Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
Therefore thou shalt love the LORD thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, alway.Deuteronomy 11:1. Therefore] The conclusion of the preceding verses.
thou shalt love] See on Deuteronomy 6:5.
keep his charge] ‘Only here in Dt.; often in P (esp. Numbers), but usually in a technical sense, with genitive of the object to be kept, as Numbers 1:53; Numbers 3:28 : “Jehovah’s charge” (of a specific duty), Leviticus 8:35; Leviticus 18:30; Leviticus 22:9; Numbers 9:19; Numbers 9:23; in a more general sense, as here, Genesis 26:5 (JE); Joshua 22:3 (D2); 1 Kings 2:3 (Deut.)’ (Driver). There is therefore no conclusive proof that this v. is secondary. Yet the recurrence of a phrase so characteristic of P after another in the previous v. is significant.
statutes, judgements, commandments] See above.
And know ye this day: for I speak not with your children which have not known, and which have not seen the chastisement of the LORD your God, his greatness, his mighty hand, and his stretched out arm,2. And know ye] For this deuteronomic form see on Deuteronomy 7:9. Know what? The defective construction which follows leaves this obscure. Some suppose that in the course of his involved sentence the writer has forgotten the object of know as well as the verb which should govern your children (accus. case), and they translate, know that it is not with your children I speak, who have not known nor seen the discipline of Jehovah your God; and that the antithesis is reached in Deuteronomy 11:7, but that your own eyes, etc. It is, however, difficult to understand why by a solemn formula they should be called to recognise so obvious a distinction between themselves and their children. It seems preferable either to take the formula absolutely and by itself as A.V. and R.V. do, or with most commentators to read the discipline of Jehovah as the object of know and what comes between as a parenthesis. But whichever way the sentence is read the words I speak must be added.
the chastisement] ‘mûsâr denotes neither instruction (see on Deuteronomy 4:36) nor chastisement (though this may be included), but moral education or discipline (Gk. παιδεία) attended with greater (Proverbs 3:11; Job 5:17) or less severity (Proverbs 1:2; Proverbs 1:8; Proverbs 4:1) as the case may be: the sight of Jehovah’s wonders … ought to have exerted upon the Israelites a disciplinary influence, subduing waywardness and pride, promoting humility and reverence, and educating generally their moral and religious nature’ (Driver).
his greatness, his mighty hand, and his stretched out arm] See on Deuteronomy 3:24, Deuteronomy 5:24, Deuteronomy 9:26; and cp. Deuteronomy 4:34, greatness.
2–9. A Pl. section recalling God’s discipline of the very generation which is being addressed. The change from Sg. to Pl. has been explained on the logical ground that the speaker is no longer regarding the nation as a single whole, but is addressing the adult generation as individuals distinct from their children (Bertholet). This, of course, is possible. Yet the alternative supposition, that some other source is here used by the compiler, besides being probable from what we have seen in other cases of the change of address, receives some support from the broken construction of the opening sentence as though it were a bad joint. It is significant, too, that the resumption of the Pl. coincides as in Deuteronomy 9:8 to Deuteronomy 10:11 with a historical retrospect. On the one Sg. clause in the section see on Deuteronomy 11:8.
And his miracles, and his acts, which he did in the midst of Egypt unto Pharaoh the king of Egypt, and unto all his land;3. and his signs, and his works] See on Deuteronomy 4:34; cp. Deuteronomy 6:22, Deuteronomy 7:19.
And what he did unto the army of Egypt, unto their horses, and to their chariots; how he made the water of the Red sea to overflow them as they pursued after you, and how the LORD hath destroyed them unto this day;4. the Red Sea] On the Heb. name, probably Sea of Reeds or Sedge, see note to Exodus 13:18. On the passage of the sea, see Exodus 14. D does not mention it elsewhere than here; but see Deuteronomy 1:1; Deuteronomy 1:40.
destroyed them] This form of the verb, ’ibbed, found in D only here and in Deuteronomy 12:2-3, another Pl. passage. But both Sg. and Pl. use another form of the same verb.
And what he did unto you in the wilderness, until ye came into this place;5. unto this place] Deuteronomy 1:31.
