4 “And now, O Israel, listen carefully to these laws I teach you, and obey them if you want to live and enter into and possess the land given you by the Lord God of your ancestors. 2 Do not add other laws or subtract from these; just obey them, for they are from the Lord your God. 3 You have seen what the Lord did to you at Baalpeor, where he destroyed many people for worshiping idols. 4 But all of you who were faithful to the Lord your God are still alive today.
5 “These are the laws for you to obey when you arrive in the land where you will live. They are from the Lord our God. He has given them to me to pass on to you. 6 If you obey them, they will give you a reputation for wisdom and intelligence. When the surrounding nations hear these laws, they will exclaim, ‘What other nation is as wise and prudent as Israel!’ 7 For what other nation, great or small, has God among them, as the Lord our God is here among us whenever we call upon him? 8 And what nation, no matter how great, has laws as fair as these I am giving you today?
9 “But watch out! Be very careful never to forget what you have seen God doing for you. May his miracles have a deep and permanent effect upon your lives! Tell your children and your grandchildren about the glorious miracles he did. 10 Tell them especially about the day you stood before the Lord at Mount Horeb, and he told me, ‘Summon the people before me and I will instruct them, so that they will learn always to reverence me, and so that they can teach my laws to their children.’ 11 You stood at the foot of the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire; flames shot far into the sky, surrounded by black clouds and deep darkness. 12 And the Lord spoke to you from the fire; you heard his words but didn’t see him. 13 He proclaimed the laws you must obey—the Ten Commandments—and wrote them on two stone tablets. 14 Yes, it was at that time that the Lord commanded me to issue the laws you must obey when you arrive in the Promised Land.
15 “But beware! You didn’t see the form of God that day as he spoke to you from the fire at Mount Horeb, 16-17 so do not defile yourselves by trying to make a statue of God—an idol in any form, whether of a man, woman, animal, bird, 18 a small animal that runs along the ground, or a fish. 19 And do not look up into the sky to worship the sun, moon, or stars. The Lord may permit other nations to get away with this, but not you. 20 The Lord has rescued you from prison—Egypt—to be his special people, his own inheritance; this is what you are today. 21-22 But he was angry with me because of you; he vowed that I could not go over the Jordan River into the good land he has given you as your inheritance. I must die here on this side of the river. 23 Beware lest you break the contract the Lord your God has made with you! You will break it if you make any idols, for the Lord your God has utterly forbidden this. 24 He is a devouring fire, a jealous God.
25 “In the future, when your children and grandchildren are born and you have been in the land a long time, and you have defiled yourselves by making idols, and the Lord your God is very angry because of your sin, 26 heaven and earth are witnesses that you shall be quickly destroyed from the land. Soon now you will cross the Jordan River and conquer that land. But your days there will be brief; you will then be utterly destroyed. 27 For the Lord will scatter you among the nations, and you will be but few in number. 28 There, far away, you will worship idols made from wood and stone, idols that neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell.
29 “But you will also begin to search again for Jehovah your God, and you will find him when you search for him with all your heart and soul. 30 When those bitter days have come upon you in the latter times, you will finally return to the Lord your God and listen to what he tells you. 31 For the Lord your God is merciful—he will not abandon you nor destroy you nor forget the promises he has made to your ancestors.
32 “In all history, going back to the time when God created man upon the earth, search from one end of the heavens to the other to see if you can find anything like this: 33 An entire nation heard the voice of God speaking to it from fire, as you did, and lived! 34 Where else will you ever find another example of God’s removing a nation from its slavery by sending terrible plagues, mighty miracles, war, and terror? Yet that is what the Lord your God did for you in Egypt, right before your very eyes. 35 He did these things so you would realize that Jehovah is God, and that there is no one else like him. 36 He let you hear his voice instructing you from heaven, and he let you see his great pillar of fire upon the earth; you even heard his words from the center of the fire.
37 “It was because he loved your ancestors and chose to bless their descendants that he personally brought you out from Egypt with a great display of power. 38 He drove away other nations greater by far than you and gave you their land as an inheritance, as it is today. 39 This is your wonderful thought for the day: Jehovah is God both in heaven and down here upon the earth; and there is no God other than him! 40 You must obey these laws that I will tell you today, so that all will be well with you and your children, and so that you will live forever in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”
41 Then Moses instructed the people of Israel to set apart three cities east of the Jordan River, 42 where anyone who accidentally killed someone could flee for safety. 43 These cities were Bezer, on the plateau in the wilderness, for the tribe of Reuben; Ramoth, in Gilead, for the tribe of Gad; and Golan, in Bashan, for the tribe of Manasseh.
44-46 Listed below are the laws Moses issued to the people of Israel when they left Egypt, and as they were camped east of the Jordan River near the city of Beth-peor. (This was the land formerly occupied by the Amorites under King Sihon, whose capital was Heshbon; he and his people were destroyed by Moses and the Israelis. 47 Israel conquered his land and that of King Og of Bashan—they were two Amorite kings east of the Jordan. 48 Israel also conquered all the area from Aroer at the edge of the Arnon River Valley to Mount Sirion, or Mount Hermon, as it is sometimes called; 49 and all the Arabah east of the Jordan River over to the Dead Sea, below the slopes of Mount Pisgah.)