Natan’s Notes on Deuteronomy 11–14

Deuteronomy 11

Deuteronomy 11:1, Love YHVH … and keep…his commandments.Compare this verse with what Yeshua said in John 14:15. When we understand that Yeshua is “YHVH your Elohim” does that not give us a new perspective about not only who Yeshua was/is, but his teachings in the Gospels? Does this shed new light on the issue when Paul said to “follow me as I follow the Messiah” (1 Cor 11:1)? What did Paul mean by this? Was Paul really pro-Torah?

Deuteronomy 11:8, That you may be strong.Obeying YHVH by keeping his Torah-commandments keep us strong. Strong is the Hebrew word chazaq meaning “to be strong, grow strong, to prevail, to be firm, be caught fast, be secure; to grow stout, grow rigid, to restore to strength, give strength, sustain, encourage, make bold, encourage, to repair, to withstand.” Obedience to YHVH’s commandments make a people strong morally and spiritually, so they have the fortitude to conquer the spiritual land that YHVH has given them for their inheritance—to expand the kingdom of Elohim with boldness.

Deuteronomy 11:13, If you will hearken.Stale versus fresh manna. In the Hebrew, this phrase literally reads, “If hearken, you will hearken….” Rashi (the Medieval Jewish Torah scholar) interprets the double usage of this verb to mean, “If [you] listen to the old, you will listen to the new” meaning that if one listens to what one has already learned by taking care to review and understand it, one will gain new insights or fresh insights into the Torah (The ArtScroll Sapirstein Edition Rashi—Devarim, p. 110; The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash, p. 995). 

What does this teach us about studying YHVH’s Word consistently and regularly? YHVH gave the Israelites fresh (not stale) manna every day, even as he watered the land of Israel with the early (fall) and latter (spring) rains (a symbol for spiritual refreshment), so that the land would be fruitful without the need of man-made irrigation systems. Manna and rain both came from heaven and are used as figures of speech Hebraically to represent Torah-truth. 

Is your life being renewed regularly with fresh revelation and insights into the Word of YHVH, into his very heart and character? Does this not refresh, nourish and sustain the ground of your life, so that it yields an abundant spiritual crop of joy, shalom, intimacy with the Father and anointing? Is your life a place of fresh manna and constant rain, or a place of stale bread and drought? If so, what changes do you need to make in your life to change this situation?

Deuteronomy 11:14, Grain [wheat and oats]…wine…oil.(See also Gen 27:28; Ps 104:15.) These were the three most important agricultural crops in ancient Israel. These three foods represented  what are known today as the three basic nutritive elements: proteins, carbohydrates and fats. The yield of these crops were easily stored for long periods in the hot, dry climate, and kings laying in supplies at forts and strongholds for possible siege and war included these crops (e.g. 2 Chron 11:11; 22:28; Golden Jerusalem, by Menashe Har-El, p. 11).

Deuteronomy 11:18–21, Teach them to your children.Homeschooling One’s Children. This is a repeat of the second third of the shema, which is found in Deuteronomy 6:4–9. This is a reiteration of the biblical mandate for parents to give their children a Torah-based homeschooling education. This command takes precedence over that of any civil government’s laws requiring a parent to give their children a publicly sanctioned education. In fact, parents aren’t active to one degree or another in educating their own children are being disobedient to this clear Torah command and are therefore sinning. The majority of Christians in the mainstream church have egregiously missed the mark on this one!

Deuteronomy 11:18–19, Lay up these words. Read and meditate on this passage. Look at the phrases: in your heart, in your soul, between your eyes, teach and speak. How are you walking these commandments out in your life? Are you doing so with consistency, or only here and there?

Deuteronomy 11:26–28, A blessing and a curse. Each person must choose which path he will take. This passage begins with the words, “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; a blessing, if you will obey the commandments of YHVH your Elohim, which I command you this day; and a curse, if you will not obey the commandments of YHVH your Elohim, to go after other gods, which you have not known” (Deut 11:26–28). YHVH sets before each person two paths: the path of blessing and the path of curses. Each person individually must choose which path he will follow.

