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Bible Commentaries

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Deuteronomy 6

Verses 1-25

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 The Shema - Perhaps the most important Old Testament passage to the Jews in revealing God’s redemptive plan for mankind can be found in Deuteronomy 6:4-6, which the Jews call “the Shema,” ( שָׁמַע ), a name derived from the first Hebrew word in this biblical text. This passage of Scripture reveals that there is only one true God, and that Israel was to serve Him only. S. R. Driver calls this passage “the fundamental truth of Israel’s religion.” [23] Because of its historical importance to the Old Testament Jews this passage of Scripture appears numerous times in the New Testament writings (Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:29-32; Mark 12:37, Luke 10:27). For example, when Jesus was asked by the Pharisees what was the greatest commandment, He quoted the Shema, “The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord...” (Mark 12:29) In other words, Jesus considered the Shema the single most important text of the Old Testament, revealing to Israel that there is only one true God whom the Jews were to serve with all of their heart, soul, and strength. Paul Chappell says that a long-standing tradition of the Jews has been to recite this passage, as well as Deuteronomy 11:13-21 and Numbers 15:37-41, as a part of their daily prayers. [24]

[23] Duane L. Christensen, Deuteronomy 1:1-9, in Word Biblical Commentary: 58 Volumes on CD-Rom, vol. 6a, second edition, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas: Word Inc., 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 3.0b [CD-ROM]. Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2004, notes on Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Form, Structure, Setting.

[24] Paul G. Chappell, The Spirit Filled Life Bible ( Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, c1991), 262.

Jesus refers to this popular Jewish passage in the Gospels.

Matthew 22:37-40, “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Mark 12:29-33, “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

Luke 10:27, “And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.”

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.

Deuteronomy 6:5 Word Study on “heart” - Hebrew ( לֵבָב ) (H3824).

Deuteronomy 6:5 Word Study on “soul” - Hebrew ( נֶפֶשׁ ) (H5315).

Deuteronomy 6:5 Word Study on “might” Strong says the Hebrew word “might” ( מְאׂד ) (H3966) means, “vehemently, wholly, speedily.”

Deuteronomy 6:6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

Deuteronomy 6:13 Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.

Deuteronomy 6:13 Old Testament Quotes in the New Testament - Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:13 when rebuking Satan in His wilderness temptation (Matthew 4:10, Luke 4:8).

Matthew 4:10, “Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”

Luke 4:8, “And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”

Deuteronomy 6:16 Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.

Deuteronomy 6:16 Old Testament Quotes in the New Testament - Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:16 when rebuking Satan in His wilderness temptation (Matthew 4:7, Luke 4:12).

Matthew 4:7, “Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”

Luke 4:12, “And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”

Deuteronomy 6:20-25 Explanation to the Children for Obeying the Mosaic Laws In Deuteronomy 6:20-25 Moses tells the people what to say to their children when they are asked a very practical question. Every child will ask their parents why they have to do this and that. The parents are to reply by telling how God in his grace redeemed them from Egypt. In other words, there is a message of God’s grace that underlies the works of the Law. The children of Israel were to obey the Lord because He was their Redeemer.

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Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 6". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/deuteronomy-6.html. 2013.