Deuteronomy Chapter 4  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: Deuteronomy 4
 
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“all the men who followed Baal-peor, Yahweh your God has destroyed them.” The Book of Deuteronomy has a large number of verses in which God warns Israel that if they forsake Him and turn to pagan gods they will be destroyed. The need for the large number of warnings in Deuteronomy comes from the historic situation: This is the last 2 months of the Wilderness Wanderings before Israel crossed the Jordan River, and Israel was camped on the Plains of Jordan, across the Jordan from Jericho. In just a couple months they would encounter the Canaanites in the Promised Land and the gods they worshiped. Sadly, the Israelites did not follow God’s warnings. They worshiped Baal and other pagan gods and were eventually conquered and carried into captivity; the kingdom of Israel by Assyria (2 Kings 17), and the kingdom of Judah by Babylon (2 Kings 24-25). There are many warnings in Deuteronomy about pagan gods (cp. Deut. 4:3; 6:14-15; 7:4; 8:19-20; 11:16-17; 17:2-5; 29:25-28; 30:17-18; 31:16-18).

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“I will make them hear my words.” The very first time that the Ten Commandments were given, God spoke them audibly to Israel from the top of Mount Sinai. It was later they were written on stone tablets. [For more on God speaking the Ten Commandments directly to the Israelites, see commentary on Exodus 19:9].

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Deu 4:19

“the sun and the moon and the stars, all the army of heaven.” In this context, the “army of heaven” refers to the stars and planets (also thought of as “stars”) which appeared organized and thus were referred to as an “army.”

“bow down.” The common biblical way of bowing down before people or God was to fall to one’s knees and bow the upper body to the earth. It is the same Hebrew word as “worship.” [For more on bowing down, see commentary on 1 Chron. 29:20].

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Deu 4:25

“making him angry.” The NET text note on Deuteronomy 4:25 gets the sense of the text correctly when it says, “The infinitive construct [in the Hebrew text] is understood here as indicating the result, not the intention of their actions.” Although many English versions use the word “provoke,” the Israelites did not worship idols with the intention of provoking God. But the result of their idolatry was that God was angered. In everyday English, “provoke” means to do something to intentionally upset someone, and that is not what was happening with Israel’s idolatry.

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Deu 4:26

“perish, yes, perish...destroyed, yes, destroye​d.” This is two examples of the figure of speech polyptoton. [For more on polyptoton, and the way it is translated, see commentary on Genesis 2:16]. God is making it very clear that if people turned away from Him and served idols they would perish.

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Deu 4:30

“listen to his voice.” In a context like this, the word “listen” can also be used idiomatically and have the meaning “obey.” Some scholars refer to this as the pregnant sense of the word. Many Hebrew words are used with an idiomatic or pregnant sense (see commentary on Luke 23:42).

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Deu 4:36

“Out of heaven he made you to hear his voice.” This refers to God giving the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai. [For more on God speaking the Ten Commandments directly to the Israelites, see commentary on Exodus 19:9].

“on earth he made you to see.” God spoke from heaven (the cloud above the mountain), the people on earth heard the words and saw the fire.

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Deu 4:37

”your fathers.” In most contexts, as here, the “fathers” of Israel are Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to whom God promised their seed would inherit the land of Israel.

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“sea of the Arabah.” The Dead Sea.

“Pisgah.” The mountain range on the western edge of Moab that overlooks Israel. Mount Nebo where Moses died is a peak in that range.

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