1Prophets or those who tell the future with dreams might come to you and say they will show you a miracle or a sign. 2The miracle or sign might even happen, and then they might say, “Let’s serve other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let’s worship them.” 3But you must not listen to those prophets or dreamers. The Lord your God is testing you, to find out if you love him with your whole being. 4Serve only the Lord your God. Respect him, keep his commands, and obey him. Serve him and be loyal to him. 5The prophets or dreamers must be killed, because they said you should turn against the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt and saved you from the land where you were slaves. They tried to turn you from doing what the Lord your God commanded you to do. You must get rid of the evil among you.
6Someone might try to lead you to serve other gods—it might be your brother, your son or daughter, the wife you love, or a close friend. The person might say, “Let’s go and worship other gods.” (These are gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, 7gods of the people who live around you, either nearby or far away, from one end of the land to the other.) 8Do not give in to such people. Do not listen or feel sorry for them, and do not let them go free or protect them. 9You must put them to death. You must be the first one to start to kill them, and then everyone else must join in. 10You must throw stones at them until they die, because they tried to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, where you were slaves. 11Then everyone in Israel will hear about this and be afraid, and no one among you will ever do such an evil thing again.
Cities to Destroy
12The Lord your God is giving you cities in which to live, and you might hear something about one of them. Someone might say 13that evil people have moved in among you. And they might lead the people of that city away from God, saying, “Let’s go and worship other gods.” (These are gods you have not known.) 14Then you must ask about it, looking into the matter and checking carefully whether it is true. If it is proved that a hateful thing has happened among you, 15you must kill with a sword everyone who lives in that city. Destroy the city completely and kill everyone in it, as well as the animals, with a sword. 16Gather up everything those people owned, and put it in the middle of the city square. Then completely burn the city and everything they owned as a burnt offering to the Lord your God. That city should never be rebuilt; let it be ruined forever. 17Don’t keep for yourselves any of the things found in that city, so the Lord will not be angry anymore. He will give you mercy and feel sorry for you, and he will make your nation grow larger, as he promised to your ancestors. 18You will have obeyed the Lord your God by keeping all his commands that I am giving to you today, and you will be doing what the Lord says is right.