Deuteronomy 4:32
For ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask from the one side of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it?
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(32) For ask now . . . whether there hath been any such thing.-The same argument is afterwards employed by St. Paul (Romans 11:29) for the restoration of Israel: “for the gifts and calling of God are without repentance,” i.e., irrevocable. He did not go and take Him a nation out of the midst of another nation in order to abandon them at last. He never did so much in the way of personal and visible interposition for any people; and He will not forsake the work of His own hands. Moses had proved the truth of what he says here in many scenes of sin and peril averted by his own intercession. (See especially Numbers 14:11-21, and comp. 1Samuel 12:22.)

Deuteronomy 4:32-34. The one side of heaven — That is, of the earth under heaven. Ask all the inhabitants of the world. And live — And was not overwhelmed and consumed by such a glorious appearance. By temptations — Temptations is the general title, which is explained by the following particulars, signs, and wonders, &c., which are called temptations, because they were trials both to the Egyptians and Israelites, whether they would be induced to believe and obey God or not. By terrors — Raised in the minds of the Egyptians, or, by terrible things done among them.

4:24-40 Moses urged the greatness, glory, and goodness of God. Did we consider what a God he is with whom we have to do, we should surely make conscience of our duty to him, and not dare to sin against him. Shall we forsake a merciful God, who will never forsake us, if we are faithful unto him? Whither can we go? Let us be held to our duty by the bonds of love, and prevailed with by the mercies of God to cleave to him. Moses urged God's authority over them, and their obligations to him. In keeping God's commandments they would act wisely for themselves. The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom. Those who enjoy the benefit of Divine light and laws, ought to support their character for wisdom and honour, that God may be glorified thereby. Those who call upon God, shall certainly find him within call, ready to give an answer of peace to every prayer of faith. All these statutes and judgments of the Divine law are just and righteous, above the statutes and judgments of any of the nations. What they saw at mount Sinai, gave an earnest of the day of judgment, in which the Lord Jesus shall be revealed in flaming fire. They must also remember what they heard at mount Sinai. God manifests himself in the works of the creation, without speech or language, yet their voice is heard, Ps 19:1,3; but to Israel he made himself known by speech and language, condescending to their weakness. The rise of this nation was quite different from the origin of all other nations. See the reasons of free grace; we are not beloved for our own sakes, but for Christ's sake. Moses urged the certain benefit and advantage of obedience. This argument he had begun with, ver. 1, That ye may live, and go in and possess the land; and this he concludes with, ver. 40, That it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee. He reminds them that their prosperity would depend upon their piety. Apostacy from God would undoubtedly be the ruin of their nation. He foresees their revolt from God to idols. Those, and those only, shall find God to their comfort, who seek him with all their heart. Afflictions engage and quicken us to seek God; and, by the grace of God working with them, many are thus brought back to their right mind. When these things are come upon thee, turn to the Lord thy God, for thou seest what comes of turning from him. Let all the arguments be laid together, and then say, if religion has not reason on its side. None cast off the government of their God, but those who first abandon the understanding of a man.Unwilling, as it might seem, to close his discourse with words of terror, Moses makes a last appeal to them in these verses in a different strain.30. in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God—either towards the destined close of their captivities, when they evinced a returning spirit of repentance and faith, or in the age of Messiah, which is commonly called "the latter days," and when the scattered tribes of Israel shall be converted to the Gospel of Christ. The occurrence of this auspicious event will be the most illustrious proof of the truth of the promise made in De 4:31. From the one side of heaven, i.e. of the earth under heaven. Ask all the inhabitants of the world. Compare Matthew 24:31, with Mark 13:27.

For ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee,.... Inquire into and consult the annals of former times, of ages past:

since the day that God created man upon the earth; trace them quite up to the creation of the world, and men in it:

and ask from the one side of heaven to the other; traverse the whole globe, and examine the records of every nation in it in both hemispheres:

whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it? whether they can give any account of anything seen, heard, or done like what follows; suggesting that they cannot furnish out an instance to be mentioned with it.

For ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and {x} ask from the one side of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it?

(x) Man's negligence is partially the cause for his ignorance of God.

