Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Deuteronomy 31

Reading the text is probably more useful than reading commentaries. But it's almost too late. Now a little over 1/3 through this large collection of ancient texts, I am wondering why 'Moses' uses the phrase בְּאַחֲרִ֣ית הַיָּמִ֔ים, which I have traditionally rendered as 'in the latter days'? In fact I wonder why I would write such an archaic phrase myself. I don't talk like this. I don't even believe in time. It is a most elusive substance.

From my coach: "The expression אחרית הימים is indeed a very common expression in Hebrew. It means literally “the aftermath of the days”—i.e., the time after time, which is perhaps a more accurate description of the idea of the End Days."

So far I have seen the phrase 4 times, 3 in the prophets, Isaiah 2:2, (and its parallel in Micah 4:1), Hosea 3:5 and now Deuteronomy 31:29. The prophets are more hopeful than the Deuteronomist. [This is an untrue statement. I take it back after reading Isaiah 2 - next on my list. I must find a way to ground hope in something other than misreading texts.] The two stems recur in this sequence a few more times. Let's wait and see what it 'means'. It is clear from the projection of the writer of this text onto the character and person of Moses that the collator did not have a high opinion of the nation's ability to follow instruction. That takes only a little insight in any human society.

Hurry up please, it's time.

וַיֵּ֖לֶךְ מֹשֶׁ֑ה
וַיְדַבֵּ֛ר אֶת־הַדְּבָרִ֥ים הָאֵ֖לֶּה אֶל־כָּל־יִשְׂרָאֵֽל
1 And Moses went,
and spoke these words to all Israel.
5
15
וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֲלֵהֶ֗ם בֶּן־מֵאָה֩ וְעֶשְׂרִ֨ים שָׁנָ֤ה אָנֹכִי֙ הַיּ֔וֹם לֹא־אוּכַ֥ל ע֖וֹד לָצֵ֣את וְלָב֑וֹא
וַֽיהוָה֙ אָמַ֣ר אֵלַ֔י לֹ֥א תַעֲבֹ֖ר אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּ֥ן הַזֶּֽה
2 And he said to them, A child of a hundred and twenty years I am today. I will not endure any more the going forth and the coming in,
and Yahweh said to me, You will not cross over this Jordan.
27
16
יְהוָ֨ה אֱלֹהֶ֜יךָ ה֣וּא ׀ עֹבֵ֣ר לְפָנֶ֗יךָ הֽוּא־יַשְׁמִ֞יד אֶת־הַגּוֹיִ֥ם הָאֵ֛לֶּה מִלְּפָנֶ֖יךָ וִֽירִשְׁתָּ֑ם
יְהוֹשֻׁ֗עַ ה֚וּא עֹבֵ֣ר לְפָנֶ֔יךָ כַּאֲשֶׁ֖ר דִּבֶּ֥ר יְהוָֽה
3 Yahweh your God himself will cross over before you. He himself will exterminate these nations from your presence and you will possess them.
Joshua himself will cross over before you as Yahweh spoke.
30
18
וְעָשָׂ֤ה יְהוָה֙ לָהֶ֔ם כַּאֲשֶׁ֣ר עָשָׂ֗ה לְסִיח֥וֹן וּלְע֛וֹג מַלְכֵ֥י הָאֱמֹרִ֖י וּלְאַרְצָ֑ם
אֲשֶׁ֥ר הִשְׁמִ֖יד אֹתָֽם
4 And Yahweh will do to them as he did to Sihon and to Og, kings of the Amorites, and to their land,
whom he exterminated.
26
6
וּנְתָנָ֥ם יְהוָ֖ה לִפְנֵיכֶ֑ם
וַעֲשִׂיתֶ֣ם לָהֶ֔ם כְּכָל־הַמִּצְוָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר צִוִּ֖יתִי אֶתְכֶֽם
5 And Yahweh will give them up in your presence,
and you will do to them according to all the commandment that I commanded you.
