פָּרָשַׁת הַאֲזִינוּ | Parashat Haazinu (Deuteronomy 32:1-52), color-coded according to its narrative layers

According to the poetry of the Midrash Tanḥuma, Bereshit 1:1, the words of the Torah were inscribed “black fire on white fire.” For many years, I’ve wanted to look deeply into the black fire and visualize the full spectrum of the Torah’s sources, hidden within the black fire but revealed through a critical analysis of its layers of redaction. Below, I’ve set the text of the first Torah portion in the annual Torah reading cycle, using color-coding to distinguish the stratigraphic layers forming the composition of the Masoretic text according to the Supplementary Hypothesis presented by Tsemaḥ Yoreh in his Kernel to Canon series of books (2013-2017) and his website, the Sources of Biblical Narrative. As Dr. Yoreh explains,

The Supplementary Hypothesis asserts that the Pentateuch was composed by several different writers. This reflects an overwhelming academic consensus on Biblical authorship, even among scholars who do not subscribe to the Supplementary Hypothesis in particular.[….] According to the Supplementary Hypothesis, Biblical narrative is layered. No editor took a blowtorch to the parts of the Bible he disagreed with and destroyed them; if he had, we would not find these repetitions and contradictions. Instead, Biblical narrative began with a coherent, foundational bedrock, which over time accreted more and more storylines. Unlike geological processes, though, this process of addition was deliberate. What happened if one author disagreed with his predecessor’s storyline or worldview? He did not simply take an axe to the narrative; instead, he attempted to bury his predecessor’s point of view by repeating his own over and over again, thus skewing our understanding of the story in new ways. Every generation of readers sees the world differently, and thus every generation of writers seeks to adapt their predecessors’ cultural heritage to their own situation. We are not meant simply to dismiss earlier stories; rather, the intention of later writers is to transform our understanding of those stories via their additions.

Legend

⬛ Most of the book of Deuteronomy (sefer Devarim) is considered the composite of three layers of redaction, ‘D1,’ ‘D2,’ and ‘Dp.’ Together, these layers (commonly referred to as the ‘Deuteronomist’) are thought to have formed by a complex process that reached probably from the 7th century BCE to the early 5th. This strata is primarily responsible for incorporating the law code of Deuteronomy into the Pentateuch. D1, as it is called, also adds a layer of redaction concerned with theodicy in the books of Joshua-Kings. D1 appears here in BLACK text.

⬛ This strata, called D2, shares a particularly non-Judean perspective following the split between the north (Ephraim/Yisrael) and the south (Yehudah) after the reign of Shlomo haMelekh, a perspective that was ignored by D1 (and successive authors). In Deuteronomy, D2 adds hortatory (sermons) to D1’s narrative introduction at the beginning of Deuteronomy (the focus of which is the observation of the commandments and divine justice), and otherwise supplements D1’s work. (A few verses in Parashat Bo in the book of Exodus are also attributed to D2.) D2 appears here in RUST-BROWN text.

⬛ This strata popularized Kohanite law for the remnant of Judah after the Temple was destroyed, and functioned as an intermediary between Kohanite lists and laws and the surrounding narrative. This layer, which Dr. Yoreh calls ‘H’ (for the ‘Holiness Code’) appears here in LIME-GREEN text.

Parashat Haazinu (Deuteronomy 32:1-52) in the annual Torah reading cycle is the tenth parashah in Sefer Devarim. It is preceded by parashat Vayelekh (Deuteronomy 31:1-30). Parashat v’Zōt haBrakhah (Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12), the final parashah in the Pentateuch, follows it.

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

א הַאֲזִ֥ינוּ הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וַאֲדַבֵּ֑רָה
וְתִשְׁמַ֥ע הָאָ֖רֶץ אִמְרֵי־פִֽי׃
ב יַעֲרֹ֤ף כַּמָּטָר֙ לִקְחִ֔י
תִּזַּ֥ל כַּטַּ֖ל אִמְרָתִ֑י
כִּשְׂעִירִ֣ם עֲלֵי־דֶ֔שֶׁא
וְכִרְבִיבִ֖ים עֲלֵי־עֵֽשֶׂב׃

32 1 Give ear, O Heavens, that I may speak,
hear, O Earth, the utterance of my mouth.
2 Let my teaching drip like rain,
let my words flow like dew,
like droplets on new-growth,
like showers on grass.

