Deuteronomy 4-6 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.
5 Moses called out to all Israel, saying to them: “Israel! Listen to the regulations and the case laws that I’m recounting in your hearing right now. Learn them and carefully do them. 2 The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Mount Horeb. 3 The Lord didn’t make this covenant with our ancestors but with us—all of us who are here and alive right now. 4 The Lord spoke with you face-to-face on the mountain from the very fire itself. 5 At that time, I was standing between the Lord and you, declaring to you the Lord’s word, because you were terrified of the fire and didn’t go up on the mountain.”
The Lord said:
6 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
7 You must have no other gods before[g] me. 8 Do not make an idol for yourself—no form whatsoever—of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. 9 Do not bow down to them or worship them because I, the Lord your God, am a passionate God. I punish children for their parents’ sins—even to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me. 10 But I am loyal and gracious to the thousandth generation[h] of those who love me and keep my commandments.
11 Do not use the Lord your God’s name as if it were of no significance; the Lord won’t forgive anyone who uses his name that way.
12 Keep the Sabbath day and treat it as holy, exactly as the Lord your God commanded: 13 Six days you may work and do all your tasks, 14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. Don’t do any work on it—not you, your sons or daughters, your male or female servants, your oxen or donkeys or any of your animals, or the immigrant who is living among you—so that your male and female servants can rest just like you. 15 Remember that you were a slave in Egypt, but the Lord your God brought you out of there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. That’s why the Lord your God commands you to keep the Sabbath day.
16 Honor your father and your mother, exactly as the Lord your God requires, so that your life will be long and so that things will go well for you on the fertile land that the Lord your God is giving you.
17 Do not kill.[i]
18 Do not commit adultery.
19 Do not steal.
20 Do not testify falsely against your neighbor.
21 Do not desire and try to take your neighbor’s wife.
Do not crave your neighbor’s house, field, male or female servant, ox, donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.
22 Those are the words the Lord spoke to your entire assembly with a loud voice while on the mountain, from the midst of the fire, the cloud, and the thick smoke. He added no more. God wrote them on two stone tablets, then gave them to me.
Moses’ intercessory role
23 Now once you heard the voice from the darkness while the mountain was blazing with fire, you came to me—more specifically, all the chiefs of your tribes and your elders came— 24 and you said: “Look here! The Lord our God has shown us his glory and greatness. We’ve heard his voice come out of the very fire itself. We’ve seen firsthand that God can speak to a human being and they can survive! 25 But why should we die? Surely this massive fire will consume us! If we hear any more of the Lord our God’s voice, we will die. 26 Is there anyone who has heard the living God’s voice speaking out of the very fire itself, like we have, and survived? 27 You go and listen to all that the Lord our God says. Then tell us all that the Lord our God speaks to you. We’ll listen and we’ll do it.”
28 The Lord heard what you said, when you said this to me. The Lord then told me: I heard what the people said when they spoke with you. Everything they suggest is good. 29 If only their minds were like this: always fearing me and keeping all my commandments so that things would go well for them and their children forever! 30 Go and tell them: You may go back to your tents. 31 But you, Moses, must stay here with me. I will tell you all the commandments,[j] the regulations, and the case laws that you must teach the Israelites to do in the land that I am giving them to possess.
32 So you must carefully do exactly what the Lord your God commands you. Don’t deviate even a bit! 33 You must walk the precise path that the Lord your God indicates for you so that you will live, and so that things will go well for you, and so you will extend your time on the land that you will possess.
The great commandment
6 Now these are the commandments, the regulations, and the case laws that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you to follow in the land you are entering to possess, 2 so that you will fear the Lord your God by keeping all his regulations and his commandments that I am commanding you—both you and your sons and daughters—all the days of your life and so that you will lengthen your life. 3 Listen to them, Israel! Follow them carefully so that things will go well for you and so that you will continue to multiply exactly as the Lord, your ancestors’ God, promised you, in a land full of milk and honey.
4 Israel, listen! Our God is the Lord! Only the Lord![k]
5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your being, and all your strength. 6 These words that I am commanding you today must always be on your minds. 7 Recite them to your children. Talk about them when you are sitting around your house and when you are out and about, when you are lying down and when you are getting up. 8 Tie them on your hand as a sign. They should be on your forehead as a symbol.[l] 9 Write them on your house’s doorframes and on your city’s gates.
10 Now once the Lord your God has brought you into the land that he swore to your ancestors, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give to you—a land that will be full of large and wonderful towns that you didn’t build, 11 houses stocked with all kinds of goods that you didn’t stock, cisterns that you didn’t make, vineyards and olive trees that you didn’t plant—and you eat and get stuffed, 12 watch yourself! Don’t forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 13 Revere the Lord your God, serve him, and take your solemn pledges in his name! 14 Don’t follow other gods, those gods of the people around you— 15 because the Lord your God, who is with you and among you, is a passionate God. The Lord your God’s anger will burn against you, and he will wipe you off the fertile land. 16 Don’t test the Lord your God the way you frustrated him at Massah. 17 You must carefully follow the Lord your God’s commands along with the laws and regulations he has given you. 18 Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight so that things will go well for you and so you will enter and take possession of the wonderful land that the Lord swore to your ancestors, 19 and so the Lord will drive out all your enemies from before you, just as he promised.
The next generation
20 In the future, your children will ask you, “What is the meaning of the laws,[m] the regulations, and the case laws that the Lord our God commanded you?” 21 tell them: We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. But the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 Before our own eyes, the Lord performed great and awesome deeds of power[n] against Egypt, Pharaoh, and his entire dynasty. 23 But the Lord brought us out from there so that he could bring us in, giving us the land that he swore to our ancestors. 24 Then the Lord commanded us to perform all these regulations, revering the Lord our God, so that things go well for us always and so we continue to live, as we’re doing right now. 25 What’s more, we will be considered righteous if we are careful to do all this commandment before the Lord our God, just as he commanded us.