See Deuteronomy 6:10 note.
The fewest of all people - God chose for Himself Israel, when as yet but a single family, or rather a single person, Abraham; though there were already numerous nations and powerful kingdoms in the earth. Increase Deuteronomy 1:10; Deuteronomy 10:22 had taken place because of the very blessing of God spoken of in Deuteronomy 7:8.
Repayeth them that hate him to their face - i. e., punishes His enemies in their own proper persons.
Neither shalt thou make marriages, etc. - The heart being naturally inclined to evil, there is more likelihood that the idolatrous wife should draw aside the believing husband, than that the believing husband should be able to bring over his idolatrous wife to the true faith.
God strictly forbade the intermarrying of His ancient people with other nations. The plea is now offered that this prohibition was made in order to prevent the Hebrews from marrying idolaters and forming connections with heathen families. But the heathen were in a more favorable condition than are the impenitent in this age, who, having the light of truth, yet persistently refuse to accept it. The sinner of today is far more guilty than the heathen, because the light of the gospel shines clearly all around him. He violates conscience and is a deliberate enemy of God. The reason which God assigned for forbidding these marriages was: “For they will turn away thy son from following Me.” Those among ancient Israel who ventured to disregard the prohibition of God did it at the sacrifice of religious principle. Take the case of Solomon for example. His wives turned away his heart from his God. 4T 508.1Read in context »
In the deliverance of Israel from Egypt a knowledge of the power of God spread far and wide. The warlike people of the stronghold of Jericho trembled. “As soon as we had heard these things,” said Rahab, “our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for Jehovah your God, He is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.” Joshua 2:11. Centuries after the exodus the priests of the Philistines reminded their people of the plagues of Egypt, and warned them against resisting the God of Israel. PP 369.1
God called Israel, and blessed and exalted them, not that by obedience to His law they alone might receive His favor and become the exclusive recipients of His blessings, but in order to reveal Himself through them to all the inhabitants of the earth. It was for the accomplishment of this very purpose that He commanded them to keep themselves distinct from the idolatrous nations around them. PP 369.2
Idolatry and all the sins that followed in its train were abhorrent to God, and He commanded His people not to mingle with other nations, to “do after their works“, and forget God. He forbade their marriage with idolaters, lest their hearts should be led away from Him. It was just as necessary then as it is now that God's people should be pure, “unspotted from the world.” They must keep themselves free from its spirit, because it is opposed to truth and righteousness. But God did not intend that His people, in self-righteous exclusiveness, should shut themselves away from the world, so that they could have no influence upon it. PP 369.3
Like their Master, the followers of Christ in every age were to be the light of the world. The Saviour said, “A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house”—that is, in the world. And He adds, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16. This is just what Enoch, and Noah, Abraham, Joseph, and Moses did. It is just what God designed that His people Israel should do. PP 369.4Read in context »
Only a remnant had chosen to return from Babylon; and now, as they undertake a work seemingly beyond their strength, their nearest neighbors come with an offer of help. The Samaritans refer to their worship of the true God, and express a desire to share the privileges and blessings connected with the temple service. “We seek your God, as ye do,” they declare. “Let us build with you.” But had the Jewish leaders accepted this offer of assistance, they would have opened a door for the entrance of idolatry. They discerned the insincerity of the Samaritans. They realized that help gained through an alliance with these men would be as nothing in comparison with the blessing they might expect to receive by following the plain commands of Jehovah. PK 568.1
Regarding the relation that Israel should sustain to surrounding peoples, the Lord had declared through Moses: “Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them: neither shalt thou make marriages with them; ... for they will turn away thy son from following Me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.” “Thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto Himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.” Deuteronomy 7:2-4; 14:2. PK 568.2Read in context »
In the uprightness of his heart, he exhorts the congregation of Israel: “Let your heart, therefore, be perfect with the Lord our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.” As long as Solomon steadfastly obeyed the commandments, God was with him, as he had entreated that he might be, as he was with David. “Thou hast shown unto my father David great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart.” 4aSG 100.1
There is enough contained in these words to silence every skeptic in regard to God's sanctioning the sins of David and Solomon. God was merciful to them according as they walked before him in truth, righteousness, and uprightness of heart. Just according to their faithfulness, God dealt with them. 4aSG 100.2
Solomon walked for many years uprightly before God. Wisdom was given him of God to judge the people with impartiality and mercy. But even this exalted, learned, and once good man, fell through yielding to temptations connected with his prosperity and honored position. He forgot God, and the solemn conditions of his success. He fell into the sinful practice of other kings, of having many wives, which was contrary to God's arrangement. God commanded Moses to warn the people against their having a plurality of wives. “Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away. Neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.” 4aSG 100.3
Solomon's heart was turned from God when he multiplied to himself wives of idolatrous nations. God had expressly forbidden his people to intermarry with idolatrous nations, for he had chosen them as his peculiar treasure. “For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods. And his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David, his father.” “And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he kept not that which the Lord commanded. Wherefore, the Lord said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant.” The Lord informed Solomon by his prophet of his purpose concerning him. That he would cause his prosperity to cease, and would raise up adversaries against him, and he should no longer reign as universal monarch upon the throne of Israel. Had Solomon died prior to his departing from God, his life would have been one of the most remarkable upon record. But he tarnished his lustre, and exhibited a striking example of the weakness of the wisest of mortals. The greatest men, and the wisest, will surely fail, unless their lives are marked with trust in God, and obedience to his commandments. 4aSG 100.4Read in context »
The utter destruction of the people of Jericho was but a fulfillment of the commands previously given through Moses concerning the inhabitants of Canaan: “Thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them.” Deuteronomy 7:2. “Of the cities of these people, ... thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth.” Deuteronomy 20:16. To many these commands seem to be contrary to the spirit of love and mercy enjoined in other portions of the Bible, but they were in truth the dictates of infinite wisdom and goodness. God was about to establish Israel in Canaan, to develop among them a nation and government that should be a manifestation of His kingdom upon the earth. They were not only to be inheritors of the true religion, but to disseminate its principles throughout the world. The Canaanites had abandoned themselves to the foulest and most debasing heathenism, and it was necessary that the land should be cleared of what would so surely prevent the fulfillment of God's gracious purposes. PP 492.1
The inhabitants of Canaan had been granted ample opportunity for repentance. Forty years before, the opening of the Red Sea and the judgments upon Egypt had testified to the supreme power of the God of Israel. And now the overthrow of the kings of Midian, of Gilead and Bashan, had further shown that Jehovah was above all gods. The holiness of His character and His abhorrence of impurity had been evinced in the judgments visited upon Israel for their participation in the abominable rites of Baalpeor. All these events were known to the inhabitants of Jericho, and there were many who shared Rahab's conviction, though they refused to obey it, that Jehovah, the God of Israel, “is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath.” Like the men before the Flood, the Canaanites lived only to blaspheme Heaven and defile the earth. And both love and justice demanded the prompt execution of these rebels against God and foes to man. PP 492.2
How easily the armies of heaven brought down the walls of Jericho, that proud city whose bulwarks, forty years before, had struck terror to the unbelieving spies! The Mighty One of Israel had said, “I have given into thine hand Jericho.” Against that word human strength was powerless. PP 492.3Read in context »