Deuteronomy 4:25-40

25 After you have had children and grandchildren and have lived in the land a long time—if you then become corrupt and make any kind of idol, doing evil in the eyes of the LORD your God and arousing his anger,
26 I call the heavens and the 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 there long but will certainly be destroyed.
27 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 There you will worship man-made gods of wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or eat or smell.
29 But if from there you 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 obey him.
31 For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.

The LORD Is God

32 Ask now about the former days, long before your time, from the day God created human beings on the earth; ask from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything so great as this ever happened, or has anything like it ever been heard of?
33 Has any other people heard the voice of God[a] speaking out of fire, as you have, and lived?
34 Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?
35 You were shown these things so that you might know that the LORD is God; besides him there is no other.
36 From heaven he made you hear his voice to discipline you. On earth he showed you his great fire, and you heard his words from out of the fire.
37 Because he loved your ancestors and chose their descendants after them, he brought you out of Egypt by his Presence and his great strength,
38 to drive out before you nations greater and stronger than you and to bring you into their land to give it to you for your inheritance, as it is today.
39 Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.
40 Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the LORD your God gives you for all time.

Deuteronomy 4:25 in Other Translations

KJV
25 When thou shalt beget children, and children's children, and ye shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, and shall do evil in the sight of the LORD thy God, to provoke him to anger:
ESV
25 "When you father children and children's children, and have grown old in the land, if you act corruptly by making a carved image in the form of anything, and by doing what is evil in the sight of the LORD your God, so as to provoke him to anger,
NLT
25 “In the future, when you have children and grandchildren and have lived in the land a long time, do not corrupt yourselves by making idols of any kind. This is evil in the sight of the LORD your God and will arouse his anger.
MSG
25 When the time comes that you have children and grandchildren, put on years, and start taking things for granted, if you then become corrupt and make any carved images, no matter what their form, by doing what is sheer evil in God's eyes and provoking his anger -
CSB
25 "When you have children and grandchildren and have been in the land a long time, and if you act corruptly, make an idol in the form of anything, and do what is evil in the sight of the Lord your God, provoking Him to anger,

Deuteronomy 4:25-40 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 4:25-40 In-Context

23 Be careful not to forget the covenant of the LORD your God that he made with you; do not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything the LORD your God has forbidden.
24 For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
25 After you have had children and grandchildren and have lived in the land a long time—if you then become corrupt and make any kind of idol, doing evil in the eyes of the LORD your God and arousing his anger,
26 I call the heavens and the 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 there long but will certainly be destroyed.
27 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 There you will worship man-made gods of wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or eat or smell.
29 But if from there you 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 obey him.
31 For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.
32 Ask now about the former days, long before your time, from the day God created human beings on the earth; ask from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything so great as this ever happened, or has anything like it ever been heard of?
33 Has any other people heard the voice of God speaking out of fire, as you have, and lived?
34 Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?
35 You were shown these things so that you might know that the LORD is God; besides him there is no other.
36 From heaven he made you hear his voice to discipline you. On earth he showed you his great fire, and you heard his words from out of the fire.
37 Because he loved your ancestors and chose their descendants after them, he brought you out of Egypt by his Presence and his great strength,
38 to drive out before you nations greater and stronger than you and to bring you into their land to give it to you for your inheritance, as it is today.
39 Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.
40 Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the LORD your God gives you for all time.
41 Then Moses set aside three cities east of the Jordan,
42 to which anyone who had killed a person could flee if they had unintentionally killed a neighbor without malice aforethought. They could flee into one of these cities and save their life.

