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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 6

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and HomileticalLange's Commentary

Verses 1-3


Deuteronomy 5-26

The text-the decalogue, the foundation of the covenant, the kernel of the whole law, and the fundamental condition of all salvation

Deuteronomy 5:1 to Deuteronomy 6:3

1And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in [before] your ears this day, that ye may learn 2[and learn] them, and keep,1 and do them. The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. 3The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive [living] this day. 4The Lord talked with 5you face to face in the mount, out of the midst of the fire. (I stood [was standing] between the Lord and you at that time, to shew [announce to] you the word of the Lord: for ye were afraid by reason of [before]2 the fire, and went not up into the 6mount,) saying, I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of3 bondage. 7Thou shalt have none other gods before me. 8Thou shalt not make thee any graven [idol] image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth: 9Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the children unto [and upon] the third and [upon] fourth generation of them that hate me, 10And shewing mercy unto thousands [the thousandth] of them that love [loving] me, and keep [and keeping] my commandments. 11Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain4 [to a nonentity, falsehood]: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. 12Keep the Sabbath-day to sanctify it, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee. 13Six days thou shalt labour, and do 14all thy work; But [and] the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou nor [and] thy son, nor [and] thy daughter, nor [and] thy man-servant, nor [and] thy maid-servant, nor [and] thine ox, nor [and] thine ass, nor [and] any of thy cattle, nor [and] thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy man-servant and thy maid-servant may rest as well as thou. 15And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that [om. that] the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through [with] a mighty hand, and by a stretched-out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath-day. 16Honour thy father and thy mother, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, 17, 18in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. Thou shalt not kill. Neither 19shalt thou commit adultery. 20Neither shalt thou steal. Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour. 21Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour’s wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour’s house, his field, or [and] his man-servant, or [and] his maid-servant, his ox, or [and] his ass, or [and] any thing that is thy neighbour’s. 22These words the Lord spake unto all your assembly in the mount, out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice; and he added no more5 and he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me. 23And it came to pass, when [as] ye heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, (for [and] the mountain did burn [was burning] with fire,) that ye came near unto me, even all the heads of your tribes, and your elders; 24And ye said, Behold, the Lord our God hath shewed us his glory, and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth. 25Now [And now] therefore why should we die? for this great fire will consume us: 26if we6 hear the voice of the Lord our God any more, then we shall die. For who is there of all flesh that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived? 27Go thou near, and hear all that the Lord our God shall say: and speak thou unto us all that the Lord our God shall speak unto thee;7 and we will hear it [thee], and do it. 28And the Lord heard the voice of your words, when ye spake unto me; and the Lord said unto me, I have heard the voice of the words of this people, which they have spoken unto thee: they have well said all that they have spoken. 29O that there were [who will give] such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their [sons] children for ever! 30Go say to them, Get you into your tents again. 31But as for thee [and thou] stand thou here by me, and I will speak unto thee all the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which thou shalt teach them, that they may do them in the land which I give them to possess it. 32Ye shall observe to do therefore as the Lord your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. 33Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days [live a long time] in the land which ye shall possess.

Deuteronomy 6:1 Now these are the commandments, [And this is the commandment]8 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 [pass over] to possess it: 2That 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. 3Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it maybe well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised [spake to] thee, in [om. in] the [a] land that floweth with milk and honey.


1.Deuteronomy 5:1-5. In distinction from spake, Deuteronomy 1:1, קרא here not to show the “public nature of his discourses” (Schultz) for that was already sufficiently clear, through all Israel, but the loud voice, with which Moses sought to reach all as far as possible. Genesis 49:1; John 7:37. Comp. upon Deuteronomy 4:1. There שׁמע אֶל, because as yet introductory, but here שׁמע אֶת where the substance of the law is to be repeated, and accordingly instead of מְלַמֵּד here דּבֵר, in both cases the participle indicating the condition: as ye see and hear. שמר, to keep, is necessary both for its own conduct, and for the office of Israel among the nations (Deuteronomy 4:2; Deuteronomy 4:6). [Bib. Com. “The recapitulation of the law upon which Moses now enters was suggested by the fact that the generation to which it was originally given was now dead, by the change about to take place in the circumstances of Israel, through their actual settlement in the land of promise, and by the approaching decease of the great law-giver.”—A. G.]. Deuteronomy 5:2. The peculiar character of the covenant as of God with Israel, has appeared already in a similar connection, Deuteronomy 4:1 (Doct. and Eth. 13). The law as an intermediate step in the development of the covenant, does not essentially modify the latter (Galatians 3:17) since the law is at the same time pedagogically a promise (Galatians 3:24 sq.). The time of the promise also is not without law, the Noachic and Abrahamic preformations of the law being simply overshadowed by the promise. Deuteronomy 5:3. That which is new and peculiar in this covenant, not with the fathers (i.e., the patriarchs) but with Israel, the characteristic of the historical development is merely the greater prominence of the law, and indeed as a national code, and as a preparatory step toward the salvation of all nations. Israel now has the same significance for the whole race which the fathers had for Israel (Deuteronomy 4:37). But although the negative statement throws light upon the character of the covenant, it contains much more, which the positive statement expresses, as to its direct relation to the present generation, who are thus distinguished from the fathers. There may be a reference also to the fathers in Egypt, (Calvin) in so far as they represent the first step in the development of Israel to a nation, whose actual existence as a nation is here prominent. And since the present Israel has escaped the judgments which overwhelmed the former Israel in death, so we seem to see the forms of the fathers, whose bones lie bleaching in the wilderness. But Moses intends to say, not the fathers, whoever they may be, but we are the people, whom it concerns, whose faith and obedience come into view (Deuteronomy 4:4). [But with us.—The original is very emphatic: with us, even us, all of us living.—A. G.] This direct relation of the covenant unto them is further shown by the manner of its conclusion: face to face (כּ instead of אל). If it is not indicated in the words used, there is in fact a great difference between the manner in which the revelation spoken of here, and that made to Moses (Deuteronomy 34:10; Exodus 33:11) was effected, and Deuteronomy 5:5 states concisely the mediatory position which Moses in forming the covenant occupied (Exodus 19:19 sq.) on account of the fear of the people. [Moses was in the mount while the ten commandments were spoken. Although they were not addressed to him in distinction from the people, yet he even then occupied a mediatory position, which became more conspicuous after the terror and request of the people.—A. G.]—Upon the word of the Lord (not the ten commandments), comp. Deuteronomy 5:24 sq.; Exodus 19:21 sq.; Deuteronomy 20:19 sq.—לאמר refers remotely to דִבֵּר, Deuteronomy 5:4, and more nearly to דְבַּר יהוה, Deuteronomy 5:5, which takes up again the thought of דבר.

