Deuteronomy 10

 

בָּעֵת הַהִוא אָמַר יְהוָה אֵלַי פְּסָל־לְךָ שְׁנֵי־לוּחֹת אֲבָנִים כָּרִאשֹׁנִים וַעֲלֵה אֵלַי הָהָרָה וְעָשִׂיתָ לְּךָ   10:1

אֲרֹון עֵץ

Deut. 10:1   “At that time the Lord said to me, ‘Cut for yourself two stone tablets like the first and come up to Me to the mountain, and you shall make for yourself a wooden ark.’

Hold on here!  Look back at Exod. 34:1.  There is no wooden ark mentioned there.  Moses has either added this fact here or he omitted it there.  Or was he not remembering the incident accurately?  That’s also possible.  Moses was 120 years old and it had happened almost 40 years before, and he was very angry and shaken at the time.  No one can know with certainty.

וְאֶכְתֹּב עַל־הַלֻּחֹת אֶת־הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר הָיוּ עַל־הַלֻּחֹת הָרִאשֹׁנִים אֲשֶׁר שִׁבַּרְתָּ וְשַׂמְתָּם בָּאָרֹון   10:2

Deut. 10:2   ‘And I will inscribe on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets which you broke, and you will put them in the ark.’”

The first word contains a first-person imperfect verb with a non-inverting vav prefix.  It is translated as And I will inscribe.

וָאַעַשׂ אֲרֹון עֲצֵי שִׁטִּים וָאֶפְסֹל שְׁנֵי־לֻחֹת אֲבָנִים כָּרִאשֹׁנִים וָאַעַל הָהָרָה וּשְׁנֵי הַלֻּחֹת בְּיָדִי   10:3

Deut. 10:3     “So I had to make an ark of the wood of acacia and carve two stone tablets like the first, and go up to the mountain with the two tablets in my hands.”

Three words in this verse contain first-person imperfect verbs with non-inverting vav prefixes.  They are the first, fifth, and tenth, translated respectively by me as So I had to make, ..., and carve, ... and go up.

וַיִּכְתֹּב עַל־הַלֻּחֹת כַּמִּכְתָּב הָרִאשֹׁון אֵת עֲשֶׂרֶת הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהוָה אֲלֵיכֶם בָּהָר מִתֹּוךְ הָאֵשׁ   10:4

בְּיֹום הַקָּהָל וַיִּתְּנֵם יְהוָה אֵלָי

Deut. 10:4     “And He inscribed on the tablets the ten words like the first inscription that the Lord spoke to you on the mountain from within the fire on the day of the assembly, and the Lord gave them to me.”

וָאֵפֶן וָאֵרֵד מִן־הָהָר וָאָשִׂם אֶת־הַלֻּחֹת בָּאָרֹון אֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתִי וַיִּהְיוּ שָׁם כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוַּנִי יְהוָה   10:5

Deut. 10:5     “Then I could turn and descend from the mountain and put the tablets into the ark that I had made, and they are there, as the Lord commanded me.”

So it seems that there was a wooden ark that the tablets were carried in for the first year until the Tabernacle was built.

In addition, three words in this verse contain first-person imperfect verbs with non-inverting vav prefixes.  They are the first, second, and fifth, translated respectively by me as Then I had to turn and descend, ..., and put.

וּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל נָסְעוּ מִבְּאֵרֹת בְּנֵי־יַעֲקָן מֹוסֵרָה שָׁם מֵת אַהֲרֹן וַיִּקָּבֵר שָׁם וַיְכַהֵן אֶלְעָזָר בְּנֹו תַּחְתָּיו   10:6

Deut. 10:6     And the children of Israel journeyed from Beeroth-bene-jaakan to Moserah; there Aaron died and was buried there; then Eleazar, his son, ministered as priest in his place.

מִשָּׁם נָסְעוּ הַגֻּדְגֹּדָה וּמִן־הַגֻּדְגֹּדָה יָטְבָתָה אֶרֶץ נַחֲלֵי מָיִם   10:7

Deut. 10:7     From there they journeyed to Gudgodah, and from Gudgodah to Jotbath, a land of brooks of water.