Cross References 44

  • 1. ver 16
  • 2. ver 23
  • 3. 1 Kings 11:6; 1 Kings 15:26; 1 Kings 16:25,30; 2 Kings 17:2,17; 2 Kings 21:2
  • 4. Genesis 31:50; Proverbs 14:5
  • 5. Deuteronomy 30:18-19; Deuteronomy 31:28; Deuteronomy 32:1; Psalms 50:4; Isaiah 1:2; Isaiah 34:1; Jeremiah 6:19; Micah 6:2
  • 6. Deuteronomy 6:15; Deuteronomy 7:4
  • 7. S Leviticus 26:33; Deuteronomy 28:36,64; Deuteronomy 29:28; 1 Kings 8:46; 2 Kings 17:6; Psalms 44:11; Psalms 106:27; Jeremiah 3:8; Micah 1:16; Nehemiah 1:8
  • 8. Isaiah 17:6; Isaiah 21:17; Obadiah 1:5
  • 9. Deuteronomy 13:2; Deuteronomy 28:36,64; 1 Samuel 26:19; Jeremiah 5:19; Jeremiah 16:13; Acts 19:26
  • 10. Deuteronomy 29:17
  • 11. Psalms 115:4-8; Psalms 135:15-18; Isaiah 8:19; Isaiah 26:14; Isaiah 44:17-20; Revelation 9:20
  • 12. 1 Samuel 13:12; 2 Kings 13:4; 2 Chronicles 7:14; 2 Chronicles 15:4; 2 Chronicles 33:12; Psalms 78:34; Psalms 119:58; Isaiah 45:19,22; Isaiah 55:6; Jeremiah 26:19; Daniel 9:13; Hosea 3:5; Amos 5:4
  • 13. 1 Samuel 7:3; 1 Kings 8:48; Jeremiah 29:13
  • 14. Deuteronomy 6:5; Deuteronomy 30:1-3,10
  • 15. Leviticus 26:41; Deuteronomy 31:17,21; Psalms 4:1; Psalms 18:6; Psalms 46:1; Psalms 59:16; Psalms 107:6
  • 16. Deuteronomy 31:29; Jeremiah 23:20; Hosea 3:5; Hebrews 1:2
  • 17. Deuteronomy 30:2; 1 Kings 8:48; Nehemiah 1:9; Jer 3:1,12,22; Jeremiah 4:1; Jeremiah 18:11; Joel 2:12
  • 18. Exodus 34:6; 2 Chronicles 30:9; Nehemiah 9:31; Psalms 111:4; Psalms 116:5; John 4:2
  • 19. Deuteronomy 31:6,8; Joshua 1:5; 1 Kings 8:57; 1 Chronicles 28:9,20; Psalms 9:10; Psalms 27:9; Psalms 71:9; Isaiah 42:16; Hebrews 13:5
  • 20. S Leviticus 26:44
  • 21. Leviticus 26:45
  • 22. Deuteronomy 32:7; Job 8:8
  • 23. S Genesis 1:27; Isaiah 45:12
  • 24. Deuteronomy 28:64; Deuteronomy 30:1; Jeremiah 9:16; Matthew 24:31
  • 25. ver 7; 2 Samuel 7:23
  • 26. Exodus 20:22; Deuteronomy 5:24-26
  • 27. Exodus 14:30; Exodus 6:6
  • 28. Isaiah 7:12
  • 29. S Exodus 4:17; Exodus 7:3
  • 30. Deuteronomy 7:19; Deuteronomy 26:8; Deuteronomy 29:3; 1 Chronicles 16:12; Psalms 9:1; Psalms 40:5; Jeremiah 32:20
  • 31. S Exodus 3:20; Deuteronomy 5:15; Deuteronomy 6:21; Deuteronomy 15:15; Exodus 13:3
  • 32. Exodus 15:11; Deuteronomy 34:12; Psalms 45:4; Psalms 65:5
  • 33. ver 39; Exodus 8:10; Deuteronomy 7:9; Deuteronomy 32:4,12; Deuteronomy 32:39; 1 Samuel 2:2; 1 Kings 8:60; 2 Kings 19:19; Isaiah 43:10; Mark 12:32; Isaiah 45:5,18
  • 34. S Exodus 19:19; Hebrews 12:25; Exodus 19:9,19
  • 35. Deuteronomy 8:5
  • 36. Deuteronomy 7:8; Deuteronomy 10:15; Deuteronomy 23:5; Deuteronomy 33:3; Psalms 44:3; Jeremiah 31:3; Hosea 11:1; Malachi 1:2; Malachi 2:11
  • 37. S Exodus 3:20; S Exodus 33:14; Ex 13:3,9,14
  • 38. Numbers 34:14-15; Deuteronomy 7:1; Deuteronomy 9:5
  • 39. Exodus 8:10
  • 40. S ver 35; Exodus 15:11; Joshua 2:11
  • 41. S Leviticus 22:31; Deuteronomy 5:33
  • 42. ver 1; S Genesis 26:5; Deuteronomy 5:29; Deuteronomy 11:1; Psalms 105:45; Isaiah 48:18
  • 43. Deuteronomy 5:16; Deuteronomy 12:25; Isaiah 3:10
  • 44. S Exodus 23:26; Deuteronomy 6:3,18; Ephesians 6:2-3

Footnotes 1

Scripture quoted by permission.  Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.