Reading Plan 
Daily Bible Reading (daily) February 19
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Deuteronomy 10:1--12:32

Context
The Opportunity to Begin Again

10:1 At that same time the Lord said to me, “Carve out for yourself two stone tablets like the first ones and come up the mountain to me; also make for yourself a wooden ark. 1  10:2 I will write on the tablets the same words 2  that were on the first tablets you broke, and you must put them into the ark.” 10:3 So I made an ark of acacia 3  wood and carved out two stone tablets just like the first ones. Then I went up the mountain with the two tablets in my hands. 10:4 The Lord 4  then wrote on the tablets the same words, 5  the ten commandments, 6  which he 7  had spoken to you at the mountain from the middle of the fire at the time of that assembly, and he 8  gave them to me. 10:5 Then I turned, went down the mountain, and placed the tablets into the ark I had made – they are still there, just as the Lord commanded me.

Conclusion of the Historical Resume

10:6 “During those days the Israelites traveled from Beeroth Bene-Yaaqan 9  to Moserah. 10  There Aaron died and was buried, and his son Eleazar became priest in his place. 10:7 From there they traveled to Gudgodah, 11  and from Gudgodah to Jotbathah, 12  a place of flowing streams. 10:8 At that time the Lord set apart the tribe of Levi 13  to carry the ark of the Lord’s covenant, to stand before the Lord to serve him, and to formulate blessings 14  in his name, as they do to this very day. 10:9 Therefore Levi has no allotment or inheritance 15  among his brothers; 16  the Lord is his inheritance just as the Lord your God told him. 10:10 As for me, I stayed at the mountain as I did the first time, forty days and nights. The Lord listened to me that time as well and decided not to destroy you. 10:11 Then he 17  said to me, “Get up, set out leading 18  the people so they may go and possess 19  the land I promised to give to their ancestors.” 20 

An Exhortation to Love Both God and People

10:12 Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you except to revere him, 21  to obey all his commandments, 22  to love him, to serve him 23  with all your mind and being, 24  10:13 and to keep the Lord’s commandments and statutes that I am giving 25  you today for your own good? 10:14 The heavens – indeed the highest heavens – belong to the Lord your God, as does the earth and everything in it. 10:15 However, only to your ancestors did he 26  show his loving favor, 27  and he chose you, their descendants, 28  from all peoples – as is apparent today. 10:16 Therefore, cleanse 29  your heart and stop being so stubborn! 30  10:17 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, mighty, and awesome God who is unbiased and takes no bribe, 10:18 who justly treats 31  the orphan and widow, and who loves resident foreigners, giving them food and clothing. 10:19 So you must love the resident foreigner because you were foreigners in the land of Egypt. 10:20 Revere the Lord your God, serve him, be loyal to him and take oaths only in his name. 10:21 He is the one you should praise; 32  he is your God, the one who has done these great and awesome things for you that you have seen. 10:22 When your ancestors went down to Egypt, they numbered only seventy, but now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars of the sky. 33 

Reiteration of the Call to Obedience

11:1 You must love the Lord your God and do what he requires; keep his statutes, ordinances, and commandments 34  at all times. 11:2 Bear in mind today that I am not speaking 35  to your children who have not personally experienced the judgments 36  of the Lord your God, which revealed 37  his greatness, strength, and power. 38  11:3 They did not see 39  the awesome deeds he performed 40  in the midst of Egypt against Pharaoh king of Egypt and his whole land, 11:4 or what he did to the army of Egypt, including their horses and chariots, when he made the waters of the Red Sea 41  overwhelm them while they were pursuing you and he 42  annihilated them. 43  11:5 They did not see 44  what he did to you in the desert before you reached this place, 11:6 or what he did to Dathan and Abiram, 45  sons of Eliab the Reubenite, 46  when the earth opened its mouth in the middle of the Israelite camp 47  and swallowed them, their families, 48  their tents, and all the property they brought with them. 49  11:7 I am speaking to you 50  because you are the ones who saw all the great deeds of the Lord!

