(Here are pages 198-229, Deuteronomy. See PDF for the Book proper. mjm)
PART II : DEUTERONOMY – PSALMS :
DEUTERONOMY : Chapters 1-34 : Moses V:
Deuteronomy consists of 34 chapters, and its subdivisions not easily marked, yet two sections may be readily seen, chapters 1-11 and 12-34 (31-34 are also distinct); it is rightly called the Second-Law from its subject or content; but its Hebrew name is Debbarim or Words, which in Greek is Logoi; thus together it is the Book of the Words of the Second Law. The Book continues from Numbers in the place and time in the final month of Israel’s 40 days in the Desert. (A note as to the Red Letter words in the Books of Moses: In Exodus chapter 3 God calls Moses by name: ‘Moses, Moses’ and the Lord frequently chapter after chapter, page after page, then at Sinai the direct speaking is dominant red, chapters 20-35; in Leviticus 1-7 is red, 11-27 is all red; in Numbers it is about half and half throughout, the direct speaking balanced to His peoples experience, need, and actions; here in Deuteronomy like Genesis, the direct speaking is lessened, and Moses speaking for God becomes dominate; the last words in red is Deut. 34:4: And Jehovah said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither.) In Genesis the writer and speaker is hidden, Moses nowhere occurs; in Exodus the Lord soon appears and communicates to Moses then by Moses and Aaron to Israel; in Leviticus it is the Lord speaking to and by Moses and Aaron throughout; in Numbers it is the Lord speaking to Moses with Aaron and then with Eleazar; and now it is Moses speaking and rehearsing and reminding Israel of their history in the wilderness; and if we may say, Moses’s reflections. The encampment was in east trans-Jordan in the desert and plain across the Yam Suph between Paran, Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Dizahab. It is 11 days walk from Horeb by way of mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea. Then in 40th year in the 11th month on 1st day of the month Moses spoke to the children of Israel in accordance with the Lord’s commandment to them (over the past 40 years), and after Moses had smitten Sihon and the Amorites in Heshbon, and Og of Bashan in Ashtaroth at Edrei. In Trans-Jordan of Moab Moses commenced to declare or rehearse or restate this Law, the Torah, and a Second Law, Deuteronomy.
Moses recalls to Israel the time they camped at mount Horeb or Sinai and God directed them to turn to the hill-country of the Amorites and the Arabah and the Negev, and all the country and lowlands nearby, all the way to Great Sea and all Canaan and Lebanon, all the way to the Great River Euphrates in the north (above Syria, to Haran). Moses begins to speak in 1st person as the divine Lawgiver, in whom all the Lord’s words and thoughts have found a settled place, and the human vessel is transformed over the 40 years to speak as God to Israel, even as the Lord promised when He called him. He has brought them to the entrance of the Promised Land and he commands them to enter and possess, just as the Lord had also done. Moses reminds them that at Horeb he was unable to handle the task of caring for the entire nation, as made so numerous by the Lord, and he prays that the Lord increase them a 1000 time more with blessings as promised; nor to tolerate their problems and burdens and strife. He reminded them that he directed them to designate qualified men of wisdom and understanding and well-known, and he made for them tribal heads and captains and officers, to be delegated judges on his behalf to the people; telling them not to be corrupt and partial, bias or taking bribes, but to be fair and honest without fear of man, since it was God’s judgment they were giving; and that the most difficult cases must be brought to him. He reminded them that he had commanded them all the things they needed to do; and how they journeyed from Horeb passing through great desert and terrible wilderness nearby the Amorites, as the Lord God had commanded, and came to Kadesh-barnea, near to the hill-country of the Amorites, the country which the Lord God has given. He reminded them that the Lord the God of their fathers has set the land before them to conquer and occupy, and not to fear or be dismayed. He reminded them that they requested from him to send out spies and scouts to search and assess the land and return with a strategic report of how and where to invade. Moses said he was pleased with their request and chose and sent 12 spies, which went up to the hill-country and to the valley of Eshcol, returning with fruit and a good report that the land was good as the Lord God said and gave. He reminded them they rebelled and refused to invade, complaining in their tents in accusations against the Lord God’s motive; saying that most of the spies disheartened them with news of the Amorites were big and tall, with very fortified cities, and even had the Anakims there. And he said he tried to encourage them not to be so afraid, for the Lord their God fights for them, and will protect and defend and care for them as a Father of a little child does, and as He showed in Egypt and in the Desert. He reminded them of their unbelief in the Lord their God Who provided a place in the desert for them to camp, guiding in fire by night and the cloud by day. And that the Lord heard them and was enraged and swore that that evil generation will never see the good land, except for faithful Caleb. He also reminded them that the Lord was angry with him because of them, and said he too would not enter, but Joshua his attendant will lead Israel into Canaan, and he was to be encouraged. Moses further reminded them that the Lord would allow their little ones and children, for which they were so concerned of becoming a prey, to enter; but they must turn back towards Yam Suph. He reminded them that they admitted their sin against the Lord, and then desired to invade and attack, girding on weapons of war, and were forward and presumptuous to attack the Amorites, but the Lord by him tried to stop them but they refused to listen and rebelled again in presumptuousness; so the Amorites, their enemies, engaged in battle and chased them as bees do, and defeated them at Seir to Hormah; and that afterwards they repented and returned in tears, but the Lord refused to listen or respond. So, he said, they remained in Kadesh a long time.
Moses continues his rehearsal of Israel’s history in the desert near Yam Suph and around mount Seir, till the Lord indicated that it was time to move on northward, passing through the border of Esau their brethren in Seir, and though they are afraid they must not be attacked, because the Lord has given that land to Esau as his inheritance; they were to buy food and water, for the Lord their God has blest them these 40 years that they lacked nothing. He recalled to them that they bypassed their kin Esau in Seir along the way of Arabah, Elath, and Ezion-geber; and bypassing the desert of Moab. At that time, he said, the Lord told him not to vex Moab for He has given the children of Lot that country as their property. (There previously dwelt the Emim, a people great and tall as the Anakim, regarded as Rephaim, but called Emim by the Moabites. The Horites lived in Seir before the children of Esau succeeded by destroying them; just as Israel in time did in Canaan.) (This is an example as in other places that the Scriptures were edited at times to clarify certain details for any number of reasons. The emendation or amendment is no less Scripture than what is edited. The Holy Spirit is not limited to Moses or Aaron, or to Joshua and Eleazar, or to the Levites or prophets or others. The scribal transmission of the Sacred Text is not a dilution of inspiration, nor detracts from authenticity of authorship.)
Thence they crossed over the brook Zered, which now was 38 years after they had left Kadesh-barnea, after all generation of the militia died off as the Lord swore; for He was determined to terminate them in the desert. So, Moses continued, after they were all dead the Lord told them to pass over Ar, Moab’s border, near to the Ammonites; but they were not to vex Ammon, for He had given that land to Lot’s descendants as their property. (This also belonged to Rephaim before the Ammonites, who called them Zamzummim; a people like the famed Anakim, who the Lord destroyed for Ammon, and as He did for Esau in Seir of the Horites; even unto the Avvim in the villages of Gaza, and the Caphtorim of Caphtor.) He said the Lord would terrify all the nations who will hear of this invasion. Moses sent messengers from the desert of Kedemoth seeking peace and passage from Sihon king of Heshbon as he had solicited to Esau of Seir and the Moabites in Ar; Sihon refused because the Lord hardened his spirit and his heart obstinate, so to destroy them. So Sihon fought with Israel at Jahaz, and defeated by the Lord’s help, capturing and destroying all of them and their cities and families, leaving none alive; and took all their cattle and things from their cities. Israel by the Lord God’s help destroyed and every city from Aroer bordering the valley of Arnon, and all about, to Gilead. But the land and people forbidden by the Lord God was not invaded, as the Ammonites, and all the side of the river Jabbok.
Then Moses reminded them that they then turned north to the way of Bashan and its king Og warred with them at the battle of Edrei; and the Lord assured him that they and theirs would be done as done with the Amorites, completely annihilated. Some 60 cities were captured in the region of Argob and the kingdom Og in Bashan; all fortified with high walls, gates, and bars; not counting many unwalled towns; all utterly destroyed and spoiled. Also, the land of the two kings of the Amorites we captured in trans-Jordan from Arnon to Mount Hermon of Syria, which the Sidonians called Mount Sirion and the Amorites call Senir; along with the plains and Gilead and all Bashan, up to Salecah and Edrei the cities of Og in Bashan. (Og the king of Bashan was the last of the remnant of Rephaim, with an iron bed-frame of 9×4 standard cubits (12×6 feet) and is in Rabbah of the Ammonites.) Israel occupied all that area and was ceded to the 21/2 tribes as their property; the area of Arnon and Gilead to the Reubenites and Gadites; and the area of north Gilead and all Bashan and Argob to the ½ tribe of Manasseh. (Now Bashan was before Rephaim but was captured along with Argob and the Geshurites and the Maacathites by Jair who renamed it Havvoth-Jair to the present day (the time of Samuel).) He reminded them that he granted and partitioned the trans-Jordan area to the 21/2 tribes from Gilead to Arnon to Jabbok, and to Arabah to Jordan to Chinnereth to the Sea of the Arabah (Dead Sea) to Pisgah eastward. At that time Moses commanded them and reminded them that the Lord their God has given them Trans-Jordan as their possession; but they must pass over armed to assist the rest of the tribes in the conquest of Canaan. Their families may settle in the land till they return after the conquest. Also, at that time he reminded them that he commanded Joshua of what the Lord their God did to the two kings, and so will He do all the kingdoms in Canaan; that he (Joshua) must not be afraid of them, for the Lord their God fights for them. He recalls to them that he petitioned the Lord, Who has shown His servant greatness and power, for no other god in heaven or earth can do such works and acts; to permit him to see and enter the good land across the Jordan and the goodly mountain, and Lebanon. But the Lord was angry at him because of them and refused his request; but told him to ascend to the top of Pisgah and look in all 4 directions and see the land which he will not enter with Israel. So, they stayed in the valley opposite Beth-peor.
Moses concludes the introduction of the rehearsal of Israel’s history in the wilderness with the reiteration and repetition and additional instruction of statutes and ordinances, which they must obey to live and possess the land of promise, granted by the Lord the God of their fathers. They must not add or subtract from the word commanded by him, so that they might obey all the commandments of the Lord their God. They saw how the Lord destroyed the followers of Baal-peor, and that He preserved them; that he has instructed them in the Lord God’s commandments to observe in Canaan. Their obedience is wisdom and understanding to all peoples that will hear of these statutes; and they will say that this great nation is wise and understanding; that no other great nation has a god so near as the Lord God is to Israel; and none have laws as righteous as these now given. They must take heed not to forget these things, in soul and heart, teaching them to their children and grandchildren; to remember when they stood before the Lord God in Horeb, when He said to assemble before Him to hear His words that they might fear Him always, and to live on earth, and teach their kids. Israel approached the burning mountain with flames, darkness, cloud, and dark smoke; and the Lord spoke to them from the midst of the fire, and they heard the voice of words but saw no form. He declared His covenant and commanded obedience to the Ten Words, the 10 Commandments, which He wrote down or inscribed on two tables of stone. At that time the Lord commanded that they should be taught the laws to be practiced in Canaan; and that they note well they did not see any form or likeness on that day when the Lord spoke to them from Horeb out of fire; that they not be corrupted with idolatry of any form, male or female, beast or bird, or reptiles or fishes; lest they look into the skies and worship and serve the heavenly bodies, things that the Lord has allotted to other peoples and nations. But the Lord delivered Israel from Egypt that iron furnace to become His inheritance; He was angry with Moses because of Israel and denied him to enter the good land, but instead to die in the desert of Trans-Jordan. They must take heed against forgetting the covenant and committing forbidden idolatry; since the Lord God is a devouring Fire and Jealous God. Then after their children and grandchildren, after many generations in Canaan, they defile themselves in idolatry of all sorts, and anger the Lord their God; then heaven and earth is witness today against Israel, and they will perish from Canaan and be destroyed; and He will disperse them among the peoples, till they are few among the nations of their exile. They will serve various man-made gods of wood and stone, idols blind and deaf, cannot eat or smell. But they will return and find the Lord their God in searching for Him with all heart and soul; in tribulation in later times will return and obey; for He is a merciful God, unfailing, non-destroying, and never-forgetful of His promised and sworn covenant. For ask of old, from God’s creation of Adam on earth, from the anywhere under heaven, if any such thing was seen or heard; that people heard the voice of God from the fire and still live. Or, that God attempted to take a nation from out of another nation by trials, signs, wonders, war, by a mighty hand, by outstretched arm, and by great terrors, as He did for them in Egypt. He showed all this to be known as the only God to Israel, by His voice and fire. Because He loved their fathers He has chosen their descendants and rescued them from Egypt; and to drive out of their inheritance greater and mightier nations before them. Therefore, since He is Jehovah Elohim forever obey and enforce all His commandments of the laws now given for life and peace.
Moses then designated the 3 cities (Bezer, Ramoth Gilead, and Golan Bashan) in Trans-Jordan, as refuge for one who causes death accidentally or without intention or premeditation. This concludes the Law or Torah of Moses for Israel, in testimonies, statutes, and judgments after the Exodus in Trans-Jordan near Beth-peor of the Amorites, which Israel conquered and settled all that territory. We hereby discern that we have come to a transition to a new section, which some have labeled the Second Discourse. The writer clearly makes a distinction between what Moses taught from the history and geography related to Moses and Israel and the nations.