After this, in verse 29, YHVH instructs the Israelites that upon entering the Promised Land, they are to stop between the mountains of Gerizim and Ebal, which are located at the entry point of the land. The former mountain represents a blessing, while the later represents a curse. The town of Shechem is located between the two mountains. The Hebrew word shechem means “shoulder” or “back”. The shoulder supports the head, which through the disposition of the mind and the direction in which the head is pointed, determines the path a person will walk whether good or evil. 

It was at Shechem, between the two mountains representing good and evil, that Israel renewed its covenant with YHVH before entering the Promised Land (Josh 8:30–35). The power of the covenant that the people made with YHVH on that day thousands of years ago is still visible in the modern land of Israel: Mount Ebal is bare and devoid of vegetation, while Mount Gerizim is lush and green with foliage. This fact stands as a loud testimony and reminder to man today to the power of blessing and cursing, and to the reality and validity of YHVH’s Torah, its covenants and its ability to bless or curse us depending on whether we obey it or not.

Israel renewed its covenant with YHVH at Shechem at the plains (or oak trees) of Moreh (Deut 11:30). What was significant about this place? This was this exact spot, at the entry point to the Promised Land, that YHVH had established his covenant with Abraham some 500 years earlier. We read about this in Genesis 12:6, “And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Shechem unto the plain [or oak] of Moreh [or teacher].” And it was to this same spot that YHVH brought Israel to renew his promises he had made to Abraham. It was there YHVH would begin to teach them to walk victoriously and righteously before him in their promised inheritance IF they would choose to obey his Torah (or his instructions in righteousness) and to turn their backs on the pagan gods and practices of the nations around them. It was at the same spot that Jacob, upon entering the Promised Land, buried all his family’s false gods and pagan accoutrements (Gen 35:4). 

YHVH is calling his people today to make the same choice as the end times saints prepare to enter into our promised inheritance as YHVH’s kings and priests ruling with Yeshua in his millennial kingdom on this earth (Rev 1:6; 5:10; 20:6). Presently, YHVH is urging his people to come out of spiritual Babylon (Rev 18:4)­—to come out from the world and to be separate and to touch no unclean thing (2 Cor 6:17).

As noted earlier, this passage of Scripture starts with Israel having to choose between the blessing and the curse—obeying YHVH’s commands, which leads to life, or disobeying them, which leads to death (Deut 11:26; see also 30:15–20). Making the right choices as we go through life is what determines our outcome both here on earth and eternally in our next life, whether good or bad, life or death. 

Earlier YHVH declared that it was Israel’s spiritual destiny to become a nation of priests (Exod 19:6), and as such Israel would become an example to the nations of the world of YHVH’s righteousness and the wisdom of Torah if they chose to obey him (Deut 4:6–8). 

Today YHVH is calling his people who have put their faith in Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel, to be a royal priesthood (1 Pet 2:9), and to prepare to reign with Yeshua as kings and priests in his millennial kingdom (Rev 1:6; 5:10; 20:6).  But first they must learn to reign over the kingdom of their own lives by overcoming the world, the flesh and the devil. To be a priest of YHVH Elohim requires that each person choose righteousness over wickedness, the holy (set-apart) over the profane (that which is defiled, polluted or worldly, see Ezek 44:23; 22:26). 

One cannot represent a holy, set-apart, sinless and righteous Elohim before the nations of the world unless one is set-apart (from the world) oneself. Yeshua told his disciples that though they were in the world, they were not to be of the world (John 17:11, 14). YHVH admonished his people to be holy or set-apart as he is holy or set-apart (Lev 11:44 and 45), and the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews declares, “Follow peace with all men and holiness, without which no man shall see YHVH” (Heb 12:14).

One cannot choose that which is holy (kodosh or set-apart) from that which is unholy (defiled or polluted) unless one knows what is holy and what is not. YHVH, not man, determines what is holy. To guide man in the walk of holiness, in the rest of this Torah portion, YHVH outlines various times, places, things, actions and foods that are holy to him by which his people can enter into holiness and have holy communion with him. For example, there are holy times (the weekly Sabbath, YHVH’s annual festivals and the sabbatical year), holy places (where YHVH places his name for his people to gather to worship him), holy food (clean verses unclean meats), holy income (our material income is sanctified or made holy through our tithing a portion of it to YHVH), holy lips (YHVH’s people are forbidden to allow the names of pagan deities to come on their lips, and to take YHVH’s name in vain), and YHVH’s people are to destroy any pagan, corrupting, defiling influences (the false gods of the heathens) by putting these things out of their lives. 

