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Deuteronomy 12 (New Living Translation)

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1 "These are the laws and regulations you must obey as long as you live in the land the LORD, the God of your ancestors, is giving you." 2 "When you drive out the nations that live there, you must destroy all the places where they worship their gods -- high on the mountains, up on the hills, and under every green tree. 3 Break down their altars and smash their sacred pillars. Burn their Asherah poles and cut down their carved idols. Erase the names of their gods from those places!" 4 "Do not worship the LORD your God in the way these pagan peoples worship their gods. 5 Rather, you must seek the LORD your God at the place he himself will choose from among all the tribes for his name to be honored. 6 There you will bring to the LORD your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, your special gifts, your offerings to fulfill a vow, your freewill offerings, and your offerings of the firstborn animals of your flocks and herds. 7 There you and your families will feast in the presence of the LORD your God, and you will rejoice in all you have accomplished because the LORD your God has blessed you." 8 "Today you are doing whatever you please, but that is not how it will be 9 when you arrive in the place of rest the LORD your God is giving you. 10 You will soon cross the Jordan River and live in the land the LORD your God is giving you as a special possession. When he gives you rest and security from all your enemies, 11 you must bring everything I command you -- your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, your special gifts, and your offerings to fulfill a vow -- to the place the LORD your God will choose for his name to be honored. 12 You must celebrate there with your sons and daughters and all your servants in the presence of the LORD your God. And remember the Levites who live in your towns, for they will have no inheritance of land as their own. 13 Be careful not to sacrifice your burnt offerings just anywhere. 14 You may do so only at the place the LORD will choose within one of your tribal territories. There you must offer your burnt offerings and do everything I command you." 15 "But you may butcher animals for meat in any town, wherever you want, just as you do now with gazelle and deer. You may eat as many animals as the LORD your God gives you. All of you, whether ceremonially clean or unclean, may eat that meat. 16 The only restriction is that you are not to eat the blood. You must pour it out on the ground like water." 17 "But your offerings must not be eaten at home -- neither the tithe of your grain and new wine and olive oil, nor the firstborn of your flocks and herds, nor an offering to fulfill a vow, nor your freewill offerings, nor your special gifts. 18 You must eat these in the presence of the LORD your God at the place he will choose. Eat them there with your children, your servants, and the Levites who live in your towns, celebrating in the presence of the LORD your God in all you do. 19 Be very careful never to forget 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 want. 21 It might happen that the place the LORD your God chooses for his name to be honored is a long way from your home. If so, you may butcher any of the cattle or sheep the LORD has given you, and you may eat the meat at your home as I have commanded you. 22 Anyone, whether ceremonially clean or unclean, may eat that meat, just as you do now with gazelle and deer. 23 The only restriction is never to eat the blood, for the blood is the life, and you must not eat the life with the meat. 24 Instead, pour out the blood on the ground like water. 25 Do not eat the blood; then all will go well with you and your children, because you will be doing what pleases the LORD. 26 Take your sacred gifts and your offerings given to fulfill a vow to the place the LORD chooses to dwell. 27 You must offer the meat and blood of your burnt offerings on the altar of the LORD your God. The blood of your other sacrifices must be poured out beside the altar of the LORD your God, but you may eat the meat. 28 Be careful to obey all my commands so that all will go well with you and your children, because you will be doing what pleases the LORD your God." 29 "When the LORD your God destroys the nations and you drive them out and occupy their land, 30 do not be trapped into following their example in worshiping their gods. Do not say, 'How do these nations worship their gods? I want to follow their example.' 31 You must not do this to the LORD your God. These nations have committed many detestable acts that the LORD hates, all in the name of their gods. They have even burned their sons and daughters as sacrifices to their gods. 32 Carefully obey all the commands I give you. Do not add to them or subtract from them."
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