Deuteronomy 10:20
Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name.
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(20) Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God; him shalt thou serve.—In the New Testament, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” It was our Lord’s last answer to the tempter in the wilderness. The order of the Hebrew gives the emphasis. “Jehovah thy God shalt thou fear, Him shalt thou serve, and to Him shalt thou cleave;” “and (adds Rashi) after all these qualities are established in thee, then thou shalt swear by His name.” At least His name would not be profaned in such a case.

Deuteronomy 10:20-21. To him shalt thou cleave — With firm confidence, true affection, and constant obedience. He is thy praise — The object and matter of thy praise, as Exodus 15:2. It is thy greatest honour to belong to him, to be his subject and servant, his child and spouse, and it should be thy chief duty and delight to praise and glorify him.

10:12-22 We are here taught our duty to God in our principles and our practices. We must fear the Lord our God. We must love him, and delight in communion with him. We must walk in the ways in which he has appointed us to walk. We must serve him with all our heart and soul. What we do in his service we must do cheerfully, and with good will. We must keep his commandments. There is true honour and pleasure in obedience. We must give honour to God; and to him we must cleave, as one we love and delight in, trust in, and from whom we have great expectations. We are here taught our duty to our neighbour. God's common gifts to mankind oblige us to honour all men. And those who have themselves been in distress, and have found mercy with God, should be ready to show kindness to those who are in the like distress. We are here taught our duty to ourselves. Circumcise your hearts. Cast away all corrupt affections and inclinations, which hinder you from fearing and loving God. By nature we do not love God. This is original sin, the source whence our wickedness proceeds; and the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be; so then they that are in the flesh cannot please God, Ro 8:5-9. Let us, without delay or reserve, come and cleave to our reconciled God in Jesus Christ, that we may love, serve, and obey him acceptably, and be daily changed into his image, from glory to glory, by the Spirit of the Lord. Consider the greatness and glory of God; and his goodness and grace; these persuade us to our duty. Blessed Spirit! Oh for thy purifying, persevering, and renewing influences, that being called out of the state of strangers, such as our fathers were, we may be found among the number of the children of God, and that our lot may be among the saints.On "circumcision" see Genesis 17:10. This verse points to the spiritual import of circumcision. Man is by nature "very far gone from original righteousness," and in a state of enmity to God; by circumcision, as the sacrament of admission to the privileges of the chosen people, this opposition must be taken away ere man could enter into covenant with God. It was through the flesh that man first sinned; as it is also in the flesh, its functions, lusts, etc., that man's rebellion against God chiefly manifests itself still. It was fitting therefore that the symbol which should denote the removal of this estrangement from God should be worked in the body. Moses then fitly follows up the command "to circumcise the heart," with the warning "to be no more stiff-necked." His meaning is that they should lay aside that obduracy and perverseness toward God for which he had been reproving them, which had led them into so many transgressions of the covenant and revolts from God, and which was especially the very contrary of that love and fear of God required by the first two of the Ten Commandments. The language associated with circumcision in the Bible distinguishes the use made of this rite in the Jewish religion from that found among certain pagan nations. Circumcision was practiced by some of them as a religious rite, designed (e. g.) to appease the deity of death who was supposed to delight in human suffering; but not by any, the Egyptians probably excepted, at all in the Jewish sense and meaning.

The grounds on which circumcision was imposed as essential by the Law are the same as those on which Baptism is required in the Gospel. The latter in the New Testament is strictly analogous to the former under the Old; compare Colossians 2:11-12.

16. Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart—Here he teaches them the true and spiritual meaning of that rite, as was afterwards more strongly urged by Paul (Ro 2:25, 29), and should be applied by us to our baptism, which is "not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God" [1Pe 3:21]. To him shalt thou cleave, with firm confidence, true affection, and constant attendance and obedience.

Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God,.... Which includes the whole worship of him, external and internal:

him shalt thou serve; heartily and sincerely, according to his revealed will, and him only:

and to him shall thou cleave; and not turn aside to follow other gods, and worship them:

and swear by his name; and his only, whenever it is necessary to take an oath, which should not be done rashly or on trivial accounts; and never by any creature, but by the living God; see Deuteronomy 6:13.

Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and {i} swear by his name.

(i) Read De 6:13.

20. See on Deuteronomy 6:13, which this repeats (with LXX, Sam., read, as there, and him) but adds another clause,

and to him shalt thou cleave] This verb dabaḳ is used in J of close and warm affection from man to woman (Genesis 2:24; Genesis 34:3), and in J and D of the adhesion of evil (Genesis 19:19; Deuteronomy 13:17 (18) of the devoted thing, Deuteronomy 28:21; Deuteronomy 28:60 of diseases). It is not applied to the relation of Israel to God in the Pent, except in D, Deuteronomy 10:20, Deuteronomy 11:22, Deuteronomy 13:4 (5), Deuteronomy 30:20, in which passages it is combined with some or other of the verbs love, fear, obey, serve, walk after. In Deuteronomy 4:4 the adj. dabeḳ is used by itself. Cp. deuteronomic passages in Joshua 22:5; Joshua 23:8.

Verse 20. - Reverting to his main theme, Moses anew exhorts Israel to fear Jehovah their God, and to show true reverence to him by serving him, by cleaving to him, and by swearing in his Name (cf. Deuteronomy 4:4; Deuteronomy 6:13; Acts 11:23). Such reverence was due from Israel to God, because of the great things he had done for them, and those terrible acts by which his mighty power had been displayed on their behalf. Deuteronomy 10:20After laying down the fundamental condition of a proper relation towards God, Moses describes the fear of God, i.e., true reverence of God, in its threefold manifestation, in deed (serving God), in heart (cleaving to Him; cf. Deuteronomy 4:4), and with the mouth (swearing by His name; cf. Deuteronomy 6:13). Such reverence as this Israel owed to its God; for "He is thy praise, and He is thy God" (Deuteronomy 10:21). He has given thee strong inducements to praise. By the great and terrible things which thine eyes have seen, He has manifested Himself as God to thee. "Terrible things" are those acts of divine omnipotence, which fill men with fear and trembling at the majesty of the Almighty (cf. Exodus 15:11). אתּך עשׂה, "done with thee," i.e., shown to thee (את in the sense of practical help).
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