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The Wilderness

(Category 5 of 16)

What does it mean to love God “with all of your strength”? In this final installment of our videos on the Shema, we explore the Hebrew word underneath this phrase. And spoiler alert: “strength” is only one of many ways this rich word could be translated!

For thousands of years, Jewish people have daily prayed the “Shema.” It’s a prayer that calls God’s people to respond to the divine love with faithfulness and devotion.

Explore the 6th part of a 6 part exploration from The Shema Series about the ancient biblical prayer called “The Shema”.

Me’od – “Strength”


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CHAPTER 17 References

1 aDeut. 15:21;
Mal. 1:8, 13
1Lit. evil thing
2 aDeut. 13:6
bJosh. 7:11
3 aDeut. 4:19
bJer. 7:22
4 aDeut. 13:12,
14 1detestable
5 aLev.
Josh. 7:25
bDeut. 13:6–18
6 aNum. 35:30;
Deut. 19:15;
Matt. 18:16;
John 8:17;
2 Cor. 13:1;
1 Tim. 5:19;
Heb. 10:28
7 aDeut. 13:5;
19:19; 1 Cor.
8 aDeut. 1:17;
2 Chr. 19:10
bDeut. 12:5;
9 aJer. 18:18
cEzek. 44:24


1 “You ashall not sacrifice to the LORD your God a bull or sheep which has any 1blemish or defect, for that is an 2abomination to the LORD your God.
2 a“If there is found among you, within any of your 1gates which the LORD your God gives you, a man or a woman who has been wicked in the sight of the LORD your God, bin transgressing His covenant,
3 “who has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, either athe sun or moon or any of the host of heaven, bwhich I have not commanded,
4 a“and it is told you, and you hear of it, then you shall inquire diligently. And if it is indeed true and certain that such an 1abomination has been committed in Israel,
5 “then you shall bring out to your gates that man or woman who has committed that wicked thing, and ashall stone bto death that man or woman with stones.
6 “Whoever is deserving of death shall be put to death on the testimony of two or three awitnesses; he shall not be put to death on the testimony of one witness.
7 “The hands of the witnesses shall be the first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So you shall put away the evil from among ayou.
8 a“If a matter arises which is too hard for you to judge, between degrees of guilt for bloodshed, between one judgment or another, or between one punishment or another, matters of controversy within your gates, then you shall arise and go up to the bplace which the LORD your God chooses.
9 “And ayou shall come to the priests, the Levites, and bto the judge there in those days, and inquire of them; cthey shall pronounce upon you the sentence of judgment.
10 “You shall do according to the sentence which they pronounce upon you in that place which the LORD chooses. And you shall be care-

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ful to do according to all that they order you.
11 “According to the sentence of the law in which they instruct you, according to the judgment which they tell you, you shall do; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left from the sentence which they pronounce upon you.
12 “Now athe man who acts presumptuously and will not heed the priest who stands to minister there before the LORD your God, or the judge, that man shall die. So you shall put away the evil from Israel.
13 a“And all the people shall hear and fear, and no longer act presumptuously.

Principles Governing Kings

14 “When you come to the land which the LORD your God is giving you, and possess it and dwell in it, and say, a‘I will set a king over me like all the nations that are around me,’
15 “you shall surely set a king over you awhom the LORD your God chooses; one bfrom among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother.
16 “But he shall not multiply ahorses for himself, nor cause the people bto return to Egypt to multiply horses, for cthe LORD has said to you, d‘You shall not return that way again.’
17 “Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and agold for himself.
18 “Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one abefore the priests, the Levites.
19 “And ait shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes,
20 “that his heart may not 1be lifted above his brethren, that he amay not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may 2prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel.

