12 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.

2-3 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. 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.

Stay clear of those places—don’t let what went on there contaminate the worship of God, your God.

5-7 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. 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. 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.

8-10 Don’t continue doing things the way we’re doing them at present, each of us doing as we wish. Until now you haven’t arrived at the goal, the resting place, the inheritance that God, your God, is giving you. 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.

11-12 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. 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.

13-14 Be extra careful: Don’t offer your Absolution-Offerings just any place that strikes your fancy. 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.

16-18 But you may not eat the blood. Pour the blood out on the ground like water. 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. 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.

20-22 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. 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. 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.

23-25 Only this: Absolutely no blood. Don’t eat the blood. Blood is life; don’t eat the life with the meat. Don’t eat it; pour it out on the ground like water. 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.

26-27 And this: Lift high your Holy-Offerings and your Vow-Offerings and bring them to the place God designates. 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.

29-31 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, 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.” 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 1-4 When a prophet or visionary gets up in your community and gives out a miracle-sign or wonder, 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,” 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. 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!

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.

6-10 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, the gods of the peoples around you near and far, from one end of the Earth to the other), don’t go along with him; shut your ears. Don’t feel sorry for him and don’t make excuses for him. 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. 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.

12-17 When word comes in from one of your cities that God, your God, is giving you to live in, 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), 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, 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. 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. 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.

* * *

14 1-2 You are children of God, your God, so don’t mutilate your bodies or shave your heads in funeral rites for the dead. You only are a people holy to God, your God; God chose you out of all the people on Earth as his cherished personal treasure.

3-8 Don’t eat anything abominable. These are the animals you may eat: ox, sheep, goat, deer, gazelle, roebuck, wild goat, ibex, antelope, mountain sheep—any animal that has a cloven hoof and chews the cud. But you may not eat camels, rabbits, and rock badgers because they chew the cud but they don’t have a cloven hoof—that makes them ritually unclean. And pigs: Don’t eat pigs—they have a cloven hoof but don’t chew the cud, which makes them ritually unclean. Don’t even touch a pig’s carcass.

9-10 This is what you may eat from the water: anything that has fins and scales. But if it doesn’t have fins or scales, you may not eat it. It’s ritually unclean.

11-18 You may eat any ritually clean bird. These are the exceptions, so don’t eat these: eagle, vulture, black vulture, kite, falcon, the buzzard family, the raven family, ostrich, nighthawk, the hawk family, little owl, great owl, white owl, pelican, osprey, cormorant, stork, the heron family, hoopoe, bat.

19-20 Winged insects are ritually unclean; don’t eat them. But ritually clean winged creatures are permitted.

21 Because you are a people holy to God, your God, don’t eat anything that you find dead. You can, though, give it to a foreigner in your neighborhood for a meal or sell it to a foreigner.

Don’t boil a kid in its mother’s milk.

22-26 Make an offering of ten percent, a tithe, of all the produce which grows in your fields year after year. Bring this into the Presence of God, your God, at the place he designates for worship and there eat the tithe from your grain, wine, and oil and the firstborn from your herds and flocks. In this way you will learn to live in deep reverence before God, your God, as long as you live. But if the place God, your God, designates for worship is too far away and you can’t carry your tithe that far, God, your God, will still bless you: exchange your tithe for money and take the money to the place God, your God, has chosen to be worshiped. Use the money to buy anything you want: cattle, sheep, wine, or beer—anything that looks good to you. You and your family can then feast in the Presence of God, your God, and have a good time.

27 Meanwhile, don’t forget to take good care of the Levites who live in your towns; they won’t get any property or inheritance of their own as you will.

28-29 At the end of every third year, gather the tithe from all your produce of that year and put it aside in storage. Keep it in reserve for the Levite who won’t get any property or inheritance as you will, and for the foreigner, the orphan, and the widow who live in your neighborhood. That way they’ll have plenty to eat and God, your God, will bless you in all your work.

15 1-3 At the end of every seventh year, cancel all debts. This is the procedure: Everyone who has lent money to a neighbor writes it off. You must not press your neighbor or his brother for payment: All-Debts-Are-Canceled—God says so. You may collect payment from foreigners, but whatever you have lent to your fellow Israelite you must write off.

4-6 There must be no poor people among you because God is going to bless you lavishly in this land that God, your God, is giving you as an inheritance, your very own land. But only if you listen obediently to the Voice of God, your God, diligently observing every commandment that I command you today. Oh yes—God, your God, will bless you just as he promised. You will lend to many nations but won’t borrow from any; you’ll rule over many nations but none will rule over you.

