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Do Not Worship Other Gods

13 Suppose a prophet appears among you. Or someone comes who uses dreams to tell what’s going to happen. He tells you that a sign or something amazing is going to take place. The sign or amazing thing he has spoken about might really take place. And then the prophet might say, “Let’s serve other gods. Let’s worship them.” But you haven’t known anything about those gods before. So you must not listen to what that prophet or dreamer has said. The Lord your God is testing you. He wants to know whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. You must worship him. You must honor him. Keep his commands. Obey him. Serve him. Remain true to him. That prophet or dreamer must be put to death. He told you not to obey the Lord your God. The Lord brought you out of Egypt. He set you free from the land where you were slaves. He commanded you to live the way he wants you to. But that prophet or dreamer has tried to get you to be unfaithful to the Lord. Get rid of that evil person.

Suppose your very own brother or sister secretly tempts you to do something wrong. Or your child or the wife you love tempts you. Or your closest friend does it. Suppose one of them says, “Let’s go and worship other gods.” But you and your people of long ago hadn’t known anything about those gods before. They are the gods of the nations around you. Those nations might be near or far away. In fact, they might reach from one end of the land to the other. Don’t give in to those who are tempting you. Don’t listen to them. Don’t feel sorry for them. Don’t spare them or save them. You must certainly put them to death. You must be the first to throw stones at them. Then all the people must do the same thing. 10 Put them to death by throwing stones at them. They tried to turn you away from the Lord your God. He brought you out of Egypt. That’s the land where you were slaves. 11 After you kill those who tempted you, all the Israelites will hear about it. And they will be too scared to do an evil thing like that again.

12 The Lord your God is giving you towns to live in. But suppose you hear something bad about one of those towns. 13 You hear that people who cause trouble have appeared among you. They’ve tried to get the people of their town to do something wrong. They’ve said, “Let’s go and worship other gods.” But you haven’t known anything about those gods before. 14 So you must ask people some questions. You must check out the matter carefully. If it’s true, an evil thing has really happened among you. It’s something the Lord hates. 15 Then you must certainly kill with your swords everyone who lives in that town. You must destroy it completely. You must wipe out its people and livestock. 16 You must gather all the goods of that town into the middle of the main street. You must burn the town completely. You must burn up everything in it. It’s a whole burnt offering to the Lord your God. The town must remain a pile of stones forever. It must never be built again. 17 Don’t keep anything that should be destroyed. Then the Lord will turn away from his great anger. He will show you mercy. He’ll have deep concern for you. He’ll cause there to be many of you. That’s what he promised your people of long ago. He gave his word when he made the promise. 18 The Lord your God will do those things if you obey him. I’m giving you his commands today. And you must obey all of them. You must do what is right in his eyes.