Notes for Deut 23:1LEB

"bruised by crushing," which many English versions take to refer to crushed testicles (NAB, RSV, NLT); TEV "who has been castrated."

"cut off with respect to the penis"; KJV, ASV "hath his privy member cut off"; English versions vary in their degree of euphemism here; cf. NAB, NRSV, TEV, NLT "penis"; NASB "male organ"; NCV "sex organ"; CEV "private parts"; NIV "emasculated by crushing or cutting."

The Hebrew term translated "assembly" (קָהָל, qahal) does not refer here to the nation as such but to the formal services of the tabernacle or temple. Since emasculated or other sexually abnormal persons were commonly associated with pagan temple personnel, the thrust here may be primarily polemical in intent. One should not read into this anything having to do with the mentally and physically handicapped as fit to participate in the life and ministry of the church.


Notes for Deut 23:2LEB

Or "a person born of an illegitimate marriage."

"enter the assembly of Yahweh." The phrase "do so" has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons to avoid redundancy.


Notes for Deut 23:3LEB

An Ammonite or Moabite. These descendants of Lot by his two daughters (cf. Gen 19:30–38LEB) were thereby the products of incest and therefore excluded from the worshiping community. However, these two nations also failed to show proper hospitality to Israel on their way to Canaan (v. 4).

The Hebrew term translated "ever" (עַד־עוֹלָם, ’ad-’olam) suggests that "tenth generation" (vv. 2, 3) also means "forever." However, in the OT sense "forever" means not "for eternity" but for an indeterminate future time. See A. Tomasino, NIDOTTE 3:346.


Notes for Deut 23:4LEB

"hired against you."


Notes for Deut 23:5LEB

"the Lord your God changed." The phrase "the Lord your God" has not been included in the translation here for stylistic reasons to avoid redundancy. Moreover, use of the pronoun "he" could create confusion regarding the referent (the Lord or Balaam).

The verb אָהַב (’ahav, "love") here and commonly elsewhere in the Book of Deuteronomy speaks of God’s elective grace toward Israel. See note on the word "loved" in Deut 4:37LEB.


Notes for Deut 23:7LEB




Notes for Deut 23:8LEB

Concessions were made to the Edomites and Egyptians (as compared to the others listed in vv. 1–6) because the Edomites (i.e., Esauites) were full "brothers" of Israel and the Egyptians had provided security and sustenance for Israel for more than four centuries.


Notes for Deut 23:9LEB

"evil." The context makes clear that this is a matter of ritual impurity, not moral impurity, so it is "evil" in the sense that it disbars one from certain religious activity.


Notes for Deut 23:10LEB

"nocturnal happening." The Hebrew term קָרֶה (qareh) merely means "to happen" so the phrase here is euphemistic (a "night happening") for some kind of bodily emission such as excrement or semen. Such otherwise normal physical functions rendered one ritually unclean whether accidental or not. See Lev 15:16–18LEB; Lev 22:4LEB.


Notes for Deut 23:12LEB

"so that one may go outside there." This expression is euphemistic.


Notes for Deut 23:13LEB

"sit." This expression is euphemistic.

"with it"; the referent (the spade mentioned at the beginning of the verse) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

"what comes from you," a euphemism.


Notes for Deut 23:14LEB

"give [over] your enemies."

"nakedness of a thing"; NLT "any shameful thing." The expression עֶרְוַת דָּבָר (’ervat davar) refers specifically to sexual organs and, by extension, to any function associated with them. There are some aspects of human life that are so personal and private that they ought not be publicly paraded. Cultically speaking, even God is offended by such impropriety (cf. Gen 9:22–23LEB; Lev 18:6–12LEB, LEV 16–19LEB; LEV 20:11LEB, LEV 17–21LEB). See B. Seevers, NIDOTTE 3:528–30.


Notes for Deut 23:15LEB

The Hebrew text includes "from his master," but this would be redundant in English style.


