Reading Plan 
Daily Bible Reading (daily) February 17
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Deuteronomy 4:1--6:25

Context
The Privileges of the Covenant

4:1 Now, Israel, pay attention to the statutes and ordinances 1  I am about to teach you, so that you might live and go on to enter and take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, 2  is giving you. 4:2 Do not add a thing to what I command you nor subtract from it, so that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I am delivering to 3  you. 4:3 You have witnessed what the Lord did at Baal Peor, 4  how he 5  eradicated from your midst everyone who followed Baal Peor. 6  4:4 But you who remained faithful to the Lord your God are still alive to this very day, every one of you. 4:5 Look! I have taught you statutes and ordinances just as the Lord my God told me to do, so that you might carry them out in 7  the land you are about to enter and possess. 4:6 So be sure to do them, because this will testify of your wise understanding 8  to the people who will learn of all these statutes and say, “Indeed, this great nation is a very wise 9  people.” 4:7 In fact, what other great nation has a god so near to them like the Lord our God whenever we call on him? 4:8 And what other great nation has statutes and ordinances as just 10  as this whole law 11  that I am about to share with 12  you today?

Reminder of the Horeb Covenant

4:9 Again, however, pay very careful attention, 13  lest you forget the things you have seen and disregard them for the rest of your life; instead teach them to your children and grandchildren. 4:10 You 14  stood before the Lord your God at Horeb and he 15  said to me, “Assemble the people before me so that I can tell them my commands. 16  Then they will learn to revere me all the days they live in the land, and they will instruct their children.” 4:11 You approached and stood at the foot of the mountain, a mountain ablaze to the sky above it 17  and yet dark with a thick cloud. 18  4:12 Then the Lord spoke to you from the middle of the fire; you heard speech but you could not see anything – only a voice was heard. 19  4:13 And he revealed to you the covenant 20  he has commanded you to keep, the ten commandments, 21  writing them on two stone tablets. 4:14 Moreover, at that same time the Lord commanded me to teach you statutes and ordinances for you to keep in the land which you are about to enter and possess. 22 

The Nature of Israel’s God

4:15 Be very careful, 23  then, because you saw no form at the time the Lord spoke to you at Horeb from the middle of the fire. 4:16 I say this 24  so you will not corrupt yourselves by making an image in the form of any kind of figure. This includes the likeness of a human male or female, 4:17 any kind of land animal, any bird that flies in the sky, 4:18 anything that crawls 25  on the ground, or any fish in the deep waters of the earth. 26  4:19 When you look up 27  to the sky 28  and see the sun, moon, and stars – the whole heavenly creation 29  – you must not be seduced to worship and serve them, 30  for the Lord your God has assigned 31  them to all the people 32  of the world. 33  4:20 You, however, the Lord has selected and brought from Egypt, that iron-smelting furnace, 34  to be his special people 35  as you are today. 4:21 But the Lord became angry with me because of you and vowed that I would never cross the Jordan nor enter the good land that he 36  is about to give you. 37  4:22 So I must die here in this land; I will not cross the Jordan. But you are going over and will possess that 38  good land. 4:23 Be on guard so that you do not forget the covenant of the Lord your God that he has made with you, and that you do not make an image of any kind, just as he 39  has forbidden 40  you. 4:24 For the Lord your God is a consuming fire; he is a jealous God. 41 

Threat and Blessing following Covenant Disobedience

4:25 After you have produced children and grandchildren and have been in the land a long time, 42  if you become corrupt and make an image of any kind 43  and do other evil things before the Lord your God that enrage him, 44  4:26 I invoke heaven and earth as witnesses against you 45  today that you will surely and swiftly be removed 46  from the very land you are about to cross the Jordan to possess. You will not last long there because you will surely be 47  annihilated. 4:27 Then the Lord will scatter you among the peoples and there will be very few of you 48  among the nations where the Lord will drive you. 4:28 There you will worship gods made by human hands – wood and stone that can neither see, hear, eat, nor smell. 4:29 But if you seek the Lord your God from there, you will find him, if, indeed, you seek him with all your heart and soul. 49  4:30 In your distress when all these things happen to you in the latter days, 50  if you return to the Lord your God and obey him 51  4:31 (for he 52  is a merciful God), he will not let you down 53  or destroy you, for he cannot 54  forget the covenant with your ancestors that he confirmed by oath to them.

