Deuteronomy 6

Listen to Deuteronomy 6

The Greatest Commandment

1 "Now this is 1the commandment, the statutes and the rules[a] that the LORD your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it,
2 that 2you may fear the LORD your God, you and your son and your son's son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and 3that your days may be long.
3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, 4as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.
4 "Hear, O Israel: 5The LORD our God, the LORD is one.[b]
5 You 6shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
6 And 7these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.
7 8You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
8 9You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
9 10You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
10 "And when the LORD your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you--with great and good cities 11that you did not build,
11 and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant--and when you eat and are full,
12 12then take care lest you forget the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
13 It is 13the LORD your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and 14by his name you shall swear.
14 You shall not 15go after other gods, 16the gods of the peoples who are around you--
15 for 17the LORD your God in your midst 18is a jealous God--19lest the anger of the LORD your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.
16 20"You shall not put the LORD your God to the test, 21as you tested him at Massah.
17 You shall 22diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies and his statutes, which he has commanded you.
18 23And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the LORD, that it may go well with you, and that you may go in and take possession of the good land that the LORD swore to give to your fathers
19 24by thrusting out all your enemies from before you, as the LORD has promised.
20 25"When your son asks you in time to come, 'What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the LORD our God has commanded you?'
21 then you shall say to your son, 26'We were Pharaoh's slaves in Egypt. And the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand.
22 And 27the LORD showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and all his household, before our eyes.
23 And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers.
24 And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, 28to fear the LORD our God, 29for our good always, that 30he might preserve us alive, as we are this day.
25 And 31it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us.'

Deuteronomy 6 Commentary

Chapter 6

A persuasive to obedience. (1-3) An exhortation to obedience. (4,5) Obedience taught. (6-16) General precepts, Instructions to be given to their children. (17-25)

Verses 1-3 In this and the like passages, the "commandments" seem to denote the moral law, the "statues" the ceremonial law, and the "judgments" the law by which the judges decided. Moses taught the people all that, and that only, which God commanded him to teach. Thus Christ's ministers are to teach his churches all he has commanded, neither more nor less, ( Matthew 28:20 ) . The fear of God in the heart will be the most powerful principle of obedience. It is highly desirable that not we only, but our children, and our children's children, may fear the Lord. Religion and righteousness advance and secure the prosperity of any people.

Verses 4-5 Here is a brief summary of religion, containing the first principles of faith and obedience. Jehovah our God is the only living and true God; he only is God, and he is but One God. Let us not desire to have any other. The three-fold mention of the Divine names, and the plural number of the word translated God, seem plainly to intimate a Trinity of persons, even in this express declaration of the unity of the Godhead. Happy those who have this one Lord for their God. It is better to have one fountain than a thousand cisterns; one all-sufficient God than a thousand insufficient friends. This is the first and great commandment of God's law, that we love him; and that we do all parts of our duty to him from a principle of love; My son, give me thine heart. We are to love God with all our heart, and soul, and might. That is, 1. With a sincere love; not in word and tongue only, but inwardly in truth. 2. With a strong love. He that is our All, must have our all, and none but he. 3. With a superlative love; we must love God above any creature whatever, and love nothing but what we love for him. 4. With an intelligent love. To love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, we must see good cause to love him. 5. With an entire love; he is ONE, our hearts must be united in his love. Oh that this love of God may be shed abroad in our hearts!

Verses 6-16 Here are means for maintaining and keeping up religion in our hearts and houses. 1. Meditation. God's words must be laid up in our hearts, that our thoughts may be daily employed about them. 2. The religious education of children. Often repeat these things to them. Be careful and exact in teaching thy children. Teach these truths to all who are any way under thy care. 3. Pious discourse. Thou shalt talk of these things with due reverence and seriousness, for the benefit not only of thy children, but of thy servants, thy friends and companions. Take all occasions to discourse with those about thee, not of matters of doubtful disputation, but of the plain truths and laws of God, and the things that belong to our peace. 4. Frequent reading of the word. God appointed them to write sentences of the law upon their walls, and in scrolls of parchment to be worn about their wrists. This seems to have been binding in the letter of it to the Jews, as it is to us in the intent of it; which is, that we should by all means make the word of God familiar to us; that we may have it ready to use upon all occasions, to restrain us from sin, and direct us in duty. We must never be ashamed to own our religion, nor to own ourselves under its check and government. Here is a caution not to forget God in a day of prosperity and plenty. When they came easily by the gift, they would be apt to grow secure, and unmindful of the Giver. Therefore be careful, when thou liest safe and soft, lest thou forget the Lord. When the world smiles, we are apt to make court to it, and expect our happiness in it, and so we forget Him who is our only portion and rest. There is need of great care and caution at such a time. Then beware; being warned of your danger, stand upon your guard. Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God; neither by despairing of his power and goodness, while we keep in the way of our duty; nor by presuming upon it, when we turn aside out of that way.

