Deuteronomy 28:58-68

Deuteronomy 28:58-68
A Women’s Lectionary 26


58 If you do not diligently observeA allB the wordsC of this lawD

Notes on verse 58a

A “diligently observe” = shamar + asah. Shamar is to keep, watch, or preserve. It means to guard something or to protect it as a thorny hedge protects something. Asah is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.
B “all” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
C “words” = dabar. From dabar (to speak, declare, discuss). This is speech, a word, a matter, an affair, charge, command, message, promise, purpose, report, request. It is a word, which implies things that are spoken of in a wide sense.
D “law” = torah. From yarah (to throw, shoot, be stunned; to flow as water so figuratively to instruct or teach). This is law, instruction, teaching, or statute. It can also refer to the first five books of the Bible – the Torah.

that are writtenE in this book,F fearingG this gloriousH

Notes on verse 58b

E “written” = kathab. This is to inscribe, write, record, or decree.
F “book” = sepher. Perhaps from saphar (to tally or record something; to enumerate, recount, number, celebrate, or declare). This can be writing itself or something that is written like a document, book, letter, evidence, bill, scroll, or register.
G “fearing” = yare. This is to fear, be afraid, dreadful. It can also refer to fearful reverence – to fear in a moral sense is to say to revere, respect.
H “glorious” = kabad. To be heavy, weighty, or severe. It can also be positive abounding in, rich, or honorable. The Hebrew word for “glory,” kabod, is taken from this root.

and awesomeI name,J the LordK your God,L 

Notes on verse 58c

I “awesome” = yare. Same as “fearing” in v58. See note G above.
J “name” = shem. May be from sum (to put, place, set). 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.
K “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). 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.
L “God” = Elohim.

59 then the Lord will overwhelmM both you and your offspringN with severeO

Notes on verse 59a

M “will overwhelm” = pala. From pele (wonder, miracle, wonderful, marvelous thing). This is to be extraordinary, to arise, to be great or accomplish.
N “offspring” = zera. From zara (to sow or scatter seed; conceive or yield). This is seed or sowing. It can, thus, mean a fruit, plant, sowing time, child, offspring, or posterity.
O “severe” = 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.

and lastingP afflictionsQ and grievousR and lasting maladies.S 

Notes on verse 59b

P “lasting” = aman. This is to believe, endure, fulfill, confirm, support, be faithful. It is to put one’s trust in, be steadfast. Figuratively, this is to be firm, steadfast, or faithful, trusting, believing, being permanent, morally solid. This is where the word “amen” comes from.
Q “afflictions” = makkah. From nakah (to hit whether lightly or severely literal or figurative; beat, punish, give wounds, kill, or slaughter). This is a wound, injury, blow. Figuratively, it could be disaster, slaughter, or pestilence.
R “grievous” = ra’. From ra’a’ (to be evil, bad, afflict; properly, to spoil – to destroy by breaking into pieces; figuratively, to cause something to be worthless; this is bad in a physical, social, or moral sense; that which displeases, to do harm or mischief, to punish or vex). This is bad, disagreeable, that which causes pain, misery, something having little or no value, something that is ethically bad, wicked, injury, calamity. This refers to anything that is not what it ought to be – a natural disaster, a disfigurement, an injury, a sin.
S “maladies” = choli. From chalah (properly, this is to be worn; hence, being weak, sick, or afflicted; it can also mean to grieve or, positively, to flatter or entreat). This is sickness, affliction, grief, worry, or calamity.