Being holy or set-apart is the saint’s mission and destiny as YHVH’s set-apart people, and whether we attain to the high level of holiness to which he calls us all depends on the choices we make, for good or for evil, whether we obey YHVH or to disobey him.

Deuteronomy 11:27–28, That you hearken … If you do not hearken.The Jewish sages point out that he phrase “that to hear [Heb. shema]” is a metaphor for blessing, while “to not hear[lo-shema]” is a metaphor for cursing (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash, p. 999). Hearing and doing, in Hebraic thought and according to the meaning of the Hebrew word shema, are synonymous. If one hears, but does not do what he has heard, then he has not heard. Hearing, Hebraically, is more than an auditory function, but involves the activation of the heart resulting in corresponding actions resulting in either blessing (if one hears and obeys YHVH’s Word) or curses (if one does not hear and obey YHVH’s Word). Scripture prophesies that in the future a problem would arise among the people of YHVH. The problem would not be a famine of food and water, but of the ability to hear (shema) and to do the Word of Elohim (Amos 8:11). Likewise, Isaiah prophesied that there would be those who would say (or “draw near with their mouths”), but who would not do (“but their hearts are far from me,” Isa 29:13). Yeshua accused the religious hypocrites of his day of doing the same thing (Matt 15:8–9). Examine your words and corresponding actions. Do they perfectly align, or do you stand convicted before YHVH of disobedience and ­hypocrisy?

Deuteronomy 12

Deuteronomy 12:2ff, You shall utterly destroy. What are the present-day high placeswhere the world has placed its altars to its gods that as a called-out people and a set-apart nation YHVH is calling us to cast down and to destroy? Idols be they physical or material, emotional, and psychological in nature that form strongholds in our hearts and minds are things that hinder or prevent us from serving and obeying YHVH fully. What prevents you from keeping YHVH’s Sabbath and appointed times annual festivals (moedim)? What keeps you from prayer and intimate and set-apart times with him? What keeps you from hearing the voice of Yeshua and from loving him fully by keeping all of his commands? How about television, sports, your job and work schedule, family and peer pressure, fear, sinful habits and addictions, lust, greed, materialism and so on? What are you going to do about it?

Deuteronomy 12:3, You shall obliterate [destroy, put to death] their names [i.e. the names of pagan gods]. As The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash points out, not only was Israel to remove the idols themselves, but they were not even to refer to them by their proper names (p. 1000). Rashi, the ancient Jewish sage, says that names of ridicule were to be coined for the pagan gods and used instead. He points out in his commentary on this verse that Jews would actually formulate derisive wordplay names based on the original names of the gods. For example, the pagan temple called, “the house of the crest” became “the house of the ditch” in that the words crest and ditch were similar in Hebrew. Or the idol “everyone’s eye” became “thorn in the eye.” A similar example of this occurred during the Second Jewish Revolt of A.D. 135. The leader of that revolt, Simon bar Kosiba, was given the name Simon bar Kochba (meaning “star”), but when his revolt failed at the hands of the Romans his detractors nicknamed him Simon bar Koziba meaning “Son of a Lie” (Rabbi Akiba’s Messiah, by Daniel Gruber, p. 165). Coming up with names of ridicule for pagan deities and concepts may seem like a silly child’s game to some, but could it not serve to indelibly imprint on the minds of YHVH’s people the seriousness of idolatry and idolatrous practices? Could this not be a means of guiding the younger generation away from the ways of evil and into the paths of righteousness? In following the Jewish interpretation on this Torah command, what are some present day “gods,” “goddesses” or modern-day idols that could use renaming?

Deuteronomy 12:5ff, Put his name. Where has YHVH chosen to place his name spiritually? Are you bringing your tithes and offerings to that place so that YHVH can bless you?

