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Deuteronomy 4:1-8

Context
The Privileges of the Covenant

4:1 Now, Israel, pay attention to the statutes and ordinances 1  I am about to teach you, so that you might live and go on to enter and take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, 2  is giving you. 4:2 Do not add a thing to what I command you nor subtract from it, so that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I am delivering to 3  you. 4:3 You have witnessed what the Lord did at Baal Peor, 4  how he 5  eradicated from your midst everyone who followed Baal Peor. 6  4:4 But you who remained faithful to the Lord your God are still alive to this very day, every one of you. 4:5 Look! I have taught you statutes and ordinances just as the Lord my God told me to do, so that you might carry them out in 7  the land you are about to enter and possess. 4:6 So be sure to do them, because this will testify of your wise understanding 8  to the people who will learn of all these statutes and say, “Indeed, this great nation is a very wise 9  people.” 4:7 In fact, what other great nation has a god so near to them like the Lord our God whenever we call on him? 4:8 And what other great nation has statutes and ordinances as just 10  as this whole law 11  that I am about to share with 12  you today?

1 tn These technical Hebrew terms (חֻקִּים [khuqqim] and מִשְׁפָּטִים [mishpatim]) occur repeatedly throughout the Book of Deuteronomy to describe the covenant stipulations to which Israel had been called to subscribe (see, in this chapter alone, vv. 1, 5, 6, 8). The word חֻקִּים derives from the verb חֹק (khoq, “to inscribe; to carve”) and מִשְׁפָּטִים (mishpatim) from שָׁפַט (shafat, “to judge”). They are virtually synonymous and are used interchangeably in Deuteronomy.

2 tn Heb “fathers” (also in vv. 31, 37).

3 tn Heb “commanding.”

4 tc The LXX and Syriac read “to Baal Peor,” that is, the god worshiped at that place; see note on the name “Beth Peor” in Deut 3:29.

5 tn Heb “the Lord your God.” The pronoun has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons to avoid redundancy.

6 tn Or “followed the Baal of Peor” (so NAB, NIV, NRSV), referring to the pagan god Baal.

7 tn Heb “in the midst of” (so ASV).

8 tn Heb “it is wisdom and understanding.”

9 tn Heb “wise and understanding.”

10 tn Or “pure”; or “fair”; Heb “righteous.”

11 tn The Hebrew phrase הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת (hattorah hazzot), in this context, refers specifically to the Book of Deuteronomy. That is, it is the collection of all the חֻקִּים (khuqqim, “statutes,” 4:1) and מִשְׁפָּטִים (mishpatim, “ordinances,” 4:1) to be included in the covenant text. In a full canonical sense, of course, it pertains to the entire Pentateuch or Torah.

12 tn Heb “place before.”



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