Old Testament

Deuteronomy 4
Review of the Terms of the Covenant for a New Generation
41So now, Israel, listen to the statutes and the ordinances that I am teaching you, and carry them out so that you may live and so that you may enter the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, is giving to you and take possession of it. 2Do not add to the word that I am commanding you, and do not subtract from it, so that you keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you. 3With your own eyes you have been observing what the Lord did at Baal Peor. Indeed, the Lord your God destroyed from among you every man who followed the Baal of Peor.
4But all of you, who are clinging to the Lord your God, are still alive today. 5Note well now, I have taught you statutes and ordinances, as the Lord my God commanded me, so that you may carry them out also in the land that you are entering to take as a possession. 6Keep them and put them into practice, because in this way your wisdom and your understanding will be recognized by all the people who hear about all these statutes; and they will say, “This great nation is certainly a wise and understanding people,” 7because what other great nation is there that has a god as close to it as the Lord our God is to us whenever we call on him? 8What other great nation is there that has statutes and ordinances as righteous as this entire law that I am presenting to you today?
9But guard yourselves and guard your whole being[] diligently, so that you do not forget the things that your eyes have seen and so that those things do not disappear from your heart all the rest of the days of your life. Make them known to your children and to your children's children. 10Tell about the day that you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb when the Lord said to me, “Bring the people near to me and I will make sure that they hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they are living in the land, and so that they may teach their children.” 11So you drew near and you stood under the mountain while the mountain was burning with fire up to the very heavens. There was darkness, a thick cloud, and gloom. 12Then the Lord your God spoke to you from the middle of the fire. You heard the sound of the words, but you did not see a form. You only heard the sound. 13He declared to you his covenant that he commanded you to carry out, namely, the Ten Commandments.[] Then he wrote them on two tablets of stone. 14At that time the Lord commanded me to teach you the statutes and ordinances for you to carry out in the land that you are entering in order to occupy it.
15So guard your hearts very carefully, because you did not see any form on the day that the Lord your God spoke to you at Horeb from the middle of the fire. 16Do this so that you do not act corruptly and make for yourselves an idol of any form. Do not make an image of a male or female, 17an image of any animal that walks on the earth, an image of any bird that flies in the sky, 18an image of anything that creeps on the ground, or an image of any fish that swims in the water below the earth. 19Beware so that you do not lift up your eyes to the heavens and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the vast army of the heavens, and you are lured away, and you bow down to them and worship them—things that the Lord your God has allotted to all the nations under all the heavens.
20But you are the ones that the Lord has chosen and has brought out of the iron furnace of Egypt, to be a nation that is his possession, as is the case today. 21But the Lord was angry with me because of your words, and he swore that I would not cross the Jordan and would not come into the good land that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance. 22I will die in this land without crossing over the Jordan, but you will cross over and take possession of this good land. 23Be on guard so that you do not forget the covenant that the Lord your God made[] with you and so that you do not make an idol for yourselves in the form of anything that the Lord your God prohibited. 24For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.[]
25But when you become the father of children, and you have grandchildren, and you have grown old in the land, if you then act corruptly by making an idol of any form, and you do evil in the eyes of the Lord your God, provoking him to anger, 26I today call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you, that you will most certainly perish quickly from the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess. You will not live many days in it, because you will most certainly be destroyed. 27The Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left as a people that are few in number among the nations where the Lord your God will force you to go. 28There you will worship gods, the work of human hands, made of wood and stone—things that do not see or hear or eat or smell.
29But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find him when you search for him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30When you experience misery and all these things have happened to you in future days, then you will return to the Lord your God, and you will be obedient to his voice. 31For the Lord your God is a compassionate God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant that he promised to your fathers with an oath.
32So ask now about the former days, long before your time, beginning from the day when God created man on the earth. Search from one end of the heavens to the other. Has there ever been anything like this great event, or has anything like it ever been heard? 33Has a people ever heard the voice of God speaking from the middle of fire as you heard and yet continued to live? 34Or has a god ever tried to go and take for himself a nation from inside another nation by tests, signs, and warnings, or by war, by a strong hand and an outstretched arm, and by great awe-inspiring acts like all those that the Lord your God did for you in Egypt in front of your very eyes? 35You yourselves were shown this so that you could know that the Lord—he is God! There is none except him alone. 36He let you hear his voice from the heavens to discipline you, and on earth he let you see his great fire, and you heard his words from the middle of the fire. 37Yes, because he loved your fathers and chose their descendants after them, he brought you out of Egypt by the great power of his Presence, 38driving out from your presence nations greater and stronger than you are, to bring you in, to give you their land as an inheritance, as it is this day. 39Therefore know this today and again take it to heart that the Lord is God in the heavens above and on the earth below. There is no other. 40Keep his statutes and his commandments that I am commanding you today, so that it may go well for you and for your children after you, and so that you may live long on the land[] that the Lord your God is giving you for all time.[]
Cities of Refuge
41Then Moses set aside three cities in the region east of the Jordan, the place where the sun rises, 42so that someone who killed a man could flee to them, that is, someone who killed his neighbor unintentionally and who did not previously hate him—he could flee to one of these cities and remain alive: 43Bezer in the wilderness in the tableland belonging to the Reubenites, Ramoth in Gilead belonging to the Gadites, and Golan in Bashan belonging to the Manassites.
A Review of the Law
44This is the Law that Moses set before the people of Israel. 45These are the testimonies and statutes and ordinances that Moses spoke to the people of Israel when they went out of Egypt, 46in the region east of the Jordan opposite Beth Peor in the land of Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon, whom Moses and the children of Israel struck down when they came out of Egypt. 47So they took possession of his land as well as the land of the king of Bashan, the two kings of the Amorites who were in the region east of the Jordan, where the sun rises. 48They took possession from Aroer, which is on the edge of the Arnon Canyon, all the way to Mount Siyon, that is, Mount Hermon, 49including all of the Arabah on the east side of the Jordan, up to the Sea of the Arabah[] below the slopes of Pisgah.


  • 4:9 Or your soul or yourself
  • 4:13 Literally the Ten Words
  • 4:23 Literally cut. See Genesis 15 for a covenant made by cutting up sacrifices.
  • 4:24 God's jealousy is his demand for exclusive loyalty.
  • 4:40 Or on the soil
  • 4:40 Literally for all the days
  • 4:49 The Dead Sea