Deuteronomy 6:4


King James Version (KJV)

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:

American King James Version (AKJV)

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:

American Standard Version (ASV)

Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah:

Basic English Translation (BBE)

Give ear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord:

Webster's Revision

Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God is one LORD:

World English Bible

Hear, Israel: Yahweh is our God; Yahweh is one:

English Revised Version (ERV)

Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God is one LORD:

Clarke's Deuteronomy 6:4 Bible Commentary

Hear, O Israel - שמע ישראל יהוה אלהינו יהוה אחד shema Yisrael, Yehovah Eloheinu, Yehovah achad. These words may be variously rendered into English; but almost all possible verbal varieties in the translation (and there can be none other) amount to the same sense: "Israel, hear! Jehovah, our God, is one Jehovah;" or, "Jehovah is our God, Jehovah is one;" or, "Jehovah is our God, Jehovah alone;" or, "Jehovah is our God, Jehovah who is one;" or, "Jehovah, who is our God, is the one Being." On this verse the Jews lay great stress; it is one of the four passages which they write on their phylacteries, and they write the last letter in the first and last words very large, for the purpose of exciting attention to the weighty truth it contains. It is perhaps in reference to this custom of the Jews that our blessed Lord alludes, Matthew 22:38; Mark 12:29, Mark 12:30, where he says, This is the first and great commandment; and this is nearly the comment that Maimonides gives on this place: "Hear, O Israel; because in these words the property, the love, and the doctrine of God are contained."

Many think that Moses teaches in these words the doctrine of the Trinity in Unity. It may be so; but if so, it is not more clearly done than in the first verse of Genesis, to which the reader is referred. When this passage occurs in the Sabbath readings in the synagogue, the whole congregation repeat the last word אחד achad for several minutes together with the loudest vociferations: this I suppose they do to vent a little of their spleen against the Christians, for they suppose the latter hold three Gods, because of their doctrine of the Trinity; but all their skill and cunning can never prove that there is not a plurality expressed in the word אלהינו Eloheinu, which is translated our God; and were the Christians, when reading this verse, to vociferate Eloheinu for several minutes as the Jews do achad, it would apply more forcibly in the way of conviction to the Jews of the plurality of persons in the Godhead, than the word achad, of one, against any pretended false tenet of Christianity, as every Christian receives the doctrine of the unity of God in the most conscientious manner. It is because of their rejection of this doctrine that the wrath of God continues to rest on them; for the doctrine of the atonement cannot be received, unless the doctrine of the Godhead of Christ is received too. Some Christians have joined the Jews against this doctrine, and some have even outdone them, and have put themselves to extraordinary pains to prove that אלהים Elohim is a noun of the singular number! This has not yet been proved. It would be as easy to prove that there is no plural in language.

Barnes's Deuteronomy 6:4 Bible Commentary

These words form the beginning of what is termed the "Shema" ("Hear") in the Jewish Services, and belong to the daily morning and evening office. They may be called "the creed of the Jews."

This weighty text contains far more than a mere declaration of the unity of God as against polytheism; or of the sole authority of the revelation that He had made to Israel as against other pretended manifestations of His will and attributes. It asserts that the Lord God of Israel is absolutely God, and none other. He, and He alone, is Jehovah (Yahweh) the absolute, uncaused God; the One who had, by His election of them, made Himself known to Israel.

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