Deuteronomy 18

Priests and Levites

18:1Priests were descendants of Aaron, who was a Levite. So all the priests were Levites.

1 The priests and the whole tribe of Levi will have no land for themselves, as the other Israelite tribes do. Instead, they may eat the meat from the sacrifices that belong to the Lord. 2 They will receive no land among the other Israelites. The Lord himself is the one who gives them everything that they need. He has promised to do that for them.

3 When you bring a bull or a sheep as a sacrifice to the Lord, give the priests their part. You must give them the animal's shoulder, the meat from its face, and its stomach. 4 You must also give them the first part of your grain, your wine and your olive oil. Give them the first wool that you cut from your sheep. 5 Do this because the Lord your God has chosen the Levites to serve him from among all your tribes. He wants them and their descendants to be ready to serve him at all times, for ever.

6 Any Levite may choose to go to the place that the Lord will choose. He can leave the town where he lives, wherever it is in Israel. 7 He may go to serve the Lord his God. He may join the other Levites who are ready to serve the Lord at his special place. 8 A Levite may have sold some of his family's valuable things. He may keep that money and he may receive the same amount of food as the other Levites.

Evil acts

9 When you go into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, be careful! Do not learn to do the evil things that the nations who live there are doing. 10 Nobody among you must ever burn your child in a fire, as an offering. Nobody must use magic or other things to learn about future times. There must not be any magicians or diviners. 11 Never use magic to curse anyone. Never try to speak to the spirits of dead people or other spirits. 12 The Lord hates anyone who does these things. It is because of those evil things that the Lord will chase the other nations out of the land as you move in. 13 You must live in a completely right way that pleases the Lord your God. 14 The people of the nations that you will chase away get help from magicians and diviners. But the Lord your God has commanded you not to do those things.

Moses speaks about a future prophet

15 One day, the Lord your God will send to you a prophet like me. He will come from among your own people. You must listen to him. 16 Remember what happened when you all met together at Sinai mountain. You said to the Lord your God, ‘Please do not let us hear your voice again. Do not let us see this great fire again. If we do, we will die!’

17 Then the Lord said to me, ‘The people have said the right thing. 18 I will send them a prophet who will be like you. He will be an Israelite. I will tell him what to say. Then he will tell the people everything that I command him to say. 19 He will speak on my behalf, so I myself will punish anyone who does not listen to his message.

20 A false prophet may say that he speaks with my authority when that is not true. Or he may say that he has a message from another god. You must punish a false prophet with death.’

21 You may say to yourselves, ‘How can we know when a message has not come from the Lord?’ 22 A prophet may say that he speaks with my authority, and he may say what will happen. But if it does not happen, you will know that his message has not come from me. He has not spoken my message. That prophet has spoken his own ideas. So do not be afraid of him!