And what he did unto Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben: how the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their households, and their tents, and all the substance that was in their possession, in the midst of all Israel:6. what he did unto Dathan and Abiram] The severity of God’s discipline was not only shown to Israel’s enemies, but in the midst of all Israel to rebellious Israelites. Without such a recollection, the description of that discipline, especially in view of the alarm it was fitted to inspire, would not be complete. This answers Steuern.’s argument that the verse is secondary, on the grounds that there was no reason to mention specially this one out of all the divine punishments inflicted on Israel, and that with the phrase in the midst of all Israel the people are not directly addressed, and that the form of the discourse is thus broken. On the contrary, as shown above, the phrase suits the speaker’s purpose, cp. Deuteronomy 17:4; Deuteronomy 17:7, Deuteronomy 23:16 (17). The event is described in Numbers 16, a passage compounded of JE and P (see Numbers in this series). This verse partly repeats the phraseology of JE, with some variations (e.g. a different verb for opened), cp. Numbers 16:1 b, Numbers 16:26-27 b (tents), Numbers 16:30 (all that appertained unto them), Numbers 16:32 a. And, like JE, D mentions Dathan and Abiram alone as the victims of the judgement. Instead of them P mentions Korah. This is another illustration of the consistency with which D follows JE, and was either ignorant of, or deliberately ignored P. It is interesting that Sam. adds to D’s statement ‘and all the men belonging to Korah.’
But your eyes have seen all the great acts of the LORD which he did.7. But your eyes are those that have seen] Cp. Deuteronomy 10:21 Sg.
all the great work] LXX works; cp. the deuteronomic passage, Jdg 2:7.
Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments which I command you this day, that ye may be strong, and go in and possess the land, whither ye go to possess it;8. On such recognition (Deuteronomy 11:2 But know ye) of the awful discipline of God the discourse now bases another of its many appeals to the people to observe the Law, with the usual promise of consequent benefits. That the appeal and promise are composed in the usual deuteronomic phrases is no ground, by itself, for considering that the verse is an editorial addition. (So Steuern., who finds the immediate continuation of Deuteronomy 11:7 in Deuteronomy 11:16.) Nor are the phrases all repetitions; that ye may be strong is new.
keep all the commandment] Again the Miṣwah of Deuteronomy 11:31 q.v., Deuteronomy 6:1 and Deuteronomy 7:11.
which I command thee this day] The one Sg. clause in the section. Sam. and LXX codd. A etc. have Pl., LXX cod. Vat. agrees with the Heb. Sg. It is a good illustration of how many are the possible explanations of these smaller and sporadic changes of address. Either the Sg. is a clerical error which has slipped into the Heb. text and is to be corrected by the Versions; or it is original, and the readings of these are harmonistic, as in A.V. Or, if the Sg. is the correct reading it may be either a mere inadvertence on the part of the original writer, or the clause may have been inserted by an editor with the echo of Deuteronomy 7:11 in his ear. This last seems to the present writer the most probable explanation. But any of the others is possible.
that ye may be strong, and go in] only here; cp. Deuteronomy 4:1, that ye may live and go in.
and go in and possess the land] Cp. the variation in the Sg. Deuteronomy 9:5, go in to possess their land.
whither ye go over to possess it] a phrase peculiar to Pl.; see on Deuteronomy 6:1.
And that ye may prolong your days in the land, which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give unto them and to their seed, a land that floweth with milk and honey.9. prolong your days] See on Deuteronomy 4:26.
which the Lord sware] See on Deuteronomy 1:8.
flowing with milk and honey] See above on Deuteronomy 6:3; and the note to Exodus 3:8.