8
18
חִזְק֣וּ וְאִמְצ֔וּ אַל־תִּֽירְא֥וּ וְאַל־תַּעַרְצ֖וּ מִפְּנֵיהֶ֑ם
כִּ֣י ׀ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֗יךָ ה֚וּא הַהֹלֵ֣ךְ עִמָּ֔ךְ לֹ֥א יַרְפְּךָ֖ וְלֹ֥א יַעַזְבֶֽךָּ
6 Be courageous and be assured. Do not fear and do not be ruthless before them,
for Yahweh your God himself goes with you. He does not desist and will not forsake you.
16
23
וַיִּקְרָ֨א מֹשֶׁ֜ה לִֽיהוֹשֻׁ֗עַ וַיֹּ֨אמֶר אֵלָ֜יו לְעֵינֵ֣י כָל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֘ל חֲזַ֣ק וֶאֱמָץ֒ כִּ֣י אַתָּ֗ה תָּבוֹא֙ אֶת־הָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֔ה אֶל־הָאָ֕רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֨ר נִשְׁבַּ֧ע יְהוָ֛ה לַאֲבֹתָ֖ם לָתֵ֣ת לָהֶ֑ם
וְאַתָּ֖ה תַּנְחִילֶ֥נָּה אוֹתָֽם
7 And Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, Be encouraged and be assured because you yourself will go with this people to the land that Yahweh has sworn to their ancestors to give them,
and you will cause them to inherit it.
54
9
וַֽיהוָ֞ה ה֣וּא ׀ הַהֹלֵ֣ךְ לְפָנֶ֗יךָ ה֚וּא יִהְיֶ֣ה עִמָּ֔ךְ לֹ֥א יַרְפְּךָ֖ וְלֹ֣א יַֽעַזְבֶ֑ךָּ
לֹ֥א תִירָ֖א וְלֹ֥א תֵחָֽת
8 And Yahweh himself goes before you. He himself is with you. He does not desist and will not forsake you.
Do not fear and do not be dismayed.
25
7
וַיִּכְתֹּ֣ב מֹשֶׁה֮ אֶת־הַתּוֹרָ֣ה הַזֹּאת֒ וַֽיִּתְּנָ֗הּ אֶל־הַכֹּהֲנִים֙ בְּנֵ֣י לֵוִ֔י הַנֹּ֣שְׂאִ֔ים אֶת־אֲר֖וֹן בְּרִ֣ית יְהוָ֑ה
וְאֶל־כָּל־זִקְנֵ֖י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל
9 And Moses wrote this instruction and gave it to the priests, the children of Levi, those who bear the ark of the covenant of Yahweh,
and to all the elders of Israel.
33
8
וַיְצַ֥ו מֹשֶׁ֖ה אוֹתָ֣ם לֵאמֹ֑ר
מִקֵּ֣ץ ׀ שֶׁ֣בַע שָׁנִ֗ים בְּמֹעֵ֛ד שְׁנַ֥ת הַשְּׁמִטָּ֖ה בְּחַ֥ג הַסֻּכּֽוֹת
10 And Moses commanded them saying,
At the end of seven years, at the appointed time of the year of remittance, at the feast of tabernacles,
8
19
בְּב֣וֹא כָל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל לֵרָאוֹת֙ אֶת־פְּנֵי֙ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ בַּמָּק֖וֹם אֲשֶׁ֣ר יִבְחָ֑ר
תִּקְרָ֞א אֶת־הַתּוֹרָ֥ה הַזֹּ֛את נֶ֥גֶד כָּל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל בְּאָזְנֵיהֶֽם
11 When all Israel comes to appear before Yahweh your God in the place where he will choose,
you will proclaim this instruction in front of all Israel in their ears.
25
18
הַקְהֵ֣ל אֶת־הָעָ֗ם הָֽאֲנָשִׁ֤ים וְהַנָּשִׁים֙ וְהַטַּ֔ף וְגֵרְךָ֖ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בִּשְׁעָרֶ֑יךָ
לְמַ֨עַן יִשְׁמְע֜וּ וּלְמַ֣עַן יִלְמְד֗וּ וְיָֽרְאוּ֙ אֶת־יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶ֔ם וְשָֽׁמְר֣וּ לַעֲשׂ֔וֹת אֶת־כָּל־דִּבְרֵ֖י הַתּוֹרָ֥ה הַזֹּֽאת
12 Convene the people, the men and the women and the little ones, and the guest that is in your gates,
so that they may hear and so that they may learn and fear Yahweh your God and keep and do all the words of this instruction.
