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In Deuteronomy 32:40, why would The Lord say "I lift My Hand to heaven" - Does The Lord of Israel claim to dwell below the highest heaven?


NIV | Deuteronomy 32:40-41

"40 I lift My Hand to heaven and solemnly swear: As surely as I live forever,

41 when I sharpen my flashing sword and my hand grasps it in judgment, I will take vengeance on my adversaries and repay those who hate me."


  • Is there another heaven above the heaven in which The Lord of Israel judges us? (Multiple heavens are referenced by The Lord in Deuteronomy 32:1 "Listen, you heavens")
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Jehovah spoke with Moses face to face, by a similitude (a likeness) as a man speaks to his friend. And it was there that Jehovah communicated this song.

With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? [Numbers 12:8 KJV]

From that vantage point, the Lord speaking to Moses, within the tabernacle, heaven is above and, within the framework of that conversation, Jehovah would express the lifting of a hand to heaven as a form of oath.

For I lift up to the heavens my hand [Deuteronomy 32:40 YLT]

The similitude which Moses saw, and with which Moses conversed, as a man speaks to his friend, was on earth - not in heaven.

Therefore heaven was above the speaking similitude.

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The passage in context:

39 “‘See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand. 40 For I lift up my hand to heaven and swear, As I live forever (Deuteronomy 32:39-40) [ESV]

The previous verse begins with a statement from the LORD that He is "I Am." In this instance literally "I, I Am" (אֲנִי אֲנִי הוּא ’ănî ’ănî hū'). When "I Am" is recognized as Jesus, the passage may be paraphrased:

I, I am (Father and Son) and there is no god beside me. I kill and make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand. For I [Jesus] lift up My hand to heaven and swear, as I live forever.

Moses is speaking prophetically. When I Am is on the earth He will be lifted up to heaven.

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  • Although this is an interpretation, I still think it is valid and was in my mind when I composed my own answer. (Up-voted +1.)
    – Nigel J
    Jan 8 at 15:12
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1 Kings 8:27

"But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!

In Deuteronomy 32:40, does The Lord of Israel claim to dwell below the highest heaven?

No.

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