An Exhortation to Obedience
1 Hear now, O Israel, the statutes and ordinances I am teaching you to follow, so that you may live and may enter and take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you. 2 You must not add to or subtract from what I command you, so that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I am giving you.
3 Your eyes have seen what the LORD did at Baal-peor, for the LORD your God destroyed from among you all who followed Baal of Peor. 4 But you who held fast to the LORD your God are alive to this day, every one of you.
5 See, I have taught you statutes and ordinances just as the LORD my God has commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land that you are about to enter and possess. 6 Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding in the sight of the peoples, who will hear of all these statutes and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.”
7 For what nation is great enough to have a god as near to them as the LORD our God is to us whenever we call on Him? 8 And what nation is great enough to have righteous statutes and ordinances like this entire law I set before you today?
9 Only be on your guard and diligently watch yourselves, so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen, and so that they do not slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and grandchildren. 10 The day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, a the LORD said to me, “Gather the people before Me to hear My words, so that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach them to their children.”
11 You came near and stood at the base of the mountain, a mountain blazing with fire to the heavens, with black clouds and deep darkness. 12 And the LORD spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of the words, but saw no form; there was only a voice. 13 He declared to you His covenant, which He commanded you to follow—the Ten Commandments b that He wrote on two tablets of stone.
14 At that time the LORD commanded me to teach you the statutes and ordinances you are to follow in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess.
A Warning against Idolatry
(Deuteronomy 12:29–32; Ezekiel 6:1–7)
15 So since you saw no form of any kind on the day the LORD spoke to you out of the fire at Horeb, be careful 16 that you do not act corruptly and make an idol for yourselves of any form or shape, whether in the likeness of a male or female, 17 of any beast that is on the earth or bird that flies in the air, 18 or of any creature that crawls on the ground or fish that is in the waters below.
19 When you look to the heavens and see the sun and moon and stars—all the host of heaven—do not be enticed to bow down and worship what the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven. 20 Yet the LORD has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be the people of His inheritance, as you are today.
21 The LORD, however, was angry with me on account of you, and He swore that I would not cross the Jordan to enter the good land that the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance. 22 For I will not be crossing the Jordan, because I must die in this land. But you shall cross over and take possession of that good land.
23 Be careful that you do not forget the covenant of the LORD your God that He made with you; do not make an idol for yourselves in the form of anything He has forbidden you. 24 For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, c a jealous God.
25 After you have children and grandchildren and you have been in the land a long time, if you then act corruptly and make an idol of any form—doing evil in the sight of the LORD your God and provoking Him to anger— 26 I call heaven and 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 long upon it, but will be utterly destroyed.
27 Then 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 And there you will serve man-made gods of wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or eat or smell.
29 But if from there you will 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 listen to His voice. 31 For the LORD your God is a merciful God; He will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers, which He swore to them by oath.
The LORD Alone Is God
32 Indeed, ask now from one end of the heavens to the other about the days that long preceded you, from the day that God created man on earth: Has anything as great as this ever happened or been reported? 33 Has a people ever heard the voice of God d speaking out of the fire, as you have, and lived? 34 Or has any god tried to take as his own a nation out of another nation—by trials, signs, wonders, and war, by a strong hand and an outstretched arm, and by great terrors—as the LORD your God did for you in Egypt, before your eyes?
35 You were shown these things so that you would know that the LORD is God; there is no other besides Him.
36 He let you hear His voice from heaven to discipline you, and on earth He showed you His great fire, and you heard His words out of the fire. 37 Because He loved your fathers, He chose their descendants after them and brought you out of Egypt by His presence and great power, 38 to drive out before you nations greater and mightier than you, and to bring you into their land and give it to you for your inheritance, as it is this day.
39 Know therefore this day and take to heart that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other. 40 Keep His statutes and commandments, which I am giving you today, so that you and your children after you may prosper, and that you may live long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you for all time.
Cities of Refuge
(Numbers 35:9–34; Deuteronomy 19:1–14; Joshua 20:1–9)
To save one’s own life, he could flee to one of these cities: 43 Bezer in the wilderness on the plateau belonging to the Reubenites, Ramoth in Gilead belonging to the Gadites, or Golan in Bashan belonging to the Manassites.
Introduction to the Law
44 This is the law that Moses set before the Israelites. 45 These are the testimonies, statutes, and ordinances that Moses proclaimed to them after they had come out of Egypt, 46 while they were in the valley across the Jordan facing Beth-peor in the land of Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon and was defeated by Moses and the Israelites after they had come out of Egypt.
47 They took possession of the land belonging to Sihon and to Og king of Bashan—the two Amorite kings across the Jordan to the east— 48 extending from Aroer on the rim of the Arnon Valley as far as Mount Siyon e (that is, Hermon), 49 including all the Arabah on the east side of the Jordan and as far as the Sea of the Arabah, f below the slopes of Pisgah.
10 a That is, Mount Sinai, or possibly a mountain in the range containing Mount Sinai; also in verse 15
13 b Hebrew the Ten Words
24 c Cited in Hebrews 12:29
33 d Or of a god
48 e Or Sion ; Syriac Sirion
49 f That is, the Dead Sea