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Deuteronomy 29:4

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

The Lord hath not given you a heart, etc. - Some critics read this verse interrogatively: And hath not God given you a heart, etc.? because they suppose that God could not reprehend them for the non-performance of a duty, when he had neither given them a mind to perceive the obligation of it, nor strength to perform it, had that obligation been known. Though this is strictly just, yet there is no need for the interrogation, as the words only imply that they had not such a heart, etc., not because God had not given them all the means of knowledge, and helps of his grace and Spirit, which were necessary; but they had not made a faithful use of their advantages, and therefore they had not that wise, loving, and obedient heart which they otherwise might have had. If they had had such a heart, it would have been God's gift, for he is the author of all good; and that they had not such a heart was a proof that they had grieved his Spirit, and abused the grace which he had afforded them to produce that gracious change, the want of which is here deplored. Hence God himself is represented as grieved because they were unchanged and disobedient: "O that there were such a heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them and with their children for ever!" See Deuteronomy 5:29; (note), and the note there.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Ability to understand the things of God is the gift of God (compare 1 Corinthians 2:13-14); yet man is not guiltless if he lacks that ability. The people had it not because they had not felt their want of it, nor asked for it. Compare 2 Corinthians 3:14-15.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Both former mercies, and fresh mercies, should be thought on by us as motives to obedience. The hearing ear, and seeing eye, and the understanding heart, are the gift of God. All that have them, have them from him. God gives not only food and raiment, but wealth and large possessions, to many to whom he does not give grace. Many enjoy the gifts, who have not hearts to perceive the Giver, nor the true design and use of the gifts. We are bound, in gratitude and interest, as well as in duty and faithfulness, to keep the words of the covenant.
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