The Portion of the Priests and Levites


1 “The priests, the Levites—all the tribe of Levi—shall have 1no part nor ainheritance with Israel; they shall eat the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and His portion.
2 “Therefore they shall have no inheritance among their brethren; the LORD is their inheritance, as He said to them.
3 “And this shall be the priest’s

12 aNum.
13 aDeut.
14 a1 Sam. 8:5,
19, 20; 10:19
15 a1 Sam.
9:15, 16;
10:24; 16:12,
13 bJer. 30:21
16 a1 Kin.
4:26; 10:26–29
bEzek. 17:15
cEx. 13:17, 18
dDeut. 28:68
17 a1 Kin.
18 aDeut.
19 aPs. 119:97,
20 aDeut. 5:32
proud 2continue
long in
his kingdom

CHAPTER 18 References

1 aDeut. 10:9
1no portion
3 aLev.
1 Sam.
2:13–16, 29
4 aEx. 22:29
5 aEx. 28:1
bDeut. 10:8
6 aNum. 35:2
bDeut. 12:5;
14:23 1towns
7 a2 Chr. 31:2
8 a2 Chr. 31:4
9 aDeut. 12:29,
30; 20:16–18
10 aDeut.
12:31 bIs. 8:19
1Be burned as
an offering to
an idol
11 aLev. 20:27
b1 Sam. 28:7
12 aLev. 18:24
13 1Lit. perfect
14 1allowed
you to do so
15 aActs 3:22
16 aDeut.
5:23–27 bEx.
20:18, 19
17 aDeut. 5:28
18 aJohn 1:45
bIs. 49:2; 51:16
c[John 4:25;
8:28] 19 a[Heb.


adue1 from the people, from those who offer a sacrifice, whether it is bull or sheep: they shall give to the priest the shoulder, the cheeks, and the stomach.
4 a“The firstfruits of your grain and your new wine and your oil, and the first of the fleece of your sheep, you shall give him.
5 “For athe LORD your God has chosen him out of all your tribes bto stand to minister in the name of the LORD, him and his sons forever.
6 “So if a Levite comes from any of your 1gates, from where he adwells among all Israel, and comes with all the desire of his mind bto the place which the LORD chooses,
7 “then he may serve in the name of the LORD his God aas all his brethren the Levites do, who stand there before the LORD.
8 “They shall have equal aportions to eat, besides what comes from the sale of his inheritance.

Avoid Wicked Customs

9 “When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, ayou shall not learn to follow the 1abominations of those nations.
10 “There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter apass1 through the fire, bor one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer,
11 a“or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or bone who calls up the dead.
12 “For all who do these things are 1an abomination to the LORD, and abecause of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you.
13 “You shall be 1blameless before the LORD your God.
14 “For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the LORD your God has not 1appointed such for you.

A New Prophet Like Moses

15 a“The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear,
16 “according to all you desired of the LORD your God in Horeb ain the day of the assembly, saying, b‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.’
17 “And the LORD said to me: a‘What they have spoken is good.
18 a‘I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and bwill put My words in His mouth, cand He shall speak to them all that I command Him.
19 a‘And it shall be that whoever

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will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him.
20 ‘But athe prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or bwho speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’
21 “And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’—
22 a“when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, bif the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it cpresumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

Three Cities of Refuge


1 “When the Lord your God ahas cut off the nations whose land the LORD your God is giving you, and you dispossess them and dwell in their cities and in their houses,
2 a“you shall separate three cities for yourself in the midst of your land which the LORD your God is giving you to possess.
3 “You shall prepare roads for yourself, and divide into three parts the territory of your land which the LORD your God is giving you to inherit, that any manslayer may flee there.
4 “And athis is the case of the manslayer who flees there, that he may live: Whoever kills his neighbor 1unintentionally, not having hated him in time past—
5 “as when a man goes to the woods with his neighbor to cut timber, and his hand swings a stroke with the ax to cut down the tree, and the head slips from the handle and strikes his neighbor so that he dies—he shall flee to one of these cities and live;
6 alest the avenger of blood, while his anger is hot, pursue the manslayer and overtake him, because the way is long, and kill him, though he was not deserving of death, since he had not hated the victim in time past.
7 “Therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall separate three cities for yourself.’
8 “Now if the LORD your God aenlarges your territory, as He swore to byour fathers, and gives you the land which He promised to give to your fathers,
9 “and if you keep all these commandments and do them, which I command you today, to love the LORD your God and to walk always in His ways, athen you shall add three more cities for yourself besides these three,
10 alest innocent blood be shed in the midst of your land which the

