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Deuteronomy: The Second Law - Speech 8

A commentary on the eighth speech of Moses in Deuteronomy 27-28. The book of Deuteronomy is a series of 12 speeches that Moses gave just before his death at the end of Israel's wilderness journey.

Category - Bible Commentaries

Chapter 14

Lawless Treatment of Children

The iron yoke of Deut. 28:48 is described in the rest of the chapter in terms of war and captivity to foreign lands. Verse 51 begins to describe the siege itself:

51 Moreover, it [the invading nation] shall eat the offspring of your herd and the produce of your ground until you are destroyed, who also leaves you no grain, new wine, or oil, nor the increase of your herd or the young of your flock until they have caused you to perish. 52 And it shall besiege you in all your towns until your high and fortified walls in which you trusted come down throughout your land, and it shall besiege you in all your towns throughout your land which the Lord your God has given you.

Men may try to arm themselves and fortify themselves against foreign enemies, but when they are disobedient and come under the curse of the law, they cannot protect themselves from God. Walls will never be high enough to offer security from divine judgment. To put one’s trust in military strength or in fortifications and defense is futile. The only true defense is to turn back to God and repent of national lawlessness.

Moses pays special attention to “the offspring of your herd and the produce of your ground.” This sets up the next level of divine judgment—the offspring of the people and the children which they produce from their own “earth.” Deut. 28:53 says,

53 Then you shall eat the offspring of your own body, the flesh of your sons and of your daughters whom the Lord your God has given you, during the siege and the distress by which your enemy shall oppress you.

This shows a natural progression of a siege. After eating the food that the people have stored, they begin to eat their own children. God’s pressure steadily increases as long as the people refuse to repent. As long as they see the foreign army as “the enemy,” the problem only becomes increasingly worse. The key to reversing such judgment is in seeing ourselves as our own worst enemy. Lev. 26:40-42 says,

40 If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forefathers, in their unfaithfulness against Me, and also in their acting with hostility against Me— 41 I also was acting with hostility against them, to bring them into the land of their enemies—or if their uncircumcised heart becomes humbled so that they then make amends for their iniquity, 42 then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and I will remember also My covenant with Isaac, and My covenant with Abraham as well, and I will remember the land.

In such situations, patriotism becomes the real problem, because unrepentant leaders will inevitably point to the foreigners as the enemy and extol patriotic fervor as the solution. God is always thought to be on our side in any war. Our own cause is always just. The enemy is always wrong. How often we hear politicians and monarchs invoking the name of God and asking for God to bless them while they reject His sovereignty over the nation and cast aside His laws. “Lord, bless us so that we can sin without suffering its consequences,” they seem to say.

As long as we advocate patriotism in place of obedience to God, the curse of the law will continue unabated. As long as we regard obedience to the state and respect the laws of men above God and His laws, the curse of God will not be lifted. This is the message of Moses, and it is confirmed by the prophets.

The Siege and the Famine

Deut. 28:54-57 gives us a graphic and gruesome picture of the nation that persists in its refusal to repent:

54 The man who is refined and very delicate among you shall be hostile toward his brother and toward the wife he cherishes and toward the rest of his children who remain, 55 so that he will not give even one of them any of the flesh of his children which he shall eat, since he has nothing else left, during the siege and the distress by which your enemy shall oppress you in all your towns. 56 The refined and delicate woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground for delicateness and refinement, shall be hostile toward the husband she cherishes, and toward her son and daughter, 57 and toward her afterbirth which issues from between her legs and toward her children whom she bears; for she shall eat them secretly for lack of anything else, during the siege and the distress by which your enemy shall oppress you in your towns.

When lawless people are starving and face certain death, the depths of their hearts are revealed. We are given an example of this in 2 Kings 6:24-30,

24 Now it came about after this, that Ben-hadad king of Aram gathered all his army and went up and besieged Samaria. 25 And there was a famine in Samaria; and behold, they besieged it, until a donkey’s head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and a fourth of a kab of dove’s dung for five shekels of silver.

Samaria was the capital of Israel, which bordered Aram (Syria). Israel was ruled by King Jehoram at the time, not to be confused with King Jehoram of Judah who ruled about the same time. The siege of Samaria caused a food shortage in the city, causing the people to value a donkey’s head at eighty shekels of silver (160 days’ wages at common labor).

Dove’s dung was always of value during a siege, because, like bat guano, it was an excellent fertilizer and could bring vegetables to maturity much faster.

Prophetically speaking, donkeys are a symbol of Pentecost, for every biblical story involving donkeys speaks of Pentecost or the church in the Pentecostal Age. See my book, The Wheat and Asses of Pentecost.

In the story, the donkey’s head was sold as food, even though it was unclean according to the food laws in Lev. 11:3. Donkeys do not have a divided hoof, and so they represent spiritual food that is dispensed or eaten without standing on a double witness.

