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Deuteronomy 4:32-34

Context
The Uniqueness of Israel’s God

4:32 Indeed, ask about the distant past, starting from the day God created humankind 1  on the earth, and ask 2  from one end of heaven to the other, whether there has ever been such a great thing as this, or even a rumor of it. 4:33 Have a people ever heard the voice of God speaking from the middle of fire, as you yourselves have, and lived to tell about it? 4:34 Or has God 3  ever before tried to deliver 4  a nation from the middle of another nation, accompanied by judgments, 5  signs, wonders, war, strength, power, 6  and other very terrifying things like the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?

1 tn The Hebrew term אָדָם (’adam) may refer either to Adam or, more likely, to “man” in the sense of the human race (“mankind,” “humankind”). The idea here seems more universal in scope than reference to Adam alone would suggest.

2 tn The verb is not present in the Hebrew text but has been supplied in the translation for clarification. The challenge has both temporal and geographical dimensions. The people are challenged to (1) inquire about the entire scope of past history and (2) conduct their investigation on a worldwide scale.

3 tn The translation assumes the reference is to Israel’s God in which case the point is this: God’s intervention in Israel’s experience is unique in the sense that he has never intervened in such power for any other people on earth. The focus is on the uniqueness of Israel’s experience. Some understand the divine name here in a generic sense, “a god,” or “any god.” In this case God’s incomparability is the focus (cf. v. 35, where this theme is expressed).

4 tn Heb “tried to go to take for himself.”

5 tn Heb “by testings.” The reference here is the judgments upon Pharaoh in the form of plagues. See Deut 7:19 (cf. v. 18) and 29:3 (cf. v. 2).

6 tn Heb “by strong hand and by outstretched arm.”



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