Deuteronomy 8 Commentary


Deuteronomy by Irving Jensen- used by permission
deut
Source: Ryrie Study Bible

Deuteronomy

Dt 1:1-4:43 Dt 4:44-26:19 Dt 27:1-34:12

Moses'
First
Discourse

Moses'
Second
Discourse

Moses'
Third
Discourse

Historical Review Legal
Exposition
Prophetical
Promises

Looking Back

40 Years

Looking Up
What God
Expected of Israel
Looking Ahead
What God
Will Do for Israel
Recapitulation of Wanderings Rehearsal
of Israel's Law
Ratification
of Israel's Covenant
Historical Appendices
Remembrance of the past Commandments
for the Present
Dt 27:1-30:20
Blessing and Cursing
Dt 31:1-34:12
Death of Moses
Take Heed
Don't forget
Ten
Commands
Related
Commands
Two Choices Affecting
the Future
Moses' Parting Words
Dt 1:1-4:43
Looking Back
Dt 4:44-11:32
Exposition of Decalogue
Dt 12:1-16:17
Ceremonial Laws
Dt 16:18-20:20
Civil
Laws
Dt 21:1-26:19
Social
Laws
Dt 27:1-28:68
Ratification of Covenant
Dt 29:1-30:20
Terms of Covenant
Dt 31:1-34:12
Moses' Song, Blessing, Death

Plains of Moab

About 2 Months
Moses: Author

(Except Dt 34)


Remembrances of the Past
(Deuteronomy 1:1-4:43) 
Jensen's Survey of Deuteronomy scroll to p311

Deuteronomy 8:1  "All the commandments that I am commanding you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to give to your forefathers.


Are You Listening to the Master's Voice?

Note that this passage is very similar to Dt 4:1, Dt 5:1 and Dt 6:1. 

ESV Study Bible has an interesting note - This chapter makes clear that the wilderness period was not only a punishment but also a test. While contrasting the deprivation of the wilderness with the abundance of the land, this chapter implies that the land itself is also a test. If the wilderness lesson is learned, it can be applied in the new situation of the land.

Meredith Kline The Law of the Manna. Deuteronomy 8:1-20 The focal point of this chapter is verse 17, with its picture of a future Israel at ease in Canaan, basking in self-congratulation. The recollection of God's providential guidance during the forty years in the wilderness (Dt 8:2 ff.) would afford the corrective for such vanity. (Wycliffe Bible Commentary)

Doug McIntoshMoses in Deuteronomy 8 summarizes the best and worst possibilities for Israel's future. Whether God's people would rise to heights of blessing or sink into destruction would depend upon their attitude toward his word. The chapter marshals strong arguments against the deceitfulness of pride and for a conscious, thankful reliance upon God. (Holman Old Testament Commentary – Deuteronomy)

Warren WiersbeThe three essentials for Israel's conquest and enjoyment of the Promised Land were: listening to God's Word, remembering it, and obeying it. They are still the essentials for a successful and satisfying Christian life today. As we walk through this world, we can't succeed without God's guidance, protection, and provision, and it also helps to have a good memory. Four times in these chapters Moses commands us to remember (Dt 8:2, 18; 9:7, 27), and four more times he admonishes us to forget not (Dt 8:11, 14, 19; 9:7). The Apostle Peter devoted his second letter to the ministry of reminding God's people to remember what the apostles had taught them (2 Peter 1:12-18; 2 Pe 3:1-2). (Be Equipped)

All the commandments that I am commanding you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to give to your forefathers - We see the same pattern - Commandments > Be careful > to do > Live and Possess. It is like a "golden chain" which guides one to God's promises. The crux of course is obedience to the commandments, the Word of God. Dt 28:2 summarizes the pattern  “All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the LORD your God" (and then begins a long list of blessings in Dt 28:2-14 followed by curses for disobedience in Dt 28:15-68. Note much longer listing of curses than blessings. The take message is OBEY GOD!) Possess in the Septuagint is translated with phulasso (which is used to translate many of the OT uses of shamar) which means to guard like a military sentry would at his post.

Jack DeereThis introductory verse reminded the Israelites again that the gifts of life and fertility in the land... promised by God did not come automatically to believers but were by-products of obedience. The wilderness experience was designed to produce both obedience and faith in the nation. (Bible Knowledge Commentary)

NET Note on commandments - The singular term (מִצְוָה, mitsvah) includes the whole corpus of covenant stipulations, certainly the book of Deuteronomy at least (cf. Deut 5:28; 6:1, 25; 7:11; 11:8, 22; 15:5; 17:20; 19:9; 27:1; 30:11; 31:5). The plural (מִצְוֹת, mitsot) refers to individual stipulations (as in Dt 8: 2, 6).

