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Deuteronomy 4 International Standard Version (ISV)

Moses Presents the Privileges of the Covenant

“Now, Israel, listen to the statutes and the ordinances that I’m teaching you to observe so you may live and go in to take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is about to give you. Do not add or subtract a thing to what I’m commanding you. Observe the commands of the Lord your God.[a] You saw with your own eyes what he did in Baal Peor. The Lord your God exterminated from among you every man who followed Baal of Peor. But all of you who are clinging to the Lord your God are alive today. See! I taught you the statutes and the ordinances, just as the Lord God commanded. Therefore, observe them[b] when you enter the land you are about to possess. Observe them carefully, because this will show your wisdom and discernment in the eyes of people who’ll listen to all these decrees. Then they’ll say: ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and discerning people.’ For what great nation has a god so near like the Lord our God whenever we call on him? And what great nation has all the decrees and righteous ordinances like all this teaching that I’m giving you today? Only guard yourselves carefully so you won’t forget the things that you saw and let them slip from your mind for the rest of your life. Tell them to your children and to your grandchildren. 10 The day you stood in the presence of the Lord your God in Horeb, the Lord told me, ‘Gather the people before me so they may hear my words, learn to revere me the whole time that they live in the land, and teach them[c] to their children.’”

Moses Warns against Idolatry

11 “When you approached and stood at the foot of the mountain—a mountain that was blazing with fire at its core[d] while the sky was covered with thick, dark clouds— 12 the Lord your God spoke from the midst of the fire. You heard the sound of words, but you saw no form; there was only a voice. 13 He declared to you his covenant, which he commanded you to observe—the Ten Commandments that he wrote on two stone tablets. 14 The Lord commanded me at that time to teach you to observe the statutes and ordinances in the land after you cross over to take possession of it.

15 “Therefore, for your own sake, be very careful, since you did not see any form on the day that the Lord your God spoke to you in Horeb from the midst of the fire. 16 Be careful![e] Otherwise, you will be destroyed when you make carved images for yourself—all sorts of images in the form of man, woman, 17 any animal on earth, any winged bird that flies in the sky, 18 any creeping thing on the ground, or any fish in the sea.[f] 19 Do not gaze toward the heavens and observe the sun, the moon, the stars—the entire array of the sky—with the intent[g] to worship and serve what the Lord your God gave every nation.[h] 20 For 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 are today.

21 “But the Lord was angry with me because of you. So he swore that I’ll never cross the Jordan River to enter the good land that the Lord your God is about to give you as an inheritance. 22 I’m going to die in this land and I won’t cross the Jordan River, but you’re about to cross over to possess that good land. 23 Be careful! Otherwise, you will forget the covenant of the Lord your God, who established that covenant with you. Don’t make carved images of any likeness in violation of everything that you were commanded by the Lord your God. 24 Indeed, the Lord your God is a consuming[i] fire. He is a jealous God.”

Warnings against Angering God

25 “After you’ve borne children and grandchildren, have been there for a long time in the land, have become so corrupted that you make images of any form, and have done evil in the eyes of the Lord your God, you will provoke him to anger. 26 Heaven and earth will testify against what has occurred[j] today: you’ll surely and swiftly be destroyed from the land that you are about to possess by crossing the Jordan River. You won’t live long in it, because you’ll certainly be exterminated. 27 Moreover, the Lord will scatter you among the nations, and you’ll be fewer in number in the nations where the Lord your God will drive you. 28 There you’ll serve gods made by human hands, serving[k] trees and stones that cannot see, hear, eat, nor smell. 29 If from there you will seek the Lord your God, then you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and soul. 30 In your distress, when all these things happen to you in days to come and you return to the Lord your God, then you will hear his voice. 31 For God is compassionate. The Lord your God won’t fail you. He won’t destroy you or forget the covenant that he confirmed with your ancestors.”

Who is Like the Lord?