60 He will bring backT upon you all the diseasesU of Egypt,V

Notes on verse 60a

T “bring back” = shub. To turn back, return, turn away – literally or figuratively. Doesn’t necessarily imply going back to where you started from. This is also the root verb for the Hebrew word for repentance “teshubah.”
U “diseases” = madveh. 2x in OT – both in Deuteronomy. From davah (to be sick or unwell). This is sickness or a disease.
V “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.

of whichW you were in dread,X and they shall clingY to you. 61 EveryZ other malady and affliction, even though not recordedAA in the book of this law, the Lord will inflictBB on you until you are destroyed.CC 

Notes on verses 60b-61

W {untranslated} = 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.
X “were in dread” = yagor. 5x in OT. This is to fear or be in dread.
Y “cling” = dabaq. This is to follow closely or abide fast, to cling or be joined together. Figuratively, it can mean to catch something by chasing after it, to overtake, or to stick. A man clings to his wife in Genesis 2:24, Shechem was deeply attracted to Dinah in Genesis 34:3, Ruth clung to Naomi in Ruth 1:14, Solomon clung to his foreign wives and concubines in 1 Kings 11:2. It is also used of a tongue sticking to the mouth, pursuing or overtaking as in battle, and also clinging to God.
Z “every” = kol. Same as “all” in v58. See note B above.
AA “recorded” = kathab. Same as “written” in v58. See note E above.
BB “inflict” = alah. This is to go up, approach, ascend, be high, be a priority; to arise in a literal or figurative sense.
CC “destroyed” = shamad. This is to demolish, destroy, perish, overthrow, pluck down.

62 Although once you wereDD as numerousEE as the starsFF in heaven,GG

Notes on verse 62a

DD “were” = hayah. Related to “Lord” in v58. See note K above.
EE “numerous” = rob. From rabab (to be or become much or many, multiply). This is any kind of abundance.
FF “stars” = kokab. Perhaps from the same as kavah (to prick, blister, burn, scorch). This is a star as shining, stargaze. Figuratively, can mean prince.
GG “heaven” = shamayim. Root may mean being lofty. This is sky, the air, or heaven. It is in a dual noun form so this might refer to the part of the sky where the clouds move on the one hand and the part beyond that where the sun, moon, and stars are on the other hand.

you shall be leftHH fewII in number,JJ because you did not obeyKK theLL Lord your God. 

Notes on verse 62b

HH “be left” = shaar. Properly, this is swelling up i.e. being left over, a remnant, remaining, being redundant.
II “few” = 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.
JJ “number” = math. Perhaps from the same as mathay (when, how, length of time). This is a man, associate, friend, number. It is an adult or mortal.
KK “obey” = 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.
LL {untranslated} = 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.

63 AndMM just as the Lord took delightNN in making you prosperousOO and numerous,PP soQQ the Lord will take delight

Notes on verse 63a

MM {untranslated} = hayah. Same as “were” in v62. See note DD above.
NN “took delight” = sus. This is to rejoice or be glad. Properly, it is to be bright or cheerful.
OO “making…prosperous” = yatab. This is to be good or pleasing, joyful. It can also mean doing good in an ethical sense or be beautiful, happy, successful, or right.
PP “numerous” = rabah. This is increasing in any aspect whether quantity, authority, size, quality, greatness, etc.
QQ “so” = ken. Perhaps from kun (properly, in a perpendicular position; literally, to establish, fix, fasten, prepare; figuratively, it is certainty, to be firm, faithfulness, render sure or prosperous). This is to set upright. Generally used figuratively to mean thus, so, afterwards, rightly so.

in bringing you to ruinRR and destruction;SS you shall be pluckedTT off the landUU that you are enteringVV to possess.WW 

Notes on verse 63b

RR “bringing…to ruin” = abad. To wander off, lose self. This implies to perish, destroy, die, vanish, or be broken or corrupt.
SS “destruction” = shamad. Same as “destroyed” in v61. See note CC above.
TT “be plucked” = nasach. 4x in OT. This is to tear away, uproot, destroy.
UU “land” = adamah. From the same as adam (man, humankind); perhaps from ‘adom (to be red). This is ground, earth, soil as red, or land.
VV “entering” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
WW “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.

