Here Moses concludes his general exhortations to obedience; and his management is very affecting, and such as, one would think, should have engaged them for ever to God, and should have left impressions upon them never to be worn out.
I. He sums up all his arguments for obedience in two words, the blessing and the curse (Deut. 11:26), that is, the rewards and the punishments, as they stand in the promises and the threatenings, which are the great sanctions of the law, taking hold of hope and fear, those two handles of the soul, by which it is caught, held, and managed. These two, the blessing and the curse, he set before them, that is, 1. He explained them, that they might know them; he enumerated the particulars contained both in the blessing and in the curse, that they might see the more fully how desirable the blessing was, and how dreadful the curse. 2. He confirmed them, that they might believe them, made it evident to them, by the proofs he produced of his own commission, that the blessing was not a fool’s paradise, nor the curse a bugbear, but that both were real declarations of the purpose of God concerning them. 3. He charged them to choose which of these they would have, so fairly does he deal with them, and so far is he from putting out the eyes of these men, as he was charged, Num. 16:14. They and we are plainly told on what terms we stand with Almighty God. (1.) If we be obedient to his laws, we may be sure of a blessing, Deut. 11:27. But, (2.) If we be disobedient, we may be as sure of a curse, Deut. 11:28. Say you to the righteous (for God has said it, and all the world cannot unsay it) that it shall be well with them: but woe to the wicked, it shall be ill with them.
II. He appoints a public and solemn proclamation to be made of the blessing and curse which he had set before them, upon the two mountains of Gerizim and Ebal, Deut. 11:29, 30. We have more particular directions for this solemnity in Deut. 27:11; and an account of the performance of it, John 8:33 It was to be done, and was done, immediately upon their coming into Canaan, that when they first took possession of that land they might know upon what terms they stood. The place where this was to be done is particularly described by Moses, though he never saw it, which is one circumstance among many that evidences his divine instructions. It is said be near the plain, or oaks, or meadows, of Moreh, which was one of the first places that Abraham came to in Canaan; so that in sending them thither, to hear the blessing and the curse, God reminded them of the promise he made to Abraham in that very place, Gen. 12:6, 7. The mention of this appointment here serves, 1. For the encouragement of their faith in the promise of God, that they should be masters of Canaan quickly. Do it (says Moses) on the other side Jordan (Deut. 11:30), for you may be confident you shall pass over Jordan, Deut. 11:31. The institution of this service to be done in Canaan was an assurance to them that they should be brought into possession of it, and a token like that which God gave to Moses (Exod. 3:12): You shall serve God upon this mountain. And, 2. It serves for an engagement upon them to be obedient, that they might escape that curse, and obtain that blessing, which, besides what they had already heard, they must shortly be witnesses to the solemn publication of (Deut. 11:32): “You shall observe to do the statutes and judgements, that you may not in that solemnity be witnesses against yourselves.”