32. For] The connection, as we have seen, is not with the immediately preceding Deuteronomy 4:29-31, but with either Deuteronomy 4:28 or Deuteronomy 4:24.

ask now, etc.] The challenge is bold and characteristic of D. From the first of time, from one end of heaven to the other, nothing has ever happened like that which Israel has experienced at Ḥoreb or in the deliverance from Egypt to which the next verses proceed.

the day that God created man] P, Genesis 1:27; Genesis 5:1, created, bara’, P’s characteristic expression for J’s made and formed.

whether there hath been] Heb. brought itself into being, happened.

32–40. The Uniqueness of the God of Israel

This further appeal to the sole deity of Israel’s God is founded upon the nation’s experience of the unparalleled revelations He has made to them, the unparalleled deeds which He has performed for their deliverance (Deuteronomy 4:32-39); and it closes on the note with which the ch. opened, the enforcement of the practice of His laws (Deuteronomy 4:40).—Throughout in the Sg. form of address; for apparent exceptions see on Deuteronomy 4:34. The section is joined by Berth. with Deuteronomy 4:9-24 as one separate discourse, but as we have seen Deuteronomy 4:32 connects even more naturally with Deuteronomy 4:28. Over against the change to the Sg. address we have to place the sympathy of the contents and the similarity of the style with those of Deuteronomy 4:1-8. Deuteronomy 4:32-39 best develop Deuteronomy 4:7, while Deuteronomy 4:40, which there is no reason for supposing with Steuern. to be a mere scribal addition of formulas, suitably rounds off the whole by a return to the keynote of Deuteronomy 4:1. If Deuteronomy 4:9-40 be a later addition to Deuteronomy 1:6 to Deuteronomy 4:8, it has been very skilfully and sympathetically added.

Verses 32-40. - Still more to enforce his warning against apostasy, and urge to obedience and faithful adherence to the service of Jehovah, Moses appeals to what they had already experienced of God's grace in the choosing of them to be his people, in his speaking to them to instruct them, and in the miracles which he had wrought for their deliverance and guidance; grace such as had never been showed before to any nation, or heard of since the creation of the world, and by which those who had experienced it were laid under the deepest obligations of gratitude and duty, to love and serve him by whom it had been showed. With this appeal he closes his first address. Verse 32. - For. This connects the statement that fellows with that which precedes as its cause; it is because Jehovah is a merciful God, that the unparalleled grace showed to Israel had been displayed. The days that are past, etc., i.e. inquire from the earliest time of man's abode on the earth. From the one side of heaven unto the other; search the records of all times and places, whether any so great a thing has ever happened or been heard of. Deuteronomy 4:32But in order to accomplish something more than merely preserving the people from apostasy by the threat of punishment, namely, to secure a more faithful attachment and continued obedience to His commands by awakening the feeling of cordial love, Moses reminds them again of the glorious miracles of divine grace performed in connection with the election and deliverance of Israel, such as had never been heard of from the beginning of the world; and with this strong practical proof of the love of the true God, he brings his first address to a close. This closing thought in Deuteronomy 4:32 is connected by כּי (for) with the leading idea in Deuteronomy 4:31. "Jehovah thy God is a merciful God," to show that the sole ground for the election and redemption of Israel was the compassion of God towards the human race. "For ask now of the days that are past, from the day that God created man upon the earth, and from one end of the heaven unto the other, whether so great a thing has ever happened, or anything of the kind has been heard of:" i.e., the history of all times since the creation of man, and of all places under the whole heaven, can relate no such events as those which have happened to Israel, viz., at Sinai (Deuteronomy 4:33; cf. Deuteronomy 4:12). From this awfully glorious manifestation of God, Moses goes back in Deuteronomy 4:34 to the miracles with which God effected the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt. "Or has a god attempted (made the attempt) to come and take to himself people from people (i.e., to fetch the people of Israel out of the midst of the Egyptian nation), with temptations (the events in Egypt by which Pharaoh's relation to the Lord was put to the test; cf. Deuteronomy 6:22 and Deuteronomy 7:18-19), with signs and wonders (the Egyptian plagues, see Exodus 7:3), and with conflict (at the Red Sea: Exodus 14:14; Exodus 15:3), and with a strong hand and outstretched arm (see Exodus 6:6), and with great terrors?" In the three points mentioned last, all the acts of God in Egypt are comprehended, according to both cause and effect. They were revelations of the omnipotence of the Lord, and produced great terrors (cf. Exodus 12:30-36).
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