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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 4

Barnes' Notes on the Whole BibleBarnes' Notes

Verse 1

The general entreaty contained in this chapter is pointed by special mention and enforcement of the fundamental principles of the whole covenant Deuteronomy 4:9-40, the spiritual nature of the Deity, His exclusive right to their allegiance, His abhorrence of idolatry in every form, His choice of them for His elect people. Compare further Moses’ third and last address, Deut. 27–30.

Verses 9-11

A full stop should end Deuteronomy 4:9; and Deuteronomy 4:10 begin, At the time that thou stoodest, etc. Deuteronomy 4:11 then ye came near, etc. Moses, exhorting to heedful observance of the Law, strives to renew the impressions of that tremendous scene which attended its promulgation at Sinai.

Verse 12

Hero worship exhibited itself in the practice of setting up images of human form as household gods (Penates, compare Genesis 31:19; Genesis 35:2), or as local and civic divinities: a practice forbidden by Deuteronomy 4:16. Nature worship in its baser shapes is seen in the Egyptian idolatry of animals and animal figures, and is condemned in Deuteronomy 4:17-18 : while its less ignoble flight, the worship of the sun, moon, and stars, is forbidden in Deuteronomy 4:19. The great legislator may be regarded as taking in the passage before us a complete and comprehensive survey of the various forms of idolatrous and corrupt worship practiced by the surrounding Oriental nations, and as particularly and successively forbidding them every one.

Verse 19

Divided - i. e., “whose light God has distributed to the nations for their use and benefit, and which therefore being creatures ministering to man’s convenience must not be worshipped as man’s lords.”

Verses 25-28

Compare with these verses Leviticus 26:33-40, and Deuteronomy 28:64 ff.

Verses 29-40

He chose their seed after them - literally, “his seed after him.” Speaking of the love of God to their fathers in general, Moses has more especially in mind that one of them who was called “the Friend of God” James 2:23.

Brought thee out in his sight - literally, “by His face:” “i. e.” by the might of His personal presence. Compare Exodus 33:14; where God promises “My presence (literally ‘My face’) shall go with thee.”

Verses 41-43

In the plain country - literally, “in the land of the Mishor.” The word means a level tract of land; but when used (Deuteronomy 3:10; Joshua 13:9, etc.) with the article, seems to be the proper name for the smooth downs of Moab, which reach from the Jordan eastward of Jericho far into the Desert of Arabia, and which form a striking contrast alike to the rugged country west of the river, and to the higher and remarkable districts belonging to Bashan northward.

Bezer is, with little certainty, identified with Bostra, or (1 Macc. 5:36) Bosor. Golan gave the name of Gaulonitis to a district of some extent east of the sea of Galilee and north of the Hieromax; but the exact site of the city if uncertain.

Verses 44-49

Sion must not be confounded with Zion (compare Psalms 48:2.).

Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/deuteronomy-4.html. 1870.
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