This chapter as usual has some surprises, especially for those who are already familiar with it. Part of my effort in this project is to destabilize my assumed familiarity. If I as Christian have become too stable with my familiarity, I have forgotten my calling to be like Jesus who had no place to lay his head. If I as Jew have become similarly stable, I have forgotten my calling to bear the full tension of the tradition in my bones. If I as Muslim am reading these texts, I should not forget the Merciful at the beginning of the poetry that I must mediate. Let me not forget, my friends, for I have friends, associates, shepherds (all the same Hebrew root!) among all of you. And I would not leave out my Hindu friends, faithful employees, and faithful colleagues, though I know little of their history, nor my Buddhist friends with whom many conversations have found much common ground. For the devoted love is to us all, from the One who brings the self of God into our innermost life. (That's what I meant by the incarnation of nations in chapter 33.)
If I am without love for those who differ from me, I am nothing.
In this chapter I see that foreign workers are a part of Israelite social practice 3000 years ago (or less if you like). The guest, the stranger, among us, is one of us. This is Moses' instruction to us all. The presence of this covenant is for all who stand here today and for all who are not here today. That is the universal set. The covenant is inclusive but it will not abide abuse of the needy. We know from other texts that God is prejudiced in favour of the dispossessed. Curious, eh? I fear this applies to my enemies also!
There seems to be no option but self-emptying to the point of death. If they cannot hear Moses... but let us not simply rediscover some sort of exclusion scenario.
The instruction itself is Yahweh's avowal - strange word (עלה), Yahweh's imprecation. (Oath for me is שׁבע). Ignoring it or taking advantage of it (verse 19 (20)) has the avowal itself as its own consequence. The situation is not quite an opposite, it is not bless vs curse, but it is a closing in of the instruction, reclining (רבץ), laying upon the individual (in this case) and this individual is spoken of as the land - stranger still. There seems to be a kind of bootstrap logic to the treaty such that it would be effective even if there was only the human side of it. It binds humanity itself to do what is right 'or else'.
Verse 28 (29 English) about hidden or secret things and the things that are uncovered. The sense of 'belonging' is in the prepositions only, and you know prepositions are notorious. What is hidden that will not be uncovered?
It is today, this day, that I learn something...
|וַיִּקְרָ֥א מֹשֶׁ֛ה אֶל־כָּל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֲלֵהֶ֑ם |
אַתֶּ֣ם רְאִיתֶ֗ם אֵ֣ת כָּל־אֲשֶׁר֩ עָשָׂ֨ה יְהוָ֤ה לְעֵֽינֵיכֶם֙ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרַ֔יִם לְפַרְעֹ֥ה וּלְכָל־עֲבָדָ֖יו וּלְכָל־אַרְצֽוֹ
|1||And Moses called to all Israel and he said to them, |
You yourselves have seen all that Yahweh has done in your sight in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land,
|הַמַּסּוֹת֙ הַגְּדֹלֹ֔ת אֲשֶׁ֥ר רָא֖וּ עֵינֶ֑יךָ |
הָאֹתֹ֧ת וְהַמֹּפְתִ֛ים הַגְּדֹלִ֖ים הָהֵֽם
|2||The great temptations that your eyes have seen, |
the signs and those great miracles.
|וְלֹֽא־נָתַן֩ יְהוָ֨ה לָכֶ֥ם לֵב֙ לָדַ֔עַת וְעֵינַ֥יִם לִרְא֖וֹת וְאָזְנַ֣יִם לִשְׁמֹ֑עַ |
עַ֖ד הַיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּֽה
|3||But Yahweh has not given to you a heart to know and eyes to see and ears to hear, |
until this day.
|וָאוֹלֵ֥ךְ אֶתְכֶ֛ם אַרְבָּעִ֥ים שָׁנָ֖ה בַּמִּדְבָּ֑ר |
לֹֽא־בָל֤וּ שַׂלְמֹֽתֵיכֶם֙ מֵעֲלֵיכֶ֔ם וְנַֽעַלְךָ֥ לֹֽא־בָלְתָ֖ה מֵעַ֥ל רַגְלֶֽךָ
|4||And I have led you a forty year span in the wilderness. |
Your apparel has worn not out upon you, and your shoe has not worn out upon your foot.
|לֶ֚חֶם לֹ֣א אֲכַלְתֶּ֔ם וְיַ֥יִן וְשֵׁכָ֖ר לֹ֣א שְׁתִיתֶ֑ם |
לְמַ֙עַן֙ תֵּֽדְע֔וּ כִּ֛י אֲנִ֥י יְהוָ֖ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶֽם
|5||Bread you have not eaten, neither wine nor strong drink have you imbibed, |
so that you may know that I am Yahweh your God.