For the land, whither thou goest in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs:10. whither thou goest in to possess it] The Sg. equivalent for the Pl. whither ye are crossing to possess it (Deuteronomy 11:8). Therefore the Pl. reading of Sam. and LXX codd. A etc., ye are going in, is probably not correct. But see next note.
from whence ye came out] This Pl. is confirmed by" the Versions. But with the preceding clause, whither thou goest in, &c., it may be a later addition. Neither is necessary, and indeed both rather break up the comparison which is the writer’s main theme for the time.
where thou sowedst thy seed] This information is novel. We are not told elsewhere that in Egypt Israel practised agriculture for themselves (thy seed). Yet even if they were confined to the land of Goshen (it is only J which affirms this), that land was partly fertile, and even a tribe of shepherds could hardly have refrained from the opportunities which it offered for the richer feeding of their cattle. P’s account of Israel in Egypt says that they multiplied so fast that the land was filled with them; and that when the Egyptians brought them under bondage this included all manner of service in the field (Exodus 1:7; Exodus 1:14).
wateredst it with thy foot] The exact reference is doubtful and has been variously explained: to the working of the shaduf or machine by which a bucket of water is lifted from the river bed to the fields above; to the working of water-wheels; and to the distribution of the water through the fields by many small channels in the soft mud, which was removed by the foot of the peasant to allow the water to pass and replaced to divert it (Manning, The Land of the Pharaohs, 1887, p. 31, cited by Driver, Deuteronomy 3 p. xxi). The use at the shaduf in ancient Egypt is illustrated on the monuments (for an example see Erman, Life in Anc. Egypt, 426); but the employment of the foot in working it, i.e. by pushing or keeping down the weight that balanced the bucket, though recorded, does not seem to be usual. Again, ‘water-wheels cannot be proved to have been known in ancient Egypt’ (W. M. Müller, art. ‘Egypt’ in E.B. col. 1226, n. 1); though Niebuhr saw one worked by the foot in Cairo, and named accordingly (Reisebeschreibung, i. p. 148, pl. xv.), and Robinson saw others in Palestine (B.R. ii. 351, iii. 21). The third explanation, the guidance of water by the foot of the peasant through the fields, seems therefore the most probable (cp. Conder on this method in Palestine, Tent Work in Palestine, 328); though W. M. Müller (loc. cit.) says ‘most probably “watering with the foot” means carrying water.’ (It ought not to be overlooked that the words with thy foot may also have been meant to qualify thou sowedst thy seed; in Egypt, however, it was animals who were employed for tramping the scattered seed into the soft mud, rams (Erman, 429) or pigs (Herodotus, ii. 14, Pliny, H.N. xviii. 47).) But to know the exact meaning of with thy foot is not necessary for the understanding of the writer. He is contrasting the laborious personal labour required in bringing water to the fields of rainless Egypt, which Erman describes even after a high Nile as incessant over a large part of the country, and as an arduous, servile business necessarily enforced upon the peasants by an anxious government, with the heaven’s own direct watering of the Palestine fields without any labour on the part of man. The contrast is, of course, not utter as the deuteronomist in his characteristic style describes it to have been (he himself immediately qualifies it by his reference to the garden of herbs, which in Palestine it was customary to water by channels, cp. Isaiah 1:30). Nevertheless it is in the main true that in Egypt the fields depended for water on human drudgery of the most arduous kind; in Palestine their watering was the direct boon of heaven, beyond man’s responsibility. In this connection Erman’s remarks (14) on the influence of the Egyptian landscape are relevant. The landscape is monotonous, not ‘calculated to awaken the inspiration of the soul; unconsciously the dweller in this country will become sober and prosaic, and his gods will be pale forms with whom he has no sympathy. In fact, the Egyptian peasant could scarcely understand a living personal relationship between the individual and the deity.… Thus the Egyptian grew up under conditions unfavourable to the development of his spiritual life, but such as would fortify his understanding and practical industry.’ And he contrasts the more vivid religious influences which the Greeks experienced from their landscapes—their mountains, forests, meadows and rains. This is virtually the same contrast as the deuteronomist here paints between the flat, rainless Egypt, and Palestine with its rains, hills and vales, and consequent springs. In the latter Israel would more easily feel the personal care of them by God Himself (Deuteronomy 11:12).
as a garden of herbs] 1 Kings 21:2; Proverbs 15:17. The inference is that the irrigation which in Palestine was only applied to special spots was universal in Egypt; see previous note.