Notes for Deut 23:16LEB



Notes for Deut 23:17LEB

The Hebrew term translated "sacred prostitute" here (קְדֵשָׁה [qédeshah], from קַדֵשׁ [qadesh, "holy"]; cf. NIV "shrine prostitute"; NASB "cult prostitute"; NRSV, TEV, NLT "temple prostitute") refers to the pagan fertility cults that employed female and male prostitutes in various rituals designed to evoke agricultural and even human fecundity (cf. Gen 38:21–22LEB; 1 Kgs 14:24LEB; 1 Kgs 15:12LEB; 1 Kgs22:47LEB; 2 Kgs 23:7LEB; Hos 4:14LEB). The Hebrew term for a regular, noncultic (i.e., "secular") female prostitute is זוֹנָה (zonah).


The male cultic prostitute was called קָדֵשׁ (qadesh; see note on the phrase "sacred prostitute" earlier in this verse). The colloquial Hebrew term for a "secular" male prostitute (i.e., a sodomite) is the disparaging epithet כֶּלֶב (kelev, "dog") which occurs in the following verse (cf. KJV, ASV, NAB, NASB).



Notes for Deut 23:18LEB

Here the Hebrew term זוֹנָה (zonah) refers to a noncultic (i.e., "secular") female prostitute; see note on the phrase "sacred prostitute" in v. 17.

"of a dog." This is the common Hebrew term for a noncultic (i.e., "secular") male prostitute. See note on the phrase "sacred male prostitute" in v. 17.


Notes for Deut 23:19LEB

"to your brother" (likewise in the following verse). Since this is not limited to actual siblings, "fellow Israelite" is used in the translation (cf. NAB, NASB "countrymen").


Notes for Deut 23:21LEB

The Hebrew text uses the infinitive absolute for emphasis, which is reflected in the translation by "surely."

"and it will be a sin to you"; NIV, NCV, NLT "be guilty of sin."


Notes for Deut 23:24LEB

"grapes according to your appetite, your fullness."

"in your container"; NAB, NIV "your basket."


Notes for Deut 23:25LEB

For the continuation of these practices into NT times see Matt 12:1–8LEB; Mark 2:23–28LEB; Luke 6:1–5LEB.


Notes for Deut 24:1LEB

"nakedness of a thing." The Hebrew phrase עֶרְוַת דָּבָר (’ervat davar) refers here to some gross sexual impropriety (see note on "indecent" in Deut 23:14LEB). Though the term usually has to do only with indecent exposure of the genitals, it can also include such behavior as adultery (cf. Lev 18:6–18Deut; LEV 20:11-17LEB, LEV 20–21LEB; Ezek 22:10LEB; EZEK 23:29LEB; Hos 2:10LEB).


Notes for Deut 24:2LEB

"his house."


Notes for Deut 24:3LEB

"hates." See note on the word "other" in Deut 21:15LEB.

"writes her a document of divorce."


Notes for Deut 24:4LEB

"to return to take her to be his wife."

The issue here is not divorce and its grounds per se but prohibition of remarriage to a mate whom one has previously divorced.

"cause the land to sin" (so KJV, ASV).


Notes for Deut 24:5LEB

"go out with."

For the MT’s reading Piel שִׂמַּח (simmakh, "bring joy to"), the Syriac and others read שָׂמַח (samakh, "enjoy").


Notes for Deut 24:6LEB

Taking millstones as security on a loan would amount to taking the owner’s own life in pledge, since the millstones were the owner’s means of earning a living and supporting his family.


Notes for Deut 24:7LEB

"from his brothers, from the sons of Israel." The terms "brothers" and "sons of Israel" are in apposition; the second defines the first more specifically.

Or "and enslaves him."

"that thief."

"burn." See note on the word "purge" in Deut 19:19LEB.


Notes for Deut 24:8LEB

"to watch carefully and to do."


Notes for Deut 24:9LEB

What Yahweh your God did to Miriam. The reference is to Miriam’s having contracted leprosy because of her intemperate challenge to Moses’ leadership (Num 12:1–15). The purpose for the allusion here appears to be the assertion of the theocratic leadership of the priests who, like Moses, should not be despised.