ג כִּ֛י שֵׁ֥ם יְהֹוָ֖ה אֶקְרָ֑א
הָב֥וּ גֹ֖דֶל לֵאלֹהֵֽינוּ׃
ד הַצּוּר֙ תָּמִ֣ים פׇּֽעֳל֔וֹ
כִּ֥י כׇל־דְּרָכָ֖יו מִשְׁפָּ֑ט
אֵ֤ל אֱמוּנָה֙ וְאֵ֣ין עָ֔וֶל
צַדִּ֥יק וְיָשָׁ֖ר הֽוּא׃

3 For the name of YHVH I proclaim,
give greatness to our elo’ah!
4 The tsur/rock-fortress,[1]lit. rock or bedrock. An impenetrable rock-fortress (i.e., “in which to seek refuge”) is implied in this epithet. See the next verse for a contradistinction with the people protected by this rock-fortress. –Aharon Varady whole-and-perfect are his deeds,
for all his ways are just.
El — steadfast, (with) no corruption,
equitable and upright is he.

ה שִׁחֵ֥ת ל֛וֹ לֹ֖א בָּנָ֣יו מוּמָ֑ם
דּ֥וֹר עִקֵּ֖שׁ וּפְתַלְתֹּֽל׃
ו הַ לְיְהֹוָה֙‏[2]בספרי תימן הַֽלְיהֹוָה֙ בתיבה אחת תִּגְמְלוּ־זֹ֔את
עַ֥ם נָבָ֖ל וְלֹ֣א חָכָ֑ם
הֲלוֹא־הוּא֙ אָבִ֣יךָ קָּנֶ֔ךָ
ה֥וּא עָשְׂךָ֖ וַֽיְכֹנְנֶֽךָ׃

5 His children have wrought-ruin toward him — a defect in them,
a generation crooked and twisted!
6 (Is it) YHVH whom you (thus) pay back,
O people foolish and not wise?
Is he not your father, your creator,
he (who) made you and established you?

שני ז זְכֹר֙ יְמ֣וֹת עוֹלָ֔ם בִּ֖ינוּ שְׁנ֣וֹת דֹּר־וָדֹ֑ר
שְׁאַ֤ל אָבִ֙יךָ֙ וְיַגֵּ֔דְךָ זְקֵנֶ֖יךָ וְיֹ֥אמְרוּ לָֽךְ׃
ח בְּהַנְחֵ֤ל עֶלְיוֹן֙ גּוֹיִ֔ם
בְּהַפְרִיד֖וֹ בְּנֵ֣י אָדָ֑ם
יַצֵּב֙ גְּבֻלֹ֣ת עַמִּ֔ים
לְמִסְפַּ֖ר בְּנֵ֥י [אֱלֹהִים] יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

7 Regard the days of ages-past, understand the years of generation and generation (ago);
ask your father, he will tell you, your elders, they will declare it to you:
8 When Elyon gave nations (their) inheritances,
at his dividing the human-race,
he stationed boundaries for peoples
by the number of bnei elohim.
[3]Masoretic text here has bnei Yisrael. See Tigay (JPS) on this verse where the Septuagint reads, approximately, “O heavens, rejoice with him, and let all the divine sons bow to him.” Also see v. 8 from 4Q37 Deuteronomyj, 1Q5 Deuteronomyb, and Saadia Ga’on for other variant readings that contradict the Masoretic reading. See below note on Deuteronomy 32:43. (Thanks to Michael Bernstein and Itai Hershman for their help here in the Ask the Beit Midrash Facebook group!) –Aharon Varady

