Sunday, June 19, 2016

Deuteronomy 30

I find conditionals negative. They always contain threat. They are incompatible with love. Yet love is incompatible with a lack of response. For all that prelude, why is it that translators insist on translating a relative or consequential pronoun as 'if'? Language connectors are always tricky. But a conditional gift is not a gift over which someone sings for joy. Singing opens the individual to such vulnerability. It is impossible to sing joyfully under conditions of threat.

Based on this chapter, it is abundantly clear that Paul is reciting this record of faithfulness in his letter to the churches at Rome with the same continuing faith, hope, and love as Moses (or the writer of Deuteronomy if you prefer).

This chapter is nearly at the end of Deuteronomy. It shows the choice of good and evil. The reflection is part of the overall frame of the Torah, the Books of Moses, which of course began with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Good and evil appear first as paired words in the story in Genesis 2:9, 17, 3:5, 22. Similarly Deuteronomy 30 reflects life and death, this word tied to the eating of the forbidden fruit, but the pair first occurring together in Genesis 5:5. Blessing and denial, another pair, reflects Genesis 12:3. There is a unity implied by such frames to these 5 books.

word דבר, or matter, or thing. Concrete. Happening.

Deuteronomy 30
וְהָיָה֩ כִֽי־יָבֹ֨אוּ עָלֶ֜יךָ כָּל־הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֗לֶּה הַבְּרָכָה֙ וְהַקְּלָלָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר נָתַ֖תִּי לְפָנֶ֑יךָ
וַהֲשֵׁבֹתָ֙ אֶל־לְבָבֶ֔ךָ בְּכָל־הַגּוֹיִ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֧ר הִדִּיחֲךָ֛ יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ שָֽׁמָּה
1 And it will be that when all these words come over you, the blessing and the denial, that I gave before you,
that you will turn to your heart among all the nations toward whom Yahweh your God had banished you,
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וְשַׁבְתָּ֞ עַד־יְהוָ֤ה אֱלֹהֶ֙יךָ֙ וְשָׁמַעְתָּ֣ בְקֹל֔וֹ כְּכֹ֛ל אֲשֶׁר־אָנֹכִ֥י מְצַוְּךָ֖ הַיּ֑וֹם
אַתָּ֣ה וּבָנֶ֔יךָ בְּכָל־לְבָבְךָ֖ וּבְכָל־נַפְשֶֽׁךָ
2 And you will turn to Yahweh your God, and you will hear with his voice according to all which I am commanding you today,
you and your children, with all your heart and with all your being.
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16
וְשָׁ֨ב יְהוָ֧ה אֱלֹהֶ֛יךָ אֶת־שְׁבוּתְךָ֖ וְרִחֲמֶ֑ךָ
וְשָׁ֗ב וְקִבֶּצְךָ֙ מִכָּל־הָ֣עַמִּ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֧ר הֱפִֽיצְךָ֛ יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ שָֽׁמָּה
3 And Yahweh your God will turn your captivity and will have compassion on you,
and will turn and collect you from all the peoples toward whom Yahweh your God dispersed you.
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אִם־יִהְיֶ֥ה נִֽדַּחֲךָ֖ בִּקְצֵ֣ה הַשָּׁמָ֑יִם
מִשָּׁ֗ם יְקַבֶּצְךָ֙ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ וּמִשָּׁ֖ם יִקָּחֶֽךָ
4 If one of you is expelled at the outskirts of the heavens,
from there Yahweh your God will collect you and from there receive you.
