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Deuteronomy 29:1--30:20

Context
Narrative Interlude

29:1 (28:69) 1  These are the words of the covenant that the Lord commanded Moses to make with the people of Israel in the land of Moab, in addition to the covenant he had made with them at Horeb. 2 

The Exodus, Wandering, and Conquest Reviewed

29:2 Moses proclaimed to all Israel as follows: “You have seen all that the Lord did 3  in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, all his servants, and his land. 29:3 Your eyes have seen the great judgments, 4  those signs and mighty wonders. 29:4 But to this very day the Lord has not given you an understanding mind, perceptive eyes, or discerning ears! 5  29:5 I have led you through the desert for forty years. Your clothing has not worn out 6  nor have your sandals 7  deteriorated. 29:6 You have eaten no bread and drunk no wine or beer – all so that you might know that I 8  am the Lord your God! 29:7 When you came to this place King Sihon of Heshbon and King Og of Bashan came out to make war and we defeated them. 29:8 Then we took their land and gave it as an inheritance to Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh.

The Present Covenant Setting

29:9 “Therefore, keep the terms 9  of this covenant and obey them so that you may be successful in everything you do. 29:10 You are standing today, all of you, before the Lord your God – the heads of your tribes, 10  your elders, your officials, every Israelite man, 29:11 your infants, your wives, and the 11  foreigners living in your encampment, those who chop wood and those who carry water – 29:12 so that you may enter by oath into the covenant the Lord your God is making with you today. 12  29:13 Today he will affirm that you are his people and that he is your God, 13  just as he promised you and as he swore by oath to your ancestors 14  Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 29:14 It is not with you alone that I am making this covenant by oath, 29:15 but with whoever stands with us here today before the Lord our God as well as those not with us here today. 15 

The Results of Disobedience

29:16 “(For you know how we lived in the land of Egypt and how we crossed through the nations as we traveled. 29:17 You have seen their detestable things 16  and idols of wood, stone, silver, and gold.) 17  29:18 Beware that the heart of no man, woman, clan, or tribe among you turns away from the Lord our God today to pursue and serve the gods of those nations; beware that there is among you no root producing poisonous and bitter fruit. 18  29:19 When such a person 19  hears the words of this oath he secretly 20  blesses himself 21  and says, “I will have peace though I continue to walk with a stubborn spirit.” 22  This will destroy 23  the watered ground with the parched. 24  29:20 The Lord will be unwilling to forgive him, and his intense anger 25  will rage 26  against that man; all the curses 27  written in this scroll will fall upon him 28  and the Lord will obliterate his name from memory. 29  29:21 The Lord will single him out 30  for judgment 31  from all the tribes of Israel according to all the curses of the covenant written in this scroll of the law. 29:22 The generation to come – your descendants who will rise up after you, as well as the foreigner who will come from distant places – will see 32  the afflictions of that land and the illnesses that the Lord has brought on it. 29:23 The whole land will be covered with brimstone, salt, and burning debris; it will not be planted nor will it sprout or produce grass. It will resemble the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the Lord destroyed in his intense anger. 33  29:24 Then all the nations will ask, “Why has the Lord done all this to this land? What is this fierce, heated display of anger 34  all about?” 29:25 Then people will say, “Because they abandoned the covenant of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, which he made with them when he brought them out of the land of Egypt. 29:26 They went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods they did not know and that he did not permit them to worship. 35  29:27 That is why the Lord’s anger erupted against this land, bringing on it all the curses 36  written in this scroll. 29:28 So the Lord has uprooted them from their land in anger, wrath, and great rage and has deported them to another land, as is clear today.” 29:29 Secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those that are revealed belong to us and our descendants 37  forever, so that we might obey all the words of this law.

