Deuteronomy 7
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Listen to this chapter in Hebrew:

1  When Hashem your God brings you to the land that you are about to enter and possess, and He dislodges many nations before you—the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, seven nations much larger than you

א  כִּי יְבִיאֲךָ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֶל־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר־אַתָּה בָא־שָׁמָּה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ וְנָשַׁל גּוֹיִם־רַבִּים מִפָּנֶיךָ הַחִתִּי וְהַגִּרְגָּשִׁי וְהָאֱמֹרִי וְהַכְּנַעֲנִי וְהַפְּרִזִּי וְהַחִוִּי וְהַיְבוּסִי שִׁבְעָה גוֹיִם רַבִּים וַעֲצוּמִים מִמֶּךָּ׃

2  and Hashem your God delivers them to you and you defeat them, you must doom them to destruction: grant them no terms and give them no quarter.

ב  וּנְתָנָם יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְפָנֶיךָ וְהִכִּיתָם הַחֲרֵם תַּחֲרִים אֹתָם לֹא־תִכְרֹת לָהֶם בְּרִית וְלֹא תְחָנֵּם׃

3  You shall not intermarry with them: do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons.

ג  וְלֹא תִתְחַתֵּן בָּם בִּתְּךָ לֹא־תִתֵּן לִבְנוֹ וּבִתּוֹ לֹא־תִקַּח לִבְנֶךָ׃

4  For they will turn your children away from Me to worship other gods, and Hashem’s anger will blaze forth against you and He will promptly wipe you out.

ד  כִּי־יָסִיר אֶת־בִּנְךָ מֵאַחֲרַי וְעָבְדוּ אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים וְחָרָה אַף־יְהוָה בָּכֶם וְהִשְׁמִידְךָ מַהֵר׃

5  Instead, this is what you shall do to them: you shall tear down their altars, smash their pillars, cut down their sacred posts, and consign their images to the fire.

ה  כִּי־אִם־כֹּה תַעֲשׂוּ לָהֶם מִזְבְּחֹתֵיהֶם תִּתֹּצוּ וּמַצֵּבֹתָם תְּשַׁבֵּרוּ וַאֲשֵׁירֵהֶם תְּגַדֵּעוּן וּפְסִילֵיהֶם תִּשְׂרְפוּן בָּאֵשׁ׃

6  For you are a people consecrated to Hashem your God: of all the peoples on earth Hashem your God chose you to be His treasured people.

ו  כִּי עַם קָדוֹשׁ אַתָּה לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּךָ בָּחַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לִהְיוֹת לוֹ לְעַם סְגֻלָּה מִכֹּל הָעַמִּים אֲשֶׁר עַל־פְּנֵי הָאֲדָמָה׃

7  It is not because you are the most numerous of peoples that Hashem set His heart on you and chose you—indeed, you are the smallest of peoples;

ז  לֹא מֵרֻבְּכֶם מִכָּל־הָעַמִּים חָשַׁק יְהוָה בָּכֶם וַיִּבְחַר בָּכֶם כִּי־אַתֶּם הַמְעַט מִכָּל־הָעַמִּים׃

8  but it was because Hashem favored you and kept the oath He made to your fathers that Hashem freed you with a mighty hand and rescued you from the house of bondage, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

ח  כִּי מֵאַהֲבַת יְהוָה אֶתְכֶם וּמִשָּׁמְרוּ אֶת־הַשְּׁבֻעָה אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע לַאֲבֹתֵיכֶם הוֹצִיא יְהוָה אֶתְכֶם בְּיָד חֲזָקָה וַיִּפְדְּךָ מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים מִיַּד פַּרְעֹה מֶלֶךְ־מִצְרָיִם׃

9  Know, therefore, that only Hashem your God is Hashem, the steadfast Hashem who keeps His covenant faithfully to the thousandth generation of those who love Him and keep His commandments,

ט  וְיָדַעְתָּ כִּי־יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ הוּא הָאֱלֹהִים הָאֵל הַנֶּאֱמָן שֹׁמֵר הַבְּרִית וְהַחֶסֶד לְאֹהֲבָיו וּלְשֹׁמְרֵי מצותו [מִצְוֺתָיו] לְאֶלֶף דּוֹר׃

10  but who instantly requites with destruction those who reject Him—never slow with those who reject Him, but requiting them instantly.

