Remember the Lord
11 “So you must love the Lord your God. You must do what he tells you to do and always obey his laws, rules, and commands. 2 Remember today all the great things the Lord your God has done to teach you. It was you, not your children, who saw those things happen and lived through them. You saw how great he is. You saw how strong he is, and you saw the powerful things he does. 3 You, not your children, saw the miracles he did in Egypt. You saw what he did to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and to his whole country. 4 You, not your children, saw what he did to the Egyptian army—to their horses and chariots. They were chasing you, but you saw him cover them with the water from the Red Sea. You saw how the Lord completely destroyed them. 5 It was you, not your children, who saw everything he did for you in the desert until you came to this place. 6 You saw what he did to Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab from Reuben’s family. All the Israelites watched as the ground opened up like a mouth and swallowed them, their families, their tents, and all of their servants and animals. 7 It was you, not your children, who saw all the great things the Lord did.
8 “So you must obey every command I tell you today. Then you will be strong. And you will be able to go across the Jordan River and take the land that you are ready to enter. 9 Then you will live a long life in that country. The Lord promised to give that land to your ancestors and all their descendants. It is a land filled with many good things.[a] 10 The land that you will get is not like the land of Egypt that you came from. In Egypt you planted your seeds and used your feet to pump water from the canals to water your fields like a vegetable garden. 11 But the land that you will soon get is not like that. In Israel there are mountains and valleys, and the land gets its water from the rain that falls from the sky. 12 The Lord your God cares for that land. The Lord your God watches over it, from the beginning to the end of the year.
13 “The Lord says, ‘You must listen carefully to the commands I give you today: You must love the Lord your God, and serve him with all your heart and all your soul. If you do that, 14 I will send rain for your land at the right time. I will send the autumn rain and the spring rain. Then you can gather your grain, your new wine, and your oil. 15 And I will make grass grow in your fields for your cattle. You will have plenty to eat.’
16 “He says, ‘Be careful! Don’t be fooled. Don’t turn away from me to serve other gods and to bow down to them.’ 17 If you do that, the Lord will become very angry with you. He will shut the skies, and there will be no rain. The land will not make a harvest, and you will soon die in the good land that the Lord is giving you.
18 “Remember these commands I give you. Keep them in your hearts. Write them down and tie them on your hands and wear them on your foreheads as a way to remember my laws. 19 Teach these laws to your children. Talk about these things when you sit in your houses, when you walk along the road, when you lie down, and when you get up. 20 Write these commands on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates. 21 Then both you and your children will live a long time in the land that the Lord promised to give to your ancestors. You will live there as long as the skies are above the earth.
22 “Be careful to obey every command I have told you to follow: Love the Lord your God, follow all his ways, and be faithful to him. 23 Then, when you go into the land, the Lord will force all those other nations out. You will take the land from nations that are larger and more powerful than you. 24 All the land you walk on will be yours. Your land will go from the desert in the south all the way to Lebanon in the north. It will go from the Euphrates River in the east all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. 25 No one will be able to stand against you. The Lord your God will make the people fear you wherever you go in that land. That is what he promised you before.
Israel’s Choice: Blessings or Curses
26 “Today I am giving you a choice. You may choose the blessing or the curse. 27 You will get the blessing if you listen and obey the commands of the Lord your God that I have told you today. 28 But you will get the curse if you refuse to listen and obey the commands of the Lord your God. So don’t stop living the way I command you today, and don’t follow other gods that you don’t know.
29 “The Lord your God will lead you to your land. You will soon go in and take that land. At that time you must go to the top of Mount Gerizim and read the blessings to the people from there. And then you must go to the top of Mount Ebal and read the curses to the people from there. 30 These mountains are on the other side of the Jordan River in the land of the Canaanites living in the Jordan Valley. These mountains are toward the west, not far from the oak trees of Moreh near the town of Gilgal. 31 You will go across the Jordan River. You will take the land that the Lord your God is giving you. This land will belong to you. When you are living in this land, 32 you must carefully obey all the laws and rules I give you today.
The Place for Worshiping God
12 “These are the laws and rules that you must obey in your new land. You must carefully obey them as long as you live in this land. The Lord is the God of your ancestors, and he is giving this land to you. 2 You will take that land from the nations that live there now. You must completely destroy all the places where the people of these nations worship their gods. These places are on high mountains, on hills, and under green trees. 3 You must smash their altars and break their memorial stones into pieces. You must burn their Asherah poles and cut down the statues of their gods. Wipe out everything that would remind you of those gods.
4 “You must not worship the Lord your God in the same way these people worship their gods. 5 The Lord your God will choose a special place among your tribes. That will be the home for his name. You must go to that place to worship him. 6 There you must bring your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, one-tenth of your crops and animals,[b] your special gifts, any gifts you promised to him, any special gift you want to give, and the first animals born in your herds and flocks. 7 You and your families will eat together at that place, and the Lord your God will be there with you. You will enjoy sharing the things you worked for there. You will remember that the Lord your God blessed you and gave you these good things.
8 “You must not continue to worship the way we have been worshiping. Until now each of us has been worshiping God any way we wanted. 9 This is because we have not yet entered the peaceful land that the Lord your God is giving you. 10 But you will go across the Jordan River and live in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. There he will give you rest from all your enemies, and you will be safe. 11 Then the Lord your God will choose a place that will be the home for his name. You must bring everything I command you to that place. Bring your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, one-tenth of your crops and animals, your special gifts, and any gifts that you promised to give to the Lord. 12 Come to that place with all your people—your children, all your servants, and the Levites living in your towns. (These Levites will not have a share of the land for their own.) Enjoy yourselves together there with the Lord your God. 13 Be sure you don’t offer your burnt offerings in just any place you see. 14 The Lord will choose his special place among your tribes. Offer your burnt offerings and do everything else I told you only in that place.
