1“Here are the laws that you are to obey as long as you live in the land that the LORD, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. Listen to them! 2In the land that you are taking, destroy all the places where the people worship their gods on high mountains, on hills, and under green trees. 3Tear down their altars and smash their sacred stone pillars to pieces. Burn their symbols of the goddess Asherah and chop down their idols, so that they will never again be worshipped at those places.
4“Do not worship the LORD your God in the way that these people worship their gods. 5Out of the territory of all your tribes the LORD will choose the one place where the people are to come into his presence and worship him. 6There you are to offer your sacrifices that are to be burnt and your other sacrifices, your tithes and your offerings, the gifts that you promise to the LORD, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your cattle and sheep. 7There, in the presence of the LORD your God, who has blessed you, you and your families will eat and enjoy the good things that you have worked for.
8“When that time comes, you must not do as you have been doing. Until now you have all been worshipping as you please, 9because you have not yet entered the land that the LORD your God is giving you, where you can live in peace. 10When you cross the River Jordan, the LORD will let you occupy the land and live there. He will keep you safe from all your enemies, and you will live in peace. 11The LORD will choose a single place where he is to be worshipped, and there you must bring to him everything that I have commanded: your sacrifices that are to be burnt and your other sacrifices, your tithes and your offerings, and those special gifts that you have promised to the LORD. 12Be joyful there in his presence, together with your children, your servants, and the Levites who live in your towns; remember that the Levites will have no land of their own. 13You are not to offer your sacrifices wherever you choose; 14you must offer them only in the one place that the LORD will choose in the territory of one of your tribes. Only there are you to offer your sacrifices that are to be burnt and do all the other things that I have commanded you.
15“But you are free to kill and eat your animals wherever you live. You may eat as many as the LORD gives you. All of you, whether ritually clean or unclean, may eat them, just as you would eat the meat of deer or antelope. 16But you must not use their blood as food; you must pour it out on the ground like water. 17Nothing that you offer to the LORD is to be eaten in the places where you live: neither the tithes of your corn, your wine, or your olive oil, nor the firstborn of your cattle and sheep, the gifts that you promise to the LORD, your freewill offerings, or any other offerings. 18You and your children, together with your servants and the Levites who live in your towns, are to eat these offerings only in the presence of the LORD your God, in the one place of worship chosen by the LORD your God. And you are to be happy there over everything that you have done. 19Be sure, also, not to neglect the Levites, as long as you live in your land.
20“When the LORD your God enlarges your territory, as he has promised, you may eat meat whenever you wish. 21If the one place of worship is too far away, then, whenever you wish, you may kill any of the cattle or sheep that the LORD has given you, and you may eat the meat at home, as I have told you. 22Anyone, ritually clean or unclean, may eat that meat, just as he would eat the meat of deer or antelope. 23Only do not eat meat with blood still in it, for the life is in the blood, and you must not eat the life with the meat. 24Do not use the blood for food; instead pour it out on the ground like water. 25If you obey this command, the LORD will be pleased, and all will go well for you and your descendants. 26Take to the one place of worship your offerings and the gifts that you have promised the LORD. 27Offer there the sacrifices which are to be completely burnt on the LORD's altar. Also offer those sacrifices in which you eat the meat and pour the blood out on the altar. 28Obey faithfully everything that I have commanded you, and all will go well for you and your descendants for ever, because you will be doing what is right and what pleases the LORD your God.
Warning against Idolatry
29“The LORD your God will destroy the nations as you invade their land, and you will occupy it and settle there. 30After the LORD destroys those nations, make sure that you don't follow their religious practices, because that would be fatal. Don't try to find out how they worship their gods, so that you can worship in the same way. 31Do not worship the LORD your God in the way they worship their gods, for in the worship of their gods they do all the disgusting things that the LORD hates. They even sacrifice their children in the fires on their altars.
32“Do everything that I have commanded you; do not add anything to it or take anything from it.
1“Prophets or interpreters of dreams may promise a miracle or a wonder, 2in order to lead you to worship and serve gods that you have not worshipped before. Even if what they promise comes true, 3do not pay any attention to them. The LORD your God is using them to test you, to see if you love the LORD with all your heart. 4Follow the LORD and honour him; obey him and keep his commands; worship him and be faithful to him. 5But put to death any interpreters of dreams or prophets who tell you to rebel against the LORD, who rescued you from Egypt, where you were slaves. Such people are evil and are trying to lead you away from the life that the LORD has commanded you to live. They must be put to death, in order to rid yourselves of this evil.
6“Even your brother or your son or your daughter or the wife you love or your closest friend may secretly encourage you to worship other gods, gods that you and your ancestors have never worshipped. 7One of them may encourage you to worship the gods of the people who live near you or the gods of those who live far away. 8But do not let him or her persuade you; do not even listen to them. Show them no mercy or pity, and do not protect them. 9Kill them! Be the first to stone them, and then let everyone else stone them too. 10Stone them to death! They tried to lead you away from the LORD your God, who rescued you from Egypt, where you were slaves. 11Then all the people of Israel will hear what happened; they will be afraid, and no one will ever again do such an evil thing.
