and one tribe might not encroach upon another, but throughout their generations there might remain immoveable the ancient landmarks, set, not by their fathers, but by the God of their fathers.
3. The submission of the daughters of Zelophehad to this appointment. How could they but marry well, and to their satisfaction, when God himself directed them? They married their father's brothers' sons, v. 10. . 12. By this it appears, (1.) That the marriage of cousin-germans is not in itself unlawful, nor within the degrees prohibited, for then God would not have countenanced these marriages. But, (2.) That ordinarily it is not advisable: for if there had not been a particular reason for it, (which cannot hold in any case now, inheritances being not disposed of as then by the special designation of Heaven,) they would not have married such near relations. The world is wide, and he that walks uprightly, will endeavour to walk surely.
Lastly, The conclusion of this whole book, refer ring to the latter part of it; these are the judgments which the Lord commanded in the plains of Moab; (v. 13.) these foregoing, ever since, ch. 26. most of which related to their settlement in Canaan, into which they were now entering. Whatever new condition God is by his providence bringing us into, we must beg of him to teach us the duty of it, and to enable us to do it, that we may do the work of the day in its day, of the place in its place.
OF THE FIFTH BOOK OF MOSES, CALLED
This book is a repetition of very much both of the history and of the laws contained in the three foregoing books; which repetition Moses delivered to Israel, (both by word of mouth, that it might affect, and by writing, that it might abide,) a little before his death. There is no new history in it but that of the death of Moses in the last chapter, nor any new revelation to Moses, for aught that appears, and therefore the style here is not, as before, The Lord spake unto Moses, saying. But the former laws are repeated and commented upon, explained and enlarged and some particular precepts added to them, with copious reasonings for the enforcing of them; in this, Moses was divinely inspired and assisted, so that this is as truly the word of the Lord by Moses, as that which was spoken to him with an audible voice out of the tabernacle of the congregation. Lev. 1. 1. The Greek interpreters called it Deuteronomy, which signifies the second law; or a second, edition of the law, not with amendments, for there needed none, but with additions, for the further direction of the people in divers cases not mentioned before. Now,
I. It was much for the honour of the divine law, that it should be thus repeated; how great were the things of that law which was thus inculcated, and how inexcusable would they be by whom they were counted as a strange thing! Hos. 8. 12.
II. There might be a particular reason for the repeating of it now; the men of that generation to which the law was first given, were all dead, and a new generation was sprung up, to whom God would have it repeated by Moses himself, that, if possible, it might make a lasting impression upon them. Now that they were just going to take possession of the land of Canaan, Moses must read the articles of agreement to them, that they might know upon what terms and conditions they were to hold and enjoy that land, and might understand that they were upon their good behaviour in it.
III. It would be of great use to the people to have those part's of the law thus gathered up and put together, which did more immediately concern them, and their practice; for the laws which concerned the priests and Levites, and the execution of their offices, are not repeated; it was enough for them that they were once delivered; but, in compassion to the infirmities of the people, the laws of more common concern are delivered a second time. Precept must be upon precept, and line upon line, Isa. 28. 10. The great and needful truths of the gospel should be often pressed upon people by the ministers of Christ. To write the same things (says Paul, Philip 3. 1.) to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. What God has spoken once, we have need to hear twice, to hear many times, and it is well if, after all, it be duly perceived and regarded.——Three ways this book of Deuteronomy was magnified and made honourable; 1. The king was to write a copy of it with his own hand, and to read therein all the days of his life, ch. 17, 18, 19. 2. It was to be written upon great stones plastered, at their passing over Jordan, ch. 27. 2, 3. 3. It was to be read publicly every seventh year, at the feast of tabernacles, by the priests, in the audience (of all Israel, ch. 31. 9, &c. The Gospel is a kind of Deuteronomy, a second law, a remedial law, a special law, a law of faith; by it we are under the Law to Christ, and it is a law that makes the comers thereunto perfect.——This book of Deuteronomy begins with a brief rehearsal of the most remarkable events that had befallen the Israelites since they came from mount Si-