"And now, Israel, listen carefully to these laws and regulations that I am about to teach you. Obey them so that you may live, so you may enter and occupy the land the LORD, the God of your ancestors, is giving you.
Do not add to or subtract from these commands I am giving you from the LORD your God. Just obey them.
You saw what the LORD did to you at Baal-peor, where the LORD your God destroyed everyone who had worshiped the god Baal of Peor.
But all of you who were faithful to the LORD your God are still alive today.
"You must obey these laws and regulations when you arrive in the land you are about to enter and occupy. The LORD my God gave them to me and commanded me to pass them on to you.
If you obey them carefully, you will display your wisdom and intelligence to the surrounding nations. When they hear about these laws, they will exclaim, 'What other nation is as wise and prudent as this!'
For what great nation has a god as near to them as the LORD our God is near to us whenever we call on him?
And what great nation has laws and regulations as fair as this body of laws that I am giving you today?
"But watch out! Be very careful never to forget what you have seen the LORD do for you. Do not let these things escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren.
Tell them especially about the day when you stood before the LORD your God at Mount Sinai, a where he told me, 'Summon the people before me, and I will instruct them. That way, they will learn to fear me as long as they live, and they will be able to teach my laws to their children.'
You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, while the mountain was burning with fire. Flames shot into the sky, shrouded in black clouds and deep darkness.
And the LORD spoke to you from the fire. You heard his words but didn't see his form; there was only a voice.
He proclaimed his covenant, which he commanded you to keep -- the Ten Commandments -- and wrote them on two stone tablets.
It was at that time that the LORD commanded me to issue the laws and regulations you must obey in the land you are about to enter and occupy.
"But be careful! You did not see the LORD's form on the day he spoke to you from the fire at Mount Sinai.
So do not corrupt yourselves by making a physical image in any form -- whether of a man or a woman,
an animal or a bird,
a creeping creature or a fish.
And when you look up into the sky and see the sun, moon, and stars -- all the forces of heaven -- don't be seduced by them and worship them. The LORD your God designated these heavenly bodies for all the peoples of the earth.
Remember that the LORD rescued you from the burning furnace of Egypt to become his own people and special possession; that is what you are today.
"But the LORD was very angry with me because of you. He vowed that I would never cross the Jordan River into the good land the LORD your God is giving you as your special possession.
Though you will cross the Jordan to occupy the land, I will die here on this side of the river.
So be careful not to break the covenant the LORD your God has made with you. You will break it if you make idols of any shape or form, for the LORD your God has absolutely forbidden this.
The LORD your God is a devouring fire, a jealous God.
"In the future, when you have children and grandchildren and have lived in the land a long time, do not corrupt yourselves by making idols of any kind. This is evil in the sight of the LORD your God and will arouse his anger.
"Today I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you. If you disobey me, you will quickly disappear from the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy. You will live there only a short time; then you will be utterly destroyed.
For the LORD will scatter you among the nations, where only a few of you will survive.
There, in a foreign land, you will worship idols made from wood and stone, gods that neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell.
From there you will search again for the LORD your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him.
"When those bitter days have come upon you far in the future, you will finally return to the LORD your God and listen to what he tells you.
For the LORD your God is merciful -- he will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the solemn covenant he made with your ancestors.
"Search all of history, from the time God created people on the earth until now. Then search from one end of the heavens to the other. See if anything as great as this has ever happened before.
Has any nation ever heard the voice of God b speaking from fire -- as you did -- and survived?
Has any other god taken one nation for himself by rescuing it from another by means of trials, miraculous signs, wonders, war, awesome power, and terrifying acts? Yet that is what the LORD your God did for you in Egypt, right before your very eyes.
"He showed you these things so you would realize that the LORD is God and that there is no other god.
He let you hear his voice from heaven so he could instruct you. He let you see his great fire here on earth so he could speak to you from it.
Because he loved your ancestors, he chose to bless their descendants and personally brought you out of Egypt with a great display of power.
He drove out nations far greater than you, so he could bring you in and give you their land as a special possession, as it is today.
So remember this and keep it firmly in mind: The LORD is God both in heaven and on earth, and there is no other god!
If you obey all the laws and commands that I will give you today, all will be well with you and your children. Then you will enjoy a long life in the land the LORD your God is giving you for all time."
Then Moses set apart three cities of refuge east of the Jordan River,
where anyone who had accidentally killed someone without having any previous hostility could flee for safety.
These were the cities: Bezer on the wilderness plateau for the tribe of Reuben; Ramoth in Gilead for the tribe of Gad; Golan in Bashan for the tribe of Manasseh.
This is the law that Moses handed down to the Israelites.
These are the stipulations, laws, and regulations that Moses gave to the people of Israel when they left Egypt,
and as they camped in the valley near Beth-peor east of the Jordan River. (This land was formerly occupied by the Amorites under King Sihon of Heshbon. He and his people had been destroyed by Moses and the Israelites as they came up from Egypt.
Israel conquered his land and that of King Og of Bashan -- the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan.
So Israel conquered all the area from Aroer at the edge of the Arnon Gorge to Mount Sirion, c also called Mount Hermon.
And they took the eastern bank of the Jordan Valley as far south as the Dead Sea, d below the slopes of Pisgah.)
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)