Honour YHVH with your substance, and with the first fruits of all your increase so that your barns be filled with plenty …(Prov 3:9–10)

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use it shall be measured to you again. (Luke 6:38)

“‘Will a man rob Elohim? Yet you are robbing me! But you say, “How have we robbed you?” In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation [of you!] Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and test me now in this,’ says YHVH of Hosts, ‘if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast [its grapes,],’ says YHVH of hosts.” (Mal 3:8–11)

Giving (through tithes and offerings) is a spiritual, kingdom principle and a key to obtaining blessings and success.

Deuteronomy 12:5, Only at the place that YHVH will choose … to place his name there … shall you seek out his Presence [habitation] and come there.The word presence (as translated in The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash) is the Hebrew word sheken (IFA) and as a verb means “to dwell or tabernacle,” and as a noun it means “dwelling, or tabernacle.” According to The TWOT, the verb is used 129 times in the Tanakh (OT) of which 43 times YHVH is the subject; that is, it describes where he dwells (e.g. on Mount Zion [Ps 74:2], among his people [Exod 25:8], or in Jerusalem [Zech 8:3]). On several occasions, it refers to his divine and glorious presence dwelling among his people (e.g. Exod 24:16; Ps 85:9). The word mishkan, which was the portable tabernacle, sanctuary or earthly dwelling place of the glorious presence of YHVH among his people, is derived from this word. What is YHVH saying in this verse? Namely, he is telling his people NOT to go just anywhere to worship him, but to go only where he has placed his name. How do we know where that is? It will be where his manifest glory and presence is to be found! Where you fellowship and worship him collectively with other believers is the manifest glory and presence of YHVH there to confirm that YHVH has placed his name there? If not, why not? Now let’s read Psalm 63:1–4,

O Elohim, you re my El; early will I seek you: my soul thirsts for you, my flesh longs for you in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; to see your power and thy glory, so as I have seen you in the sanctuary. Because your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise you. Thus will I bless you while I live. I will lift up my hands in your name. (emphasis added)

Let us briefly analyze the bolded portion of this psalm of David in light of the above discussion. To see is the generic Hebrew verb ra’ah meaning literally “to see.” The word power (Heb. oz) means “might, power and strength.” This too is a generic term.

The next word is glory, which is the Hebrew word kavod literally meaning “heavy or weighty.”In this instance, in reference to YHVH, it refers to “the visible manifestation of God” and his glory and is often associated with his visible manifest presence within the tabernacle (TWOT, vol. 2, p. 943).

The next word in verse two to analyze is have seen, which is an entirely different word in the Hebrew, even though it is the same English word (to see) as used earlier in the verse. Seen is the Hebrew word chazah meaningto see as a seer/prophet in an ecstatic way with intelligence, to prophesy, to have a vision, to gain spiritual understanding.”

The last word is sanctuary, which is the Hebrew word kodesh and is the name of two rooms in the mishkan/tabernacle: the Kodesh (Set-apart/Holy Place) and the Kodesh haKodashim (Most Set-Apart Place/Holy of Holies).

What can we gather from the wealth of information found in this Psalm? When David hungered and thirsted for YHVH as if he were about to die of thirst, he talked about seeking the presence of YHVH in the Set-Apart Place where YHVH’s name and glorious and manifest presence were to be found. There he could literally experience the presence of YHVH and gain prophetic insight and understanding. 

Again, are you experiencing this kind of breakthrough in your daily walk with YHVH, and in the congregation or fellowship where you attend each Sabbath and at YHVH’s appointed-time feasts? If not, why not? What can you do to experience the intimacy with the Father that David experienced and describes here?

Deuteronomy 12:8, Right in his own eyes. Doing what is right in our own eyes while outside the land of Israel is the religion of the wilderness. That is to say, it is impossible to keep Torah exactly as YHVH prescribed while living outside the land of Israel. Some people interpret this to mean that since it is impossible to properly tithe or celebrate the biblical feasts, for example, outside the Promised Land as the Torah prescribes, then why do these things at all? Others take the attitude that we are to serve and obey YHVH and keep his commandments the best we can no matter where we are. The former is a minimalist approach when it comes to obeying YHVH while the latter takes the maximalist approach. I choose the latter, for I don’t want to be that wicked servant in Yeshua’s Parable of the Talents who buried his talent in the soil and did nothing. Moreover, there is always much to be learned and blessing to be had when our hearts are inclined toward obedience rather than disobedience. Either way, whether we choose to obey YHVH’s commands or not, when living outside the land of Israel, we are still, to one degree or another, doing what’s right in our own eyes. For those of us who are doing our best to follow YHVH’s Torah outside the Promised Land may Nehemiah’s prayer also be ours, “Remember me, my Elohim, for good, according to all that I have done…and do not wipe  my good deeds that I have done…and spare me according to the greatness of your mercy…remember mne for good” (Neh 5:19; 13:14, 22, 30).

