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

This week- Section 10
Name- מקץ Mikketz (At The End)
Parashah/Parsha- B’resheet 41.1-44.17
Torah Portion: Genesis 41.1-44.17

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 and Exodus 20.2

Deuteronomy 5.6 JPS
I the LORD am your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage:

Exodus 20.2 JPS
I the LORD am your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage:

– – – – –

As I mentioned in the previous Essay, the Ten Commandments are controversial, they are debated, they are discussed, and yet they form the basis for all things in the Law of Moses. So why am I spending time in the Ten before I begin my studies of Deuteronomy 12.2-26.15?

Part of that answer is found in the previous Essay. More of the answer is found in this Essay, and the Essays to follow.

I do not set out to be the final voice in the discussion about the Ten, but I do intend to share why I interpret the laws and rules within the auspice of the Ten, and I will do that, in part, by discussing the Ten, in detail.

For instance, it seems wholly inappropriate to interpret the laws and rules as exonerating individual Israelites and/or the national behavior of Israel that would violate the intent of the Ten.

That means the Ten serve as the overarching premise by which each Israelite, the nation of Israel, and the foreign nationals who lived within the borders of Israel were to understand and operate within the borders of Israel, and how they as individuals and as a nation would conduct themselves personally and collectively.

In essence, then, while enumerated, the Ten serve as a basis, an overarching concept of how the Israelite, the nation of Israel, and the foreign nationals within Israel are to conduct themselves, concepts that can be easily recalled and remembered, even though more laws and rules were enumerated.

The amount of commentary on the Ten seems almost endless, but I will refer to some commentary during my Essays.

As for Deuteronomy 5.6 and Exodus 20.2, the JPS 1967 has the exact same wording for each verse.

Deuteronomy 5.6 JPS
I the LORD am your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage:

Exodus 20.2 JPS
I the LORD am your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage:

The book of Exodus presents Exodus 20.2 as being spoken by Jehovah, because Exodus 20.1 states: “God spoke all these words, saying” which is followed by verse two: “I the LORD am your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage”.

However, the presentation is different in the book of Deuteronomy.

Deuteronomy 5.1 states “Moses summoned all the Israelites and said to them”.

Through the manner in which Deuteronomy 5.1 begins, it is seen that the Deuteronomy Redactor is moving the Deuteronomy narrative along.

In the English of the JPS, this is how the Deuteronomy Redactor presents the narrative: “Moses summoned all the Israelites and said to them: Hear, O Israel, the laws and rules that I proclaim to you this day! Study them and observe them faithfully!”

From that then, we as students can see that the Deuteronomy Redactor is constructing the narrative and in using that narrative the Deuteronomy Redactor informs the reader that it is Moses who summoned the Israelites, and that in Deuteronomy it is Moses who is doing the speaking.

As students, the Deuteronomy Redactor has fully informed us that they, as the Redactor, serve as the narrator, and have turned the narration and narrative over to Moses, who begins to speak from his first-person point of view, which is seen in Deuteronomy 5.1 where the Deuteronomy Redactor has Moses state: “Hear, O Israel, the laws and rules that I proclaim to you this day! Study them and observe them faithfully!”

From there, the Deuteronomy Redactor continues Moses’ presentation to the Israelites which is found in Deuteronomy 5.2 which states: “The LORD our God made a covenant with us at Horeb.”

From that then, the student can see some specific literary elements:
– Moses refers to Jehovah in the third-person;
– Moses claims that Jehovah is his God and the God of the nation of Israel;
– Moses refers to the covenant as a third-party mechanism between Jehovah and them (being both Moses and Israel);
– Moses states that Jehovah made a covenant with both Moses and the nation of Israel; and
– Moses refers to Mount Horeb as a third-party reference location.

In Deuteronomy 5.4, Moses goes on to say “Face to face the LORD spoke to you”. With that phrase, the Deuteronomy Redactor is making it clear, and by extension Moses is making it clear, that Moses is speaking from his own person, which is not the tone found in Exodus 20.1-2.

Importantly, with the Deuteronomy Narrative, the majority of verse five contains a type of parenthetical comment from Moses about the situation, which is Moses interrupting himself, in order to provide a type of footnote.

With that in mind, when I redact the parenthetical, moving it to a type of footnote status, Deuteronomy 5.4-6 has Moses state: “Face to face the LORD spoke to you on the mountain out of the fire, saying: ‘I am the LORD am your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage'”.

Seeing that type of literary element (the parenthetical statement) is as necessary to seeing the flow of narrative, as it is to seeing that the Deuteronomy Redactor is moving the Deuteronomy Narrative, and Moses is speaking from a first-person point of view, delivering a speech to the nation of Israel.

The Deuteronomy Redactor moves along the Deuteronomy Narrative, which includes having Moses do the speaking.

When Moses is speaking, Moses quotes that which Jehovah stated at the mountain, which is found in Exodus 20.2. Since Moses is quoting Jehovah, that helps explain why Deuteronomy 5.6 matches the verbage of Exodus 20.2.

But, literarily, as a student, it is critical to see that Moses is speaking, not Jehovah, which means that in Deuteronomy 5 while Moses is quoting Jehovah, Jehovah is not actually addressing the people, instead Moses is addressing the people, even though Deuteronomy 5 involves the Ten Commandments.

I will continue my discussion of the Ten in my next Essay.

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