The Results of Covenant Reaffirmation

30:1 “When you have experienced all these things, both the blessings and the curses 38  I have set before you, you will reflect upon them 39  in all the nations where the Lord your God has banished you. 30:2 Then if you and your descendants 40  turn to the Lord your God and obey him with your whole mind and being 41  just as 42  I am commanding you today, 30:3 the Lord your God will reverse your captivity and have pity on you. He will turn and gather you from all the peoples among whom he 43  has scattered you. 30:4 Even if your exiles are in the most distant land, 44  from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back. 30:5 Then he 45  will bring you to the land your ancestors 46  possessed and you also will possess it; he will do better for you and multiply you more than he did your ancestors. 30:6 The Lord your God will also cleanse 47  your heart and the hearts of your descendants 48  so that you may love him 49  with all your mind and being and so that you may live. 30:7 Then the Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies, on those who hate you and persecute you. 30:8 You will return and obey the Lord, keeping all his commandments I am giving 50  you today. 30:9 The Lord your God will make the labor of your hands 51  abundantly successful and multiply your children, 52  the offspring of your cattle, and the produce of your soil. For the Lord your God will once more 53  rejoice over you to make you prosperous 54  just as he rejoiced over your ancestors, 30:10 if you obey the Lord your God and keep his commandments and statutes that are written in this scroll of the law. But you must turn to him 55  with your whole mind and being.

Exhortation to Covenant Obedience

30:11 “This commandment I am giving 56  you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it too remote. 30:12 It is not in heaven, as though one must say, “Who will go up to heaven to get it for us and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 30:13 And it is not across the sea, as though one must say, “Who will cross over to the other side of the sea and get it for us and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 30:14 For the thing is very near you – it is in your mouth and in your mind 57  so that you can do it.

30:15 “Look! I have set before you today life and prosperity on the one hand, and death and disaster on the other. 30:16 What 58  I am commanding you today is to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to obey his commandments, his statutes, and his ordinances. Then you will live and become numerous and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you are about to possess. 59  30:17 However, if you 60  turn aside and do not obey, but are lured away to worship and serve other gods, 30:18 I declare to you this very day that you will certainly 61  perish! You will not extend your time in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess. 62  30:19 Today I invoke heaven and earth as a witness against you that I have set life and death, blessing and curse, before you. Therefore choose life so that you and your descendants may live! 30:20 I also call on you 63  to love the Lord your God, to obey him and be loyal to him, for he gives you life and enables you to live continually 64  in the land the Lord promised to give to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

1 sn Beginning with 29:1, the verse numbers through 29:29 in the English Bible differ from the verse numbers in the Hebrew text (BHS), with 29:1 ET = 28:69 HT, 29:2 ET = 29:1 HT, 29:3 ET = 29:2 HT, etc., through 29:29 ET = 29:28 HT. With 30:1 the verse numbers in the ET and HT are again the same.

2 sn Horeb is another name for Mount Sinai (which some English versions substitute here for clarity, cf. NCV, TEV, CEV, NLT).

3 tn The Hebrew text includes “to your eyes,” but this is redundant in English style (cf. the preceding “you have seen”) and is omitted in the translation.

4 tn Heb “testings.” This is a reference to the plagues; see note at 4:34.

5 tn Heb “a heart to know, eyes to see and ears to hear” (NASB similar); NAB, NRSV “a mind to understand, or eyes to see, or ears to hear.”

6 tn The Hebrew text includes “on you.” This has not been included in the translation for stylistic reasons.

7 tn The Hebrew text includes “from on your feet.”

8 tc The LXX reads “that he is the Lord your God.”

9 tn Heb “words.”

10 tc Heb “your heads, your tribes.” The Syriac presupposes either “heads of your tribes” or “your heads, your judges,” etc. (reading שֹׁפְטֵכֶם [shofÿtekhem] for שִׁבְטֵיכֶם [shivtekhem]). Its comparative difficulty favors the originality of the MT reading. Cf. KJV “your captains of your tribes”; NRSV “the leaders of your tribes”; NLT “your tribal leaders.”

11 tn Heb “your.”

12 tn Heb “for you to pass on into the covenant of the Lord your God and into his oath, which the Lord your God is cutting with you today.”

13 tn Heb “in order to establish you today to him for a people and he will be to you for God.” Verses 10-13 are one long sentence in Hebrew. The translation divides this into two sentences for stylistic reasons.

14 tn Heb “fathers” (also in v. 25).

15 tn This is interpreted by some English versions as a reference to generations not yet born (cf. TEV, CEV, NLT).

16 tn The Hebrew term שִׁקּוּץ (shiquts) refers to anything out of keeping with the nature and character of Yahweh and therefore to be avoided by his people Israel. It is commonly used with or as a synonym for תּוֹעֵבָה (toevah, “detestable, abhorrent”; 2 Kgs 23:13; Jer 16:18; Ezek 5:11; 7:20; 11:18, 21; see note on the term “abhorrent” in Deut 7:25). See M. Grisanti, NIDOTTE 4:243-46.

