31 When Moses had finished giving all the words of this whole covenant to the people of Israel, 2 he spoke to them.
Moses: I’m now 120 years old. I’m not physically able to lead you anymore, and the Eternal has told me, “You’re not going to cross the Jordan River.” 3 Instead, it will be the Eternal your God who leads you across the Jordan. He’ll clear out the nations who live there, and you’ll take their place. As my successor and the Eternal’s representative, Joshua will lead you across, just as He has said. 4 The Eternal will do to those nations just what He did to Sihon and Og, the Amorite kings, and their land when He destroyed them. 5 He will defeat them for you. Then you must do to them exactly what I’ve commanded you to do. 6 Be strong and brave, and don’t tremble in fear of them, because the Eternal your God is going with you. He’ll never fail you or abandon you!
7 Then Moses spoke to Joshua, with all of Israel looking on.
Moses: Be strong and brave! You’re going to lead these people into the land the Eternal promised their ancestors He’d give them. You’ll give it to them, and they’ll give it to their descendants. 8 And He will be leading you. He’ll be with you, and He’ll never fail you or abandon you. So don’t be afraid!
9 Then Moses wrote down everything in this law and gave it to the priests (the descendants of Levi who transported the Eternal’s covenant chest) and to the elders of Israel. 10 He gave them these instructions:
Moses: At the end of every seven years, as I’ve already told you, you’re going to cancel all debts. In that same year, during the Feast of Shelters, 11 when all the people of Israel come into the presence of the Eternal your God, at the place He’ll choose, read this law aloud to them. 12 Assemble everyone—men, women, children, and any foreigners who are living in the cities with you—so they can listen and learn and fear Him and carefully obey every word of this law. 13 If you do this every seven years, their descendants, who otherwise wouldn’t know these things, will hear the law and learn to fear Him, and the nation will be faithful to Him for as long as you live in the land you’re going to take possession of when you cross the Jordan River.
Eternal One (to Moses): 14 It’s almost time for you to die. Call Joshua and stand with him by the congregation tent, where I’ll formally install him and give him his instructions.
So Moses and Joshua went and waited at the congregation tent. 15 The Eternal came and met them at the door of the tent, appearing in the form of a cloud pillar.
Eternal One (to Moses): 16 You’re about to leave this world to lie down with your ancestors in death. After you’re gone, these people are going to be unfaithful to Me. They’re going to worship foreign gods, the gods of the land they’re going into. They’re going to abandon Me and break the covenant I made with them. 17 When they do, I’ll be furious with them and abandon them. I won’t look on them when they pray. I won’t protect them, and they’ll be eaten alive. They’ll be in so much trouble and distress then that they’ll say, “We must be in all this trouble because our God isn’t with us anymore!” 18 And they’ll be right. In those days, I won’t look at them when they pray because they’ll have done such an evil thing by turning to other gods. 19 So I want you to write down this song and teach it to the children of Israel. Teach them to sing it, so it can be a witness for Me against them. 20-21 I know what they’re already inclined to do before I’ve even brought them into the land I promised them. I know that when I’ve brought them into the land I promised to give to their ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey, when they have had more than enough to eat and they’ve grown fat, they’ll turn to other gods and worship them. They’ll reject Me and break My covenant. Then, when they’re in so much trouble and distress, this song will testify against them since their descendants will still be singing it.
22 So Moses wrote down this song that day, and he taught it to the children of Israel.
The Lord commissions Moses to write a song that will serve as an enduring witness of His covenant with the people of Israel. It is to be passed down from generation to generation; and even if it cannot last quite as long as the sky and the land, so long as it does last it will speak in a way that they cannot. Of course, since the song is recorded in the Scriptures the people of God will always cherish it as they do all of His Word!
23 Then the Eternal formally installed Joshua (Nun’s son) and gave him instructions.
Eternal One: Be strong and brave, because you’re going to lead the children of Israel into the land I promised them. I am going with you!
24 Then Moses wrote down each word of this law in a book. When he finished, 25 he gave instructions to the Levites who carried the Eternal’s covenant chest.
Moses: 26 Take this book of the law, and put it next to the covenant chest of the Eternal your God, so it will be there as a witness against you. 27 I know how stubborn and rebellious you are. Even now, while I’m still alive and here with you, you’ve been rebelling against the Eternal. I can only imagine what you’ll do when I’m dead! 28 Bring all the tribes’ elders and representatives here so they can listen to everything I must say, and so I can call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against them. 29 I know that after I’m dead you’ll become corrupt and stop doing what I’ve commanded. You’ll have all kinds of trouble there because you’ll have done what the Eternal sees as wrong. You’ll make Him furious by your deeds, crafting idols and worshiping them!
30 Then Moses presented this whole song, while everyone in Israel was listening.