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

Deuteronomy 11

Deuteronomy 11:1-7

1. Therefore thou shalt love the Lord thy God— and keep his charge— and his statutes— and his judgments— and his commandments— alway.

1. Dilige igitur Jehovam Deum tuum— et custodi custodiam ejus— et statuta ejus— et judicia ejus— et praecepta ejus omnibus diebus.

2. And know ye this day: for I speak not with your children which have not known— and which have not seen the chastisement of the Lord your God— his greatness— his mighty hand— and his stretched-out arm—

2. Et scitote hodie— non enim cure filiis vestris loquor— qui non noverunt— neque viderunt eruditionem Jehovae Dei vestri— magnitudinem ejus— manum ejus validam— et brachium ejus extentum—

3. And his miracles— and his acts— which he did in the midst of Egypt unto Pharaoh the king of Egypt— and unto all his land;

3. Et signa ejus— et opera ejus quae fecit in medio Aegypti— ipsi Pharaoni regi Aegypti— et universae terrae ejus.

4. And what he did unto the army of Egypt— unto their horses— and to their chariots: how he made the water of the Red sea to overflow them— as they pursued after you— and how the Lord hath destroyed them unto this day;

4. Et quae fecit exercitui Aegyptiorum— equis ejus et curribus ejus: qui inundare fecit aquas maris rubri super fades eorum— dum vos persequerentur: et perdidit eos Jehova usque in hanc diem.

5. And what he did unto you in the wilderness— until ye came into this place;

5. Quae praeterea fecit vobis in deserto donec veniretis usque ad locum istum.

6. And what he did unto Dathan and Abiram— the sons of Eliab— the son of Reuben: how the earth opened her mouth— and swallowed them up— and their households— and their tents— and all the substance that was in their possession— in the midst of all Israel.

6. Et quae fecit Datham et Abiram filiis Eliab filii Ruben— quando aperuit terra os suum— deglutivit eos— domosque eorum ac tabernacula eorum— atque universam substantiam quae erat in pedibus eorum— in medio totius Israelis.

7. But your eyes have seen all the great acts of the Lord which he did.

7. Quandoquidem oculi vestri viderunt omnia opera Jehovae magna quae fecit.

1. Therefore thou shalt love the Lord thy God. The whole address has this scope, that the people should testify their gratitude by their obedience, and thus being allured by God’s bounties, should reverently embrace His Law. On this account also, he requires them to love God, before he exhorts them to obey the Law itself. For, although he might have imperiously and menacingly commanded them, he preferred to lead them gently to obedience, by setting before them the sweetness of His grace. In sum, he exhorts them that, being invited by God’s love, they should love him in return. Meanwhile, it is well to observe that free affection is the foundation and beginning of duly obeying the Law, for what is drawn forth by constraint, or servile fear, cannot please God. He designates the precepts of the Law by various names, in order that they may zealously and attentively apply themselves to listen to God, who has omitted nothing calculated to regulate their life; for, by this variety of words, he signifies that God had familiarly and perfectly taught whatever was required. As to the three latter words, “his statutes, and judgments, and commandments,” what I have observed in Genesis and in the Psalms may be referred to. The word משמות,  254 meshamroth, or guards, (custodiae,) which here stands first, is spoken in commendation of the Law on this ground, that it fences in our life, as it were, with rails, lest it should be exposed to errors on the right hand and on the left,. At the end of the verse he exhorts them to perseverance, because it was not allowable for the recollection of their deliverance ever to cease.

2. And know ye this day. He again confirms the preceding sentence; because they had been more than sufficiently taught by the illustrious acts of God, how great was His power and how remarkable His mercy toward themselves. Two meanings may be given to the words; for some connect them thus, “Know ye this day the chastisement of the Lord,” and include in a parenthesis the clause, “for I speak not with your children, which have not known, and have not seen;” but others read the word of exhortation “know ye” separately, and  255 without any connection. The latter view pleases me best; although it little affects the substance of the matter which exposition we follow. For Moses admonishes them, that, if they only pay attention to the works of God, His glory, which may instruct them to fear Him, may be clearly beheld in them. In order, however, to urge them more vehemently, he adds, that he does not speak to posterity, to which the fame of these miracles would reach, but that he addresses eye-witnesses, who need no proof of them, having been assured of them by certain experience. He celebrates in many expressions of eulogy these miracles, whereby God had testified to them His power and goodness, lest they should lightly pass by what was worthy of their most earnest attention, and constant meditation. I forbear now to speak of other points, which I have elsewhere commented on. The word מוסר  256 musar, which stands first, is general, and extends to all the specific terms that follow; some, therefore, improperly render it “chastisement.” Where it is said at the end of verse 4, that the Egyptians were “destroyed unto that day,” we must understand that the effects of the slaughter, wherewith God destroyed them, were felt as if still present.

5. And what he did unto you. These things will be spoken of in their proper place in the regular course of the history, from which my method of teaching has compelled me to wander a little. For Moses, to heighten the authority of the Law, sets before them compendiously the circumstances which had occurred in the desert, partly in order that God’s judgments might alarm them by their severity, and partly that His mercies might draw their minds towards Him by their graciousness. Finally, he concludes by saying that he does not speak of unknown things, but that he merely recalled to their recollection the works of God whereof they had been themselves spectators.



משמרת. A. V., charge. The LXX. keeps closest to the Hebrew idiom, φυλάξη τὰ φυλάγματα ἄυτου. — W.


Tellement que tont le reste va son train. — Fr.


מוסר S.M. has rendered this word castigatio. V., disciplina. The root is יסר; and both the root and noun meaning to correct and correction, will sometimes mean to chastise, etc. — W

Next: Deuteronomy 8:1-6; 11:8,9