ט כִּ֛י חֵ֥לֶק יְהֹוָ֖ה עַמּ֑וֹ
יַעֲקֹ֖ב חֶ֥בֶל נַחֲלָתֽוֹ׃
י יִמְצָאֵ֙הוּ֙ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ מִדְבָּ֔ר
וּבְתֹ֖הוּ יְלֵ֣ל יְשִׁמֹ֑ן
יְסֹבְבֶ֙נְהוּ֙ יְב֣וֹנְנֵ֔הוּ
יִצְּרֶ֖נְהוּ כְּאִישׁ֥וֹן עֵינֽוֹ׃
יא כְּנֶ֙שֶׁר֙ יָעִ֣יר קִנּ֔וֹ עַל־גּוֹזָלָ֖יו יְרַחֵ֑ף
יִפְרֹ֤שׂ כְּנָפָיו֙ יִקָּחֵ֔הוּ יִשָּׂאֵ֖הוּ עַל־אֶבְרָתֽוֹ׃

9 Indeed, the portion of YHVH became his people,
Yaakov, the lot of his inheritance.
10 He found him in a wilderness land,
in a waste, a howling desert.
He surrounded him, he paid-him-regard,
he guarded him like the pupil of his eye;
11 like an eagle protecting its nest, over its young-birds hovering,
he spread out his wings, he took him, bearing him on his pinions.

יב יְהֹוָ֖ה בָּדָ֣ד יַנְחֶ֑נּוּ
וְאֵ֥ין עִמּ֖וֹ אֵ֥ל נֵכָֽר׃
שלישי יג יַרְכִּבֵ֙הוּ֙ עַל־בָּ֣מֳתֵי במותי אָ֔רֶץ
וַיֹּאכַ֖ל תְּנוּבֹ֣ת שָׂדָ֑י
וַיֵּנִקֵ֤הֽוּ דְבַשׁ֙ מִסֶּ֔לַע
וְשֶׁ֖מֶן מֵחַלְמִ֥ישׁ צֽוּר׃
יד חֶמְאַ֨ת בָּקָ֜ר וַחֲלֵ֣ב צֹ֗אן
עִם־חֵ֨לֶב כָּרִ֜ים וְאֵילִ֤ים
בְּנֵֽי־בָשָׁן֙ וְעַתּוּדִ֔ים
עִם־חֵ֖לֶב כִּלְי֣וֹת חִטָּ֑ה
וְדַם־עֵנָ֖ב תִּשְׁתֶּה־חָֽמֶר׃

12 YHVH alone did lead them,
not with him any foreign el!
13 He had them mount on the high-places of the land,
he fed them the crops of the field;
he suckled them with honey from a boulder,
with oil from a flinty rock/tsur;
14 on curds of cattle and milk of sheep,
along with the milk of lambs and rams,
of the young of Bashan and male-goats,
along with the kidney fat of wheat,
and blood of grapes, you drank fermented (wine).

טו וַיִּשְׁמַ֤ן יְשֻׁרוּן֙ וַיִּבְעָ֔ט
שָׁמַ֖נְתָּ עָבִ֣יתָ כָּשִׂ֑יתָ
וַיִּטֹּשׁ֙ אֱל֣וֹהַּ עָשָׂ֔הוּ
וַיְנַבֵּ֖ל צ֥וּר יְשֻׁעָתֽוֹ׃
טז יַקְנִאֻ֖הוּ בְּזָרִ֑ים
בְּתוֹעֵבֹ֖ת יַכְעִיסֻֽהוּ׃
יז יִזְבְּח֗וּ לַשֵּׁדִים֙ לֹ֣א אֱלֹ֔הַּ
אֱלֹהִ֖ים לֹ֣א יְדָע֑וּם
חֲדָשִׁים֙ מִקָּרֹ֣ב בָּ֔אוּ
לֹ֥א שְׂעָר֖וּם אֲבֹתֵיכֶֽם׃
יח צ֥וּר יְלָדְךָ֖ תֶּ֑שִׁי
וַתִּשְׁכַּ֖ח אֵ֥ל מְחֹלְלֶֽךָ׃

15 But Yeshurun grew fat and kicked, you were fat,
you were gross, you were gorged,
he forsook the elo’ah that made him,
and treated-like-a-fool the tsur of his deliverance.
16 They made-him-jealous with alien (deities),
with abominations they vexed him.
17 They slaughtered (offerings) to demons, non-elo’ah,
elohim they had not known;
new-ones from nearby came,
of whom your fathers had no idea.
18 The tsur that bore you, you neglected,
you forgot the el that produced-you-in-labor.

