Rewards of Obedience
“Therefore you shall love the Lord your God, and always keep His charge, His statutes, His precepts, and His commandments [it is your obligation to Him]. Know this day that I am not speaking to your children who have not known [by personal experience] and who have not seen [firsthand] the instruction and discipline of the Lord your God—His greatness, His mighty hand and His outstretched arm; and His signs and His works which He did in the midst of Egypt to Pharaoh the king of Egypt and to all his land; and what He did to the army of Egypt, to its horses and its chariots, when He made the water of the [a]Red Sea engulf them as they pursued you, and how the Lord [b]completely destroyed them; and what He did to you in the wilderness until you came to this place; and what He did to Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben, when the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, their households, their tents, and every living thing that [c]followed them, in the midst of all Israel. For your eyes have seen all the great work of the Lord which He did.
“Therefore, you shall keep all the commandments which I am commanding you today, so that you may be strong and go in and take possession of the land which you are crossing over [the Jordan] to possess; so that you may live long on the land which the Lord swore (solemnly promised) to your fathers to give to them and to their descendants, a land [of great abundance,] [d]flowing with milk and honey. For the land which you are entering to possess is not like the land of Egypt from which you have come, where you sowed your seed and watered [e]it with your foot like a garden of vegetables. But the land into which you are about to cross to possess, a land of hills and valleys, drinks water from the rain of heaven, a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.
“It shall come about, if you listen obediently and pay attention to My commandments which I command you today—to love the Lord your God and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul [your choices, your thoughts, your whole being]— that [f]He will give the rain for your land in its season, the early [fall] rain and the late [spring] rain, so that you may gather in your grain and your new wine and your [olive] oil. And [g]He will give grass in your fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied. Beware that your hearts are not deceived, and that you do not turn away [from the Lord] and serve other gods and worship them, or [else] the Lord’s anger will be kindled and burn against you, and He will shut up the heavens so that there will be no rain and the land will not yield its fruit; and you will perish quickly from the good land which the Lord is giving you.
“Therefore, you shall impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul, and tie them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as [h]bands (frontals, frontlets) on your forehead. You shall teach them [diligently] to your [i]children [impressing God’s precepts on their minds and penetrating their hearts with His truths], speaking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall write them on the [j]doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as [k]long as the heavens are above the earth. For if you are careful to keep all this commandment which I am commanding you to do, to love the Lord your God, to walk [that is, to live each and every day] in all His ways and to hold tightly to Him— then the Lord will drive out all these nations from before you, and you shall dispossess nations greater and mightier than you. Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall become yours; your territory shall be from the wilderness to Lebanon, and from the river, the river Euphrates, as far as the western sea (the Mediterranean). No man will be able to stand before you; the Lord your God will lay the fear and the dread of you on all the land on which you set foot, just as He has spoken to you.
“Behold, today I am setting before you a blessing and a curse— the blessing, if you listen to and obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I am commanding you today; and the curse, if you do not listen to and obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today, by following (acknowledging, worshiping) other gods which you have not known.
“It shall come about, when the Lord your God brings you into the land which you are entering to possess, that you shall place the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal. Are they not across the Jordan, west of the road, toward the sunset, in the land of the Canaanites who live in the Arabah, opposite Gilgal, beside the oaks of Moreh? For you are about to cross the Jordan to go in to possess the land which the Lord your God is giving you, and you shall possess it and live in it, and you shall be careful to do all the statutes and the judgments which I am setting before you today.
- Deuteronomy 11:4 Lit Sea of Reeds.
- Deuteronomy 11:4 Lit to this day.
- Deuteronomy 11:6 Lit was at their feet.
- Deuteronomy 11:9 This phrase referred to the abundant fertility of the land of Canaan. Milk (typically that of goats and sheep) was associated with abundance; “honey” referred mainly to syrups made from dates or grapes and was the epitome of sweetness. Bees’ honey was very rare and was considered the choicest of foods.
- Deuteronomy 11:10 Egyptian crops were watered by irrigation, so this may refer to a simple irrigation device that was operated by the foot, or to the practice of opening and closing small water channels with the foot.
- Deuteronomy 11:14 So some ancient versions; MT reads I.
- Deuteronomy 11:15 So some ancient versions; MT reads I.
- Deuteronomy 11:18 See note 6:8.
- Deuteronomy 11:19 Lit sons, also v 21.
- Deuteronomy 11:20 See note 6:9.
- Deuteronomy 11:21 Lit the days of.