2.Deuteronomy 5:6-21. After the parenthesis, Deuteronomy 5:5, follows the decalogue as the foundation of the covenant, Exodus 20:0. The law, the determination for man, can only come from Him who alone and over all is self-determined, i.e. from God, and from God as Jehovah, Deuteronomy 5:6 (“the entire moral code of the decalogue roots itself in the name of Jehovah.” Baumgarten). The eternally unchangeable, because He demands the obedience of faith (not simply the moral imperative), must not merely reveal Himself, but in His revelation to Israel must show Himself as the true and faithful God.—Thy God.—With this initiatory statement, which concentrates within itself the life-thought of the Israelitish nation, is closely connected the historical statement of the redemptive work already accomplished: which brought thee out, sq.—All that follows naturally addresses itself to Israel. Deuteronomy 5:7. The form of a prohibition, because with the allusion to Egypt, the apostate heathen world comes into view over against Israel, and Israel must say in its heart, not, sq., to which my heart is all too much inclined. [As the law is not alone for Israel, but universal, the prohibitory form has a deeper ground than any enactments growing out of the relations of Israel to the heathen world—a ground in the perverse inclinations of the heart as fallen, to go wrong.—A. G.] Since יִהוָה denotes the only or self-existent being, and this being is the God of Israel, there cannot be (לֹא יִהְיֶה לךָ) for Israel any other God, either in His stead (substitution in the gross forms of idolatry), or even (על) in addition to, by the side of, or over and above Him (the co-ordination in the more refined systems of idolatry), Isa 42:8; 1 Corinthians 8:4-5. Heidel. Catechism, Question 95. It is ever another than the only true God in His revelation (פני), Deuteronomy 5:4. אַחֵר denotes a second one, following, whence in the plural form, thus polytheistically (אֶלֹהִים אַחֵרִים), contradicts the unity and exclusiveness of Jehovah; but then also as implying a being other than the being, namely, a not-being, a nonentity. Heathenism is thus pointed out as an apostacy from the primitive monotheism, or as a sickly form of the God-consciousness, Romans 1:0. Comp. J. Grimm, German Myth. I.: “All mythologies show this relation.” Upon Deuteronomy 5:8 (εἵδωλον) comp. Deuteronomy 4:16; Deuteronomy 4:15; Deuteronomy 4:12.—In the heavens (Deuteronomy 4:17), i.e. of birds, although also (Deuteronomy 4:19) of the stars. The way to idolatry is marked out and enclosed instructively in the ever-deepening shades of heathenism, i.e. of the human heart left to itself. First comes the falling away from the true God; then the falling into the service of false gods. If Jehovah in the first relation is the only living God, He is also in this second reference the one who is only and purely spirit. Idolatry in one aspect is an improper multiplication of, or addition to, the idea of God, and in another an equally improper division or subtraction from it. We pass in Deuteronomy 5:9 from the idol-makers to the idol-worshippers; προσκύνησις (the believing reverence and worship), λατρεία (the practical obedience of the cultus), Deuteronomy 4:19; Deuteronomy 4:28. The transition to Deuteronomy 5:11 is thus, as becomes the living Spirit or God, from the innermost spiritual life of men to its closest and most natural expṙession in words through language. And the reason also: For I the Lord, sq., is spiritual and moral in its nature. So likewise the introductory representation of Jehovah (comp. upon Deuteronomy 4:24) which precludes all nature-necessity, fate, and the like. And so also, although the iniquity of the fathers is said to come upon the children of the third, and even the fourth generation, still physical relations are perhaps mainly thought of in the iniquity in which they became sharers through the personal sins, and the punishment cleaves to the iniquity. Comp. Deuteronomy 24:16.—To visit upon is to punish. לְשׂנְאִי, “those hating me, by which this feeling is designated as the adhering quality, the enduring condition of those in question. The לְ resumes again certainly the genitive אָבות; but at the same time the repeated על binds the different generations with the fathers into one organic form in their hatred against Jehovah. Indeed the parallel, לאחבי (1 John 5:3), will not admit any other interpretation (comp. Leviticus 26:39-40). As this regard to the subjective character of men does not veil the righteousness, in the holy energy of God (Genesis 18:25), so Deuteronomy 5:10 unveils the abundant, overflowing richness of the love-energy of God (Exodus 34:6 sq.). Jeremiah and Ezekiel simply correct the heathenish interpretation of the truth. Jeremiah 32:18 sq.; Ezekiel 18:0. The word of the mouth to which we now pass is the most spiritual expression of the man; and thus the name of the Lord, Deuteronomy 5:11, is moreover the true self-revelation of the divine life (John 20:31), as this is for man, and offered to him, the word of God with respect to Himself, by which He legitimates Himself (Exodus 3:13 sq.: Isaiah 52:6), and through which He will be sought and found (Deuteronomy 4:7; Joel 2:32). נָשָׂא, to take, to raise up, with אֶל or לְ, the direction whither, to lift up, to aim at, desire, used of the purpose of the soul, Psalms 24:4, here of the tendency of the tongue, thus to take upon the lips, to bear in the mouth, in order to utter the name to שָוְא, nothingness, vanity, thus useless, thoughtless, then morally evil, wickedness, and thus shamefully, falsely. If the acknowledgment of Jehovah is here indicated, the sanctification of the Sabbath is the actual acknowledgment. שמר, Deuteronomy 5:12 is not more specific than זכר, Exodus 20:8 (as Schultz holds), but rather the reverse, since the latter points out specifically how the former may be secured. While in Deuteronomy 5:8, compared with Exodus 20:4, the וְ is wanting before כָּל, and is found in Deuteronomy 5:9 before עַל, though not occurring in Exodus 20:5, changes of little importance, the change here from זכור to שמור, bringing out the keeping in opposition to the profaning and secularizing of the name of Jehovah, corresponds significantly to the national character of Israel, and to the design of Deuteronomy. The sanctification of the Sabbath is indeed a national confession. Over against the several nonentities with which the name of Jehovah might be mingled, Israel was bound to the time (אֶת־יוֹם), which precisely points out this manifoldness as a nothingness, because temporary and fleeting. הַשַּׁבָּת, the one who rests, keeps festival. The day is what Israel should be at the day. Thus the day is sanctified, i.e. set apart, separated from the other days.—As the Lord thy God commanded thee refers to the institution, as it is recorded Exodus 20:0, for as to the rest Deuteronomy 5:13 sq. accords with Exodus 20:9 sq.: so that the farther carrying out of the command does not come into view here. But since Exodus 20:11 is here presupposed, Deuteronomy 5:15 still once more emphasizes has commanded thee. Deuteronomy 5:13. מְלָאכָה from לָאַךְ (Genesis 2:2), whatever one undertakes and completes. Deuteronomy 5:14. לַיהוָֹה, to whom it is separated and sanctified.