12“When you are living in the towns that the LORD your God gives you, you may hear 13that some worthless people of your nation have misled the people of their town to worship gods that you have never worshipped before. 14If you hear such a rumour, investigate it thoroughly; and if it is true that this evil thing did happen, 15then kill all the people in that town and all their livestock too. Destroy that town completely. 16Bring together all the possessions of the people who live there and pile them up in the town square. Then burn the town and everything in it as an offering to the LORD your God. It must be left in ruins for ever and never again be rebuilt. 17Do not keep for yourselves anything that was condemned to destruction, and then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger and show you mercy. He will be merciful to you and make you a numerous people, as he promised your ancestors, 18if you obey all his commands that I have given you today, and do what he requires.
A Forbidden Mourning Practice
1“You are the people of the LORD your God. So when you mourn for the dead, don't gash yourselves or shave the front of your head, as other people do. 2You belong to the LORD your God; he has chosen you to be his own people from among all the peoples who live on earth.
3“Do not eat anything that the LORD has declared unclean. 4You may eat these animals: cattle, sheep, goats, 5deer, wild sheep, wild goats, or antelopes — 6any animals that have divided hoofs and that also chew the cud. 7But no animals may be eaten unless they have divided hoofs and also chew the cud. You may not eat camels, rabbits, or rock-badgers. They must be considered unclean; they chew the cud but do not have divided hoofs. 8Do not eat pigs. They must be considered unclean; they have divided hoofs but do not chew the cud. Do not eat any of these animals or even touch their dead bodies.
9“You may eat any kind of fish that has fins and scales, 10but anything living in the water that does not have fins and scales may not be eaten; it must be considered unclean.
11“You may eat any clean bird. 12-18But these are the kinds of birds you are not to eat: eagles, owls, hawks, falcons; buzzards, vultures, crows; ostriches; seagulls, storks, herons, pelicans, cormorants; hoopoes; and bats.
19“All winged insects are unclean; do not eat them. 20You may eat any clean insect.
21“Do not eat any animal that dies a natural death. You may let the foreigners who live among you eat it, or you may sell it to other foreigners. But you belong to the LORD your God; you are his people.
“Do not cook a young sheep or goat in its mother's milk.
The Law of the Tithe
22“Set aside a tithe — a tenth of all that your fields produce each year. 23Then go to the one place where the LORD your God has chosen to be worshipped; and there in his presence eat the tithes of your corn, wine, and olive oil, and the firstborn of your cattle and sheep. Do this so that you may learn to honour the LORD your God always. 24If the place of worship is too far from your home for you to carry there the tithe of the produce that the LORD has blessed you with, then do this: 25Sell your produce and take the money with you to the one place of worship. 26Spend it on whatever you want — beef, lamb, wine, beer — and there, in the presence of the LORD your God, you and your families are to eat and enjoy yourselves.
27“Do not neglect the Levites who live in your towns; they have no property of their own. 28At the end of every third year bring the tithe of all your crops and store it in your towns. 29This food is for the Levites, since they own no property, and for the foreigners, orphans, and widows who live in your towns. They are to come and get all they need. Do this, and the LORD your God will bless you in everything you do.
1“At the end of every seventh year you are to cancel the debts of those who owe you money. 2This is how it is to be done. All who have lent money to a fellow-Israelite are to cancel the debt; they must not try to collect the money; the LORD himself has declared the debt cancelled. 3You may collect what a foreigner owes you, but you must not collect what any of your own people owe you.
4“The LORD your God will bless you in the land that he is giving you. Not one of your people will be poor 5if you obey him and carefully observe everything that I command you today. 6The LORD will bless you, as he has promised. You will lend money to many nations, but you will not have to borrow from any; you will have control over many nations, but no nation will have control over you.
7“If in any of the towns in the land that the LORD your God is giving you there is a fellow-Israelite in need, then do not be selfish and refuse to help him. 8Instead, be generous and lend him as much as he needs. 9Do not refuse to lend him something, just because the year when debts are cancelled is near. Do not let such an evil thought enter your mind. If you refuse to make the loan, he will cry out to the LORD against you, and you will be held guilty. 10Give to him freely and unselfishly, and the LORD will bless you in everything you do. 11There will always be some Israelites who are poor and in need, and so I command you to be generous to them.
12“If a fellow-Israelite sells himself or herself to you as a slave, you are to release them after they have served you for six years. When the seventh year comes, you must let them go free. 13When you set them free, do not send them away empty-handed. 14Give to them generously from what the LORD has blessed you with — sheep, corn, and wine. 15Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God set you free; that is why I am now giving you this command.
16“But your slave may not want to leave; he may love you and your family and be content to stay. 17Then take him to the door of your house and there pierce his ear; he will then be your slave for life. Treat your female slave in the same way. 18Do not be resentful when you set a slave free; after all, the slave has served you for six years at half the cost of a hired servant. Do this, and the LORD your God will bless you in all that you do.
The Firstborn Cattle and Sheep
19“Set aside for the LORD your God all the firstborn males of your cattle and sheep; don't use any of these cattle for work and don't shear any of these sheep. 20Each year you and your family are to eat them in the LORD's presence at the one place of worship. 21But if there is anything wrong with the animals, if they are crippled or blind or have any other serious defect, you must not sacrifice them to the LORD your God. 22You may eat such animals at home. All of you, whether ritually clean or unclean, may eat them, just as you eat deer or antelope. 23But do not use their blood for food; instead, you must pour it out on the ground like water.