Deuteronomy 1-4 New Living Translation (NLT)
Introduction to Moses’ First Address
1 These are the words that Moses spoke to all the people of Israel while they were in the wilderness east of the Jordan River. They were camped in the Jordan Valley[a] near Suph, between Paran on one side and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Di-zahab on the other.
2 Normally it takes only eleven days to travel from Mount Sinai[b] to Kadesh-barnea, going by way of Mount Seir. 3 But forty years after the Israelites left Egypt, on the first day of the eleventh month,[c] Moses addressed the people of Israel, telling them everything the Lord had commanded him to say. 4 This took place after he had defeated King Sihon of the Amorites, who ruled in Heshbon, and at Edrei had defeated King Og of Bashan, who ruled in Ashtaroth.
5 While the Israelites were in the land of Moab east of the Jordan River, Moses carefully explained the Lord’s instructions as follows.
The Command to Leave Sinai
6 “When we were at Mount Sinai, the Lord our God said to us, ‘You have stayed at this mountain long enough. 7 It is time to break camp and move on. Go to the hill country of the Amorites and to all the neighboring regions—the Jordan Valley, the hill country, the western foothills,[d] the Negev, and the coastal plain. Go to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, and all the way to the great Euphrates River. 8 Look, I am giving all this land to you! Go in and occupy it, for it is the land the Lord swore to give to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to all their descendants.’”
Moses Appoints Leaders from Each Tribe
9 Moses continued, “At that time I told you, ‘You are too great a burden for me to carry all by myself. 10 The Lord your God has increased your population, making you as numerous as the stars! 11 And may the Lord, the God of your ancestors, multiply you a thousand times more and bless you as he promised! 12 But you are such a heavy load to carry! How can I deal with all your problems and bickering? 13 Choose some well-respected men from each tribe who are known for their wisdom and understanding, and I will appoint them as your leaders.’
14 “Then you responded, ‘Your plan is a good one.’ 15 So I took the wise and respected men you had selected from your tribes and appointed them to serve as judges and officials over you. Some were responsible for a thousand people, some for a hundred, some for fifty, and some for ten.
16 “At that time I instructed the judges, ‘You must hear the cases of your fellow Israelites and the foreigners living among you. Be perfectly fair in your decisions 17 and impartial in your judgments. Hear the cases of those who are poor as well as those who are rich. Don’t be afraid of anyone’s anger, for the decision you make is God’s decision. Bring me any cases that are too difficult for you, and I will handle them.’
18 “At that time I gave you instructions about everything you were to do.
Scouts Explore the Land
19 “Then, just as the Lord our God commanded us, we left Mount Sinai and traveled through the great and terrifying wilderness, as you yourselves remember, and headed toward the hill country of the Amorites. When we arrived at Kadesh-barnea, 20 I said to you, ‘You have now reached the hill country of the Amorites that the Lord our God is giving us. 21 Look! He has placed the land in front of you. Go and occupy it as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has promised you. Don’t be afraid! Don’t be discouraged!’
22 “But you all came to me and said, ‘First, let’s send out scouts to explore the land for us. They will advise us on the best route to take and which towns we should enter.’
23 “This seemed like a good idea to me, so I chose twelve scouts, one from each of your tribes. 24 They headed for the hill country and came to the valley of Eshcol and explored it. 25 They picked some of its fruit and brought it back to us. And they reported, ‘The land the Lord our God has given us is indeed a good land.’
Israel’s Rebellion against the Lord
26 “But you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God and refused to go in. 27 You complained in your tents and said, ‘The Lord must hate us. That’s why he has brought us here from Egypt—to hand us over to the Amorites to be slaughtered. 28 Where can we go? Our brothers have demoralized us with their report. They tell us, “The people of the land are taller and more powerful than we are, and their towns are large, with walls rising high into the sky! We even saw giants there—the descendants of Anak!”’
