Date:         Fri, 16 Dec 1994 10:42:30 CET
Sender:       Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From:         Teus Benschop 
Subject:      Deuteronomy 6
     1.    Introduction
     2.    Explanation
     3.    Questions
  1. Introduction
  This is  an issue of a  continuous explanation of the  Bible-book Dvarim,
  that is  Deuteronomy. If  something is unclear  in the explanation  (they
  are not easy), you  are free to ask me. The Bible-text is  taken from the
  King James version.
  Deuteronomy 6.
  Title: Warning against profane inclination
  Short contents:
  Moshe (Moses) gives order to keep God's commandments.  Because God is the
  only true God,  the people have to  love Him. Then it  will go well  with
  them. They have  to teach God's commandments diligently to  the children,
  and  keep them always before the eyes.  They may never forget God and His
  benefactions,  may not decay in idolatry, and  must always fear God. They
  may  not  tempt  God.  They  have  to   tell  the  children  about  God's
  deliverance out Egypt, so that also the children learn to obey God.
  2. Explanation
     1 Now  these are the  commandments, the  statutes, and the  judgments,
     which the LORD your God commanded to teach  you, that ye might do them
     in the land whither ye go to possess it:
  Moshe (Moses) presents the promised land to the nation  to stimulate them
  the  more that they  keep God's  commandments. Attend  that they  have to
  learn the  commandments. Not only to speak together about them, but above
  all to do them.
     2  That thou mightest fear the  LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes
     and  his commandments,  which I command  thee, thou, and  thy son, and
     thy son's  son, all the  days of  thy life; and  that thy days  may be
  The promise of the  prolonging of the days of life depends on the keeping
  of  God's   commandments,  and  on  the   fearing  of  Him.   Mind  whose
  commandments one has to do.  You must not keep your own  commandments and
  do your own will, but  "His" statutes and "His" commandments. As is known
  out the  Tanach (Old  Testament),  the human  will is  contrary to  God's
  will. Therefore, here  is taught to refrain from own will, and to do only
  that, what God wants.
     3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that  it may be well
     with  thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as  the LORD God of thy
     fathers hath promised  thee, in  the land that  floweth with milk  and
  There are  great things  promised on the  doing of  the commandments.  It
  will go well  with them. They  will increase mightily.  They receive  the
  very fertile land.
     4 Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God is one LORD:
  There  is only one God. "Hearken unto me, O Yaakov and Israel, my called;
  I am he;  I am the first, I  also am the last, "Jeshajah /  Isaiah 48:12.
  With  this,  all  the  idols disappear  to  nothing.  The  LORD  does not
  tolerate other gods besides him. "I am the LORD: that  is my name: and my
  glory will I not  give to another, neither  my praise to graven  images,"
  Jeshajah / Isaiah 42:8.
     5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all  thine heart, and with
     all thy soul, and with all thy might.
  The short summary  of the law  consists in the  loving of God and  of the
  fellow-man. The loving of God  is written in this verse, and  verse seven
  speaks  about the  loving of  the  fellow-man. Now,  Moshe has  presented
  God's benefits to the  nation. After he has done  that, he asks for  love
  to God. Here  we see, that the human  love of God can  only follow, after
  God has  done us well. Davied  also says this: "O  love the LORD,  all ye
  his  saints:  for  the  LORD  preserveth  the  faithful,  and plentifully
  rewardeth the  proud doer,"  Thilliem /  Psalm 31:23.  God's saints,  who
  have  received His mercy,  they must  love the LORD.  Why? "For  the LORD
  preserves the faithful." It  is very fair that  Moshe asks this from  the
  nation.  The  loving of  God has  to happen  with  the whole  person. The
  person  has to  serve God  with heart  and soul,  and external,  with his
  might.  They, who  say:  "Only the  heart is  important",  say too  less,
  because He asks above all the heart and the soul. The loving  of God with
  all affections implies  something. When the service of God is contrary to
  our  own desires, then we have to deny our  own desires. Who can do that?
  Nobody, still it  must. Who receives  grace to do  this, he will  receive
  the good  from  God. "And  it shall  come to  pass, if  ye shall  hearken
  diligently  unto my commandments  which I  command you this  day, to love
  the LORD  your God, and  to serve him  with all your  heart and with  all
  your soul. That  I will give you the rain of your land in his due season,
  the first rain and  the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn,
  and thy wine,  and thine oil," Dvariem  / Deuteronomy 11:13,14. Here,  it
  is written. Who loves God, will be very blessed.