Likewise, dove’s dung represents a past movement of the Holy Spirit. Dove’s dung is evidence of a great revival in the past, but now long dead. When a revival approaches death, the people entomb it as a  denomination in the attempt to keep it alive beyond its time. Past revivals, like dove’s dung, are excellent fertilizer as we study its revelations, but we are to seek fresh revelation in each generation. Old manna becomes wormy (Exodus 16:20), even when refrigerated in a denominational creed.

In the siege of Samaria, the food shortage also caused women to eat their own children, as we read in 2 Kings 6:28, 29. Two women had made an agreement to eat their children to survive the siege. One woman was to boil her son the first day and share with the other; and the other woman was to do the same the following day. They ate the son of the first woman, but the second woman changed her mind the second day.

The first woman then appealed to the king, and he tore his clothes in despair. This revealed the fact that the king was wearing sackcloth under his royal garments (2 Kings 6:30). Sackcloth is a sign of repentance, but as king, he should have made it a public matter. This indicates that he knew that his lawlessness was the problem, but he did not want to admit it in public, for that would mean his public laws would have to be changed to conform to God’s law. He was unwilling to go that far, so he was still praying that God would save them in order to allow the nation to continue in its lawless ways.

His attempt to repent was revealed when he tore his robes. But the lawlessness in his heart was laid bare when he blamed Samaria’s troubles on Elisha in 2 Kings 6:31,

31 Then he said, “My God do so to me and more also, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat remains on him today.”

He swore to kill Elisha, because Elisha advocated the laws of God. The king knew that the curse of the law was upon Israel for its sin. He was therefore angry with God, but because he could not kill God, he wanted to kill God’s prophet.

Elisha then prophesied that there would be plenty of food the next day. The king’s officer, who had come to arrest Elisha, did not believe this word, so Elisha told him that he would see it but would not eat of it (2 Kings 7:2).

As the story goes, four lepers decided to leave the city and put themselves at the mercy of the Syrians rather than starve in Samaria. They found the Syrian camp empty, as the Syrian army had fled for no apparent reason. Food then was plentiful, and the siege was lifted. The people stampeded to the camp, and the king’s officer was trampled to death before he could eat.

The fact that Elisha was spared suggests that King Jehoram repented of blaming the prophet. What transpired between the king and the prophet is not recorded, but we see its result the following day. King Jehoram must have repented of his hostility toward God, because God ended His own hostility against Israel, according to the law.

It is also interesting that God chose four lepers, the outcasts of society, to be the first partakers of the blessing of God. But that is beyond the scope of our present study. It is enough for now to see this story as an example illustrating Deut. 28:57.

Modern Application to America

It may be helpful also to discuss how this particular curse of the law applies to America under the wooden yoke. God blinded America so that the people would willingly submit to the wooden yoke of Mystery Babylon. Hence, it was the mercy of God, rather than the submissiveness of the people which allowed us to fulfill our sentence without invasion, destruction, and perhaps even deportation.

Under the wooden yoke, all of the curses of the law are fulfilled in a more subtle manner than under an iron yoke. We do not avoid these curses, but in many cases we have opportunity to avoid them personally, if we are compliant to the laws of God. This is the benefit of being under a wooden yoke.

For example, the lawless were induced to join the drug culture of the 1960’s. Genuine believers were not forced to participate. Likewise, when the Supreme Court legalized abortion on demand in 1973, it was voluntary. Unlike China’s policy, no one was forced to abort their second child. Hence, the curse of the law fell only upon the lawless ones, who then “ate” their children. How? The Hebrew language uses a lot of metaphors. For instance, in Num. 13:32 the ten spies gave an evil report saying, “The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants.”

Joshua’s reply in Num. 14:9 was, “they are bread for us” (KJV). Joshua was not suggesting that Israel literally eat the Canaanites. It was simply a metaphor. The NASB renders it, “they shall be our prey.” Whereas the King James Version renders it literally, the NASB gives us the metaphorical meaning.

Suppose a man goes hunting, kills a deer, and then brings it home to eat. The deer is treated as “prey” rather than being made into a pet or assimilated into the household.

If we treat our children as prey, it is as if we “eat” them. That is the force of the Hebrew metaphor. When a woman obtains an abortion, she treats her child as prey—something to be hunted down and killed. In that way, she “eats” her child, usually without realizing that she is voluntarily fulfilling the curse of the law under the terms of a wooden yoke. The lawless ones volunteer, while the lawful ones are exempt.

In a secondary manner, in the 1970’s hospitals and abortion clinics used to sell their bio-waste to hog farms in order to increase their profits. Aborted babies were thus fed to hogs. The hogs were sold on the open market, people then ate the hogs, and so they indirectly ate their own children.

Of course, those who followed the food laws did not participate in this. We were told that this practice ended, due to potential public outrage, but I do not know of any law yet that prohibits abortion clinics from continuing this practice in secret.