Moses called Israel to hear the Law and Doctrine to learn and practice; for the Lord God made this covenant with Israel and not with their fathers, when He spoke to them face to face from the fire in Horeb (when Moses interceded for Israel in their fear of the fire, and to reveal to them the Word of the Lord): saying to them: the Lord God saved them from Egypt the house of bondage: 1. Do not have other gods in place of the Lord. 2. Do not make idols of anything or person in any form, to worship or serve them; for the Lord is a jealous God, avenging wickedness for many generations on His enemies; but compassionate towards His friends. 3. Do not profane the Name of the Lord God; for He will hold him guilty. 4. Observe the Sabbath as holy as He commanded; 6 days to work and rest on the 7th day, this applies to every person and every animal in Israel; and remember the Exodus and Egyptian slavery. 5. Honor to parents, father and mother as He commanded for long life and blessing in Israel. 6. Do not kill or murder. 7. Do not commit adultery. 8. Do not steal or rob. 9. Do not bear false witness or lie or slander against another. 10. Do not covet or desire or lust anything or any person that belongs to another. These are the Words which the Lord uttered by a great Voice to Israel from the mount; and He added nothing more; and He wrote them on Two Tablets of Stone, and He gave them to Moses for Israel. And Israel was terrified at the sight and sound from the mount, and at the Voice of God speaking to man and no one died. Israel’s leaders ask Moses to mediate between God and them, lest they be consumed by His fire, for nothing like this has ever happened. Moses was to hear from and speak to God and relate to Israel the Lord’s words and for their observance. The Lord responded to their request and wished that Israel would ever and always have such a heart in godly fear and obedience for all generations and for blessings. He sent Israel back to their tents but demanded Moses to stand in His Presence to hear the Law and Doctrine of the Lord God to Israel to practice in Canaan.
Now these are His Doctrines and Laws, His Words, in detail, for Israel in Canaan, to fear and obey Him always: Israel must hear and observe His words and law for blessing and increase and prosperity as He promised. Israel heard that the Lord God is one YHWH, one Lord, and one Jehovah: He must be loved with all of the heart, soul, and strength. These words of Moses to Israel from the Lord must ever be in the heart and must always be taught to Israel in every generation in every family; in their talk and walk, in their homes and bedrooms, in the morning and at night; and must be bound on as a sign or mark on the hand, and as frontlets on the forehead between the eyes. They are to be written on the door posts of their houses and gates of the cities. He warns them to beware after the Lord God has settled them in Canaan, the promised Land, to inherit good things, cities, cisterns, vineyards, and olive-trees, all which was not theirs; that they then forget their Deliverer from slavery; rather they must fear and serve Him and make oaths by His Name alone. Israel must not seek the gods of the nations to provoke His jealously and burning hot anger, so that He would destroy them from the land. They must not tempt Him as in Massah; but must enact and enforce all His words and laws, doing what is good and right in His sight, for their blessings and prosperity in Canaan, as He swore long ago; to evict the heathens of Canaan. They must tell their offspring concerning the Lord’s words and laws, and of the Exodus and the Wilderness; that His Word and Law, Dabar and Torah, may bless and preserve their lives, be their righteousness in obedience as He promised.
When the Lord God brings Israel to Canaan, and evicts and exile and destroy the 7 nations of Canaan, greater and powerful, superior in number and strength, and He defeats them, Israel must completely destroy them, make no covenant or league with them, show no mercy to them, and not to intermarry with them; for they will be seduced to commit idolatry with their gods and to serve idols, and the Lord’s hot anger will quickly destroy Israel. Therefore, they must be thoroughly destroyed and annihilated, demolishing their idols, relics, altars, pillars, Asherim, statutes, images, temples, groves, and such things, and they must be burnt in the fire. For Israel is to be His holy people, His chosen possession, and His peculiar and special and prized inheritance; loved and chosen not because they were numerous, for they were the smallest of the peoples, but He loved them because of His word and oath of promise to their fathers to redeem and deliver them from Egypt. They must know and realize that He is God and is faithful and true, a covenant or promise keeper, merciful and kind to His friends and lovers and keepers of His Commandments, even to 1,000 generations; but repaying and avenging His enemies and haters to their faces, to destroy them. Israel must implement and execute all His Word and Law so that He might fulfill and accomplish His Covenant and Mercies and His Oath to the Patriarchs; and to love and bless, to multiply and increase, to prosper in everything and every way to Israel in Canaan. That Israel be blessed above all peoples, that they and their cattle be fertile, that He remove all sicknesses and prevent the known diseases of Egypt, which He will put on their enemies. But those peoples must be consumed without pity, lest they serve their gods and be snared. Israel must not be afraid to dispossess those nations but recall the Exodus and the Lord God’s salvation of Israel by power and signs and wonders. The Lord God will send the hornet after them, and they will hide and perish; they must not be afraid, for He is great and awesome; and He will eject those nations little by little, lest the wild animals increase and out populate Israel. He will deliver the nations to Israel to rout and destroy, to ruin and discomfit, and to terminate their kings in all of Canaan; and burn up their carved images and idols; and must not covet their silver and gold things and decorations, to be snared by the detestable things to the Lord God. Israel must not house an abomination, to become devoted to destruction, but must utterly detest and abhor it as devoted or banned and condemned.
All these commandments must be observed in Canaan, remembering the 40 years desert wanderings or drifting to humble, to prove, to know the heart, if they will be obedient. He humbled them with hunger and fed them with manna, to show them that man does not live by bread only but live by the words from the Lord’s mouth. Their clothes did not get old; their feet did not swell for 40 years. Israel must consider that He disciplined them as a son; that they obey and fear Him. The Lord God brings Israel to the good land with brooks of water, fountains and wells, and springs of valleys and hills; of wheat, barley, grape vines, fig trees, and pomegranates; of oil, olive, and honey; without lack of bread or things; with great natural resources of iron and gold. So after Israel have settled and feasted to the full, and blessed the Lord God for the good land; they must not forget Him and His words and laws after they have become satisfied and prosperous in food, houses, herds, flocks, silver, gold, and such things in abundance, that they in pride disregard Him Who saved them from Egypt, and led them in the desert filled with poisonous serpents and scorpions, without water; and Who supplied water from the rock of flint, and provided manna; all to humble and test them and to see their final condition, if they would boast in their hearts of their own power and might to become wealthy; and also to establish His sworn ancient covenant. Israel must always remember the Lord God grants power and wealth for His covenant’s sake. So, if Israel forsakes Him to follow and serve and worship idols, they will absolutely perish as the other nations of Canaan; because Israel rejected His voice and warnings.
Israel must listen up, for they are about to invade and conquer Canaan across the Jordan, to conquer superior nations in numbers and power, with great fortified cities, with great and tall people as the notorious Anakim. Israel must know it is He Who goes ahead of them as a Devouring Fire to destroy the heathens and subjugate them to them, so they might easily and quickly destroy them. But after their conquest and subjugation, they must not boast as if their own righteousness defeated those nations; and not rather that the wickedness of these nations caused Him to drive them out and defeated them and to establish His word of promise to the 3 Patriarchs. It is the Lord God Who gave to Israel the good land despite their unrighteous stubbornness; and to remember that they enraged and provoked Him from the Exodus to the Invasion, as a rebellious people. Also, the provocation and wrath at Horeb that the Lord’s anger would destroy Israel, when He gave the tables of stone of His covenant with Israel, during the first 40 days and nights without bread or water. The stone tablets were written by the finger of God with the same words He uttered to Israel from the mount from fire to the assembly. During that time, they corrupted themselves, and sent Moses down quickly to his apostate idolatrous people; and He said of this stiff-necked people that He would utterly destroy them and make of him a stronger and greater nation. Moses continued to remind them that he descended the mount with the two tables; and when he saw their sin and idolatry against the Lord God, he threw down and broke the tables; then he fell down and stayed another 40 days and nights just as the 1st because of Israel’s sinful provocation; for He was determined to destroy Aaron; but he prayed for him, and took the sin calf and melted it and stamped and ground it to dust; then he threw it in the brook flowing down the mount. Israel provoked the Lord at Taberah, Massah, and at Kibroth-hattaavah; and then at Kadesh-barnea they enraged Him when He sent them to invade and conquer and occupy Canaan; they rebelled against His commandment, disbelieved and refused to listen to Him; for they have been rebellious against the Lord from the day Moses came to them. So Moses reminded them how he fell face down to ground before Him during the 2nd 40 days and nights, that he would not destroy His people and inheritance redeemed by His greatness from Egypt; and to remember His servants the Patriarchs; and to overlook Israel’s stubbornness and wickedness and sin; that the heathens might not criticize the Lord as impotent to save those He delivered, and unable to fulfill His promise, so to say that, He destroyed them in hate in the desert. But Moses continued to intercede for Israel as God’s people and portion, His redeemed.
So the Lord, Moses reminded them, had him carve the two tablets of stone the 2nd time, just like the first, ant be brought to Him in the mount so He may again write the exact words as the former that Moses broke; and it must be placed in a ark or box or chest, made of acacia wood; and He wrote on them the 10 Words or Ten Commandments; which he gave to Moses for Israel; and he returned to the assembly and deposited the tables in the ark, which still exist to this day, 38 years later. (Israel journeyed from Beeroth Benejaakan to Moserah; there Aaron died and was buried, and his son Eleazar ministered in the priest’s office in his place. Thence they journeyed to Gudgodah, then to Jotbathah, a land of water brooks; at that time the Lord selected and set apart the Levites to carry the Ark of the Covenant, and to stand before and minister to and bless in His Name, to this day (38 years later). Levi has no portion or inheritance with his brethren, for the Lord is His inheritance as He designated.) Moses again the 2nd (it appears a 3rd time is meant, but it really goes back to the 2nd , which is under consideration) time as in the 1st occasion, stayed another 40 days and nights, and the Lord listened to his plead not to destroy them. Then the Lord told Moses it’s now time to lead the people to enter Canaan.
Moses instructs Israel of the Lord God’s requirement to fear Him, to walk in all His ways, to love and serve Him with all of the heart and soul, both as a nation and as individuals; to fulfill all His words and laws of commandments, statutes, ordinances, charges, and judgments, from this day forward, in the desert and in Canaan. All the heavens and the earth belong to Him, yet He loved and chose the Patriarchs and their descendants above all other peoples. Israel must circumcise the foreskin of the heart, and no longer be stiff-necked; for He is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, He is mighty and awesome, and takes no reward or bribe. He vindicates the orphans and widows, loves the sojourner and immigrant as Israel once was in Egypt; He is to be feared, served, and clung to, and to make oaths only in His Name; He is Israel’s Praise and God, great and wonderful in acts and works. The patriarchs migrated to Egypt numbering 70 souls and are about to enter Canaan as a multitude as the stars of heaven of some 3 million in all. He is to be loved and his words and laws obeyed always. This adult generation, (not the next generation of their children unfamiliar with the Lord God’s discipline and works and signs and power and greatness in the Exodus from Egypt, and at the Red Sea (Yam Suph), and in the desert till present, and how He dealt with the rebels of Reuben) must know and see clearly His great work; to obey His command that Israel might be strong to conquer and possess Canaan, and to enjoy the good and fertile and blessed land, ever favored by the Lord God. If Israel is faithful and obedient and loyal to Him with all heart and soul, then He will bless and prosper with rain and growth, with grains and animals, with wine and oil, to eat to the full and satisfied. Israel must be on guard of turning away from Him to serve and worship idols, and so anger Him against Israel to withhold rain and crops, to destroy them in the land. But Moses words and doctrines, the Law or Torah to Israel must be in the heart and soul, bound as a sign on the hand and frontlets on the foreheads; to be taught to the children, talked about in their homes and travels, from morn to eve; and to be written on door-posts and city walls; that their lives be prolonged with future generations enduring forever as the heavens and the earth. And if Israel is faithful and obedient to the Mosaic Law to love and follow and cling to the Lord God, then He will defeat and eject the great and mighty heathens from Canaan. Israel will then occupy from the wilderness to Lebanon, from the Euphrates River (in Syria and southern Turkey), and from Jordan to the farthest Sea (the Great Mediterranean Sea); without any people or nation to challenge or oppose them, but their enemies will be terrified by the Lord God.
Moses then set before Israel the Blessing and the Curse (Berachah u-Qelalah): their blessing if obedient to Law of Moses of the Lord God’s commandments; and the curse if disobedient and apostate and commit idolatry. When Israel enters Canaan they must set the Blessing on Mount Gerizim and the Curse on Mount Ebal, mountains on western territory across the Jordan River in the land of the Canaanites who reside in the Arabah or Plains opposite Gilgal near the Oaks of Moreh; for Israel is to occupy the country; and there to observe the Law of Moses. In Canaan Israel must implement all the statues and ordinances, and to destroy and burn all the places and things of idolatry whether mountains, hills, groves, altars, pillars, Asherim, images, or any such thing. Israel must not be like them towards the Lord God; but must seek and visit His chosen place of habitation, to bring their sacrifices and offerings, and to celebrate His feasts, both the nation and the families and individual. Israel must no longer do whatever each man desires or thinks right, but after entering Canaan, and settled and resting in the good land free from enemies and at peace; that they must resort only to the Dwelling-Place of His Name to sacrifice and offer and vow to Him; and one and all rejoice before Him, including the Levite in the city gates. Israel must not offer sacrifices in any other place but what has been chosen and designated by the Lord. Israel may kill and eat of the animals as food in any place they desire, but must not partake of its blood, but to pour it out on the ground. Also, this applies to the tithes and vows made to the Lord, for these must be presented to Him in His Place or House, to be feasted and shared and enjoyed along with the Levites. The Levite must not be ignored or neglected. And when He has enlarged Israel’s borders, and flesh is desired to eat, but the Place of His Name is too far away, then the flesh of animals may be eaten in their cities and gates, without the blood of its life, enjoying and satisfied with these meals in the Lord’s eyes. But the holy things and the vows must be presented to Him at His Place; to offer the sacrifices and offerings on the Altar, and to pour out the blood near the Altar. These words of Moses must be carefully observed, to do the good and right thing in His sight. And after the conquest of Canaan and Israel fully settled in their new land, they must not be ensnared by the idolatry of these nations of Canaan, such as their gods and idols and how they serve them. Israel must not do like these idolatrous nations which commit every abomination to the Lord God which He hates and abhors, detest and despises, like when they offer their sons and daughters to be burnt in the fire to their gods.
