Deuteronomy 26:1-11

Deuteronomy 26:1-11
Lent C15


AWhen you have comeB into the landC that the LordD your GodE

Notes on verse 1a

A {untranslated} = hayah. This is to be or become, to happen.
B “come” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
C “land” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.
D “Lord” = YHVH. Related to {untranslated} in v1. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (see note A above). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
E “God” = Elohim.

is givingF you as an inheritanceG to possess,H and you possess it, and settleI in it, 

Notes on verse 1b

F “giving” = natan. This is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively.
G “inheritance” = nachalah. Related to nachal (to inherit, occupy, distribute, take as heritage). This is properly something that was inherited. It can mean occupancy generally or, more particularly, an heirloom or an estate. This can be an inheritance, gift, possession, or portion.
H “possess” = yarash. This is inheriting or dispossessing. It refers to occupying or colonizing – taking territory by driving out the previous inhabitants and living there instead of them. By implication, it can mean to seize or rob, to expel, ruin, or impoverish.
I “settle” = yashab. This is to sit and so to remain and so to dwell. It is sitting for any reason – as a judge, in order to ambush, or just sitting quietly. Causatively, this can mean settling or marrying. This can also mean continue, endure, or establish.

you shall takeJ some of the firstK of allL the fruitM of the ground,N

Notes on verse 2a

J “take” = laqach. This is to take, accept, carry away, receive. It can also have the sense of take a wife or take in marriage.
K “first” = reshit. From rosh (head, captain, or chief; excellent or the forefront; first in position or in statue or in time). This is beginning, first place, highest rank, chief thing.
L “all” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
M “fruit” = peri. From parah (to bear fruit, grow, be fruitful, increase; bearing fruit in a literal or figurative sense). This is fruit or reward.
N “ground” = adamah. From the same as adam (man, humankind); perhaps from ‘adom (to be red). This is ground, earth, soil as red, or land.

which you harvestO from the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you shall putP it in a basketQ and goR to the placeS

Notes on verse 2b

O “harvest” = bo. Same as “come” in v1. See note B above.
P “put” = sum. This is to put or place in a literal or figurative sense. It can be appoint, care, change, make, and may other things.
Q “basket” = tene. 4x in OT – all in Deuteronomy. Root may mean to weave. This is a basket.
R “go” = halak. This is go, come, walk. It is walk literally and figuratively and includes people and animals. It can be used figuratively for one’s moral life – how we walk according to God’s way or against it. It can also refer to the walk of life as in the course one’s life takes, the choices we make, etc.
S “place” = maqom. From qum(to arise, stand, accomplish, establish, abide; rising against, getting up after being sick or asleep, arising from one state to another, becoming powerful, or rising for action; standing in a figurative sense). This is a standing, which is to say a spot or space a place. It can also refer to a locality or a physical/mental condition. HaMaqom is also a Jewish name for God – the place, i.e. the Omnipresent One.

that the Lord your God will chooseT as a dwellingU for his name.V 

Notes on verse 2c

T “choose” = bachar. This is to choose, appoint, try, excellent.
U “dwelling” = shakan. This is to settle down in the sense of residing somewhere or staying there permanently. It can mean abide or continue. “Mishkan,” taken from this verb, is the Hebrew word for the Tabernacle (as a place where God abided).
V “name” = shem. Related to “put” in v2. May be from sum (see note P above). This is name, fame, renown. A name was thought to indicate something essential about a person – something about their individuality. So, this word can also mean honor, authority, or character.

You shall goW to the priestX who isY in office at that time,Z and say to him, “TodayAA I declareBB to the Lord your God that I have come into the land that the Lord sworeCC to our ancestorsDD to give us.” 

Notes on verse 3

W “go” = bo. Same as “come” in v1. See note B above.
X “priest” = kohen. This is literally the one who officiates i.e. the priest. This is where the Jewish last name “Cohen” (and its variants) comes from.
Y “is” = hayah. Same as {untranslated} in v1. See note A above.
Z “time” = yom. Root may mean being hot. This is the day in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean birth, age, daylight, continually or other references to time.
AA “today” = yom. Same as “time” in v3. See note Z above.
BB “declare” = nagad. This is to declare, make conspicuous, stand in front, manifest, predict, explain.
CC “swore” = shaba. Perhaps from sheba (seven – the number of perfection/sacred fullness). This is to swear, curse, vow, make a covenant. Properly, it can mean to be complete. This is to seven oneself – as in affirming something so strongly it is as though it were said seven times.
DD “ancestors” = ab. This is father, chief, or ancestor. It is father in a literal or figurative sense.

