Deuteronomy 4 Common English Bible (CEB)
The events at Mount Horeb
4 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. 2 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.
3 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, 4 but all of you who stayed true to the Lord your God are alive today. 5 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. 6 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!” 7 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? 8 Or does any great nation have regulations and case laws as righteous as all this Instruction that I am setting before you today?
9 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.