Reading 53/341, Deuteronomy 8-11

The theme of blessing and curse which appears at the end of this reading will be important for the rest of Deuteronomy.

...Deuteronomy...

The entire commandment which I command you this day, you shall carefully do, that you may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to your fathers. You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the desert, that he might humble you, to prove you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. He humbled you, and allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord. Your clothing did not grow old on you, nor did your foot swell, these forty years. You shall consider in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the Lord your God chastens you. You shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him. For the Lord your God brings you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of springs, and underground water flowing into valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig trees and pomegranates; a land of olive trees and honey; a land in which you shall eat bread without scarcity, you shall not lack anything in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you may dig copper. You shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which he has given you.

Beware lest you forget the Lord your God, in not keeping his commandments, and his ordinances, and his statutes, which I command you this day, lest, when you have eaten and are full, and have built goodly houses, and lived therein, and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied, your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; who led you through the great and terrible desert, with its fiery serpents and scorpions, and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought forth water out of the rock of flint, who fed you in the desert with manna, which your fathers did not know, that he might humble you, and that he might test you, to do you good in the end. Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand has gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he swore to your fathers, as on this day. It shall be, if you shall forget the Lord your God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish. As the nations that the Lord makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not listen to the voice of the Lord your God.

Hear, Israel, you are to pass over the Jordan this day, to go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourself, cities great and fortified up to the sky, a people great and tall, the sons of the Anakim, whom you know, and of whom you have heard, ‘Who can stand before the sons of Anak?’ Know therefore this day, that the Lord your God is he who goes before you as a devouring fire. He will destroy them, and he will bring them down before you. So shall you drive them out, and make them to perish quickly, as the Lord has spoken to you. Do not speak in your heart, after that the Lord your God has thrust them out from before you, saying, ‘For my righteousness the Lord has brought me in to possess this land.’ In reality it is for the wickedness of these nations the Lord drives them out before you. Not for your righteousness, or for the uprightness of your heart, do you go in to possess their land, but for the wickedness of these nations will the Lord your God drive them out before you, that he may establish the word which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

Know therefore, that the Lord your God does not give you this good land to possess it for your righteousness, for you are a stiff-necked people. Remember, do not forget, how you provoked the Lord your God to wrath in the desert. From the day that you went forth out of the land of Egypt, until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the Lord. Also at Horeb you provoked the Lord to wrath, and the Lord was angry with you to destroy you. When I was gone up onto the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant which the Lord made with you, I stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights; I neither ate bread nor drank water. The Lord delivered to me the two tablets of stone written with the finger of God, and on them was written according to all the words, which the Lord spoke with you on the mountain out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly. It came to pass at the end of forty days and forty nights, that the Lord gave me the two tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant. The Lord said to me, ‘Arise, get down quickly from here, for your people whom you have brought forth out of Egypt have corrupted themselves. They have quickly turned aside out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a molten image.’

Furthermore the Lord spoke to me, saying, ‘I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. Let me alone, that I may destroy them, and blot out their name from under the sky, and I will make of you a nation mightier and greater than they.’ So I turned and came down from the mountain, and the mountain was burning with fire, and the two tablets of the covenant were in my two hands. I looked, and behold, you had sinned against the Lord your God: you had made a molten calf. You had turned aside quickly out of the way which the Lord had commanded you. I took hold of the two tables, and cast them out of my two hands, and broke them before your eyes. I fell down before the Lord, as at the first, forty days and forty nights; I neither ate bread nor drank water, because of all your sin which you sinned, in doing what was evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger. For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure, with which the Lord was angry against you to destroy you, but the Lord listened to me that time also. The Lord was very angry with Aaron to destroy him, and I prayed for Aaron also at the same time. I took your sin, the calf which you had made, and burnt it with fire, and stamped it, grinding it very small, until it was as fine as dust, and I cast the dust of it into the brook that descended out of the mountain.

At Taberah, and at Massah, and at Kibroth-hattaavah, you provoked the Lord to wrath. When the Lord sent you from Kadesh-barnea, saying, ‘Go up and possess the land which I have given you’, you rebelled against the commandment of the Lord your God, and you did not believe him, nor listened to his voice. You have been rebellious against the Lord from the first day that I knew you. So I fell down before the Lord; forty days and forty nights I fell down, because the Lord had said he would destroy you. I prayed to the Lord, and said, ‘Lord God, do not destroy your people and your inheritance, that you have redeemed through your greatness, that you have brought forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Remember your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Do not look at the stubbornness of this people, nor to their wickedness, nor to their sin, lest the land from which you brought us says, ‘Because the Lord was not able to bring them into the land which he promised to them, and because he hated them, he has brought them out to kill them in the desert.’ Yet they are your people and your inheritance, which you brought out by your great power and by your outstretched arm.

