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Deuteronomy 31-32 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Joshua Becomes Moses’ Successor

31 When Moses had finished speaking all[a] these words to all Israel, he said to them: “I am now one hundred twenty years old. I am no longer able to get about, and the Lord has told me, ‘You shall not cross over this Jordan.’ The Lord your God himself will cross over before you. He will destroy these nations before you, and you shall dispossess them. Joshua also will cross over before you, as the Lord promised. The Lord will do to them as he did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, and to their land, when he destroyed them. The Lord will give them over to you and you shall deal with them in full accord with the command that I have given to you. Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.”

Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel: “Be strong and bold, for you are the one who will go with this people into the land that the Lord has sworn to their ancestors to give them; and you will put them in possession of it. It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

The Law to Be Read Every Seventh Year

Then Moses wrote down this law, and gave it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and to all the elders of Israel. 10 Moses commanded them: “Every seventh year, in the scheduled year of remission, during the festival of booths,[b] 11 when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God at the place that he will choose, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing. 12 Assemble the people—men, women, and children, as well as the aliens residing in your towns—so that they may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God and to observe diligently all the words of this law, 13 and so that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as you live in the land that you are crossing over the Jordan to possess.”

Moses and Joshua Receive God’s Charge

14 The Lord said to Moses, “Your time to die is near; call Joshua and present yourselves in the tent of meeting, so that I may commission him.” So Moses and Joshua went and presented themselves in the tent of meeting, 15 and the Lord appeared at the tent in a pillar of cloud; the pillar of cloud stood at the entrance to the tent.

16 The Lord said to Moses, “Soon you will lie down with your ancestors. Then this people will begin to prostitute themselves to the foreign gods in their midst, the gods of the land into which they are going; they will forsake me, breaking my covenant that I have made with them. 17 My anger will be kindled against them in that day. I will forsake them and hide my face from them; they will become easy prey, and many terrible troubles will come upon them. In that day they will say, ‘Have not these troubles come upon us because our God is not in our midst?’ 18 On that day I will surely hide my face on account of all the evil they have done by turning to other gods. 19 Now therefore write this song, and teach it to the Israelites; put it in their mouths, in order that this song may be a witness for me against the Israelites. 20 For when I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, which I promised on oath to their ancestors, and they have eaten their fill and grown fat, they will turn to other gods and serve them, despising me and breaking my covenant. 21 And when many terrible troubles come upon them, this song will confront them as a witness, because it will not be lost from the mouths of their descendants. For I know what they are inclined to do even now, before I have brought them into the land that I promised them on oath.” 22 That very day Moses wrote this song and taught it to the Israelites.

23 Then the Lord commissioned Joshua son of Nun and said, “Be strong and bold, for you shall bring the Israelites into the land that I promised them; I will be with you.”

24 When Moses had finished writing down in a book the words of this law to the very end, 25 Moses commanded the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying, 26 “Take this book of the law and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God; let it remain there as a witness against you. 27 For I know well how rebellious and stubborn you are. If you already have been so rebellious toward the Lord while I am still alive among you, how much more after my death! 28 Assemble to me all the elders of your tribes and your officials, so that I may recite these words in their hearing and call heaven and earth to witness against them. 29 For I know that after my death you will surely act corruptly, turning aside from the way that I have commanded you. In time to come trouble will befall you, because you will do what is evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger through the work of your hands.”

The Song of Moses

30 Then Moses recited the words of this song, to the very end, in the hearing of the whole assembly of Israel:

32 Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak;
    let the earth hear the words of my mouth.
May my teaching drop like the rain,
    my speech condense like the dew;
like gentle rain on grass,
    like showers on new growth.
For I will proclaim the name of the Lord;
    ascribe greatness to our God!

The Rock, his work is perfect,
    and all his ways are just.
A faithful God, without deceit,
    just and upright is he;
yet his degenerate children have dealt falsely with him,[c]
    a perverse and crooked generation.
Do you thus repay the Lord,
    O foolish and senseless people?
Is not he your father, who created you,
    who made you and established you?
Remember the days of old,
    consider the years long past;
ask your father, and he will inform you;
    your elders, and they will tell you.
When the Most High[d] apportioned the nations,
    when he divided humankind,
he fixed the boundaries of the peoples
    according to the number of the gods;[e]
the Lord’s own portion was his people,
    Jacob his allotted share.

10 He sustained[f] him in a desert land,
    in a howling wilderness waste;
he shielded him, cared for him,
    guarded him as the apple of his eye.
11 As an eagle stirs up its nest,
    and hovers over its young;
as it spreads its wings, takes them up,
    and bears them aloft on its pinions,
12 the Lord alone guided him;
    no foreign god was with him.
13 He set him atop the heights of the land,
    and fed him with[g] produce of the field;
he nursed him with honey from the crags,
    with oil from flinty rock;
14 curds from the herd, and milk from the flock,
    with fat of lambs and rams;
Bashan bulls and goats,
    together with the choicest wheat—
    you drank fine wine from the blood of grapes.
15 Jacob ate his fill;[h]
    Jeshurun grew fat, and kicked.
    You grew fat, bloated, and gorged!
He abandoned God who made him,
    and scoffed at the Rock of his salvation.
16 They made him jealous with strange gods,
    with abhorrent things they provoked him.
17 They sacrificed to demons, not God,
    to deities they had never known,
to new ones recently arrived,
    whom your ancestors had not feared.
18 You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you;[i]
    you forgot the God who gave you birth.