64 The Lord will scatterXX you among all peoples,YY from one endZZ of the earthAAA to the other;BBB and thereCCC

Notes on verse 64a

XX “scatter” = puts. This is to dash in pieces, scatter, disperse, drive.
YY “peoples” = am. From amam (to darken, hide, associate; creating shadows by huddling together). This is people or nation. It can be used specifically for a tribe, collectively of troops or armies, or figuratively to refer to a flock of animals.
ZZ “end” = qatseh. From qatsah (to cut off, cut short; figuratively, to destroy). This is end, brink, border, edge, frontier. It can refer to that which is within set boundaries.
AAA “earth” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.
BBB “other” = qatseh. Same as “end” in v64. See note ZZ above.
CCC {untranslated} = erets. Same as “earth” in v64. See note AAA above.

you shall serveDDD otherEEE gods,FFF of woodGGG and stone,HHH which neither you nor your ancestorsIII have known.JJJ 

Notes on verse 64b

DDD “serve” = abad. This is to work, serve, or compel. It can describe any kind of work or service (including religious devotion).  Also, till or cultivate. Used causatively, it can mean to enslave or keep in bondage.
EEE “other” = acher. From achar (to be behind, delay, be late, procrastinate, continue). This is following, next, strange, other.
FFF “gods” = elohim. Same as “God” in v58. See note L above.
GGG “wood” = ets. Perhaps from atsah (to shut, fasten, firm up, to close one’s eyes). This is tree or other things related to trees like wood, sticks, or stalks. It can also refer to wood products like a plank or staff or gallows. Additionally, this can refer to a carpenter.
HHH “stone” = eben. This is a stone, weight, or mason. It is part of the word “Ebenezer.”
III “ancestors” = ab. This is father, chief, or ancestor. It is father in a literal or figurative sense.
JJJ “known” = yada. This is to know, acknowledge, advise, answer, be aware, be acquainted with. Properly, this is to figure something out by seeing. It includes ideas of observation, recognition, and care about something. It can be used causatively for instruction, designation, and punishment.

65 Among those nationsKKK you shall find no ease,LLL noMMM

Notes on verse 65a

KKK “nations” = 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.
LLL “find no ease” = raga. 12x in OT. This is to toss violently, break, or disturb. It is tossed about as on rough sea or the skin breaking out in skin disease. It can also be to shut the eyes and so to settle, east, rest, or quiet.
MMM {untranslated} = hayah. Same as “were” in v62. See note DD above.

resting placeNNN for the soleOOO of your foot.PPP

Notes on verse 65b

NNN “resting place” = manoach. 6x in OT. From nuach (to rest, calm, camp, free, place, remain, satisfy, settle, station, or wait; implies settling down in a literal or figurative sense). This is resting place, a restful state, quiet, a home.
OOO “sole” = kaph. From kaphaph (to bend – from a root meaning curve or bend down). This is palm of the hand or sole of the foot, footstep, grasp. Figuratively, it can also mean power.
PPP “foot” = regel. This is foot, endurance, or journey. It is a foot as the means of walking and so it implies a step or a greater journey. It can be used euphemistically for private parts.

There the Lord will giveQQQ you a tremblingRRR heart,SSS

Notes on verse 65c

QQQ “give” = natan. This is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively.
RRR “trembling” = raggaz. 1x in OT. From ragaz (shaking from any strong emotion, particularly anger or fear; to be agitated, excited, perturbed, afraid, quaking, quivering). This is quivering, quaking, timid.
SSS “heart” = leb. May be related to labab (to encourage; properly, to be encased as with fat; used in a good sense, this means to transport someone with love; used in a bad sense, it can mean to dull one’s senses). This is the heart, courage, one’s inner self, the mind, or the will. Heart is only used in a figurative sense in the Old and New Testaments.

failingTTT eyes,UUU and a languishingVVV spirit.WWW 

Notes on verse 65d

TTT “failing” = killayon. 2x in OT. From kalah (to end, be finished, complete, prepare, consume, spent, or completely destroyed). This is failing, annihilation, or destruction.
UUU “eyes” = ayin. This is eye in a literal or figurative sense so eye, appearance, favor, or a fountain (the eye of the landscape).
VVV “languishing” = deabon. 1x in OT. From daeb (to languish, grow faint, pine, waste away). This is faintness, despair, or sorrow.
WWW “spirit” = nephesh. Related to naphash (to refresh or be refreshed). This is soul, self, person, emotion. It is a breathing creature. Can also refer to appetites and desires.

