Deuteronomy 4

1 And now herken Israel vnto the ordinaunces ad lawes which I teache you, for to doo them, that ye maye lyue ad goo ad conquere the londe which the Lorde God of youre fathers geueth you.
2 Ye shall put nothinge vnto the worde which I commaunde you nether doo ought there from, that ye maye kepe the commaundmentes off the Lorde youre God which I commaunde you.
3 Youre eyes haue sene what the Lorde dyd vnto Baal Peor: for al the men that folowed Baal Peor, the Lorde youre God hath destroyed from amoge you:
4 But ye that claue vnto the Lorde youre God, are alyue euery one of you this daye.
5 Beholde, I haue taught you ordinaunces and lawes, soche as the Lorde my God commauded me, that ye shulde do eue so in the londe whether ye goo to possesse it
6 Kepe them therfore and doo them, for that is youre wisdome and vnderstandynge in the syghte of the nacyons: whiche when they haue herde all these ordinaunces, shall saye: O what a wyse and vnderstondynge people is this greate nacion.
7 For what nacyon is so greate that hath Goddes so nye vnto hym: as the Lorde oure God is nye vnto vs, in all thinges, when we call vnto hym?
8 Yee, and what nacyon is so greate that hath ordinaunces and lawes so ryghtuousse, as all thys lawe whiche I sett before you this daye.
9 Take hede to thy selfe therfore only ad kepe thy soule diligently, that thou forgett not the thinges which thyne eyes haue sene and that they departe not out of thyne harte, all the dayes of thine life: but teach them thy sonnes, ad thy sonnes sonnes.
10 The daye that I stode before the Lorde youre god in Horeb, whe he sayed vnto me, gather me the people together, that I maye make them heare my wordes that they maye lerne to fere me as longe as thei lyue vppon the erth and that they maye teache their childern:
11 ye came ad stode also vnder the hyll ad the hyll burnt with fire: euen vnto the myddes of heaue, ad there was darcknesse, clowdes ad myst.
12 And the Lorde spake vnto you out of the fire ad ye herde the voyce of the wordes: But sawe no ymage, saue herde a voyce only,
13 And he declared vnto you his couenaunt, which he commaunded you to doo, euen .x. verses and wrote them in two tables of stone.
14 And the Lorde commaunded me the same season to teache you ordynaunces and lawes, for to doo them in the londe whether ye goo to possesse it
15 Take hede vnto youre selues diligently as pertayninge vnto youre soules, for ye sawe no maner of ymage the daye when the Lorde spake vnto you in Horeb out of the fire:
16 lest ye marre youre selues and make you grauen ymages after what soeuer likenesse it be: whether after the likenesse of ma or woma
17 or any mane beest that is on the erth or of any maner fetherred foule that fleth in the ayre,
18 or of any maner worme that crepeth on the erth or of any maner fysh that is in the water beneth the erth:
19 Ye and leste thou lyfte vpp thyne eyes vnto heuen, and when thou seyst the sonne and the mone and the starres and what soeuer is contayned in heauen, shuldest be disceaued and shuldest bow thi selfe vnto them ad serue the thinges which the Lorde thy God hath distributed vnto all nacions that are vnder al quarters of heauen.
20 For the Lorde toke you and broughte you out of the yernen fornace of Egipte, to be vnto him a people of enheritaunce, as it is come to passe this daye.
21 Forthermoare, the Lorde was angrye with me for youre sakes and sware, that I shulde not goo ouer Iordane and that I shulde not goo vnto that good londe, which the Lorde thy God geueth the to enherytaunce.
22 For I must dye in this londe, and shall not goo ouer Iordane: But ye shall goo ouer and conquere that good londe
23 Take hede vnto youre selues therfore, that ye forgett not the appoyntment of the Lorde youre God which he made with you, and that ye make you no grauen ymage of what soeuer it be that the Lorde thi God hath forbidden the.
24 For the Lorde thi God is a cosuminge fyre, and a gelouse God.
