Deuteronomy 13

1“A prophet or a person that explains dreams might come to you. He might tell you that he will show you a sign or a miracle. 2And the sign or miracle he told you about might come true. Then he might ask you to follow other gods (gods you don’t know). He might say to you, 'Let’s serve those gods!’ 3Don’t listen to that person. Why? Because the Lord your God is testing you. The Lord wants to know if you love him with all your heart and all your soul. 4You must follow the Lord your God! Respect him. Obey the Lord’s commands, and do what he tells you. Serve the Lord, and never leave him! 5Also, you must kill that prophet or person that explains dreams. Why? Because he told you to turn against the Lord your God. And it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, where you were slaves. That person tried to pull you away from the life the Lord your God commanded you to live. So you must kill that person to remove that evil from your people. 6“Someone close to you might secretly persuade you to worship other gods. It might be your own brother, your son, your daughter, the wife you love or your closest friend. That person might say, 'Let’s go and serve other gods.’ (These are gods that you and your ancestors never knew. 7They are the gods of the people that live in the other lands around you, some near and some far away.) 8You must not agree with that person. Don’t listen to him. Don’t feel sorry for him. Don’t let him go free. And don’t protect him. 9- 10No! You must kill that person! You must kill him with stones. You be the first person to pick up stones and throw at him. Then all the people must throw stones to kill him. Why? Because that person tried to pull you away from the Lord your God. And it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, where you were slaves. 11Then all the people of Israel will hear and be afraid. And they will not do those evil things any more. 12“The Lord your God has given you cities to live in. Sometimes you might hear some bad news about one of these cities. You might hear that 13some bad people in your own nation are persuading the people of their city to do bad things. They might say to the people of their city, 'Let’s go and serve other gods.’ (These gods would be gods that you never knew before.) 14If you hear this kind of news, you must do all you can to learn if it is true. If you learn that it is true—if you prove that such a terrible thing really did happen— 15then you must punish the people of that city. You must kill them all. And kill all their animals, too. You must destroy that city completely. 16Then you must gather all the valuable things and take them to the center of the city and burn the city and everything in it. It will be a burnt offering to the Lord your God. The city must become an empty pile of rocks forever. That city must never be built again. 17Everything in that city must be given to God to be destroyed. So you must not keep any of the things for yourselves. If you follow this command, then the Lord will stop being so angry at you. The Lord will be kind to you. He will feel sorry for you. He will let your nation grow larger, like he promised your ancestors. 18This will happen if you listen to the Lord your God—if you obey all his commands that I give you today. You must do the things that the Lord your God says are right.

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