Deuteronomy 6:9
And you shall write them on the posts of your house, and on your gates.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
6:6-16 Here are means for maintaining and keeping up religion in our hearts and houses. 1. Meditation. God's words must be laid up in our hearts, that our thoughts may be daily employed about them. 2. The religious education of children. Often repeat these things to them. Be careful and exact in teaching thy children. Teach these truths to all who are any way under thy care. 3. Pious discourse. Thou shalt talk of these things with due reverence and seriousness, for the benefit not only of thy children, but of thy servants, thy friends and companions. Take all occasions to discourse with those about thee, not of matters of doubtful disputation, but of the plain truths and laws of God, and the things that belong to our peace. 4. Frequent reading of the word. God appointed them to write sentences of the law upon their walls, and in scrolls of parchment to be worn about their wrists. This seems to have been binding in the letter of it to the Jews, as it is to us in the intent of it; which is, that we should by all means make the word of God familiar to us; that we may have it ready to use upon all occasions, to restrain us from sin, and direct us in duty. We must never be ashamed to own our religion, nor to own ourselves under its check and government. Here is a caution not to forget God in a day of prosperity and plenty. When they came easily by the gift, they would be apt to grow secure, and unmindful of the Giver. Therefore be careful, when thou liest safe and soft, lest thou forget the Lord. When the world smiles, we are apt to make court to it, and expect our happiness in it, and so we forget Him who is our only portion and rest. There is need of great care and caution at such a time. Then beware; being warned of your danger, stand upon your guard. Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God; neither by despairing of his power and goodness, while we keep in the way of our duty; nor by presuming upon it, when we turn aside out of that way.By adopting and regulating customary usages (e. g. Egyptian) Moses provides at once a check on superstition and a means of keeping the Divine Law in memory. On the "frontlets," the "phylacteries" of the New Test. Matthew 23:5, see Exodus 13:16. On Deuteronomy 6:9; Deuteronomy 11:20 is based the Jewish usage of the mezuzah. This word denotes properly a door-post, as it is rendered here and in Exodus 12:7, Exodus 12:22; Exodus 21:6 etc. Among the Jews however, it is the name given to the square piece of parchment, inscribed with Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Deuteronomy 11:13-21, which is rolled up in a small cylinder of wood or metal, and affixed to the right-hand post of every door in a Jewish house. The pious Jew touches the mezuzah on each occasion of passing, or kisses his finger, and speaks Psalm 121:8 in the Hebrew language. CHAPTER 6

De 6:1-25. Moses Exhorts Israel to Hear God and to Keep His Commandments.

1-9. Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them … whither ye go to possess it—The grand design of all the institutions prescribed to Israel was to form a religious people, whose national character should be distinguished by that fear of the Lord their God which would ensure their divine observance of His worship and their steadfast obedience to His will. The basis of their religion was an acknowledgment of the unity of God with the understanding and the love of God in the heart (De 6:4, 5). Compared with the religious creed of all their contemporaries, how sound in principle, how elevated in character, how unlimited in the extent of its moral influence on the heart and habits of the people! Indeed, it is precisely the same basis on which rests the purer and more spiritual form of it which Christianity exhibits (Mt 22:37; Mr 12:30; Lu 10:27). Moreover, to help in keeping a sense of religion in their minds, it was commanded that its great principles should be carried about with them wherever they went, as well as meet their eyes every time they entered their homes. A further provision was made for the earnest inculcation of them on the minds of the young by a system of parental training, which was designed to associate religion with all the most familiar and oft-recurring scenes of domestic life. It is probable that Moses used the phraseology in De 6:7 merely in a figurative way, to signify assiduous, earnest, and frequent instruction; and perhaps he meant the metaphorical language in De 6:8 to be taken in the same sense also. But as the Israelites interpreted it literally, many writers suppose that a reference was made to a superstitious custom borrowed from the Egyptians, who wore jewels and ornamental trinkets on the forehead and arm, inscribed with certain words and sentences, as amulets to protect them from danger. These, it has been conjectured, Moses intended to supersede by substituting sentences of the law; and so the Hebrews understood him, for they have always considered the wearing of the Tephilim, or frontlets, a permanent obligation. The form was as follows: Four pieces of parchment, inscribed, the first with Ex 13:2-10; the second with Ex 13:11-16; the third with De 6:1-8; and the fourth with De 11:18-21, were enclosed in a square case or box of tough skin, on the side of which was placed the Hebrew letter (shin), and bound round the forehead with a thong or ribbon. When designed for the arms, those four texts were written on one slip of parchment, which, as well as the ink, was carefully prepared for the purpose. With regard to the other usage supposed to be alluded to, the ancient Egyptians had the lintels and imposts of their doors and gates inscribed with sentences indicative of a favorable omen [Wilkinson]; and this is still the case, for in Egypt and other Mohammedan countries, the front doors of houses (in Cairo, for instance) are painted red, white, and green, bearing conspicuously inscribed upon them such sentences from the Koran, as "God is the Creator," "God is one, and Mohammed is his prophet." Moses designed to turn this ancient and favorite custom to a better account and ordered that, instead of the former superstitious inscriptions, there should be written the words of God, persuading and enjoining the people to hold the laws in perpetual remembrance.