When the priest takes the basket from your handEE and sets it downFF beforeGG the altarHH of the Lord your God, 

Notes on verse 4

EE “hand” = yad. This is hand, ability, power. Hand in a literal sense, but also what one can do or the means by which one does it.
FF “sets…down” = yanach. Perhaps from the same as nuach (to rest, calm, camp, free, place, remain, satisfy, settle, station, or wait; implies settling down in a literal or figurative sense). This is to lay down, let alone, pacify, cast down, or deposit. It can also mean to allow something or someone to stay.
GG “before” = paneh. From panah (to turn, face, appear). This is face in a literal or figurative sense. It could be face, presence, anger, respect. It can also be used of God to indicate divine favor or presence.
HH “altar” = mizbeach. From zabach (to kill, slay, offer; slaughtering an animal to offer as a sacrifice). This is an altar.

5 you shall make this responseII before the Lord your God: “A wanderingJJ ArameanKK was my ancestor;

Notes on verse 5a

II “make…response” = anah. This is answer, respond, announce, sing, shout, or testify. It means to pay attention, which implies responding and, by extension, starting to talk. Used in a specific sense for singing, shouting, testifying, etc.
JJ “wandering” = abad. To wander off, lose self. This implies to perish, destroy, die, vanish, or be broken or corrupt.
KK “Aramean” = Arammi. 11x in OT. From aram (Aram, Syria, Mesopotamia – meaning elevated or citadel); perhaps from armon (any fortified building – castle, citadel, palace) OR from rum (to be high, rise, exalt self, extol, be haughty; to rise literally or figuratively). This is Aramean – someone from Aram or Syria. See

he went downLL into EgyptMM and lived there as an alien,NN, OO

Notes on verse 5b

LL “went down” = yarad. This is to go down, descend; going down in a literal or figurative sense. It can be going to the shore or a boundary, bringing down an enemy.
MM “Egypt” = Mitsrayim. Perhaps from matsor (besieged or fortified place, bulwark, entrenchment; something hemmed in; a siege or distress or fastness); from tsur (to confine, besiege, to cramp). This is Egypt.
NN “lived…as an alien” = gur. Properly, this is the act of turning off the road for any reason. So, it means sojourning, becoming a guest. It can mean being fearful since one is outside of home territory. It can also mean dwelling, living, or inhabiting if one has turned off the root to encamp for a longer duration. This word is where the Hebrew “ger” comes from, which is the word translated “stranger” or “resident alien.”
OO {untranslated} = memukan. 4x in OT- 1x in Deuteronomy & 3x in Esther. This is Memukan, Momukan, or Memucan, a Persian satrap. Perhaps it is listed here in error?

few in number,PP and there he becameQQ a greatRR nation,SS mightyTT and populous.UU 

Notes on verse 5c

PP “few in number” = me’at. From ma’at (being or becoming small, decrease, diminish, pare off). This is a little or few, lightly little while, very small matter.
QQ “became” = hayah. Same as {untranslated} in v1. See note A above.
RR “great” = gadol. From gadal (to grow up, become great, become wealthy – to advance. The root meaning may be to twist in the sense of the process of growing). This is great, high, bigger, noble, old, marvelous. It can also refer to someone who is powerful or distinguished.
SS “nation” = goy. From the same root as gevah (the back, person, or body); related to gev (among); related to gaah (to rise up). This is nation or people. Often used to refer to Gentiles or foreign nations. It can also be used figuratively for a group of animals. This is where the Yiddish “goy” comes from.
TT “mighty” = atsum. From atsom (to be many or mighty; could also refer to breaking bones). This is mighty or mighty one. It means powerful, which implies large numbers.
UU “populous” = rab. From rabab (increasing in any aspect whether quantity, authority, size, quality, greatness, etc.). This is abundance, many, elder, exceedingly, great. It refers to abundance of amount, rank, or status.

When the EgyptiansVV treated us harshlyWW and afflictedXX us, by imposingYY hardZZ laborAAA on us, 

Notes on verse 6

VV “Egyptians” = Mitsri. Related to “Egypt” in v5. From the same as Mitsrayim (see note MM above). This is Egyptian.
WW “treated…harshly” = ra’a’. This is to be evil, bad, afflict. Properly, it means to spoil – to destroy by breaking into pieces. Figuratively, it is to cause something to be worthless. It is bad in a physical, social, or moral sense – something that displeases, does harm or mischief, punishes or vexes.
XX “afflicted” = anah. This is to be bowed down. It can refer to a sense of humility or to a sense of being browbeaten, oppressed, afflicted, or depressed. This can be literal or figurative – depressed in mood or circumstance.
YY “imposing” = natan. Same as “giving” in v1. See note F above.
ZZ “hard” = qasheh. From qashah (to be fierce, cruel, dense, tough, severe). This is hard, severe, heavy, obstinate, hard-hearted.
AAA “labor” = abodah. From abad (to work, serve, compel; any kind of work; used causatively, can mean to enslave or keep in bondage). This is labor, service, bondage, job, servitude, worker. It can refer to any kind of work.

we criedBBB to the Lord, the God of our ancestors; the Lord heardCCC our voiceDDD and sawEEE our affliction,FFF our toil,GGG and our oppression.HHH 

