Deuteronomy 11-13 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
If You Are Loyal to the Lord, He Will Bless You
Moses said to Israel:
11 The Lord is your God, so you must always love him and obey his laws and teachings. 2 Remember, he corrected you and not your children. You are the ones who saw the Lord use his great power 3 when he worked miracles in Egypt, making terrible things happen to the king and all his people. 4 And when the Egyptian army chased you in their chariots, you saw the Lord drown them and their horses in the Red Sea.[a] Egypt still suffers from that defeat!
5 You saw what the Lord did for you while you were in the desert, right up to the time you arrived here. 6 And you saw how the Lord made the ground open up in the middle of our camp underneath the tents of Dathan and Abiram,[b] who were swallowed up along with their families, their animals, and their tents.
7 With your own eyes, you saw the Lord’s mighty power do all these things.
8 Soon you will cross the Jordan River, and if you obey the laws and teachings I’m giving you today, you will be strong enough to conquer the land 9 that the Lord promised your ancestors and their descendants. It’s rich with milk and honey, and you will live there and enjoy it for a long time. 10 It’s better land than you had in Egypt, where you had to struggle just to water your crops.[c] 11 But the hills and valleys in the promised land are watered by rain from heaven,[d] 12 because the Lord your God keeps his eye on this land and takes care of it all year long.
13 The Lord your God commands you to love him and to serve him with all your heart and soul. If you obey him, 14-15 he will send rain at the right seasons,[e] so you will have more than enough food, wine, and olive oil, and there will be plenty of grass for your cattle.
16 But watch out! You will be tempted to turn your backs on the Lord. And if you worship other gods, 17 the Lord will become angry and keep the rain from falling. Nothing will grow in your fields, and you will die and disappear from the good land that the Lord is giving you.
18 Memorize these laws and think about them. Write down copies and tie them to your wrists and your foreheads to help you obey them. 19 Teach them to your children. Talk about them all the time—whether you’re at home or walking along the road or going to bed at night, or getting up in the morning. 20 Write them on the door frames of your homes and on your town gates. 21 Then you and your descendants will live a long time in the land that the Lord promised your ancestors. Your families will live there as long as the sky is above the earth.
22 Love the Lord your God and obey all the laws and teachings that I’m giving you today. If you live the way the Lord wants, 23 he will help you take the land. And even though the nations there are more powerful than you, the Lord will force them to leave when you attack. 24 You will capture the land everywhere you go, from the Southern Desert to the Lebanon Mountains, and from the Euphrates River west to the Mediterranean Sea. 25 No one will be able to stand up to you. The Lord will make everyone terrified of you, just as he promised.
26 You have a choice—do you want the Lord to bless you, or do you want him to put a curse on you? 27 Today I am giving you his laws, and if you obey him, he will bless you. 28 But if you disobey him and worship those gods that have never done anything for you, the Lord will put a curse on you.
29 After the Lord your God helps you take the land, you must have a ceremony where you announce his blessings from Mount Gerizim and his curses from Mount Ebal. 30 You know that these two mountains are west of the Jordan River in land now controlled by the Canaanites living in the Jordan River valley. The mountains are west of the road near the sacred trees of Moreh on the other side of Gilgal.
31 Soon you will cross the Jordan River to conquer the land that the Lord your God is giving you. And when you have settled there, 32 be careful to obey his laws and teachings that I am giving you today.
Only One Place To Worship the Lord
Moses said to Israel:
12 Now I’ll tell you the laws and teachings that you have to obey as long as you live. Your ancestors worshiped the Lord, and he is giving you this land. 2 But the nations that live there worship other gods. So after you capture the land, you must completely destroy their places of worship—on mountains and hills or in the shade of large trees. 3 Wherever these nations worship their gods, you must tear down their altars, break their sacred stones, burn the sacred poles[f] used in worshiping the goddess Asherah, and smash their idols to pieces. Destroy these places of worship so completely that no one will remember they were ever there. 4 Don’t worship the Lord your God in the way those nations worship their gods.