The Uniqueness of Israel’s God

4:32 Indeed, ask about the distant past, starting from the day God created humankind 55  on the earth, and ask 56  from one end of heaven to the other, whether there has ever been such a great thing as this, or even a rumor of it. 4:33 Have a people ever heard the voice of God speaking from the middle of fire, as you yourselves have, and lived to tell about it? 4:34 Or has God 57  ever before tried to deliver 58  a nation from the middle of another nation, accompanied by judgments, 59  signs, wonders, war, strength, power, 60  and other very terrifying things like the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes? 4:35 You have been taught that the Lord alone is God – there is no other besides him. 4:36 From heaven he spoke to you in order to teach you, and on earth he showed you his great fire from which you also heard his words. 61  4:37 Moreover, because he loved 62  your ancestors, he chose their 63  descendants who followed them and personally brought you out of Egypt with his great power 4:38 to dispossess nations greater and stronger than you and brought you here this day to give you their land as your property. 64  4:39 Today realize and carefully consider that the Lord is God in heaven above and on earth below – there is no other! 4:40 Keep his statutes and commandments that I am setting forth 65  today so that it may go well with you and your descendants and that you may enjoy longevity in the land that the Lord your God is about to give you as a permanent possession.

The Narrative Concerning Cities of Refuge

4:41 Then Moses selected three cities in the Transjordan, toward the east. 4:42 Anyone who accidentally killed someone 66  without hating him at the time of the accident 67  could flee to one of those cities and be safe. 4:43 These cities are Bezer, in the desert plateau, for the Reubenites; Ramoth in Gilead for the Gadites; and Golan in Bashan for the Manassehites.

The Setting and Introduction of the Covenant

4:44 This is the law that Moses set before the Israelites. 68  4:45 These are the stipulations, statutes, and ordinances that Moses spoke to the Israelites after he had brought them out of Egypt, 4:46 in the Transjordan, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, in the land of King Sihon of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon. (It is he whom Moses and the Israelites attacked after they came out of Egypt. 4:47 They possessed his land and that of King Og of Bashan – both of whom were Amorite kings in the Transjordan, to the east. 4:48 Their territory extended 69  from Aroer at the edge of the Arnon valley as far as Mount Siyon 70  – that is, Hermon – 4:49 including all the Arabah of the Transjordan in the east to the sea of the Arabah, 71  beneath the watershed 72  of Pisgah.)

The Opening Exhortation

5:1 Then Moses called all the people of Israel together and said to them: 73  “Listen, Israel, to the statutes and ordinances that I am about to deliver to you today; learn them and be careful to keep them! 5:2 The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. 5:3 He 74  did not make this covenant with our ancestors 75  but with us, we who are here today, all of us living now. 5:4 The Lord spoke face to face with you at the mountain, from the middle of the fire. 5:5 (I was standing between the Lord and you at that time to reveal to you the message 76  of the Lord, because you were afraid of the fire and would not go up the mountain.) He said:

The Ten Commandments

5:6 “I am the Lord your God, he who brought you from the land of Egypt, from the place of slavery. 5:7 You must not have any other gods 77  besides me. 78  5:8 You must not make for yourself an image 79  of anything in heaven above, on earth below, or in the waters beneath. 80  5:9 You must not worship or serve them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God. I punish 81  the sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons for the sin of the fathers who reject 82  me, 83  5:10 but I show covenant faithfulness 84  to the thousands 85  who choose 86  me and keep my commandments. 5:11 You must not make use of the name of the Lord your God for worthless purposes, 87  for the Lord will not exonerate anyone who abuses his name that way. 88  5:12 Be careful to observe 89  the Sabbath day just as the Lord your God has commanded you. 5:13 You are to work and do all your tasks in six days, 5:14 but the seventh day is the Sabbath 90  of the Lord your God. On that day you must not do any work, you, your son, your daughter, your male slave, your female slave, your ox, your donkey, any other animal, or the foreigner who lives with you, 91  so that your male and female slaves, like yourself, may have rest. 5:15 Recall that you were slaves in the land of Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there by strength and power. 92  That is why the Lord your God has commanded you to observe 93  the Sabbath day. 5:16 Honor 94  your father and your mother just as the Lord your God has commanded you to do, so that your days may be extended and that it may go well with you in the land that he 95  is about to give you. 5:17 You must not murder. 96  5:18 You must not commit adultery. 5:19 You must not steal. 5:20 You must not offer false testimony against another. 97  5:21 You must not desire 98  another man’s 99  wife, nor should you crave his 100  house, his field, his male and female servants, his ox, his donkey, or anything else he owns.” 101 