Notes for Deut 24:10LEB

"his pledge." This refers to something offered as pledge of repayment, i.e., as security for the debt.


Notes for Deut 24:11LEB

"his pledge."


Notes for Deut 24:12LEB

"may not lie down in his pledge." What is in view is the use of clothing as guarantee for the repayment of loans, a matter already addressed elsewhere (Deut 23:19–20LEB; Deut24:6LEB; cf. Exod 22:25–26LEB; Lev 25:35–37LEB). Cf. NAB "you shall not sleep in the mantle he gives as a pledge"; NRSV "in the garment given you as the pledge."


Notes for Deut 24:13LEB

The Hebrew text uses the infinitive absolute for emphasis, which the translation seeks to reflect with "by all means."

Or "righteous" (so NIV, NLT).


Notes for Deut 24:14LEB

"your brothers," but not limited only to actual siblings; cf. NASB "your (+ own NAB) countrymen."

"who are in your land in your gates." The word "living" is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.


Notes for Deut 24:16LEB

"sons" (so NASB; twice in this verse). Many English versions, including the KJV, read "children" here.


Notes for Deut 24:19LEB

"in the field."

"of your hands." This law was later applied in the story of Ruth who, as a poor widow, was allowed by generous Boaz to glean in his fields (Ruth 2:1–13LEB).


Notes for Deut 24:20LEB

"knock down after you."


Notes for Deut 24:21LEB

"glean after you."


Notes for Deut 25:1LEB


"they"; the referent (the judges) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

"declare to be just"; KJV, NASB "justify the righteous"; NAB, NIV "acquitting the innocent."

"declare to be evil"; NIV "condemning the guilty (+ party NAB)."


Notes for Deut 25:2LEB

"and it will be."

"if the evil one is a son of smiting."

"according to his wickedness, by number."


Notes for Deut 25:3LEB

"he"; the referent (the judge) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

"Forty blows he may strike him"; however, since the judge is to witness the punishment (v. 2) it is unlikely the judge himself administered it.

"your brothers" but not limited only to an actual sibling; cf. NAB) "your kinsman"; NRSV, NLT "your neighbor."


Notes for Deut 25:4LEB

"an." By implication this is one’s own animal.


Notes for Deut 25:5LEB

"take her as wife"; NRSV "taking her in marriage."

This is the so-called "levirate" custom (from the Latin term levir, "brother-in-law"), an ancient provision whereby a man who died without male descendants to carry on his name could have a son by proxy, that is, through a surviving brother who would marry his widow and whose first son would then be attributed to the brother who had died. This is the only reference to this practice in an OT legal text but it is illustrated in the story of Judah and his sons (Gen 38) and possibly in the account of Ruth and Boaz (Ruth 2:8LEB; Ruth 3:12LEB; Ruth 4:6LEB).


Notes for Deut 25:6LEB

"and it will be that."

"the firstborn." This refers to the oldest male child.


Notes for Deut 25:7LEB

"want to take his sister-in-law, then his sister in law." In the second instance the pronoun ("she") has been used in the translation to avoid redundancy.


Notes for Deut 25:9LEB

The removal of the sandal was likely symbolic of the relinquishment by the man of any claim to his dead brother’s estate since the sandal was associated with the soil or land (cf. Ruth 4:7–8). Spitting in the face was a sign of utmost disgust or disdain, an emotion the rejected widow would feel toward her uncooperative brother-in-law (cf. Num 12:14LEB; Lev 15:8LEB). See W. Bailey, NIDOTTE 2:544.

"build the house of his brother"; TEV "refuses to give his brother a descendant"; NLT "refuses to raise up a son for his brother."


Notes for Deut 25:10LEB

"called," i.e., "known as."


Cf. NIV, NCV "The Family of the Unsandaled."


Notes for Deut 25:11LEB

"a man and his brother."

"shameful parts." Besides the inherent indelicacy of what she has done, the woman has also threatened the progenitive capacity of the injured man. The level of specificity given this term in modern translations varies: "private parts" (NAB, NIV, CEV); "genitals" (NASB, NRSV, TEV); "sex organs" (NCV); "testicles" (NLT).