רביעי יטוַיַּ֥רְא יְהֹוָ֖ה וַיִּנְאָ֑ץ
מִכַּ֥עַס בָּנָ֖יו וּבְנֹתָֽיו׃
כ וַיֹּ֗אמֶר אַסְתִּ֤ירָה פָנַי֙ מֵהֶ֔ם
אֶרְאֶ֖ה מָ֣ה אַחֲרִיתָ֑ם
כִּ֣י ד֤וֹר תַּהְפֻּכֹת֙ הֵ֔מָּה
בָּנִ֖ים לֹא־אֵמֻ֥ן בָּֽם׃
כא הֵ֚ם קִנְא֣וּנִי בְלֹא־אֵ֔ל
כִּעֲס֖וּנִי בְּהַבְלֵיהֶ֑ם
וַאֲנִי֙ אַקְנִיאֵ֣ם בְּלֹא־עָ֔ם
בְּג֥וֹי נָבָ֖ל אַכְעִיסֵֽם׃

19 When YHVH saw, he spurned (you),
from the vexation of his sons and daughters.
20 He said: “I will conceal my face from them,
I will see what is their future.
Indeed, a generation of overturning are they,
children in whom one cannot trust.
21 They made-me-jealous with a no-god,
vexed me with their nothingnesses;
so I will make-them-jealous with a no-people,
with a nation of fools I will vex them!”

כב כִּי־אֵשׁ֙ קָדְחָ֣ה בְאַפִּ֔י
וַתִּיקַ֖ד עַד־שְׁא֣וֹל תַּחְתִּ֑ית
וַתֹּ֤אכַל אֶ֙רֶץ֙ וִֽיבֻלָ֔הּ
וַתְּלַהֵ֖ט מוֹסְדֵ֥י הָרִֽים׃
כג אַסְפֶּ֥ה עָלֵ֖ימוֹ רָע֑וֹת
חִצַּ֖י אֲכַלֶּה־בָּֽם׃
כד מְזֵ֥י רָעָ֛ב וּלְחֻ֥מֵי רֶ֖שֶׁף
וְקֶ֣טֶב מְרִירִ֑י
וְשֶׁן־בְּהֵמֹת֙ אֲשַׁלַּח־בָּ֔ם
עִם־חֲמַ֖ת זֹחֲלֵ֥י עָפָֽר׃
כה מִחוּץ֙ תְּשַׁכֶּל־חֶ֔רֶב וּמֵחֲדָרִ֖ים אֵימָ֑ה גַּם־בָּחוּר֙
גַּם־בְּתוּלָ֔ה יוֹנֵ֖ק עִם־אִ֥ישׁ שֵׂיבָֽה׃

22 “For fire is kindled in my nostrils,
it burns (down) to Sheol, below,
devouring the earth and its yield,
setting-ablaze the hills’ foundations.
23 I will sweep them away with evils,
my arrows I will spend against them.
24 Drained by Famine, deprived-of-food by Fiery-plague
and Bitter Pestilence;
the teeth of domesticated animals I will send out against them,
along with the hot-venom of crawlers in the dust.
25 Outside, the sword bereaves, in rooms-within, Terror! (Destroying) young-men
and virgins alike, nurselings along with men of gray-hair.”

כו אָמַ֖רְתִּי אַפְאֵיהֶ֑ם
אַשְׁבִּ֥יתָה מֵאֱנ֖וֹשׁ זִכְרָֽם׃
כז לוּלֵ֗י כַּ֤עַס אוֹיֵב֙ אָג֔וּר
פֶּֽן־יְנַכְּר֖וּ צָרֵ֑ימוֹ
פֶּן־יֹֽאמְרוּ֙ יָדֵ֣נוּ רָ֔מָה
וְלֹ֥א יְהֹוָ֖ה פָּעַ֥ל כׇּל־זֹֽאת׃

26 I would have said: “I will cleave-them-in-pieces,
I will make their memory cease from mortals,
27 — except that I feared the vexation from the enemy,
lest their foes misconstrue,
lest they say: ‘Our hand is raised-high,
not YHVH wrought all this!'”

