Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Deuteronomy 27:15 - 27:15

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Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Deuteronomy 27:15 - 27:15


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In Deu 27:15-26 there follow twelve curses, answering to the number of the tribes of Israel. The first is directed against those who make graven or molten images of Jehovah, and set them up in secret, that is to say, against secret breaches of the second commandment (Exo 20:4); the second against contempt of, or want of reverence towards, parents (Exo 21:17); the third against those who remove boundaries (Deu 19:14); the fourth against the man who leads the blind astray (Lev 19:14); the fifth against those who pervert the right of orphans and widows (Deu 24:17); the sixth against incest with a mother (Deu 23:1; Deu 18:8); the seventh against unnatural vices (Lev 18:23); the eighth and ninth against incest with a sister or a mother-in-law (Lev 18:9 and Lev 18:17); the tenth against secret murder (Exo 20:13; Num 35:16.); the eleventh against judicial murder (“he that taketh reward to slay a soul, namely, innocent blood:” Exo 23:7-8); the twelfth against the man who does not set up the words of this law to do them, who does not make the laws the model and standard of his life and conduct. From this last curse, which applied to every breach of the law, it evidently follows, that the different sins and transgressions already mentioned were only selected by way of example, and for the most part were such as could easily be concealed from the judicial authorities. At the same time, “the office of the law is shown in this last utterance, the summing up of all the rest, to have been pre-eminently to proclaim condemnation. Every conscious act of transgression subjects the sinner to the curse of God, from which none but He who has become a curse for us can possibly deliver us” (Gal 3:10, Gal 3:13. O. v. Gerlach). - On the reason why the blessings are not given, see the remarks on Deu 27:4. As the curses against particular transgressions of the law simply mention some peculiarly grievous sins by way of example, it would be easy to single out corresponding blessings from the general contents of the law: e.g., “Blessed be he who faithfully follows the Lord his God, or loves Him with the heart, who honours his father and his mother,” etc.; and lastly, all the blessings of the law could be summed up in the words, “Blessed be he who setteth up the words of this law, to do them.”