The Abundance of the Land of Promise

11:8 Now pay attention to all the commandments 51  I am giving 52  you today, so that you may be strong enough to enter and possess the land where you are headed, 53  11:9 and that you may enjoy long life in the land the Lord promised to give to your ancestors 54  and their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey. 11:10 For the land where you are headed 55  is not like the land of Egypt from which you came, a land where you planted seed and which you irrigated by hand 56  like a vegetable garden. 11:11 Instead, the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy 57  is one of hills and valleys, a land that drinks in water from the rains, 58  11:12 a land the Lord your God looks after. 59  He is constantly attentive to it 60  from the beginning to the end of the year. 61  11:13 Now, if you pay close attention 62  to my commandments that I am giving you today and love 63  the Lord your God and serve him with all your mind and being, 64  11:14 then he promises, 65  “I will send rain for your land 66  in its season, the autumn and the spring rains, 67  so that you may gather in your grain, new wine, and olive oil. 11:15 I will provide pasture 68  for your livestock and you will eat your fill.”

Exhortation to Instruction and Obedience

11:16 Make sure you do not turn away to serve and worship other gods! 69  11:17 Then the anger of the Lord will erupt 70  against you and he will close up the sky 71  so that it does not rain. The land will not yield its produce, and you will soon be removed 72  from the good land that the Lord 73  is about to give you. 11:18 Fix these words of mine into your mind and being, 74  and tie them as a reminder on your hands and let them be symbols 75  on your forehead. 11:19 Teach them to your children and speak of them as you sit in your house, as you walk along the road, 76  as you lie down, and as you get up. 11:20 Inscribe them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates 11:21 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. 77  11:22 For if you carefully observe all of these commandments 78  I am giving you 79  and love the Lord your God, live according to his standards, 80  and remain loyal to him, 11:23 then he 81  will drive out all these nations ahead of you, and you will dispossess nations greater and stronger than you. 11:24 Every place you set your foot 82  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. 83  11:25 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 Ceremony

11:26 Take note – I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: 84  11:27 the blessing if you take to heart 85  the commandments of the Lord your God that I am giving you today, 11:28 and the curse if you pay no attention 86  to his 87  commandments and turn from the way I am setting before 88  you today to pursue 89  other gods you have not known. 11:29 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. 90  11:30 Are they not across the Jordan River, 91  toward the west, in the land of the Canaanites who live in the Arabah opposite Gilgal 92  near the oak 93  of Moreh? 11:31 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. 11:32 Be certain to keep all the statutes and ordinances that I am presenting to you today.

The Central Sanctuary

12:1 These are the statutes and ordinances you must be careful to obey as long as you live in the land the Lord, the God of your ancestors, 94  has given you to possess. 95  12:2 You must by all means destroy 96  all the places where the nations you are about to dispossess worship their gods – on the high mountains and hills and under every leafy tree. 97  12:3 You must tear down their altars, shatter their sacred pillars, 98  burn up their sacred Asherah poles, 99  and cut down the images of their gods; you must eliminate their very memory from that place. 12:4 You must not worship the Lord your God the way they worship. 12:5 But you must seek only the place he 100  chooses from all your tribes to establish his name as his place of residence, 101  and you must go there. 12:6 And there you must take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the personal offerings you have prepared, 102  your votive offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks. 12:7 Both you and your families 103  must feast there before the Lord your God and rejoice in all the output of your labor with which he 104  has blessed you. 12:8 You must not do like we are doing here today, with everyone 105  doing what seems best to him, 12:9 for you have not yet come to the final stop 106  and inheritance the Lord your God is giving you. 12:10 When you do go across the Jordan River 107  and settle in the land he 108  is granting you as an inheritance and you find relief from all the enemies who surround you, you will live in safety. 109  12:11 Then you must come to the place the Lord your God chooses for his name to reside, bringing 110  everything I am commanding you – your burnt offerings, sacrifices, tithes, the personal offerings you have prepared, 111  and all your choice votive offerings which you devote to him. 112  12:12 You shall rejoice in the presence of the Lord your God, along with your sons, daughters, male and female servants, and the Levites in your villages 113  (since they have no allotment or inheritance with you). 114  12:13 Make sure you do not offer burnt offerings in any place you wish, 12:14 for you may do so 115  only in the place the Lord chooses in one of your tribal areas – there you may do everything I am commanding you. 116 