כח כִּי־ג֛וֹי אֹבַ֥ד עֵצ֖וֹת הֵ֑מָּה
וְאֵ֥ין בָּהֶ֖ם תְּבוּנָֽה׃
חמישי כטל֥וּ חָכְמ֖וּ יַשְׂכִּ֣ילוּ זֹ֑את
יָבִ֖ינוּ לְאַחֲרִיתָֽם׃

28 “For a nation straying from counsel are they,
in them there is no understanding.
29 If (only) they were wise, they would contemplate this,
they would understand their future!”

ל אֵיכָ֞ה יִרְדֹּ֤ף אֶחָד֙ אֶ֔לֶף
וּשְׁנַ֖יִם יָנִ֣יסוּ רְבָבָ֑ה
אִם־לֹא֙ כִּי־צוּרָ֣ם מְכָרָ֔ם
וַֽיְהֹוָ֖ה הִסְגִּירָֽם׃
לא כִּ֛י לֹ֥א כְצוּרֵ֖נוּ צוּרָ֑ם
וְאֹיְבֵ֖ינוּ פְּלִילִֽים׃
לב כִּֽי־מִגֶּ֤פֶן סְדֹם֙ גַּפְנָ֔ם
וּמִשַּׁדְמֹ֖ת עֲמֹרָ֑ה
עֲנָבֵ֙מוֹ֙ עִנְּבֵי־ר֔וֹשׁ
אַשְׁכְּלֹ֥ת מְרֹרֹ֖ת לָֽמוֹ׃
לג חֲמַ֥ת תַּנִּינִ֖ם יֵינָ֑ם
וְרֹ֥אשׁ פְּתָנִ֖ים אַכְזָֽר׃

30 How can one pursue a thousand,
two put a myriad to flight,
unless their tsur had sold them out,
YHVH had handed them over?
31 For not like their tsur is our tsur,
though our enemies so-assess-it;
32 indeed, from the vine of Sedom is their vine,
from the fields of Amora,
their grapes are grapes of poison,
clusters bitter for them,
33 the hot-venom of serpents their wine,
the cruel poison of vipers.

לד הֲלֹא־ה֖וּא כָּמֻ֣ס עִמָּדִ֑י
חָת֖וּם בְּאוֹצְרֹתָֽי׃
לה לִ֤י נָקָם֙ וְשִׁלֵּ֔ם
לְעֵ֖ת תָּמ֣וּט רַגְלָ֑ם
כִּ֤י קָרוֹב֙ י֣וֹם אֵידָ֔ם
וְחָ֖שׁ עֲתִדֹ֥ת לָֽמוֹ׃

34 “Is this not laid up in store with me,
sealed up in my treasuries:
35 mine are vengeance and payback,
at the time when their foot slips,
for near is the day of their calamity,
making haste, the things impending for them.”

לו כִּֽי־יָדִ֤ין יְהֹוָה֙ עַמּ֔וֹ
וְעַל־עֲבָדָ֖יו יִתְנֶחָ֑ם
כִּ֤י יִרְאֶה֙ כִּֽי־אָ֣זְלַת יָ֔ד
וְאֶ֖פֶס עָצ֥וּר וְעָזֽוּב׃
לז וְאָמַ֖ר אֵ֣י אֱלֹהֵ֑ימוֹ
צ֖וּר חָסָ֥יוּ בֽוֹ׃
לח אֲשֶׁ֨ר חֵ֤לֶב זְבָחֵ֙ימוֹ֙ יֹאכֵ֔לוּ
יִשְׁתּ֖וּ יֵ֣ין נְסִיכָ֑ם
יָק֙וּמוּ֙ וְיַעְזְרֻכֶ֔ם
יְהִ֥י עֲלֵיכֶ֖ם סִתְרָֽה׃

36 But YHVH will judge (in favor of) his people,
regarding his servants he will relent,
when he sees that strength-of-hand is gone,
naught (left) of (both) fettered and free.
37 He will say: “Where are its elohim,
the tsur in whom it sought-refuge,
38 that devoured the fat of their slaughtered-offerings,
drank the wine of their poured-offerings?
Let them rise up and help you,
let them be over you a shelter!”