10–15. Another picture of the blessings of the land, cp. Deuteronomy 6:10 ff., Deuteronomy 7:12 ff., Deuteronomy 8:7 ff.; all like this in the Sg. form of address. But this time we see the land under a new aspect: its contrast to the flat and rainless Egypt. The section illustrates well both what is obvious and what is obscure in the frequent transition of our Book from the one to the other of the two forms of address. For though it is mainly in the Sg., there are in the present text four interruptions by the Pl.: one in Deuteronomy 11:10 (the Versions add another), one in Deuteronomy 11:11, all Deuteronomy 11:13, and one in Deuteronomy 11:14. The following notes will show that while the last is only an apparent Pl, the Versions supplying a Sg., nearly all the others are clearly editorial expansions.
But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven:11. whither ye go over to possess it] This Pl. interruption is redundant even for the deuteronomic style (cp. 8 and 10) and unnecessary for the contrast which the writer is making: most probably editorial.
a land of hills and valleys] This, too, is essential to the writer’s contrast of the land with Egypt: for the configuration of the land (cp. Erman’s remarks on Egypt and Greece above) is not only utterly different from the flatness of Egypt, but affects the distribution of the rainfall, and is responsible for numerous springs (Deuteronomy 8:7).
According to the rain of heaven it drinketh water] So the emphatic order of the original.
A land which the LORD thy God careth for: the eyes of the LORD thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.12. a land which the Lord thy God careth for] lit. seeketh after. The verb is used both in the sense of resort to or frequent (Deuteronomy 12:5, with another construction, Amos 5:5), or investigate (Deuteronomy 13:14 (15), Deuteronomy 17:4, Deuteronomy 19:18), or to visit so as to care for (Jeremiah 30:14; Jeremiah 30:17; Job 3:4; Isaiah 62:12). The last is of course the meaning here: a land which is under the personal supervision and providence of God: constantly are the eyes of Jehovah thy God upon it from the beginning of the year and even to the end of the year. Such is the emphatic Heb. order.
And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto 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,13. The verse is not only in the Pl. and a repetition of certain formulas, but it also changes the speaker (my commandments can only mean God’s). It is evidently inserted by an editor (so too Steuern. and Bertholet) (who also altered the opening of the next verse, q.v.) because he thought it again necessary to safeguard the promise by repeating the usual deuteronomic condition. But the condition breaks into the theme of the writer which for the moment is only the contrast between the two lands. On the contents of the v. see on Deuteronomy 10:12.
That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil.14. that I will give the rain of your land] The Heb. text is evidently due to the same hand which inserted Deuteronomy 11:13, for it immediately follows that verse, and as evidently the original reading is that of Sam., LXX and Vulg. that he will give the rain to thy land, which connects with Deuteronomy 11:12.
in its season, etc.] The agricultural year in Palestine consisted of two seasons, a rainy and a dry. ‘Towards the end of October heavy rains begin to fall, at intervals, for a day or several days at a time. These are what the English Bible calls the early or former rain, Heb. yôreh, the pourer. It opens the agricultural year; the soil, hardened and cracked by the long summer, rainless since May, is loosened, and the farmer begins ploughing. Till the end of November the average rainfall is not large, but it increases through December, January and February, begins to abate in March, and is practically over by the end of April. The latter rains, Heb. malḳosh, from a root meaning to be late, are the heavy showers of March and April. Coming as they do when the grain is ripening, and being the last before the long summer drought, they are of far more importance to the country than all the rains of the winter months, and that is why these are so frequently passed over in Scripture, and emphasis is laid only on the early and latter rains1’ (HGHL, pp. 63, 64). The annual rainfall is considerable: at Jerusalem it averages over 25 inches, about the same as the annual rainfall in London. Whether it was more copious in ancient times is a question much debated. For this and other details see the present writer’s Jerusalem, i. 19, 77 f. The growth of the vine and olive depend, like the ripening of the corn, essentially on the latter rain; and the olive requires the rainless summer for the ripening of its berries (op. cit. 300).
 This has given people the idea that there are only two periods of rain in the Syrian year, at the vernal and the autumnal equinoxes; but the whole of the winter is the rainy season, as indeed we are told in the parallel lines of the Song of Songs: Lo the winter is past, the rain is over and gone (Deuteronomy 2:11).