Regulations for Profane Slaughter

12:15 On the other hand, you may slaughter and eat meat as you please when the Lord your God blesses you 117  in all your villages. 118  Both the ritually pure and impure may eat it, whether it is a gazelle or an ibex. 12:16 However, you must not eat blood – pour it out on the ground like water. 12:17 You will not be allowed to eat in your villages your tithe of grain, new wine, olive oil, the firstborn of your herd and flock, any votive offerings you have vowed, or your freewill and personal offerings. 12:18 Only in the presence of the Lord your God may you eat these, in the place he 119  chooses. This applies to you, your son, your daughter, your male and female servants, and the Levites 120  in your villages. In that place you will rejoice before the Lord your God in all the output of your labor. 121  12:19 Be careful not to overlook the Levites as long as you live in the land.

The Sanctity of Blood

12:20 When the Lord your God extends your borders as he said he would do and you say, “I want to eat meat just as I please,” 122  you may do so as you wish. 123  12:21 If the place he 124  chooses to locate his name is too far for you, you may slaughter any of your herd and flock he 125  has given you just as I have stipulated; you may eat them in your villages 126  just as you wish. 12:22 Like you eat the gazelle or ibex, so you may eat these; the ritually impure and pure alike may eat them. 12:23 However, by no means eat the blood, for the blood is life itself 127  – you must not eat the life with the meat! 12:24 You must not eat it! You must pour it out on the ground like water. 12:25 You must not eat it so that it may go well with you and your children after you; you will be doing what is right in the Lord’s sight. 128  12:26 Only the holy things and votive offerings that belong to you, you must pick up and take to the place the Lord will choose. 129  12:27 You must offer your burnt offerings, both meat and blood, on the altar of the Lord your God; the blood of your other sacrifices 130  you must pour out on his 131  altar while you eat the meat. 12:28 Pay careful attention to all these things I am commanding you so that it may always go well with you and your children after you when you do what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God.

The Abomination of Pagan Gods

12:29 When the Lord your God eliminates the nations from the place where you are headed and you dispossess them, you will settle down in their land. 132  12:30 After they have been destroyed from your presence, be careful not to be ensnared like they are; do not pursue their gods and say, “How do these nations serve their gods? I will do the same.” 12:31 You must not worship the Lord your God the way they do! 133  For everything that is abhorrent 134  to him, 135  everything he hates, they have done when worshiping their gods. They even burn up their sons and daughters before their gods!

Idolatry and False Prophets

12:32 (13:1) 136  You 137  must be careful to do everything I am commanding you. Do not add to it or subtract from it! 138 

1 tn Or “chest” (so NIV, CEV); NLT “sacred chest”; TEV “wooden box.” This chest was made of acacia wood; it is later known as the ark of the covenant.

2 sn The same words. The care with which the replacement copy must be made underscores the importance of verbal precision in relaying the Lord’s commandments.

3 sn Acacia wood (Heb “shittim wood”). This is wood from the acacia, the most common timber tree of the Sinai region. Most likely it is the species Acacia raddiana because this has the largest trunk. See F. N. Hepper, Illustrated Encyclopedia of Bible Plants, 63.

4 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

5 tn Heb “according to the former writing.” See note on the phrase “the same words” in v. 2.

6 tn Heb “ten words.” The “Ten Commandments” are known in Hebrew as the “Ten Words,” which in Greek became the “Decalogue.”

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

8 tn Heb “the Lord.” See note on “he” earlier in this verse.

9 sn Beeroth Bene-Yaaqan. This Hebrew name could be translated “the wells of Bene-Yaaqan” or “the wells of the sons of Yaaqan,” a site whose location cannot be determined (cf. Num 33:31-32; 1 Chr 1:42).