Moses added that Israel must not add to nor subtract from this Law he has given them. If there is a prophet or dreamer of dreams or seer predicting a sign and wonder to allure or seduce the people to go after foreign gods to serve them, they must not regard their words or utterances because the Lord God is testing Israel’s love for Him; for He alone must be feared, obeyed, served, and attached. But such revealers must be put to death for inciting rebellion against the Lord God, Who delivered Israel from Egypt; thus is this evil put away. Anyone secretly enticing the people to idolatry or apostasy in any form of relatives or friends must be put to death without hearing, or mercy, or pity, or protection; and he who is solicited must first put his hands to him, then that of all the people. The seducer must be stoned to death, so that Israel may hear and fear to permit any such wickedness. If a city in Israel is seduced to commit such idolatry, near or far, very careful inquiry is to be made of the fact and truth of such abomination done, and then the citizens or residents of that city must be slain by the sword, utterly destroyed of man and beast. The very goods of that city shall be collected as a heap and then burnt up; and that city must not be rebuilt; and nothing of that city must be found with anyone, so that the Lord’s fierce anger might not consume His people, but instead show them mercy and compassion, and multiply them as promised long ago, that in obedience He will bless them.
Moses continued that Israel as the People of the Lord God must not mark their bodies, by cuttings and tattoos, or shave their foreheads for the dead, since they are His holy and chosen people different than all the nations. They must not eat any detestable thing, but only the designated clean and allowable animals; such with hoofs parted in two or chews the cud and regurgitate. Some animals which only have one of these characteristics must not be eaten, for they are unclean and not permitted, and their carcasses must not be touched. Likewise the fishes in the waters and seas, those with fins and scales are eatable, but not if they do not, for those are unclean. Clean birds are edible, but not those designated as unclean as the predators and scavengers. All insects with wings are unclean and are not edible. Not edible is anything which dies of itself for Israel, but the foreigner may eat it. The goat’s kid must not be boiled in its mother’s milk. All increase and harvest must be tithed yearly and presented to the Lord at the Place of His Name; and if it is too far a distance then the tithed must be converted to money, and it be taken to His City and House, and the money used to purchase the sacrifices or offerings as desired or needed; and to feast and rejoice in His Place. And the Levite must not be forsaken or neglected as he is without tribal property. Every 3 years must all the tithed of increase and stored inside the city gates; that the Levite, the immigrant, the orphans, and the widows may eat from it and be satisfied; so that the Lord God may bless your labors.
Every seven years must be declared a year of release for all those in debt by loans and sales, the creditors must release or forgive the debt to his neighbor or brother or fellow citizen. The debt may be exacted from the foreigners or immigrants but not an Israelite; for the poor will not exist in Israel if the Lord God bless and prosper His people; if they diligently obey His voice and Moses’ laws. He will bless Israel as promised so that they will be the lender and creditor to many nations and not the borrower in debt, and they shall rule over nations and not be subjugated. If the poor exists in Israel they must not be mistreated, avoided, disqualified, nor rejected from help and charity, but freely and properly given aid and sustenance; and no base thought and heart consider the 7th year of release is approaching and thus refuse or avoid helping the brother, the needy, and the poor in Israel. If a fellow Hebrew, man or woman, is sold or bought to serve, it must not be longer than 6 years, and in the 7th year they must be released freely and given substance or sustenance or severance in goods or money; remembering Israel’s slavery in Egypt and His redemption; this is the reason Moses commanded this conduct. If a servant refuses to be set free or released because he loves his master and the house and has been treated well; then an awl must be driven through his ear into the door, and thus he will be permanently the servant, male or female. The 6 years’ service must not be regretted in the release, since his service is double the value of a hired servant; for this He will bless Israel. The firstling males of the animals must be sanctified to the Lord God; they must not be used for labor; but eaten as yearly sacrifices at the Lord’s Place. It must be without defect as a sacrifice; and eaten within the gates whether unclean or clean; and the blood must be drained by the altar.
In the month of Abib the Passover must be observed in memorial of the Exodus; the sacrifice of the Passover must be kept exactly and in detail as prescribed; along with the rules of removal and abstinence from leaven or yeast for that week, and the eating the bread of affliction to recall and reflect the Exodus from Egypt. The Passover Lamb must be completely eaten or burned, nothing left over, eaten at night and roasted, in the Lord’s chosen Place. The feast of unleavened bread is to be 7 days. Also 7 weeks must be numbered from the time the sickle is used to harvest, and then on the 50th day, Pentecost, the Feast of Weeks to the Lord God celebrated with tribute of freewill-offering from His blessings; to rejoice with the family and household and servants and the Levites and the sojourners, and the orphans, and widows in Israel. Never forget the bondage in Egypt, and always remember to observe Moses’ statutes. The Feast of Tabernacles or Booths (Succoth) is for 7 days and begins after the harvest of crops and grapes for the winepress, to be celebrated by all in Israel in joy, for the entire week in the Place of His choice; and with all His blessings. The 3 annual Feasts required for all males to appear to the Lord God in the chosen Place are of Unleavened Bread, of Weeks, and of Tabernacles; and none must appear empty handed, but with what He has blessed him with. There must be judges and officers in all the city gates in every tribe to judge righteous judgment; without twisting or distorting justice, or partiality, or taking bribes; for bribes blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous. But what is truly just must be followed that they may live and inherit the land He has given. No Asherah must ever be planted near the Altar of the Lord God, nor any pillar which He hates.
` Also no animal sacrifice to the Lord God must be defective or deformed for that is detestable to Him; if anyone in Israel has become apostate and committed idolatry in any city, doing evil in His sight and transgressing His covenant, to follow and serve idols, to worship sun, moon, and stars, which He has forbidden. When this detestable evil and crime becomes known it must be carefully verified, then the guilty must be stoned to death. Only by 2 or 3 witnesses must anyone be executed by the people, and the witnesses must participate in the condemnation. Thus is evil stopped and prevented in Israel. When judicial or legal cases arise that are very difficult or problematic anywhere in Israel, then the controversial case must be brought to His chosen Place to the Levitical priests and to the existing judge to enquire and resolve; and their sentence and judgment must stand and followed, to be observed as they teach Israel, and their decision and judgment and sentence or verdict must not be altered or ignored by anyone. But a presumptuous person who refuses the verdict of the Priest who stands to minister before the Lord God, or of the Judge, then such an evil person must die; to stop and prevent such presumption in Israel. When Israel has possessed Canaan and desire to elect a King to rule over the nation, he must be chosen from his brethren in Israel and not from an unrelated foreigner. The King must not multiply horses for himself, must not lead Israel back to Egypt to acquire more horses, for He has forbidden them ever to return; must not have many wives to turn his heart away, must not accrue great wealth in silver and gold. But when the King ascends the throne or is inaugurated in his kingdom he must write for himself a copy of Moses Law in a Book from the Book which is with the Levitical priests; and the King must keep it and read it daily all his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord God, and to keep and enforce all the words of the Torah of Moses; that the King does not become haughty and proud against his brethren, that he does not deviate or neglect any detail to the left or right; that his kingdom may be established and his rule lengthened in Israel.
Also the Levitical Priests, the tribe of Levi, have no portion or inheritance with Israel, but are to eat of the Lord’s offerings by fire as their inheritance as He has indicated. The priests’ due and share must be from the people’s sacrifices and offerings and gifts; because the Lord God chose Levi on behalf of Israel to minister in His name forever. The Levite in the various cities of Israel may desire and choose to relocate to the Lord’s Place, and they must be permitted to share in the ministry and service of their Levitical brethren. They must share equally in the common meals in additional to what they received from the sale of their patrimony or inheritance or estate. Israel must enter Canaan to become like the heathens or nations there; such as child sacrifices by fire to idols, or divination, or augury, enchanter, sorcerer, charmer, consulter, fortune teller, an astrologer, familiar spirit, wizard, necromancer, and such like. These things and persons are a detestable abomination to the Lord, and for these very things the Lord God has driven them out before Israel. Israel must be perfect with the Lord God; and not like these nations who listen to and practice augury and divination of soothsayers and the like; but He has not permitted Israel to this. But the Lord God will rise up a Prophet in Israel like to Moses, and he must be heard and obeyed in all that Israel requested of Him at Horeb or Sinai in the day of the Assembly, when they desired Moses to mediate and intercede between Israel and the Lord. He granted the petition and said He would rise up a Prophet like Moses and put His words in his mouth to speak to Israel all His commands. Those who hear the Lord’s words spoken in His name by the Prophet will be accountable. But that Prophet who prophecies presumptuously in His name which He has not commanded, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that Prophet must die. And the true words of the Lord’s speaking is known when the prophecy is fulfilled as revealed, but if it fails the Prophet is false and has lied, speaking presumptuously; Israel must not fear such.
When the Lord God has defeated the nations of Canaan and Israel has conquered and occupied their country and the cities, then 3 cities must be set apart as Refuge for those escaping the avenger of blood in cases of non-volitional deaths, without premeditation and by accident without malice; the manslayer in such as case is not guilty of murder and need not die for causing death. The Cities of Refuge and Sanctuary must not be too far apart that the manslayer is caught and killed by the blood avenger in his hot anger. When the Lord enlarge Israel’s borders and expands into all the promised territory, then an additional 3 cities may be added; for if Israel is faithful and obedient to His word and Moses’ law, the three cities must be added lest innocent blood be shed, and Israel become guilty. But if a man ambushes and kills another man and then flees to a City of Refuge, he is a murderer and guilty deserving death; and the elders of his home city shall send or summon for him to be arrested and handed over for justice, and he must be put to death without pity; and so remove innocent blood and be preserved. One witness alone must not establish anyone’s guilt of wickedness or sin of a crime; there must be 2 or 3 witnesses. If an unrighteous witness arises against another person of wrong or crime, then both men in controversy must stand before the Lord and the priests and the judges; and diligent inquisition must be made, and if it is determined that the witness is a false accuser and a slanderer of his brother; then must be put to death; thus others will hear and fear, and such evil prevented. The law of retaliation, lex talionis, is impartial and reciprocal: life for life, eye for eye, tooth or hand or foot is the same, and such like.
When in war or battle against Israel’s enemies and see their horses, chariots, and their numbers, and the like; remember the Lord God the Savior from Egypt, and fear not. The priest must approach and speak to the army of Israel to engage in the battle without a faint heart, or fear, or tremble, or terror, for the Lord God fights for Israel to save them from their enemies. The officers shall dismiss any man who has built a new house and not dedicated it, to return home and do so, lest he die in battle, and another does it. So too with one who has planted a vineyard and has not enjoyed its fruit; dismiss also those engaged or espoused but have not married. Further the officers shall dismiss the fearful and faint-hearted, that the others’ hearts melt not. Afterwards the officers must appoint captains of the armies or forces to lead the people. In besieging a city first offer terms of peace; and if they are willing and desire a treaty, then they may become tributary to serve Israel. If they refuse to negotiate peace but choose war, then besiege it till the Lord God delivers them in defeat to Israel; then every male in that city must be slaughtered; but the women, children, cattle, goods of the city, and all spoil, may be spared and reserved as booty and prey, to enjoy the spoil of the enemies of Israel. But this only applies to the cities at a distance outside the limits of the cities of the nations of Canaan. But the cities of the peoples of Canaan, the 6 nations, must be utterly destroyed, none may live or breathe; that Israel may not learn to follow all their abominations and idolatry to sin against the Lord God. If the city is besieged for a long time in the war against it, the fruit trees must not be axed down since they are food supply; only trees that produce no fruit may be cut down and used for bulwarks to subdue it.
When a slain person is found in the field and it is not known who killed him, then the elders and judges shall come forward to measure the distance from the body to the nearest city, and the elders of that city must take a heifer never worked or yoked, and they must take the young heifer to a rough uncultivated valley, and cut off the heifer’s head at the neck there. Then the Levitical priests must come near as those chosen by Him to minister and bless in His name, and to decide all controversy and every stroke; and the elders shall wash their hands over the beheaded heifer; and they shall declare that their hands has not shed this person’s blood. May the Lord be merciful and forgive Israel, His redeemed, to remove guilt of this innocent blood; and the shed blood will be forgiven; and so remove blood guilt from Israel in the Lord’s sight. When He has given Israel victory in battle, and among the captives a beautiful girl, damsel, is seen and desired to become a wife, she may be brought home to the man’s house, she must shave her head and pare her nails or trim her fingernails, and remove her clothes of captivity, and she must remain in his house a full month grieving her parents; after this may he be joined to her and they become husband and wife. If later he delights not in her, he may release her to go freely, he must not sell her for money or treat her as a slave, because he has humbled her. If a man with two wives loves one and hates the other, and both bearing a child, the true firstborn if of the hated wife or disfavored mother must be respected and the primogeniture or firstborn’s rights must be acknowledged and granted in the inheritance and must not be given to the favored one; the firstborn must inherit a double portion of all the property and possessions. If parents have a stubborn rebellious and incorrigible son, refuses to listen or obey either parents, even after discipline and chastisement; then his parents must bring him to the elders of his city to the city gates or courts, and tell the elders of stubborn rebellious son as a glutton and drunkard. The men of the city shall then stone him to death to remove evil and produce fear in Israel. If a man sins worthy of death, and he is hung on a tree, his body must not remain overnight, but must be buried that day; for one hanged on a tree is cursed of God; that the land be not defiled.
If an ox or sheep of a brother or neighbor strays, it must be returned to the owner; and if the owner is a far distance, the lost animal must be kept till it has been sought, then must be restored. The same for a donkey, or his clothes, or any lost item which is found, it must be restored to the owner once known. If a brother’s donkey or ox falls in a pit, those nearby must help pull it out. A woman must not wear a man’s clothing, nor must man a woman’s garment, for such is detestable to the Lord God. If a bird nest is found with the dam sitting on its eggs, the eggs may be taken but the dam or hen must not be taken with its young; for Israel’s good and long-life. When a new house is built the roof must have a battlement or enclosure to prevent an accidental fall and blood guilt on that house. Vineyards must not be seeded with various seeds which defiles the seed and the fruit. The ox and donkey must not be yoked together to plow. Garments must not be worn of mixed fabrics as wool and linen. Garments or vestures must have fringes or hems on the four edges.
