Sacred Texts  Christianity  Calvin  Index  Previous  Next 

Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 3: Harmony of the Law, Part I, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at

Deuteronomy 6

Deuteronomy 6:1-3, 17-19

1. Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it;

1. Istud autem est praeceptum, statuta et judicia quae praecepit Jehova Deus vester ut docerem vos, ut faciatis illa in terra ad quam vos transitis ut possideatis:

2. That thou mightest fear the Lord thy God, to keep all his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee; thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life, and that thy days may be prolonged.

2. Ut timeas Jehovam Deum tuum, custodiendo omnia statuta ejus et praecepta ejus, quae ego praecipio tibi, tu et filius tuus, et filius tilii tui, omnibus diebus vitae tuae: et ut prolongentur dies tui.

3. Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey.

3. Audias ergo o Israel, et custodias ut facias, ut bene tibi sit, utque multiplicemini valde, quemadmodum dixit Jehova Deus patrum tuorum tibi in terra, quae fluit lacte et melee.

17. Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee.

17. Custodiendo custodietis praecepta Jehovae, Dei vestri, et testimonia ejus, et statuta ejus quae praecepit tibi.

18. And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers,

18. Faciesque quod rectum et bonum est in oculis Jehovae, ut bene sit tibi, et ingrediaris possideasque terram bonam, quam juravit Jehova patribus tuis.

19. To cast out all thine enemies from before thee, as the Lord hath spoken.

19. Ut expellat omnes hostes tuos a facie tua, sieur loquutus est Jehova.

1. Now these are the commandments. In these three verses he repeats what we have already seen in many previous passages; since God deals so liberally with the Israelites, they would be too perverse, unless such great kindness should allure them to love the law. We must remember too what I have already touched on, that, although I have postponed to another place the promises, whereby Moses urged the people to endeavor to keep the Law, still I have designedly put before my exposition of the Law those passages, in which, by setting the promised land as it were before the people’s eyes, he prepares their minds for submission, and renders the rule of so bountiful a Father pleasant and delightful. Since, then, they were appointed to inherit the land, Moses, when he invites them to its enjoyment, commands them gladly to embrace the doctrine, for the sake of which they were adopted; and to devote themselves, on their side, to obedience to God, by whose gratuitous goodness they had been prevented. As in chapters 8 and 11 he praised the richness of the land, so does he now confirm the same statement; or rather afterwards more fully explains what he slightly touches upon here. They all agree in this, that the happy state of life which was before their eyes ought to awaken the people’s gratitude, lest such notable beneficence should be expended on them in vain. Moses therefore declares, that he had presented to them laws and statutes, by which they might be instructed in the fear of God; at the same time, he reminds them how base in them it would be not to be ravished to the love of God and of His law by the delightfulness and abundance of the land. I pass over what I have already explained, viz., that he taught nothing of himself, but was the faithful interpreter of God; and also that he commands the doctrine to be handed down to their posterity, so that it may never be lost. Whence it appears how difficult it is for men to be duly prepared for keeping the law, since God does not in vain so often stimulate their indolence; for there is a silent reproof conveyed either of their indolence or instability, when God does not cease to insist on what it would have been sufficient to have pointed out in a single word. We must also remark the definition of righteousness, that they should do what is right in the sight of the Lord; in opposition to the reason and judgment of the flesh.

Next: Deuteronomy 8:11-18