29 “But I said to you, ‘Don’t be shocked or afraid of them! 30 The Lord your God is going ahead of you. He will fight for you, just as you saw him do in Egypt. 31 And you saw how the Lord your God cared for you all along the way as you traveled through the wilderness, just as a father cares for his child. Now he has brought you to this place.’
32 “But even after all he did, you refused to trust the Lord your God, 33 who goes before you looking for the best places to camp, guiding you with a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day.
34 “When the Lord heard your complaining, he became very angry. So he solemnly swore, 35 ‘Not one of you from this wicked generation will live to see the good land I swore to give your ancestors, 36 except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see this land because he has followed the Lord completely. I will give to him and his descendants some of the very land he explored during his scouting mission.’
37 “And the Lord was also angry with me because of you. He said to me, ‘Moses, not even you will enter the Promised Land! 38 Instead, your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will lead the people into the land. Encourage him, for he will lead Israel as they take possession of it. 39 I will give the land to your little ones—your innocent children. You were afraid they would be captured, but they will be the ones who occupy it. 40 As for you, turn around now and go on back through the wilderness toward the Red Sea.[e]’
41 “Then you confessed, ‘We have sinned against the Lord! We will go into the land and fight for it, as the Lord our God has commanded us.’ So your men strapped on their weapons, thinking it would be easy to attack the hill country.
42 “But the Lord told me to tell you, ‘Do not attack, for I am not with you. If you go ahead on your own, you will be crushed by your enemies.’
43 “This is what I told you, but you would not listen. Instead, you again rebelled against the Lord’s command and arrogantly went into the hill country to fight. 44 But the Amorites who lived there came out against you like a swarm of bees. They chased and battered you all the way from Seir to Hormah. 45 Then you returned and wept before the Lord, but he refused to listen. 46 So you stayed there at Kadesh for a long time.
Remembering Israel’s Wanderings
2 “Then we turned around and headed back across the wilderness toward the Red Sea,[f] just as the Lord had instructed me, and we wandered around in the region of Mount Seir for a long time.
2 “Then at last the Lord said to me, 3 ‘You have been wandering around in this hill country long enough; turn to the north. 4 Give these orders to the people: “You will pass through the country belonging to your relatives the Edomites, the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir. The Edomites will feel threatened, so be careful. 5 Do not bother them, for I have given them all the hill country around Mount Seir as their property, and I will not give you even one square foot of their land. 6 If you need food to eat or water to drink, pay them for it. 7 For the Lord your God has blessed you in everything you have done. He has watched your every step through this great wilderness. During these forty years, the Lord your God has been with you, and you have lacked nothing.”’
8 “So we bypassed the territory of our relatives, the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir. We avoided the road through the Arabah Valley that comes up from Elath and Ezion-geber.
“Then as we turned north along the desert route through Moab, 9 the Lord warned us, ‘Do not bother the Moabites, the descendants of Lot, or start a war with them. I have given them Ar as their property, and I will not give you any of their land.’”
10 (A race of giants called the Emites had once lived in the area of Ar. They were as strong and numerous and tall as the Anakites, another race of giants. 11 Both the Emites and the Anakites are also known as the Rephaites, though the Moabites call them Emites. 12 In earlier times the Horites had lived in Seir, but they were driven out and displaced by the descendants of Esau, just as Israel drove out the people of Canaan when the Lord gave Israel their land.)
13 Moses continued, “Then the Lord said to us, ‘Get moving. Cross the Zered Brook.’ So we crossed the brook.
14 “Thirty-eight years passed from the time we first left Kadesh-barnea until we finally crossed the Zered Brook! By then, all the men old enough to fight in battle had died in the wilderness, as the Lord had vowed would happen. 15 The Lord struck them down until they had all been eliminated from the community.
16 “When all the men of fighting age had died, 17 the Lord said to me, 18 ‘Today you will cross the border of Moab at Ar 19 and enter the land of the Ammonites, the descendants of Lot. But do not bother them or start a war with them. I have given the land of Ammon to them as their property, and I will not give you any of their land.’”
