The Greatness of the LORD
11 1 So love God, your God; guard well his rules and regulations; obey his commandments for the rest of time. 2 Today it's very clear that it isn't your children who are front and center here: They weren't in on what God did, didn't see the acts, didn't experience the discipline, didn't marvel at his greatness, the way he displayed his power in the miracle-signs and deeds 3 that he let loose in Egypt on Pharaoh king of Egypt and all his land, 4 the way he took care of the Egyptian army, its horses and chariots, burying them in the waters of the Red Sea as they pursued you. God drowned them. And you're standing here today alive. 5 Nor was it your children who saw how God took care of you in the wilderness up until the time you arrived here, 6 what he did to Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab son of Reuben, how the Earth opened its jaws and swallowed them with their families - their tents, and everything around them - right out of the middle of Israel. 7 Yes, it was you - your eyes - that saw every great thing that God did.
The Blessings of the Promised Land
8 So it's you who are in charge of keeping the entire commandment that I command you today so that you'll have the strength to invade and possess the land that you are crossing the river to make your own. 9 Your obedience will give you a long life on the soil that God promised to give your ancestors and their children, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10 The land you are entering to take up ownership isn't like Egypt, the land you left, where you had to plant your own seed and water it yourselves as in a vegetable garden. 11 But the land you are about to cross the river and take for your own is a land of mountains and valleys; it drinks water that rains from the sky. 12 It's a land that God, your God, personally tends - he's the gardener - he alone keeps his eye on it all year long. 13 From now on if you listen obediently to the commandments that I am commanding you today, love God, your God, and serve him with everything you have within you, 14 he'll take charge of sending the rain at the right time, both autumn and spring rains, so that you'll be able to harvest your grain, your grapes, your olives. 15 He'll make sure there's plenty of grass for your animals. You'll have plenty to eat. 16 But be vigilant, lest you be seduced away and end up serving and worshiping other gods 17 and God erupts in anger and shuts down Heaven so there's no rain and nothing grows in the fields, and in no time at all you're starved out - not a trace of you left on the good land that God is giving you.
18 Place these words on your hearts. Get them deep inside you. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder. 19 Teach them to your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning until you fall into bed at night. 20 Inscribe them on the doorposts and gates of your cities 21 so that you'll live a long time, and your children with you, on the soil that God promised to give your ancestors for as long as there is a sky over the Earth. 22 That's right. If you diligently keep all this commandment that I command you to obey - love God, your God, do what he tells you, stick close to him - 23 God on his part will drive out all these nations that stand in your way. Yes, he'll drive out nations much bigger and stronger than you. 24 Every square inch on which you place your foot will be yours. Your borders will stretch from the wilderness to the mountains of Lebanon, from the Euphrates River to the Mediterranean Sea. 25 No one will be able to stand in your way. Everywhere you go, God-sent fear and trembling will precede you, just as he promised.
26 I've brought you today to the crossroads of Blessing and Curse. 27 The Blessing: if you listen obediently to the commandments of God, your God, which I command you today. 28 The Curse: if you don't pay attention to the commandments of God, your God, but leave the road that I command you today, following other gods of which you know nothing. 29 Here's what comes next: When God, your God, brings you into the land you are going into to make your own, you are to give out the Blessing from Mount Gerizim and the Curse from Mount Ebal. 30 After you cross the Jordan River, follow the road to the west through Canaanite settlements in the valley near Gilgal and the Oaks of Moreh. 31 You are crossing the Jordan River to invade and take the land that God, your God, is giving you. 32 Be vigilant. Observe all the regulations and rules I am setting before you today.
Only One Place of Worship
12 1 These are the rules and regulations that you must diligently observe for as long as you live in this country that God, the God-of-Your-Fathers, has given you to possess. 2 Ruthlessly demolish all the sacred shrines where the nations that you're driving out worship their gods - wherever you find them, on hills and mountains or in groves of green trees. 3 Tear apart their altars. Smash their phallic pillars. Burn their sex-and-religion Asherah shrines. Break up their carved gods. Obliterate the names of those god sites. 4 Stay clear of those places - don't let what went on there contaminate the worship of God, your God.
