Deuteronomy 29:1-29

God's covenant with his people

1 The Lord commanded Moses to tell the Israelites the words of his covenant with them. He made this covenant with them in Moab's country, as well as the covenant that he had made with them at Sinai. 2 This is what Moses said to all the Israelites when they met together:

You have seen everything that the Lord did in Egypt. You saw how he punished Egypt's king, his officers and his whole country. 3 You saw the miracles which the Lord did to show his great power. 4 But until now the Lord has not let you understand why he did that. You saw and you heard those things, but you did not understand. 5 The Lord says, ‘I led you through this desert for 40 years. In all that time, your clothes and your shoes have not become spoiled. 6 You did not eat any bread. You did not drink any wine or beer. I helped you so that you would know that I am the Lord your God.’

7 When we arrived here, King Sihon of Heshbon and King Og of Bashan attacked us. But we won against them. 8 We took their land and we gave it to the tribes of Reuben, Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh. That would be their new home.

9 So be careful to obey the words of this covenant. If you are faithful, everything that you do will go well.

10 The Lord your God sees all of you today as you stand here. He sees your leaders, your important men, your officers and all Israelite men. 11 He sees your children and your wives. He sees the foreign people who live among you and who cut wood and carry water for you. 12 You are standing here to agree to the covenant that the Lord your God is making with you today. You must promise to obey it. 13 By this covenant, the Lord says again today that you are his people and he is your God. He has already made that promise to you and to your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 14-15 The Lord our God is making this strong covenant with you people who are standing here with him today. But it is not only with you. He also makes this covenant with those people who are not here today.

29:14-15‘those people who are not here today’ probably means their descendants who had not yet been born.

16 You remember how we lived when we were in Egypt. You remember how we travelled through other countries as we came here. 17 You saw the useless gods that people of other nations worship. They worship idols that they make from wood, stone, silver and gold. 18 So be very careful that you do not turn away from the Lord our God to worship the gods of those nations. No man, woman, clan or tribe among you must ever want to do that. That would be like the root of a plant that gives fruits which are full of poison.

19 Nobody who hears the message of this covenant should think that they can go against it. Someone might say to himself, ‘I do not have to obey this covenant. I will be safe, whatever happens. God will still bless me.’ A person who thinks like that will bring trouble on everyone and on everything. 20 The Lord will never forgive that person. He will be very angry with him. The Lord will punish him in all the terrible ways that are written in this book. The Lord will destroy him completely so that his family name comes to an end. 21 The Lord will make that person separate from all the Israelite tribes and he will punish him very much. All the troubles that the Lord promises in this covenant will happen to that person, as this book of God's Law says.

22 Then, in future years, your descendants will see that many troubles have come to your land. They will see that the Lord has made people very ill. Foreign people who come from countries far away will also see what has happened. 23 The whole land will become spoiled with salt and sulphur. No one will plant seed in it, because nothing will grow there. Even grass will not grow on it. The land will be useless, like the cities that the Lord destroyed when he was very angry with them. Those cities were Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim.

24 The people of all other nations who see this will ask, ‘Why has the Lord destroyed this land? Why was he so angry with the people who lived there?’ 25 People will answer, ‘Because these people turned away from the covenant that the Lord had made with them. He is the God that their ancestors worshipped. He made a covenant with them when he brought them out of Egypt. 26 But they turned away from him and they worshipped other gods. They served gods that they had not known before. They were gods that the Lord did not give them to worship. 27 So the Lord was angry with the people in this land. He punished them with all the terrible troubles that are written in this book. 28 That is why the Lord removed them from their land. He was very angry with them. So he threw them out to a foreign country. We see that they are still there today.’

29 Some secret things belong to the Lord our God. He does not let us understand everything. But he has shown us many things clearly. Those things belong to us and to our descendants for all time. They are the words of his Law that we need to obey.