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

This week- Section 50

Title- כי־תבוא (When You Go In) (When You Come In)
Parashah/Parsha- D’varim 26.1-29.8(9)
Torah Portion- Deuteronomy 26.1-29.8(9)

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 11.1.

1Love, therefore, the LORD your God, and always keep His charge, His laws, His rules, and His commandments.

– – – – –

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 11.1 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 (his).

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

Importantly, the elements of first-person, second-person, and third-person references 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 directly continues Essay 49, where I discussed Deuteronomy 10.20-22. In that Essay, I discussed the contents of those verses.

In Deuteronomy 10.12a JPS, Moses asked: “[N]ow, O Israel, what does the LORD your God demand of you?” which I discussed in Essay 41.

With Deuteronomy 10.12b-22 Moses answered his question, which I discussed in Essays 42-49.

After Moses answered his question, and using his answer to tell Israel how they were to respond, in Deuteronomy 11.1 Moses begins a three-part conclusion, before beginning the final section that includes a declaration regarding the importance of choosing between a blessing and a curse, and making that pronouncement known.

Part One of the conclusion (Love, therefore…) is Deuteronomy 11.1-7, which includes what I will call a doxology.

Part Two of the conclusion (Keep, therefore…) is Deuteronomy 11.8-17, which includes an if-statement (11.13-17) expressing what happens if Israel is obedient to the commandments.

Part Three of the conclusion (Therefore impress…) is Deuteronomy 11.18-25, which also includes an if-statement (11.22-25) expressing what happens if Israel is faithful to keep the instructions.

Then Moses ends with a declaration regarding a blessing and a curse in Deuteronomy 11.26-32.

Then after having completed those thoughts, Deuteronomy 12.1 has Moses transition to itemizing the laws and rules.

 
Let’s begin discussing the first part of Moses’ three-part conclusion.

Moses told Israel “Love, therefore, the LORD your God, and always keep His charge, His laws, His rules, and His commandments.”

Again, Moses is emphasizing deistic devotion, not monotheism, in the sense that Jehovah is one deity among all the deities that surrounded Israel, but it was Jehovah that heard Israel’s cries for help, and Jehovah was the only deity to rescue Israel.

In that sense, therefore, Israel is to love Jehovah as their deity, the deity that delivered Israel from oppression into being a people.

In this verse, Moses states to Israel “Love… the LORD your God”. In Essay 42, I discussed the Hebrew word ahab behind the English word love.

Additionally, Moses told Israel that they, both individually and collectively, are to “always keep [Jehovah’s] charge”, which the KJV translates similarly. The English word “charge” translates the Hebrew word mishmereth (H4931).

Brown-Driver-Briggs says that Hebrew conveys four different ideas. One, guard, as in keeping watch. Two, keeping, as in preserving something. Three, charge, as in an injunction. Four, office, as in having an official function, even if ceremonial.

The translators are showing that this Hebrew word has the third use, where mishmereth is being used as an injunction, where injunction conveys the ideas of rulings, directives, decrees, edicts, and mandates.

That means the Hebrew word is being used to tell Israel that Jehovah has provided them with mishmereth, edicts and mandates that prescribes Israel’s individual and national behavior.

Then, Moses states that Israel is to keep Jehovah’s laws. The English word laws translates the Hebrew word chuqqah (H2708), which the KJV translates as “statutes”.

Brown-Driver-Briggs states that the Hebrew word conveys the idea of something prescribed, and that the Hebrew word can be translated into the English with the words: statute, ordinance, limit, and/or enactment. Some synonyms for the English word statute are: law, regulation, decree, edit, and/or command.

Then, Moses states that Israel is to keep Jehovah’s rules. The English word rules translates the Hebrew word mishpat (H4941), which the KJV translates as “judgments”.

Brown-Driver-Briggs states that the Hebrew word conveys the idea of judgment, but also conveys the concepts of: justice, and ordinance. Justice is about a judge or magistrate making just and proper decisions; but justice also conveys that just decisions exist among the people. Ordinance conveys that legislation has been enacted by a municipal power, in this case, Jehovah being the power; but ordinance also conveys the idea of an authoritative decree or order; a synonym for the word ordinance is the English word rule.

Then, Moses told Israel to keep Jehovah’s commandments. The English word commandments translates the Hebrew word mitsvah (H4687), which the KJV also translates as commandments.

Brown-Driver-Briggs states that the Hebrew word can convey that mitsvah can be derived by humanity or deity. But in this context Moses is telling Israel to obey the deity Jehovah, and the commandments that Jehovah has given.

The verse has four different words: mishmereth, chuqqah, mishpat, mitsvah.

The JPS translates those Hebrew words as: charge, laws, rules, commandments.

The KJV translates those Hebrew words as: charge, statutes, judgments, commandments.

The JPS and the KJV translate the first Hebrew word using the same English word: charge.

The JPS and the KJV translate the last Hebrew word using the same English word: commandments.

It seems that no matter how those four Hebrew words are translated into English, all the words convey concepts of legality, a divine legal code, specifically designed for and given to Israel.

It is possible to read this as incorporating an enumerated list, and it appears that many read this verse in that manner.

However, consider that there is a literary device termed: appositive.

An appositive has an initial noun/word, which is followed by additional noun(s)/word(s) and/or phrase(s) that functionally renames the initial noun/word, where the additional noun(s)/word(s) and/or phrase(s) serve as a means of further identifying the initial noun/word.

With that in mind, is seems possible that the words: chuqqah (the second word), mishpat (the third word), and mitsvah (the fourth word) function as appositives for mishmereth (the first noun/word).

If that possibility is true, then Moses is instructing Israel to understand that the concept of mishmereth (charge), includes the concepts of chuqqah (laws, statutes), and mishpat (rules, judgments), and mitsvah (commands).

Four separate words, which could be itemized as four separate things.

But it is equally possible that Moses is utilizing the literary concept of appositive, and it is possible that Moses is using the words chuqqah (laws, statutes), mishpat (rules, judgments), and mitsvah (commands) to further identify mishmereth (charge).

If Moses is using the literary device referred to as an appositive, then Moses is providing an exposition of the meaning of the word mishmereth (charge).

If that is true, then Moses is informing Israel that keeping Jehovah’s mishmereth (charge) also means keeping chuqqah (laws, statutes), mishpat (rules, judgments), and mitsvah (commands).

In total, four different words.

Yet, the second, third, and fourth words would fall under and within the concept of the first word.

That occurs because the first word mishmereth (charge) conveys the idea of an injunction; the word injunction conveys the ideas of rulings, directives, decrees, edicts, and mandates, which are words that can help describe chuqqah (laws, statutes), and mishpat (rules, judgments), and mitsvah (commands).

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