Reiteration of the Call to Obedience1 You must love the Lord your God and do what he requires; keep his statutes, ordinances, and commandments ▼
▼ This collocation of technical terms for elements of the covenant text lends support to its importance and also signals a new section of paraenesis in which Moses will exhort Israel to covenant obedience. The Hebrew term מִשְׁמָרוֹת (mishmarot, “obligations”) sums up the three terms that follow – חֻקֹּת (khuqot), מִשְׁפָּטִים (mishppatim), and מִצְוֹת (mitsot).at all times. 2 Bear in mind today that I am not speaking ▼
▼ Heb “that not.” The words “I am speaking” have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.to your children who have not personally experienced the judgments ▼
▼ Heb “who have not known and who have not seen the discipline of the Lord.” The collocation of the verbs “know” and “see” indicates that personal experience (knowing by seeing) is in view. The term translated “discipline” (KJV, ASV “chastisement”) may also be rendered “instruction,” but vv. 2b–6 indicate that the referent of the term is the various acts of divine judgment the Israelites had witnessed.of the Lord your God, which revealed ▼
▼ The words “which revealed” have been supplied in the translation to show the logical relationship between the terms that follow and the divine judgments. In the Hebrew text the former are in apposition to the latter.his greatness, strength, and power. ▼
▼ Heb “his strong hand and his stretched-out arm.”3 They did not see ▼
▼ In the Hebrew text vv. 2–7 are one long sentence. For stylistic reasons the English translation divides the passage into three sentences. To facilitate this stylistic decision the words “They did not see” are supplied at the beginning of both v. 3 and v. 5, and “I am speaking” at the beginning of v. 7.the awesome deeds he performed ▼
▼ Heb “his signs and his deeds which he did” (NRSV similar). The collocation of “signs” and “deeds” indicates that these acts were intended to make an impression on observers and reveal something about God’s power (cf. v. 2b). The word “awesome” has been employed to bring out the force of the word “signs” in this context.in the midst of Egypt against Pharaoh king of Egypt and his whole land, 4 or what he did to the army of Egypt, including their horses and chariots, when he made the waters of the Red Sea ▼ overwhelm them while they were pursuing you and he ▼
▼ Heb “the Lord.” The pronoun has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons to avoid redundancy.annihilated them. ▼
▼ Heb “and the Lord destroyed them to this day” (cf. NRSV); NLT “he has kept them devastated to this very day.” The translation uses the verb “annihilated” to indicate the permanency of the action.5 They did not see ▼ what he did to you in the desert before you reached this place, 6 or what he did to Dathan and Abiram, ▼ sons of Eliab the Reubenite, ▼
▼ Or “the descendant of Reuben”; Heb “son of Reuben.”when the earth opened its mouth in the middle of the Israelite camp ▼
▼ Heb “in the midst of all Israel” (so KJV, ASV, NRSV); NASB “among all Israel.” In the Hebrew text these words appear at the end of the verse, but they are logically connected with the verbs. To make this clear the translation places the phrase after the first verb.and swallowed them, their families, ▼
▼ Heb “their houses,” referring to all who lived in their household. Cf. KJV, ASV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT “households.”their tents, and all the property they brought with them. ▼
▼ Heb “and all the substance which was at their feet.”7 I am speaking to you ▼ because you are the ones who saw all the great deeds of the Lord!
The Abundance of the Land of Promise8 Now pay attention to all the commandments ▼ I am giving ▼ you today, so that you may be strong enough to enter and possess the land where you are headed, ▼
▼ Heb “which you are crossing over there to possess it.”9 and that you may enjoy long life in the land the Lord promised to give to your ancestors ▼ and their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10 For the land where you are headed ▼
▼ Heb “you are going there to possess it”; NASB “into which you are about to cross to possess it”; NRSV “that you are crossing over to occupy.”is not like the land of Egypt from which you came, a land where you planted seed and which you irrigated by hand ▼
▼ Heb “with your foot” (so NASB, NLT). There is a two-fold significance to this phrase. First, Egypt had no rain so water supply depended on human efforts at irrigation. Second, the Nile was the source of irrigation waters but those waters sometimes had to be pumped into fields and gardens by foot-power, perhaps the kind of machinery (Arabic shaduf) still used by Egyptian farmers (see C. Aldred, The Egyptians, 181). Nevertheless, the translation uses “by hand,” since that expression is the more common English idiom for an activity performed by manual labor.like a vegetable garden. 11 Instead, the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy ▼
▼ Heb “which you are crossing over there to possess it.”is one of hills and valleys, a land that drinks in water from the rains, ▼
▼ Heb “rain of heaven.”12 a land the Lord your God looks after. ▼
▼ Heb “seeks.” The statement reflects the ancient belief that God (Baal in Canaanite thinking) directly controlled storms and rainfall.He is constantly attentive to it ▼
▼ Heb “the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it” (so NIV); NASB, NRSV “always on it.”▼ from the beginning to the end of the year. ▼ 13 Now, if you pay close attention ▼
▼ Heb “if hearing, you will hear.” The Hebrew text uses the infinitive absolute to emphasize the verbal idea. The translation renders this emphasis with the word “close.”to my commandments that I am giving you today and love ▼ the Lord your God and serve him with all your mind and being, ▼ 14 then he promises, ▼ “I will send rain for your land ▼
▼ Heb “the rain of your land.” In this case the genitive (modifying term) indicates the recipient of the rain.in its season, the autumn and the spring rains, ▼
▼ The autumn and the spring rains. The “former” (יוֹרֶה, yoreh) and “latter” (מַלְקוֹשׁ, malqosh) rains come in abundance respectively in September/October and March/April. Planting of most crops takes place before the former rains fall and the harvests follow the latter rains.so that you may gather in your grain, new wine, and olive oil. 15 I will provide pasture ▼
▼ Heb “grass in your field.”for your livestock and you will eat your fill.”