Be careful (guard, observe, watch) (08104shamar means to keep, watch, preserve, to guard, to be careful, to watch over, to watch carefully over, to be on one’s guard. The first use of shamar in Ge 2:15 is instructive as Adam was placed in the garden (a perfect environment) and was commanded to "keep" it which in the Septuagint is translated with phulasso (which is used to translate many of the OT uses of shamar) which means to guard like a military sentry would at his post. Clearly Adam did not do a good job at "keeping" the garden safe from intruders! And because of this failure he was cast out of the garden and angels stationed to "guard (Lxx = phulasso) the way to the tree of life" so that he would not eat of it (Ge 3:24). After Cain murdered Abel he answered God "Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Ge 3:24)

Shamar in 65 verses in Deuteronomy (out of 441 v in the OT) Note 5 uses in Deuteronomy 6 -  Deut. 2:4; Deut. 4:2; Deut. 4:6; Deut. 4:9; Deut. 4:15; Deut. 4:23; Deut. 4:40; Deut. 5:1; Deut. 5:10; Deut. 5:12; Deut. 5:29; Deut. 6:2; Deut. 6:3; Deut. 6:12; Deut. 6:17; Deut. 6:25; Deut. 7:8; Deut. 7:9; Deut. 7:11; Deut. 7:12; Deut. 8:1; Deut. 8:2; Deut. 8:6; Deut. 8:11; Deut. 10:13; Deut. 11:1; Deut. 11:8; Deut. 11:16; Deut. 11:22; Deut. 11:32; Deut. 12:1; Deut. 12:13; Deut. 12:19; Deut. 12:28; Deut. 12:30; Deut. 12:32; Deut. 13:4; Deut. 13:18; Deut. 15:9; Deut. 16:1; Deut. 16:12; Deut. 17:10; Deut. 19:9; Deut. 23:9; Deut. 23:23; Deut. 24:8; Deut. 26:16; Deut. 26:17; Deut. 26:18; Deut. 27:1; Deut. 28:1; Deut. 28:9; Deut. 28:45; Deut. 28:58; Deut. 29:9; Deut. 30:10; Deut. 30:16; Deut. 31:12; Deut. 33:9; 

Possess (03423) yarash  to take possession of, inherit, dispossess, to drive out. Yarash is an especially important word in contexts dealing with Israel's conquest of and possession of the land of Canaan. Yahweh first promised possession of the land in the context of the Abrahamic covenant (Ge 15:7-21+). Note also that "possessing" implies "dispossessing" another nation. In a legal sense, the right of possession passed from one generation to the next and so constituted "inheritance."  Note that possession of the promised land and/or the "inheritance" was directly connected to Israel's trust relationship with the Lord, so that breaking trust, and thus breaking the covenantal relationship with Yahweh led to dispossession. But even in exile, Israelites awaited the day when they would repossess the land (Jer. 30:3+ - May 14, 1948 is when Israel was given statehood but this is not the final fulfillment - that awaits the Millennial Reign of their Messiah).

Yarash is a key word in Deuteronomy - Deut. 1:8; Deut. 1:21; Deut. 1:39; Deut. 2:12; Deut. 2:21; Deut. 2:22; Deut. 2:24; Deut. 2:31; Deut. 3:12; Deut. 3:18; Deut. 3:20; Deut. 4:1; Deut. 4:5; Deut. 4:14; Deut. 4:22; Deut. 4:26; Deut. 4:38; Deut. 4:47; Deut. 5:31; Deut. 5:33; Deut. 6:1; Deut. 6:18; Deut. 7:1; Deut. 7:17; Deut. 8:1; Deut. 9:1; Deut. 9:3; Deut. 9:4; Deut. 9:5; Deut. 9:6; Deut. 9:23; Deut. 10:11; Deut. 11:8; Deut. 11:10; Deut. 11:11; Deut. 11:23; Deut. 11:29; Deut. 11:31; Deut. 12:1; Deut. 12:2; Deut. 12:29; Deut. 15:4; Deut. 16:20; Deut. 17:14; Deut. 18:12; Deut. 18:14; Deut. 19:1; Deut. 19:2; Deut. 19:14; Deut. 21:1; Deut. 23:20; Deut. 25:19; Deut. 26:1; Deut. 28:21; Deut. 28:42; Deut. 28:63; Deut. 30:5; Deut. 30:16; Deut. 30:18; Deut. 31:3; Deut. 31:13; Deut. 32:47; Deut. 33:23; 


Bob Utley - SPECIAL TOPIC: POSSESS THE LAND

This VERB (BDB 439, KB 441, Qal PERFECT) is used repeatedly in connection with:
    1.      YHWH’s promise/oath to the Patriarchs (cf. Dt 1:8; 10:11)
    2.      Israel acting on these promises and invading the land (cf. Dt 2:24; 3:18–20)
    3.      It parallels “inheritance” (Dt 3:28)
    4.      Israel must obey the covenant so as to maintain possession of the land (cf. Dt 4:1, 5, 14; 6:1; 8:1; 11:8–9, 26–32)

Deuteronomy 8:2  "You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.

