The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Deuteronomy
Listen, Israel; this day thou art to cross the Jordan, and beyond it there are great nations to be dispossessed, more than a match for thee, with huge cities walled as high as heaven;
a strong folk and tall, the breed of Enac, that thou hast seen or heard tell of; none can withstand them.
And this day will prove that it is the Lord thy God that passes on before thee, like fire that swallows up and consumes all before it, beating them down and making an end of them, scattering them before thee all in a moment, in fulfilment of the promise he gave thee.
But do not flatter thyself, when the Lord thy God destroys them thus at thy onslaught, do not flatter thyself it was for any merit of thine he gave thee possession of this land thou hast invaded, when in truth it was the wickedness of those other nations that brought them to ruin.
No, if thou dost invade and conquer their lands, it is for no merit of thine, no right dispositions of thine; they are to perish at thy onslaught in punishment of their own ill-deeds, and because the Lord must needs fulfil the promise which he made on oath to thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Be well assured thou hadst no claim to the possession of this fair land the Lord thy God is bestowing on thee, a stiff-necked nation as thou art.
What, has memory failed thee? Remember what provocation thou didst give the Lord thy God, out in the desert. From the very day of thy leaving Egypt, all the way to the place where thou standest, there has been nothing but rebellion against the Lord.
At Horeb itself thou didst challenge him, and in his anger he would have destroyed thee.
I went up to the mountain where I was to receive the two stone tablets that recorded the covenant the Lord was making with you and on the mountain, without food and drink, I spent forty days and forty nights.
There I received two stone tablets, inscribed by his own divine fingers with all those commandments he gave you on the mountain, from the heart of the flames, when the people met there in full assembly.
Forty days and as many nights had passed when he gave me the two stone tablets that recorded the covenant, and said,
Bestir thyself, go back down the mountain with all speed; they have been quick to leave the paths thou didst shew them, this people thou didst bring out of Egypt with thee, and have made themselves a molten image.
This, too, the Lord said to me, Here is a race that will not bear the yoke;
let me have my way, and efface their very memory on earth, and thou thyself shalt be at the head of a greater people, a stronger people than this.
So I went down the mountain, that was all aflame, with one stone tablet in either hand;
and when I saw what sin you had committed against the Lord your God, forsaking all at once the path he had shewn you, and making yourselves a molten calf,
I flung down the two tablets from my hands and broke them, there in your presence.
And now for another forty days and forty nights I lay at the Lord’s feet, without food or drink, in amends for the sin you had committed against the Lord, your defiance of his displeasure;
so great was my fear of that vengeful anger of his, roused now and ready to destroy you. And once again the Lord listened to me.
Aaron, too, he would have destroyed in his grievous anger, and for him, too, I must offer entreaty.
As for this abomination of yours, this calf you had made, I took it up and gave it to the flames; then I cut it in pieces and ground it all to dust, which I threw into the stream that flows down the mountain side.✻
At the Place of Burning, too, and at the Place of Challenge, and at the Graves of Greed, you roused the Lord’s anger;
and when he sent you out to battle from Cades-Barne, bidding you go and take possession of the land he had given you for your home, you defied the will of the Lord your God, and refused to trust him or listen to his commands;
always you have been rebels since the day when I first knew you.
And I spent forty days and forty nights lying at the Lord’s feet, praying him not to carry out his threat of destroying you.
Lord God, I said in my prayer, do not make an end of this people of thine, this dear possession thou didst claim for thyself so signally, when thou didst rescue them from Egypt in the Egyptians’ despite.
Remember thy servants Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; turn away thy eyes from the sin they have committed, this stubborn, rebellious people of thine.
Wilt thou let it be said in the land from which we escaped, The Lord was their enemy; he promised them a home, but had no power to win it for them, and only led them out so as to make an end of them in the desert?
They are thy people, thy dear possession, rescued by thee so signally, with such display of thy power!
The Holy Bible