And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full.15. And I will give] with Sam. and LXX B read he will give.
grass] rather, herbage (‘esĕb), including grass (dĕshĕ’); for cattle as here, Jeremiah 14:6, Psalm 106:20; but of human food, Genesis 3:18.
shalt eat and be full] Deuteronomy 6:11 (q.v.), Deuteronomy 8:10; Deuteronomy 8:12 as here, with Sg.
Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them;16, 17. The enjoyment of so much blessing in the land suggests, as usual (cp. Deuteronomy 6:14 f., Deuteronomy 8:19 f.), a warning against being deceived into attributing it to other gods, i.e. the Baalim, already regarded in the land as the authors of its fertility, and worshipping them. Whether this warning is from the same hand as the preceding vv. is difficult to determine. The fact that it is in the Pl. while they are in the Sg., and that it is not so necessary to their argument as it is to the context in Deuteronomy 6:14 f. and Deuteronomy 8:19 f., suggests here another hand. At the same time it is relevant to what precedes, and in Deuteronomy 11:17 directly attaches itself to that. Nor is it all compiled of formulas.
16. Take heed to yourselves] See on Deuteronomy 4:9; only here and Deuteronomy 4:23 with Pl.
lest your heart be deceived] So Job 31:27.
and ye turn aside] With both Sg. and Pl., see on Deuteronomy 13:5.
17. the anger of the Lord, etc.] See Deuteronomy 6:14 f., Deuteronomy 7:4.
and he shut up the heaven … fruit] These clauses found in D only here (but cp. Deuteronomy 28:23 f. and the deuteronomic 1 Kings 8:35). Fruit, rather produce, yebûl, found, save for Jdg 6:4, only in the later O.T. writings from Ezekiel (Ezekiel 34:27) and D onwards, cp. Deuteronomy 32:22. Thus not only in the climate of Palestine, blessed directly from heaven, but in its interruptions also Israel are to see the personal Providence of their God.
and ye perish quickly, etc.] So, with slight variations, Deuteronomy 4:26.
the good land] Deuteronomy 1:35.
And then the LORD'S wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you.
Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.18–25. The Pl. address is continued in a series of formulas, repeated with some variations from previous passages. The secondary nature of part of this section cannot be doubted. The emergence of the Sg. in Deuteronomy 11:19 shows that the passage is a quotation (slightly varied) of Deuteronomy 6:6-9; it has been partly adapted to the compiler’s Pl., while Deuteronomy 11:22 naturally follows on to Deuteronomy 11:17. The rest only partly repeats, and contains some matter peculiar to this section of Deut.
18–21. See on Deuteronomy 6:6-9. Besides the form of address, Sg. there, Pl. here, there are the following differences: Deuteronomy 6:6-9 has shall be upon thine heart, and wants and in your soul; takes next thou shalt teach them diligently to thy children (a more natural place and a sign of the originality of Deuteronomy 6:6-9), and wants Deuteronomy 11:21, which is repeated from other passages. See Deuteronomy 4:40, Deuteronomy 6:2, Deuteronomy 11:9. In Deuteronomy 11:19 read with Sam., LXX, in the house. Deuteronomy 11:18-21 break the connection: Deuteronomy 11:22 follows naturally on Deuteronomy 11:17.
21. as the days of the heavens above the earth] Not repeated in Deut.; the phrase is equivalent to for ever, cp. Psalm 89:29; Job 14:12. The eternity of the heavens was self-evident to primitive Israel, and for long it appeared that they could be shaken only by the appearance of God in His glory, 2 Samuel 22:8 (cp. Job 26:11). It was not till the later Apocalypse that the imagination became frequent of the passing away both of heaven and earth.
22. Repetitions of previous verses: diligently keep all this commandment, Deuteronomy 5:31, Deuteronomy 6:17 (the commandments), Deuteronomy 6:1, this is the commandment; to love, Deuteronomy 6:5; to walk, Deuteronomy 10:12; to cleave, Deuteronomy 10:20. To I command you, Sam., LXX add to-day.
23. drive out] Deuteronomy 4:38.
possess nations greater, etc.] Deuteronomy 9:1, but Sg.