32 “Indeed, ask from one end of the heavens to the other about days of old, before your time, when God created mankind on the earth. Did we ever have anything as great as this, or ever hear of anything like it? 33 Has any people heard the voice of God speaking from the middle of a fire just as you did,[l] and survived it? 34 Or has any god ever taken for himself one nation out from another nation with testings, signs, wonders, wars, awesome power,[m] and magnificent, terrifying deeds[n] as the Lord your God did in Egypt before your eyes?

35 “You have been shown this in order to know that ‘the Lord is God’ and there is no one like him. 36 You have been made to hear his voice from heaven so you may be instructed.[o] And he showed you his great fire here on earth, and you heard his voice from the middle of that fire. 37 Moreover, he loved your ancestors, chose their descendants after them, and brought you out of Egypt, accompanied by his presence and great power, 38 in order to drive out nations that are stronger and more powerful than you, to bring you into this land,[p] and to give you their land as an inheritance, as it is today.

39 “May you acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in the heavens above and over the earth below—there is no other God.[q] 40 May you observe his statutes and keep his commands that I’m giving you today, so that life may go well for you and for your descendants after you. That way, you’ll live a long life in the land that the Lord your God is about to give you permanently.”[r]

Cities of Refuge

41 Then Moses designated three cities on the east side of the Jordan, 42 where a person who accidentally killed someone could flee, if he killed his neighbor without having enmity toward him in the past. He may flee to one of these cities and live: 43 Bezer in the desert plain for the descendants of Reuben, Ramoth in Gilead for the descendants of Gad, and Golan in Bashan for the descendants of Manasseh.

Moses Reviews the Law

44 This is the Law that Moses reviewed in the presence of the Israelis. 45 These are the instructions, decrees, and ordinances that Moses declared to the Israelis when they came out of Egypt. 46 He did this[s] east of the Jordan, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, in the land of Sihon, king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon, and whom Moses and the Israelis defeated after leaving Egypt. 47 So they took possession of his land, as well as the land of King Og of Bashan. Both Amorite kings lived east of the Jordan— 48 from Aroer on the edge of the Wadi[t] Arnon as far as Mount Sirion,[u] which is also called Hermon, 49 and all the Arabah east of the Jordan as far as the Dead Sea[v] below the slopes of Pisgah.

Footnotes:

  1. Deuteronomy 4:2 Lit. God that I’m commanding you
  2. Deuteronomy 4:5 The Heb. lacks them
  3. Deuteronomy 4:10 The Heb. lacks them
  4. Deuteronomy 4:11 Lit. heart
  5. Deuteronomy 4:16 The Heb. lacks be careful
  6. Deuteronomy 4:18 Lit. in the waters below ground
  7. Deuteronomy 4:19 The Heb. lacks with the intent
  8. Deuteronomy 4:19 I.e. as lights in the night sky; cf. Gen 1:14-18
  9. Deuteronomy 4:24 So MT; LXX reads is an all-consuming
  10. Deuteronomy 4:26 Lit. I invoke heaven and earth against you
  11. Deuteronomy 4:28 The Heb. lacks serving
  12. Deuteronomy 4:33 Lit. heard
  13. Deuteronomy 4:34 Lit. wars, a mighty hand and an outstretched arm,
  14. Deuteronomy 4:34 The Heb. lacks deeds
  15. Deuteronomy 4:36 Or disciplined
  16. Deuteronomy 4:38 The Heb. lacks this land
  17. Deuteronomy 4:39 The Heb. lacks God
  18. Deuteronomy 4:40 Lit. all the days
  19. Deuteronomy 4:46 The Heb. lacks He did this
  20. Deuteronomy 4:48 I.e. a seasonal stream or river that channels water during rain seasons but is dry at other times
  21. Deuteronomy 4:48 MT reads Sion; cf. Deut 3:9
  22. Deuteronomy 4:49 Lit. the Sea of the Arabah
International Standard Version (ISV)

Copyright © 1995-2014 by ISV Foundation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED INTERNATIONALLY. Used by permission of Davidson Press, LLC.

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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