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For i Lift up my Hand to Heaven and Swear: Deut 32:40

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Chapter Summary

This chapter deals with the case presented in Deut 32:40, and then compares it with the other attestations of the expression. Deut 32 is a didactic poem, taking the form of a farewell address. After an introduction, the poet describes the initiative of the Lord which has brought Israel safely through the wilderness, and planted it in a land blessed with fertility. He continues with a description of Israel's infidelity. Then the Lord, in his first speech, announces his threatening punishment and his decision to change his plans because the nations might misunderstand the punishment, and themselves take credit of destroying Israel. The metre of the MT points in that direction, as well as the Greek version, and probably also the Hebrew text found at Qumran. The phrase had no relation with an oath of the Lord but rather with his active intervention against Israel's enemies.

Keywords: Deut 32:40; Hebrew text; Israel; Lord; Qumran



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