For who is there of all flesh, that has heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the middle of the fire, as we have, and lived?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Deuteronomy 5:26. Flesh — Is here put for a man in his frail, corruptible, and mortal state.Exodus 20:18-21. Here it is important to call attention to the fact that it was on the entreaties of the people that Moses had taken on him to be the channel of communication between God and them. God approved Deuteronomy 5:28 the request of the people, because it showed a feeling of their own unworthiness to enter into direct communion with God. The terrors of Sinai had done their work; they had awakened the consciousness of sin. Flesh is here put for man in his frail, corruptible, and mortal state, as Matthew 16:17 1 Corinthians 15:50 Ephesians 6:12 Hebrews 2:14.
that hath heard the voice of the living God; who lives in and of himself, and is the author and giver of life to all his creatures, whereby he is distinguished from and is opposed unto the lifeless deities of the Gentiles; and which makes him and his voice heard the more awful and tremendous, and especially as
speaking out of the midst of the fire: which was the present case:
as we have, and lived? of this there never was the like instance; for though some had seen God and lived, as Jacob did, and therefore called the name of the place where he saw him Penuel, Genesis 32:30, and Moses had heard the voice of the angel of the Lord out of a bush, which seemed to be burning, and was not consumed, Exodus 3:2, yet none ever heard the voice of the Lord out of real fire, and particularly expressing such words as he did, but the Israelites. Zoroastres, the founder of the Magi among the Persians, and of their religion, seems to have had respect to this, and to have applied falsely this to himself, which belonged to Moses and the people of Israel; for it is said (k),"one reason the Persians have fire in so much veneration is, because they say that Zoroastres, being caught up to heaven, did not see God, but heard him speaking with him out of the midst of fire.''For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)26. flesh] Emphatic; it cannot endure immediate contact with spirit (Isaiah 31:3).
the living God] Rather, a living God, cp. Deuteronomy 4:33. The phrase always occurs in the O.T. without the article even when as in 1 Samuel 17:26; 1 Samuel 17:36, and Jeremiah 23:36 it is the living God who is meant. In Jeremiah 10:10 it is indefinite as here. These are all the instances of this form. Kindred forms in Joshua 3:10 indefinite; Hosea 2:1, 2 Kings 19:4; 2 Kings 19:16 definite.Exodus 20, with only a few variations, which have already been discussed in connection with the exposition of the decalogue at Exodus 20:1-14. - In Deuteronomy 5:22-33, Moses expounds still further the short account in Exodus 20:18-21, viz., that after the people had heard the ten covenant words, in their alarm at the awful phenomena in which the Lord revealed His glory, they entreated him to stand between as mediator, that God Himself might not speak to them any further, and that they might not die, and then promised that they would hearken to all that the Lord should speak to him (Exodus 20:23 -31). His purpose in doing so was to link on the exhortation in vv. 32, 33, to keep all the commandments of the Lord and do them, which paves the way for passing to the exposition of the law which follows. "A great voice" (Exodus 20:22) is an adverbial accusative, signifying "with a great voice" (cf. Ges. 118, 3). "And He added no more:" as in Numbers 11:25. God spoken the ten words directly to the people, and then no more; i.e., everything further He addressed to Moses alone, and through his mediation to the people. As mediator He gave him the two tables of stone, upon which He had written the decalogue (cf. Exodus 31:18). This statement somewhat forestalls the historical course; and in Deuteronomy 9:10-11, it is repeated again in its proper historical connection.
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