The Fifth Book of Moses, Called Deuteronomy

Chapter 4

An exhortation to obedience, 1-40. Moses appoints the three cities of refuge on that side of the Jordan, 41-43. Recapitulation, 44-49.

1 "Now therefore, listen, O Israel, to the statutes and to the judgments which I teach you, to do them, so that you may live and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers gives you. 2 You shall not add to the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish anything from it, so that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. 3 Your eyes have seen what the LORD did because of Baal-peor. For all the men who followed Baal-peor, the LORD your God has destroyed them from among you. 4 But you who adhered to the LORD your God, each of you are alive this day.

5 "Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do so in the land where you go to possess it. 6 Therefore, keep and do them, for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations which will hear all these statutes, and say, 'Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.' 7 For what nation is there so great, which has God so near to them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for? 8 And what nation is there so great, that has statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?

9 "Only take heed to yourself, and keep your soul diligently, lest you should forget the things which your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. But teach them to your sons, and your sons' sons, 10 Especially the day that you stood before the LORD your God in Horeb, when the LORD said to me, 'Assemble the people to me, and I will make them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.' 11 And you came near and stood under the mountain. And the mountain burned with fire to the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness. 12 And the LORD spoke to you out of the midst of the fire. You heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude. You only heard a voice. 13 And he declared to you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even the Ten Commandments, and he wrote them upon two tablets of stone. 14 And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, so that you might do them in the land where you go over to possess it.

15 "Therefore, take good heed to yourselves, for you saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spoke to you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire, 16 Lest you corrupt yourselves, and make for yourselves an engraved image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female, 17 The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, 18 The likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth, 19 And lest you should lift up your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, should be driven to worship them and serve them, which the LORD your God has divided to all nations under the whole heaven. 20 But the LORD has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, even from Egypt, to be to him a people of inheritance, as you are this day.

21 "Furthermore, the LORD was angry with me for your sakes, and swore that I should not go over the Jordan, and that I should not enter that good land which the LORD your God gives you for an inheritance. 22 But I must die in this land. I must not go over the Jordan. But you shall go over and possess that good land. 23 Take heed to yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make yourselves an engraved image, or the likeness of anything which the LORD your God has forbidden you. 24 For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.

25 "When you beget children and children's children, and you have remained long in the land, and corrupt yourselves and make an engraved image or the likeness of anything, and shall do evil in the sight of the LORD your God, to provoke him to anger, 26 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that you shall soon utterly perish from the land to which you go over the Jordan to possess it. You shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall be utterly destroyed. 27 And the LORD shall scatter you among the nations, and you shall be left few in number among the heathen, where the LORD leads you. 28 And there you shall serve gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone, which neither see, hear, eat, or smell. 29 But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you shall find him, if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 When you are in tribulation and all these things have come upon you, even in the latter days, if you turn to the LORD your God and are obedient to his voice 31 (For the LORD your God is a merciful God), he will not forsake you, neither destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers, which he swore to them.

32 "For ask now of the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask from one side of heaven to the other, whether there has been any such thing as this great thing is, or has been heard like it. 33 Has any people heard the voice of God speaking from the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and lived? 34 Or has God essayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, by war, by a mighty hand, by an out-stretched arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? 35 To you it was shown, so that you might know that the LORD he is God. There is no one besides him. 36 Out of heaven he made you to hear his voice, so that he might instruct you. And upon earth he showed you his great fire, and you heard his words from the midst of the fire. 37 And because he loved your fathers, therefore he chose their offspring after them, and brought you out of Egypt in his sight with his mighty power, 38 To drive out nations from before you, greater and mightier than you are, to bring you in, to give you their land for an inheritance, as it is this day. 39 Know therefore this day, and consider it in your heart, that the LORD, he is God in heaven above and upon the earth beneath. There is no one else. 40 Therefore, you shall keep his statutes and his commandments which I command you this day, so that it may be well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days upon the earth which the LORD your God gives you forever."

41 Then Moses set apart three cities on the side of the Jordan toward the sunrise, 42 So that the slayer might flee there, who kills his neighbor unintentionally, and when he had not hated him in times past, and that fleeing to one of these cities he might live, 43 Namely, Bezer in the wilderness in the plain country of the Reubenites, Ramoth in Gilead of the Gadites, and Golan in Bashan of the Manassites.

44 And this is the law which Moses set before the children of Israel. 45 These are the testimonies, the statutes, and the judgments which Moses spoke to the children of Israel after they came forth from Egypt, 46 On the east side of the Jordan, in the valley over against Beth-Peor, in the land of Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt at Heshbon, whom Moses and the children of Israel smote after they had come forth from Egypt. 47 And they possessed his land, and the land of Og king of Bashan, two kings of the Amorites, who were on the side of the Jordan toward the sunrise, 48 From Aroer, which is by the bank of the Arnon River, even to mount Sion, which is Hermon, 49 And all the plain on the side of the Jordan eastward, even to the sea of the plain under the springs of Pisgah.


Matthew Henry Commentary - Deuteronomy, Chapter 4[➚]


[v.13] - "the Ten Commandments" - The Ten Commandments are found in Exodus 20:3-17 and Deuteronomy 5:7-21.

[v.24] - Quoted in Hebrews 12:29.

[v.26] - "I call heaven and earth to witness against you" - The calling of two witnesses is significant. See, Deuteronomy 19:15; Matthew 18:16; 2nd Corinthians 13:1; 1st Timothy 5:19.

[v.31] - "he will not forsake you" - Reference Deuteronomy 31:6.

[v.32a] - "the day that God created man upon the earth" - Reference, Genesis 1:26-27, 2:7.

[v.32b] - "from one side of heaven to the other" - Possibly quoted in Matthew 24:31 and Mark 13:27.

[v.33] - "the voice of God speaking from the midst of the fire" - Examples, Exodus 3:2-6, 19:18-25, 20:22-26. Reference, Deuteronomy 5:4-5, 22-27.