Obey the Lord
1Now, Israel, listen to the rules and laws I’m going to teach you. Obey them and you will live. You will go in and take over the land. The Lord was the God of your people of long ago. He’s giving you the land. 2 Don’t add to what I’m commanding you. Don’t subtract from it either. Instead, obey the commands of the Lord your God that I’m giving you.
3 Your own eyes saw what the Lord your God did at Baal Peor. He destroyed every one of your people who worshiped the Baal that was worshiped at Peor. 4 But all of you who remained true to the Lord your God are still alive today.
5 I have taught you rules and laws, just as the Lord my God commanded me. Obey them in the land you are entering to take as your very own. 6 Be careful to keep them. That will show the nations how wise and understanding you are. They will hear about all these rules. They’ll say, “That great nation certainly has wise and understanding people.” 7 The Lord our God is near us every time we pray to him. What other nation is great enough to have its gods that close to them? 8 I’m giving you the laws of the Lord today. What other nation is great enough to have rules and laws as fair as these?
9 Don’t be careless. Instead, be very careful. Don’t forget the things your eyes have seen. As long as you live, don’t let them slip from your mind. Teach them to your children and their children after them. 10 Remember the day you stood at Mount Horeb. The Lord your God was there. He said to me, “Bring the people to me to hear my words. I want them to learn to have respect for me as long as they live in the land. I want them to teach my words to their children.” 11 You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain. It blazed with fire that reached as high as the very heavens. There were black clouds and deep darkness. 12 Then the Lord spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of his words. But you didn’t see any shape or form. You only heard a voice. 13 He announced his covenant to you. That covenant is the Ten Commandments. He commanded you to obey them. Then he wrote them down on two stone tablets. 14 At that time the Lord directed me to teach you his rules and laws. You must obey them in the land you are crossing the Jordan River to take as your own.
Don’t Make or Worship Statues of Gods
15 The Lord spoke to you at Mount Horeb out of the fire. But you didn’t see any shape or form that day. So be very careful. 16 Make sure you don’t commit a horrible sin. Don’t make for yourselves a statue of a god. Don’t make a god that looks like a man or woman or anything else. 17 Don’t make one that looks like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the sky. 18 Don’t make a statue that looks like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish that swims in the water. 19 When you look up at the heavens, you will see the sun and moon. And you will see huge numbers of stars. Don’t let anyone tempt you to bow down to the sun, moon or stars. Don’t worship things the Lord your God has provided for all the nations on earth. 20 Egypt was like a furnace that melts iron down and makes it pure. But the Lord took you and brought you out of Egypt. He wanted you to be his very own people. And that’s exactly what you are.
21 The Lord was angry with me because of what you did. He promised that he would never let me go across the Jordan River. He promised that I would never enter that good land. It’s the land the Lord your God is giving you as your own. 22 I’ll die here in this land. I won’t go across the Jordan. But you are about to cross over it. You will take that good land as your own. 23 Be careful. Don’t forget the covenant the Lord your God made with you. Don’t make for yourselves a statue of any god at all. He has told you not to. So don’t do it. 24 The Lord your God is like a fire that burns everything up. He wants you to worship only him.
25 So don’t make a statue of a god. Don’t commit that horrible sin. Don’t do it even after you have had children and grandchildren. Don’t do it even after you have lived in the land a long time. If you do, that will be an evil thing in the sight of the Lord your God. You will make him angry. 26 Today I’m calling out to the heavens and the earth to be witnesses against you. Suppose you do these things. Then you will quickly die in the land you are going across the Jordan River to take over. You won’t live there very long. You will certainly be destroyed. 27 The Lord will drive you out of your land. He will scatter you among the nations. Only a few of you will remain alive there. 28 There you will worship gods that men have made out of wood and stone. Those gods can’t see, hear, eat or smell. 29 Perhaps while you are there, you will seek the Lord your God. You will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 All the things I’ve told you about might happen to you. And you will be in trouble. But later you will return to the Lord your God. You will obey him. 31 The Lord your God is tender and loving. He won’t leave you or destroy you. He won’t forget the covenant he made with your people of long ago. He gave his word when he made it.
The Lord Is God
32 Ask now about the days of long ago. Find out what happened long before your time. Ask about what has happened since the time God created human beings on the earth. Ask from one end of the world to the other. Has anything as great as this ever happened? Has anything like it ever been heard of? 33 You heard the voice of God speaking out of fire. And you lived! Has that happened to any other people? 34 Has any god ever tried to take one nation out of another to be his own? Has any god done it by testing his people? Has any god done it with signs and amazing deeds or with war? Has any god reached out his mighty hand and powerful arm? Or has any god shown his people his great and wonderful acts? The Lord your God did all those things for you in Egypt. With your very own eyes you saw him do them.
35 The Lord showed you those things so that you might know he is God. There is no other God except him. 36 From heaven he made you hear his voice. He wanted to teach you. On earth he showed you his great fire. You heard his words coming out of the fire. 37 He loved your people of long ago. He chose their children after them. So he brought you out of Egypt. He used his great strength to do it. 38 He drove out nations to make room for you. They were greater and stronger than you are. He will bring you into their land. He wants to give it to you as your very own. The whole land is as good as yours right now.
39 The Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. Today you must agree with that and take it to heart. There is no other God. 40 I’m giving you his rules and commands today. Obey them. Then things will go well with you and your children after you. You will live a long time in the land. The Lord your God is giving you the land for all time to come.
Cities to Run to for Safety
41 Then Moses set apart three cities east of the Jordan River. 42 Suppose someone killed a person they didn’t hate and without meaning to do it. That person could run to one of those cities and stay alive. 43 Here are the names of the cities. Bezer was for the people of Reuben. It was in the high plains in the desert. Ramoth was for the people of Gad. It was in Gilead. Golan was for the people of Manasseh. It was in Bashan.
Moses Gives the Law to Israel
44 Here is the law Moses gave the Israelites. 45 Here are its terms, rules and laws. Moses gave them to the people when they came out of Egypt. 46 They were now east of the Jordan River in the valley near Beth Peor. They were in the land of Sihon, the king of the Amorites. He ruled in Heshbon. But Moses and the Israelites won the battle over him after we came out of Egypt. 47 They captured his land and made it their own. They also took the land of Og, the king of Bashan. Sihon and Og were the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River. 48 Their land reached from Aroer on the rim of the Arnon River valley to Mount Hermon. 49 It included the whole Arabah Valley east of the Jordan. It included land all the way to the Dead Sea below the slopes of Pisgah.