If a man marries a woman then hates her and slanders her or accuses her with an evil name, saying that he discovered she was not a virgin; then her parents must produce proof or token cloth to the elders of their daughter’s virginity. The elders then must chastise or whip the man, and fine him 100 silver-shekels, and give them to her father, for the evil and shame or dishonor to a virgin of Israel. She will remain has his wife and may never divorce her. But if it is true that her virginity could not be proven; then she must be brought to the door of her father’s house and the men of her city must stone her death; for her folly in Israel by playing the whore in her father’s house; so removing evil from Israel. If a man is found sleeping with a married woman, they must both die; thus removing evil from Israel. If a virgin betrothed or engaged to future husband, and another man finds her in her city, and sleeps with her; they both must be brought out to the city gates to be stoned to death; the virgin because she did not cry out for help in the city; and the man because he humbled and violated his neighbor’s wife; thus evil is put away. But if a man finds an engaged or promised virgin in the field and forces or rapes her, only the man must die; the damsel must not be punished for sin; since this case is as when a man murders his neighbor; for she cried for help in the field, but none saved her. But if a man finds a virgin not engaged or promised, and lies with her by force, or violates her, then is discovered, the man must give to the damsel’s father 50 silver-shekels, and must marry her, and may never divorce her. A man must not take his father’s wife, nor discover his father’s skirt.
The wounded in the stones, the castrated, or deformed must not enter the Lord’s assembly; nor a bastard or one of illegitimate birth up to the 10th generation; nor an Ammonite or Moabite to the 10th generation, for they refused help and passage to Israel after the Exodus from Egypt, and they hired Balaam ben-Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia to curse Israel, but the Lord God turned the intended curse into Israel’s blessing, for He loved Israel, therefore never desire their peace or prosperity. Never abhor or despise an Edomite for he is a brother and relative; nor an Egyptian, for Israel was a pilgrim in his land; but their children in the 3rd generation may enter the Lord’s assembly. When Israel encamps their enemies in war they must not do or touch anything evil; if one is unclean by a nocturnal emission he must leave the camp proper, and remain on the outskirt till the evening, but he must bathe before he returns. There must be place outside the camp for natural relief, and a paddle or a shovel in the weapons pack to dig and cover what comes out; for the Lord God walks in Israel’s camp to deliver and defeat the enemies; that He see no unclean thing and turn away. A run away or escaped slave must not be arrested and returned to his master but may freely live where he feels safe without oppression. There must not be a prostitute of the daughters of Israel, and no sodomite or homosexual of the sons of Israel; and the harlot’s hire or a dog’s wages must not come into the House of the Lord God for a vow; for prostitution and homosexuality is a detestable thing to Him. Loans to a brother must not be with usury or interest in any form; but interest may be charged to a foreigner; so that the Lord God may bless and prosper Israel in Canaan. Vows to the Lord God must be paid on time, for He requires it, and it be not sin; but it is not a sin to not vow; but what one has uttered must be observed and fulfilled according to the vow made to Him as a freewill-offering and promise. The neighbor’s vineyard may be freely eaten of to satisfy hunger and need but must not be put in a vessel or container to take; so too with his standing grain or unharvested crop, the ears may be hand plucked but no sickle to be used.
When a man marries a woman and finds in her something unseemly or improper, he may write her a bill of divorcement and give it to her and then send her away; she may then remarry to another man; but if the second husband hate her and divorces her, she may not return to the first husband after being defiled, for that is abomination to the Lord; and they must not cause the land to sin in this. When a man marries a new wife, he must not go out to war, neither charged with any business or obligations; but he must stay at home one year to cheer his new wife. The mill or upper millstone must not take as pledge or security, for it is as life. A kidnapper of a fellow Israelite, who enslaves him or sells him, must be put to death, so to eradicate the evil or crime in Israel. The plague of leprosy, symptoms and precautions and regulations, must be observed carefully as the Levitical priests teach Israel in Moses’ law; remember what the Lord God did to Miriam after leaving Egypt. When a loan is made the pledge or security must not be forced from his house; but the borrower must be allowed to bring it out to the lender; and a poor’s man pledge must not be kept overnight., but be restored to him before sunset, that he may sleep in his garment, and thus bless in return; this is righteousness to the Lord God. A poor hired servant, whether Israelite or immigrant, must not be oppressed in the gates; but his wages must be paid by sunset, being poor and needy; lest he cry to the Lord, and it be sin. Parents must not be put to death for their children, nor children for parents, but each one for his own sin. The justice to pilgrim and orphans must not be wrested or avoided or distorted; nor take a widow’s clothes as pledge; but remember the Egyptian slavery and His redemption of Israel for this command. Do not reap a second time the harvest sheaf or crop, but leave it for the pilgrim, orphans, and widows, that the Lord God may bless the labor. Also the vineyards must not be gleaned after gathering, but must be left for the poor; remembering Israel’s bondage in Egypt.
If men have a controversy for judgment, the judge must justify the righteous and condemn the wicked; and the wicked deserving whippings must be beaten before the judge, and the number or penalty according to the crime; but no more than 40 strips to be exceeded; lest he is regarded vile. The ox while treading must not be muzzled. When one of two brothers who live together dies without a son, then the wife must be married to the other brother and not to a stranger; and he must perform the husband’ brother to her; and her firstborn shall succeed in his brother’s name, that his name may not be abolished in Israel. If he refuses or dislikes to take his brother’s wife, then she must go to the elders at the gate and declare his refusal to raise up his brother’s name in Israel to perform the duty to him. The elders of his city must call and speak to him, and if he insists his refusal; then his brother’s wife in the elders’ presence, must remove his shoe, and spit in his face, saying that so must it be done to one who refuses to build his brother’s house; his name in Israel will be the House of the Shoeless Man. When two men are fighting, if the wife of one of them comes near, to help her husband, and grabs the other man’s private organ; then her hand must be cut off without pity. There must be no diverse or unequal weights, great or small, in the bag; nor in the house diverse measures; but a perfect and just, equal standard, weight and measure; to prolong days in Israel; for all those who do such are detestable to the Lord God. Remember Amalek’s attack on Israel after the Exodus, striking the hindmost and feeble, when faint and weary, not fearing God; so, when Canaan is conquered and Israel at rest from their enemies, and occupying His promised land; then Amalek must be completely wiped out; this must not be forgotten.
When Israel is in possession of their inheritance from the Lord God, each must take a basketful of the first of the fruits of the ground to the chosen Place for His Name; and must say and profess to the priest that he has come this day to Lord’s land promised long ago. The priest must take and set the basket down before the Altar of the Lord God; to which a reply and confession must be made concerning Israel or Jacob as a Syrian who migrated to Egypt few in number, then became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous; then the Egyptians mistreated, afflicted, and enslaved Israel; then they cried to the Lord God, and He heard their voice, saw their affliction and toil and oppression; and the Lord delivered Israel from Egypt by might and power, with terror, signs, and wonders; and brought Israel to Canaan, which flows with milk and honey; thus here is the first of the fruit of the ground which He has given; and it shall be set before the Lord God, and worship before Him; and rejoice one and all of Israel. When the tithe in the 3rd year is given of the harvest and surplus, it must go to the Levite, sojourner, orphans, and widow, that they may eat and be satisfied; and confess to Him, that the holy things have not been kept at home, but are hereby given in accordance to Moses’ commandment of the Lord, and has not been transgressed or forgotten; and it has not been eaten in mourning, neither pilfered, or becoming unclean, or offered for the dead; but have listened and obeyed His entire commandment. May He look down from His Holy Habitation from Heaven and bless His people and the ground of the Promised Land.
This day the Lord God commands obedience to His statutes and ordinances with all heart and soul. Israel has avouched the Lord this day to be their God to walk in His ways, statutes, commandments, ordinances, to listen to His voice, and to be His people and possession as He promised; and He has avouched Israel to Himself to keep His commandments; to exalt them above all nations He has made, with praise, in name, and honor, to be a holy people to Him as He said. Moses and the Elders of Israel commanded the People to keep all Moses’ commandment; and when they cross Jordan into Canaan, the Lord God’s promise and favored land, to erect great plastered stones, and write on them all the Words of this Law (Dabar and Torah). In mount Ebal the plastered stones; and an altar to the Lord God, an altar unhewn and unaltered stones, for burnt-offerings and sacrifices of peace-offerings, to be eaten there and to rejoice before Him. The Words of this Law must be written or inscribed on the stones very plainly; and Moses and the Levitical Priests bid Israel to listen up, for they have now become the People of the Lord God, to obey His voice and laws. Moses charged Israel that day, that 6 tribes, or ½ the nation, are to stand on mount Gerizim to bless the People across the Jordan: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin. And on mount Ebal 6 tribes or ½ the nation, for the curse: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali. The Levites must answer and shout to Israel 12 Curses with 12 Amens from the People. Cursed are all secret detestable idolaters and idol-craftsmen; accursed are neglecters of parents; and remover of neighbor’s landmark; and causing the blind to stray; and robs the justice to sojourner, orphans, and widows; and sleeps with his father’s wife, uncovering his father’s skirt; and sleeps with any animal in bestiality; and sleeps with his sister or step-sister in incest; and sleeps with his mother-in-law; and who smites his neighbor in secret or ambush; and who takes a bribe to kill an innocent person; and who confirms not this law to them; all the People shout Amen to each of these 12 Curses.
Moses continued to instruct Israel that if they hear and obey diligently the voice of the Lord God in Moses’ command, that He would exalt them above all the nations of the earth; with the abundance of His blessings for obedience. Israel will be blessed in the city and the field; blessed in offspring, in produce, in livestock, and flocks; blessed in the basket and kneading-trough; and blessed in coming and in going. The Lord will defeat the enemies; they shall come as one force but will scatter in retreat 7 ways. He will bless the barns, and labor or cultivation; and establish Israel as a His holy people in obedience walking in His ways. All peoples of the earth will see the Lord’s Name in Israel and be afraid; and He will prosper Israel, in children, in cattle, in crops, in Canaan as He swore to the Fathers. He will open the good treasure of heaven to rain in season to bless the toil; and Israel will lend to many nations but will not borrow. Israel will be the Head and not the Tail, be above and not below, in their obedience to Him as Moses commanded to observe; and not to depart from the Words of the Law to the right or to the left to go after other gods to serve them. But if Israel disobeys and refuses to listen to Him and His words and laws by Moses, that He will put His curses on Israel. They will be cursed in the city and field; in baskets and kneading-trough; in child-bearing, in crops, in cattle, and in the young of the flock; and accursed in coming or going. The Lord will plague Israel with curses, discomforts, rebuke, in everything; to be destroyed and perish quickly for evil-doings and apostasy. He will make pestilence cling till they are consumed in Canaan. He will smite with consumption, fever, inflammation, fiery heat or burning rash, with sword, blasting, and mildew; and Israel will be pursued and destroyed by their enemies. He will cause Israel to be defeated by their enemies, to go out as one but to flee in retreat in 7 ways; and to be tossed and exiled about among all the kingdoms of the earth among the Gentiles. Israel’s dead shall be food for birds of heaven, and for the wild animals, and none will scare them away. He will plague Israel with Egypt’s boils, with emerods or hemorrhoids, scurvy, and the itch, without treatment or healing. He will cause madness and insanity, blindness, and despair and depression of heart; to cause one to grope in daylight as the blind in darkness, and without prosperity, but only oppression and robbery without a helper. A man will marry a woman but another will sleep with his wife; he will build a house but another will live in it; he will plant a vineyard but will not enjoy its fruit; his ox will be slain in his sight but will not eat of the meat; his donkey will be violently taken and not restored; his sheep given to his enemies, and none to save or stop; and his children given to another people while he looks on in pain and longings and powerless to do anything. The harvest and produce and fruit of his labors will be taken by a foreign nation to eat; and he will be crushed and oppressed; driven insane at the sight of sufferings; the Lord will afflict a man’s knees and legs with severe and incurable boils, from sole of the foot to crown of the head. He will exile Israel and their elected King to a Gentile nation to serve foreign and strange gods of wood and stone; Israel will become astonishment, a proverb, and a byword to all the Gentiles that He surrendered them to captivity. Israel shall plant many seeds but harvest little, for the locust will consume it; will cultivate vineyards but have no wine or grapes, for the worms shall eat them. The abundance of olive-trees will not produce oil for their anointing, for the fruit will be cast or exported; Israel’s offspring will be exiled into captivity; his trees and crops will be possessed by locusts. The sojourner or pilgrim or stranger or alien in Israel will be elevated and superior, but Israel be lowered and inferior; so that he will lend to Israel but need not to borrow; he will be the head and they will become the tail. These curses will plague Israel to their destruction for disobedience to the Lord God’s voice and His commandments; and be as a sign and wonder to the generations to follow. And because they served not the Lord God with rejoicement and gladness for all His abundant blessings, they shall serve the enemies that the Lord will send against Israel, to be in hunger, thirst, nakedness, poverty, and yoke of captivity, till Israel is destroyed. The Lord will bring a distant nation from far away as the eagle flies whose tongue is not understood; a fierce nation, disregarding the old and the young; and he will eat the cattle, the crops, till Israel is ruined; and he will leave nothing left, no grain, new wine or oil, no increase of cattle or young of the flock, till Israel perish. They shall besiege Israel at all the gates, breaking down the trusted walls and towers of defense in His given land; till some will eat their own children’s flesh in the siege and distress of the invading enemies. The tender gentleman will not share of his children’s flesh that he eats with his brother or wife or other children, during the siege and distress in his starvation. So too the delicate and tender woman or lady will likewise eat her own child and refuse to share the body with anyone else in her family during the siege and distress of starvation. If Israel will not observe and practice all the Words of this Law written in this Book (eth-kol-Dibbrei hat-Torah hazzoth hakkethubhim bas-Sepher hazzeh), that is the Book of Deuteronomy, that they may fear this Glorious and Fearful or Awesome Name, Jehovah Elohim; then He will increase and multiply the plagues as wonderful and great, to the next generation and after, sore and clinging sicknesses. He will bring on Israel again all the diseases of Egypt that was feared and they shall infect and spread. Even many diseases and plagues not written in the Book of this Law (Deuteronomy), will the Lord bring to destroy; till He reduce Israel to be few instead as the vast host of stars in heaven; because of disobedience to His voice. Thus, He will no longer rejoice in Israel to do them good and multiply, but to destroy and cause to perish, to pluck them from Canaan. The Lord will scatter Israel among all the peoples both near and far, and abandoned them to serve other gods and idols, new and strange, wood and stone. Israel will not find ease or comfort or favor or rest among these Gentiles; but He wills them a trembling heart, failing eyes, and a pining soul; so that the life and soul is in doubt and uncertain, fearing night and day, and no assurance or security. In the morn they will long for the eve, at sunset they will pray for sunrise, for all the calamity and misery. And the Lord will bring Israel back to Egypt in ships against His promise they would never see Egypt again, but as selling themselves as slaves and no one will buy them.
