Deuteronomy 6:5
And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
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(5) With all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.—The word “heart” has been taken both as “thought” and “affection.” Hence, perhaps, the four terms, “heart, mind, soul, and strength,” which we find in St. Mark 12:30. Bashi says upon the expression “all thy heart”—“with both natures” (the good and evil nature). “With all thy soul” he expounds thus: “Even though He take it (thy life) from thee.” And “with all thy might” he paraphrases in a truly practical and characteristic fashion, “With all thy money, for you sometimes find a man whose money is dearer to him than his life (or body).” Or, as an alternative, “in every condition which He allots to thee, whether prosperity or chastisement. And so He says in David, ‘I will take the cup of salvation (deliverances), and I will call on the name of the Lord’ (Psalm 116:13); and again. ‘I shall find trouble and heaviness, and I will call on the name of the Lord’” (Deuteronomy 6:3-4.) It is an interesting illustration of the passage, though the verbal connection on which it is based will not hold.

Deuteronomy 6:5. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart — And is this only an external commandment? Can any then say that the Sinai covenant was merely external? With all thy heart — It is not only the external action, but the internal affection of the mind that God requires; an affection which influences all our actions, in secret as well as in public. We must love him,

1st, With a sincere love; not in words and in tongue only; saying that we love him, when our hearts are not with him; but inwardly, and in truth, delighting ourselves with him. 2d, With a strong love; the heart must be carried out toward him, with great ardour and fervency of affection. 3d, With a superlative love; we must love God above any creature whatsoever, and love nothing besides him, but what we love for him, and in subordination to him. 4th, With an intelligent love, or with all our understanding, as it is explained Mark 12:33 : we must know him, and therefore love him, as those that see good reason for loving him. 5th, With an entire and undivided heart, the whole stream of our affections running toward him, and being united in his love. O that this love of God may be shed abroad in our hearts!

6:4,5 Here is a brief summary of religion, containing the first principles of faith and obedience. Jehovah our God is the only living and true God; he only is God, and he is but One God. Let us not desire to have any other. The three-fold mention of the Divine names, and the plural number of the word translated God, seem plainly to intimate a Trinity of persons, even in this express declaration of the unity of the Godhead. Happy those who have this one Lord for their God. It is better to have one fountain than a thousand cisterns; one all-sufficient God than a thousand insufficient friends. This is the first and great commandment of God's law, that we love him; and that we do all parts of our duty to him from a principle of love; My son, give me thine heart. We are to love God with all our heart, and soul, and might. That is, 1. With a sincere love; not in word and tongue only, but inwardly in truth. 2. With a strong love. He that is our All, must have our all, and none but he. 3. With a superlative love; we must love God above any creature whatever, and love nothing but what we love for him. 4. With an intelligent love. To love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, we must see good cause to love him. 5. With an entire love; he is ONE, our hearts must be united in his love. Oh that this love of God may be shed abroad in our hearts!Since there is but One God, and that God is Israel's God, so Israel must love God unreservedly and entirely. The "heart" is mentioned as the seat of the understanding; the "soul" as the center of will and personality; the "might" as representing the outgoings and energies of all the vital powers.

The New Testament itself requires no more than this total self-surrender of man's being to his maker Matthew 22:37. The Gospel differs from the Law not so much in replacing an external and carnal service of God by an inward and spiritual one, as in supplying new motives and special assistances for the attainment of that divine love which was, from the first and all along, enjoined as "the first and great commandment."


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.

Now he shows another spring or principle of sincere obedience to God, even hearty love to God, which will make his work and service easy; and that the fear he mentioned before, Deu 6:2, was such as would consist with love to God, and not that slavish fear and honour which produceth hatred.

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God,.... Which is the first and chief commandment in the law, the sum and substance of the first table of it; and includes in it, or at least has connected with it, knowledge of God, esteem of him, delight in him, faith and trust in him, fear and worship of him, and obedience to him, which when right springs from it. God is to be loved because of the perfections of his nature, and the works of his hand, of nature, providence, and grace; and because of the relations he stands in to men, and especially to his own people; and because of his peculiar love to them; and, indeed, he is to be loved by all men for his care of them, and blessings of goodness bestowed on them; the manner in which this is to be done follows:

with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might; with a superlative love, above all creatures whatever; with the whole of the affections of the heart, with great fervency and ardour of spirit, in the sincerity of the soul, and with all the strength of grace a man has, with such love that is as strong as death. Jarchi interprets loving God with all the heart, that is, with thy heart not divided about God, a heart not divided between God and the creature; "all thy might" he interprets of mammon or substance; and, indeed, that is one way in which men may show their love to God, by laying out their substance in his service, and for the support of his cause and interest in the world. Aben Ezra by "the heart" understands knowledge, and by the "soul" the spirit of man that is in his body, and by might perfect love in the heart.

