Deuteronomy 4:11
And you came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire to the middle of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(11) Darkness, clouds, and thick darkness.—The “blackness, and darkness, and tempest” of Hebrews 12:18.

Deuteronomy 4:11-12. The midst of heaven — Flaming up into the air, which is often called heaven. No similitude — No resemblance or representation of God, whereby either his essence, or properties, or actions were represented, such as were usual among the heathen.4:1-23 The power and love of God to Israel are here made the ground and reason of a number of cautions and serious warnings; and although there is much reference to their national covenant, yet all may be applied to those who live under the gospel. What are laws made for but to be observed and obeyed? Our obedience as individuals cannot merit salvation; but it is the only evidence that we are partakers of the gift of God, which is eternal life through Jesus Christ, Considering how many temptations we are compassed with, and what corrupt desires we have in our bosoms, we have great need to keep our hearts with all diligence. Those cannot walk aright, who walk carelessly. Moses charges particularly to take heed of the sin of idolatry. He shows how weak the temptation would be to those who thought aright; for these pretended gods, the sun, moon, and stars, were only blessings which the Lord their God had imparted to all nations. It is absurd to worship them; shall we serve those that were made to serve us? Take heed lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God. We must take heed lest at any time we forget our religion. Care, caution, and watchfulness, are helps against a bad memory.A full stop should end Deuteronomy 4:9; and Deuteronomy 4:10 begin, At the time that thou stoodest, etc. Deuteronomy 4:11 then ye came near, etc. Moses, exhorting to heedful observance of the Law, strives to renew the impressions of that tremendous scene which attended its promulgation at Sinai. 10. the day that thou stoodest before the Lord … in Horeb—The delivery of the law from Sinai was an era never to be forgotten in the history of Israel. Some of those whom Moses was addressing had been present, though very young; while the rest were federally represented by their parents, who in their name and for their interest entered into the national covenant. Flaming up into the air, which is oft called heaven; and the midst or the heart of it is not only that which is strictly and properly the middle part, but that which is within it, though but a little way, in which sense places or persons or things are said to be in the heart of the sea, Exodus 15:8 Proverbs 23:34 Ezekiel 28:2; and Christ in the heart of the earth, Matthew 12:40. And ye came near and stood under the mountain,.... At the foot of it, in the lower part of the mountain, as the Targum of Jonathan, and agrees with Exodus 19:17.

and the mountain burnt with fire unto the midst of heaven; the flame and smoke went up into the middle of the air: with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness; which thick darkness was occasioned partly by the smoke, which went up like the smoke of a furnace, and partly by the thick clouds, which were on the mount, and covered the face of the heavens, which were black and tempestuous with them; the Septuagint renders it a "tempest", Exodus 19:18, which denotes the obscurity of the law, and the terrors it works in the minds of men.

And ye came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain {i} burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness.

(i) The law was given with fearful miracles, to declare both that God was the author of it, and also that no flesh was able to abide the rigour of the same.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
11. ye came near and stood under the mountain] E, Exodus 19:17, took station in the nether part of the mount.

burned with fire] J, Exodus 19:18, Mount Sinai was all on smoke … as the smoke of a furnace, and … quaked greatly, E, Exodus 20:18, thunder, lightning, and mount smoking.

unto the heart of heaven] A characteristic deuteronomic addition; cp. Deuteronomy 1:28.

with darkness, cloud, and thick darkness] The accumulation is characteristic; cp. E, Exodus 19:16, thick cloud; Exodus 20:21, thick darkness; P, Exodus 24:15 b, Exodus 24:18 a, cloud.Verse 11. - The mountain burned with fire unto the midst [unto the heart] of heaven; i.e. up to the Very skies; a rhetorical description of the mighty pillar of fire that blazed on Sinai, and betokened the presence of him whose symbol is fire. With darkness, clouds [cloud], and thick darkness; underneath the fire was a cloud of deep darkness, out of which it blazed, the "thick cloud" of Exodus 19:9, 16, and the "smoke" out of which the lightnings flashed, and over which the glory of the Lord, like devouring fire, rested on the top of the mountain (Exodus 19:18; Exodus 20:18; Exodus 24:16, 17). But the laws which Moses taught were commandments of the Lord. Keeping and doing them were to be the wisdom and understanding of Israel in the eyes of the nations, who, when they heard all these laws, would say, "Certainly (רק, only, no other than) a wise and understanding people is this great nation." History has confirmed this. Not only did the wisdom of a Solomon astonish the queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10:4.), but the divine truth which Israel possessed in the law of Moses attracted all the more earnest minds of the heathen world to seek the satisfaction of the inmost necessities of their heart and the salvation of their souls in Israel's knowledge of God, when, after a short period of bloom, the inward self-dissolution of the heathen religions had set in; and at last, in Christianity, it has brought one heathen nation after another to the knowledge of the true God, and to eternal salvation, notwithstanding the fact that the divine truth was and still is regarded as folly by the proud philosophers and self-righteous Epicureans and Stoics of ancient and modern times.
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