  • remember: De 7:18 Ps 77:11 106:7 Eph 2:11,12 2Pe 1:12,13 3:1,2 
  • led you: De 1:3,33 Dt 2:7 Dt 29:5 Ps 136:16 Amos 2:10 
  • humble: 2Ch 32:25,26 33:12,19 Job 33:17 42:5,6 Isa 2:17 Lu 18:14 Jas 4:6,10 1Pe 5:5,6 
  • testing you: De 8:16 13:3 Ge 22:1 Ex 15:25 16:4 2Ch 32:31 Ps 81:7 Pr 17:3 Mal 3:2,3 Jas 1:3 1Pe 1:6-7 
  • to know: Jer 17:9,10 John 2:25 Rev 2:23 
  • Deuteronomy 8 Resources 

Related Passages:

Deuteronomy 5:15  ‘You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to observe the sabbath day. 

Deuteronomy 7:18 you shall not be afraid of them; you shall well remember what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt:

You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years - First generation needed to remember the 40 years in the wilderness

Remember in DeuteronomyDeut. 4:10; Deut. 5:15; Deut. 7:18; Deut. 8:2; Deut. 8:18; Deut. 9:7; Deut. 9:27; Deut. 15:15; Deut. 16:3; Deut. 16:12; Deut. 24:9; Deut. 24:18; Deut. 24:22; Deut. 25:17; Deut. 32:7; 

Forget - Dt 4:9, Dt 4:23, Dt 4:31, Dt 6:12, Dt 8:11, Dt 8:14, Dt 8:19, Dt 9:7, Dt 24:19, Dt 25:19, Dt 26:13, Dt 31:21, Dt 32:18

LORD your God - Moses continually emphasizes that Yahweh is Israel's God (279 times in 239 verses out of 396 times in the entire OT! More that 50% of uses in one book!). Uses in chapter 8 - Deut. 8:2; Deut. 8:5; Deut. 8:6; Deut. 8:7; Deut. 8:10; Deut. 8:11; Deut. 8:14; Deut. 8:18; Deut. 8:19; Deut. 8:20

MEMORY OF PAST ACTS OF GOD
FUELS ACTION IN PRESENT

That - This introduces a purpose clause.

He might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep (shamar) His commandments or not. - Even before Israel arrived at Mt Sinai to receive the Old Covenant, God humbled them by allowing them to go hungry. The Hebrew word humble means to afflict or send affliction. So first note very carefully that it was God Himself Who allowed/sent the affliction. The affliction or humbling was God's test of the people, specifically it was His "heart check up" or as one version (NLT) says His way of testing their character. In the present context, God humbled (afflicted) them by letting them go hungry, while at other times He tested them by allowing them to go thirsty. Then the text says the purpose was to see whether you would keep His commandments or not. The question arises "What commandments," because they had not even arrived at Mt Sinai to receive the "Ten Commandments?" We will explain this in the comment on the verse 3. 

Wiersbe  on in your heart God knows what's in the hearts of His children, but His children don't always know—or want to know. "And all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and the hearts" (Rev. 2:23NKJV). Life is a school (Ps. 90:12) and we often don't know what the lesson was until we failed the examination! People sometimes say, "Well, I know my own heart," but the frightening fact is that we don't know our own hearts. "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" (Jer. 17:9NIV) How we respond to the tests of life reveals what's really in our hearts, especially when those tests involve the everyday experience of life. The people of Israel were frequently hungry and thirsty and weary from the journey, and it was on those occasions that they became fretful and critical. The devil tempts us to bring out the worst in us, but God tests us to bring out the best in us. When God allows a difficult circumstance to test us, we will either trust Him and become more mature, or we will tempt Him and become more miserable. The difference? Believing the promises of God and relying on the Lord to care for us and bring us through for His glory and our good.  (Be Equipped)

Deere When Moses said that God tested the Israelites in order to know what was in their hearts he was using an anthropomorphism. God, of course, already knew what was in their hearts. The point is that their obedience or disobedience had to be proven in history. (Bible Knowledge Commentary)

J Vernon McGeeGod wants them to remember the past. They should see in the past that God has been dealing with them, that He has been testing and training them. God wants us to remember our past, too. Paul put it like this for the believer: "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6). We are to remember that God has led us and blessed us. Isn't this true for you? Can't you say that God has brought you up to this very moment? If He has done that in the past, He will continue to do so in the future. Remembering is for our encouragement. It is to give us assurance for the future. (Deuteronomy 8 Mp3's)

God tests His children and we see a NT parallel in First Peter...

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if (first class conditional = "SINCE IT IS") necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; (1Pe 1:6-7+)

And in James...

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  (James 1:2-4+)

Blessed (makarios - fully satisfied independent of circumstances) is a man who perseveres under trial; for (TERM OF EXPLANATION - WHY IS TRIAL A BLESSING?) once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. (James 1:12+)

Deuteronomy 8:3  "He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.

