We read in Devarim 4:2 a commandment : "Lo Tosifu al Ha-Davar" translated as "Do Not Add to The-Word"... Where does The-Word stop, if we are not suppose to add to it?

Devarim / Deuteronomy 4:2

[2] Do not add to The-Word which I command you, nor diminish from it, to observe [the] Commandments [of] YHVH your God which I command you. (לֹ֣א תֹסִ֗פוּ עַל הַדָּבָר֙ אֲשֶׁ֤ר אָֽנֹכִי֙ מְצַוֶּ֣ה אֶתְכֶ֔ם וְלֹ֥א תִגְרְע֖וּ מִמֶּ֑נּוּ לִשְׁמֹ֗ר אֶת מִצְו‍ֹת֙ יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֥ר אָֽנֹכִ֖י מְצַוֶּ֥ה אֶתְכֶֽם )

  • After the days of Moshe, we find that new teachings are given from "a Word [of] YHVH" (דְבַר־יְהֹוָ֖ה) to the prophets : [Eliyahu, Yeshayahu, Yechezkel, Yirmiyahu, Zechariah, Tzefaniah, Malachi, Michah]. Then the prophet Amos states more "Words [of] YHVH" (דִּבְרֵ֥י יְהֹוָֽה) will be heard in Amos 8:11.

Where specifically in the Bible does The-Word (הַדָּבָר֙) stop, if we are not suppose to add to it?

2 Answers 2


We find such commands to add to nor subtract from Scripture in other places as well such as Rev 22:18, 19 -

I testify to everyone who hears the words of prophecy in this book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes away from the words of this book of prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and the holy city, which are described in this book.

Note that this stipulation applies to the words of the book of Revelation alone. In the case of Deut 4:2, we have an almost identical situation.

"You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you."

That "day", Moses restated the 10 commandments (Deut 5) and then goes on to enlarge upon them in a very systematic way:

  • General stipulations Deut 5 – 11
  • Specific stipulations Deut 12 – 26
  • Blessings and Curses Deut 27 – 28

The specific stipulations listed above can be broken down more precisely into sections dealing with each of the commandments.

1 & 2:      Deut 12:1 – 31 – Worship

3:  Deut 13:1 – 14:27 – name of God

4:  Deut 14:28 – 16:17 – Sabbath

5:  Deut 16:18 – 18:22 – Authority

6:  Deut 19:1 – 22:8 – Homicide/murder

7:  Deut 22:9 – 23:19 – Adultery

8:  Deut 23:20 – 24:7 – Theft

9:  Deut 24:8 – 25:4 – False Charges

10: Deut 25:5 – 16 – Coveting

Thus, This perfectly illustrates what Ellicott observed:

(2) Ye shall not add unto the word.—The word, not “the words.” The word is the substance of the Law. The words in which it is expressed may be more or less. The law of Moses contains in it the germ of all revelation to the very end.

The Cambridge Commentary also has some useful insight:

. Ye shall not add unto the word … neither … diminish from it] So Deuteronomy 12:32 [Hebrews 13:1], cp. Jeremiah 26:2, Revelation 22:18 f. That the Law was tampered with in Josiah’s day is implied in Jeremiah 8:8, the false pen of the scribes has wrought falsehood. Our verse and Deuteronomy 12:32 have been interpreted as if the deuteronomic law gave itself forth as the full, final letter of the Divine Revelation. This is not so: cp. its promise of a new prophet like to Moses, Deuteronomy 18:15 ff.

which I command you] Again the participle, am about to command. Sam. and Luc. add this day.

Thus, Moses' instruction appears to apply to the covenant law as embodied in the 10 commandment law (Ex 34:28, Deut 4:10, 13, 10:4) as the genesis of all that Israel's relationship with God was to be.


(Deut. 5:22 WTT)

אֶֽת־הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֡לֶּה דִּבֶּר֩ יְהוָ֙ה אֶל־כָּל־קְהַלְכֶ֜ם בָּהָ֗ר מִתּ֤וֹךְ הָאֵשׁ֙ הֶֽעָנָ֣ן וְהָֽעֲרָפֶ֔ל ק֥וֹל גָּד֖וֹל וְלֹ֣א יָסָ֑ף וַֽיִּכְתְּבֵ֗ם עַל־שְׁנֵי֙ לֻחֹ֣ת אֲבָנִ֔ים וַֽיִּתְּנֵ֖ם אֵלָֽי׃

(Deut. 13:1 WTT)

אֵ֣ת כָּל־הַדָּבָ֗ר אֲשֶׁ֤ר אָנֹכִי֙ מְצַוֶּ֣ה אֶתְכֶ֔ם אֹת֥וֹ תִשְׁמְר֖וּ לַעֲשׂ֑וֹת לֹא־תֹסֵ֣ף עָלָ֔יו וְלֹ֥א תִגְרַ֖ע מִמֶּֽנּוּ׃ פ

The verses, Deuteronomy 5:22 and Deuteronomy 13:1, provide important insights into the nature of the "Word" (הַדָּבָר֙) and how it should be understood in relation to the command in Deuteronomy 4:2 not to add or diminish from it.

In Deuteronomy 5:22, it is reported that God spoke directly to the people of Israel on Mount Sinai in a visible and audible manner through fire, cloud, and darkness, without any subsequent additions. The verse highlights that after this event, God did not add anything further, indicating that direct communication and divine revelation ceased at that specific moment.

Deuteronomy 13:1 complements this instruction by reiterating the command not to add or subtract from the Word that God gave. The emphasis on the prohibition of additions or subtractions underscores the completeness and sufficiency of God's Word as delivered in that specific context.

Therefore, based on these verses, we can conclude that the "Word" (הַדָּבָר֙) refers to the specific and direct revelation that God made to the people of Israel on Mount Sinai. The Word ends when God concludes His communication at that moment. Any attempt to add or subtract from it would go against the divine command expressed in Deuteronomy 4:2 and reaffirmed in Deuteronomy 13:1. The Word of God is thus complete and unalterable from the moment of revelation on Mount Sinai.

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