The Chosen Place of Worship

12 “Be careful to follow these statutes and ordinances in the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors,(A) has given you to possess all the days you live on the earth. Destroy completely all the places where the nations that you are driving out worship their gods(B)—on the high mountains, on the hills, and under every green tree.(C) Tear down their altars, smash their sacred pillars, burn their Asherah poles, cut down the carved images of their gods, and wipe out their names from every[a] place.(D) Don’t worship the Lord your God this way. Instead, turn to the place the Lord your God chooses(E) from all your tribes to put his name for his dwelling and go there. You are to bring there your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tenths and personal contributions,[b] your vow offerings and freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks. You will eat there in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice with your household in everything you do,[c] because the Lord your God has blessed you.

“You are not to do as we are doing here today; everyone is doing whatever seems right in his own sight.(F) Indeed, you have not yet come into the resting place(G) and the inheritance(H) the Lord your God is giving you. 10 When you cross the Jordan and live in the land the Lord your God is giving you to inherit,(I) and he gives you rest from all the enemies around you and you live in security, 11 then the Lord your God will choose the place to have his name dwell.(J) Bring there everything I command you: your burnt offerings, sacrifices, offerings of the tenth, personal contributions,[d] and all your choice offerings you vow to the Lord. 12 You will rejoice(K) before the Lord your God—you, your sons and daughters, your male and female slaves, and the Levite who is within your city gates, since he has no portion or inheritance among you.(L) 13 Be careful not to offer your burnt offerings in all the sacred places you see. 14 You must offer your burnt offerings only in the place the Lord chooses in one of your tribes, and there you must do everything I command you.

Slaughtering Animals to Eat

15 “But whenever you want, you may slaughter and eat meat within any of your city gates,(M) according to the blessing the Lord your God has given you. Those who are clean or unclean may eat it, as they would a gazelle or deer, 16 but you must not eat the blood; pour it on the ground like water.(N) 17 Within your city gates you may not eat the tenth of your grain, new wine, or fresh oil; the firstborn of your herd or flock; any of your vow offerings that you pledge; your freewill offerings; or your personal contributions.[e] 18 You are to eat them in the presence of the Lord your God at the place the Lord your God chooses—you, your son and daughter, your male and female slave, and the Levite who is within your city gates. Rejoice before the Lord your God in everything you do, 19 and be careful not to neglect the Levite, as long as you live in your land.

20 “When the Lord your God enlarges your territory as he has promised you,(O) and you say, ‘I want to eat meat’ because you have a strong desire to eat meat, you may eat it whenever you want. 21 If the place where the Lord your God chooses to put his name is too far from you, you may slaughter any of your herd or flock he has given you, as I have commanded you, and you may eat it within your city gates whenever you want. 22 Indeed, you may eat it as the gazelle and deer are eaten; both the clean and the unclean may eat it. 23 But don’t eat the blood, since the blood is the life, and you must not eat the life with the meat.(P) 24 Do not eat blood; pour it on the ground like water.(Q) 25 Do not eat it, so that you and your children after you will prosper, because you will be doing what is right in the Lord’s sight.

26 “But you are to take the holy offerings you have and your vow offerings and go to the place the Lord chooses. 27 Present the meat and blood of your burnt offerings on the altar of the Lord your God. The blood of your other sacrifices is to be poured out beside the altar of the Lord your God, but you may eat the meat. 28 Be careful to obey all these things I command you, so that you and your children after you may prosper forever, because you will be doing what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God.

29 “When the Lord your God annihilates the nations before you,(R) which you are entering to take possession of,(S) and you drive them out and live in their land, 30 be careful not to be ensnared by their ways(T) after they have been destroyed before you. Do not inquire about their gods, asking, ‘How did these nations worship their gods? I’ll also do the same.’ 31 You must not do the same to the Lord your God, because they practice every detestable act, which the Lord hates, for their gods. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. 32 Be careful to do everything I command you; do not add anything to it or take anything away from it.(U)

Footnotes

  1. 12:3 Lit that
  2. 12:6 Lit and the contributions from your hands
  3. 12:7 Lit you put your hand to, also in v. 18
  4. 12:11 Lit tenth, the contributions from your hands
  5. 12:17 Lit or the contributions from your hands

The One Place of Worship

12 These are the decrees(A) and laws you must be careful to follow in the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has given you to possess—as long as you live in the land.(B) Destroy completely all the places on the high mountains,(C) on the hills and under every spreading tree,(D) where the nations you are dispossessing worship their gods. Break down their altars, smash(E) their sacred stones and burn(F) their Asherah(G) poles in the fire; cut down the idols of their gods and wipe out their names(H) from those places.