|וַתָּבֹ֖אוּ אֶל־הַמָּק֣וֹם הַזֶּ֑ה |
וַיֵּצֵ֣א סִיחֹ֣ן מֶֽלֶךְ־חֶ֠שְׁבּוֹן וְע֨וֹג מֶֽלֶךְ־הַבָּשָׁ֧ן לִקְרָאתֵ֛נוּ לַמִּלְחָמָ֖ה וַנַּכֵּֽם
|6||And when you came to this place, |
came forth both Sihon king of reckoning, and Og king of fruitful Bashan, and encountered us in battle, and we struck them.
|וַנִּקַּח֙ אֶת־אַרְצָ֔ם וַנִּתְּנָ֣הּ לְנַחֲלָ֔ה לָרֽאוּבֵנִ֖י וְלַגָּדִ֑י |
וְלַחֲצִ֖י שֵׁ֥בֶט הַֽמְנַשִּֽׁי
|7||And we took their land, and we gave it as inheritance to the Reubenites and to the Gadites, |
and to half the band of the Manassites.
|וּשְׁמַרְתֶּ֗ם אֶת־דִּבְרֵי֙ הַבְּרִ֣ית הַזֹּ֔את וַעֲשִׂיתֶ֖ם אֹתָ֑ם |
לְמַ֣עַן תַּשְׂכִּ֔ילוּ אֵ֖ת כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֥ר תַּעֲשֽׂוּן
|8||So you will keep the words of this covenant and you will do them, |
so that you will have insight with all that you do.
|אַתֶּ֨ם נִצָּבִ֤ים הַיּוֹם֙ כֻּלְּכֶ֔ם לִפְנֵ֖י יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֑ם |
רָאשֵׁיכֶ֣ם שִׁבְטֵיכֶ֗ם זִקְנֵיכֶם֙ וְשֹׁ֣טְרֵיכֶ֔ם כֹּ֖ל אִ֥ישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵֽל
|9||You stand firm today, all of you, in the presence of Yahweh your God, |
your heads, your sceptres, your elders, and your overseers, everyone of Israel,
|טַפְּכֶ֣ם נְשֵׁיכֶ֔ם וְגֵ֣רְךָ֔ אֲשֶׁ֖ר בְּקֶ֣רֶב מַחֲנֶ֑יךָ |
מֵחֹטֵ֣ב עֵצֶ֔יךָ עַ֖ד שֹׁאֵ֥ב מֵימֶֽיךָ
|10||Your little ones, your wives, and the guest that is near in your camp, |
the one who cuts your timber, to the one who draws your water.
|לְעָבְרְךָ֗ בִּבְרִ֛ית יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ וּבְאָלָת֑וֹ |
אֲשֶׁר֙ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ כֹּרֵ֥ת עִמְּךָ֖ הַיּֽוֹם
|11||That you should cross over into covenant with Yahweh your God, |
his avowal that Yahweh your God has cut with your people today.
|לְמַ֣עַן הָקִֽים־אֹתְךָ֩ הַיּ֨וֹם ׀ ל֜וֹ לְעָ֗ם וְה֤וּא יִֽהְיֶה־לְּךָ֙ לֵֽאלֹהִ֔ים כַּאֲשֶׁ֖ר דִּבֶּר־לָ֑ךְ |
וְכַאֲשֶׁ֤ר נִשְׁבַּע֙ לַאֲבֹתֶ֔יךָ לְאַבְרָהָ֥ם לְיִצְחָ֖ק וּֽלְיַעֲקֹֽב
|12||So that he may uphold you today, for himself a people. And he, he will be for you for a God, as he spoke to you, |
and as he swore to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Yitschaq, and to Jacob.
|וְלֹ֥א אִתְּכֶ֖ם לְבַדְּכֶ֑ם |
אָנֹכִ֗י כֹּרֵת֙ אֶת־הַבְּרִ֣ית הַזֹּ֔את וְאֶת־הָאָלָ֖ה הַזֹּֽאת
|13||But not with you, you alone, |
do I cut this covenant and this avowal.
|כִּי֩ אֶת־אֲשֶׁ֨ר יֶשְׁנ֜וֹ פֹּ֗ה עִמָּ֙נוּ֙ עֹמֵ֣ד הַיּ֔וֹם לִפְנֵ֖י יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֵ֑ינוּ |
וְאֵ֨ת אֲשֶׁ֥ר אֵינֶ֛נּוּ פֹּ֖ה עִמָּ֥נוּ הַיּֽוֹם
|14||But with whoever there is here with us standing today in the presence of Yahweh our God, |
and whoever is not here with us today.