10 sn Moserah. Since Aaron in other texts (Num 20:28; 33:38) is said to have died on Mount Hor, this must be the Arabah region in which Hor was located.

11 sn Gudgodah. This is probably the same as Haggidgad, which is also associated with Jotbathah (Num 33:33).

12 sn Jotbathah. This place, whose Hebrew name can be translated “place of wadis,” is possibly modern Ain Tabah, just north of Eilat, or Tabah, 6.5 mi (11 km) south of Eilat on the west shore of the Gulf of Aqaba.

13 sn The Lord set apart the tribe of Levi. This was not the initial commissioning of the tribe of Levi to this ministry (cf. Num 3:11-13; 8:12-26), but with Aaron’s death it seemed appropriate to Moses to reiterate Levi’s responsibilities. There is no reference in the Book of Numbers to this having been done, but the account of Eleazar’s succession to the priesthood there (Num 20:25-28) would provide a setting for this to have occurred.

14 sn To formulate blessings. The most famous example of this is the priestly “blessing formula” of Num 6:24-26.

15 sn Levi has no allotment or inheritance. As the priestly tribe, Levi would have no land allotment except for forty-eight towns set apart for their use (Num 35:1-8; Josh 21:1-42). But theirs was a far greater inheritance, for the Lord himself was their apportionment, that is, service to him would be their full-time and lifelong privilege (Num 18:20-24; Deut 18:2; Josh 13:33).

16 tn That is, among the other Israelite tribes.

17 tn Heb “the Lord.” See note on “he” in 10:4.

18 tn Heb “before” (so KJV, ASV); NAB, NRSV “at the head of.”

19 tn After the imperative these subordinated jussive forms (with prefixed vav) indicate purpose or result.

20 tn Heb “fathers” (also in vv. 15, 22).

21 tn Heb “the Lord your God.” See note on “he” in 10:4.

22 tn Heb “to walk in all his ways” (so KJV, NIV, NRSV); NAB “follow his ways exactly”; NLT “to live according to his will.”

23 tn Heb “the Lord your God.” See note on “he” in 10:4.

24 tn Heb “heart and soul” or “heart and being”; NCV “with your whole being.” See note on the word “being” in Deut 6:5.

25 tn Heb “commanding” (so NASB, NRSV). For stylistic reasons, to avoid redundancy, “giving” has been used in the translation.

26 tn Heb “the Lord.” See note on “he” in 10:4.

27 tn Heb “take delight to love.” Here again the verb אָהַב (’ahav, “love”), juxtaposed with בָחַר (bakhar, “choose”), is a term in covenant contexts that describes the Lord’s initiative in calling the patriarchal ancestors to be the founders of a people special to him (cf. the note on the word “loved” in Deut 4:37).

28 tn The Hebrew text includes “after them,” but it is redundant in English style and has not been included in the translation.

29 tn Heb “circumcise the foreskin of” (cf. KJV, ASV, NRSV). Reference to the Abrahamic covenant prompts Moses to recall the sign of that covenant, namely, physical circumcision (Gen 17:9-14). Just as that act signified total covenant obedience, so spiritual circumcision (cleansing of the heart) signifies more internally a commitment to be pliable and obedient to the will of God (cf. Deut 30:6; Jer 4:4; 9:26).

30 tn Heb “your neck do not harden again.” See note on the word “stubborn” in Deut 9:6.

31 tn Or “who executes justice for” (so NAB, NRSV); NLT “gives justice to.”

32 tn Heb “your praise.” The pronoun is subjective and the noun “praise” is used here metonymically for the object of their praise (the Lord).

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

34 tn 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).

35 tn Heb “that not.” The words “I am speaking” have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

36 tn 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.

37 tn 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.

38 tn Heb “his strong hand and his stretched-out arm.”

39 tn 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.

40 tn 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.

41 tn Heb “Reed Sea.” “Reed Sea” (or “Sea of Reeds”) is a more accurate rendering of the Hebrew expression יָם סוּף (yam suf), traditionally translated “Red Sea.” See note on the term “Red Sea” in Exod 13:18.

