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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Deuteronomy 6

 

 

Verse 1

Deuteronomy 6:1 Now these [are] the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do [them] in the land whither ye go to possess it:

Ver. 1. Now these are the commandments.] Moses having repeated the decalogue, begins here to explain it: and first, the first of the ten, in this present chapter: that first commandment being such, as that therein the keeping of all the other nine is enjoined, as Luther rightly observeth. (a)


Verse 2

Deuteronomy 6:2 That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.

Ver. 2. That thou mightest fear the Lord.] "Fear God and keep his commandments." [Ecclesiastes 12:13] "Fear the Lord and depart from evil," [Proverbs 16:6] "this is the beginning," [Proverbs 1:7] and "end of all" [Ecclesiastes 12:13] This is the whole of man, or as some read it, This is the whole man (a) ( ibidem). It is a problem in Aristotle, Why men are credited more than any other creatures? The answer is, Man alone reverenceth God. (b) Deum siquis parum metuit, valde contemnit: huius qui non memorat beueficentiam, auget iniuriam: Not to fear God is to slight him; as not to praise him is to wrong him, saith an ancient.


Verse 3

Deuteronomy 6:3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do [it]; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey.

Ver. 3. That it may be well with thee.] Respect may be had to the recompense of reward. We may make it our scope, our aim, {σκοπουντων, 2 Corinthians 4:18} though not our highest aim; Moses cast an eye when he was on his journey, {απεβλεπε, Hebrews 11:26} he stole a look from glory, and got fresh encouragement.


Verse 4

Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God [is] one LORD:

Ver. 4. The Lord our God is one Lord.] One in Three, and Three in One. Here are three words answering the three persons; and the middle word, Our God, deciphering fitly the second, who assumed our nature, as Galatinus well observeth. Echad, One, may show the unity of essence in this plurality of persons. Others take notice that the last letter of this first word, "hear," is extraordinarily large in the Hebrew, as calling for utmost heed and attention: {Hebrew Text Note} and so is the last letter in the word rendered "One." {See Trapp on "Exodus 34:14"} This last letter, daleth, which usually stands for four, signifieth, say the Hebrews, that this one God shall be worshipped in the four corners of the earth. Therefore whensoever, in their synagogues, they sing or say these word of Moses, they turn their heads to the four corners of the world.


Verse 5

Deuteronomy 6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

Ver. 5. And thou shalt love.] {See Trapp on "Matthew 22:37"} This shows the impossibility of keeping the law perfectly: Ita ut frustra sint sophistae, &c. The true Christian counts all that he can do for God but a little of that much he owes him, and that he could gladly beteem him. But what a wretched monk was that that died with these words in his mouth, Redde mihi aeternam vitam quam debes; Lord, pay me heaven, for thou owest it!


Verse 6

Deuteronomy 6:6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

Ver. 6. Shall be in thy heart.] A Bible men should get stamped in their heads, and another in their hearts, as David had. [Psalms 119:11] Knowledge that swims in the head only, and sinks not down into the heart, does no more good than rain in the middle region doth; or than the unicorn’s horn in the unicorn’s head.


Verse 7

Deuteronomy 6:7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

Ver. 7. And thou shalt teach them diligently.] Heb., Thou shalt whet or sharpen them, as one would sharpen a stake when he drives it into the ground: or as one would set an edge upon a knife, by oft going over the whetstone. A learned Hebrician observes a near affinity between the word here used and another word that signifies to repeat, and inculcate the same thing. (a) Innuit studium et diligentiam, qua pueris praecepta Dei ineuleari debent, saith Vatablus. Children should be taught the principles that they understand not: (1.) That they might have occasion much to think of the things that are so much and commonly urged; (2.) That if any extremity should come, they might have certain seeds of comfort and direction to guide and support them; (3.) That their condemnation might be more just, if having these so much in their mouths, they should not get something of them into their hearts.


Verse 8

Deuteronomy 6:8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.

Ver. 8. And thou shalt bind them.] {See Trapp on "Matthew 23:5"}


Verse 9

Deuteronomy 6:9 And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

Ver. 9. And on thy gates.] In a foolish imitation whereof, the English Jesuits beyond sea have written on their church and college doors in great golden letters, Iesu, Iesu, converte Angliam. Fiat, Fiat. Habent et vespae favos; Wasps also have their honeycombs. There was within a mile of Prague a famous monastery, in the walls whereof the whole Bible was most exquisitely written in letters of gold.


Verse 11

Deuteronomy 6:11 And houses full of all good [things], which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full;

Ver. 11. When thou shalt have eaten and be full.] Saturity oft breeds security; fulness, forgetfulness. The best, when full fed, are apt to wax wanton and will be dipping their fingers sometimes in the devil’s sauce: Ipsis opibus lascivire coepit ecclesia. (a) The moon never suffers eclipse but at the full, and that by the earth’s interposition. The young mules, when they have sucked, turn up their heels and kick at the dam.


Verse 12

Deuteronomy 6:12 [Then] beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

Ver. 12. Lest thou forget the Lord.] Should we, with the fed hawk, forget our master? Or being full with God’s benefits, like the moon, be then most removed from the sun, from whom she hath all her light? See Proverbs 30:8-9. Postquam locupletati sumus, saith Luther, hanc odiosam particulam addimus, Ego feci; We are no sooner grown rich, but we are apt to utter that ugly word, This I may thank myself for.


Verse 13

Deuteronomy 6:13 Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.

Ver. 13. And shalt swear by his name.] An oath rightly taken, is a piece of our holy service to God, and may well be reckoned amongst our prayers and other pious performances.


Verse 14

Deuteronomy 6:14 Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which [are] round about you;

Ver. 14. Thou shalt not go] {See Trapp on "Exodus 34:14"}


Verse 15

Deuteronomy 6:15 (For the LORD thy God [is] a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.

Ver. 15. A jealous God amongst you.] Let the gods of the heathens be good fellows, our God will endure no co-rivals. He is both a jealous God, and is ever amongst us, so that our faults, our furtas, cannot be hid from his eyes. Now he that dares sin, though he know God looks on, is more impudent in sinning than was Absalom, when he spread a tent upon the top of the house, and went in to his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel and of the sun.


Verse 16

Deuteronomy 6:16 Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted [him] in Massah.

Ver. 16. Ye shall not tempt the Lord.] By prescribing to God, and "limiting the Holy One of Israel," as these men did at Massah. [Psalms 78:41] {See Trapp on "Matthew 4:7"} {See Trapp on "Acts 5:9"} {See Trapp on "Exodus 17:2"}


Verse 17

Deuteronomy 6:17 Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee.

Ver. 17. Ye shall diligently keep.] So Psalms 119:4. Howbeit the most that David could do towards it, was to wish well to it. [Deuteronomy 6:5]


Verse 20

Deuteronomy 6:20 [And] when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What [mean] the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD our God hath commanded you?

Ver. 20. What mean the testimonies?] Here we have a brief catechism, which is a course and practice of singular profit. Luther scorned not to profess himself discipulum catechismi: and the Jesuits, by the example of our churches, do catechise their novices.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 6:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/deuteronomy-6.html. 1865-1868.

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