No text from Poole on this verse. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thine house, and on thy gates. To put them in mind of them when they went out and came in, that they might be careful to observe them; this the Jews take literally also, and write in a scroll of parchment this section with some passages; and, as the Targum of Jonathan here, fix them in three places, over against the bed chamber, upon the posts of the house, and on the gate at the right hand of it; and this is what they call the Mezuzah; and the account given of it is this. In a parchment prepared for the purpose, they write the words in Deuteronomy 6:4 and then roll up the parchment, and write on it "Shaddai"; and put it either into a cane (or reed), or else into a like hollow piece of wood, and so fasten it to the wall on the posts of the door at the right hand of entrance; and thus, as often as they go in and out, they make it a part of their devotion to touch this parchment, and kiss it (t).

(t) Buxtorf. Synag. Jud. c. 31. p. 582, &c. Leo Modena's History of the Rites and Customs of the Jews, par. 1. c. 2. p. 5, 6.

And thou shalt write them upon the {d} posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

(d) That when you enter in you may remember them.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
9. door posts] It was the custom of the ancient Egyptians to inscribe on lintels and door-posts sentences of good omen (Wilkinson-Birch, Anc. Egyptians2, i. 361 f.); but we are not to infer that it was thence derived by the Hebrews (Driver), for it was the custom too in the Semitic world (for two inscribed tablets from Assyria in Brit. Mus. see King, Z.A. 11:50) and prevails among modern Egyptians (Lane, Mod. Egypt. ed. 1896, 262 f.), and among the fellahin of Ḥauran, who in their belief in the magical efficacy of the written word will place the most inappropriate ancient Greek inscriptions (tombstones and the like) above or beside their doors, sometimes upside down! Later Jews have given the name mezuzah (= door-post) to the small metal box or skin-bag containing the above inscription and hung on the right-hand door-post inside. As he enters the pious Jew touches or salutes it (Driver, i. l.). It is not necessary to interpret even this verse in so literal a sense (Driver); even this the deuteronomist may have intended to be metaphorical (Marti in Kautzsch’s Heil. Schr. des A. T.).The maintenance of the fear of God would bring prosperity, and the increase of the nation promised to the fathers. In form this thought is not connected with Deuteronomy 6:3 as the apodosis, but it is appended to the leading thought in Deuteronomy 6:1 by the words "Hear therefore, O Israel!" which correspond to the expression "to teach you" in Deuteronomy 6:1. אשׁר, that, in order that (as in Deuteronomy 2:25; Deuteronomy 4:10, etc.). The increase of the nation had been promised to the patriarchs from the very first (Genesis 12:1; cf. Leviticus 26:9). - On "milk and honey," see at Exodus 3:8.
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