Deuteronomy 4:5
Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.
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(5) That ye should do so in the land.—It should never be forgotten that there is a special connection between the law of Moses and the land of Canaan. It cannot be kept in many of its precepts, except by a chosen people in a protected land.

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.The general entreaty contained in this chapter is pointed by special mention and enforcement of the fundamental principles of the whole covenant Deuteronomy 4:9-40, the spiritual nature of the Deity, His exclusive right to their allegiance, His abhorrence of idolatry in every form, His choice of them for His elect people. Compare further Moses' third and last address, Deuteronomy 27-30. 5, 6. this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes—Moses predicted that the faithful observance of the laws given them would raise their national character for intelligence and wisdom. In point of fact it did do so; for although the heathen world generally ridiculed the Hebrews for what they considered a foolish and absurd exclusiveness, some of the most eminent philosophers expressed the highest admiration of the fundamental principle in the Jewish religion—the unity of God; and their legislators borrowed some laws from the constitution of the Hebrews. No text from Poole on this verse.

Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God commanded me,.... He had faithfully delivered them, without adding them, or diminishing from them, and had diligently instructed the Israelites in them, had taken pains to lead them into a thorough knowledge and understanding them:

that ye should do so in the land whither ye go possess it; do in like manner as the commandments the Lord direct to; or that which is right (e); proper and fitting to be done, by doing which they continue in the land they were about to possess, therefore when in it were to be careful to them; some of them could not be done till they came into it, and all were to be done in it.

(e) "rectum".

Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.
5. Behold, I have taught you] The perf. of the verb in contrast with the fut. in Deuteronomy 4:1 raises questions. Does Moses now refer to laws which he has already promulgated from Ḥoreb onward (so Driver)? Hardly, for the rest of the verse implies the same statutes and judgements as Deuteronomy 4:1. Or is this verse out of place here, and borrowed from an address by Moses after the promulgation of the deuteronomic laws (Dillm., Westphal, Steuern., etc.)? Or is it the mistake of a scribe (Kosters)? Bertholet seeks a solution in the fact that when the Heb. verb for behold (re’eh, sing. but Sam. and LXX plur.) is followed by a finite verb the perfect is used even where we should expect a future (e.g. Genesis 41:41, 1 Chronicles 21:23). Thus the action in view is represented as if it were already past (for a similar idiom cp. ‘the prophetic perfect’). There is, therefore, no reason to question that Deuteronomy 4:5 refers like Deuteronomy 4:1 to the legislation imminent in Israel; alternatively it may include the laws given on Ḥoreb, cp. Deuteronomy 4:14. In any case the chief objection to taking Deuteronomy 4:5-8 along with 1–4 is removed.

whither ye go in to possess it] The only Pl. passage which gives this phrase (though Deuteronomy 4:1 has a variant) so distinctive of the Sg. passages that in them it occurs 10 times. See on Deuteronomy 6:1.

Verses 5, 6. - The institutes of Moses were the commandments of Jehovah, and therefore obedience to them was imperative. By this was conditioned the enjoyment by Israel of the Promised Land; and this would be their wisdom and understanding in the sight of the nations; to themselves it would be life, and to the nations it would convey an impression of their being the depositories of true wisdom and knowledge, so that they should be constrained to say, Surely a wise and understanding people is this great nation. "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that is wise winneth souls" (Proverbs 11:30). God's statutes make wise the simple (Psalm 19:8; Psalm 119:98, 99); and they who are thus made wise attract the attention of others by the fame of their wisdom. Thus the Queen of Sheba heard in her distant country of the wisdom of Solomon, and came to him to commune with him of all that was in her heart (1 Kings 10:1, etc.); and many throughout the ages who were seeking after truth among the heathen, were drawn to Israel by seeing how with them was the true knowledge of God. Israel was thus exalted because God was nigh to them, ready to hear their cry and to give them what they needed; which none of the gods of the nations were or could be to their votaries; and because, in the Law which God had given them, they had such instruction and direction as no heathen nation possessed. Deuteronomy 4:5But 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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