Deuteronomy 31

Succession of Moses by Joshua

31:1 Then Moses went1 and spoke these words2 to all Israel. 31:2 He said to them, “Today I am a hundred and twenty years old. I am no longer able to get about,3 and the Lord has said to me, ‘You will not cross the Jordan.’ 31:3 As for the Lord your God, he is about to cross over before you; he will destroy these nations before you and dispossess them. As for Joshua, he is about to cross before you just as the Lord has said. 31:4 The Lord will do to them just what he did to Sihon and Og, the Amorite kings, and to their land, which he destroyed. 31:5 The Lord will deliver them over to you and you will do to them according to the whole commandment I have given you. 31:6 Be strong and courageous! Do not fear or tremble before them, for the Lord your God is the one who is going with you. He will not fail you or abandon you!” 31:7 Then Moses called out to Joshua4 in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you will accompany these people to the land that the Lord promised to give their ancestors,5 and you will enable them to inherit it. 31:8 The Lord is indeed going before you – he will be with you; he will not fail you or abandon you. Do not be afraid or discouraged!”

The Deposit of the Covenant Text

31:9 Then Moses wrote down this law and gave it to the Levitical priests, who carry the ark of the Lord’s covenant, and to all Israel’s elders. 31:10 He6 commanded them: “At the end of seven years, at the appointed time of the cancellation of debts,7 at the Feast of Temporary Shelters,8 31:11 when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God in the place he chooses, you must read this law before them9 within their hearing. 31:12 Gather the people – men, women, and children, as well as the resident foreigners in your villages – so they may hear and thus learn about and fear the Lord your God and carefully obey all the words of this law. 31:13 Then their children, who have not known this law,10 will also hear about and learn to fear the Lord your God for as long as you live in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”

The Commissioning of Joshua

31:14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “The day of your death is near. Summon Joshua and present yourselves in the tent11 of meeting12 so that I can commission him.”13 So Moses and Joshua presented themselves in the tent of meeting. 31:15 The Lord appeared in the tent in a pillar of cloud that14 stood above the door of the tent. 31:16 Then the Lord said to Moses, “You are about to die,15 and then these people will begin to prostitute themselves with the foreign gods of the land into which they16 are going. They17 will reject18 me and break my covenant that I have made with them.19 31:17 At that time20 my anger will erupt against them21 and I will abandon them and hide my face from them until they are devoured. Many disasters and distresses will overcome22 them23 so that they24 will say at that time, ‘Have not these disasters25 overcome us26 because our27 God is not among us28?’ 31:18 But I will certainly29 hide myself at that time because of all the wickedness they30 will have done by turning to other gods. 31:19 Now write down for yourselves the following song and teach it to the Israelites. Put it into their very mouths so that this song may serve as my witness against the Israelites! 31:20 For after I have brought them31 to the land I promised to their32 ancestors – one flowing with milk and honey – and they33 eat their fill34 and become fat, then they35 will turn to other gods and worship them; they will reject me and break my covenant. 31:21 Then when36 many disasters and distresses overcome them37 this song will testify against them,38 for their39 descendants will not forget it.40 I know the41 intentions they have in mind42 today, even before I bring them43 to the land I have promised.” 31:22 So on that day Moses wrote down this song and taught it to the Israelites, 31:23 and the Lord44 commissioned Joshua son of Nun, “Be strong and courageous, for you will take the Israelites to the land I have promised them, and I will be with you.”45

Anticipation of Disobedience

31:24 When Moses finished writing on a scroll the words of this law in their entirety, 31:25 he46 commanded the Levites who carried the ark of the Lord’s covenant, 31:26 “Take this scroll of the law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God. It will remain there as a witness against you, 31:27 for I know about your rebellion and stubbornness.47 Indeed, even while I have been living among you to this very day, you have rebelled against the Lord; you will be even more rebellious after my death!48 31:28 Gather to me all your tribal elders and officials so I can speak to them directly about these things and call the heavens and the earth to witness against them. 31:29 For I know that after I die you will totally49 corrupt yourselves and turn away from the path I have commanded you to walk. Disaster will confront you in the days to come because you will act wickedly50 before the Lord, inciting him to anger because of your actions.”51 31:30 Then Moses recited the words of this song from start to finish in the hearing of the whole assembly of Israel.

Next Chapter