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Deuteronomy 4 Common English Bible (CEB)

The events at Mount Horeb

Now, Israel, in light of all that, listen to the regulations and the case laws that I am teaching you to follow, so that you may live, enter, and possess the land that the Lord, your ancestors’ God, is giving to you. Don’t add anything to the word that I am commanding you, and don’t take anything away from it. Instead, keep the commands of the Lord your God that I am commanding all of you.

You saw with your own eyes what the Lord did concerning the Baal of Peor. The Lord your God destroyed everyone who followed the Baal of Peor, but all of you who stayed true to the Lord your God are alive today. So pay attention! I am teaching all of you the regulations and the case laws exactly as the Lord my God commanded me. You must do these in the land you are entering to possess. Keep them faithfully because that will show your wisdom and insight to the nations who will hear about all these regulations. They will say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and insightful people!” After all, is there any great nation that has gods[a] as close to it as the Lord our God is close to us whenever we call to him? Or does any great nation have regulations and case laws as righteous as all this Instruction that I am setting before you today?

But be on guard and watch yourselves closely so that you don’t forget the things your eyes saw and so they never leave your mind as long as you live. Teach them to your children and your grandchildren. 10 Remember that[b] day when you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when the Lord said to me: “Gather the people to me. I will declare my words to them so that they will learn to fear me every day of their lives on the fertile land, and teach their children to do the same.” 11 Then you all came close and stood at the foot of the mountain. The mountain was blazing with fire up to the sky, with darkness, cloud, and thick smoke! 12 The Lord spoke to you out of the very fire itself. You heard the sound of words, but you didn’t see any form. There was only a voice. 13 The Lord declared his covenant to you, which he commanded you to do—the Ten Commandments[c]—and wrote them on two stone tablets. 14 At that time, the Lord commanded me to teach you all the regulations and the case laws that you must keep in the land that you are entering to possess.

15 So watch your conduct closely, because you didn’t see any form on the day the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the very fire itself. 16 Don’t ruin everything and make an idol for yourself: a form of any image, any likeness—male or female— 17 or any likeness whatsoever, whether of a land animal, a bird that flies in the sky, 18 an insect that crawls on the earth, or a fish that lives in the sea. 19 Don’t look to the skies, to the sun or the moon or the stars, all the heavenly bodies, and be led astray, worshipping and serving them. The Lord your God has granted these things to all the nations who live under heaven. 20 But the Lord took you and brought you out of that iron furnace, out of Egypt, so that you might be his own treasured people, which is what you are right now.

21 The Lord was angry with me because of your deeds and swore that I couldn’t cross the Jordan River or enter the wonderful land that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance. 22 I will die here in this land. I won’t cross the Jordan River. But you will, and you will take possession of that wonderful land. 23 So all of you, watch yourselves! Don’t forget the covenant that the Lord your God made with you by making an idol or an image of any kind or anything the Lord your God forbids, 24 because the Lord your God is an all-consuming fire. He is a passionate God.

Warnings and teachings about future disobedience

25 Once you have had children and grandchildren and have grown old on the land, if you ruin things by making an idol, in any form whatsoever, and do what is evil in the eyes of the Lord your God and anger him, 26 I call heaven and earth as my witnesses against you today: You will definitely disappear—and quickly—from the land that you are crossing over the Jordan River to possess. You won’t extend your time there but will instead be totally destroyed. 27 The Lord will scatter you among the nations. Only a very few of you will survive in the countries where the Lord will drag you. 28 There you will worship other[d] gods, made of wood and stone by human hands—gods that cannot see, listen, eat, or smell. 29 You will seek the Lord your God from there, and you will find him[e] if you seek him with all your heart and with all your being. 30 In your distress, when all these things happen to you in the future, you will return to the Lord your God and you will obey his voice, 31 because the Lord your God is a compassionate God. He won’t let you go, he won’t destroy you, and he won’t forget the covenant that he swore to your ancestors.

32 Now look into it: into days long past, before your time—all the way back to the day God first created human beings on earth, from one end of heaven to the other. Has anything this amazing ever happened? Has anything like it ever been heard of before? 33 Has any people ever listened to a god’s voice speaking out of fire, as each of you have, and survived? 34 Or has any god ever tried to take one nation out of another nation using tests, miracles, wonders, war, a strong hand and outstretched arm, or awesome power like all that the Lord your God did for you in Egypt while you watched? 35 You were shown these things so that you would know this: The Lord is the only God. There’s no other god except him. 36 From heaven he made you hear his voice in order to discipline you. On earth he showed you his great fire. You heard his words from that very fire. 37 And because he loved your ancestors and chose their descendants after them, God brought you out of Egypt with his own presence, by his own great power, 38 in order to remove larger and stronger nations from before you and bring you into their land, giving it to you as an inheritance. That’s where things stand right now. 39 Know then today and keep in mind that the Lord is the only God in heaven above or on earth below. There is no other. 40 Keep the Lord’s regulations and his commandments. I’m commanding them to you today for your well-being and for the well-being of your children after you, so that you may extend your time on the fertile land that the Lord your God is giving you forever.

