Deuteronomy 11 The Voice (VOICE)
11 Moses: So love the Eternal your God and always obey His requirements, regulations, judgments, and commands. 2 Now keep this in mind: it was you, not your children, who saw and experienced firsthand all the lessons the Eternal your God taught you. You saw how He demonstrated His majesty and His overwhelming power. 3 You saw the signs He performed in Egypt[a] and everything He sent against Pharaoh the king and everyone in the country. 4 You saw what He did to the Egyptian army, to its horses and its chariots, right when they were chasing you: He drowned them in the Red Sea![b] The Eternal destroyed them all,[c] and the Egyptian army still hasn’t recovered. 5 You saw how He took care of you in the wilderness and brought you safely to this place. 6 But remember what happened when people rebelled against Him: you saw what He did to Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab from the tribe of Reuben—how the earth opened up, right in our midst, and swallowed them, their families, their tents, and their livestock![d]
7 Therefore, as eyewitnesses of all the great things the Eternal did, 8 carefully obey all the commands I’m giving you today. Then you’ll be strong enough to go and take possession of the land you’re about to enter, 9 and you’ll live long, healthy lives there. This is what the Eternal promised your ancestors: He’d give this land flowing with milk and honey to them and to their descendants. 10 The land where you’re going to live when you cross the Jordan isn’t like the land of Egypt where you came from. When you sowed seeds there, you could water all of your land as if it were nothing more than a small vegetable garden, transporting the water yourselves. 11 But in the land where you’re going to live, the hills and valleys drink water right out of the sky! 12 He takes care of this land; He’s always looking after it, all throughout the year.
Eternal One: 13 If you carefully obey My commands which I’m giving you today, and if you love Me and serve Me with your whole heart and soul, 14 then I’ll send rain on your land when it’s needed, in the autumn and the spring. You’ll have an abundant harvest of grain and wine and olive oil. 15 I’ll make grass grow in the fields for your cattle. You’ll eat all you need and be totally satisfied.
Moses: 16 But watch out! Don’t be seduced, so that you turn away from the Lord. Don’t abandon Him to worship other gods or bow down to them! 17 If you do, the Eternal’s fiery anger will result in a deadly drought. He won’t let any rain fall from the sky, and the ground won’t produce any crops. Then you won’t last very long in the good land the Eternal One is giving you.
18-20 So let what I’m saying sink deeply into your hearts and souls. Do whatever it takes to remember what I’m telling you: tie a reminder on your hand or put a reminder on your forehead where you’ll see it all the time, and on the doorpost where you cross the threshold or on the city gate.
Teach these things to your children. Talk about them when you’re sitting together in your home and when you’re walking together down the road. Make them the last thing you talk about before you go to bed and the first thing you talk about the next morning. 21 That way you and your children will be blessed with long life and abundant crops upon the ground the Eternal promised to your ancestors, for as long as there’s a sky above the earth.
Eventually people begin to take these instructions literally. They put abbreviated reminders of the law called mezuzot—scrolls of parchment inscribed with a prayer rolled into a decorative case—on their doorposts. They even wear tefillin—small leather boxes containing the same prayer—on their arms and foreheads with straps. Any discipline that reminds us effectively to live as God intends is helpful. But Moses’ goal here is not to create new rituals. It is to encourage God’s people to be intentional about learning and remembering God’s ways.
Moses: 22 If you carefully obey all these things I’m commanding you—if you really do love the Eternal your God and live as He wants you to and devote yourselves to Him— 23 then He will drive out all of these nations ahead of you. You’ll conquer nations that are bigger and stronger than you are. 24 Every place you walk will become yours: your territory will extend from the wilderness in the south to Lebanon in the north, and from the Euphrates River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 25 No one will be able to resist you. The Eternal your God will make everyone throughout the whole land you’re going into terrified of you, just as He said He would.
26 Look, you’ve got two choices: you can be blessed, or you can be cursed. 27 If you obey His commands, which I’m giving you today, you’ll be blessed. 28 If you don’t obey His commands—if you leave the path I’m showing you today so you can worship other gods who are foreign to you, then you’ll be cursed.
The ancient treaty form, which is similar to what is found in Deuteronomy, always includes blessings for keeping the agreement (covenant) and curses for breaking it. Calling these out is a crucial part of the process of adopting the covenant (chapters 27–28). Moses makes a preliminary mention of the blessings-and-curses ceremony.
It’s not an absolute rule that those who obey God will directly receive blessings in this life, and that those who disobey will suffer immediate consequences as a result. However, this is still generally true. His people should obey simply because the Lord is entitled to their unswerving loyalty and devotion (not because of any promised rewards). God delights to reward obedience, and His people should embrace His generosity gratefully whenever they receive it.
