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Deuteronomy 11:8-15

Context
The Abundance of the Land of Promise

11:8 Now pay attention to all the commandments 1  I am giving 2  you today, so that you may be strong enough to enter and possess the land where you are headed, 3  11:9 and that you may enjoy long life in the land the Lord promised to give to your ancestors 4  and their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey. 11:10 For the land where you are headed 5  is not like the land of Egypt from which you came, a land where you planted seed and which you irrigated by hand 6  like a vegetable garden. 11:11 Instead, the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy 7  is one of hills and valleys, a land that drinks in water from the rains, 8  11:12 a land the Lord your God looks after. 9  He is constantly attentive to it 10  from the beginning to the end of the year. 11  11:13 Now, if you pay close attention 12  to my commandments that I am giving you today and love 13  the Lord your God and serve him with all your mind and being, 14  11:14 then he promises, 15  “I will send rain for your land 16  in its season, the autumn and the spring rains, 17  so that you may gather in your grain, new wine, and olive oil. 11:15 I will provide pasture 18  for your livestock and you will eat your fill.”

1 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).

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

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

4 tn Heb “fathers” (also in v. 21).

5 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.”

6 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.

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

8 tn Heb “rain of heaven.”

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

10 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).

11 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.

12 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.”

13 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).

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

15 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.

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

17 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.

18 tn Heb “grass in your field.”



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