Deuteronomy 13-15 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Don’t Worship Other Gods
Moses said to Israel:
13 1-2 Someday a prophet[a] 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.
Don’t Mourn like Other Nations
14 People of Israel, you are the Lord’s children, so when you mourn for the dead, you must not cut yourselves or shave your forehead.[b] 2 Out of all the nations on this earth, the Lord your God chose you to be his own. You belong to the Lord, so don’t behave like those who worship other gods.
Animals That Can Be Eaten
3 Don’t eat any disgusting animals.
4-5 You may eat the meat of cattle, sheep, and goats; wild sheep and goats; and gazelles, antelopes, and all kinds of deer. 6 It is all right to eat meat from any animals that have divided hoofs and also chew the cud.[c]
7 But don’t eat camels, rabbits, and rock badgers. These animals chew the cud but do not have divided hoofs. You must treat them as unclean. 8 And don’t eat pork, since pigs have divided hoofs, but they do not chew their cud. Don’t even touch a dead pig!
9 You can eat any fish that has fins and scales. But there are other creatures that live in the water, 10 and if they do not have fins and scales, you must not eat them. Treat them as unclean.
11 You can eat any clean bird. 12-18 But don’t eat the meat of any of the following birds: eagles, vultures, falcons, kites, ravens, ostriches, owls, sea gulls, hawks, pelicans, ospreys, cormorants, storks, herons, and hoopoes.[d] You must not eat bats. 19 Swarming insects are unclean, so don’t eat them. 20 However, you are allowed to eat certain kinds of winged insects.[e]
21 You belong to the Lord your God, so if you happen to find a dead animal, don’t eat its meat. You may give it to foreigners who live in your town or sell it to foreigners who are visiting your town.
Don’t boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.
Give the Lord Ten Percent of Your Harvest
22 People of Israel, every year you must set aside ten percent of your grain harvest. 23 Also set aside ten percent of your wine and olive oil, and the first-born of every cow, sheep, and goat. Take these to the place where the Lord chooses to be worshiped, and eat them there. This will teach you to always respect the Lord your God.
24 But suppose you can’t carry that ten percent of your harvest to the place where the Lord chooses to be worshiped. If you live too far away, or if the Lord gives you a big harvest, 25 then sell this part and take the money there instead. 26 When you and your family arrive, spend the money on food for a big celebration. Buy cattle, sheep, goats, wine, beer, and if there are any other kinds of food that you want, buy those too. 27 And since people of the Levi tribe won’t own any land for growing crops, remember to ask the Levites to celebrate with you.
28 Every third year, instead of using the ten percent of your harvest for a big celebration, bring it into town and put it in a community storehouse. 29 The Levites have no land of their own, so you must give them food from the storehouse. You must also give food to the poor who live in your town, including orphans, widows, and foreigners. If they have enough to eat, then the Lord your God will be pleased and make you successful in everything you do.
15 1-2 Every seven years you must announce, “The Lord says loans do not need to be paid back.” Then if you have loaned money to another Israelite, you can no longer ask for payment.[f] 3 This law applies only to loans you have made to other Israelites. Foreigners will still have to pay back what you have loaned them.
4-6 No one in Israel should ever be poor. The Lord your God is giving you this land, and he has promised to make you very successful, if you obey his laws and teachings that I’m giving you today. You will lend money to many nations, but you won’t have to borrow. You will rule many nations, but they won’t rule you.
7 After the Lord your God gives land to each of you, there may be poor Israelites in the town where you live. If there are, then don’t be mean and selfish with your money. 8 Instead, be kind and lend them what they need. 9 Be careful! Don’t say to yourself, “Soon it will be the seventh year, and then I won’t be able to get my money back.” It would be horrible for you to think that way and to be so selfish that you refuse to help the poor. They are your relatives, and if you don’t help them, they may ask the Lord to decide whether you have done wrong. And he will say that you are guilty. 10 You should be happy to give the poor what they need, because then the Lord will make you successful in everything you do.
11 There will always be some Israelites who are poor and needy. That’s why I am commanding you to be generous with them.
Setting Slaves Free
Moses said to Israel:
12 If any of you buy Israelites as slaves, you must set them free after six years. 13 And don’t just tell them they are free to leave— 14 give them sheep and goats and a good supply of grain and wine. The more the Lord has given you, the more you should give them. 15 I am commanding you to obey the Lord as a reminder that you were slaves in Egypt before he set you free. 16 But one of your slaves may say, “I love you and your family, and I would be better off staying with you, so please don’t make me leave.” 17 Take the slave to the door of your house and push a sharp metal rod through one earlobe and into the door. Such slaves will belong to you for life, whether they are men or women.
18 Don’t complain when you have to set a slave free. After all, you got six years of service at half the cost of hiring someone to do the work.[g]
Moses said to Israel:
19 If the first-born animal of a cow or sheep or goat is a male, it must be given to the Lord. Don’t put first-born cattle to work or cut wool from first-born sheep. 20 Instead, each year you must take the first-born of these animals to the place where the Lord your God chooses to be worshiped. You and your family will sacrifice them to the Lord and then eat them as part of a sacred meal.
21 But if the animal is lame or blind or has something else wrong with it, you must not sacrifice it to the Lord your God. 22 You can butcher it where you live, and eat it just like the meat of a deer or gazelle that you kill while hunting. Even those people who are unclean and unfit for worship can have some. 23 But you must never eat the blood of an animal—let it drain out on the ground.
Mark 12:28-44 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
The Most Important Commandment
28 One of the teachers of the Law of Moses came up while Jesus and the Sadducees were arguing. When he heard Jesus give a good answer, he asked him, “What is the most important commandment?”
29 Jesus answered, “The most important one says: ‘People of Israel, you have only one Lord and God. 30 You must love him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.’ 31 The second most important commandment says: ‘Love others as much as you love yourself.’ No other commandment is more important than these.”
32 The man replied, “Teacher, you are certainly right to say there is only one God. 33 It is also true that we must love God with all our heart, mind, and strength, and that we must love others as much as we love ourselves. These commandments are more important than all the sacrifices and offerings that we could possibly make.”
34 When Jesus saw that the man had given a sensible answer, he told him, “You are not far from God’s kingdom.” After this, no one dared ask Jesus any more questions.
About David’s Son
35 As Jesus was teaching in the temple, he said, “How can the teachers of the Law of Moses say that the Messiah will come from the family of King David? 36 The Holy Spirit led David to say,
‘The Lord said to my Lord:
37 If David called the Messiah his Lord, how can the Messiah be his son?”[b]
The large crowd enjoyed listening to Jesus teach.
Jesus Condemns the Pharisees and the Teachers of the Law of Moses
38 As Jesus was teaching, he said:
Guard against the teachers of the Law of Moses! They love to walk around in long robes and be greeted in the market. 39 They like the front seats in the meeting places and the best seats at banquets. 40 But they cheat widows out of their homes and pray long prayers just to show off. They will be punished most of all.
A Widow’s Offering
41 Jesus was sitting in the temple near the offering box and watching people put in their gifts. He noticed that many rich people were giving a lot of money. 42 Finally, a poor widow came up and put in two coins that were worth only a few pennies. 43 Jesus told his disciples to gather around him. Then he said:
I tell you that this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 44 Everyone else gave what they didn’t need. But she is very poor and gave everything she had. Now she doesn’t have a cent to live on.
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