Deuteronomy 13

Idolatry and False Prophets

12:32 (13:1)1 You2 must be careful to do everything I am commanding you. Do not add to it or subtract from it!3 13:1 Suppose a prophet or one who foretells by dreams4 should appear among you and show you a sign or wonder,5 13:2 and the sign or wonder should come to pass concerning what he said to you, namely, “Let us follow other gods” – gods whom you have not previously known – “and let us serve them.” 13:3 You must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer,6 for the Lord your God will be testing you to see if you love him7 with all your mind and being.8 13:4 You must follow the Lord your God and revere only him; and you must observe his commandments, obey him, serve him, and remain loyal to him. 13:5 As for that prophet or dreamer,9 he must be executed because he encouraged rebellion against the Lord your God who brought you from the land of Egypt, redeeming you from that place of slavery, and because he has tried to entice you from the way the Lord your God has commanded you to go. In this way you must purge out evil from within.10

False Prophets in the Family

13:6 Suppose your own full brother,11 your son, your daughter, your beloved wife, or your closest friend should seduce you secretly and encourage you to go and serve other gods12 that neither you nor your ancestors13 have previously known,14 13:7 the gods of the surrounding people (whether near you or far from you, from one end of the earth15 to the other). 13:8 You must not give in to him or even listen to him; do not feel sympathy for him or spare him or cover up for him. 13:9 Instead, you must kill him without fail!16 Your own hand must be the first to strike him,17 and then the hands of the whole community. 13:10 You must stone him to death18 because he tried to entice you away from the Lord your God, who delivered you from the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. 13:11 Thus all Israel will hear and be afraid; no longer will they continue to do evil like this among you.19

Punishment of Community Idolatry

13:12 Suppose you should hear in one of your cities, which the Lord your God is giving you as a place to live, that 13:13 some evil people20 have departed from among you to entice the inhabitants of their cities,21 saying, “Let’s go and serve other gods” (whom you have not known before).22 13:14 You must investigate thoroughly and inquire carefully. If it is indeed true that such a disgraceful thing is being done among you,23 13:15 you must by all means24 slaughter the inhabitants of that city with the sword; annihilate25 with the sword everyone in it, as well as the livestock. 13:16 You must gather all of its plunder into the middle of the plaza26 and burn the city and all its plunder as a whole burnt offering to the Lord your God. It will be an abandoned ruin27 forever – it must never be rebuilt again. 13:17 You must not take for yourself anything that has been placed under judgment.28 Then the Lord will relent from his intense anger, show you compassion, have mercy on you, and multiply you as he promised your ancestors. 13:18 Thus you must obey the Lord your God, keeping all his commandments that I am giving29 you today and doing what is right30 before him.31

Next Chapter