     6  And these words, which I  command thee this day, shall  be in thine
  The law shall  be in your heart. The heart is the place of the memory and
  the affections. Hereof  we see that we always have  to remember ourselves
  the words  of God, as Moshe  has commanded. This  everlasting remembering
  of,  consideration of, and love to the law,  will keep us from sins. "Thy
  word have  I  hid in  mine heart,  that I  might not  sin against  thee,"
  Thilliem / Psalm 119:11.
     7 And thou  shalt teach them diligently  unto thy children, and  shalt
     talk of them when  thou sittest in thine house,  and when thou walkest
     by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
  Moshe  knows how forgetful we are. We  have always to consider God's law,
  and  speak of  that.  In the  public,  "by the  way". And  in  the family
  circle, "in your  house". In the  personal life, "when  you lie down  and
  when you rise up".  There cannot be any  time without considering of  and
  speaking about the law. Here is  not forbidden to do our daily  work, but
  here is commanded that  we also during this  daily work consider the  law
  of  God. The man  who does this,  is called blessed. "Blessed  is the man
  that  walketh not in the counsel of the  ungodly, nor standeth in the way
  of sinners, nor sitteth in the  seat of the scornful. But his delight  is
  in the law of the LORD; and  in his law doth he meditate day  and night,"
  Thilliem / Psalm 1:1,2.  Also Davied speaks there  about that he has  not
  forgotten  God's law,  but that  even  at midnight  he thanked  God. "The
  bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I  have not forgotten thy law. At
  midnight I will rise  to give thanks unto  thee because of thy  righteous
  judgments," Thilliem / Psalm 119:61,62.
     8 And thou shalt bind them for a  sign upon thine hand, and they shall
     be as frontlets between thine eyes.
  These words,  which I command  to you, shall  you not  only have in  your
  heart, but you shall  also put them to a visible sign. Moshe says this so
  that we not will  forget his words. The Law of God must  always be before
  our eyes. For we are too fast inclined to forget these words.  So we need
  help to be  always remembered  to God's  Law. Therefore,  Moshe does  not
  command  to fix profane  jewels on our  hand and our  head. These profane
  jewels should not put us to think about  God's Law, but about the profane
  idle  beauty. Moshe does not command us  to fix profane jewels, but God's
  words to us  for a sign.  We must always  put God  before our eyes.  From
  this  command  of  Moshe  are  originated   the  straps  of  prayer,  the
  Tephillin. These Tephillin are not  a goal in itself. They are only signs
  to always remember  us the  laws of God.  Moshe has not  given a  precise
  rule about  greatness and  exterior of  the Tephillin.  They who  discuss
  about  that, clearly  keep hanging  in the  medium, but  come not  to the
  goal. The  goal is  to always  remember us  God's law. Who  has older  or
  better  Tephillin is not more holy than others. More holy is only he, who
  keeps God's laws.
     9 And thou  shalt write them  upon the posts of thy  house, and on thy
  Here, Moshe gives another spur to keep remembering his  words. We have to
  write them on the posts. Our houses must not be decorated with all  sorts
  of  profane jewels,  which would  put us  to think  about the  world. The
  interior of our  house has to be furnished  so that it always  puts us to
  think  about  God  en  His commandments.  From  this  is  originated  the
  Mezuzah. Also to this applies that we not get stuck in the  sign. When we
  come  into a house, and there  is a Mezuzah on  the doorpost, but they do
  not keep God's commandments,  what is then the use? The Mezuzah is only a
  medium. But the  goal is total obedience  to God's commandments.  For the
  rest, something  must be  noted here.  Moshe commands  us to write  God's
  words on  the posts. Without doubt, he wants that  we can read them. Only
  when  we daily can  read God's words,  they can stay  in memory. However,
  the Mezuzah is unreadable from  outside, and does not answer to  the rule
  of Moshe. Moshe does  not want that we  hang up unreadable words.  Better
  is it, to fix readable parts of Tanach to the walls and the posts.
     10 And  it shall  be, when the  LORD thy God  shall have  brought thee
     into  the  land  which  he sware  unto  thy  fathers,  to Avraham,  to
     Yitschak  (Isaac), and  to  Yaakov (Jacob),  to  give thee  great  and
     goodly cities, which thou buildedst not,
     11 And houses full  of all good things, which  thou filledst not,  and
     wells  digged, which  thou diggedst  not, vineyards  and olive  trees,
     which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full;
     12 Then beware  lest thou  forget the LORD,  which brought thee  forth
     out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage."
  When the  LORD has given to  them all the good,  wherefore they have done
  nothing, and when they are  satisfied, what will they do then? Because of
  their great prosperity, the people will usually forget  their Benefactor.
