Deuteronomy 8 718


Deuteronomy 8: 7-18 Essay, Research Paper

Deuteronomy 8: 7-18

Scope, Selection and Content of Pericope

Deuteronomy 8, an independent exhortation within the second speech of Moses (4:44?28:68), has the motif of remembrance/forgetting (verses 2, 11, 14, 18, 19) as a call to obedience (verses 1,2, 6, 11, 19).

Beginning the pericope with 8:7 is unsatisfactory because it presupposes the preceding context (?For??). At least 8:1 should be retained to clarify the antecedent. The proper ending for the pericope is 8:20, completing the thought sequence begun in 11. Without 19-20 the reason for the demand of remembrance is not stated. A reasonable choice of pericope, then, is 8:1, 7-20.


Chapter 8 is part of the core source of Deuteronomy, representing a complex of traditions from the seventh and eighth centuries, incorporated by the Deuteronomistic historian(s) during the sixth century. Theological emphases of this source include insistence on Yahweh as Israel?s only God, rejection of idolatry, the offer of reward for obedience, and the claim that Yahweh?s acts in history are personally relevant to each Israelite. These themes expand the central theological concept of Deuteronomy, the meaning of the covenant relationship.

The form is a speech or sermon by Moses. The listeners are the Israelites prior to entering the land. This form calls for each Israelite to appropriate the Exodus, wilderness time, and conquest as personal events.

Summary of Content

Preceding context

You must observe the whole Torah that I (Moses) give you so that you will stay alive and possess the land.

You must remember the time in the wilderness, where Yahweh kept you humble and tested your obedience. Yahweh fed you manna so you would know that you are totally dependent on Yahweh. Yahweh disciplined you like Yahweh?s children. Because of this experience, you must obey Yahweh?s commandments.


You must observe the whole Torah that I (Moses) give you so that you will stay alive and possess the land.? You must obey because there is a danger here–you are going into a land with abundant waters, where much food grows. You will have everything you need; both food and metal.

Eat well and be thankful to Yahweh who has given you the land. Do not forget Yahweh by disobeying.

When you have all the food you want, fine houses, many domestic animals, and plenty of money, don?t forget Yahweh, who led you out of slavery, through the dangerous desert with snakes and scorpions and gave you water from the rock and fed you manna. Yahweh tested you in the wilderness and humbled you. Don?t exalt yourself and think that all this wealth is your doing but remember Yahweh (who gives you the ability to get all this) so that the covenant with your ancestors will be confirmed for you.

If you are disobedient, if you forget Yahweh and serve other gods, then you will die, just like the previous inhabitants of the land.


Yahweh does not give you the land because you are righteous. You are Yahweh?s people only because of Yahweh?s choice.



The pronoun of address in the pericope is consistently second person masculine singular. Although Deuteronomy uses plural and singular forms inconsistently in many places, the consistent use of the singular in this text may underscore the intent that it be heard by each individual as a direct, personal, address.

Do not forget the LORD your God by failing to keep his commandments

The text focuses on ?forgetting? Yahweh and its antonym, ?remembering? Yahweh. Disobedience (following other Gods, v 19, and failing to keep Yahweh?s commandments, v 11) is both a literal forgetting of Yahweh and a consequence of forgetting Yahweh. Remembering Yahweh?s deeds is the source of obedience.

The context of the recitation of the exodus event and time in the wilderness in 14b-16 makes it clear that these acts (or more broadly speaking, salvation history) must be remembered in a personal sense. These acts must be thought by the hearers/readers as done for them. However, in verse 11, failing to keep Yahweh?s commandments is equated with forgetting Yahweh, while verse 19 implies that following other gods is synonymous with forgetting Yahweh. Thus, disobedience/idolatry is possible only if one has forgotten Yahweh.

Do not exalt yourself, forgetting the LORD your God

Exalting oneself also is equated with forgetting God. The ?humbling? in verse 16 is the model for the remembrance required by verses 17-18. The verbs in v 13 (translated by passives in English ) emphasize the point that the creation of wealth is God?s action. Thus the exultant attitude of v 18, ?My power and the might of my own hand have gotten me this wealth? is also a forgetting of Yahweh?s acts. Thus not only Yahweh?s acts for the community in history are to be remembered, but also the power of Yahweh in one?s own life.

So that he may confirm his covenant

The antecedent of otyr1b

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