The term is a combination of "neck" (BDB 791, KB 887) and "stiff" or "hard" (BDB 904, KB 1151). Israel is often described by this unflattering combination of their unwillingness to obey God's laws (cf. Exod. 32:8; 33:3,5; 34:9; Deut. 9:6,13; 31:27). The verb is used in Deut. 10:16; 2 Kgs. 17:14; Neh. 9:16,17,29; Jer. 7:26; 17:23; 19:15. The same thought is expressed in Isa. 48:4 and Ezek. 2:4; 3:7.

In a sense Duet. 31:27-29 is a prophecy, based on the past actions of Israel. This same kind of prophecy is also found in Jos. 24:19-20. Israel's best efforts were not enough. The first covenant would fail to restore the intended intimacy between YHWH and His highest creation (i.e., mankind) in the Garden of Eden. It would take a New Covenant (cf. Jer. 31:31-34; Ezek. 36:22-38) based on YHWH's actions. Mankind is incurably rebellious (cf. Gen. 6:5; 8:21; Jer. 17:9; Rom. 3:10-18,23).

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