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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 6

Peake's Commentary on the BiblePeake's Commentary


Deuteronomy 5-11. Moses’ Second Address.— This contains laws ( Deuteronomy 5:6-21) and (mainly) exhortation based on the fundamental conception of Yahweh’ s uniqueness. This discourse had probably an independent origin, but it is exceedingly homogeneous, and conforms throughout with the type of composition characteristic of D. Many of the best scholars, including Driver, regard Deuteronomy 5-26 with Deuteronomy 28 as one continuous composition, not improbably (they think) the original D code.

Deuteronomy 6-11. Consists of a lengthy homily based on the first commandment ( Deuteronomy 5:6). Israel is to worship and serve Yahweh alone.

Verses 1-3

Deuteronomy 6:1-3 . Exhortation to obey Yahweh’ s commands, referring to the Decalogue ( Deuteronomy 5:6-21) or to Deuteronomy 12 ff. to which it would make an excellent introduction, as it may have been originally.

Deuteronomy 6:1 . commandment: better, “ commandments” ; Heb. uses the singular where in other languages the plural would stand.

Deuteronomy 6:2 . fear: Deuteronomy 4:10 *.

Deuteronomy 6:3 . See Deuteronomy 4:1 *.— milk and honey: Exodus 3:8 *.

Verses 4-9

Deuteronomy 6:4 to Deuteronomy 11:32 . General precepts resting upon the doctrine that Yahweh is the only true God.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 . Called by Jews the Shema from the first word—“ Hear.” The Shema, with other words from Scripture, is written on the parchment in the two phylacteries and in the door mezuzah, but that Deuteronomy 6:8 f. had no reference to such practices is evident from the context and from Exodus 13:9-16, Proverbs 1:9; Proverbs 3:3; Proverbs 6:21 where the figurative sense is alone possible. Phylacteries as the name implies, and also the mezuzah, were originally counter-charms among the Jews, as similar articles were among the Egyptians and other peoples. They are never referred to in the OT or in the Apocrypha, but they are mentioned by Josephus ( Ant. iv. 1, viii. 13), as phylacteries are in the NT ( Matthew 23:5 *, etc.).

Verses 10-15

Deuteronomy 6:10-15 . In the land promised them they will be tempted to substitute Canaanite deities for Yahweh and to swear by them. Oaths formed part of the social and commercial fabric of the time, and they are not forbidden here. Contrast Christ’ s teaching ( Matthew 6:34 f.). In trading with Caananites it would require courage to refuse to swear by their gods.

Verses 16-25

Deuteronomy 6:16 . See Exodus 17:7 *, cf. Matthew 4:7.— tempt: better “ test” ; cf. the cognate noun (“ temptation = testing) in Deuteronomy 4:34 *.— Massah (= testing) is another cognate noun ( Exodus 17:7 *). The word-play is lost in the translation.

Deuteronomy 6:20-25 . See Deuteronomy 4:10.

Deuteronomy 6:25 . righteousness: i.e. prosperity as in II Isaiah.

Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 6". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pfc/deuteronomy-6.html. 1919.
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