Deuteronomy 12International Standard Version (ISV)
Destroying Altars to False Gods
12 “These are the statutes and ordinances that you must carefully observe in the land that the Lord God of your ancestors has given you to possess every day that you live on the earth. 2 Be sure you destroy there all the places where the nations that you’re going to dispossess serve their gods—upon the high mountains and hills and under every leafy tree. 3 Tear down their altars, then cut down their sacred poles[a] and burn them. Cut down the carved images of their gods in order to destroy their names from that place.”
Sacrifice at the Central Sanctuary
4 “You must not act like this with respect to the Lord your God. 5 Instead, you must seek to enter only the place that the Lord your God will choose among your tribes. There he will establish his name and live. 6 Bring your burnt offerings there, along with your sacrifices, your tithes, your hand-carried gifts, your offerings in fulfillment of promises, your freely-given offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks. 7 Then you and your household will eat in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice with all the things you have made by your own effort[b] and with which he[c] blessed you.
8 “You must not act as we have been doing here today, where everyone acts as they see fit, 9 since you haven’t arrived yet to your allotted place[d] that the Lord your God is about to give you. 10 But after you have crossed the Jordan River and settled in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to inherit, and after you have received relief from the enemies around you and are living securely, 11 then bring to the place that the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling place—where he will establish his name—everything that I’m commanding you: your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, your hand-carried gifts, and all your best offerings in fulfillment of promises that you pledged to the Lord.
12 “Rejoice in the presence of the Lord your God—you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the descendant of Levi who is in your city—because there is no territorial allotment[e] for him as you have. 13 Be careful not to offer burnt offerings at any location you happen to see[f] 14 instead of at the place the Lord will choose in one of the tribal areas. There you may offer burnt offerings, and there you may do everything that I’m commanding you.”
Instructions Pertaining to Food
15 “You may slaughter and eat as much meat as you desire,[g] according to the blessing of the Lord your God, when he provides for you in all your cities.[h] Both ritually unqualified and qualified people[i] may eat it as they would gazelle and deer. 16 However, you are not to consume the blood;[j] instead, you are to pour it out on the ground as you would water.
17 “You won’t be allowed to eat your tithe of grain, new wine, or oil, the firstborn of your herd and flock, your voluntary offerings that you pledged, your free-will offerings, or the works of your hands in your own cities. 18 You’ll eat only in the presence of the Lord your God at the place that he[k] will choose—you, your sons and your daughters, your male and female servants, and the descendant of Levi who is in your cities.[l] Rejoice in the presence of the Lord your God in everything you undertake.[m] 19 Be careful not to forget the descendant of Levi while you live[n] in the land. 20 When the Lord your God enlarges your territory—just as he told you—and you say ‘I want to eat meat’ since you desire to eat it,[o] you may do so as much as you please.[p]
21 “If the place where the Lord your God chooses to establish his name is distant from you, then you may slaughter from your herd and your flock what the Lord has provided for you, as he instructed you. You may consume them in your cities[q] as much as you please. 22 You may eat them just as you would gazelle and deer. Ritually unqualified and qualified people may eat them. 23 Only be sure to refrain from eating blood, because blood is the source of[r] life and you are not to consume blood with the meat. 24 You are not to eat it; instead, you are to pour it on the ground as you would water. 25 You are not to eat it, so that life may go well for you and for your children after you. Then you’ll do what is right in the eyes of the Lord.
26 “You may carry and bring only your consecrated gifts and offerings in fulfillment of promises to the place that the Lord will choose. 27 You must offer your burnt offerings—both the meat and the blood—on the altar of the Lord your God. You are to offer the blood by pouring it on the altar of the Lord your God while you consume the meat. 28 Be sure to observe all these words that I’m commanding you, in order that life may go well for you and your children after you forever, for this is good and right in the eyes of the Lord your God.”
Don’t Become Ensnared
29 “When the Lord your God eliminates the nations that you are about to dispossess so you can live in their land, 30 after they have been destroyed in your sight, be careful not to be ensnared as they were. Otherwise, you will seek their gods and ask yourselves, ‘How do these nations serve their gods? I will do likewise.’ 31 You must not do the same to the Lord your God, because they practiced in the presence of their gods every sort of abomination that the Lord hates. Moreover, they sacrificed[s] their sons and daughters to their gods. 32 [t]Now as to everything I’m commanding you, you must be careful to observe it. Don’t add to or subtract from it.”
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