The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Deuteronomy
And now, Israel, pay good heed to the laws and the decrees I am making known to you. It is yours to observe them, if you would have life; if you would find your way into the land promised you by the Lord God of your fathers, and take possession of it.
There must be no adding to this message of mine, no retrenching it; the commands I lay upon you are the commands of the Lord your God; keep them well.
Your own eyes have witnessed what sentence the Lord passed against Beelphegor, purging out from among you all that worshipped at his shrine,
while you, who remain faithful to the Lord, have lived to remember it.
Be well assured that the laws and decrees I have given you come from the Lord himself, and must still be observed when you have taken possession of the land that is to be yours.
Keep them in honour and live by them; these are to be the arts, this the wisdom, that you teach the world, as men come to hear of these laws, and say to themselves, Surely they must be wise, surely they must be discerning folk, that belong to so great a nation as this!
And indeed no other nation is so great; no other nation has gods that draw near to it, as our God draws near to us whenever we pray to him.
What other nation can boast that it has observances and decrees so rightly ordered as we have in this law of ours, this law which I am setting before your eyes to-day?
Keep anxious guard, then, Israel, as thou lovest thy own life. Never let the memory of what thy own eyes have seen fade from thy heart, as long as thou livest; hand it on to thy sons, and thy sons’ sons,
the memory of that day when thou didst stand in the Lord’s presence at mount Horeb. Summon the whole people, the Lord said to me, so that they may hear these words of mine, and learn, and teach their children after them, to fear me all their life long.
And you, as you came close to the spurs of the mountain, found it sending up flames high as heaven, all wreathed in darkness and cloud and mist.
From the heart of those flames the Lord spoke to you, so that you could hear his voice, but had no vision of his form.
He told you of his covenant, that you were to keep; uttered ten warnings, which he wrote down on two stone tablets;
bade me, at that same time, hand on to you the observances and decrees you were to follow in the land that should one day be your home.
Be watchful, then, at the peril of your lives. When the Lord spoke to you from the heart of the flame on mount Horeb, there was no outward shape you saw.
And will you be deluded into carving some outward image or likeness, of man or woman,
of beasts that roam on the earth or birds that fly in the air,
of creeping things on land or fish that dwell in the waters, down at the roots of earth?
Wilt thou be led astray as thou lookest up at the sky, at sun and moon and all the host of stars, into making gods of them, worshipping those creatures which the Lord thy God has made, to be the common drudges of every nation under heaven?✻
Why else did the Lord choose you out, deliver you from Egypt’s furnace of iron, but to make you a people all his own, as you are this day?
What though I, through your fault, have incurred the Lord’s anger, so that he has sworn never to let me cross Jordan, and see the fair land he means to give you?
What though I must die here, still on Jordan’s further bank? You will cross over it; that fair land will be yours.
Never forget, then, the covenant the Lord thy God has made with thee; never fashion thyself those images the Lord has forbidden thee to fashion;
the Lord thy God is a fire that burns all before it, loves thee with a jealous love.
Sons will spring from you, and beget sons in their turn; what if you should go astray, when you have been long settled in the land, fashion yourselves some idol, and rouse the Lord your God to indignation at the sight of your evil-doing?
I call heaven and earth to witness this day; the land which now lies within your grasp, beyond Jordan, will soon be yours no longer. Your enjoyment of it will be cut short, and the Lord will make an end of you,
scattering you over the world and leaving but a few of you to live in a land of exile,
where you must needs worship the gods which men’s hands have made, things of wood and stone that cannot see or hear, cannot taste or smell.
There, if thou wilt have recourse to the Lord thy God, if thou wilt but have recourse to him with all thy heart, in the bitterness of thy tribulation, thou wilt find him again.
Yes, when all these threats have come home to thee, thou wilt turn back to the Lord thy God at last, and listen to his voice.
The Lord thy God is a God of mercy; he will not forsake thee, will not utterly destroy thee, and will not forget the sworn covenant he made with thy fathers.
Search the history of the days that went before thee, far back as the time when God made man on the earth, wide as earth’s end from earth’s end; is there any other record of such happenings?
That a people should hear the voice of God speaking out of the heart of the flames, as thou didst, and live to tell of it?
That God should intervene, and single out for himself one nation above all the rest; that he should try men’s hearts with portent and with marvel, fight against them with constraining force, with open display of his strength, with plagues terrible to see? All this the Lord your God did for you in Egypt, and your own eyes have witnessed it;
proof to you that this Lord is God, that no other can compare with him.
From heaven he uttered his warnings, and on earth his voice came to thee from the heart of that dread fire he shewed thee;
and all because he loved thy fathers, and had chosen out their posterity. He rescued thee from Egypt, and marched on before thee with the great power that is his,
ready to dispossess proud nations that were more than a match for thee at thy coming, and make their lands thine; it has happened here under thy eyes.
Be sure, then, of this henceforward, and keep it before thy mind, that the Lord is the God who reigns in heaven above and on earth beneath; there is no other.
His laws and decrees thou must observe, as I have proclaimed them to thee, if thou and thy sons after thee are to prosper, and have long enjoyment of the land the Lord thy God means to give thee.
Then Moses set apart three cities on the east of Jordan,
as a place of refuge, if he could but escape to one of them, for the man that had killed his neighbour unwittingly, without having any feud against him in times past.
These were Bosor, out in the desert, in the plain that belongs to Ruben, Ramoth in Galaad, for Gad, and Golan in Basan, for Manasses.
Here follows the law which Moses proclaimed to the sons of Israel;
these are the commandments and decrees and awards he gave to the Israelites that had marched with him out of Egypt.
It was beyond Jordan that he gave them, opposite the shrine of Phogor, in the country that once belonged to the Amorrhite king Sehon, who reigned in Hesebon. But now Moses had defeated him, and the sons of Israel, coming back from Egypt,
had overrun both his territory and the territory of Og, king of Basan. These were the two Amorrhite kings that reigned east of the Jordan,
from Aroer, on the banks of Arnon, to the hill of Sion, that is, of Hermon;✻
ruled all over the plain that lies east of Jordan, down to the Desert Sea and the spurs of mount Phasga.
The Holy Bible