בָּעֵת הַהִוא הִבְדִּיל יְהוָה אֶת־שֵׁבֶט הַלֵּוִי לָשֵׂאת אֶת־אֲרֹון בְּרִית־יְהוָה לַעֲמֹד לִפְנֵי יְהוָה לְשָׁרְתֹו   10:8

וּלְבָרֵךְ בִּשְׁמֹו עַד הַיֹּום הַזֶּה

Deut. 10:8     At that time the Lord separated the tribe of Levi to bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to serve Him, and to bless in His name until this day.

Aaron was a son of Levi, and therefore of the tribe of Levi.  But the Lord separated him from the others of the tribe of Aaron to be the progenitor of the line of priests.

Verses 10:6 and 10:7 are certainly the scribe’s narrative and not Moses speaking.  But it’s difficult to classify this verse and v. 10:9.  In this verse the phrase “until this day” is ambiguous.  It could be Moses saying it or it could be the scribe narrating.  I’m inclined to believe it is the scribe narrating, because it doesn’t make a great deal of sense for Moses to have said it.  After all, in Moses’ time, the Levites had been charged with their ministry for somewhat less than 39 years.  See my remarks regarding v. 10:9.

עַל־כֵּן לֹא־הָיָה לְלֵוִי חֵלֶק וְנַחֲלָה עִם־אֶחָיו יְהוָה הוּא נַחֲלָתֹו כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לֹו   10:9

Deut. 10:9   Therefore there is no portion or inheritance for Levi with his brothers.  The Lord, He is his inheritance, as the Lord, your God, spoke to him.

If this is still the scribe narrating -- and I believe it is -- then the pronoun “him” at the end of the verse refers to Moses, not to Levi; we have not been told that the Lord had spoken to Levi about this.  This realization supports my belief that the scribe has inserted narrative at this point as opposed to continuing the description of Moses’ farewell speech to the children of Israel, which, incidentally, he resumes in v. 10:10 below.

וְאָנֹכִי עָמַדְתִּי בָהָר כַּיָּמִים הָרִאשֹׁנִים אַרְבָּעִים יֹום וְאַרְבָּעִים לָיְלָה וַיִּשְׁמַע יְהוָה אֵלַי גַּם בַּפַּעַם   10:10

הַהִוא לֹא־אָבָה יְהוָה הַשְׁחִיתֶךָ

Deut. 10:10   “So I stayed on the mountain, as the first time, forty days and forty nights, and the Lord hearkened to me again at that time; the Lord would not cause your destruction.”

וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֵלַי קוּם לֵךְ לְמַסַּע לִפְנֵי הָעָם וְיָבֹאוּ וְיִרְשׁוּ אֶת־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר־נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי לַאֲבֹתָם לָתֵת   10:11

לָהֶם

Deut. 10:11   “And the Lord said to me, ‘Arise, go to journey before the people so that they go in and possess the land that I swore to their fathers to give to them.’”

וְעַתָּה יִשְׂרָאֵל מָה יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ שֹׁאֵל מֵעִמָּךְ כִּי אִם־לְיִרְאָה אֶת־יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לָלֶכֶת בְּכָל־דְּרָכָיו   10:12

וּלְאַהֲבָה אֹתֹו וְלַעֲבֹד אֶת־יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּכָל־לְבָבְךָ וּבְכָל־נַפְשֶׁךָ

Deut. 10:12   “So now, Israel, what does the Lord, your God, require from you but only to revere 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,

לִשְׁמֹר אֶת־מִצְוֹת יְהוָה וְאֶת־חֻקֹּתָיו אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיֹּום לְטֹוב לָךְ   10:13

Deut. 10:13   to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes, about which I am commanding you today, for your own good?”

הֵן לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ הַשָּׁמַיִם וּשְׁמֵי הַשָּׁמָיִם הָאָרֶץ וְכָל־אֲשֶׁר־בָּהּ   10:14

Deut. 10:14   “Behold, for the Lord, your God, is the heavens and the heaven of heavens, the earth and all that is on it.”