  Their spirit  becomes, because  of the satisfaction,  lazy and slow,  and
  does  no more  aim  itself on  God,  from Who  all  the  good come.  "But
  Jeshurun  waxed fat,  and  kicked: thou  art  waxen fat,  thou art  grown
  thick,  thou art  covered with  fatness; then he  forsook God  which made
  him,  and  lightly  esteemed  the  Rock  of  his  salvation,"  Dvariem  /
  Deuteronomy 32:15.  What happens  to all people,  also happened with  the
  nation Israel. Israel is called Jeshurun. When it went well,  they forgot
  God. Moshe wants to  warn us for this.  "Then beware lest you forget  the
  LORD."  Moshe adds that  the LORD  has brought  them out  of the  land of
  Egypt,  that house  of  bondage. A  great  benefaction. When  they  would
  forget the LORD, their Saviour, what a great infamy would that be.
     13 Thou shalt  fear the LORD thy God,  and serve him,  and shalt swear
     by his name.
  Moshe told  in verse four  that the  LORD is the  only God.  Therefore is
  written in  this  verse that  we  shall fear  and  serve only  Him.  This
  fearing means that we fear before Him because of  His great majesty. Here
  is not asked a forced fear, but a voluntary fear.  This is specified in a
  Psalm. "Serve the  LORD with fear, and rejoice with  trembling," Thilliem
  / Psalm 2:11. Here we  see that serving, rejoicing and trembling  must go
  together.  This is the only just attitude  towards the holy and good God.
  Moshe  says further that  we shall swear  only by God's  Name. With this,
  Moshe wants not to insist on an  unbound, careless and frequent swearing.
  He wants to  say that, when we  have to swear,  than only by  God's Name,
  and by nothing else. The oath has to confirm  the truth. So, by Who is it
  better to swear  than by God? God  is the Truth. He is  the One who knows
  all  hearts. The  swearing by  God  implies therefore  confession of  His
  dominion and virtues.
     14 Ye  shall not go after other gods,  of the gods of the people which
     are round about you;
  In the previous verse is  said that they should fear and  serve the LORD.
  Therefore,  they "shall  not  go after  other  gods". Although  from  all
  sides, from  "round about"  them, the temptations  are great, still  they
  may not leave the LORD.
     15 (For the  LORD thy God is a  jealous God among you) lest the  anger
     of the  LORD thy God be  kindled against thee,  and destroy  thee from
     off the face of the earth.
  It is necessary that  the ban, to serve  other gods, is extra  memorized.
  Therefore, Moshe  uses the threat.  God is a  jealous God. Therefore,  He
  does not tolerate other  gods besides Him. And  why should the people  go
  so far  away for a  god? Because the  LORD is "among" them,  they totally
  have not  to seek far. Also,  because the LORD is  so close to  them, His
  anger can  be kindled  the faster  against them.  Also Jehoshua /  Joshua
  warns  the  nation with  this,  later.  "When ye  have  transgressed  the
  covenant of the LORD your God, which he  commanded you, and have gone and
  served other gods, and bowed  yourselves to them; then shall the anger of
  the  LORD be kindled  against you, and  ye shall perish  quickly from off
  the good land which he hath given unto you," Jhoshua 23:16.
     16 Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.
  What had  the  nation done  in  Massah? There  they  had lack  of  water.
  "Wherefore the people did chide with Moshe, and said,  Give us water that
  we may drink. And Moshe said unto  them, Why chide ye with me?  wherefore
  do ye tempt the  LORD?" Shmot 17:2. The  people chid with Moshe. Just  if
  he  were the man,  who could give  water. Only the LORD  can do this. How
  could the  people speak so, because they had seen  so many signs of God's
  power? Had they have had a very little bit  of faith, than they should go
  in prayer to God with their lack of water. But they did not  so. Why not?
  They  did  not trust  God.  Yes,  that thought  that  God  was not  there
  anymore.  That is  why Moshe  later says,  that "they  tempted  the LORD,
  saying,  Is the LORD among us, or not,"  Shmot 17:7. They did not believe
  in God. Therefore, they came not to God, but to  Moshe. The temptation of
  God consists herein, that they  say to God: "Show now that  You are among
  us. We do not  believe anything of it, until we have seen  it". With this
  they tempted  God that He should  show that He was among  them. This is a
  very dangerous temptation.  For when God shows that He  is God, what will
  He  do than  with the unbelieving?  He will  strike them by  His fire, as
  righteous  judgement  about  their   unbelief.  So  dangerous  was   that
  temptation.   But  God,   Who  was   still   merciful  about   them,  and
  longsuffering, that  God did not send  fire to their  judgement. There in
  Massah,  He gave  them  still water,  to  their life.  Undeserved  grace.
