The Lord’s Provision in the Desert
1 You must keep carefully all these commandmentstn The singular term (מִצְוָה, mitsvah) includes the whole corpus of covenant stipulations, certainly the book of Deuteronomy at least (cf. Deut 5:28; 6:1, 25; 7:11; 11:8, 22; 15:5; 17:20; 19:9; 27:1; 30:11; 31:5). The plural (מִצְוֹת, mitsot) refers to individual stipulations (as in vv. 2, 6). I am givingtn Heb “commanding” (so NASB). For stylistic reasons, to avoid redundancy, “giving” has been used in the translation (likewise in v. 11). you today so that you may live, increase in number,tn Heb “multiply” (so KJV, NASB, NLT); NIV, NRSV “increase.” and go in and occupy the land that the Lord promised to your ancestors.tn Heb “fathers” (also in vv. 16, 18).
2 Remember the whole way by which hetn Heb “the Lord your God.” The pronoun has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons. has brought you these forty years through the deserttn Or “wilderness” (so KJV, NRSV, NLT); likewise in v. 15. so that he might, by humbling you, test you to see if you have it within you to keep his commandments or not.
3 So he humbled you by making you hungry and then feeding you with unfamiliar manna.tn Heb “manna which you and your ancestors did not know.” By popular etymology the word “manna” comes from the Hebrew phrase מָן הוּא (man hu’), i.e., “What is it?” (Exod 16:15). The question remains unanswered to this very day. Elsewhere the material is said to be “white like coriander seed” with “a taste like honey cakes” (Exod 16:31; cf. Num 11:7). Modern attempts to associate it with various desert plants are unsuccessful for the text says it was a new thing and, furthermore, one that appeared and disappeared miraculously (Exod 16:21-27). He did this to teach youtn Heb “in order to make known to you.” In the Hebrew text this statement is subordinated to what precedes, resulting in a very long sentence in English. The translation makes this statement a separate sentence for stylistic reasons. that humankindtn Heb “the man,” but in a generic sense, referring to the whole human race (“mankind” or “humankind”). cannot live by breadtn The Hebrew term may refer to “food” in a more general sense (cf. CEV). alone, but also by everything that comes from the Lord’s mouth.sn Jesus quoted this text to the devil in the midst of his forty-day fast to make the point that spiritual nourishment is incomparably more important than mere physical bread (Matt 4:4; cf. Luke 4:4).
4 Your clothing did not wear out nor did your feet swell all these forty years.
5 Be keenly aware that just as a parent disciplines his child,tn Heb “just as a man disciplines his son.” The Hebrew text reflects the patriarchal idiom of the culture. the Lord your God disciplines you.
6 So you must keep histn Heb “the commandments of the Lord your God.” The pronoun has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons to avoid redundancy. commandments, live according to his standards,tn Heb “by walking in his ways.” The “ways” of the Lord refer here to his moral standards as reflected in his commandments. The verb “walk” is used frequently in the Bible (both OT and NT) for one’s moral and ethical behavior. and revere him.
7 For the Lord your God is bringing you to a good land, a land of brooks,tn Or “wadis.” springs, and fountains flowing forth in valleys and hills,
8 a land of wheat, barley, vines, fig trees, and pomegranates, of olive trees and honey,
9 a land where you may eat foodtn The Hebrew term may refer to “food” in a more general sense (cf. NASB, NCV, NLT) or “bread” in particular (cf. NAB, NIV, NRSV). in plenty and find no lack of anything, a land whose stones are ironsn A land whose stones are iron. Since iron deposits are few and far between in Palestine, the reference here is probably to iron ore found in mines as opposed to the meteorite iron more commonly known in that area. and from whose hills you can mine copper.
10 You will eat your fill and then praise the Lord your God because of the good land he has given you.
Exhortation to Remember That Blessing Comes from God
11 Be sure you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments, ordinances, and statutes that I am giving you today.
12 When you eat your fill, when you build and occupy good houses,
13 when your cattle and flocks increase, when you have plenty of silver and gold, and when you have abundance of everything,
14 be suretn The words “be sure” are not in the Hebrew text; vv. 12-14 are part of the previous sentence. For stylistic reasons a new sentence was started at the beginning of v. 12 in the translation and the words “be sure” repeated from v. 11 to indicate the connection. you do not feel self-important and forget the Lord your God who brought you from the land of Egypt, the place of slavery,
15 and who brought you through the great, fearful desert of venomous serpentstn Heb “flaming serpents”; KJV, NASB “fiery serpents”; NAB “saraph serpents.” This figure of speech (metonymy) probably describes the venomous and painful results of snakebite. The feeling from such an experience would be like a burning fire (שָׂרָף, saraf). and scorpions, an arid place with no water. He made water flowtn Heb “the one who brought out for you water.” In the Hebrew text this continues the preceding sentence, but the translation begins a new sentence here for stylistic reasons. from a flint rock and
16 fed you in the desert with manna (which your ancestors had never before known) so that he might by humbling you test youtn Heb “in order to humble you and in order to test you.” See 8:2. and eventually bring good to you.
17 Be carefultn For stylistic reasons a new sentence was started at the beginning of v. 17 in the translation and the words “be careful” supplied to indicate the connection. not to say, “My own ability and skilltn Heb “my strength and the might of my hand.” have gotten me this wealth.”
18 You must remember the Lord your God, for he is the one who gives ability to get wealth; if you do this he will confirm his covenant that he made by oath to your ancestors,tc Smr and Lucian add “Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,” the standard way of rendering this almost stereotypical formula (cf. Deut 1:8; 6:10; 9:5, 27; 29:13; 30:20; 34:4). The MT’s harder reading presumptively argues for its originality, however. even as he has to this day.
19 Now if you forget the Lord your God at alltn Heb “if forgetting, you forget.” The infinitive absolute is used for emphasis; the translation indicates this with the words “at all” (cf. KJV). and follow other gods, worshiping and prostrating yourselves before them, I testify to you today that you will surely be annihilated.
20 Just like the nations the Lord is about to destroy from your sight, so he will do to youtn Heb “so you will perish.” because you would not obey him.tn Heb “listen to the voice of the Lord your God.” The pronoun has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons to avoid redundancy.