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Deuteronomy 11:9-24

Context
11:9 and that you may enjoy long life in the land the Lord promised to give to your ancestors 1  and their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey. 11:10 For the land where you are headed 2  is not like the land of Egypt from which you came, a land where you planted seed and which you irrigated by hand 3  like a vegetable garden. 11:11 Instead, the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy 4  is one of hills and valleys, a land that drinks in water from the rains, 5  11:12 a land the Lord your God looks after. 6  He is constantly attentive to it 7  from the beginning to the end of the year. 8  11:13 Now, if you pay close attention 9  to my commandments that I am giving you today and love 10  the Lord your God and serve him with all your mind and being, 11  11:14 then he promises, 12  “I will send rain for your land 13  in its season, the autumn and the spring rains, 14  so that you may gather in your grain, new wine, and olive oil. 11:15 I will provide pasture 15  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! 16  11:17 Then the anger of the Lord will erupt 17  against you and he will close up the sky 18  so that it does not rain. The land will not yield its produce, and you will soon be removed 19  from the good land that the Lord 20  is about to give you. 11:18 Fix these words of mine into your mind and being, 21  and tie them as a reminder on your hands and let them be symbols 22  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, 23  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. 24  11:22 For if you carefully observe all of these commandments 25  I am giving you 26  and love the Lord your God, live according to his standards, 27  and remain loyal to him, 11:23 then he 28  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 29  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. 30 

1 tn Heb “fathers” (also in v. 21).

2 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.”

3 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.

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

5 tn Heb “rain of heaven.”

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

7 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).

8 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.

9 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.”

10 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).

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

12 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.

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

14 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.

15 tn Heb “grass in your field.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

26 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.

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

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

29 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.

30 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.”



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