Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, June 18th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 6

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-25

Deuteronomy 6:4 . יהוה אלהינו יהוה אחד , Jehovah our Elohim is one Jehovah. There is uniformly an elision of the letter ם mem, when the plural is associated with the noun; and the י yod is not used in the paradigm of Hebrew verbs to designate the plural noun. The name of the Divinity being here used three times, as in Psalms 33:6, Isaiah 49, 63., and the central name or noun, Elohinu, being in the plural number, indicates to us that mysterious sociality in the Trinity in unity, known to us by the adorable names of Father; Son, Word, Wisdom, or Messiah; and Spirit. This text is sublimely introduced, Hear, oh Israel; the more divinely to impress the heart with the consequent duties of love, obedience, and adoration; yea, of utter abhorrence of all idols which would share the heart, and estrange it from the knowledge and love of the one true and eternal God. In Eusebius we have many heathen testimonies which coincide with this text. See Isaiah 56:17.

Deuteronomy 6:13 . And serve him. The LXX read, And him only, αυτω μονω , shalt thou serve; and so quoted by our Lord. Matthew 4:10.

Deuteronomy 6:25 . It shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do, &c. The Hebrew reads, righteousness shall be to us; that is, all covenant mercies shall be ours. The LXX, followed by the Vulgate, read, mercy shall be to us. So is the running language of the holy scriptures. The merciful shall obtain mercy. Righteousness cannot come by the deeds of the law.


To know the true God is everlasting life; because we cannot know him without loving, nor love without desire and delight to please him. Moses therefore teaches them what God is. One in essence, in opposition to the gods many, and lords many of the heathen: the self-existent, eternal, omnipotent Jehovah, besides whom there is and can be no other. Happy the man that hath the Lord for his God.

He urges the duty of loving him: this is the first and great commandment, and it contains all the rest; for then we cannot but delight in what he commands, and rely on what he promises; and most deserving he is of our warmest affection, since he is in himself so transcendently excellent and kind. Well may he challenge our heart, our whole heart, in sincerity that knows no reserve; with supreme affection, which admits no rival; with ardency stronger than death, and with permanence equal to the days of eternity. Lord, shed abroad that love in our hearts.

The means prescribed to maintain and increase this love are, that they store up God’s words in their mind and memory; that they instruct their children, by frequently inculcating the commandments upon them; that they make them the subject of daily conversation, and write select portions of them upon parchment and on the posts of their houses, that they may be reminded of them whenever they go out or come in.

God’s word should be read with seriousness every day. Our hearts should be employed in meditation, that we may inwardly digest it for our spiritual food. We should delight to make it the subject of our discourse; not to dispute on what is abstruse, but to build up one another in love and obedience.

Special care should be taken early to acquaint our children and servants with the invaluable knowledge, which alone is able to make them wise unto salvation. Such attention to the divine precepts would preserve them from forgetting God in a day of prosperity. No state is so dangerous to the soul; no state calls for greater fear and trembling, than when the world smiles, when abundance surrounds us, and every earthly blessing tempts the idolatrous heart to take up its rest below. No mention of idol gods must come into their mouths, but when they swear, it must be an appeal to the true and only heart searching God. As the great danger of Israel arises from their idolatrous neighbours, they must carefully avoid going after their gods, for that would infallibly bring down upon them the wrath of heaven to consume them.

Israel must embrace every opportunity to instruct their children, that their religion, and the deep remembrance of God’s dealings with them, may be transmitted to the latest posterity. Hearing the law so often read and taught, and seeing so many ceremonies performed, their children would be naturally inquisitive into the meaning of them. They must then seize the good opportunity to inform them of their former deplorable estate in Egypt, the great deliverances wrought for them, and the favours conferred in these institutions, in the perfect observance of which they might attain righteousness and life. It should be highly pleasing to parents to hear children’s inquiries about the things of God. It is their duty to inform them, even when averse to instruction; and how much more so, when teachable, and desirous to learn.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 6". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/deuteronomy-6.html. 1835.
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