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Daniel Block: The elevated style of Deuteronomy 10:12–11:1 suggests that Moses’ second address is nearing a climax. As in chapter 4, Moses signals the climactic moment with “and now” (weʿattâ). He is about to declare the moral and spiritual implications of the privilege of covenant relationship that he has been preaching to this point of the second address. Apart from this rhetorical marker, the boundaries of this unit are demarked by an opening question (10:12a) and the summary answer in 11:1.

Moses begins his reflection on the practical implications of the covenant with a question: In view of the grace that Yahweh has lavished on his people, what does he require of Israel? And with this question we realize that we are about to encounter the heart of the covenant—in Jesus’ words, “the more important matters of the law” (Matt. 23:23).

Michael Grisanti: Yahweh makes it absolutely clear that all the detailed requirements God has Moses present to the covenantal people have a driving purpose. Yahweh requires one thing of his chosen people: to live in wholehearted and undiluted allegiance to him.

Eugene Merrill: The structure of the passage reveals an enveloping pattern in which injunctions to obey God (vv. 12-13; 20–22) embrace the corollary command to exhibit proper care and concern for other people, especially the socially and economically disadvantaged (vv. 14-19). The motive clause and that which binds the whole together is v. 17, a confession of the sovereignty of God and of his justice.

Jack Deere: Having shown the impossibility of self-dependence (chap. 8) and the impossibility of spiritual pride in light of her rebellious history (9:1 – 10:11), Moses called Israel to exercise her only option for survival; total commitment to the Lord.

Earl Kalland: This exhortation, most eloquent in order and content, reminiscent and somewhat repetitive of chapter 6, fittingly climaxes this section, which precedes the giving of specific covenant-treaty stipulations that Moses held to be especially important as the people faced entrance into the land.

Nathan LeMahieu: Moses’ life will soon be over, but before it is, he addresses the people who are about to cross over into the Promised Land after 40 hard years of wandering in the wilderness. They had pledged their allegiance to the Lord back at Mt Sinai decades earlier, but now as they transition to their lives in a new land it’s time to renew that pledge – are you in or are you out? And we see this kind of dichotomy throughout Deuteronomy. It says ‘I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse. Which one is it going to be?’ And frankly we experience many of these same checkpoints or transitions in our lives. . . And it’s useful at all these times to remind ourselves of Moses’ message to the people here in what basically amounts to his last lecture. And his message is essentially this: as we move on from one stage of life to another, we must be willing to pledge our allegiance to God, and specifically to God alone. We must be willing to pledge our allegiance, our unshared loyalty, to God alone.


“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require from you,”

Fundamental question that God asks of every single individual.



A. Fear the Lord — Reverence

“but to fear the LORD your God,”

Gerald Gerbrandt: Fearing God is not a state of terror but arises from a full recognition of the awesome nature of God and the gravity of the human relationship with God. It does not paralyze but leads to trust and action.

David Thompson: God expects His people to fear Him. As we have already pointed out, this is a critical key to a right relationship with God in both the O.T. and the N.T.

1) Psalm 33:10 – fearing God causes God’s protective eye to be on one who

fears Him.

2) Proverbs 1:7 – fearing God is the beginning of knowledge.

3) Proverbs 9:10 – fearing God is the beginning of wisdom.

4) Romans 3:18 – not fearing God is the mark of one unsaved heading to

eternal destruction.

5) Romans 11:20 – fearing God is the key to a right grace relationship with


6) II Corinthians 7:1 – fearing God is a critical key to holiness.

7) Colossians 3:22 – fearing God is the key to pleasing God in your work.

8) I Peter 2:17 – fearing God is the will of God.

9) Revelation 19:5 – fearing God is the key to praising God even in heaven.

There is a lot at stake in fearing God. No wonder it is twice mentioned to His people concerning His expectations.

B. Walk in All His Ways — Lifestyle

“to walk in all His ways”

Gerald Gerbrandt: Psalm 119 opens with a beatitude that introduces this same metaphor: “Happy are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord. Happy are those who keep his decrees, who seek him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways” (vv. 1–3). The psalm regularly returns to this image of “the way” (e.g., vv. 27, 59, 105). Perhaps influenced by Deuteronomy, Jesus uses a similar image, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).