In other words, the Lord is all the universe.  He is our purpose.  This is why we are to revere Him, to walk in His ways, to serve him, and to love Him with all our heart, soul, and might.

רַק בַּאֲבֹתֶיךָ חָשַׁק יְהוָה לְאַהֲבָה אֹותָם וַיִּבְחַר בְּזַרְעָם אַחֲרֵיהֶם בָּכֶם מִכָּל־הָעַמִּים כַּיֹּום הַזֶּה   10:15

Deut. 10:15   “Only in your fathers did the Lord have a delight to love them, and He chose their seed after them, you, out of all the peoples, as it is this day.”

This verse says something truly profound.  We are told here that the Lord loved only our ancestors, the patriarchs (and matriarchs?  And us?)  The Christian bible claims that God loves all, that He is Love.  The latter may be true, but according to this verse, the former is not true.  Christians have ignored this verse and its consequences.

וּמַלְתֶּם אֵת עָרְלַת לְבַבְכֶם וְעָרְפְּכֶם לֹא תַקְשׁוּ עֹוד   10:16

Deut. 10:16   “So you must circumcise the foreskin of your hearts, so your necks would not be stiff any more.”                                                                                             [Return to Deut. 30:6]

Wow!  What a command!  Circumcision is a painful process.  The circumcision of the heart is probably also painful, and likely to be more difficult.  We each have to perform this surgery on ourselves.  We need to delve into our heart and carve off a piece that rightfully belongs to the Lord.  We belong to the Lord!  We must acknowledge the Lord as our Father and Master, and walk in His way, the way that is provided in the Torah as it is applicable to us today.

כִּי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם הוּא אֱלֹהֵי הָאֱלֹהִים וַאֲדֹנֵי הָאֲדֹנִים הָאֵל הַגָּדֹל הַגִּבֹּר וְהַנֹּורָא אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יִשָּׂא   10:17

פָנִים וְלֹא יִקַּח שֹׁחַד

Deut. 10:17   “For the Lord is your God; He is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great God, mighty, and awesome, Who will not exalt persons and will not take a bribe,

                                                                                                                        [Return to Mala. 2:9]

עֹשֶׂה מִשְׁפַּט יָתֹום וְאַלְמָנָה וְאֹהֵב גֵּר לָתֶת לֹו לֶחֶם וְשִׂמְלָה   10:18

Deut. 10:18    executing judgment of orphan and widow, and loving the stranger, giving him food and raiment.”

וַאֲהַבְתֶּם אֶת־הַגֵּר כִּי־גֵרִים הֱיִיתֶם בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם   10:19

Deut. 10:19    “Therefore you must love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

                                                                                                                      [Return to Exod. 22:20]

אֶת־יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ תִּירָא אֹתֹו תַעֲבֹד וּבֹו תִדְבָּק וּבִשְׁמֹו תִּשָּׁבֵעַ   10:20

Deut. 10:20    “You shall revere the Lord, your God; you shall serve Him, and you shall cleave to Him, and you shall swear by His name.”

הוּא תְהִלָּתְךָ וְהוּא אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר־עָשָׂה אִתְּךָ אֶת־הַגְּדֹלֹת וְאֶת־הַנֹּורָאֹת הָאֵלֶּה אֲשֶׁר רָאוּ עֵינֶיךָ   10:21

Deut. 10:21   “He is your praise, and He is your God, Who has done with you these great and terrible things that your eyes have seen.”

בְּשִׁבְעִים נֶפֶשׁ יָרְדוּ אֲבֹתֶיךָ מִצְרָיְמָה וְעַתָּה שָׂמְךָ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ כְּכֹוכְבֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם לָרֹב   10:22

Deut. 10:22   “Your fathers went down to Egypt with seventy persons and now the Lord, your God, has made you like the stars of heaven in abundance.”

Torah Commandments in this Chapter

408. You shall circumcise the foreskin of your heart.    V. 10:16

409. You shall love the stranger.    V. 10:19

410. You shall revere the Lord.    V. 10:20

411. You shall cleave to the Lord.    V. 10:20

 

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