—And thy son, sq.—The state grows out of the household, the people from the family, and thus the national confession of Israel is laid open at its very roots and sources.—Nor thy ox, sq.—Particularizing, and then at last, summing up that which is generally referred to in nor thy cattle, Exodus 20:10. For גֵר comp. Deuteronomy 1:16 and Doct. and Esther 3:0. As to the connection of master and man-servant and maid-servant under the idea of rest: that they may rest as well as thou, this similar position in reference to the enjoyment of the Sabbath already intimated, Exodus 23:11, is still more expressly stated in Deuteronomy 5:15, since the remember, Exodus 20:8 (which does not call for a recollection of the Sabbath-rest of God (Genesis 2:0), but an inward keeping of the Sabbath-day to the very end of its sanctification, so that it shall be sanctified as commanded whenever it returns), gives at the same time a coloring and completion to the thought. The redemption of Israel from Egypt is brought to consciousness again just as in Exodus 13:3; Deuteronomy 4:34. This demand here does not entirely coincide with Exodus 20:11, for there the עַל־כֵּן declares why Jehovah blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it, because He rested on the seventh day, while here on the contrary it teaches why Israel, is commanded to keep the Sabbath day instituted by God upon this ground, and rest, the man and maid-servant with their master. To the reason for the institution on the part of God there is added now a special reason for its observance on the part of the people, who therein confess that they are redeemed, and thus distinguished above all nations (Deuteronomy 4:34; Deuteronomy 4:37 sq., 20). A genuine deuteronomic application of the more objective command in Exodus 20:0.—[So far from there being any inconsistency in the sacred writer here, the variety in the statements, confirms the genuine Mosaic authorship of Deuteronomy. No later writer, designing to palm off his work as that of Moses, would have ventured upon this freedom. The appropriateness of these references to the previous condition of Israel, as motives to the observance of the Sabbath, is obvious, since the exodus was really one entrance into rest.—A. G.]—If the acknowledgment to Jehovah in fact appears here to be limited to the solemnity of a single day, Deuteronomy 5:16 removes any such limitation, and makes the whole life of the Israelite from the first father and mother down to the last, an actual and real acknowledgment of Jehovah. If כָּבוֹד designates the brightness of the divine majesty (δόξα), כַּבֵּד (Piel) puts this glory upon parents, and this is to honor them, “and this with an express extension of the command to the ‘mother’ usually elsewhere included in the personal service of the house” (Beck). Parents stand nearest to us (without considering them here merely as men by our side, our neighbors, although in this sense they are truly nearest to us among men, and hence the transition from the first to the second table), and represent the glory of God the Creator, Preserver and Ruler, with which last idea all the remaining representations of the divine glory through men are connected, e.g.Exodus 22:27.—Hath commanded thee, as in Deuteronomy 5:12, and thus calls attention to its connection with the Sabbath commandment. They are two aspects of the actual sanctification, as Jehovah is holy, and thus a confession to Him in act or deed, Leviticus 19:2-3. That it may go well with thee.—An addition of Moses, who, since he has so repeatedly referred to the first lawgiving, here allows himself this freedom. Long life, without well-being, would be a long calamity, and hence this filling up of the word of promise. “אֲדָמָח is the earth as fruitful; (אֶרֶץ, the earth in distinction from water), perhaps in reference to the individual, as ארץ in reference to the people as a whole.” After the structure of human society is thus presented not only as “leaning” (Baumgarten) upon the divine sanctuary, but through that is raised to the heights of honor, even to a Sabbath state, that Israel may lead a quiet life in all propriety and honesty, Deuteronomy 5:17, now turns “against those things which in worldly policy and irreligion have been partly and by degrees endured, and partly in a certain way held as privileged destroyers of the social life, murder, adultery, theft” (Baumgarten). The thought “that the divine image in man introduces the transition” (Keil), cannot be drawn from the text. It says simply: Thou shalt not, sq., with the energetic brevity and sharpness of the commanding law-giver, judge, and avenger of every assault upon the personal life, wedded life, and property. The first, roots or plants itself in the second, and has its individual well-being in the third, so that the common thought of these three prohibitions is the personal life, as is also the idea of deeds, from which we now pass to words. The וְ is rhetorical. Exodus 20:16; a false witness, through a deceitful testimony (עֵד, the testimony or the witness), here as Deuteronomy 5:11. Correspondence between the tongue commands in the two tables! רֵעַ, according to the primary sense of the word, is the “ally, associate,” “companion, friend.” “The command directs itself against the fretting poison of falsehood in report and witness-bearing, in public fame and courts of justice, so destructive of any quiet possession and enjoyment of those goods, (i.e., those of the foregoing commands); and not content with crossing the serpent path of falsehood, as it in the affairs of life worms itself even into the halls of justice, the divine law goes still further, enters the secret workshop of the heart, and aims its blows at that selfish enjoyment and greed of gain (πλεονεξία), which in it are ever weaving their plots against other persons and interests, in which indeed not only every outrage against our neighbor, but even the ungodliness and idolatry, standing at the beginning of the decalogue, have their ground and existence (Colossians 3:5; Ephesians 5:3).” (Baumgarten). The twice-repeated חַמַד, Exodus 20:14, expresses the more comprehensive idea, in connection with the delight in the attractive features of the object, and hence Deuteronomy 5:18, used only in reference to the wife, rhetorically interchanged with אָיָה in hithpael: more subjective desire. The personal life of our neighbor is passed over, since it offers nothing to the sinful lust, but rather the contrary, while on the other hand the wife (Exodus 20:17) comes before house, as the prohibition of adultery follows that of murder. To the house, especially in its reference to Canaan, is added in a fitting way, the field, as a parenthesis. What follows is here, as in Exodus 20:0, the specifying of the household state. [The diversities in the form of this command here, from that in Exodus 20:17, are all due to the “peculiar character of this passage,” or to the special object in view in Deuteronomy, when Israel was about to enter upon its possession.—A. G.].

