God will choose one special place for worship
1These are the rules and decrees that you must obey. Be careful! You must obey them in the country that the LORD has given to you. You must obey them all the time that you live there. 2You must destroy completely all the places where the people in other nations pray to their gods. You will find these places on high mountains. You will find them on hills and under large trees. 3You must break the tables and the things that they have made from stones for their gods. You must burn their special tall sticks and you must cut down their false gods. And you must remove the names of those gods from these places.
4Do not pray to the LORD your God as these people pray to their gods. 5But you must look for the special place that the LORD your God will choose. He will stay there and that place will be his place. You must go to that place 6to bring your burnt-offerings and other gifts to God. There you must bring one thing from every 10 things that God gives to you. And you must bring the gifts that you lift up to the LORD. So you will bring the things that you have promised and also any extra gifts. Bring the first cows and sheep that are born, too. 7You and your families will eat and be happy there. You will be with the LORD your God. You will enjoy all your work because the LORD your God will stay near to you.
8When that time happens, you must live in a different way. Today, everyone is doing the things that he likes. 9You have not yet reached the country where you can rest. This is the country that the LORD is giving you. 10But you will cross the River Jordan and begin to live in that country. He will give you rest from all your enemies round you. You will be safe. 11Then the LORD your God will choose one special place. You must pray to him there. Bring to him everything that I have told you. You must bring your animals to kill and burn as gifts to God. Bring your other gifts to God. You must bring one thing from every 10 things that God gives to you. And you must bring the gifts that you lift up to the LORD. And bring the valuable things that you have promised to the LORD. Bring everything to the place that God will choose. 12And there you will all be happy, with the LORD your God, you, your children and your servants. Also the Levites from your towns will have no land, but they will still be happy. 13Be careful! Do not offer your burnt-offerings in any place that you choose. 14You must only offer your burnt-offerings in the place that the LORD will choose. This will be in the land that belongs to one of your tribes. When you are there, you must obey all my words.
15But you can kill and eat your animals in any of your towns. You can eat as much meat as you want. The LORD gives it to you. People who are obeying God can eat it. But people who have not yet made themselves ready for God can eat it also. 16But you must not eat the blood. You must pour it on the ground like water. 17Do not eat any of your gifts to the LORD in the places where you live. Do not eat there the gifts of one thing out of every 10 things of your food and drink. Do not eat there the first cows or sheep that are born. Do not eat there the valuable things that you have promised to the LORD or your extra gifts to him. And do not eat there the gifts that you lift up to the LORD. 18Instead, you must eat these things in front of the LORD your God. This will be in the place that he chooses. You and all your family, your servants and the Levites will be very happy. This is because the LORD is very near to you. You will be very happy about everything that you do. 19Be careful never to forget the Levites, all the time that you live in your country. #12:19 The Levites were the special servants of God. They did not have any land. So the Israelites must give to the Levites some of the food that they had offered to God. The Israelites must always remember to do this. They must give to the Levites whatever the Levites needed.
20The LORD your God has promised to give you more and more land. When he does this, you may be very hungry. Perhaps you will say, ‘I would like some meat.’ If you think that, you can eat meat. You can eat as much meat as you want. 21The place that God has chosen may be too far away from you. If it is, you can kill an animal. And you can eat meat at home. The LORD has given your animals to you. I have told you how to kill them. 22You can eat them in the same way as you eat wild animals. People who are obeying God can eat them. But people who have not yet made themselves ready for God can also eat them. 23But be careful not to eat the blood. The life of the animal is in the blood. You must not eat the life together with the meat. 24You must not eat the blood. You must pour it on the ground like water. 25Do not eat it! If you obey this rule, everything will be well for you and your family. You will do what is right and give pleasure to the LORD.
26Take all the special gifts that you have chosen. Take also the gifts that you have promised. Bring them to the place that the LORD will choose. 27Take your burnt-offerings. Put them on the special table of the LORD your God, both the meat and the blood. You must pour the blood next to the special table, but you can eat the meat. 28Be careful to obey all these rules that I am giving to you. If you do that, you and your children will always do well. This is good and right, and you will give God pleasure.
29When you march into the country, the LORD your God will remove the people from in front of you. You must kill them and live in their place. 30But when you have killed them, be careful! Do not let their false gods become important to you. Do not say, ‘How did these people pray to their gods? How did they obey them? We will do the same as they did!’
31You must not do as they do. When they pray, they do many bad things. The LORD your God hates these bad things. They even burn their children in the fire, as gifts to their gods.
32Be careful to do everything that I command you. Do not put anything else with it. Do not take away anything from it.