Deuteronomy 5:32
You shall observe to do therefore as the LORD your God has commanded you: you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.
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5:23-33 Moses refers to the consternation caused by the terror with which the law was given. God's appearances have always been terrible to man, ever since the fall; but Christ, having taken away sin, invites us to come boldly to the throne of grace. They were in a good mind, under the strong convictions of the word they heard. Many have their consciences startled by the law who have them not purified; fair promises are extorted from them, but no good principles are fixed and rooted in them. God commended what they said. He desires the welfare and salvation of poor sinners. He has given abundant proof that he does so; he gives us time and space to repent. He has sent his Son to redeem us, promised his Spirit to those who pray for him, and has declared that he has no pleasure in the ruin of sinners. It would be well with many, if there were always such a heart in them, as there seems to be sometimes; when they are under conviction of sin, or the rebukes of providence, or when they come to look death in the face. The only way to be happy, is to be holy. Say to the righteous, It shall be well with them. Let believers make it more and more their study and delight, to do as the Lord God hath commanded.These verses contain a much fuller narrative of the events briefly described in 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. 29. Oh, that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me—God can bestow such a heart, and has promised to give it, wherever it is asked (Jer 32:40). But the wish which is here expressed on the part of God for the piety and steadfast obedience of the Israelites did not relate to them as individuals, so much as a nation, whose religious character and progress would have a mighty influence on the world at large. Neither by superstitious additions to God’s commands, nor by a bold or profane rejection or contempt of any one of them. Ye shall observe to do therefore as the Lord your God doth command you,.... Observe every precept, as to matter and manner, which the Lord has commanded, and that under a sense of the great obligations laid on them by him, in giving them freely so good a land to possess:

you shall not turn to the right hand or to the left; but walk in the way of the commandments of God, and not depart from them at all, but follow the Lord in his own ways fully. The phrase is expressive of a strict and close attention to the word of God, without deviating from it in the least; for every sin, which is a transgression of some command of God or another, is a going out of the way that directs unto; see Isaiah 30:21.

Ye shall observe to do therefore as the LORD your God hath commanded you: ye shall not {l} turn aside to the right hand or to the left.

(l) You shall neither add nor take away, De 4:2.

32, 33. Exhortations to obey this new charge: a number of characteristic deuteronomic formulas. Because of this and specially because of the phrase which Jehovah your God has commanded you, these verses are taken by some to be a later addition. Yet it was surely quite logical for the writer of the rest of the chapter to put the phrase in Moses’ mouth in Moab, because God had already at Ḥoreb charged him with these laws; the phrase does not imply their previous publication.

ye shall not turn aside, etc.] Deuteronomy 17:11; Deuteronomy 17:20, Deuteronomy 28:14, and in deuteronomic passages in other books; cp. Deuteronomy 9:2.

the way which Jehovah your God has commanded you] that is through me and which I am now about to show you. The phrase is also found Deuteronomy 9:12; Deuteronomy 9:16, Deuteronomy 11:28, Deuteronomy 31:29 (all pl.), and in Deuteronomy 13:5 (Sg.). To walk in His ways, Deuteronomy 8:6 (Sg.), Deuteronomy 11:22 (Pl.). Buhl (Sozial. Verhältn. der Isr. 9) remarks on the suitability to nomads of this metaphor; but surely it was equally suitable for peasants. No inference as to date can therefore be drawn from it. Cp. in the N.T. ἡ ὀδός Acts 9:2; Acts 19:9; Acts 19:23; Acts 22:4, and the Ḳoran Sur. 1.

live] Deuteronomy 4:1.

may be well with you] Deuteronomy 5:16; Deuteronomy 5:29, Deuteronomy 4:40.

prolong … days] used both in Pl. here and in Deuteronomy 4:26 (cp. Deuteronomy 30:18), Deuteronomy 11:9, Deuteronomy 32:47, and in Sg. Deuteronomy 4:40; that thy days may be long, Deuteronomy 5:16, Deuteronomy 6:2, Deuteronomy 25:15; cp. Deuteronomy 22:7.Verses 32, 33. - Moses winds up this part of his discourse by exhorting them to observe and do all God's commandments, not in any way departing from that course of action to which he had called them, that they might live, and it should be well with them in the land they were about to possess. Verse 32. - To the right hand or to the left. "This signifieth an exact care to walk in God's Law, as in the highway, from which men may not turn aside, as in Deuteronomy 2:27" (Ainsworth); cf. Deuteronomy 17:11, 20; Deuteronomy 28:14; Joshua 1:7; Proverbs 4:27; Isaiah 30:21. "To receive what God enjoins is only half obedience; it belongs thereto also that nothing be required beyond this. We must not desire to be more righteous than as we are taught by the Law" (Calvin).

Deuteronomy 5:24-27 contain a rhetorical, and at the same time really a more exact, account of the events described in Exodus 20:18-20 (15-17). ואתּ (Deuteronomy 5:24), a contraction of ואתּה, as in Numbers 11:15 (cf. Ewald, 184, a.). Jehovah's reply to the words of the people (Deuteronomy 5:28-31) is passed over in Exodus 20. God approved of what the people said, because it sprang from a consciousness of the unworthiness of any sinner to come into the presence of the holy God; and He added, "Would that there were always this heart in them to fear Me," i.e., would that they were always of the same mind to fear Me and keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and their children for ever. He then directed the people to return to their tents, and appointed Moses as the mediator, to whom He would address all the law, that he might teach it to the people (cf. Deuteronomy 4:5). Having been thus entreated by the people to take the office of mediator, and appointed to that office by the Lord, Moses could very well bring his account of these events to a close (Deuteronomy 5:32, Deuteronomy 5:33), by exhorting them to observe carefully all the commandments of the Lord, and not to turn aside to the right hand or to the left, i.e., not to depart in any way from the mode of life pointed out in the commandments (cf. Deuteronomy 17:11, Deuteronomy 17:20; Deuteronomy 28:14; Joshua 1:7, etc.), that it might be well with them, etc. (cf. Deuteronomy 4:40). וטוב, perfect with ו rel. instead of the imperfect.
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