Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Deuteronomy
Book: Deuteronomy
Chapter: 28

The blessings for obedience. (1-14) The curses for
disobedience. (15-44) Their ruin, if disobedient. (45-68)

1-14 This Chapter is a very large exposition of two words, the
blessing and the Curse. They are real things and have real
effects. The blessings are here Put before the curses. God is
slow to Anger, but swift to show Mercy. It is his delight to
Bless. It is better that we should be drawn to what is good By a
Child-like Hope of God's favour, than that we be frightened to
it By a slavish fear of his wrath. The blessing is promised,
upon condition that they diligently hearken to the voice of God.
Let them keep up religion, the form and power of it, in their
families and nation, then the Providence of God would prosper
all their outward concerns.

15-44 If we do not keep God's Commandments, we not only come
short of the blessing promised, but we lay ourselves under the
Curse, which includes all misery, as the blessing all happiness.
Observe the Justice of this Curse. It is not a Curse causeless,
or for some Light cause. The extent and power of this Curse.
Wherever the sinner goes, the Curse of God follows; wherever he
is, it rests upon him. Whatever he has is under a Curse. All his
enjoyments are made Bitter; he cannot take any true comfort in
them, for the wrath of God mixes itself with them. Many
judgments are here stated, which would be the fruits of the
Curse, and with which God would punish the people of the Jews,
for their apostasy and disobedience. We may observe the
fulfilling of these threatenings in their present state. To
complete their misery, it is threatened that By these troubles
they should be bereaved of all comfort and Hope, and left to
utter despair. Those who walk By sight, and not By Faith, are in
danger of losing reason itself, when every thing about them
looks frightful.

45-68 If God inflicts vengeance, what miseries his Curse can
bring upon mankind, even in this present world! Yet these are
but the beginning of sorrows to those under the Curse of God.
What then will be the misery of that world where their Worm
dieth not, and their Fire is not quenched! Observe what is here
said of the wrath of God, which should come and remain upon the
Israelites for their sins. It is amazing to think that a people
So long the favourites of Heaven, should be So cast off; and yet
that a people So scattered in all nations should be kept
distinct, and not mixed with others. If they would not serve God
with cheerfulness, they should be compelled to serve their
enemies. We may justly expect from God, that if we do not fear
his fearful name, we shall feel his fearful plagues; for one way
or other God will be feared. The Destruction threatened is
described. They have, indeed, been plucked from off the land,
ver. 63. Not only By the Babylonish Captivity, and when
Jerusalem was destroyed By the Romans; but afterwards, when they
were forbidden to set foot in Jerusalem. They should have No
Rest; No Rest of body, ver. 65, but be continually On the
remove, either in Hope of gain, or fear of Persecution. No Rest
of the mind, which is much worse. They have been banished from
City to City, from country to country; recalled, and banished
again. These events, compared with the favour shown to Israel in
ancient times, and with the prophecies about them, should not
only excite astonishment, but turn unto us for a Testimony,
assuring us of the Truth of Scripture. And when the other
prophecies of their Conversion to Christ shall come to pass, the
whole will be a sign and a wonder to all the nations of the
Earth, and the Forerunner of a general spread of true
christianity. The fulfilling of these prophecies upon the Jewish
nation, delivered more than three thousand years ago, shows that
Moses spake By the Spirit of God; who not only foresees the ruin
of sinners, but warns of it, that they may prevent it By a true
and timely Repentance, or else be left without excuse. And let
us be thankful that Christ hath redeemed us from the Curse of
the Law, By being made a Curse for us, and bearing in his own
person all that Punishment which our sins merit, and which we
must otherwise have endured for ever. To this Refuge and
Salvation let sinners flee; therein let believers rejoice, and
serve their reconciled God with gladness of Heart, for the
abundance of his spiritual blessings.