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Pagan Shrines to Be Destroyed

12 These are the statutes and ordinances that you must diligently observe in the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has given you to occupy all the days that you live on the earth.

You must demolish completely all the places where the nations whom you are about to dispossess served their gods, on the mountain heights, on the hills, and under every leafy tree. Break down their altars, smash their pillars, burn their sacred poles[a] with fire, and hew down the idols of their gods, and thus blot out their name from their places. You shall not worship the Lord your God in such ways. But you shall seek the place that the Lord your God will choose out of all your tribes as his habitation to put his name there. You shall go there, bringing there your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and your donations, your votive gifts, your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and flocks. And you shall eat there in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your households together, rejoicing in all the undertakings in which the Lord your God has blessed you.

You shall not act as we are acting here today, all of us according to our own desires, for you have not yet come into the rest and the possession that the Lord your God is giving you. 10 When you cross over the Jordan and live in the land that the Lord your God is allotting to you, and when he gives you rest from your enemies all around so that you live in safety, 11 then you shall bring everything that I command you to the place that the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his name: your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and your donations, and all your choice votive gifts that you vow to the Lord. 12 And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you together with your sons and your daughters, your male and female slaves, and the Levites who reside in your towns (since they have no allotment or inheritance with you).

A Prescribed Place of Worship

13 Take care that you do not offer your burnt offerings at any place you happen to see. 14 But only at the place that the Lord will choose in one of your tribes—there you shall offer your burnt offerings and there you shall do everything I command you.

15 Yet whenever you desire you may slaughter and eat meat within any of your towns, according to the blessing that the Lord your God has given you; the unclean and the clean may eat of it, as they would of gazelle or deer. 16 The blood, however, you must not eat; you shall pour it out on the ground like water. 17 Nor may you eat within your towns the tithe of your grain, your wine, and your oil, the firstlings of your herds and your flocks, any of your votive gifts that you vow, your freewill offerings, or your donations; 18 these you shall eat in the presence of the Lord your God at the place that the Lord your God will choose, you together with your son and your daughter, your male and female slaves, and the Levites resident in your towns, rejoicing in the presence of the Lord your God in all your undertakings. 19 Take care that you do not 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, and you say, “I am going to eat some meat,” because you wish to eat meat, you may eat meat whenever you have the desire. 21 If the place where the Lord your God will choose to put his name is too far from you, and you slaughter as I have commanded you any of your herd or flock that the Lord has given you, then you may eat within your towns whenever you desire. 22 Indeed, just as gazelle or deer is eaten, so you may eat it; the unclean and the clean alike may eat it. 23 Only be sure that you do not eat the blood; for the blood is the life, and you shall not eat the life with the meat. 24 Do not eat it; you shall pour it out on the ground like water. 25 Do not eat it, so that all may go well with you and your children after you, because you do what is right in the sight of the Lord. 26 But the sacred donations that are due from you, and your votive gifts, you shall bring to the place that the Lord will choose. 27 You shall present your burnt offerings, both the meat and the blood, on the altar of the Lord your God; the blood of your other sacrifices shall be poured out beside[b] the altar of the Lord your God, but the meat you may eat.

28 Be careful to obey all these words that I command you today,[c] so that it may go well with you and with your children after you forever, because you will be doing what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God.

Warning against Idolatry

29 When the Lord your God has cut off before you the nations whom you are about to enter to dispossess them, when you have dispossessed them and live in their land, 30 take care that you are not snared into imitating them, after they have been destroyed before you: do not inquire concerning their gods, saying, “How did these nations worship their gods? I also want to do the same.” 31 You must not do the same for the Lord your God, because every abhorrent thing that the Lord hates they have done for their gods. They would even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods. 32 [d] You must diligently observe everything that I command you; do not add to it or take anything from it.

Footnotes

  1. Deuteronomy 12:3 Heb Asherim
  2. Deuteronomy 12:27 Or on
  3. Deuteronomy 12:28 Gk Sam Syr: MT lacks today
  4. Deuteronomy 12:32 Ch 13.1 in Heb

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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