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Deuteronomy 31:19-26

Context
31:19 Now write down for yourselves the following song and teach it to the Israelites. Put it into their very mouths so that this song may serve as my witness against the Israelites! 31:20 For after I have brought them 1  to the land I promised to their 2  ancestors – one flowing with milk and honey – and they 3  eat their fill 4  and become fat, then they 5  will turn to other gods and worship them; they will reject me and break my covenant. 31:21 Then when 6  many disasters and distresses overcome them 7  this song will testify against them, 8  for their 9  descendants will not forget it. 10  I know the 11  intentions they have in mind 12  today, even before I bring them 13  to the land I have promised.” 31:22 So on that day Moses wrote down this song and taught it to the Israelites, 31:23 and the Lord 14  commissioned Joshua son of Nun, “Be strong and courageous, for you will take the Israelites to the land I have promised them, and I will be with you.” 15 

Anticipation of Disobedience

31:24 When Moses finished writing on a scroll the words of this law in their entirety, 31:25 he 16  commanded the Levites who carried the ark of the Lord’s covenant, 31:26 “Take this scroll of the law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God. It will remain there as a witness against you,

1 tn Heb “him.” Smr, LXX, and the Targums read the plural “them.” See note on the first occurrence of “they” in v. 16.

2 tn Heb “his.” Smr, LXX, and the Targums read the plural “their.” See note on the first occurrence of “they” in v. 16.

3 tn Heb “he.” Smr, LXX, and the Targums read the plural “they.” See note on the first occurrence of “they” in v. 16.

4 tn Heb “and are satisfied.”

5 tn Heb “he.” Smr, LXX, and the Targums read the plural “they.” See note on the first occurrence of “they” in v. 16.

6 tn Heb “Then it will come to pass that.”

7 tn Heb “him.” Smr, LXX, and the Targums read the plural “them.” See note on the first occurrence of “they” in v. 16.

8 tn Heb “him.” Smr, LXX, and the Targums read the plural “them.” See note on the first occurrence of “they” in v. 16.

9 tn Heb “his.” Smr, LXX, and the Targums read the plural “their.” See note on the first occurrence of “they” in v. 16.

10 tn Heb “it will not be forgotten from the mouth of his seed.”

11 tn Heb “his.” Smr, LXX, and the Targums read the plural “their.” See note on the first occurrence of “they” in v. 16.

12 tn Heb “which he is doing.”

13 tn Heb “him.” Smr, LXX, and the Targums read the plural “them.” See note on the first occurrence of “they” in v. 16.

14 tn Heb “he.” Since the pronoun could be taken to refer to Moses, the referent has been specified as “the Lord” in the translation for clarity. See also the note on the word “you” later in this verse.

15 tc The LXX reads, “as the Lord promised them, and he will be with you.” This relieves the problem of Moses apparently promising to be with Joshua as the MT reads on the surface (“I will be with you”). However, the reading of the LXX is clearly an attempt to clarify an existing obscurity and therefore is unlikely to reflect the original.

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



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