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Exodus 13:8-9

Context

13:8 You are to tell your son 1  on that day, 2  ‘It is 3  because of what 4  the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ 13:9 5  It 6  will be a sign 7  for you on your hand and a memorial 8  on your forehead, 9  so that the law of the Lord may be 10  in your mouth, 11  for 12  with a mighty hand the Lord brought you out of Egypt.

1 tn The form is the Hiphil perfect with the vav (ו) consecutive, carrying the sequence forward: “and you will declare to your son.”

sn A very important part of the teaching here is the manner in which the memory of the deliverance will be retained in Israel – they were to teach their children the reasons for the feast, as a binding law forever. This will remind the nation of its duties to Yahweh in gratitude for the great deliverance.

2 tn Heb “day, saying.” “Tell…saying” is redundant, so “saying” has not been included in the translation here.

3 tn “it is” has been supplied.

4 tn The text uses זֶה (zeh), which Gesenius classifies as the use of the pronoun to introduce a relative clause after the preposition (GKC 447 §138.h) – but he thinks the form is corrupt. B. S. Childs, however, sees no reason to posit a corruption in this form (Exodus [OTL], 184).

5 sn This passage has, of course, been taken literally by many devout Jews, and portions of the text have been encased in phylacteries and bound on the arm and forehead. B. Jacob (Exodus, 368), weighing the pros and cons of the literal or the figurative meaning, says that those who took it literally should not be looked down on for their symbolic work. In many cases, he continues, it is the spirit that kills and the letter makes alive – because people who argue against a literal usage do so to excuse lack of action. This is a rather interesting twist in the discussion. The point of the teaching was obviously meant to keep the Law of Yahweh in the minds of the people, to remind them of their duties.

6 tn That is, this ceremony.

7 tn Heb “for a sign.”

8 tn Heb “for a memorial.”

9 tn Heb “between your eyes” (KJV and ASV both similar); the same expression occurs in v. 16.

sn That these festivals and consecrations were to be signs and memorials is akin to the expressions used in the book of Proverbs (Prov 3:3, “bind them around your neck…write them on your heart”). The people were to use the festivals as outward and visible tokens to remind them to obey what the Law required.

10 tn The purpose of using this ceremony as a sign and a memorial is that the Law might be in their mouth. The imperfect tense, then, receives the classification of final imperfect in the purpose clause.

11 sn “Mouth” is a metonymy of cause; the point is that they should be ever talking about the Law as their guide as they go about their duties (see Deut 6:7; 11:19; Josh 1:8).

12 tn This causal clause gives the reason for what has just been instructed. Because Yahweh delivered them from bondage, he has the strongest claims on their life.



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