“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
There is a powerful message and a great perspective for the future in the original Hebrew of Moses’ words that is lost in the translation to English. In English, there is no difference in how the verb appears between a command given to an individual and one spoken to a group of people in the plural. But in Hebrew, as in many other languages, the verbs are pluralized.
At the beginning of the verse, when Moses said, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified,” these words were addressed to the people in the plural, as though addressing them as a group of separate individuals. But at the end of the very same verse, when Moses said, “for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you,” he spoke to the nation in the singular, addressing them as a single unified body.
What a powerful message! It is as though Moses said to them, “When you feel alone and afraid, you are an individual. But if you are united with other people of faith, with one heart for God, He will go with you and will never forsake you.”