Cities of refuge

41 Then Moses set aside three cities on the eastern side of the Jordan River 42 so that anyone who killed someone accidentally and without prior hatred could flee to one of these cities and be safe: 43 Bezer in the wilderness on the plateau for the Reubenites, Ramoth in Gilead for the Gadites, and Golan in Bashan for the Manassites.

The second heading: Recounting the Horeb covenant

44 Now this is the Instruction that Moses set before the Israelites. 45 These are the laws and the regulations and the case laws that Moses spoke to the Israelites when they came out of Egypt. 46 This took place across the Jordan River, in the valley opposite Beth-peor, in the land of Sihon the Amorite king who ruled in Heshbon, whom Moses and the Israelites defeated when they came out of Egypt. 47 They took possession of his land and the land of Og, Bashan’s king—the two Amorite kings across the Jordan River to the east— 48 from Aroer, which is on the banks of the Arnon River, all the way to Mount Sion,[f] also known as Hermon, 49 and all the desert regions across the Jordan River, on the east, down to the Dead Sea, beneath the slopes of Mount Pisgah.

Footnotes:

  1. Deuteronomy 4:7 MT; LXX, Syr, Tg a god so close
  2. Deuteronomy 4:10 Heb lacks remember that.
  3. Deuteronomy 4:13 Or the ten words
  4. Deuteronomy 4:28 LXX; MT lacks other.
  5. Deuteronomy 4:29 Heb lacks him.
  6. Deuteronomy 4:48 Syr Sirion; see 3:9.
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

Deuteronomy 4 New International Version (NIV)

Obedience Commanded

Now, Israel, hear the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you.

You saw with your own eyes what the Lord did at Baal Peor. The Lord your God destroyed from among you everyone who followed the Baal of Peor, but all of you who held fast to the Lord your God are still alive today.

See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the Lord my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him? And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. 10 Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.” 11 You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain while it blazed with fire to the very heavens, with black clouds and deep darkness. 12 Then the Lord spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice. 13 He declared to you his covenant, the Ten Commandments, which he commanded you to follow and then wrote them on two stone tablets. 14 And the Lord directed me at that time to teach you the decrees and laws you are to follow in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess.

Idolatry Forbidden

15 You saw no form of any kind the day the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully, 16 so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman, 17 or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air, 18 or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below. 19 And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the Lord your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven. 20 But as for you, the Lord took you and brought you out of the iron-smelting furnace, out of Egypt, to be the people of his inheritance, as you now are.

21 The Lord was angry with me because of you, and he solemnly swore that I would not cross the Jordan and enter the good land the Lord your God is giving you as your inheritance. 22 I will die in this land; I will not cross the Jordan; but you are about to cross over and take possession of that good land. 23 Be careful not to forget the covenant of the Lord your God that he made with you; do not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything the Lord your God has forbidden. 24 For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

25 After you have had children and grandchildren and have lived in the land a long time—if you then become corrupt and make any kind of idol, doing evil in the eyes of the Lord your God and arousing his anger, 26 I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you this day that you will quickly perish from the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess. You will not live there long but will certainly be destroyed. 27 The Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and only a few of you will survive among the nations to which the Lord will drive you. 28 There you will worship man-made gods of wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or eat or smell. 29 But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the Lord your God and obey him. 31 For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.

The Lord Is God

32 Ask now about the former days, long before your time, from the day God created human beings on the earth; ask from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything so great as this ever happened, or has anything like it ever been heard of? 33 Has any other people heard the voice of God[a] speaking out of fire, as you have, and lived? 34 Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?

35 You were shown these things so that you might know that the Lord is God; besides him there is no other. 36 From heaven he made you hear his voice to discipline you. On earth he showed you his great fire, and you heard his words from out of the fire. 37 Because he loved your ancestors and chose their descendants after them, he brought you out of Egypt by his Presence and his great strength, 38 to drive out before you nations greater and stronger than you and to bring you into their land to give it to you for your inheritance, as it is today.

39 Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other. 40 Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the Lord your God gives you for all time.

Cities of Refuge

41 Then Moses set aside three cities east of the Jordan, 42 to which anyone who had killed a person could flee if they had unintentionally killed a neighbor without malice aforethought. They could flee into one of these cities and save their life. 43 The cities were these: Bezer in the wilderness plateau, for the Reubenites; Ramoth in Gilead, for the Gadites; and Golan in Bashan, for the Manassites.

Introduction to the Law

44 This is the law Moses set before the Israelites. 45 These are the stipulations, decrees and laws Moses gave them when they came out of Egypt 46 and were in the valley near Beth Peor east of the Jordan, in the land of Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon and was defeated by Moses and the Israelites as they came out of Egypt. 47 They took possession of his land and the land of Og king of Bashan, the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan. 48 This land extended from Aroer on the rim of the Arnon Gorge to Mount Sirion[b] (that is, Hermon), 49 and included all the Arabah east of the Jordan, as far as the Dead Sea,[c] below the slopes of Pisgah.

Footnotes:

  1. Deuteronomy 4:33 Or of a god
  2. Deuteronomy 4:48 Syriac (see also 3:9); Hebrew Siyon
  3. Deuteronomy 4:49 Hebrew the Sea of the Arabah
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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