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Succession of Moses by Joshua
1 Then Moses went#tc For the MT reading וַיֵּלֶךְ (vayyelekh, “he went”), the LXX and Qumran have וַיְכַל (vaykhal, “he finished”): “So Moses finished speaking,” etc. The difficult reading of the MT favors its authenticity. and spoke these words#tn In the MT this refers to the words that follow (cf. NIV, NCV). to all Israel. 2 He said to them, “Today I am a hundred and twenty years old. I am no longer able to get about,#tn Or “am no longer able to lead you” (NIV, NLT); Heb “am no longer able to go out and come in.” and the Lord has said to me, ‘You will not cross the Jordan.’ 3 As for the Lord your God, he is about to cross over before you; he will destroy these nations before you and dispossess them. As for Joshua, he is about to cross before you just as the Lord has said. 4 The Lord will do to them just what he did to Sihon and Og, the Amorite kings, and to their land, which he destroyed. 5 The Lord will deliver them over to you and you will do to them according to the whole commandment I have given you. 6 Be strong and courageous! Do not fear or tremble before them, for the Lord your God is the one who is going with you. He will not fail you or abandon you!” 7 Then Moses called out to Joshua#tn The Hebrew text includes “and said to him.” This has not been included in the translation for stylistic reasons. in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you will accompany these people to the land that the Lord promised to give their ancestors,#tn Heb “fathers” (also in v. 20). and you will enable them to inherit it. 8 The Lord is indeed going before you – he will be with you; he will not fail you or abandon you. Do not be afraid or discouraged!”
The Deposit of the Covenant Text
9 Then Moses wrote down this law and gave it to the Levitical priests, who carry the ark of the Lord’s covenant, and to all Israel’s elders. 10 He#tn Heb “Moses.” The pronoun has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons. commanded them: “At the end of seven years, at the appointed time of the cancellation of debts,#tn The Hebrew term שְׁמִטָּה (shÿmittah), a derivative of the verb שָׁמַט (shamat, “to release; to relinquish”), refers to the procedure whereby debts of all fellow Israelites were to be canceled. Since the Feast of Tabernacles celebrated God’s own deliverance of and provision for his people, this was an appropriate time for Israelites to release one another. See note on this word at Deut 15:1. at the Feast of Temporary Shelters,#tn The Hebrew phrase הַסֻּכּוֹת[חַג] ([khag] hassukot, “[festival of] huts” [or “shelters”]) is traditionally known as the Feast of Tabernacles. See note on the name of the festival in Deut 16:13.sn For the regulations on this annual festival see Deut 16:13-15. 11 when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God in the place he chooses, you must read this law before them#tn Heb “before all Israel.” within their hearing. 12 Gather the people – men, women, and children, as well as the resident foreigners in your villages – so they may hear and thus learn about and fear the Lord your God and carefully obey all the words of this law. 13 Then their children, who have not known this law,#tn The phrase “this law” is not in the Hebrew text, but English style requires an object for the verb here. Other translations also supply the object which is otherwise implicit (cf. NIV “who do not know this law”; TEV “who have never heard the Law of the Lord your God”). will also hear about and learn to fear the Lord your God for as long as you live in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”
The Commissioning of Joshua
14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “The day of your death is near. Summon Joshua and present yourselves in the tent#tc The LXX reads “by the door of the tent” in line with v. 10 but also, perhaps, as a reflection of its tendency to avoid over-familiarity with Yahweh and his transcendence. of meeting#tn Heb “tent of assembly” (מוֹעֵד אֹהֶל, ’ohel mo’ed); this is not always the same as the tabernacle, which is usually called מִשְׁכָּן (mishkan, “dwelling-place”), a reference to its being invested with God’s presence. The “tent of meeting” was erected earlier than the tabernacle and was the place where Yahweh occasionally appeared, especially to Moses (cf. Exod 18:7-16; 33:7-11; Num 11:16, 24, 26; 12:4). so that I can commission him.”#tn Heb “I will command him.” So Moses and Joshua presented themselves in the tent of meeting. 15 The Lord appeared in the tent in a pillar of cloud that#tn Heb “and the pillar of cloud.” This phrase was not repeated in the translation; a relative clause was used instead. stood above the door of the tent. 16 Then the Lord said to Moses, “You are about to die,#tn Heb “lie down with your fathers” (so NASB); NRSV “ancestors.” and then these people will begin to prostitute themselves with the foreign gods of the land into which they#tn Heb “he.” Smr, LXX, and the Targums read the plural “they,” which is necessary in any case in the translation because of contemporary English style. The third person singular also occurs in the Hebrew text twice more in this verse, three times in v. 17, once in v. 18, five times in v. 20, and four times in v. 21. Each time it is translated as third person plural for stylistic reasons. are going. They#tn Heb “he.” Smr, LXX, and the Targums read the plural “they.” See note on the first occurrence of “they” in v. 16. will reject#tn Or “abandon” (TEV, NLT). me and break my covenant that I have made with them.#tn Heb “him.” Smr, LXX, and the Targums read the plural “them.” See note on the first occurrence of “they” in v. 16. 