Contemporary English Version
The Lord Takes Care of You
8 Israel, do you want to go into the land the Lord promised your ancestors? Do you want to capture it, live there, and become a powerful nation? Then be sure to obey every command I am giving you.
2 Don’t forget how the Lord your God has led you through the desert for the past forty years. He wanted to find out if you were truly willing to obey him and depend on him, 3 so he made you go hungry. Then he gave you manna,[a] a kind of food that you and your ancestors had never even heard about. The Lord was teaching you that people need more than food to live—they need every word that the Lord has spoken.
4 Over the past forty years, your clothing hasn’t worn out, and your feet haven’t swollen. 5 So keep in mind that the Lord has been correcting you, just as parents correct their children. 6 Obey the commands the Lord your God has given you and worship him with fear and trembling.
7 The Lord your God is bringing you into a good land with streams that flow from springs in the valleys and hills. 8-9 You can dig for copper in those hills, and the stones are made of iron ore. And you won’t go hungry. Wheat and barley fields are everywhere, and so are vineyards and orchards full of fig, pomegranate,[b] and olive trees, and there is plenty of honey.
Don’t Forget the Lord
Moses said to Israel:
10 After you eat and are full, give praise to the Lord your God for the good land he gave you. 11 Make sure that you never forget the Lord or disobey his laws and teachings that I am giving you today. If you always obey them, 12 you will have plenty to eat, and you will build good houses to live in. 13 You will get more and more cattle, sheep, silver, gold, and other possessions.
14 But when all this happens, don’t be proud! Don’t forget that you were once slaves in Egypt and that it was the Lord who set you free. 15 Remember how he led you in that huge and frightening desert where poisonous snakes and scorpions live. There was no water, but the Lord split open a rock, and water poured out so you could drink. 16 He also gave you manna,[c] a kind of food your ancestors had never even heard about. The Lord was testing you to make you trust him, so that later on he could be good to you.
17 When you become successful, don’t say, “I’m rich, and I’ve earned it all myself.” 18 Instead, remember that the Lord your God gives you the strength to make a living. That’s how he keeps the promise he made to your ancestors.
19-20 But I’m warning you—if you forget the Lord your God and worship other gods, the Lord will destroy you, just as he destroyed the nations you fought.
Why the Lord Will Help Israel
9 Israel, listen to me! You will soon cross the Jordan River and go into the land to force out the nations that live there. They are more powerful than you are, and the walls around their cities reach to the sky. 2 Some of these nations are descendants of the Anakim.[d] You know how tall and strong they are, and you’ve heard that no one can defeat them in battle. 3 But the Lord your God has promised to go ahead of you, like a raging fire burning everything in its path. So when you attack your enemies, it will be easy for you to destroy them and take their land.
4-6 After the Lord helps you wipe out these nations and conquer their land, don’t think he did it because you are such good people. You aren’t good—you are stubborn! No, the Lord is going to help you, because the nations that live there are evil, and because he wants to keep the promise he made to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
When Israel Made an Idol
Moses said to Israel:
7 Don’t ever forget how you kept rebelling and making the Lord angry the whole time you were in the desert. You rebelled from the day you left Egypt until the day you arrived here.
8 At Mount Sinai[e] you made the Lord so angry that he was going to destroy you. 9-11 It happened during those forty days and nights that I was on the mountain, without anything to eat or drink. He had told me to come up there so he could give me the agreement he made with us. And this agreement was actually the same Ten Commandments[f] he had announced to you when he spoke from the fire on the mountain. The Lord had written them on two flat stones with his own hand. But after giving me the two stones, 12 he said:
Moses, hurry down the mountain to those people you led out of Egypt. They have already disobeyed me and committed the terrible sin of making an idol.
13 I’ve been watching the Israelites, and I’ve seen how stubborn and rebellious they are. 14 So don’t try to stop me! I am going to wipe them out, and no one on earth will remember they ever lived. Then I will let your descendants become an even bigger and more powerful nation than Israel.
15 Fire was raging on the mountaintop as I went back down, carrying the two stones with the commandments on them. 16 I saw how quickly you had sinned and disobeyed the Lord your God. There you were, worshiping the metal idol you had made in the shape of a calf. 17 So I threw down the two stones and smashed them before your very eyes.
18-20 I bowed down at the place of worship and prayed to the Lord, without eating or drinking for forty days and nights. You had committed a terrible sin by making that idol, and the Lord hated what you had done. He was angry enough to destroy all of you and Aaron as well. So I prayed for you and Aaron as I had done before, and this time the Lord answered my prayers.[g]
21 It was a sin for you to make that idol, so I threw it into the fire to melt it down. Then I took the lump of gold, ground it into powder, and threw the powder into the stream flowing down the mountain.
22 You also made the Lord angry when you were staying at Taberah,[h] at Massah,[i] and at Kibroth-Hattaavah.[j] 23 Then at Kadesh-Barnea the Lord said, “I am giving you the land, so go ahead and take it!” But since you didn’t trust the Lord, you rebelled and disobeyed his command.[k] 24 In fact, you’ve rebelled against the Lord for as long as he has[l] known you.
