Deuteronomy 31

Joshua will become the new leader

1 Then Moses went out and he spoke to all the Israelites. He said: 2 ‘I am now 120 years old and I cannot continue to lead you. The Lord has told me that I will not cross the River Jordan. 3 The Lord your God himself will cross the river in front of you. He will kill the people in these countries in front of you and you will march into their countries. Joshua also will cross the river before you, as the Lord has said. 4 The Lord will do to these people what he did to Sihon and to Og. They were kings of the Amorites, but the Lord killed them. And he destroyed their country. 5 The Lord will deliver them to you. Then you must do to them everything that I have told you. 6 Be strong and be brave! Do not be afraid of them, because the Lord your God goes with you. He will never leave you nor forget you.’

7 Then Moses fetched Joshua. He spoke to him in front of all the people and he said, ‘You must go with these people into their country. So be strong and be brave. The Lord promised their ancestors that he would give the country to them. You must give to each tribe its own part of the country. It will belong to them always. 8 The Lord himself goes in front of you and he will be with you. He will never leave you nor forget you. Do not be afraid that you will fail.’

The leaders of Israel must read the rules to the people

9 So Moses wrote these rules in a scroll. He gave it to the leaders of Israel and to the priests, the sons of Levi. The Levites carried the Covenant Box. 10 Then Moses said to them, ‘You must read this scroll to all Israel's people. Read it every seven years at the Feast of Tents, in the year when you forget about your debts. 11 Everybody will come together to stand in front of the Lord your God. He will choose the place for them. 12 Bring all the men, women and children together. And remember also to bring the foreign people who live in your towns. Then they can listen. They can learn to obey the Lord your God. Then they will be careful to obey all these rules. 13 Their children do not know these rules, so they must hear them. If you do that, they will learn to obey the Lord your God. They must do this for as long as they live in your country, across the Jordan.’

God tells Moses what will happen to the Israelites

14 The Lord said to Moses, ‘You will soon die. Fetch Joshua and bring him to the tent where I meet with you. I will give my authority to him there.’ So Moses and Joshua went to the tent where God met with them.

15 Then the Lord came down in a large cloud. The cloud stopped at the door of the tent where God met with them. 16 And the Lord said to Moses, ‘You will soon die. After you die, the people will soon stop obeying me. They will pray to the foreign gods of the country to which they are going. They will forget me. They will not keep the promise that we made together. 17 On that day, I will become angry with them. I will go away from them. I will not stay with them, but I will destroy them. Many troubles and difficulties will happen to them. Then they will say, “These troubles and difficulties have happened to us because our God is not with us.”

18 And I will certainly refuse to help them on that day. This is because they have done a very bad thing. They have obeyed other gods and prayed to them.

19 Now write this song and teach the Israelites to sing it. So they will remember how often they did bad things against me. 20 I will take them into this land, where there is plenty of food and drink, enough for everyone. I promised their ancestors that I would do this. There they will have all the food that they want. They will have good health and live a comfortable life. But then they will forget me and worship other gods. They will refuse to obey me. They will not keep the promise that we made together. 21 Many troubles and difficulties will happen to them. Then this song will cause them to remember. They will remember the bad things that they have done. Their children will not forget it. Even now, I know what they are thinking. I know it, even before I take them into their country. This is the country that I promised to them, with serious words.’

22 So Moses wrote this song on that day. Then he taught it to the Israelites.

23 Then the Lord said to Joshua, the son of Nun, ‘Be strong and be brave! You will lead the Israelites into the country that I have promised to them. And I myself will stay with you. I will not leave you.’

24 So Moses finished writing the whole Law in a scroll. 25 Then he said to the Levites, who carried the Covenant Box, 26 ‘Take this scroll of the Law. Put it next to the Covenant Box. There it will remain, so that you will remember. You will remember the bad things that you have done. 27 I know that you like bad things very much. You do not want to obey God's rules. You enjoy doing wrong things. You have been like this, against the Lord, during my life. You will do even worse things after I die! 28 Bring to me all the leaders of your tribes and all your officers. I want to speak to them. And I want the sky and the earth to hear my words. I am shouting them aloud. 29 I know that you will become completely bad after my death. You will refuse the good commands that I have given to you. In future days, you will have great troubles. This is because you will do bad things against the Lord. You will make him angry because of the bad things that you have made with your hands.’

30 Then Moses spoke the words of this song, from the beginning to the end. And all Israel's people listened to him.