Deuteronomy – Chapter 6

The Bible – Old Testament



Chapter 6


«These then are the commandments, the statutes and decrees which the LORD, your God, has ordered that you be taught to observe in the land into which you are crossing for conquest,


so that you and your son and your grandson may fear the LORD, your God, and keep, throughout the days of your lives, all his statutes and commandments which I enjoin on you, and thus have long life.


Hear then, Israel, and be careful to observe them, that you may grow and prosper the more, in keeping with the promise of the LORD, the God of your fathers, to give you a land flowing with milk and honey.


1 «Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone!


Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.


Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today.


Drill them into your children. Speak of them at home and abroad, whether you are busy or at rest.


2 Bind them at your wrist as a sign and let them be as a pendant on your forehead.


Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.


«When the LORD, your God, brings you into the land which he swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that he would give you, a land with fine, large cities that you did not build,


with houses full of goods of all sorts that you did not garner, with cisterns that you did not dig, with vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant; and when, therefore, you eat your fill,


take care not to forget the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery.


3 The LORD, your God, shall you fear; him shall you serve, and by his name shall you swear.


You shall not follow other gods, such as those of the surrounding nations,


lest the wrath of the LORD, your God, flare up against you and he destroy you from the face of the land; for the LORD, your God, who is in your midst, is a jealous God.


«You shall not put the LORD, your God, to the test, as you did at Massah.


But keep the commandments of the LORD, your God, and the ordinances and statutes he has enjoined on you.


Do what is right and good in the sight of the LORD, that you may, according to his word, prosper, and may enter in and possess the good land which the LORD promised on oath to your fathers,


thrusting all your enemies out of your way.


«Later on, when your son asks you what these ordinances, statutes and decrees mean which the LORD, our God, has enjoined on you,


you shall say to your son, ‘We were once slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the LORD brought us out of Egypt with his strong hand


and wrought before our eyes signs and wonders, great and dire, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and his whole house.


He brought us from there to lead us into the land he promised on oath to our fathers, and to give it to us.


Therefore, the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes in fear of the LORD, our God, that we may always have as prosperous and happy a life as we have today;


and our justice before the LORD, our God, is to consist in carefully observing all these commandments he has enjoined on us.’

1 [4-5] This passage contains the basic principle of the whole Mosaic law, the keynote of the Book of Deuteronomy: since the Lord alone is God, we must love him with an undivided heart. Christ cited these words as «the greatest and the first commandment,» embracing in itself the whole law of God (⇒ Matthew 22:37, ⇒ 38 and parallels).
2 [8] Bind them . . . as a sign: these injunctions were probably meant merely in a figurative sense; cf ⇒ Exodus 13:9, ⇒ 16. However, the later Jews understood them literally, and tied on their wrists and foreheads «phylacteries,» boxes containing strips of parchment on which these words were inscribed; cf ⇒ Matthew 23:5.
3 [13] Him shall you serve: here, to «serve» God means especially to «worship» him; in this sense it is quoted by our Lord (⇒ Matthew 4:10) as an argument against worshiping the devil.