christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

Tag Archives: deuteronomy

deuteronomy 16:18-21:9, shoftim “judges” chiastic structure

You shall not remove your neighbor's boundary stone which the men of old have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.

Deuteronomy 19:14

Read Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9 at Bible Gateway.

The paragraph divisions for shoftim are posted here. Some of the smaller chiastic structures within shoftim are posted here. This torah portion (as well as the past several) explains keeping the Ten Commandments; those detailed notes and chiastic structures are posted here.

This year I was able to find the single chiastic structure formed by shoftim:

Deu 16:18-21:9
1a) Deu 16:18, Judges’ authority delegated by YHVH;
1b) Deu 16:19-20 s, You shall not pervert justice or show partiality;
1c) Deu 16:21-22 s, You shall not set up a sacred pillar stone;
1d) Deu 17:1 s, The blemished sacrifice shall not be put to death;
1e) Deu 17:2-7 p, The idolator shall be put to death;
1f) Deu 17:8-9, The priests and Levites are to judge in matters of difficulty;
1g) Deu 17:10-13 s, Heed the instruction of the priests:
– 1g.1) Deu 17:10-11, You shall heed the instruction of the priest or it will be required of you;
– 1g.2) Deu 17:12-13 s, The man who will not heed the instruction of the priest shall be put to death;
1h) Deu 17:14-20 s, The king over the nation;
1i) Deu 18:1-2 s, The inheritance of the Levites;
central axis) Deu 18:3-5 s, What is due the Levites;
2i) Deu 18:6-8 s, Equal shares for Levites;
2h) Deu 18:9-18, The prophet like Moses whom Israel shall hear;
2g) Deu 18:19-20, Hear the words of the prophet who speaks in the Lord’s name:
– 2g.1) Deu 18:19, Whoever will not hear My words which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him;
– 2g.2) Deu 18:20, The prophet who speaks falsely in the name of God shall be put to death;
2f) Deu 18:21-22 s, The people shall judge the whether the prophet has spoken falsely or not;
2e) Deu 19:1-10 p, The manslaughterer shall not be put to death;
2d) Deu 19:11-13 s, The murderer shall be put to death;
2c) Deu 19:14 s, You shall not move an ancient boundary stone;
2b) Deu 19:15-20:20 s, The innocent shall not be put to death (You shall not pervert justice);
2a) Deu 21:1-9 s, Judges’ responsibility in the case of an unsolved murder.

Most of this chiastic structure is in the section of Deu explaining, You shall honor your father and mother, or, to put it another way, You shall preserve the sanctity of the Lord’s delegated authority. The Lord has delegated authority, besides to parents as the foundational unit of society, to judges over local regions, the king over the nation, the priests and Levites over the congregation, and the prophets who speak in the name of the Lord.

As I was meditating on why the Levites at the central axis (and not the Prophet like Moses as I originally thought might be there), the phrase, “the Lord is their inheritance,” from Deu 18:2 kept coming to mind. All Israel is the Lord’s people. But the Levites are at the heart of the Lord’s people who have the Lord for their inheritance. Even so, all the nations are the Lord’s. But Israel is at the heart of the nations, the priesthood nation to the rest of the world, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Exo 19:6). And He has made us a royal priesthood by grafting us in to His holy nation (1 Pet 2:9). For the priesthood, the Lord is their inheritance. We are sojourners in this world and do not have an inheritance in this world, the Lord being our inheritance.

torah teachings index for sat 03 aug 2013

You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. You shall not worship the Lord your God with such things.

Deuteronomy 12:2,4

If you are reading the annual Torah cycle, this Sabbath’s Torah reading is Deu 11:26-16:17, re’eh, “see” (index of study notes).

If you are reading the triennial Torah cycle beginning at Tabernacles, this Sabbath’s Torah reading is Gen 43:24-44:17, triennial cycle vayavei ha-ish, “then the man brought” (index of study notes).

If you are reading the triennial Torah cycle beginning in Abib, this Sabbath’s Torah reading is Gen 24:1-41, triennial cycle v’avraham zaqen, “now abraham was old” (index of study notes).

deuteronomy 3:23-7:11, va’etchanan, “and I pleaded”

So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone.

Deuteronomy 4:13

Read Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11 at Bible Gateway.

