New English Translation
2 and that you may so revere the Lord your God that you will keep all his statutes and commandments[a] that I am giving[b] you—you, your children, and your grandchildren—all your lives, to prolong your days. 3 Pay attention, Israel, and be careful to do this so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in number[c]—as the Lord, the God of your ancestors,[d] said to you, you will have a land flowing with milk and honey.
The Essence of the Covenant Principles
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord is one![e]Read full chapter
- Deuteronomy 6:2 tn Here the terms are not the usual חֻקִּים (khuqqim) and מִשְׁפָּטִים (mishpatim; as in v. 1) but חֻקֹּת (khuqqot, “statutes”) and מִצְוֹת (mitsvot, “commandments”). It is clear that these terms are used interchangeably and that their technical precision ought not be overly stressed.
- Deuteronomy 6:2 tn Heb “commanding.” For stylistic reasons, to avoid redundancy, “giving” has been used in the translation.
- Deuteronomy 6:3 tn Heb “may multiply greatly” (so NASB, NRSV); the words “in number” have been supplied in the translation for clarity.
- Deuteronomy 6:3 tn Heb “fathers” (also in vv. 10, 18, 23).
- Deuteronomy 6:4 tn Heb “the Lord, our God, the Lord, one.” (1) One option is to translate: “The Lord is our God, the Lord alone” (cf. NAB, NRSV, NLT). This would be an affirmation that the Lord was the sole object of their devotion. This interpretation finds support from the appeals to loyalty that follow (vv. 5, 14). (2) Another option is to translate: “The Lord is our God, the Lord is unique.” In this case the text would be affirming the people’s allegiance to the Lord, as well as the Lord’s superiority to all other gods. It would also imply that he is the only one worthy of their worship. Support for this view comes from parallel texts such as Deut 7:9 and 10:17, as well as the use of “one” in Song 6:8-9, where the starstruck lover declares that his beloved is unique (literally, “one,” that is, “one of a kind”) when compared to all other women.sn Verses 4-5 constitute the so-called Shema (after the first word שְׁמַע, shemaʿ, “hear”), widely regarded as the very heart of Jewish confession and faith. When Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment of all, he quoted this text (Matt 22:37-38).