The Narrative of the Sinai Revelation and Israel’s Response

5:22 The Lord said these things to your entire assembly at the mountain from the middle of the fire, the cloud, and the darkness with a loud voice, and that was all he said. 102  Then he inscribed the words 103  on two stone tablets and gave them to me. 5:23 Then, when you heard the voice from the midst of the darkness while the mountain was ablaze, all your tribal leaders and elders approached me. 5:24 You said, “The Lord our God has shown us his great glory 104  and we have heard him speak from the middle of the fire. It is now clear to us 105  that God can speak to human beings and they can keep on living. 5:25 But now, why should we die, because this intense fire will consume us! If we keep hearing the voice of the Lord our God we will die! 5:26 Who is there from the entire human race 106  who has heard the voice of the living God speaking from the middle of the fire as we have, and has lived? 5:27 You go near so that you can hear everything the Lord our God is saying and then you can tell us whatever he 107  says to you; then we will pay attention and do it.” 5:28 When the Lord heard you speaking to me, he 108  said to me, “I have heard what these people have said to you – they have spoken well. 5:29 If only it would really be their desire to fear me and obey 109  all my commandments in the future, so that it may go well with them and their descendants forever. 5:30 Go and tell them, ‘Return to your tents!’ 5:31 But as for you, remain here with me so I can declare to you all the commandments, 110  statutes, and ordinances that you are to teach them, so that they can carry them out in the land I am about to give them.” 111  5:32 Be careful, therefore, to do exactly what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn right or left! 5:33 Walk just as he 112  has commanded you so that you may live, that it may go well with you, and that you may live long 113  in the land you are going to possess.

Exhortation to Keep the Covenant Principles

6:1 Now these are the commandments, 114  statutes, and ordinances that the Lord your God instructed me to teach you so that you may carry them out in the land where you are headed 115  6:2 and that you may so revere the Lord your God that you will keep all his statutes and commandments 116  that I am giving 117  you – you, your children, and your grandchildren – all your lives, to prolong your days. 6:3 Pay attention, Israel, and be careful to do this so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in number 118  – as the Lord, God of your ancestors, 119  said to you, you will have a land flowing with milk and honey.

The Essence of the Covenant Principles

6:4 Listen, Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 120  6:5 You must love 121  the Lord your God with your whole mind, 122  your whole being, 123  and all your strength. 124 

Exhortation to Teach the Covenant Principles

6:6 These words I am commanding you today must be kept in mind, 6:7 and you must teach 125  them to your children and speak of them as you sit in your house, as you walk along the road, 126  as you lie down, and as you get up. 6:8 You should tie them as a reminder on your forearm 127  and fasten them as symbols 128  on your forehead. 6:9 Inscribe them on the doorframes of your houses and gates. 129 

Exhortation to Worship the Lord Exclusively

6:10 Then when the Lord your God brings you to the land he promised your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to give you – a land with large, fine cities you did not build, 6:11 houses filled with choice things you did not accumulate, hewn out cisterns you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant – and you eat your fill, 6:12 be careful not to forget the Lord who brought you out of Egypt, that place of slavery. 130  6:13 You must revere the Lord your God, serve him, and take oaths using only his name. 6:14 You must not go after other gods, those 131  of the surrounding peoples, 6:15 for the Lord your God, who is present among you, is a jealous God and his anger will erupt against you and remove you from the land. 132 

Exhortation to Obey the Lord Exclusively

6:16 You must not put the Lord your God to the test as you did at Massah. 133  6:17 Keep his 134  commandments very carefully, 135  as well as the stipulations and statutes he commanded you to observe. 6:18 Do whatever is proper 136  and good before the Lord so that it may go well with you and that you may enter and occupy the good land that he 137  promised your ancestors, 6:19 and that you may drive out all your enemies just as the Lord said.

Exhortation to Remember the Past

6:20 When your children 138  ask you later on, “What are the stipulations, statutes, and ordinances that the Lord our God commanded you?” 6:21 you must say to them, 139  “We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt in a powerful way. 140  6:22 And he 141  brought signs and great, devastating wonders on Egypt, on Pharaoh, and on his whole family 142  before our very eyes. 6:23 He delivered us from there so that he could give us the land he had promised our ancestors. 6:24 The Lord commanded us to obey all these statutes and to revere him 143  so that it may always go well for us and he may preserve us, as he has to this day. 6:25 We will be innocent if we carefully keep all these commandments 144  before the Lord our God, just as he demands.” 145 

1 tn These technical Hebrew terms (חֻקִּים [khuqqim] and מִשְׁפָּטִים [mishpatim]) occur repeatedly throughout the Book of Deuteronomy to describe the covenant stipulations to which Israel had been called to subscribe (see, in this chapter alone, vv. 1, 5, 6, 8). The word חֻקִּים derives from the verb חֹק (khoq, “to inscribe; to carve”) and מִשְׁפָּטִים (mishpatim) from שָׁפַט (shafat, “to judge”). They are virtually synonymous and are used interchangeably in Deuteronomy.

2 tn Heb “fathers” (also in vv. 31, 37).

3 tn Heb “commanding.”