Notes for Deut 25:13LEB

"a stone and a stone." The repetition of the singular noun here expresses diversity, as the following phrase indicates. See IBHS 116 §7.2.3c.

"a large and a small," but since the issue is the weight, "a heavy and a light one" conveys the idea better in English.


Notes for Deut 25:14LEB

"an ephah and an ephah." An ephah refers to a unit of dry measure roughly equivalent to five U.S. gallons (just under 20 liters). On the repetition of the term to indicate diversity, see IBHS 116 §7.2.3c.


Notes for Deut 25:15LEB

Or "just"; Heb "righteous."


Notes for Deut 25:16LEB

The Hebrew term translated here "abhorrent" (תּוֹעֵבָה, toevah) speaks of attitudes and/or behaviors so vile as to be reprehensible to a holy God. See note on the word "abhorrent" in Deut 7:25LEB.


Notes for Deut 25:17LEB

"what Amalek" (so NAB, NRSV). Here the individual ancestor, the namesake of the tribe, is cited as representative of the entire tribe at the time Israel was entering Canaan. Consistent with this, singular pronouns are used in v. 18 and the singular name appears again in v. 19. Since readers unfamiliar with the tribe of Amalekites might think this refers to an individual, the term "Amalekites" and the corresponding plural pronouns have been used throughout these verses (cf. NIV, NCV, TEV, CEV, NLT).


Notes for Deut 25:18LEB

See Exod 17:8–16LEB.


Notes for Deut 25:19LEB

The Hebrew text includes "to possess it."

Or "from beneath the sky." The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated "heaven(s)" or "sky" depending on the context.

This command is fulfilled in 1 Sam 15:1–33LEB.


Notes for Deut 26:1LEB

"and it will come to pass that."


Notes for Deut 26:2LEB

The place where he chooses to locate his name. This is a circumlocution for the central sanctuary, first the tabernacle and later the Jerusalem temple. See Deut 12:1–14LEB and especially the note on the word "you" in v. 14.


Notes for Deut 26:3LEB

For the MT reading "your God," certain LXX mss have "my God," a contextually superior rendition followed by some English versions (e.g., NAB, NASB, TEV). Perhaps the text reflects dittography of the kaf (ך) at the end of the word with the following preposition כִּי (ki).

YahwehThe Syriac adds "your God" to complete the usual formula.

"swore on oath."

"fathers" (also in vv. 7, 15).


Notes for Deut 26:4LEB

"your hand."


Notes for Deut 26:5LEB

Though the Hebrew term אָבַד (’avad) generally means "to perish" or the like (HALOT 2-3 s.v.; BDB 1-2 s.v.; cf. KJV "a Syrian ready to perish"), a meaning "to go astray" or "to be lost" is also attested. The ambivalence in the Hebrew text is reflected in the versions where LXX Vaticanus reads ἀπέβαλεν (apebalen, "lose") for a possibly metathesized reading found in Alexandrinus, Ambrosianus, ἀπέλαβεν (apelaben, "receive"); others attest κατέλειπεν (kateleipen, "leave, abandon"). "Wandering" seems to suit best the contrast with the sedentary life Israel would enjoy in Canaan (v. 9) and is the meaning followed by many English versions.

A wandering Aramean. This is a reference to Jacob whose mother Rebekah was an Aramean (Gen 24:10LEB; Gen 25:20-26LEB) and who himself lived in Aram for at least twenty years (Gen 31:41–42LEB).


"sojourned there few in number." The words "with a household" have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons and for clarity.


Notes for Deut 26:8LEB

"by a powerful hand and an extended arm." These are anthropomorphisms designed to convey God’s tremendously great power in rescuing Israel from their Egyptian bondage. They are preserved literally in many English versions (cf. KJV, NAB, NIV, NRSV).


Notes for Deut 26:11LEB

Or "household" (so NASB, NIV, NLT); Heb "house" (so KJV, NRSV).


Notes for Deut 26:12LEB

includes "the tithes of." This has not been included in the translation to avoid redundancy.

