Parshas Devarim

Words in bold represent changes to the traditional translation based on the Aramaic translation/commentary attributed to Onkelos the Ger.

Parshas Devarim

Chapter 1


1. These are the words that Moshe spoke with all Israel on the other side of the Jordan. He chastised them for what they did in the wilderness, and for their angering (Hashem) in the plain opposite the Sea of Reeds in Paran, where they disparaged the manna,[1] in Chatzeiros where they angered (Hashem) about meat, and that they made a calf of gold;[2]

2. it’s a journey of eleven days from Choreiv by way of Mount Seir until R’kam Geiah.[3]

3. It happened in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first (day) of the month, that Moshe spoke with the children of Israel according to all that Hashem had commanded him regarding them,

4. after he struck Sichon, king of the Amorites, who dwelled in Cheshbon, and Og, king of Masnan,[4] who dwelled in Ashtaros, in Edrei.

5. On the other side of the Jordan, in the land of Moav, Moshe started to explain the instruction of this Torah, saying:

6. “Hashem our God spoke with us at Choreiv, saying: You have dwelled at this mountain long enough.[5]

7. Turn and transport yourselves, and come to the mountain of the Amorites and to all its neighbors in the plain, on the mountain and in the lowland, and in the south, and on the shore of the sea, the land of the Canaanites and the Lebanon, until the great river, the Euphrates River.

8. See that I give the land before you. Come, inherit the land that Hashem swore to your fathers, to Avraham, to Yitzchak and to Yaakov, to give to them and to their descendants[6] after them.

9. I said to you at that time, ‘I am unable to carry you by myself.

10. Hashem Your God has increased you and behold you today, as numerous as the stars in the sky.

11. May Hashem, the God of your ancestors, increase you a thousand times as you are, and bless you as He said to you.


12. How can I alone carry your trouble, your transactions and your court cases?[7]

13. Choose for yourselves wise, understanding and learned[8] men for your tribes and I will appoint them as heads over you.’

14. You answered me and said, ‘The thing that you said to do is appropriate.’[9]

15. I took the heads of your tribes, wise and learned men, and I appointed them heads over you – leaders of thousands, and leaders of hundreds, and leaders of fifties, and leaders of tens, and officers for your tribes.

16. I commanded your judges at that time, saying, ‘Listen between your brethren and judge the truth[10] between a man and between his brother, and between his convert.[11]

17. You shall not recognize faces[12] in judgment; the words of the small like the words of the great you shall hear. Do not fear before a person because judgment is Hashem’s.[13] And the matter that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me and I will hear it.’

18. I commanded you at that time all the things that you shall do.

19. We traveled from Choreiv and we went (through) the great and terrible wilderness, that which you saw, the way to the mountain of the Amorites, as Hashem our God commanded us. We came to R’kam Geiah.

20. I said to you, ‘You have come to the mountain of the Amorites that Hashem our God gives us.

21. See, Hashem your God has given the land before you. Ascend, inherit as Hashem, the God of your fathers, said to you. Don’t fear and don’t be broken.’[14]


22. All of you drew near to me and you said, ‘Let us send men before us and they will search the land and return word to us on the road by which we shall ascend and the to which cities we shall come.’

23. The matter was attractive[15] in my eyes and I took from you 12 men, one man per tribe.

24. They turned and they ascended the mountain; they until to the Eshkol valley and spied it.

25. They took in their hands from the fruit of the land and they brought it down to us. They returned word to us and they said, ‘The land that Hashem our God gives us is good.’

26. And you didn’t want to ascend; you rebelled against the word[16] of Hashem your God.

27. You complained[17] in your tents and you said, ‘In Hashem’s hatred for us He brought us out from the land of Egypt, to deliver[18] us to the hand of the Amorite to destroy us.

28. To where shall we ascend? Our brothers have broken[19] our hearts, saying, We saw there a people greater and mightier[20] than us, large cities with walls towards the heavens, and also the children of the mighty.’[21]

29. I said to you, ‘Do not be broken[22] and do not fear from them.

30. Hashem your God, Who leads[23] before you, His Word will battle for you like all that He did for you in Egypt before your eyes,

31. and in the wilderness, where you saw that Hashem your God carried you as a man carries his son in all the way that you traveled until you came to this place.’