15 “Whenever you want to eat meat, you can enjoy that blessing from the Lord your God wherever you live. You can butcher the animal just as you do gazelles and deer, and anyone, clean or unclean, can eat it. 16 But you must not eat the blood. You must pour the blood on the ground like water.
17 “Also, the things you are offering to God must not be eaten where you live. These include the part of your grain that belongs to God, the part of your new wine and oil that belongs to God, the first animals born in your herd or flock, any gift that you promised to God, any special gifts you want to give, or any other gifts for God. 18 You must eat these offerings only in his presence at the special place that the Lord your God will choose. You must go there and eat together with your sons, your daughters, all your servants, and the Levites living in your towns. Enjoy yourselves there with the Lord your God. Enjoy what you have worked for. 19 But be sure that you always share these meals with the Levites. Do this as long as you live in your land.
20-21 “The Lord your God promised to make your country larger. When he does this, you might live too far from the place the Lord your God chooses to be the home for his name. If it is too far, and you are hungry for meat, you may eat any meat you have. You may kill any animal from the herd or flock that he has given you. Do this the way I have commanded you. You may eat this meat there where you live any time you want. 22 You may eat this meat the same as you would eat gazelle or deer meat. Anyone can do this—people who are clean and people who are unclean. 23 But be especially careful not to eat the blood, because the life is in the blood. You must not eat meat that still has its life in it. 24 Don’t eat the blood. Pour it out like water onto the ground. 25 So don’t eat blood. You must do what the Lord says is right, and good things will happen to you and to your descendants.
26 “If you decide to give something special to God, you must go to the special place that the Lord your God will choose. And if you make a special promise, you must go to that place to give that gift to God. 27 You must offer your burnt offerings in that place. Offer the meat and the blood of your burnt offerings on the altar of the Lord your God. For your other sacrifices, you must pour the blood on the altar of the Lord your God. Then you may eat the meat. 28 Carefully obey all the commands that I give you. When you do what is good and right—what pleases the Lord your God—then everything will go well for you and for your descendants forever.
29 “You are going to take your land from other people. The Lord your God will destroy these people for you. You will force them out of that land, and then you will live there. 30 But be careful that you don’t fall into the same trap they did! Don’t go to their false gods for help. Don’t say to yourself, ‘They worshiped these gods, so I will worship them too.’ 31 Don’t do that to the Lord your God! These people do all kinds of bad things that the Lord hates. They even burn their children as sacrifices to their gods!
32 “You must be careful to do everything I command you. Don’t add anything to what I tell you, and don’t take anything away.
Don’t Serve Other Gods
13 “A prophet or someone who explains dreams might come to you and tell you that they will show you a sign or a miracle. 2 And the sign or miracle they told you about might come true. Then they might ask you to follow other gods (gods you don’t know) and say to you, ‘Let’s serve these gods!’ 3 Don’t listen to them, because the Lord your God is testing you. He wants to know if you love him with all your heart and all your soul. 4 You must follow the Lord your God. Respect him. Obey his commands and do what he tells you. Serve the Lord your God, and never leave him. 5 Also, you must kill that prophet or person who explains dreams, because they told you to turn against the Lord your God. And it was the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, where you were slaves. They tried to pull you away from the life he commanded you to live, so you must kill them to remove this evil from your people.
6 “Someone close to you might secretly persuade you to worship other gods. It might be your own brother, your son, your daughter, the wife you love, or your closest friend. They might say, ‘Let’s go and serve other gods.’ (These are gods that you and your ancestors never knew. 7 They are the gods of the people who live in the other lands around you, some near and some far away.) 8 You must not agree with them. Don’t listen to them or feel sorry for them. Don’t let them go free or protect them. 9-10 No, you must kill them with stones. You be the first one to pick up stones and throw at them. Then everyone must throw stones to kill them, because they tried to pull you away from the Lord your God. And it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, where you were slaves. 11 Then all the Israelites will hear about it and be afraid. And they will not do those evil things any more.
12 “The Lord your God has given you cities to live in. Sometimes you might hear some bad news about one of these cities. You might hear that 13 some troublemakers from your own nation are persuading the people of their city to do bad things. They might say to the people of their city, ‘Let’s go and serve other gods.’ (These gods would be gods that you never knew before.) 14 If you hear this kind of news, you must do all you can to learn if it is true. If you learn that it is true, if you prove that such a terrible thing really did happen, 15 then you must kill all the people of that city and their animals too. You must destroy that city completely. 16 You must gather up everything of value and take it to the center of the city. Burn the whole city and everything in it as a burnt offering to the Lord your God. You must turn that city into an empty pile of rocks forever, and that city must never be rebuilt. 17 Everything in that city must be destroyed as an offering to God. So you must not keep any of the things for yourselves. If you follow this command, the Lord will stop being so angry with you. He will be kind to you. He will feel sorry for you. He will let your nation grow larger, as he promised your ancestors. 18 This will happen if you listen to the Lord your God—if you obey all his commands that I give you today. You must do what the Lord your God says is right.