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

43 tn 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.

44 tn See note on these same words in v. 3.

45 sn Dathan and Abiram. These two (along with others) had challenged Moses’ leadership in the desert with the result that the earth beneath them opened up and they and their families disappeared (Num 16:1-3, 31-35).

46 tn Or “the descendant of Reuben”; Heb “son of Reuben.”

47 tn 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.

48 tn Heb “their houses,” referring to all who lived in their household. Cf. KJV, ASV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT “households.”

49 tn Heb “and all the substance which was at their feet.”

50 tn On the addition of these words in the translation see note on “They did not see” in v. 3.

51 tn Heb “the commandment.” The singular מִצְוָה (mitsvah, “commandment”) speaks here as elsewhere of the whole corpus of covenant stipulations in Deuteronomy (cf. 6:1, 25; 7:11; 8:1).

52 tn Heb “commanding” (so NASB, NRSV). For stylistic reasons, to avoid redundancy, “giving” has been used in the translation (likewise in vv. 13, 27).

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

54 tn Heb “fathers” (also in v. 21).

55 tn 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.”

56 tn 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.

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

58 tn Heb “rain of heaven.”

59 tn Heb “seeks.” The statement reflects the ancient belief that God (Baal in Canaanite thinking) directly controlled storms and rainfall.

60 tn Heb “the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it” (so NIV); NASB, NRSV “always on it.”

sn Constantly attentive to it. This attention to the land by the Lord is understandable in light of the centrality of the land in the Abrahamic covenant (cf. Gen 12:1, 7; 13:15; 15:7, 16, 18; 17:8; 26:3).

61 sn From the beginning to the end of the year. This refers to the agricultural year that was marked by the onset of the heavy rains, thus the autumn. See note on the phrase “the former and the latter rains” in v. 14.

62 tn 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.”

63 tn Again, the Hebrew term אָהַב (’ahav) draws attention to the reciprocation of divine love as a condition or sign of covenant loyalty (cf. Deut 6:5).

64 tn Heb “heart and soul” or “heart and being.” See note on the word “being” in Deut 6:5.

65 tn The words “he promises” do not appear in the Hebrew text but are needed in the translation to facilitate the transition from the condition (v. 13) to the promise and make it clear that the Lord is speaking the words of vv. 14-15.

66 tn Heb “the rain of your land.” In this case the genitive (modifying term) indicates the recipient of the rain.

67 sn 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.

68 tn Heb “grass in your field.”

69 tn Heb “Watch yourselves lest your heart turns and you turn aside and serve other gods and bow down to them.”

70 tn Heb “will become hot”; KJV, NASB, NRSV “will be kindled”; NAB “will flare up”; NIV, NLT “will burn.”

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

72 tn Or “be destroyed”; NAB, NIV “will soon perish.”

73 tn Heb “the Lord.” See note on “he” in 11:4.

74 tn Heb “heart and soul” or “heart and being.” See note on the word “being” in Deut 6:5.

75 tn On the Hebrew term טוֹטָפֹת (totafot, “reminders”), cf. Deut 6:4-9.

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

77 tn Heb “like the days of the heavens upon the earth,” that is, forever.

78 tn Heb “this commandment.” See note at Deut 5:30.

79 tn 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.

80 tn Heb “walk in all his ways” (so KJV, NIV); TEV “do everything he commands.”

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

82 tn Heb “the sole of your foot walks.” The placing of the foot symbolizes conquest and dominion, especially on land or on the necks of enemies (cf. Deut 1:36; Ps 7:13; Isa 63:3 Hab 3:19; Zech 9:13). See E. H. Merrill, NIDOTTE 1:992.

83 tn 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.”

84 sn 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 27:128:68. Here Moses adumbrates the whole by way of anticipation.

85 tn Heb “listen to,” that is, obey.

86 tn Heb “do not listen to,” that is, do not obey.

