Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do so in the land where you go to possess it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)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.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.
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.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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)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 3:27 is a rhetorical paraphrase of Numbers 27:12, where the mountains of Abarim are mentioned in the place of Pisgah, which was the northern portion of Abarim. (On Deuteronomy 3:28, cf. Deuteronomy 1:38 and Numbers 27:23.)
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