4:20 You, however, the Lord has selected and brought from Egypt, that iron-smelting furnace, 1 to be his special people 2 as you are today.
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 A כּוּר (kur) was not a source of heat but a crucible (“iron-smelting furnace”) in which precious metals were melted down and their impurities burned away (see I. Cornelius, NIDOTTE 2:618-19); cf. NAB “that iron foundry, Egypt.” The term is a metaphor for intense heat. Here it refers to the oppression and suffering Israel endured in Egypt. Since a crucible was used to burn away impurities, it is possible that the metaphor views Egypt as a place of refinement to bring Israel to a place of submission to divine sovereignty.
2 tn Heb “to be his people of inheritance.” The Lord compares his people to valued property inherited from one’s ancestors and passed on to one’s descendants.
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.”
6 tn Heb “by strong hand and by outstretched arm.”