3.Deuteronomy 5:22-33.Deuteronomy 5:22; Deuteronomy 5:22 sq. as Exodus 20:19 sq. Comp. upon Deuteronomy 4:11-12. קוֹל גָּדוֹלּ “accusative of the instrument, or member through which the act in performed.” Gesenius. Ezekiel 11:13. וְלֹא יסָף (Numbers 11:25) and he added no more, i.e., not to speak in this way, he did it this once and not again. The decalogue is spoken directly to Israel, all the rest through Moses.—[Wordsworth: “The perpetuity, universality, and supremacy of the law, were marked by the circumstances of the delivery of the decalogue.”—A. G.]. Comp. Deuteronomy 4:13; Exodus 31:18

Deuteronomy 5:24 : Comp. Exodus 20:19; Deuteronomy 3:24; Deuteronomy 4:33; Deuteronomy 4:42. We have lived to see that which has never been heard of, but not again! Thus the “no more” on the part of Jehovah, Deuteronomy 5:22, receives its explanation, though the desire for a mediator on the part of the people. Deuteronomy 5:25, Exodus 20:19; Deuteronomy 4:24, (Hebrews 10:31). For if we hear [lit. add to hear] see upon Deuteronomy 5:22. אֲנַחְנוּ: The people, in distinction from Moses, set forth the necessity for a mediator. The עוֹד serves to strengthen the declaration that the one occurrence was enough. Deuteronomy 5:26 : בָשָר designates man as on account of his sinful nature, weak and frail, all his lifetime subject to fear, ever apprehending the execution of the sentence of death. On the contrary, אֱלֹהִים חַיּים God as the eternal, and His everlasting life that of the righteous and holy. As Israel is conscious that He is flesh, so God comes before him in this aspect as the living God, and thus Israel knows himself in opposition to Him. In order to hold fast hereafter this once experienced, which they recognize, Deuteronomy 5:24, truly (“with gratitude” Knobel?) but with fear, with anxiety for the future, with wonder, and indeed that they remained alive, they needed a mediation of this uttered opposition between themselves and God, which they found in the person of Moses; one through whom the living God becomes to them the source of life, and is still hidden from their sight (Hebrews 12:18 sq.). The love, mercy, and grace of God, is included for the time in Moses. Deuteronomy 5:27. They bind themselves to obedience to that mediated revelation of God, with even “greater zeal and devotion wrought by their fear” (Schultz). Exodus 19:8; Exodus 24:3; Exodus 20:19. Since now, Deuteronomy 5:28, the desire of the people meets the divine approval, in which the utterance of the desire is made prominent (the voice of your words), which they at the very least had so uttered, Deuteronomy in which Moses so speaks the law of God to the people in his name, wins the special sanction of God. Moses had already, Deuteronomy 1:18; Deuteronomy 4:13, intimated the same, but now, as the mediator so solemnly demanded by the people, he first becomes truly and legally the speaker of the divine laws. All that follows, although not spoken as the decalogue directly by God to Israel, has still the same authority, as the people indeed expressly recognized the words of Moses as binding. To fix and settle this position beyond any doubt, is the special object and import of this paragraph. [Bib. Com.: “The reply of God to the request of the people, Deuteronomy 5:28-31, is omitted altogether in the historical summary of Exodus. Here it is important to the speaker’s purpose to call attention to the fact that it was on their own entreaty that he had taken on him to be the channel of communication between God and them. The terrors of Sinai had done their work. They had awakened the consciousness of sin.”—A. G.].—They have well said [lit. done good] all that, sq. For the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, and Moses as mediator is the forerunner of the Messiah. In Hebrews 12:21 the mediator himself shares in the fear of the people. Deuteronomy 5:29. Emphasizes the fear of God in the people, in connection with the promise of obedience. O that, who will give, sq., may your heart, (your innermost life) be such as your words, viz., that you will have, sq. Or as Jeremiah 17:9, they have it not, and no one but I the Lord can give it to them, Jeremiah 32:39. It belongs to uprightness that the words and heart should agree; they speak right who have also right hearts.—The voice of the words (Deuteronomy 4:12) is there a form also behind the words? i.e., a habitus, (Schultz). Yes, but it does not first obtain a place in this connection. Comp. Deuteronomy 4:10; Deuteronomy 4:40 (Luke 1:75). Deuteronomy 5:30. How different from Deuteronomy 1:40! Deuteronomy 5:31. Moses’ authorization as a mediator הַמִּצְוָה singular, all that is commanded. Comp. Deuteronomy 4:1; Deuteronomy 4:5.Deuteronomy 5:32; Deuteronomy 5:32 sq. Corresponding to the following transitional exhortation. The figure of a path or way lies at the basis (Deuteronomy 2:27). The law a way of life, Deuteronomy 6:2.

4.Deuteronomy 6:1-3. Since now according to Deuteronomy 5:31 Moses is to teach, he makes known at once (Deuteronomy 5:1) that he has in mind and will hold fast the whole, whatever he may dwell upon singly, and by itself hereafter. Thus the method of his exhortation connects itself with what precedes, and Deuteronomy 5:4 is without question the beginning of a new paragraph. Deuteronomy 5:1. Now these are the commandments, lit., and this is the commandment, just as the law, (Deuteronomy 4:44), and then also as Deuteronomy 4:1.Deuteronomy 5:2. Comp. Deuteronomy 5:29. The fear of the Lord is the higher inward life of Israel, and long life and prosperity follow faithfulness to the law, and thus the law is both as to heart and conduct the way of life, Deuteronomy 5:32 sq. Deuteronomy 5:3 makes clear already the new section, through the Hear therefore O Israel, thou and thy son, and thy son’s sons. Deuteronomy 5:2 intimates the great increase of the people, just as all the days of thy life intimates the lengthening of their days, so that the grandfather is regarded not only as living in the grandchild, but at the same time as with him. Comp. Deuteronomy 1:11. The land sq. Either in the land (Keil) where they should multiply, or what is more probable, connected with—as He hath promised, i.e., as Schultz holds as Jehovah hath promised thee, when He promised a land, or as we may say now simply, as Jehovah has promised thee a land sq., [so essentially the Bib. Com.,—A. G.], in which all shall come to pass, since it is fitted to secure such prosperity through its own happy condition. The proverbial description of Canaan (Exodus 3:8; Exodus 3:17) in its fruitfulness and beauty, rests upon its rich, broad pastures, and its blooming gardens for the bees, combining the utile with the dulce: Milk and honey (Song of Solomon 4:11).


1. The distinction between the covenant of God with the fathers, and at Sinai with Israel, is evident even in the signs of the covenant; there circumcision, here the passover. As the revelation to the fathers, Exodus 6:3, is described as that of El-Shaddai, so circumcision has its fundamental genetic character. The sign touches the origin of natural life; and it is the Almighty Creator of heaven and earth, who has laid the elements, sources of Israel in the fathers. The legal character or element in circumcision is evident, Genesis 17:0, but not only is it closely connected with the promise, but the sign of the covenant itself is pre-eminently full of promise. On the other hand, the passover has the character of development, the historical character of Jehovah. As a meal, truly, it belongs to the continuance, the recruitings of life. The praises of the redeemer-God were therein celebrated out of the past, for every present time of Israel. There was, therefore, a continuous promise in the passover. But this element of promise recedes behind the preponderating element of the law, and the law in its practical result, working the knowledge of sin, comes out prominently both in the sacrificial transaction in the passover, and still more in the fact that the lintel and door-posts must be sprinkled with its blood. Sin is thus in various ways presented or set forth and at the same time Israel’s need of reconciliation in the judgment. Thus circumcision still holds its prevailing tone of promise in Christian baptism, Mark 16:16, while the predominant legal tone of the passover appears in the Lord’s Supper, since the law reaches its end, is fulfilled in His sacrifice, and we have to remember it in an uninterrupted appropriation. Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:26.

2. For the division of the commandments in the decalogue, and the progress in the thought, see Exodus 20:0. Here we remark only, 1) that the symbolical form, and the words of our Lord, Matthew 22:27 sq., are both in favor of the arrangement of five commands in one table; 2) that the division of the reformed church has in its favor not only that it is the oldest (Josephus, Philo, the Greek Church) that it is the New Testament division (Schultz, p. 252), but also that in it the history of Israel, and the spirit and letter of the text receive their rights (Schultz, p. 273); 3) and this division is in accordance with the progress in the thought, both from within outward, and then from without inward, (comp. Exeget. and Crit.) by which the beginning and the end of the whole, and the central command also form an unquestionable parallelism. (Hengstenberg, Beit. III., 604). [Also Fairbairn’s Typology, which has a full discussion of this question.—A. G.].

