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32 Earth and Sky,
    listen to what I say!
Israel, I will teach you.
My words will be like gentle rain
    on tender young plants,
    or like dew on the grass.

Join with me in praising
the wonderful name
    of the Lord our God.
The Lord is a mighty rock,[a]
    and he never does wrong.
God can always be trusted
    to bring justice.
But you lie and cheat
    and are unfaithful to him.
You have disgraced yourselves
and are no longer worthy
    to be his children.[b]
Israel, the Lord is your Father,
    the one who created you,
but you repaid him
    by being foolish.
Think about past generations.
Ask your parents
    or any of your elders.
They will tell you
that God Most High
    gave land to every nation.
He assigned a guardian angel
    to each of them,[c]
but the Lord himself
    takes care of Israel.[d]

10 Israel, the Lord discovered you
in a barren desert
    filled with howling winds.
God became your fortress,
protecting you
as though
    you were his own eyes.
11 The Lord was like an eagle
    teaching its young to fly,
always ready to swoop down
    and catch them on its back.
12 Israel, the Lord led you,
and without the aid
    of a foreign god,
13 he helped you
    capture the land.
Your fields were rich
    with grain.
Olive trees grew
    in your stony soil,
and honey was found
    among the rocks.
14 Your flocks and herds
    produced milk and yogurt,
and you got choice meat
from your sheep and goats
    that grazed in Bashan.
Your wheat was the finest,
    and you drank the best wine.

15 Israel,[e] you grew fat and rebelled
    against God, your Creator;
you rejected the Mighty Rock,[f]
    your only place of safety.
16 You made God jealous and angry
by worshiping disgusting idols
    and foreign gods.
17 You offered sacrifices
to demons, those useless gods[g]
    that never helped you,
new gods that your ancestors
    never worshiped.
18 You turned away
    from God, your Creator;
you forgot the Mighty Rock,[h]
    the source of your life.
19 You were the Lord’s children,
    but you made him angry.
Then he rejected you 20 and said,
“You are unfaithful
    and can’t be trusted.
So I won’t answer your prayers;
I’ll just watch and see
    what happens to you.
21 You worshiped worthless idols,
and made me jealous
    and angry!
Now I will send a cruel[i]
    and worthless nation
to make you jealous and angry.

22 “My people, I will breathe out fire
that sends you down
    to the world of the dead.
It will scorch your farmlands
and burn deep down
    under the mountains.
23 I’ll send disaster after disaster
    to strike you like arrows.
24 You’ll be struck by starvation
    and deadly diseases,
by the fangs of wild animals
    and poisonous snakes.
25 Young and old alike
will be killed in the streets
    and terrified at home.

26 “I wanted to scatter you,
so no one would remember
    that you had ever lived.
27 But I dreaded the sound
    of your enemies saying,
‘We defeated Israel with no help
    from the Lord.’”

28 People of Israel,
that’s what the Lord
    has said to you.
But you don’t have good sense,
and you never listen
    to advice.
29 If you did, you could see
    where you are headed.
30 How could one enemy soldier
chase a thousand
    of Israel’s troops?
Or how could two of theirs
    pursue ten thousand of ours?
It can only happen if the Lord
stops protecting Israel
    and lets the enemy win.
31 Even our enemies know
that only our God
    is a Mighty Rock.[j]

32 Our enemies are grapevines
rooted in the fields
    of Sodom and Gomorrah.[k]
The grapes they produce
    are full of bitter poison;
33 their wine is more deadly
    than cobra venom.
34 But the Lord has written
a list of their sins
    and locked it in his vault.
35 Soon our enemies will get
    what they deserve[l]
suddenly they will slip,
and total disaster
    will quickly follow.

36 When only a few
    of the Lord’s people remain,
when their strength is gone,
    and some of them are slaves,
the Lord will feel sorry for them
    and give them justice.

37 But first the Lord will say,
“You ran for safety to other gods—
    couldn’t they help you?
38 You offered them wine
    and your best sacrifices.
Can’t those gods help you now
    or give you protection?
39 Don’t you understand?
I am the only God;
    there are no others.
I am the one who takes life
    and gives it again.
I punished you with suffering.
But now I will heal you,
    and nothing can stop me!

40 “I make this solemn promise:
    Just as I live forever,
41 I will take revenge
    on my hateful enemies.
I will sharpen my sword
and let it flash
    like lightning.
42 My arrows will get drunk
    on enemy blood;
my sword will taste the flesh
    and the blood
of the enemy.
It will kill prisoners,
and cut off the heads
    of their leaders.”[m]

43 Tell the heavens to celebrate
and all gods to bow down
    to the Lord,[n]
because he will take revenge
on those hateful enemies
    who killed his people.
He will forgive the sins of Israel
    and purify their land.[o]

44-45 Moses spoke the words of the song so that all the Israelites could hear, and Joshua[p] helped him. When Moses had finished, 46 he said, “Always remember this song I have taught you today. And let it be a warning that you must teach your children to obey everything written in The Book of God’s Law. 47 The Law isn’t empty words. It can give you a long life in the land that you are going to take.”

