The Ten Commandments are recorded in chapter 5 of Deuteronomy. The 1st Commandment is:
I am YHVH your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me. Deu 5.6-7
The Lord explains the meaning of this commandment beginning in chapter 6. We know, because the first verse of chapter 6 is an introduction verse: “Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which the LORD your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess.” Then a few verses later, in verse 4, what do we find, but The Commandment (notice that the introduction verse did not say “These are the commandments, statutes, and judgments,” but “This is the commandment” – singular), the one that Jesus said was the greatest commandment in the Law:
Hear, O Israel: YHVH our God, YHVH is one! You shall love YHVH your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Deu 6:4-5
The Commandment is none other than the beginning of the explanation of the 1st Commandment! Maybe there is a reason God put this commandment first, and then called it the greatest. The rest of this section, which continues through the end of chapter 11, tells us exactly how to do that. How to have no other gods before YHVH, and how to love YHVH will all our heart, soul, and strength. How do we know that this section which explains the 1st and Greatest Commandment stops at the end of chapter 11? First, the theme of all of the paragraphs in this section deal with loving God directly or indirectly; and second, the first verse of chapter 12 is another introduction verse, only this time it is just letting us know that the explanation to follow is about the statutes and judgments, not the commandment, statutes, and judgments. Why not the commandment? Moses already explained it, ending his explanation at the end of chapter 11. 🙂
Deuteronomy is an exceedingly logical and well- laid out book, as I discovered in studying it this summer.
continued in ten commandments index of studies