Notes on verse 7

BBB “cried” = tsaaq. This is to cry out or call together, to shriek. It can mean, by implication, calling for an assembly.
CCC “heard” = shama. This is to hear, call, consent, or consider. It implies listening intelligently, giving attention, and, because of these two factors, obedience and action are often implied.
DDD “voice” = qol. This is a sound, used often for human voices. Also used when God speaks or angels, animals or instruments. It can be a cry or a noise, thunder or earthquakes and so on.
EEE “saw” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
FFF “affliction” = oniy. Related to “afflicted” in v6. From anah (see note XX above). This is misery, poverty, or affliction.
GGG “toil” = amal. From amal (to work – hard labor). This is trouble, toil, labor as well as misery, sorrow, or iniquity. It is work that wearies through effort so hence worry – can refer to body or mind.
HHH “oppression” = lachats. 12x in OT. From lachats (to press or squeeze; figuratively, oppress, afflict, or distress). This is oppression or affliction.

8 The Lord broughtIII us out of Egypt with a mightyJJJ hand and an outstretchedKKK arm,LLL with a terrifyingMMM display of power,NNN and with signsOOO and wonders;PPP 

Notes on verse 8

III “brought” = yatsa. This is to go or come out, bring forth, appear. It is to go out in a literal or figurative sense.
JJJ “mighty” = chazaq. From chazaq (to strengthen, seize, be courageous, repair, bind, heal, conquer, harden). This is strong, hard, powerful, loud, bold, violent, impudent. It is usually strong in a negative sense.
KKK “outstretched” = natah. This is to stretch or spread out, to extend, or bend. In can also imply moral deflection.
LLL “arm” = zeroa. Perhaps from zara (to sow, scatter seed, conceive). This is the arm, shoulder, or foreleg of an animal. It is figuratively used for power, force, might, or help.
MMM “terrifying” = mora. 12x in OT. From yare (to fear, be afraid, dreadful; fearful reverence – to fear in a moral sense is to say to revere, respect.). This is fear, dread, respect, or reverence. It can also be a fearful thing or action.
NNN “display of power” = gadol. Same as “great” in v5. See note RR above.
OOO “signs” = ot. From avah (to mark, sign, point out); OR from uth (to agree). This is a sign in a literal or figurative sense. It could be a flag or monument. It could be evidence or a mark. It could also be an omen or a miracle. 
PPP “wonders” = mopheth. Perhaps from yaphah (to be beautiful, decorate; root means being bright, which implies being beautiful). This is a wonder, miracle, symbol, sign, or omen.

9 and he broughtQQQ us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowingRRR with milkSSS and honey.TTT 

Notes on verse 9

QQQ “brought” = bo. Same as “come” in v1. See note B above.
RRR “flowing” = zub. This is to flow or gush. It is to flow like water or overflow. It can also be discharge, pine, waste away, or have a sexual flow.
SSS “milk” = chalab. Perhaps from the same as cheleb (fat, finest, marrow; fat in a literal or figurative sense; the richest or best part). This is milk or cheese or suckling.
TTT “honey” = debash. Root may mean being gummy. This is honey or honeycomb because it is so sticky. It can also refer to syrup.

10 SoUUU now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground that you, O Lord, have given me.” You shall set it down before the Lord your God and bow downVVV before the Lord your God. 11 Then you, together with the LevitesWWW and the aliensXXX who reside amongYYY you, shall celebrateZZZ with all the bountyAAAA that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house.BBBB

Notes on verses 10-11

UUU “so” = hinneh. From hen (lo! Behold! If, though; an expression of surprise). This is to draw attention, show suddenness or surprise, or to emphasize the importance of the coming statement. See! Lo! Behold!
VVV “bow down” = shachah. This is to bow down, make a humble entreaty, to do homage to royalty or to God.
WWW “Levites” = Leviyyi. From Levi (Levi; perhaps meaning “attached”; Jacob’s son, his tribe, and descendants); perhaps from lavah (to join, twine, unite, remain, borrow, lend). This is Levite or levitical.
XXX “aliens” = ger. Related to “lived…as an alien” in v5. From gur (see note NN above). This is sojourner, guest, stranger, foreigner.
YYY “among” = qereb. Perhaps from qarab (to come near or approach). This is among, in the midst, before, the center It is the inward part, whether literal or figurative. It can also be used for the heart, the site of thoughts and feelings. This word is also used as a technical term for the entrails of the animals who are sacrificed.
ZZZ “celebrate” = sameach. From samach (to rejoice, be glad; properly, to brighten up; also used figuratively). This is glad or joyful.
AAAA “bounty” = tob. From tob (to be pleasing, to be good). This is good, beautiful, pleasant, agreeable, bountiful, at ease. This word is used for goodness as a concept, a good thing, a good person. This can refer to prosperity and welfare as well as joy, kindness, sweetness, and graciousness. So, this is ethically good, but also enjoyably good.
BBBB “house” = bayit. Probably from banah (to build, make, set up, obtain children; to build literally or figuratively). This is house, court, family, palace, temple.

Image credit: “Etrogs for Sukkkot” by Avital Pinnick, 2010.

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