Devarim Ten: Circumcise the Foreskin of Your Heart

Moses continues his recap of the giving of the Ten Commandments. He recalls how God instructed him to recreate the first set of tablets exactly when he made the second set. “And He inscribed on the tablets, like the first writing, the Ten Commandments, which the Lord had spoken to you on the mountain, from the midst of the fire, on the day of the assembly, and the Lord gave them to me (Deuteronomy 10:4).” It’s interesting to me that this doesn’t acknowledge the differences that we just saw in the second set of commandments, such as the whole issue with the commandment to both remember and keep Shabbat. Was it written the same but conveyed differently? Or was the intention the same each time, but manifested differently?

The people moved to Moserah where Aaron died, and to Yotvath, where the Levites were given their separate mission to serve God. “Therefore, Levi has no portion or inheritance with his brothers; the Lord is his inheritance, as the Lord, your God spoke to him (Deuteronomy 10:9).” Moses repeatedly intervened with God on behalf of the people, protecting them from His wrath and moving them towards their ultimate goal of entering the land. “And now, O Israel, what does the Lord, your God, demand of you? Only to fear the Lord, your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, and to worship the Lord, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul (Deuteronomy 10:12).” What does it mean to walk in God’s ways? Does it mean to follow His laws? Or to behave in a godly manner, something akin to being made in God’s image?

Now, we have a particularly lovely sentence. “You shall circumcise the foreskin of your heart, therefore, and be no more stiff necked (Deuteronomy 10:16).” What a visual! I’m taking this verse to mean that just as the circumcision is a way of dedicating oneself to God physically through the covenant, ones heart must also be dedicated to God.


  1. Jonathan Caswell · August 8, 2015

    Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:


  2. Pingback: 29. Laws that Value People | From guestwriters

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