Moses Will See the Land

48 Later that day the Lord said to Moses:

49 Go up into the Abarim Mountain range here in Moab across the Jordan River valley from Jericho. And when you reach the top of Mount Nebo, you will be able to see the land of Canaan, which I am giving to Israel. 50 Then you will die and be buried on the mountaintop, just as your brother Aaron died and was buried on Mount Hor. 51 Both of you were unfaithful to me at Meribah Spring near Kadesh in the Zin Desert.[q] I am God, but there in front of the Israelites, you did not treat me with the honor and respect I deserve. 52 So I will give the land to the people of Israel, but you will only get to see it from a distance.

Moses Blesses the Tribes of Israel

33 Moses was a prophet, and before he died, he blessed the tribes of Israel by saying:

The Lord came from Mount Sinai.
From Edom, he gave light
    to his people,
and his glory was shining
    from Mount Paran.
Thousands of his warriors
were with him,
and fire
    was at his right hand.[r]
The Lord loves the tribes
of Israel,[s]
    and he protects his people.
They listen to his words
    and worship at his feet.
I called a meeting
of the tribes of Israel[t]
    and gave you God’s Law.
Then you and your leaders
    made the Lord your king.

Tribe of Reuben, you will live,
even though your tribe
    will always be small.[u]

The Lord will listen to you,
tribe of Judah,
as you beg
    to come safely home.
You fought your enemies alone;[v]
    now the Lord will help you.

At Massah and Meribah Spring,[w]
the Lord tested you,
    tribe of Levi.
You were faithful,[x]
and so the priesthood[y] belongs
    to the Levi tribe.
Protecting Israel’s agreement
    with the Lord
was more important to you
than the life of your father
    or mother,
or brothers or sisters,
    or your own children.[z]

10 You teach God’s laws to Israel,[aa]
    and at the place of worship
you offer sacrifices
    and burn incense.
11 I pray that the Lord will bless
    everything you do,
and make you strong enough
    to crush your enemies.

12 The Lord Most High[ab] loves you,
    tribe of Benjamin.
He will live among your hills
    and protect you.

13 Descendants of Joseph,
    the Lord will bless you
with precious water
from deep wells
    and with dew from the sky.
14 Month by month, your fruit
    will ripen in the sunshine.
15 You will have a rich harvest
from the slopes
    of the ancient hills.
16 The Lord who appeared
    in the burning bush
wants to give you the best
    the land can produce,
and it will be a princely crown
    on Joseph’s head.

17 The armies of Ephraim
    and Manasseh
are majestic and fierce
    like a bull or a wild ox.
They will run their spears
    through faraway nations.

18 Be happy, Zebulun,
    as your boats set sail;
be happy, Issachar,
    in your tents.
19 The sea will make you wealthy,
and from the sandy beach
    you will get treasure.[ac]
So invite the other tribes[ad]
to celebrate with you
    and offer sacrifices to God.

20 Tribe of Gad,
the Lord will bless you
    with more land.
So shout his praises!
Your tribe is like a lion
    ripping up its victim.
21 Your leaders met together
and chose the best land
    for your tribe,
but you obeyed the Lord
    and helped the other tribes.[ae]

22 Tribe of Dan,
you are like a lion cub,
    startled by a snake.[af]

23 The Lord is pleased with you,
    people of Naphtali.
He will bless you
and give you the land
    to the west and the south.[ag]

24 The Lord’s greatest blessing
    is for you, tribe of Asher.
You will be the favorite
    of all the other tribes.
You will be rich with olive oil
25 and have strong town gates
    with bronze and iron bolts.
Your people will be powerful
    for as long as they live.

26 Israel,[ah] no other god
    is like ours—
the clouds are his chariot
as he rides across the skies
    to come and help us.
27 The eternal God
is our hiding place;
    he carries us in his arms.
When God tells you
to destroy your enemies,
    he will make them run.
28 Israel, you will live in safety;
    your enemies will be gone.[ai]
The dew will fall from the sky,
and you will have plenty
    of grain and wine.
29 The Lord has rescued you
and given you more blessings
    than any other nation.
He protects you like a shield
    and is your majestic sword.
Your enemies will bow in fear,
and you will trample
    on their backs.

The Death of Moses

34 Sometime later, Moses left the lowlands of Moab. He went up Mount Pisgah to the peak of Mount Nebo,[aj] which is across the Jordan River from Jericho. The Lord showed him all the land as far north as Gilead and the town of Dan. He let Moses see the territories that would soon belong to the tribes of Naphtali, Ephraim, Manasseh, and Judah, as far west as the Mediterranean Sea. The Lord also showed him the land in the south, from the valley near the town of Jericho, known as The City of Palm Trees, down to the town of Zoar.