3. As to the deviations in the deuteronomic text of the decalogue, V. Gerlach says: “It is remarkable that in the repetition of the ten commandments, especially of the fourth and second, we find some alterations and additions, as a proof that as in similar repetitions of the words in the word of God itself, the Spirit of the Lord works with new creative energy.” Baumgarten: “That Moses does not feel himself strictly hampered, in the setting of the decalogue, engraved upon stone by the finger of God, shows clearly the great freedom of his spirit, and puts shame upon all mere honoring of the sacred letter, which is still under the new covenant, burdened with somewhat of constraint.” Ranke: “The introductory words, Deuteronomy 5:1-5, show that the law is not first given in this passage, but that it is the repetition of an earlier given, to which however a very great importance is attributed. Was not the author of Deuteronomy, who, it is conceded, had the earlier books before him, in a condition to re-issue the ten commandments, which he places at the beginning of his lawgiving, correctly, or would he not take the pains to do so? We observe in the command in regard to the Sabbath, great freedom of treatment. But from this command the manner of the discourse changes, Jehovah no longer speaks, but Moses exhorts and refers to the commands of Jehovah.” (Exodus 20:7 sq. may have given encouragement to this mode of statement). Thus he turns himself to that aspect of the command which is directed to man, to the very least among the people. The Sabbath law includes in itself good for those serving (Exodus 23:12) and this is still further unfolded in the law for the Sabbatic and jubilee year, and this element Moses raises into prominence. As he thus demands rest for the very least, he secures this result, that the Sabbath solemnity should be a copy of the creative Sabbath. The recollection of the bondage in Egypt only serves to impress the foregoing statutes which demand rest for the servant, male and female. So also in the fifth command Moses is the speaker, and at the close the speaker makes prominent that which is the more important.

4. The pre-supposed monotheism of the first table points to “that glory of God which rests upon the cradle of humanity” (Naville, the heavenly Father). Polytheism is not the point of departure of a continuous progressive culture, but an apostasy which makes a restoration necessary. But the Grecian philosophy, nobly as it has served humanity, has not restored in itself the idea of God. God remains to the masses, after all the toil of the philosophic spirit an unknown God; even the salvation of monotheism, the only light in the night-shadows of the old world, is of the Jews.

5. “The Sabbath solemnity (Schultz) is peculiar among the nations of antiquity to the Hebrews, who are called precisely Sabbatarii (Martial), which is all the more remarkable in the universality of the reckoning by weeks.” The monument of the completed creation becomes in Deuteronomy the monument of redemption begun, as further the Sabbath remains the sign (Exodus 31:13) of the eternal saving purpose of Jehovah with respect to His people (comp. upon Deuteronomy 4:30 and Deuteronomy 5:19 sq.), Hebrews 4:9. By so much more is it fitted to be the confession of the people of God among the nations.


Deuteronomy 5:1-4. The covenant with the fathers, and that at Sinai (Deuteronomy 5:2. Calvin: “He commends in these words the law of God to them, because it is the greatest benefit and the highest honor to be taken into covenant by God”).—What Moses demands for the law of the Lord: 1) a universal hearing (each one by all); 2) not barely hearing, but obedience, learn, keep and do (Deuteronomy 5:1).—The Covenant at Horeb: the persons (Deuteronomy 5:2-3), the way in which it is closed (Deuteronomy 5:4), the Mediator of this covenant (Deuteronomy 5:5). Deuteronomy 5:4. Calvin: “The certainty of the law, from its divine origin.” Richter: “Moses as a type and counterpart of Christ was a Mediator (Deuteronomy 5:5; Deuteronomy 5:23 sq.), but a mediator of the law for a few (Galatians 3:19 sq), while Christ is the mediator of a better, more general and eternal Covenant of Grace, Hebrews 8:6; Hebrews 9:15; Hebrews 12:24; 1 Timothy 2:5.”

Deuteronomy 5:6-21. The ten commands in their form and contents. Deuteronomy 5:6. Schultz: “Faith, which is the basis of the life, cannot be required, but only awakened. Before God commands He gives; before He demands faith, He discloses or reveals Himself to it.” J. d’Espagne: “The cornerstone of the law of God, the fundamental position upon which it is reared, the soul of the first command, without which it cannot be understood, is this: Thy Saviour, the gospel at the entrance of the law.” Starke: “Is God thine? then also all, whatever He is and possesses, all His blessedness. Thus must thou also be for God, present to Him body, soul, and all that thou art and hast, for His service and possession.” Deuteronomy 5:12 sq. Tub. Bib: “Yes, every day, hour, minute and second thou shouldst with pure heart-devotion sacrifice to thy God, raise thy heart to Him without intermission, and especially guard thyself against every work of sin.”

Deuteronomy 5:22. Wurth Bib.: “The law is perfect, and embraces all that man should do and leave undone in the service of God and of his neighbor. James 1:25; 2 Timothy 3:17.” Deuteronomy 5:25. Cramer: “Through the law comes the knowledge of sin, Romans 3:20; it works wrath, Deuteronomy 4:15; Deuteronomy 7:11 sq., and has the office of the letter Which killeth, 2 Corinthians 3:6.” Deuteronomy 5:27. Osiander: “When the heart of man is terrified by the wrath of God, he promises him much more than he can perform in his life-time.” Starke: “See here the nature and effect of the law. It drives us from the face of God. We look around us for the true Mediator, and find refuge in Him, Deuteronomy 18:15-16.” Calvin: “This history shows how well God has cared for His Church through the preaching of the word, that it might be divinely ruled by it. We also should hear Moses and the prophets, especially the only Son of God” (John 5:45-46). Deuteronomy 5:28. Berl. Bib.: “It were better to do as had been said. The tongue promises largely; but the heart is reluctant to perform.” Deuteronomy 5:29. Berl. Bib.: “God looks upon the heart and all the depths of the soul. Hence we are never to satisfy ourselves with rendering to Him acts of devotion, prayers, songs or attendance at church.” Deuteronomy 5:32. Calvin: “It is only half obedience to receive what God has commanded, unless we go further, and see that we add nothing. We shall not desire to be righteous, unless we are taught in the law.”

Deuteronomy 6:1. Starke: “So is it with our sluggish nature; we need ever to be warned and urged. The motives which Moses used are more evangelical than legal.” Deuteronomy 5:2. Berl. Bib.: “God commands nothing more than what is useful to man, and tends to his blessedness.” Fear connecting itself so closely with danger pre-supposes the higher and more mighty, whom we have to fear; and thus the knowledge of God and our own weakness, the two factors in our spiritual life. Deuteronomy 5:3. Berl. Bib.: “Observe that thou do! Who wonders not that although this runs through the whole Scripture upon every page, there is still no truth more spoken against by all sects of Christians.” Moses grieves not to repeat the same command again and again. Comp. Philippians 3:1 (Acts 20:20; Acts 20:31). Berl. Bib.: “In truth it is never well with any one who does not stand well with God.” [Bib. Com.: “Thus the glory of God and the welfare of men are seen to be the grand ends he has in view. They are the ends in the law and of all obedience to it.”—A. G.]


[1][Deuteronomy 5:1. Mar. more lit., keep to do them.—A. G.].

[2][Deuteronomy 5:5. Lit., from the face of.—A. G.].

[3][Deuteronomy 5:6. Margin and lit., servants.—A. G.].

[4][Deuteronomy 5:11. Thou shalt not lift up (take) the name of Jehovah thy God to a falsehood.—A. G.].

[5][Deuteronomy 5:22. Lit., did not add.—A. G.].

[6][Deuteronomy 5:15. Lit., margin, and so Schroeder, we are adding to hear—hear further.—A. G.].

[7][Deuteronomy 5:27. Our version here observes carefully and properly the distinction between אמר and דבר.—A. G.].

[8][Deuteronomy 6:1. המִּצְוָה is singular. The commandment is a whole and includes statutes and judgments.—A. G.].

