Deuteronomy 31

Joshua will become the new leader

1 Then Moses went out and he spoke to all the Israelites. 2 He said to them, ‘I am now 120 years old. I can no longer continue to lead you. The Lord has told me that I will not go across the Jordan river. 3 But the Lord your God himself will go across the river in front of you. He will destroy the nations who live in that land. Then you will live there instead of them. Joshua will lead you across the river, as the Lord has said. 4 The Lord will do to those nations the same things that he did to Sihon and to Og, the Amorite kings. He destroyed them and their land. 5 The Lord will give you power over them. Then you must do to them everything that I have told you to do. 6 Be strong and be brave! Do not be afraid of those people, because the Lord your God goes with you. He will always be there to help you. He will never leave you.’

7 Then Moses fetched Joshua. While all the Israelites listened, Moses said this to Joshua:

‘Be strong and very brave! You will go with these people into the land that the Lord promised to give to their ancestors. You will give them the land which will be their new home. 8 The Lord himself goes in front of you. He will always be with you, to help you. He will never leave you. So do not be afraid. Be brave!’

Do not forget God's Law

9 Moses wrote down the all the rules of God's Law. He gave them to the Levite priests who carry the Lord's Covenant Box. He also gave them to the leaders of the Israelites. 10-11 Then Moses said to them, ‘You must read this Law to all the Israelites. Read it every seven years at the Feast of Huts, in the year when you forgive people's debts. At that time all the Israelites will go to the place that the Lord your God will choose. When they meet there to worship the Lord, they must listen to this Law. 12 Bring all the men, women and children together. Also bring the foreign people who live in your towns. They must all hear God's Law as it is read to them. Then they can learn to respect and obey the Lord your God. They will be careful to obey all the teaching of his Law. 13 Their children will hear this Law for the first time. They will learn to respect and obey the Lord your God. You must do this for as long as you live in the land. You will soon go across the Jordan river to live there.’

Joshua becomes the new leader

14 The Lord said to Moses, ‘You will soon die. Fetch Joshua and come with him to the Tent of Meeting. When you meet with me there, I will give Joshua authority to be the leader of my people.’

So Moses and Joshua went to meet the Lord at his special tent.

15 The Lord appeared in a pillar of cloud. The cloud was above the door of the tent. 16 The Lord said to Moses, ‘You will soon die. After you die, the people will soon go away from me. They will start to worship foreign gods of the land where they are going. They will turn against me. They will not obey the covenant that I made with them. 17 When that happens, I will be very angry with them. I will leave them. I will refuse to help them until they are destroyed. Many bad things will happen to them so that they are in great trouble. Then they will say, “These bad things have happened to us because our God is no longer with us.”

18 But at that time I will certainly refuse to help them. That is because of all the wicked things that they will have done. They will start to worship other gods.

19 Now write down this song that I will give to you. Teach the Israelites to sing it. Its words will show them that they are guilty because they have not obeyed me. 20 I will take them into this land, where there is plenty of food and drink, enough for everyone. It is the land that I promised to give to their ancestors. When they live there, they will eat as much food as they want. They will be fat and healthy. But then they will start to worship other gods. They will turn against me. They will not obey the covenant that I made with them. 21 Many bad things will happen to them so that they are in great trouble. Then this song will show them that they are guilty. Their descendants will never forget it. Even now, I know what they are thinking. I know what they want to do, even before I take them into the land that I have promised to them.’

22 So Moses wrote down this song on that same day. He taught it to the Israelites.

23 Then the Lord made Joshua, the son of Nun, the new leader. He said to Joshua, ‘Be strong and very brave! You will lead the Israelites into the land that I have promised to give them. I will be with you to help you.’

24 Moses finished writing the all the words of God's Law in a book. 25 Then he said to the Levites who carried the Lord's Covenant Box, 26 ‘Take this book of God's Law. Put it next to the Covenant Box of the Lord your God. It must remain there, so that the Israelites will know when they are guilty. 27 I know that they are a proud people who do not want to obey me. All the time that I have been living among them, they have turned against the Lord. After my death, they will turn against him even more! 28 Now bring to me all the leaders and officers of your tribes. I want to tell them about all these things. And I want the sky and the earth to hear what I will say to them. 29 I know that, after my death, you will do more and more wicked things. You will turn away from the good things that I have commanded you to do. In future days, you will do wicked things against the Lord. Because of that, you will have great trouble. You will make the Lord angry because of the things that you do.’

30 Then Moses spoke the words of this song, from the beginning to the end. All the Israelites met together and they listened to him.