December 19, 2022
The third heading: The new covenant at Moab
These are the words of the covenant the Lord commanded Moses to make with the Israelites in the land of Moab in addition to the covenant he had made with them at Horeb. 2 Moses summoned all Israel, saying to them:
You’ve seen with your own eyes everything the Lord did in Egypt, to Pharaoh, his servants, and all his land— 3 the great trials your eyes witnessed, those awesome signs and wonders! 4 But until this very moment, the Lord hasn’t given you insight to understand, eyes to see, or ears to hear. 5 I’ve led you in the wilderness forty years now; neither the clothes on your back nor the sandals on your feet have worn out. 6 Neither have you eaten bread nor drunk wine or beer during this time—so that you would know that I am the Lord your God. 7 When you arrived here, Sihon, Heshbon’s king, and Og, Bashan’s king, marched out to fight against us, but we defeated them. 8 We took possession of their land and gave it as an inheritance to the Reubenites, Gadites, and half of Manasseh’s tribe. 9 So then keep the words of this covenant and do them so you can succeed in all you do.
10 Right now, all of you are in the presence of the Lord your God—the leaders of your tribes, your elders, and your officials, all the Israelite males, 11 your children, your wives, and the immigrants who live with you in your camp, the ones who chop your wood and those who draw your water— 12 ready to enter into the Lord your God’s covenant and into the agreement that the Lord your God is making with you right now. 13 That means the Lord will make you his own people right now—he will be your God just as he promised you and just as he swore to our ancestors: to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 14 But I’m not making this covenant and this agreement with you alone 15 but also with those standing here with us right now before the Lord our God, and also with those who aren’t here with us right now.
16 You know firsthand how we used to live in Egypt and how we passed right through the nations that you passed through. 17 You saw the horrific things, the filthy idols of wood and stone, silver and gold, that they had with them. 18 Make sure there isn’t any one among you right now—male or female, clan or tribe—whose mind is turning from being with the Lord our God in favor of going to serve these nations’ gods. Make sure there isn’t any root among you that is sprouting poison and bitterness. 19 When that kind of person hears the words of this agreement, they congratulate themselves, thinking: I’ll be fine even though I insist on being stubborn. This would cause something wet to dry up and become like something parched. 20 The Lord won’t be willing to forgive that kind of person; instead, the Lord’s anger and passion will smolder against that person. Every curse written in this scroll will stretch out over them, and the Lord will wipe out their name from under the heavens. 21 Out of all Israel’s tribes, the Lord will single them out for disaster in compliance with all the covenant curses that are written in this Instruction scroll.
22 Future generations, your children after you, or foreigners from distant lands will say: Look at all that land’s plagues and the sicknesses that the Lord laid on it! 23 Look at all its land burned by sulfur and salt, unsuitable for planting, unable to grow or produce any vegetation, as devastated as Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the Lord devastated in anger and wrath! 24 Indeed, all nations will ask: Why did the Lord do this to this land? What led to this terrible display of anger? 25 They will deduce: It was because those people abandoned the covenant of the Lord, their ancestors’ God, which he made with them when he brought them out of Egypt. 26 They followed other gods, serving them and worshipping them—other gods that they hadn’t experienced before and that the Lord hadn’t designated for them. 27 Then the Lord’s anger burned against that land, and he brought against it every curse written in this scroll. 28 The Lord ripped them off their land in anger, wrath, and great fury. He threw them into other lands, and that’s how things still stand today.
29 The secret things belong to the Lord our God. The revealed things belong to us and to our children forever: to keep all the words of this covenant.
Now, once all these things happen to you, the blessing and the curse that I’m setting before you, you must call them to mind as you sit among the various nations where the Lord your God has driven you; 2 and you must return to the Lord your God, obeying his voice, in line with all that I’m commanding you right now—you and your children—with all your mind and with all your being. 3 Then the Lord your God will restore you as you were before and will have compassion on you, gathering you up from all the peoples where the Lord your God scattered you. 4 Even if he has driven you to the far end of heaven, the Lord your God will gather you up from there; he will take you back from there. 5 The Lord your God will bring you home to the land that your ancestors possessed; you will possess it again. And he will do good things for you and multiply you—making you more numerous even than your ancestors!
6 Then the Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants so that you love the Lord your God with all your mind and with all your being in order that you may live. 7 The Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you and chase you. 8 But you will change and obey the Lord’s voice and do all his commandments that I’m commanding you right now. 9 The Lord your God will help you succeed in everything you do—in your own fertility, your livestock’s offspring, and your land’s produce—everything will be great! Because the Lord will once again enjoy doing good things for you just as he enjoyed doing them for your ancestors, 10 and because you will be obeying the Lord your God’s voice, keeping his commandments and his regulations that are written in this Instruction scroll, and because you will have returned to the Lord your God with all your heart and all your being.
11 This commandment that I’m giving you right now is definitely not too difficult for you. It isn’t unreachable. 12 It isn’t up in heaven somewhere so that you have to ask, “Who will go up for us to heaven and get it for us that we can hear it and do it?” 13 Nor is it across the ocean somewhere so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the ocean for us and get it for us that we can hear it and do it?” 14 Not at all! The word is very close to you. It’s in your mouth and in your heart, waiting for you to do it.
