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Law and Wisdom according to Deut 4:5–8

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Chapter Summary

Deuteronomy 4:5-8 is an important text for the question of the relationship of Wisdom and Torah in the Hebrew Bible. Only here is Wisdom and Torah related to each other in the Pentateuch. This chapter sheds light on the understanding of this difficult text. Deuteronomy 4:5-8 is part of a long speech of Moses running from Deut 1:6-4:40. The call to obedience to the law in Deut 4:5-8 is not motivated by a threat of God's might and his will to punish. Rather, the verses point (i) to the positive consequences of obedience to the law for the international reputation of Israel (v. 6), (ii) to the closeness of God (v. 7), and (iii) to the quality of the law (v. 8). The verses express the desire that Israel's obedience to the Mosaic Law will lead to its recognition by the nations.

Keywords: Deut 4:5-8; Israel; Mosaic law; Torah; wisdom



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