John Schultz: Walking in God’s ways, means walking where He walks. We read in Revelation about the ones who are gathered with Jesus on Mount Zion: “They follow the Lamb wherever he goes.” It means following His example. The Apostle Peter says: “Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” Because of the Incarnation, walking in His ways has become much easier for us, than it was for the Israelites of old.

C. Love Him — Priority

“and love Him,”

David Thompson: He wants His people delighting in Him.

D. Serve the Lord Wholeheartedly — Worship

“and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,”

E. Obey the Lord – Submission and Dependence

“and to keep the LORD’s commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good?”

Daniel Block: The common denominator is the importance of allegiance to Yahweh as the God of the covenant. The list consists of responses that involve fundamental dispositions (fear, love) and active expressions (walk, serve, keep). Attitude and action are interrelated. Fear is primary and love (covenant commitment) is at the core. Without these, the actions are legalistic efforts to gain the favor of God. Without the actions, fear and love are useless and dead.

Michael Grisanti: Concerning the five verbs that follow, Wright (ibid., 145) suggests that this sentence “is like a five-note musical chord. Each note has its own distinct tone, but taken all together they sound forth in a harmony that expresses the whole content of Deuteronomy and the Torah.”

These five verbs demonstrate the multifaceted expectation of God. They thoroughly show that God expects much more than external obedience to a disparate collection of laws. God demands the kind of obedience that affects every part of a person’s being.



A. (:14) Transcendent Dominion of God

“Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the highest heavens,

the earth and all that is in it.”

Eugene Merrill: The introduction to the horizontal demands of the covenant is couched in an appeal to recognize the absolute uniqueness and dominion of the Lord, he who is Lord of heaven and earth (v. 14) and who, therefore, has the authority to elect whom he will to salvation and service (v. 15). The phrase “highest heavens” does not suggest some cosmological scheme in which there are levels of heavenly realm, but it is merely a Hebrew construction indicating totality. As Creator, the Lord obviously rules over all things and disposes of them as he will.

John Schultz: The way the NIV puts it, there is a contrast between God’s rule over the universe, and His love for the patriarchs and Israel. The use of the little word “yet” emphasizes this. It is a human tendency to think that greatness entails a lack of interest in smallness. We picture God as being too great to be bothered by details, because that is the way we would act if we became great. Jesus gives us a clearer pictures of God’s greatness, when He tells His disciples: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” The God who created the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it, is also the God who created the atoms. He is the God of the infinite great, and the infinite small. As human beings we are, probably, somewhere in the middle of the two extremes. God is not too great to love, and we are not too small to be loved by Him.

Nathan LeMahieu: A second aspect of pledging allegiance to God is that it is a privilege rather than a burden. Look at vv14 and 15. We have this paradox set up. On the one hand we see God’s cosmic ownership of everything. To him belong the heavens, even the highest heavens. In other words, everything imaginable belongs to God. But on the other hand, God chooses insignificant Israel out of all the nations to be his people. . .

On one hand we need to avoid universalism that says there are no distinctions – everybody’s the same – it doesn’t matter what you believe. On the other hand we have to avoid exclusivism which says, God only cares about me. The rest of those people? They don’t matter.

B. (:15) Sovereign and Gracious Election of Israel

“Yet on your fathers did the LORD set His affection to love them, and He chose their descendants after them, even you above all peoples, as it is this day.”

Gerald Gerbrandt: The present passage again affirms the fact of election, relates it to God’s love, but then places it within a context of God’s sovereignty over all. All creation belongs to God—everything, whether in the highest heavens or anywhere on earth. The phrase heaven and the heaven of heavens is probably to be understood as a form of the superlative (cf. 1 Kings 8:27; Ps 148:4). No further effort at explanation is attempted. God’s dominion over all gives God the right to elect whomever God wishes (cf. Neh 9:6–7; Isa 45:12–13; Jer 27:5–6). One is reminded of the book of Job. After repeated efforts by Job to have God explain himself, God responds by pointing to the mystery and greatness of creation. Finally Job can only accept his lot and repent of his audacity (Job 42:1–6). God’s sovereignty means that Israel’s election cannot be fully explained. Its wonder and mystery can only be accepted, with the responsibility to live accordingly.

