Deuteronomy 6:2
That you might fear the LORD your God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, you, and your son, and your son's son, all the days of your life; and that your days may be prolonged.
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6:1-3 In this and the like passages, the commandments seem to denote the moral law, the statues the ceremonial law, and the judgments the law by which the judges decided. Moses taught the people all that, and that only, which God commanded him to teach. Thus Christ's ministers are to teach his churches all he has commanded, neither more nor less, Mt 28:20. The fear of God in the heart will be the most powerful principle of obedience. It is highly desirable that not we only, but our children, and our children's children, may fear the Lord. Religion and righteousness advance and secure the prosperity of any people.Moses proceeds to set forth more particularly and to enforce the cardinal and essential doctrines of the Decalogue, the nature and attributes of God, and the fitting mode of honoring and worshipping Him. Two objects are indicated Deuteronomy 6:2-3, the glory of God and the welfare of man, as the grand aims that he has in view. 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.

That thou mightest fear the Lord, which he hereby implies to be the first principle of true obedience. That thou mightest fear the Lord thy God,.... Being taught to know the greatness of his being, and the nature of his mind and will, and the manner of his worship; and not with a slavish fear, but with a filial one, a reverential affection for God; being instructed in their duty, as of children, to their God and Father; see Deuteronomy 5:29.

to keep all his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee; not in his own name, but in the name, and by the authority of God, whose minister and messenger he was; and all, having the stamp of divine authority on them, were to be observed and kept, and not one to be neglected or departed from:

thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; a man and his children, and grandchildren; he was to take care that they kept all the commandments of the Lord as long as he lived, and had any concern with them:

and that thy days may be prolonged; long life being reckoned a very great outward mercy; a long enjoyment of, and continuance in the land of Canaan, is chiefly designed, which is usually expressed when this is observed; see Deuteronomy 4:26.

That thou mayest {a} fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.

(a) A reverent face and love for God is the first beginning to keeping God's commandments.

2. fear Jehovah thy God] Deuteronomy 10:12; Deuteronomy 10:20.

all his statutes and his commandments] Note the variation from Deuteronomy 6:1.

which I command thee] am about to command thee.

that thy days may be prolonged] See on Deuteronomy 5:33.

2, 3. Transition to the Sg. with a somewhat loose accumulation of common deuteronomic formulas; on these grounds regarded by some as an editorial addition. This is not certain, but very probable. Omit Deuteronomy 6:2-3, and Deuteronomy 6:4 follows naturally on Deuteronomy 6:1 as the beginning of the Miṣwah, but couched, like the Decalogue in ch. 5, in the Sg. At the same time all of Deuteronomy 6:2-3 need not be editorial. Note that the one Pl. clause they contain is not a common formula.Verse 2. - The reason for this announcement of the Law was that the people might fear the Lord, so as to keep all that he enjoined, they and their children, from generation to generation, and that they might thereby continue long in life, and in the enjoyment of the advantages accruing from the land of which they were about to take possession. Deuteronomy 5:24-27 contain a rhetorical, and at the same time really a more exact, account of the events described in Exodus 20:18-20 (15-17). ואתּ (Deuteronomy 5:24), a contraction of ואתּה, as in Numbers 11:15 (cf. Ewald, 184, a.). Jehovah's reply to the words of the people (Deuteronomy 5:28-31) is passed over in Exodus 20. God approved of what the people said, because it sprang from a consciousness of the unworthiness of any sinner to come into the presence of the holy God; and He added, "Would that there were always this heart in them to fear Me," i.e., would that they were always of the same mind to fear Me and keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and their children for ever. He then directed the people to return to their tents, and appointed Moses as the mediator, to whom He would address all the law, that he might teach it to the people (cf. Deuteronomy 4:5). Having been thus entreated by the people to take the office of mediator, and appointed to that office by the Lord, Moses could very well bring his account of these events to a close (Deuteronomy 5:32, Deuteronomy 5:33), by exhorting them to observe carefully all the commandments of the Lord, and not to turn aside to the right hand or to the left, i.e., not to depart in any way from the mode of life pointed out in the commandments (cf. Deuteronomy 17:11, Deuteronomy 17:20; Deuteronomy 28:14; Joshua 1:7, etc.), that it might be well with them, etc. (cf. Deuteronomy 4:40). וטוב, perfect with ו rel. instead of the imperfect.
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