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The daily summaries are written by Wayne D. Turner, Pastor of Fayette Bible Church in Fayetteville, Georgia

This is the April 6 reading. Select here for a new reading date:


BibleTrack Summary: April 6
<< Deut 4

For New King James text and comment, click here.

Deuteronomy 5-7    Listen Podcast

 

Let's go over the Ten Commandments again (Deuteronomy 5)

1 And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them.
2 The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb.
3 The LORD made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day.
4 The LORD talked with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire,
5 (I stood between the LORD and you at that time, to shew you the word of the LORD: for ye were afraid by reason of the fire, and went not up into the mount;) saying,
6 I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
7 Thou shalt have none other gods before me.
8 Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth:
9 Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,
10 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.
11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
12 Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee.
13 Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work:
14 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou.
15 And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.
16 Honour 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, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
17 Thou shalt not kill.
18 Neither shalt thou commit adultery.
19 Neither shalt thou steal.
20 Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour.
21 Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour’s wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour’s house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

Picture this: Israel is on the east side of the Jordan River ready to go over the river and take over their new country. BUT WAIT...first Moses must go over the law which God had given them over the 40 years to make sure they understand. That's what Deuteronomy is, Moses giving the law a second time; it comes from a compound Greek word, "deutero" meaning "second" and "nomy" meaning "law." There you have it, "second law." Jews didn't call this book by its Greek name at all. The Hebrew name for Deuteronomy is "Devarim," meaning, "The Words." (Click here to see the notes on Exodus 20 when the Ten Commandments were given the first time.)

Notice the point Moses makes in verse 3, "The LORD made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day." In other words, these aren't just your daddies' commandments; they are for you too! Nearly forty years ago, Moses' current audience were either children or not born yet. Moses wants to make certain that this generation of Hebrews understand that these commandments have no expiration date.

Observant Jews through the centuries traditionally count 613 laws given by Moses in these first 5 books of the Bible. But here are the top 10 - actually a summarization of the whole content of the Law of Moses. Many people today labor under the misconception that God only had ten laws that He passed down. Modern Judaism teaches that God gave the Jews 613 commandments, not merely ten. It's very difficult to count with exactness how many separate and distinct laws are found in the Pentateuch; 613 is close enough. The biblical passage known to most people as the "Ten Commandments" is known to Jews as the "Aseret ha-Dibrot," the Ten Declarations, and is considered to be ten categories of commandments, rather than ten individual commandments. By the way, Roman Catholics render a little different list than non-Catholics. They leave out the non-Catholic number 2 ("Thou shalt not make thee any graven image") and then divide number 10 into 2 separate "covet" commandments to get their 10. Why do you suppose?

It's important to mention again here that New Testament Christians are neither saved by the Ten Commandments nor any of the Old Testament laws given to Moses...nor are they somehow made more righteous after salvation by observing them. These laws were given strictly for Jewish observance when God ruled over a nation of people, Israel. Allow me to make this point conclusively by directing your attention to what is typically rendered commandment number 4 (number 3 in the Roman Catholic list). This is the commandment regarding the strict observance of the Sabbath day. Let's take a look at the four verses committed to this commandment in this chapter.

Deuteronomy 5:12 Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee.
Deuteronomy 5:13 Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work:
Deuteronomy 5:14 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do ANY work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou.
Deuteronomy 5:15 And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.

Here's a question that must be answered if you believe that a Believer is bound by the provisions of the Ten Commandments as many Believers do: Why don't you keep this commandment regarding the Sabbath? Just how important was it that the Jews keep this commandment? Just look at Numbers 15:32-36 (see notes). There you will see that God himself commanded that a man be stoned to death for violating this commandment; he was simply gathering sticks on the Sabbath. Carefully read the article entitled, "The Sabbath Day" for a complete perspective on the relationship between Believers and the Law of Moses by clicking here.

If you would like to read the following comparison in a separate window, click here.

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Moses describes the forty-year-old miracle at Sinai (Deuteronomy 5:22-33)

22 These 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 more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me.
23 And it came to pass, when ye heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, (for the mountain did burn with fire,) that ye came near unto me, even all the heads of your tribes, and your elders;
24 And 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.
25 Now therefore why should we die? for this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the LORD our God any more, then we shall die.
26 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?
27 Go 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; and we will hear it, and do it.
28 And 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.
29 O that there were 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 children for ever!
30 Go say to them, Get you into your tents again.
31 But as for thee, 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.
32 Ye 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.
33 Ye 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 in the land which ye shall possess.

Beginning in verse 22, Moses rehearses for his audience the circumstances that existed nearly forty years ago on the occasion when he had received these Ten Commandments from God in Exodus 20 (see notes). He recalls how terrified the people were back then as they stood around the mountain from where God was speaking to Moses. When Moses goes into some detail regarding the "covenant" aspect of the giving of those commandments and includes the consequences of disregarding them, you know his audience had to be all ears at this point. I mean...the Hebrews had been under God's chastisement for 38+ years because of their disregard for God's direction. Who wants to repeat that mistake again!

The Shema - a very important Jewish tradition (Deuteronomy 6)

"Shema" is correctly pronounced with a very short first syllable with the accent on the last syllable.

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:
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.
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.
4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
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.
8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
9 And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
10 And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee 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,
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.
13 Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.
14 Ye shall not go after 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.
16 Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.
17 Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee.
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,
19 To cast out all thine enemies from before thee, as the LORD hath spoken.
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?
21 Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh’s bondmen in Egypt; and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand:
22 And the LORD shewed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, 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.
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.