Va’etchanan index of previous studies

The paragraph divisions for va’etchanan are here, and please see the previous studies for many of the smaller chiastic structures and pictures of messiah within the torah portion. This one of the torah portions I have been working on for several years to uncover its chiastic structure. I did not yet find it this year either. But I started to see repeating themes that eluded me in years past. Here is the outline I was working on this week:

Deu 3:23-24, Your greatness + mighty hand/ who is there in heaven or on earth who is like You;
Deu 3:25-29 {p} Moses may not go in but Joshua shall cross and cause Israel to inherit their possession;
Deu 4:1-5, LISTEN to the statutes and judgments which I teach you to observe;
Deu 4:6-8, BE CAREFUL TO OBSERVE THEM;
Deu 4:9-13, YHVH’s covenant which He commanded Israel to perform: the Ten Commandments;
Deu 4:9-24 {p} TAKE HEED;
Deu 4:25-31, If you forsake Him you will perish from this land/ if you repent, He is faithful and will not forsake you;
Deu 4:32-39, He loved your fathers He chose their descendants after them, and brought you out to bring you in;
Deu 4:40 {p} You shall keep His commandments that it may go well with you and with your children after you;
Deu 4:41-43, Cities of refuge on this side of the Jordan;
Deu 4:44-49 {p} This is the Law which Moses spoke on this side of the Jordan;
Deu 5:1-21, {sx11} Israel’s covenant with YHVH: the Ten Commandments;
Deu 5:22-6:3 {p} YHVH’s voice spoke these commandments + listen + pay heed + observe;
Deu 6:4-9 {s} LISTEN to YHVH’s commandments;
Deu 6:10-15 {s} PAY CAREFUL HEED to YHVH’s commandments;
Deu 6:16-19 {s} OBSERVE YHVH’s commandments;
Deu 6:20-25 {s} He brought us out that He might bring us in and commanded these statutes for our good always;
Deu 7:1-8, YHVH will bring you in/ He has chosen you because He loves you;
Deu 7:9-10, YHVH is faithful/ keeps covenant + mercy for those who love Him/ repays those who hate Him to their face;
Deu 7:11 {p} You shall keep the commandment, statutes, and judgments which I command you today to observe them.

Deu 4:9-13, YHVH’s covenant which He commanded Israel to perform: the Ten Commandments; and
Deu 5:1-21, {sx11} Israel’s covenant with YHVH: the Ten Commandments;

are the most obvious repeating elements. The Commandments and the Covenant cannot be separated from each other.

I also initially thought the admonition to remember the day before Sinai (Deu 4:9-24) indicating the BETROTHAL covenant between Israel and YHVH, with YHVH’s DECLARATION OF LOVE for Israel (Deu 7:1-11) as its pair. And it might pair in a larger chiastic structure, but not within the bounds of Va’etchanan, at least, that I could see this year. If you just think about this, the Ten Commandments are not some impersonal legal code. These chapters express the depth of feeling, passion, and commitment YHVH has for His Bride, Israel. It’s a romance! This is why our God is jealous God (Deu 4:24) – He deeply loves us and wants the love of His Bride in return!

But also Deu 4:1-40 and Deu 6:4-7:11 share these repeating themes within them, only not necessarily in exact order:

LISTEN to YHVH’s commandments (Deu 4:1-5 and 6:4-9);
OBSERVE THEM (Deu 4:6-8 and 6:16-19);
TAKE HEED to yourself (Deu 4:9-24 and 6:10-15);
Forsake Him and perish/ repent and He will not forsake you (Deu 4:25-31 and 7:9-10);
He loves Israel and brought them out to bring them in (Deu 4:32-39 and 6:20-7:8);
Keep YHVH’s commandments (Deu 4:40 and 7:11).

This leaves Deu 4:41-6:3 in the center of the parashah, with Deu 3:23-29 as a loose end on the front.

I also saw that Deu 4, particularly vs. 25-31, on the front end of Deuteronomy, pairs with Deu 30 on the back end. One of the pairs of the single chiastic structure formed by Deuteronomy. Isn’t God’s word amazing!

deuteronomy 1:1-3:22, devarim “words” chiastic structure

"See, I have given the land before you; come and possess the land that God swore to your forefathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them and their children after them."

Deuteronomy 1:8

Read Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22 at Bible Gateway.