19 The Lord saw it, and was jealous;[j]
    he spurned[k] his sons and daughters.
20 He said: I will hide my face from them,
    I will see what their end will be;
for they are a perverse generation,
    children in whom there is no faithfulness.
21 They made me jealous with what is no god,
    provoked me with their idols.
So I will make them jealous with what is no people,
    provoke them with a foolish nation.
22 For a fire is kindled by my anger,
    and burns to the depths of Sheol;
it devours the earth and its increase,
    and sets on fire the foundations of the mountains.
23 I will heap disasters upon them,
    spend my arrows against them:
24 wasting hunger,
    burning consumption,
    bitter pestilence.
The teeth of beasts I will send against them,
    with venom of things crawling in the dust.
25 In the street the sword shall bereave,
    and in the chambers terror,
for young man and woman alike,
    nursing child and old gray head.
26 I thought to scatter them[l]
    and blot out the memory of them from humankind;
27 but I feared provocation by the enemy,
    for their adversaries might misunderstand
and say, “Our hand is triumphant;
    it was not the Lord who did all this.”

28 They are a nation void of sense;
    there is no understanding in them.
29 If they were wise, they would understand this;
    they would discern what the end would be.
30 How could one have routed a thousand,
    and two put a myriad to flight,
unless their Rock had sold them,
    the Lord had given them up?
31 Indeed their rock is not like our Rock;
    our enemies are fools.[m]
32 Their vine comes from the vinestock of Sodom,
    from the vineyards of Gomorrah;
their grapes are grapes of poison,
    their clusters are bitter;
33 their wine is the poison of serpents,
    the cruel venom of asps.

34 Is not this laid up in store with me,
    sealed up in my treasuries?
35 Vengeance is mine, and recompense,
    for the time when their foot shall slip;
because the day of their calamity is at hand,
    their doom comes swiftly.

36 Indeed the Lord will vindicate his people,
    have compassion on his servants,
when he sees that their power is gone,
    neither bond nor free remaining.
37 Then he will say: Where are their gods,
    the rock in which they took refuge,
38 who ate the fat of their sacrifices,
    and drank the wine of their libations?
Let them rise up and help you,
    let them be your protection!

39 See now that I, even I, am he;
    there is no god besides me.
I kill and I make alive;
    I wound and I heal;
    and no one can deliver from my hand.
40 For I lift up my hand to heaven,
    and swear: As I live forever,
41 when I whet my flashing sword,
    and my hand takes hold on judgment;
I will take vengeance on my adversaries,
    and will repay those who hate me.
42 I will make my arrows drunk with blood,
    and my sword shall devour flesh—
with the blood of the slain and the captives,
    from the long-haired enemy.

43 Praise, O heavens,[n] his people,
    worship him, all you gods![o]
For he will avenge the blood of his children,[p]
    and take vengeance on his adversaries;
he will repay those who hate him,[q]
    and cleanse the land for his people.[r]

44 Moses came and recited all the words of this song in the hearing of the people, he and Joshua[s] son of Nun. 45 When Moses had finished reciting all these words to all Israel, 46 he said to them: “Take to heart all the words that I am giving in witness against you today; give them as a command to your children, so that they may diligently observe all the words of this law. 47 This is no trifling matter for you, but rather your very life; through it you may live long in the land that you are crossing over the Jordan to possess.”

Moses’ Death Foretold

48 On that very day the Lord addressed Moses as follows: 49 “Ascend this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, across from Jericho, and view the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites for a possession; 50 you shall die there on the mountain that you ascend and shall be gathered to your kin, as your brother Aaron died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his kin; 51 because both of you broke faith with me among the Israelites at the waters of Meribath-kadesh in the wilderness of Zin, by failing to maintain my holiness among the Israelites. 52 Although you may view the land from a distance, you shall not enter it—the land that I am giving to the Israelites.”

Footnotes:

  1. Deuteronomy 31:1 Q Ms Gk: MT Moses went and spoke
  2. Deuteronomy 31:10 Or tabernacles; Heb succoth
  3. Deuteronomy 32:5 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  4. Deuteronomy 32:8 Traditional rendering of Heb Elyon
  5. Deuteronomy 32:8 Q Ms Compare Gk Tg: MT the Israelites
  6. Deuteronomy 32:10 Sam Gk Compare Tg: MT found
  7. Deuteronomy 32:13 Sam Gk Syr Tg: MT he ate
  8. Deuteronomy 32:15 Q Mss Sam Gk: MT lacks Jacob ate his fill
  9. Deuteronomy 32:18 Or that begot you
  10. Deuteronomy 32:19 Q Mss Gk: MT lacks was jealous
  11. Deuteronomy 32:19 Cn: Heb he spurned because of provocation
  12. Deuteronomy 32:26 Gk: Meaning of Heb uncertain
  13. Deuteronomy 32:31 Gk: Meaning of Heb uncertain
  14. Deuteronomy 32:43 Q Ms Gk: MT nations
  15. Deuteronomy 32:43 Q Ms Gk: MT lacks this line
  16. Deuteronomy 32:43 Q Ms Gk: MT his servants
  17. Deuteronomy 32:43 Q Ms Gk: MT lacks this line
  18. Deuteronomy 32:43 Q Ms Sam Gk Vg: MT his land his people
  19. Deuteronomy 32:44 Sam Gk Syr Vg: MT Hoshea
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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