Deuteronomy 13

Be careful! Watch for false gods and false prophets!

1 There may appear among you a person who dreams about future events. He may promise that something special will happen. 2 This is because he wants you to stop thinking about the Lord your God. He wants you to obey other gods. You do not know these gods. The thing that the person spoke about may happen. 3 But you must not listen to him. The Lord your God is using this person to check your thoughts. He wants to know whether you really love him. He wants to know how much you love him. 4 You must follow the Lord your God. You must pray to him and to no one else. Obey his rules and do what he commands you. Work for him and give him pleasure. 5 The man who dreams false dreams about future events must die. He has taught you to say ‘No!’ to the Lord your God. The Lord brought you out of Egypt and saved you from the country of slaves. This bad man has tried to make you do wrong things, not right things. But you must live as God has taught you. You must not let this bad thing remain among you.

6 If anyone says secretly to you, ‘Let us pray to some other gods,’ DO NOT LISTEN! This may be your own brother or one of your children. It may be your wife whom you love. It may be a friend who is near to you. 7 (The people round you may pray to these other gods. They may be near to you or far from you. They are gods that neither you nor your fathers have known.) 8 Do not do what your family suggests. Do not listen to your friend when he talks about other gods. Do not be sorry for him or try to save him. 9 You must kill him! You must be the first person to throw stones at him. Then all the people must do the same thing. 10 You must throw stones at him until he dies. He tried to stop you from thinking about the Lord your God. It was the Lord who brought you out of Egypt. Egypt was the country where you were slaves. 11 Then all Israel's people will hear about this. They will be afraid and no one will do such a bad thing again.

12 You will live in the towns that the Lord your God gives you. Then you may hear bad news. 13 Very bad men from among you may have led the people in one town in a false way. They may have said, ‘Let us go and pray to other gods!’ (These are gods that you do not know.)

14 Then you must be very careful to check this news. You must discover if it is true or false. You must know whether people really have done this bad thing among you. 15 If the news is true, you must kill everyone in that town. Kill all the people and the animals. 16 You must bring together all the things that the people of the town have. Put the things in the square place in the middle of the town. Then burn the town and everything in it as a burnt offering to the Lord your God. Nobody must ever build that town again. 17 You must not keep any of the things for yourselves. Burn them all, as I am telling you. If you do that, the Lord will stop being angry. He will be good and kind to you. He will give you many children, as he promised to your ancestors. 18 This will happen if you obey the Lord your God. You must obey all his rules that I am giving to you today. And you must do right things, that give him pleasure.