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This Study Series is being released according to the Torah Reading Schedule.

This week- Section 44
Title- דברים (Words)
Parashah/Parsha- D’varim 1.1-3.22
Torah Portion- Deuteronomy 1.1-3.22

Unless otherwise specified, all quotes are from the JPS edition of The Torah, The Five Books of Moses, A New Translation of The Holy Scriptures, according to the Masoretic Text, First Section. Copyright 1967 by the Jewish Publication Society of America, Second Edition.

This week I want to discuss Deuteronomy 10.15.

15Yet it was to your fathers that the LORD was drawn in His love for them, so that He chose you, their lineal descendants, from among all peoples -as is now the case.

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In the previous Essays, I established that Moses is presenting things from his position as elder statesman. That means that since he is in that position, he speaks from himself, personally, utilizing first-person, second-person, and third-person references, which can only be done when Moses is speaking from himself.

That is seen in Deuteronomy 10.15 when Moses utilizes the third-person to speak of God by name, the LORD (as mentioned previously “the LORD” is a substitute for the Tetragrammaton); and when Moses used the third-person pronoun (he) to refer to Jehovah.

Additionally, Moses uses the third-person noun (fathers) and uses the third-person pronouns (them, their) to refer to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

That is also seen when Moses utilizes the second-person pronouns (your, you) to refer to Israel.

Those types of elements continue to exist within this section (9.1 – 11.25), and cannot be dismissed when studying this presentation by Moses. These types of language markers reveal that Moses is speaking from his own person, speaking personally, addressing the nation of Israel.

 
In Essay 42, I began looking at the answer Moses gave to the question he asked Israel, which is discussed in Essay 41.

This Essay continues Moses’ answer to Israel.

In his answer to his own question (Israel, what does the LORD your God demand of you?), Moses said to Israel that they were to revere Jehovah, walk in God’s way, love and serve Jehovah, keeping God’s ways, because all of creation is Jehovah’s.

That brings Moses to an interesting intersection. Moses stated that all of creation was Jehovah’s. All of creation includes all of the peoples, the nations, of the world.

The intersection is not a question, but the intersection is there. What is the intersection?

I pose the intersection as a question: What made Jehovah choose the people of Israel?

Moses did not ask that question, but Deuteronomy 10.15 is the answer to that unasked question.

What made Jehovah choose the people of Israel?

Specifically it begins with Jehovah’s love for Abraham.

Then how the covenant went to Isaac, and then to Jacob.

So one could include the twelve sons of Jacob: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin.

And it seems one could include all the fathers from those twelve sons.

It could even be a general reference that includes all of those men and their wives.

But, narratively, it seems that the noun “fathers” refers back to the three: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob.

The Israelites are lineal descendants from Jacob, who was renamed Israel, that is certain.

However, Isaac had another descendant, Esau, from whom the Edomites were lineal descendants.

Importantly, Abraham had many other descendants: Ishmael, Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, Shuah, and the sons of his concubines.

Therefore, from all of those peoples, those nations, God chose Israel.

That makes it quite difficult. Difficult for the Israelites, and difficult for the other descendants.

In a sense, God loved Jacob and hated Esau.

Why?

Jehovah made a choice.

The same way that people make a choice.

People choose to love one child over another. I don’t know why, but it happens.

God chose Abraham instead of Nahor, Abraham’s brother (Genesis 11.27).

God chose Isaac instead of his brothers (Ishmael, Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, Shuah, and the sons of his concubines).

God chose Jacob instead of Esau, Jacob’s brother.

Therefore God chose the Israelites instead of the Edomites.

Moses expresses the reason that Jehovah chose the Israelites is because of God’s love for the fathers of the Israelites.

That is difficult, because while Jehovah was drawn to Abraham because of God’s love for Abraham, God allowed Abraham to have multiple nations issue forth from Abraham.

So, why did God choose Isaac instead of one of the other brothers?

That is difficult to know. We can surmise that it is because Isaac is the promised son, but Ishmael was Abraham’s first born son. So we have a quandary. A first-born son versus a promised-son.

Therefore many conclude that it is because Isaac was the promised son that God chose Isaac.

All that can be known from the text is that Jehovah chose Isaac.

Though Jacob stole the blessing, Esau was the first-born, even though Jacob was his twin.

All that can be known from the text is that Jehovah chose Jacob, and renamed him Israel.

For some reason, Moses expresses that Jehovah was “being drawn in His love for them”.

That might be unfair to the Israelites. That might be unfair to the other lineal descendants of Abraham, but that is what happened.

All of this reminds me of Romans 9.14-21. A New Testament writing, but a concept that spans the issue of Deuteronomy 10.15 and why God chose the Israelites as opposed to the Edomites.

Reality is, the lineal descendants have no choice, except to accept that which God did, and embrace each other as descended from Abraham, and for that matter all descended from Noah, and accept that Jehovah chose to interact differently with each of Abraham’s lineal descendants in the manner that Jehovah desires.

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