Modern English Version
The One Place of Worship
12 These are the statutes and judgments which you shall be careful to observe in the land, which the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth. 2 You must utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you will possess served their gods, on the high mountains, and on the hills, and under every green tree. 3 And you shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their Asherah poles[a] with fire, and you shall cut down the engraved images of their gods, and eliminate their names out of that place.
4 You shall not act this way toward the Lord your God. 5 But you must seek only the place which the Lord your God shall choose out of all your tribes to establish His name, and there you must go. 6 There you shall bring your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the offerings of your hand, your vows, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and of your flocks. 7 There you must eat before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice in all that you put your hand to, you and your households, where the Lord your God has blessed you.
8 You are not to do all the things that we are doing here today, where every man does whatever is right in his own eyes. 9 For you have not yet come to the rest and to the inheritance which the Lord your God has given you. 10 But when you cross the Jordan, and dwell in the land which the Lord your God has given you to inherit, and when He gives you rest from all your enemies round about, so that you dwell in safety, 11 then there will be a place which the Lord your God will choose to cause His name to dwell. There you must bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, the offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which you vow to the Lord. 12 You will rejoice before the Lord your God, you, your sons, your daughters, your male servants, your female servants, and the Levite who is within your gates, for he has no portion or inheritance with you. 13 Be careful that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every place that you see. 14 Rather, in the place which the Lord will choose in one of your tribes, there you must offer your burnt offerings, and there you must do all that I command you.
15 Notwithstanding, you may kill and eat meat within all your gates, whatever your heart desires, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you. The unclean and the clean may eat of it, of the gazelle and of the deer, 16 only you must not eat the blood. You shall pour it on the ground like water. 17 You may not eat within your gates the tithe of your grain, your wine, your oil, the firstborn of your herds or of your flock, any of your vows which you vow, your freewill offerings, or the offering of your hand. 18 Rather you must eat them before the Lord your God in the place which the Lord your God will choose—you, your son, your daughter, your male servant, your female servant, and the Levite that is within your gates—and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God in all that you undertake to do. 19 Take heed to yourself that you do not forsake the Levite as long as you live on the earth.
20 When the Lord your God shall enlarge your border as He has promised you, and you say, “I will eat meat,” because you desire to eat meat, then you may eat as much meat as your heart desires. 21 If the place which the Lord your God has chosen to put His name is too far from you, then you shall kill of your herd and of your flock, which the Lord has given you, as I have commanded you, and you must eat in your gates whatever your heart desires. 22 Even as the gazelle and the deer are eaten, so you shall eat them. The unclean and the clean shall eat of them alike. 23 Only be sure that you do not eat the blood. For the blood is the life, and you may not eat the life with the meat. 24 You must not eat it. You must pour it on the ground like water. 25 You must not eat it, so that it may go well with you and with your children after you, when you do that which is right in the sight of the Lord.
26 You shall take only your holy things which you have, along with your vows, and go to the place which the Lord shall choose. 27 You must offer your burnt offerings, the meat and the blood, on the altar of the Lord your God, and the blood of your sacrifices will be poured out on the altar of the Lord your God, and you shall eat the meat. 28 Observe and hear all these words which I command you, so that it may go well with you and with your children after you forever, when you do that which is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God.
29 When the Lord your God shall cut off the nations from before you, where you go to possess them, and you dispossess them, and dwell in their land, 30 take heed to yourself so that you are not ensnared by following them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you not inquire after their gods, saying, “How did these nations serve their gods? Even so I will do likewise.” 31 You shall not do so to the Lord your God, for every abomination to the Lord, which He hates, they have done to their gods. They have even burned their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods.
32 Whatever I command you, be careful to do it. You shall not add to it or take away from it.
- Deuteronomy 12:3 Wooden symbols of a female deity.