What Does Yahweh Your God Ask of You? Unpacking Moses’ Answer to that Question

Deuteronomy 10:12–13 is a fascinating passage since it is the only time in Scripture where we see the five verbs “to fear” (ירא), “to walk” (הלך), “to love” (אהב), “to serve” (עבד), and “to keep” (שׁמר) together. This raises an important question that has not received much consideration in the commentaries or broader scholarship: how do they function together? To better understand this passage, this paper explores the meaning of these verbs within Deuteronomy and then examines how they work together within the context of Deuteronomy 10:12–13.
The paper is divided into two sections. The first half investigates the meaning and use of the individual verbs within Deuteronomy. Specifically, it focuses on how these words (fear [ירא], walk [הלך], love [אהב], serve [עבד], and keep [שׁמר]) are understood within cultic and ANE treatise contexts. This is relevant since scholarship is divided over whether these terms in Deuteronomy convey worship or an act of covenant obedience. The second half goes through the various ways that scholars have explained how the verbs function together within Deuteronomy 10:12–13. The paper walks through five different proposed structures: 1) Carl Keil’s Progression View, 2) Samuel Driver’s Fear View, 3) Reinhold Sander’s Holistic View, 4) Duane Christensen’s Love Centric View, as well as 5) Daniel Block’s Manual Proposal. It concludes by offering and defending a chiastic structure for the two verses.

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