20 aDeut. 13:5;
Jer. 14:14, 15;
Zech. 13:2–5
bDeut. 13:1–3;
Jer. 2:8cJer.
28:9 bDeut.
22 aJer. 28:9
bDeut. 13:2
cDeut. 18:20

CHAPTER 19 References

1 aDeut. 12:29
2 aEx. 21:13;
Deut. 4:41;
Josh. 20:2
4 aNum.
35:9–34; Deut.
4:42 1ignorantly,
6 aNum. 35:12
8 aDeut. 12:20
fGen. 15:18–21
9 aJosh. 20:7–9
10 aNum.
35:33; Deut.
11 aNum.
35:16, 24;
Deut. 27:24;
[1 John 3:15] 13 aDeut. 13:8
bNum. 35:33,
34; 1 Kin. 2:31
1purge the
blood of the
14 aDeut.
27:17; Job
24:2; Prov.
22:28; Hos.
15 aNum.
35:30; Deut.
17:6; Matt.
18:16; John
8:17; 2 Cor.
13:1; 1 Tim.
5:19; Heb.
16 aEx. 23:1;
Ps. 27:12;
17 aDeut.
17:8–11; 21:5
19 aProv. 19:5;
Dan. 6:24
bDeut. 13:5;
17:7; 21:21;
20 aDeut.
17:13; 21:21
21 aDeut. 19:13
bEx. 21:23, 24;
Lev. 24:20;
Matt. 5:38, 39

CHAPTER 20 References

1 aPs. 20:7; Is.
31:1 bDeut.
7:18 cNum.
23:21; Deut.
5:6; 31:6, 8;
2 Chr. 13:12;
32:7, 8; Ps.
23:4; Is. 41:10

LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, and thus guilt of bloodshed be upon you.
11 “But aif anyone hates his neighbor, lies in wait for him, rises against him and strikes him mortally, so that he dies, and he flees to one of these cities,
12 “then the elders of his city shall send and bring him from there, and deliver him over to the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die.
13 a“Your eye shall not pity him, bbut you shall 1put away the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, that it may go well with you.

Property Boundaries

14 a“You shall not remove your neighbor’s landmark, which the men of old have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that the LORD your God is giving you to possess.

The Law Concerning Witnesses

15 a“One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.
16 “If a false witness arises against any man to testify against him of wrongdoing,
17 “then both men in the controversy shall stand before the LORD, abefore the priests and the judges who serve in those days.
18 “And the judges shall make careful inquiry, and indeed, if the witness is a false witness, who has testified falsely against his brother,
19 a“then you shall do to him as he thought to have done to his brother; so byou shall put away the evil from among you.
20 a“And those who remain shall hear and fear, and hereafter they shall not again commit such evil among you.
21 a“Your eye shall not pity: blife shall be for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

Principles Governing Warfare


1 “When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see ahorses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be bafraid of them; for the LORD your God is cwith you, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.
2 “So it shall be, when you are on the verge of battle, that the priest shall approach and speak to the people.
3 “And he shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel: Today you are on the verge of battle with your enemies. Do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them;

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4 ‘for the LORD your God is He who goes with you, ato fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’
5 “Then the officers shall speak to the people, saying: ‘What man is there who has built a new house and has not adedicated it? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man dedicate it.
6 ‘Also what man is there who has planted a vineyard and has not eaten of it? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man eat of it.
7 a‘And what man is there who is betrothed to a woman and has not married her? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man marry her.’
8 “The officers shall speak further to the people, and say, a‘What man is there who is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go and return to his house, 1lest the heart of his brethren faint like his heart.’
9 “And so it shall be,when the officers have finished speaking to the people, that they shall make captains of the armies to lead the people.
10 “When you go near a city to fight against it, athen proclaim an offer of peace to it.
11 “And it shall be that if they accept your offer of peace, and open to you, then all the people who are found in it shall be placed under tribute to you, and serve you.
12 “Now if the city will not make peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it.
13 “And when the LORD your God delivers it into your hands, ayou shall strike every male in it with the edge of the sword.
14 “But the women, the little ones, athe livestock, and all that is in the city, all its spoil, you shall plunder for yourself; and byou shall eat the enemies’ plunder which the LORD your God gives you.
15 “Thus you shall do to all the cities which are very far from you, which are not of the cities of these nations.
16 “But aof the cities of these peoples which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance, you shall let nothing that breathes remain alive,
17 “but you shall utterly destroy them: the Hittite and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite, just as the LORD your God has commanded you,
18 “lest athey teach you to do according to all their 1abominations which they have done for their gods, and you bsin against the LORD your God.
19 “When you besiege a city for a long time, while making war against it to take it, you shall not destroy

