31 After Moses had said all these things to the people of Israel, 2 he told them, “I am now 120 years old! I am no longer able to lead you,[a] for the Lord has told me that I shall not cross the Jordan River. 3 But the Lord himself will lead you and will destroy the nations living there, and you shall overcome them. Joshua is your new commander, as the Lord has instructed. 4 The Lord will destroy the nations living in the land, just as he destroyed Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites. 5 The Lord will deliver over to you the people living there, and you shall destroy them as I have commanded you. 6 Be strong! Be courageous! Do not be afraid of them! For the Lord your God will be with you. He will neither fail you nor forsake you.”
7 Then Moses called for Joshua and said to him, as all Israel watched, “Be strong! Be courageous! For you shall lead these people into the land promised by the Lord to their ancestors; see to it that they conquer it. 8 Don’t be afraid, for the Lord will go before you and will be with you; he will not fail nor forsake you.”
9 Then Moses wrote out the laws he had already delivered to the people and gave them to the priests, the sons of Levi, who carried the Ark containing the Ten Commandments of the Lord. Moses also gave copies of the laws to the elders of Israel. 10-11 The Lord commanded that these laws be read to all the people at the end of every seventh year—the Year of Release—at the Festival of Tabernacles, when all Israel would assemble before the Lord at the sanctuary.
12 “Call them all together,” the Lord instructed, “—men, women, children, and foreigners living among you—to hear the laws of God and to learn his will, so that you will reverence the Lord your God and obey his laws. 13 Do this so that your little children who have not known these laws will hear them and learn how to revere the Lord your God as long as you live in the Promised Land.”
14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “The time has come when you must die. Summon Joshua and come into the Tabernacle where I can give him his instructions.” So Moses and Joshua came and stood before the Lord.
15 He appeared to them in a great cloud at the Tabernacle entrance, 16 and said to Moses, “You shall die and join your ancestors. After you are gone, these people will begin worshiping foreign gods in the Promised Land. They will forget about me and break the contract I have made with them. 17 Then my anger will flame out against them and I will abandon them, hiding my face from them, and they shall be destroyed. Terrible trouble will come upon them, so that they will say, ‘God is no longer among us!’ 18 I will turn away from them because of their sins in worshiping other gods.
19 “Now write down the words of this song, and teach it to the people of Israel as my warning to them. 20 When I have brought them into the land I promised their ancestors—a land ‘flowing with milk and honey’—and when they have become fat and prosperous, and worship other gods and despise me and break my contract, 21 and great disasters come upon them, then this song will remind them of the reason for their woes. (For this song will live from generation to generation.) I know now, even before they enter the land, what these people are like.”
22 So, on that very day, Moses wrote down the words of the song and taught it to the Israelites. 23 Then he charged Joshua (son of Nun) to be strong and courageous and said to him, “You must bring the people of Israel into the land the Lord promised them; for the Lord says, ‘I will be with you.’”
24 When Moses had finished writing down all the laws that are recorded in this book, 25 he instructed the Levites who carried the Ark containing the Ten Commandments 26 to put this book of the law beside the Ark, as a solemn warning to the people of Israel.
27 “For I know how rebellious and stubborn you are,” Moses told them. “If even today, while I am still here with you, you are defiant rebels against the Lord, how much more rebellious will you be after my death! 28 Now summon all the elders and officers of your tribes so that I can speak to them, and call heaven and earth to witness against them. 29 I know that after my death you will utterly defile yourselves and turn away from God and his commands; and in the days to come evil will crush you for you will do what the Lord says is evil, making him very angry.”
30 So Moses recited this entire song to the whole assembly of Israel:
- Deuteronomy 31:2 I am no longer able to lead you, literally, “I am no longer able to go out and come in.”
