Deuteronomy 6:6
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Deuteronomy 6:6. These words shall be in thy heart — Though the words alone, without the things expressed by them, will do us no good, yet as we are in danger of losing the things if we neglect the words, we must, therefore, even lay the words up in our hearts. Our thoughts must be daily conversant with them, and employed about them, that thereby our whole soul may be brought under the influence and impression of them.

6:6-16 Here are means for maintaining and keeping up religion in our hearts and houses. 1. Meditation. God's words must be laid up in our hearts, that our thoughts may be daily employed about them. 2. The religious education of children. Often repeat these things to them. Be careful and exact in teaching thy children. Teach these truths to all who are any way under thy care. 3. Pious discourse. Thou shalt talk of these things with due reverence and seriousness, for the benefit not only of thy children, but of thy servants, thy friends and companions. Take all occasions to discourse with those about thee, not of matters of doubtful disputation, but of the plain truths and laws of God, and the things that belong to our peace. 4. Frequent reading of the word. God appointed them to write sentences of the law upon their walls, and in scrolls of parchment to be worn about their wrists. This seems to have been binding in the letter of it to the Jews, as it is to us in the intent of it; which is, that we should by all means make the word of God familiar to us; that we may have it ready to use upon all occasions, to restrain us from sin, and direct us in duty. We must never be ashamed to own our religion, nor to own ourselves under its check and government. Here is a caution not to forget God in a day of prosperity and plenty. When they came easily by the gift, they would be apt to grow secure, and unmindful of the Giver. Therefore be careful, when thou liest safe and soft, lest thou forget the Lord. When the world smiles, we are apt to make court to it, and expect our happiness in it, and so we forget Him who is our only portion and rest. There is need of great care and caution at such a time. Then beware; being warned of your danger, stand upon your guard. Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God; neither by despairing of his power and goodness, while we keep in the way of our duty; nor by presuming upon it, when we turn aside out of that way.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."

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.

i.e. In thy mind to remember them, and meditate upon them, and in thy affection to love and pursue them.

And these words, which I command thee this day,.... To hearken to, observe, and take notice of, that God is one, and is to be loved in the strongest manner that possibly can be:

shall be in thine heart; on the table of the heart, as the Targum of Jonathan; see 2 Corinthians 3:3, be cordially received, have a place in the affections of the heart, and be retained in mind and memory.

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. these words with which I am charging thee this day] Elsewhere the phrase in whole or part refers to the whole discourse of Moses (e.g. Deuteronomy 11:18), but here it must mean the two preceding verses as the essence of the law.

shall be upon thine heart] Deuteronomy 11:18, lay up in your heart and in your soul; Jeremiah 31:33, I put my law in their inward parts and write it upon their hearts. As the heart was the seat of the practical intellect, this means to commit them to memory; but with a conscience to do them.

6–9. Further enforcement of this greed and duty.

Verses 6, 7. - Where true love to God exists in the heart, it will manifest itself in a regard to his will, and in the diligent keeping of his commandments. Hence his words were to be not only in the memory of the people, but laid upon their heart (cf. Deuteronomy 11:18), that they might be ever present to the thought and will. They were also to be inculcated upon their children, and to be the subject of conversation on all fitting occasions between them, the members of their household, and even their casual associates. Thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children; literally, Thou shalt sharpen them to thy children, impress them upon them, send them into them like a sharp weapon. Deuteronomy 6:6But for the love of God to be of the right kind, the commandments of God must be laid to heart, and be the constant subject of thought and conversation. "Upon thine heart:" i.e., the commandments of God were to be an affair of the heart, and not merely of the memory (cf. Deuteronomy 11:18). They were to be enforced upon the children, talked of at home and by the way, in the evening on lying down and in the morning on rising up, i.e., everywhere and at all times; they were to be bound upon the hand for a sign, and worn as bands (frontlets) between the eyes (see at Exodus 13:16). As these words are figurative, and denote an undeviating observance of the divine commands, so also the commandment which follows, viz., to write the words upon the door-posts of the house, and also upon the gates, are to be understood spiritually; and the literal fulfilment of such a command could only be a praiseworthy custom or well-pleasing to God when resorted to as the means of keeping the commandments of God constantly before the eye. The precept itself, however, presupposes the existence of this custom, which is not only met with in the Mahometan countries of the East at the present day (cf. A. Russell, Naturgesch. v. Aleppo, i. p. 36; Lane, Sitten u. Gebr. i. pp. 6, 13, ii. p. 71), but was also a common custom in ancient Egypt (cf. Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, vol. ii. p. 102).

(Note: The Jewish custom of the Medusah is nothing but a formal and outward observance founded upon this command. It consists in writing the words of Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and Deuteronomy 11:13-20 upon a piece of parchment, which is then placed upon the top of the doorway of houses and rooms, enclosed in a wooden box; this box they touch with the finger and then kiss the finger on going either out or in. S. Buxtorf, Synag. Jud. pp. 582ff.; and Bodenschatz. Kirchl. Verfassung der Juden, iv. pp. 19ff.)

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