Duane Christensen: Though God is presented as a transcendent cosmic power to whom “belong the heavens and the heaven of heavens [and] the earth and all that is in it,” he is also presented here as a personal God who has “fallen in love” with Israel, as Thomas Mann translated the phrase “the Lord set his heart in love on your ancestors” (Mann [1995] 101). That love is the basis of the election of Israel when God “chose their descendants after them, namely you above all peoples” (v 15). Events of the more distant past, when the election of Israel was promised to the patriarchal fathers and sealed in God’s covenant at Mount Sinai, are here linked to the present moment on the plains of Moab—“as at this day.”



A. (:16) Transformation of the Heart Required

“Circumcise then your heart, and stiffen your neck no more.”

The actions demanded of us will not come naturally. We need a transformed heart so that we can model our behavior after the standard of righteousness which God has established and demonstrated.

Michael Grisanti: Physical circumcision constituted an outward sign of covenantal allegiance and conformity. Consequently, circumcision of the heart would signify the internal commitment to covenantal allegiance and conformity. Rather than resisting his will, God wanted his children to submit gladly to it.

Eugene Merrill: Throughout the Old Testament “stiff-necked” is a metaphor for stubbornness and recalcitrance (cf. Job 9:4; 2 Chr 30:8; 36:13; Neh 9:16-17, 29; Jer 7:26; 17:23; 19:15). In the present context it denotes a lack of compliance to the covenant requirements.

Jack Deere: The proper response to their election by the sovereign Lord was to circumcise their hearts (cf. 30:6). An uncircumcised heart means a will that is hardened against God’s commands. It is another way of saying the person is stiff-necked or stubborn (cf. 9:6, 13; 31:27). Thus the command to circumcise their hearts assumes that human hearts are naturally rebellious and need correction. Though human hearts are slow to change, Moses warned the nation that no bribe or anything less than an inward transformation could satisfy the Lord, who is the great God.

B. (:17-18) Transcendent Attributes of the Supreme God Set the Standard

1. (:17a) Personal Majesty

“For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God.”

Daniel Block: Moses combines these transcendent attributes of Yahweh with four verbal declarations of his immanence (cf. Ex. 33:18–34:8). He begins with a double-barreled, thesis-type statement: Yahweh “shows no partiality and accepts no bribes” (Deut. 10:17).

Peter Craigie: God is God in the fullest and most complete sense and is absolute Lord or Sovereign. But this dimension of the nature of God is beyond the comprehension of man—he can only worship God in awe. The transcendent and almighty God, however, also revealed himself to man: the great, mighty, and fearful God. The language employed here to describe God directly implies the God of the Exodus,8 the one who had participated in human events specifically on behalf of his chosen people. Who is impartial—rendered literally, the Hebrew idiom is “… who does not lift up faces.” The emphasis of the verse is now directly upon the relationship of God to man; God shows no partiality to man on the basis of his social or economic standing in the community. What God requires of man is a proper attitude of heart (10:16).

2. (:17b-18) Practical Righteousness = Impartial Justice and Love

“who does not show partiality, nor take a bribe.

He executes justice for the orphan and the widow,

and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing.”

Gerald Gerbrandt: In the ancient Near East, justice was the responsibility of the king (cf. Ps 72). The king had responsibility for ensuring that justice be fair (is not partial and takes no bribe, Deut 10:17; cf. 1:17) and that the orphan, the widow, and the stranger—three elements of society that in the usual process have least access to the judicial system—be protected. The reference to God supplying these people with food and clothing highlights that not only does God protect them but also goes the next step, providing them with essentials for life. God’s greatness is represented most particularly by this concern and help for the poor. To live with a circumcised heart thus means to love the stranger (RSV, sojourner): after all, God cares for the stranger, and the people of Israel experienced this care when they were strangers in the land of Egypt. This last directive is especially interesting because here the stranger is not an Israelite but a foreigner, possibly even a descendant of the original inhabitants of the land.

