“So pay attention and watch [a]yourselves carefully—for you did not see any form [of God] on the day the Lord spoke to you at Horeb from the midst of the fire— so that you do not act corruptly and make for yourselves a carved or sculpted image [to worship] in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, or of any winged bird that flies in the [b]sky, the likeness of anything that crawls on the ground, or of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth. And beware that you do not raise your eyes toward heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, and let yourselves be led astray and worship them and serve them, [mere created bodies] which the Lord your God has allotted to [serve and benefit] all the peoples under the whole heaven. But the Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron [smelting] furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people for His own possession, as [you are] this day.
“Now the Lord was angry with me [at the waters of Meribah] because of you, and He swore [an oath] that I would not cross the Jordan, and that I would not enter the good land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance. For I am going to die in this land, I am not going to cross the Jordan, but you shall cross over and take possession of this good land. So be on your guard and watch yourselves, so that you do not forget the covenant of the Lord your God which He has made with you, and make for yourselves a carved or sculpted image in the form of anything which the Lord your God has forbidden you. For the Lord your God is a consuming fire; He is a [c]jealous (impassioned) God [demanding what is rightfully and uniquely His].
“When you become the father of children and grandchildren and have grown old in the land, then if you corrupt yourselves by making a carved or sculpted image in the form of anything [for the purpose of worship], and do evil [things] in the sight of the Lord your God, provoking Him to anger, I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today, that you will soon utterly perish from the land which you are crossing the Jordan to possess. You shall not live long on it, but will be utterly destroyed. The Lord will scatter and disperse you among the peoples (pagan nations), and you will be left few in number among the nations where the Lord drives you. And there you will serve [false and foreign] gods, the work of human hands, [lifeless images of] wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell [the offerings of food given to them]. But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul. When you are in distress and tribulation and all these things come on you, in the latter days you will return to the Lord your God and listen to His voice. For the Lord your God is a merciful and compassionate God; He will not fail you, nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them.
“Indeed, ask now about the days that are past, [those days] which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and ask from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything been done like this great thing, or has anything been heard like it? Did [any] people ever hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you heard, and [still] live? Or has any [man-made] god ever tried to go and take for himself a nation from within another nation by trials, by signs and wonders and by war and by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm and by great terrors, as the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your [very] eyes? It was shown to you so that you might have [personal] knowledge and comprehend that the Lord is God; there is no other besides Him. Out of the heavens He let you hear His voice to discipline and admonish you; and on earth He let you see His great fire, and you heard His words from the midst of the fire. And because He loved your fathers, He chose their descendants who followed them, and brought you from Egypt with His Presence, with His great and awesome power, dispossessing and driving out from before you nations, [nations that were] greater and mightier than you, to bring you in, to give you their land as an inheritance, as it is this day. Therefore know and understand today, and take it to your heart, that the Lord is God in the heavens above and on the earth below; there is no other. So you shall keep His statutes and His commandments which I am commanding you today, so that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and so that you may live long on the land which the Lord your God is giving you for all time.”
Then Moses set apart three cities [of refuge] beyond the Jordan toward the rising of the sun (eastward), so that someone who committed manslaughter could flee there, [that is, a person] who killed his neighbor unintentionally and without previously having hostility toward him, and that by escaping to one of these cities he might [claim the right of asylum and] save his life: Bezer in the wilderness on the plateau for the Reubenites, and Ramoth in Gilead for the Gadites, and Golan in Bashan for the Manassites.
This is the law which Moses placed before the sons of Israel; these are the testimonies (legal provisions) and the statutes and the judgments which Moses spoke to the sons of Israel when they came out of Egypt, beyond the Jordan in the Valley opposite Beth-peor, in the land of Sihon king of the Amorites who lived at Heshbon, whom Moses and the sons of Israel defeated when they came out from Egypt. They took possession of his land and the land of Og king of Bashan, the two kings of the Amorites, who reigned across the Jordan to the east, from Aroer, which is on the edge of the valley of the [river] Arnon, as far as Mount Sion (that is, Hermon), with all the Arabah (desert lowlands) across the Jordan to the east, even as far as the sea of the Arabah (the Dead Sea), at the foot of the slopes of Pisgah.
- Deuteronomy 4:15 Lit your souls.
