Deuteronomy Chapter 31

20When I bring them to the land which I have sworn to their forefathers [to give them], a land flowing with milk and honey, they will eat and be satisfied, and live on the fat [of the land]. Then, they will turn to other deities and serve them, provoking Me and violating My covenant.   כ כִּֽי־אֲבִיאֶ֜נּוּ אֶל־הָֽאֲדָמָ֣ה | אֲשֶׁר־נִשְׁבַּ֣עְתִּי לַֽאֲבֹתָ֗יו זָבַ֤ת חָלָב֙ וּדְבַ֔שׁ וְאָכַ֥ל וְשָׂבַ֖ע וְדָשֵׁ֑ן וּפָנָ֞ה אֶל־אֱלֹהִ֤ים אֲחֵרִים֙ וַֽעֲבָד֔וּם וְנִ֣אֲצ֔וּנִי וְהֵפֵ֖ר אֶת־בְּרִיתִֽי:
provoking me: Heb. וְנִאֲצוּנִי, and they will provoke me to anger. Similarly, any mention of the word נִאוּץ [in Scripture] denotes anger.   ונאצוני: והכעיסוני וכן כל נאוץ לשון כעס:
21And it will be, when they will encounter many evils and troubles, this song will bear witness against them, for it will not be forgotten from the mouth of their offspring. For I know their inclination what they [are planning] to do today, [even] before I bring them in to the land which I have sworn [to give them]."   כאוְהָיָ֠ה כִּֽי־תִמְצֶ֨אןָ אֹת֜וֹ רָע֣וֹת רַבּוֹת֘ וְצָרוֹת֒ וְ֠עָֽנְתָ֠ה הַשִּׁירָ֨ה הַזֹּ֤את לְפָנָיו֙ לְעֵ֔ד כִּ֛י לֹ֥א תִשָּׁכַ֖ח מִפִּ֣י זַרְע֑וֹ כִּ֧י יָדַ֣עְתִּי אֶת־יִצְר֗וֹ אֲשֶׁ֨ר ה֤וּא עֹשֶׂה֙ הַיּ֔וֹם בְּטֶ֣רֶם אֲבִיאֶ֔נּוּ אֶל־הָאָ֖רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֥ר נִשְׁבָּֽעְתִּי:
this song will bear witness against them: that in it, I had warned them concerning all the things that are now befalling them. [Consequently, when they read this song, they will not be able to claim, “Had we known all the evils that would befall us, we would never have transgressed God’s word!”]   וענתה השירה הזאת לפניו לעד: שהתריתי בו בתוכה על כל המוצאות אותן:
for it will not be forgotten from the mouth of their offspring: This is a promise to Israel that the Torah will never be entirely forgotten by their offspring. — [Shab. 138b]   כי לא תשכח מפי זרעו: הרי זו הבטחה לישראל, שאין תורה משתכחת מזרעם לגמרי:
22And Moses wrote this song on that day, and taught it to the children of Israel.   כבוַיִּכְתֹּ֥ב משֶׁ֛ה אֶת־הַשִּׁירָ֥ה הַזֹּ֖את בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֑וּא וַיְלַמְּדָ֖הּ אֶת־בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל:
23And He commanded Joshua the son of Nun, and said: "Be strong and courageous! For you shall bring the children of Israel to the land that I have sworn to them, and I will be with you."   כגוַיְצַ֞ו אֶת־יְהוֹשֻׁ֣עַ בִּן־נ֗וּן וַיֹּ֘אמֶר֘ חֲזַ֣ק וֶֽאֱמָץ֒ כִּ֣י אַתָּ֗ה תָּבִיא֙ אֶת־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֶל־הָאָ֖רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־נִשְׁבַּ֣עְתִּי לָהֶ֑ם וְאָֽנֹכִ֖י אֶֽהְיֶ֥ה עִמָּֽךְ:
And He commanded Joshua the son of Nun: This refers above (verse 16), where the subject is the Shechinah. [That God is the speaker is evident from the use of the first person]: “to the land that I have sworn to them.”   ויצו את יהושע בן נון: מוסב למעלה כלפי שכינה, כמו שמפורש (פסוק כא) אל הארץ אשר נשבעתי להם:
