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Deuteronomy 6:6-9

Context
Exhortation to Teach the Covenant Principles

6:6 These words I am commanding you today must be kept in mind, 6:7 and you must teach 1  them to your children and speak of them as you sit in your house, as you walk along the road, 2  as you lie down, and as you get up. 6:8 You should tie them as a reminder on your forearm 3  and fasten them as symbols 4  on your forehead. 6:9 Inscribe them on the doorframes of your houses and gates. 5 

Deuteronomy 6:20-25

Context
Exhortation to Remember the Past

6:20 When your children 6  ask you later on, “What are the stipulations, statutes, and ordinances that the Lord our God commanded you?” 6:21 you must say to them, 7  “We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt in a powerful way. 8  6:22 And he 9  brought signs and great, devastating wonders on Egypt, on Pharaoh, and on his whole family 10  before our very eyes. 6:23 He delivered us from there so that he could give us the land he had promised our ancestors. 6:24 The Lord commanded us to obey all these statutes and to revere him 11  so that it may always go well for us and he may preserve us, as he has to this day. 6:25 We will be innocent if we carefully keep all these commandments 12  before the Lord our God, just as he demands.” 13 

1 tn Heb “repeat” (so NLT). If from the root I שָׁנַן (shanan), the verb means essentially to “engrave,” that is, “to teach incisively” (Piel); note NAB “Drill them into your children.” Cf. BDB 1041-42 s.v.

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

3 sn Tie them as a sign on your forearm. Later Jewish tradition referred to the little leather containers tied to the forearms and foreheads as tefillin. They were to contain the following passages from the Torah: Exod 13:1-10, 11-16; Deut 6:5-9; 11:13-21. The purpose was to serve as a “sign” of covenant relationship and obedience.

4 sn Fasten them as symbols on your forehead. These were also known later as tefillin (see previous note) or phylacteries (from the Greek term). These box-like containers, like those on the forearms, held the same scraps of the Torah. It was the hypocritical practice of wearing these without heartfelt sincerity that caused Jesus to speak scathingly about them (cf. Matt 23:5).

5 sn The Hebrew term מְזוּזֹת (mÿzuzot) refers both to the door frames and to small cases attached on them containing scripture texts (always Deut 6:4-9 and 11:13-21; and sometimes the decalogue; Exod 13:1-10, 11-16; and Num 10:35-36). See J. H. Tigay, Deuteronomy (JPSTC), 443-44.

6 tn Heb “your son.”

7 tn Heb “to your son.”

8 tn Heb “by a strong hand.” The image is that of a warrior who, with weapon in hand, overcomes his enemies. The Lord is commonly depicted as a divine warrior in the Book of Deuteronomy (cf. 5:15; 7:8; 9:26; 26:8).

9 tn Heb “the Lord.” See note on the word “his” in v. 17.

10 tn Heb “house,” referring to the entire household.

11 tn Heb “the Lord our God.” See note on the word “his” in v. 17.

12 tn The term “commandment” (מִצְוָה, mitsvah), here in the singular, refers to the entire body of covenant stipulations.

13 tn Heb “as he has commanded us” (so NIV, NRSV).



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