  • fed : Ex 16:2-3,12-35 Ps 78:23-25 Ps 105:40 1Co 10:3 
  • does: Ps 37:3 104:27-29 Mt 4:4 Lu 4:4 12:29,30 Heb 13:5,6 
  • Deuteronomy 8 Resources 

Related Passages:

Exodus 16:1-4+  Then they set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the sons of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departure from the land of Egypt. 2 The whole congregation of the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3 The sons of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the LORD’S hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”  4 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction. 5 “On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily.” 6 So Moses and Aaron said to all the sons of Israel, “At evening you will know that the LORD has brought you out of the land of Egypt; 7 and in the morning you will see the glory of the LORD, for He hears your grumblings against the LORD; and what are we, that you grumble against us?” 8 Moses said, “This will happen when the LORD gives you meat to eat in the evening, and bread to the full in the morning; for the LORD hears your grumblings which you grumble against Him. And what are we? Your grumblings are not against us but against the LORD.”

Exodus 16:16+This is what the LORD has commanded, ‘Gather of it every man as much as he should eat; you shall take an omer apiece according to the number of persons each of you has in his tent.’” 17 The sons of Israel did so, and some gathered much and some little. 18 When they measured it with an omer, he who had gathered much had no excess, and he who had gathered little had no lack; every man gathered as much as he should eat. 19 Moses said to them, “Let no man leave any of it until morning.” 20 But they did not listen to Moses, and some left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and became foul; and Moses was angry with them. 21 They gathered it morning by morning, every man as much as he should eat; but when the sun grew hot, it would melt. 22 Now on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one. When all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses, 23 then he said to them, “This is what the LORD meant: Tomorrow is a sabbath observance, a holy sabbath to the LORD. Bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over put aside to be kept until morning.” 24 So they put it aside until morning, as Moses had ordered, and it did not become foul nor was there any worm in it. 25 Moses said, “Eat it today, for today is a sabbath to the LORD; today you will not find it in the field. 26 “Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the sabbath, there will be none.”  27 It came about on the seventh day that some of the people went out to gather, but they found none. 28 Then the LORD said to Moses, “How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My instructions? 29 “See, the LORD has given you the sabbath; therefore He gives you bread for two days on the sixth day. Remain every man in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.” 

GOD HUMBLED
ISRAEL GRUMBLED

He humbled you and let you be hungry - So the humbling (affliction) of Israel was no food. This was also the test, but there seems to be more than one "test." In other words, Israel failed the first part of the test when "The whole congregation of the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness." (Ex 16:2, see above for full context of Ex 16:1-8) Then in Ex 16:4+ Yahweh tells Moses "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that (PURPOSE) I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction." Here the test was provision of manna and whether they would obey God's instructions regarding collection of the manna. So did Israel keep His commandments or not (Dt 8:2)? Notice in the related passages above the yellow highlighted passages from Exodus 16. The commandments from God were part of the test, and they (some of the people) failed both of these tests! This showed what was in their heart. In this case it was (1) failure to trust and obey God's promise and provision and (2) greed to feed the flesh! 

As an aside, in this first failure by Israel to obey God's simple commandments, disobedience made Moses angry, but there was no more severe punishment. So even though they profaned the Sabbath by disobeying, there was no corporal punishment. However after they arrived at Mt Sinai God specifically decreed that anyone who broke the Sabbath would be put to death. (Ex 31:14+). 

And fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know - In Ex 16:15+ "When the sons of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “It is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat." The gift of manna ceased when Israel entered the promised land (Josh 5:12). 

That (purpose clause) The purpose of the test in addition to showing them what was in their heart was to give them spiritual insight. 

He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone - Physical bread is for physical life. But man is also spiritual and thus needs spiritual food. The daily provision of manna taught Israel the spiritual lesson that they were dependent on God, not on themselves. 

MacArthur explains it this way - "Israel's food in the wilderness was decreed by the Word of God. They had manna because it came by God's command; therefore, ultimately it was not bread that kept them alive, but God's Word." (MacArthur Study Bible)

Wiersbe Each morning during their wilderness journey, God sent the Jewish people "angels' food" (Ps. 78:21-25) to teach them to depend on Him for what they needed. But the manna was much more than daily physical sustenance; it was a type of the coming Messiah who is "the bread of life" (John 6:35). When Satan tempted Him to turn stones into bread (Matt. 4:1-4), Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3 and indicated that the Word of God is also the bread of God; for we "feed on" Jesus Christ when we "feed on" the Word of God. God was teaching the Jews to look to Him for "daily bread" (Mt. 6:11) and to begin each day meditating on the Word of God. Those who obeyed God in the daily responsibility of gathering manna would be inclined to obey the rest of His commandments. Our relationship to the Word of God (manna) indicates our relationship to the God of the Word.  (Be Equipped)

But man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD - Lives in this context refers primarily to spiritual life. What proceeds out the mouth of the LORD is His Word and for us today it is found only in the written Word, the Bible. So for man to live spiritually, he must have regular intake of the Word of God, that which proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD

Lint says "Manna symbolized the Word of God which was more important than physical nourishment. God, Who was their basic Source of life, was worth listening to (ED: I WOULD ADD MUST BE LISTENED TO). Jesus employed this principle—the discipline of simple obedience to God’s Word—when tempted in the wilderness (Matt. 4:4). As manna, which God supplied, was necessary to sustain daily life physically, so God’s Word was essential to maintain their spiritual relationship with God. (The Complete Biblical Library – Deuteronomy)

Deuteronomy 8:3 is the first verse quoted by Jesus in refuting Satan's temptation, teaching that God's provision was enough. (Mt. 4:4; Lk 4:4) The other two quotes from Deuteronomy in His Temptation were from Deut. 6:13 and Deut 6:17.