4 tc The LXX and Syriac read “to Baal Peor,” that is, the god worshiped at that place; see note on the name “Beth Peor” in Deut 3:29.

5 tn Heb “the Lord your God.” The pronoun has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons to avoid redundancy.

6 tn Or “followed the Baal of Peor” (so NAB, NIV, NRSV), referring to the pagan god Baal.

7 tn Heb “in the midst of” (so ASV).

8 tn Heb “it is wisdom and understanding.”

9 tn Heb “wise and understanding.”

10 tn Or “pure”; or “fair”; Heb “righteous.”

11 tn The Hebrew phrase הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת (hattorah hazzot), in this context, refers specifically to the Book of Deuteronomy. That is, it is the collection of all the חֻקִּים (khuqqim, “statutes,” 4:1) and מִשְׁפָּטִים (mishpatim, “ordinances,” 4:1) to be included in the covenant text. In a full canonical sense, of course, it pertains to the entire Pentateuch or Torah.

12 tn Heb “place before.”

13 tn Heb “watch yourself and watch your soul carefully.”

14 tn The text begins with “(the) day (in) which.” In the Hebrew text v. 10 is subordinate to v. 11, but for stylistic reasons the translation treats v. 10 as an independent clause, necessitating the omission of the subordinating temporal phrase at the beginning of the verse.

15 tn Heb “the Lord.” See note on “he” in 4:3.

16 tn Heb “my words.” See v. 13; in Hebrew the “ten commandments” are the “ten words.”

17 tn Heb “a mountain burning with fire as far as the heart of the heavens.” The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heaven(s)” or “sky” depending on the context.

18 tn Heb “darkness, cloud, and heavy cloud.”

19 tn The words “was heard” are supplied in the translation to avoid the impression that the voice was seen.

20 sn This is the first occurrence of the word בְּרִית (bÿrit, “covenant”) in the Book of Deuteronomy but it appears commonly hereafter (4:23, 31; 5:2, 3; 7:9, 12; 8:18; 9:9, 10, 11, 15; 10:2, 4, 5, 8; 17:2; 29:1, 9, 12, 14, 15, 18, 21, 25; 31:9, 16, 20, 25, 26; 33:9). Etymologically, it derives from the notion of linking or yoking together. See M. Weinfeld, TDOT 2:255.

21 tn Heb “the ten words.”

22 tn Heb “to which you are crossing over to possess it.”

23 tn Heb “give great care to your souls.”

24 tn The words “I say this” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. In the Hebrew text v. 16 is subordinated to “Be careful” in v. 15, but this makes for an unduly long sentence in English.

25 tn Heb “creeping thing.”

26 tn Heb “under the earth.”

27 tn Heb “lest you lift up your eyes.” In the Hebrew text vv. 16-19 are subordinated to “Be careful” in v. 15, but this makes for an unduly long sentence in English.

28 tn Or “heavens.” The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heaven(s)” or “sky” depending on the context.

29 tn Heb “all the host of heaven.”

30 tn In the Hebrew text the verbal sequence in v. 19 is “lest you look up…and see…and be seduced…and worship them…and serve them.” However, the first two actions are not prohibited in and of themselves. The prohibition pertains to the final three actions. The first two verbs describe actions that are logically subordinate to the following actions and can be treated as temporal or circumstantial: “lest, looking up…and seeing…, you are seduced.” See Joüon 2:635 §168.h.

31 tn Or “allotted.”

32 tn Or “nations.”

33 tn Heb “under all the heaven.”

sn The OT views the heavenly host as God’s council, which surrounds his royal throne ready to do his bidding (see 1 Kgs 22:19). God has given this group, sometimes called the “sons of God” (cf. Job 1:6; 38:7; Ps 89:6), jurisdiction over the nations. See Deut 32:8 (LXX). Some also see this assembly as the addressee in Ps 82. While God delegated his council to rule over the nations, he established a theocratic government over Israel and ruled directly over his chosen people via the Mosaic covenant. See v. 20, as well as Deut 32:9.

34 tn A כּוּר (kur) was not a source of heat but a crucible (“iron-smelting furnace”) in which precious metals were melted down and their impurities burned away (see I. Cornelius, NIDOTTE 2:618-19); cf. NAB “that iron foundry, Egypt.” The term is a metaphor for intense heat. Here it refers to the oppression and suffering Israel endured in Egypt. Since a crucible was used to burn away impurities, it is possible that the metaphor views Egypt as a place of refinement to bring Israel to a place of submission to divine sovereignty.

35 tn Heb “to be his people of inheritance.” The Lord compares his people to valued property inherited from one’s ancestors and passed on to one’s descendants.

36 tn Heb “the Lord your God.” See note on “he” in 4:3.