17 tn The Hebrew text includes “which were with them.” Verses 16-17 constitute a parenthetical comment.

18 tn Heb “yielding fruit poisonous and wormwood.” The Hebrew noun לַעֲנָה (laanah) literally means “wormwood” (so KJV, ASV, NAB, NASB), but is used figuratively for anything extremely bitter, thus here “fruit poisonous and bitter.”

19 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the subject of the warning in v. 18) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

20 tn Heb “in his heart.”

21 tn Or “invokes a blessing on himself.” A formalized word of blessing is in view, the content of which appears later in the verse.

22 tn Heb “heart.”

23 tn Heb “thus destroying.” For stylistic reasons the translation begins a new sentence here.

24 tn Heb “the watered with the parched.” The word “ground” is implied. The exact meaning of the phrase is uncertain although it appears to be figurative. This appears to be a proverbial observation employing a figure of speech (a merism) suggesting totality. That is, the Israelite who violates the letter and even spirit of the covenant will harm not only himself but everything he touches – “the watered and the parched.” Cf. CEV “you will cause the rest of Israel to be punished along with you.”

25 tn Heb “the wrath of the Lord and his zeal.” The expression is a hendiadys, a figure in which the second noun becomes adjectival to the first.

26 tn Heb “smoke,” or “smolder.”

27 tn Heb “the entire oath.”

28 tn Or “will lie in wait against him.”

29 tn Heb “blot out his name from under the sky.”

30 tn Heb “set him apart.”

31 tn Heb “for evil”; NAB “for doom”; NASB “for adversity”; NIV “for disaster”; NRSV “for calamity.”

32 tn Heb “will say and see.” One expects a quotation to appear, but it seems to be omitted. To avoid confusion in the translation, the verb “will say” is omitted.

33 tn Heb “the anger and the wrath.” This construction is a hendiadys intended to intensify the emotion.

34 tn Heb “this great burning of anger”; KJV “the heat of this great anger.”

35 tn Heb “did not assign to them”; NASB, NRSV “had not allotted to them.”

36 tn Heb “the entire curse.”

37 tn Heb “sons” (so NASB); KJV, ASV, NIV, NRSV “children.”

38 tn Heb “the blessing and the curse.”

39 tn Heb “and you bring (them) back to your heart.”

40 tn Heb “sons” (so NASB); KJV, ASV, NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT “children.”

41 tn Or “heart and soul” (also in vv. 6, 10).

42 tn Heb “according to all.”

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

44 tn Heb “are at the farthest edge of the heavens.” The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heaven(s)” or “sky” depending on the context.

45 tn Heb “the Lord your God.” See note on the second occurrence of the word “he” in v. 3.

46 tn Heb “fathers” (also later in this verse and in vv. 9, 20).

47 tn Heb “circumcise” (so KJV, NAB, NIV, NRSV); TEV “will give you and your descendents obedient hearts.” See note on the word “cleanse” in Deut 10:16.

48 tn Heb “seed” (so KJV, ASV).

49 tn Heb “the Lord your God.” See note on the second occurrence of the word “he” in v. 3.

50 tn Heb “commanding”; NAB “which I now enjoin on you.”

51 tc The MT reads “hand” (singular). Most versions read the plural.

52 tn Heb “the fruit of your womb” (so NAB, NIV); NRSV “of your body.”

53 tn Heb “return and.” The Hebrew verb is used idiomatically here to indicate the repetition of the following action.

54 tn The Hebrew text includes “for good.”

55 tn Heb “to the Lord your God.” See note on the second occurrence of the word “he” in v. 3.

56 tn Heb “commanding”; NAB “which I enjoin on you.”

57 tn Heb “heart.”

58 tc A number of LXX mss insert before this verse, “if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God,” thus translating אֲשֶׁר (’asher) as “which” and the rest as “I am commanding you today, to love,” etc., “then you will live,” etc.

59 tn Heb “which you are going there to possess it.” This has been simplified in the translation for stylistic reasons.

60 tn Heb “your heart,” as a metonymy for the person.

61 tn The Hebrew text uses the infinitive absolute for emphasis, which the translation indicates with “certainly.”

62 tn Heb “to go there to possess it.”

63 tn The words “I also call on you” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. In the Hebrew text vv. 19-20 are one long sentence, which the translation divides into two.

64 tn Heb “he is your life and the length of your days to live.”



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