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30 Moses: When everything I’ve described to you has happened, and you’ve experienced first the blessings of obedience and then the curses for disobedience, if you reflect on these blessings and curses while you’re living in the nations where the Eternal your God has scattered you; and if you and your descendants return to Him completely, heart and soul, and listen to His voice, obeying everything I’ve commanded you this day, then He will have mercy on you and bring you back from captivity. He’ll gather you from all the peoples you’ve been scattered among. 4-5 Even if you’ve been sent to the ends of the heavens, He will gather you together and bring you back from there to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and it will be yours once again. You’ll be a bigger and more prosperous nation than ever before. The Eternal your God will cut away and circumcise the hardness around your hearts and your descendants’ hearts so that you’ll love Him completely, heart and soul, and you’ll live.

Circumcision of the body is a physical sign of membership in the covenant God has made with Abraham and his descendants (Genesis 17:9–14). When Moses says here that the people’s hearts will be circumcised, that the hardness around them will be cut away, he means their thoughts, desires, and intentions will be brought into the covenant—that is, they will want to be faithful to their relationship with the Eternal One. (The same idea is expressed in 10:16, where Moses literally tells the people to “circumcise their hearts,” meaning that they should commit to the covenant with the Eternal One not just outwardly but inwardly.) The prophets describe the new covenant in the same way: “a new heart and new spirit” (Ezekiel 36:26–28).

Moses: The Eternal your God will strike your enemies, those who hated you and came after you, with all these curses. But you’ll listen once again to the voice of the Eternal, and you’ll obey all the commands I’m giving you today. Then, in whatever you do, the Eternal your God, will give you more than enough of every good thing—children and cattle and crops—because the Eternal will once again delight to do you good as He delighted to do good to your ancestors. 10 All this will happen if you’ll return to the Eternal your God, heart and soul, and you’ll listen to His voice and obey His commands and remember His regulations, which are written in this book of the law.

11 After all, what I’m commanding you today isn’t too difficult for you; it’s not out of reach. 12 It’s not up in the sky, so you don’t have to say, “Who will go up into heaven and get it for us and tell us what it is, so we can obey it?” 13 It’s not across the sea, so you don’t have to say, “Who will go beyond the watery abyss and get it for us and tell us what it is, so we can obey it?” 14 No, the words you need to be faithful to the Eternal are very close to you. They are in your mouth (always talk about these laws, as I’ve commanded you) and in your heart (treasure them there).[a]

15 Look, I’ve given you two choices today: you can have life with all the good things it brings, or death and all the bad things it brings. 16 If you do what I’ve commanded you today and love the Eternal your God; if you live as He wants you to, if you obey His commands, regulations and judgments, then you’ll live and have many descendants. He will bless you in the land where you’re going to live. 17 But if your heart turns away and you don’t listen, if you go astray and you bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 then today I assure you you’ll be destroyed. You’ll cross the Jordan River into the land that’s going to belong to you, but you won’t live there very long at all.

Covenants between two people are typically witnessed by a third party. If one person doesn’t live up to his obligations and tries to argue that it was not necessary, the other person can then appeal to the witness to confirm the original terms of the agreement. Moses calls on the sky and the land to be the witnesses here. They will always be around to testify about the covenant terms that were offered to the people and how they agreed to them.

The formal treaty and its supplement have now been drawn up and witnessed. The only business remaining is to establish how the treaty will be carried on once the people who originally made it are gone. The Lord chooses Joshua to succeed Moses, to lead Israel into the land and represent them in their relationship with Him.

Moses: 19 I’m calling on the heavens and the earth to be the witnesses against you. I gave you the choice today between life and death, between being blessed or being cursed. Choose life, so that you and your descendants may live! 20 If you love the Eternal your God and listen to His voice and always remain loyal to Him, for He is your life, then you’ll be able to live a long time in the land the Eternal promised to give to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

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