

on their enemies, if they hearken to his voice and keep his

testimonies, 7-10.

The word is near to them, and easy to be understood, 11-14.

Life and death, a blessing and a curse, are set before them; and

they are exhorted to love the Lord, obey his voice, and cleave

unto him, that they may inherit the land promised to Abraham,



Verse 1. When all these things are come upon thee, the blessing

and the curse] So fully did God foresee the bad use these people

would make of their free agency in resisting the Holy Ghost, that

he speaks of their sin and punishment as certain; yet, at the same

time, shows how they might turn to himself and live, even while he

was pouring out his indignation upon them because of their


Verse 3. Gather thee from all the nations] This must refer to

a more extensive captivity than that which they suffered in


Verse 5. Will bring thee into the land] As this promise refers

to a return from a captivity in which they had been scattered

among all nations, consequently it is not the Babylonish captivity

which is intended; and the repossession of their land must be

different from that which was consequent on their return from


Verse 6. God will circumcise thine heart] This promise remains

yet to be fulfilled. Their heart, as a people, has never yet been

circumcised; nor have the various promises in this chapter been

ever yet fulfilled. There remaineth, therefore, a rest for this

people of God. Now, as the law, properly speaking, made no

provision for the circumcision of the heart, which implies the

remission of sins, and purification of the soul from all

unrighteousness; and as circumcision itself was only a sign of

spiritual good, consequently the promise here refers to the days

of the Messiah, and to this all the prophets and all the apostles

give witness: "for circumcision is that of the heart, in the

spirit, and not in the letter," Ro 2:29; and the genuine

followers of God are circumcised with the circumcision made

without hands-by the circumcision of Christ," Col 2:11, 12.

Hence we see these promises cannot be fulfilled to the Jews but in

their embracing the Gospel of Christ. To look, therefore, for

their restoration is idle and nugatory, while their obstinacy and

unbelief remain.

Verse 11. This commandment-is not hidden] Not too wonderful

or difficult for thee to comprehend or perform, as the word

niphleth implies. Neither is it far off-the word or doctrine of

salvation shall be proclaimed in your own land; for HE is to be

born in Bethlehem of Judah, who is to feed and save Israel; and

the PROPHET who is to teach them is to be raised up from among

their brethren.

Verse 12. It is not in heaven] Shall not be communicated in

that way in which the prophets received the living oracles; but

the WORD shall be made flesh, and dwell among you.

Verse 13. Neither is it beyond the sea] Ye shall not be

obliged to travel for it to distant nations, because salvation is

of the JEWS.

Verse 14. But the word is very nigh unto thee] The doctrine of

salvation preached by the apostles; in thy mouth, the promises of

redemption made by the prophets forming a part of every Jew's

creed; in thy heart-the power to believe with the heart unto

righteousness, that the tongue may make confession unto salvation.

In this way, it is evident, St. Paul understood these passages;

see Ro 10:6-8, &c.

Verse 15. Life and good] Present and future blessings.

Death and evil] Present and future miseries: termed, De 30:19,

Life and death, blessing and cursing. And why were these set

before them? 1. That they might comprehend their import. 2. That

they might feel their importance. 3. That they might choose life,

and the path of believing, loving obedience, that led to it. 4.

That they and their posterity, thus choosing life and refusing

evil, might be the favourites of God in time and eternity.

Were there no such thing as free will in man, who could

reconcile these sayings either with sincerity or common sense? God

has made the human will free, and there is no power or influence

either in heaven, earth, or hell, except the power of God, that

can deprive it of its free volitions; of its power to will and

nill, to choose and refuse, to act or not act or force it to sin

against God. Hence man is accountable for his actions, because

they are his; were he necessitated by fate, or sovereign

constraint, they could not be his. Hence he is rewardable, hence

he is punishable. God, in his creation, willed that the human

creature should be free, and he formed his soul accordingly; and

the Law and Gospel, the promise and precept, the denunciation of

wo and the doctrine of eternal life, are all constructed on this

ground; that is, they all necessarily suppose the freedom of the

human will: nor could it be will if it were not free, because the

principle of freedom or liberty is necessarily implied in the idea

of volition. See on the fifth chapter and 29th verse.

See Clarke on De 5:29

Verse 19. See the note on the preceding verse.

See Clarke on De 30:15

Verse 20. That thou mayest love the Lord] Without love there

can be no obedience.

Obey his voice] Without obedience love is fruitless and dead.

And-cleave unto him] Without close attachment and

perseverance, temporary love, however sincere and

fervent-temporary obedience, however disinterested, energetic, and

pure while it lasts-will be ultimately ineffectual. He alone who

endures to the end, shall be saved. Reader, how do matters stand

between God and thy soul? He cannot persevere in the grace of God

whose soul is not yet made a partaker of that grace. Many talk

strenuously on the impossibility of falling from grace, who have

not yet tasted that the Lord is gracious. How absurd to talk and

dispute about the infallibility of arriving safely at the end of a

way in which a man has never yet taken one hearty step! It is

never among those that have the grace of God, but among those that

have it not, that we find an overweening confidence.

Copyright information for Clarke