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Deuteronomy 13:1-16:17 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

The False Prophet

13 “If a prophet or someone who has dreams arises among you and proclaims a sign or wonder to you, and that sign or wonder he has promised you comes about, but he says, ‘Let us follow other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us worship them,’ do not listen to that prophet’s words or to that dreamer. For the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul. You must follow the Lord your God and fear Him. You must keep His commands and listen to His voice; you must worship Him and remain faithful[a] to Him. That prophet or dreamer must be put to death, because he has urged rebellion against the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the place of slavery, to turn you from the way the Lord your God has commanded you to walk. You must purge the evil from you.

Don’t Tolerate Idolatry

“If your brother, the son of your mother,[b] or your son or daughter, or the wife you embrace, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, ‘Let us go and worship other gods’—which neither you nor your fathers have known, any of the gods of the peoples around you, near you or far from you, from one end of the earth to the other— you must not yield to him or listen to him. Show him no pity,[c] and do not spare him or shield him. Instead, you must kill him. Your hand is to be the first against him to put him to death, and then the hands of all the people. 10 Stone him to death for trying to turn you away from the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. 11 All Israel will hear and be afraid, and they will no longer do anything evil like this among you.

12 “If you hear it said about one of your cities the Lord your God is giving you to live in, 13 that wicked men have sprung up among you, led the inhabitants of their city astray, and said, ‘Let us go and worship other gods,’ which you have not known, 14 you are to inquire, investigate, and interrogate thoroughly. If the report turns out to be true that this detestable thing has happened among you, 15 you must strike down the inhabitants of that city with the sword. Completely destroy everyone in it as well as its livestock with the sword. 16 You are to gather all its spoil in the middle of the city square and completely burn up the city and all its spoil for the Lord your God. The city must remain a mound of ruins forever; it is not to be rebuilt. 17 Nothing set apart for destruction is to remain in your hand, so that the Lord will turn from His burning anger and grant you mercy, show you compassion, and multiply you as He swore to your fathers. 18 This will occur if you obey the Lord your God, keeping all His commands I am giving you today, doing what is right in the sight of the Lord your God.

Forbidden Practices

14 “You are sons of the Lord your God; do not cut yourselves or make a bald spot on your head[d] on behalf of the dead, for you are a holy people belonging to the Lord your God. The Lord has chosen you to be His own possession out of all the peoples on the face of the earth.

Clean and Unclean Foods

“You must not eat any detestable thing. These are the animals you may eat:

the ox, the sheep, the goat,
the deer, the gazelle, the roe deer,
the wild goat, the ibex, the antelope,
and the mountain sheep.

You may eat any animal that has hooves divided in two and chews the cud. But among the ones that chew the cud or have divided hooves, you are not to eat these:

the camel, the hare, and the hyrax,
though they chew the cud, they do not have hooves—
they are unclean for you;
and the pig, though it has hooves, it does not chew the cud—
it is unclean for you.

You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses.

“You may eat everything from the water that has fins and scales, 10 but you may not eat anything that does not have fins and scales—it is unclean for you.

11 “You may eat every clean bird, 12 but these are the ones you may not eat:

the eagle, the bearded vulture,
the black vulture, 13 the kite,
any kind of falcon,[e]
14 every kind of raven, 15 the ostrich,
the short-eared owl, the gull,
any kind of hawk,
16 the little owl, the long-eared owl,
the white owl, 17 the desert owl,
the osprey, the cormorant, 18 the stork,
any kind of heron,
the hoopoe, and the bat.[f]

19 All winged insects are unclean for you; they may not be eaten. 20 But you may eat every clean flying creature.

21 “You are not to eat any carcass; you may give it to a temporary resident living within your gates, and he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner. For you are a holy people belonging to the Lord your God. You must not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.

A Tenth for the Lord

22 “Each year you are to set aside a tenth of all the produce grown in your fields. 23 You are to eat a tenth of your grain, new wine, and oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, in the presence of Yahweh your God at the place where He chooses to have His name dwell, so that you will always learn to fear the Lord your God. 24 But if the distance is too great for you to carry it, since the place where Yahweh your God chooses to put His name is too far away from you and since the Lord your God has blessed you, 25 then exchange it for money, take the money in your hand, and go to the place the Lord your God chooses. 26 You may spend the money on anything you want: cattle, sheep, wine, beer, or anything you desire. You are to feast there in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice with your family. 27 Do not neglect the Levite within your gates, since he has no portion or inheritance among you.

28 “At the end of every three years, bring a tenth of all your produce for that year and store it within your gates. 29 Then the Levite, who has no portion or inheritance among you, the foreigner, the fatherless, and the widow within your gates may come, eat, and be satisfied. And the Lord your God will bless you in all the work of your hands that you do.

Debts Canceled

15 “At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts. This is how to cancel debt: Every creditor[g] is to cancel what he has lent his neighbor. He is not to collect anything from his neighbor or brother, because the Lord’s release of debts has been proclaimed. You may collect something from a foreigner, but you must forgive whatever your brother owes you.