לט רְא֣וּ ׀ עַתָּ֗ה כִּ֣י אֲנִ֤י אֲנִי֙ ה֔וּא
וְאֵ֥ין אֱלֹהִ֖ים עִמָּדִ֑י
אֲנִ֧י אָמִ֣ית וַאֲחַיֶּ֗ה
מָחַ֙צְתִּי֙ וַאֲנִ֣י אֶרְפָּ֔א
וְאֵ֥ין מִיָּדִ֖י מַצִּֽיל׃
ששי מ כִּֽי־אֶשָּׂ֥א אֶל־שָׁמַ֖יִם יָדִ֑י
וְאָמַ֕רְתִּי חַ֥י אָנֹכִ֖י לְעֹלָֽם׃
מא אִם־שַׁנּוֹתִי֙ בְּרַ֣ק חַרְבִּ֔י
וְתֹאחֵ֥ז בְּמִשְׁפָּ֖ט יָדִ֑י
אָשִׁ֤יב נָקָם֙ לְצָרָ֔י
וְלִמְשַׂנְאַ֖י אֲשַׁלֵּֽם׃
מב אַשְׁכִּ֤יר חִצַּי֙ מִדָּ֔ם
וְחַרְבִּ֖י תֹּאכַ֣ל בָּשָׂ֑ר
מִדַּ֤ם חָלָל֙ וְשִׁבְיָ֔ה
מֵרֹ֖אשׁ פַּרְע֥וֹת אוֹיֵֽב׃

39 “See now that I, I am he,
there is no Elohim beside me;
I myself bring-death, bestow-life,
I wound and I myself heal,
and there is from my hand no rescuing!
40 For I lift up my hand to the heavens,”
and say: “As I live, for the ages —
41 when I sharpen my lightning sword,
my hand seizes judgment,
I will return vengeance on my foes,
and those who hate me, I will pay back.
42 I will make my arrows drunk with blood,
my sword devour flesh,
with the blood of the slain and the captives,
from the head thick-with-locks of the enemy.”

מג הַרְנִ֤ינוּ גוֹיִם֙ עַמּ֔וֹ
כִּ֥י דַם־עֲבָדָ֖יו יִקּ֑וֹם
וְנָקָם֙ יָשִׁ֣יב לְצָרָ֔יו
וְכִפֶּ֥ר אַדְמָת֖וֹ עַמּֽוֹ׃

43 Shout-for-joy, O nations, (over) his people,
for the blood of his servants he will avenge.
Vengeance he will return upon his foes,
effecting-atonement for the fertile-earth of his people!
[4]Tigay (JPS Deuteronomy) here notes, “The Qumran text, again approximately confirming the Septuagint, has a partially divergent reading: “Gladden, O heavens, his people, / and let all divine beings bow before him. // For his sons’ blood he will avenge / and vengeance turn back on his foes. // And his enemies he will requite / and purge his people’s soil.” Cf. v43 from 4Q44 Deuteronomyq. See related note above on Deuteronomy 32:8. –Aharon Varady

