Deuteronomy 30:15

Hebrew Bible

13 And it is not across the sea, as though one must say, ‘Who will cross over to the other side of the sea and get it for us and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?’ 14 For the thing is very near you—it is in your mouth and in your mind so that you can do it. 15Look! I have set before you today life and prosperity on the one hand, and death and disaster on the other. 16 What I am commanding you today is to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to obey his commandments, his statutes, and his ordinances. Then you will live and become numerous and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are about to possess. 17 However, if you turn aside and do not obey, but are lured away to worship and serve other gods,

Sirach 15:17

Ben Sira, Ecclesiasticus

15 If you choose, you can keep the commandments, and to act faithfully is a matter of your own choice. 16 He has placed before you fire and water; stretch out your hand for whichever you choose. 17 Before each person are life and death, and whichever one chooses will be given. 18 For great is the wisdom of the Lord; he is mighty in power and sees everything; 19 his eyes are on those who fear him, and he knows every human action.

 Notes and References

"... Ben Sira presents a kind of drama of salvation—salvation not in the sense of deliverance from something but as the bestowal of well-being, blessing, and life. His theological starting point is the biblical (especially the Deuteronomic) view of covenant and Torah. Through the covenant, God bestowed on Israel its status as the chosen people. In the same covenant, God set the divine commandments before them. The alternative possibilities to obey and disobey these commandments would lead like two roads to blessing and life or to curse and death. (On the ambiguities of the relationship between Ben Sira and the Deuteronomic tradition, see Mack, Wisdom and Hebrew Epic, 113, 120. However, on Ben Sira’s use of a two-ways theology that is related to Deuteronomy: Sirach 15:17; Deuteronomy 30:15, see Nickelsburg, Resurrection, 164 n. 21. The vitalistic language in 24:12–22 and its connection with the Mosaic Torah in verse 23 fits well with the notion of covenantal blessing as life) One could not short-circuit the process that led from the grace of covenantal election to the fullness of covenantal blessing and life. Responsible obedience to the commandments of Torah was an integral and necessary part of the covenant. In this sense Torah was a gift that brought the possibility of life ..."

Nickelsburg, George W. E. Jewish Literature between the Bible and the Mishnah: A Historical and Literary Introduction (p. 58) Fortress Press, 2005

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