37 tn The Hebrew text includes “(as) an inheritance,” or “(as) a possession.”

38 tn Heb “this.” The translation uses “that” to avoid confusion; earlier in the verse Moses refers to Transjordan as “this land.”

39 tn Heb “the Lord your God.” See note on “he” in 4:3.

40 tn Heb “commanded.”

41 tn The juxtaposition of the Hebrew terms אֵשׁ (’esh, “fire”) and קַנָּא (qanna’, “jealous”) is interesting in light of Deut 6:15 where the Lord is seen as a jealous God whose anger bursts into a destructive fire. For God to be “jealous” means that his holiness and uniqueness cannot tolerate pretended or imaginary rivals. It is not petty envy but response to an act of insubordination that must be severely judged (see H. Peels, NIDOTTE 3:937-40).

42 tn Heb “have grown old in the land,” i.e., been there for a long time.

43 tn Heb “a form of anything.” Cf. NAB, NASB, NRSV, TEV “an idol.”

44 tn The infinitive construct is understood here as indicating the result, not the intention, of their actions.

45 sn I invoke heaven and earth as witnesses against you. This stock formula introduces what is known form-critically as a רִיב (riv) or controversy pattern. It is commonly used in the ancient Near Eastern world in legal contexts and in the OT as a forensic or judicial device to draw attention to Israel’s violation of the Lord’s covenant with them (see Deut 30:19; Isa 1:2; 3:13; Jer 2:9). Since court proceedings required the testimony of witnesses, the Lord here summons heaven and earth (that is, all creation) to testify to his faithfulness, Israel’s disobedience, and the threat of judgment.

46 tn Or “be destroyed”; KJV “utterly perish”; NLT “will quickly disappear”; CEV “you won’t have long to live.”

47 tn Or “be completely” (so NCV, TEV). It is not certain here if the infinitive absolute indicates the certainty of the following action (cf. NIV) or its degree.

48 tn Heb “you will be left men (i.e., few) of number.”

49 tn Or “mind and being.” See Deut 6:5.

50 sn The phrase is not used here in a technical sense for the eschaton, but rather refers to a future time when Israel will be punished for its sin and experience exile. See Deut 31:29.

51 tn Heb “hear his voice.” The expression is an idiom meaning “obey,” occurring in Deut 8:20; 9:23; 13:18; 21:18, 20; 26:14, 17; 27:10; 28:1-2, 15, 45, 62; 30:2, 8, 10, 20.

52 tn Heb “the Lord your God.” See note on “he” in 4:3.

53 tn Heb “he will not drop you,” i.e., “will not abandon you” (cf. NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT).

54 tn Or “will not.” The translation understands the imperfect verbal form to have an added nuance of capability here.

55 tn The Hebrew term אָדָם (’adam) may refer either to Adam or, more likely, to “man” in the sense of the human race (“mankind,” “humankind”). The idea here seems more universal in scope than reference to Adam alone would suggest.

56 tn The verb is not present in the Hebrew text but has been supplied in the translation for clarification. The challenge has both temporal and geographical dimensions. The people are challenged to (1) inquire about the entire scope of past history and (2) conduct their investigation on a worldwide scale.

57 tn The translation assumes the reference is to Israel’s God in which case the point is this: God’s intervention in Israel’s experience is unique in the sense that he has never intervened in such power for any other people on earth. The focus is on the uniqueness of Israel’s experience. Some understand the divine name here in a generic sense, “a god,” or “any god.” In this case God’s incomparability is the focus (cf. v. 35, where this theme is expressed).

58 tn Heb “tried to go to take for himself.”

59 tn Heb “by testings.” The reference here is the judgments upon Pharaoh in the form of plagues. See Deut 7:19 (cf. v. 18) and 29:3 (cf. v. 2).

60 tn Heb “by strong hand and by outstretched arm.”

61 tn Heb “and his words you heard from the midst of the fire.”

62 tn The concept of love here is not primarily that of emotional affection but of commitment or devotion. This verse suggests that God chose Israel to be his special people because he loved the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) and had promised to bless their descendants. See as well Deut 7:7-9.

63 tc The LXX, Smr, Syriac, Targum, and Vulgate read a third person masculine plural suffix for the MT’s 3rd person masculine singular, “his descendants.” Cf. Deut 10:15. Quite likely the MT should be emended in this instance.

64 tn Heb “(as) an inheritance,” that is, landed property that one can pass on to one’s descendants.

65 tn Heb “commanding” (so NRSV).

66 tn Heb “the slayer who slew his neighbor without knowledge.”

67 tn Heb “yesterday and a third (day).” The point is that there was no animosity between the two parties at the time of the accident and therefore no motive for the killing.