20 (That area was once considered the land of the Rephaites, who had lived there, though the Ammonites call them Zamzummites. 21 They were also as strong and numerous and tall as the Anakites. But the Lord destroyed them so the Ammonites could occupy their land. 22 He had done the same for the descendants of Esau who lived in Seir, for he destroyed the Horites so they could settle there in their place. The descendants of Esau live there to this day. 23 A similar thing happened when the Caphtorites from Crete[g] invaded and destroyed the Avvites, who had lived in villages in the area of Gaza.)
24 Moses continued, “Then the Lord said, ‘Now get moving! Cross the Arnon Gorge. Look, I will hand over to you Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and I will give you his land. Attack him and begin to occupy the land. 25 Beginning today I will make people throughout the earth terrified because of you. When they hear reports about you, they will tremble with dread and fear.’”
Victory over Sihon of Heshbon
26 Moses continued, “From the wilderness of Kedemoth I sent ambassadors to King Sihon of Heshbon with this proposal of peace:
27 ‘Let us travel through your land. We will stay on the main road and won’t turn off into the fields on either side. 28 Sell us food to eat and water to drink, and we will pay for it. All we want is permission to pass through your land. 29 The descendants of Esau who live in Seir allowed us to go through their country, and so did the Moabites, who live in Ar. Let us pass through until we cross the Jordan into the land the Lord our God is giving us.’
30 “But King Sihon of Heshbon refused to allow us to pass through, because the Lord your God made Sihon stubborn and defiant so he could help you defeat him, as he has now done.
31 “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Look, I have begun to hand King Sihon and his land over to you. Begin now to conquer and occupy his land.’
32 “Then King Sihon declared war on us and mobilized his forces at Jahaz. 33 But the Lord our God handed him over to us, and we crushed him, his sons, and all his people. 34 We conquered all his towns and completely destroyed[h] everyone—men, women, and children. Not a single person was spared. 35 We took all the livestock as plunder for ourselves, along with anything of value from the towns we ransacked.
36 “The Lord our God also helped us conquer Aroer on the edge of the Arnon Gorge, and the town in the gorge, and the whole area as far as Gilead. No town had walls too strong for us. 37 However, we avoided the land of the Ammonites all along the Jabbok River and the towns in the hill country—all the places the Lord our God had commanded us to leave alone.
Victory over Og of Bashan
3 “Next we turned and headed for the land of Bashan, where King Og and his entire army attacked us at Edrei. 2 But the Lord told me, ‘Do not be afraid of him, for I have given you victory over Og and his entire army, and I will give you all his land. Treat him just as you treated King Sihon of the Amorites, who ruled in Heshbon.’
3 “So the Lord our God handed King Og and all his people over to us, and we killed them all. Not a single person survived. 4 We conquered all sixty of his towns—the entire Argob region in his kingdom of Bashan. Not a single town escaped our conquest. 5 These towns were all fortified with high walls and barred gates. We also took many unwalled villages at the same time. 6 We completely destroyed[i] the kingdom of Bashan, just as we had destroyed King Sihon of Heshbon. We destroyed all the people in every town we conquered—men, women, and children alike. 7 But we kept all the livestock for ourselves and took plunder from all the towns.
8 “So we took the land of the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River—all the way from the Arnon Gorge to Mount Hermon. 9 (Mount Hermon is called Sirion by the Sidonians, and the Amorites call it Senir.) 10 We had now conquered all the cities on the plateau and all Gilead and Bashan, as far as the towns of Salecah and Edrei, which were part of Og’s kingdom in Bashan. 11 (King Og of Bashan was the last survivor of the giant Rephaites. His bed was made of iron and was more than thirteen feet long and six feet wide.[j] It can still be seen in the Ammonite city of Rabbah.)
