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Deuteronomy 4:10-15

Context
4:10 You 1  stood before the Lord your God at Horeb and he 2  said to me, “Assemble the people before me so that I can tell them my commands. 3  Then they will learn to revere me all the days they live in the land, and they will instruct their children.” 4:11 You approached and stood at the foot of the mountain, a mountain ablaze to the sky above it 4  and yet dark with a thick cloud. 5  4:12 Then the Lord spoke to you from the middle of the fire; you heard speech but you could not see anything – only a voice was heard. 6  4:13 And he revealed to you the covenant 7  he has commanded you to keep, the ten commandments, 8  writing them on two stone tablets. 4:14 Moreover, at that same time the Lord commanded me to teach you statutes and ordinances for you to keep in the land which you are about to enter and possess. 9 

The Nature of Israel’s God

4:15 Be very careful, 10  then, because you saw no form at the time the Lord spoke to you at Horeb from the middle of the fire.

1 tn The text begins with “(the) day (in) which.” In the Hebrew text v. 10 is subordinate to v. 11, but for stylistic reasons the translation treats v. 10 as an independent clause, necessitating the omission of the subordinating temporal phrase at the beginning of the verse.

2 tn Heb “the Lord.” See note on “he” in 4:3.

3 tn Heb “my words.” See v. 13; in Hebrew the “ten commandments” are the “ten words.”

4 tn Heb “a mountain burning with fire as far as the heart of the heavens.” The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heaven(s)” or “sky” depending on the context.

5 tn Heb “darkness, cloud, and heavy cloud.”

6 tn The words “was heard” are supplied in the translation to avoid the impression that the voice was seen.

7 sn This is the first occurrence of the word בְּרִית (bÿrit, “covenant”) in the Book of Deuteronomy but it appears commonly hereafter (4:23, 31; 5:2, 3; 7:9, 12; 8:18; 9:9, 10, 11, 15; 10:2, 4, 5, 8; 17:2; 29:1, 9, 12, 14, 15, 18, 21, 25; 31:9, 16, 20, 25, 26; 33:9). Etymologically, it derives from the notion of linking or yoking together. See M. Weinfeld, TDOT 2:255.

8 tn Heb “the ten words.”

9 tn Heb “to which you are crossing over to possess it.”

10 tn Heb “give great care to your souls.”



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