10 “if you obey the Lord your God and keep his commandments and statutes that are written in this scroll of the law. But you must turn to him with your whole mind and being. 11 “This commandment I am giving you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it too remote.” ‭‭(Deuteronomy‬ ‭30‬:‭10‬-‭11‬ ‭NET‬‬)

Does verse 11 mention only the commandment to turn to God or obey all the laws?

  • 1
    This is a matter of personal experience, not of 'was humanity capable or not' (a philosophical question). My problem is 'the good that I would, I do not ; the evil that I would not, that do I'. That was Paul's experience of trying to keep the law. If you can keep it, well and good. If not, then Paul can help you - with a gospel suited for law-breaking sinners.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Mar 16, 2023 at 3:12
  • @Nigel J Agreed. The second option is not the "easy" one. That leaves the first option, which is advocated on countless occasions in both Testaments. Commented Mar 16, 2023 at 8:21
  • @StephenDisraeli I do not understand. What are you calling an 'easy' 'option' ? ?
    – Nigel J
    Commented Mar 16, 2023 at 10:23
  • @Nigel J The verse 11 says that something is "not diffcult". As we both know, that cannot describe "keeping the whole law". So it is more likely to mean the question's other option of "turning to God". Repentance, in fact. The option recommended by the gospel. Commented Mar 16, 2023 at 12:00
  • Verse 16 is the answer. Commented Mar 16, 2023 at 12:20

2 Answers 2


The commandment (all commandments, all requirements, all restrictions of every kind) is to the whole being, to the whole mind, to the whole heart.

The commandment enters within, to the thoughts, to the desires, to the will, to the intention, to the motions within.

Nothing is excluded. The whole of the exterior and the whole of the interior are absolutely addressed.

Job speaks to God and says :

I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. [Job 42:2 KJV]

This was Paul's experience who writes to the Roman Christians and tells them that he had been alive without the law once. But when the commandment came, in its full force and its internal power, the sin of humanity made itself known within him. And in that day, as was promised in Eden, he died. (See all of Romans chapter 7.)

He writes that if the commandments stopped at nine, he would have carried on, as before. But the law also says 'Thou shalt not covet'.

This is internal. Nobody can tell whether or not I covet, and desire, and lust. God alone sees. And my conscience (unless I have damaged it so badly that it is 'seared' - scarred and lifeless like burnt skin) my conscience will monitor that the eye of God has observed me within my heart and my mind and my sensibilities.

There is no escape.

O wretched man that I am ! cries Paul.

Who shall deliver me ?

I can manage to maintain an exterior before the world, before family, before friends. But within ?

Only a powerful gospel, only a Divine Saviour, only sufferings on my behalf, only a death in which - in Another - I died, only through resurrection and ascension. Only thus shall I be saved.

I need all of Romans, and all of Galatians, and all of Corinthians, and . . . .

I need all of Christ.

And I need Grace Abounding (as John Bunyan says) to the chief of sinners.

All quotes (whether referenced or not) are from the KJV.

  • 1
    "[Paul] writes that if the commandments stopped at nine, he would have carried on, as before." — Where does he write this? Commented Mar 16, 2023 at 13:28
  • @RayButterworth *I had not known sin*, but by the law: for *I had not known lust*, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. Romans 7:7.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Mar 16, 2023 at 14:32
  • 1
    "except the law had said …" ­— That's just an example of one of the commandments. I don't see as there is any significance to its happening to be number 10. Commented Mar 16, 2023 at 15:52
  • 1
    This question is about what was meant by something Moses said to the Israelites. In terms of hermeneutics, I would expect an explanation in terms of the Hebrew scriptures and how the Israelites would have understood it. (A brief mention of the Greek scriptures might be appropriate at the end, but this answer refers to almost nothing but the Greek scriptures.) Commented Mar 16, 2023 at 15:55

There is some reason to believe that the "commandment" or "commandments" referred to in Deut 30:10, 11 are the body of law known as the 10 commandments as seen in the purpose and intent of the whole book of Deuteronomy - see appendix 1 below.