68 tn Heb “the sons of Israel” (likewise in the following verse).

69 tn The words “their territory extended” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. In the Hebrew text vv. 47-49 are all one sentence, but for the sake of English style and readability the translation divides the text into two sentences.

70 sn Mount Siyon (the Hebrew name is שִׂיאֹן [sion], not to be confused with Zion [צִיּוֹן, tsiyyon]) is another name for Mount Hermon, also called Sirion and Senir (cf. Deut 3:9).

71 sn The sea of the Arabah refers to the Dead Sea, also known as the Salt Sea in OT times (cf. Deut 3:17).

72 tn The meaning of the Hebrew term אַשְׁדֹּת (’ashdot) is unclear. It is usually translated either “slopes” (ASV, NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT) or “watershed” (NEB).

73 tn Heb “and Moses called to all Israel and he said to them”; NAB, NASB, NIV “Moses summoned (convened NRSV) all Israel.”

74 tn Heb “the Lord.” The pronoun has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons to avoid redundancy.

75 tn Heb “fathers.”

76 tn Or “word” (so KJV, NASB, NIV); NRSV “words.”

77 tn Heb “there must not be for you other gods.” The expression “for you” indicates possession.

78 tn Heb “upon my face,” or “before me” (עַל־פָּנָיַ, ’al-panaya). Some understand this in a locative sense: “in my sight.” The translation assumes that the phrase indicates exclusion. The idea is that of placing any other god before the Lord in the sense of taking his place. Contrary to the view of some, this does not leave the door open for a henotheistic system where the Lord is the primary god among others. In its literary context the statement must be taken in a monotheistic sense. See, e.g., 4:39; 6:13-15.

79 tn Heb “an image, any likeness.”

80 tn Heb “under the earth” (so ASV, NASB, NRSV); NCV “below the land.”

81 tn In the Hebrew text the form is a participle, which is subordinated to what precedes. For the sake of English style, the translation divides this lengthy verse into two sentences.

82 tn Heb “who hate” (so NAB, NIV, NLT). Just as “to love” (אָהַב, ’ahav) means in a covenant context “to choose, obey,” so “to hate” (שָׂנֵא, sane’) means “to reject, disobey” (cf. the note on the word “loved” in Deut 4:37; see also 5:10).

83 tn Heb “visiting the sin of fathers upon sons and upon a third (generation) and upon a fourth (generation) of those who hate me.” God sometimes punishes children for the sins of a father (cf. Num 16:27, 32; Josh 7:24-25; 2 Sam 21:1-9). On the principle of corporate solidarity and responsibility in OT thought see J. Kaminsky, Corporate Responsibility in the Hebrew Bible (JSOTSup). In the idiom of the text, the father is the first generation and the “sons” the second generation, making grandsons the third and great-grandsons the fourth. The reference to a third and fourth generation is a way of emphasizing that the sinner’s punishment would last throughout his lifetime. In this culture, where men married and fathered children at a relatively young age, it would not be unusual for one to see his great-grandsons. In an Aramaic tomb inscription from Nerab dating to the seventh century b.c., Agbar observes that he was surrounded by “children of the fourth generation” as he lay on his death bed (see ANET 661). The language of the text differs from Exod 34:7, the sons are the first generation, the grandsons (literally, “sons of the sons”) the second, great-grandsons the third, and great-great-grandsons the fourth. One could argue that formulation in Deut 5:9 (see also Exod 20:50) is elliptical/abbreviated or that it suffers from textual corruption (the repetition of the words “sons” would invite accidental omission).

84 tn This theologically rich term (חֶסֶד, khesed) describes God’s loyalty to those who keep covenant with him. Sometimes it is used synonymously with בְּרִית (bÿrit, “covenant”; Deut 7:9), and sometimes interchangeably with it (Deut 7:12). See H.-J. Zobel, TDOT 5:44-64.

85 tc By a slight emendation (לַאֲלּוּפִים [laallufim] for לַאֲלָפִים [laalafim]) “clans” could be read in place of the MT reading “thousands.” However, no ms or versional evidence exists to support this emendation.

tn Another option is to understand this as referring to “thousands (of generations) of those who love me” (cf. NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT). See Deut 7:9.

86 tn Heb “love.” See note on the word “reject” in v. 9.

87 tn Heb “take up the name of the Lord your God to emptiness”; KJV “take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” The idea here is not cursing or profanity in the modern sense of these terms but rather the use of the divine Name for unholy, mundane purposes, that is, for meaningless (the Hebrew term is שָׁוְא) and empty ends. In ancient Israel this would include using the Lord’s name as a witness in vows one did not intend to keep.

88 tn Heb “who takes up his name to emptiness.”

