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

This week- Section 9
Name- Vayeshev (He Continued Living) (He Settled)
Parashah/Parsha- B’resheet 37.1-40.23
Torah Portion: Genesis 37.1-40.23

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 5.6-18.

The verses are located below.

– – – – –

Deuteronomy 5.6-7 JPS
6I the LORD am your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage: 7You shall have no other gods beside Me.

Deuteronomy 5.8-10 JPS
8You shall not make for yourself a sculptured image, any likeness of what is in the heavens above, or on the earth below, or in the waters below the earth. 9You shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I the LORD your God am an impassioned God, visiting the guilt of the fathers upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generations of those who reject Me, 10but showing kindness to the thousandth generation of those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Deuteronomy 5.11 JPS
11You shall not swear falsely by the name of the LORD your God; for the LORD will not clear one who swears falsely by His name.

Deuteronomy 5.12-15 JPS
12Observe the Sabbath day and keep it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you. 13Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God: you shall not do any work -you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your ox or your ass, or any of your cattle, or the stranger in your settlements, so that your male and female slave may rest as you do. 15Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and the LORD your God freed you from there with a might hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the sabbath day.

Deuteronomy 5.16 JPS
16Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may long endure, and that you may fare well, in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.

Deuteronomy 5.17a JPS
17You shall not murder.

Deuteronomy 5.17b JPS
You shall not commit adultery.

Deuteronomy 5.17c JPS
You shall not steal.

Deuteronomy 5.17d JPS
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Deuteronomy 5.18 JPS
18You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not crave your neighbor’s house, or his field, or his male or female slave, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s.

Exodus 20.2 JPS
2I the LORD am your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage: 3You shall have no other gods beside Me.

Exodus 20.4-6 JPS
4You shall not make for yourself a sculptured image, or any likeness of what is in the heavens above, or on the earth below, or in the waters under the earth. 5You shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I the LORD your God am an impassioned God, visiting the guilt of the fathers upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generations of those who reject Me, 6but showing kindness to the thousandth generation of those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Exodus 20.7 JPS
7You shall not swear falsely by the name of the LORD your God; for the LORD will not clear one who swears falsely by His name.

Exodus 20.8-11 JPS
8Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy. 9Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God: you shall not do any work -you, your son or daughter, your male or female slave, or your cattle, or the stranger who is within your settlements. 11For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth and sea, and all that is in them, and He rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it.

Exodus 20.12 JPS
12Honor your father and your mother, that you may long endure on the land which the LORD your God is giving you.

Exodus 20.13a JPS
13You shall not murder.

Exodus 20.13b JPS
You shall not commit adultery.

Exodus 20.13c JPS
You shall not steal.

Exodus 20.13d JPS
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Exodus 20.14 JPS
14You shall not covet your neighbor’s house: you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female slave, or his ox or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s.

 
 
The Ten Commandments, controversial, debated, discussed, yet the basis for all things in the Law of Moses.

So why do I want to spend time in the Ten before I begin my studies of Deuteronomy 12.2-26.15?

A study of the Ten and how each are presented helps with two things.

One, the way in which Deuteronomy and Exodus record the narrative that surrounds the Ten is different in its presentation, and that affects the manner in which the literature works.

For instance, the manner in which the Sabbath is recorded in Deuteronomy is different than the way it is recorded in Exodus.

When one examines the literary nature of Moses referring to the Sabbath in Deuteronomy 5.12-15, the literary narrative clearly reveals that Moses is referencing, not directly quoting.

Deuteronomy 5.12 records it as:
“Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you.

That is Moses referencing and providing his exposition. That is not Moses directly quoting, for if Moses had directly quoted, Deuteronomy’s sabbath information would not include the phrase: as the LORD your God has commanded you.

Importantly, how the publisher decides to punctuate Deuteronomy 5.12-15 changes things.

In Deuteronomy 5.12, the JPS has a comma following the word holy
“Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you.”

But, if one were to replace the comma with a semicolon and replace the period after you with a comma, the timbre of the verses changes:
“Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy; as the LORD your God has commanded you, six days you shall labor and do all your work…”.

Two, when students present their conclusions about items found within the Law of Moses, especially highly controversial statements (e.g. Deuteronomy 22.28-29), those passages are often evaluated to the exclusion of the intent of the Ten.

That simply means that when studying the laws and rules found within the Law of Moses, one needs to evaluate those laws and rules under the auspice and intents of the Ten.

In essence then, that means that God is not going to exonerate behavior that is condemned by the Ten.

For instance, the Ten condemn stealing. Therefore when a person sexually forces themselves into another person, then the one forcing themselves is stealing sexuality from the one being forced. Since the Ten prohibit stealing, it means it is improper to interpret laws and/or rules as encouraging the act of stealing.

Stated another way, -trying to use terms to clarify but not wanting to cause issues to those who have experienced the worse possible personal violation- when a person rapes another, the rapist is stealing; since the Ten prohibit stealing, no laws and/or rules can exonerate the rapist, not in any way.

More about the Ten in the next Essay.

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