Crumpy – I would like to know the title/author of the commentary you consulted on the* Shema* (there is an aspect of the future in the Shema based on Zechariah 14:9)?
Here is the JPS Deuteronomy commentary on the *Shema *(by Tigay) (first the note – then the longer excurses):
the LORD is our God, the LORD alone Hebrew YHVH ʾeloheinu YHVH ʾaḥad, literally, “YHVH our God YHVH one.” For all of its familiarity, the precise meaning of the Shema is uncertain and it permits several possible renderings. The present translation indicates that the verse is a description of the proper relationship between YHVH and Israel: He alone is Israel’s God. This is not a declaration of monotheism, meaning that there is only one God. That point was made in 4:35 and 39, which state that “YHVH alone is God.” The present verse, by adding the word “our,” focuses on the way Israel is to apply that truth: though other peoples worship various beings and things they consider divine (see Comment to 3:24), Israel is to recognize YHVH alone.
This understanding of the Shema as describing a relationship with God, rather than His nature, has the support of Zechariah 14:9. According to Zechariah, what is now true of Israel will, in the future, be true of all humanity: “the LORD will be king over all the earth; on that day the LORD shall be one and His name one,” meaning that for all of humanity, YHVH and His name will stand alone, unrivaled; as Zechariah says earlier, “I will erase the very names of the idols from the land; they shall not be uttered any more” (13:2). YHVH will be recognized exclusively and His name alone will be invoked in prayer and oaths. In other words, Deuteronomy and Zechariah both use “one” in the sense of “alone,” “exclusively.” This understanding of the phrase is consistent with similar formulations of the same idea in Isaiah and Zephaniah: “The LORD alone shall be exalted in that day” (Isa. 2:11, 17); “For then I will make the peoples pure of speech, so that they all invoke the LORD by name and serve Him with one accord” (Zeph. 3:9). This interpretation of the Shema is appropriate for the beginning of the speech in which Moses explicates the first commandment of the Decalogue, “You shall have no other gods beside Me” (5:7). It means, in essence, what 6:13–14 say: Israel must revere, worship, and swear by YHVH alone.
This interpretation is not without difficulty. For further discussion, see Excursus 10.
Excursus 10: The Shema (6:4)
As noted in the Comment to 6:4, the precise meaning of the Shema is uncertain. The four Hebrew words “YHVH ʾeloheinu YHVH ʾeḥad” literally mean “YHVH our God YHVH one.” Since Hebrew does not have a present-tense verb meaning “is” to link subject and predicate, the link must be supplied by the listener or reader. Where to do so depends on context and is sometimes uncertain. Grammatically, “YHVH our God YHVH one” could be rendered in several ways, such as (1) “YHVH is our God, YHVH alone”; (2) “the LORD our God, the LORD is one” (lit., “YHVH our God, YHVH is one”); (3) “YHVH our God is one YHVH.”
The first possibility, which is followed in the NJPS translation, is based on Ibn Ezra and Rashbam. One difficulty with this interpretation is that Hebrew normally expresses “alone” with levad-, as in “You alone levadekha] are God of all the kingdoms of the earth” (2 Kings 19:15, 19; cf. v. 19 and Ps. 86:10). A few passages have been found in which ʾeḥad seems to have this meaning, but the usage is at best rare (see Comment to 6:4, endnote). There is also a serious syntactic difficulty with this interpretation: it interprets the words “YHVH our God” (YHVH ʾeloheinu) as a subject and a predicate, meaning “YHVH* is* our God.” Although this usage is grammatically possible (see 2 Chron. 13:10), it is rare in the Bible and absolutely anomalous in Deuteronomy, where YHVH ʾeloheinu occurs nearly two dozen times, consistently as a fixed phrase meaning “YHVH our God.” Still, this interpretation seems to be presupposed by Zechariah 14, as noted in the Comment to 6:4. If so, it is the only interpretation that was demonstrably held in biblical times.
The old and familiar translation “the LORD our God, the LORD is one” (2) makes the verse a statement about the nature of God Himself, namely that He is one. This might mean that He is unique (incomparable) or that He is indivisible, that He does not consist of multiple deities (the latter idea is also expressed by translation 3). This translation, however, is problematic because it leaves the second YHVH superfluous; “YHVH our God is one” would have sufficed.
Continued in next post