This is the really, really, really big chapter to Jews down through the ages. The oldest fixed daily prayer in Judaism is the Shema, taken right out of this chapter. The word "Shema" is the Hebrew word used at the beginning of verses 3 and 4 translated "Hear." The traditional Jewish Shema consists of Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Deuteronomy 11:13-21 (see notes), and Numbers 15:37-41 (see notes). Because of the admonition of Deuteronomy 6:7, observant Jews say this prayer by quoting these verses before they go to bed at night and first thing when they wake up in the morning. Because of verse 8 the observant Jews down through the centuries to today have worn a leather wallet (called a Tefillin) on the arm and head that contain these prayers. Today they wear these during prayer time, but apparently the Pharisees wore them all the time. These verses are also placed in a Mezuzah (a small box) and placed on the door post of a traditional Jewish home because of verse 9. So, you can see that chapter 6 is a really important chapter to Jews. Here's a question for you. Do you think observant Jews took too literally the provisions of these verses by (1) quoting them first upon awakening and last before sleeping (verse 7), (2) placing these words in a wallet that they wore upon their foreheads and arms (verse 8) and (3) literally placing these verses in a box affixed to their doors (verse 9)? Doesn't this passage command them to do just that?

Note the following entry in the Jewish Study Bible with regard to the Shema:

The Shema is more than a prayer. Judaism understands its recitation to be a binding legal act in which individuals pledge their commitment to Torah. By reciting the Shema, the congregation in the synagogue brings the plot of Deuteronomy to life in the present, as it enacts and renews that oath of allegiance to God that, it believes, Israel first vowed on the plains of Moab.

The reference to "Massah" in verse 16 is a reminder of the disobedience of their fathers in the wilderness in Exodus 17 (see notes) with regard to the water-from-the-rock incident. The remaining verses of this chapter confirm that God gave the commandments of chapter 5 to Israel as a legacy for their children. Notice verse 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."

WHAT'S SO "CHOSEN" ABOUT THE JEWS? (Deuteronomy 7)

1 When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;
2 And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:
3 Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.
4 For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.
5 But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.
6 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.
7 The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:
8 But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
9 Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;
10 And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face.
11 Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.
12 Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the LORD thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy fathers:
13 And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee.
14 Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle.
15 And the LORD will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee.
16 And thou shalt consume all the people which the LORD thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them: neither shalt thou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee.
17 If thou shalt say in thine heart, These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them?
18 Thou shalt not be afraid of them: but shalt well remember what the LORD thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt;
19 The great temptations which thine eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the stretched out arm, whereby the LORD thy God brought thee out: so shall the LORD thy God do unto all the people of whom thou art afraid.
20 Moreover the LORD thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves from thee, be destroyed.
21 Thou shalt not be affrighted at them: for the LORD thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible.
22 And the LORD thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee.
23 But the LORD thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed.
24 And he shall deliver their kings into thine hand, and thou shalt destroy their name from under heaven: there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them.
25 The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the LORD thy God.
26 Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.

Does God prefer one nationality on this earth over another? This chapter has your answer. "But why?" you ask. It is because of verses 8 and 9; a covenant is a covenant. The covenants God made with Abraham (The Abrahamic Covenant, see notes) and confirmed with his descendants cannot be voided. DON'T GET CONFUSED ABOUT SALVATION! God's promise to Israel here does not speak to the issue of eternal life - only the success of the people of Israel as a nation on the earth. For eternal life, they gotta get saved like everyone else. Today that salvation is through Jesus Christ (John 14:6, see notes). Individual salvation has always been achieved through faith. We see this stated all the way back to Genesis 15:6 (see notes) with regard to Abraham, "And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness."

God is very specific in this chapter about the fact that Israel may not coexist with the polytheistic, one-God-hating nationalities who had migrated to Canaan - the land which Israel was about to possess. Look at the provisions of Deuteronomy 7:22, "And the LORD thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little:" And all their pagan objects of worship must be completely eliminated (verses 25-26).

Just look at the guarantee given in verses 12-16 in return for Israel's obedience to God's law:

Notice the practical help promised to Israel in verse 20, "Moreover the LORD thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves from thee, be destroyed." Hornets...I hate hornets! We actually saw these hornets mentioned back in Exodus 23:28 (see notes). As a matter of fact, Joshua 24:12 (see notes) indicates that, indeed, the land was cleared for the Hebrews by "the hornet."

How could anyone turn away from that kind of a guarantee?

Now, on the flip side of this proposition, what about the misfortune of these local Canaanite residents. Notice their projected fate in Deuteronomy 7:1-6:

Deuteronomy 7:1 When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;
Deuteronomy 7:2 And when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:
Deuteronomy 7:3 Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.
Deuteronomy 7:4 For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.
Deuteronomy 7:5 But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.
Deuteronomy 7:6 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.

That seems a little extreme, but there's a reason these Canaanites had to go - WICKEDNESS! Here's what we see in Deuteronomy 9:4 (see notes), "Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the LORD thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee." These Canaanites had been judged by God for their wickedness. Instead of destruction by a flood as in the days of Noah, Israel was to be the instrument of God's judgment upon these wicked people. There's a solemn warning that goes beyond the Law of Moses in Leviticus 18:27-28 (see notes), "(For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;) That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you." Those "nations that were before you" weren't under the Law of Moses, but God found their lifestyle practices so repulsive that he "spued out the nations." And the same declaration is made in Leviticus 20:23 (see notes), "And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them."

So, you see, the Canaanites had to go. In most situations during the conquest of Canaan, the Canaanites attacked Israel first. Joshua 11:20 (see notes) explains why, "For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses."


For commentary on another passage, click here.


Copyright 2003-2011 by Wayne D. Turner