  Attend  that God was longsuffering  about the nation. Longsuffering means
  that  God  delays   the  punishments  for  that  time.  But   later,  the
  punishments have truly  come. This is  a lesson also  for us. We  also do
  what we like  ourselves, without attending on God. And  we are not struck
  yet  by any  punishment. No,  not now, still  not. Therefore,  we rejoice
  still in  our own ways.  Our ways, which  are not God's  ways. Therefore,
  Shlomoh says:  "Rejoice, o young  man, in  thy youth;  and let thy  heart
  cheer  thee in  the days  of thy  youth, and  walk in  the ways  of thine
  heart, and  in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these
  things God will  bring thee into judgment," Kohelet /  Ecclesiastes 11:9.
  Here,  Shlomoh  speaks in    an ironic  way.  Go on,  young  man,  in the
  idleness. But  know that God will  see all, and judge.  Therefore Shlomoh
  admonishes  in the next  verse, to put all  wicked deeds away. "Therefore
  remove  sorrow from  thy heart,  and put  away evil  from thy  flesh: for
  childhood and  youth are vanity,  "Kohelet / Ecclesiastes  11:10. Shlomoh
  says more then this. This  is still not enough to put  all sins away. The
  true religion must come by.  Shlomoh speaks also about this, in  the next
  verse.  "Remember now thy  Creator in  the days of  thy youth,  while the
  evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I  have
  no pleasure in  them," Kohelet / Ecclesiastes 12:1. First,  Shlomoh warns
  the  youth  in  an  ironic  way for  the  judgement,  and  after  that he
  admonishes him to put the  idleness away. After that, he spurs him  on to
  serve the Creator.
     17 Ye  shall diligently  keep the commandments  of the LORD  your God,
     and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee.
  The  nation shall  not only  keep God's commandments  in a  weak way, but
     18 And thou shalt do that which is right and good in  the sight of the
     LORD: that it  may be well  with thee, and that thou  mayest go in and
     possess the good land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers,
  Here, we are not admonished to do what is  good in our eyes, but what "is
  right and  good in the  sight of  the LORD." However,  when we refuse  to
  listen to God's  voice, than God will  listen to our voice.  What? To our
  voice? Surely. When  we do, not  what is well  in the  sight of God,  but
  what  we find  good ourselves,  than God will  do according  to our wish.
  "But my people would not  hearken to my voice;  and Israel would none  of
  me. So I  gave them up  unto their own  hearts' lust: and they  walked in
  their own counsels,"  Thilliem / Psalm 81:11,12. God's people  wanted not
  to listen  to God's voice.  Therefore, God gives  them up unto  their own
  counsels. Oh, that we  listen to God, as the LORD says  Himself. "Oh that
  my  people had  hearkened unto  me, and  Israel had  walked in  my ways,"
  Thilliem  /  Psalm 81:13.  When  we listen  to  God, what  would  that be
  profitable for us. "I should soon have  subdued their enemies, and turned
  my hand against their adversaries," Thilliem / Psalm 81:14.
     19 To cast  out all thine enemies from  before thee, as the LORD  hath
  Here,  Moshe says the same as what is  written in Thilliem / Psalm 81:15,
  as is cited before. Or, better  said, in Thilliem / Psalm 81 is  repeated
  the doctrine of  Moshe. This doctrine  is: Hear to  Me, says God, and  it
  will go well with you.
     20 And when thy  son asketh  thee in time to  come, saying, What  mean
     the testimonies, and  the statutes, and the judgments, which  the LORD
     our God hath commanded you?
  The  knowledge of  God  must be  passed  on to  the sons,  who  will live
  tomorrow. They also must be taught.
     21 Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Faro's bondmen in  Egypt;
     and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand:
  This  teaches the father to his son  the first: God's power and goodness,
  in the saving  of us,  who were  only bondmen.  As they  were bondmen  in
  Egypt, the same are  we bondmen of the sin.  As they were brought out  of
  Egypt, the same must we be saved of the sins.
     22 And  the LORD shewed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt,
     upon Faro, and upon all his household, before our eyes:
     23 And he  brought us out  from thence, that he might  bring us in, to
     give us the land which he sware unto our fathers.