4 aDeut. 1:30;
3:22; Josh.
5 aNeh. 12:27
7 aDeut. 24:5
8 aJudg. 7:3
1So with MT,
Tg.; Sam.,
LXX, Syr.,Vg.
lest he make
his brother’s
heart faint
10 a2 Sam.
13 aNum. 31:7
14 aJosh. 8:2
b1 Sam. 14:30
16 aEx.
Num. 21:2, 3;
Deut. 7:1–5;
Josh. 11:14
18 aEx.
Deut. 7:4;
12:30; 18:9
bEx. 23:33;
2 Kin.
21:3–15; Ps.

its trees by wielding an ax against them; if you can eat of them, do not cut them down to use in the siege, for the tree of the field is man’s food.
20 “Only the trees which you know are not trees for food you may destroy and cut down, to build siegeworks against the city that makes war with you, until it is subdued.

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The Assured Judgment of the Wicked

To the Chief Musician. Set to 1“Do Not Destroy.” A Michtam of David awhen Saul sent men, and they watched the house in order to kill him.

1 DELIVER me from my enemies, O my God; 1Defend me from those who rise up against me.
2 Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, And save me from bloodthirsty men.

3 For look, they lie in wait for my life; aThe mighty gather against me, Not for my transgression nor for my sin, O LORD.
4 They run and prepare themselves through no fault of mine.

aAwake to help me, and behold!
5 You therefore, O LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel, Awake to punish all the 1nations; Do not be merciful to any wicked transgressors. Selah
6 aAt evening they return, They growl like a dog, And go all around the city.
7 Indeed, they belch with their mouth; aSwords are in their lips; For they say, b“Who hears?”

8 But aYou, O LORD, shall laugh at them; You shall have all the 1nations in derision.
9 I will wait for You, O You 1his Strength; aFor God is my 2defense.
10 1My God of mercy shall acome to meet me; God shall let bme see my desire on my enemies.

PSALM 59 References

title a1 Sam.
19:11 1Heb. Al
1 1Lit. Set me
on high
3 aPs. 56:6
4 aPs. 35:23
5 1Gentiles
6 aPs. 59:14
7 aPs. 57:4;
Prov. 12:18
bJob 22:13;
Ps. 10:11
8 aProv. 1:26
9 a[Ps. 62:2] 1So with MT,
Syr.; some
Heb. mss.,
LXX, Tg.,Vg.
my Strength
2Lit. fortress
10 aPs. 21:3
bPs. 54:7 1So
with Qr.;
some Heb.
mss., LXX,
Vg. My God,
His mercy;
Kt., some
Heb. mss., Tg.
O God, my
mercy; Syr. O
12 aProv. 12:13
13 aPs. 104:35
bPs. 83:18
14 aPs. 59:6
15 aJob 15:23
1So with
LXX,Vg.; MT,
Syr., Tg.
spend the
17 aPs. 18:1

11 Do not slay them, lest my people forget; Scatter them by Your power, And bring them down, O Lord our shield.
12 aFor the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips, Let them even be taken in their pride, And for the cursing and lying which they speak.
13 aConsume them in wrath, consume them, That they may not be; And blet them know that God rules in Jacob To the ends of the earth. Selah

14 And aat evening they return, They growl like a dog, And go all around the city.
15 They awander up and down for food, And 1howl if they are not satisfied.

16 But I will sing of Your power; Yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning; For You have been my defense And refuge in the day of my trouble.
17 To You, aO my Strength, I will sing praises; For God is my defense, My God of mercy.




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