1This then is the commandment, the statutes and the ordinances,a which the LORD, your God, has commanded that you be taught to observe in the land you are about to cross into to possess, 2so that you, that is, you, your child, and your grandchild, may fear the LORD, your God, by keeping, as long as you live, all his statutes and commandmentsb which I enjoin on you, and thus have long life. 3Hear then, Israel, and be careful to observe them, that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly; for the LORD, the God of your ancestors, promised you a land flowing with milk and honey.c
The Great Commandment.* 4d Hear, O Israel!* The LORD is our God, the LORD alone! 5Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with your whole heart, and with your whole being, and with your whole strength.e 6f Take to heart these words which I command you today.g 7Keep repeating them to your children. Recite them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you get up.h 8Bind them on your arm as a sign* and let them be as a pendant on your forehead.i 9Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.j
Fidelity in Prosperity. 10k When the LORD, your God, brings you into the land which he swore to your ancestors, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that he would give you, a land with fine, large cities that you did not build,l 11with houses full of goods of all sorts that you did not garner, with cisterns that you did not dig, with vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant; and when, therefore, you eat and are satisfied,m 12n be careful not to forget the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that house of slavery. 13o The LORD, your God, shall you fear; him shall you serve,* and by his name shall you swear. 14p You shall not go after other gods, any of the gods of the surrounding peoples— 15for the LORD, your God who is in your midst, is a passionate God—lest the anger of the LORD, your God, flare up against you and he destroy you from upon the land.
16You shall not put the LORD, your God, to the test, as you did at Massah.q 17But keep the commandments of the LORD, your God, and the decrees and the statutes he has commanded you. 18Do what is right and good in the sight of the LORD, that it may go well with you, and you may enter in and possess the good land which the LORD promised on oath to your ancestors, 19driving all your enemies out of your way, as the LORD has promised.r
Instruction to Children. 20s Later on, when your son asks you, “What do these decrees and statutes and ordinances mean?”t which the LORD, our God, has enjoined on you, 21u you shall say to your son, “We were once slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a strong handv 22and wrought before our eyes signs and wonders, great and dire, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and his whole house. 23He brought us from there to bring us in and give us the land he had promised on oath to our ancestors.w 24x The LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes in fear of the LORD, our God, that we may always have as good a life as we have today. 25This is our justice before the LORD, our God: to observe carefully this whole commandment he has enjoined on us.”
* [6:4–5] This passage, an expansion of the first commandment (5:6–10), contains the basic principle of the whole Mosaic law, the keynote of the Book of Deuteronomy: since the Lord alone is God, Israel must love him with an undivided heart. Jesus cited these words as “the greatest and the first commandment,” embracing in itself the whole law of God (Mt 22:37–38; Mk 12:29–30; Lk 10:27).
* [6:4] Hear, O Israel!: in Hebrew, shema yisra’el; hence this passage (vv. 4–9), containing the Great Commandment, is called the Shema. In later Jewish tradition, 11:13–21 and Nm 15:37–41 were added to form a prayer recited every evening and morning. The LORD is our God, the LORD alone: other possible translations are “the Lord our God is one Lord”; “the Lord our God, the Lord is one”; “the Lord is our God, the Lord is one.”
* [6:8] Bind them…as a sign: these injunctions were probably meant merely in a figurative sense; cf. Ex 13:9, 16. In the late postexilic period, they were taken quite literally, and devout Jews tied on their arms and foreheads “phylacteries,” boxes containing strips of parchment on which these words were inscribed; cf. Mt 23:5.
* [6:13] Him shall you serve: the verb could be translated as either “serve” or “worship” (cf. 5:9).
a. [6:1] Dt 4:1, 45; 5:1, 31; 6:17, 20; 11:32; 12:1; 26:16.
b. [6:2] Dt 4:10, 40; 5:29; 6:24; 10:12–13.
d. [6:4–5] Dt 4:35, 39; 5:6–10; 6:13–14; 10:17; 1 Kgs 8:60; 18:39; 2 Kgs 5:15; 19:15, 19; Is 44:6; 45:5–6; Mt 22:37–38; Mk 12:29–30; Lk 10:27.
e. [6:5] Dt 4:29; 10:12; 11:13; 13:4; 26:16; 30:2, 10; 1 Sm 7:3; 2 Kgs 23:3, 25.
g. [6:6] Dt 11:18; 30:14; 32:46; Ps 37:31; Prv 3:3; Is 51:7; Jer 31:33.
h. [6:7] Dt 4:9–10; 6:20–25; 11:1–7, 19; 31:13; 32:46; Prv 6:22.
i. [6:8] Dt 11:18; Ex 13:9, 16; Prv 3:3; 6:21.
m. [6:10–11] Dt 8:7–14; 32:11–14; Jos 24:13; Neh 9:25.
o. [6:13] Dt 10:20; Is 48:1; Jer 4:2; 12:16; Mt 4:10; Lk 4:8.
p. [6:14–15] Dt 4:23–26; 8:19–20; 11:16–17, 28; 29:18–28; 30:17–18; 2 Kgs 17:7–18.
q. [6:16] Ex 17:1–7; Ps 95:8–9; Mt 4:7; Lk 4:12.
r. [6:19] Ex 23:27; 34:11; Jos 1–12.
t. [6:20] Ex 12:26; 13:14; Jos 4:6, 21.