We are now at the last division of Deuteronomy in which the last 5 chapters will conclude Moses V, and allow us to complete Chapter Two of these Reflections. Till now I have altered the text to always speak in the 2nd or 3rd person, avoiding deliberately the 1st in singular or plural; but in these final chapters I will relate the Text in the persons inspired in this Book, in hopes that the reader might see the uniqueness of this Second Book and Finger of the Divine Hands of the Bible.
These are the Words of the Covenant (Dibbrei hab-Berith) which the Lord commanded Moses to make with the children or sons of Israel in the Land of Moab, in addition to that Covenant which He made with them in Horeb or Sinai. Moses called all Israel and said: Ye have seen all that the Lord did in Egypt to Pharaoh and his servants and his country; the great trials, signs, and great wonders: but He has not given you a heart to know, eyes to see, or ears to hear to this day. And I have led you 40 years in the desert wilderness: your clothes and shoes aged not. Ye ate no bread, drunk no wine or strong-drink, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God. And when ye came to this place, King Sihon of Heshbon, and King Og of Bashan warred against us but we defeated them, and took their land and gave it to the 2 ½ tribes for an inheritance, Reuben, Gad, and half Mannasseh. Keep and do then the Words of the Covenant that ye may prosper in everything. Ye stand now before Him, your heads or chiefs, tribes, elders, officers, even all the men of Israel, with your little ones, wives, and thy sojourner in thy camps, from wood-chopper to water-carrier; to enter into His Covenant and His Oath He now makes with thee; to establish thee this day to Himself as a People, to be God to thee as He said, and as He swore to thy Fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Neither with you only do I make this Covenant and Oath, Moses continued, but with him who stands here with us before Him, as well as he who is not here today. Ye know how we dwelt in Egypt and passed through the nations along the way, and ye saw their abominations, idols of wood and stone, silver and gold, which they had; lest among you man or woman, family or tribe, whose heart turns away from the Lord our God, to serve the gods of the Gentiles, lest there be a root which bears gall and wormwood; and when he hears the words of this curse, he blesses himself, and says: I have peace though I walk in stubbornness of my heart, to destroy the moist with the dry. The Lord will not pardon him, but His anger and jealously will smoke against him, and all the curses written in this Book (Deuteronomy) will rest on him, and he will blot out his name. The Lord will set him apart for evil in Israel with all the curses of the Covenant written in this Book of the Law. And the future generations of your children, and the foreigner from a great distance, shall ask on seeing the plagues and sicknesses; and the entire country with brimstone, salt and sulfur, burning, no sowing, no produce, no grass growing, but like Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboim, which the Lord overthrew in anger and wrath; then all the Gentiles shall ask why He has done this? Why this great hot anger? Then men will say that it’s because they forsook the Covenant of the Lord, the God of their Fathers, which he made with them when He freed them from Egypt, after they served and worshipped other strange unknown gods: so His anger burnt against this Land to curse it as is written in this Book; and He uprooted them in anger, wrath, and great indignation, and cast them into another land, to this day. The secret things belong to the Lord our God; but revealed things are ours and our children, that we may obey all the Words of this Law.
And it shall be when all these transpire in the blessing and the curse, which I now set before thee, and thou recall them among the Gentiles where He has exiled the thee, and shalt return to Him, and obey His voice and this command, thou and thy children with all heart and soul; then He will turn thy captivity, and have compassion, and return and gather thee whence He scattered thee; thine outcasts from the uttermost lands He will gather and fetch thee: and He will return thee to the Land of thy Fathers to repossess it, and to do thee good and multiply thee more than thy fathers. He will circumcise thy heart and thy offspring’s heart to love Him with all thy heart and soul, that thou mayest live. He will put all these curses on thine enemies, haters, and persecutors. Thou shalt return and obey His voice and do His commandments as I command thee today. He will prosper thee in every way and everything, to rejoice over thee as with thy fathers; if thou shalt obey His voice, His commandments, His statutes written in this Law Book, turning to Him with all heart and soul. This commandment which I now command thee is not too hard or far off; it’s not in heaven to say, who shall ascend to heaven for us to bring it down, that we may hear and obey? Neither beyond the sea to say, who will cross the sea to bring it to us to hear and obey? Rather the Word is very near, in thy mouth and heart to do.
This day, Moses continues, I set before thee life and good, and death and evil; I command thee to love the Lord thy God, walk in His ways, keep His commandments, statutes, and ordinances, to live and grow, that He may bless thee in Canaan. But if thy heart turns away, refusing to listen, but be drawn away to idolatry, to worship and serve other gods; I denounce to you this day, ye shall surely perish quickly in Canaan. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before life and death, blessing and curse: so then choose life to live, thou and thy seed; to love Him, and obey Him, and cling to Him; for He is thy Life and Length of Days, to live in the Land promised by oath the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Moses went and related these words to all Israel. He said to them, I am now 120 years old, unable to go out and come in; and the Lord has told me, saying: Thou shalt not cross the Jordan. The Lord thy God will go before thee, and destroy these Gentiles, and thou shalt dispossess them: Joshua shall lead thee as the Lord has said. The Lord will destroy them as He did to the Amorites and their country; He will subdue them and ye shall do as I commanded you; be strong and brave, fear not or frightened of them; for He goes with thee, he will not fail or forsake thee. Moses then said to Joshua before Israel: Be strong and brave; lead this People into Canaan and conquer it. The Lord goes ahead of thee; He will be with thee, He will not fail or forsake thee; fear not and be not dismayed. Then Moses wrote this Law and delivered it to the Levitical Priests who carried the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord, and to all Israel’s Elders. Moses then commanded them that in every 7th year, the Year of Release, in the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths, when Israel appears before the Lord thy God at His Chosen Place, thou shalt read this Law before all Israel’s audience. Assemble the People, men, women, children, and strangers in the city-gates, to hear and learn and fear Him, and observe all the Words of this Law; and that their children also may know and obey and learn to fear Him always in Canaan.
And the Lord said to Moses: Thy days to die are near; thou and Joshua present yourselves at the Tent of Meeting that I may commission; and they did so. And He appeared in the Tent in a Pillar of Cloud, which stood over the Tent Door. And He said to Moses: thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and Israel will arise and play the harlot with strange pagan gods, to forsake Me, and break My Covenant. Then My anger will ignite against them, and they’ll be devoured, with many evils and troubles; then they’ll say: these evils are upon us because our God is not among us: For I will hide My Face in that day for their evil works and idolatrous apostasy. Now then write ye this Song for you and teach it to Israel: put it in their mouths, that it be My Witness against Israel. That after I have brought them into My Promised Land by Oath to their Fathers, flowing with milk and honey, and have eaten and are satisfied, and become fat; they will turn to serve idols and gods, to despise Me, and break My Covenant. Then after many evils and troubles visit them, that this Song will witness against them; for it must never be forgotten out of the mouths of their seed: for I know their imagination today before they enter Canaan. So, Moses on the same day wrote this Song, and taught it to Israel. Then he gave a charge to Joshua to be strong and brave, to lead Israel into Canaan. Afterwards Moses finished writing the Words of this Law in a Book, then he commanded the Levites transporting the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant, to take this Book of the Law, and place it beside the Ark of the Lord your God’s Covenant, to be a Witness against thee. For I know thy rebellion and stubbornness against the Lord while I still live; how much more after I die. Assemble to me all your Tribal Elders and Officers that I may speak these words in their ears and summon heaven and earth as witness against them. For I know after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, turning aside from the way I have commanded; and evil will befall in later times, for your evil doings in His sight, to provoke Him to anger by your works. Then Moses spoke in the audience of the Assembly of Israel the words of this Song, until they were finished.
The Song of Moses of the Lord and Israel:
Let the Heavens and Earth hear the Words my mouth speaks!
My Doctrine drops as rain; my Speech distills as dew;
as rain-drops on tender-grass; and as showers on the herb.
I will proclaim Jehovah’s Name: Ascribe greatness to our God!
The Rock, His Work is Perfect; all His Ways Justice:
Faithful God without iniquity; He is Just and Right!
They are corrupt to Him, not His children, a blemish, a perverse and crooked generation.
Do ye thus requite the Lord, foolish and unwise people?
Is He not thy Father Who bought thee? He made and established thee!
Remember the Ancient Days, consider years of many generations:
Ask thy father, he will show thee; thine elders, they will tell thee.
When Elyon gave the Gentiles their inheritance, He separated the Sons of Adam;
He set the borders of the peoples, according to the number of the Sons of Israel.
Jehovah’s Portion is His People; Jacob is the Lot of His Inheritance.
He found him in a desert land, a waste howling wilderness;
He encompassed him, He cared for him.
As the Eagle stirs her nest, flutters over her young;
He spread out His Wings, He took them, and He carried them on His Pinions.
The Lord alone led him, and no foreign god.
Made him ride on earth’s high-places;
he ate the increase of the field; and to suck honey from the flinty rock;
the herd’s butter, the flock’s milk, the lambs’ fat, and rams of Bashan’s breed, and goats;
the finest of wheat, and thou drank wine from the blood of grapes.
Jeshurun got fat and kicked: thou art fat and big and sleek;
then he forsook God his Maker and devalued the Rock of his Salvation.
They made Him Jealous with idols; provoked His Anger with abominations.
They sacrificed not to God but to demons,
to unknown gods, to new modern ones, never dreaded by your fathers.
Thou art unmindful of the Rock Who begat thee, forgotten God Who birth thee.
The Lord saw and abhorred, because of the provocation of His sons and daughters;
He said, I will hide My Face, I will see their end:
for they are a perverse generation, unfaithful children.
They made me Jealous with Lo-El; provoked me with Vanities;
I will make them jealous with Lo-Am; provoke them with a foolish Nation (Goi-Nabal).
Fire has kindled Mine Anger, it burns to the lowest Hell,
and it devours its increase and sets ablaze the Mountain’s Foundations.
I will heap evils on them, spend Mine arrows on them:
to be wasted in hunger, devoured in burning heat, bitter destruction;
I will send teeth of beasts on them, poison of reptiles of the dirt.
Outside the sword bereaves, inside the chambers terror;
young man and virgin, nursing-babe and grey-headed man.
I said I will disperse them afar, I will abolish their memory from men:
but I feared the provocation of the enemy, lest their adversaries misjudge,
to say, our hand is exalted, the Lord has not done all this.
They are a nation void of counsel, no understanding in them
Oh, that they were wise and understood this, to consider their latter end!
How should one chase 1,000, and two pursue 10,000;
unless their Rock sold them, and the Lord betrayed them?
For their rock is not as our Rock, our enemies themselves judge;
their vine is the vine of Sodom, and fields of Gomorrah;
their grapes are of gall, their clusters are bitter;
their wine is the poison of serpents, deadly venom of asps.
Is not this stored with Me, sealed among My treasures?
Vengeance is Mine, and Recompense when their foot slip:
the day of their calamity is near, the inevitable hastens.
Jehovah judges His People, repents Himself for His Servants:
He sees impotence, nothingness, isolation or abandonment.
He will ask where their gods are; the rock of their refuge;
which ate the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink-offering?
Let them arise now to help you and be your protection.
I and I alone am He, and no-god with Me:
I kill and resurrect; I wound and heal; nothing can deliver from My Hand.
I lift My Hand to Heaven and say: As I live forever!
If I sharpen my glittering Sword, My Hand seizes Judgment;
I will render Vengeance to Mine adversaries, Recompense to Mine haters.
I will make Mine Arrows drunk with blood of the slain
and captives, from the head of the leaders of the enemy.
Rejoice ye Gentiles with His People: He will avenge the blood of His Servants,
and vengeance to His opposers and expatiate for His Land and His People.
Then Moses rehearsed all the words of this Song in the ears of the people, he, and Hoshea ben-Nun. After Moses finished speaking all these words to all Israel; and he said to them, Set your heart to all the Words which I testify to you today, which ye must command your children to observe to practice in all the Words of this Law. It is not vanity for you, for it is your life, to prolong your days in Canaan. That same day the Lord spoke to Moses to ascend the Mountain of Abarim, into Mount Nebo in the Land of Moab across Jericho. Now behold the Land of Canaan which I give to the Sons of Israel for a possession; and die in the mount there, and be gathered to thy people, as thy brother died in Mount Hor, and was gathered to his ancestors; because ye both trespassed against Me in Israel at the waters of Meribah of Kadesh, in the Desert of Zin; because ye did not sanctify Me in the midst of Israel. For thou shalt see the Land before thee; but thou shalt not enter it with Israel.
Now this is the Blessing of Moses the Man of God who blessed Children of Israel before his death, saying: The Lord came from Sinai, He rose from Seir to them; he shined from Mount Paran, he appeared with 10,000 Holy Ones: at His Right Hand was a fiery Law for them. Yes, He loves the People; all His Saints are in Thy Hand: they sat at Thy Feet to receive of Thy Words. Moses commanded us Torah, an inheritance for the Assembly of Jacob. He was King in Jeshurun, when the Heads of the People gathered, all the Tribes of Israel together.
Reuben: Let him live and not die; let his men be not few.
Judah: Hear, Lord, Judah’s voice, bring him to his people; his hands contended for himself; Thou shalt be Help against his adversaries.