25 After you had made the idol in the shape of a calf, the Lord said he was going to destroy you. So I bowed down in front of the sacred tent for forty days and nights, 26 and I prayed:
Our Lord, please don’t wipe out your people. You used your great power to rescue them from Egypt and to make them your very own. 27 Israel’s ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob obeyed you faithfully. Think about them, and not about Israel’s stubbornness, evil, and sin. 28 If you destroy your people, the Egyptians will say, “The Lord promised to give Israel land, but he wasn’t powerful enough to keep his promise. In fact, he hated them so much that he took them into the desert and killed them.” 29 But you, our Lord, chose the people of Israel to be your own, and with your mighty power you rescued them from Egypt.
The Second Set of Commandments
Moses said to the people:
10 The Lord told me to chisel out two flat stones, just like the ones he had given me earlier. He also commanded me to make a wooden chest, then come up the mountain and meet with him. 2 He told me that he would write the same words on the new stones that he had written on the ones I broke, and that I could put these stones in this sacred chest.
3 So I made a chest out of acacia wood, and I chiseled two flat stones like the ones I broke. Then I carried the stones up the mountain, 4 where the Lord wrote the Ten Commandments on them, just as he had done the first time. The commandments were exactly what he had announced from the fire, when you were gathered at the mountain.
After the Lord returned the stones to me, 5 I took them down the mountainside and put them in the chest, just as he had commanded. And they are still there.
Moses said to Israel:
6 Later we set up camp at the wells belonging to the descendants of Jaakan.[m] Then we moved on and camped at Moserah, where Aaron died and was buried, and his son Eleazar became the priest. 7 Next, we camped at Gudgodah and then at Jotbathah, where there are flowing streams.
The Levites Were Appointed To Carry the Chest
Moses said to Israel:
8 After I put the two stones in the sacred chest,[n] the Lord chose the tribe of Levi, not only to carry the chest, but also to serve as his priests at the place of worship and to bless the other tribes in his name. And they still do these things. 9 The Lord promised that he would always provide for the tribe of Levi, and that’s why he won’t give them any land, when he divides it among the other tribes.
The Lord Answered the Prayers of Moses
Moses said to Israel:
10 When I had taken the second set of stones up the mountain, I spent forty days and nights there, just as I had done before. Once again, the Lord answered my prayer and did not destroy you. 11 Instead, he told me, “Moses, get ready to lead the people into the land that I promised their ancestors.”[o]
What the Lord Wants
12 People of Israel, what does the Lord your God want from you? The Lord wants you to respect and follow him, to love and serve him with all your heart and soul, 13 and to obey his laws and teachings that I am giving you today. Do this, and all will go well for you.
14 Everything belongs to the Lord your God, not only the earth and everything on it, but also the sky and the highest heavens. 15 Yet the Lord loved your ancestors and wanted them to belong to him. So he chose them and their descendants rather than any other nation, and today you are still his people.
16 Remember your agreement with the Lord and stop being so stubborn. 17 The Lord your God is more powerful than all other gods and lords, and his tremendous power is to be feared. His decisions are always fair, and you cannot bribe him to change his mind. 18 The Lord defends the rights of orphans and widows. He cares for foreigners and gives them food and clothing. 19 And you should also care for them, because you were foreigners in Egypt.
20 Respect the Lord your God, serve only him, and make promises in his name alone. 21 Offer your praises to him, because you have seen him work such terrifying miracles for you.
22 When your ancestors went to live in Egypt, there were only seventy of them. But the Lord has blessed you, and now there are more of you than there are stars in the sky.
- 8.3 manna: See Exodus 16.1-36.
- 8.8-9 pomegranate: A bright red fruit that looks like an apple.
- 8.16 manna: See the note at 8.3.
- 9.2 Anakim: See the note at 2.10,11.
- 9.8 Mount Sinai: See the note at 1.1-5.
- 9.9-11 Ten Commandments: Hebrew “commandments.”
- 9.18-20 as I had done before. . . prayers: This may refer to Moses' praying for Israel before he came down from the mountain (see Exodus 32.11-14).
- 9.22 Taberah: See Numbers 11.1-3.
- 9.22 Massah: See the note at 6.16.
- 9.22 Kibroth-Hattaavah: See Numbers 11.31-34.
- 9.23 Kadesh-Barnea. . . you rebelled and disobeyed his command: See Numbers 13,14.
- 9.24 he has: The Samaritan Hebrew Text and one ancient translation; the Standard Hebrew Text “I have.”
- 10.6 the wells. . . Jaakan: Or “Beeroth Bene-Jaakan.”
- 10.8 After. . . chest: Or “After Israel reached Jotbathah.”
- 10.11 lead. . . ancestors: The Lord would later tell Moses that he would not be allowed to enter the land (see 1.37; 3.23-28; Numbers 20.10-12).