At that time the Lord said to me, ‘Hew two tablets of stone like the first, and come up to me onto the mountain, and make an ark of wood. I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets which you broke, and you shall put them in the ark.’ So I made an ark of acacia wood, and hewed two tablets of stone like the first, and went up onto the mountain, having the two tablets in my hand. He wrote on the tablets, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the Lord spoke to you on the mountain out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly, and the Lord gave them to me. I turned and came down from the mountain, and put the tablets in the ark which I had made, and there they are as the Lord commanded me. The children of Israel traveled from Beeroth Bene-jaakan to Moserah. There Aaron died, and there he was buried, and Eleazar his son ministered in the priest's office in his place. From there they traveled to Gudgodah, and from Gudgodah to Jotbathah, a land of brooks of water. At that time the Lord set apart the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister to him, and to bless in his name, to this day. Therefore Levi has no portion nor inheritance with his brothers: the Lord is his inheritance, just as the Lord your God spoke to him. I stayed on the mountain, as at the first time, forty days and forty nights, and the Lord listened to me that time also; the Lord would not destroy you. The Lord said to me, ‘Arise, take your journey before the people, and they shall go in and possess the land, which I swore to their fathers to give to them.’

Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, to keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes, which I command you this day for your good? Behold, to the Lord your God belongs heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth, with all that is there in. Yet the Lord had a delight in your fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, you above all peoples, as on this day. Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stiff-necked. For the Lord your God, is God of gods, and Lord of lords, the great God, the mighty, and the awesome, who neither regards persons nor takes bribes. He executes justice for the fatherless and widow, and loves the immigrant, in giving him food and clothing. Therefore love the immigrant, for you were immigrants in the land of Egypt. You shall fear the Lord your God; him shall you serve, and to him shall you hold fast, and by his name shall you swear. He is your praise, and he is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things, which your eyes have seen. Your fathers went down into Egypt with seventy people, and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars of the sky.

Therefore you shall love the Lord your God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his ordinances, and his commandments, always. Know this day, for I do not speak with your children who have not known, and who have not seen the chastisement of the Lord your God, his greatness, his mighty hand, and his outstretched arm, and his signs, and his works, which he did in the midst of Egypt to Pharaoh the king of Egypt, and to all his land, and what he did to the army of Egypt, to their horses, and to their chariots, how he made the water of the Red Sea to drown them as they pursued after you, and how the Lord has destroyed them to this day, and what he did to you in the desert, until you came to this place, and what he did to Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben; how the earth opened its mouth, and swallowed them up, and their households, and their tents, and every living thing that followed them, in the midst of all Israel, but your eyes have seen all the great work of the Lord which he did.

Therefore shall you keep the entire commandment which I command you this day, that you may be strong, and go in and possess the land, which you go over to possess, and that you may prolong your days in the land, which the Lord swore to your fathers to give to them and to their seed, a land flowing with milk and honey. For the land, which you go in to possess, is not like the land of Egypt, from whence you came, where you sowed your seed, and watered it with your foot, like an herb garden, but the land, which you go over to possess, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinks water of the rain of the sky, a land which the Lord your God cares for, the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. It shall happen, if you shall listen diligently to my commandments which I command you this day, to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, that I will give the rain of your land in its season, the early rain and the late rain, that you may gather in your grain, and your new wine, and your oil. I will give grass in your fields for your livestock, and you shall eat and be full. Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them, and the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and he shut up the sky, so that there shall be no rain, and the land shall not yield its fruit, and you perish quickly from the good land which the Lord gives you.

Therefore lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign on your hand, and they shall be like symbols between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking 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 write them on the door posts of your house, and on your gates, that your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as the days of the heavens above the earth. For if you shall diligently keep all this commandment which I command you, to do it, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, and to hold fast to him; then the Lord will drive out all these nations from before you, and you shall dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourselves. Every place on which the sole of your foot shall tread shall be yours, from the desert, and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, to the western sea shall be your border. There shall not be a man able to withstand you. The Lord your God shall lay the fear of you and the dread of you on all the land that you shall tread on, as he has spoken to you.

Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse, the blessing, if you shall listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day, and the curse, if you shall not listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which you have not known. It shall happen, when the Lord your God shall bring you into the land where you go to possess it, that you shall set the blessing on Mount Gerizim, and the curse on Mount Ebal. Are they not beyond the Jordan, west of the road, toward the setting sun, in the land of the Canaanites who dwell in the Arabah, across from Gilgal, beside the oaks of Moreh? For you are to pass over the Jordan to go in to possess the land which the Lord your God gives you, and you shall possess it, and dwell therein. You shall carefully do all the statutes and the ordinances which I set before you this day.

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