Previous studies:
2012 jul 28, deu 1:1-3:22, paragraph divisions, historical background
2011 mar 19, deu 1-2, introduction to deuteronomy

As I have progressed through Torah for several years now, I have come to the belief that every Torah portion, both from the annual and the triennial cycles, with few exceptions, form their own chiastic structures. I believe this because I keep finding amazing perfect and elegant structures, proclaiming the Messiah and the gospel of grace, within the bounds of the weekly torah portions.

With this week’s torah portion, however, several years of searching have previously failed to uncover it. While I found the chiastic structures for the triennial cycle divisions, the best I have been able to find is the strong paragraph chiastic structure from Deu 1:1-3:29. But this year I was thrilled to uncover the single elegant chiastic structure for devarim!

Deu 1:1-3:22
1a) Deu 1:1-2:1, Go in and possess the Land:
– 1a.1) Deu 1:1-4, These are the words of Moses;
– 1a.2) Deu 1:5-2:1, I have set the Land before you to possess it + do not fear + refusal + encourage Joshua;
1b) Deu 2:2-23, The Lord God delivered the former giants into the hands of Esau + Moab + Lot so that they defeated them;
1c) Deu 2:24, I have given Sihon king of Heshbon and his land into your hand + begin to possess it + engage him in battle;
1d) Deu 2:25, The Lord will cause the nations to be in dread, fear, tremble and be in anguish because of you;
central axis) Deu 2:26-30a, Israel’s offer of peace and her enemy’s rejection;
2d) Deu 2:30b, The Lord hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, that He might deliver him into your hand;
2c) Deu 2:31-32, I have begun to give Sihon and his land over to you + begin to possess it + Sihon came out to battle;
2b) Deu 2:33-3:17, The Lord God delivered Sihon + Og over to us; so we defeated him, his sons, and all his people;
2a) Deu 3:18-22, Go in and possess the Land:
– 2a.1) Deu 3:18a, Moses commanded them at that time;
– 2a.2) Deu 3:18b-22, The Lord God has given you this land to possess + men of valor + cooperation + encouragement for Joshua.

I was struck by the prophetic nature of the central axis. God has a goal, for Israel to possess the Land. But Israel has enemies in the way, whom the Lord wishes to displace.

In the D pair surrounding the central axis, the Lord influences hearts in two ways: first, of the nations with whom Israel has to do, so that they are in dread of Israel, so that they are in anguish because of them. This is history that prophecies (see the teaching tools of scripture) for the nations of the world today are likewise in anguish because of Israel. There are many problems facing the United Nations today, but you wouldn’t know it, because the only problem you ever hear about is the problem of Israel in the Middle East. This is incredible, because Israel is a beacon of democracy and civilization in a sea of repression. Israel likewise does not start hostilities but only defends itself from the hostilities of others. It is always holding out the olive branch.

Second, the Lord influences the heart of Sihon so that his spirit was hardened and his heart was made obstinate. Because of Sihon’s stubbornness, he refused Israel’s offer of peace and prepared himself instead for battle. The Torah seems to indicate that the reason for this hardening and obstinacy, was so that he would be delivered into Israel’s hand, so that Israel could possess her land which had been set aside for her by the Lord from the first call of Abraham!

Might not this prophesy of current events? Israel, do not waver when your enemies rebuff your offers of peace and prepare themselves for battle instead. The Lord is preparing you to possess your Land.

deuteronomy 7:1-11, a chosen people

Read Deuteronomy 7:1-11 at Bible Gateway.

In the parshas before this one, we saw that YHVH, in order to help us to love Him with all that we are, and worship and serve Him only (the commandment), has instructed us to hear His Word, to take heed to His Word, to do and observe His Word, and to teach His Word to the next generation.

This parsha forms a chaistic structure:

1a) Deu 7:1a, YHVH brings Israel into the Land;
1b) Deu 7:1b-2, YHVH delivers the seven nations to be utterly destroyed;
1c) Deu 7:3-5, Preserving the worship of YHVH by abhorring the idols of the Canaanites;
1d) Deu 7:6, Israel is YHVH’s holy people and special treasured possession;
central axis) Deu 7:7-8a, YHVH set His love on Israel;
2d) Deu 7:8b, Israel is His therefore He redeemed them from Egypt;
2c) Deu 7:9, YHVH is God;
2b) Deu 7:10, YHVH repays those who hate Him to their face to destroy them;
2a) Deu 7:11, Israel shall keep the commandment, statutes and judgments of YHVH.