Verses 4-25

Hortatory Exposition of the First Two Commands

Deuteronomy 6:4 to Deuteronomy 11:32

The First Commandment. (Deuteronomy 6:4 to Deuteronomy 8:20)

Deuteronomy 6:4-25

4Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord. 5And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6And these words which I command [am commanding] thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7and thou shalt teach [sharpen] them diligently unto thy children [sons], 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. 8And thou shalt [omit thou shalt] bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as front-Leviticus 9:0; Leviticus 9:0[brow-bands] between thine eyes. And thou shalt [omit thou shalt] write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. 10And it shall be, when the Lord thy God shall have brought thee1 into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, 11and houses full of all [every kind of] 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 [and thou 12eatest and art full], Then beware lest thou forget the Lord, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage [bondmen]. 13Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name. 14Ye shall not go after [go behind, follow] other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you; 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 [land]. 16Ye shall not tempt the Lord your God, as ye tempted him in Massah. 17Ye shall diligently2 [truly, carefully] keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee. 18And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord: that it may be well [good] with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land [the land, the good] which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, 19To cast out [so that, because he drives out] all thine enemies from before thee, as the Lord 20hath spoken. And when thy son asketh thee in time to come [in the future], saying, What mean [is wished, intended by] the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord our God hath commanded you? 21Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh’s bond-men in Egypt; and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand: 22And the Lord shewed [gave] signs and wonders, great and sore [evil] upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes: 23And he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in [hither] to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers. 24And 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. 25And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe [think upon, keep] to do all these commandments3 [this whole command] before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.


1.Deuteronomy 6:1-9. The exposition of the first command (comp. Deuteronomy 5:6-7) connects itself both with the doctrine, the matter of faith, Deuteronomy 6:4, and with the life, the moral demand, Deuteronomy 6:5. (This is to the Jew the sacred quintessence of his religion, through the involuntary expression of which many betrayed themselves, and were burned during the persecution in Spain.) אֶחָד is not synonymous with לְבַדִּי, alone. But if Jehovah is one, Deuteronomy 6:4, he is therewith also alone Jehovah. The sense of the verse is, Jehovah our God is as such, as this Jehovah, one (Mark 12:29; Mark 12:32). [Wordsworth: “Surely the adoption of these words of Deuteronomy by our blessed Lord Himself is a sufficient refutation of the theory of those who affirm that Deuteronomy is a spurious work. Our Lord makes them the very ground-work of all true religion.” Bib. Com. “This mighty text contains far more than a mere declaration that God is one. It asserts that the Lord God of Israel is absolutely God, and none other. The last letter of the first and last word are written large, which the Jewish commentators make highly significant.”—A.G.] The predicate of the sentence begins with the repeated Jehovah; but Jehovah is repeated in order to bring out more impressively the absolute being of the God of Israel, from which results, qualitatively, His universality and eternity, relatively His absoluteness, quantitatively His unity (Deuteronomy 4:35; Deuteronomy 4:39). With the unity of the absolute, His simplicity also must be conceded, which, although it does not occur in the Scripture, in its metaphysical abstraction, meets us still in the attributis derivatis, His immateriality, spirituality and invisibility in the second command (comp. upon. Deuteronomy 5:8). For this first command, so far as the doctrine or faith is concerned, limits itself to the oneness, i.e. to the monotheism of the absolute Jehovah, over against polytheism generally, and also over against every polytheistic, paganistic nationalizing or localizing of Jehovah (Zechariah 14:9). This is the explanation of the I am Jehovah thy God, and the no other gods before me. This oneness, and therefore exclusiveness, of Jehovah well supports, Deuteronomy 6:5, the moral demand for the perfect ordering of the life. The Hear, O Israel (as usually behold), which in the conciseness of the expression calls attention to the importance of the subject, reaches still to this also. The polytheist is absolutely dependent upon no one of his gods, and thus religion with him never reaches the truth of its idea. But as and just because Jehovah is one, His demand generally upon Israel, thus the whole law, with all its variety of commands, must have a unity (John 17:21 sq.), just as law and promise are also one, Galatians 3:21. Since, however, the unity of Jehovah opens or begins the law, it is only fitting that the unity in the demands of Jehovah should be placed as the first command (as the πρώτη ἐντολή, Matthew 22:38), the opening for all that follows, in the very spirit of which they are to be understood.—And thou shalt love, καὶ�, Mark 12:30. A simple continuation of Deuteronomy 6:4, as that which evidently flows from it. It is scarcely and strictly a command, rather as a direction or concession: the duty belongs to thee to love in this measure, sq.: at the most a demand; so love, sq. (Deuteronomy 5:10). To the unity of the absolute, since He is the God of Israel (Deuteronomy 5:6), agrees the redemption from Egypt (Deuteronomy 6:12; Deuteronomy 6:21 sq.), as showing that He is such, through which also this Jehovah appears worthy of love, and indeed to the whole man, in heart and life, and in all his relations. Heart (Deuteronomy 5:26) the innermost, then soul as synonymous with life, thus already more external than heart, (Deuteronomy 4:29) and then strength, which designates the still more outward effective proofs of the life. (Matthew 22:37; Luke 10:27; Mark 12:33). [Bib. Com.: “The specification is intended to include every faculty that can possibly come in question.” Alexander on Mark 12:29-31 : “There is no need of attempting any nice distinction between heart and soul and mind, the obvious design being to exhaust the one idea of the whole man.” It is clear also from the reference of our Lord to this command, that the law and the Gospel do not differ as an outward and carnal service from an inward and spiritual one. Love holds the same prominence in both, but the gospel gives new and peculiar motives to enforce this love.—A. G.]. As the love to Jehovah, and the keeping of His commands are connected, Deuteronomy 5:10, so now Deuteronomy 6:6 sq., follows Deuteronomy 6:5, as love must show itself in this relation, or way. These words which, thus all which is commanded, Deuteronomy 6:1. Shall be in [upon, Schroeder] thine heart, (Deuteronomy 11:18) as the duty which rests upon thee, but also a matter of the heart, and therefore must be a “pleasant burden” (Schultz) 1 John 5:3. “As written upon the heart, Jeremiah 31:33.” Knobel. Whatever the heart is full of, that comes out from the mouth, Deuteronomy 6:7, and whatever comes from the heart, reaches the heart; but that it may reach the hearts of the children, it must be sharpened [taught diligently] upon their hearts, rigorously commanded, for mere words secure only a mere recollection (Hebrews 4:12). Of them.בְּ as in Deuteronomy 3:26, so that the discourses rest in them, have their very substance and contents in them, and indeed at all times and everywhere, Psalms 1:2.Deuteronomy 6:8-9, state how the commandment should rule the private, domestic, and public life in figurative, but therefore in more vivid and proverbial language (comp. Deuteronomy 11:18; Exodus 13:9; Exodus 13:16; Proverbs 3:3; Proverbs 3:21-22; Proverbs 6:21-22; Proverbs 7:3; Isaiah 49:16) precisely in accordance with oriental usage. We use the hand in our acts, and hence to bind them upon thy hand is to keep them for a sign for thy conduct, as ever to be regarded, and which must determine my manner of action. The brow, between thine eyes, represents the chamber of thought, is as the door to the intellectual nature of man (hence the easy transition to the door-posts, Deuteronomy 6:9). The commandments, as frontlets or browbands, become therefore a badge or confession by which one may be known, and embrace the private life, both on the side which is turned, and open to the man himself, and upon that which lies open to other men (Revelation 13:16; Revelation 14:1). טֹטָפֹת instead of טַפְטָפוֹת occurs only in the Pentateuch, is obsolete in later periods. Transformed into a symbol and by the Pharisees perverted to carnal ends, Matthew 23:5. The socalled Tephillim, for the left hand and the head, small cases with the Scripture texts Exodus 13:1-11; Exodus 11-17; Deuteronomy 6:4-10; Deuteronomy 11:13-26, fastened with a leathern thong, are still worn among the Jews of to-day as an appropriate prayer ornament. But writing is first spoken in Deuteronomy 6:9. Since the commandments are a pledge or confession, he states also how they express the rule and support of the domestic and public life. That which is thus a confession, serves at the same time as a continual self-exhortation, as with respect to the family, so in civil life the Litera scripta manet. The analogy of Deuteronomy 6:8, the universality in the terms and write them, and the indefiniteness as to what is to be written, all go to prove that Deuteronomy 6:9 uses merely figurative language, and does not require any actual inscription upon the gates and door-posts. The references to Egyptian usages (Hengstenberg and Schultz), to the customs of oriental nations of to-day (Knobel), which might be enlarged still further from Germany, show how little of this kind it was necessary to require. [See also Wilkinson, A. E. III., 364,—Lane, Modern Egypt,—Kitto and Smith for fuller statements as to these oriental and Jewish usages.—A. G.]. If writing has once become a popular means to aid the memory it is evident that one would say, “lest thou forget it, write it upon thy wall, upon thy door.” If this is not what it means, still it must be regarded as a proverbial figurative expression for forget not! as Deuteronomy 6:12 expresses the exhortation. As the Tephillim are connected with Deuteronomy 6:8, so the Talmud connects with Deuteronomy 6:9 the (מְזוּזָה, door-posts, Exodus 12:7; Exodus 21:6), mezuzah, a metal case containing a parchment roll, inscribed with Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Deuteronomy 11:13-22, and dedicated to Shaddai, (the Almighty) which every Jew fastened to the right door-post of his house as a protection against death, the devil, ghosts and witchcraft.