25
37
וּבְנֵיהֶ֞ם אֲשֶׁ֣ר לֹֽא־יָדְע֗וּ יִשְׁמְעוּ֙ וְלָ֣מְד֔וּ לְיִרְאָ֖ה אֶת־יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֑ם
כָּל־הַיָּמִ֗ים אֲשֶׁ֨ר אַתֶּ֤ם חַיִּים֙ עַל־הָ֣אֲדָמָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֨ר אַתֶּ֜ם עֹבְרִ֧ים אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּ֛ן שָׁ֖מָּה לְרִשְׁתָּֽהּ
13 And their children who not do know, may hear and may learn to fear Yahweh your God,
all the days that they live over the ground that you will cross over the Jordan toward to possess it.
24
30
וַיֹּ֨אמֶר יְהוָ֜ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֗ה הֵ֣ן קָרְב֣וּ יָמֶיךָ֮ לָמוּת֒ קְרָ֣א אֶת־יְהוֹשֻׁ֗עַ וְהִֽתְיַצְּב֛וּ בְּאֹ֥הֶל מוֹעֵ֖ד וַאֲצַוֶּ֑נּוּ
וַיֵּ֤לֶךְ מֹשֶׁה֙ וִֽיהוֹשֻׁ֔עַ וַיִּֽתְיַצְּב֖וּ בְּאֹ֥הֶל מוֹעֵֽד
14 And Yahweh said to Moses, Lo your days approach for death. Call Joshua and present yourselves in the tent of engagement and I will command him.
And Moses and Joshua went and presented themselves in the tent of engagement.
37
18
וַיֵּרָ֧א יְהוָ֛ה בָּאֹ֖הֶל בְּעַמּ֣וּד עָנָ֑ן
וַיַּעֲמֹ֛ד עַמּ֥וּד הֶעָנָ֖ן עַל־פֶּ֥תַח הָאֹֽהֶל
15 And Yahweh appeared in the tent in the pillar of cloud,
and the pillar of cloud stood over the door of the tent.
13
15
וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוָה֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה הִנְּךָ֥ שֹׁכֵ֖ב עִם־אֲבֹתֶ֑יךָ
וְקָם֩ הָעָ֨ם הַזֶּ֜ה וְזָנָ֣ה ׀ אַחֲרֵ֣י ׀ אֱלֹהֵ֣י נֵֽכַר־הָאָ֗רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֨ר ה֤וּא בָא־שָׁ֙מָּה֙ בְּקִרְבּ֔וֹ וַעֲזָבַ֕נִי וְהֵפֵר֙ אֶת־בְּרִיתִ֔י אֲשֶׁ֥ר כָּרַ֖תִּי אִתּֽוֹ
16 And Yahweh said to Moses, Behold you will lie down with your ancestors,
but this people will arise and play the harlot after the alien gods of the land where it is going toward in its nearness, and it will forsake me and thwart my covenant that I have cut with it.
17
48
וְחָרָ֣ה אַפִּ֣י ב֣וֹ בַיּוֹם־הַ֠הוּא וַעֲזַבְתִּ֞ים וְהִסְתַּרְתִּ֨י פָנַ֤י מֵהֶם֙ וְהָיָ֣ה לֶֽאֱכֹ֔ל וּמְצָאֻ֛הוּ רָע֥וֹת רַבּ֖וֹת וְצָר֑וֹת
וְאָמַר֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֔וּא הֲלֹ֗א עַ֣ל כִּֽי־אֵ֤ין אֱלֹהַי֙ בְּקִרְבִּ֔י מְצָא֖וּנִי הָרָע֥וֹת הָאֵֽלֶּה
17 And my anger will burn against it in that day, and I will forsake them and I will hide my face from them and it will be to devour and they will find many evils and troubles,
and it will be said in that day, Have not these evils found me because my God is not within me?