Levi: Thy Thummim and Urim are with Thy godly one, proven at Massah, strove with at the waters of Meribah; he said of father and mother, he saw not; neither acknowledged his brethren, knew not his own children: for they observed Thy Word, and keep Thy Covenant. They teach Jacob Thine Ordinances, Israel Thy Torah: they put incense before Thee, and whole burnt-offering on Thine Altar. Lord, bless his substance, accept his works; smite the loins of those resisting him, which hate him and that they never rise again.
Benjamin: The Lord’s Beloved dwells in safety by Him; he covers him all day long, He dwells between His Shoulders.
Joseph: The Lord’s Blessing on his land, with precious things of heaven, with dew, and with the dormant depth below; with precious fruits of the sun, precious growths of the moons, with the best of the ancient mountains, and everlasting hills; with precious things of earth and its fullness; the good-will of Him Who dwelt in the Bush. Let them all come on the head of Joseph, on the crown of the head of him who was separated from his brethren. The firstling of his herds his majesty; his horns are the horns of the wild-ox: with them he will push all the peoples: to the ends of the earth: the 10,000 of Ephraim, and the 1,000 of Manasseh.
Zebulun and Issachar: Zebulun, rejoice in thy going out, Issachar, in thy tents. They shall call the peoples to the mountain; there shall they offer sacrifices of righteousness: to suck the abundance of the seas, the hidden treasures of the sand.
Gad: Blessed is He Who enlarges Gad: he dwells as a lioness, he tears the arm, yes, the crown of the head; he provided the best part for himself, there was the Lawgiver’s portion reserved; he came with the chiefs of the People; he executed the Lord’s righteousness, His ordinances with Israel.
Dan: Dan is a lion’s whelp, he leaps forth from Bashan.
Naphtali: Naphtali satisfied with grace, full of the Lord’s blessing; possess thou the west and the south.
Asher: Asher is blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, let him dip his foot in oil. Thy bars are iron and brass; as thy days so thy strength.
Israel: Jeshurun, there is none like El, He rides upon the Heavens for thy Help, in His Excellency on the Skies. The Eternal Elohe is thy Dwelling-Place, and underneath are the Everlasting Arms; He exiles the enemy before thee, and says, Destroy! Israel dwells in peace, the fountain of Jacob alone, in a land of grain and new wine; yes, His Heavens drop dew. Israel, thou art blessed; who is like thee, a People saved by the Lord, the Shield of the Help, the Sword of the Excellency! Thine enemies shall submit themselves to thee; thou shalt tred on their high-places.
Moses then went up from the Plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, opposite Jericho; and the Lord showed him all the Land of Gilead to Dan, and all Naphtali, and the Land of Ephraim and Manasseh, and all the Land of Judah, to the furthest Sea, and the South, and the Plain of the Valley of Jericho the city of palm-trees, to Zoar. The Lord said to him, this is the Land I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, that I will give it to thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine own eyes, but thou shalt not enter. So, Moses the Lord’s Servant died in the Land of Moab according to the Word of the Lord. He buried him in the Valley of the Land of Moab opposite Beth-Peor: but no one to this day (time of Samuel) knows his sepulcher. Moses was 120 years old at death, his eye not dim, natural force unabated. Israel wept and mourned for him in the Plains of Moab for 30 days. Afterwards Joshua was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid hands on him, thus Israel listened to him as the Lord had commanded Moses. No Prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, in all the signs and wonders, which the Lord sent him to perform in the Land of Egypt, to Pharaoh, to his servants, and to all his land; and in all the mighty hand, and all the great terror, which Moses worked in the sight of all Israel.
Deuteronomy and Moses’ Pentateuch:
Moses V reveals to us the Second Law and the Second Finger-Division of the Old Testament, showing us that the 5th and last Book of the Pentateuch is the second Divine member of the Bible as God’s Hand. The 1st book initiates all the history and purposes of God as a Genesis of His Witness of Himself to all mankind, first and foremost to His declared people, and then to all world of the Gentiles as His rightful possession, but now in separation by disobedience and sin. This 5th Book of Moses is the Sepher Debbarim, the Book of the Words of Moses the Man of God; it is the Debbrith (the words) of the Divine B’rith (Covenant) with Israel in connection, that is in anatomical and organic relationship to his genesis with the Patriarchs and the Sons of Noah as the Gentile world, and His original covenant and vital relations to Noah then earlier with Adam. And though Israel is the primary subject of His then present reflections with man as His world and His works; yet He is ever interested in and connected to the nations as One Who desires to save and restore man to Himself. The way of reconciling the world to Himself was not yet perfected nor revealed, but its features were slowly unfolding in Divine lessons and illustrations, in signs and symbols, in types and allegories, in words and pictures, and in other details and examples not then understood, and often still hidden to many Bible believers among Jews and Christians; not to mention the others who meddle and peddle the Sacred Scriptures. Deuteronomy testifies of Moses as the Lord’s servant and voice, His instrument of revelation, His tool of salvation, and His representation of authority and ownership.
Some of the peculiarities of this Book have already been mentioned, such as its name, its emphasis as Moses Words and Doctrine, Moses’ Mishnah, in His review and rehearsal of the contents of the four former Books, and specifically of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. Throughout the Pentateuch, in each Book, Moses’s name occurs hundreds of times, almost 800 times, and joined with Aaron about 100 times; yet in Deuteronomy his name is never joined to Aaron, or Eleazar as in Numbers, or Joshua, but only the pronouns used of or to him in relations to Aaron or to others. He is here called as the faithful Servant of God, the Man of God. It is in this Book that Moses’s Law or the Mosaic Law is established for Israel for all times. It is generally believed that references to This Book are that of the Pentateuch or the Torah, but it is very clear it is only to Deuteronomy as the Second Law. The Decalogue of Exodus, along with the additional laws and commandments, ordinances and statutes, and all such like, are essentially reiterated and repeated in this Book of Moses Words and Doctrine and Mishnah. As said earlier, it was God’s intent to transform Moses from a Prophet to His Voice and Man, and in so doing Moses words became God’s words because the Lord’s words became Moses’ words. It was Deuteronomy, along with the Articles inside the Ark of the Covenant, that was to be kept in the Most Holy Place as a witness to the New Covenant with Israel, a Second Covenant established after the First Covenant and its Tablets or Written Contract was broken, and thus become null and void. It was Deuteronomy that was to be ever known and spoken in Israel; to be written on Ebal and Gerizim in its Curses and Blessings; and it was Deuteronomy as the Debbarim that was to ever to be read and considered by Joshua and the Elders and Judges of Israel; and it was the Book that the Kings of Israel had to have their own hand-copy in commencing their reign; and finally it was this Book that King Josiah was given by the Priest Hilkiah when it was discovered and recovered from the ruins of the House of the Lord, the Temple of Solomon, and in which Israel’s had neglected many things written in it. It is this Book, the Scroll, in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, after the Exile and the Return, that it was discovered that the Feast of Booths was not kept in the prescribed manner from the times of Joshua and the conquest of Canaan. It was also Deuteronomy that the Holy Spirit used in the mind and hearts of the Sweet Psalmist of Israel, and in his son, the Wisest of Israel. Both the Psalms and Proverbs developed by inspiration what was in the Pentateuch or Torah, but more fully in this Book.
We left Israel in Egypt as a tribe of Hebrews, but in Exodus we have a great populace nation enslaved to the Imperial Egypt; and God delivers them by Moses in display of mighty miraculous works, in signs and wonders, showing His vested interest in His People. He brought them through the Red Sea on dry ground and preserved them in the Desert Wasteland and dry and barren wilderness to strip them of all that was Egyptian, and to transform them from Hebrews to His Son Israel. He made with them a Covenant of the Decalogue and demanded of them to build His Sanctuary that He might tabernacle with them and make His Home on earth with man. He trained them by trials and discipline in what they ate and drank, by their shoes and clothes, in their lusts and desires, and in all things touching their heart and soul, their spirit and life. He ordained a Priesthood upon which He established His Law, His Word and Doctrine, by which all men might know Him to be the Lord, the only true God. He had Promised a Land to the Patriarchs, and He brought them in due time to invade and conquer it, to possess and settle it according the words of Moses Law. But they refused and rebelled, so He delayed their entry into Canaan for 40 years wandering in the deserts of Arabia; during these 38 added years the older generation were made to die off, never to enter the good land; and to raise a new generation that knew not Egypt. The internal or interior nature of man was thus fully exposed and dealt with in many ways. It was now in the last days of Moses that Israel was ready to enter Canaan by warfare and obedience. God had formed as He had transformed Moses by His word and Spirit, and now that same Spirit and Word would also transform a people into a divine nation as witnesses and signs to the world. In Deuteronomy we have both the history and the future of Israel. We see their blessings and their curses, but all contingent on His Word of the Covenant. We have not labored to bring out the thousands of types and reasons of the Divine Word in the Books of Moses, it was thought enough to digest and condense the details so that as the revelation unfolds it might be readily noticed and appreciated. But we must now enter and record some of these matters before we begin our journey to the Psalms.
Deuteronomy is the Book of the Law or in Hebrew with the Jews it is Sepher Debarim of the Torah. The Torah or the Law was originally the Word of God, it was what God spoke by His Mouth and expressed His Mind and Heart, His Thoughts and Desires; it was all that is of Him and from Him and to Him in whatever context or relation; whether determination or reflection. Torah became the Doctrine and the Teaching or Instruction, consisting of words and laws, items and details, cases and examples, and many such things. The Divine Doctrine consisted in two parts, both given at Mount Sinai or Horeb in the Wilderness of Sin and the Desert of Zin on the other side of the Red Sea and Yam Suph. God spoke to Moses and all Israel the Decalogue and He wrote it with the Finger of God; after the 10 Commandments He spoke to Moses for all Israel many other words consisting of diverse laws and commands, rules and regulations, and many like things; these became the Oral Law. The Hebrews, Israel, then at last the Jews, believe that the Torah consists of these Two Laws, the Written Law and the Oral Tradition. But in fact, the Divine Word ever preceded and over-shadowed this dual expression of the Torah Covenant. The 10 Words governed all the laws of the Torah and was superior to and greater than all human laws and traditions. But it was also transcendent and majestic in simplicity and application in all the Mosaic conditions of Israel’s experiences and history. But it was not the Original and the Better which existed in God from all eternity as His Nature and Personality. The Eternal Word revealed God as in Genesis, and He created, made, formed, and trained Adam in those words which was of His image and likeness and countless other things. That Word was the Truth of God in Witness and Testimony, in Covenant and Tradition, and all the human experience and world history has become and done. The Word was first spiritual and Heavenly, then it became natural and Earthly, that is, by the Word becoming Incarnate in the world; and in time Messiah would fulfill this Doctrine and Truth in its highest and most-transcendent form. The Torah was protected or guarded and then fenced or edged in to preserve the purity of the Sacred Text, and so the Mishnah of Moses as found in Deuteronomy, the Second Law, for the First Law was now dead and buried by sin and unbelief, was interpreted by the Mishnah of the Elders and later the Rabbis. In time the Mishnah grew into the Talmud with many explanations and examples to preserve the Mishnaic interpretations and all its hermeneutical principles and references of the Torah of Moses and of God. We Gentiles, some half or part Jewish blood, and many more of Israel’s spirit, need instruction in this Hebrew Tradition that has developed outside of the Christian Church, and often opposed to Christ, to understand the enmity and alienation that historically exists.
In Deuteronomy Moses establishes Judaism, Biblical Judaism or Mosaism, and governs and determines its development thereafter. The renewal of the Patriarchal Covenant is also appended and modified as to Israel’s condition and behavior. Moses reminds them that this covenant that the Lord God makes with them is not merely that covenant He made with their fathers nor even with those of the Exodus, but with them, the new generation after 40 years in the Wilderness, with them who are about to invade and possess Canaan. Moses emphatically repeats this dispensational distinction, as seen in Deut. 5:3: “The LORD (YHWH) made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day.” This said after the 40 years of wanderings in the desert. And though the covenant was that of the patriarchal promises, to fulfillment added changes essential to the new relations and conditions of both Israel as well as the Gentiles. In the Desert they could do what was right in their own eyes, and getting themselves into trouble, but in the promised land, Canaan, that will come to an end, and strict discipline and punishment carried out for every disobedience to the Law. They are to be a model people or righteousness, holiness, of judgment and mercy, and of grace and truth in the world among all the nations. The wicked vile and horrible practices of the nations in Canaan and everywhere, must be exposed and opposed by their lives and testimony. God’s choice of them was not of their superior qualities, not their numeric advantage, but of God’s favor and promises to the fathers. The nations of Canaan were not rejected and then ejected because Israel was so noble and attractive, but only because the wickedness and depravity of those nations in the eyes of God, for Moses reminds them that every detestable, abominable, horrible, and perverse practices was done for and with and to their gods and idols, practices as infanticide to Moloch. This Book was to be regarded in a special sacred way, that its laws commandments, precepts, and statutes, and all the words written in it, was to guide and teach them the divine way. The Book was to be preserved in such a way it was ever a witness of God’s presence and relations to His people. Though Genesis gave the history and generations of the Land and the People, it was Deuteronomy that shows the Book by which the Land and the People will be transformed. Therefore, this Book must not be added to nor its words deleted in part or whole throughout Israel’s dispensation.
Hertz’ Pentateuch (Chumash) and Haftorahs inform us of these details from the Massoretic Notes in various Hebrew Manuscripts: Genesis has 1,534 verses; 12 Sedrahs (parshiyoth) or Sections; 43 Sub-sections, Sedarim, in the Triennial Cycle; (in 50 Chapters). Exodus has 1.209 verses; 11 Sedrahs; 29 Sedarim; (Eng. 40 Chapters.). Leviticus has 859 verses; 10 Sedrahs; 23 Sedarim; (Eng. 27 Chapters). Numbers has 1,288 verses; 10 Sedrahs; 32 Sedarim; (Eng. 36 Chapters). Deuteronomy has 955 verses; 11 Sedrahs; [27 Sedarim]; (Eng. 34 Chapters). The total number of verses in the Torah is 5,845. The Five Books of Moses printed text only is about 350 pages at 400 words per page in 11or12 point font and represents 1/4th of the Old Testament.
