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eBook JPS Torah Commentary: Deuteronomy
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Author:  
Publisher:  Varda Books
Original Publisher:  The Jewish Publication Society
Published:  2004
Language:  English
Pages:   636
Techno:  

Prepared to work interactively with JPS Hebrew-English Tanakh (Scholar PDF edition), which can be purchased separately.



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ISBN: 1-59045-402-2




About the Book -- JPS Torah Commentary: Deuteronomy

The fifth and final JPS commentary on the last book of the Torah. Tigay's work marks the brilliant completion to this highly acclaimed series. The JPS Torah Commentary is known as one of the most authoritative and respected commentaries on the Bible and is widely used world-wide.

About the Book

Contents

CONTENTS

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS vii

INTRODUCTION xi

GLOSSARY xxxiii

ABBREVIATIONS xxxix

MAPS

1. Places Mentioned in Deuteronomy 1:1–5 xlv

2. The Promised Land According to Deuteronomy 1:7 xlvi

3. The Route of the Israelites from Kadesh-barnea to the Steppes of Moab

(Deuteronomy 1–3) xlvii

4. Mounts Gerizim and Ebal (Deuteronomy 11 and 27) xlviii

5. The Scene of Deuteronomy xlix

6. Places Mentioned in Deuteronomy 11, 27, and 32–34 l

THE COMMENTARY TO DEUTERONOMY

PROLOGUE: MOSES' FIRST DISCOURSE 6

RETROSPECTIVE ON THE FORTY-YEAR SOJOURN IN

THE WILDERNESS AND THE LESSONS OF THAT PERIOD 6

EXHORTATIONS TO OBSERVE GOD'S LAWS 40

MOSES' SECOND DISCOURSE: THE COVENANT MADE

IN MOAB 58

PROLOGUE TO THE LAWS: THE THEOPHANY AND COVENANT AT

HOREB 60

PREAMBLE TO THE LAWS GIVEN IN MOAB 74

THE LAWS GIVEN IN MOAB 117

CONCLUSION TO THE LAWS 244

MOSES' THIRD DISCOURSE: EXHORTATIONS TO OBSERVE THE

COVENANT MADE IN MOAB 274

EPILOGUE: MOSES' LAST DAYS 288

MOSES' PREPARATION OF ISRAEL FOR THE FUTURE 288

MOSES' POEM (HA'AZINU) 298

MOSES' FAREWELL BLESSINGS OF ISRAEL 317

THE DEATH OF MOSES 336

APPENDIX: THE DECALOGUE WITH “UPPER” ACCENTS

(TA‘AM ‘ELYON) 342

NOTES TO THE COMMENTARY 344

NOTES TO THE APPENDIX 413

EXCURSUSES TO THE DEUTERONOMY COMMENTARY

1. The Historical Geography of Deuteronomy 417

2. Deuteronomy 1–3 and Other Accounts of the Same Events 422

3. The Concept of War in Deuteronomy 430

4. The LORD 431

5. The Promises of Reinstatement (4:29–31 and 30:1–10) 432

6. Moses and Monotheism (4:32–39) 433

7. The Biblical View of the Origin of Polytheism (4:19–20 and 32:8–9) 435

8. Cross-Generational Retribution (5:9–10 and 7:9–10) 436

9. A Land Oozing Milk and Honey” (6:3 etc.) 437

10. The Shema (6:4) 438

11. Tefillin and Mezuzot (6:8–9 and 11:18, 20) 441

12. The Golden Calf (9:9–21) 445

13. The Arrangement of the Laws in Deuteronomy (12:2–26:15) 446

14. The Restriction of Sacrifice to a Single Sanctuary (Deuteronomy 12) 459

15. Child Sacrifice and Passing Children Through Fire (12:31 and 18:10) 464

16. The Laws of Deuteronomy 15 466

17. The Name of the Feast of Booths (16:13 and 16) 469

18. The Proscription of the Canaanites (7:1–2, 7:16 and 20:15–18) 470

19. The Ceremony of the Broken-Necked Heifer (21:1–9) 472

20. Accusations of Premarital Unchastity (22:13–22) 476

21. The Background and Development of the Regulations about Admission to the

Assembly of the Lord (23:2–9) 477

22. The Alleged Practice of Cultic Prostitution in the Ancient Near East

(23:18–19) 480

23. Levirate Marriage (25:5–10) 482

24. Improper Intervention in a Fight (25:11–12) 484

25. Deuteronomy 27 486

26. The Structure and Style of Deuteronomy 28 489

27. The Literary Background of Deuteronomy 28 494

28. The Writing and Reading of the Teaching (31:9–13) 498

29. The Composition of Deuteronomy 31 502

30. The Poem Ha'azinu (32:1–43) 508

31. Text and Theology in Deuteronomy 32:8 and 43 513