Laws of the Sanctuary
“These are the statutes and judgments (precepts) which you shall be careful to do in the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess as long as you live on the earth. You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess serve their gods, on the high mountains and the hills and under every green [leafy] tree. You shall tear down their altars and smash their [idolatrous] pillars and burn their [a]Asherim in the fire; you shall cut down the carved and sculpted images of their gods and obliterate their name from that place. You shall not act like this toward the Lord your God. But you shall seek the Lord at the place which the Lord your God will choose out of all your tribes to establish His [b]Name there for His dwelling [place], and there you shall come [to worship Him]. There you shall bring your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the contribution of your hand, your votive (pledged, vowed) offerings, your freewill (voluntary) offerings, and the firstborn of your herd and of your flock. And there you and your households shall eat before the Lord your God, and rejoice in all to which you put your hand, in which the Lord your God has blessed you.
“You shall not do at all what we are doing here [in the camp] today, every man doing whatever is right in his [own] eyes. For you have not yet come to the resting place and to the inheritance which the Lord your God is giving you. When you cross the Jordan and live in the land which the Lord your God is giving you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies around you so that you live in security, then it shall come about that the place which the Lord your God will choose for His Name [and Presence] to dwell; there you shall bring everything that I am commanding you: your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes and the [voluntary] contribution of your hand [as a first gift from the fruits of the ground], and all your choice votive offerings which you vow to the Lord. And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you and your sons and your daughters, and your male and female servants, and the Levite who is within your [city] gates, since he has no portion or inheritance with you.
“Be careful that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every [cultic] place you see, but [only] in the place which the Lord will choose in one of your tribes, there you shall offer your burnt offerings, and there you shall do everything that I am commanding you.
“However, you may slaughter and eat meat within any of your [city] gates, whatever you wish, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you [as His generous provision for daily life]. The [ceremonially] unclean and the clean may eat it, such as the gazelle and the deer. Only you shall not eat the blood; you are to pour it out on the ground like water. You are forbidden to eat within your [city] gates the tithe of your grain or new wine or oil, or the firstborn of your herd or flock, or any of your votive offerings, or your freewill offerings, or the contribution of your hand. But you shall eat them before the Lord your God in the place which the Lord your God will choose, you and your son and your daughter, and your male and female servants, and the Levite who is within your [city] gates; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God in all [c]that you undertake. Be careful that you do not neglect the Levite [who serves God] [d]as long as you live in your land.
“When the Lord your God extends your territory, as He promised you, and you say, ‘I will eat meat,’ because you want to eat meat, then you may eat meat, whatever [e]you wish. If the place which the Lord your God chooses to put His Name (Presence) is too far away from you, then you may slaughter [animals] from your herd or flock which the Lord has given you, just as I have commanded you; and you may eat within your [city] gates whatever you wish. Just as the gazelle or the deer is eaten, so you may eat it [but not make it an offering]; the [ceremonially] unclean and the clean alike may eat it. Only be sure that you do not eat the blood, for the blood is the life (soul), and you shall not eat the life with the meat. You shall not eat it; you shall pour it out on the ground like water. You shall not eat it, so that all may be well with you and with your children after you, because you will be doing what is right in the sight of the Lord. However, you shall take your holy things which you have [to offer] and your votive (pledged, vowed) offerings, you shall take them and go to the place which the Lord will choose. And you shall offer your burnt offerings, the meat and the blood, on the altar of the Lord your God; and the blood of your sacrifices shall be poured out on the altar of the Lord your God, and you shall eat the meat.
“Be careful to listen to all these words which I am commanding you, so that it may be well with you and with your [f]children after you forever, because you will be doing what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God.
“When the Lord your God cuts off and destroys before you the nations which you are going in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and settle in their land, beware that you are not lured (ensnared) into following them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods, so that I too may do likewise?’ You shall not behave this way toward the Lord your God, for they have done for their gods every repulsive thing which the Lord hates; for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire [as sacrifices] to their gods.
“Everything I command you, you shall be careful to do it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.
- Deuteronomy 12:3 Wooden symbols of the goddess Asherah.
- Deuteronomy 12:5 The “Name” of God is equivalent to His gracious presence in passages such as this one. The place where God puts His Name is the place where He chooses to dwell.
- Deuteronomy 12:18 Lit the putting forth of your hand.
- Deuteronomy 12:19 Lit all your days on.
- Deuteronomy 12:20 Lit your soul desires.
- Deuteronomy 12:28 Lit sons.