89 tn Heb “to make holy,” that is, to put to special use, in this case, to sacred purposes (cf. vv. 13-15).

90 tn There is some degree of paronomasia (wordplay) here: “the seventh (הַשְּׁבִיעִי, hashÿvii) day is the Sabbath (שַׁבָּת, shabbat).” Otherwise, the words have nothing in common, since “Sabbath” is derived from the verb שָׁבַת (shavat, “to cease”).

91 tn Heb “in your gates”; NRSV, CEV “in your towns”; TEV “in your country.”

92 tn Heb “by a strong hand and an outstretched arm,” the hand and arm symbolizing divine activity and strength. Cf. NLT “with amazing power and mighty deeds.”

93 tn Or “keep” (so KJV, NRSV).

94 tn The imperative here means, literally, “regard as heavy” (כַּבֵּד, kabbed). The meaning is that great importance must be ascribed to parents by their children.

95 tn Heb “the Lord your God.” See note on “He” in 5:3.

96 tn Traditionally “kill” (so KJV, ASV, RSV, NAB). The verb here (רָצַח, ratsakh) is generic for homicide but in the OT both killing in war and capital punishment were permitted and even commanded (Deut 13:5, 9; 20:13, 16-17), so the technical meaning here is “murder.”

97 tn Heb “your neighbor.” Clearly this is intended generically, however, and not to be limited only to those persons who live nearby (frequently the way “neighbor” is understood in contemporary contexts). So also in v. 20.

98 tn The Hebrew verb used here (חָמַד, khamad) is different from the one translated “crave” (אָוַה, ’avah) in the next line. The former has sexual overtones (“lust” or the like; cf. Song of Sol 2:3) whereas the latter has more the idea of a desire or craving for material things.

99 tn Heb “your neighbor’s.” See note on the term “fellow man” in v. 19.

100 tn Heb “your neighbor’s.” The pronoun is used in the translation for stylistic reasons.

101 tn Heb “or anything that is your neighbor’s.”

102 tn Heb “and he added no more” (so KJV, NASB, NRSV); NLT “This was all he said at that time.”

103 tn Heb “them”; the referent (the words spoken by the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

104 tn Heb “his glory and his greatness.”

105 tn Heb “this day we have seen.”

106 tn Heb “who is there of all flesh.”

107 tn Heb “the Lord our God.” See note on “He” in 5:3.

108 tn Heb “the Lord.” See note on “He” in 5:3.

109 tn Heb “keep” (so KJV, NAB, NIV, NRSV).

110 tn Heb “commandment.” The MT actually has the singular (הַמִּצְוָה, hammitsvah), suggesting perhaps that the following terms (חֻקִּים [khuqqim] and מִשְׁפָּטִים [mishpatim]) are in epexegetical apposition to “commandment.” That is, the phrase could be translated “the entire command, namely, the statutes and ordinances.” This would essentially make מִצְוָה (mitsvah) synonymous with תּוֹרָה (torah), the usual term for the whole collection of law.

111 tn Heb “to possess it” (so KJV, ASV); NLT “as their inheritance.”

112 tn Heb “the Lord your God.” The pronoun has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons to avoid redundancy.

113 tn Heb “may prolong your days”; NAB “may have long life”; TEV “will continue to live.”

114 tn Heb “commandment.” The word מִצְוָה (mitsvah) again is in the singular, serving as a comprehensive term for the whole stipulation section of the book. See note on the word “commandments” in 5:31.

115 tn Heb “where you are going over to possess it” (so NASB); NRSV “that you are about to cross into and occupy.”

116 tn Here the terms are not the usual חֻקִּים (khuqqim) and מִשְׁפָּטִים (mishpatim; as in v. 1) but חֻקֹּת (khuqqot, “statutes”) and מִצְוֹת (mitsot, “commandments”). It is clear that these terms are used interchangeably and that their technical precision ought not be overly stressed.

117 tn Heb “commanding.” For stylistic reasons, to avoid redundancy, “giving” has been used in the translation.

118 tn Heb “may multiply greatly” (so NASB, NRSV); the words “in number” have been supplied in the translation for clarity.

119 tn Heb “fathers” (also in vv. 10, 18, 23).

120 tn Heb “the Lord, our God, the Lord, one.” (1) One option is to translate: “The Lord is our God, the Lord alone” (cf. NAB, NRSV, NLT). This would be an affirmation that the Lord was the sole object of their devotion. This interpretation finds support from the appeals to loyalty that follow (vv. 5, 14). (2) Another option is to translate: “The Lord is our God, the Lord is unique.” In this case the text would be affirming the people’s allegiance to the Lord, as well as the Lord’s superiority to all other gods. It would also imply that he is the only one worthy of their worship. Support for this view comes from parallel texts such as Deut 7:9 and 10:17, as well as the use of “one” in Song 6:8-9, where the starstruck lover declares that his beloved is unique (literally, “one,” that is, “one of a kind”) when compared to all other women.

sn Verses 4-5 constitute the so-called Shema (after the first word שְׁמַע, shÿma’, “hear”), widely regarded as the very heart of Jewish confession and faith. When Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment of all, he quoted this text (Matt 22:37-38).