     24  And the  LORD commanded us to  do all these  statutes, to fear the
     LORD our God, for  our good always, that he  might preserve us  alive,
     as it is at this day.
  the  LORD saved  the people  out of  Egypt. Then  He commanded  that they
  should  obey  Him.  Here we  see  that the  keeping  of  the commandments
  follows the deliverance by God.
     25 And it shall be  our righteousness, if  we observe to do all  these
     commandments before the LORD our God, as he hath commanded us.
  The  nation Israel  was saved  out of  Egypt. When  they now  should keep
  God's commandments, then this  would be their righteousness. Attend  that
  they should  keep not  only some  of God's  commandments, but "all  these
  commandments."  In which  way  must these  commandments  be kept?  Is  it
  allowed  that  some faults  can be  made?  Or is  it  good, when  it only
  happens external?  What does Moshe  say of  this? It must  happen "before
  the LORD". Before the holy  LORD, Who sees all,  and before Whom no  spot
  can exist. So we see that the complete keeping  of the commandments, both
  internal  and external,  will be our  righteousness. "Ye  shall therefore
  keep my statutes, and my judgments: which  if a man do, he shall  live in
  them: I am the  LORD," Wajikra / Leviticus 18:5. Because there  is no man
  who does  this, as will  tell our own conscience  to us, there is  no man
  who will come  to this perfect righteousness. Also Tanach  testifies that
  nobody  is  sinless.  "The  heart is  deceitful  above  all  things,  and
  desperately wicked: who  can know it?" Jirmejah / Jeremiah  17:9. Because
  nobody  can come by himself to  God's righteousness, therefore God has in
  His  mercy thought  out another  way. The  LORD forgives  the sin  to the
  people. Not to all people but to them, who  humbly ask Him for that. "For
  thy name's  sake,  O  LORD,  pardon mine  iniquity;  for  it  is  great",
  Thilliem  / Psalm  25:11. Davied  does not  reduce his  iniquity, but  he
  calls it great. That  is humility. Davied asks  the LORD for pardon.  The
  LORD will  blot out the iniquity  of this sort of  humble people, and not
  remember  it  anymore.  "I,   even  I,  am  he  that   blotteth  out  thy
  transgressions  for mine  own  sake, and  will  not remember  thy  sins,"
  Jeshajah / Isaiah 43:25. Moshe has not  mentioned this extension, that we
  not  receive the  good by  our own righteousness,  on this  place. But he
  says  this on  another  place. "Not  for thy  righteousness,  or for  the
  uprightness of thine  heart, dost thou go to possess  their land: but for
  the  wickedness of  these nations  the LORD thy  God doth  drive them out
  from before  thee, and that he may perform  the word which the LORD sware
  unto thy  fathers, Avraham, Yitschak,  and Yaakov.  Understand therefore,
  that the LORD  thy God giveth thee not  this good land to possess  it for
  thy  righteousness;  for  thou  art  a  stiffnecked  people,"  Dvariem  /
  Deuteronomy 9:5,6.
  3. Questions
  If  you  want  to gain  more  benefit  from  the explanation,  you  could
  consider to answer the questions and do the  tasks. You can send these to
  the  editor.  He will  look  at  it,  and return  them  to  you with  his
  1  a. Which promise  does God connect to the  keeping of His commandments
     in verse 1-3?
     b. Can you perfectly keep His commandments?
  2  What is the short summary of the Law?
  3  Can the  serving of God go with the persisting in  own desires? Why or
     why not?
  4  What  is  the intention  of the  sign on  the hand  and  the frontlets
     between the eyes?
  5  a. What do we have to write on the posts and the walls of our houses?
     b. What is the goal from this?
  6  Is there a danger in wealth and abundance? Why?
  7  We have to fear God, verse 13. What does this mean?
  8  Who must fear for the kindling of God's anger against him?
  9  In what did the temptation in Massah consist?
  10 Is  the  nation brought  in  the  land  Kenaan because  of  their  own
     righteousness, or because of another reason?
  1  a.  In Dvariem / Deuteronomy  6:7, the fathers are  admonished to tell
     their  children about  the serving  of God.  Seek the  same things  in
     Bereshiet /  Genesis 18, Dvariem  / Deuteronomy  11, Thilliem /  Psalm
     b. What  are the  goals of  this instruction,  according to  Tehilliem
  2  Show  from the  behaviour  of the  inhabitants  of the  present  state
     Israel, if  the LORD has  brought them  back in their  land because of
     their own righteousness, or because of another reason.
    Chr-Exp, a Christian explanation of the Tanach and the New Testament
              Editor: Teus Benschop  -
       No copyrights on this publication  -  Translated by a Dutchman
           Institution Practical Bible-education, the Netherlands