32. The Sources of Deuteronomy 32:48–52 518

33. The Blessing of Moses (Deuteronomy 33) 519

NOTES TO THE EXCURSUSES 526

WEEKLY TORAH READINGS FROM THE BOOK

OF DEUTERONOMY

Devarim 3

Va-'eth. annan 38

‘Ekev 88

Re'eh 116

Shofetim 159

Ki Tetse' 193

Ki Tavo' 237

Nitsavim 277

Va-yelekh 288

Ha'azinu 298

Ve-zo't Ha-berakha 317

 


An Excerpt from the Book -- JPS Torah Commentary: Deuteronomy

The Concept of War in Deuteronomy

As noted in the Comments to 1:6–3:29, the theme of trusting God in battle reflects a concept of war according to which God is the warrior who does the actual fighting for Israel. This concept is expressed from the moment of Israel's escape from the Egyptians: Moses told Israel at the Sea of Reeds that the Lord would fight for them and that the people should hold their peace; the Egyptians, when their chariots got mired, realized that the Lord was fighting for Israel and they sought to flee; and after the Egyptians drowned, the Israelites sang of “The LORD, the Warrior” (Exod.14:14, 25; 15:3).

The concept of God as Israel's warrior was expressed in both belief and practice, especially in the earliest period of Israel's history.1 God was believed to be present in the Israelite military camp, above the Ark. God Himself was Israel's “myriads of thousands” of troops (Num. 10:36) and the Israelites were “the LORD'S ranks” (Exod.12:41). God defeated the enemy by turning the elements of nature against them or by incapacitating them (see Comment to 2:15). The Israelites either stood by passively or sent the army to assist God by finishing off the enemy, whom God delivered into its hands.2 These beliefs were expressed in practice by offering prayer and sacrifice before battle, by carrying the Ark and sacred vessels into battle, and by sounding trumpets “to be remembered before the LORD” (Num. 10:9). The camp had to be kept fit for God's presence by avoiding all forms of impurity and defilement. Battles were undertaken at the command of God, issued either on God's initiative, as expressed through a prophet, or in response to an inquiry by Israel through a prophet or oracular means. The army was encouraged before the battle to have no fear, since God would be with them and deliver the enemy into their hands. Refusal to proceed into battle therefore constituted an act of disobedience to God's command and a rejection of His assurances, an act of faithlessness. This explains the gravity of the offense which Moses recounts in chapter 1 and the importance of Israel's obedience in chapters 2 and 3.

This concept was studied at length by Gerhard von Rad in his monograph Holy War in Ancient Israel.3 Unfortunately, the term “holy war” gives the mistaken impression that this type of war was fought for the purpose of spreading one's religion and suppressing others. As the evidence summarized above shows, it was nothing of the sort. In fact, the idea of spreading Israelite religion to foreigners and compelling them to accept it is completely foreign to the Bible. The Bible looks forward to the time when other nations will recognize the Lord's superiority, and ultimately abandon other gods, but it expects this to be a voluntary action on their part in response to witnessing the Lord's greatness.

As indicated, this concept of war was especially prominent in the earliest period of Israel's history. In Deuteronomy, war has been somewhat desacralized. Deuteronomy shares the belief that God fights for Israel, but it never indicates that the Ark accompanies the army in battle and never connects God's presence in the camp with the Ark. It also expects fewer religious practices to accompany war. See the Introduction and the Comments to 1:33, 42; 10:1–2; 20:2; and 23:10–15.


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