Moses Tells Israel to Obey
1Now, Israel, listen to the laws and commands I will teach you. Obey them so that you will live and so that you will go over and take the land the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving to you. 2Don’t add to these commands, and don’t leave anything out, but obey the commands of the Lord your God that I give you.
3You have seen for yourselves what the Lord did at Baal Peor, how the Lord your God destroyed everyone among you who followed Baal in Peor. 4But all of you who continued following the Lord your God are still alive today.
5Look, I have taught you the laws and rules the Lord my God commanded me. Now you can obey the laws in the land you are entering, in the land you will take. 6Obey these laws carefully, in order to show the other nations that you have wisdom and understanding. When they hear about these laws, they will say, “This great nation of Israel is wise and understanding.” 7No other nation is as great as we are. Their gods do not come near them, but the Lord our God comes near when we pray to him. 8And no other nation has such good teachings and commands as those I am giving to you today.
9But be careful! Watch out and don’t forget the things you have seen. Don’t forget them as long as you live, but teach them to your children and grandchildren. 10Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Mount Sinai. He said to me, “Bring the people together so I can tell them what I have to say. Then they will respect me as long as they live in the land, and they will teach these things to their children.” 11When you came and stood at the bottom of the mountain, it blazed with fire that reached to the sky, and black clouds made it very dark. 12The Lord spoke to you from the fire. You heard the sound of words, but you did not see him; there was only a voice. 13The Lord told you about his Agreement, the Ten Commandments. He told you to obey them, and he wrote them on two stone tablets. 14Then the Lord commanded me to teach you the laws and rules that you must obey in the land you will take when you cross the Jordan River.
Laws About Idols
15Since the Lord spoke to you from the fire at Mount Sinai, but you did not see him, watch yourselves carefully! 16Don’t sin by making idols of any kind, and don’t make statues—of men or women, 17of animals on earth or birds that fly in the air, 18of anything that crawls on the ground, or of fish in the water below. 19When you look up at the sky, you see the sun, moon, and stars, and everything in the sky. But don’t bow down and worship them, because the Lord your God has made these things for all people everywhere. 20But the Lord brought you out of Egypt, which tested you like a furnace for melting iron, and he made you his very own people, as you are now.
21The Lord was angry with me because of you, and he swore that I would not cross the Jordan River to go into the good land the Lord your God is giving you as your own. 22I will die here in this land and not cross the Jordan, but you will soon go across and take that good land. 23Be careful. Don’t forget the Agreement of the Lord your God that he made with you, and don’t make any idols for yourselves, as the Lord your God has commanded you not to do. 24The Lord your God is a jealous God, like a fire that burns things up.
25Even after you have lived in the land a long time and have had children and grandchildren, don’t do evil things. Don’t make any kind of idol, and don’t do what the Lord your God says is evil, because that will make him angry. 26If you do, I ask heaven and earth to speak against you this day that you will quickly be removed from this land that you are crossing the Jordan River to take. You will not live there long after that, but you will be completely destroyed. 27The Lord will scatter you among the other nations. Only a few of you will be left alive, and those few will be in other nations where the Lord will send you. 28There you will worship gods made by people, gods made of wood and stone, that cannot see, hear, eat, or smell. 29But even there you can look for the Lord your God, and you will find him if you look for him with your whole being. 30It will be hard when all these things happen to you. But after that you will come back to the Lord your God and obey him, 31because the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you. He will not forget the Agreement with your ancestors, which he swore to them.
The Lord Is Great
32Nothing like this has ever happened before! Look at the past, long before you were even born. Go all the way back to when God made humans on the earth, and look from one end of heaven to the other. Nothing like this has ever been heard of! 33No other people have ever heard God speak from a fire and have still lived. But you have. 34No other god has ever taken for himself one nation out of another. But the Lord your God did this for you in Egypt, right before your own eyes. He did it with tests, signs, miracles, war, and great sights, by his great power and strength.
35He showed you things so you would know that the Lord is God, and there is no other God besides him. 36He spoke to you from heaven to teach you. He showed you his great fire on earth, and you heard him speak from the fire. 37Because the Lord loved your ancestors, he chose you, their descendants, and he brought you out of Egypt himself by his great strength. 38He forced nations out of their land ahead of you, nations that were bigger and stronger than you were. The Lord did this so he could bring you into their land and give it to you as your own, and this land is yours today.
39Know and believe today that the Lord is God. He is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other god! 40Obey his laws and commands that I am giving you today so that things will go well for you and your children. Then you will live a long time in the land that the Lord your God is giving to you forever.
Cities of Safety
41Moses chose three cities east of the Jordan River, 42where a person who accidentally killed someone could go. If the person was not killed because of hatred, the murderer’s life could be saved by running to one of these cities. 43These were the cities: Bezer in the desert high plain was for the Reubenites; Ramoth in Gilead was for the Gadites; and Golan in Bashan was for the Manassites.
The Laws Moses Gave
44These are the teachings Moses gave to the people of Israel. 45They are the rules, commands, and laws he gave them when they came out of Egypt. 46They were in the valley near Beth Peor, east of the Jordan River, in the land of Sihon. Sihon king of the Amorites ruled in Heshbon and was defeated by Moses and the Israelites as they came out of Egypt. 47The Israelites took his land and the land of Og king of Bashan, the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River. 48This land went from Aroer, on the edge of the Arnon Ravine, to Mount Hermon. 49It included all the Jordan Valley east of the Jordan River, and it went as far as the Dead Sea below Mount Pisgah.