5-19 Soon you will cross the Jordan, and the Lord will help you conquer your enemies and let you live in peace, there in the land he has given you. But after you are settled, life will be different. You must not offer sacrifices just anywhere you want to. Instead, the Lord will choose a place somewhere in Israel where you must go to worship him. All of your sacrifices and offerings must be taken there, including sacrifices to please the Lord[g] and any gift you promise or voluntarily give him. That’s where you must also take one tenth of your grain, wine, and olive oil,[h] as well as the first-born of your cattle, sheep, and goats.[i] You and your family and servants will eat your gifts and sacrifices[j] and celebrate there at the place of worship, because the Lord your God has made you successful in everything you have done. And since Levites will not have any land of their own, you must ask some of them to come along and celebrate with you.
Sometimes you may want to kill an animal for food and not as a sacrifice. If the Lord has blessed you and given you enough cows or sheep or goats, then you can butcher one of them where you live. You can eat it just like the meat from a deer or gazelle that you kill when you go hunting. And even those people who are unclean and unfit for worship can have some of the meat. But you must not eat the blood of any animal—let the blood drain out on the ground.
20-21 The Lord has promised that later on he will give Israel more land, and some of you may not be able to travel all the way from your homes to the place of worship each time you are hungry for meat.[k] But the Lord will give you cattle, sheep, and goats, and you can butcher any of those animals at home and eat as much as you want. 22 It is the same as eating the meat from a deer or a gazelle that you kill when you go hunting. And in this way, anyone who is unclean and unfit for worship can have some of the meat.[l]
23-24 But don’t eat the blood. It is the life of the animal, so let it drain out on the ground before you eat the meat. 25 Do you want the Lord to make you successful? Do you want your children to be successful even after you are gone? Then do what pleases the Lord and don’t eat blood.
26-27 All sacrifices and offerings to the Lord must be taken to the place where he chooses to be worshiped. If you offer a sacrifice to please the Lord, all of its meat must be burned on the altar. You can eat the meat from certain kinds of sacrifices, but you must always pour out the animal’s blood on the altar.
28 If you obey these laws, you will be doing what the Lord your God says is right and good. Then he will help you and your descendants be successful.
Worship the Lord in the Right Way
29 Israel, as you go into the land and attack the nations that are there, the Lord will get rid of them, and you can have their land.
30 But that’s when you must be especially careful not to ask, “How did those nations worship their gods? Shouldn’t we worship the Lord in the same way?” 31 No, you should not! The Lord hates the disgusting way those nations worship their gods, because they even burn their sons and daughters as sacrifices.
32 Obey all the laws and teachings I am giving you. Don’t add any, and don’t take any away.
Don’t Worship Other Gods
Moses said to Israel:
13 1-2 Someday a prophet[m] may come along who is able to perform miracles or tell what will happen in the future. Then the prophet may say, “Let’s start worshiping some new gods—some gods that we know nothing about.” 3 If the prophet says this, don’t listen! The Lord your God will be watching to find out whether or not you love him with all your heart and soul. 4 You must be completely faithful to the Lord. Worship and obey only the Lord and do this with fear and trembling, 5 because he rescued you from slavery in Egypt.
If a prophet tells you to disobey the Lord your God and to stop worshiping him, then that prophet is evil and must be put to death.
6-10 Someone else may say to you, “Let’s worship other gods.” That person may be your best friend, your brother or sister, your son or daughter, or your own dear wife or husband. But you must not listen to people who say such things. Instead, you must stone them to death. You must be the first to throw the stones, then others from the community will finish the job. Don’t show any pity.
The gods worshiped by other nations have never done anything for you or your ancestors. People who ask you to worship other gods are trying to get you to stop worshiping the Lord, who rescued you from slavery in Egypt. So put to death anyone who asks you to worship another god. 11 And when the rest of Israel hears about it, they will be afraid, and no one else will ever do such an evil thing again.
12 After the Lord your God gives you towns to live in, you may hear a rumor about one of the towns. 13 You may hear that some worthless people have talked everyone there into worshiping other gods, even though these gods had never done anything for them. 14 You must carefully find out if the rumor is true. Then if the people of that town have actually done such a disgusting thing in your own country, 15 you must take your swords and kill every one of them, and their livestock too. 16-17 Gather all the possessions of the people who lived there, and pile them up in the marketplace, without keeping anything for yourself. Set the pile and the whole town on fire, and don’t ever rebuild the town. The whole town will be a sacrifice to the Lord your God. Then he won’t be angry anymore, and he will have mercy on you and make you successful, just as he promised your ancestors. 18 That’s why you must do what the Lord your God says is right. I am giving you his laws and teachings today, and you must obey them.
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