Polish Surprise - E. Schuyler English, beloved Bible teacher of a previous generation, told the story of a small village in eastern Poland. The people were poor and not particularly well educated, and they lived some distance from the major cities of that country.

A man named Michael Billester visited the village on one of his trips as a colporteur (a traveling salesman specializing in Bibles and devotional literature) during the 1930s. Finding the population too poor to purchase even a single Bible, Billester gave one away to one of the village residents as he left.

He did not visit the small village again until 1940. While he was away, God was at work using that Bible he had left behind as a gift.

To begin with, the man who owned it read it and was converted through his reading. He was so filled with joy that he began to share the contents of his precious possession with others in the village. By the time Michael Billester came to the village again, others—some two hundred of them in fact, nearly the whole village—had been converted as well.

Upon his return, Billester was delighted to discover a transformed group of villagers. They, in turn, were thrilled to see the man who had by his generosity caused a revolution in their hometown. Since a Sunday was included in the time of his visit, Michael was asked to speak at the worship service.

Rather than bringing a prepared message, Billester suggested that the people recite verses of Scripture that had become particularly meaningful in their lives. Upon hearing this, one of the villagers stood up and asked, "Perhaps we misunderstood. Did you mean verses or chapters?"

Scarcely able to believe what he was hearing, Billester asked, "Do you mean that there are people here who can recite whole chapters of the Bible?"

That was indeed what the questioner had meant. It seems that the villagers had, entirely apart from any human guidance, come to recognize the immense value of the Scriptures. They had passed around the village's lone Bible, allowing each household to keep it for a month. As the time drew near when each family had to yield up the Bible to the next household, they could hardly bear the thought of losing it. As a result, they had begun to memorize long portions of the Scriptures so they could still "possess" it while others were enjoying the book itself. Some of them had memorized the Psalms; others had committed the Book of Genesis or Luke to memory. Between them, the two hundred people of the village had memorized nearly the entire Bible.

Those humble villagers had come to realize what others of greater "sophistication" sometimes overlook: that if God has spoken, his words are important. God intended man to be a verbivore, a "word eater," and to digest and personalize his revelation. Those Polish villagers had seen for themselves the wonderful power and virtue of personal interaction with Scripture. They could have declared the "amen" to Jeremiah's declaration: "Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart" (Jer. 15:16 NKJV). (Holman Old Testament Commentary – Deuteronomy)

Deuteronomy 8:4  "Your clothing did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years.

SUPERNATURAL
ATTIRE

Your clothing did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years - Not only did God provide food, but He provided clothing, clothing that was actually supernatural (miraculous just like the manna), evidence of His love and concern and provision for His people. This is also evidence of God's power. Not only did He have power to defeat great and mighty nations but He even had power over these "smaller" circumstances of life. Israel should have learned what He was the God from "A to Z" the Alpha and the Omega (and everything in between). If He took care of 2 million (+/-) for 40 years in a wilderness, He was fully capable of taking care of them in the land of milk and honey. And they needed to not forget their dependence on Him in the wilderness when they arrived in the land of plenty!

Later Moses mentions the "supernatural sandals" writing “I have led you forty years in the wilderness; your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandal has not worn out on your foot.(Dt 29:5+)

Deuteronomy 8:5  "Thus you are to know in your heart that the LORD your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son.

  • you are to know: De 4:9,23 Isa 1:3 Eze 12:3 18:28 
  • as a man: 2Sa 7:14 Job 5:17,18 Ps 89:32 94:12 Pr 3:12 1Co 11:32 Heb 12:5-11 Rev 3:19 
  • Deuteronomy 8 Resources 

DIVINE DESERT
DISCIPLINE

Thus you are to know in your heart that the LORD your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son - God's Word is a paraphrase which conveys the sense of the text "Learn this lesson by heart: The LORD your God was disciplining you as parents discipline their children." Israel was like spiritual toddlers who need to trained in righteousness. The training referred to here (e.g., humbling, etc) was to show them what was in their heart, and was not punitive as divine discipline is when we overtly disobey God (Heb 12:5-9), but even there the fruits borne in the "garden of divine discipline" include assurance of salvation, sharing God's holiness and bearing the peaceful fruit of righteousness. 

Deuteronomy 8:6  "Therefore, you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him.

OBEDIENCE 
AND FEAR

Therefore - Term of conclusion. Based upon the truths in the previous passages. 

You shall keep (shamar) the commandments of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him - NET has "So you must keep his commandments, live according to His standards, and revere Him." We keep the commandments when we walk in His ways and we are motivated to walk in His ways when we fear Him. The Proverbs say "the fear of the LORD is to hate evil" (Pr 8:13) and "by the fear of the LORD one keeps away from evil," (Pr 16:6), for "fear of the LORD leads to life." (Pr 19:23). 