This is somewhat confirmed by the use of the Hebrew word מִצְוָה (mitswah) which in the Torah only ever refers to commands issued by God as moral requirements, and most often to the 10 commandments themselves.

However, another word appear in Deut 30:10 which is חֻקָּה (chuqqah) whose meaning is anything prescribed. I suggest that this refers to the supporting statutes and regulations on that orbited the main 10 commandments as "support laws" - essentially regulations about how they were to be applied and what penalties and jurisprudence was necessary.

That is, "Commandments and statutes" in Deut 30:10 essentially means the book of Deuteronomy as confirmed by the use of the technical term "Book of the Law" which always refers to the book of Deuteronomy - see appendix 2 below.

APPENDIX 1 - Deuteronomy

The Biblical book of Deuteronomy means, “second law” because of the re-statement of the ten commandments in Deut 5:6-21 (and Deut 27:15-28). It often refers to the Israelite Covenant (Deut 4:13, 23, 31, 5:2, 3, 7:2, 9, 12, 8:18, 9:9, 11, 15, 10:8, 17:2, 29:1, 9, 14, 21, 31:9, 16, 20, 26, 33:9) and is a re-statement and expansion of the Moral Law based around the 10 Commandments. The centrality and importance of the book of Deuteronomy can be gauged by the requirement for each king of Israel to personally write out a copy of the book and keep it with him (Deut 17:18).

The book consists of the last 4 orations of Moses to the Israelites on the border of the Promised Land.

First Oration: Deut 1:6 – 4:43. Historical background

Second Oration: Deut 4:44 – 26:19. The Law of the Ten Commandments expanded

Third Oration: Deut 27:1 – 28:68. Blessings and Curses of the law

Fourth Oration: Deut 29:1 – 30:20. Renewal of the Covenant

Some authors suggest that the third and fourth orations listed above were part of the same speech. A more complete analysis of Deuteronomy is listed below:

  • Preamble Deut 1:1-5
  • Historical prologue Deut 1:6 – 4:49
  • General stipulations Deut 5 – 11
  • Specific stipulations Deut 12 – 26
  • Blessings and Curses Deut 27 – 28
  • Witnesses Deut 30:15-20
  • Deposition of Text Deut 31:9, 24-26
  • Public reading Deut 31:10-13
  • Lawsuits against vassals Deut 32

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
  2. Deut 13:1 – 14:27 – name of God
  3. Deut 14:28 – 16:17 – Sabbath
  4. Deut 16:18 – 18:22 – Authority
  5. Deut 19:1 – 22:8 – Homicide/murder
  6. Deut 22:9 – 23:19 – Adultery
  7. Deut 23:20 – 24:7 – Theft
  8. Deut 24:8 – 25:4 – False Charges
  9. Deut 25:5 – 16 – Coveting

It is instructive that within the text of the Bible, the Ten Commandments are referred to as a law (Ex 34:28, Deut 4:13, 10:4), and also as a covenant (Ex 24:7, 2 Kings 23:2, 21, 2 Chron 34:30). However, the book of Deuteronomy itself is called “The Book of the Law” Deut 28:61, 29:21, 30:10, 31:26, Josh 1:8, 8:31, 34, 24:26, 2 Kings 22:8, 11, 2 Chron 17:9, 25:4, 34:14, 15, Neh 8:1-3, 8, 18, 9:3. See also Deut 17:18. This means that the Ten Commandments constitute a moral law with considerable importance in the Biblical literature.

APPENDIX 2 - "Book of the Law"

The “Book of the Law” is a common phrase that refers to the book of Deuteronomy as an expansion of the Moral Law, or Covenant Law based around the 10 Commandments. “Book of the Law” is referenced in Deut 28:61, 29:21, 30:10, 31:26, Josh 1:8, 8:31, 34, 24:26, 2 Kings 22:8, 11, 2 Chron 17:9, 25:4, 34:14, 15, Neh 8:1-3, 8, 18, 9:3 (and 17:18). The Book of Deuteronomy (up to Ch 30) was placed beside the Ark of the Covenant (Deut 31:26). [Contrast the 10 Commandments which were placed inside the Ark, Ex 40:20.]

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