32. And (yet), in this matter you are not believers in the word of Hashem your God,

33. the One Who leads before you on the way, to prepare[24] for you a place for camping, in a pillar of fire by night, to show you on the way by which you travel, and in a pillar of cloud by day.’

34. The sound of your words was heard before Hashem[25] and He became angry. He swore, saying,

35. ‘If a man of these men, this evil generation, will see the good land that I swore to give to your fathers;[26]

36. except for Kaleiv son of Yefuneh; he will see it, and to him I will give the land upon which he trod – and to his descendants – in exchange for that he followed after the fear of Hashem.’

37. Also on me there was anger from before Hashem because of you, saying, ‘You also will not come there.

38. Yehoshua son of Nun, the one who stands before you, he shall come there. Strengthen him because he will cause Israel to inherit.


39. And your infants, whom you said would be prey, and your children who today don’t (yet) know good and bad, they will come there, and to them I will give it, and they will inherit it.

40. And you, turn yourselves and travel towards the wilderness by the way of the Sea of Reeds.’

41. You answered and you said to me, ‘We sinned before[27] Hashem. We will go up and we will fight according to all that Hashem our God commanded us.’ Each man girded (himself) with his implements of war and you started[28] to ascend the mountain.

42. Hashem said to me, ‘Say to them, do not go up and do not battle because My presence is not among you, so you not be broken[29] before your enemies.’

43. I spoke with you and you didn’t accept. You rebelled against Hashem’s word (mouth) and willfully ascended the mountain.

44. The Amorite(s) who dwelled on that mountain came out to meet you; they chased you as bees gush and they drove you in Seir until Chormah.

45. And you went back and you cried before Hashem, and Hashem didn’t accept your prayer and He didn’t heed your words.

46. And you dwelled in R’kam many days, like the days that you dwelled.

Chapter 2

1. We turned and we traveled towards the wilderness by way of the Sea of Reeds, as Hashem had spoken with me, and we circled Mount Seir (for) many days.


2. Hashem said to me, saying,

3. ‘You have circled this mountain long enough; turn yourselves northward,

4. and command the people, saying: You are passing through the border of your brethren, the children of Eisav, who dwell in Seir. They will be afraid of you, and you shall guard yourselves well.

5. Do not provoke them because I will not give you from their land (even) as much as the sole of a foot can tread because I have given Mount Seir to Eisav as an inheritance.

6. You shall buy grain[30] from them for money and you shall eat, and also water you shall buy from them for money and you shall drink.’

7. Because Hashem your God has blessed you in all the works of your hand; He supplied your needs for you in your walking through this great wilderness. These 40 years the word of Hashem your God was your help; you haven’t lacked anything.

8. We passed from our brethren, the children of Eisav who dwell in Seir, from the road of the plain, away from Eilat and from Etzion Gaver; (this section ends in the middle of the verse) we turned and passed by way of the Moav wilderness.

9. Hashem said to me, ‘Do not attack the Moabites[31] and do not provoke to make war with them because I will not give you from their land as an inheritance, because to the children of Lot I have given L’chayas[32] as an inheritance.

10. The terrifying[33] formerly dwelled in it, a great and numerous people, and (as) strong[34] as the mighty.[35]

11. They are considered mighty – even they, like the mighty[36] – and the Moabites called them terrifying.

12. And in Seir the Chorim formerly dwelled, and the children of Eisav displaced them, and destroyed them from before them. They dwelled in place of them as Israel did to the land of its inheritance that Hashem gave to them.

13. Now arise and cross the Zared valley!’ And we crossed the Zared valley.

14. The days that we traveled from Kadeish Barneia until we crossed the Zered valley was 38 years, until the entire generation, men who fight (in) war,[37] ended from among the camp, as Hashem had sworn to them.

15. And also, a blow from before Hashem[38] was against them, to destroy them from among the camp until they were finished.

16. It happened when all the men who fight (in) war were finished dying from among the people,

17. Hashem spoke with me, saying:

18. ‘Today you are crossing the border of Moav: L’chayas.

19. You will come close opposite the children of Ammon. Do not attack them and do not provoke to make war with them because I will not give from the land of the children of Ammon to you as an inheritance because I have given it the children of Lot as an inheritance.