You must not worship the Lord your God in their way.(I) But you are to seek the place the Lord your God will choose from among all your tribes to put his Name(J) there for his dwelling.(K) To that place you must go; there bring your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tithes(L) and special gifts, what you have vowed(M) to give and your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks.(N) There, in the presence(O) of the Lord your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice(P) in everything you have put your hand to, because the Lord your God has blessed you.

You are not to do as we do here today, everyone doing as they see fit,(Q) since you have not yet reached the resting place(R) and the inheritance(S) the Lord your God is giving you. 10 But you will cross the Jordan and settle in the land the Lord your God is giving(T) you as an inheritance, and he will give you rest(U) from all your enemies around you so that you will live in safety. 11 Then to the place the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his Name(V)—there you are to bring everything I command you: your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tithes and special gifts, and all the choice possessions you have vowed to the Lord.(W) 12 And there rejoice(X) before the Lord your God—you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites(Y) from your towns who have no allotment or inheritance(Z) of their own. 13 Be careful not to sacrifice your burnt offerings anywhere you please.(AA) 14 Offer them only at the place the Lord will choose(AB) in one of your tribes, and there observe everything I command you.

15 Nevertheless, you may slaughter your animals in any of your towns and eat as much of the meat as you want, as if it were gazelle or deer,(AC) according to the blessing the Lord your God gives you. Both the ceremonially unclean and the clean may eat it. 16 But you must not eat the blood;(AD) pour(AE) it out on the ground like water.(AF) 17 You must not eat in your own towns the tithe(AG) of your grain and new wine and olive oil,(AH) or the firstborn of your herds and flocks, or whatever you have vowed to give,(AI) or your freewill offerings or special gifts.(AJ) 18 Instead, you are to eat(AK) them in the presence of the Lord your God at the place the Lord your God will choose(AL)—you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites from your towns—and you are to rejoice(AM) before the Lord your God in everything you put your hand to. 19 Be careful not to neglect the Levites(AN) as long as you live in your land.(AO)

20 When the Lord your God has enlarged your territory(AP) as he promised(AQ) you, and you crave meat(AR) and say, “I would like some meat,” then you may eat as much of it as you want. 21 If the place where the Lord your God chooses to put his Name(AS) is too far away from you, you may slaughter animals from the herds and flocks the Lord has given you, as I have commanded you, and in your own towns you may eat as much of them as you want.(AT) 22 Eat them as you would gazelle or deer.(AU) Both the ceremonially unclean and the clean may eat. 23 But be sure you do not eat the blood,(AV) because the blood is the life, and you must not eat the life with the meat.(AW) 24 You must not eat the blood; pour it out on the ground like water.(AX) 25 Do not eat it, so that it may go well(AY) with you and your children after you, because you will be doing what is right(AZ) in the eyes of the Lord.

26 But take your consecrated things and whatever you have vowed to give,(BA) and go to the place the Lord will choose. 27 Present your burnt offerings(BB) on the altar of the Lord your God, both the meat and the blood. The blood of your sacrifices must be poured beside the altar of the Lord your God, but you may eat(BC) the meat. 28 Be careful to obey all these regulations I am giving you, so that it may always go well(BD) with you and your children after you, because you will be doing what is good and right in the eyes of the Lord your God.

29 The Lord your God will cut off(BE) before you the nations you are about to invade and dispossess. But when you have driven them out and settled in their land,(BF) 30 and after they have been destroyed before you, be careful not to be ensnared(BG) by inquiring about their gods, saying, “How do these nations serve their gods? We will do the same.”(BH) 31 You must not worship the Lord your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the Lord hates.(BI) They even burn their sons(BJ) and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods.(BK)

32 See that you do all I command you; do not add(BL) to it or take away from it.[a]

Footnotes

  1. Deuteronomy 12:32 In Hebrew texts this verse (12:32) is numbered 13:1.

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