Exhortation to Instruction and Obedience16 Make sure you do not turn away to serve and worship other gods! ▼
▼ Heb “Watch yourselves lest your heart turns and you turn aside and serve other gods and bow down to them.”17 Then the anger of the Lord will erupt ▼
▼ Heb “will become hot”; KJV, NASB, NRSV “will be kindled”; NAB “will flare up”; NIV, NLT “will burn.”against you and he will close up the sky ▼
▼ Or “heavens.” The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heaven(s)” or “sky” depending on the context.so that it does not rain. The land will not yield its produce, and you will soon be removed ▼
▼ Or “be destroyed”; NAB, NIV “will soon perish.”from the good land that the Lord ▼ is about to give you. 18 Fix these words of mine into your mind and being, ▼ and tie them as a reminder on your hands and let them be symbols ▼ on your forehead. 19 Teach them to your children and speak of them as you sit in your house, as you walk along the road, ▼
▼ Or “as you are away on a journey” (cf. NRSV, TEV, NLT); NAB “at home and abroad.”as you lie down, and as you get up. 20 Inscribe them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates 21 so that your days and those of your descendants may be extended in the land which the Lord promised to give to your ancestors, like the days of heaven itself. ▼
▼ Heb “like the days of the heavens upon the earth,” that is, forever.22 For if you carefully observe all of these commandments ▼ I am giving you ▼
▼ Heb “commanding you to do it.” For stylistic reasons, to avoid redundancy, “giving” has been used in the translation and “to do it” has been left untranslated.and love the Lord your God, live according to his standards, ▼
▼ Heb “walk in all his ways” (so KJV, NIV); TEV “do everything he commands.”and remain loyal to him, 23 then he ▼
▼ Heb “the Lord.” The pronoun has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons to avoid redundancy.will drive out all these nations ahead of you, and you will dispossess nations greater and stronger than you. 24 Every place you set your foot ▼ will be yours; your border will extend from the desert to Lebanon and from the River (that is, the Euphrates) as far as the Mediterranean Sea. ▼
▼ Heb “the after sea,” that is, the sea behind one when one is facing east, which is the normal OT orientation. Cf. ASV “the hinder sea.”25 Nobody will be able to resist you; the Lord your God will spread the fear and terror of you over the whole land on which you walk, just as he promised you.
Anticipation of a Blessing and Cursing Ceremony26 Take note – I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: ▼
▼ A blessing and a curse. Every extant treaty text of the late Bronze Age attests to a section known as the “blessings and curses,” the former for covenant loyalty and the latter for covenant breach. Blessings were promised rewards for obedience; curses were threatened judgments for disobedience. In the Book of Deuteronomy these are fully developed in 27:1–28:68. Here Moses adumbrates the whole by way of anticipation.27 the blessing if you take to heart ▼
▼ Heb “listen to,” that is, obey.the commandments of the Lord your God that I am giving you today, 28 and the curse if you pay no attention ▼
▼ Heb “do not listen to,” that is, do not obey.to his ▼
▼ Heb “the commandments of the Lord your God.” The pronoun has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons to avoid redundancy.commandments and turn from the way I am setting before ▼
▼ Heb “am commanding” (so NASB, NRSV).you today to pursue ▼ other gods you have not known. 29 When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are to possess, you must pronounce the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal. ▼
▼ Mount Gerizim…Mount Ebal. These two mountains are near the ancient site of Shechem and the modern city of Nablus. The valley between them is like a great amphitheater with the mountain slopes as seating sections. The place was sacred because it was there that Abraham pitched his camp and built his first altar after coming to Canaan (Gen 12:6). Jacob also settled at Shechem for a time and dug a well from which Jesus once requested a drink of water (Gen 33:18–20; John 4:5–7). When Joshua and the Israelites finally brought Canaan under control they assembled at Shechem as Moses commanded and undertook a ritual of covenant reaffirmation (Josh 8:30–35; 24:1, 25). Half the tribes stood on Mt. Gerizim and half on Mt. Ebal and in antiphonal chorus pledged their loyalty to the Lord before Joshua and the Levites who stood in the valley below (Josh 8:33; cf. Deut 27:11–13).30 Are they not across the Jordan River, ▼
▼ The word “River” is not in the Hebrew text, but has been supplied in the translation for clarity.toward the west, in the land of the Canaanites who live in the Arabah opposite Gilgal ▼ near the oak ▼
▼ The MT plural “oaks” (אֵלוֹנֵי, ’eloney) should probably be altered (with many Greek texts) to the singular “oak” (אֵלוֹן, ’elon; cf. NRSV) in line with the only other occurrence of the phrase (Gen 12:6). The Syriac, Tg. Ps.-J. read mmrʾ, confusing this place with the “oaks of Mamre” near Hebron (Gen 13:18). Smr also appears to confuse “Moreh” with “Mamre” (reading mwr’, a combined form), adding the clarification mwl shkm (“near Shechem”) apparently to distinguish it from Mamre near Hebron.of Moreh? 31 For you are about to cross the Jordan to possess the land the Lord your God is giving you, and you will possess and inhabit it. 32 Be certain to keep all the statutes and ordinances that I am presenting to you today.
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