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5-19 Soon you will cross the Jordan, and the Lord will help you conquer your enemies and let you live in peace, there in the land he has given you. But after you are settled, life will be different. You must not offer sacrifices just anywhere you want to. Instead, the Lord will choose a place somewhere in Israel where you must go to worship him. All of your sacrifices and offerings must be taken there, including sacrifices to please the Lord[a] and any gift you promise or voluntarily give him. That’s where you must also take one tenth of your grain, wine, and olive oil,[b] as well as the first-born of your cattle, sheep, and goats.[c] You and your family and servants will eat your gifts and sacrifices[d] and celebrate there at the place of worship, because the Lord your God has made you successful in everything you have done. And since Levites will not have any land of their own, you must ask some of them to come along and celebrate with you.

Sometimes you may want to kill an animal for food and not as a sacrifice. If the Lord has blessed you and given you enough cows or sheep or goats, then you can butcher one of them where you live. You can eat it just like the meat from a deer or gazelle that you kill when you go hunting. And even those people who are unclean and unfit for worship can have some of the meat. But you must not eat the blood of any animal—let the blood drain out on the ground.

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Footnotes

  1. 12.5-19 sacrifices to please the Lord: These sacrifices have traditionally been called “whole burnt offerings” because the whole animal was burned on the altar. A main purpose of such sacrifices was to please the Lord with the smell of the sacrifice, and so in the CEV they are often called “sacrifices to please the Lord.”
  2. 12.5-19 one tenth of your grain, wine, and olive oil: The Israelites had to give one tenth of their harvest of these products to the Lord each year (see 14.22-29; 26.12,13; Leviticus 27.30-33).
  3. 12.5-19 the first-born of your cattle, sheep, and goats: The Israelites had to sacrifice these to the Lord (see 15.19-22).
  4. 12.5-19 sacrifices: Some sacrifices were completely burned on the altar; in other sacrifices, part of the animal was burned and part was given to the priests, but most of the meat was eaten by the worshipers as a sacred meal.

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