Eugene Merrill: The structure of the passage reveals an enveloping pattern in which injunctions to obey God (Deuteronomy 10:12-13; Deuteronomy 20-22) embrace the corollary command to exhibit proper care and concern for other people, especially the socially and economically disadvantaged (Deuteronomy 10:14-19). The motive clause and that which binds the whole together is Deuteronomy 10:17, a confession of the sovereignty of God and of his justice.”

C. (:19) Take Care of the Aliens

“So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.”

Daniel Block: Moses’ reference to the alien in verse 18 triggers a practical exhortation in verse 19. Because the Israelites know what it is like to be an alien, they should be especially sensitive to the plight of aliens in their midst (cf. Lev 19:33–34). As in his modification of the Sabbath command of the Decalogue (Deut. 5:14–15), Moses’ appeal for compassion by the Israelites is based on a memory of their own experience as aliens (cf. Ex. 22:21[20]; 23:9).



A. (10:20a) Fear the Lord

“You shall fear the LORD your God;”

Stephen Felker: So the starting place in a healthy relationship to God is reverence. Just about everything else flows from a recognition of the absolute greatness of God and the fact that he should be feared and referenced. Do you fear and reverence God? The fear of God leads to repentance of sin, a fundamental requirement of a right relationship with God. Prov. 8:13 says, “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil….” Such fear and awe of God also motivates one to worship God and obey God.

B. (10:20b) Serve Him

“you shall serve Him”

C. (10:20c) Cling to Him

“and cling to Him,”

David Thompson: The word “cling” (dabaq) is a word that means God wants His people glued to Him. He wants His people attached and firmly adhering to their relationship with Him (William Gesenius, Hebrew Lexicon, p. 185). God wants His people totally cemented in their relationship with Him.

Bruce Hurt: SELF SUFFICIENCY is the arrogant assumption that I can go it alone… without God. CLINGING is the humble acknowledgment that I must be intimately connected to God for life to make sense and to be worth living. In Joshua’s admonition to CLING to God he gives this warning:

“If you ever go back and CLING to the rest of these nations (i.e. the world and its values)… (they) shall be to you as: A snare and a trap… A whip on your sides… Thorns in your eyes… until you perish from off this good land which the Lord your God has given you.” (Joshua 23:12)

Charlie Garrett: When Naomi told Ruth to return to her people, it says that Ruth clung (dabaq) to her. She would not let go, and she promised to never let go, but to remain with her always. It is this closeness that is implied in the words now.

D. (10:20d) Swear by His Name

“and you shall swear by His name.”

David Thompson: God’s people need to take God’s name seriously. God’s people need to take His name as being sacred. Oaths should be taken in His name. His names should always be reverenced.

John Schultz: The taking of oaths in the Name of YHWH, in vs. 21 is a repeat of ch. 6:13. It re-emphasizes that our relationship with God rules our inter-human relations. Swearing by the Name of the Lord pertains specifically to commerce, and justice.

(10:21-22) Motivation

1. (:21) Covenant Relationship

“He is your praise and He is your God, who has done these great and awesome things for you which your eyes have seen.”

Peter Pett: But He is also the One fitted for praise. He is totally praiseworthy, and is to be the object of their worship. And the reason that they should praise Him is because He is their God, the very God Who has done great and terrible things for them which their eyes have seen. Many of the oldest had been in Egypt as small children and had seen His power revealed there, and the great and terrible things that He had done, and even more of them had seen what He had done since in the wilderness, including especially the defeat of the Amorite kings, Sihon and Og, and their territories.

2. (:22) Covenant Blessing

“Your fathers went down to Egypt seventy persons in all, and now the LORD your God has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven.”

Eugene Merrill: Most remarkable of all, perhaps, was his multiplication of his people from the seventy who descended into Egypt with Jacob (cf. Gen 46:27) to the multitude so numerous as to be compared to the stars in the sky (v. 22; cf. 1:10), a direct fulfillment of the promise to the patriarchal ancestors (Gen 15:5; 22:17). A God so faithful to his promise and with sufficient resources to bring it to pass was surely worthy of his people’s wholehearted commitment to the covenant he had graciously made with them.

E. (11:1a) Love the Lord

“You shall therefore love the LORD your God,”

F. (:11:1b) Obey the Lord

“and always keep His charge, His statutes, His ordinances,

and His commandments.”