Deuteronomy 18:15-20

Deuteronomy 18:15-20
Ordinary B10


15 The LordA your GodB will raise upC for you a prophetD like me

Notes on verse 15a

A “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
B “God” = Elohim.
C “raise up” = qum. To arise, stand, accomplish, establish, abide. This is rising as in rising against, getting up after being sick or asleep, arising from one state to another, becoming powerful, or rising for action. It can also be standing in a figurative sense.
D “prophet” = nabi. This is prophet, prophecy, speaker, or someone inspired.

from amongE your own people;F you shall heed such a prophet.G 

Notes on verse 15b

E “among” = qereb. Perhaps from qarab (to come near or approach). This is among, in the midst, before, the center It is the inward part, whether literal or figurative. It can also be used for the heart, the site of thoughts and feelings. This word is also used as a technical term for the entrails of the animals who are sacrificed.
F “people” = ach. This is brother, kindred, another, other, like. It is literally brother, but it can also be someone who is similar, resembling, or related to.
G “you shall heed such a prophet” = el + shama. Literally “to him you shall listen/obey.” Shama is to hear, call, consent, or consider. It implies listening intelligently, giving attention, and, because of these two factors, obedience and action are often implied.

16 This is whatH you requestedI of the Lord your God at HorebJ on the day of the assemblyK when you said:

Notes on verse 16a

H “what” = kol. Literally “according to all.”
I “requested” = shaal. This is to ask, inquire, beg, borrow, desire, request. It can also mean to demand.
J “Horeb” = Choreb. 17x in OT. From chareb (to devastate, desolate, or be waste). Horeb means waste or desolate.
K “assembly” = qahal. This is an assembly, congregation, or multitude.

“If I hearL the voiceM of the Lord my God any more, or ever again seeN this greatO fire, I will die.”P 

Notes on verse 16b

L “hear” = shama. Same as “heed” in v15. See note G above.
M “voice” = qol. This is a sound, used often for human voices. Also used when God speaks or angels, animals or instruments. It can be a cry or a noise, thunder or earthquakes and so on.
N “see” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
O “great” = gadol. From gadal (to grow up, become great, become wealthy – to advance. The root meaning may be to twist in the sense of the process of growing). This is great, high, bigger, noble, old, marvelous. It can also refer to someone who is powerful or distinguished.
P “die” = mut. This is to die in a literal or figurative sense. It can also refer to being a dead body.

17 Then the Lord replied to me: “They are rightQ in what they have said.R 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will putS my wordsT in the mouthU of the prophet, 

Notes on verses 17-18a

Q “are right” = yatab. This is to be good or pleasing, joyful. It can also mean doing good in an ethical sense or be beautiful, happy, successful, or right.
R “said” = dabar. This is generally to speak, answer, declare, or command. It might mean to arrange and so to speak in a figurative sense as arranging words.
S “put” = natan. This is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively.
T “words” = dabar. Related to “said” in v17. From dabar (see note R above). This is speech, a word, a matter, an affair, charge, command, message, promise, purpose, report, request. It is a word, which implies things that are spoken of in a wide sense.
U “mouth” = peh. This is mouth in a literal or figurative sense. So, more literally, it can be beak or jaws. More figuratively, it refers to speech, commands, or promises.

who shall speakV to them everything that I command.W 19 AnyoneX who does not heed the words that the prophet shall speak in my name,Y I myself will hold accountable.Z 

Notes on verses 18b-19

V “speak” = dabar. Same as “said” in v17. See note R above.
W “command” = tsavah. This is to charge, command, order, appoint, or enjoin. This is the root that the Hebrew word for “commandment” comes from (mitsvah).
X “anyone” = ish. Perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is man, husband, another, or humankind.
Y “name” = shem. May be from sum (to put, place, set). This is name, fame, renown. A name was thought to indicate something essential about a person – something about their individuality. So, this word can also mean honor, authority, or character.
Z “hold accountable” = darash. To seek, ask, inquire, or care for. Properly, this means to walk or frequent – often in the sense of pursuing someone or something or searching. Thus, it has the sense of inquiring. In the sense of seeking, it can mean “to worship.” This is where the Jewish concept of midrash comes from – their word for interpreting, studying, and asking theological questions.

20 But any prophet who speaks in the name of other gods,AA or who presumesBB to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded the prophet to speak—that prophet shall die.”

Notes on verse 20

AA “gods” = elohim. Same as “God” in v15. See note B above.
BB “presumes” = zud. 10x in OT. This is to cook, boil up, or seethe. Figuratively, it can mean to act with arrogance or insolence, to be rebellious.

Image credit: Stained glass window from Iglesia San Francisco Galileo, El Pueblito, Corregidora, Querétaro State, Mexico

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