20. It is also considered the land of the mighty;[39] (the) mighty formerly dwelled in it, and the Ammonites called them Chushbanei,[40]

21. a great and numerous people, and (as) strong as the mighty.[41] Hashem destroyed them from before them, and they displaced them and settled in place of them.

22. As (Hashem) did for the children of Eisav who dwell in Seir, that He destroyed the Chorites[42] from before them, and they displaced them and settled in place of them, until this very day,

23. and the Avim who dwelled in R’fiach[43] until Gaza – Kaputkaei who come out from Kaputk’ya[44] – He destroyed them and they settled in place of them.

24. Arise! Travel and cross the Arnon valley! See that I deliver into your hand Sichon, king of Cheshbon, the Amorite and his land. Begin to displace him; provoke to make war with him.

25. This day I begin to place trembling (because) of you[45] and fear of you on the face of the peoples who are under all the heavens, who will your fame, and tremble and fear before you.’

26. I sent messengers from the K’deimos wilderness to Sichon, king of Cheshbon – words of peace, saying,

27. ‘I will cross through your land on the road. On the road I will travel; will not turn to the right or[46] to the left.

28. Sell me grain for money and I will eat, and give me water for money and I will drink. I will only cross on foot.

29. As the children of Eisav who dwell in Seir did for me, and the Moabites who dwell in L’chayas, until that I will cross the Jordan to the land that Hashem our God gives to us.’

30. And Sichon, king of Cheshbon, didn’t want to let us to pass (through) his borders, because Hashem your God hardened his spirit and strengthened his heart in order to deliver him into your hand, as this very day.


31. Hashem said to me, ‘See, I have started to place before you Sichon and his land. Start to displace him, to inherit his land.’

32. Sichon went out to meet us – he and all his people – to fight (in) war at Yahatz.

33. Hashem our God gave him before us and we struck him and his sons and all his people.

34. We conquered all his cities at that time, and we destroyed all the citiesthe men, and the women and the children; we left no survivor.

35. Only the animals we took as spoils for ourselves, and the plunder of the cities that we captured.

36. From Aroeir that is on the edge of the Arnon valley, and the city that is in the valley and until the Gilad, there was not a city that was mightier than us; Hashem our God delivered everything before us.

37. Only to the land of the children of Ammon you did not draw near, the whole side of the Yabok valley and the cities of the mountain, and all that Hashem our God commanded.

Chapter 3

1. We turned and we ascended towards the Masnan[47] road, and Og, the king of Masnan, came out to meet us – he and all his people – to fight a war at Edrei.

2. Hashem said to me, ‘Do not fear him because I have delivered him, and all his people and his land, into your hand. Do to him as you did to Sichon, the king of the Amorites, who dwelled in Cheshbon.’

3. Hashem our God also gave Og, king of Masnan, in our hand, and all his people, and we struck them until no remnant of him remained.

4. We captured all his cities at that time. There was not a city that we didn’t take from them – 60 cities,[48] the whole Trachona region,[49] the kingdom of Og in Masnan.

5. All these were fortified cities – surrounded by high wall(s) that have gates and bars, aside from unwalled cities that are very numerous.

6. We destroyed them as we did to Sichon, king of Cheshbon; we destroyed every city – the men, the women and the children,

7. and all the animals and the plunder of the cities we took for ourselves as spoils.

8. We seized, at that time, the land from the hand of the two kings of the Amorite(s) that is on the other side of the Jordan, from the Arnon valley to Mount Chermon –

9. Tzidonim called Chermon ‘Siryon,’ and the Amorites called it ‘the mountain of snow[50]

10. all the cities of the plain, and all the Gilad and all the Masnan until Salka and Edrei, the cities of Og’s kingdom in Masnan.

11. Because only Og, the king of Masnan, remained from the remnant of the mighty. Behold, his bedframe is a bedframe of iron; it is in Rabbah of the children of Ammon. Its length is nine cubits and its width is four cubits in the cubit of the king![51]

12. And this land which we bestowed at that time: from Aroeir that is on the Arnon valley, and half the Gilad mountain and its cities, I gave to the tribe of Reuven and to the tribe of Gad.[52]

13. The rest of the Gilad and all of the Masnan, Og’s kingdom, I gave to the half-tribe of Menashe – the whole Trachona region, all the Masnan that is called the land of the mighty.

