Deuteronomy 13

False prophets

1 One day, you may have a prophet among you who tells you what will happen in the future. He may have dreams about what will happen. He may promise to do miracles to show that he is right. 2 He may say that you should start to worship other gods that you did not know about before. The miracles may happen, as he promised, 3 but do not listen to that prophet's message. The Lord your God is using this person to test your thoughts. He wants to know if you really love him in everything that you think and everything that you do. 4 You must serve only the Lord your God and respect him with fear. You must obey his commands and serve him faithfully. 5 You must punish that false prophet with death. He has told you to turn against the Lord your God. The Lord rescued you from Egypt, where you were slaves. But the false prophet has tried to turn you away from the way of life that the Lord your God has commanded. So you must remove all evil things like that from among you.

6 Even someone in your own family may try to turn you away from the Lord. It may be your own brother, your son or your daughter. It may be your wife whom you love. It may be a friend that you like very much. They may say to you secretly, ‘We should worship other gods.’ Those are gods that you and your ancestors never knew about before. 7 They are gods that people who live around you may worship. They may be gods of people who live near to you. They may be gods of people who live anywhere on the earth. 8 But never agree with anyone who says that you should worship those gods. Do not even listen to him! Do not feel sorry for him. Do not try to protect him from punishment. 9 Instead, you must certainly kill him! You must be the first person to throw stones to kill him. Then everyone else must do the same thing. 10 You must throw stones at him until he dies. He tried to turn you away from the Lord your God. It was the Lord who rescued you from Egypt, where you were slaves. 11 When you punish the false prophet with death, all Israel's people will hear about it. They will be afraid. No one will do evil things like that again.

12 The Lord your God will give you towns to live in. When you are there, you may hear news of people who are causing trouble. 13 They may be turning the other people in their town away from the Lord. They may be saying, ‘We should worship other gods!’ Those are gods that you never knew about before.

14 Then you must check carefully that the news is true. You must discover whether people really have done this wicked thing in one of your towns. 15 If the news is true, you must attack that town. You must completely destroy it. Kill all the people and the animals. 16 You must put all the valuable things in a heap in the town's public place. Then burn down the whole town as an offering to the Lord your God. Leave the town as a heap of stones. Nobody must ever build it again. 17 You must not keep any of the valuable things for yourselves. They have been given to the Lord. If you destroy the whole town, the Lord will stop being angry. He will be kind to you and he will forgive you. He will cause you to grow into a big nation, as he promised your ancestors.

18 The Lord your God will bless you if you listen to what he says. You must obey all his commands that I am giving you today. You must do the things that he says are right.