The A pairs show that just as YHVH is keeping something, Israel is to keep something. YHVH is keeping His promise to bring Israel into the Land. Now Israel is to keep their covenant with YHVH, which is expressed by obedience to the commandment, and to the statutes and judgments.

The B pairs show that because it is the seven nations of the Canaanites who are to be utterly destroyed, and YHVH destroys those utterly who hate Him, then it is revealed that the seven nations of the Canaanites hated YHVH. Their wickedness in their idolatry was greater than the idolatry of the other nations, who were idol worshippers out of ignorance. But the Canaanites were idol worshippers out of active hatred for YHVH.

The C pairs show first of all, how Israel is to abhor the idolatry of the Canaanites and to preserve the pure worship of YHVH (for YHVH is our Elohiym, and He alone is God, vs. 9): remove every trace of their idolatry from the Land, and moreover do not mix with them! YHVH’s emphasis in the C pairs is on the future generations of Israelites – that they come from marriages and thus households where YHVH alone is God. He is not looking for a racially pure people, but a spiritually pure people of single heartedness!

Then, if Israel will keep covenant with YHVH, by purifying the Land, and keeping themselves from idolatry and not mixing through intermarriage, YHVH will also keep covenant with Israel, by showing His mercy and faithfulness to a thousand generations of Israelites!

The D pairs reveal that because we are the special treasured possession of YHVH, He has redeemed us from the hand of Pharaoh and delivered us from Egypt. We are His because of our fathers, and YHVH is faithful to the Word He promised to our fathers.

YHVH chose us to be His. Chosen is in Hebrew bachar, בָּחַר, bet, chet, resh, Strong’s H977. There is a two- letter root that this primitive root comes from, and that is bach, בָּחַ, bet chet, meaning to slaughter as a verb, or knife, as a concrete object. The bet is the house, the chet is the fence, outside, to divide or half. Slaughtering an animal was a task performed outside the house. The resh, the head of a man, adds the meaning of slaughtering that which is chiefest or choicest, and so bachar is the sacrifice, the firstfruits in its concrete meaning; but an examination to determine the choicest, thus to choose, in its verbal meaning.

You are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.

Deuteronomy 7:6

A special treasure is segullah in Hebrew, סְגֻלָּה, Strong’s H5459, from the primitive root segul, סְגֻלָּ, samech, gimel, lamed. In the ancient Hebrew pictographs, the samech is the thorn, so also, pierce, grab hold, and even shield, as thorn bushes were used to fence in the flock in at night to keep them from predators. The gimel is the foot, so also to walk, carry, and even gather, as men walked to an appointed place from all around in order to gather together. The lamed is the shepherd’s staff, his tool of authority by which he both guided and protected the sheep, so often to or toward, as the direction of guidance. The lamed can also mean teach, as the father or the patriarch (the one with authority) was the teacher; and yoke, as a staff that is placed across the shoulders; and even bind, as the yoke or staff is bound to the animal.

The mountain top meaning of segul, then, is that which has been gathered is bound up, then placed behind a protective shield. In its verb form, this word means to shut up; in its concrete form, this word means a jewel or precious stone. To YHVH, we are a special treasure (segullah) above all the peoples on the face of the earth.

The central axis of the parsha reveals that YHVH loves us. He set His love upon us, or in Hebrew, He desired us greatly, chashaq, חָשַׁק, because He loves us. In fact. He loves us with 1 Cor 13:4-7 love, for the Septuagint translators translated this passage with agape, the same word Paul uses in 1 Cor 13. The Hebrew word is ahab, אָהַב. Ahab is strong love which reveals the heart of the father for his children.

This parsha reveals YHVH’s love for us; He first loved us, and delivered us and redeemed us and made us His own special treasure. Now because we are thus set apart, in His heart and on this earth, we respond in love for YHVH, expressed by pure and unadulterated worship, and obedience to His commandments. We love Him because He first loved us (1 Joh 4:19), and we express that love through obedience (Joh 14:15). The theme of this parsha is the love- covenant keeping (or obedience) dynamic.