- Deuteronomy 4:17 Lit heavens, the reference here is to the first heaven, the “heaven of the clouds.”
- Deuteronomy 4:24 I.e. intolerant of unfaithfulness.
The Ten Commandments Repeated
Then Moses summoned all Israel and said to them:
“Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments (legal decisions) which I am speaking today in your hearing, so that you may learn them and observe them carefully. The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. The Lord did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, all of us who are alive here today. The Lord spoke with you face to face at the mountain from the midst of the fire. I was standing between the Lord and you at that time, to declare to you the word of the Lord; for you were afraid because of the fire and did not go up the mountain. He said,
‘I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
‘You shall have no other gods [a]before Me.
‘You shall not make for yourself an idol [as an object to worship], or any likeness (form, manifestation) of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a [b]jealous (impassioned) God [demanding what is rightfully and uniquely mine], visiting (avenging) the iniquity (sin, guilt) of the fathers on the children [that is, calling the children to account for the sins of their fathers], to the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but [c]showing graciousness and lovingkindness to thousands [of generations] of those who love Me and keep My commandments.
‘You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain [that is, irreverently, in false affirmations or in ways that impugn the character of God]; for the Lord will not hold guiltless nor leave unpunished the one who [d]takes His name in vain [disregarding its reverence and its power].
‘Observe the Sabbath day to keep it holy (set apart, dedicated to God), as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath [a day of rest dedicated] to the Lord your God; on that day you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock or the stranger who stays inside your [city] gates, so that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. You shall remember [with thoughtful concern] that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.
‘Honor (respect, obey, care for) your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that your days [on the earth] may be prolonged and so that it may go well with you in the land which the Lord your God gives you.
‘You shall not [e]murder.
‘You shall not commit [f]adultery.
‘You shall not steal.
‘You shall not give false testimony [that is, lie, withhold, or manipulate the truth] against your neighbor (any person).
‘You shall not covet [that is, desire and seek to acquire] your neighbor’s wife, nor desire your neighbor’s house, his field, his male servant or his female servant, his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.’
“The Lord spoke these words with a great voice to all your assembly at the mountain out of the midst of the fire, the cloud, and the thick darkness, and He added no more. He wrote these commandments on two tablets of stone and gave them to me. And when you heard the voice from the midst of the darkness, while the mountain was burning with fire, you approached me, all the leaders (heads) of your tribes and your elders; and you said, ‘Behold, the Lord our God has shown us His glory and His greatness, and we have heard His voice from the midst of the fire; we have seen today that God speaks with man, yet he [still] lives. Now then why should we die? For this great fire will consume us; if we hear the voice of the Lord our God any longer, then we will die. For who is there of all flesh (mankind) who has heard the voice of the living God speaking from the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived? You, Moses, go near and listen to everything that the Lord our God says; then speak to us everything that the Lord our God speaks to you, and we will listen and do it.’
“The Lord heard your words when you spoke to me, and the Lord said to me, ‘I have heard the words of this people which they have spoken to you. They have done well in all that they have spoken. Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear [and worship Me with awe-filled reverence and profound respect] and keep all My commandments always, so that it may go well with them and with their children forever! Go and say to them, “Return to your tents.” But as for you, stand here by Me, and I will tell you all the commandments and the statutes and the judgments which you shall teach them, so that they may obey them in the land which I give them to possess.’ Therefore you shall pay attention and be careful to do just as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right or to the left [deviating from My commandments]. You shall walk [that is, live each and every day] in all the ways which the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long in the land which you will possess.
- Deuteronomy 5:7 Or besides.
- Deuteronomy 5:9 See note 4:24.
- Deuteronomy 5:10 Lit doing.
- Deuteronomy 5:11 Using the name of God in a casual, frivolous way establishes a mindset that diminishes and dishonors the omnipotent God. Using the name of God to abuse, manipulate, or deceive invites judgment.
- Deuteronomy 5:17 Or commit homicide. In general, prohibits one from acting on one’s own initiative to deliberately take or maliciously cause to be taken, the life of another.
- Deuteronomy 5:18 Jesus extended this commandment in Matt 5:27, 28. Not only is adultery forbidden, but also the act of looking at a woman with lustful (sexual) desire, which would include indulging oneself in pornography.