39
28
וְאָנֹכִ֗י הַסְתֵּ֨ר אַסְתִּ֤יר פָּנַי֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֔וּא עַ֥ל כָּל־הָרָעָ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר עָשָׂ֑ה
כִּ֣י פָנָ֔ה אֶל־אֱלֹהִ֖ים אֲחֵרִֽים
18 But I to hide will hide my face in that day about all the evil that it did,
when they faced to other gods.
23
10
וְעַתָּ֗ה כִּתְב֤וּ לָכֶם֙ אֶת־הַשִּׁירָ֣ה הַזֹּ֔את וְלַמְּדָ֥הּ אֶת־בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל שִׂימָ֣הּ בְּפִיהֶ֑ם
לְמַ֨עַן תִּהְיֶה־לִּ֜י הַשִּׁירָ֥ה הַזֹּ֛את לְעֵ֖ד בִּבְנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל
19 And now you write for yourself this song and teach it with the children of Israel. You put it in their mouths,
so that this song will be for me a witness among the children of Israel.
27
18
כִּֽי־אֲבִיאֶ֜נּוּ אֶֽל־הָאֲדָמָ֣ה ׀ אֲשֶׁר־נִשְׁבַּ֣עְתִּי לַאֲבֹתָ֗יו זָבַ֤ת חָלָב֙ וּדְבַ֔שׁ וְאָכַ֥ל וְשָׂבַ֖ע וְדָשֵׁ֑ן
וּפָנָ֞ה אֶל־אֱלֹהִ֤ים אֲחֵרִים֙ וַעֲבָד֔וּם וְנִ֣אֲצ֔וּנִי וְהֵפֵ֖ר אֶת־בְּרִיתִֽי
20 For I will bring it to the ground that I swore to its ancestors, gushing with milk and honey, and it will eat and be sated with fatness and it will face to other gods and serve them, and spurn me and thwart my covenant. 33
26
וְ֠הָיָה כִּֽי־תִמְצֶ֨אןָ אֹת֜וֹ רָע֣וֹת רַבּוֹת֮ וְצָרוֹת֒ וְ֠עָנְתָה הַשִּׁירָ֨ה הַזֹּ֤את לְפָנָיו֙ לְעֵ֔ד כִּ֛י לֹ֥א תִשָּׁכַ֖ח מִפִּ֣י זַרְע֑וֹ
כִּ֧י יָדַ֣עְתִּי אֶת־יִצְר֗וֹ אֲשֶׁ֨ר ה֤וּא עֹשֶׂה֙ הַיּ֔וֹם בְּטֶ֣רֶם אֲבִיאֶ֔נּוּ אֶל־הָאָ֖רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֥ר נִשְׁבָּֽעְתִּי
21 And it will be that when many evils and troubles find it, this song will answer in its presence as a witness, for it will not be forgotten from the mouths of its seed,
for I know its deficiency that itself it deals with today from time past, when I bring it to the land that I swore.
38
30
וַיִּכְתֹּ֥ב מֹשֶׁ֛ה אֶת־הַשִּׁירָ֥ה הַזֹּ֖את בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֑וּא
וַֽיְלַמְּדָ֖הּ אֶת־בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל
22 And Moses inscribed this song on that day,
and he taught it with the children of Israel.
15
9
וַיְצַ֞ו אֶת־יְהוֹשֻׁ֣עַ בִּן־נ֗וּן וַיֹּאמֶר֮ חֲזַ֣ק וֶֽאֱמָץ֒ כִּ֣י אַתָּ֗ה תָּבִיא֙ אֶת־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֶל־הָאָ֖רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־נִשְׁבַּ֣עְתִּי לָהֶ֑ם
וְאָנֹכִ֖י אֶֽהְיֶ֥ה עִמָּֽךְ
23 And he commanded Joshua child of Nun and said, Be encouraged and be assured, because you, you bring the children of Israel to the land that I swore to them,
and I, I will be with you.