2.Deuteronomy 6:10-19. Deuteronomy 6:10. Comp. with Deuteronomy 1:8; Deuteronomy 4:37-38; Genesis 50:24. Cities, sq. A detailed description for the purpose of warning, to which the exhortation now passes. Deuteronomy 6:11. And thou eatest sq. The rich enjoyment and pleasure should not destroy the remembrance of Jehovah. (Deuteronomy 5:6). The religious secularization (of God) is image worship, here they are warned against the moral secularization (of men). But comp. Deuteronomy 31:20; Deuteronomy 32:15.Deuteronomy 6:13. They must guard above all against forgetting the name with which the redeemer of Israel out of Egypt had named Himself. Hence the positive form of the lest thou forget with reference to the name Jehovah, still not now for the purpose of explaining the third command, but rather to impress the heartfelt fear of Jehovah (Deuteronomy 6:2; Deuteronomy 5:26) for the individual, and the service of Jehovah in the cultus and life (Deuteronomy 5:9) for the household (Joshua 24:15). And shalt swear by His name, i.e., when thou swearest—the solemn, vital, essential confession of the mouth, as before the court, so also in civil life and acts (Isaiah 19:18; Isaiah 45:23; Isaiah 65:16; Jeremiah 12:16; Jeremiah 4:2; Psalms 63:11), [of the oath as an act of worship. See Matthew 5:34; Hebrews 6:16; James 5:12.—A. G.]. The emphatic position of אֶה־יְהוָֹה prepares the way for Deuteronomy 6:14 (comp. further Matthew 4:10; Luke 4:8; the Sept. adds μόνῳ) with which comp. Deuteronomy 4:3.Deuteronomy 6:15. See Deuteronomy 5:9; Deuteronomy 4:24;—Exodus 32:11;—Deuteronomy 4:26; Deuteronomy 5:16. Deuteronomy 6:16 parallel to Deuteronomy 6:14. There superstition, here unbelief, which calls in question the presence of Jehovah, or generally His existence. Exodus 17:7; Matthew 4:7; Luke 4:12; (1 Corinthians 10:9). [Deuteronomy 6:16. This is one of the texts quoted by Christ in the temptation. And as He quoted Deuteronomy as a part of the sacred Scriptures, and as it was then held, i.e., as the work of Moses, so we have here again His endorsement of the Mosaic authorship of this book.—A. G.] Deuteronomy 6:17. Forgetfulness leads to apostacy, and to sinful doubt, love, to the keeping of the commandments sq. Comp. Deuteronomy 4:40; Deuteronomy 4:45.Deuteronomy 6:18. יָשָׁר even, straight. טוֹב (contracted from טהב = צהב), bright, brilliant, beautiful, the good as it falls in the eyes namely, of God, as pleasing to Him, (1 John 3:22; John 8:29). There is here a play upon words, to the good, good comes, it goes well—here in reference to the good land, (Deuteronomy 6:10). Deuteronomy 6:19; Deuteronomy 4:38; Exodus 23:27; Leviticus 26:7. Preparatory to chap. 7.

3.Deuteronomy 6:20-25.Deuteronomy 6:20. The carrying out of Deuteronomy 6:7, as Deuteronomy 6:8 sq. is of Deuteronomy 6:6. מָה with respect to their import, or their ground and aim. The son asks because he sees the father doing, as Deuteronomy 6:7 enjoins (Exodus 13:14; Exodus 12:26). A testimony, example, and earnest instruction is presupposed, (Psalms 34:11; Proverbs 4:1; Ephesians 6:4). It concerns the ground or reason, if the youth asks wherefore? and the application to the heart and life, if the question is that just as frequently asked, What is that to me? to what end? (How practical)? First the wretched condition of Israel, bondmen, sq., then the redemption (Deuteronomy 6:22נָהַן as Exodus 7:9. Comp. Deuteronomy 4:34) to its completion (Deuteronomy 6:23, that he might, sq.) with a citation of the promise, which he swore, sq., and with an emphatic mention of the fruits of salvation (Deuteronomy 6:24, comp. upon Deuteronomy 4:1). Lastly the thankfulness in Deuteronomy 6:25 : So we are under obligation to God. Righteousness (Deuteronomy 24:13, comp. upon Deuteronomy 4:8) refers to the acquitting sentence of the law, as opposed to κατάκριμα (Romans 5:16) and hence involves the fulfilling (Romans 2:13) of the whole law (James 2:10); and as more nearly defined here as before the Lord this righteousness is not opposed to that in Romans 8:4, which also consists in walking not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Thus Moses describes the righteousness which is of the law (Romans 10:5) as far from the hypocritical, or even merely external righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 5:20) as Paul on his side separates widely justification by faith from the simple, external apprehension of the work of Christ for us. [But Paul never separates justification by faith from a hearty practical obedience to the law. He teaches that the man is justified by the simple apprehension and reception of the work of Christ for us, i.e., by faith—but this faith is never fruitless. The man so believing is in Christ, Romans 8:1, and so must walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. The note in Bib. Com. is judicious. The word translated righteousness is the same as in Genesis 15:6, rendered in the N. T. by δικαιοσύνη. Moses from the very beginning has made the whole “righteousness of the law” to depend so entirely on a right state of the heart, in one word, on faith, that there can be no real inconsistency between the verse before us, taken thus strictly and properly, and the principle of Justification by faith only.—A. G.]. At the same time it is clear that although לפּני יְוָֹה cannot be referred to וצדקה, true righteousness is the justification of men, not before men, but before God, and therewith Christ is the end of the law for righteousness (Romans 10:4) Romans 8:3. Here also the faith, Deuteronomy 6:4, precedes the love, Deuteronomy 6:5.