24. whereon the sole of your foot shall tread] For the idiom see Deuteronomy 2:5; Joshua 1:3.
from the wilderness, and Lebanon] Joshua 1:4; perhaps we should read and unto Lebanon (Grätz, Dillm. and others).
and from the river, the river Euphrates] See on Deuteronomy 1:7.
unto the hinder sea] i.e. according to the Semitic orientation, the western sea, the Mediterranean. These limits are, of course, ideal, but observe how the promise is limited by the words every place whereon the sole of your foot shall tread.
25. There shall no man, etc.] So Deuteronomy 7:24, but Sg.
the fear of you and the dread of you] So Deuteronomy 2:25, but Sg.
And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates:
That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.
For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him;
Then will the LORD drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves.
Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be.
There shall no man be able to stand before you: for the LORD your God shall lay the fear of you and the dread of you upon all the land that ye shall tread upon, as he hath said unto you.
Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse;26–28. The summing up and clinching of the whole discourse, Deuteronomy 11:5-11 : a blessing to Israel if they obey the commandments of God, a curse if they do not obey but turn after other gods. Cp. Deuteronomy 30:1, as here, blessing and curse; Deuteronomy 11:15; Deuteronomy 11:19, life and death, good and evil.
27. if ye shall hearken, etc.] See Deuteronomy 7:12, Pl.; Deuteronomy 15:5, Deuteronomy 28:13, Sg.
28. turn aside] See Deuteronomy 11:16, Deuteronomy 9:12; Deuteronomy 9:16, Deuteronomy 13:5, Deuteronomy 31:29.
to go after other gods] Deuteronomy 6:14.
which ye have not known] See above on Deuteronomy 7:9, Deuteronomy 8:3.
A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day:
And a curse, if ye will not obey 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 ye have not known.
And it shall come to pass, when the LORD thy God hath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal.29–30. A return to the Sg. form of address, with phrases peculiar to that form (see Deuteronomy 6:10, Deuteronomy 7:1). Whether it is original here, or dependent on Deuteronomy 27:12 f. (cp. Joshua 8:33 f.), is doubtful.
29. shall bring thee unto the land, etc.] Song of Solomon 7:1, q.v.
the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal] The two most prominent hills on the Western Range, whether seen from the Mediterranean or from the E. of Jordan, on either side of what is not only the natural centre of Western Palestine, but the part most open to approach from E. Palestine. See the present writer’s HGHL, ch. vi., and pp. 335 ff. Gerizim lies to the S., or, according to Semitic orientation, the right hand and lucky quarter of the heavens; ‘Ebal on the N., the left or sinister quarter. But the visitor to the locality will also be struck by the sympathy between our verse and the contrasted aspects of the two hills as they face each other: the N. face of Gerizim, the mount of blessing, is the more fertile; the opposite face of ‘Ebal, the mount of curse, much the more bare.
30. A geographical gloss similar to those in Deuteronomy 1:2, and in chs. 2, 3, and introduced by are they not, as Deuteronomy 3:11.
beyond Jordan] True to the speaker’s position on the E. of Jordan, so Deuteronomy 3:20; Deuteronomy 3:25. Contrast, as untrue to the speaker’s position, Deuteronomy 3:8 (part of Moses’speech), Deuteronomy 1:1; Deuteronomy 1:5, Deuteronomy 4:46-47; Deuteronomy 4:49 (all titles), and Deuteronomy 4:41 (a historical fragment).
behind the way of the going down of the sun] Of doubtful meaning. Behind is, of course, west of (according to the orientation alluded to above). But what is the way? It has been understood by most as the great road traversing Western Palestine from N. to S., to the immediate west of which the two mountains lie (Dillm., who quotes Ritter, Erdkunde von Asien, xvi. 658 f. = Geog. of Pal. iv. 293 ff., Driver, Marti). Steuern. proposes, by the addition of one letter, to read west of it, i.e. the Jordan, and to translate the rest in the direction of the sunsetting; cp. the LXX ὀπίσω ὁδὸν (not ὁδοῦ) δυσμῶν ἡλίου ‘behind (it) towards the sunset.’ Such redundance is not uncharacteristic of the deuteronomic editors.