Rambam’s Complete Restatement of the Oral Law (Mishneh Torah) [Deuteronomy]:
The Law as it should actually be practiced by all in our day by the Master Teacher Moshe son of Maimon (also known as RaMBaM (Rabbi Moses ben-Maimon) or Maimonides) (Translated from the Hebrew text reconstructed according to the Yemenite manuscripts by the staff of Mechon Mamre.) ©2011 Mechon Mamre, 12 Hayyim Vital St, Jerusalem, Israel. (email@example.com).
The Rambam’s Introduction to the Mishneh Torah: Preface: “In the name of God (Elohim, Allah), Lord of the world” (Genesis 21:33) “Then I will not be ashamed when I gaze at all Thy mitzvoth (commandments)” (Psalms 119:6).
1. All the commandments that were given to Moshe (Moses) at Sinai were given together with their interpretation, as it is written “and I will give thee the Tables of Stone, and the Law, and the Commandment” (Exodus 24:12). “Law” is the Written Law; and “Commandment” is its interpretation: We were commanded to fulfill the Law, according to the Commandment. And this Commandment is what is called the Oral Law.
2. The whole of the Law was written down by Moshe (Moses) Our Teacher before he died, in his own hand. He gave a scroll (book) of the Law to each tribe; and he put another scroll by the Ark for a witness, as it is written “take this book of the Law and put it by the side of the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee” (Deuteronomy 31:26).
3. But the Commandment, which is the interpretation of the Law, he did not write it down, but gave orders concerning it to the elders, to Yehoshua (Joshua), and to all the rest of Israel, as it is written “all this word which I command you, that shall ye observe to do . . .” (Deuteronomy 13:1). For this reason, it is called the Oral Law.
4. Although the Oral Law was not written down, Moshe Our Teacher taught all of it in his court to the seventy elders; and El`azar, Pinehas, and Yehoshua, all three received it from Moshe. And to his student Yehoshua (Joshua), Moshe Our Teacher passed on the Oral Law and ordered him concerning it. And so Yehoshua throughout his life taught it orally.
5. Many elders received it from Yehoshua, and Eli received it from the elders and from Pinehas; Shemuel (Samuel) received it from Eli and his court, and David received it from Shemuel and his court. Ahiyah the Shilonite was among those who had come out of Egypt, and was a Levite, and had heard it from Moshe, but was young in Moshe’s time; and he received it from David and his court…. [to Priests and Prophets to Ezra the Scribe and the Men of the Great Assembly to Hillel and Shammai to the great Rabbis like Gamliel the Elder to the Written Mishnah to the Talmuds, some 40 generations.
45. The number of Torah commandments that are obligatory for all generations is 613: 248 of them are positive commandments, whose mnemonic is the number of parts in the human body; 365 of them are negative commandments, whose mnemonic is the number of days in the solar year.”
Further reflections on Deuteronomy and the Books of Moses. We have given the Traditions that relates to the Torah and Pentateuch. The laws as enumerated and transmitted by Doctor and Rabbi Moses ben-Maimon as 613 consisting of positive and negative commandments in the Books of Moses, but deduced from the Mishnah, which at times altered the original commandment by extension in its application (as in the positive commandment 247, or the negative commandment 360) excluding Genesis, and primarily in Deuteronomy, are in reality many more. Certain laws may be added to the List, such as Deuteronomy 17:18-20 : “And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book, out of [that which is] before the Levitical priests the and it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life; that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them; that his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children, in the midst of Israel.” Which would produce these Laws: 1. The King must write for himself a copy of this law in a book from the Levitical Priests’ copy. 2. He shall retain his copy of the Book of the Law. 3. He must read it daily always. 4. He must by all the words of the laws and statutes learn to fear the Lord his God. 5. He must keep and obey them that his heart be not lifted against his brethren; that he swerves not from the commandment; that his and his children’s days be prolonged in his kingdom in Israel. But only the first was put in the list (see commandment 18) and reasoned that the King must have two copies of the Law Book. And there are many other instances if each one was itemized as written, the Mishneh Torah may rise to about 1,000 laws or codes. And of course, as time went along the Judges, Kings, Priests, and Prophets all added other words that Israel was to believe and obey. For this reason, we said that the basis of the Law was the Word, that the laws were the words of God’s will and way. The legal instructions and doctrines were all designed to lead to life, a life with God; but it could not give that life to those who desired it in the weakness of their sinful condition, and the frailty of their flesh. Man’s fragile soul and mind and will could not motivate perfect and constant obedience, so the sacrificial system was provided to bandage the hurts and sores till something better might be offered. This will be seen in the Psalms as that cry and expression of something more, and higher, and far better for both sinner and Savior.
The Law in Moses’ Books was an element or condition of God’s Covenant and Testament or Witness with Israel, which contained many parts and members, and which continued to multiply as the nation grew. The ancient laws of every people, tongue, and nation had laws in the thousands, and then as the kingdom and empire expanded the number of laws also increased into ten-thousands, and then by modern times into hundred-thousands, and now some nearing a million. But all laws in Scripture and the world may be reduced to a few basic laws or principles; such was the Decalogue or the 10 Words, the Ten Commandments, by which all the laws of the Old Covenant were developed. And all laws in the Old Testament in the Law and the Prophet and the Psalms or other Writings were further reduced to Two Commandments (Duologue or Dialog versus Monologue), Love for God and Neighbor, for Him and Others. Now the Mishnah and the Mishneh give us the list of the Oral Law or the Divine Tradition in such a way we may agree with the old saying that from Moses the Lawgiver to Moses the Codifier there has been none like Moses in the transmission of the Law to Israel. But Jewish Tradition is filled with restrictions to the truth, in that its rabbinical interpretations have become additional laws and commandments even to the nullifying or voiding the Torah of God. We brought forth Spinoza earlier as a witness and example of the criticism of the truth of Sacred Scripture in which all inspiration is reduced to human extension and adaptation of ordinary experience and passion. And we may feel for Spinoza’s struggle in his Jewish identity in a Christian dominated world, in which he had to come to terms with Catholicism and Neo-Catholicism, that is Protestantism, and with its Scholastic Rationalism; so here in Rambam we feel his pain as a Jew trying to maintain orthodox faith in a Islamic world, and it’s Neo-Islamism, or Sufism, and its Scientific Rationalism; both great Jewish leaders, both rejected by Rabbinical Orthodoxy while young and living, but after death were owned and honored. Maimonides doctrine of the Oral Law and the Written Law, Mishnah Torah, has dominated most of modern Judaism to retain a semblance of ancient orthodoxy and defense against Christianity and Islam. He truly is an Aquinas of Judaism.
Modern Orthodox Judaism, both Kosher and Rabbinical, accuses the Christian Church and its scholars as mishandling and misinterpreting the Old Testament Bible, in the its most fundamental essentials and value, that is as it pertains to Jesus as the Messiah. No reflections of the Old Covenant, the Old Testament or Tanakh, especially of the Torah and Psalms and Isaiah and Daniel must fail to consider Jewish beliefs and practice as it relates to Messiah and Christian experiences. The Synagogue is the modern witness of the Divine Worship of which we read in the Hebrew Scriptures in the Mosaic Law and those Prophets who poke of the Mosaic system or institution as it applied to Israel’s condition from time to time. The Synagogue Pentateuch or Chumash, with the Haftorahs or Readings from the Prophets, along with its notes and comments transmits to Jew and Gentile Talmudic Orthodoxy. I use several, but favor Hertz’ Edition, but value the Stones Edition of ArtScroll Mesorah Publications as much. Like the Jews, Christians, that is Torah Jews and Bible Christians agree on the Divine Inspiration of Sacred Scripture, and in fact many things related the written Text of the Bible is held in common. It is those intrinsic and core doctrines as it relates to Messiah or Christ that ever divides us and must of nature do so if one or the other stands true. In America, though anti-Semitism still exist in a lesser degree than decades or centuries ago, it is commonly acknowledged that the Jews, the Hebrew People of Israel, have suffered wrongly and horrifically at the hands of Christians, in church and state, far too frequently. This religious persecution by professed Christians has not honored the name of Christ, among the Jews and in the world, and even in the Church. Nor do I excuse the Jewish blame in persecution or slander or other anti-Christian words and acts throughout the centuries. We all may give thanks to God that America and Britain are close and true friends to the modern state of Israel. But now for the divisive doctrines in Moses against Christ and Christianity found in the Chumash Torah.
Hertz’ Pentateuch or Chumash:
1: Fall of Man or Adam: The Christian Dogmatic Doctrine of Original Sin in Adam’s Sin or Fall, and man born consequently in a sinful state and sin nature, is strange and dangerous, and at times an unbelievable vilification of Woman, is rejected by Judaism as somber error. Rather man was and is mortal, ever retains the Divine image and likeness, always capable to improve his life in obedience to God’s Law which is the cure of and from an evil condition. Original Virtue is Jewish doctrine, and the Golden Age of Humanity is in the future as in Isaiah 2 and 6. (Hertz does not notice the doctrinal defect when he writes a few pages later, in his Note on Abraham: “Mankind descending from Adam became hopelessly corrupt…..and moral darkness overspreads the earth.” And does not consider whence and why the creature with the divine image becomes “hopelessly corrupt” in “moral darkness”. The fictional story of Abram’s childhood in Ur in rejecting idols is a vain attempt to dodge man’s sinful nature of which Abram partook.)
2: The Binding of Isaac (Akedah): Hertz cannot see any typical or prophetical reflections in the Divine Requirement of the Sacrifice of Isaac on Mount Moriah or the Temple Mount chapter 22 of Genesis, nor at the mature years of Isaac (not a child), nor anything of Messiah. He only sees a new meaning and influence (as others have done by running away from Christ they run into something as a cheap substitute, like for example, Kierkegaard’s religious existentialism, whose basis of conversion was encased in his childhood horror of the Sacrifice.) Hertz new symbolism and divine principle is that of martyrdom, in which Jews have often sacrificed their lives for the Law of God. As the Apocryphal Maccabean story of Hanna and her 7 sons, which Hertz cites the Midrash, as bettering Father Abraham, because she gave to and for God her 7 Sons in Death. God provided the Ram Sacrifice Himself as a Substitute for the Firstborn; but many are veiled.
3: Alleged Christological References in Scripture: The rendering of the Hebrew in Gen. 49:10 as “until Shiloh come”, is an example of the weak hermeneutics of Christians wanting to find Messianic verses to evangelize ignorant Jews. Hertz cites several other renderings to remove any Messianic typification and significance to a future Messiah, and notes that Shiloh is never elsewhere used of Messiah. (But here again the veil needs to be lifted in the Reading of the Law: the entire passage is verses 9-12: Judah as a Young Lion, leaves His Prey, He lowers and couched as a Lion and Lioness; who shall raise Him up (resurrect Him)? The Sceptre will not depart from Judah (yet this is before Judah had a throne or king or kingdom), the Ruler’s Staff or Rod from between His Feet (yet no ruler’s staff or rod had yet been established in Israel concerning Judah); till men come to Shiloh or Shiloh comes to men, and to Him (Shiloh) shall be the Obedience of the Peoples (Israel and the Gentiles). What then? After He comes He will Bind His Foal to the Vine; He washes His Garments in Wine, His Vesture in Blood of Grapes; His Eyes Red with Wine, His Teeth White with Milk. (What kind of Shiloh could Jacob-Israel possibly be describing in Spirit?) Is not Hertz betraying Jewish prejudice and ignorance? He admits that the older rabbinical teachings saw clearly the Messianic message in this prophecy, but now it is being abandoned. Why? Hertz further cites other so-called Messianic verses that Christian Scholars of repute are gradually reputing; examples: Psalm 2:1, Kiss the Son; Isaiah 7:4, a Virgin shall conceive; and Isaiah 53rd, the most famous.
4: The Decalogue or Ten Commandments: Hertz: “No religious document has exercised a greater influence on the moral and social life of man than the Divine Proclamation of Human Duty, known as the Decalogue. These few brief commands –only 120 Hebrew words in all– cover the whole sphere of conduct, not only of outer actions, but also of the secret thoughts of the heart. In simple, unforgettable form, this unique code of codes lays down the fundamental rules of Worship and of Right for all time and for all men.” The Talmud Teachers by every means, including Rabbinic legend, emphasized the eternal and universal significance of the Commandments; teaching that before the Creation the Tables for the Commandments were prepared out of the sapphire of the Throne of Glory; that it was for all the world, and every people and nation was intended; thus the Divine Voice at Sinai divided itself into 70 tongues to represent all the nations in the entire world. The Rabbis held the 6th of Sivan, when the Law was given, to be as sacred as the Day of creation, because it was the Moral Law, of Conscience and Right in the Universe that completed the Creation, and without it creation would be meaningless. All schools of Judaism hold the Decalogue to be the Fundamentals of the Faith, and the Pillars of the Torah and its Roots. In fact, the whole content of Judaism as Creed and Life can be arranged under the ten general headings of the Commandments. Outside the Synagogue among many of the greatest Christian leaders the Decalogue was taught to be the noblest of laws and ethics. Judaism stands or falls with its belief in the historic actuality of the Revelation at Sinai.
5: Jewish Interpretations of Sacrifice: Hertz: Rabbinical Judaism accepted the law of sacrifices without presuming to find a satisfactory explanation of its details. No need to ask why God demanded it, but only to consent to His will. But some Rabbis retorted to symbolism, not as extreme as Philo, and this Rabbinical view of the spiritual symbolic significance has dominated modern Judaism; showing man’s gratitude to God, dependence on Him, absolute devotion, and confidence in Him. But a few Rabbis taught a so-called juridical ((or judicial and forensic justice and substitutionary penalty and payment for reconciliation and atonement, propitiation or expiation or satisfaction.)). Hertz: “As a sinner, the offender’s life is forfeit to God; but by a gracious provision he is permitted to substitute a faultless victim, to which his guilt is, as it were, transferred [and covered temporarily] by the imposition of hands [in identification of the guilty or the offering]. Many Christian exegetes adopted this interpretation and built the whole theological foundation of their Church upon it. “Hertz then refers to the rationalist view of sacrifice held by Maimonides and Abarbanel, that it was a divine accommodation to primitive conceptions to wean mankind from religious rites and idolatry.
