Deuteronomy 4:8
And what nation is there so great, that has statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?
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(8) What nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous?—These words direct our attention to the law of Moses, as distinctly in advance of the time when it was given.

4:1-23 The power and love of God to Israel are here made the ground and reason of a number of cautions and serious warnings; and although there is much reference to their national covenant, yet all may be applied to those who live under the gospel. What are laws made for but to be observed and obeyed? Our obedience as individuals cannot merit salvation; but it is the only evidence that we are partakers of the gift of God, which is eternal life through Jesus Christ, Considering how many temptations we are compassed with, and what corrupt desires we have in our bosoms, we have great need to keep our hearts with all diligence. Those cannot walk aright, who walk carelessly. Moses charges particularly to take heed of the sin of idolatry. He shows how weak the temptation would be to those who thought aright; for these pretended gods, the sun, moon, and stars, were only blessings which the Lord their God had imparted to all nations. It is absurd to worship them; shall we serve those that were made to serve us? Take heed lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God. We must take heed lest at any time we forget our religion. Care, caution, and watchfulness, are helps against a bad memory.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, Deuteronomy 27-30. 7-9. what nation is there so great—Here he represents their privileges and their duty in such significant and comprehensive terms, as were peculiarly calculated to arrest their attention and engage their interest. The former, their national advantages, are described (De 4:7, 8), and they were twofold: 1. God's readiness to hear and aid them at all times; and 2. the excellence of that religion in which they were instructed, set forth in the "statutes and judgments so righteous" which the law of Moses contained. Their duty corresponding to these pre-eminent advantages as a people, was also twofold: 1. their own faithful obedience to that law; and 2. their obligation to imbue the minds of the young and rising generation with similar sentiments of reverence and respect for it. Whereby he implies that the true greatness of a nation doth not consist in pomp or power, or largeness of empire, as commonly men think, but in the righteousness of its laws. And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous,.... Founded in justice and equity, and so agreeable to right reason, and so well calculated and adapted to lead persons in the ways of righteousness and truth, and keep them from doing any injury to each other's persons and properties, and to maintain good order, peace, and concord among them:

as all this law which I set before you this day? which he then repeated, afresh declared, explained and instructed them in; for otherwise it had been delivered to them near forty years ago. Now there was not any nation then in being, nor any since, to be compared with the nation of the Jews, for the wise and wholesome laws given unto them; no, not the more cultivated and civilized nations, as the Grecians and Romans, who had the advantage of such wise lawgivers as they were accounted, as Solon, Lycurgus, Numa, and others; and indeed the best laws that they had seem to be borrowed from the Jews.

And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?
8. And what great nation … hath statutes … so righteous] This challenge is as just as the preceding. Other great codes and systems of ethics there undoubtedly were in Israel’s world (e.g. the Code of Ḫammurabi and various systems in Egypt). But the deuteronomic Torah is rightly exalted above them—because of its pure religious fervency, its revelation of the Divine character, and its enforcement, in the details of human conduct, of the example of God Himself. Moreover, the Law of no other nation in Israel’s world has exerted so practical an influence on the ethics of mankind. How necessary it was to impress Israel, both immediately before and during the Exile, with the distinction which the Law gave them among the nations is seen from such passages as Ezekiel 20:32; Ezekiel 25:8. The heathen said Israel is like all the nations, and Israelites were tempted to fall back upon the easier ethics of their neighbours, we will be as the heathen. This is the temptation of all recipients of high ideals and duties; none are more exposed to it than Christians; they must remind themselves, as this discourse insists, of the privilege and responsibility of those who having known the better dare not be content with the easier. The substance of these verses then is, Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye have been called. The abuse of such a conscience is the self-righteousness born of a merely formal fulfilment of the Law (Luke 18:11). ‘Pharisaism and Deuteronomy came into the world the same day’ (A. B. Davidson, Hastings DB. ii. 577).

set before you] Not prescribe or enforce; but offer for your decision and acceptance. So Deuteronomy 11:26; Deuteronomy 11:32; Deuteronomy 30:1; Deuteronomy 30:15; Deuteronomy 30:19. The affirmation of the people’s responsibility is characteristic of D.The observance of the law, however, required that it should be kept as it was given, that nothing should be added to it or taken from it, but that men should submit to it as to the inviolable word of God. Not by omissions only, but by additions also, was the commandment weakened, and the word of God turned into ordinances of men, as Pharisaism sufficiently proved. This precept is repeated in Deuteronomy 13:1; it is then revived by the prophets (Jeremiah 26:2; Proverbs 30:6), and enforced again at the close of the whole revelation (Revelation 22:18-19). In the same sense Christ also said that He had not come to destroy the law or the prophets, but to fulfil (Matthew 5:17); and the old covenant was not abrogated, but only glorified and perfected, by the new.
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