י  וּמְשַׁלֵּם לְשֹׂנְאָיו אֶל־פָּנָיו לְהַאֲבִידוֹ לֹא יְאַחֵר לְשֹׂנְאוֹ אֶל־פָּנָיו יְשַׁלֶּם־לוֹ׃

11  Therefore, observe faithfully the Instruction—the laws and the rules—with which I charge you today.

יא  וְשָׁמַרְתָּ אֶת־הַמִּצְוָה וְאֶת־הַחֻקִּים וְאֶת־הַמִּשְׁפָּטִים אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיּוֹם לַעֲשׂוֹתָם׃

12  And if you do obey these rules and observe them carefully, Hashem your God will maintain faithfully for you the covenant that He made on oath with your fathers:

v’-ha-YAH AY-kev tish-m’-UN AYT ha-mish-pa-TEEM ha-AY-leh ush-mar-TEM va-a-see-TEM o-TAM v’-sha-MAR a-do-NAI e-lo-HE-kha l’-KHA et ha-b’-REET v’-et ha-KHE-sed a-SHER nish-BA la-a-vo-TE-kha

יב  וְהָיָה עֵקֶב תִּשְׁמְעוּן אֵת הַמִּשְׁפָּטִים הָאֵלֶּה וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם וַעֲשִׂיתֶם אֹתָם וְשָׁמַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְךָ אֶת־הַבְּרִית וְאֶת־הַחֶסֶד אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע לַאֲבֹתֶיךָ׃

7:12   And if you do obey these rules

In this verse, Hashem promises that if we listen to His commandments, He will bless us and multiply us, and grant us success in the Land of Israel.  The Hebrew word for ‘and if you do,’ eikev (עקב), also means ‘heel.’ Rashi quotes the Sages who teach that the use of the word eikev hints to the fact that we must keep all the commandments equally, even the ones that seem unimportant, which people tend to figuratively step on with their heels.  If we are careful to follow all the commandments of Hashem, even the seemingly insignificant ones, then we will certainly be rewarded with great blessings in the Promised Land.2 comments

13  He will favor you and bless you and multiply you; He will bless the issue of your womb and the produce of your soil, your new grain and wine and oil, the calving of your herd and the lambing of your flock, in the land that He swore to your fathers to assign to you.

יג  וַאֲהֵבְךָ וּבֵרַכְךָ וְהִרְבֶּךָ וּבֵרַךְ פְּרִי־בִטְנְךָ וּפְרִי־אַדְמָתֶךָ דְּגָנְךָ וְתִירֹשְׁךָ וְיִצְהָרֶךָ שְׁגַר־אֲלָפֶיךָ וְעַשְׁתְּרֹת צֹאנֶךָ עַל הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר־נִשְׁבַּע לַאֲבֹתֶיךָ לָתֶת לָךְ׃

14  You shall be blessed above all other peoples: there shall be no sterile male or female among you or among your livestock.

יד  בָּרוּךְ תִּהְיֶה מִכָּל־הָעַמִּים לֹא־יִהְיֶה בְךָ עָקָר וַעֲקָרָה וּבִבְהֶמְתֶּךָ׃

15  Hashem will ward off from you all sickness; He will not bring upon you any of the dreadful diseases of Egypt, about which you know, but will inflict them upon all your enemies.

טו  וְהֵסִיר יְהוָה מִמְּךָ כָּל־חֹלִי וְכָל־מַדְוֵי מִצְרַיִם הָרָעִים אֲשֶׁר יָדַעְתָּ לֹא יְשִׂימָם בָּךְ וּנְתָנָם בְּכָל־שֹׂנְאֶיךָ׃

16  You shall destroy all the peoples that Hashem your God delivers to you, showing them no pity. And you shall not worship their gods, for that would be a snare to you.

טז  וְאָכַלְתָּ אֶת־כָּל־הָעַמִּים אֲשֶׁר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לָךְ לֹא־תָחֹס עֵינְךָ עֲלֵיהֶם וְלֹא תַעֲבֹד אֶת־אֱלֹהֵיהֶם כִּי־מוֹקֵשׁ הוּא לָךְ׃

17  Should you say to yourselves, “These nations are more numerous than we; how can we dispossess them?”

יז  כִּי תֹאמַר בִּלְבָבְךָ רַבִּים הַגּוֹיִם הָאֵלֶּה מִמֶּנִּי אֵיכָה אוּכַל לְהוֹרִישָׁם׃

18  You need have no fear of them. You have but to bear in mind what Hashem your God did to Pharaoh and all the Egyptians:

יח  לֹא תִירָא מֵהֶם זָכֹר תִּזְכֹּר אֵת אֲשֶׁר־עָשָׂה יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְפַרְעֹה וּלְכָל־מִצְרָיִם׃

19  the wondrous acts that you saw with your own eyes, the signs and the portents, the mighty hand, and the outstretched arm by which Hashem your God liberated you. Thus will Hashem your God do to all the peoples you now fear.

