Deuteronomy 4
The events at Mount Horeb
1Now, 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. 2Don’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.
3You 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, 4but all of you who stayed true to the LORD your God are alive today. 5So 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. 6Keep 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!" 7After all, is there any great nation that has gods#MT; LXX, Syr, Tg a god so close as close to it as the LORD our God is close to us whenever we call to him? 8Or does any great nation have regulations and case laws as righteous as all this Instruction that I am setting before you today?
9But 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. 10Remember that#Heb lacks remember that. 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." 11Then 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! 12The 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. 13The LORD declared his covenant to you, which he commanded you to do—the Ten Commandments#Or the ten words—and wrote them on two stone tablets. 14At 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.
15So 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. 16Don’t ruin everything and make an idol for yourself: a form of any image, any likeness—male or female—17or any likeness whatsoever, whether of a land animal, a bird that flies in the sky, 18an insect that crawls on the earth, or a fish that lives in the sea. 19Don’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. 20But 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.
21The 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. 22I 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. 23So 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, 24because the LORD your God is an all-consuming fire. He is a passionate God.
Warnings and teachings about future disobedience
25Once 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, 26I 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. 27The LORD will scatter you among the nations. Only a very few of you will survive in the countries where the LORD will drag you. 28There you will worship other#LXX; MT lacks other. gods, made of wood and stone by human hands—gods that cannot see, listen, eat, or smell. 29You will seek the LORD your God from there, and you will find him#Heb lacks him. if you seek him with all your heart and with all your being. 30In 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, 31because 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.
32Now 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? 33Has any people ever listened to a god’s voice speaking out of fire, as each of you have, and survived? 34Or 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? 35You were shown these things so that you would know this: The LORD is the only God. There’s no other god except him. 36From 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. 37And 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, 38in 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. 39Know then today and keep in mind that the LORD is the only God in heaven above or on earth below. There is no other. 40Keep 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
41Then Moses set aside three cities on the eastern side of the Jordan River 42so that anyone who killed someone accidentally and without prior hatred could flee to one of these cities and be safe: 43Bezer 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
44Now this is the Instruction that Moses set before the Israelites. 45These are the laws and the regulations and the case laws that Moses spoke to the Israelites when they came out of Egypt. 46This 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. 47They took possession of his land and the land of Og, Bashan’s king—the two Amorite kings across the Jordan River to the east—48from Aroer, which is on the banks of the Arnon River, all the way to Mount Sion,#Syr Sirion; see 3:9. also known as Hermon, 49and all the desert regions across the Jordan River, on the east, down to the Dead Sea, beneath the slopes of Mount Pisgah.
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