Deuteronomy Chapter 12 |
1These are the laws and rules that you must carefully observe in the land that the Lord, God of your fathers, is giving you to possess, as long as you live on earth.
2You must destroy all the sites at which the nations you are to dispossess worshiped their gods, whether on lofty mountains and on hills or under any luxuriant tree. 3Tear down their altars, smash their pillars, put their sacred posts to the fire, and cut down the images of their gods, obliterating their name from that site.
4Do not worship the Lord your God in like manner, 5but look only to the site that the Lord your God will choose amidst all your tribes as His habitation, to establish His name there. There you are to go, 6and there you are to bring your burnt offerings and other sacrifices, your tithes and contributions, your votive and freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and flocks. 7Together with your households, you shall feast there before the Lord your God, happy in all the undertakings in which the Lord your God has blessed you.
8You shall not act at all as we now act here, every man as he pleases, 9because you have not yet come to the allotted haven that the Lord your God is giving you. 10When you cross the Jordan and settle in the land that the Lord your God is allotting to you, and He grants you safety from all your enemies around you and you live in security, 11then you must bring everything that I command you to the site where the Lord your God will choose to establish His name: your burnt offerings and other sacrifices, your tithes and contributions, and all the choice votive offerings that you vow to the Lord. 12And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God with your sons and daughters and with your male and female slaves, along with the Levite in your settlements, for he has no territorial allotment among you.
13Take care not to sacrifice your burnt offerings in any place you like, 14but only in the place that the Lord will choose in one of your tribal territories. There you shall sacrifice your burnt offerings and there you shall observe all that I enjoin upon you. 15But whenever you desire, you may slaughter and eat meat in any of your settlements, according to the blessing that the Lord your God has granted you. The unclean and the clean alike may partake of it, as of the gazelle and the deer. 16But you must not partake of the blood; you shall pour it out on the ground like water.
17You may not partake in your settlements of the tithes of your new grain or wine or oil, or of the firstlings of your herds and flocks, or of any of the votive offerings that you vow, or of your freewill offerings, or of your contributions. 18These you must consume before the Lord your God in the place that the Lord your God will choose—you and your sons and your daughters, your male and female slaves, and the Levite in your settlements—happy before the Lord your God in all your undertakings. 19Be sure not to neglect the Levite as long as you live in your land.
20When the Lord enlarges your territory, as He has promised you, and you say, “I shall eat some meat,” for you have the urge to eat meat, you may eat meat whenever you wish. 21If the place where the Lord has chosen to establish His name is too far from you, you may slaughter any of the cattle or sheep that the Lord gives you, as I have instructed you; and you may eat to your heart’s content in your settlements. 22Eat it, however, as the gazelle and the deer are eaten: the unclean may eat it together with the clean. 23But make sure that you do not partake of the blood; for the blood is the life, and you must not consume the life with the flesh. 24You must not partake of it; you must pour it out on the ground like water: 25you must not partake of it, in order that it may go well with you and with your descendants to come, for you will be doing what is right in the sight of the Lord.
26But such sacred and votive donations as you may have shall be taken by you to the site that the Lord will choose. 27You shall offer your burnt offerings, both the flesh and the blood, on the altar of the Lord your God; and of your other sacrifices, the blood shall be poured out on the altar of the Lord your God, and you shall eat the flesh.
28Be careful to heed all these commandments that I enjoin upon you; thus it will go well with you and with your descendants after you forever, for you will be doing what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God.
29When the Lord your God has cut down before you the nations that you are about to enter and dispossess, and you have dispossessed them and settled in their land, 30beware of being lured into their ways after they have been wiped out before you! Do not inquire about their gods, saying, “How did those nations worship their gods? I too will follow those practices.” 31You shall not act thus toward the Lord your God, for they perform for their gods every abhorrent act that the Lord detests; they even offer up their sons and daughters in fire to their gods.