Land Division East of the Jordan
12 “When we took possession of this land, I gave to the tribes of Reuben and Gad the territory beyond Aroer along the Arnon Gorge, plus half of the hill country of Gilead with its towns. 13 Then I gave the rest of Gilead and all of Bashan—Og’s former kingdom—to the half-tribe of Manasseh. (This entire Argob region of Bashan used to be known as the land of the Rephaites. 14 Jair, a leader from the tribe of Manasseh, conquered the whole Argob region in Bashan, all the way to the border of the Geshurites and Maacathites. Jair renamed this region after himself, calling it the Towns of Jair,[k] as it is still known today.) 15 I gave Gilead to the clan of Makir. 16 But I also gave part of Gilead to the tribes of Reuben and Gad. The area I gave them extended from the middle of the Arnon Gorge in the south to the Jabbok River on the Ammonite frontier. 17 They also received the Jordan Valley, all the way from the Sea of Galilee down to the Dead Sea,[l] with the Jordan River serving as the western boundary. To the east were the slopes of Pisgah.
18 “At that time I gave this command to the tribes that would live east of the Jordan: ‘Although the Lord your God has given you this land as your property, all your fighting men must cross the Jordan ahead of your Israelite relatives, armed and ready to assist them. 19 Your wives, children, and numerous livestock, however, may stay behind in the towns I have given you. 20 When the Lord has given security to the rest of the Israelites, as he has to you, and when they occupy the land the Lord your God is giving them across the Jordan River, then you may all return here to the land I have given you.’
Moses Forbidden to Enter the Land
21 “At that time I gave Joshua this charge: ‘You have seen for yourself everything the Lord your God has done to these two kings. He will do the same to all the kingdoms on the west side of the Jordan. 22 Do not be afraid of the nations there, for the Lord your God will fight for you.’
23 “At that time I pleaded with the Lord and said, 24 ‘O Sovereign Lord, you have only begun to show your greatness and the strength of your hand to me, your servant. Is there any god in heaven or on earth who can perform such great and mighty deeds as you do? 25 Please let me cross the Jordan to see the wonderful land on the other side, the beautiful hill country and the Lebanon mountains.’
26 “But the Lord was angry with me because of you, and he would not listen to me. ‘That’s enough!’ he declared. ‘Speak of it no more. 27 But go up to Pisgah Peak, and look over the land in every direction. Take a good look, but you may not cross the Jordan River. 28 Instead, commission Joshua and encourage and strengthen him, for he will lead the people across the Jordan. He will give them all the land you now see before you as their possession.’ 29 So we stayed in the valley near Beth-peor.
Moses Urges Israel to Obey
4 “And now, Israel, listen carefully to these decrees and regulations that I am about to teach you. Obey them so that you may live, so you may enter and occupy the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. 2 Do not add to or subtract from these commands I am giving you. Just obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you.
3 “You saw for yourself what the Lord did to you at Baal-peor. There the Lord your God destroyed everyone who had worshiped Baal, the god of Peor. 4 But all of you who were faithful to the Lord your God are still alive today—every one of you.
5 “Look, I now teach you these decrees and regulations just as the Lord my God commanded me, so that you may obey them in the land you are about to enter and occupy. 6 Obey them completely, and you will display your wisdom and intelligence among the surrounding nations. When they hear all these decrees, they will exclaim, ‘How wise and prudent are the people of this great nation!’ 7 For what great nation has a god as near to them as the Lord our God is near to us whenever we call on him? 8 And what great nation has decrees and regulations as righteous and fair as this body of instructions that I am giving you today?
9 “But watch out! Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren. 10 Never forget the day when you stood before the Lord your God at Mount Sinai,[m] where he told me, ‘Summon the people before me, and I will personally instruct them. Then they will learn to fear me as long as they live, and they will teach their children to fear me also.’
11 “You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, while flames from the mountain shot into the sky. The mountain was shrouded in black clouds and deep darkness. 12 And the Lord spoke to you from the heart of the fire. You heard the sound of his words but didn’t see his form; there was only a voice. 13 He proclaimed his covenant—the Ten Commandments[n]—which he commanded you to keep, and which he wrote on two stone tablets. 14 It was at that time that the Lord commanded me to teach you his decrees and regulations so you would obey them in the land you are about to enter and occupy.