66 XXXYour lifeYYY shall hang in doubtZZZ beforeAAAA you;

Notes on verse 66a

XXX “hang” = hayah. Same as “were” in v62. See note DD above.
YYY “life” = chay. From chayah (to live or keep alive literally or figuratively). This is alive, living, lifetime. It can also be used to describe someone’s age. It can refer to animals, plants, water, or a company or congregation of people. It is life in a very broad sense.
ZZZ “hang in doubt” = tala. This is to hang, suspend. Figuratively, it can reer to being stuck in doubt or getting used to something.
AAAA “before” = neged. From nagad (to declare, make conspicuous, stand in front, manifest, predict, explain). This is in front of, opposite to. It can refer to a counterpart or partner, one corresponding to or in the sight of.

nightBBBB and dayCCCC you shall be in dread,DDDD with no assuranceEEEE of your life. 

Notes on verse 66b

BBBB “night” = layil. Properly, this refers to light twisting away. It is used for night or midnight. Figuratively, this can mean adversity.
CCCC “day” = yomam. From yom (day, age, daily, each, today). Root may mean to be hot. So, this is day as the hours that are hot. This can be daytime in a literal or figurative sense.
DDDD “be in dread” = pachad. To dread, be afraid, thrill, be in awe. This is properly feeling startled from a sudden sound or alarm and so, more generally, to be afraid.
EEEE “assurance” = aman. Same as “lasting” in v59. See note P above.

67 In the morningFFFF you shall say, “If only it were evening!” and at evening you shall say, “If only it were morning!”—because of the dreadGGGG that your heartHHHH shall feelIIII and the sightsJJJJ that your eyes shall see.KKKK 

Notes on verse 67

FFFF “morning” = boqer. From baqar (to seek, plow, break forth, admire, care for). This refers to the break of day. So it is dawn, early, morning, or morrow.
GGGG “dread” = pachad. Related to “be in dread” in v66. From pachad (see note DDDD above). This is dread, fear, awe, panic. It can also refer to what someone fears or dreads.
HHHH “heart” = lebab. Related to “heart” in v65. It is a different form of the same word. See note SSS above.
IIII “feel” = pachad. Same as “be in dread” in v66. See note DDDD above.
JJJJ “sights” = mareh. From raah (to see, show, stare, think, view; to see in a literal or figurative sense). This is sight, appearance, or vision. It can be a view, seeing itself, that which is seen, something real, or a vision one sees.
KKKK “see” = raah. Related to “sights” in v67. See note JJJJ above.

68 The Lord will bring you back in shipsLLLL to Egypt, by a routeMMMM that I promised you would never see again;NNNN and there you shall offer yourselves for saleOOOO to your enemiesPPPP as maleQQQQ and female slaves,RRRR but there will be no buyer.SSSS

Notes on verse 68

LLLL “ships” = oniyyah. From the same as oni (ships, a fleet); probably from anah (to meet, happen, approach). This is ships or sailors.
MMMM “route” = derek. From darak (to tread, march, to walk. Can also mean affixing a string to a box since one needs to step on it to bend it in the process; so also an archer). This is a road as a thing that is walked on. Can be used figuratively for the path that one’s life takes or how one chooses to live one’s life.
NNNN “again” = yasaph. This is to add, increase, continue, exceed.
OOOO “offer…for sale” = makar. This is to sell – could be commerce/trade, a daughter to be married, someone into slavery. Figuratively, it can mean to surrender.
PPPP “enemies” = oyeb. From ayab (to hate or be hostile to). This is a foe or enemy as one that you are hostile to.
QQQQ “male” = ebed. Related to “serve” in v64. From abad (see note DDD above). This is a servant, slave, or bondservant.
RRRR “female slaves” = shiphchah. Root may mean to spread out – it would be the same root used in mishpachah, which means family or clan. This is maidservant, female slave, or female bondslave.
SSSS “be…buyer” = qanah. This is to acquire, create, purchase, own. Its root may mean to smith or to produce.

Image credit: “The Israelites Leaving Egypt” by David Roberts, 1828 or 1830.

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