Deuteronomy 5 – Reading Note

  • Moses said that God’s covenant with the Israelites was with all the Israelites alive at this time, not just with their ancestors (5: 2, 3). As one commentary said, God’s covenant was made with the Israelite. Even though lots of them had died and new ones had been born, they were still the same people Israelite community, although comprised of different individuals. (More on Deut 11 note)
  • Accepting the previous point means accepting that a group of people can stay the same although the individuals change over time. America is still America even if all the Americans living today die and are replaced by new ones. I wonder how that can be explained.
  • Assuming that a group is the same group irrespective of changes in those belonging to it might explain how God punishes children for the sins of the parents without being unjust (5: 9, 10). If a community sins (if such a thing is possible) then God can punish that community. And if the current members of the community die and are replaced by their children, God can still punish the community, because it is the same one, not another.
  • Some translations render verses 9 and 10 as “visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children”. Unless visiting means the same thing as “punishing”, that changes things. It could simply mean making the children commit the same sins as their fathers or allowing them to commit the same sins, depending on how you think of God’s sovereignty.
  • The Ten Commandments can be divided into two groups. Ways to treat God and ways to treat others. Or as Jesus said, love God and love others.
  • According to 5: 12 – 15, the Sabbath day as a rest day was for the benefit of slaves (and workers too, I guess).
  • The Ten Commandments demand respect and honor for God and parents. That those people should be respected is pretty obvious in my opinion.
  • The tenth commandment is a ban on wanting other people’s things. It does not seem to me to be a ban on wanting to for example, have the same kind of shoe that you friend has, but on wanting your friend’s shoe. Things like that could happen for instance, if you want something that there is only one of. Like your neighbor’s wife.

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I’m Tracy

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