14. Yair son of Menashe took the whole Trachona region until the border of the G’shurites and the Afkeiros[53] and he called them – Masnan – by his name: the villages of Yair,[54] until this very day.


15. And to Machir I gave Gilad.[55]

16. And to the tribe of Reuven and to the tribe of Gad I gave from Gilad and until to the Arnon valley, the middle of the valley and its border, and until to the Yabok valley, the border of the children of Ammon,

17. and the plain, and the Jordan and the border from Gineisar[56] and until the plain, the Sea of Salt, under the waterfall of the peak, to the east.

18. I commanded you at that time, saying, ‘Hashem your God gave you this land to inherit. You shall pass armed before your brethren, the children of Israel, all armed soldiers.[57]

19. Only your wives, your children and your cattle – I know that you have many cattle – shall dwell in your cities that I have given you,

20. until (such time) that Hashem will give rest for your brethren as for you, and they also inherit the land that Hashem your God gives them on the other side of the Jordan; (each) man shall return to his inheritance that I have given you.’

21. I commanded Yehoshua at that time, saying, ‘Your eyes have seen all that Hashem your God has done to these two kings; so Hashem will do to all the kingdoms that you cross there.

22. Do not fear them, because Hashem your God, His word will battle for you.’

[1] Rather than “between Paran and Tofel, and Lavan.”

[2] As opposed to “Di Zahav,” a place name.

[3] Chumash: “Kadeish Barneia.”

[4] Rather than “Bashan.”

[5] Literally, “it is much to you.”

[6] Chumash: “seed.”

[7] As opposed to “your burden and your discord.”

[8] Rather than “well-known.”

[9] Rather than “good.”

[10] Chumash: “judge righteously.”

[11] Rather than “stranger.”

[12] i.e., show favoritism.

[13] Rather than “God’s” (i.e., YHVH – by two letters yud in the Targum – rather than “Elohim”).

[14] i.e., in spirit. Chumash: “don’t be discouraged.”

[15] Rather than “good.”

[16] Chumash: “mouth.”

[17] Rather than “muttered.”

[18] Rather than “give.”

[19] As opposed to “melted.”

[20] Rather than “taller.”

[21] Rather than “the Anakim,” ostensibly a race of giants.

[22] See Rashi.

[23] As opposed to “goes.”

[24] Rather than “to scout.”

[25] Onkelos writes around the anthropomorphism inherent in “Hashem heard….”

[26] i.e., they would not.

[27] Rather than “against.”

[28] As opposed to “you prepared.” (See Rashi.)

[29] Rather than “struck.”

[30] Rather than “food.”

[31] As opposed to “Do not trouble Moav….”

[32] Chumash: “Ar.”

[33] Hebrew: “Eimim,” presumably a proper noun.

[34] Rather than “tall.”

[35] The aforemention Anakim; see 1:28.

[36] Chumash: “They are considered Refaim – even they, like the Anakites….”

[37] Rather than “men of war.”

[38] Less anthropomorphic than “Hashem’s hand.”

[39] In this instance, the Refaim.

[40] Chumash: “Zamzumim.” In both Hebrew and Aramaic, “the strategists.”

[41] Rather than “(as) tall as the Anakites.”

[42] Onkelos pluralizes this word.

[43] A place name, rather than “who dwelled in villages.”

[44] Chumash: “Kaftorim who come out from Kaftor.”

[45] Rather than “dread of you.”

[46] Literally, “and.”

[47] Rather than “Bashan.”

[48] Chumash: “city.”

[49] Or, possibly, “the whole palace region” (see Rashi), rather than “the whole Argov region.”

[50] Chumash: “S’nir.”

[51] Rather than “the cubit of a man.”

[52] As opposed to “the Reubenites” and “the Gadites.”

[53] Rather than “the Maachasites.”

[54] Hebrew: “Chavos Yair.”

[55] Rather than “the Gilad.”

[56] Chumash: “Kinneret.”

[57] Rather than “sons of valor” or “men of the army.”

© Copyright 2022 Rabbi Jack Abramowitz