The Law: true wisdom
1 And now, Israel, listen to the norms and laws which I teach that you may put them into practice. And you will live and enter and take possession of the land which Yah weh, the God of your fathers, gives you.
2 Do not add anything to what I command you nor take anything away from it. But keep the commandments of Yahweh, your God, as I command you. 3 You have seen with your own eyes what Yahweh has done with Baal-peor and with those who served him. Yahweh has des troyed them. 4 But you who have been faithful to Yahweh, your God, are all alive today.
5 See, as Yahweh, my God, ordered me, I am teaching you the norms and the laws that you may put them into practice in the land you are going to enter and have as your own. 6 If you observe and practice them, other peo ples will regard you as wise and intelligent. When they come to know of all these laws, they will say, “There is no people as wise and as intelligent as this great nation.” 7 For in truth, is there a na tion as great as ours, whose gods are as near to it as Yahweh, our God, is to us whenever we call upon him? 8 And is there a nation as great as ours whose norms and laws are as just as this Law which I give you today?
9 But be careful and be on your guard. Do not forget these things which your own eyes have seen nor let them depart from your heart as long as you live. But on the contrary, teach them to your children and to your children’s children.
10 You were in the presence of Yahweh at Mount Horeb when he spoke to me, “Gather the people before me that they may hear my words. Thus they will fear me as long as they live in that land and will teach these words to their children.”
11 Then you came nearer and stood at the foot of the mountain. It was burning in flames reaching up to heaven amid the dense fog and the dark clouds. 12 And Yahweh spoke to you from the midst of the fire. You heard the sound of words but did not see any figure; you only heard a voice. 13 And Yahweh spoke to you that you might know his Covenant by which he commanded you to keep his ten commandments, which he had written on two slabs of stone. 14 And as for me, he commanded me to teach you the norms and laws that you might put them into practice in the land which is going to be yours.
15 Think well about what you are to do. You did not see any form on that day when Yahweh spoke to you at Mount Horeb from the midst of the fire. 16 There fore, do not become corrupted: do not make an idol or a god carved in the form of a man or of a woman, 17 or in the form of any animal that lives on the earth, or of any kind of bird that flies in the sky, 18 or of any reptile that crawls on the earth, or of any fish that lives in the water under the earth. 19 When you look at the heavens and you see the sun, the moon, the stars, and all the heavenly bodies, do not prostrate yourselves to adore and serve them as gods. 20 Yahweh, your God, has left those for the rest of the peoples, but he has chosen you and has brought you from the fiery crucible, that is Egypt, to be his own people as you are now.
21 Through your fault, Yahweh be came angry with me and he swore that I would not cross the Jordan nor enter into the beautiful land which he gives you as an inheritance. 22 I will die in this land and not be able to cross the Jordan. You, in turn, will cross over and possess that beautiful land. 23 So, be careful not to forget the Covenant which Yahweh has made with you and do not make any kind of idols, as Yahweh, your God, has commanded you. 24 Know that Yah weh, your God, is a de vouring fire, Yahweh is a jealous God.
25 When you have children and grandchildren and have grown old in the land, do not be corrupted by having idols and doing that which offends Yahweh. If you anger him, you will perish from the land which is going to be yours after crossing the Jordan. 26 Heaven and earth are witness to my warning: you will all be destroyed.
27 Yahweh will scatter you among the peoples and only a few of you will remain among the nations where Yahweh will bring you. 28 There you will be obliged to serve their gods, gods made by human hands, gods of wood and stone, which do not see or hear, or eat or feel. 29 There you will look for Yahweh, your God, and you will encounter him if you search for him with all your heart and with all your soul in the midst of your anguish. 30 When this happens in the last days, you will return to Yahweh, and you will listen to his voice. 31 Be cause Yahweh, your God, is a mer ciful God who will not reject you nor destroy you all, nor forget the Covenant he swore to your fathers.
Chosen by God
32 Ask of the times past. Inquire from the day when God created man on earth. Ask from one end of the world to the other: Has there ever been anything as extraordinary as this? 33 Has anything like this been heard of before? Has there ever been a people who remained alive after hearing as you did the voice of the living God from the midst of the fire?
34 Never has there been a God who went out to look for a people and take them out from among the other nations by the strength of trials and signs, by wonders and by war, with a firm hand and an outstretched arm. Never has there been any deed as tremendous as those done for you by Yahweh in Egypt, which you saw with your own eyes.
35 You saw this that you might know that Yahweh is God and that there is no other besides him. 36 He let you hear his voice from heaven that you might fear him; on earth he let you see his blazing fire and from the midst of the fire you heard his word. 37 Because of the love he had for your fathers, he chose their descendants after them, and he him self made you leave Egypt with his great power. 38 He expelled before you peoples more numerous and stronger than you, and he has made you occupy their land: today he has given this to you as an in herit ance. 39 Therefore, try to be convinced that Yahweh is the only God of heaven and earth, and that there is no other.
40 Observe the laws and the commandments that I command you today, and everything will be well with you and your children after you. So you will live long in the land which Yahweh, your God, gives you forever.”
Second discourse of Moses
41 Moses designated three cities at the other side of the Jordan, on the east, 42 where one who involuntarily kills his neighbor may find refuge, one who has never been his enemy before. He should flee into one of those cities and so save himself.
43 These are the cities: Bezer on the de sert plateau for the tribe of Reuben, Ra moth in Gilead for the tribe of Gad, and Go lan in Bashan for the tribe of Manas seh.
44 This is the Law which Moses gave to the children of Israel. 45 These are the precepts, decrees, and laws which Moses made known to the children of Israel after their departure from Egypt, 46 at the other side of the Jordan, in the valley opposite Beth-peor, in the land of Sihon, the king of the Amorites. This Sihon, who lived in Heshbon, was defeated by Moses and the children of Israel after their departure from Egypt 47 and they took possession of his land, as they had done with Og, the king of Bashan. The two Amorite kings ruled at the east of the Jordan, 48 from Aroer at the boundary of the brook of Arnon, up to Mount Sirion, also called Hermon 49 that is, the whole plain to the east of the Jordan up to the Dead Sea at the foot of Mount Pisgah.