You have avouched the LORD this day to be your God, and to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and to listen to his voice:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Deuteronomy 26:17-18. Avouched — Or declared, or owned. Avouched thee — Hath owned thee for such before all the world, by eminent and glorious manifestations of his power and favour, by a solemn entering into covenant with thee, and giving peculiar laws, promises, and privileges to thee above all mankind.Exodus 24:7; Joshua 24:14-25,
neither … for any unclean use—that is, any common purpose, different from what God had appointed and which would have been a desecration of it.
nor given ought thereof for the dead—on any funeral service, or, to an idol, which is a dead thing.Avouched, or declared, or professed, or owned. This day, i.e. at this time, in this wilderness, where thou hast accepted and ratified God’s covenant.
and to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes and his commandments, and his judgments, and to hearken unto his voice; that is, this was then their resolution and determination, their protestation and declaration, to walk in all the ways of God, both in private and in public, he directed unto; and to observe all his laws, ceremonial, moral, and judicial, which he had given them as the rule of their walk and behaviour; and to regard whatsoever he should reveal by his prophets and ministers as his will; and a view of covenant interest in God lays all good men under the strongest obligation in the strength of divine grace to attend to his will; nor can there be a greater motive to them than covenant love, grace, and mercy.Thou hast avouched the LORD this day to be thy God, and to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and to hearken unto his voice:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)17. Thou hast avouched the Lord, etc.] i.e. acknowledged (see Wright’s Bible Word Book); lit. caused Jehovah to say that He will be thy God. This form of the Heb. vb. only here and Deuteronomy 26:18. It is probably a technical legal term, by which either of the two parties to a contract made the other utter a declaration of his obligation under it. Here it is figuratively applied to the contract between Jehovah and Israel. They did not actually cause Him to make this engagement, for His choice of them was an act of His free grace (Deuteronomy 7:8, etc.) and every covenant with Him was of His imposition (Deuteronomy 5:2, Deuteronomy 8:18). But by engaging to keep His laws Israel fulfilled the condition in which alone He could be their God. Therefore the formula, if not literally, is substantially, correct. The clever EVV. rendering avouched is unjustified by the Heb. form but has evidently been adopted to cover all the contradictory contents of the declaration; the text however is so deranged that it fails fully to do so.
and that thou shouldest walk in his ways, etc.] This belongs properly not to Jehovah’s, but to Israel’s, declaration, whereas the promise in Deuteronomy 26:19, and to make thee high above all nations, etc., which is attributed to them belongs, of course, to Him. There has been a displacement of the text.
The Syriac seeks to get rid of the difficulty by eliminating the conjunction at the beginning of the phrase here, so as to read by walking in his ways, etc.; but even so the difficulty is only partly removed.Verse 17. - Thou hast avouched, etc.; literally, Thou hast caused Jehovah this day to say to be a God unto thee; i.e. thou hast given occasion to him to declare himself to be thy God, and (as a consequence of this) that thou shouldest walk in his ways and keep his commandments. In declaring that he was their God, he virtually declared also that they were to be wholly obedient to him. Deuteronomy 12:12). The presentation of the first-fruits took place, no doubt, on their pilgrimages to the sanctuary at the three yearly festivals (ch. 16); but it is quite without ground that Riehm restricts these words to the sacrificial meals to be prepared from the tithes, as if they had been the only sacrificial meals (see at Deuteronomy 18:3).
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