24And it was, when Moses finished writing the words of this Torah in a scroll, until their very completion,   כדוַיְהִ֣י | כְּכַלּ֣וֹת משֶׁ֗ה לִכְתֹּ֛ב אֶת־דִּבְרֵ֥י הַתּוֹרָֽה־הַזֹּ֖את עַל־סֵ֑פֶר עַ֖ד תֻּמָּֽם:
25that Moses commanded the Levites, who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying:   כהוַיְצַ֤ו משֶׁה֙ אֶת־הַֽלְוִיִּ֔ם נֹֽשְׂאֵ֛י אֲר֥וֹן בְּרִֽית־יְהֹוָ֖ה לֵאמֹֽר:
26"Take this Torah scroll and place it along side the ark of covenant of the Lord, your God, and it will be there as a witness.   כולָקֹ֗חַ אֵ֣ת סֵ֤פֶר הַתּוֹרָה֙ הַזֶּ֔ה וְשַׂמְתֶּ֣ם אֹת֔וֹ מִצַּ֛ד אֲר֥וֹן בְּרִֽית־יְהֹוָ֖ה אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶ֑ם וְהָֽיָה־שָׁ֥ם בְּךָ֖ לְעֵֽד:
Take: [This verb is employing the form known as פָּעוֹל, denoting ongoing fulfillment, a form] similar to זָכוֹר, remember (Exod. 20:8) [see Rashi on that verse]; שָׁמוֹר, observe (Deut. 5:12), and הָלוֹךְ (Gen. 8:5) [lit., going, where it means “constantly diminished” in the expression הָיוּ הָלוֹךְ וְחָסוֹר, and הָלוֹךְ וְנָסוֹעַ (Gen. 12:9), continually traveling].   לקח: כמו (שמות כ, ח), (דברים ה יא) זכור, שמור, (שמואל ב' ג, כד) הלוך:
alongside the ark of covenant of the Lord, your God: The Sages of Israel differ (B.B. 14b). Some say that a board projected outward from the ark, and there it was laid, while others maintain that it was laid alongside the tablets, inside the ark.   מצד ארון ברית ה': נחלקו בו חכמי ישראל בבבא בתרא (יד ב) יש מהם אומרים דף היה בולט מן הארון מבחוץ ושם היה מונח ויש אומרים מצד הלוחות היה מונח בתוך הארון:
27For I know your rebellious spirit and your stubbornness. Even while I am alive with you today you are rebelling against the Lord, and surely after my death!   כזכִּ֣י אָֽנֹכִ֤י יָדַ֨עְתִּי֙ אֶת־מֶרְיְךָ֔ וְאֶת־עָרְפְּךָ֖ הַקָּשֶׁ֑ה הֵ֣ן בְּעוֹדֶ֩נִּי֩ חַ֨י עִמָּכֶ֜ם הַיּ֗וֹם מַמְרִ֤ים הֱיִתֶם֙ עִם־יְהֹוָ֔ה וְאַ֖ף כִּי־אַֽחֲרֵ֥י מוֹתִֽי:
28Assemble to me all the elders of your tribes and your officers, and I will speak these words into their ears, and I will call upon the heaven and the earth as witnesses against them.   כחהַקְהִ֧ילוּ אֵלַ֛י אֶת־כָּל־זִקְנֵ֥י שִׁבְטֵיכֶ֖ם וְשֹֽׁטְרֵיכֶ֑ם וַֽאֲדַבְּרָ֣ה בְאָזְנֵיהֶ֗ם אֵ֚ת הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֔לֶּה וְאָעִ֣ידָה בָּ֔ם אֶת־הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֶת־הָאָֽרֶץ:
Assemble to me: On this day they did not blow the trumpets to assemble the congregation [as they usually did (see Num. 10:2-3,7)], because the verse says, “Make for yourself [two trumpets of silver… and they will be for you to call the assembly]” (Num. 10:2). [Now, this was a commandment directed personally to Moses, because “for yourself” and “for you” are both written in the singular form. Hence, Moses made these trumpets and