17 At that time#tn Heb “on that day.” This same expression also appears later in the verse and in v. 18. my anger will erupt against them#tn Heb “him.” Smr, LXX, and the Targums read the plural “them.” See note on the first occurrence of “they” in v. 16. and I will abandon them and hide my face from them until they are devoured. Many disasters and distresses will overcome#tn Heb “find,” “encounter.” them#tn Heb “him.” Smr, LXX, and the Targums read the plural “them.” See note on the first occurrence of “they” in v. 16. so that they#tn Heb “he.” Smr, LXX, and the Targums read the plural “they.” See note on the first occurrence of “they” in v. 16. will say at that time, ‘Have not these disasters#tn Heb “evils.” overcome us#tn Heb “me.” Smr, LXX, and the Targums read the plural “us,” which is necessary in any case in the translation because of contemporary English style. because our#tn Heb “my.” God is not among us#tn Heb “me.” Smr, LXX, and the Targums read the plural “us,” which is necessary in any case in the translation because of contemporary English style.?’ 18 But I will certainly#tn The Hebrew text uses the infinitive absolute for emphasis, which the translation indicates with “certainly.” hide myself at that time because of all the wickedness they#tn Heb “he.” Smr, LXX, and the Targums read the plural “they.” See note on the first occurrence of “they” in v. 16. will have done by turning to other gods. 19 Now write down for yourselves the following song and teach it to the Israelites. Put it into their very mouths so that this song may serve as my witness against the Israelites! 20 For after I have brought them#tn Heb “him.” Smr, LXX, and the Targums read the plural “them.” See note on the first occurrence of “they” in v. 16. to the land I promised to their#tn Heb “his.” Smr, LXX, and the Targums read the plural “their.” See note on the first occurrence of “they” in v. 16. ancestors – one flowing with milk and honey – and they#tn Heb “he.” Smr, LXX, and the Targums read the plural “they.” See note on the first occurrence of “they” in v. 16. eat their fill#tn Heb “and are satisfied.” and become fat, then they#tn Heb “he.” Smr, LXX, and the Targums read the plural “they.” See note on the first occurrence of “they” in v. 16. will turn to other gods and worship them; they will reject me and break my covenant. 21 Then when#tn Heb “Then it will come to pass that.” many disasters and distresses overcome them#tn Heb “him.” Smr, LXX, and the Targums read the plural “them.” See note on the first occurrence of “they” in v. 16. this song will testify against them,#tn Heb “him.” Smr, LXX, and the Targums read the plural “them.” See note on the first occurrence of “they” in v. 16. for their#tn Heb “his.” Smr, LXX, and the Targums read the plural “their.” See note on the first occurrence of “they” in v. 16. descendants will not forget it.#tn Heb “it will not be forgotten from the mouth of his seed.” I know the#tn Heb “his.” Smr, LXX, and the Targums read the plural “their.” See note on the first occurrence of “they” in v. 16. intentions they have in mind#tn Heb “which he is doing.” today, even before I bring them#tn Heb “him.” Smr, LXX, and the Targums read the plural “them.” See note on the first occurrence of “they” in v. 16. to the land I have promised.” 22 So on that day Moses wrote down this song and taught it to the Israelites, 23 and the Lord#tn Heb “he.” Since the pronoun could be taken to refer to Moses, the referent has been specified as “the Lord” in the translation for clarity. See also the note on the word “you” later in this verse. commissioned Joshua son of Nun, “Be strong and courageous, for you will take the Israelites to the land I have promised them, and I will be with you.”#tc The LXX reads, “as the Lord promised them, and he will be with you.” This relieves the problem of Moses apparently promising to be with Joshua as the MT reads on the surface (“I will be with you”). However, the reading of the LXX is clearly an attempt to clarify an existing obscurity and therefore is unlikely to reflect the original.
Anticipation of Disobedience
24 When Moses finished writing on a scroll the words of this law in their entirety, 25 he#tn Heb “Moses.” The pronoun has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons to avoid redundancy. commanded the Levites who carried the ark of the Lord’s covenant, 26 “Take this scroll of the law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God. It will remain there as a witness against you, 27 for I know about your rebellion and stubbornness.#tn Heb “stiffness of neck” (cf. KJV, NAB, NIV). See note on the word “stubborn” in Deut 9:6. Indeed, even while I have been living among you to this very day, you have rebelled against the Lord; you will be even more rebellious after my death!#tn Heb “How much more after my death?” The Hebrew text has a sarcastic rhetorical question here; the translation seeks to bring out the force of the question. 28 Gather to me all your tribal elders and officials so I can speak to them directly about these things and call the heavens and the earth to witness against them. 29 For I know that after I die you will totally#tn The Hebrew text uses the infinitive absolute for emphasis, which the translation indicates with “totally.” corrupt yourselves and turn away from the path I have commanded you to walk. Disaster will confront you in the days to come because you will act wickedly#tn Heb “do the evil.” before the Lord, inciting him to anger because of your actions.”#tn Heb “the work of your hands.” 30 Then Moses recited the words of this song from start to finish in the hearing of the whole assembly of Israel.
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