Life and death
15 Look here! Today I’ve set before you life and what’s good versus death and what’s wrong. 16 If you obey the Lord your God’s commandments that[g] I’m commanding you right now by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments, his regulations, and his case laws, then you will live and thrive, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. 17 But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and so are misled, worshipping other gods and serving them, 18 I’m telling you right now that you will definitely die. You will not prolong your life on the fertile land that you are crossing the Jordan River to enter and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth as my witnesses against you right now: I have set life and death, blessing and curse before you. Now choose life—so that you and your descendants will live— 20 by loving the Lord your God, by obeying his voice, and by clinging to him. That’s how you will survive and live long on the fertile land the Lord swore to give to your ancestors: to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Moses announces his death
Then Moses said these words to all Israel, 2 telling them:
I’m 120 years old today. I can’t move around well anymore. Plus, the Lord told me “You won’t cross the Jordan River.” 3 But the Lord your God, he’s the one who will cross over before you! He’s the one who will destroy these nations before you so you can displace them. Joshua too will cross over before you just like the Lord indicated. 4 The Lord will do to these enemies the same thing he did to the Amorite kings Sihon and Og, and to their land, when he destroyed them. 5 The Lord will lay them out before you, and you will do to them exactly what the command I’ve given you dictates. 6 Be strong! Be fearless! Don’t be afraid and don’t be scared by your enemies, because the Lord your God is the one who marches with you. He won’t let you down, and he won’t abandon you.
7 Then Moses called Joshua and, with all Israel watching, said to him: “Be strong and fearless because you are the one who will lead[i] this people to the land the Lord swore to their ancestors to give to them; you are the one who will divide up the land for them. 8 But the Lord is the one who is marching before you! He is the one who will be with you! He won’t let you down. He won’t abandon you. So don’t be afraid or scared!”
Regular reading of the Instruction
9 Then Moses wrote this Instruction down and gave it to the priests—the Levites who carry the chest containing the Lord’s covenant—and to all of the Israelite elders. 10 Moses then commanded them:
At the end of seven years, at the appointed time in the year of debt cancellation, during the Festival of Booths, 11 when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God at the location he selects, you must read this Instruction aloud, in the hearing of all the people. 12 Gather everyone—men, women, children, and the immigrants who live in your cities—in order that they hear it, learn it, and revere the Lord your God, carefully doing all the words of this Instruction, 13 and so that their children, who don’t yet know the Instruction, may hear it and learn to revere the Lord your God for as long as you live on the ground you are crossing the Jordan River to possess.
14 Then the Lord said to Moses: “It’s almost time for you to die. Summon Joshua. The two of you must present yourselves at the meeting tent so I can command him.” So Moses and Joshua went and presented themselves at the meeting tent. 15 The Lord appeared in the tent in a pillar of cloud; the cloud pillar stood at the tent’s entrance. 16 The Lord then said to Moses:
“Soon you will rest with your ancestors, and the people will rise up and act unfaithfully, going after strange gods of the land they are entering. They will abandon me, breaking my covenant that I made with them. 17 At that point my anger will burn against them, and I’ll be the one who abandons them! I’ll hide my face from them. They will become nothing but food for their enemies,[j] and all sorts of bad things and misfortunes will happen to them. Then they will say: ‘Haven’t these terrible things happened to us because our God is no longer with us?’ 18 But I will hide my face at that time because of the many wrong things they have done, because they have turned to other gods! 19 So in light of all that, you must write down this poem and teach it to the Israelites. Put it in their mouths so that the poem becomes a witness for me against them. 20 When I bring the Israelites to the land I swore to their ancestors, which is full of milk and honey, and they eat, get full, then fat, and then turn toward other gods, serving them and disrespecting me and breaking my covenant, 21 then, when all kinds of bad things and misfortunes happen to them, this poem will witness against them, giving its testimony, because it won’t be lost from the mouths of their descendants. Yes, I know right now what they are inclined to do, even before I’ve brought them into the land I swore.”
22 So Moses wrote this poem down that very day, and he taught it to the Israelites.
23 Then the Lord commissioned Joshua, Nun’s son: “Be strong and fearless because you are the one who will bring the Israelites to the land I swore to them. I myself will be with you.”
Life after Moses
24 Once Moses had finished writing in their entirety all the words of this Instruction scroll, 25 he commanded the Levites who carry the chest containing the Lord’s covenant as follows:
26 “Take this Instruction scroll and put it next to the chest containing the Lord your God’s covenant. It must remain there as a witness against you 27 because I know how rebellious and hardheaded you are. If you are this rebellious toward the Lord while I’m still alive, it’s bound to get worse once I’m dead! 28 Assemble all of your tribes’ elders and your officials in front of me, so I can speak these words in their hearing, and so I can call heaven and earth as my witnesses against them, 29 because I know that after I’m dead, you will ruin everything, departing from the path I’ve commanded you. Terrible things will happen to you in the future because you will do evil in the Lord’s eyes, aggravating him with the things your hands have made.”
The poem of Instruction
30 Then Moses recited in their entirety the words of this poem in the hearing of the entire assembly of Israel:
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