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19
וֶהֱבִֽיאֲךָ֞ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֗יךָ אֶל־הָאָ֛רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־יָרְשׁ֥וּ אֲבֹתֶ֖יךָ וִֽירִשְׁתָּ֑הּ
וְהֵיטִֽבְךָ֥ וְהִרְבְּךָ֖ מֵאֲבֹתֶֽיךָ
5 And Yahweh your God will bring you to the land that your ancestors possessed and you will possess it.
And he will do you good and increase you more than your ancestors.
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13
וּמָ֨ל יְהוָ֧ה אֱלֹהֶ֛יךָ אֶת־לְבָבְךָ֖ וְאֶת־לְבַ֣ב זַרְעֶ֑ךָ
לְאַהֲבָ֞ה אֶת־יְהוָ֧ה אֱלֹהֶ֛יךָ בְּכָל־לְבָבְךָ֥ וּבְכָל־נַפְשְׁךָ֖ לְמַ֥עַן חַיֶּֽיךָ
6 And Yahweh your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your seed,
to love Yahweh your God with all your heart and with all your being, so that you may live.
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וְנָתַן֙ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ אֵ֥ת כָּל־הָאָל֖וֹת הָאֵ֑לֶּה
עַל־אֹיְבֶ֥יךָ וְעַל־שֹׂנְאֶ֖יךָ אֲשֶׁ֥ר רְדָפֽוּךָ
7 And Yahweh your God will give all these censures,
unto your enemies and unto those hating you, who persecuted you.
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15
וְאַתָּ֣ה תָשׁ֔וּב וְשָׁמַעְתָּ֖ בְּק֣וֹל יְהוָ֑ה
וְעָשִׂ֙יתָ֙ אֶת־כָּל־מִצְוֺתָ֔יו אֲשֶׁ֛ר אָנֹכִ֥י מְצַוְּךָ֖ הַיּֽוֹם
8 But you, you will return, and you will hear with the voice of Yahweh,
and you will do all his commandments that I am commanding you today.
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19
וְהוֹתִֽירְךָ֩ יְהוָ֨ה אֱלֹהֶ֜יךָ בְּכֹ֣ל ׀ מַעֲשֵׂ֣ה יָדֶ֗ךָ בִּפְרִ֨י בִטְנְךָ֜ וּבִפְרִ֧י בְהֶמְתְּךָ֛ וּבִפְרִ֥י אַדְמָתְךָ֖ לְטוֹבָ֑ה
כִּ֣י ׀ יָשׁ֣וּב יְהוָ֗ה לָשׂ֤וּשׂ עָלֶ֙יךָ֙ לְט֔וֹב כַּאֲשֶׁר־שָׂ֖שׂ עַל־אֲבֹתֶֽיךָ
9 Yahweh your God will give you surplus in all the deeds of your hand, in the fruit of your belly, and in the fruit of your cattle, and in the fruit of your ground for good,
for Yahweh will return to sing for joy over you for good, even as he sang for joy over your ancestors.
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21
כִּ֣י תִשְׁמַ֗ע בְּקוֹל֙ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ לִשְׁמֹ֤ר מִצְוֺתָיו֙ וְחֻקֹּתָ֔יו הַכְּתוּבָ֕ה בְּסֵ֥פֶר הַתּוֹרָ֖ה הַזֶּ֑ה
כִּ֤י תָשׁוּב֙ אֶל־יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ בְּכָל־לְבָבְךָ֖ וּבְכָל־נַפְשֶֽׁךָ
10 For you will hear with the voice of Yahweh your God to keep his commandments and his statutes, those written in the record of this instruction,
for you return to Yahweh your God with all your heart and with all your being.
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20
כִּ֚י הַמִּצְוָ֣ה הַזֹּ֔את אֲשֶׁ֛ר אָנֹכִ֥י מְצַוְּךָ֖ הַיּ֑וֹם
לֹֽא־נִפְלֵ֥את הִוא֙ מִמְּךָ֔ וְלֹ֥א רְחֹקָ֖ה הִֽוא
11 For this commandment which I am commanding you today
is not set apart itself from you nor is it distant.
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12
לֹ֥א בַשָּׁמַ֖יִם הִ֑וא
לֵאמֹ֗ר מִ֣י יַעֲלֶה־לָּ֤נוּ הַשָּׁמַ֙יְמָה֙ וְיִקָּחֶ֣הָ לָּ֔נוּ וְיַשְׁמִעֵ֥נוּ אֹתָ֖הּ וְנַעֲשֶֽׂנָּה
12 Not in the heavens is it,
saying, Who will ascend for us heavenward and receive it for us that we may hear it and we may do it?
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וְלֹֽא־מֵעֵ֥בֶר לַיָּ֖ם הִ֑וא