“There will be no poor among you, however, because the Lord is certain to bless you in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess as an inheritance if only you obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow every one of these commands I am giving you today. When the Lord your God blesses you as He has promised you, you will lend to many nations but not borrow; you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you.

Lending to the Poor

“If there is a poor person among you, one of your brothers within any of your gates in the land the Lord your God is giving you, you must not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Instead, you are to open your hand to him and freely loan him enough for whatever need he has. Be careful that there isn’t this wicked thought in your heart, ‘The seventh year, the year of canceling debts, is near,’ and you are stingy toward your poor brother and give him nothing. He will cry out to the Lord against you, and you will be guilty. 10 Give to him, and don’t have a stingy heart[h] when you give, and because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you do.[i] 11 For there will never cease to be poor people in the land; that is why I am commanding you, ‘You must willingly open your hand to your afflicted and poor brother in your land.’

Release of Slaves

12 “If your fellow Hebrew, a man or woman, is sold to you and serves you six years, you must set him free in the seventh year. 13 When you set him free, do not send him away empty-handed. 14 Give generously to him from your flock, your threshing floor, and your winepress. You are to give him whatever the Lord your God has blessed you with. 15 Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you; that is why I am giving you this command today. 16 But if your slave says to you, ‘I don’t want to leave you,’ because he loves you and your family, and is well off with you, 17 take an awl and pierce through his ear into the door, and he will become your slave for life. Also treat your female slave the same way. 18 Do not regard it as a hardship[j] when you set him free, because he worked for you six years—worth twice the wages of a hired hand. Then the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do.

Consecration of Firstborn Animals

19 “You must consecrate to the Lord your God every firstborn male produced by your herd and flock. You are not to put the firstborn of your oxen to work or shear the firstborn of your flock. 20 Each year you and your family are to eat it before the Lord your God in the place the Lord chooses. 21 But if there is a defect in the animal, if it is lame or blind or has any serious defect, you must not sacrifice it to the Lord your God. 22 Eat it within your gates; both the unclean person and the clean may eat it, as though it were a gazelle or deer. 23 But you must not eat its blood; pour it on the ground like water.

The Festival of Passover

16 “Observe the month of Abib[k] and celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God, because the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night in the month of Abib. Sacrifice to Yahweh your God a Passover animal from the herd or flock in the place where the Lord chooses to have His name dwell. You must not eat leavened bread with it. For seven days you are to eat unleavened bread with it, the bread of hardship—because you left the land of Egypt in a hurry—so that you may remember for the rest of your life the day you left the land of Egypt. No yeast is to be found anywhere in your territory for seven days, and none of the meat you sacrifice in the evening of the first day is to remain until morning. You are not to sacrifice the Passover animal in any of the towns the Lord your God is giving you. You must only sacrifice the Passover animal at the place where Yahweh your God chooses to have His name dwell. Do this in the evening as the sun sets at the same time of day you departed from Egypt. You are to cook and eat it in the place the Lord your God chooses, and you are to return to your tents in the morning. You must eat unleavened bread for six days. On the seventh day there is to be a solemn assembly to the Lord your God, and you must not do any work.

The Festival of Weeks

“You are to count seven weeks, counting the weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain. 10 You are to celebrate the Festival of Weeks to the Lord your God with a freewill offering that you give in proportion to how the Lord your God has blessed you. 11 Rejoice before Yahweh your God in the place where He chooses to have His name dwell—you, your son and daughter, your male and female slave, the Levite within your gates, as well as the foreigner, the fatherless, and the widow among you. 12 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt; carefully follow these statutes.

The Festival of Booths

13 “You are to celebrate the Festival of Booths for seven days when you have gathered in everything from your threshing floor and winepress. 14 Rejoice during your festival—you, your son and daughter, your male and female slave, as well as the Levite, the foreigner, the fatherless, and the widow within your gates. 15 You are to hold a seven-day festival for the Lord your God in the place He chooses, because the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, and you will have abundant joy.

16 “All your males are to appear three times a year before the Lord your God in the place He chooses: at the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Weeks, and the Festival of Booths. No one is to appear before the Lord empty-handed. 17 Everyone must appear with a gift suited to his means, according to the blessing the Lord your God has given you.

Footnotes:

  1. Deuteronomy 13:4 Lit and hold on
  2. Deuteronomy 13:6 DSS, Sam, LXX read If the son of your father or the son of your mother
  3. Deuteronomy 13:8 Lit Your eye must not pity him
  4. Deuteronomy 14:1 Or forehead
  5. Deuteronomy 14:13 Some Hb mss, Sam, LXX; other Hb mss, Vg read the falcon, the various kinds of kite
  6. Deuteronomy 14:18 The identification of some of these animals is uncertain.
  7. Deuteronomy 15:2 Lit owner of a loan of his hand
  8. Deuteronomy 15:10 Lit and let not your heart be grudging
  9. Deuteronomy 15:10 Lit you put your hand to
  10. Deuteronomy 15:18 Lit Let it not be hard in your sight
  11. Deuteronomy 16:1 March–April; called Nisan in the post-exilic period; Neh 2:1; Est 3:7

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