Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Wednesday Bible Study: More redundancy and repetitiveness

Deuteronomy 11 is just more of the same: recapitulation of events of Exodus and Numbers and exhortation to obey Yahweh, or else. So I'll just repeat myself as well. I think the function of these sermons by Moses was exactly that: they were read aloud to congregations in some form of regular observance. Other than the various prescribed sacrifices, the regular observances such as Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we don't really get any information about how the law and lore were transmitted to the illiterate masses. So I suspect there was some sort of regular gathering at which these sermons of Moses were read, and that's why they repeat content from earlier books, since hardly anyone could actually read them. Many of the events described here are examples of Yahweh's various mass murders; I won't bother to point them out. The boundaries promised for the land of Israel were never fully occupied by the Israelites. Most of the land is fairly arid and does require irrigation. Etc. Whatever, let's just get it over with.

11 “You shall therefore love the Lord your God, and keep his charge, his statutes, his ordinances, and his commandments always. And consider this day (since I am not speaking to your children who have not known or seen it), consider the discipline[a] of the Lord your God, his greatness, his mighty hand and his outstretched arm, his signs and his deeds which he did in Egypt to Pharaoh the king of Egypt and to all his land; and what he did to the army of Egypt, to their horses and to their chariots; how he made the water of the Red Sea overflow them as they pursued after you, and how the Lord has destroyed them to this day; and what he did to you in the wilderness, until you came to this place; and what he did to Dathan and Abi′ram the sons of Eli′ab, son of Reuben; how the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households, their tents, and every living thing that followed them, in the midst of all Israel; for your eyes have seen all the great work of the Lord which he did.

“You shall therefore keep all the commandment which I command you this day, that you may be strong, and go in and take possession of the land which you are going over to possess, and that you may live long in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give to them and to their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10 For the land which you are entering to take possession of it is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you sowed your seed and watered it with your feet, like a garden of vegetables; 11 but the land which you are going over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water by the rain from heaven, 12 a land which the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.

13 “And if you will obey 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, 14 he[b] will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the later rain, that you may gather in your grain and your wine and your oil. 15 And he[c] will give grass in your fields for your cattle, and you shall eat and be full. 16 Take heed lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them, 17 and the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and he shut up the heavens, so that there be no rain, and the land yield no fruit, and you perish quickly off the good land which the Lord gives you.

18 “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 And you shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 20 And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gates, 21 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 long as the heavens are above the earth. 22 For if you will be careful to do all this commandment which I command you to do, loving the Lord your God, walking in all his ways, and cleaving to him, 23 then the Lord will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourselves. 24 Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours; your territory shall be from the wilderness and Lebanon and from the River, the river Euphra′tes, to the western sea. 25 No man shall be able to stand against you; the Lord your God will lay the fear of you and the dread of you upon all the land that you shall tread, as he promised you.

26 “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day, 28 and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods which you have not known. 29 And when the Lord your God brings you into the land which you are entering to take possession of it, you shall set the blessing on Mount Ger′izim and the curse on Mount Ebal. 30 Are they not beyond the Jordan, west of the road, toward the going down of the sun, in the land of the Canaanites who live in the Arabah, over against Gilgal, beside the oak[d] of Moreh? 31 For you are to pass over the Jordan to go in to take possession of the land which the Lord your God gives you; and when you possess it and live in it, 32 you shall be careful to do all the statutes and the ordinances which I set before you this day.


  1. Deuteronomy 11:2 Or instruction
  2. Deuteronomy 11:14 Sam Gk Vg: Heb I
  3. Deuteronomy 11:15 Sam Gk Vg: Heb I
  4. Deuteronomy 11:30 Gk Syr: See Gen 12.6. Heb oaks or terebinths

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