5 Instead find the site that God, your God, will choose and mark it with his name as a common center for all the tribes of Israel. Assemble there. 6 Bring to that place your Absolution-Offerings and sacrifices, your tithes and Tribute-Offerings, your Vow-Offerings, your Freewill-Offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks. 7 Feast there in the Presence of God, your God. Celebrate everything that you and your families have accomplished under the blessing of God, your God. 8 Don't continue doing things the way we're doing them at present, each of us doing as we wish. 9 Until now you haven't arrived at the goal, the resting place, the inheritance that God, your God, is giving you. 10 But the minute you cross the Jordan River and settle into the land God, your God, is enabling you to inherit, he'll give you rest from all your surrounding enemies. You'll be able to settle down and live in safety. 11 From then on, at the place that God, your God, chooses to mark with his name as the place where you can meet him, bring everything that I command you: your Absolution-Offerings and sacrifices, tithes and Tribute-Offerings, and the best of your Vow-Offerings that you vow to God. 12 Celebrate there in the Presence of God, your God, you and your sons and daughters, your servants and maids, including the Levite living in your neighborhood because he has no place of his own in your inheritance. 13 Be extra careful: Don't offer your Absolution-Offerings just any place that strikes your fancy. 14 Offer your Absolution-Offerings only in the place that God chooses in one of your tribal regions. There and only there are you to bring all that I command you. 15 It's permissible to slaughter your nonsacrificial animals like gazelle and deer in your towns and eat all you want from them with the blessing of God, your God. Both the ritually clean and unclean may eat. 16 But you may not eat the blood. Pour the blood out on the ground like water. 17 Nor may you eat there the tithe of your grain, new wine, or olive oil; nor the firstborn of your herds and flocks; nor any of the Vow-Offerings that you vow; nor your Freewill-Offerings and Tribute-Offerings. 18 All these you must eat in the Presence of God, your God, in the place God, your God, chooses - you, your son and daughter, your servant and maid, and the Levite who lives in your neighborhood. You are to celebrate in the Presence of God, your God, all the things you've been able to accomplish. 19 And make sure that for as long as you live on your land you never, never neglect the Levite. 20 When God, your God, expands your territory as he promised he would do, and you say, "I'm hungry for meat," because you happen to be craving meat at the time, go ahead and eat as much meat as you want. 21 If you're too far away from the place that God, your God, has marked with his name, it's all right to slaughter animals from your herds and flocks that God has given you, as I've commanded you. In your own towns you may eat as much of them as you want. 22 Just as the nonsacrificial animals like the gazelle and deer are eaten, you may eat them; the ritually unclean and clean may eat them at the same table. 23 Only this: Absolutely no blood. Don't eat the blood. Blood is life; don't eat the life with the meat. 24 Don't eat it; pour it out on the ground like water. 25 Don't eat it; then you'll have a good life, you and your children after you. By all means, do the right thing in God's eyes. 26 And this: Lift high your Holy-Offerings and your Vow-Offerings and bring them to the place God designates. 27 Sacrifice your Absolution-Offerings, the meat and blood, on the Altar of God, your God; pour out the blood of the Absolution-Offering on the Altar of God, your God; then you can go ahead and eat the meat. 28 Be vigilant, listen obediently to these words that I command you so that you'll have a good life, you and your children, for a long, long time, doing what is good and right in the eyes of God, your God.
Warning against Idolatry
29 When God, your God, cuts off the nations whose land you are invading, shoves them out of your way so that you displace them and settle in their land, 30 be careful that you don't get curious about them after they've been destroyed before you. Don't get fascinated with their gods, thinking, "I wonder what it was like for them, worshiping their gods. I'd like to try that myself." 31 Don't do this to God, your God. They commit every imaginable abomination with their gods. God hates it all with a passion. Why, they even set their children on fire as offerings to their gods! 32 Diligently do everything I command you, the way I command you: don't add to it; don't subtract from it.
13 1 When a prophet or visionary gets up in your community and gives out a miracle-sign or wonder, 2 and the miracle-sign or wonder that he gave out happens and he says, "Let's follow other gods" (these are gods you know nothing about), "let's worship them," 3 don't pay any attention to what that prophet or visionary says. God, your God, is testing you to find out if you totally love him with everything you have in you. 4 You are to follow only God, your God, hold him in deep reverence, keep his commandments, listen obediently to what he says, serve him - hold on to him for dear life! 5 And that prophet or visionary must be put to death. He has urged mutiny against God, your God, who rescued you from Egypt, who redeemed you from a world of slavery and put you on the road on which God, your God, has commanded you to walk. Purge the evil from your company.
6 And when your brother or son or daughter, or even your dear wife or lifelong friend, comes to you in secret and whispers, "Let's go and worship some other gods" (gods that you know nothing about, neither you nor your ancestors, 7 the gods of the peoples around you near and far, from one end of the Earth to the other), 8 don't go along with him; shut your ears. Don't feel sorry for him and don't make excuses for him. 9 Kill him. That's right, kill him. You throw the first stone. Take action at once and swiftly with everybody in the community getting in on it at the end. 10 Stone him with stones so that he dies. He tried to turn you traitor against God, your God, the one who got you out of Egypt and the world of slavery. 11 Every man, woman, and child in Israel will hear what's been done and be in awe. No one will dare to do an evil thing like this again.
12 When word comes in from one of your cities that God, your God, is giving you to live in, 13 reporting that evil men have gotten together with some of the citizens of the city and have broken away, saying, "Let's go and worship other gods" (gods you know nothing about), 14 then you must conduct a careful examination. Ask questions, investigate. If it turns out that the report is true and this abomination did in fact take place in your community, 15 you must execute the citizens of that town. Kill them, setting that city apart for holy destruction: the city and everything in it including its animals. 16 Gather the plunder in the middle of the town square and burn it all - town and plunder together up in smoke, a holy sacrifice to God, your God. Leave it there, ashes and ruins. Don't build on that site again. 17 And don't let any of the plunder devoted to holy destruction stick to your fingers. Get rid of it so that God may turn from anger to compassion, generously making you prosper, just as he promised your ancestors. 18 Yes. Obediently listen to God, your God. Keep all his commands that I am giving you today. Do the right thing in the eyes of God, your God.