Deuteronomy 6:18
And you shall do that which is right and good in the sight of the LORD: that it may be well with you, and that you may go in and possess the good land which the LORD swore to your fathers.
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(18) And that thou mayest go in and possess.—This should be taken with what follows, “Possess,” so as “to cast out all thine enemies from before thee” (Deuteronomy 6:19). There was no question now whether Israel should pass the Jordan; but how far the conquest of Canaan would be completed, or within what period of time, depended upon their faithfulness to His decrees. That it was delayed by their disobedience is clear from Judges 2:20-23.

6:17-25 Moses gives charge to keep God's commandments. Negligence will ruin us; but we cannot be saved without diligence. It is our interest, as well as our duty, to be religious. It will be our life. Godliness has the promise of the continuance and comfort of the life that now is, as far as it is for God's glory. It will be our righteousness. It is only through the Mediator we can be righteous before God. The knowledge of the spirituality and excellency of the holy law of God, is suited to show sinful man his need of a Saviour, and to prepare his heart to welcome a free salvation. The gospel honours the law, not only in the perfect obedience of the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ; but in that it is a plan for bringing back apostate rebels and enemies, by repentance, faith, forgiveness, and renewing grace, to love God above all things, even in this world; and in the world above, to love him perfectly, even as angels love him.The command "to swear by His Name" is not inconsistent with the Lord's injunction Matthew 5:34, "Swear not at all." Moses refers to legal swearing, our Lord to swearing in common conversation. It is not the purpose of Moses to encourage the practice of taking oaths, but to forbid that, when taken, they should be taken in any other name than that of Israel's God. The oath involves an invocation of Deity, and so a solemn recognition of Him whose Name is made use of in it. Hence, it comes especially within the scope of the commandment Moses is enforcing.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.

Not that which is right in thine own eyes, as many superstitious and sinful practices seem right and good to evil-minded men. Let God’s will and word, and not thine own fancy or invention, be thy rule in God’s service. Good actions are oft said to be right in God’s sight, as Jeremiah 34:15 Acts 4:19; and evil actions are oft said to be right in our own eyes, as Deu 12:8 Judges 17:6. And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord,.... And what is such appears from the declaration of his mind and will in the commandments he has given, and obeying which is therefore doing what is right and good; for his commandment is holy, just, and good, being agreeable both to his nature and will, Romans 7:12 that it may be well with thee; as it is with those that fear God, and keep his commandments:

and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers; to give to them and to their posterity, even the land of Canaan; but if they did not what was right and good in the sight of God, they might expect to be kept out of it, as their immediate parents were, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness.

And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the {h} sight of the LORD: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the LORD swore to thy fathers,

(h) Here he condemns all of man's good intentions.

18. do that which is right, etc.] Cp. Deuteronomy 12:25.

mayest go in and possess] See above on Deuteronomy 6:1.

18, 19. Resumption of the Sg. address; in spite of this the originality of these verses also has been doubted. It is at least curious that we have in them the divine name alone without the addition thy God, characteristic of D."House of bondage," as in Exodus 13:3. "Not forgetting" is described from a positive point of view, as fearing God, serving Him, and swearing by His name. Fear is placed first, as the fundamental characteristic of the Israelitish worship of God; it was no slavish fear, but simply the holy awe of a sinner before the holy God, which includes love rather than excludes it. "Fearing" is a matter of the heart; "serving," a matter of working and striving; and "swearing in His name," the practical manifestation of the worship of God in word and conversation. It refers not merely to a solemn oath before a judicial court, but rather to asseverations on oath in the ordinary intercourse of life, by which the religious attitude of a man involuntarily reveals itself.
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