New International Version
Joshua to Succeed Moses
31 Then Moses went out and spoke these words to all Israel: 2 “I am now a hundred and twenty years old(A) and I am no longer able to lead you.(B) The Lord has said to me, ‘You shall not cross the Jordan.’(C) 3 The Lord your God himself will cross(D) over ahead of you.(E) He will destroy these nations(F) before you, and you will take possession of their land. Joshua also will cross(G) over ahead of you, as the Lord said. 4 And the Lord will do to them what he did to Sihon and Og,(H) the kings of the Amorites, whom he destroyed along with their land. 5 The Lord will deliver(I) them to you, and you must do to them all that I have commanded you. 6 Be strong and courageous.(J) Do not be afraid or terrified(K) because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you;(L) he will never leave you(M) nor forsake(N) you.”
7 Then Moses summoned Joshua and said(O) to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them,(P) and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. 8 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you;(Q) he will never leave you nor forsake you.(R) Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Public Reading of the Law
9 So Moses wrote(S) down this law and gave it to the Levitical priests, who carried(T) the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and to all the elders of Israel. 10 Then Moses commanded them: “At the end of every seven years, in the year for canceling debts,(U) during the Festival of Tabernacles,(V) 11 when all Israel comes to appear(W) before the Lord your God at the place he will choose,(X) you shall read this law(Y) before them in their hearing. 12 Assemble the people—men, women and children, and the foreigners residing in your towns—so they can listen and learn(Z) to fear(AA) the Lord your God and follow carefully all the words of this law. 13 Their children,(AB) who do not know this law, must hear it and learn to fear the Lord your God as long as you live in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”
Israel’s Rebellion Predicted
14 The Lord said to Moses, “Now the day of your death(AC) is near. Call Joshua(AD) and present yourselves at the tent of meeting, where I will commission him.(AE)” So Moses and Joshua came and presented themselves at the tent of meeting.(AF)
15 Then the Lord appeared at the tent in a pillar of cloud, and the cloud stood over the entrance to the tent.(AG) 16 And the Lord said to Moses: “You are going to rest with your ancestors,(AH) and these people will soon prostitute(AI) themselves to the foreign gods of the land they are entering. They will forsake(AJ) me and break the covenant I made with them. 17 And in that day I will become angry(AK) with them and forsake(AL) them; I will hide(AM) my face(AN) from them, and they will be destroyed. Many disasters(AO) and calamities will come on them, and in that day they will ask, ‘Have not these disasters come on us because our God is not with us?’(AP) 18 And I will certainly hide my face in that day because of all their wickedness in turning to other gods.
19 “Now write(AQ) down this song and teach it to the Israelites and have them sing it, so that it may be a witness(AR) for me against them. 20 When I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, the land I promised on oath to their ancestors,(AS) and when they eat their fill and thrive, they will turn to other gods(AT) and worship them,(AU) rejecting me and breaking my covenant.(AV) 21 And when many disasters and calamities come on them,(AW) this song will testify against them, because it will not be forgotten by their descendants. I know what they are disposed to do,(AX) even before I bring them into the land I promised them on oath.” 22 So Moses wrote(AY) down this song that day and taught it to the Israelites.
24 After Moses finished writing(BB) in a book the words of this law(BC) from beginning to end, 25 he gave this command to the Levites who carried(BD) the ark of the covenant of the Lord: 26 “Take this Book of the Law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God. There it will remain as a witness against you.(BE) 27 For I know how rebellious(BF) and stiff-necked(BG) you are. If you have been rebellious against the Lord while I am still alive and with you, how much more will you rebel after I die! 28 Assemble before me all the elders of your tribes and all your officials, so that I can speak these words in their hearing and call the heavens and the earth to testify against them.(BH) 29 For I know that after my death you are sure to become utterly corrupt(BI) and to turn from the way I have commanded you. In days to come, disaster(BJ) will fall on you because you will do evil in the sight of the Lord and arouse his anger by what your hands have made.”
The Song of Moses
30 And Moses recited the words of this song from beginning to end in the hearing of the whole assembly of Israel: