New Defender's Study Bible Notes
4:8 all this law. The critics of the early nineteenth century argued that the Mosaic law was far too advanced in moral structure and complexity to have been composed in Moses’ time, and therefore dated from many centuries later. The discovery of other law codes, however, such as the Code of Hammurabi, the Hittite Code, and the Assyrian Code, all dating from the same period of history as the Mosaic Code, has made such views obsolete.
4:13 two tables of stone. Note also Exodus 31:18, along with note for Exodus 31:17. The ten commandments are immensely important in the plan of God, being the only portions of His inspired Word which were directly “inscripturated” in stone by His own hand.
4:15 Horeb. Evidently Mount Horeb is essentially the same as Mount Sinai (note Exodus 19:11,18). Possibly one name referred to the range of mountains, the other to the specific peak.
4:19 driven to worship them. The pagan nations of Canaan, as well as Egypt and the other nations of antiquity, had once known the true God of creation, but had long since become evolutionary pantheists, worshipping the creation instead of the Creator (note Romans 1:20-25). The children of Israel were repeatedly warned against this influence, but repeatedly succumbed to it in later years–just as have people in every age. The first of the ten commandments, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3), was given explicitly to guard against this ever-present Satanic temptation.
4:24 consuming fire. This verse is quoted and applied relative to professing Christian believers in Hebrews 12:29.
4:28 ye shall serve gods. This is a prophecy remarkably fulfilled in later ages. Not only were the Israelites scattered among the nations of the world, but great multitudes of these apostates abandoned the faith of their fathers in favor of many forms–ancient and modern–of evolutionary pantheism. Modern “Reform Judaism,” for example, is little more than evolutionary humanism.
4:30 tribulation. This prophecy, given by Moses as Israel prepared to enter the promised land, apparently looks into the distant future, 3500 years or more, to “the latter days” when Israel will be in the “great tribulation” (Revelation 7:14). At that “time of trouble...thy people shall be delivered,” (Daniel 12:1), and “immediately after the tribulation of those days...He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:29,31).
4:32 God created man. “The days that are past,” to which Moses referred, “since the day that God created man upon the earth,” had been some 2500 years (assuming no “gaps” in the received chronological genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11). That was a long time, of course, but was at least a reasonable point of reference to which the people could relate–nothing like the eternal evolutionary ages postulated by the Egyptians, Canaanites and other ancient pagan nations.
4:37 he loved thy fathers. Israel was not God’s chosen people because they deserved to be, but “because He loved thy fathers.” He had made an unconditional promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob because of their faithfulness, not that of their “seed after them.”
4:41 three cities. In addition to three cities of refuge on “this side Jordan” (that is, east of Jordan, in Moab), three were to be established on the west side of Jordan. The latter were Kedesh, Shechem and Hebron (Joshua 20:7). It is significant that all six were easily visible from large distances.