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

88 tn Heb “am commanding” (so NASB, NRSV).

89 tn Heb “walk after”; NIV “by following”; NLT “by worshiping.” This is a violation of the first commandment, the most serious of the covenant violations (Deut 5:6-7).

90 sn 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).

91 tn The word “River” is not in the Hebrew text, but has been supplied in the translation for clarity.

92 sn Gilgal. From a Hebrew verb root גָלַל (galal, “to roll”) this place name means “circle” or “rolling,” a name given because God had “rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you” (Josh 5:9). It is perhaps to be identified with Khirbet el-Metjir, 1.2 mi (2 km) northeast of OT Jericho.

93 tc 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 mmrá, 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.

94 tn Heb “fathers.”

95 tn Heb “you must be careful to obey in the land the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess all the days which you live in the land.” This adverbial statement modifies “to obey,” not “to possess,” so the order in the translation has been rearranged to make this clear.

96 tn Heb “destroying you must destroy”; KJV “Ye shall utterly (surely ASV) destroy”; NRSV “must demolish completely.” The Hebrew infinitive absolute precedes the verb for emphasis, which is reflected in the translation by the words “by all means.”

97 sn Every leafy tree. This expression refers to evergreens which, because they keep their foliage throughout the year, provided apt symbolism for nature cults such as those practiced in Canaan. The deity particularly in view is Asherah, wife of the great god El, who was considered the goddess of fertility and whose worship frequently took place at shrines near or among clusters (groves) of such trees (see also Deut 7:5). See J. Hadley, NIDOTTE 1:569-70; J. DeMoor, TDOT 1:438-44.

98 sn Sacred pillars. These are the stelae (stone pillars; the Hebrew term is מַצֵּבֹת, matsevot) associated with Baal worship, perhaps to mark a spot hallowed by an alleged visitation of the gods. See also Deut 7:5.

99 sn Sacred Asherah poles. The Hebrew term (plural) is אֲשֵׁרִים (’asherim). See note on the word “(leafy) tree” in v. 2, and also Deut 7:5.

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

101 tc Some scholars, on the basis of v. 11, emend the MT reading שִׁכְנוֹ (shikhno, “his residence”) to the infinitive construct לְשָׁכֵן (lÿshakhen, “to make [his name] to dwell”), perhaps with the 3rd person masculine singular sf לְשַׁכְּנוֹ (lÿshakÿno, “to cause it to dwell”). Though the presupposed nounשֵׁכֶן (shekhen) is nowhere else attested, the parallel here with שַׁמָּה (shammah, “there”) favors retaining the MT as it stands.

102 tn Heb “heave offerings of your hand.”

103 tn Heb “and your houses,” referring to entire households. The pronouns “you” and “your” are plural in the Hebrew text.

104 tn Heb “the Lord your God.” See note on “he” in 12:5.

105 tn Heb “a man.”

106 tn Heb “rest.”

107 tn The word “River” is not in the Hebrew text, but has been supplied in the translation for clarity.

108 tn Heb “the Lord your God.” See note on “he” in 12:5.

109 tn In the Hebrew text vv. 10-11 are one long, complex sentence. For stylistic reasons the translation divides this into two sentences.

110 tn Heb “and it will be (to) the place where the Lord your God chooses to cause his name to dwell you will bring.”

111 tn Heb “heave offerings of your hand.”

112 tn Heb “the Lord.” See note on “he” in 12:5.

113 tn Heb “within your gates” (so KJV, NASB); NAB “who belongs to your community.”

114 sn They have no allotment or inheritance with you. See note on the word “inheritance” in Deut 10:9.

115 tn Heb “offer burnt offerings.” The expression “do so” has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons to avoid redundancy.

116 sn This injunction to worship in a single and central sanctuary – one limited and appropriate to the thrice-annual festival celebrations (see Exod 23:14-17; 34:22-24; Lev 23:4-36; Deut 16:16-17) – marks a departure from previous times when worship was carried out at local shrines (cf. Gen 8:20; 12:7; 13:18; 22:9; 26:25; 35:1, 3, 7; Exod 17:15). Apart from the corporate worship of the whole theocratic community, however, worship at local altars would still be permitted as in the past (Deut 16:21; Judg 6:24-27; 13:19-20; 1 Sam 7:17; 10:5, 13; 2 Sam 24:18-25; 1 Kgs 18:30).

