Obey God and Prosper
6 “Now this is the command; the statutes and the judgments (precepts) which the Lord your God has commanded me to teach you, so that you might do (follow, obey) them in the land which you are crossing over [the Jordan] to possess, 2 so that you and your son and your grandson may fear and worship the Lord your God [with awe-filled reverence and profound respect], to keep [and actively do] all His statutes and His commandments which I am commanding you, all the days of your life, so that your days may be prolonged. 3 Therefore listen, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly [in numbers], as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land [a]flowing with milk and honey.
4 “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one [the only God]! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and with all your soul and with all your strength [your entire being]. 6 These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be [written] on your heart and mind. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your [b]children [impressing God’s precepts on their minds and penetrating their hearts with His truths] and shall speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up. 8 And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand (forearm), and they shall be used as [c]bands (frontals, frontlets) on your forehead. 9 You shall write them on the [d]doorposts of your house and on your gates.
10 “Then it shall come about when the Lord your God brings you into the land which He swore (solemnly promised) to [give] your fathers—to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—to give you, [a land with] great and splendid cities which you did not build, 11 and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn (excavated) cisterns (wells) which you did not dig out, and vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you eat and are full and satisfied, 12 then [e]beware that you do not forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 13 You shall fear [only] the Lord your God; and you shall serve Him [with awe-filled reverence and profound respect] and swear [oaths] by His name [alone]. 14 You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you, 15 for the Lord your God who is among you is a [f]jealous (impassioned) God [demanding what is rightfully and uniquely His]—otherwise the anger of the Lord your God will be kindled and burn against you, and He will destroy you from the face of the earth.
16 “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested Him at Massah.(A) 17 You shall diligently keep [foremost in your thoughts and actively do] the commandments of the Lord your God, and His testimonies and His statutes which He has commanded you. 18 You shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, so that it may be well with you and that you may go in and possess the good land which the Lord swore to [give] your fathers, 19 by driving out all your enemies from before you, as the Lord has spoken.
20 “When your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and statutes and judgments (precepts) which the Lord our God has commanded you?’ 21 then you shall say to your son, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt, and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 Moreover, the Lord showed great and terrible signs and wonders before our eyes against Egypt, Pharaoh and all his household; 23 He brought us out from there in order to bring us in, to give us the land which He had sworn to [give] our fathers.’ 24 So the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear [and worship] the Lord our God [with awe-filled reverence and profound respect] for our good always and so that He might preserve us alive, as it is today. 25 It will be [considered] righteousness for us [that is, right standing with God] if we are careful to observe all this commandment before the Lord our God—just as He has commanded us.
- Deuteronomy 6:3 This phrase referred to the abundant fertility of the land of Canaan. Milk (typically that of goats and sheep) was associated with abundance; “honey” referred mainly to syrups made from dates or grapes and was the epitome of sweetness. Bees’ honey was very rare and was considered the choicest of foods.
- Deuteronomy 6:7 Lit sons.
- Deuteronomy 6:8 Or phylacteries. This is originally a Greek word meaning “safeguard.” In Jewish tradition these are also called tefillin, and are understood to be small leather boxes tied to the forearm and to the top of the head with leather straps. The boxes contain small parchment copies of the passage found here and three others.
- Deuteronomy 6:9 Heb mezuzoth, which—like tefillin (v 8)—also have special significance in Jewish tradition. The (singular) mezuzah is a piece of parchment on which is written this passage (6:4-9) and 11:13-21. The parchment is encased to protect it, and is attached to the right doorpost. By Jewish law, all rooms where people live or sleep (excluding bathrooms) are required to have mezuzoth on the doorposts.
- Deuteronomy 6:12 Lit take heed to yourself.
- Deuteronomy 6:15 See note 4:24.