יט  הַמַּסֹּת הַגְּדֹלֹת אֲשֶׁר־רָאוּ עֵינֶיךָ וְהָאֹתֹת וְהַמֹּפְתִים וְהַיָּד הַחֲזָקָה וְהַזְּרֹעַ הַנְּטוּיָה אֲשֶׁר הוֹצִאֲךָ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ כֵּן־יַעֲשֶׂה יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְכָל־הָעַמִּים אֲשֶׁר־אַתָּה יָרֵא מִפְּנֵיהֶם׃

20  Hashem your God will also send a plague against them, until those who are left in hiding perish before you.

כ  וְגַם אֶת־הַצִּרְעָה יְשַׁלַּח יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בָּם עַד־אֲבֹד הַנִּשְׁאָרִים וְהַנִּסְתָּרִים מִפָּנֶיךָ׃

21  Do not stand in dread of them, for Hashem your God is in your midst, a great and awesome God.

כא  לֹא תַעֲרֹץ מִפְּנֵיהֶם כִּי־יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּקִרְבֶּךָ אֵל גָּדוֹל וְנוֹרָא׃

22  Hashem your God will dislodge those peoples before you little by little; you will not be able to put an end to them at once, else the wild beasts would multiply to your hurt.

v’-na-SHAL a-do-NAI e-lo-HE-kha et ha-go-YIM ha-AYL mi-pa-NE-kha m’-AT m’-AT LO tu-KHAL ka-lo-TAM ma-HAYR pen tir-BEH a-LE-kha kha-YAT ha-sa-DEH

כב  וְנָשַׁל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֶת־הַגּוֹיִם הָאֵל מִפָּנֶיךָ מְעַט מְעָט לֹא תוּכַל כַּלֹּתָם מַהֵר פֶּן־תִּרְבֶּה עָלֶיךָ חַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה׃

7:22   Hashem your God will dislodge those peoples before you little by little

In response to the concern that the People of Israel will not be able to drive the nations of Canaan out of their land, Hashem reassures them with a surprising promise: “Hashem your God will dislodge those peoples before you little by little.”  Would it not be more comforting to know that the period of conquest would be quick, as opposed to long and drawn out?  How is this promise of a lengthy, protracted military campaign to comfort the people?  The end of the verse provides the answer.  If all of the people of Canaan would have fled at one time, large portions of land would have been left unpopulated, allowing for dangerous, wild beasts to enter and roam the land.  In order to prevent this from happening, the Israelites were told that they would capture the land in stages.  The modern era has also seen the remarkable return of Jewish people to their land, and it has again happened in stages, “little by little.”1 comment

23  Hashem your God will deliver them up to you, throwing them into utter panic until they are wiped out.

כג  וּנְתָנָם יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְפָנֶיךָ וְהָמָם מְהוּמָה גְדֹלָה עַד הִשָּׁמְדָם׃

24  He will deliver their kings into your hand, and you shall obliterate their name from under the heavens; no man shall stand up to you, until you have wiped them out.

כד  וְנָתַן מַלְכֵיהֶם בְּיָדֶךָ וְהַאֲבַדְתָּ אֶת־שְׁמָם מִתַּחַת הַשָּׁמָיִם לֹא־יִתְיַצֵּב אִישׁ בְּפָנֶיךָ עַד הִשְׁמִדְךָ אֹתָם׃

25  You shall consign the images of their gods to the fire; you shall not covet the silver and gold on them and keep it for yourselves, lest you be ensnared thereby; for that is abhorrent to Hashem your God.

כה  פְּסִילֵי אֱלֹהֵיהֶם תִּשְׂרְפוּן בָּאֵשׁ לֹא־תַחְמֹד כֶּסֶף וְזָהָב עֲלֵיהֶם וְלָקַחְתָּ לָךְ פֶּן תִּוָּקֵשׁ בּוֹ כִּי תוֹעֲבַת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ הוּא׃

26  You must not bring an abhorrent thing into your house, or you will be proscribed like it; you must reject it as abominable and abhorrent, for it is proscribed.

 

כו  וְלֹא־תָבִיא תוֹעֵבָה אֶל־בֵּיתֶךָ וְהָיִיתָ חֵרֶם כָּמֹהוּ שַׁקֵּץ תְּשַׁקְּצֶנּוּ וְתַעֵב תְּתַעֲבֶנּוּ כִּי־חֵרֶם הוּא׃

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Deuteronomy 7

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