39
8
וַיְהִ֣י ׀ כְּכַלּ֣וֹת מֹשֶׁ֗ה לִכְתֹּ֛ב אֶת־דִּבְרֵ֥י הַתּוֹרָֽה־הַזֹּ֖את עַל־סֵ֑פֶר
עַ֖ד תֻּמָּֽם
24 And it happened that Moses finished writing the words of this instruction in the record,
until they were complete.
20
3
וַיְצַ֤ו מֹשֶׁה֙ אֶת־הַלְוִיִּ֔ם נֹ֥שְׂאֵ֛י אֲר֥וֹן בְּרִית־יְהוָ֖ה לֵאמֹֽר 25 And Moses commanded the Levites who bear the ark of the covenant of Yahweh, saying, 18
לָקֹ֗חַ אֵ֣ת סֵ֤פֶר הַתּוֹרָה֙ הַזֶּ֔ה וְשַׂמְתֶּ֣ם אֹת֔וֹ מִצַּ֛ד אֲר֥וֹן בְּרִית־יְהוָ֖ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֑ם
וְהָֽיָה־שָׁ֥ם בְּךָ֖ לְעֵֽד
26 Take the record of this instruction and put it at the side of the ark of the covenant of Yahweh your God,
and it will be there among you for a witness.
28
8
כִּ֣י אָנֹכִ֤י יָדַ֙עְתִּי֙ אֶֽת־מֶרְיְךָ֔ וְאֶֽת־עָרְפְּךָ֖ הַקָּשֶׁ֑ה
הֵ֣ן בְּעוֹדֶנִּי֩ חַ֨י עִמָּכֶ֜ם הַיּ֗וֹם מַמְרִ֤ים הֱיִתֶם֙ עִם־יְהֹוָ֔ה וְאַ֖ף כִּי־אַחֲרֵ֥י מוֹתִֽי
27 For myself, I know your provocation and the intransigence of your scruff.
Lo, while I am yet alive with you today, you were provocative with Yahweh. How much more after my death.
19
27
הַקְהִ֧ילוּ אֵלַ֛י אֶת־כָּל־זִקְנֵ֥י שִׁבְטֵיכֶ֖ם וְשֹׁטְרֵיכֶ֑ם
וַאֲדַבְּרָ֣ה בְאָזְנֵיהֶ֗ם אֵ֚ת הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֔לֶּה וְאָעִ֣ידָה בָּ֔ם אֶת־הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֶת־הָאָֽרֶץ
28 Convene to me all the elders of your bands and your overseers,
and I will speak in their ears these words and I will call to witness, against them, the heavens and the earth.
16
29
כִּ֣י יָדַ֗עְתִּי אַחֲרֵ֤י מוֹתִי֙ כִּֽי־הַשְׁחֵ֣ת תַּשְׁחִת֔וּן וְסַרְתֶּ֣ם מִן־הַדֶּ֔רֶךְ אֲשֶׁ֥ר צִוִּ֖יתִי אֶתְכֶ֑ם
וְקָרָ֨את אֶתְכֶ֤ם הָֽרָעָה֙ בְּאַחֲרִ֣ית הַיָּמִ֔ים כִּֽי־תַעֲשׂ֤וּ אֶת־הָרַע֙ בְּעֵינֵ֣י יְהוָ֔ה לְהַכְעִיס֖וֹ בְּמַעֲשֵׂ֥ה יְדֵיכֶֽם
29 For I know after my death that for destruction you will destroy yourselves, and you will turn aside from the way that I commanded you,
and the evil will encounter you in the latter days, because you will do evil in the eyes of Yahweh to grieve him with the deeds of your hands.
29
37
וַיְדַבֵּ֣ר מֹשֶׁ֗ה בְּאָזְנֵי֙ כָּל־קְהַ֣ל יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֶת־דִּבְרֵ֥י הַשִּׁירָ֖ה הַזֹּ֑את
עַ֖ד תֻּמָּֽם
30 And Moses spoke in the ears of all the congregation of Israel the words of this song,
until they were complete.
22
3


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