The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Deuteronomy
Chapter 31
All this Moses obediently proclaimed to the people of Israel;
and then he said to them, Here am I, a man of a hundred and twenty years of age, no longer fit to lead you on your expeditions; and besides, the Lord has told me that I am not destined to cross yonder stream of Jordan.
It is the Lord your God that will lead you across, it is he that will dispossess all these nations to make room for you; and he has chosen Josue here to march at your head.
These nations are to fare no better than the Amorrhite kings, Sehon and Og; the Lord means to overthrow them,
and you, when he gives you the victory over them, must remember what I told you, and make an end of them.
Play the man, and keep your courage high; there must be no cowardice, no flinching before them. The Lord your God is himself your leader now; he will not play you false and forsake you.
Then Moses summoned Josue, and said to him in the presence of all Israel, Play the man, and keep thy courage high; it is thy task to lead this nation into the land which the Lord promised to their fathers, and divide it up between them.
The Lord goes with thee to lead this army of thine; he will not play thee false and forsake thee; there must be no cowardice, no flinching here.

And now Moses committed this law to writing, and gave it to the priests of Levi’s race, bearers of the ark that attested the Lord’s covenant, and to the elders of Israel.
Every seven years, he told them, when the year of discharge comes round, and with it the feast of Tent-dwelling,
at the time when all Israel meets in the place the Lord has chosen, to present themselves before him, their Lord and God, the terms of this law must be read out in the presence and in the hearing of the whole people.
All alike will be assembled there, not only men but women and children, and the aliens too that dwell among you; all alike must listen, and learn to fear the Lord your God, and carry out faithfully all the terms of this law.
The very children, still all untaught, must listen now, and learn to fear the Lord their God, as long as this land you are winning for yourselves beyond Jordan is their home.

After this the Lord said to Moses, Thou hast not long to live; summon Josue, and take him with thee to meet me at the tabernacle; I have a charge to give him. So Moses and Josue took their stand together beneath the tabernacle that attested the covenant,
and there the Lord appeared in a pillar of cloud that rose above them at the tabernacle door.
And the Lord said to Moses, Thou wilt be laid to rest among thy fathers, and before long this people of mine, settled now in the land they have invaded, will begin to play the wanton, and to worship alien gods; will forsake me, and cancel their covenant with me.
Then my anger will burn fiercely indeed; I will forsake them in my turn, and deny them my favour, and they will fall a prey to woes and afflictions of every sort, until at last they begin to say, It is because the Lord is no longer with us that we are encountering afflictions such as these.
And still I will hide myself, and turn no glance towards them, to punish them for their wickedness in betaking themselves to alien gods.
I would have you, then, set down a song in writing, and teach the people to know it by heart and sing it; a song that will vindicate me against the sons of Israel.
I mean to settle them in this land that is all milk and honey, my promised gift to their fathers; and they will no sooner have eaten their fill and grown fat on it, than they will turn to alien gods and worship them; they will defy me, and annul their covenant with me.
Woes and afflictions will come upon them, and it is then that this song, still remembered by their posterity, will vindicate me against them.
So Moses put the song in writing, and taught it to the men of Israel.

The Lord also gave a charge to Josue, the son of Nun, Play the man, and keep thy courage high; it is thy task to settle the sons of Israel in the land I have promised to give them, and I will be with thee in the doing of it.

And now, when Moses had finished his work of setting forth the terms of this law in a book,
he gave orders to the Levites, that carried the ark of the Lord, what they should do with it.
Take this book, he said, and lay it up by the side of the ark that bears witness of the Lord’s covenant, to vindicate him against you.
I know well how rebellious you are, how stiff-necked; even in my life-time, and in spite of my presence among you, you have always been rebelling against the Lord, and when I am dead, worse must follow.
Summon the elders and counsellors among all the tribes, and let me say my say in their hearing; let me call upon heaven and earth to bear witness against them.
I know well enough that when I am dead you will ruin all, and it will not be long before you stray from the path I have shewed you; and I know that when the Lord sees you living amiss, and provoking his anger by your doings, calamity will fall upon you in the end.

And so Moses, with the whole assembly of Israel listening to him, pronounced the words of the song which follows, never pausing until it was all finished.