Date: Fri, 16 Dec 1994 10:42:30 CET Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From: Teus Benschop Subject: Deuteronomy 6 Contents ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 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 prolonged. 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 honey. 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 heart: 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 gates. 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 diligently. 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 spoken. 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 comments. Questions. 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? Tasks. 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 78. b. What are the goals of this instruction, according to Tehilliem 78:7,8? 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 - firstname.lastname@example.org No copyrights on this publication - Translated by a Dutchman Institution Practical Bible-education, the Netherlands .