Deuteronomy 29:14-21, 29 – Future Generations


Deuteronomy 29:14-21


The covenant ceremony, along with the blessings and curses, will be binding on all future generations of Israelites.


In the ongoing blending and borrowing of generational experience in Deuteronomy (e.g., Deuteronomy 6:16-25, Deuteronomy 11:1-7), Deuteronomy 29 finally clearly asserts that the covenantal ceremonies at Ebal, Gerizim, and Moab have been multi-generational, and therefore binding upon future generations of Israelites, not physically present at those covenantal ceremonies. 

Deuteronomy 29:14-15 has been profoundly important in Jewish understandings that not only are all generations of Jews included in covenantal relationship with God, but also that all converts are recognized to be part of the people. The “those not with us today” will be with the Jewish people someday, and so the covenants were also made with them. 

The issue of generational covenantal relationships, and the uncertainty that children – spiritual or biological – will accept their parents’ relationship with God remain highly fraught. Deuteronomy here insists that communities belonging to ancestral covenants are not optional. Yet, experience teaches that each generation will seek to make their own choices. Children frequently reject the choices of parents, made in the context of the parents’ experiences. Deuteronomy aims for a middle ground here. God-through-Moses insists that the people in following generations, even if they were not in Moab for the covenantal ceremony, were somehow mystically present at the same time.