6: The Golden Rule is treated at length to establish that Moses and not Jesus was the true author of the Golden Rule or the Positive Commandment of Love thy Neighbor as thyself. But we need not be troubled about Moses defenders on this difference.
7: Vows: Hertz treats the great value of vows and oaths in Judaism, and with that the Kol Nidre or the Annulment of Vows. But we need not meddle with this doctrine and practice also.
8. The Shema: “Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is One”: “These words enshrine Judaism’s greatest contribution to the religious thought of mankind. They constitute the primal confession of Faith in the religion of the Synagogue….” Which negates Polytheism; Dualism; Pantheism, and the Belief in the Trinity; and promotes Brotherhood of Man; Unity of the Universe and History; and the Messianic Kingdom. “As to the words, “And the LORD shall be One, and His Name One,” they are combined with the Shema Yisroel in the Musaph Prayer [additional sacrificial prayer] of the New Year –one of the most solemn portions of the Jewish Liturgy. They also form the last sentence of the Oleynoo prayer [as in the Kaddish or Mourner’s Prayer], and thus end every statutory Jewish service –morning afternoon, and evening. There could be no more fitting conclusion for the Jew’s daily devotion than this universalist hope for God’s Kingdom.”
9: Deuteronomy: This is the longest annotated Book in the Chumash of Moses in Hertz Edition. After a lengthy treatment of the Shema’s Meaning and History, under the sub-heading Defense of the Unity: “The Rabbis not only trained Israel to the understanding of the vital significance of the Divine Unity; they also defended the Jewish God-idea whenever its purity was threatened by enemies from without or within. They permitted no toying with polytheism, be its disguises ever so ethereal; they brooked no departure, even by a hair’s breadth, from the most rigorous monotheism; and rejected absolutely everything that might weaken or obscure it. The fight against idolatry and paganism begun by the Prophets was continued by the Pharisees. Abraham, the father of the Hebrew people, they taught, started on his career as an idol-wrecker. In legends, parables, and discourses, they showed forth the folly and futility of idol-worship, and pointed to the infamy and moral degradation evidenced by the Roman deification of the reigning Emperor…… The Rabbis defended the Unity of God against the Jewish Gnostics, those ancient heretics who blasphemed the God of Israel, ridiculed the Scriptures, and asserted a duality of Divine Powers. And they defended it against the Jewish Christians, who darkened the sky of Israel’s monotheism by teaching a novel doctrine of God’s ‘sonship’; by identifying a man, born of woman, with God; and by advocating the doctrine of a Trinity: Said a Palestinian Rabbi of the fourth century: ‘Strange are those men who believe that God has a son and suffered him to die. The God who could not bear to see Abraham about to sacrifice his son but exclaimed “Lay not thine hand upon the lad,” would He have looked on calmly while His son was being slain, and not have reduced the whole world to chaos!’” Hertz continues that the Rabbis defended orthodox monotheism against the powerful Christian Church through the Middle Ages, and in the Present Day continues against lenient and liberal Christian theologians and writers…. Conclusion: ‘It was undeniably a stroke of true religious genius—a veritable prompting by the Holy Spirit, –to select, as Prof. Steinthal reminds us, out of the 5,845 verses of the Pentateuch this one verse (Deut. VI: 4) as the inscription for Israel’s banner of victory. Throughout the entire realm of literature, secular or sacred, there is probably no utterance to be found that can be compared in its intrinsic intellectual and spiritual force, or in the influence it exerted upon the whole thinking and feeling of civilized mankind, with the six words which have become the battle-cry of the Jewish people for more than twenty-five centuries’ (Kohler).”
10: Hertz continues his Additional Notes and Comments on Deuteronomy in remarks on the Reward and Punishment in Judaism; Jewish Education; Monarchy and Freedom in Israel, and the King; on Marriage, Divorce, and the Position of Woman, in Judaism; the Hallowing of History (“Israel is the author of the idea of History.”). Hertz concludes with his last Addendum on Deuteronomy: its Antiquity and Mosaic Authorship: I. Deuteronomy and the Religious Revival under King Josiah (621 B.C.E.) (in which he advocates and proves that it was the Book of Deuteronomy, as the Book of the Law, that was Recovered in the Temple, the House of the LORD, during the early reign of King Josiah by the Hilkiah the Priest; and elaborates on the Book’s effect and influence of the Revival of Israel and in turn the Preservation of Judaism; with the strongest criticism of the modern schools of higher criticism of the Bible). II. The Authorship of the Second Part of Isaiah, Chapters 40-66. He shows that the universal belief and tradition was the Book of Isaiah was composed by one author, one Isaiah; that the notion of two authors or two Isaiahs is precarious and incredulous criticism, both weak and strained, and filled with countless variances among its advocates; and Hertz also claims that it was Ibn Ezra who was the first to maintain the second half of Isaiah appears to be composed by another contemporary of Isaiah by its internal witness: as in no prediction concerning the appearance of Cyrus or Israel’s captivity is made, but assumed to be well known history; that the name Isaiah never occurs in the second half, nor any personal reference connecting to the author; that the Synagogue the ancient order of the Great Prophets were: Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Isaiah; and other less significant reasons that cause some to speak of this part as the Deutero-Isaiah, the Second Isaiah of Babylon.
Additional Reflections on the Pentateuch:
The purposes of God in Genesis chapters 1 and 2 are eternal and unfailing in His bringing about a Land and a People and a Book to satisfy His Heart and Mind, of which He has spoken by His Spirit and clearly made known by His Word in the revelation of the written words from His Mouth. The history of the world is the unfolding of the eternal purpose concealed in types and figures, for His infinite counsels and His foreknowledge of all His intent lay within His Own Soul, waiting in timely manner and proper ways to bring them about, and disclose to us with wisdom and understanding beyond our natural attainments. His image and likeness in us will display His power and majesty despite all that His creation might fail or be deficient by its nature. Man, as lord over all the earth, over its lands, its waters, and its skies; subduing all creatures to his dominion and power; as he ever increases in number and knowledge, beyond any comparison to the animals around him. That has continued uninterrupted from Adam to Moses; although the condition of man did change, and his constitution so altered to deform the divine image in ways and means that reduced him to mere flesh, as a beast, and at times worse than all animals and creatures of this world. Adam in disobedience brought into humanity as a genetic defect and terminal diseases, and a malignant destructive virus; permeating all his inner man in the slavery to his external man of blood, flesh, skin, bones, and his outwards form. All the spiritual qualities of Adam and his decedents shows the conflict of the good and the evil, of the outward and the inward, of love and hate, and a million such descriptions of human personality. In regard to God as the Creator, as the Maker, He Who speaks and acts, and as Lord Who forms and enlivens man, then nurses and trains him in all things of life and blessedness; man, also would in his own world exhibit this dualism often in opposition, and sometimes in harmony according to Divine decree. As God to creation, and the heavens to the earth, and water to land, and life to man; so is man for the Lord’s will and intent. The divine principles of creation, the laws of nature and physics, are all subject to His Word and Power, and it is the operation of His Spirit that works to fulfill all His desire. The way of life and of death is set before man in the garden, man’s home and land in his infancy with the Lord God. From Adam comes both peoples, one follows Adam in disobedience and sin; the other submits to God’s will and way and offers back to God the right and acceptable sacrifice. The serpent as the enemy of God and man, lures and captures man, and in time begins to devour him and to possess his soul and body by the death of man’s spirit and life. In Adam, after the Sin and the Fall, man has become like the serpent and his offspring becomes a brood of vipers. But in Adam man is still God’s creation, with God’s breath of life, and a semblance of innocence and glory; but only in the seed of the woman which in birth shows God’s work and wonder, as a sign and a witness of the divine. This begins a new level of the divine landscape, with its highs and lows; and in between are plains of all kinds; and by which new features appear in the new players or participants. In mankind is seen both the Seed of Woman and the Seed of the Serpent, with the conflict of the head of the one and the heel of the other. The divine blood-line springs in the Woman’s Seed as her children walk with God and in time the Child as the Seed of the Woman triumphs over the Serpent. He will show grace and favor, comfort and rest, to His own in the midst of judgment and destruction of the world; a world that was His, and He loves, and for which He plans salvation.
The ways of God are inscrutable, super-transcendent, surpassing all human thoughts and minds; they are divinely hidden everywhere in all reality and existence, in the universe and all life, and in man. Yet He writes them in clear signs and characters in order that we might come to know and love Him, to fear and serve Him, and for Him to be our God, and us to be His People. In Noah and his Sons God would see and select of them a people to bear His Name (ha-Shem), and that Semitic race of the Hebrew people would become His called and chosen People in Abram of Ur of Chaldea of the Babylonian world. He as Shaddai led him to a new land to inherit it has an eternal home from God; though he died without seeing it and left but one son to bear the birthright and divine promises and blessings. The world continued according to God’s decree from creation, altered by His new covenants along the way, and those visitations of His own choice and manner, as in the Angels manifesting His decisions and words. It is the revelation to Abraham by God’s words and covenant that the Hebrews were formed into theistic people holding confused localize notions of God, in an adulterated version of monotheism and polytheism. Such a world of which the Patriarchs Abraham and Isaac and Jacob lived; and in such a world of hundreds of nations, peoples, tribes, and families, and tongues, God continued to effect His purpose as He affected man in a very simple manner. God revealed His thoughts and ways by His speaking His words to His chosen vehicle or vessel, whether a Melchisedek, an Abimmelech, a Pharaoh, or Priest like Jethro, or Prophet like Balaam, or even an animal like Balaam’s donkey. We see His presence veiled and distorted in the ancient world of the nations of the Patriarchs up to the days of Moses; whether we read of the Sumerians or Accadians, of Babylon or Assyria, a Nimrod or a Hammurabi, and a host of others; His knowledge is there in types and shadows, in reality and in idolatry. These times among all Gentiles He needs must wink at seeing human degradation and the utter confusion of truth or history. But then in the right time and in the perfect condition He must visit His People, and He must deliver them out of their misery, darkness, confusion, abomination, slavery, and many such things; and He must speak anew and more clearly and must write all His Words in a Book for His People in the New Land, and that He might manifest His presence and live with them as a token of His eternal tabernacle with man and His creation.
The Word of the Lord God in all His words, in promises and covenants, in laws and requirements, in judgments and decisions, in codes and cases, in statutes and ordinances, and many other such things, would by Moses create a People of the Book, the Book of God and His Law and Covenant. The Exodus from Egypt and Wilderness Wanderings in the Desert, with Tabernacle and Tent, with the Sacrifices and Levitical Priesthood during the 40 years, were training and trial, a sifting and election, a purging and perfecting of Israel to display them as His Glory and Witness and Light to the Gentiles. The transformation of Jacob to Israel from the Hebrew People to Jehovah’s Nation was actually a shadow and a veil of something far greater and better, of which Moses in his own person and life would foreshadow and illustrate. From his sufferings in Egypt to his exile in Midian, from a Hebrew Egyptian to a Hebrew Israelite, from a prince to a shepherd, and in many other depictions God’s work and word taught man the divine doctrine of salvation to prevent final judgment and condemnation on man, and to renew and restore His creatures in a new creation. Who and What God was and is and will be would slowly and increasingly be displayed in the audience of His people in His world. The Divine qualities and attributes by means of all the words of Moses’ Law and Book, Sepher Torah, the Holy Scriptures, would lead man to the truth of God. And though it may be said by ancients that the Torah was created before the World, yet it is truer to say that the Word (Debar) gave the Law (Torah). Moses as the Lawgiver was the Voice and Mouth of God, and as Our Teacher in Israel, the Prophet and Man of God serving Him to the end that man may be wooed or driven to the Lord God and His Word. That Word would in time come forth from eternity into the world in Israel as a Final Prophet of God to complete and fulfill all God’s words and laws and commandments.
The Pentateuch as the Sacred Writings and the Holy Book instructs us about God, and reveals His Truth, the truth coming from Him and returning to Him. We said in the early chapters of Genesis that God is the Author of all things that His Word is His speaking with power and life to create and make all things. That of Man or Adam He spoke man’s existence and creation in His will and purpose or plan, but in time, and His way, He formed man in a more personal manner, as if He was begetting out of His labor the pregnancy of His generation and being. Moses has recorded God’s words and His doctrines, has absorbed and integrated the Divine Word within his mind and memory, and conveyed that message to Israel and to us. Its details as has been said consist of a library of Divine and Spiritual things along with a host of ordinary and common things. Many things have been passed on to us as common knowledge, while some things are mysteries understood by a few and taught to a remnant. Our interpretations are not always accurate, at times only partially true, and often erroneous in our ignorance with assumptions and presumptions of divine things. The long history of the Church and of the Synagogue, have preserved many of the Divine Doctrines amidst much tradition. Divine Tradition does exist in certain instances when the words proceeded from God. The literal views as well the symbolic, the natural or spiritual interpretations, in many cases are limited and restrictive, with misapplications everywhere in every group or family. Many of these we have already noticed from Genesis to Deuteronomy. We have reserved some views till we completed the Five Books of Moses and gave a detail but comprehensive digest synopsis of Scripture of Moses. We are prepared to move onwards and forward towards the next great book of the Divine Hand in Psalms, but we must traverse through the historical books from Joshua to Esther. Job will be treated with the Psalms and the other Poetic Books. I remind the reader and the Bible student that I have established the uniqueness and superiority of the 1st and 5th Books of Moses’ Pentateuch-Chumash, and though the Books of Exodus-Leviticus-Numbers are essential to the Word revealed, still it is Genesis & Deuteronomy that governs the Book. The 40 years Wilderness Wandering was intended to be only 2 years, and that only to transform the people, construct the Tabernacle and Sanctuary, and constitute the Law and Sacrifices in the Aaronic and Levitical Priesthood, and of those essentials relative to the Promised and Possessed Land. Therefore, again, I repeat, with this in view, the next great Book is the Psalms where the Law and the Word, from Genesis to Deuteronomy to David will find a maturity and superiority that surpasses the old.