|כִּֽי־אַתֶּ֣ם יְדַעְתֶּ֔ם אֵ֥ת אֲשֶׁר־יָשַׁ֖בְנוּ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרָ֑יִם |
וְאֵ֧ת אֲשֶׁר־עָבַ֛רְנוּ בְּקֶ֥רֶב הַגּוֹיִ֖ם אֲשֶׁ֥ר עֲבַרְתֶּֽם
|15||For you, you know that we settled in the land of Egypt, |
and that we passed through among the nations that you passed through,
|וַתִּרְאוּ֙ אֶת־שִׁקּ֣וּצֵיהֶ֔ם וְאֵ֖ת גִּלֻּלֵיהֶ֑ם |
עֵ֣ץ וָאֶ֔בֶן כֶּ֥סֶף וְזָהָ֖ב אֲשֶׁ֥ר עִמָּהֶֽם
|16||And you have seen their detestable things, and their figurines, |
tree and stone, silver and gold, that are with them.
|פֶּן־יֵ֣שׁ בָּ֠כֶם אִ֣ישׁ אוֹ־אִשָּׁ֞ה א֧וֹ מִשְׁפָּחָ֣ה אוֹ־שֵׁ֗בֶט אֲשֶׁר֩ לְבָב֨וֹ פֹנֶ֤ה הַיּוֹם֙ מֵעִם֙ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֵ֔ינוּ לָלֶ֣כֶת לַעֲבֹ֔ד אֶת־אֱלֹהֵ֖י הַגּוֹיִ֣ם הָהֵ֑ם |
פֶּן־יֵ֣שׁ בָּכֶ֗ם שֹׁ֛רֶשׁ פֹּרֶ֥ה רֹ֖אשׁ וְלַעֲנָֽה
|17||Lest there is among you a man or a woman, or family or band, whose heart faces today away from Yahweh our God, to go to serve the God of those nations, |
lest there is among you a rootstock fruitful for gall and wormwood.
|וְהָיָ֡ה בְּשָׁמְעוֹ֩ אֶת־דִּבְרֵ֨י הָֽאָלָ֜ה הַזֹּ֗את וְהִתְבָּרֵ֨ךְ בִּלְבָב֤וֹ לֵאמֹר֙ שָׁל֣וֹם יִֽהְיֶה־לִּ֔י כִּ֛י בִּשְׁרִר֥וּת לִבִּ֖י אֵלֵ֑ךְ |
לְמַ֛עַן סְפ֥וֹת הָרָוָ֖ה אֶת־הַצְּמֵאָֽה
|18||And it happen, when he hears the words of this avowal, and he blesses himself in his heart, saying, Peace there will be for me, for in the stubbornness of my heart I walk, |
so as to snatch the saturated with the thirsty.
|לֹא־יֹאבֶ֣ה יְהוָה֮ סְלֹ֣חַֽ לוֹ֒ כִּ֣י אָ֠ז יֶעְשַׁ֨ן אַף־יְהוָ֤ה וְקִנְאָתוֹ֙ בָּאִ֣ישׁ הַה֔וּא וְרָ֤בְצָה בּוֹ֙ כָּל־הָ֣אָלָ֔ה הַכְּתוּבָ֖ה בַּסֵּ֣פֶר הַזֶּ֑ה |
וּמָחָ֤ה יְהוָה֙ אֶת־שְׁמ֔וֹ מִתַּ֖חַת הַשָּׁמָֽיִם
|19||Yahweh will not consent to pardon him, but then the anger of Yahweh will fume and his jealousy against that person and reclining against him is all the avowal written in this record, |
and Yahweh will wipe out his name from under the heavens.
|וְהִבְדִּיל֤וֹ יְהוָה֙ לְרָעָ֔ה מִכֹּ֖ל שִׁבְטֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל |
כְּכֹל֙ אָל֣וֹת הַבְּרִ֔ית הַכְּתוּבָ֕ה בְּסֵ֥פֶר הַתּוֹרָ֖ה הַזֶּֽה
|20||And Yahweh will differentiate him for evil out of all the sceptres of Israel, |
according to all the avowals of the covenant written in the record of this instruction.