121 tn The verb אָהַב (’ahav, “to love”) in this setting communicates not so much an emotional idea as one of covenant commitment. To love the Lord is to be absolutely loyal and obedient to him in every respect, a truth Jesus himself taught (cf. John 14:15). See also the note on the word “loved” in Deut 4:37.

122 tn Heb “heart.” In OT physiology the heart (לֵב, לֵבָב; levav, lev) was considered the seat of the mind or intellect, so that one could think with one’s heart. See A. Luc, NIDOTTE 2:749-54.

123 tn Heb “soul”; “being.” Contrary to Hellenistic ideas of a soul that is discrete and separate from the body and spirit, OT anthropology equated the “soul” (נֶפֶשׁ, nefesh) with the person himself. It is therefore best in most cases to translate נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh) as “being” or the like. See H. W. Wolff, Anthropology of the Old Testament, 10-25; D. Fredericks, NIDOTTE 3:133-34.

124 sn For NT variations on the Shema see Matt 22:37-39; Mark 12:29-30; Luke 10:27.

125 tn Heb “repeat” (so NLT). If from the root I שָׁנַן (shanan), the verb means essentially to “engrave,” that is, “to teach incisively” (Piel); note NAB “Drill them into your children.” Cf. BDB 1041-42 s.v.

126 tn Or “as you are away on a journey” (cf. NRSV, TEV, NLT); NAB “at home and abroad.”

127 sn Tie them as a sign on your forearm. Later Jewish tradition referred to the little leather containers tied to the forearms and foreheads as tefillin. They were to contain the following passages from the Torah: Exod 13:1-10, 11-16; Deut 6:5-9; 11:13-21. The purpose was to serve as a “sign” of covenant relationship and obedience.

128 sn Fasten them as symbols on your forehead. These were also known later as tefillin (see previous note) or phylacteries (from the Greek term). These box-like containers, like those on the forearms, held the same scraps of the Torah. It was the hypocritical practice of wearing these without heartfelt sincerity that caused Jesus to speak scathingly about them (cf. Matt 23:5).

129 sn The Hebrew term מְזוּזֹת (mÿzuzot) refers both to the door frames and to small cases attached on them containing scripture texts (always Deut 6:4-9 and 11:13-21; and sometimes the decalogue; Exod 13:1-10, 11-16; and Num 10:35-36). See J. H. Tigay, Deuteronomy (JPSTC), 443-44.

130 tn Heb “out of the house of slavery” (so NASB, NRSV).

131 tn Heb “from the gods.” The demonstrative pronoun has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons to avoid redundancy.

132 tn Heb “lest the anger of the Lord your God be kindled against you and destroy you from upon the surface of the ground.” Cf. KJV, ASV “from off the face of the earth.”

133 sn The place name Massah (מַסָּה, massah) derives from a root (נָסָה, nasah) meaning “to test; to try.” The reference here is to the experience in the Sinai desert when Moses struck the rock to obtain water (Exod 17:1-2). The complaining Israelites had, thus, “tested” the Lord, a wickedness that gave rise to the naming of the place (Exod 17:7; cf. Deut 9:22; 33:8).

134 tn Heb “the commandments of the Lord your God.” The pronoun has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons to avoid redundancy.

135 tn The Hebrew text uses the infinitive absolute before the finite verb to emphasize the statement. The imperfect verbal form is used here with an obligatory nuance that can be captured in English through the imperative. Cf. NASB, NRSV “diligently keep (obey NLT).”

136 tn Heb “upright.”

137 tn Heb “the Lord.” See note on the word “his” in v. 17.

138 tn Heb “your son.”

139 tn Heb “to your son.”

140 tn Heb “by a strong hand.” The image is that of a warrior who, with weapon in hand, overcomes his enemies. The Lord is commonly depicted as a divine warrior in the Book of Deuteronomy (cf. 5:15; 7:8; 9:26; 26:8).

141 tn Heb “the Lord.” See note on the word “his” in v. 17.

142 tn Heb “house,” referring to the entire household.

143 tn Heb “the Lord our God.” See note on the word “his” in v. 17.

144 tn The term “commandment” (מִצְוָה, mitsvah), here in the singular, refers to the entire body of covenant stipulations.

145 tn Heb “as he has commanded us” (so NIV, NRSV).



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