Verses 17-25 Moses gives charge to keep God's commandments. Negligence will ruin us; but we cannot be saved without diligence. It is our interest, as well as our duty, to be religious. It will be our life. Godliness has the promise of the continuance and comfort of the life that now is, as far as it is for God's glory. It will be our righteousness. It is only through the Mediator we can be righteous before God. The knowledge of the spirituality and excellency of the holy law of God, is suited to show sinful man his need of a Saviour, and to prepare his heart to welcome a free salvation. The gospel honours the law, not only in the perfect obedience of the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ; but in that it is a plan for bringing back apostate rebels and enemies, by repentance, faith, forgiveness, and renewing grace, to love God above all things, even in this world; and in the world above, to love him perfectly, even as angels love him.

Cross References 31

  • 1. Deuteronomy 4:1; Deuteronomy 5:31; Deuteronomy 12:1
  • 2. Deuteronomy 5:29; Deuteronomy 10:12, 20; Deuteronomy 13:4; Psalms 128:1; Ecclesiastes 12:13
  • 3. See Deuteronomy 4:40
  • 4. Genesis 15:5; Genesis 22:17; Genesis 26:4; Genesis 28:14; Exodus 32:13
  • 5. Cited Mark 12:29; [Isaiah 42:8; Zechariah 14:9; John 17:3; 1 Corinthians 8:4, 6]
  • 6. Cited Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27; [2 Kings 23:25]
  • 7. Deuteronomy 11:18; Deuteronomy 32:46; Psalms 37:31; Isaiah 51:7; Jeremiah 31:33
  • 8. See Deuteronomy 4:9
  • 9. Deuteronomy 11:18; Proverbs 3:3; Proverbs 6:21; Proverbs 7:3; See Exodus 13:9
  • 10. Deuteronomy 11:20; [Isaiah 57:8]
  • 11. Joshua 24:13; [Joshua 11:13; Nehemiah 9:25; Psalms 105:44]
  • 12. [Proverbs 30:8, 9]
  • 13. Cited Matthew 4:10; Luke 4:8
  • 14. Deuteronomy 10:20; Joshua 2:12; Psalms 63:11; Isaiah 45:23; Isaiah 65:16; Jeremiah 12:16
  • 15. Deuteronomy 8:19; Deuteronomy 11:16, 28; Deuteronomy 13:2, 3; Deuteronomy 28:14; Jeremiah 25:6
  • 16. Deuteronomy 13:7
  • 17. Deuteronomy 7:21
  • 18. See Exodus 20:5
  • 19. Deuteronomy 7:4; Deuteronomy 11:17
  • 20. Cited Matthew 4:7; Luke 4:12
  • 21. Deuteronomy 9:22; Deuteronomy 33:8; Psalms 95:8; [1 Corinthians 10:9]; See Exodus 17:2-7
  • 22. Deuteronomy 11:22; Psalms 119:4
  • 23. See Deuteronomy 12:25
  • 24. Exodus 23:28-30; Numbers 33:52, 53
  • 25. Exodus 12:26; Exodus 13:14
  • 26. [Exodus 20:2]
  • 27. Psalms 135:9; See Deuteronomy 4:34
  • 28. ver. 2, 13
  • 29. Deuteronomy 10:13; Jeremiah 32:39
  • 30. Deuteronomy 4:1; Deuteronomy 8:1; [Leviticus 18:5; Psalms 41:2]
  • 31. Deuteronomy 24:13

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Or just decrees; also verse 20
  • [b]. Or The Lord our God is one Lord; or The Lord is our God, the Lord is one; or The Lord is our God, the Lord alone

Chapter Summary


In this chapter Moses proceeds on in his exhortations to the people of Israel, to attend to the commandments of God, that it might be well with them, De 6:1-3, and begins with a principal and fundamental article of religion, which deserved their first and chief regard, the unity of God, and the love of him, De 6:4,5, which they were carefully to instinct their children in, and ever to be mindful of themselves, De 6:6-9, and when they were come into the land of Canaan, and into a plentiful enjoyment of all good things in it, they are exhorted to be careful not to forget the Lord, their kind benefactor; but to fear him, serve him, and not go after other gods, since he is jealous of his honour and worship, De 6:10-15 and not to tempt him, as they had done, but diligently keep, his commandments, that it might be well with them in that land, De 6:16-19, and when their children inquired the reason and meaning of such testimonies, statutes, and judgments, that were enjoined them, they were to give them the history of their case in Egypt, their deliverance from thence, the wonders that were wrought for them, and the introduction of them into the good land of Canaan; and to let them know that these commands were some of them in commemoration of these blessings; and by these they were laid under obligation to regard them all, and the rather, since they were not only for the glory of God, but for their own good, De 6:20-25.

Deuteronomy 6 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.