Deuteronomy 12:30ff, Ensnared to follow them. Many well-meaning believers have been snared by heathen-based rituals that have been “Christianized” and called by names such as Christmas, Easter, etc. Have these celebrations of pagan origin snared your heart and mind as well?

Deuteronomy 13:1–18 and 18:9–22

Moses Prepares the Israelites for Future Prophets

Before his death, Moses, the great prophet who spoke face to face with Elohim, prepares the children of Israel and their succeeding generations for the ministry of the prophet to come, as well as warns them against false prophets. The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (pp. 544–545) delineates YHVH’s instructions to the people through Moses regarding the office of the prophet. In Deuteronomy 18:9–22, YHVH formally proscribes any involvement with the bogus mantic practices of the surrounding nations (vv. 9–14). Then having stated that a line of prophets would speak or write with the same authority of Moses, he commanded the Israelites to render the prophet the same obedience he had commanded them to give Moses (vv. 9–14). Five certifying signs of a true prophet (Ps 74:9; Matt 12:38; Acts 2:22) were then were then given:

  • The prophet must be an Israelite or “of the brethren” (vv. 15, 18).
  • He must speak in name or voice of YHVH (vv. 16, 19, 20), and the death penalty being for those who falsely claimed to do so (v. 20; 18:1 ff; 1 Kgs 18:20–40).
  • Supernatural knowledge of the near future was to be a sign of the authenticity of the prophet’s divine appointment (vv. 21–22; 1 Kgs 22; Jer 28, esp. v. 17).
  • The prophet might perform some other miraculous signs (Deut 13:1 ff; 1 Kgs 18:24, esp. v. 36).
  • The final test was strict conformity to or agreement with the previously certified revelations by Moses at first and by the prophets to follow (Deut 13:1–18). The fifth requirement is emphatic, since the entire thirteenth chapter is devoted to it.

Deuteronomy 13

Deuteronomy 13:1, If there arise a prophet.

In the modern (especially Charismatic) church not only is the term “prophet” carelessly thrown about, but so is the term “false prophet,” which is often applied to any Christian who simply “misses” hearing the word of Elohim correctly, but isn’t guilty of leading Elohim’s people astray spiritually into heathenism. We need to fine tune our use of these words and learn how the Bible uses them and then do the same.

For years, I also had been using the term false prophet too broadly and generically (as many in the church do) to apply to those who either prophecy presumptuously out of the dictates of their own heart, or who hear a word from Elohim but incorrectly interpret it or misapply it (as was the case with Nathan the prophet who repented for telling David incorrectly that it was YHVH’s will for him to build the temple), as well as to those evil prophets who lead YHVH’s people away from the Truth of Elohim and into paganism.

The term “false prophet” is not to be found in the Tanakh (or Old Testament) at all, and is only occurs several times in the Testimony of Yeshua (or New Testament) and is applied to patently evil, satanic individuals. Therefore, based on the biblical evidence, it is incorrect to apply this term to a godly individual who, for example, makes an accurate prophecy, but gets the dates wrong, or somehow misinterprets a prophetic message from YHVH. 

Although the term “false prophet” isn’t found in the Tanakh, there are many warnings given against individuals who, through their false prophecies, lead YHVH’s people astray into idolatry or who don’t urge the people to repent and get back to YHVH’s straight paths of Torah-obedience, or who otherwise involved in ungodly activities (e.g. Deut 13:1–5; 18:20–22; Jer 23:9ff; 28:1ff; Ezek 13:2ff; Isa 28:7). The term “false prophet” doesn’t strictly apply to a godly person who isn’t leading YHVH’s people into apostasy.