in the land of the Canaanites] Not D’s usual name for the inhabitants of the land; see on Deuteronomy 1:7.
which dwell in the Arabah] See on Deuteronomy 1:1 : the Jordan valley, not relevant to the position of ‘Ebal and Gerizim. The whole clause is very probably a still later addition, especially as the following clause connects naturally with that position. So, too, the Massoretic punctuation of the text implies.
over against Gilgal, beside the oaks of Moreh] The Gilgal, i.e. stone-circle. There were several places of this name W. of Jordan and still marked by Arabic forms of it (see ‘Gilgal’ in E. B. by the present writer): (1) One was the Gilgal near Jericho, and with this certain Rabbis, followed by Eusebius, Jerome, and a constant Christian tradition, have identified the Gilgal of our text. So, too, a number of modern commentators. Others, changing the punctuation, refer the words over against the Gilgal to the Canaanites which dwell in the ‘Arabah. (2) A second Gilgal lay on the Western Range above Bethel (2 Kings 2:1-8) and has been identified with the present Jiljilyeh seven miles N. of Bethel, which, though actually lower than Bethel, stands on a hill so bold and isolated that the phrase to go down thence to Bethel would not be inappropriate. This also has been identified with the Gilgal of our text, yet it is at a good distance from Gerizim and ‘Ebal, and stands in no definite relation to them. (3) Dillmann supposed some Gilgal near Shechem, and his hypothesis has been justified by the discovery of the name Juleijil (Ar. dimin. of Gilgal) on the plain one mile E. of the foot of Gerizim and 2½ miles SE. of Shechem. This suits the data of our passage (including the following oaks or terebinths of Moreh), and its claims have been defended in detail by Schlatter (Zur Topogr. u. Gesch. Palästinas, 246 ff.) and accepted by Buhl (Pal. 202 ff.); cp. the present writer in Critical Review, Oct. 1895, 346 ff., and art. ‘Gilgal’ in E.B.; and Driver, Deuteronomy 3 rd ed. (1901), p. xxi. In 1901 the present writer visited Juleijil, and a thorough examination of the site convinced him that it is the Gilgal of our text. A hill, some two hundred feet high, rises from the Makhneh plain just opposite the valley between Gerizim and ‘Ebal. The trace of a broad winding road leads to the summit, which is covered with ancient remains, including those of a large stone-circle composed of huge blocks. There is no more suitable site for a sanctuary in all W. Palestine. Cp. G. Hölscher, ZDPV, xxxiii. 102 f.
beside the oaks of Moreh] Read, with Sam. and LXX, the oak. The oak or terebinth of Moreh, ‘the Revealer,’ takes us back to Abraham, who found it here by Shechem and built an altar, Genesis 12:6 (J), from which the above mention of the Canaanites (it is J’s word for the inhabitants of the land) may have been derived by the annotating editor. On trees, as impressing especially the nomads of the treeless desert with their speaking and oracular powers, see on Deuteronomy 12:2 and the present writer’s Early Poetry of Israel, 32 f.
Are they not on the other side Jordan, by the way where the sun goeth down, in the land of the Canaanites, which dwell in the champaign over against Gilgal, beside the plains of Moreh?
For ye shall pass over Jordan to go in to possess the land which the LORD your God giveth you, and ye shall possess it, and dwell therein.31–32. Resumption of the Pl. form of address; either an editorial addition to mark the transition to the actual laws which begin with Deuteronomy 12:1, or the close of an original introduction, in the Pl., to the Code. The former is the more probable as the vv. are compounded of phrases characteristic both of the Sg. and the Pl. forms of address.
31. For ye are about to pass over Jordan] A Pl. phrase; see on Deuteronomy 4:14, Deuteronomy 6:1.
to go in to possess the land] Mainly a Sg. phrase; see on Deuteronomy 6:1.
which the Lord your God is about to give you.
32. and ye shall observe to do] Deuteronomy 5:32, etc.
all the statutes and the judgements] See on Deuteronomy 5:31.
And ye shall observe to do all the statutes and judgments which I set before you this day.