Deuteronomy 4:1-14

Obedience Commanded

1 Now, Israel, hear the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land the LORD, the God of your ancestors, is giving you.
2 Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.
3 You saw with your own eyes what the LORD did at Baal Peor. The LORD your God destroyed from among you everyone who followed the Baal of Peor,
4 but all of you who held fast to the LORD your God are still alive today.
5 See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the LORD my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it.
6 Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.”
7 What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him?
8 And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?
9 Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.
10 Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.”
11 You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain while it blazed with fire to the very heavens, with black clouds and deep darkness.
12 Then the LORD spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice.
13 He declared to you his covenant, the Ten Commandments, which he commanded you to follow and then wrote them on two stone tablets.
14 And the LORD directed me at that time to teach you the decrees and laws you are to follow in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess.

Deuteronomy 4:1-14 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO DEUTERONOMY 4

This chapter contains an exhortation to Israel to keep the commands, statutes, and judgments of God, urged from the superior excellency of them to those of all other nations, De 4:1-8, from the manner in which they were delivered, out of the midst of fire, by a voice of words, but no similitude seen, De 4:9-15, and particularly the Israelites are cautioned against idolatry, from the consideration of the goodness of God to them, in bringing them out of Egypt, De 4:16-20, and the rather Moses is urgent upon them to be diligent in their obedience to the laws of God, because he should quickly be removed from them, De 4:21-24, and should they be disobedient to them, it would provoke the Lord to destroy them, or to carry them captive into other lands, De 4:25-28 though even then, if they repented and sought the Lord, and became obedient, he would be merciful to them, and not forsake them, De 4:29-31 and they are put in mind again of the amazing things God had done for them, in speaking to them out of fire, and they alive; in bringing them out of another nation, and driving out other nations to make room for them; all which he improves, as so many arguments to move them to obedience to the divine commands, De 4:32-40 and then notice is taken of the three cities of refuge, separated on this side Jordan, De 4:41-43, and the chapter is concluded with observing, that this is the law, and these the testimonies, Moses declared and repeated to the children of Israel in the country of Sihon and Og, who were delivered into their hands, and their lands possessed by them, which laid them under fresh obligations to yield obedience to God, De 4:44-49.

Deuteronomy 4:1-14 In-Context

1 Now, Israel, hear the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land the LORD, the God of your ancestors, is giving you.
2 Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.
3 You saw with your own eyes what the LORD did at Baal Peor. The LORD your God destroyed from among you everyone who followed the Baal of Peor,
4 but all of you who held fast to the LORD your God are still alive today.
5 See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the LORD my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it.
6 Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.”
7 What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him?
8 And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?
9 Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.
10 Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.”
11 You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain while it blazed with fire to the very heavens, with black clouds and deep darkness.
12 Then the LORD spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice.
13 He declared to you his covenant, the Ten Commandments, which he commanded you to follow and then wrote them on two stone tablets.
14 And the LORD directed me at that time to teach you the decrees and laws you are to follow in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess.
15 You saw no form of any kind the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully,
16 so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman,
17 or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air,
18 or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below.

Cross References 35

  • 1. S Leviticus 18:4
  • 2. Deuteronomy 1:3
  • 3. S Leviticus 18:5; Deuteronomy 5:33; Deuteronomy 8:1; Deuteronomy 16:20; Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Ezekiel 20:11; S Romans 10:5
  • 4. Deuteronomy 12:32; Joshua 1:7; Proverbs 30:6; Revelation 22:18-19
  • 5. Jeremiah 26:2
  • 6. S Leviticus 22:31
  • 7. Deuteronomy 10:12-13; Ecclesiastes 12:13
  • 8. Numbers 25:1-9; Psalms 106:28
  • 9. Psalms 71:17; Psalms 119:102; Jeremiah 32:33
  • 10. S Exodus 18:20
  • 11. S Leviticus 27:34
  • 12. Ezra 9:11
  • 13. Deuteronomy 29:9; 1 Kings 2:3
  • 14. Deuteronomy 30:19-20; Deuteronomy 32:46-47; Psalms 19:7; Psalms 119:98; Proverbs 1:7; 2 Timothy 3:15
  • 15. Job 1:1; Job 28:28; Psalms 111:10; Proverbs 2:5; Proverbs 3:7; Proverbs 9:10; Ecclesiastes 12:13; Ezekiel 5:5
  • 16. ver 32-34; 2 Samuel 7:23
  • 17. S Numbers 23:21; S Psalms 46:1; Isaiah 55:6; Acts 17:27
  • 18. Psalms 89:14; Psalms 97:2; Psalms 119:7,62,144,160,172; Romans 3:2
  • 19. S Exodus 23:13; Proverbs 4:23
  • 20. S Genesis 14:14; Genesis 18:19; Deuteronomy 6:20-25; Ephesians 6:4
  • 21. S Exodus 10:2; Psalms 78:5-6
  • 22. S Exodus 3:1; Exodus 19:9,16
  • 23. Deuteronomy 14:23; Deuteronomy 17:19; Deuteronomy 31:12-13; Psalms 2:11; Psalms 111:10; Psalms 147:11; Isaiah 8:13; Jeremiah 32:40
  • 24. S Exodus 20:20
  • 25. Deuteronomy 12:1
  • 26. ver 9
  • 27. S Exodus 3:1; S Exodus 19:17
  • 28. S Exodus 19:18; Hebrews 12:18-19
  • 29. S Exodus 19:9; Psalms 18:11; Psalms 97:2
  • 30. Exodus 20:22; Deuteronomy 5:4,22; S Matthew 3:17; Hebrews 12:19
  • 31. John 5:37
  • 32. S Exodus 19:9
  • 33. Deuteronomy 9:9; Romans 9:4; Deuteronomy 9:9,11
  • 34. S Exodus 24:12; Exodus 31:18; Exodus 34:28
  • 35. S Exodus 21:1
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