|וְאָמַ֞ר הַדּ֣וֹר הָֽאַחֲר֗וֹן בְּנֵיכֶם֙ אֲשֶׁ֤ר יָק֙וּמוּ֙ מֵאַ֣חֲרֵיכֶ֔ם וְהַ֨נָּכְרִ֔י אֲשֶׁ֥ר יָבֹ֖א מֵאֶ֣רֶץ רְחוֹקָ֑ה |
וְ֠רָאוּ אֶת־מַכּ֞וֹת הָאָ֤רֶץ הַהִוא֙ וְאֶת־תַּ֣חֲלֻאֶ֔יהָ אֲשֶׁר־חִלָּ֥ה יְהוָ֖ה בָּֽהּ
|21||And he said, The generation following of your children who will arise after you, and the foreigner that will come from a land far off, |
and see the defeats of that land and the diseases with which Yahweh has made her ill,
|גָּפְרִ֣ית וָמֶלַח֮ שְׂרֵפָ֣ה כָל־אַרְצָהּ֒ לֹ֤א תִזָּרַע֙ וְלֹ֣א תַצְמִ֔חַ וְלֹֽא־יַעֲלֶ֥ה בָ֖הּ כָּל־עֵ֑שֶׂב |
כְּֽמַהְפֵּכַ֞ת סְדֹ֤ם וַעֲמֹרָה֙ אַדְמָ֣ה וּצְבוֹיִ֔ם אֲשֶׁר֙ הָפַ֣ךְ יְהוָ֔ה בְּאַפּ֖וֹ וּבַחֲמָתֽוֹ
|22||Pitch and salt incinerating, all toward the land. It is not sown and it does not grow and no herb comes up in it, |
as Sodom and Gomorrah were changed, Admah and Zeboim that Yahweh changed in his anger and in his heat.
|וְאָֽמְרוּ֙ כָּל־הַגּוֹיִ֔ם עַל־מֶ֨ה עָשָׂ֧ה יְהוָ֛ה כָּ֖כָה לָאָ֣רֶץ הַזֹּ֑את |
מֶ֥ה חֳרִ֛י הָאַ֥ף הַגָּד֖וֹל הַזֶּֽה
|23||And all the nations will say, To what end did Yahweh do thus to this land? |
Why the fierceness of this great anger?
|וְאָ֣מְר֔וּ עַ֚ל אֲשֶׁ֣ר עָֽזְב֔וּ אֶת־בְּרִ֥ית יְהוָ֖ה אֱלֹהֵ֣י אֲבֹתָ֑ם |
אֲשֶׁר֙ כָּרַ֣ת עִמָּ֔ם בְּהוֹצִיא֥וֹ אֹתָ֖ם מֵאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרָֽיִם
|24||And they will say, In that they have forsaken the covenant of Yahweh, the God of their ancestors, |
which he cut with with them when he brought out them from the land of Egypt.
|וַיֵּלְכ֗וּ וַיַּֽעַבְדוּ֙ אֱלֹהִ֣ים אֲחֵרִ֔ים וַיִּֽשְׁתַּחֲוּ֖וּ לָהֶ֑ם |
אֱלֹהִים֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר לֹֽא־יְדָע֔וּם וְלֹ֥א חָלַ֖ק לָהֶֽם
|25||And they went and they served other gods and prostrated themselves to them, |
gods whom they did not know, and he did not allot to them.
|וַיִּֽחַר־אַ֥ף יְהוָ֖ה בָּאָ֣רֶץ הַהִ֑וא |
לְהָבִ֤יא עָלֶ֙יהָ֙ אֶת־כָּל־הַקְּלָלָ֔ה הַכְּתוּבָ֖ה בַּסֵּ֥פֶר הַזֶּֽה
|26||And the anger of Yahweh burned in that land, |
to bring on her all the denial written in this record.
|וַיִּתְּשֵׁ֤ם יְהוָה֙ מֵעַ֣ל אַדְמָתָ֔ם בְּאַ֥ף וּבְחֵמָ֖ה וּבְקֶ֣צֶף גָּד֑וֹל |
וַיַּשְׁלִכֵ֛ם אֶל־אֶ֥רֶץ אַחֶ֖רֶת כַּיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּֽה
|27||And Yahweh blotted them out, away from their ground, in anger and heat and great rage, |
and flung them to another land as on this day.
|הַ֨נִּסְתָּרֹ֔ת לַיהוָ֖ה אֱלֹהֵ֑ינוּ |
וְהַנִּגְלֹ֞ת לָ֤ׄנׄוּׄ וּׄלְׄבָׄנֵׄ֙יׄנׄוּׄ֙ עַד־עוֹלָ֔ם לַעֲשׂ֕וֹת אֶת־כָּל־דִּבְרֵ֖י הַתּוֹרָ֥ה הַזֹּֽאת
|28||The hidden things are of Yahweh our God |
but the uncovered are for us and for our children for evermore, so do all the words of this instruction.