25 Yf after thou hast gotten childern and childerns childern and hast dwelt longe in the londe, ye shall marre youre selues and make grauen ymages after the liknesse of what so euer it be, and shall worke wekednesse in the syghte of the Lorde thy God, to prouoke him.
26 I call heauen and erth to recorde vnto you this daye, that ye shall shortely peressh from of the londe whether ye goo ouer Iordayne to possesse it: Ye shall not prolonge youre dayes therin, but shall shortly be destroyed.
27 And the Lorde shall scater you amonge nacions, and ye shalbe lefte few in numbre amonge the people whother the Lorde shall brynge you:
28 and there ye shall serue goddes which are the workes of mans hande, wod and stone which nether se nor heare nor eate nor smell.
29 Neuer the later ye shall seke the Lorde youre God euen there, and shalt fynde him yf thou seke him with all thine herte and with all thy soule.
30 In thi tribulacion and when all these thinges are come apon the, euen in the later dayes, thou shalt turne vnto the Lorde thy God, and shalt herken vnto his voyce.
31 For the Lorde thy God is a pitiefull God: he will not forsake the nether destroye the, nor forgett the appoyntmet made with thy fathers which he sware vnto them.
32 For axe I praye the of the dayes that are past which were before the, sence the daye that God created man vppon the erth and from the one syde of heauen vnto the other whether any thinge hath bene lyke vnto this greate thinge or whether any soche thinge hath bene herde as it is,
33 that a nacion hath herde the voyce of God speakinge out of fyre as thou hast herde, and yet lyued?
34 ether whether God assayed to goo and take him a people from amonge nacions, thorow temptacions and sygnes and wonders and thorow warre and with a mightie hande and a stretched out arme and wyth myghtye terreble sightes, acordynge vnto all that the Lorde youre God dyd vnto you in Egipte before youre eyes.
35 Vnto the it was shewed, that thou myghtest knowe, how that the Lorde he is God and that there is none but he.
36 Out of heauen he made the heare his voyce to nurter the, and vppon erth he shewed the his greate fyre, and thou hardest his wordes out of the fyre.
37 And because he loued thy fathers, therfore he chose their seed after them and broughte the out with his presence and with his myghtye power of Egipte:
38 to thrust out nations greater ad myghtyer then thou before the, to bringe the in and to geue the their londe to enheritaunce: as it is come to passe this daye.
39 Vnderstonde therfore this daye and turne it to thine herte, that the Lorde he is God in heauen aboue and vppon the erth beneth there is no moo:
40 kepe therfore his ordynaunces, and his commaundmentes which I commaunde the this daye, that it maye goo well with the and with thi childern after the and that thou mayst prolonge thy dayes vppon the erth which the Lorde thi God geueth the for euer.
41 Then Moses seuered .iij. cities on the other syde Iordane towarde the sonne rysynge,
42 that he shulde fle thiter which had kylled his neyghboure vnwares and hated him not in tyme past and therfore shulde fle vnto one of the same cities and lyue:
43 Bezer in the wildernesse euen in the playne contre amonge the Rubenites: and Ramoth in Gilead amonge the Gaddites and Solan in Basan amonge the Manassites.
44 This is the lawe which Moses set before the childern of Israel,
45 and these are the witnesse, ordinaunces and statutes which Moses tolde the childern of Israel after they came out of Egipte,
46 on the other syde Iordayne in the valey besyde Beth Peor in the londe of Siho kinge of the Amorites which dwelt at Hesbon, whom Moses and the childern of Israel smote after they were come out of Egipte,
47 ad conquered his lande and the lande of Og kinge of Basan .ij. kynges of the Amorites on the other syde Iordayne towarde the sonne rysynge:
48 from Aroar vppon the bancke of the ryuer Arnon, vnto mount Sion which is called Hermon
49 ad all the feldes on the other syde Iordayne eastwarde: euen vnto the see in the felde vnder the springes of Pisga.