Therefore, based on the biblical evidence, the godly person who “misses it,” so to speak, should be more correctly called a presumptuous prophet (Deut 18:22), or foolish prophet (Ezek 13:2) or a carnal prophet (i.e. who speak out of the flesh; Ezek 13:1). Based on scriptural evidence, I can see no justification for applying the derogatory term “a false prophet” to a Christian who simply misinterprets a prophetic word from Elohim, or who erroneously adds their own ideas to the prophetic word while assuming they are from heaven. One should be wary of such a “prophet,” and, if possible, teach him or her how to hear and interpret a prophetic word correctly from Elohim, but the church should not reject them as a false prophet. For this reason and for the purpose of accountability, Paul instructed the saints in Jerusalem (and us) to judge the prophets who prophesy in the local congregation (1 Cor 14:29) to insure that what they are saying is indeed from Elohim and lines up with his Written Word.

Deuteronomy 13:1–6, A prophet or a dreamer…a sign or a wonder. A prophet may claim to receive his or her vision or “word from YHVH” while they are awake in a vision or in a dream while asleep (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash, p. 1007). According to Rashi (the Jewish Torah commentator), a sign is a supernatural event in heaven while a wonder is a miraculous event on earth. There are those among the people of YHVH who, as Adam Clarke states in his commentary on this verse, “pretend to have a divine influence, so as to be able perfectly to direct others in the way of salvation” or shows some “miraculous proof of his mission … or some type of representation of what he wishes to bring you over to” (vol. 1, p. 774). Yeshua warned about false prophets in the latter days who would deceive many (Matt 24:11) and false messiahs who might even deceive the “very elect” (verse 24). Paul talks about a “man of sin” that would arise showing signs and lying wonders such that some would fall from the truth of the salvation message of the gospel (2 Thess 2:1–12). Paul warns, “do not be soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word … let no man deceive you by any means (verses 2–3). He then (in verses 15–17) encourages the brethren to stand fast in the simple truths of the gospel of Yeshua:

Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. Now our Master Yeshua the Messiah himself, and Elohim, even our Father, which has loved us, and has given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and establish you in every good word and work.

As you learn more about the Hebrew roots of the Christian faith and the Written Torah-Word of YHVH, are you being led astray from the simple Word of YHVH, whether as found in the Tanakh (OT) or in the Testimony of Yeshua (NT) by people claiming to speak as an oracle from heaven? Deuteronomy 13:3 says that YHVH proves his people “to know whether you love YHVH your Elohim with all your heart and with all your soul.” Jude, the half brother of Yeshua, speaking of the spiritual delusion to occur in the last days exhorts us to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once and for all delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3). Are you standing firm and earnestly contending every day or are you being allured by the siren’s song of the false prophets and teachers who lead people away from the gospel truth into spiritual delusion and eternal oblivion?

There is no place in the Scriptures that indicates that the ministry of the prophet isn’t still valid within the body of Yeshua today (see Eph 4:11; 1 Cor 14 entire chapter; also Joel 2)—and all the more so as the time of Yeshua’s return draws near (see Joel 2:28–30).

How then can we tell the true from the false prophets? One simple test is this: All the true prophets of the Bible were obedient to the Torah and often their message involved rebuking YHVH’s people for Torahlessness and urging them to repent. This is one of the major biblical proofs to determine the validity of a prophet: they are Torah-obedient. Beware of any modern so-called “prophet” who in any way denigrates, speaks derisively of or is ignorant of the Torah Regardless of whether one calls oneself a prophet, or whether men call someone a prophet is irrelevant. His living in accordance with and pointing people to YHVH’s Torah-Word is a key factor validating the legitimacy and accuracy of his prophetic ministry.

Deuteronomy 13:4, You shall walk. This verse reads from the Masoretic Text (or MT, the standard Hebrew text from which nearly all English Bibles are translated) as follows:

You shall walk after YHVH your Elohim, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.

The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible quoting the Dead Sea Scrolls renders this verse as follows:

You shall walk after YHVH your Elohim, and you shall serve him, and listen to his voice, and cling to him, and fear him, and keep his commandment.