kept them in his possession,] and he did not give Joshua authority over them during Moses’ lifetime. Moreover, these trumpets were hidden away [by God] even during his [Moses’] lifetime, prior to the day of his passing, thus affirming the words of the verse, “and there is no ruling on the day of death” (Ecc. 8:8). - [Tanchuma Beha’alotecha 10]   הקהילו אלי: ולא תקעו אותו היום בחצוצרות להקהיל את הקהל, לפי שנאמר (במדבר י, ב) עשה לך, ולא השליט יהושע עליהם בחייו של משה. ואף בחייו נגנזו קודם יום מותו, לקיים מה שנאמר (קהלת ח, ח) ואין שלטון ביום המות:
and I will call upon the heaven and the earth as witnesses against them: You might object, “But did God not already call them as witnesses earlier [saying,] ‘I call upon the heaven and the earth as witnesses’ (Deut. 30:19)?” [The answer is that] there God was addressing Israel [regarding this matter], but He was not [directly] addressing the heaven and the earth. Now [however] God comes to say, “Listen, O Heavens…” (Deut. 32:1), [addresses the heaven and the earth directly.   ואעידה בם את השמים ואת הארץ: ואם תאמר הרי כבר העיד למעלה (לעיל ל, יט) העידותי בכם היום וגו', התם לישראל אמר, אבל לשמים ולארץ לא אמר ועכשיו בא לומר האזינו השמים וגו':
29For I know that after my death, you will surely become corrupted, and deviate from the way which I had commanded you. Consequently, the evil will befall you at the end of days, because you did evil in the eyes of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands.   כטכִּ֣י יָדַ֗עְתִּי אַֽחֲרֵ֤י מוֹתִי֙ כִּֽי־הַשְׁחֵ֣ת תַּשְׁחִת֔וּן וְסַרְתֶּ֣ם מִן־הַדֶּ֔רֶךְ אֲשֶׁ֥ר צִוִּ֖יתִי אֶתְכֶ֑ם וְקָרָ֨את אֶתְכֶ֤ם הָֽרָעָה֙ בְּאַֽחֲרִ֣ית הַיָּמִ֔ים כִּי־תַֽעֲשׂ֤וּ אֶת־הָרַע֙ בְּעֵינֵ֣י יְהֹוָ֔ה לְהַכְעִיס֖וֹ בְּמַֽעֲשֵׂ֥ה יְדֵיכֶֽם:
[For I know that] after my death, you will surely become corrupted: But actually, throughout all the days of Joshua, they [the Jews] did not become corrupt, for the verse states, “And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua” (Jud. 2:7). [What, then, did Moses mean when he said that they would become corrupted after his death? We learn] from here that a person’s disciple is as dear to him as his own self, for as long as Joshua was alive [even after Moses’ passing], for Moses it was as though he himself was alive. [Hence, when Moses said“after my death,” he was in fact alluding to the death of Joshua, thus referring to the period after Joshua’s passing.]   אחרי מותי כי השחת תשחתון: והרי כל ימי יהושע לא השחיתו, שנאמר (יהושע כד, לא) ויעבדו בני ישראל את ה' כל ימי יהושע, מכאן שתלמידו של אדם חביב עליו כגופו, שכל זמן שיהושע חי נראה למשה כאלו הוא חי:
30Then, Moses spoke into the ears of the entire assembly of Israel the words of the following song, until their completion.   לוַיְדַבֵּ֣ר משֶׁ֗ה בְּאָזְנֵי֙ כָּל־קְהַ֣ל יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֶת־דִּבְרֵ֖י הַשִּׁירָ֣ה הַזֹּ֑את עַ֖ד תֻּמָּֽם: