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Moses Tells Israel to Obey
1Now, Israel, listen to the laws and commands I will teach you. Obey them so you will live. Then you will go over and take the land. The Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving it 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. The Lord your God destroyed everyone among you who followed Baal in Peor. 4But you continued to follow the Lord your God. So you 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. It is the land you will own. 6Obey these laws carefully. This will show the other nations that you have wisdom and understanding. They will hear about these laws. And 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. I am giving them to you today.
9But be careful! Watch out. Don’t forget the things that you have seen. Don’t forget them as long as you live. 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 to listen to what I say. Then they will respect me as long as they live in the land. And they will teach these things to their children.” 11Then you came and stood at the bottom of the mountain. It blazed with fire that reached to the sky. Black clouds made it very dark. 12Then the 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. It was the Ten Commandments. And he told you to obey them. Then he wrote them on two stone tablets. 14Then the Lord commanded me to teach you the laws and rules. You must obey them in the land you will own when you cross the Jordan River.
Laws About Idols
15The Lord spoke to you from the fire at Mount Sinai. But you did not see him. So watch yourselves carefully! 16Don’t sin by making idols of any kind. Don’t make statues of men or women. 17Don’t make statues of animals on earth or birds that fly in the air. 18Don’t make statues of anything that crawls on the ground. Don’t make statues of fish in the water below. 19When you look up at the sky, you see the sun, moon and stars. You can see everything in the sky. But don’t bow down and worship them. The Lord your God has made these things for all people everywhere. 20Egypt tested you like a furnace for melting iron. The Lord brought you out of Egypt. And he made you his very own people, as you are now.
21The Lord was angry with me because of you. He made a strong promise that I would not cross the Jordan River. I could not go into the good land the Lord your God is giving you to own. 22I will die here in this land. I will 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. Don’t make any idols for yourselves. The Lord your God has commanded you not to do that. 24The Lord your God is a jealous God. He is like a fire that burns things up.
25You will live in the land a long time. You will have children and grandchildren. Even after that, don’t do evil things. Don’t make any kind of idol. Don’t do what the Lord says is evil. That will make him angry. 26I will ask heaven and earth to speak against you that day. Then you will quickly be removed from this land. You are crossing the Jordan River to take the land. But you will not live there long after that. 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 men. They will be made of wood and stone. They 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. But you must 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. You will obey him. 31The Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you. He will not forget the agreement he made with your ancestors. He made that agreement sure with his strong promise.
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 man on the earth. 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 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. He did it right before your own eyes. He did it with tests, signs, miracles, war and great sights. He did it by his great power and strength.
35He showed you things so you would know that the Lord is God. 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. 37The Lord loved your ancestors. That is why he chose you, their descendants. He brought you out of Egypt himself by his great strength. 38He forced nations out of their land ahead of you. And these nations were bigger and stronger than you were. But the Lord brought you into their land and gave it to you to 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, which I am giving you today. Obey them so that things will go well for you and your children. Then you will live a long time in this land. The Lord your God is giving it to you forever.
Cities of Safety
41Moses chose three cities east of the Jordan River. 42A person who killed someone accidentally could go there. He did not hate the person he killed. So he could save his life 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; Golan in Bashan was for the Manassites.
The Law 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. That is east of the Jordan River in the land of Sihon. Sihon was king of the Amorites. He ruled in Heshbon. He was defeated by Moses and the Israelites as they came out of Egypt. 47The Israelites captured his land. They also took the land of Og king of Bashan. These were the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River. 48This land went from Aroer to Mount Hermon. Aroer is on the edge of the Arnon Ravine. 49It included all the Jordan Valley east of the Jordan River. And it went as far as the Dead Sea below Mount Pisgah.