The editors of The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible (DSSB) comment that the syntactical (word order) variation between the two versions is significant, since the latter reading offers a definition of what it means to follow Elohim and a sequence in which the specified actions should be undertaken (p. 166, translated by Abegg, Flint and Ulrich). It could be reasoned that the sequence of steps in the believer’s growth in their walk with YHVH is more accurately stated in the DSSB.

Deuteronomy 13:5, 9–10, Put to death.It is not possible to follow this command today and to put to death apostate false prophets Therefore, all that we can do is first to warn the false prophet, and, if they fail to repent of their error, to put the false prophet out of our midsts or to walk away from, that is, to ignore and to have nothing to do with such a person. It would also be wise to publicly identify and then to warn others away from the false prophet. Following Yeshua’s instructions in Matthew 18:15–20 would be applicable here.

Deuteronomy 13:18, The voice of YHVH your Elohim.What is the voice of YHVH? Is it not the Torah commandments that he audibly thundered from Mount Sinai to the Israelites and dictated to Moses from the Most Set-Apart Place in the tabernacle? Do we have the right to be selective in our hearing and are you one who “does what is right in his own eyes” (Deut 12:8)? Do you make excuses why YHVH’s words do not apply to you, why you are an exception to the rule and why your situation is unique and special? Perhaps your finances, your marriage, your health, your family relationships and other areas in your life are a mess because you are not obeying YHVH’s voice. Stop and reflect for a moment on this. Let the Spirit of Elohim speak to or convict you on this matter. Then repent and resolve before YHVH to change your attitude and course of life today!

Deuteronomy 14

Deuteronomy 14:2, A peculiar people.We are to be the kadosh (set apart) and peculiar or treasured people of YHVH. What we eat (verse 3ff) is a key factor in being set-apart unto YHVH. After all, if we are returning to the Hebrew roots of the Christian faith and learning to study, “eat” and live the Torah, the kadosh Word of Elohim, learning to live by the “whole counsel of the Word of Elohim” (Acts 20:27), and coming away from certain paganized practices of the Christian church how then can we still eat unclean foods? Eating kosher spiritual food goes hand-in-hand with eating kosher physical food. Are you still eating “any abominable thing” (verse 3)? These are not the author’s words, but YHVH’s! What excuses and rationalizations have you contrived in your thinking (i.e. strongholds and altars to pagan gods) to keep your belly as your god (Phil 3:19)?

Deuteronomy 14:2, You are … a peculiar/treasured people unto himself. The term treasured people/am segulah is used several times in the Torah. For example, in Exodus 19:5–6 when YHVH betrothed himself to and married the people of Israel they became his am segulah or “treasured possession among all the peoples of the nation, a kingdom of priests and a kadosh/set-apart nation.” Moses restates this same idea to the younger generation of Israelites about to enter the Promised Land in our present verse, and again in Deuteronomy 26:17–19 where he again calls them his “treasured people” and admonishes them to keep his Torah-commands that he might “make you high above all the nations which he has made, in praise, and in name, and in honor, and that you may be a set-apart people unto YHVH your Elohim.” What passage in the Testimony of Yeshua does this remind you of? (Read 1 Peter 2:9.) Note that YHVH has chosen us from among all the peoples of the earth. As A Torah Commentary For Our Times points out, “This idea that God selects or designates the people of Israel as an am segulah remains a central belief in Jewish tradition. The prophet Malachi (3:17) uses the term. So does the Psalmist who, singing in the Jerusalem temple, praises God for having ‘chosen Jacob—Israel—as a treasured possession’” (135:3–4; p. 132). With humility, contrition and gratefulness, do you own this identity? Is it a part of your innermost being? If you know that you are a special treasure and a called-out people destined for great things in the kingdom of Elohim will not the reality of who you are and whose you are and what you are to become affect your walk of righteousness here and now? Does this not inspire you to walk a little higher, a little more set-apart, a little closer to YHVH, and to be a better spiritual light through your words, thoughts and deeds to the heathens around you?


3 thoughts on “Natan’s Notes on Deuteronomy 11–14

  1. I am always blest with your messages. I know that from your youth you have walked the straight and narrow. There are only things we are able to learn as we get older. I am way older than you and the best is yet to come. Knowing the Messiah, His Kingdom and His Torah is everything as we start to run toward the Glory and the Prize at the end of that straight and narrow road.

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