Moses: 29 When the Eternal your God brings you into the land where you’re going to live when you cross the Jordan, half of you are going to stand on Mount Gerizim and shout out the blessings that will come to those who obey the Lord. The other half of you will stand on Mount Ebal on the other side of the valley and shout out the curses that will fall on those who disobey Him. 30 You’ll find these two mountains on the other side of the Jordan River, as you head west of your current path, in the territory of the Canaanites who live in the arid Jordan Valley[e] around Gilgal, near the great trees at Moreh. 31 I tell you this now because you’re just about to cross the Jordan into the land where you’re going to live. The Eternal your God will give it to you; you’ll take possession of it and settle there. 32 And when you do, you must be very careful to obey all the regulations and judgments I’m giving you today.
Deuteronomy 11 New International Version (NIV)
Love and Obey the Lord
11 Love the Lord your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always. 2 Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the Lord your God: his majesty, his mighty hand, his outstretched arm; 3 the signs he performed and the things he did in the heart of Egypt, both to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his whole country; 4 what he did to the Egyptian army, to its horses and chariots, how he overwhelmed them with the waters of the Red Sea[a] as they were pursuing you, and how the Lord brought lasting ruin on them. 5 It was not your children who saw what he did for you in the wilderness until you arrived at this place, 6 and what he did to Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab the Reubenite, when the earth opened its mouth right in the middle of all Israel and swallowed them up with their households, their tents and every living thing that belonged to them. 7 But it was your own eyes that saw all these great things the Lord has done.
8 Observe therefore all the commands I am giving you today, so that you may have the strength to go in and take over the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 9 and so that you may live long in the land the Lord swore to your ancestors to give to them and their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10 The land you are entering to take over is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you planted your seed and irrigated it by foot as in a vegetable garden. 11 But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. 12 It is a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.
13 So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul— 14 then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil. 15 I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.
16 Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them. 17 Then the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and he will shut up the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the Lord is giving you. 18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.
22 If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow—to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him and to hold fast to him— 23 then the Lord will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations larger and stronger than you. 24 Every place where you set your foot will be yours: Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the Euphrates River to the Mediterranean Sea. 25 No one will be able to stand against you. The Lord your God, as he promised you, will put the terror and fear of you on the whole land, wherever you go.
26 See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse— 27 the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; 28 the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known. 29 When the Lord your God has brought you into the land you are entering to possess, you are to proclaim on Mount Gerizim the blessings, and on Mount Ebal the curses. 30 As you know, these mountains are across the Jordan, westward, toward the setting sun, near the great trees of Moreh, in the territory of those Canaanites living in the Arabah in the vicinity of Gilgal. 31 You are about to cross the Jordan to enter and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you. When you have taken it over and are living there, 32 be sure that you obey all the decrees and laws I am setting before you today.
Deuteronomy 11 New King James Version (NKJV)
Love and Obedience Rewarded
11 “Therefore you shall love the Lord your God, and keep His charge, His statutes, His judgments, and His commandments always. 2 Know today that I do not speak with your children, who have not known and who have not seen the [a]chastening of the Lord your God, His greatness and His mighty hand and His outstretched arm— 3 His signs and His acts which He did in the midst of Egypt, to Pharaoh king of Egypt, and to all his land; 4 what He did to the army of Egypt, to their horses and their chariots: how He made the waters of the Red Sea overflow them as they pursued you, and how the Lord has destroyed them to this day; 5 what He did for you in the wilderness until you came to this place; 6 and what He did to Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben: how the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, their households, their tents, and all the substance that was [b]in their possession, in the midst of all Israel— 7 but your eyes have seen every great [c]act of the Lord which He did.
8 “Therefore you shall keep every commandment which I command you today, that you may be strong, and go in and possess the land which you cross over to possess, 9 and that you may prolong your days in the land which the Lord [d]swore to give your fathers, to them and their descendants, ‘a land flowing with milk and honey.’ 10 For the land which you go to possess is not like the land of Egypt from which you have come, where you sowed your seed and watered it by foot, as a vegetable garden; 11 but the land which you cross over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water from the rain of heaven, 12 a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year.
13 ‘And it shall be that if you earnestly [e]obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the Lord your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, 14 then I[f] will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil. 15 And I will send grass in your fields for your livestock, that you may eat and be [g]filled.’ 16 Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them, 17 lest the Lord’s anger be aroused against you, and He shut up the heavens so that there be no rain, and the land yield no produce, and you perish quickly from the good land which the Lord is giving you.
18 “Therefore you shall [h]lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 20 And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21 that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth.
22 “For if you carefully keep all these commandments which I command you to do—to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, and to hold fast to Him— 23 then the Lord will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess greater and mightier nations than yourselves. 24 Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the River Euphrates, even to the [i]Western Sea, shall be your territory. 25 No man shall be able to stand [j]against you; the Lord your God will put the dread of you and the fear of you upon all the land where you tread, just as He has said to you.
26 “Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you today; 28 and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known. 29 Now it shall be, when the Lord your God has brought you into the land which you go to possess, that you shall put the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal. 30 Are they not on the other side of the Jordan, toward the setting sun, in the land of the Canaanites who dwell in the plain opposite Gilgal, beside the terebinth trees of Moreh? 31 For you will cross over the Jordan and go in to possess the land which the Lord your God is giving you, and you will possess it and dwell in it. 32 And you shall be careful to observe all the statutes and judgments which I set before you today.