Deuteronomy 16

The Passover Festival

16:1This chapter describes three special festivals or feasts.

1 The month Abib is a special month for you. In this month, you must eat a meal to remember the Passover. Remember what the Lord your God did for you. In that month, he brought you out of Egypt during the night. 2 You must go to the special place that the Lord will choose for his people to worship him. There you must kill one of your animals as a sacrifice to remember the Passover. You may kill one of your cows or sheep. 3 At this feast, eat bread that you make without any yeast. For seven days, you must eat bread that you make without yeast. You ate that kind of bread when you had much trouble in Egypt. You had to leave Egypt in a hurry that night. You must eat that bread each year. Then you will always remember the day when you left Egypt. 4 During those seven days, no one may keep any yeast in their house. There must not be any yeast in the whole land. On the first day, you will kill your animal to eat in the evening. You must eat all the meat that same night, so that there is no meat left in the morning.

16:1Abib was a month in the Hebrew calendar that came in March and April. See Leviticus 23:4-8.

5 You must not kill the animal for the Passover sacrifice in any of the towns that the Lord your God gives to you. 6 You must go to the place that he will choose as his special home. You must kill the animal there, at sunset. That was the time of day when you came out of Egypt. 7 Cook the meat and eat it in the place that the Lord your God will choose. The next morning, you may return to your tents. 8 For the next six days, you must eat bread that you make without yeast. On the seventh day, you must all come together to worship the Lord your God. You must not do any work on that day.

The Festival of Weeks

16:9This was a festival to thank God for the harvest. See Leviticus 23:15-21.

9 Count seven weeks from the first day that you bring in crops of grain from your fields. 10 Then eat the Feast of Weeks to worship the Lord your God. Bring the gifts that you want to offer to him. Bring gifts that show how much he has blessed you. 11 You and your family will be happy to worship the Lord your God, at the special place that he chooses. Enjoy time together with your children, your servants and the Levites who live in your town. Also join with the foreign people who live among you, with widows, and children who have no parents. Worship God happily together. 12 Remember that you were once slaves in Egypt. So be careful to obey these commands.

The Festival of Huts

16:13See Leviticus 23:34.

13 When you have prepared the grain and the grapes from your fields, eat the Feast of Huts for seven days. 14 Enjoy your feast with your children, your servants and the Levites. Join with the foreign people who live among you, as well as the widows and the children who have no parents. 15 Eat this feast to worship the Lord your God at the special place that he chooses. Do it for seven days. He will bless you in everything that you do, so that you grow plenty of food. So you should all enjoy this feast!

16 Three times in every year, all your men must go to the place that the Lord your God will choose. They must go there for the Passover festival, the festival of Weeks and the festival of Huts. Each man must bring with him gifts to offer to the Lord. 17 Give to the Lord as much as you are able to. Your gifts may be large or small, as much as the Lord has blessed you.

Judges

18 Each tribe must choose judges and officers in every town that the Lord gives you. They must judge the people in a way that is fair. 19 Judges must do what is right for every person, rich or poor. They must not accept any bribes. A bribe may hide the truth even from a wise man. It can make honest people tell lies. 20 Make sure that there is justice for everyone in the land that the Lord your God is giving to you. Then the land will belong to you and you will enjoy life in it.

Do not worship other gods

21 When you build an altar to offer sacrifices to the Lord your God, do not put any Asherah pole there. 22 Do not put up any stone pillar as an idol. The Lord your God hates everything like that.

16:22People who prayed to false gods used poles and pillars as their idols. They put them up in the places where they prayed.