שביעי מד וַיָּבֹ֣א מֹשֶׁ֗ה וַיְדַבֵּ֛ר אֶת־כׇּל־דִּבְרֵ֥י הַשִּׁירָֽה־הַזֹּ֖את בְּאׇזְנֵ֣י הָעָ֑ם ה֖וּא וְהוֹשֵׁ֥עַ בִּן־נֽוּן׃ מה וַיְכַ֣ל מֹשֶׁ֗ה לְדַבֵּ֛ר אֶת־כׇּל־הַדְּבָרִ֥ים הָאֵ֖לֶּה אֶל־כׇּל־יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ מו וַיֹּ֤אמֶר אֲלֵהֶם֙ שִׂ֣ימוּ לְבַבְכֶ֔ם לְכׇ֨ל־הַדְּבָרִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֧ר אָנֹכִ֛י מֵעִ֥יד בָּכֶ֖ם הַיּ֑וֹם אֲשֶׁ֤ר תְּצַוֻּם֙ אֶת־בְּנֵיכֶ֔ם לִשְׁמֹ֣ר לַעֲשׂ֔וֹת אֶת־כׇּל־דִּבְרֵ֖י הַתּוֹרָ֥ה הַזֹּֽאת׃ מז כִּ֠י לֹֽא־דָבָ֨ר רֵ֥ק הוּא֙ מִכֶּ֔ם כִּי־ה֖וּא חַיֵּיכֶ֑ם וּבַדָּבָ֣ר הַזֶּ֗ה תַּאֲרִ֤יכוּ יָמִים֙ עַל־הָ֣אֲדָמָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֨ר אַתֶּ֜ם עֹבְרִ֧ים אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּ֛ן שָׁ֖מָּה לְרִשְׁתָּֽהּ׃
44 Mosheh came and spoke all the words of this song in the ears of the people,[5]In Dtr 1 the song is understood as a warning (as opposed to a comfort in J) this is also apparent in Dtr 2’s additions to 31:14-30. he and Hoshe’a son of Nun.[6]If Joshua had been speaking to the Israelites then his name would have been mentioned as a subject of the verse, his mention at the end of the verse is very clearly an addition, in the same vein as the addition of Joshua in 31:3 (Dtr 2). 45 When Mosheh had finished speaking all these words to all Yisra’el, 46 he said to them: “Set your hearts toward all these words which I call-as-witness among you today, that you may command your children to carefully observe all the words of this Torah/Instruction. 47 Indeed, no empty word is it for you, indeed, it is your (very) life; through this word you shall prolong (your) days upon the fertile-earth that you are crossing over the Yarden to possess.”

מפטיר מח וַיְדַבֵּ֤ר יְהֹוָה֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה בְּעֶ֛צֶם הַיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּ֖ה לֵאמֹֽר׃ מט עֲלֵ֡ה אֶל־הַר֩ הָעֲבָרִ֨ים הַזֶּ֜ה הַר־נְב֗וֹ אֲשֶׁר֙ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ מוֹאָ֔ב אֲשֶׁ֖ר עַל־פְּנֵ֣י יְרֵח֑וֹ וּרְאֵה֙ אֶת־אֶ֣רֶץ כְּנַ֔עַן אֲשֶׁ֨ר אֲנִ֥י נֹתֵ֛ן לִבְנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לַאֲחֻזָּֽה׃ נ וּמֻ֗ת בָּהָר֙ אֲשֶׁ֤ר אַתָּה֙ עֹלֶ֣ה שָׁ֔מָּה וְהֵאָסֵ֖ף אֶל־עַמֶּ֑יךָ כַּֽאֲשֶׁר־מֵ֞ת אַהֲרֹ֤ן אָחִ֙יךָ֙ בְּהֹ֣ר הָהָ֔ר וַיֵּאָ֖סֶף אֶל־עַמָּֽיו׃ נא עַל֩ אֲשֶׁ֨ר מְעַלְתֶּ֜ם בִּ֗י בְּתוֹךְ֙ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל בְּמֵֽי־מְרִיבַ֥ת קָדֵ֖שׁ מִדְבַּר־צִ֑ן עַ֣ל אֲשֶׁ֤ר לֹֽא־קִדַּשְׁתֶּם֙ אוֹתִ֔י בְּת֖וֹךְ בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ נב כִּ֥י מִנֶּ֖גֶד תִּרְאֶ֣ה אֶת־הָאָ֑רֶץ וְשָׁ֙מָּה֙ לֹ֣א תָב֔וֹא אֶל־הָאָ֕רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־אֲנִ֥י נֹתֵ֖ן לִבְנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃
48 Now YHVH spoke to Mosheh on that same day, saying: 49 “Go up these heights of Avarim/The-region-across, Mount Nevo that is in the land of Moav, that faces Yereḥo, and see the land of K’naan that I am giving to the Children of Yisra’el for a holding. 50 You are to die on the mountain that you are going up, and are to be gathered to your kinspeople, as Aharon your brother died on Hor haHar and was gathered to his kinspeople 51 — because you (both) broke-faith with me in the midst of the Children of Yisra’el at the waters of Merivat Qadesh, in the Wilderness of Tsyn, because you did not treat-me-as-holy in the midst of the Children of Yisra’el. 52 Indeed, at-a-distance you shall see the land, but there you shall not enter, the land that I am giving to the Children of Yisra’el.[7]Note that as opposed to P – the mountain upon which Moses ascends in order to die is Mount Nebo, whereas according to Numbers 33:12 (P) it is Mount Abarim. This text shows signs of Priestly authorship, however, as it alludes to the sin of Meribah (Numbers 20:12) and the death of Aaron (Numbers 20:22ff.), note also the expression ויאסף אל עמיו – in vs. 50, which occurs in the Priestly death notice of Aaron (Numbers 20:24), and the patriarchs. It is quite likely, therefore, that this section was composed by H, the later supplementor of P.