117 tn Heb “only in all the desire of your soul you may sacrifice and eat flesh according to the blessing of the Lord your God which he has given to you.”

118 tn Heb “gates” (so KJV, NASB; likewise in vv. 17, 18).

119 tn Heb “the Lord your God.” See note on “he” in 12:5.

120 tn See note at Deut 12:12.

121 tn Heb “in all the sending forth of your hands.”

122 tn Heb “for my soul desires to eat meat.”

123 tn Heb “according to all the desire of your soul you may eat meat.”

124 tn Heb “the Lord your God.” See note on “he” in 12:5.

125 tn Heb “the Lord.” See note on “he” in 12:5.

126 tn Heb “gates” (so KJV, NASB); NAB “in your own community.”

127 sn The blood is life itself. This is a figure of speech (metonymy) in which the cause or means (the blood) stands for the result or effect (life). That is, life depends upon the existence and circulation of blood, a truth known empirically but not scientifically tested and proved until the 17th century a.d. (cf. Lev 17:11).

128 tc Heb “in the eyes of the Lord.” The LXX adds “your God” to create the common formula, “the Lord your God.” The MT is preferred precisely because it does not include the stereotyped formula; thus it more likely preserves the original text.

129 tc Again, to complete a commonly attested wording the LXX adds after “choose” the phrase “to place his name there.” This shows insensitivity to deliberate departures from literary stereotypes. The MT reading is to be preferred.

130 sn These other sacrifices would be so-called peace or fellowship offerings whose ritual required a different use of the blood from that of burnt (sin and trespass) offerings (cf. Lev 3; 7:11-14, 19-21).

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

132 tn Heb “dwell in their land” (so NASB). In the Hebrew text vv. 29-30 are one long sentence. For stylistic reasons the translation divides it into two.

133 tn Heb “you must not do thus to/for the Lord your God.”

134 tn See note on this term at Deut 7:25.

135 tn Heb “every abomination of the Lord.” See note on the word “his” in v. 27.

136 sn Beginning with 12:32, the verse numbers through 13:18 in the English Bible differ from the verse numbers in the Hebrew text (BHS), with 12:32 ET = 13:1 HT, 13:1 ET = 13:2 HT, 13:2 ET = 13:3 HT, etc., through 13:18 ET = 13:19 HT. With 14:1 the verse numbers in the ET and HT are again the same.

137 tn This verse highlights a phenomenon found throughout Deuteronomy, but most especially in chap. 12, namely, the alternation of grammatical singular and plural forms of the pronoun (known as Numeruswechsel in German scholarship). Critical scholarship in general resolves the “problem” by suggesting varying literary traditions – one favorable to the singular pronoun and the other to the plural – which appear in the (obviously rough) redacted text at hand. Even the ancient versions were troubled by the lack of harmony of grammatical number and in this verse, for example, offered a number of alternate readings. The MT reads “Everything I am commanding you (plural) you (plural) must be careful to do; you (singular) must not add to it nor should you (singular) subtract form it.” Smr, LXX, Syriac, and Vulgate suggest singular for the first two pronouns but a few Smr mss propose plural for the last two. What both ancient and modern scholars tend to overlook, however, is the covenantal theological tone of the Book of Deuteronomy, one that views Israel as a collective body (singular) made up of many individuals (plural). See M. Weinfeld, Deuteronomy 1–11 (AB), 15-16; J. A. Thompson, Deuteronomy (TOTC), 21-23.

138 sn Do not add to it or subtract from it. This prohibition makes at least two profound theological points: (1) This work by Moses is of divine origination (i.e., it is inspired) and therefore can tolerate no human alteration; and (2) the work is complete as it stands (i.e., it is canonical).



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