And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
5. and thou shalt love Jehovah thy God] Love, mentioned in JE as an affection between human beings (father and son, husband and wife, slave and master) and in H as a duty both to neighbour-Israelites and to strangers (Leviticus 19:18; Leviticus 19:34), is never in the Hexateuch described as entering into the relation of man to God except in D and deuteronomic passages, where it is enforced with impressive frequency and fulness as the fundamental religious duty; in the deuteronomic expansion of the Decalogue Exodus 20:6 = Deuteronomy 5:10; cp. Deuteronomy 7:9, also Deuteronomy 10:12; Deuteronomy 11:1; Deuteronomy 11:13; Deuteronomy 11:22; Deuteronomy 13:3; Deuteronomy 19:9; Deuteronomy 30:6; Deuteronomy 30:16; Deuteronomy 30:20 (of which only Deuteronomy 11:13; Deuteronomy 11:22 and Deuteronomy 13:3 are Pl.), and the deuteronomic passages Joshua 22:5; Joshua 23:11. It must be noted that prophecy had already used the term ethically (Amos 5:15 love the good) and religiously, for Hosea, besides frequently emphasising God’s love to Israel (Deuteronomy 3:1, Deuteronomy 9:15, Deuteronomy 11:1; Deuteronomy 11:4, Deuteronomy 14:4), and in terms so warm as to inevitably excite their love to God, describes also the relation of men to their gods as one of love and calls Jehovah the husband of Israel (Deuteronomy 2:7; Deuteronomy 2:13, Deuteronomy 9:10). In this also, therefore, we may venture to see Hosea’s influence on D, but D has developed it with an originality and fulness that are very conspicuous and potential in the O.T. and in the N.T. still regarded as final. To D love to God is the distinctive mark of His true worshippers, Israel’s necessary response to His mercies especially in redeeming them from Egypt (cp. We love Him because He first loved us, 1 John 4:19), their central obligation, motive and power to keep His laws; in Christ’s words, the first of all the Commandments (Mark 12:29 f.). See further on Exodus 20:6.

with all thine heart, and with all thy soul] a favourite phrase in D. See on Deuteronomy 4:29 for meaning and list of instances. Here is added with all thy might, as in 2 Kings 23:25. ‘The One God demands the whole man’ (Smend, Rel. Gesch.2 286).

Verse 5. - To the one indivisible Jehovah undivided devotion and love are due. Hence the injunction, Thou shalt love Jehovah thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. The "heart" is the inner nature of the man, including his intellectual, emotional, and cognitive futurities; the "soul" is the personality, the entire self-consciousness; and the" might" is the sum of the energies, bodily and mental. Not by profession merely is Jehovah to be loved; the whole man, body, soul, and spirit, is to be yielded to him in holy and devout affection (cf. Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:33; Luke 10:27; Romans 12:1). The last letter Of the first word, and the last letter of the last word in this verse are larger than the ordinary size (majuscula), and as these two form the word for witness (עד), the Jews say that they are written thus "that every one may know, when he professes the unity of God, that his heart ought to be intent and devoid of every other thought, because God is a witness, and knoweth everything" (R. Bechai, fol. 195, quoted by Michaelis, 'Bib. Heb,' in loc.). Deuteronomy 6:5As the one God, therefore, Israel was to love Jehovah its God with all its heart, with all its soul, and with all its strength. The motive for this is to be found in the words "thy God," in the fact that Jehovah was Israel's God, and had manifested Himself to it as one God. The demand "with all the heart" excludes all half-heartedness, all division of the heart in its love. The heart is mentioned first, as the seat of the emotions generally and of love in particular; then follows the soul (nephesh) as the centre of personality in man, to depict the love as pervading the entire self-consciousness; and to this is added, "with all the strength," sc., of body and soul. Loving the Lord with all the heart and soul and strength is placed at the head, as the spiritual principle from which the observance of the commandments was to flow (see also Deuteronomy 11:1; Deuteronomy 30:6). It was in love that the fear of the Lord (Deuteronomy 10:12), hearkening to His commandments (Deuteronomy 11:13), and the observance of the whole law (Deuteronomy 11:22), were to be manifested; but love itself was to be shown by walking in all the ways of the Lord (Deuteronomy 11:22; Deuteronomy 19:9; Deuteronomy 30:16). Christ therefore calls the command to love God with all the heart "the first and great commandment," and places on a par with this the commandment contained in Leviticus 19:8 to love one's neighbour as oneself, and then observes that on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Matthew 22:37-40; Mark 12:29-31; Luke 10:27).

(Note: In quoting this commandment, Matthew (Matthew 22:37) has substituted δαίνοια, "thy mind," for "thy strength," as being of especial importance to spiritual love, whereas in the lxx the mind (διάνοια) is substituted for the heart. Mark (Mark 12:30) gives the triad of Deuteronomy (heart, soul, and strength); but he has inserted "mind" (διάνοια) before strength (ἰσχύς), whilst in Mark 12:33 the understanding (σύνεσις) is mentioned between the heart and the soul. Lastly, Luke has given the three ideas of the original passage quite correctly, but has added at the end, "and with all thy mind" (διάνοια). Although the term διάνοια (mind) originated with the Septuagint, not one of the Evangelists has adhered strictly to this version.)

Even the gospel knows no higher commandment than this. The distinction between the new covenant and the old consists simply in this, that the love of God which the gospel demands of its professors, is more intensive and cordial than that which the law of Moses demanded of the Israelites, according to the gradual unfolding of the love of God Himself, which was displayed in a much grander and more glorious form in the gift of His only begotten Son for our redemption, than in the redemption of Israel out of the bondage of Egypt.

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