Reading 52/341, Deuteronomy 5-7

[A] This reading contains the "Shema Israel", the most important Jewish prayer. It begins, "Hear, Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one...gates." This prayer is recited three times daily by all observant Jews. It is traditionally the last words that a Jew says before they go to sleep at night. In morning and evening prayer, a section of tomorrow's reading and a section from Numbers is added to it. Catholic clergy and religious recite just this section every Saturday night and on the night before solemnities because Jesus called it the greatest commandment.
[B] The phrase and idea "devoted to destruction" appears in these readings. This meant that an object or animal or person belonged to God for the purpose of destruction. It was a serious sin either to show pity to them and let them live or to covet them and try to keep the person or object for yourself. That which is devoted to destruction must be completely destroyed.

...Deuteronomy...

Moses called to all Israel, and said to them, “Hear, Israel, the statutes and the ordinances which I speak in your ears this day, that you may learn them, and carefully do them. The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. The Lord did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, us, who are all of us here alive this day. The Lord spoke with you face to face on the mountain out of the midst of the fire. I stood between the Lord and you at that time, to show you the word of the Lord, for you were afraid because of the fire, and did not go up onto the mountain. He said, ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make an engraved image for yourself, nor any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them, nor serve them, for I, the Lord, your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and on the fourth generation of those who hate me, and showing loving kindness to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.’ You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days shall you labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your ox, nor your donkey, nor any of your livestock, nor your visitor who is within your gates, so that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. You shall remember that you were a servant in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm, therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day. Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land which the Lord your God gives you. You shall not murder, nor shall you commit adultery, nor shall you steal, nor shall you bear false witness against your neighbor, nor shall you covet your neighbor's wife, nor shall you desire your neighbor's house, his field, or his male servant, or his female servant, his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's.

These words the Lord spoke to all your assembly on the mountain out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice, and he added no more. He wrote them on two tables of stone, and gave them to me. It happened, when you heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, while the mountain was burning with fire, that you came near to me, all the heads of your tribes, and your elders, and you said, ‘Behold, the Lord our God has shown us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire, we have seen this day that God does speak with man, and he lives. Now therefore why should we die? For this great fire will consume us, if we hear the voice of the Lord our God anymore; we shall die. For who is there of all flesh, who has heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived? You go near, and hear all that the Lord our God shall say, and you speak to us all that the Lord our God shall speak to you, and we will hear it, and do it.’ The Lord heard the voice of your words, when you spoke to me, and the Lord said to me, ‘I have heard the voice of the words of this people, which they have spoken to you, they have well said all that they have spoken. Oh that there were such a heart in them always, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments, that it might go well with them, and with their children forever! Go tell them, “Return to your tents.” But as for you, stand here by me, and I will speak to you all the commandment, and the statutes, and the ordinances, which you shall teach them, that they may do them in the land which I give them to possess it.’

You shall carefully do therefore as the Lord your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. You shall walk in all the way which the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you shall possess. Now this is the commandment, the statutes, and the ordinances, which the Lord your God commanded to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you go over to possess it: that you might fear the Lord your God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, you, and your son, and your son's son, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. Hear therefore, Israel, and carefully do it; that it may go well with you, and that you may increase mightily, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised to you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.

Hear, Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. These words, which I command you this day, shall be on your heart, and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall speak of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be like symbols between your eyes. You shall write them on the door posts of your house, and on your gates. It shall be, when the Lord your God shall bring you into the land which he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you, great and goodly cities, which you did not build, and houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, and cisterns dug out, which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees, which you did not plant, and you eat and are full, then beware lest you forget the Lord, who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall fear the Lord your God, and him shall you serve, and swear by his name. You shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the peoples who are round about you; for the Lord your God in the midst of you is a jealous God, lest the anger of the Lord your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.

You shall not test the Lord your God, as you tested him in Massah. You shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he has commanded you. You shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord; that it may go well with you, and that you may go in and possess the good land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to thrust out all your enemies from before you, as the Lord has spoken. When your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What do the testimonies, and the statutes, and the ordinances mean, which the Lord our God has commanded you?’ Then you shall tell your son, ‘We were Pharaoh's bondservants in Egypt, and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and the Lord showed great and awesome signs and wonders on Egypt, on Pharaoh, and on all his house, before our eyes, and he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he swore to our fathers. The Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as on this day. It shall be righteousness to us, if we carefully do all this commandment before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us.’

When the Lord your God brings you into the land where you go to possess it, and casts out many nations before you: the Hittite, and the Girgashite, and the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite, seven nations greater and mightier than you, and when the Lord your God delivers them up before you, and you strike them, you shall utterly destroy them, you shall make no covenant with them, nor show mercy to them, nor shall you make marriages with them; your daughter you shall not give to his son, nor his daughter shall you take to your son. For he will turn away your son from following me, that they may serve other gods, so that the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and he will destroy you quickly. But thus shall you deal with them, you shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their engraved images with fire. For you are a holy people to the Lord your God, the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his own possession, above all peoples who are on the face of the earth.

The Lord did not set his love on you, nor choose you, because you were more in number than any people, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the Lord loves you, and because he would keep the oath which he swore to your fathers. The Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God, who keeps covenant and loving kindness with them who love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations, and repays those who hate him to their face, to destroy them. He will not be slack to him who hates him; he will repay him to his face. You shall therefore keep the commandment, and the statutes, and the ordinances, which I command you this day, to do them. It shall happen, because you listen to these ordinances, and keep and do them, that the Lord your God will keep with you the covenant and the loving kindness which he swore to your fathers, and he will love you, and bless you, and multiply you; he will also bless the fruit of your body and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your livestock and the young of your flock, in the land which he swore to your fathers to give you. You shall be blessed above all peoples, there shall not be male or female barren among you, nor among your livestock. The Lord will take away from you all sickness, and none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which you know, will he put on you, but he will lay them on all those who hate you. You shall consume all the peoples whom the Lord your God shall deliver to you; your eye shall not pity them, nor shall you serve their gods; for that will be a snare to you.

If you shall say in your heart, ‘These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them?’ You shall not be afraid of them. You shall remember well what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh, and to all Egypt, the great trials which your eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the outstretched arm, by which the Lord your God brought you out. So shall the Lord your God do to all the peoples of whom you are afraid. Moreover, the Lord your God will send the hornet among them, until those who are left, and hide themselves, perish from before you. You shall not be scared of them; for the Lord your God is in the midst of you, a great and awesome God. The Lord your God will cast out those nations before you, little by little. You will not consume them at once, lest the animals of the field increase on you. The Lord your God will deliver them up before you, and will confuse them with a great confusion, until they be destroyed. He will deliver their kings into your hand, and you shall make their name to perish from under the sky. No man will be able to withstand you, until you have destroyed them. The engraved images of their gods you shall burn with fire. You shall not covet the silver or the gold that is on them, nor take it for yourself, lest you be snared by it, for it is an abomination to the Lord your God. You shall not bring an abomination into your house, and become devoted to destruction like it. You shall utterly detest it, and you shall utterly abhor it; for it is a thing devoted to destruction.

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