The Lord said, “Moses, this is the land I was talking about when I solemnly promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that I would give land to their descendants. I have let you see it, but you will not cross the Jordan and go in.”

And so, Moses the Lord’s servant died there in Moab, just as the Lord had said. The Lord buried him in a valley near the town of Beth-Peor, but even today no one knows exactly where. Moses was a hundred twenty years old when he died, yet his eyesight was still good, and his body was strong.

The people of Israel stayed in the lowlands of Moab, where they mourned and grieved thirty days for Moses, as was their custom.

Joshua Becomes the Leader of Israel

Before Moses died, he had placed his hands on Joshua, and the Lord had given Joshua wisdom. The Israelites paid attention to what Joshua said and obeyed the commands that the Lord had given Moses.

Moses Was a Great Prophet

10 There has never again been a prophet in Israel like Moses. The Lord spoke face to face with him 11 and sent him to perform powerful miracles in the presence of the king of Egypt and his entire nation. 12 No one else has ever had the power to do such great things as Moses did for everyone to see.

Footnotes

  1. 32.4 mighty rock: The Hebrew text has “rock,” which is sometimes used in poetry to compare the Lord to a mountain where his people can run for protection from their enemies.
  2. 32.5 and are unfaithful. . . children: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  3. 32.8 He assigned. . . them: The Dead Sea Scrolls and one ancient translation; the Standard Hebrew Text “So there were as many nations as Israel (that is, Jacob) had children.”
  4. 32.9 Israel: The Hebrew text has “Jacob,” another name for Israel’s ancestor.
  5. 32.15 Israel: The Standard Hebrew Text has “Jeshurun,” a rare name for Israel related to a word meaning “honest.” The Samaritan Hebrew Text and one ancient translation also use “Jacob,” another name for the ancestor of the nation of Israel.
  6. 32.15 Mighty Rock: See the note at 32.4.
  7. 32.16,17 disgusting idols. . . foreign gods. . . demons. . . those useless gods: Different ways of referring to gods of other nations.
  8. 32.18 Mighty Rock: See the note at 32.4.
  9. 32.21 cruel: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  10. 32.31 Mighty Rock: See the note at 32.4.
  11. 32.32 Sodom and Gomorrah: Two cities that the Lord destroyed because their people were so evil (see Genesis 18.16—19.28).
  12. 32.35 our enemies. . . deserve: The Samaritan Hebrew Text and one ancient translation; the Standard Hebrew Text “I will pay them back.”
  13. 32.42 leaders: Or “long-haired warriors,” who let their hair grow to show that they had made sacred promises to their gods.
  14. 32.43 Tell. . . Lord: The Dead Sea Scrolls and one ancient translation; the Standard Hebrew Text “Let the nations, his people, celebrate.”
  15. 32.43 because he will. . . land: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  16. 32.44,45 Joshua: The Hebrew text has “Hoshea,” another form of Joshua’s name.
  17. 32.51 Both of you were unfaithful. . . the Zin Desert: See Numbers 20.1-13.
  18. 33.2 Thousands. . . right hand: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  19. 33.3 the tribes of Israel: Or “the nations.”
  20. 33.4 Israel: The Hebrew text also uses the name “Jeshurun,” a rare name for “Israel.”
  21. 33.6 even though. . . small: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  22. 33.7 beg. . . alone: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  23. 33.8 Massah and Meribah Spring: See Exodus 17.1-7; Numbers 20.1-13.
  24. 33.8 the Lord tested you, tribe of Levi. You were faithful: Or “the Lord tested me. I was faithful” or “the Lord tested Aaron and me. We were faithful.”
  25. 33.8 priesthood: The Hebrew text has “your thummim and your urim,” objects that were used by priests to get answers from God.
  26. 33.9 Protecting Israel’s agreement. . . your own children: See Exodus 32.25-29.
  27. 33.10 Israel: See the note at 32.9.
  28. 33.12 Most High: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  29. 33.19 sandy beach. . . treasure: Possibly a reference to glass made from sand; glass was rare and very valuable.
  30. 33.19 other tribes: Or “nations.”
  31. 33.21 tribes: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 21. The Gad tribe asked for some of the land east of the Jordan River, but promised that their warriors would cross the Jordan and help the other tribes take over the land west of the Jordan (see Numbers 32.1-33; Joshua 4.10-13).
  32. 33.22 startled by a snake: Or “jumping out from the forest of Bashan.”
  33. 33.23 land to the west and the south: Or “land south as far as Lake Galilee.”
  34. 33.26 Israel: See the note at 33.4.
  35. 33.28 your enemies will be gone: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  36. 34.1 Mount Pisgah. . . Mount Nebo: Mount Nebo was probably one peak of the ridge known as Mount Pisgah.