לֵאמֹ֗ר מִ֣י יַעֲבָר־לָ֜נוּ אֶל־עֵ֤בֶר הַיָּם֙ וְיִקָּחֶ֣הָ לָּ֔נוּ וְיַשְׁמִעֵ֥נוּ אֹתָ֖הּ וְנַעֲשֶֽׂנָּה
13 Nor from beyond the sea is it,
saying, Who will cross over for us to cross over the sea and receive it for us that we may hear it.
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כִּֽי־קָר֥וֹב אֵלֶ֛יךָ הַדָּבָ֖ר מְאֹ֑ד
בְּפִ֥יךָ וּבִֽלְבָבְךָ֖ לַעֲשֹׂתֽוֹ
14 For near to you is the matter utterly,
in your mouth and in your heart to do it.
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11
רְאֵ֨ה נָתַ֤תִּי לְפָנֶ֙יךָ֙ הַיּ֔וֹם אֶת־הַֽחַיִּ֖ים וְאֶת־הַטּ֑וֹב
וְאֶת־הַמָּ֖וֶת וְאֶת־הָרָֽע
15 See, I give to your presence today the life and the good,
and the death and the evil,
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9
אֲשֶׁ֨ר אָנֹכִ֣י מְצַוְּךָ֮ הַיּוֹם֒ לְאַהֲבָ֞ה אֶת־יְהוָ֤ה אֱלֹהֶ֙יךָ֙ לָלֶ֣כֶת בִּדְרָכָ֔יו וְלִשְׁמֹ֛ר מִצְוֺתָ֥יו וְחֻקֹּתָ֖יו וּמִשְׁפָּטָ֑יו
וְחָיִ֣יתָ וְרָבִ֔יתָ וּבֵֽרַכְךָ֙ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ בָּאָ֕רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־אַתָּ֥ה בָא־שָׁ֖מָּה לְרִשְׁתָּֽהּ
16 which I am commanding you today: to love
Yahweh your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments,
so you will live and multiply and Yahweh your God will bless you in the land that you are going toward to possess.
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31
וְאִם־יִפְנֶ֥ה לְבָבְךָ֖ וְלֹ֣א תִשְׁמָ֑ע
וְנִדַּחְתָּ֗ וְהִֽשְׁתַּחֲוִ֛יתָ לֵאלֹהִ֥ים אֲחֵרִ֖ים וַעֲבַדְתָּֽם
17 But if your heart does face away and you will not hear
but will be enticed and prostrate yourselves to other gods and serve them.
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20
הִגַּ֤דְתִּי לָכֶם֙ הַיּ֔וֹם כִּ֥י אָבֹ֖ד תֹּאבֵד֑וּן
לֹא־תַאֲרִיכֻ֤ן יָמִים֙ עַל־הָ֣אֲדָמָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֨ר אַתָּ֤ה עֹבֵר֙ אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּ֔ן לָבֹ֥א שָׁ֖מָּה לְרִשְׁתָּֽהּ
18 I announce to you today, that perishing, you will perish.
You will not prolong days on the ground to which you cross over the Jordan, to come toward to possess it.
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28
הַעִידֹ֨תִי בָכֶ֣ם הַיּוֹם֮ אֶת־הַשָּׁמַ֣יִם וְאֶת־הָאָרֶץ֒ הַחַיִּ֤ים וְהַמָּ֙וֶת֙ נָתַ֣תִּי לְפָנֶ֔יךָ הַבְּרָכָ֖ה וְהַקְּלָלָ֑ה
וּבָֽחַרְתָּ֙ בַּֽחַיִּ֔ים לְמַ֥עַן תִּחְיֶ֖ה אַתָּ֥ה וְזַרְעֶֽךָ
19 I engage among you today the heavens and the earth, the life and the death I give before you, the blessing and the denial.
And you will choose among the life, so that you will live you and your seed.
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18
לְאַֽהֲבָה֙ אֶת־יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ לִשְׁמֹ֥עַ בְּקֹל֖וֹ וּלְדָבְקָה־ב֑וֹ
כִּ֣י ה֤וּא חַיֶּ֙יךָ֙ וְאֹ֣רֶךְ יָמֶ֔יךָ לָשֶׁ֣בֶת עַל־הָאֲדָמָ֗ה אֲשֶׁר֩ נִשְׁבַּ֨ע יְהוָ֧ה לַאֲבֹתֶ֛יךָ לְאַבְרָהָ֛ם לְיִצְחָ֥ק וּֽלְיַעֲקֹ֖ב לָתֵ֥ת לָהֶֽם
20 To love Yahweh your God, to hear with his voice, and to follow closely in him,
for he is your life and the length of your days, that you may inhabit the ground that Yahweh swore to your ancestors to Abraham to Yitschaq and to Jacob, to give them.
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