Deuteronomy 8:7  "For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills;

GOD'S PART

For - He is explaining why we should keep and obey the commandments and a healthy fear of the LORD. So in verse 6 we see MAN'S RESPONSIBILITY and in verse 7 we see GOD'S SOVEREIGN provision. 

The LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills - The promised land would be a proverbial "land of plenty." 

Deuteronomy 8:8  a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey;

  • wheat: De 32:14 2Sa 4:6 1Ki 5:11 Ps 81:16 147:14 Eze 27:17 
  • barley: 2Ch 2:10-15 Joh 6:9,13 
  • vines: Isa 7:23 Jer 5:17 Ho 2:8,22 Mic 4:4 Hab 3:17 
  • Deuteronomy 8 Resources 

BOUNTIFUL LAND
GIFT OF GOD

A land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey - The land would incredibly fertile, in striking contrast to the wilderness land. And remember that in Josh 5:12, the manna ceased as they entered the land. Manna had taught them that they were absolutely dependent on the LORD for survival. It taught Israel to trust God, that He was their ultimate Provider. In the land of plenty they would be eating off the land, eating items they had planted and cultivated and grown. It would be tempting to forget the principle that every grain of wheat or barley, every grape, every fig, every pomegranate, every drop of olive oil or honey, were all gifts from Jehovah just as was the daily manna. 

Deuteronomy 8:9  a land where you will eat food without scarcity, in which you will not lack anything; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper.

NO FAMINE
NO LACK

a land where you will eat food without scarcity, in which you will not lack anything - Abundance was the keynote of the promised land. There was nothing they needed that God did not provide. 

a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper - Items made of iron and copper would be available. 

Deuteronomy 8:10  "When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you.

  • When you have eaten: De 6:11,12 Ps 103:2 Mt 14:19 Joh 6:23 Ro 14:6 1Co 10:31 1Th 5:18 1Ti 4:4,5 
  • you shall bless 1Ch 29:14 Ps 103:1-2 Pr 3:9 
  • Deuteronomy 8 Resources 

Related Passages:

Psalm 103:1-2  A Psalm of David. Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits (Literally - rewards, recompense); 

BLESS THE LORD
FOR EVERYTHING! 

When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you - This is a key verse. Note it begins with WHEN not if. So clearly Israel will eat and will be satisfied. Their divine reflex (not ritual) from their heart was to be to bless the LORD for everything they had. The good land would stand for and served as a "summarization" of everything that the good land provided as described in the previous passages. 

Deuteronomy 8:11  "Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today;

A RED FLASHING LIGHT
BEWARE! 

Beware  (shamar)  that you do not forget the LORD your God - Command to keep watch continually. Beware in the Septuagint is the verb prosecho in the present imperative  (and for us in the NT calls for us to continually depend on the Holy Spirit to obey). The active sense of this Greek verb is prosecho meaning to continually turn one's mind toward someone (in this case Yahweh), paying close attention not to let God and His goodness slip from our thoughts. 

By not keeping (shamar) His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today - The evidence of a forgetful heart is a disobedient heart. When we disobey, we are in effect demonstrating our spiritual amnesia regarding the fact that everything we have and everything we are comes from God! One is reminded of the words of James 1:17+ "Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow." 

Deuteronomy 8:12  otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them,

  • otherwise: De 28:47 31:20 32:15 Pr 30:9 Ho 13:5,6 
  • built: Ec 2:4 Jer 22:14,15 Eze 11:3 Am 5:11 Hag 1:4 Lu 17:28 
  • Deuteronomy 8 Resources 

"WHEN" A WARNING
"TIME PHRASE"

Otherwise - This otherwise serves as a term of contrast and warns of the shift of one's heart and mind from vertical orientation toward horizontal orientation.  Moses repeats the litany of good things that have come from above, from the hand of a loving God. 

When you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them - Not IF but WHEN - you will be satisfied because God is faithful to keep all His promises. They (we) must be faithful to remember they are His gifts, not something we earned, lest they (we) forget the Giver of the gifts! A good antidote is a continual attitude fo gratitude to God!

Deuteronomy 8:13  and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies,

Related Passages:

1 Ti 6:9-12+ But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.  11 But flee (present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) from these things, you man of God, and pursue (present imperative) righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. 12 Fight (present imperative) the good fight of faith; take hold of (aorist imperative ) the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

BEWARE: SATURITY
BREEDS SECURITY!

and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies - Again not IF but WHEN, for this will become their reality in the Promised Land. Moses has moved from fine foods and luxury dwellings to provision of flocks and finally silver and gold. These things are not simply increased but are multiplied (used three times for emphasis!)

John Trapp has some pithy words - Saturity oft breeds security; fulness, forgetfulness. The best, when full fed, are apt to wax wanton and will be dipping their fingers sometimes in the devil’s sauce. The moon never suffers eclipse but at the full, and that by the earth’s interposition. The young mules, when they have sucked, turn up their heels and kick at the dam. 