7-9 When you happen on someone who’s in trouble or needs help among your people with whom you live in this land that God, your God, is giving you, don’t look the other way pretending you don’t see him. Don’t keep a tight grip on your purse. No. Look at him, open your purse, lend whatever and as much as he needs. Don’t count the cost. Don’t listen to that selfish voice saying, “It’s almost the seventh year, the year of All-Debts-Are-Canceled,” and turn aside and leave your needy neighbor in the lurch, refusing to help him. He’ll call God’s attention to you and your blatant sin.

10-11 Give freely and spontaneously. Don’t have a stingy heart. The way you handle matters like this triggers God, your God’s, blessing in everything you do, all your work and ventures. There are always going to be poor and needy people among you. So I command you: Always be generous, open purse and hands, give to your neighbors in trouble, your poor and hurting neighbors.

12-15 If a Hebrew man or Hebrew woman was sold to you and has served you for six years, in the seventh year you must set him or her free, released into a free life. And when you set them free don’t send them off empty-handed. Provide them with some animals, plenty of bread and wine and oil. Load them with provisions from all the blessings with which God, your God, has blessed you. Don’t for a minute forget that you were once slaves in Egypt and God, your God, redeemed you from that slave world.

For that reason, this day I command you to do this.

16-17 But if your slave, because he loves you and your family and has a good life with you, says, “I don’t want to leave you,” then take an awl and pierce through his earlobe into the doorpost, marking him as your slave forever. Do the same with your women slaves who want to stay with you.

18 Don’t consider this an unreasonable hardship, this setting your slave free. After all, he’s worked six years for you at half the cost of a hired hand.

Believe me, God, your God, will bless you in everything you do.

* * *

19-23 Set apart to God, your God, all the firstborn males in your herds and flocks. Don’t use the firstborn from your herds as work animals; don’t shear the firstborn from your flocks. These are for you to eat every year, you and your family, in the Presence of God, your God, at the place that God designates for worship. If the animal is defective, lame, say, or blind—anything wrong with it—don’t slaughter it as a sacrifice to God, your God. Stay at home and eat it there. Both the ritually clean and unclean may eat it, the same as with a gazelle or a deer. Only you must not eat its blood. Pour the blood out on the ground like water.

* * *

16 1-4 Observe the month of Abib by celebrating the Passover to God, your God. It was in the month of Abib that God, your God, delivered you by night from Egypt. Offer the Passover-Sacrifice to God, your God, at the place God chooses to be worshiped by establishing his name there. Don’t eat yeast bread with it; for seven days eat it with unraised bread, hard-times bread, because you left Egypt in a hurry—that bread will keep the memory fresh of how you left Egypt for as long as you live. There is to be no sign of yeast anywhere for seven days. And don’t let any of the meat that you sacrifice in the evening be left over until morning.

5-7 Don’t sacrifice the Passover in any of the towns that God, your God, gives you other than the one God, your God, designates for worship; there and there only you will offer the Passover-Sacrifice at evening as the sun goes down, marking the time that you left Egypt. Boil and eat it at the place designated by God, your God. Then, at daybreak, turn around and go home.

Eat unraised bread for six days. Set aside the seventh day as a holiday; don’t do any work.

9-11 Starting from the day you put the sickle to the ripe grain, count out seven weeks. Celebrate the Feast-of-Weeks to God, your God, by bringing your Freewill-Offering—give as generously as God, your God, has blessed you. Rejoice in the Presence of God, your God: you, your son, your daughter, your servant, your maid, the Levite who lives in your neighborhood, the foreigner, the orphan and widow among you; rejoice at the place God, your God, will set aside to be worshiped.

12 Don’t forget that you were once a slave in Egypt. So be diligent in observing these regulations.

13-15 Observe the Feast-of-Booths for seven days when you gather the harvest from your threshing-floor and your wine-vat. Rejoice at your festival: you, your son, your daughter, your servant, your maid, the Levite, the foreigner, and the orphans and widows who live in your neighborhood. Celebrate the Feast to God, your God, for seven days at the place God designates. God, your God, has been blessing you in your harvest and in all your work, so make a day of it—really celebrate!

16-17 All your men must appear before God, your God, three times each year at the place he designates: at the Feast-of-Unraised-Bread (Passover), at the Feast-of-Weeks, and at the Feast-of-Booths. No one is to show up in the Presence of God empty-handed; each man must bring as much as he can manage, giving generously in response to the blessings of God, your God.

* * *

18-19 Appoint judges and officers, organized by tribes, in all the towns that God, your God, is giving you. They are to judge the people fairly and honestly. Don’t twist the law. Don’t play favorites. Don’t take a bribe—a bribe blinds even a wise person; it undermines the intentions of the best of people.

20 The right! The right! Pursue only what’s right! It’s the only way you can really live and possess the land that God, your God, is giving you.

* * *

21-22 Don’t plant fertility Asherah trees alongside the Altar of God, your God, that you build. Don’t set up phallic sex pillars—God, your God, hates them.

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