The terms "Levite, resident foreigner, orphan, and widow" are collective singulars in the Hebrew text (also in v. 13).



Notes for Deut 26:13LEB

"the sacred thing." The term הַקֹּדֶשׁ (haqqodesh) likely refers to an offering normally set apart for Yahweh but, as a third-year tithe, given on this occasion to people in need. Sometimes this is translated as "the sacred portion" (cf. NASB, NIV, NRSV), but that could sound to a modern reader as if a part of the house were being removed and given away.

"according to all your commandment that you commanded me." This has been simplified in the translation for stylistic reasons.


Notes for Deut 26:14LEB

These practices suggest overtones of pagan ritual, all of which the confessor denies having undertaken. In Canaan they were connected with fertility practices associated with harvest time. See E. H. Merrill, Deuteronomy (NAC), 335–36.


Notes for Deut 26:16LEB

Or "mind and being"; cf. NCV "with your whole being"; TEV "obey them faithfully with all your heart."


Notes for Deut 26:19LEB

"so that." Verses 18–19 are one sentence in the Hebrew text, but the translation divides it into three sentences for stylistic reasons. The first clause in verse 19 gives a result of the preceding clause. When Israel keeps God’s law, God will bless them with fame and honor (cf. NAB "he will then raise you high in praise and renown and glory"; NLT "And if you do, he will make you greater than any other nation").

"for praise and for a name and for glory."

"and to be." A new sentence was started here for stylistic reasons.


Notes for Deut 27:1LEB

"the whole commandment." See note at Deut5:31LEB.

"commanding"; NAB "which I enjoin on you today" (likewise in v. 10).


Notes for Deut 27:2LEB

The word "River" is not in the Hebrew text but has been supplied in the translation for clarity.

"plaster" (so KJV, ASV; likewise in v. 4). In the translation "cover" has been used for stylistic reasons.


Notes for Deut 27:3LEB



Notes for Deut 27:4LEB

YahwehSmr reads "Mount Gerizim" for the MT reading "Mount Ebal" to justify the location of the Samaritan temple there in the postexilic period. This reading is patently self-serving and does not reflect the original. In the NT when the Samaritan woman of Sychar referred to "this mountain" as the place of worship for her community she obviously had Gerizim in mind (cf. John 4:20LEB).


Notes for Deut 27:12LEB

The word "tribes" has been supplied here and in the following verse in the translation for clarity.


Notes for Deut 27:14LEB

"Israelite man."


Notes for Deut 27:15LEB

"man," but in a generic sense here.

The Hebrew term translated here "abhorrent" (תּוֹעֵבָה, to’evah) speaks of attitudes and/or behaviors so vile as to be reprehensible to a holy God. See note on the word "abhorrent" in Deut 7:25LEB.

"craftsman’s hands."

Or "So be it!" The term is an affirmation expressing agreement with the words of the Levites.


Notes for Deut 27:16LEB

The Levites speak again at this point; throughout this pericope the Levites pronounce the curse and the people respond with "Amen."

The Hebrew term


קָלָה (qalah) means to treat with disdain or lack of due respect (cf. NAB, NIV, NRSV "dishonors"; NLT "despises"). It is the opposite of כָּבֵד (kaved, "to be heavy," that is, to treat with reverence and proper deference). To treat a parent lightly is to dishonor him or her and thus violate the fifth commandment (Deut 5:16LEB; cf. Exod 21:17LEB).


Notes for Deut 27:20LEB

"who lies with" (so NASB, NRSV); also in vv. 22, 23. This is a Hebrew idiom for having sexual relations (cf. NIV "who sleeps with"; NLT "who has sexual intercourse with").

See note at Deut 22:30LEB.

"he uncovers his father’s skirt" (NASB similar). See note at Deut 22:30LEB.


Notes for Deut 27:21LEB

"lies with any animal" (so NASB, NRSV). "To lie with" is a Hebrew euphemism for having sexual relations with someone (or in this case, some animal).


Notes for Deut 27:24LEB

Or "strikes down" (so NRSV).