Deuteronomy 8:14  then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

  • heart: De 17:20 2Ch 26:16 32:25 Jer 2:31 1Co 4:7,8 
  • forget: De 8:11 Ps 106:21 Jer 2:6 
  • Deuteronomy 8 Resources 

A PROPHECY OF 
FORGETFULNESS

Then - This expression of time marks sequence or progression and is especially strategic in this passage. 

Your heart will become proud - Recall Moses began this chapter calling for a heart "check up" and now returns to the heart. The heart of most of our problems is the problem of our heart. In this case the heart gets "puffed up" as it were. 

THOUGHT - Beloved, when God takes the measure of a man or woman, He does not put a divine tape measure around their heads to see how much they know, but He puts it around their heart to see how much they obey! And a proud heart is on "fleshly auto-pilot" doing it's own thing, going it's own way, having totally forgotten that everything he or she has is from the almighty God. 

and you will forget the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery - Failure to remember is a slippery slope, and to forget God's goodness, especially His deliverance from bondage, is just one step away from forsaking Him. 

THOUGHT - Can this happen to believers? Can we forget the price necessary to redeem us from the bondage to sin and Satan? Can we forget the almighty Cross? There is room for only one "lord" on the throne of our heart, and it we have allowed our fallen flesh to usurp the rightful place of Christ, we are is serious trouble! Christ died to set us free, but when we allow flesh to reign, we fall into slavery to that harsh taskmaster. In context one of the antidotes for preventing forgetfulness is daily reminding ourselves of the price Christ paid to set us free. This is also one of the powerful positive effects of frequent celebration of the Lord's supper where Jesus even gives the command to "Do this in remembrance of Me. (1 Cor 11:24-25+)" Weekly (or even more often) celebration of Christ's death, burial, resurrection and return is in effect tantamount to "preaching the Gospel" to ourselves, a good way to fight forgetfulness, "For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes." (1 Cor 11:26+)

Deuteronomy 8:15  "He led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water; He brought water for you out of the rock of flint.

  • led: De 1:19 Ps 136:16 Isa 63:12-14 Jer 2:6 
  • fiery serpents: Nu 21:6 Ho 13:5 
  • brought: Ex 17:5 Nu 20:11 Ps 78:15,16 105:41 114:8 Isa 35:7 1Co 10:4 
  • Deuteronomy 8 Resources 

Related Passages:

Exodus 17:5+ (FIRST GENERATION "NO WATER TEST" - MOSES "PASSED")  Then the LORD said to Moses, “Pass before the people and take with you some of the elders of Israel; and take in your hand your staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6) “Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.” And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

Numbers 20:11+ (SECOND GENERATION "NO WATER TEST" - MOSES "FAILED") Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation and their beasts drank.

GOD'S GUIDANCE
AND PROVISION 

He led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water; He brought water for you out of the rock of flint - Notice the dark descriptions (great, terrible wilderness, fiery serpents, scorpions, thirsty dry ground) which presents a striking contrast to God's provision of water. But note that even in the dark descriptions, Yahweh was leading them, caring for them and ultimately providing life giving water. So while it is not specifically stated, clearly this was a humbling, testing time for Israel to teach them that God was the provider of literal water, which Paul says pointed to spiritual water of Christ. 

Deuteronomy 8:16  "In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end.

  • fed : De 8:3 Ex 16:15 
  • might: De 8:2 
  • to do : La 3:26-33 Jer 24:5,6 Ro 8:28 2Co 4:17 Heb 12:10,11 Jas 1:12 1Pe 1:7 
  • Deuteronomy 8 Resources 

Related Passage:

Exodus 16:14-15+ When the layer of dew evaporated, behold, on the surface of the wilderness there was a fine flake-like thing, fine as the frost on the ground.When the sons of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “It is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat.

GOD'S HUMBLING
AND TESTING OF ISRAEL

In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end - And so Moses comes full circle, having begun with divine provision of manna and the humbling and testing that it produced, emphasizing that this discipline was for their good. It was to train them for when they were "weaned" so to speak from the heavenly manna when they entered the promised land. Note that God did not humble them and test them to humiliate them or ruin them but to do good for them.

THOUGHT - Remember that the testing times from the hand of Jehovah should be teaching times for us. We usually learn far more spiritual truth in times of adversity than in times of plenty!

Related Resources:

Deuteronomy 8:17  "Otherwise, you may say in your heart, 'My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.'

SELF-DECEPTION IN
TIMES OF SATURITY

Otherwise - Another term of contrast. 

You may say in your heart - Note the emphasis on the heart, so that failure to remember the humbling/testing training serving to energize a correct assessment of 

My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth - Forgetting God soon leads to deception that we are "god" and that we are the source of all this wealth (and all the "accoutrements" associated with wealth). 

THOUGHT - Have we not all fallen into this subtle snare? (Rhetorical of course!) We achieved some success, even far more than we had thought was possible, and we begin to "look in the mirror" and it is not long before we forget the "good hand of the LORD" and we think our success is the result of the hard word of our hands! Deliver us from this deception LORD God. Amen.