A Warning against Idolatry
15 “But be very careful! You did not see the Lord’s form on the day he spoke to you from the heart of the fire at Mount Sinai. 16 So do not corrupt yourselves by making an idol in any form—whether of a man or a woman, 17 an animal on the ground, a bird in the sky, 18 a small animal that scurries along the ground, or a fish in the deepest sea. 19 And when you look up into the sky and see the sun, moon, and stars—all the forces of heaven—don’t be seduced into worshiping them. The Lord your God gave them to all the peoples of the earth. 20 Remember that the Lord rescued you from the iron-smelting furnace of Egypt in order to make you his very own people and his special possession, which is what you are today.
21 “But the Lord was angry with me because of you. He vowed that I would not cross the Jordan River into the good land the Lord your God is giving you as your special possession. 22 You will cross the Jordan to occupy the land, but I will not. Instead, I will die here on the east side of the river. 23 So be careful not to break the covenant the Lord your God has made with you. Do not make idols of any shape or form, for the Lord your God has forbidden this. 24 The Lord your God is a devouring fire; he is a jealous God.
25 “In the future, when you have children and grandchildren and have lived in the land a long time, do not corrupt yourselves by making idols of any kind. This is evil in the sight of the Lord your God and will arouse his anger.
26 “Today I call on heaven and earth as witnesses against you. If you break my covenant, you will quickly disappear from the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy. You will live there only a short time; then you will be utterly destroyed. 27 For the Lord will scatter you among the nations, where only a few of you will survive. 28 There, in a foreign land, you will worship idols made from wood and stone—gods that neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell. 29 But from there you will search again for the Lord your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him.
30 “In the distant future, when you are suffering all these things, you will finally return to the Lord your God and listen to what he tells you. 31 For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the solemn covenant he made with your ancestors.
There Is Only One God
32 “Now search all of history, from the time God created people on the earth until now, and search from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything as great as this ever been seen or heard before? 33 Has any nation ever heard the voice of God[o] speaking from fire—as you did—and survived? 34 Has any other god dared to take a nation for himself out of another nation by means of trials, miraculous signs, wonders, war, a strong hand, a powerful arm, and terrifying acts? Yet that is what the Lord your God did for you in Egypt, right before your eyes.
35 “He showed you these things so you would know that the Lord is God and there is no other. 36 He let you hear his voice from heaven so he could instruct you. He let you see his great fire here on earth so he could speak to you from it. 37 Because he loved your ancestors, he chose to bless their descendants, and he personally brought you out of Egypt with a great display of power. 38 He drove out nations far greater than you, so he could bring you in and give you their land as your special possession, as it is today.
39 “So remember this and keep it firmly in mind: The Lord is God both in heaven and on earth, and there is no other. 40 If you obey all the decrees and commands I am giving you today, all will be well with you and your children. I am giving you these instructions so you will enjoy a long life in the land the Lord your God is giving you for all time.”
Eastern Cities of Refuge
41 Then Moses set apart three cities of refuge east of the Jordan River. 42 Anyone who killed another person unintentionally, without previous hostility, could flee there to live in safety. 43 These were the cities: Bezer on the wilderness plateau for the tribe of Reuben; Ramoth in Gilead for the tribe of Gad; Golan in Bashan for the tribe of Manasseh.
Introduction to Moses’ Second Address
44 This is the body of instruction that Moses presented to the Israelites. 45 These are the laws, decrees, and regulations that Moses gave to the people of Israel when they left Egypt, 46 and as they camped in the valley near Beth-peor east of the Jordan River. (This land was formerly occupied by the Amorites under King Sihon, who ruled from Heshbon. But Moses and the Israelites destroyed him and his people when they came up from Egypt. 47 Israel took possession of his land and that of King Og of Bashan—the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan. 48 So Israel conquered the entire area from Aroer at the edge of the Arnon Gorge all the way to Mount Sirion,[p] also called Mount Hermon. 49 And they conquered the eastern bank of the Jordan River as far south as the Dead Sea,[q] below the slopes of Pisgah.)
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