II. THE CONTENTS OF THE COVENANT
In 29:18—30:10 we have the contents of the covenant. This is an important matter.
A. There Not Being among the Children of Israel
Any Man, Woman, Family, or Tribe Whose Heart
Turned Away from Jehovah Their God,
to Go and Serve the Gods of the Nations,
and There Not Being among Them
a Root Bearing Poisonous Fruit and Wormwood
There was not to be among the children of Israel any man, woman, family, or tribe whose heart turned away from Jehovah their God, to go and serve the gods of the nations (v. 18a). This was God’s unique concern regarding Israel. He was concerned that some day they would turn away from Him and go the way of the idols. This would be an insult to God, and it would cause Him to punish the people severely.
Furthermore, there was not to be among the children of Israel a root bearing poisonous fruit and wormwood (v. 18b), one who blessed himself in his heart, saying, "I will have peace, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart; to the ruin of the moist with the dry" (v. 19). The root here refers to a rebellious person who rises up from among the people, similar to those mentioned in Acts 20:30, the ones who speak "perverted things to draw away the disciples after themselves." Eventually, such a rebellious person becomes a root bearing poisonous fruit and wormwood. The expression to the ruin of the moist with the dry is a Hebrew idiom indicating destruction of everything in his path. Jehovah would not be willing to pardon this kind of person, but rather His anger and jealousy would fume against that man, all the curses in this book would settle on him, and Jehovah would blot out his name from under heaven (v. 20). Moreover, Jehovah would separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel (v. 21).
B. The Following Generation of Israel
and the Foreigner Coming from a Distant Land,
Seeing the Plagues of the Land and Its Diseases
The following generation of Israel and the foreigner coming from a distant land, seeing the plagues of the land and its diseases, and that all the land was sulphur and salt, a burning waste, that it was not sown, nor did it sprout, nor did any vegetation come up in it, would say, "Why has Jehovah done this to this land?" (vv. 22-24). The answer would be that because the children of Israel forsook the covenant of Jehovah and went and served other gods, the anger of Jehovah burned against that land, bringing upon it all the curses; and Jehovah plucked them out of their land in anger and in great indignation and sent them to another land (vv. 25-28).
Verse 29 concludes, "The things that are hidden belong to Jehovah our God; but the things that are revealed, to us and our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law." This indicates that we should take care of the revealed things and not seek the hidden things. For the children of Israel in Deuteronomy 29, the things revealed were the law, the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments. They were to take care of these things so that they might do all the words of the law.
(Life-Study of Deuteronomy, Chapter 27, by Witness Lee)