The Masoretic text presented here is from Rabbi Dr. Seth (Avi) Kadish’s Miqra al pi ha-Mesorah. For the translation in English, I have adapted the translation of Everett Fox in the Schocken Bible (1997), mostly to re-Hebraize divine names, place names, and personal names. Instead of “soil” for adamah, I say “fertile-earth” (as distinct from arets — earth, which includes non-arable land). For the epithet: tsur, I suggest “rock-fortress,” in place of “rock.” Aside from these, I have made minor punctuation changes.

Notes   [ + ]

  1. lit. rock or bedrock. An impenetrable rock-fortress (i.e., “in which to seek refuge”) is implied in this epithet. See the next verse for a contradistinction with the people protected by this rock-fortress. –Aharon Varady
  2. בספרי תימן הַֽלְיהֹוָה֙ בתיבה אחת
  3. Masoretic text here has bnei Yisrael. See Tigay (JPS) on this verse where the Septuagint reads, approximately, “O heavens, rejoice with him, and let all the divine sons bow to him.” Also see v. 8 from 4Q37 Deuteronomyj, 1Q5 Deuteronomyb, and Saadia Ga’on for other variant readings that contradict the Masoretic reading. See below note on Deuteronomy 32:43. (Thanks to Michael Bernstein and Itai Hershman for their help here in the Ask the Beit Midrash Facebook group!) –Aharon Varady
  4. Tigay (JPS Deuteronomy) here notes, “The Qumran text, again approximately confirming the Septuagint, has a partially divergent reading: “Gladden, O heavens, his people, / and let all divine beings bow before him. // For his sons’ blood he will avenge / and vengeance turn back on his foes. // And his enemies he will requite / and purge his people’s soil.” Cf. v43 from 4Q44 Deuteronomyq. See related note above on Deuteronomy 32:8. –Aharon Varady
  5. In Dtr 1 the song is understood as a warning (as opposed to a comfort in J) this is also apparent in Dtr 2’s additions to 31:14-30.
  6. If Joshua had been speaking to the Israelites then his name would have been mentioned as a subject of the verse, his mention at the end of the verse is very clearly an addition, in the same vein as the addition of Joshua in 31:3 (Dtr 2).
  7. Note that as opposed to P – the mountain upon which Moses ascends in order to die is Mount Nebo, whereas according to Numbers 33:12 (P) it is Mount Abarim. This text shows signs of Priestly authorship, however, as it alludes to the sin of Meribah (Numbers 20:12) and the death of Aaron (Numbers 20:22ff.), note also the expression ויאסף אל עמיו – in vs. 50, which occurs in the Priestly death notice of Aaron (Numbers 20:24), and the patriarchs. It is quite likely, therefore, that this section was composed by H, the later supplementor of P.

Comments, Corrections, and Queries


בסיעתא דארעא