1. “All comprehensive obedience roots itself in the fear of the Lord, (Deuteronomy 6:2-3), for this is the first and nearest truth in the relations of Israel to Jehovah, (Deuteronomy 5:26). But if the fear of Jehovah especially restrains man from gratifying his selfish nature as opposed to God, it cannot rest in this mere denial of the self-will, although this is first as even the negative form of the decalogue shows, but leads to a union of the divine and human wills, and this is love, which has been explained as the true condition of obedience in the decalogue (Deuteronomy 5:10).” Baumgarten.

2. Since love—and love to God is the strength of the love to our neighbor—is represented as the sum of the commandments, the deep inward character of the Mosaic law appears here (comp. further Deuteronomy 10:12; Deuteronomy 11:1; Deuteronomy 11:13), and at the same time it is presented as one holy spiritual whole, so that we cannot speak of any higher New Testament stand-point in this regard. Pharisaism does not find its condemnation first in Christ, it met it long ago in Moses. But as this Jewish (not O. T.) idea and use of the law separates it into manifold external statutes, literally understood, so on the other hand it breaks the thread which connects the law, according to its origin with the covenant of God, and love as the fulfilling of the law with faith. The “position of faith to the law” in the old covenant, (Auberlen) is this, “the believer receives the law as a gracious gift of God, rejoices in its perfection, places his whole life under its sacred discipline and control. But the more earnestly he strives after the fulfilling of the law, the more he recognizes his own unfitness to the effort, his weakness to good, the power of evil in the heart. Then he seeks the forgiveness of sins, as it was already offered in the O. T., through the grace of God, and comforts himself with redemption through the Messiah.”


Deuteronomy 6:4-5. Luther: “That God is one, profits us not, but that He is held as one God and our God, that is blessedness and life and the fulfilling of all the law. The first explanation of the first command relates to faith. For no one can have one God who does not depend upon Him alone, does not leave all for Him alone, otherwise he will be hurried away to manifold works, and feign himself manifold deities. The second explanation flows from the first, and relates to love. For when we understand that all things flow from Him, then a sweet love necessarily follows. In Deuteronomy 6:4 He claims the confidence of all, and then in Deuteronomy 6:5 awakens a joyful and free service of God. Thus in faith we receive through the unity of God all things freely of God, through love we do all things cheerfully for our God. The one God and His one command. True love requires the whole man). Deuteronomy 6:6. Berl. Bib.: “The heart alone receives this lesson. The language of love is taught by love, and love teaches to love.” Luther: “Not alone in the book, nor in thought, but in the innermost affection of thy heart.” Tueb. Bib.: “The law of God must be engraved upon our hearts with an evangelical pen, if we will keep it.” Starke: “Whoever will truly teach and inculcate upon others the commands of God, must first take them to heart, that he may mould his Christian character, faith, and walk, upon them. Mark that, ye parents and teachers.” Deuteronomy 6:7. Randgl.: “The more one obeys the word of God the clearer and fresher it will become. The longer, the more lovingly.” Starke: “Parents should not only send their children to school, and lead them to Church, but hold frequent instructive conversations with them. They should be diligently trained in the Catechisms in the Church, school, and at home.” (How faith and love rule all, heart, home, and land). Richter: “According to Deuteronomy 6:9 every Israelite must be able to read and write.”(?) Deuteronomy 6:10-12. Luther: “He reproves wealth and luxury, especially mammon and avarice (1 Timothy 6:10; Colossians 3:5). For the human heart yields itself to present good, but has no confidence in that which is not present. But trust in wealth, and faith, and love cannot rule in the same heart at the same time. See how Moses guards against the idolatry of the heart before he speaks of other gods.” Schultz: To be full becomes a peculiar pregnant expression in Scripture. Deuteronomy 6:12. Cramer: “There must be great strength to support such good days.” Deuteronomy 6:13. Luther: “This is the strength of faith, and the result of the first command, that in prosperity we are reverent and fearful, in adverse affairs we are secure and free, and in both lean upon God. In great wealth do not trust therein, hast thou none, be not therefore despondent. Moses never dreams of the doulia, latria, hyperdoulia of the sophists. And so also should’st thou take this oath, since thou remainest in the service of God.” (The true oath an act of worship). Deuteronomy 6:14. A bad neighborhood often corrupts good morals. Deuteronomy 6:16. Luther: “Before, it was that we should in prosperous times do right, now that in the opposite condition we should suffer right, and be certain that God is near us in the time of need. God is tempted, 1) when we do not use what we have, thus whoever complains and thinks that God should feed him without his own efforts; 2) when we appoint Him place, time, method, and so to speak feel whether He is there; thus through the pressure of want, and the counsel of a weak faith.” What is it to tempt God? To doubt His being, to test His omnipotence, to give direction for His help, to question His faithfulness, to hasten or anticipate His providence, to limit His grace to our own will, to ridicule His long-suffering patience, and also His righteousness, etc. Berl. Bib.: “God was tempted in His wisdom, Psalms 73:11, in His truth, 2 Kings 7:2, in His goodness and providence over us, Matthew 4:6-7, in His power, Numbers 11:4-5; Psalms 78:19-20; Numbers 14:22, in His omnipresence, Exodus 17:7.” God never tempts us to evil, and we ought not to tempt Him out of our wicked will, (Matthew 22:18). The right and the wrong doubt. Gideon (Judges 6:36 sq.) Ahaz (Isaiah 7:12) and Jesus (Matthew 4:7). The good is at the same time the beautiful. That is good which, 1) will pass with God; 2) upon which and through which good comes to us; 3) through which we may enter upon the good, the eternal good. Deuteronomy 6:20. Schultz: “As revealed religion was introduced into the world through teaching and discipline, so it must be preserved through the same method.” Lange: “Happy parents whose children seek after the commandments of God.” Berl. Bib.: “One may better be sparing in pleasures, and have a Bible in his house, better than all prayer books, that he may read with his family, and ever take it to his heart.” Deuteronomy 6:24. Schultz: “Our life support comprehends all that makes our life truly beautiful, easy, and blessed. As there is nothing without life, so there is no life, truly so-called, without many things, as health, success, joy and peace.” Berl. Bib.: “Serving God we truly serve ourselves, for then we have all things for our use.”


[1][Deuteronomy 6:10. Lit.: Shall have caused thee to come.—A. G.]

[2][Deuteronomy 6:17. Lit.: Keeping ye shall keep.—A. G.]

[3][Deuteronomy 6:25. All the command. The pronoun is singular; the commandment is one.]

Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 6". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lcc/deuteronomy-6.html. 1857-84.
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