The Privileges of the Covenant
4:1 Now, Israel, pay attention to the statutes and ordinances 1 I am about to teach you, so that you might live and go on to enter and take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, 2 is giving you. 4:2 Do not add a thing to what I command you nor subtract from it, so that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I am delivering to 3 you. 4:3 You have witnessed what the Lord did at Baal Peor, 4 how he 5 eradicated from your midst everyone who followed Baal Peor. 6 4:4 But you who remained faithful to the Lord your God are still alive to this very day, every one of you. 4:5 Look! I have taught you statutes and ordinances just as the Lord my God told me to do, so that you might carry them out in 7 the land you are about to enter and possess. 4:6 So be sure to do them, because this will testify of your wise understanding 8 to the people who will learn of all these statutes and say, “Indeed, this great nation is a very wise 9 people.” 4:7 In fact, what other great nation has a god so near to them like the Lord our God whenever we call on him? 4:8 And what other great nation has statutes and ordinances as just 10 as this whole law 11 that I am about to share with 12 you today?
Reminder of the Horeb Covenant
4:9 Again, however, pay very careful attention, 13 lest you forget the things you have seen and disregard them for the rest of your life; instead teach them to your children and grandchildren. 4:10 You 14 stood before the Lord your God at Horeb and he 15 said to me, “Assemble the people before me so that I can tell them my commands. 16 Then they will learn to revere me all the days they live in the land, and they will instruct their children.” 4:11 You approached and stood at the foot of the mountain, a mountain ablaze to the sky above it 17 and yet dark with a thick cloud. 18 4:12 Then the Lord spoke to you from the middle of the fire; you heard speech but you could not see anything – only a voice was heard. 19 4:13 And he revealed to you the covenant 20 he has commanded you to keep, the ten commandments, 21 writing them on two stone tablets. 4:14 Moreover, at that same time the Lord commanded me to teach you statutes and ordinances for you to keep in the land which you are about to enter and possess. 22
The Nature of Israel’s God
4:15 Be very careful, 23 then, because you saw no form at the time the Lord spoke to you at Horeb from the middle of the fire. 4:16 I say this 24 so you will not corrupt yourselves by making an image in the form of any kind of figure. This includes the likeness of a human male or female, 4:17 any kind of land animal, any bird that flies in the sky, 4:18 anything that crawls 25 on the ground, or any fish in the deep waters of the earth. 26 4:19 When you look up 27 to the sky 28 and see the sun, moon, and stars – the whole heavenly creation 29 – you must not be seduced to worship and serve them, 30 for the Lord your God has assigned 31 them to all the people 32 of the world. 33 4:20 You, however, the Lord has selected and brought from Egypt, that iron-smelting furnace, 34 to be his special people 35 as you are today. 4:21 But the Lord became angry with me because of you and vowed that I would never cross the Jordan nor enter the good land that he 36 is about to give you. 37 4:22 So I must die here in this land; I will not cross the Jordan. But you are going over and will possess that 38 good land. 4:23 Be on guard so that you do not forget the covenant of the Lord your God that he has made with you, and that you do not make an image of any kind, just as he 39 has forbidden 40 you. 4:24 For the Lord your God is a consuming fire; he is a jealous God. 41
Threat and Blessing following Covenant Disobedience
4:25 After you have produced children and grandchildren and have been in the land a long time, 42 if you become corrupt and make an image of any kind 43 and do other evil things before the Lord your God that enrage him, 44 4:26 I invoke heaven and earth as witnesses against you 45 today that you will surely and swiftly be removed 46 from the very land you are about to cross the Jordan to possess. You will not last long there because you will surely be 47 annihilated. 4:27 Then the Lord will scatter you among the peoples and there will be very few of you 48 among the nations where the Lord will drive you. 4:28 There you will worship gods made by human hands – wood and stone that can neither see, hear, eat, nor smell. 4:29 But if you seek the Lord your God from there, you will find him, if, indeed, you seek him with all your heart and soul. 49 4:30 In your distress when all these things happen to you in the latter days, 50 if you return to the Lord your God and obey him 51 4:31 (for he 52 is a merciful God), he will not let you down 53 or destroy you, for he cannot 54 forget the covenant with your ancestors that he confirmed by oath to them.