Related Resource:

Deuteronomy 8:18  "But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

THE ANTIDOTE
FOR DANGEROUS PRIDE

But - Term of contrast. An important "change of direction" is called for in their (our) thinking. When we have "horizontal success" we need to buffer it with "vertical gratitude" (so to speak)! 

You shall remember the LORD your God - The spiritual antidote for spiritual amnesia is straightforward and is is to remember the LORD your God. Remember what He has done for you in the wilderness. Remember how you even got safely into the wilderness. 

A look back to God's work in one's life is good antidote for dealing with pride.

For it is He who is giving you power to make wealth - Why remember Him? It is because you could not make wealth, if He had not given the power, just like the power He gave to defeat the pagan inhabitants of the promised land. 

That He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day - To give Yahweh the credit for their wealth, would be to clearly validate the Abrahamic Covenant (Ge 12:2 - " And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you") and God's faithfulness to keep His covenant promises. The people of Israel would see it. Surrounding pagan nations would see it. And they too like Abraham might believe God's promises and their faith might be accounted to them as righteousness. (Ge 15:6). 

Related Resources:

Deuteronomy 8:19  "It shall come about if you ever forget the LORD your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you today that you will surely perish.

  • I testify against: Dt 4:26 Dt 28:58-68 Dt 29:25-28 Dt 30:18,19 Jos 23:13 1Sa 12:25 Da 9:2 Am 3:2 Zep 1:18 3:6 Lu 12:47,48 13:3,5 
  • Deuteronomy 8 Resources 

Related Passages (see also "forget" below):

Deuteronomy 4:9+  “Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons.

Deuteronomy 4:23+  “So watch yourselves, that you do not forget the covenant of the LORD your God which He made with you, and make for yourselves a graven image in the form of anything against which the LORD your God has commanded you.

A STERN, SOBERING
PROPHETIC WARNING

It shall come about if you ever forget the LORD your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them - While Moses begins with an "IF" sadly, it became a WHEN" because Remember that forgetting is the first step to forsaking. And man is made with a God shaped vacuum, so that Israel refuses to fill that vacuum with the true and living God, it will by default be drawn to the fulfillment of it by the false, dead gods. Note the progression of verbs - forget >go after> serve > worship. Woe! BEWARE

FORGET in Deuteronomy -  Dt 4:9 Dt 4:23 Dt 4:31 Dt 6:12 Dt 8:11 Dt 8:14 Dt 8:19 (see notes above) Dt 9:7 Dt 25:19

I testify against you today that you will surely perish - After all the great description of the good land and the bounty of that land, Moses turns a counterfeit coin over to show them the side that does not have "In God We Trust" written on it (so to speak). The wages of this coin are that they will (not might) surely perish. 

I testify - In the Septuagint the verb for testify is diamarturomai (Lk. 16:28; Acts 2:40; Acts 8:25; Acts 10:42; Acts 18:5; Acts 20:21; Acts 20:23; Acts 20:24; Acts 23:11; Acts 28:23; 1 Thess. 4:6; 1 Tim. 5:21; 2 Tim. 2:14; 2 Tim. 4:1; Heb. 2:6)(from diá = intensifies meaning conveying idea of "thoroughly" + marturomai = witness, bear witness) which means to testify earnestly, to charge as it if before witnesses (here God), to exhort earnestly and with authority in matters of extraordinary importance. It carries the idea of giving a forceful order or directive. Giving full, clear testimony. And so here Moses serves as a "witness" against Israel. This same concept of witnesses against Israel is repeated, often with heaven and earth being called to the "witness stand!" Dt 4:26 Dt 5:20 Dt 30:19 Dt 31:19
Dt 31:21 Dt 31:26 Dt 31:28. 

Deuteronomy 8:20  "Like the nations that the LORD makes to perish before you, so you shall perish; because you would not listen to the voice of the LORD your God.

Related Passages:

Daniel 9:11-12+ “Indeed all Israel has transgressed Your law and turned aside, not obeying Your voice; so the curse has been poured out on us, along with the oath which is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, for we have sinned against Him. 12“Thus He has confirmed His words which He had spoken against us and against our rulers who ruled us, to bring on us great calamity; for under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what was done to Jerusalem.


Are You Listening to the Master's Voice?

PERISH LIKE
THE PAGANS!

Like the nations that the LORD makes to perish before you, so you shall perish - The clear implication is that Israel would have defeated the pagans and possessed their possession promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, unconditional in that it will be fulfilled fully, but conditioned on their obedience. The land would always belong to Israel, but Israel would not be guaranteed of always belonging to the land, so to speak! They could (and later would) forfeit their right to inhabit the land and the blessing that went with that promise. God however would never renege on His promises in that covenant. 

because you would not listen to the voice of the LORD your God - This passage is an excellent illustration of the fact that listen conveys far more than just hearing "sound waves!" In this context it is crystal clear that listening that pleases God is listening that obeys, not listening that is in one ear and out the other! (cf James 1:22+)