Translation commentary on Deuteronomy 5:25

Now therefore why should we die?: they fear they run the risk of dying if Yahweh were to speak to them again, and so they ask Moses to act as their mediator (see Exo 20.19). Instead of die it is better to say “risk death” (Good News Translation, Revised English Bible), or “run the risk of dying,” or “take a chance on being killed” (Contemporary English Version).

This great fire will consume us: the fire was not a natural fire but a display of Yahweh’s power, which might destroy them. And if Yahweh were to speak again, they would surely die, as the following verse makes clear.

Quoted with permission from Bratcher, Robert G. and Hatton, Howard A. A Handbook on Deuteronomy. (UBS Helps for Translators). New York: UBS, 2000. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .

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