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Deuteronomy 23:2-8

Context
23:2 A person of illegitimate birth 1  may not enter the assembly of the Lord; to the tenth generation no one related to him may do so. 2 

23:3 An Ammonite or Moabite 3  may not enter the assembly of the Lord; to the tenth generation none of their descendants shall ever 4  do so, 5  23:4 for they did not meet you with food and water on the way as you came from Egypt, and furthermore, they hired 6  Balaam son of Beor of Pethor in Aram Naharaim to curse you. 23:5 But the Lord your God refused to listen to Balaam and changed 7  the curse to a blessing, for the Lord your God loves 8  you. 23:6 You must not seek peace and prosperity for them through all the ages to come. 23:7 You must not hate an Edomite, for he is your relative; 9  you must not hate an Egyptian, for you lived as a foreigner 10  in his land. 23:8 Children of the third generation born to them 11  may enter the assembly of the Lord.

1 tn Or “a person born of an illegitimate marriage.”

2 tn Heb “enter the assembly of the Lord.” The phrase “do so” has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons to avoid redundancy.

3 sn An Ammonite or Moabite. These descendants of Lot by his two daughters (cf. Gen 19:30-38) were thereby the products of incest and therefore excluded from the worshiping community. However, these two nations also failed to show proper hospitality to Israel on their way to Canaan (v. 4).

4 tn The Hebrew term translated “ever” (עַד־עוֹלָם, ’ad-olam) suggests that “tenth generation” (vv. 2, 3) also means “forever.” However, in the OT sense “forever” means not “for eternity” but for an indeterminate future time. See A. Tomasino, NIDOTTE 3:346.

5 tn Heb “enter the assembly of the Lord.” The phrase “do so” has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons to avoid redundancy.

6 tn Heb “hired against you.”

7 tn Heb “the Lord your God changed.” The phrase “the Lord your God” has not been included in the translation here for stylistic reasons to avoid redundancy. Moreover, use of the pronoun “he” could create confusion regarding the referent (the Lord or Balaam).

8 tn The verb אָהַב (’ahav, “love”) here and commonly elsewhere in the Book of Deuteronomy speaks of God’s elective grace toward Israel. See note on the word “loved” in Deut 4:37.

9 tn Heb “brother.”

10 tn Heb “sojourner.”

11 sn Concessions were made to the Edomites and Egyptians (as compared to the others listed in vv. 1-6) because the Edomites (i.e., Esauites) were full “brothers” of Israel and the Egyptians had provided security and sustenance for Israel for more than four centuries.



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