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Deuteronomy 7:16-26

Context
Exhortation to Destroy Canaanite Paganism

7:16 You must destroy 1  all the people whom the Lord your God is about to deliver over to you; you must not pity them or worship 2  their gods, for that will be a snare to you. 7:17 If you think, “These nations are more numerous than I – how can I dispossess them?” 7:18 you must not fear them. You must carefully recall 3  what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and all Egypt, 7:19 the great judgments 4  you saw, the signs and wonders, the strength and power 5  by which he 6  brought you out – thus the Lord your God will do to all the people you fear. 7:20 Furthermore, the Lord your God will release hornets 7  among them until the very last ones who hide from you 8  perish. 7:21 You must not tremble in their presence, for the Lord your God, who is present among you, is a great and awesome God. 7:22 He, 9  the God who leads you, will expel the nations little by little. You will not be allowed to destroy them all at once lest the wild animals overrun you. 7:23 The Lord your God will give them over to you; he will throw them into a great panic 10  until they are destroyed. 7:24 He will hand over their kings to you and you will erase their very names from memory. 11  Nobody will be able to resist you until you destroy them. 7:25 You must burn the images of their gods, but do not covet the silver and gold that covers them so much that you take it for yourself and thus become ensnared by it; for it is abhorrent 12  to the Lord your God. 7:26 You must not bring any abhorrent thing into your house and thereby become an object of divine wrath 13  along with it. 14  You must absolutely detest 15  and abhor it, 16  for it is an object of divine wrath.

1 tn Heb “devour” (so NRSV); KJV, NAB, NASB “consume.” The verbal form (a perfect with vav consecutive) is understood here as having an imperatival or obligatory nuance (cf. the instructions and commands that follow). Another option is to take the statement as a continuation of the preceding conditional promises and translate “and you will destroy.”

2 tn Or “serve” (so KJV, NIV, NRSV).

3 tn Heb “recalling, you must recall.” The Hebrew text uses the infinitive absolute before the finite verb for emphasis. Cf. KJV, ASV “shalt well remember.”

4 tn Heb “testings” (so NAB), a reference to the plagues. See note at 4:34.

5 tn Heb “the strong hand and outstretched arm.” See 4:34.

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

7 tn The meaning of the term translated “hornets” (צִרְעָה, tsirah) is debated. Various suggestions are “discouragement” (HALOT 1056-57 s.v.; cf. NEB, TEV, CEV “panic”; NCV “terror”) and “leprosy” (J. H. Tigay, Deuteronomy [JPSTC], 360, n. 33; cf. NRSV “the pestilence”), as well as “hornet” (BDB 864 s.v.; cf. NAB, NASB, NIV, NLT). The latter seems most suitable to the verb שָׁלַח (shalakh, “send”; cf. Exod 23:28; Josh 24:12).

8 tn Heb “the remnant and those who hide themselves.”

9 tn Heb “the Lord your God.” See note on “he” in 7:19.

10 tn Heb “he will confuse them (with) great confusion.” The verb used here means “shake, stir up” (see Ruth 1:19; 1 Sam 4:5; 1 Kgs 1:45; Ps 55:2); the accompanying cognate noun refers to confusion, unrest, havoc, or panic (1 Sam 5:9, 11; 14:20; 2 Chr 15:5; Prov 15:16; Isa 22:5; Ezek 7:7; 22:5; Amos 3:9; Zech 14:13).

11 tn Heb “you will destroy their name from under heaven” (cf. KJV); NRSV “blot out their name from under heaven.”

12 tn The Hebrew word תּוֹעֵבָה (toevah, “abhorrent; detestable”) describes anything detestable to the Lord because of its innate evil or inconsistency with his own nature and character. Frequently such things (or even persons) must be condemned to annihilation (חֵרֶם, kherem) lest they become a means of polluting or contaminating others (cf. Deut 13:17; 20:17-18). See M. Grisanti, NIDOTTE 4:315.

13 tn Heb “come under the ban” (so NASB); NRSV “be set apart for destruction.” The same phrase occurs again at the end of this verse.

sn The Hebrew word translated an object of divine wrath (חֵרֶם, kherem) refers to persons or things placed under God’s judgment, usually to the extent of their complete destruction. See note on the phrase “divine judgment” in Deut 2:34.

14 tn Or “like it is.”

15 tn This Hebrew verb (שָׁקַץ, shaqats) is essentially synonymous with the next verb (תָעַב, taav; cf. תּוֹעֵבָה, toevah; see note on the word “abhorrent” in v. 25), though its field of meaning is more limited to cultic abomination (cf. Lev 11:11, 13; Ps 22:25).

16 tn Heb “detesting you must detest and abhorring you must abhor.” Both verbs are preceded by a cognate infinitive absolute indicating emphasis.



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