Deuteronomy 4 Commentary

Chapter 4

Earnest exhortations to obedience, and dissuasives from idolatry. (1-23) Warnings against disobedience, and promises of mercy. (24-40) Cities of refuge appointed. (41-49)

Verses 1-23 The power and love of God to Israel are here made the ground and reason of a number of cautions and serious warnings; and although there is much reference to their national covenant, yet all may be applied to those who live under the gospel. What are laws made for but to be observed and obeyed? Our obedience as individuals cannot merit salvation; but it is the only evidence that we are partakers of the gift of God, which is eternal life through Jesus Christ, Considering how many temptations we are compassed with, and what corrupt desires we have in our bosoms, we have great need to keep our hearts with all diligence. Those cannot walk aright, who walk carelessly. Moses charges particularly to take heed of the sin of idolatry. He shows how weak the temptation would be to those who thought aright; for these pretended gods, the sun, moon, and stars, were only blessings which the Lord their God had imparted to all nations. It is absurd to worship them; shall we serve those that were made to serve us? Take heed lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God. We must take heed lest at any time we forget our religion. Care, caution, and watchfulness, are helps against a bad memory.

Verses 24-40 Moses urged the greatness, glory, and goodness of God. Did we consider what a God he is with whom we have to do, we should surely make conscience of our duty to him, and not dare to sin against him. Shall we forsake a merciful God, who will never forsake us, if we are faithful unto him? Whither can we go? Let us be held to our duty by the bonds of love, and prevailed with by the mercies of God to cleave to him. Moses urged God's authority over them, and their obligations to him. In keeping God's commandments they would act wisely for themselves. The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom. Those who enjoy the benefit of Divine light and laws, ought to support their character for wisdom and honour, that God may be glorified thereby. Those who call upon God, shall certainly find him within call, ready to give an answer of peace to every prayer of faith. All these statutes and judgments of the Divine law are just and righteous, above the statutes and judgments of any of the nations. What they saw at mount Sinai, gave an earnest of the day of judgment, in which the Lord Jesus shall be revealed in flaming fire. They must also remember what they heard at mount Sinai. God manifests himself in the works of the creation, without speech or language, yet their voice is heard, Ps. 19:1, Ps. 19:3 ; but to Israel he made himself known by speech and language, condescending to their weakness. The rise of this nation was quite different from the origin of all other nations. See the reasons of free grace; we are not beloved for our own sakes, but for Christ's sake. Moses urged the certain benefit and advantage of obedience. This argument he had begun with, ver. ( Deuteronomy 4:1 ) , That ye may live, and go in and possess the land; and this he concludes with, ver. ( Deuteronomy 4:40 ) , That it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee. He reminds them that their prosperity would depend upon their piety. Apostacy from God would undoubtedly be the ruin of their nation. He foresees their revolt from God to idols. Those, and those only, shall find God to their comfort, who seek him with all their heart. Afflictions engage and quicken us to seek God; and, by the grace of God working with them, many are thus brought back to their right mind. When these things are come upon thee, turn to the Lord thy God, for thou seest what comes of turning from him. Let all the arguments be laid together, and then say, if religion has not reason on its side. None cast off the government of their God, but those who first abandon the understanding of a man.

Verses 41-49 Here is the introduction to another discourse, or sermon, Moses preached to Israel, which we have in the following chapters. He sets the law before them, as the rule they were to work by, the way they were to walk in. He sets it before them, as the glass in which they were to see their natural face, that, looking into this perfect law of liberty, they might continue therein. These are the laws, given when Israel was newly come out of Egypt; and they were now repeated. Moses gave these laws in charge, while they encamped over against Beth-peor, an idol place of the Moabites. Their present triumphs were a powerful argument for obedience. And we should understand our own situation as sinners, and the nature of that gracious covenant to which we are invited. Therein greater things are shown to us than ever Israel saw from mount Sinai; greater mercies are given to us than they experienced in the wilderness, or in Canaan. One speaks to us, who is of infinitely greater dignity than Moses; who bare our sins upon the cross; and pleads with us by His dying love.

Chapter Summary


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 Commentaries